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A Question For My Readers

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telephonelady

The phone bill came yesterday. 

It was significantly larger than normal.

I have no long distance, no caller id, and no call waiting, and I've saved a significant amount not paying for each of those over the years.

The increase was enough to make the change to getting a cell phone.

I haven't had a cell phone in 17 years. The last time I had a cell phone, it was a work phone. It was the kind that had a walkie-talkie option, which made for a rather amusing situation one day at work when one of my male co-workers decided to ask me via walkie-talkie where I was. I was in the ladies' room at the time. The woman in the stall next to me heard the question and started laughing. 

 

I've been just fine without a cell phone for all this time.

 

I know I'll be getting an android phone like the one my husband uses for work. 

 

My question for my readers is this:

 

What are your favorite money-saving aps?

 

And because I know you'll ask, I actually already have an Instagram account. I just haven't been able to take pictures with it before and I only have used it to follow people. You can find me under theprudenthomemaker

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Red Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Dress: Amazon -- Earrings: homemade--Shoes: Naturalizer

Losing weight is one of the most common goals that people have. It's a big business, too, with lots of ads designed to make you think that you can't lose weight without buying new things: exercise clothing, exercise videos, diet plans, weight-loss pills, and more.

But you don't have to spend money on any of that to lose weight. 

You just have to eat less and exercise more.

Eating less is even more important than exercising more; you don't have to burn off calories that you're not taking in!

If one of your goals this year is to lose weight, but you're feeling like you can't afford to lose weight, you're not alone. I've felt that way many times. A few times, I succumbed to a couple of the myths below (#1 and #3) and neither made a difference. 

In the last 10 months, I've lost quite a bit of weight. Before you think, oh, that's just normal after-baby weight loss, I can tell you that I started my pregnancy weighing what I had weighed at the end of my first pregnancy. I've lost all of my baby weight from this baby (something I've never done with my previous 7 children), the 9 pounds I gained in between the miscarriage I had a few months before I became pregnant and the time I became pregnant with this baby, and an additional 13 pounds (weight gained in my first pregnancy and other pregnancies that I never lost in the last 15 years).

Myth #1: I have to buy exercise clothing

I don't like tennis shoes. I never have. I wear sandals most of the year, and loafers and boots in winter for everyday wear (and heels for church). One of the things holding me back before was feeling like I had to buy tennis shoes to go walking. I finally bought a cheap $5 pair when we were first married. I started walking to lose the 5 pounds I had gained after we got married. I walked and walked, and never lost the weight.

A couple of years ago, I bought some more supportive tennis shoes so that I could go walking (again, to lose weight). I hated spending the money on them, and I hated wearing them, since I always feel ugly in tennis shoes, and when it's 80º at 6 am in the spring, I'd rather be in sandals. Again, I lost no weight.

If you like to walk (or run) you most likely already have the proper shoes. Wear what you have. If you love it, you'll buy new shoes as a regular part of your budget. If, like me, gardening is more your type of exercise, you're better off buying some garden boots, where you know you'll get in your exercise on a regular basis. If you already have those, then you're already set.

The most important exercise is the one you'll do. And most weight-loss experts agree that losing weight is 80% what you eat and only 20% exercise, so focusing mainly on what you are eating is the most effective way to lose weight--which means you don't have to buy exercise clothing to lose weight. 

 

Myth #2: I have to cut all carbs and buy lots of expensive meat to lose weight

Carbs give energy, and we tend to forget that sometimes. Still, they're easy to overeat. Try cutting toast to 1 slice instead of 2 at breakfast. Eat a smaller amount of rice or pasta (1/4 of your plate).

Your proteins don't have to be expensive meats (or protein powders). Buy whole chickens on sale for under $0.80 a pound. Buy eggs on sale. Buy beans in bulk. Buy Greek yogurt in bulk and use it as a starter to make more yogurt with a gallon of milk.

 

Myth #3: I need to buy a new exercise DVD

There are so many exercise videos that you can watch for free online! PopSugar has a good number of ones that you can do with no special equipment. Try searching You Tube for some new exercise routines.

If you want to increase your exercise in general, look for simple ways to build more exercise into your daily routine: take more opportunities to walk, take the stairs, sweep the floor more often, or work outside.

 

Myth #4: I need to pay for a weight loss class/premade meals

Cooking your own meals is one of the best ways to save you money all of the time, and is especially helpful when you're trying to lose weight. You know exactly what is going into your food, and you're able to set good habits that you can continue even after you've reached your goal weight.  Plus, as you get into better habits of cooking at home instead of eating out, you'll find that you're saving money as well as losing weight. (Here's an interesting comparison on the calorie count for some made at home meals versus eating out that will encourage you to cook at home!)

