Monday, December 30, 2019

Monday Message

"As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness." (Elder L. Tom Perry)  

The years of plenty, have they given us a false sense of security? Will there always be plenty? It is not hard to see crop failures, flooding, fires, earthquakes, volcano activity, short growing season, unexpected freezes...the list goes on. This has been a tough year, it just stands to reason prices are going to go up.

I suggest read up on gardening this winter, get yourself ready to garden by spring. At the same time though start stocking up, don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Believe me, I of all people, understand hard times, being very low income it is very hard to get some extra at the store.

Look at those store flyers. Check what is on a deep sale price. For example, we had a store have spaghetti sauce on sale for .68 for the large can and no limit on it. If this was something you liked then plan your meals to be more frugal, like soups and breads or meatless meals, etc. Use the difference and stock up months worth, not just one or two cans. Yes, you might be busy and tired but sometimes you need to push through to help stretch the funds. I haven't seen pasta sauce on sale very often, so now if you stocked up on that then you now have stuff you can make so your funds can be used on the next good priced sale.

Easily one could get cookies and frozen things, splurge your money and it will be gone. The food will be gone quickly, then what? Don't allow yourself to do this. Instead, buy the staples to have on hand to make the cookies. I have yet to meet a store bought cookie to even come close to a homemade one and that includes the bakeries. The last bakery cookie I ate was the nastiest thing ever. All I could taste was greasy nastiness and the cookies left oil marks. Yep, don't go there... 

Try these, yum!

Use your Saturdays to make things ahead. When I am busy I stir up triple batches of cookies and roll them into logs and freeze them to be a slice and bake. Nothing like having a horrid blizzard going on and baking a sheet of cookies.

Mostly anything you see in the stores you can make at home. I think cooking from scratch has gotten a bad wrap. Keep the very basics always at hand and it becomes cheaper than running out for things and if you have kids they love to help.

In the past it was a way of life to have fully stocked pantries.

We could learn a lot from the past. - this could be a jumping off spot. - good to read. - this has a list you could build on. - this has an interesting way to think about stocking up the pantry.

Also being frugal means using it up not tossing it out. - this has good info. - you would never wad up cash and throw it away.

Look for ways to save. In these pictures I dried the skins from tomatoes, something considered waste, and dried them. Of course I washed them well before blanching. Once dried I ground them into a powder in my blender for use in many things like soups, bread etc. Practically zero waste.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Monday Message

"I have on occasion cited the need for many reservoirs in our lives to provide for our needs. I have said, “Some reservoirs are to store water. Some are to store food, as we do in our family welfare program and as Joseph did in the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty. There should also be reservoirs of knowledge to meet the future needs; reservoirs of courage to overcome the floods of fear that put uncertainty in our lives; reservoirs of physical strength to help us meet the frequent burdens of work and illness; reservoirs of goodness; reservoirs of stamina; reservoirs of faith.
“Yes, especially reservoirs of faith, so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth, and later adults, over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments; disappointments; disillusionments; and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.
. . .Parents. .are expected to lay foundations for their children and to build the barns and tanks and bins and reservoirs." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

Times are that we need these reservoirs now while everything is loud and negative all around us. Things won't always be as they are. We must prepare for change. Things always change and not always for the best.

Soon will be the time of year people start thinking how they can tighten up their budget, how they can be more frugal. Learn all you can, just because we are not in school doesn't mean we can't learn. We have learning opportunities all around us all the time.

While you have to wait for things take a book, it's amazing what you can learn in a few minutes.

I saw a commercial that showed a lady reading her recipe off a device. While we do have this option please don't let it be the only place you have recipes. Keep your recipe file and keep your cookbooks.

With all the down-sizing that people do around the house don't convince yourself you don't need anything but your device because believe it or not they will break or stop working and are you prepared to replace all the time? Nope, and if we learn anything it will happen at the most unfortunate time. So if you get rid of your recipe file I hope it would be because you put them in a hard copy could also have a copy on your device but keep those hard copies.

Did you know you could can and dehydrate food year round? Yes, you can...

If you have potatoes that need to be used quickly peel, blanch, and dehydrate them. What about those few grapes that nobody eats? Just wash and toss in your dehydrator...

Celery is easy. Just wash cut and dry. I watch a podcast where a lady gets her celery on sale for $1.99. Now that hurts, that was on sale. She dries it as she will get several. So if you get it for less feel blessed. The time may come that we too might find ourselves with things that high....let's not waste but save food for a rainy day.

Whether you have bottled food you canned or dried remember direct sunlight is not their friend so store in a dark cool spot.

Keep haunting your thrift stores for a dehydrator, pressure canner, vacuum sealer, canning jars...

