Time for more challenges. Let’s lose weight and save money!

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I did a self-created 40 day challenge a while back.  Made all kinds of goals and came out a winner times 10!  I find that short-term and intense challenges are the magic bullet for getting and staying motivated.  We get so amped up for a goal and then we plod along like a horse and buggy on a Sunday drive and get bored from the beginning.  But if you charge into the goal and immerse yourself mind, body, and soul and you make huge changes from the start…you just might reach the finish line.

We like seeing big results and fast don’t we?  I do.  I’ve been setting some challenges here and there and it improved my health and family life but it was the last one that I set for 40 days for the fun of it that resulted in huge changes.  I made changes to the way we eat, save money, we purchased a fixer upper, I got into the habit of exercising daily, and many other things.  I wrote about it.  I won’t bore those of you that read it already.

The last couple months have been consumed with buying a new home, scrubbing, painting, renovating, packing, moving, more cleaning, unpacking, more renovating…

We are still at it.  Just washed the windows the other evening and as the morning sun hit the glass this morning I see that I did a less than decent job.  In my defense, these windows probably haven’t been washed in years and years and so I just smeared the dirt around in pretty swirls.  I have a back door to paint and the old wood floors that need a little work.  I have a big garden bed planted but need to get the other one filled and planted.  Oh, and I need a clothes line.  Other than that I have actually had time to start writing and thinking again.

I’m inspired to start a few challenges for the next 3 months.  I’m choosing a bit longer for a challenge this time because the few things I want to accomplish, along with a few little things, will take about that much time to really get some results.

I would like to lose 30 pounds of this jiggly jelly (because jam don’t shake like that).  I have no delusions of a bikini body, nor do I care.  I have a husband that is pleased with my plump form and I’ve grown two babies in this sturdy body and nursed them both at my bosom.  I just want to feel a bit lighter and have less weight on my frame.  I have gained some weight with all the drive thru we ate while moving and working on this place and I have crossed that line of comfortably plump and having to wear my spouse’s jeans.

The other project I’d like to work on is the budget.  I have encouraged Bali to take two days off a week.  He has been working 6 days a week and 60 to 70 hours for years and years.  We miss him and I feel like I’m raising a family alone.  To my surprise, he changed his schedule the minute we moved into this house.  I’m thrilled and it also means that we have $700 less coming in so a new and tight budget is in order.

I have one last project.  My fictional books.  I’m really lagging but as of yesterday and a day of much needed rest, I feel reinspired and am back at it.  I have called my friend and editor and promise a rough draft next week just to keep me on task.

So, to sum it up: start losing weight and getting stronger.  Create a working budget and get back into a frugal mode and grocery envelopes.  To produce at least one fictional book this summer.

How will I achieve these goals?

For the diet, I find that a low carb way with tons of veggies, protein and fat works best.  I can’t stand recording, weighing, counting, or thinking about the diet.  I need to eat when I’m hungry and feel satisfied.  I’m very active, still nursing, exercising, walking everywhere…I get HUNGRY!  I can’t lose weight with sugar or starch or flour.  Just can’t.  So, I have to get into a mode of commitment to not having it at all.  It’s an addiction and just like with all addictions, you have to set your mind, commit and never look back, never cheat, just keep looking forward at the goal.  Eye on the prize.

I love to exercise and if that was where the 80% success came I’d be thin as a rail.  I already do half an hour on the tread climber daily and every other day I do a weight strengthening routine from head to toe.  I haven’t in weeks due to moving but I got on the tread climber yesterday and today so we are back!

I already wrote up a complete budget and cut out all the extras such as Netflix, Pureflix, and I reduced some of my donations.  I won’t give up my donations but I cut some in half.  I also cut out an insurance that was really just a rip-off and I got talked into.  We have all sorts of the important insurances already.  My internet, phone, cell…they are all reduced to the minimum and my cable is in a contract.  Besides, I couldn’t get the antennae to work and we have to have some TV.  I’m a little scared of the next water bill, that will need some improving I know.

I’ve started back on my book and I will work each morning with my coffee.  I try to put in a couple hours of just devoted work.  I have also set a date for completion to put the pressure on.  Writing with some pressure is good, less time to think and criticise my work.

 

 

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Ways to save money with a fixer upper.

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We bought a 1941 fixer upper in April of this year.  It had been abandoned for years except for the squatters that took up residence and rotated groups of them out for God knows how long.

