Category Archives: Living on Less

Take your Spending Habits back in time 100 years


Many people want to get better control of their budget and spending in the new year. For many people, incomes haven’t kept pace with the “need” to purchase items to fit their lifestyle.

One way that my husband and I have noticed inflation or decreased spending ability of our money in what we purchase is in the packaging – items such as food are in smaller containers with about the same price as before so you are getting less. Another way we can see inflation is that items are of poorer quality or of a nature requiring frequent replacement – this is called planned obsolescence. If you have a pair of shoes that fall apart as little as a couple months to a year after purchasing them – that is what we mean. It doesn’t matter that you got a “good deal” on the shoes if you have to keep buying many pairs because of their defective nature. Quality – from everything from food to clothes to tools and appliances – has seemed to have a general trend of going downhill.

Another factor we see is that big business has seemed to “gobble up” a lot of small businesses. We have let this happen – by letting our government have a very complex tax code in which big companies can be highly profitable but pay next to no taxes and also when we give preference to a multi-state or multi-national giant corporation over our locally-owned stores. If we had a flat tax system, it would actually be much more fair. We not only have welfare for the poor, we have welfare for the rich.

We think we are getting a good deal by going to the huge stores – but we aren’t. When small and medium size companies are being shafted with unfair tax rates of bigger competitors and with regulations they can’t absorb like many different taxes to file, health insurance mandates and minimum wage requirements not conducive to their type of business — they tend to fold, shrink or move elsewhere. And big business seems more likely to use automation – eliminating more jobs. They will “use” a high minimum wage to get rid of their competitors – and then they will automate! We went to a common burger chain near us that is in nearly every state in the country, and they now have computers at the table to enter your order and pay your bill if you wish! I’m sorry, but this is not a dining experience, and I do not plan to go back.

Another way the common man is being robbed is that you can’t make money on your money anymore — unless you ride the highly volatile stock market roller coaster. Interest rates in banks are deplorable! If you have a 5 year CD, you might make 1% a year. That is losing money! Retirees and those close to retirement used to be able to live off money in CDs – but now they cannot. So even our savings and retirement tends to be at the mercy of said big corporations who care about the bottom line the most, even if they screw the consumer and fail to provide enough family-wage jobs long term.

So now what? What can we do to resist the economic enslavement that we see where we are seemingly led to the shiny objects that we are told to buy, while we don’t seem to be getting ahead? I think the answer is to get back to basics — and embrace the consumption habits of our forefathers. Think Little House on the Prairie, which documented Laura Ingalls Wilders’ parental family of several children surviving summer and winter in frontier life in Wisconsin. Their story took place about 140 years ago, and they not only survived but thrived.

Here are some guidelines for spending that I have adopted, inspired by our forefathers. [Personal note: recently I bought an American made vacuum cleaner, and it met the categories of 1, 3, and 4. I am happy with the product so far.]

  1. Used – buy or obtain used goods. This is just economic good sense. You usually get more “life” out of an object per dollar spent this way. And in a lot of cases things made 5, 10, or more years ago are of better quality. Used items usually are disposed of when someone is trading up to something else. Our forebears would have children wear older siblings’ or cousins’ hand-me-downs. This encourages good traits in us – to reuse, repurpose, and recycle.
  2. Ingredients – buy the components for making something, not the finished product. Is it cheaper to buy a can of Folgers coffee – or espresso drinks for a month? Coffee beans or ground coffee is actually an ingredient, even though it is pretty simple to make coffee. We need to think more this way. Sometimes however buying ingredients will not be cheaper. If I buy cloth and materials to make an outfit for a child, it might not actually be cheaper. But it would be uniquely designed for the child, and I would gain in the experience of making something from scratch. I would have something unique and keep developing my own skills. Think of other areas where you could use ingredients rather than finished widgets — cooking, gardening – seeds and mulch are ingredients to making harvestable crops, or lumber and screws to make a bookcase or item for your home. Buying ingredients is a great way to both be creative and develop your basic skills.
  3. Less than 200 employeesgive preference to buying from a company of less than 200 employees. Isn’t it great knowing you are supporting your local community in a more direct way? Many times when you purchase this way you will look the owner of the company in the eye, and they will seem to have a personal concern for you. Sometimes a local company will have more flexibility with their smaller suppliers, and they will spend more time with you, answering your questions. The mechanic I go to is not a chain and so it is almost always the same people that we deal with every time. I believe they take great care of our cars and I feel like they are honest to deal with, I had quit going to a chain because I didn’t feel like they were honest or even  listened to me to fix my original problem. But even dealing with local vendors – I will still question and occasionally bargain with them.
  4. Quality – buy items that are verifiably of high quality. We have seen a big deterioration of quality in many things, but there are still companies that produce the quality we are looking for at a reasonable price. Sometimes price and quality are a mismatch. Some luxury cars are more likely to break down on you, and some expensive vacuums are more likely to need warranty repair. Sometimes the item we seek may be used or often it may be new. Maybe we are looking into a North Face jacket or want to purchase a new bicycle. Whatever the item — research, research, research! Never rush into a purchase, and only buy things that you believe will stand the test of time. This will often be the one time where I might deliberately purchase from a large company.

