I think its time for a new low income/struggling mamas suppot thread!!!!!! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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...... our antivirus is running out....
I know this isn't your biggest problem, but you can get good, free anti-virus. I use AVG (http://free.avg.com/). It was recommended by my techie BIL and it's GREAT. No issues with viruses & stuff for the entire 3 years I've had it. It has a pay version as well, but I see no need for it. The spyware program is good too, and free as well!


Leta, can you tell me more about the Magic Jack & tracphones? I'm looking for super cheap cellphone packages, but I'm not finding them. My family uses them exclusively to communicate but it's too expensive. Do tracphones get tons of 'fees' like the other pay per use phones? Do you talk much for the $8 a month?


Ami

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#62 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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I just found this thread under new posts search. Thank you natural mama for starting it. I haven't read through it yet.

I am a stay at home mom with two children, 4 years old and 3 years old. My husband works earning $9/hour and works on average 48-52 hours per week. He is off on Fridays and Sundays for picking up his 12 year old son (he lives with his mom and step dad in a city 1.5 hours north of us) and dropping him off for my husband's weekend visitations. Otherwise, he'd likely work every single day if he could. So, he earns $9 an hour, minus 20% of his income toward child support for his 12 year old son, minus taxes, minus dental insurance (we cannot afford the medical insurance offered through his work), which means he brings home around $400 a week for our family of four-five. We live in a high cost of living area. According to living wage calculator, he would need to earn $25.07 an hour, 40 hours a week, in order to support just a family of four. We qualify and use Denali Kid Care (state funded health insurance) for the children, Food Stamps for our household, and WIC.

Our goals are to pay off our car loan (I bought this van before I moved to Alaska in '04 and before I started a family in '05), pay off our one credit card, save up some money so we can sell this run down, falling apart mobile home and we can buy a real house.

My husband has had some medical issues and we have about $10,000 in unpaid medical expenses hanging over our heads. We've applied for charity, and if we're approved, it will cover less than $8,000 of it, since the total bill involves two visits four months apart. The charity covers one stay in a one year time frame.

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#63 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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Leta, can you tell me more about the Magic Jack & tracphones? I'm looking for super cheap cellphone packages, but I'm not finding them. My family uses them exclusively to communicate but it's too expensive. Do tracphones get tons of 'fees' like the other pay per use phones? Do you talk much for the $8 a month?


Ami
Not the OP but I have the same package but its $10.04 mo. You get 50 minutes but I got a phone for I think it was $40 that doubled the minutes for the life of the phone at walmart so I get 100 minutes for the $10. I usually end up reloading it 2-3 times am a month though, depends on how much were home vs traveling doing Dr appts. Last month I ate through 100 minutes just dealing with the insurance company in 1 day:

Seriously?
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#64 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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I was wondering something and I figure someone here would know. Any idea where to call to find out about getting winter clothes for the kids? I know the back to school clothing drives should be happening but I have no idea who I would even call.

Seriously?
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#65 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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I know this isn't your biggest problem, but you can get good, free anti-virus. I use AVG (http://free.avg.com/). It was recommended by my techie BIL and it's GREAT. No issues with viruses & stuff for the entire 3 years I've had it. It has a pay version as well, but I see no need for it. The spyware program is good too, and free as well!
I use Avast! because it is a free download, with a free 60 days. Then you register for a free additional 12 months. I'm not sure what I'll do after those 12 months expire.

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#66 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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Not the OP but I have the same package but its $10.04 mo. You get 50 minutes but I got a phone for I think it was $40 that doubled the minutes for the life of the phone at walmart so I get 100 minutes for the $10. I usually end up reloading it 2-3 times am a month though, depends on how much were home vs traveling doing Dr appts. Last month I ate through 100 minutes just dealing with the insurance company in 1 day:
I know it's not the same, but DH and I are on my parent's family cell phone plan, so we pay $30/m each phone, and talk for free with each other.

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I was wondering something and I figure someone here would know. Any idea where to call to find out about getting winter clothes for the kids? I know the back to school clothing drives should be happening but I have no idea who I would even call.
I would call the food bank, or a local charity like salvation army or goodwill. Some of them give vouchers for free clothes in their thrift stores. I know the LDS church also helps out with thrift store clothes as well, if you have a Deseret Industries (D.I.) in your area.

