Posts filed under ‘Frugal’

Could I Live on a Pay Cut?

The economy has hurt more than businesses, California state workers and households. It has affected tithes to churches, at least to the denomination my church is associated with. Giving is down so much that all the workers have had a 40% pay cut.

I get paid twice a month. If my pay was cut 40%, could I live on the money left? After paying rent and tithe, I’d have $51.69 until the next pay period. (I don’t get paid the same amount each pay period.) I’m going to see how far that gets me.

In May I tracked my regular spending. (I haven’t analyzed yet how/why I spent the money.) For this month I will try to live on 60% of my paycheck. I’m sure I can’t do that since many times it is too close for comfort.

But let’s see how far discipline, wise choices, sacrifice, creativity and prayer will get me. And if there is any left, I’d like to tithe some/all of the money to some of those workers who have a pay cut for real.

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Menu Plan Monday & Frugal Tips

bitoIt’s Menu Plan Monday again. I went shopping last night so I am all ready to make up some food this morning. I’ll make up a batch of the following foods for the freezer: Burritos, Quiche, Irish Soda muffins.

  1. Burritos (refried beans, salsa, browned ground beef, crushed pineapple, shredded cheese), Jello with yogurt.
  2. BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed corn/pea mixture.
  3. Hamburger with Gorgonzola cheese (came with a $1.00 off coupon so each quarter pounder was $0.50 each. There are two in the pack). Corn on the cob – first ears of the season and mixed green salad.
  4. Stir fry noodles with chicken (leftover from BBQ), carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms.
  5. Ham quiche made with hash browns, liquefied corn and carrots, mushrooms, onions and cheese. Irish Soda Muffins.
  6. Leftovers.
  7. Leftovers.

Click here to see the menus of other Monday Menu Planners.

One of the reasons I like to participate in Menu Plan Monday is so I’ll save money by not eating out or pigging out on convenience foods. Mary at Owlhaven (mom to 10 kids) has had an interesting frugal cookin’ carnival, a 3 day smack down: cook cheap, cook yummy. 15 blogger/cookers participated by shopping for and preparing their cheapest menus for 3 days. I gleaned some good ideas and recipes from these women. Click here to see Mary’s post.

Recently Mary was on a telephone interview (while at a soccer game) with CNN about frugal tips. Click here to read the 3 things she didn’t get to mention.

In a nutshell they are . . . .

  1. Clarify your own big picture. She asks, “Why are you living so frugally?” I want to pay off my student loans, help my kids and tithe more. I’d also like to visit friends in England. Mary says that having this big picture in mind will help me avoid the “poor me” syndrome when I decide to say “no” to that Tuesday staff lunch or beautiful plant.
  2. Tally your actual food expenses. This includes eating out. I can’t reduce the amount I spend if i don’t know the amount I spend. Do this for a month.
  3. Chop at your 10 list. After determining where the money is spent, look at the top 10 in terms of cost. Reduce the use or buy it cheaper. Mary has more to say on this and #1 and #2, so be sure to go to this post to read it in full.

I’ve never heard anyone mention #1 and #3. Between the tips from the cookin’ carnival and this list of 3, I’m hoping I can reduce my food spending 10%-20%.

Do you think that’s possible? I’m not sure cuz I’m not sure how much I spend on food per month.

What are your frugal menus? Shopping tips? Menu for the week?

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Buy One Sundae and Get One Free & What’s a Good Book to Read?

Go to your local Baskin Robbins with a friend and use this coupon.

Go soon because this offer expires on the 31st of this month . . . . . Which is January and only 9 days away.

Hat tip to Don’t Try This At Home.

Ok – so I’m procrastinating.

I should be writing a 4-6 page paper on proposition one – “Communication is involvemnet.” It’s really good stuff, but I want to play.

After all, I just finished writing a 6 page paper that list 20 books (ministry-related) I want to read in the next couple of years (and why). This is a useful list and I could have come up with more. The bad thing is that I bought several (truthfully about 6) books. Just when do I think I’ll have time to read them?

And I complied a list of 20 websites that I can use in ministry. This paper was supposed to take only about 5 hours. I easily spent double that.

 So, what books do you hope to read in the next couple of years and why? And what about websites – any useful ones you’d like to share?

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Such a Paper Deal Until March 17th

When does  . . .

  • 10  reams of copy paper at $5.79 ea
  • + 1 box of 100 paper clips at $0.29 ea
  • = $16.37?

When Office Depot is having a killer sale. There are two coupons to redeem and this gets delivered to your home for FREE!

