Eating Local Takes On New Meaning

January, the time for reeling in the spending, figuring new ways to save money and cleaning out the house AND freezer!

When you hear “Eat Local”, what do you think? Local beef, local produce from farms near you or the farmer’s market? This month eating local to me means eating out of the freezer and foraging for good greens and dandelions.

yummy salad with chickweed, dandelion leaves and flowers, purple dead nettle
yummy salad with chickweed, dandelion leaves and flowers, purple dead nettle

I cook a lot and now with only two people in the house, I have more leftovers that go in the freezer because I cannot yet just cook for two! The secret to having good leftovers and not wasting them is to freeze leftover food within 24 hours. If I make a big pot of soup or spaghetti sauce, I pack all but what we will eat over the next couple days in smallish containers so I can just grab a bowl of soup or quart of sauce and defrost. I had just enough Tom Kha soup in the freezer for one portion, hubby doesn’t care for it so he had leftover chicken pot pie with his burger. 🙂

salad with homemade ranch, turkey burger and tom kha soup
salad with homemade ranch, turkey burger and tom kha soup

There are three freezers in my house! I know that is nuts but one pretty much has breads, juices made from fresh fruits for jellies – gotta stop doing this – must… make… jelly. 😀 The kitchen freezer has all the immediate foods we use all the time, veggies, ice cream, small containers of leftovers, meats for the week and rice,flour and homemade bread crumbs. The basement freezer is where things go into long term storage which sometimes turns into really long term storage, more than two years!!! Yikes – although I have been keeping on top of this one now more than I have in the past.

Here are some ideas for using up leftover food:

Make soup – of course this is the #1 response to leftovers but sometimes people aren’t sure how to do it. First, check if there are any containers of chicken, beef or seafood broth anywhere in the freezer. Then figure what meats or seafood you have leftover in the fridge and veggies OR all veggies if making a vegetarian soup.

  • Examples:
  • Some kale that has started to wilt,
  • the stalks of the broccoli that someone(my hubby) won’t eat,
  • a half cup leftover peas, corn, mushrooms etc…
  • the couple of carrots that may be lingering in the bottom of the refrigerator
  • container of tomatoes, frozen or fresh – you know those last 8-10 grape tomatoes hanging around, not bad just not firm enough for salads
  • 1/2 onion from earlier in the week used in a stir fry
  • chicken breast from last nights meal
  • 1 cup of ground beef left from taco night
  • pasta from spaghetti two nights ago
  • mashed potatoes can become fried potato patties RECIPE in THIS post.
  • sweet potatoes, butternut squash, white beans, cooked cauliflower can all be blended separately and used in recipes of similar color. Check out the Sneaky Chef puree recipes HERE and more of these will be in my posts too – love her!

The secret to making a good soup is to pick a theme or flavor and add the ingredients that fit. AND season well!!!!

Chicken noodle soup – you would use broth, chicken, pasta, most veggies – except tomatoes, peppers. I personally love kale in any soup but add it towards the last 15 minutes of cooking. Anything goes for spices here!!! Homestyle – salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, dill, onion or Thai – salt, crushed red pepper, green chili paste, lemongrass, lime juice or add some tumeric and cumin and ginger for a warming Indian flare.

Seafood chowder – seafood broth(made from shrimp shells, clam juice), potatoes, tomatoes, veggies OR a cream based chowder with milk or half and half, onions, garlic, potatoes, clams or shrimp or any fish(only use cooked fish that is leftover for 1 day or fresh/frozen), lots of black pepper and a pinch of red pepper, go easy on the salt since the seafood broth may have just enough.

Taco Soup – chicken or beef or pork, veggies – just about any can go in this one! Definitely tomatoes, leftover sauce or chili, onions, peppers. Chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and dash of cayenne.

Sweet Potato and Kale Soup with zucchini

Tonight I am eating my whole wheat penne pasta alfredo with peas, chicken and mushrooms from last night – mmmmmm good!

