Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Frugal Files: With Autumn Comes Change

Hello there!! Frugalicious Diva here and it’s officially Fall!! Now that the kids are settled into school, what’s next for you? You’ve gotten through the summer and had some great frugal fun. You also found some great school supplies at home or good deals at the store. Now, it’s October. What does that mean for you?
When I think of October, I think about the cooler weather, which I love because I can pull out the cute jeans and even cuter sweaters and tunics. I also think of the leaves changing colors and falling, as well as the harvest season. This reminds me of warm apple crisps, cider and pumpkins decorating the yard.
My favorite season is Autumn mostly because it’s time to transition, make some changes. In the Frugal Files we’re going to get ready to make some changes to our thoughts about LIFE. This month we’re going to dedicate each week to LIFE, challenging ourselves to do something different than last year and something we can implement into our daily frugal lives.
This week we’re going to focus on the “L”, which stands for Lifestyle. Ask yourself what do you want to change about your life? You know you don’t have to wait until January to make those same old resolutions. You can make a change right now. My challenge for this month is to cook daily and I challenge you to do the same.
Challenge #1: Cook all your meals. You know I’ve chatted with you before about creative cooking, so why not put it too good use? Look in those deep freezers and pull out everything and create meal menus. You can even cook in bulk and freeze all the meals, then set assigned leftover days to unthaw your pre-cooked meals. Need a few ideas, use Leslie Chisolm’s menu as a guide: Dinner Calendar This woman created a monthly meal plan for the entire year. She’s my She-ro!!
The beauty of planning your meals is you choose your own healthy dishes and prepare them. You save money because you’re not dining out, but also you are not indulging in potentially unhealthy food that can cause health issues in the future. Health issues cost you your body and in your wallet.
Challenge #2: Focus on frugal fitness this month. Do you have a gym membership for which you are paying, but not using? Well, start today!! You don’t need a personal trainer. Simply look at their class schedule and commit to 1-2 classes per week. At least then you can justify paying the fee.
If you don’t have a membership, but want one, then do your homework. Ask around for the best rates and find a facility that has the most options for the money you plan to pay. Lastly, look for a place that has a month-to-month membership, so you don’t have to commit to 1-3 years at a time. That will save you in the long run.
Don’t want to purchase a membership? There are other ways to get and stay fit. It’s still nice outside, so grab a partner and walk the trails at the park or pull on a co-worker and do that same at work. Walk around the building. If available, use your job’s fitness center. Come in early or stay late. Raking and bagging leaves are the perfect autumn exercise; as is planting your garden for next year’s harvest. There are typically fests and bonfires this time of year, so take advantage of the run and play time there.
Challenge #3: Entertain yourselves using what you have. It's easy to go out and buy something to help occupy your time, so challenge yourself to do something different. Consider these ideas:
-  Decorate your home. Use old material to make a door cover or table runner. Gather leaves, an old hanger and a glue gun and make a decorative wreath for the door. Have fall themed cookie cutters? Make your own playdoh and make door or porch ornaments.
-  After rotating your fall and winter clothes back into your closet, go through them and see what can be recycled into something different. Can you embellish your pants or plain shirt? Why not make new jewelry from your old jewelry?
-  Learn a new hobby: take up knitting or needlepoint; learn to play a new board game or sport; try scrapbooking or practice feng shui.
-  Do something old fashioned: write a letter to someone or volunteer your time
Whatever you decide to change about your lifestyle this week and during the month of October, make sure it is a frugal one. The ultimate challenge is to change your life without losing your change. Good luck and enjoy this week!!

Frugalicious Diva

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