There's nothing like the sagging economy to bring out the frugal in a girl. With Mark in the mortgage business, and me home full time, we've really had to tighten the belt. A few changes we've made in the past few months are selling my 2004 minivan and downsizing to a low mileage, '98 Jeep, and cutting our land phone line and our TV cable. Those are the most dramatic. But there are smaller things that we hope will add up to saving money for us, and in the process, teach us and our kids a more frugal way to live.
Today, I went to the hardware store and bought clothesline and pins. I've never hung laundry on a day-in-day out basis. I'm learning as I go. Today I learned that on a semi-rainy day, it's important to start early (my lines are in the carport). Those clothes I hung at 3:30 will probably not be dry....and we have people coming over at 6:30.... Also, as much as I want to save money, I could not bring myself to hang certain unmentionables on the line. I did a small 20 minute load in the dryer for that. Baby steps....
There are so may great blogs for learning to live frugally. The Frugal Girl is a great site. When my new neighbor told me about it, I spent almost 2 hours reading all the great ideas she has. Some folks are really into it - like this one tip I read that said when it starts to rain outside, they rush out and start to wash the car, letting the rain rinse off the soap. Wow, I don't think that would have ever occurred to me.... Can't say I'm that committed.
One of the weekly entries that I've seen on many sites is the Food Waste log. Every Friday, bloggers are confessing, and documenting in pictures, the food they throw away each week due to spoilage. This is really hard core, but it has made me think about how much food my family wastes each week. I've decided to make a concerted effort to use what I buy before it goes bad. No pictures this week, I'm just getting started...
Another project that I'm tackling this week while we're on a school break is to declutter my home. It really is getting bad. Stuff has accumulated and I'm tired of looking at it. Another attempt to simplify my life. (Those white trash bags in the picture above were gleaned from ONE kitchen cabinet. They will be dropped off at the Salvation Army.) Here's the reorganized cabinet now. I used old wrapping paper for shelf paper. It looks full, so you can image what it was like before I took two garbage sacks out?! Bonus: every food storage tub has a lid!
Found some good recipes on these sites, too. Tonight I'm making Mac and Cheese from the Pioneer Woman. With a name like that, you know it must be good. Also found a yummy potato soup recipe that I'm making ~ but being the island girl I am, I'm adding Portuguese sausage... Another frugal tip is to have a soup night once a week. That will be a challenge to my soup-wary family, but I'm going to try.
One of my favorite books is by Richard Foster called Freedom of Simplicity. That's really the overall goal of changing my habits. It's focusing on what is important in life and not being suffocated by extra "stuff", either physical, emotional or spiritual.