About Old West's Farms & the Animals

Money Saving Idea's

First let me say that in the past, I was a terrible steward of God's money. I use to make a lot of money and I use to frivolously spend His money.  When the money slowed down, my spending habits did not. Debt occurred because I was so used to getting what I wanted when I wanted it. Now that we don't make a lot of money, AND understand the value and the purpose of money, I am on a mission to be thrifty. Thrifty didn't work for me for a long time, but I'm getting better at it every day. The old Barbara still rears up from time to time, and I must beat her back. The most important thing is NEVER GIVE UP. Whenever the struggle against debt feels like it’s too much, go read a personal finance blog and remember that there are a lot of people out there fighting the same fight. YOU can do it ~ people are doing it, even in this economy.

Plan out your meals ahead of time. Not 5 minutes ahead of time, like a week ahead of time. Don’t you scoff at me!! Subscribe via email to your local markets sale ads and plan your meal around the products that are ON SALE. Lets take that one more step; Come on you can do it… Once you see what is on sale, see if you can find a coupon to match the sale items. Sometimes I can get an item for free, or for a fraction of its original price. If chicken breasts are on sale, plan your dinner with the chicken and cook up a couple extra pieces to make yourself a nice Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad for lunch the following day.
COUPONS ~ COUPONS ~ COUPONS ... I know someone is reading this saying I don't do coupons. Well, you need to ... It is so cool when you see your total say 117. and then she does your coupons and the total comes down to 85 bucks... LOVE it ... BEST bargin website is http://www.southernsavers.com/ she teaches you how to "stack" your coupons. She tells you where things are on sale, then gives you a link to print a coupon for sale item. Sometimes you can get the item for FREE.

Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff from the store. You can make food mixes, candles, bread, cookies, soap, and all kinds of other things at home quite easily and inexpensively. These make awesome gifts for others because they involve your homemade touch. That is of course if you don’t suck at making them. If you do, don’t ‘bless us’ with your ‘gift’, it will be like the ‘fruit cake’ that no one likes. You will be mocked and laughed at behind your back. They will use your ‘special’ cookies as hockey pucks. Oh, sorry, just keepin it real. It would be nice to include a personal handwritten note with the gift. That will make it that much more special. A handmade card is always nice too.

Have a Yard Sale and put every dime you make towards your highest credit card or the principle on your mortgage. For me, yard sales are similar to child birth; you forget about the pain and decide to do another one. Whilst sitting in the hot sun negotiating from .75 cents to 50 you swear you will never do another one. However, it feels good to PURGE that stuff you no longer need. Clutter is not good ~ say it with me ~ Clutter is not good.  If you don't want to end up on that show Hoarders, you need to purge. My goal is one every 2 years.

Mandatory Thirty Day Rule. Whenever you’re considering making a purchase, especially an unnecessary purchase, wait thirty days and then ask yourself if you still want or need that item. You and Your husband must be on the same page about this. He may not purchase that new “gadget” he has to have until he waits 30 days. More than likely after that 30 days is up, you will realize just how stupid you were to ever want it in the first place. If the item is something the household is eventually going to need, do as much research on the item as possible in those 30 days. Consumer Reports is a good place to start. Mind you, the hot little sundress number will not be on Consumer Reports and thus should be passed over.

Invite friends over instead of going out. Almost every activity at home is less expensive than going out. Invite some friends over and have a cookout or better yet a potluck meal. Make sure you are friends with the best cook at your church and invite her. That will insure your guest have something wonderful to eat. Everyone will have fun, the cost will be low, and the others will likely reciprocate not long afterwards…hopefully! Hint Hint for those of you that haven’t had me over for dinner yet.

Don’t spend big money entertaining your children. Most children, especially young ones, can be entertained very cheaply. My grand-daughter will sit around a bunch of expensive toys and will inevitable pick up and empty water bottle to play with. Make a game out of ordinary stuff around the house. Honestly, for what ever reason, your children want most of all is your time, not your stuff. Foot-note: this does not apply to teenagers; they will only want your money and never your time. You are stupid and an embarrassment until they turn 20. At that age, you are still stupid but they take pity on you and will grace you with their presences, and probably borrow money while they’re there.

Call your credit card company and ask for a rate reduction. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE CREDIT CARDS – Seriously, I learned the hard way that credit cards feed into the “keeping up with the Joneses” epidemic. Keep one for emergencies, and cut the rest up! If you do have CC take any of your credit cards that are carrying a balance, flip them over, and call the number on the back. Tell them that you want an interest rate reduction or you’ll take your business elsewhere. If the first person you talk to won’t do it, ask to talk to a supervisor. If you have a $5,000 balance, even a 3% rate reduction saves you $150 a year.

Give up expensive habits, like cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. First of all, if you smoke, ewwww… but I understand it’s an addiction that must be broken ~ BREAK IT … NOW!! If you are serious about saving money, you must do everything in your power to QUIT SMOKING. Drinking, why? What good really comes out of drinking ~ and drugs … actually I know some people that SHOULD BE on drugs. The mood stabilizing kind, you know those people too; don’t look down your nose at me. Bottom line, ditch the bad, money gobbling habits. Bank that cash !!

Save on Electricity. Do I really need to lecture you on turning off lights and unplugging phantom sucking appliances. If you really want to get the hair on the back of my neck ruffled, leave the TV on and walk away…as in away, like you’re not coming back. Errrrrrrrrr
Turn your AC up one or two degrees in the summer (wear less clothes), and turn it down 3-4 degrees in the winter (wear more clothes). The bottom line is, that AC/Heating unit is a HUGE portion of your ever increasing electric bill. This is an easy fix, turn things off and look for ways to save money. I am currently investigating the ‘tank-less water heater’. Install a programmable thermostat!! DO YOU HEAR ME… These are easy to program and will regulate the temperature in your house automatically according to the schedule that you set. So, when you’re not home, it allows the heating or cooling to turn off (or up/down) for several hours, saving you on your energy bill. A programmable thermostat can easily cut your energy bill by 10 to 20% and they are easy to install and not that expensive. So if you don’t want to put those curly light bulbs in, at least install one of these.

Swap books, music, and DVDs cheaply on the Internet via services like PaperBackSwap. You can very easily swap the books and Cd's and DVDs you’ve grown bored with via the Internet with others. I have a friend, who will remain nameless, that is not allowed to purchase any more books until she reads ALL the ones she already owns. Just use sites like PaperBackSwap, clean out your media collection, and trade them with others online. The best part? You’ll get a flood of new books (or Cd's or DVDs) to enjoy, or not, mailed right to you – for FREE. Now there are details that you must read about, it will cost you a little over 2 dollars to mail out books, but that is a lot less than spending 7.95 for a new paperback. OR better yet, don't spend anything on books and go check them out at the library. Do you hear me my special book buying friend, go to the library ;-)

Make a triple batch of a casserole. Casseroles are easy dishes to prepare, but on busy nights, it’s often still easier to just order some take-out or eat out or just plop a prepackaged meal in the oven. Now it would really suck if you messed it all up and you had three casseroles that your dog won’t even eat. FOLLOW A RECIPE for Pete’s sake. I have another friend, who will remain nameless, that absolutely refuses to follow a recipe. In fact, she gets hives if I even mention the word recipe. But in this case, dude seriously, follow a recipe so your food doesn’t suck. So make three or four batches of it and put the other ones in the freezer. Then, the next time you need a quick meal for the family, grab one of those batches and just heat it up. Even better, doing this allows you to buy the ingredients in bulk, making each casserole cheaper than it would be ordinarily – and far, far cheaper than eating out or trying a prepackaged meal. Also, if a neighbor gets sick or is in need of a meal, you have something you can pull out and take over.  I broke down and purchased that sealer machine. It is a beautiful thing when you purchase meats, or bulk items on sale and portion them out and seal them in those air-tight bags… I think it’s totally worth it.

Do holiday and seasonal shopping right after the holidays. Most people use this technique for Christmas, but it works for every holiday. Wait until about two days after a holiday then go out shopping for items you need. Get a Mother’s Day card for next year the day after Mother’s Day. Get Easter egg decorating kits the day after Easter. You think I’m crazy don’t you ~ well it works, so get used to it!! You should already know about getting wrapping paper and cards and such the day after Christmas, but if you don’t, do it !! The discounts are tremendous, and you can just put this stuff in the closet until next year, saving you a bundle.

Start a garden. Gardening is an inexpensive hobby if you have a yard. Just rent a tiller, till up a patch, plant some plants, keep it weeded, and you’ll have a very inexpensive hobby that produces a huge amount of vegetables for you to eat at the end of the season. Feel free to check out my blog on Square Foot Gardening if you don’t like weeding. How silly, who ‘likes’ to weed. You know there is some freak reading this right now saying ‘ I like weeding’ Well bless your little heart. Get a life!! Give gardening a try, it’s VERY rewarding.

Go through your cell phone bill, cable bill, etc… look for services you don’t use, and ditch them. Sit down and go through each item on your bill and see if there’s anything there that you don’t use, like a surfeit of text messages or web access or something to that effect. Then call your cell phone company and ask to have those services eliminated. Boom, you’re saving money. Not watching all those channels, get rid of them!! Save the cash.

more to come ...