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19 Ways to Cut Back an Already Bare Bones Grocery Budget

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food

Things just went from bad to worse. You got the call that your husband lost his job, the car needs major repairs, or another medical bill just found its way in your hands.

You’re already frugal but this news demands even more cutbacks. While it may seem that you are already doing all that you can to skimp and save sometimes you find yourself needing to cut back even more.

If you’ve found yourself in this position, I’m here to help.

I’ve recently had to reevaluate our already frugal lifestyle. I will admit to you that cutting back an already bare bones grocery budget isn’t fun or easy, but it is possible. Continue reading →

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17+ Things We Don’t Pay For

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cards-coins

Christmas is behind us and we’ve welcomed in the New Year.

Almost two weeks into it, conversations, both online and in real life, seem to revolve around our New Year’s Resolutions.

The most common seem to be getting healthier and saving money.

For a few healthy recipes, check out my white chicken chili, cinnamon skillet apples, & oatmeal cookies.

When it comes to saving money, we often underestimate how the little things can add up over the years. While each one of these may result in savings as small as a few pennies, many can be significantly more. Over time, they can really add up.

If you’re having trouble making ends meet, or need a little help reaching that financial goal, consider giving up one, a few, or all of these expenses. Continue reading →

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Why We Kissed Costco Goodbye

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Costco

This is not an anti-Costco post.

I really, really like Costco. I’ve been a member since it was called Price Club.

The thing is, though, times are tough. And things that we used to consider necessities are now viewed as luxuries.

When finances are tight, one of the best things we can do is honestly distinguishing between needs and wants. The needs stay while the wants become negotiable.

Today I have the pleasure of sharing this post at Growing Slower. Shannon’s blog is one that I have been reading for several years in an effort to live simply on a budget. I hope you’ll take a moment to hop on over to her blog where she offers tips and advice on saving money, simple living, and family life. 

To finish reading this post, click here.

Shared at Soul SurvivalSo Much At HomeFaith Filled FridayFaith Along the WayHave Fun & Live FrugallyTitus 2 TuesdaysTeach Me TuesdayI Choose Joy!, Serving JoyfullyThe Art of Homemaking MondaysGood Morning Mondays, & So Much at Home.

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My #1 Tip For Trimming Grocery Spending

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grocery-tip

If you’ve read my blog, you’ve probably heard me say that our bills may not be negotiable, but our grocery receipts usually are.

When finances are tight, often the only area we can control is our food spending.

While my husband works hard to bring the money in, my job is to make it go as far as it can while feeding our family healthy meals. With two growing teenagers, that task isn’t always easy, but it is possible.

Today I’d like to share what works for our family.

I’m honored to be sharing this post today at Family Balance Sheet. Kristia’s blog has been an inspiration to me as she is “a mom on a mission to help families live well on less.” She shares “money-saving tips and ideas about family finances, food, home management, & family life.” 

To continue reading this post on her site, please click here.

Shared at Inspire Me MondaysMy PinterventuresWake Up WednesdaySo Much At HomeI Choose Joy!New Mrs. AdventuresMom’s The WordHomemaking Link-upThriving ThursdayHomestead Blog Hop, & Mom’s Morning Coffee.

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3 Things We Wish We Had Done When We Had More Money

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money-background

Things have not always been as tight for our family as they are now. They’ve always felt like they have been, but as our income has consistently declined over the last 8 or so years, we’ve had to learn to make do with less and less.

In retrospect, we had it pretty good before. We had consistency and reliability. Now we have neither. I wish we had realized then how good we had it. Instead, we focused more on how little we had.

They say hindsight is 20/20, right? I’m sharing this personal information in hopes that you can learn from our experience.

Here’s what we wish we had done then: Continue reading →

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My #1 Rule For The Frugal Kitchen (& How I Just Broke It!)

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money-trash

I’m sick to my stomach.

I just broke my #1 rule for my frugal kitchen.

I let 1/2 of a bottle of grapeseed oil go bad. Like really bad. It’s September and it expired in March. I don’t usually worry too much about expiration dates. (The chili that I am eating as I type this used a can of tomatoes that expired a few months ago.) But this smells rancid. It’s definitely bad. Healthy oils are one of the most expensive food items I purchase to feed my family. This would have been one of the last things I would have wanted to waste.

