Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Starting your homeschool journey?

When I was first budgeting what homeschooling would cost there are some simple but funny things I didn't think about.  So I thought I'd list them.  We where going from Private Christian school 24 miles away to staying home.
1.  We use more toilet paper.  Okay maybe a no brainer, but we use ALOT more toilet paper.  Seriously who knew how much TP I'd need to keep on hand easily 3x what we used before.
2.  We use more water (more toilet flushing, more hand washing, you get the idea.)
3.  More Dish soap, this is another reason for more water, we run the dish washer and wash other things 2x a day now, vs the once a day before.
4. We still need back packs, thought that wouldn't be a need, but I have found it is.
5.  Lunch boxes, yep still need those.  Sometimes the kiddos go out with other homeschoolers without me, equals still need a lunch box.
6.  Higher electric bill, and gas bills.  Thankfully we got a new central air and heater about the same time we made the transition and our new one is way way more efficient, however most of you want be doing that, think more lights one, more dishwasher running more hours trying to keep everyone at a reasonably comfy temp.  Plan early for everyone to where layers in the winter, and maybe the cost of a pool membership we pay $55 a month for the YMCA June-Aug, defiantly saves us more than $55 a month in electricity.
7.  Possibly more food in general, my kids after so many years of sandwiches in different forms, don't want to see a sandwich more than once every 3 months.  Food doesn't necessarily cost more, but you will need more of it.  We eat so much healthier now, but now my kids can eat when they are hungry, and actual eat what is served, much less waste is happening.  Those are good things, just not things you might think about.
8.  You won't save as much gas as you originally think you will.  As time goes by you start adding activities those usually take gas to attend, go ahead and plan gas for 2 trips a week, this still saves the 3 days you no longer have to drive.
9.  Library fines.  Face it, someone will misplace a book or forget they had it, and you will forget to renew it on time at least some of the times it happens.  Life happens.  Move on.

10.  I feel like there should be ten, but right now I can't think of another one, let me know if you can:D

lack of frugal accomplishments week ending March 22

Shortly after writing my last post, the kids and I went on another 3 week vacation.  My baby brother got married and two of my kids where in the wedding, and I was the photographer.  We went early and helped get the wedding together with last minute stuff.  Mostly though we went early because buying 4 plane tickets is expensive and I got us all the Ca and back for only $300 each, yes I could have done even better than that but really did not want to arrive home at 1am, and wanted to make the pick up and drop off easier for everyone at both ends.

I tried to encourage eating in while we where at my parents home, or even at my SIL's home's.
I still feel like I am having a lack of accomplishments.

In reality I made dinner every night last week.
We only had lunch out once and that was to meet up with a SIL we don't see nearly often enough.
I stayed out of the fabric store.
We limited out visits to town to once, and got our errands done.
Have been using my new smart phone to avoid printing coupons if I can pull them up on it instead.
Made goodies for a choir bake sale using stuff we had on hand, I think everything we made sold, YAY.

Okay so even on weeks I felt like I did nothing I really did something.  Taking the time out to list is makes facing the next week easier.  What did you really get accomplished last week?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Holiday's and Vacations ...

throw a wench in your frugal plans?  It sure does mine.  Partly being away from home so much makes menu planning virtually impossible.  Thankfully I did some freezer cooking in November that has helped me out.  On Days I knew for sure we would be home for dinner I could a pork roast in the crock pot with some pineapple juice and forget about it till dinner, deciding what to actually do with it could wait till I found out how much prep time I'd get.  I also knew I could shred it and use it on another night if my plans flew out the window.

I tried very hard to limit meals at restaurants, and mostly succeeded but I found that most of my relatives don't plan their meals from one day to the next!  This is frankly scary and yet...I still fell into this trap when life should have been "back to normal".

I can say with a certainty that having a full freezing and pantry is such a blessing, even when the job is going fine, life is not screwy with health issues or other crisis'.  Sometimes life is just hard to plan, resetting after big events takes time.  Knowing that I have food in the house made it possible for me to get my act together and still feed the family.

