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Find tutorials, recipes, and budgeting videos from me on my Youtube Channel!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How My Family Lives Well on $14,000/year


www.blissfulanddomestic.com - Blissful and Domestic
 I get lost of emails everyday. These e-mails are from readers, friends, and family. I love getting them. I love taking the time to answer them all. It may take me a while, but I do try. Answering those e-mails and reading all your sweet comment helps me to know my readers. I get to have a better feel of what you all love about my blog, so then I can deliver more of those things. Lately I have been asked how I do the things I do. How do I home school, keep a clean house (try to at least), spend time with my hubby, and all those things that is required of me. Most days I have no clue how I do it. I end the day, lay in bed, and become amazed at all I was able to accomplish in those 18 hours or so I was awake. Well I have tried to simply answer those questions with a bit of humor and truth in e-mails, but always kind of felt I should do more.

I honestly do a lot in one day. There are so many things in my life I feel I want to share, but honestly don't have enough hours in the day to share it. Well this past week I received a bit of inspiration from the Hubbs. He gave me the answer I had been searching for. I wanted to share more about being a wife, Mom, and woman, but wasn't sure what to do. Let me tell you a story to explain how the idea for the How Does She series came to life....

Hubby likes to look at my blog stats every once in a while. He goes through my stats and reads my posts. He then tells me his thoughts. Recently he was browsing B and D and told me that I had become a crafting robot.

 insert hubby saying I am a crafting robot
 (in a robot voice I might add),
while doing full on robot movements.

He told me I should include, and this is a direct quote, "some of that Mom crap". I said "really Mom crap?" He replied "Yeah you know that stuff you love to read about. Include that in your blog. Let them know how you do what you do. I bet they would love it". So there you have it. Very eloquently put right? Yeah be jealous of his mad verbal skills. I know I am! Later that night How Does She came to my mind and I knew I had a new series to have on Blissful and Domestic. I have lots of ideas for posts and am very excited to get started. I want these to be very informative post, so get ready for some inspiration. My cup has runeth over here and I am ready to share.

Today I am going to tell you how my family of four lives well on $14,000/year. Oh yes ladies and gents you did not read wrong. I am 100% serious. My family of 4 lives on about $14,000 a year. We are not in debt, and own our home and both our cars. Want to know how we do this all and still save money? Well I am going to share some tips that have helped us along the way. I promise that if you just try some of these tips and tricks I will share today, you will notice a HUGE, GIGANTIC, TREMENDOUS difference in your spending habits and the balance in your checking account will no longer create stressed frown lines. You will be filled with nothing, but smiles knowing you are doing alright in the finance department.

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First off I have to say we were not always savvy with money.
We were pretty smart Hubby was smart with money. His parents had taught him well. My poor hubby had no idea what hit him when he married a woman who was absolutely NOT savvy with money. I had never had to pay a bill before. I had quite a learning curve to catch up on. We got by, on a military salary and were doing ok. We lived pay check to pay check, but still put a little bit away for a rainy day. We had no credit cards.

Rush forward a few years. Hubby was serving a second deployment in Iraq. I had a horrible time taking over the finances. I would cry everyday on the phone to him. I couldn't do it. I couldn't keep track of everything. Bills were constantly late and I would over draft our account like nobody's business. This was seriously the worst ever. Hubby would call from Iraq everyday to find out what was going on with the finances. It was bad. I went shopping to give me something to do with my littles. Target and I were BFF's. Their clearance section and I were even tighter. I would tell myself it was on sale or marked down, so really I was saving money. BIG FAT WRONG! Just cause it is on sale, does not mean you need it.

Finally that sweet hubby of mine had a very serious conversation with me. He asked me if I wanted to buy a house someday, which I did. He reminded me of our goal to pay cash for a house. The way things were going, it wasn't going to happen. He told me he understood I was sad, but shopping was not the way to deal with him being gone. He told me about a book he had heard of. He really wanted me to read it. It was called  America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams . I requested it from the library and when it came I read it cover to cover. I can honestly say that next to the Bible and Book of Mormon, no other book has made such an impact on my life. It taught so many things I had not learned in my 25 years (at the time).

This book gives amazing examples of how the Economides family lived on less and always within their means. Below are the simple changes we have made over the years since that day so many years ago. Today I am going to share how we changed our lives by living within our means. I promise that if you incorporate some of these tips, into your life, your family will be happier and less stressful. Your marriage will be better. Remember the things couple fight most about is finances. Why not do yourself a favor and get it together. Less stress in a marriage means it is a happier one. I know mine surely is!

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Oh my heck this is the.most.important.ever! Set a budget. If you are married, sit down with your spouse and do it together. It should be something you both take part in. If you are single, then make one with just yourself. Literally make a list of every bill you pay in a month. Electric, water, gas, trash, cable, groceries, gas for the cars, insurance,  etc. These are all bills that need to be budgeted.

Do not include "extra" things like dates, movie trips, shopping trips, etc. 
These are not necessities. These I will talk about in another section.

Now once you add up all of your bills for the month, compare it to the amount of money you have coming in each month. This will tell you right away if you have enough money to cover the basics of life. Again trips to Target and Dates are not things you need to live. They are bonuses if you have money. DO NOT include them in this area.

Now if you have money left over, then you have a little play room. Budget in a date night or family night. Everything must be budgeted. From family outings, to toiletries to clothes purchases.It must be budgeted.That is key folks. Remember all those trips to McDonald's add up. If they are not in your budget, than you do not have money for it.

If you do not have money left after comparing your bills to your income, then you need to reevaluate your spending. Do you really have to have cable TV? Can you do a lesser insurance on the car to save money? These are all things you can do to save money. The main thing is to set a budget and stick to it.


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 Just because cable sounds fun, doesn't mean you need it. Do you really watch all those channels you currently are paying for each month? Most people spend over $100 for cable TV and for the Internet. Yes most cable companies do a little package deal and say you are saving money, but remember it is NOT saving money if you do not use it. We do not have cable. We have a small antenna to pick up basic channels for free, like FOX and PBS. For all of our other viewing needs we use Netflix

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They have a good selection of plans, starting as low as $7.99 per month, with no contracts. You can cancel or put your account on hold any time you want. You can even try them out for free! We pay about $14.99 per month and get one movie out at a time and unlimited viewing on our PSP. They have a separate kids section full of current TV shows. Wizards of Waverly Place, ANT Farm, Yo Gabba Gabba....and The Office, Burn Notice, Downton Abbey, Vampire Diaries, Army Wives, etc for the hubbs and me.. Seriously they have everything. We are able to find things from every genre and ratings for movies and TV shows are all listed for us. They are also always adding new titles. We never have a problem finding something to watch and enjoy together as a family or a couple. Saving money on your cable was essential. Remember why pay for something you don't use and only have to channel surf on? Not worth it folks!  
We do have Internet through our cable provider 
and only pay about $55 per month.

 
 
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Paying cash for everything means you will spend less.
Going grocery shopping with a debit or credit card can sometimes make you feel like it is ok if you go over your budget a little bit. No worries you have your card right?
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When you use cash you have to stay within your set budget because that is all you have the dinero to pay for. I do this when I go grocery shopping. We budget $400 per month. This is $300 for normal groceries and we use the extra $100 to stock up on sales and food storage. Once that $400 is gone..... it is gone. There are no extra shopping trips made because there is no more money. I make every single penny count when I go grocery shopping. I also shop once a month, which makes a HUGE difference. The more you go to the store in a month, the more you will spend. Way to many trips for impulse purchases, which can add up real fast. You can see more tips and tricks on how I grocery shop here.

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I was not always a thrifty shopper, but I have learned. We find so many amazing things at thrift stores. Most of my home has been bought at thrift stores. I love to find clothes for my whole family there. I can usually find name brand things for my whole family! We love it!! I actually give my kids money and tell them to pick out their own shirts. My son loves it! His shirts are only $1, so he gets to pick out a bunch for each school year. We have found Hurley, Quicksilver brands, just to name a few at thrift stores. Once you start thrifting, you can't stop. My children grow so fast. Thrifting helps us stay within our budget. Remember that B word is key to the whole enchilada. Set a budget and stay within it. I also make a ton of our clothes. You can check out my sewing tutorials here for more tips and tricks.

