October 2008 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

 photo sos4ds_smn_youtube_zps92bffa04.jpg

October 2008 - Posts

  • Really, this mindset can be anywhere...

    It's kind of funny, but we have been living a 'homestead' style life for years. We even lived somewhat like that in FL and CA suburbs.

    Now, granted, while in CA, hubby was making more money than, well, sadly more than we knew what to do with, but I still washed ziplock baggies and aluminum foil to re-use.  I recycled things into other things and preferred trying to grow my own foods (not easy when you can mow your lawn with a plug in mower - talk about tiny space!)

    The reality is that this bug bit me way 'back in the day'. To be creatively frugal and have to 'make it on my own' was kind of a dream of mine. I can remember being young and going to the beach with my family and pretending that I was alone on a deserted island trying to live like Robinson Crusoe.  I thought it would be AWESOME to make spears and build fire without matches (think Castaway!) and eat those little periwinkles things to survive (which I did, yes, my  mom let me cook them and make a clam chowder) .

    There really is a mindset to this lifestyle. I do like to call it a homesteading mindset because it simply sings of the pioneer homesteading days, but it isn't limited to country living. I know, because I reused many a jelly jar while living in Southern California!

    EnJOY the journey!

    Best Blessings!




  • A 'word play' trick to learning to be content.

    It is one of my life's goals to balance contentment with a good healthy drive to succeed.  That is kind of a tricky teeter-totter to be on, isn't it?  Well, it seems that to do either one well (be content and strive to succeed) it would help to study a bit about just what the words mean.

    I thought I'd study the word 'content' and hope to find some deeper meanings and see just what all the hub-bub is about, this "being content" thing and why it was on my mind so much lately. Funny thing happened when I did this...I found another word that is spelled exactly the same, but is pronounced differently. Thus began my weird thought process in how to use this as a word play and root this meaning of contentment deeper into my heart.

    The word I was looking for was 'content' (kənˈtɛnt) but the other word I found was 'content' (kŏn'těnt'). Here is what an online dictionary says about each of these two words:

    The fist word content (kənˈtɛnt) has a few definitions but this nicely sums up what I was looking for: "satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else "and "Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied."

    The other word (kŏn'těnt') has many more varying definitions, but these hit a chord with me on the topic I was really searching: "significance or profundity; meaning" and "The substantive or meaningful part."

    It struck me that the homestead mindset can be boiled down to a little play on these two words. This can be applied ANYWHERE to anyone's life, no matter where they may live.

    To be content, I need to focus on the meaningful content of my life not the ever changing circumstances and society around me.

    Best Blessings!



  • Keys to bulk buying, storage and learning to stretch grocery dollars.


    If, like us, you are preparing your long term pantry for whatever reason (weather, gas savings, economic future) you may be a tried and true veteran of this longstanding homestead traditon or you may be new at it and ready to take the plunge.  Either way, it doesn't matter if you live in the country or the city, buying in bulk can be a money (and time) saver if you do it right. There truly are some key points to keep in mind when learning to buy in bulk.

    First, just exactly what IS bulk buying? Well, it's not just buying a lot (as in multiple items all at once). It IS buying larger than typical amounts of the same item. One can of organic green beans is always going to cost more per can than if we can find them in the case. Then, each can is substantially lower in price, because we have 12 or 24 of them.

    Secondly, buying in bulk often, but not always, is less expensive in the long run. Time saved, gas saved and quantity discounts (as above mentioned) add up to being dollar stretches.

    Third, bulk buying doesn't have to be done in the big warehouse stores. When a local market had tomato sauce on sale of $.30 a large can, I got about 8 of them. There are still 7 of them in my pantry and that sale was 3 months ago. The price has risen again, but there I have 28oz of tomato sauce for thirty cents sitting ready for us to use.  Most of the time I can tomatoes, but the sauce takes too long for me and heats up our kitchen in the summer. This bulk buy was/is a big time/money saver for us.

    Fourth, remember not to buy it - even if it seems like a great deal - if no one in the family will use it, or eat it before it goes bad! Fresh veggies are aften a good buy in wholesale clubs, but if you have 4 heads of romaine lettuce to throw out, then you have still wasted your hard earned money.

    Fifth, learn how to store bulk items.  Dry items need to be kept in a moisture proof container. Even large bags of rice and oats are easily stored for months on end in the right container...see here.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEblkB1mvFk

      .... For meats, repackage into meal sized amounts and freeze. For cheeses, if you don't mind crumbled cheese, just freeze. If you do mind it, slice and freeze or shred and freeze.

    Lastly, bulk buying can also work for items that are more household related than just food. Find out how long that $9 giant pail of laundry soap lasts by writing the date you started using it on the top in a magic marker. At the end when it's empty, you can see if it was a savings or not. I'll bet it was.

     Buying bulk can be a bit of a learning curve, but by keeping a few things in mind we can see how bulk buying stretches our dollars each month!

    Best Blessings and enJOY the journey!

    Donna Miller


  • More ramble on that "Thrifty Commercial" topic...Buyer be Aware

    It is pretty funny how I had the same reaction as Anne (one of our other bloggers here) to the KFC and Frozen Chicken commercial. Toss in Stouffers and a few others and we have yet another media twisting epidemic. As unsuspecting busy American's just sit back and 'buy it' because it 'makes sense'.  Well, digging deeper does result in clarity of thought.  Let's look at the things the KFC commercial especially leaves out:

    • Nutritional Content (especially fat)
    • Buying the spices may be expensive but you wouldn't use more than 1/25 of each jar of spice to make one meal - so figure that as less than $1 and you would have more for other meals left....
    • Hormone Free Chicken on sale. I got 24 drumsticks the other day for $3 and 24 thighs for $4 (that's less than $8, but for almost 2 -3 meals) so let's say = approx $3 per meal now stashed in my freezer.
    • Mashed potatoes and green beans - free - from our garden.

    I mean, do the math....dig deeper....no KFC meal can touch that! Plus, forgive the crudeness, but that KFC stuff can really tear up your insides for a few days after!  Oh you know what I'm talking about.....

    Sadly - the ad 'sounds' right but it is only because it is so far from the mark by what it omits.  We have to be more thoughtful in this economic time. Of course the companies in the food industry (mostly convenience and take-out/restaurants) are sweating. Back in 'The Day' - people didn't RELY on them as much as our society does now...and...Heaven forbid, we learn not to rely on them anymore!!

    To attest to this ad being a false hood both on time and $$.  My youngest child (daughter) is in charge of dinners on Thurs nights. She came home from classes at 5:30 and by 6:30 had a meal of: Oven baked chicken strips that cost less than $5 this week, Mashed potatoes (real ones with skins) and green beans both from the garden. Then she made a healthy whole grain dessert for less than $1 (No bake choc oatmeal cookies). This meal cost us only $6.50 (if you count the tea and spices)!!!  She fed a family of 5 (big eaters) a healthy, lower fat, not from a greasy bucket, or with processed potatoes, or who-knows-what kitchen cleanliness ranking - all within the hour.  Top THAT KFC! You can't!!  And now she has the skills and feels accomplished that she can one day make that same meal for her own family! THAT is priceless!!

    Buyer be Aware.

    Best Blessings and enJOY the journey!

    Donna Miller




The Dollar Stretcher has a new community! Click here to check it out and create your new account.

Share this Post

This Blog



Surviving on Shoestrings Radio Show: http://radio.thesurvivalmom.com/category/donna-miller/ Visit our online store at: http://www.millersgrainhouse.com/store There you can sign up for the complimentary newsletter with a free healthy, whole grain recipe and tips on saving money each month.
About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us

Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems