or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Extreme Frugality - The other people think I'm crazy thread!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Extreme Frugality - The other people think I'm crazy thread! - Page 5

post #81 of 156
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
It's interesting to read this thread and hear what is seen as "extreme" right now here on the Frugality forum. I have known times when the discussion was on cloth toilet wipes as an alternative to toilet paper. We've yet to come close to that on this thread , unless it was what someone meant when they said "we use cloth everything."
Cloth everything = cloth tp, napkins, hankies, dish cloths, diapers, mama pads, cloth tampons, etc. The only paper we use are note pads for things that cannot be written on the chalk board and the kids colouring paper. I haven't bought paper towels, paper napkins, suran wrap or aluminum foil in over 5 years.
post #82 of 156
Our "extreme frugality" methods aren't going to be extreme to a lot of MDC mamas at all.

1. One car family. DH carpools one day each week to let us have a car day for errands, playdates, etc.

2. No cable/satellite tv. No tv at all in a traditional sense since our old model can't get the new signal and we don't have a converter box.

3. Use family cloth

4. Use cloth diapers

5. Use cloth mama pads and diva cup (when needed - am at 21 months without a cycle due to ecological breastfeeding right now )

6. Use cloth "paper" towels

7. Make many of our own gifts

8. Follow this rule for buying - a. Shop at home - do we really need it or can we repurpose something else. b. Buy it used c. Shop around online and via telephone to find the best price if we need it new

9. Pay cash or do without

10. Sew many of our own clothes - some from "new" fabric yardage bought at garage sales and thrift stores and increasingly many from repurposed used clothing

11. Live in a small house in heart of our city. We purposefully underbought and are living happily in an 1100 square foot home in a less desirable neighborhood. Our mortgage/insurance/taxes are lower than most apartment rents here!

12. Converted our back yard into raised bed gardens and used ornamental planting areas for herbs and fruit bushes.

13. Can, dehydrate, and freeze much of what we produce via #12

14. Cook food from scratch and eat basic whole foods. We're continually improving our expertise in this area and with our plans to put DD1 on the Feingold diet we will soon be almost exclusively eating whole foods.

15. Buy meat locally. DH has managed to find local producers of beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. Most is uncertified organic and the remainder is humanely raised without use of growth hormones and antibiotics. For instance, we just bought 2/3 organic hog for only $3.29/lb.

16. DH hunts. This means we have 1 or 2 deer in our freezer at any given time. Nearly free meat.

17. We buy in bulk. We use bulk grain/bean orders and large scale buying of staple foods to keep our per unit prices low.

18. We've nearly eliminated our use of household consumables such as toilet paper, paper menstrual products, plastic bags, etc.

19. We make our own cleaning solutions/products. We use water, vinegar, baking soda, liquid castile soap, and borax and can keep a clean house for just pennies/year.

20. We are taking steps to reduce household energy consumption by improving mechanical systems (new efficient furnace/AC installed), replacing windows, and replacing light fixtures and using CF lightbulbs. We have our monthly natural gas bill down to $104/month and our electric bill to $96/month.

ETA:

21. Barter or swap for many things. The swap board here is FABULOUS!

22. Cut DH, DS, and DD1's hair at home.

23. Spend $450 or less for groceries, household items, and clothing each month for our family of five. Most months I have extra money left that goes toward buying food & supplies for storage.
post #83 of 156
Loving this thread! A lot of people think we are too extreme and we aren't nearly extreme now that we have kids.

I only drink water though dh and the kids often consume other beverages. When we were first married, dh only drank water as well because it was all we could afford.

Many people thought I was nuts for breastfeeding and cloth diapering even though I worked full time at the time.

We clean with vinegar.

We had to trash our old couch and although we did by our first new livingroom furniture, we did without for over a year while we decided what we wanted.

DH has started hunting and this will be cheap. I never thought of making bone broth from the deer bones. Will have to ask him to save them.

We reuse glasses but have never thought of reusing plates. This may be instituted as I have a hard time getting lunch dishes washed with our homeschool/WAHP schedule.

