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-   -   wondering if anyone lives on 11,000$ & how u do it (http://www.mothering.com/forum/312-frugality-finances/1365090-wondering-if-anyone-lives-11-000-how-u-do.html)

here we are 10-05-2012 08:56 PM

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phathui5 10-05-2012 10:11 PM

If you're comfortable with it, you could post your budget so we could help you figure out where to trim.

 

Our family had a year where we officially made about $9900, though I did make some money babysitting.


Thystle 10-06-2012 03:13 AM

It REALLY depends on where you live and your cost of living and how much debt you have. And your expectations of "how" you live.

 

 

 

High cost of living + high debt load = Really freaking hard if not impossible.

 

Low cost of living + low or no debt load + willingness to be frugal = much much easier.


SunRise 10-06-2012 06:17 AM

Look into subsidized apartments and then 900 / mth for food, phone, cable, insurance and savings.

 

Our babysitter lives in a decent complex (nice grounds, safe area, near enough to grocery if one had to walk, bus line) that had section 8 (I think) / subsidized apartments. The grounds included a swimming pool, community garden and play yard. And an on site pre-school and after-school program.  She paid zero rent for a one bedroom and paid for heating/phone etc.

I dont know how to find these kind of apartments...I suspect a bit of leg working, going to managers apartment and inquiring, word of mouth, assistance program.

 

Rent will eat up your money (if one can find 500 / mth apartment - another few for electricity and not much left for food). I think with your budget, that is where you could use help -


justmama 10-06-2012 06:44 AM

Section 8 housing takes FOREVER to get into because there's such a demand for it.  I waited a year back in 2003 to get into section 8.  It was just me and my oldest who was 3 at the time and we got a nice-sized 2 bedroom 1 bathroom place.  Very clean and quiet.  Bare bones type place.  Well maintained.  I think I paid $48 a month?  And my income was nearly $500 a month.  It's worth it to put your name on the waiting list for several section 8 communities if you think this is a long-term financial spot you'll be in.  But don't expect it to come through for at least a year or two.  The statewide vouchers in my state have been closed for YEARS because the waiting list is over 5 years long right now.  But individual communities are always accepting applications and sometimes they have just a year wait list.  

 

That said, I'm a single mom to 3.  We live on $17K a year here in New England and it's not easy.  Rent is what eats up my income as New England is a higher cost of living area.  We do get food stamps and medicaid but after 5 years of being single I can tell you that I live debt-free and I'm willing to do what it takes to get by.  I take on little knitting jobs for people.  I watch two little girls every morning before school and do their hair and brush their teeth and feed them and put them on the bus.  I do other random babysitting jobs.  I take paid sub jobs at my youngest daughter's Head Start classroom.  I buy things at thrift stores and resell them for a small profit.  I don't work out of the home because the cost of daycare for my kids is actually higher than any job I've been able to get.  I turned down a job about 6 months ago because I literally wouldn't even break even for the month.  We eat a vegetarian diet and I shop farmer's markets, with coupons, and on sales.  We don't buy processed foods with the exception of one box of cereal per month and pasta.  I make all their snacks and yogurt and bread.  We garden as long as possible and can or freeze what is possible.  We forage locally(ie, concord grape season is coming to a close here and I've canned SOOOOOOO much grape jelly and juice it's disgusting).  I yard sale for everything we need, then hit thrift stores, and THEN we evaluate whether it's a necessity or not before buying retail.  We don't have cable.  We have netflix instant and internet.  I see internet as a vital part of life at this point because I have a middle schooler who needs a computer/internet for her daily schoolwork for research and for things like keyboarding class.  I have the very basic cell phone plan and no landline for myself and my oldest daughter has a cheapo prepaid phone for emergencies only that we got through the Safelink program.  We barter with friends and family for things we need or want.  My mom wanted two sweaters knit for friends of hers and a hat for herself and I wanted a gym membership since I'm an avid runner and winter is approaching rapidly here.  She paid for a $99 a year membership for me in exchange for my knitting work.  

It's really about creativity.  We try to get around spending money as much as possible.  I don't like my kids to feel deprived and poor.  They get hand-me-downs from friends and family but I still buy them a special shirt or whatever when I see it at a yard sale.  Our local children's museum has free admission to anyone with our state medicaid card so we go there all the time.  I can even take them on vacations if we are careful.  I save up money for gas and we go camping instead of paying for a hotel and we go hiking instead of to expensive activities.  We recently did this up in the mountains in NH and had an amazing time.

 

 

I know this is long but I hope it helps.  There are SO many ways not to feel deprived when you are poor if you just look for them.  It's a choice you make to be happy with the little things because poverty DOES beat you down emotionally.  It's depressing and hard.  But if I've learned anything after the last 5 years of struggle and tears it's that kids are resilient and they will thrive on very little.  You just have to spin it a little for them.  Teach them to appreciate the little things like a hike instead of a shopping trip or an expensive daytrip.  Instead of scaring them that you have to preserve your garden harvest because you are worried you won't eat this winter, tell them to pretend they are hungry bears preparing to hibernate for the winter.  Instead of sympathizing that it's cold in the house because you can't afford to heat over 60degrees, suggest sweaters and a baking project that will warm up the house.  Instead of telling kids that you can't afford that new book that all their friends have, say things like, "wow, that sounds like a great book!  Let's put a hold on it at the library.  I'd love to read it when you are finished."  Jazz up their school lunches by using cookie cutters to shape their sandwich or rice and beans  and stick in a homebaked cookie and a love note so they don't feel sad that all their friends have fancy individual bags of treats and they don't.  Even preschoolers can appreciate a handdrawn heart from mom in their lunchbox.  Be creative.


primalbaby 10-06-2012 07:47 AM

I'm not going to lie. Any way you slice it 11,000 is a miserly income.

I survived it without going into debt but oh god not an experience I would ever want to repeat.

