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frugal – Frugal & Simple http://frugalandsimple.com living a green, minimal & sustainable life Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:10:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Welcome to Frugal and Simple http://frugalandsimple.com/2012/01/12/welcome-to-frugal-and-simple/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2012/01/12/welcome-to-frugal-and-simple/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 00:47:56 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=7433 Welcome to Frugal and Simple, Money Saving Mom readers!!

I’m Rachel, a wife stay-at-home mom to two boys, Paxton who’s 21 months and Weston who is 3 weeks old! I blog about various aspects of living a simple and debt free life!

Some topics covered include:

Thanks for visiting Frugal and Simple!!

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Book Review: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget http://frugalandsimple.com/2012/01/05/book-review-the-money-saving-moms-budget/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2012/01/05/book-review-the-money-saving-moms-budget/#comments Thu, 05 Jan 2012 14:00:35 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=7333

During the summer of 2008, I found Crystal Paine’s blog, Money Saving Mom. We were already living frugally since we had just gotten out of college but, like most college graduates, expected our standard of living to increase upon graduation. Thanks in part to Money Saving Mom, we were inspired to continue living on basically the same budget we had in college and start saving money for a house downpayment! Over the years that I’ve been a Money Saving Mom reader, I’ve been inspired by Crystal {she and her husband paid cash for their first home!}

I was excited to hear the news that she was writing a book and even more excited when the book came in the mail for me to review! I immediately started reading The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. This book is full of all kinds of practical information for getting your life in order. It begins with a chapter about goal setting which I found to be very inspiring. We already set financial goals for each year but haven’t really put much thought into long term goals. She poses the question, “where do I want to be financially five years from now?” This question prompted thinking more long term in regards to our finances.

The second chapter is devoted to clearing out clutter and streamlining your life. Practical strategies for getting rid of physical clutter as well as commitment clutter are mentioned. She poses questions to ask about your clutter such as “do I use this item regularly?” and “is this item taking up space I don’t have?

As the title implies, budgeting is covered. The book outlines baby steps to take towards budgeting. She suggests during the first month  establish a grocery budget, the second month use bare-bones budget which covers basic necessities and by the third month you’ve worked your way up to a full-fledged budget. Taking these baby steps is a great way to not get overwhelmed with budgeting and give up!

One chapter is titled “Twenty-Five Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill Without Clipping Coupons.” This chapter is full of money saving grocery tips such as have a meatless night once a week, stick with simple meals that use inexpensive ingredients and don’t throw out your leftovers. Just applying one or two of these suggestions could cut quite a bit from your grocery budget.

The final chapter is “Embrace Today” and Crystal writes about contentment, which I believe is a key to living a frugal life! You have the power to choose contentment, “a cheerful attitude can go a long way in less than ideal situations; you can either complain about the thorns or you can savor the roses that bloom in their midst.”  Ways to cultivate contentment are listed, including create a gratitude list, choose to stop comparing yourself to other people and choose to be  a giver.

There are helpful worksheets in the back covering financial goals, priorities lists, time budgets and budget sheets.

This really is a book that anyone  can benefit from. If you’re just starting out on a journey to get your finances in order, this book is full of valuable information that will help you! And even if you’ve been living a frugal and debt free life, there are things you can learn from saving on your grocery bill, being inspired to set lofty goals and focusing on contentment.

Pre-order The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. The release date is January 10, 2012.

Disclosure: I received this book to review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Econobum Buy 1 Get 1 Free http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/11/01/econobum-buy-1-get-1-free/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/11/01/econobum-buy-1-get-1-free/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2011 18:14:22 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=7103

 

During the Month of November, Econobum Single Packs are Buy 1, Get 1! The Single Packs are only $9.95!!

This is an awesome deal on an inexpensive cloth diapering system. Each pack comes with a cover and a pre-fold, so you’re getting 2 covers and 2 pre-folds for less than $10!!!

We have 2 Econobum covers and 5 pre-folds {you can purchase an additional 3-pack of pre-folds for $6!} and we use them all the time!

The 2 covers we have were purchased during the last Buy 1, Get 1 deal back in February and they’re holding up great, showing little to no wear after 9 months!  {I gave the first Econobum I bought before Paxton was born to my sister and it’s still in great condition!}

As for the pre-folds, I really love the Econobum pre-folds. They’re thick, absorbant and get softer with each use.

If you’re looking into cloth diapering but don’t want to make a huge investment, the Econobum system would be a great, inexpensive start!

And, if you order from Sweetbottoms Baby, all orders ship free!

 

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Cloth Diapers: Flip http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/10/19/cloth-diapers-flip/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/10/19/cloth-diapers-flip/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2011 18:11:01 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6997

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby  Affiliate}

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Cloth Diapers: bumGenius 3.0 All-In-One http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/10/11/cloth-diapers-bumgenius-3-0-all-in-one/ Tue, 11 Oct 2011 13:35:36 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6995

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Cloth Diapers: Tots Bots Easy Fit http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/10/06/cloth-diapers-tots-bots-easy-fit/ Thu, 06 Oct 2011 22:21:18 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6993

Disclosure: I was provided this Tots Bots Easy Fit Diaper but not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Cloth Diapers: Smartipants http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/29/cloth-diapers-smartipants/ Thu, 29 Sep 2011 19:36:20 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6991

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Cloth Diapers: Comfy Rumps http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/20/cloth-diapers-comfy-rumps/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/20/cloth-diapers-comfy-rumps/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:11:21 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6989

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Cloth Diapers: bumGenius One-Size http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/15/cloth-diapers-bumgenius-one-size/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/15/cloth-diapers-bumgenius-one-size/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2011 13:37:24 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6987

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Paxton’s Nursery http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/13/paxtons-nursery/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/13/paxtons-nursery/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:00:08 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6873

Now that we’re expecting and beginning to plan a nursery for two, I thought it was time to share Paxton’s nursery in our new home!

