I meant to make this post Friday, but didn’t get around to it, sorry it’s a little late.

You know what I like about these kinds of posts? As I think of what things I’ll choose to share about, it reminds me that spending less money is not always something big and huge, but those little things we do day-in and day-out really do matter.

Cameron and I are opposites when it comes to money saving strategies. I thrive on the little things, like finding coins or cutting our meat with beans. But he’s the one who finds ways to save big, like living in a travel trailer, or spending lots of time researching cars before we buy one. But in the end both of our methods save. His saves big chunks of money every now and then, and my ways save just little bits, but it’s on a regular daily basis.

So if you’re feeling discouraged in your money saving goals, remember those little things you do, really can make a difference, and it’s really encouraging to write a few of them out, just as a reminder to yourself. And I love it when you share them here too, it makes my day and might give me some good ideas!

  • This brown dress was in perfect condition other than a button loop needing to be reattached, so after a quick fix, it’s perfectly wearable.
  • Speaking of sewing, Gracia got a hole in the seam of the other dress pictured above. She’s gotten her fair share of wear out of this dress, but I figured she could get just a little more use out of it, so I stitched it up.

  • I got a Shutterfly book finished today, just in time to use the coupon code for a free book!! Woo-hoo! They usually cost about $30, but I just had to pay for shipping and taxes.
  • We spent lots of time outdoors. The kids love playing outside with friends and what can I say… it’s FREE!
  • Oh, and even though I’m usually the one saving money in little areas, I think I’m wearing off on Cameron. The other day I noticed he had watered down his almost empty bottle of soap. :)

What have you done this week to save a buck or two?
Joy Focused Learning – See more at: http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/search/label/Anything%20goes#sthash.PEKprUs5.dpuf

Amy

I’ve been told by a reader or two that they can’t do all of the things I mention on the blog to save money because of location or other factors. As I think of moving overseas in 10 months, I know that many of the things I do now, I won’t be able to do then, like get freebies in the mail, price-match, use coupons (although I rarely do anyways), and some of the foods that are cheap here might not be cheap there. While a lot of thrifty tips can only work for some, there are still underlying principles to frugal living that can apply no matter where you are or what your situation is.

Use Less

Whether it’s cutting back on the amount of shampoo you use, eating the right portions of foods, watering down your soap, or learning to use less water, simply using less can decrease your budget.

Use it All

I’m really trying to work on this area, particularly in food. Getting food eaten up before it goes bad…I know it’s a first world problem if I ever saw one. But also using up other things like all the soap and shampoo in the bottle, cuz after all there’s more in there than we realize.

Be Creative With What You Have

This can be done in a million and one ways. Maybe it’s making a wooden seat for an old tricycle that was available for free, or substituting sour cream for yogurt in a recipe, or who knows what. I’ve found that creating something using what I have is actually rather satisfying…extremely satisfying in fact! And it makes for more variety in life. The more experience I get in cooking with leftovers, the more my recipes change depending on what needs to get used up. And as you make things using what you have, you end up with stuff that’s unique.


Just Say No

We don’t have to buy everything in our path, sometimes the best way to save money isn’t to find the best price or come up with a cheaper alternative, sometimes it’s just to live without it. While this can sometimes feel the like a harder or less fun option, it’s often the simplest.

Be Content

And it all boils down to the heart…if we’re discontent and we’re trying to find happiness in earthly stuff, then we’re gonna feel like we’re cheating ourselves if we don’t buy everything that tempts us. I think if we (including myself) could get control over this one thing many of our spending problems would be fixed.

Amy 
Joy Focused Learning – See more at: http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/search/label/Anything%20goes#sthash.PEKprUs5.dpuf

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a grocery/menu post. My grocery shopping was minimal this week. We have plenty of hamburger meat in the freezer so I didn’t need to buy any protein other than a bag of lentils, and we have a variety of things in the pantry. Plus a couple of the things on my list to buy were actually donated to our school making my grocery list even smaller.

I spent about $40 on food. I price matched a 3 lb. bag of onions for 79 cents, 2 8 oz. boxes of mushrooms for 99 cents/each, and 3 16 oz. bags of baby carrots for 69 cents/each.

