Sunday, January 31, 2016

Frugal happenings 1/31

Happy Sunday everyone.  It is so hard to believe that this is the last day of the month.  The winter seems to be going by quickly - which is fine with me.  Only bad thing about that is that means our lives are flying by as well.

Again it has been a very quiet week here at home.  I stayed in the house all but Friday, a day where I ran a few errands.
I also went digging in the craft room and pulled out some material for crafting, that must be 20-25 years old!  I had grand plans to start sewing, but didn't get it done.  At least I got it out - so it is in my line of sight!!!!

We are having a small taste of Spring.  It has been fairly warm for the past couple days.  It should get to about 58* or so today, as it did yesterday.  It was nice to air our the house yesterday.  As with all good things, it will come to an end shortly and we will be back to cold weather.  They way I see it, every warm day is just one more closer to spring!!!

  • Stayed home most of the week
  • Did go to Fresh Thyme and got cauliflower that was on sale for .99/head.   That is darn cheap!!  I got 4 heads.  I would have gotten more, but neither one of use really like it frozen.  I got a couple other fresh veggies while there.
  • All meals from home and from scratch
  • All my normal stuff, like making tea and filtering and bottling our own water, and doing laundry in cold water
  • No heat on since yesterday morning!
This week I made a couple food items that I don't make often.  I did make veggie/chicken lo-mein, and I did make a faux crab/veggie pasta salad.  We got to eat off both of those a couple times.
I also made an apple tart (I guess that's what it's called).  I always called it a poor man's pie, as it has only one crust and no pie pan - but the foodie people call them 'tarts'!  I guess that sounds better.  LOL
Whatever you call it, it sure was tasty.  I just threw a few things together and baked.  YUM

How was your week?  Did you do anything fun or frugal?  Let us know.  We learn new ideas from one another!
May God bless you in this coming week my friends.  Stay safe and healthy.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Here is the recipe for my Mom's 2 egg butter cake.

2 C flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c butter (or margarine)
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C milk

Mix flour, baking powder and salt.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add unbeaten eggs - 1 at a time - to butter/sugar and beat thoroughly after each addition.  Add vanilla
Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk, stirring only enough to completely blend.  DON'T overbeat.
Recipe says to put in 2 - 8" layer pans.  I make mine in a 9 x 13.
Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes.

Use as is for shortcake, or ice or top with filling when cool.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Have you ever wondered how fresh the eggs you buy are?  You might be surprised.
A farmer has 30 days to put the eggs to cartons and then another 30 days to sell them.  Ok, at this point I was very surprised.

I learned recently that the FDA does not require dates for freshness on eggs.  The "best buy" date is set up by the managers of the store.  It does nothing to tell you how old they really are.

There is another number on the carton that is far more important than the "best buy".  It is called the Julian date.
That is the day of the year that the eggs were placed in the carton. (Technically they could be 30 days old at that date.)
I got the cartons I had in the fridge out to see what mine said.  Mine did not have a "best date", but a "sell by" date.  That means they should still be good for a while after that.

REMEMBER - there are sell by, use by, and best if used by dates.  There is nothing etched in stone according these dates.  The stores will generally mark items down or pull them from shelves if they haven't  SOLD BY their sell date.  The other dates - are just recommendations.  I have always used groceries past the dates and they are fine.

Look at this picture - see the 007 under the sell by date?  (2nd line/left side)  That means my eggs were put in carton on the 7th day of the year.   Basically this carton of eggs needed to be sold after being packaged a total of 28/29 days.
Again, a Julian date marks the day of the year anything was packaged.

PAT ATTENTION to that mark on your egg cartons from now on.  The closer the two numbers are the BETTER and FRESHER your eggs are.
No where on my carton did I find a USE BY  date. 
Best advice is, if you place an uncooked egg in cold water  (at least a 1/2" over egg) and it's bad - it will float!!!  If it's ok, it will stay under the water.
Don't eat floating eggs!

Another word of advice when storing your eggs, is to always store them small end down.  That keeps the membrane at the larger end of egg intact and makes it easier to peel when hard boiling.  Also, DO NOT store eggs in the door of the fridge (those little egg racks).  They door is opened too many times a day, and that section will not stay as cool as needed.  Keep them in their cartons and store on a shelf in the fridge.
Eggs kept at about 45* should be good 4-5 weeks beyond the Julian date, regardless of the "best by" date.

If your eggs are getting to a date that they should be used - freeze like we talked about in an earlier post last year.

Stay safe with your food.
Have an EGGstrordinary day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Frugal Happenings 1/24

Good morning my lovelies!  I hope this finds everyone safe and healthy.
I have been praying for all the folks East of here that are braving the blizzard and heavy snow fall.  WOW!  I hope none of you are too badly affected by this.  We got nothing from this storm system except a little wind - thank goodness.

We have some very frigid cold this week (car not starting cold), we had snow, wind, and some sunshine.  Temperatures are going up a tiny bit today, and then into upper 30's and low 40's this week.  We have been very blessed in this part of the country.  Winter has been relatively mild here.  Last year we got blasted with snow - so hopefully we get a reprieve this winter.  Heck, spring is LESS than 60 days away!!!

This has been a VERY quiet week here on the home front.  I only left the property on one day.  I guess I have been 'nesting'!  I did a lot of cooking which we have thoroughly enjoyed.

This week we had leftover meatloaf, homemade chicken tenders, fried green tomatoes, dirty rice with leftover meatloaf crumbled in it, home canned cabbage soup with added garlic noodles, pancakes for dinner, homemade lasagna - 2X, leftover soup with new stuff added,  raspberry crescents and homemade butter cake.

This was a tube of crescent rolls and some raspberry pie filling.  Loaded them up, folded them over and baked.  Tasted just like raspberry pie!  Maybe not the prettiest things, but they sure were tasty.
Homemade lasagna.  All I can say is YUM!!!!!!
Butter cake.  It has always been one of my favorites.  Mom used to make butter cake as shortcake.  I just love the taste and texture.  We have had it with raspberry topping and with chocolate syrup.  Still some left.   Mmmmmmm.

  • I took one day to run errands for the in-laws.  Went to the grocery for mother-in-law and visited brother-in-law.
  • Free exercise with shoveling snow again
  • I needed no groceries this week at all.
  • I stopped at the library and got a book on DIY Pantry recipes.
  • Did a craft/sewing project for G.  Made a wrist rest/ organizer for his computer table.  Just used some soft gray fleece we had here.
  • Spent NO money!
  • Used up some old groceries in the squirrel cookies (which they are enjoying)
Today we will be enjoying take-out from the Outback for FREE!!!!  I will be using one of the gift cards we got at Christmas.  G loves the Outback (me too) and this is to celebrate  30 years of marriage today!!!  It doesn't seem that long, but 30 years IS a long time.

As you can see it was quiet here.  I have been enjoying cooking some things that I don't often fix.  I may do that again this coming week too.  I have just been trying to get creative with what we have on hand.  Sometimes I just get bored fixing the same old stuff!

What was your week like? 
Blessings and frugal wishes for your coming week.
God bless.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


If you have any packaged salad in your frig. please check them.  There is a massive recall on pre-packaged salads, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The brands are Dole, Fresh Selections (Kroger), Marketside, Simple Truth, the Little Salad Bar (Aldi), and President's Choice.
The manufacturer's code on the package starts with an A.

They have been found in Michigan, Massachusetts, Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania so far.  There has been 1 death and many sickened .

I found 2 packages in my crisper from Aldi.  We had eaten some earlier in the week, but I won't chance it now.

If you have any of these GET RID OF THEM!  STAY SAFE!!!!

Squirrels and Birdies

Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE me some birdies and squirrels.  We so enjoy watching them in the backyard, and of course I feed them to keep them happy and in our yard.
That can get expensive.  I have developed a couple ways to feed, that isn't so costly.  I make my own sometimes.

3/4 C flour
1/2 C water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp. corn syrup
4 C birdseed

Mix this all together and press into a pan or into old suet containers (from the store).  If you press into a pan, let it dry and then cut into appropriate size for feeder.  It will be ready by the next day.  So simple and easy to make.
We have a lot of various woodpeckers that just love this.
*Unflavored gelatin comes a couple to a pack.  Very inexpensive.
You could also add sunflower seeds, peanuts, dry fruit, or any variety of goodies instead of some of the birdseed.

I have been cleaning out the pantry and basement storage off an on for the past few months.  I found a jar of 5 year old peanut butter, a box of stale cereal, and I have saved some cereal that we just didn't like.  I use all this old stuff to make squirrel cookies.  NO NEED to throw it away.

