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  • Hints for Economizing

    After months of reading all the threads on how bad the economy is / will be, I thought we all might start to contribute some practical ways to help others get by on a much lower income.

    I'm over 50, and was raised by two parents who both grew up in the depression. My parents and both sets of grandparents helped instill in me many ways to economize, and I've continued to use many - even though society has been laughing at people who aren't into the "spend-spend-spend" mindset.

    As there are so many on this board who are young enough to have never gotten this kind of real-life tutoring, I though we older members could help! Some of these may seem fairly basic, but for many they may be new information:





    1) Keep your furnace turned down as low as you can tolerate. Wear layers of clothes, and keep your feet warm! You can even wear a hat in the house - nobody will know except your family! Invest in blankets.


    2) Close off any rooms you don't use (not those that have plumbing). If you have an open stairway, you can hang multiple blankets over the opening at the top or bottom to form an insulated barrier. You can also close off any room you're in and have a small electric space heater supplement the heat for that one room. The idea is to keep the amount of house you're heating to the smallest area practical.


    3) Go to the hardware store and get a selection of weatherizing supplies. You can easily weatherize doors and windows and electric outlets on the exterior walls of your home. You can buy plastic to go over your windows which can be "shrink-wrapped" to fit with a hair dryer. You lose a lot of heat/cooling in those areas.


    4) Use insulated curtains, or hang blankets over windows at night. During winter, remove them during the day if it's sunny, and not too cold. This will let you get some benefit from solar heating.


    5) Take care of everything you own! You may not be able to afford or even find replacements. So... read instruction manuals and keep things in good working order. It may be to your benefit to make friends with an older gentleman who is a good "fix-it" guy. (My dad could fix anything! )


    6) Learn to change your own oil, cut your own hair, etc. We can do many more of these simple tasks than we give ourselves credit for, and save lots of $$$ in the process. Get some how-to books from your library.


    7) Get a couple of good "Depression Cooking" cookbooks. You can find them on Amazon, or in your library. (I can make an "apple" pie out of saltine crackers, a "pecan" pie out of white beans, and a cake that doesn't use flour or sugar, not to mention a slection of "meatless meals" - and they all taste good!!) Everyone will be eating out much, much less, and needing to know how to cook economically.


    8) Learn how to sew (yeah, you too, guys!) Even if you never learn enough to make clothes from scratch, you'll need to learn how to mend /alter clothes you already have, or those you can pick up cheaply. Learn to darn socks, hem, take in or let out seams.


    9) In the summer, keep your air conditioning OFF. If you get used to the warmer days over time, it won't seem so bad. Open windows at night to create a cross-breeze in your home (west to east, north to south, etc.) After you've gathered in that nice cool air, when the sun comes up - pull your drapes to close off the solar heat and keep that nice shady cool air in your home as long as possible. (An attic fan would be a blessing here.)


    10) Invest in some electric fans you can move from room to room to keep yourselves cool. Moving air across your skin can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler. Mist your skin occasionally with a regular spray bottle, and you'll feel even cooler! My mom told stories of misting her sheets at night before they went to bed.


    11) Learn to use the smallest amount possible of any product. For example, start lowering the amount of shampoo you use each time. Keep lowering the amount until you reach a level where it's not doing the job anymore, then take it back up one level. This goes for toothpaste, dishwashing soap, laundry soap, etc. You'll be amazed at how much less will still do a good job, and the savings will add up over the months.



    These are just a few hints, and I'm sure members of this board can come up with lots more..................
    Last edited by watchwoman; March 2nd, 2009, 07:54 PM.
    Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are feeble-hearted, Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengence, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you." Is 35:3-6

  • #2
    great post.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yup.

      We've got our thermostat down to 62.
      We are not using hot water except when absolutely necessary. 1" baths. LOL
      I hardly use any soap products, I extend them with bunches of water, and they work fine.
      No lights except what's necessary.
      Cut our own hair.
      Eat LOTS of beans and rice.
      Cut laundry down to 1 load a week unless something unexpected happens.
      Cut out long distance 50/mth and instead spent 24/year for unlimited ld with Skype.
      We watch new releases on the computer with surfthechannel.com for free.


      I've got to that that recipe for bean "pecan" pie!

      Comment


      • #4
        Before buying anything, decide if this is a need or a want
        Our policy on buying anything over $100 is to "sleep on it" quite often we wake up the next morning and decide we really do not need it.
        Do not be afraid to ask for a "doggie" bag after eating out - usually a perfect amount for lunch the next day
        Do not try to keep up with the joneses

        Comment


        • #5
          Wonderful posts!!! You guys are awesome!
          1 Thessalonians 5:4 (New International Version)

          4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ha! I can sew!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              divide your dryer sheets in halves or thirds, you still get the benefit at 1/2 or 1/3 the cost

              Comment


              • #8
                Great Posts!!!
                I will add what we are doing:

                1. I do not get my nails done anymore. Who really cares?
                2. My DH and I cut our own hair.
                3. I color my own hair.

