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This is Why! part 6

Previous entries can be found HERE . Thus far we’ve talked about how I use leftovers to help stock my pantry, how I shop to fill my...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Weekend Assignment: 11/3/2016

Blogging this week has been hit and miss and a couple of our regular features didn't get done ... I promise to try to do better next week.

That being said, let's close out this week with a weekend assignment shall we...

It's a 'thinking' assignment ...

If you had to cut $400 worth of expenses from your budget, what would you cut?  Please take this seriously and be realistic ... I'm looking for ideas ...

... and who knows, this assignment just might be good practice for the future for some of you as well ...

Thanks!

Patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Have you read this series, This is Why! and this free e-book, Yes, You Can Have a Well-Stocked Pantry?  And don’t forget to check out the ‘Free Downloads’ page.  You’ll find some helpful pantry building stuff available for free!

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A Working Pantry is more than just about food! It's about household items needed to keep my home running smoothly readily available when needed.  It's about keeping a gift trunk so that I'm ready for any gift giving occasion.  It's about a lifestyle.  It's about keeping my home and looking well to the ways of my household and it's about doing it all as frugally as possible.  I hope you enjoy what you read here.


50 comments:

  1. Use the electricity less...turn off lights during the day, less gadgets plugged in, unplug items not in use all the time, use the clothesline instead of dryer on pretty days. Watch every item that goes into the grocery cart ~ cut out the frills...for me that would be the diet drinks! Cook from scratch instead of convenience foods. But some convenience foods are cheaper than drive thru dinners. Don't eat out or if you do, go on discounted days or use coupons. Take advantage of the senior discounts ~ every place has a different age qualification, but I fit into it on some of them! Barter with friends ~ if someone has an excess of green beans, trade them some homemade jelly. Instead of hosting big family get togethers, host a potluck. Don't set the heat to toasty, use blankets and quilts, if possible. Don't window shop, it usually ends up costing money! (I am so guilty of this), same with wandering around craft stores or garage sales. I do much better when I have a specific item I am looking for. Use cash ~ its harder to spend. Credit is easy and doesn't hurt at the time. Look for more natural ways to handle everyday stresses and irritations (like essential oils). Donna

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    1. Donna, those are some good ideas, most of which I already do. I'm going to add all of them to the list I am compiling! Thank you!

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  2. For thoughts on how to cut $400, I did an worksheet listing our annual expenses, split into probably 40 categories. Then I split that group into must haves and optional. That gave me a sense of what I could give up immediately if I had to....for example, both my husband and I are retired, we could go from two vehicles to just one. So this first pass would be the scorched earth scenario. Then I did another pass at the must have category and worked to see how I could reduce those items.

    Our budget for this year was a mix of must haves plus we were able to add back some of the optionals items.

    Hope this helps. I have found that when I had to find really large amounts of money like $400, I had to do a "scorched earth" view and then add things back. If I tried to trim a small amount from everything, it didn't add to enough.

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    1. Hilogene, I like the idea of identifying the must have's and the optionals. Knowing what is really 'bare bones' would be most helpful!

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  3. That is a tough question, Patsi! Right now, we enjoy cable, so I guess that would be the first thing to go. I would say cell phone next, except that my husband has to have a phone for work and be able to be reached (and reach clients) no matter where he is. After that I would look at my food budget. We are currently able to enjoy meat dishes most everyday of the week. If it came down to it, we would significantly change our eating habits. I don't know if any of this is helpful, but it is where I would start for myself. *hugs*

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    1. Jenn, we don't have cable or satellite and my husband must have cell phone and internet for his job so those two things have to stay. Like you, our food budget is where we are looking to make the biggest cuts ... thank goodness we have a well-stocked pantry and have the knowledge and willingness to work to keep it that way ... even in difficult financial times.

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  4. I am going to be following this post. I am hoping to be able to retire next year and if I do, I will have my income cut about $1,600 a month or by 3/4ths. This includes an insurance supplement based on what my husband is paying this year for his supplement. It could be more next year. I have been thinking a lot about this. Fortunately we paid our mortgage off before my husband retired two years ago. I have a stressful job and when I get home, I am tired so we eat out once a week and I use my dryer more than I should. Things like that I know will save money along with the amount I spend on gas going back and forth to work. But it is the nitty gritty things I am starting a list for and will try to start doing some of those now to help save money for when I do retire. Thanks for this topic Patsy. Paula in Kansas.