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#67 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are quite welcome. I got so much support from the old thread that I just had to start another. Sounds like a tough situation. hugs mama. I hope you can get the help you need with your husband's medical bills.
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
I just found this thread under new posts search. Thank you natural mama for starting it. I haven't read through it yet.

I am a stay at home mom with two children, 4 years old and 3 years old. My husband works earning $9/hour and works on average 48-52 hours per week. He is off on Fridays and Sundays for picking up his 12 year old son (he lives with his mom and step dad in a city 1.5 hours north of us) and dropping him off for my husband's weekend visitations. Otherwise, he'd likely work every single day if he could. So, he earns $9 an hour, minus 20% of his income toward child support for his 12 year old son, minus taxes, minus dental insurance (we cannot afford the medical insurance offered through his work), which means he brings home around $400 a week for our family of four-five. We live in a high cost of living area. According to living wage calculator, he would need to earn $25.07 an hour, 40 hours a week, in order to support just a family of four. We qualify and use Denali Kid Care (state funded health insurance) for the children, Food Stamps for our household, and WIC.

Our goals are to pay off our car loan (I bought this van before I moved to Alaska in '04 and before I started a family in '05), pay off our one credit card, save up some money so we can sell this run down, falling apart mobile home and we can buy a real house.

My husband has had some medical issues and we have about $10,000 in unpaid medical expenses hanging over our heads. We've applied for charity, and if we're approved, it will cover less than $8,000 of it, since the total bill involves two visits four months apart. The charity covers one stay in a one year time frame.

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#68 of 285 Old 08-10-2009, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is everybody else hanging in there ok?

Student and aspiring midwife mama to Angel: and Iris. Expecting a new sometime near Halloween! I am a all the way!!!!!
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#69 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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I just happened to stumble on to this thread and just want to say hi. We're a family of 4 currently trying to survive on $9 dollars a hour. We just started getting Link (IL food stamps) this month and our only insurance is medicaid.
My husband is currently in college to become a radiology tech and once he gets settled with that, I plan to complete my B.A. We just don't want our children to only know poverty and the stress that comes with it is too much..

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#70 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 06:29 AM
 
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Good morning, all
Hope everyone's hanging in there
Things here are normal , still have to figure out how to buy school uniforms for the two little ones (well, shirts for DS2, but DD2 needs everything-shirts, pants & a backpack) Tried the emergency fund at school but they never
got any money this year-our state is running on an "emergency" budget right now cause our Republican gov and Democratic house can't agree on a budget. Oh well, next week is tax free week looks like something's not getting paid so I can get pants and shirts and a backpack :
Other than that, things are peachy

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#71 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 10:09 AM
 
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We still need to do marinara, salsa, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and pizza sauce. We'll need a bushel of tomatoes, a bushel of peppers (some we'll freeze), garlic, mushrooms, and a huge industrial size can of tomato paste. (We've got oregano, basil, and cilantro growing.) We also wanted to buy 50# each of potatoes, onions, and apples to root cellar this year. Altogether, this is going be close to $80, which is a lot when you spend $200 on food in a typical month.
do you re-can the tomato paste after you open the large tomato paste or just cover and stick in the fridge? also, how do you store the apples, potatoes and onions? would a regular basement be OK? ours is unfinished.
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#72 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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i'm a wahm/sahm to 4yo dd, whome we plan to homeschool. my hubby works full time and we are trying to start a business. that said, we don't make enough to pay for everything. we make too much to qualify for any assistance but have to get at least $1000 every month from his parents to be able to pay for everything (more in the winter when utilities are $500/month). i've been trying to convince my hubby to sell this stupid house for at least 3 years now but i don't count. he's asian and his parents (whom he must listen to in all things) have convinced him that throwing money into this #%&' sinkhole and never being able to actually spend money on things we (i/dd) want is a better idea than cutting our losses and starting over. i flippin' hate this place/house/extended family. my story.
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#73 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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do you re-can the tomato paste after you open the large tomato paste or just cover and stick in the fridge? also, how do you store the apples, potatoes and onions? would a regular basement be OK? ours is unfinished.
Yes, we re-can the tomato paste. We open the giant can, and then add all the ingredients and seasonings to turn it into ketchup or BBQ or pizza sauce, and then re-can in a hot water bath canner in half pint or pint jars. We do two batches (14 jars) of ketchup in pints, two batches of pizza sauce in half pints, and one batch of BBQ in pints.

