by Texas Homesteader
I know several people that are struggling financially right now. Some because they went a little overboard during the holidays I guess. But some are struggling due to circumstances completely unforeseen & out of their control. Maybe they find themselves with a large unexpected medical bill. Or maybe they’re laid off, either temporarily or permanently. And BOOM! Financial adjustments must be made sooner rather than later.
Of course families are varied and the journey to a more secure financial future will be different for each family’s circumstances. Some have very young children or teens living at home, some are single while yet others are empty nesters. And some families must work extended hours or deal with long commutes & others may be stay-at-home parents. But there are some aspects of financial wellness that often remain the same no matter where you are in life. You find that by just cutting waste that your finances are much more positively aligned. I certainly found that to be the case when we were adjusting our finances due to shortfalls.
When RancherMan & I were pouring over our finances trying to see if we could make the leap from cushy secure corporate-career employment with regularly-scheduled paychecks and bonuses to make-your-own-way self employment, it was a scary time indeed. So believe me when I say I understand how at first it seems completely overwhelming.
But if you take a deep breath and look at things with a new more-frugal perspective you keep a clearer head & have a better chance to react. And surprise of surprises, many times the result ends up being not nearly as bad as you had feared. Stay with me now…
Adjust Lifestyle To Income
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve discovered that we often just live according to the income we receive. I noticed that when there was a hearty increase in our monthly income we never really saw it. Perhaps it just got gobbled up in extra fast food, shopping trips and convenience items. Or maybe the all-allusive the money-hiding boogy man! I have no idea, the extra financial cushion just vanished. There was more money coming in but no more money in the coffers at the end of the month. Have you noticed that as well?
But I was pleasantly surprised to discover likewise when income was slashed (hard) that the same principle materializes. We simply lived according to our reduced income. And although adjustments had to be made I never really noticed a severe hardship because of it.
So the lesson here is that people typically automatically adjust to their income. But if you can grab the bull by the horns and make adjustments now, your transition will be made much easier.
Helpful Financial Tips For Saving Money
Here are some things I’ve written about dealing with crunched finances:
* How To Make It Without A Corporate Paycheck – Some of these ideas take advance planning. But many can be incorporated right now. In our case since I was now moving to self-employment, I was able to act on a great many money-saving features. That’s because I found myself with more time than money. If you’re looking for ideas of various ways to cut back expenses check it out.
* Grow a Veggie Garden – I already loved to garden but when our finances began to pinch I learned ways to make our garden even more productive. It now provides us with healthy nutrition for pennies on the dollar.
* Edible Landscape – I love to use the edible landscaping principle because it uses beds and spaces you already have. Many edible plants are actually quite lovely to look at and can be easily incorporated into your landscape. I even fully landscaped our porch addition using mostly edibles.
* Learn to Preserve From Your Garden – This includes freezing, dehydrating or canning. That garden goodness can be preserved and enjoyed weeks or even months later.
* Reduce Non-Food Needs In Your Kitchen – This would include eliminating paper products – papaer towels, napkins and plates. Also using repurposed rags for cleaning, repurposing glass jars for food storage & using cloth napkins. I quit buying things meant to be thrown away and instead came up with ways to make do (very well) with what we already had.
* Reduce Food Waste In Your Kitchen – Ideas such as planned leftovers and Cook-once Eat-Twice cooking mean that home-cooked meals can be as close as your freezer no matter how busy your day is. I also learned to make for myself those things I used to buy without a second thought such as mayonnaise, spice mixes and yogurt.
* Reduce Electrical Waste – When times got tough we became more mindful of the electricity not only used, but electrical usage that was just plain wasted energy. No we’re not sitting in the cold and dark to save electricity. We just cut the wasted usage and learned to use FREE passive solar principles as well.
MYO Powdered Laundry Detergent – I’ve learned to make many of the household basics like powdered laundry detergent and a more environmentally-friendly fabric softener using scented vinegar (no, you can’t smell the vinegar when the clothes dry). And household cleaners nowadays are way too complicated, and they shouldn’t be. Different chemicals for different surfaces, really? Simplify your cleaning process – What Do YOU Use To Clean?
* Save On Television – OK I know you’ve heard the ole “cut the cable” argument but you say you just can’t do without your shows? There may still be hope. See how RancherMan & I have survived comfortably without cable.
Beware Of ‘Boredom Shopping’
There are other important changes that will help stretch your dollars. Be aware of shopping for shopping’s sake. And before you plunk down your cash on that item ask yourself if you really need it or do you already have something that would work just as well? If it’s a necessity ask yourself if you can buy it cheaper elsewhere?
For us thrift stores are a great place for sturdy work jeans and various housewares. I love that I can obtain those items very inexpensively and without a new whatsit needing to be manufactured for my use. That makes my environmental heart sing.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s helpful to stop & review things that may not be necessity or that you pay others to do for you. Things such as convenience foods, haircuts, services, etc. Figure out how many of those things you can instead provide for yourself.
You may be very pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. And you’ll probably also be surprised at how inexpensive the alternative is.
And more importantly, you may begin to feel very empowered by taking these matters into your own hands.
New Skills Carry Forward Too!
So don’t fret and don’t hide from the problem. Meet those financial challenges head-on. Yes you’ll have to tighten your belt. But you’ll probably find it wasn’t as bad as you’d feared.
So you’ll give up ordering that home-delivered pizza or learn to cook healthier meals from scratch. Maybe you’ll learn to cut leftover-food waste or to be creative making delicious meals with less expensive ingredients. It will all work out in the end, and you may have even learned a new skill.
I’d like to offer this comfort: We’ve been there several times & things always worked out just fine. Take a deep breath and look at this opportunity to improve your finances. It’ll benefit you now when your budget is crunched, but the lessons you learn now will serve you years down the road as well.
Other Frugal Tips
- When Financial Times Turn Tough Unexpectedly
- Build Financial Security With Less Effort
- A Financial Hit On The Homestead
- Thriving Financially Without A Corporate Paycheck
- Make Your Slow Cooker More Efficient
- Is Food Past The Expiration Date Safe To Eat?
- Make A Cute Gift Box With A Repurposed Greeting Card
- MYO Minty Mouthwash
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Canisters
- Keep That Broccoli Fresh
- Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings
- Cleaner Vegetable Chopping
- Using Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen
- Don’t Waste It – Free Vegetable Broth
- Make A Cute Dish Carrier From Old Jeans
- MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Use ALL Of Your Spray Cleaner
- Quick Coffee Stain Cleaning
…and many MORE!
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