Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Frugal Journey aka Deprivation Diary

In the last few weeks, my life has changed or should I say I have imposed a moratorium on spending! For my families financial health we have had to cut back to the bone. This series,  My Frugal Journey aka Deprivation Diary, will chronicle my journey with sticking to a bare bones budget.   I'm hoping this helps others in their quest for better financial health! are not alone!  Others are going through the same thing you are!  With this economy there is no doubt.

  I have been feeling really deprived the last few days. Bad habits are hard to break. Trying to get over the fast food cravings! Last night I just wanted a Subway sub so badly but I resisted!  Yeah me!  It feels good to know I stuck to my budget!   I also had to go to Kroger to get prescriptions filled.  I am happy to tell you I didn't purchase anything but the meds!  Any other time I would have been looking for a bargain to buy.  Just because it is a great deal doesn't mean it is in the budget.

    On the upside of my budgeting, I think I have lost a few pounds. Just not buying a candy bar here and there and no fast food seems to be helping in more ways than one!

  I am still struggling with not buying anything that is not absolutely needed. I feel deprived.  I see people on Facebook going on vacations or going places and I wonder how they can afford to go and do all that they do.  I suppose some of them made better choices than I did when they were young.  I also suspect some are using plastic to fund their activities. I refuse to do that.

   And don't even get me started on Pinterest!  That is a sure path to dissatisfaction in your life. 
 Maybe I need to stay away from social media a little more!

  Till next time!

Frugal Blessings,

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Last Week's Frugality

   Hello All,

  I hope this post finds you happy and healthy!  It has been a long hard week for me and things have happened that make my frugal endeavors so much more important. 

  I have had to rewrite the budget and stop indulging my family and myself as much. Not that we were very spendy anyway!  Bottom line we have to cut back to the bone and I mean the bone.
  I have to get my emergency fund built back up ASAP!  This is imperative to my emotional wellbeing.
So here is what I have done this week to save money.
 I have packed my lunch 4 days out of 5. I have packed my son’s lunch 4 days out of 5 also. 
     I stopped at the store and only bought essentials—bread, milk and TP.  Oh yes, I also found a quart of heavy cream reduced and made butter from it!  We are having to make do with what’s in the pantry.  That is not such a problem because it is well stocked, just not what we want to eat right now.  But we will not go hungry!  Sure, I would love a quarter pounder from McD’s, but it isn’t possible.
  DH doesn’t like leftovers as a rule, but he ate them and then asked for seconds!  This was the left over black eyed peas and ham!  I have found a new cheap hearty meal that he loves!  Score one for me and frugality!
  One evening, I had Ramen noodles and parmesan cheese for supper. This wasn’t a big hardship because it is one of my favorites from my poor younger years!  We may even revisit Ramen Noodle Surprise in the next few weeks! That is ¼ lb of burger or ground turkey browned, with ramen noodles cooked in the skillet and tossing in whatever veggies you happen to have on hand!  A meal also from our younger, poorer days!
  We had bologna sandwiches one night. This is a favorite sandwich when I have mayo and sliced tomato on it. So that really wasn’t so bad either!  My kids were not impressed though.
  Our hot water heater went out and I haven’t been in a hurry to have it repaired/replaced because everyone is taking very short cold showers.  This will help with the water bill, but I so look forward to a hot shower soon! We surely do take things for granted!
  I dried my peas and carrots and got them stored away.
  I also started drying some of the 60lb of potatoes I bought a few weeks ago.  I definitely could use more trays but I will be making do with those that I have.
  We have not installed an AC unit as of yet.  Still trying to wait until June!  I do not know about you but my electric bill has increased lately so we are trying to suffer through as long as we can!  
  The bucket is still in the shower—just not catching as much water but enough for a flush here and there.
   I received several more samples this week and also signed up for a few.  I have been impressed by the amount of freebies I have been getting! Every little bit helps, right? 
  Several books I liked were free on Amazon and I downloaded them.
   I feel like so much has changed in the last week but upon rereading this, it isn’t so very much different from the normal frugal things I do.  I guess the biggest frugal change this past week was the change in our mindsets and not spending anything we don’t have to.  I must say this week has been hard and let me tell you I sure didn’t want to eat left over black eyed peas for supper one night, but I did not order pizza!  I felt very satisfied by using up and making do with what we had.
  In the next few months, I know we are going to struggle with our self-imposed frugality (can you say deprivation?) but I hope seeing the Emergency Fund build back up will leave us feeling even more satisfied and secure!  I hope!

