Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Message

When times are tough we like to make our favorite chocolate cake recipe from scratch. You can get the recipe HERE.

“As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001)

Prudent in every respect... what does that mean?

Prudent: Careful and wise in  handling practical matters; exercising good judgement or common sense: a prudent manager of money.
    2.  Characterized by or resulting from care or wisdom in practical matters or in planning for the future: a prudent investment.

So we must do this in every respect, not going to extreme but a prudent manager of our funds. We need to be wise. We need to live within our income and what we have for income we must not waste. We must not be the woman who shovels more out the back door than her husband brought in the front door.

We may not be in control of everything but there are some things we can control. We can control over spending. We can control following a budget or not, we can control many things…

Cooking from scratch saves so much money. Not eating out so much is huge.
Mending your clothes.
Making your homemade cleaners.
When you have errands, stack them to save gas.
Make your wardrobes work by knowing how to refashion.
Conserve energy, turn lights out when leaving the room, all those things your mom used to say.
Pay your bills before you have late fees.
Drive the speed limit and pay your parking meter.
Find inexpensive meals.
Try some freezer meals for when you are tired.
If you have credit cards pay more than the minimum payments, work hard to pay them off.
When making purchases look for a used version first.
Try to be mindful of your spending and do the best you can. Build a budget cookbook, also build a food storage cookbook based on what you store.

Remember, what I said before… use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Do you have a plan for do without? The first time you hear that you are laid off it brings stress in that very minute, all you think is how will we manage? Fear? Alone? Tears, then you roll up your sleeves and dig in. Hopefully you have storage and not things you are not used to eating but things you have always been eating. 

Now is not the time for blame, it is time for supporting, it is time for you to put those skills to work that you took the time to learn. You will make chocolate cake and love your family and your family will love you. Times are uncertain with many companies closing, even ones you thought were solid. Being prepared is a real comfort, having skills is such a blessing. Taking time to learn them is a sacrifice that pays big. thought I would take my birthday off and buy bread….eeeew won’t do that again.

I know that some are not bread bakers, if you did not have bread could you make it? Do you have bread baking ingredients and equipment?

Did you know that you should store yeast in the freezer? I also keep a using quart jar of it in the refrigerator for my using jar.

Buy yeast in bulk. I get mine from Sam’s Club (not advertising for them it is just the best price I have been able to find).
Wheat and the ability to grind it. Oil, sugar, salt etc. Remember I use buckets and I put two bay leaves on the product before putting on the lid… flour, wheat, pasta, oats any grains or things that could get bugs.

Learn from others… - I really like what she tells us of her experience this is inspiring this is especially good for all to read

This lady does a great thing, she tells what she did that was frugal each week I think lots could be learned from her.

I think if you jot down things you do you will find you already do a lot but what else can you do? I bet you could find areas to help. making yogurt so inexpensive use your dry bread and make the worlds best croutons can your own food when boneless chicken breast is on sale can it homemade jam soooo good learn to make bread make your own egg noodles best ever when things are tough make chocolate cake, this is our favorite look for used pressure canners and learn to use them - when you find things on a really good sale.

So here are just a few things that I do to help stretch our money.
Keep searching the blog, so many more ideas and recipes! Remember, you are not alone in trying to live more frugally, lets share info.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Message

These are the best dishcloths ever! Once you use one it will be a favorite. Click HERE for the pattern.

"Now you ask where do I get the money for these things. I agree I need them, but I'm having a hard time making ends meet. Here is how you do it: Use one or more of the following suggestions: Food Storage Christmas: Use 25-50% of money for food storage, New Clothes: Don't buy instead make it last a few more months, use that money for food storage, Vacation/ Holiday: no vacation or holiday until food storage is complete, Recreation: Cut by 50% use money for food storage, find fun, free things to make lasting memories, Snowmobiles/campers/boats: sell or trade to get a year's supply, Change Diet: eat cheaper foods and use extra money for food storage.  

"The Lord will make it possible, if we make a firm commitment, for every LDS family to have a year's supply of food reserves ... All we have to do is to decide, commit to do it, and then keep the commitment.  Miracles will take place: the way will be opened and we will have our storage areas filled.

"I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received dealing with our personal and family preparedness. ... With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying but the instability in the world today makes it imperative that we heed this  counsel and prepare for the future." L. Tom Perry, Nov. 1995.

Being frugal in as many ways as you can will free money for your storage. I love the saying…"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." You think about those who proceeded us, were they any less busy?? No. Today we might feel we are too busy but they had to do so much more. No modern appliances, no indoor plumbing. They had to make all their own clothes and even had to make the materials to make the fabric first. And as someone trying to learn to weave, I am amazed that anyone ever learned it. What's more, is that they passed it down to the next generation.
As I struggle to learn this I wanted to point out that this was a 1920’s kit. The woman who owned this added four more harnesses. The bench she had made out of her kid’s outgrown crib. Now that says so much about her thrift. This loom is a rug loom made in Davenport, Iowa. It has a number stamped in it that shows where it has been. It went to the veterans' home then to someone in Boone and then they lost track of it till I got it at Goodwill. Now it shows I have it so it is again being tracked. 

If you looked at the copied version of the “owner’s manual” it is so confusing. It was new in a crate and it tells you how to unpack the crate and how to put it together but I feel that the directions were passed down as it is wild to understand. I can only tell you what a blessing the internet has been to my learning. No one had passed the skill down to me so it is a real learning experience. I learned to make baskets at Relief Society when my kiddies were little. The spinning I learned just shortly after this wheel I got as a kit. Sarah was in kindergarten and Laura was in 2nd grade. I had five minutes of instruction from a friend as we were about to move back to Iowa. The rest I learned has been on my own. The wheel I use now is fancier. It was a gift from my sister as was the loom first mentioned. I must have gotten it as I taught a man and his wife how and now they have an Alpaca farm in Maxwell, Iowa, with spinning, processing, and looms. I am proud of them. 

My roots are in Norway so it all must be in my blood. 

One of my favorite stories are about a woman whose husband was away serving a mission. She was tending her farm and their children. Money was very tight so when Sisters came to collect donations for the Nauvoo Temple she felt bad she had no money. She happened by the temple and saw the workers working in the cold with no mittens. This weighed heavy on her mind and one day they came across two dead buffalo. Her and the children pulled the fur from the buffalo. She washed it and at night when the kids were in bed, she spun that fur into yarn by candlelight and knit mittens for the men working on the temple. I have always loved this story. See, no matter how hard our times are with skills you can make do a lot easier than without skills.

There are so many stories and if you think about it you have a story to tell too.

I am not saying you all have to do these things, it is what I am learning but oh there is so much more. Our life’s experience is priceless. Think back when you first were on your own or newly married… now look where you are now. Incredible, right? What you know now could you have learned any other way? - learn from others - learn to can, it is huge to be able to do that and to dehydrate. It all stretches the budget. - canning, gardening, sewing, dehydrating and vacuum sealing, it all adds to stretching our budgets.
knitting, crocheting helps make needed ideas from scratch is huge in savings

Learn ways to make do…. and crocheting here show how they can be useful to make gifts be inventive, if you need something figure out a way to make it. Knowing how to knit is so helpful these are the best dishcloths ever. Once you use one it will be a favorite. cinnamon rolls from scratch, nothing else like it!

Think about what you use often and can it - - once you get used to making bread, find different recipes making pasta is pennies to make making crackers is easy to do, same with breadsticks.
when you get produce in bulk can for later

I think you can find areas to help with your budget, just look around. If you are too busy, find ways to to cut the busy out. We have covered lists of skills that you can choose from. Pick the one that would help your family the most. Cooking from scratch is in the top, mending is in that group too.

Keep working on the storage. Pray about it, pray for help and be flexible with set backs. We will end up waiting to purchase the powdered milk as a bill unexpected came up... we will be patient and it will happen. Keep working on it. I could tell many stories how having storage had helped us or how learned skills have gotten us a bit further down the road.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Busy organizing

Lately I've been working on reorganizing my basket supplies. 

I also re-did how I have my cone yarn stashed.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Message

"The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes..."
"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.
"Begin in a small way, . . . and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2002 and quoted again in April 2007)

When you are warned a snow storm is coming and you don’t prepare for it, you have a harder time than if you had prepared.

When our prophets have warned us to have food storage and hard times comes but we hadn’t heeded the warning, how can we expect things to go better when trying times come? We must not procrastinate.

Blessings come from following the prophets. I admonish you not to put off working on this.

Also, if you get food your family won’t eat you have wasted your money.

Get basics - flour, wheat, yeast, oil, sugar, salt, powdered milk, then you can make bread at least. Then build out from there. - she has very important information for you. - this is a very good read.

One of the dangers we have in our time... ease of life, like we feel life is great/good. There's no trouble paying for groceries or getting other needful things. This is the time when you have good pay checks to get your storage in. I know there are lots of temptations to tug for those dollars. They can be gotten once your storage is in.

At the same time you should challenge yourself to learn to sew. Get this skill up and a machine and supplies. I know I was in Walmart and saw how high clothing is. When you are sewing you are in charge of modesty in clothing.

I can tell you that this is an ongoing skill I work on. Years ago I could see the trends going in a non-modest direction so I started collecting my own pattern library of modest dresses and I don’t like to follow trends that are here today and gone tomorrow. I try to set my own trend.

I also started long ago collecting movies that were wholesome. It has been years since doing that but we have two daughters who know what our criteria is when they get us movies.

I also have collected books, cozy mysteries from yard sales, book sales and free at libraries. Once I read I pass them on to Dick’s mother. 

I also have collected books over the years that are books that help me learn skills.

At yard sales I would find lamps that take oil and bottles of oil for the oil lamps. Were things I might have liked instead at the yard sales? Yes, but time and again these have helped when electricity would go out. We light the lamps and set them on the table. The light could be seen outside where people would drive slow and wonder why we had lights when all others didn’t.

I have fabric from friends and buttons, thread, needles, all sewing supplies. I have worked on this since we joined the church. I got to see the RS building and one room all set up in storage. They had oil lamps, oil, wheat, first aid on their coffee table.

It helped me to see there was more needful things than I had thought.

I collected board games so we would have fun FHE but if the electricity was off we would have the games.

I am still learning and probably will always be doing so.

Yard sales have helped me have things we could not afford new, like my blender was gotten at Goodwill. Weeks later I found the processor attachment, the latter was never used and the blender looked like it was used once.

Food dehydrators were used.

Food saver used.

Used jars are hold my canning and my spices and my vacuum sealed goods.

Even the woodburning cook stove was purchased used. We repaired it and it is hooked up and we have used it even for emergencies.

Used cook books
Used clothing and coats mittens hats

I keep a running list of what I am looking for. I would allow those good buys too like attachments to the kitchen aid, the food grinder   one dollar at one yard sale and the pasta attachments that go with it for a dime at another.

I scored a free paddle for my kitchen aid that scrapes as it goes.

So yes, yard sales and thrift stores have helped me gather items for storage, bug out bags, sleeping bags, portable weather radio, dutch ovens and outdoor means to cook with them.

I know not everyone goes to yard sales and thrift stores and I will admit this took time to collect needed items.

You have to be able to control yourself though and get mostly needed items… flashlights, things needed for home storage. I got our sewing machines used and serger for ten dollars used, knitting machine from yard sale, pickup load of yarn from an auction house, a pressure canner for ten dollars from a neighbor... even today this brand is worth three hundred. A steamer canner brand-new for three dollars at a yard sale, new at a hardware store is thirty….

So I am saying being frugal when you have to is very helpful and being frugal when you don’t have to is equally helpful.

It all saves money. Over the years when we had good jobs we stocked up for our many times when not so good.

This is all about making do with what you have.

I think we would have had a much harder time if I had not been doing these things and bought a new dress or such. It is amazing how this all works out so well.

I haven’t been yard selling for several years but I can tell you that it was a lot of work. I had to stop at many that weren’t good along the way but with my list I moved to fill a lot of things that have been so helpful.

We did this for school clothes and even gifts, some were like new and others we repaired to look like new.

This is all part of being frugal.

So if you have extra dollars instead of getting something new that will be out of style in less than a year, study and ponder what your family will need in the future... food and clothing come to mind.

See if you can find ways to be frugal too. Stick to your budget. Cook more from scratch. Mend your clothes. I am in awe still at being in the Amish market and the man ahead of me was Amish in coveralls getting a fifty lb bag of potatoes. I noticed his overalls had patches on them. I noted the stitches were small and even. Someone who loves him did a loving and caring job and saved them money…we too can do it.

Find ways to save. Find time save trips out. You would be surprised at how much more time you get from combining trips and making menus and a grocery list two times a month or one time a month. For me it is an hour round trip to get groceries just in driving so I go once a month. If I went every week cutting to once a month would save three hours a month just in travel and what time it would take going through the stores. You read that right, stores I usually go to Ames so the stores are close, Sam’s for cheese and nuts, Fareway for flour and meats and baking stuff, Aldis for the rest that sort of thing.

Yes, it takes planning and sticking to the list. I write my list in order of how things are in the store, the only time I deviate from list is if there is an unadvertised special. Then I rearrange the list to allow for the purchase so I stay in the amount I have budgeted.

I encourage you to work hard on developing those skills that are needed…. learn then teach. Try learning with your kids. It used to be kids learned at their mother’s knee. It is a lot harder to learn from a distance.

I know you can do these things.

So analyze your days and weeks and months.

If your husband lost his job tomorrow and it maybe will take a year to get another what would you do?  How would your life change? Would you stress? How long will it take you to learn to do basics and manage with little or no income? What would you wish you had done? It really is better to learn when things are not stressful. 

So start and be ready, have the skills that work with what you have. If it never happens then weeeee! But it could be you, a child, a friend, a sibling, a neighbor…you would be able to share your skills.

Think on it thoough how it would your life change.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Message

Instead of getting frozen pizza, make this easy DELICIOUS homemade pizza. Find the recipe HERE.
"The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes...

"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.