If you need some ideas on great meals that will help you feel full while still losing weight, Pinterest is your friend. I've made a board here with links to lots of great low-calorie meal suggestions.

Vegetable soups are a great way to lose weight, and they're frugal too! If you're in the mood for hot food instead of cold salads this time of year, make some vegetable soups to have on hand for some quick meals!

 

Myth #5 I need to buy a fitness bracelet to track my steps/calories

If you want to track your steps, you can do that do it with a free app on your phone. You can count calories on your phone, on paper, or just in your head. Or, you can just eat sensible portions and be active during your day.

 

Myth #6: I need to buy bottled water and/or special drinks

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to help lose weight. It's simple, and it doesn't have to be bottled, unless you live in a part of the world where the tap water isn't safe to drink.

I live in the driest state in the U.S. Our water is reclaimed and reused. Consequently, after being treated, it has a strong chlorine smell. If you want the chlorine to dissipate and the smell and taste to go away, fill a few bottles or pitchers of water and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator. We've followed this advice from the water district for years, and we always have cold, tasty water to drink.

Water has no calories and costs very little. Increasing your water consumption helps you lose weight, helps your skin, helps your digestion, and helps your energy levels.

Wondering how to drink more water? It's not hard. Here's what I do: (Note: I have 16-ounce glasses.) I drink a glass when I first get up in the morning right away. I drink another glass more slowly after that. At each meal, I drink a half glass (or more) before eating, and another glass and a half during the meal. I drink a glass or two before going to bed. When I get up at night, I drink 2 more glasses worth. Plus, I drink water all throughout the day. When you feel hungry between meals, try drinking water first. We often see thirst as hunger.

I am often asked about how I have the energy to accomplish my to-do list. A good night's rest, plenty of water, healthy food, and a multi-vitamin make a world of difference in my energy levels.

 

If there are things you're wanting to buy to help you with your weight loss goals, try Craigslist for used exercise equipment. Hand weights can often be found at garage sales.

As far as my own goal? I've got 10 pounds left to go! I'm watching what I eat, and the only exercise I've been doing is cleaning house, lifting the baby, and working in the garden. I'm looking forward to a cleaner house and more bountiful garden in 2017!

I've identified my weaknesses so that I can work to keep my weight off for the long-term: I tend to snack while I'm cooking, and I serve myself portions larger than I need. I've been making my meals on smaller plates (just like I serve to the children), watching my serving sizes, and working on not going back for seconds. I fill half my plate with vegetables. Cutting calories has been the key for me, and it not only doesn't cost more, it costs less, because I'm eating less!

I'm enjoying my meals, I don't feel hungry all the time, and I'm now the size I was before I was pregnant with my first.  I'm spending my money where I would rather spend it: on a new wardrobe!

Remember, the most important thing you need to lose weight is will power, and no amount of money will buy that!

Blue Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Dress: $6.99 at Goodwill -- Necklace: $1 at a garage sale -- Earrings: homemade using beads from a broken piece of jewelry I've had since I was a teen -- Shoes: Naturalizer

 

Do you have a free ap or exerise video that you like? Share your favorite weight loss recipes, free videos, and free aps in the comments below!

 

Note: Every individual's situation is different, but don't let a lack of money stop you from trying to lose weight if you desire to do so!

Tagged in: Goals
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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I planted seeds for Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, pumpkins, lettuce, basil and sunflowers in the garden.

I made lemonade from our lemons.

 

Salad Produce The Prudent Homemaker

I cut arugula and picked lettuce, nasturtium flowers, and radishes from the garden.

I found eggs for $0.79 a dozen at Sam's Club (in the 5-dozen package). I bought 10 dozen.

The children played in the sprinklers several days when they came on.

I wasn't planning on buying Easter candy until next month, but the sales were good, so I did the following:

I went to Target and bought Easter rabbits this year (I was unable to get any melting chocolate at after Christmas clearance to make my own this year) at 25% off. The coupon (Target cartwheel) was a limit of 4 rabbits a day, so I needed to go twice. I also combined coupons and sales for money off jelly beans and peanut M&M's. I will still make some tiny chocolate rabbits as part of our dessert that night (I'm thinking to make either a cheesecake or a carrot cake and I will use the tiny rabbits to decorate the edges).

I went to Winco to pick up some potatoes. The former produce manager is now the butcher, and he saw my cart (with 40 pounds of potatoes,  pounds of carrots, a head of cabbage and 7 cucumbers) and asked if I ever buy any meat! He then told me about some chicken legs her had marked down to $0.44 a pound. I bought several packages; we had some for dinner and I froze the rest. I am glad we have been eating down the freezer to make room for new deals. 

