Saturday, December 7, 2013

One Income Living in a Two Income World

Well, I have to say it! I'm dazzled and amazed  that we are living on so little money! I never would have imagined we could live such a full and contented life on so little--but we are! And we are doing just fine!

We are learning to live mainly within my husband's budget since I left my part time job. I have a few odd projects with family and friends that equal a little over $100 a month. The jobs are temporary so I don't include the amount in our monthly budget. I don't want to depend on this income but I am certainly thankful for it!

There are still places we could cutback if we had to. So far the Lord is getting us through one day at a time. I am so thankful to Him for each day that we keep our heads above water.

Some of the grands making gingerbread houses. 
Winter has finally hit our neck of the woods. The nightly temperature dropped to the 20's. Some of the vegetables were covered with sheets and freeze cloth but the swiss chard and broccoli leaves got hit pretty hard. The sweet peas, celery and onions are fine. We're thinking about how we can protect our small little backyard garden next winter. We really depend on our vegetables to stretch our grocery money. I haven't bought many vegetables in the past few weeks. We've been eating what we grow.

Christmas is just a few weeks away. I'm so thankful that I have a Christmas Savings Fund. The bank takes $25 out of our paycheck each month throughout the year.  It didn't cover all of my Christmas expense this year but the majority.  I can't give a lot to my children and all my grandies but I do love to give them a little something. There is such joy in giving.
Homemade snow globes in process!

I found a couple of cute ideas on Pinterest to make for gifts next year. I hope to work on one project a month so that I'll have gifts ready ahead of time. Pinterest is a wonderful resource! I'd be so happy if you share any nice gift ideas you're making.

But, over all it's God who provides for us day by day.  He meets all our true needs. He even meets some of our wants. He amazingly multiplies our small little fishies by giving above and beyond our wages in small unexpected ways. Friends will call with extra fruit and vegetables or clothes.  Sometimes I'll spot a terrific sale at the store. He is taking little and making it  much.  We are just as content as can be!

*~*~*

Here are a few things I've been doing in my home this week:

1.  I try to make it a rule to stay out of the stores. All of this went by the wayside with Christmas and BOY did I feel the tug of the 'wants' surface! I realized afresh the temptation to overspend when I spend too much time looking at store ads or meandering through a store. I did a LOT of praying with quick pleads of HELP!

2.  I'm trying to stretch my skin care moisturizers and cleanser . So far the cleanser has lasted 2 years because I use a very small dab and always apply it on a wet face. I do the same with my moisturizer.

Finished snow globe
3. I use a Sh-Mop! I love it! I have hardwood floors throughout my entire little house. A Sh-Mop has a larger than normal mop pad which helps the job go faster. I use both sides of the cloth cover to save on my laundry loads. When one side is dirty I flip it over to the other side. I do this with rugs,too. I use this same principal for the cat beds. I put a light blanket or sheet over their beds. When one side is dirty I will flip it over to the other side before I wash it. I can't do this in the summer time because of fleas but it works fine in the winter.

4. I had a small handful of hamburger leftover from low carb tacos. I used it to make soup the next day. We are eating homemade soup nearly every day. I love a hot bowl of soup on a cold day! It seems to heat ya to the bone!

5. I received a $10 free coupon from Kohl's in the mail. I also had a 15% off coupon. I bought a gift for a birthday in January and ended up spending just a few dollars.

6.  I kick myself when I let food get pushed to the back of the fridge and don't use it before it spoils. I threw out several bowls of food this week because I wasn't diligent. I might as well take money and just burn it. I used to write down the leftovers on a pad I kept on the outside door of the fridge. I need to go back to that practice.

7.  I'm trying hard to spend less on my groceries this month so that I can buy a large container of coconut oil from Costco. I keep reading of the benefits to help your brain.. but I can't remember what they are! *Wink*
A gingerbread house artist!

8. I was able to stretch my dishwashing detergent by filling the empty bottle with water. I got 3 more washes by doing so.  I did this with my empty toothpaste tube, also. I cut it open and then scraped out enough for roughly 5 more applications.

9.  What I didn't throw away this week:
  • toilet paper tube (threw it in the compost pile)
  • rubber bands from green onions
  • comic papers (children's gift wrapping paper)
  • grocery ads (composting, lines the garbage can)
  • all my vegetable and fruit peelings (threw it in the compost pile)
  • saved tea bags to reuse
  • oil used for frying (one of these days I'm going to try making soap from used oil) 
10. I've been doing a lot of office work lately. We do not have Central Heat and Air. My office is FREEZING! I do believe my feet went numb at one point. :-) I have a small heater but I don't want to increase our electric bill. I thought and thought and finally came up with an idea. I took a neck warmer (the kind with rice in it) and heated it in the microwave and then laid it on my lap. It worked like a charm. My cat even took advantage of it and curled up on my lap while I was typing.  *Smile*

So how are you gals doing on your Christmas budget and the pull of all the ads to BUY, BUY, BUY? Are you staying on budget?

