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Frugalistas Frugalistas

Trying my hand at Frugality...

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In the past I wasn't always careful about my spending habits. If I saw it, it was on sale and I really liked it, I impulsively swiped that debit card.  Now, given the economy and another mouth to feed in my house, (my sweet, loving, supportive, handsomely delicious BF) I have my reservations and often put back whatever it is I thought for 2 seconds I couldn't live without.

My kids are clothed, a roof is over our heads, most bills are paid right on time and the honey and I occasionally get a night to ourselves when we can have dinner and drink and feel happy about our life together. He works at his mom's diner and I work at a bank. We both make OK money. He has 2 children that sadly live out of state and he's been denied any visitation from them because she won't allow them to come up here and visit. Since January, he has been unable to pay child support. He does not spend money frivolously. I maintain the checkbook and he gets a minimal allowance for gas, food and small must haves, as do I. His weekly income is just about enough to cover a small loan and a regular truck payment on a vehicle that has been less than reliable, (It has been almost completely redone and he is trying to sell it) some gas and a few groceries here and there. My income pays the rent, electric, car and renters insurance, daycare for my youngest child, cell phones, Internet and 3 credit cards and miscellaneous neccessities.

This month I no longer qualify for food stamps. Three months ago, I got this job that puts me over the qualifying mark. It's bitter-sweet for me. According to Maine state guidelines, I am financially able to provide for my family with no problem. It feels almost liberating to be told I can do this on my own. However due to the rising costs of fuel and food, it's a crock of sh%&. I can't provide food and pay the bills. That's the bitter.

I am almost at wit's end at least twice a month.

You can find me writing and rewriting my budget almost daily while on my lunch break at work. It has become almost an obsession. I worry, tweak, worry some more, rearrange and reconfigure until I am so mentally exhausted I can't think straight. I put away the pen and paper and vow to not look at it again until next paycheck. My paychecks are bi-weekly which means I am usually in panic mode by the beginning of the week after I get paid.

My BF and I get along really well. The only time we ever fight is when money (or the lack thereof) is involved. Now that I no longer qualify for  foodstamps, we need to figure out how to come up with $500 a month.

I feel just awful every time his ex-wife calls to scream at him for being a horrible father. According to her, he should just sign over his rights as the boys' father and be done with it all. He feels like a failure and I wish I could just pay her for him and make it all better. He doesn't want me to do this and knows he needs to figure out another way to make money. He has sold almost everything he's owned to pay for his truck to get fixed. He is $3,000 behind on child support and guess how much it has cost him to get the truck running....yep, you guessed it. $3,000. He is a good man, a loving, kind and wonderful daddy. He deserves to be a part of their lives and knows he needs to pay for their well-being. He really does try, but always comes up short and has sh&% luck.

So I guess with all my complaining, I am really just reaching out to you other moms who may be in the same  or similar situation. I am not the world's greatest cook. I can't sew to save my life and I can't cut costs any more than I have without just not paying certain bills. I would really appreciate it if you readers would step out and help me to be not only more frugal, but maybe a little stronger during these tough times. Like many of you, we are good people who just need some guidance and some ideas on how we can make our financial hardships become less of a burden.

Thank you to all who will be/are reading this. Please comment or message me any time.

Blessings to you all,

Heather

by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Replies (11-15):
elephantmamaof2
by on Jul. 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Good luck on your journey!! You will be amazed at how freeing frugality is! Some may think the opposite is true, but not relying on material things to bring your mood up rocks! :) what part of Maine are you in? My husband is from the Waterville area and his parents still live there, it is a beautiful state!!
elephantmamaof2
by on Jul. 29, 2012 at 11:26 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting sassymomntx1961:

There are alot of smart women in here that can help w/ ideas to save money.Look at the sales paper each wk and if you can use coupons and its cheaper then store brands then buy it.Slow cookers are a life saver w/ tme and money from cooking to your elec.If you feel confortable,you could show us your income and bills.Can yall walk or ride the bus to work?I have a straight talk phone for 50 a mo.




I agree! You will LOVE this group! They are amazingly supportive and knowledgable women!
coala
by on Jul. 29, 2012 at 11:35 AM

If your family doesn't like eating leftovers cook in batches and freeze half.  I currently have 4 meals in my freezer.  I make stuff in my crock pot.  I feed pull out enough to feed us for 2 nights and freeze what is left.  I have some amazing cheap recipes if you would like them send me a pm.  I haven't found one that has been a fail in this cook book.  I am going to try some more as certain foods are in season.  Again I will cook and freeze.  I buy baking mixes on sale--the kind like bisquick (but generic).  I make my waffles and pancakes from these.  The kids love that I add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla to them.  They make them taste sweet w/o adding sugar.  Good luck, but your food budget is kind of high and w/in your control.  I feed my family of 4 on way less that what you were getting from the state. 

