Monthly Archives: April 2017

10+ Ideas for Saving Money

We bought some garden supplies yesterday. A while back I discovered how and where to get the supplies cheaper than I had before. The regular retail price of what we bought was $12. I paid $4. The $8 difference isn’t huge, but do that 5 or 10 times a year? Yep, it’s significant.

frugality image

These  are my “secrets” although none of them are secret.

  1. Be willing to buy something that isn’t in pristine shape, frequently you can get it cheaper, maybe a lot cheaper. We’ve done this with all sorts of goods: luggage at the L.L. Bean outlet with the wrong initials on them, used diner dishes from a thrift shop, etc. I buy clothes, china/glass at thrift shops. I go to my local salvage (scratch & dent) market before I go to the supermarket. (See #2 below.)
  2. Go through sale items before you shop elsewhere in a store. True at L. L. Bean’s outlet, the supermarket, the salvage store, a consignment shop, thrift shops, etc. Most stores have a regular sale corner or shelf. If you learn where that is, or where the markdowns go and go through them first, you avoid buying 4 new rolls of paper towels instead of 3 and one with a rip in the plastic cover for 1/2 off.
  3. Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale. I wanted 2 things yesterday: cloth paint tarps and the garden materials. Got everything for just under $20. I know I can find the garden materials on sale, it’s just locating them, so if I hadn’t found them on sale, I would have passed. The paint tarps (not on sale, but usually smaller and cheaper than other tarps) are to put over the ever-larger leaf piles, so leaves aren’t blown back into the yard and to speed up composting.
  4. Be willing to walk away or have an alternate plan if what you want isn’t on sale. First time I looked for the garden materials this year I couldn’t find them on sale. The alternate plan for this is a lot of weeding. or using a home-grown substitute for what I bought, but it’s messier and doesn’t work as well.
  5. Be willing to do some work to get the bargain. I had to go look though the store for my bargain yesterday, then find someone to talk to. Needed help from the cashier too. If you’re always in a hurry, this will probably keep you from getting those bargains.
  6. Don’t damage items or try and bargain with the retailer, unless you know they’re okay with it. I had a retail store for years. I hated people who would pick up a $5 book and ask me to sell it to them for $3. Asking for a break at the end of the season is one thing. Or, if you truly need to buy a lot of something, talk to them beforehand. Don’t ask for extra discounts during sales.
  7. Buy in or out of season. In season for perishable items, like produce. Out of season for nonperishable items, like winter coats. The bargains in nonperishable items usually start as the seasons change, and get larger (with less selection) as time goes on.
  8. Know what customary retail is on an item before you go bargain hunting. If you’re paring down your food bill, frequently people make a “price book.” No one (or very few people) seem to do the same thing for durable goods they’re interested in: sofas, tires, prom dresses, etc.
  9. Find websites which will help you save time/money. I will tell you as a person who has spent a lot of time finding these, there are too many to review in any kind of timely way. If you want food coupons, there’s some really outstanding ones. If you want info re organization, same goes. If you want to save money in general, there’s a bunch of those too. If you go looking for general “save money” websites, you can quickly be overwhelmed. Be specific what you want help with before you go looking.
  10. Learn about cheaper substitutes: chicken thighs instead of breasts, for example.
  11. Limit what you’ll buy. For us, that’s six month’s worth of something which isn’t perishable, if I have the room. I bought shampoo a while back. I had coupons good for $2 off 2 and it was on sale as well. I had 3 coupons. I got 6 bottles. Normally, I’ll only buy 3 extra, max., but the shampoo won’t go bad, and my coupons were about to expire. Also, I’d just cleaned out the space where I’d store these, so I knew I had room.
  12. Be willing to comparison shop by phone if you’re buying either a large quantity or something that’s expensive. I just read an article by someone in the business who recommended this for caskets, etc. dealing with the death of a loved one. I’d never considered that, but why not? If it’s true of caskets, it’s certainly true about 4 dozen azalea plants or 1 tonne of gravel or 3 cases of tomatoes or 25 lbs of ground round. (See Jill Bond’s Mega Cooking if  you’re interested in strategies re food bulk buying.)

 

Today

DH is working on upgrading the electrical system on his motorcycle. He helped me with some of the leaf moving (rake, then relocate). Later today, we’re off to the storage to work on that.

There are probably more books here ready to be gotten rid of. I gave one  to a neighbor. Have another to ask a second neighbor about and the yard is tidier than it was. All good.

The fertilizer I used up (we’d had it for 2 years, why?) was rained on for the next two days. A lot of it went into the bulb beds, and the daffs. and other bulbs are shooting up green sprouts all over the place. Partly because it’s time, but partly because they got fertilized just as they were starting their spring push. The rain was a blessing for them.

So we need to buy more mulch for the bulb bed to keep out the weeds (grass), but the bulbs should spread out quite a bit this year because of the timely fertilizer and rain.

I’ve been working on the spring/summer food/garden plans,  Between the farm we belong to and the garden I grow (sometimes, didn’t last year) we are usually drowning in green stuff by June. I want a better plan for what comes in/when and what I intend to do with it this year! I’m about 25% done with this piece. Finished the initial data gather yesterday. Pulling it together.  There are 2 or so more data gathering steps before I can make an actual plan, but it should get there.

Off to the storage — ho!!!!

J

We took a file box full of books and a few besides to the market which has the book bin. Gone! I have gone through one box since we got home and have started the 2nd. There’s about 10 more books in a bag to be donated, wherever it is we go next that will take them.

Worked on Storage, Yesterday

Intend to do more, today. And yet more, tomorrow. I may have to rent a tiny unit to take the furniture. I’m not sure if the antique store has a place for furniture in its new location. If not, then pieces need to be hauled to auction, sold otherwise, or given away. (Purged books from the house today instead.)

