10 Things Frugal People Do (Part 2)

Frugal people do things differently. Plain and simple. And regardless of where you stand on the frugality scale, you can incorporate changes today to save you a lot of money (and even stress) in the future!

If you missed part 1, check it out here!

Cut the unnecessary. In our modern world, we are bound to fill up our lives with unnecessary expenses from time to time! Do you use your gym membership? You could easily run around the neighborhood for free or do an at-home fitness video. Do you need your cable TV if you also have Netflix? Do you read all the magazines you pay for, and do you eat all your produce before it goes bad? Think of the ways you can cut out the unnecessary; once you start thinking, you’re sure to come up with something.

Use everything you have. I recently wanted to do some crafting, but I didn’t want to spend any money on any part of the craft. I had some burlap my mom gave me and some cardboard from Aldi, so I made a cute, J-shaped door hanger. When you start thinking of using only what you have in your home, I bet you’ll surprise yourself with how creative and inventive you are. This is also how I stopped buying paper towels in exchange for other household items.

Find ways to make money. Recycle, do side work, sell unused and unwanted items online or locally, sell clothes online (I’ve used Poshmark and Mercari, and they’re both good for different reasons; here is more about that). I’ve taken my juicer to work, along with some produce, and set up shop on my lunch break, making juices for coworkers; of course I also set out a tip jar (just make sure you’re following your company’s protocol for this!). The possibilities are practically endless!

Take care of what you have. Clean your vacuum cleaner when it’s time, not waiting until the belt is broken from overload or the filter is irreplaceable. My husband’s expensive Colehaan shoes have to be resoled and polished regularly, and using a shoehorn is best because it helps absorb sweat and keep a good shape. Resoling and polishing and shoehorns all cost money, but those costs are better than a new pair of expensive shoes! Bottom line: If you need it or if it means something to you, take the time and money to take care of it. Usually the maintenance is cheaper than the replacement piece, and it’s almost always cheaper than replacing it altogether!

Don’t turn down help when it’s offered. It’s amazing to me how God has always given us wonderful friends who love to help us. We have a beautiful kitchen table, thanks to some very wonderful friends. We have a nice 6-foot Christmas tree, thanks to some other very wonderful friends. When you live in a way that is “unlavish,” often your friends or family notice without your saying a word. And they usually want you to enjoy nice things, especially if it’s in their power to help. So if they offer, let them! If they are asking if you want to take home left-overs from an event, say “yes!” (This does not mean to go around, sounding like an impoverished soul that needs some help, in hopes that someone will feel sorry enough for you to offer to have you over for dinner or something!). I can’t count the number of coupons I’ve received – coupons for free things! – because a friend knew I could use some help.

Do you consider yourself frugal? Is there a tip or two you can incorporate today? Do you have tips to add? Let me know what you think of the list! If you missed part 1, check it out here!

Photo credit: Ken Teegardin | Cropped

One trick to save you time, energy, and money

Isn’t it amazing how busy life gets? What’s more, we feel like we don’t even have time for basic things like eating right and washing our hair. You might be thinking right now that I’m gross or maybe a little messed up. Both could be true, but stay with me…
Did you know that it’s actually good for your hair to not be stripped of its natural oils, as commercial shampoos do? It’s true!! Shampoo acts as a detergent, robbing your hair of the oils that help keep it healthy, shiny, and growing. I’ve known this since I was a teen, but necessity brought me to the implementation of it. #collegelife… More on that another time. 

So if you’re trying to save money and/or save time and wash your hair less frequently, you definitely should keep dry shampoo on hand, especially if you’re in the beginning stages of “training” your hair for going longer between washes. If you’re an athlete, a busy mom, or just needing to create some more time in your day, you need dry shampoo! My hair is on the long side; I just can’t imagine washing and drying and styling my hair multiple times a week! 

You should also know that store bought dry shampoo isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Besides the price adding up, your hair might just look the same afterward, or it looks or feels like all you did was put hairspray on. 
Additionally, did you know that there are harmful chemicals lurking in dry shampoo that will harm you and your hair in the long run? If you read my recent post on what I learned at a BeautyCounter party, you probably could have guessed that. One expert said of dry shampoo, “Liquefied petroleum gas on the other hand does not provide any beauty benefits and merely helps fire the earthy concoction from the cannister.” Read more here.  
What’s more, a lot of dry shampoos have aluminum in them, which has recently been confirmed as a link to Alzheimer’s and/or talc or talcum powder which was recently recalled as it has been proven to cause ovarian cancer.
(This poor woman just won $417 million from a Johnson & Johnson talcum powder case. After taking one look at her, I had to think that $417 million might not mean anything to her at this point. Just tragic.)