Blessed to be home,

Georgene

25 comments:

  1. I work on this all year around and so am in good shape. One family is getting T-shirts from Plant City. The hand-made table cloth is done. I will have a late b.d. quilt to work on for a grandchild. I am on the third of five quilts for my husband's grandchildren. When all five are done, I expect to spend less money for b.d. and Christmas gifts and want to make gifts such as you are doing.

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    1. You are one busy lady! I don't know how you get it all done Carol! Can we see pictures of your quilts when they are finished? :-)

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    2. Carol, is that Plant City, Fl? I am near Panama city.

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  2. Hi Georgene,

    It sounds like you've been busy this week! I am very blessed and fortunate that shopping has never been an activity that I "enjoy" - it has always been a "chore" for me.

    I know you don't have any children at home anymore but maybe the gift giving tradition we practice in our home will help inspire others who do have children in the home come up with creative ways to stay on budget.

    We started this tradition when our 1st son was born and we lived well below the poverty line. We give each child 3 gifts: 1 budgeted store bought gift, 1 book (sometimes new, sometimes used / often educational), & 1 homemade gift. Three gifts represent the three types of gifts (frankincense, myrrh, and gold) presented to the Christ child.
    In our home we don't do "Santa Clause", instead we've taught the legend of St. Nick and each child will wake up to his/her Christmas stocking filled with fruit, nuts, candies and, while young, an occasional dollar store type toy.

    Nowadays we have a son who is preparing to marry, once married that son and his wife will receive "couples" gifts continuing the 3 gift theme - store bought: gift card to a favorite restaurant or venue, book: educational books on topics such as strengthening marriages, finances, childrearing, etc., homemade: Christmas ornament

    We haven't decided what gift giving tradition we will implement for any future grandchildren - but I suspect it will be something like a book or homemade gift, maybe both?

    From your post, it sounds like you and your family will enjoy an abundantly blessed Christmas season.
    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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    1. I did a similar thing when my kids were growing up, 3 gifts: 1 book, something they needed, something they wanted.
      When I was growing up we got one thing we wanted, a pair of jeans and socks and underwear. My oldest nephew didn't believe this when his dad told him, so he called and asked me, lol.

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    2. Hi Mrs. B.,
      I like your tradition very much! I think our budget is too small to apply it for each person. When my husband was working I used to try and buy a Christian book for each grandchild and gave many books to their parents along with their store bought gifts. I am a book lover! Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  3. Enjoying your post as always. I do not have much to add this week.. I'm actually losing ground in the things I do to save $. I've run into some unmoveable barriers. I'm thankful though that it will be fine. I do want to give our kids gifts and the grands, and we will be doing that--but I'm not making them this year. If I have time and feel well I hope to make some fast ornaments for the tree--its my new 2nd hand tree and its beautiful but its huge and I have just one box of things to decorate with. But-- I also have a lot of craft supplies, so hopefully the moments will come when I can do some things for it.

    I did not finish my leaf blowing either--and I think I may need to hire someone to do it afterall. My time this week got eaten up by yet another RX med reaction-which I am thankful wasn't more dangerous than it was, but it is still going on so I am pretty tired. Sometimes I think learning to be content on less- means learning to be content with less 'ability' to do more.

    Hope you stay warm and have a blessed week! :)

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  4. I have been staying out of stores and not reading ads. It helps that I don't get a newspaper.
    I gave my kids money. I told them enjoy it this year because next year it will be less.
    I am still crocheting dishcloths, 5 last night.
    For me the big thing is not to listen to detractors, like friends or family who don't like my decorating style of early garage sale/late attic with a smattering of hand-me-down. Really its very crafty with lots of quilts and cross stitch, which is my style, but I get criticized for my choices. I like looking around my house thinking: made that, got that at a garage sale, got that at salvation army, etc. In my living room only the loveseat and tv/dvd player were bought new.
    IDK why people like to criticize.
    enjoying the holiday season with my nativities up, my blue lighted mini tree and Miracle on 34th Street on the TV.

