Thursday, January 30, 2020

Frugality & Older Cookbooks, Plus a Great Resource

Items like old cookbooks might seem outdated and irrelevant in this day and age, but that simply isn't true.

Some of my favorite cookbooks are from the 1970s time period. To me cookbooks from that era have recipes that are based more on cooking from scratch than they are convenience or specialty foods. 

To that end I would like to share a great resource with you.

The Internet Archive is a great place for looking up old cookbooks. There are multiple cookbooks on thrifty cooking as well, such as this one for Most for your Money cookbook. 

Membership is free and you can even borrow books online for up to two weeks. 

Of course this resource offers much more than just cookbooks, so be sure to check it out when you have some extra time. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Frugal Strategies to Stretch Your Budget

Here are some of my favorite strategies for saving money. Since everyone's situation and resources are different, these may or may not work for you. But feel free to adapt any of these strategies to your own way of life. 

Frugal living is a tool, which you will want to tailor to the way you live. Use these tips as much or as little as you want, according to your needs.

Get it for Less ~ Find a cheaper source for things you already buy. Do your research and challenge yourself to always the lowest prices. Be on the lookout for new sources on a regular basis, you may be surprised at what you find. 

Make It Last ~ Take care of what you own to make the item last as long as possible. Maintain your tools both inside your home and in your garage. Learn to do your own home and car maintenance and repairs. There are many ways to stretch the life of the things you own. YouTube is a wealth of information on this topic. 

Use It Less ~ Conserve your time, energy and resources. If you plan out your shopping trips and only go once a week, hitting everything you need to, then you are using less gas, and causing less wear and tear on your car. If your home is properly insulated, you are using less electricity or natural gas to heat/air condition it. You can get longer use out of light bulbs by remembering to turn lights off when not in use. The same goes for items that use batteries. 

Use It Up ~ Use up those leftovers in your kitchen, use the food scraps to either make broth or compost them in your garden. Reuse items you would normally throw away. 

Plastic containers, glass jars, cereal boxes, peanut butter jars, and sour cream containers call all be reused in a variety of ways. Be resourceful and creative to use up those things you already own.

Wear it Out ~ Get the full use out of something before you toss it. Maintain, repair, repair again, and recycle. When those items get worn out, recycle them in your own craft room and garden.

Make It Do ~ If you don't have what you need, find something to fill the void until you can find an inexpensive alternative. 

Do Without ~ Ask yourself if you really have to have the item in question. When it comes down to it we don't need as much as we think we do. Frugal Queen mentioned on Facebook this week that they need very little to survive. Whenever possible, do without to save money. 

Make it Yourself - If the things you need are too expensive try and come up with ways you can make the item for less. Many of my readers know I upcycle scrub shirts to make my daughter's cloth pads with. There are multiple YouTube videos that will show you how to do just about anything you put your mind to. 

Grow Food ~ Shocked at the prices of food in the grocery stores these days? Have you thought about growing some of your own food to save money? You can grow herbs, tomatoes, leaf, iceberg, or romaine lettuce, greens, onions, brussel sprouts, etc. The possibilities are endless. 

Trade it ~ Barter your goods and skills for something you need.

Put The Word Out ~ You've heard the term networking? Not only is it good for your employment, but it can also work when you need something. Tell others when you need something in particular. 

On my personal Facebook page I've seen requests for glass jars and egg cartons from teachers and I've always been able to help them out. Oftentimes you can find exactly what you looking for at no cost. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living from Frugal Workshop.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wants verses Needs

Which would you rather have? 

$25 Restaurant Meal 
 $25 Worth of Groceries 

We need food to survive, but it doesn't have to be a restaurant meal, so a restaurant meal can easily turn into a want. If I had my choice I might pick the restaurant meal, but if I'm looking to save money that I would choose the $25 worth of groceries. 

If you look at the food spending of an average American family you'll see that eating outside the home is one of the most common items to break the budget. 

Many Americans knowingly spend more than they can afford on dining out. Of course we say it all the time here, but one of the best ways to save money in this category is to eat at home. 

Wants verses needs. How do we decide? In the end it comes down to personal choices and lucky for us we have the freedom to choose what's right for us. 

If we are looking to save money how do we decide which is better for our budget? Let's take a look at some examples of basic needs turning into wants.

