Surviving Tough Times!
Quality is an important part of our lives as human beings. Yet there is not one of us who has not suffered to some extent during the course of the recession. With the economic outlook for the immediate future not being any brighter we have to continue to think about ways to have a good quality of life, yet save money.
- The impact of the Recession
- Cut, Cut, Cut!
- Some Things Work...
- ...Others Do Not
- Little Things can Make a Big Difference
- A Time for Your Money Saving Ideas.
The impact of the Recession
One thing is true - the current economic recession has hurt every person on this planet, even where they continue to have a job. We have all been looking to save money one way or another. It occurred to me this morning that I have also been doing this to a large extent. However there are two things that I have hated giving up and these are firstly good quality food and secondly my gadgets although we have had to make drastic changes since the recession hit us all in 2008.
So the question is how to become both penny wise and pound wise.
Cut, Cut, Cut!
One fact of life is that we all need to eat, bathe, and have somewhere to live. The truth is this takes money. One thing is important it is necessary to budget and limit spending. When suddenly three quarters of our family income level was no longer available we had to make massive cuts in our family budget. Obviously the first cut was to those expensive restaurants that had once been a regular habit.
The next cut was in looking at our shopping bill, and this is the most painful process as the thoughts about cuts and your shopping bill. Here are some of the thoughts we went through:
* Cut all luxuries; everything that is not essential is not bought
* Look at all the "out of date" items in the store
* Go to the cut-price store
* Buy multi-pack items
* Collect coupons and use them
* Buy lower quality/value items
* Look more closely at store brand, or unbranded items
* Putting a can a week aside for bad times.
Some Things Work...
Having always avoided store brand items in the past we started to look at these as a route to saving money, especially since some were half the price of the brands we purchased. With some I already knew they were the same as branded items that were sold at a greater cost so it was an easy choice to make. Others it was a case of trial and error. It turns out that a no-name can of beans was as good as one made by Heinz.
By looking a lower quality or value items should not mean going from the most expensive brand to the cheapest - you will generally notice the drop in quality. It is important to look for something that still is a good quality, yet is not as highly priced as the item you once used. Much is a matter of taste. It is possible to have the right nutritional value, taste good, yet be significantly cheaper that the item you once bought.
Multi-item packs can bring a saving, yet many are high quality. If you purchase a multi-item pack of soap it means you do not have to purchase soap for several months and yet the multi-item pack may only be twice or three times the price of the item that you normally buy and will last for more than three months.
...Others Do Not
Removing all luxury items is neither desirable or beneficial. What is being asked here is taking things that have been an essential part of your lives and doing without. The problem here is is wrapped up in a quick look at bread; it is possible to eat the bread that has the lowest price yet there is a massive difference in quality and that is something that is evident as soon as the bag is opened; the difference in quality is massive for a saving of a few cents and it is not worth saving the few cents.
Going to the cut-price stores was something we tried for a couple of months and found this was simply no way to live. For a start we only saved a few dollars, but more importantly choice and quality suffered greatly.
Out of date items in the store should only be considered when you will be using them today. We have found that looking at these is unwise as a basis of your shopping as they will only last a couple of days at best. In our opinion these are today-only items.
Little Things can Make a Big Difference
One of the things we have grown used to is wasting the ends of things. The crusts of the loaf of bread, the ends of the bar of soap, etc., etc. These can all be used in other ways. How many recipes need breadcrumbs - something that many people would go out and purchase especially for the item being cooked. Keep the crusts and use these to make your own breadcrumbs, there is a few dollars saved.
The ends of a bar of soap is interesting. We get to a point where we think this 'thin slither' is not going to be enough for me to bathe with and you may be right, but don't throw it away as it can be amalgamated with another soap end or combined with the new bar of soap once it is a few days old. This lengthens the life of every bar of soap, and especially when combined with the use of multi-packs will make the soap much more cost effective.
Ultimately it is possible to have those luxuries that used to be a part of your daily lives, but make then just that a treat, something to look forward to.
A Time for Your Money Saving Ideas.
Throughout this article my theme has been saving money, yet keeping good quality within your life. I am sure you, the readers, will have ideas of your own. Please do not close this page here at the end of this article, take just two minutes to contribute your own money-saving idea, especially those that allow us to keep quality within our lives.
Over to you...