Java Talk #3: Saving On Essentials


My coffee is dripping and I'm ready to exchange ideas on how to save money on essential things we need to buy. 

I thought I could be out of this house in a month without anything else going wrong I'd have to pay for. 

Well, I had to have the Roto Rooter guy out here last night to clean the outside with the 160 foot snake due to I suppose tree roots. Ka-ching! $190. I sat on the front steps in my gown and robe in the cold wind holding my debit card, fearing what it was going to cost me this time. 

Always something. Which is why I have to move somewhere where someone else has to pay for repairs. 

I am always on the hunt to scrimp some more. Cut back. Try to find an area where I can squeeze the budget a little tighter. 

In the new digs, 725 square feet, these are some of the thoughts I've had:

Since I won't have a washer/dryer, I plan to wash clothing by hand. I think I can probably get one of those shower tension rods and place it in the center of the shower over my head. I can then hang clothing there to dry. 

Maybe I can put my collection of wash boards to good use! And see if I can find another wash tub and go old-fashioned. Might be fun! The movers crushed one leg of the one I had in Texas.

I plan to go to the laundromat they provide, which is $1.50 per load to wash or dry, about once per month. w to save money. For instance, I surely 

In order to do this, I will use my four sets of sheets and then change them every week. I typically use a towel for 4-5 days, so that's no problem.

It's going to be a hassle with my ankle to do laundry there. So I plan to get a few cheap blankets and change them out instead of using quilts on top of the bed for summer. They will be lighter-weight and easier to wash.


I won't have an ice maker, so there won't be water going to that to keep it filled. I will go back to the old style ice trays. I don't use a whole lot of ice anyway.

I never used the dishwasher here, so doubt I will there. I found that the few times I used it here, it ran for something like two hours. No matter what setting you put it on. That's way too much usage of electricity and water.

I'm planning on cooking more. Eating better. I'll still do my alternating baked potatoes for supper, because it's so economical and the dogs love it too. But for lunches, I'm going to get a crock pot and start cooking meals in that. I have a whole Pinterest board on crock pot recipes. So I'm going to put them to use. No sense in heating up a home by turning on the oven in summer.

The floors will be laminate, so they should be easy and economical to clean.

last year
I won't have a yard to mow or repairs to make, so that will shave off some of what I have to spend.

Since I won't have to pay to have my yard mowed, I plan to treat myself to pretty container gardens on the back patio, which is bigger than your typical patio space and fenced in. I already have big pots I can use.

I will put at least one chair, and probably a table out there, and decorate it like an outdoor room. I'll just have to see what I can fit in that space.That will be fun. So I'll treat myself to some pretty plants and annuals so I can look out the patio doors and see my "garden."

I'll put my bird houses on the fence and decorate that up. That will be fun and is what I'm really looking forward to.


I'm going to take plants and cuttings from here once things start coming up. Every day I go out there and look for something green, but still just have winter brown.


I can already see that I'm probably going to have to drive farther to the things I have to do and can't do online. So I will have to budget for that. Might have to spend a little more than my typical $20 a month on gas. Hope not though.

This place, being 725 square feet, is 285 square feet smaller than this house. We'll see if that affects my utilities much.

What is your latest ideas to save on things you must have, or want to treat yourself to come spring?


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110 comments

  1. Brenda,
    You have always been kind of partial to the "tiny houses" so now you have the chance to experience one. I can't wait to see what you do with the place. I always liked the way Cindy at My Romantic Home decorated her apartment patio. It really made her space look larger. It will be a fun project.

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    1. Cindy did have a gorgeous spot, and I have some of the photos on one of my Pinterest boards to look at. She recently had to move. Her landlord got greedy I guess, and after about 11 years living there, he didn't renew her lease and she had to go to another apartment. I know she will miss that outdoor space.

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  2. After the last Cox rate increase, we are finished with cable TV. We bought an indoor antenna and an Apple converter and will run TV thru Apple. We also bought the Basic Talk phone program at WalMart and for $10. a month we will have more phone options than we have with Cox for a lot less money. The only thing that Cox will retain is our internet because as of now, we can't find a better option. This is the latest cost cutting in our budget.

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    1. I'm going to have to really look at all the options before I move with Cox. They maintain my home phone (I don't have a cell phone) and my TV (which is extended cable) and my internet. I have to have a phone for emergencies and of course the internet. The TV not so much.

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    2. I also got rid of Cox cable and got a Roku player. I subscribe to Netflix and HuluPlus. It really irritates me that Cox is the only Internet provider available where I live. I know I'm paying too much.

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    3. We went to WalMart and got the Basic Talk. It hooks up to your internet. It is $10. a month and you have caller ID, call waiting, unlimited long distance, etc. There are taxes but a lot less than Cox. Our phone works like a charm and we kept our phone number. We quit Cox cable and phone yesterday. Our bill went down from $160 + to $60 for internet only. Last night we watched TV via our new antenna. Can't wait to start putting the savings into something more enjoyable!

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  3. I am looking forward to your patio / fence / outdoor living area this summer. I think we'll enjoy it almost as much as you will! :)

    I've never had a dishwasher. I noticed at my son's house when he and brent's mama were trying to make a go of it for awhile, that the dishwasher was always full of clean dishes and the sink full of dirty, and it seemed to me that unloading the thing, rinsing the dirty and loading ...was a heck of alot more work than just washing a sink full of dishes. And you are right about how long they run. So I've never really yearned for a dishwasher.

    I have a very old fridge without an icemaker and it's no biggie. I usually have about 4 trays filled in there and the only time I'd need more is if we had a big get together in the summer in which case I'd just have a bag of ice in a cooler. So you won't miss your icemaker, no :) The fridge is an eyesore...rusting out on the outside of it but I think it is still running because it is older, and once I replace it I know a new one will never ever last that long so I don't care. It's chippy / shabby, lol...

