Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Living on Nearly Nothing

Recently I picked up a magazine that advertised on the front cover "Live on Nothing!" so I bought it. Ironic, I know.
Eagerly got home and read the entire magazine only to go "Where was that article?" There were some cost cutting tips and a few no cost ideas at which I can recall only one which was "Share items." That's all. Do to the nature of my work there are times when we have more in the bank and times when things are lean. So, all in all we have had to learn how to trim the budget more at certain times of the year. Here are some ideas we use. Hope they are helpful. By the way they are also generally sustainable for our environment.
To the right you will see some of my favorite all time books for living a simple lifestyle.

1. Cut down to water, homemade lemonade, and tea.
Lemonade: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 quarts water. Add to taste
Tea: 2 Large family size decaf tea bags in boiling water. Add 1/2 cup sugar while warm.
Arnold Palmers: 1/2 Lemonade mixed with 1/2 Tea.

2. Don't drive, and when you do run errands in a circle and do what needs to be done in the same area. Make sure to cut down on left hand turns which lead to idling and more time sitting in the car.

3. Visit your library before buying books.Then only buy the books you will use for reference that you want in your home library.  Our library is fabulous, there are all kinds of kids programs and adult programs for free.

4. Get rid of cable or satellite. If you can use your antenna, however some other options are a ROKU or a gaming system that allows streaming to your t.v. if you have wifi in your home. We
subscribe to HULU Plus for 7.99 and Netflix 9.99 for a total of $18.99 a month for more to watch than we could ever want plus no commercials on Netflix!

5. Limit going out. We live in a rich art and music community and we love to go out and support our artist friends. We save our going out for times when they are exhibiting or playing. Often it's free or only $5. We discuss before we go out how much we are going to spend.

6. Look for free or cheap things to do in your community. Public parks, free swimming areas, and free tours of landmark places.

7. Turn off the lights.

8. Turn the air up to 78* in the summer and turn the fans on. In the winter turn the air down to 67*  and sit by a fire or put on more clothing.

9. Only flush when necessary or it would be gross not to.

10. Take shorter showers or baths.

11. Eat leftovers and eat simply. My breakfast this a.m. was a banana spread with almond butter. Simple and healthy.

12. Buy in bulk, but check the per oz/lb. savings.

13. Don't use more than necessary.

14. Run appliances in off peak hours. Usually before 8a.m. and after 8p.m.

15. Grow something. Depending on your ability you can grow herbs or a huge garden.

16. It is summer so grill a bunch of meat and veggies at once and eat on this for a few days. Saves tons of energy and is so good for you.

17. Don't shop. If you do ask yourself  "Do I need this or is this a want?"

18. Clean your house. Most people sell their homes because they are to overwhelmed to clean them. Studies prove this. Clean your home and rearrange your furniture, this will make you want to be there.
Here is a daily guide I use.

Grab a trash sack and a laundry basket
  • Go to each room and make the bed or tidy up the pillows and blankets on the furniture.
  • Throw away all trash
  • Stack magazines and books neatly
  • Put all dishes in the sink.
  • Put anything that goes somewhere else in the laundry basket.
  • Put shoes on a shoe rack or in the closet
  • Pick up any laundry and put it in the basket or the hamper.
  • Straighten or put up cords and remotes.
If the place is dirty:
  • Dust
  • Windex
  • Vacuum, Sweep, or Mop
  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe counters
  • Change the trash 
  • Empty the kitty litter
I like to light incense, open the windows if weather allows, and turn on some music. 
    Often times it's not what we are actively doing to save money it's what we are not doing (spending, shopping, driving, seeking fulfillment in things to keep us distracted from our home).
    Living in a clean home and having a clean car help free our minds of stress and clutter. If you have a cozy home you will want to be there.

    Hope these are helpful tips and help you save a load of cash.


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