I’m looking for any suggestions on how to save money or live frugally; including recipes, menu suggestions.
I want to continue to stay-at-home, but definitely need some help in this area. We are a family of 6.
I’m looking for any suggestions on how to save money or live frugally; including recipes, menu suggestions.
The Tightwad Gazette is a good place to start. The books are probably out of print by now, but the hints are timeless and Amy is very funny. I can’t spell her last name. Search ebay or half.com or your library.
The author was extremely successful when it came to saving money and with 6 kids (last I heard), she and her husband were doing really well.
There are also frugal living forums on about.com that you can check out.
Personally, the best advice I can offer is that the more you can do for yourself, the cheaper it is.****
Do you live in town or in the country?
We are a family of 6 also, and we live out in the country on a small acreage. Every year, we put in a huge garden, and that supplies much of our vegetables for the summer and we freeze and can the rest. We also have a flock of chickens that supplies us with more eggs than we can eat. We also have access to an apple orchard, and I can pick as many apples as I need to make our own apple juice, etc.
If you live in town and are unable to grown and process your own food, I would suggest that you save money by developing a pantry system. Designate an area of your house that either has or you can install shelving. When you go to the grocery store and find items that are on sale that YOUR FAMILY WILL USE, stock up on that item and put it in the pantry. Also, investing some money in a freezer is a good idea. It is a good place to store meat that you can buy on sale, or frozen vegetables, etc.
Also, can you live without cable tv, internet, etc? I’ve noticed that those things can get a bit pricey…
As I think of more ideas, I’ll post them here.
We do live in the country, also on a small acreage…I want to plant a garden in the Spring…we were recently given a standup freezer…good ideas
How do you keep your chickens, Mommyof4? In a fenced yard or…?
I could just ask at the Co-op…
go for rainchecks… whenever they have a sale… get a raincheck if the item is out… so you can buy it again when it is in stock again.
I have a small barn that all of my animals live in - it is approx 12X12 in size, and I have a fenced in area next to the barn, with small doors cut in the walls that allows the chickens to go outside as they wish. I don’t allow them to roam the yard anymore, since the neighborhood dogs think that we are running a Kentucky Fried Chicken buffet just for them!
Chickens are amazingly easy to take care of. Chickens will eat almost anything - I feed them all of our leftovers, as well as anything in the refrigerator that is outdated. I also purchase poultry feed from our local co-op. A 50lb bag costs approx. $6.00, depending on the cost of corn.
I don’t butcher our chickens - I’m too squeemish for that, but I do know that there are some lockers that will butcher and dress them for you, usually for only $1-2 per bird. In the end, it is pretty cheap eating.
If you want to learn more about raising poultry, let me know and I’ll send you some sources that helped me get my flock going. As I said, chickens are pretty easy to raise - most of the work would be up front, getting a coop set up for them, putting some sort of fencing up, etc. After that, it’s a piece of cake.
One thing I’ve cut out completely is store-bought cleaning products. They are SO expensive. Instead I bought spray bottles that I fill and staples that include vinegar, plain bleach, borax, and ammonia. With these, I can clean my whole house for pennies.
You can Google terms such as “homemade cleaners” “natural house cleaners” etc and get recipes for the cleaners.
Better yet, just cut down on the cleaning!!!
I’ll second your ideas. Very few store brands are different from the name brand items. You can save tons of money by using store brand items.
Buy food in bulk when possible and divide it up into portions the size you’ll use. This saves lots of money. If you live in a hot climate put your bulk rice in a freezer to keep it from going bad. Instead of microwave popcorn (we eat alot of it) get kernals, and lunch sized brown paper sacks. (1/3 cup kernals in the bag, microwave till popping slows, add butter and seasonings to taste).
The Dollar Tree and other similar “Everything in the store is $1” type stores ofen have very good stuff for the price. I often buy cleaning supplies there to save $$.
When going somewhere not too far, WALK. Gas is expensive and the exercise is good. I used to walk to pick up kids from school and to the grocery store. Used up some energy in the kids when they were being wild too.
The Dollar Tree has a GREAT clothing stain pre-treater called Awesome or something like that. They also have a good dishwasher detergent there.
Just don’t buy medicine or toothpaste from a dollar store. They are often expired or from foreign countries and may have incorrect percentages of active ingredients in them, making them dangerous if taken as directed on package.
I also wouldn’t buy markers for your kids there. They tend to break with very few uses, so don’t end up saving you any money when you have to replace them more frequently.
The pencils won’t sharpen in the school sharpeners either.
At holiday times you can find some really cute, inexpensive decorations there. I had always wanted special plates/glassware for Christmas. I got a full set for $1 per plate, much cheaper than the $40 that Target wanted for a set.
