I love living in this modern age. Gone are the days that we had to go outside to the outhouse to use the restroom. No more do we have to go out to the well or river to get our water. We have climate control in our homes… and we have homes! Modern life is good.
With that said, I also think it’s important to remember how to live without modern conveniences. You never know when it may become a useful tool for you and your family.
Don’t Go Disposable
This one seems fairly normal until you think of all the disposable items we use in our lives. We aren’t just talking about paper towels or cloth diapers. There are female hygiene products, baby wipes, and even toilet paper. In this day in age it seems crazy to even consider using a reusable product in place of these items. Instead imagine the money that can be saved buying these items. In a month we spend at least $110 dollars on disposable items that get flushed away or thrown away. This isn’t including the cost of garbage removal.
Using items that can be used over and over again may mean that your amount of laundry will go up. It also means buying the items and having a proper place to store them when they are clean or soiled. These, however, are often a one time expenses that pay for themselves within the first two months.
Yes, you can grow a garden and, in the right living setting, keep a goat and a few chickens for milk, eggs, and meat, but that’s not foraging. Foraging is when you go out and find food in the wild… or at least at a park. Doing this requires knowledge of edible plants and berries. It also requires a recognition of plants that are dangerous, not just a passing knowledge, but a certain knowledge of these topics. It’s also important to have an understanding of what certain wild herbs can do medically.
It’s also good to know what the community does regarding the area you are foraging. If you choose to forage in a place like a public park, know if they are sprayed with chemicals as part of their upkeep. Some places I have lived use fruit trees as decoration near sidewalks and roads. It’s important to know what the laws are regarding harvesting from these trees.
I’m talking about never buying anything that you can make. Make your own clothes, non disposable items, or even toys for children. Sometimes materials can be costly, but often the scraps can be used for something else. Learning to make certain items at the very least teaches us to be more self sufficient. You will almost always be able to give a unique gift with the skill you have learned. Most of all in times of financial hardship your skill can even save a good deal of money.
What old-fashioned ways do you use to save money?
Water is reported to be two thirds of the Earth. We have large oceans, flowing rivers, water that runs under ground. If that weren’t enough, it also falls from the sky. In spite of all this, water can be precious during times of drought and need to be saved. Let’s not forget it can also be very expensive to have water running to our homes. There are a few ways that we can save both water and money.
A leaky faucet or running toilet isn’t just an annoyance when you’re trying to get to sleep. It can also be an expensive little problem. Learn where you are able to turn off the water in your apartment or house until you can get in permanently fixed. Try to get the leak or toilet fixed as soon as possible. Not doing so could either run up your water bill or cause your apartment to change its policy on covering the water bill.
Water Filtration System
It’s enough to pay for the water that comes to your apartment. Do you really want to pay for bottled water as well? It’s good to get a water filtration system. Britta and Pur aren’t the only systems out there anymore. There are generic, less expensive options. It is also wise to carry a water bottle for each family member with you when you are out around town. You will know the water is clean and it will reduce the amount of bottled water that you will buy at gas stations and grocery stores. With that said, you may want to keep a little bottled water in stock at home, in case of emergency when the tap water is unavailable or unsafe.
Little tricks around the home can also save a good deal of money. For example, hanging a clothes line over the garden can water the garden and dry your clothes without spending money on energy or water. Instead of having a lawn, try having a rock garden. Using left over shower water combined with cleaning agents could clean your home just fine. Taking showers and limiting shower time can save a great deal of water and money. Even putting a brick in the tank of your toilet could reduce the amount of water that your toilet uses and save you money.
How do you save water and money in your home?
One of the more expensive grocery items that we have on our list is meat. While an important part of our diet, it can be unhealthy for our budget. For this reason we have found a few ways to save money on meat while still being able to enjoy it in our diet.
Canned fish and chicken are far less expensive than buying it from the chilled meat department. Canned meat in a chicken or tuna helper saves money. One can is the amount usually used per box. If canned meat just isn’t for you or your family, you can also try frozen skillet meals. These usually come with their own meat and cook up as fast as a chicken helper meal. These meal ideas don’t just save money when buying meat. They also save time at the end of a busy day and still give the family a well rounded meal.
Buying freezable meat in bulk is another way to save money on meat, so long as I am willing to put the effort in when we get the meat. I often get a large package of chicken thighs or legs. When I get home I divide the chicken into sets of three (the number of people eating in my family) and put each set into freezer bags. I then write the date I bought the meat onto the bag and toss them in the freezer. Doing this with one package of meat has kept our family stocked for two weeks. Doing this save us from freezer burn and wasted meat. It also helps provide portion control for those who just recently stopped cooking for a larger group.