So alas, I challenge you to save your money – and quite literally your life – and stick to some safe alternatives for dry shampoo. 

Option for purchase: 

I’ve been using this awesome body/baby powder from IvyTime Naturals, and I love it! However, I don’t know that I’m actually supposed to be using this as a dry shampoo (sh!). It has arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, organic calendula and lavender flowers, and lavender essential oil. 

Option for DIY:

It can be just as cost effective to buy your own materials and have them at the ready. For the same price as buying a bottle of natural product(s), you can buy the materials and make it multiple times (or use for other recipes). And so I began experimenting. 

I don’t think there’s a perfect blend that suits every hair type. Mine works for me because I’m on the blonde side. When my hair was a little darker, I tried adding in cocoa powder, but my husband didn’t care for the scent of “bakery” on me. Do what suits you!

Basic materials for DIY natural dry shampoo:

  • Arrowroot powder – similar to cornstarch but doesn’t contain GMOs
  • Baking soda 
  • Cocoa powder – for darker shades 
  • Essential oils – for scent if desired 
  • Shaker or cosmetic powder container
  • Cosmetic powder brush 

For blondes I suggest mixing 1 part arrowroot and 1 part baking soda. If you’re sensitive to baking soda, just use more arrowroot and less soda. 

For darker shades, I would do the same as above plus a half part cocoa powder and continue adding more as the color begins to suit you. 

Pro tips:

Application: a cosmetic powder container and makeup brush. No white patches!

Placement: starting from your part, go under your top layer a couple inches and work your way up  

Timing: before bed to let the oil get soaked up while you sleep 

That’s it! It’s so simple and quick! Enjoy all your extra time, extra energy, and extra saved money!!! 

10 Things Frugal People Do (Part 1)

We can all agree that managing our finances is not always easy. Sometimes we need a little reminder of what direction we are supposed to be heading. Sometimes we need a challenge or an idea of how we can be saving more money for a better financial future.

I like to think I grew up learning frugality. I am frugal, regardless of how I arrived here. Not I have arrived and know it all; I certainly do not know it all! But for lack of a better term, I’ve arrived at being cheap. Plain and simple. Regardless of being frugal or needing to learn it, I hope some of these tips will help you toward your next financial goal.

Don’t buy anything at the store that you can make cheaper at home. Now the list of things you can make at home for cheap is seemingly limitless, so you have to know your personal limits. I work full time and have chosen a rather busy lifestyle, so there are some things I need to buckle down and learn…when I have time. However, with our loose “no spending rule,” I’ve learned how to make homemade spray starch for clothes (no chemicals and about 5% of the cost for store bought? YES!) for starters and am excited to learn more! What can you make instead of buying?

Borrow instead of buying when possible. We don’t buy movies, games, or tools. We borrow. We have enough friends that these conveniences are readily available in a wide variety. Not only do tools and toys cost money, there’s maintenance too!

Don’t eat out. This is similar to #1, but it’s so important that it has to be reiterated and in a category all its own. Eating out is such a money sucker! It’s literally a moment of pleasure for double or triple the cost if you had bought the ingredients and made it yourself. Don’t let convenience win out. Plan your meals ahead of time, so you don’t have to wonder about dinner when you’re already famished. For the occasional times your spouse is treating you, even if it’s an anniversary, check Retail Me Not for good deals and choose where to go based on coupons you find.

Look for the best price possible. Using Krazy Koupon Lady, the Sunday morning newspaper, and countless other tools, you can easily find the best deals. Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs has this awesome idea of keeping a “price book,” suggesting you take a journal shopping and make a list of the main grocery stores you shop, the main foods you buy, and their prices per units, then refer to that when you’re wondering where to buy what. Such a novel idea.

Never pay full price for retail items. Not paying full price would apply more to clothes, shoes, home goods, etc. After all, sometimes you have to pay full price for gasoline, but you can still be getting the best deal. I always shop the clearance racks and cannot remember the last time I paid full price for our clothes. We just don’t go there. And even with not paying full price, I still look for coupons. There are too many clearance items, great sales, and coupons out there to pay full price for anything.

Part 2 of 10 Things Frugal People Do will be continued next week, but if you can’t wait, you can check it out here :). Until then, let me know what you can implement this week!

Photo credit: Ken Teegardin | Cropped

What I Learned from a Beautycounter Party

Have you heard of Beautycounter? Wondered what all the hype is about? I did too, and then my friend started selling it. After hosting a party, I started seeing some things in a new light. Firstly, this video was shocking!

