Creating a Frugal Home

[This is a continuation of yesterday's post The Difference Between Thrifty & Frugal]

Frugal living is a big learning curve for this convenience-loving girl who is addicted to clearance shopping (whether I need it or not!)

(But don't panic, if it's more than 75% off and I can get my thrifty hands on it, I will be stockpiling my bargain finds. It's hard to teach an old shopper new tricks. I'm also planning a new DIYP series called Dollar Store Decor, coming soon to a blog near you.)

But in these unstable days, I want something greater than the best bargain out there:

I want to gather my family around me and protect them from the world I cannot trust. I want to cocoon, to become more self-sufficient.

I don't know how to make bread. I don't know how to grow a garden. I don't know how to can food or store it away for lean times. I don't know how to sew. But I want to (especially after reading this amazing post). 

Every time I visit my in laws farm, I'm surprised at how self sufficient they are. They don't rely heavily upon modern conveniences. They rely upon the land. I feel useless without the Internet or a Target. But in a way, I envy their simple life. 

While I don't see myself packing up and turning this blog into We are THAT Family: The Green Acres Edition, I desire to simplify.

Will times get harder? Will I need to know how to survive on less because I must? Will the unstable job market knock on my door?  I don't know.

But I want to turn my thrifty home into a little more of a frugal one.

Either way.

Because I think it will feel really good to work together as a family and create and provide for each other. 

Want to join me?

Here are a few of my goals to become a little more frugal and a lot more self-sufficient:
  • Cut back expenses and get out of debt-we owe on one car and our house, but have six months of living expenses tucked back. We are saving as much money as we can and trying to pay off our car by Christmas. My advice: get out of debt, don't add more. Dave Ramsey has a workable plan.
  • Eat at home
  • Learn to bake bread
  • Learn to grow food
  • Learn to can food and create a stockpile
  • Buy second hand (more than just kid's clothes). I'm challenging myself to look for used instead of new (This one scares me!)
  • Balance- I'm looking forward to learning new things with my family, but I want to remember balance is important.  I don't think being an extremist will benefit my family. I want to be honest with myself and with you. For example, I will plan to drink Chick Fil A sweet tea regularly and go to Family Camp this summer (mainly because we finished paying for it in December!) and continue my life, but thru frugal-colored glasses.

[I'm hoping to add these books to my library soon Frugal Living for Dummies ,Chick Living: Frugal And Fabulous and The Self Sufficient-ish Bible: An Eco-living Guide for the 21st Century] 

I'm going to chronicle my journey and share what I learn along the way, pitfalls and all.]

I'm hoping what I share will be helpful, but I'm completely prepared for hilarity. 

You know, because it's me.


Lauren @ Team Giles said...

Great post! My husband and I are actually taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace course right now. it's amazing how much you can save and cut back if you just, think about it.

We actually {are you sitting down?} canceled our CABLE! Heavens, I know. We want to save that money and pay off debt and be debt free quicker. We don't NEED cable... we like it. But don't need it right now.

I'm motivated, we can do this. :)

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Wishing you the very best! I think you'll find that living frugal is a lot of fun, very satisfying, and kind of a game once you get the hang of it!

Georgetta Nextdoor said...

Looking forward to reading about your journey. I need to learn frugality too.

Liz said...

I too need to start cutting back wherever I can, but I always end up buying things that I dont really need! I too would love to learn how to bake will need to let me know when you make your first loaf...God Bless ~Liz

LaVonne said...

I actually love living more frugally now. It is becoming an addiction almost. I am so happy to read your post. I can't wait to hear updates! I actually hear you though, I am not a domestic person. AT ALL. I want to be though. So keep it coming! And I always like funny.

Rachel said...

I'm with you! I never really knew the difference between frugal and thrifty... Probably because I never:

A. needed to.
B. wanted to.
C. cared.

I'm especially proud of number C.


But things do change and I'm now a D. all of the above sort of girl.

Thanks for bringing us along for the ride!!

Alex Hall said...

I'm right there with you. I've been in between thrifty and frugal for a while now. I share your thoughts as far as where things in this country are going and have five children to be concerned for. I not only want to be frugal so that we have a nice life, but I also want to pass frugality down to them.

I have one tip that I really hope you take to heart. Several months ago I discovered the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day." Before checking this book out from the library, I had only made bread a handful of times and that was with a bread machine. I got rid of my bread machine after keeping it for 6 years because I used it so infrequently. I'm so thankful that I got rid of it because it forced me to look for other methods of making bread.

The methods outlined in that book are SO SIMPLE! The basic premise is that you create enough dough for approximately 4 loaves of bread that you can store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you're ready to bake it, you cut a piece of dough off, gently work it into a ball (they describe the method which literally takes 30 seconds) and let it sit on the counter for a while. What I loved most about this book is that it provides recipes that allow you to premix a dough that doesn't require kneading.

Seriously, check it out from the library and you won't go back to buying bread from the store. Since finding the book, I only buy the cheap white sandwich bread for french toast (my husband's favorite) and occasionaly some hot dog or hamburger buns. There's a recipe for Naan, pita bread, bagels, and a whole lot more! I actually have finally earned enough swagbucks to purchase this book from!!!

Bridget said...

The Green Acres Edition! :)

I think you are way ahead of 90% of America already.

I don't know how to sew, but I do have some YUMMY homemade bread recipes! Oh my tastes so much better than store-bought bread!

Looking forward to the DIYP Dollar Store Edition! :)

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

I've enjoyed reading your posts these last couple of days as I am working on being frugal much like yourself. My husband's company just gave everyone a 10% pay cut in order to keep from laying off people. I'm Catholic, but there is a show on BYU about homelife and they teach things such as stockpiling, emergency prepardness, gardening, canning etc., just the things I'm trying to learn at this time in my life.
Enjoy your blog!

Sally Jane said...

This was an awesome post! You may want to google flylady and Pam Young for ideas on living more frugally and getting out of debt.

I love to babke bread, and it's not nearly as hard as most people think. I find it very satisfying, and the house smells so great when homemade bread is baked!

Leanne said...

After looking at your DIYP's I really don't think you will have any problem changing from buying new to buying used. The trick is not to look at the product "as it is" but what you can make of it and I truly believe you have a great eye for that kind of thing.

Also sometimes baking your bread isn't all its cracked up to be. I;ve promised myself that I'll bake all of my bread this year and so far I've stuck to it, but with the price of flour sometimes it really is cheaper to stockpile and freeze shop bought bread while it is on offer.

And you can freeze a lot of veg as well, you don't necessarily have to start canning straight away.

New momma said...

I have recently felt the same conviction about living a more simple life. There is so many things that I spend money on that are not necessary. You can see my blog post about it here

Upstatemomof3 said...

We go thru more frugal times and less frugal times. Right now we need to move back into a more frugal time. Hopefully we get to it soon. We are trying but for whatever reason it is really hard.

Sharon said...

We're doing DR and LOVE his program! It really does work. I fully recommend a book called The Tightwad Gazette. It has tons of frugal ideas and ways to simplify your life. It is an excellent resource. There are many thing in there I would not do as they are TOO frugal for me but lots and lots of them, we have incorporated into our daily lives. I too, have parents that live on a farm and are so simple and low-key. I love going there to be reminded of how little we truly need in our lives---my hubby, things he's almost camping when we stay there! LOL!!

Ali said...

Oh yay! I am so proud of you! Welcome to the "club" lol! Being frugal is SO much fun. If you really get into thrift stores and buying second hand, you will find that it becomes VERY hard to spend the money on anything new. I am not quite "hardcore" frugal, I still buy certain things like a stainless sippy for my little guy a while back and we just got a new round pen for the horses. But I NEVER buy myself anything anymore it seems (unless it is second hand).

My sis and I have gotten each other used bread makers for Christmas so we make our own bread. We are having a big garden this year and will be canning some things. And I do sew - most recently I made my own reusable bags.

Stop on by my blogs sometime, I have a green & frugal blog, but haven't worked on them as much as I would like...I may have to combine them lol! Good luck!

Ali said...

Oh and PS, Dave Ramsey rocks my socks! =) He is the BEST! We are debt free except for our house and we use cash/debit for everything. It DOES work!

Heather said...

Kristen, I think this is an awesome post!

As you know, my entire blog is about frugal living and voluntary simplicity, so I hope you'll read through the archives. I even have a post about baking bread :)

My husband and I achieved debt freedom in 2007 by using principles similar to those taught by Dave Ramsey, although when we started, we had no idea who he was. His program does work, and there is no better feeling than being free of debt! It took us seven years, and a lot of hard work, but it was totally worth it.

Here's the link to our story.

Good luck on your frugal journey!

Jennifer (Niffer) said...

I'm right there with you! I've become pretty thrifty. I'm teetering on the edge of frugal... can't quite jump. I only have 3 expenses that aren't mandatory!

1. My hair (I do the rest of my family's: 4 hair cuts in all)

2. Cable/internet (well internet is mandatory in my book) and Movie rentals.

3. We've been using Red box, but i just can't seem to cut the cord to Blockbuster. Help! I don't ever go out(sad but true) so I think that cable keeps me sane with three kids 5 to 18 months!

I've actually been itching to go to the goodwill and just look to see what they have. after yesterday (1st day playing outside) I'll definitely be in need of some "play clothes" for the munchkins.

