Still, like just about anything in life, I succeeded with the 80-20 rule. 80% of the time I made good financial decisions; room to improve is in the 20%. A few changes made this last year have been ingrained now in my habits. None have decreased my quality of life. Some are old habits I did when we first were married and the kids were young out of financial necessity. Left by the wayside when money was more at hand, I've picked up again these good for my wallet habits in order to deploy more funds elsewhere.There is no such thing as a money tree, but, there are some areas of savings that have been low hanging fruit.
- Checking thrift stores for needed items such as replacement work clothes. Since I have been working on losing weight, it doesn't make sense to spend gads of money on new clothes that hopefully will just be a stop gap. Plus, I've found some really terrific basic pieces that even with my minimal sewing skills, I can take in a bit if I am so fortunate to drop another size and wear even longer.
- Decreasing my grocery shopping budget on pantry basics, primarily by switching to more regular shopping at Aldi's. Basic long grain rice is rice, the kids at the lake don't devour bags and boxes of $4.00 Dorito's and name brand cereal any slower than store brands. Canned goods such as vegetables, tomatoes, and beans are almost always 30-50% less and no one has pointed out any difference to me.
- Increased non-meat based meals. Meatless chili, vegetable pasta's and soups, and spicy curries are part of the regular meal rotation and make large quantities for perfect leftover lunches.
- Using a gas coupon or membership card discount when filling up. In my family, a 5 cents per gallon, which is a low coupon amount, saves $60 a year. Not astronomical, but would a person burn three twenty dollar bills?
- Delicate wash and hang/line dry clothes labeled as dry clean. With the exception of coats, I don't recall the last item I had dry cleaned. Even hubs suits, worn perhaps twice a year, are cleaned this way and he looked pretty spiffy.
- Packing snacks and filling our own water bottles for car trips. So basic it is dumb that I got out of this habit.
- Making do without-particularly anything gadgety. I have several one use Charlie things-sandwich and omelette makers, melon ballers, cheese knifes, mostly given as gifts over the years. Mostly these items go unused, so for sure I am not going to put any money towards something if I already have items that will give me the same or near results.
- Taking advantage of community events and spaces for low cost or free entertainment such as movies in the park, school plays and concerts, community theater, and state and regional parks. Our favorite Friday night activity this summer was long walks on the river front. Tonight for the princely sum of $8.00, we'll buy two tickets for the high school play, and DD2 is not even in it.