Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm trying to learn to be more frugal. When my income took a hit this year I stopped shopping. I was thinking about it and I remember I use to read Cindy's Porch. She challenges people to stop spending. This works pretty well for me, but I still need to learn to be a smart shopper. I really don't like to shop that much. I think I need to start reading her site again.

I've been thinking about how some frugal ideas are also healthy ideas. Homemade cleaning products is one. I've been wanting to get into this more but I have to use up what I have. I have eliminated dryer sheets and softener in the laundry. I've tried a few things and am using vinegar in the softener dispenser and it seems to work pretty well. I also had a hard water mark around my sink stopper and I soaked it in vinegar and scrubbed it with a brush and got rid of the water mark. I've also used baking soda as a scrub. I like it with lemon essential oil to make it smell nice. So instead of replacing my usual toxic or expensive cleaning products I will try to find an alternative. It should be interesting. Have any of you had good luck with this?

Sometimes the healthy choice is not the frugal choice like organics. Being frugal isn't the only thing to think about when making a choice. Sometimes you can give up something else to allow you to buy the more expensive organic choice. I looked at what I use the most. I use a lot of dairy products and can't buy them all organic so I buy organic milk and regular cheese. I've cut down on how much cheese I use. I eat a lot of eggs and so like to get the organic when I can. It's all about choices and compromise.

I have a long ways to go with frugal living as well as healthy living I get lazy and sometimes revert back to what familiar, easier and more convenient.

Walking instead of driving is another frugal and healthy choice. I have been trying to do all my chores on one day and do as much as I can locally, which is frugal but walking to some of these errands would add that healthy element.

Growing some of your own food is frugal and healthy, but it is not an option for me. I'm growing some Roma tomatoes in a pot and that's it this year. Gardening and plants is a place in the past where I have spent too much money, so I just made up my mind I wasn't going to buy any this year.

Cooking from scratch use to be frugal but isn't always now, but it is healthier. Of course canning and freezing can help you preserve produce in season at lower prices. I do some of this but as I don't have a big family to feed I don't do much. I think this year thought I will be looking for things to purchase at a good price and freeze. We have also used a dryer to preserve things like cherries. Yum. Does anyone preserve produce in season?

I was taught growing up to buy the best quality I could afford, but I have had to compromise that ideal. I think planning might help in this area. If I wait until I'm desperate for something and I don't have the money I have to either do without or end up spending money I don't have. If I know I'm going to have to replace an item I can start looking for a deal and trying to save. This all sounds pretty elementary but I think many of us have gotten away from this way of life we are too use to putting using the plastic and worrying about how we are going to pay later. I'm happy to say I'm doing well in that area, but every once in a while I let my guard down and then when the bill comes I'm reminded why I need to stop and think before I spend. Cindy's Porch also has good advice on how to stop spur of the moment purchases.

So my next question to myself was, is simple living and frugal living the same thing? I think simple living is generally frugal but frugal isn't always simple. I remember reading frugal tips and thinking that is not for me. I'm not going to start saving every little item in case I can recycle it for another purpose. Some of that is good, but much of it is more that I want to get involved in. Many people are remaking clothing now and I think if you like to sew that is a great idea. If I can get myself sewing again I may try it.

Making your own clothes is another one of those ideas that isn't necessarily that frugal. But if your are good at it the quality for the price might be better.

So what I'm saying is that being frugal is complicated for someone new at it, but I hope to become an expert at it in time. I want to learn to not only make the frugal choice but also the healthy and simple choice.

As I keep saying I don't want to leave prayer out of the equation. God can give us the wisdom we need or even provide for us in miraculous ways.
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