    Summer cooking: I ended up giving a big gas grill from years ago to one of my sons. First it was borrowed for a party of his, then another and in the end I didn't really want it back because I so rarely used it. For your little patio world, you might want what I went back to...a small charcoal table top grill for about 20.00. When I DO use it , ( not all that often ) I cook the meat or chicken and then the coals remain hot for a long time so I might throw some potatoes and corn or other veggies in there....enough for several meals....using up the nice hot coals and getting enough summer side dishes for days on end.

    Well we had 65 degrees yesterday and it's poured down rain all morning, getting colder as the day goes on, ice and snow later. But the spring birds are here...the birdsong is different in the morning now. That started about two days ago : )

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    1. As always, you have frugal ideas I haven't thought of. How about painting your fridge a nice pretty color. I'm fairly certain they now have appliance paint. That could be really cute!

      It was warm yesterday, but cold last night and today. Spring is NOT here yet.

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    2. Brenda don't you know that if I buy appliance paint, seal off the kitchen from the dogs for a day and paint that fridge door that the fridge will break down the next day and finally die?? :) I can't jinx it, lol!

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    3. Deb, that' hilarious that you thought of that! You are probably right though...that's life.

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    4. YES! :) That's MY life at least, Stacey! :)

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    5. I saw on someone's blog where she painted hers with Annie Sloan Chalk paint to match her cabinets. She just posted pictures a few weeks ago. Looked great!

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  4. this is an idea for you for your container garden - you didn't say if you just do flowers - but you can put a tomato plant in a container and have fresh tomatoes also you can do the same for cucumbers, carrots even can grow in a pot - other veggies too - you might want to check out what you like and how they do in containers. Did you know you can grow potatoes in a 5 gallon bucket or pot - you do need a draining hole in the containers so excess water can escape.
    I am not a big meat eater but hubby loves his meat - one way I cut back which he doesn't realize is that when I buy ground beef I also buy ground turkey which is cheaper - I put 1/3 pound beef and 1/3 pound ground turkey in a small zip lock bag and squish the two together mixing it up. I don't use a full pound the recipes call for but 2/3's which I think is plenty for 2 people in a casserole. The beef is stretched further for casseroles and soups and he doesn't know the difference - from $7 spent on meat I get 3 meals rather than spending $12 on just beef. It isn't a lot of savings but it adds up after awhile.

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    1. I buy ground turkey when I make bean soup. I didn't realize it was cheaper than ground beef. I very rarely buy meat. Just don't care much for it. That's a clever idea and I'm sure he can't tell the difference. Yes, I'd like to do potatoes for sure because I eat a baked potato for supper. I want to try strawberries and I've always planted herbs. Love their scent, and that scent deters a lot of insects. So I'm planning to plant tomatoes and other veggies. Lettuce before it's too hot if I can get to it.

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  5. You are so very good at figuring out how to make the most of any space and use the least amount of money, so I dont see you having any problem at all. I wish I was closer so I could help. we'd get a few of my guys and have ya moved in less than a day for free:)

    I too am looking forward to decorating my porch with pots and flowers.. This is the first year my pom girls will have a totally fenced in area to play on so I'll be building them a shaded spot and adding a play pool..I think I'll have more fun watching them than they will playing... hurry up SPRING~!

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    1. Oh Sonny, that will be fun! It's therapeutic to dig in the dirt too. And I plan to do a lot of it. Mostly in containers, but still digging! I'm having Two Mean & A Truck move me.

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  6. Ah, spring. It was here in Mississippi for the weekend and now we are expecting 29 for the low tonight. The daffodils came up and bloomed and got frozen last week, popped back up and looked amazing again for the weekend and may not make it to the next warm up. I am looking forward to getting outside and finally getting the fall leaves cleared out and getting my pots cleaned and ready for spring, if it ever comes!
    As far as what I do to live frugally, we cut everything to the bone years ago when the economy tanked and we have lived that way for so long now, I expect we always will. We have a home phone only because we have to have it to receive internet in our rural area. We have not had cable in 10 years because with the children grown and gone, we don't watch that much tv. We both work 20 miles from home, so that is a big expense that we cannot lower because we have chosen to live in a smaller rural town versus the small city where we work. Although there are days I wish I were 5 minutes from work to home! Hubby shops once a week. We just keep a list on the counter and add to it as we get low on items.
    I am looking forward to watching your progress in your new cozy little home!
    Susan

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    1. Now remember you can order a lot of things on Walmart.com and get free shipping at $50. Then you cut out time having to physically shop.

      I'm going to be checking into my Cox Cable plan before I move. I think I have it down about as cheap as I can get it. I have to have a home phone because I don't have a cell. And need that for my internet too.

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    2. Dealing with Cox is like dealing with a used car salesman. UGG!. We have to have a home phone because of our alarm system-go Basic Talk! We also have to have internet. My husband said that the guy at Cox was almost abusive when he told the Cox guy he was only retaining the internet. If you are on a contract there isn't much you can do until it is up-ours expired in Feb so it was perfect timing to change everything.

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  7. Brenda! Your blog is not updating so I missed out on herding the news of your move! How exciting! I am going back and read mor now.

    Xoxoxoxox

    Sheila

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    1. I just went and "pinged" Feedburner. But it has never really worked right for me. My subscribers vastly differ from one day to the next, but it's free. So what can I say? I can't afford Feedblitz.
      Brenda

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  8. I can't wait to see what you do with your outdoor living area. I need to do something with my porches but I can never come up with anything...and there is the issue of my outside dogs knocking stuff over. I discovered a gnome out in the middle of our field and I have a feeling which one swiped it! I wish I had some wisdom to impart on saving money but it is so expensive to live here. Seems groceries cost so much more than anywhere else and of course that sales tax on top of that. One thing I do, to save a bit, on watering the flowers and trees, is to recycle the wash water. We set up a simple catch system with a couple of barrels and a water hose. Works great.