You have to stick to your budget.

We budgeting bills and food weekly and over budgeted for bills so that I always had something left over that went into savings (like a few dollars sometimes and like nothing at other times) and kept my peace of mind if something unexpected and unavoidable arose.

Obviously we had to be careful with electricity so we unplugged everything.

Ate lots of bread, pasta, rice, nutella, vegemite and lentils.

Not many vegetables/fruits or recipes with any ingredients except baked cookies for dessert since flour and sugar are cheaper in bulk then cookies or cake at the shop. Chicken drumsticks are a great source of meat and can be very cheap in bulk. I think my weekly food budget was 60$ a week.

and saying 'No' to everything.

Got the flu shot so no one was sick. It was subsidized at that point. Worth it. Being poor and sick sucks.

No phone line. Only 1 cheap mobile phone and prepaid credit like $11 a month liveconnected if anyones interested.

No aircon in summer. =( oh that sucked on the 43 degree day. Hot water bottles in winter.

No real savings. 

If you can forgo a car. That saves so so much. Cars are expensive to fuel and maintain. Maintenance is a killer. 800 dollars for a service and fixing brakes ate all my savings at one point.

No insurance except ambulance which is 200 a year here.

Also walk everywhere. Invest in a great backpack.

I didn't have a garden because we lived in a balcony less apartment. But if you could garden some vegetables and herbs thats great. We hardly ate any vegetables or fruits and I feel guilty about that. But it would cost me like $20 of just fruit to keep me full until lunch so there was no way that was happening.

Got a free washing machine off craigslist.

 

edit to add. At one point i couldnt afford toliet paper. Used reusable cloth instead


Mylie 10-06-2012 08:14 AM

Been there and done that...That actually sounds pretty good to me right now...I am unemployed living with relatives until I find a job so I covet what I had before...LOL

 

I make about that when I worked for the YMCA..They had had a child watch so I didn't have to pay daycare..We got a foodcard..That helped and we lived in HUD housing..I(like others) made it work by supplementing..I had a box/hanging garden on my patio..Worked well.I grew tomatos,beans,cucumbers and even strawberries...It was great..Not enough to can really but to eat well on all summer.I did have a car..always a beater...LOL Insurance on it..Hardly ever any gas though..Living in Michigan we had a lot to do for free with tons of water and beaches..That saved my sanity a lot!!! You got to find the free stuff to do with kids..Keeps them from feeling deprived and you from going insane..I yard saled A LOT!! But if I did buy in stores it was on sale,clearance or almost free...I washed clothes in the attached laundry room of the complex but I hung dry everything..I had hanging racks in my apt..I babysat on the wkends for relatives to buy school clothes ect..for my son.

 

Since we had to up and leave everything when we moved I am basically starting over from scratch..I am hoping that the job I put in for yesterday will be offered to me next week..It looked really good:)) I am on the list for HUD apartments in that same town and will move when they call..About a year waiting list here..We will be living frugally for awhile but at least we will have our own place,privacy,warm place to sleep and we will be safe..Hope you can make your home happy with what you have...It could be worse...Always try to keep the positive and keep looking for ways to be more frugal..Where there is a will there is a way I always say:)) Good luck...


Juvysen 10-06-2012 08:35 AM

I think I'd be buying cheap, cheap, cheap cuts of chicken or asking at the grocery store for just the carcasses of chickens they debone or whatever and making lots and lots and lots of soup for proteins/vitamins/minerals... and using rice and frozen veg as filler (which is what my mom did when we were a family of 3 living on practically nothing).  But I'm not in that situation, now.  Do you have things like a crock pot or a big stock pot you could use for that?  From what I understand that kind of thing keeps a lot of the poor from eating something that might be more healthy... if you don't have a big stock pot, it's hard to make a ton of stock for the week, you know?

 

Secondly, and I know this is generally not popular, but organ meats can be cheap/free.  They're not necessarily going to be tasting like what you might want, but they do have a lot of vitamins and minerals (not to mention protein) that can be helpful if you're not getting any fresh vegetables.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Our farmer's market has grassfed liver for $1/lb, but we get pastured chicken liver for free from the place we buy our chickens.  They just give us a huge bag full of it... like 10 lbs?  I guess no one else wants it, but we do the "traditional foods/ paleo" thing so we eat it. 

 

Anyway, this thread interests me just in terms of sort of extreme frugalness.  Sorry if my suggestions are out of place.


primalbaby 10-06-2012 11:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post

I think I'd be buying cheap, cheap, cheap cuts of chicken or asking at the grocery store for just the carcasses of chickens they debone or whatever and making lots and lots and lots of soup for proteins/vitamins/minerals... and using rice and frozen veg as filler (which is what my mom did when we were a family of 3 living on practically nothing).  But I'm not in that situation, now.  Do you have things like a crock pot or a big stock pot you could use for that?  From what I understand that kind of thing keeps a lot of the poor from eating something that might be more healthy... if you don't have a big stock pot, it's hard to make a ton of stock for the week, you know?

 

Secondly, and I know this is generally not popular, but organ meats can be cheap/free.  They're not necessarily going to be tasting like what you might want, but they do have a lot of vitamins and minerals (not to mention protein) that can be helpful if you're not getting any fresh vegetables.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Our farmer's market has grassfed liver for $1/lb, but we get pastured chicken liver for free from the place we buy our chickens.  They just give us a huge bag full of it... like 10 lbs?  I guess no one else wants it, but we do the "traditional foods/ paleo" thing so we eat it. 

 

Anyway, this thread interests me just in terms of sort of extreme frugalness.  Sorry if my suggestions are out of place.

Omg awesome suggestions. I totally forgot when I used to live off fried chicken liver. Not for everyone but I love chicken liver. Also not good if your pregnant. But super cheap and easy plus totally tasty meal.

