Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frugal Friday: Inexpensive Baking Gifts

Christmas is almost here and most of you may have finished your baking, but if not.. then I have an idea you might want to try for your gift giving.

I normally make a lot of goodies but this year our budget just could not handle another $40 or more in baking supplies. I love being able to give a little something away so I decided to make homemade bread and scones, instead.

I have 2 marvelous scone recipes that are listed on my recipe website but I decided to try the recipe below since it had over 1600 good reviews and I wasn't disappointed with the results.  They were great. I did not add the raisins or cranberries. Not because I don't love them but because they were an added expense. Instead, I used two different glazes.

I've posted the recipe I used below for scones. The homemade bread recipe came from Laine's website and can be found  here.

Merry Christmas everyone! We have so much to be thankful for.. but most of all I thank God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ!

Grandma Johnson's Scones    

Submitted By: Rob
Photo By: S. Becker
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 12-16

(The directions have been changed to reflect the recommendations from one of the members on the recipe site. I tried following the original directions and the dough came out very dry. There suggestions worked much better.)

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (opt.)
1 cup raisins  or cranberries or chocolate chips (optional)

1.     In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda, and set aside.
2.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
3.     In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt.
4.       Mix the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl.  Beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Don’t over mix.
5.       Add the dry mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and stir. Do not over mix.
5.        Stir the sour cream mixture and baking soda mixture into the above mixture until moistened. Do not over mix. I used my kitchen aid until the dough looked like it was holding together and moistened.
7.       Lightly stir in raisins.
8.     Pat dough into (2) 3/4 inch thick rounds. Cut each round into 8 small wedges. The wedges will expand when baking. Place  them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
9.     Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. It took an extra 5 minutes or so in my oven. I made sure they were done when I touched the top and it wasn’t doughy. They do not get real brown on the top.

Once they have cooled I wrap them in seran wrap and then place them in a freezer bag to keep them fresh.

TO FREEZE: Use a 3 inch cookie cutter. Freeze the rounds for 1 hour and then put in a Ziploc bag. Take out rounds when ready to bake and place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes.


1 cup powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. milk, ¼ tsp. or so of lemon or orange extract, ¼ tsp. or so of lemon zest. I added a little cinnamon, too but you don’t need it. Brush scone with butter when hot out of oven and then glaze it with this mixture.


Brush melted butter on the scone and then brush with this mixture of 2 tbsp. sugar, ¼ tsp. cinnamon and 1 tbsp. milk.

Grandma Johnson's Scone Recipe

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We opened an ETSY SHOP!

We finally did it! We've been threatening to do it for a few years. So, tonight I did it!

I officially opened an ETSY SHOP!

There is only 1 item in it right now but I hope to list more after the first of the year.

Here it is:

Living on Less Money Etsy Shop

Our Amish Hanger is the featured item for now.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Frugal Friday: How I saved money this week (Dec. 13)

I know it sounds far fetched but I've actually had a pretty peaceful month. My main Christmas shopping was finished before Thanksgiving and I had the presents pretty much wrapped a few weeks ago. I'm not doing a lot of baking this year (I'm experiencing withdrawals) due to pocketbook and for health reasons. Instead, I hope to bake some homemade bread to give as gifts to a few family members. I've worn myself out in years past making dozens and dozens of cookies and candy. I loved every minute of it and I will really miss doing it this year but it certainly has helped to foster a relaxed spirit.

My husband and I have been reading scriptures to prepare our hearts to celebrate Christ's birth. It really has been a very peaceful Christmas. Having less money to spend has some major perks because it has allowed me the joy of focusing on Christ.

1. I added filtered water to the milk to stretch it. We have one more week till payday and I don't want to spend anything else on groceries. I've tried to come in under budget this month since I overspent last month. I used to buy 1 percent milk but now I buy whole milk so that I can stretch it when needed and no one can tell the difference. :-) (Update: BUSTED! Hubby asked why the milk tasted like metal and he backed me into a corner and I had to confess! I'm forbidden from watering the milk from now on. Rats!)

2. I made up an entire monthly menu so I'll be prepared to shop when our check comes next week.

3. I reorganized my freezer so that I could inventory what I already had in stock. I put veggies on one shelf, meat in the bottom drawer, lunch meat on the second shelf, etc. I made a list of what was in stock and then used it in my monthly budget. I had food in the bottom of my freezer that I had forgotten. I hope I can remember to do this monthly before I do my big shopping.

4.  I started saving meat scraps again for my next batch of homemade dog food.

5.  I've been making homemade laundry detergent off and on for quite a few years. I tried a new recipe this week by the Duggar's. I hope it works because it made more than twice the amount of the recipe I've been using. I now have 10 gallons of laundry detergent for a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay retail.

6. I made another batch of laundry stain remover.

7. I made a pot of soup last week and then again this week. My plan is to make a new batch for the next two weeks. Soup is an inexpensive lunch and now I'll have a variety at my fingertips!

How did you save money this week in your home? I'd also love to hear how you trusted God to provide what you needed.

Follow FRUGAL FRIDAY at Life as Mom!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Frugal Friday: Homemade Dog Food

I mentioned in a previous post that I was saving scraps of meat and vegetables to make homemade dog food. I've made it several years ago but this time I wanted to pressure can the jars instead of freezing it. I was motivated to try making it again after I read CANNING GRANNY'S approach. She saves the meat skin,cartilage and other parts of meat that normally would be thrown away. That idea sparked my interest since I'm always looking for new ways to stretch what I already have on hand.

So, I've been saving extra scraps of meat and skin for the past month and came up with quite a bit. I was amazed how much meat I would have thrown away. I ended up with about 12 cups of scraps. I also saved carrot peelings and some celery that I would have normally thrown away.                                                                                                                               

The first batch was made just as CANNING GRANNY suggested. As I was doing a search online to double check the processing time I ran across several warnings to not pressure can rice or noodles because the mixture becomes too thick and you take a chance of the meat spoiling. Since I had already made a batch with the rice I went ahead and froze 2-3 serving sizes per baggie and then put each baggie in a large freezer bag. I just didn't want to take a chance on canning it.

I deleted the rice from the next batches and added extra celery. I tripled the recipe since it didn't go as far without the rice.  I think I will be able to get through a month without buying canned dog food. We will still use the dry food to mix in with the canned.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups cooked carrots
3 cups meat scraps
2 cups chicken broth (Most of the meat scraps were already cooked except for the turkey gizzards and neck so I used the broth once they were cooked. I added 2 teaspoons of chicken broth granuals).
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (I only used 1 tsp. to see if my dog would like it).
(I omitted the garlic powder because of mixed reviews and also the white rice and boiled egg).

