by Tammy Taylor~
As anyone who is self-employed can attest, being self employed requires a special money-management mindset. Since leaving the corporate workplace, our work hours are longer and our pay is substantially smaller and not near as systematic. Make no mistake, money is tight at the Taylor Homestead! But there’s no place I’d rather be and the benefits FAR outweigh any financial drawbacks.
Plus it’s easy to make adjustments. We just look for tiny ways to save throughout our typical week. Maybe you’re looking for easy, painless ways to save a few bucks too? As an added bonus, many times those money-saving measures are good for the environment too. Come see 5 frugal things we did this week to save money.
1. Home Cooking
One of the most important ways we save money each week is to cook and eat at home. But our days are busy & I don’t like to start from scratch each day. So I utilize the Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking.
For instance that delicious meatloaf I cooked & froze a couple of weeks ago? I pulled a serving from the freezer, crumbled it and made it into quick quesadillas one night. Another night previously-frozen grilled steaks were brought out, sliced thinly and wrapped in flour tortillas. I just add a couple of sides for a quick meal. Saving money on food can make a huge impact.
But for busy families desiring to eat healthier homemade food, this is important:
Eating homemade food doesn’t have to involve cooking from scratch every day!
2. Quick Homemade Cake
We were invited to a family member’s house for supper. When asked what I could bring to go with the meal they commented nothing was necessary, but if I really wanted to I could bring something for dessert. So it was a quick & delicious chocolate Crazy Cake to the rescue. I baked it up fresh before we left home and the cost was simply pennies. The cake required no eggs, milk or butter (although I added a quick but decadent no-cook frosting that had butter in it)
3. Feeding The Birds
We love the hummingbirds and have a feeder where we can easily watch them from our living room. Back in ‘the day’ I’d buy that red-colored hummingbird feed sold in a plastic pouch from the store. That is until I found out how ridiculously easy it is to make my own hummingbird food.
I use this same mindset when feeding the wild birds. Again, back in ‘the day’ I used to buy the biggest bag of bird seed I could lug out of the big-box store. Until I discovered that chicken scratch is much loved by the wild birds and so much cheaper. And that larger 50-lb bag is a fraction of the cost of a smaller 10-20 lb bag of bird seed. Our feeder is always packed with hungry birds and we enjoy many different and colorful bird species.
Not only is it substantially cheaper, but an added bonus is that chicken scratch is sold in paper bags instead of plastic wild bird seed bags. When empty I either use those paper bags as weed control under my mulch or in my composter to satisfy the ‘browns’ requirement in my compost mix.
4. Electric Plan Benefits
RancherMan & I are on a new electric plan that rewards you when you conserve electricity. For this plan, if you can keep your monthly kilowatt hours to under 1,000 – your bill will only be $25. (I think this was just a pilot plan & I don’t think this plan is even available anymore) Conserving electricity is my wheel house so this works doubly well for us! But Texas summers are hot & humid. So I incorporate many ways to conserve electricity:
To keep our air conditioner from working overtime this week I cooked my ‘boiled eggs‘ outside in the solar oven to make the deviled eggs for the covered-dish luncheon at our church. And we enjoyed heat-n-eat entrees from our freezer so the microwave would heat the food quickly & without throwing out too much heat into our home.
We used passive solar to our advantage, opening the windows to let in the natural light but closing windows that were receiving sunshine to reduce heating. And I made sun tea for inexpensive cold refreshing drinks using no electricity at all.
All these things not only keep us from using too much electricity, but also easily keep us beneath that money-saving 1,000 kwh mark. So far we’ve not gone over by using these tricks.
5. Laundry Day, On The CHEAP!
Aaaah yes. Laundry. The job everyone loves to hate. But I actually enjoy laundry. Well… I don’t know about enjoy, but I certainly don’t hate it.
I do our laundry using my own homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent and then hang our clean clothes up on our *Retractable Clothesline outside under that blue Texas sky. To me, hanging the laundry is a soul-quieting chore as I soak up that sunshine and listen to the birds. And c’mon – who doesn’t love that line-dried aroma??
Plus doing our laundry this way uses precious little energy. Our energy-saver front-loader washing machine wastes very little water and there’s zero cost of using the dryer… which is one of the highest energy-using hogs in a typical home.
Small Changes, Big Rewards
Other than the above tasks are making another batch of Homemade Hairspray & more Sheer Face Powder this week. We also bundled our errands together so that we’re only getting out and making the rounds once, made sure to make proper use of all leftovers before they went bad, stopped by a thrift store for a needed item and more. For us it’s just a gentle rhythm of daily tasks that all come together to make a nice little financial benefit.
You see? It’s really just a mindset of plugging the tiny financial holes that are leaking cold, hard cash from your budget.
What about you? What have you done this week to save some money?