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Frugal Project Update #2-A Little Better, A Little Worse, And Still Learning

It’s been more than two weeks since I shared a Frugal Project Update. It’s time again to share how I’m doing with some of my frugal projects and approaches. So here goes:

The Paper Towel Project:

  • We made it 2.5 weeks on one roll of paper towels!  How did we do that?! We are getting better at not using paper towels unless we absolutely have too. I’m really proud of my husband and kids for getting on board with this project. Paper products are expensive and I’m really glad we’ve cut our budget so deeply. We just started our 3rd roll of paper towels and since it’s the beginning of August-that means we used 2 rolls of paper towels for all of July. Amazing! I didn’t think it could happen but it has! Looks like our paper towel weaning is working. Next step: making it a full 3 weeks on one roll!

My Household Notebook:

My household notebook has fallen by the wayside a little. I have it. I’m using it. Sort of. Mostly I use the calendar. I really need to get back to working with this more. I know it’s going to make a difference. I just need to keep prioritizing my use of it until it’s a better habit (I’m beginning to wonder if I have a short attention span!). Again, like the FlyLady recommended, it’s a slow going project and constantly in development. What I’m using most right now is the calendar. I’m still scribbling to do lists on scraps of paper. Not so effective. Sad but true. It’s on my “get better at it” list. I spent time making it look great-I will use it. I will!

My ongoing challenge that I’m struggling with: 

  • Meal Planning: I’m still working on the fine art of meal planning. I like ‘spur of the moment’ a little more than I realized and this is not effective in meal planning. However, I am good at keeping simple and flexible staple items in my house and that helps me keep our grocery budget on track. As we gear up for our homeschool year though, this is becoming more important as a time saver for us so it’s still an evolution for me-more for my time budget than my grocery budget.
  • Our cloth diapers: Success! We skipped trying the RLR I’d talked about in the last update in favor of trying a different bar soap in our homemade laundry soap recipe. Dr. Bronner’s is a clear winner over the Ivory bar I’d been using. I’m thinking it was less a mineral deposit issue and more that the soap not rinsing completely out of the diapers (clean rinsing is very important in cloth diapers!). I’m a big fan of Dr. Bronner’s soap anyway and I like the lavendar scent. It’s subtle and my little guys bottom seems to be just fine with it! We’re sticking with cloth and very happy about it.

New challenges for our Rice and Beans Life Frugality:

  • I’ve jumped on board the Food Waste Friday wagon from The Frugal Girl’s call out. I’m excited about how this is keeping me on my toes and minimizing our food waste.
  • Adjusting our prepaid cell phone needs. My husband needs more minutes than we’d previously needed for him so we are working on finding the right balance for his phone. I’ll keep you posted!
  • A friend recommended using cloth napkins to continue our quest to minimize our dependence on paper products in the kitchen. I’m trying to decide if it will be less expensive to make them or buy them. I’m wishing I had an overlock machine just now to make this decision a no-brainer. But I don’t. And buying one just to make napkins definitely wouldn’t be budget friendly (though maybe it would get me sewing more again!). I’m still exploring the best approach for us on this one!
So that’s where we are this week with our Rice and Beans Life and the challenge of staying frugal minded.
Comment Worthy-let’s discuss it further:
What are you doing well with and what’s getting the best of you in your walk with frugality?


4 responses »

  1. Have you thought about going to the local craft store that teaches sewing to see if they have any “used” overlock machines they are willing to sell? It might save you some money if they do. Plus, you’re right…if you had one you’d probably sew more & who knows, even make the kid’s clothes as they’d not only be cheaper but cuter too (boys clothes in the stores aren’t so cute these days).

    As for the meal planning, have you looked at the online meal planner that I recommended? There are two sites that I found: 1) – not my favorite, but still works; 2) – is my FAVORITE, but it’s not free. You can get a 30 day trial though. What I like about this site is if I have a favorite recipe on another website, I can import it VERY EASILY on this site. Plus, this site offers you shopping lists to take to the grocery store too. Check it out; you’ll love it!

    I think I’m gonna have to jump on your household notebook challenge. I made SO MANY “to do lists” on random scratch paper last week in preparation for our family camping trip that I kept loosing them so I’d start over. Having the notebook would definitely help “centralize” stuff that I need to purchase and do. I’ll keep you posted on that challenge.

    Good job on the paper towels! That is a REALLY hard feat to beat!

    • Thank you for sharing the site. I have looked at PlanToEat. I’ll have to consider it. For me, I think my challenge is being stubborn about paying for anything I feel like I should be able to do myself. I’ll have to consider it though. Might be a worthy investment for us! Hmmmm…I’ll have to keep you posted.

      Great tip on the overlock machine! I hadn’t considered that!

  2. I am back to making my own stock to cook with. Since I eat mainly a vegetarian diet and don’t have the room to compost, I just put all of my little veggie scraps in a big tupperware container and when it’s full, I just boil the hell out of it and a few spices. Once done, I throw into the ever handy canning jars and freeze. I’ve got delicious stock to use all through the Fall!


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