Practical ways to tighten our belts

I am so glad I put up that post yesterday. It seems like a lot of us needed it! One of of my RL friends, inspired by yesterday's post, called her credit card companies and got one of her card's rate lowered by double digits!

So here's what I'm thinking about for today: Practical ways to tighten our belts. Remember when "Y2K" was about to happen (what dorks we all were with that Y2K business) and people seemed either to go way overboard and stockpile years' worth of supplies, or do nothing? I think we could be either psyching ourselves into all kinds of belt-tightening things that are going to seriously affect our emotional lives, or else go into denial and just keep spending as if there's no tomorrow.

So I'm looking for practical ways to save money, build a little safety in, DIY, that sort of thing.

Also, please think ahead about this, which we'll post next week: More people are going to be eating from food banks. Lots of times what they end up with are food that are not high in nutrition (boxed mac 'n' cheese, anyone?), and a consistent diet of that kind of stuff is going to depress mood and cause depression, sluggishness, and weight gain. Which is exactly what people struggling to hold things together financially do NOT need.

I'm wondering if we could think of some nutritionally-good, tasty, not-too-complicated recipes that could be made out of ingredients that can be kept at a food bank. That means nothing frozen, and no fresh meat or dairy (right? It's been years since I was actually at a food bank and saw the facilities.) We're talking mostly boxed and canned, with some fresh produce that has a longer shelf life.

If you're willing to put your recipe-developer hats on and take up the challenge, I'm hoping we can be ready to post next Friday. Then we can figure out how to make these recipes useful. (printing out the recipe and donating the set of ingredients together? making some sort of mini-cookbook for food banks to distribute? something totally obvious I'm not thinking of?)

In the meantime, we're looking for practical ways to cut some expenditures that won't affect emotional quality of life too much.