In an attempt to try and save money this year, we are only going to the store once a month and really watching our food budget. We also try to keep the heat turned down when we can. It's been a cold winter here and sometimes we just add more warm clothes and blankets. We also have quit shopping as much and only buying things we need. And we rarely go out for fast food anymore and we rent DVD's instead of going to the movies.
For our entertainment, we have chili parties serving regular and white chili. Rented dvd's for party night or card parties and we have an awesome evening with friends for very little money.
i have been going nowhere for 3 years and i still owe lots of money. i dont go out to eat, no movies i dont even rent movies as they would cost money.
This is for sandy63. When my friend told me that she didn't rent DVDs because she can't afford to, we worked out a system. When my family rents a DVD, we almost always watch it that very same night (we don't plan things like that ahead of time very often). We usually get to keep the movie for at least three days (sometimes more if it's an older movie). When we rent a movie, we let her know. She picks up the movie from our house when we're through, she watches it (sometimes having friends over to her house to watch it with her), and she's in charge of returning it to wherever we rented it. It doesn't cost us extra, and the burden of getting the movie from us and returning it to the score is hers. If she were to be late in returning the DVD (which she never has done), she would be responsible for the late charges. The system works out well for the both of us. You might try working something like that out with a friend of yours.
Remember your library...you can borrow DVD's/VHS's for free.
If you belong to a group like Freecycle, oftentimes folks there give away their unwanted DVDs and VHS movies. Or, if you can, pawn shops usually have decent selections of movies for a couple of bucks.
My spendthrift hubby, of course, goes to Wal-mart to buy his movies new (I've tried, but I can't cure him of this habit.) If he likes them, he'll be able to watch them over and over. If he doesn't like them, we have a son who's always happy to take them.
Plan your shopping before you go! Make a list and stick with it. When you get to the store, check the signs at the ends of the aisles to see if anything on your list can be found in those aisles. Make every effort to skip aisles - or sections of the store - that don't have the items on your list; the less time spent in the store, the less your temptation to make "impulse purchases." If you see something that you really, really want, but that's not on your list, follow one unbreakable rule: This is your "list-only" shopping trip, and if you really want this item, you need to come back for it later. More often than not, you'll realize that you don't really need/want that item.
sandy63: Sometimes the best you can do is the best you can do. Rough times come when income barely meets vital needs -- and I've been worse off than that! The most important thing is to write up a budget. (It really works!) Write down how much income you'll have this month. Unbreakable rule: Pay rent first, no matter what -- even if nothing is left for food.Subtract that amount from your budget.
Next, subtract the most essential items (utilities, bus fare to work/job hunting, etc.). Last, work out a budget for your "most disposable income", if there is any -- food, stuff like deodorant and aspirin, etc.
Until better times come, base your diet on "stretchers" -- rice, potatoes and noodles. Add a can of cream soup (cream of chicken, mushroom, etc) to a bowl of noodles or rice for a very filling meal. Slice up some potatoes, add some onion slices or pieces, and fry them over a low heat for another tasty meal. Avoid meat. It's not the healthiest, but it's survival until better times come.
Entertainment is vital to emotional health, but it doesn't have to cost much. Walk daily to relieve stress, and just to check out the area where you live. Explore the library -- they have lots to offer. If possible, take up a low-cost hobby -- all the better if you can learn to make items to sell at crafts fairs, etc. Learn to repurpose stuff from thrift stores, or even things that people throw away; there's lots of info online about repurposing items for your own use, or to sell as crafts.
Your emotional well-being plays a HUGE role in getting through hard times, and being ready when things improve (and they will!). DO NOT neglect to treat yourself, whether it's a walk to the museum on "free admission" day, buying an ice cream cone, etc. Even a very little "reward" can make a huge difference in your emotional well-being and strength.
Finally, visit your local food pantry. You don't need to feel uncomfortable about it. This food is donated by people who care and want to help out -- many of whom have needed to turn to food pantries, themselves, at some point. And when things improve for you, you can return the help by donating to the food pantry, yourself.
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