I wrote the following last September, when my husband lost his job (our sole income) and Hurricane Ivan hit us, within 2 weeks of each other. As we were spinning, literally and mentally, I learned a few things and wrote them in the below article:
A side benefit to being frugal with money (ie. broke) occurred recently when the children wanted to decorate cupcakes. We’d run out of sprinkles but my!, they were amazed that I could make colored sugar. They kept hollering, “Look! Mama MADE this sugar! Look, it’s colored!” I’ve learned a few other things about being frugal in the house in this hard time:
* Buying generic brands in everything is frustrating to me, but it has also introduced me to a few alternate products. The store-brand Saltines in one store, for example, tastes like the Premium brand.
* Laundry gets just as clean on a longer cycle with half the detergent called for on the box.
* Dishes get just as clean on half the detergent, as long as you rinse them well first.
* Breakfast is cheaper by far without cold cereal. Cereal uses too much expensive milk! I’ve been making muffins, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, etc. (my 9yo said, “Mom, I don’t know why, but our breakfasts have been really good lately!”)
* The children don’t need prepared snack foods like Cheez-Its and Rold Gold pretzels. They will keep content as long as they have something when they are hungry.
* Free, fresh eggs from our chickens are awfully useful.
* The chickens can live – and thrive – on only table scraps (thanks to the baby, we have plenty!) and free-ranging (that’s a term for letting them loose).
* All scrap paper should be saved. The toddler (2) doesn’t notice that one side is used when she is in a scribbling mood.
* Children are immensely amused with scissors, magazines, a glue stick, and paper. Tell them to create a book by folding the paper in half and stapling it (or using a hole punch and yarn) on the folded side.
* People love homemade cards from the children, made from the above.
* Meat does not have to be a main dish.
* Rice & beans or pasta can be an inexpensive main dish, with meat as the “seasoning” or as the side item.
* Water and microfiber cleaning cloths (.99 at WalMart in the automotive section) can polish any window or stainless steel and can clean any smooth surface of grime – without expensive, unhealthy chemicals.
* A garden is an important thing to plant each year. You never know when life will throw you a curve ball.
* Hospitality is still important, even when broke. I have been more blessed by going to a poor gal’s home and experiencing her generosity with her homebaked goods and tea than I ever have in a rich gal’s home.
* When you give away extra things generously, God will always bless you in return. I have seen this many, many times.
by Lori Seaborg