A closer look at frugal living

Lately I have been thinking about how the other half lives.  Not that JB and I live a life of luxury, far from it, but our lifestyle is very comfortable by many standards.  When JB and I met, I had a second income from my transcription business. In 2015 that business suffered a major downturn and leveled out at 15% of the income it had previously been generating.  Last week the service that I have contracted through since 2003 disclosed their intent to shut down at the end of the month.  I have been so grateful for this income, especially since it has been something that I can do from a home office.  JB has a solid career which takes care of all of our bills, but it brings up the question of how can we maximize our income?

Last summer, JB and I ended up going to the grocery store almost every day and sometimes twice a day!  But as winter has taken over and having two toddlers around full-time, I have rarely been getting out of the house except to drive the carpool to preschool and go to church.  The few times I have done some “real shopping” it’s amazing what pops up as a need versus a want.

We have no debts except our home, and JB’s income covers all of our needs and many of our wants.  I am blessed to be home full-time with our foster children and we want to keep it that way.  I have occasional temp work opportunities to make a few dollars here and there, which I hope to continue doing as much as I can.

The theme for 2016 will be NO SPENDING.

Let me explain what I mean by no spending.  I will still be purchasing some fresh foods, dairy products and produce within a budget.  I will be watching for best prices on things to keep our pantry stocked with staple foods and the freezer full.  We need gasoline for vehicles, clothing for growing children, and we are still in the process of some renovations on our home.  We both have hobbies and interests.  But we are looking for ways to cut out excess, to stretch every dollar, and we plan to look very carefully at what we consider to be a need.

One thing I have been doing over the winter, and which I hope to continue to do for the next few months, is to utilize some help my parents give me.  They live in a remote rural area and make a shopping trip into town once a week, and my house is half way in between.  I am able to give them a shopping list and they will pick up what I want and deliver it on their way home.  This has saved so much money that saves me by not impulse buying.  It also helps to save gas and time.  And it saves the aggravation of not hauling toddlers around stores!  Today my dad stopped at Sam’s Club for me and picked up a few things:

  • Diapers – $4o (I still can’t get past the thought that I am back to purchasing baby nappies at the age of 50!)
  • Gallon of whole milk – $2.25
  • 5 pack of romaine lettuce – $3.80
  • He also got a box of baby wipes for $20 but there were twice as many as I thought so I will be returning them.

JB visited his sister tonight and came home with a sack of fruit – some oranges, a banana, and an avocado, and some meat from a cow they had slaughtered – two packages of steaks, one of hamburger, and one of soup bones.  What a wonderful gift!

fried potatoes with beef and gravy

Tonight for dinner I made pan-fried potatoes with two medium size russets cut up and par-boiled, then fried in a little butter, oil, and seasoning.  A cast iron pan is the best way to get them crispy.  There was a small piece of beef steak left from the other night, as well as some of the au jus gravy.  I added some salad on the side.  For dessert I had four chocolates from the box JB gave me for Valentine’s Day.  Yum!

Today’s expenses: $70 total, with the remainder to give my dad some gas money.

Its been snowing and raining the last three days and the inversion is lifting so hopefully we will be able to build a fire tomorrow.

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