August 2009 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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August 2009 - Posts

  • Stretching Money by looking at everyday objects differently.

    We all have them, the weird things that are in the house that we save and get over run with or we simply toss because we see them as not useful.  Well, if you look at things just ever so slightly might find some great uses for 'useless' stuff.

    But, before I list and try to explain them.....If you would like a visual aide (I learn better by doing and seeing than reading!) then follow this link to this certain playlist on my youtube channel Quick Tips for saving time and money!

    Here is a mini-breakdown of a few. I'm not sure I've hit all the points, and there are 15 you may want to watch them anyway!


    Using Aluminum Foil to the Max - Wash it and reuse it. Multiple times it can be washed and reused.  We often have our 'final' use of aluminum foil for raw meat (that is first wrapped in wax paper) THEN and only THEN after being used several other times do we toss it in the trash.

    Organize on a Dime - Finding lids to your pots and pans can cause delay and waste time.  Those 'organizers' cost way too much.  Just two thumb tacks and some 1/2 inch elastic across your cabinet door gives a great place for these to store for easy access.

    How to reuse a plastic ziplock bag - If it hasn't had raw meat in it (again, it's our last time of re-using it, like aluminum foil) then wash it and air dry it.  Just turn wrong-side out and wash with soapy water, rinse and hang to dry.

    Freezer Soup - Keep a large glass container in the freezer for loading up all the small veggies and potatoes that are left over. Then thaw and add to soup or pot-pies.  Don't freeze meats with it so you can have more choices when you're making the meal. Also don't freeze rice or pasta with it as they go in at the end of cooking time.

    Save the burnt toast - This is hard to explain, but unless you've burnt it through and through (which would likely mean you had a fire) you can scrap off the top layer of toast on both sides and have a perfectly good piece of toast.

    Reuse Mesh Produce Bags - You can make them into wonderful, easily washable kitchen scrubbies. No sewing and no hassle


    There are about five more of these types of 'odd-ball-brain-activity' ideas at the above link - I just couldn't think of how to put them into words. 

    Just try to look at things a little differently and ask...."What can I do with this that will save me money?" ...before you head for the trash can!

    Happy Inventing!!


    Best Blessings,

    Donna Miller


    Donna Miller is an author, teacher and entrepreneur. Her favorite roles are that of wife and mother to three home-school graduates. The Millers own and operate  Millers Grain House  which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.

  • Stretching Costs Associated with Laundry & Clothing

    Here are some tips that you may or may not know that are likely to save some of the time and expense on the laundry and clothing budget.
    • Use less detergent than required. Often you won't need as much as the box recommends so play with the amounts.
    • Make your own detergent for pennies.  There are numerous recipes for this on line. Everyone has their favorite.
    • Learn stain removal tricks. From getting out grease with flour to how long and in what to soak grass stains. A little extra effort can save money.
    • Line dry. Four loads dried a week, saves over $100 a year! One other thing this does is keep the wear and tear down on the clothing. Where exactly do you think that lint in the dryer catcher comes from? It’s cloth break-down.
    • Re-wear. Hang up and use again any clothing that is not actually soiled or smelly.
    • Buy at thrift stores. This is especially good for children's clothing. They grow so fast that what you bought this month may not fit next month. This goes for shoes too!
    • Have different sets of cloths. Have some you only wear around the house, some that are for nice events and others for the garden. This will save on stains that don't come out for things that don't matter.
    • Learn to stitch and sew at least a little. Even just some slight alterations or mending can keep an article of clothing usable for quite a while.
    • Hand me downs. Save what one child may out grow for the next. If you don't have a next, maybe a friend, relative or neighbor does and also has an older child you can GET hand-me-downs from!
    Using these tips can help stretch the cost that is associated with clothing and caring for that clothing!

    Have fun saving and Best Blessings!


    Donna Miller is an author, teacher and entrepreneur. Her favorite roles are that of wife and mother to three home-school graduates. The Millers own and operate  Millers Grain House  which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.

  • Versatility - one of my keys to budgeting.

    Versatility is one of my most important keys to budgeting. 

    Versatility in many areas helps to stretch a budget farther than it may normally go.

    Here are just a few ideas in a couple of different areas:

    Wardrobe Versatility:  Admittedly, I don't have a very versatile wardrobe. I am a jean/shorts and t-shirt kind of girl, but I do own some nicer things for whenever the need arises. But versatility is not about how large my wardrobe is, but how well I use the fewer pieces I DO have.  What I try to do is have some basics that mix and match. A pair of black pants and a black skirt that also go with a black jacket that can all mix and match with multiple tops, a basic pair shoes or two. Then the same type thing in an ivory color all that can mix with the black. Now I'm done.  I don't have multiple dresses and multiple 'outfits' that only fit each other. That is the type of versatility that stretches a budget; two suit sets that can become about 30 different things to wear.

    Home Decor Versatility:  We've not bought too many things 'new' other than our bed and maybe one couch in 25 years of marriage. Since most things are second hand, we look for quality and multi-purpose use.  Old chests, covered baskets and crates make good storage as well as decor.  Baskets that we hand or display are also often grabbed for garden work or carrying firewood/kindling in the house.  A wicker waste paper basket this month may become a planter basket next month. Sheets make good drapes and table clothes and napkins.  Old towels are ripped for the rag box.  I've never bought a rag in my life time!

    Automobile Versatility:  When buying a new-to-me vehicle, I've looked for things that have ample trunk space and or a van with removable seats. There have been times that my car/van was our ONLY option for moving larger items.  It saved us having to rent a truck or u-haul.  Also, we've looked at cars that can be passed on to our kids to buy. Keeping them in good shape is vital, but the Jeep has been earmarked for one of the kids to purchase before too long.

    Food Versatility:  This one is my biggest key to managing our home expenses. I buy mostly organic (which sounds more expensive, but is better in the long run) and only basic foods.  Making one meal that the left-overs turn into two more is always a great dollar stretcher.  By far my favorites are using whole grains in multiple ways.  Currently I am doing a series on the multi-uses of Popping Corn....  ... from corn meal, corn bread, multi-flavor options, polenta, tortillas and so on.....This list is growing from only ONE grain!  We do the same with Organic rolled Oats.... 

    If there is one thing that I'd love to encourage anyone struggling with making ends meet, it is to look at how versatile are (ore aren't) the items you are spending money on.  You may be surprised at how trimming back to basic items actually gives you a wider variety!


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