With world finances getting jittery again, maybe it's time to highlight a few measures to help us all spend as little as possible while remaining comfortable in our homes.
- Spend less than you earn. Not just today and this week, but all the time.
- Spend only on needs, not wants.
- Make up a workable and realistic budget and stick to it.
- Stockpile food and groceries - this is your insurance policy that even if the worst happens, you'll still be able to feed the family.
- If you have to find some money you don't have to pay bills cut out unnecessary expenses like internet, mobile phone, cable TV, magazines, coffee at the cafe etc.
- Cook from scratch.
- Never waste food, eat your leftovers and have a couple of meatless meals every week.
- Take lunch and a drink to work and school.
- Monitor your electricity, water and gas use. Learn how to read your meters.
- When you're cooking on the stove top, bring the food to the boil with the lid on, then turn the power down to a simmer. Leaving the gas or electricity on full will waste it.
- Turn off lights and TV when you leave the room.
- Turn off stand by appliances when you're not using them and when you go to bed.
- Stop buying cleaning products and make your own using bicarb and vinegar.
- Make your own laundry liquid. There is a recipe for it here.
- If you haven't already done it, think about putting in a vegetable garden. If you've already got one, think about adding fruit and herbs.
- If you have no space to grow vegetables, buy your fruit, vegetables, eggs and honey at a local market. The prices will probably be cheaper than the supermarket.
- Check out your local butcher shop. The prices will probably be lower than the supermarkets and the quality of meat better. (We bought lamb on special at one of the big supermarkets last week and the quality of it was vastly inferior to what we usually get from our local butcher. Lesson learned.)
- Teach yourself to knit and sew. There are many sites on the internet with very good instructions, tutorials and sometimes, videos. Try MADE, Instructables, Knitting Help.
- Make your home the kind of place you want to spend time in. Invite friends around instead of going out for coffee or drinks.
- Self reliance and a thrifty mindset will help you get through most things. Start with one thing, then move on to the others when you're ready.
It doesn't take much to go out and spend, all you need is money or a credit card and some time. Not spending takes thought, planning, work and determination. But being prudent with your resources, especially when the economy is shaky, will give you peace of mind and the feeling that you're doing as much as you can to look after yourself and your family.
I believe that we should all live our lives in a way that makes us happy and fulfilled. Enrichment doesn't come from acquisition, it's more complex than that. In my experience, enrichment and fulfilment come when I know I'm doing my best and living each day according to my values. It's not tied up with products, keeping up with the Joneses and following fashion. So if you're just starting out on a more simple life and you're a bit apprehensive about trying some, or all, of the list above, I encourage you to dive right in. I expect you'll get more out of it than you ever imagined.
If you have some more tips to share and add to the list, please do so. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.