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Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Tightwad Gazette challenge ~

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Lest you think that my silence means that I have abandoned my Tightwad Gazette challenge, I need to tell you that it does not.  Actually in my silence there has been a lot of tightwadery (is that a word?) going on!

After living a frugal lifestyle for many years, it is hard for me to find a lot of new ideas in The Tightwad Gazette (TTG).  Oh, I do find some but they are usually things that I all ready do or things that I wouldn’t do. 

The main thing that I get from rereading TTG is to look for ways to save money.  I realize that I need to look at things differently, think outside of the box, and see if it saves us money. 

Here are a few of the new things that we’ve done over this past month:

  • Made a spending plan.

This one is such a no-brainer and yet so hard to do.  Well, making the plan is not hard but actually sticking to the plan is the hard part.

Good places to look for ideas on creating a spending plan are:

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial FitnessDebt-Proof Your Marriage: How to Achieve Financial Harmony (Debt-Proof Living)

We have both of these books in our home library and they offer sound financial advice.

  • Made a debt repayment plan.

A few years ago, we had reached our goal of eliminating our unsecured debt.  Then with David’s layoff and our reduced income, we created new debt for ourselves.  Trust me, we kick ourselves over this all the time.  I guess we needed to learn the same lesson, twice.  So we have worked to create a plan that would allow us to snowball our payments and gave us a debt payoff deadline.  (David created a spreadsheet on Excel that figured in interest and everything. ) Then we decided to shorten the payoff time by increasing payments on one our cards.  As much as I hate that we’ve created this debt mess again, it does help to know that there is an end in sight.  By the way, both of the books above will help you create a debt payoff plan.

  • Changed the way that we shop for groceries and menu plan.

I have always made a plan, calculated the estimated cost, and then worked on the list until it met our budgeted cost.  And it often seemed like we didn’t have enough food. 

So we changed it up a bit.  Now, I use my budgeted money and shop looking for sales & buying in bulk.  Then I sit down and make a menu using what I have.  It may seem like this didn’t save us money because I actually spent the same amount.  However, it has seemed like we’ve gotten more food for our money.  Making the food stretch for two weeks because I was able to buy more saved us money because we don’t whip out the plastic to buy more food.  (See there’s those pesky credit cards again!  I really need to freeze them or cut them up!)

DSCN6755 ~ This is a little sneak peek at an upcoming blog post. ~

  • Make do, make it yourself, or do without.

I realize that the saying doesn’t go quite like that.  However, it is helpful anyway.  If you need something, you either make do, make it for yourself, or do without. 

I often choose to make it for myself if I can.  Every year, we go to our church’s fall festival.  Usually, we wear costumes but decided not to spend the money this year.  I had some t-shirts from a project last winter and a gift card to a craft store.  So I chose to make my little ones some appliqued shirts.  I learned this from my friend, Salinda, who teaches sewing classes.  I think that they came out very cute and I only spent a little bit of money on them because I used a gift card and shirts that I had on hand.  (I had to buy little man’s shirt.)  I meant to calculate how much I spent and how much I saved but teaching pre-algebra to my 7th grader leaves me feeling like I’ve met my math quota lately.  {wink}

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Little Man had a candy corn in his pocket.

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And not to leave Sunshine Girl out…

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  • Learned a new skill. 

Aside from learning how to applique (which I learned last spring), I also taught myself to make these cute flower barettes for the girls. Ok, I’ll admit, they are not hard at all.  My two-year-old son could probably do it.  However, they cost very little money since the flowers were 50% off at the craft store and they are super incredibly cute.

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According to my estimates, these cost me less than two dollars to make.  I’m serious when I say they are cute too. 

 So my tightwad days are not over.  Actually, I’m delving deeper into the tightwad ways and the book as we approach Christmas.  More on that soon…

 

4 comments:

  1. What great ideas. In a time when I really need them the most. Thank you so much for sharing all of them. I really need to read the Dave Ramsey book.

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  2. Saw the shirts. Too cute. What do you want learn to do next with your sewing machine???

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  3. I need to read the Tightwad Gazette. My sister bought is for me but I haven't opened it yet. The holidays are, hands down, the hardest time for me to budget. Oh, and cute shirts!

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  4. Thanks y'all for the comments. They make my day. {smile}

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