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


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.


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
























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.




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


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….


Getting out of debt and in a good place.


There are some fast ways to start getting out of debt.  First would be to seek out a Credit Counseling Agency.  Make sure they are nonprofit and have a good reputation.  If they are real, they won’t ask for any money.  The minute they ask for payments or a percentage you need to hang up the phone.  A Credit Counseling Agency will give you all sorts of solutions and support.  They will help you condense all the debt and negotiate with the creditors for lower finance rates and payments.  Some agencies will deal with everything and even withdraw a lump sum out of your checking account monthly to disperse to all the creditors until the debts are paid.  They will also help you get secured cards to build your credit back up.

Another way is to follow the advice of Dave Ramsey.  He is a big guy in finances and debt management.  He is big on budgets and paying off the mortgage.  He teaches about the snowball method and envelope system.  He’s a big Christian for those who are also Christian.  Not that that would be a requirement.

These are the big starter steps for a new life free of debt.

The next steps would be to make a budget and then start doing major Reducing and Cutting and Downsizing.

Downsizing is my first choice.  Downsize everything you can.  The house, the cars, the utilities.

Reduce all the utilities remaining, the gas, the commute, the driving, the groceries.

Cut out all the extras.  Dinner out, coffee at Starbucks, lunch at the Bistro, shopping sprees, movies at the Regency, getting your nails done, having your hair streaked for $200 a month.

The last couple steps are becoming a penny pincher and free finder.  This is where you make a game of it and start finding as many ways to do or have things for free, to use what you already have, and all the ways to save money or not spend it in the first place.  This takes some creativity.

So, here are some examples.  For those of you who have read my blogs, this will be booorrring.  For anyone new, it may inspire you.

I got into over $30,000 in debt in my early 30’s.  I tried paying it off myself and even tried putting it all on a big credit card so I only had one payment.  I tried it all and wound up in more debt.  I finally found a Credit Counseling Agency and gave them all my credit card and school loan info.  They condensed it all, negotiated lower rates and dealt with everything.  I didn’t have to answer the phone, open the mail or deal with my creditors ever again.  Every month they took out a sum of $375 and dispersed it among all the creditors.  I could make bigger payments if I wanted to really get it down fast.  I had to pay off my car on my own that was the one they wouldn’t deal with.

Later on in my 40’s I married and my spouse had bad credit so I was advised to get the secured credit cards to build both our credits.  This is where you put a few hundred in an account and they give you a card.  You use the money from that account and every month you refill it.  You build credit fast.  I needed credit because after I paid my debt I paid everything with cash for years and had no credit.

You can get these credit cards through your bank or companies that do this for people with horrible credit.  Once again, I advise you to seek out a Credit Counseling Agency.

So, fast forward to the future and I’m a housewife with children.  We have no debt, the cars are paid off and we have no regular credit cards.  We have even built savings.  How did we build the savings?  When I found out I was pregnant I worked up to the 8th month of my pregnancy and while I worked we put all my paychecks in a savings and lived off his paychecks.  We also took all our tax refunds and put them in savings each year.

Now we have babies and I’m at home…oh no!  Bali’s job goes under and we have to move for work.  He gets a job as a cashier making a little more than minimum wage.  How do we do it?  We have 4 of us plus two big dogs and later a cat that comes along and moves herself right in.  We have a house with a big yard because you have to with kids and dogs.  I have to be honest, if you are lower income do NOT have pets.  It’s expensive as far as needing space for them and it’s really hard to get a rental with even a cat.  Not a  financially smart move.  But these were all rescues that came along at better times and they are our furry children.

I find this great book The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn.  I read it all and then search out more and more frugal and thrifty books and articles, youtube videos, and blogs by people, mostly stay at home mothers, living on less than us.  The one I really liked was  This woman’s family lived off 14,000 a year.  They even bought a home.  She has great advice and ideas.  Check her out.  She even has budget templates you can download.  Very sweet family and fun to watch. is a great site for homemade cleaners and toiletries.  She’s more granola and health conscious.  She makes EVERYTHING.  There are so many blogs out there that are so great for advice and inspiration. has great advice and the woman who started the blog wrote a book 31 days of Living Well & Spending Zero.  

I started making my own cleaners and laundry detergent.  I even did cloth diapers for some time.  I hung the clothes on the line, I picked the fruit and lemons that were on the farm where we lived.  I shopped at Winco (super inexpensive and employee owned) and used the envelope system.  We had an antenna for TV and I read a lot of books from the library.  A lot.

The food was all homemade and no junk.  Going out to eat was not happening.  Coffee and brown bag lunches.  Then I started getting even deeper with it.  I would add water to my dish soap and shampoo to stretch it.  I would add coffee grounds to yesterdays coffee, using the same filter for a couple days.  I saved every loose coin in a jar.  We ate leftovers and old bananas became banana bread, old fruit got pureed and made into something.  Old bread became croutons.

This way of living is good for the family and the environment.  You learn to recycle, compost, or reuse everything.  You do things like sit down at the table for a family dinner, you talk and read together because you only have 10 channels on your antenna.  You spend a lot of time outside when you hang laundry and pick fruit.  You take a lot of walks with children.  The cleaners you make are easy on the environment and children and pets.  The harsh cleaners cost a lot.  Vinegar is magical.

At first, it’s hard to transition from going out all the time to be entertained, dined, shop, and basically stimulated with instant pleasure.  You miss going to the cafe for a latte and out to dinner with friends.  You miss buying new clothes and eating popcorn at the theater.  You may feel agitated and bored silly at first.  But then you get used to being at home and you begin to be creative and productive at home.  You start baking your own bread, listening to music as you clean your home deeply, you rearrange your living room, start a few new plants from the other houseplant trimmings, you repaint a dresser to make it look new for a few dollars for paint, you get into reading outside with your ice tea that you made yourself.  You start a garden, you build the children a sandbox.   You all start living outside more and listen to the birds in the morning as you sip your coffee and throw the ball to the dogs, read a book, the boys digging up invisible treasures in the dirt.

Life becomes very simple when you are no longer lead by shopping and spending.  You become very home based.  You realize that life becomes much sweeter. You become more present and family oriented.  You begin to make your home cozy and yard a place filled with delights.

Later, we moved into town where I downsized our house.  On the farm, we had a very big house and yards.  In town we now live in a tiny house with a moderate yard, however, it’s cozy and we save $600 in rent and utilities.  My husband’s commute is 30 minutes shorter.  The boys and I can walk everywhere and have access to great parks and a library.  We can really have fun now.  We even have a dog park.

Our finances have changed.  Bali manages his own small gas station and we have $400 more a month to work with.  When our refund came this year we paid off a couple little debts we had acquired.  It made a huge difference.  I also created household savings separate from our large savings.

A life lived this way is not so bleak.  You do learn to enjoy this life.  In the end, you get out of debt, build a savings and experience such peace and freedom that it is worth it.

Today, I do go to the theater and enjoy a very expensive bag of popcorn while watching a movie on the big screen now and then. I do get myself a latte when I go out to do my grocery shopping.  I treat myself to a new wardrobe at the thrift sales.  One thing I don’t skimp on is organics and grass fed meats.  I am concerned about our health and the planet’s future.  I support organic and biodiverse farming.  I support clean air, water, soil, and compassionate ways to raise meat.  I support small and local shops and mom and pop establishments.  I’m a bit anti-corporate.  I don’t see them doing much good out there.  When I do buy an item I try to buy quality.  That is why I love the thrift stores.  I have purchased the best furniture and clothing that will last ages.  Places like Walmart and Kohl’s are just mass producing junk that fills up our landfills.  Spend the extra on the good stuff.

We are now buying our first home.  We didn’t qualify for a very big loan and are savings is plump but not that plump.  I had to really get creative here also.  We chose to move to the town where Bali works.  It’s smaller, cheaper, mostly agriculture.  It’s grown on me.  I found a HUD bank owned house and put a bid on it and won.  We purchased our first home for $135,000!  It just had its whole house inspection and has good bones but needs a lot of work.  We have just enough left over in our savings to hire a few people to do the work.  We will do the rest.  Our mortgage will be smaller than any rent we have ever paid.  Thus the frugal life will continue.

Today when we have more money we put part of it in savings and share and enjoy the other part.  We will always live simply and frugally because it is a sane way to live and we enjoy it.  Good luck to all of you out there getting out of the confines of debt.  I hope this inspired you.

Queen of Penny Pinching: Getting Out of Debt and Saving Money Fast by [Singh, Kate]

Poor man meals and other tips for saving pennies on groceries.