You could add rice or noodles before you give the food to your dog if you want to stretch it. I do not have a food grinder so I used my blender instead. 

I followed CANNING GRANNIES instructions for the processing. (Always check with your Vet if you're concerned about changing your pet's diet)

This should save me around $10 a month which is a lot of money when you are on a tight budget.  I had all the ingredients on hand  so I didn't have to put anything out of pocket. My husband gave her the first batch tonight and my dog loved it!

Have you ever canned anything that was unusual?

* Be sure to check out more money saving tips at Life as Mom's Frugal Friday!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Frugal Friday: How I saved money this week!

Is everyone done with their Christmas shopping? I have one gift certificate and 1 gift left to purchase and then I should be done. YAY!

 I'm looking forward to starting our Advent reading this Sunday. All the decorations are up. I got rid of a lot of tubs because we just don't have room for them in our new little 'cottage'. Decorating goes much faster when you use less STUFF. *smile*

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

1. I went through the house and unplugged cords to appliances and gadgets I don't use daily. I've read that you lose electricity even when you're not using the appliance.

2.  I started using one extra dishpan to soak and rinse dishes instead of using the faucet to rinse off the dishes.

3.  I washed, dried and saved several freezer bags to reuse. (they did not have meat or cheese in them previously).

4.  Our Christmas tree would not fit in our home so we got rid of it after we moved in. My mom had a small 3 foot tree that she wasn't using so instead of buying a new one we were thankful to receive hers. I'm not sure how many years it will last because it's shedding.. but I'm not sure how many years I'll last.. so I'm thankful to have a free tree this year. :-)

5.  My husband loves Earl Grey Tea. I found it at the dollar store and he likes it so the difference will save me $1.25.

6. I saved the plastic wrap I used to wrap waffles to freeze. I'll reuse it for the next batch.

7. Instead of using the dryer this week while it's raining I've found ways to hang my clothes up in the garage, under the patio and on racks in the house.

8. I'm saving small pieces of Christmas paper as I'm wrapping gifts. I run it through the shredder and then save it to use in gift bags instead of tissue paper. Waste not, want not. :-)

9. I was interested in purchasing 2 devotionals but found them free online.

10. I found a book at the library that I had originally wanted to purchase. I'm glad that I didn't buy it because once I got it home I discovered I did not like it. I use the library a lot. While I was there I checked out there computers. Someday I may need to cancel our monthly internet and I think I could easily use the library's computers instead.

There's more but I'll save it for next week. What did you do this week to save money in your home?

Check out Frugal Friday over at Life as Mom

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Serving stuff or others?

I'm daily (imperfectly and slowly) learning
 to not make stuff 
(obtaining and maintaining) 
a higher priority than serving others.
I fail daily!
I imagine it will be a life long fight
 as long as I live
 in this flesh 
(and in America).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Free Music Download

This was a wonderful way to start my morning. I wanted to share this free music download with you. 

The words showed up on my media player so I was able to worship right along!

Enjoy and start your morning off right!

All I have is Christ

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Worries and Priorities

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, who also SAT AT JESUS' FEET AND HEARD HIS WORD.

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." 

And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha,  you are worried and troubled about many things.

But *ONE THING is NEEDED, and Mary has CHOSEN that good part which will not be taken away from her.

Luke 11:38-42

* My emphasis.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why I do radical things to save money

I've often wondered what people think when they read some of my money saving ways. I remember posting something quite a few years ago that was very uncommon and had responses as to "why in the world would you do that?"

This is why I sometimes do things that seem radical to others in order to save money:

I have a plan...

and the plan is to eventually (hopefully) live on only my husband's disability check  (when Miss Alice no longer needs my help) which is under $2,000 a month.

My current budget is set at this amount and I'm practicing each month how to live on only his check. It's difficult but I'm thankful that I have some time to practice. Groceries are still the hardest since prices continue to rise.  I use my part time paycheck for 'extras' and savings. We had a plumbing bill this weekend so my check will pay for things like that.

This is how I look at it... I would rather practice 'radical' money saving ways than work extra hours outside my home. This is my preference. I would rather be cold in the winter and hot in the summer than work outside my home. I would rather cook everything from scratch than work more hours outside my home. I would rather make my own laundry detergent than work outside the home.  I see these.. not as inconveniences.. but as a lifestyle choice that will help reach our goal.

Life is more hectic when I work outside the home and it effects my relationships.. even if just a little.. but sometimes it's a lot. I struggle with impatience when I'm torn in too many directions and my husband knows this very well.  That is why he asks that I keep my outside commitments to a minimum.

I personally just miss being in my home full-time and especially now since my husband is home full-time. I've been a homemaker the majority of my married life except for these past few years since he became disabled. Most of the previous years I did something from the home to make extra money. I ran a used homeschool book business from my home for 10 years. I've done sewing, ironing, babysitting, surveys and typing.. all in an attempt to make extra money so I could be a full-time homemaker.

Everyone has their reasons why they live frugally. For me, personally, it's a small thing to live radically frugal because the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

How about you? Are there some things you do that others think are radical in order to achieve an important goal?

(Permission given to use picture from

Friday, November 16, 2012

Frugal Friday: Reducing my water bill

The fight is still on! What fight you may ask? The one between me and my water bill! There is very little wiggle room in my budget and I've only allotted a certain amount for utitilies. Food has gone up so much that I've had to take any extra money and 'beef' up my grocery budget. (pun intended! *Smile)

So, here are the new tasks (and a few old ones already mentioned)  I'm doing each day to cut down our water consumption. I will get my bill in a week or so and I can't wait to see how much it has dropped. Any extra money saved will go into my 'summer water bill fund' since we'll have a lot more watering to do in the yard.

1. I saved the water from washing my floors and poured it into my 'shower buckets'. (I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've been keeping a few small buckets in my tub/shower (and also one in my kitchen). Any extra water I save gets dumped into those buckets and is used for flushing.

2. I've been turning off the water while soaping up in the shower then turn it back on when rinsing.

3. I put two dishpans in my kitchen sink for washing dishes. 1 pan is for washing and the other pan for rinsing. I started using a 3 dishpan to soak the dishes and get off any extra food. All of this water is either used to throw on plants outside or if it's clean enough it goes in the 'shower buckets'.

