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To the frugal and wise reader,
Usually, we modern people are looking for ways to save money. Ways to spend less, rub two thin dimes, a penny saved, and all that. While I am still averaging a penny a day with my ground-scans, I am always looking for new ways to put an additional coin or two in the ol' savings account.
This is the beginning of a four-part series on frugal beginnings in the kitchen. I am not a frugal living expert and I do not and never will claim to be - there are many far more knowledgeable than I (and I will provide additional resources in the final installment of this series). During and even after writing these posts, I debated inwardly about even publishing it because my knowledge is so small compared to many other wiser minds. But all of the observations that will follow were acquired through either shared wisdom of a multitude of counselors, or costly and painful self-education. I do not want anybody else to suffer if I can help it, and on top of that the following information has been so useful to me once I learned it that it would be selfish not to share with anybody who could possibly benefit!
There are a few basic principles to saving money in the home. The home is my domain - I will not be advising you on how to save money with the car or with the insurance company! And please, if you disagree with my opinions, do not be worried in the slightest - they are just my opinions,
Part one will cover the Guiding Principles, part two will lay down the Ground Rules, part three will introduce some General Ideas to put in place in your kitchen, and part four will put the rubber of idea to the pavement of Galvanized Action!
Saving Money: Part One - Guiding Principles
Spending time saving money instead of spending time making money can be a rewarding and enriching exchange, and surprisingly to some of us, it all seems to comes out even in the end. Instead of paying extra for pre-processed pre-fabricated food (which also tastes pre-digested, in my opinion), and paying for housekeepers and babysitters and day-cares and extra medications and doctor visits and drug rehab and new outfits and an extra car and additional gasoline and insurance and emergency food we need to buy right now and store-bought children and unhealthy options and take-out dinner and mental counseling, we women can sometimes make the liberating decision to stay at home and watch over things. As we were more or less designed to do; a beautiful, magnificent task that women are entrusted with. We weave the house from within and he shields it from outside. Unless home projects just don't inspire you (and truthfully, some of us aren't inspired by them and that is okay), sometimes it's better to save a penny than to earn a penny.
You already have powerful knowledge.
Somehow saving money and saving the planet are two ideas that seem to meet in the middle.
There is almost always an inextricable marriage of greens when it comes to these penny-pinching ideas - going green might just refer to the greenbacks you'll be keeping in your wallet when you whittle your life down to money-saving efficiency! If you're canning at home with reusable jars and lids, you've already drastically reduced your waste output - not only are you not throwing away empty metal cans or plastic from pre-packaged produce, but you are avoiding a dozen trips to the store (condensed into one trip to the farm for produce!), the production and manufacture of the cans and the canned goods, the trucking of said canned goods across country, and the waste generated thereby. If you're turning off the lights to save money, you're saving electricity. If you're making toothpaste or soap at home, you're cutting down on packaging and chemical production. If you're refilling empty canning jars with your dry-goods, you are cutting down on the production of new polypropylene plastic containers. Any time you reuse Old, you are saving on buying and producing New. Reap the double benefit of saving money and protecting God's resources.
Only you know what is important to you.
Not all of these ideas or personal opinion statements will make sense to every household. Maybe it's important for you to buy local but not organic, of maybe you'd prefer shipped-in but organic food, or maybe you just want grocery store produce instead processed chicken nuggets. Where one household might be able to save money by giving the two oldest kids a task of making bread twice a week, another kitchen might plumb go under with the same rule. Maybe you spent or "wasted" a little more than you planned because the kids helped out, and soap slopped over the edge of the pot or a pan of apples got scorched - but you got to spend time teaching and discipling, and the kids learned a lot. Don't lose sight of what is important to you! This idea will appear in Part Two as one of the ground rules, but it is worth re-stating over and over again: Never feel down on yourself for choosing what you choose. It's your house, you run it your way.
Now that we have these principles in mind, watch for part two: Ground Rules!