The home has great bones, as they say (I picked up a lot of housing lingo on this journey), and what it needed most was a scrub down and paint.  I like to use green cleaners but I turned to bleach cleaners for this project being that I can only imagine what had occurred in our home and didn’t want us getting a case of staph or whatever you get from intense filth.

Industrial strength cleaners, paint, paint, and more paint, lots of mowing, pruning, planting, and some fences and that was it.  There was a little plumbing and electrical and we did hire a carpenter for a while but then he left for a family emergency in Mexico and my husband learned to do a lot of things fast.

Now we are settled in and not wanting to dip into the savings anymore.  We were very smart about the purchase and penny wise with the work on the place but now we are having to be super frugal.  As in work with what we have and no more trips to Home Depot.

But I still need soil for one of my raised beds.  I need a laundry line.  We had no light bulbs.  I have other desires too, like a hammock and things that don’t make the list of “priorities”.

And just like that PG & E called regarding a weatherization on our house.  Being that we are low income we qualify for something I talk about in my books all the time but never owned a house to do it.  PG & E’s Weatherization Program.  PG&E will come in and change out your lightbulbs, weather strip doors and windows, replace your microwave…or give you one if you don’t have one.  They will insulate your attic and caulk under sinks.  You can get support in replacing a frig too.  All you need is a pay stub and a bill that shows that you do reside there.  If you rent you need the landlord’s permission.  I love this program and we just had almost $300 dollars worth of LED lights installed for free!  And the lights aren’t that hideous fluorescent.  They actually give off a very warm and soft light.  We won’t qualify for insulation in the attic, however, because we have tube and knob wiring and it’s a fire hazard.  Not really, it’s some of the best wiring from the old days but companies don’t want to be liable.

I also found that you can go to the local landfill sites and get free compost and free mulch.  This can save a bundle.  There is a limit though and for our area, I was told 50 lbs and that ain’t much but it helps.  You can find free manure and soil on Craigslist, you just don’t always know how good the dirt is.

In some areas, the local gas or/and electric companies have free tree programs.  SMUD in Sacramento County will give you up to 10 trees for free!  We are in Sutter county with no such program.  Darn.

I’ve found free lumber and bricks on Craigslist.  There is another site FreeCycle where people give and trade all sorts of things.

As for the laundry line, as soon as I find where I packed that rope I will have one.

 

 

Bringing an old home back to life. And on a small budget.

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So, here is the unveiling of our wonderful little hidden gem.  We only had $130,000 for a loan to work with and I found this HUD house, made a bid and God was kind, no one else bid on it that night so in the morning we were proud parents of a poor, neglected and abused home.  It had been abandoned for years and housing squatters.  It had some funky energy and smells, to say the least.  But with some of our savings, lot’s of scrubbing, soap, paint, and planting of trees and gardens…it is back to a wonderful life housing a loud and fun family.

We purchased the house for $135,000, closing costs were $9,000 and all the work and supplies along with hiring Leo, our carpenter, was around $15,000 give or take.  Total $159,000.  We used savings that came from 6 years of frugal living and we still have some savings left.  Our mortgage with insurance, taxes and MIP (mortgage insurance you must pay if you didn’t put 20% down) all included is a fabulous $918.02!  It took us 6 weeks to do the work with Leo working daily and my husband working after his job each day and his one day off.

Here are the rest of the before and afters.

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The color is wild but it’s hard to see from those little swatches what you will really get.

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It still needs a little work here and there.  But this is the main chunk of the progress.  I look forward to seeing how this little house evolves over the years.

For those of you interested in getting out of debt and living a more frugal lifestyle for peace of mind and real freedom in life, check out my new book The Homemade Housewife.  I have every tip and advice that I have learned over the years from hundreds of other frugal hens and applied.  This frugal living was the only way we were able to purchase our first home because we live on one small income and have 4 humans and 3 furry family members to take care of.

So, if you want to get motivated get this book and have fun with the journey.  It cost less than a cup of gas station coffee.  I want everyone to have the joy and freedom I have found in living sustainably, frugally, and simply.

 

 

The simple and frugal life outlined for the beginner.