There is no real recipe - just add dry cereal or oats, some flour, an egg or two, any dried fruit or nuts (optional), a little sugar or syrup, and I pour in about a 1/4 cup of oil.  You can add about anything you want.  I put a couple heaping tablespoons of the old peanut butter in mine too.
You want this to be cookie dough consistency.
Drop onto cookie sheet by teaspoon and bake at 350* for about 13-15 minutes.
The squirrels LOVE them!!!!!

I made 5 dozen Friday.

I see absolutely no reason to throw away things that are stale or un-liked by us.  It saves me money by making it into something for the animals.  I keep all these "old" ingredients in a box together, so it is handy when I feel like baking.
I have been doing this for ages, and we have happy squirrels.

If you enjoy nature as much as I do, I hope this helps you out and maybe saves you a couple dollars!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

PLAIN part 5

"The best things in life are free".
We all know this - but the Amish truly live it.  They say the most valuable thing they have is their families , communities, and faith.  With those 3 things anything is possible.  I so agree.

When you lose someone in your life that means a lot - you realize that looking forward to the future and all the tiny pleasures of life it brings, is vitally important.  Things like a beautiful sunrise or sunset, listening to birds chirping, hearing the laughter of a child, families getting together, the smell of the air after a spring rain, hearing the crunch of fall leaves.......................I could go on and on.  These, my friends are FREE things that can make you smile and change your day.

There is one thing that transcends through both Amish and English, and that is chasing after money and things is meaningless, because the BEST things in life are free.

There has clearly been a money shift in this country.  People know that the economy is/has faltered and they are making changes in their lives.  We are all trying to figure out new ways to do things, new ways to save money, and new ways to provide for our families.  In some ways it appears to me that we are leaning more towards the PLAIN life.  If we learn to live more simply, it will only benefit us in the future.  Lucky for the Amish, the only thing a bad economy will affect for them is their business.  They already have the skills to live on limited means.  They already know how to help family.  They already know how to help community.
Sociologists call this reassessing of our values, time, and money "rightsizing". 
We are learning that wanting more than we can afford is of no value, and the true values in life are things that are free and yield  true rewards to us.

The Amish have no T.V., no computers, no cell phones, etc. to distract them, so they enjoy and help one another.  That is their fun.  We should all strive to be less connected with devices and more connected with people.

I hope these chats about a different type of lifestyle have resounded with everyone and given you something to think about. 
I am trying to pay more attention and be more mindful of my money.  I am trying harder to make do with what I already have.  I am trying to work harder on improving my self -control.  I think I do fairly well - but there is always room for improvement.
I know that I can cut back more and not feel deprived, because I will have peace of mind and less stress in my life.

I hope this series has given you something to think about, and maybe has taught you a thing or two.   I feel closer to my ancestors today than yesterday.  I constantly strive to be more humble and caring as they are.
The Amish have thrived for hundreds of years, and they will probably thrive for hundreds more.  Can we say the same thing?

It appears to me that those bonneted, buggied, button-less folks are on to something and I want to be a part of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PEACE to you all.

Monday, January 18, 2016

PLAIN Part 4

Today I am going to talk about bartering.
The Amish are community builders and they have been bartering with each other for hundreds of years.  They not only barter with each other, but they often barter with the English as well.  Often times the Amish need help that they can not get from each other.  They may need a piece of heavy equipment to move things, they may need 'taxi' service, etc.  Many Englishers, would much rather trade than charge.

The Amish may trade quilts, rag rugs, garden produce, homemade furniture, leather goods, help on the farm, lawn mowing, you name it!

Bartering comes from social behavior of the frontier and from the depression.  Many folks had no money, but they had needs, and everyone helped everyone else.  It was like "I have goods - you have goods - we both have a need - let's exchange."
It makes sense to me!

We, English, have many things to offer.  Computer skills, gardening or canning, baking, meal making, music lessons, painting, garage cleaning, painting, haircuts, photography, hauling, tilling, landscaping............................. geesh, the list can go on and on!!!!!!

Barter or exchange parties are becoming a big thing now.  Small groups of friends or neighbors are now having parties to exchange toys (like new), children's clothes, ladies clothes (like sized ladies), crafts, books, accessories, etc.  Everyone is encouraged to bring a certain amount of items, then everyone exchanges things for what they need.  Whatever is left, is donated to an organization that all agree on.  Sounds like a win-win situation.

