In This Scary Economy
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed how much prices have gone up. Just to give you an example, last year at this time, we were able to find local apples on sale for 59¢ a pound. Now, to find them on sale for less than $1.39 per pound is a good thing. That isn’t even mentioning the cost of organics.
Everything is like that. Two years ago, we bought half of a steer and had a freezer full of grass-fed beef. For almost 2 years, I didn’t have to buy beef. Now, when I look at the prices, I’m just unable to comprehend how much we’re paying for beef.
And, we all know how much gas is now — which is a driving force to the price of goods. It costs more to ship, so it costs more to do anything. As gas prices rise, I know that prices of food and goods will just continue to rise.
While the cost of everything seems to be going up, rapidly, I can tell you that my husband’s pay hasn’t gone up in the last year. NOT that I’m complaining. I’m SO thankful has has a job, locally, and isn’t having to work 8,000 miles away anymore. But, health insurance costs doubled (why is everyone so surprised that happened?), and his paycheck doesn’t stretch like it used to.
So, what are we doing to adjust to the higher costs of goods but the same pay? Here are just a few ideas:
- Quit eating out. Lunches here and there are no longer a weekly thing. Date night doesn’t always equal dinner out. When we’re planning a shopping trip or a journey, we pack the food we’ll need.
- School lunches have gotten healthier with moderately good options, and our high schooler had been buying lunch more than bringing lunch. That is no longer on the table. All three kids have lunches packed every day.
- Consolidate shopping into one trip per week. We live 15 miles from the city where I shop. I wait during the week, make lists, and consolidate all of my shopping into one trip.
- Make cleaners homemade. I make my laundry soap, automatic dish washing detergent, glass cleaner, etc., all homemade. I spend pennies on the dollar doing it that way.
- Buy in bulk. I can get a 6-gallon bucket of organic rolled oats for $1.50 per pound, or I can buy them at Whole Foods by the pound at $1.99 per pound. That’s a 25% savings on something I’m going to use up in a year’s time. Check prices and see if bulk shopping will save you money for what you need to buy. The out of pocket expense for a bulk amount is worth it if the you have the storage, will use the product, and can save money.
- Menu plan. Menu plan. Menu plan. I cannot stress this enough. When you don’t know what to make for dinner and you’re constantly running into the store to get what you need for dinner, you spend a lot more.
- Cut way back on meat. We’re down to 3 dinners a week with meat. Rice and beans is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than meat, and, realistically, it’s healthier to eat that way.
- Quit buying convenience foods (I will refer back to the “menu plan”). This will save you money immediately, and in the long run with your health costs. Instead of buying it, make it. If you can’t make it, you probably don’t need to be eating it.
- We do not have any kind of cable or satellite television. We also don’t have a land-line telephone. We have high speed internet, Netflix, and a Magic Jack phone. The cost savings is about 60% if you add in a cable bill and phone bill.
- Buy clothing at consignment stores. Kid-to-Kid, Once Upon a Child, and Platos Closet are my best friends right now. I can get good clothes for the kids at a fraction of the cost of new. Everything from Scott gets hand-me-downed to Jeb, so we don’t have to to buy clothes for him.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposables.
- Breast feed instead of bottle feed.
- Tell your kids, “No.” Even if you’re just throwing a new magazine, a new cheap toy, a new book, a candy bar — whatever — onto the belt at the checkout at the store and just adding $5 dollars to your bill, at the end of a month, that can add up.
- Tell yourself, “No.” Make your own coffee, with your own creamer. Don’t buy that pack of gum. Don’t get those shoes, regardless of how cute they are (gulp). You probably don’t need a new shirt. Just say no.
- Budget. Budget. Budget. Allow for extra spending to a specific amount and then stop. Track every single penny you spend and see where you’re over-spending, and where you don’t realize your needs are. I created a Budgeting Spreadsheet for that purpose.
- We have had to seriously cut down on our traveling. That’s been the hardest thing, especially since the closest parent or sibling is 300 miles away, and many are even further than that.
- Dig a garden! Grow your own vegetables. Save seeds from vegetables you’ve grown and you won’t even have to buy them the next year.
- Walk or use public transportation when you can. I don’t live in an area that has public transportation, but I do try to walk when I can.
- Drink water or tea that you make yourself. Quit drinking soda, juices, processed drinks, etc.
How are you saving money in this economy?
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I’m very surprised you didn’t include dig, dig, dig a GARDEN! :) Love this concise, practical list that we can all be encouraged by! :)
I TOTALLY just updated that list. That was a slap your forehead “DUH” moment for me! Thank you, my beautiful friend!
Great list! I have such a list on my blog as well…in the budget category…It is tough, but not impossible. People make it harder than it needs to be. I had a friend asking me, “How do you have a $200/month grocery budget for your family.” I proceed to tell her: cook from scratch, don’t buy junkfood, don’t buy pop, don’t eat out…Her response, “Well, I just couldn’t do that.” And I think that’s what’s wrong w/ our society. We refuse to make concessions. Back in the day, people knew how to “make do.” They knew how to do what needed to be done. These days, people just pull out a credit card instead.
Thanks for sharing!
We do all of those things. It would have been easy a year and a half ago (when we made a huge life/career change) for us to have decided that I needed to go back to work, but we chose to rebudget. We got rid of cable years ago, we are also cutting back on meals with meat, we don’t eat out as often, maybe once a pay period. I meal plan and we eat leftovers. I make a grocery list and stick to it. We tell ourselves no, or save up for things we want, even the kids. It is worth it for me to be able to continue staying at home. I agree with the post above, people don’t want to make concessions, they don’t want to do what it takes, and then ultimately they wish the would have, but then can’t because they are in the spending pattern they are in. One more thing, is that I have found at if I don’t go into stores to “kill time” or browse, then I don’t spend or want to spend. And I just started making my own laundry detergent! Love it. So while we may not have everything we think we want, we have all we need, and it is neat to see how the Lord supplies other things. Thanks for this post!
Well said, Crystal! That’s how we feel as well.
I wish I had a “love” button for comments. This one is totally awesome.
We’re rearranging our health insurance so DH gets the low rate of employee-only coverage, and the boys and I get the low private rate of me + them. We’ll save close to $5,000 this year on premiums alone!
With one graduating private HS in four months, we’ll sock away that tuition. He’s also going into the military, so I’m rearranging the budget for food, water, electricity and car repair. I’ll be keeping my little sedan for another nine months at least. I’m purging many things from the household, and will be doing the neighborhood garage sale this spring, socking away the extra cash.
I just actually increased our food budget for a variety of reasons, but I think we’re doing well for our fam.
I knew I liked you for a reason. You’re in my head. ;-)
So many great ideas! We haven’t had a garden in a few years because of the deer. Too much time and effort to be feeding the wildlife! My husband’s parents had a huge garden every year, but they quit last year because it was just too hard at 74 and 82 years old. So this year my husband is going to help them with their garden. They want us to plant our things there, too. It has an electric fence! So no more deer gardens for us.
Another great post, Hallee! Thanks for sharing some great ideas :)
I switched grocery stores – from HyVee to Walmart. I’m saving quite a bit that way. I also cut my grocery budget by $25 a week so I’m having to make choices. Before, I bought what I wanted – now I’m trying to buy what I need.
I make my own laundry soap. I’ve tried some of the other homemade cleaners but I’m not crazy about them. However, I’m using a little less of the cleaners I buy and more elbow grease.
Still working on other strategies. One at a time.
But have you also noticed that prices are going up and package size is going down? I was making Peanut Butter Balls for Super Bowl Sunday and I normally buy one package of almond bark. The package looked a little small so when I made an emergency run for an ingredient I forgot, I bought another package. I ended up using half of it plus the other package. I paid more for each package and used 1-1/2 instead of 1. I only discovered a while back that tuna cans went from 6 ounces to 5 ounces. That one ounce makes a big difference. There are TONS of products where the price is going up but the package size is going down. Scary.