We also purchased our rice cooker and bread maker at a thrift store for $7 each. They are both going strong and saving us money. Home baked bread is the best! Here are some recipes. 


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For real folks! Going homemade has saved us tons and tons of money. From clothes to food. We go homemade as much as we can. We make our own laundry detergent and green cleaners. They work great and are way cheaper than the store bought stuff. I make our own bread, cook meals at home each night.


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You can find some yummy, simple, quick recipes here. I also have ready made mixes I use as well. I either make or thrift our clothes. We do the same with furniture or "things" for our house. If it isn't made by me or thrifted, we don't have it.



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 www.blissfulanddomestic.com - Blissful and Domestic

Gas is crazy expensive right now! Well really has been for the past few years and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. We watch our miles. We only fill our tanks up no more than twice a month. We shoot for once a month. We combine errands when we go out, so we aren't wasting our gas. We also limit our across town trips. When we visit family in another city, we make the most out of it. We know we don't get to drive and visit family often, so when we do we cherish it. We don't go just for an hour, we stay and visit and even run errands that may be close to where we have family. We try to remember that when the gas is gone...it is gone. We really think about places we need to travel in the month and factor that into how much gas we have left. Trips for fun things that may take up a lot of gas, are spaced out. Moderation is the key. Really think about what you are using your gas on. Is it really worth it? Also check your tire pressure. When tires are filled correctly, you can make your tank go further for you.


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www.blissfulanddomestic.com - Blissful and Domestic

Say no to charging it. 
 This is such a biggie folks! Our Philosophy, when it comes to credit cards, is that they should be for emergencies. They are there when you need them. If you do have to use them, pay them off as soon as you can. Don't let that interest build up, if it doesn't have too. I know some people use credit cards to build credit. I totally understand this.We did that in the beginning of our marriage, but we paid everything off each month. If you don't have the cash to pay for that shirt or dinner date, than you shouldn't be charging it. Make sense?

Do you have credit card debt now? Well you can totally get out of it. Every summer our credit cards are used. Hubby is a full-time student, so in the summer things are tight. We use our 2 credit cards for bills and then pay it off as soon as possible. We add our credit card payments into our budget and keep it there until it is paid off. Budget in a payment for your credit cards each month. If you get a little extra money during the month, pay off those cards. Keep paying them down.Eventually you will pay it off and have a little extra money each month to play with. This is the best!

Once you have paid off your credit card, keep it clear. If you have a hard time controlling yourself around that plastic beauty, then leave it home. Don't allow yourself to carry it. Take some control over your fiances. I personally couldn't handle a credit card when we first got married. When that baby got in my hands, I would suddenly have the need to spend. Eventually I cut it up and told my hubby I couldn't handle it. I had to admit I had a problem and deal with it. Now I still do not hold a credit card. I prefer to let hubby have them. I can control myself, but hate the temptation. I leave my cards at home. I know I have ti if something happened, but I don't allow myself to carry it in my wallet. Know your limits folks. 

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Take an interest in your family and their finances. Want to make things better? Research. I research all the time. Knowledge is power! I google, blog, read, etc. The library has an amazing selection of books on everything. Finances, cooking, sewing, decorating on a budget, etc. So much you can learn here. I am always interested in how people save money. I ask my friends, search through blogs, etc. There is so much stuff out there. So many tips and tricks to learn. Don't stop searching for ways that will helps your family this year. It may seem like work at first, but I promise it will become second nature to you.

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Set goals! My hubby and I always set goals together. Our dream was to pay cash for a house and we did it. We bought our house for $30,000 and paid cash. It took us 7 years to save it, but oh boy was it worth it!

When we bought our cars we also had to go into debt, but paid them off as soon as we could.
My hubby came into the marriage with his truck. He still owed $8,000. Once we had the money, we paid it off. Now we own it and that cars is still running great. Four years ago we bought a van. We had saved $10,000 for the down payment. We paid that and then 1 year later we had paid off the $12,000 left on it. We set a goal to pay it off and did it! It felt great! (we did all this before he got out of the military and when my hubby actually had an income. Now that income is gone. We are down to $14,000. We are able to make it on that income work for us because we paid off the cars years ago when we actually had money. Make sense?)
We always talk about our future. We make plans and dream together. This is such a fun part of our relationship now. We love fixing up our house together and thinking of the next project we want top start and save up for. It may take longer, but I have the patience for it. Set a Goal with your hubby and decided where you want to be financially this year, next year, 5 years from now. Write the goals down and talk of them often. This is a great way to see if you are own the right track to achieving that goal.

 
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Enough said right? It is though! Decide today how you want to live. Make the choice now and commit. We committed to a thrifty lifestyle and we stuck with it and have been so blessed for it. Don't try to do every tip I shared with you here right away. Baby steps. Think of a baby...Would you feed a baby steak? No, of course not. You start with milk, then oatmeal, then soft food. You move up to steak. This is the same way. Pick something simple. Decide you will not charge anything this month, or you will stick to a grocery budget. I promise that those small changes will make a HUGE impact on your budget and finances. Decide now how you want to live and do it! I promise you will be a happier person when you are free from the strains money can cause.

I hope these tips and tricks help you all see how my family survives and lives happily on $14,000 a year. Ready to start saving too? Check out my step by step post HERE.



www.blissfulanddomestic.com - Blissful and Domestic 



XO Danielle

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416 comments:

  1. Some really great ideas! Really looking forward to the rest of the series.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am excited for this series too!

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  2. AMAZING post girl!!!
    We also BUDGET down to the very last penny! And I will second that a BUDGET IS KEY!! We do our own version of the Dave Ramsey envelope system. It was very hard at first for me. I fought it hard. BUT once I saw where all our money went-vs-where it could go I was on board. Now I can't see life any other way!!!
    And I will second also paying CASH is a must. It seems to hurt a little more than using a debit/credit card!
    Can't wait to see more of your tips. How is hubs?

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    1. The hubbs is doing so good. Thank you for asking. You are so sweet!

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  3. this is so awesome! thanks so much for sharing! i always luv to read how people budget, live within their means, etc. i know some people say - just do it, but it's so much harder than that! any ideas how to get your spouse on board with helping make the budget?

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  4. Wow, what an inspiring article. It is hard to believe that you can get a house for $30K, and is unheard of where I live unfortunately. Either way, those are great tips and you are so lucky to have such a supportive and encouraging husband! (and he's lucky to have you too!)

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    1. Thank you so much. We are lucky we were able to find a house for $30,000. We bought a fixer upper manufactured home. It needed TLC, but we love it and love fixing it up:>

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  5. That was inspiring! Thanks so much for that post, I"m going to try and use a few of those ideas. We need to get a handle on our finances! :-)

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  6. Wow, that is simply incredible! Great tips and some very important lessons there.
    I was in a similar situation when I got married...husband was great with money but me...not so much! Glad that I have learned so much and continue to learn.

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  7. What a great post, thank you for sharing. My husband and I are currently following the Dave Ramsey method. We use cash for groceries and we have a budget spreadsheet that we follow. Everything is laid out on the spreadsheet every penny is accounted for. Since we started using cash and following a strict budget we have been able to pay off our cars and have started to pay off other debt too. I really need to check out thrift stores I would love to find a bread maker and make my own bread at home.

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    1. You will love homemade bread. So dang yummy! I can't wait for you to try one out lady:>

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  8. Great advice. I have a budget and stick to it. Paying in cash is the biggie for me. Thanks so much for sharing at the All Star Block Party.

    Holly

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  9. What a great post Danielle, with some very wise tips!
    I laughed when you said your husband told you you'd become a blogging robot! I think it's so important to have someone look in from the outside to what you're doing. It's too easy to fall into a routine and habit with things - even things we enjoy doing, and so they become less fun and have less sparkle!
    I love the way you do keep adding new ideas and posts to your blog! Keep on sparkling girl!!

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    1. Jill you are such a sweet bloggy friend. Thank you so much and I am glad everyone is enjoying B & D. It makes this bloggers heart happy!

