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Growing up in Kentucky wasn't that easy as a child. However, as an adult, life was easier and wonderful until I ended up sick and my life changed. I am a single mom raising 2 teenage children and had to stop working and go on disability. How in the world could I make ends meet on the small checks that came in the mail once a month?
I had to revert back to my childhood and remember all the wonderful old sayings my mom would say to me each day. Things like:
To start off with my children were using a bottle of dish soap every week to wash dishes. This was costing me too much money. Even if I shopped at the dollar store, I was wasting too much money on cleaning items for my home.
I decided to splurge just a bit to save a lot. I purchased one of the battery operated soap dispensers that they sell in most stores. All you need is 2 AA batteries and a half of bottle of dish soap to fill the dispenser. I had to teach my children one of the hard lessons I learned as a child that a little dab of soap goes a long way.
It is easy to stretch a bottle of dish soap and make it last 4 weeks. All you basically need to do is pass your sponge under the dispenser and let it put enough soap on your sponge to wash all your dishes.
When filling the dishpan with water, you'll just squeeze the soapy sponge under the water to fill your dishpan. There is no need to squirt half of a bottle of dish soap in the dishpan to wash a load of dirty dishes. The amount of soap that comes out of the dispenser is more than enough to clean your dishes.
This was the beginning of looking for ways to save money each month on what we spent around the house. My two children love animals and have picked up so many stray dogs and brought them home. It was fine when I was working and I didn't have a problem to take care of these poor neglected animals. However, when I could no longer work, the price of food to feed 6 dogs wasn't possible any longer. I needed to put food on the table for my children and I couldn't afford to keep the dogs.
My children cried and begged me to find a way. We had grown attached to the 6 dogs we had running around our home. I knew the dogs werent very large and there had to be a better way to feed them. A friend of mine told me that it would be simple if I made my own dog food. I could barely afford to buy food for my family, how could I afford to cook for the dogs?
When I was shopping that week at the store, I saw the butcher cutting up the meat he would add to the display case for us to buy. He had tons of fat, and other parts of the meat that he would cut off and throw to the side. Some of this even landed on the floor or was thrown in a bucket. I decided to ask him what he did with the fat that was cut off the meat. I found out that he would just throw this away or give it to a friend to feed their pigs.
I decided to make a deal with our butcher to buy some of the scraps of meat from him once a week. He would make a large package of scraps for me and Id pay him $2 for the package. The scraps of meat I bought would feed the dog for a week. All I needed to do was make smaller packages of scraps and freeze them. Every two days, I'll take a package out of the freezer and boil up the scraps in a pan of water. Afterward, I'd chop up the meat really fine and mix it with our leftover rice or pasta that I'd cooked that night for dinner.
We were able to keep the dogs and I found a way to feed them for $2 to $3 a week. I was saving $30 a month on dog food. I no longer had to buy the large sacks of dry dog food and mix it with cans of dog food to feed our dog.
If you really want to save money there is a way to do this. It isnt so easy when it first happens, but over time, you learn to adjust and find ways to save money on food, feeding the animals, washing dishes, and even washing your clothes. We are happy living on my monthly check and have learned to adjust to the new living condition. My children dont go hungry and theyve learned to take care of their clothes because I dont always have the money to buy new ones.
When I started dating my husband, I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I went inside his parent's one bedroom house. There were 6 people in the family, all of the rooms were tiny. The bedroom was so narrow all that would fit in there was a single bed with no space on either side. You had to get on top of the bed to make it. Mom and Dad slept on the sofa bed, some of them slept on pallets and one on a cot in the kitchen.
The bed was too small for Mom and Dad, and since my future husband was the only boy in the family, he got the bedroom.
The back of the house had no siding on it, so when you were in the bathroom you could see the house next door through the tiny cracks in the wall. There was no running water in the bathroom, so the toilet had to be flushed with a bucket of water. They didn't have a hot water heater so Mom had to heat water on the range to wash dishes and for baths.
A small gas stove heated three rooms, but the bathroom had no heating or cooling. The air conditioner was a big, noisy window unit that put moisture into the air instead of taking it out, so someone had to run outside once in a while, use the water hose and fill it with water.
They were forced to live a very frugal life and came up with their own frugal ideas out of necessity. They are a lot of the same tips that I have seen all these years later at the ThriftyFun website.
After the kids all married and moved out, Dad inherited a little money when his sister passed away, so they were able to buy a nice home. Dad has since passed away, but Mom continues to live a frugal life. She has no desire to use a newfangled computer, but she is always pleased when I tell her some of the thrifty tips I run across at ThriftyFun.
Amuck from Fairview Heights, IL
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