We did line dry year round until I had some health problems. I'm recovering quickly and will begin this again as soon as I am caught up. We hung the clothes on our porch so that A. if the rain came when we were at work it wasn't a big deal and B. I didn't really like having my undies on the line without being locked up.

We go to u-pick farms while we are starting our own fruit and either freeze or can a lot so we can enjoy it year round.

My youngest daughter wears all the clothes that my oldest daughter wore including socks and undies. My brother thinks this is extremely gross. When they are older we will stop, but for now, I don't see any harm since the cloth diapers were handed down as well.

Food is usually cooked from scratch. We are in the process of going gluten free for me and our grocery bill really hasn't gone up very much at all. This is also helping us curb out going out to eat habit.

We both strived to work at home to save on gas. This also helps us not go to the doctor because we are not exposed to as many illnesses (public school teachers! eek)

We raise chickens for eggs and meat. Much higher quality than the store for the same price plus health benefits.

We don't run to the doctor for everything. We use home remedies if possible.

We keep the heat just below 60 degrees at night and 63 during the day.

We put in our own hardwood floors. We bought 500 sq feet of unfinished flooring off of craigslist for $300. It actually turned out to be 1200 square feet and we definately made the most of it! This has helped tremendously with allergies.

After looking at facebook, I realize that our Christmas' may be very small but we A. are not setting our kids up for disappointment in a year that we can not provide and B. Are teaching them that getting gifts is not everything. Also most years, this is when they get any new clothes that they need for the year. This year, they really didn't need anything in that department though due to generosity of friends. I have also given them used gifts for Christmas before.

Basically though, if there isn't money for it. It isn't purchased regardless of what it is. Food goes to the kids first in the event of a food shortage. Luckily this hasn't happened in years and the kids have NEVER starved or noticed the shortage. I just skipped the meals that I would normally have at work and had much smaller portion at dinner than I would have liked.

I use mama cloth/diva cup

We do all of this and our children still love us! Imagine that (I've had people suggest that because of the above we weren't being fair to them).
post #84 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
It's interesting to read this thread and hear what is seen as "extreme" right now here on the Frugality forum. I have known times when the discussion was on cloth toilet wipes as an alternative to toilet paper. We've yet to come close to that on this thread , unless it was what someone meant when they said "we use cloth everything."
Well, I do use cloth TP, though my DH doesn't.
post #85 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pariah View Post
Can I have a sample grocery list? LOL...or something? I want to know how you do this! I know it is possible, but I haven't been able to and I so badly want to. I have about a $320 monthly food budget for three people and I barely make it through the month with that. SO bad, I know. I cook from scratch a lot, too. I know I can do better though.

And these cloth/reusable ziplock back replacements...how is this done? I've sewn cloth-pretty much everything, but not snack bags. I need to make myself a lunch bag, too.
My PUL zippered bags came from etsy... my mom knew I wanted some and I picked them out and she bought 'em as a gift for me... I know they weren't more than $20, ppd, and I got 5, which has been plenty.

About food... once you factor in SNAP and WIC, we are around $300/mo for five people, so pretty close to where you are.

1. DH has a job wherein he eats two meals/day for free five days/week.
2.We get $75 worth of food from WIC every month.
3.We get $47 in food stamps every month.
4.We get $40/yr in Project Fresh.
5.We pick free, wild berries until our fingers fall off.
6.We garden.
7.My in laws give us tons of grass fed beef and venison.
8.My husband and kids catch fish.
9.We buy seasonal produce in bulk and can/freeze/dry/root cellar it.
10.We watch sales on a few specific items.
11.We bake virtually all of our breads.
12.I make our yogurt, kefir, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese and ricotta.
13.I make snacks/desserts rather than buying them.
14.I make homemade mixes.
15.We make our own condiments- mayo, BBQ, ketchup, pizza sauce, salsa, syrups, salad dressings,mayo, etc.
16.We buy in bulk (especially spices) often thru a restaraunt.
17.We buy store brands.
18.We buy dry, not canned beans.
19.The only meat I eat is fish.
20.We make our own veggie burgers and veggie sausage.
21. We live in a low COL area with high food production, so food is cheap here, generally.
22. We have rules and guidelines about how much we spend on what- an example: only buy whole pickles. You can buy a gallon of whole pickles for around $4. Come home, get out four quart jars, slice into rounds (or spears, if you're like that), pour your brine, and you're good. Takes 20 minutes, lasts year. Plus then you have a fancy glass gallon jar, and you don't have to track down a pint of pickles every month or so while you're shopping.

