Do you REALLY need that new outfit? A Year of Living Cheap

The second week went better, no buying disasters!  Although, I still freak out at the grocery checkout every week.  Food has gotten so expensive and right now it’s too hot for my garden in Arizona. 

Today we are going to talk about clothing, which is number 4 on our list of necessities.   Yes, clothing is a necessity in life, unless you live deep in the forest and the animals don’t care what you look like.

When buying clothing you should only be buying a replacement for something that is either beyond repair or you have out grown.  When buying clothing you need to look for something that  doesn’t go out of fashion the minute you walk out of the store.  If you are doing that then you are just throwing your money away.  Buy a blouse or pants that you can mix and match with other items in your closet.

I have a group of friends that get together twice a year and bring their clothing, that are still in good condition, to trade.  They make it into a party with wine and cheese so it’s a lot of fun.  You’ll be surprised how many great outfits you can put together with just a few accent pieces like scarves or a different color jacket, pants, or funky shoes.

I have a “thing” for silk blouses so I buy a lot of my clothing at thrift or consignment stores.  I know my brother-in-law’s eyes are spinning as he passes out from the thought of wearing someone else’s clothing, but a lot of the clothing I buy still have the tags on them.  I treat my clothing like they cost a million bucks and they last me a long time.

Shopaholics buy without thought to what they are getting and when or where they will wear it and never wear a lot of their clothing.  Then they get rid of them so they can buy more.  Some people get a high from just buying the item.  I get a high from saving money on the items they tossed out!

You should also have a “Need & Want” list.  The “Need” list is again necessities and the “Want” would be nice to have, but do you really need it?   I create my list of “Wants” and then start saving my money little by little every month and usually but the time I have saved up enough money I find that I really don’t want the item.  Believe it or not I usually feel really great about this fact. Now I have that extra money in my savings account for emergencies.

So go look at your closet and start mixing and matching up new outfits.  You will be surprised how many new looks you can create  at no extra cost!

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”
Benjamin Franklin

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A Year of Living Cheap, Week 1

The first week wasn’t too bad, except on the second day.  On Tuesday, I crumbled and bought a candy bar at the office supply store.  That will teach me to carry a granola bar in my bag at all times!  

My list of necessities that I put together last week was:

1) Groceries – Food, Water, Paper Products, Personal Products

2) Shelter – Mortgage or Rent

3) Utilities – Electricity, Gas, Trash, Phone

4) Clothing – Basic clothing, underwear, and         replacement of clothing that is worn out

5) Health Care – Doctor, Medication, Supplements

6) Car – Gas, Oil, Major Repairs

So let’s discuss #1 groceries.  Food and water are the most important in this list.  Without them you would not survive.  I buy mostly store brand products including food, water and paper items. EXCEPT, for those foods that have preservatives both my daughter and myself are allergic to.  I spend a lot of time reading labels on foods including meat.  You would be surprised how many meat  products have fillers and preservatives that are down right not healthy. It would probably be easier to make a list of foods we are not allergic to.

I use coupons, both in store and national brands.  I get the Sunday paper every week (that is the only one I get as I read my news on line….savings $) and cut out coupons of only the items we buy.   BUT if the store brand is cheaper, that is what I get.  I have found that most store brands are approximately the same as the big brands.  There are a few exceptions like cat food and store brand Cheerios.  The store brand Cheerios taste like saw dust.  If you work outside your home (I telecommute) share the coupons you don’t use with your friends and fellow workers. 

Water, yes I buy my water and again it is the store brand, except if the big name brand is on sale and is less than the store brand.  I know buying bottled water is against all you Tree Huggers religion, I do hate the thought of filling up the land fills AND I do recycle.  The reason for bottled water is because our city has a problem with arsenic in the water, and even though they built a “scrubber” in our neighborhood, I am not a trusting person and will not put arsenic in my body. 

A year is a long journey, but we can do it! So what have you done to reach your goals of living “cheap”?  Let me know, I love ideas!

Below is a recipe I developed for salad dressing with NO preservatives. 

Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4 C Light Flavor Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 C Lime Juice

Place in small jar with lid for shaking, add salt pepper to taste.  I also added some of my dried herbs out of my garden, Cilantro and Rosemary.

Shake well and add two tables spoons to your salad.  YUM!

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the journey 3

 

A Year Living Cheap, The Beginning

I have decided to live a year, 365 days, as cheaply as possible.  This means as my Grandma Jo would say, “Make do, do over, do without.”  I believe this is not as easy as it sounds.  My immediate goal is to pay off all my bills and then save for a trip over seas.  “You can’t do that in a year”, I hear you all saying, and that is probably true, but this is a good beginning.

So, tackling this goal I need to know 1) What drives me  2) What I want to accomplish &  3) What are my priorities?

What drives me is to live sensibly and below my income, NOT at or above my income.  What I want to accomplish is to pay off all my bills and my trip aboard.  The third is what are my priorities, which to me is, what do I feel are the necessities in my life/budget, where am I going to spend my money.

Here is the list I put together.

Groceries – Food, Water, Paper Products, Personal Products

Shelter – Mortgage or Rent

Utilities – Electricity, Gas, Trash, Phone

Clothing – Basic clothing, underwear, and         replacement of clothing that is worn out

Health Care – Doctor, Medication, Supplements

Car – Gas, Oil, Major Repairs

I will address individually each necessity next week, at the end of “Week One”, as these are not as black and white as they sound.

What do you feel is a necessity for day to day living?

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Celebrate the Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July.  This is the day that the final draft of the  Declaration of Independence was adopted.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Today we celebrate, as a nation, our freedom.  The right to free speech, free thinking, freedom from oppression.  The real heroes of today are our military, firefighters, police, small shop keepers and farmers.  These are the people that keep our nation free.  It is not the Politicians but the people of the United States, you and me.

So today and every day, celebrate your flag, your freedom.

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Honoring Yarnell Families

Today I donated all the items I could to the people of Yarnell who have lost their homes to the horrible fires.  I donated clothing, bedding, towels and personal items I had around the house. I even got under my bathroom cabinet and pulled out the razors, tooth brushes and small tubes of toothpaste that were still in their wrappers.  

I now have gaps in my closet where the clothes use to be and I feel good about it but it still won’t be enough to replace their loss.  They have lost family, friends and their homes, things I cannot replace.  

My prayers to out to the people of Yarnell and Prescott, Arizona. who have suffered so much in the recent fires  You are in my prayers.

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