About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....
 

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Comments On Article: Invest Ourselves In Home

1,662 posts (admin)
Fri Jan 27, 23 4:54 AM CST

If you would like to share your comments for article Invest Ourselves in Home, this is where to do it! 

Click the Reply To This Topic button below to post yours.

L
19 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 6:07 AM CST

Good afternoon

I have started drawing my grocery money out in cash for the month. That way, when it is gone it is gone. I am down to £4.80 this month, so I hope I don't need anything much. I have just had my gas bill (natural gas? For boiler that runs the hot water and heating) and although it was MUCH higher than this time last year due to the rise in fuel prices, the actual usage was down 18% on the same quarter. The electric bill is more of a problem because I have a smart meter and it's not been working since the end of September. The fuel company are supposed to be reading the meter once a quarter but I don't think they have. If It's an estimated bill I will know. It's very frustrating. 

Thanks for the pie crust recipe. It looks much the same as I am used to. But instead of all lard, my Mum and Nan used half butter half lard. I really must start making my own pastry. 

S
17 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 7:20 AM CST

I am so happy you and Charles are enjoying this study:) I have used a pie crust recipe from the same era that is similar to this one but uses a bit of salt and crisco or lard. And like you I thought it seemed too simple, but it made the most amazing pie crust. I think like many things in this world people can’t just be happy with the simple good way of doing things they must keep pushing for progress ( which in most cases doesn’t give the best results, plus over complicates things). Thank you for sharing the recipe and thoughts about living on a budget.  This study has definitely made me pay closer attention to what is being spent and especially utilities. 

I wanted to add that during my research of the Great Depression I read several times that pies were made a lot because they were cheap, you could fill them with most anything you had on hand and most importantly they were filling.  So we may not have much money , but we can always have pie;) I don’t mind eating pie every week lol :

Sheri
B
1 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 8:19 AM CST

This was a fun blog post to read. I especially enjoyed reading about the pie crust and how easy it was to make. I’m going to have to give it a try and see how it comes out for me. Thank you.

35 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 8:29 AM CST

I like this post.  I think Charles' remark about things feeling right comes down to a solid footing.  In reality the things that you have, in a way, aren't really yours until they are paid for.  Whether they are paid for with cold hard cash or credit card purchase which are paid off every month with no carrying charges.  You know those things are yours and that's that.  This gives you a secure base to rest on and you know exactly where you are with your finances which is a comforting feeling.  If things are in balance then all is well, if not you can figure out where to make changes and can, with effort and intent, rectify that imbalance.

Paying cash for goods and services is a good way to go because you can literally see how much money you have to work with and see the balance going down as you spend.  Paying with a credit card is convenient, but a slippery slope. You need to be meticulous about keeping track of the charges that you put on that card as the month goes by so you don't end up paying interest on any balance left to eventually be paid off.  It's easy to go in the hole which is where the credit card companies make their money. 

C
3 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 9:24 AM CST
Helper G wrote:

If you would like to share your comments for article Invest Ourselves in Home, this is where to do it! 

Click the Reply To This Topic button below to post yours.

I know that I have a cookbook of my grandmother's from a stove they got in the thirties and I love the recipes and I've been trying to do some and adapt them for the way I have to cook. I have to do a lot of prep work and have things ready to go in the Crock-Pot the oven on timed bake for the days I work or when I go visit my grandkids.  (Although the day I go to see the kids isn't quite as critical for this but it's still nice).

It's interesting that you can always find a way to cut back and when you're trying to do it it doesn't feel his onerous as when you suddenly have to!

G
286 posts (admin)
Fri Jan 27, 23 9:36 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Laura B, that is very good how you managed to drop your usage by 18% because is is hard work to make that happen.  I would be very frustrated if my meter was not working properly and quite unfair if it is simply estimated.  I hope they can fix that. 

Sheri R, you bring up a very good point about the pie being that it costs so little to make and especially when canned fruit is in our pantry.  Right now with the diaries, it is winter and not a lot going on but just wait until garden season, oh my the canning they do (a little glance ahead).  

Belinda R, please let us know if you make a pie crust :)

Victoria W, you are right about credit cards being a slippery slope and they can cause so much stress. Yes, handling cash does make us more aware of what we are spending and question do I really need that?  There is something about using cash that is humbling and something we need more of today.  

Thank you all for your comments, it is so nice to have our little community here in this forum. 

L
46 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 10:00 AM CST

I think Charles said it best, "It just feels right."   I couldn't agree more.   There are things I am still working on, but it's moving in the right direction, and it indeed feels right.  And a quick funny: when I was in HS, we were required to take a term of home ec.  I couldn't stand it.  I remember going home and complaining to my mom that it took them 20-30 min to make a pie crust that day.  I was frustrated, because it was such a simple task that was made to be difficult.  

Oh, the other thing: mindset.  It's funny since beginning this (I know it's not been very long), my mind almost automatically thinks, "but I don't want to spend money."  That of course is good because I then try to figure out something I can do so I don't have to.  

As always, love reading this ~ It's encouraging when there doesn't seem to be much evidence of others doing these things.

A
42 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 10:09 AM CST

My mom was known for her pie crust. She used lard.  I'll have to check my one and only pie crust I've ever made (twice to be exact) and see if it's simple!  

