Stretching Your Dollar

Stretching Your Dollar

It’s amazing how you can stretch your dollar to put it at the service of your higher values.   With many experiencing economic hard times these days, it’s good to go over some practical ways to stretch your hard earned money to have less financial stress and spend more time with the ones you love rather than working all the time. Being thrifty can go a long way in leading a simple life with a lot less clutter.

  • Buy used whenever possible – whether on-line, at a second-hand shop, through facebook groups – savings are tremendous. Stick to quality so it will last and serve its purpose well.
  • Take advantage of 50% off days at second hand shops like Value Village and Talize to pick up children’s clothing. Buy for the present moment and the next couple of seasons.
  • Check out garage sales, church rummage sales, etc.
  • Borrow and share items from friends and neighbors like rarely used tools, appliances, hedge trimmers,  baby swings, etc.
  • Take advantage of  libraries in your area for books, music, DVDs as well as storytelling, puppet shows, reading groups.
  • Check out local university faculty of dentistry for reduced dental fees, colleges’ school of hairstyling for less expensive hair cuts, etc.
  • Attend school concerts and theatre productions, as well as summer concerts in the park.
  • Eat at home rather than go out for meals.
  • Take a thermos of coffee/tea with you rather than buying it.  Same goes for re-using a bottle of water.
  • Learn to cook recipes that are tasty, inexpensive and easy to make. Batch cook and save time and money. Use leftovers creatively.  Keep a list of fast, easy recipes handy when you have low energy.
  • Invest in a good sized freezer and buy foods in bulk when in season or on sale.
  • Pack healthy meals for work, car trips, etc. rather than frequenting a restaurant.
  • With so many videos on youtube, learn to do a lot of things on your own rather than paying someone else, ie. an oil change on your car, shortening the sleeve of a shirt, painting a room, fixing something, cutting hair, giving a massage etc.
  • Learn when your grocery stores reduce the price of meat, produce etc. for quick sale and shop then.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season and learn ways to freeze, jar or can them for other seasons.  Consider having your own vegetable garden.
  • Learn to cut your children’s hair and save on that expense.
  • Comparison shop by reading reviews and getting items that are highly rated.
  • Connect with other moms to receive or give hand-me-downs so clothes, toys, books, footwear, etc. are fully used.
  • Entertain at home for dinner parties, birthday celebrations etc.
  • Rather than buying expensive birthday or Christmas gifts, learn how to re-gift items, make gifts, or write a letter about how much you appreciate a person. There are so many ways to show people you care about them without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money.
  • Go camping in the summer and enjoy the great outdoors at lesser expense.
  • Have some simple board games, card games and puzzles on hand that can be used time and again for great entertainment with others.
  • Enjoy hikes, bike rides and lots of outings in nature that cost nothing. Discover trails in your area.
  • Reuse, repair, restore and refurbish whenever you can.
  • Have less so there’s less to maintain, less to clean, less clutter and more freedom. De-junk often.
  • Have better things to do than to “go shopping”.
  • Be mindful in purchases, asking “Do we really need this item? Is this purchase in line with our family’s values and priorities right now?” Consequently, consume less.
  • Time your purchases with end of season sales, day after sales (like Hallowe’en, Valentines) etc.
  • Walk whenever you can instead of driving the car, maybe consider taking public transportation or carpooling.
  • If you can’t borrow, look at rental shops to rent equipment rather than purchasing.
  • Consciously combine errands to make better use of time and fuel.
  • Reduce your thermostat at night, and get used to a bit cooler during the day.
  • Consider hanging up your laundry to dry and humidify your home when the furnace is running.
  • Rent a steam cleaner and clean your carpets in the winter when they will dry quickly.
  • Hang your laundry up to dry inside or outside if you can and save on electricity.
  • Have a couple you know babysit your kids while you have a getaway and then another time take their kids for the day so they can have a getaway.
  • Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without as much as you can.
  • Consider taking your quality work clothes to a consignment shop for re-sale when you are done with them.  Also consider selling on-line items that may be of benefit to others when you no longer need them.

There are all kinds of ways to live a more simple life, having less and enjoying more. Certainly not paying someone else to do things requires you to have time to do them yourself, like mowing your lawn. However it helps you develop different facets of yourself, exercise, practise being mindful and enjoy working side by side with family members to get things done. Everyone learns life skills, becomes more creative and appreciates the end results more.  The focus of life indeed changes from consuming to and creating needs to greater awareness of what’s really important and having time for the ones you love. For this to happen, you certainly need to let go of keeping up with the Joneses.   Live within your budget, adjust your lifestyle to be within your realistic means and embrace simplicity.  You will have so much less stress and be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life much more.

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