Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Everywhere I Go

Everywhere I go the economy, the stock market, woe is me....that's what I hear. Gloom and doom. Bad times ahead. I'm tired of hearing it...aren't you? I read recently on someone's blog, and I apologize for not remembering who but I'm reading way too many blogs and besides I just turned 62 so I'm due some memory loss, a statement made by someone's great grandma when asked if she was nervous about what was happening. She said, "Why would I be nervous? Don't spend money, save what money you have, be frugal, and trust God." Now doesn't that just say it all? I know there are lots of blogs out there about saving money and they have lots of good things to tell us. But I'm more interested in you - those of you reading my blog. I know you're "normal" people going about your "normal" lives because you tell me about them. How are you saving money? Here are some things I'm doing:

1. I quit dying my hair. It's white. That's the color God made it and God doesn't do bad work. Yes it makes me look older. But, here's the thing...I'm older.

2. I gave up my fake nails. After 25 years I went cold turkey and I swear this is worse than quitting smoking. I hate it. The last time I had them "filled" was early July and they aren't grown out yet! Did I tell you I hate it? They're short and they are still breaking but I'm determined. They will get better with time.

3. I don't "run to town" every time I think about it. I write down what I was going for and when the list gets long enough I go and do everything on the list. And you know what happened? I'm getting more done at home! Fancy that.

4. Heartbreak - I let my housekeeper go. She came every other week for 5 hours. I'm cleaning my own bathrooms and vacuuming my own floors (well, my husband is doing the vacuuming) and I know that sounds decadent but in my own defense I have arthritis and I could probably make up a couple of diseases if it made you feel sorry for me. However, the good side of this is today when I finished cleaning my house I felt great about the way it looked. It was my house, my work, and I was proud of it all. I just sort of walked around for a while and smelled the sweet candle burning and looked at the beds with the fresh sheets and peeked out the windows with the clean (a little streaked but oh well) panes. I'd have strutted if I could still strut.

5. This week I saw two wallhangings on a blog that I really loved. Ordinarily I would have just hopped on over to the website where she bought those patterns and ordered them for myself. But instead I saved a picture of them and figured out a way to sort of replicate them using patterns I already have. Go me!

6. I've cut down on my chai tea lattes. Yes, you heard it here. Every day since the first time I went to New York City and my sweet niece, Natalie, got me hooked on the darn things I've mixed up 2 cups of skim milk and 2 cups of chai tea every day. Had half in the morning and half after lunch. I've cut the afternoon one in half now. I know, I know that's not cutting way back but it's a start. In a day or week or some time I'm going to cut the morning one in half too. I can do it, I know I can. I'm pretty sure I can.

7. I'm clipping coupons. Big time. I'm not just clipping, I'm printing. I've gone to websites like Kraft and Nestle and Proctor & Gamble and signed up for their dreaded newsletters and coupons. I'm perfectly capable of deleting what I don't want to read. I'm watching the grocery ads and I'm buying by the case if it's a good sale. I'm even switching brands occasionally - I've found out that we really, really love Sam's Choice Raisin Bran because it's way better than the name brands we've been buying! Now there are some name brands I won't give up - I've tried others and don't like them so there's no point. Like Glory Turnip Greens - they're just better than the others. But I'm open to change. Hey, being 62 and having a bad memory is no excuse for being a stuck-in-a-rut.

8. I'm turning off lights. I hate this the worst of all. I'd have every lamp in my house burning all of the time if I could. I hate the dark. I hate the dark. I hate the dark. But I'm turning them off.

9. I do not buy bottled water any more. I saved some of the bottles and I wash them, and then fill them with the filtered water from my refrigerator and it tastes great!

10. We only eat out on special occasions and then it's rarely somewhere "fancy." We aren't really fancy people. Our anniversary was yesterday (44 years!) so we went to Red Lobster. But we drank water and skipped dessert. I must confess that after church is a special occasion to me but again we're frugal, not fancy. Right after we retired we ate out 3 or 4 times a week and often more. I have to cook more now than before and ya'll know I'm not a great cook (remember the burned beans?) but I'm trying. I'm collecting new recipes (haven't used many but I'm collecting them!) And I'm even beginning to enjoy it a little. Just a little.

So here's my question. What are you doing different in this economic crisis? Anything different? Or are you just one of the moaners and groaners?


Oma aka Meme said...

