Wednesday, January 2, 2013

::Frugal Fodder ~8~

I am of the opinion that being in need and having a need are 2 different things. 

I in no way tend to mock or make a mockery of a person in need...ever. Because I have been in need before and I know the lowly and desperate feeling it brings. 

Sometime back-- our water heater was out. The cost of replacement was beyond what we could manage for ourselves at this time. Our kids took it upon themselves to purchase a new Energy Star rated water heater --LP (liquid propane) model.  That was wonderful. But this only made the propane usage go more quickly.  

By this time--we were already heating our water on the kitchen stove to bathe--grateful to have propane and a cook stove; for that matter a bath tub and roof over our heads. I don't look a gift horse in the mouth; but will tell you---it is humbling to be in have a need and have that need met so unexpectedly. We're not ones to ask for help. We've never received government assistance, though there was a time when our children were quite small we applied and were denied. In fact, both times in 29 1/2 years of marriage that we've ever applied-- I thought we were in need, because we had a need. Apparently, God and Government did not think so; and we were denied. 

That makes it hard to ask for help among friends and family. 

Well, the water heater was purchased, delivered and set up all by family. Things rocked on as usual. Except The Honey and I took measures to conserve the LP.  Last week-- again we were gifted with 100 gallons of propane. We didn't ask...again, it was humbling. 

I know as some read this...and they may be thinking. 
Geesh! Lady.  Somebody gave you a hot water tank and propane gas...and here you sit typing away on the computer and you obviously have internet?! 

I cannot justify that or even argue against it. It is what it is.   Some things happen that are out of our control ---water heaters break, cars quit running, tires go flat!  The LP is a different story. Poor planning. Actually, both situations can fall under poor planning ---the LP, poor planning in the budget for this expense that we know we have; the water heater, poor planning by not putting money away in an EMERGENCY FUND. 

I won't even address the internet, not here.
But you know what?
Back to my original statement at the top "being in need and having a need are 2 different things" ...while I'm being honest, it is also my opinion, that Hot water tanks and LP are not needs,either!!!

Am I grateful to have them?  You bet! Will I do better to plan for such things. Yes. I would hope so.  Am I still going to implement  CONSERVATION TACTICS concerning LP?  MOST Definitely!!!  After 3 years of living on a fixed income ...and very little of it; I'm still learning. I'm not proud of our mistakes but I can learn from them. Do I have a plan? Yes and here it is...

Last year-- we bought and paid for ourselves 150 gallons of propane. $430.00 for that amount and it lasted us all year. Twelve months. That averages out to be about $36.00 a month. That's equal to about 2 nights of take out Pizza/meals or 2 nights at the China Buffet.  
As to saving money in a budget that is already pretty tight... we're going back to saving our $5 bills.  I read this years ago somewhere and used to implement it. But haven't done so in a long time. I recently read it again... I pinned it from gail @MRL onto my pinterest FINANCE BOARD

Here is how it works. 
You spend or cash out a $20 , at the pump, the convenience store, the dollar store, etc. You use a $10 bill to pay for food at the drive through, stamps at the post office, etc...but what do you use a $5 bill for? Not much; and the singles...those are for tips and small things. But we hardly use $5 bills. So why not put those back and save them? 

  • All $5 bills will go into the JUG as part of an emergency fund. 
  • And $40 a month will be put back for propane ($10 / week) . 
  • That automatically knocks eating out from out budget. 
I know this sounds so simple to some...but let's face it, who wants to talk about their mistakes? Who wants to admit when their priorities have gotten off kilter or they've dropped the ball on their responsibilities?  I think if I put this out there and ANYONE reads it...and it helps them. Then it's worth a blip on the  'www'.  You can also see my ::Finance:: board on Pinterest...I hope to put more items there this year. 

Now as to scheduling... Wednesday's are almost always Frugal Fodder days...and the holidays have gotten me out of my 'groove' hopefully, I'll be back to posting these more regularly next week... and not so late at night ON WEDNESDAY, for crying out loud! 

Let me know if want to see more posts like this...? or NO. 

Grace and Peace! 