This is at lots of other blogs, (my thanks goes to Life in a Shoe) , but I had to share here because I just made an order myself.

Office Depot has 5000 Xerox High-Speed Copy Paper for $58.19 (plus $1.18 for tax). Offer ends March 17th and you can use the coupons only once. Guess how come I know that answer!
1. Click here to go to Office Depot.
2. Search and Add 345603 ( Price : $5.59 ) – Buy 10 of these
3. Search and Add 429266 ( Price : $0.29 )
4. Coupon Price : -$31.00 | Code : 73649244
5. Coupon Price : -$10 off $25 | Code : 44141777
Final Price : $16.37 Shipped.

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5 Ways I Saw God Take Care of Me Today

God provided me with an accountability partner (ap) for the Treasure Principle sermon series. (Maybe two!)We’ll meet weekly to talk about our goals, how we did, educate ourselves about this issue and pray. I think prayer will turn out to be the key to our changing.

 Our discussion revealed that we have some doubts about God’s willingness to take care of us financially. When I was married I didn’t feel that way. Even though at times we were poor (like not knowing where the next meal would come from poor), I felt secure in my hubby’s ability to provide. I just didn’t worry about finances. Back then I KNEW that God would provide either through hubby or other means. And He did every time.

 However, since the divorce, I’ve felt very vulnerable and fearful. Isn’t that plain nuts? I have the same God. Maybe I  was really counting on the hubby to provide and not God. My ap and I realized that our focus is off. We want to focus on God and not the giant.

So part of our assignment for next week is to daily list “5 Ways God Took Care of Me Today.” I won’t always make this list public, but here’s today’s list.

  1.  The accountabilty partners from God are just what I need. Not only will I get some structure in this area, I’ll have fun doing it. And I won’t have to do this alone.
  2. God provided our WM account with $98. It came from the used cell phone/inkjet cartridge fundraiser. This money will go towards scholarships for the Retreat. We will do this fundraiser again!
  3. I didn’t spend any money. That is always a plus.
  4. I received emotional support. Several people called and/or visited me. Connecting with other women in honesty, fun, intelligence and caring fills up my emotional tank. The more filled it is, the better I am able to not resort to buying things to fill my tank.
  5. God reminded me of my priority. I want God and not Things, Money, or People to rule my heart, pocketbook, words, actions and how I spend my time.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn. Go to the church office to pick one up. It’s $6.

 There are two Treasure Principle Small Groups at church these next 6 weeks (Feb-Mar 2007). Pastor Mike has one on Wednesday nights, 7-8:30 pm. John and Shula have one on Thursday nights, 5:30-8:30 pm. Their group starts with a potluck.

Call the church for phone numbers or more info on the groups. Or how about forming your own group? Or getting an accountability partner or two?

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Linus Has a Frugal Tip With His Blanket Obsession

Linus’ Creative Blanket UseHigh heating bills have forced me to turn the thermostat way down and be creative.

Electric blankets belong on the bed, right? Not in my house.
I got a clue from Linus. Like him, I transport my (electric) blanket with me from room to room.

  • Studying at the computer – blankie is with me.
  • Reading on the chair– blankie is with me.
  • Watching TV on the couch – blankie is with me.
  • Cold head? No worries, I won’t use it as a head covering.

Just be sure to read the safety tips for your blanket.
Below are a few of them.

  • Replace it if it’s more than 10 years old.
  • Don’t tuck it into the mattress.
  • Check it over for signs of wear, and broken/frayed cords.
  • Best to use it as a top blanket only.

Chip loves the blanket as much as I do. He’s  not too happy when I scootch him over so I can have some of the heat.

So, what’s your most frugal tip? Dawn  is collecting the best of our best tips here. Go on over and leave your tips and/or leave a tip here.

Also read here the list No Credit Needed (NCN) has compiled of what others believe is their best frugal tip. There are a  lot of good ideas. It took me a little while to come up with something not already written about. See anything you want to comment about?

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Sista Frugally Saves $149.00

Last week Sista went for an eye check.

That’s important to do once you reach a certain (adult) age and there’s a family history of glaucoma. Plus she was having a little trouble finding the correct place to put her book in order to read.

Doctor’s report: Her eyes are fine except for needing reading glasses. The doctor said she could go and get $150.00 pair of glasses from their office . . .

OR . . . go to Longs and get a pair of reading glasses for under $10.00.

When Sista explained her new eye situation to her oldest dd, K, she had an idea.
“Mom, why don’t you go to The Dollar Store and get a pair for a dollar!”