Food-ul, Tue Aug 24, 2010, 12:04:48 PM,  8C, 6000x8000,  (0+0), 100%, bent 6 stops,  1/60 s, R111.4, G84.2, B101.0

Interesting post from the USDA – worth the read in this case, click HERE

Hope you all have a beautiful Day!

Anne-Marie

 

Frugal January Ideas

January, the month of making promises, goals, thinking of new ideas, planning for the future…whatever you call it. January is THE biggest month of the year to change what you have been doing all along and do something ELSE that is productive for you and your family.

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About a year and a half ago I ran a 23 day Frugal Living Challenge that was inspired by Andrea at Frugally Sustainable. Now I did not pay off a ridiculous size debt, although that would have been a nice bonus but I did save money and spent a whole lot less than normal! THIS year I would love to pay off some debt especially now that the kid is in college and we have an extra $500/month expense for it – yikes! THANK GOODNESS we have no car payments!

My friend Michele is running a Frugal Finances in 201 on Facebook if you would like to check it out here. While I am not running an “official challenge” this month I will be posting all throughout the month money saving ideas as well as goals that I set and accomplish. If you want to check out my 23 Day Challenge, you will find lots of cool ideas.

Here are some great ideas from Growing Slower Blog

Of course buying your seasoning and spices in bulk really will save money instead of buying those tiny jars at the grocery store for $3-6 a piece!!! You can get waaaayyy more and organic for a better price at Mountain Rose Herbs.

While on topic of spices, wouldn’t you love to make your own seasoning and dressing blends instead of buying those little $1.50 packets that are full of preservatives and other junk? My ranch recipe is delish and originally it came from the Tightwad Gazette – YEARS ago!!!! I love this book so much, it is dogeared, written in, paperclipped, highlighted – serious love! Here is a video that is encouraging from Amy Dacyczyn herself.

book6
Ancient – fabulous book!

What is your favorite tightwad recipe or tip? Please share in the comments.

Happy New Year my friends!

Anne-Marie

Can Shopping At TJ Maxx Save Money?

Do you shop at TJ Maxx for anything? Every so often I go in there to look for some clothing or towels or something cause it is a fast in and out. Well most of the time.

Yesterday I was on the hunt for a rain jacket for my son. Why the heck don’t stores have raincoats anymore? Yeah they have those fold up, squish up in a little bag ponchos but an actual men’s raincoat. Ha! Nope had to get one on Amazon.

BUT….what I DID find at the store was pretty awesome! Do you ever look at the food section at TJ Maxx? Did you realize they have good organic snacks, coffees, dried foods etc? Whoa here is just a small section –

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Then I saw the C-L-E-A-R-A-N-C-E section – wow, just wow! I was in heaven.

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I got organic cocoa nibs for $4/8 oz pkg.

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Goji Berries for $5/5 oz. Organic

12 oz. Amaranth $2.50

Granola – can’t remember price and the best deal?

7 oz pkg of organic, non gmo Raw Maca powder for $9.50!!! Normally this is around $40 per pound

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So even though I did not need to spend any money, I got things I will eat and use for more than 70%off. Celebrate, celebrate…dance to the music!!

Thought you would get a kick out of that. 😉

Anne-Marie

 

Out With The Old and In With The New

You know the old saying…Out With The Old and In With The New. BUT mine is just plain OUT WITH THE OLD!!! Not getting any new here right now however I am cleaning out all the crappity crap that seems to get stuffed here and there throughout the year.

A friend of mine has posted a new challenge on facebook – it is a group called Frugal Finances in 2015 – so feel free to ask to join on the group, we just started a couple days ago. Our first task was to write down our “Approved Spending List” and figure what our spending Freeze will be. No…extra…spending…period. Remember we did a similar challenge back in the summer? Well I need a little boost this time of year, especially after the craziness of gluttonous spending in December. Uggghhhh.

crazy woman

Yep – feel like that but moving on..:)

I decided to purge things after packing the Christmas tree on January 1st – repacked all the decorations neatly and threw away or am giving away any ornament we don’t use, anything broken, any doubles. I then straightened up the attic – only the part the Christmas decorations were in, not tackling the whole dang place. I reduces by boxes by about 4, at least I have 4 extra storage tubs – yippee. I moved to the garage and replaced some cardboard boxes with the tubs and rearranged a few things in there. Then my dear hubby swept the garage and neatened even more. Yay!!!