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  10. Thanks for this post! I really need to buckle down and set a budget. I'm generally not a big spender, but I like to splurge on things for my girls, and they're both too young to notice it. (They're both under 18 months).

    I also was wondering how you get the internet so cheaply. We're paying over $50/month, and it'll go up to about $75/month when our first year runs out, which I think is outrageous. Any tips there? Thanks! redheadusa at hotmail dot com

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    1. Good Question....
      Let me think. Hubby is usually the one who takes care of the internet. I know that we get the internet through our local cable provider. Our cable company offers a few different internet choices, when it comes to the speed of the internet. I would call your cable company and ask what type of internet you are signed up for. You may be singed up for something more expensive and not even know it. Other than that the $35 was just what we were signed up for when we moved and hooked up the internet in our current house.

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    2. Hi Sharon, sorry to "butt in" but this might help - we go through century link and we only pay $22.50/month. Our first year "promotion" price was $19.99 and then they wanted to start charging us $45/month but I told them NO WAY and we would take our business elsewhere so they locked us in at $22.50 :) Hope that helps!

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    3. If you've got a good local representative for your internet company, then he should be able to keep you on a promotional rate. Every time our promotional rate is expiring I just call our local rep and let him know. We may have to adjust speed or even our package but we end up saving money in the long run. Our current promotion is $50 for a basic cable and internet, which was cheaper than the $75 for internet alone. Once this promo rate is up we'll drop the cable and go back to whatever internet is cheapest.

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  11. Loved this post. We also make our own bread, etc. Your tips also work great on an ecological scale too! I think you might have done a post like this before, but if not can you post about how you do your monthly grocery shoppings in depth?

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    1. Hey Stevie! You can find the post here:>

      http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com/2012/03/31-days-to-yumminess-grocery-shopping.html

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  12. You guys are absolutely amazing!! I am so inspired by you right now. We have always struggled with budgeting and have spent the last 2 years getting ourselves back in line. It has been SO hard to only have one car, move in with our inlaws and all the other sacrifices we made...but the day we could shout from the rooftops that we were debt free made it all worth it. The thing that helped us most? Definitely the cash envelope system. I am a very visual person so actually seeing when I was out of money worked wonders for me :) I loved this post and LOVE this series!

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  13. This was an awesome post! Thank you for being so candid with your "mom crap!"

    KK

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    1. Absolutely! I am glad to share all my "Mom Crap" :>

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  14. Great post! We spent a long time living like no one else...just to pay off debt :) Our problem now is we stopped using credit and are trying to buy another home...yikes. not a pretty situation. We have plenty of money and NO ONE will lend to us,...because we don't use credit. We have one house that we rent out and want to buy the house we live in. Anyway...

    other people need to know this stuff :) please link it up at my party :D http://www.addhousewife.com/2012/06/happy-happy-pininspiration-day-and-were.html

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    1. You might consider a home that's a lease to own type of transaction. Often the homes that are for sale by owner are more likely to do this. There are a few for sale by owner websites out there. Just make sure you all have a solid lease to own contract. You can use the house rental to build your credit enough to make the house purchase :)

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    2. Not sure this will help but there are government home loans for people without credit or poor credit a long as you don't have anything derogatory within a certain length of time, such as Fanny may, Ffa, and there are others, talk to a local relator they can tell you about the loans, it's possible your banker is just being lazy and don't want to mess with it because they don't profit on those loans as much as a conventional loan.

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  15. I appreciate these tips! And I completely admire you and how you handled things. I'll be back to read again and again. Thanks!

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  16. This post is such a blessing!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really look forward to this series!!!

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  17. These are some amazing ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Great post! I've been thinking for awhile about making my own bread (that would be my baby step 1, I suppose). How do you store your bread and how long does it last? Thanks!
    amanda.belcher@charter.net

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    1. I get bread and storage bags from Wal-Mart. They are sold by all the other baggies. They come with twist ties and everything. You can also get gallon size freezer bags as well. I store my bread in there also. I usually have one loaf out at a time. Any other loaves I have that are baked will go in the freezer, until we are ready to eat them. Usually bread doesn't last more than a week here. It is gobbled up way too fast. Umm I think though I have left it out for at least 2 weeks and it was still good. After that it starts drying out and stuff, Very similar to store bought bread.

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    2. I want to jump in quick with a money saving tip to store your bread. Use the wax bags from empty cereal boxes. Just rinse them & dry them, then drop in your new bread, twist them shut & clip with a clothes pin, etc.

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  19. I hope your readers pay attention to everything you've written! Excellent advise!

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  20. Hi, found you on the Bloglovin Blog Hop - following you now. Have a great day!
    Linda

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  21. WOW - just, WOW! You are amazing! This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing at the Pomp Party! Pinning to our Pomp Party board!

    Jill @ Create.Craft.Love.

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  22. This is SO helpful! Thanks so much for sharing! I found you via the Sunday Social and am happy to be your newest follower! I'd love for you to follow me back at http://www.two-in-diapers.blogspot.com. :)

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  23. Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  24. This is a wonderful post. It's so sad to see so many people losing their homes, etc..,. because they are living above their means and have stretched themselves too far. I am sure many people will find your tips helpful in getting back on track. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. What an amazing blog post! I am truly inspired!

    Stopping by from Not Just a Housewife blog hop!

    Ashley
    www.simplydesigning.blogspot.com

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  26. I wanted to let you know that you were featured on my Wonderful Wednesday link up at: http://printabelle.com/?p=5562
    If you would like a featured button, I have them here: http://printabelle.com/?page_id=724 Thanks!

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  27. Great post and very honest. Thanks! (Although I am not sure I can find a house in NJ for $30,000! LOL!)

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  28. Great tips! Thanks for sharing :)

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  29. Truly amazing! Where did you find a house for 30000? That is where we need to work on. Hoping we can pay off our mortgage early. I would be so grateful if you would link this up at Mom's Library! Thanks for sharing your tips and that wonderful book. I can't wait to start saving money!

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  30. WOW you go girl.In these times it's hard for alot of us to live on twice that.!!! If you don't mind me asking what state do you live in that you found a house that cheap? Out here in southern Cali. you wouldn't. Have a good day. :)

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    1. We live in NV. The only reason we found one so cheap was it is a manufactured home and NV is one of the top states for unemployment. It is a buyers market here, since sadly so many have lost their jobs.

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  31. Where do you live?!? I am from the San Jose, CA area and had to move 80 miles away just to buy a home for under 200k. Needless to say, gas is killing us! I combine my errands as much as possible but there are still times in which I cannot avoid driving the 160 miles round trip.....once my youngest is out of high school, I sooo want to leave California, lol!!

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    1. I so understand. Gas is crazy expensive! We just try to combine trips as much as we can.

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  32. @ Christine and @ Tulip: Many very rural areas have houses cheap. I live in a small town in West Tennessee and purchased 1965 house for $65,000. It is two story with four bedrooms and two baths and in great condition. However, usually when you live in an area that is cheaper, the yearly income is also a lot less versus other places.

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  33. Great post! I'll be back to read more. Thanks so much for sharing M xx

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  34. Thanks for posting this. I am going to go to the library and read that book. I recently went through the Dave Rameys FPU class so I am on board with all that you have said! But I think a healthy reminder will get me on track when that debit card sneaks back into my wallet. lol. :)

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  35. I think that you have some good ideas but most are not manageable! My husband and I both work and have to drive to work. Only living on one tank of gas a month is not realistic where we live!

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    1. Having two people going to work is totally different. My hubby only goes to school and I am a stay at home Mom. Obviously me filling up once a month works for me, but wouldn't work for you.What I would say is try other ways to save money. Don't pick out what wouldn't work, but look at my tips and see what could work. What little change could you make. Those little changes will add up overt time and make a big difference. I know they will:) Also I live in Nevada. Gas prices are different everywhere. Again just take my advice as suggestions. I am just sharing what has worked for my family. Also the once a month filling the gas tank is for both Hubby and I. We each have our own cars
      I Wanted to make sure everyone knew that.

