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Joan in GE

Life skills - frugal home-making & home educating

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I've been reading little bits and pieces of this thread with great interest. Someday I'd like to sit down and read the whole discussion because I'm sure I could gleam a lot of great tips. I saw where some people were interested in establishing a pantry and planning meals from the pantry vs buying for a specific recipe. I do that and I thought I would share how I planned this week's meals.

 

I aim to spend about $100/wk for the 6 of us although sometimes our bill is a little higher. We do not eat much meat although I buy 2 dozen organic eggs from a local farmer at $4/dozen every other week. I try to spend half the budget on fresh food and half on my pantry. Our local newspaper has a very helpful blog that lists all the items on sale at the local grocery stores and drug stores. It also matches up coupons with the items already on sale. I look at this blog very carefully before I buy items for the pantry or staples such as milk, orange juice, and bread.

 

Monday- Pizza. I make my own crust. I make pepperoni for the kids and veggie for the adults (roasted red pepper, artichokes, and broccoli). I also make my own sauce. The only item to buy for this meal was mozzerella cheese.

 

Tuesday- Shepherd's Pie- I noticed I have a bag of mixed veggies in the freezer. I also have potatoes. The only thing I bought for this meal was ground turkey. I have 1/2 packet of onion soup mix. I'll use that tonight to flavor the ground turkey. I am very zealous about saving little bits of this and that as well as freezing leftovers. I'll also serve the coleslaw left over from Sunday.

 

Wednesday- Pinto beans, corn pudding, yellow squash, and broccoli. In the freezer I have 1/2 bag of corn and some frozen leftover corn chowder. I'll recycle these into corn pudding. I buy and store different types of dry beans just need to remember to soak the pintos on Tuesday night. I have a bag of squash in the freezer from the garden last summer and I have broccoli in the refrigerator from the night I fixed pizza. I need to buy nothing for this meal.

 

Thursday- I have a piece of leftover chicken in the freezer and a roast chicken carcass. I'll make chicken pot pie. For this meal I'll need to buy carrots, mushrooms, I'll also buy bacon bits and Russian dressing for the lettuce wedges thatI'll seve with this meal.

 

Friday- I have a 1/2 bag of frozen peas in the freezer. I think I'll make tuna casserole. I note that I'll need to buy tuna, potato chips, and egg noodles. I'll fix some sort of veggie too but will decide after seeing what's on sale this week.

 

I don't always plan my meals out of the freezer. I just noticed it was getting full and thought I would empty it out. I use other strategies such as I use powered milk for all my cooking and baking, Walt-mart sales powered buttermilk and I stock that too. I belong to a community garden that produces from late April- late September. I get tons of veggies from the garden and either freeze or dehydrate them. I order bulk beans and oatmeal once or twice a year over the internet. I limit my kids access to luxury items such as juice. They only get juice for breakfast. I "make do" as necessary. For example, on Friday night we had chicken quesadillas. I did not have enough cheese so I opened a box of mac and cheese and used the cheese in the foil packet. I saved the pasta and will make pasta salad at some point. I would like to suggest a cookbook called Supper's on the Table, Come Home by Rachel Masters. It's a good basic meal planning tool. You can get it at Rainbow Resource for about $15.00. Hope someone finds this interesting . I work part-time but am always trying to economize so that my kids can have a few extras like sports and summer camps and so I won't have to leave the home full time.

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There is a thread on the GB about a poster trying to break her twice daily habit of buying coffee at Starbucks. Within the thread, a link was given to an article in a recent NY Times magazine entitled How Companies Learn Your Secrets. Given the twists and turns of this thread, a look at how marketing influences how we spend money may be interesting. From the article:

 

 

 

The article focuses on how statistics are used by Target to fill consumer's mailboxes with coupons and ad flyers. A lot of people think that saving money is a good enough reason to buy something. But perhaps the better question is whether the money should even be spent at all.

 

The article may be a good reading assignment for teens along with follow up questions on their own or family spending habits.

 

That article is very eye-opening! I will be showing it to my family.

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Once again I have to cut lots of useful ideas to fit in a post - but I'm very grateful (just out a lot these days):)

 

This thread has taken some interesting twists and turns, often in light of culture. On that note, may we discuss refrigerators? :D

 

snip...

I have a favorite pair of Austrian wool slippers that acquired a hole in the toe. I realized that it was going to be more of a pain in the neck to try to find the same slipper (since I really like these) than just repair the one that needed mending. I cut some wool felt appliques which I stitched on. I now have slippers that look like they came with decorations!

 

Your slippers sound cute! About fridges, my oldest got very power conscious about 5 years ago and insisted that we turn off our 2nd fridge (where's that blush smiley?)...And to tell you the truth, we managed fine without it even when those older boys were eating a ton. (But I don't have 8 either)

 

One big factor is the size of containers: In Germany, there are no gallon containers of anything, because no German fridge has room to store a gallon jug; beverages/milk come in liters (which is about one quart). Here, any smaller size is not economical to buy, so we get gallons.

 

Speaking of energy use: way ahead of the fridge, by far the largest user of electrical energy is air conditioning, followed by the water heater.

 

I was always wondering why milk tends to just come in liters - now I know...

 

Clothes dryers are also right up there.
We hardly dry anything in the dryer. I remember the dryer thread on the General Board a while back...

 

so I can snap up that really pretty and unusual sweater for dd (because the next time she really needs a sweater, the selection may be limited to an ugly, trendy acrylic thing...) when I see it at the thrift store.

snip

I wonder if I can talk my dh into letting me hang it from the LR ceiling - it's the warmest room in the house....

snip

Did you know you can make your own laundry detergent? Saves a ton of money for us.

 

Colleen I thought of you this evening while stir frying some cabbage to which I added some extra chopped nuts that were sitting around not getting used.:001_smile:

 

How do you make your own laundry detergent?

