Living Simple

The one thing that can be the most difficult in today’s world is to not be wrapped up over money.  We are bombarded continuously from all sides on wants over needs and blurring those lines. We are told self is a top priority and that things and money are the path to happiness.  The world lies.  You can not fill emptiness with things, only Christ can fill emptiness. 

I was told today that simple living can not be achieved in today’s world.  I’m here to tell you that it can.  Simple living and being frugal doesn’t mean loosing; it allows you to gain the important things in life.

Collect Change

Keep a change jar on your dresser.  Pennies, nickels, dimes they all add up.  When your jar gets full don’t take them to one of those change machines in the stores because they cost you money to count and sort YOUR money.  Banks still do this for free.  Put the money directly into a savings account.

Live Below Your Means

In short don’t max out your paycheck.  No matter how much or little you make find ways to tighten your belt.  When you get a bonus, overtime pay, tax return whatever it is put it “away” in a savings for later or use it to pay down bills.  Make a monthly budget and intentionally set aside 10% of your regular pay for savings. Of course the first 10% goes to tithing.  Keeping the purpose of purchases for need instead of want.

Save for the big things

There are many things that need to be saved for and even have loans.  That’s life. But knowing this and preparing for it by not wasting your money will help avoid anxiety and arguments.

Second Hand

I love my second hand stores and I’m not ashamed to admit it! The cost savings here is amazing and you can find some amazing treasures.  Clothes, books, furniture the list goes on.

Eat at Home/Pack Lunches

Eating out is expensive and most of the time isn’t really good for you.  Save a trip to a restaurant as a special treat not a go-to.  When you travel, pack picnic meals.

Kick The Starbucks Habit

Any drink at Starbucks can be made at home and without the loads of sugar.  You can gain back alot of money not stopping at Starbucks.

Buy In Season or Bulk

I preach this one all the time.  If you don’t can, then freeze.  Canning however is a skill well worth learning and can save you lots of money.

Cut The Cabel

You don’t need Cabel anymore with services like Netflix and Hulu.  But also if you pull away from filling your time with TV and such you’ll find yourself filling your time being more active instead of watching more TV.

Grow a Garden

Start small and start to enjoy your own fresh produce.

These are just a few ideas to trim your expenses.  Living simple.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice

Winter is Coming… Preparing your Pantry

The purpose of home canning and meal prepping is to prepare for times when fruits and vegetables and meats are not as abundant naturally.  When an item is in season, it is more abundant and less expensive, this is the time to prepare for winter, especially when you live in the northern and Midwest areas.  Winter can be harsh.  We believe in canning what is in season, naturally, to help with budget costs, health benefits and being more ‘God sufficient’ than man sufficient.  The other side point to preparing and budgeting your food storage is to better understand what a REAL portion of food is.  America has gotten really bad at ‘super sizing’ and over convenience everything.  We’ve gotten into the mindset of “getting our money’s worth” instead of planning and looking at what our body needs.  The sugar and preservative addictions are just as bad as the “bad addictions”.  Look at the rise of obesity, health issues, enabling etc.  If we are stressed, we head strait for the candy jar, if a child is crying we hand them a sweet treat.  I could go on and on about this subject, because I myself suffer from stress eating and weight issues.  I come from a long line of Southern Cooks.  I love my butter, gravy and I melt with Shrimp and Grits.  Which is all fine, IN MODERATION.

But, back to preparing your pantry.  Each year it is essential to take stock of what your family will need for the upcoming year until the next season arrives with more goodies.  Also knowing crop rotation years help too.  One year may be a great corn year, the next nothing.

Now the big thing I want you to really take notice of is the PORTION of each item.  If we ate this way, I’m willing to bet, the weight loss programs out there would loose a lot of money and we would have more in our savings!

The Canner’s Pantry Planner:
Food Times/Week Serving Jars/Person Jars/Family(4)
Meats, Poultry, Fish 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 36 Pints 144 Pints
Soups 2x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Jams, Jellies, Preserves 6x week, 52 weeks 2 tablespoons 40 1/2 pints 160 1/2 pints
Relishes 3x week, 52 weeks 1 tablespoon 5 pints 20 pints
Greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Pickled vegetables 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons 13 pints 52 pints
Juices and Tomatoes 7x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 63 quarts 252 quarts
All Other Fruits and Vegetables 14x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 76 quarts 304 quarts
Pickled Fruits, Pickled Eggs 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons/ 1 egg 13 quarts 52 quarts

Did you slightly freak out over the portions? Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Here is the thing I have discovered, when you utilize the mentality of using what you have on hand, you waste less, you eat less, and you have that pride of providing. It’s amazing how the world’s perspectives dissolve when you start living like this.

There are other items to consider as well, the meat covers what you should have in your freezer as well as canning, but there are dry goods to consider:  Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda/powder, yeast, dried beans, rice, powders.  Then your wet goods such as honey, syrups, molasses.  Also your perishables, eggs & milk.  There is also cellar storage to consider, potatoes, sweet potatoes, hard squash, apples.  But all in all the portions stay the same.  Now my favorite:  Cheeses.  I love real cheese, love it!  But a portion is only 2 ounces.  That’s the size of 2 dice.

