Sunday, September 8, 2013

Making extra money

What happens when the paycheck doesn't seem to meet all of your needs and wants? Do you look for more work or do you tighten your expenses? This is a topic we've (myself and those who have responded)  been chatting about the past few weeks. I imagine there are many different answers depending on a person's situation.

My husband's paychecks have ALWAYS met our needs and many of our 'wants', too.  Even now that we are living on his disability income (and my VERY small part time paycheck) all of our 'needs' and quite a few of our 'wants' are being met.

Homemade Coconut Milk Berry Ice Cream

But, sometimes it 'feels' very tight and if I'm not careful with my thoughts I can sense resentment rearing it's ugly head. I think it's when my 'wants' get transferred to the 'needs' list. It doesn't take long before the Lord will bring others to my attention who are living with much less. This week the Syrians dreadful situation has sparked gratitude in my heart for all I do have. I read that 6,000 people are fleeing Syria daily. Imagine uprooting your family and fleeing to another country with no prospect for a job.. Perspective makes a huge difference in my thinking and it initiates appreciate for all I do have today.

A few of my blessings:

A few of the grandones spent the night last weekend! They are so much fun! We played Upwords, Headbands, made cookies, watched movies and played video games. Thankfully they seem to still enjoy visiting even with our outdated technology. This is only 2 of the 4 that visited.


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

1.  We were invited to a family birthday party and I was asked to bring a dish. Instead of trying to 'wow' them with a great recipe I decided to check what I had in my pantry. I had all the ingredients on hand to make a broccoli casserole (which is a great recipe, too!). YAY!!!

2.  I have quite a few eggplants in the garden. My neighbor told me to check ALLRECIPES for a recipe called Hot and Sour Chinese Eggplant. It was really good. I would peel the eggplant next time. I used stevia to replace the sugar. It's fun to try new recipes!

3. I made a batch of enchilada sauce for a recipe I plan to make soon. I had a bag of dried chilies on hand. Next time I'll make a larger batch and freeze the leftovers. Here is the recipe:

Enchilada Sauce
6 dried ancho chilies (I used New Mexico chilies)
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
3 cups beef or chicken broth
2 tbsp. flour to thicken

Bake chilies on a cookie sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 2-4 minutes. Watch closely so they don't burn. You just want to warm them to help bring out the flavor. Remove the seeds. Put the chilies in a bowl and completely cover with hot water. Cover. Allow to soak for 1 hour. Combine all the other ingredients together and about 1 cup of broth over medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove and put in blender until it's smooth. Put in skillet on stove and add the rest of the broth. Put  2 tbsp. of flour  in jar with a little water and shake till smooth and then add to skillet. Simmer until it thickens. Add more broth if needed.

4.   I made some Roasted Tomato Basil Soup for lunch.  Here is a link to the recipe I used. I only had 2 cups of basil in the garden but it still tasted wonderful! I plan on making at least one batch of soup a week to help cut the cost of my lunches.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

My son saved us $150 by chopping down our tree.
5. I found  hamburger on sale for $1.99 a pound. It was the kind with a high fat content. I rinsed it with hot water once it was cooked and drained well.  The leaner hamburger has gone up to over $3.00 a pound which has put it out of my price range.

6. I started another potholder for Christmas. I also have a potholder started in the car bag. My car bag has little projects I do while I sit in the Drs. office or wait in a long line. I normally have a book in the bag, too.  I have finished a lot of gifts (and books) this way.

7. I pulled out a quilt top that I want to make for a second nephew for Christmas. I measured for the seam binding and put the measurements in my purse. I'll purchase contrast material for the binding next paycheck but definitely will check the local thrift stores first. 

8.  I saved, washed, dried and will reuse a bread wrapper, brown sugar wrapper and a frozen vegetable bag. My mother saves her comics for me which I use as wrapping paper for the grandchildren's gifts.  I also save my jars to pour fat and grease into so it doesn't go down my drain.  I saved more of the tea bag strings. I know some of you think I'm going too far by saving those strings but they are STRONG and I can use it to prop up my plants in the yard.

