$5.76 | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Friday, June 04, 2010


A few weeks ago, I read Emily M's post "A Different Tithing Story" over at Segullah, and it really hit me as something I needed to ponder in our current situation.  We have been fasting and praying for Joel's class to get enough students enrolled in order to avoid cancellation.  We are full tithe payers, and have many, many of those tender mercy stories Emily talks about in our history.  But this time, I felt the Lord needed us to learn something different maybe, and the article at Segullah was a confirmation to my heart that this time things weren't going to work out just the way we'd hoped.

And indeed they haven't.  We found out yesterday that Joel's class was cancelled.  While we had still hoped that it wouldn't be, we both knew deep down that it wasn't going to happen and neither of us was surprised at the news.

So far, we have gone just about one month without a paycheck.  And so far, we're doing all right.  I think we're learning lessons in frugality beyond what we'd ever thought was necessary, and I thought I knew how to stretch a dollar pretty far!

So, in light of our current situation (which really isn't as bad as it sounds, I promise)(at least, it isn't right now)(talk to me in August), I am bringing back the Frugal Fridays.  I always appreciate the tips others share on their blogs in how to be better stewards of our paychecks, so I thought I'd start sharing my own experiences again.

In Utah, I was a big couponer, but I haven't done it at all here.  There are a few reasons for that, the biggest one being I have no idea how to get the national coupons since our local paper doesn't distribute them (if anyone knows please tell me...I've asked around to no avail!).  So, since we moved here, I have instead just shopped at WalMart and hoped for the best.  Which is really not the best way to save money on groceries.

So the past couple weeks I've been diligently looking through the ads of the other grocery stores we have here and Joel and I have been shopping with cash and a calculator.  We have cut our food budget in half, and I know we can slash it further as we continue to build our food storage with the great deals.

Which is what I did yesterday.

For five dollars and seventy-six cents I was able to purchase:

3 lbs of butter (yes, real butter).
9 8oz packages of block cheese.
6 dozen eggs.

I had to do six separate transactions to get this deal, and sometimes that's not really convenient.  But I do think it's worth it.  Hopefully, that five dollars and change will be all our family needs in the dairy department for at least a month.  Which I'm sure you understand is a really great deal.

And I know we'll still have those tender mercies happen for us this summer, because we always do.  Just this morning, I got a phone call and now have a new vocal student.  And I haven't even started advertising yet.  I know the Lord will take care of us, but I also know that we have to prove that we are very willing to do whatever it takes to make ends meet.


  1. Thank you for this. As we are looking at the past year and the house sale/transition (reminds me, I need to email Jane) to a new town, I need to remember that sometimes I need to trust and have faith at the same time I'm planning for all possibilities.

  2. Here's my fav-or-ite cost cutting experience yet, making my own laundry detergent. If this link doesn't come through, (http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm), it's also over on the side bar of my blog under "recipes." Best to you during these tight financial times, sounds like you have a good, optimistic grip on the situation.

  3. WOW! That's a LOT!!!!!! Good luck not needing to do this for very long, but at least you're fantastic at it! ;-)

  4. what a great post, and it came at just the right time. I have been very worried about groceries and money lately. I don't know how to make a dollar stretch that far, and am excited that you are going to share some tips. I need to learn to be more frugal. Really, it is a skill that must be developed. Thank you so much for posting this!

  5. Good luck! I hope that big things come your way.

  6. I don't think I have one of those more inspiring stories but we've always been taken care of. Whether it's a sale on the things we need, or I find it at Goodwill. It always turns around.

    I have slowly, but surely, just come to enjoy the time God has given me to enjoy my family and not worry (quite as MUCH) about not working. :)

  7. Wow. That's what I call a deal! I feel your pain with money struggles. I'm so glad you are making it work and find Someone helping you!

  8. You can make it! You guys are a wonderful example of faith and also of working as hard as you can to do your part. I know you'll be blessed.

  9. wow you are such a great inspiration. It is NOT easy to do what you are doing an still be uplifting to others! Usually coupons are of items that I normally don't need or use but I have watched others coupon cut and save a lot of money and get a lot of groceries for going the extra mile! I know everything will work out for you. You have nothing to prove..."He" knows your trials and will make sure that you are taken care of. It is so different where you are compared to Utah...

  10. Wow. I'm impressed that you were able to cut your food budget in half. Good job. Good luck with the dollar stretching. Sounds like you're on the right track!

    I liked that tithing post a lot, too, BTW.

  11. Thanks for the love, Lara! And I really need those penny pinching tips too. I have grand ideals about thrift but they go down the drain when confronted with what I want, which is convenience.

    For me, the problem with economizing on food is that it takes 1-organization, which I stink at, and 2-more time to cook the cheaper food than it does to use premade meatballs and frozen ravioli. I've become more and more accustomed to convenience at the expense of my budget and I need to scale back.

    Also, I think there's a Holy Grail of recipe characteristics that is tough to find: recipes that are fast to prepare, cheap, and healthy. You can get two of the three, but not usually all three. Example: salmon is fast to prepare and very healthy but expensive. Chicken nuggets are fast to prepare and cheap but not healthy. Any recipe that can hit the sweet spot is one I need to learn.

