Frugal Living Challenge – Days 4 and 5

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Day 4
Reducing your household bills. Again, another great article over on Frugally Sustainable!  Most of the tips she suggests I already try to do. Things like getting rid of cable and a landline. Although there are a great number of educational shows I miss, I can find them online if I really want to watch them, but even better I can head outside with my kids, or create something inside with them. I do miss a landline, and Mark and I have looked into putting one back in. Right now though, we’re doing fine with just our cell phones on a minimal plan (you really don’t need text messaging). 
For this challenge I decided to try and save money on drying clothes. I already feel that I do a fair amount of saving by doing my laundry all in one day. But I could save even more by line drying some of our clothes, like delicates and the girls dresses. Not only will this save money by using the dryer for less clothes, but it will also save our clothes from unneccesary machine damage. I won’t even go into how many clothes my dryer has ripped apart recently (snapped bra strap, ties on girls dresses, holes in socks).  Perhaps I need a new dryer, but really, it does it’s job, it’s just very rough on our clothes.
I know Mark isn’t as thrilled with this new adventure as I am, but he let me indulge as I used my amazon gift cards (thanks Swagbucks!) to purchase a retractable line dryer to hang across the basement.
I even started looking into these felted wool dryer balls. Supposedly they cut the drying time down a lot, and take the place of dryer sheets, cutting out that expense. Has anyone used these? I’d love to know if they’re worth it!
Day 5
Today’s challenge is cutting costs on your grocery budget. This is perfect for me today, since I didn’t get grocery shopping done yesterday, I will be headed out today.  Andrea’s listed 50 tips on how you can save money on your grocery budget, and asked us to pick a couple to implement into our lives to save us money.  Here are some of her tips I’m going to try out –
  • Cook Ahead. I was planning on making a bunch of freezer meals anyways, for when baby comes. It wouldn’t hurt to start now, and either weekly or biweekly make a bunch of meals. I’ve pinned a ton of ideas for frozen meals, pantry meals, and crockpot meals that I can easily put together.
  • Eat leftovers, instead of eating out. We don’t eat out a whole lot, but we do waste a fair amount of leftovers. I’ve already put this as one of my other goals to minimalize our waste, but it will also save on our grocery budget as well.
  • Package your own snacks. I know I can do much better at this. The Princesses get hungry, and then I can’t find anything for snacks, so I buy gummies or candy for them. I’d like to be better at this. Perhaps have a bowl of  veggies in the fridge that they can always get if they’re hungry. Or buy crackers, raisin, etc in bulk.  While I’m at Winco today I’ll be checking the bulk section for any healthy snacks I can purchase.

Here are some things I have already changed that have shown a significant change in our grocery budget.  I shop at a store called Winco. They only accept cash, debit, or checks. This cuts their overhead charges, allowing them to reduce prices, but also forces me to pay more attention to the money I spend.  At winco you also have to bag your own groceries. One less person the store has to pay for a job we are perfectly capable of. I also am always on the lookout for their ads. They don’t go out often, but when they do they always have at least one coupon for a free item! So check your area for a similar style shopping experience.  I also only go to the store once a week. I make a meal plan on monday, and then head to the store with a list so nothing is forgotten.

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s challenge!! By the end of the month I’m expecting to see our household expenses minimalized quite a bit through Andrea’s 23 days of Frugal Living, and I hope I can continue with all her advice after the 23 days!

4 thoughts on “Frugal Living Challenge – Days 4 and 5

  1. Hi! First of all, I don't know you, but in the interest of full disclosure, I knew your husband in high school, and I started reading your blog when he posted it on Facebook because I really like it! (I hate it when people I know read my blog and don't tell me.)

    In any case, I hope the line dryer works for you. We don't have a place to put one inside, but I want to install an outdoor clothesline when it gets warmer. About the dryer sheets: I never use them, and we don't miss them! I also use white vinegar in place of fabric softener. Sometimes I put a couple of tennis balls in the dryer with fluffy things like coats, and especially bulky quilts, and they help keep things fluffy and keep them from bunching up so they dry faster.

  2. I use the wool dryer balls. They do seem to help with static, but they also get "lost" in my kiddos laundry and then they play with them. I don't think there is a winco around here, or I would look into it. My kids love dried apricots for a snack. Sweet like candy, but better for you!

  3. I've always line dried permanent press items. I've never used fabric softener, I don't know if that is because I've always used a very gentle detergent, unscented (usually Arm & Hammer).
    For healthy snacks try buying vanilla whole milk yogurt and cut up fruit. Let the kids dip the fruit into the yogurt. My kids always said it tasted like ice cream.

  4. My two favorite tips:
    1- Use a can of Cambells soup (or any brand) as a base and put your left overs in it for a quick dinner. It uses up all the dabs of left over veggies, noodles and hamburger. I like vegetable beef but tomato works better sometimes depending on the left overs. You can make it a soup or a topping for rice or mashed potatoes. It makes a quick dinner and cleans out the fridge.
    2- For snacks you can slice apples and keep them from going brown by soaking them for a couple of minutes in salt water; lemon juice and milk work too. Then place them in snack size ziplock bags. They will keep for days in the fridge without turning brown.

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