The Homemade Housewife: The last book you will ever need on homemaking and frugal living by [Singh, Kate]

I was having a chat with an old friend today.  They make great money and haven’t much to show for it.  They have high rent (who doesn’t nowadays), two car payments, lots of expenses going out each month.  They make double what my family makes a year and still do not own a house or investments.  Both parents work and they struggle.  Does this sound familiar?

The excuse is, “it’s too hard to save money.”  Maybe.  Sometimes it just takes a couple changes to start saving money.  The easiest way to save money is to wait for your tax refund, if you get one, and open a separate saving account and have it deposited into that account each year.  That can be a great way to save a lot of money each year without trying.

If you have some big goals, such as buying a home or starting a business, you may have to get more structured.  Or say you, as a couple or family, want to go down to one income.  Perhaps a spouse wants to go back to school or you just had a baby and mama or papa wants to stay home and be with the wee one instead of returning to the world of quotas and commuting.

What do you do?  There are hundreds of things you can do.  If you are broke now and need help then look through my recent and old post.  I share all kinds of great ideas.  I also have some great books out there for only .99 cents on ebook and a couple paperbacks like the ones I have posted on the top of this blog.

I am a top contestant when it comes to being frugal.  I don’t have a ton of original ideas, however, I have hundreds of ideas that I have gleaned from hundreds of wise homemakers and advice that have been passed down from great grandmothers that have lived through a different time altogether and know how to make a dollar stretch.

When you become a veteran of the frugal life you will find that there isn’t a lot of new ideas out there.  When I first started learning how to be thrifty I devoured every book, article, blog, and YouTube I could find on the subject.  I completely embraced this lifestyle and, although we make more money now, we still live this way.

Why?  Because this is a life of peace, freedom, deep sleeping at night, no stress, and making our dreams come true.  Like buying a house recently.  Which was also a very frugal find.  This is a great life, environmentally sustainable, and focused on family and fun.

I have now filled and packed my books with this info.

Get on amazon and find me:

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Singh/e/B018FNFDSM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Every penny builds a house. Learning the art of turning that $10 into $30,000.

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My friend Mrs. Mother Dirt ask me for some ideas on starting a saving account with little money.  We both know many people out there that look at a dollar or ten dollars and think, “eh, what does that count?”  And then they go buy a latte.  I know people who don’t even consider the loose change to matter.  I see pennies being thrown away because they add up to “nothing”.  Nothing?!  Really?  Let’s do some basic math.  100 pennies make a dollar.  100 dollars pay at least two utility bills (at least in my house).  100 ten dollar bills pay the rent or half of it depending on where you live.

When you go into a frugal lifestyle out of choice or survival, it takes some time to see the payoff and that is what gets people so frustrated and then they go back to that other lifestyle of living beyond their means.  This is dangerous and will only build a life of suffering and later be needing blood pressure medication.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Here are a few things my family has done to get in a great place financially and finally save enough to buy a fixer-upper and have the money to actually fix it up without taking out another loan.

When I was pregnant we put all my paychecks into savings and lived off Bali’s salary.  This built up a savings fast so that when I quit work to stay home with the bambino we had that emergency fund.

Every year we get a nice sized tax refund and it is automatically deposited into savings.

Our saving account is in a separate bank down the street and we never even look that way.

I have opened a “household” savings account linked to our checking account.  This is where we save all those $1, $10, and $20’s.  It has added up to over a thousand dollars quickly and I just used it recently to pay for the appraisal of our house and the whole house inspection along with the insect and dry rot inspection.  That was all just from saving that extra $5 and $10 after bills and rent were paid.  This little household savings account is great for the “unexpected”.

I have a big jug in the house that I save every penny and bit of loose change I find on the floor, in the couch, in the car, wallets, dresser top.  Every few months I take it to the Coin Star at FoodMaxx and I wind up with $40 or more.  I use this to buy all the supplies for a birthday party including the gifts, ingredients for cake, card…or we use it to go to the movies ( a huge and expensive luxury), or 5 days worth of groceries.

70 years ago people lived very differently.  Movies were a big deal, traveling was once a year, families had one car for the whole family.  Everything was saved and recycled and reused.  Now we are so consumer driven and used to instant pleasure and that is why most Americans are in huge debt and “one paycheck away from being homeless”.  I have worked at the local soup kitchen and I can tell you that not all those homeless people are that way due to mental issues and drugs and booze.  Some are families that fell on hard times and now they are living on the river.  Time to get real people.  Especially if you have a family.