Today my goal was to clear out all freezers and refrigerators, yeah all, you know you are a homesteader when you have more than two freezers or refrigerators!! By cleaning out I can figure out what I do have and use it up before spending money on more. 😀

But I had a killer headache this morning, one of the worst I have had in almost 3 years so I rested, drank tea, had a head massage – yay again for my honey and then after lunch I was up for the challenge. Sigh – BIG JOB.

I did not finish but I did clean out the inside refrigerator and freezer and the garage fridge/freezer. Look how nice!!!

inside fridge
inside fridge
outside fridge
outside fridge
outside fridge door - salve oils
outside fridge door – salve oils

Oh and who needs to buy canning jars…just clean out the refrigerator!!!! Hahahahaha

oh my goodness jars!!!
oh my goodness jars!!!

Now tomorrow to tackle the big chest freezer which is completely full!! Thank goodness most of it is meat and fish but I am sure to find some casseroles and mystery sauces from earlier this year.

Well I hope you do not think I am too weird now. Gosh I just showed my pictures of my inside of my fridge – whoa!

So what do you have on your list to do for the New Year?

Anne-Marie

Day 23: Finding Freedom in Frugality

cute barter

“I buy my freedom with my frugality.”~Vicki Robins

With all that we have learned this past month, how do you feel? Hopefully quite a bit better than when we started the challenge. There is so much community within this Frugal Living Challenge group even though we don’t know every person, although there are many from the Ladies Homestead Gathering –  I love the sharing of ideas!!!

My hope is this: That you come away from this challenge with more arrows in your quiver, to conquer any obstacle that may cross your path and even if it appears as a gigantic boulder, know that you can break it down into tiny pebbles. I hope that many of you will cook from scratch, continue to recycle and reuse, to save resources and not waste and most of all enjoy doing what you are doing! While it is great to be frugal when you WANT to be, it is even better to be able to do it when you HAVE to be frugal.

I don’t know if I mentioned Mavis Butterfield from One Hundred Dollars a Month, I think I did. Mavis chooses to be frugal especially with her grocery budget of, you guessed it $100 a Month for a family of four. She barters for many items and finds free food sources but it is the reason behind that I think she does it. Mavis travels all over the world with her family, mostly I read it is her daughter that goes with her, and because of her frugality, she can jump on a plane anytime she feels like it! That to me is incredibly cool!!!

Here is a post from One Hundred Dollars a Month from yesterday regarding Free National Park Admissions –

 

“You know I love to travel, and while I’d hop a flight to London every month if I could swing it, there are so many cool places in the US I love exploring too. Some of our national parks top my list of awesome places to vacation to. I might not be much of a camper, but I love to hike. And I’ve seen some pretty amazing views while hiking through some of our national parks.

Did you know there are over 400 national parks in the US? Wowzas. Some of the best ones charge admission fees, so you’ll want to pay attention to the list of 2014 fee-free days below if you’re planning on visiting one of the fee-based national parks anytime soon:

Free National Park Admission Dates:

  • January 20- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 15-17- Presidents Day weekend
  • April 19-20- opening weekend of National Park Week
  • August 25- National Park Service Birthday
  • September 27- National Public Lands Day
  • November 11- Veterans Day

Other agencies participate in fee-free days as well. See the full list and participating agency below:

Dates Event Participating Agency
Jan. 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Feb. 15-17 President’s Day Weekend Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
April 19-20 National Park Week’s opening weekend National Park Service
June 14 National Get Outdoors Day U.S. Forest Service
Aug. 25 National Park Service’s 98th Birthday National Park Service
Sept. 27 National Public Lands Day Army Corps of Engineers
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Oct. 12 National Wildlife Refuge Day U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Nov. 8-11 Veteran’s Day Weekend Army Corps of Engineers
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Nov. 11 Veteran’s Day National Park Service

 

End of Mavis’ post!

