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Saving One Step at a Time

At this time, my husband and I are down to one check. Since I am no longer working and I don't have any money coming in. We find ourselves looking at a long road until I am able to secure employment. Though we are able to handle most of our bills, we are just skating by. So I have been going over our finances and came up with some solutions to help us through this trying time. How to turn a nickel into dollar. This is going to be a series as to how we are going to back to some stability, one step at a time. I will start with food.

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  1. I am thankful for what we do have. I pray and thank God everyday. We could be in a worse situation, homeless, sick or living in a shelter. We still have electric, water and our is rent is paid. If that is not enough to thank God for, then what is.

  2. My husband is disabled. He qualifies for food stamps. We plan our meals and shop for the month. I also use coupons. I can print at home, using gray scale and print on the backs of scratch paper). I only print what we need and use. I have signed up for several coupon sites to stretch our food dollars. I also frequent the local food bank as we only get $125 in food stamps.

  3. We buy freezer bags from the dollar store and freeze a lot of the produce we receive from the food bank. Some of the fruits and vegetables are near expiration dates. Ripe fruits are put into freezer bags and used for smoothies, cakes, and pies, pancakes and waffles. Nothing goes to waste.

  4. We make a lot of soups, stews, salads, chili and spaghetti with a lot of the vegetables. Sunday starts a meal week. Breakfast is cooked everyday, but lunch and dinner is usually a two day affair. We usually cook dinner to last for two days or leftover for lunch the next day.

  5. We are cooking from scratch with some of the foods we receive. I have learned to make biscuits, crust, muffins, cakes. I will either watch YouTube or sign-out books from the library. My husband is the cook and I am the baker. He makes his own sauces whenever possible. At our local St. Vincent's DePaul, they had seeds for herbs, a penny per pack. I was able to get some pots for 10 cents. You can buy dirt at the dollar store.

  6. Since we still have a Sam's Club membership. we buy some of our items in bulk, like pancake mix, sugar, some spices, flour, oils. We also will buy a pork loin. My husband and I will cut it into chops and leave one end for a roast. We can usually get 9 packs of 4 chops each. Chicken(legs, thighs and split breast) is brought in bulk and separated as well. We brought canisters from the dollar store to help house and store the dry goods. They also will let you use your food stamp card, so this is helpful.

  7. I have signed up for several coupons sites like Ibotta, Walmart Saving Catcher, NCP, Key Ring, Coupon Mom, Krazy Coupon Lady, Red Laser. With so many points that can be traded for gift cards and other bonuses.

  8. Since we are eating less, we both have started an exercise program. When we exercise, we record our program in an app and it is connect to Walgreens Balance Rewards. You can earn points for your weight loss and enter fitness challenges to earn more points. Recording your calorie intake and meal preparation garners you extra points as well. The best bonus, you get to interact with others on the same path as you, trying to lose weight. Those points can be used to buy Walgreens merchandise.

  9. We brought new coconut and extra virgin olive oil 6 months ago and we still have a lot left (Sam's Club is the cheapest). I use old jars to house the olive oil and keep the coconut oil in the same container. I also use these items to condition my skin and hair. I will post that recipe in another post.

  10. We are learning how to eat one meatless meal per week. My favorite is tomato soup and grilled cheese. My husband loves broccoli soup with carrots.

  11. The food bank has loaves of bread to pass out. You can make bread crumbs and croutons. Even though I am the baker, my husband loves to make bread pudding.

While I know a lot of these ideas are not new, this is what is helping me and mine stay afloat. Next, bills.

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December 2, 20150 found this helpful

Good post. Goes to show you that you can live a healthy life style while being frugal.

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I try my best but it's hard cooking for one especially since I don't like to cooking.

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December 5, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks for your kind words. I know not wanting to cook. My husband and I had to downsize our cooking when our grandchildren moved to another state. We eat and freeze a lot of leftovers when we both do not feel like cooking or have late appointments.

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December 2, 20151 found this helpful

Georgie,

Times have changed. In today's economy, it's not easy for two or more to make it on one income. Having to live so close to the edge can take its toll on a person's mental well being. I understand. Other than that, I'd say you've got it made.

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"Nothing goes to waste."

It shouldn't. So, you're not part of the new, Buy, Waste, Throw Away Society. Good for you.

'We are cooking from scratch with some of the foods we receive. I have learned to make biscuits, crust, muffins, cakes."

Years ago, most all women did this every day. Now, you can feel like a strong, dependable person, rather than the newbies who can't make cornbread without opening a box of sugary cornbread mix.

" My husband is the cook and I am the baker."

Some women don't want a man in the kitcken. I'm inclined to think 'The couple who cook together, stay together'. I'll bet you two are still sweethearts.

"Since we are eating less, we both have started an exercise program."

Well, if you're not guiding a plow harnessed to a mule all day, as some women did a hundred years ago, you gotta do something. Great. You'll live longer.

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"We are learning how to eat one meatless meal per week."

You poor thang! Like most, you have been brainwashed into thinking it's normal to eat meat at every meal. It's not! Want to save more money and live longer, too?...Eat meat once a week. Human's craving for that much meat is not natural. It is learned.

Having to live close is hard, at least at times. I hope you find employment, soon....and with the added income, I hope you can still live as wisely as you are now.

You have my best wishes.

PS
Would love to have your husband's recipe for bread pudding. Maybe you can post it, someday. Good luck.

Doug

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December 5, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks Doug. We are living through some tough times, but when you have a husband who works with you, all things are possible.

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My husband is making a bread pudding in the next coming weeks. As soon as he starts, I will post. That treat will be for you. Again, thanks for responding.