I invite others in for coffee rather than out,,,,,and it seems to be working- it is quite a saving even if there were only two for coffee and I even have refills for them
more plain and simple foods- such as potatoes salted and boiled and then mashed with out a lot of things added to them- such as creams and butters etc, just leave a wee bit of water in the pot and they taste like''potatoes''(LOL) and etc. maybe I will do a copy cat blog tomorrow after thinking about my saving etc. thanks for sharing great ideas

MYRA said...

My dear darling children always leave lights on in the basement (where the have their rooms and spend most of their time) when they leave for work.
I of course check shortly thereafter and turn them off, but the thing that gets me is all the stuff they leave plugged into the outlets, that they don't even use! I kept telling them that chargers and such do not need to be left plugged in. Playstation machines don't need to be left plugged in for the once a week they may use it... Saw on Oprah today a lady that drastically cut back the fees on her electrical bill just by unplugging anything that she was not using. Lamps, TVs, radios, stereos, small kitchen appliances, plow dryers, and such. They say that everything that is plugged in using up phantom power that contributes to our electrical bills. So, I am hoping to get some cooperation from the family to try this for a couple months... That is just one thing...

Michelle said...

Wow. You sure got me thinking, and the ideas from your commenters got me thinking too. Yes, we are a wasteful society. We need to change.

I gave up my nails about 4 years ago. Yes, it was a painful time growing them back, but hang tight. Make sure you take some vitamin E to make and keep them strong. They'll grow faster too(unfortunately, so will your toesnails!) I do miss them, but I had to drive 40 miles to have them maintained. I don't miss that AT ALL, or the 'have to go get my nails filled' obligation.

When we go to fast food restaurants, we choose from the dollar menu. If we drink water, two of us can eat for less than $5 If we have dessert, less than $6 for both of us. Much better than $15, and we're just as full and satisfied.

We use our motorcycle to 'go' places when we can. We have a nice little pull behind trailer, so we can do almost any errand we choose. Unfortunately, that option will be running out soon, but you are right, staying home more IS more satisfying. We didn't know we would like it so much! People today run like they are on a hamster wheel. It's making me tired, and I'm already tired.

It's all a good thing, being frugal. Afterall, that is the lifestyle I lived growing up before leaving home. Since I work, I am getting more things done at home on the weekends, instead of my home just being a motel/hotel or as my husband used to call it 'base of operations'. For what I pay every month to live here, I should NEVER leave.

Once again, you have inspired me. You are a blessing to me!

Sharon said...

Good post, Marlene! I too grew up being fairly frugal (Mom was a child of the Depression), and DH and I have had a lot of tough financial times over the years. So, it's back to being frugal. Eating out a lot less and going to less expensive restaurants when we do go out, shopping the sales, no impulse buying, trying to avoid the quilt stores, delaying more major purchases (computer, camera, car). It's not too hard when you're used to it. DH has been "retired", so to speak, for about 18 months now, and we've been being careful for most of that time. So, it's not too big of a deal for us. We're pretty cautious (cheap!) people anyway. Now we've just gotten more so. But I absolutely refuse to wash plastic bags to re-use them, like my mom did! That drove me nuts!

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Twisted Fencepost said...

My son is losing his home. He's giving up and walking away. Sad!!We gave him two acres and to keep from losing it, we will be making the mortgage payment.
Everything I save will be going into not losing this land. So I'm not able to save anything.

Teresa said...

I so enjoyed your blog and we have been doing pretty much the same things in our house - except for that tea latte, now that's a new one on me. One big thing we have been doing for years now, is no credit cards, absolutely no way. We save and save until we can pay cash and until we can, we just do without. Our home renovation projects are taking a lot longer as we are doing most of the work ourselves and not buyig anything until we can pay for it without having to borrow the funds. Its take longer, but we just hate to see what funds we have go toward interest in someone else's pocket.

Amelia said...

Living in the country had pretty much required we make a list and then "go to town" for some time. I buy up as much as we can really afford to (and that will keep) when ever I find a good buy. We have a garden so that has helped for fresh veggies this summer...also have put fruit and some veggies in the freezer.

I am not going to stop having my hair least not in the near future...

We are not going to stop our tithing to the church...God is giving us 90% and all he is asking for is is up to us to be able to spend the 90% as a good steward.

Enjoyed reading your list...and those of the comments section.

Have a grand and glorious day.


Living on the Spit said...

So glad you posted about this topic as it wears on me daily...the economy, the dow...the job HArd Working Man loved and lost due to this mess. Since I am the only income in our house now, I have drastically put everyone on a tight squeeze.

I am cooking more and eating out has come to a screeching halt. I think I may have even been losing some weight.

