Posts Tagged "frugal living"

Pssst! We Have a Free Ebook Over on SBS!

Did you know Justin and I run a second site together, Sustainable Baby Steps? It’s my more practical side wrapped up in its own website. Sustainable Baby Steps is dedicated to guiding you to live a healthy, happy, meaningful life…without overwhelming you with information, costing an arm and a leg or sacrificing what really matters: a life worth sustaining! And we now have a free ebook we’re offering to get you started! Click here for Strategies to Save Money (Without Sacrificing Your Health, Happiness or Values)

Read More

Surviving the Heat

Our weather has been nothing less than wonky this year but the heat is in full swing now. We’re averaging around 110 degrees and some god-awful humidity has descended upon us. What a horrible, horrible thing humidity is. Every year for the past several years, we’ve managed to bump up the temperature setting on our AC. What started at 84 at night and 80 during the day, is now 86 at night and between 83-85 during the day. It’s been a slow acclimation but it’s working. Anything lower and we’re using throw blankets. And I’m sorry, but if you have to use a throw blanket in the summer (and you don’t have the flu) you could stand the turn up that AC and save a few bucks (and tons of CO2!). Last year, I wrote about all the ways to stay cool in the summer, while using less energy and decreasing…

Read More

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is the best. And the cheapest! With what we’d spend to buy a few ounces of vanilla extract at the store, we made two large jars full. (Over a year later and we and others are still have barely made a dent!) . One ounce of vanilla beans, sliced open (we bought ours here) One L of vodka or bourbon (any cheap brand will do) Two quart-size mason jars . . Add the alcohol to the jars and the vanilla to the alcohol. Shake on occasion. Don’t take the beans out. Do your best to keep your cocktail-lovin’ husband out of it for at least 6 weeks or until it smells scumptious. . . Enjoy more vanilla extract than you will ever use in a lifetime. Bottle some up, with a bean thrown in for pizazz and give it away as a gift. Use it in your homemade…

Read More

Janky

Jan-ky [jang-kee] -adjective 1. Inferior quality; held in low social regard; old and dilapidated; refers almost exclusively to inanimate material objects: We tried to pick up on these girls waiting for the bus, but I was driving my sister’s janky 1989 Geo Metro so we just got clowned instead. . 2. Poorly constructed or unattractive; put together of whatever you have on hand: We rigged this janky trellis for our grapevine out of hemp twine, scrap wood and nails. . . Cuz that’s how we roll.

Read More

Meal Plan Monthly

Because I can neither meander through commonality, nor tolerate excessive time among crowds and cash registers, the weekly meal plans I’ve seen gracing the pages of blogs don’t appeal. For several months my goal was bi-weekly meal plans and shopping, but even that’s been irking my nerves, giving my over-achieving tendencies a chance to kick in. I went grocery shopping once for the month of April. I planned breakfast, lunch and dinner with enough flexibility to accommodate our whims or possible mishaps. And I held my breath for good luck. Even the cashier had little faith in my memory or my list making skills (Psha!). He placed money on seeing me before the end of the month but I guess I showed him. Here’s how I did it: A Well-Organized Meal Plan: I wouldn’t have dreamed of attempting this without a meal plan. In fact, it is highly discourage to attempt any…

Read More

Goodbye Darling

I watched my truck drive away last night. The insurance and title has been arranged and the new owners were anxious to take what was now theirs. I wasn’t sad to see it go, like I’ve been in the past over other vehicles, despite this being my first *brand-new* vehicle. I was really excited to know it was going to a great family, since it’s been such a great family vehicle for us. I’m still adjusting to driving Justin’s truck. It’s a heavy-duty monster and I’m always afraid of parking lots or gas stations (the latter of the two being were I gave it it’s first dent – whoops). Although it’s a full size truck with a back seat, it’s still not much room so I need to simplify our “travel” gear. It’s also difficult to drive at night with it’s darkly tinted windows. But I do feel like a…

Read More

Money Management and Kids

I’m lounging in my front yard with my laptop on my lap, trying to soak up the perfect weather while it’s nice. Kind of an odd place to be wading through all this semi-heavy stuff. I feel like I should be writing about my runner beans coming up or the yummy White Bean Dip recipe I just received from my friend, Rachel – you know, light-hearted, domestic type stuff to match the cool breeze and shady day. But I was recently asked by a fellow (Twit? Twitterer?Tweeter?) Shane, to blog about my thoughts on money management from an unschooling perspective. And you know, given the chance, I love to act as if I know it all. Of course, I don’t. So these opinions are just mine, based on my life experiences and my interpretation of unschooling. For starters, I personally believe the key to any good money management has to start with a healthy view…

Read More

Brainstorming (or I Love To Make Lists)

Thanks for all the feedback on my last post. The consensus seems to be there is no harm in preparation. And forgive me for saying I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling a doomsday scenario coming on. Okay, maybe not doomsday, but I still have all these horrible images in my mind depicted by Dmitry Orlov who is likening the USA to Russia right before its collapse and had plenty to depict what that might (will?) look like for us and what could be done about it. You can read all his comparisons and predictions here. Can we say yikes?! Justin and I are still discussing it all. We’ve been talking about ways to earn extra money or save money. We are leaning strongly towards getting a piece of land asap, regardless of whether we move there this year or not. At least we’d have it if we needed it. There…

Read More

Grocery Budgeting

I’ve had more time to peruse blogs lately and have been finding some really great and inspirational ones. But I just ran across one that is so inspiring and amazing, I just HAVE to share it! ThirtyFiveByNinety posted this blog post about their grocery shopping goals and how theie goal is to spend no more than $25 per week on food. So far this month, their total grocery bill has been under $42! They’ve been accomplishing this by shopping sales, bulk, farmer’s markets, gardening, bartering etc. Since we’re trying to cut our expenses back in order to save more for our Five Year Plan, this is really intriguing. I thought I was doing good with shopping every two weeks and meal planning with our bill averaging under $100 a week. Granted, I don’t have the local resources they do – like a nearby dairy farm. But there must be ways I can…

Read More

Homemade Toothpaste

We’ve been using Tom’s of Maine for awhile. While I prefer it (and it’s fluoride-free recipe) over conventional toothpaste, I was tired of the price. I was also tired of running out and forgetting to get more at the store. Since we’ve switched to homemade toothpaste, we’ve not only saved oodles of money but we’ve both noticed a difference in bad breath and morning breath after several weeks of use. And my hygienist (er, aunt) swears this is better than any toothpaste on the market and habitually prescribes it for her patients. I’ve been tinkering with the recipe for awhile now and I think I have it perfected. The “parts” for me refers to teaspoons. Because I don’t know the shelf life of these ingredients once mixed and only two of us use this toothpaste, I prefer to only make a small batch at a time. If you have more people using…

Read More