Monday, October 28, 2019
"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)
I think some of the greatest lessons I have learned have been from going through hard times. I might have learned the same lessons otherwise but would have taken me longer.
One thing I can say for sure is no matter how you think life will go there are many many things that can muck up the works and most of them you never see coming.
I know as well that no matter what life deals you, those things do not define you. You are not less of a person because these things have happened to you. Sometimes things are good, sometimes they are really bad, and most of the time it is in between those two.
We can be in the lowest of income brackets and still be happy and still find joy.
I am reminded of a beginning piano piece..."Money can't by happiness..."
What matters is how we live our life. Be kind no matter your finances.
This week our library had its book sale. I picked up a book called Hard Times, it is an oral history of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel.
I have not read a lot but I can truly say that what I have read is awful. So I will continue to push getting in some storage and learning skills. Just from what I have read both would be helpful if we truly find ourselves in hard times and may they never be like those.
Of course, there were good people in the stories who helped so let us be good and helpful as well.
I also got a few cookbooks as I feel cooking from scratch is a very useful thing.
One book I got was a file folder with pages of family favorite recipes put together in 2000.
One recipe that grabbed my attention was...
Pineapple Minute Tapioca
1/2 c. Minute tapioca
1/2 c. Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 quart hot water
Cook till thick over medium heat
Remove from heat and stir in 1 c. Crushed pineapple
They chilled and served with whip cream. I think it would be great served right from the heat. It says this was Edgar's favorite.
I love tapioca in all ways so I try to have it on hand.
I think this looks like a very frugal recipe.
So what are skills that would be helpful?
Cooking from scratch - I put this at the top of the list.
Sewing - learn how to sew if only to mend.
I thought now with it getting colder we needed this reminder to put our car kit together.
It is time to put together your sick plan, have some easy to put together meals on hand.
What other skills do you want to add to my beginning list of skills??
Let's all share ideas!
Monday, October 21, 2019
"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." (President Thomas S. Monson)
When having debt is like walking under water with weights on your ankles - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqhLgg6fRZk&feature=em-uploademail. She a wonderful author this is well worth watching, straight forward in understanding.
Life is just hard sometimes and so much is out of our control. We should work on what is in our control, putting in a little food, and work on skill building. We have some control over these things. We should not put things off, that never goes well.
We never know what is around the corner. We feel things will always be okay, just little bumps, but when big bumps come along we stress and stressful events make it hard to think clearly. So having storage helps us when big bumps come and knowing how to stretch things is valuable as well.
https://www.thriftyfrugalmom.com/frugal-pantry-staples-to-help-you-cook-from-scratch/ - here are a few ideas.
Learning how to cook from scratch is a huge blessing. Making rice pilaf from a box takes just as long as doing it from scratch and is cheaper than a box. I know when I run across something that costs soooo much with ingredients that actually cost very little, I get a bit angry that they can do that. Like laundry soap. I went years worried about how we could afford to purchase it each time we needed to, only to find out you could make it yourself for so little, that still gets my goat.
So do some searching to see if you can make things cheaper.
I was thinking the other day about commercials. They tell people it is not cool to have dandruff for example, so long before it was a thing people had dry scalps but suddenly you are looked down on because the commercial shows you to do so when in fact using their shampoo makes your hair thin out.
Really, we need to use common sense. All these commercials are trying to show you how you should be, trying to get you to think you can't live without their products. They are trying to make money, I get it. But we don't always need these items.
How many times have you heard that this product tastes just like grandma's..? Really? One should get out her recipe and fix it instead. We have gotten away from how to do things. Even researching for this blog post I am finding so many that say too busy to cook, do this or that instead.
I am not against crock-pots for example, or microwaves, or any of the wonderful things that help us - even the bread machine! I find things used that help me all the time and you can too. What I am saying though, is that if you need to stretch your finances then going out to eat or buying packaged items is not what is helpful.