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  36. Wow, I'll have to come back to this post - definitely want to invite you to join in on my Wednesday homemaking link up. :) We lived on 12,000 a year but had help from family and did NOT own our own home. I'm curious as how you own a home... Shared with Pinterest - wishing you lots of great traffic and admirers.

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    1. It took us over 5 years but we saved everything. Any extra money we got we saved. Tax returns, bonuses, etc. WE saved and saved!

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  37. You are so very smart:) Not only in coming up with your posts but in the way you have planned your future by planning your present spending with your family. It is amazing what you can save if you have a purpose. And congratulations on owning your own home at your age, that in itself is an outstanding achievement. Thank you for sharing this at Freedom Fridays. I believe I just might email your link to my 22 year old son that needs this information:) Lol

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    1. Thank you so much! I am so glad my blog can help others. That is exactly why I do it:>

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  38. I have read so many blogs about budgeting, and your by far is the best. You have some wonderful ideas that totally make sense and seem do-able. It's very overwhelming, all of the information and steps to get started. But the suggestions you make dont seem intimidating at all. Thank you, you have inspired me.

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    1. Oh good I am so glad. Don't get overwhelmed just pick one thing and try it out. It will make the difference.

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  39. I found you today thru Feed Me Friday blog hop and then again thru Create.Craft.Love as one of her most viewed links of the week!

    I hope you will consider checking out my blog: http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/ Thanks!

    I cannot tell you how awesome this is that I have found this! I am currently unemployed and living on less, in fact I lose about $300+ every month. I luckily am living at home but that doesn't provide for everything. I'm going to look thru everything you wrote about, read the book you suggested, and do what I can to drop down my spending habits! Thank you!

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  40. Wonderful post! My husband and I had two different ways for managing money when we got married, he paid the bills and then spent everything else, I paid the bills, saved, and spent a little here-and-there. I do a budget every month, but haven't been including dinner out and other "extras," but am seriously considering do that, especially since we have a baby on the way. I will definitely be coming back for more tips on thrifting and going the homemade route. I have already started with a few things and can already see the difference it's making! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Jessica @ joyfulhomekaing.blogspot.com

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  41. This is a really interesting post with good ideas. There is a TV show called "Til Debt Do Us Part" and she says pretty much the same. She gets talking to couples really in debt and gives them tasks to get out of debt. I don't know if it is available in the USA because it is Canadian but it is worth checking out. However, I would NEVER be able to pay cash for a 200,000$ house, because this is what houses cost over here. Nevertheless, I enjoyed your post. I am already very thrifty and, aside from my house, I am debt free and intend on staying that way. I think everyone should buy only what they NEED instead of what they desire. It takes a lot of restraint at first but, if you are creative, it becomes a game and a lot of fun !

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  42. Thanks so much for sharing! I know as LDS women we always hear about living within our means. I sort of felt like it didn't apply because my husband been in school for the past eight years and we never really had enough to save, but he's finally making a small salary now. Even though he's still considered in training. I'm excited to learn to save a little more. I just found you blog, love it!

    Jen
    sewfabulous-now.blogspot.com

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  43. I loved your tips - thank you for sharing! What do you do for breakfasts and lunches, generally?

    ~Candace

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    1. You can see what I do for lunches and breakfast here

      http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com/2012/07/breakfast-and-lunch-meal-planning-and.html

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  44. I love this post. It goes right along with the goals of our blog. We would love to have you guest post sometime if you are interested shoot me an email!

    jessica.prettyprovidence@gmail.com

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  45. This is a great post! We are pretty thrifty, but could do better. I'm going to read that book you suggested. Thanks for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.
    Rachel
    adventuresofadiymom.blogspot.com

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  46. Thank you so much for these great tips, I am taking notes and will follow your advices, thank you for sharing.

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  47. My goodness! What a great post :) Thanks for sharing at Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

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  48. Thanks for posting this. I was just like you were with money. Actually, I still am, somewhat. I don't have a budget and I don't record what I spend. I do use credit cards, however, I pay them off each month. I do agree with one other user regarding gas, though. I live 25 miles from my job so I have to fill up once a week. My boyfriend and I used to car pool but he lost his job and his new job is in the opposite direction of mine.

    Anyways, thanks again for posting this! I'm your newest follower via GFC. I'd love for you to follow back. :)

    Julie
    www.jamscorner.com

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    1. You are so welcome and I hear it about gas. It is so crazy expensive and very hard to get that cost down. I think you are doing a great job though!

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  49. This is very inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing. I am very impressed that you are disciplined enough to live on such a tight budget.

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  50. Wow! 30000$ ..,where I live it's 430000$ with an average income of 30000$ pretty tough, but good article non the less :) where do live by the way?

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    1. We live in Las Vegas, NV which the cost of living is lower here than elsewhere.

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  51. Omg this is just wat I needed. Getting ready to by my own house with the boyfriend and a room mate so I definitely need a budget. It's hard these day for people in there 20s to move out on their own and survive without going to school and working two jobs all at once. Thanks so much for all the great ideas. I will be using them soon.

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  52. Seriously write a book. I would read it!

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  53. Great information. It is amazing how little money you need when you cut out unplanned spending. ;o) Smiles, Paula

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  54. I am a 74 year old retiree who only has $14,000.00 to live on with myself and my husband. Because I learned your budgeting ideas long ago with 6 children it now makes it so much easier to live on this small amount compared to what we once had. I am sending your site to each of my 6 children. Thank you so much.

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  55. If only houses in our area were that cheap! We're looking at $200,000 for a fixer upper and we consider that cheap! What do you suggest people in our situation do? What do you do when doctor bills, medicine, holidays, and birthdays happen?

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    1. My husband and I do a cash budget each month. We take out money for things like home emergencies, medications, etc. For example, after spring storms this year, we needed to replace the roof. Between our home emergency fund and help from our insurance company, nothing is coming out of our bank account!

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  56. If only houses in our area were that cheap! We're looking at $200,000 for a fixer upper and we consider that cheap! What do you suggest people in our situation do? What do you do when doctor bills, medicine, holidays, and birthdays happen?

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  57. I think mileage is where we need to work the most.:)

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  58. You have some wonderful tips, and my husband and I use(d) many of them too. I wonder, though, about some of your math...on $14,000 a year, how could you pay $12,000 on your van loan? And still be saving up to pay cash for a house?
    Just wondering. While I think that without any extras, we could live on $14,000 a year, we certainly couldn't live on $2,000!

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    1. My husband was deployed and we lived with his Mom. You get extra pay for being deployed, when in the military. We tried to save a month for a whole year while he was in Iraq. We had also been saving a few years prior to that, so it added up.

      There is always something that you can cut out to save. Everyone's situation is different.

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  59. the cash thing makes so much sense but the only way living on one tank of gas for the month is feasible is if you don't have a job! I fill up my tank weekly because I have to drive to work. must be nice to be able to stay at home all the time!

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    1. Actually it is nice. I get to stay home with my munchkins everyday. I am thankful everyday I get to be a stay at home Mom. Thanks for asking:> Also everyone's situation is different. I just shared mine. Don't get hung up on the gas. We only have to fill up once a month because that is how we work it. It is not for everyone I understand that. Just do your best and I know you will be able to save:>

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    2. I am 60 years old and learned your tips from my depression era parents. We were able to put our children through college, pay cash for our vehicles, pay off the house in 10 years, and retire with a $500,000 nest egg 5 years ago. I was a city employee and my husband was self employed--certainly not big salaries. But the key thing to remember is that it is not how much you make--it is how much you spend.

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  60. Ummmm where exactly can you buy a house for $30k? The rest of the tips make sense if you need to live on a budget. But spending $30k for a house seems really unrealistic...perhaps you should blog about where you were able to do that and what exactly you can get for $30k when it comes to houses. The only place I know where you can get houses that cheap is inner city Detroit- and they are dumps.

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  61. How do you shop once a month? The majority of what we eat is fresh produce. I grow what I can on our balcony but it's not enough. Plus we need milk like every 4 days. Do you live on a farm or something?

