Posts Tagged ‘saving money’

This Week’s Frugal Activities

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 by by

Here is a list of the frugal things I have done this week:

I lined dried all my clothes. I actually did less laundry this week, so I saved on water.

I canned another 3 pints of tomato sauce from tomatoes harvested from our garden. I reused the water in the canner from the first time, since I had just used it the day before.

I read a book from the library and returned others that we had finished. I also renewed some that were about to be overdue, saving myself from racking up overdue fines.

I combined as many trips as possible when running errands. Since we live about 10-15 minutes from the main shopping area, I try and get at least 2 errands done at once to save on gas. The most I am usually able to do is 4, but any more than that becomes difficult since Peanut and Snowflake don’t do as well with extended trips.

I did not need to water the garden for on several days due to rain! It’s nice to finally get some rain around here, although for many crops it is a bit too late. My 2nd zucchini plant finally bit the dust after a particular hot afternoon last week, so I only have one producing plant now. I really thought I would have harvested more than I have from these 2 plants (as well as my 30 tomato plants), but I guess the weather just was not favorable this year.

I shopped for our upcoming vacation and bought all our food for the trip at the discount store (Aldi) and Kroger here in town. The cabin we will be staying at is a bit more remote, and the grocery store is very expensive there, so we are saving a lot of money buying our food beforehand.

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This Week’s Frugal Activities

Sunday, August 12th, 2012 by by

There is a forum I frequent that has a topic entitled “What Frugal Thing Have You Done Today?” Rather than update on the forum, I have decided to update it here on my blog instead. I’m hoping to start posting weekly again, and this gets me started.

  • Line-dried all my clothes. I do this exclusively now that it is summer. Our clothes smell so much better, last a lot longer, and I get sunshine and exercise to boot. The sun also is a great disinfectant, so I usually feel they come out cleaner this way. Yes, I line-dry all our towels, socks, underwear, you-name-it. Our dryer has been unplugged for the past several months. :)
  • Ate lots of leftovers. We didn’t have ANY leftover waste this week, which is a huge accomplishment, since leftovers tend to pile up for us. I always hate throwing out food, since it’s basically throwing away money!
  • Went on a hike as a family. We went to a nature preserve close to our house and so did not pay much for gas. This was a fun, FREE activity that we love! Dallas hiked the entire way by herself over roots, rocks and other barriers. She was so excited to lead the way, reminds me a lot of myself as a child!
  • Stayed home and played outside in our backyard. Staying home is frugal since we don’t spend any money on gas or other shopping while out! Dallas played on her swing-set and Dahlia crawled around on a blanket in the grass throughout the whole week.
  • Ran the dishwasher only once a day with full loads only, and let them air dry instead of running the heat-dry cycle.
  • Washed all the clothes except cloth diapers in cold water.
  • Used cloth diapers half the week – this saves a ton of money!
  • Researched and planned for our upcoming 2 week vacation. I worked on menu plans, shopping lists and Rob helped research campgrounds to stay in. We will not have any lodging costs on this trip except campgrounds since we will be staying in a family cabin the rest of the time. Menu-planning helps ensure we only eat out on planned days.
  • Did not have to water the garden on several days due to rain, hooray!
  • Successfully canned 5 pints of tomato sauce from tomatoes harvested from our garden. I also froze about 10lbs to save for the next canning session.

Day 3: Real Simple, Real Cheap

Saturday, April 21st, 2012 by by

Today is all about how your baby can be stylish, eco-friendly, and dry without breaking the bank. Whether you choose to use disposables or cloth (we do buy disposables for night time), it’s always a goal to save some money while doing it. I live in a very low income area, and when I go grocery shopping, I see a lot of families buying generic. While that might be cheaper, if they just did a bit of price comparison and clipped a few coupons, they could get the brands they love at the same or cheaper price. (I love saving!) Same thing with cloth diapers.

