Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Below Our Means and Enjoying It

 Good morning to all.  Woke to a beautiful morning.  Sun is shining and it was 58* at 6AM!  It will be in the 70's today.  Tonight and overnight we have storms that will be coming through (sure wish they would happen during the day).  By tomorrow morning we are supposed to have wind chills around 20*!!  This crazy weather.  It will be in the 40's a couple days then back up.  The approach of spring is always a roller coaster.

I was trying to come up with a post this weekend and I also watched a few You Tubers and it seemed them and myself were all thinking the same way.  So here are a few things to think about as you go forward on this frugal and financial journey.
FIRST you are not alone.  There are lots of people watching their dollars and doing things that just make good sense.  You always have sources to ask questions.

** Control is something that most people want to feel.  There are many things in this world that we have absolutely NO control over.  Never will.  Inflation, gas prices, utilities, insurance rates, etc.  Now yes, sometimes you can switch out companies and save a little - but many things we just have to live with, as sad as that it.
You CAN control how you react.  Get the best deals you can and look for deals.  Use things in different ways and get the most out of them.  Stop supporting the more expensive places.  Cook from home, plan your trips out (saves gas), follow some of the other ideas that will be listed here.
Don't let not having control - stop you.  Take control where you can and do your best.

**DON'T let your pride get in the way.  Now I mean this, as a way of saving a little.  Don't let "what will people think" be in your head!  Shop thrift stores and yard sales for good bargains.  Look for clearance departments and items.  Barter with people.  
Many people are so worried what others will think.  "They will think I am poor"!  Who cares?  You do you and get the best deals you can get wherever you can get them.  IF you need to go to a food bank/pantry - do it.  IF you need to seek assistance on utilities - do it.  Don't feel you have to have the newest gadget or vehicle.  Don't feel you have to say yes - to going out for an evening.
Do what you need to do to help YOUR family - and don't worry about others.  I know this is hard for some folks - but it is so important.  Once you get back on your feet - maybe you can help another in some way.

    Doing positive things in life that become habits is a good things.  But FIRST you have to start!

**Take it slow - this journey does not happen overnight.  Start with changing one thing - then another and so on.  You will become so overwhelmed with life, if you try to change everything instantly.  Just start somewhere.
Maybe shop just once a week (instead of everyday), then every two weeks......  Buy ingredients and cook from home.  No new clothes.  Turning off lights and heat/AC when not needed.  Using less water and utilities.  Go to a yard sale or thrift store and just look - you will be amazed at what you can find.  Stay home and have fun times there.  Make things a family project - kiddos need to learn these things too.
Make learning (you and them) FUN!
It really is fun to learn new things and save money at the same time.

**KEEP IT SIMPLE - this can be utilized in all aspects of live.  Keep your meals simple with simple ingredients.  Keep your clothing simple - with basics than can be interchanged.  Keep your home simple and lovely.  It doesn't mean you have to be a minimalist - it just means you will enjoy the basics a lot more.
Get rid of clutter - if you love it, keep it and use it.  That special china isn't worth much just sitting in a hutch or box - use it and make a special meal.  
Once you get rid of clutter - that can be stuff, paperwork, toys, etc. - you can breathe a little.
Find new ways to use things instead of buying something else to bring in the house.  Just do little things here and there and simplify your life.  Again, make it a fun thing to do - it really is fun.

**STOP waiting for things to happen!  It seems we spend a huge portion of life waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the next bad thing to happen, or waiting for that big vacation or that big house.
Stop it.  Enjoy today!!!!!  It is all you have at the moment. Make the best of it.
Planning those big vacations are fun - but it may not happen.  That huge house may never happen (without going deeply in debt).
You got today.  Silly and simple as it sounds - you can have fun with the little things.
Make a family day outing to the library, sit and read - wonder the aisles - look at displays - learn something.
Go to the free concerts that will be happening soon in many areas.  They can be the best time.
Have a fun game night or movie night - pop some popcorn and spend it together.
Have a backyard or park picnic.
Set a pretty table once in a while - china, tablecloth, candles, etc.  Make it special JUST BECAUSE!
Take the family to the park and enjoy nature - teach the youngins and yourself about birds, wildlife, plants, trees, etc.
Just enjoy and seize the day!