And I'm going to see if I can find a picture of some of the old Swiss houses on exhibition in this house park where they have all kinds of real life situations set up - one of which is clothes hanging on strings across the kitchen towards the ceiling....The kitchen had a big ceramic style wood burning heater in it...

 

I would love to see your patchwork curtains.

 

Actually, I'd like to see them too. I can see the practicality of patchwork for using material and old clothes...

 

(and I think running a fridge is cheaper than the cost of gas driving my big van back and forth to the grocery store! ;))

 

But, hey, when I watch house hunters international, I think there is no way I would want to sardine my family into those houses (or more typically apts). I like space. I like my large fridge. I like my large stove. I wish I had a bigger oven! and don't even think about messing w/my mega size washer and dryer. :lol:

 

You have a point about gas...

 

Your post reminds of the days when three or four teen boys (between ages thirteen and fifteen, growth years) would come over to play games.

 

Yes when my son was biking 80 km a day for a bike messaging job, he ate a ton of food....

 

I knew a family of teenaged boys who used a padlock on their refrigerator. :tongue_smilie:
I sometimes thought of that for the storeroom...

 

It is hard to find economical' date=' small sizes of food packages in the US. And in most locales, you will be stuffing everything into a car.[/quote']

 

It is curious how the shopping experience is so different in the US. I love my small foodstore here with not so many processed foods...It makes it much quicker to get through....

 

Joan - When my dd's eczema was acting up badly especially in the middle of the winter, I started using the "clear and free" laundry detergents and washing in cold water and sometimes running the clothes through a 2nd rinse. I hung them in the sun if possible. It helped but, not as much as a chlorinated swimming pool on a sunny day slathered with coppertone baby sunblock!!! or some time at the beach also with the sunblock.

 

BTW - just shocked a guy at Sears by insisting that we only need an 18.2 - sized fridge. It really is enough for us.

 

Thanks for that! My daughter's skin is also very sensitive, but I never thought about two rinses...

 

There is a thread on the GB about a poster trying to break her twice daily habit of buying coffee at Starbucks. Within the thread, a link was given to an article in a recent NY Times magazine entitled How Companies Learn Your Secrets. Given the twists and turns of this thread, a look at how marketing influences how we spend money may be interesting. From the article:

 

The article focuses on how statistics are used by Target to fill consumer's mailboxes with coupons and ad flyers. A lot of people think that saving money is a good enough reason to buy something. But perhaps the better question is whether the money should even be spent at all.

 

The article may be a good reading assignment for teens along with follow up questions on their own or family spending habits.

 

Jane you read my mind almost. I've just stopped drinking coffee and was wanting to ask what people do.....8FTH I've been making myself hot blended oatmeal milk shakes in the morning, but the afternoon is missing my cup of coffee or tea...Still, I think it is dehydrating and I'm not sure about all the components of coffee...

 

I aim to spend about $100/wk for the 6 of us although sometimes our bill is a little higher. We do not eat much meat although I buy 2 dozen organic eggs from a local farmer at $4/dozen every other week. I try to spend half the budget on fresh food and half on my pantry. Our local newspaper has a very helpful blog that lists all the items on sale at the local grocery stores and drug stores. It also matches up coupons with the items already on sale. I look at this blog very carefully before I buy items for the pantry or staples such as milk, orange juice, and bread.

 

Monday- Pizza. I make my own crust. I make pepperoni for the kids and veggie for the adults (roasted red pepper, artichokes, and broccoli). I also make my own sauce. The only item to buy for this meal was mozzerella cheese.

 

Tuesday- Shepherd's Pie- I noticed I have a bag of mixed veggies in the freezer. I also have potatoes. The only thing I bought for this meal was ground turkey. I have 1/2 packet of onion soup mix. I'll use that tonight to flavor the ground turkey. I am very zealous about saving little bits of this and that as well as freezing leftovers. I'll also serve the coleslaw left over from Sunday.

 

Wednesday- Pinto beans, corn pudding, yellow squash, and broccoli. In the freezer I have 1/2 bag of corn and some frozen leftover corn chowder. I'll recycle these into corn pudding. I buy and store different types of dry beans just need to remember to soak the pintos on Tuesday night. I have a bag of squash in the freezer from the garden last summer and I have broccoli in the refrigerator from the night I fixed pizza. I need to buy nothing for this meal.

 

Thursday- I have a piece of leftover chicken in the freezer and a roast chicken carcass. I'll make chicken pot pie. For this meal I'll need to buy carrots, mushrooms, I'll also buy bacon bits and Russian dressing for the lettuce wedges thatI'll seve with this meal.

 

Friday- I have a 1/2 bag of frozen peas in the freezer. I think I'll make tuna casserole. I note that I'll need to buy tuna, potato chips, and egg noodles. I'll fix some sort of veggie too but will decide after seeing what's on sale this week.

 

I don't always plan my meals out of the freezer. I just noticed it was getting full and thought I would empty it out. I use other strategies such as I use powered milk for all my cooking and baking, Walt-mart sales powered buttermilk and I stock that too. I belong to a community garden that produces from late April- late September. I get tons of veggies from the garden and either freeze or dehydrate them. I order bulk beans and oatmeal once or twice a year over the internet. I limit my kids access to luxury items such as juice. They only get juice for breakfast. I "make do" as necessary. For example, on Friday night we had chicken quesadillas. I did not have enough cheese so I opened a box of mac and cheese and used the cheese in the foil packet. I saved the pasta and will make pasta salad at some point. I would like to suggest a cookbook called Supper's on the Table, Come Home by Rachel Masters. It's a good basic meal planning tool. You can get it at Rainbow Resource for about $15.00. Hope someone finds this interesting . I work part-time but am always trying to economize so that my kids can have a few extras like sports and summer camps and so I won't have to leave the home full time.

 

Thank you for all those details!

 

Joan

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I was always wondering why milk tends to just come in liters - now I know...

