At the age of 33 I became disabled. I had just gotten married to a man who had been disabled for years, and retired from the army, he came with a teenage son. I had always lived alone and did a lot of eating fast meals, I never cooked. Now suddenly we were living on my husband's disability and food stamps, which trust me does not add up to eating out every meal.
So I started talking to people about recipes and trying out some of my own creations. Then I decided to join a couple of frugal groups on the internet, actually I joined about 6 but whittled it down to a couple that worked for me. It took some time to get into the groove but I started making menus for a month and clipping coupons. I started buying items to put together to make a meal instead of spending so much money buying ready to eat meals.
The first month that I made out my grocery list, everything on it was ingredients, my list was so long because I didn't have anything, and I thought for sure I wouldn't have enough money to buy it all. I not only had enough money, but I got one and half times what I usually bought. I couldn't believe how much cheaper it was to buy ingredients than ready to eat.
I became a coupon addict. I joined coupon swaps. I also print out coupons on my computer. It hasn't been an easy road to follow but we have managed to feed, clothe and pay bills on about $9,000 dollars a year.
Christi from Paducah, KY
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Very true, I save a bundle when I starting making stuff from scratch.
Hi Cristi, So happy you shared you success story.
I'd like to give you an avenue for coupons. If you are not already aware of it www.couponclippers.com is a little operation in FL run by a minister's wife and a few workers. Check out their website. I save SO MUCH with them. Plenty of .75 coups also. Good Luck you spunky gal.
For us being frugal, means survival, shopping at the dollar store is a treat, one thing while I am shopping for non food items, to ask myself is this a necessary item, and it sounds stupid, but you have to think is this item that I am buying more important than something my family can eat.Will I look at this item when I get home, wishing I had not purchased it, or purchased something more useful for my or my family's nutrition?I recently purchased a heating pad, which I still will need soon, but it was still in it's package and my husband needed a prescription, so back it went.Later I can purchase another one, and may find one on sale.It is those little things that add up, peace of mind is so much better than a house full of objects that have to be dusted and can break.Just a few ideas to think about.Kersti from Bellevue
We have never NEEDED to be frugal but I like to be! One thing I found out after we adopted two children is material things are not important. Also I am at the age now where I don't want worthless useless items sitting around collecting dust. If I am frugal about less important items, then I can splurge on something that means more to me!
Good for you!! That is a huge and wonderful acheivement for any wife.
Christi, You are doing great! When we were first married, we had $35/week for groceries. I shopped only by what was on sale at the grocery store and promised myself that if we ever get past this stage, I'd always shop sales only. I no longer have to watch the amount of the weekly grocery bill, but I still only buy on sale unless absolutely necessary. I can walk away with a $75 bill and save almost the same amount. The sunday paper is worth getting just for the coupons. Shopping at Department stores, always shop clearance first. Some items will be damaged, but the majority is just stuff that needs to go to make room for more. I'd rather stock up at the end of the season at 75%+ off than during the season at 30-50%. Keep it up Christi, you are setting a great example the your family, and if someone needs help, they'll probably come to you for advice!
A great heating pad can be made. Take a old pair of jeans, cut a leg section around 10 inches long, stitch one end, turn right side and fill it 2/3rds full with either uncooked rice(not instant) or dried whole kernel corn (livestock feed kind) and stitch the opening closed. Can be microwaved for 2 minutes and holds heat for hours. Dont get it wet! Sometimes the corn gets old smelling like burnt popcorn, and I cut the opening empty the old and refill and restictch.
These are heavenly at the end of the bed under the covers on a cold night, my feet love them!
I do the same thing! :-) I make my own mixes for items such as muffins, pancakes, cake mixes, etc. Not only is it cheaper, it is SO much healthier!
I used to do the same thing when my children were young. I would make a menu for a whole month. I would buy the sales of buy one get one free. I also clipped the coupons and used them. However I went a step further. If I wanted a couple nights off from cooking during the week I would make double the meals that could be frozen. I would freeze what was left over. If you use the kind of plates that have the plastic lids and the dividers you can make your own frozen dinners. Or use the recycled frozen plastic dinner dishes. But you need to find a way to cover them and label them.
I didn't have to cook every night doing things like this and it saved a bundle of money. And people in the home could decide which TV dinner they wanted for that night. I also split the cake mixes and did this in the same fashion. I would bake other deserts while the oven was on, and do the same. The family not only got there meal, but they could have there cake and eat it too.
Also if you do gardening, the seeds that come out of your store bought tomatoes and other things will grow. This saves from buying seeds.
Don't for get the trick about the electric. The electric cost less late at night. So if your up from 9 til 11 any way, it will save you money to do laundry then.
Good luck with your savings!
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