CBMMOM
by Member on Jul. 29, 2012 at 11:36 AM


Quoting chrissysnow22:

Hi Heather welcome to the group!

Meal planning and cooking from scratch will help out tremendously. And trust me they only don't love it because they don't know how good it is. Just wait till you start cooking. They will fall in love.

Other than that I say be creative. Minimize gas by making all your trips at the same time.

Make date nights free and fun like a scavenger hunt, movie night in etc... Our free nights tend to be more meaningful anyways.

Cut all eating out for a specific period of time and see how much you save. $10 bucks adds up over time.

Make your own everything. I am including a list of things that I have tried that work for me.

Homemade everything!
Dishwasher detergent
Equal parts borax and washing soda

Vinegar in the rinse compartment

Deodorant

1/4c baking soda
1/4c cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Mix together to combine.
If you want it scented I think it's best to add a few drops of essential oil now.
To the powder add coconut oil one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. I use about 5-6 spoons. It will feel like store bought deodorant. You can shape it onto a empty deodorant stick or put in a small container and apply with fingers.

Toothpaste 
3tbs baking soda
3tbs coconut oil 
1/2 sm packet stevia powder
20 drops peppermint oil

Body wash
1 bar ivory soap, grated

Put soap in saucepan and cover with water melt over med low heat until soap is dissolved. 
Pour into a 1 gallon jug and fill the rest of the way with water. Shake. Will thicken overnight. 
I add a bit more water as it thickens a lot IMO

Air Freshner
1/2 vodka
1/2 water
Essential oil

All Purpose Cleaner
2c water
2c vinegar
Few drops of EO
Pour all ingredients in a spray bottle. Don't worry the vinegar scent will disappear as it dries.

Liquid Hand Soap
1 part castile soap
3 parts water 
2-5 drops of lemon oil or any other you like.
Pour into a foaming soap dispenser.

Carpet freshner
1 box baking soda
25-30 drops EO

Pour into a container With holes
The Kraft Parmesan cheese container works great or you can make one with a Pringles can and put holes in the lid.

Shampoo
2c Castile liquid soap
1/2c honey
1/4c olive oil
In a foaming soap dispenser and you're done.

Febreeze
1/8 cup fabric softener
2tbs baking soda
Pour in a spray bottle
Fill the rest of the way with hot water. Shake and spray.

Liquid dish soap
-½ cup castile soap 
-1 tablespoon of white vinegar
-1 tablespoon of Arm&Hammer’s Super Washing Soda (used to thicken the soap)
-1/8 teaspoon of tea tree oil (optional)
Update: To thicken the soap add 1 tablespoon of shredded bar soap 
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and then pour in 1 1/2 cup of very hot water. Be sure to whisk/stir this mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly blended (and the bar soap is melted).
2. Allow mixture to cool completely on the counter. Stirring occasionally.
3. Store in any dish soap dispensing bottle and use as you would the commercial brands.


Homemade oxi clean 

1 cup water
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup washing soda

Mix all ingredients together and store in a dark spray bottle. 

To use: Spray on soiled laundry and let it sit overnight. Or, if you have a number of clothes that are soiled, you make up a batch of this and soak them in it overnight. Then, launder as usual.

Makeup remover
1/4tsp liquid Castile soap
1tsp olive oil
1c water
Pour in a flip top bottle. Shake before use.

Unclog a drain
1c baking soda
1c vinegar
6 c boiling water
Pour the baking soda down followed by the vinegar. Wait 10 mins then follow with boiling water.

Oven door cleaner
1/2c baking soda
1/8c vinegar
Sprinkle with baking soda. Pour vinegar over door. Let sit for 15-30 mins. Wipe clean

Homemade Fabric Softener
3 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 cup hair conditioner
essential oils (optional)

Pour the conditioner into the hot water.  Stir (don’t shake) and then add the vinegar. Pour into a gallon container.  Use the same amount if the fabric softener as you would use of the store bought kind or moisten a rag and throw it in the dryer. You can put it in your Downy balls too.

Homemade Jewelry Cleaner Recipe

1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. dish detergent
1 cup water
1 piece foil

Heat water for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Place foil in the bottom of any kind of bowl. Place salt, baking soda and detergent on top of foil and pour water over everything. Place jewelry in the cleaner and let it soak 10-20 minutes. Rinse, then dry.

As you can see we use a lot of Castile liquid baking soda and vinegar around my house. I get Castile on amazon with my amazon card I get from swagbucks.com with all my points.
I get baking soda from walgreens they have baking on sale for .50 almost monthly. And vinegar I buy by the gallon for about $3

I hope that helps you out a little.


Wow. You've got a lot of good ideas.

chrissysnow22
by on Jul. 29, 2012 at 3:26 PM
Thanks. I learned most of what I know from here. Hang around you'll be a pro soon.

