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Showing posts from January, 2012

Day 14 - Urban Gardening

It's Day 14 of the 23 day challenge over at Frugally Sustainable. Today's topic is Urban Gardening. Have you given any thought as to how much money you could save growing your own produce? You could tuck some herbs in to your landscape, have a couple of raised beds, tubs of fruit such as blueberries and citrus trees, even do some sprouts right in your own kitchen. Saves a bundle of money!


If you need some help on figuring out where to start, check out the Urban Organic Gardener. Mike has A LOT of ideas no matter how big or small your gardening space is. I really like his sections on composting and natural pest control.  We are organic gardeners and sometimes I think the bugs must spot the "open for business" sign. Mike has some pretty good, and funny ideas on how to control those little BUGgers.... get it? Bug.... Well, onto the Daily Goal......


Daily Goal: Share with us your gardening goals for 2012.


Gardening Goals? Wow! I have a bunch! We started gardening on a much …

Day 11 - Going Car - Lite

I could just tell from this title that THIS was going to be a challenge. 


Sometimes I tell my husband that I feel like we own a car lot. Just too many vehicles, even though we drive each of them and they are all just about paid for. We plan to get rid of the excesses this year so hopefully, this will be an area that we can work on reducing.




But you want me to go "Car-Lite" for the assignment?


Daily Goal: Plan a time in the near future to do a tiny experiment: Keep your car parked in the garage and try going to your local grocery store through an alternative method (i.e. on foot, by bike, or by bus). Foot, bike or bus not an option? Plan a trip into town and coordinate a carpool with a friend or neighbor.Side note: If you take your bike,  it has a rack, a carrier, or a basket so you can bring your purchases home.

Oh, OK, I think this challenge is doable for us. Even though my hip prevents me from walking the 8 block round trip to the grocery store, I can and have riden my bike. O…

Day 10 - How To Stop Spending Money To Impress Other People

Do you find yourself trying to "Keep Up With The Joneses?" They get a car, you try and get a bigger, better car. Their kids go to a private school, you try to send yours to the same school or one a step up. They are taking a 2 week vacation all over the USA with their kids over the summer. You KNOW you don't have the money for that or the time but you decide you are going to do it anyway. "Let's apply early for a couple more credit cards to finance our vacation with...." Trying to keep impress others is sort of like throwing money down the drain.






Have you ever asked yourself why keeping up or trying to impress your friends is so important? What if you made a choice NOT to do it? Would your friends NOT be your friends anymore? I've got news for you.... if that's all it takes to wreck a friendship, it wasn't a friendship to begin with!


All good questions! Maybe a little soul searching is in order. We were all created to be "different" peop…

Day 9 - The 30 Day List

If you live in the USA, you probably LOVE instant gratification. You're hungry? Plenty of stores and restaurants open at all hours to help you. Love to shop? Even if your local stores are closed, there are plenty on the internet that are open. Want an IPad, coat, purse, golf clubs, gym membership? If you have credit or money in the bank, you can have it today. Instant.... Gratification. 


But what would happen if you decided to wait just a bit? Would you still want it in, let's say 30 days? Thats the question posed today at Frugally Sustainable.


Daily Goal: Begin today using the 30-day list for non-essential purchases. 


Sometimes I wonder just how much I "need" something. Is it a true NEED or is it just a WANT? So Andrea is having us print out a list, put the item we THINK we want on it, the date we wanted it and the price leave it on the list for 30 days. Put that list in an area where you see it daily. That gives you a chance to really do some thinking, to take the imp…

Day 8 - Learn To Control Impulse Spending

This is the Daily Goal from FrugallySustainable.com:

Determine your strategy for controlling impulse spending


Hi, I'm Karen and I'm an impulse shopper..... Its getting better but definitely NOT perfect! My downfall is Internet shopping. Lately I've used a little trick and it seems to be working. I'll shop here and there and put items in my "cart" but never check out. At the end of my computer session, I close all the shopping windows. Somehow it's working for me.

When store shopping, right before I check out, I "edit" my cart. Comes down to need or want. Wants are out or narrowed down to just one item. Some days the cart is ALL wants and I end up leaving the entire cart somewhere in the store. It seems to feed the need to shop without actually purchasing anything.

My husband and I decided to have a larger goal/ vacation plan to save for. Instead of getting the "feel good" feeling from a bunch of small impulse purchases that clutter up ou…

Day 5 - Save on Groceries

See list of 50 ways to save on groceries HERE


Daily Goal: Pick a few things from the list that you think will have the greatest impact on your monthly grocery budget.


I think the money saving ideas I plan to adopt are....


9. Grow your own herbs. I'm a gardener and LOVE to put things in the ground. This past Fall, hubby bought a really nice greenhouse for outback and I can put some seeds in pots and grow indoors year round. Those herbs at the store that do so much for home cooking will be MUCH more economical this way.