Including the amortized cost of the jars and rings, and the cost of the lids and other ingredients, we spend less than $30 on a year's supply of these three condiments. $16 of that is spent on the two giant cans of tomato paste. So this works out to about $0.80 per jar- considering that storebought stuff costs about $3 a jar, that's a savings. Plus homemade has no HFCS, and we are doing the "green" thing by reusing glass jars from year to year, rather than consuming plastic.

We have an old Michigan basement, so not quite a root cellar. If you have an unfinished basement, I would give it a whirl, especially if you have ventilation. If you can partition a small area off (even with blankets), and have a ventilation tube or a tiny window just a crack, that would be even more helpful.

Potatoes MUST BE UNWASHED to store well. If you can only get washed potatoes, I wouldn't get more than you will eat over 8-10 weeks, and then I might try storing them in sand.

Onions keep best in a braid, but we just keep ours in a wooden crate, on the other side of the room from the potatoes, since onions and potatoes accelerate each other's rot.

Apples we wrap individually in newspaper. You can also do this with green tomatoes. In our less-than-perfect conditions, the apples last till spring, and we were eating newspaper-ripened tomatoes last until sometime after New Year's.

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#74 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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Leta, can you tell me more about the Magic Jack & tracphones? I'm looking for super cheap cellphone packages, but I'm not finding them. My family uses them exclusively to communicate but it's too expensive. Do tracphones get tons of 'fees' like the other pay per use phones? Do you talk much for the $8 a month?


Ami
We don't talk a whole lot on our cell phones. DH talks far more on his than I do. Like a PP pointed out, the new TracFones come with double minutes for life- so when you buy a $20, 60 minute card, it's actually a 120 minute card.

It's always cheaper to buy the minutes online than it is to get the cards from the store. I keep meaning to do it, but we don't have debit or credit card (I need to get one of those prepaid Visas, but I keep forgetting), and we don't use enough minutes to REALLY NEED a good deal- for us, the savings would be marginal, like $10 or $20 per year.

I use roughly 240 minutes per year, which breaks down to something like $3 per month. DH uses more than I do, he goes through an $80, 900 minute card over the course of a year. So really, if you break it down, between the two of us, we are spending closer to $10 a month on minutes, not $8. Whoops. Still, though, that's mighty cheap for two cell phones. That's worth it to me to have them for emergencies. The phones themselves cost $15 each.

We got TracFones because they work in every US zip code. We live in Michigan's U.P. (rural and remote), so the contract phones here typically will not work once we cross the Mackinac Bridge, and since we wanted them for traveling, that would be pointless. So, $$$ issues aside, TracFone was the way to go.

As for the Magic Jack, I would not be happy about the MJ unless I had cell phone back up, because when the computer OR the internet takes a powder, your phone goes out, too. So that's why we got both. Also, if you have physically sound landline phone lines in your house, and a corded phone, you can plug in the corded phone and dial 911 and it will work, even if you don't have phone service.

You need high speed internet for the MJ to work, so in order to save any money, you have to have cheap high speed internet. We have an old computer and the slowest speed of DSL, and it works fine for us unless someone is watching streaming video. Then you just have to pause the video to talk on the phone without breaking up.

The MJ itself costs $40, and includes the first year of service. After that year, you can buy another five years of service for $60, which breaks down to the unbeatable $1 per month. And you can call anywhere in North America. For overseas calls, I'm not sure how they would even bill you, but I know you can send an MJ to an overseas friend/relative and call each other and it's a local call.

We bought a powered USB port ($20) based on a suggestion we read on a comment run, and it was the way to go- makes the MJ work much better, as we use it with one of those cordless phones with multiple bases/handsets. We were spending $60/mo on a home phone, so the MJ paid for itself and the powered USB hub right away.

