Monday, August 8, 2011

Provide Solutions

Lately, more and more people are struggling to make ends meet.

As a culture we could keep focusing on the problems or we could actually look to others to provide suggestions and solutions to help people get through the toughest times.

I am sure that there are people in this country who take advantage of the welfare system or live well outside their means and spend their money on “wants” vs. “needs”. I do not want to talk about those people. I want to talk about the people that are seriously doing the best that they can to make ends meet and they still struggle.

I do not want to hear about the price of milk anymore. Yes, it is expensive but everything has gone up in price. Last year people were focused on the price of cheese. We do not have children, but we still buy 2 x bottles of Dairy Dale milk for $6 from our local dairy. We keep one for home and I take one to work.

There are some amazing people out there that have made HUGE lifestyle changes to try and get ahead and lessen the struggle:
  • Hannah and her family moved to a smaller city; they have a vegetable garden etc.
  • Liz can feed her family of 5-6 on about $150 per week through good budgeting and a lot of home-cooked meals and baked goodies. Here is a link to her blog
  • Jane takes out the exact amount of money in cash for her weekly groceries and does not spend more than that
  • Make your own cleaning products (Wendyl’s Green Goddess website can be found here)
  • Carla who pulled money out of her “ass” last week by looking around for things in her home to sell
  • What about talking to your friends or neighbours and buying bulk vegetables i.e. 10kg of potatoes and splitting them up?
Somewhere along the line I think that some people have lost the skill of cooking and baking and even having a simple vegetable garden. A vegetable garden does not need to be expensive you could even grow things in a couple of old pots.

I absolutely love the philosophy of Sophie Grey (Destitute Gourmet) who makes amazing, nutritious meals on a budget. Her circumstances changed and as a family they had to make changes to their life.

Seriously, someone (I’m looking at you Close Up, Campbell Live, Breakfast) needs to get Sophie Grey on instead of continually talking about the problems.

So what are your ideas for saving money and getting through the tough times?


  1. Thanks for the mention! It is hard times, even for us here.
    Recently i started using house scraps to make compost, including my lawn clippings. In 2 months I have filled my first garden (2mx1m) and now have my own vegetables growing. Raised garden is made from old Pallets thrown away, just took a weekend work.

    I have also sold $1000 worth of stuff to cover costs of emergency car work.

    As far as the food budget, thats going down for us, i started making things from scratch more. Takes a bit of time but its not needed often.
    Creamy - exactly like Best Foods one takes 2 egg yolks and 1 1/2 cups of oil, 1T mustard - cheap!
    Pasta: 100gm high grade flour+1 egg feeds 2!

    Its also way nicer!

  2. I use the same method for groceries as Jane, I take out a certain amount of cash every week and stick to that for groceries. When I take out the cash I also get a ministatement, so I know the incomings and outgoings of my checking account every week.

    I shop at various supermarkets, not just one, so I get better deals. And I don’t go for brand names on essentials like bread, milk and margarine. Effectively they’re all made by the same companies and you’re just paying for ‘pretty’ packaging. Also look at other products like Neurofen; the exact same product (ibuprofen) can be bought at a third of the price as a homebrand.

    Other money saving tips:
    - Don’t buy anything, unless you can pay for it in cash.

    - Make sure you really need a product; why impress friends with a 42 inch plasma when the rest of your house looks like crap?

    - When buying appliances etc, do research and bargain with the shop. You can easily get a few hundred dollars off a big purchase when you know what you should be paying.

    - Make lunch and/or dinner and take it to work, rather than buy meals every day

    - Park the car outside of pay and display zones and walk to work. The added benefit is getting a good 10 to 20 minute briskwalk in twice a day. This saves on gym memberships.

    - Switch off all appliances at the wall when not in use. Microwave clocks, Stand by modes; they still suck power.

    - Invest in a frontloader washing machine. Yes, initiall they are more expensive but in the long run toploaders will use more water, energy and they are very hard on your clothes.

    - Don’t use a clothes dryer or dishwasher. But if you must, invest in a decent one that has good energy consumption.

    - Every time you fill the car with petrol, make sure the tyres are at the correct pressure. Tyres that aren’t inflated properly decrease the fuel economy. As does excess weight from stuff you leave in the car.

    - Set up a weekly automatic payment to an online savings account like Rabodirect. These accounts have no Eftpos cards, but higher interest rates than regular accounts. You’ll be surprised how quickly your savings grow when you don’t have to think about it.

    There are quite a few more ways to save money and several have already been mentioned. The above are all methods I personally use to be able to live a relatively comfortable life.