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Last week I published my one hundred and twelfth post!

If you’ve been following me for long, you know that I write as a simple homemaker, recording some of my personal reflections on

* “HOME LIFE” (the things that affect the way we live together),

* “HEALTHY LIVING” (tasty food, natural cleaning and self-care recipes) and

* “MATTERS OF THE HEART” (that part of you that plays into every other area of life).

As a wife and homeschooling mother to our 5 children, it’s the stuff I’ve discovered, practiced and implemented in our home (though certainly not perfected!). There’s nothing super special about my musings, but it’s a way for me to record my own journey, my thoughts and passions… and a way for me to have a ‘hard-copy’ of things I’ll want to hand off to my own kids someday. I also hope that it’s found useful, encouraging or enlightening to YOU, dear reader!112

I can hardly believe that it’s already been a little over two years since I started on this blogging journey. But since I’ve remained fairly consistent about posting each week, that means that I have about 37 entries in each of the above three categories! I thought I’d spend the next few weeks highlighting some of my older posts.

Today, I’m showcasing a few of entries from the category “HOME LIFE”. If any of the snippets sound interesting, simply click on the colored words. It’ll take you right to that blog post. Check them out! May they be a blessing to your day.

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~  Whatever I own, ultimately owns me. As I press forward, as I re-evaluate this fall, I want to keep this in mind. I want to be content with simplicity.

 

~  Is he actually saying that by being overly committed, over involved outside of home, that I may lose what, in fact, is most important to us? Our family?

 

~  You don’t have to have answers. You don’t need to make things appear sunny and bright. Life is hard. Things happen that we don’t understand, that we can’t explain, that we don’t like. The uncomfortable is uncomfortable… but not unbearable when you’re in relationships.

 

~  I thought I’d share some of the money saving tips that we’ve used and benefited from. If you find one or two that can help you and your family pinch pennies, I’ll be just tickled!

 

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Next week, we’ll browse the category “HEALTHY LIVING”. Looking forward to it! But for today, make your home and family a priority. You’ll not regret it!

Dollar Discretion

                When my husband and I married, we were both working full time. But before our first child was born, I resigned from my position and we went from a DINK (double-income-no-kid) scenario to a single-income family. Then our baby was born. Then we had two children. And then three. Then four. Then number five came along. All this in six short years. And so, to be honest, that gave me a bit of a head start on the journey toward economic shrewdness.

But a year and a half ago we entered a new financial stage – living on a smaller budget than ever before. While I did find added ways to be savvy, I must tell you that it wasn’t easy or fun. (Just being honest!)

Today, I thought I’d share some of the money saving tips that we’ve used and benefited from. If you find one or two that can help you and your family pinch pennies, I’ll be just tickled!

Money savings tips

  • Eliminate as many paper products as you can. (Yep – not easy.) Use cloth napkins instead of paper, handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex, glass or plastic rather than paper plates. (The kids thought it was just great, though. Their own special napkin?! A hankie just for them?!)
  • Wash and dry dishes by hand. It saves on dish washer detergent costs, as well as the electric and water bill. (I got used to it. Kind of.)
  • Be conscience of the number of lights you have on and appliances left plugged in even when not in use. (My husband will tell you that this is one I greatly struggle with… I like lights. I like it bright. I think I’ve improved but I still need to work on this.)
  • Cut back on the amount of meat eaten in a meal and/or the number of times you eat meat weekly. Serve smaller portions. Don’t offer a meat dish every evening. Use other sources of protein- replace with beans, nuts, or eggs. (Ask your vegetarian friends for delicious recipes and tips here. They’re a huge help!)
  • Serve sandwiches open-faced (on one slice of bread… a sandwich without a top).
  • Buy in bulk. (Oats, for example – https://reflectionsofahomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/granola-to-go/ orhttps://reflectionsofahomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/porridge-for-the-poor-turned-baked-oatmeal-extraordinaire/ )
  • Make your own cleaning ingredients. Laundry detergent is simple and inexpensive. You can either skip the fabric softener or use distilled white vinegar. (See https://reflectionsofahomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/laundry-wash-on-monday-she-said/ for a recipe)
  • Line dry rather than using the clothes dryer. Retractable line can be installed near your back door or a line can be hung inside your home. (Indoor line drying also adds humidity to your home – a real bonus in the winter months!)
  • Drink more water and less of all other liquids.
  • Quit buying easy foods… such as frozen potatoes (fries, hash browns, etc). Instead, peel, bake, cook, or fry your own. It will take a few more minutes but will save you $ and will be healthier for you and your family. Cut back (or eliminate – gasp!) chips, trail mixes, boxed rice dishes, etc.
  • Make soup a part of your regular menu. Use leftovers. (Check out a recipe here https://reflectionsofahomemaker.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/soups-on/)
  • Eliminate your garbage service. (This took a bit of getting used to!) Learn to shop wiser, recycle what you can, compost, etc.
  • To save gas, cut out needless trips and combine those that are necessary. Make several stops on the same day, planned out in order of your stops by the best route… careful to schedule at the best time as well. When will it be less busy at the grocery store? When will the kids be at their best for the errands?
  • Buy local, fresh, and in season.
  • Be willing to ask if you can trade or barter for services. (I’ve gotten my haircut in exchange for a meal. Yard work was exchanged for some grocery money. I was hesitant to ask at first… but it was worth it!)
  • Pay medical bills in cash. You can often get a discount for doing so.
  • Find free or low cost entertainment options. Check out DVDs from the library. Go to concerts at colleges or churches. Invite friends over for a game night.
  • Rethink what’s necessary. It IS possible to go for months without syran wrap, aluminum foil, plastic baggies, etc. In fact, it’s more earth friendly to go without too!
  • Distinguish between needs and wants. Then find free or used or up cycled items rather than buying new – get scrap paper from a local business or print shop for art projects/drawing, find old discarded magazines from doctors offices and libraries, shop at yard sales or second hand stores, ask for items as gifts, recreate the use of the old TV stand or piano or end table. Get creative!

I’m still learning new ways to save financially. There are excellent resources online to glean from. One I recently came across is www.moneysavingmom.com. {Money Saving Mom – helping you be a better home economist} You’ll find deals & steals, coupons, freebies & giveaways, living simply tips, and more.  Look for fabulous free downloads. Search out the Family, Fun & Holidays category – an awfully timely one to peruse. You’ll be inspired!

My goal is that no matter where we are financially, I will stick with the changes we’ve made. Many of them are flat out BETTER. Not easier, but better. I don’t want to fall back into my old habits of “just living.” Maybe you’ll find that to be true, too.