Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Message

I bought my sewing machine used thirty years ago and used it to sew for my babies.

“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)

Everyone can be more prudent.

This is the time of year when we make a list of New Year's resolutions. This would be a good time to think what you can do to be more frugal, what skills we can learn and what we need to do to build our food storage.

Make a goal to get out of debt. Maybe it could start by not going into more debt. Put away credit cards. It might be hard especially in the beginning but skip what you might now use your cards on. Think to yourself how you could do it differently, like wait and pay cash or get it used or do without - could you do that?

Ask yourself, why do I want/need this? Now, be honest - is it an emergency? Is it to make yourself feel better? Do you feel you deserve it? Try to think about it. Ask yourself, how am I helping my family by not making this purchase? As a yard sale shopper I can tell you I have seen many things with the new price tags on them for ten cents. Really, that was not a frugal purchase; they only got one dime back.

I am a firm believer that used is the way to go to save on your budget. It is clear though if you have money and spend $25 on a blouse then sell it for a dime never having worn it, this might not be a frugal use of the that money.

I am not saying that having money is bad, I am not saying getting a blouse for that amount is bad. I am saying that if you are struggling, give this thought and also another thought - how many hours must you or spouse work for everything you purchase? What if you settled for less, so less has to be sacrificed. I have heard some say but I want the finer things in life... really, what is finer? Fancy new things or spending more time with family or spouse? What does it say when things are more important? Time for a rethink.

Make a plan.

Once you stop the extra spending then go for paying down what you owe. Take the smallest debt, get it paid off then tackle the next by using the amount you were paying and add the now money from the paid off thing and just keep going.

I saw a sewing program on Saturday that there is a group who helps teaching to mend clothes. I think mending is a skill that all should have. - this has so much good info. - this is very good. - this shows if you don’t have a sewing machine.

I think mending has been given  a bad rap. Instead, think you saved money that can go to benefit your family. You can see this as happy work. You are extending the life of the clothing and stretching your money.

I once was at a grocery store in Kalona, Iowa, and was behind a young married man. He was buying a huge fifty lb bag of potatoes but I was drawn to the patch on his pants. The patch was held on with the tiniest stitches by someone who loved him very much.

Though he probably did not have a lot of money I would say he was rich in what matters and rich to have a wife who knows how to mend.

This group also gives out used machines as well as teaching them to mend.

I bought my machine used thirty years ago and it was ten years old then, so it is forty years-old. I learned the skills of being able to clean and oil it. This machine I used to sew for my babies and as they grew. I still use it.

If you learn to mend you will save money and bless your family.

So I challenge you to learn to mend. Look over these sites and find more. A few years ago to do easy mends it was eight dollars each, harder mends and the price goes up.

So make this one of the first skills you take on.

Making do is a sign I keep on the fridge as a reminder.

What helps me is to do mending right away, keeping up is better then catching up.

Work with what you learn here. Even used clothes need mending so this is a huge skill with the less training.

Keep working on your skills, watch for inexpensive but working used sewing machine at thrift stores. Tell others what you are looking for, put it on freecycle that you are looking for a working sewing machine.

Keep putting in storage. When you get groceries, add doubles of things.

I am proud of you, I notice frugality and am proud of you!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Message

Apples are a great addition to food storage and can be used in so many recipes!

 (LDS Church Handbook 2, Section 6.1.1)
“Church members are responsible for their own spiritual and temporal well-being.....To help care for themselves and their families, members should build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet. Where local laws and circumstances permit, they should gradually build a longer-term supply of basic foods that will sustain life. They should also store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted."

What is your normal diet? Could you store it? Can you fix it for your family? Will it store well? Can you rotate it? Will it last in storage for a year?

It's important that food storage is part of your daily food. Just work storage things into your menu planning. Don’t wait for the emergency to use your storage, your family won’t eat it. Do you know when the church goes into other countries to give aid they ship in food they are used to eating?

It is winter - make oatmeal for breakfast put it in cake cookies and bread, apple crisp... see these are perfectly normal foods, so this makes oatmeal a great storage item.

This is what I am talking about, not oatmeal patties or worse.

When you use your storage it is just like a big pantry, use and replace.

Having dried apples is wonderful as they don’t take much room. Now add some to that oatmeal, use them to make apple crisp any time of year. Dried apples are a great item to store too, drying your own cuts that cost a lot.

This is what I am talking about. Whoever said food storage had to be icky?

I notice prices going up every month on groceries, not only here in the US but outside as well. Having storage helps with the pain of price increases.