I hope these tips have helped! I would personally stay out of the stores that make you dizzy when you step into them. One of the stores I think of is one where the corporate symbol is something one shoots at, hmmm. The other company has a name which involves dropping 3 letters from ‘martial law’. Are they telling us something, like we are zombies or slaves? They might have cheap prices, but sometimes you don’t get what you expect, and sometimes you bring home more widgets than you expect. Do we really need all of that? If we can’t buy truly locally or buy components to make something, maybe we don’t need it.

Best wishes.




Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Family, Living on Less, Uncategorized


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From Paul to Timothy – I Timothy 6:8-21

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Living on Less, The Bible


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Jesus sends out 35 Teams in a Spirit of Peace

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.  Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.  Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.  And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.  And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.  And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.  And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:  And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

—Luke 10:1-9 (KJV)

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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Faith, Living on Less, The Bible, Uncategorized


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I’ve had an opportunity to be around and observe quite a few successful entrepreneurs throughout life. Some were my employers, some were family members, some were former entrepreneurs and some would become future entrepreneurs. These successful entrepreneurs possess characteristics that set them apart from average, and this is worth examining.

I am not naïve enough to believe that by default that they are exalted or morally superior human beings, but I certainly wouldn’t believe the reverse. They all have interesting and admirable qualities that we can learn from.

They are like a force of nature.

If entrepreneurs get tired, you don’t usually see it. They not only seem to defy the 2nd law of thermodynamics in which everything tends to disorder – they capitalize on it. They might build a plumbing empire doing common things like rooting out toilets.

We tend to follow entrepreneurs not just because they pay our salary but that we can’t help but get caught up in a force of nature. Other words that come to mind: drive, ambition, confidence, vision, hustle, endurance, energy, bullish, faith, guts, glory.

One entrepreneur that I worked for told me the three laws of business were “Get the money”. Did you catch all three? He employed about 80 people. While this approach may seem simple, it is simply logical. Whether you specialty is sales, service, R&D, production, customer service or accounting – we all need to focus on doing our jobs well enough so that the business is profitable and will last into the future. If the business declines, that means jobs will be lost.

We think of passion as something that might burn high and then flag and possible burn out. But entrepreneurs seem to wake up with uncommon energy and drive every day of their lives.

They pay attention to the little things.

Entrepreneurs are not careless and tend to be very skilled at managing limited resources. They know that a small leak can erode a property-saving dike and a small hole can sink a sailboat.  They know the importance of follow through and organization. They know that seemingly small things, like returning a phone call, could be the most important thing that they do that day.

Entrepreneurs are often sticklers on timeliness. I worked for another entrepreneur who liked the expression: “Are the trains running on time?” This shows that it not only matters that you consistently produce, but that you keep to a timely schedule.

Timeliness is especially important in a service business. If you go to a fast food restaurant in which you are not served in a timely and efficient way, you will be quick also to turn elsewhere. If there are inattentive and slow checkers at a grocery store, then that business will tend to decline.

Hiring the right people is also part of this. A highly specialized and skilled doctor with her own practice may have no interest in accounting or office management, but she knows the importance of hiring the right people for the job, and periodically checking that they are performing at a high level.