I seem to have a constant battle in my brain between "wow that is so nice! I WANT that!" and " I'm so blessed to have what I do, how could I want more"

Maybe that's just human.

Anywho, Love your blog! Don't you be giving up anytime soon!

momof3girls said...

Oh, girl I love your blog! I also so agree! Life is full of choices, and we can do more with what we have if we make frugal decisions - But being realistic everyone's life does need a little sugar in it! I plan on buying a large cupcake pan, and new toe nail polish for spring this Friday. But I also will be using approx $40-$50 worth of coupons for my Big grocery shopping day so that I have the fun $ to spend on those other items I mentioned.

I can't wait for the Dollar decorating post! I am like you I do not know how to make bread and grow a garden but I do plan on planting cilantro and tomatoes this summer.

O said...

I an trying too, just recently I have fallen in love with a 10# bag of potatoes and a bag of you realize how cheap those things are and all you can make with them? Amazing!
Love your blog.

ServinGsus said...

We finished FPU and are on the same journey. We will be relatively debt free in 4 years, but totally (house and all) by the year 2019. I know that sounds far off, but we'll be pretty young and be able to start paying for college for the kids then. It's a great plan, and we are plugging away! I'm with you; my goals for this summer are a garden and to learn to can/store what I grow. I'm still mastering bread (mine is kind of heavy). Enjoy the journey!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, girl. Guess what I ordered today? Chickens. As in baby chicks. Yes, this summer, in addition to our home garden and CSA vegetable share from a nearby farm, we will also be raising six chicks for delicious, organic eggs. My kids are so excited. Nothing says family fun like building a chicken coop and shoveling bird poop!

I really do think although you are not extremist, you are certainly not the norm and what an amazing gift of modeling you will be for people. Besides the frugal living, I want to hear an update about cutting back on your children's activities. Because your blog should serve me personally. ;)

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Great, great series Kristen. I would love to participate, and I'll be READING, READING, READING!

littletoesandcheerios said...

I feel so overwhelmed when it comes to this topic. I don't know where to start. I do buy inexpensive clothing for Pebbles and I'm a consigner as well. But, when it comes to our food cost...whoa! I find buying generic can save more than coupons (i may be wrong on this) and with a climbing, running, jumping 2 year old it's hard to can and so on. I need HELP! LOL!

littletoesandcheerios said...

I feel so overwhelmed when it comes to this topic. I don't know where to start. I do buy inexpensive clothing for Pebbles and I'm a consigner as well. But, when it comes to our food cost...whoa! I find buying generic can save more than coupons (i may be wrong on this) and with a climbing, running, jumping 2 year old it's hard to can and so on. I need HELP! LOL!

MemeGRL said...

I know the secondhand route seems scary. But sometimes it's really just a matter of putting out there to the universe. I know that sounds new agey, but I've seen it over and over again...I went on Freecycle to post some stuff...and saw someone needed a crockpot...and I had an extra...and it turned out to be one of my friends who needed it! We had a good laugh when I dropped it off. Or we went shopping for a new sofa...we wanted a brown leather one and were haunting the scratch-n-dent places...came home to dinner with my sister in law who said, "Do you know anyone who needs a brown leather sofa? We're getting rid of ours." That was a cool $700 saved. Obviously this doesn't work for everything but it works for more than you'd think!

Muthering Heights said...

My husband and I started Dave Ramsey's plan a few months ago, and although it can be a little tough at times, we find it very helpful! :)

Amy said...

I a begining couponer and it has really helped on cutting back on my grocery bills. I used to spend $120 a week and I'm at around $50-60 a week now. I work so hard to save .35 cents here a dollar there that spending a dollar or $35 on lunch is a huge deal to me. I actually value money now, I never saw that coming! I do have some coupon anxiety... Here's the story bout that

Anyone have any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog last night and am looking forward to reading about your experiences through this journey. We are on the fence of thrifty versus frugal too. We pretty much shop second hand for most of our stuff, don't drive, rarely use credit etc but a lot of things, like cooking frugal and sewing anything I'd actually wear in public are still beyond my skillz realm. From what I've been told for stockpiling, look to the Mormon- LDS sites. They are apparently the rulers of stockpilia.

Katie said...

I highly recommend gardening and/or canning! We garden every year and save soooo much money by canning/freezing our veggies and fruits. I also can foods that are marked as clearance at the grocery store (I just canned mushrooms yesterday!) and shop the farmers market during the summer to freeze sweet corn. It's such a rewarding experience! And we make up gift baskets of foods we've canned, such as our own Rotel and pickle relish, to give at Christmas time.

Beth S. said...

And we love you! I have the same feeling...wanting to try harder at being frugal instead of just being thrifty! Don't you just love when you get something you need at Goodwill or a garage sale? It makes you feel 10 times better than buying it new because you got such a great deal and you'll put it to good use! I cannot make bread from scratch, either, and also don't know how to can home grown foods. We did plant tomatoes last year and they grew like a dream and produced tons of tomatoes (we planted grape tomatoes-yummy on salads, Big Boys which are delish on sandwiches and to make salsa and also Early Girls because we are impatient people and they produce fruit pretty quickly! The kids got such joy out of picking the ripe ones and bringing them to me and I got great joy out of giving bucketfuls away to friends and family! Very easy to grow when you have the right soil, water and sunlight! Good luck being frugal! I'm looking forward to reading all your posts and putting some of your ideas to good use around here...

Sarah @ said...

I think this is a great goal and I can't wait to read more about it as your adventure unfolds. We've been trying to be more frugal, simpler, and more eco-friendly together for about a year now and it's really tough, but so worth it =)

Nancy said...

I have a hard time buying anything new and have raised my kids to be the same way. Sometimes I have to remind my daughter that it's ok to buy herself a new piece of clothing once in a while. Even my husband has come around in this area. He's always asking me to be on the lookout for a nice sports coat for him when I'm perusing the thrift stores.

We are being stretched to save in other ways as my husband lost his job recently. But, we're so thankful that we took Dave Ramsey's advice a while back and started building up our emergency fund. We had total peace the day my husband lost his job, knowing we had enough to pay the bills until he's able to find another job.

Looking forward to following/joining you on your journey!

Amy said...

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MissMeliss said...

My goals this year include being more frugal. I make my own washing soap (clothes) and am committed to getting debt-free. I do also buy second-hand. I don't know how to make bread, but I do know how to sew. It's all relative, I guess. I applaud your desire to be more frugal, and not just thrifty. :)

I am also thrifty, but just finding a good bargain isn't enough in this economy! :)


Amelia said...

Love your blog...and if you run out of reading material, I highly recommend The Tightwad Gazette by Amy don't know how to spell her last name, but it starts with a D. It's considered the last word on frugality by a lot of folks.

Most libraries (remember those? They're an awesome way to cut back) have a copy of all three volumes in one. Some of it will probably be too extreme for you, but I found it was a great way to shift my mindset.

Marci said...

I grew up on a farm and now live in a subdivision in a town 100 miles from where I grew up. We hardly ever ate what we didn't grow and I didn't wear hardly anything but yard sale clothes until I was in jr high. Now, that I am married with kids and have moved away, I have found myself living a life of convenience. I am longing to get back to that simple, more healthy lifestyle. I guess I'll be making lots of trips back to the farm to help mom with canning this year.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Really, we generally do a pretty good job at your list. However, we can always eek a little more.

I can, but I could can more.

I can bake bread. I do have a breadmaker (a gift) that allows me to twirl the dough around in a cheater kind of way, then plunk it into pans.

We do buy clothes from the thrift for all of us.

We really don't eat out, because Hubs has digestive issues, but we could stand to eat better.

So yes, we're challenging ourselves, too!

Give me a yell if you need help with Canning 101.

Lisa said...

Yes, I am ready for the hilarity because it is YOU. But I hate to tell you, when I first read your title today, I thought it said...
"Creating a Funeral Home"...where in the world is my mind today?
But I continued to read because I just HAD to know. Frugal, funeral
pretty much in the same ballgame huh? ha ha ha!

Kay said...

Aww...come on.. you're not gonna make your sweet tea 'from scratch'???? LOL

Roan said...

I am looking forward to your ideas. I have a feeling that they will be "realistic" for frugal, even thrify wannabes like me. I have a lot to learn. I used coupons this month for my monthly Walmart shopping and I saved $14.35! Yippee! Baby steps, right?

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Oh, in reading this I realize that we are similar in a way. I started at the beginning not so long and am slowly learning too!
Good luck!

PamperingBeki said...

I think this is such a great idea.

Something we do once in a while is have a month where we commit to NO unnecessary spending. No clothes just because they're on clearance, no pizza night, no trips through Sonic happy hour, nothing.

I cook almost everything from scratch and only buy essentials at the store.

To be honest, I kind of hate those months because they're hard! But it's always a good reminder of how much money we waste, and how it really is possible to live simply.

We do this a few times a year.

Superchikk said...

Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

In January, we were without power for a few days due to an ice storm. We couldn't even heat our home well enough to stay more than one night. It was a wake up call.

I grew up on a farm, where we were pretty self-sufficient. It is not so now, and it is kind of scary.

We're on the Debt Snowball step of Dave's plan, and it is freeing, but kind of weird at the same time to think about purposefully not buying something so you can put $20 more towards that snowball.

Anonymous said...