Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frugal Living--this one's for you, Heather from TX

Question for you: I am trying to think of ways to live cheaper. I use cloth diapers, breastfeed, cook, we dont go out, I try to go to town only twice a week, hang clothes, thinking of maybe making baby food, am I leaving anything out? What else is there to cut expenses?

Answer(s) for you:
There are many ways to live more frugally. "Cheaper" isn't always better, though I know what you mean--and I think you meant "frugal".
I think to live more frugal is to live smarter.

I am always asking myself: is there a better way I can do this?

Definitely--cloth diapering is better. Better for the environment, better for your baby. The hard part is the initial outlay of $$. The pay off is when you can re-use them for future babies. I wish I would have started cloth diapering much sooner.

Breastfeeding, too--much better all the way around! Always ready, made just right for Baby--and it's FREE.

Cooking is way cheaper than going out. There are so many ways to stretch things out, too. Doubling the noodles or rice and halving the amount of meat, for example.
I've been trying something new lately and that is that we have the same thing every day for a month. Except I think it's been more than a month.
Let me explain.
It gets tiring for me to have to think of what to cook all the time...planning a menu and grocery list...bleh.
So the kids and I sat down and made up a weekly menu.
They offered suggestions and we came up with what we would eat each day, for dinner and supper.
Each Monday, we have homemade pizza for dinner and BBQ's and chips for supper.
Each Tuesday is tuna sandwiches and then spaghetti with garlic bread.
And so on, for each day.
I wrote up a grocery list, in the order that things are shelved at the store, and I have made copies of it for each trip to the store.
I add to the list anything that has come up during the week, like salt, for example.

This method has simplified the shopping, the cooking, and the planning.
I think we've been doing this for just over a month.
We'll soon be taking out a few meals and putting in some others, for variety.

Store-bought baby food--blech. You are much better off to just mush up whatever you're having. Depending on baby's age, of course. Otherwise, get some avocado, bananas, and start mushing.
Cheaper and better.

I do my shopping on one day. It happens to be Tuesday. This is my "going to town" day. The children know this and so if they have things to get from town with their money, they know that is the day we will go. This is also when we stop at the library. We utilize the internet to request the books from the library and they have them all set to go so we only have to stop at the counter to pick them up.
It makes for a big tiring day in town and I have considered splitting it into two days--grocery store on one day and Wal-Mart/Target and the library on another, but a day gone from home is a day I can't get work done here, so we just plow through and I go on one day.

My clothesline--I love it!! Definitely cheaper than an electricity-hogging dryer.

So what else to cut expenses??
I'm so glad you asked!!

Make your own laundry soap
and dishwasher detergent.

Use this for washing your floors.

Re-use your coffee filters.

Have everyone wear their pj's more than once.

Shop at Goodwill.

Again, constantly ask yourself, is there a better, more frugal way I could accomplish this?

So what do you guys think?
What have I left out?


  1. Thank you so much! Do you use samaritan ministries or medi share for health insurance? We don't have insurance and in the past 6 months we are paying 8,000 for the birth of our daughter and I had to have my appendix removed so that is 13,000 we are paying on. I was thinking about samaritan because it covers maternity and thats expensive 8,000 or more every time you have a baby. so now my husband says no more babies until we pay off all these medical bills. Thanks Heather from Texas

  2. You may have to employ some of the "manpower" you have at your disposal for this one, but I think vegetable gardening would fall into the frugal category. Seeds are very inexpensive to buy and yield many times over. It's so much fun to watch things grow when God provides the sunshine and rain. Although I realize the time commitment to tilling, weeding and harvesting, and there is some cost involved with freezing/canning, I get real peace of mind knowing where our food comes from. Controlling the sugar, salt, preservatives, etc., in the food we eat makes very good sense. Fresh from the garden tastes the best. I prefer freezing for retention of vitamins but do can tomatoes, pickles and sauces. Over the winter we rarely have to buy any veggies. Did you know you can use honey instead of sugar in the syrup for canned fruit sauces such as peaches and cherries? I've seen kids really enjoy hulling peas and sweet corn, so they can be a big help, too. I'll be freezing strawberries soon...mmm good!

  3. I made baby food for my last baby (11 years ago!). I would buy canned sweet potatoes in their own juice (not sweetend syrup) and blend them in a blender with a little water or the sweet potato juice and then would freeze it in ice cube trays. I would then put the "sp" cubes in a ziplock freezer bag and one cube would be a meal for my baby. It worked out really slick! You could do this with other foods as well, peaches, pears, green beans, etc. Just be sure to use canned foods without sodium or sugar or use fresh.

  4. Great ideas! I'm always looking for ways to be frugal, while not cutting quality. :-)


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