Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Frugal Lifestyle Brings Joy 2/24/11


Very few things can bring more strife and stress into a family household than issues around money and not having enough of it to cover expenses and bills If money issues or lack of it are taking away the joy in your life and you want to take steps to do something about it, start by banning the ‘if only’ mindset


Very few things can bring more strife and stress into a family household than issues around money and not having enough of it to cover expenses and bills. If money issues or lack of it are taking away the joy in your life and you want to take steps to do something about it, start by banning the ‘if only’ mindset.

‘If only we could go out to dinner, I'd feel more energetic about the house cleaning that I have to do later tonight.’

‘If only we had a new TV, then we’d have a more pleasant evening with the family.’

‘If only I could purchase this nice expensive cut of meat, then I could make the family a really good meal.’

The ‘if only’ mindset leads you to feeling unsatisfied with what you have and that is a dangerous place to be. Before you know it you’ll be spending what you don’t have which will only lead to debt.

The frugal lifestyle looks at making the best, most efficient use of the food, materials and resources that we have and is the counterculture response to the mass consumerism that is making so many of us crazy!

You don’t have to be an instant frugal living expert overnight. There are many resources available to help you to find your way to the frugal lifestyle.

Let me give you an example. Cutting the grocery bill is one of the easiest ways to make an impact on your budget. The website (www.hillbillyhousewife.com) is a great resource for helping with food budgets. On that site you’ll a find a free guide called ‘Best Bets for Your Budget’ and in this guide are tips for building your family menu around healthy food items that are always good buys at your local grocery or super store.

For instance, you might like sirloin steak, but let’s face it, sirloin is an expensive meat that is rarely ever affordable. So don’t collect recipes or make meal plans that include sirloin steak. Save sirloin for special occasions. Instead focus on recipes and meal planning that includes fresh items and other goods that are healthy and affordable where you shop.

One of the great features of the ‘Best Bets for Your Budget Guide’ is that it includes a suggested list of items that can be purchased affordably in many stores. For example instead of the sirloin steak mentioned above you might focus on preparing tasty dishes using other more affordable meets like those suggested which include ground turkey, fresh chicken leg quarters and frozen trout and catfish fillets. Sometimes you just need some ideas to help to get you going on developing your own list of ‘best buy’ foods where you live.

The Hillbilly Housewife website also offers hundreds of recipes specifically designed for the frugal cook.

Approach the purchase of materials in your home in the same way. Do you need that new flat screen TV or can you wait until you can afford it and make do with your old flickering TV mixed with some good family time together, playing cards, or sitting out on the back porch or backyard tent telling stories and enjoying the company of the people who mean the most to you.

Nurturing a strong appreciation for what we have both in our pocketbooks and in our homes and families is more than a frugal mindset, it’s a smart way of living that can lead us out of debt and on the road to finding real joy in our lives.
Susanne Myers is the owner of Hillbilly Housewife a haven on the Internet for those looking for simple but proven frugal cooking and living advice and recipes for ‘low cost, home cooking from scratch.’

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