Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Stretch Those Dollars - Simplify

 Inflation - that is what everyone is talking about.  Shortages - that is what everyone is talking about.
I am talking about making do, changing habits, and learning new things.  I am talking about getting a new mindset.
I am talking simplifying things.  We are always in a hurry and just want everything NOW.  Maybe, just maybe, with a mindset adjustment - living simpler and BETTER could actually happen!

                                                                         INDEED IT IS

  • Maybe fast one or two days a week - if your health allows
  • Eat LESS meat or sub other things for meat.  Make black bean or lentil burgers - they really are tasty when made at home.
  • Think about the edibles that are wild - we talked about that last week
  • Eat much simpler meals.  This is huge in my book.  You can eat well and eat less every day of the week.  You don't have to go out, order in, or have boxed meals delivered to you.  Cook from scratch!!!!  There's a concept!!!!  Meals do not need to be fancy - they can be simple.  Good healthy food is always best over fake garbage.  Try new things and experiment - you can save so much money on groceries
Super healthy lunch or great after school/work snack for anyone!
  • If growing your own veggies - use what you have for fertilizer - no need to spend money.  Compost is great.  Can't compost?  No problem - use crushed dried egg shells, banana peel water, coffee grinds, tea bags, etc. around your plants.   You can do this all for nothing!
  • Learn to substitute.  This goes for lots of things.  Food and cooking especially.  Try a different meat, or veggie in your recipe.  Use what you have on hand.  Don't make some special run to the store for an ingredient - cause you know you will buy other things!!!!!!  MAKE DO
                                                               Great swaps when baking
  • Stay home more if possible.  Group you trips in one day.  Staying home not only saves gas, wear and tear on car but $$$$ as well.  If you are home you aren't shopping (stay off those computers!)  If you work - try car pooling with others
  • You don't have to have name brand fancy items.  Kids don' need them either.  Sure you want them - but hard times call for drastic measures.  Learn to sew or alter, try second hand stores, yard sales in other parts of the city, etc.
  • Gardening time is upon us.  So many fresh and wonderful food will be sprouting out of the ground.  Eat fresh!!!!!  Lettuce and salad fixings, grilled zucchini, parm tomato slices, cucumbers and tomatoes and onion salad, bean salads, pasta salads with loads of veggies.  Fresh fruits anytime you can get them.  This is all so much better for you and for the environment.  No plastic bags, no jars, no packaging needed.  Just good REAL food in our little cloth totes!!  From garden to plate.
  • Keep lights off now - it is light early and late - no need for lights.  Get as much fresh air as possible in the house.  Catch rain water if you  are aloud to.  It is great for plants.  It can be used on your hair too!  Makes it soft
Gosh, I could go on and on with ways to stretch your dollars today.  YES inflation sucks and so do shortages.  That doesn't mean your life has to suck.
Break the habits of always having what you desire.  Learn new things.  Try new ways.  Stop and think before acting on things.
Like many of us, you may find it is actually kind of fun to challenge yourself.
You aren't DEPRIVING yourself - you are APPRECIATING more!!!

Look forward to other ideas!

34 comments:

  1. All great tips, Cheryl. How is Fluffy doing? Better, I hope.

    I've recently been reading about in-soil composting, where you bury your kitchen scraps, which break down in 4-5 weeks. I used to bury oven dried banana peels around the base of roses to give a boost and work coffee grounds and egg shells into the soil before planting seeds. It works in pots, too.

    My biggest tip, especially when cooking for only one or two, is to buy family sized packages of meat; when you get home, divide those up into meal sized portions and freeze. Usually it's the family packs that are weekly specials. Even now, with higher prices of meats, it saves a lot of money.

    Buy rice, pasta and beans at Dollar Tree or another discount store in your area and keep them in airtight storage.

    Don't forget that breads can stretch a meal, especially for soup meals. Enjoy your own "unlimited soup, salad and bread" dinners.

    Wash only FULL loads of laundry and use cold water whenever possible. It saves energy and is better for fabrics. 1/2 cup white vinegar can replace fabric softener. No, it doesn't make your clothes smell like vinegar. Watered down Dawn dish soap gets out more stains than any brand of laundry stain remover.

