Happy Home Keeping!
Sandy has requested a blog roll of everyone who's participating in the Home Economics One Year Course. If you're reading along with us and you'd like me to post a link to you in a blog roll, please leave your link in the comments section. Also, if you are writing an article to share with all of us, and it's ready -- let me know, too.
Remember: You can start this course at any time and work along at your own pace. Once our year together is finished, I plan to leave the material up for a while. In this way, people who start in the middle or even near the end of our course can catch up on their own schedule. Also, we can go back and do exercises or activities that we weren't able to get around to the first time.
In December, as I said, we'll concentrate on finances and organization. We'll tackle other subjects, like cooking, gardening, crafts, etc., in the new year. Can you believe it's already almost 2009! We'll have a good time improving our home management in those 12 months.
Even though we're waiting to really delve into the decorative aspects of home keeping, I couldn't resist including a few links to information about using fruits and/or flowers to decorate for the holidays.
Christmas Flower Arrangements
Fruits as Centerpiece
While we're at it, here's a quick idea for dealing with a crowded kitchen during holiday times. In terms of keeping it without ice, it works best if you have a season of consistently cold weather where you live. I could try this, and I might end up with days in the 70's at Christmas time. But, still, it's an idea worth investigating. And, you can always pop in a bag of ice.:
Now, back to finances:
Have you set up a book to keep track of your grocery, clothing, and household budget? Do you have a way to keep track of how much money you save through being a good home economist?
If you use the envelope system (See Dave Ramsey's web site if you're not familiar with this), you may not think it is important to keep track of what you have left over or what you moved from one envelope to the other. Actually, keeping track of this will help you whenever you or you and your hubby evaluate your budget. Also, keeping a written record will help you evaluate whether your money saving measures are 1) working and 2)worth the time you are putting into them.
Some women who blog about thrift use their blog posts as a way to document their savings. In this way, they can share with others how they saved, as well as look back at their posts and calculate how well they are doing.
All you really need is a small notebook in which to log expenditures and deposits. Of course, you can buy an inexpensive financial log book, too. Even the dollar type stores will sometime have them.
Just a thought: Merely using a coupon doesn't meant that you have saved money. For example, you might use a coupon to buy something that you normally wouldn't. This is fine if you would like the item and you will use it. But, it does not represent a savings in your budget. Likewise, if you would normally buy a store brand but use a coupon to obtain a higher quality (or at least more expensive) brand name item, you may not have shaved any off of your budget. Again, this is fine if you really want the brand name. Just be aware that you can get carried away with coupon fever and end up buying many more things than you normally would. You could actually cost yourself money in this way. Use coupons mindfully.
It's the same principle that just because something is on sale doesn't mean it's a bargain -- for you. Will you really wear that purple and fuchsia floral skirt that's been marked down to $2.99 and shows signs of wear from being on the store floor for six months? If you love it, you'll wear it, and it doesn't break your budget, it's a great buy. If you aren't sure you love it and if you bring it home and let it sit in your closet and if ten such impulse buys keep you from being able to afford something you really want, it's no bargain.
This sometimes is a hard balance for me. I can walk into a sale or a garage sale or a thrift shop and become overwhelmed with the knowledge that I might not be back any time soon. I only have limited time to shop. So, if I see something and pass it by, that might be my only chance to grab it on deep discount. It might not be there the next time I enter the store. But, here are some ways I've found to counter that:
1) Have a good mental or even written list of what you would want or need for your clothing, your children's clothing, your household, etc. Set priorities. For example, dear hubby has been wanting new pillows since ours have gotten flat. So, when I was in a store this past weekend and saw pillows on sale, I knew that was something we needed. Other sales were alluring, but I passed them by.
2) If I didn't snap it up and I regretted it later, I probably didn't really need it. It's hardly the end of the world. In fact, at this stage of my life, where I am older and have many of the household items that I need, it's probably better to lose out on a deal than to bring home an item that ends up being clutter.
The key to good economy in the home is being mindful, rather than haphazard or impulsive. That doesn't always come easy to my free-spirited brain, but it's true!!
Well, that's all for today!