Friday, January 9, 2009

Savin Pennies, Makin Dollars

Guess what? I made a list of expenses and income and the expenses are almost equal to the income. If there is an emergency or extra expense, what will I do? So I'm looking for ways I can be savin pennies, makin dollars. No I don't mean printing them, I mean earning them. Here are a few of the things I am doing or planning on doing. Are you doing anything to reduce expenses or increase income?

Raised my insurance deductibles for our cars and home. I am evaluating each bill we pay to see if I can reduce the bill, like the satellite TV - I don't even watch TV and I'm paying for two - maybe I can get netflix instead.

Buying used items by shopping at garage sales, thrift stores, eBay, Craig's list or Things like t-shirts (Gary works in construction and goes through them like nothing - some of them are brand new at the thrift store), paperback books, towels for the studio, slump and hump molds, texture tools for clay at the thrift stores, old sheets for the slab roller.

Looking around for things I no longer use so I can try to sell them by posting an ad on local bulletin boards or selling the item on Craig's list.

Buying store brands and looking at the cost of each item posted in the grocery store to see which size is less expensive (sometimes it isn't the large size). I am buying items on sale and looking for sales.

Inviting folks over for lunch or dinner instead of going out to lunch or dinner. We often take our lunch and have a picnic in nice weather instead of going out to lunch or dinner. I keep some nuts and water in the car in case we get hungry so we can snack on those instead of being tempted eat at a restaurant.

Just before Christmas, we rolled up all the coins we were saving and got over $200 which we used for our vacation.

Staying home more instead of going away for the weekend. When we went on a recent vacation we camped and took our own food to save money.

Doing all our errands in one trip when we can and trying to shop only once a week to conserve on fuel.

Don't go to the dry cleaners and wash my clothes in cold water and wash and dry only full loads. I got some of Trader's Joe's laundry detergent and it has lasted so long I can't believe it.

Making more soups and rice and beans. We're eating oatmeal instead of boxed cereals for breakfast. I have a vegetable garden and raise my own fruit. I am thinking of getting some chickens for eggs. I buy food from local farmer's whenever I can.

Lowering thermostat in winter and raising it in summer.

Saving my receipts and boxes in case I have to return something or in case I find it cheaper somewhere else I can return the more expensive one (hey that happened, I found a sketchbook cheaper and returned the more expensive one to the same store).

Earnestly looking for a job, even a part time job. Know of any legitimate work from home jobs? Heck, if you have a job I can do, let me know - I'm very dependable (and creative too).

Opening up my studio for pottery sales more often.

Thinking of having a farm stay at my home, like a bed and breakfast with maybe a clay or gardening class.

What do you think? Have any other ideas on how I can be savin pennies, makin dollars, please let me know, big or small, every penny and dollar counts. Thanks for reading and posting.


  1. These are some great ideas for some hard times. I know one way a friend of mine has earned some cash & helped her community. She picks up groceries & prescriptions for infirm/aging neighbors. They pay her & I'm not sure how she came up with the pricing -- but it has been rewarding for her as well a way to make some extra money.

  2. Those all sound like good ideas Linda. On the laundry front, we rarely use our dryer. It's either clothesline outside in good weather or the lines in the basement in bad weather. We are lucky enough to have the wood stove in the basement, so things dry quickly. We are also heating with stove, which though iffy on the ecological side (pollution), is cheap since we have a good supply of free wood.

    Whenever we need hot water from the tap, we always try to put a jug under the tap to catch the cool water as it warms up. This goes to water plants and what not. Saves a teeny bit on the water bill, but every little bit helps.

    The only other thing that pops into mind is keeping your car in good running order (oil changes & tire pressure) and driving gently. It is amazing the difference in gas mileage between an aggressive speedy driver and a mild driver.

    Good luck cutting the fat!

  3. clay weekend at your house, par-tay! I mean, awesome idea. I'd do it in a second.
    Looking at our budget for last year showed that we barely saved a few bucks which is horrible. Then Jan 1 the property bill arrives, so you start the new year in the hole.
    SO ANYWAY, your plans up here sound terrific. Hold to it and I bet you do OK

  4. this comment came direct to my email, thought others might benefit from the info, names are changed to protect the anonymity.

