May 4, 2018

Pinching Pennies

Photo Credit: Adapted with permission katerha Flickr via Compfight cc

As a full-time homemaker in a single-income household that is working hard to pay down a massive debt, I have learned a few things about saving a buck.

But it gets wearisome at times to be the only gal at the get together who ate dinner beforehand or passing on an activity for the kids because the family budget line is at zero.

So I thought I could share a few ways we pinched pennies, and maybe make it a semi-regular thing, to help me stay motivated as we power through our 10th year of debt repayment on a single income.

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The other white meat


We ran out of the local grass-fed ground beef I bought last summer/fall. I reached out to my local source (who gives me an amazing deal on large quantities of his beef) to let him know I would like to buy some, but he is running low right now. I probably won't get some for another month.

So instead of buying more beef, we've been making do with ground pork from the hog we had butchered a few months ago.

Often people make soup with sausage, but I've found that using ground pork is just as delicious and even easier since you just brown it with onions like ground beef. This weekend, pork and onions plus carrots, homemade chicken broth, a can of tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf, and salt and we had a great easy meal with lots of leftovers.

Which brings us to . . . .

Bonus chicken broth


I make several gallons of chicken broth every time we have a chicken, which is about once a month. Recently, I reached out to a group of friends who often buy meat products from the same local farm we do to see if any of them had any extra lard or animal scraps that they wanted me to take off their hands :-)

Sometimes people have extras lingering in their freezer and feel guilty throwing them away. Since I love putting lamb/mutton bones, chicken feet, lard, and scrapple to good use, and my family likes to eat things made with these odd bits, it is a win-win situation.

It just so happened that a friend did have some pork fat and chicken carcasses lying around. I rendered the lard as soon as I got it, and I've been slowly using the carcasses to make some extra broth which is really handy for easy meals and to save for some of the crockpot meals I've stored away for when our new baby gets here.

I started broth this weekend and have made soup, rice, and greens with it. Tonight we'll have some dal and vegetable curry made with broth and still have a gallon in the fridge for the next few weeks.

$4 Amazon gift cards


Moneysavingmom.com tipped me off that Coca Cola Rewards was offering $2 Amazon gift cards if you entered codes from 12-packs. My mom, dad, and mother-in-law all give me their points and so I had enough sitting around for both my husband and me to cash them in for the gift cards.

Of course, I put them toward an item in my Amazon cart for homeschooling--this time some really nice rain pants for my kids to use as we participate in a year-round all-weather weekly playgroup at a local rural property.

Class-action Lawsuits


Sometimes I know I am getting ripped off and I hope that I will later receive a notice of a class action. So I was happy to receive a postcard this week about a company I contracted with to provide our electricity generation several years ago.

Unlike most of the notices I received, this one required me to opt in via a website which I did that day. Maybe I'll get $5-$10 in a year or two to put towards the homeschooling budget.

Last week, my husband received a $10 check for a diamond class action suit related to anticompetitive practices when he purchased my engagement ring in 2004. This was in addition to about $30 he received on the same suit more than a year ago.

The diamond ring is long gone. I sold it last year to top off our savings goal for a used piano. But the $10 is always appreciated.

A Stitch in Time


My son has really taken to sewing this year. And he has even mended several items around the house--including sewing a button on my sweater and mending the seam in his sweatpants.

I was happy to model the same care for our items when I sewed up a split in my comforter as well as sewed up a hole that the 3-year-old cut in her really cute sweatpants. She is my only child to really enjoy picking out her clothes as well as the only child who has ever taken a pair of scissors to them.

I hope that she won't like how it looks with the sewed up hole in the middle of her knee because she is picky about her clothes. Hopefully, it will be a deterrent to future alterations!


What frugal successes have you had this week?

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