I am sitting here eating a loaded potato and relishing just how delicious and stick to the ribs this dish is.  It is also very penny wise.  I have gone back to my extreme penny pinching and saving ways for a few reasons.  To get into a frugal mood, one must turn it into a game.  I like turning it into mini challenges.  For example, I want to see just how low I can get our grocery budget.  Out of all the bills, the groceries are the one area you can really save some money with some imagination and good advice from other thrifty money savers.

I’m doing all my shopping at WinCo these days.  The Natural Food store cost an arm and a leg.  Every town has that discount store and I’m so happy to see that we can now get organics and grass fed, along with cage free groceries.  My husband just brought home some items from Grocery Outlet and it included organic milk and grass-fed organic beef.  We have come a long way folks.  I remember a few years ago you would never have found that.

Here are some great meal ideas to fill the family up and that are cost efficient:

Potatoes loaded with beans, cheese, and any other topping such as salsa, sour cream.  I bake the plain Idaho potatoes that cost a few dollars for a huge bag.  The beans I make from dried beans and simmer with garlic and salt all day.

French fries.  Just cut up those potatoes thick and coat lightly with olive oil or coconut oil and sea salt.  Bake in the oven.

Those prebaked chickens at the market.  Not always antibiotic free but they are usually a small charge of $4.99.  If you are really tight on funds, this is far cheaper than a whole uncooked chicken.  You can stretch it for a few days or more.  Take all the meat off the bones and divide it into 3.  On portion goes into a casserole, one portion into chicken enchiladas, one portion into a pasta chicken salad or whatever.  The carcass can be simmered to make a chicken broth.  If that isn’t a way to use a chicken.

Make a big batch of sauce.  All you need is tomatoes, an onion, butter or some olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning.  Simmer for a long, long time and then cool.  Blend in blender and freeze part of it.  You use it for spaghetti, lasagna, pizza sauce.  You can add things to it for whatever dish.  The jars of sauce run about $3 to $4 and this will run about $3 for the whole batch that can be used several times and save you at least $10 or more.  You can also make your own pesto sauce and save a FORTUNE!  A little container cost $6 and homemade is $2.

Casseroles are filling and down home.  I love casseroles on cold days.  All you need is a cream of mushroom or celery or chicken soup, some milk, noodles, a bag of frozen veggies, and meat (that chicken portion).  You can substitute rice and add tons of veggies.  Add more seasoning to add pizzaz.  A little cheese on top.

Spaghetti.  Just use the sauce you made and add some ground beef.  Pasta is cheap.  Very filling. I serve with a pile of steamed veggies.

Making your own bread.  I buy a big bag of yeast that last two years.  All you need is flour and salt and water and you will make bread at a cost of $1.25 or less a loaf.  When we buy bread, we buy the organic Daves Killer bread and it runs $5.99.  At Costco, it’s $3.50.  So this is a huge savings.

Have a surplus.  I created a pantry that I fill up with huge sale saving items I run across at the store now and then.  When you see great savings on meat, stock up and freeze it.  Stock up on dried and canned goods.  When you run out of grocery money or food stamp rations at the end of the month you will have all kinds of things to work from.

Fill that plate with the healthy and cheap stuff.  Carbs get a bad story but they are healthy and brain food.  They are great for nursing mothers and growing children.  Of course, it depends on the quality of the carb.  Brown rice vs. white.  Grain pasta or wheat vs. white.  Sweet potatoes are so full of good stuff and there are purple potatoes, yellow and red.  Sometimes that big old bag of Idaho spuds is all the budget will give in to.  Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh and can be cheaper.  And beans, I love the frijole.  You can make so much stuff and they are loaded with fiber.

Make your own convenience and frozen premade foods.  Make your own frozen burritos and pizzas from scratch.  I just made two lasagnas today and a huge batch of yogurt.  I will freeze one lasagna for next week. We will eat the yogurt all week.

Make your own yogurt.  Get a gallon of organic milk and make a big batch.  The pints of organic yogurt or $5 to $6 and this way you pay something like $1.50 a pint.  It is sooo easy.  Heat a gallon of milk in a pot to 200 degrees, cool to 115 degrees, scoop out two cups hot milk and add a cup of yogurt you saved from before or get a cup from the store.  Mix this and add back to the batch, wrap in a towel unless you have cooked in a dutch oven.  Put in the oven overnight.  Voila!

Oatmeal.  A healthy and hot breakfast that you can add bananas and nuts.  This really feeds the belly and is cheap.

Raisins and Peanut Butter. These two items make great snacks and are the least expensive than their cousins the dried cranberry or almond butter.

For more great ideas check out my books on amazon.