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  62. The ideas a great but, where do you get a house for 30k? And also I have 3 kids so spending 400 bucks a month on groceries would not work for us. I also cannot go shopping once a month because I need fresh fruit and veggies, milk etc. In this day in age, I don't think anyone can live on 14k a year and still lead a good quality of life.

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    1. We have a great quality of live! :> My family is happy and I am happy. That is what is important. We make it all work. Just do what works for your family:>

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  63. You have a lot of great advice but I have to disagree with saying no to charging. My husband and I put everything on our Fidelity awards AMEX and we pay it off at the end off the month. We get 2% cash back on everything we purchase. Instead of taking the cash back you can transfer it to your fidelity investments accounts. You have to make your money work for you. So we are able to put extra money away for retirement just by paying with our card! In order to do this though you must have self control and know your budget. Many people end up spending more than they have because they do not keep track of their spending. I personally have not had a problem with this because I have always kept myself on a tight budget. Also there are great free websites like Mint.com that can track your spending and will link you checking accounts and credit cards all together.

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    1. That is awesome you are making your money work for you. I just don't like credit cards. Just my personal opinion. I think they are great for emergencies though.

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  65. Some great ideas - I do some of them and aim to do some but don't always manage - You have made me want to try harder now!

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  66. My husband is in finance and he is crazy about setting goals. I used to get a bit annoyed at how...anal... he would be about it. Now, I am completely there with him. We are working on paying off all our debt and want to save to buy a house one day in cash like y'all. I'm currently reading America's Cheapest Family, which is what caught my eye and brought me to this article. It's really eye opening to see how much they can save. And if they can do it with 5 kids, surely we can too. It's encouraging to see others doing it!

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  67. I am impressed! Definitely interested to know where you live...a house for $30,000 is an incredible find. I'm in a major metropolitan city, and my fiance and I both work on opposite sides of the city. Once we are married and sharing an apartment, just going to work and church is going to cost us around $500+ a month. If I filled up my car once a month I wouldn't make it to work 75% of the year. :(

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    1. We live in NV I am sorry about the gas being so crazy expensive. It is our hardest bill to keep down. We do only fill up once a month in each car, but we don't drive very far.

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  68. A lot of comments are nitpicking about the cost of the home or gas. To you all - you are kind of missing the forest for the trees. Ok, perhaps in your area, you can't get by on a tank of gas a month, etc. But likely you can cut back.
    I'm 24, and am in the home buying process with my husband, as are several of our friends. They are looking for houses priced between 220K and 250K, because they have determined they need a large house in an expensive suburb. Our budget is much less then half that, because we are considering less trendy areas, a smaller house, older fixtures, etc. Those friends would wholeheartedly argue they could never buy a less expensive house, because they would have to give up some of their wants.

    The major point here is you need to reexamine the difference between needs and wants.

    I appreciated the tips, though there is a pretty strong impression that all debt is bad. Like a previous comment stated, smart savers make their money work for them. Its a matter of comparing interest rate on debt, to earning potential of cash in different investments.

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    1. Thank you Kayla. I agree. I am not saying what you have to do I am just giving suggestions for things that have worked for me. I hope everyone can use something in what I have shared.

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  69. Maybe they own a mobile home? That's the only type of house I can think of that would be so cheap.

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    1. Yep we own a manufactured home.Pretty much the same thing. We love it! :>

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  70. It may just be my pregnancy hormones, but I am going to cry. This is exactly what I needed to read right now. I have been stressing ever since I got pregnant and quit my job. I feel so much more encouraged now. Thank you for sharing :)

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  71. I was just wondering how you could pay off your van so quickly if you only have $14,000 a year...the numbers don't make sense to me.

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    1. My husband was deployed and we lived with his Mom. You get extra pay for being deployed, when in the military. We tried to save a little every month for a whole year while he was in Iraq. We had also been saving a few years prior to that, so it added up.

      There is always something that you can cut out to save. Everyone's situation is different.

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  72. I live in middle TN and sometimes you can find houses in the low 30,000 most of the time they are two bedroom and need some tlc but just perfect for a starter home!

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    1. absolutely we have a started home and we love it. I don't need big and fancy just a cozy place for my family:>

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  73. I live in a neighborhood where the average price of a 1500 sq ft house is currently $45k. The homes are about 5 years old, mostly builder-grade stuff, but we have vaulted ceilings, granite countertops, new appliances, and an HOA, so it IS possible to find a home that you can pay cash for without resorting to living in a rapidly-depreciating mobile home. I mean if you like mobile homes (and a lot of people do) then by all means. I'm not commenting on the quality of a mobile home, but merely on the investment potential. And frankly, if you're here searching for ideas for how to make your family's budget work on $14k, then you're probably having trouble making "good" debt work for your family. For us, debt was almost an addiction. The more we went into debt, the more we depended on it for the things we needed and we always had to buy new things. Most CLer's don't accept credit cards. I do agree that if you're struggling to provide a major purchase that your family needs now, and that will save a lot of money in the long run, then use a credit card. But realize that all debt IS bad for most people, or credit companies wouldn't be doing so well, and that it will catch up with you if you aren't diligent. I'm here...looking for any advice...so I can safely say I cannot manage debt.

    We bought our cloth diaper stash on a zero-interest credit card because we knew even the monthly payments would cut our diaper/wipe bill in half for our two daughters. If we hadn't paid it off immediately, we'd have lost the savings we created by switching to cloth. We were spending $250 a month on diapers and wipes. Averaged out, we spend about $15 a month now. Anyway these are great ideas, and I do agree that if you can villainize debt in your mind a little bit, it'll be less tempting to use it unwisely. Thank you for these tips. I will be returning for more gems, so keep them coming! :D

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    1. Thank you so much for your words. I feel the same about credit cards. I know they can be good, but for our family they are for emergencies and that is it. We like to keep them at a zero balance so that when something unforeseen happen (car trouble, broken water heater, etc) we have them to use. I think you are doing an awesome job and I will most definitely keep the posts coming. I love that everyone is finding them useful:>

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  74. This was such a great post. It has inspired me to be a better budgeter. We budget now but I'm sure I could do much more. Thank you!

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  76. Wow this post is really helpful thank you. I get that most of it is common sense really but we are finding it hard to budget, we need a 10-15% deposit to buy a house and saving that is going to be so difficult but it is really what we want. I shall start trying to put these tips into effect

    Daisy Dayz
    Cross-Jones-Photography
    My Hub Pages

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    1. Seriously do it and I swear you will be one your way. You may have to be patient, but the best things in life sometimes are the ones we have to be patient for:>

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  77. I just discovered your blog through pinterest and I think you have some fab tips! Myself and my partner are both students living on limited funds so I'm definitely going to try out some of your tips to save some pennies!

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    1. I am so glad you will be able to try out some of my tips. I know they will make all the difference:>

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  78. 30000$ for a house??? Here in spain a very small flat (1 room) is about 150000€ and we live with 15000 a year...i think we're not going to be able to have either a house nor kids ever...

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    1. that stinks I am so sorry things are so expensive. That get so frustrating. I know

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  79. Is there a reason you don't mention couponing? Just wondering b/c I coupon and my grocery budget went from $600-$700 to $200 a month! (Including diapers, formula, etc.) I'm not a crazy extreme couponer like the TV show, but it allows me to stay home with my kids.

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    1. You know this is a great question. I haven't gotten too much into couponing. Usually the ones I found weren't things we bought. I would love to learn more though:>

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  80. I'd love to know where you live. I don't even think we could purchase a trailer for $30,000 in my area!

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    1. WE live in Las Vegas, NV. Houses are crazy cheap here right now. A total buyers market. We just bought at the right time.

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  81. Thanks for sharing this! We all need to be reminded from time to time to stick to the budget. I need to work on the homemade aspect of it. You're doing great and I know your hubby is so proud of how far you've come since you first got married!

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  82. WOW.. This is a super awesome detailed budget friendly post.. I have to say we do follow most of those tips except credit card and second hand buying.. :)
    Thanks for linking up at Friday Fun Party.. You will be featured tomorrow as you were the most viewed.. Yep! people want more of your great advises, I am off to check out your Q and A post on budget.
    Have a nice evening!