    Dump cable, get a low/no cost streaming service that appeals to you, and limit TV watching to evenings only. If you have cell phone service, most companies have a little device to plug in as a wifi hot spot in your home that's (usually) cheaper than a cable wifi service.
    That's my 2 cents' worth today. Hope it helps someone. --Elise

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    1. Great tips Elise!!!!
      She is still in 'jail' as it has only 48 hours since getting her antibiotic. She is doing her doody and today I found some things more to her liking to eat. She devoured one of them and she is drinking a lot. All good signs. Blackie sure keeps an eye on her!
      Yep on bigger meat packs. Yep on pasta, beans and rice. Yep on rice.
      I almost always use cold water washes and I do use vinegar for softener. Peroxide for bleach (natural).
      I am working on the cable thing - just tough to let go!!! I am stopping newspaper delivery as of next month and that is a big savings. (Already paid this month).
      Thanks!!!!!

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    2. It took a move for me to drop cable, and it has been an adjustment, but I like that I can choose commercial-free shows to watch in the evenings. HUGE monthly savings, too.

      So many singles/young couples don't think about family packs of meat. Our oldest just won't do it (too much work???), but our youngest sure does. Guess it helps that he worked at a grocery store during high school and college. LOL!

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  2. We had pork loin roasts BOGO last week. Hubster went and selected 2 and smoked them on Sunday. He then "pulled" it. sooooo tasty. 1I asked him to make 16 ounce quart bags for the freezer so each serving is a hearty 4 ounce serving. 18 meals for $17. Yippee!

    Our CSA started last week. It always feels free as we pay-in-full in January so they can cover farm startup costs! The Spring sold-out but there are still summer shares available. (Makes me sad as usually they sell-out with more wanting a share. Price had to go up this year as they pay a living wage to their team and that went up sharply here).

    Anywho, we're eating lots of fresh greens, baby turnips, spring onions. And the spring share, they include other vendors so fresh eggs, a huge village loaf of bread and honey/comb from their 10yo daughter's beekeeping venture. YES! I said 10yo. At age 8 she told her parents she wanted to become a beekeeper. She also has been farming her own 10*30 foot garden "to feed my family all winter". Love that girl and her parents who support her dreams.

    Not so sure all of that is about stretching dollars but it's my life :-)

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    1. It sure is about stretching $. Producing, learning, sharing and helping is all great for saving. What a wonderful thing for her to learn and do.
      Those pork loins were a fantastic bargain. I love when that happens. They seem to be the most economical meat around right now. You guys did great.
      I have never done a CSA - but have sure considered it. Most are a good distance from me.
      Thanks for the smile on the story of the little girl!!!!!

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  3. Yes! We are living more and more the simple way. I just prepped food for much of the week so it will be ready when we want it. I like to get a few foods made early in the week that we can eat for several days. Today I made chicken salad and a pan of blondies (.75 mix from the discount store). We roasted a whole chicken yesterday so that made the salad and a container will go in dirty rice tonight to feed us a few meals. We are enjoying watching our veggie plants grow and anticipating all the fresh food of summer.

    The only thing we are stressed about is our grandson and his formula. All the grandmas are worrying about their babies. We are ready to go out and fight for it in the store if we have to and will drive it to the grands.. I am seeing this in a number of places online.

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    1. I too am keeping an eye out for the type of formula my grandson drinks. He’s only 6 months so he’ll be on it for awhile. Scored one can in an out of town Walgreens. Told my DIL the shelves are scary empty.

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    2. Lana you are so smart doing all that cooking ahead. That just makes life so easy, especially at a busy time of year.
      I hope you can find the formula that you need. Many moms can't breast feed and that is a problem. I saw somewhere that some people are ordering from Canada - as it is more plentiful. Not sure if that is true or not - but a thought!

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    3. Anonymous - hope you find what you need. I would sure have everyone I know on the look-out if I had to!

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    4. We cannot order formula from Canada or Mexico even though plentiful. The past-president replaced NAFTA with a ruling outlawing it.

      This is not intended to be political. I am stating a fact.

      "Almost 98% of the U.S.'s formula supply comes from domestic manufacturers, with the 2% that's imported mainly coming from Mexico, Chile, Ireland and the Netherlands. Now that supply from domestic manufacturers is falling short, ramping up imports should be a quick way to meet excess demand. But strict approval processes and steep taxes are preventing U.S. formula buyers from simply shopping overseas."

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    5. They are working to import formula but there are so many regulations and the label has to be in English. The problem will likely resolve itself before they get it all worked out since Abbott is supposed to be shipping again within 8 weeks.

