Friday, September 13, 2013

Preparing to make less money

Life is forever changing. My part time job with Miss Alice will be ending this month. I'm so grateful for the time we had together and look forward to visiting her in the days ahead. She has become a dear friend.

It's interesting that we have been talking (in the comment section) about the 'unknown' and whether we should take on more work when it 'looks' like things maybe tight.. and here I am .. in just that situation. God is pretty amazing to prepare us for situations that we don't even know are on the horizon.

I don't know if I will take on another job outside my home in the future or not. My husband would like  to wait and see if we can make it without me leaving home. So, I've been praying and making some plans on what I can do to make money from home and cut back on expenses.




Here are just a few of my ideas:

1. Christmas is just around the corner. The bank automatically takes $25 out of our paycheck each month for a Christmas savings. This pays for the grandchildren's Christmas gifts. My plan is to make as many of the Christmas gifts as I can for the adults. I'm working on several of those gifts now so that I'll (hopefully) have a nice little stash of gifts by December.

2.The  grocery budget HAS to come down. There is no way around it since I paid for $100 (out of $360 a month) out of my paycheck. Here is my plan (if the Lord wills it):
  • Buy 10 pound bags of chicken thighs and legs for each week of the month which will cost from .58 - .89 cents a pound. This will be our main meat but then I'll watch for low beef or fish sales (under $2 a pound) to fill in the rest of the week. One 10 pound bag of chicken will give us 4 dinners and several lunches.
  • Eat 'clean'.
  • Fix soup 2 times a week to fill in for lunches. 
  • Use up frozen vegetables and fruit before I buy any more. 
  • Bake Kevin's bread for his sandwiches instead of buying it. 
  • Pay $12 yearly fee for the Senior Brown Bag.
  •  Buy what I need weekly so that I don't use all my grocery money the first few weeks after paydays. 
  • Keep back $10 each week to use for last minute items that I run out of. 
  • Set aside $5 a week to stock up my food pantry with the lowest priced sale items. 
  • Continue to find recipes that use smaller amounts of meat with more vegetables. Find more meatless recipes. 

3. Set aside an hour in the afternoon to do online survey's,  Pinecone Research, etc.  It doesn't pay a lot but it comes in very handy at Christmas time when I cash in my earnings.

4. Use another hour in the afternoon to work on my webpage.

5. Find recipes for household cleaners with ingredients I already have on hand. I found a recipe for a floor cleaner and a sink cleaner.

6.  Continue to grow vegetables year round and 'put up' any extras.

7. Make as much from scratch as possible unless it costs more like mayo.

8. Research cutting cable and internet.

9. Pray for God's grace to trust Him to provide in the days ahead as He has in the past... sufficiently and abundantly!

Do you see anything I may have missed in my list? Can you think of how I can make or save money in my home?

Amazed by His Grace,

Georgene


53 comments:

  1. I am wondering if your garden and sewing might provide a little money somehow, or something to trade with? I for one am not good at sewing, I'm sure there are others like me who would love to have someone else do things for them. I have my daughter cut my hair and do small sewing things for me, I can (used to)hand sew, but machine sewing perplexes me more often than not. I don't know why it is, but I find there are always abundant 'supplies' for projects that seem to land in my hands. more than I can even do. Pray for eyes to see what is there. :) Also-- you have so many good things written online-- 'ebooks' with compilations of recipes and advice come to mind. :) Get thee a shopping cart on thy blog. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like to do an E-book but I have no idea where to start. I've searched for articles but it seems overwhelming.

      I definitely am praying. The Lord always provides.

      Thanks for the advice Mary!

      Delete
    2. Go to Barnes and Noble first for help after you have copyrighted your book.This is how I made an ebook of GETTING OFF THE NICENESS TREADMILL. Have I made money on an ebook? Not yet.

      Delete
    3. Carol! I forgot you wrote that, I think that's how I came looking for you-but now don't remember if I read it. I need to find a copy. Don't feel bad--I have a really really bad memory these days. :)


      Georgene- I have felt just like you do--overwhelmed with that idea, cuz its been in the back of my mind too.
      I think what is overwhelming is thinking about how to make it an e-book.

