Saturday, October 30, 2010

Frugal, by necessity or choice!

Although the politicians say otherwise, I know different.  At least in my area of the country (the deep South, specifically, Georgia) we are still being hard hit by this economy. Georgia has lost tons of jobs and I know lots of people who are under-employed or going through a prolonged job search.  Raises are non existent for most folks and pay cuts are the norm.

That being said, just about everyone I know is hunkering down and trying to figure out how they can hold it together through Christmas.  I am certainly no exception.

Here are some of the things that I do to try and stretch my money a little bit farther.

1.  Hang clothes to dry.  Our dryer is on its last leg and I only use it for things that really need to be dried.  Things that have to be ironed, for example.  I couldn't care less if my towels are a little scratchy.  Dermatologists tell us to exfoliate, don't they?

2.  Home hair cuts.  I do the haircuts for both of our boys and get compliments on how nice and neat they look.  Hubby isn't brave enough, yet, but someone told him that he should do his hair like my son's hair.  Loved that!  I use a good set of clippers that hubby found with guide combs (more than paid for itsself, by the way).  Even in the beginning, the kids didn't look bad.  Now, I am getting good at it.  I even cut my own hair. Yes, it sounds like I am super-talented.  8 or 9 years ago, I had unexplained hair loss until I started wearing wigs.  I get them on sale and look for trendy/modern cuts.  They look great.  I buzz cut what is left of my own hair.  Otherwise, I would have a stringy comb over thing happening.

3.  Cook at home.  This is not an easy one for me.  I am not a good cook.  I am best preparing candies and baking things that would make your cardiologist's head spin.  But, as my doctor put me on a diet where I have lost 50 lbs., I can't eat like that.  My menus are uninspired, but nutritious.  Hubby is a better cook, but he isn't here to do the cooking, except on weekends.  I love weekends.

4.  Canning or Freezing.  You can save a lot of money putting food up.  I get windfall pears every year from my trees at my parent's house.  They really don't use them for anything, they like that they attract deer.  I will cook and can them.  Yes, it's work, but that work will keep us full and happy through the winter.  Canned goods in a nice basket make a great gift that I have used for many a Christmas!  Family packs of meat or surplus of veggies in season can be put away inexpensively.  Think sweet potatoes cooked and canned in November.  Think green beans in July.  Think pumpkins--NOW!  If you like the seeds, dry and roast them.

5.  Learn to sew.  Even if you make crafty gifts or simple curtains and repairs, you can save a bundle and add a little bit of self-sufficiency to your skill list.

6.  Crochet or knit.  Make scarves for gifts or hats for the homeless shelter.  Yarn can be found at thrift stores or even cheaply at Wal Mart.  You can make things more special than you can buy them.  Make your own dish cloths.  If you take good care of them, they will last absolutely forever.  They also make a cute gift.

7.  Turn off the cable or satellite dish.  We did (out of necessity) and until the new season of Dr. Who starts, I won't actually care.  The kids watch shows on and my oldest has discovered the old Superman movies and Alf!  I really did miss two short PBS specials on Sapelo Island and the Okefenokee swamp that I would have liked to have seen, but I am not all that heartbroken about it.

8.  Entertain yourselves at home.  Rent redbox movies or trade movies that you own with a friend to see something new.   Hubby salvedged the bottom bowl from an old smoker that had died and put it up on some rocks and made an impromptu fire pit.  We have had numerous marshmallow and wienie roasts and they are fun!  We even did this with guests who were visiting and they had a great time.  We burned deadfall wood from our property.  Yes, we did spring for marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate (and hot dogs) but it's still cheap fun!

Anyway, if you are being hard hit by the economy, you are not alone.  Just use this time to build up some frugal skills.

No comments: