10 Effective Vinegar Remedies (For Health and Home)

10 Effective Vinegar Remedies (For Health and Home)

After starting my journey with essential oils, I learned how harmful everyday household products can be. The possibilities with essential oils seem as vast as the ocean. And they smell good too! But, what if I’m just looking for a basic non-toxic remedy that is super cheap? And what do I have on hand?

Researching different remedies continues to send me back to one household product. To be honest, you might have some forgotten about in your pantry right now.

This magical kitchen staple has been around for thousands of years. Vinegar. While it’s known for an unpleasant odor, it has super cleaning powers. According to DifferenceBetween.net, white vinegar is used more for cleaning purposes and is known to be more acidic and sour smelling. Apple cider vinegar is used more for health purposes.

Did you know that a $3-4 jug can be used to remedy these 10 things? And even better, the smell disepates over time so you and your home won’t smell like a pickle.

White Distilled Vinegar For Natural Cleaning

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Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

 

Kills Fleas

Just dilute one cup into your pet’s bath water to kill these microscopic terrors. A 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water can also be used in a spray bottle. Spray onto your pet before they go outside to keep fleas off. (More info.)

Kills Fruit Flies

Have fruit flies? No problem! Remove the source and set a fly trap! Using a small dish, add a cup or two of water, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, and a drop of dish soap.

Eliminates Urine Odor

Did you make the flea deterrent for your pet? You can use the same spray bottle of that 1:1 ratio (water and vinegar) to rid your house of urine and other odors. So pet owners and parents of potty trainers, you may want to remember this one! You can even use a diluted spray bottle of pine, rosemary, or lemon oil to get rid of that lingering smell!

Cuts Grease and Lime

The acidic properties are effective enough to cut grease and grime from pots and pans. You can also add some to your dishes that got the best of your hard water. Just add undiluted vinegar and a dab of dish soap to scrub away that lime!

Kills Weeds

Spray weeds generously with pure vinegar. Do this when rain isn’t in the forecast to avoid it washing off.

Whitens and Brightens Laundry

When I was a kid, my grandma accidentally grabbed the vinegar bottle next to the bleach. I was a bit perplexed. We had a good laugh when we all realized it was an accident. However, vinegar really does whiten after all. Add 1/4 cup to laundry for a better wash. Here are 10 reasons it’s good for your laundry!

Apple Cider Vinegar (AVC) For Natural Beauty

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Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

 

Balances Your Body’s PH level

Cleaning my house with vinegar is one thing, adding it to my pet’s bath is another. Adding it to my bath is out of my comfort zone. However, I was willing to give this a shot in a super diluted form. You can add a cup or two of vinegar to your water to kill bacteria, and fungus on your body. The bath particularly helps treat skin conditions like eczema. (More Info.)

Makes Your Hair Shiny/Grow

If you follow my Instagram account, this is the wash I tried recently. I’ve been using natural shampoo and conditioner. My natural curly hair is a lot less unruly. But one step farther, I diluted vinegar and water on a 1:1 ratio for a hair wash. This was best done in the shower where I wasn’t making a big mess. You can add the dilution after shampooing your hair. Here’s a video.

Tones Your Face

Here’s a tutorial on how to do it. Basically, for oily skin, it’s the same 1:1 ratio as the hair wash. You want to wash your face first, then apply toner with a cotton round or spray bottle. This stays on

Aids in Weight Loss

About a year ago I started hearing about people adding AVC to their water in order to help lose weight. I honestly thought, “If I have to drink vinegar to lose weight, I’d rather stay where I’m at.” But after seeing the popularity in this method, I may consider it before my next cleanse. (And by cleanse I mean a mostly fruit/veggie and lots of water diet for a few weeks.) Supposedly this one helps regulate weight loss, blood sugar, and a lot of other internal/external functions.

 

Try it out!

If the vinegar smell is really too much for you, try diluting the solutions a bit more. You can always finish off with a couple sprays of purification, lemon, or rosemary essential oils!