Many people use Craig's List now.  I have never gone on it ( it kind of scares me), but I understand they have a barter section.  I simply typed in SWAP THINGS on the computer and found all kinds of groups.  There is always FreeCycle as well - not necessarily a barter site, but you can find all kinds of things for FREE!  Free is my FAVORITE four letter F word!!!!!!!!!  LOL
In our neighborhood (especially in the warmer weather), 'curb-side shopping' is a big thing too.  If you have something to get rid of, place it in the alley, and odds are it will be gone in a couple hours.  I have gotten lots of items for landscaping this way.

So the next time you need something - check around.  Goods for goods, service for services, or goods for services.  You may find co-workers, friends, neighbors or family who are willing to trade.  Always make sure that you give something of equal value (or better).  The happier you make the other party, the more likely they will trade again.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Frugal Happenings 1/17

Howdy ho everyone!  Hope you all had a good week.
We have had warm weather (50's), rain, snow, and cold weather all in the past week.  Season lows come in tonight with a prediction of out first minus temperature and highs in the teens tomorrow.  Brrrrr! 

Outdoor kitties are snug in the greenhouse with lots of blankies, and heated mat under the blankies, and a heater and heated water bowl.
It is safe to say my kitties are probably better taken care of than some homeless.  That's a sad state of affairs.  We have a lot of shelters and new places opening (due to extreme cold), but many just don't want to go.  I pray for them daily.

I only left home twice this past week.  I spent one day just visiting, doing errands and chores for the in-laws.
The second day I just wanted to get out!  I ran to Kroger to check out the clearance section.  Hadn't done that in a bit.

  • I did find 3 - 1/2 Cumberland Gap smoked boneless rounds of ham on sale for 1.19/lb.  It was regularly 3.49/lb.  One I probably will cut into ham steaks and the other two will get shaved for sandwiches (once I dig out my electric meat slicer).  I will vacuum seal and freeze.  I couldn't begin to buy deli ham for that price.  As a matter of fact I couldn't buy a pound of deli ham for the price of ONE half.  I spent 13.84 (for all 3) and saved 26.75!!!!!  YAY
  • I also found 8 Renuzit solid air fresheners on clearance for .25 each.  They were holiday scents - but who the heck cares!  I love those scents all winter long.  That was a $6 savings!

  • I renewed my library book on-line, so as not to be over due and to save a trip
  • Lots of free exercise  shoveling snow!
  • Entered a Kroger survey for 50 free points for gas.  Not bad for only spending around $16.
  • Shopped from the basement for additional groceries this week.
  • All meals from scratch and from home.  We haven't had a take out meal since first of November.  Now we did have some store bought fried chicken livers for dinner one night this week - but we were gifted those by G's aunt and uncle!  They were so yummy!!!
  • Cut both G's and my hair at home - we were both getting shaggy looking!
I found this little carrier when I was doing some de-cluttering in the basement.  Not sure where I got it our how long I have had it.  I decided that it would be great for my in-house 'shopping'.  Makes carrying things up the stairs easier for sure!!

The electric meat slicer I mentioned above doesn't get used very often - but sure has been handy to have on hand.  I bought it years ago at a yard sale for $5.  It has more than paid for itself!  I can cut boneless meat just about any thickness I want (hard cheese as well).

I need a suggestion!  Anyone have an idea on how to re-use those little Renuzit containers when they are done?  I hate to just throw them away - and I am trying to come up with some ideas!  I know there is some creative mind out there that can come up with a use!

Guess that about sums up my week!  Not too exciting here.
How was your week?  Did anyone get any good deals?  Did anyone do anything creative this week?
Inquiring minds want to know!

Stay safe and warm this week.  Be frugal my friends!
May God bless each of you every day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

PLAIN - Part 3

Today we are going to talk about recycling.  The Amish are soooooo into recycling.  MAXIMUM reuse is their goal.
They don't tend to recycle like most of America does.  They don't go down to the recycle bins and drop off, nor do they have fancy little containers to put out for the trash guy to pick up.  Recycling to them is giving an item a use for the second, third or fourth time.........
They are habitual recyclers, it is normal for them, not something that they have to stop and think about like we do.  They are constantly seeing the function of an item way beyond what it was originally used for.

