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2 October 2008

20 ways to survive tough times

One of the many things I love about the way I live is that I never feel helpless. I feel I'm in control of what I'm doing and where my life is headed. Gone are the days when I got swept along with recessions, credit squeezes or fashion trends. However, we do live in troubled times and I know a lot of people are losing their jobs, their investments and their money because of the current circumstances. It's not just the problems facing our international financial institutions that is worrying, it's also rising prices for food, rent, petrol/gas, and most of the consumer items we buy.

While there is a part of me that realises we need to slow down our rate of spending, I don't like to see what is happening now, because along with the many banks and businesses that are failing, many ordinary folk are too. I wonder what you're all doing to weather this storm. I have a feeling that we are in for a tough time and it will be protracted. The boost of Christmas sales won't be there this year, that will flow on to job losses and more small businesses going broke.

So what can we do to make sure our own boats don't sink?

It's really just continuing on the road many of us are already on - being prudent with our purchases, continuing to pay off debt and doing all those day to day things in our homes that conserve the resources we do have. We are all in different parts of the world, some have large families, some are couples, some singles but we all have things in common - we all have to have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and money in our pockets. We are not helpless! We can plan for what is coming so we're better able to cope with it. So let's go over those home-based activities that will help us get through this.
  1. Spend only on needs, not wants.
  2. Stockpile food and groceries - this is the single best thing you can do to prepare for tough times.
  3. Track your money - make sure you know what you're spending money on.
  4. Redo your budget to stop money leaks.
  5. Pay off debt. Make a plan today to do it.
  6. Do all your tasks in one outing - plan what you have to do so you get everything done in one day - shopping, doctors visits, post office etc.
  7. Try to stay home a few times a week.
  8. Try to cut out unnecessary expenses - cut down on your internet, phone, cable TV etc.
  9. Plan your menu for a week.
  10. Cook from scratch.
  11. Eat your leftovers, never waste food.
  12. Have a couple of meatless meals every week.
  13. Stop eating out, stop buying takeaway food.
  14. Take lunch to work and school.
  15. Stop buying magazines, newspapers, coffees and drinks when you're out.
  16. Make your Christmas gifts this year.
  17. Stop listening to advertising. Now is not the time to spend.
  18. Explain to your children about the current tough times and ask them how they can work with the family to cut back.
  19. Learn to read your electricity and water meters so you can cut down on your consumption of both those resources.
  20. Get involved in your life - this is the perfect time to step up and become more independent by doing more things for yourself at home.
I bet many of you have some excellent ideas for cutting back and for surviving this crisis. Tell me what your plans are to get through these tough times.


  1. Great post - you have some really good practical ideas, even tho I live 'over the pond' in the UK our economy is in a dire state too, very interesting reading, thanks.

  2. What a wonderful post. I think you said it all. We do a lot of what you posted about, but one thing we do is, if we have to make a large purchase on whatever is needed. We don't make another one until the first one is paid off. Even if that second purchase is needed badly. This helps us to keep our head above water.

  3. Yes I think the whole world is feeling these times. - News is full of doom.

    One thing we have done is give the kids a budget. This has been awesome! Stops the asking big time & teaches them how to budget.
    Our kids budget for their own clothing, cell phone & fun spending.

    Love Leanne

  4. An excellent & timely post, Rhonda Jean!

  5. Even though we've lived frugally for years and have given up many things over the last year and a half (like long-distance on our phone plan, caller id, call waiting, cell phones, etc.), it's getting harder and harder for us to make ends meet as all our bills go up, up, and up. So sad, especially when our only debt is mortgage debt.

    We lost our large chain natural foods market a few months ago and are left with only a small one now - no sales and high prices. Fortunately, they give a 10% discount for buying by the case so we take advantage of that as we are able.