So that’s just what sista did. And she splurged – bought TWO pairs. One to keep in her purse and one by the computer.

So really Sista saved $298.00.

And she topped any of my money saving ideas.

What money saving idea are you keeping secret?

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Can I Name 25 Ways I Save Money? Can You?

FrugalForLife wants to start a wave of information- What are 25 different ways you save money?

Here’s my list of what I’ve recently done or am in the process of doing. Don’t know if I’ll hit 25 though. I tried to write about things I didn’t see on the other lists.

  1. Cancel cell phone.
  2. Don’t eat out at fast food places.
  3. Keep a supply of snacks and water in car.
  4. Have only the basic phone service including no long distance.
  5. Use a phone card for long distance calls. It costs me 3.5 cents/minute.
  6. Call Internet provider and car insurance to see if eligible for a lower rate.
  7. Buy Christmas presents year round – shop the sales/clearances. And then STOP. I don’t buy someone more presents because I spent less (well, most of the time).
  8. Check out the dollar store for food. I routinely buy Yoplait yogurts 3 for $1.00.
  9. I buy fresh fruit from the Koreana Plaza market. (Thanks to BB for the tip.) It is much cheaper there, especially when I buy a bag (about 5 pounds) of fruit. I buy a couple of these bags every two weeks or so. Many times it is more than I can eat.
  10. Don’t buy ice cream – make a fruit shake with some of the fruit, milk (or yogurt) and ice cubes. Much better for me and I get more fruit into my diet.
  11. Cancel Netflix. My friends say they don’t mind if I borrow from them. I don’t watch that many movies so it’ll be a long time before I watch all their movies.
  12. Only wear yucky clothes when cleaning or using bleach products. I have this terrible habit of getting bleach stains on my clothes. It is upsetting when they are good clothes. I know this should be a “no duh,” but I’m still learning this one.
  13. Go to BigWords.Com when wanting to buy textbooks. It will compare 6 or so websites to see which one has the best deal. It also compares books, DVDs, video games and music. It then calculates price, shipping, promotions, and coupons at every major store, and finds the lowest total price.
  14. Pray – ask God to show me where to cut back.
  15. Don’t take my credit card, checks or ATM when window shopping.
  16. Keep only a small amount of cash in my purse to prevent splurge buying
  17. I have health insurance for my dog at Banfield Pet Hospital. I save many dollars each year.
  18. This past summer I put shade cloth over my screens. Kept the rooms cooler.
  19. I no longer drink bottled water at home. I use a Brita filter on my water jug.
  20. Tidy up, put like things together. After I did this, I found that I had plenty of shampoo, bar soap and pens.
  21. Use up what I have. Don’t buy anymore or anything like it until the present supply is gone.
  22. Buy printer ink online. Don’t use one of those fill your own ink kits. I think using that product is what killed my printer.
  23. Have a reason to save money. I.e. I want to pay off my school loans. I want to fill a box or two for Operation Christmas Child. I want buy a new iron.
  24. Buy clothes secondhand.
  25. Don’t be in a hurry to buy. Wait and see if it’s a real need. Wait and see if God will provide. Here’s a small example. Last week I was out of tea that I like. Because it wasn’t a necessity, I didn’t go buy more even though I wanted more. Later that day a friend called and said she had an extra box of tea and would I like it. Since I only like a couple of kinds, I asked her what it was. Yep, it was one I liked. Thanks Friend! Thanks GOD!

BONUS: Check your credit card statement carefully for “mistakes.” Yesterday I checked mine and found a strange charge I didn’t authorize. Last year, I gave someone a magazine subscription as a present for Christmas. The subscription is almost over and apparently the company decided to renew it for me! I cancelled that real quick. If I could’ve found a way to talk to a REAL LIVE person, I would’ve left a complaint. I’ve never had this happen to me before.

EDITED to add: Go here to save $149.00!

Now it’s your turn to think of 25 ways (more or less) that you save money.

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Money Saving Ideas

I caught this series of articles (20 of them) about saving money at

One of the things I learned was how to sign up for a Free Entertainment Savers Guide from SBC. Check it out – there’s more.

THEN I found FrugalForLife’s call for folks to submit their own “25 Ways I Save $.” 21 people submitted 25 ideas. Yikes! A plethora of ideas.

One idea I’ll use use is from Perspectives from New Hampshire. It’s Plastic “shrink wrap” my window coverings.

So what did you find he;pful from these articles?

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