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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
How many times do you come home from the grocery store, wondering why the bill is so high?
Or maybe you come back from a shopping trip and wonder how all of those items got into your bags?
Do you ever second-guess or question?
How much time do you spend looking at your receipts, asking yourself "did I really need THAT item?"
Impulse buying can get the best of ANYONE. You see something at the end of an aisle in the store. You see an ad on tv. You see your friends carrying or wearing something you wish you had. You go out and buy it. How do you break the cycle of impulse buying?
It starts with self-control. Don't you sometimes despise those words: SELF-CONTROL. As much as want to be known as someone who has self-control, we dislike the process of getting there. What does it take to be self-controlled and not fall into the trap of impulse buying?
1. Don't buy what you don't need. Sounds simple, yet the road there is long and bumpy. You can be intentional one week, but the next week, find yourself in the trap again. In order to accomplish this step, you need to determine for yourself, what you need. What do you NEED, not what you WANT.
2. Don't listen to the ads. Don't flood your mind with what the world tells you, you need. Your favorite store bombards you with sale fliers in the mail, telling you the best deal is RIGHT NOW. The billboard along the road, screams to you the need for THIS. The latest tv commercial says you will be happier with this item; that you can't begin your morning, without "this" item. The radio tells you that TODAY, if you go to THIS restaurant, you can save "this" amount of money. Don't let the world tell you want you need. Don't listen to the ads.
3. Enlist a friend. Find someone who can keep you accountable to not impulse buy. Those you shop with most - tell them from the beginning, that you do not want to buy anything you do not need. I know, what's a shopping trip without splurging a little? Well, it gives you that instant gratification, but what good does it do after that? Gives you happiness for just a moment - then it's fleeting.
4. Know your triggers. If going to the mall causes you to impulse buy, limit your trips there. If shopping on Etsy or E-Bay causes you to impulse buy with just a few clicks of the mouse, don't peruse those websites. If going to garage sales woos you into buying things you don't need, don't stop. This looks different for each person, but we ALL have triggers. There is something that gets you excited to just buy and buy endlessly. Know what your trigger is.
5. Be aware. Preventing impulse buys begins with self-control. Know what you often buy most on impulse. Know who you are with. Be conscious of the decisions you make when shopping. Believe it or not, you CAN prevent impulse buying. Your bank account with thank you more and more, the more you prevent!
Start somewhere. Start small. Don't let culture tell you what you need. You know and stand strong!
Monday, December 9, 2013
The thought of storage spaces may be overwhelming. You may think of that ONE spot that is just hideous - an unsightly sight. The place where you will take NO ONE because you know exactly how it makes you feel - like you want anyone else to feel that way!
Storage spaces can have such a negative connotation because that means you are storing things you do not need (for the time being). Storage spaces are a catch all - the "I don't know where else to put it" space.
That is exactly why this one is so important to hit, when it comes to filling up those bags. When it comes to going through your storage spaces, remember these few questions:
1. Are there things that you could GET RID OF?
2. Is this item STORED in the right space?
3. Do you even like the item?
4. How are you going to use this item (what is it's purpose)?
5. Would someone else put this item to better use?
6. Is this storage space too full? (if so, you MUST get rid of things!)
In filling up those bags, be in the right mindset - if you feel you are going to be keeping items for the wrong reasons (because of fear of letting go, hanging onto the past, excuse of I will EVENTUALLY need it), do it another day. Make sure you are READY to get rid of things because I am going to safely assume that your storage spaces are going to be the biggest bag filler-uppers.
Save the organizing for another day. Just GET RID OF STUFF. You are storing it because you will need it someday - will that someday ever come? Don't wait for that someday - give it to someone TODAY - even if it's a thrift store or your neighbor!
You may have multiple storage spaces, so start with one first. Don't overwhelm yourself!
Hopefully you now have to make a trip to your local thrift store!
Saturday, December 7, 2013
I wasn't sure I wanted to jump on the bandwagon of making my own laundry detergent. In fact, I wasn't sure it would even save me money.
Then I decided to do the research.
The more I read, the more I realized that yes, it would be worth.
But would it really work? Does it work as well as store-bought detergent?
I was extremely skeptical.
I decided to do a "smaller" batch and give it a whirl.
The verdict: WORTH EVERY PENNY!
