Friday, June 20, 2008

Frugal Friday: Using What You Have (Part 3)

Of course in order to use what you have you have to know what you have. (Thats kind of a brain twister) This involves organizing. From the meal cleaning the medicine decorating, the first step is getting organized with your drawers, cabinets, closets...everything. Throw out the junk. Most things that you have can probably be used for something - they just maybe need to be more organized so that you can find them when you want to use them. Don't neglect being resourceful to find uses for as many things as you can, such as a lonesome single sock that can be used as a dusting cloth. But, some things are just junk like a broken appliance than can not be fixed or used for spare parts. If you have so many things that you can't find what you are looking for then it's time to downsize by reducing the number of different products or things that you have in your stockpile/storage. Combine two 1/2 full bottles of the same product into one bottle. Use up the small amounts of something. Once a product is gone, decide if you really need to replace it or if you could use something else that you already have on hand. Before you buy anything ask yourself: Do I really need this? Is there something else I have on hand that would work just fine? (Mike says that his rule is that for every $100 that something costs we should spend that many days praying about it before actually making the purchase.) They say that when you take your shopping trips, you should "shop" at home first. Keep things simple. For example, try to keep basic medications in the medicine cabinet rather than combination medications or ones that are marketed to treat special symptoms. With the drug companies constantly marketing "new" & combination medications it's easy to buy something that sounds like it will relieve all your present symptoms. But then two days later your symptoms are different so that medication you bought is now just sitting in the cabinet (usually until it expires and you throw it out). ---Avoid buying combination products For example, if you have diphenhydramine and acetaminophen then you have the same ingredients as Excedrin PM. Be very careful about taking more than one medication at a time because a name brand like Tylenol doesn't mean that it is only acetaminophen. Always read the active ingredients (know the generic names for the same medication) and know what would best relieve the symptoms that you have (an antihistamine vs a decongestant). And check with a doctor or pharmacist before you take more than one medication at a time. ---Be aware of special packaging Be aware that many times a medication is marketed as "special" when in fact it contains the same ingredient as something else you may already have at home. For example, they now have Tums for kids. I had a rebate to try it for free so I looked at the ingredients and it is exactly the same as the Extra Strength Tums - no need to have both. The same thing holds true for pain medications like Tylenol Arthritis. The same medication is marketed with different names. Another area to keep things simple is with cleaning products. Again, there are lots of different products marketed that really do the same thing. Come back next week for "Using What You Have - Part 4" and more on keeping things simple with cleaning if only I could set aside some time to do some much needed thorough spring cleaning:) ...

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