      Maybe first just think about what topics would be good for you to write on and just start writing-- make a little outline and go for it. THEN when it is done worry about how to make it an e-book or publish it. About that time you can be blogging about it--and maybe some of your readers will have some tips for you. :)

      Delete
  2. More chicken ideas. I buy chicken breasts with three in a package for about $4.50 a pound/package on sale. They are usually of good size. I slice those three in half lengthwise and now I have six chicken breasts. Out of those six I can get anywhere from six or more meals. I can make chicken rice casserole or noodle casserole. I can make chicken fajitas, chicken soup, chicken with potatoes and gravy, barbeque chicken, chicken on a salad, or a chicken sandwich. There are no bones or fat; just pure meat. At six meals that is 75 cents plus the veggies, etc. for two people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan!
      Great ideas! Do you have a good chicken fajita recipe? My husband does not care for mine. What do you do with the barbecue chicken? It doesn't seem like it would be enough for 2 people? We are not eating rice or grains but I can use some of your other ideas. Love it!

      Delete
    2. I just made it up because it is fast and easy and lo-cal and inexpensive. Saute the chicken chunks, onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. Sometimes I only have onions but it still tastes good to us. Then I warm the tortillas and we fill them. I sometimes put a bit of a ranch salad dressing on mine.

      We only have rice about twice a month, and noodles about every other month, unless my children bring them over.

      We no longer buy bread or bake it. We use a tortilla when we need it.

      Oh, the barbeque chicken. Well, for that meal I would use two chicken breasts. I read a few years ago that when planning a meal, plan all the vegetables and sides, and then put the meat with it. So instead of focusing on the meat for each meal, you are focusing on everything else and just adding a bit of meat.

      Susan

      Delete
  3. Georgine, Anonymous is Susan Z. I cannot figure out how to comment! But it took anonymous! lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Georgine, not sure if you are part of swagbucks but I earn about $15 a month in amazon gcs from there. You take polls, can watch videos, can play games all to earn points for gcs for Christmas. Just a thought, I hate the surveys so avoid those. See swagbucks.com if you are interested and that is not a referral link (if you want one go to my website and it is on the left sidebar). You have faith and a strong sense of budget - you will be fine. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am signed up with Swagbucks but only do searches. I make about $25 a YEAR so I need to learn how you are making more. Do you visit SB daily? Where do you go when you visit?

      Thanks for the help!

      Delete
    2. I use swagbucks also :) the main things i do each day are daily poll, NOSO, games, searches, watch videos on offer walls and surveys. Again i have covered how to maximise earning on swagbucks on my blog - just click on swagbucks in the side menu :) good luck!

      Delete
    3. If you ever read how amazon treats its temp workers in both the U.S. and overseas, you likely would think twice about buying anything from them. They make Walmart look saintly in comparison.

      Delete
    4. Hi Theresa,
      My friend's husband has worked for Amazon for several years and has done very well with them. My cousin has worked for Walmart for over 5 years and has no complaints either. I guess every company has good and bad complaints. Thank you for the heads up though. I'll keep my ears perked.

      Delete
  5. I have not posted before but enjoy reading your blog. You may already do this, but, if you keep the bones from the chicken thighs/legs and keep vegetable scraps you can freeze them all until you have enough to make a good stock. I put mine in the crock pot and let it go all night to make a nice, rich chicken broth.

    ~Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I have done so many times but need to start saving the veggie peelings since soup weather is right around the corner. Thanks so much! And thanks for reading my blog. :-)

      Delete
    2. Hi Georgene, if you put a tablespoon or two of vinegar in your stock pot with the bones, it will draw nutrients from the bones to your broth.

      Delete
    3. Hi Kristine,
      I've heard that but have never tried. Thanks so much for the info.

      Delete
  6. I am not good at making money off of my crafts or skills. I could make money at doing some work I don't want to do anymore so that is not an option for me. I'm not the best to seek ideas from on that score. But I can offer suggestions to cut down on the meat for meals and use a lot more grains and legumes as the main part of your dishes (with lots of veggies). I've found that eating less meat makes the budget a lot less. So does your idea to bake rather than buy bread. You are blessed you can still purchase meat for $2. a pound or less. Here it is extremely rare to find meat at that price on sale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know we could stretch our budget a lot farther if we could eat pasta and grains. I was close to being put on medication for diabetes so we had to change our diet. Husband eats bread but I do not and we don't eat pasta or other grains mostly. We rarely see beef for under $2 a pound but every once in a while. Pork goes on sale for less than $2 a pound often.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Hi Georgene, I wanted to encourage you about the grains and pulses if you and your husband can tolerate them. I have diabetes too and I'm finding that eating more barley, cous cous, bulgar, dried beans/peas/lentils/chickpeas, and brown rice, etc. has been really good for the blood sugar. Even better is when I add a lot of greens like romaine lettuce. It seems to drop my sugar levels quickly. Also, I was surprised that pasta, within moderation, is good for a diabetic and certainly better than white rice and such like. Here is just (you'll have to cut and paste the address into your browser as I don't know how to do a hotlink) http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/diabetic-recipes/main-dishes/healthy-pasta-recipes-people-diabetes

      Where I live, pork goes on sale for much better prices than beef or chicken. Fish is altogether too expensive though I was fortunate this summer to get a lot of salmon at only 49 cents a pound. What a deal!

