Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saving $

One of my favorite highlights from 2007 was learning how to make a kitchen/house budget and stick to it. Going into this new year, it was clear from the start that we would not have a lot of extra cash to work with and therefore not very much room for error. Here are some frugal tips that help me stay within my margin of $200.00 a month for a family of 5. Most of these things also keep us healthy, too. =)

Shopping in Mongolia is getting more and more difficult as the prices of some things have doubled and tripled in the past 6 months. I've been asking God for a raise... =)

  1. I pantry shop. I have a pantry and I'm not afraid to use it! In fact, now that I finally have a pantry, I don't think I could go back to not having one. Thanks to Sara and Twila, I have 2 shelves stocked with seasonings and cake decorating items from the US!
  2. In Mongolia, there are no grocery sales like in America. But we can and do save $ by buying in bulk (flour, rice, oil, toilet paper, etc)
  3. I never buy sweets for the kids. People give us candy and I just keep it on hand for very, VERY special occasions. Nate is prone to cavities and Abi could take it or leave it.
  4. We drink water so I very seldom buy juice and even more rare are sodas.
  5. In Mongolia, the 4 seasons are very marked and some things are less expensive in their corresponding seasons so I try to shop accordingly as much as possible. (Winter-apples and mandarins, Spring-milk products, Summer- berries, pine nuts, and Fall-root veggies)
  6. I use cloth diapers at home for Kenny and disposable only at night or when we have an outing. But sometimes I cheat when I need a break!
  7. Conditioner is expensive so I use only a tiny bit in a squirt bottle mixed with water. It works to detangle Abi's hair.
  8. I bake all our bread and snacks. With the exception of fish crackers for Kenny. He has to have his "shish cookoos"!
  9. We take vitamins and drink mineralized water. Saves $ in the long run by keeping us healthier.
  10. I use vinegar for cleaning. It's cheaper and a bit safer than clorox.
That's all for now. I'll post more on this subject throughout the next few weeks. I really need some inspiration in this area so please feel free to leave tips and advice in the comments section.


Anonymous said...

I will be interested in this. We make pretty much all our own stuff too. But I am more like $450 for 7 people a month. I use vinegar mostly too. We just started making our own yogurt and yogurt cheese (takes the place of cream cheese and sour cream)

Anonymous said...

I have heard that vinegar works well but have yet to try it...I love you Sis!

mandkhaic said...

I admire you more and more. Love you girl and see you in a month...

Twila G. said...

You are amazing. I am truly spoiled here in the US.

Sara said...

Hey Mel, Just shave your head and then you don't need shampoo OR conditioner...LOL..Just kidding. Your hair is too nice to do that...