Good morning. I love winter! The snow is so pretty. The sunrise colors beckon me outside. Sometimes, the sunrise is pale and frosty white; other times, like today, the colors are brilliant and glowing. Then, to take a sunrise picture, I stuck one leg out the front door; I’m instantly reminded why I am not outside this week. Why, I’m not walking one block to take a pretty sunrise picture without the trees in the way. Why, I’m not going to start the car to drive one block- it would take 15 minutes to warm up and I would miss the sunrise. Of course, warming up the car and driving one block is not a good use of gas. It is so bitter this week that frostbite starts in 10 minutes!
So, even though I enjoy winter, this week I will enjoy my view from inside the cozy house. Instead of being outside, I will find some frugal habits to share this first week of January. No resolutions, no pressure. Just one new and one old frugal habit to share.
The new frugal habit is Frugalwood’s Uber Frugal Challenge. I am so excited! I’ve never joined an online challenge; in fact her newsletter is the first, and only, one I’ve joined. I am a bit slow with the computer-techy stuff. So far, the Uber Frugal daily assignments have been very thought-provoking with links to some great posts about frugality.
I am hoping to refocus on frugality with this Challenge to finish paying off debt. I’m pretty frugal, but sometimes sales and clearance items will call to me. It is hard to not come home with armfuls of clearance items- I am saving money, right? But even if it’s on sale, I’m still spending money, Thankfully, I don’t go to town often, and when I do, I try to follow my ‘to buy list‘. This list is always in my purse and keeps me focused and frugal, especially at garage and clearance sales. It even has a not to buy list, so I don’t bring home tons of cute dishes. Or books. Or craft supplies.
Day three, of the Uber Frugal challenge, was about waiting 72 hours before any purchases. I should have read my email before I went to town. I’m pretty sure the challenge should apply to all purchases that are not on my ‘to buy list’. There are probably no exceptions for Christmas clearance, thrift stores or garage sale items.
But, I was in town this week and I had to wait 45 minutes between a doctor’s appointment and the bank or Aldis to open. In the frigid weather, I just couldn’t sit in the car, and driving around on the snowpack roads could have been dangerous, it’s also not a frugal use of gas. So, I drug the middle one into a big box store.
Did you know that during the first week of January, there are Christmas clearance items? How amazing! The middle one was not amused and kept checking the time.
Actually, I had stopped in, earlier in the week, when the clearance was only 50%. I found Christmas mugs to fill with candy for next Christmas. One present done- yay! The rest of the clearance items, I distinctly remember thinking, I wouldn’t even need a 90% off.
But there I was, standing in the aisle, looking at all the 90% off clearance items. I was even looking at the ornaments! Our tree is so filled with homemade ornaments and ornaments I give every year that it is hard to find room for the red bows I put on last. It is amazing how much of a draw a clearance sign can be. Just a hint of savings, or a clearance sign, makes me wonder if I am missing a good deal.
Thankfully, I managed to leave everything in the clearance aisle- except three things. A $3.50 nice church shirt, an 80 cent box of candy canes (at least I left the chocolate) and ribbon! Maybe 6 rolls of ribbon?! I was glad white ribbon was on my ‘to buy list’! I use and reuse lots of ribbon on Christmas packages, but I was out of white. At 30 cents, it was a great buy! I even checked the length, and found the rolls with the most length. Somehow, red and green ribbon also fell into my cart. Oh, well- now I should add ribbon to my not to buy list. And I will add $7 to my wants section of the Uber Frugal Challenge.
Similar to refocusing my frugal spending habits with the Uber Frugal Challenge, this month I am trying to refocus my frugal cleaning habits. Well, I think the cleaning plan helps me be frugal. I definitely have less clutter, can find things easier and use more frugal cleaning products with the Fly Lady schedule. I am also more relaxed about cleaning the house.
Years ago, when the toddlers kept me ankle-deep in toys and I fretted about doing enough housework, I found the Fly Lady website. Her articles were so relate-able and funny; I could understand not wanting to open the door to neighbors or even the fireman because of the chaos. I decide to try her schedule.
I started small, and soon it was an easy habit to clean the bathroom sink and toilet right away in the morning (before I left the room the first time). It was great to have one chore done right away. Then, I started putting a load of laundry in, as I left the bathroom and walked right past the washing machine. Soon, the mountain of laundry was also manageable.
It took a few years, but now I also dust right away most mornings. This is a drastic change for me. I grew up hating to dust. Everything had to be moved, dusted individually and dusted under. Now, I use a feather duster! It is fun and I can dust my downstairs rooms in under 5 minutes (yes, I timed it). I only move everything once a month to do a deep dusting. Even then, it is only one room a week so it is not overwhelming. The grandbaby will even help dust, though I need to discourage the dusting of grandpa’s recliner!
The schedule is also easy to restart, when I get lazy. Like now. I am still doing well with the morning cleaning, but my kitchen is always the most challenging room. So, I have a basket of rags all ready to start the New Year. I am hoping, if the rags are handy, I will clean the kitchen sink more often. It would be great to have ‘keeping both sinks clean’ as an easy habit. Maybe it would encourage me to keep the counters clean too!
This first month of the year, I plan on cleaning the kitchen sink every time I am done with it. Hopefully in a few weeks, it will become second nature and be part of my schedule, like laundry and dusting are now.
This year, as I restart my cleaning schedule and work on the Uber Frugal Challenge, I will refocus and increase my frugal habits. Hopefully, I can pay off debt and keep the kitchen sink clean! Then, the bitter cold days of winter will pass and I will be able to take sunrise pictures without the trees blocking my view.
Please share any new habits you are starting this year!
Happy Camping (or cleaning the sink?)