      Delete
    4. Do you test your blood sugar 1,2,3 hours after you eat the grains and pastas? This is how we find out if a certain food is causing problems. I LOVE oatmeal but it spiked my blood sugar over 140 so out it went. Cream of wheat did the same thing for my husband.

      Delete
  7. Oh I just thought of something but your husband may not want you to do this. It is called mystery shopping. I used to have a friend who did this and she would go on lots of assignments each week which were more fun than work. She would get to sample meals in restaurants (your husband can go with you) and go to movies and such like. Her job was to rate services, goods etc. and she made enough money each year to cover their annual vacation and Christmas gifts as well as have spending money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyful,
      I did Mystery Shopping once at a fast food drive through. I had certain things I was supposed to do. When I turned in my paperwork they said I did something wrong and wouldn't pay me for the job. I figured I wasn't fast enough or smart enough to Mystery Shop. :-) But, thank you so much for the suggestion.

      Delete
  8. Hi Georgene :) I'm not sure if you have seen my blog - I have been earning a bit extra from home for several years due to health problems and have covered lots of earning options on it. I'm happy to help you find something to suit you so do feel free to ask me about anything you might come across on there. Hope it helps (and you don't mind me leaving you a link here) - http://manywaystomakecash.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I have poked around your blog and will be checking back again! You've done a lot of research!

      Delete
  9. Good list. I would add a couple of suggestions. Look at your meal menus. (I am just talking about what you normally eat.) Then look for ways to reduce the cost per serving. When I was first getting the grocery budget down to $350 a month this was a vital step. List the cheapest meals on a sheet of paper. Then eat more of those. Examples: oatmeal for breakfast costs $0.14/serving. But bagels cost $0.25/serving. Use the things you actually already eat. Don't cheat by adding in Hardee's biscuits unless you actually eat those from time to time.

    When I need to cut down on other expenses in order to keep the budget at $350 (and this has been really important lately with prices going up and the kids eating more), I go back to that list and eat those cheaper meals. Oatmeal is what I eat EVERY day now. I can't keep the budget that low without eating that, not any more. It's not exciting, but it keeps the budget in check.

    The other suggestion is to read Unplug the Christmas Machine. It has great suggestions for making Christmas more meaningful and less expensive across the board. My family successfully stopped giving Christmas gifts among the adults of the family after reading that book. Everyone is happy with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard about that book and have always wanted to read it. We do a White Elephant sale for the adults. I make what I can for my own children and the bank automatically takes out for the grandchildren. I'm making more this year. I bake bread and scones for other gifts. I love to give gifts if I can.

      Delete
  10. Review your monthly recurring bills, see if there is anything that can be reduced, sometimes the electric company will have ideas. Cable, it is super cheap entertainment, see if you can drop to a lower package, or drop cable and do netflix, it is only $8/month. I find the cost of internet access to worthwhile, think of the gas and time it saves when you can research, all of the recipes and ideas available, and the news if available, things to watch, things to listen to, it really is a good deal. I would like to drop Dish, but my husband likes it over netflix, and I like netflix over Dish :)
    Review your insurance, you can reduce costs with higher deductibles.
    I think it is hard to make money making/selling crafts, there is a lot of time wrapped up in the making. However making crafts for gifts is an excellent savings. I am making lots of magic potholders, and crochet topped dish towels to hang on a kitchen drawer handle. I am also making and have made jams and jellies through the summer, grape jelly to make tonight, these make nice gifts too. I am budgeting for Christmas, we have 4 grandchildren, I know what I am getting, all are getting a tub of duplo blocks, and then I will make them each a night shirt with pajama pants and and night cap!

    The best way to manage money is exactly what you are doing, make a realistic budget and stick to it as much as you can. And, plan ahead for known future expenses, and have a little put back for a rainy day.

