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Ways to Make Life Better in Challenging Economic Times


I started this discussion in several chat groups in response to a post from me asking if anyone was having problems in this economy.  Many things a person does can encourage surviving well through the tough times.  Maybe these can spark some ideas.

 

This is a list of ways to save and make money:

 

1.  Grocery Coupons.  Download and use grocery coupons.  Some are only cents off, but others can be as much as a dollar or more off.  That adds up in lowering your grocery bill.  Coupons are available to print right from the internet with a code that can be scanned at the store.  Just use a search engine to find blogs and websites with them.  It might take a few minutes longer pulling the coupon out when you pick up the item to buy but itís well worth the time.

 

2.                   Barter.  Bartering for whatever you need is an old concept that is still in use by some people.  This is a system of exchanging of what you have for what you need of equal value when money is not always an option.  You might also be able to barter for a service you have or need like I do with hypnosis.

 

3.                   Eat at Home.  Cook and eat at home instead of from a restaurant.  Whole Grain Bread, Brown Rice, Beans and Eggs instead of meat will give you a cost savings whenever you add them to a meal.  The easiest way to make bread is to invest in a bread maker at about $55 on sale.  Itís best to freeze the unused portions if they wonít be eaten quickly because your bread will not have preservatives.  Then defrost a piece for a few seconds in the microwave as needed.  These foods are really good for you, filling, and tasty if you cook them properly.  The internet is filled with recipes.  You don't have to become a vegetarian to eat some high protein foods instead of high cost meats even just once a week.

 

4.                  Save on Energy.  Turn off lights or electrical appliances not in use.  Burn candles and find a way to allow light and heat to enter through windows and doors with curtains or blinds.  It's amazing the difference this can make for getting free light and heat.  Use candles for warmth and light when not doing close work or reading.  Explore the cost savings of using radiant heat.  Look into how you can zone heat your home by only heating the rooms that need it.  Notice any cold spots in your house and seal them.  Try using a full spectrum light, which you can get at Wal-Mart now under the Reveal name. These lights put out more heat than a regular bulb and are the feel-good lights as they mimic the sunís full spectrum of light.  Dress in comfortable layers at home when you can and turn down the heat.

 

5.  Sell or Pawn.  Have a yard sale or pawn things you donít need.  This might be a way to get some quick cash.  Now the pawnshops may be overwhelmed in some areas.  You may have jewelry or watches that have no sentimental value but are just hanging around.  People find these things of value while you may not.  A yard sale works best in the warmer months, but if one person has a large garage and people get together to advertise, it can also work in colder months.  People are still moving in new homes and looking for items. Couples are still getting married and wanting that perfect coffee table.  You can advertise with a sign or in a local newspaper or on a free Craigslist ad area.

 

6.  Create Household Cleaners.  Itís actually cheaper to make your own household cleaners with simple ingredients usually found in any home, not to mention that carbon footprint we are all leaving behind.  Occasionally you need to buy an item for the ingredients.  There are many websites where the recipes are available to use.  I would just exercise caution with some of the cleaner ingredients that combine to make a chemical reaction.  Even Baking Soda, Salt, White Vinegar, and water will bubble up to make a great natural drain cleaner.  This works great in my garbage disposal especially to keep it smelling fresh.  My drains stay clear because I use this recipe when they even start to run slow.

 

7.  Create and Sell.  Do a craft or bake something and sell it.  This is how some businesses get started.  Sell your talent for typing, painting, computer skills, crafts, or organizing.  You may have a special something you can make and sell, and just don't know it yet.  The idea behind this venture is to watch and listen for what is needed or wanted and the idea will come to you.

 

8.  Do a Service.  Do childcare or pet sitting or walking or tutoring.  These things are always needed.  If you are physically able, you can do yard work or offer to shovel snow, sweep, wash a car, clean a garage, or any other household chore.  These types of things are always needed because some people have physical problems doing them or are too busy.  This may not pay so much in the short run, but people are more likely to hire you or help you find a job if you demonstrate a willingness to work.  Networking is extremely important in finding a job.

 

9.                  Ask for Help.  Seeking out assistance from a church or nonprofit group should never be shameful.  You can ask to exchange your time for help if you want to make it an investment for them.  Community organizations have many ties.  Being isolated makes it harder for those trying to help.  This situation is temporary.  Don't define yourself by your current situation.  There are many people who can help and are just waiting for the opportunity.  Let them.

 

10.  Think Outside the Box.  Try things that may not have worked in the past.  We all carry with us a paradigm about how life should be.  Because the worldís economy is currently unstable, we need to find innovative ways to tackle any problem that arises.  Develop an attitude of gratitude for anything good that happens.  Do not dwell on the bad.   Be prepared to meet any challenge.  Find a mindset that will see you through each day and those times when things feel overwhelming.  If you can accept that you will handle all things and can handle all things that come to you; then you can work through the challenges more easily.  You can also help meet challenges by going out and educating yourself on any unfamiliar subject.  This will empower you to proceed toward a solution.

 

11.  Consider Unemployment Rates.  Consider moving to a state where unemployment is not as high.  Here in New Mexico, we actually have some businesses coming to Albuquerque and bringing jobs.  The internet has a list of the best cities and states at any given moment, where you might find a job or least where lower unemployment rates can be found.  Maybe a state near yours is in that group.  Try to contact people on the internet who actually live there to find out about the cost of living, schools, and other things you might need to know.

 

12.             Cut Your Losses.  Consider declaring bankruptcy if that is necessary.  It may be a way to keep your home from mortgage foreclosure and get a fresh start.  Seek legal advice.  In some states, you must have a lawyer to declare bankruptcy.  Sometimes it is just better to cut your losses for the moment, step back, and then regroup.  The question to ask is ďdo I really need this or just want it?Ē  You can get these luxuries back when times are better.  Meditate, read or play games until then.

Please email me any new ideas that I can add to this list.

 

13.  Walk Instead of Ride.  Walk to work or your destination.  You can also bike, bus, catch the train, ride the subway or carpool.  Save the money on gas for those times you must take a vehicle.  Use this time to listen to an audio book or music or meditate.

 

14.  Recycle Unwanted Items.  If you have items to give away or if you can not afford to buy something yourself, maybe you can participate in a local recycle group.   The idea is to keep your unwanted items out of a landfill and into the hands of someone who needs or can use them.  Also, for those in need of items but can't afford them, you never know what you will find.  This the database has recycle groups by area:  www.freecycle.org .   You may want to use an internet search engine if this does not bring a result and use your county name and the city with the state.

 

 

Let me know if you have any others to add to this list.