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 to do with that tax refund.


For many of you, a refund is on its way.  If you have one coming you have probably filed immediately rather than wait for April 15th.  I know I did.  I filed so early that had to wait for the release of checks.

We’ve been poor folk for years now and that can serve a family in some ways, such as getting a plump refund each year.  Last year we crossed the line by $12,000 from being considered in poverty to decently poor.  Now that we are in this new category of poor we receive $4,000 less in refunds.  I don’t really get it but years ago I had to sell my mother’s property for hundreds of thousands less than it was worth and in so doing, I now receive $3,000 around filing time in refunds for a “property loss”.   This is a wonderful gift and I try to use it wisely each year.

One year we used it for new furniture and that was fun and extremely wasteful and unwise in the end. The bed broke completely (even though I got a sturdy one for all of us) and wound up on the curb since and I have couch regret.  I purchased a cranberry red couch when I had one little son and now I have two big boys and wish I had a brown couch to hide the jelly and chocolate smears.  I spent thousands on furniture that didn’t last or doesn’t please me anymore.   I look back now and wish I had chosen thrift store furniture.  I have a sturdy oak entertainment cabinet that I bought at a GoodWill for $150 and it is the best piece of furniture ever.  I also have an oak dining table and chairs that I found on Craigslist for $100 and that set is also sturdy and attractive.  All in all, I wasted a refund and learned a big lesson.

Refunds come once a year and they are gifts to do wise things with.  My biggest suggestion is putting it in savings.  It is the fastest way to build big savings overnight.  If you are in debt I still suggest putting it in savings.  All your money is probably going toward paying off bills and this way you will have that emergency fund in place and one less thing to worry about.

This year we had a little debt.  I have a credit card with our bank that was once a secured card and over the years it turned into a regular credit card and kept being increased until it was very large and I had to call the bank and say, “please stop!”  By then I had too big of a card.

The other debt was a tread climber.  Usually, we pay all things in cash but we decided to try this financing gig.  We bought it through the companies credit.  It was one of those deals in that you have 18 months to pay it off at zero interest.  The catch is that if you don’t pay it off in this time you have to pay 29% interest and you will be charged back interest from the very beginning even all the months you have already paid!  What a rip off right?  Not only that, but they send you a bill each month that is so low that there is no way you would ever pay off the whole amount in time if you only paid that amount and as the bill gets paid each month the payments required get smaller to ensure that you don’t pay it off in time.  It is a real con.  So, if you don’t pay it off, and you won’t if you follow their payment plan, you will be paying for years and in the end, a $2,500 product will cost you $5,000 or more.

So, my refunds arrived in my account and I paid off the credit card, the tread climber, I paid small bills to the accountant, my editor, I paid karate classes, chiropractic visits, and then when everything was paid I went shopping and stocked up my toiletries and pantries and freezer.  I also started a small household savings linked to the checking account.  We have a big savings for house buying that is in a separate bank and untouchable and we needed a little savings we could access for small things.

Having done all this put us in such a great place financially that I can now save plenty each month and have some for fun.  We have also found an adorable little home and I have had plenty of money in my accounts for “good faith” payments and appraisals.  This is another blog that I will tell as soon as I have keys in hand.

This blog may seem boring but I wanted to illustrate how important that refund is and if used wisely it can really change your monthly budget.  It is a yearly gift to get you ahead or clear up small debts, to start an emergency fund or do repairs to your home or car.  I know that it is tempting to go ape wild and shop for fun stuff, new furniture and go out and party it up.  You can do some of this too.  Just set aside some fun money out of it.  We definitely had some fun.  I ordered gifts for my godson’s new baby on the way and books for my son’s godmother.  I ordered Sammy’s birthday toys and I ordered myself The Daily Bible with Joyce Meyers.  Everyone was blessed.

You may wonder how much I had, it sounds like a lot from all my activity.  I received a little over $4,000.

It feels so good to have all the little debts cleared up, household savings, stocked pantries, and cupboards.  It feels good to gift others and ourselves.  It especially feels good to have a clear slate financially for the beginning of the year.

Be wise with your money and enjoy the peace.


How to climb up out of poverty and addiction.


Some of you who come across this write-up will not do it by coincidence, just as I did not write this by coincidence.  There is no such thing as coincidence, bad luck, good luck, or happenstance.  Everything has meaning, everything has a reason, and it is all of our creation.  Choices we made years ago may still be affecting us today, the feelings and thoughts we marinate in today will create our tomorrow.  You called this in to your experience today.