"Begin in a small way, . . . and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2002 and quoted again in April 2007)

Well the new year is here…ready or not! We talked about goals last week, are you off to a good start? Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

If you tried and failed at budgeting, don’t give up - try again!
I will tell you that you don’t have to spend a dime setting this up. Grab a pencil and a scrap of paper when you set it up. If you want to go out and get fancy programs and ledgers, you can or you can put that money into the emergency fund.

Write at the top of the paper how much you make a month. It is easier to do it by month to start as our utility bills and housing bills will be on a monthly schedule.

So write the amount for the month. Then tithing, housing (if you do not have insurance and taxes in your payment for house you need to find the year amounts on those two, divide by twelve, and that is next one), then utilities, phone, gas, car payments and insurance, just what you have… then decide what you can afford for groceries etc.

It is a shock to see how fast that hard worked for money goes…

There are many ways to cut on your expenses.

Like cable bills. I do not miss those at all… we bought Roku a few years ago. Now mind you, if you are not serious about cutting the cost this could cost you lots. The initial outlay for the Roku box is around seventy dollars per box. We got two, one for the TV in living room and one in the bedroom. Now I am sure there are other things out there, this is just what we did. We have no cable, Roku offers channels, some free - even a news channel that has 24 hr news. But this is where you have to be serious about what you do as you can pay subscriptions for many channels. 

I could see if you decided to get a lot of pay channels you could end up with a bill as high as cable. We chose to just pay eight dollars a month and get Netflix. That amount pays for the two TV’s  you cannot go to the movies for that eight dollars a month.

We kept the internet bill because my husband's website has to be up to generate the odd job and church callings.

We chose to get rid of the phone bill and go with magic jack for one small payment a year so that we can have unlimited long distance to be able to call kids, grandkids and church callings.

So these are a few ways that we cut bills a few years ago and still do it this way.

Now mind you I am not advertising, it is just the products we went with. By now there are probably many others to choose from.

They say when you are dieting you write down all the things you eat. If you don’t want to write it down, you tend not to eat it. Same with budgeting. Keep track of everything you spend. This will help you to locate your leaks. If you're running to the store often and you find you are spending for more than you went in for, you are doing what the store is hoping you will do.

Try to make lists and menus, then limit trips. Grocery shopping once a month frees up so much time, especially when it takes an hour round trip - it also takes less gas. So this is what saves lots of money. I am sure the stores aren’t fond of how I do it but sticking to the list, I have food storage that allows me to be able to stock up on in-store specials by switching my menu around.

Making this menu and list is soooo important there is no wasted gas and with good planning you don’t forget things like when no list is used.

Look over the list… do you have convenience foods?? Like frozen pizzas? Box mixes, etc.?? Did you know you can make everything from scratch for way less? When I make bread it is about $0.25 a loaf, compare with what the store charges and not one brand tastes as good. this is the best pizza ever and look at the directions - so convenient! We love it best though our favorite topping is just mushroom and no meat, but whatever is your favorite is easy to do. You don’t need a pizza stone. Is the crust crispy? Yes, it is.  Cutting it on a wood cutting board is key to keeping it crispy.

Whatever your family likes, try a scratch version. Look up a new recipe and try. You will only like some and some you will love. Start collecting the love ones and before you know it there is hardly anywhere else you will want to go eat. There is nothing like cooking and eating together with those you love most.

Yes, it may take a little more work but it makes up for it in taste and savings.

I suggest going to the library and checking out The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. My favorite are her first two books as not everything got put into book three, though it is good too. Some things you will want to do others might not hit it off with you. That is okay but anything we can do to save and stop our leaks.

Do you know everything your library offers? Ours, has the best movie selection I have ever seen. Check out movies, have real popcorn (not microwave), and that is a very very inexpensive date or movie day or snow day. Keep your eye on the weather and make a trip to the library before a big storm. Look in the Relief Society recipes from the last message to find my caramel corn recipe and watch movies, play games, or just have fun and make memories.

Building skills: - this is a very good walk through. Before you start call 1-800-262-3804 and get the correct lbs of pressure and times for exactly where you live. Polk and Story counties will be different.

Why should you want to do this?? Well, if you had home canned chicken you would know it is considerably cheaper to do over cans in the store, but if you tasted both cans and home canned you would not settle for the tin cans of chicken again. The best of all reason though is when you have chicken on the shelf you have future meals. You can even open a jar, it can be eaten right then or you can make chicken salad sandwiches just by adding a few ingredients or you can have casseroles, gravy, hay stacks, soup, etc. 

Even tho you see her putting raw chicken in the jars, the jars she takes out in the end are fully cooked. This, in my opinion, is the easiest thing of all to can….yep! This makes putting a meal together when you don’t feel well very easy.

Challenge yourself to make a skirt or dress for you or one of your girls. Easy to do and cost effective. Best of all you and you alone control the modesty. This is great a very worthwhile skill - make matching skirts, how fun :)

What skills are you working on for this great new year??
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