Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Living Frugally

Good afternoon Folks ~ I hope you are all having a good day today whatever you are doing. It is very warm at 85 and feels like it is 93 and the humidity is at 69%. I worked outside this morning in my main garden area, and had to come in when I started tripping over my feet and stuff, and I was sweating like crazy. I said to myself, that's it for today. I had done more trimming and weeding, pulling up beggar lice, and cats claw and Virginia creeper vines. A thunderstorm is expected but so far nothing yet. On the weather radar it looks like most of the rain activity is down around the Keys. Hopefully we will get some rain. We need it. I hear thunder in the distance so maybe we will.

Now on with this post about living frugally. It is something DH and I have done our whole married life. We started out as newlyweds living in Spain while DH served his tour of duty for the US Navy. Pay wasn't much, but we learned to make do and have been doing just that ever since. We've had lean times and good times. Right now is one of those lean times.

DH is semi retired. I work part-time. Have had my job for 13 years and may lose it in the next year as the economy has had a huge effect on the business. My hours and pay were cut the beginning of 2009, so that I have made half of what I had been making.

We buy in bulk and have been for quite some time now. Just recently we went to a newly opened Hispanic Grocery store in our area, and bought 10 lbs. of jasmine rice for around $8.50. One lb. in our regular grocery store is anywhere from $3-$7. I love Jasmine rice for Thai cooking. We had seen Jasmine rice at SAM's and it was more than what we just paid, and also saw it at an Asian grocer, at about the same price we just paid, but we had to buy double the amount.

At the Asian grocery store we bought a half gallon of Sesame Oil for $12.99, whereas at our normal grocery store I had bought small 4 oz bottles for around $3 and the price kept going up. It pays to shop around that is for sure. I love fixing different ethnic dishes and there are lots of stores to shop in this area.

Below is the neat woven plastic bag that the rice came in and the Sesame Oil is in picture below that. Sesame oil gives a wonderful nutty flavor to foods.

Besides buying in bulk, we have curbside shopped for years. DH did it before he joined the Navy, and we've never stopped. This is such a throw away society, that there is almost always something that can be saved from the landfill. We found our double size beech wood Colonial style head and foot boards while living in Spain. We had just started out on our vacation when on the outskirts of the next town, there was the bed. Oh my gosh, we certainly couldn't pass that up. We loaded onto the top of our car, and took it back to our apt., then headed off on vacation. (Later we saw a hand painted sign in that dumping area that said 'No ponga la basura, or something like that, which meant don't put your garbage here.) It has turned spindles and other parts turned as well, and there is some carving on the panel of the foot board. The picture below is of the foot board. Excuse our bedroom as we are in the process of remodeling. Hopefully when we are done, I'll be able to get a much better picture of the whole bed. The head board is higher by about 6 inches.

Our bed fits right into our cottage and cottage style living. I love it.

In better times, of course, we do buy things, in leaner times we do not. We have shopped thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.

We have done remodeling of our cottage through the years and built outbuildings too. When we built our three outbuildings DH got some wonderful A grade truss wood and other lumber from a lumber recycling place for free. The wood was just going to be ground up. The wood and DH's work passed all inspections. Not all of our wood was free but we did get quite a bit for the frame work.

We have found statuary, and other outdoor pieces, plants, furniture, fencing, etc. not so much these days, as we are pickier, and we don't need stuff, but the stuff is still out there. The swing in our screened room was found in the trash across the street, the screening and aluminmum for our screened room was also found over time, the claw foot tub was sitting outside of a plumbing supply place and they were just going to throw it out, so we took it. The jacuzzi tub was $100 at the Goodwill many years ago. We bought a rebuilt pump and a filter. The brick pavers in our screened room were free, all the wood around the tub was free also. The round tiled concrete pad for our outdoor shower was a table top.

We could not afford all this stuff to go out and buy it new. We are thankful for all the good deals we've come across.

I have been making my own laundry detergent the past year or so and it works nice and smells wonderful too.

We buy herbs and some vitamins in bulk also.

Our cottage is paid for, our vehicles our paid for. We do not have cell phones or cable TV. I get books from the library. I cook from scratch. Lately I've been taking cuttings from plants we have here and rooting them. I've been in a couple of seed trades also that gave me seeds galore to plant and I'm still planting them.

I know the way we live isn't for everyone, but it works for us, and we are not in debt. Times are rough all around the world, and things may get rougher. We just have to take each day as it comes being thankful for our many blessings great and small.

I have really enjoyed reading frugal blogs, from different parts of the world. All are inspiring and encouraging. That's part of the fun of blogging, learning, sharing, the inspiration and encouragement.

Thank you all for blogging about your homes, your gardens, your projects, etc.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL


Anonymous said...

I love your blog and what you visit about, it is just about a good as having a cup of coffee or tea with a good friend.
I have been frugal for many years also, and a lot of my furniture and other yard stuff came from dumpster diving, and curb raiding. It is so much fun though.
Have a great day Flower Lady, enjoy your day.

Vicki S in Nebraska

Tufa Girl said...

I understand the throw away society. I wish I were not a part of it. Trying to pare down things as I get ready to sell the house to join my sweetie. Had a garage sale recently. Many things I could sell and alot of things I just wanted to give away so I would not have to load them up and take them to the hospice thrift store. Alot of folks wanted new things, designer clothes, etc. Could not even give things away. Very discouraging.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

An older woman I work with calls me the cheapest man she knows. I never pay full price if I can help it. Living frugally means eating better and usually healthier. It means fewer processed foods if you buy frozen veggies and of course, I grow my own in the summer. People ask me what am I going to do with 53 tomato plants. I'm going to eat like a king. I love them. I'll can some, freeze others, trade for homemade sauces made by transplanted Italians, and eat many of them right from the vine in the middle of the yard.

I've almost completely sworn off buying plants this year. Why buy when I can grow from seed or take cuttings from others who have it? I like old fashioned plants, I don't need the latest colors of echinacea. I like the simplicity of gardening this way.

I've been trying to do the same in other parts of my life. I'd love to hear about your laundry detergent. I'm sick of chemicals and throwing things away. About a year ago, I swore off paper towels in the kitchen. On the occasion that I fry something, I use cloth towels to catch the grease. I soak them in ammonia overnight and toss them into the wash with my laundry. I dry my hands with washable towels instead of paper. It just makes more sense.

Now I just need to find some furniture like yours to complete the inside of my home. I'll be heading to the metal recycling yard soon to find the countertop materials I plan to use. The laminate is too sterile, too manufactured. It might not be the life for everyone, but it feels good to make something and have it on display in my home.

You're an inspiration.

L. D. Burgus said...

I am always a fan of frugal. I have lived on a single teacher's salary for years and we just had to make do. I always built what I needed and created the things that I needed to remind me of the expensive ones. I really enjoy hearing about the good buys and the different markets. Great blog.

RamblingTart said...

Thank you for this, dear Flower Lady. I'm in very, very lean times myself. Although I get scared now and then, I'm mostly enjoying the challenge of living on as little as possible. It's a very interesting adventure. :-)

Catsngrams said...

I just love your blog. It is so inspirational. We are such a throughaway society it is true. My husband and I also do the thrift sales and yard sales. He finds more treasures than I but I find my books but only if I can pay 10 cent - 25 cents I will not pay more. Most of what we own is paid for our cars our home was but we had to take an equity loan to help son #2 to save his from a scammer. He is helping us pay it off. God bless you and keep sending us more frugal ideas.

Antique ART Garden said...

Hey ! We have stained glass windows in our walls in our home as well, also at our old home ! Love your message, I enjoy finding things too, we have to rescue what may be a treasure..or leave it for someone else to find. By the way, I spent 65.00 at Lowes today for more flowers and a new sprinkler, so I failed in my no-spending rule I was working on. better luck tomorrow, take care, Gina

sweet bay said...

You're right, we do very much live in a throwaway society, and it's sad. Kudos to you for finding a good home for treasures that others didn't want and were going to just throw away.

Noelle said...

I really enjoyed this post. We have always tried to live frugally and the current economic situation has affected our income as well. I look on it as a challenge that I really enjoy. I think that possessions mean more when you find them on sale or for free, don't you think?

gld said...

This is how all of us should be living!

We pared down lots of things, no more Satellite TV, DH quit driving to town for rehab where he was just walking! Seemed ridiculous. Now he walks at home.

Tom, I admire what you are doing. It should be an inspiration to others your age.

I try to stop and think if we really need whatever it is we are getting ready to buy, most times it is not.

I would love your recipe for laundry detergent. I made a less than successful one, but it may be an ingredient I substituted.

I just made a batch of soap. We haven't bought a bar of soap in well over a year now.

As for gardening, I am trying to go to all op things so I can save my own seed. Like Tom, I don't fall for the latest newest plant. They usually just live a year anyway. Give me the simpler things of life including plants.

Cooking is another. I never buy a mix of anything.. I make our bread. Cook from scratch. I had to dry my milk cow recently and may give up milk from the store! I won't but I won't enjoy it.

Times are lean for a lot of us and may get leaner. We need to know how to get by on less.

This is a subject dear to my heart.

NanaK said...

Good tips in this post. I agree about the use of sesame oil. I love to include it in all my stir-fries. I've never been to an Asian grocery but one just opened near me. I will have to check it out. I've heard they have veggie seeds there too!

Anonymous said...

I got here through Glenda's blog. I believe in being frugal as well. I will pay full price for something if it's something I really, really, want, if I've never seen it sold at a garage sale before, and if I think it'll pay for itself down the road. But thankfully, there are not that many things that fall into that category.
We have been through lean times too. It's part of life, I think. Everyone should have to experience it. It makes you appreciate what you have.
It is discouraging to have perfectly good things at a garage sale and people are looking for things that are more "fancy". Designer labels and name brands are such a rip-off but people just don't understand that.

Anonymous said...

Frugality is just the best way of living...I love it too! Just found your lovely blog! :)

Becca's Dirt said...

Great post girlfriend. Since my hours were cut to 30 hrs I have had to do without some things. I manage to get by on $15-25 on a few things to eat. It is just me so I only cook a couple of times a week. It is very hard to make ends meet. I have to have a cell phone being alone.

Lyn said...

I love how you shared about leaner times and better times. There will always be both - so it is wise to live today frugally and plan for tomorrow as much as one possibly can. Simply because we don't know what tomorrow brings.

I would love to hear more frugal posts from you as I think there is such wisdom from those who have lived as such and have much experience. I have lived frugally my whole life too, and find that I am still learning all the time!

Lyn said...

Tom, you can try paper bags (if you have any from the grocery, etc.)

I like sesame oil when I make hummus. I use that in place of tahini and it gives a nice flavor.