When we were expecting Paxton, we put together a nursery which was completely functional but lacked personalization and finishing touches. Then we moved to a rental and the nursery there was builder beige and we didn’t have a thing on the walls.

When we moved, I wanted to create a room for him that was personalized and a space he could grow up with, all on a small budget. We painted the walls a beautiful shade of green and added in touches of bright reds and blues with toys and decor. I adore primary colors!

Most of Paxton’s treasures are here on this bookshelf! He adores his books, his blocks and his farm!

Before we moved, I took a mirror that was in our yard sale pile and with a couple coats of spray paint completely made it over! The best part, we already had the spray paint so this was a free makeover!

While I was spray painting the mirror, I decided to paint the  knobs on the dresser red too! What a difference that made {and yes, a knob is missing! It’s actually tucked away in one of the drawers, we just haven’t put it back on!}

The I can do everythingart was part of a Day Spring review, The Cat in the Hat book was $1 at a thrift store and I purchased the ABC book for $5 as a birthday party decoration. The chair, which we love, was a Christmas gift from my grandparents. Paxton loves reading his books in his chair! {Or just hanging out chewing on a toy in his chair!}

I picked up these curtains at Goodwill several years ago for a mere $4! We used them in our first little apartment for a little while and they are perfect for Paxton’s room! I made the flag on the wall from a scrap piece of tin from my grandparents farm a few years back.

When we moved we needed a place to store toys. I didn’t want a traditional toy box since they are so big. We picked up an $18 galvanized tub for toys which goes right along with the farm touches in the room!

The most expensive part of the room was the rug. We wanted a 100% natural rug and were looking for a wool rug {which are expensive}. After a few months of searching, we still hadn’t found one we loved. We decided to go with a cow hide rug which is natural and incredibly soft! This was not a cheap purchase, we spent $150 on it but it’s a rug we love and will use for many years to come.

When we went to Ikea several months ago, I picked up 6 red frames for $12. I purchased them so I could finally display the farm animal wall art I had made before Paxton was born using old scrapbooking supplies. Often when I get Paxton out of his crib, he’ll point to the animals!

We were given a changing table before Paxton was born. It was a wood color and we painted it white so it would go with the rest of our nursery furniture! It cost around $20 for  paint and supplies. The ‘P’ was $5 at Hobby Lobby and painted with the same spray paint from the mirror and dresser knobs.

Paxton’s room is my favorite room in our home! I love that it is put together and that it is not too babyish and will be able to grow with him (and little brother one the way!)

Cost:

$25 Paint

$1 Cat in the Hat book

$5 ABC book

$18 Galvanized tub

$150 Cow Hide Rug

$12 Red Picture Frames

$20 Paint for Changing Table

$5 ‘P’

Total: $236*

And Paxton loves his nursery, especially reading in there!

{*$256 seems like a lot of money and it is! When you take out the $150 cost of the rug, the makeover was only $86! That’s quite frugal in my opinion! Plus, frugality to us is fewer quality items we love over cheapness!}

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Cloth Diapers: Introduction http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/08/cloth-diapers-introduction/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/09/08/cloth-diapers-introduction/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2011 13:04:21 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6983

An introduction to the different types of cloth diapers!

{Note: I am a Sweetbottoms Baby Affiliate}

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Mirror Makeover http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/08/21/mirror-makeover/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/08/21/mirror-makeover/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2011 02:21:57 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6507 When we made an offer on our house back in March, I began planning the ‘new nursery’! Since Paxton was almost a year old, it was finally time to really personalize his space and make it a bright, happy place for a little boy!

Since I love primary colors, I decided to use some pops of red and blue in the room and needed some pops of red to go along with the blue curtains we had!

Enter this mirror:

We’ve had this mirror for years! Once upon a time it was in the living room of one of our apartments but was currently sitting in the donate pile in our garage. I thought a mirror would be nice in his room and a coat or two of spray paint would give it a totally different look!

It turned out even better than I expected:

I love this red mirror! It’s such a bright and cheery color and looks great with his room!

The best part is that this cost me nothing! The mirror was from our donate pile and we already had the red spray paint. You can’t beat a free project that you love.

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Feeding Baby on a Budget http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/08/09/feeding-baby-on-a-budget/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/08/09/feeding-baby-on-a-budget/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2011 15:45:12 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6760 When it comes to feeding babies, it can either be really expensive or almost free! Breastfeeding and making your own baby food are the best ways to feed your baby on a budget!

I was very blessed that we had no major nursing issues in the beginning. I exclusively breastfeed my son for the first 6 months and reached my goal of 1 year of breastfeeding! We never had to buy any formula, I don’t know how much we saved because I’ve never had to buy formula but I’m guessing we saved hundreds of dollars!

Of course breastfeeding is free but you do need some ‘supplies’ to help make breastfeeding easier.