Also, think about Cloth Diapers as an investment. We have been using cloth for almost three years, and all but maybe one are practically like new! The new baby will be using the same diapers! So, if you know babies are still in your family’s future, they will be able to use them as well. I wouldn’t sell/trade until you are done in the baby making department. Imagine the savings with new additions! You can splurge on a few, but you won’t have to buy a whole new stash of diapers like you have to with disposables! Here are a few tips on how you can get an awesome cloth diaper stash and save money. (more…)

Saving that Grocery Money

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 by by

Over the past couple of years, I have got quite good at feeding my family on a low grocery budget. However, dealing with rising food costs means that low budget just got even lower. We are working hard to pay off the last chunk of our student loans so we can live like no one else.  It’s important to me to try and keep costs down in the kitchen while still providing healthy, hearty and satisfying meals for our growing family.
Angela Coffman, the Grocery Shrink, has been fundamental in helping me do this. I bought her ebook last summer and have since completely changed the way I shop and cook. She teaches a certain method to grocery shopping and planning that enables one to stay within her recommended budget guidelines. For us, that is around $250 a month for our family of 4 (nursing infant, toddler, 2 adults).

Last week, she came out with a brand new feature, Grocery Shrink Plus – a menu planning service that not only plans your dinners, but your breakfasts, lunches and snacks too – all for just $5 a month! Her plans are remarkably thorough and detailed to help make it as easy as possible for you to implement the meals. She gives step by step instructions to help plan the different meal tasks out ahead of time so that you don’t forget. She also focuses on healthy from-scratch meals rather than relying on boxed or processed food items.

This service is so helpful for me, since I have been struggling to do all the planning and prep work that is necessary to keep a low budget. I had been coming close to the guidelines, but still had plenty of room for improvement, so that’s one of the reasons I bought her service. I also needed help in planning more balanced and nutritious meals that include lots of vegetables. So far, I am completely impressed with how much it has helped! Our family loves the meals too – they are simple yet delicious!

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Random Thought

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 by by

Someone said something awhile ago, and I didn’t even really notice it until someone else pointed it out. I didn’t “get it” at first, but with our new way of economizing, it’s made a lot of sense to me, and it’s helped me change my thinking and my emotional reactions.

“I choose not to spend my money on that.”

Sounds so silly, but WOW does it work. I’ve found that by using that mentality, not spending money on something makes me feel empowered rather than deprived. We all have choices, and I could very easily take out a credit card and charge whatever I wanted at that moment. However, by making the conscience decision to not hand over my plastic or cash, well, I’m in control. Isn’t that what we all want anyway, to be in control? It’s made things a lot nicer, if only in my own head.

Thrifty Thursday – Making Money by Taking Surveys

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 by by
Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are all looking to make a little extra money. I discovered there are legitimate ways to make money online by taking surveys. There are lots of free survey sites out there that will pay you for completing surveys. You can investigate them and decide if they are right for you. Will you become rich or make enough to quit a job? No – at least, that has not been my experience. My experience has been earning a couple of extra bucks here and there, maybe enough for a dinner out.

What Can You Expect?
When you join a survey site, they will ask you for information so they can best match you with surveys. This sometimes includes your name, address, phone number, and income range. Please be careful about the kind of information you give out and use your own good judgement. If you are uncomfortable with this aspect of survey taking, then it may not be for you.

Once you are registered in a system, you will be sent survey opportunities for surveys where you may be a potential match. You click on a link in your email and are taken to a survey site. There are often screening questions that you have to answer before being taken to the actual survey. Sometimes, after spending a few minutes on the screening questions, it is determined that you are not a match for a particular survey. This is the most annoying part for me, but it doesn’t happen a lot. (more…)

Thrifty Thursday – Saving on Housekeeping Using Pinterest

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by by

Are you on Pinterest yet? I won’t go through a lengthy explanation of what it is or how it works, since most people have at least heard of it. Basically, it’s like a virtual bulletin board where you can “pin” cool ideas you find around the web. These ideas can then be shared with followers and users of the site. It’s a great place to go for any kind of inspiration you are looking for.  Warning: It is addictive and a bit voyeuristic, and you get to know a lot more about what all your friends are into. “Wow, Jane loves Star Trek, I never knew.”

