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If I Were Just Starting Out Building a Well-Stocked Pantry ...

I recently received a comment from a reader basically asking me where to start when building a well-stocked pantry.  Since I get this ques...

Friday, September 22, 2017

Photo Friday: Another Coupon Deal!

I'm not a big coupon shopper because so many of the coupons are for things we don't use anymore. But occassionally I'll come across a good coupon for something that we do use and when I do I try to make it work.  This week I scored a good deal on something we use everyday ...

I got a $.25 off coupon from the kisok at CVS and I used the $2 ECB I earned from last weeks shopping which meant I paid $.72 + taxes for all three bottles. (They were on sale for $.99 each)  Now that's what I'm talking about!

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My 100 Day Sewing Challenge #11

One day ... that's what I got to sew this week!  This one day brings me up to 22 days out of my 100 day goal!

I sure am moving slow, but hey ... I'm still moving toward my goal!

Here's what I did on my one day of sewing ...

In this post I told you about finding a 100% cotton pink paisley sheet in really good condition while thrift store shopping and that I planned to turn it into sleepwear for me.  Well, I got the pattern out and the laundered sheet out and cut out the pattern.  It is ready to stitch up!

When I thrift store shop one of the things I do is look for garments made out of fabric that I like.  It doesn't matter if it's my size, all that matters is that I like the fabric and that it is in good condition.  The picture below is an example.  These pieces of fabric were a blouse that I found at a thrift store.  I really liked the fabric so I brought it home, gave it a good washing and got it ready to be turned into fabric for the sewing part of my pantry.  This week I began taking the blouse apart and cutting it up into fabric sizes I could use.

The biggest pieces I squared up and turned into larger pieces (shown folded in the picture on the left).  From the rest of it I cut several 5 inch squares, 3 inch squares, one 2.5 inch square, 2 inch strips and one 1 1/2 inch strip.  These pieces have been added to my quilting stash. I had a couple of odd shaped pieces that I couldn't use so I added them to my scrap jar.

That's it for me this week.  I hope to have more to report next week ... at least I'm going to try!

What have you stitched up this week?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Ways of My Household 9/18/2017

I have been in homemaking haven this week!  After either traveling or preparing for Hurricane Irma for the last month, I finally got to do some home things!  It feels so good to be back in my home doing what I love … keeping my home.

This week …

I made kefir. I haven’t had a kefir smoothie since around the first of August and I’ve been missing them!

I got the fall decorations out and put them up.

I woke up GG (the sourdough starter that Annabel from Bluebirds are Nesting shared with me).  Prudence (the sourdough starter that I made) is still resting. I want to use GG to see if there is any difference in the bread I make with her and the bread I make with Prudence.

Since we have plenty of eggs right now I made deviled eggs for us to snack on throughout the week.

I had some leftover ham in the refrigerator so I chopped it up and froze it to be used in omelets.

I tried coupon shopping at Dollar General after reading this post by Rhonda over at If You Do Stuff, Stuff Gets Done!   Go here to see what I scored.  I think coupon shopping at Dollar General is going to be a regular thing for a while.

I made an Italian Seasoning blend from spices in my pantry.  The recipe was shared with me by a friend.  Thanks Pama!  (She shared other recipes with me also that I’ll be sharing in the near future.)

Italian Seasoning (Dry Mix) 
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
2 T. oregano
1 T. parsley
1 T. sugar
2 T. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. celery flakes

For Italian Salad Dressing mix 2 T. of this mix with 1/4 c. vinegar, 2 T. water, 1/2 to 2/3 c. olive oil or canola oil.  Shake well.

I re-canned four #10 size cans of mushroom pieces that we got on clearance while traveling. I still have 2 more cans to do. Thus far  I’ve added 9 pints of canned mushrooms and 3 pints of dehydrated mushrooms to my pantry. 

We found 50 lb bags of onions for a really good price (.22/lb) … $10.79/ bag at Sam’s Club this week and purchased 2 bags.  (The produce manager told us they increase in price to twice that much when these were all sold.)  I’ve been dehydrating onions and chopping and freezing onions and having all kinds of onion related meals.  I still have quite a few more to preserve, that’s okay, I was thrilled to find them at this price.