4. I pre-soak some of my wash loads (turning off the washing machine) so that I don't have to use a longer wash cycle.

5. I have a large 2 quart Pryex measuring cup. I started running cold water into the measuring cup and heating it in the microwave for 3 minutes to wash and rinse my dishes. I also do this in a large coffee cup to wash my face in the mornings and evenings.  Our water heater is in the garage and it takes a LONG time to get to the kitchen sink. By that time it's hot I've wasted a lot of water.

6. There is one other drastic measure you can take but I won't mention it here. Email me if you're interested.

7. Since it's winter we are only watering the lawn and flowers when it's absolutely necessary. Flowers are getting watered LIGHTLY maybe 1-2 times a week and the lawn maybe once a week.

Do you have any other suggestions you'd add to this list?

Other Frugal Friday posts can be found at Life as Mom

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Daily Bread

"Give us this day our daily bread." 

Matthew 6:11

God will provide for my needs daily 
so I can bring Him glory 
by not worrying about tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to make the perfect PIE CRUST

I have such warm memories of my childhood holidays and many of them revolve around time spent at my Grandma's farm. My sister and I and our cousins  would romp through the pasture.. down to the back of the berry bushes and look for tadpoles in the small pools of water.

My grandma was a 'down home' cook. She fried her own chicken (which she had raised) and did a lot of canning. But, my favorite memories are her pies. She made every kind of pie you could imagine from mince meat to green tomato along with all the favorites.  I made it my goal, as a young wife, to learn how to make pies just like Grandma. Unfortunately, I never learned  how to make her pie crust before she died.

Years later a young mother brought a homemade pie to a church Pot Blessing and the crust was so good that I asked for the recipe. I've been making it ever since and shared the recipe with many women over the years.

Perfect Pie Crust (Makes 2 full pie crusts)

4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 c. Crisco shortening (don't use generic brands.. it really does make a difference)
1/2 c. water
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar

Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the shortening. Here I am using my Kitchen Aid but you can use any large bowl and a pastry cutter or a large fork to cut in the shortening. When I use my Kitchen Aid I use the whisk until the dough resembles very, very small peas.  But don't whisk it too long or the dough will start clumping together too soon.

  Next, I run 1/2 cup water into a measuring cup, break the egg straight into the cup and add the tablespoon of vinegar. Mix it together and then add to the flour/shortening mixture. I change attachments on my Kitchen Aide at this point and use the mixing paddle to gentle mix it together just until it starts clumping together and clearing away from the side of the bowl.

 I wet my rolling board with a wet wash cloth and place two pieces of Seran wrap next to each other so that it will cover a large surface and then I sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the Seran wrap.. not too much...maybe 3 tbsp. or so.. just enough to dust the seran wrap. I take a handful of dough (the dough will make 2 full pies with top and bottom crust) and place it on the seran wrap and then flip it over so that there is a small amount of flour on both sides of the dough. I put one more piece of Seran wrap on top of the dough. So, now you have Seran wrap (2 pieces) underneath the dough and one piece on top. I then use my rolling pin and roll it out thin.

Next, I take the top layer of Seran wrap off of the dough and place my right hand
underneath the bottom layers of Seran wrap and lift up the crust so it can be flipped it into the pie pan.

(The Seran wrap is still on both sides of this dough in the picture because I'm not baking pies today. I just wanted to show you how easy it is to roll out a pie crust with this method. )

Peel off the last pieces of Searn wrap and gently press the dough into the pan. Cut off any excess dough around the edges and flute your edges and your done.

 If you decide to not bake your pie crust right now you can leave all the Seran wrap on when you initially roll out the dough. Fold it in 1/4's and then put the dough into a large gallon freezer bag. You can then either keep it in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for at least a month. 

I made up quite a few batches of dough,  rolled them out and then froze them for the holidays. It makes the baking process much easier when the dough is already made. 

And there you go!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Frugal Friday: How I saved money this week (Nov. 1)

 Lots of saving going on in my home this week! I've been a busy girl!

1. I was given a couple sacks of green tomatoes so I made green tomato salsa and a Green Tomato Pie. I used Stevia in place of the sugar which turned out pretty good.

Green Tomato Salsa

2. I'm trying new ways  to get our water bill down. I came up with a couple more ideas. I purchased two small buckets from the dollar store and put one in the kitchen and one in the bathtub. I'm saving my kitchen rinse water into a dishpan and once I'm finished washing dishes I pour it into the bucket which then gets poured into the bucket in the shower which then can be used for 'flushing'.  I also put a small, shallow plastic container in the bathroom sink to catch the water when we wash our hands which then goes into the shower bucket. Lastly, we put a bucket under the tub faucet to catch water when we take a shower. I'm amazed at how much water has been just going down the drain.. along with my money. :-)

3. I love aprons and wear them all the time to protect my clothes when I'm working in the kitchen. I think this is a very frugal practice because it keeps my clothes free from stains (which saves stain remover) and also helps my clothes last longer.

4. I made egg drop soup this week which is super easy and super cheap.

5. The window air conditioners have now been covered with plastic on the outside to keep the cold air from coming into the house. This should help on our heating bill this winter. I'm imagining that since the house was built in 1917 it will be quite drafty. :-)

6. I put my shampoo into a pump style hand soap dispenser. I used a fraction of what I normally do and it did the job just fine.

7. I'm saving the remnants from our meat that we normally don't eat such as the skin, grissle and small leftover pieces. I placed these in a bag in the freezer for a recipe I found to make dog food which I will end up canning. I also saved some leftover rice which will also go in the recipe. This is food that I would normally have just thrown away.

8. A neighbor asked if I'd like her pumpkin. I plan to cook it for pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and to eat like squash with our meals. I kept putting off buying a pumpkin until after Halloween hoping the prices would drop.

9. I order some foam inserts for the inside of our air conditioner to help with drafts. I did a search online using (SWAGBUCKS) (which helps me earn money)  to see if there were any discount codes for free shipping,etc. I did find one and didn't have to pay the shipping.

10. I'm still cleaning out old business files. I kept the paper that only had print on one side. I'll use it for my computer. Most of the things I print from my computer are for personal use so it doesn't matter if there is print on one side or not.

What did you do in your home this week to save money? I love to learn from other women. Oh, and hop over to Life as Mom for more Frugal Friday ideas.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.    Matthew 6:33 ESV

Friday, October 26, 2012

Frugal Friday: How I saved money this week! Oct.26

The first half of the week was very productful! I finished the sewing side job for a friend. We will trade my sewing in exchange for a hair cut and a hair weave.  I had some larger chunks of time during the beginning of the week which allowed me to finish a few projects I've listed below.

