This desire of mine started when I had my first baby and our income was half of what it had been. I relied heavily on Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy which has been updated now to Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy. It was a great resource with lots of helpful hints to cut our expenses. One thing I learned from it: name brand companies are sourced by supermarkets to make their generic brands. So if you tend to go for the more attractively packaged name brand because you are familiar with the product, you may be spending money that you don't need to spend. At the very least, try out the generic brands. You might find that you like them (because they're really the name brand product!) and that you like the extra money in your pocket.
I also wore out my copy of More-With-Less Cookbook, a gift from my Aunt who knows how to live on less. This is by far my favorite cookbook. If I could gift it to every woman I know I would. It's a compilation of recipes and advice from Mennonite women all over the globe. Many of the recipes come from other cultures who do not have the convenience foods that we have in America, so they are very back to basics recipes. I can't pick just one favorite, but I found my favorite granola recipe in it.
I interviewed my Grandma who lived through World War 2 and discovered some things that they did to save money. They used cloth instead of paper napkins. They line dried their laundry. They didn't bathe every day. They didn't eat meat every day. When they did have meat, they bought it with bones in it. One thing I gathered from her is that every little bit counts.
Interestingly my grandma's family didn't use cloth napkins because they were concerned about wasting trees; they were concerned about wasting money. But I'm finding that the two go hand in hand sometimes. Sometimes it costs more to be environmentally friendly, but usually it costs less in the long run. Re-using things, whether it's cloth instead of paper or ceramic instead of plastic, is good for both the wallet and the environment. So why not re-use?
Getting back to basics isn't easy, though. It takes work, time and determination. I found that the following saying is true: "You spend time to save money, or you spend money to save time." There are forces that seem to work against me such as youth sport league schedules - I feel like any free time I have, I spend at a game or practice or somewhere in between. Convenience foods sure do sound nice right after a late practice. Maybe I need to re-evaluate some choices that have kept me from spending time to save money.
If every little bit counts, then getting back on track with back to basics will be little by little - and it will count.
I think I'm going to write more about my thoughts and my journey to get back to basics - which hit a road block and I'm currently struggling to get my lifestyle to match my mindset. It's on my mind and in my heart.