Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let's get frugal

Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's a woman by the name of Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced decision) came out with a newsletter that, in her words, "promoted thrift as a viable alternative lifestyle." As a stay-at-home home with 2 small boys I grasped at every opportunity to save money. So I signed up for her newsletter and got on the frugal bandwagon. The newsletter was $12 a year but since I was saving a ton more than that from it I considered it an investment. Now, you can't pickup the newsletters anymore (and those of us that still have them won't give them up. We horde them actually. Mine are 3 hole punched and bound together. Someday they'll be a collectors item.) you can pick up the book she wrote that has all of them combined. I wouldn't spend full price for them (negates the whole frugal principal) get them at the used bookstore or used on Amazon.

Some of the things that she was espousing back then are now longer relative to today but all-in-all they still work. With the rising cost of fuel, food, clothing, and just about everything else these days I'm drawn back to how we survived on $20,000 a year and still saved 30% of our income.

Here are her "10 Painless Ways to Save $100 This Year" (I've made some changes to reflect technology changes).

1. Purchase 10 articles of clothing at thrift shops and yerd sales this year instead of paying department store prices. (If you are a supershopper like I am you haven't paid full price department store prices for years. AT JC Penney's 2 weeks ago I paid $3.31 each for 10 items that I can wear to work. I got a whole new wardrobe including shoes for about $60.)

2. Hang four loads of laundry per week instead of using your dryer. (We hang all our laundry for even bigger savings. And use white vinegar for fabric softener instead of store bought so the towels won't get stiff). Don't have a clothes line? Shower rods work really well. We bought a $30 popup clothesline, $10 large plastic pot & $5 worth of patio sand to put up our clothes line. We have saved way more than the $45 we spent 2 years ago. Plus, it's good for the environment. Green and cheap! We are so trendy!

3. Once a month make a pizza from scratch instead of having one delivered. (I rarely buy pizza. I've blogged 2 recipes, pizza dough and zucchini crusted pizza that are quick and cheap).

4. Write a good letter instead of making a monthly long-distance phone call. (with email and cheap cell phone service this one is the easiest to achieve.)

5. Reduce your soda consumption by four cans per week. (I've given it up completely but JR hasn't. He has cut back to one per day in his lunch. Saves us a bundle.)

6. Bake one batch of bread (2 loaves) per week. (OK, so I don't do this at all. I do shop the day-old bread cart at my local grocery store. It is half price there. Then I freeze it).

Save $50 each on two children's birthday parties by making homemade decorations, cake, wrapping paper, and one present. (Photoshop up cute cards, posters and all the other stuff.)

8. Reduce your smoking by three cigarettes per day (or give up smoking altogether and save even more) (Neither JR or I smoke. Made this one even easier).

9. Reduce your whole milk consumption by 2 gallons per week, substituting dry milk in cooking, homemade cocoa mix, and in half and half for drinking. (I couldn't get my family to drink powdered milk so I went to using it to bake. I need to get back into the habit. Note to self!)

10. Pack four inexpensive school lunches per week. (JR, the homeboy and I pack all our lunches from the leftovers from the night before. )

I'm going to add few more to this list.

11. Eat less meat. Try eating a meatless meal once a week. At $2 a pound or more for boneless, skinless chicken breasts this will really add up. (I cut JR and the homeboys meat portions in half before it gets to the table and I gave it up entirely. This has worked like a charm. Also in their casseroles I cut the meat down by half and they didn't even know it. I'm so sneaky!)

12. Combined your car trips. With the price of gas these days it just makes sense. (I have a route that I take when I go grocery shopping. It's a loop by all the stores that I shop at. I stop at each of the stores that have something on sale on my list, get the stuff and get out.)

13. Cook with what you have on hand. (This is a trick I learned from depression-era my mother-in-law. Makes you much more creative in the kitchen, thus in life. Or that's what I like to think).

Well, that's enough of that for today. If you have any money saving ideas leave a comment.


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