I love getting emails about the stories of The Happy Rock readers. I wanted to share this particular one because it is a beautiful example of a family banding together focusing on what matters and making it work despite hardship. I thought you would appreciate and connect with it.
While I am not in credit card debt (been there, done that, ain’t going there again) my family is in a pretty bad financial situation:
Long story short: I have been a stay at home mom for almost 11 years. My husband had a good paying job/good insurance to support our 4 children. In 2006 he started getting ill, while I was pregnant with baby #4. His job went “south of the border” and he found out he has an auto-immune disease that he will have to take medication for the rest of his life. He now has a job that pays well below what he was making at his other job.
What we have done to survive:
- Started homeschooling the children to save on gas/school expenses.
- Grow our own food-including meat(grass fed so we don’t have to pay for corn).
- Grow a garden (fun stuff for miss city girl here-I feel like Zsa Zsa in Green Acres)
- Cut just about everything out that we can-reduced cable/got rid of long distance-only use calling cards/ talked to internet provider and got bill reduced $5.00/month, etc.
- Food—I make practically everything-from my own buns, to my own chicken noodle soup. I went to the grocery store-to the convenience isle and looked at what was already prepared in a can. I now can make almost all that stuff on my own.
- As for a vacation: We are planning on going on a 2500 mile round trip in a week. I am spending 70 dollars on food for my family of 6. I bake “snacks” before we go such as homemade granola, cookies, homemade “wheat thins”, caramel corn, banana bead. I also can make meals-like the ones in the convenience isle. On this trip I have prepared and canned beef stew, tuna and noodles, spaghetti, sausage-green beans-potatoes. We will be camping so that will save money too.
Other frugal tips :
- Bread bags/ties-clean bags and use for holding other foods. When the bag is on it’s last legs, I usually store bacon in it, then throw it away.
- Milk Jugs-punch holes in the bottom for kids watering can. Tops-kids practice tracing shapes, use for crafts, recycle.
- Foil-wash and use over. I rarely use plastic Wrap. I buy 1-2 foil boxes a year.
- Wax paper-I never buy this-I use the inside cereal box linings
- Peanut butter jars-clean, use as storage for dried beans, rice or left overs in fridge. Also, for the husband…use to store nails, screws, washers in.
- Newspaper (we don’t get one, but can acquire it from relatives) wash windows with it-no streaking. Also, wrap presents with the funnies.
- Frozen juice cans-I make cookie dough and squish it in them. cover(put in freezer bag) and freeze for up to 3 weeks. When ready to use, defrost and it usually falls right out. Just like store bought refrigerated dough. (though cookies are somewhat larger)
- Mustard bottles- wash and use to squeeze out paint for crafts
- Canned food (soup or vegetables)-recycle or my husband uses them for feeding scoops (for the animals) also we sometimes start plants in them and the plastic milk jugs
- We also use what is on hand for science experiments (homeschool)
- I buy storage bags about once a year (except when freezing produce)
- I don’t buy a lot of fancy craft supplies for the kids
- I can’t remember the last time I bought a food storage container
- I don’t buy a lot of cleaning products-I mainly use vinegar
- I go to the local bakery outlet about once a month and buy bread for the bags and ties. I usually make our own bread. Bread there costs 49 cents to 79 cents a loaf.