 

I think the main reason is not just the size of the fridge, but that people traditionally shop on foot. You will not want to carry the milk home by the gallon, because one gallon weighs eight pounds.

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Colleen I thought of you this evening while stir frying some cabbage to which I added some extra chopped nuts that were sitting around not getting used.:001_smile:

 

How do you make your own laundry detergent?

 

Yay about the creative stir fry! :D

 

Laundry detergent - I put the following in a five-gallon bucket:

 

- half a grated bar of Sunlight laundry soap (I think people in the States use Fels Naptha? Not sure what you would have in Geneva - but it's a bar of laundry soap - the kind you can use to spot clean)

 

Pour boiling water over it. Stir to dissolve.

 

Add about a cup of Borax and a cup of washing soda. Stir to dissolve.

 

Fill the rest of the bucket up with hot water (doesn't need to be boiling this time). Stir. Let sit for 24 hours. Break up the mass with some kind of stick or whisk. It ends up being a sloppy goo. You put a cup or two into your washing machine while the water is running - then add your clothes. I keep an old coffee mug near the bucket, in order to scoop out the detergent. Also, don't cover the bucket, or the detergent might develop mold spots. I just keep the bucket on the floor near the washer.

 

And I'm going to see if I can find a picture of some of the old Swiss houses on exhibition in this house park where they have all kinds of real life situations set up - one of which is clothes hanging on strings across the kitchen towards the ceiling....The kitchen had a big ceramic style wood burning heater in it...

 

My mother used to do that with a wood stove. We don't have a wood stove; that's why clothes take longer to dry here - we have hot water baseboard heating, so it's moist heat. Still, a ceiling hung somethingorother in the biggest and warmest room would help...if only dh would agree.

 

I would love to see your patchwork curtains.

 

Actually, I'd like to see them too.

 

The pics are all sideways - I don't know how to fix that. Anyway, the first one is patchwork, in the kitchen. I just took two fabrics (sheets!) I liked, and put them together. The second one is made up of three different fabrics (sheets or sheet scraps from previous projects again) that had similar colours. It is 70s-ish, and that's the curtain I thought friends would think was weird - but I have gotten many compliments on it. The third is just a portion of yet another sheet - I found two of these at the thrift store, and they make perfect curtains for my astronomy-loving son's bedroom. The fourth is yet another sheet-turned-curtain - my friend knew I loved bright colours in cotton, so she scooped up two of these for me from the thrift store. The fifth picture is a pillowcase made from yet another sheet. Oh, and my current avatar shows yet another curtain made from a thrift-store cotton sheet - how cool is that!!! I just adore bright colours and designs, so I scoop these up when I see them, which is rarely. :D

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There is a thread on the GB about a poster trying to break her twice daily habit of buying coffee at Starbucks. Within the thread, a link was given to an article in a recent NY Times magazine entitled How Companies Learn Your Secrets. Given the twists and turns of this thread, a look at how marketing influences how we spend money may be interesting. From the article:

 

 

 

The article focuses on how statistics are used by Target to fill consumer's mailboxes with coupons and ad flyers. A lot of people think that saving money is a good enough reason to buy something. But perhaps the better question is whether the money should even be spent at all.

 

The article may be a good reading assignment for teens along with follow up questions on their own or family spending habits.

 

Just read that article. :glare:Someone who knows me that well and looks for that much info on me should be buying me dinner.

 

And, I'm raising my hand as an American that has two fridges. One in the pantry and the other in the kitchen. Both are small, hence the need for two. When all the kids hit, and I couldn't make it to the store but once a week, if that, we started having to store foods. And, I grew up with my parents buying half a cow and stocking the cellar and not having to shop at all (because there was a farm across the street and I would run and get a couple of gallons of milk when needed). So between the cow in the freezer and their garden and the farm across the street-we never went to the store.

 

I have a few rules for our house. Use it up or wear it out, make do or do without. It fosters a lot of creativity. My second rule is that if I don't bring it into the house, I don't have to throw it out. When it's on sale, and I buy it, I'm not saving anything if I don't *need* it. Now, there are certain things I stock up on--toilet paper, shampoo, and pantry staples. But other than that, it's an as needed basis.

 

I don't think I could not have the two.

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I've been reading little bits and pieces of this thread with great interest. Someday I'd like to sit down and read the whole discussion because I'm sure I could gleam a lot of great tips. I saw where some people were interested in establishing a pantry and planning meals from the pantry vs buying for a specific recipe. I do that and I thought I would share how I planned this week's meals.

 

Thank you for sharing how a week's worth of meals looks at your house. That is very similar to how I plan. Unfortunately, it doesn't always pan out that way, especially if I'm really tired and just want sandwiches. My dh is very flexible about meals, and is also sweet to treat the family to a meal out on Friday night when we're all beyond tired! :D

 

I'd love to hear about your tuna casserole recipe. I tried making tuna patties in place of salmon patties one night, as we had no cans of salmon left in the pantry. They weren't very good. :eek: Needless to say, I haven't tried that one again...

 

I also use powdered milk, but mostly for stretching the milk we drink. I discovered the NIDO brand this past summer, and it seems to have a better taste than the usual powdered brands.

 

I try to plan a trip to the salvage grocery store about once a month. I've found so many bargains there. I stocked up on olive oil when it was on sale there for $2/500 ml bottles. Sometimes they have Starbucks coffee for $1 a bag, and I buy about 6 bags or more. I've bought chocolate chips for 10 cents a 12 oz. bag there once when they were trying to clear their inventory. It's definitely worth looking for one of these stores.

