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,


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!