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#121 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 09:31 AM
 
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My frugal tip is to simplify and love your life!  When we are depressed or looking negatively at life, we are more prone to spending money.  There are those "I don't feel like making dinner" days for everyone, but sometimes this becomes habit when we get depressed or stressed.  The drinks after work, ordering pizzas, going through the drive through, grabbing lunch, buying just to feel good...it all adds up. 

 

When we are positive and loving life, making dinner can become a family activity, picnics at the park replace the quick drive through, we tend to plan things ahead which eliminates the last minute stress and rush.  Of course there are the positive long term effects on our health as well! 

 

Even just decluttering can have such a huge impact on our mood.  Having a place for all the toys, knowing where the scissors are, keeping up on laundry and dishes....simple ways to de-stress our lives.  I know for me, when life is easier, I tend to appreciate the simple things more.  I have time for the picnics, I want to have my daughter help in the kitchen instead of sending her off to the other room while I quickly get something done, I can enjoy the evening with my husband instead of being crabby and tired as soon as dinner is done.

 

So my frugal tip is to love life!


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#122 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 09:39 AM
 
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As I prepare to become a mom for the first time, I am officially on a learning curve about how to enter the world of "baby and kid stuff" while keeping the values of simplicity and sustainability that we choose in our daily lives intact.  At every turn in researching, planning, adjusting and researching again - from anything to cloth diapers, to sleeping, to baby wearing - it becomes clear that so much of what we consider to be necessary these days are actually niceties that we have come to assume we MUST HAVE for the "new baby" or to complete the "parent package". 

 

For us, being curious about every choice we make BEFORE WE MAKE IT and following our intuition on what is RIGHT FOR US is our best guide to KEEPING IT SIMPLE. This has proved immensely helpful in wading through all the options, assumptions and pressures to consume and therefore SPEND - to get and stay clear about what we really need, save money and be eco-concious while purchasing "stuff" and sharing those values with others so they can support it too.

 

Here are some core questions from our "QUESTION EVERYTHING" list....

 

FIRST, is it the right item for our family:

- Do we really need it?

- What do we already have that can serve that purpose?

- How versatile is the item?

- How long can it be used (both with our family, and after we pass it on) and how much energy is required to care for and store it?

- How was it produced and how will it break down (environmental/health costs)?

 

IF YES, how can we get it in the most sustainable and affordable way:

- Can we get it borrowed, used or cheap?

- How can we ask others if they have it to share? (sending our list of baby needs to friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and on face book has been incredible for items people were letting go of anyway - What is that saying? "Ask and you shall receive!")

- Is it something people may be inspired to gift to us, and our 'Little B'? (For example we are having a mothers blessing, with optional gifts intentionally selected on an online registry)

 

Hope our muddling through can be of some help!

 

PLUS Liked and shared on facebook!

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#123 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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My tip is to not raise consumerist children. Avoid watching advertising that preys on children, avoid watching shows that exist to sell products (most kids shows). Heck, really we need to avoid screens altogether!!! My oldest has never made a Christmas List, never asked for a birthday present until he was a teenager, and then, very graciously and only with prompting. Keeping special occasions special by not succumbing to consumerist pressure has made our life magical. When children are surprised by something magical, humble, and handmade, this creates memories and happiness, not greed for more. Teach children about giving before teaching them about receiving. Our holiday rules are recycled, handmade, non-plastic or locally made. Sometimes if we need a new pair of shoes, or something we can't make ourselves, we seek out domestically made and organic or recycled materials so that our (humble) first-world wealth does not translate to someone else's misery. My 4 year old daughter recently saw a catalog with a table and chairs for elf dolls, and wished for it. It was the kind that is made froma tree branch and still has bark on it. It was tempting to want to order it, certainly from a high quality retailer, fitting many of our standards, but taking a deep breath, I realized it wasn't necessary. We spent the morning finding the appropriate logs, sawing them and pegging them together to make a simple, rustic table and chairs. It was pretty easy, and I am not all that skilled. We even used an old-fashioned hand-powered drill because we are off the grid and didn't want to run our solar batteries down. Over the next few days, when I had the chance, I used small scraps of red felt to make simple elf hats for some of our existing dollhouse dolls, many of which, by the way, we've had for 15 years from my first child. Voila! We just saved ourselves $50 or more (or credit card debt, realistically!). That's how we operate every day. If my younger children ask for something, I reeeeeallllly would like to buy it for them, but usually find a way to make some semblance of what they are after.