I don't know what I was so fearful about. It was a tried and true "recipe" that I had found all over the internet - the SAME recipe, on many different websites. So one day I found myself at the checkout line, with all of these crazy ingredients. I decided to stick with the powdered version as I was lazy and didn't want to deal with the liquid - sounded too complicated (even though I don't think it is). I just figured with the powder version, all I had to do was mix up everything and that is exactly what I did.
Voila! Mix all of the ingredients together!
Homemade Laundry Detergent:
3 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda
1 bar Fels Naptha soap (or bar of your choice)
3/4 cup baking soda
4 1/2 cups oxygen bleach
1 cup fabric softener crystals
1. Grate the Fels Naptha bar with the smallest holes possible (without the soap getting stuck)
2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
3. Mix well.
Note: Use about 2 tablespoons for non-HE and HE washing machines.
I am not sure I will ever go back to store-bought laundry detergent. Granted I LOVE making homemade "things" (EVEN laundry detergent), but I have to say the quality and smell of the clothes is amazing!
And again, it has been worth EVERY PENNY!
Do you make your own laundry detergent? Do you have a favorite homemade laundry detergent recipe that you use?
Friday, December 6, 2013
Gift buying. Gift exchanges. Gifts, gifts, gifts.
What is a gift?
When I think of a gift, I think of something I was given, out of the thoughtfulness of someone else, out of no obligation, when they expect nothing in return.
When Christmas rolls around, do we buy gifts out of obligation because that is what we're "supposed" to do? Do we buy gifts with drudgery? Wishing we didn't have to? Are you overwhelmed with the thought of buying gifts and seeing what it does to your budget?
Whatever the case may be, it is time to turn those thoughts around and enjoy every moment of the gift buying process!
Here are a few tips on how to have a stress-free, gift-buying process:
1. Stick to your budget. If you wrote down a number, don't go over it - there is a reason why you set a budget!
2. Consider not doing a gift exchange. If you are buying gifts to just BUY gifts, opt out of your work's gift exchange, your friend's, your family's, whatever. Don't buy to just buy.
3. Get specific ideas from people if you can. This means emailing, calling, asking that person what they would like IN ADVANCE! Try to ask them as soon as you can to prevent last-minute, stressful buying.
4. What is the most thoughtful? Not every gift can be handmade (or maybe not any), but if there is someone who would appreciate a homemade, handmade gift, don't hesitate to make it.
5. Watch the sale ads. Starting early means you can compare prices more, which in turn means saving some cash!
6. Be aware of return policies. If you buy something, in hopes they will like it, but in reality they don't, know what the return policy is in advance, so that person isn't "stuck" with the item.
7. Be positive. Nothing creates a more crabby shopper than a negative person. If you are only walking up and down the aisles fuming, it is going to do no one any good.
8. Have fun. Think about the person you are buying for. Say a prayer for them. Encourage them. Think of ways they have influenced you. This keeps gift buying in perspective and helps you realize that waiting in line 15 minutes IS worth it - especially for this person!
9. Wrap as you go. When you come home, if you have the time, wrap that item right then and there. This will save you oodles of time later!
What do you enjoy most about gift buying?
Christmas Gift Planner:
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Headaches, onset of a heart attack, achy body, fever: aspirin is the answer. Who knew that there are other uses for aspirin besides those listed above? Aspirin is one of those household items you hang onto for physical ailments - what you may not know, is that it can be used for much more! Here are a few ideas:
1. Get rid of zits! Do you have Mt. Kilimanjaro growing on your face? Crush an aspirin, mix it with water to make a paste, and apply to zit. Let set for a couple of minutes and rinse away.
2. Have dandruff? Crush 2 aspirin and add it to your shampoo in your hand and wash your hair. Let set for 2 minutes and rinse. Wash your hair again, as normal.
3. Insect bites itch or have a bee sting? Dab your skin with a wet cloth and rub an aspirin on the bite. Itch with be gone!
4. Arm pit stains no more - crush 2 aspirin and put powder in 1/2 cup of warm water. Soak the stain in the water for a few hours and wash as normal.
5. Want your beautiful flowers to last longer? Crush an aspirin and put powder in the vase of water, before adding your flowers.
6. Have green swimmer's hair? Crush about 7 aspirin and mix with a glass of warm water. Apply to hair and let set for 15 minutes. Rinse and wash.