In case you don’t already know, I’ve been skeptical of the “natural trend.” If the FDA or whatever other applicable government entity has to approve a label in order for it to go on a shelf, what should I be worried about? If plenty of others are using these same products without any immediate ill effects, what’s the problem? And besides, doesn’t basically everything cause cancer these days?

While some of these questions don’t have good, solid answers, I think I have some questions and answers below that might help clear some things up – at least they did for me. Not to be a fear monger of any kind, but to hopefully raise awareness about what you’re putting on and in your body, I’ve done just a smidgen of research to get us thinking.

*Disclaimer 1 – I tried to get links to verify each of these “facts,” but some of the legal jargon is unclear to an untrained eye like mine.

*Disclaimer 2 – this is in no way a comprehensive article, nor should you use any of this information to discern any poison or chemical exposure or any medical condition. This is solely informational.

Fact or Fiction: there has not been a regulation passed on cosmetics since 1938.  FACT! (As quoted by Beautycounter)

Fact or Fiction: there have been 80,000 chemicals introduced to the US and an estimated 2,000 more each year.  FACT!

Fact or Fiction: The US Department of Health and Human Services knows the effects of these chemicals on our health. FICTION

Fact or Fiction: Chemicals cannot be absorbed through the skin. Absolutely FICTION!

(Not only can you receive medication through a patch, you can even die from receiving medication through a patch, according to WebMD!)

Fact or Fiction: there are harmful (seriously – harmful!) ingredients lurking in common store bought cosmetics and skin care products. FACT!

Fact or Fiction: Other countries are not as strict as we are about what chemicals we allow. Totally FICTION!

The European Union has banned approximately 1,400 chemicals while the US has only banned a couple dozen of those same chemicals.

Here’s a list of the EU’s regulations in detail…And I recognize the ingredient names from my own products!

Here’s another tidbit of information for you – a Press Release from the Cancer Prevention Coalition dated June 17, 2002, “Cancer and health risk experts just concluded reviews that indicate mainstream cosmetics, and personal hygiene products pose the HIGHEST cancer risk exposure to the general public, even higher than smoking.”

Still not convinced? Check out this article from Medline Plus.  “Ethylene glycol may be swallowed accidentally, or it may be taken deliberately in a suicide attempt or as a substitute for drinking alcohol (ethanol). Ethylene glycol is found in many household products, including:

  • Antifreeze
  • De-icing products
  • Detergents
  • Vehicle brake fluids
  • Industrial solvents
  • Paints
  • Cosmetics

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive”

So let’s recap that last paragraph: the same ingredient that can be swallowed in a suicide attempt, the same ingredient that requires Poison Control if swallowed is the same ingredient that’s also in antifreeze, vehicle brake fluids AND cosmetics and detergents. Wow.

I know, I didn’t stick to my typical topic of frugality, but honestly, taking care of yourself and your health will save you SO MUCH – financially, emotionally, relationally… If you don’t have your health, it can be a long road ahead.

Beautycounter is working in D.C. to get stricter regulations for American cosmetics. You may not be able to read and/or recognize every ingredient on your beauty care labels, so how do you know if what you’re using is safe? How do you know if Beautycounter is safe? You can trust that Beautycounter doesn’t use harmful ingredients. Here’s their “Never List” – a list of 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that they refuse to put in their products.

If you’re in the market for some AWESOME products that are safe for you and your entire family – including baby –  get in touch with my friend, Jackie. She will hook you up!  (I personally love their charcoal bar and their lip balm!)

In the upcoming weeks, I hope to share some more about living more naturally while being on a budget. Have you tried to do both? What’s your experience been? Until next time!

Musings from a 60th Wedding Anniversary Party

Jesse and I were so privileged this summer to attend the celebration of Jim and Jean Jones’ 60th wedding anniversary! It was such a special time, and we were able to spend some overdue time with family and create some great memories there in Ohio. 

This family get-together included Jesse’s grandparents – of course – and their six children and spouses, at least a dozen grandchildren and spouses, and some great grandchildren as well. This kind of gathering doesn’t just happen, so in addition to trying to savor the memories, I decided to also include some details that might help others to plan for a big get-together. Note: I had nothing to do with the preparations; all the credit goes to my mother-in-law and her sisters-in-law.
Some pre-meditated details included…

the communication: we’ve had this time set aside for several months, possibly a year. This was a great help to many. It helped me and Jesse with planning our upcoming vacation, our savings, our days off, whether we would come for the big Thanksgiving get together, and so on. 

the set-up: The tent, tables, and chairs rented was a worthy and wise expense. 

the parking: There was enough parking in the front yard for 15-20 cars (and more around back!). 

