Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Live Simply....Live Well

(one of life’s simple pleasures....raindrops on the leaves of my banana rose plant.)

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a skinflint. A tightwad. A penny pincher. Whatever you call it, it is part of my heritage. My mom taught us to always check the bargain aisle first. I was born into a family who loves loves loves yard sale season. When I’m in the States, I’d rather go to a thrift store then a department store.

I try to my best ability to be a very frugal and thrifty wife. It really come easy to me. I credit it to my parents, and how they raised me. I have many very happy memories of our childhood, but I don’t think we lived an extravagant life. We lived simple....but we lived well. Early in my teen years I was working and saving my own money. Things mean a lot more when you have to work hard for them and pay for them yourself.

The Bible calls me the “Keeper of the home” and I want to keep it the best I possibly can. Some might say that this would be a spotless house with an apple pie in the oven. Could be, and sometimes {every-once-in-awhile} this is my house. What’s more important to me is a happy home, full of loved ones that know they are loved. Like the one I grew up in. Oh....I forgot what I was supposed to be talking about....pregnant ladies have short memories!

Getting back to the "frugal" point.

Living in a foreign country is very expensive. I try to make the burdens on my Prince as little as I can. {I like to make him happy}

I wanted to list some ideas and rules that I use in my home to help save money. A penny saved is a penny earned. I’m not sure who said this....but my guess is a smart woman somewhere.

1. I unplug an appliance not being used at that time. I read on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Website that 75% of current used is called phantom current. I think that means that it is current we don’t even realize we’re using. It can be a little inconvenient to have to plug the t.v. or lamps in before you use them...but in the long’s not that hard a thing to do.

2. We don’t have a dryer. I know this is not feasible for everyone, like if you live where it’s cold or have no yard. It works great here, and I love having a reason to stand out in the morning breeze.

3. We have a chest freezer. We buy in bulk because is much more economical here.

4. This one will shock you. We rarely use our hot water heater. It is so wonderful to have, but it makes the little meter “spin like a top”. In Jamaica most people don’t wash their dishes in hot water.....{gasp!!!}. It’s true. It’s not killed us yet....or anyone we know. Most nights I switch on the hot water for less then an hour so we can take warm showers. We don’t use it every night though. I never wash clothes in hot water, only cold.

5. Sometimes I turn the stove off early. If I’m cooking something like a casserole (it’s a Missouri thing) and it’s not quite done, I go ahead and shut off the oven and leave it inside. It saves on gas and keeps cooking.

6. Allow food to cool before putting it in the freezer. This helps the fridge and freezer from working quite as hard.

7. Only mommy and daddy open the fridge without permission. How many times have you seen children open the fridge and just think. That’s a lot of cold air flying out. I admit that sometimes I’m tempted to do it.......ok, sometimes I’m tempted to climb in it! But, when your home averages 90 deg inside during the day, that can waste a lot of electricity!

8. I cook with lids on the pots. It helps the heat stay in, boils faster, and uses less gas. ‘Nuff said.

9. I rewash ziplock bags if they’ve not had meat in them. Or spaghetti sauce...that red stain is permanent. I also save bread bags, glass jars, and cans.

10. We use the curly looking fluorescent bulbs. They cost more but last longer and use less.

11. I always do full loads of laundry (not hard around here). A typical full load uses about 21 gallons of water. A small load uses 14 gallons. Several small loads use considerably more water than one or two large loads. Over the course of a year, this adds up.

12. I try to only use paper plates and cups after we’ve been without water for so long I don’t have anything else.

These are just a few things off the top of my head. If you have tips of your own for saving money I’d LOVE to learn them.


Chandra Horton said...

One of the best things I can think of to save money is using vinegar for cleaning. I usaully put it in a spray bottle (1/2 water & 1/2 vinegar) It disinfects as well as bleach but it's not toxic! :) Of course too coupons, coupons coupons! I don't know if that's an option there - but that's the best way to save! :)

Kayte said...

I also wash most ofour clothes in cold water. I ditto the cleaning with vinegar. I have a steam mop so that require no cleaning solution at all, which is great for floors and people and budgets! I also buy clothing and shoes at off season times. Sometimes its a risk to know what size snow boots Maddie will need NEXT winter but I think I've gotten it right so far. Winter tights found in mid summer are a fraction of what they cost in the fall, and my little girls are rough on them! Probably my biggset money saver is is the form of bags and bags of hand me down clothes people graciously give us. Sometimes it's msotly unusbale, sometimes it all treasures! But we have fun looking anyway! Grocery wise, I plan my meals based on what's on sale (or already in my freezer). I also love coupon clipping.

Jeanie said...

For the record, it wasn't a woman who wrote that quote. It is found in Poor Richard's Almanac written by Benjamin Franklin. Buying ground beef in bulk and then cooking all of it up at once with some onion soup mix is a great time and money saver - - no more browning the meat before you start the rest of the meal. Simply put the browned meat in gallon ziplocs and freeze it. It's ready when you need it. It probably takes about two cups to make a pound.

Rebekah Parks said...

You should include the "clothing repurposing" that you did with the t-shirt/new shrug. That was so cute! Our family often tries to repurpose things if we like the fabric, buttons, or whatever, but it's out-dated or doesn't fit anyone. When we moved into the Wyaconda house back in '94 it had some faded cotton canvas curtains with ragged edges. I still use the great big tote bag from that cloth, lol.

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