Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays

We started about a year ago making small changes to try to "simplify" or "streamline" the way we live. We felt like we were living in excess, I talked about that some here. Over the past year I have come across some really neat ideas from other people and a few of my own, so I figured I would concentrate on that for Thursdays. For this year, we are wanting to do even more to simplify how we live and to make thoughtful choices when it comes to how we handle our money.

My newest find has been kids hair detangler. We have two little girls with a whole lotta hair, and we go through a TON of that Johnson's hair detangler. Plus, I don't think it works all that well, I have to soak the hair with it. Confessions of a Mommy Blogger had an excellent recipe for making your own detangler, just mix three parts water to one part hair conditioner. I am able to use "the good stuff" (my conditioner, not one for kids) and the end product is WAY more effective, and WAY less expensive.

Now if you don't want to read the million word "what I did with my budget last summer" essay, feel free to click off here. But for my own memory's sake, and maybe it will spark something for someone else... I am going to try to list the the things that I can remember we have done this year.

So here is what I can remember that we have done to date:

  • I stopped buying almost all convenience food: no more freezer meals (unless I make them myself) no more boxes, no more any of that. Most of the foods we buy are fruits, vegetables, meats, rice (not the mix), pasta (not the mix) and baking staples. Alot of this was just because of our allergies, but it has been helpful for our budget as well
  • We became very conscious of the money we spent eating out. Our goal is to do even less of it than we are now.
  • I make my own convenience foods using alot of the recipes from Hillbilly housewife she has all sorts of recipes for making your own rice a roni mixes, and freezer biscuits and they also have a feed your family for $45 menu that I have gotten ideas from.
  • We don't drink juice anymore than we drink soda pop. We would have either as a treat, but they just aren't staple items.
  • In order to avoid just buying repeat items, I have found that keeping my pantry and fridge organized has been key to saving us some $$$.
  • I found that I desperately need to spend enough time in my house doing chores every week to be able to keep up with the tidying and organization if I don't want to overspend.
  • Also, keeping the dishes done was huge as well. Its bad enough to brave the witching hour with the kids to fix dinner, but being faced with dirty dishes on top of it all led to many unnecessary nights of takeout.
  • Having a 2 week plan for menus and having the grocery lists that go with them has made it much easier to keep all of us happy, without anyone getting bored.
  • I do a load of laundry every morning and a load every evening. If I keep up with this, and keep it put away, folded, or ironed and hung up, we all have plenty of clothes for ourselves and a twin.
My Goals
  • someone once said that cleaning with small children is like shoveling the sidewalk while its still snowing. I love that person. We have control over the common areas, but I need to do something about that office/sitting area/black vortex of terror off our mater bedroom. I have been reluctant to, because it would require poaching on brian's territory... and he is usually armed.
  • We need a better system for the kids rooms. I have done stop-gap measures, but we need a more permanent solution. We have these open little tiny bins, and I suspect that going to possibly rubbermaid storage boxes for each "kind of toy" (ie ponies in one box) where you have to ask for, and then clean up what you got before you get more, might solve our problem..... but im not sure. Its my new project for this year. I also love ideas, ... hint, hint.


rainbowmummy said...

Thanks for all the tips, I agree, organization is important to save, but I didn't really think about it till you just said :0)

I have bought a set of plastic drawers to keep in my living room cupboard, as you know my kitchen is damp, well it's making life hell as I can't stock up on the things we need, so this will help.

Before Eggs toys got killed by the damp (MURDERUR!!!!) we done the box thing, his kitchen and kitchen stuff is in the living room, art was kept away, books in a book box in our room (I want my bedroom back!!)little box of animals and in his room were four boxes music, cars etc, imagination (doctors kit, dress up), and for some mad reason I can't remember the last one. Under his bed was another box and this was filled with jigsaws an games.

However when I get out of the hell hole that is my house I will do things differently again , (remembering Egg is autistic) I would have shelves set up with activities these would be constantly changing, I would use chest of drawers for toys, with pictures on the front to see whats inside (what goes back) I would def do a toy rotation, say changing the jigsaws and family games. After Egg lost his a lot of his toys I realised how little kids actually need, so when we move I wouldn't be replacing them. Though I would be replacing some of it!

Can you have sex with Brian and bin his stuff at the same time, it would be a lot easier?

Jennifer said...

Brian wishes I am sure, but I am not that talented...

That sounds like a good idea. We are overrun with books, but I have a bookshelf for them so I am okay with that... but I think I may try the toy rotation. the real key will be getting boxes that are big enough for the items without being too big.

Rob said...

I heart this post a lot. Sounds like our families are on the same wavelength here and I will scam mercilessly from your ideas :) Thanks!

P.S. - Being a bit handy around the house .. just ask Heather if I don't 'love' building things to improve storage and I have books and books on ideas for such things (hint, hint).

Jennifer said...

If you are trolling for work, I am hiring!!!!!

Carrie Thompson said...

I LOVE posts on how people organize! I too will be gleaning info!

I also acknowledge your triumphs in spending less and spending wisely! You are inspiring to say the least!

See ya later!!!!

Jennifer said...

thank you, although I have to say, i relate to your post as well. I have lost of goals, whether I actually hit them all.... well that's just a whole other story.

rainbowmummy said...

award for you at mine xx