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#124 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 09:48 AM
 
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Saving money can be really hard in our culture. But I always remember something I read about how in Africa they think everyone in North America is rich. No they don't think we all sit on thrones and have servants they just know that everyone eats and has clothing and a place to sleep. Everyone from the richest to a homeless man in the park have so much more than many families in 3rd world countries. And thinking about that made me rethink NEED, with the thought that we shouldn't spend money on it unless we NEED it... So we then have to assess our needs. Food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care, sanitation, a place to sleep and education. There may be a few more things but that's the basic rundown of what someone with nothing would need. So with that considered that's things like water, electricity, food, diapers, insurance, gas, soap... So if you have your list then its what of that can I get for nothing? A garden, investing in a large freezer for meat and produce you farmed/ hunted/ got from perhaps a local farm where you picked it or purchased an animal. Only but staples you can't for one reason or another can't make from basic ingredients. Make large amounts of meals and freeze them and do left overs a few times a week. Cloth diaper and use either home made detergent or soap nuts. Get all your clothing as a hand me down, second hand or buy a high quality garment you or your child / children can use for a long time. Don't go out a lot, gas and activities are money pits. Be sure how many vehicles you NEED. Be sure you really monitor your electrical use. How much do you NEED a day. A library card covers your entertainment NEEDS and a used cell phone or 2 per family is more than enough. You can find most things used and get most things ttrading what you have for what others have. You have eggs and your neighbor has honey... You can both have both. You can even make your own yogurt and juice! Any money you 'save' is yours to keep you don't NEED to spend it and someone else could use it. We have a low low income currently but we do five because as a family of almost 4 even with 2 dogs we just don't NEED so very much and were growing our life to be more sustainable by the day. I read a quote I couldn't tell you by who but it wasn't me... We aren't going to get our country out of this financial crisis until we raise a generation that knows how to live with what they have... Something like that. Happy saving.
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#125 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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When you find out that you're pregnant, early on start looking for USED baby things furniture, unisex clothes (if you don't know who you're having), equipment, ect. at garage sales, Craigslist.org, ebay. Find out what the typical price is & see if you can find even a better deal for that. We found a crib with mattress & toddler bed ALL for $25 on Craigslist! And after repainting the crib, it looks almost new. At garage sales found FREE Medela double electric pump!

And after the baby is done using anything IF it's still in usable condition - RESELL again it to the money back that you once spent on buying.
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#126 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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Liked and shared!  My family makes most everything from scratch.  Bulk everything is most always more cost effective.  We also cloth diaper, use hand-me downs, breastfeed, make our own baby food and very rarely spend money on non-necessities - unless they are second hand.

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#127 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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To save money, we plant a garden in our back yard!   We have a large garden and eat the fresh veggies all summer and can whatever we can't eat. 

 

Here's our garden from 2011!!

 

260326_10150222833096911_8044614_n.jpg

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#128 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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I'm a FTM (36 weeks pregnant), but we are adamant about cloth diapering and breast feeding in order to save money.  I tell all my friends that I'm trying to care for this baby as inexpensively as possible!!

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#129 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 10:16 AM
 
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Although it had an significant initial investment, our wood burning stove is saving us a lot of money on heat!!  We love it!!  and so do our dogs :) 

64939_10151334678196911_926698933_n.jpg

 

 

ps.  LIKED AND SHARED!!

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#130 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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We also make our own laundry detergent and use wool dryer balls!!!  The soap cleans our clothes just fine and it is environmentally friendly also!!  I know exactly what goes in it and it makes SO MUCH!!  We add a little essential oil to the wool dryer balls to add some scent to the clean clothes :) 

 

Here is the link for the recipe we used:  http://www.sugarpiefarmhouse.com/my-homemade-laundry-soap-is-amazing

 

And here is the link for wool dryer balls:  http://familycorner.blogspot.com/2012/03/homemade-wool-dryer-balls.html

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#131 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:19 AM
 
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Here it is January 31, and I'm proud to report that our family of six spent only $245 on groceries this month and nobody starved! We live in the San Francisco area, have one income, and eat healthily. Food is not cheap around here.

 
So, guess what's in that cute little box? Yep. A bunch of credit cards. Notice they are not in my purse! First of all, we have never had a credit card problem. We always pay it off every month. But I'm a sucker for the rewards. I'm guessing we earned about $350 in rewards in 2012. Not bad! But . . . I am convinced that in a 12 month period I spend at least $350 on stuff I probably don't really need. So, saying goodbye to the rewards isn't going to ruin my life. I put the credit cards away because I was SO ready to quit wondering if we really can afford such and such. Also, I hate getting hit with that credit card bill at the end of the month. My husband and I look at each other and say, "Did you buy something big?" Nope. It just sneaked up on us. So, with our new system, I never have to wonder if we have enough money, and our credit cards have a running balance of 0. 
 
Here's the skinny:
 
1. The credit cards are in a little box in a drawer. In my purse I carry around a debit card (just like cash) linked to a no fuss online bank account with a balance that gets lower and lower as the month progresses (we love the ING and Charles Schwab no minimum balance checking accounts). So if anyone steals my card, they are going to be pretty disappointed!
 