Here’s our menu plan, which I’m sure I won’t follow exactly, cuz I never do:

Breakfasts: breakfast rice, oatmeal, eggs, toast, smoothies, breakfast burritos

Lunches: leftovers, burritos, quesadillas and sandwiches

Suppers:

Linked at Organized Junkie.

It seems so simple…so “duh!” but yet I don’t think most of us really realize how much we waste by not getting everything out. Whether it’s mustard in the bottle, toothpaste in the tube, or whatever. When I started cutting, scraping, shaking and slicing, I was shocked at how much was still in those containers!

Scrape it

I love my rubber spatula! That bad boy can scrape more out of a bowl of batter, or a jar of mayo. Although mine in particular is too big for some jars and bottles…but that’s where cutting them open comes in.

Cut it
Once when I cut open a mustard bottle I was able to scrap at least 1/2 Tablespoon out of it.

See how much mustard was still in there?

 

Cut tubes of toothpaste and lotion to get a few more uses out of them.

I now always cut open my tubes of toothpaste, and though I haven’t kept exact track of how much longer I use them after that, it’s probably a few days if not a week.

Keep it upside down

When the honey starts getting low, upside down it goes! Same with many other things, but that’s a no-brainer, in fact many products are sold the with lids on the bottom just for that purpose.

Add water and shake

I don’t do this with everything…watered down mayonnaise anyone? But it works just fine with liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner, liquid laundry detergent, etc…

You can even water down food items if you’re going to be using them in a recipe. Like if you’re making a salad dressing that calls for mustard, shake one of the liquid ingredients (like vinegar) up in the mustard jar to get more out. I often rinse my tomato sauce jars with water then dump it in the pot. Amy Dacyczyn talks about shaking milk up in a jelly jar and then using it to make fruit flavored popsicles.

What did I miss? What ways do you make sure you get every last drop out?

Amy

 
Joy Focused Learning – See more at: http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/search/label/Anything%20goes#sthash.PEKprUs5.dpuf
 

1. Shopped from my pantry, then price matched and shopped sales, so I didn’t spend too much on groceries.

2. I’m having fun trying to do home school activities with the kids using what I have around the house, like for music week they banged on an oatmeal canister for a drum and I put two spoons together with a rubber band for them to play the spoons. I like collecting ideas on my home school board and home school craft board.

3. Made a couple of batches of homemade granola bars, but the second batch was so crumbly, I didn’t feel like I could really call them bars, so instead I put them in our granola jar and decided it was just granola!

4. Cut open the kid’s tube of toothpaste and got a few more uses out of it.

5. Last, but not least. I picked some wild watercress…and I must say it tasted better than tumbleweed. :) Speaking of foraging watercress, here’s an article on it, and here’s another one that mentions watercress giving you liver fluke…whatever that is…but I got it from a flowing stream feed by a spring, so I’m hoping that means my liver doesn’t go all fluke on me.

Watercress salad- free, other than the cheese, oil and seasonings and SUPER healthy and fresh!

 

What are 5 things you’ve done this week to spare a buck or two? I love hearing ideas from all of you!

Amy

I’ve been reading lots of great articles lately about fostering and adopting and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. So grab some kleenex and read away…

Adoption Story Written by God

 

Another Perspective on Birth Families and Foster Care

 

It’s Not About You

 

 

 

 

 

1. Cashed in another 450 swag bucks* for a $5 Amazon gift card.
2. Price-matched getting avocados for 29 cents each, bananas for 29 cents/lb., and cantaloupe for $1.49 each. Price-matching helps us eat healthy on a budget.

I didn't get a picture of the cards I made this week, but here's some I made a long time ago.

3. Made  some thank you cards. Making homemade cards isn’t necessarily cheaper, depending on how much you spend on materials, but I was able to use rubber stamps that have been gifted to me and re-purpose some old cards into new ones.

