Thursday, October 28, 2010

Frugal Living: Part 1

I'm going to be making several posts on Frugal Living.  Not that I'm an expert or anything.  I'm just going to share my story and the things I learned along the way.  I hope to be posting every couple of days until I feel I have completely given you everything I have found helpful!  So here we go....

Wow!  Don't you love the sound of that....frugal.  

At first that sounded like a dirty word to me.  Of course, I didn't understand what "frugal" was.  I thought frugal meant cheap!!!!  But, it doesn't.  It means, thrifty, smart with one's money, clever even.  I like those much better than cheap.

It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I had to really learn what being frugal was.  My husband had a great paying job with all the perks.  Life was good.....or so we thought.

After many, many years with a company, they went bankrupt.  Not surprising in this economy.  But to us it was a total shock.  We never would have thought that we would be faced with such a thing.  And wouldn't you know, we didn't have a dime in savings.  We actually lived beyond our means (I am being completely honest and transparent here).  

So, back to the really good paying ended!  My husband had to take a job with less pay and less benefits.  (We have lost almost 3/4 of our income over the last 3 years.  That has been a huge change for us.)  It meant no more trips to town (we live about 20 minutes from the nearest store) everyday for silly stuff like eating out whenever or just because we were bored or whatever.   It meant no more shopping on a whim or even planned shopping.  Life as I knew it was changing....FAST!

Of course when your life changes so drastically you think you are dying....or at least I did.  I didn't give up without a fight.  I went down kicking and screaming!!!  I didn't want to be frugal.  I wanted my cake...and wanted to eat it too.  But God had other plans for us.  Plans we could never imagine.

And thus began my journey to FRUGAL LIVING!  Now I know those 2 little words can seem awful scary, but trust me they aren't so bad.  

The first thing that I knew needing a change was our grocery bill!  I was spending $200-300 per WEEK!!!  Yes, I said it..per week.  So, I started there.  And that is where I will start on this post.

We ate A LOT of convenience foods; cokes, cookies, know all that stuff that tastes so good but is really so bad for you!  Well, I cut all of those things out (except the occassional Diet Coke=).  I started cooking meals that would feed us for more than one night.  

EX:  I would bake a Turkey.  We ate it that first night with veggies, then the next night we had Turkey and Rice Soup, the next night we had Turkey Pot Pie and we even had Turkey sandwiches for lunch all week.  You would be surprised at how many meals you can get out of one Turkey!  Or you could always freeze it for later.  The options are endless really.  

I started making food from scratch:  Homemade bread, rolls, biscuits, etc. to start off.  Then I started making all of our desserts from scratch, and we grew a garden!  That makes a world of difference right there.  We are also avid hunters.  We keep our freezer full of deer meat year round!  Then we bought a hog to raise for slaughter.  We actually just took it last week and should be getting it back next week.  So, I won't be buying any meat for a very long time!!!!

Some other things I did to save on our grocery!  I HEART COUPONS=)  We stopped using paper plates, paper towels and other disposable items....except toilet paper of course! hehe

I make a menu plan each week.  I took a piece of paper and printed off the days of the week and then I laminated it. 
(This is it:  Very simple and doesn't have to be fancy!)

Then each week I sit down with a notebook, my menu, and a pen to plan our menu for the week.  As I decide what we are having for the week I use a dry erase marker to write in our menu.  Then I write down the ingredients for each meal.  Just doing that cuts down a lot!  If you go to the grocery store prepared you won't spend near as much money!!!!

Oh, lots of casseroles, one dish meals, soups, stews, etc.  And I searched the internet up and down for ways to save.  These are just a few of the ways you can save.  And at first it seems as though you are giving up everything, but now it's an adventure for me to see if I can out save myself.  I'm going to add some links to some really awesome websites, blogs, and such to help get you started.  There are tons of recipes, tips and tricks to help you on your journey.  God can use this to do so many things in your life.  He taught me humility through this and He brought my husband and I closer together.  It has been a wonderful experience for our family...hard, but wonderful. And it has taught us all that life isn't about how much money you make or have, what brand clothes you wear, what car you drive or how big your house is.  You can't take those things to Heaven with you.  

So here you go:

Angel Food Ministry  They have some really awesome deals!!!!

These are just a few websites and links, but it's a start for you!!!  I know you can do it!!!



  1. Hi, Maranda~

    Stopping by way of Stephanie! :> )

    Great post! I visit most of the sites you posted....they're awesome!


  2. Hi Laura~

    Thank you so much for stopping by! And for taking the time to read my post=)


  3. Super Post!! I can so relate, my husband lost his job May 2009. We moved to another state for a job and that wiped out most of our savings. He also works for much less money now. We are in the same boat with you, except we live in town now and cannot have animals. Oh how I wish we could. We did not do a garden this summer because our soil is very very poor and it would have taken a big investment. Maybe next summer.

  4. Wow, awesome post Maranda!! I have totally bookmarked these sites, thanks so much! I need to get a hog! And I plan on getting our garden ready for spring plantin'.


  5. What a wonderful site!!!!! It will be two years ago next week that Eric and I went through the same thing with a job lost and major cut in income. We have also learned the meaning of being frugal. But I am excited about all the tips and Ideas you have shared. They will Def. Be put to use in the Waller house hold. I enjoy reading so please continue to post your Ideas =)

  6. Thank you all so much!!! I am so excited that you all stopped by and that I was able to share some things that we had to learn...the hard way! LOL I plan to make several more posts about FRUGAL LIVING so keep checking back! I pray that you are all blessed & Highly FAVORED!

  7. Maranda, that's wonderful! Life can really throw a curve ball sometimes, but it sounds like you are doing what ya gotta do - making smart changes and taking control.

    I'd like to add the Frugal Food page from my website, Laughing Wallet, to your list of resources: Hopefully, there's some good stuff there that can add to what you're already successfully doing in your journey to a more frugal life!

  8. Suzanne~
    Thank you so much!!! I totally bookmarked your site! LOVE IT=)

    And you are so right! Life sure can throw some crazy challenges sometimes! But PRAISE GOD I learn FAST!!! LOL