These are changing times and with politics and the environment, we need to change our ways fast.  A frugal way of living is environmentally conscious and the sane way to live.  It is sustainable and family focused.  Being frugal is a way of life that has huge pays offs. Don’t scoff at it or take it lightly.  Anyone can live frugally and have a great life even on a hardcore fixed income.  I’ve done it.  We still live on one small income and we live better than the average person.  We have delightful, cozy, charming homes, tons of toys, nice clothes, organic food, pets, a road trip now and then.

And it’s all because I’m a penny pincher extraordinaire.  I water down dish soap, I reuse coffee filters, I use wash clothes for dish rags instead of waste money on sponges.  I turn it all into a game.  How little can I spend on groceries, how can I get the cheapest internet, how small can I get my cable.  I hate cable by the way but we must have PBS.  Most places get the best reception and a good HDTV antenna will do just fine.  All my books are from the library, I publish my books for free, I walk a lot with my kids to make that tank of gas last a month or more.  It’s not because I’m poor and have to.  I choose to be like this so I have that extra money to buy large dreams such as a home, to have plenty in savings for all kinds of situations and emergencies be it a broken sink or car repairs.  I do it so there is no stress in our lives even if my bread earning husband loses his job.

My husband has lost a job before and we didn’t freak out because we had enough in savings to live for a whole year.  We had tiny bills, small rent, no debt or plastic cards.  We had the one car paid off.  We can live off very, very little.  We can sleep at night.

I’m working on yet another frugal homemaking book that will be loaded with every bit of advice on saving, getting out of debt, going frugal, urban farming, and living on the cheap.  It’s called The Homemade Housewife.  It might even be out there by the time this post.

I write these books to teach all that great grandma advice that is going to help families live better, greener, happier lives and have great benefits to our Mother Earth and send a message to all those cronies in Washington.  We don’t have to live this madness anymore.  Withdraw from the insanity and go forth creating a wonderful life for yourself and your family.  Let’s go back to the old days when life was simpler and credit cards didn’t even exist.  Let’s go back to pinching pennies, saving those plastic bags and rubber bands (maybe not so much), let’s go back to one car per family and living locally so we can walk to work, to shop, to play right there in our town.

It all starts with you and you and you….

 

God, frugality, multi tasking, and coffee.

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I’m sitting here listening to my great music on my free Pandora online as I write up a blog piece and sip my afternoon cup of coffee.  I have bread rising on the kitchen counter and a pot of beans simmering on the stove.  Laundry is washing itself in the garage and my kids are playing well in the living room.  Yes, my desk is actually in the kitchen…kind of in between the dining area and kitchen.  It’s a small house and this is where I feel the most inspired, right next to the baking and brewing.

I was out late last night.  My friends took me to a Joel Osteen convention at Sacramento’s new Golden 1 center.  It was three hours of inspiring music and motivation.  I wound up with a child in El Salvador by the time it was done.  Joel’s family partners with the worldwide project and part of that is adopting a child from another country and paying a sum monthly so this child can have the basics we all take for granted: clean water, food, education, medicine.

My heart aches for the world, however, I found that since I started donating monthly to a handful of local and global organizations that are reputable and doing great works…I sleep a bit better.  I also have to remind myself that God created this world, all us humans, and He knows what He is doing even if don’t.  I have control issues.  I’m working on it.

But this isn’t a blog about the world or Joel.  This is about being a homemaker and having it all work in your favor so you, as a mother and homemaker, may thrive to the fullest.  Amen!!

Three things:  God, a great budget (and no debt), the skill of multi-tasking.  These three things will make homemaking much easier and give you more time and peace.  Coffee or strong tea is the magic elixir that will inspire you to get these things done.

So, what does that look like to bring it all together?

I like to start my mornings off with my coffee and a little Joyce Meyer and reading a bit from my Bible.  I swear by it.  A bit of time with God and some reflection on all the good things in your life, the blessings, and gifts, and you’ve set yourself up for a good day ahead.

Multi-tasking is simply running the vacuum while the dough rises on the kitchen counter or writing a blog while running the washing machine.  I clean the bathroom sink and toilette when the kids are in the tub for bath time.  I fold laundry and watch a show on TV.  I read something educational or inspiring while on the tread climber.  Go work in the garden when you children are in the yard so you are keeping an eye on them and getting a little weeding done.  Listen to educational/inspiring CD’s while cleaning house.  I find seminars on YouTube for free and listen while I mop the floor or do dishes.  Cook several things at once and then freeze half of it saving future days of cooking.

