Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Purposeful Living -- How did January go?

At the beginning of the year we decided to create a list of frugal things that we thought would work for us.  There are tons of great ideas out there, but they aren't really a one size fits all kind of thing. 
We ranked things on four factors:
1.  our ability to do them
2.  our willingness to do them
3.  the fit in our lives
4.  happiness factor
For example:  Growing a garden is a great idea, but I have HOA rules against certain things so that fails factor 1.  Not flushing your toilets saves on water, but we aren't willing to forego flushing so that idea fails to meet factor 2.  Only maintaining one car is frugal, but because my husband works hours away that fails to meet factor 3.  Turning off Netflix would save us a monthly charge, but we enjoy watching documentaries together and to turn it off would decrease our happiness factor.
Anyway, we approached our brainstorming with those ideas in mind.
Rather than make a sweeping "year long resolution" we aimed for things that we would apply to January and that seems to have worked well for us.
My portion of the list was:
-- faithfully menu plan, but be flexible enough to maximize usage of leftovers
-- organize cabinets, pantry, freezer, etc. so that I know exactly what we have to help me
rotate stock and to create menus
-- hang all clothes to dry except towels and bedding
-- insist heat stay on same setting
-- work on Christmas gifts for 2017
-- Use on hand craft supplies
-- always exhaust alternatives before buying
-- buy used if possible (when forced to buy)
-- have a beauty date with my daughter each week
So how did this go?
1.  The menu planning worked well.  Most leftovers have been used up for lunches.  While I did not 100% stick to the menu at times -- life happens -- I feel like I stuck to the spirit of the exercise.
2.  While it took me a while to get the pantry and cabinets organized (technically I am still not supposed to be lifting things heavier than a few pounds), I did get this done.  Even before that though, I made a point to try to plan menus to include what we had on hand.
3.  Hanging the clothes didn't get started until about mid month due to my surgery, but it is working well.  I am trying to spread the loads out over the week and I even began using the delay feature on my washer so that a load is ready when I get up.
4.  We have had some cold days, but we have a heating system that according the technician just blows one temp.  Turning it up doesn't make it blow warmer, just longer.  So the heat is set on a steady temp.  To combat the cold I have placed extra throws in the living room, served lots of hot drinks, encouraged everyone to wear an extra layer, and pretty much just insisted....lol
5.  I have actually been successful on the Christmas gift front -- in part because I have had so much down time.  I've finished a nice scarf for one person, I've purchased part of another's gift, and I am half way finished with an afghan for a third person.
6.  I have been using craft supplies I have on hand.  I have purchased some things, but the rule was to only purchase if I needed something to go with a current project.  I bought yarn to finish the afghan, but had more than 2/3 of what I needed already on hand.  The scarf yarn was gifted to me.  I picked up some card stock and stickers on clearance and these are being used with existing supplies to make homemade cards and paper crafts. (I used a gift card to purchase these.)
7.  I have been working on learning to make do.  My best save this month was on not buying clothes horses for drying clothes.  I am saving for a nice set, but I didn't just rush out and waste money on some I don't think would have lasted too long.
8.  Buying used if possible -- believe it or not, but I went into the thrift store once and actually came out with nothing.  I went in with a list and didn't find what I was looking for.  I've decided I can live without it and if in the future I see what I want (not absolutely need) I will decide then if it is worth it.
9.  My daughter is 19, and she and I like to do some girly things together.  This month we had a nails night at least once a week.  We used nail polish and things we had on hand.  It has been a fun way to connect and just spend time talking.  Bonus is beauty at no extra cost.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things we do, but just something I am working on being mindful of.  I'll share February's Purposeful Living List tomorrow.

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