We all have those silly things that we do to save money. They may take time, or not be appealing to anyone but ourselves, yet we do them anyway.
Things like reuse a piece of foil that you used to cover a dish while warming or cooking something in the oven. If it’s still clean, why not use it again?
- Saving scraps of soap, material, pieces of paper to reuse.
- Collecting things from a friend to reuse for a project.
- Buying larger quantities or sizes of food than you will actually consume.
- Taking things just because they are free.
None of these are necessarily bad, but if you don’t reuse the items that you are saving or in the case of food (or materials) waste the extra – are you saving money? Buying an item just because it’s cheap or free is wasteful in itself and cheats another person who really wants the item.
For a little money saving humor – check this out!
Luxury. Now the word has become synonymous in some circles with waste. Luxury does not have to be wasteful. Though since more people are spending more time with friends at home, they are also spending more money on their home. Money Magazine listed several household items that you might want. All of the items cost less than five hundred dollars. Depending on where you live, $500 is a good chunk of change – like almost a mortgage payment or monthly utilities.
The luxury items that are being showcased are ones that I could really do without – a heated towel rack or a counter wine chiller. The other suggestions such as a hammock for my yard would be too small for my balcony, ditto for an orchard.
Household improvements that could be made for low or no cost could be selling books or dvds (or other media) that you no longer read or watch. Either way you will have more space in you home.
Don’t scrimp or buy the cheapest gadgets or items that you know you will use. Any item that you like but will not use, start saving for it and revisit the idea of the purchase. You might just want to pass on by it. If you like cappuccino but drink it only occasionally, then walk on by that stove top cappuccino maker and just treat yourself to one when the mood arises. You will save space in your home and keep some extra cash.
What we consider necessities and luxuries has changed since the economic downturn, The Pew Research Center has indicated that from those surveyed there have been some changes in what people consider a necessity. Luxury and necessity are relative terms depending on who you are and your situation but thinking about a serious purchase before you make it would be a wise decision in any economy.
Whose fault is affluenza?
“The middle class is in trouble because of ‘affluenza,’ ” said Thomas Naylor, a professor emeritus of economics at Duke and co-author of a book of the same name. Affluenza is “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more,” the book says.
Buying and spending because you have money that does not need to go toward a pressing need is one reason that affluenza has taken hold. Another is that with the rise of credit and debit card use over the past couple of decades, not having cash in hand to know exactly how much money you have made it too easy in some cases to buy unaffordable items. This does not mean that buying unnecessary items is bad, being unable to afford them is bad.
Media outlets have also persuaded people that they can have the good life. Having the good life and affording the good life are different concepts. As much as I love coffee, the only time I buy coffee daily is when I am vacation, even when I worked near coffeeshops and passed several daily. On television people buy coffee all the time and hang out in coffee shops. No one ever makes changes in their budget because of spending too much on coffee. This is a small area of spending in life. There are other areas that take a toll on your wallet. Buying a designer clothes and accessories because they are advertised in a magazine can be a splurge or it can be part of a lifestyle. If it is part of a lifestyle and has no effect on your budget you are either one of the rich and famous who may received the item for free as a walking advertisement or just rich and can afford to buy these things.
More, more, more. Though people are espousing saving money, it is often to be able to afford what is necessary for them. Prices did decrease in certain areas of spending for most Americans due to the decrease in costs for certain items, though housing is must more expensive than it was ten or twenty years ago. Gasoline, though less expensive now, costs more as does public transportation for the non-drivers.
Spending on necessities has also taken a large chunk out of a family’s budget. Overspending and credit card abuse did occur for some people, but in other areas of a budget, the increase in necessities, without a decrease in desire for wants has affected middle class affluenza.
President Obama told the nation’s mayors on Friday that he would hold them accountable for how they spend the money in his $787 billion economic stimulus package, which he described as “a true partnership” between the federal government and cities that have been too long neglected by Washington.
“I want to be clear about this: We cannot tolerate business as usual — not in Washington, not in our state capitols, not in America’s cities and towns,” Mr. Obama told a gathering of the United States Conference of Mayors. He said he was putting them “on notice” that if they propose a wasteful project, “I will call them out on it.”
The president is talking tough about spending the money wisely. This is great. If local leaders know that they will be called out about their spending (and if it could affect future funding), this might make a difference.
Having a leader who is not advocating spending with reckless abandon, which is what got us into this mess initially sounds good. Now if the local leaders actually believe this threat and don’t get caught up with their local power struggles, Americans will be better off.
See where the money is going and track the progress at Recovery.gov.
A few weeks ago I started the 30-day bag diet. It really isn’t an issue but I have been more aware of the bags that I receive and the packaging that items are in. There are a lot of things that can be recycled such as toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes and other items. Plastic bags are just as reusable as cloth and paper.
Even as I sort through some of the things that need to be shredded I find some pieces of paper without any identifying information on them and I can just put those into the recycling bag instead of wasting more energy shredding additional pages. This adds up over the course of a week.
Something else I noticed is that I save a lot of paper because I have a reusable filter that I use for my coffee pot and don’t use a filter at all when I use my stove top espresso maker. I didn’t give up filters. I used them a few times and didn’t like it. I prefer to just dump the grounds instead of having to empty the paper filter which always seemed to make a bigger mess.
The biggest thing that I have given up and haven’t really noticed is the paper napkin. I do not miss paper napkins. Along with the 30-day bag diet I gave up buying paper napkins. Instead I use random cloth napkins that do not go with a table cloth, so when I want to use the table cloth, the napkins are not faded. There are many stores that sell just random cloth napkins and for the price of a package of paper napkins I can purchase truly reusable napkins.
At first I thought that this was going to be difficult, but it hasn’t been. If I eat something that is really messy, I can take a paper towel and moisten it and put it on a placemat and use that to wipe my fingertips or use one of the paper napkins. Paper napkins are still useful just as paper towels are, but it is important not to use them as much.
There are alternatives to paper products: cloths. There are times when the mess is too great (or toxic) and you just want to get rid of the waste. Then you can use a recycled paper product and use it sparingly.
When you use cloth in place of paper or something that can be reused several times before discarding it makes you consider how much you consume and the amount of energy or resources that could be saved. Some foods and messes just are not conducive to cloth napkins, and when you eat those once in a blue moon, use paper but make sure you don’t use a lot and that it is recycled.