If you are struggling with hard times…financially and emotionally (because they go hand in hand), if you have more bills than a paycheck, big debt, and other dark times…I’m here to help!  I’ve got some great advice that I have used to pull myself up out of poverty, debt, and bad, bad habits.

First, know this; all this will pass.  You will not be here forever, the debt will go, the hard times will pass into more golden times, life is about to get easier and better.  I promise!  But…and here is the but, you have to be willing and surrender to the process.  Willing to do whatever you need to do to change your circumstances and surrender to whatever happens in the journey to get you from darkness to light.

There is a saying in the AA fellowship, “All you have to change is everything”.  There is also another saying, “You can’t change your situation from the same mindset that got you here in the first place” (not really word for word but you get the idea).

If you are in the crap hole of life and you want out…you will have to work from the inside out and outside in.  Your actions and your thinking got you here, so you will have to reinvent yourself.  How exciting and fun right?!  Yes, it is scary, but it is easier than you think and it will get easier with each step.


Creating abundance for the future:

So, how do we start the climb?  Here are some ways to start fixing things from the outside and inside.

  • Take a good look at where you are financially and start finding ways to cut cost in big ways.  Move to a smaller home, get rid of cable, get rid of the car and bike or walk everywhere, reduce the cell bill, start finding ways to reduce the electric and water bills.
  • STOP going out, period.  Make all food and coffee from home.
  • Find every book on being frugal and use every tip.  Queen of Penny Pinching is my book and I have every bit of advice and tips that I had researched and read for years, along with my own practices.  I will teach you every frugal and thrifty tip and way to get out of debt, live on a tiny budget, and I will point you to other books and resources to help you in big ways.  I give away a free ebook at the beginning of each month so just look and you can get all kinds of great books of mine with tons of advice.
  • Start growing your own food.  Even if you have a patio you can grow buckets and pots of herbs and food.  Even some fruit and lemon trees grow in barrels.  Be creative.
  • Look up Dave Ramsey online for advice on getting out of big debt.
  • The Complete Tightwad Gazette was my frugal bible for years.  You can get it at the library.
  • Love the library.  You will never have to buy a book again.
  • Consider homeschooling.  It can be an amazing experience for the whole family and can be free if you utilize the library and internet.
  • There are all kinds of programs to help with food, shelter, college, free internet, discounts on electricity and gas.  Do some research to see what assistance you can get.  If you are in dire straights, get the help to help you up and out of the situation.
  • College can be free.  There are BOG fee waivers for free classes and financial aid for the books that you don’t pay back.  Go back to school to learn a new skill.  You don’t have to get a Masters, you could do a secretary program, dental assisting, mechanic, computer training, and all kinds of trades that take less than a year but will improve your life.
  • If you have an addiction or bad habit…overcome it.  Find AA meetings and support to heal and get sober.  Find a Church.  Get a community that is improving themselves.  You can NOT get out of poverty or a shitty situation if you use drugs and booze.  You must be clear and present.
  • Join a Church or Spiritual Center.  These people are loving God, living wholesome lives, are sober, and many of them are also working toward getting out of debt, overcoming addictions, and improving their lives. You need a support, a community of people that will show you the way and carry you when you need it.
  • Work toward moving up in your job or getting a better one.  Take classes or whatever you need to do.
  • Start working on your mind.  Get into huge gratitude, learn to be positive no matter what, and heal yourself.  I would suggest the Bible, Law of Attraction teachings such as Abraham with Esther Hicks, Tony Robbins, Florence Scovel Shinn, Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen.  You can get it all free on the internet and Joyce and Joel are on TV.
  • Get negative people out of your life.  People that are doing drugs, drinking too much, angry, creating drama.  Act like they have the Black Plague.  For your spirit they do.
  • Find new and positive friends that are working hard on their lives to make them shine.
  • Believe in yourself.  Give yourself full respect, love, and honor your feelings.  If it doesn’t feel good go.  If it feels good stay.
  • Eat healthily and get rid of all the junk food.  Cook from scratch to get nutritious food and save money.
  • Exercise daily.  This will improve the mind, body, and spirit vastly.  It can be free.  Walk or do exercise on the internet for free.
  • Simplify your life.  Spend time alone if you need to for awhile.