G
286 posts (admin)
Fri Jan 27, 23 10:15 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Catherine G_2, is just getting into posting in this forum because she has a very busy working outside the home and inside her home, she is involved with her children and grandchildren and I can tell you that she is a wiz in the kitchen when it comes to having meals on the table and even when she is not there.  When she casually said above, "I have to do a lot of prep work" she will spend one or two of her days off work in the kitchen doing prep work for her meals ahead. She will freeze some things separately, some meals she will put together into a casserole and freeze the casseroles. Her meals are delicious, I have made some myself that she has generously shared with me how she does it.  Catherine and her family do not eat out, it would be very rare occurrence and all of her meals are homemade and she is very thrifty with stretching food. She utilizes her crock pot and timed oven so when they come home meals are ready to eat. To me this is a true skill and a good way to save money by not eating out.  Catherine G_2, I hope maybe off and on you could share a few of your casserole meals in the recipe section in the forum.

S
92 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 10:19 AM CST

I'm never going back either. Living this way just feels so right! I'm still learning, though. Changing back takes time. I've found that things online affect my brain differently. It's like my brain doesn't pay attention to them the way it does if I do something offline. I even forgot just how many things I have on auto-subscribe! (Which are cancelled except one.) And the opposite of that, but just as bad, is not knowing what I'm spending or even what I buy. I know what I buy when I buy it but not what I need regularly, if that makes sense. But I'm getting it all straight in my head now and it feels so different. So much better. So in control. I do have more now using less. 

I'll try the pie crust. I've been wanting to make a hamburger pie. I'll double the crust. If that works out, then it's gooseberry pie time. :) I like the idea of pie being the catch all for all the bits and pieces leftover from other things. 

I bought two ceramic knobs for my kitchen redecorating project to see if they would look right. They do, so I'll start saving up to buy the rest. I'm very excited because I have the most boring looking kitchen ever right now. Nothing makes all that brown look cheerful! 

G
286 posts (admin)
Fri Jan 27, 23 10:28 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Lady L, I understand your feeling about home economics class and I too do not want to spend any money at all unless it is absolutely necessary.  There is something special about this study that is clicking in. Many of us are starting to feel it.  

Ann E, please let us know if your mom's pie crust is similar.

G
286 posts (admin)
Fri Jan 27, 23 10:49 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Stephanie G, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "So much better, So in control".  I too feel that we have more control a better grip on things. Charles said yesterday, when we tasted the pie crust, this is going to be so good during mulberry season.  Our mulberries are almost sweet enough to not even use sugar and with the pie crust being so simple.  I like this pie crust because it is a thin crust. Since you are saving money you should have that saved up in no time. :) I have never eaten a gooseberry, I don't think we have them around here.  What are they similar to?

S
92 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 11:39 AM CST

Grandma Donna Gooseberries grow wild here. You find them in the woods. I have a nursery plant, though. I'm always looking for things that will survive since I've had a lot of plants die. They scraped all of the topsoil off our neighborhood (when building the houses) for a golf course, so I've got a lot of hard soil and rocks. The Charles Dowding method works best here.

I don't know how to describe the taste of gooseberries. It would be like trying to describe the flavor of rhubarb to someone who had never tasted it. It's unique. It has a tart flavor that is softened by sugar. Jam made from them tastes like the candy SweeTarts to me. You could try making a pie with canned berries, but I don't think they taste like fresh ones. I'm sorry I can't do better! I love mulberries. What a delicious pie they make. Very richly flavored. :) 

Edited Fri Jan 27, 23 11:39 AM by Stephanie G
K
72 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 1:33 PM CST

Our landlord had our entire home rewired and we were shocked (excuse the pun) to see how much less electricity we we using. 

I also want to make the pie crust but will use butter as lard isn't in the supermarkets where we live. I'm not buying it online either as postage makes it very expensive and there was no online shopping in the 1930s.

Yesterday I wanted pretty pictures on my hallway walls so I got out photoframes I'd kept.  Cut new backs out of cardboard, stapled new cord on the back and my grandson and I cut beautiful flower pictures from a calendar and they look just lovely.  I then hung jewelery I don't wear or is broken on or near the pictures. All for free.


Edited Fri Jan 27, 23 1:35 PM by Karen S
This reply was deleted.
C
3 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 1:46 PM CST
Grandma Donna wrote:

Grandma Donna wrote, Catherine G_2, is just getting into posting in this forum because she has a very busy working outside the home and inside her home, she is involved with her children and grandchildren and I can tell you that she is a wiz in the kitchen when it comes to having meals on the table and even when she is not there.  When she casually said above, "I have to do a lot of prep work" she will spend one or two of her days off work in the kitchen doing prep work for her meals ahead. She will freeze some things separately, some meals she will put together into a casserole and freeze the casseroles. Her meals are delicious, I have made some myself that she has generously shared with me how she does it.  Catherine and her family do not eat out, it would be very rare occurrence and all of her meals are homemade and she is very thrifty with stretching food. She utilizes her crock pot and timed oven so when they come home meals are ready to eat. To me this is a true skill and a good way to save money by not eating out.  Catherine G_2, I hope maybe off and on you could share a few of your casserole meals in the recipe section in the forum.

My dear I would be happy too if anybody be interested in them. Today I'm cooking a batch of pinto beans... So I can bake a bunch of homemade bean and green chili and cheese burritos to wrap up to put in the freezer. I'd rather have these than the store-bought ones and they're cheaper! 

