Friday, July 9, 2010


We are both on board with the finances together lately and it feels so good. (Just say no to Peaches and Herb. If you have to google that, you are young.) We really want to get the debt paid off. We want to increase our giving to church. We want to be responsible.

But tonight I just really, really wanted to go to a restaurant. I was tired. We had a birthday party from 3-5 this afternoon and so there was not time to cook when we got home. I was kicking myself for not realizing the time of the party because I could have prepared things ahead of time had I noticed. So we all got home within 15 minutes of each other and we were hungry and there was no food. Going out to eat would have been a really bad choice.

I finally drug myself off the couch and ran to buy hot dogs at the grocery store. Maybe not the most nutritious meal, but definitely not $25-30 out of our pocket either. my meal plan will last longer, right?

I'll tell you, getting out of debt (especially when you seem to keep adding to it thanks to a recent surgery) is not exciting. It's challenging and it's every single day.

May I just say that I took my girls to that birthday party today, which was for TWO KIDS AT ONCE, and we spent just over $4.00 on gifts? Thank you. If you'd like to hear how I did that I'll be happy to brag tell you.

So here is my big plan for helping us stretch those dollars so we can climb out of the hole:

1. Homemade cleaners. I already make my own laundry soap thanks to Suzanne and that saves TONS of money. It really does. This week I learned about  Grocery Shrink and if you sign up for her newsletter she sends you recipes for homemade cleaners and they are different from what I have seen online before. I'm trying some soon.

2. Cloth napkins and rags. Angela at Grocery Shrink talked about this and I've considered it many times before. I think I'm just going to do it now. I've sewn cloth napkins but to make it through the week we may need more. No problem. She also mentioned cutting up old t-shirts (they don't ravel) and I think I'll cut up our old towels that are falling apart to make rags for the kitchen, spills, cleaning, etc. The only thing we should need paper towels for is grease, right? I can stop buying paper towels every week. I KNOW it would save money to go cloth in the bathroom too but I draw the line there. Sorry.

3. Not totally related to money, I'm also going to start using glass jars for leftovers and throw away the plastic. I read something that grossed me out and scared me all at the same time. I may go back to washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with vinegar. (yes, if you clicked on the link above about the laundry soap, my 2009 self was dissing folks who do this--I've crossed over, what can I say?) We did that for a few months and it worked just fine. It will be fewer chemicals AND less money as well. I still draw the line on natural deodorant. Sorry.

4. Be diligent. Raising Homemakers had an article about this and it really struck a chord with me. Quit whining about how you don't FEEL like doing ______. Just get it done. Dirty dishes really do cost money and time. So can dirty clothes. And library books. Disorganization can cost time and money also. Be diligent and take care of things.

5. May I just say that since my daughters have been washing their own clothes (I have pictorial instructions I made for them if anyone wants me to e-mail them to you) there have been fewer and fewer dirty clothes in their hamper? Interesting. I KNOW FOR A FACT that clean clothes were being thrown in there because they didn't want to put them away. I'm not saying it doesn't still happen, but they have figured out that they are only shooting themselves in the foot and have nearly stopped that behavior. More savings!

6. Grocery shopping/menu planning. I will continue this. I do not coupon, but I am getting better and better at the shopping. I've been spending less each week. It's really exciting to outdo yourself at the checkout lane. Is it wrong to yell, "YES!" and do a celebration dance in line? Starting 30 Meals is part of this money saving plan.

7. Stay home. You really do save money by NOT going out. :) My girls don't see things they want. I don't see things I want. Since I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart, my grocery bill has gotten smaller and smaller. I go there for paper goods/toiletries sometimes. I was there recently and was astonished at all the things there were to be had that we had not even thought about wanting simply because we hadn't seen them. Saves gas too.

8. Sweat a little. My grandmother lived in Texas and never had central air. If she can do it, I can live with the thermostat on 80 for heaven's sake. We have fans in almost every room. If we're hot, we change clothes. I keep the curtains and blinds closed until evening. I hate that, but it helps the electrical bill so much. Also, get a clue and get up early to do the hard work like my grandmother did and sit your butt down in the heat of the day and do sit down work then. Duh.

Did I forget something important? What do you do to save money?


  1. Brenda, this is a motivating post! I have been feeling so lazy this past week (we all have, actually), but I need to get back to it! Thanks for the kick in the rear! :)

  2. Peaches and Herb - I didn't have a clue who they were but K did.
    What a silly name!

  3. I am now very motivated to jump on board with you! I may have to post something like this as a contract or commitment to myself! Stay strong! YOU CAN DO IT!

  4. YOU GO GIRL! We counsel couples and help them get a plan for debt and the blessings are just amazing.

    If you don't have a serger, find a friend with one and ask to use it for an afternoon. Whipping out cloth napkins is so quick, and it helps to finish edges of old towels you want to use for cleaning rags too. Leave a $10 gift card to a fabric store in a thank you note when you're done and you're in business.

    On the napkin topic - we start a fresh napkin, and when we're done eating we leave it at our seat if it's not dirty. That way we aren't washing a clean napkin, and we always sit in the same spot so we're all using our own again anyway. Adults and older children can usually get several days out of one. And washing 6 napkins x 7 days of the week? No! :)

  5. After thinking on this post, my mind is consumed with other ways to SAVE.

    Use a clothes line instead of the dryer...just have to get hubby to hang a line.

    Use foaming soap dispensers and refill them instead of buying new.

    Wash ziplock bags.

    Water down juices, milk, liquid soaps.

    Go to and apply for free samples! My shower is full of free stuff!

    USE WHAT YOU HAVE! If we could just organize better and declutter, we could know what we have and be faithful to use what we have...instead of buying more.

  6. So many good ideas.I just need to keep my kitchen cleaner and we would save a bundle.We almost never by paper towls maybe 6 rolls a year.However we use paper plates and bowls all the time.No dish washer and I have a lazy streak when it comes to dirty dishes.I really shouldn't admit such things.

  7. Oh Shaper...I completely forgot about the clothes line. Yes, I've been wanting one too! We had one at our first house and that was before children. I hung most things up the other week (on hangers--shower curtain rods, doorways, etc.) and it worked fine. The wind does help them not be so stiff though. I still dried my husband's jeans and the towels. I didn't have enough room to hang all that up! A clothes line would be nice.

  8. Brenda,I finally found heart of the matter.I kept coming up with heart healthy recipies.But I finally found the site you had told me about.It is a GREAT site.I found an artical on accredited schools.So perfectly timed with what I have been struggling with.THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!LucyT

    NOW IF I CAN JUST GET TO CHURCH ON TIME.I have spent a little to much time on the computer this morning.

  9. Great list! And, if you ever change your mind about using natural deodorant, here's a great recipe. I've been using it for a couple of years now and it works great and is inexpensive. I live in Oregon, where granted, it doesn't get as hot as Texas. But I've also used it successfully when on vacation in tropical climates. (A good way to spend the money you save not buying deodorant... hehe!)
    I also really appreciated your post on why you don't teach grammar, etc. Very encouraging! Blessings!

  10. Oh, I forgot the link!

  11. This is our first year with Central Air in a long time and we forgot how expensive it can be. Now that we're staring at a $500 electric bill (yikes!)we turned the thermostat up to 80 as well and turned on the fans. I have a post on saving money on my blog that has a lot of the same ideas as yours....its just putting them into action that's hard, for me anyway = ) Good luck!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)