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The pics are all sideways - I don't know how to fix that. Anyway, the first one is patchwork, in the kitchen. I just took two fabrics (sheets!) I liked, and put them together. The second one is made up of three different fabrics (sheets or sheet scraps from previous projects again) that had similar colours. It is 70s-ish, and that's the curtain I thought friends would think was weird - but I have gotten many compliments on it. The third is just a portion of yet another sheet - I found two of these at the thrift store, and they make perfect curtains for my astronomy-loving son's bedroom. The fourth is yet another sheet-turned-curtain - my friend knew I loved bright colours in cotton, so she scooped up two of these for me from the thrift store. The fifth picture is a pillowcase made from yet another sheet. Oh, and my current avatar shows yet another curtain made from a thrift-store cotton sheet - how cool is that!!! I just adore bright colours and designs, so I scoop these up when I see them, which is rarely. :D

 

Love your designs! Thanks for sharing them!

 

Last week, the thrift store had a large quilt top made from jeans as patchwork. I looked long and hard, but didn't buy it. I may go tomorrow and see if it's still there. It would be great for curtains!

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I am wondering: do you consider homemade laundry detergent really worth the trouble (plus storing a five gallon bucket that takes up space), considering how little money is saved?

I always wanted to know how much we spend on detergent, so I labeled the $8 (including tax; it is actually a bit less)-Aldi-detergent jug with the opening date. That was in mid-November, it is still at least a third full. So I am looking at less than $2 per month (I use as prescribed, with only a quarter of a cap per load).

Seeing it's this little, I do not think it would be a good use of my time and of storage space.

What am I missing?

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I like Alexandra Stoddard's book, Living a Beautiful Life, becasue it talks about rituals and creating beauty.

 

Thank you so much for this recommendation! I grew up in a family who were wonderful with people, but not so creative in the homemaking department. This book is seriously changing my life and I have de-cluttered and re-decorated so many spaces in the last week! I really see my home differently now. Thank you!

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Colleen et al;

In the quintessence of frugality I made 3 dresses and a skirt out of a set of my dd's old drapes!!!! Think Scarlet O'Hara and Fraulein Maria!!! Actually the fabric was a v. pretty damask that did not go with their room any more. It was like playing "project runway" for a good 2 months. We got many complements on them (though we never wore them at the same time). I've got some old living room drapes (when we bought the house 15yrs. ago, there were drapes everywhere) and I'm thinking of making some pants similar to what they are showing in Vogue. Hope Tim Gunn can stop by to guide me!

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Colleen et al;

In the quintessence of frugality I made 3 dresses and a skirt out of a set of my dd's old drapes!!!! Think Scarlet O'Hara and Fraulein Maria!!! Actually the fabric was a v. pretty damask that did not go with their room any more. It was like playing "project runway" for a good 2 months. We got many complements on them (though we never wore them at the same time). I've got some old living room drapes (when we bought the house 15yrs. ago, there were drapes everywhere) and I'm thinking of making some pants similar to what they are showing in Vogue. Hope Tim Gunn can stop by to guide me!

 

 

Pictures please! :001_smile: And I'd love to see what happens when Von Trapp meets Vogue...

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I am wondering: do you consider homemade laundry detergent really worth the trouble (plus storing a five gallon bucket that takes up space), considering how little money is saved?

I always wanted to know how much we spend on detergent, so I labeled the $8 (including tax; it is actually a bit less)-Aldi-detergent jug with the opening date. That was in mid-November, it is still at least a third full. So I am looking at less than $2 per month (I use as prescribed, with only a quarter of a cap per load).

Seeing it's this little, I do not think it would be a good use of my time and of storage space.

What am I missing?

 

You are missing differing factors between our situations. One seems to be the difference in cost of detergent; the other seems to be difference in storage space available. And I think you work for pay as a professor, whereas I don't work for pay at this time outside my home, so we also have differing time priorities.

 

I don't even remember how much the least expensive store-bought detergent would cost in my area. I just remember that when I calculated how much I'd save by making my own, it was a LOT of money.

 

It takes me all of 15 minutes to grate soap and put the mixture together. Then another 10 for the time to break up the gel after the mixture sets. The five-gallon bucket's worth lasts for about three weeks.

 

I do have space on the floor by my washing machine, so space is not an issue for me.

 

I once also calculated out the worth of my time in making it, taking into account the price of store-bought, the cost of ingredients for homemade, and the time it took me to make it. My time invested into it reaped an hourly wage that would be more than a job I could have gone out and done for pay. I just wish I could remember what that wage was.

 

This is one of the things I learned from the Tightwad Gazette - you have to cost out everything for your own situation - what works for one might not work the same way for another. For me, during the time I am home educating my kids, I usually reap a higher "hourly wage" by doing many things myself rather than buying or hiring out, than by going out to a job for pay.

 

So, yes, at this time in my life, it is very worth the approx. half-hour per month and the cubic centimetres of space.

 

Colleen et al;

In the quintessence of frugality I made 3 dresses and a skirt out of a set of my dd's old drapes!!!! Think Scarlet O'Hara and Fraulein Maria!!! Actually the fabric was a v. pretty damask that did not go with their room any more. It was like playing "project runway" for a good 2 months. We got many complements on them (though we never wore them at the same time).

 

I love stories like this! I have made several dresses for dd out of my sheets, too. And someone once called me Fraulein Maria. :D

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Cooking from scratch well is the best lesson that I think kids can learn on frugality. And it helps with weight management and environmental waste. Make sure all your kids leave home able to cook well.

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Thank you so much for this recommendation! I grew up in a family who were wonderful with people, but not so creative in the homemaking department. This book is seriously changing my life and I have de-cluttered and re-decorated so many spaces in the last week! I really see my home differently now. Thank you!

 

That is so cool!:001_smile: You might also like Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homesmaking.

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I think multi- generational living is a huge missing component here in America.

 

Would it really work in this land of independence, personal space and freedom of speech?

 

I can't imagine living with my mil. I love her, she loves me, but we have VERY different values (she thinks less is more re: kids, homeschooling enslaves women etc.). The fact that we live several hours away is a huge blessing.

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Would it really work in this land of independence, personal space and freedom of speech?

