Friday Fare

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A New Beginning

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.

Christopher McCandless

 

June; the perfect time to start a new chapter.  My son and I are finally getting a one bedroom apartment!   If we can ever get moved in-it’s been one hurdle after another; but you can’t stop this stubborn red head!

 

The universe always has her own timing, so it is very important we listen to her!

 

This past weekend we planned on moving, but our unit flooded!  We would’ve lost all of  the few things we do own, AND I decided to get very sick.

I spent a few days in the hospital with some stomach issues, which told me it’s time to take my health a little more seriously.   I guess level 50 is the magic number to start thinking about that sorta thing.  The good news is, now I am part of the medical system and I have more options for care.

New carpet, new eating habits and a new outlook, I am ready for my next chapter!

 

So, with all of that life stuff happening, it’s time for me to get back into my handy dandy budgeting skills I am so famous for in unknown circles and get to budgeting!

These are a few of my old school tricks and some new ones that I have picked up along my journey of surviving this world on a budget!

big things

Big Things

Word of mouth works great when gathering things from scratch.  I clean house for a dear friend, she has been so wonderful, and if only everyone had a fraction of her giving heart; this world would be a hundred times better than it is right now.  Not only has she shared her home with my son for the past year, she has a garage full of furniture just waiting for a new home and has generously given it to us for our fresh start.  If only I could return the gratitude to her to show her and her family how this fills my being.

cool shop

 

Little Things

Of course, now I have the perfect excuse, I mean reason, to hit the Goodwill shops!  Oh, how I miss my second hand shopping!  I can do so many magical things with my findings from Goodwill!  Curtains, throw pillows, baskets, odd pieces, whatever my whimsical heart desires!  I have a few blogs on this very topic, since it is one of my many favorites, but check this out for some ideas.

lady in bath

Saving money and the environment

Since I have to watch my budget and my health; I was trying to think of ways to do both.  Since paper towels can turn into a huge expense-what about using finger towels and linens for wiping and drying?  The dollar stores and secondhand stores have both for very cheap and I can reuse them!  I also found bleach tablets where the fabric dye is in the cleaning supplies at your favorite grocery store, so I can sanitize them during each wash cycle.  Not too shabby!  I can use the pretty baskets and dishes I found to display them nicely in my kitchen and bath to add some personal touch that blends with my décor.

pests

Pests

Living in an apartment can make it challenging to keep the infestations to a minimum, so I am going to have succulents that have natural repellent properties. I haven’t actually tried these yet, but there is lots of info in the great world wide web, Mother Nature Network has lots of great info.

pooches

 

Pooches

Since my furbabies have to share a yard with other critters, large and small; I will need to keep an area by the door with wipes and sprays to keep my babies from bringing in unwanted house guests.  This not only is healthier for me, but for them too.  I can use some hand towels to wipe them down so we all can be happy puppies!

 

Since we are also on the second floor, my poochieweenie doesn’t have a great attention span and a tiny bladder, so to remedy this, I can have an indoor potty yard just for her.  Keeps her off the carpet and instills the mindset of grass being the potty place for pooches.  You can find all kinds of grassy yards of all sizes and prices to fit your needs.  So far, I found that Amazon has the most variety.  I found one that is reusable that lasts for about 2 weeks depending on frequency of potty stops.

It is also very important for my babies to be current on their shots and flea maintenance.  There are always clinics to make sure this can be possible.  Check out humanesociety.org  to find out more.  And never skimp on your flea regimen.  For more info on my tips for caring for your fur ones check out my blog here

vintage shopping 2

Pantry

With so many convenient options nowadays in the grocery store and the cost of food items, staying healthy and budget friendly can be quite a challenge.  My cure for this problem is buying fresh fruits and veggies and dividing them up into meal size packages and following food guidelines for proper storing. Good Housekeeping has some very reputable tips.

I could keep on going on and on,  but I do tend to get long in sharing, so maybe another day.

I just got a phone call that the apartment is still being worked on, so just a few more days…….

 

When I do finally get to move in, I am kissing the floor and am going to have a good cry!

Thank you for reading and

Hugs and Hope!

 

Living on a $20 a week Grocery Budget

 

 

I have had some great experiences and adventures surviving in this crazy life of mine and this morning as I was having my coffee and going through all of my social media stuff and reading emails, I came across a post about how to live on $20 a week on groceries.  I didn’t read the post (shame on me) but it did remind me of when I actually had to do just that.  The fun part was I had a teenager still living at home at the time, the last one to leave the nest.

surviving

It was back when I was trying to come back up from being laid off my job after working there for 10 years.  I had been on an involuntary sabbatical for about 9 months.  I had definitely depleted all of my reserves and right about that time I was really scrambling for some hope.  I remember visiting my agent friend at the insurance office, (telling her I could only pay 1 month of insurance instead of the full premium) she looked at me and said ‘hold on’.  She got on the phone and called a local trucking company that desperately needed office help.  I drove directly to the company and was hired on the spot.

The answer I was praying for!

 

The pay was less than I wanted to be comfortable, but was just enough to pay my bills and leave me with $ 40 a week for gas and groceries.

 

So, with my upbringing of always having to be frugal and my mother who taught me how to make a meal with very basic ingredients; I put my skills back to work and my daughter and I ate on  $20 a week.

minion

 

This time of year is always tight for most of us.  Taxes are due, recovering from overspending during the holidays, in my case, hours are being cut way back since spending has taken a nosedive.  Or for whatever reason or situation any of us are in.  I thought I would share some of my old standby grocery budgeting tips that has got me through many tough times.

 

gravy-ring

Staple items:

 Powdered milk- you can use this to add to regular milk to make it stretch and also use it for cooking so you’re not wasting precious real milk.

Baking Mix- you can make biscuits, pancakes, scones, breads, cakes, dumplings gravy (flour is best, but it will work) the list is endless

Dry Beans- a very good source of protein.

Can tomatoes and sauce- for soups and sauces

Dry noodles- for soups and sauces

farmers

Your local farmer:

 Check around the outskirts of town and visit with your local farmer or neighbor that has a garden and ask them if you can take excess fruits, veggies and eggs off of their hands.  Or do a skill swap with them.  You would be amazed at how much gets thrown away that is perfectly edible.

Learn to can and freeze your goodies.  The internet has many resources to learn this almost forgotten skill.

can-beans

Grocery Outlet Stores:

 Ask around, check out the local paper and find those outlet stores in your area.  Those cans that look a little funky are perfectly fine most of the time.  Or that off brand that came from a different part of the country that we aren’t quite used to are also okay.   Do take the time though to learn what items could be tainted.  For example, jars that the lid has already ‘popped’ are no good and if the dent in the can is deep enough that it ruptured the integrity of the can could also be spoiled.  Also, the best before date on items such as mayonnaise and salad dressings are just a guideline for grocery chains.  These foods are still good beyond that date.  The dates range, so it’s a very good idea to learn the time frame on these items.

butcher

The local butcher:

 Talk to the butcher at your favorite grocery chain or your local butcher.  If they are allowed they can sell you cuts of meat that don’t look star quality at a discounted price.  Something definitely worth checking into.

 

Buy off brand: 

The quality of off brand items are just as good as or better than the name brand favorite 95% of the time.  Every once in a while this isn’t true, just have to do a little experimentation.

dsf

The Dollar Stores:

 Most of my paper goods, spices, vitamins, medicines and toiletries were found at my local dollar store.  Just have to spend a little time and do some comparative shopping to find the best deals.

 jar of money

No matter what your budget looks like, I hope this knowledge can help you make it stretch just that much further.  Thank you for reading, and I would love to hear your thoughts and tips too!