                4. We have a sunrooom with West windows. Afternoons in the summer can get outragously hot. I bought white poster board. On one side, I taped aluminum foil. I tape the poster board on the west windows with the white facing out and the foil facing the blinds. It makes it soooooo much cooler!

                5. We hardly ever eat out. Cook most all our meals. We eat alot of beans, potatoes and pasta. (Not healthy but cheap!) Have a huge collection of casserole recipes-They call me the casserole queen! They are economical and fast and taste great! (Need to sell them as a cookbook for all the people that don't know how to cook! )

                I will think of some more and post later.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My parents lived through the depression too. One thing I remember my mom doing (I've never resorted to it yet) is whenever she cracked an egg she got everything out of the inside of the egg by scraping it with a finger or spatula before she tossed out the shell.

                  I've learned to cut my own hair and do so for all my children as well. The wife almost never lets me touch her hair...

                  Gather grocery coupons and save them for use for when the item in the coupon is on sale. Then stock up on things you eat.
                  Tall Timbers, Imperfect but forgiven

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've been using this laundry soap recipe. It makes about 2 gallons and works great. These ingredients alone is enough to make 3 batches and you'll still have plenty of Borax and washing powder left over for even more batches.


                    Homemade Laundry Soap

                    1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above

                    ½ cup washing soda

                    ½ cup borax powder

                    ~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~



                    Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.



                    **A few things to note about the soap**



                    ~The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.



                    ~The soap is a low sudsing soap. So if you don’t see suds, that is ok. Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.








                    Optional: If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can scent this with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Or you can do what I do and just don't buy anything.

                      Seriously, those are some excellent tips. I don't do many of them but I would if times got tuff enough.

                      One thing that really helped us was tracking everything you spend. We saved alot of money just by doing this one thing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sherrylynnk View Post
                        I've been using this laundry soap recipe. It makes about 2 gallons and works great. These ingredients alone is enough to make 3 batches and you'll still have plenty of Borax and washing powder left over for even more batches.


                        Homemade Laundry Soap

                        1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above

                        ½ cup washing soda

                        ½ cup borax powder

                        ~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~



                        Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.



                        **A few things to note about the soap**



                        ~The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.



                        ~The soap is a low sudsing soap. So if you don’t see suds, that is ok. Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.








                        Optional: If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can scent this with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.


                        I use this also! I use Ivory istead of the Fels Naptha. Also, instead of buying liquid fabric softener I use vinegar. It works perfectly and leaves no smell.

                        I also make my own cleaning products. Check out this website for the recipes and other good ideas, it's awesome!!!!! http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/index.html

                        I make our bread as well. It is theraputic!

                        Also, plant a garden. The bigger the better. Plant fruit trees or berry bushes.

                        It feels so good to walk past all these things at the grocery store and to know you are providing for yourself! (With the help of the Lord) It all adds up wonderfully!
                        In my Father's house there are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.
                        John 14:2-3

                        Go my people, enter into your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by. Isaiah 26:20

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Vinegar is also a great hair conditioner. That's all we used growing up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Consolidate errand runs to save gasoline; acquire non perishable food and other supplies in bulk while you're at it...time, money effort saved all at the same time!

                            Choose hairstyles that don't require as much maintenance in the first place...

                            Choose clothing that is more "classic" and thus doesn't go out of style so quickly...buy quality that lasts longer, though...launder carefully...shop the sales/closeouts...you get the idea!!

                            I can sew, knit, crochet...I make many of the gifts I give...but I can't say they necessarily save money. Quality fabrics, notions, and yarns can be expensive, but with the time and labor involved, I do believe in using good quality materials. This is unfortunately an area where the foreign manufactured clothing is always cheaper...even for the pricier clothing. Many fabric stores have been closing as a result (even Wal Mart has been phasing out its fabric departments.)

                            Many younger people don't seem to be interested in learning the "needle arts..." my own three daughters included. Although...they do like the things I've made for them... Maybe when they mature a little more they'll have the patience for it.

                            BUT...with all that said...I do think it's important to choose a couple of reasonably priced treats for yourself now and then...being TOO penny-pinching all the time can get depressing!!

                            Every so often that pedicure...Starbucks...or dinner at a favorite restaurant...is really better than therapy!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Funny I am Forty, and My parents Showed me How to Be thrifty too, when I was Growing Up...

                              1) Buy Certain things in Bulk (I do at Sam's The Cost Savings is Great on Certain Items, Use Simple Math to see if, you will be saving first before buying it)
                              2) Check your Flyers at Stores to Find Bargains, too.
                              3) ONLY Buy that Shirt, Pants, Shoes, Coat etc..If, you Need It for Work to look presentable etc....
                              4) Do Not Open the Refidgerator 20,0000 times or keep it open -figure out what you need before getting in it.
                              5) Turn OFF Lights that you are not using
                              6) Don't drive anywhere if, you don't need to
                              7) Make a Budget-What is coming in and what is going out

                              But, the Upmost Important---Always allow yourself even if, its once a Month a Night of Pizza(Most Value Savers have Great Coupons and Deals on Pizza).

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