We now have urban, nbc, cbs, the cw, fox, and pbs. This means no cable.

Christmas will be centralized more on activities and the real reason...not gifts.

I am making home-made and having a blast with it.

I am making coffee at home before I leave for the office.

I stay away from THE MALL...dreaded place, but I miss you so.

I am forcing myself to learn how to make Vera Bradley bag look a likes...

More breakfast for dinner...

Walk or ride bikes when we can...use the car less.

I really feel that even though these are scary times, it seems to be bringing home centered life back into the "in" thing and I like that. We lose some things but we gain so much more.

tipper said...

The realestate/housing fiasco has really hurt our area-folks are truly suffering. To save money we have:

~turned down the thermostat on the hot water heater~hung out more clothes than usual~quit giving the girls spending money~cut back all unnecessary purchasing.

Milah said...

I guess I have saved a ton of money over the years by not having professional manicures. I guess I never saw the point of it living on a farm. Not practical for my life style.

I save by always drinking water or sun tea. Never sweetened drinks.

I use my clothes line to dry clothes.

My husband colors my hair. Saves $40 a month.

I shop garage sales and second hand stores. Never shop the malls.

Buy used cars.

I have more ideas and thanks to your post you have given me an blog idea of my own. I hope to write about this subject in a day or two.


V and Co. said...

actually a janome sounds good too, i just am into berninas because all the ones that i've used seem to wow me so that's why i'm looking for that brand. as for me and the economy, being in a super small town and a husband in the war we aren't affected so much, we always can have a job with the gov when he gets back if the wilderness programs do away with his job, we're one of the lucky ones i guess.

Liz said...

I watched Oprah yesterday and she was interviewing people all over the country and how they are cutting back. I love hearing these things, it's fascinating. You have great tips here. And I'm going back to non-highlighted hair. It's just too expensive. :)

Julie said...

I have noticed myself becoming sort of obsessed over the economic situation, watching news stations during the day that I never watched much before. I've told myself to quit making myself crazy over the situation and just be thankful I have the means, at this point at least, to keep my home & food on the table. I worry more for my kids. Two of them are newly employed after losing their jobs (in the housing industry) last year.

We have bought a small freezer and I am shopping grocery sales. Our Christmas this year will involve homemade gifts only. We sold a car we didn't need reducing our car insurance cost. We are spending a lot more time at home. We are eating less meat and more homemade soup. Some home improvement projects are on hold like new carpeting and paint. I'm a bit worried about our heating bills this winter but I'll keep the thermostat down and snuggle under a quilt to keep warm.

Letters From Midlife said...

I'm mostly thinking twice about anything I buy. I've greatly limited my exposure to news since it is so negative and that helps. My trust is in God as my provider, not Wall Street or the government. I have to remind myself of that several times a day.

Vicky said...

For the first time ever, I too am watching the economy. We've also started being more frugal at our house.

We use the solar dryer (clothes line)

My husband turns off the lights (which I hate)

I now do my own hair color and it doens't look at good but it's still not gray.

I no longer wear dry clean only clothes.

I no longer run to the store for just milk but make a list and save it.

We bought a filter for the sink for water and have quit buying bottled water.

We started our plants from seeds instead of buying ready made plants at Lowe's.

I purchase less ready made food.

Really, while I know all this stuff is good it is depressing most people, I remind myself daily of what I have to be thankful for instead of belly aching over what I no longer have.

Stacey's Treasures said...

I have a good freind who is 80 years young. She has pretty much the same philosophy.
I love to visit with her & always come away with wisdom.

Gene Black said...

Marlene, I am making my own laundry detergent that I use for everything except the whites (my water has something that make them dingy if I don't use ____ brand) For about $10 dollars I have made several gallons - and I have supplies left.

I have been cutting my own hair for years (but I was once a licensed cosmetologist so I know what I am doing)

I replaced incandescent lights with fluorescent since they use less electricity - saves on A/C in the summer also. I buy good bulbs because they truly do last longer.

I shop at salvage groceries for a few items.

Store brands can be just as good OR BETTER than the national brands. Peanut butter is a good example. Winn Dixie(southern chain) is the SAME as ???Jif or Peter Pan. (knowledge gained from a recall)

Since my Mom was a child of the depression - her folks were sharecroppers - I learned early to save whenever possible.

mjnauert said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and I just love it. I love your post for me, I think that I am one of the last 'kids' that spent my childhood years without running water or electricity (pooping in a outhouse in North Dakota's Januarys sure builds character!) I think that America needs humbling experiences like these every now and then. It puts people back to their roots whether they want them or not. By the costs more to turn on florescent lights than it does to keep them on for 8 hours. (electrical engineer husband) So don't be turning those off and on all day. Turn them on and keep them on until bedtime.

