Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Contentment

"Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Proverbs 30:8-9

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed of hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:11-13

I don't think there are very many people out there right now who aren't tightening their financial belts or cutting back. Washington sure seems to be wringing its collective hands, afraid that Americans will stop spending or (*shudder*) stop charging. Well maybe they should worry because I think we have all woken up from our spending stupor and realized that we're only hurting ourselves with more debt and spending.

This post wasn't meant to be a political statement. I just wanted to share that if you are cutting back, waaaay back, you are not alone. If you have always been frugal and lived on little, now you have a lot more company!!

We pray and we trust God to provide. God DOES provide for His people. Once He does provide, it is important that we live within that provision. This is a lesson that I am still learning!! Too often I have tried to live "over and above" that provision. I might not spend it on myself, but usually on my children. So I have to realize that when I do that I am saying to my children through my actions that what God provides is not enough.

I would love if you all would share things that you might be doing to save money and live within your means! And with your permission, I'll bring them up from the comments to the blog.

Here are just a couple of things I am doing now.

It's too cold for a clothes line so between my drying rack and hangers/curtain rods I can dry one load a day around the house. So, if I keep up with the laundry and don't get behind I can save some money on the electric bill.

Other ways I save electricity are:
~The kids have electric blankets (their rooms have electric heat) so we can keep their heat in their rooms relatively low.
~I am the electric police constantly shutting off things that don't need to be on, unplugging things not in use, and reminding the kids to do the same.
~Trying to group my cooking/baking together so I am not constantly cooling and heating up the oven.
~Using crock pot and microwave whenever possible.

Another way I save is on our grocery bill. After losing lots of money through food spoilage during the recent ice storm I am not stocking up on items that are perishable. Rather, on the days where Robin works in the office, he picks up what we need for a few days at a time at the grocery store on his way home (which he passes to get home). Knowing we can shop every couple of days actually helps me to buy less because I know if it doesn't work out he is going again in a couple of days. I work from menus and plans so that I am not buying stuff no one will eat.

My grocery list starts with: What do I have already? Can I get creative and last a couple more days? Then: What is on sale? The stores in my area have their sale flyers online. Does yours? Do a web search and you might be surprised!!

Oh and speaking of groceries, have you checked to see if there is an "Angel Food Ministries" distribution center in your area? Again do a web search on it. One of my goals is to call the one in my area. Their packages looked good and the prices are great! You do not need to be in a certain financial brackett. It is meant to simply help you save money!

What other ways do you save money on groceries?

This morning we had granola made up and biscuits to have with jelly. This is because when I did my cupboard search I came up with those ingredients. Yesterday I made omelets with whatever I could come up with to put in them. I came up with turkey bacon, salsa and mozarella. They were really quite good!

The Granola above was just:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup coconut (we didn't use this because we didn't have any, so we reduced the syrup/honey to 1/6 cup of each)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cooking oil
Bake at 300* F for 30-35 minutes. The trick to awesome granola is to stir or flip every 10 min. Don't make so much that it is not flat on the pan (if you like it nice and crunchy.
Also you need the oats and the oil. For the honey/syrup you can use all honey or all syrup or even brown sugar. Whatever you have is great! For the nuts you just use what you have or like. Granola is forgiving. Throw in whatever you have!

For the biscuits I use a totally easy drop biscuit recipe. I bet you can find one online. If you want my recipe, feel free to ask.



In what ways are you saving money??

2 comments:

Robin said...

Hello Karen! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Ways we are saving money are:

Washing our hands in a large mixing bowl in the bathroom sink and using that to flush the toilet each time.

Showering less.

Driving less.

Not using the gas heat that this house has, using 2 space heaters instead. (I'll find out for sure next week, but I think it is saving us close to $200.00 a month)

Closing off rooms that are not needed during the day.

Using beans & lentils in place of meat.

Not purchasing 'extra' foods, such as deserts, chips, candy, soda (except for baking a few Christmas sugar cookies this week)
I often see grocery carts stuffed full of 'empty' foods. All that money spent...

Wearing clothes for more than one day, instead of washing after every wearing.

Using half of the amount of clothes washing detergent recommended UNLESS we have done yardwork or otherwise made the clothes filthy.

There's more, I'm sure!

Merry Christmas!!!

~ Laurie said...

One of our big ones it to PLAN leftovers into the menu. One or two nights a week we all have something different, but I'm not throwing food OUT.

I shopped at Save-A-Lot this past week. Yes it's a tiny bit of a drive, but the prices were SIGNIFICANTLY less, and I shopped for 2-1/2 weeks.

Combined that trip with a trip to CVS for some free or dirt cheap items. Two things of dish soap for .49 cents thankyouverymuch

Adding a can of beans or corn (or both) to meals like taco's to 'stretch' them further.

Baking from scratch! It costs me less than 60 cents a loaf for bread to make it (not counting oven electricity) vs buying. And it's without HFCS!

Using the messy woodstove.

Pulling curtains when it starts to cool off ~ leaving them closed on cloudy cold days ~ which really bothers me...I'd rather see the sun.

CLOTH DIAPERS!!! It's work, but it saves me around $80 a MONTH in diapers! And I can dry them on my drying wrack near my messy woodstove to help put humidity back in the air.

Make a menu...breakfast included!

Asking people for coupons. Lots of people get the paper with coupons in it. Just ask around.

Shop around for internet (we're getting ready to save on ours & we get free cable for a whole year!)

If you do have $$ to eat out order in instead of eating out. Save on the tip and waste. Our family (granted they are little mouths) can order in Chinese for less than $15 vs going out to dinner!