I have mentioned the word journey a lot - but that is what it is.  Life is a journey - it is always evolving.  No two journeys are the same.
Take your time and just go slow, keep it simple, save a bit where you can and enjoy the dance!
You save a bit here and there - that helps pay off debt.  That helps save an emergency fund.  That helps with education needs.  Saving just helps in so many ways.
Get serious about your new journey - but not so serious that you can't enjoy it!

I know I mention it can be fun a lot too.  It really can be.  I kind of look at it as a game or a personal challenge.
You can do this - just take the first step.

Have a great day to all!


  1. Why oh why don't we learn this in High School?????? We learn "keep up" there! Our debt was leaning into bankruptcy by the time we'd been married 7y. Then I got mad. Screw ya'll if you don't like what I wear, drive and eat. Soooooo very happy to have learned by age 26 and turn that around!

    I wore "new" jeans to work one day and someone asked where I got them. "Thrift store", 4 for $20. They were shocked that I would shop there (I was 'the boss' and therefore the highest paid). I always say $$ saved is plane tickets. ☺️☺️ And I still live that way! Love travel, don't need new name brand clothes or a new car every 3y!


    1. Yes - why don't we ???? I took home ec and it was a bit of cooking and a bit of sewing. Nothing else. We need finance/debt classes, taxes, bill paying, running a household, etc. I was lucky and learned from my parents - but still got into that 'keep up with the Jones' mindset - everyone else was! Learned quickly it sure didn't pay.
      I love it, I always had lots of pretty and nice clothes when I worked and yep - they all came from thrift/yard sales
      I love your thinking - $$ saved is plane tickets!
      That is what it is all about.

  2. Great post Cheryl. The weather is crazy here as well. I have had to keep reminding myself the last week that is only February. It seems more like March or April with the weather. I hope none of the storms predicted tonight are damaging.

    1. Thank you! Yes, Feb. and even March is crazy weather time. We have some ups and downs for a while.
      I sure hope all stay safe as well. Scary when there are bad storms over night.

  3. "The approach of spring is always a roller coaster.". Ain't that the truth! It looks like rain right now as I look out the window. I did notice that we have lovely chives that overwintered.

    Worrying about what people will think has put a lot of folks into debt. So what if you are driving a 2000 Buick with some damage? It is paid for and the insurance is relatively cheap. Why "drive" your money?

    We can enjoy today by implementing many of the tips you offer. The Farmer and I are content just to be. A big day out is Costco and the farm store. ha! Simplicity and contentment is key to a good life. As we age, we find that the simpler the food the easier it is on older systems.

    Enjoy your day! I so appreciate your posts.

    1. Same here at the moment. It got cloudy all of a sudden - but it is warm and windows are open.
      Exactly - I have people ask when I will replace my 2002 Blazer. When the wheels fall off! LOL It runs well, I take care of it, and like you said insurance is much cheaper. I am not 25 and caring about fancy smancy cars.
      You laugh, but those simple days ARE the nice ones in my opinion too. Indeedy - contentment is the key to a good life.
      I hope some starting out get this!
      Thank you!!!

  4. Rain here as well. And we need it. Not enough precipitation this winter in my area. On Sunday, on my way home from out of state, I could smell smoke, and it wasn't woodstove fire, it was smokey out there and hazy. Worrisome. Spring is dangerous in this area, just like autumn.

    I have had 2 *new* cars in my lifetime, and I've been driving more than 60 years. Everything else was second hand, which was fine with me. I understand one can by "new car smell" in a spray can now, so if that's what you want, you can have it for not much money. ;)

    This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

    1. Fires around wooded areas are so scary. I have heard it has already started. I worry about spring storms - they can get pretty nasty around here. Always something. Stay safe.
      Yep, this 2002 was my only NEW car in my life - it cost more than we paid for our house - so yep, I will wear it out!
      Yes mam. Rejoice and be glad!

