Simple life in Tough Times
- 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