Successful and wealthy entrepreneurs are often surprisingly frugal. This tends to free up resources in their business which enables them to expand productivity. The classic “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko has extensive research to show the frugal habits of multi-millionaires. Most of these millionaires tend to be entrepreneurs. Their formulas for both saving and growing come together in generating great wealth.

Entrepreneurs don’t let opportunities slip through their grasp. The small things can be a big deal.

They know that the only “sizzle” is in success.

Entrepreneurs are focused on the success of their business. If one can’t put the pieces together to become a success, then a person has nothing to show for their efforts yet. Entrepreneurs are shrewd – and they are strategic. They find ways to leverage their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. They are natural builders, but they always keep working to improve.

Success is going to be a relative concept. What could be a successful side business could be a disaster if tried as a primary endeavor if one is a key bread-winner in his family. There is an opportunity cost as well. If you can make ten times more working for someone else, then trying to have your own business would most likely be a poor return for your time.

I would define business success as creating a material benefit for both one’s family and community. Volunteer work or unprofitable work could produce a benefit to the community, but it does not return any monetary value to yourself or your family. Alternatively, you could procure some venture capital to produce and bring your genius invention to market. This could benefit your family in the short term, but if you never have a successful roll-out, you have not benefited the greater community.

We need to distinguish between hobbies and businesses. Hobbies, like college, tend to cost money. But a hobby can be a great learning ground. If you don’t have a real business yet, maybe it’s best not to pretend. If you like to golf in your spare time, would you call yourself a “golfer”? I don’t think so.

Entrepreneurs know that it doesn’t matter how they impress their initial customers in a sales presentation if they don’t have the product quality and follow-through to create a consistent customer base. It doesn’t matter that much how they look or what kind of cars they drive. Success is not in just maintaining an appearance or in a self-centered illusion – it is outward looking.  An unpretentious seeming restaurant might have the best food around and a steady stream of customers. It also doesn’t matter how great your ideas are unless you put them into practice and have more than a flash in the pan success.

With a new year approaching, I would like to toast the movers and shakers – the entrepreneurs. Cheers! To your success.


Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Career, Living on Less


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Are you paid what you are worth?

I’m not sure who it can be attributed to, but it is said that by definition, we are paid what we are worth. A professional football player can make millions of dollars because he has rare attributes like Olympic caliber sprinting speed, exceptional physical drive and coordination, or a world-class throwing arm. As a tradeoff, they typically have short careers, high risk of serious injury and sometimes have rocky personal lives. A teacher, besides their financial compensation, receives payment in the form of satisfaction about the success of the students whom they teach, challenge and encourage along the way, and a schedule that often gives them rewarding time with their own family. A stay at home mom receives payment with typically aiding her husband’s career, improving her family’s lifestyle, and in priceless moments with her children.

So, if we are paid what we are worth, why are some of us unsatisfied? Should we gripe that our skills are unappreciated by society or that we may not have received a pay increase recently? The naivety of doing this is that many others are in the same boat or worse off. For example, some union or government workers might receive a relatively low hourly wage, but have a wonderful health package and handsome pension. Also, people in a low-stress job should not envy the compensation of someone in a high stress job. If you are an accountant in a job with work-life balance, you shouldn’t envy the compensation of a CPA working 60 hours a week.

The difference, it would seem, is all in attitude. You might be missing the boat entirely. If you are a grumpy stay a home mom who complains more than you treasure the moments, then you are paid what you worth. If you gripe that your profession should make as much as another profession with no comparison of other factors such as special skills, intrinsic rewards and flexibility, then you are paid what you are worth. However, if you have a good attitude in whatever you choose to do, then you are paid what you are worth.

An executive at one of the jobs I had distributed the below quote from Chuck Swindoll to all of the employees. It is timeless.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home, or an individual.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.

Once we embrace a positive attitude and gratitude we embrace life with its challenges and rewards. I think of a woman I know who just retired after 30 years at a common job with the same company. She is a happy person and looking forward to travelling in retirement and spending even more time with her grandkids who adore her. She is paid what she is worth!