  5. I'm envious of your weather - we're sitting at -26C/-15F this morning and will remain cold until tomorrow morning before it starts to warm up. We had snow yesterday too - I needed to shovel twice and will need to go out this morning to clear the sidewalk in front of the house. I don't mind as I like the exercise and can bundle up against the weather. It will make those days in the Caribbean coming up even more lovely. :)
    It truly is a journey to finding ways to be creative and not waste resources. I've never minded wearing hand-me-downs (as a child) or shopping thrift stores (as an adult). I don't think anyone has every looked at me and saying, "hey, you're wearing something I donated". I wouldn't be ashamed to say I bought it secondhand. And the snarky side of me would be thinking, "and I only paid X for it and you probably paid XX for it new."
    Enjoy your weather and impending spring!

    1. Oh shucks - that is cold! Free exercise is good - but I don't want any more of that exercise! You will surely enjoy that trip coming up - enjoy it to the Nth degree!
      You get those lovely trips do to your frugality.
      LOL - you sound like me. When people seem surprised when asked where I got something - I love to throw the price out there. Let somebody else pay the ridiculous prices - they aren't for me.
      Thanks - have a lovely day and stay warm!

  6. We do any of the things you mentioned, such as combining errands to save on gas, and cooking at home. And there are so many things to be do at home, I don't usually get bored. But, we like our days out too, so we enjoy them from time to time. Yard sales are great fun and you never know what you'll find. Great reminders, thank you.

    1. Running errands together is a big savings on gas and wear and tear on the vehicle. I don't get bored either.
      Sure, nothing wrong with going out and enjoying now and then - that is why we are thrifty the rest of the time. I need to get back into yard sales this year. It has been a while.
      Have a good one. Thanks.

  7. An insurance checkup is worth doing. Last fall we cut our auto insurance in half and reduced our homeowners by $1000. That is real money!

    1. That is fantastic. Yes mam, that is real big money. Great job.

  8. My SIL is the person that says "It's only money you can't take it with you". Drives me nuts. As she spends more. I have let her get to me in the past and regretted it.
    I'm the thrift store, estate sale person. I don't shop much and my entertainment is gardening, reading or watching movies. DH likes to go for drives. Oh well, to each is own.

    1. LaurieS, I had to smile when I read your comment about your SIL. I have friends who say"It's only money. You can't take it with you and you can't send it ahead." Another person I know says theyve never seen a Uhaul behind a hearse so they may as well spend it while they're here. It just boggles the mind, doesn't it. Cookie

    2. In some ways she is right - but heck, I want to be able to live nicely all the while I am here! Like you Laurie, I love gardening and flowers and simple things like my programs and reading.
      G and I used to wonder the state a lot when we were younger. That was our vacation - each weekend we didn't camp! Gas was cheaper and we never spent any other money - it was fun.
      You guys enjoy those simple hobbies and have fun!

  9. Good afternoon Cheryl and ladies.
    Great post, Cheryl and lots of food for thought , especially for those just starting their journey. Our life is simple and content. We are never bored. Our car, is 14 years old and we've always taken good care of it. We l also like gardening, watching old movies on tv, reading and crafting. Weather permitting we like to take a walk sometime during the day. Life is good. Cookie

    1. It is so nice to be able to say, 'life is good'.
      Thanks, and young people do have so much to think about. I guess we all did, but many of us had really good role models. Today things are different, and they still have their role models - but I think for different things.
      I think your simple lifestyle sounds wonderful.

  10. For those embarrassed to be seen buying reduced stuff at the grocery store (I doubt there are any here), I will mention that a very wealthy gentleman in Toronto was seen buying reduced buns. He said, "perfectly good buns". His family donated 4.5 million to a concert hall after he died and it is known as Roy Thompson Hall.
    Another anecdote...Aristotle Onassis checking the kitchen garbage on his yacht...gave the staff hell for throwing out "perfectly good spaghetti".
    As for those who can't take it with them, there are charities to support if you have no offspring. I never understood the mentality of folks who blow through their money with no thought of helping out the kids. A small kindness is long remembered.
    Today, it is 52F where I live. A few years ago, the high might have been -10 or -20 F. This is probably the only good thing about the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change. But the desert states may become uninhabitable and what if the grid fails?
    Regarding keeping your old cars on the road...I think of it like keeping your old refrigerator; it may take some maintenance from time to time but it is built to last. Some new refrigerators are exploding due to having a different coolant; some just have the compressor die after a year or two (depending on the warranty period, haha).
    Foraging is a good pastime for frugalistas. I was just remembering a little wild strawberry patch as I passed where it lies covered in snow. Even in the city there are wild things growing and fruit trees that need picking. So many possibilities.
    I hope the younger generation heeds your advice, Cheryl. Had I had such counsel in my youth, they might have named a concert hall after ME!

