- Personal Finance
SAVE BIG in 2011
Act to Save
Everyone wants to save money, and there is much information available to help people do that. People, however, are often too lazy to put that information into action. My first tip is to get off your butt, grow up and act in order to save. If it seems hard to follow these tips, tell yourself that you are going to devote 10 minutes to one. Do it, and see how good it feels.
Actually, some of my tips require little action.
1. We all have to eat. Saving money on food is not difficult. Sign up for coupon deals for restaurants that you frequent and products you buy. I recently got a $1 off coupon from a web site from Blue Diamond for their almond "milk" product that I like. It normally costs $2.50 a half gallon.
2. At restaurants, eat half your meal and take home the rest for the next day. Add an extra fresh vegetable, microwave all, and you have saved calories and money.
3. Use fresh air to dry laundry. The clothes dryer is the most costly appliance. If towels are too stiff from line drying, put them in the dryer just 2-3 minutes to soften. When winter cold freezes wet laundry, put a large dry towel in with wet clothes (not dark things that will get lint all over them). It will cut drying time. Also, hang as much as you can in the house. There are small, folding things you can buy to hang clothes in doors.
4. Buy the cheapest shampoo and conditioner that you can. If shampoos could do all they claim, they would have prescription drugs in them.
5. Shop at places like Grocery Outlet (for food and household items), Ross and other discount stores (for clothes, household, shoes, etc.).
6. If you are losing your health/medical coverage, check with the prescription drug, medical testing lab and doctors on your current plan to see if they have a discount program. Check Walmart for prescription drugs. I found that most of the drugs that my husband takes can be gotten for $10 for 90 day supply. Mine, however, are not part of the formulary ( the drugs this company supplies). I'm going to talk to my doctor about substituting drugs that are covered.
7. Join your local "FreeCycle" organization. Look on the Internet for "FreeCycle". It's goal is to keep junk out of landfills by providing a safe way for people to offer and receive items. Once you have offered an item; you can receive. For example, if I offer a blanket that I no longer need, I can ask for something I do need. There is no time limit on when to offer and receive.
8. Join "Neighborrow". It's especially effective, if you live in a large apartment complex. You can borrow from neighbors. Again, a system is set up to promote safety.
9. Cook at home. I know, it's harrrrrd. This is where growing up is really profitable. Make a menu for a week with substitutions that allow you to take advantage of sale items.
Sunday: Whole chicken, cooked in a large pot with room for potatoes, green beans, red bell peppers. Substitute whatever vegetables/grains are on sale: corn, carrots, kale, cabbage. Try to include a green and yellow/red/orange vegetable. Cook as much chicken as you need to have enough left over for Monday. Vegetables only need 5 minutes to cook. Potatoes, longer, depending on if you cut them into small sizes or not. Be sure to flavor this lightly, so you can use spices or sauces for your dish on Monday.
Monday -- Boil some pasta. Did you know that you can do this in the microwave. Just be sure to use a big enough receptacle and one that is microwave safe. Cut the chicken left over into sections. Don't take a lot of time, just big sections. When the pasta is done, drain and put the chicken, pasta and some type of soup (cream of mushroom, cheese, cream of chicken) or tomato paste/sauce, spices, celery and onion back in the microwave for about 10 minutes, depending on amount of food. Make a salad with spinach, apples and raisins with plain yogurt for dressing. All you have to do is wash the spinach and raisins and cut the apples. Really, it only takes a few minutes.
Tuesday -- Meatless day, a "make your own Taco" bar. Heat re-fried beans (canned) in the microwave (3-10 minutes depending on amount). Put out brown olives, shredded lettuce, cheese, plain yogurt (sour cream substitute), dice tomato, cilantro, chilies, green onions, any other things you like and corn tacos. People make their own.
Wednesday -- Beef stew. Just like chicken, but brown beef first for flavor with onions. Let it simmer in water depending on how tough the cut of meat is. You can add wine, canned broth or just a bit of salt and pepper and garlic. Cook enough beef for Thursday. Add whatever vegetables you like the last 10 minutes. Add broccoli the last 2-4 minutes. Serve with bread, if you need the calories and food.
Thursday -- Use the beef to make a Chinese style beef and vegetable dish to serve over rice. Broccoli, onions and carrots are a good combination. You'll need 2 pot, one for rice and one for the beef and veges. Season with a bit of soy source. Change the sauce to Teriyaki for Japanese style or barbecue. Serve with a salad, if you want more greens.
Friday -- Cook pasta, potatoes or rice. Cook Salmon or white fish with just a bit of oil in microwave or on stove. When fish need about 3-5 minutes more cooking time, throw in chopped vegetables like bell peppers in 2 colors, onion, green beans. You don't want a strong tasting vegetable like broccoli in a fish dish.
Saturday -- Pizza bar, like taco bar. Use whole wheat pita bread, whole wheat tortillas, or other prepared base. Spread with tomato sauce ( just before putting in oven) and add whatever you want to put out. If you want, you can cook some hamburger meat. Heat in oven.
People, lets rally, throw off laziness, save money, maybe, have fun cooking with family members and saving money. Seriously, if you are too lazy to follow there tips, you should get checked for depression. It's under-reported. Mild depression can be helped, even with just exercise. A lot of "laziness" is really people in need of help. (You should know that 1/4 of people with serious depression cannot be helped with any know medication. A little secret the drug companies don't want us to know.) Mild depression often responds to changes in diet (eating more vegetables and fruit), exercise that is fun, helping others, and getting outside, especially digging in the soil. A change of perspective can help, too. Instead of thinking of these money saving tips as hard to do, think of them as a test, an adventure, as just taking a set amount of time ( say 20 minutes), as a zen experience, as a religious offering, any way that will get you to change your thinking.
Finally, just DO IT!