More people need to embrace the philosophy a dollar saved is a dollar earned
MASSTOWN - Our Masstown Community Association held its annual tree lighting in the park, finally, on Friday, Dec. 13.
We had a nice turn out for this. There are many people to thank you for the success of our event. Tim Hortons for donating the coffee and hot chocolate, the MacDonaldâs whose power we use to light our Christmas tree for a few hours each evening, Rodney Morgan made our huge bon fire; and Santa and his elf who came out on such a cold night to pass out candy canes to our little ones. We had marshmallows to roast and we sang a bunch of Christmas carols. It was loads of fun.
I often hear people bemoaning the fact they have no money to buy whatever it is they are wishful for this week. As I was always told as a child âmoney doesnât grow on trees!â We need to take a careful look at our lifestyles and see how many ways there are to save money.
Letâs start with our Christmas gifts, all wrapped in shiny paper with nice ribbons and bows, or in pretty gift bags. When Christmas morning comes, instead of ripping that pretty paper off, take the time to undo the scotch tape and carefully fold the paper and place it where you can use it again next year. Place the ribbons and bows into one of the small gift bags and again save to reuse. The gift bags are easily reusable. Once all the unwrapping is finished, place all your good but still serviceable items away in a safe place where you will be able to find it next year. You may say âbut this stuff only costs a few dollarsâ but another old adage is this: âlook after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.â
In other words, a dollar saved is a dollar earned. If, this year, you paid $10 for gift wrapping supplies, by reusing what you received you will have that extra $10 to spend on something else. You also will keep that high dye content paper out of our landfills. A win-win situation.
Next, letâs look at food. You cook a large turkey for Christmas dinner. You end up with leftover vegetables, stuffing, meat and gravy. Using washed and kept TV dinner trays, make up meals, cover well and freeze for future meals which are ready to just pop into the microwave. You can take some of the meat and gravy and freeze it together in a container to later thaw and make hot turkey sandwiches. The last of the âold birdâ can be boiled and then the meat picked off the bones, saving the water it was boiled in. Add the picked meat to the water with vegetables, pasta, rice or other such items for a large pot of homemade soup. This will freeze well, as long as you havenât added potatoes (they go mushy when thawed). Now you have saved a lot of money on future meals and didnât end up throwing out anything but the bones.
Our biggest expenses seem to be housing (rent or mortgage), heat, lights and food. We can save on our heat and light bills by being conscious of turning off lights in rooms we arenât in, turning down the heat at night, closing the door behind us to keep the heat in and putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. You will cut your power bill down a bit if you decide what you want out of the refrigerator before you open the door. Five minutes with the fridge door open costs money. Take quick showers instead of long ones, which will save on hot water (you pay for hot water), wash your clothes in cold water (again, you pay for hot water) and wait until you have a full sink of dishes before washing them. Why fill your sink for one or two items? If you live in town you also pay a water bill (those of us in the country have wells but we pay for the power to run the pump). Saving water is not only good for our bills but for our environment. If you didnât finish your glass of water, donât throw it down the sink; use it to water your plants. Turn the water off while you brush your teeth. Every drop saved helps you.
We canât always save money easily but if we take the time to think about what we use and how we use it I believe we will be surprised at how much we can really save.
Chris Urquhart is a resident of Masstown. She is the secretary of Masstown Community Association and the secretary for the Upper Londonderry Pastoral Charge. Anyone who would like to send her Masstown news to appear in her column can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.