Saturday, November 15, 2008

Booking my expenses

Despite the popular perception that all romance writers are rich, most of us struggle along on a budget like everyone else. These days, for almost everyone I know, matters have gotten serious. If we don’t pinch pennies until they squawk, how will we afford to buy all the books we want? Not to mention giving books as gifts this holiday season.

Since I’ve always been the queen of cheap, I thought I’d pass along a few tips. I hope someone will find them helpful!

So here goes.

· I use credit cards – Borders, Amazon – that pay me back in gift certificates with which I can buy books.
· When planning meals for the week, I check out that forgotten stuff in the freezer and pantry. Sometimes I can squeeze out a couple of almost-free meals. At least, they feel free, since I paid for them long ago.
· As some of you will recall from previous blogs, I’m an avid vegetable gardener. Not only do the big crops like tomatoes and zucchini pay off, but bountiful basil makes for pesto dishes all summer and fall. It can be grown in pots, too.
· Energy savings add up. After our son left for college, I went around the house unplugging his appliances. Also, I turned off the waterbed heater – a foam pad keeps us plenty warm.
· Sometimes buying in bulk makes sense, and sometimes it doesn’t. Take a calculator to the store if necessary, and don’t forget to factor in the cost savings if buying in bulk translates to fewer shopping trips.
· Remember those Borders and Amazon credit cards? My son’s university lets us charge his tuition at no additional fee. I pay off the charge promptly, and let me him use the gift certificates to order textbooks.
· If you grind your teeth at night and your dentist recommends an expensive night guard, try buying a mouth protector at a sporting goods store for less than $10. This saves me hundreds of dollars.
· But: Avoid false economies! I’m keeping my newspaper subscription. In addition to the fact that I enjoy reading it, the subscription makes economic sense because of the free coupons and sales ads.

Feel free to add your favorite tips. And good luck to everyone who’s working hard to make it through these challenging times.


Ellen said...

Good tips.

About bulk buying - be careful of buying in bulk unless you are sure you will use that much in a reasonable amount of time. Anything stored in a freezer for too long will lose it's flavor and nutritional value.
Also sometimes buying store brands can be a great savings but only if the store brand is equal in nutritional value and taste.

Christa said...

The best investmest I ever made was a small 5 cu foot freezer. I also have a few of those points cards like a Shopper's Drug Mart, but points aren't given for perscriptions. Buy a gift card to pay for perscriptions. Points are given for gift cards

ChristyJan said...

Thanks for the helpful hints ~ I'll be putting several of them to use.