Frugal Blessings,




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quote of the Week

Flowers are one of my favorite things! 



Flowers are the sweetest things

God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.

                                                     --Henry Ward Beecher


Beautiful Blessings to you all,


Monday, May 19, 2014

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Last Week's Frugality

  Hello everyone!  Hope you had a great, frugal week last week!  Mine was ok--not great but ok!

  I packed my lunch 3 days last week.  This isn't as bad as it sounds--we had hospital appreciation week so our meal was free on Wednesday!  The girls around my office ordered out and I joined them on Friday.   They went to subway and I ordered one of the $5 subs.  It was yummy with tons of veggies on it!  I bought lunchmeat that was on sale for my lunches this week. I hope to pack my lunch all week.

  I received several free samples last week and signed up for a few as well.

  I was able to add 10 boxes of pasta to our stash this week.  It was on sale for $.69 lb.  Not too shabby.  I also bought 2 bags of frozen peas and carrots that were on sale to dehydrate this week.  Cook's Spiral Sliced ham was on sale for $.99 lb. so I bought 3.  Two for the freezer and we had one for dinner 2 nights with enough left over to cook with beans this week. So 3 meals plus out of one ham.

  We had one meatless meal last week.  I scrubbed a bunch of the cheap potatoes that I bought several weeks ago and put them in the crockpot before I left for work. The potato bar meal was a success!  We had sour cream, cheese, butter, and chives!  Even my DH enjoyed this meal!  So we will be  doing this again!
  I found a gift for my brother for Christmas at the St. Vincent de Paul store.  He is the father of 2 beautiful little girls and I think he will enjoy it! I found a garden flag for the front yard brand new in the original package for just $.50 at the Goodwill!  They sell for 9-12 dollars retail so it was a bargain!  I also found a huge Christmas coloring book for my Grandbaby this Christmas for just $.50.

  The bucket is sill in the shower catching water.

  Well we will be saving on propane because the hot water heater went out.  We just cannot catch a break.  My son bought a thermocouple and tried to fix it but it still wouldn't work.  I guess I'll have to raid the emergency fund this week cause cold showers just stink!!!!  And of course the weather turned cooler to make matters worse!

 I received a $10 gift card from the gift shop at work for helping the volunteers with computer problems.  I really don't mind helping the ladies, but it is nice to be appreciated!  I plan on using it for a Christmas gift.

  Our local Farmer's market is open for business.  I love supporting local farmers so we are enjoying
 some yummy tomatoes and lettuce.  It is a tad more costly than the grocery but it is locally grown and uber fresh!  I love to eat fresh, and eat Local!

   I was able to make 3 pairs of earrings for gifts for birthdays or Christmas.  I used beads and findings that I had on hand so they didn't cost me anything.  I hope the recipients like them! With expenses  growing and our income not growing enough, I have no choice!   I do have quite a few frugal gifts already--I hope to have everything before Thanksgiving then I won't be going anywhere near stores in December!  I plan on making a gift or two each month for the rest of the year.  I'll keep you updated on my progress!

   We had several days early last week that were very hot but we didn't turn on the ac!  I am trying to wait as long as we can before turning it on.  Not ready for the big electric bills again.

  That's about it for me. What did you save money on  last week?

Frugal Blessings,

Friday, May 16, 2014

Speaking Engagement Plus!

Hello to all of my Blogging friends.  I hope this post finds you all happy and healthy!