Also forgot to add eggs can be really cheap sometimes

and you can buy meat on special and freeze it (just remember to date it)


Juvysen 10-07-2012 08:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by primalbaby View Post

Omg awesome suggestions. I totally forgot when I used to live off fried chicken liver. Not for everyone but I love chicken liver. Also not good if your pregnant. But super cheap and easy plus totally tasty meal.

Also forgot to add eggs can be really cheap sometimes

and you can buy meat on special and freeze it (just remember to date it)


I've made beef stew from the marrow bones they had (like, thinking for dogs, I guess? They were stripped of meat, but otherwise good and I had stew beef but no bones at the time) at my normal grocery store.  they were really cheap.  I wanna say a couple bucks for a "club pack" of bones.  I froze half of the bones and used half for the soup and then had the other half for another time.  You could get away with using minimal meat in that case, though, I think.


mamarhu 10-07-2012 10:54 AM

If you are in the US and have a freezer -

 

Around Thanksgiving, many supermarket have amazing deals on turkeys as a come on. Free with $50 purchase, or 19 cents a pound. I get as many 20+ pounders as my freezer will hold. Then I thaw one, roast it one day, one big meal, leftovers 3 or 4 days, sandwiches for a few days, freeze a couple family sized portions, soup from the bones one or 2 days. My family is small now (me and 2 teens), and this lasts us a nearly couple weeks, and costs next to nothing. Around Easter, I do the same with whole hams, although the sales are not quite as impressive. Maybe 79 cents a pound.

 

Another frugal thing I am working on (have yet to perfect this) is drastically cutting back my driving, to save gas & wear on my aging car. By making two days a week no-drive, I use about 20% less gas. I know mathematically that sounds off, but all the same errands get done, just compressed into fewer trips. Public transportation doesn't work for me because of my job's demands, but YoungSon can take the bus to visit friends.

 

Something I have done in the past is to ask neighbors if I can pick their fruit trees for them. Do you ever pass a yard with apples all over the ground, and many more still on the branches? I offer to pick them, and keep a share for myself. A box of apples makes all the applesauce and apple butter we can eat in a year - free once you have the canning jars. Blackberries are native and invasive around here, and it is easy to find them growing abundantly by the side of the road. We keep them frozen for smoothies and pie, and make as much jam as we can use. Also for gifts. Friends know they should return the empty jars if they want more next year! We also can from the produce markets - $6-10 for a box of peaches or tomatoes or pears goes a long way. In my area, the urban Farmer's Markets are fun but overpriced. It is worth the drive out of town to go to the farms themselves for real savings.

 

In my area there is a program called Gleaners. May go by other names in other areas, and work slightly differently. Here, for $20/month (they take food stamps), you can come up to twice a week. You can take all you want (really, ALL - like boxes full!) of slightly over ripe or bruised or just unsold produce. Whatever is in season. Often bagged lettuce and salad. I have gotten flats of raspberries for jam, asparagus, tomatoes, you name it. I get enough for canning or freezing. They also have food pantry type items, so I have come home with spices, salad dressing, rice, flour and sugar, fruit juices, and always loaves of bread. We don't eat much highly processed food, but there are always lots of other kinds of choices too - virtually unlimited - take whatever you will use. They also have a free clothing exchange on site.

 

I just learned that my library has electronic books, that you can borrow to read on the computer or Kindle. No more driving to the library, nor forgetting to return books!

 

My kids are past the age, but I just saw that a local church does a Halloween costume exchange. I thought that was a great idea!

 

I don't know if this is regional, but Comcast offers $10/mo internet to low income families. Various requirements for eligibility, but worth checking into. Someone already mentioned free or low-cost cell phone service - Assurance is one such company. Some areas have reduced utility rates for low income households - also varies by region.

 

One last thing I learned from an elderly friend who lived through the depression. She saved vegetable scraps in a baggie in the freezer. You know, the butt ends of asparagus, outer layers of onions, ends of carrots and tomatoes, stems of herbs, whatever was a little too good to go into the compost. When the bag was full, she would add water and boil it down for vegetable stock to use in other recipes. Totally random results, but sometimes pretty fabulous!
 


pek64 10-07-2012 11:10 AM

Ask at the stores where you shop if you can get case discounts. You buy a whole case of something, and get a percentage discount. At the natural food store where we shop, it's a 20% discount. At our Whole Foods it's a 10% discount. Whole Foods also had a program a year ago that helped low income families. There was a blog about it. Even regular supermarkets will sometimes order a case of something for a customer. Our local Giant offered to do that for me. It can be difficult at the time you're stocking up to have enough money to buy other necessities, but once you get to just replacing the stock items it's cheaper than regular shopping.

Juvysen 10-07-2012 11:26 AM

Oooh, another thought: If you have a pot full of dirt (wide and shallow is probably easiest/best) and a sunny-ish window, you can grow lettuce easily all year 'round.  Just buy a packet of seeds of LEAF lettuce for a buck or two and sprinkle it over the pot.  In less than a month you have lettuce... you just trim with scissors (an inch or so up the leaf... so there's a base still) and enjoy... it'll grow back.  It's not as good in hot weather (though, if you have a/c it should be fine).  If you find it starting to taste really bitter (or going to seed), it's time to pull it and buy another packet... but you can get a good couple months out of one packet, generally, as long as you keep it moist but not damp...

 

Something else I've grown in a sunny window is peppers...

 

This time of year there's an invasive species that is all over the place (at least in the northeast) called the Autumn Olive that is edible (though not overly delicious plain), but apparently is very good for jams and stuff.  High in lycopene, so that's something lol.gif  They taste like they've got vitamin C, too, but I don't know.  Wild rose hips (or any) are good for vitamin c... Again, best made into jam or something, though.  You really can do a lot with a canning set-up.

