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
  • Making it without an income....

    Stretching our dollars (and of course referring to this wonderful forum, website and newsletters) has been a way of life for us for about a decade now.  During which we spent an entire year without any regular income coming in. 

    I recently referenced this in a previous episode of my half hour radio show and received a letter from a listener inquiring if I could elaborate further.  There was the questions in her mind and then I thought most likely in the minds of others who listen or are facing a similar struggle.  Questions like:

    •    Did we live off of our savings?  
    •    Did we go on a government program? 
    •    What did we do?

    As I ran through the history of that year and began to write her dawned on me it was easier to have a 'conversation' and talk about it than it was to formulate an entire year's journey in writing.  Thus it became the next episode.  Listen to the link if you'd like to know how we made it an entire year without stable income. It is my hope that this will encourage you if you are facing a similar issue or encourage you to prepare just in case one day you may be in that situation yourself.

    Surviving on Shoestrings – Episode 4: Answering a listener’s email. “How did you make it without income?”



  • Announcing Surviving on Shoestrings Radio Show

    You may enjoy checking out the new reguarl weekly radio show that I do called "Surviving on Shoestrings". 

    Of course it focuses on stretching what we've got!  So it's on topic to this blog as well. I'm delighted to be one of the hostesses on The Survival Mom Radio Network and hope my 'out of the box' look at stretching things to make the most of your budget will giv you more ideas!

    Each episode will cover a discussion or brainstorming session on how to stretch money or what's on hand while preparing for a precarious future.  


    Episode 1 - Let’s get to know each other! covered:

    • What will the weekly show be about?
    • Who is the host and why would you want to listen to me of all people anyways?
    • What experiences I’ve had and learned from. Trial by fire and mistakes.
    • Some money saving, dollar stretching and joyful outlook tips.


    Episode 2 -  Let’s Do Laundry and Save!  covered:

    What does it really cost to do laundry the typical way?

    • Is this one of those ‘controllable’ expenses?
    • Indoor lines, laundry mats and stains – oh my.
    • Does wear and tear really factor in to your laundry plan?


    This week -  Episode 3 - Limited budget & food restrictions 

    Author, Janet Leibsch who wrote “It’s a Disaster…what are YOU gonna do about it?” joins me to talk about budget stretching tips for everything from emergency kits to special food restriction prepping. Free e-book download


    I hope you'll tune in - and I'll post more detailed written info here on this blog (that I may have forgotten or had to have edited out for time). So I hope we can stay connected. Together we’ll look outside the box to stretch what we have, make do and get by with humor, style and a smile.

  • Talk about a good deal? Free digital Magazine.

    Easy to subscribe on line.  All that's needed is your name and email address. 

    Each month you'll find a link in your inbox to the montly issue of PREPARE Magazine.  

    Each month focuses on a theme to help you become more self-sustaining and simplify your life while preparing for an uncertain future.  Written by those who are on the journey of being self-reliant and driven by the desire to help others along the way, the mission of PREPARE Magazine will always be to encourage as many people as possible.  What better way to do that than to always have a version that will be free!

  • Giveaway Contest! Discount Codes! Welcome New Years!

    Win one of two prizes if you are drawn as a new subscriber to this YouTube Channel.

    ALSO right on there is a CODE to say "Thank You" that you can use on any item in the online store....even if it's already on sale!

    Make a customer account (be subscribed to the newsletter) at  and be in the drawing to win a box of free grain or freshly milled flour.


  • Silver, Gold and Cash vs. Food, Water and Skill

     Author: Donna Miller

      Recently, in a forum of which Millers Grain House is a sponsor, someone posted a question that the basis for asking is found in the current economy and trends. The question is valid as many of us wonder what is ahead.  It went something like this:

    I hear a lot about having cash, silver and gold on hand for the future. Would the current investment not be better spent in another area? A can of beans that cost $.85 now may cost $8.00 after a collaspe. Just speaking for myself I would rather have food, water and toilet paper than valueless cash or glittery metals.

    My hypothesis is that some cash (paper money and coins) along with precious metals such as silver or gold may be needed and appeal to some as legal tender if in the midst of an economic melt-down. However, this question deserves some serious thought as well as much warranted action.

    An investment in something that will sustain your life is far wiser than saving up only gold, silver, the current currency or stock options. The list of real life assets that could easily prove more valuable to sustain life in even tougher economic times than these include (but are not limited to):

    • Water
    • Food
    • Gardening skills
    • Skill to preserve a harvest
    • Wood working
    • Survival skills (fire building, shelter building, etc)
    • Animal husbandry and small livestock
    • Sewing
    •  Anything our ancestors did 200 years ago to establish the land as productive and self sustaining.

    This short beginning list of skills and vital items (and the time investment spent learning, testing and trying them) are far more worthy and look to be the more tangible options than a shiny piece of metal that cannot be eaten or share hope with another desperate person.

    The best way to find out what might really be important would be to ask someone who lived through the Great Depression. With no funds on hand, what was vital to them? We may be surprised.

  • Winter Squash - A seasonal bargain with variety!

     Tis the season for an abundance of winter produce! Winter Squash to be precise. Most people think of pumpkin pie and stop there when trying to figure out what to do with these prolific growers that usually just make great fall decorations.If you're a gardener, you'll also be delighted to know there are more uses for this winter crop than pie!

    Most folks will just pass up this seaonal bargain food because they believe it is too difficult to work with or they really don't know the wide variety of things that can be done with winter squash. At bargain prices between $.39 to $.79 cents per pound, ounce per ounce this delectable winter veggie can stretch in to any menu for pennies.