I am going to print that out and save it somewhere so I can check out some more parks!!!

So I must say goodbye to all of you for the end of the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge!!! I have had a wonderful time with it and will be continuing the regular blogging of saving money, herbal adventures, cooking, farm life and all that fabulous stuff.

Please, please share my blog with your friends if you enjoyed this past month and we will do more in the near future. Don’t forget if you are on the facebook group to make sure your name is in Thursdays(Day 21) post that was pinned to the top. I will be giving away a prize and announce the winner Monday morning. 🙂

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal:
Take time to evaluate all that you have learned over the past 23 days and answer this question…”Where do I go from here?”

Have a beautiful day!

Anne-Marie

Day 22: Tips That Are Guaranteed To Save You Money!

                                                   stretched-dollar-bill-0907-mdn

                              “You cannot bring about prosperity

                                         by discouraging thrift.

                                 You cannot establish sound security

                                       on borrowed money.

                                 You cannot keep out of trouble

                           by spending more than you earn.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Love that quote! So sad, second to last day of our 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge. I know many of you want to keep the facebook group going and that is totally fine with me. I may change the name but there are now so many resources on it for us to keep and share and pin and print out and HOPEFULLY do!

I thought I would compile a list of money saving tips that I have gotten from various blogs and from YOU, the readers!

1. DIY – because that is what we are all striving for. Do what you can for yourself and your family. Many things can be handmade, homemade or created by you. If not find a friend that has a hobby that you don’t and barter. Win,win for all!

2. Don’t Shop – stay home as much as possible, you will enjoy your life better and keep money in your pocket. If you can’t go out, you can’t really spend or I should say impulse spend. If you still are addicted to shopping stay off Amazon – 🙂

3. LIST – Keep a list going of things you are about to run out of on the refrigerator – this way when you do go to the store, you can get it instead of waiting until the last minute and hopefully you will have a coupon for it. While we are on that subject, if you don’t already – train the whole family to write on the list anything that is finished and in need like using the last of the toothpaste or the last of the mayo.

4. The 30 Day List – remember that one? Did any of you put something on it this month? Do you still NEED or WANT it?

5. Buy Used whenever possible or if you must buy new, appliances or computers, definitely put it on the 30 Day List and shop around until you have the absolute best price you can get. Sometimes waiting just a few weeks results in a super deal.

6. Put the debit card and credit cards away! Use cash or if you must – get a reloadable card and put small amounts on them. When you are done, you are done. You will be less likely to spend $100 when all you have is $50 in cash.

7. Stay Healthy! This will definitely save you the big bucks in the long run. Eat good, healthy, local, organic if possible, exercise and lead a stress free life. OK so no one is going to be completely stress-free but realistically you can alleviate some of the stress in your life and enjoy it more.

8. Eat those leftovers! Many of you have posted that one.

9. Barter and Share 

10. Visit flylady for some helpful time saving household tips – saving time saves you money!

11. Have a budget and try your best to stick to it. Slip ups are normal, no one is perfect.

12. Clean out the closets! Clean, give away and sell – make some cash!

13. Make Gifts – and that kind of fits in with #1 but making gifts is more personal and saves bucks. Have a party or a class and make gifts together – way more fun! I actually have a class here once a year before Christmas and I get all the supplies to make Herbal Gifts. Last year was incredibly fun.

14. Rent instead of buying. I have done this for textbooks and for electronic. I don’t always need a camcorder but when I do, I go rent one for about $15 for the week.

15. Cook from Scratch

16. Take care of all of your possessions. Maintain cars, house filters, ac units, fences etc… The more you take care of stuff, the longer it lasts. The longer it lasts, the less you have to replace.

