With the current down turn in the economy, everywhere I look there are thrift tips. My husband and I giggle a bit. "Their" idea of thrift are things like: only buy on sale, buy cheaper cuts of meat, opt out of the daily latte or turn your thermostat down at night. Meanwhile, those of us that are thrifty are thinking... really? That's the best you have?
We decided that just a few steps we've taken have majorly impacted our ability to live within our means, even while our means have fluctuated all year. So here are the real thrift tips that we find truly helpful:
*Say goodbye to meat, starch, veggie dinner plate. Pick 2 meat varieties and S-T-R-E-T-C-H. Put a chicken in the crock pot with veggies. Serve some for dinner. Reserve at least 1/4 for a casserole, and use the broth for a soup. Or make a roast, beef and noodles and beef pot pies. In all honesty, our family is not following this completely right now. We have a freezer of food to eat before we move. It's probably evident in the meal plans.
*Cook dried beans and have them at the ready in the fridge. Replace 1/2 of the meat in recipes with the beans.
*Bake bread at home. Home baked bread is free of all the preservatives and junk. Plus homemade bread can turn any meal into comfort food.
In an emergency, Hillbilly Housewife has a monthly menu to feed a family of 4 - 6 for $70. Even more dire circumstances? There's even one for $40. We've been blessed to have not been in this spot, but it's still a great link for meal planning ideas!
*Barter. Everyone has skills of some sort. Find yours and trade them for others skills. The Christmas before last we bartered for almost all of our gifts. It was a very inexpensive and wonderful Christmas.
*Buy a programmable thermostat ($19) and thermal underwear for the whole family (<$50). It is money well spent. Program the thermostat low and lower while everyone is out or sleeping.
*Buy second hand... the quality is obvious, it's already been through one owner. Especially in trendy or "label" clothes, let the first person eat the fancy name cost. Wood furniture is great second hand as well... sturdy, cost efficient, and you can always paint it!
*Use your library for fun family activities, books, and movies.
*Turn off the TV! Enjoy your family and you'll feel so much more blessed with what you have.
*Realize that there are always going to be people who are trying to keep up with the Jones' and there will always going to be someone with more. The only way to win at that game is to gracefully bow out.
It's my opinion that those that live in thrift are well-prepared for lean times. Hopefully the current climate will inspire more to make true thrift a constant and not something to do just to get by...