Did you know that Pinterest is a great place to find money saving ideas as well as creative inspiration? I am excited to share some of my favorite Pinterest finds that are helping me save money around the house.

Homemade Cleaners – This is a great primer for learning how to make all sorts of household cleaners. I love that they are not only frugal, but a more natural alternative.

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Thrifty Thursday: Saving on Birthday Parties – Guest Post from Summit Street Joy

Thursday, January 12th, 2012 by by

I am so happy to introduce you all to Lauren from Summit Street Joy.  She is a mom after my own heart.  She has three kids and loves doing things on a budget. I think she might be my long lost twin. Lauren has some great decorating and organizing ideas that we all can use. Today, she is sharing some of her tips for saving money on children’s birthday parties. Little C is turning two in a few weeks so I will be taking notes.


I am super excited to be guest posting today.  My name is Lauren and I blog over on Summit Street Joy.

It’s a place where I write about thrifting, crafting, and budget decorating as we journey to make our little house into a joyful home.  I would LOVE for you to stop by, and to follow, if ya like :)

I am the blessed mommy to three littles: ages 5, 3, and {almost} one.

With two still in diapers {ahem, yes, you read that correctly – my 3-year-old is yet to be potty trained, despite my desperate attempts at training, begging, and bribing: don’t judge ;)}, saving money is the name of the game in our house!

Call me old fashioned, but I think we can celebrate the lives of our kids without breaking the bank.
- Set a budget. I know, I’m such a party pooper. But seriously, I had to start with this one, because as I know from personal experience, if a budget isn’t set in place right off the bat, the little costs of a successful party add up quick.  Even if you think you’re being frugal, the receipts when it’s all said and done won’t lie. Decide up front what you’re willing to spend and go from there.  (Oh, and be sure to check out Vicky’s article on the Importance of a Budget for more help on this one.)

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Thrifty Thursday – After Christmas Sales

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 by by
Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you know me, you know I love a deal.  I try to rarely purchase items unless they are on sale.  When can you find some of the biggest sales of the year? Well, if you are shopping for Christmas merchandise, then the best time to do it is after Christmas.

Stores are anxious to unload this year’s Christmas decor, and this is where you can benefit greatly.  But you don’t even have to wait until after Christmas to get the bargains.  Saturday (1 week before Christmas Eve), we went to a home improvement store and saw all their Christmas decor was 50% off. There was still plenty of time to enjoy the items.  We bought another strand of Christmas lights that we needed, some ornaments, and some decorations for our balcony.  Even the live Christmas trees were 50% off, so if you hadn’t bought a tree yet, you could get quite the deal.

I usually find great deals on gift wrap at post-Christmas sales.  I have never actually purchased gift wrap the same year we have used it.  We always use gift wrap from last year’s clearance sales.  Luckily no one notices that our gift wrap is so 2010! (more…)

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 by by

I know, I know… Most of my posts involve children’s activities, but once in a while I will slip in some totally random posts, because that’s how I roll.

And you can actually use the following as a learning activity!! Think Measuring, mixing, following directions….

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Yup, you read that correctly. I make my own laundry detergent. I started doing it a few months ago, and I doubt we will ever go back to using regular detergent. I got the idea from some friends of mine when we were discussing the little things we do to save money. And believe me, making your own detergent will save you a TON.

What you will need:

  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda!! They are different!)
  • Borax 20 Mule Team
  • Ivory Bar Soap or Fels Naptha Bar Soap (I use Ivory)
  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • Cheese Grater
  • Plastic Storage Container
  • Food processor or Blender (optional)

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