17. Save on utilities. We talked a bit about this one. Did anyone lower one of their bills this month? I was more observant with lights, ac, stove, dryer usage. We will see when the bill comes in!!!

18. Read from the library or online instead of buying books or magazines. Oh I forgot to tell you, the other day I had an impulse buy and bought a magazine for $5.99 – yikes!!!!

19. Stay Home – Using the car less means using less gas. If you absolutely need something from the store ask someone else to bring it to you on the way home or do without until you go out the next day.

20. Go for a walk. Now why would that save you money? Well because sometimes I get my best ideas when I go for a walk and I may create a new herbal product or bread recipe or think about some other way to make or save money.

21. Find a buddy to be frugal with. Or better yet, find a bunch of buddies!! 😉 With frugal friends you will never find yourself ordering a Starbuck’s coffee, go shopping at the mall AND eat lunch at PF Changs. (Shuddering)

22. Find a better bank – one that actually pays interest on your money. If not then invest in something with a better return.

23. Join Walmart’s Saving Catcher – I am not a fan of Walmart either but this is a good one according to one of the readers. If you join and purchase something from Walmart then find a less expensive price, you scan the receipt and the ad for the other store and they put money in your account for later. Sounds wonderful, especially for sale shoppers!!

So there you go, 23 savings tips for our 23 Day Challenge!

Don’t forget if you are on our facebook group you must comment in the thread from yesterday about converting your husband. It can be any comment even one word just so you are entered in the drawing for the prize box at the end of the week. Sorry no new folks please, just the 87 that are on the challenge page. 🙂

Now it is Your Turn – What is your favorite money saving tip, even if you have said it before AND which tip would you like to implement now?

Have a fabulous day people!

Anne-Marie

 

 

Day 21: Converting The Spouse

frugal living button

“Patience gives your spouse permission to be human. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time that they deserve to correct it. It gives you the ability to hold on during the rough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure.” ~ Stephen Kendrick

As I am writing this, I think about the 1st day or a day prior to starting when I wrote about the guy that MADE his wife only use two squares of toilet paper and it just made me laugh again!!! That was cheap, cheap, cheap! We are not going to talk about converting the spouse to be like that nor will WE be like that.

I am the frugal one in the family. I rinse, reuse, recycle practically everything. The hubby recycles because he knows how I feel about it and since we have to drive our trash to the dump off place anyway, it really is not a big deal to separate all the trash and put each in its respective bin. My child on the other hand tells me that when he moves into his own place, he will use paper plates as much as he wants and NOT recycle – sigh…..he says that now because he has to help dear hubby on trash days. We all say things as teenagers that don’t agree with the parents sooooo maybe he will change his mind later on in life. 🙂

Back to the hubby, he is fabulous at using whatever materials we have laying around to fix or create something rather than go to Home Depot. He made an entire chicken house out of leftover stuff that we save in a pile on the side of the house. Although repairing my wood board fence as many times as we have, I kinda think we need to go buy some boards soon. Some have been patched, nailed together, extra pieces of wood on the fence posts so the boards will reach – hee, hee, hee well it works! If I ever move, my next house will have a fence that cannot be messed with by the horses!

Now when it comes to food, my family are definitely foodies. They LOVE good food, expect dessert every night and don’t like repeats of meals too often which creates a budget and menu higher than I care to spend. While I do get my food budget lower than in the past and make just about everything from scratch – we still buy candy, soda(only for hubby), beer, wine, ice cream, steaks, seafood – well you get the picture. My family will absolutely NOT eat beans other than green beans and the closest I can get to vegetarian meals once or twice a week is pasta with marinara sauce. Pretty sad huh? No biggie, it actually works. What steps have you taken to convert your family into a more frugal lifestyle?

Electric is another waster that the guys need to cut back on. They keep the tv, computer and radio on ALL THE TIME!!!! UUggggghhh. On a positive note, the guys do know I only buy clothes and shoes on sale or anything else we need. No full price. If it is not on sale, we don’t get it. Period.

