Thursday, February 2, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Ways We Save

Since we have been slowly changing our lifestyle to a more whole foods, natural style of living, people have asked if it's an expensive style of life??

Honestly, we're spending less than we ever have.

I know it is surprising, but it can be done. How? Well, that's what this post is all about.

Here's how we save $:

1. Buying bulk.

I buy bulk for a lot of our food supplies now. Bulk yeast, beans, flour (no mill yet for us- hoping soon), spices, meat, butter, and cheese.

Most of our items come from a farm store that carries local meat and Amish dairy products. Which means healthy, less processed foods for us and saving money.

How do we store our excess? We divide and freeze our meat in meal sizes. I cut or shred our cheese before freezing otherwise it tends to crumble when you thaw. I try to store dry goods in canisters, unless we use it quickly then it sometimes stays in its original packaging.

2. Make your own.

We make our own dishwashing detergent, stain treaters, and laundry detergent. All with things you can find at your local dollar store or Walmart. Big savings!!

We've just started making our own hand soap and it's great too!

We've also just started wool dryer balls. They cut down on drying time (saving electricity = $ savings) and static, so no more dryer sheets.

4. Make from scratch.

I don't buy any bread, at all. I bake all our bread, and we primarily eat whole wheat sourdough because it is so healthy. I simply make two loaves at a time and freeze one for later.

We use dry beans and cook as much as we can from scratch (removing can goods one by one). It takes a little more time, but the quality of the food is great!

5. Reusable

We have reusable bags to take in lunches that I handmade. In fact find my tutorial here or if you don't sew, find my Etsy store here (shameless plug).

I wash and reuse ziplock bags. They don't keep forever, but we use them more than once and save!

I have a reusable mop head that I crocheted. Simply toss in the wash, and use again.

Have an old t-shirt ready for the bin? Don't throw it out, tear it up for cleaning rags or make t-shirt yarn from it. Finding another use saves you from going to the store!

Plarn. Yep, whenever we get plastic bags from the grocery store (we try not to, but we've all been there when we forget our reusable bags), I make plarn. I can then crochet it into a bag or rug...really, anything. Tough and recyclable this is a great way to reuse and then recycle!

Dryer balls- see #2.

Cloth diapers and wipes. Better for baby's bum and your wallet. We bought our diapers, but made our wipes from flannel receiving blankets.

Up next for us, cloth napkins and un-paper towels.

6. Clean more naturally!

We use a lot of vinegar now. White vinegar kills germs, is a great rinse agent for your dishwasher, and softens your clothes. So we clean and wash with vinegar...and no, we don't smell of it, come by and smell me if you want. ;). Oh and buy in bulk here too!

7. Meal plan

We plan our meals to keep from eating out so much. Are we perfect?

No, in fact far from it.

But we eat out much less, and every time you cook from home you save. Having a meal plan helps you stay at home and helps your sanity when you wonder what's for dinner.

8. Save electricity.

Yes, an age old technique that works!

We don't leave lights on. We turn off things we are not using. We air dry or line dry our clothes as much as possible.

9. Preserve

We made apple butter, jam, jellies, and froze veggies last year at their peak time. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I bought jelly. 

This year we'll be freezing again, but also canning more veggies.  I'm hoping to not by any can goods from the grocery and very little frozen.

10. Grow your own.

We're lucky, we've got 4 acres to grow a big garden for us.  So this spring and summer we'll have lots of yummy in season veggies and fruits, all grown ourselves. (in season = better for you)

But if you don't have a big yard or no yard for that matter, you can still try for flowerpot gardening or even just a small garden.

11. Roast your own.

We're total coffee snobs.  But I don't want to pay Starbucks prices, so I buy green coffee beans and roast my own.  Look for a post on that.

12. Buy used.

We now buy most of our items used.  Consignment sales for the girls' clothes and toys.  Our items pretty much the same.  It's fun, affordable, and I don't feel guilty about splurging.

13. Gift Cards

I don't want my girls to miss out on any opportunity.  So when I wanted to keep both of them in Kindermusik, I added that to their Christmas list.  Thanks to their grandparents they are both going to classes at no cost to us.  

In all honesty, do our kids really need more toys?  No.  But an experience is totally worth it, and their grandparents are generous to give it to them.

14. Resale

Now I haven't consigned anything of the girls yet, but once I know we're done with babies, I'll be selling our stuff off.  Someone else can use it and we get money back.

15. Free Stuff

We take advantage of free stuff to do in the area.  We're proud members of Bible Study Fellowship, an international bible study for adults and children- that's totally free!

We also visit the library for books and story time.

Finally we participate in church.  Our church is very active with concerts, talks, charity events, and even family movie night each month.  What's better than fellowship and fun?

16. Coupons

When we go out to eat or I go craft shopping, I always utilize coupons.  Micheal's and Hancock's especially are great for coupons.  I never pay full price for yarn or fabric. :)

Now I'll add a disclaimer to all this goodness- there are a few things we don't save on with whole foods.  So in all honesty, here are the things we pay more for:

1. Milk.  We buy un-homogenized milk.  I wish we could get raw, but that's even more to buy a share in a cow.  We can't afford that now.  In fact, it might be better if we just get a cow.

2. Eggs.  Right now our eggs are more expensive than the ones from the grocery store.  We buy pastured eggs from a local farmer.  I'm hoping that with the addition of chickens to our family we'll be marking this one off the list.

1 comment:

Amie said...

Oh the powers of VINEGAR!!! a great drain opener is simple white vinagar, baking soda, and HOT water. I can't remeber the ratio, but it works like a dream... and WAY cheaper (and less toxic)than Draino! Great post!

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