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    6. WSJ has reported that Gerber-owned Nestle company will be flying in from Switzerland and the Netherlands, prioritizing Gerber Good Start Extensive HA and Alfamino for babies with cow's milk protein allergies. And the FDA announced Monday that overseas manufacturers can apply to ship baby formula bypassing trade regulations immediately, because of the shortage.

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  4. Debby in Kansas USAMay 17, 2022 at 11:08 AM

    This is the time to break out TTG! All those ideas that might've seemed a bit extreme 5 yrs. ago? Not so much anymore, huh?! I was reading an old old blog last night and the posts were from 2015-16. They were entirely insulting and mocking about anyone that would stock up . Lots of "what could possibly happen? If the zombie apocalypse comes, that stash of canned food isn't gonna save you crazy preppers" type comments. They weren't directed at the people building underground cities, but at people like us that plan for bad events. As I read through, I couldn't help but wonder if they've had a change of heart in the past couple of years. When the world went initially COVID crazy, were they one of the people my friend saw practically throwing people out of the way to get to the milk? Did they have to use a homemade bidet aka garden hose because they buy a two pack of toilet paper every other week? You guys know the ones. The ones that blamed the shortages on people that had actually prepared a little every week. I'm certain that the jars of peanut butter that I bought in groups of five in 2019 did not cause a shortage in 2020!!! I'm pretty sure the shortages were created by unprepared panic buying.

    Anyway, enough of that! My friend and I have discussed this as a challenge, like Cheryl has said! How low can we go before it doesn't work? Can we lose a little weight from those adjustments? Two meals only on Saturday and Sunday? I survived in the dorm cafeteria on that. Never saw any starving students in my hall! Obviously there are health exceptions,
    but I know I'm not one of them! However, can I survive LENTILS?!?! I'm not a fan lol.

    Is Fluffy free and feeling better?

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    1. You betcha girl - TTG makes more since than ever. I read again (all 3) every year. I belong to that FB group - some people can sure get nasty. It is amazing what people will say over a machine that they never have the b*lls to say to your face!!!!!
      I have eaten one good meal a day for at least 3 years now. I snack a little here and there - but usually one meal. I feel great. I remember as a kid we had a big meal at noon on Sunday - and then it was fend for yourself.
      Thanks for asking - she seems to be doing better - although still in 'jail'. I got her some special food today and she loves it. Anything to build her back up!!!!

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    2. What is TTG?

      Since retiring nearly 3y ago, I eat only 2 meals daily and occasionally just 1. I try to have a piece of fruit or handful of nuts as a snack since nutrition does matter. I find I feel best if I eat "dinner" between 2-330 in the afternoon. I am a 9pm bedtime girl.

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    3. Elle, TTG is The Tightwad Gazette. See if your library has it. It's an extremely readable book and excellent source of cheap ideas! Like Cheryl, I read mine once a year. Stuff that applied when I was newly married - ahem- a few years ago doesn't apply anymore, but some of the things that didn't affect me back then are appropriate now. And some stuff is more or less obsolete due to the internet and phone changes.

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    4. Elle until recently I always listed it TWG - Tightwad Gazette.
      I eat around 2PM each day and then fruit, popcorn, cheese, smoothie - something if I get peckish later. There are 3 books or you can now get the COMPLETE set in one book. I have them all! Got all at yard sales.

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    5. Thanks Debby. You are right - some stuff you wouldn't think of doing now. Others - darn tootin'!. I use many of the recipes from the book and just plain old common good sense and many things that I had never heard of. Worth the read for sure.

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    6. Back in 1969, when I had my first baby, I breast fed for 6 months, then switched him to rehydrated dry milk (brand was Milkman I think). Formulas were not pushed at that time and most of us, born in the 40’s and 50’s, were given diluted evaporated milk from birth if we were not breastfed (an unusual practice in America then). My second child had the same but by baby #3 and #4 the encouragement to breastfeed until weaning was strong. First two sons are in their fifties now, tall (6’4” and 6’7”), strong and healthy.
      I can’t help but wonder if this formula push of many years wasn’t the beginnings of some of the pharmaceutical shannanagins we witness now. I am very aware that not all can breastfeed and that some babies are allergic to cow’s milk…I get that and sympathize. I am just wanting to suggest a little background that may offer alternatives to the very unfortunate state of affairs for these families seeking formula….one more terrible concern for these young families to face.