They are not 'plugged in' as we are, so they are constantly coming up with ideas for ways to 'harness' non-electrical power.  They like for their lives to be easier as well, they just have different constraints, do to religious rules, than we live by.  If we didn't have power for an extended or unlimited amount of time - we would have to find new ways as well.  I don't think we would survive nearly as well!

The Amish tend to be natural if not organic gardeners, and they tend to raise their livestock without all the hormones we use.  They were GREEN before it was cool to be green!  In Amish life 'being green' is not as much about the earth as it is about 'saving green' - as in $$$$$$$.

Many skilled workers take great pride in reclaiming flooring, lumber, hardware, windows, etc. to use in new building projects or their homes, thus saving thousands of dollars.  They reclaim bricks and mortar as well, to use in road ways and parking areas for their businesses and homes.
The woman make the most out of every piece of clothing.  It is often remade into a new clothing item, or used in a quilt, or made into rag rugs when it is suitable for nothing else.  Those rag rugs bring top dollar in barter and in sales!
Jars, bottles, cans etc. are all used for other purposes.  Any garden scraps are put in compost or fed to animals.  Everything is reused.

Farmers often go the English junk yards, and cabbage onto parts that they can use to fix or make new farm equipment out of.  They are so resourceful and innovative.

The Amish do not yet have ZERO waste - but they are so much closer to it than we will probably ever be.  That is a goal we should all strive - and it is nearly doable.  That will be another post at another time - as there is much to talk about on zero waste.

Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.  Reuse, reclaim, repurpose.  However you want to say it - we should be trying hard to do it!  We have nothing to lose except our hard earned dollars!
Shoot, if they can find a way to recycle mortar, I think we can find a way to do better every day!!!!!!!

In my opinion the Amish are so far behind - they are truly ahead.
I wish we were all more respectful of our money and our resources.  I try hard to recycle, but I can be lax at it.  One of my goals this year is to be more resourceful.  I will keep you posted as I accomplish new ideas.

I hope over time, we can each encourage others in recycling and share many of our ideas.  By sharing ideas we all learn and grow and save!

Monday, January 11, 2016

PLAIN Knowledge Part 2

Today we will be talking about thrift - both stores and ways.

The Amish are a very thrifty lot of people.  They work hard, save a lot, and only spend on what is necessary.  Why save a lot - if you don't need much?  Well, there comes emergencies and rainy days in all cultures.  We just never know when those will be.
I like to think about thrifty ways and saving as just being a good steward of your money.

The Amish buy a lot in bulk.  Granted they cook from scratch always - but they do a tremendous amount of baking, have big families and get together's, and still need important things like TP and some cleaning items.  Gardening and farm animals can't fulfill all their needs.

They buy sugar, flour, rice, etc. in bulk and divide it into smaller containers at home.
Bulk is great if it is truly something that you will use a lot.  A gallon of olives is wonderful - but if you won't eat them in a reasonable time, they aren't worth buying.  ALWAYS check unit prices as well.  Some items are cheaper with sales and maybe coupons at regular stores than at the bulk stores.
If you buy in bulk - perhaps you have someone that can go in with you and split the item, thus each spending a little less, and less chance of something spoiling.
Bulk is not ALWAYS cheaper.

Thrift stores are a huge friend to the Amish as well.  They buy a lot of games, puzzles, shoes, bedding, dishes, towels, coats, etc. there.  Many times they can buy shirts for their menfolk or coats and re-make them to fit their standards.  It is often much cheaper than buying the material.
I currently have several items I have kept that I will be remaking into new items this winter.
You can get GOOD QUALITY for a cheaper price in many instances.
The Amish love a good yard sale as well, and definitely believe in dickering on price.  ME TOO!

A good thing to remember is that new DOESN'T necessarily mean good.  Many quality items can be purchased at thrift or second hand stores.
Happiness is NOT material.  Just look at all the wealthy entertainers and famous folks who divorce, do drugs and alcohol or commit suicide.  If money made one happy - they should be on top of the world.

It doesn't matter if your watch is $8 or $800.  It doesn't matter if you live in a tiny home or a McMansion.  It doesn't matter if your clothes are brand name from a fancy store or thrift store.  It doesn't matter if your wine is box or $1,000/bottle.  One thing is for certain - NO ONE GETS OUT OF THIS ALIVE and NO ONE GETS TO TAKE IT ALL WITH THEM!!!!  Basically we all get the same size hole in the ground.

