After taking a Wednesday off (for March Break fun) we’re back with another installment of frugal ideas that can work for everyone (nothing extreme, no recommendations of cloth toilet paper or taking one meal a week made primarily of cat food). Money is on everyone’s minds these days. Who has it, how to get it, how to keep it, how to spend it and how to save it are the five hot personal finance topics out there right now and while I can’t tell you who has it or how to get it, I can offer tons of ideas about how to keep it, save it and spend it – wisely, frugally and responsibly. I think it’s Dave Ramsey who fancies sayings “Live like no one else now so that you can LIVE like no one else later.” I’m not a big DR fan, but he does come up with some excellent ideas and sound bites on occasion.
And now, like sands through the hourglass, there are:
Honey Badger’s Frugal (and maybe fun?) Wednesday Suggestions
1. Roll your feet to warm and happy. No, no, I am the last person who is going to suggest that you take up rollerblading, worry thee not! No, I’m talking about taking one of those 1 or 2L pop bottles you normally fold up and put in your Blue Box (un, you DO recycle, right?) and re-purposing them to make your feet happier. Fill the bottle with hot water. Take a seat. Roll the bottle back and forth under your feet. Feel your tension ease. Feel your feet send you lots of foot love. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary/desired/awake.
2. Learn how to cook at home. Even a sub-par fast food meal costs exponentially more than anything you prepare at home. Let alone fancier restaurant food – the mark up is crazy and the food is often disappointing. Not to mention potentially full of additives and preservatives that if you prepared it yourself, you could decide to add or avoid. Either way, I’m not telling anyone what to eat or how to eat it, but it should be a conscious decision that you make as to what you put in your body and what you do not. I am not the picture of health and fitness, so believe me, this ain’t no skinny chick telling the fatties what to eat, but I am aware of the choice I’m making when I order pizza instead of making it at home. And that’s all I’m advocating for you too. Oh, and a simple dinner out at Swiss Chalet for 2 adults and 4 kids, with the kids sharing a meal and two milks, is over $50 plus tip. To put it in perspective, I feed everyone every meal, for a week for $150.00 or less. 1/3 of what a single meal out costs us. Say what?!?!?
3. Get honest about your spending habits. “Thinking” that you only spend $x.xx on stuff is very different than actually tracking your spending and knowing that you spent $x.xx on stuff. Want to ‘find’ $20.00 a month? Track everything, I bet you end up finding a lot more than $20 that you’ve been literally throwing away each and every month. Try it. It’s a real eye opener and I won’t lie, it can be very painful to see it all in black and white. Stop giving your hard-earned money away for little-to-no value in return.
4. Follow the rules. Yes, I know that you’re in a hurry and that where you need to be is far more important than where I need to be and more important than something so arbitrary as a speed limit but is the fine worth the extra two minutes you make in time? And, come to think of it, the 15 or more minutes you sit by the side of the road waiting for your lecture and your pricey ticket costs you much more time that actually following the posted speed limit would have. And the wear and tear on your vehicle and the costly repairs will only hit your wallet and send your mechanic and his family on a European vacation on your dime. If you’re in a hurry, leave earlier. Stop terrorizing everyone on the road and beating your car into the ground. It’s not rocket science and for the sake of not paying ‘Stupid tax’ for your haste, by way of fines, repair bills, your obviously very valuable time, and insurance premiums, are the costs and potential risks really worth it? Follow the rules, be considerate of other drivers – and their cars, their time, and most importantly, their safety. It is never the wrong choice and it will save you time, money and good karma points!
5. Take the time to praise, not just to complain. When you get really great service, a really wonderful deal, have a noteworthy experience, praise those responsible. If your cashier at the grocery store was friendly and professional, smiled and said hello and thank you, stop for a second and tell the manager that she made you trip to his store better that day. You would make the time to find the manager if the cashier had been rude and surly, so make the time to point out the good stuff too. The horror stories of deals gone wrong and poor service and it’s important that bad experiences be shared, of course it is, but it is equally important to share the good stuff too. When a business or a person goes out of their way to make your day or experience a little better, pay it forward by giving credit where credit is due. It builds good will and good energy that will attract more positive, good experiences to come your way. 🙂
What are your favourite frugal or resource saving tips or tricks? Share, share!