    There's also a reason for this food to be in season in the winter. The nutritional content of winter squash is vital to our winter health.  With loads of fiber ( 1 cup winter squash contains 5 grams of fiber) and the deep rich color (1 cup containing  150% of your RDA of vitamin A) it is also a good source of vitamin C, potassium and mangenese, folate, omega 3 fatty acids, copper, vitamins B5 and B6, niacin and thiamin. Each of these vitamins (and the tandum synergistic combination) help to combat the winter blahs, lack of sunshine, loss of energy that can be associated with cold weather and help bolster our immune system to combat cold weather ailments such as the flu. The benefit of getting them in the REAL FOOD of winter squash vs. a pill is that your body really does know how to use those nutrients when consumed as a food.

    So here are a few ideas to stretch this frugal and healthy seasonal jewel:

    • Add to muffins 
    • Add to mac & cheese
    • Make into creamy soups
    • Try as a side dishe with brown sugar and cinnamon
    • Try roasted, grilled and mashed

    The variety is practically endless.

    If you would like recipes for these suggestions and video tips on just how easy using this bargain stretching veggie can be, be sure to sign up for our newsletter before October 31st (when the recipes go out!) at  (don't forget to click the confirmation email you'll receive or you won't get the newsletter in time). If you sign up in time you'll be loaded up with some out of the box winter squash ideas that stretch your food budget and redefine some 'comfort food' recipes!

    For more freebie tips "LIKE" us on Facebook

    For even more stretching ideas, listen to "Encouragement in the Kitchen" at 5:00PM Eastern Mondays - Thursdays (or even catch up later at the same link when you have the time). We will be talking about the great upcoming recipes and tips today - 10/25/11

    Until next time - keep stretching your dollars and learning new skills!

    Best Blessings and enJOY the journey!

    Donna Miller






  • $70 off the Nutrimill Grain Mill !

    I can't help but share this news here!

    It is after all a Dollar Stretcher item.

    Saves $$ on making healthy food (which you can store WHOLE grain for up to, uhm 1000 years unlike flour) and now it's on SALE!!

    You can check it out and a video how to use it by clicking this link:

    If you've been wanting an electric grain mill - this one is fantastic and ON SALE the lowest I've ever seen it!!! 

    I paid more for my own - years ago!

    Sale lasts until September 31st or while suply lasts. The last sale - last year - (at $239.99) sold out in two weeks!!

  • A Self-sustaining Life is a Frugal Life.

    To be self- sustaining is kind of an anomaly in this current global climate, however, the trend to be more frugal is a growing movement. I surmise that the most economical way of living, in the long run, is to be more self-sustainable rather than system-reliant.

    In the times of our forefathers, the new settlers to the land, the pioneers and even those here before them, the Natives, there was no system other than community to sustain one’s way of life. The community was made up of families who sustained themselves by gardening, trade and skill. Our community has changed now to encompass imported items from other countries and conveniences we think we cannot do without.

    The waste and frivolity of our current societal norm thought to be a higher standard of life can easily become our demise. The more self-sustainable a family unit is, the more they will actually have to share with those in need. The more self-sustainable a family is, the less waste and reliance upon others they will be. The more self-sustainable a family is, the more appreciative they are of the basic necessities that are required to live. These are not only attainable attributes but also are the most desired characteristics of a family who wishes to become more frugal. No one wants to become stingy. But to still rely on the status-quo and cut corners often makes us so. Choosing voluntary self-sustaining practices leave less room for feeling deprived and yield more empowered individuals in the process.

  • Solar Cooking - The Basics

    I'll admit to being a little on the hippy side, semi-tree-hugging and longing to live in a hut off grid at times (not at all times) but I also admit to being a bit intimidated by solar cooking. But after my interview with the Solar Oven President on my radio show Your Preparation Station - I had to have one. Am I EVER glad I got one!

    So far for the last 5 days of sun, I've not run the oven at all to bake bread, make soup, cook beans and cornbread and broccoli and baked potatoes. I've only just begun!

    I love how this has kept my house cooler (less A/C) cut down on one of the largest electric appliances being used (the oven) and been so user friendly for a variety of foods.

    I am sharing my Sun Oven escapades on my youtube channel -

    The truth is if I can do this...anyone can do this! 

    It is my hope that more people will choos this as an alternative cooking option. Check it out for yourself!


    Best Blessings!


  • Simply Basics

    Although the link may stay the same, I've renamed my blog. Since we lost our homestead (the the homesteading spirit is still quite alive within) and I do tend to cover more topics than the homesteading mindset, I felt that the name "Simiply Basics" was appropriate. Some of us have chosen to live simply.Some of us have been nudged in that direction due to what we see in the economy.Some of us have been moved to a life of simplicity not by our own choosing, but due to circomstances that deemed it the only option.

    No matter the road that one takes toward a more simply basic lifestyle, there are hurdles along the way. Some of the hurdles may include: Dealing with no health insurance, loosing a home, paying for college, making the money stretch through the month, selling off belongings to make ends meet, dealing with depression or a sense of loss. There are far too many opportunities for growth when choosing to live more simply. 

    It is my hope that with a broader view within this blog of the lifestyle our family has chosen I can offer more insight and guidance to others during trying times of what ever they may be facing. Don't lose heart. When all else falls away there is great freedom in simply the basics.

    Best Blessings and remember to enJOY the journey.


    PS: SmileFor a little giggle in the day - take a look at my blooper video here -


More Posts « Previous page - Next page »

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: Visit our online store at: 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