Water- To stay hydrated, all you need is water. However, this need can turn into a want with things like bottled water or fancier seltzer waters. Fiji water is a natural artesian water that has minerals that are good for you, but of course that makes it more expensive too.

The water that comes out of our faucets is cleaner than much of the water in third world countries. They have it so much harder than we do and so I'm grateful for the clean water we have.

Food - Food can come in many forms, and the healthier the better. But, going out to eat all the time turns this need into a want and can cause you to spend more than necessary.

Several of the frugal/personal finance people write about not eating out. Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette, Jaspreet Singh from Minority Mindset along with several others state that they do not eat out at all.

Food is a necessity and while a restaurant meal might be something we would like to have, we don't need it to survive. If you're careful, $25 worth of groceries can stretch much farther than a $25 restaurant meal.

Shelter - The place you decide to live doesn’t have to break your budget. You can rent a room from someone, live in an apartment, a tiny home, a mobile home, etc. But this need can become a want if you overspend or buy something above your means.

Clothing - Clothing needs include such things as pants, shirts, shoes and undergarments. You can get affordable clothing by shopping for items you know will fit within your budget.

This spending category can easily turn into a want, however. Expensive clothing and shoes can easily end up costing you thousands of dollars, and those things are not needed in order to survive.

Learning to differentiate between wants and needs will help you stay out of debt, which can help you reach financial freedom sooner. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, January 19, 2020

My Frugal Week ~

This week I was able to work four days and brought lunch and drinks all four days. I made egg salad over the weekend and took those for sandwiches this week. 

Payday came this week and again my check was shorted. ::sigh:: I've already texted the school secretary and she will look into it when we go back to school on Tuesday. 

In My Frugal Kitchen:

We went to the bread outlet in Chattanooga this week and found 12 pack of hamburger buns for 50¢, which was a great deal. 

We also went to Food City to pick up their 5 meat items for $14.99 deal. 

On Tuesday Bailey found two hams on markdown at 50% off at Aldi. She also picked up some red grapes and onions. 

Tuesday is our family movie night and we normally eat dinner while we watch a movie. This week we watched the film, Searching, which tells the story through the computer screen. It kept my attention the whole time. 

On Thursday we went to do some grocery shopping and stopped in at Chick-Fil-A to get in on their free 8 piece chicken nugget. It's a freebie on their app available to anyone who has a Chick-Fil-A in their area.

Somehow I got a slow leak in a tire this week. I took it to the place where I bought my tires and they found a small screw in it. They fixed it for me and didn't charge me anything for the repair. 

I hope you all have had a good frugal week. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The High Cost of Eating Out

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Back when I was growing up going out to eat was considered a real treat.  Times have changed though and these days the number of people who eat out regularly has grown to the point that grocery store shopping is declining. 

According to Eddie Yoon of the Harvard Business Review, grocery shopping and cooking are in a long term decline.  He's conducted a survey that determined Americans fell into one of three categories:

- 10 percent said they love to cook
- 45 percent said they hate to cook
- 45 percent are ambivalent about cooking

These days it is easier than ever to not cook at home and simply eat out. In fact, the average household spent an average of $3,459 on dining out in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Yoon states that "even categories that can hardly be considered “cooking” — such as cold, ready-to-eat cereal — are losing sales as people buy breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, or even Taco Bell". 

In response to this issue there are even companies today like Fresh Start Foods and Home Chef, which have have created prepared meal kits that include everything needed to cook a quick meal delivered straight to your door. 

Although some of these companies offer special low prices to new customers,  the regular prices can be prohibitive for many people.The downside to the food subscription services is that the you will pay dearly for the time you save in convenience with these services.

Meal kits can be cheaper than eating at a restaurant, but they are still more expensive than buying the ingredients and cooking yourself. 

And these calculations don’t account for the fact that grocery shopping can mean you’re left with extra food that you won't have when you use a meal delivery service. 

For those people with the means to spend money eating out regularly this might not be an issue. But the majority of Americans cannot afford to engage in such a costly habit. Especially when it comes to not having money to pay for everyday expenses like insurance, or an emergency, or having no money set aside for retirement.

Our food budget is one of our bigger expenses each month, which means that we’re very interested in ways to reduce our food spending while also adding variety to our meals. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

My Frugal Week ~ January 11, 2020

It was back to the grindstone this week and I ended up working three days bringing lunch and drinks with me all three days. 