So don't beat yourself up. A lot of what applies to us doesn't apply to everyone. If my DH and kids weren't such hard core carnivores, we could go lower... but not by a whole lot unless we completely gave up fresh produce in the winter.
post #86 of 156
I bought two cloth snack bags from Etsy that cost about $3 each. The idea is that I will use that to copy and sew several more for our family, thus eliminating the need for zip lock bags for the kids' snacks. I don't know how to sew but I got a sewing machine from Freecycle and when my mom comes to visit in January, she will teach me how to make them.
post #87 of 156
It takes us a year to go through one roll of paper towels. I have a collection of hand towels/kitchen towels and cloth napkins that we use. Same for tissues. I keep wanting to move to family cloth, but I'm just not brave enough yet.

Stockpiling. When boxed pasta goes on sale for 20 cents (with a coupon), I buy 20 boxes.

I don't keep my water heater turned on. It goes on every other day, I wash dishes, diapers, and the kids get baths (I shower at the gym), and then it gets shut off, so it's only on for a few hours, at most. It's not the most convenient (yes, the dishes pile up in the sink, for example), but we're a family of three (two of whom are under 5), so there's no need for it to be on all the time for no reason. I can only imagine what my electric bill would look like it if was on all the time!

I also line dry everything, even if it's below freezing outside. I fluff up towels in the dryer for a few minutes, I admit, but that's it.
post #88 of 156
Ooh, Leta, thank you!

I've sewn PUL zippered bags before, so I can definitely do that again for snack bags. Such a great idea.

And no, not everything on your food list applies to us, but there are several things that do that I am not doing already so it is still very helpful. Thanks for posting it!
post #89 of 156
Can I join you girls? I've always been pretty frugal, but I'm sure there's TONS I could learn from you gals?

A little about my situation... Dh is Tyler 25, I'm Susy, 22. We have a 1yr old son William..

DH doesn't make a ton. 17 bucks. but housing is pretty cheap here. We have a strict budget since my mat leave ended.

Ways I've learned to save money so far:

-Cloth diapering/cloth wipes
-All homemade baby food.
-Homemade laundry detergent. (works better than storebought!)
-I sew... some. I'm not great but what I make is functional. lol.
-I cut William and Tyler's hair. Did a good job too! For having zero practice lol.
-When our toilet broke (my fault. hee hee) we got a lowflow.
-Just got new windows. Great help since it gets FREEZING here. (like minus 40)
-Fuel efficient car, on pleasure insurance since I don't work and DH walks!
(Stores in my area are definately in walking distance and I walk in summer, but minus 40? no thanks)
post #90 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
We have rules and guidelines about how much we spend on what- an example: only buy whole pickles. You can buy a gallon of whole pickles for around $4. Come home, get out four quart jars, slice into rounds (or spears, if you're like that), pour your brine, and you're good. Takes 20 minutes, lasts year. Plus then you have a fancy glass gallon jar, and you don't have to track down a pint of pickles every month or so while you're shopping.
Oohhhh, good idea about the pickles. Don't know why I hadn't thought of that b/c I have guidelines about certain foods too. For instance, I make our yogurt and make smoothies with it but DH would drink the whole batch in a day if I didn't put it into single serve cups and remind him to keep it to 2 a day. Same with canned fruit, which he loves.

