Our family was “green” before it was cool. We weren’t called “green” back then; we were called “cheap”. I don’t consider us to be tightwads. I prefer to think of us as thrifty. We’ve always shopped at consignment stores, bought 2nd hand cars, cooked at home and (YIKES!) even eaten leftovers. Refrigerator Soup Recipe. There’s not much in my house that isn’t pre-owned, but I don’t feel deprived. I feel liberated.
We save our money not because we’re greedy, but because we have chosen not to be. We don’t have to purchase the newest toy on the market to be happy. We’re “under-buyers”. We have the money to buy it; we just don’t feel the need to.
A cheapskate is not someone who is miserly. It’s someone who spends less than they earn. It’s someone who lives below his means. It’s not a bad thing. It’s our preference. We have no debt. We have savings.
Here’s how it works:
Figure out what your take-home pay is, and then spend LESS than that each month. (OMG how simple!)Take what you didn’t spend, and save it for long-term goals like sending your child to college or retirement. Use it for things you can’t afford to pay for out of your regular paycheck, like trips to Europe (or flat-screen TV’s). Save it for emergencies. If you do this, I promise you will not be troubled about money anymore.
When you put off your purchases by saving up for them first, YOU are choosing how you spend your money. You give yourself time to think. You are not being enticed by slick advertising campaigns into believing that you can’t live without whatever it is they are selling. YOU are in control. YOU are determining just how much you need or want each item. It’s called delayed gratification.
Some easy ways to save money
1. You don’t have to give your kids everything they want. An indulged child has the worst possible preparation for life. Seriously. Don't spoil them!
2. Eat at home. Plan your meals. Shop for groceries once a week. Brown bag your lunch. Drink tap water. Family meals are powerful!
3. Don’t replace items unless they are broken. Buy used or discount. You don’t have to empty the grocery store shelves buying “green” products to do this either. It’s just as green to use what you already have on hand or cheaper versions of the green line. Use natural products!
4. Go low-tech. Wash your clothes in cold water, use clotheslines, wash dishes by hand, use crockpots, sweep & mop the floor instead of vacuuming. Rake the yard instead of using a leaf blower. For entertainment, GO TO THE LIBRARY for your books and movies – attend free events there too.
5. Reduce the size of your lawn by using ground covers. You’ll save water and mow less. You can get free plants at http://www.plantswap.net/ or call a local landscaper – they usually discard the plants they uproot from landscaping jobs.
I mention all of the above first to promote “cheap” living as an incentive for you to try fiscal fasting. There is, however, also a second reason. It’s the connection between spending /consuming less and saving the planet.
I’m not saying you have to become a FREEGAN for goodness sakes! (That sounds a little too scary for me!)
But you could take this test to see how green you are, and then read some of the books listed below.
Available at Chesapeake Public Library
Thrifty: living the frugal life with style by Harris, Marjorie.
This green house: home improvements for the eco-smart, the thrifty, and the do-it-yourselfer by Piven, Joshua.
Cheap talk with the frugal friends: over 500 tips, tricks, and creative ideas for saving money by Zalewski, Angie
Chick living: frugal and fabulous by Koederitz Melcher, Kris.
Baking soda: over 500 fabulous, fun, and frugal uses you've probably never thought of by Lansky, Vicki.
Frugal families: making the most of your hard-earned money by McCoy, Jonni.
The frugal gourmet on our immigrant ancestors: recipes you should have gotten from your grandmother
by Smith, Jeff.
Bottom Line's household magic: 2,022 money-saving, time-saving, make-it-last solutions and suprising new uses for everyday products! by Wilen, Joan.
Better groceries for less cash: 101 tested and proven ways to save on food by Putala, Randall
When changing a lightbulb just isn't enough by Anderson, Emily
52 easy weekend home repairs: a year's worth of money-saving projects by Time-Life Books.
The planet might be too big for you to save, but at least you can save your pocketbook.