  6. Rhonda, I've been thinking very much lately about your last post. Some tips from me:- If you have a safeway close to you shop after 2.00p.m. They discount meat and dairy. Great bargains. Freeze excess. Christmas - make a fabric shopping bag. I put in a jar of my mango chutney, great mags (bought from op shop),also my sister and brothers families get a "piglet" from care australia, help those in the world who really are doing it tough. If you live in Melbourne, volunteer once a month or when you can to help prepare lunch for the homeless at the Sacred Heart Mission. If we think we're going through tough times experience what it must be like for the homeless, mental ill and the drug effected.
    Thanks for such great tips Rhonda

  7. The next few months will be expensive for us. Our auto and homeowners insurance is due, our son's birthday falls in Oct. and of course, Christmas is coming. October is especially tight for us. I am determined to cut out all food costs except for milk and butter for the month of October. I will "shop" from my pantry and freezers. We hope to only spend $60 or less on groceries this month. I think we can do it. We have tons of vegetables preserved from our garden and stockpiled "on sale" items and we have plenty of meat and other vegies/fruits frozen in the freezers. I will plan menus around what we have. This will really help us out this month!


  8. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Another great post , we have lived the simple,frugal life for yrs. and yrs. We do what you wrote about ,I mend clothes etc. , recycle as much as possible. We cut out paper goods (napkins, towels.)use cloth now. Our son lives at home ,makes his own way here, He paid his car off early . Our home and car is paid for .
    Our electric bills went up 30% starting today ;o( D.H. was laid off last April, jobs are drying up around here, he's 60 nearing retirement age and with the stockmarket down that mean losses on stocks for our retiring yrs. :o(
    I do cook most things from scratch but I do have things quick to cook for busy days (I posted this wk.) about stock piling , once these items runs out I will not replace then ,I will cook and freeze for a busy day.I bought them because they were on sale at a good buy.
    With winter coming on here (U.S.) we will put on extra clothes instead of turning the heat up ,put plastic over the windows. We use to heat with heating oil until last yr.'s jump to $3.99 per gallon.Went to electric now 30% increase,we're checking into heating with a pellet or wood stove We live in the woods and have several fallen trees.
    I sew,& craft and barter often that helps a great deal .
    I use powered milk to cook with, Try to cook meals that sticks with you beans, rice, oats,those type foods. I really stay on top of fridge waste ,and recyle left overs into a different meal .
    I have some old cookbooks recipes from early 1900 plan to look thru those for idea's. Has recipes using corn syrup etc. instead of sugar. I know you can make cornbread etc. with water instead of milk taste is not as good but I do know how to survive if things gets worse.
    I hang laundry to dry . Make laundry det. and all my cleaning supplies. We drink tea.cof. ,water koolaid instead of cola's.
    The list goes on and on.
    Thanks for the great post, I look forward to checking back to get other ideas from your readers.
    Have agreat day! Blessins',Lib

  9. This is a wonderful post! You are so right tough times are ahead and for some they are already here.

    1.We are working on are budget daily now. (We use to look at it weekly)

    2. We are about to finish are polytunnel so we can have veggies all year round.

    3. We only have been buying our children new clothes and we are having them wear a few hand-me-downs.(We are making do with what we have as adults)

    4. We make use of our trips to town. We try not to use to much gas during the week.

    5. We have been making extra payment's on our house and putting a little extra in savings

    6. I have been buying a little extra each grocery trip. (Thanks to you Rhonda I am finally understanding stockpiling)

    7. I have been looking at each bill and trying to see how we can reduce our spending.

    I could write a few more but I don't want to take up too much space plus I love hearing what others are doing.

    Thank you Rhonda for helping all of us! Thank you for helping us stay on track everyday:)


  10. These next few months are definitely ALWAYS our biggest spending months because we have a mass of birthdays and holidays coming up.

    My husband has cut down on gas expenses by working four days a week rather than five. He simply works 10 hours a day rather than 8. He's been working every bit of overtime that is offered as well, but only in those 4 days.

  11. Really useful post. We are lucky that we only have mortgage debt. We have switched our gas and electricity suppliers and got a good deal which will run for the next year. We have a cheap calls deal with the phone company. If we need a new appliance then we shop around for the absolute best deal. We got married earlier in the year and we saved a huge amount of money by buying as much as possible second hand/from ebay. I did all the flowers and we bought a standard cake which I decorated. I also made all the stationary. I have sold a few items on ebay (including some of the wedding stuff to recoup costs). A lot of the stores in town give away free magazines so I pick these up rather than buying any. And we do most of the stuff in your list (we dont grow our own food yet though).