I took in a blouse that is now too big on me along the side seams to make it smaller. I really like this blouse and am glad that I will still be able to wear it.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

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It's in the upper-80's here (about 30º C) and I'm spending every possible minute outside, working in the garden. I am working to make a more abundant garden this year, with more food and flowers than ever before.

While the front yard is a white garden, the backyard is where I plant flowers of several colors. I can see most of these from inside the house as I look out the windows.

March View From the Door The Prudent Homemaker

Daffodils in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

The daffodils are in bloom along with several of the fruit trees.  They smell wonderful.

March Sunrise 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I am loving the pink from my peach trees. I am hoping to see lots more color in the garden later this year, as I have planted both pink and yellow rose bushes and seeds for poppies, larkspur, and zinnias.

March Daffodils in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

 

March Miniature Daffodils The Prudent Homemaker

The miniature daffodils I planted around the circle have come up. They are teeny tiny.

March Sensation Lilac The Prudent Homemaker

I added a new lilac bush to my garden this spring, which doesn't require any chilling hours. It's called Sensation. I like having some purple in the back of the bed. The violet-crowned hummingbird that I have been seeing in the garden this spring has already found this new bush.

March Pots The Prudent Homemaker

This corner is full of nasturtium flowers, and you can see more of the miniature daffodils, which I planted in all of the large pots on the patio. Nasturtiums are one of the least expensive ways to add flowers to the garden; you can buy seeds just about everywhere, they spread out (and down) and they reseed readily. You can collect seeds to plant next year if you don't get enough volunteers, or if you just want more to plant in more places. As a bonus, both the flowers and leaves are edible.

March White Bench The Prudent Homemaker

I really enjoy the birdsong while I am out working in the garden. 

I'm planting more flower seeds today. I hope to have many more flowers out here later this year!

March Bee on Pear Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

 

Tagged in: Flowers The Garden
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Open Door in Spring The Prudent Homemaker

It was so incredibly beautiful this week.

I cut daffodils from the garden for the table.

We celebrated a simple birthday celebration for a child at home.

Snow Peas and Radishes The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested radishes, cilantro, snow peas, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.

We went through clothing, packing up cold weather clothes and taking out summer clothes, including doing what I call "The Big Swap" where we hand down clothing to younger sibling as well as pack up outgrown clothing to be passed down at some point. I also went through several items in my closet, and found that several of my blouses are now too large, but that several other items I own still fit just fine--only better! We put aside several large bags of outgrown clothing to donate.

Naptime The Prudent Homemaker

My husband cut two sons' hair.

I turned some old broken jewelry that I've had for many years into some new jewelry for myself.

I mended a few leaks in the drip irrigation.

We said yes to offers of a hand-me-down bicycle and a scooter from two different people.

The children hopped around on a couple of pogo sticks that my mom picked up at a garage sale for $3 each.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

Octavius walking The Prudent Homemaker

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Daffodils in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I watched the bees working on the apple tree blossoms.

I sowed seeds for lettuce, Swiss chard, alpine strawberries, New Zealand Spinach, nasturtiums,  zucchini, butternut squash, radishes, and artichokes.

I planted some asparagus crowns in the garden.

Pea Vines on Trellis The Prudent Homemaker

My son and I took apart some old tomato cages and flattened them. We had made them from the 6-inch concrete mesh that you can get on a roll at Lowe's. I am using the wire mesh to grow beans, peas, and cucumbers instead. We attached these to stakes (that we already had) that we pounded into the ground where we needed them.

Radish Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested lemons, lettuce, arugula, green onions, radishes, parsley, lemon verbena, Swiss chard, and the first couple of snow peas from the garden.

Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker

I juiced lemons from the garden and made lemonade.

I returned several pots to the local nursery. They give a recycling credit for the larger pots. I used my credit towards the purchase of some bulk topsoil.

I used a $15 off $50 coupon at Target for trash bags and stain remover. Since these items rarely go on sale (and when they do, it's usually just a tiny bit off) and these are items I buy anyway, I was happy to have the coupon to lower my total cost.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

My husband cut his own hair. I trimmed the baby's hair.

My husband recovered one of our boy's bicycle seats using a scrap of leather we had left from recovering our living room chairs. He removed the staples from the old seat, drew around the existing worn cover on the leather, cut it out, and used a staple gun to staple on the new cover.

I paused to watch the jets fly overhead. I see them often when I am working in the garden. 

I took time to enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

I enjoyed the hummingbirds in the garden. They visited the blossoms on the lemon trees. The lemon tree blossoms smell wonderful, and I was able to enjoy them while I worked under them almost every day this past week.

 

What did you do to save money last week? What simple things brought you joy?

 

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