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Blissful and Domestic is now on Youtube!

Thrifty Living

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56 comments:

  1. Could this budget work for a college student? Is it possible to spend less, sense only one person is in the budget? By the way, congratulations on spending $14,000 on 4 people, you should write a book! I am positive Rachel Ray would feature you on her show!

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    1. Thanks so much and of course this would work for you. Just pick one thing and work on it. You are never to young to begin saving and living within your means

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    2. I am a college student and also have a husband and 2 kids. I would suggest renting your books at www.bookrenter.com, or buying on ebay, half.com, or amazon among others. The campus always charge way too much.I would suggest buying healthier snacks like bagels , cereal and fruit for breakfasts and snacks, apples and bananas are always cheap. And a 6 bagels would last a week or so. You can also see if there are any grants/ scholarships you are elligible for. I have the Pell grant but also have applied for some scholarships as well and gotten them, I also got a grant when I was laid off as well so pay for gas and car repairs and food. Every little bit adds up. Make your own coffee , instead of buying coffee. Sign up to tutor students in subjects you are good at. Most colleges pay you , or you can post an ad at the college.

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    3. I just read the article I saw on yahoo and then came to the site and read some. I'm a homeschooling single mom of two (who are very picky eaters and have learning disabilities) I have so much debt from medical to credit it's hard to breathe sometimes. I've been changing the way we eat for a year now, trying to get healthier. Been trying to save for a move in Sept. I've also been trying to save money on groceries, using coupons which seems to have me spending more buying two for the discount when I need one. Just recently I was forced to buy food for three and a dog for $290 a month. I'm a procrastinator and wait till the last minute to shop, cook etc. I relate to what I read in your article about standing in front of the fridge having no clue what to make for dinner. I'm getting my girls involved and going to the Library and internet for recipes then making a shopping list. The last time I tried eating healthier and on a budget we ended up without food for three days before money came in for more so I'm hoping I can manage this time around on our new budget. I'll keep coming back for more inspiration and tips. We live in Fl so I'll have to see if we have a what was it called? food-op? To spend $15 on enough veggies and fruits would be great. I often spend more on fruits than anything. Bread and milk are always being thrown out since we use it vary sparingly so we're going to try freezing it too. I stopped buying meat but once a week if that and I want to try to add it to their meals a little more often. The prices just continue going up and I have no clue how long food can be frozen for and still be good. When I look in my freezer most items have freezer burn and get thrown out. Thanks for the inspiration to keep trying. I'll take it a week at a time and see how it goes.

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    4. I lived very inexpensively in Las Vegas as a student. That 10,000 to 14,000 a year (I think my first year at UNLV I got a total of $10K in loans)? Part of it went to tuition, part of it went to books. I considered those pretty much non-negotiable expenses.

      I saved money by: not having a car. I lived in an apartment complex within walking distance of the university, and within walking distance of essential shopping (on Tropicana Ave, near Spencer). If it was hot, well, it was hot. I just got out and walked where I needed to go, or for longer distances rode the bus. I didn't have to pay for insurance, registration, gas, maintenance or a car payment. I didn't have to pay for a campus parking pass.

      My apartment was on the second floor, so it was theoretically warmer than the ground floor units. I happen to like it warm, so I kept my thermostat set to 80 degrees during the warm-to-hot months. I was in classes all day, and before I left, I'd turn my thermostat up to 85 degrees.

      I didn't have a clothes dryer in my apartment, but I did have a washing machine. I set up a "redneck swamp cooler". I washed my clothes, and hung them on one of those rolling clothes racks or draped them over two collapsible drying racks. I then turned on the inexpensive box fan I'd set behind the clothes, and enjoy the cool breeze as it blew across my bed at night.

      I replaced all the lightbulbs in my apartment with CFL's (fluorescents). I had all my electronics (TV, computer, etc.) on power strips, and I made certain to turn them off before I went to bed and/or left the apartment. The only things left plugged in and always on were the cable computer modem, my phone/answering machine, my clock radio and my refrigerator. Everything else was unplugged and/or completely turned off.

      I paid close attention to the Spanish-speaking shoppers in the Marketon (formerly King Ranch Market) where I shopped most often. I looked at what they bought, and altered my cooking and eating habits to align more closely with theirs. Why? Because their grocery bills were always about half of what my previous Anglo grocery bill would be. I got in the habit of cooking from scratch and eating fewer animal products.

      I didn't have a lot of extra money, but I was in Las Vegas to study/attend UNLV, so that's what I did.

