Friday, April 24, 2015

Saving Money by Being Home

I recently read an encouraging post at A Tray of Bliss written by a blogger from Australia.  It is entitled, "This weeks insourcing #9 my value in the home."  This woman, Mimi, has kept track of her doings and savings as the weeks go by.  As home managers and Mothers we are bringing wealth into our homes in ways we don’t realize!  Sometimes I feel like I don't have a lot to contribute to our families' income.  What a joy to discover I am actually saving money by staying home, not to mention preserving great family memories and togetherness.  So I decided to see what things I could tally up as savings for my week….

We transplanted seedlings into larger containers that we found in our green house.  Since we didn’t have to buy more pots, perhaps we saved $15.00. 

Some of our transplanted seedlings in the greenhouse.
We just purchased our home a few months ago and we are finding all sorts of useful treasures hidden about.  Now that the snow has melted, we’ve found heaps of rocks and buckets, wood planters and a concrete pond and water way!  We feel like we are in the secret garden.  We took lots of pictures this evening so that we can watch it bloom and progress with these crazy short Alaska growing seasons.

Our secret garden, pond, and waterway.

 So I’m not sure how to place an exact value on planting seeds and transplanting, but when we begin to harvest the cabbage, broccoli, peas, cucumbers, and squash this summer, it will take a huge bite out of our food bill.  Later we will purchase tomato plants and plant lettuce from seed.  Produce is more expensive up here.  If only I could learn to grow watermelon…. They are selling right now for $15.00 a piece.  Cabbage is $1.29 a pound and a wonderful tasty vegetable that grows well here.  We love it stir fried with carrots, onion, garlic, and fresh ginger which is $4.59/lb.  Does anyone know how to grow ginger indoors?  That would be another huge savings.  Oh, the kids found an apple seed that had already sprouted in a Gala apple over a week ago and poked it down into some soil and it sprouted.  We also learned from a friend in Oregon that you can re grow the little bit of celery leftover from the big bunch purchased from the store.

Our celery start is healthy and growing!

A two week old, maybe 3 week apple tree seedling... the faith of a child!
Learning and reading how to do things yourself from others is priceless…  This week I learned from Grace Garden and Homestead how to add extra lining and waterproof fabric to toddlers underwear to make your own pull-ups.  I have one child in pull-ups at night and one in pull-ups during the day and night.  Today we are sewing these homemade sturdy underwear.  That will be a savings of $25.00 or more a month.  I bought the fabric this week at ½ price with a coupon.  I saved $15.00.  I also realized that I can make nursing pads with an outer layer of that same waterproof lining.  They run $6 or $7 dollars a box and by making my own I could save close to $20 or so a month for when the new baby is born.

I also learned how to make my own lavender cleaner from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth  I’m out of my chemical spray and will save at least $3.00 by making my own.  We plan to use their great recipes and free printable labels.  This is one of my favorite blogs, it is so inspiring, beautiful and practical all at the same time.

I went to the used clothing store and bought a pair of lined Carhartt overalls for my little boy for $10.00.  New, these are around $60.00.  They’ll last him forever and he won’t wear the knees out!  My oldest teenage daughter bought a pair of jeans for $8.50 that still had store tags on.  That’s a savings of at least $20.00.  Smart shopper, that’s my girl!  I also purchased a toddler bike for $12.00.  That’s probably another $20.00 savings.

We made handmade Thank-you cards and Birthday cards this week.  If we had to buy them, I’d have spent $15.00 or more.

I could count cleaning our own home, and washing and drying our heavy winter gear and storing it away for next season.  No dry cleaning bills here. 

My husband just reminded me that I save on gas by doubling up errands like shopping, orthodontist appointments, and prayer meetings, all while teaching my oldest son to drive.  That would be a savings of several hundred dollars, by not having him enrolled in Driver’s Ed, but training him while doing errands instead.
As I sat in the Orthodontist office waiting for my son, I picked up a copy of the latest April edition of Martha Stewart magazine and learned how to paint plastic urns and pots with a paint/glue mixture and then dip in sand.  What a great and inexpensive way to have some beautiful new planters around the house... all those free ones we keep finding strewn about will soon be sand coated.
My husband also reminded me of the child care fees we are not paying as well as the added expense of traveling and packing school lunches and buying new clothes and that whole arena.