A lot of people think that second hand clothes have the EEEWWWW factor!  Well, a good laundering and some hot water should take that away.  When you buy something brand new at the store, you have no idea how many times something has been tried on, nor by who.  What's the difference?  I would much rather let someone else spend a lot of money on an item and realize it didn't fit or they didn't like it - then I can spend a tiny bit and be tickled!
Last fall I bought a brand king size quilt at thrift for $20 - it would have cost well over a $100 new.  I also got a Croft and Barrow cardigan (brand new) for $3 at the 'GW Boutique'.  The sales tag was still on it, and it was $44.99.  I got a couple pair a brand name jeans for $6 each - new they would have been at least $40 each. 
**The last time I was in GW - a driver dropped off 2 Amish women and their kids.  The closest Amish live between 50-60 miles from here.  We spoke, as one had a new baby that was precious.  I so wanted to ask why they were so far from home - but thought it would rude.**

I am not TO PROUD to save my money and spend less on items I like or need.  Is it my Amish heritage or is it just good common sense?  I like to think a little of both.

In so many respects the Amish or no different than us English.   They want to get the most for their money.  They want to spend as little as possible.  They want to save for the future.  They want to be good stewards of their money and this land.  They want to provide for their families and love them.

No we aren't so different.
I think we have much in common.  I also think we have much we could teach and learn from each other.

Do you shop in bulk?  Do you like the second hand "boutiques"?  Let us know some of your good finds.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Frugal Happenings 1/10

Good morning everyone!
Hope this finds you all well and happy.  I guess none of us won the PB lotto last night!  I know we didn't!!  Oh well, I am in no worse shape today than I was yesterday.

We finally got a couple days of sunshine this past week and some warmer temps.  We had rain and more rain yesterday and the day before, then temps dropped almost 30* overnight and we have cold weather, blowing and snow this morning!  We only got about an inch of snow, but it has ice and slush under it.  Oh well, it could have been worse and I plan on staying home - so no big deal!

I bought myself a new washing machine this week!!!!  WOOHOO!  It had been almost 4 weeks since I had done laundry.  I was so excited about the machine's delivery and the prospect of doing laundry.  I am not sure if it is a good or bad commentary of my life - how little it takes to make me happy!  LOL!  I am a happy girl with lots of clean clothes.
Nothing fancy - just a basic washer - hopefully it will last me many years.

On another positive note, G's brother is now in rehab!  That is such a good thing.  It sure has been a roller coaster of a holiday season for his health - but things are finally looking up. 

It's been a fairly quiet week here.  Here are a few of my fugal finds;
  • The orchard will be closing in a few weeks, so they are having their B1G1 sale on apples.  Doesn't matter what size bag - 5#, 10#, or half bushel.  I got 2 - 10# bags for the price of one.  We both love apples.  I still have a lot of applesauce and canned apples from canning last January (2015) - so it is doubtful if I will can any more.
  • I ran to the WM family market (just a grocery) and used my $30 gift card to buy more canned cat food to have on hand.  Got 60 cans for $0!!   I walked by the deli and saw 3 rotisserie cooked chickens marked down to 2.49 each.  I got all 3!  I couldn't buy a fresh chicken and bake it for that price.  I came home and cut them in half and in the freezer they went for quick meals.
  • I shopped around on the washer and found the one I got at Lowes.  I saved $50 on the price from another store (exact same washer).  Also got free delivery and installation, which would have cost me over $100 at the other store (Sears).
  • We have been eating a ton of leftovers remade into new things all week.  Once we got tired of them - in the freezer they went for another day.
  • I got 2 FREE magazines this week
  • I got an Aldi circular (not a regular ad), that contains 8 coupons - 4 for January and 4 for February - for $10 off $50 purchase.  I will never use them all - maybe one a month.  I will share them with family who didn't receive any.
  • I have been doing a lot of cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering this week.
That has been my so un-exciting week in a nutshell!  How did you spend your week?  Did you get any good deals?

I hope everyone stays warm and safe and healthy this week.
May the Lord continue to bless each and everyone of you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PLAIN Knowledge Part 1

Today I will be writing about saving and paying our debts.  The Amish do get loans as the rest of us do from banks, but not nearly as many!
They do not have charge cards.  They pay cash and (checks) for everything.

