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Here's my 2 bits: Sometimes people will tell you it's not worth your time to do various things to be thrifty and frugal. However, whether any given activity is worth it is entirely up to the individual. If you go about frugality with the attitude that your tasks are entertaining to you, or that your work will be good exercise, your whole attitude changes.
Maybe you would rather build your own deck or sew your own dress while listening to the radio than veg out at an expensive movie. Maybe you actually love to cook and it is good therapy for you at the same time. Cleaning your own house can be marvelous exercise, performed at your own pace. Keeping your activities in a positive light really helps. Also be yourself. Don't let our consumerism society change you or make you feel lowly for the things you do.
To me, thriftiness is not just about saving money. It's about making the best use of the resources you have. For me, one of my most precious resources is TIME.
Don't get me wrong; I'm a great admirer of frugality and have enjoyed reading and using many of the tips published here. I love finding ways to be more efficient and effective. But while spending hours refinishing furniture and searching the grocery store aisles for the cheapest brand is admirable (and fun), please consider what you're giving up to save a few bucks.
Sure, a person could live in an expensive home with fine furnishings, but when twelve hour shifts all week support this lifestyle, it makes one wonder. Is it worth it? The choice of a smaller house and a shorter work day seems to allow more time to enjoy that which we've been working for.
Ask yourself a few questions. Could you live without your cell phone (or at least with less of it) if it meant coming home in time for dinner each night? If you said no to weekend overtime, could you say no to something costly each month? If you answer "yes" to either question you need to shift your priorities to saving time by saving money.
Plan ahead to save time later. So much time is wasted because of poor planning. Try to group errands together and strategically plan your route to save driving time. Likewise, avoid the grocery store during the most crowded time of day because you need dinner supplies. Instead, plan the weekly meals ahead of time and make one well-planned trip.
If necessary, schedule free time into your week. It sounds rash and a bit over-controlling, but like any type of savings, it needs to become a habit. Mark Sundays as "booked" and spend them at home doing something enjoyable. Build in an hour of "cool down" time after work. It's revitalizing and fulfilling to have this time each day.
Yes, it keeps you in contact with old friends and it's a lot of fun, but many people spend hours scrolling through their Facebook pages each day. Couldn't those hours be spent in face to face contact with someone? How productive were those hours?
Measure your actions in value. Rest and quiet time have great value; they reboot your system and keep you mentally and physically healthy. Time spent learning a new skill is beneficial, so is time spent working to create something. Time with friends is important too, if it measures up. Does two hours a day updating Facebook really pay off with two hours of reward? When you get off the page do you feel the same surge that you feel after two hours sitting with a friend? After two hours spent gardening? Make sure it measures up.
Bambi and his friends found themselves twitterpated in spring when the girls batted cartoon eyelashes their way. However, today's twitterpated society isn't the same. Is it really crucial that you tweet your every move? Add up the minutes a day spent on this task and you might be shocked. Figure on five tweets a day at five minutes each (tweeting and reading other tweets) equaling 25 minutes a day. By the end of a year you'll have spent 152 hours, roughly 19 nights' sleep tweeting. We didn't tweet or blog ten years ago, and we did just fine.
Some websites are black holes. They eat up our time and suck us in. Whether it's a celebrity gossip website or endlessly linked pages of Wikipedia, if you find yourself involved in a website long enough to "lose" an hour or two, don't bookmark it. It's a black hole.
Like any addiction, stay away from those places that pull your time away from you. When you feel the urge to jump on them, have a backup plan like a magazine or a chore to do instead. Break the habit while you can.
Have you ever lost an evening because after the television program you were watching ended the next show pulled you in with its first five minutes? The programmers know this, and they'll catch you with the crime dramas on television. Counter it.
When your television program has a few moments left, have the remote in hand and turn it off immediately before you get pulled in.
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and it wasn't built with only a dollar. The times, they are a changin' and more distractions and time wasting activities pop up every day. Live by the adage "another day, another dollar" and make the most of your time.
Cooking recipes usually date from the time people did not have to save on energy. Many recipes advise to put eggs, or rice or pasta in the water only once it is boiling to cook them. You can put eggs or rice or pasta or potatoes in the cold water and then start heating it.