Sunday, January 25, 2009


Just yesterday I heard two of my relatives (different sides of the family) say that they are embarking on an austerity program. Ironically, one described "austerity" as "living within our means". I've actually been into that for a long time. I think some of the best ways to save money are:
Food: Buy in bulk food that is as close to its natural form as possible. The ethnic markets often have cheap prices. Eliminating junk food saves money. Have a garden to grow some food too. If you have a surplus of something don't let it go to waste - preserve it for later. Wine is easy and cheap to make with this Mother Earth News recipe . Experiment with acorn recipes (and let me know if you come up with anything good!). Read the "not milk" website if you want some incentive to eliminate dairy.
Clothing: Shop at the thrift store. The selection is more seasonable and you can see right away how the garmet holds up. Little church thrift stores are usually the cheapest.
Shelter: Do it yourself buildings, outbuildings and home improvements. There is a thrift store for building supplies called Community Forklift in Hyattsville.
Other: Look for bargains on Craigs list or try to make it. With a sewing machine you can make other things besides clothes like curtains, slipcovers, purses, etc.
Health: A heathly lifestyle is so important and much less costly than chronic disease. Force yourself to get some aerobic exercise and some strength training exercise each week.Yoga is great for reducing stress and maintaining flexibility. Use herbs to help with common ailments. Elderberries (which can be saved and dried) are anti viral. Aloe is good for burns. For a sore throat: gargle with saltwater, eat large doses of Vitamin C and do the Lion yoga pose. The best defense against infection is a colloidal silver generator that you can make very simply with four 9 volt batteries and some 99.9 pure silver wire.
Entertainment: The public library--you are already paying for it with your taxes. That also applies to diversions like hiking in a park. Pot luck parties don't cost any more than staying home. With some hobbies, like art, you have a chance of selling the end product to fund more of the hobby.
How did we get to this point where everyone is thinking about austerity? In case anyone wants to know there is an interesting article on Six Errors on the Path to the Financial Crisis here. That article doesn't go into how everyone in the world got seduced into wild overspending, however. (This includes me because I am still paying down a large home equity loan that I took out!) That phenomena seems to be described by Nietzsche: "Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."
Any more austerity tips out there?


Lynnis said...

Good suggestions. I used to shop at ethnic markets but stopped over concern over stuff grown and processed overseas. My suggestion is to raise poultry. If you are meat-eater quail is a super easy to raise source of organic gourmet meat. I am currently incubating some eggs to expand my chicken flock. Let me know if anyone wants me to hatch some eggs for them. Once my geese start to lay I plan to sell the eggs online, they are going for $20 a piece even in January.

My cheap entertainment is watching the horses run at the racetrack. I also like hikes.

I like the bulk/dried foods suggestion. I use them to make home made soups are cheap and filling and leave leftovers for days.

Anonymous said...

I don't think austerity is the term for it, but Justin and I are definitely working hard to live within our means. One thing that helps-dried beans. They only cost a dollar and you can make oh so many meals with them. Also, in lieu of joining a gym I walk part of my commute each day and do floor exercises in the living room. I don't dye my hair anymore (although I am so tempted!). However, I will admit that I had two $13 martinis after work today! Investing in making friends! Miss ya'll!