I know we've all been hearing about "the economy" and the devastating layoffs, companies going under and the increasing need for charitable donations so people can feed themselves and their families. I for one would like to be in a position to help others with what the Lord has blessed us with. Eric hasn't lost his job (this time) and we still live pretty comfortably. We run a pretty tight ship around here as far as money goes. We don't buy frivolous things unless we have "gift" money or we have saved for it. We aren't debt free yet, but we are getting there. I am so very thankful that we have a stocked pantry and freezer and enjoy the occasional dinner out. We are able to fill our cars with enough gas to get us where we need or desire to go. Even so, I am challenging myself to spend even less and have found a few ways to cut back because I want to have that extra "cushion" to be able to extend a helping hand when needed. Here's a list of ideas to try: *Food is always the biggest thing on the budget for us...except when gas was $4 a gallon. I used to shop weekly and have been trying to extend it to 10 days. The less you are in the store, the less you will spend. Eat leftovers, soup or try breakfast for dinner...the cheapest meal of the day. You might have to pick up milk or produce, but if you can do 10 days instead of 7, that's only 3 trips a month instead of 4 and that can make a pretty significant dent in the budget. *Plan, plan, plan! It's funny I should say that since this week I had no plan, but normally I do and it helps on the budget immensely. Plan out your meals, including breakfast and lunch. You won't spend $ on the items that you don't need for the week. Make your list and shop only from you list. *Buy "real" food. Processed foods are so much more costly that what God intended us to eat. I'm not saying we don't eat any processed foods, but I do try to keep it to a minimum. I heard Jilian from "The biggest loser" say the other day "if it doesn't have a mother or come out of the ground, don't eat it!" I thought that was pretty good advice and something to think about for sure. I do still like a hostess cupcake as much as the next gal though! *Laundry detergent can be a big expense so I started making my own and have loved the results. You can find the recipe here. The batch I made lasted for a full 2 months for a family of 5. I was impressed it made that much for only about $4. I was way too lazy to go to Hy-vee to get the Fels-Naptha soap I needed this last time I made a batch so I used Zote (the pink one) and I really like it too so I think you could safely use either one. *Another laundry trick is to fill a squirt bottle with 3 parts water to 1 part liquid fabric softener and spray a clean wash rag about 5 times per load and toss it in the dryer instead of dryer sheets. It works just as well, but it's much cheaper. Anyone have any other great ideas for putting a dent in an already tight budget? I really just want to be able to serve others when it's needed and feel like cutting down on what I spend so that I have extra available could possibly help someone out of a tight spot. I read this quote from Dave Ramsey here this morning and thought it summed up the current situation beautifully. Thanks Dave!
The dog is still chasing its tail.
Debt started the problem, so what is the current plan to fix the problem? More debt! What really drives the economy? Is it D.C.'s programs or small-business people scattered throughout the country? This down economic time will begin to heal itself. Do we have to go $1 trillion in debt to do that? No way!
The good news is that our future as an economy isn’t coming out of Washington. Our future prosperity is coming out of the hopes, dreams and individual freedoms of the American people. When left alone, we have a tendency to prosper.
The healing of the economy will begin and end with you. Yes, you, the person you see in the mirror! You have to make your decision as to whether or not you’re going to take part in the recession.
As for our new president, if you’re not a fan, pray for him. He’s your president. If you are a fan, pray for him. He’s your president, not your savior. Your hope will be crushed if you wait for him and his administration—or anyone else—to fix your life and give you money.
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