Friday, February 17, 2012

Austerity Measures at Home

I've just read through a long list of blogs I used to enjoy on a regular basis. I really miss the connection of regular blogging and will probably break down and pay for internet quite soon. I don't miss the television at all, or the phone, but the lack of internet is sorely felt. With only one vehicle, it is difficult to find the time when transportation is available to go somewhere else to use the internet. I just have to put up with the inconvenience until I am suitably caught up financially to splurge on connection.

While leaders propose "austerity measures" to pull their countries through the recession, so do we individuals propose our own plans to our families to pull through tough times. Some of us plant fabulous gardens, others coupon, some subsist on lots of bean and rice dishes, and many just go without certain things that others take for granted. Lately it's as if I've gone back in time to when I was even poorer. I once walked everywhere, never had a phone or television, and rented the most horrible of dumps. This wasn't because I was saving up for something or getting out of debt. I didn't know what debt was at the time, I was just incredibly poor. Now however, I have a goal in mind. I have a few more big payments to make on this bill so I can get it down to a more manageable figure before I add more bills to my month. Ten  more payments and the RV will be paid off and I will be debt free once more.

Speaking of the RV, I've spent a few days cleaning it out and dreaming. The more excited I get the more stressed my husband gets. He comes home and I show him a list of things we need to do, and other things we may need to purchase and then he can't sleep that night. I need to tame my enthusiasm so he can take things slower and calmer. If I could find a way to take off tomorrow I would. I guess it's the big change that worries at his subconscious.

Times up, I have to run. Until next time, I'll ask you this: What austerity measures have you proposed to your family to help get through a rough patch, or to survive the recession?


  1. Well. I have to have internet because my job requires it. But there is no cable. I watch TV in the internet. I kept my thermostat at 60 all winter, hang my clothing on the line, grow and can my food. I started researching how things were done "in the olden days" and started collecting links to web sites that taught what I call Heritage Skills. I have posted MANY of those links on a blog that is called Lots of recipes for home-made products, ways to live more simply and cheaply. No ads, no money making anything for me. Just sharing information.

  2. I live alone and have no tv connection. I go to food banks. I grow just a few things. I can, dehydrate, freeze fruits and vegetables that are cheap. Because of back and knee problems, I cannot walk anywhere. Plus, the town is not walkable. I don't go to movies. I watch hulu or check dvds from the library. There are lots of things I do without that are not really that important to me or even in the grand scheme of things.

    I love your spirit and enthusiasm.

  3. We still practice many of the frugalities developed in grad school, with very uncertain employment : we had no car for a long time, then 1, now 2 but the newer one is 10 years old; eat mostly veg meals, stock up on sale food, little to no eating in restaurants, no vending machine purchases, clothing and books from thrift stores. Right now I'm wearing a sweater, a fleece, topped with a wool cape because it's cold here.

    Right now, we are fine financially, but a few years ago when tenured faculty were let go, I was thankful for my frugal skills, which I figured would see us through hard times if necessary.

    Good luck on paying off your RV.

  4. We have no tv and do not carry cell phones. We buy many of our groceries at a local salvage grocery and supplement that with things that my husband grows in his garden. I would feel lost though without the internet. Perhaps a public library...

  5. I am excited for you with your RV!

    I've begun stockpiling food and learning to work the sales and coupons as much as possible. We have had to examine things my son wants to do that cost money. He has gone without activities we used to take for granted, but it's been a good experience overall. Cut back on pet care/vet visits for check ups and their meds (nothing life threatening). Working to provide more of our own vegetables and herbs this growing season.

    Take care. Good to see you back online, even if only occasionally.

    -- budgetglamorous

  6. I stay away from my credit cards as much as possible. Shopping is no longer a form of entertainment! I eat out less than I used to and when I do eat out, I'm careful to order the cheaper menu items.
    I drive a 10-year-old car and it's a Hyundai Accent, so it wasn't a budget buster, anyway. The car's been really dependable, it doesn't require a lot of maintenance or repairs.
    Since our work wardrobe loosened up a few years ago and we're now allowed to wear jeans, I've spent very little on clothes for the past couple of years. I very seldom buy anything unless it's discounted, on sale or I have a coupon for it.
    You make owning an RV sound so exciting! I look forward to you blogging about your travels.

  7. I've stopped using the credit card (which I used exclusively for gas). That way I have a more realistic view of what's in my account. I also am considering getting rid of cable, or just reducing it to internet only if possible, and borrowing DVD's from the library. I am eating what's in my freezer and pantry and not eating out. I have people over more often. I'll still have fun--I'll go out dancing every once in a while, etc., but it's to reasonably priced hole in the wall clubs, lol.

    Nice to see you blogging again!

  8. There's something very satisfying about applying austerity measures. Maybe it's the anticipation of being able to spend again someday, or the way it forces you to be creative. Honestly, I'm not in a position to need austerity measures right now, but I have in the past. I've always found it most helpful to cut back on food spending--buying cheap, simple ingredients, cooking from scratch, stocking up when non-perishable items go on sale.

  9. Hi, I read your blog and I have to say that there is a very pessimistic tone in the entries. Your "about me" paragraph is written the same way. You mention about not being lucky with money, but I don't believe you can be lucky with money. I think you can educate yourself and be smart with it...please visit my blog. My goal is to change everyone's attitude toward money and to make them a 1 percenter.

  10. My life is an austerity measure! Glad to see you back online, WP!

    1. (I hit "reply" to April's comment because I didn't see a comment box anywhere.)
      Although my life is much more solvent than it was when I did my "Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year" piece for MSN five years ago, I'm still living in a fairly frugal way. No TV, gave away my car, eat very little meat, hardly ever buy clothes (and when I do they're from a thrift store), using rewards programs like Swagbucks, answering surveys for money, using coupons/rebates, etc. etc.
      However, I have made some concessions to a better income, such as a fair amount of travel (frugal though it may be and/or connected with work-related functions) and a monthly professional massage. I cut corners elsewhere so that I can indulge myself in those ways.
      You can have a pretty good life on little money, but there's no denying that a little MORE money comes in handy.
      Is the Internet through Clear available in your area? I use it. Costs about $30 total per month and I can count on one hand how many times I've lost service in the past five years.
      If it is available, chat up a salesperson and tell him/her that you'd like to try it for a day or two before you commit and would they happen to have a loaner modem? That's what made me decide: a smart sales rep on the community college campus offered to bring one over and set it up for me. She left it with me for a couple of days and called back to see how it was working -- and she made the sale.

  11. Sorry you aren't back up online full time yet. My story is that I was getting my divorce and had 2 small children with a 3rd on the way. I swallowed my pride and asked my mom if we could move in with her after staying at a shelter for a couple of months. After my son was born I started working at the mall and socked away every penny after paying my mom. We entertained ourselves with park visits and books and VHS tapes (remember those) from the library. For months I remember saying "we cant afford it" to my kids at every turn. But I had to get us out of there so we sacrificed. eventually I got all 4 of us into a 1 bedroom apartment and the struggling and sacrificing continued. But we were in our own space so it was okay. I was grateful to my mom but SO glad to be on my own again.

  12. Hi there.... My life is devoted to being frugal and paying off debt. I watch TV occassionally but only have basic cable, and that is mostly because of my husband. I read for entertainment, and try to get books mostly from the library or from friends. I do not shop except for groceries, and then I clip coupons and hit the sales. I have been driving my same dependable paid off car for 9 years now. I also save up my cans, bottles and recycling and use that for my savings account. I do not feel deprived in life... I am happy and doing what I want. Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!

  13. I miss your blog. Wish you would at least run to the library once a week to let us know how you are doing.