Most of these thoughts are not just Amish, but good old common sense for all of us.
The Amish believe that you NEVER under any circumstance pay a bill late.  They say that the right thing to do is "honor your debts".  Wise advice.

Late fees will eat you up, if you do not pay on time.  Late fees can be any where from $15 a month to $50 a month.  That can add up to between $170 to $600 a year!!!!  Oh my goodness - what you could do with money, other than just throw it away!
NEVER pay a yearly fee for a charge card.  That is just crazy.  Why should you pay them for the pleasure of going into debt??
Do not bounce a check.  That is another thing that can add up so quickly it is not funny.  I am sure it has happened to everyone at least once - by honest mistake or by bank error. (We had a bank cash a check from our account for $1,200 once instead of $120).  Let's just say I was more than infuriated, and I told them I wasn't leaving the bank till they got it fixed!!!  Funny how it only took about an hour versus the 3 days they originally said.
You get NSF fees, for every check bounced (one could mean several), plus incurring late fees.  This could add up to a significant amount of dollars.
Pay OFF your charge cards each month to keep from incurring finance charges.  The banks truly appreciate you NOT paying them off - but you don't need to make them richer.

ALWAYS pay yourself first.  Sounds easy - huh?  Well it really is.  It doesn't have to start out as a big amount, maybe $5 or $10 a week, then gradually increase it.  Now before you say I don't ever have any extra money - just stop and think!
Do you smoke?  Do you drink pop?  Do you stop and buy coffee each day?  Do you shop daily?  Do you buy snacks and goodies from the store?  I could go on and on and on..........................
If you said YES to any of those questions - YOU HAVE THE MONEY TO SAVE! 
Whether you have small or lofty goals, it is positively necessary to give up immediate self gratification till you meet you goal!  I know that sounds harsh - but if you goal is important - you will do whatever it takes to get there.

Whether saving to pay off debt, buy a house, buy a car, pay off student loans, or just to have a nest egg for a rainy day - do what is necessary.  Sometimes we have all had "down pours" versus just a rainy day.  Emergencies happen and we all need to be prepared.  You never know when the car will break down, the cat needs to go to the vet, you break a tooth.........................
IF you can do automatic transfer from your paycheck to the bank - DO IT.  It is so true that if you don't see it, you won't miss it.

Living on the edge all of your life (even for a short while) can be so stressful and scary.  Stress can make you sick as well.  It's all a big huge cycle.  Work at what you have to, work as much as you have to, work at more than one job if you have to - and get your partner on board too.

Amish families work together to reach their goals.  The husband works, many of the wives work at making money as well, while raising MANY children.  They may sell eggs, veggies, home canned goods, bakery goods, quilts, etc. - and they only spend what is absolutely necessary to survive.

I recently read the story of a man named Amos who is a 45 year old farmer, married with 14 children.  For 20 years he and his wife 'rented' a farm, till he saved enough to buy the farm!  While renting and raising that huge family, he and his wife managed to save $400,000 in 20 years!  I think that is just totally remarkable!   He saw nothing impressive or unusual about that - according to him "It's just what you do".

Thrift, common sense, wise money practices, and delayed gratification are all important to the Amish (they are taught these values from childhood), and they are important for the English as well.

Do you have peace of mind?  Are you prepared for an economic downturn?  Are you paying off debt and trying to save for a rainy day?  I SURE HOPE SO.
Start small and build your way upward. 

REMEMBER: A dollar saved is BETTER than a dollar earned!  Think about that!

My daddy always told me that if "something is worth having - it's worth working for."  Truer words were never spoken.
Let's all work and support one another in this venture in this coming year.

Monday, January 4, 2016

PLAIN Knowledge

Can anyone guess what this might be about?
I plan on doing a series of posts this month on how to simplify our lives and become financially solvent according to Amish (Plain) life!

Many don't know that on my father's side of the family, we are descendants of the Amish.  I only found out when in my 40's and I don't believe my dad ever knew.  Grandma didn't talk about her heritage back then.  We figure that my great, great grandpa was the first in our line to break away from the Amish church.
My ancestors came to this land in 1736 via Ellis Island.

I often wonder if my dad and myself and siblings  'learned' the things we do/did from past generations unknowingly, or can that kind of stuff be in our genes???!!  LOL  I have talked with many Amish over the years, and they have all told me that I don't seem totally English (non-Amish).  I find that to be a totally wonderful compliment!