the food: The moms (except for the lady of honor) all brought enough lasagnas to feed their own family which was a good move. Some brought salads, sides, or drinks as well. 

the photos: A photographer lined up ahead of time, as well as having someone in the family with a drone, both made for some great, stress-free memories. 

the entertainment: Someone was in charge of bringing games. There was enough land to play baseball, in addition to having a huge tent to play games under. And then there’s cornhole. Enough said. 

the cake: The cake made in honor of the event was beautiful and, of course, there was plenty to go around. (A couple great grands were born that week, hence the question marks!)

the drinks: We had plenty of drinks for everyone to stay hydrated, including some igloo containers of water and tea. 

the weather: the weather was hot and humid, but not totally unbearable. Some came inside and got some shade and some breeze (the AC wasn’t on, but it still felt good to be inside); some had to lay their babies down for naps, so after finding a close, empty bed, they just stayed inside and listened for them while they cooled off a little. The day before, it had been raining. If it had rained on Saturday, I guess we would’ve just all squished into the house or hung out under the tent playing board games and chatting. (The tent was not just shade but a security blanket in case it rained!)

the family: I love my family and feel so blessed to have married into a family that is simply awesome. They love Jesus and love each other, and life is just better that way! 

Things I personally didn’t plan for…

bugs! In SoCal, you really don’t have to worry about getting eaten alive by mosquitos or any other kind of bug for that matter. In Cleveland, however, it seems that even the flies bite! There was probably bug spray somewhere, but I really didn’t think anything of it until suddenly I had a dozen bites on my legs and ankles! (By the third night, we got smart and doused ourselves with lemon essential oil – lifesaver!)

dinner that night and with whom. Sometimes you get together with family for lunch, and the party just continues through dinner. Someone decides to order pizza or go pick up some other food and bring it back. That wasn’t the case this time, so we needed to figure out who we could have dinner with that we don’t normally get to see. No big deal, but last minute plans can tend toward stress and miscommunication. 

making sure I introduced myself to everyone. I’m not shy, but I also really like to be by my husband’s side and let him lead the conversation when possible. I think that’s especially true when he already knows the person and has a strong relationship with them (like family). I should’ve made my rounds and made sure I knew everyone and how they were connected without waiting for my husband or another family member to introduce me. 

Again, these memories are so sweet, and I thought posting this would serve a dual purpose: for my memory keeping and potentially a checklist for your next big get together. 

Have you ever been responsible for planning a big event? What went well? What made you want a mulligan? 

PS – I also intend to share some tips on how Jim and Jean Jones made 60 years of marriage look so good, so stay tuned!

“The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”

My husband and I just recently discovered what has become one of our favorite tips ever…like the best thing since sliced bread.

Ever get produce and promise yourself that – this time – you will use it all before it goes bad? Been there; done that; wasted the money. Just yesterday I was throwing out cilantro that went bad. Cilantro. I love cilantro!! Really, I couldn’t have taken the time to do something with it before it went bad?

Maybe you’ve heard of the term blanching, the process of boiling a vegetable and then immersing it in ice cold water and drying it so that you can properly freeze it. This is super helpful for stocking up on a veggie sale!

This trick, however, not only saves you from throwing out produce that went bad before you could use it, but it is also so incredibly simple. No blanching required. Additionally, you will want to get this from the freezer regularly; it’s not something you stick in the freezer (to help you feel better about not throwing it out!) and then forget about it because it’s just not a favorite item. No, on the contrary, you may not even need to freeze it, but if it’s hot outside, it will serve a dual purpose: fruit flavor and an “ice” cube of sorts.

The trick I’m referring to is…wait for it… washing and slicing lemons and limes and freezing them for infused water!!! Sheer brilliance. We have tried to do infused water in the past, only to forget about it, get lazy, and not want to fuss with washing and slicing it (because if you slice it all at once and leave it in the fridge, they might get soggy and gross before you can use them all, right?). This trick, however, means that the lemons and/or limes are already washed, sliced, and frozen so that we even need less ice in our water!

If nothing else, this trick has helped us drink much more water than we were previously getting because we enjoy flavored water SO much more than plain water. Use as many or as few slices as you like, depending on how strong you like your infused water to taste and also depending on how juicy and flavorful your citrus fruits were. Then refill with more water as often as you’d like until you don’t taste the citrus anymore – then you know it’s time to get new slices from the freezer! How easy is that?

Do you like infused water? What’s stopping you from having it at the ready whenever you want it? Maybe it’s time to stock up on lemons and limes and store them for the upcoming months to ensure proper water intake as the seasons start to change. Let me know what you think!

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash