A Frugal Mindset – 1

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As promised yesterday, I plan to address the points from the link I posted one by one.

The first point is:

1. Frugal people plan ahead. Planning ahead may not, at first, seem like it has anything to do with money, but it really does. Frugal people plan ahead in many ways. They do things like plan out their meals for the week to save money at the grocery store, or more long term planning like knowing that they’ll need a new roof on the house in several years, and to begin saving for this expense now.

Frugal people live by the mantra that failure to plan is planning to fail. They’ve learned that taking steps now for anticipated future events helps make those future events easier to deal with. And typically those plans make it both easier in both time spent, and in money saved.

Question to ask yourself: What can I do today to make tomorrow and the future easier to deal with?

If you really want use this strategy to its fullest potential don’t just make those plans in your mind. Write them down!

I regard planning as one of my strengths and there is no doubt in my mind that it saves money.  It also saves time and my sanity which are equally important to me.

I plan our meals, plan to combine errands in a single trip, plan what I will wear to work, plan what to pack for a holiday, plan future projects at home – there is no end to what we plan.

An example of long-term planning was when we began looking for our current home.  This was over 10 years ago and I was still in my forties but one of the things that we considered was that it would have to have at least one point of ground-level access or be able to be relatively easily adapted to meet this requirement.  Although we have numerous stairs to reach the verandah we know that this can be altered if required – we have a plan.

We are also changing and adapting our large garden to reduce the level of maintenance which will be required as we age.  Putting in the effort now will reap rewards in years to come.

As a result of ensuring that we have sufficient rainwater storage as well as the installation of solar panels means that we are pretty well self-sufficient for water and electricity which minimises the ongoing costs of running our home.

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As GMan regularly quotes from Baldrick in Blackadder, “I have a cunning plan”.  The difference between Baldrick’s plans and ours is that ours are realistic and generally achievable.  Even if things do not go quite according to plan you have a framework with which to start again.

 

Busy Being Frugal

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Pardon my absence but I have been busy doing the everyday things at home as well as my paid employment.

Tonight I want to share a link that one of my Facebook friends posted a couple of days ago.

7 Mindsets of Frugal People

I am usually very sceptical of this type of post on Facebook but I was pleasantly surprised when I clicked on this one.  In my opinion these 7 messages make good sense and mirror much of what we do every day.

I hope you will take the time to click on the link, have a read and leave a comment.

I plan to write a blog post on each of the 7 points and how it aligns (or otherwise) with what we do here at ‘The Castle’.

I look forward to your comments and discussing in more detail in the coming week.

 

Taking Responsibility

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I stumbled upon this article online today.  It is about a study showing the correlation between age, gender, race and political ideology to belief in the reality of climate change and the impact caused by humans.  The content did not surprise me greatly, however, I was bitterly disappointed by the following couple of paragraphs towards the end of the article.

“But accepting climate change did not necessarily make you greener, at least in your home life, the study also found.

While those who accept human’s role in climate changes were more likely to take more public action, such as signing petitions or joining demonstrations, that was not necessarily replicated in private action, such as cutting energy use at home and using public transport over the car.”

I find this very sad indeed and downright depressing.  It is yet another example of the overwhelming apathy which so many people display.  Everybody wants ‘something to be done’ but expect that it is the responsibility of someone else, usually the government, the mythical ‘they’ or in the case of climate change, the global community or, at the very least, another country.

Australia may be a small player in the global sandpit in terms of population but we create far more than our share of mess when it comes to environmental vandalism.  Yet, our governments consistently drag the chain when it comes to making real changes that will tackle climate change and benefit the planet.  Sadly, government policy by all parties seems to be limited to the interval between the present time and the next election.  This is not limited to addressing climate change but policy in general.

In the absence of clear government action, the driver of change must come from each and every one of us.  Remember the saying, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.  We can and should all play our part in changing everyday habits.  Addressing the problem of climate change is not just about legislation, coal mines and power stations.  It is about each one of us doing our bit.

Can’t afford solar panels?  Live too far from public transport?  Organic food is too expensive?  This does not mean that you cannot make a significant contribution by reducing your carbon footprint.  In fact, many of the actions you can take to save money will also save the planet.

Buy second-hand – clothes, furniture, tools, toys
Do not waste anything – use up leftover food, finish the last shampoo in the bottle
Consider re-usable alternatives – cloth serviettes instead of paper, lidded containers instead of plastic wrap, refillable drink bottles instead of bottled water

These are just a few examples.

What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint?

