The freedom of frugal living

 Posted by on August 17, 2010  Add comments
Aug 172010

Every now and then I need to make fun of myself.

See, I’m afraid I’ve become that stereotype. That bread-baking, homeschooling, make-your-own mixes type of mama. Really, it was a slow, years-in-the-making process. Now, simple, money-saving steps are just part of my life.

Bam. I was there. Bread-baking, homeschooling mama.

I know. I know.

But part of the poking fun at myself is the figuring out. Finding the freedom in frugality.

Here’s the thing. By the time I loaded everybody up to go through a drive thru I could have just as easily pulled something from the freezer I made during a batch cooking session. And expended a whole lot less in money and frustration.

You see, when I make fun of myself, I am reminded that really it isn’t about a stereotype as much as it is about being a good steward of all we’ve been given. About eating what is good for us.

And it was simple. Folks, I don’t have time for long, drawn out projects. But I can work in spurts. Often, it’s part of our education (the 10 gallons of laundry detergent took math brain power. And, hey we re-used two 6 gallon wheat barrels).

Now, my children don’t notice the taste when I mix in powdered milk when the jug is half full.
They’ve grown accustomed to orange juice out of a pitcher.

So that woman I thought strange? Well, I saw a bit of wisdom in her habits. I started with one. Tried it out. Added another. Plus, these quotes keep rolling around in my head…

“Here is how you spell ‘paying too much’ => M-A-L-L.”

“Act your wage!”

“Debt is normal. Be weird!”

“Beans and rice, rice and beans.” ~ Dave Ramsey

I found out how simple homemade convenience can be. And just how freeing having a bucket full of change is. How much better home grown really can be.

There are many others that are experts in these areas but this is my offering from our daily Hodgepodge. I’m not here to say my way is best, I’m here to offer simple ways to incorporate money-saving and healthy habits. Remember, I used to think it all strange too 🙂

Watch out. Next, I’m making yogurt in the crock pot.

Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ‘ancient paths’. When you find them, walk that way and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

Interested in more? Here’s our Baby steps to frugal living and Angie’s What is a Proverbs 31 woman? And you’d certainly be blessed by Kerri’s What’s for Dinner? series. Plus there are plenty of frugal recipes and meal plans in our Hodgepodge cookbook.

How about you? What are your favorite, easy and frugal habits?

-Tricia homeschools five children from preschool to middle school. She’s forsaken life in the drive thru lane for the road home. She’s saving bucks and her sanity with the frugal recipes and sock it away strategies of her Southern roots. You can find her facing that daily dose of chaos at Hodgepodge. Tricia is a.k.a. Hodgepodgemom.

  31 Responses to “The freedom of frugal living”

  1. Most of our frugality comes in the food department – it is amazing how much cheaper it is to make pizza rather calling the delivery guy.

    There are a few others that I’ve found though. I recently started using vinegar and water for carpet cleaner when I ran out of the expensive stuff. A couple years ago I stumbled onto a homemade facial cleanser (3 parts olive oil to 1 part castor oil). I LOVE that stuff – best make up remover ever!

    Thanks for sharing all these great ideas!

    • That homemade facial cleanser sounds like our next project 🙂 Aha – vinegar, baking soda and water is what I use on my kitchen floor. You are smart to use it on the carpet too! Thanks Kendra! Keep adding as you think of more!

  2. Here is my recipe for All-Purpose Cleaner
    2c hot water
    1/4 c liquid soap
    2 TBSP white vinegar
    1 tsp borax
    I use it everywhere and add a little essential oil for a nice smell.

    We also cut up old t-shirts for papertowels.
    I have a roll of papertowels hanging up in the kitchen which I have to dust!

  3. Hi, this is Ryan from Alpha Omega Publications. Thanks for the heads up to your article! This is a great article with links to some very useful tips!

  4. I enjoy all this frugal living…as your youngest boy would say, “Cha-ching” goes the pennies, nickles and dimes saved each time these tips are used!