Here are some of the essentials:

  • Breast Pads I used disposable nursing pads when I’d go out for the first 6 weeks until my milk regulated {using washable pads at home}. After that I switched to reusables which saved me a lot of money over 15 months of nursing. The best disposable nursing pads that I’ve used for the cost are AVENT Washable Nursing Pads, at $6.99 for 3 pair they are at a great price and they held up great using for over a year of nursing {in fact, I’m going to use the same ones for baby number 2!} Another great option are Bamboobies, they are more expensive than the Avent pads but are a great option! {I loved my Overnight Bamboobies!} {I recommend having at least 12-14 pair of regular pads and 3-4 pair of overnights, you could get by with fewer if you do laundry frequently!}
  • Nursing Cover I always felt more comfortable covering up around others while nursing simply because it made them feel more comfortable {and I had a very active little boy from about 2 months forward!} Most of the time I used a nursing coverthat went over my neck. I also used aden + anais swaddle blankets as nursing covers. If you’re going to spend the money on the aden + anais swaddles, you can skip the nursing cover and use these! I would frequently just tie them around my neck or tuck a corner into my shirt.
  • Breast Pump If you hope to nurse for awhile and plan on leaving your baby for any length of time {such as date night} a breast pump is necessary! I knew I would be breastfeeding most of the time so I purchased a simple manual pump. I went with the Medela Harmony Manual Pump which was around $30! I love this pump, it’s easy to carry with you {for a quick pumping session in the car when you’re on a date}, takes up little space and is so easy to use. It held up great with a year of use and I recommend this pump to mamas looking for an inexpensive pump!
  • Milk Storage Bags If you are going to be pumping with the intentions of freezing your milk, you need to invest in some milk storage bags. Having pumped milk stored in the freezer is great, we still have a shelf full of breast milk that my son is still enjoying!
Approximate costs:
$43.92 {200 milk storage bags}
Total: $161.32 {much less than buying formula!!}

Of course you have to factor in that you should be able to reuse your reusable breast pads for your second baby as well as your nursing cover and breast pump. And, I did not factor in nursing bras, they are essential in my opinion but you have to find what works best for you!

Once baby is ready for solids, the most economical option is making your own baby food. It’s super easy and will save you money!

A month or so before Paxton started on solids, I started stocking up my freezer with homemade baby foods. I pureed homemade applesauce, pearsauce, green beans and carrots and froze them in ice cube trays. I then transferred the cubes of food into large freezer bags and had a large stash of foods to begin introducing to him!

I also made some of his foods fresh such as sweet potatoes and peas that I would cook and the puree before serving him. As he got older, I’d just mash the vegetables we were eating for him.

He only ate maybe 10 jars of baby food. I got a few free with coupons and we were given a few jars. I don’t even want to think about how much we would have spent on baby food paying $.50 or so a jar for a few months!

I found the only things I needed to make baby food were a small food processor, ice cube trays and large freezer bags! That’s all cheap and almost everyone has those things on hand already!

Wholesome Baby Food is a great resource if you are interested in making your own baby food!

Feeding baby on a budget is possible! I plan to do the exact same thing with baby #2 but this time it will cost even less since I won’t have to invest in a breast pump, nursing pads or a nursing cover!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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15 Months of Breastfeeding http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/08/04/15-months-of-breastfeeding/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/08/04/15-months-of-breastfeeding/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:26:29 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6769

Paxton at 15 months, Mama at 16 weeks pregnant

Since it’s World Breastfeeding Week, I’m sharing our breastfeeding story!

When Paxton was born, I hoped and prayed that we would have a successful nursing relationship. Once we got the hang of it, I set a goal of exclusively breastfeeding him until 6 months! Once that goal was reached, I decided that the next goal was to breastfeed him to 1 year. On April 16 we reached that goal.

From there I knew we were going to continue nursing until he was ready to wean. Little did I know at that point that there was another little one on the way! When I found out I was pregnant, he was still nursing morning, early afternoon and before bedtime. I decided to wean him from his early afternoon nursing which wasn’t difficult.

The midwives I saw in our practice were all supportive of me continuing to nurse Paxton during the early stages of pregnancy even though I wasn’t gaining any weight. I was so thankful for their support and reassurance that our baby was fine!

When he turned 14 months old, we began substituting his morning feeding with a bottle. This was a little difficult because every morning for the past year I’d go get him, bring him back our bed, lie down and nurse him and we’d both usually drift back off! Weaning him from morning nursing meant I have an additional step of getting a bottle and taking a bottle isn’t nearly as comforting as nursing so he rarely will go back to sleep anymore!

Around this same time, due to pregnancy, I began experiencing nipple tenderness and breastfeeding was something I didn’t look to as a sweet time but instead as a slightly painful experience. Typically once he latched on good and had nursed for 2 minutes it got better but those first 2-3 minutes were uncomfortable. We skipped one or two nights of nursing, substituting with snuggles and a bottle and he seemed fine. Finally, on Saturday, July 16, after 15 straight months of nursing I nursed him for the very last time.

It was a bittersweet moment knowing that it was the last time he would nurse. I honestly wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be. I think that’s due to the discomfort I’d been experiencing recently and the fact that I have another baby on the way and was looking forward to a bit of a break!

