Another Update :)

By taliesinYesterday, I added a new page to this blog called Single Moms:

“My Single Mom Examiner.com page is a resource for single parents, mainly moms but fathers will also find most of the information useful.”

Today I added the last of the links.

Enjoy the new reads.

Subscribe to Bangor Single Moms, even if you aren’t from the area.

Share the articles you think others will be interested.

Have a great day!

Shannon

Updated the Blog: Many New Articles

cropped-dscn173917301.jpgI wanted to note that I have updated and added some of the pages on this blog with a variety of articles. Be sure to scroll down each page to see all of the new additions.

business Ideas: If you are looking to earn money, this page will be helpful.

Easy Meals: This new page has many recipes from my Easy Meals channel on Examiner.com. Enjoy!

Frugal Living: Many articles to aid you in living as frugal a life as possible.

More Helpful Articles: This page also has a few articles you may enjoy.

My Family and Contact Info: I have updated this page to indicate what my daughters and I are up to these days. The story of our lives continues! See how far we have come :)

Enjoy the updates!

Shannon

Photograph by Monosodium on Morguefile.com

100 Things About Me # 12: Frugal Recipes

Frugal Recipes is the sister blog to this site, both of which I run myself and offer for your reading pleasure. On the blog I offer a series of cookbooks including Main Meal Magic and Beverages on a Budget, and an eBook titled Keeping the Single Mom Home: The Kitchen.

Of course there are plenty of recipes on the site, including:

  1. Cinnamon-Coconut Fruit Salad
  2. Turkey Soup with Pineapple
  3. Banana Chip Trail Mix
  4. Apple-Pear Sauce
  5. Lemonade

The blog also includes articles such as:

  1. 7 Better Breakfast Ideas
  2. Best Ways to Save Money on Food While Keeping it Healthy
  3. What to Eat During the Very Lean Weeks
  4. Top Frugal Foods Posts in 2013
  5. Put Together Delicious Meals from Leftovers

Get a cup of tea. Have a seat. And peruse the blog for plenty of ideas on how to feed your family frugally.

Shannon

Do not forget to subscribe while you are there, and to share.

Thank you!

Photograph by: Clarita on Morguefile.com

100 Things About Me # 11: Bangor Frugal Living

I head up the Bangor Frugal Living channel on Examiner.com. It earns me a little bit of residual income. Not a lot, but it gets my name out there and ids my efforts to help those living the frugal lifestyle.

Some of the articles I have published to the channel:

  1. No Money for Food? Go to a Food Pantry
  2. New Year goal: Getting Finances into Order
  3. Top 10 Frugal Articles for 2014
  4. Easy Ways to be Frugal
  5. Tips for Shopping Dollar Stores
  6. Store Rewards Programs
  7. Thrift Shop Deals
  8. Planning for a Frugal Year
  9. Eating Frugally in a Bad Economy
  10. Living the Frugal Life

Enjoy the articles, and feel free to look around the site more.

Do not forget to subscribe while you are there, and to share.

Thank you!

Shannon

Image By: cohdra at morguefile.com

Why I don’t Suggest Welfare

The stigma of using welfare benefits, because people make ignorant comments or give one dirty looks just because they need help feeding their family, there is also stress of dealing with the welfare system.

  • It is not enough that you are in a situation where your family needs help.
  • It is not enough that people put you down, whether they know you or not.
  • It is not enough that you cannot afford to eat the way you should for proper health, or even pay for your oil when it is needed.
  • And it certainly is not enough that you already feel as low as a person can feel becuase you cannot make ends meet.

But then you stand the chance of the welfare system messing with you, causing your benefits to be late or non-existant. Oh, how many times they send paperwork… you filling it out and getting it back to them as quickly as possible to avoid interruption, only to receive a letter telling you that you no longer qualify because they did not receive your information. Even when they just haven’t gotten to your file yet. A failure, on their part, that causes you to get penalized.

Or after calling your case worker to explain that your income has gone up and you are pretty sure you do not qualify for benefits any longer, they tell you that you still qualify after figuring the new income. Then you get chosen for some freak lottery where they audit you for a specific time period, only to find out that you indeed did make too much money. And that even though the proof is right in front of them that you made your case worker aware of your new income, YOU still have to pay it back. All of it. And you are not allowed to just send them a check and get it taken care of, or to have them take it all out of your next foodstamp payment or two. No. They will take so much out of your benefits each month until you get it paid off. You are beholden to them for a specific number of months, and still collecting benefits you maybe shouldn’t be getting because they need you to pay them back… But make no mistake. The case worker is not responsible for this fiasco.