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    1. Paula, you are so wise to start preparing now for your retirement. Enough of those little nitty gritty things can really add up to substantial savings ... that's the area we need to focus on.

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  5. Patsy, we just couldn't afford a bill like yours - $2000/month!! That is more than we have to start with!! We would have had to capitulate way back!! Really, it is terrible to witness the fall of a great nation, and it would be so much easier for our nations to return to the Rock who made us, and make amends for our iniquity, learning again the life giving ways of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    As you ask, I am considering the concept of cutting $400, presumably per month. I could think of a few more immediate things, like fixing and selling the backup car; cutting internet usage; and going out (which involves travel) once a fortnight instead of weekly. We are aiming for our own laying hens, and wheat (which can be very satisfying as fresh pasta, simple baking and breads). These would both save significant amounts. Since Australia is much drier than the US, gardens can be quite unreliable so, if stuck enough, it would be wise to get small dairy animals (& even a dairy cow) and bees, as scriptures describe. One can be sustained by these.

    We already live fairly simply, and might be able to give you some examples of savings. We live off rain water, generate our own electricity, and also use a wood fire, bottled gas and a homemade oil lamp for light at night (along with an ipad!) We don't know what clothes dryers, dishwashers, microwaves and such are! We rarely watch television, and have given up on radio. We can use the car radio if we need to. I make a simple laundry liquid from basic soap and washing soda. This is also my shampoo and a cleaner. It is lovely! Straight washing soda is used effectively for dishes, and tough cleaning ('though it does leave streaks). This can go on the ground in recycled water. Light oil on damp hair is my conditioner for difficult to manage hair. I don't buy dish scrubbing cloths. Printer ink is refilled. My husband fixes most things, and I am learning! I am learning to use what is already growing, and surplus from my parents. I preserve acidic foods (hot packed) in a water bath using recycled supermarket jars. I am currently avoiding op shops! I am now working to make things for various aspects of the pantry out of lemons. We obtain free cardboard boxes and old newspapers. Once used, they are burnt, and give good heat!! We like to do slow cooking of meat in cast iron, until the meat falls off the bone. I have a backup ecobilly for heating water with leaves and sticks. I like to knit socks by lamplight. ..... That kind of thing! What keeps me going is the Song of Moses and the life giving ways of His law!!

    If you would like to talk more, I can be contacted via Annabel!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Rachel, you've given several ideas that I will look at more closely. I love your sweet godly spirit, thank you for sharing.

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  6. I have often thought that I might become an overnight care provider. For a child/children of parents on third shift. They need to be read to and put to bed with a comforting routine, tended to during the night as needed, and then washed/dressed and fed a good homemade breakfast before going off to their own day. I don't know if there is a need for this sort of child care for working parents in your area,but there is in mine.

    You could even offer a "Friday Sleepover" package for parents who want a 1-night getaway (or have their home to themselves) on a Friday night and maybe sleep in a bit on Saturday morning. So many parents don't have their families nearby, and would leap at a chance to have just one night to themselves.

    Sue

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    1. Sue, we live in a very rural area where there is not a need for that kind of service but for those who live in a more populated area, that's an idea to explore.

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  7. Thank you for the weekend assignment. I think it will challenge me to look for ways we can spend less and use what we have to a greater degree. I'm going to spend some time on this and hopefully report back with something. You're a blessing and thank you for the challenge. Tracy

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    1. Tracy, I hope you will share your ideas. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement!

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  8. I dont need anything so I am giving up second handing as it has become entertainment. I have what I hope is a well stocked pantry and freezer so I am going to reduce my grocery shopping and start using what I have. Next year's garden will be expanded. Wearing scarves around my neck more..two pair of socks when needed and a sleeping hat for warmth as heater is turned low. Pray a little more and be thankful for all He has given me.

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  9. Hi Patsy - I have been reading and learning from your blog for a little while now, although I've never commented before. I am so sorry to hear you are going through this, and will be thinking hard about this assignment.

    Off the top of my head though, I can tell you that if I had to cut that much from my monthly budget, there would really only be two areas I could realistically trim to that extent, and that is the energy bills and the grocery budget. For the former, we have a smart meter that shows us how much gas and electricity we use at any given time, and that has taught us that the "energy vampires" are appliances that heat up very quickly, whereas things like tv, led light bulbs, computer, use hardly any at all. So things like hairdryer, electric plug in kettle, electric shower, the oven, would not be used at all, or as little as possible. I would also pull out my thermal cooking bag and use it as much as possible - if you are not familiar with the concept, it's an insulated bag that snugly fits around one of my saucepans with a tightly fitting lid. I can start off cooking a meal on the stovetop, bring it to boil, then take it off and put it into the thermal bag for a few hours. It works like a crockpot, but uses zero electricity.

