Wednesday, November 20, 2013

::Frugal Fodder—Budgets Past, Present and Future::

It is that time of year, when I really start to think about the next years budget.  For me…it is because I’ve done some reflecting on this years budget and I see the HIGHS AND LOWS more clearly.
We have a saying around here.  “We always spend our money more wisely …after it’s gone.”  (Not a great saying; but TRUE!)  
I’d love to have a time in my life when I DON’T say that.  But…2013 has been a tough one for us; and 2014 is just around the corner. Time to look up and forward for the coming year.  I’ve decided—I need to start paying more attention to saving, conserving, and making better  more refined spending choices.
The best place to start…since T.H. is retired and I’m home;  is in the home.
Trimming the budget starts here. That is the quickest and easiest thing for us. This is where we spend our time.  It doesn’t make sense to continue eating out; driving to places unnecessarily or without some sort of economical route, and making the most of any outside trips. 

November 2013 tomatoes
* our tomatoes right before the first freeze--

Here are some ways I’ve saved money this week in our home.
  • Lowered the temp on the propane water heater to a comfortable level.
  • Wrapped the water heater to keep the water in the tank HOT.  (ideally, we know a Hot Water on Demand unit would be better for us, but can’t afford it at the moment)
  • Cut and received *FREE* firewood-- (sometimes people need wood removed from their property—doesn’t hurt to  let them know you heat with wood!)
  • unplugged and turned off unused appliances.
  • kept doors closed or opened (depending on our Fall weather pattern) to help regulate temps and air circulation-dressed appropriate for temps “layers”
  • dried laundry on the clothes line—indoors and outdoors—depending on weather
  • Increased water intake and reduced Pitchers of iced tea.  (saves on sweetener and tea)  WATER is just plain good for you.
  • SAID NO TO FAST FOOD- (eating out)
  • cooked once and ate twice – several meals. (utilized leftovers)
  • bought our pet food at a competitive price - (switching feed stores)
  • made 2 batches of ‘fire starter logs’ 
  • harvest tomatoes on the last tomato plants—set them on a cookie sheet in a sunny spot
  • made bread at home
  • turned off the heater in the bathroom at night
  • soaked clear shower liner in homemade cleaning solution to clean and not have to replace it! (savings!)
  • listed couch and loveseat on Craigs List (free advertising)
  • created a pretty frame from thread/crochet; for an updated look, rather than purchase a new mirror. :) 
  • purchased and replaced headlight bulb on the car ourselves—no out of pocket (except the cost of the bulb)
  • paid etsy bill-  using money made from the store!
While looking at ways that we saved in the home--
It also brought things to the forefront of my mind—like I said, that we could have done differently, and spent more wisely.
Did I really need to drive an hour away to purchase a doll house?  Probably not, but the price of the house and hours of cheap entertainment it will provide not to mention the years of enjoyment and lasting memories it will create for me and my grand-daughter are, as they say, priceless.  For the record, I’m looking for another one—as I have 2 grand daughters that I’d like to do this with. They each need their own little house. :)
Did we really have to eat out the few times we have already this month?  No.  That is something we always come back to in the budget. We’ll continue to work on this. I’ll continue to work on this, as I am in charge of the grocery shopping, meal planning, and Yummy, food making!

I’ll continue to look for ways to save and earn in our home—now and throughout the up-coming year.  We’ll hopefully both be sitting down to work on a more solid and realistic budget.
How about you…do you take this time at the end of the year to re-assess and re-group for the coming year?  Maybe you have some ideas and tips for creating less waste and more savings …feel free to share them in the comments!

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For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” ~Psalm 100:5

11 comments:

Melanie said...

I too think about the budget this time of year. Eating out can be a huge budget drain, and this is the time of year that it is easy to give in and eat out. Planning ahead of time helps curtail spending in that area and those habits will carry through the winter. It really is a mindset as to how I spend or save money.

We have been talking about some changes that we need to make here, as far as chickens, goats, rabbits etc. I seem to have drifted away from our original plan and need to come back to the table and evaluate some things. 2013 has been a rough year for us too. Many unexpected things arose. It is time to change some things now.

Sherry at The Rusty Pearl said...

I love this and I am on this kick of trying to save every dollar I can right now. I love FRUGAL my friend. These are some great tips that your sharing with your readers. I love them all. Thank you . Awesome reminders

Carolyn said...