You can even get a little crazy and do a ton of task all in one day and then have a few days to just read, write, and play!

For example, I will do all my major house cleaning, laundry and almost a weeks work of cooking and baking in one day.  I do this when I’m trying to really focus on a book or want to just play and get some reading done.

Here’s the thing, you can have a clean, tidy, delightful home, plenty of home cooking, and take excellent care of the family without a lot of effort if you get smart about your work.

Downsizing and decluttering help.  That’s on other blogs of mine under “cleaning and organizing”.

Now the frugal part.  It is very wise to create a household budget.  Know exactly what you have coming in monetarily and exactly how much is going out.  You will need paper, pencil, statements, and a calculator.  You’ll also need my Queen of Penny Pinching book.  If you have more going out then coming in you must start cutting, cutting, and cutting.  Cut out the cable, cut down the phone plans, cut down on utilities, cut the grocery allotment in half.  There are so many things you can do to cut cost and save money.

Another great tip is to learn to spend nothing beyond the rent/mortgage, utilities, and groceries.  This is hard at first but with practice and some creative imaginings you can do it.  Make it into a game.  Find out just how many things you can do and have for free!

  • TV can be some great entertainment and it can be free.
  • I have read some bestsellers from the library…free!
  • Parks, long walks, beaches, and forest…free!
  • Movie night at home, also free.
  • Rearranging the living room for a new look and for free.
  • Starting a blog.  Free at first or super cheap if you want to post it on all sites such as twitter and Facebook.
  • Write and publish a book.  Absolutely free.  I have great advice on this on old blogs.
  • Do some crafting.
  • Have a chat on the phone and coffee.
  • Look of Freecycle and Free on Craigslist.

I could go on but I have some chores to get back to.  If you want a ton of tips and detailed ways to cut cost, save bags of money, get out of debt fast, and master the frugal life, get Queen of Penny Pinching or Dirt Poor and Lovin’ It!  I have so many books out there to teach anyone how to make a buck stretch and make it fun.  And all my books are .99 cents!  How can you beat that!

Brew up some tea or coffee and skim through my blogs for all kinds of tips and inspiration!

Queen of Penny Pinching: Getting Out of Debt and Saving Money Fast by [Singh, Kate]Dirt Poor and Lovin' It!: Learning to live on minimum wage painlessly by [Singh, Kate]The Funky and Frugal Housewife: Making a Good Family Life on Very Little by [Singh, Mrs. Kate]

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does a frugal lifestyle feel like?

 

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My favorite topic!  I love being wise with my pennies because I know what the difference is in being frugal and spending beyond your means.  What it works out to is either sleeping well at night and being at peace over all or staring at the ceiling at 3:00 am and hearing your heart pound with anxiety.

Living a frugal life is living a simple life.  It may be hard to get used to at first but eventually, it becomes a way of life and as you gain the rewards of being debt free and having an emergency fund when trouble comes a callin’ you begin to really enjoy it.  There are even bigger rewards like owning your own home and taking vacations with your family.  But overall it is personal freedom, environmentally and globally considerate, and easy.

Here is a simple trick to get started:  If you don’t have the cash, don’t buy.  If you are in a financial downturn, don’t spend period, on anything except the bills and rent.

There is hardcore frugal and everyday frugal.

Hardcore is when you downsize everything: home, utilities, cars, groceries.  You walk to work, you move from a 5 bedroom house to a two bedroom apartment, you go from shopping at the Natural Foods Coop to Winco, you trade in the gym membership for a free daily walk in the park, you start considering the library your new Barnes and Noble.

This hardcore is for people in huge debt and wanting out now! Or suddenly on a fixed income like disability or a baby came into the picture and mom wants to stay home and you have to learn how to live with half the income you were making.  Perhaps you have decided to go to med school or become a full-time writer.

This is where you decide to make huge sacrifices to have a better life in the end.  You trade in the consumer driven, keeping up with the Jone’s life for the simple life.  You go from eating out daily to brown bagging it.  But you have a goal in mind…or you’ve been forced by critical circumstances.