O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving -kindness is everlasting.
 ~Psalm 107:1 


Sunny Simple Life said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. We all have our weak areas and we have plenty. Not enough saving and kids in college and bills we are paying off. Like my husband says that many of us are one illness away from loosing it all. My folks were very frugal and had to be. They never had much.As they aged it seemed their house was falling down around them at times. We helped where we could but they always seemed to get by. I find we are doing some of the same. Using and fixing things as many times as we can. Tomorrow my frugal challenge post goes up. Yes more posts like this. I think more people than want to admit are struggling. Things are not getting better. Now payroll taxes have gone up so that is less money we have to live on each month.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I liked your post today. Plenty of people are struggling now. Everybody has surprise expenses that really can knock the wind out of one's sails. Health care expenses(still a lot even with good insurance), and surprise car problems feel to me like they are just waiting to pounce. I am always interested in hearing ideas for being frugal, so please bring 'em on!

Revi said...

Yes. Keep posting. Your posts are honest and you know how to be frugal better than anyone I know - and I consider myself to be a pretty frugal person. Don't feel guilty for having internet and not having savings for a water heater. I'm in a similar boat - and water heaters, air conditioning units, car repairs, etc. are all looming while I have a pitiful savings.
Now, about $40 more per month will go to Social Security. That's a water bill or money to eat someplace other than home on several occasions.
Bottom line, God is our provider. He knows our needs. We can be good stewards of our blessings, and certainly be thankful. Nothing makes me more thankful for something than doing without it for a while! :)

Sandy said...

Just when everything seems to be going along
smoothly something breaks down then the rush
begins to get a new one or fix the old one!
It's hard really. I've been saving for a
new dishwasher, and it's not something that
I just can't do without but it's something
I want....
I remember the days up in Illinois where it
was damn cold and we needed heat.. Florida is
better, no need for all that expense.
I really enjoyed reading your post and yes,
do it again...

Melanie said...

You have written so honestly and openly. Yes, we have all made mistakes financially, but we can't change what is in the past, we can change what we do today and in the future! No matter what the financial circumstances, it is wise to conserve fuel, finances etc. Just because we have something on hand is not an excuse to waste it! I like what you are posting.
There is a "side effect" of not eating out, or there was for me. I find that I like what I make, better than what I can purchase eating out. Plus I know what is in the food that I make and I know exactly how clean it was. It is clean to my standards, and I know how often my hands were washed too!!!

Patty said...

I like your Frugal Fodder-I learn a lot from you. They might be already known to a lot of people, but to me it is an eye opening revelation. A "why didn't I think of this" moment. Love your blog.

Kristina said...

We ran out of propane last year. For us to order the minimum amount, it costs us about $800.00. We started to prepay it throughout the year to help out, but we are putting enough on it. Due to other repairs and emergencies, we didn't get the entire amount prepaid this year, and we are down to the last 5% of propane. It's frustrating for sure, but the economy is still not any better. With having 6 kids too, it's been difficult to make sure the "emergency" fund is fully stocked.

Rhonda said...

I like these posts.
Just a note about your propane- we used propane when we lived in the country for water heating and when we turned on the central heat which was not much as we had a very good wood stove with blowers.
We moved to town and now have natural gas. We don't use much of it but our bill is aggravating. In the summer, we only use a few dollars worth of gas but every month they add "the delivery" charge of about $30, no matter how much gas we use, we still have to pay that fee.

Patty Sumner said...

Love the $5.00 bill idea. I think you have a does not take much to kick us in the behind...What a blessings to receive the hot water heater and propane as a gift..I pray all goes well and you are able to stick with your plan without any other suprises...Blessings! said...

Yes to Frugal Fodder! We all make choices regarding our finances and life is just one learning process. Your words are always such an encouragement to me and finding a way to fund an emergency account really does help eliminate a bit of the stress of daily life.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pat! More frugal fodder posts. They are informative, interesting and helpful. Thought provoking.

Liz said...

My husband read in a magazine somewhere about saving fives. He has done that for quite a few years now. He also saves all of his change. We took a mini vaction just on saved coins! I liked this post!!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I saw the $5 bill thing on pinterest the other day. Different things work for different people. That's why I love reading about what people do since you never when you'll get a new idea.

Yes, although we are not in same position as you, I like reading these posts - they make me think!

Chicken Wrangler said...

Never heard of the $5 saving, but - sounds like a winner to me!