- March 14, 2008 at 5:17 pm #256580
With gas prices hovering at $3.50 a gallon in our area things are
getting really bad. I am extremely lucky to be in a profession
where there is something of a shortage but most people in Michigan
are not so lucky. Even though I am working, my adult, married kids
are in financial trouble and I am helping them out as much as
possible. I don’t want to get flamed because I chose to help out my
adult children and would not go to the extremes I do except they are
out looking for jobs continously.
My daughter and her husband both have jobs that have cut back so no
health insurance is paid. They both work 36 hours a week and
recently my daughter had an allergic reaction that put her in the
hospital for 3 days. They both make $9 per hour. They do not drive
new cars, have computers or internet or cable tv. They are doing ok
at this point but have no extras when things break or cars need to
My son and his wife have a 3 year old. He makes $8 and she was laid
off. She cannot get unemployment because in Mich you have to work
18 consective months to qualify and she only worked 17 1/2. They
cannot get on WIC because their daughter is healthy and she is
number 478 on the waiting list. The state says they earn too much
for any other type of assistance. Of course his business also only
works him 36 hours a week so no health insurance. They need the
most help. His take home pay is under $230 a week and their very
basic living expenses for housing is $790. The rest goes for gas
for him to get to work. I help buy them food and extra gas money.
Things need to get better in this state because a whole lot of
people are really hurting!
Here are some things all of us do to save money…
Hang all clothes to dry. I hang in the basement and the kids put
everything on hangers and hang them on the shower rod and in the
closet leaving the door open. This includes underclothes, pants,
shirts etc. The only thing any of us dry is towels because they
tend to get a foul odor.
My husband and I are the only ones with cable TV and internet
access. If things get any worse these things will go as well. A
couple days a week all the family gets together for dinner and to
watch movies…this allows the other access to the computer to
search for jobs.
We got the family plan for phones and each have a phone. We all
live in different homes but it works for us and costs much less than
if we all had seperate accounts. No land lines for any of us.
We shop very carefully and make up pre-packaged meals once a week
and all take our share home. We drink mostly water or tea, no pop.
The granddaughter gets 2 glasses of milk a day to grow properly. We
NEVER eat out. Absolutely no food goes to waste. Peelings from
vegetables to in the freezer to make stock from. Bones from food go
in the freezer as well to later make soup.
I bought seeds on sale at 10/$1 and we will have a family garden…I
am a gardener but now this will be a family project. No store
bought seed starting equipment. I made growing pots from newspaper
and filled with compost from the pile.
Sunday is trash night and we get the weekly newspaper at that time
from the neighbor (with his permission). We then read it over the
next few days. I then shred and use as animal bedding for my
granddaughter’s guinea pig. When the cage is cleaned the litter
goes in the compost bin.
Of course, we all drive the minimum to save gas. As soon as it
stays above 50 degrees my son will take a bike to work as will I.
He is 6 miles from work and I am 4.
Anyone else care to share how you have tightened your belts?
- September 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm #424940
The cost of using the dryer here is high IMO so i find ways to use it as little as possible.
For towels, rather than dry them in the dryer, they’re hung on an indoor clothes line i made from 18-20 gauge metal wire that’s wrapped around ‘eye’ hooks or screws; you might need a ‘molly’ bolt or similar something to keep the screw/thingies in. They’re screwed into the ceiling at either end of the room. Here there’s room for two lines.
Newly washed towels are hung up to dry either on the indoor line or wooden foldable dryer that ‘sits’ on the floor. A fan is used to circulate the air, cuts drying time and lessens chance of mal-odors. When it rains or is very humid, i wait for better weather.
No more than 5 or 6 towels are ever drying at the same time; windows ‘n doors are open for cross ventilation.
What works for me: buying thinner towels; the ones for $1.75 at WalMart are what’s used now; found the thick ones take forever to dry and can mildew on the towel rack so they’re no longer purchased.
After shower, towels are hung up vertically upon the shower curtain rod on hangers. Used to use clothes pins but have found the plastic hangers used at WalMart for slacks. Slacks’ hangers have little ‘pinchers’ (for want of a better word) that ‘grab’ onto the towel edges.
After shower, a small 8″ box fan is turned on low to dry the towels faster. When the weather is amenable, the windows are kept open.