    I would also stop using the central heating as much as possible, and use the wood burning stove we are lucky enough to have. If that wasn't an option, then it would be sweaters, blankets and hot water bottles all the way!

    As for groceries, I'd cost all our usual meals and snacks I make, and if the cost was over a certain threshold, it would be off the rotation. I would also try to grow even more fruit and veg, and would make an effort to forage more.

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    1. Allegra, that's interesting about the smart meter and things that heat up quickly. I'm definitely going to use that bit of information to help cut our power bill. Thank you for sharing such good ideas!

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  10. Patsy, Instead of cutting 400.00 could you add money from somewhere? I know you mentioned coke codes and other sites that give gift card incentives. How about selling something on craigs list or ebay?( Ebay has fees) But, maybe you have an old doll collection that you've been meaning to sell; or honey from your bees? Even if you don't have a lot to sell, it would give you a bit of breathing room.

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    1. momsav, this is something we need to take a look at, thanks for the suggestion!

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  11. Patsy,
    This is a hard one, I will put my thinking cap on :) We do not have $400 to cut. My grandma used to say if there is a will there is a way. She taught in a one room school
    away from the family farm during the year so she did not lose the farm. She picked up kids in the buckboard and heated bricks on the wood burning stove wrapped in paper or burlap to keep their feet warm. I believe God will find a way where there seems to be no way. Okay so you are already frugal. The second car would go that would save $50 in insurance and $20 in fuel. Then electric I do not have a wood burning stove but I could bundle up we only use heat in the bathroom when we shower. My Grandma had a wood burning stove that also had a tank to heat water for baths. I could turn water down or off and/or get a tankless water heater.I also see plans for solar water heaters on Pinterest I am not sure if they work. I love the idea oil
    lamps candel light. I am night owl so going to bed earlier would need to happen for
    me. What about a solar oven I saw plans on You Tube. Do you have enough sun? My daughters friend has a solar charger for her phone. So I guess it would be groceries for me. More bulk buying,less meat,less fresh fruit and veggies. Less using oil my mom used to render fat for cooking and soap. She also made and sold soap. We were close to the ocean so we we went,clamming,fishing,dropped nets off the pier for crabs. She raised her own pork and and went hunting during deer season and made miles of sausage and venison jerky. I wish I had learned to do that. She also raised
    rabbits for meat. I could Not do this. She had chickens for eggs and a goat for milk.
    My sister thought school milk tasted funny. She made and sold goat cheese.She also sold the jerky. She had a frig and freezers on the porch it was the honor system. One man would bring gallon glass jars of cows milk(with the cream on top) and trade for bread and eggs.(My Mom made the best bread and cinnamon rolls in the whole world, They were very rural at least an hour out of town but they kind of made a little co-op She sold the rabbit droppings to a worm farmer this was in California. She helped with an elderly woman when she needed extra cash. She also did sewing on the side like tailoring.She also made and sold cakes like you. She even learned to make wedding cakes.One woman out there taught a pine needle basket weaving class. She charged for this and women and home schoolers would come out for the lessons. She had a party line for a phone that was fun. Only talk about what you want everyone to know on a party line. I learned to use
    a ringer washer I would not want to do that again.
    would get truck loads of bread to feed the livestock. Some was still good for people
    sometimes.We thought it was a treat back then. Could you teach some skills like canning in exchange for money or some other service? I will think over the weekend
    Maybe God will bring something to mind.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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    1. I loved reading your story, Patti! The bigger the challenge, the more basic we really need to go, I think!
      With very warm regards,
      Rachel Holt

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    2. Thank you Rachel. Bless you far all your encouragement. I remember this with fond memories. I agree the bigger the challenge the more basic one needs to be.
      Blessings,
      Patti

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  12. Patsy, I thought long and hard about your question. Although I'm sure I could find ways for us to cut spending, I don't think they would be of help to you. I think most of them you do already!