For me, it's like most or all of you, not just for frugality. And DH is picking habits up from me more and more, yay! Because of health issues I can't do everything I wish I could but I do what I can. I end up spending money and resources on some things because those things make it easier for me to be better about the rest.
* I've been using family cloth for a couple years now, I think. First it was just for #1, and now I also use it quite a bit for #2. This has saved so much TP, it amazes me.
* I use mama cloth and love, love, love it. The only problem is that now I have enough and can't buy any more of my pad lady's great pads, lol.
* We use cloth for virtually everything. I do keep a roll of paper towels (recycled paper) b/c we have a cat who pukes on a regular basis (and for other occasional things like that). I just bought a 2-roll pack and it will take us ages to use up.
* I use cloth to blow my nose. I even finally put some in my backpack I so I don't have to use paper when I'm away from home.
* I buy things used as much as possible. Just this evening we got a free dining room table and 4 chairs through Craigslist. (And gave away a coffee table to another person...) I keep a list in my backpack that I can check when I'm at the thrift stores. Virtually every piece of furniture we have is used, and several things were free.
* I buy store brands when that is an option.
* I repurpose things when that will work (old clothing into rags, for example).
* While I can't make all our food from scratch, I do that as much as I can. I do buy most condiments and some other things, but stay away from things like boxed meals for cost and nutritional reasons. I was making our bread and need to start that again. I make our yogurt.
* I plan a month's menu and do big grocery shopping once a month, then fill it in with perishables once a week. Saves money and my sanity.
* I'm working on buying higher quality new items when we can. We had extra money this spring and I bought a KitchenAid Pro mixer. With fibromyalgia, this was a great investment.
* I print on both sides of the paper whenever I can and also cut printed-on paper into quarters for scratch paper. (I have scads of it, some going back more than 5 years!)
* I buy whatever food I can from the bulk section.
* We have a freezer and that has enabled me to buy larger packages of things to separate and freeze for later, and also to freeze leftovers for nights when I'm not feeling well enough to cook. (Although it's a huge, ancient thing and I really wonder how much we're paying to run it...)
* I reuse ziplock bags as much as possible, including washing them if necessary. I do have 5 different boxes of them in the drawer, but it takes forever to go through a box. I do want to gradually add homemade ziplocks.
* A few months ago we bought a set of plates at Goodwill that are light weight so we could stop using paper as much as we were. The heavier plates were hard for me to handle when washing and putting away. The "new" set was a great $6 investment. Even DH rarely uses paper now (and I keep the extra paper plates in hiding, lol).
* I keep the heat down in most of the apartment. DH makes up for that in his "office," however. Not sure if that's good or bad. It definitely makes it possible for me to keep the heat down in the rest of the house but sometimes I freak out at how warm he keeps his office.
* I hang our laundry to dry here in the apartment. We only put a couple loads a month in the dryer. This is especially frugal b/c we have to pay to do laundry. I never budget more than $10 for laundry and between hanging it to dry and throwing our extra quarters in the dish, it always works out. I find hanging the laundry to be relaxing, even though it's taxing on my body. (And I just remembered there are 2 loads waiting to be hung!)
* Hmmm, I know there are other things but can't think of them right now.

THAT SAID, one way we are not frugal: we spend $115 a month for FIOS. For me, it's totally worth it. I'm disabled and it makes a big difference to have the fast Internet, all the TV channels, and the free long distance. But we couldn't have FIOS if I wasn't careful in so many other ways. We also spend $300 on food, between food stamps and cash. This is what works best for us, considering my physical issues.

