As a follow-up to the previous article, here are a few more frugal tips that can really help you keep your money and keep it from going out the door.
The first thing to go when you are out of money, or trying not to spend money, are non-food items. The only paper product you must have is toilet paper. You can live without paper towels or even napkins. If you can get them for such a small price that it won't affect your income, do use them, but generally when times are tough, the first thing to eliminate is all the non-food products. In most places, the large trash bags are a necessary expense, but you can be careful to fill them more adequately and not let a bag go out to the curb unless you have emptied all the trash from the house into it. When you shop, look for foods that do not have a lot of packaging.
You can get containers with lids at the dollar store, or reject store, instead of spending money on plastic wraps and plastic bags, which you only throw away. If you have to pack lunches, containers contain the food much better and give you more use for the price.
Learn to look after all your belongings. Books that have been dropped or left on the floor will have broken bindings. Develop a sense of respect for everything from your chairs to your vacuum cleaner. Don't jerk things or bang them against things. Handle everything carefully and with grace. They will last much longer and you won't have to replace them. I have decided not to replace a lot of small appliances because it frees up space in my kitchen if I stir the batter with a wooden spoon and chop food myself with a chopping board, however, if I do have an appliance, I want to treat it carefully to get the most life out of it. Do not tug at bedding or pull clothing out of the closet. Pull out drawers and open cabinets more carefully. This is just good stewardship.
As in the previous article, eliminate complaining. Only build up and create ideas for living beautifully without spending.
For the most part, do not pay for things you cannot own. There are of course, some expenses you cannot "touch," which will be necessary, but many of the things we pay for are not real. There are high costs that give you very little in return, and in fact, will enslave you for a long time, trying to work to pay for them. I remember once being with some friends, who liked to drink. They were buying cases of beer and then laughing at one of the women with us because she bought a small coffee table she had always wanted. She looked straight at them and told them the cost of her table was exactly the cost of their combined cases of beer. "Where will your drinks be in 5 years?" she asked. They soon shut up. In 5 years, she still had the little table and had repainted it several times. People offered to buy it from her at twice the price. I don't think you could do that with beer or cigarettes.
Sometimes newspaper subscriptions are a big drain on your budget but you do not see it right away. Where are those papers at the end of a year? Would you like to have a hundred dollars in your pocket instead of 365 days of newsprint sitting on your back porch? You can't re-sell them. The same goes for a lot of magazines. Just pick the ones you like and intend to keep in your library.
To some people, living with thrift is like challenging game. They enjoy it and are enriched by it. They gain more confidence in the future because they are securing their income and preventing it from flying away with the wind.
Another thing to eliminate is all junk food. Soda pop is not necessary, and neither are chips of any kind. Once you stop buying the cans and bottles of fizzy pop, you will have have more time, because you won't have to take those extra steps to recycle the containers. You will be in better health without the junk food, anyway.
You can get frames, trays, baskets, planters, and all kinds of hard-goods at your used stores, junk stores, Goodwills, etc. and paint them with ordinary craft paint. Make matching sets for your house and you will feel you are living rich. As long as things are clean and smell fresh, you do not need to appear to be in reduced circumstances. Read "The Wife" by Washington Irving, for inspiration, on the sidebar under "Theme Articles." The wife in this story, from the 1800's, is someone who found herself losing the lavish lifestyle she and her husband were accustomed to. Instead of finding her unresponsive and sullen, when the husband got home from work, she was happily making a cozy nest out of the run-down place they had removed to.
As Deby, below said, STAY HOME as much as you can because it saves fuel. It costs at least $20.00 in some places, to leave the house, when you count wear and tear on the car, gas, and having to buy something when you are out. I always laughed at the old Virginia Slims cigarette ads in the 80's--meant to mock the women of the Victorian era because they supposedly didn't have freedom (supposedly--but then, they didn't have the heavy responsibilities of earning a living AND keeping house--they only had to do one--AND they didn't have the worry that women have today)--particularly the one of the woman taking a break outside hanging up the laundry. It said that every woman should "get out of the house" regularly. Yes, those ads were clever but they got you thinking about how you can actually go outside and sit on your own porch or walk in your own little garden and it costs you nothing and does a great deal of good.
As for essential shopping, this will be necessary, but for those who must cut back on spending, there are many alternatives that do not cost as much. STaying home, even if you just relax and read your favorite book or magazine, is much cheaper and calming to the mind.
When things do get better, you'll have very good habits ingrained in you, and be able to use money to really help someone and to make your own future and the future of your loved ones secure.