About this blog

The original intention of this blog was to help promote my handcrafted jewelry and beading supplies. However, I believe I lead an interesting life (which Dave gets a lot of credit for), so you will often find ramblings about things other than beads and jewelry! Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy living it!!!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cutting Back in This Crazy Economy

For sometime now, Dave and I have been cutting back on certain things in order to try and stay ahead of this crazy economy. In 2008, we decided it was time to make a change in the vehicles we were driving. I commute 140 miles round trip daily and the truck I was driving got about 18-20 miles to the gallon...not really the best vehicle for me, but I was involved in a really bad car accident years ago in which I had to be cut out of my SUV and I had a fear of driving anything smaller (if I had my choice I'd been driving a jacked up F-250 diesel 4x4)! Gas and tolls (not too mention having the oil changed every 6 weeks) was really hitting us where it hurt, so we made the decision to buy a much more fuel efficient car. Yes, a car. I was a little apprehensive at first, but realized it really was the best thing to do. Dave and I never argue about money, and I wasn't going to let one of my fears get in the way of that. So, we went car shopping and it was much easier than I expected. See, Dave and I have always been pretty practical and incredibly sensible when it comes to money. A vehicle is not something we've ever looked at as a status symbol and we definitely don't try to keep up with the Joneses. A vehicle just needs to be reliable and practical. So, we decided on a 5-speed, 4 cylinder Honda Civic 2-door that gets 35-39 miles per gallon. Dave taught me how to drive a 5-speed eons ago so it was a no brainer. Plus, since it is a 4 cylinder, the 5-speed adds a little extra pep and is much more fun to drive. We also splurged on the sunroof figuring that this was going to be a car I would be driving for a long time, so it needed to be fun and kind of sporty. It's also a very safe car...lots of reinforced sidebars and airbags so that helped to relieve my fears! I always tell Dave that when I'm driving it, I'm on the inside and don't see the outside, so as far as I'm concerned it's an Infiniti G-35! Also, we decided not to trade in my truck since it was only a few years old. Instead, Dave retired his older truck, which didn't get very good gas mileage because of the oversized tires and was starting to develop some "gremlins" and started driving the newer truck. He has a relatively short drive to work, but the newer truck does save him a little bit in gas and is more reliable.

We also decided to have our home phone turned off. Our bills were running anywhere from $40-$60 per month and we rarely used it. Most incoming calls were people calling for Applebees or Macaroni Grill (our phone number was very similar to both of the restaurant numbers...off by just one digit) and we were always using our cell phones anyway. So, it just made sense and we haven't missed it at all. What's funny is we haven't actually unplugged the phones in each room or the answering machine!

We've also started doing our food shopping at Walmart. There is a lot of money to be saved there. For instance, a bag of Tyson's Buffalo Wyngs are $8.99 at Publix, but only $6.99 at Walmart. That's a big deal when you buy a bag a week in addition to all the other items we save on. The only drawback is that they don't always have the specific brands we use so we do occasionally still make a trip to Publix.

As we reviewed other areas we could make changes in, I brought up the Lotto tickets. Dave and I have been playing the lottery for as long as I can remember. We started off playing $5 a week on Saturday (which for the Florida lottery is 5 sets of 6 numbers, each set or play costing $1). Then somehow, we wound up with another 5 sets of numbers so we were playing $10 a week. Neither of us can remember how we wound up with another 5 sets of numbers, but the rationalization was we had to keep playing all of them...what if we stopped playing one of the sets and those numbers were drawn...we'd never forgive ourselves! Some time ago, Florida added an additional drawing for the same lottery game on Wednesday, so...we're now playing $10 on Wednesday and Saturday. In 2009, the Florida lottery also became part of PowerBall in which the jackpots are HUGE! Well, we had to play at least a couple of dollars there! Now here we are spending approximately $85-$90 a month on the lottery! We went back and forth on this for the longest time until one Saturday when we happened to be flipping through the channels on the TV and by chance stopped on Jim Cramer's (the money guru guy)show. What he said changed everything! He said statistics show you are 12 times more likely to get hit by lightning on the way to buy your lottery tickets, than you are to win the lottery! Everyone knows your chances of being hit by lightning are slim, even here in the lightning capitol of the world! WOW! Funny how that was all it took...we stopped buying lotto tickets that weekend and have never questioned our decision. However, we do still occasionally buy Powerball quick pick tickets if the jackpot is really big...just in case!

What changes have you made to deal with this uncertain economy?


  1. So right there with you! I think on one hand (I usually try to look at the bright side) it's been good for a lot of people, in the sense that it's put things into perspective. The blurred line between needs and wants is now a little more defined. I've always been pretty frugal, but definitely have been re-thinking certain things. Packing my lunch more, that type of thing. Kinda like your lotto tickets, one way that we have started saving money is by not buying our dogs pork skin twists. It was hard, because they love them and it gives us a few minutes of reprieve, but they were starting to get expensive! They started out a $2 a bag (4 twists) but recently have gone up to $4 a bag. $1 per twist! Times two dogs times 30 days. $60 a month! That's a utility bill! Now I give them carrots, which still clean their teeth, are healthier for them and TONS cheaper!

  2. We did the same thing. I have a commute similar to yours and was driving an SUV while my husband had a large car. Within a year, we traded them both in for 2 Honda Civics, one 4 door the other 2. The 4 door is nice for the kids when we're all going out. We're saving a fortune in gas and insurance. It was the best decision we made. Someday a little pickup would be nice for him.

    I also stock up and buy things on sale. I don't go too crazy but if I know I will use it within six months, it's worth it and we buy our meat on sale. My husband will find a lot of meat marked half price on Monday mornings, stuff that didn't get sold over the weekend. We freeze some and use some during the week. If you plan and shop the sales, you can save a lot of money.
    I also recently discovered Value Village, and I have found a lot of great decorative and useful items for around the house for dirt cheap and I'm reusing and repurposing which I for me is the coolest thing to do.

    Be well! ~Andrea~

  3. No Lotto tickets for us ever. My parents till buy them even though we've told for years, you're better of socking your $50-$70 a month into a CD, Money Market, even a savings account. Heck they'd probably do better investing in stocks. At least you'd normally get a pay-check each month, instead of waiting for that itty bitty rare chance of winning.

    As for saving money or stretching our money, owning animals and a horse isn't the greatest decision for that, but they do bring us joy and the chickens give us eggs, while the sheep and llamas, and angora goat give us wool (now if only I fiured out how to successfully market my wool).

    The good things are that we paid cash for our house 2 years ago, and our 3 vehicles have been paid off for several years. We don't use credit cards at all, though we keep one locked up for emergencies. We pay cash for anything we need, and if we can't pay cash, then we do without.

    I rarely shop at Walmart because I find that I end up buying things that weren't on my list, so I spend more money. Our grocery store is only a 1/2 mile from our Walmart and they actively compete with the Walmart on prices and services. Heck! They have a Starbucks and a bank inside. lol!
    Some things can be a little more expensive, but the time I waste in Walmart and the extra money I spend on stuff that I could have lived without, far outweigh that I think.

    As for the horse, I often think about selling her and just taking lessons on lesson horses or leasing them from a riding facility or ranch. Between farrier, vet, feed, and hay....we spend way too much money.

    Something to think about, for sure.