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Discussion Starter #1
So our life has gotten a little chaotic in the last couple of weeks and frugality has been on my mind in a big, BIG way!

DH resigned from his job because of the toxic work environment--the negativity was spilling over into everything. In the week he's been home, he is like a different person...no stress, no negativity, just optimism I haven't seen in a long time. He's got over half a dozen jobs he's applied for or is in the process of applying for and he is just at peace which is a blessing in itself.

When he came home with the news he was resigning, I started thinking about whether or not I should go back to work. I've loved being a SAHM, but thought maybe it was time. Well lo and behold, a job fell into my lap out of the blue! God definitely provides! AND the best part is that I can work from home for the most part so I can still stay home with my babies! The pay is good, but I'm thinking long-term in that I may be the sole breadwinner for awhile so I need to make it stretch.

I've been totally inspired by Cricketlegs and her journey and I'm taking this season of our lives on as a "Getting Real" challenge. We will survive and thrive! I'm going to make it happen! :cheergrl:

~ I've doubled down on my efforts to stay under-budget on our grocery budget. I spent an hour today wrestling over a grocery list that has 15 items on it (there are multiples of those items on it though to help me stockpile some things during a GREAT sale at our grocery store)!
~ I've been planning our meals religiously over the last several months, but am focused even more on using what we have in the pantry and freezer and seeing what I can make myself rather than buy. The kids' constant snack cravings are proving to be a challenge, but I'm up for it!
~I've also been thinking more about saving on utilities; we've had the AC off and the windows open most days this week until it gets too warm and humid for us to stand it (DS's asthma and allergies work against me on this one!).
~ I've pulled out the Tightwad Gazette, the Miserly Mom, and all the other DIY books I have to keep me inspired and remind me of why I'm doing this.
~ And of course I have you all! While I've only been lurking lately, I am still gleaning so much know-how and inspiration from you!
 

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I am completely on board with you. Right now we're entering a new phase of our financial life as well. I'm going to need to accumulate a large stash of cash to finish off my daughter's college fund. Over the last three years, we've been so focused on paying off our house that we've allowed non-frugal spending to creep in because it didn't deter us from our mortgage payoff goal.

Now it's time for a total budget reset. Over the next several days, I'll be writing up a new budget that should take us through the end of the year.

I've got a very good menu plan based on the food I have on hand. I'll just need produce and dairy over the next two weeks.

Looking back over my recent shopping, I can see some things I never would have bought if I was on my game with careful purchasing:

- Two packs of fair trade organic chocolates. $6.00 (Didn't need at all.)

- Ice cream to celebrate house payoff. $6.00 (Have an alternate celebration dinner already budgeted.)

- Two packs of sandwich flats that I probably won't need until next week. $3.50 (Just too many--in the freezer they go.)

- Over buying my needed sucant--2 pounds would have been enough and I bought 4. $5.00 (Rationalized because the store is 16 miles away.)

That's $20.50 just at a quick glance. With a grocery budget of $100.00 per week, I overspent by almost 21%. Yikes! It's time to get real.

Respectfully,

Sally
 

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Oh, I should also add that I pulled out my copy of Miserly Moms for inspiration. Maybe a thread for a book club would be a fun way to discuss the chapters.

Respectfully,

Sally
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Holy moly, it's been a productive and frugal day! I got up early and hit the grocery store where I only went over my weekly food allowance by $3 and change (I will adjust next week's food budget down that much to compensate). I actually hit the sales to stockpile some things so there are some long-term food savings I was figuring in with this trip.

I came home and was putting the groceries away when I got the sudden urge to clean out/take inventory of our pantry. Now I've got everything organized and realize I have a couple of weeks worth of dinners ready to be assembled with just the stuff in there that I forgot I had! I also realized that I have more than enough baking supplies to last me until, and possibly through, the holidays! Yay!

I have also been thinking a lot about how I can be generous even during this time of financial uncertainty. I have a friend who just had a baby so I am going to try to stretch our supper tonight so I can make enough to take her family a meal.

I also read through my "Make It For Less" book and found a few DIY ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts that I'm excited to try!
 

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I spent some time in the kitchen today preparing breakfast foods for the week. Each of us gets up and eats at different times so I like to have plenty of "grab and go" things on hand.

I ground wheat to make 10 cups of flour. From it I made:

6 cups of whole wheat muffin mix. I used some of it to make a dozen blueberry muffins. The rest of the mix in in the freezer.

6 cups if whole wheat "bisquik" type mix. From that my husband made a double batch of waffles for the freezer. He made 9 8 inch round waffles.

I also made one 8 inch pan of oatmeal strawberry bars.

Lastly, I mixed up a batch of pie crust to roll out later this week when I make a spinach, mushroom and Swiss quiche. The house was just too humid to successfully roll out pastry today.

I would like to have made a batch of granola but I didn't have all the ingredients in hand. Making dinner seemed more of a priority anyway.

Respectfully,

Sally
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The frugal journey continues! We haven't spent any money today which is a good thing. I'm going for at least two no-spend days this week so I'm 1 for 2!

DH found three more job listings he's going to apply for this week. I've also spent some time on a money-saving Facebook page as I was online throughout the day. SO many good tips between that page and FV!