  12. What a good reminder! I've been stressing a lot lately over everything and what might be coming, so it is good to see the list in print! -- Michele

  13. Thank you Rhonda. I am always trying to think what I can do to cut back. I made my friend's birthday present last week and she was more grateful for that than any other present I've bought over the years so it does pay (excuse the pun) to make gifts.

  14. Look to see if you have freecycle in your area - it is a wonderful way of getting the things you need, and getting rid of those you don't.

    I have ben on extended sick leave after wreckign my knee at work, and money is very tight, so all my Christmas presents will be home made this year - and my friends and I are trading ourselves in a way - one friend came today to work in my garden, and I am making her apple sauce. Barter works!

  15. Someone above me mentioned bartering. My son is learning singing, and instead of paying for lessons I'm sewing a quilt for his teacher. (I was hoping she slept in a cot/crib, but unfortunately she sleeps in a Queen-sized bed. How inconsiderate of her.)
    Making things also has the benefit of keeping you at home, entertaining yourself instead of being out at the shops for some retail therapy.

  16. Hello Rhonda
    Timely post, as lorna said you have some good practical ideas.
    So thanks for the 'survival reminders' most of them are common practise in my house.

    I don't cook bread - one of our local supermarkets ( a big one) marks their bread down about 5pm and even tho' I don't usually shop there some days I will have a look at whats availble and stock the freezer.

    Take care

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Hello Rhonda :)

    It's good to read your constructive attitude in the face of uncertainty and challenges; I too like to tackle things head on.

    We are continuing with our frugal simple life. I'm investing what spare money we have in setting up our home and garden to be more self sufficient; I began studying Permaculture some time ago and this has helped me to plan and prioritise.

    As uncertainty grows I am more aware of needing to connect with people around me - whether it is borrowing equipment or sharing what we have. I have always been very independant but difficult times in the past have made me connect with the people around us. Having a network around you, and being a part of others' support network, seems even more important to me than the physical and organisational changes we make in the face of tough times.

  19. Rhonda, I try and follow most of what you and the others are saying here. But I also try to support out local Boulangerie shop by buying their lovely bread and always buying milk from there even though it is a lttle bit more expensive. I think we also need to support local small buisnesses.Best wishes from France.

  20. There's an awful lot of information to be had from past generations. Books in the local library can be a great source of old time ways and wisdom. Talk to your parents and grandparents about how they used to do things, while they're still around to tell you. If you ever get to inherit their stuff then see if you can inherit the button jar, the knitting needle box, the sewing and knitting patterns, the fabric stash, the darning mushroom, the glass preserving jars, the old recipe books that tell you how to cook a lot of cheaper, basic foods, like what to do with mutton and how to slow cook in a straw oven, etc, etc.

    I would also recommend stockpiling things not just food but also things you may wish you had in the future. Even if you don't have the time to learn all the new skills right now, if you have the sewing and darning needles, the pins and patterns, cheap balls of wool to use as mending thread, gardening gloves and tools, etc, you can always learn in the future. If you can spare some of your income (hopefully with the money you save by living simply) to set yourself up while you still have money coming in then hopefully you won't get caught trying to find safety pins because you didn't think to keep a stash of knicker elastic.

    Regards, Marilyn

  21. Great topic, thank you. These days I'm simply trying not to spend. If anyone lives on a tight budget, it's important to not be piddling away our money.

    People don't think about the little drips of money here and there but those little drips added up can help afford basics like food, a bill, medication, gasoline and other necessities.

    These days I make a list for needs, I try to make do with what I already have and I don't shop for pleasure. I occasionally treat myself, but those treats are fewer and less frequent. Excess spending for me would mean needing to work when I'm physically not able to.

  22. Thanks for the great post and all the reminders. As a family we are working toward our goals, and being mindful about our spending is part of it. I do worry sometimes about folks out there who have jobs who are dependant on other people spending (which is everyone, I guess) My husband is a restaurant manager, and if people don't eat out as much, the restaurant's profits go down, and so does his bonus. I am torn over this. I want people to save (we aren't even eating out as much) but I want our future secure as well. It's hard to know what to think.

  23. Hi Rhonda,

    Great post! I also heartily recommend not listening to commercial radio or watching commercial TV.

