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Monday, August 7, 2017

A Little Encouragement

J really needs to cut back on her spending, she and her boy friend with whom she lives. They need to save enough to get their own place. In ten months they have not saved one dime. Their host is getting impatient. So, today while she helped me, we had a little talk.

I asked her what their bills were. Those are non-negotiable. Well, they both have a smart phone that could be gotten rid of. Then, I asked her where she thought they could cut back on spending. "Groceries!" She knows how to cook. Her bf knows how to grill and prefers meat and potatoes and hate vegetables. He just won't eat them.

She was helping her host paint tables at his shop. She did not finish at 5:30 when her bf came to pick her up. So, he went grocery shopping and spent $60! He bought tv dinners and junk. She was appalled. There were no fruits or vegetables.

I asked her in what other area could they cut back. "Cigarettes."

She knows where food banks are that give meat and vegetables, sometimes milk, butter, and cheese. All give cans of food. She understands not eating the whole package of pork chops in one meal.

She has not gotten a job, so I suggested in the meantime selling things online. When she told her bf  what she was going to do, he was very agreeable to that. He has a job where "stuff" comes up and belongs to no one. No, he is not stealing.

She knows she still needs to get a job and get her meth teeth fixed. I am encouraging that often.

We were talking about cooking, and other kitchen things. She pretty well understands how she can save money cooking and she does. He is the one who spends too much money. Oh, yeah, he loves pasta with anything on it.

We talked about the grocery list from the ads and three online grocery stores and using price-matching.    She looked as though a light went on when I told her that when I look in the pantry or refrigerator/freezer, everything in there was on sale. So, now I shop at home and have a sale all the time.

I am encouraging her to give up paper products except for tp. We talked about her making napkins by hand. She knows how to use a needle to sew. I am encouraging her to make a rag bag and button jar from old clothing and to use it instead of paper towels. Rags used to clean up nasty messes can be thrown out just like paper towels and cost less.

Her one weakness--Yellow Box flip flops. She wants a pair in every color. And, she does not have a job! She also does not have even one pair of flip flops.

She like smelly stuff for the laundry and cannot comprehend not using dryer sheets. So, I told her to cut them in quarters. Baby steps!

She looked a little shocked at the thought of buying towels and wash cloths, and kitchen towels at yard sales. She had no idea people sold them unused at yard sales.

They have not one stick of furniture or bit of accessories. She was drooling over a cloth hamper at Walmart. I could not be happy with her as she looked at it. I am encouraging using old stuff and a can of spray paint. She was agreeing, but who knows what she will do when out of my

Between the two of them, they smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. I asked her if they could make a pack last two days. She said they could. We will see! I suggested maybe after a couple of weeks doing that, they could cut down to a pack lasting three days. The cigarettes she buys cost $4.89 after tax, so she spends right at $150/month on cigarettes!

As I get rid of things, I give them to her. She remarks how she uses them in new ways to make her life easier.

At least, I am putting frugal thoughts into her consciousness. Will it work? Only time will tell. Anything I do that she repeats in her life will give her a better grasp of how to save money.

Your turn
Have you ever had someone that you advised about how to save money? Did it work? Even a little bit?


  1. Linda - I'm sure that J will remember the bits and pieces of frugal advice you give her. Maybe not today, but someday.

    I have a earned a degree in Home Ec in 1968. Everything we were taught was based on Pres. Johnson's War on Poverty so it was all thrift based. It has amazed people how much we have on such a little amount of money. Simply takes a mindset change - as you said, one baby step at a time.

    1. Bellen,
      I have seen signs she listens and puts things I say into practice.

      That's interesting about the thrift in Home Ec. That was never touched on in my Home Ec classes in high school. It probably isn't today, either.

  2. Linda, I think your giving J some work to do AND some valuable instruction, is the perfect way to help her. something will sink in, and in the meantime she is acutally busy and accomplishing tasks.

    We tried to help a young woman by giving her a place to stay after jail, taking her where she needed to go, etc. She couldn't stand it for long. Then she came to us for financial help. Long story short, we ended up giving her way too much $. Even though it included a "payment plan", we of course have never been repaid a penny. That wouldn't matter if she had only used it to get on her feet & be responsible (her mother is raising her daughter). Now, she is pregnant and on heroin. We have given her no more $ even though she asks; my DH did giver her a job recommend. & she is now working part time. This has been over a course of 2.5 yrs now. We still hope for the best but I sure think the way you're going about helping someone is the way to do it. Keep up the good work & don't get discouraged.

    1. dj,
      I think her smoking and fondness for Yellow Box is hurting her, but she has to want to change. She is different now that she no longer has the threat of jail hanging over her. I only give her money for working. You did aa good thing, and maybe it will sink in some day. It is sad she is pregnant and on heroin.

      I hope it all works out for her. Her help means a lot to me, and yet she works for a pittance since I really cannot afford to pay her right. Thanks for the story and encouragement.

  3. Linda I applaud what you are doing for J. It takes time to retrain a mindset. And lets face it buying the easy things is well, easier. I said when I retired I would have a freezer full of Stouffers dinners. But I enjoy cooking from scratch. I do have a weakness for frozen pizza.

    1. carol,
      Thanks. She is motivated and a quick learner. She wants to get ahead, but bf is content with having his friend to furnish him everything. We were talking about the convenience and the high cost of frozen dinners. I enjoy cooking from scratch, and so does she. She can look around the kitchen and make a dinner, whereas, her bf says there is nothing to cook, meaning "there is not a chunk of meat." She knows how to take a can of chicken, noodles, vegetables, and spices and make something tasty that he actually will eat. There are days I would love to go throw a frozen meal in the oven or microwave.

  4. I have never given anyone but my sons financial advice, and once they were adults only if I was asked. Though occasionally I hear younger women talking about their food budgets and have mentioned you can make everything from scratch, so pick and choose and only buy convenience products that actually save enough time to warrant the expense.

    1. Anne,
      I mention money-saving tips to her because she complains about no money and she listens and asks questions. I certainly won't bore someone and waste my breath if the person is resistant.

    2. I probably would not have been as kind about the cigarette expense as you were. I would have told her that her dollars were literally going up in smoke!

    3. Anne,
      We have had that conversation before. I did note it was a way she could reduce her expenses. That was a surprise to me. Before, her cigarettes were an inviolate treat for her.

  5. I'm sure J is learning from you! My DD was actually messaging me this morning - telling me of her plan to do up a spreadsheet (she's a nerd LOL) of grocery items, costs, etc and start watching when they go on sale and stock up. I now know following me around all those years of shopping trips with my lists of deals and coupons sunk in her brain :)

    1. ONE,
      That IS gratifying! She did listen even if there was a bored teen face following you around. When my children were younger than teens, they helped find bargains. Sometimes, it takes a while to figure out they were listening. Good for you.


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