Read these words of encouragement from Andrea B. at Frugally Sustainable. I know this post is longer than most but hang in there folks!

“[T]hroughout the course of our Challenge I have heard from so many of you who are claiming dramatic changes in thinking and behavior. You are learning to live and love frugality — yet many of you have expressed concern regarding your spouse. Today, the 21st day of our 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge, I’d like to speak a word of encouragement to those of you struggling to covert your spouse from wasteful spenders to frugal champions.

Many of us understand the societal pressures that comes when attempting to live frugally — but the ultimate discouragement comes into play when we struggle to covert a spouse that is resistant to any change in thinking. When I asked on Facebook for you to list your biggest obstacles to frugal living — whether or not you were joking or serious — most of you commented and said your biggest obstacle was…”my spouse”

The problem.

Here’s the hard cold truth: You cannot change your spouse (And if you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time you know this! But it’s still worth repeating.).

Any lasting change can only come from within and the individual must be willing to make the change on their own terms.

I know this sounds like such a downer, but I’m here to encourage you and say, never give up hope! If you are to have any success in converting your spouse over to the frugality side of the fence, you must first understand a few things about wasteful spenders:

  1. They were never taught the concepts of money management. Unfortunately, the ability to manage our money is not innate…we have to be taught these things…and if we’re never taught we, by default, start to pick up bad habits.
  2. Therefore, wasteful spenders do not fully understand the concept of money.
  3. They aren’t able to make the distinction between happiness and money.
  4. They don’t understand the freedom that comes from proper money management and enjoying what they have.
  5. Any confrontation of, or challenge to, their spending habits is seen as punishment and only pushes them toward more wasteful spending.

What are we to do?

In love, we persist. Never give up! Here are a few suggestions to guide you along the process of converting your spouse:

Spearhead the conversation.
There never seems to be a good time to talk about money, but right in the middle of an argument is probably not the best time to bring it up (just sayin’). Always try to spearhead the frugal living conversation when your spouse is stress-free, or at least in a good mood. You may even want to set up a specific time to sit down and talk about it.

Gather the Stats.
Come to the conversation with your numbers clearly listed. Use whatever visual tools (charts, graphs, spreadsheets, etc.) necessary to communicate the flow of money in and out of the bank account. In order for this to be effective you have to take the lead role and begin now tracking your spending habits. There are several really excellent tools out thereready to help keep you organized.

Never name call, accuse, or blame.
In the heat of the moment I know it’s difficult to stay calm, but it’s vital that you find a way to stick to the facts. Name calling, accusations, and blaming will shut down your conversation and render any future discussions on the topic useless. Resist the temptation to inject your “feelings” about the matter and simply relay the facts. It’s hard to argue with the facts.

Set goals.
Together come to an agreement on financial goals. Sometimes when we talk about money – especially this day and age of plastic — it seems like some theoretical concept. We generally have a hard time visualizing it. This is why goal setting is vital to our financial victory and vital in converting a wasteful spender. Be specific! Agree on the time frame in which the goal will be reached. And find a way to keep the goal at the forefront of you thoughts.

Baby-steps.
Zero to sixty is just not a realistic financial strategy. Establish a list of small changes that you can recommend to your spouse and begin slowly implementing them one at a time. For example, suggest using the 30-day list for large purchases. Commit to it for a 2-3 months and see how it goes. If he/she embraces it, move on to something else. Here’s another one…does your spouse hate to take leftovers to work? Why don’t you suggest he/she choose only one day a week to brown bag it. Baby-steps!

Allow for an allowance
Okay…I know it sounds silly to allow an adult to have “an allowance” but here me out on this:) Just this one tip makes all the difference for me and my husband. This type of discretionary spending is a pre-set amount of money – whatever amount fits into your budget — that can be spent without criticism from either party. It’s great! No questions asked, just a little fun money:)

Direct them to the Challenge.
Gently recommend that your spouse read through the posts of the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge:) And conveniently leave other books on the topic laying around the house (i.e.The Complete Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life)

Learn the prayer of serenity.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Memorize it!