Maybe keeping a bottle of aspirin around, not just for headaches, may be a good idea! Hopefully these inspire you to continue to find simple home remedies for things you probably never thought of!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
This will be the last "installment" of my Saving Money Series! (at this point)
I hope this series has enlightened you and has encouraged you to think about the ways you spend your money. Maybe you have made some changes, maybe you have not. Whatever your case may be, my hope is that we are more aware - aware of what we spend our money on, aware of how we spend our money, and aware of ways we could save. Tuck these ideas in your back pocket and sit on them.
We often go through life not thinking enough - do you ask yourself WHY you are buying something? WHY you are spending money on "this" item? Answering this question will prevent us all from buying things we do not need and spending our money elsewhere (or maybe even saving it!).
Throughout this series, I hope it has caused you to take a step back and reflect.
And here are just a few more ideas:
1. Meal plan. Not only plan your meals for the week, but try using the ingredients you HAVE already!
2. Program your thermometer if you have one. If you are constantly heating or cooling your house when you are not home, think about how much money you are spending on USE-less heat or air!? If you do not have a programmable thermometer, put on a few more clothes until your house heats up after you come home from work.
3. Turn off the lights. How often do we leave A light on? Maybe it's even 2? Again, why give the house light during the daytime, when no one is home?
4. Don't spend money on your desires. I know this sounds harsh, but how often do we spend money on OUR desires? What if we detoured that money and give it to someone in NEED?
5. Cut down on your hobby spending. Hobbies, though wonderful and therapeutic at times, can be really expensive. We spend so much time funding and establishing our hobbies, that we spend more time spending, than doing. Use up what you have! This has done WONDERS for me when it comes to scrapbooking! I haven't bought supplies in a LONG time and I still have an abundance! Set limits for yourself.
6. Fix things. We are so quick to buy new, instead of trying to fix something. I understand that in some cases, it IS cheaper to buy new. Although, this isn't always the case - take the time to watch a youtube video, ask a neighbor or friend, if they know how to fix something. Be okay without the new.
7. Live in a cheaper home. I am sure you have heard of the term "McMansion." We are constantly trying to "up" the size of our homes. We live in homes that are WAY above our means and WAY more room than what we need. Think about your NEEDS (not your wants). Does your current home satisfy your needs? If you have too much home, consider buying a smaller home! Smaller mortgage, lower bills, and less space to clean, which means more time, AND more family time because you aren't spread out so thin.
8. Make soup. This sounds odd, but soup is cheap to make. It is a wonderful winter meal and can be made in so many different ways. Do you have tons of leftovers? Like a meat and vegetables? Consider making a soup out of them, using broth, heating it up, and throwing some spices in it!
9. Don't speed. Common sense, right? Well, tickets are expensive - so is the insurance that goes up. Don't speed.
10. Make your own gifts. Consider canning your Christmas gifts for teachers. Consider making your own cards. Go online to find oodles and oodles of homemade ideas for homemade gifts!
Monday, December 2, 2013
Piles and piles of dishes.
You get done with a meal and you wonder "where did all of these come from?"
You may have a dishwasher and you may not. Whatever your source is for washing them, you know that they can just keep piling up.
Then you need to find a place for them all. In fact, you might have to spend the next how many minutes, trying to fit them back IN where they belong.
What if you didn't even have to worry about that? That each time you ate a meal, you had enough, but not too many (dishes used), and it didn't take you how long to get them back in their rightful place?
Getting rid of unused and unnecessary dishes is just another step in living a life with less - with living a decluttered and simplified life.
A few questions to ponder:
1. How many people are in your home? Make sure you have enough dishes for all, but just a FEW extra for guests.
2. What is the max number of guests you have had over? Keep the average amount.
3. Are any of your dishes chipped, broken, or stained (beyond repair?)
4. Are you embarrassed with any of the dishes you own? If you don't dare to use them with guests, is there really any reason to keep them for yourself?
5. If you have dishes that you rarely use, pack them in a box and if you don't use them in 6 months to a year, get rid of them: donate or recycle them.
Dishes can pile up in many ways. Don't let your cupboards cry for help because they are ripping at the seams. Use the necessary and get rid of the excess.
Your cupboards will thank you!