Net advice on how to make frugality pay
The internet is full of websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts dedicated to helping you to get the most out of life while spending as little as possible and investing well, writes KEVIN CASEY
BETH M IS ON a mission to save money and eat well. Under the slogan “My Stomach is Full, My Wallet is Too”, her Budget Bytes food blog ( budgetbytes.blogspot.com) is bursting with fresh, flavoursome food, home-cooked with rather precise costings.
Most blogs are born of passion or necessity. Beth likes to eat, but she’s broke, so her blog has both. She crunches the numbers down to the last shake of salt (2c) with the overall aim of eating for a day on less than most people spend on lunch.
The ingredients are not fancy – most should be available at a convenience store or supermarket – and of course, the costings will vary but at a time when every little bit helps, the purpose of counting the pennies so diligently is to act more as a reference point.
Although budgets are driving this blog, the food is the thing and Budget Bytes helps to inject a bit of creative flair into those low-key staples lining your cupboard.
Perhaps the best introduction is to visit the Pinterest ( pinterest.com/budgetbytes) site and feast your eyes on the array of delicious meals. With no beans on toast anywhere to be seen, try kale and chickpea soup, balsamic beef kebabs or honey spice chicken thighs.
If that sounds rather exotic, Beth has ideas for baking your oatmeal into banana-flavoured biscuits and a very tempting recipe for lemon blueberry scones.
If you can’t get the freshest organic ingredients from a farmer’s market, it doesn’t really matter to Budget Bytes, the frozen variety will do. There are sections on how to stock your kitchen with spices and the blog is peppered (if you’ll forgive the pun) with sound financial advice.
Next to rent, the mortgage and the car, food is probably the biggest bill but it’s one of the easiest to reduce and you don’t have to sacrifice taste as you jettison your expenses.
Updating several times a week, Budget Bytes provides step-by-step instructions illustrated with photos to bring the recipe to life in a jiffy and the blog does the simple things well, like integrating Facebook and Twitter feeds and providing one-click PDF recipe downloads for printing and sorting.
With her culinary roots in scrumptious New Orleans, the world cuisine of Beth M’s Budget Bytes is bound to tickle your fancy at some point. Budget Bytes has a growing audience. After all, there’s no shame in being broke these days.
Many of us still have an awful lot to learn about personal finance. It’s not a subject that’s taught in any depth and although there is much folklore about minding the pennies and not counting chickens, it’s a more complex world nowadays than when those bon mots were framed.
Most good proverbs hold true for the ages but they originate from a different world. What is needed is good practical advice for the times we live in, with its highly structured credit, consumerism, shrinking incomes, debt and investments.
Being caught in the grip of financial woes is a painful experience. When he was at his lowest point, the author of the Get Rich Slowly blog ( getrichslowly.org), JD Roth realised he needed to dig up, not down. He began reading self-help and financial planning books, feeling for solutions and sharing what he had learned.
It worked, and he crawled his way out of debt. Now, with its tortoise logo, Get Rich Slowly is one of the web’s top personal finance blogs, garnering Roth an award as one of Time magazine’s Top 25 blogs last year and even getting him hired to write for that publisher’s personal finance pages.