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    7. I believe I was given evaporated milk and Kayro - w/vitamins added. It was standard in my area. Moms were sent home with the recipe. My oldest brother had to have goat milk - thus my dad bought a goat. It is sad to families going through this. I hope they find something they can use to feed these babies. Thank you!

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    8. Oh I have read all the TWG. I've never seen it TTG so figured this was something new to me.

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  5. My daughter had a difficult go of breastfeeding for several weeks. Fortunately, I was able to be there as support for her as she and baby adjusted. Yes, we had to supplement with formula as they both learned. But eventually, it worked out and my daughter was able to pump at work (enough for me to feed baby while she was at work). We recognize moms need support during pregnancy and birth but for breastfeeding we let them flounder! Fortunately, I could help my daughter. I was able to determine baby was tongue-tied and she had inverted nipples. Without my help she would've given up. She's so happy to breastfeed and it has saved her money! Hospitals say they offer help but my daughter's experience did not find that to be true.

    as for money saving tips---I save cooking water for soups and other recipes that call for stock so I don't have to buy it. I also don't make my own veggie stock any more. I use water, or saved cooking water or an herb powder recipe I found online. Basically, the powder is made of herbs/spices I have on hand and I use that instead of the cubes (and it's salt free!).

    I save "trash". I used to just save zip bags. Now I save all bags that food comes in. Some might think it's silly but I never run out! I always have a big plastic bag to store homemade bread or a bag to hold some fruit. Before I throw something out I ask myself if there's a use for it AND do I have space to store it? If no way to store then I don't keep it. I can't tell you how many times I reached into my stash for a plastic lid for under a potted plant or a container so family can take home some leftovers. Or a box for organizing a drawer. Etc.
    ~margaret






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    1. Debby in Kansas USAMay 17, 2022 at 8:16 PM

      Margaret, your comment about saving packages you can use reminded me of a funny I did along this line. I kept an onion bag to use as a homemade salad spinner. I washed a head of iceberg lettuce and put it in the mesh bag. I went out to the back patio and swung away. It was working great. (You've figured out what happened, right?!)
      I must've let go of a corner of the bag my lettuce came out, taking flight! Right over the fence into the neighbor's yard. It landed right on her compost pile! She couldn't stop laughing when I told her about it.

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    2. thanks for the chuckle, Debby!
      ~margaret

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    3. Margaret I have heard the same thing about new moms and their experience at the hospital.. So glad you were qable to help your daughter and it worked out. A blessing in many ways.
      I have used veg water in soups and I have used unseasoned veg water on plants - extra vitamins for the plant.
      I think many of us have that bag of bags!!! I know I do. Newspaper baggies are used for picking up kitty do-do. Trash bags, wrapping bags, storage bags......... they are used for everything!
      I do keep a lot of containers as well. I use my homemade/often grown herbs and tomato powder I have dehydrated for seasoning in soups. Good stuff!!!!

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    4. Debby that is hilarious!!!! I can just see it happening.

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  6. Great reminders of the small but important changes we can make in our daily lives in order to simplify and live frugally.

    God bless.

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    1. Thanks. Little changes can all add up and save!

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  7. Amen sister! Love it.

    Letting go of cable wasn't that difficult for us since we can get old black and white movies on regular television and most networks have youtubes and rumbles that you can catch things on, also networks are on regular tv now unknowingly to so many. : ) The system we have, we get the online menu onscreen just like cable. I just dvr the old movies and fastforward through commercials and it's great. Plus I can play youtubes and rumbles on screen! Many old colorized movies and just all kinds of great stuff.

    Blessings! : )

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    1. Thanks. I like hearing testimonials of those giving up cable. It helps!

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    2. We switched from Dish to Hulu. And purchased a ROKU stick. Our TV bill dropped by 50%. AND, we can view shows on our laptops when we're traveling. I do like my news!!!! and a few evening programs on S/M nights plus 1 on Tuesday.

      ROKU is a 1 time purchase under $50. So much available with it for anyone who needs some entertainment for what I call "butt time". ;-)

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    3. I got a Roku stick about a month or so ago. I haven't used it much - need to spend these gloomy days doing that. That was my whole purpose in getting it - delete cable. Haven't pulled the trigger yet. Used to have Netflix - got rid of that. Need to explore more options.

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  8. I am late to the party! Since this year as published it has been brought to light where almost all the formula has gone. My mom used evaporated milk and Karo for my formula almost seven that I've years ago.

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    1. That is exactly what my mom used - as she couldn't breast feed. We did just fine!

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