by Tawra Kellam
My husband and I paid off $20,000 in debt and medical bills in five years on $22,000 per year averaged income, and I am disabled with Fibromyalgia and ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Here are some of the ways we lived frugally and made it work:
#1 Keep meals simple.
Try any of these simple meals:
-Chicken, with a bottle of hot and sour sauce dumped over the top and served with rice.
-Taco salad made with bagged lettuce, hamburger browned with taco seasoning, sour cream, salsa and olives.
-Baked chicken with freezer rolls and sliced cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and ranch dressing.
Most of our meals take under 20 minutes to prepare. Write down 10 quick meals that are family favorites. Keep the “quick favorites” list in a specific spot and always keep the ingredients for these favorite meals on hand. Then, when you are sick and can’t spend a lot of time cooking, you can make something quick and easy.
Also, make as much of dinner as you can when you are feeling your best. Then if you aren’t feeling well come dinner time it will be almost all done and you won’t be tempted to send for take out.
#2 Get the kids to help with daily cleanup.
Kids can help pick up most of the house with proper direction. Mine are 10, 9, and 5 and have been helping since they were 3. I ask each of them to pick up toys. Then I ask each of them to pick up four more things. Later, I might ask them to empty all the trash cans and the dishwasher. Let the kids help as much as possible. Mine spend about 10 minutes a day helping and it makes a world of difference!
#3 Use paper plates.
They are cheap, come from a renewable resource and can be composted – use them! They cost about one cent each, so spending five cents for our family of five is way cheaper than the $40 take out!
#4 Give each person his own color of drinking glass.
This way, you can prevent family members from getting confused about whose glass is whose and constantly getting out new glasses.
#5 Try to do at least one load of laundry a day.
That way you won’t get overwhelmed or behind.
#6 Let non-critical things go!
Ignore the dust, the dirty windows, and other things like that. If you are lying sick on the couch where you look right out a dirty window, then ask your kids or hubby to clean it, but otherwise forget it until later!
By doing just these few things, you can keep yourself from going insane and save some money, even when your sick.
Susan from Texas asks: “As a single mother of two grown daughters, scratching and clawing my way out of substantial credit card and other debt, please give me some ideas about dealing with daughters’ emergencies, specifically health issues, not life-threatening but urgent never the less. My daughters work full time and dabble in college. Both have health insurance but the one who needed assistance (I volunteered) did not think that it was in effect at the time of the incident. I was going to have the cost of the dental problem put on a credit card but her Dad intervened and paid for it so I was off the hook.”
I think the bigger question here is one that I have dealt with for many years and that is, living very sparingly, never having enough to cover unexpected expenses and then putting those unexpected and sometimes living above my means expenses on credit. Now that I live alone I am trying to remedy that as quickly as possible. Guilt as a single parent ends up being very expensive.
Tawra: You said “Guilt as a single parent ends up being very expensive.” I would say that sounds like it right there to me.
You don’t need to worry about your daughter’s expenses. I understand being a parent you want to help out but if they are working adults it’s not your responsibility. They need to be responsible with their money and save back money each month to cover what their insurance won’t . If that means cutting the cell phone, eating out or whatever then that’s their responsibility to do it. If you are paying for your own stuff then start living below your means ASAP and try and get that debt paid off.
It’s not always easy or fun but it sounds like you need to worry about your expenses and not theirs right now.
I’m not saying to be unreasonable. If they get $50,000 in medical expenses and need to live with you or whatever to pay it off, of course help them out if you can. But if it’s minor stuff then let them take care of it.
Susan: Thanks so much. Sometimes we answer our own problems when we put pen to paper and it jumps right back at us! I will always be there for my kids; however, I want them to grow up and become accountable and learn from their mistakes and life, etc.
It’s almost that time of year again. You’re standing, dumbfounded, in front of a mound of hard boiled eggs, sliced ham and chocolate Easter bunnies. You wonder “what am I going to do with 6 dozen eggs, 6 lbs. of ham and 25 chocolate bunnies”. The stress of it is almost enough to send you to bed for a week–or at least tear most of your hair out. Here are a few ideas and recipes from Living On A Dime to help you avoid both of those.
*Leftover Bunnies*: Take a rolling pin to them and crush the life out of them. Then use the crumbs to sprinkle on ice cream, use in milk shakes, stir a few in a mug of hot chocolate, use in place of chocolate chips for making cookies or melt for dipping fruit and candy.
*Leftover Ham:* Save bone for bean or split pea soup. Make ham salad, chef salad or ham sandwiches. Chop and freeze to use in: potato salad, scrambled eggs, omelets, to top baked potatoes, for potato soup, scalloped potatoes, au gratin potatoes, pasties or pizza- with pineapple.
Top tortilla with ham, salsa, and cheddar cheese and warm, for hot ham and cheese sandwiches.
* Leftover Eggs:* Make potato salad, tuna salad, pasta salad, chef salad, spinach salad with eggs and bacon, deviled eggs, golden morning sunshine or fill tomatoes with egg salad.
*Golden Morning Sunshine*
2 cups white sauce
4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
Make white sauce. Once the white sauce has thickened, add eggs. Serve on toast.
¼ cup dry milk
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup cold water
1 Tbsp. margarine
In a covered jar, combine dry milk, flour and salt and mix well. Add water. Shake until all the ingredients are dissolved. Melt margarine in a 1 quart sauce pan. Stir in flour-milk mixture and cook over low heat until mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Keep stirring until thickened completely.
by Tawra Kellam
It’s that time of year. You found a really good deal on oranges but you purchased a few more than you can eat. Now what do you do with them. Here are a few suggestions from www.LivingOnADime.com to get you started.
1. Make juice out of the oranges and then use the peels for Candied Orange Peels.
2. Use the leftover syrup from Candied Orange Peels on pancakes or French Toast. The syrup can also be used to make popsicles.
3. Wash peels thoroughly. Grate the peel before using and freeze the zest for later use.
4. Cut up orange segments and use as a garnish for salads. Use in fruit salad or sliced as a side dish.
5. Cut up slices and use a garnish for meat or relish dishes.
6. Cut up peels. In a saucepan add peels, 1 cinnamon stick, a few cloves and fill to the top with water. Simmer for a nice potpourri or dry peels and use in dry potpourri.
*Easy Orange Marmalade*
1 Tbsp. water
½ cup sugar
Cut the un-peeled orange and place into a blender or food processor with the water. Pour mixture into a saucepan with the sugar and boil for 15 minutes.
*If a non-organic orange is used wash peels throughly before peeling.
*Candied Orange Peel*
Peels from 3 large oranges, grapefruits or lemons*
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
Cut the peel on each fruit into quarters. Pull the peel off in these quarter sections. Slice peel into ¼ inch-wide strips. In a saucepan add salt and cover with cold water. Boil 15 minutes, pour off water and add fresh water. Boil 20 minutes. Change water again and boil another 20 minutes. Drain and cover with 2 ½ cups sugar and 1 cup water. Simmer, stirring constantly, until all the syrup has boiled away. Do not let the peels scorch. Spread on wax paper. Roll peels in remaining sugar. Let dry. Store in an airtight container. Keeps one week or can be frozen.
*If non-organic fruit is used wash peels throughly before peeling.
submitted by Moms like You
If it’s Good Enough for Cleopatra
Add milk to your bathwater. I like to use Sea Salts or Bath Therapy and then add about a cup of milk to my bathwater. It feels wonderful. If it’s good enough for Cleopatra, then it’s good enough for me! – Nicole Dean
Make your own Sugar Scrub
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup vegetable oil such as sunflower or something like that
1 tbsp honey
essential oils such as rosemary, mint or grapefruit
Use about one tablespoon, Especially good on rough dishpan hands, elbows, and feet.
Benefits of Lavender
Lavender has been widely known to aid in calming nerves and tension as well as aiding in the relief of headache and migraines while easing your drift off to sleep. Enjoy a lavender scented eye pillow with the lights low to ease your headache away, the scent soothes your mind and body. – Christina Lunceford