I’m amazed that my body provided nourishment to him for 15 months. I look back and am so thankful for all of the times we had cuddling and the bonding experience breastfeeding truly is! Honestly, I miss breastfeeding now because for the past 2-3 months that was the only time that he’d stay still and cuddle with me! {I’m now learning to be content with quick hugs and frequent kisses instead of holding him in my arms.} I also miss him falling asleep in my arms and just holding him and cherishing those sweet moments of a sweet sleeping babe.

I am thankful that weaning was easy for both of us. For me, my supply was diminishing and I never experienced any engorgement! And Paxton hasn’t had any issues, he’ll occasionally grab my chest and sign ‘milk’ but he’s happy and satisfied with a bottle of milk, either mine or cows milk!

I wouldn’t change a single thing about the past 15 months. Right now I’m enjoying my 5 month breastfeeding break and looking forward to beginning another nursing relationship with our new little one!

Previous Breastfeeding Posts:

My Breastfeeding Experience (So Far)

Exclusively Breastfed for 6 Months

A Year of Breastfeeding

This is just my breastfeeding story. I wanted to write it out so I will remember as well as to encourage mamas that extended nursing can be done. I am not sharing this to judge any mama who doesn’t chose  to or can’t breastfeed beyond a few weeks or months. We all make decisions that we believe are the best for our children. I know both formula and breastfed babies and toddlers that are happy and healthy!

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Dressing Baby on a Budget http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/07/14/dressing-baby-on-a-budget/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/07/14/dressing-baby-on-a-budget/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2011 02:16:01 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6732 When we found out we were expecting our first child, we didn’t give into the temptation of beginning to shop for baby! We knew that we would have family and friends who would shower us with gifts and  hand-me-downs.

We purchased the very first outfit on the day we found out we were having a boy to celebrate {and we paid with a gift card!} Before he was born, we picked up a few items on clearance and some essentials that we needed, using gift cards we had been given for him, but paid absolutely no cash out of pocket for clothing!

It is possible to dress your baby for almost nothing if you are grateful for the ways people bless you and aren’t too picky! {Sure, we’ve been given things that we wouldn’t pick out for Paxton to wear but honestly babies look cute in almost anything!}

Here are sources of dressing baby on a budget:

Shower/New Baby Gifts

Newborn sleeper we received at a shower

Almost every mama-to-be has a shower – or 2 or 3- for a first baby! Even second or third babies are given gifts so this is a great way to outfit your little one!

We were very, very blessed with gifts of clothing for our son. We returned the duplicates and items we received too much of (like 20 size 0-3 month bodysuits!) We used the cash and store credit from returns to purchase items we needed for him.

Hand-Me-Downs

Hand-me-down romper from my parents pastor's boys

Hand-me-downs are the cheapest way to outfit children! We’ve been given several boxes of clothing from friends over the course of the past year. Looking through a box of hand-me-downs and finding adorable clothing is so much fun! Paxton’s wardrobe for this coming fall/winter is composed of at least 50% hand-me-downs from friends at church!

Borrowed

Borrowed overalls from friends at church

Borrowing is another great way to save lots of money on outfitting your children! Since we have been given so many clothing items, we haven’t had the need to borrow much but we’ve had a few friends who have loaned us clothing items we need to fill in gaps in the wardrobe. If our second child is a girl, I plan to borrow most of her clothes from my sister who has 2 girls!

The best part of borrowing clothing, once you’re finished with it, you return it and don’t have to store it!

Secondhand

Secondhand t-shirt from a resale store

Buying children’s clothing secondhand saves a ton of money! I still haven’t needed to purchase many items for my son but almost all of the items I’ve bought for him have been from secondhand stores.

We are very blessed to have several resale stores in our town. I’ve sold items for cash and store credit at two different stores in town. Having store credit has been a frugal way to supplement his wardrobe without spending anything out of pocket! This past spring I sold some clothing and after purchasing several items, I still have about $25 in store credit that I can use for any fall/winter items Paxton may need or to purchase items for our new baby!

{Buying baby clothing from yard sales would fall under this category too. That is a wonderful way to spend almost nothing to outfit your child. Since we have been so blessed with hand-me-downs, gifts and store credit to a secondhand store, I’ve had no need to yard sale for his clothing.}

Birthday/Christmas Gifts

A play outfit he received as a birthday gift

Paxton has received many clothing items as Christmas and birthday gifts. This past Christmas we received clothing that helped our quickly growing boy get through the rest of the winter! He received several outfits as birthday gifts which make up a large part of his summer wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to ask for clothing for gifts for your child, babies and young children don’t need many toys!!

Clearance

Romper purchased on clearance at the end of last summer

Clearances are another wonderful way to save big dollars on clothing! Last summer I purchased several cute clothing items (up to size 3T shirts) that were marked down very low (with a gift card we received as a shower gift, costing us nothing out of pocket!) This is another great way to save money on clothing. It does take some guess work in sizing but even if your child can’t wear an item or two you can always give them as gifts or resale them!

These are the ways we outfit our son (and will do the same with baby #2)! At 15 months, we’ve yet to spend a dollar out of pocket for his clothing {remember we’ve used gift cards and secondhand store credit to purchase the items we’ve personally bought for him.} Sure he’s not wearing $50 smocked items or clothing from trendy and expensive baby stores but we think he’s dressed incredibly cute! {Of course we have our family and friends to thank for most of these cute clothes!!}

Now that we’re expecting baby #2, we’ve only bought a size 3 month white bodysuit (we didn’t have a white one in this size and white will work for boy or girl!)