The past few months, I started taking stock of many things. What got me going was the quickly approaching holiday season and realizing how fast this year has flown by. We already do most of what you have on your list, and I am always looking for ways to save more cash and/or time. I also started saving all the change I get in a big jar again. I did this years ago and it was fun to see it grow. When it was full, we counted & rolled it. It was a surprise how much we ended up with. That money was used to pay off a debt or buy something special for the family or take a short trip. We try to be as frugal as we comfortably can. But nothing is set in stone. We do waver from it once in awhile. :o)

Kristina said...

Funny you should ask. That is exactly what I wrote out in an article I wrote for a local magazine. We don't have a working dryer, so it's all dried outside and inside. I stopped buying as much breakfast cereal as well (eggs are in great abundance right now). I'm also freelancing to rebuild our emergency fund, so we'll not have issues, when we do have them. I'm stocking up on essentials when they go on sale, especially toilet paper.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Ha your saying made me smile! I know the truth of that statement for myself!

Well I'm organizing my house and have already had 1 garage sale. I'll have another bunch of stuff in January and we'll see how the weather is. I might be able to have another one then if it isn't too cold by then.

camp and cottage living said...

You came up with many good ways to cut the budget!
I've been thinking of drying clothes inside again instead of using the dryer.
I did this when my kids were young, but got away from it..

A Daughter of the King said...

Very inspiring! A friend of mine told me about a tasty way to drink more water: It is supposed to boost your metabolism and give you more energy. Drop 1 thinly sliced apple in the bottom of a glass pitcher, add 1 stick cinnamon, fill 1/2 with ice and the other half with water, let sit for a couple of hours and drink up. You can refill pitcher a few times 3-4, before changing apple and cinnamon. It would work in green tea too and would be healthier than sweetener of any sort.

Terri Buster said...

Those are all great ideas. I am planning for retirement, hoping I can scale down out expenses significantly.

Gail Wilson said...

Those are great ways to cut the budget for sure. I try small things here and there, but I still do wasteful things - the light is on in the kitchen right now, and I'm in the living room.... hey! I just came in her to see if the pictures I took looked okay, I was going right back in there (that was 45 minutes ago)
I reflect this time of year on all that I'm blessed with. I spent so many years struggling on such a very tight and very meager fixed income. Things are better now, and I am very grateful, and am paying it forward by helping out some close friends. They are not use to it, and it surprises them. I "lived poor" for so long, that it became a habit for the most part... which is a good thing. I'm able to squirrel away some money--for what? I dunno... but it's a good feeling.
thanks for the reminder to keep myself on a budget!
gail

Art and Sand said...

Steve and I have found that we spend less money just by my being retired.

We no longer go out to dinner 3 nights a week which was common when we both worked. We never eat fast food, but have our favorite restaurants and find that we are now sharing a meal.

Steve shops almost daily for fresh produce often walking or cycling to the store. We use the farmer's market when it is open.

I don't spend money on clothes because I tend to wear yoga pants, tee and flip flops. I could never buy another piece of clothing and still have too much.

We barter. Steve just got a cord of wood delivered by a friend who took a painting in exchange. The same friend brought in a crew for 2 days to put a floor in our attic. The payment was a painting of their choice. I think Manny got the short end of the stick on that one, but Steve's paintings are expensive and they really wanted a specific painting.

Hope you get the propane issue dealt with soon.

Cindi @ Rustique Art said...

Great post Pat. Cutting costs is a huge thing for us as we have one in college and one out on her own but we help her out with an allowance until April and then we will re access. My car is almost 15 years old and when I used to say I would drive it until the wheels fell off, I didn't know that would be the case, but until it doesn't run any more I'll drive it.
Where we could really cut costs is getting rid of cable and since we all have cell phones, I'm wondering why I need a land line, we rarely use it.
Since Jake has gone off to college, our grocery bill has been cut in half. Our utilities are lower which makes you wonder how one person can make such a difference, but it's true. So when people ask us how much it costs to put a kid through college, Jim has trouble answering since our bills have been so drastically reduced. One thing I did when Jake left for school was call my auto ins. agent and have him put as a part time driver. We didn't let him take his car to school with him, so that has also reduced a huge bill every month.
We've also cut our grocery bill by not buying a lot of processed foods. We mainly buy fresh veggies and fruits.
And the best part is that I'm always hot so our heating bills will be lower since we prefer it really cool in the house anyway.