Quoting CBMMOM:


Quoting chrissysnow22:

Hi Heather welcome to the group!



Meal planning and cooking from scratch will help out tremendously. And trust me they only don't love it because they don't know how good it is. Just wait till you start cooking. They will fall in love.



Other than that I say be creative. Minimize gas by making all your trips at the same time.



Make date nights free and fun like a scavenger hunt, movie night in etc... Our free nights tend to be more meaningful anyways.



Cut all eating out for a specific period of time and see how much you save. $10 bucks adds up over time.



Make your own everything. I am including a list of things that I have tried that work for me.



Homemade everything!

Dishwasher detergent

Equal parts borax and washing soda



Vinegar in the rinse compartment



Deodorant



1/4c baking soda

1/4c cornstarch or arrowroot powder



Mix together to combine.

If you want it scented I think it's best to add a few drops of essential oil now.

To the powder add coconut oil one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. I use about 5-6 spoons. It will feel like store bought deodorant. You can shape it onto a empty deodorant stick or put in a small container and apply with fingers.



Toothpaste 

3tbs baking soda

3tbs coconut oil 

1/2 sm packet stevia powder

20 drops peppermint oil



Body wash

1 bar ivory soap, grated



Put soap in saucepan and cover with water melt over med low heat until soap is dissolved. 

Pour into a 1 gallon jug and fill the rest of the way with water. Shake. Will thicken overnight. 

I add a bit more water as it thickens a lot IMO



Air Freshner

1/2 vodka

1/2 water

Essential oil



All Purpose Cleaner

2c water

2c vinegar

Few drops of EO

Pour all ingredients in a spray bottle. Don't worry the vinegar scent will disappear as it dries.



Liquid Hand Soap

1 part castile soap

3 parts water 

2-5 drops of lemon oil or any other you like.

Pour into a foaming soap dispenser.



Carpet freshner

1 box baking soda

25-30 drops EO



Pour into a container With holes

The Kraft Parmesan cheese container works great or you can make one with a Pringles can and put holes in the lid.



Shampoo

2c Castile liquid soap

1/2c honey

1/4c olive oil

In a foaming soap dispenser and you're done.



Febreeze

1/8 cup fabric softener

2tbs baking soda

Pour in a spray bottle

Fill the rest of the way with hot water. Shake and spray.



Liquid dish soap

-½ cup castile soap 

-1 tablespoon of white vinegar

-1 tablespoon of Arm&Hammer’s Super Washing Soda (used to thicken the soap)

-1/8 teaspoon of tea tree oil (optional)

Update: To thicken the soap add 1 tablespoon of shredded bar soap 

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and then pour in 1 1/2 cup of very hot water. Be sure to whisk/stir this mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly blended (and the bar soap is melted).

2. Allow mixture to cool completely on the counter. Stirring occasionally.

3. Store in any dish soap dispensing bottle and use as you would the commercial brands.





Homemade oxi clean 



1 cup water

1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

1/2 cup washing soda



Mix all ingredients together and store in a dark spray bottle. 



To use: Spray on soiled laundry and let it sit overnight. Or, if you have a number of clothes that are soiled, you make up a batch of this and soak them in it overnight. Then, launder as usual.



Makeup remover

1/4tsp liquid Castile soap

1tsp olive oil

1c water

Pour in a flip top bottle. Shake before use.



Unclog a drain

1c baking soda

1c vinegar

6 c boiling water

Pour the baking soda down followed by the vinegar. Wait 10 mins then follow with boiling water.



Oven door cleaner

1/2c baking soda

1/8c vinegar

Sprinkle with baking soda. Pour vinegar over door. Let sit for 15-30 mins. Wipe clean



Homemade Fabric Softener

3 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups vinegar

1 cup hair conditioner

essential oils (optional)



Pour the conditioner into the hot water.  Stir (don’t shake) and then add the vinegar. Pour into a gallon container.  Use the same amount if the fabric softener as you would use of the store bought kind or moisten a rag and throw it in the dryer. You can put it in your Downy balls too.



Homemade Jewelry Cleaner Recipe



1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. dish detergent

1 cup water

1 piece foil



Heat water for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Place foil in the bottom of any kind of bowl. Place salt, baking soda and detergent on top of foil and pour water over everything. Place jewelry in the cleaner and let it soak 10-20 minutes. Rinse, then dry.



As you can see we use a lot of Castile liquid baking soda and vinegar around my house. I get Castile on amazon with my amazon card I get from swagbucks.com with all my points.

I get baking soda from walgreens they have baking on sale for .50 almost monthly. And vinegar I buy by the gallon for about $3



I hope that helps you out a little.





Wow. You've got a lot of good ideas.

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