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    1. Using the catch system to recycle your wash water is a great idea! How about putting container plants on top of outdoor tables, etc., grouping them together against a wall and the dogs may not be able to knock them over. They look better grouped together anyway. Looks more natural.
      Brenda

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  9. Because I have back and hip issues I can no longer have my big vegetable garden so I have started lots of pots and square plastic "grow boxes" on my patio. I bought a cheap plastic garage-type shelf system and was able to get 3 table/stands out of it by using the shelves horizontally instead of stacking them. In this way the pots are off the cement floor and I don't have to bend as much. I have strawberries, tomatoes, swiss chard. I also have bought a few strawberry plants in hanging pots. There are lots of websites that have instructions and information about urban gardening in small spaces. I think it is fun and changeling. Also, years ago when I lived alone in an apartment with very expensive laundryroom I washed a lot of my clothes by hand and saved a ton of money. You don't have to change your sheets every week. Unless they are very soiled once a month is plenty. (the dogs do not sleep in my bed). Sometimes I will just wash the pillowcases in between. I don't buy meat very often, I prefer veges and grains which I buy in bulk as it is cheaper. I think I can say for myself and others that we are very excited for you and your new journey to an even cozier little house!

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    1. I doubt I'll change the sheets that often, but I do have two dogs sleeping with me! I too have a bad back and have had to learn to grow vertically or in ways that I don't get hurt. I roll around on my little garden rolling cart so I don't have to get up and down much. That helps a great deal! It's how I managed to decoupage my lower cabinets! I've had that thing for years, got it at Walmart, and hope it holds up a few more years, as it is hard plastic.

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  10. Miss Brenda, I've been reading your blog for quite some time, but have never commented. However, I do like your "Java Talk" posts and wanted to comment, if I may.

    I just wanted to say that I'm a single 50+ woman, who lives alone, and I'm always looking for ways to cut corners. For starters, my fridge doesn't have an ice maker. I keep six trays in my freezer and I break them up into a plastic bowl and keep it on the top shelf. The ice in the bowl lasts me about a week. I've learned doing this doesn't make the fridge run all the time freezing ice, which saves me on my power bill.

    I only have basic cable. I used to have extended, but the rates kept going up and up, so I had it cut off. There was never anything on anyway. I now just have the major network channels, MeTV, and few other channels. That has saved me $35 a month, but I may, eventually, drop basic because I received a notice last week that it will be going up from $15 to $20 a month starting in April. I have phone/internet through AT&T. That costs me $100 a month. I have a pre-paid cell that costs me $20 a month for unlimited calling/texting.

    Let's see... I don't have a dishwasher. I wouldn't use it anyway if I did. My apartment includes W/D space. I only wash clothes twice a week, usually two loads each time. All my shopping and errands are all within a 2.5 mile radius, so I only have to fill up my car every other month. I work at Walmart and get an employee discount there, which helps my budget tremendously on food and other essentials.

    Finally, I, too, live in a 1-bedroom apartment. I'm not sure the square footage. I'd say it's probably between 600-700 square feet. The management takes care of EVERYTHING here. All the lawn maintenance, repairs, etc. My rent includes water, sewer, and trash pickup. My power bill averages $75-100 a month, and that includes cable. I have a covered patio (no garden space) that I keep potted containers on. I have like a bakers rack out there that holds my potted plants and herbs out there, and I have a small table with two chairs. My point, Brenda, is I think you're going to like your new place a lot. I'm sure, like me, you'll find that your apartment is very self-contained with everything you need and that you'll be very happy there. I can't wait to see how you're going to decorate your place.

    Good luck to you, Brenda!

    Carol

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    1. Well, I sure love hearing from you! I know a lot of people read and don't comment and that's just fine. I think you're right. A big worry off my shoulders to have things more self-contained and someone else doing the maintenance. It says maintenance 24 hours a day and patrolling. They're also building a security gate. I can see I'm going to have to have the yard mowed at least once before I leave. Love your ideas and thanks for adding to the discussion!

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    2. MISS PEACHIE and Brenda : I just want to comment here that it is so much fun to find a reader that has not commented before and then does so. Quite awhile ago, I'd mentioned a quote from a book, from a favorite author, and out of the blue, the granddaughter of that author commented on the post. She'd been a reader but had never said anything before that. I got such a kick out of that / it was wonderful! :) So Miss Peachie if you come back to read the comments after yours I just want to say that it is nice to hear from you pitching in here and Brenda...do you have another cup of coffee and a donut or something for her :)

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    3. It's nice to hear from someone that's making it work....and work well! You're going to love it, Brenda and probably feel a lot less stress!

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  11. It does seem that you have it all worked out. It will be fun decorating a new place. We downsized 2 1/2 years ago.It cut our elect. bill 200.00$ and I am enjoying the smaller space.

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    1. Well, one worry was my income taxes. I just took a bit of time from commenting and wrote out the big checkeroos. That's being self-employed. But at least now I have health insurance. I think more and more people are downsizing. And I also think more people are finding that renting is better oftentimes than buying. It just depends on your situation. They always have these calculations on the internet of what is better this year or last year in terms of renting or buying.

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    2. I can not wait to downsize - energy costs are so expensive. LESS is more! My hubby is not ready to downsize, but when the time comes -- I have all the detail-oriented info for him and pie-charts to show him simply what would be best for our situation LOL

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  12. We live in a Victorian house BUT the upstairs is an apartment so our living space is about 900 sq. ft.-- which is fine with me. We did much of the renovations ourselves (this was the retirement plan--and now we're living it) and installed salvaged French doors to close off the living room and another set of French doors to close off the dining room which I fondly call my 'garden room' as it looks out into my raised-beds backyard. With the polar vortex frigid cold this winter I was soooooo happy we were able to close off rooms and only heat essential living space! My favorite compliment, though, was from a young daughter of a good friend who said that I had "inspired her" and purchased a cottage-type home instead of a sprawling mini-mansion!

