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Tag: frugal living

May 2022 Spending Check In

May 2022 Spending Check In

Our goal for May of 2022 was to spend as little money as possible on groceries for the month. We are using our local free lunches and breakfasts for the community as well as eating through our pantry items and just supplementing with items from […]

Garden Update 04.30.22

Garden Update 04.30.22

Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still […]

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

I thought I would share some of my favorite up and coming YouTube channels today. I am noticing a lot of Food Bank haul unboxing videos trending in my feed and I thought I would highlight a few. Many people rely on food banks temporarily when they are in need and food banks are a valuable resource to the community. Please, if you are in need always ask for help.

 

One of my goals this year is to highlight some of the food programs across the U.S. that greatly benefit people, especially children. The universal free lunch program that was started during the pandemic is an example of how feeding children without any income requirements has helped families tremendously. Many children in the United States are living at or below the poverty line and guaranteed breakfast and lunch is many times the only food kids get to eat in a day. Below is the link to my video where I go through what we received in the middle of April.

Free Lunch Unboxing

 

Fabulous Food Bank Unboxing Channels:

 

Mustard Saves

Mustard Saves is one of my favorites. She started out as a couponer and moved to food bank videos when they decided to utilize their food pantry after some sort of financial difficulties. She has some fabulous videos on how to cook through what you have, rotating between the freezer, pantry and fridge clean outs and on how to store the food once you receive it since typically people only go once or twice a month.

 

Joveta’s Kitchen

Joveta’s Kitchen is another one of my favorites. She shows everyone how to cook many of the items from scratch and helps out her community as well. There are so many good recipes on this channel and Joveta definitely knows how to make the most of everything she gets.

 

Kemp Freehold

I came across Kemp Freehold when I was watching Joveta’s Kitchen and it looks like they started using their food bank after a job loss. This family has a few kids and are homesteaders and I thought I would include them as well.

 

If you are in need the website for Feeding America has a search function so you can find food pantries in your area. Local churches and community centers can also be a resource as well as your local school district.

 

As always, thank you for reading!

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

 

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been […]

5 Year Blogiversary

5 Year Blogiversary

I started my blog in late March about five years ago so I thought I would write a little bit about it for my 5 year blogiversary. I started Oscoey as something to do while I was home with my kids as sort of a […]

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

Hello spring! I am very excited for the garden this year. I have been out in it every day checking things out and seeing what is coming up. One of the beautiful things that has come out of our gardening over the past few years is the joy the kids and I have for finding the first signs of spring and delighting in the timing of new things popping up throughout the season. Every year we watch the asparagus bed like a hawk until the first few spears start coming up and it has become a right of passage into the end of the school year.

 

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Tulips
Tulips are coming up.

Last fall I ordered all the things and have a very ambitious planting season ahead of me. One of the main items I ordered were five new gigantic garden beds along with this hardware cloth to put in the bottom. We live next to the woods and rodents are tunneling in all of my other garden beds so for the new ones I am going to try and keep them out. I also ordered these beds from Epic Gardening (no affiliation) and although they are very expensive they are super long lasting and excellent quality. Last year I put one of the smaller ones up and I was super happy with it. This time around I bought the tall ones in the hopes that they will help keep the rabbits out. I also bought this cloth tunnel hoping to deter the cabbage butterflies this year.

Kale
Kale plants.

All of the kale and collards I planted last year did great over the winter despite being squashed by all the snow we had. We are still harvesting a little bit off of them even though they are starting to flower. I planted a bunch more of the winter greens mix I have in a few different areas throughout the garden. I did this last year and the slugs got most of them so this year I was a little bit more generous with my seeds. I will also do another sowing in a few weeks and twice more nearer to the end of summer. I got about a dozen nice plants from my efforts last year which is more than enough for our needs.

Garlic
Garlic planted last fall.

My garlic continues to do well although it is probably time to fertilize them. I did sneak some beets, fennel and parsnips in amongst the rows and I honestly can’t tell if they sprouted or not. Most of the seeds were planted last week so I will give it another week before planting more. I planted over a hundred cloves of garlic last fall and it looks like we will have a bumper crop this year. One of the reasons I had to buy more beds is there is not enough room in my current beds to plant what I have before the garlic gets harvested. I am hoping to take out some grass for next year so I will have more room.

Rhubarb
Rhubarb

My rhubarb still seems small and I am not sure why. I planted this last spring and it immediately died from something, I think maybe a dog or a rabbit or something, I can’t remember. I was surprised when it came back over the summer. I will probably fertilize this as well and make sure it gets enough water this year. Hopefully it will continue to grow and maybe next year I will be able to harvest it. We haven’t grown rhubarb before so if you have any tricks let me know.

Rosemary
Rosemary bush.