Our eventual plan is buy a thin client w/a monitor to run the MJ on ($200), a new modem to create a wireless bubble from our DSL ($40), and get ourselves netbooks ($600) with an external hard drive and DVDR ($150) and wire our house with nice computer speakers ($150) and build a projector ($15) so that we have a cool home entertainment/computing/communication system without having to pay for cable or a flat screen or anything else pricey every month. But it's going to be a good long while before we have the $1200 to do that.

(We pay $20 for DSL, $10 for cell phones, $1 for home phone, and $9 for Netflix, so we are saving 60% over the "Get it all for $100/mo!" packages that usually don't include cell phones.)

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#75 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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Do any of you use Skype? I've used it off and on when my cell phone breaks (or the bill doesn't get paid).

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#76 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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Hi all, and welcome to the new folks here

We are hanging in there. Last week when I was posting, I was so beyond miserable. Nothing's really changed, but my outlook has improved a LOT.

Due to a friend's crisis, I got to babysit her sweet 1-week-old son for a good part of last Sunday, and although it threw a wrench in my college work and housework, somehow that really lifted my mood. It was a nice wake-up call that I AM looking forward to our new baby, and that even tho the money situation is stressful, at least we have my parents to fall back on. They won't let us starve or go homeless, however embarrassing that may be to have to rely on them

I now have FIVE really promising job apps in, and I feel confident that I did all I could to help myself get that position in my current office that i'm not technically qualified for yet (3yrs instead of my BA). HR will get the app first, and if it passes their check :, then the only people I have to impress are those who already know and like me there

DH isn't doing great, but he's going to try and take his EMT exam again, just to give it his all. If he passes, he can keep going with school even if he isn't able to work. And really, if he doesn't pass, I suppose he can change his major temporarily and still keep going to school! I am just really looking forward to getting him on health insurance...

So I should look into WIC in my state again, eh?? With soymilk and farmers' market coupons, that sounds worth it to me! But my kids aren't vaxed, and my (healthy!) 2yo has only been to a dr. once in her life. How much $#@! do you think I will catch for that?? :

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#77 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WIC has never bothered me about my kids' vax status. They ask, I say we dont do them, and that is all that has ever been said. The only reason they would need the kiddos to go to the doc would be to get thier iron levels checked, but I've heard most places they do it in the WIC office. Here I had to take the kids to the doc to get it done. They will want your kids to have a PCP on filoe, but you won't be forced to take the to WCV or anything I wouldn't think.

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#78 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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WIC doesn't bug me about vaxing either. ds1 does have an exemption from his ped though. It would really help your budget to get on wic.. with the new package, even without getting milk, cheese and eggs it still saves me about $50+ on my food budget.

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#79 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is the new package like? I stopped getting WIC because I didn't really use the food they gave, was having to give away milk before it got bad, etc. It wasnt worth it to just get juice and beans and cheese and peanut butter at the time.

Student and aspiring midwife mama to Angel: and Iris. Expecting a new sometime near Halloween! I am a all the way!!!!!
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#80 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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What is the new package like? I stopped getting WIC because I didn't really use the food they gave, was having to give away milk before it got bad, etc. It wasnt worth it to just get juice and beans and cheese and peanut butter at the time.
Starting in Oct you will be able to get things like soy milk, tofu, fresh/frozen/canned fruits and veggies, canned or dried beans, rice (brown, basmati or jasmine), bread or corn tortillas, new cereals have been added (including gluten free cereals!, you can get jarred baby food. Rumor has it that WIC will no longer provide formula during a babies first month of life in CA and will reduce the total amount of formula infants get, don't know about the other states.

ETA: This is the most simple listing of the changes I have seen, its for CA but its pretty uniform across the nation for the changes http://www.calwic.org/docs/nfood/WAFL.pdf

Seriously?
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#81 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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Our state doesn't do soymilk and tofu, but we also get fresh fruit and veggies (organic included!), canned beans (or dried) or peanut butter, breastfed babies gets LOTS of baby food, and BFing moms get vouchers for the first year (6 months for non BFing moms).. also bread/tortillas/rice.

Here they also don't give formula the first month (they actually will, but it's a secret.. only used in case of emergency).

The fresh fruit and veggies is my favorite change (really wishing they did soymilk . We get $16 a month and that helps a ton! I get my staples like onions, celery, carrots, bananas, and still have leftover $ on the vouchers for fun stuff like blueberries and avocados.

