I have already discussed =
1. USE LESS
2. USE IT ALL
Today let's deal with number 3
3. BE CREATIVE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
I did talk a little about this in the prior post as far as getting creative with what food is on hand so that it gets used up and not thrown out.
We can also get creative with clothing and household things. If you have some good clothes hanging in the closet but maybe they don't fit right, or you no longer like the style , then change it. Did you know that you can make a no-sew cardigan from a sweatshirt? Just cut down the middle front, fold over the edges and use strips of a fabric iron-on tape for no-sew hems. Or, if you do know how to use a sewing machine, you can sew the edges down. If your sewing machine has some fancy stitches, use one of those in a contrasting color down each front side. Shorten a dress that may be too short for comfort and make it a blouse. Or if the top of a dress is a bit shabby, cut the top off and make a skirt out of it. Be creative! I know you can come up with some ideas, or check out some of the blogs that show some unique ways to alter clothing. Here is one website to check out. http://www.newdressaday.com/. If you have no idea how to sew, I bet you have a friend who can, or some older lady who knows how to sew and make do. Just ask them to show you how to do it.
Need some new curtains? Maybe you have a pretty sheet that doesn't fit any bed you own anymore. Cut it up, hem it, and voila! Curtains. That can be done with the iron on tape as well, with no sewing. I bought some inexpensive sheets at Walmart in the color I wanted for my bedroom. Cut them in half from top to bottom, used some clip-on rings at the top to hang them on the rod, and I love them! I used twin sheets, but later wished I had used full size sheets to have them fuller, but then I would have also needed more rings. Those rings I bought on a trip to IKEA some time before that. I don't remember what they cost but it was very reasonable at that time. The closest IKEA store for me is Minneapolis, and that is a day destination and not close enough for a quick trip. I do love to browse in that store!
Anyway, you get the idea of being creative with what you have. You might have to buy some things to achieve the look you want, but that is still much cheaper than buying all new. You might even be able to find what you need at a thrift store or Goodwill if you take the time to look. But first, be creative with what you already have.
4. JUST SAY NO
I admit that can be a tough one, and certainly not fun. Being creative can be fun, saying no. . . not so easy. It is so easy today to see something we like, and it is even ON SALE!! So we buy it on impulse. And when we get it home we can't find a place to put it because we already have too much stuff. Or we don't like it as well as we thought we would, but it was on sale and non-returnable. Money wasted. If you can return it, do! But always save your receipts for everything. I have a small accordion file with 12 slots, one for each month. I put the paid bills in there each month as well as all receipts. Since I use a credit card for almost all purchases, I need to keep them at least until the bill comes in and they are paid for. But they stay in there until I clean the whole thing out at the beginning of the new year. By the way, I do pay my credit card bills in full each month so that I am not charged the high interest.
Another place to say 'No' is if you want some larger item but can't pay for it. Save up the money first! When you have saved enough to pay for it, then buy it. You can still use the credit card, especially if you have one that gives you cash rewards, but since you have the money saved, you can pay that total bill when it comes. The only time I would allow buying something on credit without having the cash, is when it is an emergency, an appliance breaks down and is not repairable, or costs more to repair than to buy new. It is a good idea to have some funds set aside for future emergencies, but how many of us actually do that?
Being frugal does not mean not spending any money at all. It just means being as careful as we can with our money so that we can afford to buy something we really want or need. We do need to enjoy life while we are here, but there are lots of fun things to do that don't cost anything, or at least are not expensive.
And last -
5. BE CONTENT
Yes, be content with what you have. That is Biblical. God has given you everything you have. Be thankful for what you have. And be content with it. Don't keep wishing you had a house like your friend, or a new car like 'everybody else' has, or a bigger and better television, or the newest smart phone. If you already have one and it works, be content. I know that does not fit with today's consumerism lifestyle, but really, how much do we need before we have enough? Do you realize the more we have, the more we want? And the more we see others have, the more we want what they have? Learn to be content with what you have. It might take a little practice.
When I married my husband, he was a person who grew up using things until they no longer worked or were worn out. His bath towels were threadbare, but he had a trunk full of new towels! It didn't take long for me to make rags out of those old towels! Notice, I didn't throw them away. Cutting those towels up into rags is easy and they really make good rags for dirty jobs.
When my son was a baby he drooled a lot, and I mean a lot! He soaked through bibs almost immediately. So my mother cut up some old bath towels or wash cloths, sewed several layers together and a binding around the neck so that they could be tied, and they worked so much better. They still needed to be changed often but not like the other thin bibs. They weren't so pretty but usability was more important.
There are the basics of frugal living. I hope this gives you a few ideas as to what you can do. Just remember these 5 points and you will be surprised at what you can do. And remember to be happy!