If you thought this was post about to make it all happen for less, I am sorry.  I can state with a certainty that stocking your pantry through out the year will help more than you think.  But no I am writing this to encourage myself and others, that falling off the frugal path is not the end of the path.  I can get back on, reset my habits, reset my path.

If you fell off this week, this month, this quarter, forgive yourself, and move forward.
Hopefully I will have some success to post next week.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My frugal week ending Oct 25

I am following along with Brandy over at The Prudent Homemaker.  She is such an inspiration.  I have found writing this weekly blog post helps me keep my week in perspective.  While I usually have some fails, like spending $18 on one lunch out.  I have many wins.

One thing this blog post helps with is my kids.  I have found that my children have a tendency to be "the cup half empty" kinda people, and after talking with my husband I think they get this from me.  While he didn't accuse me of anything, and was very encouraging that I am being much more positive, I need to remember that "my cup runneth over", not just half full.

Last week I was putting into place what I need to do a big once a month shopping trip.  (I will still have to go and get milk once every 5-7 days, I just don't have the room in my fridge for more than one gallon at a time).  I then want to do a once a month cooking day, this won't end my need to cook of course but I am hoping it will simplify dinner more often.  Right now I do something more like batch cooking.  Some of my meals I cook 3-4 times what I need and then when I reuse that food, those meals are much less stressful.

What are you doing to help yourself look at things with a positive spin?  Are you able to look on your frugal wins and fails and stay positive?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My frugal week ending Sat Oct 18

Well I got two Bountiful Baskets this week.  While not quite as excited this time as the time before we will use it most of it up.  My only problem item is Fennel.  I gave one to my SIL and am not sure how to use the other.

I volunteered and got an extra bag of grapes for my time.  Here is a list of my baskets
Fennel, Celery, Living Butter Lettuce, Avocado, yellow squash and Broccoli, grapes, bananas, red pears, apples, limes, honey dew.
I am hoping to plant to lettuce after we use up all the outer leaves.  One one hand my husband after years of not liking salad, then a few more of only really like ceasar salads, had discovered he really likes baby spring greens, and has asked me not to buy romaine, or leafy green, or iceberg.(okay I agree on the iceberg:D ).  So the Butter Lettuce is okay, and I am buying the smaller container of spring greens and adding the Butter Lettuce.  This uses it up and lowers my lettuce cost.  My effort to increase our vegetable consumptions has also increased our salad consumption, probably because it is so easy to serve and only Timmy doesn't eat it. 
I managed to get my 2 week grocery/gas allowance to go 3 weeks.
I am working on limiting my trips to grocery stores and to have a list for Sam's Club and Costco and sticking to them!
We took the kids to NASA on Homeschool day, saving about half the cost of admission, free parking and discounted meal plans.  It was fun, but we learned that a 3 year old maybe doesn't need to go to NASA, well our 3 year old at least.  All in all glad I learned this for half the cost.

Timmy spent most of her time here on this slide!
Oona and Timmy in the shuttle hatch.

They did have several hands on activities for all ages, including this Marshon arts center.

All wore out?  I wish, just an 2 second example of her sillyness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments for week ending October 11

This week I started off with a bang.  I canned the 10 lbs of pears I bought last week.  I got 9 pints 1 half pint.  We used up the last of the pears I made last year about 2 weeks after I started canning this fall.  My kids are rating my pears based off when I made them, they are favorite batches.  We have also found that letting them sit for a month improves the flavor and texture.  This is even more true of the peaches I canned last year.

I made some cute shorts my Middlest.  I have plans to make her more, but we decided to wait until spring.  I used fabric I had bought months ago for this purpose, but had to buy elastic as I could not find what I though I had.  I did use a 40% off coupon and refrained from buying anything else, so that was also a win, I have rarely gotten out without additional purchases when I go in needing only one item.