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  2. I am very new to being a stay at home mom but can't believe how much i LOVE it!! So with that being said, our income has been cut in half and I MUST stop being a spending queen too!
    My question is: What kind of pan do you use for your bread loaves? How do you store it? And how do you freeze it? I have used my bread machine but the bread is too tall for sandwiches so I want to make them into shorter, longer loaves.
    Thanks so much for such great info. I read your blog daily!!
    Shannon from Reno, Nv

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    1. I use a 9x5 loaf pan. I bake mine in the oven, since the shape is better for sandwiches and such:>

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    2. You will love homemade bread. We have converted. Taste better and healtier. Bread machines are nice for a few loaves but bread pans in the oven work better for regular use. Kitchen Aide pro mixer helps with the kneading of the bread. If you wish to knead by hand it is about a 5-10min process. Great exercise too. There are so many recipes out there too. Keep it simple to get comfortable and skilled at bread making.

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    3. I also do only homemade bread, and am never going back! For our daily bread i make the Betty Crocker cookbook's Honey Whole Wheat, which makes two loaves. After they have cooled I halve the loaves and freeze three of them wrapped in plastic wrap and a gallon bag. The half I just put into a twist-tie gallon bag, and in the morning it's softened enough to easily slice with an electric knife with no mess.

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    4. There is a book Bread in 5 Minutes a day. I have done many of the recipes in the book. It is no-knead bread which is awesome. My sister-in-law told me about it before she figured out her whole family of 6 had to be gluten free. We are just moms and wanted simple ways to have homemade bread. The sandwich bread is good in the book and so is the original recipe (but that is more like Italian crusty bread..so your family has to like that type). Best of luck. I also use a 9X5 or a 8x4.

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    5. I have this same issue. My bread maker makes weird loaves. Ive ended up throwing the bread away most if the time. Although i do like that it kneeds the bread which saves times. Any tips? Or any suggestions on a new bread maker? Sandi from Redding,.CA

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    6. Oh, please don't throw the bread away. Let it dry hard and put in the food processor for bread crumbs or freeze it for stuffing (dressing)! Feed it to ducks. I guess you can tell I hate wasting food. LOL!

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    7. Oh, please don't throw away the bread! Let it dry out and pulse it in a processor or blender for bread crumbs. Freeze the bread for use as stuffing/dressing. Feed it to the ducks! I guess you can tell I don't like wasting food. LOL!

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  3. What kind of makeup do you buy and how do you save money on that? I spend so much money on makeup and face creams, as for a facial cleanser though I have been using liquid baby bath soap so I do save money on that at least!

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    1. I get free samples off facebook for lotion, makeup, shampoo, etc. I also look in the weekly ads for cvs and walgreens to math up coupons to get some free or cheap makeup, shampoo. I have a large stockpile of lotions, , perfumes, shampoo, soaps, and razors. Like this week there was a coupon for free perfume from bath and body works. I have also gotten cheap nail polish and perfumes from gargae sales before, or perfume from Ross at great discounts.

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    2. I always look for sales and use coupons to help me save on make-up. I also use Cover-girl and Maybelline, which have better prices than department store make-up brans.

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    3. For face Lotion: I have dry skin and pretty bad allergies, so I make my own using approx 1/3 Vegetable Glycerin, 1/3 Pure Aloe (not the green stuff, Lily of the Dessert makes a 99% one), and 1/3 Oil (Jojoba is great) - They all mix very easily, just pour into a bottle and shake! It's a gel consistency. I use higher amount of Aloe in Summer and have been using this for years now - It also works great to defrizz curly hair (rub a little into palms and run fingers through hair). I don't use much makeup and for cleansers Dr. Bronners Baby Castile Soap works for pretty much everything! A few drops go a long way. Good Luck.

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    4. For face Lotion: I have dry skin and pretty bad allergies, so I make my own using approx 1/3 Vegetable Glycerin, 1/3 Pure Aloe (not the green stuff, Lily of the Dessert makes a 99% one), and 1/3 Oil (Jojoba is great) - They all mix very easily, just pour into a bottle and shake! It's a gel consistency. I use higher amount of Aloe in Summer and have been using this for years now - It also works great to defrizz curly hair (rub a little into palms and run fingers through hair). I don't use much makeup and for cleansers Dr. Bronners Baby Castile Soap works for pretty much everything! A few drops go a long way. Good Luck.

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    5. If you go in walgreens you can ask the ladies at the makeup counter they always have coupons and will help you find them for what you need ;)

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  4. I'd love to sign up for your newsletter... I just read the article on Yahoo; commented and want to learn how to be as frugally wise as you are....
    balee2010@gmail.com

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  5. First, thank you for your site!

    Something new I am trying, Soymilk. I find that it is less expensive at Aldi ($2.49), no hormones and other harmful chemicals, and makes cereal taste amazing. From what I have been reading (recipes) you can substitute Soymilk for milk in most recipes (experimentation with brands and flavors may be necessary).

    As for homemade bread, I don't use a machine. I add the basics (flour, yeast, sea salt, water), let if proof, place the dough in a large container in my fridge and pull out what I need for biscuits or use my loaf pan. I have been tempted to purchase a bread maker...from Goodwill for $5.00!

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    1. FYI....soymilk does not work to make pudding. It will not set up.

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    2. I'd be careful with the Soy Milk. Nearly ALL of the U.S. soy crops are GMO now. Same thing with corn and sugar beets as well. With so many other countries world-wide banning GMO foods or requiring labeling for them, I'd be very cautious about the soy products you use.

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    3. We buy our soy milk from Costco and it is non- GMO so is our tofu:>

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  6. Hi,
    Im so glad that I found your blog because your also an army wife. My husband's contract will be up soon with the army so he will be going reserves, so we are trying to decide whether getting our own home, or an apartment would be the best financial venture for us. If you don't mind me asking, how did you go about finding your house?? and also making it so you don't have a mortgage because in this day and age thats so smart.
    Thank you for you time.

    Ashley

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  7. I am very new to this frugal lifestyle and love reading about it. I am so willing to give it my all. I have a 9yr old daughter when she was born I was a stay at home mom up until she was 4 and now I am 2 months pregnant and would to stay at home with this one. I need lots of advice to help me live a frugal lifestyle with two kids.

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  8. My email is cindy_is_blessed@yahoo.com I would appreciate it kindly for your help on gaining the knowledge I need to live a frugal lifestyle.. Like I said I was a stay at home with my 9yr old daughter when she was born til kindergarten then I went back to work now I am 2 months pregnant and would to stay at home with this baby. Please any ideas or advice.. Love your blog by the way! Keep it up :)

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  9. Hello Danielle,

    I just read an article on you and your family on Yahoo. I am impressed and intrigued with how you keep your family going on a budget. I would LOVE to get started saving money and living a more frugal life. I’m a new wife and it’s just my husband and I and we both work so it would seem that saving and living a frugal life would be easy. But it isn’t. As we both work and get home late, daily cooking (especially breakfast, lunch AND dinners) seem almost impossible. We eat out quite a bit because of it (which of course isn’t healthy). I like to hold on to my pennies but my husband doesn’t pay much attention to the money he spends. Any suggestions on how I can “sneak” savings and frugal living into our household?

    Thanks
    Anne from Chicago

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  10. I LOVE that you live so HEALTHY on this budget!! Its easy to meal-plan and budget on processed and boxed stuff but so much harder doing it while incorporating fresh healthy foods as well as fruits and veggies. I just looked at your tips on the order in which to eat produce and what/how to freeze. You are inspiring & I have already learned some really cool tricks. Shopping once a month sounds great to me. You have a new fan :)

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  11. Have you thought about chickens for eggs or a goat for milk? Maybe you aren't allowed them in your area. We have a milk goat and chickens. Helps save quite a bit of money (chickens are free roam on bugs).

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  12. Love the material and the article on Yahoo. I've maintained the frugal military lifestyle after I left and now my first bill (Savings) allows me the time I lost with my family while in the service. Stay motivated and thank you.
    Mark Hannah

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  13. Hi! I am reading your blog for the first time and I am so excited!!!! I have a question....I always feel like I have to spend alot of money on toilet paper, soaps, shampoos and conditioners....Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks so Much! spagirl_8110@yahoo.com

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    1. When purchasing those things I always try to either price match at Wal-mart and have a coupon for the item as well. Then I am getting double the savings. We do make our own hand soap which helps us save as well:>

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  14. Just found your website. Impressive! We have very similar lifestyles. We are a family of four with two teenagers. They have been homeschooled the entire time. We cut cable years ago, I make everything from scratch (food, soap, cleaning products, etc), we eat out maybe three times a year, zero credit card debt or any other debt, pay cash for everything, etc. But I have to tell you, we could never survive on $14,000 a year.....not even close. I applaud what you are doing, though! The fact that you are making it work is amazing.

