FRUGALOSITY 101

frugalosity-101

When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”   – John 6:12

My parents lived through the depression era, so I was the kid with a happy plate every day.  Of course, my mom was a good cook and fixed meals that I had no problem eating, and usually wanted seconds.  :-/

I was raised with the old adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!”  Have you ever washed out a baggy and used it again?  Yep, me too.  When I get a present, I save the gift bag (but not the tissue), and write the gift giver’s name on a post-it note and put it inside the gift bag – that way I won’t accidentally use the same bag for their gift.  Little acts of frugality can save you money, honey!

Since our monthly bills are going up and our income is staying the same, that belt has to tighten a little more.  I took a trip to the Dollar Tree to see what I could use in place of higher priced items I’ve used.  Let me tell you about my latest find…

They have the most amazing 2 in 1 laundry detergent / fabric softener!  It may not be the best for anyone who is allergic to scents, because it has a pretty strong lavender scent.  It’s in a lavender color bottle and costs just $1.  It cleans well for less money.  I’m all about the clean, the lavender scent and saving money!  I actually like the lavender scent in my sheets – it helps me get to sleep better (that could be in my imagination…  lol).  I also like the dryer sheets from Dollar Tree.  They are, of course, $1 and seem to work just as well as the brand I used before.  The savings will add up and my clothes will be just as clean and free of static.  I call that a win/win!  🙂BUDGET CUTS

As Lucinda reminds us… we may have to use less expensive products in our everyday lives.  We may even have to give up on a few extras – but we won’t lose our place with the Son.  I love that!

I also found a perfectly good sensitivity / whitening toothpaste at the Dollar Tree.  For $1 I can get my teeth cleaned and whitened for much less money.  The one thing I had to adjust to was the taste of the toothpaste.  I was so used to the mint flavor of my old toothpaste – but after a couple of uses, I’m fine with the less “minty” flavor.  I also think this new toothpaste whitens my teeth better and provides good sensitivity protection.

Little changes that cost less can make a big difference.  You may have to adjust in some ways, but your wallet will leave the Dollar Tree smiling!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

BUDGET CUTS

Positive Plan #2 is to reduce debt.  Yes, I know, I know…  we’re not getting a cost of living raise and everything (including interest rates) will probably increase – and I’m pretty sure they are getting ready to raise the rates soon.  I’m very surprised they have not done it yet – but look out because I really think 2016 is the year they will hike them up.

Reducing debt is a matter of sacrifice – big time sacrifice.  What can you live without in order to get it paid down?  Each person would answer differently.  It might be that $4 cup of fancy coffee in the morning or the $1 cup of soda from the fast food place.  You know your lifestyle better than I do – so your answer will be based on your lifestyle.

Common sense and prayer go a long way – or so I’ve found that to be so.  Here are a few steps that may help to at least organize your debt into the proper perspective as you tackle it.

  • Make a list of every one of your credit cards.  List them with the highest interest rate card at the top of the list, second highest under it and so forth.
  • Write down the total of the minimum payments.
  • Pray over the list.  Ask God to help you use as much common sense as possible.  Give the list to God.  Call out to Him for direction.  Debt is a weight – a very heavy weight that affects every aspect of your life.  It takes money to live in this world and God wants to be involved in our spending habits and in paying off debt.  He cares about the things that weigh His children down in life.  If it is lack of money that weighs on you – if debt is robbing you of the joy that God wants you to have in your heart – you have to hand it over to Him.  You need to pray over this list every day until your debt is paid off.
  • As you are praying, ask God to impress upon you those areas in money management where you can possibly either do away with or significantly cut back.  He will do that if you ask.  Even if you can pay an extra $20 a month on the card with the highest interest rate – that adds up!  Every little bit helps.
  • As the payments come due, pay the minimum on the cards with the lowest interest rates.  That first card on your list is the one you need to pay more than the minimum payment – it’s your goal to pay that one off first.  That high interest rate is eating your lunch, so pay as much as possible on it.
  • Continue doing this until the first card on the list is paid off.  Once done, focus on doing the same with the second card on your list.
  • This step may seem obvious, but once your debt begins to dwindle, don’t reapply for ANY credit cards!  I know it’s a great temptation when money is tight to apply for credit, but try to resist the temptation to do that.

