Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Journey

When I started this blog over three years ago, we were struggling to survive on a part time income.  In order to keep our head above water, I learned all kinds of new ways to be frugal.  I began making my own laundry detergent, wasting less, and meal planning around sales. As our income increased this past November, I still kept doing those things as they had simply become a way of life.

Something else had changed though.  We were in the midst of discovering our oldest child was more than just an over active child, he was actually a special needs child. Since we began this journey about a year and a half ago to figure out his diagnosis, my reasons for making homemade items completely changed. 

I started realizing just how many toxins and junk we come into contact with every single day.  I kept up making the laundry detergent and other cleaners simply to remove the toxins from our house.  I kept making food from scratch so I could avoid the processed additives we did not need in our diet.

As we keep going down this journey, I'm now working on reducing the amount of sugar in our diet.  I'm spending more time in the kitchen (my favorite place to be by the way) in order to improve our diet.  I'm also discovering that being frugal and being healthy go hand in hand.

Yes, many healthy items are not cheap but when you take the time to garden or make food from scratch healthy items can be affordable.

Going forward from here, I plan to share some of the information I have discovered over the past year or so and how I'm combining frugal with green, healthy living.

While I am certainly no expert in this area, I have learned a ton lately and I want to share it with my faithful readers.  If there is any topic you would like me to cover, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vacation Tips & Giveaway: Meal Planning

One thing I did not think about before going on vacation was what we would eat once we got home.   I worked hard the week before we left to clean out the food in the fridge.  When we arrived home I realized I needed to go to the grocery store if we were to eat more than frozen meals.  I was too exhausted to come up with a meal plan though.  

I've vowed that on our next vacation I will have a meal plan in place before we leave on vacation.  I will do my best to have a grocery list to go with it too so I can ease back into life after vacation instead of being thrown back into it.

One thing that did help me get back on track after vacation was that Kroger started their annual Cart Buster event just days after I got home.  This allowed me stock up on great name brand products at a reduced price. 

The Cart Buster event continues through August 17 so you still have a few days to get in on the savings.  Be sure to visit the Cart Buster website every day between now and August 16 to download the "Deal of the Day" exclusive offers.

Kroger and MyBlogSpark kindly provided me a gift card to share this annual event with you and they also provided a gift card for me to give to one of my readers.

To enter the giveaway for a $25 Kroger gift card, share one of your favorite vacation tips.  It can be geared towards planning, places to go, how to survive with children, basically whatever you want to share.

For extra entries, subscribe to Living Life With Less via RSS or email.

Mention this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.

This contest will be open until 9 pm CST on Monday, August 15.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: The Kroger gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by Kroger and General Mills through MyBlogSpark

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vacation Tips: Cruise Excursions

Our recent vacation was a cruise.  I've been on several but we met many people on the ship who were cruising for the first time.  Most of them assumed you had to do an excursion through the cruise line.  In some instances I think this is fine but for the majority of excursions I suggest waiting until you get off the ship and seeing what is available.  

For instance, we knew we wanted to go to the beach at one port.  We asked the taxi drivers the price and then found someone to give us a tour of the island plus drop us off and pick us up for the same price the other drivers were giving us just for the beach.  Another family joined us so the driver was still making a good profit.

In another country we knew we wanted to go cavetubing and researched several companies online before setting sail.  Once there, we found some of the reputable companies and worked a deal.  The price we paid for two tickets was equal to what the cruise was selling one ticket for.  Also, while on the river the guide showed us where the cruises get out of the water, but we continued a bit further down the water and saw some beautiful scenery we would not have seen otherwise.

If you are going on a cruise or to a resort, I suggest checking it out online first and seeing what others recommend.  This way you will know if you should buy an excursion or seek out something on your own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vacation Tips: Plan Ahead

I just got back from a wonderful, kid free, vacation.  It was much needed as now I feel refreshed and ready to face life again.  My kids had a blast too as they got to spend a week with my inlaws at their farm. 

I didn't have computer access while I was away (side note - it was wonderful to have a technology break for awhile) but I kept thinking of little tips that would be helpful towards saving money that I wanted to share with my readers.  I'm going to share some over the next week or so and today I'm going to start with pre-vacation planning.

I don't know about you, but I'm always stressed with last minute to do's right before vacation.  This time I started planning months ahead and it really helped.

We began by looking at how many days we would be gone and seeing if we had enough clothes to see us through.  I realized I needed 1-2 more pairs of shorts and a wrap or cardigan so I set out to check out the deals.  By not waiting until the last minute I was able to find rock bottom deals.

Once we had clothes under control, we moved on to the little things.  A month before we left, we stocked up on any toiletries we were low on and refilled all medications that would be running low by vacation time.  I'm bad about thinking of these things the week before vacation and then not having time to get to the store to get the needed items.

Finally, I dislike coming home to a messy house so we started cleaning it up a few week's before we left.  It helped knowing that my kids and inlaws would be staying at my house for a day or so while we were gone.  Nothing like the pressure of someone else living in your house while you are gone.  By picking up the piles of junk ahead of time all I really needed to do before leaving was some quick maintenance cleaning.

Your list probably contains more than this but these are a few things to start thinking about.  Before you leave on vacation, I suggest making a list of everything you might need to do and then breaking it down so that you can leave on vacation relaxed and ready instead of thinking of everything you didn't get done.

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