This week I cashed in points from Checkpoints for $3 in Amazon credit. I'm going to save my credit and buy some Wonder Clips for sewing as I am running out of straight pins as they bend when I make cloth pads with them.  

On Saturday I worked on making a casserole hot pad big enough for a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Looking back now I don't know why I didn't think of making these sooner. We've always doubled up on hot pads to fit a casserole dish, but no longer. 

I made another one of Friday, so now I have a matching set. These would make great gifts for friends and family too. If your interested in making these, here is a tutorial on how to do that. 

This week I listed more items on eBay and sold three items. One of the items was a tripod and I packaged it to mail, but when my daughter went to ship it she realized I didn't charge enough shipping. So, she repackaged it for me making it as small as could be and saved me $11 in shipping charges. 

My daughter gave me a Pampered Chef Mix & Chop for Christmas. I've already made tacos with it once and today I made egg salad. I was surprised at how heavy duty it was. It's a handy little tool for the kitchen, which makes fast work of some jobs. 

On Thursday I wrote a letter and filled out another application for free prescription medicine. 

These items were printed out using the printer we bought at a yard sale this summer for $3.00. Afterwards it was unplugged as there is no sense in having it plugged in, using electricity, when we only use it sparingly. 

My doctor will have to fill out a portion of it, but is the person who let me know about the free program, so I know she will be happy to do this for me. 

My Dad has fixed our driveway using his tractor and it is so much better than it was before. It has no potholes or ditches running through it. We do have heavy rain in the forecast for the weekend, but I'm hoping it will spare our driveway. 

Bailey's no spend January and our no eating out is going well. We have not eaten out any this month and have no plans to in order to save our money. 

We've not spent any money at the grocery store this month either, but have been using the food in our pantry. I've been cooking all meals from home and we've been eating up the leftovers, so no food waste either. 

We had ordered three books from a seller on Amazon for my Mom. They only sent two of the books and I asked the seller who said to give it more time. In the end the book didn't show and the seller gave me a refund this week. 

All of our Christmas decorations have been taken now and placed back into storage. The house seems bare to me now, but we did move some things back into their regular place, which did help some. 

On Friday we went to McKay's Used Books. Mom has been enjoying reading John Grisham books lately, so I looked for her and found several of his books for 5¢ each, which is such a bargain. She was tickled to get them too. 

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.

Friday, January 3, 2020

My Frugal Week

Last week I found a spice jar of chili powder for 56¢. I found it in the Crash & Burn section, and I suspect it was there because it had no lid. No problem for me as I just put it in my larger bottle and enjoy the savings.

This was the second year I participated in the My Frugal Home Secret Santa gift exchange. Lucky me, Erin at My Frugal Home picked my name and sent me a package of Shower Steamers she makes and sells in her online shop. 

On Wednesday we started to take down our Christmas decorations. I took each ornament from our tree and wrapped them lovingly in tissue paper until next year. 

This week I made multiple phone calls to help us save money this year on prescription drugs. At least two of my prescriptions I am able to get for free while others I use the Publix program of 3 months for $7.50. 

Today the FedEx man delivered one of my free prescriptions for the month, which was great as it saved me the gas money from having to go to town. 

My daughter is having a no spend January and has challenged me to not eat out this month. Challenge accepted!

I earned a 20 Swagbucks collector's bill on New Year's Day, which I thought was pretty neat. 

Since I had extra time at home this week due to the school holiday, I used some of my time to clean out my pantry and cabinets, which always get messy during the holidays. 

I wiped them down with hot soapy water and reorganized them. Now it will be easier to cook and bake in there since everything is organized again. 

Doing this also helped me come up with several dinner ideas I hadn't thought about in a while. 

Today I've listed several items for sale on eBay and even sold one item this week. 

We have spent a lot of time at home this week not venturing out spending money or using up our gas. We've been working around our home and in our free time playing games and working on a Harry Potter puzzle. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Thank you for your continued support and friendship this past year. Your friendships have encouraged me and brightened many of my days.

I wish each and every one of you a year filled with love, peace, prosperity, good health and happiness.  

Here's to a wonderful 2020 for all of us!

~ Living within our Means ~
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