Tonight we're going to a baseball game and then home to finish up some work and some laundry. A few more bills to pay tomorrow and I have to get the rest of this week's menu figured out. Gotta get my frugal game face on so I can tackle the rest of the week with some intensity!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I WON! A couple of weeks ago a friend was having a Norwex party. (Norwex products help you eliminate the use of tons of chemicals and other yucky stuff to clean and instead you just use the Norwex cloths and water.) She was doing a "mystery hostess" so anyone who made a purchase would be entered for the chance to be drawn as the Mystery Hostess. Well I WON! I ended up winning over $800 of Norwex products and it was all delivered to my house today! What a wonderful start to the week!
 

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After a busy weekend with family, yesterday I got back to my frugal duties.

- I froze 2 1/2 pints of chicken stock that I made from the bones from Friday's dinner chickens.

- I chopped up the remaining meat from those same chickens and made chicken salad for Monday night's dinner and Tuesdays lunch boxes.

- I walked to Aldi to buy lettuce so I could make chicken salad wraps for today's lunch boxes.

- I also wiped out the fridge and tossed a few things that really needed to go. This helped cement my menu plan for the next three days.

I'm considering trying a menu plan posted by a blogger that assembles 20 meals using ingredients from Aldi and costs $150.00.

Have a frugal day, everyone!

Respectfully,

Sally
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm considering trying a menu plan posted by a blogger that assembles 20 meals using ingredients from Aldi and costs $150.00.

Have a frugal day, everyone!
Can you put a link to that blog here or start a new thread under this topic with that info? I bet a lot of people would like to check that out!
 

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Today I busy and made laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, and candles. Felt good about that since my goal was to do groceries for $50 this week. Then I went to the grocery store, with a list but with no menu plan. I stayed within my budget, but if we didn't already have several critical items (a flat of eggs, some venison and shrimp in the freezer, a garden producing like crazy) I never would have made it. I've got to get back to making menus before I go to the grocery store.
 

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Today I busy and made laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, and candles. Felt good about that since my goal was to do groceries for $50 this week.
Please share how you make dishwasher tabs. I've made powdered dishwasher detergent before and it was a epic fail. But it's two years since then and time to try again.

Respectfully,

Sally
 

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Here is the recipe I use:

1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
3/4 Cup Lemon Juice

Yesterday I made half a batch because I was low on Epsom Salts, but it filled one ice tray. They have been drying overnight and are still not quite dry enough to pop out of the trays. I always try to make these a few days before I'm actually going to need them.

There may be an additional post with a link for this recipe. I think a moderator had to approve that one?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Here is the recipe I use:

1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
3/4 Cup Lemon Juice

Yesterday I made half a batch because I was low on Epsom Salts, but it filled one ice tray. They have been drying overnight and are still not quite dry enough to pop out of the trays. I always try to make these a few days before I'm actually going to need them.

There may be an additional post with a link for this recipe. I think a moderator had to approve that one?
Do you just store these in a baggy? And do you just use one tablet per load of dishes? Do you have to use any sort of rinse aid?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Browned four pounds of beef tonight and stuck three 1-pound bags in the freezer for future use on a busy night when supper needs to be pulled together quickly. I just added onion powder and dried minced garlic to the whole batch so it will be versatile enough to be used on pizza, for tacos, in spaghetti sauce, as sloppy joes, etc.

I also spent an hour at the library stocking up on books and movies for the holiday weekend.

A simple, fairly frugal day!
 

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This morning I made a bunch of odds and ends in effort to offset any desire to spend our eating out budgets over the holiday weekend. I'm holding those funds out for a driving trip 8 days from now when we will need to get food on the road.

My goal was to make some salads and snacks:

- Cole slaw

- Carrot Raisin salad

- Potato Salad

- Asian Style Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

- Deviled Eggs

I also made some breakfasts:

- Blueberry Muffins

- Banana Muffins

- Amish Baked Oatmeal (to be baked tomorrow morning)

After a rest break, I would like to make brownies (I'll have to walk to Aldi for chocolate chips), granola and broccoli cranberry salad. I've also got garbanzo beans soaking to be cooked in the crockpot over night for hummus and falafel.

Whew!

For the moment I'm going to forget all about food and rest up so I can enjoy my time in my kitchen and the food I assemble.

Respectfully,

Sally
 

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Aspiring to be Frugal, I fill up the sections of a plastic ice tray and then leave them sitting out until they're nice and dry. Then I just store them in a plastic box under my sink. I use one tab per load. I typically soak the dishes with sticky stuff on them when I'm using these tabs (uses less water than rinsing), because they aren't as good as the expensive store-bought stuff. I've never had to use a rinse aid, though. Really, these tabs work quite well unless you've got sticky dishes.
 

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We have a good size pantry and freezer reserve so we enacted a no spending month for July. The only exception to that is $50 allowance each that we can do whatever we want with, fuel money for my car and $50 for fun with the kids. For instance when we are out at a park and I want to get them an ice cream or something like that. Everything else other than bills we are just leaving in our checking and August 1st I will let my husband know how much we have accumulated. It should be a good amount since we are not stepping foot in any stores or doing any shopping. When fresh veg is gone by middle July we move to frozen only. I do have enough garlic and onions for the month. I think we will be surprised!
 
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