"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
— L.M. Montgomery

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to Basics~ Living on less, and having more

When Aaron lost his job in 2005, he struggled to find work. For over a year, we lived on not a lot, and racked up a good amount of debt because of it. Looking back, there were many mistakes we did, but wouldn't change a thing, since it has brought us to were we are today. I am very pleased to say that we are almost 100% debt free! I wanted to share some things that have helped us get to this place, things we plan to keep doing.

We have a set budget, and until just a month or so ago, didnt even have a checking account. We did everything in cash. We got rid of our credit cards and promised never to go into debt again, save for buying land and building a house.

We cook from scratch, buy bulk and eat simply for the most part. I try to have one or two meals that are meatless a week, so help with the costs of food.

Aaron changes the fluid in the truck, and buys the oil and filters from our car guy, at a much cheaper rate.

We tithe 10 % to God and 10% to second tithe every month. You might ask how this is helping us get out of debt and be living our dream, but when we rob God, we are not obeying. I cant tell you how often things have been provided for us. It might not seem like things are going to add up on paper, but they always do. And the times, in our human minds we think we just dont have enough to tithe this month, are the ones we usually get behind in. SO our lesson has been, God First, even when it doesn't seem like it will work!

I make our own laundry soap. With 5 people in our house, and 3 of them messy, we have a lot of dirty laundry. Added to the fact we went back to cloth diapers....that's even more. :)


1 bar of Fels Napha laundry soap
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda

In a sauce pan, grate laundry bar, and cover with water, heat up to disolve soap. Pour borax and washing soda in bottom of a 5 gal bucked, add soap water and mix. Fill bucket with hot tap water stiring well. Cover and let set over night. It will be a thick gel. Mix 1/2 water 1/2 gel in a container (milk jugs work well) and shake well. Use 1/3 cup for front loading washers, and 1 cup for top loading. Oh, you will want to shake the jug before using, to make sure its mixed.

This will last our family a good 2 1/2-3 months. It smells great and is less then $5 for the 5 gal bucket! Cant beat that!

As I mentioned above, we have gone back to using cloth diapers. My mother graciously made us a bunch of wonderful diapers, and we used then for a while, but with 3 in diapers it was just to much! I got so behind on laundry! Well, with just Sir Andrew in diapers we went back. This saves us about $26 a month, which = $312 a year.

This is what I am thinking of off the top of my head. What do you guys do to live simply????


  1. These are great ideas, Amber! Here are some ways I've cut back on our spending to add to your list...

    Hair cuts - Den's hair (savings of $15/8 weeks; $90/yr); my hair ($25/mo; $300/yr)

    Make almond milk to use instead of cow's milk (pennies/gallon compared to $3-$4)

    Wash laundry by hand and hang to dry ($1/wash, $.75/dry in my apt's laundry room)

    Bike or walk to stores (I live in town)

    Shop at thrift stores (clothes, kitchen equipment, etc.)

    Grow herbs indoors for cooking

    Freeze leftover chicken broth, lemon juice, buttermilk, etc. in an ice cube tray, then transfer to labeled zip lock bags. (We used to keep these things in the fridge till they went bad, then threw them away!)

  2. Forgot to list these money savers:

    I make my own toothpaste (mix in a 1:1 ratio: baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a small container) I LOVE this stuff and hate when I have to use store-bought. Teeth are much whiter, too!

    Borrow books from the public library. Only buy the books I know I'll refer to again and again (i.e., purchase how-to books, borrow fiction).

  3. I should say that the $26 for diapers is for 2 weeks. I dont know what I was thinking. We were going through 1 big Wal-Mart box a week, more when we had both the girl and Dew in Diapers.

    Annie, great adds! How do you make your almond milk???

  4. We use cloth diapers, too.

    I cut my husbands hair twice a week.

    We buy a beef bundle ($200) every two months with which I make all our suppers and even my husband's school lunchs. (one roast makes sandwiches for him all week)

    I make my own baby food and breastfeed.

    We change our own oil and make small car repairs ourself.

    We rent a house from my husband's grandma, which saved us from a credit check and deposit.

    We have only the bills we cannot do without, i.e. gas, electric, phone/web, (we didn't even have that for 6 months!).

    I am always looking for new ways to save money!


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