Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Little Things

I make a low wage now, and I am frugal in order to survive. This situation however, does not rule my entire life. I don't mope around through my entire day worrying over my lack of money. Although I do often have struggles I also find time to enjoy books, nature, my family, and the dog who owns me. I realize I'm in another transition period right now and improvements are around the corner.

You can't get so bogged down in day to day struggles that you forget to have fun. While working towards finding a way to rise above your current situation you have to pause and find joy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stumbling Upon Savings

Our electric company has decided that they need to raise their rates by about 30% during a time when many community members are unemployed. I was shocked when I received my bill and it was double the usual. I called to see if it was a mistake. I thought they read the meter wrong, sent me my neighbors bill, or even worse someone was plugging a drop cord into an outlet late at night and stealing electricity. When they assured me there was no mistake I began to worry how I was going to keep up with the increasing bills.

One week later, something happened. My dryer broke. I pulled out the switch that I was fairly certain was the problem. I called around and found it would cost about $50.00 to replace but there were no returns if that wasn't the problem. in the meantime I started hanging my laundry to dry.

When I received the next bill with a savings of $100.00 I gave up on getting the dryer fixed for now. The little bit of extra work I do now is worth the savings to me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My True Confession

Our Earth needs protection. We manufacture so much crap that it's polluting our planet at an alarming rate.

Recycling is very important to my family and it's fairly easy to do. We rinse all of our plastic jugs and jars, glass containers, and tin and aluminum cans. We store them all together in boxes in the garage until we drop them off at the recycling center on our way to work about once a week. We even keep a garbage can for mixed paper recycling. It is lined with a net laundry bag and topped with a shredder. Junk mail is shredded and cereal boxes, used notebook paper, grocery receipts and etc...go in the bag.

We are so careful and conscientious about this that some people think we are insane. My own sister says, "If they want me to play with my garbage, they can pay me."

I'm proud of my recycling and now must confess to something that may shock you. When I found shower curtains at the dollar store, I quit washing them as often. I buy several for $1.00 each and put them in the cabinet. When they get too dirty, I yank the old one off and toss it in the garbage quicker than you can say Earth Day hypocrite. you think less of me?

Monday, November 2, 2009

On Being Frugal

Frugality for me is born out of necessity. Being frugal allows me to survive on a low wage. The job market is so tight in my area due to the economy that a typical Sunday paper will have two jobs advertised. Sometimes it seems as if it will pick up and there are four or six advertised. Mostly the ads are for nurses, waitstaff, or telemarketers.

I work at a grocery store which is a good place to work right now, considering that everyone still eats. When I work the service counter I cash a lot of unemployment checks.

I try to pay cash and save up for most things I need. Sometimes when I need a large ticket item I finance. I like to take advantage of six months same as cash offers when they are available. I just take the total cost of the item and divide it by the number of months I have before interest accrues and mark that amount in my calendar so I remember to pay it on time. You have to be organized and keep up with the payments to make this work. Credit cards are charging up to 30% now. Remember when 18% seemed high?

Food shopping is a precise, well planned affair. I keep my freezer and pantry stocked with items I bought on sale, most often at buy one get one free, and I usually use coupons for the sale items as well. I read the weekly sales flyer's for all the grocery stores in my area, match coupons with sales, and make my shopping list accordingly. I buy the produce I need at a local produce stand unless the grocery store sale prices are better. I usually save 60 to 70% off the regular price.

It can be done, you just have to plan your purchases and stock up what you can when you find a good sale. I once bought a pack of ten pens, six bottles of shampoo, four bottles of dish detergent, two hairsprays,and four jars of peanuts for $1.35.