Fun Monday this morning is hosted by Sayre of Sayre Smiles. Here’s what she wants us to do: This past week’s Fun Monday started me thinking about how people of the last generation dealt with economic stress. There were several mentions of moms or grandmothers who made globs of soap out of leftover slivers or saved bread wrappers to use again and again. My own grandmother did those things too. It was part of growing up during the Depression and living through WWII and rationing. I’ve heard on the news that we are facing our own “Depression” here in the states and foreign countries aren’t immune from this either. So here’s your challenge:
What are you and your family doing to deal with the current economic situation on a personal level? Obama’s got a plan for the nation, but how do you/will you deal with your own economic stress?
One of the country songs from the 1980s my husband and I both love listening to is “Song of the South” by the band Alabama. An excerpt goes something like: “Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we were so poor that we couldn’t tell, cotton was short, and the weeds were tall, but Mr. Roosevelt, was gonna’ save us all.”
I already do a lot, based on being raised in a time when layoffs were common and jobs were not all that prevalent, more than once when I was growing up I heard ‘I lost my job today’ –that was tough to take, and my husband had similar experiences, so we’re of the mindset that we will do just about anything for our baby not to have to deal with that in her lifetime. We don’t have to be rich, but we don’t want to be poor, either. We economize on a lot of things and attempt to be smart about what we don’t economize on. Treats are rare and we try and keep the expense of them down.
One thing we are looking forward to is buying our own house. That will put equity into something instead of just paying out rent to live in a hell hole like we do now. Here’s 5 everyday things that we do, though to make it better on our budget.
1. Pack lunches for work, either quick prepacked foods, or more likely, leftovers from the night before. Making a pan of something like enchiladas and then having them for lunch for a couple of days saves money. Also taking coffee to work is MUCH cheaper than buying it out. Use reusable containers and wash them instead of throwing away plastic baggies and cutlery.
2. Cloth diapers. They cost more at the outset, but they don’t go into a landfill, can be resold for a cut of what you paid for them once you’re done using them, and of course can be used on a second child, etc. Don’t write to me about the cost of washing them. I already do that and I’d rather use water to wash diapers than pollute the earth with too many disposables that won’t ever biodegrade. Water is a renewable resource. I already feel bad about the ones I do use when travelling or when we run short on the cloth ones.
3. Minimize waste on soap, water, food, etc. Always run your appliances that use water completely full, use a squirt of hand soap rather than a palmful, use the last bit out of every bottle, freeze heels of bread and extra buns to use for breadcrumbs for meatballs, or cube them for stuffing or crutons, turn off your water when brushing your teeth, run a half a sinkful to wash dishes and not run water for 20 minutes while you do them up. And the ever popular, if it’s yellow let it mellow. I save enough water each day to not worry about washing my diapers twice a week.
4. Limit the use of paper products, use washable dish towels and cloths instead of paper towels, sponges and other items that are ‘disposable’ — we haven’t made the switch to cloth napkins, but we so rarely use them that one package lasts at least a year.
5. Cut out unnecessary features on cell phones, drop your home phone, cut back your cable/movie channels and watch re-runs or taped/dvr’d shows. We don’t have dvr or anything, so we watch what’s on or we do something else. Skip text messaging, additonal call waiting features, conferencing, etc. 99% of people don’t NEED that sort of thing. You can always call the other person later. I would suggest getting lower speed internet, but I think I’d be whipped where I stood, so you know, I won’t. Besides, I like high speed. I make enough concessions everywhere else that I don’t feel bad having it.
It’s frustrating when you’re already doing everything you can to save money. Great Alabama lyrics!
You’ve reminded me of other things that I also do. I forgot that my hubby takes packed lunch and as you say that saves a lot of money. I often make batches of things to freeze some for extra meals.
Those are excellent ideas. I know a lot of mom’s using cloth diapers these days. I tried with my daughter and never got the hang of the pins, and I am not very orgainzed with my time. (As far as washing.)
BTW: Thanks for checking out my blog!
We reuse as many things as possible – plastic bags, ZipLoc bags, cardboard boxes, packing peanuts and many others. If we’re getting rid of something large, we try to find someone who can use it or donate it to generate money for another charity. We do all of our laundry (except whites) in cold water and use just a small amount of laundry soap rather than gobs. More is less in that arena for us. The house temperature is set to 62 degrees maximum in the winter (55 overnight) and 76-ish when we have to turn on the air conditioner. Every appliance and energy sucker that the manufacturers encourage us consumers to keep in a ready (on) state is turned off. I’m sure we could always do more but we feel we’re making at least some difference.
Great tips! I also used cloth nappies. For those whinging about the water, they should try Elimination Communication (the act of learning babies signs and catching the pee in a potty!) Several of my friends do it and the babes are hardly in nappies at all. I am yet to see one with a rash either.
As for bobbies pin comment, don’t you have snappy nappies over there? The little plastic clip that holds the nappies together. Not to mention these days there are nappies that fit like pants! Hmmmm!
Fabulous tips! Thanks for linking in.
I am a big supporter of cloth diapers, myself. 🙂
Had to laugh about not giving up high speed internet–me too. Have just gotten it back after trying to save money on bundling–what a pain. Your list tells me you’ve taken the lessons you learned growing up to ensure that your child will grow up in an economically stable home. BTW, I scrolled down to previous posts–congratulations of post-baby weight loss. What a cutiie patootie–worth the potential threats to figure?
It sounds like you know how to cut back and know its worth it in order to save for a house. That is smart thinking.