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Posted by on October 13, 2013 in Career, Family, Life, Living on Less


100+ ways to save $100 or more a year

Most people don’t like depriving themselves.  But we also have dreams for our families both for quality of life and freedom to chart our own course.  We sometimes think what will it hurt if I buy a fancy dress for my daughter or buy this new TV?  But as you can see from the list below, the savings add up.  I’ve only included tips that will save $100 or more a year – sometimes many times that.  None of these tips involve recycling tin foil, although that is a fine thing to do and is helpful for the environment.  Not all of the tips will apply to you, but if you implement the ones that do, you could save up to $10,000 per year.

  1. Buy all ladies jeans at Goodwill, St Vincent de Paul, etc. About $8 each. I usually try on a half dozen likely pairs and buy one on a given visit. Focus on better brands, look at the tags!
  2. Buy all the dresses for your daughter(s) used at consignment stores except for one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter.
  3. Only take professional pictures every 5 years, or whenever there is a new member of the family.
  4. Drop collision on oldest car.
  5. Buy only two purses a year, about $50 each or less. (TJ Maxx or Marshalls).
  6. Don’t buy fashion shoes, just basic colors of good quality brands. Same with shoes for children; don’t buy the flashy ones, buy for practicality and quality.
  7. Buy used toys and children’s books from consignment stores, Goodwill, etc.
  8. Buy used TVs off craigslist, or smaller models, and use them as long as possible
  9. Don’t have car loans for longer than 3 years, if at all.  It almost goes without saying to buy quality used cars instead of brand new.
  10. Don’t buy new DVDs; buy cheap classics or vhs at the thrift store.
  11. Learn to cook, make soups and cost conscious meals.
  12. Eat brown rice and potatoes regularly, they are healthy and filling.
  13. Eat oatmeal for breakfast half of the days of the week.
  14. Buy fruit in season, when it’s cheap, ripe and delicious.
  15. After children can walk well, buy some of their shoes used from consignment stores.
  16. Clean your own carpet with an initial investment of a carpet cleaner.
  17. Go to parks instead of bouncy houses and other paid kid entertainment.
  18. Get a zoo pass if you have small children. It pays off quickly if you live near one.
  19. Don’t go out to eat on a weekly basis. Have take-and-bake pizza when you don’t feel like cooking. Don’t forget your coupon!
  20. Don’t buy a bathing suit every year unless you are an avid swimmer. Also, buy fewer ladies dresses.
  21. Ladies can keep hair in a longer style to go longer between cuts. Skip the highlights and be natural!
  22. Buy frozen juice instead of canned, it has more enzymes in it, less packaging waste and it is a lot cheaper.
  23. Don’t buy trendy items; only adopt a trend that works for your lifestyle.
  24. Buy less often and take advantage of volume discounts, like 20% off a purchase of $50 at Carters, or free shipping offers.
  25. Buy seasonal items at the end of the season, for 80% off. Great for kids’ coats for the next year.
  26. Save receipts and write down all you spend in a week and add it up. While doing this, sort through saved coupons, throwing away expired ones and making a note of ones to use that week.  Writing your expenditures down is a helpful reminder of what you spend.  And if you use just $2 in coupons in a week, that adds up to over $100 a year.
  27. Avoid daily latte habits; keep it more of a social habit.  Bring your coffee to work in an insulated container!
  28. Take lunch to work 4 days a week.
  29. Make desserts at home instead of buying them at inflated prices at the grocery store.
  30. At a restaurant, don’t always order separately for your child.  Share your large meal with them.  Also, have water instead of soda when at the mall with your kids. Healthier too.
  31. Do work out tapes at home, and save on gas to the gym and perhaps the membership.
  32. Don’t keep soda pop in the house.
  33. Don’t buy a new coat, robe, or similar item every year, buy quality ones in basic colors that last forever.
  34. Have fewer hobbies. If your hobbies are golf, triathlon competitions and scrapbooking decide which one or two you can do without.
  35. Serve smaller servings of meat. Less than a pound of salmon can easily serve two or three.
  36. Buy generic diapers that are good quality. I’ve found Up & Up from Target to be superb.
  37. Quit smoking.
  38. Take the bus or train to work, if applicable, and save on parking, gas and upkeep – not to mention risk of accidents on a freeway.