    On Monday I had to drive to Sydney and I lost my ABC frequency. I tuned to what sounded like a good music station. The constant advertisements were surreal to me and what a nagging insistent voice such advertising is if you listened to it all day!

  24. I already practice everything on your list, as I only work occasionally and have a very small monthly retirement benefit check. I, too notice prices increasing while my income remains the same and there is not anywhere else for me to cut back unless I give up internet and TV, which I don't want to do. Life is too short to have no pleasures. I try to treat myself in some small way each week and realize how much I appreciate those treats now. This week I will rent a movie with a free coupon and I am excited!

  25. I think for years it has been a choice to live simply and frugally but now I know for us it is now a necessity because times are going to get tougher.
    As a small business owner it is very tough out there, we are a bit unique and I'm hoping to weather the storm.
    I'm trying to learn new skills and be more enterprising to make ends meet.
    Great post Rhonda! very though provoking

  26. Late June of this year my husband lost his job He's been a truck driver for over 30 years, and can't find employment.
    It's crazy!
    Two years ago I fell and seriously hurt my back, the x-rays showed a lot of damage , moral of story is I can't work
    I have always been frugal, kept a stocked pantry,kept a budget, menu planned, etc
    This year I'm crafting the grand children gifts and the adults will share in supplies for the family Holiday meals
    Thank You for the post as I love reading your blog
    and comments for other ideas I may incorporate into our home
    blessings from
    blessing the elements

  27. this is a fantastic post Rhonda Jean, I love reading your blog. one way that my girlfriends and I have saved money is by giving gifts that cost nothing. Just before Christmas we make a time to get together at the library. We swap library cards and redistribute them "a-la Kris Kringle style" and then we borrow books, videos, cd's, magazines that we think our friend might like to read over the long summer days. We put them in a green eco shopping bag and once everone has "shopped" we redistribute the "presents"
    I can tell you it feels fantastic, like you are opening a very expensive Christmas gift that was chosen with a lot of love and care just for you. Oh and if by chance you don't like the choices made for you, you can just return the item and not offend the giver.

  28. Rhonda-Jean, this is such a helpful post and thanks for being so consitent with your words of wisdom and advice.

    With the time heading up to Christmas, I wanted to tell you about how I have eliminated the amount of money that I spend on my girlfriends while still giving them great gifts.

    We make a time to meet at the local library together, ours lets us bring in food and drinks so we can bring a small afternoon tea. I collect everyone's library cards and we redistribute them "a-la kris kringle style" and then we go shopping. (we send one person off at a time to keep the anonominity amd we use a generic green eco shopping bag to hold our "purchases")

    Then we borrow books, magazines, cd's, dvd's, books on tape anything that we think our friend might enjoy. Summer holidays is a great time to enjoy a good read that we may not have time for during the year. Once all the shopping has been done we redistribute the "gifts" that we have chosen and open our presents.

    I can tell you that it feels like we have been gifted from extravigant spenders. Oh and if you don't like the choices chosen for you there is no embarrasment in returning your gift.

    It's interesting seeing what others choose for you and being introduced to new authors. It is my favourite holiday activity.

    Love Michelle

  29. wow, what agreat post and believe it or not this type of thinking has been on my mind all day. And thank you to all the other great comments, its great to share ideas. Im going to start doing a menu planner. My freind has this down to such a great art that she has two shopping lists one for aldi and one for coles for each week and only gets whats on the list. Her list is in isle order at the shops and even has what the basic price is on it so she can remember what it cost last time and see how much is has gone up or if its on sale.

    She said if she has it in isle order she can just zip down the isles without looking at other stuff that they advertise to you so you buy extra.

    My freind also makes a lot of her childrens snacks for school ie biscuits ect. She also said she only buys 1 box of treats for the week and tells her children once they are gone thats it!!

    Thank you Rhonda for your blog im logging in each day to see what words of wisdom i can take in for the day.

    Cheers Donna from the Illawarra.

