Since things are tight everywhere, school is starting up, and holidays are approaching.......thought it wouldn't be a bad idea if we had a post on ways to tighten up the budget belt, reduce waste, ect. The kids being back in school and holidays always puts a strain on a budget, now even more so. I've always tried not to waste much. But this past year I've been discovering how much I DO waste, and I'm having issues not turning into a hoarder as far as this is concerned. Doing the big cleaning is putting this up in my face more. As we sort through the family room, when before I'd just toss items I didn't think would sell and we no longer had a use for.......now I'm looking at them 2 or 3 times to be certain I can't come up with a use for it, or someone else can't use it, before tossing it. This is NOT helping the cleaning go faster by the way. lol Nor is it helping husband's normal hoarding tendencies. I'm composting for the first time ever. I swore I never would, it was too much of a pain, ect, yet here I am doing it. I'm learning to can and do more from scratch cooking than ever, which since I did a LOT of from scratch cooking before........well.....yeah. I'm doing the coupon thing when I never dreamed I would. I'm unplugging appliances when not in use to reduce the electric bill. (trust me, it needs reduced as the rates went up yet again omg) Still thinking of how to make the plugs more accessible to do this with the computers ect when we're not using them. I'm preparing for the heat never to be set above 60 degrees this winter. Thinking of how to layer clothing, crocheting slippers ect to help stay warm. And hoping the baking I plan to be doing helps with the warmth thing as the gas rates have also jumped. Preparing a garden bed for next spring this fall so next spring it will be easier to get the thing started in case some other family crisis hits. Instead of telling husband he can't save soda cans, we're washing and saving them to recycle for cash. I, as in ME, found the darn recycling center place, and it's not far from us. So I'll drive them there if husband pulls his normal routine with them. Also if any computers go bad, after Travis salvages reusable parts, we're stripping them of the valuable metals inside and recycling it before tossing them out. The poor folks that come by and normally salvage it are going to be disappointed, but we're in the same boat and can use the extra cash ourselves. Seriously considering growing peach and pear tree in the back yard. husband is not so thrilled, but I can see the uses.....and I have several kids who can share the harvest as well as neighbors. And Nichole is not living here so I don't have to worry so much about bees. We're going to do our best to put in a wood stove before winter. Back up for bad weather, ect. Will have to remove the two backyard trees that are nearly up against the house, but will save the wood to use in the stove. The model I want will not only heat the house, but I can cook on it the way my grandma did. So THERE gas company with your huge price increases. Ha! I'm buying oil lamps and storing oil. (olive oil can also be used in such lamps but it's expensive to do) I'm picking up cheap candles and candle lamps at yard sales for next to nothing. Clearance sales too. This is being predicted as a nasty winter to come, colder temps with much more snowfall. I don't plan to sit in the dark. And I can use them if the electric bill gets too high. I already own (and have since we bought the house) the old fashioned type push mower that only requires man power. I'm searching yard sales for other yard tool items from yesteryear that don't require a plug or gas to run. I'm turning into to both my grandmother and mother in law as I'm eyeing cottage cheese containers, coffee containers, butter tubs.......and the like for potential future uses (such as food storage) instead of just tossing them out as I used to do. Which is sort of bad because I'm so anti hoarder that I swore I'd never do such a thing. I've also switched to mainly buying soda in 2 liter bottles (sales tend to be better) because those can be washed and are excellent and FEMA approved for food storage. Currently I'm using them for rice and beans. I'm trying to figure out if they're wide enough at the top for cereal ect as if winter is supposed to be as bad as they say the mice will attempt to move back into the house and I want it protected. And buying the containers is expensive fast. Most of this year's xmas presents have come from yard sales. Actually, I'm quite surprised at how well I've done with that Really nice stuff, really nice prices. The girls and I are planning a yard sale Labor Day weekend. They've been warned in advance, once the stuff is in the yard, it does NOT come back into my house. If it doesn't sell, and we plan to price super cheap to make sure it does indeed sell, it gets put at the curb with a huge FREE sign on it. The family room where this stuff has sat for years is being switched over to a storage room which means I need the space. If I let them bring it inside, even with the promise of taking it to goodwill the next day.....it will sit there for years again. (happens every darn time) I'd rather someone else get use out of it than it cluttering up my family room again. Oh, and I'm getting so bad if I dry my hands (like from washing the dishes ect) on one paper towel, instead of tossing it away I set in on the counter to use again......like 3 or 4 times before tossing it. I wouldn't even buy the darn things if coupons didn't keep the cost way way down as it's cheaper to keep a clean dishtowel handy. Am I the only one who has noticed how ungodly high the price of paper towels lately?? omg! So? What are you all up to or planning to do to make that dollar last longer? I figure if we keep ideas going around on this we can learn new things from each other. And often one idea spawns other ideas and we all benefit.