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#82 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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When I was getting WIC (this was 2 or 3 years ago) we would get Farmer's Market vouchers : and if we got a "doctor's" note we could get soymilk. (hehehe) I don't know about now (youngest is 5 1/2 now)
It is sooo hot here!!
Can't afford a/c (not that I would use it anyway) so there are 4 fans going at the house. At least there's a breeze :

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#83 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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Send me goodvibes and good luck tomorrow please ladies--I have a JOB INTERVIEW!! : : :

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#84 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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Send me goodvibes and good luck tomorrow please ladies--I have a JOB INTERVIEW!! : : :

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#85 of 285 Old 08-11-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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Yay! What is the job? Ooh, I'm excited for you! :

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Originally Posted by Krystal323 View Post
Send me goodvibes and good luck tomorrow please ladies--I have a JOB INTERVIEW!! : : :

: for your new job!!

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My boys: S (4) & O (2) & Expecting #3 in Dec. 2011

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#87 of 285 Old 08-12-2009, 06:36 AM
 
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Good luck, Krystal

mama to dd1 17yo, ds1 16yo, ds2 13 yo, and dd2 6yo
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#88 of 285 Old 08-12-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystal323 View Post
Send me goodvibes and good luck tomorrow please ladies--I have a JOB INTERVIEW!! : : :
good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
Yes, we re-can the tomato paste. We open the giant can, and then add all the ingredients and seasonings to turn it into ketchup or BBQ or pizza sauce, and then re-can in a hot water bath canner in half pint or pint jars. We do two batches (14 jars) of ketchup in pints, two batches of pizza sauce in half pints, and one batch of BBQ in pints.

Including the amortized cost of the jars and rings, and the cost of the lids and other ingredients, we spend less than $30 on a year's supply of these three condiments. $16 of that is spent on the two giant cans of tomato paste. So this works out to about $0.80 per jar- considering that storebought stuff costs about $3 a jar, that's a savings. Plus homemade has no HFCS, and we are doing the "green" thing by reusing glass jars from year to year, rather than consuming plastic.

We have an old Michigan basement, so not quite a root cellar. If you have an unfinished basement, I would give it a whirl, especially if you have ventilation. If you can partition a small area off (even with blankets), and have a ventilation tube or a tiny window just a crack, that would be even more helpful.

Potatoes MUST BE UNWASHED to store well. If you can only get washed potatoes, I wouldn't get more than you will eat over 8-10 weeks, and then I might try storing them in sand.

Onions keep best in a braid, but we just keep ours in a wooden crate, on the other side of the room from the potatoes, since onions and potatoes accelerate each other's rot.

Apples we wrap individually in newspaper. You can also do this with green tomatoes. In our less-than-perfect conditions, the apples last till spring, and we were eating newspaper-ripened tomatoes last until sometime after New Year's.
thanks! would you mind posting recipes? please PM me if you don't want to put them here. i want to learn how to make those things from the big jar. :

i thought you just had to keep apples away from everything. no wonder my potatoes (in the pantry next to the onions) seem to sprout so soon.
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#89 of 285 Old 08-12-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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I am already learning so much from this thread, thankyou thankyou Jta mom for posting the link to the free antivirus!!! I had a huge reply to this thread the other day and my puter shut down just as I posted it b/c we've been out of that for months, last night I took off our expired norton and put on the one you recommended, and our puter is running great!!
Thankyou also to Leta, I had no idea about taters and onions, and of course, I'd been storing them together.. so I will be changing that now.

Keep the tips, coming mamas, it really is so great that we can help each other, even the little stuff is such a help!

We've been quite busy here, not only did dh get a new job and has been training for that, but last week he registered for community college and will be going full time! I dont think we'll see him much anymore with him working and schooling full time, but better to be busy then have nothing to do!

My dd's birthday was yesterday. We went swimming at a local lake with some friends, and I made a her a butterfly birthday cake. We all had a great time.

Hope everyone is well!

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#90 of 285 Old 08-12-2009, 07:41 PM
 
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as long as we're storing & stretching veggies, does anybody know how to and long carrots can be stored in an unfinished basement? dd will eat them raw and cooked so i'd like to get bigger bags if we can store them. :
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