 

I can't imagine living with my mil. I love her, she loves me, but we have VERY different values (she thinks less is more re: kids, homeschooling enslaves women etc.). The fact that we live several hours away is a huge blessing.

 

I think we underestimate how many multi-generational families there are in the US. I have at least three relatives who lived for decades as adults with their elderly parents. More and more young kids are being raised by their grandparents or aunts/uncles. More and more adult children are sharing space with their parents.

 

We've stayed for months at a time with my inlaws when we were in between homes. But a week with my parents would be the limit.

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Fridge-free, by our very own Rosie_0801: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114576&highlight=refrigerator

 

More fridge-free (esp. look for Rosie's thoughts): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224'>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224'>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224'>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224

 

The first three books listed here are books I really enjoyed. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224

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I think we underestimate how many multi-generational families there are in the US. I have at least three relatives who lived for decades as adults with their elderly parents. More and more young kids are being raised by their grandparents or aunts/uncles. More and more adult children are sharing space with their parents.

 

We've stayed for months at a time with my inlaws when we were in between homes. But a week with my parents would be the limit.

 

I think first and even 2nd generation immigrants, with the expectation, and cultural morays - yes.

And, we've stayed with my in laws between cross country moves- several weeks at a time when the kids were little. And, in fact, my in-laws are now raising one of their grandsons. That being said, my sil- (mom of the grandson, who also lives with them) is not treated as the Mom. In fact, she is discounted as the Mom.

I've had adult kids live at home way beyond expected cultural norms. BUT, it is difficult to work out expectations, esp if you have strong willed or oppositional personalities at work, and given the larger societies constant drum beat of entitlement. I'm not saying it's impossible at all. I'm just saying it would be challenging...

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You will not want to carry the milk home by the gallon, because one gallon weighs eight pounds.

I have hauled groceries on foot to hotels and the bag gets heavy very quickly. Good point.

 

Laundry detergent - I put the following in a five-gallon bucket:

 

The pics are all sideways - I don't know how to fix that.

 

I just adore bright colours and designs, so I scoop these up when I see them, which is rarely. :D

 

Thanks for the detergent recipe....I'll have to see what kind of soap there is around...seems like I've seen something like it...

 

Cute patchworks and now that I know what your avatar is I can see what you mean about liking bright colors!

 

I have a few rules for our house. Use it up or wear it out, make do or do without.

Very interesting rules. If you start them out like that, it is probably much easier....

 

I'd love to hear about your tuna casserole recipe.

I would too. I tried a tuna casserole in the Crock pot and the flavor was ok but the noodles too mushy....When tunafish isn't handled right, it can taste pretty bad...

Cooking from scratch well is the best lesson that I think kids can learn on frugality. And it helps with weight management and environmental waste. Make sure all your kids leave home able to cook well.

Here we almost always cook from scratch. I can't say it helps with the weight management for me, but my kids do now how to cook. Ds3 even cooks for his apt. mate...

 

I think multi- generational living is a huge missing component here in America.

 

Would it really work in this land of independence, personal space and freedom of speech?

 

I can't imagine living with my mil. I love her, she loves me, but we have VERY different values (she thinks less is more re: kids, homeschooling enslaves women etc.). The fact that we live several hours away is a huge blessing.

 

I think we underestimate how many multi-generational families there are in the US. I have at least three relatives who lived for decades as adults with their elderly parents. More and more young kids are being raised by their grandparents or aunts/uncles. More and more adult children are sharing space with their parents.

 

Thinking about this multigenerational living....do you think that part of the problem is that we have come to have our own minds more in recent generations? Eg, deciding to home educate has sometimes been taken very badly by in-laws and some people have suffered a lot in their hands. Then we have all these 'how-to' books which we listen to instead of our parents...

 

Also I think it depends on how directive the in-law is....some are so insistent that their way is best that it can be exhausting....

 

But from what I've seen about the current young adults, lots are moving back with their parents because they can't afford to live on their own, have student debts, etc...

 

Fridge-free, by our very own Rosie_0801: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114576&highlight=refrigerator

 

More fridge-free (esp. look for Rosie's thoughts): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224'>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224'>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224'>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224

 

The first three books listed here are books I really enjoyed. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+living+guide+luhrs&sprefix=simple+living+guide%2Caps%2C224

 

Thanks for looking those up. The books look good too....

 

I've had adult kids live at home way beyond expected cultural norms.

My oldest ended up staying at home longer because housing is just so expensive in this city....I was really glad he did because his childhood was very rough and so it gave us 'healing' time...And he left on a good note....

 

Joan

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Thinking about this multigenerational living....do you think that part of the problem is that we have come to have our own minds more in recent generations? Eg, deciding to home educate has sometimes been taken very badly by in-laws and some people have suffered a lot in their hands. Then we have all these 'how-to' books which we listen to instead of our parents...

 

 

I think the main deterrent to multigenerational living is the mobility in this country. In my home country, many people stay in the cities where they grow up, or move short distances. Here, a cross country move for a job is a normal thing to do.

When I grew up, my grandmother lived with us. My sister still lives very close to my parents and they do a lot together, and my niece spends a lot of time there. But we moved five thousand miles away just in order to have a job. In some fields, it is impossible to choose a location first and then find a job there - you have to move where the job is. And if the parent generation is still working, there is no way they can move with their kids.

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My dh and I have been talking about this A LOT. We have always been a highly mobile family. The longest we have ever lived in a single house is 4 yrs w/2 being normal earlier in dh's career. We have lived internationally due to dh's job. B/c of all of our moving and the distances, my kids do not have close relationships w/any of their cousins/aunts/uncles/grandparents/etc.

 

We even moved close to 10 hrs away from our oldest ds when he was a college freshman. His wife is very close to her family and she does not want to move far from them. We are actively trying to move that direction b/c they are now expecting our 2nd grandchild and we don't want our own family's relationships to replicate what our constant moving did to our kids' relationships with the extended family. Goodness, our youngest dd and our granddaughter are only 17 mos apart in age. But, right now we live close to 15 hrs apart......there is no way to have a close relationship at that distance.