Lastly, before you reach for your toxic cleaners and beauty products, try these out first. You may even save a lot of money in the long run! While the big businesses are out there selling solutions for every little thing, we have a cheap jug for multipurpose remedies!

 

My Realization About Babysitters

My Realization About Babysitters

Why we never hired a babysitter

As a stay-at-home mom of 6 years, I made it my job to find ways to guide our family in the frugal lifestyle. Because you know, if you’re not making an income (alongside your spouse), the best you can do is save it and stretch it.

 

In 6 years time we haven’t gone on any fancy family vacations, we hardly dine out, and we even get picky with our monthly bills and groceries. I don’t get my hair or nails done. Not even a hired babysitter.

It was a challenge living on one income, but we made it work. We had everything we needed.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

So, what happened when my husband took a job that paid less? Well, I promised I’d do whatever it took to make the difference up, if not more. So, I applied to a weekend job near home. Because of my husband (Steven)’s job and military obligations, I’m not able to work much (when it comes to making sure one of us is home with the kids).

When I took this part-time job, I realized that it was actually freeing as a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. I began to have a purpose outside of home and more importantly, I started getting more adult socialization. And on top of that, it’s comforting to have a little extra income.

Then, this weekend happened. I was scheduled to work when my husband was on orders. And the grandparents were all busy with their weekend plans, living their own lives as they should. And I had never hired a babysitter before. I panicked.

How do you even find a babysitter?

I can’t even afford the babysitters on care.com and I wasn’t about to ask just anyone. So my in-laws suggested a friend to help me search. She asked around at Youth Group at our church and soon enough, someone was interested.

Leading up to work, I had been slightly nervous, wondering:

  • How will our new babysitter and my boys feel about each other?
  • Will it be weird to leave them with someone I don’t know much about?
  • Will the boys behave?
  • Will they be busy and have fun?
  • Will I get an emergency call at work?
  • And will she enjoy it enough to come back?

Then, this nice girl shows up at our house and I introduced myself and the kids to her. I show her around, show her the list of phone numbers, rules, and things to keep busy.

And I was certain there would be one kid clinging to me as I ran out of the door. Our youngest had just woken up and wanted me to hold him. Weirdly enough, without a cue, he ran over to her, hands upward, to be picked up. Such a good feeling!

I called Steven on my quick little drive to tell him that I officially left the house! It was exciting! It was freeing!

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

When I came home I discovered that the kids were busy THE ENTIRE TIME! They had so much fun with the new babysitter that they were begging me to have her over again! They also went to bed easy that night and slept in later than usual the next morning.

My husband and I got thinking we should’ve had a babysitter all along, because now we can:

  • Go on dates when grandparents can’t babysit
  • Have someone watch the kids so I can run errands (if Steven’s on orders)
  • Make appointments at the bank, car dealerships, and other financial institutions
  • Go Christmas shopping alone
  • Both potentially work the same day

The biggest realization of hiring a babysitter is WOW! WHAT A DIFFERENCE! For our whole family! I’ve been living under a rock for 6 years!

Babysitters are a blessing to families because while they care for our kids, they have energy to play with our kids that we sometimes don’t, and they make great role-models.

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Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

Regardless of your situation, it’s definitely worth finding someone to hire at least every once in a while! Just think of what you could do with the extra help! Back in my babysitting days, I was hired for regular date nights, a day for mom to tend the garden, and once a week so the parents could take dance lessons.

On our Facebook page, Mommas Group, one topic Moms struggle with is babysitters. After some research, care.com is useful, but not all moms feel comfortable using the site. Not to mention, the cost calculator. Moms in our region don’t typically pay $15 or $20 an hour for care.

To join this conversation, please comment below how you found your babysitter, your region, and what you pay. If you don’t have a babysitter yet, what are your questions and concerns?

Surviving Without Cable!

Surviving Without Cable!

We survived a week without cable, so far! Would your family survive too?