 

ETA... apparently you can regrow a lot of vegetables from the base of them, too... I wanna say celery, romaine lettuce... uh... pineapples?  I'm not sure what kind of harvest you'd get from a pineapple, though. 


pek64 10-07-2012 05:19 PM

A garden (indoors and/or out) can save money. And natural fertilizer can be made if you get worms and feed them your scraps.

To save money, though, avoid air condioning. Too expensive. I find cutting back on meat consumption in the summer makes me feel cooler. Also, avoid warming grains, like oats and buckwheat. For a complete list of warming and cooling foods, Christina Pirello has a good macrobiotic book with the various foods. I think the title is 'Cooking the Whole Foods Way'. If not that one, another one. I'm sure about the author. I'm not suggesting macrobiotics, per se, but I have found that some foods are warming and others cooling. It helps to eat accordingly when keeping the thermostat low in the winter months and do without a/c in summer.

justmama 10-08-2012 08:49 AM

I love my library's e-zone.  I can hope online, reserve a book, it gets delivered to my email address when it's ready, and I upload it on my Nook without ever having to leave my house.  It's the best thing EVER for readers.  I do it with kids' books too.


HarperCait 10-08-2012 01:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by justmama View Post

Section 8 housing takes FOREVER to get into because there's such a demand for it.  I waited a year back in 2003 to get into section 8.  It was just me and my oldest who was 3 at the time and we got a nice-sized 2 bedroom 1 bathroom place.  Very clean and quiet.  Bare bones type place.  Well maintained.  I think I paid $48 a month?  And my income was nearly $500 a month.  It's worth it to put your name on the waiting list for several section 8 communities if you think this is a long-term financial spot you'll be in.  But don't expect it to come through for at least a year or two.  The statewide vouchers in my state have been closed for YEARS because the waiting list is over 5 years long right now.  But individual communities are always accepting applications and sometimes they have just a year wait list.  

 

That said, I'm a single mom to 3.  We live on $17K a year here in New England and it's not easy.  Rent is what eats up my income as New England is a higher cost of living area.  We do get food stamps and medicaid but after 5 years of being single I can tell you that I live debt-free and I'm willing to do what it takes to get by.  I take on little knitting jobs for people.  I watch two little girls every morning before school and do their hair and brush their teeth and feed them and put them on the bus.  I do other random babysitting jobs.  I take paid sub jobs at my youngest daughter's Head Start classroom.  I buy things at thrift stores and resell them for a small profit.  I don't work out of the home because the cost of daycare for my kids is actually higher than any job I've been able to get.  I turned down a job about 6 months ago because I literally wouldn't even break even for the month.  We eat a vegetarian diet and I shop farmer's markets, with coupons, and on sales.  We don't buy processed foods with the exception of one box of cereal per month and pasta.  I make all their snacks and yogurt and bread.  We garden as long as possible and can or freeze what is possible.  We forage locally(ie, concord grape season is coming to a close here and I've canned SOOOOOOO much grape jelly and juice it's disgusting).  I yard sale for everything we need, then hit thrift stores, and THEN we evaluate whether it's a necessity or not before buying retail.  We don't have cable.  We have netflix instant and internet.  I see internet as a vital part of life at this point because I have a middle schooler who needs a computer/internet for her daily schoolwork for research and for things like keyboarding class.  I have the very basic cell phone plan and no landline for myself and my oldest daughter has a cheapo prepaid phone for emergencies only that we got through the Safelink program.  We barter with friends and family for things we need or want.  My mom wanted two sweaters knit for friends of hers and a hat for herself and I wanted a gym membership since I'm an avid runner and winter is approaching rapidly here.  She paid for a $99 a year membership for me in exchange for my knitting work.  

It's really about creativity.  We try to get around spending money as much as possible.  I don't like my kids to feel deprived and poor.  They get hand-me-downs from friends and family but I still buy them a special shirt or whatever when I see it at a yard sale.  Our local children's museum has free admission to anyone with our state medicaid card so we go there all the time.  I can even take them on vacations if we are careful.  I save up money for gas and we go camping instead of paying for a hotel and we go hiking instead of to expensive activities.  We recently did this up in the mountains in NH and had an amazing time.

 

 

I know this is long but I hope it helps.  There are SO many ways not to feel deprived when you are poor if you just look for them.  It's a choice you make to be happy with the little things because poverty DOES beat you down emotionally.  It's depressing and hard.  But if I've learned anything after the last 5 years of struggle and tears it's that kids are resilient and they will thrive on very little.  You just have to spin it a little for them.  Teach them to appreciate the little things like a hike instead of a shopping trip or an expensive daytrip.  Instead of scaring them that you have to preserve your garden harvest because you are worried you won't eat this winter, tell them to pretend they are hungry bears preparing to hibernate for the winter.  Instead of sympathizing that it's cold in the house because you can't afford to heat over 60degrees, suggest sweaters and a baking project that will warm up the house.  Instead of telling kids that you can't afford that new book that all their friends have, say things like, "wow, that sounds like a great book!  Let's put a hold on it at the library.  I'd love to read it when you are finished."  Jazz up their school lunches by using cookie cutters to shape their sandwich or rice and beans  and stick in a homebaked cookie and a love note so they don't feel sad that all their friends have fancy individual bags of treats and they don't.  Even preschoolers can appreciate a handdrawn heart from mom in their lunchbox.  Be creative.

 

What a wonderful post!! Your kids are very lucky to have you as their Mum!!

I think there is a great deal of wisdom in this post, even for those on a roomier budget. Thank you for sharing!!


Basylica 10-08-2012 02:25 PM

I agree, whats funny is I used to be jealous of the kids who got hot lunches since I NEVER EVER got hot lunch, and now my kids get hot lunches because of my busy schedule, traveling, etc. Until I switched jobs in may I was lucky to get more than 10hrs of sleep a WEEK and was out of state about a week every month it seemed like. They whine about wanting bagged lunches!

 

Its all in how you look at it!

when I was broke i'd found tons of cheap/free things to do with the kiddos. going to park was a rare treat often because I CANNOT tolerate the heat here in tejas...so I cant sit outside when it's hot...so just hitting the parks was fun for them. During heat i'd take them to kids museum (like 8 bucks for three of us when little guy was smaller. they upped prices and killed a lot of exibits tho...so I won't return. cost me over 20 bucks for 3 of us and half of it was given over to imax shark thing we'd have had to pay another 25bucks to see! wtf?) or one of the upscale malls here has ducks and turtles in water feature and the kids LOOOOVE that.

 

My ex and i lived near a super cheap theatre and couldn't afford squat then....and 2 tickets cost a total of 1.00 (50c on mat, 1.00 prime and I think 1.50 for fri and sat nights?) which was considerably cheaper than renting even! this was before the days of netflix and online stuff tho.

 

I brought home 3 humungo boxes from when they delivered my SAN here at work. I'm talking 4'x5'x4'.....and now that the weather is finally turning cooler i'm going to crack them out and let the kids make forts out of them :)

 

I draw pictures on one side of brown paper bags (since I wasn't doing bagged lunches often...now that I am i'm going to start sending washable containers, but since ex gets them thurs-mon 2x a month I worry I won't get them back or they will fester for days...so i'll probably still do them fairly often)...like a lizard or pumpkin or something....and "mommy <3's _____" on them instead of just names. course my newly minted 3rd grader is likely to tell me to stop soon!

 

my kids LOVE helping in kitchen, so you can let them help make baked goods or even mini sized items like pies!

snickerdoodles are a good kid cookie....rolling in sugar/cinn is fun ;)

 

It's def important to keep morale up when you are saying no to everything!


greenmamato2 10-10-2012 12:25 PM

JustMama - your post was so thoughtful and positive and full of wonderful information!!

 

Everyone here has shared such great information. 

 

We've been living on a shoestring for a long time now, too.  The last two years have been the most financial struggle that we've ever been through, and that's really saying something because we've never really been doing "great."  We did a LOT of the same things that JustMama said, among others.

 

For extra-curriculars, we try to find all the freebie stuff we can.  Hubby and I borrowed a bunch of camping equipment from a friend and spent the night in the woods together for our first night "just us" in years.  It was WONDERFUL and I wouldn't have traded it for a hotel for anything.  We take the kids to the park whenever we can (though the summer heat has been brutal this year).  We run outside to play in the rain whenever we do get rain.  Our community has LOTS of events, especially downtown on our town-square, so we will go there at least twice a month to see what's going on.  There is usually free music, food samples, and people watching.  They often have art fairs too, which is great because we are very artsy-people.  We do a lot of crafts with the kids using things from nature, the thrift store, or stuff we have on hand.  I teach the kids home/living skills, which they enjoy.  My 6 year old is learning to knit right now, and already knows how to sew using a sewing machine!   Not only are those things fun for them, but they help with keeping costs down.  We love to go for walks when it isn't summer time (too hot), and after I have the baby that will be the first thing I get back to doing on a regular basis.

 

We make a lot of our gifts for people for birthdays and holidays.  I love to paint, so I often paint something for them, or cook something.  A friend's mom passed away yesterday and I am making her some pumpkin bread right now to bring over as a part of a care package.  Each batch makes two loaves so we'll have a batch to eat as well, which is helpful since I can't go to the store for a couple more days and we're running low on everything.

 

I agree with the suggestions to "glean" from your neighborhood when things are in season.  Foraging is a wonderful skill.  We live in a desert climate so unless it has been transplanted by a human chances are there aren't any items to run into the forest and gather to eat up.  We are fortunate to have many gardening neighbors though, who have brought us more zucchini and squash than we could eat in a season.  I wound up stocking the freezer with a bunch of it, and also canning up about 8 pints of zucchini relish (very similar to pickle relish).  There are lots of homes in the neighborhood with apple trees as well, and sometimes we will ask if we can pick some.  Usually we are greeted with a resounding yes - and told to take as many as we can carry.  This year I also planted two grape vines, which started to grow. I'm hoping next summer they'll vine enough to bring us some grapes.

 

We have a pressure cooker so I try to use that when I can to make meals that would otherwise use the oven for a long period of time.  That saves on energy costs both for cooking, and cooling the house. You can often find pressure cookers at the thrift store, so that helps a lot with the original cost of the item.  We use our crock pot a lot too, to make healthy, filling meals that don't cost much and don't take a lot of time or heat up the house. 

 

I also make our own bread whenever I can.  It is MUCH cheaper and tastes crazy delicious.  I always feel a little "fancy" when serving it up.  Here's the recipe.

 

I joined a group on Flickr called "A Slow Year."  It turned our crappy financial situation into a sort of learning experience for me, and almost into a choice.  We have learned how to do things like preserve foods, forage, move away from commercialism, and focus on the things that are truly important to us.  I feel like I've gotten back to a lot of the basics in life, and appreciate things like nature, seasons, sunsets, etc.  I get a little thrill out of finding a new way to make something stretch, save money, or build community and a sense of sharing among our neighbors.  I feel like we're actually eating healthier than we were when our budget was more stable because I am being more conscious about what we bring in and we are making things from scratch.  For me, changing my mindset to one of "choosing" a different lifestyle really helped me to get past the depression part of life circumstances that couldn't be changed.