9.  I made Sugar Fee Snow Cone Syrup. It will be a LOT cheaper than buying the DaVinci SF syrup in the store. It's made with 2 packets of Koolaid, 1 1/2 cps. Splenda and 3 cups of water. Stir and refrigerate. Next time I'm going to try making it with Stevia since I really don't like using Splenda for health reasons.

10. I put my small sewing box in the living room next to my chair with some socks that need mending. I also have a few Christmas projects to work on . It's convenient and a good reminder when I sit down with husband in the evenings. "A stitch in time saves nine".  *smile*

11. We were told it would cost $150 to chop down a tree in the backyard that was shading 1/4 of our vegetable garden. We've had some dental bills which have taken most of our extra income so we haven't been able to save the $150. My son came over on Saturday and sawed down the tree and then hauled off the heavy pieces to the dump. So extremely thankful for his help!

What did you do this week?  Were you busy or busy as a 'backward bee'?  So what do you make for lunches that is inexpensive? And how do you entertain your older grandchildren?

May God's grace amaze you!



  1. I am working as a substitute teacher to knock down credit cards. I admit I had my head in the sand, and envy those who have not had to charge one more thing. I realize there may come a day of reckoning with this practice. Then I have less time in my life to do things to save money and tend to resort to convenience spending. I have to work very hard at home these days as a caregiver and some of my working outside the home is a break for me. The LORD has graciously provided a caregiver for when I am gone.

    I think of Paul, though, the Apostle, who learned to be content in whatever state he was in-with income or without income-plenty and in want. He also was a tent maker so he could earn some of his keep so to speak. Lydia sold purple material and we don't read that she stopped selling when the gospel invaded her life.

    1. There was a time that we were burdened down with debt so I remember how it felt. And one never knows if a medical emergency will leave you with a mountain of debt. We just do the best we can.

      I think each family must decide what is best for them personally when it comes to a wife working outside the home. There is no direct command that I can find forbidding it.

  2. 1. I got a super deal on some very ripe peaches and was able to can 28 quarts.

    2. Had all the kids/grand kids here for supper on Sunday, we served a huge meatloaf made with beef we raised and had butchered, the beets and green beans were items I have canned from our garden, and since our apple trees did well this year I made an apple crisp for dessert. A good meal that didn't require a trip to the grocery store.
    3. My husband baked up our bread for the week, so much less expensive than store bought and so much nicer. We double bag the bread in plastic grocery bags and store it in the freezer, pulling out a loaf as needed.
    3. We never buy trash bags, we simply keep a plastic grocery bag hanging on the pantry door, once full it goes out to the trash. We haven't purchased trash bags in years. Plastic grocery store bags start off at our house as bread bags, and eventually become trash bags.
    4. We continue to use our homemade laundry soap, we are into our fourth year of use, I haven't purchased laundry soap in all that time.
    5. We use a coffee press to make our coffee, this makes enough for two cups of coffee, and since it takes no time to make another little pot we make more as needed. We now use a lot less coffee and we always have fresh made coffee.
    6. We are careful not to leave lights unless needed.
    7. We look for FREE things to do. Such as a fair parade this weekend that my daughter, grandsons, and I enjoyed. We then walked around a big flea market, a part of the fair, we enjoyed looking but we took no cash so we were not tempted to pick up any probably later to regretted items.
    8. The best FREE things to do, spend time with family. We had the grandsons overnight on Saturday, so a campfire with hot dogs, some games of tag, and inside to watch a movie and they were ready for bed, and it cost nothing and they had a good time.

    1. These are wonderful money saving tips Bean! Thank you so much for sharing them. I never buy trash bags either (unless we are moving). How wonderful your husband bakes your bread. What kind of bread does he bake? Praying for you guys!