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  83. Wow, this was the FIRST money saving blog I've ever read and wanted to use the tips! I'm a new single mom (daughter about 2 1/2 months old,) and am back to work. Budgeting has been so hard, and I'm not making much, and thus blog gave me some GREAT ideas! I love the library idea- I'm going to go get a library card and learn to sew, and I love thrift storing, so I'll definitely do that more often! Thank you again, you have a great way of making people feel like they CAN do this, without making me feel bad!! Thanks!!!

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    1. You can do it. I know you can. I will so help you out any advice/tips/encouragement you need. You are awesome!

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  84. Hey Danielle! This is awesome! I read through it the other day and I agree with everything. SO happy you shared this!

    Also.. thanks for linking up last week. You were one of the most viewed links! Check it out tomorrow :)

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  85. Such a great post! My parents raised me this way, so I have tried to continue being frugal after I married. However, my husband has yet to be reformed. Still working on that one. I was curious how you managed to pay 12,000 in a year to pay off your van when you live on 14,000 per year? Just curious. We have two cars that are paid off, but we pay as much as a car payment would be each month in repairs and are trying to figure out how in the world we are going to save for another car when one of these dies.

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    1. We paid off our car before my hubby was out of the military. I think a few readers got confused on this one. We started saving before he didn't have a job. We knew he would be out of work, so we saved when we had the money and paid off the car. Now that we don't have that payment it is such a blessing, since we have very little income. Make sense?

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  86. Like you, we budget everything, even trips to Target and dinners out. We have a set amount we like to save each month. Some months it's less and some it's more, but as long as we're in that range, we feel like we're doing pretty well. I feel that credit cards are extremely useful, as long as you keep track of your spending and don't abuse them. We use one credit card for all our purchases, and pay it off at the end of every month (we've never incurred a cent of interest). We've done that for about 4 years now and recently cashed in our credit card points and miles to take a trip to Hawaii that in the end, cost us about $180 (our flights were $10 each - from North Carolina!, and we had to pay a resort fee of $27/day). Just our flights would have been about $1,200 had we not used the miles we'd earned by using our credit card. The trick is knowing what you're spending and keeping track of it. My hubs gets an e-mail alert every time we use the credit card, so when he gets a spare moment, he inputs all of those charges into a spreadsheet so we can see exactly where our money is going. It works for us, but the trick is finding what works for you and your family.

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    1. Seriously I love how you are making your money work for you. So awesome!! Thanks for sharing:>

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  87. Just wanted to encourage you to keep on :) There will always be people with negative comments, judging you for your choices. But you sound really content with your life, which is the goal anyway, right? STUFF doesn't bring contentment anyway. I have to remind myself of that now and again. A bigger house or fancier clothes will not make me a better person.

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    1. Thank you so much! It is so true. I know there are some haters but I know that this works for my family and they are the most important thing in my life. thank you for your sweet comment:>

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  88. Thanks for all the great tips. Unfortunately for me as a single mom working across town I can't utilize all of them like the gas tip (my absolute favorite tip on here as filling the tank is my biggest point of procrastination) . I do try to budget and i hope that implementing some of your shopping/make your own tips will help me trim the edges and find an attainable goal. I hope to try the make your own laundry soap and maybe find a bread machine. I don't use credit cards although i do use my debit card (i think I'll make that DID use it) as you pointed out it's too easy to go over budget with it since those few dollars here and there add up. My car will be paid in a year (extra $$$ will be so helpful) no cable, we do use internet and cell phones (have to keep in touch with the kiddos). I would love to hear any ideas you have on reducing utility costs (if that's even possible) keep up the good work, it's so helpful to others, especially people like me that don't have time for all the research (commuting and working takes up a minimum of 11 hours each of 5 days a week)

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    1. You have some great ideas here. Keep positive you will do it! Setting great goals is key and you are doing awesome!! Cutting down utility costs sounds like a great post in itself. Thanks for the idea. I can tell you that we try not to waste water. Simple things like turn off when brushing, I do wash dishes by hand, since we don't have a dishwasher. I don't think this helps us save water, I just need clean dishes:> We also try to take shorter showers and I do about 2 loads of laundry everyday or so instead of a bunch on one day. It helps the electric bill stay down. We turn off fans when not using them or not in the room and turn off lights when we leave a room. We also turn off the computer when not in use. It never stays on all the time and we have a swamp cooler instead of AC. These tips may seem little, but they add up fast and will save you a ton. It has for us.

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  89. This was so great for me to read! I am a new mom and learning to cook, run a household be domestic :) My boyfriend makes really good money so we never focus on how much we eat out or how much we spend on groceries. But we do notice we don't have a ton of money left for our savings at the end of the month :/ your blog has totally inspired me to want to budget! We want to get a new car and build onto our house and I think this article has really given me the boost I needed so that we can save up for bigger and better things and stop wasting! Thanks!

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    1. You have some great goals there girlie! I am so glad some of my tips can help ya out:>

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  90. Guess which smart young lady was featured at Freedom Fridays?? I'm not telling, Lol. See you there!

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  91. I LOVED this post Danielle. Thanks for sharing all of your great insights!!

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  92. Thanks for sharing your fabulous post -- I have it featured this week over at Craft Junkie Too so I hope you can stop by and grab the featured me button for your blog. Stop back by and share more creative projects.
    Tracy
    http://www.craftjunkietoo.com/2012/07/tgif-linky-party-57.html

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  93. Great series; you have one smart hubby! This is a great post; awesome tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  94. I think your family is amazing. But a $30k house is not even real. I live in the land of cheap real estate and even here a $30k house (if it even existed) would be one that is condemned. With the costs of childcare, student loans, and debts we racked up when my husband lost his job, we could never live on $14k a year just by paying basic bills, let alone eating.

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    1. So sorry to hear about that. It is real where I live though promise.

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  95. I just found your blog through Pinterest and I'm so glad I did!! Thank you for tons of great ideas. I need to cut our grocery bill and I will be reading that post of yours tomorrow. I also agree with the furniture and furnishings in the home; if I didn't make it, I don't have it. I started making my own furniture to replace the really old and beat up stuff we have. I'm working on a media cabinet and I LOVE that I have been able to save so much money by building my own stuff. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with that philosophy. :)

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  96. Wow! This is incredibly inspiring! My husband and I have been living on our own for a few years. I've been the one who manages the finances the whole time. I do pretty well, always pay bills on time. We have a credit card to build credit but always pay it off each month. I'm very good with numbers so I can remember due dates for bills and what needs to be paid when. We live on a very small budget as well, (fresh college graduates trying to find a job in our career fields) but what we do seems to work. I love finding ways to save money, thanks for the tips! :)

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    1. You're welcome thank you for your sweet comment:>

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  98. This is such a great blog! Thank you so much for your information. I have a few questions for you. Where did you learn to sew? Did you teach yourself or did you take a class? If you taught yourself, do you have any recommendations for someone who has never used a sewing machine? Are there any books you recommend?

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    1. I was taught by my sisterinlaw and motherinlaw. I learned through re-purposing. Some of my favorite blogs actually taught me to sew. Make it and Love it, I am Momma Hear mMe Roar, Made, and Ruffles and Stuff. Disney on Ruffles and Stuff even has a sewing for beginners section of her blog. Check it out:>

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    2. YouTube (or daily motion etc) is a great source to learn & for tutorials

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  99. I have enjoyed reading your blog and will definitely be checking back for more. You mentioned that you guys have a yearly income of 14k but that hubs doesnt have anywhere like work to drive to, and is a full time student, do either one of you work from home? does he do online schooling? just trying to get a hold on the gas budget (ours is ridiculous at 400 a month!)

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    1. I know our gas has been an issue for some readers. My hubby does do online school, but goes in about 2 days a week. He has to drive about 20 minutes to get to school, so he does drive. We just really limit trips as much as we can. He also calls himself a hyper miler. He is very into it. Google it if you want to know what it is. For all those reading this make the gas work for you. Just because you don't agree with our gas numbers/budget doesn't mean you can't do something similar. Everyone is different and has different needs. Make it work for you, so you can save money for yourself and your family:>

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  100. Wow! Not only is this post full of great tips but also important reminders--things we already know but need to be reminded of. You are an inspiration! Thank you!