 

Another thing that I think is important to remember is that this is likely a phase in your life, and things will change.  Life is a roller coaster.  I never expected to be able to find a job where I can work around my family's CRAZY schedule, and still be there for my family as needed.  Their needs are very high since my oldest daughter has really severe special needs, and I am about to have a baby boy.  My 6 year old needs me a lot too just because she is at that age where she wants me around all the time and needs help/reassurance with a lot of things (she is shy and struggles with some things emotionally). Still, my job allows me to put the focus on my family, while still getting in about 25-30 hours a week + mileage pay.  11 years we went without me being able to truly work, and finally things have come around, just in the last 2 months.  Even with me working we're still really struggling, but it helps and I can see the changes, ones I wasn't sure were ever going to come.  It is one thing to accept that this is life right now and find ways to be happy and fulfilled.  It is also important though to remember that life *is* about phases, and that it is very possible that you just need to make it through for a while and things could turn around.  Hang in there!


captivatedlife 10-11-2012 05:14 AM

[=http://providentliving.org/bc/providentliving/content/english/self-reliance/food-storage/home-storage-center-order-form/pdf/123141_HSC_OrderFormUS_EngNov2011_pdf.pdf?lang=eng]Everyone has such good ideas!

If you can bring in a little money(borrow from family, holiday gifts to you, wash your neighbors windows, whatever!) I would stock up on some pantry items.
First, beans, dried milk, rice! Sugar, oats, dried eggs or flax seed for baking. I am NOT LDS but I would go to the cannery if you have one near you and pick the stuff up -it's generally pretty cheap there.

If you can store food (financially) figure where you will store it. I buy the 25 lb bags of stuff because it makes financial sense for us. Storing it is another matter! I have to get creative there! It's not pretty but it works and we can get good food cheaply.

Also, food banks. If you can get your month of food from a food. Bank you may be able to save to make bulk purchases so you can stop using the god banks (if that makes sense.)

Good luck.



Prices at a cannery

http://providentliving.org/bc/providentliving/content/english/self-reliance/food-storage/home-storage-center-order-form/pdf/123141_HSC_OrderFormUS_EngNov2011_pdf.pdf?lang=eng

Find a lds cannery

http://providentliving.org/self-reliance/food-storage/home-storage-center-locations?lang=eng[/]

justmama 10-11-2012 03:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by primalbaby View Post

I'm not going to lie. Any way you slice it 11,000 is a miserly income.

I survived it without going into debt but oh god not an experience I would ever want to repeat.

You have to stick to your budget.

We budgeting bills and food weekly and over budgeted for bills so that I always had something left over that went into savings (like a few dollars sometimes and like nothing at other times) and kept my peace of mind if something unexpected and unavoidable arose.

Obviously we had to be careful with electricity so we unplugged everything.

Ate lots of bread, pasta, rice, nutella, vegemite and lentils.

Not many vegetables/fruits or recipes with any ingredients except baked cookies for dessert since flour and sugar are cheaper in bulk then cookies or cake at the shop. Chicken drumsticks are a great source of meat and can be very cheap in bulk. I think my weekly food budget was 60$ a week.

and saying 'No' to everything.

Got the flu shot so no one was sick. It was subsidized at that point. Worth it. Being poor and sick sucks.

No phone line. Only 1 cheap mobile phone and prepaid credit like $11 a month liveconnected if anyones interested.

No aircon in summer. =( oh that sucked on the 43 degree day. Hot water bottles in winter.

No real savings. 

If you can forgo a car. That saves so so much. Cars are expensive to fuel and maintain. Maintenance is a killer. 800 dollars for a service and fixing brakes ate all my savings at one point.

No insurance except ambulance which is 200 a year here.

Also walk everywhere. Invest in a great backpack.

I didn't have a garden because we lived in a balcony less apartment. But if you could garden some vegetables and herbs thats great. We hardly ate any vegetables or fruits and I feel guilty about that. But it would cost me like $20 of just fruit to keep me full until lunch so there was no way that was happening.

Got a free washing machine off craigslist.

 

edit to add. At one point i couldnt afford toliet paper. Used reusable cloth instead

 

 

Great ideas!!!!!

 

 We lived without a dryer for like a YEAR and it wasn't really a big deal.  We have a really high turnover rate in our neighborhood because it's all side-by-side duplexes in a lower income section of town and one younger couple didn't feel like moving their old dryer to their new house and they GAVE it to me for free.  Their dad even helped my father move it into my basement, which I thought was super nice.  But we still rarely use it because drying racks in my bedroom save us so much money.

 

We also try to walk as much as possible.  There's a grocery store down the street, a dollar store, a pharmacy, etc so we walk a lot of places and make it a flower-picking expedition or a hiking exploration.

 

Since I do have 3 kids we utilize hand-me-downs to the fullest extent but when my littest girl outgrows her clothing, I donate to her Head Start preschool which is always looking for donations for the students.  So today when they had a pair of winter boots the social worker asked me what sizes my bigger girls were and if I needed them.  I think networking like that is essential to survival.  Sometimes you can barter with people.  Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time.  We got a free pair of Old Navy jeans from the lady at the consignment shop up the street because the knees were a little lighter than the rest of the jeans and she wasn't going to sell them and she knew us from shopping there.  

 

Last week I made $18 after fees and shipping buying 3 bumgenius AIO's from the consignment shop and reselling them on DiaperSwappers.

 

Try getting together with some girl friends for a potluck type dinner night once a month.  That way everyone brings a dish and you all share conversation, maybe a super cheapo bottle of wine, and you get a few meals that you didn't have to make all for the cost of one frugal dish you prepared.  You can all divvy up the meals and have leftovers.  Plus it makes yo u feel rich to sit and indulge in gossip and food with friends.  It breaks the drudge of poverty.

 

Save all your little bits and pieces of fruits and vegetables and their peelings in separate jars in the freezer from meals or overripe bits you cut off.  For example, snack today was celery with peanut butter and raisins.  I saved all the pieces I cut off the celery like hte heart, the end/root, and the leaves and stuck it in a jar.  If my kids eat a banana but for a little chunk at the end that was squishy, I save that in my fruit jar.  Once the fruit jar is full, we puree for smoothies.  Once the veggie jar is full(well, about 3 jars) we put it in the crockpot with some water and spices for veggie stock for soups.  Use up every last little bit of food and don't waste.