And rings and be picking up a box or two of lids when you go to get groceries, this will be a way to stock up. I know I keep harping on this, same with a sewing machine and supplies. Knowing how and not having the equipment is like not knowing, so while you haunt stores be learning how to do. 

Go get books from your library and read and learn. Learning new skills is half the battle.

I know that when things are going fine we find it harder to work on these things. Don't be led into complacency. It's easy to think we are doing well and it will always be that way so why would I need to prepare? This always makes me think of my husband's grandmother. She once said the next depression would be different, we will need a wheel barrow of money to buy a loaf of bread. Note, she didn't say if she said when... yikes.

If you know how to make bread and you were diligent in storing what it takes, even bread pans. If you have a special diet then be storing the ingredients for that as well.

I know I talk a lot about food and that is one thing but skills also are very important if you know how to stretch food that is a very good skill. Also, not wasting food like I mentioned above. 

Knowing how to mend your clothes is a great skill then move on to making your clothes.

You might find yourself short on funds knowing how to repair things will give longer life thus stretching the budget. The pieces of fabric I had been given and was just enough to make these tops so skills are just as important.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Monday Message

"Wherever possible, produce your nonfood necessities of life. Improve your sewing skills; sew and mend clothing for your family. . .Develop handicraft skills. .and make or build needed items." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

When we have these skills it saves us money and who doesn't want that?

Have you noticed that some companies are cutting costs by not having the safety seal and instead putting lids on so tight no one can open the container?  

Now with cold season this is great - - This is a wonderful thing and so needed. I think this would save lots of money. I have seen many are making these of late, knowing how and having the supplies would be a good storage item. It would be great for the environment as well. - this would be a great gift or you could recycle old towels, I liked that you could use the slivers of soap. - Making these would cut on cost of paper towels and napkins.  - this is a great game that could be made for the littles in your house. - useful item that can be made. - Fantastic ideas!

Just look at all these things that you can make with the most basic of sewing skills. - knitting useful items is so worth knowing how to do. - make your own make-up pads, super easy. A great beginner project. - beginner hat pattern. - hat pattern - more hats!

Knitting is a wonderful skill to have. - you can crochet make-up pads too. - you can make this set. - a baby bear hat - Dishcloth - Scrubbies

You can see there are many items you can make with these skills.

It is never too late to learn and you never know when your skills could help in tight times as well by selling what you make.

I have told you the story of a lady who took her tatting stuff with her as they traveled in a covered wagon. When they made a home she could beautify it by what she made.

Another who tatted kept trying to improve on her tatting skill and misfortune hit her family and she was able to support her family.

Yet another story was told about a wonderful woman who when her husband fell on hard times made painted oilcloths and sold them.

My own grandmother took used and worn clothes and by oil lamp and a treadle sewing machine made her children clothing and that was after working all day.

I also will remind you that these skills help to make gifts for others. So consider learning or perfecting skills to help your family or bless others

I know it is hard for people to understand having such hardship and many don't understand having not much money but till you have been there you may not know just how hard it is. We must learn skills that will help us. Yes, life teaches us how but wouldn't it be great to know how before we need it?

Monday, December 9, 2019

Monday Message - I thought this talk would be good this time.

I think reading it will change a lot of how you might feel on preparing for your families.

The last statement is very chilling. It makes me feel like building storage and skills like crazy.

When visiting with my nieces lately one mentioned where she works younger women are trying to get jobs and they just do not know how to use a sewing machine. It made me think we have not done this generation any favors by taking sewing out of the schools. Then I saw a news footage that talked about kids aren't physically fit they are not getting enough exercise, again we took this out of the schools...did we just condemn them to shorter life spans?

Do you know how to use a sewing machine? If you know how then teach your kids and others. If you do not know find someone who does. Most would be happy to teach you. If none of that can be found then look for free online sewing classes...

Lesson two was on zigzag. If you ask her she probably could send you the right link.

The trick is to learn.

Look for used sewing machines but have them show how it works. If you can get a new one, get a machine that is very basic but get one of these two options.

You may even ask relatives if any have a sewing machine you could learn on as an option.

Next, read that manual. If no manual came with the machine type in your computer search for your make and model as most manuals are online.

This goes for items you might have bought used with no manual. Let's say a dehydrator for example... it is very nice to find that manual online and print it if you need to.

Now there are other free sewing classes online, I just grabbed these for you.

I got this knitting machine lots of years ago at a yard sale. The lady who owned it used it to make a few hats and moved on to another interest. It came with books and attachments but I was taken with a series of books that she threw in. You can see one in the picture. The lady who wrote the books was doing a great service to many people. She knew many would not have access to teachers and wrote these to be a course for them to learn at home.

I bring this up because we can learn so many skills. Yes, we have the internet but we also have libraries and dare I say it...books.

