Nov 19, 2012

The blog in which I am frugal in everyday life. (PHOTOS)

And how else do I save money?  Well, it's not until I sit and compile a list like this that I realize how much money we have potentially saved over the years.  While my husband works incredibly hard to provide for our family, pulling overtime most weeks, we are a single income home, not living off food stamps or other supplementation, even though we qualify for assistance based on our annual income.  We simply live within our means- and our children value and trust what we have, and will learn by our example.

I fried something about two months ago, and can't stand to throw the oil away.  I  used a strainer and poured it into this glass jar for next time.  
This reminded me to share with you our flu-preventative.  (It was near all the other things I was taking photos of on the counter this morning.)  Anti flu shots in our home, and this is one tiny drop, flavorless, and so great or mood!  Please look this up for flu prevention.  LOTS of scientific research to back up our own experience.  

I reused the cocoa container and it holds one whole dry brownie mix I make!  Dry erase marker to remind me  later what I need.  Always nice to have a quick batch on hand for the unexpected need to bring or give to someone ;o)  I am renaming these brownies "PMS reducer."  

No, we don't lie them down like that.  That was for your benefit to see our initials.    Need to go grocery shopping later.  

Extra jars.

Why yes, I do have a Keurig coffee maker, however, I don't buy pods anymore.  I have some for when I have guests and we are making multiple cups in short order.  Daily, I use this filter and use it for regular, decaf, and the occasional "mocha" I make where I put coffee in the filter, and a touch of that bulk hot chocolate to the cup ;o)  

Sorry blurry.  But I use the sugar and flour canister all the time.  Reused the spaghetti jars, and spray painted one top and added cheap-o knobs with glue gun.  

I use larger microfiber towels for the kitchen sink and then every other day wash them after I grab it to dust .  Those and fleece socks dust the best!  

Best brownies ever.  It fit inside the can too!   I make the dry mix and then  you only need to add 2 eggs, 1/2 c oil and 1 tsp. of vanilla.  So easy to put together, and no extra unknown ingredients.  
I used a can opener on the bottom of the can so that I could sneak a gift inside for the recipient to open with the pull tab.

Top of can, unpopped.  

The kids have a few Legos hanging out for fun in their soap dispenser.  ;o)  