Here are a few more tips for getting debt paid down more quickly, but none of these are a slam dunk guarantee.  You may want to:

  • Call each credit card company and ask if your interest rate could be lowered.  It sounds too good to be true, and I’m the first to admit it doesn’t always work, but the most they can say is NO.  It’s been my experience in life that sometimes – they say YES.  So…  give it a try.
  • On some credit cards they run special 0% offers.  These are hard to come by in this economy and you have to be careful (read the fine print) because there are hidden fees that might outweigh the benefit.
  • The balance transfer deal may not be the best way to go, but you could try to get the balance lowered from 25% APR to a card with 18% APR.  Even with an 18% APR it’s going to take some time, effort and a great deal of personal sacrifice to get debt paid off, but isn’t it worth lowering that annual percentage rate?

Debt steals peace and joy!  It haunts a person daily because it’s all-consuming all the time.  You can’t buy that occasional latte from the coffee shop without feeling guilty.  Let’s make a Positive Plan that is bathed in prayer.  God can do what no man can do!  I pray that 2016 is the year your financial joy is abundant.  (y)

 

BLUE MONDAY

TL 1-5 BLUE MONDAY

 

WHEN CHRISTMAS IS OVER

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1-5 CHOOSE A SHADE OF BLUE

It’s BLUE MONDAY!  Now, how blue you allow yourself to be is completely up to you.  Choose your shade and rock your mood.  Why do we celebrate this day?  Well, there is no real scientific basis for it, however, it’s thought that a few factors lend themselves to a “let-down” blue mood:

1.  The Polar Vortex is bringing freezing cold temperatures to us.  Most of us don’t adapt to the cold as easily as we do to warm temperatures.

2.  We’ve been on a holiday high, celebrating Christmas with sugary foods we normally wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  Now most of us are saying we’re going to lose a ton of weight overnight – am I right?  That in itself is depressing.

3.  Speaking of those New Year’s Resolutions…  by now most of us have messed up and given up.  So, failure can obviously make us depressed.

4.  The bills are rolling in from all that Christmas fun!  I am taking all of my past-due bills and making them into Origami Cranes.  I may as well be creative while I’m waiting for money to fall in my lap, right?

5.  Most of us are heading back to work – back to the mundane routine of the 9-5 work week.  Well, we have to work to make money to pay for the Christmas fun – right?

Well – that was depressing!  Now, let’s look at this with an eye of rationality, shall we?

1.  God will see us through just like He always has.  We don’t have to be in a deep depression, so we can choose a lighter shade of blue today.  Remember that the Lord loves you and will take good care of you.

2.  It’s going to be okay.  If the weather is bringing you down, be thankful to God for your furnace and the warmth of a fireplace if you have one.

3.  If you made some resolutions for the new year and have been less than perfect – so what?  Is that a reason to give up?  Wow, I sure hope not!  Keep trying because that’s all anyone expects of you – don’t beat yourself up about that stuff.  Most resolutions are tough – or you wouldn’t have to make it every year (am I right?)  I make the same ones every year – because it’s where my weakness lies.  Remember – when we are weak – God is strong!  He is strong through our weakness.  Hang in there.  God will help you succeed – imperfectly.

4.  If you have a means to make money – a.k.a. – a job, be thankful.  If you have bills due and money coming in, it means you have friends and family you love and you’ve given them a token of that love.  You’ll get caught up financially because God will help you.  Ask Him and He will show you the way.

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Yes, you have to go back to work today – and some jobs are worse than others.  Just be thankful you don’t have this job:

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You have a choice – it’s okay to be blue, but I hope you will choose a light blue instead of a deep dark blue.  If you suffer from horrible dark blue mood today, maybe you should find a job you like – do what you love because life is just too short…  it is.  🙂