  39. Only go to the movies about once a year. A Netflix membership is a lot cheaper than outings to the movies plus concessions.
  40. Don’t have the deluxe cable package; the family package is as much as you probably need.  Or if you are strong of mind, do without!
  41. Don’t have children involved more than one or two extracurricular activities. Also, all extracurricular activities need not cost money. Volunteering is an extracurricular activity!
  42. Hit Value Village or Goodwill when it’s back to school time and get some quality used clothes. Kids will not receive worse grades if they are not dressed in new clothes.
  43. Organize a free social activity, like a Bible study, and skip happy hour.
  44. Big tip: never leave the house without a full water bottle!
  45. Don’t buy perfume, or use it sparingly. Many offices don’t appreciate it anyway
  46. Other than your wedding gown or perhaps a bridesmaid dress, don’t buy any outfit you will only wear once.
  47. Turn off the heat when you leave a room. Leave heat off in bedroom and have a down blanket.
  48. Make sure you have well-fitting undergarments, but don’t buy designer underwear!
  49. Avoid fast food. It’s fattening, and can quickly bust a food budget!
  50. Skip buying the latest gadgets – iPhones, tablets, kindles, etc. and don’t be an early adopter of the latest technology.
  51. Don’t buy designer kids clothes. Or keep the purchases few and far between.
  52. Buy adult clothes very selectively, with a plan to keep them 5 years or more. Avoid dry clean only.  Shop your own closet.  If you lose 5-10lbs you might be able to better fit in all of your clothes!
  53. Buy jewelry very rarely and selectively. Don’t buy junky stuff but also don’t spend money on unnecessary bling. I never had my ears pierced, think of the money I’ve saved on earrings!
  54. Don’t have lavish parties or gifts for your children. Just observe what they really like or are interested in. I bought my two year old a tricycle that will last at least a couple years but costs less than $80.
  55. Buy large sizes of cat or dog food instead of small bags or cans. For treats you can sometimes give table scraps, like tuna or salmon for a cat. Also remember that a mutt type of dog or cat is typically easier to take care of, and cheaper!
  56. Skip convenience foods (grated cheese, snack packs, small serving kid’s snacks, etc.). Make things from scratch and bulk sources.
  57. Have middle class values in housing – enough space and possessions to function, but not the carrying costs of a more elite lifestyle including extra maintenance, electric costs, etc.
  58. Substitute healthy food – including all kinds of veges and fruits – for sweets, and save a lot of medical bills and time off work!
  59. Have middle class values in furnishings. Buy quality to last (sometimes used); don’t buy a leather couch that your kid will mark on!
  60. Delay purchases.  Often you can most of the things you want, but not all at the same time.
  61. Don’t gamble or buy lottery tickets.
  62. Never buy a home without at least 20% down, or you will pay many thousands extra for the life of the loan in interest charges as well as pmi!
  63. Bargain or ask for a discount. Whether it’s paying cash for a medical charge, buying a car, or negotiating a big auto repair, it is easy to save $100 every year!
  64. Shop at several different stores to get the best savings. Different stores are better for produce, grocery, baby supplies, pet supplies, kid clothes, etc.
  65. Don’t have a land line if you don’t need one.
  66. Don’t have the Cadillac package on your cell phone. Do you use the texting feature a lot? Do you really need unlimited data?
  67. Have a day with no meat every week. Rice and beans, anyone?
  68. Consign your kid’s used clothes before they go out of style, including shoes and fancy dresses. Save some, if you plan on having more children, and save a few ‘sentimental’ pieces.
  69. Buy bulk packages of meat on sale and freeze the portions you don’t use right away.
  70. Have a slow cooker or roasting pan. A pot roast for a family of four is cheaper than steaks! A roast chicken is about the cheapest!
  71. Comparison shop and follow thrifty web site(s). Don’t buy a particular car seat or toy when you can find it $50 cheaper if you time the purchase just right and buy from a particular retailer.
  72. Stretch everything and buy simple and plain. Dilute fabric stain remover with water, save leftover food, use less shampoo and toothpaste. Buy multipacks of white paper towels instead of single designed ones. Buy bulk hand soap and fill individual containers.
  73. Do not visit places like a furniture store or car lot if you do not have immediate plans to buy something! Observe the 10th commandment!