 Then.. life happened... and I fell down my back stairs which slowed life down to a snails pace due to some swollen toes! Interesting how you can have a long 'to do list' and be cruisin' right along and all of a sudden.... the brakes hit! Even though I wasn't able to stand long on my feet I still was able to work on some research projects (sitting down) to save money.Today I hope to do some de-cluttering of paperwork.

1. I turned off my computer printer. I figured there is no use keeping it on when I'm not using it daily. I also started unplugging my laptop when not in use.

2. I used one of those 'chunks of time' to mend an old quilt that was falling apart. I hope to get a few more years out of it.

3. I stretched my scrambled eggs by adding water.

4. I'm on a mission to reduce my water bill. I had started saving the water that normally would run down the drain while waiting for hot water and put it on my flowers that are in pots outside. The plants are not needing as much water now that winter is here so I decided to try something new. I heated up a cup of water in the microwave and used that to wash my face. It's working great. So, this week I came up with another idea. I decided to run the water slowly while it's heating up to wash my dishes? I normally turn the faucet on full blast. It heats up just as fast when I ran it slow and I wasted less water. I'm still throwing the rinse water on plants outside.

5.  I'm a member of a local Yahoo group called Freecyle. These groups are all over the world. It's a group where you can post items you want to give away and you can also post items you need. I've been blessed by many wonderful items off this list over the past few years. This week I picked up a nearly new plastic outdoor chair and 2 boxes of free food.

6. I started popping popcorn on  the stove instead of buying microwave popcorn. I've been hearing horrible things about the oil in the microwave bags so this will be a cheaper alternative and also a healthier one.

7. I called my gas and electric company to find out how to use their website more efficiently. It's really a wonderful tool to track where my money is going. I also asked the lady if there were any programs that would help reduce my bill. I found out that I can get a reduction on my bill because I use a life saving device called a CPAP machine. Our electric company also offers a discount to low income people of about 20%. 

8. I started a Price Book last week. This week, while I was recuperating, I went through this months grocery receipts and wrote down the date, item, price and store it was purchased in a small notebook with dividers. Prices continue to rise so quickly that I often have a difficult time remembering what I last paid for items I don't buy regularly.

9.  You may scratch your head when I list the next thing I did this week to save money. I Iistened to a teaching CD. Not on just any topic but on contentment. One of the many points made was that if we don't learn to be content with what we have today or where we are today (or our life ) then we will never be happy or content when we finally get 'it' (fill in whatever you think you need to make you happy). The scripture text was Phil. 4:10-13. The apostle Paul LEARNED contentment ...whether in jail.. in affliction... he learned to be content whether he had much or little.  Listening to this CD and reminding myself what God's Word says was one of the best things I did this week in regards to how I view money.

What did you do to save money this week? I love to learn from other women!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Frugal Friday: How I Saved Money this Week

It's been a full week of many extra duties that have squeezed out the attempt to try new frugal ideas. One of those extra duties is a sewing job. I'm hoping that some day I can work exclusively from home again like I have for most of my years as a homemaker.

So, my Frugal Friday list is less full this week. I'm still doing the 'main things' that help me save money:
  • Hanging my clothes on the line to dry.
  • Only washing clothes when I have a full load.
  • Keeping the lights off as much as possible during the day.
  • Washing and drying dishes by hand. 
  • Using up left overs to stretch my food budget. 
  • Saving as much water in the house as possible to throw on the plants in the yard.
  • Composting any leftovers.  

These are a few new things I did to save money this week:

  1. I have a 'mending' drawer which was very full so I spent an afternoon mending pants and shirts that otherwise would have been given to Salvation Army. This will also save money in the future by extending my wardrobe. I also have some socks with holes that I plan on mending soon.
  2.  I wrote in previous posts how I would save the water that runs from the faucet in the mornings while I'm waiting for the hot water. I would throw the cold water (that normally went down the drain) on plants outside. This week I heated a cup of water in the microwave and used the warm water to clean my face instead of letting the water run. I normally run a 1/2 bucket of cold water before the hot comes so I saved quite a bit of water doing this.  I'm still saving the 'extra' water in the kitchen though when waiting for hot water to wash my dishes. 
  3. I kept my grocery receipts from this past month so that I could keep track of what I was/had spent. 
  4. I started a Price Book. It's not finished but it's started. :-)
  5. I made up a monthly menu and a grocery list from that menu. I was just making 2 week menus but seem to run short on vegetables by the end of the month. I'm hoping that better planning will eliminate that problem. 
  6. I made a new stain remover which I will share on a later post if it works. The last two I made are working but I need something a little stronger for those determined stains. 

So.. that's it for this week. What did you do to save money this week? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Big houses, careers and possessions

Is that how we envisage our lives as disciples of Jesus? As medical missionaries bringing with us the only possible cure to a disease that afflicts and will eventually kill everyone on the planet?

For what is a missionary? Someone who is ‘sent’ to a particular place with a view to bringing the gospel there. There is always a huge commitment involved—not just in training and preparation, but in getting to know the culture, spending time there, building relationships, being involved in the community, having people into your home, and then using every opportunity, formal or informal, planned or spontaneous, alone or in partnership with others, to share the gospel of forgiveness in Christ.

It’s long-term, it’s intentional, it’s an all-of-life activity, and it is costly. When you’re a missionary, you don’t have time or resources to plough into big houses and careers and possessions. You’re on a mission after all, and every dollar you get is given to you to support you in this mission.

  by Tony Payne (What is the mission of the Christian)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Frugal Friday: How I saved money this week!

Fall is in the air which has me thinking how I can prepare our home for the winter months. I know I  have an electric blanket that needs washing but I keep putting off going to the laundry mat. I've pulled out the slippers and located the sweaters and I need to bring the kerosene in from the garage to have it handy. I keep flash lights in most rooms so the batteries need to be tested.

 This will be the first year in our new home. Since the house was built in 1917 I'm thinking it may be a bit drafty. We do not have central heat but there is a wall furnace in the living room. We were told by the grandson of the owners that it efficiently heats the entire house. I hope so. If not then I'm sure a couple of layers of clothes will do the trick. I don't mind the cold nearly as much as the heat.

I've listed a few ways I saved money this week:

1. I've been saving leftover bits of veggies for a few months. I put them in a small marked container in the freezer. This week I dumped the container into a pot of hamburger soup. I was able to avoid using a can of veggies because of this practice. These were small amounts I would have just thrown away.  I also had frozen a container of unused tomato sauce that I threw in, too.