I credit the knowledge of this from my Grandma Inez and my go to book “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery.

So learn to enjoy and appreciate what you have and you will find that your body and your savings will thank you!

Enjoy and let me know of your thoughts.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

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Budgeting 101: An Honorable Responsibility

All members of a household hold a responsibility to be financially reliable.  But for a wife, it is crucial. One of my very favorite scriptures is Proverbs 31:10-31 and it lays it out very clear on what we are to do as the woman of the household.

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Proverbs 31:10-31New International Version (NIV)
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

What does this have to do with budgeting?  Well, it pretty much puts it right there in black and white, we are to manage our households.  Not by wasting, being lazy, nagging, passing blame or wasting away funds on frivolous things, or adorning ourselves in the latest of fashions.

This is a pretty big responsibility over all, if you think about it.  The world tells us all these pretty little lies to get us to spend when in reality, we are to be mindful and manage wisely.  Our beauty comes from within and from honest work and care and wisdom.

Here are some things to be aware of and put into practice:

  • Think first, never impulsively.  Is the item a Want or is it a Need?
  • If it is a need, what is the priority?  Be honest, talk about it with your spouse or accountability partner.
  • Save that change.  I use an old coffee can that I throw my pennies and change in, it does add up!  (Plus I use it for weekly egg money to pick up our fresh eggs.)
  • Plan your meals!!!!  It really doesn’t take long, meal prepping will become a habit in no time.
    • Plan at least 2 weeks in advance work your way up to a month at a time.
    • Cut down on quick runs to the grocery store.
    • Meal Prep
  • Buy in bulk in season and learn to freeze, can and dry food.
  • USE COUPONS!  Now days it’s fairly easy to use apps on your phones.  My favorite is ibotta!
    • Go to https://ibotta.com/
    • Download the app for your phone.
    • Feel free to use my referral code: phjhroe
    • Earn cash that you can put in your account from coupons, and shopping you have to do.
  • Resale!  Whether buying or downsizing!  Use the MarketPlace app on Facebook or go to your local resale shop!
  • Plan a No Spend Month!  I will be writing more on this in the future.
  • Choose to fix meals at home instead of eating at restaurants or fast food.  Your body and your wallet will thank you!
  • You don’t need a gym!!! Find activities that keep you active that you enjoy! Walk, bike, fish, garden… you get the idea.
  • Buy Local and find your local farmer’s markets.  You are helping them, they are helping you.
  • Use your talents to bring in extra money.  I love etsy.com!  Do you cook? Crochet? Knit? Sew? Write? Garden?
  • Cut the cable cord!  There are many ways you can spend your time without the TV, but if you do need it, antennas and internet can fill that void.  In the meantime, enjoy a board game with your spouse and or kids.
  • Make it a goal to be “God Sufficient”.  Meaning, don’t put the priorities of the world before the priorities of the Lord.
  • Most of all, pass these down to your children and your children’s children.  Give them the wisdom of how to budget and be responsible to avoid the pitfalls of being foolish.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Clean up time!

Have you noticed in today’s world we attempt to surround ourselves with THINGS to TRY to make us happy?  Then all of those things actually add to our frustration and stress level because we have to upkeep, replace, fix or find room to store them… which means more money because we have more things.   We need a bigger house to put more things in it, and then we need more things to put in the bigger house.  Then we become more stressed because the things we thought would make us happy are now stressing us out because we have less money to take care of everything we need to take care of.

So first, I’m going to suggest to you a wonderful program to take, its called Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.  Look it up.  It will guide you to debt recovery without loans and how to simplify your life.  What I like best about it is this:  IT’S SIMPLE COMMON SENSE!  Nothing extreme, well it may see extreme to begin with, and lessons my own grandparents handed down to me.  In short, if you don’t have the money, don’t buy it!

But what about if you are starting out?  What if you have that room, basement, closet or garage that has become a nightmare of junk storage?  Well, you actually have an opportunity to benefit from all that junk.  Take a deep breath and take a cleaning day and sort three “piles”:  Keep (this is your smallest pile); Donate and Sell.   Some of your Sell items may move into your donate pile if they don’t sell.  Donations can also be a tax write off in some instances, so keep those donation receipts.  The sell items are your golden ticket.  List these on neighborhood sights, ebay, post them on a church or recreation bulletin board, etc.  Please be careful when doing this.  You can also resort to the old fashioned garage/yard sale.  Use the Money that you gained in all of your sold items and apply it directly to your smallest debt (loan, credit card, medical bill).  Don’t even think about using it for a pizza night!!!  (We will touch on that at another time.)

The result:  Less junk = less stress = more room = less debt.

There is a huge difference between wants and needs in this world, and quite honestly we really don’t “NEED” that much to be happy.

So, here is your homework.  Find a room and get cleaning.  I’d love to hear your stories.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice