Economics 101 teaches that there are two ways to improve your personal financial situation – increase your income or decrease your spending. There are plenty of sites out there providing thousands of ways that we can earn more money. (The Wisdom Journal eHow Money HubPages) Sadly, many of us can do little to increase the amount of money going into our bank accounts each month. However, all of us can make changes that will control how much goes out of our accounts. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned.
I do not claim that the information on this site is original. As a matter of fact, I freely admit that most of the ideas are those that I learned from my mother and grandmother, two of the most beautifully frugal women that I have ever known. They taught by their example that frugality is a state of mind – dare I say a state of happiness!
For some it may require a serious shift in priorities. Let's start by distinguishing between a "want" and a "need". I have vivid childhood memories of being in a store standing in the toy aisle drooling over the Crayola 100 piece artist set (in later years it was a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans) explaining to Mom how much I "needed" it. Mom's response was always, "Do you need it or do you want it?" Of course, I needed it. But, before I had a chance to make my case, Mom clarified that the only things we need are food, clothing and shelter. Before you get yourself all worked up thinking that the next sentence is going to tell you to sell your car and throw away your cell phone, just let the thought sink in for a minute. You get to set your own priorities and decide how much of the stuff that you want you get! But when push comes to shove (and some of us are feeling shoved a lot lately), some of today's "wants" might have to go. The good news is that we can develop new "wants" that cost a lot less and some are even free.
Grandma lived to be 92 years old. She lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, the oil crisis of the 1970's, the recession of the 1980's and the changes that resulted from 911. Even so she was the epitome of contentment. When she was in her late 80's I asked her what her secret was. She explained that nobody is happy thinking about what they don't have, but there is happiness in being grateful for what you do have – no matter how much or how little.
Another shift in thinking is one that many have already made. Congratulations to those of you who have done so!! For decades there has been a push to Go Green. I for one am all for it. You've heard it said before, but I'm going to say it again. The earth is a gift and we are responsible for taking care of it. But, did you ever stop to think that being earth friendly kills two birds with one stone! We save the green of our beautiful earth and we save the green we put back into our pocketbooks! While environmentalists take credit for the Recycle Repurpose Reuse campaign, home economists should really be given the credit. Green thinking (by either definition) means that we have to move away from the idea that everything is disposable. The landfills are overflowing and everything we throw away costs money to replace. So the next time you are about to throw something away ask yourself, "Can it be fixed?", "Can someone else use this?", "Can it (or any parts of it) be used for something else?" As you move through this site keep your eye out for the Earth Cents symbol. It indicates ideas that are good for the environment and your bank account!
When I say "Home Ec", what comes to your mind? For most it was an easy A to pad our gpa as we were applying to college. For others it was a guaranteed laugh as long as you were there the day the captain of the football team tried on the apron he spent six weeks sewing. If we remove the" home" and start talking about an economist, suddenly the conversation takes a different tone. Economist are educated, serious people who discuss and propose solutions for serious situations. Guess what folks? When you are worried every month whether or not you can make the mortgage payment or buy groceries or put gas in your car so you can get to work, you are in a serious situation and you need solutions. So let's give credit where credit is due. Being a Home Economist takes serious work and requires quite a bit of education. That doesn't mean that you have to have a PhD in order to successfully run a household, nor do you have to be the studious type. You do, however, need to realize that there is work involved. Fortunately for you, you have found my site. I have done a lot of the work for you and I am more than willing to just hand it over to you! You don't have to adopt all the ideas found on this site. Use what you can or what you want. Try a couple-few things then, once they have become second nature, come back and find a few more things that will work for you and your family. To follow regularly, sign up for e-mail or RSS updates on the home page. You can also copy my site badge to your site.
I sincerely hope that you find value in the ideas that I share. Happy penny pinching!