Things like sweaters are laid across the top of the wooden-doweled floor-based foldable clothes dryer. If you need to dry several sweaters use what works for you; only one or so are dried here at any one time. An 8 inch box fan on the counter is sufficient to keep the air moving here but if you have more than a load or two of clothes to dry you might want to try a larger or higher-wattaged fan; to save on electricity, the fan is kept on low.
Since i’ve not yet found a better more convenient way, sheets are dried, one at a time, in the dryer; it takes 5-10 min per sheet here which is cheaper than drying them all at the same time. Had to stop hanging clothes to dry outdoors b/c of ‘allergies’.
Shirts, slacks, dresses, skirts, are tumbled about 5 min. to get the wrinkles out then hung up on hangers on the indoor line. All this saves me about $10/mo; it all adds up you know :o)
To save on detergent and fabric softener, i use borax, baking soda and vinegar; measurements are ‘eye balled’ or about 1/2 cup ea, give ‘r take. For really dirty clothes, washing soda is also added–can only find it here in Oxy-clean (sp). Vinegar helps both w/washing and rinse.
In the rinse water it softens your clothes and ‘cuts’ soap.
- September 15, 2009 at 12:34 am #424962
Oh my! I’ve been complaining about my son’s size 14 feet! I can at least occasionally find some locally!
My kids knew well ahead of time that they had to pay their own way to college. They work and saved in High School and then during college they work and go to school. If they have to they drop out a semester or two and work and then go back again.
They all go to the college bookstore and write down isbn numbers and go shopping online! barnes & noble, amazon, abebooks, alibris.com. sometimes we just search for the isbn number.
saves them a fortune!
lots of great ideas! hope they keep pouring in! the paper starting pots are listing on this site in the myo section if you haven’t found them yet.
we spend all winter making them to get ready for spring time!
- March 12, 2013 at 11:42 am #437825
I’m not forced but I do ensure my monthly spending is not above my pension. One has to be careful today due to the unstable economy.
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- March 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm #437828
I talked to my neighbors 3 yrs ago about starting small barter groups and it has been a great success. We keep groups to 6 to 10 families. Ours is 8 families.
We all have different skills and things to share. Like we raise chickens and have a large producing garden and My other neighbor has a dairy and he gives me raw milk so I can make cheese, butter and yogurt. I give him back half of what I produce.
So I have independent barter items and I also have shared barter items. Another neighbor can make anything we need. Another is a wood worker, making shelves, cabinets and even furniture. One family is young and can’t do much but provides labor as their barter item.
After 3 years the idea has spread across 5 counties and we have lots of barter groups. One barter group near me makes wind turbines and solar panels. They’ve rewired their homes and gone off grid and are helping the rest of us do so too.
Needless to say they get anything and everything they need in via the barter exchange. We’ve even gotten 7 nurses and a doctor in theses barter groups. Some of them have invested in huge green house projects that are heated with solar energy and storage on batteries so they can grow all year long.
We have taken families that were living on the edge to families that are thriving. It has totally changed the economy our our region. You might want to talk to your neighbors and see if you can create a barter group.
- March 13, 2013 at 3:49 am #437838Frugal MomParticipant
What a wonderful idea! I sure wish we could do that here but not much grows in the desert. You CAN have a garden in the spring and fall (fall is actually better) but during summer it’s too hot to grow much.
Also, water is a concern here and we now have water restrictions. I can only water before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
during the peak summer months.
I do have a square foot garden where I do grow lettuce, Swiss Chard and carrots. By summer the Swiss Chard will remain and that will be that.
- March 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm #437846
You can grow an amazing amount of food in flower pots inside your home. We grew baby carrots, green onions, leaf lettuces on the window sills in our tiny apt in Japan. we had a lovely fresh salad twice a week from our mini garden.Leaf lettuces you just pick a few leaves off each one and they keep growing.
But in our barter group only two of us is providing food. Most are providing other things. I love the ones that can make stuff out of thin air!
My neighbor made a thing that let me put a full sheet of wall board on it and crank it up to the ceiling and lock it and then shoot the screws and lower the ramp and move it to do again. We were building our home while my husband was deployed so Jerry is my Hero for making it so the kids and I could do this ourselves and not have to have help. Having someone who know how to get water out in the desert is an important asset too!
Yes, there is plenty of water to drink out there in the desert if you know where to look! You need to check with your neighbors and see how many skills and resources they all have! You might be amazed!
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