Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Thoughts on Being Frugal

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday browsing the sites listed below on how to save money. Many of the ideas are things I already do, and have always done so they don't help me a whole lot. I did get a few good ideas, though. Mainly what I was looking for was how to create something out of nothing! LOL! Well... at the very least, how to stretch what you do have to last as long as possible. And, no, I'm not doing this just to see if I can... I really do need to stretch every dime just as far as possible.

Once in awhile I'll pick up a magazine at the library and read articles on "economical" fashion alternatives. They'll show how you can put together an outfit very similar to a $900 designer outfit for "only" $150!!!! Only?? Excuse me?? $150 for one outfit? I don't think so! One article I read recently was telling how some of the stars are willing to scrimp on one thing, I guess to justify the item that they splurge on. There was one that "scrimped" by buying $30 Old Navy jeans so she could splurge on a $300 sweater. I sat there thinking, my splurge would be a $15 pair of store-brand jeans, only because I can't find jeans in Tall at garage sales, while my scrimp would be a .25 t-shirt from the garage sale! LOL! Okay, so I know how to economize on clothes. Fashion's just not that important to me... as long as it fits, and is neat and clean and has been in style within the last 5 years I'm happy! Right now, I'm not even concerned about clothes. What we have can and will last us through this tight spot!

But how to stretch the grocery budget, that's another question. Years ago our grandparents rarely bought anything. They raised everything they ate. Since we live in a rental with a very small yard, and the rental contract does not allow vegetables gardens, that's not an option for us.

Many of the articles on the websites suggested things like: buy store-brands or generics (already do), stock up when things are on sale (already do), only shop once every week or two (already do)...

Some of the more practical suggestions involve more work, but as I have more time than money at this point in my life, these are the ones I'm going to have to learn to apply: Give up non-nutritional food. (No more coffee, pop, potato chips, candy). Cook from scratch. (No more box mixes). Use up left-overs. (Don't waste food!) Plan menus ahead. (No more waiting till 30 minutes till time to eat to decide what to have.)

Here's a couple of interesting articles on "bare bones" grocery shopping... and who knows? It may come to that!

The $5 Stretcher Challenge (Can you eat for a week on $5?)

The-Cupboard-Is-Bare-And-The-Money-Is-Low Grocery List

Another thing I thought of was to learn to get by without things like paper plates and paper towels. Again, more work. But I can wash plates and towels. Haven't figured out how to get by without toilet paper, though! An old Sears catalog isn't exactly an option! LOL!

What are your best money-saving tips? And please don't tell me something like-- Eat out at lunchtime instead of dinner! When eating out at all is not even an option, that's not real helpful! LOL!

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