14. Shop at Farmer's Markets. I am lucky enough to live in an area that has numerous Farmer's Markets per week. One of the largest is in San Luis Obispo on Thursday nights. We went last week and found some super deals on local seasonal fruit and veggies... yum yum. It was lots of fun too!




23. Keep your receipts and enter into a spreadsheet. I've done this for our monthly home and utility payments so I already have an idea of what I want to do. I think doing …

Day 4 - Reducing Household Bills

"Pick ONE thing from this list that you can implement to start saving some extra cash and let us know in the comments and/or inthe forum what you’re going to tackle."15 Easy Ways to Save Money On Your Household Bills
1. Buy in Bulk - We do this regularly. Nearly everything we purchase is at either Costco or Smart and Final. We have a pantry area and freezer and are able to store food and most food has a freshness date of at least a year from purchase date. For those items of more of a fresh nature, we will as our kids what they could use and either give them the food or go in on the price and separate out the food. It has saved us a substantial amount of money!
2. Use Coupons - I've tried using coupons and if there is something SPECIFIC I need, I will attempt to use them. We do not, however, use every coupon, every week like some shoppers do. So many of the items are cleaners, hygiene or convenience foods and we make our cleaners, and food from scratch.
3. Use Space Heaters…

Frugal Challenge - Day 3 Downsizing Your Home

Less house space = less stuff! This little place is 107 sq. feet! People actually are living in these around the country.
Read more about the frugal challenge HERE.


Today's Daily Goal:
Given your own unique situation and based off of what you have read today…determine your own goal. How would downsizing your home assist you in living frugally?


We bought our home in 1995 during a price dip in the market. We were able to secure Cal Vet financing since my husband had military service background. It was a low enough interest rate that we could afford the payments. Mind you, this was a LARGE home, 4 bedrooms and a full bath downstairs and a master bedroom suite upstairs. It was actually known as "Brighton Place" back then. An elderly care home in a residential neighborhood. Our 4 children were between the ages of 10 and 20 and all wanted a room of their own. We had rented in this area for 13 years and watched the housing market carefully. This home is only 12 blocks from the beach…

Frugal Challenge - Day 2 Scaling Down To "The Minimum Level"

Here is today's Goal from the Frugally Sustainable Challenge: 


Examine your own unique situation and challenge yourself to the minimum level. How will seeking the minimum level effect the way you live now? What will you reduce today? What can you work on reducing in the future?

Bet you are asking yourself right about now what "minimum level" is. Well, let me give you an example. Let's say you wash your hair every morning by taking a 10 minute shower followed by blow drying and styling. What if you reduce your shower time to 8 minutes, or maybe even 5. Can you get it done in that amount of time? What if you only took a shower every OTHER day for 5 min. You can see that you would save water this way and the gas or electricity of heating that water. If you let your hair dry naturally, that would also cut back on electricity. When you find that point where you HAVE to take a shower at least every other day for 5 minutes and can only let it dry naturally 2 days of the week,…

Frugal & Green

Over at the Frugally Sustainable Blog, Andrea is conducting the "23 Day Frugal Living Challenge". If you are anything like me, saving money sounds really, REALLY good. (As in, this year I may ACTUALLY get to take that vacation that always seems to cost too much!!) Anyways, you can sign up for her daily newsletter, go to the forum and find out what other like minded people are doing to save money.... or you can just lurk I suppose! But you will definitely GAIN more by participating daily to see what you can do to come up with ways to save money.


Last week I was shopping our local Walmart for after Christmas stuff (hope didn't buy a THING!) when I went down their clearance isle and bumped into a single sheer curtain marked down to $2. Now I read ALOT of blogs everyday and I remember seeing SOMETHING about that so I picked it up. Sure enough, Wendy over at Wisdom Of The Moon had done a great little "how-to" about it. Yay! Now I live in California and you can bet we…

When is enough, ENOUGH?

Day one of the 23 Day Challenge at Frugally Sustainable. There is still time to get on board yourself and glean some money SAVING tips. Why don't you head over and sign up?


Here is the goal for today......
"Reflect upon your thoughts surrounding frugality. What are some misconceptions that you will need to overcome? How has materialism and useless spending held you in bondage?"I'm probably older than most of you participating. I've had my family and come out the other side. When I was first married, being frugal to me was like being poor. Frugal people shopped at thrift stores, turned off lights, kept heaters low and wore extra layers of clothing. They ate at home and made clothes on their sewing machines. They had very few possessions, maybe rode bikes to work or school. The kids had made toys or toys that didn't require batteries. Being frugal equaled living a very difficult life.


Then I had my children and wanted to stay home with them rather than work. In or…