I purchased this oil for making homemade mayo, salad dressings, and skincare. Somehow, it got pushed to the very back of a deep cabinet and forgotten about. Ugh! Waste makes me unhappy because I simply cannot afford to throw away food. When I think of the millions of starving people around the world, it makes me feel even worse. Continue reading →

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Blogging For A Cause – An Update

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hand-with-water

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”                                        ~Matthew 25:35-36 (ESV)

Just after starting my blog, I posted about an idea of how this blog could be used to raise money for one of my favorite charities. If you’d like to read that post, click here. Go ahead, I’ll wait for ya.

Would you like to know how much you’ve helped me raise? Continue reading →

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5 Reasons Why I Pray Before I Shop

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prayer-shopping

A few weeks ago, my Pastor’s wife and I headed ” the big city” to do some shopping. Our goal was to purchase groceries and board games for our upcoming Youth Night hosted by our church.

However, when one travels two and a half hours for a Costco, you can imagine I’m going to take advantage of that opportunity and do a little personal grocery shopping.

And so I prayed. I prayed for days before. I prayed not just for a safe trip, but for how I shop.

There are several reasons I do this: Continue reading →

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The Only Tool You Need For Perfectly Boiled Eggs

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egg-timer

After my Grandmother’s Memorial Service, my mom, aunts, cousins, and I were going through her room cherishing our time together, sharing memories of her, and claiming the items that meant the most to us.

Among many precious things, my Aunt Patrice found a package with an egg timer in it. She laughed as she recalled how Grandma made sure all of her daughters had one in each of their kitchens. When I asked what it was, my aunt was surprised that my Grandma hadn’t given me one, so I got to bring that one home with me.

After using it for the first time, I was hooked. In all my years of cooking hard boiled eggs, I gave it my best, but I inevitably ended up with the greenish hue of the overcooked egg or a mushier-than-I’d-like center. Since using this timer for the last almost year and a half, they have come out perfect every time. Continue reading →

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What To Do With The Garlic Scapes In Your Kitchen

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scapes

I first tried Garlic Scapes earlier this year when my friend shared a jar she had pickled from her garden. (Thanks, Aemi!) Until then, I had never even heard of them.

Just a few weeks ago, my sweet friend and neighbor brought me a bag of them that she had purchased from the Farmer’s Market. (Thank you, Cheryl!)

Today I’d like to share with you what Garlic Scapes are and a few ways in which you can use them. If you grow your own garlic, you will be able to use a part of your plant that you may have previously thrown away. If you come across these at the Farmer’s Market or in your CSA box, you will know exactly what to do with them.

What is a Garlic Scape? Continue reading →

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How I Prep My Kitchen For A Busy Week

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kitchen-prep

Today I’d like to share a simple tip with you.

You see, I have been planning the last few weeks knowing that next week will be a busy one for me. I am not used to having to leave the house everyday (I know – I’m quite spoiled!). Next week, however, I will be teaching Monday through Friday at our community Vacation Bible School.

It is such a rewarding time, but it is also quite tiring. The kids and I will arrive home each day tired, hot, and hungry. Hubby will be eagerly awaiting our arrival (and lunch!).

I will need to prep for the next day’s teaching, as well as make dinner and all the other tasks I never seem to have the time to accomplish in a day. I need to do something to make my week easier. Continue reading →

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Christmas In July

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advent-conspiracy

I know… I know… no one wants to think about Christmas in the middle of summer. Hang with me, though, I have a really good reason for mentioning it now.

You see, I’m a planner by nature. I like to plan meals, schedules, budgets, etc. July 1st means that this year is half over already.

That also means that Christmas will be here before we know it. We know it’s coming. It’s the same date each year. Most people, however, find themselves unprepared, financially, when the big day comes.

Speaking of finances, do you know how much we spend on Christmas gifts? Continue reading →

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Health vs. Finances

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orange  pepper moneyOne of the biggest challenges for me, as a homemaker, is finding a balance between purchasing healthy food and staying within a reasonable, affordable budget. I consider myself a whole food lover, I prefer to eat organic food over conventional, and the health of my family is important to me.

However, there have been times where I have had to choose a less healthy option due to our financial limitations. Many times I have stressed about how my decisions to be frugal will affect the health of my family.

For me, I have decided to do the best that I can for my family, and realize that, ultimately, our health is in God’s hands.