What you might do instead is plan and do a few things ahead that will help you when you are busy and we all are busy from time to time, but if you are so busy all the time take a step back and look at what you are doing because it isn't healthy to be going like that all the time. Your health WILL suffer and we don't want that.
https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1114&context=extension_curall - Seriously, this gets harder all the time to find and it is the best recipe you can find. I timed myself making a creamed soup with a recipe for creamed soup from here and then made a can of soup... did it take the same amount of time? YES! Did the taste compare? No, this was way BETTER!!!!!! Now that soup is a dollar a can this is way cheaper. And with tariffs ongoing look for it to go up in price.
https://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/homemade-hamburger-helper/ - again this too was hard to find as well and these two sites have the best ever recipes.
I have them printed off and in a binder. So give them a try and then print them and put them in your binder, that way it's easy to grab. Really, this was two very hard searches.
I don't packet them, I find the best way to cook from scratch is to have the basic ingredients on hand.
Going out to eat really is not in our budget so trying to stretch what we have is so important. It's a very helpful skill that will bless your family.
With prices going up we need to do these things to offset the expense.
As the weather cools, try to learn to make bread. Also, look for used bread machines. As you've seen, using them to just do the dough is so worth it! You can let it do all the work while you do your chores.
I make my bread flour using one tsp of vital wheat gluten to one cup of flour as I cannot afford bread flour. This works just the same. However, it is a bit harder to find vital wheat gluten. I use to get it at Walmart, they no longer sell it at both stores near me. Our health food store does carry it and one can order it online. I keep a jar in the refrigerator as my using jar and to vacuum seal it if it is in a plastic bag inside the box, poke it with a pin and put whole bag in a jar and seal it. If, however, you buy it in bulk, put it in a jar then put a piece of paper towel over the powder inside. Completely wipe the rim, affix the lid and seal. This has to be the same procedure for all powdery foods otherwise the particles will suck into the machine and kill it and is not fixable.
|More on making your own bread HERE!|
Do keep working on your skill building and continue to find frugal tips that will help your family.
https://theprudenthomemaker.com/frugal-accomplishments-for-the-first-week-of-september/ - this gal has great frugal ideas.
Here is my smaller bobbin lace pillow that I made. To have it be more portable, I put it in a basket. My sister had given the bobbins to me as a b-day gift. The pins were from a yard sale for a dime and the thread too came from a yard sale... So if we put our minds to it we can find ways around expensive items while being frugal and loving it!
Monday, October 14, 2019
"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. We could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward." (President Spencer W. Kimball)
Making preparedness a way of life is easier than you think. You probably do most of it without even thinking about it. Think about your everyday doings. You wake up with a list of things you will attempt to get done. Am I right so far?
That is preparing for your day. Take that further, do you prepare for your week ahead? Month ahead? Then think about things you use in that time frame. How many rolls of toilet paper and other paper products will you need? How much food will you need? Once you figure out these things you can get extra.
Sit down with your store flyers. Every week I sit down with the sale flyers even when I cannot get anything. I study them. My grocery stores are pretty close to each other but I am twenty minutes from them so I have to make very determined decisions. To go twenty minutes to save twenty cents is not cost effective.
So look through your flyer and see what is for sale. Is there something your family uses? This week pasta was .69 but only for macaroni and spaghetti. Because I don't really have the funds for a real grocery shopping, just a small amount for a few items, I put those on hold and got ten packages of macaroni. I know this is an item that we use and it gets us ahead on that. This is how I do it.
Now I don't often go to stores but if you do, pick up some item for your storage, even if it is a package of jello or a box of Band-Aids. You would be surprised at how fast it adds up.
Of course, just getting the pasta is the first part to store it. You must take it out of those boxes. I dumped mine in a bucket and put two bay leaves on top. I put the lid on then labeled and dated it. If you leave it in the boxes you could get buggy pasta. So storing properly is just as important as getting it. I vacuum seal them in jars too but this time the bucket was easier.
So make choices to fit your budget, be flexible so you can put a few things up to stretch when you cannot get groceries worked into your budget.
Sometimes we can prepare less expensive meals to save the funds to stock up...
Develop those skills. Start with learning how to make bread and rolls.
