Posted tagged ‘economy’

Coming Home

October 10, 2008

I posted this on my Fresh Choices Daily food blog.  But, I thought I’d post it here, too, for anyone who doesn’t go to that one.

Frugal Friday- Coming Home

Lately, you can’t go a day without hearing about the economy.  I can hardly watch the news because it can be so depressing.  But, because I’m an optimist, today let’s take a look at the brighter side of life!

We live in a fast paced world.  Usually, both parents are working and the kids are involved in sports and clubs or even working just to pay for gas to get to school or activities.  Then, adults go out for dinner and drinks with friends, kids are hanging out with friends.  It seems that when one family member comes home, another is about to leave.

But, with the economy heading in the wrong direction, people are starting to head in the right direction.  They are going home!  Families can’t afford to go out for dinner all the time.  So, we are cooking and eating at home.  The reasons why this is a great thing are unmeasurable.  Home cooking is much healthier.  Therefore, we are feeling better- both physically and mentally.  And, we all know that restaurants aren’t usually the quietest places for lots of conversation.  So, now we have more opportunities to share with each other.  We are spending time around the dinner table- eating a great meal, talking, and laughing.  That’s the stuff great memories are made of! 

Still having restaurant withdrawals?  Well, that brings me to my Frugal Friday tip!  One night a week, let someone in the family pick a restaurant.  Then, get their menu- they can usually be found in the phone book or on-line.  Pick an item off the menu and have it for dinner!  You can have as much fun with it as you want- or have time for.  Create little menu’s, have someone “play waitress’, (even better- have one of the kids “play dishwasher”!).  If you’re really ambitious, you can even go on-line and try to find the “secret recipe’s” for your restaurant of the day.  I know I’m always looking for something new for dinner.  This just might be a great way to add some fun to dining in!

Saving Over $120 a Month- And Counting!

September 10, 2008

     The economy has been on the minds of many Americans lately.  Either it comes up in campaign speeches and television ads or it hits closer to home with many families feeling the pinch.  Because I am one of those feeling the pinch, I got to thinking about what I have been doing to compensate for the change in lifestyle for our family.  And, then I started wondering what others are doing to help during this time of economic struggle.  Maybe someone else has done something that I can do to save a few dollars here or there.  And, maybe something I’ve done could help someone else.  So, here are my ideas.  Please share yours, too.  And, hopefully, together we’ll all get through it!

     I took a look at every bill I pay each month.  There were some things I really didn’t need- one organization I paid fees for that I had never used.  So, that got cancelled and saved $10 a month.  Then, netflix had to go.  Thank goodness we have a wonderful library that has anything i ever wanted!  That was another $10 a month.  Yesterday, I found a car insurance company that was $30 less a month for the same coverage I had before.  So, yes, I must say, I switched to Geico! 

     In April, I got a new car.  Although that sounds like spending instead of saving, I actually broke even.  Because I drive so much, gas and my new car payment is actually the same- or less- than what I was paying in gas every month.  So, I got a better car that will eventually save me a ton of money!  When I have an errand to run close by, I really try to walk or ride my bike.  Of course, as it gets colder that will change because I hate being outside in cold weather!  But, for now, it gives me some exercise and saves on gas.

     Lately, I have been making a huge effort to make a menu and shopping list for the week.  This saves me money and also keeps me from having to think at the end of the day!  The hardest thing to do for dinner at night is decide what to make.  So, this works well in several ways.  I’ve been able to stay under our $30 a week budget and make some tasty, well balanced meals! 

     We don’t go out to eat now.  We joined the $5 club at the theatre.  But, we very rarely go.  There’s always fun things to on weekends during the summer that are free.  When winter comes, we’ll probably have to work a little harder to find things.  But, I know they’re out there.  So, I cut out our $18 a week entertainment budget.

     On the homeschool front, I’ve had some luck- I call it God!  A friend has a daughter about the same age as my ds.  So, we’ve combined some classes, shared some curriculum, and been able to save money.  I also have some other people in my homeschool group that I am swapping curriculum back and forth with.  I think this is a great thing for homeschoolers to do- either as part of a homeschool group project or just as individual homeschoolers that know each other.  It can get expensive and most people use it and then it sits on a shelf or in a box and collects dust.  I’d rather see someone else get some use out of it.

     On the good side, evaluating how we spend our money has made me become much more aware of where it’s all going.  I have always thought of us as very frugal.  But, now that we are forced to live on my income alone- and are still eating with a roof over our head- I see that we could really save a lot of money away when my husband does find a job.  So, hopefully, this will all be good for us in the long run.

     I’m sure there are other things.  But, those are the main ones off the top of my head.  What have you done?  What are you planning to do?  How has the economy effected you?  Let me know your thoughts!