Friday, February 27, 2009

Tough Times-Frugal Measures

I recently had my hours reduced—an expected consequence of this sagging economy. I am not alone. But…there’s no need to panic-- we can get through this with a few money saving ideas:

Ask the Elderly – What better source do we have for tips on how to live within our means than from those with experience in the Art of Frugality? I was just going to type my Mom’s recipe for “Slop Casserole” when I heard on “Good Morning America” about a 90-something woman sharing her depression era recipes. That’s exactly right…good ole’ ground meat, vegetable and pasta concoctions were both comforting and economical then…and can be again. Unexpected company? Throw in more noodles and another potato.

Grab a Wrench – My husband, Fred, already saves us tons of money fixing whatever breaks around here. The newer items with computer-chips are more difficult to repair than the Edsels of yesteryear, but not without promise. There’s joy in renewal. I’ll never forget the satisfaction I once felt fixing my own toilet …or did Fred do that too?

Old Mc-Heidi – If you have a backyard, buying some farm animals could be reassuring in times of distress and dwindling 401ks. Think of the fresh milk from your OWN cow every morning. I don’t quite have the work-ethic of a farm-girl, but if you give me an iPod and bifocals—I’ll try. Free-range chickens are also an option. A happy flock can produce dozens of eggs daily. When it’s time for some white meat… And although my crop-farming knowledge is limited to “Little House on the Prairie” and “Green Acres,” I heard if you put a corn seed in the ground and water it—it will grow.

Knit a Sweater – Turn that thermostat down and grab a sweater. Better---make one. Our mothers and grandmothers could knit blankets and shawls…and so can we! Get some knitting needles and some yarn and ….uh…a knitting teacher. Bundled, we can dial-down just short of Brrrr so heating costs go down, cuddle and family time goes up. Unless it’s time to milk the cow, of course.

Read a Newspaper – Subscribe to the newspaper. You will read non-emotional news articles they don’t typically televise, with entertainment and shopping too. Used newspapers make excellent window-washing rags; rolled-up, they can discipline husbands for not remembering anniversaries; shredded or shrunkled, they line chicken coops.

Tap your “Inner-Tight-Wad” – Say no.

No more plastic junk toys.

No more flashy magazines that are 90 percent advertisements.

No more eating in restaurants that cost a weeks worth of groceries.

No more mood-enhancing clothes shopping trips.

No more salon visits for hair color…

…wait a minute…that’s going too far.

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