2. Homemade ice cream can be expensive to make. An older lady once shared a trick that helps keep the cost low which is to drain the water from the ice and salt and use it in the second batch. This also helps reduce the amount of salt needed for the second batch.  My friend also used to freeze water in milk jugs and then crush the ice with a hammer. I  have never been able to get the chunks small enough that they wouldn't jam as it's turning.

3.  I use seran wrap for my waffles when I freeze them. I reused the seran wrap after the waffles are eaten for the next batch. I also saved and washed a brown sugar bag and a piece of tinfoil to reuse.

4.  I had purchased some carrots with jalapenos and onions that I thought would go well with a mexican meal. They didn't. There was too much vinegar and no one cared for them. I froze them in small amounts thinking I could use them in future soups. Well, I tried a small amount in the pot of hamburger soup and my husband did not care for it at all. I'll need to come up with another idea to prevent throwing them away. Maybe I'll try to rinse them first.

5.  My husband enjoys a cup of Earl Grey Tea in the morning when it's chilly. I've been saving the tea bags by putting them in a container I keep in the fridge. Once I've gathered quite a few I will then use 3 used bags for a new cup of tea. I let it sit just a bit longer than the first use. My husband has never complained that it's too weak.

6.  I cooked 2 chicken pieces in the crock pot to use in a few recipes this week. I saved the meat juice and put it in a jar. Once the meat juices were cooled I put the jar in the fridge to separate the fat from the broth. After I threw away the chicken fat I labeled the jar and put it in the fridge to use in a soup someday.

7.  I saved an empty peanut butter jar. I use empty jars for all types of things. One thing I use it for is to contain grease so I don't have to put it down the drain. I also use jars for compost items because the lid helps deter gnats and odor.

8.  Two clothes lines were hung in my laundry room for rainy days. I may have a chance to try them out this week.

9. I bought a few $1 Popsicle holders. We like sugar free Popsicles but the price is hefty so I'm trying to find a way to cut back on that expense. I use natural stevia in place of sugar. I did not like the way the Popsicle holders worked so I'll be on the hunt for an inexpensive set that is easy to use.

That's it for this week. How did you save money in your home?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Free Chocolate

Who doesn't like chocolate? Especially when it's free!

Lindt Chocolate is giving away a million coupons for their Truffles not to exceed $3.99 for a 6 oz. size bag or less. Like them on FACEBOOK and then be ready to print the coupon.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Making Money from Home: SWAGBUCKS


There! I said it!

Swagbucks is a search engine that I use for nearly all my searches because it gives me an opportunity to make some extra money from home. I've cashed in $75 in SWAGBUCKS over the past year towards Amazon purchases. It's so easy! 

If you do searches online (and I do a ton of them) then Swagbucks is for you!

If you click on the SIGN UP icon below then I get credit for you as a referral. Then you can turn around and do the same on your webpage to help you gain referrals.

 Thank you in advance for your help.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How I saved money this week

I've been wanting to keep track of how I've been saving money each week. I'm discovering that small little practices add up to big savings. So, here is how I saved money this week in my household:

1. I have an olive tree that is full of olives in my front yard. I've wanted to learn how to cure olives for years so I finally gathered the courage to tackle it with the help of a dear friend's advice. I spent 2 days picking olives. It's very time consuming because you have to pick one olive at a time (and they're small). I finally got the tree pruner and cut the top branches that were bursting with large olives. That way I could sit and just pick the olives off the branch instead of standing on a ladder while I pick. Once they were picked it was a long process of lye, soaking and a lot of rinsing. I now have 5 gallons of olives soaking in a salt brine. We hope to share with a few neighbors and some of our family.

2. I hung out my laundry on the line. Winter is just around the corner so I'll be hanging some lines in my garage... hopefully next week. I plan to hang my laundry as much as possible through the winter to keep my electric bill low.

 3. I cut back the watering time for the lawns. The grass was pretty much dead when we moved into our home. So, we focused on saturating it with water to bring it back to life. As a result my water bill went up to $127. Ouch! This month I'm setting my timer and only allowing the water to run 10-15 minutes in each spot. So far the lawn looks just fine.

4. I planted lettuce seeds and green onions in a container by the back door.

 5. I made 2 batches of laundry detergent. I've been making my own laundry detergent for years (off and on). It's one of my biggest money savers.

 6. I saved 2 celery stalk ends to regrow. I laced them in small little dish by my kitchen window in some water and they are already sprouting. I'm not sure how tall they will grow. I saw this idea on Pinterest.

7. I realized I was wasting a lot of water in the mornings when I first turned on the hot water faucet. The water would run and run until it finally turned hot. I now keep a bucket outside my back door and bring it in next to the sink. I let the water run into a container and then fill my bucket. I end up with a half a bucket of water from the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink which I then toss onto the new seeds I planted outside my backdoor.

8. I bought whole milk and added water to stretch it. :-)

9. I used cabbage leaves for my breakfast burritos instead of low carb tortillas (which are so expensive).

10. I used a Kohl's $10 coupon and purchased a gift for Christmas.

 I had several new money saving ideas I wanted to tackle this week but I ran out of time. The kids are coming for lunch on Sunday and so I've spent my extra time this week preparing.

Well, that's all I'll write about for now. I'd love to hear how you saved money in your home this week.

Friday, September 28, 2012

“Whoever loves money 
never has money enough;
 whoever loves wealth
 is never satisfied
 with his income”

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A discontented heart is troubled 
he has no more comfort
but a self-denying man rather wonders
that he has as much as he has.

Jeremiah Burroughs

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Buying the BEST is not always my goal!

Choices. Life is full of them and it's no different when you're faced with decisions that will affect your budget.One simple choice may not seem that important but when you stack one choice onto another they all add up.  With the way prices have almost doubled in some items it's often necessary to 'settle' for a product that might not meet our previous expectations in order to stay within our means.  Each homemaker has to make the decisions for her own household.

For instance, I've had a favorite eye liner that I've used the past 5 years. I love the eye liner because it doesn't 'run' into my wrinkles. :-)  I can put it on in the morning and leave it all day and it still looks good towards evening. But, at a price tag of $7 + I've recently made the choice to switch to a Dollar Store brand. Yes, it runs. Yes, it smudges. I just tell myself...."Oh, well! Life goes on."  Imagine that! :-) That $6 could be used to purchase more veggies which is a higher priority right now than how my eyes look. (Blink, blink! *Smile*). I made a switch with my face make up,too. The new brand costs half as much as the Revlon brand but doesn't cover nearly as well. Oh, well! Life goes on! :-)

Sometimes, I make the decision that it's not worth changing brands. For instance, when it comes to mayo we stick with Best Foods. I've tried other brands and it always seems to change the flavor of the dish I'm putting it in. I watch for sales and buy it at the lowest price I can. If prices continue to rise and my budget doesn't then I may need to switch to a different brand. But, for now, I'm holding on to this name brand. I've trained my palate to prefer Best Foods.. unfortunately to my budgets detriment.