2. We split up our paycheck into no less than FIVE separate accounts: 1) Savings 2) Putting Aside for Big Ugly Annual Expenses like property taxes 2) Fixed Expenses i.e. the normal bills like mortgage and utilities, 3) Charitable Donations, 4) Everything Else.  
 
Needless to say, that Everything Else account is pretty slim. But the nice thing about it is that I don't have to budget every expense. I just use the debit card and keep an eye on that account balance. If we run out of money before the end of the month, oh well. The bills are paid, so time to grind some wheat and make bread. We eat homemade bread and apples for dinner and keep it cozy at home. It's amazing how long a tank of gas lasts when you don't go anywhere!
 
This system is so good for all of us. If anyone complains about dinner, I say in my brisk I'm-determined-to be-cheerful-voice, "Guess what. Nobody is going hungry around here!"  Seriously, we are all learning to be more grateful and I feel like I have way more control over the money. The kids are super excited that a new month is starting and we get to buy some groceries! Me too!! 
 
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#132 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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Here's my second tip:

 

Buy your produce at the Mexican/Latin markets! Fortunately, we have a lot in our area--Mi Rancho, Chavez, Mi Pueblo etc. I've been getting great deals on apples and oranges at Mi Rancho.  Sometimes the apples can be $.79/lb and oranges $.33/lb.  It's the same produce! Pretty shocking the huge mark up we pay on produce at big chain stores.

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#133 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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I shared and liked.

 

I always made our own baby food never bought a single jar.  Breasfed till about 3 yrs old all my babies so far... never an ounce of formula.

Cloth Diapers which we hung to dry.

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#134 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 01:24 PM
 
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What a little blessing he is.

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#135 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 01:36 PM
 
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My husband likes to have meat-and-cheese sandwiches for lunch sometimes, but deli meat can be expensive! Plus it's a serious sodium overload.

 

Once every couple months, we buy a whole pork loin for about $2 a pound, brine it with spices overnight, and smoke it in an outdoor smoker (or you could slow-cook it in your oven).

 

Then I slice it thin and put it into freezer bags by week-sized portions. He pulls it out of the freezer as desired.

 

Meatier sandwiches, less money.

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#136 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 03:27 PM
 
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Make your own yogurt and granola. I make 4L of organic yogurt for 6$ (cost of milk) and you could make soy yogurt for about 1.50$/4L. I make the yogurt and granola at the same time. It takes about 40 min but you can definitely multitask as you do it. I make about 4L of granola too and keep most of it frozen to keep it fresh.

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#137 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 03:46 PM
 
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My tip is to spend no more than 99 cents a pound on your produce. This can be done by shopping the loss leaders in local grocery store weekly ads and by shopping in ethnic markets. It's a trid and true tip. Plan your meals around these items and watch your monthly food bill drop! We are vegetarians, we use our savings to splurge on organic fruits when the price is right.

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#138 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 05:20 PM
 
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Instead of paying for school lunch daily, I make homemade, healthier lunch for my child some made out of organic foods. 

To save money even further instead of buying plastic lunchboxes yearly - we decided to buy a lunch box that is made out of stainless steel which is bound to last many future school years to come. 
 
It also comes with 2 containers (bigger for yogurts, apple sauces, juicy fruits) & smaller container (not pictured) to put dips, dressing sauces like ranch, ketchup, peanut butter, salsa, guacamole, ect.
 
It comes with different colors & removable magnets your child can choose from - my son absolutely loves it !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#139 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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We were also researching on best reliable solutions how save money on car expenses. 

One of the ways is instead of spending $$ to change oil every 3 months, we change ONCE a year or every 25,000 miles driven - with a product called AMSOIL. 
 
It has excellent fuel economy, better wear protection, helps vehicles last longer, leader in synthetic lubricant technology, world's 1st American Petroleum Institute -qualified synthetic motor oil & outstanding extreme-temperature performance. This oil is also available for motorcycles, RV's, boats, trucks, gas or diesel.  
 
To save $$ even further, INSTEAD of paying retail price for Amsoil at the stores, we buy it at discounted wholesale prices. 
 

 

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#140 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 06:00 PM
 
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Another way for us saving on gas money is we use a XP3 fuel enhancer. We decrease our fuel consumption & increase mileage to drive for longer periods of time. For our mid size average car, it allows us to drive extra 75 miles. This also can be used on ANY gas/diesel powered engines.

 
To save $$ even further we do NOT buy it at ONLINE retail prices, but instead we buy it at discount wholesale price.