Babies aren’t as expensive as most people make you believe! If you don’t give into the temptation of having the latest, greatest and most expensive baby items you can have a baby on a budget! {And I’d much rather outfit my children on a budget and have a house full!!}

 

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Cow Appreciation Day 2011 http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/07/10/cow-appreciation-day-2011/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/07/10/cow-appreciation-day-2011/#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2011 02:51:36 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6727

Of course you all know we’re frugal, this blog would not be frugal and simple if we weren’t! I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that our family celebrated Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A this past Friday!

Dress like a cow and get a free meal at Chick-fil-A? Sure, the Boreings will do it!!

The most fun part was dressing Paxton up like a cow and giving him a little tail!! I’m very excited that  we’ll have 2 babies to dress up next year!

We had a great little family outing and of course we enjoyed our free chicken {which would have cost us around $15!} Paxton even had a kids meal complete with lemonade!

Did you participate in Cow Appreciation Day?

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Secondhand Finds http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/06/14/secondhand-finds/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/06/14/secondhand-finds/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2011 17:38:12 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6659 It’s been nearly 2 years since I last went yard sale-ing! Last summer with a newborn baby, we just never made plans to go. Since John David was gone this Saturday, I decide yard sale-ing was a perfect way to pass a few hours, have fun and hopefully find a few good deals.

I was a little disappointed in the day because I was really hoping to find some furniture but I still found some great things at great prices!

We hit  a few yard sales before finding the local creative arts guild sale. It was a huge sale but I only found one thing.

This picture frame was $1! It originally had a picture glued in it and had an original tag of $39.99! Unfortunately I didn’t notice that it didn’t have glass and the bottom corner was busted until we got home {that is what happens when you have a 23 pound toddler on your hip and you’re trying to make sure he doesn’t destroy anything!} However, I still love the frame! A piece of scrapbook paper and a wedding picture look great in this and it was a nice addition to a very bare wall!

The next sale we went to was a yard sale that a few ladies in my mom’s group put together. {I should have joined in but the thought was too daunting with John David gone…maybe next time!}

One of the ladies was selling a lot of her kid’s Little People collection! There were a ton of cute play sets and people but as cute as the sets are, they take up a lot of space that we just don’t have in the nursery. I purchased the cat and farm girl (nice additions to Paxton’s farm) and the firetruck and firefighter for just $.50!! Paxton has had a blast with the firetruck too, he’s been making truck noises every time he “drives” it!!

After we left that yard sale, we headed to a local antique shop to browse! While there I found this old chair for $5!! I’m hoping to replace the bench in our kitchen with chairs and I want several different chairs. I loved this one and thought the price was just perfect!

The most exciting part of this chair is that “READING ROOM” is stenciled on the back! I love this little detail! My guess is this chair is from a school.

Paxton did just wonderful yard sale-ing with mama. At several of the sales and the antique store, I put him in his stroller which was easier on us both!

After these finds, I’m looking forwards to more yard-saleing this summer and hopefully finding some of the furniture that’s on my wish list! {And we’ll bring John David along which will make it even easier with Paxton!}

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The Growing Garden http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/05/13/the-growing-garden/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/05/13/the-growing-garden/#comments Fri, 13 May 2011 19:32:05 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6595 It’s already been a month since I shared about beginning our garden and unfortunately nothing much has really changed! It seems life happened and had set our garden plans back – going out of town, dealing with getting our pool open and the water balanced and two busy weeks of transcribing for me! There has been a little progress, but not much!

Our one raised bed is showing progress, our two banana peppers are looking great and so are our 5 tomato plants {we were given these plants!} The other 3 beds still haven’t been built. We really need to get on it!!

We actually have a teeny, tiny pepper growing!

Our seedlings have not fared well (mainly due to me forgetting to water them a few days last week!) Our cantaloupes recovered from a few days without water and are looking good again. Now, we just need to build another bed so they can be transplanted!

Not much to report and I have a feeling I’m going to have to let go of some of my lofty gardening dreams this year!

Linked to: Frugal Gardening 101 at Amy’s Finer Things, Getting Freedom and Smockity Frocks

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Grocery Budget & Meals: Week 2 http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/05/08/grocery-budget-meals-week-2/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/05/08/grocery-budget-meals-week-2/#comments Mon, 09 May 2011 02:40:20 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6582 I’m continuing to share about our grocery budget and meals this week! Last week, I gave you a glimpse into our pantry and shared what food we had stockpiled as well as a detailed plan.

We’re working with a $175 budget for the month of May. After last week’s grocery trip we had $125 left.

Our grocery trips this week:

3 Chickens (@$1.79/pound)

Total: $21.38

  • 6 Avocados $9
  • Chicken Sausage (marked down) $2.49
  • 4 Oranges $2
  • 2 boxes Whole Wheat Pasta $.98
  • 2 blocks Cheese $3.58
  • 1 box Butter $3.19
  • Plain Yogurt (organic) $2.69
  • Spaghetti Sauce $2.58
  • Northern Beans $1.89
  • Milk (organic) (marked down) $3.29
  • 4 bags Chips $3.96
  • 2 boxes Cereal $1.98
  • Annie’s Chocolate Bunnies $2.81

Total: $40.44 (minus coupon plus tax) $36.83

Grocery total for the week: $58.21

{$66.79 left in the grocery budget for the month.}

*Yes, I did purchase a few processed foods and chips! {We love those chips by the way!} We have pretty good eating habits but not perfect!