 

So, rethinking things, maybe upwardly mobile career decisions aren't all they are cracked up to be b/c, when all is said and done, in the end all you really have are relationships. Unfortunately, it took us most of our adulthood to recognize that.

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Here, a cross country move for a job is a normal thing to do.

 

Quite true. And Europe is so affected by the extreme cultural and language differences that people still tend to at least stay in their countries....That said, of the Swiss I do know who are quite close to their parents, it seems like their parents don't live with them, even when one becomes widowed...they don't want them to have to be alone when they go out...

 

when all is said and done, in the end all you really have are relationships. Unfortunately, it took us most of our adulthood to recognize that.

 

Why does it take us so long to understand and appreciate what is most important?

 

ETA - That is actually a great point for frugality - if the focus is on relationships instead of entertainment, you will save a lot of money....

 

Joan

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For those who appreciate Amy D's universal recipes, I believe this book covers such things: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.

 

I have to tell you that I gave this to my oldest for Christmas and he just got back to me telling me how he loves it and that the bread recipe is 'Magical'!

 

We also gave him a digital scales so that was perfect together.

 

Thanks again for the suggestion!

Joan

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I was re-reading this thread and remembered something I read on another thread recently about what temperature to set the heating at. From what I could tell, it was considered low to set the thermostat at 60F overnight. I don't know why this is the case, but I had wondered why people needed to refrigerate everything in winter, and now I know! It's actually not refrigerator temperature in the house, lol.

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I was re-reading this thread and remembered something I read on another thread recently about what temperature to set the heating at. From what I could tell, it was considered low to set the thermostat at 60F overnight. I don't know why this is the case, but I had wondered why people needed to refrigerate everything in winter, and now I know! It's actually not refrigerator temperature in the house, lol.

 

 

60F during the day is what our house was when I was growing up :-) which is why we were frequently sitting in front of the hot air vent or in front of the open gas stove....

 

We now have it at 16C (60.8F) at night and keep veggies in the garage in winter...But what is your temp during the day? Our veggies would go bad during the day....

 

Joan

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Our day time temperatures get up to the 40's in summer, but keeping produce isn't a huge issue because no one wants to cook or eat anyway. Winter temperatures during the day probably hang around 3-6C.

 

Unless it is the middle of summer, soft veggies like spinach will last two or three days unrefrigerated before they go slimy. So I've found, anyway.

 

Why do people heat their houses overnight? What are the night time temperatures? Well below 0C?

Obviously that depends where people live, but it surprises me that anyone is willing to pay for heating while they are under doonas unless it is well below 0C! But if I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do after putting a heater in the bathroom would be to put heaters in the bedrooms, so I'm probably just jealous. :p

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Our day time temperatures get up to the 40's in summer, but keeping produce isn't a huge issue because no one wants to cook or eat anyway. Winter temperatures during the day probably hang around 3-6C.

 

Unless it is the middle of summer, soft veggies like spinach will last two or three days unrefrigerated before they go slimy. So I've found, anyway.

 

Why do people heat their houses overnight? What are the night time temperatures?

 

I remember learning that the colder veggies are kept (above freezing), the longer they kept their vitamins...Don't know if that is true or not. But when they are kept colder, they certainly last longer....

 

I'm sure US temps are all over the map. Here it hovers around freezing...

 

It is a good question about heating houses overnight though!

 

How can I justify it? Having get up at 6:15 to bring ds to the train station...It is so hard to get out of bed when it's cold...

 

Oh yes, things hung up with sticky tack start falling off the walls when it gets colder....

 

Well, those don't sound like such good reasons actually - I'll have to think about this....Thanks for raising the question!

 

Joan

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I remember learning that the colder veggies are kept (above freezing), the longer they kept their vitamins...Don't know if that is true or not. But when they are kept colder, they certainly last longer....

 

True, but I'm not sure how many are left by the time the veggies get to us anyway.

 

How can I justify it? Having get up at 6:15 to bring ds to the train station...It is so hard to get out of bed when it's cold...

 

Oh, isn't that the truth! Ex used to have his heater plugged into a timer. Could you do that?

 

Oh yes, things hung up with sticky tack start falling off the walls when it gets colder....

 

Is that so? I've never noticed that before. Maybe -3 isn't cold enough for that to happen, lol. It falls off when it gets too hot.

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Is that so? I've never noticed that before. Maybe -3 isn't cold enough for that to happen, lol. It falls off when it gets too hot.

 

Hmmm...well it wasn't -3 here - so maybe it is due to something else and I've been presuming it was cold temps when we'd turn down the heat while traveling....but not to -3...I'll have to re-evaluate that...maybe it depends on the brand?

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http://www.amazon.ca/Wheres-Mom-Now-That-Need/dp/0961539011

 

I had this book when I first moved out, frugal recipes, homekeeping tips, homemade cleaning solutions etc. I am planning on getting a copy of it for my kids in the next 1-2 years.

 

The rest of frugal living, cooking etc comes from growing up in this house. If they do what I do now, they will have no problem living frugally lol

 

Ds14 tells me at least once a week.his dad is a good cook, but that I am better because I can make even the cheapest cuts of meat etc taste good. His dad is one to never save leftovers, cooks the highest cuts of meats etc. I can take the crappiest cuts, soup bones, left overs etc and make a good nutritious meal for them.

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http://www.amazon.ca...d/dp/0961539011

 

I had this book when I first moved out, frugal recipes, homekeeping tips, homemade cleaning solutions etc. I am planning on getting a copy of it for my kids in the next 1-2 years.