    I do have a suggestion of a way you may be able to make some extra money that you might be interested in. Have you ever thought about teaching classes on some of your thrifty skills? Perhaps there are people in your church who may appreciate a class in how to can their own food. Maybe some of the children would like to take a class on basic cooking and baking. Are there families that would appreciate a class on ways to shop wisely and build their pantry? Would some of them like to learn a craft that you are good at (basic sewing, basic quilting, crocheting, embroidery, etc.)? How about a class on basic gardening in the spring? Perhaps you could set up 1 or 2 simple classes to try it out and progress to a series of classes over a period of time for more complex skills if there is enough interest. You will need a space to teach the class, what you want to teach, what supplies will be included in the class, what the students should bring with them and what fees you need to charge to covers those costs plus make some money for your time and efforts.

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    1. Hmmm ... that's an idea Rhonda. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  13. Seems like all our bills are going up in January. We've been getting notices in the mail. I can't do without my prescription drug plan at 15.30 a month since in 12 months my drug costs come to over 12,000.00 and I end up paying only the monthly premium and minimum co-pays.

    We have been living off our pantry for almost 6 months with very little bought. It's getting pretty tight right now and I'm feeling the need to stock up so praying God will help us with extra to put by.

    We have one little dog who is 17 years old and close to not being here anymore. We have decided to not get another dog/pet as it is a cost for meds. , shots, tags, vet visits, food, etc... We love him but he'll be our last pet. Where we live we can't have chickens or large food producing animals but after a successful small garden this year we will be planning a much larger one this spring. I have saved seeds and we also have two rhubarb plants that supply us with lots of rhubarb so now will probably expand into some berries. Have a neighbor who's two peach trees hang over our fence and he said to take all we want. I have become the queen of searching out free things to do and free giveaways. This week I got a $10 gift card to a very reasonable restaurant (one of us will go and eat there for free) by donating two bags of items to Salvation Army. Tomorrow I am going to the grand opening of Petco right near our house. The first 100 people get a $10 gift card. I use all the rewards programs at stores and get many freebies from them. Shop only sales,use coupons and stack deals whenever possible to save the most. I save 75-100% on all groceries and believe me there is no junk food unless it's 100% free. Which I save back for special times.

    I have and have read all the money saving books and am starting to re-read them. Love Mennonite and Amish cooking as it's good ingredients. I cook extra and put up in the freezer. I never turn down anything that someone is giving away. If I can't find a use for it usually someone else can.

    We live a very simple life and believe God is there for us. Especially now that times are hard. Take care.

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    1. Crystal, we can't do without our prescription drug plan either nor the rest of the insurance coverage. You are doing good to have been able to live off of your pantry for 6 months and I love your mindset. You go girl!

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  14. We finally ditched our phone service thru the cable company and went with OOMA. Found a deal on the box at Best Buy for less than $90. Once you purchase the box you only pay taxes each month, for us it's @ $4. If you choose to keep your phone number, the cost to port is $40, but free if you choose the premium service which averages @10 per month, although it's paid up front annually. So there are some up front costs, but substantial monthly savings as a result.

    For cell service, you might want to look into Page Plus cellular if you use Verizon currently. This VMNO uses Verizon towers and has a number of inexpensive plans. You can also bring your own phone as long as it's a Verizon compatible phone (not prepaid). Easy to find cheap phones on ebay. There's an option of 2000 minutes for $80/year. The minutes can be purchased from an online vender, and PagePlus online chat is very good with helping with implementation. The great thing about this option is that the renewal is annual, and if you renew before the year is up the minutes roll over. I figure that we are spending less than $7/month for cell service thru PagePlus.

    We too found out that our insurance increases will be in the $400 per month range for our PPO plan and the deductible will increase to $4500 per person if we stay with our current company. I know that insurance is different in each state, but I learned that in our state the exchange does not list all available options. I researched until I found every company that underwrites in our state and started calling for quotes. Turns out that if we change to Blue Cross the increase will be only $160 per month with a lower deductible.

    I hope that you will find a way to make this work and wish you the best. Feel free to email me if you want any more details. Good luck!

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    1. Diane, I'm not familiar with OOMA, I need to do some research on that as you're the second person that as mentioned it to me. According to what we've been told we only have one insurance carrier in our state's exchange. Glad you found another option in yours.

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  15. That is a lot of money to cut. I have a friend who is on partial disability. She pet sits from her home. She keeps the dog with her in the house just like it's her own pet. She charges $10 a day. Keeping one dog for a week would get you $70. There is a big demand for pet sitters around here. Something to think about.