We are getting a new back roof this year and maybe some storage space along with it. However, it will NOT be filled with boxes of books. If I bring the stuff home and it just sits here, I have only gained the price of the storage. And the price of the addition has to be considered in there too. The difference of course is that an additional utility area adds to the value of our home, not just a landlord’s bottom line. But as we’re talking about it right now, it will be a much bigger undertaking than we’d originally planned.

I still have WAY too much stuff. My ultimate goal this year is to have NO storage unit by 12/31 and be able to sanely (no box stacks, except perhaps in the attic) store what we keep. There’s a huge amount of stuff to shed between us and that goal, but I’m really tired of hauling things back and forth, trying to sell them or determine what happens to them. I don’t need the camouflage anymore and I’m tired of drowning in stuff!

stuff stacks

I have no idea how well we can manage this. All I can do is try!

J

Took a box to the dump’s swap shop today. Also wrote notes to booksellers, collectors, etc. who are friends. Were they still interested in x or y or z type of book? If so, exactly what did they want? Got answers, Am getting a list together.  More stuff gone. Also, will have a way to sell the best of the stuff it looks like. Hurrah!

Crunch Time

We’ve pared down the stuff and space and stuff, and space. . . .

And now? We have too little space for what’s left. I have a bag of books to go out hanging on the front door knob. I have 4 boxes of books to go through before I leave here today, with the idea that I remove whatever other bags of books that generates.

Also today I’m supposed to finish up the move from the old storage unit to the new, smaller one. And it’s going to be tight, sigh.

boxes

Crunch time indeed.

Unexpected

I have Desha Peacock’s decorating book. I just missed seeing her at a bookstore event. Found out about it the week following. Anyway, I was intrigued and I bought the book: Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford.

Off and on I’ve dipped into it. Most of it seems to be articles about hip bloggers, which doesn’t interest me much. I don’t care about their blogs, their lives or how popular they are. Many of them, because they are on average 20-30 years younger than I am, are talking about things I already know to save money: the dump’s swap shop, upcycle, antique stores, flea markets, swap, etc. I do all that and have. So, a half a dozen times I’ve resolved to get rid of the book, donate or sell it.

I’d gotten there this morning, again, and found one of her “quizzes” which are supposed to help you figure out your “sweet spot.” I write in books I buy for information, and had various notes in this one about colors, but nothing else. But today? Today I wrote this about a “mood board” (I’ve never managed to make a mood board, or creative board, or whatever work. I’ve tried!)

“Seriously? Decide to feel a certain way and you make that in a room?

HAH!

Fat chance!!!

Part of this was “Ask yourself these questions:. . . (My pencilled notes are in boldface.)

How do I want to feel in this room? How do I want my family to feel and others who visit?” My comment here was: How the F do I know? Never thought I could control how I feel in a room. Rooms victimize you.

“What colors would I like to see in this room? How much of this color or colors can I envisage?” No envisaging. NO visualization. None. Forget it!

I feel a little like I did when I discovered I’d been traumatized by knitting. My lack of visualization was deliberate, once. I decided I had to do that because thinking in pictures yanked me around emotionally, and my emotions made me crazy.

Of course, that was almost 40 years ago, but I’ve discovered that flipping the switch I did, from thinking in pictures to thinking in words isn’t easy to do, or to undo.

desha peacock book

I’m not sure how to fix this. I like our new living room, mostly. I learned a lot doing it. But other than having an idea about how I want to combine colors in the house, spending as little as possible, and getting DH’s overall approval, I have no idea about what to do or how. I only know the next piece usually, if that.

The living room’s paint needs touch up and to be cleaned up in some areas. I want to take a strip out of one room to make a hallway, so I have a wall with a large bookcase. Aside from that? I have no next steps.

The back roof has to happen this year no matter what, and much of the available money will go to that. After that? I have no idea.

It annoys me that this is seemingly so simple for some people and so difficult for me. I know why I did what I did. It was necessary, when I was 20, but it isn’t necessary now and it makes my life difficult in all sorts of ways.

I can’t write fiction. I can’t plan craft projects without doing a “sketch” because when I imagine a finished project, it never turns out that way, etc. Not being able to imagine what something might look like is a total PITA!

Look Elsewhere

 

For years I recommended a book search engine to people who wanted to evaluate whatever books they had. Today I did a search there and noticed something, it was basically an amazon search engine. Not surprising, as Amazon bought the site a few years back.

It had been balanced. Most of it was Amazon, but you could still find things elsewhere. The major used book site was bought a few years back by Amazon too, so that’s there, but I stopped buying from them when Amazon bought them.

Sigh.

Sometimes I think I’ll be the last person in America who won’t buy things from or sell on Amazon. I don’t buy things at Walmart or use self-checkouts either. I’m just weird.

J

New Rules

  1. Handle things as little as possible.
  2. When items are for sale, if they don’t sell at some previously set time frame, try to remove at least 75% of the items from inventory.
  3. If it’s in the house, you don’t use it, haven’t used it, and you have no idea when or if you’ll use it, get rid of it or reuse the components.
  4. Ask for help when you need it.
  5. Take advantage of good weather.
  6. Talk to the people you do business with. If you’re personable and reasonable, it can save you money. Maybe not a lot, but some. We drove the rental van about 8 miles yesterday. Because we were personable with the folks we rented from and the person before us had put in a little more gas than they had to, the guy told us if the gas hadn’t gone down below x level, to not worry about it. It hadn’t, and so we didn’t buy gas.
  7. Make use of the resources and tools you already have. This one actually cost us money. We forgot our hand truck yesterday and so had to rent one, sigh. We didn’t use it much, but we still paid for the one we rented. Today I’ll throw the one we own in the car.

full hand truck