Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trying to Make Ends Meet on One Income

I have to say that my husband does a great job of providing for his family, but even so things are tight around here. God is amazing at helping us along as we look to Him in our lives as well. I have been learning (very slowly) ways I can help instead of hinder our financial situation. I wanted to share some things I do to make our money go further.

I found these drying racks at yard sales for $2 & $1. They are the perfect size for a load of laundry. We also have an enclosed porch that I can put them on in not so good weather. I have seen these racks at Home Hardware. It might be an option for people that live in a town where you're not allowed to have a clothes line. Just put them on your deck and start saving on the electric bill.
Also in the picture below, if you look really hard, (but please don't) you will see a garden in the background. With the price of fruits and veggies I think everyone should grow at least some things themselves. Plus, nothing tastes better then fresh produce right from the garden. I have also planted sunflowers all around my property to save for our chickens for winter. I'm going to try hanging the whole flower down in the barn so that they can peck at the seeds. It will give them something to do when they are stuck in the barn and sunflower seeds are very good for them.

I found a recipe online for home made dishwasher soap. I was out and I wasn't going to be going to Costco to buy our brand of soap for a while, so I thought I would try it out. It is so simple. Just equal parts of Baking Soda and Borax. I used the whole box of Baking Soda, then used the box to measure the Borax into a used margarine container. I made it almost 3 weeks ago and I've only used about half. To use, you put 2 tbsp in your soap dispenser. But what makes it really work is you put vinegar in the rinse cycle. I found it worked just as well as the Kirkland brand. Our coffee mugs never have come clean in our dishwasher, so I wash them buy hand. I think the cost will be about $2.00/month and a half - 2 months and we use the dishwasher everyday.

Other things I do to help are;
-Make our own bread
-Make our yogurt
-I went through some of our bills and found that I could cancel some of our telephone services that we don't use, which will save us $20/month and of course, I am really trying to cut our electric bill by $50/month
-Try to only buy things on sale and stock up if it's a great sale. I look in the flyer and plan our meals around what's on sale.
-We don't eat out a lot. I try to have a plan for meals so that we eat at home
-We buy a lot of our clothes at the thrift store or on clearance at the end of the season
-I preserve all our own jams and jellies,as well as fruit, meat, soups, etc.
-I stay away from stores as much as possible, because once I'm in a store it's hard not to buy anything
-I really try to utilize each trip to town and get as much done as I can, so that we're not driving back and forth a lot.
-I make our laundry soap. It costs about $0.75/year
-I haven't used a credit card to buy things in a few years (other then online)

If you are from a one income home and your husband is the one working, I encourage you to really think about how you are spending the money your husband makes. If you can master this end of your finances, it would be like having a part time job for all the extra money you could save your family. These lessons I have been learning were after we made some bad decisions and I had to learn them. I really wish I had been doing these things all along, but I guess that's how God teaches us. He lets us stumble, then when we're willing to look to Him, He is there to guide and help us. Praise the Lord!

P.S. If you want to do some of these things yourself, but don't know how, ask a friend (like me) to show you how. I'm sure they would be very happy to share the things they know with you.