I know you are all on Christmas right now but keep working on your storage. - ideas here - part four of the crochet 101 series. - I think this is so helpful in building your sewing skills.

Now for fun I saw these… - too cute - I love the marshmallow snowman in the hot cocoa. I think you will have fun making and eating these with family. I can see a family night making a pretzel manger and stable - fun!

Mostly keep in mind your goal is stay out of debt. Don’t be that person in cold dark January with excess bills coming in. Stay within your budget! We all want to do things for others, it is who we are, but others you do for don't want you further in debt.

This is a hard time of year for many people, there are so many acts of kindness that cost nothing.

If you are someone having a hard time know That Heavenly Father loves you and is aware of your circumstances and people around you love you too. You are never alone. Pick yourself up, smile in the mirror, I know someone will smile back. You will get through this test in life! Really, we do learn from these times. I am not just saying this. I have had hard times and most have, we learn from them, whether it is to make a cake from scratch to taking a family walk in the snow looking at all the lights - most memories are free.

Let others know you are having a hard time. Everyone should read this.

Instead of feeling bad for your situation, change that to a challenge. Roll up your sleeves and tackle it.

If anyone needs to have a great feeling give service, simple as that. Look for someone to help. They won’t be flagging you down, we tend to suffer in silence so pray who needs my help today.

Remember … don’t feel bad, you may be far from home, you may be struggling to just make it through the month. Whatever the problem, don’t feel less - you are not. Things happen in life. We may not have what others have, that is okay. Not everyone has those things either. Instead, remember why we celebrate Christmas. It isn’t giving or receiving gifts that matter at all.

On a lighter note...

I have a cat named Gus. He lived outside and we brought him in. He at first was skittish with every noise and would run and hide. We would watch a Star Trek movie and he would run and hide. I would watch a YouTube clip, he would run and hide. But as time went on noises don’t bother him and he is addicted to TV and really addicted to YouTube, he comes running to watch it.

But he is a smart cookie too…you have no idea. I will be working on the Monday Messages and out of nowhere comes a paw. He stretches it out and moves my screen. Yes, he has watched me swipe the screen and has learned how. He stretches those toes out and with the pad of his foot slides my screens, a stinker to be sure but he now knows how to start or stop YouTube clips. Sooo if Gus can learn things by gum so can we, so push on and be the best you can be. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Organizing the Sewing Room

I saw this VIDEO CLIP on how to fold fabric to take up less space and organize your sewing room. The first picture is before I tackled the sewing room, the second is the start of it, and the rest you can see is the finished project.   

Most of this fabric came from Freecycle. Always be on the lookout to find material to help with your skills, whether it be for free from Freecycle or haunting your local thrift stores for great deals.

The queen (Miss Kitty) says she approves.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Message

Tis the season to make some great homemade gifts! What are you making?

“From President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, we hear: "Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food . . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food-free."
“We call upon priesthood bearers to store sufficient so that you and your family can weather the vicissitudes of life.”

Remember, as you shop try to be frugal. Turn on those creative juices. I have been noticing a few toy commercials and the toys were huge, finding room I am guessing will be the next issue. The kids will probably play with the box but come summer they will be a dollar or two at yard sales - yep, I see it every year.

Remember, start your own family traditions to add to those you grew up with. - here are some ideas.

Look for inexpensive ways to have fun with your family.

This is a stressful time so take time for yourself. 

Remember, don’t be duped into having to do what others are doing, etc. You don’t have to keep up with anyone.

When we decorated the tree we would have hot cocoa or eggnog thinned with milk. I would make breadstick knots. If you don’t have time, pick up the breadsticks in the can, dip each in melted butter then in sugar and cinnamon and tie in a knot. Bake at 350 till golden.

They will remember cookie making and delivering to people who could use some cheer.

It really is about being together. - this is a great tip! - more ideas - second part on learning crochet. - third part on learning crochet. - sewing building skills

This is my favorite sewing machine (my work horse). She has helped me learn and sewed clothes for my girls. Just saying you don’t need a new machine to learn on. - scroll down to get inspiration loved these ideas.

Do funky designs with pancakes like a gingerbread boy or girl, an ornament, a Christmas tree. Color the batter and let them make their own. Never met a kid yet that doesn’t like to cook. - lots of ideas here

Keep looking for deals to stock your pantry.

Sit down, put your feet up, get pen and paper and hot cocoa and plan to learn a skill a month. Give this some serious thought and make a list, under your items what things can help you achieve your goal?

