I have heard this age old expression more times then I can count. I am currently in a budget crisis.....ok I lied...the crisis part ended last week but I was in denial about it until a few days ago so that doesn't count. Here is the thing though...just because I am no longer hunting for pennies under the couch this doesn't mean that I should go on a spending rampage. I will admit that in the past I have had a bit of a shopping problem. As in I left at 9 in the morning and didn't come home till 9 at night with bags and bags of things. It was so bad that when I was packing to move I found things I didn't even remember buying brand new in their bags, tags still firmly attached. Since I am well aware that I have a large problem with self control I haven't even gone near anything other than a grocery store in fear that just seeing items I can purchase will send me into palpitations. Now I am armed with a plan......I am ready.....I can do no wrong...nothing can stop me. Budget here I come. This will be my first experience with a real budget, it used to be that my budget was just acknowledging how much I had left in my checking account and not getting an overdraft. The only issue with this plan is that some of the things I want to do(like a garden) are semi-permanent and I am in a non permanent house with the crazies. These are my plans.
I will start a garden, this will be free for the most part......$20 investment max. Our friends are moving to the next city over and the have given me free reign to transplant and salvage whatever I can out of their established garden. Hopefully this will cut down on our grocery bill since fresh produce is so expensive. We may have to go with out having all of our favorites but it will teach me to be creative with what we have.
I will not buy unless it is on sale (excluding things like milk and basics that almost never go on sale) I am a coupon cutting queen and I am going to pay closer attention so I can take advantage of all the sales and the manufactures discount with the store discount. I have been told you can actually make money doing this what with rebates and in store cash and what not.
Take better advantage of generic items. I am already pretty good at this. I have tried just about everything out there in generic and name brand. There are a few where the generic is honestly not even close to edible/usable....a few where it's not preferable but it will do the job.....and ones where if I didn't see the box I honestly wouldn't know the difference. I will start a store by product list on this in case anyone is interested.
These last things to be honest will not mean much until we move out of our current residence and into one of our own but it's still a goal.
I have said before that I am a trash picker. It's the thrill of the hunt, the high you get when you find that incredible item and all you have to do is find a way to get it home and it's yours free and clear! I am not ashamed of this, to be perfectly honest I would be more ashamed of paying retail for all the things I have found. Just last weekend I found a set of gorgeous wicker swivel bar stools that basically just need to be cleaned and freshly painted. Those things would have been over a $100 each at a home decor store if not more! I'm not saying I could furnish my whole house(although that could be a future goal depending on how this goes) out of free or close to free items but I can probably do a good part. If you can get a quality item used for less then you would pay for a poorer quality item new......why not?
Be energy efficient. I have done the research and have concluded this.....you can cut about 60% off of the average utility bill if you just do a few things. First put all of your normal appliances on a power bar, at the end of the night turn the whole power bar off not just hitting the off switch on the tv... ect. You would not believe how much power those things use when they don't even appear to be on! Break down and get the energy saving 5 year warranty light bulbs. They use less power and you don't have to purchase as many in the long run. They do cost a bit more up front but it's still less then you would spend on the electric and all those other bulbs. This last one I'm not to sure on...I need to do some more research. But from what I can tell if you sign up for the alternative time plan with your electric company and try to do all your energy sucking things during the off time you can cut off quite a bit.
Ok that's enough rambling for now............any hints or suggestions? Feel free to comment away!