    Hi, was just reading your note on saving in 2009 - we are very lucky to have a huge wonderful Goodwill in Corvalis, we hardly ever buy retail, there are good brand names and new items for clothes and house there and soap and water are cheap, just recently I bought a sweater that is normally 138.00 for 6.99 almost new, Tom got really nice dockers for 6.99~8.99, if you know the sizes you need it is great; We buy local and also shop at the can food outlet, Tom gets good wines for 2.99, 3.99 a bottle 2 years ago I changed all our banking to USAA (military) and all checking is free without a min balance, % back into checking each month for using debit card as credit, we also have our car insurance through them and get money back each year for good driving, they have home owners insurance but we can't get it for us - check it out

    With our new Prez I have a feeling things are going to get even worse
    Good luck, oh and the thrift stores are better than Ebay or Craiglist if you don't have to pay shipping, we also belong to check it out, people are always getting rid of things or need something Happy New Year

  5. this comment came direct to my email, thought others might benefit from the info, names are changed to protect the anonymity.

    Hello, we use the local library for books, movies and CD's of course ours is a big one with the University close by but check it out

    When we had chickens it was not cost effective for the eggs unless you are going to raise them for a few months and eat them, feed is expensive, another chore to do and if you have too many eggs too hard to get rid of, just from our experience

    We belong to the local Co-op and I usually get really fresh produce and eggs there that are local
    Take care

  6. Hi Judy, I might post a note on the bulletin board in town - I have a big enough car and if I got enough folks it might pay for me to do it. I could get groceries for folks too and I could make my own hours. Thanks so much for such a great idea.

    Hi Jerry, those are some really good ideas; wood is expensive here and we heat with natural gas, but we might trying drying clothes in the house to save on electric which is expensive. I used to have a lead foot but not any more - age may have something to do with it too. We are lucky enough to have irrigation water so our bill from our well is the electric to pump the water, but not using it as much would again save on the electric bill. I'd like to cut a little fat out too - maybe eating soups will do it (te he) great ideas, thx.

    Hi Gary, I might do the party thing when it gets a bit warmer - we do have a picturesque place here. Luckily when we bought our house we had an impound account just for the taxes so they are spread out over the year - we didnt' do it for our insurance in case we wanted to change that - which we might be doing. I also thought about renting an RV space to someone for a weekend - don't want any permanent guests - might not like them after a while - he he! thx.

    I'll be checking out the website for insurance, thx for the tip. For craig's list I only get local stuff so I don't pay shipping. I did read recently a lot of online stores are offering free shipping which would be cheaper than driving somewhere to get stuff. thx so much.

    I'll be checking out our library which I have never (sad to say) visited. Movies and CDs as the library - wow that is wonderful - I'll be checking that out too. I guess I won't be raising any chickens - I'd be giving them all names and I wouldn't have the heart to kill something I raised. We have a farm fresh service that delivers here which I need to call and see about - didn't think about it in the summer because I already had enough I grew. thx so much for the ideas.

  7. Those sound like some really great ideas! Lindsay and I just looked at our budget the other day and found that we are $300 a month short when we start having to pay for child care. We are now trying to do similar things to save money, and I'm throwing pots like mad! Now, if I could just sell some ;)

    We have been making meals larger than normal and freezing left overs to eat later. We've saved a whole bunch of food that we would normally have thrown away, and money too!

  8. Hi Ben, I think banding together and sharing ideas is the thing to do. That's why posted this. No sense putting our heads in the sand, lets help one another and share ideas. Potter's are used to community, but a lot of other folks work and live in a vacuum.

    The crock pot, similar to making larger meals and freezing them, really does save money and it's so nourishing. A little of this and a little of that, it all comes together and tastes so good. I wish you and Lindsay well with your day to day challenges. Thanks so much for your post.

  9. Linda, Great blog. I have followed your blog, the pottery adventure and the plants and I would pay to learn from you about your land and garden. You could have a garden/pottery retreat with a journaling component.
    I have facilitated retreats and done journaling workshops. I would come and be a part of something like that. I also am looking for creative savings and creative earnings. Urban people love country experiences like yours.. it could be magical. Dream on, Joan T Off Center

  10. Hi Linda- we dropped our TV down to the "family" package. It brought the cost down by about 40 bucks a month.
    We did buy net flicks and now are watching, commercial free, and the shows we like. Right now Dr. Who.
    We rarely eat out. We do 3 meals a day here. I keep a freezer with local raised meats. I but 1/4th a cow at 3.00 pound for all cuts.
    I am buying eggs and veggies from local growers.
    I cook enough for leftovers for lunches one or two days. A whole roasted chicken will go a long ways.
    I am baking bread again.
    I buy on sale on goodwill.
    We use the local library and never buy books other then pottery books.
    I think about what I buy and try to buy only things I will really use.
    The B&B plan for you plus the clay or plants or workshops are all good options.
    My kids thought I should open a B&B- I am not a morning person so I would have to call it:
    M&M's B&B- get your own damn breakfast.

