Friday, April 3, 2009

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned~Are you spending to much money?

Money Saving Tips~

I have always been a frugal person. However~I like to spend money. I like to get as much as I can for a buck but  I can be a spender. I love to give gifts!  My shopping  has consisted of  shopping at Aldi, shopping grocery ads for sales and meat and  the $ stores. I noticed my bill was creeping up to the $200 a week mark. Now unless you write down everything you spend for an entire month don't say how much you are spending. I challenge you~keep a notebook on you at all times and jot down every time you spend any money at all. You will be amazed. My former Pastor's wife challenged us all to do this and most people stop after one week because it was so earth shattering that they did not want to know. Try it! I dare you.

At the time the economy fell apart we had just started building our new home in the country and had our home in the city to sell.   All the sudden the housing market crashed to a halt. We found ourselves in a really bad place. My husband makes a good living and we were almost debt free. All the sudden we had to make some great sacrifices. Long story short after God's mercy and a year and a half later our home is sold and we are living in the new home that we mostly built ourselves. That is a whole other story for a later time. ( My Hannah is working on a power point of our building to come soon.) God taught us so many lessons through this storm~but after the storm it is time to clean up the mess.

That takes me to my money saving journey. I am a Homeschool Mom. My husband is currently working towards his Doctorates in Education ~which costs a fortune. I am not willing to take a job and not be here at home. I have always worked at home. I now live in the country so that is a bit of a challenge. This is a new faith walk for me. I feel like God wants me to trust Him more, not get caught up in this material world. Now I am not saying that this is for every family~this is our calling. 

 I stopped shopping once a month~Ouch! I am a planner. 

*My first step was to get my hands on a Sunday paper. Then I asked around for a friend who does not use coupons and asked her to save them for me. I cut at least coupons from two papers. This takes a good couple weeks to add them up. Organize a folder and start filing them.
I also get coupons from coupon Smart Source  and Now I want to warn you some places fuss at these Internet coupons so I have gone to Walmart's site and others and made sure they accept Internet coupons. And on more than one occasion I have had to prove it. I now carry store policy's in my coupon organizer.  I had tried coupons before and got frustrated and went back to Aldi. Folks~the secret is  to stock pile coupons. Only spend your coupons with ON SALE items. If the store is out ask for a rain check~so important!  If you shop a store such as Walgreens which has store coupons, you may use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon. Many times at CVS and Walgreens I get toiletries for free. Once in a while I end up with an overage. They owe me. 

* I have always planned my meals for a month at a time. Now I make weekly menus. I start by taking an inventory of what I have and what meals I can make with what I have on hand. Maybe I have all but a couple of needed items. I then start my grocery list. Then I see what is on sale at each store. I usually shop Hy-Vee and Walmart.  I make a list of all the other great buys from the other stores and take these to Walmart with a detailed list of where they are on sale and the amount. Walmart will match all other stores sales but it must be the exact same item and brand. I also shop CVS each week. Take your ad along in case you need to show your cashier. If you do not know about CVS ~you are missing out! Check it out here.  I end up with cash back every time~your cash looks like a coupon printed at the end of your receipt. Don't throw it away!  For my Ashley who does not have CVS where she lives~here is Walgreens.  Sometimes just double stacking coupons here is great. I get some things I love but would never spend the money on for free! It really works! I also have a stocked pantry and many things in which I use in gift baskets when the occasion arises!

*I am mostly cooking from scratch. I stock up on flour, sugars, sauces and spices.( And let go of convenience foods which is better for you any way.)  I buy these things in bulk.  I have Amish close by to help here. Spices are so cheap at a Bulk Pantry Store. If you do not have this as an option you will have to do some price comparisons. I know the $ Stores are a lot cheaper on spices than Walmart. This is a must for Homemade Cooking.  I collect old cook books. The newer ones sometimes do not have the from scratch recipes. I love Amish cook books and Gooseberry Patch the best.  When I vintage shop I will pick up old church cook books. 

