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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survivor Saturdays: Short on Dough? Make Your Own!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: Short on Dough? Make Your Own!

Some people have a misconception that being frugal is a bad thing. Knowing how to be prudent in spending equips us with the tools to roll with the punches. I didn’t grow up with everything I wanted, and I’m so glad my mother taught me to be resourceful. It came in handy. I considered it a challenge when my husband was a medical student not earning a paycheck, and I realized it as a blessing when we later had a house fire and had to get along with a lot less. Because I taught my children that living within their means is wise, I know they are prepared for any situation that comes their way. If you’re dealing with a tight budget, face your challenge head on. It can be fun! Here are some tips to getting more out of your budget.

1. Plant a small garden to save from paying for herbs and vegetables at the store.
Most herbs, tomatoes and lettuce are easy to grow and don’t take up much room. These make great gifts too, if you include a recipe or two with the bundle or plant.

My favorite recipe herb recipes:

Spiced Cracked Olives
Tomato Basil Pie

2. Make gifts rather than buy them.

Teachers love giant cookies. Sisters love photo albums. Mothers and Fathers love a day of service (help gardening, mass cooking, or housecleaning). As you get more confident, you can make more complicated gifts like soy lotions, aromatic candles, quilted items, spa booties, lingerie pillows, and so many other wonderful items.

Here are some of my favorite craft sites:



3. Make your own bread.

It’s much cheaper and so much better for you. Everyone loves the smell of homemade bread. You can buy larger quantities of yeast in a jar (name brand or generic). For recipes that call for a packet of yeast packet, use 2.25 Tbsp bulk yeast instead. Fleischmann’s, a popular maker of yeast, has a website of endless bread recipes at http://www.breadworld.com/. They even have a section on making breads that rise in the fridge all day and some that freeze and rise later. My favorite recipe is “You Are Special” bread, but they’re all good.

4. Cook ahead to avoid eating out.

You’ll save money buying in bulk and you’ll eat better. Brown hamburger and sausage separately and then freeze them in 1-2 lb portions. Bake several chicken breasts (boneless breasts at 400°F for 20 minutes) and then freeze them for later use. If you grill out, grill extra and freeze it in the same way. Then when you want to make sloppy joes, chili, poppy seed chicken, fajitas or whatever… you’re halfway there. Later as you have more time and money, freeze meals like lasagna, meatloaf, tiramisu, and other items you can pull out for unexpected company. Freeze them in throw away tins, but transfer the to nice pans for company.

5. If you’re planning to wear maternity clothes in the future, form a group of young moms who are willing to pool together maternity clothes.

Maternity clothes you fit into the first time, quite possibly won’t be the right size next time. Each pregnancy is different. By sharing a pool of clothes with other ladies, you have more selection, wider variety of sizes, and less cost. Be sure to set some rules up front. For example: participants cannot keep items they did not purchase, damaged items should be offered up to others in the group before discarding them, items cannot be loaned outside the group). I participated in a group of four women. We kept all of the clothes in bins and forwarded them to each other in a clean state. It was like Christmas every time because there were always a few new items. We tried to do the same thing with car seats and cribs, but safety standards changed so much that we always seemed to have to buy new ones.
6. Rotate toys in and out of storage to keep your children interested in then.

Don’t buy new toys just because your child is bored with them. Instead, rotate toy boxes so new items come out often. Most children have more toys than they know what to do with. Inevitably they get bored and ask to buy something new. Rather than buy new toys, pack up all but one box of toys. When your child says they’re bored, pack up the toys that are out and trade it in for a new one. If you have enough toys for 3-4 boxes, your child will have forgotten about a toy until the next time it shows up in a box. What fun! If you don’t have enough toys to circulate, find a friend who is willing to toy swap. I’ve even thrown toy swap parties, where every child brings a like new toy to trade with someone else.

Saving money can be fun and rewarding. Who knows... you may even enjoy it. I still make my own bread and grow my own herbs. I am also proud to say I can remodel a bath and fix a leaking pipe.

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Blogger Trisha said...

Good stuff! Thanks so much for sharing all of these ideas!

May 17, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

Thanks :)

May 17, 2009 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks for the great ideas! I like the maternity clothes/toy swapping ideas. I may have to talk to some of the moms in my play group about starting something similar.

May 17, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

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