Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's In The Stars

Here's my horoscope from Yahoo for today:

Are you feeling a little bit more thrifty than usual? It's not surprising, given the recent fiscal headaches that you have been dealing with. But before you swing into full-on panic mode, stop and take a deep breath. Something inside of you is pulling you toward a more cautious type of fiscal behavior, and all you have to do is follow it. Your interests are moving away from acquiring material goods -- you want more substance and less flash from life.

It's really dead on. Doc and I have both tried to make incremental adjustments in order to save money. It's literally a nickel and dime strategy. We've made all of the big moves we can: we both are working, we've consolidated our debt, we've cut up our credit cards. We've basically dammed the river of debt. Now we are patching up the holes like busy little beavers.

Stockpiling Food
Doc works at a bakery at a grocery store. He spends a lot of time there and knows when things go on sale and right when bread and other baked goods are marked "reduced" because he's the one who marks them that way. He also keeps an eye on the dented cans sale. Every night he brings home a small bundle of stuff for our pantry. So, we always have food in the house.

Buying Cheap Beer
I've finally drunk the PBR Kool-Aid. Doc's been buying PBR and savoring it for a while now, but I've struggled with it due to the lack of good flavor. I'm not much of a drinker anyway so it's not a big deal. But I've finally acquired the taste for PBR, so much so that Budweiser tastes like a quirkly little microbrew from Luxembourg and I enjoy one very much when Frank offers me one upon occaision.

Going Green
I've learned to love working in the yard. Living next door to an amazing landscaper has helped augment the things I've learned from my Mom, an amazing gardener. The cool thing is that our yards have sort have become communal. If I pull out a plant I don't like, Frank grabs it up and transplants it and vice versa. I gave him the little bush that could...he gave me some Lilac trees last year. The lilacs line the walk to the back of the house and I actually have some blooms on them. You can always count on Frank to have the one tool that will make the job easier (see: Halo Hoe). Working in the garden keeps me out of Target. It's also a cheap workout.

Handy Man's Corner
When we have stuff that breaks, I used to throw it out. Now, I take it apart and see if I can fix it. Or I give it to my overactive neighbor boy to take apart and fix. Either way, it's a good hour well spent and the item either works again or is broken beyond repair and I don't feel so bad pitching it.

We're hanging tough 'til our ship comes in and aside from a few leaks in our current boat, things seem to be moving along. Everyone's happy. The yard looks great and the mailbox is no longer a source of panic.

What are your cheap bastard moves?


  1. electricity is murderously expensive here, so a lot of what we do is based 'round that: open curtains for natural light, wire up the TV, stereo x-box and everything else into one master switch that can be clicked off when you leave the room. Run dishwasher and dryer full and as few times as possible. Replace all lightbulbs with flourescents and turn them off. Pool resources and buy "flash" electric water heater tank-- the one that heats water up instantly and shuts off when done to save on keeping 40 gallons of water hot during the day. Buy cheap pellet stove for the basement, replace basement windows with glass block, keep lots of blankets on hand for watching TV (Lost Boys snuggle with GF's for warmth, too). Pee outside to save on water from toilet flushes; turn water OFF when soaping up or shampooing hair. Use rechargable batteries. Get used to walking around in the semi-to-full dark at night. Don't cook any more food than you plan to eat and if there's leftovers on the verge of going bad, mix it with the dog's food (avoid beans, please). Walk-- it gets you out of the house so you're not using 'lectricity and is good excercise. Wear your pants more than one day (change undies, though)-- it's dusty and dirty here in the woods anyway-- to save on large laundry loads and long dryer time. We're also going to string clothesline for the same reason. Be communal-- when you've got something, from beer to cigarettes to a box of oatmeal pie cookies-- share with everyone. Grow your own food, or at least herbs like cilantro. Get on food stamps!!

  2. A lot like yours, minus the PBR and the cheap food. I garden a lot to save money on veggies since we're all vegetarians in my house. Of course, living in COLD central PA, we have a short growing season. I'm definitely with you on trying to fix stuff before just throwing it out/replacing it. We're hanging clothes to dry, turning off lights, carpooling when possible, composting for free organic fertilizer.

  3. Okay, when I was a kid, we went from being middle class to being suddenly poor, and for that reason I do not deny myself, within reason, when I see shoes or a bag or something like that I want.

    However, I really really really hate wasting stuff, like food. I am the McGyver of the refrigerator. Whatever needs to be used before it goes bad, that's what dinner's going to get made out of. Half a can of chick peas, some apricot yogurt, five radishes and a bottle of Clamato? No problem!

  4. I take the bus or walk as many places as I can; I only drive when I have to...about 2 days a week.
    I brew my own tea. I buy all my gifts in the closeout section at Marc's. I buy all my cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies, purses and cute hair clips at the dollar store. I drink at home before I go out and meet my friends at the clubs. I go to the venue to buy concert tickets so I don't have to pay service charges. I only buy locally-produced wine.

  5. I stopped getting hair cuts. I have The Wife do it now.

    Happy Mother's Day!!