It's a new year, 2013, and I've decided to give you all kinds of advice on saving money. You might want to start by saving this column.
How many credit cards do you have? How much interest are you paying? Start out with the card that has the biggest debt or the highest interest rate. Pay the minimum on the other cards. Then pay extra on the card with the highest rate. Work at it until it's paid off, then cut the card up. Then take the next card with the highest rate or biggest debt and do the same thing until they are all paid off. Don't get discouraged. It will take time. Then only keep one credit card. Which card has the best deal?
Do you pay your bills on time? This counts for 35 percent of your credit rating. During all this pay-off time, did you examine your motives every time you were tempted to buy something? Was this purchase a need or a want? How much do we really need?
Credit cards are just one of our problems. What about house mortgages? Car payments? Student loans? Personal loans? Some people have all of these. Don't get discouraged. Talk to the people you owe. They might give you more time without raising your rates. When you pay down your debt, you'll feel good about yourself, and you'll be on your way to solvency!
Now for some good news. You save on doctors' bills by staying healthy. Don't get the flu. Eat right. You'll lose weight and still be healthy.
Do you have fruit for breakfast? Blueberries, nuts (all kinds), grapes (red and green), raisins, cherries, strawberries, apples, etc. These are all good. Pick out five per day. If you're trying to cut down on the bread, you can have one slice of bread with peanut butter and jam or have cereal with fiber in it.
For lunch, you can have one bowl of soup. Vegetables are great. Remember, the more colorful they are, the better they are for you. One cookie for dessert is OK.
For supper you can have a pasta dish, spaghetti, or I cook macaroni and add it to my homemade soup. I like to buy a cooked chicken. I can get five or six meals out of it and then I use the carcass to make soup. I put a lot of onion, carrots and celery in it. I get another three or four meals out of that, sometimes more.
Sometimes at lunch, I make a sandwich with turkey, ham, lettuce and tomatoes. Often times, I only use one slice of bread.
Here are a couple of don'ts. Don't eat between meals and don't have desserts with every meal. Pace yourself. If you can add some stretching exercises and some walking, you should see visible results.
Another way to stay healthy and save money is to stay in when you can when it's bitter cold outside. As I write this, it is 8 degrees outside. I'm not going anywhere. But if I had to go out, I'd make sure to wear a couple pairs of socks and warm boots. Also I'd wear earmuffs, a scarf or two, and heavy gloves.
I learned from skiers that if you keep your head and feet warm, you'll survive. And dress warmly whether you're indoors or outdoors. Use the layered look. You can add or take off.
A couple of last suggestions. Drink as much water as you can and eat fish twice a week. Also, get enough sleep to keep your immune system healthy.
Here's a different type of advice. Look for relationships. Don't just feed on yourself or you'll starve. Surround yourself with positive-thinking people. I recommend that next.
Tuesday night, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Fredonia Village Hall, our group will meet to discuss what we can do to stimulate economic growth and development in Chautauqua County. We still have so much to offer!
We haven't met this month because the college was on vacation and Matt is one of our most enthusiastic members and he wants to bring friends. We have so many ideas! Come, share with us.
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org