 

 

 

 

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#141 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 08:09 PM
 
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Just reminded of another frugal tip. Hybrid cars. We own a Prius and sometimes we go weeks without having to gas up the car. During the gas shortage after Hurricane Sandy we never had to worry.
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#142 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 08:29 PM
 
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My tip, buy everything second hand.  Reduces waste, and your "new" thing will be "used" within a matter of months so why not just purchase it at 1/2 to 1/4 of the price.  And try your best to keep your belongings in good shape, and when your time is up with that thing, send it along to someone else. Moving into a new house? Buy all furniture, decorations from craigslist and thrift stores. Expecting a baby? Buy *everything* on your registry second hand. Buy a used car. Spend the time to find quality used goods and you will save so much! Don't buy new!

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#143 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 08:59 PM
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My frugal tip:

Save, clean, and re-use things that most other people toss to the garbage or the recycle. It's so much easier than you'd think.

 

example #1: zip lock plastic bags - no need to buy them if you already buy products that come packaged in them, like sun-dried tomatoes, shredded cheese, or even some sugars now come packaged in plastic zip locks.  They are easy enough to clean and can be used over and over.

example #2: glass jars - no need to buy glass containers to store food in (as many people no longer think plastic for food storage is safe) if you already buy things like jarred pasta sauce, olives, etc. 

example #3: old clothes - no need to buy (as many) dish rags or (any) paper towels if you are willing to cut up old t-shirts and use them to clean surfaces with. 

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#144 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 09:07 PM
 
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My frugal tips- I make what I can from scratch (I belong to an organic wholesale coop so I can buy in bulk too).  Also, I like to repair things and make do with what we have- why throw away what isn't working instead find a new use for it.  Also- I use a diva cup and mama cloth. We do a lot of hand me downs and I garden and can/dry to preserve things in our home.  Being green is actually very frugal and that is where a lot of my frugal tips come from.  Oh, and eating whole food close to nature is really very frugal. Oat groats cost way less than a box of instant oatmeal packets!


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#145 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 10:49 PM
 
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When my boys were little, the biggest money saver turned out to be making their cloth diapers from recycled/discarded clothing. When my first two children began to wear out their purchased cloth diapers, I started making them.  Now that we have another child on the way, I would love to win some, as I do not have much time to sew anymore! To go along with these, I also made cloth wipes out of old receiving blankets.

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#146 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:17 PM
 
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I have liked and shared. thumb.gif

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.

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#147 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:18 PM
 
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Bicycle!  Almost two years ago, we bought a Yuba Mundo cargo bike to haul our 6 and 8 year old boys around on, as well as groceries and whatever else. Our 9 year old can keep up with us on his own bike. The first year, we biked 3 seasons in Chicago. Then last year, after I got pregnant with our 4th child, we decided to take the plunge and sell our car, and NOT buy a minivan, since we wouldn't be able to fit the whole family in the car anyway.

 

Now we no longer have car payments, gas payments, insurance payments, no costly repairs other than routine bike maintenance.  Not only do we save this money, but such a huge change has altered our lifestyle.  We ask ourselves, do we REALLY want to go out and buy that? We go plenty of places by bike, walking, or on public transit, but make far fewer shopping trips than before.  The best part: The Yuba CAN carry a full load of groceries. The most we have ever needed to haul at one time was 11 bags, but it can hold more than that!

 

Hopefully the benefits in family fitness will also reduce long-term health care costs.  The children are happier on bikes and not cooped up fighting in the back of a car. There is no price tag on mom's sanity!

(Normally I do wear a helmet.  In the bottom picture, we had just taken the bike up to the park for its first spin with the boys on it.)

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#148 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:23 PM
 
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Entenmann's Bakery Outlet saves us TONS of money. We spend only $15-$25 per month on Brownberry bread products to supply bread for our family of 5 (4 of whom are male).  When their coupon books are available, they are well worth the purchase price, and save us an additional $60/year off the already amazing prices.

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#149 of 197 Old 01-31-2013, 11:56 PM
 
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Dumpster dive.  Well, that is from the days of college kids, but in our own back alley we have scored so many useful things that people just set out for others. A tumbling mat for the boys to use in the basement.  A nice wooden cabinet that we turned into a pet cage which blends nicely with our furnishings.  Fence slats which we used to fence in our garden.  Bricks which we have used to edge our borders.  Large Rubbermaid bins which we have turned into compost containers. A dresser for one of our children. A large bucket of legos. Carpeting for the unfinished basement, attic, and back entryways.  Charcoal briquettes and rock salt. Laundry baskets (we never seem to have enough!)  I'm sure there are more things, but these are the things that come to mind.
 

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#150 of 197 Old 02-01-2013, 12:16 AM
 
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Teach children to care properly for their possessions and the possessions of others.  Our children know that if they lose something or damage something through foolish behavior, they pay the cost to repair or replace the item.  This cuts down drastically on the time spent searching for lost items, as well as the time and money spent repairing or replacing lost or damaged items.
 

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