Sunday, March 15, 2009

Money Monday . . . Crazy Frugality and Self Reliance

We hear more about cutting back now than we ever have. Being frugal can really be fun and very challenging. I personally am not a frugal zealot although I have things that I am VERY frugal about and not so very frugal about others. For instance I am not the best at clipping coupons or getting a lot of stuff for free, but Heidi is very good at this. There are so many things you can do to be frugal.

I think we all know that it is a "risky scheme" to depend on the government to help you out or save you. So have you thought about what you can do to not only be frugal, but also to make your family more self reliant?

There are so many ideas on frugality. One website I like to frequent is Dollar Stretcher. The Simple Dollar is another interesting read.

Here is the true take on frugality and being self-reliant, you have to change your mindset.

1. You have to know that you will NEVER be able to keep up with the Jones'. There will always be people who make more money than you, who spend more money than you and who have more things than you.

2. You cannot get too attached to stuff. Stuff breaks, gets lost or must be replaced. It is just stuff even if it is a 100 year old vase that your Great Aunt Millie gave you.

3. Vegetables from your garden taste SO much better than vegetables from a store. Canned green beans that you canned yourself taste so much better than the ones you buy at Wal-mart (Heidi may dispute me on this). Don't have a yard - grow a container garden. Check out Square Foot Gardening. At the very least grow your own herbs and salad greens.

4. Use cash or at least don't buy things on credit if you can. Be purposeful about your spending and have a plan - I think we have went over this before. Two words - Dave Ramsey - enough said.

5. Stay home - there I said it. If you are single, well you do have to work to eat so you probably can't exactly stay home. If you are married with children please pick at least one spouse to stay at home and care for the home - make it a haven for your family to want to come to and live in. Make caring for it a priority. Make your spouse and your children a priority. Argue with me if you want, but I can guarantee you will have a more pleasant calm life and your whole family will be happier.

6. Bake something for goodness sakes. Learn to cook and make things from scratch. The satisfaction is great, the taste is even better! I could go on and on and on and on about this for days, but I will stop there.

7. Go to a thrift store, shop on E-bay or Craig's list. Shopping at thrift stores are second nature to me, but I know some people get VERY nervous about wearing clothes that other people have worn. Wash it in hot water, dry it and then get over it. I'm just saying . . .

There are a million ways we can be frugal and that we can rely more on ourselves. I posted this on my other blog, but it is such a wonderful verse that I wanted to share it here:

Proverbs 30:8-9 . . . give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Now, share with me your stories of frugality and self-reliance. What do you do in the name of being frugal?



selfreliance said...

A dear friend from my youth once told me that every time she felt like she was heading into a bout of depression, she would go to the library and absolutely everything she could about some thing. That woman was an amazing wealth of knowledge, LOL! She also had a wide range of skills.

Self reliance, frugality and minimalism all seem to be filed on the same shelf in many people's minds. I guess I'm not sure why, personally.

Here's an idea to encourage thrifting:
Takes planning and works best with a friend or two; at one of you needs a car with carrying capacity.
Put a list on the fridge, or by the front door. Put on the list whatever you have been thinking about buying....that new lamp for the living room, another set of shelves, a new outfit. Let the list build for a bit (you know your shopping habits best!). Make a list, and then a map of all the thrift stores in your vicinity. Tuck away the dollars you would have expected to spend for new items that are on your list. On a predetermined schedule (weekly? monthly?), you, your friend(s), the lists and a packed lunch pile into a vehicle and pillage the thrift stores. It's your very own treasure hunt where everyone wins! More fun than women's basketball. :-)

Thrifting and back stocking during grocery store sales is second nature for me, too, just as cooking from scratch is. I starting baking bread when I was thirteen, and store bought bread is an embarrasing fall back. The current issue of Mother Earth News, btw, has an excellent article on cutting food costs which pretty much boils down to back stock on sales and cook from scratch, LOL!

selfreliance said... "I starting baking bread" should be "I started baking bread" of course. Sorry! Please feel free to edit the above comment. :-)