To show how I store a dry "water droplet towel."  If wet,  it is left opened and hanging from sink as to not sit and breed more bacteria.  Kinda' looks phallic.  Tee, hee, hee.  
  • When my children were babies, I didn't buy or feed one jar of baby food.  I worked back then too, so don't even say that this stay at home mommy thing lends itself to that.  I was a "working, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby food makin' mommie."  
  • I don't recycle, but that is because I don't want to spend the extra money each month to do it, and we have a history of scary mice/snakes and recently, a roach that have deterred me from wanting to keep any thing around that needs me to use more water to clean to dispose of without risking more unwanted creatures.  (We re-use the heck out of things.  We re-use all the plastic bags we get, and I made reusable bags out of old tee shirts last summer.)  
  • I use toilet paper rolls to help keep my wrapping paper together.  
  • I don't buy paper towels.  I have a ton of washable towels/ to wipe down and dust with.  Each bathroom has a specially designated "water droplet" towel as well.  I will not delve into the "water droplet" obsession, but if you come to my home, I will demonstrate how easy it is to spruce up your sink areas with a simple swipe of the droplets after each use. 
  • I have recently had it with those sponge wands that cost a ton and you need to spend a ton to replace the pads on them.  And, most of the time, you waste a ton of soap using them!  SO, I bought a foaming dish detergent pump dispenser and when it was finished, I added about 1 part liquid dish soap to 3 parts water, shake it up, and viola, you have more foaming dish soap and I just pump a little onto my regular old fashioned sponge and clean my dishes.  Then, each week, I grab a pot and boil it a few minutes to take the smell out and kill the germs/bacteria.  I suppose the microwave would work as well, but I haven't tried boiling it in a cup yet.  
  • I make all our hand soaps that way, too.  One part of any bulk liquid hand soap to 3 parts water in any foaming hand soap dispenser, and done- money saved, stretching your soap to last much longer.  I would say we are truly healthy on a whole, so I don't believe it affects the cleaning part of it.  
  • Our glass containers are reused and even gifted!  I use spaghetti glass jars as decorative canisters for sugar and flour.  I am going to make one for brown sugar since I use that a ton in my cooking.  One day I was going to throw away the plastic peanut butter jar, and Shay came up with a great use for it!  Dog bone holder! It has a really nice, wide mouth to the jar, and it lends itself perfectly for that.  See, while we don't recycle in the traditional ways, we reuse the heck out of stuff.  I use my newspaper in the garden, for arts and crafts, and painting.  I don't mind bringing extra to a recycle drop off, but I refuse to spend $5 a month for the city to pick up my recycling.  Metal cans like veggies and soup ones, are now re purposed into gift containers.  I started making homemade baked goods and giving the dry ingredients as gifts and now, my mom had a great idea to try to use the metal pull top containers I was using as containers as the gift container for the mixes. (You have to NOT open the pull tab portion and instead, use a can opener on the opposite end of the can. ) Nice one, Mom!  I will decorate this nicely with tissue paper and ribbon.  Although, the possibilities are endless with some paint, streamers, etc.  Finger print reindeer, bugs, etc?  Hmmmm.  My creative juices are flowing... 
  • No TV service.  No bill.  
  • No home phone.  No bill.
  • Discount Internet, but it supplies all our wifi devices sufficiently, and I still stream my two TV shows online with it. (Modern Family and Parenthood)  I use Clear Internet and spend $27.50, with tax, each month.  It does not work everywhere, and they make sure you are going to receive service prior to allowing you to purchase service from them.  I have been using it over two years now!  
  • We rent about one or two movies from Redbox a month, if we get a freebie code or a 50 cents off promo.  Less than $2 a month for a movie night with the fam.  
  • We don't eat out.  I don't consider the Subway or Wendy's night's eating out.  First, I calculate what I am spending per week on groceries.  Some dinners are about $10, and the sub night cost $10.12 for our family to have a sandwich with lots of veggies and then I add a container of Lays Stacks and we have an easy meal once every two weeks.  Sometimes I have a coupon, and it's buy one get one free.  About twice a month, we will eat hamburgers.  I run by and grab the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers (about $5 for all four of us) and pair that with a salad and tator tots from our freezer.  I would have spent more if I had to buy the hamburger meat at the store to prepare.  And we would be eating that much more red meat.  (We are by no means vegetarian, but we eat about 85% chicken in our dinner rotation.)  Sunday nights we try to do steak, assuming I can get the flat iron steak for under $10.  On average, our grocery and essentials budget is no more than $70 a week. I spent $71 this week.  That means no pizza this Friday night.  (I have to calculate that into the grocery spending.)  We might -
  • I don't buy a ton of prepackaged foods.  LOTS of fruits and veggies, and VERY little juice.  I allow Tang since I have to mix a medicine in it for Charlie each morning.  He likes milk, however, I only allow about 4 ounces of a liquid each day other than water.  WATER ALL DAY!  They get plenty of sugar in foods and eat tons of fruit, so juice is just a cavity causer, and there's no need for milk really since both kids get congested with it.  So, I allow the calcium intake in cheese and large container natural yogurt- no more ridiculously overprices yogurt tubes.  I know they drink chocolate milk at lunch, but they barely drink that.  Snack at school is generally a fruit.  However, occasionally, I will buy and send in a gummy treat, peanut butter crackers (no severe allergy students at our school), or other granola bar.  But that is the extend of the occasional prepacked snack.  
  • I got desperate a few weeks ago with napkins. I buy the least expensive napkins, and when my weekly budget didn't allow wiggle room for napkins that week, I cut them in half.  Most of the time, the kids barely use them, but I insist for habit's sake, that they have one for each time they eat.  Well, for a proper meal, I used whole napkins, and for the bagel breakfast, the half was sufficient!  Yep.  I stretched those out to this week and see that they will go another week, if not two!
  • I don't by cards anymore.  I let the kids make them.  I don't appreciate the expense of cards, and would prefer to have more money for the gift than for a piece of paper a person will throw away. Unless they are a hoarder.  Then, I feel like I am an enabler to their problem.  So, no cards for anyone.  On occasion, I will print out a free picture card online with the kids.  There are a ton of sites for that.  That costs in ink, but it doesn't feel as expensive for some reason.  (I know, ink is the most expensive liquid in the world.)  
  • I generally give $25 gift cards to teachers for Christmas and end of the year.  Well, Charlie has speech therapist(s), a special ed. teacher, Shay has two teachers, we have the bus driver, the gymnastics coaches, etc.  This year, I will package up some money saving samples for each one with directions and hope they appreciate the money in their pocket if they chose to try any of it.  I don't have the money this year, but my heart is truly grateful for each of them.  
  • I reuse wax paper with my chocolate/cake pop making and I reuse tin foil, too, sometimes ;o)  
  • I use a clean, balled up tin foil in the dryer to prevent static electricity. 
  • We reuse our water bottles- for weeks.  I even squirt some foam dish soap into the top, add a little water, recap, shake, and rinse out to reuse.  I put each person's initials on the top, therefore, we all have a water bottle accessible in the fridge at all times!  
  • We don't vacation, but we focus three days a week on doing special things with our family.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday, even if Geoff is working, we arrange something.   We play homemade games, invite friends to share time with us, and feel like we have "gotten away" if we take a 7 minute drive to a local park and have a picnic.  At least I didn't have to clean the dishes after a picnic ;o)  (We have taken ONE vacation in the 10 years, and it was to Disney World a year ago.  We don't anticipate another splurge like that for at least another 5 years.)  We do go to my parent's cabin, which is under two hours away from our home, in the North Georgia mountains.  Honestly, the gas is the expense, but worth it for a scenic view to roast our marshmallows on.  ;o)  (We only go once or twice a year, however, now that our dog is welcome, it will be easier to make it up there.)  
  • I began making my own cleaning supplies.  From the bathroom/kitchen all purpose cleaner to the bulk laundry detergent, I am seeing the savings and really appreciating the cleaning power of both products.  I have tutorials on both in my blog.  The laundry detergent one is from September, and the the newest cleaner got its' blog this past week.  I am very honest about each one.  The cleaner is being tweaked by watering it down a tad so that I might have less vinegar smell, and less bubbles.  The laundry detergent it simply effective, smells great, mostly natural ingredients, but grating bars of soap took about 15 minutes and was the worst part of that process.  
  • I hope for all of my friends to learn how to make their own finances stretch a bit farther, to be able to have some security in knowing that you have the means to "find" money in your budget the way we have, and for our children and the future generations to learn to live within their means. EA

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