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    1. Oh good! I am always so pleased when I see these young people not buying mini mansions. So many in Blog Land have them, and I can't see the purpose. Even if you have a family, you only really need so much room and you're paying for that sprawling space in every conceivable way. That was the best of compliments.

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  13. Brenda, I rent too, but my landlord has everything repaired. I do not put out any money, wondering why now you have to put out your own money for repairs to a home that someone else owns....but I probably know the answer, but had to put it out there anyhow. When you move, seriously look into pickup and dropoff cleaning service for your clothes; even it is every ten days. I cannot fathom anyone washing their clothes by hand...now washing them in a washer, and drying them on a clothes line, yes. I think you will be saving alot in all other areas in order to treat yourself to such a service if it is reasonable. I am really looking forward to seeing your garden space. I am not a big saver. I have gotten a bit better about some things, but 12 years of being told I could not spend any money, and now having the freedom to do basically what I want with my own hard earned money, I do that. I do not purchase my work clothes new, all my work skirts and blouses come from second hand stores and I have a nice collection of work clothes. I purchase my furniture from second hand stores, the thrill of the hunt is most fun. I am working on my guest bedroom/craftroom now. I purchased three furniture items for 140.00. I put those on layaway plan and made two payments. (I only get paid once a month) Now reading this, I am frugle in some areas of my life...not all, but some. (Definitely not cable, my biggest monthly bill minus the rent, at $140.00) but that is for phone, internet and tv.

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    1. You are too a big saver! I just read how you save. I didn't know there were such services for cleaning your clothes, etc. I thought that was just dry cleaning? My ex took clothes to the dry cleaners every single week and it was not cheap. I will look into this. Really all I'd probably need is for big items that would be hard to lug around (like quilts). You are right: it IS the thrill of the hunt and seeing how much you can save. I can't imagine just walking into a store and not doing your research and buying big items. What fun is that?

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    2. I know about dry cleaning....awful how expensive it is. I spent 25.00 for the purchase of three skirts and three blouses at the second hand....and it cost 25.30 to have them all dry cleaned. Thankfully, I can wear them and press them at least three to four times until the next time. Please do look into the cost of cleaning clothes and the best part, they fold everything to perfection. My aunt uses a service. You pay by the pound, so obviously to save, you would not want to have your thick bedding included in the poundage.

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  14. I have not done this, but my son who divorced last year did. He got internet and home phone from Century Link for less than $60 a month locked in for 3 years. For his TV service, he bought an indoor antenna from Wal mart for local channels and then got a Roku device that offers many free channels. He subscribes to Netflix and 2 other premium channels for a total of about $150 a YEAR. He said the best thing he ever did is cut cable.

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  15. I hope you will be very happy in your new home! I have followed you for a few years, and we are alike and different. I am a BIG purple fan, not so much red. I am a big dog lover, and a gardening lover! I could not live in that small a space at this time in my life. As you may remember, I sold my farm last year, and am renting in town(hate it) until I can get a better job. I am a spoiled brat, because my rental home is nice, but living in town is not for me. I believe that this last year happened this way to make me really see that. I just about went crazy this week with the warm days and no garden/flowers to be working in!!!! My little Bella and I have been to the parks all around to walk and soak up the sun! I know we have different situations, so here is hoping you and I both, can be happy as can be this next year!!!!!

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    1. sorry I was kind of off topic...I don't have any real money saving tips...you sure have me beat there! I just hope we can both be really settled and happy!!!!!

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  16. Brenda, as per your quilts for the bed, our local laundry mat will was them and dry them in the back for you, I used to take my down comforters there. We get Netflix for $7.99 a mth and my daughter watches so many TV shows and movies off of it, great savings. Maybe you could just get your phone and computer, then subscribe to Netflix. Of course you don't get local news if you want that. She also hand launders most of her clothes, except jeans. She finds it very relaxing and feels it's better for her clothes. Do you have one of those little carts for taking your clothes to the laundrymat? Or will it be too far for you to walk with your ankle? We are all so excited about your backyard, can't wait to see what you do with it. I envision vines everywhere, a cute table and chair! If I know Judy, she'll have you fixed up in no time. Where do you buy plants: Home Depot, Lowe's, or local garden stores?

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    1. I typically buy at Lowes or Home Depot. Cheaper than the garden stores. In fact I haven't been to any of the local garden stores yet since living here. It's too far probably for me to walk to the laundromat. Will just have to see. I would have a bigger back area, but I'm at the front of a row of four plexes and there is a little brick enclosure for the trash cans for that row, so my fence does not begin at the end of the apartment like the one, say, next to me. Oh well. I will work with whatever I have to work with.

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  17. I think you will find that your utilities will definitely be less in your new place. You can watch TV on Hulu, which is free with your internet. I don't watch that much TV so wouldn't miss having cable. I don't need my dishwasher either. No problem to wash dishes by hand when there is just one of you. Simple living. So much better. xo Laura

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    1. Yes, and I'm hoping you find a place next, Laura. It's your turn!

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  18. Brenda, I always learn something new from you, and from this chat! As I sit here reading the comments, I realize that everything that I do to save on essentials has been mentioned. Can only think of one thing to add. Winter heating bills are very expensive here. Especially this past winter with 60 days of below zero! To save money, we turn our thermostat back at night and whenever I am gone for long periods. I once read that it is cheaper to heat up a room when I return, than to maintain a higher temperature while I'm gone. I hope I've said that right! Also, adjust our air conditioner in the summer.

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    1. I've got to remember to start doing that, turning down the thermostat when going out for a bit. Course I'm never gone for long periods.