    1. I have heard some amazing stories about filthy rich folks being concerned about waste and doing the right things. Just because you are rich doesn't mean you should waste. I agree, there are many charities to donate to - things that are good causes.
      I am all about keeping the older stuff as long as I can. Quality was just different. I mean appliances could last decades, not a year or two. LOL - yep, they go out just as the warranty ends - funny how that happens.
      Foraging is fun and good exercise too.
      Thanks Rita, that means a lot.

  11. Great thoughts today Cheryl.
    I also dislike that “you can’t take it with you” way of thinking. However I do have a friend who would like to sell her home and move to another state to be closer to her sisters. Her son is against this move because he views it as a waste of money. Sometimes it’s hard to keep my mouth zipped.
    One of my favourite coffee places has a “free- cycle” table. People leave books, toys, clothes, plants, whatever and pretty much it all gets taken eventually. It’s a wonderful idea. This place also bags its grounds for people to take for their gardens, that’s also great.
    Take care, Louise

    1. Thanks. We get one shot at this life - might as well enjoy what you can within reason. If she wants to be close to her sisters, might mean they pay more attention than the son!
      That is neat that places do things like that. Coffee grounds for gardens are great. That is a nice re-use!
      Have a good one.

  12. It's quite warm today on the prairie. My windows are open and I'm barefoot. I went out for a patio sit earlier and just enjoyed the sound of nature. Estimated 80° today and 40° tomorrow. Strange.

    When it comes to the store, I see loads of pretty things...but I rarely see the point. My favorite splurge every month is Le Petite Bouquet at Trader Joe's. Fits perfectly in a jelly jar for $3.99 and it lasts nearly 3 weeks on my mantle. Always different. $48 per year for roughly 36 weeks of floral enjoyment. My best friend was telling me how excited she was that her Valentine arrangement with a dozen red roses had lasted more than a week. I shudder to guess what a VD red rose arrangement costs with delivery these days, but I'm pretty certain it's more than my $48!!! Pretty soon my own flowers will start. The first 2 vasefuls will be daffodils. About 30 stems each and so pretty and sweet smelling.

    Speaking of costs, I was gobsmacked to see that our property taxes went up over $1000 for this year. Yikes!! 😬. Hubs immediately popped up and said he'd eat on Monday and Wednesday and I could eat on Tuesday and Thursday. Crazy huh?!

    1. Crazy weather here too. 73 today maybe 37 tomorrow if that high. Such is February!!
      That is a lovely 'splurge' and not really a splurge at all - because for 3.99 you get an awful lot of joy! Last I heard a doz. roses was close to $100. YIKES!
      Everyone likes to see their neighborhoods improve - but that is one thing that happens. Taxes go up! Mine went up some last year - haven't got this year's statement yet. I know insurance went up a lot.
      Get out the PB & J!!!! LOL

  13. Yes, we are all on a frugal journey, not only saving money and living below our needs, but one that leads us to a simpler life and leave a better life for our children and grandchildren.

    God bless.

    1. YES MAM!!!!! That is probably the most important part of the journey - leaving a better life.

  14. I have 'small economies' that eventually add up to substantial savings. I am not ashamed to be seen buying cheaper stuff. I have a friend whose husband is wealthy. I always see her in cheap store buying cake mixes on sale to bake for grandchildren. She is proud of her thrift.

    1. Pennies make dollars! I don't care what people think either. Could be one of the ways they got wealthy! We should all be proud of our thrift.

  15. (Little Penpen) great post! I’m guilty of not enjoying the day, waiting for something better. I’m trying to do better!

    1. Make the most of today girl! You deserve it. Each day is a gift.