    I would love it if you would share this at my new Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:

    http://theprudentpantryblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/prudent-projects-smart-solutions-linky_13.html

    Have a great day!

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  101. Glad you're making it work! Your tips are applicable anywhere but your prices are so far away from whats its like to live where I do (median home price of 600,000). Its crazy cost of living can differ so widely around the country.

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    1. I didn't realize it, but it seems cost of living is very low where I live. I just gave the numbers that are for myself and my family. Just try to pick a few tips and make it work for you.

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  102. I was wondering, when you do go grocery shopping, how is it you spend $300 per month. I am so frustrated with my grocery shopping. We are a family of 5 and I can easily spend $200 a week! I bake my own bread, cookies and always cook from scratch. I rarely buy junk. What do you buy for meals? I need some ideas. I even use coupons! Help!

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    1. That stinks! I totally see how that would be frustrating. I usually go the first week of every month. I am currently working on my staples list and a 90 day menu plan. I think that will help you a bunch. I am hoping to have it up next week. It is hard for me to stay within that budget. I ahve to plan and work really hard at it. We only by chicken, beef, and ground turkey. That saves a bundle too. We had to cut out other meats because of cost. We only do fish when it is on crazy sale.

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  103. I'm a 20-year-old college student and I THOUGHT I had it all together when it came to using money. My dad sends me $500 a month, so last year I'm thinking I can easily save up a couple thousand for next year! Nope. When summer came around I had zero dollars and a $600 credit card bill. Your article has helped me understand how that happened and what I can do this year to prevent it. Also, I am getting married soon and we are really going to need to use your advice! (We both suck at money) so thank-you again, I look forward to looking at the rest of your blog!

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    1. I am so glad you have found it useful. That makes me so happy. Don't worry more saving posts are in the future. Promise:>

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  104. I really like your tips! I will definitely implement in hopes of saving money for my family. Thank you.

    www.fabulouscitychic.com

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    1. I am so glad! I know it makes the difference:>

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  105. This is a great post! I have recently starting budgeting myself, and was able to save for a down payment on a car within 6 months! Budgeting really makes all the difference! :)

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  106. This is such a great post! :) I recently started budgeting myself and was able to save for a down payment on a car within 6 months! Having a budget really makes all the difference. I use mint.com to keep track of my spending and budgeting because it tracks how much money I earn, and spend.

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    1. You go girl! That is awesome!! That is so awesome!!

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  107. Someone asked for tips for utilities. Excuse the length of this post but this happens to be one of my favourite topics:

    1. Know where you use it. They sell these nifty devices you can use to measure the electricity used by every appliance in your home. Conduct an electricity audit - you'll probably find a few major culprits, and you'll probably find you can do without them. For instance, we found three major culprits were: 1) the electric kettle, which would be used 10+ times a day, particularly if the in-laws were visiting; 2) a computer monitor that was left on all the time, even though we never used that particular computer; and 3) our TV. Easy problems to solve - we switched to a stove-top kettle (when we boil the kettle, we pour it into thermoses and that gives us boiling-hot water for several hours at a time); we switched off the computer monitor; and we replaced the aging TV. (Not budget friendly you say? We financed replacing the TV by selling all of the DVDs we no longer watched on eBay.)

    2. Stop using your dryer. Why pay for something the sun does for free? Drying your clothes on the line increases their longevity; and particularly in the summer, it's quicker to use the clothesline than to throw them in the dryer anyway. (Plus, it's really very nice to force yourself to take a 5 minute break and get out in the fresh air.) (And before you say, But what about the winter? - Yes, even in the winter you can get by without a dryer. They're called drying racks and they're cheap.)

    3. Dress to the conditions. A few years ago we visited my family in Utah, stopping on the way in Singapore for Chinese New Year. When we got to my parents' house in the middle of winter, my husband commented that their house was so hot, if we'd been in Singapore he would've turned on the air conditioning. If there's snow outside, wear warm clothes and adjust the thermometer. If it's summer, don't try to make your house arctic-cold. We hardly ever turn on the heat; it's a great excuse to cuddle!

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  108. Continued from above (it was too long to post in one go):

    4. Watch your water. You don't need to flush the toilet after every wee. The mayor of London went 3+ years without flushing him (and no, he didn't have a servant do it for him). I know lots of families that flush theirs only once or twice a day. You also don't need to take long showers - you can do everything you need to do in 2 minutes. I promise. Here's a fun way to teach yourself: Wait until your favourite TV show comes on. Wait until it's getting really good. Around about the second-last ad break of an hour-long show, go take a shower. This tends to be the longest ad break and the most suspensful. You won't want to miss a minute of the show, so you'll get in and out quickly. Also, keep a bucket in your shower for collecting water as you go. This water can be used to water plants or even flush the toilet. Hand-wash your dishes. I know the dishwashing companies tell you this takes more water. They lie. You can effectively wash a day's worth of dishes in about 5 litres of water - I generally use about 3. Even the most water-effecient dishwasher uses 12 litres.

    5. When it's time to replace an appliance, do your research. Cheapest isn't always best. Pay attention to the effeciency ratings. An LED TV uses a fraction of the power of a plasma. Top-loader washing machines are much more effecient for water and energy use than front-loaders. I want my appliances to be effecient and to last for a good 10 - 15 years. I'm not saving money if I buy an off-brand that will only last 3 or 4 years, or if I buy something that will cost a fortune to operate. Buy the best, most effecient models you can afford.

    6. Those energy-saving lightbulbs? They really do save power. A 60 watt lightbulb is exactly that - 60 watts per hour it's on. Compare that with a 4-watt energy-saving lightbulb. Even if you just put them in those places where you know your kids will forget to turn off the light, you're saving power.

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  109. (And more . . .)

    7. Consider getting a 'master and slave' power board. These have a more PC name but that's their slang name. Say you have a typical entertainment unit - TV, DVD player, cable box, stereo. Plug the TV into the 'master' position and everything else into the 'slave' position and that means when you turn of the TV, everything else is turned off automatically. No more accidently leaving on appliances. Even better - unplug it. We have a great surround-sound stereo system set up by my brother in law who builds top-of-the-range custom speakers professionally. It's a terrific system. It also uses a ton of power on stand-by mode. We keep it unplugged 99.5% of the time. It's there if we want it - but we aren't paying for it if we don't.

    8. If it makes sense for you - consider getting solar panels or even making your own power-generating windmill. Solar panels are expensive; but sometimes the government incentives make it well worth the cost. (Our 1 kw system cost us $200 installed. It provides us with up to 5 kw of power a day - which is more power than we use in a day.) Again, do your research. You want to make sure the panels are put in the correct place - any shadow on any part of the panel means that that entire panel is not collecting electricity. Direction matters too. There are websites that will tell you which way the panels should be facing for where you live. There are also websites which will tell you how to make your own power-generating windmill. You can easily generate 1 kw of power a day with a simple, homemade windmill.

    9. Again if it makes sense to you - Consider collecting rainwater off your roof in tanks or tubs. You can use this to water your garden or you can get a plumber in who will rejig your pipes so that you are flushing your toilet or doing your laundry with rainwater. Depending on where you live you might not want to drink the stuff; but you don't need to be using drinking water to flush the toilet or wash your clothes.

    10. If this is too daunting, start small. Make a commitment to turn off every light tonight for just one hour. That's how we started, with the first Earth Hour (March 30). Until then we didn't care about power consumption - it wasn't even on our radar. But turning off the lights for an hour made us realise we didn't really need them on in the first place. People say it's a gimmick; but for us it started a conversation that is continuing to this day.

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  110. Thank you sooo much for this post! I read it last week and have been thinking about it ever since. I re-read it again today and decided to implement some changes...baby steps...and I ordered the book from the library. -xo, Karen

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  111. So I stumbled across your blog through pinterest. I consider myself an extreme saver, but I always like looking for other useful tips. No hubby or kids yet for me, but when I get there, I aspire to run my home like you. Love your blog, keep it up! The world needs more hard working, creative people like you :)

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  112. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog on pinterest. I coupon & love the savings I get on food and household items but I can't wait to put your other tips to use!

