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Looking for inspiration

October 14th, 2013 at 06:40 am

I need inspiration: I'm looking for more creative ideas to save money and be more economical in my every day life, with both time and money.

I just finished yet another round of personal finance books and found them to be a snooze fest. Once you've been at this a while, don't you kind of feel like all the advice is the same, and there aren't any new good ideas out there?

Yes, the basics matter, but really, once you are basically doing all that, the advice is slim.

Other than the mortgage, we have no debt. We max out our IRA and 401k every year. We save $2400/kid each year in a 529. We put a little in savings. We pay cash for home renovations. I grow a lot of food myself each summer, then I can it.

I feel like I'm already doing what I should do, but like it's not enough.

I've made some changes lately to reign in spending.
-Cut the cable and switched internet/phone providers (saved $70/month)
-Cut Sat./Sun. newspaper delivery ($225/year)
-Cooking at home more
-Weekly budget of $400 or less for everything
-I buy most of the kids clothes at yard sales and thrift stores, and have several bins in the next size up.

And I am making other changes that hopefully will help us meet our goal of money in the bank, money for college, and a simpler, less cluttered physical and emotional life.

-I've been clearing out garages, drawers, and basements and taking things to goodwill and finishing long-on-hold projects.

Yet, I still feel like I could be doing more, like something is missing?

Where do you look for inspiration? Do you have any ideas?

7 Responses to “Looking for inspiration”

  1. momcents Says:


    Maybe just take a step away from the "obsessing about every cent" - I know it, because I can tend to live it - worrying about every cent that is being spent, saved, or otherwise. I like to revisit "Mary Hunt" and Phil Lenahan once or so a quarter. I've moved out a bit in my blog reading (to include thepeacefulmom.com, blissfulanddomestic.com, smallnotebook.org to help give a focus on an intentional living. I had to stop worrying about coupons and sale ads because it probably wasn't saving me much in the time department. Now I only go to Aldi's (weekly) and Sam's Club (every other Friday) and the cupboards are full and I'm not spending as much time or money. I guess I don't have anything concrete to add, just wanted to let you know it sounds like a normal deviation from the frugal route, or not so much a deviation but "I've ingrained frugal living and I feel like I should be doing more." Smile

  2. ThriftoRama Says:

    It helps, trust me! Sounds like I'll have to look up Mary Hunt and Phil Lenahan.
    I guess I'm feeling like I'm doing okay, but I should be doing so much more or so much better. I don't want to waste our resources, but a lot of our life is spending because we are so tired or crushed for time with two jobs and two little kids. I don't like the feeling of being so out of control.

    I read a lot of mother earth news, and my new fav. blog is http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/

    I like to grow food, and that blog speaks to both food gardening and saving money. My speed!

  3. rob62521 Says:

    I often feel the same way. Right now I'm feeling guilty for having spent some money on Saturday. The items purchased were not splurge type items for us. I saved 20% and it was a planned expenditure, but I think...what did I do?

    I often peruse books, magazines, and sites and think, I'm doing that. Or, are they kidding? I think just maintaining is important and not beating one self up...sometimes we do have to spend money. There has to be happy medium. Now, if I can just accept that myself.

  4. snafu Says:

    I've read J Bogle's new book and review our portfolios to maximize benefits and minimize expenses. I'm about 40
    % thru David Bach's latest book, Automatic Millionaire to see what needs to be tweaked. I was gifted a new electronic reader and love the system that allows me to download newer library books at no cost and no effort. I'd m trying to persuade DH to subscribe to the newspaper on-line as it's cheaper and I don't need to do so much recycle.

    This summer my focus has been to make it easier to put stuff away to keep 'clutter' under control. With Canadian Thanksgiving winding down today, I'll be working on the change-out from summer clothes, bedding, supplies, garden tools, decor, etc. to fall/winter set up. I purge stuff worn out or no longer needed and list what will need to be replaced, repaired, refurbished etc. I do my best to match up sales/promotions with items needed. I have a major check list of projects to make/keep our condo as heat and care efficient as possible. We are busy and it's very important to manage time as well as money. DH updated the calendar yesterday so we don't let events overtake us or miss an important activity.

  5. TashaC. Says:

    you sound like you have it down. Future opportunities will crop up periodically to save money/ make money. Just keep your eyes open to them.

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    Do you chase after credit card bonuses like some of us? If you're disciplined to always pay in full, why not put all that spending you're doing to better use? I've earned about $1200 in 2013 just from applying for cards that offer an upfront cash or statement credit or gift card rewards after spending a certain amount in the first 3 months of owning the card.

    I figure it's the easiest money I've ever made and certainly a whole lot less painful than those tedious online surveys that some people do. The credit cards require very little of your time other than tracking your spending, and you don't even need to do that since you can check it online.

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    I did a few of those credit card rewards things last year. I made about $700. I'm not sure I like the idea of the constant churn of credit accounts or dings on my credit. Plus, with two little kids, I feel stretched and not always on top of things. I might revisit it when the kids are older.

    Plus, I've noticed the offers I'm getting aren't that great anymore!

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