Saturday, May 3, 2014

Trying to Get Ahead

Do you ever get frustrated, the more you try to save, scrimp, budget, it feels like you get further behind?   You think, what more can we cut out of our budget when we've already cut out so much, such as; cable, scrutinizing every utility bill to cut out any extras, cook from scratch, don't eat out, stay-vacations, re-use/re-purpose, garden, coupon, etc. etc..  Here's some links to a number of  cost cutting measures we've taken over the years.   I am always looking for more tips and tricks and ways to save even more.

Life throws you curve balls.  During the last month, natural gas in our area went up 40% !  Yup ! 40% !   Our furnace uses natural gas to heat the house and our hot water tank runs on natural gas.   Fortunately the days are getting warmer, and mother nature has given us an abundance of free wood from fallen trees this winter due to the ice storm last December.  We have a few months to gather wood, split, chop and stack to get ready for the fall/winter.  We already keep our house temp quite low during the winter - 62F during the day when we are home and 56F at night and when we're not at home.  We rely on heat from our wood burning insert in the fireplace to help us through and wear extra clothes to keep warm - socks and slippers ! 

Gas prices in our area have also increased and it's taking about $10 more to fill up the car each week, just to get to work.  The news tells us that prices will be even higher by the summer.   Food prices have also increased.  Other costs, such as insurance, telephone, etc. have been inching their way up too. 

Last month I also got a rather large car repair bill on my 10 year old car.   Repairs are still less than the monthly payments would be for a new car, so I will be hanging on to this one as long as I can.   Unfortunately, a car is a necessity as public transit it very limited in our neck of the woods and moving is not an option.  Today, we were also hit with a large unexpected furnace repair bill too.  

Last month I needed to get new glasses.  In an attempt to be frugal, I opted to just replace the lenses and keep my old frames and still the bill was big !   While waiting for my new lenses to arrive, I was using an old pair of glasses a couple of prescriptions old and it certainly was a frustrating feeling being in somewhat of a "blurr".   Even though it was only less than two week wait, I was so excited to see clearly again !

Then, Microsoft decided to not support Windows XP anymore and my 10+ year old faithful desktop computer could not support any upgrades what-so-ever.   I was fortunate and found a very good used laptop for a very very reasonable price.

My seedlings I planted indoors in recycled/re-purposed paper have not done well and just recently been attacked by aphids too.   Where these little critters came from indoors is somewhat of a mystery.  Most likely hibernating in some of the plants I brought indoors last fall.

I wonder how others are able to make ends meet and still are able to take nice vacations couple times a year, drive new cars and live in bigger houses, have lots of toys, etc., etc.  Maybe they are not able to make ends meet and are living on credit ? 

I know there are many who are not as fortunate as we are now and if you throw in  job losses and major health scares, which we have also had - it makes it so much more challenging.  I do know what it's like to wonder where your next meal is coming from as I was also a single parent for a number of years raising two small children on my own, working on minimum wage with a couple of part time jobs on the side as well.   Hard work is not foreign to me.   But you do what you have to do.

Yes, life has its challenges !    

All this to say, all the sustainable and frugal living skills I have learned over the years, just kick into full gear and we just keep on going.  Check out the side bar folders on sustainable living, frugal living, gardening, finances, recipes etc. for lots of ideas.

As my granddmother and mother always used to say.....

"When life hands you lemons...... make lemonade "


  1. That's one of my husband's favorite sayings as well! It's an adventure to live a champagne life on a beer budget! I'm with you, though! It's always hard to get ahead! And we are a retired couple on a fixed income! We can DO this!!!

  2. It does seem sometimes that everything is conspiring to keep us poor. Ha! It's hard to always be frugal, but the liberty of being debt-free is so much more rewarding than any fancy car, vacation, or home. Keep the faith, Janet!

  3. Sometimes you just want to stay in bed all day! Life can be so darn hard and frustrating, I agree!

    My favorite saying is "And this too shall pass". I know that hard times won't last forever...but they SURE feel like it some times! LOL!


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