Trish- how funny! reminds me of my friends husband. he is very very vain and didnt want people who came to visit thinking they were short on money, so he always insisted that she buy everything name brand. well, she wisened up and started stashing the generic stuff out of sight and did just as you said, refilled the name brand containers. she did this with all sorts of stuff. she did it for about 9 months then told him. he was also severly against eating leftovers. swore they tasted aughful. so she would freeze them and pull them out 2 or 3 weeks later and he was none the wiser.
For school supplies, if you go often, you can watch for the name brands, they do show up occasionally. When they do, grab them up. I have Gotten Crayola brand markers and crayons, mechanical pencils and the good wooden pencils - but you get fewer to a pack than the off brands. Stay away from the Rose Art Crayons too.
Yep - as a school teacher who sees kids go through crayons at an amazing rate - I totally agree! Most of the kids who have the Rose Art crayons are usually asking the kids who have crayolas to lend them crayons.
Or cheaper yet, try checking it out at your local library. If the library doesn’t have these books, ask them to get them. Most libraries have forms you can fill out to request them to buy books. Libraries want to carry books that people want, and other people in your community who want to live frugally could benefit from it too! These books are great!
Also, while still paying attention to the pennies, don’t forget about the big ticket items. Cars, houses, interest rates etc. generally take up far more money than all the little things. Pay attention to your total financial picture. One item I remember from the Tightwad Gazette is her advice on cars: no loan, pay cash. If you plan to keep the car for over ten years, then buy new as it will probably be cheaper in the long run.
We are a family of 5. To save money, I changed one meal a week to either an egg or rice dish. We also cut down on juices/sodas, etc. and drink more water - it’s better for you anyway. My children are young and when they do have juice, I water it down (lots) so one bottle of juice lasts a long time.
I also don’t really buy a lot of prepackaged foods. If we want to make cookies, it’s cheaper to make them from flour and sugar than to buy them, the kids enjoy making them, and I feel good knowing exactly what’s in them.
The vinegar and baking soda cleaning products work great and do save money. We use them a lot. A friend of mine is very into organic products and natural cleaners. She uses baking soda for everything, including in her dishwasher and washer. I haven’t tried that, but it seems to work well for her.
Stop buying paper products for your home. No paper towels (we use re-usable kitchen cloths), no paper plates, no kleenex (handkerchiefs instead), no paper napkins (use cloth!)
Turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater and good socks. Make sure your home is well-insulated. The windows in our home are AWFUL and are going to be replaced in the spring, but for now we have blankets thrown over the curtain rods in the bedrooms. How about an insulating blanket for your hot water heater? (Not the same as a blanket you’d put on your bed, but a blanket of insulation sold at a hardware store, specifically for hot water heaters.)
Hang clothes to dry, even in freezing weather. Never use the oven to bake just one item - always double up. (I usually throw banana bread in with casserole.) Use the library for entertainment. And for goodness sakes, make your own cleaning products! (I suggest “Clean House, Clean Planet” from the library. GREAT book!) Reuse sandwich bags until they have holes. Only buy in bulk when it will save you - check the per-serving price and make sure your’e really getting a savings. Group errand-running (when possible) to save gas. Only run the washing machine when you have a full load (does anyone with 8 folks in the house NOT have a full load all the time? :rotfl: )
Hope this helps! Prayers!
Casseroles, casseroles, casseroles!
A pasta, a veggie, and a protein (ground beef, diced baloney). Stir in a can of cream of mushroom soup, spaghetti sauce, etc.
I am a cream of mushroom gourmet. You can use it to make something alfredo (just add parmesan and garlic powder) or just creamy. It’s a cost cutter.
My favorite casserole is tater tot casserole. It’s one of the more expensive ones, but still not too bad. My mom had four teenagers and my stepdad to feed, and it did us pretty well. Use 5 lbs. ground beef (cooked & drained), one or two cans of green beans, one or two cans of cream of mushroom. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with tater tots. Cook until they are just brown, then top with shredded cheese and bake till the cheese is melty.
Also, if you’re not already, do your own haircuts. Trimming split ends on long hair for girls and a set of clippers for boys is pretty easy. You can actually get some variety with minimal skill (i am very minimal in skill).
Hanging laundry to dry is also good on energy. I keep my lines inside so i can do this rain or shine. It takes longer, though, so you may need the dryer for backup.
Thrift stores, too, for clothing. You can find quality. And get tubs to store clothes for your kids so that when the younger ones get big enough for them, they are organized and easy to pass down.
Also, prayer. I am just sure the Lord is looking to bless women who wish to nurture their families at home and will provide the means. We have been blessed so far in our endeavor, and i know that He will hear your prayers. You are trying to live your vocation to its fullest and He will help you.