The same friend that gifted us with okra last week gifted us with more this week.  I cut it up and added 4 more bags to the freezer part of my pantry.

While staying with friends during our travels, I was gifted with a barely worn pair of sneakers.  They looked brand new!  Thank you Betty, this is such a savings to our budget!

That’s it for me this week, what did you do to build up your pantry or live frugally?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

My other blog:  She Hath Done What She Could

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Photo Friday: Coupon Shopping

I did a little coupon shopping this week ...

after coupons, I paid $10.50 + taxes for all these Gain products at Dollar General plus earned a $5 off $5.01 purchase for my next visit ...

after coupons, I paid $3.75 + tax for this soap at Dollar General ...

after coupons, I paid $2.73 + tax for this toothpaste at CVS plus earned $2 ECB I can use on my next purchase. 

One more thing ... Don't forget to check out this week's featured post!

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Get A Job!

For the purpose of this article, I’m speaking to wives … some straight talk if you will … some laying it on the line, telling it like it is kind of talk.  

I hear more and more people talking about how hard it is to make ends meet … and I agree with them.  With everything going up except wages, it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to figure it all out.

We all know that women set the tone in their homes, so ladies listen up.  You may be a middle age or older woman who has no marketable skills.  You may be a young mother at home with her children or a woman who is knocking on the door of retirement age.  You may be a woman that is disabled or have a home situation that prohibits you from bringing in any extra income or you may be a woman that prefers being a homemaker at home.   Whatever your situation, there is still something you can do.  Get a job!

Before you write me off as uncaring and unsympathic; here me out.  The job I’m talking about is the job of stretching your husband’s income as far as you can, saving as much as you can in the process.

Change your attitude from ‘my husband doesn’t make enough money’ to that of a frugal zealot and a savings guru.  Make it a challenge to see how far you can stretch your husband’s paycheck and don’t forget to involve the whole family.  Make stretching and saving your husband’s income your job!  If you do and stay the course, you will reap some very pleasant rewards, both financially and in your relationship with your husband.  

Below, I’m sharing some things that can help if you chose to take on the job of saving and stretching your husband’s income. The first few are about our attitudes …

Realize you cannot have everything you want when you want it.  That’s just being an adult.

Don’t depend on others to take care of you.  Occasional help from others is fine, but when we start to EXPECT others to meet our needs long term, something is wrong with our attitude.  (‘Expect’ here is the key word.)

Don’t spend money you don’t have. When you spend money on things you can’t afford using money you should have paid bills with don’t expect others to clean up your mistakes.  The ‘I deserve this’ mentality is not adult!  The ‘entitlement’ mentality is not adult!

Don’t play the victim card.  We are all victims of our choices and circumstances.  What we do with them and how we choose to react says a lot about who we are.

Doing without is not a sin!  It won’t hurt you or your children or your spouse.

Know and accept that this will be hard and not fun at times!  It’s called sacrifice!

Realize that your attitude will set the tone in your home about your new job.

Please understand that it is not my intention for this to sound harsh, but in today’s society, these are attitudes and mindsets I see on a regular basis.  (I overheard a conversation in a public place just a few days ago that smirked of an attitude of ungrateful “entitlement.”  That's what prompted me to write this article.) News Flash … The Calvary is not coming; there comes a time when you have to be your own Calvary!  Don’t waste your life expecting someone else to fix your problems.  Get busy and figure it out!

Now, let’s talk about some practical ways to implement your new job should you choose to take it on …

Stay away from online shopping as much as possible.  It is the worse place possible for impulse buying.  Think of it as something temporary if it helps, make a game out of it, but stay away from online shopping.

Learn how to coupon shop and how to shop loss leaders.  Don’t buy stuff you wouldn’t normally buy just because you have a coupon.   That’s throwing away money you wouldn’t have spent in the first place.

Slowly build a well – stocked pantry so that you will have the option of shopping when you want to and not when you have to.   See this post for some ideas on how to get started building a well-stocked pantry.  