    You are an inspiration to so many of us :)

    Blessings,

    Bean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bean! I think what stumps me the most is how to plan for the big ticket items. We're seniors now (boy that came about fast! *smile) and my hearing is not what it used to be and we're losing teeth. Replacing both of those is costly. I save $50 out of each check but a lot of times it's used for unexpected expenses. I continue to pray that God will show me how to save for these things.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, hearing aids and dentures are expensive. My father-in-law has a hearing aid and it cost a lot, and I am not even sure how long they are supposed to last.
      My husband had to get dentures a number of years ago, it was around $5K, fortunately we had dental insurance at the time, but it was still quite a bit out of pocket. Many places do a payment plan option, but I know that you don't like to take on debt anymore that I do :)

      Bean

      Delete
  11. I'm also cutting back on my food budget. For me I need to watch the waste and how much I eat of expensive items like nuts. Limiting them rather than cutting them out. I only eat 2 meals a day now. I eat a late breakfast and an early dinner.
    I'm also thinking about making gifts again this year. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda,
      I'd love to hear what you make for gifts. I've been looking for some good ideas. I hope to write something on that soon!

      Delete
  12. I would also suggest MyPoints, if you aren't doing that. I just answer the emails ... takes a bit of time, but it builds up enough that I can get a $10 gas card (or you can get gift cards for WalMart or other stores).

    With winter coming up, start looking now for ways to keep your heating costs lower. Caulking, plastic on windows ... any rooms you can close off?
    Have you gone through your big expenses like insurance? Utilities? Any way you could bring those down a bit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi DW,
      Yes, I do MyPoints and have cashed in for gift certificates. I really like them!

      I haven't gone through the big expenses in a while but that is on the list of things to look over. Utilities are down as far as I know to go.

      Delete
  13. Georgene, if you like animals, and could leave your husband for a few days, you might be able to pet sit or house sit. Miss Alice might be able to give you a reference. However I know that would cut back on your time to accomplish things at home. It is always a catch-22 it seems.

    I heard on the radio on Thursday that a paper mill in Alabama is closing due to a falling demand for paper. My husband works at a paper mill. I asked him if he had heard that and he said yes. But he did not say more. Then he started on yardwork and housework right after work Friday and kept going through noon today. So I'm wondering if something is on his mind. Who knows how long any job will last?

    Getting that grocery budget down is a real challenge. I always think of a friend of mine who grew up very, very poor. She said that when she now grocery shops for her family there is more in her pantry than they ever had when she was a child. We just seem to shop because it's routine or we don't think there is a meal that can be put together there in the pantry, fridge and freezer. But my friend did not starve as a child, and we won't either. I agree with Linda about watching the waste and not buying more expensive items. I love chips and ice cream, but faced with a lesser budget, I sometimes don't buy them. or I buy when I have a coupon that makes them more affordable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,

      I sure hope your husband's job won't be affected.

      You're so right. The Lord provides for us daily. My goal is to not live in the fear of the future but to trust Him for my daily bread today.

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never heard of that company but will check it out. It sounds like a great deal.

      Delete
  15. Our church does a monthly food give away that helps people with food needs. We ask no questions and through the local food bank give away a wonderful variety of staples and seasonal foods. You might check your area for something like that. I really admire your hard working and thinking that you do to make your budget work. Good Luck to you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mitzi. I visited food pantries when my husband was not able to work and we were trying to get on disability. I'll have to admit that it's very hard for me to stand in a food line (pride?). I did it but don't want to again unless I have to. I'm thankful they are there though. I may go back to the senior brown bag though. I pay $12 a year for that so I don't feel like I'm begging for food. :-)

      Delete
  16. We rarely get meat even chicken for .99 lb. The normal whole chicken price here on "sale" is 1.29. I happened on some whole chickens for .99 by getting them on one day before their sale date. Came home right away and put them in the freezer. Am amazed when you can get meat so low. I live in the western states (AZ)and only 2 stores for competition. Sometimes get better food prices at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. One lady talked about eating oatmeal every breakfast. As a kid that is what we ate in the winter every morning. My mom had 4 kids and one income also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nana,
      The chicken is in 10 pound bags with a thigh and a leg attached together. I figured out this week that I can get 4 dinners and 2 lunches out of one bag. Pretty wonderful! The hamburger on sale for $1.99 was at a discount store and that is not common. Pork goes on sale under $2 a pound off and on but normally in big packages. I miss oatmeal! :0(

      Delete
    2. NanaSkoll - I live in Arizona and if you have a Fry's near you ask when their "manager" sales are in the meat department. I have 2 Fry's stores near me and one store it is Friday night, the other Tuesday at 10am. I often get a package of 4 pork chops for under $2.50. I found precut fajita meat with the sliced veggies and onions for $1 !