  74. Buy in bulk, but only when it results in savings. Do the math at the grocery or warehouse store when buying things like sugar, flour, cleaning supplies and paper goods. Buying yeast in bulk, for example, usually gives you terrific savings.
  75. Don’t buy computer games or entertainment, or buy them 2nd hand, from your ‘rich’ friend.
  76. Obey the law and practice defensive driving. Nothing sucks savings like higher insurance costs, speeding tickets or other moving violations, or an at fault accident.
  77. Take care of your teeth. Brushing, flossing and eating a nutrient and calcium rich diet can save a lot of dental costs.
  78. Do. Not. Buy. Junk.
  79. Take your family camping instead of vacationing in a hotel or resort.
  80. Scale down your gift giving and put more thought into it.  You don’t have to accept every party invitation and be all things to all people.
  81. Trade babysitting with a relative or friend who has kids.  You both have kids, so it’s more like a play date.
  82. Take advantage of the library for books and resources for kids and grownups.
  83. Have fewer things but have them better organized.
  84. Read the reviews on products!  Why would you buy a sweater that will fall apart, an inferior appliance or a book not worth the paper it’s printed on? Also, stick with quality brands you know, rather than buying a discounted item that hasn’t built up the same kind of customer loyalty (usually for good reason).
  85. For a special meal, have steak at home and skip the steakhouse.
  86. Do not be a materialistic mama.  Pick more grounded friends than the ones bragging about their purchases for their child or the events they’ve attended.  Give your children YOU and not labels.
  87. Solve problems creatively rather than buying something to fix a problem.
  88. Don’t buy single purpose appliances or gadgets that are a hassle to store.
  89. Avoid food waste by keeping tabs on what is in your refrigerator and prioritizing use of fresh food.  Cleanliness and organization can also save money!
  90. Do not use your credit card unless absolutely necessary.  Some have the discipline to pay a balance every month but most people don’t. If you are carrying a balance, not using the card is the only way to reduce the balance and interest charges.
  91. Don’t drink a lot of wine; however a moderate amount can be good for one’s health.
  92. Don’t buy candy except rarely.  It’s expensive and can sabotage weight loss or maintenance goals.
  93. Have a fairly routine life, instead of insisting on endless variety.  If your goal is to try every restaurant in a large metro area or visit every country in Europe, your pocketbook will likely suffer!
  94. Have a routine to read your Bible daily and reflect on what you are thankful for – especially your family!
  95. If there is something you really want or need, wait for the best sale.
  96. Implement a family game night instead of taking your family to expensive professional sporting events or movies.
  97. Do not buy extended warranties unless you are quite sure they will pay off.
  98. Find ways to reduce your energy costs by eliminating drafts and regulating your energy use.
  99. Be grateful.  Also teach your children gratitude instead of a deserving attitude.  Teach them to do simple chores at a very early age in return for a very modest allowance.
  100. Work daily at organization to provide both balance and beauty in your life.
  101. Do not buy the most expensive thing.  Everything gets old and has a shelf life and the most expensive thing will not necessarily last longer or provide more value.  My $20 coffee maker still works great after 10 years!

To sum up what is contained in the tips above: we need to keep it simple.  The Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy was: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I Tim 6:8.  Paul was actually highly ambitious, but his ambition became a zeal for working towards God’s kingdom.  Likewise, we don’t need to worry about what is parked in our driveway, the age of the furnishings in our home, or when we are going to acquire the latest gadget.  Keep it simple!

– Janet

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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Family, Living on Less


Hello world!

Ok, here goes.  I am officially part of the blogging community.  I think that this is what moms do when their baby turns 18 months old or so . :o) My blog’s official title is “Living by a Thread: Journeys in Faith, Family and Frugality”.   This blog will chronicle my adventures as an at home mom, my money making and saving endeavors, new recipes I’ve tried, as well as things I’ve learned and observed.



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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Faith, Family, Living on Less