This is how high I let my bread get before I bake it to give you an idea of what you are looking for. I use regular flour that I make into bread flour by adding one tsp of vital wheat gluten per one cup of flour. This bread has cooked wheat in it. So learn this skill and collect recipes in your binder.
Once you master that, learn to make jam. See how skills build on one another?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVb1Tfsdcr0 - enjoy!
Monday, October 7, 2019
"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)
Home production and storage is huge and it is different for everyone. People with a lot of money may go for the freeze dried foods or other already done for you options and that is fine, so long as you taste it and your family is okay with it. No problem. I encourage having storage in any form.
Then you have those with very little funds, I fall here on the scale. And then you have everywhere in between.
Working with what you have is good on any level. I find the less funds you have to work with, the harder you must work. And that is okay, there is nothing wrong with that, it is what it is...
Because I am on the bottom of that scale, I tend to write what I know but you choose what works best for you and your family.
I have gone to thrift stores and yard sales when I could over my many years. This has helped me stretch our limited funds. I asked myself is there anything here that would help us, i.e. canning jars and equipment, that sort of thing.
And now with even less funds we are benefiting from those thrifty items! What a blessing.
I can what produce I can get. Without having to purchase much to do so. When I have to go to the store I try to pick up a box of canning lids, it all adds up by canning season (actually, I can any time of the year).
I dehydrate all year long. If I have a few potatoes, I peel, slice, and blanch them and put in the dehydrator. That last bit of grapes no one eats? Well they make great raisins. Shred those last carrots, blanch and dry or dice or slice - you need to blanch or else they'll turn black.
I mentioned before how I saved the tomato skins from canning tomatoes and dried them and blended them into tomato powder which is a costly item.
I was able to make it for free from something that would normally be tossed. Did it take more work? Only slightly. Everything takes work, so best not to be afraid to work.
One of my favorite things to dry is frozen mixed veggies. The hard work of preparing the veggies and blanching was done before freezing so you only need to a open bag and dump it on trays.
So watch for sales. This picture shows three jars. In these jars are ten lbs of veggies. I know what you are thinking...how do I use them? I use these in a fantastic veggie chili soup. I just toss in what I want and these shriveled bits turn into veggies that taste like I just picked them...yummy!
Used dehydrators are normally three dollars. I saw one last year just after we all had those floods for $3.99 just like this one, I almost got it but I have three so I was trying to decide if I should I get it. Just as a lady spied it in my cart, I said I love this kind a lot. She said she use to have one before but lost it in the floods. I made up my mind right then and there. I picked it up and put it in her cart and said it works I just had the guy test it. She was soooooo happy, it had it's manual and was a great purchase.
So if you are serious about finding one, just haunt those thrift stores. You will find one eventually and if you have the money, just buy one new, they often have sales 40 - 50 dollars new.
But like I said I had to get mine on a tight budget. I am sure that lady was on a tight budget as well. We both were in the thrift store and very few flood victims had insurance that covered these floods.
The jars pictured above will be vac sealed and they will be stored in the basement.
I was looking in a used cookbook I had gotten a few years ago and saw a bread recipe. It had vinegar in it and then I remembered yes, vinegar is a dough enhancer.
What your recipe calls for in yeast...let's say it called for 2 1/4 tsp of yeast, then to the water you would add that same amount in cider vinegar.
To make your own bread flour - use 1 tsp. of vital wheat gluten to one cup of your flour. This is what I do as I have to stretch my dollars. I have stored vital wheat gluten so I have it on hand. It comes in a plastic bag inside the box. I take out the bag and poke it once with a pin then I put the bag with contents into a wide mouth jar that I then vacuum seal, now I have a supply on hand but as I use one I need to get another, this is what I do for a bucket of flour - use and replace!
Remember to rotate constantly.
https://www.traditionalhomemaker.com/homemaking-skills/ - this has some helpful info.
I go to the library to get magazines and books that they have in a free area. I also get free Kindle books from freereadfeed.com, this has saved so much money.
Also freecycle.org you can find useful items there.
So share with us some of the way you save...