 

My kids won't eat the ends of the bread because they are little stinkers so we save them in a bag in the freezer for french toast casserole when there's enough.  The other benefit is that it's super easy to prepare and I can chuck it in the oven before my shower in the morning and an hour later when everyone's dressed and ready for school, the house is warm and the breakfast cooked itself.  And I usually make a big enough batch that there's leftovers for the next morning.  

 

Use the internet to your highest capability and teach yourself new skills that will benefit you.  Example: knitting.  I find tons of beautiful yarn at yard sales and I taught myself to knit years ago and that's how I afford to do Christmas presents for my mom and sister and dad.  It's also how I make a little extra side money.  About a year ago my washer wasn't draining during the cycle and so I googled the error code it gave me and found out that's what the problem was.  I then got on youtube and figured out how to fix it by watching a few videos.  Cost me nothing but my time and a little messy water clean-up to fix it.  Saved me from calling an expensive repair guy. 

 

Pack lunches and snacks and drinks everywhere you go so you don't have to buy when you are out.  I learned this the hard way.  It's expensive to buy 3 kids snacks and drinks.  I keep a bag in my trunk with changes of clothing, snacks, drinks, and a first aid kit for the kids.  

 

Reusable is always better.  Disposable= waste of money.  Paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups, etc all wasteful and expensive and not necessary.  Individually packaged snacks are the same way.  If you are even slightly handy with a sewing machine you can easily make a few little snack baggies from old worn-out clothing or sheets to pack snacks in.  My girls take lunch to school every day even though we qualify for free lunch just because I can afford it with our food stamps and their school lunches are gross.  They have nothing disposable.  They all have washable stainless steel canteens we've collected over the years and cloth snack bags that I wash for sandwiches and other small snacks and fruit and veggies.  I cannot tell you how many people have commented on how great the snack bags are.  Apparently my kids are the cool ones at school because of them.  ;)  Better than being those broke kids whose mom can't afford sandwich baggies at the dollar store right???


justmama 10-11-2012 03:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarperCait View Post

 

What a wonderful post!! Your kids are very lucky to have you as their Mum!!

I think there is a great deal of wisdom in this post, even for those on a roomier budget. Thank you for sharing!!

Wow.  Thank you so much!joy.gif  That felt really good to hear.


greenmamato2 10-11-2012 07:05 PM

JsutMama - those are GREAT ideas!!!! 


here we are 10-12-2012 02:29 AM

X

justmama 10-12-2012 10:14 AM

I bet you'll feel really "safe" and provided for if you have that meat stocked away in your freezer for the winter.  I think a hunting trip is a GREAT idea.  I have friends who love hunting season and that's how they feed themselves through the winter every year combined with some creative New England gardening.  smile.gif  Being able to provide food for yourself and not have to rely on a grocery store is a really freeing feeling.  I REALLY love foraging in my area because it just feels amazing to have healthy food picked fresh for free with just a little labor on my part.


Mylie 10-12-2012 12:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by justmama View Post

 

 

Great ideas!!!!!

 

 We lived without a dryer for like a YEAR and it wasn't really a big deal.  We have a really high turnover rate in our neighborhood because it's all side-by-side duplexes in a lower income section of town and one younger couple didn't feel like moving their old dryer to their new house and they GAVE it to me for free.  Their dad even helped my father move it into my basement, which I thought was super nice.  But we still rarely use it because drying racks in my bedroom save us so much money.

 

We also try to walk as much as possible.  There's a grocery store down the street, a dollar store, a pharmacy, etc so we walk a lot of places and make it a flower-picking expedition or a hiking exploration.

 

Since I do have 3 kids we utilize hand-me-downs to the fullest extent but when my littest girl outgrows her clothing, I donate to her Head Start preschool which is always looking for donations for the students.  So today when they had a pair of winter boots the social worker asked me what sizes my bigger girls were and if I needed them.  I think networking like that is essential to survival.  Sometimes you can barter with people.  Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time.  We got a free pair of Old Navy jeans from the lady at the consignment shop up the street because the knees were a little lighter than the rest of the jeans and she wasn't going to sell them and she knew us from shopping there.  

 

Last week I made $18 after fees and shipping buying 3 bumgenius AIO's from the consignment shop and reselling them on DiaperSwappers.

 

Try getting together with some girl friends for a potluck type dinner night once a month.  That way everyone brings a dish and you all share conversation, maybe a super cheapo bottle of wine, and you get a few meals that you didn't have to make all for the cost of one frugal dish you prepared.  You can all divvy up the meals and have leftovers.  Plus it makes yo u feel rich to sit and indulge in gossip and food with friends.  It breaks the drudge of poverty.

 

Save all your little bits and pieces of fruits and vegetables and their peelings in separate jars in the freezer from meals or overripe bits you cut off.  For example, snack today was celery with peanut butter and raisins.  I saved all the pieces I cut off the celery like hte heart, the end/root, and the leaves and stuck it in a jar.  If my kids eat a banana but for a little chunk at the end that was squishy, I save that in my fruit jar.  Once the fruit jar is full, we puree for smoothies.  Once the veggie jar is full(well, about 3 jars) we put it in the crockpot with some water and spices for veggie stock for soups.  Use up every last little bit of food and don't waste.

 

My kids won't eat the ends of the bread because they are little stinkers so we save them in a bag in the freezer for french toast casserole when there's enough.  The other benefit is that it's super easy to prepare and I can chuck it in the oven before my shower in the morning and an hour later when everyone's dressed and ready for school, the house is warm and the breakfast cooked itself.  And I usually make a big enough batch that there's leftovers for the next morning.  

