Making plans {frugality & contentment}

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So, this is my year of contentment. What started as a simple breath prayer begging God to give me joy in the here and now, contentment in the plenty we do have & peace with who I am in Christ…has bled over into other areas of my life.

I think contentment & simplicity go hand in hand. I recently shared about reading Almost Amish & The Dirty Life and how I long for a more “simple” life. But, what exactly does that look like? Well, for starters, I don’t have a formula for you…there aren’t 3 easy steps to leading a simple life. Bummer, right?

I think God’s path for each of our lives is unique…we all have our burdens, we all have our unique families, we all have to learn these lessons in the context of our own lives. So, in sharing these blog posts on contentment & simplicity, I’m not sharing a formula, I’m sharing from my heart in the places God is leading me…sharing in an effort to be transparent and in an effort to bring some accountability for myself.

When Edie asked us to share posts on our plans for this year {linking up here,} being intentional, making “time” work for us…I thought this would be a great time to outline some of my thoughts & plans for this year…some of which I’ve shared and some of which I just need to “get down on paper.”

I have shared about how I’m terrible at sticking to a budget. I’m not a huge spender, but it’s the $3 candle and $5 clearance shirt that KILL us every month.  Well, I have news in this arena…

JANUARY HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS IN THE BUDGET CATEGORY. Woot. Thank you for letting me share my success and excitement.

Ways we are saving money, living frugally: 

  • menu planning ~ January’s meals, February’s meals
  • not going into walmart! ha! I know, so silly, but when I don’t go in, I don’t spend the money.  Thankfully, my accountant/frugal husband is happy to go grocery shopping for me because he knows he is saving himself money. :)
  • shopping thrift stores when we have a need – I love thrift stores, but even in these places I can “nickel and dime us” to death, ya know? I always seem to come home with things we never needed to begin with. (but hey, at least it was only .50 right?!) So, when we needed a few more measuring cups, I went and found them for .50 at the thrift store instead of $5-10 new at the store!
  • cooking more ~ ugh. I wish I enjoyed being in the kitchen, but this is a true sacrifice of love for my husband and children. Not that my children appreciate it. ha! But, our budget certainly does! See meal plans for Jan & Feb above.
  • Not only am I trying to cook and plan dinners every night, but I’m making our granola, snacks, yogurt – using this method with this maker. The trick to the yogurt is to add dried milk to your recipe!!
  • Using Dr. Bronner’s soap for many, many things: body wash, making my own liquid soap, laundry soap, etc. This soap is frugal, fair trade AND no chemicals. Better for us on all accounts. :)
  • making my own lotion & lip balm with coconut oil l- these are 2 products I love but don’t love spending a lot of money on the good, quality items. These items I’ve been making at home are SO cheap in comparison.
  • shopping with Azure Standard for many things we already use – see if there is a local drop-point in your area!! We have one in Knoxville and these are excellent deals on organics and produce! I’m getting ORGANIC apples for less than regular apples at walmart.
  • not using anymore paper towels or clorox wipes – this has actually been a challenge for me. We used clorox wipes for EVERYTHING. But, it has been fulfilling to use things from around the house – making rags from old t-shirts, using knitted washcloths, etc. I am using a vinegar/water spray to clean most things. It hasn’t really created extra laundry yet, as I just throw in the used rags when I do towels. I’m hoping I get more used to this as time goes on. We’ve used cloth napkins for quite awhile now, that wasn’t as hard to implement for some reason.
  • simple things like taking a big glass of sweet tea in the van with me on our day out of the house instead of going through the drive-thru. Trying to bring snacks and such with us so we aren’t tempted.
Being intentional about cultivating a heart of contentment:
    • memorizing scriptures that I can breathe, speak & pray throughout my day
    • starting each day with a thankful heart
    • not shopping nearly as much – just not going in the stores is huge for my heart
    • deleting a few blogs from my google reader – I love blogs. Lots of blogs…most of them encourage me, but a few of them leave me wanting a bigger home, a prettier home, more, more, more…so I’m choosing to read more blogs that encourage me toward a frugal and simple life instead of those that discourage me and leave me feeling discontent. A few of my new favorites are: Homestead Revival, Like Mother Like Daughter, Backyard Farming
    • reading books that motivate me toward simplicity. books such as:

Simple AbundanceAlmost AmishThe Dirty LifeHannah Coulter

So, leading a simple and frugal life – learning to be content with what we have – is not easy. I’m learning very quickly that simple does NOT equal easy. It takes a lot of work and intentionality. But it’s fulfilling work. It does my heart good to know I’m feeding my husband and children better foods. It does my heart good to know I’m saving more of my husband’s hard earned money. It does my heart good to know and reflect on the fact that we are blessed.
Counting my blessings has such an impact on my heart and my perspective. Continuing to count…day after day…to see God’s faithfulness in our lives…to name the blessings one by one…counting these gifts is truly cultivating a heart of contentment in me. I’m so thankful. 