The more skills you have the better you will have it when things are hard. You can trade services. I get several who need a bit of sewing done and pay some for the service.  

My grandmother sewed and crocheted items that she then sold at craft fairs as income. She had very good skills. These skills helped her make clothes out of used, worn out clothes for her kids. She worked very hard. Her husband died while she was younger leaving her with six kids so she had to work very hard.

Working hard and not being afraid of hard work is a skill too.

I've been making these fun coasters. Check out the pattern here -

Learning to crochet or knit to make warm things to wear is a great skill to have!

I made myself a cowl. This will be my scarf this year. The blue green matches my coat but it will keep me very warm. Knowing how to do these skills is very helpful.

One other thing we have talked a lot about is cooking from scratch. Try cooking as much as you can from scratch. Take a note of how much you saved and use what you saved to stock up.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Monday Message

"There is a need for diversification in places of storage and in types of containers. Perhaps not all storage should be concentrated in one area of the house, not all should be stored in tin or plastic containers, not all in glass containers." (Barbara B. Smith)

I thought this would be a good reminder for us to have different ways to store just like there are different methods to put up foods to be stored.

These are methods I use at this time...

some freezing
vacuum sealing
buckets and bay leaves

I like the idea of not putting all our eggs in one basket.

I think it would be fun to have a sun oven and to be able to have a freeze dryer but one must work within one's budget and I use what I have and these work for me.

One other thing is to not limit your information, learn as much as you can!

Learn to make yogurt. This can be done very frugally. I know someone who uses a styrofoam ice chest, another who wrapped a towel around the jar and sat it on the water heater, and another who used her crock-pot. They all got wonderful yogurt.  

Learn to make bread then expand your talent. Learn to grind your wheat. This would need a grinder, a good thing to work towards getting but till then many other breads can be made.

Learn to make your own pasta. Yes, when we are busy this seems to not be on the list but oh how wonderful it tastes!

How to make your own laundry soap, so much cheaper! It is a crime how much is charged.

You can make your own fabric softener by putting two or three tablespoons of hair conditioner in a small spray bottle of water. Shake it and then spray a wash cloth, throw it in with your dryer load. Cost pennies compared to other products out there.

How to make your own mixes, always something to learn here.

Under this I would say it has helped tons to make up a few jars of bread mix ahead.

Also having hot cocoa mix on hand. On these cold days a cup of hot cocoa is so soothing.

Years ago I went to a hardware store near an Amish community they had the neatest thing...

You see here the square jar lamp and the far right jar lamp. The jars are canning jars. You get the metal parts that screw on the regular mouth canning jars. Put lamp oil in the jars then screw this in place, add a wick and a glass chimney and you get an oil lamp.

Okay, I have done some searching for this metal kit of sorts... The best price I could find was Lehman's. There phone number 1-888-438-5346 and the number you would tell them is...1005085 the price today is $6.99 but she said it's best if you ask as sometimes that changes. You can then build your own with any regular fruit jar, lamp oil, wick and a chimney. They do sell the whole kit with all but lamp oil but it would double that price so you might price which way you would want to go. Those of you who live near an Amish area might check out their hardware store close by. I like their logo for a simpler life and if you happen to be placed on hold they have a neat tip.

The tip I heard was for getting rid of fruit flies. I just put a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a jar and cover with plastic wrap, then poke holes in the wrap with a toothpick and they go in and cannot come out. They said to fill a small jar half full of apple cider vinegar and two or three tablespoons of dish soap. Shake it then cover like I do with the plastic wrap and poke holes. I will try theirs next time I get them which is usually three quarters of the way through canning season.

Not promoting them by any means but letting you know a frugal storage item.

Then as you have storage you can see I decorate with the items and that way they are ready to use.

Once we had a power outage in the evening. It was very dark so I lit an oil lamp and gathered several together in the center of the table. The whole town's power was out. We could see cars outside trying to see who was out. They would get to our house and almost stop to try to figure out why we had lights and no one else did...Yes, several oil lamps gave off a good amount of light, they're good things to have on hand.

So I have shared with you some of the frugal tips I use around the house. Share with us what frugal things you do in the comments below.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Monday Message

"More than ever before, we need to learn and apply the principles of economic self-reliance. We do not know when the crisis involving sickness or unemployment may affect our own circumstances. We do know that the Lord has decreed global calamities for the future and has warned and forewarned us to be prepared." (President Ezra Taft Benson)  

We never know what is around the corner. If you lost your income tomorrow what would you do? It might take years to get another job...what could you do? How would you manage? Have you stored enough to see you through?

Do you really want to wait till it happens to prepare??

It really comes down to choices.