Households in poverty stricken parts of the world are not faced with these kinds of choices. Since they have not lived in a prosperous society they have not trained their palates or their tastes to want the very best. They are content to fill their bellies with any kind of food to get rid of the hunger pangs. 

Choices...  I pray that the Lord will give me wisdom to make wise ones and that I will have a grateful heart.. no matter what the brand!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Is it possible to eat healthy on low income?

I've been faced with these kinds of decisions over the past few years. I strive for a low carb menu for our health but it's not always possible to stay within a strict low carb plan because of budget restrictions. So, I do my best within the financial boundaries that the Lord has placed on me.

I had an interesting choice to make at the grocery store yesterday.  With $10 left in my grocery budget I was left with the decision whether to purchase butter at $2.50 or margarine for $.89. I know..I know..  it seems like a silly thing to write about but I'm learning that these kind of decision sometimes make the difference as to whether I can stay within my monthly allotment for groceries. 

There was a time when my children were growing up that I never purchased butter.  I just didn't feel that I could afford it. There was also not as much information about the health benefits of butter vs. margarine. But, for the past 8 plus years, I have purchased butter. Thankfully, we had the income to support the decision.

I could have bought the butter (and went without something else) but I was hesitant to use a 1/4 of what I had left not knowing what needs may come up in the coming days before our next paycheck. So.. I purchased the margarine.

I also had this decision to make when purchasing meat towards the end of this month. I normally don't purchase a lot of pork and try to focus more on chicken and smaller amounts of  beef. But, the pork meat was nearly $1 less a pound than the other types so that is what I bought to stretch my money. 
I do believe that what we eat can have a lot to do with our health but I also know so many older people who have broken many of the 'rules' for healthy eating (which change each generation) and have lived a long healthy life. They lady I care for has eaten margarine all her life. I've often teased her and said, 'you better stop eating that margarine or you won't live to be 92 years old'. We both laugh.

 Everyone will have to make these choices for themselves. My conscience does not condemn me on eating margarine so I'm free to indulge when our money is tight. 

 I do the best I can to purchase healthy foods on our low income but I don't stress if I can't hold to it perfectly. I'm thankful to have food to put on my table. There are so many in foreign countries and our own United States that are hungry and would be thankful for even one stick of margarine. 

So, we ask the Lord to bless our food and thank Him for His provision!

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. Psalm 145:15

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bloggers: Can you help me with this problem?

I have not been able to sign in or respond to comments for quite a few weeks. Every once in a while it will work. Of course, BLOGGER does not offer support.

 Has anyone had this problem? Or have any suggestions? I've tried everything I can think of.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Experimenting with homemade cleaning products

I've tried a few homemade cleaning products over the past 5 plus years with great success. I've been making my own homemade detergent for nearly 5 years. I took a break from it at one point but I started making it again to keep my grocery budget down. I'm still using a vinegar and water cleaner for my toilet and it works great.

Grocery prices continue to rise but our income is not. So, I'm continuing to look for ways to cut back. This month I decided to concentrate on finding an inexpensive stain remover to replace the Shout Advanced Gel I normally buy which can cost anywhere from $3-4. I love Shout but it's a high price item so hopefully I can find a good alternative.

So, today I did some research online to see if I could find a recipe that would use ingredients  I  have on hand. It was encouraging to see how many different recipes are used with great success. I always like to have an alternative recipe on hand  in case I'm out of a specific ingredient.

I took note that some homemakers use plain old shampoo directly on a stain and Dawn dishwashing detergent or 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dawn.  All were given good reviews. I'll keep these in my file as a back up.

The recipe I chose is this one:

1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup liquid homemade detergent
1/2 cup water

The mixture was a bit lumpy so I kept stirring. I knew it needed to be pretty smooth so the mixture would go through the spray nozzle. I used my old Shout bottle. I used the spray on items in my white load and the stain came out. We will see how it works on my dark load tomorrow.

I can see that these homemade items are making an impact on my food budget for the better.

This recipe was found at :

Dollar Store Mom

I liked the idea that she experimented with 3 different options of stain remover which included the recipe above. Her conclusion was that the DIY stain remover worked just as well as the other brands.

Do you use any homemade cleaning products (or beauty products) that save you money?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Use it up: Compost

We live on a pretty low income (compared to US standards) so my goal is to stretch whatever we buy and get as much use out of it as possible.  I will be the first to admit that I'm not always successful in this area. But, I'm determined. (Does that count?). I'm always looking at what I have on hand and thinking about what I can do to stretch it, reinvent it or re-use it.

I really wanted to put in a winter vegetable garden but my husband (still worn out from our move) asked that I wait until spring so we would have a chance to prepare over the winter. So, I've begun collecting toilet paper rolls and saving cardboard egg cartons for seed starters along with newspaper to lay on the vegetable rows to keep the weeds down. Pinterest had some great pictures and my daughter in love has been using this method of seed starting with great success.

We also decided to start composting. This will enrich our soil and save the cost of buying bagged compost.

I did some research online and read that you need equal amounts of leaves, kitchen scraps and  lawn clippings.

I've been saving all my vegetable and fruit scraps and meal leftovers and frankly anything that will break down. I've read not to use grease or meat products. My kitchen compost container is not very pretty but it will work for now. (I try to hide it on the side of the counter). Best of was free. The lid is tight so there is no chance of drawing insects. 

Kitchen top container to hold scraps for compost

2 Container for compost. Large can for extra lawn clippings and tub for composting.

 We're adding water and turning the 'ingredients' regularly. Hopefully, within a few months we will have some wonderful compost to add to our soil to enrich it this coming spring. 

All from items that we would have thrown away.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

When you can't afford medical insurance

I've been thinking a lot about medical insurance lately. To be specific, I've been wondering how I can continue to pay $480 a month if I no longer have a job or my hours are cut. Our budget is very tight with no wiggle room.