      Delete
  17. Dear Georgene G,
    I would be the last person to give advice in savings.
    Part of my life is ascetic(by choice)so I eat some
    very plain food at times.
    I do not eat meat,never did but I make
    mash potato or carrot with fork and then I add some fresh herbs on top and fetta or any cream cheese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wimmera.. the mashed potato and carrots with cheese sounds yummy. I was a vegetarian years ago. I'm eating less and less meat because of cost.

      Delete
  18. Dear Georgene,
    I apologize for never commenting because I dutifully read your blog and enjoy it very much. I think all of us that read your words feel that we are taking this journey with you.

    I wanted to share some thoughts with you for cutting your budget, hoping that maybe one of them at least is helpful.

    1. I have been making a wonderful roasted tomato-vegetable marinara to you could use either over pasta or spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta.

    2. When the winter squash is available for much lower prices this fall I will buy 20 different long keepers and eat them through the winter months.

    3. There are some wonderful lentil recipes, split pea soup, navy bean soup, etc. that I use in place of meat throughout the week for dinners.

    4. One of my cheap soups is chicken dumpling soup made after I've taken all the accessible meat off the carcass of a whole chicken.

    5. Cabbage is cheap in the fall and I make many cabbage rolls with whatever is available, sausage, rice, onions, etc. and freeze them and serve with sauce later on.

    6. I thought I'd share my Chicken Fajita recipe for you, I've shared it many times. Also works with other meats.

    Brown thin slices of chicken in oil and remove from pan. Add sliced onion and green pepper (and sliced cabbage if you want to stretch it) and cook until almost soft then add the chicken back and pour in the sauce. Stir until well coated and serve in tortillas or over rice. You can add anything else you want, I always add cilantro, but tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, etc.
    Sauce:
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    2 TBSP sugar or Splenda
    2 TBSP lemon juice
    1 TBSP cornstarch
    1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
    garlic powder to taste

    Hope you like the sauce recipe. And maybe something I said helps, we all learn from each other.

    God Bless, Sally (from Oregon)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sally (from Oregon),
      I'm so glad to meet you. Thank you for posting. I see the 'hits' on my blog and always wish I could hear from those who read. Thank you!

      Thanks for the recipe. It looks great. I'll have to try it out. I love stir fry's a lot.

      You gave a lot of great and helpful ideas. Thank you so much. I grew spaghetti squash this year and we are using it instead of spaghetti. I found a recipe to use it as a 'pie crust' and then you put a taco pie filling in it. Sounded yummy. I hope to try it soon.

      It sounds like you've been working on keeping your budget low for a while. Good for you!

      Delete
  19. Georgene, I especially appreciate your comment about buying food only for each week so your grocery budget doesn't get used up too soon. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with this! I've been thinking about "prepping" lately. That is, stocking up on extras when it's in the budget so that there will be enough for the leaner times. I am going to try to get my spending down so I have a little wiggle room for stocking up. But the budget is already so tight, it'll be an effort!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've tried so many different ways (once a month shopping, shopping every two weeks,etc.). We'll see how this one works. :-)

      I can't figure out how to stock up extra's either but still try.

      Delete
  20. My parents cut out giving Christmas gifts to the grandchildren quite a few years ago. Instead, they spend that money on an "experience" for the whole family. We've gone to Science Museums, Boomers, the Zoo, train rides, etc. The important thing is that we all spend the day together. The adults in the family do a white elephant with the stipulation that the gifts have to be something lying around the house; nothing can be bought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea about buying an 'experience'. I really like that idea! Thank you Susan!

      Delete
  21. My husband and I are in essentially the same boat as you are. He is disabled but had to return to work part-time when I was diagnosed with cancer last January (2012). I underwent radiation the whole month of May last year and again this past August/Sept. Anyway, that aside, God is good and no cancer is present at this time. By His stripes, I am healed! Our income is very small and we have a HUGE credit card debt which I am determined to pay off in the next 27 months. We have no savings, no emergency fund, nothing but are living by God's grace from paycheck-to-paycheck, hence the NEED to pay off our debt.

    Something I was going to tell you about making your own laundry detergent. My sister tried that for a while but when Safeway put on Arm and Hammer 75 oz. laundry soap liquid for $2.50 each (had to buy 5), that brought down the cost for each load down to 5 cents per load (50 load bottle). Now THAT is cheap!

    We are continually looking for ways to save money and eat frugally. It is both a learning experience and a better way of life once you get used to it. Our garden will be bigger this year and that will help a lot.

    Hang in there. It takes time but is possible. After all, our grandparents lived this way and they did just fine.

    Cate <><

    ReplyDelete