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    1. Hmmm ... can't do pets because of allergies. That's a good suggestion that others might be able to use though! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Could you get a book published or write for a magazine? You have lots of content from your blog.

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    1. I have written for magazines in the past ... maybe I'll give that a try again. Thank you for the suggestions!

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  17. Patsy this is quite a tough assignment.
    Our second car would have to go. We live in town so the pushbikes would have to be used more for the little shopping trips rather than as an enjoyable way to get to the beach. We do live in a coastal town. There is a public bus service so perhaps using this would also help keep the cost of travel down.
    I already catch my own fish or trade with a neighbour. I take up his trousers and boiler suits in exchange for fresh fish. I trade excess veges with another neighbour for eggs. We currently supplement our fruit with fruit from the local markets. Perhaps I would just use the fruit that we have growing and find another way to trade for other varieties.
    We purchase our meat from a friends son. He grows and butchers his own animals. This does take some planning as we have to buy half a sheep which arrives as a half sheep carcass. Cutting up and portioning is up to us. We spend half of what it would cost to buy the same amount of meat at the supermarket.
    We don't have air con just ceiling fans. Rather than leaving these on in the living and dining area just have the fan on over us. I don't have a dryer or dishwasher. Our climate is such that a dryer is unnecessary.
    This requires a spend before you get a saving. We are currently investigating going off grid and just having solar panels and batteries. This would also mean changing our electric hot water service, which is coming to the end of its life, over to gas. Gas? Why not solar? For the best sun our panels would have to go on the roof of the shed, not on the house so gas is best for the house. This would also lead to the electric oven being changed over to gas. To see a saving would mean waiting for some time.
    Investigating your various service providers and seeing if you can get a better deal. Our daughter did this recently with her phone. She has saved an extra $50/month just in this area alone.
    Making sure that no water goes down the drain without having been used first. All warm up shower water to go into a bucket and to be used on the garden or in the next wash in the washing machine. Water emptied out of kettles or water bottles to be used in the watering can or for small cleaning jobs. Turning off taps properly and general plumbing maintenance to make sure taps are not dripping.
    Making your own soap, laundry powder, body wash, shampoo, cleaners, moisturisers, baby creams. This saves hundreds over the year. Making your own cleaning cloths out of old shirts or using cotton yarn. An icky one but if you have no choice, making women's reusable cloths/pads, reusable cloths to replace toilet paper, homemade reusable wipes for babies, cloth nappies. I was amazed at how much we spent on toilet paper a year. No we haven't gone over to reusable cloths full time. After one cyclone we had no choice. It worked for us then(many years ago).
    I've already found a few ideas here in the comments. Will be keeping an eye on other ways to save. Our income has been drastically reduced, due to hubby's medical emergency and my needing to be with him rather than working. We are living on his part pension and we are managing.

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    1. Jane, thank you for sharing your many ways of saving. I shall look closely at them to see which ones are applicable to our situation. I have been following your husbands medical emergency and praying along with many others (on Annabel's blog). Thank you for commenting and I look forward to you sharing more of your wisdom.

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  18. Dear Patsy,
    In our current circumstances if we needed to find a lot more per monthI think it would be my car that would go. That is in our circumstances though and I could in fact walk to the stores etc.
    One thing I am not sure of is how much land you have. I think you have a bit as your garden looks really big. I need to ask you about that.
    As a follow on from my blog about this subject last week on Monday I am posting a list of ideas that might be a bit different to the usual saving money ideas we think of and that is needed as really most of us already do those things!
    In my mind things are easier divided up into more manageable portions. So for $400 a month I would break it down to $100 a week. Then I would think of dividing that into making an extra $50 a week and saving an extra $50 a week.
    Then I feel better about it!
    I think it was a very good idea that you put a donation button on your blog as you provide a service and a lot of work goes into it. So one way to bring in more income could be simply to grow your readership. Given the current economic conditions and these prices rises affecting ???? million people then many folks are going to be looking for ways to save and a blog like yours will be sought after, people just need to find it.
    I would speculate that lots of people might type into Google "how to live on less" "how to find $400 more a month" etc. as they try to figure out what to do. Do entitle blog posts this way so it is you who comes up in some of those searches.... Also we should get our heads together about this as if you could get 100 new readers a week then through donations, use of affiliate links etc that could increase your income right there.
    I think things that help others save money will be the way to make extra money. I have the idea that old time skills are going to become very valuable and teaching those skills will be sought after... so there could be something in that.
    I hope that you can have a good weekend as I can see you have been really stressed and all on top of the hurricane and its aftermath. Lets see what happens next and pray pray pray. With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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    1. Annabel, I'm really liking how you broke things down into how much you would need to save and earn each week ... it is helpful to think in those terms. I hadn't thought about titling blog posts as a way to grow my blog's readership ... that's another good tip. You've given me some things to think about ... thank you!

