I want to say a big "welcome" to my newest follower Jan. I hope you find something here of value. Please feel free to join in the conversations. I am honoured you chose to join my blogging family.
Lately, I've been spending time thinking very specifically about the ways I've been learning to save money and stretch my dollar's spending power. I've made a list of the things I've been doing for the last few years and I hope to share them with you soon. I'm doing this because it helps me to see how far I've come and how many changes I've made along the way. The changes haven't been difficult. In fact, many of them have been quite pleasurable. Now that I'm not working, I see saving money and running my household more efficiently as my job. I do it because I no longer have salary increases and my expenses are more or less the same except in a few areas. I do it because I have debt to pay down. I also do it because I want to minimize waste and have money to give to charity, particularly Missions of Hope in Kenya. As a believer and follower of Christ, I take it as one of my joyful duties to give to my neighbour. Even if I wasn't a believer and follower of Christ, I still would want to help my neighbour.
I'm going to share the things that I've done and maybe it will inspire some of you who don't have a big income or who have gone from a large income to a smaller income, like I have now that I am retired. My hope is that in encouraging you to save money you can help others by giving them a hand up. So with that little introduction, I will share something simple today and in pictorial format.
One of the big changes I've made in the last year or so is to buy bulk beans instead of canned beans. I've always loved beans but been intimidated by making them from scratch even though I knew they were much cheaper. When I worked I was always super busy and when I had time off it was only enough time to try to clean, shop for food and personal needs and catch my breath. Nowadays I purchase beans regularly in bulk and use them in a variety of ways. This small step is not only good for the pocket book but also great for your health since beans are a wonderful source of protein and a great alternative to meat.
|I am also soaking some kidney beans. I bought these at the same place where I bought the garbanzo beans and the cost was 35 cents unit. I forgot to price the packaged kidney beans at the grocery store tonight but am pretty sure these bulk beans are cheaper.|
|Here I have the kidney beans boiling on the stove. I hope they don't take too long since I have to get to sleep soon. I bought the beans late in the day and so their soaking time has been cut short.|
The kidney beans will be rinsed with cold water after they cool and be packed in containers and stored in the fridge for use during the week. We use them as an accompaniment to meals, in soups, chilies and salads.
The other thing I like to do to save money and which is also a form of entertainment, is to browse the thrift stores. I donate a fair bit to the thrift stores because I am undergoing a major decluttering effort at my home. Sometimes though I am the customer and last week I was looking for a doll (more about this in a later post.). While I was searching for the doll, I came across some brand new clay pots with clay tray bottoms. I picked them up for $2.00 each which included the trays for catching the water when you water your plants.
|At the same time, I found this fabulous clay, glazed garlic storage pot.|
I say fabulous because it is in black and matches some of my canisters in the kitchen. Perfect!
Well there you have it. Some of my small efforts at savings and they were such little steps, enjoyable steps and yet easy to do. I hope you will come again for many other savings strategies I've been using. In closing, let me say that for years now I've read other people's strategies for saving money. But I always found the ideas hard to implement. The ideas always seemed daunting because they related to goals for substantial savings that seemed unreachable, for example: saving $50,000 or more for a down payment on a house or saving some exorbitant sum of money each year that perhaps I didn't have as disposable income. In the end, I just had to learn that I can only do what I can do at any given time. I can try my best and I can take baby steps. I also had to have goals that were more meaningful to me which included ways to live and have shelter while at the same time, keep giving to missions. While I was working I also made sure I had insurance and saved money each and every month. What I was not good at was keeping the credit card balances paid off each month and so that is a key reason I am on restricted spending now. I hope whatever I've learned might be useful to someone. Until next time.