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As a single mother on a dotted budget line, I have learned how to provide for my family on very little.
I strictly shop Goodwill or garage sales. I always try to find the half off price items you are needing in Goodwill. You can always try to barter a lower price with your garage sale lady. I never pay full price for any clothing item nor do I shop at any outlet malls. You can find brand new clothing items easily for $1-$2 and the new "designer" brands the kids want.
One word of advice: Only shop for an item you actually "need", otherwise you will end up with an overabundance of clothes and you will spend an inordinate time washing, sorting, dealing with them, etc., not necessary! When you are done with your clothes, find a family to pass them on to, so they can reap some benefits from your frugality.
I primarily shop at Kroger. One, it gives me gas discounts for my purchases and two: you can buy very, very low cost items with the red manager specials. You can stock up on meat or any item your family needs with these bargain prices. I also grow a garden and ask for others' unwanted or unused produce (Freecycle) and can.
If you have to buy oil or gas for your furnace and you have funds, buy during their summer discount when it is not needed, you will get a lower price.
This may not be encouraged, however I have resorted to using candles for lighting and have saved over $20 just in lighting costs. Using a clothes line for 90% of your drying saves an incredible amount of electricity. In the winter, install a retractable clothes line (or rack) for drying, it will save you electricity and it will put moisture in the air.
If you live in the country as I do, most people require a water softener for rust and/or lime problems. I try to find salt bags that have been broken and get a discount on them.
These are just a few of my ways of my frugal life. Enjoy!
By Kellyb from IN
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I have created an "Instruction Manual" for our family. I purchased a three-ring binder. The cover I created says, "The Smith's Instruction Manual".
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I have ten kids and six of them have problems. I feel like a bad mother, but what can I do? Can anyone help me? One of my 6 year old twin boys has behavior problems that are breaking the family up. No one wants to be around him; he turns everything in to a battle, making his bed, going to bed, going to school, and even cleaning up he toys.
His twin brother has learning problems that are hard to deal with. He has dyslexia and he is not learning anything and he is in a special class.
My 10 year old daughter has health problems and friend problems. She has autism. We found out she had it when she was 5 and ever since then it has been hard on her to try and make friends. We have had to put her in a special class at school we have also had to make appointments with speech people and special doctors. She is always getting pulled out of school for something.
Their 16 year sister is always on Facebook. She says she loves Facebook, but she is always getting teased on it, so I banned it. Now she uses her phone. One of the boys doesn't sleep and my 8 year old daughter still wets the bed. Does anyone have some advice for me?
By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW
It sounds like your 6 year old with behavior problems has ADHD. There are medications that will help him control his symptoms, but first he has to be diagnosed with ADHD. If you are against medicating your child, you could consider changing his diet.
Two of the biggest problems for kids with ADHD are sugar and food dyes, especially red dye, blue dye, and yellow dye. You could also consider giving him supplements containing EPA, DHA and B vitamins. The boy who doesn't sleep might also benefit from the same diet changes.
I'm not suggesting that you single these two children out and forbid them to have foods with sugar and dyes, I'm suggesting that you don't bring these foods into your house at all. Read the labels on the foods before you buy them, and if they contain sugar or dyes, put them back on the shelf.
Have you ever been to a party or night club where the music and noise was so loud you could barely stand it? That's how children with autism feel from the time they wake up in the morning, and this is why they can very easily become overwhelmed at school.
It is very common for children with autism to have trouble making friends, in fact that is one of the symptoms of the disorder, so try not to focus on that. My daughter found that eliminating milk from my grandson's diet helped a lot with some of his autism symptoms, and I have heard that eliminating milk can help with bed-wetting, also.
My daughter now buys almond milk or soy milk. She is also giving him a new natural supplement she found online, called N-met. It helps him focus & so far she is pleased with the results.
As for your 16 year old daughter, I've raised 4 girls and your daughter sounds pretty normal to me. Try to appreciate all of her good qualities and try not to dwell too much on the things that drive you crazy about her.
I don't think you are a bad Mother, you have just been too overwhelmed for too long. You need to find a way to take care of yourself first. There is an old saying that goes like this: "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." and it's true. Once you learn to take care of your own needs, and make yourself more relaxed and happy, it will benefit your family as well.