Monday, January 12, 2009

Provident Living: Practice Thrift and Frugality

"Practice thrift and frugality. There is a wise old saying: “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Thrift is a practice of not wasting anything. Some people are able to get by because of the absence of expense. They have their shoes resoled, they patch, they mend, they sew, and they save money. They avoid installment buying, and make purchases only after saving enough to pay cash, thus avoiding interest charges. Frugality means to practice careful economy." - Elder James E. Faust

I love this quote and it is particularly apt at the moment considering the economic times in which we live. Here are some more ideas to help you "practice thrift and frugality."
  • Buy things used. Many things at our house were either free (from the side of the road or something someone was going to throw out) or purchased from a newspaper ad, a garage sale, a thrift store or e-bay and they're just like new but were a fraction of the cost of new items.
  • Eat out less. Making food from scratch is the cheapest way to go. Even if you buy pre-packaged food or easy prep meals at the grocery store, they will almost always cost less than buying even the most inexpensive meals from a restaurant.
  • Find free entertainment and recreation. The library is a marvelous resource with books, movies and fun programs for kids and book clubs for adults. Borrow books and movies from your friends (just remember to return them.) Form your own book groups, exercise groups and sports teams. Get out old instruments you played as a teenager and form a musical ensemble, find a tennis partner and play at the free tennis courts around town. Form playgroups for your children. Explore local parks.
  • Use your skills/talents to barter for other services. My mom used to barter piano lessons for dental checkups. I know someone who does taxes for dance lessons. Talk to your friends and neighbors. You might be surprised what hidden talents and skills they have to share.
  • Don't window shop. Make a list and stick to it. I often find myself at a store purchasing things I didn't realize I "needed" until I saw them. Don't go shopping just to look at things. Most people don't have the discipline to look and not buy. They end up spending money or make themselves miserable wanting what they can't have.
  • Throw away your catalogs before you look at them. If you don't see it, you won't need it.
  • Stay healthy. Exercise, eat right, keep the word of wisdom and you will save lots of money in health care costs.
  • Drink water. Forget soft drinks and juice. Stick to nature's best thirst quencher and you'll have more pennies in your pocket.
  • Cook large amounts of food in advance and freeze it. This allows you to save money by buying food in bulk, fills your freezer full of convenience food and will save you the cost of going out or buying prepackaged food. I can't tell you what a lifesaver it was having a freezer full of pre-made meals after I had twins. I probably would have had the pizza and Chinese restaurants' numbers memorized had I not taken the time to prepare meals in advance that I could just pop in the oven.
  • Maintain the things you have. Change your car's oil, rotate tires, change your furnace filters, fix leaky faucets, repair ripped clothing, etc. All these things will save you a great deal of money over time.
  • Sell things you don't use anymore. My friend took her kids' clothes from last year and sold them on e-bay for a hefty $600.00 (and she only has two kids.) You'd be surprised what people will buy from you if you make the effort to sell them. Go through each room in your house and decide if you really need items there. You'll be amazed at how many things you'll find to sell.
  • Eat less meat. It's expensive and there are lots of delicious meals that don't require meat.
  • Wash your clothes less frequently. Many clothes can be worn more than once and still be clean.
  • Consider your housing situation. Smaller is often better. You may not need all the house you have now. Plus smaller means less cleaning, right?
  • Save on transportation--take a bus, use mass transit, ride a bike, carpool, telecommute or only keep one car. If you get creative, you may find ways to save money.
  • Turn down your thermostat in the winter, and raise it in the summer. I'm not saying be uncomfortable, simply adjust it slightly so it's almost unnoticeable. You'll be surprised how much you can lower your energy bills by wearing warmer clothing in the house in the winter and keeping it slightly warmer in the summer.
  • Try designating a spending-free day or spending-free weekend on a regular basis. Cut out all incidental spending for a day or weekend. If you do this consistently over time, you'll soon have more money to rub together.
  • Use cash to purchase things. On average, people spend 30% more when they use a credit card instead of cash.
  • When you get unexpected money or a windfall, don't spend it on something extravagant or unnecessary! If at all possible, save it.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Theis is a list of the things I think should be given to all going out to live on their own.

Couple of comments - Catalogs: I use them for ideas and then figure out how I could get/make/alter etc for little or nothing. If I can't, I don't do it/need it.

Housing: we figure the cost of housing on a per square foot use. We don't need a bathroom big enough for a king-sized bed, just big enough for it's intended use. We don't live in our bedrooms, so they can be small and shared by kids. When we had a house with a formal dining room, we arranged it for use as an office (we had a business), storage room, and guest room for our frequently visiting college aged niece thereby eliminating at least 2 other rooms that would not be used as often.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this very timely and well written post.:)

I find that not shopping really works for me. If I don't shop for "recreation"...we save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on things we may not need.

Planning menus helps a lot as well. If you know what you are cooking and have the ingredients on hand, there is much less of a temptation to go out or order in.


Heather said...

This is a great list of practical things we can all do to be frugal. I agree that there are lots of things we can do everyday to save a few bucks without even feeling a pinch!

Another good idea is to keep a budget and track your finances. When we started tracking where we were spending money it opened our eyes to new ways to save.

Melonie said...

Great post! On the "eat less meat" portion (no pun intended) I'd also add use "cheaper" cuts of meat by making stews, etc, in the Crock-Pot or such. We have a smaller family, so we buy a bigger cut of meat that can be cooked in the slow cooker at length and then lasts us several days between being the main part of one meal, used for sandwiches the next day, and the little bits and snippets thrown in a stew or chili a third day. :-) We'd rather spend the same amount on a roast and get three meals than buy a couple of steaks and only get one.

Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball"/>


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