A Meatless Day
Many families have instituted a meat free day. This means that we buy and use less meat. It can also be a little healthier for our bodies as well as our pocketbooks. This doesn’t mean that we avoid protein for a day. We could have a nice split pea soup or a meatless chili. We could even make it a stove free night, serving salads or other cold meals. If a meatless night isn’t for you or your family, instead try a leftover night. This will save you money on meat, reduce waste, and the food will only need to be heated up saving you time, too.
I love to shop through Amazon.com. They have a wide selection of products to choose from. That said, I still don’t like to spend more than I have to. That’s why I have found a few tricks to saving money when shopping through Amazon.
Coupons are not just print outs for groceries anymore. Amazon.com has coupons available on their site. When you log in, go to the top of the page, and click on today’s deals. Not only will you find those things that are on sale by percentage, you will also find coupons for electronics, household items, and more. Take advantage of these tools. You may get what you want for less!
Build Up Gift Certificates
I love to get free Amazon gift cards. I have gotten them from Swagbucks.com , Zoombucks.com , 4loot.com , and Bing.com . Recently I found out that I don’t have to save the codes in my email account and only use them when checking out. Instead I go to my account, then to my payment information. After that I choose “Apply a gift card to your account” under gift cards and it’s saved into my account for future use. This way I know that the codes won’t get lost, deleted, or stolen because they are already applied to my account. It’s also a great way to save up for birthday or Christmas gifts.
Many products have a buy used option giving a description of the condition of the item you are looking at as well as cost and shipping and handling. Often in spite of the shipping and handling costs, the products I buy used through Amazon are just as good as a brand new counterpart and still the better deal.
Last, but not least, I look for items that have free shipping. Some items only give free shipping if you have spent a certain amount of money. You can also reduce the cost of shipping by choosing a less expensive shipping option. This usually means that you will be getting the item a little bit later, so give yourself plenty of time before important events to receive the item. Speaking of shipping, when sending a gift it’s cheapest to send the order directly to your friend or relative. Though back to free shipping, there is Amazon Prime (soon to be $99 a year) which buys you free shipping for the whole year (plus some other perks) but currently that’s out of my budget. With some careful online shopping I can skip Amazon Prime and still find free shipping.
Looking for a new job is not an easy task. It can cause financial hardship, family strife, and fear of the future. There are ways to make the bumpy road of job searching less painful. It takes a bit of planning and a good deal of putting yourself out there, but it usually pays off in the end.
Preparation is the key to living between jobs. Most people don’t know when they are going to be laid off or need to go in search of a new job. That is why it is always best to be preparing while you still have your current job. Work on getting out of debt. Have a little food stored by buying a few extra canned or dried goods each week. Have money saved just in case by stashing $50 a month into a savings account (or more if you are so fortunate). Not having a job is hard enough. Planning for the possibility makes it easier.
Constantly be looking to see what work is available in your field and where. This way, when the unexpected happens, you will know what jobs in your field are available and where. Also be aware of what other opportunities are a possibility for you. If you have experience being a pet groomer, but no positions are available for groomers, try being a kennel attendant. It may not be what you’re used to, but it is an income. Eventually a grooming position may open up and you may be considered first.
Let people know you are, or may be, looking for a new job. Friends and family are usually more than happy to help you look. They know people in other industries or places. They may even know of the perfect opportunity for you, if only they know you are looking for an opportunity. Who knows, you may find a better job without creating a gap in your work experience.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Babies cost money. It’s a fact of life that is really unavoidable. There are medical expenses, vitamins, and new clothing. That’s just for mom during the pregnancy. On top of that many people have moved away from family and friends while looking for work or going to school. Those that would help are unable to due to financial difficulties of their own. The cost of a baby could be all on the new parents. So what do you get to prepare for a baby while on a tight budget?
Don’t go all out on clothes. A cute little outfit or two is in order, but the facts are that babies grow out of clothes faster than paychecks arrive. Instead, try to find baby sleeper sacks. They cover the entire baby, are made to fit for at least six months and come in a wide variety of colors. I prefer the sets of two from Gerber because they also make diaper changing easy. These little beauties also come with built in hand mittens that just flip over baby’s hands. No need to spend extra. Consider buying at least four. This will keep baby clothed and warm without over loading your laundry. All you need after that are hats and socks.
