Friday, November 4, 2011

The Frugal Kitchen and Home

Sense of Home Kitchen

We have always tried to live a simple, frugal life.  Thinking before purchasing, never spending more than we have saved for an item, always conscious of turning off lights and keeping the heat low and so forth, but we have never been more aware of living frugally than we are now.  In May we made the decision together that I would quit my well-paying, full-time job; step out of the rat race and live a slower, simpler, more purposeful life.  Best decision we ever made.  The decision was made in May, I gave notice at work the end of June and my last day was August 31st. We did not rush into the decision, it was a life changing decision to make, I had been at that job for 20 years and the decision needed to be made carefully.  We wanted to pay off our car and we had drain tile to install and wanted to save to pay off that bill as soon as the work was done, so those were two large bills that were paid for with my summer checks.  We are completely debt free and well prepared mentally and physically to keep our expenses low and me working only part time.  I now work part time managing my parents health food store and will continue to do so until they sell their business.  

In order to keep our life simple and less stressful we must live frugally and not be side tracked by the many gadgets and pretty things there are to purchase or by thinking we need to be going and doing all the time.  We actually prefer time spent at home and a home cooked meal, some people may not, but we have come to appreciate a quieter, home-based lifestyle. We now have just basic TV and cell phones (no land line), saving ourselves about $75 each month.  These simple changes really add up, there is a mindset that we "need" these items, but they are not at all necessary and are really a distraction.  We are not only saving money, but time as well.  I started thinking about how we could cut our budget even more, so that more of our income could go into savings for when the unexpected occurs.  We are not foolish enough to think that unexpected repair or medical bills will not occur from time to time.  I made a list of things we do to keep expenses low and hope to expand this list as time goes on.  No doubt there are many things I have forgotten to add to this list, I always seem to think of things shortly after I have published a post, but here is a start and perhaps I will add to it as more are remembered.  I also hope that if you have a way of living frugally you will share it in the comments so that we can learn from each other.

A local grocery store was recently bought out and they marked all their goods down, so we stocked up on the items we use regularly and a few splurge items for the occasional indulgence, such as chocolate and that coke my husband likes.  We have one freezer full of summer fruits and vegetables and one full of the fall butchering meat, just as we did last autumn, so after I add a few more items to our pantry, our pantry and freezers will supply us with the majority of our grocery needs over the next year.  Not going to the grocery store so often saves money on impulse buys and gas, not to mention wasted time.  Now for that list.

The Frugal Kitchen and Home List

  • Buy ingredients, not prepared foods
  • Stock up during sales
  • Make dinner at home from scratch, not eating out or ordering in
  • Make simple homemade breakfast foods such as oatmeal, muesli, yogurt or granola 
  • Buy bulk, less packaging
  • Buy off brands
  • Live healthy and use home remedies to avoid Doctor visits
  • Preserve foods from the garden or farmers market
  • Make your own coffee or tea and take it in a well-insulated travel mug
  • Bring a sack lunch from home to work or while running errands
  • Use vinegar, baking soda, homemade cleaners and homemade deodorizers
  • Mend our clothes
  • Make homemade hand soap and antibacterial spray
  • Borrow books from the library rather than purchasing
  • Use hankies instead of tissues and cloth napkins instead of paper
  • Take care of possessions so they last longer
  • Dry clothes on the line as long as possible (it was below freezing when I hung them out this morning)
  • Buy second hand items
  • Trim bangs to lengthen time between haircuts
  • Use homemade dish cloths and scrubbers
  • Keep the thermostat at 62 now and 65 when it dips below zero outside this winter (and keep those wool socks handy)
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and unplug unnecessary appliances
  • A hankie and a pinkie rather than a Q-Tip (little things add up over time)
  • One part vinegar to one part water in a spritz bottle to clean eye glasses
  • Be generous (it will come back around when needed)

Sense of Home Kitchen / Homemade Living / A Homemade Life / Kitchen and Pantry