"Bludgeoning hard times with a rolling pin"

"Bludgeoning hard times with a rolling pin"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 ways to endure difficult times

Photo above: tomato plants

Preparing for tough economic times seems to be a skill with which we have lost touch. From the bible to fairy tales, preparedness has been lauded as a virtue.

There are some simple ways we all can make sure our homes are lean and operating efficiently, even under the current challenging conditions of rising oil prices and inflation at the grocery store.

Check out these 10 suggestions:

Take inventory of what you already have. Put like items together so you’ll be able to find them quickly, such as: kitchen gadgets, office supplies, tools and sewing supplies. If you already have something, you won’t have to purchase another one.

Keep more food on hand for emergencies. When you are at the store, trade that bag of empty calories for some cans of beans or corn. The prices will probably rise anyway, so buy now and enjoy the piece of mind a full pantry offers. (Remember to heed expiration dates.)

Get out of debt. Of course, this will offer huge savings in interest. But it’s easier said that done. Dave Ramsey has been helping people for many years crawl out from under that burden. Check out his website here or borrow one of his books from the library.

Cooking from scratch has the potential to save big bucks. It may be the one area in the family budget that can be reduced so drastically. Here is a great website for doing just that.

Consolidate car trips. This is just a matter of thinking ahead. Eliminate trips to the store for just one item. Make a list and venture out less frequently.

Vacation near home—or at home. Getting away is just a state of mind. Declare your home a bed and breakfast for a few days. Don’t do any work at all. Lounge around. Go out to dinner nearby. Rent movies. Play games. Spoil yourself.

Plant a garden. This doesn’t have to be rows of corn and asparagus in the backyard. Plant a tomato plant in a container and set outside in the sun. Water and tend to it. Pretty soon, you’ll feel smug eating tomatoes for a fraction of the cost to buy them. Check out this website for more container gardening information.

Repair items, such as clothes, instead of buying new ones. We have been spoiled with inexpensive clothes for such a long time. The temptation to run to the store at the first sign of button failure is so great. But there is no reason not to break out the thread and a needle to repair a rip, sew on a button or even fix a hole in a sock. It not only saves the price of a new garment, it saves gas getting to the store as well.

Hang clothes instead of tumble drying them. Depending on your rates, machine drying clothes could cost about 50 cents per load. Don’t fret, you are still able to hang dry your things, even if the subdivision restrictions say otherwise. Set up a rod in the laundry room or over a bathtub and hang some things. Maybe everything won’t fit, but at least all the laundry doesn’t have to be machine dried. If there is space, erect a clothesline in the basement.

Wash your hair every other day instead of every day. I heard somewhere that models prefer day two for styling their hair, because too soon after a wash, hairstyles don’t work as well. So, we can save water and shampoo all while sporting better hairdos.

These painless steps are just a beginning into the life of conservation and frugality. When we become aware of our habits, it becomes so much easier to recognize where we can cut back.

The good thing is that once we have our own lives in order, we are more prepared to help others during their struggles.

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