  30. One of the new things I have started doing is saving the advertising flyers and circulars that get deposited in my mailbox each week. I used to groan when I saw them and immediately tossed them out. Now I smile when I see them and take them into the house. I don't read them, instead rip them at the fold and stack them in a pile on a shelf in my kitchen. I use the squares as replacements for paper towels - not for absorbancy, but more generally for protecting the countertops and having someplace to collect fruit and veggie skins, toast crumbs, etc. during food prep. I don't have a composter or worms (yet) so the organics still get thrown out. But I don't need paper towels anymore! For absorbency I use rags made from old towels.

    I really enjoy reading your blog everyday, Rhonda. Thank you!

  31. I have some suggestions too.

    Keep some cash money in your home. Nowadays with the creditcrises and all the problems with the banks we feel a need to have cash at home. For our family we think we need 1000 euro's cash. I try to have a part of them in coins and little coupures. So no larger coupures then 50 euro.

    We are lucky we don't have debts. We have several saving accounts. It's wise to have several banks for your savings. As your bank has financial problems you still have money on other accounts. Here in Holland there is an ammount of money on a saving garantued by the government but when you have more it's possible you lose it. Or you can't get the money when you need it.

    Look for lokal farmers who sell there products so you know where tot get food in tough times.

    Eat a wider variety of cheap, healthy, basic products and learn to cook a lot of different meals of them.

    Take very good care for your health and learn about it so you are less dependant on doctors and farmacie.

    I hope i told it clear. These subjects are a bit tough for me to write about it in english.

    Love Annikka from the Netherlands

  32. Great suggestions Rhonda. Although I do notice all the financial troubles that are going on in the world, I'm relieved that I don't feel particularly affected by them. Since starting reading your blog and learning more about simple living, our expenses have gone down, despite our mortgage having gone up. We still have money to spend on fruit trees and mulch (often out of the food budget, which usually has leftovers!), and I know that in a few years, once our garden and orchard start really producing, they will go down even more. Thanks for all your inspirational posts, I call in nearly every day to see what you have to say.

  33. Can I just add, try to support individual traders - especially when things are so dire financially - keep local traders trading. Local market stalls are usually excellent and diverse. You will be surprised to find that actually meat can be cheaper (and FAR better quality) from your local butcher, greengrocery stores stock more local produce, and whilst we still have local stores, we do have choice. Imagine if you could ONLY buy from the Supermarkets.

    If you are making quilts or cushions or need material, charity shops and car boot sales are fruitful hunting grounds. You can often buy material which other folk no longer need, or get curtains to resize or turn into something else. Sometimes brand new bedding or clothes will be on offer at a fraction of the cost new. I would do this rather than supporting shops where the really cheap clothing or household linens is made by virtual slave labour in China or India.

    Allow yourself plenty of time if you are making Christmas presents - I know, not easy if you are in full time employment - but in the evenings when you are watching tv, it is easy enough to sit down with sewing or knitting. I hate to sit idle but I also hate that last minute frantic sewing of things when I have misjudged how long something will take to make!

    I have a few war time cookbooks and boy, did those women know the meaning of frugality. I have one which tells of life in the Channel Islands (under German occupation from 1940.) You would not believe how those people had to be frugal. When you read the recipes - Turnip Jam, Limpet Omelette, Carrot Pudding, Potato Peel Cake you will know how difficult life was. We may have it bad in the years to come, but hopefully not as bad as that. Imagine the smell when islanders were reduced to burning cabbage stalks as "fuel" . . .

  34. Rhonda:

    Thank you is all I can say. You have just stated what I needed to hear. It reinforces what I am leaning from you.

    I have a problem when I can't spend monies and I don't know why. I do not know what in my soul that I am trying to feed when I buy things. I know in my head, but it just has not travel to my soul. It’s as if I am trying to feel some void – that I am not happy with me!