I know people are stretched as far as they can with finances, houses cost more, cars cost more, filling both cost more. So how do you prepare for times of hardship when you are stretched so far?

Pay off debts as fast as you can. Live way beneath your income. I know you are cringing at both these things. Yes, it takes work but do this before you lose your job. It will be easier than trying to learn as you are stressing out.

What are you doing that eats money...?

Are you eating out because you are tired and it is easy?

Click HERE and scroll down for the recipe.
This is better than eating out and easier too. I mix this up, split it into four balls, freeze three of them in baggies and leave one in a covered bowl and set it aside for supper that night. We usually have pizza Friday nights, so Friday morning I pull out one of those bags and toss it on the counter to use that night. So for very little money and effort you now have a meal better than eating out. For larger families just make more. I make two about the size of a pie tin from one bag's worth.

Also, you can have a few casseroles in the freezer for those days you feel awful or are really too tired. Just make two on a regular day and freeze one.

The other tip is to put things in your crock pot.

Cook from scratch. Yes, it takes more time but it saves so much money.

Take a serious look at what you put in your grocery cart. Make your food stretch.

So find your most frugal recipes. If you spend fifty dollars normally then use those frugal recipes to get that down to twenty-five and use the other half to stock up. I suggest starting with staples like flour, yeast, sugar, salt, shortening, etc.

Buy used. It is not gross. I got a blender for very little at a thrift store as mine had died after many many years. I happened to stop in again at the thrift store the next week and in its box was an attachment that goes on that blender base that now made it a food processor. The attachment was new and the blender had been used only once but it would not have mattered I would wash them both.

This not only gave me useful tools but at a huge savings which you could use to pay down bills.

Buying used when we had a job helped us and even now when work is scarce.  

There is no rule that says you make ten dollars you have to spend that ten dollars (I just use this as an example). So look for ways to live beneath your means, that way when hard times come you already know what to do.

What else can we do? Wear your clothing longer. Learn how to make repairs and also how to reuse it. 

Of course you need to pick up needles sewing and machine thread. I have gotten all those items at thrift stores and yard sales. So while you have a job hunt for these as well.

When you are offered things, think to yourself will I need this item down the road? This machine was offered to me and I said yes. It needed a plug change which we did. It has the best tension of any machine I have ever seen. So if you are offered a sewing machine say yes, even if you do not yet know how to sew then learn to sew.

Really it is not as hard as you think.

If you don't know how to do something then learn, never stop learning.  till you get a machine you can repair by hand.

And with that learn to crochet and knit, you can make warm things for your family and can make gifts which saves money.

Now you can find these things from thrift stores. You can see what I paid for the knitting needles, .59 cents each. 

Getting them new cost way more. I did a search on prices and saw $10 to $17 so check out used before you purchase new.

Use cheap yarn to learn on first, you can also find yarn at thrift stores.

So this week work on living more frugally

Monday, November 18, 2019

Monday Message

"Today, I emphasize a most basic principle: home production and storage. Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket—sustain the needs of the community?" (President Ezra Taft Benson)  

We may never see any of these things happen but there are many things that can cause hard times for us... job loss, health and many more. We have lost two insurance companies here in Iowa and I think about those under threats of forest fires and how their insurance companies changed their coverage unexpectedly. We cannot be prepared for everything but being prepared for some things is better than no preparation at all. - I love her nothing new for Christmas and her gift rules. - here are some frugal gift ideas. - some different ideas. - this has lots of frugal gift ideas. - I liked dehydrated salsa in a jar and apron in a jar. - great ideas here as well. - great ideas! - I like their ideas. - more ideas. - I like the melted snowman candy.  

I think there are great ideas in all of these sites. I really like the idea of buying used, it's fantastic! I have received used gifts and loved those gifts.

Try to think how you could make a very frugal Christmas.  

The best thing is building traditions.

Be content. Joy is in giving and service, both things that give peace and happiness.

This is a fairly new tradition my husband and I started a few years back...

We also make Christmas jerky...

I freeze a rump roast and the night before I make it, I take out of freezer the next morning. In a large bowl I put liquid smoke and a medium bottle of soy sauce. Then I slice the roast into the bowl giving it a stir now and then. I put it in a dehydrator and dry till done (when it bends but is like leather).

When the kids were little they decorated the tree and had eggnog and cinnamon knots and it was great fun. Back then we bought those bread sticks in a can that you whack on counter. Take them apart and dip them in melted butter then dip in a sugar cinnamon mix, fold into a loose knot, and then bake them. This also can be done with homemade bread dough.

For our tradition, my husband and I go on a Christmas date to the used bookstore and find what we would like then we go eat out. We do this is in place of gifts.

We always read The Candle in the Forest.

Those are a few of our traditions share some of yours in the comments below!

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