  5. I like my homemade cleaning supplies simply because it is easier on my hyper-sensitive nose…no headaches either! Can’t wait to take some time and look into your finds later. However with pizza we get such a great deal at Papa Murphys because of Allen’s military service…grabbing pizza to go is frugal for our family 🙂

  6. This is such a great post. I am slowly on my way to becoming one of “those” moms too. I figure as long as I’m not wearing appliqued denim jumpers, I’m okay. 😉

  7. Ryan, it made me smile that Alpha Omega’s Daily Focus was on homeschool stereotypes today. Nana, thank you for being the inspiration for many of the frugal family ways! Jenny – good point about avoiding headaches – and we like those Walmart deli pizzas – they feed a lot of folks. Erin, I came so very close to mentioning denim jumpers – glad you did. It’s always good to laugh at ourselves now and then 🙂

  8. We cut our kids’ hair, and each other’s. I sometimes make myself an iced coffee or iced tea in a reusable, take along cup for when I go into town or to take the kids to lessons. That avoids the temptation to go to Starbucks! (Have to admit, I still sometimes give in to that. =)
    I too, cut up old clothing for rags and save paper towels for things like bacon. Clean my floor with vinegar and water and my shower with baking soda/vinegar/dish soap combination. And we rarely throw leftovers away! They’re tomorrow’s lunch for homeschoolers. =)

    • I cut the boys’ and hubby’s hair too – which reminds me, they are all overdue! Last time around I had Eric trim my hair and then I touched it up. It seems fine to me. Nobody said anything, so either it is good enough that no one could tell, or it was really bad 🙂

      • Kendra, this made me smile!!!! Your hair looked good to me when I saw you!! I have cut my own hair the last two times and so far I haven’t caught wind of anybody making fun of it =)

  9. Do any of you all can? I actually think that sounds like fun and am dying to meet someone down here that knows how to can food items!!

    • Betsy: I do can, not as much as I used is indeed fun and SAVES big money! There is a WONDERFUL website: and it gives you step by step directions to can or freeze anything! Best of luck!

      • Oh, how I wish I had learned this from my grandmother when she was still living!!! As I wish I had learned more about gardening from my grandfather! Not only do I greatly miss them but now I know and truly appreciate all the many ways they blessed me and that they were truly full of so much wisdom!!!

    • Yes Betsy! I’ve been canning for years, both in a water bath canner and pressure canner. There is a lot of great info on the web about it. I have put some links on my site that might be of interest as well.

      I’d be happy to help you with any questions you may have. This year we made homemade cutting boards (which were a huge hit) and canned soups and jams for Christmas.

  10. Got the stuff today to make another 3.5 liters of homemade vanilla. 🙂 We use cloth napkins (started out with several dozen men’s hankies; graduated to real napkins from ebay – got about 150 for under $50). Homemade bread is so much less expensive than storebought for the nutrition. We can and freeze and compost. I think most of us who have learned to live fairly frugally don’t realize what we do that’s not the norm! LOL When I used the envelope system, I saved up several thousand dollars from the little bits left at the end of each two weeks. There’s so much more to learn…You ladies inspire me! 🙂

  11. You have inspired me/reminded me – I need to bake more bread! Also, I want to try out some homemade laundry detergent. I was discourage the last time because I couldn’t find the ingredients. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • I found the ingredients in the laundry aisle at my grocery store. Go figure. Every time I use my homemade laundry detergent I smile. I had always hated buying the overpriced stuff!

  12. I am far from the stereotype, but one day maybe 🙂 Still rely too much on modern convenience! You do inspire me to think about being more homemade though 🙂

    I do however consider myself very frugal…I have learned to pay pennies on the dollar for those modern conveniences! But you already knew that!

  13. Kim – I cut the youngest two children’s hair. Steve buzzes eldest boys. I was noticing the front of Lil’ Buddy’s is a bit sideways. Oh, and yes! Leftovers! But they are getting a bit less frequent these days. We are much alike because I make my iced coffee every afternoon 🙂 I’ll think of you now.
    Betsy – I need to learn to can. My mother has made some of the Duggar’s pickles and she preserves figs and other things.
    Vicki – you are inspiring me to get back to cloth napkins. Why not? You are right – if we added it all up the bunch of us are saving lots of money.
    Trish and Heidi – maybe we should do a moms meeting topic on frugal living.
    Thanks for stopping by ladies 🙂

  14. Awesome post and I have got to check out these home made recipes for cleaning!!

  15. Thanks for the post! Glad to know that I am not the only weird one out there that does these things.

  16. This is me!!! I think we even have the same bread maker! And I make yogurt in the crockpot by the gallon-full. We have our own dairy goats, so I even know where that came from. Love it!

  17. We are just starting to take some of those little steps you talked about. My favorites so far have been switching to No-‘Poo and using baking soda and vinegar to clean almost everything.

  18. Oh my, we’re living the same life. I’ve become one of ‘them’.

  19. THANK YOU!!! I just stumbled upon your blog and I thought my heart would leap from my chest! It’s wonderful. Thank you.

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