  Several weeks ago, I was approached by a member of the Hospital Auxilliary Board where I work.  She knows that I love herbs and have made herbal soaps so she asked me to speak at the May Board Meeting/Luncheon.  I was so shocked and flattered that they asked me!  Of course I said yes!! Then I started doubting myself and started to worry about the speaking engagement. Well, that day finally rolled around and I had my program all planned out, got started and promptly did NOT use anything I had prepared.  I had brought a basket of potted herbs and just talked about my first exposure to herbs then described the uses for the potted herbs that I brought. I broke off pieces of each and passed them around  guess what---they really seemed to enjoy it.  I gave out a recipe for my Herbal Hot toddy Tea(it is amazing when you have a cold). I had purchased chamomile and peppermint tea bags from San Francisco Herb Co. to pass out and they really liked that!  Then I drew names for the basket of herbs that I brought. Who doesn’t like freebies?  All in all, I really enjoyed myself and I felt it was a big success-I hope to get other speaking engagements in the future! 

  I honor of my first speaking engagement, I will be giving away 20 chamomile and 20 peppermint tea bags, soap, and several more items from Herb and Botanicals to one lucky blogger next Friday May 24th.  To enter please just follow my blog or sign up for my e-mail and then leave a comment in the comment section telling me you have done so. If you are already a follower, just comment that.   Post about my giveaway on your blog and leave a comment and link about that for another chance. If you share this on face book, leave me a comment telling me you did so for another way to enter! So there are three ways to enter!  Good luck and may the best blogging friend win!

Herbal Blessings,


Monday, May 12, 2014

Last Week's Frugality!

Hello to all my Blogging Friends!
  I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's day!  I sure did!  We had our Mothers out for dinner Sunday.  I had to cook but I love cooking so that was ok!  I was tired last night, so tired, but it was a good tired if you know what I mean!
 Last week I was able to pack my lunch all week. Yippee! Now I just need to keep it up this week.

   I signed up for several free samples and received a bunch this week.  Here is pic of what I received:
Have I told you I LOVE Getting Freebies in the mail!
Not bad-I'll be keeping the wipes in the car for little messes!
Sign up for baby products even if you don't have babies.  You can use most things but you can also save them up and put in a shower gift basket.
I cooked a turkey from the freezer for Mother's day dinner and had 2 containers of turkey for the freezer.  I picked that carcass clean! So I got 3 meals from the free turkey my company gave us at Christmas last year.  I know, I know I should have made stock but it was just so hot in the house and we had company coming. 
We had mashed potatoes from my 60 pounds that I bought last week.
I used the frozen fruit I had on hand to make our dessert for Mother's day dinner.  I also found a sugar-free angel food cake making my trifle very inexpensive but yummy!
The Vienna bread we ate for dinner was found on the reduced rack also. So I saved a bunch by using what I had on hand and buying the rest very inexpensively. 
I still have the bucket in the shower catching waste water and using it for flushing.
   I found a pair of like new New Balance  gym shoes at the Goodwill for just $3!  They are nicer than the ones I am currently wearing.  I also picked up 2 scrub tops for my DD.  $3.29 for 2 Dickies brand scrub tops is a fantastic deal!
We have been suffering through the heat without the AC.  It has been in the 80's but I refuse to use them until at least June. Still paying on my huge electric bill.  I need to catch up before we start using the AC and rack up higher bills again.
The Light Nazi has been very busy this week!  Keep reminding the family to turn off lights when they leave a room.
A  broken tooth required an after hours visit to the urgent dental care office Monday for extraction.  The dentist said he could save the tooth but it would be very expensive.  I chose to have an extraction instead. It was $50 with my dental insurance.  Cheaper is not always better in this case but I will be needing a partial plate soon anyway. So I will be saving for that.
The Sunday paper had over $300 worth of coupons in it so I bought one Sunday. I'll need to use over $2 in coupons to break even on buying it but  I do save the funnies for birthday gift wrap and save the rest of the paper for fire starting in the cooler months. So it is worth buying!
  Well, I guess that is all for me, What have you done to save money last week?
Frugal blessings,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Recycling Pickle Juice?????

I recycle pickle juice.  Really, I do!  Once all of the pickles are gone, I buy a couple of pickling cukes, wash and slice them, soak them in salt water for a few hours then stuff them in the jar of pickle juice.  Microwave the full jar for about 1.5 minutes. Use pot holders to remove the jar and let it cool on the counter.  Add lid and when cool enough to touch, and place them in the fridge. Viola……I just recycles pickle juice for another jar of pickles!  They are best eaten after 2 days- if you can wait that long.  I must admit the flavor isn’t as strong as the original pickles, but they are still good!  Try it…..You might like it!
Frugal blessings,


Last Week's Frugality

    Hello to all of my blogging friends!  Last week has been very busy!  We had a family reunion Saturday, and my niece had her First Holy Communion yesterday!  I had to cook for the reunion Friday night and bake the cake for my niece for Sunday.  She wanted a pink cross cake so that is what I made her!

  Well, this week I packed my lunch 4 days!  I was running late one morning and wasn’t able to make anything. Boo!  I must try harder!

  My SIL bought an herb kit for me for Christmas and I finally got around to planting the herb seeds.  I am hoping for dill, sage, basil, and marjoram.  Oh yes, and chives! I almost forgot them.  I really want to grow enough herbs to use for the next year without buying them.  I bought some nifty herb shakers from Ball and plan on using them! 

  I was able to add 4 bottles of shampoo to my stash.  DH and I are trying to use minute amounts of shampoo each time in order to make it go further.  We are still using the bottle we opened in January and have about 1/3 of the bottle left.  I figure if we can make it stretch to 2 bottles per year, I have enough shampoo to last us for many, many years! I had 4 bottles and added 4 more!  If you are wondering, my children would rather buy their own shampoo.  My cheap stuff isn’t good enough for them.  Lol!  They are young and will learn soon enough!

  A local grocery store had Idaho potatoes 20 lbs for 3.99 so I stocked up on those—60 lbs worth.  At $.20 per lb. I cannot afford not to.  I batch cooked mashed potatoes for our reunion and mashed potatoes for the freezer.   I am planning on drying some and canning the rest.  This is my goal this week!

   The bucket is still catching waste water in the shower!  Speaking of bathrooms, I have read about bloggers saying that they are not buying as much TP and switching to family cloths.  I know my children would not go for this, but I am thinking about sewing some up to try out for my own personal use.  Soft flannel would be so much more comfortable.  Really, it isn’t that much different than using cloth diapers, is it?  I would appreciate input from anyone who is currently using the family cloths!  Just pondering!

  I used my Kroger points (from med purchases) to get gas last week.  Saved $.20 per gallon!

  A tide sample came in the mail and I signed up for 4 more freebies. 

  I hung 3 loads of towels and clothes out to dry this week.  My kids won’t hang dry anything but I saved about 2.5 hours of drying time. 

  I planted many flower seeds.  I know it is a bit late but they will bloom eventually!  Marigolds, zinnias, nasturtiums, and more!  Flowers make me smile!

    Only bought needed items at the grocery.  I am trying to eat from the pantry as much as possible this month because I am still trying to pay off my ginormous electric bill from February and March.  The extra from the food budget will come in handy.  Almost have it paid off! Yippee!

  I received an order for a cake this week.  Not a decorated cake as usual, but a bundt cake.  A cherry bundt cake to be specific!  I’ll share the recipe next week.  This will help with extra income this month.

   I mended a hole in my trouser sock.  I have the worst time keeping socks!  My washer has to be eating  them!  I probably have half a septic tank full of socks that have magically disappeared!  So I am mending to try and make the few I have left, last!  Last year for Christmas, the kids kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer was “Trouser Socks”.   Seriously, but they didn’t believe me!  I did end up getting one pkg. from my oldest!  Thank goodness!  Guess they will be on my list again this Christmas!
  My BFF dropped off some seedlings she had started that were left over from her garden.  There was a pepper plant, several sage plants, and several cantaloupe plants!  Thanks Sandie!

  Well, that about sums up my week of frugality.  How did you save last week?

Frugal Blessings,