Keep up the good work, ladies!
post #91 of 156
i'm not as frugal as i like to be but this thread inspires me to try harder. i tend to be impulsive and sometimes want stuff to fit in as i work in a corp environment. but i know i need to cut down to live within my means and cut down my debts.

what i do
- use towels/dishtowels for over a week (i though this was the norm)
- reuse glasses and plates unless really dirty or covered in stinky food
- use dishwasher as drying rack
- keep heat down to 65 during the day, 60 at night
- food budget is $50 a week (shop at trader joes)
- run errands once a week to conserve on gas
- moved closer to work to cut down on commute even though we're in a smaller place

like to do:
- make more meals from scratch
- eat out less
- use less paper products
- buy less crap for dd
- buy more at consignment stores (due to crappy economy the last two stores nearby have closed and i haven't had time to look)
- use the library more often vs buying books, cd's, dvd's

i'll have to read more of the thread when i get a chance...
post #92 of 156
As I transfer from part-time WOHM to full-time student and SAHM I plan to refer to this thread often. Here are a couple things I just thought of that most people around me would consider extreme.

I repurpose old fabrics. One of our king size flannel sheets just ripped. I am going to hem different sized pieces to make into cloth toilet wipes, "paper" towels, and liners for the new baby's diapers. As my sewing skills improve and I can find a sewing machine cheap (or free, hopefully), I hope to expand my abilities to include making some of our clothes.

Our living room windows are drafty single pane ones. So when DH was shoveling the 2+ ft of snow we've had dumped on us in the past two weeks, he builds it up against those windows. Free insulation. The snow keeps the drafts from reaching the house. Since he's done that it's at least 3-5 degrees warmer when you're sitting on the side of the couch by the windows.
post #93 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamama View Post
I repurpose old fabrics. One of our king size flannel sheets just ripped. I am going to hem different sized pieces to make into cloth toilet wipes, "paper" towels, and liners for the new baby's diapers. As my sewing skills improve and I can find a sewing machine cheap (or free, hopefully), I hope to expand my abilities to include making some of our clothes.
One time I had a rip in a fitted sheet, so I used another ripped sheet to put a large patch on the sheet. I thought it might be irritating, but I never even noticed it to be honest and that sheet lasted another couple of years. Not something to sneeze at when queen and king size sheets are so pricey. When (if) you patch a sheet (and other things), first do a running stitch around the outside of the tear/hole to stop tears from running, then you stitch on the patch covering outside of the worn areas. I was very surprised at how well the patch wore...

Gee, think that counts as extreme frugality?
post #94 of 156
For those of you who don't buy disposables but buy meat in larger quantities to separate and freeze...what do you put the separated meat in? Do regular food storage containers work, or do things get freezer burnt that way?
post #95 of 156
We use a Food Saver. You can reuse the bags, and buy the Wal Mart brand, so that cuts down on the expense.
post #96 of 156
Is that one of the things that suck the air out and seal the bags?

ETA: Leta...can I ask one more thing of you? Your condiment recipes...can you share those? I'm pretty to your posts!! So much good info.
post #97 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamama View Post
I repurpose old fabrics. One of our king size flannel sheets just ripped. I am going to hem different sized pieces to make into cloth toilet wipes, "paper" towels, and liners for the new baby's diapers. As my sewing skills improve and I can find a sewing machine cheap (or free, hopefully), I hope to expand my abilities to include making some of our clothes.
I collect vintage sheets and things (and non-vintage, but still cute ones) from thrift stores and yard sales, and turn them into everything from pj pants to pillowcase dresses to picnic blankets (a la soulemama). I also get jeans when I see them for $1 at the thrift store, and turn them into patchwork quilts and picnic blankets.
post #98 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pariah View Post
Is that one of the things that suck the air out and seal the bags?

ETA: Leta...can I ask one more thing of you? Your condiment recipes...can you share those? I'm pretty to your posts!! So much good info.
Yep. We had an off brand suck n' seal, but IMO it's worth the $$$ to spring for the Food Saver.

For pizza sauce and ketchup, we use the Hillbilly Housewife recipes, but when we make these, we buy giant cans of tomato paste from the restaurant supply store and then seal the jars in a H20 canner. Because we use the H20 canner, we use the pizza sauce recipe that does not contain oil, but you could use the one with oil if you wanted to use a pressure canner to put it up. For BBQ, we add honey and molasses and Tabasco to the ketchup.