A year ago,when my husband became disabled, we were paying $999.65 a month for medical insurance. The high cost was the main reason we had to sell our homes. We had a choice to make.. either keep the medical insurance or our homes. My husband was seeing a Dr. regularly so there was no way we could cut the insurance. Our prescription cost was $100 a month. So, we sold our home and our rental and moved into my aunt's barn studio. Eventually he was granted disability. This past April he was eligible for Medicare which meant we could cancel his private health insurance.

We did stumble on (by God's providence) a few programs that have really helped us during these lean financial years.

The first thing we did when our income dropped (before Kevin's disability) was to change providers. We originally had Blue Cross and our monthly premium was $1400 a month for 2. We switched to Kaiser and it dropped our monthly premium in half. Of course, each year our monthly premium rose by nearly $100 but we still paid less than originally.  I had heard 'horror stories' about Kaiser but we had no choice. I'm here to say that we've been very pleased with the service we've received from Kaiser.

Secondly, I had read online that most hospitals offer a financial assistance program. I contacted Kaiser and they did indeed have a Medical Financial Assistance Program. We qualified within their income range which meant that Kaiser paid all of our medical copay's and prescription costs. This was a very huge blessing. We were still paying nearly $1,000 a month for our premium but at least we had some relief on the copay's.

Lastly, we discovered that the county we presently reside in has a Medical Financial Program through a local county hospital. They provide tests, prescriptions, office visits, ER for free of cost if your income is low enough. They have other programs (with a reduced copay) even if you are not considered at poverty level.

The hard part is when you are not low income and yet you still can not qualify for financial assistance. We lived that way for many years when our children were young. Thankfully, the Lord granted us good heath during those years.

I don't like the idea of asking for help. I wish I didn't have to. But, I'm very thankful that there are programs to help in times of need. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby Shower Gifts on a Tight Budget

I had a baby shower coming up this month for a sweet niece. I wanted to give her a nice gift but was concerned how to manage since I haven't been working my regular hours. Gift giving on a tight budget has always been a challenge for me. I probably lack faith in this area and need to pray about it more. I tend to fret over what to give and if it's a nice enough  instead of consistently praying for the Lord to provide and then being thankful for His provision. He always has provided so why do I fret?

I started wondering how I was going to find the money for a gift when I remembered a post by a sweet friend April who had made some lovely baby shower gifts.  She generously shared a few ideas which I loved. I ended up making some burp rags and a few bibs which still didn't seem like enough. But, then I remembered that I had accumulated quite a few Swagbucks and had traded in some of those Swagbucks for a gift card from Amazon. Ahhh.. bingo!

I do a lot of searches online so Swagbucks is an easy way to make some extra cash. I've downloaded their button on my tool bar so it's convenient when I need to do a quick search. You can also earn extra bucks for surveys, referring friends,etc.

Anyway.. the Lord has provided again! Jehovah Jireh, my Provider!

Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”  Genesis 22:14

Jehovah Jireh means, "The Lord sees" or the "Lord provides".


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homemade Wheat Thins

I'm always evaluating my grocery budget to see where I can cut expenses. Snacks are one food item that I need to cut back on. My husband likes crackers so when I found this recipe I thought it might be part of the answer I'm looking for.  Anytime I can make something from scratch the better!  I made a batch this morning and they turned out great! The ingredients are items I always have on hand. I didn't price it out but I'm confident it definitely didn't cost me $2.50-$3.00! The recipe makes enough to last a few weeks and the recipe was easy and quick.


Serves about 13 dozen crackers.(I didn't get nearly this many).
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • additional salt for topping (Optional)
1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and mix it thoroughly using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor. I used my hands. Combine the water and vanilla, and add it to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.(My dough was very dry. I was concerned it would be crumbly so I ran my hands quickly under the faucet water and added just a smidgeon to the dough.)

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment.

3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. (I had already taken one ball out to roll). Keep the other pieces covered while you work with one at a time.

Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle which should be 12 inches square when trimmed. (I didn't measure). I tried using a normal size rolling pin but found the fondant rolling pin (which I've used to roll thin tortillas) worked the best. Keep flipping the dough and turning it to keep it from sticking. Don't use too much flour or it will make it difficult to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing, at least 1/16 inch thick.

Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or as sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer squares to a prepared baking sheet using a spatula; you can crowd them together, as they don't expand while baking.  Sprinkle squares lightly with salt, if desired.

Bake until crisp and BROWNED, 5-7 minutes. Start watching them carefully at 5 minutes.. they bake quickly and can brown to toast! If some brown quicker then you can take those out while the others finish baking. We liked the ones that were browned better than the ones that were not. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a plate. The crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.
My husband said they taste like the real deal. Score!!!!!! No more bought crackers.

How to give a HAIRCUT.

I posted this 'how to give a haircut' on my other blog a few years ago. I thought it might be helpful for those trying to save money.

I've been cutting my families hair for over 30 years. I first taught myself to cut hair with my son when he was just a baby. I had a friend teach me a few more techniques when my children were older so I was then able to cut my husband's hair. I've saved  a ton of money. I  will oftentimes trim my own hair in between hair appointments just to extend my haircut a couple of weeks.

Meet my handsome assistant.... Mr Kevin.

Step One: I started at the back of the neck. I combed most of the hair up so that there was just a thin layer of hair at the base of the neck. I made a cut for my guideline and then used that guideline to cut the hair up to the crown.

May 09 014

Step Two: Pull the hair straight out and cut using the baseline cut on the back of the neck as your guide.

May 09 019

Step 3: Make your first cut at the front. Use this cut as your guideline. Pull up a thin layer of hair behind the guideline and cut to match the guideline cut.  Continue this technique until you hit the crown.
May 09 015

May 09 020

Step 4: Decide where you want the hair over the ears and make your guideline cut. Use this as your guide and work up to the crown pulling the hair out to the side.

May 09 017

Step 5: Comb the hair over the ears towards the eyes and cut as shown.
May 09 016

Step 6: Shave the neck

May 09 018

Doesn't he look nice?

May 09 022

It helps if you can practice on a young child first. I also found instructional videos on U Tube which looked  helpful.

I hope I explained this clearly.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pursuing less

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I buy at the "Dollar" stores

You really have to know your prices when comparing the Dollar Stores items to other shopping places. Sometimes I know that an item will cost me a bit more if I bought it in a larger quantity at another store but I may be limited on funds and just need a small amount. Peanuts are one of those items. Every once in a while we like them for a snack. Generally the prices are good and the store helps to stretch my dollar.

Do you have a list of items you regularly buy at the "Dollar" stores. I'd love to see it!