 

Our Meal Plan:

Monday

Breakfast– Cereal

Lunch– Lunch Out

DinnerChicken Soup (using broth from a boiled chicken)

To Do- Soak Pintos

Tuesday

Breakfast- Fruit & Yogurt

Lunch- Leftovers

Dinner-Small Group (make tortillas & guacamole)

To Do- Cook Pintos, Layout Venison, Make Bread, Make Mayo, Make Tuna Salad

Wednesday

Breakfast- Strawberry Smoothies

Lunch- JD-Tuna Salad; Avocado/Guacamole & Chips

Dinner- Mexican Casserole

Thursday

Breakfast- Strawberry Smoothies

Lunch- JD-Leftovers; Carrots, Mango, Yogurt & Cheese

Dinner- JD @ Church; Leftover Mexican Casserole

Friday

Breakfast- Cereal

Lunch- Leftover Mexican Casserole

Dinner-Homemade Pizza & Cheese Bread

To Do-Layout Chicken

Saturday

Breakfast-Pancakes

Lunch-Leftovers

Dinner-Enchiladas Verde

To Do-Make Buns

Sunday

Breakfast- Breakfast at Church

Lunch- Leftovers

Dinner– Chicken Sausage with Chips & Apples

Do you meal plan?

Also, I’d love to know what your grocery budget is and what it includes (ours is only groceries, no toiletries or household products.)

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Grocery Budget & Meals: Week 1 http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/05/01/grocery-budget-meals-week-1/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/05/01/grocery-budget-meals-week-1/#comments Mon, 02 May 2011 01:57:00 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6563 During the month of May, I’m sharing a glimpse into our food budget and menu planning. Each week, I’ll share the groceries we purchased and a detailed meal plan.

Our grocery budget is currently $175 for our family of 3 and I am considering bumping it up soon to $200 since we are working towards healthier eating, incorporating more organics, better quality milk and fresh from the farm meat. We value our health and we’re no longer trying to eat for as little as possible. We are trying to frugally eat healthy!

Food we began the month with:

Produce: 8 apples, 1 mango, 2 kiwis, 1 orange, 8 ounces carrots, 10 pounds sweet potatoes, 5 pounds potatoes

Dairy: 1 block cream cheese, 3 8-oz blocks cheese, 8 ounces sour cream, 1/2 gallon milk, 3 sticks butter

Dry Goods:

The contents of our pantry.

{We also have a shelf of venison and 4 chicken breasts and chicken wings in the freezer. Of course, this is not a complete list of the foods that we have but most of the food!}

Our grocery trip for the week:

  • Oats $3.39
  • Saltines $1.00
  • Plain Yogurt (organic) $2.69
  • 3 cups Greek Yogurt $2
  • Greens $1.00
  • Green Chilies $.79
  • White Wine Vinegar $2.69
  • Green Salsa $2.69
  • Sloppy Joe Sauce $.79
  • Dijon Mustard $.89
  • Flaxseed Mill $3.79
  • Granola Bars-2 boxes (organic) $2.38
  • Chocolate Chips $3.49
  • Cheese $3.29
  • Fried Chicken $3.29 (marked down…not healthy but easy!)
  • Chicken Sausage (organic) $1.99
  • Sausage Links $2.50
  • Bananas (2.84 pounds) $1.56
  • Cabbage (4.27 pounds) $2.09
  • Mango $1.00
  • Orange $.50
  • Avocados (2) $3.00
  • Lemon $.50
  • Cantaloupe $1.99
  • Eggs $2.99
  • Chips (not pictured) $2.99

Total: $50 (With tax & 10% off coupon)

{$125 left in the grocery budget for the month.}

Our Meal Plan:

Monday

Breakfast-Sausage, Eggs & Toast

Lunch-Leftover Chicken with Homemade Fries

Dinner-Sloppy Joes with Apples & Chips

To Do-Layout Venison

Tuesday

Breakfast-Yogurt & Apples

Lunch-Leftovers for JD, Avocado/Guacamole with Tortillas and Kiwi

Dinner-Grilled Venison, Baked Sweet Potato, Fried Cabbage and Bread

To Do-Make Banana Flax Muffins, Make Bread

Wednesday

BreakfastBanana Flax Muffins

Lunch-Leftovers

Dinner-At Church

Thursday

Breakfast-Banana Flax Muffins

Lunch- JD out for lunch; Carrots, Mango, Yogurt & Cheese

Dinner- JD at church; Fried Cabbage, Bread with Yogurt & Kiwi

To Do-Make Homemade Mayo, Make Tuna Salad, Soak Tortillas, Layout Chicken

Friday

Breakfast– Sausage & Hashbrowns

Lunch– Tuna Salad for JD, Leftover Cabbage & Fruit

Dinner– Chicken Tacos with Homemade Tortillas

To Do– Cook Rice

Saturday

Breakfast– Sausage Omelets

Lunch– Leftovers

Dinner– Chicken with Fried Rice & Stir Fry Vegetables

To Do– Layout chicken

Sunday

Breakfast– Breakfast at Church

Lunch– Leftovers

Dinner– Smoked Chicken Wings with Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

 

{I apologize for the long post but I wanted to give you as much information so you can get a good idea about our grocery budget and meal planning!}

 

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Frugal First Birthday Party http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/04/26/frugal-first-birthday-party/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/04/26/frugal-first-birthday-party/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2011 13:30:15 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6513

On the 16th, my baby turned one! We had a party for him with family on a fairly small budget.

