Frugal Living Follow-Up

Today might be D-Day for me.  I am the one in charge of finances for my family, and working on that is NOT my favorite thing to do!  So, I put it off, and I could rarely tell you exactly how much money we have in the bank.  This week that caught up with me – evidently I was spending more for Christmas than I realized.  So we have had to put all spending to a halt until payday and when that comes, we will have a bit of catching up to do.  Somehow in mind I had determined that if I was oblivious, suddenly more money would appear magically from the sky.  Okay – I know this will not happen, but sometimes I act like that.    This week was another wake-up call for me (I seem to have needed several) – that I need to be more disciplined, and I also need to put off purchases sometimes, to actually save for them.  So, today I get to face the reality of our checkbook and start making that more of a priority, so I can keep up, rather than catch up all of the time.

Several weeks ago I listened to a very good Focus on the Family broadcast: “Celebrating Christmas Without Going Into Debt.”  http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio?ID={65DCDDC7-51CC-4468-83E7-8767D67CD1F1}

Mary Hunt had several great ideas for economizing this season.  One of them I plan on putting into practice around here to help us catch up (the Blowers might have mentioned this too!)  We will be playing the pantry game.  I have a fairly well stocked freezer and pantry, so I will be trying to use up many of the ingredients that I already have.  I did this the other night with some soup that I made – just added a bunch of different cans, as well as leftover chicken.  When my daughter told me she wanted me to make it again, I was slightly concerned since I am not 100% sure of what I added. 🙂  I will still be going to the store and buying a few things (such as produce and milk), but I will also be trying hard to live off of what we have for this season.

Today is also the day for me to follow-up from our last MOPs.  Precious Blowers did e-mail her ideas right after the last meeting, but with our Christmas posts starting, I have not taken the time to get them to you.  Here are some of her favorite recipes and resources.

Below you will find a few of the recipes I have used for many years now, as well as websites I often refer to for information, recipes, etc. In mentioning the items below, I am not endorsing all views expressed on those sights or in the books, however. Though the information is great not all views are from a Biblical perspective and require  discernment. Mark and I would love to personally help anyone who may have further questions. May the Lord bless you!
Because of His grace, Precious Blowers

Laundry Soap (From my friend, Lesa B.)

Grate 2 bars Zote soap in to a large pan of tap water. Heat on low/med until all has dissolved (do not boil!). Fill a 5-gal plastic bucket w/ very hot water –leaving room for the soap on the stove. Add 2 c. borax and 2 c. baking soda. Stir to mix thoroughly. Add dissolved soap mixture and stir well. As the soap cools stir again several times. Mixture should be the consistency of yogurt. Use ¼ – 1/3 c. per large load.

Cooking Spray Substitute

1 qt. Olive oil
1 tsp. Sunflower or Soy Lecithin
Pour into a recycled salad dressing jar or similar container and shake well before each use. Store on the shelf in a cool cupboard or refrigerator. It will need to warm if too cool.  Shake desired amount in bread pans or baking dish and spread evenly to coat all area.  (I would not recommend using a spray bottle for this as the lecithin is very thick.)

Blowers’ Favorite Deodorant

6T Shea butter
4T Cocoa Butter
12T Coconut Oil
1c. Arrowroot Powder (or Cornstarch)

14 T Baking soda
10 dr. Grapefruit Seed Extract
½ tsp. Vit. E oil
1/8 tsp. Tea Tree Oil
60 dr. Lavender or Peppermint Essential Oil

Melt ½ of the butters and oil at low heat. Let cool slightly and mix w/ rest of ingredients using a fork or pie cutter. Pour into small jars or recycled cold cream containers. (I love the 8 oz. jelly jars that are about 1/1/2 in. tall w/ a wide mouth. They are wonderful for lotions and salves as well because they are so easy to get into.) This makes a large batch so you may want to reduce the amounts on the first attempt. We use about a pea-sized amount for each underarm and rub it in gently.

Resources:

Home

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/

http://www.azurestandard.com/ — Recommended food co-operative

http://www.bulkherbstore.com/ –great “how to” tutorials in making your own herbal products

Mommy Diagnostics by Shonda Parker (This and another book, Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, have
been invaluable resources for our family as we have tried to avoid unnecessary doctor visits when
possible. I know it has saved us hundreds of dollars over the years! Full of information and help when
dealing w/ basic illnesses. )

The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B White & Steven Foster (This is an invaluable handbook if you are
looking for alternatives/ comparisons to traditional medical treatments included) in treating family
health issues.

Simply in Season Cookbook –a wonderful cookbook formatted to use vegetables and fruits while in
the peak of their season & at their cheapest prices. Each recipe we have tried has been so delicious and
packed w/ nutrition.

More with Less Cookbook – I have had this cookbook since we were first married and use it all the time.
The recipes are very cost effective and the recipes are very economical and filling. I highly recommend
this as well!  (Note: this one is available at the library)

Set for Life Cookbook –another favorite!!

Well, there you have her resources.  🙂

I personally feel that if you read books on finances you do need to be careful.  The world has the perspective that you need to amass as much wealth as you can.  I want to live from an eternal perspective, so I want to read books that keep that viewpoint in mind.  Here are few authors and books that you can find at the library with a biblical mindset.

Books by Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey and also Mary Hunt (several titles are at the library)

Also: Living with Less, So Your Family Has More by Mark & Jill Savage

Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy by Jonni McCoy

2 great Cookbooks with recipes for real moms: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbooks (2 different volumes) by Erin Chase

My one last personal tip: I make my own syrup.  This something my Mom always did.  I remember going away to college and being excited that I could finally buy Aunt Jemima.  Yuck –  I am now back to making my own.  We have used “Mapeline” – you find it with the other flavorings.  (Supposedly you could use just maple flavoring, but I have always stuck with the blue & white box of Mapeline).  You simply add sugar and flavoring to boiling water, and voila – you have syrup.  Our syrup is always fresh and definitely less expensive.  You can also gradually add less sugar than what is suggested to make it “healthier” (if that is possible).

What is ONE thing that you are doing to be more frugal this season?  We plan on having another mom share how she shares money in different ways in an upcoming blog after Christmas.  Happy saving!

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