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  19. We budget $50 a month for eating out so that would be gone. If I cut cable that would save $70 a month. I buy a box of dog bones every month that's $3 ( I can make them cheaper). Netflix is $8 a month. All paper products $15 a month. I would call my car insurance and see if I could cut a little there maybe with a higher deductible. Call all utilities and see if they could be lowered even just $5.
    I already let friends and family know that I take all food. So many people throw away pumpkins and squash that they used for decorations. I'll take them. I get so much that way. I do lots of church and school events. I'm always asked if I want leftovers of anything before it gets thrown away. Some people look at me funny but who cares. I take it all. A friend's mom was moving into a living facility. I went to help my friend clean her apartment out. She didn't want any of the food that was open. I took it all. My uncle passed away. My parents live out of state. They came down for a weekend to clean out his apartment. We went to help. My mom didn't want the food. My sister and I took all of it. Nothing was wrong with it. My husband's job gets bagels every Friday. They throw out what ever is left out at the end of the day. My husband let them know he will take them. Sometimes its one bagel, sometimes its a dozen.Sometimes you have to do some work for free food but I don't mind.
    I would work harder on all the ways to get free gift cards. Surveys, Kelloggs, Coke codes those kinds of things. I just won a $200 gift card through my daughter's orthodontist. They did a summer selfie contest. They were giving out 4 prizes. We won the grand prize. 8 people entered so they ended up giving everyone a prize. So easy to enter. I always do contests when I see them. We win things pretty often. Usually a smaller prize but that's ok. We will take it. I give them out as birthday and Christmas presents. That's another area I would cut. If I don't have the money I would do all homemade gifts. We do some already.
    I house sit and pet sit for friends and family when they go away. I won't take money from them but I'm happy to eat any food that will go bad while they are away. I also let them know that if they want to get me a thank you gift to please make it a food item. I don't need clutter of knickknacks that are overpriced. I have gotten some great thank yous.
    Good luck! You are in my prayers.

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    1. Marybeth, you are singing my song! Thank you for sharing what you would do ... I think I can learn some things from you!

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  20. $400 is a lot. I'm wondering too if there is some way to supplement you income as opposed to only cutting back. Is there perhaps an elderly person who needs assistance (you might be paid through their children) or a bit of babysitting (even just before or after school).

    I'm in the process of cutting as my household income will be ZERO for a couple of months. The satellite dish went at almost a $100 a month. I installed an antenna which is soso as I'm in a rural area, but I have plenty of books, knitting and sewing available. I already have an OOMA and need to keep the number for now....sometimes my parents don't remember my cell number. Likewise I am keeping the cell as my parents are getting older and I need to be in contact. There is a possibility that I may be able to split my bill with someone soon. The bad news is that my electric budget went up $25 a month....because an unnamed person who no longer lives here insists the air conditioning be like refrigeration. Its expensive to cool to 72. Likewise its pricey to heat to 72. I'm doing pretty well at 66 and even a bit lower at night. I nearly closed down the vents in the basement as I have moved the computer upstairs. I put that equipment on two separate power strips....one for the necessary modem, wifi and ooma....and another for the computer and monitor. I can then completely shut them down as necessary. Same with the TV, Roku, DVD player. I have a good old am/fm radio that I listen to. I need to get a power switch for the phone charger items. I emptied the small freezer in the basement. I have a hot water heater that can be switched off (whole house on demand) overnight as it does keep a bit of water hot in a small tank. I bought a regular alarm clock and can use my cell phone as well instead of a clock radio. I've been using an oil lantern in the morning rather than turn on big lights. Tea instead of soda (boo) and a bit of soda only in 2 liters on sale. :)

    When that unnamed person left that also stopped the TV and lights from running ALL night. My food bill will go down at least 75% from all the unnecessary crap. And also required many trips for food and medicine. I'm going to try to limit my trips into town to two a week, ones I would normally make and make sure I take care of everything I can.

