Friday’s Frugal Five

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day to Ya!  I haven’t had a proper corned beef dinner in years.  Perhaps after the MMGC is done I’ll plan one for April.

Here is Friday’s Frugal Five:    Again, I straight up stole the frugal five from Katy at Non Consumer Advocate…

  1. Did some bartering with a friend, I love bartering, especially when both parties are excited and pleased with the outcome.  I bartered a few items around the house that were collecting dust for me, but things my friend could get great use out of….  she bartered about 30lbs of grass fed beef.  SO EXCITED!!!  As far as red meat we are predominately a venison household, but I can’t wait for some awesome burgers on the grill this summer!  Now, I need to figure out what to do with the beef heart she threw in, but don’t worry, I’ll figure out something that is magically delicious.
  2. Balanced my cash envelopes and returned one of my milk jugs which netted me $2, but I purchased $7.50 in fresh dairy, so now my balance is $4.50 which I’m not gonna lie is causing me a bit of anxiety. Next week I will have 3 milk jugs to return and that will net me $6 and will bump me back up to $10.50  Woo Hoo living high on that hog!
  3. Took and inventory of the pantry to determine what we need to focus on in the gardens this year.  Green beans for sure.  Always need tomatoes, and I think I’m gonna try putting up peas and carrots this year.  And yes, that did remind me of Forest, Forest Gump.  Like peas and carrots…..  All my seeds should arrive in the next few days and I’ve already got my soil and recycled toilet paper and paper towel rolls ready.
  4. Used up the last of the squeezed, flattened, rolled and clipped toothpaste tube last night.  I think I actually heard it moaning from all the squeezing and twisting.   I always get a warm frugal feeling when I do that, I mean why waste it?
  5. Also snagged an antique shelf unit in the barter process, which is so pretty that I hope to get it set up in the kitchen / dinning / pantry area this weekend…. I have no idea where it’s going to go yet, but I’ll love it I know that.

It occurred to me that I haven’t been including my most proud frugal activity in my weekly Friday Frugal Five.  Quitting smoking!  April 23rd is the Z Man’s 1 year smoke free anniversary and I have been smoke free since January 4th.  This is not only saving us money, but saving our life…. you know provided we don’t get hit by a bus or something. 🙂

How was your frugal week?

Till Next Time,


Quit Smoking Tips and The Pickle Jar

It was about 4 years ago when I tried to quit smoking.  I tried and I failed.  Then a year or so later I tried to quit smoking again, and again I failed.  I’ve even blogged about it.  Over the past 4 years I’ve tried and failed at quitting many times.  I’ve used the patch, I’ve chewed the gum, I’ve tried cold turkey, I tried and tried and tried and failed every time.

It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I wish I had listened to my father when he said  “don’t ever start and you wont have to stop”

It is true, you have to want to quit and I remember someone saying that to me years ago after one of my failed attempts.  It pissed me off.   What did she know, she didn’t smoke, so she didn’t know how hard it is to quit.  But, she was right.  There is a lot of truth to what she said.  You have to want it more than wanting to smoke.  To the point that you are just really sick of smoking.  Just sick and tired of the smoke, the smell and the expense (how stupid is that).  Just flat out sick and tired of it!  Every smoker I know “wants to quit”   But it takes more than that because the pull is so strong, and the mind will play tricks on you, and the whole thing is a struggle.  Look up side effects of quitting smoking, the shit is real and it’s not easy!

Anyway…..   I got off on a little tangent there, sorry….   I had gotten to the point where I was enjoying lighting a cigarette and taking the first couple pulls and then it seemed like the cigarette smoked me.  I had become sick of smoking.  But it was the habit of smoking that was hard to quit.  I honestly did not think my car would start without lighting a cigarette.  Have a glass of wine, light a cigarette.  Cooking hasn’t been the easiest either, because I timed my cooking around how long it took to smoke a cigarette.  Put something in the oven, have a cigarette.  Boil some pasta, have a cigarette.  To my surprise my car did start without a smoke and now when I’m in the car I listen to books on cd to occupy the time.  I use the kitchen timer a lot more now when I’m cooking, and I’ve put down the wine glass because my taste for it has changed since quitting.  However, I do enjoy a ice cold Corona with lime now, but I’m watching my calories, so now I’m enjoying vodka and seltzer water with a squeeze of lime, 90 calories baby.

I honestly believe that I have kicked it this time.  So, what’s different this time?   The pickle jar is what’s different.  See, I had this large empty pickle jar in my basement.  I dusted it off and attached a weekly chart showing the amount of money I would save by not smoking.   Each week I have been putting that money in the pickle jar.  It is such a motivation for me to actually see that money saved.  If I hadn’t started the pickle jar I know the money would’ve gotten absorbed into other spending and I wouldn’t actually “see” the money.  I like money a lot more than I like smoking!



Sure, I still get a craving every now and then for a cigarette, but it passes quickly and when that happens I just say out loud “It’s Not An Option”   The Z Man quit smoking too and we are both breathing fresh air and loving it.

Yes the pickle jar still smells a bit like pickles, but that’s better than smelling like cigarette smoke!

Till Next Time,


Homestead Life

It has taken me a while to get comfortable with thinking of us as homesteaders.  The reason I suppose is because we both still work outside the home for our income, we also rely on electricity, gas and other technologies to live our daily lives.  I am writing a blog and taking pictures with a smart phone, lap top and sometimes even a tablet.  I have a hard time considering those things “homestead” materials.  But that just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

People sometimes ask if we are preppers in a tone that is to assume we are in some way preparing for a zombie apocalypse.  That’s the all or nothing way of thinking.  I think if we felt like we had to do any of this (to be prepared for something) it would take the joy out of it for us.

It’s really just a simple matter of the Z Man and I wanting to live a better life, eat “real” food and get away from all the consumerism, the waste and the Jones’s lifestyle.  We plant our gardens thinking about what we like to eat and how much we will need to get us through until next years planting season.  It’s really just for the food, that’s it.

And, I have to say that after listening to Michael Pollan’s book on cd  The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watching his television series Cooked, I have a new and better perspective of how I want to live and what I want to put in my body.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear what he has to say, then you really should.  It puts things in a very different perspective.

Here are a few of the things we do mainly because we like saving money.


  • We raise two good size gardens every year
  • We “put up” (canning, freezing or preserving) those garden harvests
  • We have chickens
  • We raise pigs (for food) and process them ourselves
  • We cook most all of our meals from scratch
  • We heat our home with a wood stove from wood that the Z Man cuts and chops himself
  • We fix or recycle as much and as often as we can
  • We use a clothes line to dry our clothes
  • We prefer to live a simple life
  • We spend less than we earn and we save as much as we can
  • We do our best not to waste
  • We reuse, repurpose and recycle
  • We often barter for services or goods when we can


No we don’t have a huge plot of land and we do pay a mortgage for the couple of acres we live on.  But, to be able do these things and live a simple life you don’t have to have acres and acres of land farming large plots of grains or livestock.  Homesteading is a lifestyle.  We try to live life as much as possible by the things we can do for ourselves.  There are no specific requirements to do that, other than to try to be as self sustainable as possible.  I said a simple life, that doesn’t mean “easy life”


We are looking forward to Spring.  Hopefully the weather will let up a bit because it has been a very wet fall and winter and the ground is saturated.  But with the first warm, dry days we will be playing in the dirt, getting the pig pen ready and hopefully starting our bee hives.  I’m really looking forward to that.

If this lifestyle that makes us happy also makes us homesteaders then I’m good with that.

Till Next Time,




Turn Your Waste Into Want

I used to do a post on Wednesday’s called Wednesday Waste.  But honestly I have gotten so particular about waste, I mean to the point where the Z Man gives me the side eye and just grins, and I know he is thinking “what is she doing now”.  It got to the point where I really didn’t have much to talk about in the waste posts, or so I thought.

Kitchen waste in the past year has minimized because of our chickens.  They get all of my vegetable scraps, well the ones that don’t get tossed into the freezer for soups.

Anything that doesn’t go to the chickens or freezer and isn’t meat goes into the compost pile.

Anything that is safely burnable goes into the kindling box.

However, as with most things, there is always room for improvement.  I know I’m doing better than I was a year ago, but honestly, I’m just scratching the surface compared to some.  Take a look at the picture below.  This is taken by another Non Consumer Advocate follower.  She turns her chicken feed bags into reusable tote bags.  This is genius!  I fell in love with this idea as soon as I saw it and immediately contacted Dawn and asked if I could share it.  She takes 50lb feed bags and turns them into something reusable instead of them ending up in the landfill.  I love it!

This idea gives full credit to thinking outside the box and that there is always room for improvement.  The point of my Wednesday Waste post was to cut back on waste, which was fine, but now my perspective has been changed, thanks to Dawn.

How can I turn my waste into a want?  That needs to be asked along with how can I keep this out of the trash.  After all, they say one mans trash is another mans treasure.

Thank you Dawn for allowing me to share your picture, and giving me a new perspective on waste.

Now, I’m off to feed the chickens and make some bags.

Till Next Time,