 

Use the internet to your highest capability and teach yourself new skills that will benefit you.  Example: knitting.  I find tons of beautiful yarn at yard sales and I taught myself to knit years ago and that's how I afford to do Christmas presents for my mom and sister and dad.  It's also how I make a little extra side money.  About a year ago my washer wasn't draining during the cycle and so I googled the error code it gave me and found out that's what the problem was.  I then got on youtube and figured out how to fix it by watching a few videos.  Cost me nothing but my time and a little messy water clean-up to fix it.  Saved me from calling an expensive repair guy. 

 

Pack lunches and snacks and drinks everywhere you go so you don't have to buy when you are out.  I learned this the hard way.  It's expensive to buy 3 kids snacks and drinks.  I keep a bag in my trunk with changes of clothing, snacks, drinks, and a first aid kit for the kids.  

 

Reusable is always better.  Disposable= waste of money.  Paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups, etc all wasteful and expensive and not necessary.  Individually packaged snacks are the same way.  If you are even slightly handy with a sewing machine you can easily make a few little snack baggies from old worn-out clothing or sheets to pack snacks in.  My girls take lunch to school every day even though we qualify for free lunch just because I can afford it with our food stamps and their school lunches are gross.  They have nothing disposable.  They all have washable stainless steel canteens we've collected over the years and cloth snack bags that I wash for sandwiches and other small snacks and fruit and veggies.  I cannot tell you how many people have commented on how great the snack bags are.  Apparently my kids are the cool ones at school because of them.  ;)  Better than being those broke kids whose mom can't afford sandwich baggies at the dollar store right???

Great Post!!! I do a lot of this myself....But something I haven't been doing is using cloth snack bags...Got a pic to post of them??? Maybe I can create my own:))) My L takes her own lunch too..She also qualifies for the school lunch but with her allergies I have to send in her packed lunch...FS saves us too....


justmama 10-13-2012 04:40 PM

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e213/faerybugs/003-1.jpg

 

 

 

3 of these are mine(snotty roll-y eyes girl is unfortunately. eyesroll.gif ).  If it matters, left to right the first, third, and fourth kids are mine.  thumb.gif  You can see the sandwich-sized bags there.  They are made of PUL and therefore waterproof.  Some people use food-grade nylon type material but I'm comfortable with PUL and I already had some on hand.  It is $14 or so per yard at Jo-Ann fabric and they constantly have 50% off coupons available if you are on their mailing list.  I wouldn't get more than a 1/2yard to be honest anyway.  They are a simple square with the fold on one side, sewn up the sides, velcro on the top with ribbon pull-tabs.  Very easy.  I also have a bunch of plain cloth bags that are "fold top" style like the plastic sandwich baggie but these are my fave.  They never spill and we turn them inside out with the velcro stuck together in the washer with all the kitchen cloth and the rags.

 

On further inspection of the picture, the dark pink is the PUL bag, the purple striped cloth square in the purple lunchbox of Miss Attitude-girl is the fold-top style.


greenmamato2 10-14-2012 10:44 AM

Those are lovely.  I'll definitely be making some for all of us since we bring our lunch every day to work and school!
 


Momsteader 10-14-2012 11:17 AM

Unpaper products. Don't buy anything that is single use. Paper towels and napkins are the obvious ones, but consider using mama cloth/family cloth too. If you've used cloth diapers before, it's not much of a stretch. I started using family cloth and thought my older boys would freak out, so I just put it out and told them what it was and what to do. I figured I'd still be buying TP for them, but cutting down our use quite a bit with me. Well, within the week it was pretty evident they were using, and my teen spent a week at my parents last year and said the thing he missed the most from home was cloth TP! LOL  I purchased 1 big Costco sized package of TP almost 2 years ago, and i have at least 2/3 of it left still. (We have a roll out for company of course!) 


Same for paper towels, I bought a big Costco pack of 12? or 15? rolls about the same time, and still have more than half left. We use paper towels for anything really greasy as that ruins unpaper towels, or any animal messes that need cleaned up. I have 1 layer serged birdseye in 'regular' paper towel size. 


Napkins, we have a stack of two layer flannel that are serged. Kids call them 'wishie washies'. 

 

I keep a basket in my kitchen to toss all the unpaper stuff into and keep it corralled until it makes it way to the laundry. If you can sew just basically, all of these things are easy to make. Super simple and quick with a serger, but just a little more time and just as easy with a sewing machine (you'll have to hem or turn and topstitch).


Paigekitten 10-15-2012 02:45 PM

I know most of these have been said already, but these are what I do and it keeps us going

 

garden (we have one in the ground, containers on the patio, and plants inside)

chickens (ours are pastured on the back lawn, they use only a little feed)

foraging

learn how to repair/mend clothes, sheets, towels

hang dry laundry

walk, bike or bus as much as possible (we have not driven since June and saved a ton on insurance and gas)

cook everything from scratch 

learn how to cook beans and make stock (we eat meat maybe 2x a week)

reusable everything (we do diapers, napkins, cleaning rags, mama cloth, family cloth, lunch boxes, jars for leftovers...)

library

grandparents (the grandmothers love to buy my kids clothes so I let them, we ask for museum memberships and art supplies for birthdays/christmas)

fix broken things yourself or live without (we are currently trying to fix our washing machine, I really miss it.  Hand washing diapers is a pain.)

conserve everything (water, lights, leftovers...)

if you fall behind, call utilities or medical bills to negotiate payment plans, most are happy to work with you and it can keep the lights/water on

cheap phone (tracfone/virgin mobile are ones we've used

call to ask about discounts for things like internet/insurance/trash pickup (for us internet is a business expense, otherwise we would use the library internet)

 

A lot of times people say "Oh I could never live without ____"  They probably can, they just don't know how.  I'm constantly looking at our budget and looking for other places to cut back.  This year we've cut some of those types of things and we are still here, we are still alive, we are still happy without them.


here we are 11-10-2012 03:37 PM

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