4. For a fun evening we let the kids watch Winnie the Pooh in a tent they made, while Cameron and I played 2 rounds of Pandemic*. What I love about games is that they can be played over and over again, with no extra charge, just the initial cost (but we did buy this game on sale). Speaking of entertainment costs, our expenses in this area has gone way down since moving to Missouri. We quit our Netflix account and we don’t rent Redbox as much as we used to. One advantage to being busy is we have less time to spend watching movies! Also that fact that we sold our TV and now have to watch things on a small laptop screen make it a little less tempting. :)

5. Darned a sock! The funny part is, I just discovered that it’s match has a hole, so it looks like I’ll be getting more darn practice!

What are 5 things you’ve done to spend a little less money this week?

*Affiliate/referral links

Linked at Frugally Sustainable.


Amy

I own this nice pair of super warm Red Head socks. I don’t know how much they cost, since they were a gift 2 Christmases ago, but they feel like really good quality. After looking up that brand socks, I didn’t find this exact pair right away and decided not to waste more time, but compared to the other socks in that brand and similar styles I think saying they cost $8 is pretty fair. So one sock is $4, but we all know you can’t buy just one sock. In fact a good tip for saving on socks is to buy a pack of the same color so if one wears a hole you can just match the good one up with another. Either that or just be cool with wearing mis-matched socks…which I do and I think it’s very fashionable.

I used the Zero Waste Home’s tutorial as my guide, and I highly recommend it if you’ve never darned a sock before. My socks are grey, but the only grey yarn I have is really thick, so instead I opted for some thin white yarn. It doesn’t blend in as well, but I figure the hole’s on the bottom, how many people are really gonna see? And if they do….I really don’t care, it’s not like I’m gonna wear these to a fancy event or anything.

Anyways….onto the money savings. Lets say that I saved $4 by darning this. The amount of yarn I used to darn it is pretty insignificant and it was some I had already on hand.  It took me about 10 minutes to do, and that was with me stopping to take pictures.

So I saved $4 in 10 minutes, that’s $24/hour “savings wage.” TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Plus:

  • Saves these socks from going into the trash, or at my house they go into the rag bucket first, but these are just too nice for the rag bucket.
  • Didn’t take much time to fix.
  • Gave me yet again much needed practice with needle work!

 

Yay for warm feet!

 

You may also like Simple Mending & is it Really Worth it, where I mended a couple of shirts and broke down my savings per hour.

Linked at Frugally Sustainable and The Shabby Nest.

Amy

Write them in the  snow (if snow is lacking, sand and dirt work too) :)


Build them with Legos, this gets tricky with some letters, but works great with some letters, like I,L,T, etc…

Spray some shaving cream on the table and draw the shape with your finger.

Form the letters with playdough.


Use dry beans to make the shape of the letter.

 

PS- I’m back on pinterest. I had gotten off of it because I was just spending more time than I wanted on it. But I’ve now reactivated my account and am trying to use it as a helpful tool in finding ideas (mostly home school ideas) and keep those ideas organized, so if you want to follow me, feel free!

 

Amy 

I’m enjoying these 5 Frugal Things posts so much! Thanks My Mothermode for the inspiration! :)

1. Picked up the check for $39.19 we made at the consignment store! :)
2. Made a batch of pinto beans in the pressure cooker, I used some in chili the next day and the rest I froze, so this isn’t just a money saver, but a time saver too.


3. Had myself a little cooking session earlier in the week baking a double batch of cheese muffins and a double batch of flour tortillas.
4. Made some veggie broth with veggie scraps in my pressure cooker and used the  broth to make soup.

Veggies and scraps ready to be made into stock!

5. I’m trying out this homemade version of oxiclean to see if it helps some armpit stains.

Not so frugal:

Bought some green beans and noticed they weren’t so fresh looking, I made a mental note to cook them soon…soon turned into a few days and I ended up tossing over half of them. :( But the rest tasted great sauted up with olive oil, salt and garlic powder!

Took the kids to watch a movie for Little Dude’s birthday, then went to Wendy’s afterwards. Speaking of which did you know Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s was adopted and a portion of the proceeds from Wendy’s goes to help kids available for adoption from foster care? You can read all about the Dave Thomas foundation here.

What are 5 things you’ve done to spend less money this week?

Amy 

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