The budget : $100! Now, I know some of you are thinking, that’s not a frugal birthday party at all! And, I do agree! However, when you have family visiting from 1.5 to 3.5 hours away, the least you can do is feed them- remember there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap! Feeding 20 people a decent meal, having dessert and decorations with a $100 budget, that takes a little creative frugality!

Cake:

I made a mini smash cash and cupcakes {using Silicone Baking Cups}. The cupcake stand is made of 2 wrapped boxes! {The 2-5 candles are for Paxton’s Papaw who turned 55-they share a birthday!}

Cost:

  • Funfetti Cake Mix: $2.16
  • Funfetti Frosting: $3.24
  • Candles: $2.80
  • Wrapping Paper: $1.06

Total: $9.26

Decorations:

We created a slideshow of our favorite pictures from Paxton’s first year {I only chose about 750!} This played throughout the course of the party. I saved a lot of money doing this instead of developing a bunch of pictures to display.

We used his blocks to add a personal touch and we developed a favorite birthday picture (using a gift card left from a baby shower!) and put it in a frame we already had. The most expensive decor item for the party is the Dr. Seuss ABC book which I bought for $7.85 (I looked for it used at several thrift/used book stores with no luck). The party “theme” was books and primary colors and this book tied it all together! Of course, we’ll enjoy the book for years and years to come!

I also displayed more of our favorite books! Using these to decorate with was free! I also printed 4×6’s of Paxton’s birthday pictures {using the shower gift card to pay!}

Food:

The cups and straws, we already had! {The cups had survived 4 moves so it was time to use them finally!} Tying a ribbon {from my scrapbook stash} really made the straws look adorable!

We also already had plates, napkins and forks! I spent $1.06 purchasing spoons {which weren’t even used since nobody ate any ice cream…could have saved that $1.06!!}

I used fabric from my fabric stash as a table cloth! The blue, green and red fabric was perfect! I made a mini birthday banner from my scrapbook stash and purchased 4 balloons (red, yellow, blue, green) for $5.29! {Paxton just loved the balloons!}

One of the best parts of the party, other than the adorable 1-year-old and family, Chick-fil-A nuggets! Yum!! We had Chick-fil-A nuggets and slaw, potato wedges, and fresh fruit!!

Food costs:

  • Nuggets: $54.06
  • Potato Wedges: $11.25
  • Fruit: $11.67

Total: $76.98

Total Costs:

  • Cake: $9.26
  • Decorations (book & balloons): $13.14
  • Food: $76.98

Total: $99.38

I was $.62 under budget!

Of course, if we just had cake and decorations, I would have only spent $22.40 on the party, which is a very frugal first birthday party!

Paxton had an absolute blast at his party surrounded by those who love him most! He especially enjoyed eating his cake, opening presentsspending time with grandparents and guests!

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The Beginning of Our Garden http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/04/14/the-beginning-of-our-garden/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/04/14/the-beginning-of-our-garden/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 01:15:05 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6472

We haven’t been in our home 2 weeks and aren’t fully settled in but you better believe we’ve started the garden! One of the reasons we purchased our home was the amazing yard with ample space to raise our own food.

Last weekend, my husband attempted tilling (with a borrowed tiller) a spot in our back yard without much success. This north Georgia soil is rocky! With no success following a traditional method, we starting looking into other ways to garden. We decided to go the route of raised beds.

So far, we’ve built one bed using James Hardie siding (which is stands up to moisture and rot and is considered ‘green’ because it uses “natural ingredients that are low in toxicity“.) One 12-foot board is around $7 and it makes a 9 square foot bed! (We currently have supplies for 3  more but haven’t had time to build them!)

In our one raised bed, we  have our two banana pepper plants that we purchased.

I have an incredibly cute gardening helper, he’ll be gardening alongside of me all summer long!

Last week I also started our seeds. I’m a little behind where I’d like to be but at this point but this will be a “learning year” at the new house as well as gardening with a child!

We already have some growth! I just hope our Georgia soil grows cantalopues like our Tennessee soil did!

One of our goals is to have much of our yard become an edible landscape. Instead of lining the side of our home with flowers, we put strawberries there. So far we just have 4 strawberry plants and hopefully will add some more in the future! (We are starting small this year!)

One of our strawberries is turning! I’m looking forward to eating these juicy berries!

And while I snapped these pictures, Paxton entertained himself with dandelions! He loves them!

So far, we’ve spent under $50 for our garden and most of that was for supplies for building the raised beds which will be used for years to come!

Do you have a garden? If not, have you thought about growing 1 or 2 of your favorite vegetables in a small container garden?

Linked to Frugal Gardening 101 at Amy’s Finer Things, Getting Freedom and Smockity Frocks!

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Frugal Moving Tips http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/04/05/frugal-moving-tips-2/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/04/05/frugal-moving-tips-2/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 19:21:22 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6419 {This post was originally posted on October 22, 2010. Since we’re currently in the midst of moving this is applicable! I plan to soon start sharing our new home and about our downsizing process!}

Moving is not easy! You are packing up your entire home and moving everything into a new home which can be quite daunting. Add to that movers, renting a truck, buying boxes, buying tape, and the expenses can add up quickly! However, it is possible to move on the cheap!