Ok, enough about me.
Today is just going to some background on the Amish, and then I will be trying to post a couple times a week this month, on simple living and financial security.

The Amish have much to teach us.  Granted they live as they did 50 years ago, and maybe even 100 years ago - but in many aspects that makes them extra smart in my book.  They party like it's 1894!!!!
They are quite wise and practical, a hard working and money smart people.  They are extremely resourceful not only out of necessity, but for the love of the land that they will be leaving their children.
They use a huge amount of common sense.  They are taught money principles from early childhood.  They know that delayed gratification, is the best way to save and get ahead.  They have a tremendous sense of community and family, and they share and help all.

There are an awful lot of Amish that have become quite wealthy.  Surprised?  You shouldn't be.  The Amish have many exceptionally successful businesses.  They work hard and use family and neighbors to help work them.  Many business owners, do not take any funds (or very limited), for quite some time - they just get by.
You would never know about their wealth, as being prideful and boastful is sinful.

We (Englishers), always seem to want newer, bigger, brighter, shinier stuff.  We are so addicted to electronics, that it would be difficult to get by without them now.  We strive to have bigger homes and newer cars.  We seem to like it when people think we are well off financially.
Instead we should be so thankful for what we do have, and know that somehow, some way we will get by in the future.
We need to start living life and appreciating family more, and worrying less about what we have.

We need to practice our faith harder and count our blessings more.

I hope you will enjoy this series of posts.  I will try to touch on various ideas and ways to save, to be resourceful, and to enjoy life a little more.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Frugal Happenings 1/3

Happy first Sunday!!!!
I hope you all had a quiet and safe new years day!  I was in bed before the midnight hour, but was awakened by all the noise from fireworks.

We made corned beef and cabbage and black eyed peas for our new years dinner.  I think it is a Midwest and southern thing - but every year of my life has started with those items on January 1.  They are supposed to bring you luck in the coming year.  I know different regions have different menu items.

Yesterday we had the last of our family gatherings for Christmas.  It was fantastic to have the kids here.  We really enjoyed their visit and everyone had a good time.  I wish we all got together more often.  It seems distance and 'lives' just get in the way.
We received sweet family pictures, garden decorations, a homemade birdhouse, GC's, and lots of goodies! (I think they love us!!!!)  Oh, I also got a 6 pack of purple canning jars!  How fun!!!!

I stayed home most of the week.  I went to the store only once to buy my corned beef and a head of cabbage.  This is the first year I didn't have corned beef in the freezer.
I am looking forward to tonight's dinner, as we will be having homemade Reuben sandwiches made with our own kraut!  YUM!

All my decorations are down and put away, and today I will go downstairs and clean the craft room and get all the re-cycled boxes, bags, and paper put away neatly.  It is now time to get back to normal.  Maybe in a week or so, I can have a couch and book kind of day!  I am so looking forward to that - it has been a while.

My frugal week;
  • On my grocery outing I did get corned beef on sale for 2.99/lb.  That was the cheapest price around this year.  Cabbage was .25/lb.
  • I stopped at Kroger while out to get cat litter, and found bags of baking M&M's on clearance for .49/bag.  I am stocked up for the year (probably longer)!  They also had Pistachio instant pudding on clearance for .15/box.  G's favorite pudding!  I am good for a long time with that and what I already had.
  • Everything I cooked for our family gathering was things I had here.  We had BBQ smokies in the crockpot, chili, beef stick and cheese slices, various crackers and chips, and pickles and olives.  We also had homemade cookies, cinnamon rolls, and fudge.
  • We have tons of leftovers for this coming week.  Chili, smokies, and corned beef.  They will be reinvented into new meals!  That's a nice way to start the year.
  • We are also set for snacks and granola cereals for quite some time with all the goodies we got as gifts!
The house is clean and neat - a nice feeling.  The pantry is loaded.  I am hoping this will be another good year.  I will be going out this week to shop for a new washing machine (oh dread), but hopefully that will get back to normal too, and it will probably last me the rest of my life.

How was your week?  I know everyone will be getting back to a regular work schedule and life this week.  Hope you are all well.
Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all.

I am really excited about learning from each of you this year.  This will be our 'little on-line school'!
God bless.