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  15. My husband and I have been trying to reduce our debt and afford to build a new home. I have recently started doing things such as making my own laundry detergent, cooking has never been an issue except for figuring out what to cook. I get tired of the same things over and over and I have recently discovered a website that some of you may find useful. http://www.myfridgefood.com/

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  16. Some years ago I was a member of a hiking group. The leader loved eating in fancy restaurants. One time we stopped at Angels Camp in the California Sierra, and we all went into an expensive Basque Restaurant there. Prices were sky high, so I excused myself from the group and went down the road to a Firemen's Picnic in the local park, where I had some great apple pie and ice cream. The group were a long time in the restaurant, so I sat on the "smoker's" bench out front of the restaurant. A woman came out and we started to talk. She asked why I was not with my friend inside. I told her I was on a tight budget. "I am sure your friends would have loaned you the money to pay the check," she said. That woman had no clue what the word budget means.

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  17. Some years ago I was a member of a hiking group. The leader loved eating in fancy restaurants. One time we stopped at Angels Camp in the California Sierra, and we all went into an expensive Basque Restaurant there. Prices were sky high, so I excused myself from the group and went down the road to a Firemen's Picnic in the local park, where I had some great apple pie and ice cream. The group were a long time in the restaurant, so I sat on the "smoker's" bench out front of the restaurant. A woman came out and we started to talk. She asked why I was not with my friend inside. I told her I was on a tight budget. "I am sure your friends would have loaned you the money to pay the check," she said. That woman had no clue what the word budget means.

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  18. What type of antenna do you use to pick up basic cable?

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    1. Maybe I have misunderstood the question, but here goes:
      If you are not connected to cable - you don't get cable. All local TV stations transmit to the ether, so if you are close enough you can pick those transmissions up using plain old fashioned "rabbit ears." That also means you do not get Discovery or The History Channel, etc., they are strictly cable channels.

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    2. You can just get a basic antenna to pick up your basic channels. Fortunately you can find most cable channel tv shows online or on Netflix. I would suggest getting an antenna that has a box on it as well. I was using just antennas that didn't have a clarifying box as part of the package and it was difficult to get channels in sometimes.

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  19. I would like to know what type of antenna do you use for basic cable?

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    1. We have a very basic cone we found at a thrift store.

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  20. I just love your site! I have followed several of your ideas and saved some money, and I swear I am now addicted to saving and living thrifty. You have been such a blessing and even though I am not a stay at home mom with little kids ( my kiddos are a bit older)I am now finding more and more ways to save and am happier for it!!
    Much love chicky!! Would love for you and any of your readers to check out my blog. I just added your button so that others can find you!!!

    sweetnsour-sweetnsour.blogspot.com

    dt

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  21. I just want to thank you for blogging about Bountiful Baskets. I started getting most of our produce from them after reading one of your posts in January, & it's already saved us a lot of money.

    Good luck with your appearance on the Today Show tomorrow.

    Susan

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  22. I'm a stay-at-home mother of four and I homeschool three of my four (my youngest will be homeschooled next year).

    Currently I am spending $650 a month on groceries and $55 on paper products/laundry soap/etc. I am trying to find ways to cut our expenses even more. I stock up on items when its a good deal, use coupons, and go to Aldis and Dollar General stores monthly. We are having a hard time with our grocery budget due to increase food prices, but also having to deal with multiple food allergies/sensitivities and health issues (gluten-free, soy-free, no nuts of any type due to my daughter's food allergy, less acidic foods due to my girls having acid reflux, and no strawberries for me due to a food allergy).

    Any ideas on how we can cut our budget even more. We try to make things from scratch as much as possible: i.e. granola bars, bread, pancakes, pizzas, desserts, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, tacos, etc. We even make homemade hand soap, all purpose cleaner, and use baking soda for our laundry. We do have a monthly budget and I keep track of what we have, what we have spent, and how much we have left. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated:)

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  23. You might already have this somewhere, but how do you do Kiddo's Birthdays?
    Thank you!

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  24. I also live in Henderson, NV. Can you recommend your favorite Thrift Stores in our area? Would love to get started shopping for needed items for less.

    BarbaraSimonie@aol.com

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    1. http://www.thethriftshopper.com/ It list thrift stores in your area by zip code

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  25. Is there any chance that you could offer some tips to a struggling 19-year-old couple with a baby due in November?