Plan your menu and stick to it as much as possible.

Become a DIY person.  If you don’t know how to do something … learn.  There are tutorials for learning how to do just about anything online.

Know how to substitute and make do.  If you don’t have something, let your first thought be, ‘what can I use instead and get the same results’ not ‘I need to go purchase’ whatever it is that you don’t have.

Recycle and Repurpose.  One example is outgrown clothing and hand-me-downs.  They can be turned into new clothing or household items.   Don’t know how?  Search online for what you want to do.

Stay home as much as possible.   This will cut down on fuel costs as well as wear and tear on your vehicle.

Plan your free entertainment.  Entertainment doesn’t have to cost lots of money … just saying!

Cook from scratch.  Purchasing prepackaged foods, heat and eat foods as well as ready-to-eat snacks are much more expensive then cooking from scratch.

Use cash when you go shopping.

Never, ever go shopping without a list. 

Explore ways to bring in a little extra income from home.  Doing Swagbucks will generate you some discretionary income.  I know of someone who has a goal of earning $100/month through Swagbucks and is using it to help pay off debt.  Can you sew?  Do you blog? What can you do that can be turned into an income source?  

Make a budget and stick to it as much as possible.  Include in that budget if at all possible savings and a personal allowance for you and your husband.  You may need to start out with as little as $5/month for savings and $5/month each for personal allowances.  You will be amazed at how you will come to look at your own ‘I can spend it on whatever I want to without guilt’ allowance.

If you feel like your spending is out of control, have a ‘no-spend’ month where you only pay the bills and buy groceries, fuel … the necessities.

Make sure necessities are really necessities and not wants dressed up in camouflage fueled by desire.

Reserve eating out for special occasions.  Two or three times a week is not a special occasion.

When it’s Christmas or your birthday, ask for gift cards to places you would like to shop.

Get creative with your own gift giving.  Set limits on how much you will spend on each person and stick to that amount.  Whittle that gift giving list down to the bare minimum until things are better financially. Gift giving shouldn’t be about how big or how expensive the gift is.   When you are going through lean times, it shouldn’t be about how badly you want an item either if the cost is more than you can afford.

Accept things others don’t want when offered.  What can you do with it? How can you repurpose it into something useful for you? 

Shop yard sales and thrift stores.  Always take cash but don’t buy stuff you’ll be asking yourself, ‘why did I buy that’ the next day.

Don’t be wasteful!  Learn how to use up the last little bit of everything, especially food.

When friends want to meet for an outing you can’t afford, offer an alternative that you can afford or decline their offer.

Work towards getting out of debt and staying out of debt.  Debt is more than likely a contributing factor to your current financial strain.

Stop using your credit cards even if you plan to/think you can pay them off at the end of each month.   When finances are tight, sticking to the plan to pay it off at the end of the month doesn’t always happen.   You cannot borrow your way out of debt!

Be willing to settle for used items until you can pay cash for new items.

Put God first, tithe … even if it is only some change or $1 each week.  God knows your circumstances and what you can really give.  He doesn’t demand tithing; He wants our tithing to be given with a cheerful and purposeful heart.    

Don’t blame God for your financial situation.  He knows what put you where you are and if it was choices that you made, realize that He didn’t make you make the choices that landed you in this situation.

Ask God for wisdom, guidance and discernment in your quest to live happily and graciously on your husband’s income.

Don’t blame others for your financial situation.  Own it and move forward.

Don’t dwell on past financial mistakes, yours or your husbands.  Own it and move forward.

Determine to do better in the future starting now.  You can’t change the past; you can only change your future.

Don’t be prideful.  Accepting help from others on a temporary basis is not sinful nor does it make you less of a person. 

Don’t poor mouth your husband or make him feel less of a man because he isn’t earning what you want him to earn.  This attitude will severely damage your marriage.

Don't walk around with a 'poor me' attitude.  

Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting perfection in your efforts.  You will make mistakes, give yourself some grace. 

Be thankful for what you do have!  Develop an attitude of gratitude!

What can you add to this list?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 
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