~ from my home to yours, living the Working Pantry lifestyle ~ surviving today's economy ~ a can-do spirit and attitude ~

Friday, April 12, 2024

Hunkering Down in 2024: Week 15

Our period of 'relaxed hunkering down' is over and we are back to 'intense hunkering down with a purpose.'

During our time of relaxed hunkering down, we replenished all areas of our pantry and gave ourselves personal allowances.  

While we continued to add to our savings, it was a much smaller amount and when I closed out the month of March, it made me sad not to see the larger amounts (for us) going into savings and or towards debt.

But this is a good lesson, reminder or whatever you want to call it ... you have to do the work in order to get the reward.  In other words, saving and or paying off debt requires discipline and sacrifice.  It's not going to happen without effort on our part, the calvary is not going to come and fill our bank account with money nor pay off our debt for us.  We made the debt; we pay the debt.

Looking back at the first quarter of this year, we've made astounding progress toward our debt, far better than we thought possible when we started this journey.  God has blessed us with opportunities to earn extra money and we have done our part by not only doing the work, but also by not blowing the extra money on incidentals that we could do without.  We have kept to a very strict budget that provides for our needs but doesn't include room for luxuries.  

Looking back at the first quarter of the year, not only did we make better than expected progress on our debt, but we met our savings goals as well.  We've kept our savings goals at a minimum in order to have more money to go towards debt, but ... and this is important ... we are still saving!  We don't want to get out of the habit of saving and look forward to the time when we are debt free and can build our savings more quickly.  Until then, some is better than none!

So, what does the rest of the month of April look like, what are our goals?

Having our personal allowances back for a month was really nice, but we're both in agreement that we will give them up the rest of the month.

Since our pantry is well stocked, we plan to stay out of and away from the grocery store as much as possible.  Of course, we will need to purchase milk or if we learn of a  great loss leader deal on something we use, we'll take advantage of that, but other than that we don't plan on doing any grocery shopping.

Hubby will take his lunch to work and eat out only when necessary.

Our savings goal is to save at least $1 more than we did last month.

We've chosen the debt we want to knock out next and set the goal of paying off one third of it this month.  It's going to take some 'hunkering down' to do it, but we feel like it's possible if all goes well.  For the next quarter, April, May, June, our goal is to knock this one out completely!  We think we can!  We think we can!  We think we can!

I continually pray about our goal to pay off as much debt as possible this year.  I asked God to show me ways to be a better steward of what He has blessed us with and to open doors of opportunities to earn extra monies.  At our ages, there are many things that we can no longer physically do, but God knows that ... smile ... He knows what we can and can't do and answers our prayers accordingly.

That's it for this week, how did you do, I can't wait to read your comments!

until next time,

mrs. patsi @ A Working Pantry

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

Sharing 44 years' experience of frugal, prudent living and pantry building 

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  1. The painful process of hunkering down to become debt-free is sooooo worth it. You can do it!!!

  2. You are doing a great job. Keep it up. Your are such an inspiration and reading your posts helps me to personally keep on track.

    1. April, thank you, it's the reason I share our journey.

  3. Cheering you on all the way!

  4. Patsy cheering you on to pay a third of that debt this month and the following months and you were blessed to earn extra money you could pay off debt or save.

    We have made some progress on buying the paint for painting the wooden garage, tank stand shed, and meat shed and the windowsills and veranda of the home as we put $50 aside each fortnight from our pay. In the last few weeks we have purchased 10 litres of primer, sealer and undercoat in one, 10 litres of the top coat in white and the green pain for the fronts of the window sills along with other painting equipment we needed and a respirator for DH to use while sanding down everything. Gosh paint is not cheap for certain nor is anything else. We also managed to repair the fluro light in the tool shed by changing the starter over from a spare we had in the shed too.
    We continued to make bread at home in the bread making machines which is saving us quite a bit. With groceries we stuck to the staples and we are eating down the ample supplies of meat in the meat freezers we bought mostly on good sales or markdowns. We needed some roasts as we had used a few of them and I was fortunate to find two pork loin roasts on markdown and used our 4% off e-gift card to reduce the price down from $14 kg to $8.47 kg saving $17.30 on usual prices. As we had gone without some treats we also bought chocolate on half price sale as well using our 5% off e-gift to reduce expenses.
    Our personal spending money was not used for a while so we saved $100 this month so far to put into our splurge jar should we want something later down the track or decide to have a few days holiday.
    We have saved $1398.95 this month so far in our high interest savings account and so far have saved $15077.07 towards our new car since late December last year.
    Cheering everyone on to accomplish what they are aiming for with hunkering down.


    1. Lorna, yes, paint is way more expensive than it should be ... but then so is most everything else.

      We bought 'chocolate' on half price or less after Easter and froze it or vacuum sealed it in jars. It sounds like you got a good deal on chocolate too. In my opinion, chocolate, in some form is a necessity.

      You are making amazing progress toward saving for your new car. Way to go! Keep up the good work!

  5. Patsi, I know you can, I know you can, I know you can achieve paying down that third this month with God's help.
    We have been busy here outside on warm days getting the garden ready. Today I will start some seeds inside. We don't plant here at least until the week after Mothers Day and sometimes later. We did shop at the farm for fresh vegetables, our meat supplier was having a really great sale on flank steaks and pork loins. We stocked up using some of our meat budget. I baked cookies, made tortillas. I ground more of my own gluten free flour from the millet, sorghum, rice and oatmeal that I have on hand. Much less expensive than buying it already ground and fresher too. I recently purchased a book called "The Regrowers Handbook." I've been regrowing onions by saving and rooting the bottoms each time I use an onion. This book is amazing. Little did I know that broccoli stalks could be rerooted to produce more broccoli. We continue to replenish our Emergency Fund. Cookie

    1. Cookie, that sounds like my kind of book. I am always looking for ways to be more frugal and this book sounds like it would be helpful. I love how you are so resourceful in preparing meals for your family.

      Thank you for the encouragement on our financial goals!

  6. "this is a good lesson, reminder or whatever you want to call it ... you have to do the work in order to get the reward. In other words, saving and or paying off debt requires discipline and sacrifice. It's not going to happen without effort on our part" So TRUE, Patsy! Thank you for sharing your own path, work and determination. It helps more than you know. And as you said in your last blog post, it doesn't have to be a drudge, but is (instead) freeing. Don't you think that working hard towards a goal and seeing it all pay off--literally and figuratively--helps to foster an attitude of gratitude? --Elise

    1. Elise, it does indeed! When you chose to go on a spending freeze you really look at what you have with a different attitude.

      Thank you for your encouragement!

  7. Glad we hunkered down after Daughter4's house burned down. We just got hit with $15,000 taxes due to selling equipment and a screw up in a bankruptcy court 12 yrs ago. Propane is almost a dollar higher per gallon so will be needing more wood than we planned... It's always something.

    1. Chef Owings, I'm so sorry and you're right, there always seems to be something ... that's why planning for those 'somethings' is so wise.

  8. I know you can do this! You’ve made tremendous progress.
    Have you ever tried the shelf stable milk from Dollar Tree? Only $1.25. I like to keep 4 in the pantry. It’s not the greatest but it’s pretty good.

    1. LeeAnn, yes, we have used the shelf stable milk from the Dollar Tree, mostly in cooking. We couldn't tell the difference from fresh milk when using it in meal preparations. We're not big milk drinkers, most of our milk gets used in making kefir, yogurt or in cooking.

      Thank you for the encouragement!