For this reason, I consider myself a person who takes a balanced approach when it comes to the tension between healthy food and finances. I decide what price I am willing to pay for each item. Sometimes it will be the healthy choice, sometimes it will be the frugal choice, but I will always trust God in the end.

Continue reading →

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The How’s and Why’s of a Pantry Challenge

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dried goods

If not, this post will explain the what, why, and how of a Pantry Challenge. If you have, perhaps you will be encouraged to find your own reasons for trying one.

A Pantry Challenge is when you take stock of the items you have in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. You take an inventory of the food you have so than you can plan menus using what you have already purchased rather than making a shopping list and heading to the store. Continue reading →

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Dreams, Goals, and God’s Will

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fireworks

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

When I think of the word dreams, the song lyrics “a dream is a wish your heart makes” immediately comes to mind. When we dream about the future, we think about things that we wish would happen.

My husband and I dream of paying off our mortgage as soon as possible and the financial relief that will give us. However much we dream about paying off our mortgage, it won’t happen on its own. This dream is nothing but a wish for the future because without goals, dream are just fairy tales. Making the dream come true will require another step. It will require not just wishing with our hearts, but working hard with our hands.

Set your goals high, and don’t stop til you get there.” ~Bo Jackson

Continue reading →

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4 Tips to Saving Time in the Kitchen

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black & white clockIf you know me in real life, or have spent time reading my blog, you know that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen in an effort to stretch my husband’s paycheck as far as it can possibly go. As I have said before, I believe that the kitchen is the area we have the most control over in terms of how much, or how little, money we spend.

While I consider it my job to make his paycheck go as far as it can and I do enjoy working in my kitchen, I don’t want to be in it 24/7. Because of that, I am always looking for ways to streamline my kitchen activities.

Continue reading →

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Why I Don’t Think Credit Cards Are All Bad

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Credit Card

Years ago, before my husband and I had children, we had debt. Lots of it.

We had the mentality that if we could afford the minimum monthly payment, then we could afford to purchase the items we wanted. We drove a very nice, brand new truck with a $400+ payment because, well, we could afford the payment.

Then we found out that we were expecting a baby. Continue reading →

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23+ Ways I Use Vinegar

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bottle

Are you a fan of vinegar?  A few years ago, I would have never imagined I would buy gallon bottles by the case at Costco. A quick internet search will give you countless uses for the pungent-smelling, clear liquid. Today I want to share with you the ways I personally use it. It is much easier on our environment than many of the harsh chemicals we are purchasing from the store. It’s also a much more frugal option than many of those said chemicals. So grab a gallon, give a few of these a try, and then maybe branch out and try a few more.

Continue reading →

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I Have No Business Baking Anything

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oven-knobs

Neither do you.

As temperatures rise across the country, most of us are thinking about cold sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. The internet is full of homemade ice cream, fruit salsa, and other no-bake recipes. Turning on the oven is a huge no-no for many.

Even though we haven’t warmed up much yet, the time is coming. However, I bake all year long without ever worrying about heating up the kitchen. It’s true; I bake bread all summer long. You can, too!

My secret is this little baby.

Continue reading →

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Blogging For A Cause

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hand-with-water

Today I am going to stray from my usual format because I have an announcement to make.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog called Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids. (Click on highlighted title to visit her blog!) She has a section called “Comments for a Cause”. Val donates a set amount for each comment she receives on her blog to a new charity each month.

After reading her story, I went out to water and weed the garden. When I am alone in the garden, I often spend my time there in prayer. I prayed about how I could implement this system into my own blog, not just for God’s glory, but so that others would benefit. Continue reading →

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Frugal vs. Cheap

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calculator-basket

Frugality is definitely in vogue these days. The lessons our grandparents learned during The Great Depression are being resurrected as a result of the current economic times. I think that’s a good thing.

I remember having a conversation with my Grandmother in which we were discussing the financial challenges my family was facing. She asked me if it made me feel better knowing we weren’t alone. I answered with an unsure, “I guess so.” My immediate thought was that I didn’t wish this for anyone else; but as I reflected more on our conversation, I realize that’s not what she meant at all. With so many of us in the same boat, at least we have each other to teach and encourage. We can truly understand each other’s situations because many of us are facing them ourselves.

That is one of the reasons I am writing this blog. I want to share the things I have learned.

Continue reading →

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