 

The rest of frugal living, cooking etc comes from growing up in this house. If they do what I do now, they will have no problem living frugally lol

 

Ds14 tells me at least once a week.his dad is a good cook, but that I am better because I can make even the cheapest cuts of meat etc taste good. His dad is one to never save leftovers, cooks the highest cuts of meats etc. I can take the crappiest cuts, soup bones, left overs etc and make a good nutritious meal for them.

 

 

What a funny title!

 

So are the recipes for cheap cuts of meat in that?

 

Joan

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What a funny title!

 

So are the recipes for cheap cuts of meat in that?

 

Joan

 

Yes. It is written for the college student away from home living on their own for the first time. Everything is for cheap and easy. It is written with the thoughts that these students never learned any of this stuff at home, and that they are dirt poor.

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These are some great tips! Another thing to remember is to teach her you don't want to be penny wise but pound foolish. You not only have to save on the everyday household expenses, but the big expenses. Teach her how to read an auto insurance policy and a homeowners policy. Teach her the basics about income taxes and policies that can help her save. Teach her the basics on home buying, mortgages, car buying, consumer debt vs. paying with cash, health insurance, making and living within a budget. There are probably other big spending categories that I've not addressed, but these have been part of what I've tried to teach my kids.

 

One other thing: expectations. I think one reason why it's *so hard to live on one income today* is that our expectations have risen dramatically. A starter home nowadays has multiple bedrooms and bathrooms and "standard" features like granite in the kitchen with gourmet appliances. We expect to go out to eat, go on vacations, buy lattes while we're shopping, throw hugely themed birthday parties, etc. So expectations are huge! I am trying to convince my oldest that he and his new wife should remain a one-car family as long as possible, even though they've been given a car. The insurance and upkeep doubles their car expense. (Please don't quote this! I'll come back and delete later.)

 

Great ideas here,

Lisa

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I have been reading the book Pound Foolish, which is a rather scathing critique of "financial experts." Not really filled with tips, but more why what we're often told isn't really that helpful. Or in some cases, is harmful.

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Why do people heat their houses overnight? What are the night time temperatures? Well below 0C?

 

 

We turn the heat down over night - but if we did not heat at all, it would be impossibly cold in the morning and take forever to warm up. Outside temps are currently -5C to +2C.

As it is, keeping the main level at 65F (18 C ) over night has the upstairs where the kids sleep at 50+F (10+C). Which is already pretty chilly. Getting up, eating breakfast and starting school work in a cold house is not fun.

 

My first apartment had one coal stove that had to be heated and that took 4 hours to begin radiating warmth; kitchen and bedroom were without heating and around freezing in the winter. Having a heated house is a luxury that I very much appreciate and consider something well worth spending money on.

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Our day time temperatures get up to the 40's in summer, but keeping produce isn't a huge issue because no one wants to cook or eat anyway. Winter temperatures during the day probably hang around 3-6C.

 

Unless it is the middle of summer, soft veggies like spinach will last two or three days unrefrigerated before they go slimy. So I've found, anyway.

 

Why do people heat their houses overnight? What are the night time temperatures? Well below 0C?

Obviously that depends where people live, but it surprises me that anyone is willing to pay for heating while they are under doonas unless it is well below 0C! But if I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do after putting a heater in the bathroom would be to put heaters in the bedrooms, so I'm probably just jealous. :p

 

 

In the winter our daytime temps are well below 0C in the winter, like closer to -25 to -30C if not colder, nights are colder than that once the sun sets. In the winter I keep my house close to 25C and then turn it down to about 21C, any colder than that and the animals get too cold and get ill/die (problem with reptiles). We spend 6-8 months in below 0C temps requiring the heat be on 24/7

 

2 winters ago our furnace was broken and temps for a couple months were in the -40C and lower. That was the most miserable time we have ever lived through and I swore I would never be cold again, it was miserable.

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Don't talk about -25C temperatures. I'll have nightmares!

 

 

No, cold houses are not fun. This place only has a wood heater in the lounge room, but we have lots of doonas. Our last place didn't get frost because we were near the bay, so we were able to do without the heating. It wasn't fun, but we could do it. The place before that didn't have heating either, but it was too cold to do without while we had babies, so we had to use a plug in. Woah, beans and rice to afford that. It tripled our electricity bill.

 

My next husband and I are going to build a straw bale house because I love insulation so much. :p

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Yes. It is written for the college student away from home living on their own for the first time. Everything is for cheap and easy. It is written with the thoughts that these students never learned any of this stuff at home, and that they are dirt poor.

 

Thanks!

 

Another thing to remember is to teach her you don't want to be penny wise but pound foolish. You not only have to save on the everyday household expenses, but the big expenses. Teach her how to read an auto insurance policy and a homeowners policy. Teach her the basics about income taxes and policies that can help her save. Teach her the basics on home buying, mortgages, car buying, consumer debt vs. paying with cash, health insurance, making and living within a budget. There are probably other big spending categories that I've not addressed, but these have been part of what I've tried to teach my kids.

 

One other thing: expectations. I think one reason why it's *so hard to live on one income today* is that our expectations have risen dramatically. A starter home nowadays has multiple bedrooms and bathrooms and "standard" features like granite in the kitchen with gourmet appliances. We expect to go out to eat, go on vacations, buy lattes while we're shopping, throw hugely themed birthday parties, etc. So expectations are huge! I am trying to convince my oldest that he and his new wife should remain a one-car family as long as possible, even though they've been given a car. The insurance and upkeep doubles their car expense. (Please don't quote this! I'll come back and delete later.)

 

Very good points! It is so easy to lose track; just because the big decisions can be so much more complicated it is easy to give up.

 

I have been reading the book Pound Foolish, which is a rather scathing critique of "financial experts." Not really filled with tips, but more why what we're often told isn't really that helpful. Or in some cases, is harmful.

 

Looks interesting. I also noticed that the Kindle version actually costs more than the hardbound book!

 

Which is already pretty chilly. Getting up, eating breakfast and starting school work in a cold house is not fun.

 

It's true that we're heating the 'school' and the 'home' :-) Hadn't thought of that before...I guess it's similar if people also work at home....

 

2 winters ago our furnace was broken and temps for a couple months were in the -40C and lower. That was the most miserable time we have ever lived through and I swore I would never be cold again, it was miserable.

 

Every time we start up the heating system for the winter I think "I am SO grateful for fossil fuels"....We've seen the life-size mud and stick homes that the early lakeside dwellers had in this region and they look really COLD and drafty.

 

Joan

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My next husband and I are going to build a straw bale house because I love insulation so much. :p

Maybe move somewhere really warm and don't worry about that anymore. I can't imagine being without heat where I live. The local news periodically has like poor old ladies who are raising their grandkids in drafty houses and keeping warm by turning a flame on the stove, for whom the station recruits some heating company to come fix their house. People die from doing things like this to keep warm.

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My next husband and I are going to build a straw bale house because I love insulation so much. :p

 

 

I thought I had multiquoted this last time but see it didn't make it or I forgot...

 

I've been in one of these straw bale houses and it was really special !

 

Joan

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Whatever the financial circumstances, I think that our teens (and younger children) need to learn how to prioritize. Determine what is important and then work/save for that goal.

 

I think back on when my now college aged son was preschool age. He attended a Montessori because that was our priority. At some event I was chatting with a mother who noted that she would love to have her child at the Montessori, but it was so expensive. I was taken aback. This family had a huge boat (the kind with a couple of motors that burns lots of fuel). It was a matter of priorities. That family wanted a big boat. We wanted a Montessori education for our child. Clearly both families had some disposable income. What they did with it was a matter of priorities.

 

When my son asked for things as a young child, I would ask him to prioritize. Do you want a computer game system or would your rather use the funds to take a science class? It seems that so many families we knew felt obligated to buy stuff for their kids. My son, while having lots of stuff, had fewer electronics for example, but many more travel opportunities.

 

Encourage saving as a habit. I am a natural saver and my son is following in my footsteps. Parents must open savings accounts for young children. My son never knew of a time when he didn't have a savings account. He grew up with the habit of making deposits--not just spending money when it came to him.

 

4-H is a learning by doing sort of organization. I believe that some of their curricular materials can be downloaded for free (link). In my area, Master Gardeners are running Junior Master Gardener clubs, a great way for kids to get their hands in the soil. There are sewing classes. My son use to teach electronics classes.

 

One of the harder things that teens sometimes is ask themselves whether they can live without something that everyone else has. I read a really great article in a newspaper last summer (wish I could find it again) on how young people are drawn to vintage clothing and how many are eating whole grain/sustainable type diets. Wouldn't it be great if there was a movement to embrace minimal and old electronics? So instead having the newest phone, how about seeing how long you can make that phone or MP3 player or whatever continue to serve your needs The argument was that our landfills would have less toxic junk. Perhaps there would be less discord in places Congo where people are exploited for the mineral coltan which goes into our cell phones.

 

Everyone else seems to have covered the cooking issue nicely. I'll just note to add beans to the pantry.

 

Jane

 

What a soothing post, Jane. I am a bit late to this enjoyable thread. :blushing:

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So instead having the newest phone, how about seeing how long you can make that phone or MP3 player or whatever continue to serve your needs The argument was that our landfills would have less toxic junk. Perhaps there would be less discord in places Congo where people are exploited for the mineral coltan which goes into our cell phones.

 

I missed the part about discord in Congo over coltan before....but I have been using old and very old cell phones since....I now have the neighbors rejected phone - the problem is the battery seems very unstable and I got stuck a few days ago when it ran out, even though I'd charged it that morning, right when I was in a jam and desperately needed to call....So I'm agonizing whether to get a new one vs charging this one before going out every time that I could possibly be needing it....How to evaluate this type of saving???

 

We need some kind of computer program where we can plug in the variables to see what is gained and lost, environmental effects, social effects etc. It is so hard to do real risk and cost benefit analysis with all the global issues in mind...

 

About worry - I understand that. It took me awhile to switch my mindset around. But once I started experimenting and challenging myself to make use of what we had and what was on sale, instead of "shopping to make up a meal," it gradually got easier.

 

I wanted to tell you Colleen that I've gotten a LOT better about this in the past year....I'm not quite to the point that Jane is who will substitute dried mushrooms for dried tomatoes in a recipe :-) BUT I'm a lot better about not always using a recipe and getting my own feel for putting things together...

 

I can't say that I've passed all this on to dd yet....but still working on it....

 

Joan

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Maybe move somewhere really warm and don't worry about that anymore.

 

Lol, really warm happens here too. I'm not sure there is anywhere that is never *too* hot or cold! If I went somewhere really warm, I'd need a straw bale house to keep out the heat! And anyway, as Joan said, strawbale houses are bee-too-tiful!

 

 

I can't imagine being without heat where I live. The local news periodically has like poor old ladies who are raising their grandkids in drafty houses and keeping warm by turning a flame on the stove, for whom the station recruits some heating company to come fix their house. People die from doing things like this to keep warm.

 

:(

 

As I said, it only gets down to 26F here, which is nothing compared to the minus a trillion some of the others here have mentioned. :svengo: And in this house we have a wood heater that heats the lounge room, so I can put that on for no cost because we have enough property to collect firewood on.

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the problem is the battery seems very unstable and I got stuck a few days ago when it ran out, even though I'd charged it that morning, right when I was in a jam and desperately needed to call....

Just a suggestion: buy a new battery. I bought a replacement battery on ebay for about $5 total that lasted 2 years. Don't risk it with a phone that works so poorly.

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Just a suggestion: buy a new battery. I bought a replacement battery on ebay for about $5 total that lasted 2 years. Don't risk it with a phone that works so poorly.

 

That's a good idea ! It never crossed my mind - I'll look now.

 

Thanks Stripe!

Joan

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