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Frugal Living Ideas – Living On $30,000 a Year

Frugal Living Ideas

Frugal Living Ideas

Frugal living ideas for Living On $30,000 a Year

Don’t think it’s possible, right? I mean, seriously, who can live on less than $30,000 a year in this day and age? Well, I’ll tell you. My husband and I…and our 6 kids do! Let me walk you through the process. It wasn’t easy, but if you are as determined as I was, it is possible!

First of all, you need to get rid of the feelings of entitlement that many Americans struggle with. We did this without food stamps or help from the government. With our large family, we would have qualified for assistance, but guess what? We owned our house and two cars and we would have had to give those up to qualify. We had a huge old farmhouse and our mortgage payments were $269 a month. To rent a house or apartment, you can be sure we wouldn’t have found anything that cheap! My husband was going back to school and needed to commute 2 hours each way daily. Not having a car would have made this impossible!

We lived on much less than $30,000 a year, but this was more than several years ago, so I am adjusting for inflation. Let me give you the frugal living ideas to make this happen. Most people will not want to be this diligent about saving money. Like I said before, we were determined, and it is possible with severe cutbacks in your spending.


My 9 Frugal living ideas

1. Cut your cable, internet, direct TV, netflix and cell phones

Contrary to popular belief, these are not essentials! The public library has free internet with computers for you to use, DVDs and books to borrow and much, much more! Check and see what they have to offer, you’ll be amazed.  We functioned without cell phones, but if you must, get a no frills regular (not smart phone) cell at the dollar store for $10 and use it only for emergencies! We have lived and thrived for 27 years with no TV, our kids are happy, well adjusted and smart!

2. Do not get a pet, if you don’t already have one. If you do, consider finding a loving home for it.

I love pets as much as the next person, but pets are expensive! That free kitty or puppy your kids are begging you for? They need shots, food, litter box, litter, surgery to be fixed and can rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills if they get sick or injured.

3. Grow a garden

Seeds are cheap, grow your own vegetables in your backyard, front yard or in containers. I always have a pot by my back door with spinach and lettuce mixes growing during the spring, summer and fall. I never bought fertilizer or weed killer due to the cost and because I didn’t want chemicals in my kids food. We pull weeds by hand and pick off bugs or spray the plants with soapy water.

4. Stop going to the mall

If you go to the mall or out “shopping,” you are going to see things you think you need. You don’t need most of these! Just stop shopping except for essentials, break the habit of window shopping or shopping out of boredom!

5. Buy necessities at a discount store

Buy what you absolutely need at a discount store. We shopped at a place that sold overstock and out of date items. Just because something is a good deal, does not mean you need it. If it is a great deal and something you will use a lot of, then by all means, buy several. I actually found that I could buy large cans of tomatoes cheaper than I could grow them!

6. No one needs new clothes!

We stopped buying any clothes. Kids passed down clothes, relatives gave us their hand me downs and friends of mine held “swaps” where we all brought clothes our kids no longer needed and we passed them around.

7. Wash your own diapers and breastfeed your babies

I washed my own diapers, hung them out to dry and breastfed all 6 kids as long as they were interested.   I totally understand that in rare cases, breastfeeding is not successful, but most people can breastfeed, especially with free advice from the hospital and LaLeche League. Your baby does not need any additional food, water or juice for at least 6 months, often longer! Research has shown that this is the best for your baby and babies who are exclusively breastfed are healthier. No judgement if you tried and couldn’t, just telling you what is cheapest and best.

8. There is no need for baby food-ever!

The creator of baby food was a marketing genius! For hundreds of years, babies were breastfed and gradually weaned to whole foods when they had sufficient teeth and could chew. Don’t drink the Kool-aid, your baby needs no special food! If you breastfeed your baby exclusively, they get everything they need. Breast milk changes as your child grows to give him exactly what his body requires. I breastfed one child exclusively until 9 months old, when I gradually added soft bites of what we ate to his diet. This is also assuming you are serving healthy, whole foods.

9. Live close to where you work and bike to work

If at all possible, do this step. You will save thousands in gas and car expenses. It would be worth it to move closer, if you or your spouse have a good job.

It takes a lot of effort and determination, but if you want to live on less than $30,000 a year, it is possible! Our kids think back on the 2 years their Daddy was in school fondly. They never complained that we didn’t have enough to eat or that our life was lacking in any way!

So, what do you think? Could you live on less than $30,000?

Thanks to Nurse Pam for sharing this frugal living ideas post!

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December 5, 2016

German Cheddar and Beer Fondue Recipe

German Cheddar and Beer Fondue

german cheddar and beer fondue

I love a good fondue. In fact, I could eat Fondue every night of the week if you let me. I especially like German Cheddar and Beer Fondue. You know what they say when daddy is away the kids will play. Well, Daddy gets to go out with clients, so tonight it is me and the three kids. The biggest problem we currently have is Margeaux leaves the table with her dinner in her hands. She does this because she wants to be there when I feed the baby. I figured if I made an interactive meal tonight my house and myself may have a chance at survival. I will be using apple juice as my base instead of the beer. We will be dipping the following: hot dogs, bread, broccoli, apples, carrots, and pretzels. I am sure the kids will pick other things out as well. This should make for a fun time. I always give them their dipping cup which I transfer the cheese from the fondue pot. I let it cool before giving them the cup to make sure it isn’t hot. What do you do when the help is out to dinner elsewhere?Continue reading

July 31, 2016

Freezer Cooking Tips

Freezer Cooking Tips

freezer cooking tips

Have you heard of freezer cooking? It is my favorite time saver that I use! I am a working mom who wanted her life back. I took control of my kitchen and cooked once for an entire month (yes really!).  I had help. I cooked 15 meals (two portions of each). Then I had my girlfriend do the same. We swapped and life is again wonderful! Now freezer cooking does take a little bit of time, but it saves you so much more time when after your initial day of cooking means you can just pop a meal in the crock pot or oven and be done with it. I wanted to put a list together of freezer cooking tips so you can make the most of your freezer cooking time. Let’s check them out!

Here are some great freezer cooking tips for you:

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June 11, 2015

Easy Carbonara Recipe

Easy Carbonara Recipe

Easy Carbonara Recipe

I try every week to add a new meal to our menu. I attempt to follow the food guru and 30 minute meal making queen, Rachael Ray. The best part of my quest is I use items that I bought on sale so these meals are yummy and affordable… and oh, yes they can be completed in 30 minutes or less!

This week we went to the Farmer’s Market. I banked on the fact that I would find all these wonderful veggies to make dinner with. I was disappointed. We did find Asparagus so I had to find a way to cook it and make dinner quickly with items I had on hand. I thought about just wrapping it in bacon like Renae suggested but I knew my husband would not buy into bacon and Asparagus only for dinner. It would have been an easy sell to the children and myself. This is a great dish that was easy and it uses items that are probably sitting in your cabinet. We look forward to eating it again soon.

Here’s how to make this Easy Carbonara Recipe

Continue reading

Frugal Living Ideas: 5 Tips on Living on 30000 or Less

Frugal Living Ideas

Living on 30000 or Less

5 tips on Living on 30000 or Less


5 Tips on living on 30000 or less

I have a larger than average family, there are 7 of us, and I like to pride myself in living a little differently than everyone else. We have one income, provided by my husband, and I like to think that part of my job is making the very most of his paycheck. Over the years, we have become expert and making a dollar stretch into more buying power than anyone thought possible.

Frugal Living Ideas


I’d like to share some of my most favorite simple tips and tricks so that you can make the most of your paychecks as well. With just a few changes you, too, can live the “Good Life” on less! Here are my 5 Frugal Living Ideas.

1. Eat 99% of your meals at home. Fast food and eating out suck away more of your precious resources than anything else. And, when you really think about it, the value for the money is not that great. Most fast food meals are between $4-6.00, when that is compounded between 2, 3, 4 or more people it suddenly becomes more than you would spend on several days’ worth of groceries to be prepared at home. Save up and go out for special occasions, it will be much more of a treat! Who doesn’t like a home cooked meal?

2. Switch from store bought cleaners to homemade cleaners. By switching out a LOT of chemical laden cleaners for a few simple items that mix and match to make many homemade cleaners, you can save yourself a bundle over the course of a year. Stock up on baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, borax, alcohol and peroxide instead. The internet is full of homemade cleaners, just type “homemade cleaners” into Pinterest and see how many recipes come up! Pick a few and try them out, I think you’ll find that they work just as well as the ones you are used to.

3. Ditch cable or satellite. I know this one may not be popular with everyone, but getting rid of cable or satellite can save you HUNDREDS of dollars a year, thousands for some people with extra channels or premium packages. It might be hard at first, it was for our family, but we eventually found so many more things to do like read to each other or to ourselves, we had more time for outdoor and family activities and we no longer stay up later than we want to so we can finish watching our “shows”. You can also sign-up with NETFLIX.

4. Switch to using cell phones only. Let’s face it- we’ve become a society of people who need to be in constant contact with each other. In some ways this is great, but sometimes (and I know you all know what I mean) there is just a little too much “togetherness”. If you have a landline and a cell phone, consider getting rid of your landline and having a cell phone only. We saved a ton of money by doing this a couple of years ago and our internet provider even has an option for an internet only line (which is what we have). You always have your cell phone with you anyway, so why worry about having a phone in your home?

5. Shop yard sales and thrift stores. We have found so many items we were looking for (including canners, canning jars, camping equipment, kids clothes and toys and so much more!) for new or next to new at yard sales and thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of new. Often people buy or receive things as gifts and never use them, so they sell them or give them away. Craigslist is another great source for free or cheap items you need or would like to have but have sticker shock at the price of new. Decide what you would be willing to buy second hand and shop for it. The savings can be phenomenal.

I know all of these ideas aren’t going to be for everyone, but maybe if you can apply one or two to your situation, you can make a dent in your budget and allow yourself a little more wiggle room. My family and I are living proof that a large family can live on less than $30,000/year and have fun while we’re doing it. It just takes determination and firm commitment. You can do it too!!!

Thanks to Charley C. for this Frugal Living Ideas tips!

Read more Living on 30000 or Less posts!

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January 25, 2012

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Pork Chop with Asparagus

I try every week to add a new meal to our menu. I attempt to follow the food guru and 30 minute meal making queen, Rachael Ray. The best part of my quest is I use items that I bought on sale so these meals are yummy and affordable… and oh, yes they can be completed in 30 minutes or less!


    I am a keep it simple cook. I love fresh veggies and meat. I have so little time to cook so it has to be fast and healthy. I grabbed my grill pan and coated it in olive oil. I then placed in the asparagus and I added some lemon pepper and lemon juice. I cooked the asparagus until they were soft.

In another pan I placed my pork chop in a pan coated with olive oil. I then cooked the pork until it reached 170 degrees.  I added a bit of salt and pepper.

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