Everyday frugal:  This is for people like my family.  We were in debt and suffered and now that we are free from that slavery we do all we can to never return.  We have emergency funds, house buying funds, a common household fund.  We even have a coin jar.  We get these backup funds by being frugal every day in all we do.  Our lifestyle has morphed into one of major thrift and frugality.  Sales and free are two of my basic words.

Families that live on one income and do it with ease have learned to enjoy a house half the size of their peers.  They have learned how to grow food and make easy compost in their little backyards.  They are the family that has the weekly wash blowing in the wind on the outdoor clothesline.  They have a large wagon they drag the kids and groceries around in on foot because they walk EVERYWHERE.  They don’t buy pets, they wind up with rescue pets (some of them just show up at their back door).  They use vinegar and baking soda for everything.  They learn to sew and borrow from the neighbors.  They make do with what they have or they go to the thrift store to find the item.  They love hand me downs.  They can be seen picking up a piece of furniture off the curb that had a free sign on it.  They find the local farms where they can pick their own produce for cheap.

I live this life.  Well, it’s not as intense as it used to be.  There are times we had to be ultra frugal because we had very little funds or no funds coming in for a time.  Now we live like this out of habit and because the benefits outweigh shopping and dining out on a regular basis.

Today we have no debt, no car payments, no credit card payments and we have big savings set aside.  My husband has a good job now so I have relaxed in certain areas.  I purchase store bought cleaners and I enjoy store bought cakes now and then.  I shopped at Safeway the other day because there is a really fancy one down the way and I just felt like shopping in a fancy store.  I still looked for sales and stayed with produce in season.  I bought the basics because I don’t shop outside the main produce, meat, eggs, flour….I cook from scratch a lot more now than I did in our poorest days simply because it just tastes better.

I buy laundry detergent and cleaners because I just got tired of making my own and we can afford it now but I only buy a couple cleaners: one is Fabuloso and a jug last years and is all purpose. It actually winds up being cheaper.  The laundry detergent is simply because I got tired of grating soap and I have a used washer that sucks and I needed an intense detergent (I’m sure that is just an excuse I tell myself).

I go on more shopping sprees these days…at the thrift store.  Most of my boy’s toys and all our clothes are a thrift store item or hand me downs or gifts.  We have a big TV in the living room.  It was given to us and is 20 years old.  It is 35 inches and weighs the same as a car engine.  I refuse to get rid of it because it was free and works fine.  All my furniture was either my mothers or found at Goodwill or a yard sale.  I have a couple pieces we purchased new and I look at those pieces and know that I could have saved thousands and done so much better at a yard sale or thrift store.  Couches and mattresses are two items…and shoes that I DO buy new.  You can’t throw a couch or mattress in the washer for a hot and soapy wash.  Shoes will mess up your feet and back if molded already with someone else’s foot.  This took me time to learn.

We don’t have a date night and Sizzler is as fancy as we have gotten.  We have little children and it’s not worth it.  I’d rather put the $50 toward 4 days worth of groceries.  I have started going to the movies again after 5 years of settling for Netflix.  I LOVE the theater and that hideous butter oil they put on theater popcorn.  I allow that luxury for myself at least once a month now.  But I don’t get my hair or nails done.  I don’t go to salons.  I’d rather spend that money on movie tickets.

I get all my books from the library and if I really love a book and want it in my library I order a used copy on Amazon.

I do really cheapo stuff like water down my dish soap and add new coffee grounds to yesterday’s grounds in the coffee pot to save on filters and use less coffee grounds.  I use washable dish rags and mop clothes.  I haven’t purchased a sponge or mop in years.  I do buy diapers.  I wish, wish I could do cloth and I tried for a few months.  I’m not proud of that failure to go green.  I would if I had to.

We live in a tiny house but we take trips to the coast and Marin to stay with friends.  When we do travel and vacation we stay with family and friends.  We purposely choose to vacation at friends/family.  First of all, what is vacationing if not with those you love?  And it’s almost free.  We pack a cooler and basket with groceries and we don’t buy food on the road.  When we stay with family/friends we sometimes cook for them to take the burden off.  We also choose free activities like the beach for the day, local parks, walks, and thrifting.

I am a housewife and I would like to remain in that position forever.  I have found ways to make money at home.  Once I built an adorable little daycare and that paid the bills for a bit when Bali was out of work.  Now I write books and make a little extra.  But it is my frugal decisions that keep me as housewife CEO.