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December 6, 20150 found this helpful

"We are learning how to eat one meatless meal per week." I spent YEARS trying to convince my mother that she doesn't need meat at every single meal. Finally, as she approached her late 70's she agreed. I got her down to meat once a day, then to 3 times a week. I think it is a generational thing, as my friends say their parents wouldn't think of not eating meat every day at every meal. So, going from meat 3 meals x 7 to meat at one meal/3 x week is an accomplishment.

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December 22, 20150 found this helpful

Well written response. I couldn't say it better myself.

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December 3, 20151 found this helpful

I noticed you buy pancake mix, make muffins, etc. I'd like to share a recipe for biscuit mix with you that I'd used for about 30 years now. It's exactly the same as Bisquick and works the same. Much cheaper than buying the stuff and lasts a long time. I usually whip it up in one of those great big Tupperware bowls if you have one. Maybe others will like it too.

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BISCUIT MIX

12 cups flour; 6 tbls baking powder; 3 tbsp salt; 4½ tbsp sugar; 1½ cups shortening. Sift flour, then measure it and sift again with the baking powder, salt and sugar. Sift the mixture twice. Add shortening, cut in (I just use my hand mixer - its quicker), place in covered container.

BAKING POWDER BISCUITS

2 cups biscuit mix;  cups milk. Bake 450 about 12 minutes.

RICH BISCUITS

2 cups biscuit mix; 1 egg; ½ cup milk. Beat the egg and add to the milk. Add liquid to mix, stir until thoroughly blended. Roll and cut. Bake 450 about 12 minutes.

GRIDDLE CAKES

2 cups biscuit mix; 2 eggs; 1  cups milk. Beat eggs well and add to milk. Add to dry ingredients, beat until thoroughly mixed.

MUFFINS

2 cups biscuit mix; 3 tbsp sugar; 1 egg; 1 cup milk. Beat eggs slightly, add milk, then sugar, then combine with biscuit mixture, mixing until liquid ingredients are just blended into dry. Half fill greased muffin tins and bake 400 for about 20 minutes.

CINNAMON BUNS

To make cinnamon buns, use the rich biscuit mixture. Roll dough to  inch thickness, spread with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up as for jelly roll. This roll can be wrapped in wax paper and stored in refrigerator for several hours. Cut when ready to bake in 1 inch slices. Bake 450 for 12 minutes.

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December 5, 20150 found this helpful

Thank you. I love your ideas. I will have to post some of my homemade biscuits. I recently found a brand new dough cutter at the thrift shop and I have biscuit cutter I found at Bed Bath and Beyond for $3.00

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December 9, 20150 found this helpful

Georgie

I don't want to get far from your story, and I'm waiting for the next chapter. But, since we're on the subject, here's a tip for you. The best biscuits are made with buttermilk, but that's not my tip. Since you bought biscuit cutters, maybe you can find another use for them. I say that because, if your dough is stiff enough to allow you to use a cutter, it's probably too stiff for good biscuits. Keep your dough almost wet and form your biscuits very delicately in your floured hands. Here is a picture of biscuits I made. I posted this picture on ThriftyFun. I formed them with my hands.

Doug

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December 10, 20150 found this helpful

The biscuit cutter helps them rise higher. This is necessary in my altitude.
The trick is to make a very wet dough, then cover with flour at the last minute. Fold the soft dough about four times to get layers. Pat gently on the board and cut. Gently pat scraps together and cut.

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December 10, 20150 found this helpful

This was supposed to go under Saving One Step at a Time, the comment about not using a biscuit cutter.

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December 10, 20150 found this helpful

I can get my biscuits quite high without a cutter. It's just that here in the South, most prefer a biscuit without a lot of 'innards'. We prefer more soft crust. We do agree on wet dough. The stiffer the dough, the drier the biscuit.

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December 11, 20150 found this helpful

Yes, the dough must be wet and soft. When I lived in the south, drop biscuits rose fine. Now I live at 8500 feet and nothing wants to rise. The tricks I have to resort to are not even funny sometimes.

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December 13, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks for the tip. As soon as I make some biscuits, I will post them. Your looks beautiful

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December 13, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks for your tip. Will be trying this tip very soon.

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December 13, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks. How do you get them to rise high without the cutter.

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Anonymous
January 25, 20160 found this helpful

I use a glass to cut my biscuits because I have downsized from a 4 bedroom home (1,600 sq ft) to a 2 bedroom (888 sq ft) condo. Nothing extra to store and works just fine.

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December 6, 20151 found this helpful

Thanks, Georgetta, for the inspiring tips. I look forward to hearing the rest of your story as you write more posts. Also, thanks to Linda for these recipes using homemade biscuit mix. My husband cooks 5 nights a week and I cook two nights. He likes cooking and doesn't mind. He also does the grocery shopping. I'm not really into cooking, but I give him a break. Each person uses his/her strengths to keep the household going.

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December 8, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks. I will be trying the biscuit mix. I have just purchased butter and flour on sale. I will try and post my creations. Maybe I can see some of your creations.

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December 6, 20150 found this helpful

One of our favorite things to make with old bread is French toast. I also make homemade stuffing and you can find lots of homemade "shake and bake" recipes on the internet; I usually make a few batches and store them in old jars in my cupboard, so I have them when I need them. For meatless meals, try spaghetti with red sauce, homemade macaroni and cheese, homemade pizza, sweet potato pancakes, veggie chili, peanut butter with honey sandwiches (you can add sliced banana and raisins), omelets or quiches. We do eat meat, but have cut way down on our portions.

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January 24, 20160 found this helpful

Congratulations to you for your discovery of a frugal life. My husband and I were remarking this morning that when you have more money than you need, you pay no attention to your waste. When you are living on the edge (as are we), you find many ways you can spend less money than you had before. It's very eye-opening. We also than God daily for giving us what we have.

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