Danielle said...

sigh, we aren't moaners and groaners, but we do feel like things are going to get worse. And we aren't adequately bracing for it.

But we know we need to.

I like this list. It motivates me to take a harder look.

And boy does a nice hot cup of chai sound so great right now!!

Cornfield Quilter said...

YOU GO GIRL!! I am doing alot of the things you are doing, the lights, the water bottle fill up from the fridge etc. I am bringing my lunch to work and calling to talk to family instead of driving an hour to visit. I also have quit ordering fabric online just because and maybe someday will put a dent in my stash that way. :D

craftycherry said...

Hi I just found your blog re Primitive Quilts blog.. I have to say I read the posting about the make do and use up quilts and I just LOVED it. I hear tales from my parents and Grandparents when they lived about these times and I certainly think that due to that and my older and wiser lifestyle I have started in the past few years to hold on to and learn from their frugal ways. Im so glad I did because I have learnt to absolutely love the simpler way of life that frugality affords and now with the radio blasting out every morning more news of doom and gloom I feel less frightened (well only nervous that well never get out land that we desisre..) I live in NZ and I feel so lucky that we live with a socail welfare system that will help people less off whereas I grew up o n the tales my father told of swaggers at the door asking for a bit of thread so they could sew their shoes and clothes or some food in exchange for labour. My fathers family wasnt well of at all in the depression but my granmother always gave the swaggers passing Christmas lunch. A great heart.
I myself am putting my passion for quilting into using up my scraps and next year I have made a promise that I will be discovering the world of scrap quilts, so look out for my make do quilts!
THanks for a great blog
Cheers from Cheery Cherry

sMC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sMC said...

sorry that was me deleted the above, made an error before the wipe out got to the screen lol.
sMC said...
I think we can help the economy by not stressing so much about it and giving it time to recover.
Quietly at home I try to be economical the other half is A Scot so its in his nature to be frugal, but I try as much as I can. But we are retired and our demands and choices are not great anyway. We just enjoy home, garden and each other. The children are out in the world making ends meet as I hope I have taught them to.
So nice to be your blogging friend.

Rose Mary said...

I'm clipping coupons, too. I've started making my own laundry detergent as well as adding part of it to my Palmolive to make it go a little farther. To be honest, I was doing this before the 'crisis', but we've been feeling the crunch with gas and grocery prices.

I haven't given up the hair dye just yet. It does add a little body to my fine, limp hair, so~you know, a girls gotta do. .

I've also started making all of our bread~it's cheaper, tastes better, and I don't have to keep asking the manager at the store when they are going to get bread in!!


Raquel said...

Great post, Marlene. Having grown up living on a strict budget and lived as a single mother for many, many years, I am pretty used to making do. Our cars are paid for, so no new cars. May not be the best looking things in the world, but they go from Point A to POint B. Cheaper for insurance. Honey is a mechanic, so any work that he can do is done at home. I will be getting a clothes line ASAP after moving in. Shopping the sales. Instead of eating out on Sunday (Which I love to do) stick dinner in the crockpot. Or - our local chinese has really good luncheon specials during the week. Go order on Friday 2 or 3 different ones, bring them home, stick in fridge and re-heat for Saturday dinner or Sunday. They give you enough food to feed an elephant. No bottled water. Eat out only occasionally. Lots of soups - they are thrifty and reheat well by the bowl later. A lot of times when I cook, I will make enough for 2 pans. One is popped in the freezer, one cooked for supper. This is a great way to save on buying processed food - just thaw it for an hour or so and pop in the oven. I could go on and on. this is a good idea, maybe I will make a similar post on my blog! Much love, Raquel XO

sparkle jars said...

I discovered your blog via Pat's at Bird Nest on the Ground. I am enjoying your posts so much. You are a gifted writer. Thank you, Gayle

Juliann in WA said...

I am trying not to get pulled into the worry mode that is so prevalent right now but I do feel more conscious. I don't color my hair or have fake nails but I am using my commuter cup more now, taking coffee from home, making tea mid-day instead of running out for a cup. I have been bringing my own water for quite some time now but that is because of the environmental destruction of the plastic water bottles. And I am not buying fabric but really trying to use what I have. But I don't want to be part of the whine and moan patrol that is for sure.

