Many people write and ask me if I can give them some general Rules oF Thumb to help them live a more controlled lifestyle. I think control is the operative word here. What I espouse here in this column is to give you greater control over just how you spend your time and money.
At first, people may have so much debt, that control seems impossible. They live from paycheck to paycheck paying off an ever growing list of clamoring creditors. To stem that financial hemmorage you need to either spend less or increase income -- one hopes both. Frugal living can help do this for you. To quote Ben Franklin "A penny saved, is a penny earned." All your savings are indeed income!!! And small amounts can add up quite rapidly.
The two key concepts are:
1) Small savings matter.
2) Try the rule of half.
1)Don't ignore the accumulated effect of many, many small savings.
Some one wrote, "How can saving two cents on a package of cereal now and then, make much of a difference?"
I think they tend not to see the accumulated effect of small measures.
For instance, if you routinely save just the ten cents on your cereal packages every week (most people save much more!!), you would save only $5.20 cents a year. But careful small savings on almost every item in your grocery cart can add up rapidly. Last week we saved 50 cents a loaf on four loves of bread, which was $2.00 saved. We Saved 50 cents by buying canned tomato sauce instead of that in the jar. These our cans saved another $2.00. We bought ground turkey instead of hamburg and saved $1.00 a pound, thus saving $4.00, and so on.
For our total weekly grocery shopping by price comparison, buying sale items, and house brands, we spent $57.72. If instead, we had purchased name brands and non-sale items we would have spent $110.58 --NOT QUITE TWICE AS MUCH. WE SAVED $52.86. (And this was abad week. Often we do better!)
Over the course of 52 weeks in a year, this means we save $2748.72 by simple use of comparison shopping. so little things really do add up!
2)Use the rule of Half. Try half as much product and see if it doesn't do the job just fine.
For instance, use half as much dish detergent and see if the dishes wash up in a satisfactory manner. Do the same with toothpaste, clothes washing detergent, etc.
If you use half as product, you only need to buy half as much annually thus saving even more every year.
One place this may not work is cooking where changing and substituting may not work properly. However, I've found in most recipes you can cut the sugar by a third or a quarter and still get good results. So we use 2/3 cups of sugar in our flavoraide instead of a full cup, or 1 third less cup of sugar in cakes, etc. with sastifactory results. Try this out a see.
I'm sure you can think of many more ways to try using thse two key concepts to help lower your bills and save money.
For more ideas Check out these Frugal Living Books!
Complete Tightwad Gazzette
The Complete Tightwad Gazzette
Declare Your Finanacial Independence
Declare Your Financial Independence
Mary Hunt's Complete Cheapskate
You Can Afford to Stay Home With your Kids
You can Afford to stay Home WIth your Kids