Be patient.
Neither my husband nor I were raised to live frugally — we have learned are learning to live it slowly over time. Sometimes he does better than me and vice versa. Try not to push your spouse too hard, it only leads to resentment and bitterness. Respect their attempts at frugal living and understand that changes in behavior come as a result of changes in thinking and desire.”

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal: Talk with your spouse and set a date to discuss your financial concerns, goals, and changes you’d like to implement.

Have a super fabulous day today!

Anne-Marie

 

Wildcrafting Wednesday

Day 20: Time Management and Time Wasters

time-management-mind-map-paul-foreman

Today I want to discuss with you – TIME. We all have it, we all waste it, what do you do with it? It is productive most of the time or can you do better with your time management?

After reading a blog from The Simple Dollar, I found a couple of things that peaked my interest for this morning. Time Management stood out to me because I find myself constantly looking for something in the house, for that piece of paper I wrote on, for a book that was misplaced, for a recipe – I can’t remember which book it was in…you get the picture. Yeah as I get older, I can no longer keep every little tidbit of information in the back of my brain! 😀 So I use notebooks for many thoughts, ideas, tasks and notes in general. Notebooks this time of year cost like 10 cents – go get a dozen!!!

I have one labeled for each group I may belong to – Bella Vista Farm,  Herbal Class, Ladies Homestead Gathering, the 23 Day group and then one for Mountain Rose Herbs – orders and such, Recipes, Ideas and now I will keep one in my purse – a tiny one. So when I leave to go to the store I can write a list inside it instead of forgetting the list on the table – uuggghhh. It is not often I do that but it inevitably results in a forgotten item which in turn results in a return trip to the store and wasted gas.

The best time management tip I can give is to make lists – make list of EVERYTHING that needs to get done for the week and then prioritize what needs to be done first and cross off as each task gets done. This makes me feel wonderful!!

check-it-off

Here’s another blog with time management tips.

Of course purging stuff in the house and reorganizing should help with the said lost items I am looking for. How many of you put a piece of paper in a book or somewhere – “for safe keeping” that you swear you will remember where you put it – hahaha! So in the challenge if you have not yet done the purging of unwanted and un-needed items, NOW is the time to do it! Go get a couple boxes worth of stuff to either sell or donate asap. You will feel incredibly lighter and more organized. I started to do it and have two bags/boxes in the garage – that is as far as I got. MUST finish- there is still the basement and the attic.

I really am organized for the most part – I keep a schedule of what I am doing for the week and most things get crossed off the list. Dinner is always on the table by 6:15pm, I am always up by 5:45-6am.

What is your schedule like for the day and where do you find you waste your time? What can you do better? What tips can you give others?

Earlier I mentioned The Simple Dollar – head on over there and read the following- it fits right into our challenge.

Little Steps:100 Great Tips For Saving Money

Now It Is Your Turn:

What is your schedule like for the day and where do you find you waste your time? What can you do better? What tips can you give others?

Enjoy!

Anne-Marie

Day 19: Living The Good Life, No Matter What The Checkbook Says


                        “If you have a garden and a library,
you have everything you need.” – Cicero

We are in the last few days of our 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge so by now I’ll bet you all can breathe a little easier after what you have been learning and hopefully practicing. Remember it is not about doing without, it is about enjoying and accepting what you DO have. 🙂 Enjoy the following post on “Living The Good Life, No Matter What The Checkbook Says”.

“There are so many families that are currently struggling daily to keep their heads above water…they have lost their jobs, they have lost their homes, and they’re earning much less than they are acustom to. Yet some of these same people are raising their children with deeply-rooted values, enjoying an intimate relationship with their spouse, and finding joy in all things – despite the difficulties they’re experiencing.

It proves that you can live on a tight tight budget, find happiness, and experience the good life all at the same time!

How to live the good life no matter what the checkbook says.

Living the good life has everything to do with quality over quantity and people over possessions. It has very little to do with how much money you have.