*I started making Homemade Cleaners. I make Homemade Laundry Soap. I love it. Armour Hammer Washing soda is not baking soda. You can find it in a good Grocery Store~our Walmart does not carry it. The recipe is on my site!  It is so easy and just takes minutes! I get my essential oils from Natures Gardens Candle and Soap Supply~cheap!  I am making Windex by the gallons for pennies. It works just as good as the real deal. I  also make the Fabric softener. I add Downy scent but the conditioner makes it smell great without it. I dilute it by half with water and put it in a container and add sponges~to be put in the dryer for fabric sheets. You may use it as it is in your rinse cycle. I have the new front load washer and it washes all scent out of my clothes so I like putting in it the dryer. I use strong tea water for my wood floors~works great and is good for your wood. I am still trying dishwasher soap recipes but I am not happy yet~if you have one please send it to me. This step alone will save you a considerable amount of money!

*I ordered my first laying flock of chickens. We are ready. They will arrive April 12Th. We are really looking forward to our girls. I will share our journey. 

* I am planting my first huge garden. I started some things from seedlings and they look wonderful. I am just waiting for the weather to warm up~I am sure it will be soon!

* I vintage shop. I look for things that I can re~create into something else. My kids and I have the best time with this. We get our shopping fix with out spending a lot of money. When all else fails we shop the stores~only things on sale. My Hannah works at TJ Maxx~I love this store! I can always find new skirts at second hand stores and wonderful dishes. I also find really nice table cloths. I love table cloths. I love to shop Antique Malls and thrift stores.  There are some wonderful blogs who share their finds~they so inspire me. 

*I saved most of my flowers from last summer. I babied them all winter and they are just beautiful and ready to be put back outside. This is at least a $100. savings and they are much hardier than if I were to buy new ones. I have split them up to double. My secret is from the Amish~egg shells. I save all my egg shells. I break them into little pieces and add them to my water that I use to water the plants. It works wonderful. I also have stated my flowers from seed which is a huge savings. You need a sunny window and some Miracle Grow

* I am planting an orchard. Now this city girl has never canned. But she is going to learn~by God's grace. I am ordering from a seed company from Bloomington Il~so cheap!

*I am making most of my gifts~homemade with love!  The Internet has so many wonderful ideas that always keep me inspired. 

*Eating Out~now I would lie if I told you we never do this. I like to save money so I have it to spend on other things. I can tell you Money Savings Mom has been great about sending me coupons for fast food. This Homeschool Mom just has to get out sometimes. I have been couponing here also. I choose wisely. I think $ signs. How many meals can I get out of this. So we do not eat out often but sometimes we just need to treat ourselves. We love the $ chicken sandwich at Sonic and we love happy hour for limeades! We also pick up Hy-Vee Oriental when they have coupons. My Brian will pick up hot and ready from Little Caesars once in a while on his way home from work. I mix up a salad or bread sticks to add with it~ on nights when we are real busy. I stopped buying soda from the restaurants and keep a stock at home. Did I happen to tell you my addiction is Diet Coke?  All of this is done in moderation. 

Now I said all of this because I believe we need to be good stewards of our money. BUT~

I believe we can trust God to meet all our needs. We do not have to live in fear. God is on the throne. He has everything in control and He has a plan. I am not at all fearful about our economy. We Americans have become a bit to big for our britches. We need to get back to doing things God's way and trusting Him by faith! God does not want us to be material minded but rather Heavenly minded!

 I for one would like to have money to give to missionaries. Everything I buy here on this earth will turn to dust and fade away. If I give money so that souls might know that there is a God in Heaven who sent His Son to die that they can have eternal life in Heaven ~is far worth more than the toys I think I might have to have or need.

I would like to be able to give more in a lot of areas but if I am always pay check to pay check I can not do this!

I do not believe the economy is in as bad of shape as the media is making it out to be. My heart goes out to the families who have lost their jobs! They are the ones who really need our prayers and maybe even a helping hand. For the rest of us I believe we can cut our spending in a lot of areas.  Sometimes it does us a world of good to do without!

Proverbs 14:1
Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Proverbs 31:10-31

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14She is like the merchants' ships; she
bringeth her food from afar.

riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23Her husband is known in the gates, when he
sitteth among the elders of the land.

maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he
praiseth her.

29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou
excellest them all.

30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that
feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.



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