    I will be looking for 25 to 30 hours a week and see how it goes. My parents are starting to need more assistance it seems and, well, I'm an only child. I will be looking around for health insurance, but am covered by COBRA for 16 months. I may even consider a house mate.

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    1. mdoe37, you've got some good ideas!!!

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  21. I am a younger stay at home mother, and I come from a generation where my mother worked and didn't teach me how to cook. I try and read cookbooks and get recipes online, but all the ingredients and time involved aren't practical for this season in my life. I am balancing children, a home and everything else, so I need things to be practical and efficient. What I am really missing is some one who could mentor online by showing step by step cooking of simple things that can be thrown together easily and inexpensively. I have read a lot of the posts on this site and others like this site. What I love is how all of you seem to just "throw" food together to make a meal, so logically and like second nature. I don't have that ability. It would save me money and time! So maybe you could write an e-book or something that you could charge for about basic healthy ingredients (I know you have a lot of posts on this), but also how to put everything together (recipes or formulas?). This would be of great help to many mothers my age. I see through out your website how you can cook with anything you find inexpensively, and I just don't have that wisdom. I would pay for an e-book. If there were a lot of us moms who paid for it, it would add up for income for you. It's also like a ministry (Titus 2). Just a thought? (Also thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the wisdom you have written here). Love, Katherine

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    1. Katherine, you have made me aware of a niche that I think can easily be filled but I will not charge for it. Be aware though that what looks like 'second nature' is something that has been acquired through years of trial and error. We've all been there, I remember how insecure I felt when I first got married and I had been watching my mama cook for many years ... and had even been cooking myself several of those. Please don't be too hard on yourself! At any rate, like I said, I think this is an area that we can get you some help in ... stay tuned! Thanks for the comment!

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  22. This comment may or may not apply depending upon the medications needed and your proximity to a Sam's Club with a pharmacy. There is something called an "Extra Value Drug List" for Sam's Plus members (the upgraded $100/year membership). Many of the drugs on this list are deeply discounted, so it's worth asking the pharmacy reps for the document. Our Sam's didn't really promote this program, I happened to find the list on the pharmacy counter one day while waiting for a prescription. Had I known about it, even after paying for the membership upgrade we would have saved @ $800 over a period of 5 months. Hope this info helps someone!

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    1. Diane, this is one of Sam's Club plus members best kept secret. Yes, we have taken advantage of it. The pharmacists in our Sam's Club are just the best, if a prescription is expensive using our insurance they will run it to see if it is any cheaper using our plus membership discount instead ... and sometimes it is!!!

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  23. I would cut our trash bill-$25- as I could burn, compost & recycle most stuff. Cable would go next-$100-hubbies last holdout. I would cut $100 easily off of my grocery budget. Then, I would call around to hopefully get car insurance cheaper-$50. I would save $50 a month off of my heating oil by keeping the temperature down in the house & putting on a sweater and slippers.The last $75 would be tricky...but I would go to basic phone service-$25, drive less -$25 and then only put $25 in my Christmas envelope to buy gifts instead of $50. It would be tough, but I have had to do it before. Needs versus wants come into play daily when you're having to do this.

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    1. mamabeanof4, we don't have a choice on paying for trash pick up, it is a part of our property taxes and we haven't had cable in several years. I was recently able to lower our auto insurance so that will help. We heat with wood so that will help lower our electric bill through the winter months. Thank you for sharing your ideas, I am looking at each one to see if it is applicable in our situation.

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  24. This may not be something you would consider but my parents doctor has told them to order their prescription drugs from Canada. It has saved them a ton of money. They are on medicare but the co-pays are terrible. Mom does not get her thyroid meds from there though after a bottle that seemed to not work for her. Something to think about though.

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    1. Lana, this is something I have heard about but never really considered. Maybe it's time I did some research on this! Thanks for the suggestion!

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    2. Patsy, my oldest son is now off of our insurance and is struggling. Sometimes he has a gout attack. The doctors would insist on giving him expensive tests even though he knew exactly what was wrong. I ordered his medicine from Canada and have been thrilled. Now when he feels an attack coming on he immediately takes the pills. Since he does not have to wait days for an appointment, he is curing the attack sooner and does not need as much medicine. For the price of one doctor's appointment, he was able to purchase enough medicine for many years worth of attacks.
      Jeannie

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