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Photo Credit: Upslash User Jens Kreuter

The main reason for cancelling- cable costs recently doubled (while we were actually getting bored of TV anyways). I didn’t realize how little we intentionally watched it!

So I thought to share this with those of you attempting to live the frugal lifestyle. And show you how very possible it is to live without cable!

Here’s a reference to how much we actually watched TV before VS alternatives now. Hopefully this helps you decide if you want to make the switch also.

Before

  • No TV before school
  • News for me at 8-8:30
  • 8:40-9:00 DVR of Bubble Guppies 
  • Forget the TV was still on
  • 1/2 episode of kids cartoons before lunch
  • No TV during quiet time/nap
  • 3:00 (after school) oldest watches YouTube
  • 4:00 Bubble Guppies
  • 4:20 Dance party music
  • 6:00 Turn movie on
  • Over the weekend, DVR all possible movies we’d watch, and watch 1-2
  • Wait till either The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are playing
  • If I turn TV on after kids’ bedtime, it’s noise while I read/type

After

  • No TV before school
  • 9:00 Bubble Guppies or Thomas the Train on Amazon Prime
  • 9:30 Dance party music
  • 11:00 Dino Dan on Amazon Prime
  • 3:00 (after school) oldest watches YouTube
  • 4:00 Dance party music
  • 6:00 Turn movie on

 

The main difference is that we are intentional about what we watch. It’s not just background noise for us any more. We always love to have dance party music on anyways, so that’s a fun way for us to get off the couch and interact with each other. Some fun music is good for everyone’s mood too.

Shortly, it’ll be warming up outside, and by then our family will be outside 90% of the day. By then, we may only resort to rainy days spent watching movies (that we forgot we own) and discovering other cable alternatives.

It’s not to say that we won’t ever go back to cable. My husband wants access to football games and I already miss watching the news. But in my mind, we can always sign back up whenever we’re ready again.

I figure, this is how I grew up- watching very little TV. Now, our time can be more intentional and with each other. And not to mention Chip & Joanna Gaines don’t even have a TV in their house, according to Country Living! If they can do it, so can we!

 

For now, the choice was easy-

$94/month for background noise, or,

$99/year of Amazon Prime 

 

Is cutting the cable a change you need to make?

Would your family survive?

 

 

 

 

 

*Momma Bird Blog is not affiliated with Amazon Prime. Just happy customers here!

5 Simple Family-Friendly Dinners (For Under $5)

5 Simple Family-Friendly Dinners (For Under $5)

Your responses on the last post, Frugal Living, were phenomenal! So, I’m extending off that with some more money saving tips (especially for those of you with families)!

Now, the grocery budget can be flexible compared to other monthly costs. So I’m going to show you a weeks worth of delicious dinners that you can make for cheap!

What makes these dinners affordable?

To make the most of your groceries, stretch it out and waste less.

  • Divide packs of meat to stretch it further
  • Have other staples always available; potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, beef/chicken bouillon cubes rice, bread, oatmeal, eggs, milk, sugar, flour….
  • We usually have a main course, starch, and a veggie
  • Drink milk (it’s filling)! It’s currently super cheap where I shop ($1.49/gallon)
  • I keep recipes simple/use main ingredients
  • We eat leftovers for lunch or the next day’s dinner
  • We turn our leftovers into a new dish

In this post, I’m going to include the cost (based on shopping at Aldi) so you can see why each recipe costs a particular amount. We won’t get too nitty-gritty. Although, I’ve add up the cost of the staple foods that I buy weekly in the meal total.

So here are your 5 simple family-friendly dinners, all for $5 and under:

 

5) Simple Mac with Tomato Sauce and Ground Beef ($4.14)

(At our house we call this “spaghetti” since it’s pretty darn close. So easy to make extras of, and is so filling! Dishes like this are what I call comfort food.)