Both of my rosemary bushes are doing poorly this year and I think it is due to the large amount of snow followed by the deep freeze we had over the winter. The brown areas are still pliable and may recover but I am concerned about how they will do next year if we have another year of massive snow. We got about a foot over the course of a week this winter which is highly unusual for our area. I will try fertilizing these as well and keep them well watered. We have had a very damp winter and spring so far so I have not been watering them since our soil is very saturated this year but I will keep an eye out for when things start to dry up.

Peas
Baby Peas

Some of my baby pea plants are coming up as well. I am going to put covers on these in the hopes that the slugs will leave them alone and plant more this week. I bought some trellising for my pea, cucumber and squash plants this year and hopefully I will be able to extend my harvest with some strategic shade.

New planting area.
New planting area.

I know it doesn’t look like much but the kids and I are working on clearing out a large area down the south side of the house to put all of our large garden beds in. I am going to cover this whole area with either cardboard or landscape cloth and mulch anew to keep the weeds down. This area is weedy every year and this year I am determined to keep them to a dull roar. We will be taking down some trees as well which will allow much more light into the back yard. This will also allow for some natural succession with the native “weeds” such as the stinky bob pictured here.  New vegetables we are trying this year are sweet potatoes, horseradish, and tons of flowers. So far I have some seeds started and I direct sowed peas, spinach, corn (I know it is a long shot), and my winter greens mix.

chocolate mint
Chocolate mint peeping up through the soil.

Our gardening goals this year are pretty ambitious but I find such joy in it that I don’t mind. What do you have planned for your garden this year?

 

Helpful links:

Gardening Update 11.07.21

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

 

Epic Gardening

 

Territorial Seed

 

Products (click image):

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed […]

March 2022 Spending

March 2022 Spending

For 2022 we are focusing on our grocery spending and trying to find ways to reduce it despite all of the price increases. In January we completed a pantry cleanout challenge and in February I focused on eating through the odds and ends in our […]

2022 Goals

2022 Goals

Setting goals for 2022 seems a little scary to me. I set high goals for myself for 2020 thinking “this would be my year” but then Covid happened and we ended up treading water for the entire year along with the rest of the world. I set no goals in 2021 except to keep our heads above water. This year however, instead of surviving I want to thrive!

Shelf Stable gluten-free food
Ramen for days.

2021 was a tough year for us financially. Our expenses for the kids increased dramatically, we ended up owing a chunk of a change in taxes, I took 6 weeks off for surgery, we had to replace a car, our oldest child moved out and our grocery budget doubled even with our cutting back methods and utilizing free school lunches over the summer when the kids were home. Having strict dietary needs and a child that only eats certain items really increases our budget, especially if those items are skyrocketing in price. We used to be able to keep our budget under $600 for our family of four plus helping our oldest daughter out but now we regularly spend $1000 in a month for groceries and we never eat out, and I mean never. My dining out budget for the entire year is probably $200 and we use gift cards if at all possible.

For 2022 we are setting some goals but only tentatively. We ended up refinancing our house at the end of 2021 to take advantage of the low interest rates. We did take a little bit of cash out to pay down some debt and fix a couple of things, but we are still hovering at around 40-50% equity which I am ok with. We most definitely did not max out our loan amount to pay for major remodels like some of my neighbors did. Hopefully their investments will pay off when they sell their houses in 5ish years like they plan to but it seems risky to me.

Financial Goals:

  1. Max out IRAs – Done. We did this last week with some of the Refi money. I do not recommend this at all but I am way behind on my retirement so for us the risk was worth it.
  2. Increase our 401k contributions – I haven’t increased this yet because the employer match goes up in April. Our goal is to narrow the gap between what we are contributing now and maxing it depending on mid-year promotions.
  3. Save, save save. I don’t have a savings number goal but I increased our investment amounts, reinstated my automatic contributions to our emergency fund and increased the kids’ college savings amounts.
  4. Decrease our grocery spending – This year I really want to focus on meal planning and eating through our pantry and freezer. I have been working on slowly building our food storage up to about 30-60 days worth but food goes bad and I wouldn’t want to waste any of it. We just completed our January pantry clean out and are worked on the freezer in February. I don’t feel comfortable letting the pantry get down to bare bones any more, not since February of 2020 when we last did this and then Covid hit and we were out of everything but we do need to regularly make an effort to eat through the odds and ends of what we have.
  5. Be more mindful of our spending – Last year I tried to greatly reduce plastic in our every day lives and this year I want to focus on mindful spending. Some questions we are asking are: Are we buying things just to shop or do we actually need them?

 

That’s it for 2022. Our focus will be on saving and trying not to let our expenses get away from us. What are your goals for 2022?

 

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 1

 

Gardening Update 11.07.21

 

Stitching Update 07.20.21

 

January 2022 Spending

January 2022 Spending

In January we attempted to do meal planning for the entire month and complete a pantry cleanout and eat through items in our freezer. Whew. It was a lot to keep track of and I am pretty proud of our progress. I was planning on […]


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