Tightening the budget belt has been on my mind lately. With the cost of gas continuing to go up as well as the cost of food and other items it is requiring an extra degree of thought to how the money is spent. One of the things I have been doing is instituting a “No Leftovers” policy. In the past if I had a few leftovers from a dinner I would not think to much of it. But now I have started to scale down how much food I make (especially with Leanne gone and Emily not always home for all meals) and make sure the kids eat what leftovers we have for lunch the next day… or I even serve them for dinner the next night if there are enough. I did this yesterday. I made Yummy Pinto Beans the day before and used 4 cups of dry beans (and a pound of hamburger added to the recipe) so it made a large pot of beans for us. We had enough for dinner last night too. I also will examine all leftovers that aren’t enough to serve a second time and see what new creation I can make from. Stir fry from leftover rice, chili over baked potatoes, goulash from a small amount of leftover spaghetti sauce, fried potato patties from leftover mashed potatoes, adding leftover pot roast to noodles or potatoes and adding a cream sauce to make a casserole. It is amazing how much I can save by thinking creatively with leftovers! I am also watching what I buy so it does not go to waste.. like too many tomatoes or fruit or whatever it may be. I am keeping my meals simple to make with a minimum amount of ingredients. So far my efforts have been noticeable on the budget! And I am still able to buy various organic products and still save.
The next area we looked at was how many cars we have on insurance policies that we don’t drive. My husband has a truck he only drives occasionally and we have a full size 12-passenger van we now only drive occasionally due to that $125 price tag at the gas pump fill up. So we talked with our insurance man and he said it was fine to put the cars on a comprehensive policy only as long as we are not driving them. IF we would want to drive them we just call the insurance company up and let them know we need the vehicle for the day and they adjust the policy for that day. The cost has been about $10 every 6 months for each vehicle.. which has been a huge savings. I have heard that not every insurance company will do this but I do know State Farm is one that will.
Driving with multiple purposes is also one way we are saving money. We live quite a ways from town so combining errands and shopping trips and not going into town more often than necessary is helping. Although things seem to come up some weeks that make this hard to do. So if I need to grocery shop I will also use that trip to go to the bank, the post office, combine the trip with appointments and so on. If Emily needs to go to the local college to take a CLEP test then afterwards we will grocery shop and I try and buy my gas at the lest expensive gas stations in the city when I am out rather than the more spendy ones that are closer to home.
In the home I am working harder at reusing as many things as possible like plastic zip bags or my bread bags. Also when I think I need something I stop and ask myself if there is something I already have that would work just as well. As an example a few weeks ago I made up a batch of homemade disinfectant cleaner and used some paper towels that my husband had sitting in the shop (he got them from cleaning out his dad’s house as normally I don’t buy paper towels). I needed a container to put them in but did not have one big enough to work. So instead I used a gallon size zip lock bag and have been reusing the bag since then. It works fine.
Another thing I already do to save us money is use cloth napkins. They are easy to make and I have a ton of them now. I purchased the fabric from Walmart on the $2 a yard table. I can get 50 napkins made for less than $3. I wash them once a week or so.
On the homestead:
Well my daughter’s trip to the west coast is almost over and I am happy to say I have had several opportunities to visit with her, Jonathan and my grandbaby Caden. We celebrated our holiday a few days early since Tobin had to work on the 4th. Here are a few pics of our time together…
Leanne sent us another letter.. I think she is feeling a bit homesick and that makes my mama heart sad for her. But I know this will be a wonderful experience when she looks back. She is a real homebody and I figured before she left she would have some difficult adjustments to make. So we continue to keep her in our prayers daily. We all are missing her so much. She has 6 weeks left to go and this week her team leaves for Egypt. I hope to have more pics from the Teen Missions website to post soon.
Hope you all are having a great holiday weekend on your homesteads!