    We're already almost $4k in debt due to trying to move out on our own way too fast. :/ We also only planned for $80-90/month for electricity, which ended up being $150-200/month because our trailer we were renting was so badly insulated and we now owe the electric company about $1100. We owe Charter $250. We owe my college $1200 as my FASFA fell through after my mom submitted fraudulent/incorrect taxes. And he has a speeding ticket he still has to pay off. :(

    I work part-time, usually 25-30 hours a week, but sometimes as low as 15-20 hours a week, at $9.50/hr., and he works on a temp-to-hire basis. Currently, he's working for $10/hr., 40 hours a week, for the next month(then his assignment ends and the temp agency will have to find him another job(he's been applying at regular jobs, as well)).

    What would you do in our situation to get everything paid off/what would you prioritize? We really want to save for the baby, too, and I've started couponing to help with saving money. We have maybe $150-200 saved up for our baby, but that's it(we do have 3 packs of diapers, though, sizes 0-1, and a can of formula). Please, guide me!! lol And anyone is welcome to comment here on what they'd do in my situation. Any help/tips/guidance/advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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    1. Your basics need to be your priority-food, clothing, shelter (this includes utilities). Get basics for the baby: like cotton pants & onsies, warm footed sleepers, and socks; don't over-do on cutesy outfits that he/she will quickly outgrow. Newborns don't need a ton of toys and gadgets. They don't need a totally coordinated & decorated nursery. Since Christmas is just around the corner try asking for the big ticket items from friends and family: car seat, crib, stroller (even as gifts for you & your boyfriend).

      I would put the cable bill on the back burner & not worry about it for now; just put it aside til later. Try searching in your area for pregnancy help centers. We have one here in my community (a small town of approx. 6,000 people) & you can earn mommy money for attending classes on anything from budgeting to diapering. Then you use your mommy money in their store to buy clothes, diapers, formula, equipment, whatever you may need. Look into the WIC program at your local health department; they give vouchers to use at the grocery store for nutritional foods while you're pregnant & breastfeeding & for formula if you bottle feed.

      If moving back into a parents' home (yours or his) is an option, you may consider doing that. If not try wearing more layers around the house & turning the heat down while you are both away at work. Put extra blankets on the bed at night & close vents in rooms you don't use. Bake dinner and then leave the oven door open after you turn it off to help heat the house up after you're done cooking.

      Talk to your college about a student loan to cover the $1,200 you owe. Most student loans do not have to be paid until you graduate & get a job. But I would strongly recommend not taking any other student loans after that & filing your FAFSA under your own name. You don't want to graduate college just to have a huge mountain of debt waiting.

      Accept any hand-me-downs offered for the baby. Refrain as much as possible from buying any baby items that are not strictly necessary-a wipes warmer is nice, but many a child has survived a cold butt wipe before they were invented (including my 1st child). :)

      Keep your head up & don't get discouraged!

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  26. dessert industries
    good will
    salvation army
    northwest arc
    co-sign
    st. vinnies
    church clothes bank
    fish clothes

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  27. Couponning is a good way to start. Signing up for free samples online. I use this website: http://www.scamfreesamples.com/ Talk to the electric company and ask to be put on a level payment plan. Also in January there is a program call LIEAP (low income energy assistance program) you can get an application at the Social Services office not sure what it is called in your area but where you apply for food assistance (SNAP). Catholic Social Services helps with a non-food pantry and formula when your baby comes. Birthright also helps with gathering items for when your baby comes. Anyone you owe money to ask to be put on a payment plan. Best thing I would do is go to one place in your community and explain your situation and they can guide you to all the places that can help. You have anymore questions you can email me at moviefreak19872002@yahoo.com would be more than willing to help you out.

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  28. You are my role model and inspiration for becoming a stay at home Mom. I don't have kids, but I want to pave the way in order to be able to stay at home with them every day. Thank you for sharing your tips with us!

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  29. i am going to assume you live in utah, i lived there for 20 years before moving to california and now we are off the new york! when we lived in utah county, i had an uncle in law who owned a pig farm. every year, grandma, mom and aunt would go in and buy one whole pig and one half a cow. he did all the butchering and wrapped it in nice little labeled packages. they each spent about 125.00 for meat for a whole year! im sure he gave them a bit of a discount but still, thats not bad! i will be looking for a farm in new york where i can stock up too. its one of the things i miss alot. plus the meat was organic and all that fun stuff, you knew right where it came from. the pork sausage was amazing in spaghetti and all the meat was really flavorful and yummy! i would def reccomend looking into that.

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  30. Wow! I'm so glad to find your blog. We're about to retire and need all this information to live on a smaller budget. I'll be following and learning from you :) Thanks so much!!!

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Thank you so much for all your sweet comments. I read every.single.one. They rock my socks! Thanks!

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