Here is my list (and it's growing):

1. Chorizo
2. Freezer bags (occasionally) for large quantities of meat
3. Corn Tortillas
4. Eye Liner
5. Paint Brushes and rollers.
6. Foam brushes for acrylic paint.
7. Gift bags
8. Cards
9. Flowers for the cemetery
10. Bibles (to give away)
11. Frozen vegetables
12. Small bags of nuts
13. Measuring cups
14. Feminine products
15. Hand soap
16. Cheese slices
17. Eggs (depending on the price).
18. Sweet potato chips
19. Pickles
20. Body soap
21. Plastic wrap (I just tried this and it worked great!).
22. Tinfoil
23. Bubbles (for the grands).
24. Craft supplies (for the grands) such as coloring books, paint brushes,
25.Kitchen scissors (they were really sharp).
26. Paper plates
27. Room freshner
28. Laundry detergent (to have on hand if I get lazy about making the homemade recipe).
29. Small bags of nuts. I can't afford the big bags at Costco.
30. Cough medicine

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Idea to stop spending money

I kept pretty good track of my spending this past month.  Boy, what an eye opener!  I was able to see exactly where my money went. I've got to pull in the reigns on my spending a bit tighter.

I discovered through tracking my expenses last month that I use my debit card way too often.This throws my budget off because I use the envelope method for certain categories such as food, dental, auto tuneups, year end accounting, gifts, etc. When I use my debit card instead of the assigned envelope money then I'm taking money that is designated to other bills.

So, I've come up with a plan. I took my debit card and all but one credit card out of my purse. (The credit card I kept is used for my gasoline purchases.) I'll carry a week's worth of my budgeted amount for groceries. When the money is gone then the spending must stop.

I'm hoping this will work. Time will tell.

How do you curb spending?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Living WITHIN our means: Spouse Allowance

I shared on my other blog that my income had dropped since we moved into our new little home. My dear Alice fell not long after I moved and has been in rehab. I'm still helping her with laundry and a few other duties which gives me enough money to 'almost' pay my insurance. I'm not sure if I will have a part time job after a few months so I'm practicing how to live on only my husband's disability check. (I just found out that she will be coming home for a 'trial' run to see how she does. I'm still going to try and live on my husband's check and put the rest towards upgrading our electrical so I can have a dryer for my clothes.)

I made a budget before we bought our new home. I wanted to make sure that we could live on only one salary because I knew the day would come when I might not be working (hopefully). If my Alice does not come home I hope I won't have to work permanently again.

So, I need a plan.

I've revised my budget. It will be tight but we can make it. I've cut back on a few areas (food, gift giving). I'm not sure if I can reach my goal for the food ($200)  but I'm going to try.

Even though I've had to cut back in these areas,  there are a few I hope to not touch. 

First and foremost, I plan to continue giving to the Lord's work.... cheerfully!

Secondly,  I've learned  it's important to include an allowance in our budget. Years ago, before our 10 plus years of prosperity, I fought resentment because I never had money to spend on small little things (gift giving, lunch with a friend).  My attitude was sinful and I suffered discontentment but it also taught me a good lesson that I've carried with me all these years.   I am handling the finances now I don't want to tempt my husband to resent me. So, each of us will still receive a small allowance to spend on what we wish. 

The third thing I don't want to cut is a small amount designated to our savings. It's not huge but $50 a month over a period of a year ends up being a hefty $600. That small savings would purchase a new washing machine if mine decides to 'give up the ghost'. *smile* It's WAY over 10 years old. I'm already having the bank take $25 automatically each month and put it into a Christmas gift account for the grandchildren.

But, as always, I want to keep in mind that # 2 & #3 are not 'God given rights' and prepare myself to give these up  if needs or necessities come our way.

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. 

 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Next time I hope to share what I'm doing daily to keep expenses low in our home.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We've moved and settling in..

It's been a few weeks since we moved into our little 'Grandma' house of 748 sq. ft.  The move went well. We had plenty of strong help. (Boy did I feel old on this move compared to the last one!) The house and garage filled up fast with towers of boxes. So much so that we were not able to move the items in our 10 x 10 storage unit on the initial move. I finally was able to move them this past week. Lots of decision making because there is no way that we can fit everything we own into this house. I have a very large pile of STUFF ready for a garage sale. I've also sold some items on Craig's List and have more listed. We're using the money to pay for some dental work. :-) 

 I've spent over 5 years downsizing and really thought that this move would not be that difficult. We sold a LOT of stuff when we sold both of our previous homes.  I knew I'd have to get rid of some things but never imagined the magnitude. Frankly, there were so many times that I felt overwhelmed and wasn't sure how I was ever going to manage all of the work ahead. But, God continued to guide and direct.. even  the simplest of decisions. I'd pray and ask for His direction and it never failed that an idea would eventually come that worked perfectly.

Our new home. The grass is slowly coming back to life.
I'm so thankful that I didn't get rid of any organizational baskets,etc.  because they have really come in handy to make use of every nook and cranny of our small home.

This is what amazingly floors me.. this house does not feel small at all. I'm being honest. We have plenty of room and it feels spacious. God knows exactly how to prepare His children for what lies ahead.  After living in a barn studio and as a caregiver in less than 300 sq. ft. this home feels roomy to us. Isn't that amazing?  Now, I can imagine that if we had gone from nearly 3,000 sq. ft. to 748 sq. ft. we'd feel cramped and complain. God knew the exact circumstances that would prepare our hearts for our future home and gave us 2 1/2 years to practice living in an even smaller space.  He's so smart!!! *Smile*

I think if I had to choose 1 theme that would describe these past few years I would say it's 'live for today'. Some describe it as living in the 'present moment'. I believe the Lord will continue to teach and train me to live in the present moment until I leave this world. It seems that I've been in His classroom for many years with one situation after another chosen for me that I would not have chosen for myself. It never immediately comes easy to stay focused on living for His glory TODAY but peace is always found when I submit to His assigned portion.
My granddaughters spent the night Friday and made chocolate chip cookies.
 I may or may not have a job next month so I'm again placed in that situation where I cannot assume what my future may hold. I'm a planner. I want to have all my ducks in a row but that is not what God has assigned. So, I continue to reign my thoughts and fears back to what God's Word says.. not to worry about tomorrow... for today has enough problems of it's own... and to remember that God cares more for me than He does the creatures He has created ... and He takes care of them just fine. Mt. 6:25-34

Living is quite the adventure.. wouldn't you say?

May we live (coram Deo) before the face of God,