    2. My husband makes white bread, and I usually make a batch of white bread and oatmeal bread. Sometimes I like to experiment with different recipes. But are tried and true recipes are the white bread, a recipe given to us by my dad, and the oatmeal bread, a recipe found in an Amish cookbook.
      My dad baked all of our bread growing up, Saturday morning he would get up and get several batches going, we all enjoyed the first loaf out of the oven and the rest would last us all week. My dad had a stressful job and he found bread making enjoyable and a good way to unwind, he is in his seventies now and still bakes bread for himself and my mom.
      I started baking our bread years ago, and my husband wanted to try. My husband has a natural knack, I think men have a heavier hand with the kneading and it is just what the bread needs :). So my husband will bake bread when he is home, in the winter he doesn't work so much so generally does the baking, and in the warmer months I do the baking.
      We could probably count on one hand the number of loaves of bread we have purchased from the store in the past fifteen years.

      Thank you for the prayers, they are appreciated.


    3. I've made homemade bread off and on for years. I stopped eating grains about a year ago but husband still eats a slice a day. I have a good recipe for wheat but I'm always looking for something better. You can't beat the taste of white bread but I need a bread with fiber. It's very interesting about your father making bread and now your husband. I've never known any man that makes bread but I think it's awesome!

    4. You may like the oatmeal bread, I use whole oats and there is some wholewheat flour along with the white flour. So I imagine it is a little more of a complex carb over the white bread. You thoughts about white bread are right on the money - it is the tastiest!

  3. On another note, a quick way to pick up some extra cash can be to help out a caterer. Oftentimes, they need some extra help with set up, tear down, serving, or food prep, and it can be rather erratic but extra cash once in a while. It helps if you know someone who does catering and they know they can call you in a pinch. The downside, it will almost always be on the weekends, but if once in a while, it is doable.

  4. "Perspective" true, what you said. (I just read about Syrian Christians fleeing the only remaining village that speaks the language Jesus spoke...

    We ♥ Upwords at our house.

    We WERE busy last week - repairing curbside treasures and listing them on facebook garage sale sites for sale.

    I made chili on one of the cooler days. I used a minimal amount of ground chuck which I purchased on a reduced price at a small, local grocery store. Their meat is good - and it's about the only way I buy meat anymore (reduced).

    1. I admire people who are able to turn trash into treasure. Good for you! I haven't made chili in a while! That sounds so good!

      I read of a Baptist pastor who said he is staying in Syria because those remaining need Jesus. Bless him please Father God!

  5. I too was touched by the misery in Syria. I marvel that God chose the relatively easy life for me, and not for them. (so far anyway) we do need to count our blessings I agree.

    some of my money saving things--I'm using my dehydrator a lot lately. Its great for things we grow like my herbs and hubby's peppers. Its also great for cleaning out the fridge--if anything is just getting soft you can dry it. Also I'm trying to create recipes to use instead of my hubby's favorite Zatarains mixes. They are loaded up with salt which neither of us needs.

    I did some searching to find a cheap dessicant for my dry food storage. Dessicant you buy for that purpose is super spendy (in my opinion)So, I save little dessicant packs that come in pill bottles. I just used up my stash of those on the last batch of peppers I dried, so I need something for my onions now. A website I was reading said to use cat litter. I can wrap some in a coffee filter. So now I need to look for a sale on Tidy cat multi cat or fresh step, and also check my coupons--I should be able to find a good deal within a few weeks, then it will be enough to keep myself in dessicant for years.:)

    I often see deals in our county paper for dog neutering and shots. I noticed there is a buy one get one $40 neuter special. Hoping to convince my daughter to get one of her 2 dogs spayed so I can get Paco neutered at the same time. Otherwise I know the friends of the animals in a town near us has a special price too about $60. Which is much less than the regular vets charge. There are also shot clinics where I can get rabies & other shots for $9. So those are great.

    I gave Hubby a roll of quarters from my coin box, I've been putting change in a little change sorter I got a few years ago at Harbor Freight. I get paper coin wrappers at Walmart or the dollar store. I have about $65 in coins currently. Hubby needs quarters for tolls sometimes. I keep one quarter in my jeep for my shopping cart at Aldi. You have to put a quarter in to use the cart then you get it back when you put the cart back. Helps keep Aldis costs down. The rest of my change is savings.

