So far I have been fortunate enough not to be affected by the major financial problems spreading throughout the world. I know I technically am losing my job, but right now I have alternatives (and I try not to think about it). I have some tips to help save money and hopefully some sanity during this trying time.
- Cancel cable. Cancel Netflix. Cancel Blockbuster. Stop buying books.
Your public library can provide you movies and TV shows, music, books, research materials, activities, meeting spaces, and so much more. All for free (if you bring it back on time). Get your library card if you don’t already have one.
- No more eating out.
Learn how to cook at home. In fact, plant your own vegetable and herb gardens. The food will taste better and gardening is something you can do now that you aren’t watching TV all the time.
- Use two cars? Learn how to use one. Or better yet, get rid of both or use one only in emergencies.
We have lived without a vehicle for over a year. On occasions we need help (furniture moving, etc), we ask a friend. Use public transportation. Believe me, it’s cheaper, and that time you don’t spend driving you can spend reading or doing your check book balancing.
- Cancel gym subscriptions.
Another part of giving up the car, you can bike a lot more! It’s cheap exercise. Learn to take walks; by yourself, with your kids, your pets, whatever. Walking is effective, especially when done regularly. Or, if you want real workouts, find some stairs and go up and down until you’re dizzy.
- Go to bed with the sun and get up with the sun. Turn off all the lights you really don’t need on.
Not as practical in winter, but with spring here, this is absolutely possible.
- As the weather warms, use natural cooling for the house.
Learn how air flows through the house, and at nights open the windows, during the day close windows and shutters that let in the most sun to maximize that night cool air.
- Learn how to sew.
Clothes can be easily repaired. Buttons usually come with a shirt, so all you need is string and a needle. You can learn many new skills to do things yourself, such as changing your own oil, minor electrical repairs, reaming a pipe… the sky is the limit. Search the Internet or go to your public library.
- Cancel the cellphone.
Keep a pay cellphone for emergencies, but you don’t need to be connected 24/7. Keep the Internet and get a VOIP (voice over Internet) service. We get our news, communicate with friends and family, and research with our Internet connection and Vonage (a flat $25 a month to anywhere in the States and some other countries). It is all a flat rate. No surprises.
- Make gifts.
Take some of those new skills and make someone a gift instead of spending a good deal of money on something. It is more heartfelt, and you will feel better letting the creative energy flow. A gift of time together and laughter is good too.
- Think positively.
Be responsible about your purchases, and always think positively about it. It does help, especially because it is easy to slip into a depressive state with money concerns. If you are feeling down, make sure you get it out by talking, keeping a journal, kickboxing… however you need to get those vibes out.
You will be healthier and happier, and saving a lot of money. I think the Obama administration is doing a superb job and working nonstop to make things right. Have faith and find some inner peace.
Winter is melting away into spring, and flowers are beginning to bud. I was able to photograph some early bloomers in our alley; I can’t wait until spring is in full blast! So many flowers, so little time.
On Friday, we went to a homecoming party for a friend’s husband. Although it was just R&R (meaning he still has to go back to Iraq), we were happy to finally meet him. They may even join us for our barbecue fast approaching, yay!
On Saturday we purchased 200 euros of gardening supplies. We always seem to make a sight carrying armloads of items back on the tram. Most of yesterday was spent gardening. We did major work and planted about 100 bulbs and a bag of grass seed. We need at least two more bags though; dogs do not encourage grass growth… and our dogs like to eat any healthy grass we do have.
We will be doing a lot of cleaning over the next week. I am looking forward to a quieter week at work, although I will be giving two presentations (one a performance) and training someone for at least half a day.
While spring is the big change, there is more personal change a-foot. I have been quite mum for a long time. My library is closing, and my job was cut. I have a few options, but it has not been easy. With both brothers in the Army with high chance of deployment, the economy not so well, and being the only income, stress has become a very close acquaintence.
I am doing fairly well considering, and Herr has been very patient and supportive. He has had three relatives pass away in the last three months, so I know he hasn’t had an easy time as well. We both know a change is coming, but what it is is still to be determined.
For now, I am just looking forward to more travel, flowers, and warmer weather.
As of late, I haven’t had much capacity for thoughts outside my little work bubble. I know I should have written a few times, but everything in my head is a jumble. Here are some random thoughts and happenings I’ll share:
- My dogs like to eat snow.
- Taxes suck, especially when you have special circumstances.
- I want a summer break like we used to have in school.
- I have so many things to do I have no idea where to start.
- I am currently involved in three large projects and performing two full jobs, one of them being two jobs combined (luckily I was able to eliminate some aspects of the original one). Things are getting tight, and work days are way too short.
- Strangers should not go around asking when you are moving out so they can move in. Even creepier: she knew how long we had been there, about how much rent we pay, and our general situation. Just plain rude.
- Herr got a role in the local production of Sound of Music. Congratulations!!
- I have several bosses. I never know who I am supposed to speak with (although one is leaving).
- I am trying desperately to get back into the Web design swing of things. I am now reading 9 feeds and some library ones on top of the dozen listservs I barely read (people are so wordy).
- I need a new computer something fierce. I need my Adobe software, and it just doesn’t work on this one.
- My brother and sister-in-law are moving back to the States. That leaves just me, Herr, and the dogs in Europe.
- My parents are visiting in three weeks, and I still need to figure out that trip. Yikes!
- I have been trying to read like mad. I finished several books in the last month and have started The Count of Monte Cristo and Howl’s Moving Castle.
- I would still really like to go back to school for graphic design so I can make faster and better decisions about Web design. I would also like to understand German and French better, seeing as they are very useful languages here… I need to try that listening-in-your-sleep trick to learning. Time saver if it works.
- I feel like I need more sleep and exercise, even though I get 6-8 hours of sleep and go to the gym several times a week.
- I want a vacation to a beach! With warm weather!