A Note on the Newsletters ...
Happy Assumption Day!

$ My Budgeting Notes $

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

So this morning I printed out all the comments in the Money Monday post and then sat down with a hi-lighter (and my coffee) and read. Thank you to everyone who took the time to add their suggestions and experiences - there were some wonderful tips! This is one of the blessings of the internet - being able to share ideas with each other in this way. :)

So here are my own thoughts, as scattered as they are ... and let me preface this by saying I am in no way any kind of budget guru. Quite the contrary, actually - as I have miles to go when it comes to being thrifty and clever with household expenses. Hence these Money $ Monday posts - so I can pick all your lovely brains! ;)

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As of now, I think the only area I've been working on diligently has been grocery shopping. Like many of you, I find menu planning and list-making enormously helpful with paring down the grocery bill. Coupon clipping - when done well - is also quite helpful as is buying in bulk/shopping sales.

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I do try to regulate our air conditioning by turning down the temperature gauge and, in general, using AC as sparingly as possible. But Earlybird is very sensitive to heat so I don't hesitate to turn it on as needed. Bill keeps bringing up the subject of "central air," but I can't seem to commit to the (enormously expensive) idea. I know it probably makes much more fiscal (and environmental) sense to upgrade to a more efficient system but, good golly, it's a huge initial investment!

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I must confess I have a real weakness when it comes to books. There's just something about books - new books especially! - that truly nourish me. But I try to temper my urges to buy books - they're expensive of course, but also, they take up a ton of space! (And homeschooling for 12+ years means my house is absolutely teeming with books!) So we do make great use of the library, especially the inter-library loan system. Nowadays when I hear about a new book I get myself on a waiting list at the library rather than rush out to buy it. And yet ... I still find myself at Barnes & Noble a couple of times a month ... even if it's just to browse. ;)

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I have a fairly large pantry downstairs so I can stock up on when things are on sale, but I'd also like to invest in a full freezer. (Chest or upright - opinions?) I love the idea of having a freezer stocked with seasonal produce, well-priced meats and homemade "convenience foods" ready to go. To date, however, I have not been very successful at freezing things, so I'll have to read up on that concept ... any suggestions?

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I do a lot of scratch cooking, and I'm working on reducing the amount of convenience food I use (prepared foods and packaged mixes, etc.). We rarely eat out - a few nice dinners on birthdays, our anniversary - but we do indulge in take-out more often than we should. That said, Bill takes a home-packed lunch to work everyday. :)

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I'm hardly a clothes hound - I still wear clothes that are YEARS old. But that's mostly because I "work at home" and honestly, who cares? I'm just glad they still fit, lol! I save my clothes dollars for special occasions i.e. a wedding or a special dinner for Bill's company. Then, admittedly, I splurge on something new. As for the kids - having three boys has been great. We just save things to pass down! (And we were very fortunate to inherit A LOT of great quality clothes from cousins when Bookworm was small. They've lasted well.)

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Laundry is a constant in any family's life, but I don't really save much in this area. For instance, I don't currently line-dry as many of you do. I would love to, but I'm leery of pollen. Has anyone dealt with this? If you have allergies in your household how do you keep your drying linens free of pollen?

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Phyllis just left a comment and mentioned another category to consider: gifts. Great idea. Phyllis! I tend to go overboard here, but I start every holiday season with the hope and intention to make as many of our gifts as we can. Not only are handmade gifts more frugal, but, more importantly, they're more meaningful. We get a little better with this every year, but invariably I spend the last couple of weeks before Christmas in a flurry of online ordering. This is something that needs closer attention ...

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Does anyone do a Christmas Club at their bank? (Do they even still do those? I remember my mum and grandmother did this.) We tend to overspend at the holidays but my aim is to each month have a little money set aside towards Christmas. I have yet to make that happen but it makes a lot of sense. Does anyone have a system for this?

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Well, I think that might be all I have time for right now ... but I am looking forward to talking more about this with you all ... please continue to leave your thoughts below as you have time. I will jump back in the conversation as soon as I can!

Blessings to you all on this day!

❤

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