    I switched doctors recently. I had been driving too far to the clinic I used to go to when I lived in a different house. I found a dr in the next town that I want to try. Also I need to see a neurologist soon, and this will work better as there is a neurology clinic in the next town too. I would have had to drive an hour to see the one my afilliated with my old doctor which could get spendy if I need to go more than once.

    I am doing stretches in a hot tub that we bought for $200 that Hubby is fixing up for me. I use it daily. I realized yesterday that I was able to drive quite a long time without the usual leg pain--so seems like those stretches are working and it was much less to get that old hot tub than to get massage therapy or drive a long ways to a gym that has a pool.

    Just some things. :)

    1. You are one of the most frugal women I know! I had a dehydrator but it was a cheap one and did a lousy job of drying. I think it's a great idea to dry leftovers!

      I hope the Dr. can help you find some relief Mary.

    2. Mary be careful with the cat litter it can have radiation and other crazy chemicals. I am sensitive to chemicals and have to be super careful with what cat litter we use. One made my hands turn bright red and itchy and another I could not breath they put perfume in even the unscented cat litters I do not think it is regulated
      because it is for pets. I admire how frugal you
      are I hope the new doctor is great. We got this
      thing called the stick it is like a rolling pin with beads on it for your arms legs and back and neck it helps get the knots out without massage therapy. Our therapist moved far away. That is a good idea about streching in the hot tub my sister has one. I think I will try that. Thanks to everyone for all the great tips

  6. If someone were able to swing an ax, you could have chopped the tree up into firewood and sold it for a little bit extra cash. Just an idea or suggestion in case you have another tree that needs to come down.

    1. That was my thought too. I would not have sold it but put it on the curb with a free sign. I know of many people who heat with firewood and are always on the lookout for free stuff. Bet someone at the dump took it.

    2. There was a thought that rushed through my mind about smaller pieces for kindling for my mother but we were working so fast to try and get the tree limbs out of the alley before a car came by that I forgot about it. :(

  7. Seems like there are some good ideas here for making that extra income we sometimes need. Substitute teaching, helping a caterer,good ideas, and you can be flexible. I recently decided to sell Avon. I had sold it many years ago, and did fairly well. But it's one of those things that I listened more to others than to myself,and my Lord, and tried to do jobs that were more regular income, but that I was not well suited for. So I am finding new customers and the business is growing, it is flexible and works for me.

    I went to a truckload meat sale on Friday. bought whole chickens and pork roasts for .99 a lb. They always have ground turkey for 1.49 a lb., and every so often they run it for $1 a lb. so I stock up. I am putting a chicken flavored with lemon pepper in the crock pot today, and with leftovers I will make chicken and dumplings tomorrow, maybe some soup later in the week. I love to use the crock pot.

    When our grandkids spend the night they only want to play video games, at least our grandson does, so my husband suggested that we get some more board games. I need to check some thrift shops and see what I can find. My granddaughter also asked if we could make smores next time they stay so we will do that. sometimes I take them to see a $1 movie at the discount theater. We love it, we saw Epic recently which was really cute.

    1. We used to have a discount theater in town but it closed when a new theater opened. What a great sale you found on pork! I can't remember seeing it that low in CA. for a long time. Good for you! I love the crock pot, too! :-) I used it today to cook chicken.

  8. Ms. Georgene, I have been reading your blog for a few months and I love it! Love your ideas and posts! You inspire me to continue my thrifty ways! Lona

  9. "If I'm not careful with my thoughts..." I know all too well how not being careful with my thoughts leads to dissatisfaction, among many other bad ways of pondering. How wise you are about that.

    I thoroughly enjoy your posts and your tips on saving. But even more, your inspiration to remember how blessed we really are and what abundance is all around us , but we take it for granted. Thank-you.

    1. It seems I need to be reminded often of my daily blessings. Sad but true!


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