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  113. Hi Danielle
    These are nice to be reminded of, not to become stupid & live in debt.
    However my grandmother who traveled a bit and started to enjoy life the very last years of her life only (my grandfather was obsessed by budget and savings) told me thinking of the money they had at the bank : "if only I had LIVED... now it is too late". Words I will always remember.
    And... my gas tank allows only 400 miles... living in the country I can tell you I wouldn't have a life, feed the family and my daughter wouldn't go to school if I filled it once a month ! which i regret because here in Europe gas is $8 a gallon...
    But then what is worth for one, is not for everyone. And anyway be sensible & earth-friendly is always a good option.
    Thank you for sharing !

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  114. Up a bit a poster wrote that they considered using government programs "but we also enjoy our independence." I don't get this. How are you giving up independence if you use government programs? I don't live in the US; I live in a country with a lot of social programs. We have the same freedom you do. The government doesn't take away your rights if you use these programs. There isn't some tally-board in your capital that says, "Right, Mr and Mrs Smith are on welfare, therefore they don't get to choose what car they drive." It doesn't work that way.

    We both work and we both pay taxes. Those taxes go to support us and to support our friends, family, and neighbours. On my own street they help one mother stay home with her young children; they help two neighbors with their cancer treatments; they help the teenage sons of another family with tertiary education; they pay for my son's hearing aids and for the therapies he needs because he is deaf. I feel grateful to live in a country that cares so much for its citizens. But I certainly do not lose anything in the way of freedom or independence.

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    1. I SO wish this was how our country operated but it isn't. Being on assistance is (sometimes) looked down on and many people don't care to help others in need. It's very sad.

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  115. Just to let you know that you have been featured on my link party - http://serenityyou.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/serenity-saturday-48.html

    Natasha xx

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  116. When I had a baby, I was placed on a forced extended maternity leave. Then she got older, and we discovered she had autism. I'm still at home because of it. So we've been living on a budget of about 14K since. It can be done! We're still paying off our house, but we do own our vehicles. We don't really go out and have fun. No movies, no restaurants. We are doing good, though. Our one extravagance is that TV/internet/phone bundle. lol We make a lot of our things, too. I make my own jewelry, and I get the girls'(have 2 now!) clothes and diapers free from a parenting center. Nice clothes, and my diaper brand of choice! I donate all their clothes and then some back.

    You have some great tips here that I will incorporate into our budget. Thanks for the post!

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  117. You definitely have some great tips! I wish they applied to my life but unfortunately I live in an area with a pretty high cost of living! $30,000 MIGHT get you a down payment on a small fixer upper. I do have one question-how do you guys plan for medical emergencies? I'm currently uninsured because my healthcare plan would be 1,400/month. I've tried to get doctors in my area to work with me but I'm completely unable to find someone willing. I don't qualify for Medicaire or any kind of free clinic and the cheapest bare bones insurance plan (including my states high risk pool) is almost what I make in a month. I was just wondering how you guys managed this-I had to save for two months to pay cash at a doctors appointment to get my insulin prescription refilled.

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    1. I saw your post and I have to comment. Try looking on government websites. They have so many ways that can save you money, you will be shocked! Also try calling the medical companies that make your medications, they have plans and discounts too. My grandfather gets 5 out of his 15 prescriptions for free! He called them and said hey I use you medication it works great but I can't afford it, can you help me in any way. Some will say too bad, but some won't! If you have social workers in your area, which I'm positive you do, you can set up appointments and they can help you find ways to afford medical care or tell you which clinics you can go to cheap! I promise you your city or state has some clinic or help that's available to you, you just have to find it!

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    2. I basically work for my health insurance. I only bring home $100 a month and my husband became disabled three years ago with MS. It was cheaper for him to stay on my insurance then go on medicare.

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  118. Wow you have gotten me to really think about my budget!! I live in NY and make 20,000 a year and it is very difficult so I understand! So nice to hear you making the best of what you have. Inspirational.

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  119. I just found you on pintrest and not to be creepy but I'm completely obsessed! You have great and useful ideas. My husband(Marine for over 10yrs) is a complete saver and I not so much. I was when I was younger then I just got stuff crazy. He's about to retire and I just found out I'm 8 weeks pregnant(oops)! So the thought of getting out the Corps and not having jobs and know where we're going to live has been a nightmare! I cry myself to sleep thinking we're going to end up living with my mom in the spare bedroom! These tip inspire me and since I'm pretty much on bed rest for this whole pregnancy(thanks fibromyalgia!) it gives me lots of time to coupon clip and bake bread! Thanks for sharing how you do it!

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  120. Danielle, this blog is fabulous! I really can not wait to take some of your suggestions into my reality. I want to share your blog on my blog if ok with you.....check out soiledrotten.blogspot.com.
    Enjoy the day and thank you for the great advice

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  121. Those are such great tips and tricks! I am featuring this at todays link party! Woot Woot!
    http://twoyellowbirdsdecor.blogspot.com/2012/07/thursdays-temptation-26-fabulous.html
    Jill

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  122. I'm sure there has already been a question/comment about this, but with a 20 month old demanding attention, I really can't read through all the comments right now. On to my question: What do you do about beauty/cosmetics items with a $14000 budget? I don't spend a lot of money on make-up, but I'm sure I could cut back in that area. Some products you just really don't want to keep around for too long for fear of bacteria buildup and the like (i.e. mascara). I do wait for sales and try to find coupons, but I was really wondering what kind of budget you kept for cosmetics. Thanks so much!

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  124. Oh. My. Goodness! Seriously, you are like my hero right now! I am a 19 year old college student studying Professional Photography and it's super expensive and during the school year it takes up pretty much all of my time. I study all the time and what not. I only had two jobs when I was in high school and they never lasted very long. I met my AMAZING boyfriend in November of last year and we are determined to be together forever. Anyways, I just got a job working at the casino here in town as a Banquet Server... and I don't start until next month (have orientation and my dad and his fiance are getting married on the 4th so I have to do a whole lot of stuff before then for them.) So right now my boyfriend is living with me against my lease rules but oh well. He pays for a lot of stuff right now. He makes like $1400 a month. I'll be making $5.25 an hour plus tips. The casino doesn't have banquets all the time, so I won't be making an even check. We are moving into an apartment next week which is $495 a month. (not worth it, but it's so I can walk to class and not drive, plus work is two miles from there so it's easy. After we decided to get a place together to call our own for a while.. which wasn't too long ago, I started to worry. How are we going to make this work with all the expenses. A lot of stuff here is included in rent. We have to pay for electricity, and cable and internet at the new place. And that is super expensive here. Plus both of us have to fix our cars. ): so I'm borrowing my brothers car until I can get mine running. I love finding crafty things on the internet, and I found this! You pretty much solved all my worries before I had to get there. So pretty much I love you right now. (: THANK YOU FOR THE TIPS! (: Sorry for the whole life story I'm pretty much about telling life stories like that haha.
    Thanks again!!!!

    Mia Amelia

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  125. Thank you for sharing. I think your honesty is brave! I really appreciate the new information, you listed some things I'm definitely going to try.

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  126. Great points! Sounds a lot like Dave Ramsey - we've been following his plan for the past 3 years and it's going great! I just want to say, I'm soooo jealous that you only fill up the gas tank once a month! My and hubby each have a vehicle, and we each fill up every 10-ish days. But we both work outside the home, so there's not really a way around that. :(

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  127. thanks for inspiring. i'm the breadwinner for a family of 4.5 (2 parents, 1 brother and a dog) and also saving up for a wedding and trying to pay off my gruesome debt. BUDGETING is the key. I need to use cash more than card. Thanks. Thanks so much :)

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  129. Awesome ideas. I am the frugal one in our family, but my husband insists on handling the finances. I want to pay off our home in two years time and hopefully will be able to. Thanks for sharing your hints. I always thought my mother was amazing because she could make do with so little. I totally learned from her and made all my children's clothes and made bread and grew a garden when I had children at home. Now I sew for my grandchildren so I spend very little on gifts for them.

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