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,