For jam, we use fresh or frozen whole fruit and the low sugar recipe on Pomona's Universal Pectin.

The way I do syrup is to make "lite" simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part white sugar, and 1 part store brand Splenda - if you are uncomfortable with Splenda, you can just use sugar instead), heat to a boil, kill heat, and then add flavorings as follows per quart of syrup (be sure to whisk in whilst still hot):

Pancake: 3 Tbs Molasses, 1 Tb each vanilla, butter and maple flavorings
Chocolate: 1/2 cup cocoa powder (may need to add over heat or reheat syrup to fully integrate), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla
Vanilla: 3 Tbs Vanilla extract
Strawberry: 2 Tbs Strawberry flavoring, 1 Tb vanilla extract, pinch salt

You can also google ways to turn the chocolate syrup into hot fudge sauce, and make caramel sauce out of the vanilla syrup. To do this, you need to use sweetened condensed milk, which is:

2 cups dry milk
1.5 cups sugar
2/3 cup boiling water
6 tbs melted butter, slightly cooled

Mix dry milk and sugar together, then slowly add the boiling water. Stir in the melted butter. Whip until smooth. Freezes well.

Salsa:
6 cups tomatoes
½ Tbs parsley flakes
1 Tbs cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
pinch of salt
wedge of lemon, for its juice
½ cup diced onion
½ cup dice bell pepper
½ tsp chili powder
½ Tbs paprika

Again, we make this once a year, a bus tub at a time, and can it.

Mayo we use two egg yolks, a Tb of salt, a tsp of dry mustard, 2 Tbs white vinegar (you can add more salt and vinegar to taste; you can also sub part of the vinegar with lemon juice for a nice bright flavor), whip and add oil in a slow drizzle. Then we blend it 50%-50% with homemade Greek yogurt to cut the fat and extend the shelf life. I need to do this right now, actually.


Ranch Mix
3 cups dry buttermilk
1 Tb black pepper
1 Tb dry parsley
1 Tb onion powder
1 Tb granulated garlic
1 Tb paprika
2 tsp ancho chili powder,
OR cayenne pepper

Combine:
2 Tbs mix with
½ cup water and
1 cup mayo/Greek yogurt blend

Can greatly reduce water and use as dip.


Bleu Cheese
2 cups mayo/Greek yogurt blend
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dry mustard
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 lb. Bleu cheese
One medium-large finely diced onion
4 Tbs Lemon juice
makes 1 qt


Thousand Island
¾ cup Mayonnaise/Greek yogurt blend
1 Tbs finely chopped sweet pickle
2 Tbs siracha or Tabasco
2 Tbs finely chopped green bell pepper
2 Tbs finely chopped onion
1 Tb (one ice cube) lemon juice
½ tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 hard cooked egg, chopped
Combine all ingredients except egg and stir to mix. Stir in egg last. Makes 1 and 1/3 cup.

For French dressing, we add sugar, water, oil and just a scootch of vinegar to homemade ketchup.

Basic vinaigrette (think Italian) is equal parts oil and vinegar with salt, pepper, and other herbs and seasonings to taste. You can use plain oil, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, basil, thyme (fresh or dried) etc, etc. It's pretty hard to screw up, just do what tastes good.
post #99 of 156
Thank you so much! I can't wait to try these.
post #100 of 156
Think our most frugal thing, is having only one 4-cilinder car. We moved over from Europe and a lot of things that are normal there, we found to be quite frugal here For example we started out with a single 1.3 L little hatchback Ford.
We never use paper/plastic plates (American china). Almost no paper kitchen towels. We have a HE front loader (everyone has one like that in Europe). We never use dryer in summer, we have one of those mill dryers in the yard (I heard that in some area's you can't even dry outside, there is a law). We put the airco on just for a few hours before sleeping in summer. Also putting heater down to 55 at night.
We wear clothes more than once before washing, I just air them in between (no underwear and socks of course), that also makes them last much longer.

Carma
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Frugality & Finances
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Extreme Frugality - The other people think I'm crazy thread!