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16607402396660337872 Scarlett

    Bravo, Candace!!! Way to go! It sounds like you are making some amazing progress. Wow!!! Thank you for sharing. I, too, know the nickel and diming scene. “Oh, I saved $39 (but was it really something I need?).” I am also just not going into stores as much (or even following all the online ads for sales and bargains). Tracking with you, my friend! xo

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17607584689568953747 Candace Crabtree

      Scarlett, thank you so much for your encouraging words!! I am the SAME WAY about getting excited over what I saved. ha!!! Thanks for helping me know I’m not alone…we need all the support and encouragement we can get on this path, don’t we?!? :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14897313634719880684 {edie}

    Thank you for linking up, Candace!! You are such an intentional-hearted momma and I’m so glad to know you.
    I loved Dirty Life too! And Like Mother, Like Daughter, use their tips and recipes all the time.
    And I so agree with staying away from stores.
    Much love to you, dearie!
    edie

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17211297812600845018 Ruth

    Hi! I’m new to your blog but can’t wait to catch up on your posts. I am so encouraged by your post because many of the things you posted are exactly where I am at right now. I read a Dirty Life and loved it.
    Thanks for such an encouraging post.
    Ruth

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17607584689568953747 Candace Crabtree

      Ruth, thank you for stopping by and commenting!! I have stopped by your blog and now need to go back!! :) It’s so nice to find others on this same journey, isn’t it?!?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17006807992383867264 Jeni

    Hey Candace, I’ve been following you for a very long time…I think we started homeschooling about the same time. I LOVED this post. I am right there with you…a few years ago I did a great job trying to save money…but I have been ready to start at it again. I am going to try to check out some of the books you mentioned. I don’t know if this is the right place to ask a homeschooling question??? I have always had trouble homeschooling more than one child at a time. My oldest son went to public school a couple of years ago and I have been homeschooling my daughter who is 10. She has been very very easy to homeschool and especially schooling her by herself it has been a piece of cake. But, in the fall my youngest will start K. I have tried to go on and start “schooling” her a little during the day, but I am having the hardest time trying to find the time to spend with her without my 10 year old yelling for me to help every 10 min. I was wondering what kind of schedule you use??? I really really need help in this area. Do your kiddos do a lot on their own? Do they interuppt whenever you are working one on one with the others? I’m sorry if you have already blogged about this same question…if you have, would you please point me to the post? I appreciate all and any advice…Thanks so much!! Jeni Carmichael…jcarmichael95@yahoo.com

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17607584689568953747 Candace Crabtree

      Jeni, hi!! Thank you for your encouraging words. As for scheduling…I don’t. Ha! I probably would be better off doing that…but I haven’t. Here’s a general run down of our day – we start on the couch – reading, memory work, etc. Sometimes the kids are spread out around the room on the floor, but I’m on the couch. :) After that, I read with youngest and the older 2 get going on their independent work. It takes a bit of time/effort, but let them know that when you are reading with younger child, they HAVE to wait…and not interrupt. They now know they will have to wait on me if I’m reading on the couch with Caleb. Honestly, it doesn’t take very long for him to get his stuff done, so it’s not very long that they have to wait. They can go on and do things that they don’t need my help on, but anything that needs me they just have to wait. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer for you!! Wish I did! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00172636187611286057 Heather

    Those are some great tips! I’m with you about cooking meals ;) I haven’t heard about Azure Standard, so I’m off to check them out!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17607584689568953747 Candace Crabtree

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Heather! I appreciate it so much!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17216235105729863736 Laura

    Candace- Visiting from Edie’s.
    So very nice to meet you!
    Whoo Hoo on January budget success- I’m thrilled with and for you to see how multiple incremental changes had a big impact.
    We’re doing many of the same things on our little farmstead for several of the same reasons. Not only are they impacting our bottom line, they are producing such a rich quality of life as well.
    Persevere- it’s true simple doesn’t equal easy. Oh how I hope your content heart continues to grow in grace and blessing.
    -Laura

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17607584689568953747 Candace Crabtree

      Laura, thank you so much for your encouragement!! I have stopped by your blog once now and need to head back over when I have time to read old posts!! :) Thanks again for stopping by!! It helps so much to find other “kindred hearts” on this journey!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12360223480056267669 Tracey M.

    I love this list! You are an encouragement and inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your journey about contentment. Some of these things I do already, but there are many I’d like to add in as well.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17607584689568953747 Candace Crabtree

      Tracey, you are so sweet. :) Thank you for helping me not feel alone on this journey…sometimes it does feel lonely to me!! Thank you, as always, for stopping by!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16173920845727816914 Kristen

    Great frugal goals! Edie is such an encouragement (and inspiration) to me as well. Frugality really is a mindset, and it seems like you have found it. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00569226987601161102 Vanessa M.

    I love to read and am looking forward to reading some of the books you mentioned. I usually shop at 2 or 3 different stores for groceries (including Walmart) and last year I realized that I wasn’t always coming home with just groceries. :) In January I started leaving the debit card at home and withdrawing our weekly grocery budget from the bank and using cash to buy groceries. I put the money in an envelope and when the money runs out there is no more grocery shopping for that week. It has definitely been a wonderful motivator to stop buying all that extra stuff.

    Was happy to stumble on your blog at Thrifty Thursday!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09548609072104015075 Mimi

    Hi!
    I came over from Livingwellspendingless because I loved the Count it all joy picture. I’m so glad I did. I really enjoyed your post — way to go on all the changes you are making!!

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