I bought a ebook bundle a few weeks ago, and got a free e-course that started this week. 
It is taught by Shannon Brown over at GrowingSlower The course is groceries made simple.  I think I do pretty well, but am currently working on cutting my grocery bill even further, and trying to streamline my meals a little more. I am two lessons in and I am feeling challenged in a good way, already.
 As much as I do to cut my budget I feel like their is always  more I can do.  I have learned a lot over with Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker , but my family is different from hers, and so is my situation.  There is so much I am still learning, I think it will be a life line thing, because different things challenge us at different times in our lives.

Our daily temps have been all over the place, with pretty high humidity, so I am doing things like watching our lights, working on not rewashing or redrying laudry (a big issue as our humidy level causes laundry to spoil and smell bad quickly.)

I water down all my soaps, it helps with the kids over pumping, and using what they need ie... less waste.  I moved bath soap into a pump bottle as well, also to help the kids figure out how much liquid soap the need to use.

I tried a new bread recipe, only made the one loaf, and the kids voted no to the new recipe, yes it would have been cheaper, but the taste really suffered.

I did not buy any meat last week, just used what we have in the freezer, doing the same this week.
In leiu of itemizing my shopping, I am $194.40 into my food budget for the month.  I am trying to move my grocery budget to a monthly perspective vs, a weekly perspective.

What have you done to be frugal this week?

Monday, October 6, 2014

My frugal week ending Oct 4

Last week I got my Bountiful Basket, love it!  I go early and volunteer so I ended up with two cartons of strawberries.  Then the regular part of the basket had bananas, cantaloupe, broccoli, green leafy lettuce, 2 bunches of spinach, 4 cucumbers, 7 large orange bell peppers(traded some artichokes for bell peppers that is how I got so many of those) tomatoes, lemons, and merlots.  Yummy!  I also got 20lbs of potatoes for $6.75, a great price for my area!

I also got 10 more lbs of pears, there where .77lbs this weeks, makes me wish I had waited last week and not spent the .88 lb,  Seems like pears are late this year because I got them in Aug of 2013 for .67 lb.  I also wish I had gotten two boxes from bountiful baskets, just didn't see how I could prep 72 lbs, in one go, 36 seemed to be pushing my limit.

I got some sewing done, but not as much I wanted to do.

I worked harder on keeping lights off in rooms not occupied.  Limited dryer to morning, failed on one load though, we ran it 3 times before getting it out of the dryer, while weather was cooler the humidity was high, this means the air conditioner still ran, and I slept in sweat pants.  husband loved it.  I got my electric use down some, below the average home in my area, the week before I was even with the average.

Watered down my soap for washing hands, moved kids bath soap into a recycled pump bottle, hoping this will help Timmy need less help in the shower.  And if I am lucky use less soap.

Timmy also made it thru the week with no bed wetting!  Yay!  So no diapers AND no extra laundry:D

Did not make any sandwich bread, also did not buy any so it was okay,  I did make 1.5 batches of corn bread using a recipe I found on pinterest.   I did end up altering the recipe a bit, I have a bunch of biscuit mix, so I used that in place of flour and baking powder.

Made fruit leather with the left over pulp from making plum jelly.  Took it to our playdate, and both the kids and the mommies loved it.  YAY!

I only made it to 21 days with take out.  My oldest slept over at a friend, so I treated Middlest to take out Chinese food.  At least it was cheaper with one of our big stomach's missing.

Ordered ink for my printer online, seems to be cheaper, and I can use swagbuck gift cards.  I tried store brand and the ink did not seem to last as long, tried getting recycled ink cartridges and it made my printer not work, so this seems to be best for us.  I love having my own printer/scanner.

I used $15 in amazon gift cards on ink, earned another $5 amazon gift card this week.

I got some reduced hamburger as I am out in the freezer, cooked it and taco's, put some aside for spaghetti later, spaghetti uses less meat.
Over all spent less money, did well in the grocery store, I am happy with my week!  Are you pleased with your savings/spending/frugality this last week?  I hope so!