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Simple life in Tough Times

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  • Sheryl Simons
    The Simple Life by Sheryl Simons Tough Times Call for Tightening the Belt Even if you aren t having a tough time financially, we have all seen where it
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2008
      The Simple Life
      by Sheryl Simons

      Tough Times Call for Tightening the Belt

      Even if you aren't having a tough time financially, we have
      all seen where it wouldn't hurt to have a few dollars tucked away in
      a safe place. Having a few extra bucks means, for one, you can snap
      up a good deal when it rolls along. Right now, wood pellets are very
      hard to come by. Why? Because fall is when the demand is the
      highest. But some were thinking ahead and bought what they needed
      last year before the supply ran out and are sitting well. And buying
      them in the spring they are usually at a reduced rate – as long as
      you have a nice dry place for storage. Wood pellets are no good if
      they get wet.

      One guy was telling me that he had lots of wood, but wanted a
      pellet stove. He felt he was beyond the age to cut wood. But even
      if he hired a couple teens to cut his wood, he'd have an even bigger

      Most items go on sale seasonally. Businesses don't want to
      store things for months that won't sell, so these are when the
      clearance sales come into play. At the end of summer, when you are
      thinking of buying long pants, summer shorts are on sale for half
      price, or less. Buy ahead for the kids for next year, buying a size
      or two larger. You will be all ready for the next summer. Same goes
      with school clothes that go on sale in the spring to make room for
      summer fashions. Everyone will need jeans next fall, but why not buy
      them for 1/2 price? They will already be there when you need them.

      Many items are like this. Canning items will be clearanced
      out in the fall. Some vegetable seeds will be 10 for a $1. Lawn
      mowers and yard items as well. But if you don't have a few bucks
      saved ahead, DON'T put them on credit! That will only get you in
      more trouble. The trick is to save ahead for a rainy day. Buying
      only what you NEED, not what you WANT.

      I think we are having a wake-up call. We are finding what
      our necessities are and re-adjusting our focus. Financially we need
      a place to live, food, clothes, and heat. To have these we need
      income, usually in the form of a job, and some kind of transportation
      to get there. What ever our income is, that is what we have to live
      on. If our house costs too much in the form of payments, insurance,
      rent, or heat. We need to find something more economical. And we
      need to do it while there is time to do something about it. Find out
      what your income is each month. Put on paper what your expenses
      are. If your expenses are more than your income, you have to adjust
      your expenses to fit your income. You will have to make some tough
      decisions. You need food, but you don't need chips. You can survive
      on soups, and stews for a while (and very well) to stretch the
      dollars. Heat wise, you might have to get creative. A friend bought
      a small electric heater for her living room. They turn the furnace
      down because they are all gone to work during the day. The small
      heater is all they need to have one warm room in the evening. Many
      people remember the days when bedrooms were not heated and a couple
      quilts was all it took to keep warm at night. Sleeping cooler at
      night is better for you, anyway.

      Do you need to insulate? A nice blanket of blown-in
      insulation in your attic may be a good start, since heat rises.

      Do you have a gas guzzler? Time for a smaller gas efficient
      vehicle? Make less trips to town. Car pool with neighbor kids if
      the kids have after-school practice. Or, just think of the money
      your family might save to take a year off extra activities. Play
      games at home. Invite other families over for family night. There
      are lots of good ways to have fun that save money, as well.

      Plan a garden for next year. Have your friend show you how
      to can vegetables. It can be a huge savings.

      Plan recipes that are money savers. Biscuits are an easy way
      to bake bread, very simple to mix, and much cheaper than a loaf of
      bread. Instead of buying donuts to take to work, bake your own
      cookies, or muffins.

      With the money you save put away in a jar, or bank account.
      Save it for that insulation project for next year. And don't forget
      do-it-yourself! My brother-in-law saved over half by buying a garage
      kit and building it himself, with the help of family, than buying it

      How about making your Christmas gifts this year? Or at least
      give gift cards. This is a year to make the most of gifts, not
      giving things people won't use, or don't need. My husband Richard
      made a beautiful wishing well (out of scrap lumber) for his brother
      who had mentioned he wanted one to cover his well. It was so nice
      when he finished it, we started thinking of making Christmas gifts,
      instead of buying them. If you can knit, crochet, sew, or do wood
      working, you can make a gift. Or maybe grandma could use some
      cleaning help, or grandpa could use some help stacking wood. These
      gifts of time might be better than any gift you could give. Be
      creative this year and see how much you can save!

      * * *

      Oreo Pistachio Dessert

      1 (15 oz) bag Oreo cookies rolled into crumbs
      1/3 cup melted butter.
      1 pkg. (3 oz.) Pistachio Instant Pudding
      1 1/2 cups milk
      1 qt. vanilla ice cream, softened
      1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip

      Mix Oreos and butter, divide. Spread 1/2 on bottom of 8x11" pan.
      Reserve other 1/2 of crumbs for top.

      Prepare pudding, using the milk, according to directions on box. Mix
      all remaining ingredients and pour over half cookie crumbs. Sprinkle
      the rest of the crumbs on top. Freeze
      * * *

      "Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical
      and avoiding waste."~~Catherine Pulsifer

      "With greater emphasis on working to live, not living to work, we are
      creating awareness for simpler solutions, a more creative existence
      with healthier, happier longevity, for those brave enough to accept
      the challenge."~~Tracey Smith
      "How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast
      chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. . . . All
      that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple,
      frugal heart."~~Nikos Kazantzakis
      Keeping it Simple,

      Contact me with your favorite recipes, questions, comments and simple
      living ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@... or
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