Prepared

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The wild weather we experienced 3 weeks ago is back, although not quite so dramatic.  Parts of the Sunshine Coast and hinterland, where I live, have received well in excess of 200mm since the rain began on Thursday.  The majority of it fell overnight on Sunday and all day yesterday.

2013-02-19 01The rain has eased for the moment and the forecast is that we have seen the worst of it so any flooding should only be minor to moderate.  The lake in our backyard is nowhere near as extensive as it was last month or on many other occasions.

2013-02-19 02Gale force winds are being forecast for the next 2 to 3 days and of all the extreme weather conditions, it is wind that actually poses the greatest risk to us and therefore the need to be prepared.  While there is a small chance of structural damage, either directly or from falling trees, loss of power is our major potential problem.

2013-02-19 03Electricity is integral to almost everything we do in the 21st century so we have done all that we can to make sure that we can function for up to 3 days without it.  Before I left for work today I made put containers of water in the portable fridge/freezer (set to ‘freeze’) so that we will have plenty of ice available to keep foodstuffs cool if we lose power for more than 24 hours.  We also have 20 litres of drinking water immediately available.  The cooktop is gas and we have solar hot water (if the sun happens to be shining!)

2013-02-19 04A less obvious piece of planning was my choice of clothes to wear to work.  I had previously decided to wear a skirt, blouse, stockings and heels but instead opted for lightweight jeans, fitted ¾ sleeve top and lace-up shoes and socks.  If we arrive home this evening (after dark) and there is no power I do not need to be stumbling around in my fancy work clothes.

I hope my preparation is not required, however, since it is only 3 weeks since we lost power for more than 3 days the inconvenience is very fresh in my memory.  I wonder if others have taken heed as a result of the previous storm or if they have quickly slipped back to the complacent attitude of expecting that there will always be power whenever they flick a switch?

DIY vs Outsourcing

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Today we went to the Wood Expo and unfortunately I did not find anyone who was doing the type of restoration work that my cabinet will need.  That is OK as I have plenty of time and no particular deadline.  I took more photos and printed them before I went so I have a complete pictorial record of the unit as well as all of the dimensions.  My next job will be to see if I can find someone who can give me an estimate of what my idea is likely to cost.  I did see a slab of silky oak for sale today – $150 and it was more than what I imagine will be required for the job.  I will let you know of any further developments.  In the meantime, it functions perfectly well as a stand for the television and storage of other items.

I decided to outsource the restoration of the cabinet  as the skills required are beyond that which we have.  However, there are lots of things we can do and make for ourselves.  We have managed to fill the rest of the day with doing things for ourselves.

2012-05-05 01The Duke makes our bread in the breadmaker and today was fruit loaf with sultanas, chopped raisins and chopped dried apricots.

2012-05-05 02He also bottled his latest home brew and then started a new one today.

2012-05-05 03I made some fresh pasta.  Here is some of it cut into lasagne sheets and ready to go in the freezer.  I used some to make chicken and mushroom canneloni for dinner.  We had a serve each and here are the 2 leftover serves ready to be frozen for lunches later in the week.

2012-05-05 04I picked a pumpkin and also some cucumbers from the garden.  We had mashed pumpkin and peas with the canneloni.

2012-05-05 05We made soda water using the Soda Stream and I had a glass of bubbles with fresh slices of lime.

Now I am off to do some more knitting on my dishcloth.  I have done 4 so far and the 5th is underway.

Keeping My Day Job

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The dog clippers that we ordered online arrived on Friday.  You can see what we bought here.

Today we clipped Psycho Dog and I am pretty pleased with the first effort.  I won’t be giving up my day job just yet, though. 🙂

It is not perfect but will certainly help to find any ticks he may get.  I think it was money well-spent and don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago.  I will now add dog-clipping to the list of things I can do myself.

Where Are the Savings?

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I was debating what to write tonight when I came across this post from Jennifer Lorenzetti at Fast, Cheap and Good.  The final 2 paragraphs are the crux of the matter as far as I am concerned.

For many people it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet financial commitments and this is a clear reminder that simply making at least some meals from scratch can be a huge saving on the budget.

If you can manage to grow even a few vegetables it can make an even greater difference.  Here in Australia, we have the benefit of being able to grow something almost all of the year round in most parts of the country.

Lettuce, bok choy, pak choy and broccoli

Compared to the USA and Europe we are still in relatively good financial shape but it is anyone’s guess how long that will continue.  Therefore, it is prudent to consider what changes we can make to the way we prepare our meals that will both save us money and reduce our reliance on ‘just in time deliveries’ to the major supermarkets.

Have you made any changes to the foods you eat or way you prepare meals?