  11. Hi Joan, garden party/pottery retreat sounds good to me - I am going through my 30 year collection of gardening books right now - which I am going to sell. Gary is tired of moving them and I don't refer to them any longer as it is all in my head. Never heard of the journaling component I need to do some research on that. I guess I could start out with a one day retreat and folks wouldn't need to stay or they could camp. Thanks so much for your encouragement and ideas.

    Hi Meredith, I thought about the B&B last night and we would have to get a new mattress and that would cost money, but I am going to post for an RV to stay here and think about the garden party and/or pottery retreat that Joan mentioned above. If I get a few folks to stay in their RV or even camp then that would pay for the mattress. I am a morning person, but if I came to your place I'd cook my own breakfast just to be able to walk around that beautiful pond you have - what a beautiful spot. I have been cooking the soups and it lasts all week for us two (in fact I got a free turkey at Thanksgiving which I froze and just thawed out and I have made some more of my turkey soup inthe crock pot - we don't eat beef, but I am checking with one of the local folks about buying their chickens. I am a sucker for pottery books and workshops, but I am going to check out the library and I also am going to post a notice on the bulletin board about trading books to read. I do plan on making the bread, I looked at the bread package from the store and I couldn't believe how many preservatives are in there and it tastes so bland - I need to get baking - like I said. Thanks so much for your ideas.

  12. Great posts and thank you for being honest. I think the economic climate has everyone finally thinking more conservatively. This may sound chintzy, but I have always cut my liquid soaps, detergents with water and LOVE to shop at the Thrift Stores (I just picked up 2 pr. newer/clean Old Navy jeans for my son yesterday for $1 ea -yipee). We check-out our movies free from the library and rarely eat out. Living on a teacher's and artist's salary forced us early on to cherish the wealth of family and look for alternative ways to live a rich life and appreciate the luxury of the TIME we have together. Thanks again for sharing, I think we all take inventory this time of year.

  13. This was quite pertinent and interesting for me, as I too need work.. and am single, so I am realizing I can only go for a few months like this. Thanks for this post... Good luck and here's hoping for both of us and all in similar shoes...

  14. Hi Cindy nice to see your here. Yes I normally take stock this time of year, but this year is different. I feel I am at a crossroads in my life and am internally vowing to change how I live and go back to the basics.

    Hi Amy, we cna only go a few months too as I don't have a regular income. We are taking stock of everything we do and I am looking at this as a way to hone in on what is important. If worse gets to worse we may have to accept roommates or renters outside our home, but have been reluctant to that since we want to sell. I am optimistic about the Spring and am hoping things will slowly start to turn around. Good luck with your job search, I wish you and all the others out there the best of luck.

  15. This is right up my alley as I am a contender for World's Cheapest Human.
    Here's one: When I take a bath in the morning, I don't drain the water, but let it cool in the tub. The humidity and rdiant heat keep my upstairs more comfortable without turning up the thermostat. After all, I paid to heat that water -- might as well get the most out of it; and that's all a radiator does, amyway, is radiate heat for hot water. Once it's cool, I sometimes use some of it to mop the studio floor, since that has to be done so often.

    I also save the end bits of soap and put them in a cut-off foot of old pantyhose (yes, clean) and use it as a body scubber. It is really nice with a little oatmeal shaken in.
    White vinegar costs next to nothing and can be used as a substitute for many cleaning products. A green solution, too.

  16. Hi Potterchik, I had a whole response and it didn't post - man today was so good and now it's turning to '''' I dropped a tree sculpture in the studio just a bit ago and it was not salvegable. Anyway, I take showers and we have irrigation water which saves us a ton of money. I keep my oven propped open after I bake to let out the heat (except in summer I try not to bake). What a great idea about the soap in the nylon, I will be using that for sure. I read somewhere that most cleaning products are almost the same few ingredients with some color and fragrance and a price tag added in, vinegar is great for cleaning windows too.

  17. Hi Linda,

    Your post is very timely and got me thinking along the same line. Ran across information on making your own laundry soap very cheaply. I hope you find this of interest.


  18. Oops, forgot to mention information on baking bread in 5minutes per day. I knew about this book, but then heard the authors on NPR's "The Splendid Table".

    Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

    Here is a link for the basic recipe:

  19. Hi Diane, nice to see you here, thank you so much for the soap and bread recipes and links, I really do appreciate them and I'll probably be using both.


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