    Thank you again,
    Becky Fischer, Bakersfield, California, USA

  35. Great advice Rhonda. It seems people all around the world are tightening their belts.

  36. Hello Rhonda Jean

    I love reading your blog as it fits in with my morals and ethics. Having read the previous comments am glad to hear how everyone is pulling together. Things are quite dire here in the UK too. I haven't put the central heating on yet because of the hike in fuel prices so am making the family wear more clothes, scarves and hats to feel warmer in the house. As to food, I am making soups with dried lentils, chickpeas, borlotti beans etc. Having 4 meatless meals a week and having plain water and no other drinks in the house. Another thing I do is to have a "clean sweep fridge day" so every 4 or 5 days we have a miscellaneous buffet dinner with all the little bits and pieces from the fridge. It could be, for example, a small salad with a lonely tomato, a piece of cucumber, a stalk of celery, one spring onion, 4 olives etc. Then there would be a quesadilla made from 2 fajita wraps with grated cheese and a little onion toasted and melted in a dry frying pan. With that we may have a half a boiled egg each, a small piece of ham and some fruit and a yoghurt. This way we don't throw out anything!!

    It goes without saying that we walk everywhere, use bicycles, re-cycle things and use freecycle. I am also making christmas presents - hand-knitted socks, scarves, hats, slippers, chutney, jam, advent calendars, cloth bags, marmalade etc.

    Hope this has given some readers a few ideas.

    best wishes to everyone

  37. I work at a natural gas/electricity provider and see the difference between the bills of customers who weatherize and those that don't. It is starting to get cold here in Michigan and I intend to invest a few dollars now to put up plastic on my windows and save money in the long run. Check with your utility company to see if they have information on how to conserve energy. The company I work for has 100 tips listed here...

    Here in Michigan, low income customers can get help with weatherizing their homes through local assistance agencies.

    It can save you hundreds of dollars during the heating (and cooling) season. Not only will you save money but you can help cut back on energy consumption and help lighten the load on the environment.

  38. Rhonda-
    I love your blog. It's like having a mentor online, or a kind aunt who gently guides my actions. Thank you. We've just tackled our budget. We are a single income, homeschooling family of five, and already live frugally, but feel we could be doing more. For the month of Oct. I'm really keeping track of where each of our pennies go. There must be areas where I can save more. My husband has just decided to take on a second part time job, to help us pay off our car note, and then our mortgage will be our only debt.

    I'm already planning a bigger garden for spring, and I hope to add more perennials, (started in a greenhouse I purchased from a friend in need, benefitting us both) which I'll sell in bouquets at the local farmer's market. I'm selling extra eggs from my small flock of hens, and am therefore earning an "income" for the first time in years. Every little bit helps. We heat mostly with wood in the winter, and will be clearing some downed trees for a friend, so we get free firewood, and he gets the trees out of his yard. Another neighbor has offered us a good bit of leftover gravel if we'll clear it away, so I will use that for new garden paths for easy maintenance. We try to trade or barter all that we can, and make anything else we can also. I clothe my girls well from the thrift store & hand me downs, and even shop the thrift store on 1st Sat. when everything is 50% off. Thanks for this timely post, and keep the good advice and ideas coming.

  39. i agree, spending less is key. i am baking all of our own bread now... just googled recipes for english muffins this morning. also am making all our own detergents and cleaning supplies... many of your recipes, thanks!

    it's tough over here in the states. i wish were in a place where we weren't so dependent on each paycheck, but we are. it's hard to get ahead as we are at the age where we are supposed to be "building careers." only problem is there aren't really any careers to build, even with huge educations. each day we try to not get discouraged, to forge ahead. i really enjoy your blog for it's encouragement and inspiration in these areas. plus, your ideas are very concrete and doable which makes all the difference!


  40. Hey Down to Earth.
    Great Blog! Just wanted to say welcome to the Top 100 Aussie Blog Club. Great to have you aboard.

  41. Thank you for your great post Rhonda Jean!

    The number one thing I am doing for myself during this downturn is to surround myself with a community of God-fearing, hardworking, generous and honest people.

    The number one thing that I am doing for my community is to continue to give of my finances and time to help those who can benefit from what I have or can contribute.

    I feel a tremendous obligation to be able to help all those whom I love and have placed myself in a position to be able to do so.

    Simple ideas like:
    1) having a recession proof job - even if it is a little lower paying
    2) being debt free
    3) saving money in very safe bonds
    4) living way below our means

  42. Great post, as always. I just saved quite a bit of money on my Internet service provider -- it seems expensive and I thought about switching to a different company that was cheaper. I called my current provider and told them, and they agreed to charge me a lower rate. Worth a shot for others as well!