This is a long list and simplified.  There is so much that goes into healing and righting the mind and changing your life.  You will need to do a lot of reading and research.  Think of it as the college of your life.  Jump in with both feet and get to work with all the diligence you can muster.  It takes some time to get a rhythm and start to see change and improvement and then it is like a domino effect.  Once the train gets going you become unstoppable.

Just don’t give up.

Many Blessings!

Queen of Sober: Getting Through the First Year by [Singh, Kate]


Getting out of debt and gaining a new life.


Saving is in, debt is out.  Small is the new big. Organics are in, kraft cheese slices are out.  Non-GMO popcorn is in, Round up is out.  Times are changing.  We live in the most environmentally conscious and compassionate society (the news won’t make it look like that, but it’s the truth) and we have to be for our survival and the survival of our lovely children and grandchildren.

We are also going back to the old ways in some matters such as how we spend and borrow.  The time when our great grandfathers and grandmothers shook their heads at debt and borrowing.  Back in their day it was very looked down up because they knew the truth about lending and borrowing…it serves no one in the end.  I was reading Dave Ramsey and one thing he said that really made me think about our societal views on credit when he touches on the myth that our economy needs credit to survive.  He believes that our economy would thrive if we had no credit, no debt.  This is true for successful individuals so why wouldn’t this be true for a whole country?  Most rich people that are truly successful have no debt.  They warn against it as a huge road block to wealth.

I believe going back to living debt free and being frugal is a huge trend that has been growing for years.  You wouldn’t think that with watching the housing prices rise once again and the rents going up.  I am one of million’s of people who write about it and try to help others find ways out of the rabbit hole that is our plastic, consumerism driven society.  I am one of those sheep that followed everyone else into debt and then spent my 30’s getting out the long, slow, painful way.  2 and 3 jobs at a time.  If I’d been smarter at the time and hadn’t had a few vices that took up funds, I probably would have barreled my way through it in half the time.

I see the changes all around me.  People out walking and biking places instead of driving 2 blocks down the street to get a slushy at the corner mart, people bringing their own bags and reused jars to the stores, trees being planted everywhere, downsizing and uncluttering being the big topics these days.  It’s wonderful!  We are getting back to the basics and the simple life that actually contains more happiness and pleasure than all the shopping sprees combined in a year.  Time in nature, doing nice things for our neighbors, being home and nesting, cooking from scratch, talking for long periods on the phone, watching a Disney flick with the family on a Saturday night with a huge bowl of popcorn.

Getting out of debt seems so daunting and the first thing people think about is, “My life has ended!  All fun has come full stop! The party is over!”  On the contrary.  Your life has just begun!  You will be forced into a new direction unwillingly, but the journey will prove to be like a movie where the hero is going down a lonely path toward his fate and foe.  His story looks depressing, but as it unfolds he meets characters along the way,  discovers new strengths through unforeseen obstacles.  He makes unlikely friendships that prove loyal, his journey becomes less lonely, his life changes in wonderful ways, it becomes fuller, with more meaning, and in the end, he conquers his enemy.

When we have to change our ways so we don’t wind up dooming ourselves, we are forced to learn better ways, healthier habits, we chose to do the right thing for ourselves and those we owe, whether they deserve it or not.  We take up good ways out of survival and we meet those along our path that walk with us in comradery.  People will show up out of nowhere, blessings will happen just as we are ready to lose our minds, God will show some mercy just as we are thinking we are on our way to the slaughter house.

Hardships can be such a great thing.  In those times we learn just how capable we really are and what we really are made up of.  And at times it will pleasantly surprise us.  We just may grow to really like ourselves and who we are becoming.

Getting out of debt means we have to learn how to enjoy being home and living a simpler, homier life.  It can be lonely at times and we will feel like the world is having a party without us, but in the end, we will be free.  Facebook will probably not be your friend during this time.  Those you thought had your back will be in a hurry to get out of this penniless path you are on.  People you had nothing to do with will become your greatest support.  You will learn about true friendship and what “living” is really about.

When we are stripped of the artificial resources for enjoying our life, we then find the real and true enjoyment of life.

And so I wrap up this dialogue to say this; whatever you challenges are at this time, be it debt, addiction, weight loss, a career move, trying to find yourself…try to let go of the fear and surrender.  Greatness comes out of challenges and all kinds of good.  And yes, there will be the hard times, the lonely times, people you thought cared will go, but better people will come, the lonely times will fill up, you will build spiritual muscles and life will shine once again, but this time it will be a true and lasting shine…not just the reflection of store lights on your credit card.