Thank you for your kind words! I don't know how much of a wiz I am dear.  We don't eat out... It's been quite a while since we have.



B
33 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 2:17 PM CST

I really love this post, especially the part about budgeting and keeping track of where every penny is going. The thing that struck me the most is that GDonna feels so secure, not lacking for anything. That is such a great feeling. Living debt free is definitely the way to go. About 8 years ago I received an inheritance of $75,000. I lived in a single wide mobile home in a mobile home park at the time. For my physical and mental health I felt that I needed to move. I could have used my money to put a big down payment on a house but instead I chose to buy an old house for just under $25,000 so I bought my house free and clear. I also got a used car for $10,000 instead of getting something new that I would have been paying on for years. I used this money to become entirely debt free and I haven't gone back to having debt since. Basically what I have to pay for are property taxes, utilities, pet expenses, upkeep of house, car expenses, and a little for food and clothes since I shop at thrift stores and discount grocery stores. You can save a LOT at salvage / discount grocery stores! You can Google it to see where there are Discount Grocery stores near you. You can often save about half of the price in a regular store. I do a LOT of canning too to save money. Presently our local discount grocery store has 11 pound boxes of big sausages for $10.99, so $1 a pound! I have canned 77 pounds of it. Some I canned plain and much of it I canned in various soups and stews. I was also able to get 2 pound bags of frozen collard greens for only .69. I don't even remember how many bags of that I dehydrated. We can save a lot if we always take advantage of these opportunities when they arise. I am still eating jars of mushrooms, green beans and asparagus that I got a fantastic deal on, and canned and dehydrated at the start of the pandemic. I get credit card offers all the time but I will never go back to that way of living. It is way too stressful and it just doesn't make any sense.

G
286 posts (admin)
Fri Jan 27, 23 2:59 PM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Becky Sue K, What a wise thing to do with your money.  Many years ago I watched something on television and it showed a woman that built her a small cabin on a small piece of property.  She lived in the city and was working full time.  She wanted this place to have somewhere that was paid for that if things ever got difficult for her she could live in this place.  I have never forgotten this and thought is a very smart thing to do.  She used it as a get-a-way to keep it in shape.  I feel that you put yourself in a very good financial place too. :)

L
4 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 3:04 PM CST

Mom's famous pie crust recipe was 1 c flour, 1/3 c Crisco, 1/2 t salt and 3-5 T ice water.    It always turns out and always gets compliments.  Don't use too much water!

35 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 4:30 PM CST

Lana D, that is the pie crust recipe that I use.  It came from a cookbook (I think it was a Betty Crocker cooking for two) that I was given as a wedding present in 1969.  Good thing, since I only knew how to cook about three or four things. It always turns out good.  You are right about the water, just add it incrementally until the dough begins to hold together.  Too much water makes the crust tough.

S
13 posts
Fri Jan 27, 23 9:01 PM CST

A great post here and thanks for the pie crust recipe. A quick cost comparison for this pie crust made in Australia versus the cheapest store bought crust I could find: 

I buy 5kg bags of flour which will make 33 pie crusts = 45 cents per crust. Cheaper if I buy on sale.

Cheapest lard is $2.60 per 250g (about one cup) so 65 cents per crust.

So that’s $1.10 per crust at most.  Add maybe a few cents to par bake.

Coles Supermarket home brand pie crust is $3.75.

So homemade is less than 1/3 the price of store bought. That does not factor in the time taken, but it is a pretty easy recipe and probably does not take longer than getting it out of the shop fridge, unwrapping it, disposing the wrapper etc. And time and patience are the thing I have which cost me nothing and time in the kitchen to me is a joy. 

Good to realise too how much economic sense this crust makes.

S
15 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 1:33 AM CST

Thank you G-Donna for such an insightful post.  Although I enjoy all the posts you put up, I especially like the ones where you talk about how the current challenge has changed the way that you and Charles live.  Somehow it makes the challenge more 'real'.

Thank you also for the pie crust recipe.  I've always been taught 'half fat to flour', but this one obviously uses 1/4 fat - flour.  I'm going to give it a try!

I resolved the lighting/soot dilemma by using a solar powered light instead of candles or an oil lamp.  Cheating ? Maybe,  but it gives me the same ambience without the soot.  At the moment the light gets recharged via electricity but once the longer days begin I shall be charging it with solar power.  I am very fortunate that all my utility bills are included within my rent payment so I have no actual idea about the amount of electricity or water I'm currently using.  What this challenge has made me do is be much more mindful about the amounts I'm using.  I rarely wasted anyway (not so closet 'eco warrior'), but I'm definitely think more about what I use.

I'm still not using the electric kettle or my microwave so was interested to read that you'd reheated the frozen meatloaf portion.  How do you go about this, could you do a post about this, please?

It's getting to be daylight and there's still lots to do before I need to go and do some volunteer work.  From the beginning of March I shall be changing my jobs and working full time for the first time in decades - some huge changes are going to have to be made - instead of being 'time rich but cash poor', I shall be 'cash rich but time poor'. Maybe I will get more done!

21 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 2:17 AM CST

First off, I'm in awe of Becky Sue K, I couldn't even imagine being able to buy a home for $25,000. That wouldn't even be enough for a down payment here in New Zealand - no matter what part of the country you lived in. I think you are a very wise and blessed woman :)  And Grandma Donna, I think your Charles sounds like a wise man (and your a very wise woman of course). Yes the way you live and the way many of us have chosen to live (striving to get out of debt and live more frugal lives) is wise. It does make sense, and it does bring a sense of peace and calm. Right now I'm striving to not waste anything. If the garden gives us plums, then I preserve and make as many different plum things as I can. This week it was Beetroot, so I canned the whole lot (about 25 pints). I'm not planting any next year lol. Anyway, this post gave me so much joy to read. Blessings to you all ~ Linda

21 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 2:19 AM CST

Oh and p.s regards the pie crust - I make a similar crust, only mine uses butter. I've made that simple pastry for years and make wonderful quiches with it. My mum used to make a custard pie when I was little with nutmeg on the top. it was delicious :)

G
286 posts (admin)
Sat Jan 28, 23 9:28 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Sheryl C,  you wrote, I'm still not using the electric kettle or my microwave so was interested to read that you'd reheated the frozen meatloaf portion.  How do you go about this, could you do a post about this, please?

When we make meatloaf, we eat a portion and slice the rest of it and wrap it in two slice portions (individually) and put them in the freezer. When we want to eat some for a sandwich or a side on the plate with vegetables, I simply take out the package of two slices, If I only need one I just break away one slice and put the other back in the freezer and then sit it out to thaw.  I have a small skillet and I add just a bit of water and when the water starts to simmer I place the meatloaf in the skillet and place a lid on and the meatloaf will heat throughout and the water will cook away.  That is all that is too it.  It works nicely and only takes a few minutes.  If I know the day before I will just take out what is needed and put it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
Edited Sat Jan 28, 23 9:30 AM by Grandma Donna
B
33 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 11:51 AM CST
Linda - The Little Homestead wrote:

First off, I'm in awe of Becky Sue K, I couldn't even imagine being able to buy a home for $25,000. That wouldn't even be enough for a down payment here in New Zealand - no matter what part of the country you lived in. I think you are a very wise and blessed woman :)  And Grandma Donna, I think your Charles sounds like a wise man (and your a very wise woman of course). Yes the way you live and the way many of us have chosen to live (striving to get out of debt and live more frugal lives) is wise. It does make sense, and it does bring a sense of peace and calm. Right now I'm striving to not waste anything. If the garden gives us plums, then I preserve and make as many different plum things as I can. This week it was Beetroot, so I canned the whole lot (about 25 pints). I'm not planting any next year lol. Anyway, this post gave me so much joy to read. Blessings to you all ~ Linda

Linda,

          Thanks for your kind comments! I got slightly over an acre of land with the house too.

Becky Sue

S
15 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 3:05 PM CST
Grandma Donna wrote:

Grandma Donna wrote, Sheryl C,  you wrote, I'm still not using the electric kettle or my microwave so was interested to read that you'd reheated the frozen meatloaf portion.  How do you go about this, could you do a post about this, please?

When we make meatloaf, we eat a portion and slice the rest of it and wrap it in two slice portions (individually) and put them in the freezer. When we want to eat some for a sandwich or a side on the plate with vegetables, I simply take out the package of two slices, If I only need one I just break away one slice and put the other back in the freezer and then sit it out to thaw.  I have a small skillet and I add just a bit of water and when the water starts to simmer I place the meatloaf in the skillet and place a lid on and the meatloaf will heat throughout and the water will cook away.  That is all that is too it.  It works nicely and only takes a few minutes.  If I know the day before I will just take out what is needed and put it in the fridge overnight to thaw.

Many thanks Grandma Donna.  I shall certainly try this! Does it work well to reheat pastry dishes too?

G
286 posts (admin)
Sat Jan 28, 23 3:30 PM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Sheryl C, no, I reheat pastry dishes in the oven.

21 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 3:59 PM CST
Becky Sue K wrote:

Linda,

          Thanks for your kind comments! I got slightly over an acre of land with the house too.

Becky Sue

Well done you !!! :)

s
5 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 6:14 PM CST
Becky Sue K wrote:

I really love this post, especially the part about budgeting and keeping track of where every penny is going. The thing that struck me the most is that GDonna feels so secure, not lacking for anything. That is such a great feeling. Living debt free is definitely the way to go. About 8 years ago I received an inheritance of $75,000. I lived in a single wide mobile home in a mobile home park at the time. For my physical and mental health I felt that I needed to move. I could have used my money to put a big down payment on a house but instead I chose to buy an old house for just under $25,000 so I bought my house free and clear. I also got a used car for $10,000 instead of getting something new that I would have been paying on for years. I used this money to become entirely debt free and I haven't gone back to having debt since. Basically what I have to pay for are property taxes, utilities, pet expenses, upkeep of house, car expenses, and a little for food and clothes since I shop at thrift stores and discount grocery stores. You can save a LOT at salvage / discount grocery stores! You can Google it to see where there are Discount Grocery stores near you. You can often save about half of the price in a regular store. I do a LOT of canning too to save money. Presently our local discount grocery store has 11 pound boxes of big sausages for $10.99, so $1 a pound! I have canned 77 pounds of it. Some I canned plain and much of it I canned in various soups and stews. I was also able to get 2 pound bags of frozen collard greens for only .69. I don't even remember how many bags of that I dehydrated. We can save a lot if we always take advantage of these opportunities when they arise. I am still eating jars of mushrooms, green beans and asparagus that I got a fantastic deal on, and canned and dehydrated at the start of the pandemic. I get credit card offers all the time but I will never go back to that way of living. It is way too stressful and it just doesn't make any sense.