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    2. Gayle Ann did say that right - as long as the equipment is in good shape. We had rented a condo between moves one summer. It was cute, but the reverse-cycle unit was old (this was down in FL in summer) It had costs us more to cool that little condo than a house 3 times the size due to the energy it took to run older, inefficient equipment

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  19. Brenda, once again, love these talks. I don't have a frugal tip today, but I wanted to ask if you've heard of time banking? Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I only recently read about them and am writing a blog post about it. It made me think of you. I sure wish more people were inclined to participate in time banks--if you don't know what they are they are, they're essentially groups of people in an town/community/area who help one another out so that everyone is saved the expense of something. For example, being a former teacher, I might give tutoring lessons to a neighbor's child for free. That banks me hours. Then I can use those hours to obtain a service from someone else in our group. Maybe someone else works on cars and can fix something wrong with mine. He might need meals made for him because he doesn't know how to cook or hasn't the time so he'd bank hours by helping me out and another group member might drop off a few freezer meals to him a week. The single mom up the road may need babysitting so I or another family might do that for her once a week and since she is an attorney she banks hours by reviewing or drafting contracts for others, etc...and so on and so forth. The ultimate goal is that people will one day stop the time banking portion and just help one another out without wanting anything in return...my kinda world. :) Anyhow, I wanted to share that with you because you're always sharing such interesting things with us. I have been thinking about this concept a lot since I read about it--it intrigues me. I love our neighborhood, but I would love it more if we all felt more "connected" to one another and I think this type of thing would do wonders for so many of us--for our pocket books AND our souls. xx Danielle

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    1. p.s. Sorry for the ramble! Ack, I get carried away. :)

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    2. Danielle - it wasn't a ramble ! GREAT POST - I never heard of it. I like the idea of "time banking". Yes - it is nice to help others, but this makes things fair. In other words- when we were young - we had a couple who had 3 kids and played with ours. We always took the kids for their dinner dates out, weekends, etc. However, when we needed something - typically they were "too busy". Just a thought about what a good system that may actually be :)

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    3. Oh, good point, very good point. I loved the articles that I read about it. These groups seemed to work best when they remained fairly small because people tend to care more for one another and connect more easily. p.s. I LOVE your profile pic---that cutie pup! ~Danielle

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  20. Brenda...you have a wealth of ideas here and i can't think of anything else to put here. One thing that I just read on Susan Branch's blog....she hangs her damp towels in many places in the house during the winter. it adds to the humidity. I think that one of those wooden racks would hold your laundry nicely plus add humidity to the place. Hope you get some peace of mind with this move. I love your blog and have followed you for a long time. You deserve some good luck....Balisha

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    1. Thanks! I forgot about those wooden racks. You guys are going to have me all set up! I like the idea Susan Branch had.

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    2. I read that on Susan Branch's blog, too. We don't need that tip here in Florida but will use it when we travel. Great idea!

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  21. Just thinking about hanging laundry that way..if I put much on a tension rod..it all falls, including the rod
    You might like one of the folding drying racks found at target, etc. that could go on the patio, and when the items are semi-dry, you could hang them from the door frame of a closet to finish drying.

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    1. Great idea! I was thinking those shower rods would be sturdier, but maybe not.

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    2. I use a shower curtain rod in the doorway to my laundry room. It is heavier than a regular rod and never falls down. I always have it loaded with hangers and ready to go. I hang dry all my good dress blouses and my hubby's dress shirts.
      Good luck Brenda. I can't wait to see your new place. I hope this is a good fit for you!!! pam

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  22. Brenda, they still make portable washers that you attach to your facet when you need it. AJ Madison sells them and they are less than 400 dollars. I've purchased from them in the past and they were great.

    I don't have cable, and I purchase the cheapest plan on Netflix.

    I hope it is a great move for you! xoxo

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    1. Can you tell me more about the portable ones? I've researched them a little, but never heard of them before the past week.

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  23. I'm learning a lot reading the comments. It's nice to hear more ideas for saving money on the things we have to have...our needs! Great advice as always! I guess the only thing I could add is making big meals and freezing quart size ziplocks for later....like spaghetti sauce of chili. It's a time saver, too. Like all of the laundry ideas in the comments! Thanks!

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  24. That's a great idea too! Won't take up as much space.
    Brenda

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  25. So, do those of you not using the dishwasher use it for storage?

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    1. I've seen this on Pinterest a lot :) and do know some people who use it for pots, pan, and bakeware storage. I'm thinking of doing that, too. I don't mind handwashing dishes and I HATE unloading the dishwasher anyhow so don't use it.

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  26. Hi Brenda - the sq ft decrease should definitely help on utilities. I had over 20 yrs in the utility industry. If the heat/winter and cooling/summer are in good working order - you will save money. Be sure they clean the filters for you and do upkeep/maintenance. Most electric companies will offer a FREE energy survey. A rep will come out - make sure the place is sealed tight (around windows and doors) so your energy does not escape AND the elements outdoors don't seep in. BEST wishes - you new place will be cute as a button once you get there!

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  27. During a period of time that we lived in a basement apartment in WY I did all my laundry by hand, in the tub and hung out to dry. It was great, except for the guys jeans, always hard to wring out. I don't use my dishwasher either, it's such a waste for the few dishes we use. It sounds like you have an excellent plan and seem very conservative in your expenses already! Wishing you well as you pack and prepare for your move! Blessings, Cindy

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    1. Too bad I can't find one of those old timey washers that had a wringer thing. Only problem I'll have is I've had multiple surgeries on my hands and wrists and it will be hard for me to wring things out. Oh well, I always figure out a way. I've always loved puzzles.

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  28. Did you know you can make a 'washing machine' from a bucket and a plunger? My hubby was a Boy Scout leader and that is what they used on camp outs.
    They have a specialty plunger on Amazon, but you can use a regular one.
    http://www.amazon.com/MobileWasher-Operating-Washing-Machine-Emergencies/dp/B003SQ7I5S/ref=pd_bxgy_la_img_y pam

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  29. I have a portable washer dryer set...they stack if you want them to...work off regular electricity...not 220...washer hooks to sink...will hold whole set off queen bed sheets or 4large towels at a time. Got the set at a pawn shop..they had been pawned 3 weeks after purchase and never picked up...paid $300.

