Being a wife and being a mother have taught me a lot of things. Among these is how to spend wisely and how to make practical choices. And because I am also earning, I am aware that I need to be a good steward of the Lord’s blessings- that it is a must to use our resources wisely. I am all for sustainability and long-term effects. The choices I make may not seem “practical” at first but as I list them down, I will also include the whys and wherefores:
1. I invest in premium ingredients: I buy extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and use it on every meal as often as needed. I saute, sear and even deep-fry using EVOO. Though at first it looks costly, the benefits we reap from using EVOO are worth every penny. I would imagine all the monoinsaturate fats that EVOO has which can reduce the bad cholesterol level in our blood and how we can prevent the risk of heart attack and stroke. And because EVOO is much more expensive than any other oils, we seldom deep-fry. We usually steam, saute, sear, broil and boil our meals. But recently, because my husband loves fried dishes, I searched for other options: I learned that culinary coconut oil is by far, the best oil in the market. No unwanted coconut aftertaste nor costly price. And again, let me emphasize, it is even healthier than EVOO. It is the best out there.
2. I breastfeed. I cringe whenever people say that having a baby should cost an arm and leg because of the increasing cost of formula milk. Not true! No need to buy milk plus other paraphernalia: feeding bottles (even if you’re working), sterilizers and even Wilkins. I have been breastfeeding Sophie for almost 30 months and I am always amazed at the wonderful things our family gains from breastmilk. Sophie has always been a healthy kid and eats whatever we serve her. It is because as the child latches, the child’s palate is conditioned to what his/her mother eats through breastmilk. Thus, if the mother eats a lot of veggies and fruits, because the child is “conditioned” to their flavors, the child no longer needs to be forced to eat fruits and vegetables. No need to spend on expensive and junk foods full of refined sugar. We also do not need to waste time and energy to force her to eat, nor chase her meal after meal.
3. We chose to get Sophie’s vaccines from polyclinics. Whenever someone raises an eyebrow upon hearing this particular choice, I just say, “We use our taxes to pay for our daughter’s vaccines.” Although polyclinics centers do not provide all, they still offer the basic and necessary ones. We get the basic ones and by the time Sophie needs the others and the more comprehensive ones, we have already saved up for it. Please check this link to see the list of vaccines offered free by polyclinics.
4. I babywear. We didn’t need to buy over-the-top and lavish strollers. We have an Ergo and ringsling that we use anywhere! We used to have a Chicco SSC but we eventually sold due to a probable and legit concern: having a hip dysplasia.
5. I de-clutter and sell used items before purchase. This is one of the most practical choices I have ever made. The philosophy is: Our space at home is limited and if I cannot find a space for something new, I need to de-clutter or sell the item currently occupying the space or just not buy at all. This philosophy helps me decide whenever we go to the mall and pass by the home decor or DIY/crafts areas. I will always ask myself the question, “Do I have a space for this?” My answer is either no or let’s see. When I mean ‘no’ it means I am sure that the item is just another something that I cannot put anywhere else at home. It may be another chopping board, another vase, another pillow, etc. By ‘let’s see,’ it means delaying gratification. If I cannot imagine where the item will be placed, I will get back home and see if there’s a place for the item/s I want to buy. If there’s a possible place and there’s an item occupying the space, I sell or give the current item away before I purchase the new one. This makes me think about my purchasing power less. The more I spend time finding its place at home, the more I realize that I do not need it anyway. And I end up going to the mall, see the same items but no longer have the temptation buying it. More often than not, the things I want are things I do not really need. (=
6. I buy hand-me-down items. I always prefer quality over quantity. Although most often, quality comes with a high price, it doesn’t have to be always like that. Going to thrift stores really gives me the best of both worlds: affordable and of high quality. Recently, I found out that many rich people sell their items for relatively cheaper prices. A seller told me that these people are not after profit whenever they sell their items. They are after de-cluttering and finding space for a bigger item/s they want to buy. You can find jewels from second-hand shops, only if you are patient enough to scout and scour. Plus, you can haggle anytime! One tip when buying from online shops, “rush” or “sacrifice sale” items are most often very, very affordable. Sellers of these items will not give you a hard time granting you the price you want. (But always remember to be courteous and reasonable.)
7. I buy online. Whatever I can buy online, I buy. It saves up a lot of gas and time. All I need is to pay extra attention to the seller and to the items being sold.
8. I (or we) cook as often as possible, say, 6 days a week. We do not see any good reason eating out often, even if we can. My husband and I agreed not to spend money on eating out, primarily because most foods from the restaurants are not healthy. Also, they are not as tasteful as we want them. So why eat out? Thus, when we eat out, we usually visit places that offer food we do not know. For new experience, in fact.
9. I recycle and revamp. This is really a no-brainer. Whenever I can, I recycle and transform the ordinary things into beautiful and functional pieces. Instead of buying something new, other than having a limited space, I will make sure to have exhausted the possibility of recycling and revamping first before getting new ones.
10. I go to the wet market for meat, veggies and fruits. I have found out that frozen meat, veggies and fruits from the grocery or supermarket spoil sooner than the ones bought from the wet market. The idea is simple, wet markets have new batches of these items every day, unlike supermarkets which have big freezers/chillers that store these items.
Wait for more tips on my next entries! But what about you? What are your practical tips, Mummy?