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    1. You are a fast crocheter! It takes me a long time to crochet 1 dishcloth! :-) I'm working on a crocheted Christmas tree as the pages load on my computer. :-)

      I'm sorry that people have criticized your home. I'm glad you are not listening. You never know what kind of influence you may have on others. They may criticize and then go home and think about what you've said or how you live differently and be intrigued. You are setting a good example to not be caught up in every new decorating trend. I always snicker to myself when I watch TV shows like House Hunters where the couples will inevitably walk into an older home and complain about the kitchen. But, that outdated 'kitchen' was very popular just a few years back. Who decides these fashions that stir up discontent in American's hearts? Why is their choice of decorating better than yours.. or mine? I know there is no way that I can keep up with The Jones on our budget... and I really don't want to. I hope you enjoyed 34th Street. :-)

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  5. A real key is as you say, stay out of the stores. I have done a little online shopping this year which keeps me away from stores…as long as there is free shipping. Saves gas money too. Enjoy these days!

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    1. Good for you! I love online shopping! I ordered quite a bit through Amazon this year. I had $75 in Swagbucks. Hope you are well!

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  6. Great suggestions, Georgene! I have a question about your blog! My name is Heather and if you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it!

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  7. Did some Christmas shopping Saturday with a friend. We went to a little Mexican place we both like for lunch. She had found out that they took their expired coupons on Saturdays, so she brought some along. We had a very affordable lunch. I had forgotten to stop at the ATM for cash, and we were already at the shopping center, so I decided to use our credit card. I knew what my budget was, and I stayed in that. But I really hate to use credit!

    We did great eating at home all week, but stopped at Wendy's for lunch yesterday on the way home from church.

    I like to shop at our Save a Lot in the neighborhood, and if I go on Monday mornings they have some marked down bakery items, usually $1 each. I recently got mini cupcakes and a dozen donuts for that price and put in my freezer. Our 11th grade girls Sunday school class is wrapping gifts for needy children tonight, and I have some of the cupcakes thawing out to take along. I also picked up some soft drinks for .69 each on black Friday. Always good to have on hand to take to a party.

    I'm cooking our daughter a birthday dinner this week, and had to go to Winn Dixie to get some of the things to make what she wants (stuffed pasta shells and a strawberry cake), but I used some coupons to help with my purchases. That's about it.

    Love the pics of the grandkids!

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    1. Coupons can save so much! Great idea about the picking up marked down bakery items to freeze and have on hand. I hope your daughter has a lovely birthday party! I like her menu choice! :-)

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  8. Hi, Georgene,
    I've been enjoying your blog for awhile, now. My story is similar to yours. We live in a 624 sq. ft. home since my husband was 'retired' several years ago. We're living on about 25% of what we were making then. It's a journey!
    You mentioned wanting some coconut oil. I have some to share, if you're interested. I bought a five gallon bucket many years ago and i still have about a foot left in the bottom of the bucket. (That made me chuckle to write that!). If you'd like some, e-mail me and i'll get some to you. My address is momsav@gmail.
    Have a wonderful night!
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie,
      Boy! Your story IS similar to mine! It sounds like you are doing a great job learning to live within your budget.

      Emailing you now... :-)

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  9. I love your blog and have a link to it posted in my sidebar. Your tips are great ! I often find food tucked into the back of the fridge that gets forgotten and I am ashamed of this, but I do have a flock of chickens who appreciate the scraps ( even though I did not intend it to be "scraps" ) and gain lovely, yummy eggs from spoils. Are you able to keep a few hens ? You'd be surprised how little it takes to feed them, especially with garden & food scraps, and what good eggs you get in return !

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    1. Thanks Kathy for linking to my blog. I've enjoyed my visit to your blog, too. I wish we had chickens. We raised chickens for years while living in the country. We actually have wild chicken roaming our neighborhood. I've told my husband I would love to catch them and make a pen. I am experiencing neck pain so I'm hesitant because I don't want to pick up the heavy feed bags. You're blessed to have fresh eggs!

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  10. Miss your posts when you don't post- hope to see a new post soon!

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  11. Do you ever do surveys to get free magazines for family and friends.Some of my family really enjoy these. You are such an inspiration. Love all your ideas. Right now their is a totally free offer on value mags.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  12. Hi Patti,
    I'd love to know about the free offer on mags. Can you email me? I'd also like to know how to get free magazines by doing surveys. Some magazines would make great gifts! Thanks so much!

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  14. Georgene,
    Hey my friend, I remembered this video I had watched when you mentioned your office being cold..it is a way to use clay pots with candles to create a space heater that uses only tea light candles. Love you my friend and hope your Christmas was blessed..<3<3 here is the link for the video..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKr806o4wdE

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