Love Bears All Things said...

Well, I had started trying to find ways to cut back because eventually Honey Bear will retire. I gave up the nails. Mine have some white showing but like yours they are breaking. I'm not using polish on them yet, just clear coat.
I canceled the gormet coffee service. I buy Sam's choice now but I'll buy other brands on sale.
The maid is still cleaning the Memphis house and doing some packing for me every other week. I'm cleaning the Alabama house myself for now.
I usually run a bunch of errands at the same time.
We started using florescent bulbs years ago. They last so much longer. Thery are now much cheaper than they used to be. I have the LED night lights all over the house and my blinds pulled up because I don't like the dark either.
I know when Honey Bear retires, I'll go back to cooking dry beans and buying whole chickens. He isn't here for meals much right now with his traveling. I'm looking into freezer meals because two can't eat a whole casserole and its nice to have things on hand when one doesn't want to cook.
I never did get hung up on bottled water. We have a couple of bottles that I bought and we just fill those.
Honey Bear reads the paper on line. I know paper service isn't that expensive but this way saves trees. I've begun paying bills and getting statements online.
Sorry this is so long,
Mama Bear

Nancy said...

Have just found your blog and like it so much. What a good writer you are!

I am doing many of the same thrift things that you are. I'm DETERMINED not to buy new fabric or start new projects until my UFOs are completed, and that could take quite a while. And I've just begun to explore scrappy scrappy quilts, so that should hold me for a while, too.

n, np

Ivory Spring said...

Great post, Marlene - as always. Happy Anniversary!

Gill - That British Woman said...

great things that you are doing.

Menu planning also helps me save money.

Great blog,

Gill in Canada

Julia said...

We too, Down Under in Australia are feeling the pinch and worrying about the future..
I shall be doing all the things you said, and hope we come through these times without it getting any worse.

Marie said...

Love all these suggestions for cutting back on the dollars and pinching pennies. We are trying to do our best here as well. I think we will all be blessed for having done so and will end up leading far richer lives in a lot of respects. I do wish though that manufacturers would start making clothing such as socks and whatnot that are worth mending again! Most of the socks you buy today are made of such shoddy materials that once they are holey, they are fit only for dusting rags!

J'Ollie Primitives said...

We've been very frugal for the past year, when I was laid off from my second job. McDonald's or Subway is our big "out to eat" break from the kitchen, once a month. The family is getting knitted socks for Christmas. No expenditure since I have a huge yarn stash. That means 14 pairs to knit in two months...uh-oh! I haven't cut my hair in a year and I look like a witch. That may change :)Home made cookies instead of junk food. We have not yet given up cable for the sake of Mr. Sweeties sanity. Consolidate any trips anywhere, even if it's just a mile or two away. I'll very likely go back to working a second job since job #1 is a small business, and folks are cutting back on their expenditures, so we are feeling that pinch more and more.
May I offer a suggestion? Hire your housekeeper back. She very likely needs the income. Purchase something, no matter how small, from a vendor that you like, if you can. Not utlizing somebody else's talents or products will exacerbate the "downward spiral" that we are all experiencing. Does this make sense?
It's been far too long since I visited your blog. I'll be back to catch up!

Marilyn R said...

I have been cutting back the short trips here and there way back and combining them. I do see the difference with the gas gage in the car. As far as chai tea lattes go - you are to drink 2-3 glasses of milk a day anyway. Why not enjoy it as a chai tea latte? Just a thought!

Natalie said...

Marlene....No housekeeper? Not happy about that but ok. No chai tea lattes at #6? OUCH. That should definitely be last on the list.

Pieceful Afternoon said...

I shop at Grocery Outlet and Liquidator type stores - you can get brand name foods for about 1/5 the price - cheerios for 1.50 for a large box, for example. Also shop Dollar Tree for foil, zip bags, etc - they are good quality (some are better than others) and only 1.00 a box.

We put a timer on the hot water heater - it runs from 7-9 a.m. - and again from 8-9:30 p.m. ( I like my shower before bed) - and it has cut our electric bill by about 45.00 a month!!!! We did have it set to run from 2-4 in the afternoon but found it was not needed - if we run the dishwasher before 9 a.m. we still have enough hot water to get through the day. When I cut out the afternoon heating it cut the bill by another 15.00. Biggest savings we have had in any one department.

Also - unplug EVERYTHING you aren't using - those chargers, printers, toasters, coffee pots, etc. just suck up electricity when left plugged in but not active. Just turning them off is not enough - unplug them.

Happy savings!!!