Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pinching the Penny in New and Innovative ways

This handy juicer was my grandmother's and has been in storage for the last 10 years. You put your fruit in the top, the boiling water in the bottom, and the steam goes up to the fruit while the juice comes out into the middle compartment. Then you just use the nozzle to fill up your mason jars -- and cap 'em. Easy as pie. And since my Uncle was just going to toss 8 lugs of Niagara grapes in the field to rot, I definitely saved some pennies by canning 36 quarts of fresh white grape juice today!

I don't know about everyone else, but we've felt the pinch of the recession. Or maybe we just "think" we have. Is it maybe all psychological? Who knows. All I DO know, is that I watched CNN a few days ago while the bailout bill was failing and the DOW was diving, and suddenly I realized I had bitten all my fingernails off.
While I'm not blessed with a fancy stock portfolio, I still find ways to worry about the economy. But my worries are more along the lines of ... what will the cost of gas be next week? Is this going to cause the price of groceries to shoot up? Or ... should I stock up and buy a 40 lb bag of rice and store it in my basement in case mayhem ensues in the coming months and a can of soup suddenly costs $30?

I was explaining all these fears to Nate as we were drifting off to sleep the other night. As I lay there, picturing Armageddon in my head, with everyone battling it out for food and water (why do fears get worse in the moments before we succumb to sleep?) ... I suddenly asked Nathan "Do you have a gun?"
"hmphhrh?" He asked, his head smooshed in his pillow.
"Do you have a gun?" I repeated more urgently, suddenly sure that Armageddon would happen tomorrow.
"Yes." He said. "But no ammo. I'd have to buy some."
"Yeah, maybe you should."
A pause. "Why. So you can defend your 40 lb bag of rice?"
I kicked him hard -- then started laughing so hard (with the mental image of me dressed up as Rambo in full war gear over a bag of rice) that I nearly started crying.
Are these crazy fears? Probably. But as a family of five on one income, we are definitely learning to be frugal in this somewhat frightening economy. And we're increasingly finding new and wonderful ways to do it. Using half as much coffee beans in my morning grind. Clipping coupons. Planning out my meals ahead of time so I only buy what I need at the grocery store and no more. Canning cannning canning ... I canned 36 quarts of homemade Niagara grape juice today. Turning off unnecessary lights. Using half as much shampoo, because really, there's no need to use a dollop the size of my palm. Not eating out, virtually at all. Buying cheaper diapers. And what have I learned from this experience so far? Well, mostly that I should have cut a lot of the excess fat out of our monetary diet a long time ago.
I'm also curious if anyone else is finding new and fun ways to stay ahead in this economy, so by all means, if you are brewing your own detergent or have any other innovative ideas, please post them.
In the meantime, may we all live long and prosper ... as hard or easy as that may be in the coming months ahead.


amy7252 said...

We were just lamenting this tonight, i.e. the whole living on one income thing. But it's pointless for me to get a job because all it would do is pay for daycare. What's the point? I miss those carefree days when I could just wander through the Columbia Mall and buy whatever I wanted!

Nhia said...

How about refusing to turn on the furnace even though we're at 65 degrees inside? Or not feeling guilty any longer that Norah's entire wardrobe is Ella's hand-me-downs? Or waiting until we absolutely have to buy new pants for Ian, and in the interim, letting him wear his pants from last season that are now floods? :)

Our financial adviser even called out of the blue today to see if we had any concerns, how our funds were doing, yada yada yada. How weird, I thought. I told him we were just going to ride this out. But then my alarm bells went off -- if he's calling , HE must be concerned!

marzi said...

i don't have any ingenious ideas right now. while we weren't talking about this because of the economy, the hubby and i were talking in general about how much crap we have in the house that we don't need or want anymore. while we take A LOT of stuff to goodwill every year, we've been discussing trying to sell more of it first on craigslist to see if we can make a little something on the side. in this economy, a little extra never hurt, right?

i also try to buy generic whenever diapers, medicine, baby wipes, lotion, zip top bags, etc....the things where brand name doesn't really make a difference.

Nicole S said...

I was also thinking about this recently. I found myself wondering if my family & I could live like people did in the Great Depression.

There are a lot of good ideas here. When my son was young, we were a one income family too. Never underestimate the value of that! Brad & I spent time at the library. We even checked out toys!

I recently found this website through a recipe link on another site. Maybe there will be some helpful ideas here.

Missy said...

Hi Katrina! I've wandered over from the Roustabouts' blog several times (Amy and I have been friends since elementary school) but haven't commented yet, although I keep meaning to! Your family is precious, and it looks like my little girl is only about a week younger than Rhylah. She is having a blast on her horse!
Our family is cutting back in small ways too. I cut things in half that I can, like the face washcloths and dryer sheets. Also, I've been selling some baby items to Once Upon a Child, which pays cash if they are in good condition. Making a detailed grocery list has helped, too.
You juice idea is awesome!