I also saved myself a Dr.’s or chiropractic visit by studying my painful back/leg symptoms online and found it is due to hormones and loose ligaments and pregnancy.  I’ve been practicing a simple tightening exercise and rotating the pelvis forward to lock into place before I try to stand up or turn in bed or stand for a long time.  It works!  The pain has subsided greatly.  What a valuable tool the internet can be to help us solve problems and save money!  That would have been $80.00.

My middle daughter, 7 year old, often gets the least amount of attention so we did a special craft together and made such good memories.  We removed two small square mirrors off our wall.  Then we took our bouquet of roses leftover from a month ago, from our realtors, and clipped all the dried blooms off.  We found some scraps of lace, ribbons, buttons and the handy glue gun and had a grand time gluing away!  Cost: nothing.  Gained: priceless memories.

Re-decorating for free...
Well, I haven’t even bothered to tally grocery bills and cooking from scratch, but I know there’s oodles of money saved there.   We also try to bake bread on Monday's and Friday's.  That is 8 loaves a week at a savings of about $15.00.  Plus, we always have a couple to give away as gifts. 
Sometimes for fun, I have the kids add up the cost of our dinner in their head and we’ll figure out how much we’re saving by eating at home versus eating out or eating something pre-made.  Since there are 8 of us, it's always shocking how much we save by preparing our food at home.  Let's just say they learned multiplying by 8's rather quickly!  That could be a whole other post…..

So perhaps I have brought in $800 or so through savings including savvy grocery shopping and from scratch cooking?  We’ve also been purchasing extra groceries for our “make a lot of freezer meals” party in a few weeks.  A friend had one of these parties instead of the traditional baby shower.  It's a great way to save time and money... pulling out one of our own meals instead of a store bought one for when the new baby arrives.  I'll be sure to post how that all goes in a few weeks.

Next week I’ll have to take more careful notes.  This would be a fun way for my older kids to receive credit for consumer math courses for homeschooling… 


  1. How exciting to add up how much you saved in a week! I need to try this as well! You are a very thrifty mother, and isn't it a wonderful feeling to see how much money you have saved your family in thrifty ways, rather than spending it!

    1. Yes, it is a wonderful feeling to know you're helping. I'm going to tally up next week too, I just had so much fun with it.

  2. Wow, watermelons are expensive for you right now! What a thrifty mother--way to go! I bet the toddler underwear look great ;-) .
    As a health care provider, I would just caution you about the nursing pads made with PUL--make sure to change them often so you don't get mastitis. They can hold more than they should with the PUL lining--I'm sure you are all researched on that too though. ;-) .
    Thank you for your frugal motivations.

    1. You're welcome and thanks for the tip about mastitis, I'd forgotten about that. I have heard it is very painful and causes high fever as well.

  3. I love how resourceful you are Jeannie! We haven't tackled into a garden yet but my husband does make some delicious homemade wheat bread (without sugar I might add. (: ) that we all enjoy and saves us a bundle. I am also a fan of shopping at garage sales for clothes for my boys.

  4. Isn't homemade bread the best! What a blessing your husband can make it. I've taught my oldest son, 16 how to make it too. Garage sales are as good as homemade bread for savings too! Always an adventure and you'll never know what you find or who you'll get to share Jesus love with. It's also one of the highlights of Spring/Summer for us. Also, in Alaska there are large dump stations with bins and tables and people place items there and anyone can take them for free. There are also people called "Dumpster Divers" and it's perfectly legal for them to dive in and find things. I can't imagine going that far, but I have taken things from the free table like shoes and a down jacket with a small tear in it. It's just another added blessing of living in Alaska!