Given that assumption, here are a few suggestions to help us prioritize those things that truly matter – no matter what the checkbook says.

1. Develop your passions. Money and consumerism dampens our creativity and puts the fire out on our passions. When we learn to appreciate who we are, and what we have, our passions have the ability to reignite. You already possess everything you need to live the good life – it’s time you embrace who you are and what you love.

The whole world is at your fingertips! :)
The whole world is at your fingertips! 🙂

2. Learn a new skill. Developing our passions may mean we have to learn a new skill — or refine old ones. But this doesn’t necessarily mean we need a formal higher education! That’s right…contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars obtaining a degree in order to live the good life. Read! Read everything you can get your hands on that talks about the things you are interested in. On top of reading, there are several excellent ways to learn a new skill that won’t cost you a penny: ***On this subject from AM – I have apprenticed or bartered for almost all of my skills including nail technician, riding instructor, herbalist, seed saver, chef, etc… Network with the Ladies Homestead Gathering for many opportunities to learn***

3. Invest in people. For most of my adult life, this has been my motto. If ever in doubt…invest in people. The people that matter don’t care about your money, they care about you and want you. Living the good life involves sharing it with others and when we prioritize and invest in people we always get a return on our investment.

4. Volunteer you time. Voluteering your time to help those who are less fortunate than you is a big piece to the ‘good life’ puzzle. I don’t care who you are, or how little you have, there’s always someone who has less. There’s always someone worse off. I use to think to myself, “I can’t wait until I’m out of debt ’cause then I can give more.” Then I realized I can give more now — I can give my time at the shelter, I can give my time to homeschooling my children, and I can give my time teaching my neighbor how to start a garden — and when I give my time, I feel fulfilled.

5. Enjoy nature. I think that a lot of people think that traveling, leisure, and vacationing have to be some big thing, like going to Europe or the Caribbean, but it really doesn’t have to be. You know what we do? We go out into nature — camp, hike, take a walk on the beach — you don’t have to go far in order to experience a different a different way of life. Growing up we hardly ever spent the night in a hotel, and I never even traveled internationally until high school (and that was only to Mexico). Nonetheless, I still feel like a well-traveled individual, primarily because of the love for nature that my Dad and Mom instilled into me.

6. Health is wealth. And prevention is key! Take care of your body, mind, and soul. Eat a healthy diet, reduce stress, and nurture your spirit. Nothing has the ability to destroy the good life — and our financial stability – like a chronic illness. And who’s to say, illness may come in spite of all the “right” things that we do. Yet, all things point to a better quality of life when we take care of ourselves. And as we’ve discussed before, eating simple, healthy, in-season foods doesn’t have to expensive and living frugally often leads to less stress.

7. Stay home. Stop shopping, stop running from hear to there, stop thinking that you have to take some extravagant vacation, all to experience the good life. Why don’t you stay home for a change. Enjoy the home that you work so hard to pay for. Cook from scratch at home…instead of eating out. Workout at home…instead of going to the gym. Relax at home…instead of going to some fancy hotel.

Our happiness and contentment in this life is dependent only on our ability to enjoy what we have. The good life is waiting…” Andrea B. – Frugally Sustainable

From AM – Also here are some helpful links for sites and books that are free or inexpensive for learning a new skill:

Free Courses – learn just about anything at Coursera!

Open Courseware FREE at MIT

Botany Everyday free class

Greenhorns Book

Greenhorn Video – a film about a young farmers’ entrepreneurial spirit! Cheap to rent.
The Greenhorns

Free Kindle Book for junior entreprenuers

Learn How to Farm book free

How To Raise Alpacas – 99 cents

Breadmaking how to videos

 

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal: What small step can you take today that will lead you closer toward the good life?

 

Have a great day today!

Anne-Marie

*Affiliate links – I do post affiliate links on my page for your convenience and do receive a small commission if a purchase is made from the link at no cost to you. Thank you for visiting our affiliates. 🙂

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