Friday, April 28, 2006

The Frugal Kitchen

In order to have a more frugal kitchen, I will be cleaning and organizing over the weekend. This is one area where my husband and I could easily tighten our finances. We have done well with this in the past, however, lately, we have fallen off of the proverbial wagon. Routinely we will spend good money on food and then eat out because we are ‘too tired’ after work. It will be up to me to solve this pitfall.

Hopefully by organizing and categorizing our food products, I will be able to know at a glance what foods we have and what will be needed to make our favorite frugal meals.

I will post photos of the pantry and cabinets when I’m done.

Spending to Save

Yesterday, my husband and I wanted to spend the day together. The first thing that came to mind was the zoo. Neither of us had been to our local zoo in years and we were anxious to see the changes.

The price for one adult ticket was $15. Parking cost $3. This means that the one day excursion would cost a minimum of $33.

Since we both love going to the zoo when we lived down south and knew that we would go more often if cost were not an issue, my husband decided to get a family pass. For $79 we get (the two of us and up to 4 children) for the year. It includes parking and a 15% discount at the shops (which I doubt we will use). If we go to the zoo 3 times per year, it will cost $99. By getting the $79 pass, we saved money.

We love going to the zoo and watching the cats or walking around. Now that we have a pass, it would not be uncommon for us to have a monthly or bi-monthly zoo excursion!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I am not normal!

How much does a family of four needs to earn per year to live the upper-middle-class American dream? looks at a major metro region in each of the 50 states and estimates such expenses as primary and secondary homes, private education, taxes, utilities and more, to find out what it costs to live the good life. One thing is for certain: The dream is a pricey one. ~ from Forbes Magazine

I’m slightly puzzled here. According to this article in Forbes the American dream should be defined as private schools for the kids, a large house in an upscale neighborhood, a weekend retreat, a pricey night out once a week and a couple of very nice cars.

According to their statistics, an average “primary” home in a large city in Tennessee is $950,000. I think that the Forbes people think that I should be ashamed of the cost of my home. I paid less than 1/10th of that for my nice 3 bedroom/2 bath house. Granted, we don’t have a great room or a huge master suite or anything like that. I do not have a brand new car. I don’t spend $169 per week eating out or an amount equal to that for food at home. I don’t travel to the tune of $20,000 per year. I don’t have a vacation home or the payments associated with one.

Rather than dwell solely on the negative, I will show you things I am doing without (according to Forbes) that make me happy!

  • I don’t have a house payment of over $4000 per month (this is primary home only).

  • I don’t have a car payments of over $1,500 per month.

  • I don’t have spoiled kids or an over indulged husband.

  • I’m not spoiled into thinking that life without a BMW or a Lexus, or weekends at the Ritz are what makes life important.

What I do have is a saving account and less debt than 90% of the “Average Americans”. The annual costs (not including private schools or college) that they list, total over $185,000! I don’t make that kind of money and I’m pretty sure that many of them do not either. Living beyond your means only leads to bad things later on, such as bankruptcy.

I am happy to say that if this is the norm for American, I am not normal!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Frugal Wipes

While wandering around the internet reading various blogs, I found Frugal Upstate. I was reading her April posts and came to one about homemade baby wipes. Yeah, yeah, I know about homemade baby wipes, I thought to myself. They were first introduced to me back in the mid 1990's when I began my frugal life. However, I have no children and so while I think they are a great idea, I never got around to making any.

I continued reading to find that she uses the same basic recipe to make homemade cleaning wipes (like the Lysol ones). Now THAT is a great idea. I rarely buy the wipes because $3 per container seems too expensive for me. I do, however, cough up the money when camping for the shear convience of it. Now that I've been enlightened, I will definately be using this myself.

Thank you for the tip!


This year, for the first time in my life, I have a garden. I have always liked other people's gardens. However, as an adult I never had a place of my own. Now that the situation is different I have my beloved garden.

This garden spot is in my front yard, below my two front windows. After much discussion, my hubby and I chose to plant herbs. That's right, my 'flower' garden is all herbs! Our thinking was that we wanted something that we would actually USE. We have peppermint, spearmint, dill, lavender, rosemary, basil, oragano, and two tomato plants. It actually looks very quaint with the gnomes and water garden. I'm very impressed with the progress. In just seven days, we have tons of new growth.

Next year, my goal is to have a nice veggie garden in the backyard. I'm hoping to utilize the square foot gardening techiniques that I've been reading about.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I've only just created this blog. I've been doing the internet journal thing for a long time and wanted to broaden my horizons. Please check back soon for "real" posts.