If you are a seasoned canner/preserver then this information may be obvious, but if not, read on. While some people label everything, I am not one of them. Some things need labels though & home-preserved food is high on that list! What do you put on the label? Well, for starters what is in the jar or container & the date you put it up. Now you know what you are about to eat & if it is safe. What else is there? I use batch numbers. This takes up very little room, isn’t much work & can be invaluable.
For example, lets say you put up a few small batches of jam, and one batch, while tasting fine, was a little jiggly (sorry for the technical jargon LOL). With batch numbers you can avoid giving out this jam as gifts. Don’t give your canning away? Another example…you have canned lots of pickles & all turned out well. In a few months you notice a few lids were now ‘unpopped’. If you are worried & have the batch # you can toss just what you need to & nothing more. Make salsa? My hubby gets a little liberal with the spices as we go, so having a batch number lets me know if I can serve a jar to guests, or if I will send them running from the house!
Labeling doesn’t need to be a lot of work. I just put up some corn for the freezer. The labels say corn-3 9/09. I will notate in my canning notebook that batch 3 was a litte starchier. Now when I want to make a casserole or soup I will grab that corn. Try it & I’ll bet you find it easy & helpful.
There are a lot of expert opinions on how to properly set goals. I am no expert. However when I learn something through trial & error I like to pass my humble opinion along One huge mistake you can make when goal setting is being to vague.
Basically, if you don’t know exactly what your goal is, you won’t know if you’re meeting it.
Today an example of this occurred to me as I was doing laundry. I realised that I sometimes over purchase second-hand items because they are a good deal. So I thought about my goal… *Save money on clothing*. I bet many of you have had a similar goal, but it may be too vague. This goal could be interpreted in two (or more) very different ways…
1) I want to get all of my clothing at a cheaper price (but not necessarily save money overall)
2) I want to buy second-hand & sale items to reduce my clothing budget
The first way allows you to continue to buy any item of clothing if it is ‘a good deal’ but you won’t save money~and may spend more
The second way defines your goal of reducing the clothing budget, so if you have spent it & you continue to pick up good deals…then you have not met your goal.
I am not saying you couldn’t choose to spend on clothing, but you would have to admit (at least to yourself) that doing so isn’t within the goals you have set.
The point is not how much you should spend on clothing, or that you can’t have the first goal. It is that to truly keep your budget under controll, you have to set goals & know what they mean to you
Many people like to go on a weekly or monthly ‘date’ with their spouse. This can really be a great time to get away to connect, but the cost can really add up (especially with babysitters). What can you do? Do things that cost less & still have fun.
There are many levels of spending for this type of activity so I don’t know how much these tips can save you (since I don’t know what you’re spending now) If you’re not spending anything on this I can’t save you a dime, but maybe I can give you a few new ideas. Creativity & variety are so important when trying to be frugal.
Free (or almost)
Go to a library together & browse. By checking a book out to read you will gain a topic to discuss.
Does your hubby fish? If so, why not join him if you don’t already? A license in my state is about $15-$20 for a whole year. If you really don’t want to fish, you can still go with for company.
Check out a local High School schedule. You may find band concerts, choir concerts or sporting events~ all of which are still free here. (but stay away from concessions )
Go to a local Lake (or mountain) to watch the sunrise or sunset. Take a Thermos of coffee or cocoa & a snack.
Pack a picnic & enjoy a park.
See a matinee. If you skip the snacks, a couple can see a movie for about $10.00 where I live.
Any local deals? We have a concert association which charges $35 for a yearly pass. This gives you access to 6 concerts throughout the year. A family pass is only $60. That’s only $5-$6 per concert!
Do one of the above free items, and add a stop for a fancy coffee or a dessert.
Check for local free or greatly reduced events (like museum admissions, fee zoo days etc)
And lastly…what about the babysitting? Swap 1-2 days a month with a friend so you both can have some time away with your spouse.
Pic by: neona
We all desire to save money, but the time comes when we just have to make a purchase. At this time we need to decide if we want to spend the least amount, or get the best value. That’s right, they are not always the same thing. I visit a re-sale shop locally & I do find some good deals there, but I also find very bad deals as well.
An example is men’s jeans. I can buy my hubby jeans he likes and that fit & wear well for about $15.00 new. Because he is hard on jeans, I keep my eyes out for second hand when I can. Lately I have been seeing these (at the re-sale store) for $11.99 ~ used. I am not referring to high end name brand jeans, but ones similar to what my hubby wears! Yes $11.99 is cheaper ( not by much) though clearly the new is a better value, since they should have more wear. This will seem obvious to many of you, but there are other times where spending more is actually a better value. The trick is to be aware of what you need & what purpose it will serve. Then you can decide on what the best value is for you.
Eating less and eating healthy can be frugal and help you lose weight too!
I have heard a lot lately about losing weight that concerns me. It seems the diet industry or the media has got us thinking we need to spend a lot of money to lose weight. Let me get this straight…to lose weight (IE. eat less food) I need to spend more money? Does this strike you as a bit odd? Because you can lose weight while keeping a tight hold on your grocery budget.
Now, I am not addressing special health concerns, and I know that can take a huge bite out of a budget. I’m just going to discuss a few ways we all can lose a few pounds.
First, think hard about portion size. Many people eat far more than they need or even want. Try eating 25% less at your next meal. If you are hungry later, you can have a small snack. This one act can help you lose weight, while not even changing your lifestyle.
Next, can you replace a higher fat item with a lower fat? A good example for me is tacos. When I make tacos, I add re-fried beans right to the meat. This lowers the overall cost, adds fiber & lowers fat per serving. You still get to eat the same amount, but you will feel fuller longer (because of the fiber) and again…you will lose weight.
Lastly, what about produce? You have to get your fruits and veggies and they are very expensive, right? They can be, and so I won’t tell you to buy blueberries & zucchini at this time of year. But carrots, apples and oranges are all reasonable right now, so eat those up. You want more variety? Try frozen vegetables and fruits out. Their cost will stay more consistent all year.
One benefit to losing weight this way? You can eat like a normal person, right alongside your family. You don’t have to feel like you’re announcing to the world “sorry I can’t eat that…I’m on a diet”.
Pic by : who.log.why