Surviving Without Money – The Simple Life

frugal-living-tipsSurviving Without Money – The Simple Life

 

Can you really survive without money? Would you want to?  Probably not, but sometimes learning how to simplify your life – or find ways to reduce your expenses can make it easier to have a bigger life. If you have less overhead – and less stuff, guess what – you’ll probably have more room in your life for the things that are really important to you.

Not to mention that if you proactively learn to simplify you’re always providing some great insurance against when really bad things happen.  I was watching the movie “So This is 40” in which Paul Rudd plays one half of a very over extended yuppie couple. He’s missing mortgage payments, his credit cards are maxed out and his business is on the rocks.  But he gets a bit of sage advice from one of the musicians he represents – nobody too famous, but someone who gets to spend his days doing what he loves…Why? Because he has a small nut (nope and that is not something weird). Having a small nut to cover means that your monthly expenses are low.  The smaller the nut, the less you have to generate every month to keep it all going.

So aim for a small nut…and here are some ideas how RichMama’s can help minimize the family nut…

 

Gardening.

 

While cheap is good, where saving money is concerned, free is better. And harvesting a crop full of free vegetables is a tremendous savings. Once you get past the initial investment, the rest of blissful bounty!

 

If you’ve never gardened before, pick up a book at the library or ask a friend to teach you. If you have limited space, consider using the square foot gardening method, or growing vegetables in large containers, even buckets.

 

Gardening is not only easy, it’s fun. . Children can get involved by helping to plant seeds or pull weeds, and they’ll feel like the garden is as much theirs as anyone’s. Planting a garden not only will help you survive should your family income disappear, it will also build memories and skills that could last a lifetime.

 

Canning and freezing.

 

In addition to enjoying fresh vegetables from your garden, canning or freezing the excess will serve you well again when there is little money to buy food. You can ensure your family receives good nutrition without it costing anything additional except time, and canning jars. However, sites like Freecycle.com could supply a nice supply of jars free of charge.

 

You can also can soups, stews, and even meats. Just be sure to follow safe canning techniques for the type of food you’re storing, mark your jars well, and store them in a cool, dry place. Your local library will have a number of books on canning, but you can also find information on reputable websites if you prefer. Again, check online swapping sites for free or inexpensive canning equipment.

 

Small scale homesteading.

 

If possible, you might also want to consider getting a a rooster and a few hens so you can gather your own eggs. If you do a lot of baking, or if your family enjoys eggs, this can really save you money in the long run. If your income situation should become desperate, this could do a lot more than put eggs on the table – it could turn into a lucrative business.

 

Experienced egg gatherers recommend gathering eggs at least three times a day and getting them into a cool place for storage as soon as possible so they stay fresh. Eggs will easily last for a week or so.

 

Ideal storage for eggs is 50 degrees and up to 50 percent humidity if you plan to hatch out any of your eggs. Avoid the refrigerator if that’s your plan as it dries them out and they may not hatch.

 

 

Bartering.

 

Another way to survive when trying to save money is to barter which is the  the trade or exchange of goods and services you can provide, for those you need.

 

For instance, if you can cut hair, you can trade your hair cutting skills for car repair, lawn services, household items, or even food. Or, say you have furniture you no longer need, you can trade it for something you do need.

 

When bartering, just be sure to consider all costs involved and look for the best deal. While no cash is actually exchanging hands, the value of the goods and services traded should be comparable for the best deal all around. Also, be careful to keep records and check with the tax codes for bartering services.

 

Hopefully, your family will never face such dire financial circumstances where there you don’t have income, but learning how to live on less now will help you be better prepared for what’s next.  Check out the Rich Mama Academy for more on building your wealthy family.

 

 

How to Look Fabulous while Being Frugal

Hey RichMamas – think you need to spend a lot of money to look good? Think again! It’s entirely possible to look fabulous while being frugal. Here are some tips on how you can look great without breaking the bank. Here are some great ideas.

Go Shopping…in Your Closet

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have stuff hidden in your closet and bureau that you forgot you had. Go shopping – pull everything out and take a look. Include shoes (even those dusty ones from the back of the closet). Put together outfits by creating new combinations.

For example, if you have a skirt and top outfit but the top is stained or damaged, look for another one that works with the skirt. Twin sets are another place to look – maybe the cardigan or top is too worn to wear, but you can take one or the other and put together another set. It won’t be monochrome, but it will be uniquely fabulous!

Clean It Up

Remember those dusty shoes we mentioned? Go ahead and pull them out, along with stained clothes. Give shoes and clothing a second chance. Treat clothing stains with a commercial, oxygen-based treatment and run them through the washing machine.

Shoe stains can often be lifted with store-bought cleaners or baking soda and a brush (baking soda helps odor, too). Use shoe polish on leather shoes. Suede shoes can be brushed with a stiff brush. Water stains, ironically, can be washed out with water. Brush on the water in a thin coat, paying special attention to the edges of the water stains, and allow to dry.

Give clothing a new life with ironing and stitching up small rips and tears. If you can’t do that, look into iron-on patches.
The point is to take a little time and clean up your clothes rather than just giving them away and buying new ones.

