I was just reading a post on Purposely Frugal blog about the basics of frugal living, and how to save, and there are just a few points to remember. These are basic 101 points. If you learn these and live by them, you will be able to live within your income (providing you have some ). I know many readers already know this stuff, but I also know there are some younger people who have never had to do without. Parents had money (or acted like they did) and always had an abundance of everything needed AND wanted. If they didn't like the shampoo they just bought, they threw it away and went out and bought something else, until they found what they wanted. But now that they are on their own and don't have all that money, or maybe have to cut their spending because they are so far in debt, it is time to learn the ways of frugal living. It isn't always fun. I will be the first to admit that. But you can challenge yourself to see how much you can save, and to see what inventive ways you can save.
Here is the list of the basics.
1. USE LESS
2. USE IT ALL
3. BE CREATIVE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
4. JUST SAY NO
5. BE CONTENT
How easy is that?
How can I do that? Use less shampoo every time. Just a small amount works just as well as just pouring it on. Watering liquids down, like shampoo, creme rinse, liquid hand soap, body wash really makes a big difference.
Eat smaller portions, which also helps with weight loss if you need to. We all tend to eat too much ice cream at one time -- fill the bowl up and then pour half a bottle of chocolate syrup over it? Use a smaller dish and put half as much in, or even less. Did I say this was not fun? I didn't say you couldn't have any at all, just less. Eat one slice of toast instead of two for breakfast, smaller bowl of cereal, smaller pieces of meat, and the list goes on. Using smaller plates and bowls tricks the mind into thinking you are eating just as much, which is a recommended trick for dieting but it also saves money.
How many bottles of cleaners are under your sink? Use up what you have (and many of these can be watered down as well) and then just use one all purpose cleaner for everything. You can even make your own cleaner which is even cheaper. There are many recipes online for those. I am sure you can come up with many other ways to use less if you think about it.
USE IT ALL
As I said above, use up what you have first, even if it isn't your favorite brand. And there is always a little more in tubes than you think there is. Toothpaste, hand creams, ointments are a few. When I get to the point nothing comes out when I squeeze the tube, I can often tap it hard several times on the palm of my hand, and get more than enough, so I can do that several times. Then, cut off the top and there is probably enough for at least one more application.
Use all the fresh food in your fridge and counters. If it is getting to the point where it needs to be used immediately or get thrown out, make something with it, or if it can be frozen, freeze it. Some things might be better if it is cooked first and then frozen. Throw all the vegetables - whether fresh or leftovers - into the crockpot and make vegetable soup. Then freeze that for future meals if you don't eat it all right away. I also add any leftover cooked meat to the soup along with gravy if there is some. I have added chicken, beef, pork, hot dogs, sausages, all in the same soup. Delicious!! Just add water, any tomatoes or tomato juice that need to be used, and then I add some kind of bouillon cubes and seasonings for extra good flavor. Some people call that Refrigerator Soup. Some people make this on the day they clean out their fridge every week, which should be the day before you go grocery shopping. Some of the best meals I have eaten are the ones where I had to be creative to put all the odd things together that were left in the pantry, fridge and freezer. You know, all those little extra pieces of meat no one ate, or dabs of casseroles that you decided to freeze for another day and then forgot. Use them before they get freezer burn and end in the garbage.
I also save bread heels. I will toss those in the freezer each time. And then I make garlic toast with them, or croutons. I just love buttery garlic toast. One favorite steak house years ago had the best garlic toast, and they made it from the left over dinner rolls which they sliced up, and they would bring a basket of garlic toast to each table while you waited for your meal. I think I need to get in the kitchen now and make some instead of sitting here and writing!
I think this post is long enough anyway. So I will write more in the next edition. In the meantime you can start using less and using up what you have.