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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.
At this point in my life, playing with my kids, and studying to finish my degree are more important than the few cents I'd save searching for the cheapest can of corn. In a few years, my kids will be at an age where they won't want Mom to play with them anymore. And by finishing my degree earlier I'll be able to support my family better that much sooner.
There are some things that money cannot buy, and time is one of them. No matter how much money we save, we struggle to save time. But then, what's more valuable; time or money? Take a break from saving money and save time instead. It might cost you, but it's worth it.
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.
Time is money, or so goes the cliche. There's merit to that well-known phrase and many others. A person can't buy time, another cliche, so why not save it as the greatest resource? After all, if you worry about the business at hand, in due time you'll have time to waste.
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.