I encourage you to seek out charitable things to do.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday Message

President J. Reuben Clark (Church News, 1953) –
“When we really get into hard times, where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.  You can’t eat money, but you can eat your three-month supply of food – IF YOU HAVE IT AND KNOW HOW TO USE IT."

We have no idea what lays in our path on life’s journey... Loss of job? Health incident? Life altering things happen all the time. We must do our best to be prepared. 

I can tell you the first time we were laid off we had no idea the company was struggling. We had just sold our house here in Iowa (our home is Iowa but this happened out east where we had only lived six months). 

My first reaction was shock mixed with lots of crying. We had some storage. I had an order waiting to go in but I cancelled it before it went out to conserve our money. This was our personal crisis. We started an architectural and design business at the time we were first to be laid off as last hired. Of course, we thought it was the worst thing ever. It was a blessing, you see, as we were able to get a small business started (just enough barely). But little by little everyone got laid off, so being first was a help though it did not feel like it. Having storage got us through.

It does take hard times to prove us. So when I talk about storage or put content on this blog, it is with much experience over my lifetime. If you haven’t had hard times that compel you to get started on storage then lean on me, trust me when I tell you this is important.

Having the skills that benefit your family is the ultimate goal because everyone has hard times.

We have favorite homemade hamburger helpers that we like. I made up eleven of each, one pot spaghetti and chili mac. Not only cost effective but tastes way better and I throw no packaging I just refill my jars.

Chili mac hamburger helper

In a pint jar put…

1 c. macaroni dry
1 tsp chili powder
¾ tbsp. dried onion
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼  tsp sugar

2  15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 can water

Brown one lb hamburger and drain, add all above ingredients cook till thickened.

One pot spaghetti hamburger helper

In a pint jar put…

Use half the spaghetti of 8 oz pkg  break them in thirds put in jar dry noodles
1 tbsp dry onion
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder

2 small cans tomato sauce
2 cans water

Brown one lb hamburger and drain and add the ingredients above cook till thickened.

Living on your income as it is today, what if your company had to cut your income in half? Could you live on it? Do you have credit card bills? Do you eat out every time you feel you are tired or had a bad day or when you are sad or happy? Do you go to the store for entertainment? Do you shop to your last dollar not thinking ahead? Do you feel you deserve just shopping or getting what you feel you deserve? Are you shopping for therapy?

These are things to think about…

I think all too often we get the thought, "food storage is dry beans and rice and powdered milk." And people tell me they won’t do that well. Yes, these are great items for storage but if you don’t like these then don’t store them. Store what you eat. If you don’t like using dry beans, did you know you can can them for having them ready to use? Yes, you can, but if you don’t like that option buy canned beans. Do all three then you are covered on all fronts. Powdered milk makes great hot cocoa mix and is great in cooking. 

I look at storage as a large pantry that you rotate. You have heard people tell you they have had to live off their storage for a year, you have even heard me say it. Think what you have in storage and ponder from time to time, if you had to live totally on your storage what would you wish you had gotten? Would it be more of your family’s favorites? Would you wish you would have learned how to make them from scratch??

I still try new recipes. Just lately I came across that you can make pancake mix. That you just add water and is made with all things you have on hand. I shared the site to that a few posts back. Yes, I could not believe it, they are good. So I now have that mix made and in a jar. I have a friend who is allergic to eggs, this is perfect as there are no eggs in it, also doesn't have shortening either. So you can be on the look out too for new recipes that work with your storage. - this is the link to save you time looking, instant pancake mix. - a good thing to read to help us.  - great info this was our blog post in 2014, it is worth going thru it again.

I have been thinking of frugal things I have done. I needed to replace my blender one year and saw one at goodwill for seven dollars. It looked to be used just once as it had some purple juice drops on it. I bought it, took it home and cleaned away the juice drops. It cleaned up great. It was an osterizer.

A year later, again at goodwill, I found an unopened box which was an attachment to go on the same brand blender. It was five dollars. The attachment was a food processor. You take off the blender jar and set this in its place. It was brand new. So both pieces did not cost what a new blender costs, let alone a food processor. I have often thought of how much buying used has helped us live on our budget.

Buying used is a huge part of being frugal. It helps stretch the dollar. But living frugally has blessed our lives tremendously over the years. My bread pans came from yard sales. Most were ten cents a piece. I don’t have to tell you how much they are new. So do more thrifting less buying new.

Enjoy your family over the holidays.

Keep working at building storage and skills.
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