Frugal moving tips:

Invest in a Tape Gun Dispenser: My mother-in-law gave us one 3 moves ago and it has been an extremely helpful tool! This enables us to quickly build broken down boxes as well as securely tape up packed boxes. A tape gun dispenser is very inexpensive, you can purchase a decent one for around $10!

Use Free Boxes: Since we didn’t have much time between finding out we were moving and our moving day we thought we were going to have to purchase boxes. Do you know how much boxes cost? Small boxes are around $1.50 and large boxes are about $2.50, each! We could very easily spend $100 or more just on boxes!

We found sources of free boxes! My husband brought 10 or so home from work, a lady from church who worked in a retail store brought us about 25 really nice boxes and I called Dollar General and was able to get around 40 boxes! All of the free boxes were broken down but building boxes only takes about 15 seconds with a tape gun. I’m willing to invest 15 seconds per box to save $1.50 or more!

Have 3-4 Good Markers: Having a few good markers instead of just one makes labeling boxes more time efficient! Since there were several markers throughout the house, I never had to walk far to find one! (It seems like they just walk off sometimes!) Remember that labeling boxes very clearly makes unpacking much easier!

Do It Yourself: Don’t hire movers! We toyed with this idea too but it’s expensive! Plus, I’m a little picky and really didn’t want other people packing my boxes, mostly because of the unpacking! I clearly label all of our boxes and know exactly what is in it before opening. Thankfully, our parents helped us load the truck and friends from our new church helped us unload!

Rent a Truck: Renting a truck and driving it yourself saves money over paying someone to drive! It cost $380 to rent the largest truck U-Haul had! (Yes, it is a little embarrassing that we needed a truck that big! And no, it wasn’t packed to the brim!) The first time we moved, we used John David’s parents’ small pull behind trailer. We had our mattress strapped to the top and John David’s mom’s van loaded. Trust me, it’s much easier to just pay for a moving truck and not worry if it is going to rain and ruin things that are strapped to roofs!

And don’t worry about hiring a babysitter, just use a moving box to contain your child! (We had to snap a picture of Paxton in a box to document the moving process!!)

These frugal moving tips helped keep money in our pockets!

Comments from this move:

*We didn’t rent a moving truck, we used our truck and SUV to move the majority of our belongings and borrowed a larger truck and trailer! Yes, this required several trips but done over the course of several days and with each load we were setting furniture up or cleaning and unpacking in the new house!

*When you have an active 11-month-old, it’s best to take friends up on their offers to watch him! We were baby free for about 8 hours on ‘moving day’ which allowed us to do about twice the amount of work that we could have done if we had Paxton with us. Plus, he had a blast since he was able to hang out with other kids!

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Homemade Baby Food http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/01/20/homemade-baby-food/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/01/20/homemade-baby-food/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 04:24:45 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6174

Homemade baby food is healthy for your baby, easy to make and saves money! About a month before Paxton was started on solids, I started cooking, pureeing and freezing apples, pears, carrots and green beans to stock up.

I simply boiled the carrots and green beans then strained and pureed. With the apples and pears, I made apple sauce and pear sauce and pureed.

Once the food is pureed, I spooned it in ice cube trays and popped into the freezer and froze until solid.

When the baby food is frozen, I popped it out and put it in a freezer bag.

I pulled out cubes of food to defrost in the fridge the night before. {My small Pyrex containers are perfect for storing baby food!}

I wake up to defrosted homemade baby food ready for Paxton to eat! {It’s hard to believe but we’re past the pureed baby food stage and moving on to table foods! We have half a freezer bag of apple sauce left from my second round of making applesauce this fall. The rest of the foods are long gone!}

When he first started on solids, he’d eat 1-2 cubes, as he got older he ate 3-4. Now he can wipe out 4-6 cubes of apple sauce!

Having the applesauce, pear sauce, green beans and carrots in the freezer saved so much time! I only had to defrost these foods and they were the staples of his diet. I made other foods like sweet potatoes and peas that I fed him fresh.

Making your own baby food is so simple and with a little planning it can be easy and convenient – without paying the price for convenience!

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Activity Table http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/01/14/activity-table/ http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/01/14/activity-table/#comments Fri, 14 Jan 2011 13:49:31 +0000 http://frugalandsimple.com/?p=6102

Babies come with a lot of stuff – or do they? In our culture, we’re told that that babies needs tons of stuff but the reality is they just want to be loved, fed, warm and they want your attention!

Many “must have” lists for mama’s of mobile babies include activity tables. These small, plastic “tables” have a few little activities on them and cost around $40.

We’ll pass! We’d rather not pay that much for a cheap plastic table with a set amount of activities that our son is only going to use a few months. And then it just becomes added clutter because it’s a “must have” for our next child and we’re “saving money” by holding on to it!

We’ve found that our coffee table is a fabulous activity table!

Since our son is mobile, we relocated all the items that were on the coffee table and now it’s bare. {This new bare coffee table makes our living room feel so uncluttered!}

We put toys on it and he is able to stand at the table, move all the way around and play with different toys. He enjoys playing at his {frugal} activity table!

And, we didn’t spend $40, have less stuff in our home, won’t have to worry about storage of a large toy and our coffee table still serves its purpose { at least in the evenings once baby is in bed!}

 

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