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Photo Credit: Momma Bird Blog

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Costs: Elbow Mac $1.99, Tomato paste $.33/can, (1/2 lb) Ground beef sold at $2.99/lb.

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups elbow mac
  • 2 Cans of 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 12 oz. water
  • 1/2- 1 lb. ground beef (your preference)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Minced garlic
  • Italian seasonings

Add these if you have:

  • Chopped Onion
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • Other chopped veggies like zucchini

Step 1: Boil medium pot of water, and add a pinch of salt and 2 cups of elbow mac. Turn heat down to medium. Cook for the time indicated on box (usually 6-8 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Step 2: In a separate sauce pan, add oil and saute onions and garlic. Then add ground beef to brown. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. (After it’s cooked, you may drain the fat, but I leave it for flavor if it’s not too much.) Then add mushrooms and other veggies.

Step 3: Add to the ground beef and veggie mixture, tomato paste, 12 oz. of water, Italian seasonings, and salt. Set on medium heat to simmer, and stir occasionally.

Step 4: Drain water from mac when done. Combine with sauce and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve with veggies!

 

4) Crock-Pot Ham and Bean Soup (with leftover, frozen ham, $4.76)

(This seriously has enough servings for several days for the whole family. Soups are some of my favorite leftovers, so I often make way more than necessary!)

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Photo Credit: Momma Bird Blog

Cook Time: 20 minutes of prep, 6 hours in slow cooker

Serves: 10-15 servings

Cost: Dried beans $1.99, Carrots $.99, Celery $1.29, Can of diced tomatoes ($0.49)

Main Ingredients: 

  • The frozen ham broth, bones, and scraps of meat that I’ve encouraged you to freeze (Or buy a small portion of ham for this. Look for a “butt portion” or “ham shank”)
  • 32 oz. bag of dried Great Northern Beans
  • 6 Chicken flavored bouillon cubes
  • 6 Cups of water
  • 3 Large Carrots peeled, and chopped

Add if you have these: 

  • 1 Can 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • Minced Garlic
  • Pepper

Step 1: First, rinse the beans. You can add the beans to the slow cooker (with 8 total cups of water).

Or you can opt. for a quicker cooking method that requires an extra step. According to thekitchn.com, you can quick soak the beans in 1 hour; boil a pot of water (enough to cover the beans by 2 inches), cook for 1 minute, and let the beans sit for one hour with lid on. Then add to the crock.

Step 2: Add to the crock; thawed ham, broth, bones, bullion cubes, (6 cups of water if you chose to add the precooked beans), canned tomatoes, chopped onion and celery, minced garlic, pepper, and carrots. Let cook on low for 6 hours (8 if you didn’t soak the beans), then serve!

 

3) Build Your Own Baked Potato ($3.83)

Sometimes this is served solo at our house if we feel like eating lighter, when when I’m not feeling well, or as a side. The kid’s love these and get pretty excited about picking their toppings!

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Photo Credit: Momma Bird Blog

Cook Time: 1 hour baking time

Serves: 1 potato = 1 serving

Cost: 10 lb. bag of russet potatoes $2.99, Imperial stick butter $0.84

Main Ingredients:

  • Russet potatoes
  • Stick butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Add if you have:

  • Sour cream
  • Or ranch dressing
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Bacon bits
  • Sliced green onions

Step 1: Scrub potatoes/rinse, foil wrap individually, and bake on 450 degrees (place directly on the rack) for 1 hour.

Step 2: Prepare toppings (bacon, green onions…)

Step 3: When the hour is up, using oven mitt, squeeze potatoes to see if they are soft all the way through. Unwrap, slice and add butter, salt & pepper, and other desired toppings. Can be served with a sandwich, soup, or salad.

 

2) Creamy Rice Chicken Casserole ($2.49)

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Photo Credit: Momma Bird Blog

Cook Time: 1 hour with cooking and baking

Serves: 6

Cost: Bag of white rice $1.49, Cream of chicken soup $0.49, Cream of mushroom soup $0.49

Main Ingredients: 

  • 2 Cups white rice
  • 4 Cups of water
  • 1 Chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 Chicken breast
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Minced Garlic
  • Cream chicken soup
  • Cream mushroom soup

Add if you have:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Stalk of celery
  • Fresh lemon zest
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 Cup sour cream
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Or Grated Parmesan cheese

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water, then add rice and bouillon cubes. Cover with lid and turn heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Saute onions, celery, and minced garlic with oil in a skillet. Then cube up the chicken breast and season with salt and pepper to fry over medium heat in the skillet. (You want to hear the meat sizzle when you place it on the skillet). Cover with lid and toss occasionally.

Step 3: Once rice is done cooking (and is soft), add cream soups, sour cream, and cheese. Then add cooked chicken, lemon zest, grated ginger, and extra salt and pepper to the rice mixture.

Step 5: Bake the whole mixture in a greased casserole dish on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with a veggie and enjoy!

 

 

1) Sloppy Joes and Oven Baked Fries ($4.48)

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Photo Credit: Momma Bird Blog

Cooking Time: 45 minutes with cooking and baking

Serves: 6

Cost:  1 Can of Tomato Paste $0.33/can, Hamburger buns $0.83, 10 lb. bag of russet potatoes $2.99

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 Can of Tomato Paste
  • Hamburger Buns
  • 3-4 Russet Potatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Minced Garlic

Add if you have: 

  • Parmesan Cheese to fries
  • Garlic Salt to fries
  • 1/2 Onion to Sloppy Joes
  • 1/4 Cup BBQ to Sloppy Joes

 

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice potatoes, oil, and season (with salt, pepper, or garlic salt and Parmesan cheese)! Place in oven for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a pan with oil, saute onion and garlic. Add your ground beef, salt, and pepper. Once those are cooked through, stir in tomato paste, and BBQ. Add a smidgen of water to thin. Let simmer till fries are done, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Spoon meat mixture onto buns and serve with fries!

 

 

 

 

All this thinking of food has legit got my stomach grumbling now!

Again, these are totally adjustable, so don’t feel like you can’t add or take away from the recipe. Work with what you have! If you need to swap out tomato paste for diced tomatoes, do it!

And that is the power of having staple foods available and cooking from scratch! I hope these 5 simple recipes take away the stress of planning dinner this week!

(Currently reading this to my sarcastic husband who is saying “Just tell them to eat Ramen!” haha)

What are some other frugal meals that your family likes?

 

 

 

 

 

Frugal Living

Frugal Living

“Frugal” can be explained as stingy, penny-pinching, and tight. But for those with the conservative lifestyle, the word has an entirely different ring to it; thrifty, economical, and resourceful.

It could explain the type of person who likes freebies, when in fact nothing is actually free. Everything costs someone; labor, shipping, ideas, and just solid goods in general.

But for most, “frugal” is a mentality of prioritizing, saving, and getting extra creative when you can’t have everything.

My family has learned the art of being frugal over a span of 6 years. In 2012 my husband and I were expecting our first baby, near the time of his second deployment. So I made the easy decision then, to quit work. As our family expanded, I continued to stay home. We always made it work, despite the occasional challenges. I feel strongly in being a part of our kids’ early childhood development and learning. And my husband’s been even more on-board after finding out what child care costs!

As a stay-at-home mom, I always felt like I wanted to contribute more. Finally 3 kids later, I’ve been able to take a couple of gigs that still allow me to be home 6-7 days a week. However, one of the best ways to contribute as a stay-at-home mom is to save a little cash. I wish I had stumbled upon an informative blog post then about frugal living.

I’m not a financial adviser, but here are some creative ways to help you save:

Tips for saving:

Monthly bills: Understand needs from wants

Needs: housing, electricity, propane, water, car(s), insurance, gas, phone(s), nutritional food, and medical services…

Don’t need: phone upgrades, apps, music, cable, fast food, alcohol, brand clothes…

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) Nikolay Frolochkin

 

  • Think about switching your phone service to something month-to-month
  • If you owe a medical bill, ask if you can combine or make lower payments
  • If you feel you can’t go without cable or internet, try the lowest packages
  • Hold off on stores that you get lost in (Wal-mart or Target, which pains me to say)
  • Save going out to eat for special occasions or only a few times a year
  • Don’t make any quick financial decisions; always take the time to research alternatives, think on it, & save
  • Always ask for deals! (My marketing professor taught this and it’s worked)
  • You can even get managers to mark down prices by offering cash today (This is one of Dave Ramsey’s fun little hacks which saved us $100 on our couch doing this)

 

At the grocery store: Understand marketing and don’t give in

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) Davies_Designs
  • Meal plan, and stick to your list when grocery shopping. Stores are designed to get you to buy more (like candy being kept low at checkout aisles for kids to see)
  • Look for simple recipes– extra seasonings/condiments can rack up the grocery bill
  • Go to the store once a week to avoid temptations during extra stops
  • Shop the same store every time so you don’t get lost and buy more
  • Aldi isn’t just for poor people and elders, you get the best price without coupons
  • Bring a calculator and cash only to help you stick to your budget
  • Avoid buying junk food and freezer meals, which tend to cost more
  • Bread, rice, noodles, and potatoes are affordable fillers for meals
  • Eggs and peanut butter are affordable protein alternatives
  • Buy healthy snacks apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, and other veggies. What would be more filling a $3-5 bag of chips or a $3-5 bag of apples?
  • When meat at the grocery store goes on sale (and is worth the cost) stock up or buy meat in bulk from your local meat market

In the kitchen: Know how to make recipes from scratch

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) fancycrave1
  • Know how to make bread from scratch- Always have yeast and flour on hand
  • Also, know how to make pizza dough, pancakes, and other similar recipes
  • Keep tomato paste on hand for pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and tomato-based sauces/dips, sloppy joes…
  • Know how to make other sauces- Alfredo sauce is so easy!
  • Freeze juices of beef/pork roast, slow cooker chicken, or ham… (use in soup later)
  • Boil the bones from your chicken, turkey, ham, etc. with water to make stock
  • Refrigerate bacon grease drippings to substitute butter in savory dishes
  • Divide those packs of chicken and freeze individually (use 1 breast per meal)
  • Same for hamburger (I divide this into 1/2 lbs for when it’s just me and the kids)
  • Meat is expensive, divide other roasts as well
  • Grind up crusty bread to substitute panko or add to meatballs
  • Freshen up leftovers by combining them to make a new dish
  • Use browned fruits in smoothies, cooked oatmeal, or make a bread from it

 

Other areas to be frugal: How to get some help/support

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) PublicDomainPictures
  • Gladly take hand-me down clothes, furniture, or appliances from a close friend or family member who doesn’t need them any more! My sister gives us all of the clothes my nephew’s grown out of. Thanks Sis! 😉
  • Give your items that aren’t being used a new home. Or make some cash selling them for a low price online, or selling them at a second-hand shop.
  • Instead of buying new books or movies, borrow from your local library
  • Grow a garden in Spring (& share abundance with friends and family)
  • Know about the free/low cost events/attractions near you including neat parks
  • Know what other resources/benefits are available to you

 

That’s all for now!

There’s no shame in being resourceful or even asking for help from the right people. Just remember, that is their sacrifice to you. It’s a wonderful ability to reach out among humankind. I believe we were all made to lean on each other sooner or later.

Part of raising a family is sometimes needing to sacrifice. It’s hard because we can’t do it all. And even if we can afford it, we don’t have time for all of it.

Frugal living is just sacrificing for now. You’re just investing in yourself and your family.

 

 

 

For ideas of free summer activities see the bottom portion of 80+ Fun Summer Activities for the Family.

(Featured image from Pixabay user: Tumisu)