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    1. But how do you vent the dryer? Wish I could find a set that cheap.

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  30. Hi Brenda, I think you and everyone else here has had excellent ideas for saving money. I too, garden in containers on our little deck, growing tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. It is very enjoyable to garden this way. Also we live in a very small house and save a lot on utilities, so I know you will do well in your little apartment. I also hand wash a lot of our clothes and then hang on hangers on the shower rod to dry. No problem with anything falling down.... I also cook in large batches, then freeze in smaller portions for several meals. Works out well for us and saves money. We don't have cable anymore, just use that antenna they have to get a few local channels which is fine with us. We have our cellphone and internet with AT&T in bundle package deal that saves us some bucks too. I bathe and groom our dogs myself, but they are shorter haired breeds so that is easier for me. I don't have a Keurig like most people do these days because I'm a big time coffee drinker and just can't justify the expense. I buy a big can of Folgers whenever it is on sale and make it last as long as I can.... Hubby and I have also cut to two meals a day only for weight loss and money saving purposes as well - we eat late morning and then again at dinner time. It's working out fine for us as we're retired and don't have a work schedule to abide by. Good luck with your move, Brenda. I am happy for you and looking forward to seeing your new cozy little home. :)

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    1. Sounds like you're doing all you can. I only drink one K-cup a day, and if I don't drink that and want two cups, I used ground coffee in the drip coffee maker. I bathe and groom my dogs until they look like something from outer space, then I break down and take them to the groomer and they get short, which for both together is $70. I eat cheerios and fruit for breakfast, never know for lunch. And for supper I either have a baked regular potato with frozen veggies on top. And the next night I alternate by having a sweet potato. My dogs get about a third of it, and we're all happy.

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    2. Brenda, your dogs always look adorable, so you are doing a great job of keeping them groomed. :) My dogs are shorter hair breeds, but my dearly beloved Sheltie that died a few years ago had to go to the groomers - I just couldn't do a good job of keeping her looking good after about 4 months went by she would always need to go to the groomer and boy, that was expensive! She certainly was worth it though, as all of our beloved pets are....
      Also, I wanted to tell you that thanks to you telling us about ordering from Walmart.com and free shipping for $50 and up, that I certainly have taken advantage of that and saved us a lot of effort getting out and shopping - both my hubby and I have terrible arthritis and spine problems that make it difficult for us to walk for very long at all, so shopping has become difficult for us as it is for you. Shopping online at Walmart has simplified things a lot for us. Thank you again, for letting us know about that! I love that your blog deals with the realities of life and the struggle to survive financially in today's times. It is so helpful to me, and then the joy of simple decorating is very inspiring to me as well. You give me so many good ideas that I can afford to do.....your's is my favorite blog to read everyday!
      Sounds like you are doing great with eating economically and healthy too. Good for you! It's been great reading all posts here and chatting with you too. :) Take care.

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  32. Good Morning Brenda.
    I live in a small space, 624 square feet. The thing I miss the most is closet space. There are only 2 closets. A linen/catch all, and a clothes closet. They are both very tiny.
    I used a dishwasher (until it broke) I can't stand long enough to do dishes that two people get dirty. So, for me a dishwasher is a must.
    I live 22 miles from town. To save on gas I only go into town once a month. I cram many errands into that one day. Usually at least 6 of them. Your hint of shopping at Wal Mart.com has been wonderful. I have them deliver the heavy items. They deliver most of my non-perishables. One month they even sent me a $5 gift card! I do not have a checking account.
    I don't have an affiliation with any bank. I have a Wal Mart money card. I have direct deposit. I take the cash out as I need it. I pay my bills online with it. I make purchases online. There is one fee of $3 a month, but if you put in $1,000 a month there is no fee. A whole lot cheaper than a bank and their fees.
    Last year was the first time I have ever gardened. I know right? I read in a magazine this idea so it is not original. I bought round plastic swimming pools. I ordered dirt locally. I had tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, peppers green and hot ones, and onions. A lesson I did learn was that if the "weeds" are growing in a straight line they aren't weeds. I pulled weeds out and not until I was finished did I realize they were in a line and had been my lettuce. There were only a few weeds all summer. Everything is all set for this Spring with the addition of some dirt enhancers...natural of course. The pools were $7 each. I am going to get a couple more pools this year just for flowers.
    I hope you love your new home, and the decorating of a new space.

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    1. I'm glad you're utilizing Walmart.com. Why not when you can get free shipping and some strapping big guy from Fed Ex brings it to your door? Great idea about weeds in a line! I'm only going to have room for container plants, primarily. But you can raise veggies in that just as well. And critters don't bother them as much. These will probably be the biggest closets I've ever had, and in the one bedroom, which I'm getting, there are two!

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  33. Brenda - Lehman's sells a " Pressure Handwasher with Drain that will wash small loads quickly and easily" in their catalog that sells for $49.95. Maximum load: 5 adult shirts or a pair of jeans. Size is 17"H, 14"W, 5 lbs. States , "portable and quick, it cleans small loads of laundry with very little water and soap in only two minutes."

    I have ordered other items from Lehman's in the past and have been very pleased with all I have purchased.

    Wish you only the best with your move. ; . )

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    1. I have been looking these machines up. Nice to see a good price. The ones I saw were anywhere from $300-$600! I'll lcheck Lehmans. Thanks for the tip.

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  34. Just found out yesterday they are putting my husband on salary. No more overtime which means not a lot extra happening here. Guess I will have to tighten the belt even more. Still, thankful that he has a job. Lots of layoffs happening in our little coal mining valley.
    I have that plunger that Pam wash talking about. I haven't used it yet but reviews are really great. The hardest part of washing clothes by hand is wringing them out. They have lots of little apartment size washing machines on Amazon. I mean really little ones that will set on your kitchen counter and some have wringers. You can also get a collapsable wooden dryer. I have one and I love using it in the winter time. I use the clothes line in the summer. I avoid anything that has to be dry cleaned.
    Netflix (had it for years) is good but I think Amazon Prime is better. You get free shipping on most items as well as streaming video. Plus, most shows you can go directly to their websites and watch them for free. They will have commercials, but they are still free!
    I don't use my dishwasher much either. Mainly I use it to sterilize my jars and to keep them hot when I am canning.
    Sounds like you have your grocery plan figured out. I cook up two different types of soups each week, mostly for my husbands lunch. He doesn't care for sandwiches so I bought a thermos for him to take. That has saved me bunches! I will freeze a few containers from one week so I can add a little variety to his lunch the next week. I cook and bake most everything we eat. When I buy groceries, any change that I get goes in a crock. It adds up pretty quickly. It is our fun money and usually goes for pizza and ice cream.

    I love little houses. Can't see myself ever living in a big one. They are cozy and I think they help you to keep your priorities. You enjoy and love what you have or it has to go.
    Looking forward to what you come up with in your new place. I am sure it will be beautiful by the time you done with it.
    Frankie Ann

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    1. I've been decorating in my head for sure! Even though I wash my clothes here at this house, I always hang them up to dry. I do want to look into something that wrings them out, because after four surgeries on my hands/wrists, and the subsequent arthritis, I don't think I can do it. But looks like there is an answer for that. You all are so great to bring me these wonderful ideas I've never heard of!

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  35. Lehman's also sells a hand wringer. Not cheap. Not small. Could be decorative?? :)
    Secret to hand washing is soaking. Washboard can be back breaking. You have ideas that will work and more will come to you as you go along.
    Don't bother with a tiny crock pot. I had one. I found it to be ridiculously slow. Only good to keep something warm. Do a good batch in a regular sized slow cooker and freeze some? The removable "crock" is invaluable. Much easier to clean and can be used as an emergency (small) heat source when the power is out, by inverting the crock, elevating it (a little) and using candles underneath. Oh, and - some seem slower or lower temp than others. Research recommended.
    As you may now know, renting from friends and family can be very tricky. Your new place should have everything spelled out. You may be responsible for every pinhole or have to repaint if you get too creative, but you'll know.
    ~blessings~

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    1. That's quite an idea, using candles underneath the crock in an emergency! Did you come up with that? I do a lot of research before I buy most anything.

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    2. I did not come up with the emergency heater idea.
      desertsun02 on YouTube tried it out.
      A lot of people have shown how to use flower pots as an emergency heater. This is about the same, but I have the things he used on hand -- well, I don't think I have any bricks. :)

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  36. I don't think in a rental you would be able to paint your fridge. I have never had a dishwasher or a fridge with an ice maker. I do everything possible to keep utility costs down and I know if I had those two things my monthly bills would be more. You can get ice cube trays easily at the dollar store. In summer just make it a daily habit to empty the trays in to a container, refilling the trays and you will always have ice on hand.

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    1. Well, I've found some wonderful removable wallpaper online that I may just be decorating some of the kitchen with. And not the walls either!

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    2. I'm so excited to see what you're planning for the kitchen!

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  37. Years ago I spent the summer with aunt who was an RN in WWII. She told me they used sheets two weeks by flipping them over. The place over your feet on the top side is clean so that part was flipped over and pulled up to be close to your face. It is fresh because it is the part tucked in to hold the sheet on the first week. It works well when you use two top sheets and not fitted ones. You could also use two sheets instead of a blanket. The top one would be clean for the flip since it only touched the real sheet. Guess it is easier explained with a drawing.

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    1. If I just had two sheets on top instead of something like a blanket or quilt, the dogs would make a mess of it. Charlie Ross dearly loves to scoot underneath things.

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  38. Brenda, here is a washing machine that hooks up to your kitchen faucet and it spins your clothes dry, Haier HLP21N Pulsator 1-Cubic-Foot Portable Washer, the cost is $294.21 with free shipping on Amazon. In the photos they show it hooked up to the shower but if you go to YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYVvlUxJgbA) you will see he hooked it up to the kitchen sink. It reminds me of the Hoover Spin Washing Machines, do you remember those?

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    1. Will check this out. No, don't recall the Hoover Spin Washing Machines. But then my memory is not that great.

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  39. Lots of good advice. I use some of these tips already, so I won't repeat them. One way we stretch our money is, I cut my husband's hair. (That's sort of like you cutting your dogs' hair, I guess!) He hasn't been to a barber since the '90s. We also use a lot of small appliances in the kitchen to keep from turning on the oven -- I make all of our bread in a bread machine, we use a rice cooker, and use a crockpot.

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    1. Those hair cuts add up, don't they? Not just the hair cut, but the gas getting to where it gets cut. I also try hard not to use the oven in the summer.

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  40. What you might do is ask any of your new neighbors if they have installed a smaller stacked washer and dryer combo. Not the big ones you see
    now days but the smaller ones that
    come attached top to bottom. They still make them. I had one about 20
    yrs ago. People in your complex
    may already have had these installed in bathrooms, closets, kitchens, anywhere you can run a hose to
    access water and vent to the outside. Check it out. The long term residents
    may have already solved your
    problem. And, oh yes, don't forget
    renter's insurance.

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    1. I already have renter's insurance. If any of the others have those in their apartments, they're breaking their lease. Because there is no plumbing for it.

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  41. I think the laundromat sounds very reasonable and would use it rather than tire your hands. My mother-in-law lived in a very small house, no dishwasher, but she had a small washing machine installed in the kitchen. It worked great for her. I am amazed to hear of a landlord expecting the tenant to pay for all the repairs - have never heard of such a thing. Heck of a deal for the landlord! You won't look back, that's for sure. Good luck with everything. If you're like me you'll move and then purge a load of stuff that somehow doesn't seem to fit or work in the new place. My advice is to be ruthless before you move! Best wishes ...

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  42. There are so many great ideas here that I am going to save this page.
    Brenda, I'm so excited that you have found a good place. Is it on the ground floor? Just wondering if you are going to be able to feed the birds.

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    1. I'm taking my birdbath and sure hope to lure in birds so I can take photos.
      Brenda

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  43. Brenda, I'm a holistic doctor and nutritionist for over 20 years. I can tell you, based on your comments here, that one reason you aren't healing well is because you aren't getting enough protein in your diet. The body needs protein, especially to heal tendons, muscles and bones. Even a few nuts, not peanuts, they aren't protein, but other nuts at breakfast, and make sure you get 6 ounces of good protein at lunch, it's vital. Cheap and healthy protein is, surprisingly, canned salmon. They put good Pacific salmon is the cans, which is the right kind to eat. One can would make several meals, on Green salad, a mayonnaise salad, or salmon cakes.

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    1. Thanks for commenting. I shall make sure to eat more protein. I'm just not crazy about meat. But I can eat eggs and nuts and such.

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  44. We've saved a bit of money over the years by switching from a land line telephone to voice-over IP on the internet. We get a flat rate each month that's a lot cheaper than our old land line service ever was, and it covers all long-distance calls for no extra fee as well. We live in a small town, and have only one main internet service provider, and they charge a ton--hate that, and hope more options open up here soon. We see lots of live theatre--we're actors and are in quite a few shows, but also on certain days of the week, certain theatres offer pay what you will performances, so you can put in whatever you like and go see the show. Some towns offer free Shakespeare in the parks in the summertime--hubs and I are in a production here in Portland, OR this summer. There's a great program in Portland, OR called Arts for All--it's based on your income, and if you qualify, you get very reduced tickets for opera, ballet, and other theatre shows--like $5 tix for what would ordinarily cost $60-120 and up, so that's great if you qualify. We don't go to movie theatres much, but instead do Netflix--we watch exactly what we want, which never happened on satellite dish or cable, and it's delivered right to your door, so very easy. The local movie theatre does 2nd run films, and does cheap matinees, so we go enjoy that sometimes. Also, I can't wait to see what you do with your patio area outside your new home. I start seeds myself, but I think it really only saves money if you are starting a lot of seeds, compared to what it would cost to buy the same number of grown plants from a store. You have to factor in cost of the seed, seed-starting mix, fertilizer and grow lights--you can see that if you shop sales, you might do better buying some container plants at sales that stores have if you don't need as many plants. Also, sometimes there are plant swaps--our library used to do one. You bring in some seeds or some extra plants that you have, and you can swap with someone else for the same number of different plants--I loved that! There is a little store chain called Grocery Outlet where we live, and in the spring and summer they get some great organic plant starts that they sell really cheap. Their inventory comes from higher-end stores products that don't sell, so they get them and sell them instead at reduced rates. It's a good place to buy certain foods as well, such as cheese, spices and wine. Perhaps there is something similar near where you live.

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    1. I thought of something else--contact your local Master Gardeners in your area--through the Cooperative Extension service through a state college is often where they are found. Here they do a huge plant sale each spring, and they have the best prices in town for all kinds of plants--I used to volunteer at the greenhouse, but I never miss that sale!

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    2. I will check into your suggestions. If you live near Portland, it's more progressive there I think, and so there will be more for the community in those areas. I agree about the seeds. Frankly I've never had much luck with seeds. Only things that have come up are chives, morning glories, hyacinth bean vine and zinnias. I will take some plants from here, and probably just buy what I need for the containers so I'll have instant color!

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  45. I came back to catch up on comments. This is a favorite post for me now. I get so many great ideas! I read the comment about protein in our diets and think it's excellent. Thanks Brenda. We sure get a lot of encouragement from our friends! Happy weekend! Hugs!

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  46. A good book to have, though dated, is "The Complete Tightwad Gazette". You can find it, used, on amazon.com or AbeBooks, on line. It has hundreds of money saving ideas.

    I buy clothes at Goodwill. I shop labels, and find wonderful, new, or like new clothing for a few dollars. My husbands shirts have all come from GW and they are all Ralph Lauren, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Lands' End, etc.
    I no longer work, outside the home, so my clothing is more casual, but I still like good brands because they last longer.

    I save a lot of money with my bread machine. I make all of our bread and make dough in the machine, for pizza, rolls, etc. I buy in bulk and package food in freezer bags. All meat is first double wrapped before freezing. I wash and reuse the zip lock bags, that haven't been exposed to raw meat.
    I use a crock pot frequently, and make soup out of leftovers. All meals are made from scratch.

    I hang laundry, weather permitting. I even hang it to dry in the basement. Fabric lasts longer if not dried in the dryer. I do use the dryer for five minutes, to shake out the wrinkles, and then hang on hangers, on a rod. If you smooth things with your hands, no ironing is necessary.

    Unplug appliances, chargers, etc. when not in use. Those small things can add to your electric bill.

    We turn the thermostat to 60 degrees every night, after dinner. If we watch TV, we can use a throw, to keep warm. We sleep better in a cool room. The first one up turns the thermostat up to 68 degrees.

    In the summer, we open the windows, and doors early in the morning, to cool off the house, and when it starts to get warmer, we close up the house and close drapes, or shades. I set the air conditioner temperature at 78 in and some days it doesn't even turn on.

    I hope you will love your new place. I just got my Country Living Magazine, with your current house featured.
    SO cute. Will be looking forward to the decorating at your new home.

    nancyr

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  47. Oops. Make that Country Woman Magazine.

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you! However, if you are a no-reply commenter, I cannot reply via email to your questions or comments.

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