This is how we live, too. I'm 34, my husband is 37, and we have 8 children ages 4-17. We are 100% debt free including our home. No inheritance but we have lived in a small home that we bought from a family member for all 17 years of our marriage. I we love salvage grocery stores! We went to one today. We purchased 4 carts full of food for $500, including almost 100 lbs. of meat. That's definitely the way to go to feed our growing family! We also can a lot, either from our garden or from local growers. I mentioned canning to an older woman at church and she said, "I'd never do that...it's too much work!" 

A
42 posts
Sun Jan 29, 23 8:27 AM CST
Grandma Donna wrote:

Grandma Donna wrote, Lady L, I understand your feeling about home economics class and I too do not want to spend any money at all unless it is absolutely necessary.  There is something special about this study that is clicking in. Many of us are starting to feel it.  

Ann E, please let us know if your mom's pie crust is similar.

My mom is going to give me her pie crust recipe but over text, she said it was lard (crisco which I hear isn't real lard anymore), salt, water and flour.  Pretty basic and I remember it being very flavorful. She was a master at a beautiful pie edge!

K
40 posts
Sun Jan 29, 23 3:17 PM CST

Oh my...this blog post was just what  I needed. This week especially, I have been struggling with the wants. I've also noticed that my email has picked up a bit with tempting statements of "free shipping", "hurry...25% off...",  etc... Perhaps the emails are commensurate with the searches or maybe the marketers just held off a bit post holiday? Regardless, it has worked and I've struggled. Thank you for the reminder to invest in our home and have gratitude for what we have. This weekend we had my son, daughter in law and two grandsons over for supper (easy meal of spaghetti and meatballs, homemade bread, broccoli and peach cobbler - all of which I had in pantry or freezer). I've been working on a crochet afghan (getting a head start for next holiday season) and of course, lots of home chores. Today I baked a small batch of cupcakes, took some and called on my siblings and their spouses (we all live on the same street). Thank you Grandma Donna for the much needed reboot. I am feeling more grounded now. 

L
1 posts
Sun Jan 29, 23 4:35 PM CST

Grandma Donna, I've always loved your site. However I'm revelling in the delight reading others' comments and your responses to them. I'm left wondering with glimpses  of your followers' lives. In particular,  I'm dying to know more about Becky Sue and her house bought with part of her inheritance. A homestead in preparation,  as she works elsewhere. I've a family history in floristry horticulture (not me, not sufficient green thumbs here!), love tiny homes and am now on a learning curve re developing close to self sufficiency in fresh foods, living a quieter and slower life, and minimising resources required for living. Lynda, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Edited Sun Jan 29, 23 4:36 PM by Lynda P
T
35 posts
Sun Jan 29, 23 6:16 PM CST

$28,000 for my house, in a small town in rural Kansas. I bought it sight unseen. I intend to put in a garden this year. I wanted to live in the country again, but I know I'm not in any shape to handle acreage or livestock. Cost of living is much cheaper than WA state was. And I work from home and am going to keep working for now. I am making an effort to buy from the stores in this small town. I do still order a few things that I can't find locally. I am going to have to get a different stove before I start canning as this is a glass top.  I am slowly getting back in the habit of making do. 

N
2 posts
Mon Jan 30, 23 8:20 AM CST

As a family, we just decided to make pies, so this is timely. One of us cannot eat high nickel foods. That eliminates chocolate so we were determining what kinds of special treats to have. I am experimenting with rendered beef fat as buy freezer beef from a local farmer. I am thinking beef fat would work in this piecrust to make a savory pie with meat and vegetable filling.

G
286 posts (admin)
Mon Jan 30, 23 9:46 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Becky Sue K, Teri P, Sarah L I think you are a great example of thinking of how I can live my life debt free and showing others that there are possibilities and options to to be able to live debt free.  Once debt free then with time there will be money to make improvements. 

Naomi J, best way to find out is to try, let us know how the pie crust goes with rendered beef fat for a savory pie. 

Lynda P, I am excited about the forum too so everyone can have conversations with like minded people.  I have always wanted this. 

Kathryn P, I have felt calmer since the study with not purchasing anything but food and repairs so far.  Good point about the spaghetti, it is a good meal for a large crowd. When my brothers family gets together there are a lot of them and spaghetti and salad is their go to.  

Sharon H, thank you for the break down of costs for homemade and store bought crust. 

Linda, this is good to mention about preserving what comes to us. As we move through the diaries we will see this, how they did long ago.  It is very interesting.  


G
18 posts
Mon Jan 30, 23 11:52 AM CST

Naomi J, I render beef fat and use it in pastry, both savoury and sweet.  I really like it!  It does have a hint of beef, but not if you don't know it's there I think.  

We have a good source of beef fat--our butcher gives it to us for free, and we use it as our main cooking fat in everything from scrambled eggs to deep frying.  And when we have a bit too much (sometimes he gives us a huge lump) I will make a batch of soap.

E
17 posts
Mon Jan 30, 23 3:54 PM CST

I have found the pie crust recipe very interesting. When I read about the old times in America, people always seem to talk about making pies. I often wondered about the faffing involved in making pastry and the need to refrigerate it to let it rest etc, but this makes a lot of sense. I look forward to trying it for my family. Do you think it would hold up for meat pie or would that require a different kind of pastry? I don't generally make pastry.

Your insights into depression times and food are very interesting. Though I am not strictly following, I am certainly looking at our budget and meals more critically and in a more old-fashioned light. I do most of my shopping via click-and-collect online and then just pick it up. It saves me the hassle of shopping in-person and having to make decisions in the brightly lit, artificial supermarket. I often put the things in my trolly and then go back through and remove things to ensure I am within my budget, which for a family our size in this day and age is pretty low. If there is a special on something, I will buy a couple of them to pop in the cupboard. If I can get out of the shop below my budget I quietly congratulate myself. I get my veggies from the greengrocer mostly.  

But I think I can do better. I would like to reduce my shopping budget by $50 and have been looking at ways to do it. Eliminating ham for sandwiches, except for a treat is the first thing to go. It is an extravagance because we like to support the Australian Pork industry which has struggled in recent years. Instead, I have been buying a boneless pork roast (Australian) and then dicing it up to do several family meals, bulking it out with veggies, potato and serving with rice/pasta. The kids now fill up on bread if they are still hungry after a dinner.  

 

M
2 posts
Tue Jan 31, 23 10:47 PM CST

I have been busy packing away items into boxes as we are getting ready to have most of our house rewired. It was built in 1917 and we have lived here for 40 years since the first year of our marriage! (It still has knob and tube wiring. ) I have the original blue prints to our house so I took a picture of them so I could start marking where the outlets and switches were. I never realized until today that my house was wired for electricity from the very beginning. It also had a very nice indoor bathroom and we still have the original cast iron bathtub and pedestal sink. There was a laundry chute from the upstairs bathroom where one could drop the clothes down into the basement. Clothes lines ran the length of one of the large rooms  for drying. There was a dedicated room for storing fruits & vegetables and a room to store the coal for the furnace. We have added on a two story addition as we raised 4 boys here but the old part of the house has stayed pretty much the same except for a few changes like converting the ice closet into a downstairs bathroom. My house was thirteen years old when the depression hit and I imagine it served the owners well. I have been trying to cook from scratch most days mostly because my husband and I just think it tastes so much better than restaurant food. We had to make a trip to a bigger city to buy supplies for our store so we stopped at a local restaurant for burgers and fries- we were both shocked to see that the bill with tip was almost $65. I enjoy reading your posts more than you can ever know. Thank you for taking the time to do this blog.

Attached Photos

B
33 posts
Wed Feb 01, 23 4:20 PM CST
Melissa M wrote:

I have been busy packing away items into boxes as we are getting ready to have most of our house rewired. It was built in 1917 and we have lived here for 40 years since the first year of our marriage! (It still has knob and tube wiring. ) I have the original blue prints to our house so I took a picture of them so I could start marking where the outlets and switches were. I never realized until today that my house was wired for electricity from the very beginning. It also had a very nice indoor bathroom and we still have the original cast iron bathtub and pedestal sink. There was a laundry chute from the upstairs bathroom where one could drop the clothes down into the basement. Clothes lines ran the length of one of the large rooms  for drying. There was a dedicated room for storing fruits & vegetables and a room to store the coal for the furnace. We have added on a two story addition as we raised 4 boys here but the old part of the house has stayed pretty much the same except for a few changes like converting the ice closet into a downstairs bathroom. My house was thirteen years old when the depression hit and I imagine it served the owners well. I have been trying to cook from scratch most days mostly because my husband and I just think it tastes so much better than restaurant food. We had to make a trip to a bigger city to buy supplies for our store so we stopped at a local restaurant for burgers and fries- we were both shocked to see that the bill with tip was almost $65. I enjoy reading your posts more than you can ever know. Thank you for taking the time to do this blog.

Melissa,

Thanks for describing your house! It sounds very interesting. You gave me an idea when you said that one of the rooms had a clothesline in it. I have a big closed in front porch that would be perfect for hanging clothes. Today it is only 31 degrees here but I am still hanging my wash out. It would certainly be nicer to hang them on my porch.

Good for you cooking from scratch at home. That is what I do. About every 3 years I go to Minnesota to visit my daughter and she will take me out to a real restaurant. Other than that it is eating at home, except for maybe 4 - 6 times a year when I grab something at a fast food place.

 I am doing an old time chore today that I read about years ago. Whenever it snows I take my rugs outside (the ones I can't put in the washing machine.) I lay the rugs face down in the clean snow and walk on the back of the rug or beat it depending on how big the rug is. It really works to clean the rugs! I read that people used to do this with big wool rugs.

Becky Sue

C
2 posts
Thu Feb 02, 23 10:02 AM CST
Teri P wrote:

$28,000 for my house, in a small town in rural Kansas. I bought it sight unseen. I intend to put in a garden this year. I wanted to live in the country again, but I know I'm not in any shape to handle acreage or livestock. Cost of living is much cheaper than WA state was. And I work from home and am going to keep working for now. I am making an effort to buy from the stores in this small town. I do still order a few things that I can't find locally. I am going to have to get a different stove before I start canning as this is a glass top.  I am slowly getting back in the habit of making do. 

Hi Teri— I have a glass top stove and use a canner on it.  I did a little research and found I just needed a smooth bottomed canner.  I found a stainless steel, water bath canner with a flat bottom and a tempered glass lid.  I’ve been using it for years.  

As to pie, the crust recipe is very similar to the one I learned from my mother.  The only change I’ve made is to use butter instead of lard or Crisco.  I thought it interesting that Grandma Donna mentioned the crust was thin.  When I’ve tried other pie crust recipes, I’ve found I can usually get three crusts out of a double crust recipe.  I must like a thin crust!

Carol

A
97 posts
Fri Feb 10, 23 1:23 PM CST

I don't even know where to start with the replies about this post. I read every single reply and learned some new things. We too have been shocked by the cost of items especially for our business. We are so glad that we will be moving to our permanent location and not having to pay the lease and electric combined with a HUGE gas bill for our vehicles commuting back and forth 2 1/2 hours each day round trip. 

My husband and I purchased 5 1/2 acres in 2020 cash and have slowly been building a shop on it as we go with cash we save monthly. The amount of people that would tell us that we would never enjoy our new shop for our business to go into because we weren't moving fast enough to just hire a contractor and get a loan was amazing. Now that we move in the end of the month and chose to live a very watch your pennies lifestyle it has all paid off. The blessing of comfort knowing that we don't have a 300k loan over our head and never being able to afford to build the house on the same land would have felt crushing on our souls. I was so excited when I read how many of us have no mortgages and pay for things cash. You would think people would be so thankful and congratulate you for those accomplishments, but it's the exact opposite!!! People constantly ask us how we live without a credit card. Isn't that odd that they are so dependent on a piece of plastic? We have followed Dave Ramsey since 2016 for his financial principles and it changed our lives and family tree.

We too had to purchase parts for 2 our vehicles needing front brakes and a new steering box-both very old, but reliable. The price was over $500, but beats a payment and higher everything any day and we saved on a shop since my husband can fix those things, but if it breaks it sits until he gets a chance. So there is a catch.  :) I have a story about a friend of mine I will write below. Hope it's okay to tell it if not please feel free and remove.

My husband and I grew up with a family who had 9 children and we were friends with their kids and still are. They purchased land outside of Los Angeles back in the 80's for 10k for 1 acre. They paid cash and then quickly built a 1200 sf home with a 2 car garage at the back end of the property. They decided that eventually they would need something bigger due to family size so they started building on the front of the property a 5000 sf home all cash. He dug out a basement full size so 2500 upstairs main level and then 2500 downstairs with a root cellar, sewing room, etc. They didn't have a lot of money nor own any equipment. They went without air conditioning and heat and used only their huge fireplace for many many years to accomplish this goal, but the one thing she would say is I really want a certain type of furniture so she saved up for 10 years for this type which looks incredible I have to say now by making a grocery list of everything she needed for 1 year and only going to the store for minimal fresh items. They used powdered milk, had a garden (not very big, but provided some) and was just very frugal and still ate good. We watched as they went thru the whole process in their family and she never went back to planning meals for a year at a time and storing food that way. Her husband always said when he's done building I want to save up and buy a new corvette. And guess what he bought that new corvette! It took them 20 years, but they did it and it all started with the food budget. There example has influenced our family so heavily and I'm so thankful for them.

A
97 posts
Fri Feb 10, 23 9:28 PM CST

I made the pie crust recipe and made a pumpkin pie with it. It was really yummy and that's the easiest crust i've ever made. The recipe is definitely a keeper. I did add a pinch of salt and it took probably an extra 2tsp of cold water. I made the mistake and didn't roll it out quite the size, but turned out well. 

Attached Photos

G
286 posts (admin)
Mon Feb 13, 23 8:45 PM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Andrea B, thank you for sharing your pie photo's, I agree with you about how easy the crust is to make.  So simple, I still think that in the past it was easy to whip out these pies because it was before they made pie crusts more complicated by overthinking it and adding their own ingredients until everyone forgot the original crust.  We all like to adjust a recipe to make it our own but sometimes simple just needs to remain simple. :)

G
286 posts (admin)
Mon Feb 13, 23 8:47 PM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Melissa M, this is very interesting, your blueprints and finding out about your wiring.  Thank you for sharing that with us. 

B
33 posts
Wed Nov 08, 23 2:31 PM CST

I enjoyed this post. About a month ago, I started a new system for keeping track of my money, which has made a HUGE difference. I started putting money in envelopes and almost quit using my debit card. I don't own a credit card. I've found that I am shopping less often and know where my money is going now. This ends impulse shopping because the money has to be in the envelopes to be spent. Recently, I needed a shelf that cost $36. I didn't have $36 in the miscellaneous fund, so I wiped out that fund and had to take some from other envelopes to make up the difference. I am thinking more before I spend money now. I appreciate the fact that if I want one thing, that means that I can't have something else. I am happy to be in charge of my money and know where it is going. I also know that I have something set aside in case something bad happens.

I hope you are doing well Donna. I am sure that a lot of people miss you and are wishing for the old days when you were able to post regularly. Of course, we can all read your old posts and enjoy them too.

B
33 posts
Wed Nov 08, 23 3:30 PM CST
Lynda P wrote:

Grandma Donna, I've always loved your site. However I'm revelling in the delight reading others' comments and your responses to them. I'm left wondering with glimpses  of your followers' lives. In particular,  I'm dying to know more about Becky Sue and her house bought with part of her inheritance. A homestead in preparation,  as she works elsewhere. I've a family history in floristry horticulture (not me, not sufficient green thumbs here!), love tiny homes and am now on a learning curve re developing close to self sufficiency in fresh foods, living a quieter and slower life, and minimising resources required for living. Lynda, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Lynda,

           Actually, I don't work at an outside job anywhere. Because of my frugal ways, I can live on my Social Security money of $806 a month. I used to sell on Amazon and eBay, but both of those ventures fell through. So now my time is mine. I can spend a day canning, freezing, dehydrating, cleaning, or whatever else I take a notion to do. Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I washed clothes and hung them outside. I was able to stack some wood and will work more on that today, too. I am also working on some big housekeeping projects. I am trying to get rid of many things I don't need so things will be more organized. It is almost winter here, and it would be nice to have things more organized before it comes. The other evening, I built a fire for the first time this season in my wood stove, and my pets loved it. They had a look of complete and total satisfaction and contentment. I also used my old-fashioned popcorn maker to make a nice batch of popcorn on the wood stove. I cook on it often.

I have been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books lately. I usually read her Long Winter book every year. I don't know if you've read it. Basically, their family almost starved and froze to death because they didn't make preparations for the winter. So, I read it as a reminder to check my preparations for winter. In her first book, she was describing their house in the Fall, and she said the little house was fairly bursting with good things, and that is how I like to keep my house all year. The salvage grocery store has had boneless meat for .50 a pound lately! It might be roast beef, chicken, or turkey. When they slice the meat, they set aside the end pieces or any piece that isn't a perfect slice. That is what I get. If you buy the perfect slices, the roast beef is $4.09 a pound, so I am getting a HUGE discount! I have canned a lot of this in soups. Some I have canned plain, and some I have frozen. I always have a LOT of meat on hand. They have also started marking down cheese to .99. It will have a little streak of mold on it, so they mark it down. You can get a hunk of cheese whose original price would be about $5 for just .99! My first job was at a cheese place; one of the first things they told me was that cheese is just fine if you cut the mold off. So now I get both meat and cheese very cheaply.

I have been researching lately about making soap from wood ash since I get so much of it from my stove. I used to make soap many years ago but I have never gotten the lye from ashes. I saw how you make a leach barrel to leach the lye from the ashes and I think I have the things I need in the garage to do that. I hope to get that set up soon since winter will be upon us soon.

I've also been looking at videos showing how to make simple solar heaters and I am planning to try that soon. I really love solar. I have solar lights hanging all over my house that I use every day. It saves on electricity and I am always prepared for a power outage.

Have a Great Day!

Becky

Edited Wed Nov 08, 23 3:44 PM by Becky Sue K
A
97 posts
Tue Nov 14, 23 1:10 PM CST
Becky Sue K wrote:

Lynda,

           Actually, I don't work at an outside job anywhere. Because of my frugal ways, I can live on my Social Security money of $806 a month. I used to sell on Amazon and eBay, but both of those ventures fell through. So now my time is mine. I can spend a day canning, freezing, dehydrating, cleaning, or whatever else I take a notion to do. Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I washed clothes and hung them outside. I was able to stack some wood and will work more on that today, too. I am also working on some big housekeeping projects. I am trying to get rid of many things I don't need so things will be more organized. It is almost winter here, and it would be nice to have things more organized before it comes. The other evening, I built a fire for the first time this season in my wood stove, and my pets loved it. They had a look of complete and total satisfaction and contentment. I also used my old-fashioned popcorn maker to make a nice batch of popcorn on the wood stove. I cook on it often.

I have been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books lately. I usually read her Long Winter book every year. I don't know if you've read it. Basically, their family almost starved and froze to death because they didn't make preparations for the winter. So, I read it as a reminder to check my preparations for winter. In her first book, she was describing their house in the Fall, and she said the little house was fairly bursting with good things, and that is how I like to keep my house all year. The salvage grocery store has had boneless meat for .50 a pound lately! It might be roast beef, chicken, or turkey. When they slice the meat, they set aside the end pieces or any piece that isn't a perfect slice. That is what I get. If you buy the perfect slices, the roast beef is $4.09 a pound, so I am getting a HUGE discount! I have canned a lot of this in soups. Some I have canned plain, and some I have frozen. I always have a LOT of meat on hand. They have also started marking down cheese to .99. It will have a little streak of mold on it, so they mark it down. You can get a hunk of cheese whose original price would be about $5 for just .99! My first job was at a cheese place; one of the first things they told me was that cheese is just fine if you cut the mold off. So now I get both meat and cheese very cheaply.

I have been researching lately about making soap from wood ash since I get so much of it from my stove. I used to make soap many years ago but I have never gotten the lye from ashes. I saw how you make a leach barrel to leach the lye from the ashes and I think I have the things I need in the garage to do that. I hope to get that set up soon since winter will be upon us soon.

I've also been looking at videos showing how to make simple solar heaters and I am planning to try that soon. I really love solar. I have solar lights hanging all over my house that I use every day. It saves on electricity and I am always prepared for a power outage.

Have a Great Day!

Becky

I love the Laura Ingall's Wilder Books. Full of great information. I highly recommend her cookbook also. I was very curious on the lye making process and found wonderful information on the Edwardian and Victorian Farm Show. Hopefully it will help you out.

K
1 posts
Tue Dec 12, 23 4:59 PM CST

Perhaps you have mentioned this in other posts (I am new and reading articles slowly because they are a treat I like to savor), but do you use a specific curriculum when you and Charles do your studies or just research using the Internet and library resources?

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