Saturday, September 8, 2012

Living A Simple Life

For several years now I have been increasingly concerned with the economy and fuel and food prices.  I heard this summer that over the last four years Americans have lost 40% of their wealth, due to increased taxes, the devaluing of the dollar and the loss of property values.  40 percent!  Good thing we had been taking steps toward a more simple life.

For most of my married life, I have cooked from scratch.  When I was in missions training I learned how to make white sauce as a basis for cream soups, how to can, how to live simply.  I loved it, thought it was not always convenient.

A few years ago I told Tim I wanted to have a vegetable garden and grow more than tomatoes.  I wanted the girls to be comfortable  gardening too, and I wanted them to know those skills that my great grandma was very comfortable with!

So we began with some raised beds.  We also got some chickens.  We have learned a lot.

But today, I wanted to share with you about some of the things we do to save money and to live a more frugal lifestyle.

1. We cook mostly from scratch.  You will find very few convenience food items in my freezer or pantry.  Convenience foods are often full of unhealthy things as well, and I like knowing that my creamy soup is only milk, butter, flour and organic soup base.  I use "Better Than Bouillon," for flavoring beef or chicken based soups.

2. We make our own laundry detergent, hand soap and toothpaste!  It's so easy, I am amazed that it took me so long to realize you can make your own!

3. We wear aprons!  I am a messy cook and gardener and it helps me save my clothes from ruin!  Besides I like having the pockets to hold my phone or clippers.  

4. We sew, though not as often as we did before we bought the shoppe.  Simple skirts, dresses, tote bags - this is a great way to save.

5. We shop consignment stores and thrift shops.  This is a huge way to save money on clothing. Also on occasion we find something great on sale.  Today I popped into an Orvis store at our local Outlet Mall.  I was not familiar with this store at all but I like it a lot.  While there are some items that are way over priced, many clothing items were reasonable for the quality and I found a beautiful wool skirt for the Lindsay and Emily for $9.00!!!! It is fully lined!  I could not buy the fabric for $9.00 to make the skirt myself!

This is getting pretty long, so I'll stop here for now.  I hope this will encourage you to see the things that we are doing to stretch our dollars.  I bet you are doing some of the same things too!

Have any different tips you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear them!


  1. This is something that I crave, but at the same time have a hard time getting to that point.

    My list of things to do from scratch once we have our own home is long.

    I tell myself I can't do it in the apartment because we just don't have the space.

    I also think that we are conditioned from birth to accumulate, to buy, to want. T and I just started Dave Ramsay's program to get out of debt. In the last week I have spent 7 dollars, by I'm almost having an anxiety attack over not being able to just go browse! LOL

    29 years of habits that need to be broken so that we can live the life God intended us to live.

    This is now offiially almost as long as your blog. Thank you for sharing, I'd love to hear more.

  2. How does one make her own toothpaste? I have used peroxide and baking soda, but making toothpaste? And how is it stored? I finally purchased the items for making my own laundry soap. I do not like the laundry soap and am whining for my TIDE. I won't be buying TIDE until the prices drop however so I'll just have to get used to the homemade.

    Excellent, timely, informative post! Who would think that in the 21st Century we'd have had to go so far backward due to such difficult economic times? It is truly third world.

  3. We have been on the same page~ I make all most of my toiletries because at first price, but then after I learned was going into the items all for vanity or convenience.

    I pray many are getting back to basics as it is healthier and brings the family together.

    Thanks for sharing!


  4. We are on a journey to simplicity - I think it is an ever going process. We do many of the same things you do, which saves us lots of money. :) We enjoy cooking at home, sewing our clothes, and gardening - and plan on homesteading soon. Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend ~

  5. Actually, the American family lost 40% of it's wealth from 2007 to 2010 from the resources I've read. So this downward spiral began quite a while ago with the Great Recession which was fueled by the housing crisis and banking/securities "irregularities".

    Those are great tips you gave. I really think I'm going to try making my own hand soap. How do you make yours? Great score on the wool skirt! I like shopping thrift stores too. I envy you your chickens!! We have a hawk that likes to walk around our backyard like he owns it :)

  6. I cannot tell you how much I love this post! Saving money is the name of the game and I love to find ways to save as much as possible!

    Since we live on what most would consider the poverty line, my husband and I live on necessities.

    All of our furniture is handed down, and this fall, I have plans to paint some of the furniture and make it our 'new'. I make all the cleaning supplies for the house, as well as laundry detergent, hand soap, body wash, and face cream. We compost all organic food items, and I make all our baked goods. Nothing is prepackaged.

    This fall my husband is hoping to hunt deer with our neighbor and we will share the meat. My in-laws raise chickens and we help feed and clean the coop in exchange for eggs. I have plans for a decent garden crop next year. (My husband laughs because my dream gift is a dehydrator or a wheat grinder!).

    We haven't been out to eat in a year and half and we don't shop. We each get a clothing allowance for the year, but usually whatever money is gifted for birthdays or holidays is enough to fill in the gaps. For example, last night, I shopped online with the birthday money given to me by my in-laws. Most of the clothing was 80% off, while being high quality and modest.

    Our neighbors are always giving us extra veggies, since they know nothing goes to waste here :) This winter, I will be picking pecans from our neighbors tree.

    We also only have one car. This has been difficult to get used to, since it keeps me home while my husband is working, but God has turned my heart and shown me the importance of being home.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Great post!

    My son-in-law makes an excellent salary but even they are thinking of downsizing. The cost of utilities, food, and gas (he commutes 90 min. each way) are overwhelming them.

    I know what you mean about finding great sales. We have gone to the end of season sales at Macy's and such and found items for a fraction of their original cost.

    I have a great Goodwill just a few miles from me that has an excellent selection of clothing. I think because it is in a University town.

    Also, I just recently stopped by the Mission Thrift Store in town and found the cutest Coldwater Creek skirt for $3.00.

    I use Charlie's Soap but with no kids at home, I don't do but four loads of laundry a week. Otherwise, most of what we do is from scratch.

  8. I did not come into my marriage as a thrifty person...basically, I was just clueless. But I married Ron, who grew up in a large family, and knew how to economize.

    I now believe that being thrifty is a's just a way of looking at money and stewardship and making hundreds of small choices to be wise with our gifts.

    We do things like drive "final owner vehicles" (my friend's description ;), cook from scratch, and fix up an old farmhouse that most people would never have given a second look.

    I am interested in hearing what you do, and what other readers do to economize. I like to think of it as being a good steward...not out of fear, but out of honor for the Giver.

  9. This was a great post! The best part of all that you do is the heritage you give your children. :-)

  10. Aprons! I love it...I have aprons I still wear that belonged to my great-grandmother. I guess things were made to last back then cause they are still perfect. Well maybe a few more stains but in good shape. Did you have a post about "rag quilts" a long time ago? I am wanting to give it a try again. You have inspired me...again.


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