These aren’t our mothers’ cloth diapers with the safety pins and complicated folding. These come with snaps or velcro, can be adjusted to fit our growing children and have inserts that can be removed, washed, and reused again. If that seams too much for a busy schedule there are flushable inserts available as well. The cloth diapers themselves cost about $34. The inserts cost about $30 for the reusable kind and $6 for about 100 of the flushable kind (pricing from Amazon). It may seem like a high price to begin with, but factor in that monthly disposable diapers cost between$40 to $60 dollars, and it’s a huge savings. Also, check out DiaperSwappers to learn more about cloth diapering and to buy products.
A Travel Crib
A travel crib is amazingly versatile. It can move with you, travel to see family, be a good changing table, and act as a playpen later on. Even if a regular crib is out of your price range consider getting a travel crib. If you haven’t yet moved into a home where baby has their own room, or baby will be staying in your room the first few months, these are a great idea. They don’t take up much space to begin with, and fold up when needed.
I am a gamer. So is my husband. If anyone out there has looked into gaming they know it can both save money and be a money sink. It saves money by making more things available to do at home when you’re broke or unable to get out of the house. It makes late nights with infants and insomnia more enjoyable. Used in moderation gaming can be good family fun. Granted, be sure to check your ratings.
On the other hand gaming could be a financial nightmare. So many new consoles, games, and new and improved versions. Luckily we have learned to combat these financial traps.
Check The Official Website
Many game sites have deals all the time. For example, I play Sims 3. The have free content for almost every holiday. They give free content for their anniversary. They even give away free content by advertising for food, car, and other companies. At the moment a most of the Sims 3 games expansions, games, and content are on sale. Sims 4 is coming out, but I am reaping the deals of Sims 3, which leads me to my next point.
Play Older Games and Consoles
If you’re a console or PC game fan remember that it’s best not to buy into the hype. Choose the older console. Don’t buy the hype. It’s usually about twenty dollars more at the very least. Wait a year and see if you even still want the latest and greatest technology. Let somebody else find out if it’s as great as it’s advertised. Then, if you still want it then get it, but do so at a much lower price. Choose games that have already been tried and proven enjoyable.
There are many places that sell games. There is Steam, Amazon, the official websites, and physical stores. One thing I have learned over the years is that they all have sales, but not at the same time. Compare your favorite games’ prices on different websites regularly.
Player Made Content
Some Game websites give tools that allow the players to make and distribute content. Often you can get free content made by other players. This can be decorations, worlds, or character creations. Just be sure to give back by creating content of your own.
Never Pay a Subscription
Facebook games have them. MMOs have them. Any game with in-game currency or a point system has a way for you to get a monthly cost of$15 a month. Don’t do it. If you must boost your in-game currency buy a one time deal like an in-store currency card or the exact digital item you want. Remember that the day will come that you will either stop playing, or the game will shut down. The harsh truth is that you will have sunk hundreds of dollars into something without any form of return. Don’t do it.
It’s beginning to smell a lot like Thanksgiving! At our house, the turkey is brining (is that a word?) and sweet potatoes are baking in the oven. Yummy
But, I know that some of you are doing more than preparing for tomorrow night’s meal; you are preparing for Black Friday. If you plan to shop on Black Friday, you need to prepare. So, here are just a few tips to help you out through the madness that is Black Friday…or Grey Thursday…whichever!
1. Do Your Homework. If you are going Thursday night, you will need to do this either today or tomorrow before dinner. Go through the ads or websites where the Black Friday deals are posted to find the deals you want. Make sure you comparison shop beforehand. Get online or use one of the many apps out there to help you figure out what the best deal really is. You can get great deals on Black Friday. But, you can also just be paying regular price on some items. You won’t know unless you do the research.
2. Prioritize. Doing your homework means more than just circling or writing down what you want to buy. It means prioritizing. It will be crazy out there; you know that. So, what do you want most. Go for that item first.
3. Shop With Friends. Shopping with friends could make for a more enjoyable experience. But, it can also help you get more deals. If two or three items are high on your priority list in one particular store, you can split up and, therefore, have a better chance of not missing out on your deal. It’s like being in more than one place at once
4. Bring Ads With You. Just in case there is any discrepancy at the register, the ad will be your (and the cashier’s) friend. It will make things less confusing for everyone.
5. Gift Receipts. If you are buying gifts, make sure you ask for gift receipts. It makes the return process so much easier for everybody.
And, beyond all that, have fun! Pick up some coffee, bundle up, make friends, tell funny stores and make it a memory! Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!
How will you prepare for Black Friday?