    One thing I do is buy one extra can or package on sale each time I go to the grocery store. I set them aside and when they mount up, I give them to the local food pantry. They're in dire straits, as more and more people are using them, and if I spend a little each week, I can help out without really feeling it.

  43. Great post.

    I also think it's important to make the most of what is left of this time of plenty to plan for the coming downturn. So in combination with decreasing unnecessary spending, we are identifying 'necessary spending'.

    I've been trying to imagine what we will need in the future that might be too expensive then, but that we can afford now.

    For instance, we've just planted some fruit trees, and in the next month or two we will construct a chook dome and get some chickens. We're thinking about solar water heating and perhaps rainwater collection.

    And I love the library card swop idea of another contributor before me - I'm sure a couple of my friends will be into that this Christmas!

  44. Great post. I read through each of your suggestions slowly and asked myself if I was/am ready to do those things. The Lord has been working me in this direction for several months so I ended your post with a grateful heart.

    God is faithful.

    Thanks for an informative and helpful blog.

  45. I've posted once already, but I wanted to again, to answer the question you posed in the post. What I am going to do to make it through the tough times ahead:
    Walk and bike more than drive.
    Changed jobs, so now I am less than 2 miles from home. Bus can take me there, or I can bike or walk.
    Picked up a dehydrator and two bread machines at the local thrift store - all together they cost $20!
    Picking up canning jars so I can preserve lemons and lemon juice when the local crop is harvested. I will then be able to use this juice to preserve other fruits when they are ready for harvest. Trying to grow potatos, carrots and tomatoes on my balcony. Going to begin growing my own bean sprouts again. Looking into making my own menstrual pads - pattern out there on the net for use! Going back to baking soda for multiple purposes. Bringing out the sewing machine and learning to make some shirts. Taking apart two living room chairs and reusing the wood and cushioning for another seating unit I need. Whatever is left that is unuseable, the reducing of it to pieces will make it easier to deposit the waste in the communal dumpster, a few pieces at a time, so that I won't have to pay extra for it to be hauled away! I'm going to embrace post cards again. Since I live in a tourist oriented city, I will be sending friends sunny postcards to them via snail mail and take advantage of the cheaper post card price. It's always fun to get postcards!
    Oh, there is so much that can be done. I plan on making it a challenge to find ways to NOT spend money and reuse what I have.

  46. for me, learning to knit has been just what itchy restless hands and body needed. it keeps me home and what little money i make in the bank to pay off debt. since i got rid of a microwave and started cooking everything from scratch, I almost never need to eat out, even a quick sandwich or bagel. it's great to live alone because it's all for me, so one batch of something lasts one week or more. getting rid of wasting money on TV i rarely watched anyway has cut down on blue screen sleeplessness and anxiety. and walking nearly 2.5 miles a day in a pretty park or around my neighborhood is good for my physical and emotional heart. and ... it's free! i've been starting to take movies out from the library, rather than pay for an online membership or store rental. i reuse containers from the store. i try to buy nearly 100 percent of everything i need local or fair trade. i've started making my own shampoo (baking soda and essential oil) and cleaner (vinegar, dish detergent and water). i don't cut my hair for months and months. i walk to nearby places instead of driving.... it takes extra effort to do some of the above, especially as americans we are so brainwashed on "needing" what we really don't need. and we've been hooked on "convenience" for so long. but i'm doing it, simplifying and reducing waste and cutting back on costs... and succeeding at least 75 percent of the time. i'll get better. i'll stop feeling so restless. i'll enjoy sweeping, and dishes, and cleaning. after all, something big is coming. we have to be ready for it.

  47. Hi,
    A wonderful post, stumbled across your blog while looking for a Turnip Jam recipe!!
    Many of you ideas we put into practice, not because we are trying to survive through tough times, but that is how we choose to live. We grow veg, cook from scratch, make things, live frugally, are vegetarian, recycle, don't watch TV etc.
    Now that I have found you, I will pop by again sometime.
    Thank you

  48. Hello!
    what I ahve started to do is have fridge picnic days where i lay the dining table out with whats been in the fridge a couple of days and people help themselves, then if there is any thing left over I usualy freeze it or cobble one last meal out of it. never fails to work in my house . thanks fro a good post


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