Don’t Shun Used

Some people get all kinds of compliments on yard-sale outfits and consignment shop finds. Don’t forget your existing wardrobe as you shop for used clothes – you may find the perfect shirt to go with a skirt, or a top that will look great with one of your existing pairs of pants.

Don’t forget about online options, too. The internet offers an enormous selection of used clothing on eBay and other online venues. You can often find name-brand items for a fraction of the price, and sometimes they have not even been worn or worn only once.

Hair and Accessories

Save money by coloring your hair at home (if you color it). Put styling aids like curling irons and hot rollers to use rather than paying for a salon job. When you get your hair trimmed, see if you can get just a trim, nothing else. It costs a lot less. Experiment with styling your hair yourself, or with various up-dos.

Antique stores and yard sales are great places to find used but beautiful jewelry. You can often find unique pieces that will get you lots of positive attention. Think outside the department store!

 

Making the Grade: Back to School Shopping with Your Grade School Child

Because you can never have too much back to school information, here’s another bit of advice when mapping out your march to victory….It’s that time of year! Your child needs school supplies and clothes. Where do you start? How do you pay for it all? Here are some tips for making the grade with your grade school kid this year.

Dressed for Success

Your grade school child may not have the picky tastes of a teenager, but he or she is going to need some new clothes this year. Go through last year’s clothing and find out what fits and what doesn’t. This includes shoes, socks, and underwear, too. Grade school kids can grow really fast! Here are some more ideas for clothes shopping with your grade school child.

* Plan your shopping trip for a day when you don’t have to rush, and when you don’t have anything planned the night before. Being rested and ready helps everyone’s mood, and so does being able to take your time.

* Call the school where your child will be attending and make sure there aren’t any changes to the dress code. If your child will be attending this school for the first time, then find out what the dress code is.

* Keeping it simple helps a lot. Depending on his (or her) age, he will be better able to dress himself as the year goes on. Having easy-to-fasten clothes can help a lot to facilitate this process. Tough buttons (or lots of buttons), lacings, belts, and small head-holes can make dressing a frustrating experience. Go for clothes with large head-holes, zippers, and easy (and few) buttons.

School Supplies

Moving on to school supplies – like the clothes, it’s a good idea to check with your school and teacher to find out what specifics might be required. Some teachers specify brands, colors, and so forth. Here are some other tips for shopping for school supplies with your grade school child.

* Go generic on writing items like pens and pencils. Getting fancy, unique writing implements only leads to competition in the classroom and the possibility that your child’s fancy pens will get stolen. Unless the teacher requires otherwise, go with standard #2 pencils.

Markers should be water-based, and crayons are usually needed in packs of 16. Consider a box to store and carry these small, easily-lost items.

* Erasers are always needed in grade school. A large, pink eraser like you had in school is a good purchase. Some erasers that fit on the ends of pencils are inexpensive additions, too.

* Your child’s school may not supply paper like they did in the old days. Find out from your teacher/school if you need to supply ruled (lined) paper, which will differ from teacher to teacher and grade to grade.

* Notebooks come in many forms. Your grade school child will probably need some spiral-bound ones as well as some binders. Think slim and trim so the notebooks fit in your child’s desk, no matter what type is required.

You also might want to purchase some dividers or pocket folders to help your child stay organized.

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Money-Saving Ideas for School Supply Shopping

A lot of time we talk about back to school shopping in the context of clothes, but haven’t you walked into the office supply store with that list of supplies from the teacher and walked out feeling a whole lot poorer?  Whether we like it or not, school supplies can get expensive. From clothes to pencils, it can cost a bundle to send your kids back to school. There are some things you can do, though, to make it less financially painful. Here are some money-saving ideas for school supply shopping.

What’s Shared and What’s Not

Back when you were in school, your school supplies were yours, and usually consisted of pencils, pens, notebooks and binders, and paper. The school provided things like dry erase markers, paper towels, and chalk. Schools are cutting their budgets these days, though, so you may find yourself buying supplies that will be shared. Check your local school system’s website or give them a call and find out what supplies will be pooled and which ones will belong to your student.

Save on the Shared Items

If you know an item is going to be shared with the whole class, such as binders or dry erase markers, skip the fancy ones. Go with the more generic, cheap types.

Speaking of Sharing…

Consider buying items in bulk with a group. Find other parents and families who can go in with you to purchase supplies. They tend to be much cheaper in bulk, and buying large amounts and dividing them up can help save some money.

Coupons

Look for coupons on manufacturer’s and retailer’s websites, and check your local newspaper. Combine the coupons with existing sales, and be willing to move on to the next retailer for the next sale rather than buying all your items at one place.

No Sales Tax

Many areas have a “no sales tax” day when you can buy items without this added tax. This is a good time to buy anything big, such as a small fridge for your college student, or electronics. The bigger the item, the more you save on sales tax. (This is another good time to buy in bulk with friends and family.)

Don’t Forget the Dollar Store

Do you have a store where “everything’s a dollar”? If so, go there! You might be able to find a lot of school supplies for a fraction of what you’d pay at a major retailer.

Start Early

There are a couple of advantages to starting your back-to-school shopping early. For one thing, you are more likely to get the supplies you want and need while stock is still plentiful. Another advantage to starting early is the sale prices. May stores have school supplies discounted early, while it’s still in the middle of summer.

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