October 23, 2009


I have spent several days trying to do some major decluttering.  Now that I am home what am I to do with all my business/work clothes?  I found it difficult to part with many outfits, but how many black skirts does a SAHM/SAHW need?  I was spending entirely too much time trying to make a decision.  Finally I made a pile of some items and included a few blazers that I have kept for years but not worn.  It is a start.  My problem is that with this new found frugality I will not be able to go out and buy clothes very often.  Also when I do buy clothes I need to check out the thrift stores which is something new for me.  I finally decided to put my spring/summer clothes away and get out all my fall/winter clothes and as I go through the season I will make note of what I don't wear.  In the spring I will then take those clothes and donate them to charity.  However I was able to make 1 small pile.

Decluttering means making decisions.  The problem is that when making a decision you do not want to have any regrets.  I found that when I put clothes in a pile I keep them in that pile for a few days and walk past them.  Then I find that as I walk past them and think about what is in that pile I am constantly reminded of the fact that I haven't worn those items for a long time and it is freeing up space in my closet and draws.  Freeing up space doesn't mean that I can buy more to add to that space, it just means that with less choices it makes it easier to pick out something to wear.  So far this has worked for me.

My house is slowly coming into order.  It has been neglected for months since I was working so many hours.  Now it is time to get on a schedule and tackle the work and get it done.

October 09, 2009

Chicken and apples

In my working spend thrift days I would always buy a 3 lb. bag of frozen boneless chicken breasts.  I would try to buy them on sale, but not always.  Now that I need to cut back I have given this up. First of all was I really getting 3 lbs. of meat?  Those chicken breasts were so saturated with ice that I was wondering how much I paid for the meat and how much was water.

Yesterday for supper I made oven barbecued chicken.  I used 3 chicken hind quarters that had been purchased on sale at a rock bottom price of 38 cents a lb.  I should have bought more than 1 ten lb. bag.  First of all chicken that has the bone left in it does help to keep the meat moist.  Yes, hindquarters are dark meat which in and of itself has more fat in it. I have also purchased bone in chicken breasts for 99 cents a lb. which when baked are a lot more moist and the meat doesn't dry out.  And for the barbecued chicken - I made homemade barbecue sauce which was made from items I had on hand - ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce and so on.  My DH said the sauce was really good.  Beats anything I could purchase at the store and it was one less item I had to purchase ready made.  

This week whole chickens was on sale for 68 cents a lb.  I bought 3.  I saw a friend at the store and she noticed the chickens in my cart and commented that she only buys the boneless chicken breasts.  I have taken a different attitude to bone  in chicken.  One of those chickens I will stew until the meat falls off the bone and chop up the meat for chicken tacos, chicken soup and chicken casserole.  I will also put the bones back in the soup pot and simmer into a nice broth for the soup.  From this I will also glean more meat.  So from 1 - 5 lb. chicken I will get several meals.  The 5 lb. chickens were only $3.40.  I bought kitchen shears so that I can take the other chickens out of the freezer and cut them up and either fry or bake them.  I may roast one of them with potatoes, onions and carrots.  What a frugal meal. 

Being home means I have the time to stew a chicken and make more homemade meals.  Now on to a huge amount of apples I purchased.

Last week I walked into a grocery store and they had 3 large paper bags of discounted apples.  Each bag weighed closed to 8 lbs. and each bag cost me $1.99.  That was a lot of apples and I had a bag of apples in my fridge from the previous week that I had purchased for the same price.  So this week I have been canning chunky applesauce, apple pie filling and apple butter.  Tomorrow I will finish up canning the last of the apples.  I also have a lot of pears that a friend gave me off of her pear tree.  They are ripe and I plan on making pear sauce or pear butter with them.  These apple and pear butters will make great gifts during the holiday season and they were a cinch to make and really didn't cost a lot in the way of ingredients.  In fact I didn't have to buy a thing as I had a stock pile of sugar and spices that I had in my pantry.

I have come to know a great satisfaction in canning fruit for later use and in making homemade soups and casseroles for my family.  I am embracing the frugal lifestyle and have come to know the peace and happiness of being home during the day and cooking and making a home for my family.

October 08, 2009

What is necessary?

I've been thinking a lot about this question.  However if I were honest I would find that there is very little in my life that is necessary.  I could live in a 1 bedroom home with a wood stove for heat; I could eat a simpler diet of rice and beans.  Is it necessary to own more than 1 vehicle, have cablevision, have a cell phone?  Well you get the idea.  I want to live in the house that I have lived in for the past 12 years and I want to eat simple, frugal meals but not a diet of only rice and beans. 

So, in this path I am traveling I am constantly asking myself what is a want and what is a need.  What areas of my life can I cut back on in order to save money?  How low can I go in my quest for living a frugal lifestyle before I feel deprived?  One fact that I am sure of:  the pennies add up.  I can no longer say that I don't have the time to do something.  I have the time to bake whole grain breads, make noodles, walk instead of driving somewhere, make my own cleaners and so on.  Since I am no longer earning a paycheck, my new role is to find ways to save money and stretch my husband's paycheck. 

So what is necessary?  Hmmm.....

Settling in and Grocery savings

Sometimes taking some time off from writing and trying to regroup is a good thing.  I have been spending a lot of time in the past 10 days or more trying to declutter and get my home organized.   The main floor of my home has been decluttered which is a good thing.  Now I must work on our upstairs. 

I am settling into a routine which is good.  I had a routine at my former job and having a routine at home is equally beneficial. 

Today was grocery day.  In this path to frugality I have struggled in the area of grocery spending.  I have been searching the sale ads, clipping coupons from newspapers and searching for coupons on line.  I used to quickly look over a store ad and rarely clipped any coupons.  Now I take the time to review the sales ads, clip the coupons and make a list.  Well today it paid off.  I spent around $80.00 net.  I had a total of $35.00 in coupon savings.  I can hardly believe that I got $115 worth of groceries for $80.00.  This has been a goal of mine to save a lot of money on our grocery bill.  My best deal was that I got 5 pkgs of toilet paper free.  It was on sale for 99 cents for a four pak and I had 5 $1.00 off coupons.  I was able to buy cereal for $1.00 a box with coupons matched to the in store sale. 

I am feeling more confident about my new life at home.  I sleep better each night as there is no work stress.  I spend my days cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and such and I love it. 

The county I live in here in Iowa has the highest unemployment rate in the state.  Since I am now grocery shopping during the day I have noticed that there are people at the check out using their food stamp card to pay for their food.  A lot of these people are men with their children.  Wives are working while their husbands have been laid off from their jobs.  One man was in front of me with his two little girls.  He paid for his groceries with his food stamp card but still owed  69 cents.  He used his credit card to pay the 69 cents.  I look back at that and I thought about offering to pay for it, but he appeared to me to be a man that valued his dignity and would have been embarrassed to have me offer to pay 69 cents and thereby acknowledge his financial situation.

As for the free toilet paper and the $1.00 boxes of cereal - I will take them to our local food pantry for distribution to anyone who needs it.  Now I am more motivated to seek sales and use coupons so I can purchase food and donate it to the food pantry.