    But to come back to your central point, I know the Lord takes care of us too--whatever immediate steps He guides us to are also part of the distant scene we can't see yet.

  12. I think that lessons in frugality are so difficult and this is definitely something that I am working on as well. I'm inspired by this because I've been concerned about how to pay medical bills and not have this ruin our budget. If you can do this, I can too.

  13. I'm pretty sure I sent you this link before, but maybe I just thought about it and didn't do it. It's been known to happen: http://themodernsaver.blogspot.com/
    The gal who runs that site is my husband's cousin, and she lives not too far from you - email her and ask where she finds her coupons. Tell her I told you too. :)

  14. WHat great deals! I could be soooo much better at bargain shopping!

  15. My sister says a prayer every time she goes to a thrift store. They are on a tight budget and every single time, she has come away from shopping with the perfect fitting clothes for her 10 yr old son.

    Being thrifty is such a blessing in our lives, and teaching it to our kids is vital, too. Which reminds me, I need to dust off my "Tightwad Gazette" books and give them a look through.

  16. Very inspiring - I need to take heed. I've been really bad lately at trying to be frugal and I really need to be. I go through ups and downs and I need to pay more attention to where they money is really going. Thanks for the thoughts . . .


  17. Thank you for sharing :) We are in a very similar situation as far as money goes (or lack of it). My husband has been trying to finish school (again) since 2006, and in January 2009 his company gave everyone a 10% pay cut (doesn't seem like much, but that was most of our monthly grocery budget).

    It's been very hard, but I feel like you, the Lord has wanted us to learn something different, so things haven't been as easy as we hoped they would be. We have been very prayerful, we are full tithe payers, we've fasted, we're trying to obtain "as much education as possible" and live within our means, etc.

    Things have been hard -- and yet, we have been greatly blessed at the same time and quite happy in spite of everything.
    We've had so many random medical bills and household repairs (not now!) but I want you to know, that the Lord has taken care of us. And I know He will take care of you. I just know that. I have great faith in paying our tithing and relying on the Lord. It makes me think of the scripture 3 Ne 13: 28-34 about "Consider the Lilies...".

    We've always had enough. Not all that we want, but enough. It makes me think of a quote from the movie "Mary Poppins". She says, "Enough is as good as a feast." That's always stuck with me... you know, it's amazing what you can do with so little money if you have to, and still be satisfied with it.
    It also makes me think of the scripture story (can't remember where it's at right now?) but the Nephites are being held as prisoners by the Lamanites, and the Nephites give the guard lots of wine to drink (in hopes to escape). Well, the Lamanite guards drink so much wine that they all fall into a deep sleep or pass our or whatever (it says Heavenly Father causes it). So all of the Nephite prisoners are able to climb over the wall and escape. Now, Heavenly Father has all power, he can do all things... you'd think he'd keep those Lamanites "sleeping" for a LONG time, so the righteous Nephites could get as far away as possible, but He doesn't. Just as those Nephites start running... all of the guards wake up and pursue them... they still get away, but Heavenly Father did just enough to help them... I think He wanted them to do the rest, to work for it, to learn from it..... I like that story. We can't learn and grow as much if Heavenly Father does everything for us (even though He can), we have to do somethings for ourselves.

    Our Stake had Elder Robert D. Hale come and speak to us in Nov. 2008. We can show our family we truly love them by saying 4 simple words, "We can't afford it." This has been a tremendous blessing for us.

    I think it's all about Faith. And I've just truly realized this the last few months...

    Sorry I've been rambling.... but I have enjoyed your blog so much since I found it 2 weeks ago! I just wanted to share with you what I have learned.

    by the way, $5.76!! for all of that food -- YOU SCORED :)

    Best wishes...

  18. You go girl! That is crazy good shopping skills!

  19. Your faith is so strong, my friend. You bless so many lives with your experiences. Thanks for sharing this one.

  20. WOW! That is a ton of dairy (which is normally quite expensive!) for that price!! I am going to have to start learning some frugality from you! You go, girl! (I still need to read your link on tithing).

  21. I needed to read this tonight as I'm stressed about having enough $$$ to go around too. Love the Frugal Friday idea!

  22. How..on...earth??

    That seems impossible. I really need to stop being lazy and get couponing instead of Walmarting.

  23. You are a great example of faith. That is really a great purchase.

  24. You're always so inspiring. I do coupon, but I always feel like a dork doing more than one transaction. I really should let that go, because I KNOW it save a TON.

  25. wow, I'm happy when I can get 3 lbs of butter for $5 alone, I would be thrilled to get everything you got for that price!

  26. I'm so sorry Joel's class got cancelled (a similar thing happened to us this summer, too). But my uncle is always telling us it's not what you make, but what you spend. You and Joel are so responsible with what you have, and you put the right priorities first. There are so many people out there with large incomes and even larger debt, because they can't live within their means. You and Joel are an inspiration!