There are so many rules and conditions it isn’t always easy to remember them all, and you really do not have much for freedom to speak of. You can get into trouble for any number of things.

If you get housing, their are even more rules. More freedoms taken away.

If your child receives a tablet or a computer from their grandparents for Christmas, rude people ignorantly inform anyone who will listen that you should be taken off welfare.

If you have a cell phone – even if it is the cheapest possible with the cheapest or a free plan – people complain that you are abusing the sytem. It is even worse if your parent or boyfriend buy you a nicer phone and pay for the service.

Oh, and if you happen to find your child some designer clothing at Goodwill, it is the end of the world!

If a friend of yours invites you and your children to their camp out of state for a week – and all you have to do is buy your own food – you risk the chance of angering the cashier becuase you go to the grocery store to buy food with your foodstamps. Even though you spend about the same you would have had you stayed home. Your family does not deserve any form of vacation if you are on welfare.

And that is not all. Even if you do not collect full benefits you are at risk of having to deal with the stigma. You can work harder than your neighbor but, because you make less money than he and receive $50.00 a month in foodstamps he will scrutinize every little thing about you.

These are abut a few reasons why I tell people to NOT get welfare unless they absolutely have to.  Then, I would likely try to keep it on the low-down. No one really needs to know. People simply do not need the kind of stress that receiving welfare benefits causes. It cannot possibly be good for them.

If you can possibly live without it, do so. Work odd jobs. Take on a second job. Let mom work from home while dad is working at the factory, to save child care costs. Have your teenagers work for what they want. Learn to live the most frugal life possible. Try to stay away from the stress of welfare as much as possible. Only take what is necessary, if you qualify for anything. And try not to let others know if you receive benefits, lest you chance the risk of humiliation.

And remember, no one is better than you even if you do need welfare.

Shannon

Image By: ladyheart at morguefile.com

USDA Thrifty Food Plan: Version 2013

I have been meaning to do an updated USDA Thrifty Food Plan post for a couple years now, but never got around to it. This morning I decided it was time. The thrifty had only gone up $2.00 since 2009, when I originally wrote USDA Thrifty Food Plan.

For myself, the numbers read like this back then:

           Thrifty Plan   Low-Cost Plan  Moderate-Cost Plan  Liberal Plan 

Me             35.50                44.70                          54.90                            70.40

Again for myself, the numbers read like this as of the last update on the site (November 2013):

            Thrifty Plan   Low-Cost Plan  Moderate-Cost Plan  Liberal Plan

Me            37.50                47.20                            58.30                            74.50

Where am I on here? Well, on weeks when I have little money I come in at between $20.00 and $30.00. There is nothing much healthy purchased when I need to stretch my food dollars.

On the other hand, during weeks when I cut out processed foods and choose a few organic products, I spend around $60.00.

However if I were to purchase all organic, grass-fed, etc., for ultimate nutrition, I would have to spend well over $74.50.

I simply cannot afford to do this. Ever.

Actually, at least a couple months during the winter I only have around $20.00 a week to spend on food. This is when hours are cut at work during the off-season. I simply do not make enough to eat healthy at those times.

I do the best I can.

  • I try to purchase what non perishable foods I do uses on sale with coupons, buying extra while I can get them at lower prices.
  • I buy a few things at the dollar store when I go, using coupons if I have them.
  • I try to save buy visiting farmer’s markets toward the end of their day, because sometimes you can get things at bargain prices.
  • I do not use coupons if I can get a store or other brand cheaper.
  • I am not brand loyal.
  • I will order online if I can really get something cheaper, and have no problem buying in bulk when I can get these deals.
  • I do not eat many processed foods. Most of the items I buy that are storable are applesauce (no sugar/other sweetener), coconut milk, almond milk, dried fruit, herbs and spices. Most of the other things I purchase are fresh produce and meats.
  • Sometimes, if there is a good sale and I have coupons, I will buy canned meats.
  • I buy from the discount carts when I know I can use something.

How about you? What do you do to save money on food?

Shannon

Image By: cohdraon morguefile.com

Top 5 Frugal Living Posts in 2013

The new year has begun! Last year was a good year for this blog in a few ways.

The year generated a lot of traffic, and netted me many personal emails from readers like you. I was able to be in contact with a few of you over a period of time, giving guidance through some tough financial time. It feels good to help others. To be able to aid people in learning how to live in hard times, being able to reassure them and offer up advice that will get them through.

These were my top 5 posts in 2013. Most of them were actually written in previous years, showing that this blog has been aiding other for a good number of years.

  1. USDA Thrifty Food Plan 
  2. Free Cell Phones for Low-Income People
  3. Living on a Food Budget of $121.00, for 2 People Plus (Written in 2008. I think it is time to do a reassessment on costs for this, but the article is quite popular.)
  4. Career Welfare Recipients (Unfortunately, due to the ignorance of some people, I had to take this article off the blog. I want my blog to concentrate on helping others, not pushing them down further. There were a few other articles that were taken off the blog as well.)
  5. How Others are not Spending Money

If you haven’t read the articles listed above, now is the perfect time to do so.

Happy New Year!

Shannon

Keeping it Simple: Goals for the New Year!

Keeping it simple is a frugal way to live. And is easy to implement.

Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For starters, your family should agree that for every possession brought into the home, another must go. For instance, if your daughter wants a new shirt, she will have to give up something in exchange. Live by this principle, and you are already cutting waste.

To take it a step further, go through everything you own. Start in the living room, and continue until all rooms in your home are done. Get rid of what is not necessary. Do you really need 20 shirts? A television in every room? 10 purses or pairs of shoes? What about 5 fry pans and 3 slow cookers? (Okay, I do need 2 slow cookers. I use them both pretty much weekly. But if you aren’t using it, is it really necessary?)

This process should be more difficult for your children than it is for you, but you can get away with it by explaining that what they do not keep will go to people in need. Fill boxes with the items that will be leaving your home, to be dropped off at Goodwill or another location. Children often like helping others, so this could work in your favor.

Try to aim for getting rid of at least 1/3 of your possessions. More would be better.

Once the above steps have been taken, each time you want to bring something else into the household you will have to stop and think about what item you will be willing to give up. If you aren’t willing to give something up, then you will not get the new thing.

At the holidays and birthdays it is a little more difficult. You do not know what someone might give you. Just be aware that the rule still applies. For each gift, give up something else. For example, if you get new socks donate the same number of old ones.

Now, don’t just throw things away. Giving to charity helps others in need, but you could also sell the items. Everyone may be more willing to join in if they know they are going to be going away for a long weekend, or that they will be treated to a movie at the theater. You decide what is right for your family.

Simplicity is important. When we don’t have everything we want all the time, we learn important lessons. We teach our children these lessons. They must learn what is really important to them, and what they can live without. Good skills. Necessary ones for their future.

What steps are you taking to make your life simpler this year? Feel free to share in the comments to this post, or to email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com.

The simple life is a frugal life.

NOTE: By possessions, I am not referring to consumables such as food, personal hygiene items, school supplies and cleaning products.

Shannon

Many Plans

Español: Nieve en La Carlota, Argentina Lietuv...
Español: Nieve en La Carlota, Argentina Lietuvių: Sniegas La Karlotoje, Argentina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I kind of slacked on this blog during 2013, and for that I am truly sorry. I had so much going on with training for new positions at work, and other writing tasks, that I really just did not have time for all the things I wanted to do. And hardly no time for this blog. Barely any for the Frugal Recipes blog.

I am happy to see that so many people have stuck it out though. I cannot believe the traffic this, and the other, site generates without my posting very much. I must say I am impressed.

Out goes 2013. In comes 2014. And I have so many ideas running through my head. Maybe what I needed was a break from things to regenerate.

So, expect things to be happening here during 2014. And please, excuse the mess as I update the theme and other elements of the site.

Happy New Year!

Shannon

Image By: stachoo at morguefile.com

Performing Updates

The new year has me making updates to this site. I decided I did not like the last theme, and am hoping this new one will be better. It looks like things are missing right now, and they are! I will be working on this, but it will take a little time. It will all work out if everyone has some patience with me. I have begun updates while at work, in between checking out guests. There are some things for the blog I am unable to do while at work, though. I will have to work on them at home when I have time.

The name has had another change, because I am trying to find one that matches what I am trying to say. I want this blog to concentrate on living a frugal lifestyle, whether you each want to live it or you need to.  Either way, frugal living is a lifestyle and we can live in Fabulously!

My question to you: How are you going to make 2014 your most rockin’ frugal year?

Happy New Year!

Shannon

New Name. Same Blog.

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