There is a great post on Serving Joyfully called “Our Frugal Budget“.In it, Crystal outlines her family’s budget and plan to get out of debt. And they did!
These are our debts:
That’s a total of $322,028.90. Very debt. Much ouch.
|GAS MONEY/CAR FUND
|DEBT: STUDENT LOAN
|DEBT: CREDIT CARD
|DEBT: MORTGAGE, etc.
|DEBT: BANK LOAN
|DEBT: CAR LOAN
|TOTAL LIVING EXPENSES:
Okay. That’s about $300 total LESS than we bring home in a month. And we’re grateful to have vision, medical, dental, and a retirement plan–okay, okay, 401Ks. But still.
By using $200 from that remainder, we can literally have everything paid off (except the house) in two years or less. While we could try to cut more, it wouldn’t do much to decrease our debt load. I did the numbers one day and decided no, we really do need hot water and refrigeration and a cable modem. We could try to get additional jobs, but I’m salaried and technically always on call; the Atheist is on call one week per month, and his health isn’t supportive of him working more than full time. We aren’t willing to nuke our standard of living so much in order to pay a teensy bit more to debts.
Yes, I know that makes us one of those “high income” families with debt. But let me tell you something…Seattle metro area = super expensive. Our income combined is like $58,000 in St. Louis, MO. We do have circumstances keeping us in the area and in our house, so we can’t follow the advice of others to “just move to a cheaper area and get a different high paying job”. And as for selling our stuff? Yeah…not much here most folks would be interested in buying…we certainly didn’t get into debt by buying high end toys we can sell on Craigslist.
Have you ever found yourself wanting to make something really cool for a weekend or holiday project? Ever find yourself staring at the prices for things like Sculpey at the crafts-n-hobbies stores and wondering how you could afford to buy that AND eat for the rest of the month?
Want to be crafty, save money, *and* have fun? Why not try a salt dough project?
Salt dough is pretty cool. You can make ornaments or even awesome little sugar skulls from it! Sure, preschoolers love it too, and it’s generally safe for the cats to be around.
The runes in my header are made from cinnamon salt dough.
BASIC RECIPE – SALT DOUGH
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup very hot water
Heat water til very hot; mix with flour and salt.
VARIATION: CINNAMON SALT DOUGH
Add 1 Tbsp cinnamon to your dough.
CURING SALT DOUGH
Bake at 250 degrees until fully dry. Or, stick in your dehydrator for 24 hours. Or just let your creations air dry on baking racks.
What can you do with salt dough? (Other than keep more of your hard earned money while still having fun doing crafts?)
- Use cookie cutters and paint or glitter; make beautiful ornaments
- Make inexpensive wreaths
- Make inexpensive keepsakes (baby’s footprint, anyone?)
- Roll out into lozenge shapes and make your own set of runes
- Make beads
- Make dolls
- Make figurines
- Use smaller cookie cutters and make place tags for dinner parties
- Gift tags for holiday or birthday gifts
- Create alphabet or counting tiles for kids to play with and learn
- Make play food for fashion dolls or a faerie garden
These are the household cats:
This is Mr. Boots. He was adopted first. His family was losing their house, but I got to bring Boots home. Also known as “the catloaf”, Boots tends to be very vocal about food and getting his way. Recently he found his way outside into the back yard by cleverly sliding open the screen on the window and jumping out onto the deck stairs.
This is Miss Athena. She was adopted second as a companion for Boots, but they have never fully gotten along as friends. Athena loves her cat tree, loves to play with anything string-like, and prefers oat grass sprouts to other types of greens. She still hisses at Mordecai and will often still hiss at Chloe-Blue.
Miss Chloe-Blue. One of two cats who came to us through a friend of a friend, we were told she “isn’t social” and “doesn’t much interact with humans”. Although it’s joked she is the Kristen Stewart of cats due to her continually slightly sour facial expression, she is a three to four year old kitty who enjoys playing like a kitten, getting water from the bathroom faucet, and she has a wicked sense of humor. Often she will ambush Boots and then chase after him, turn around, and run away.
Mr. Mordecai. The other half of the pair, Mordecai is arguably top cat in the house since his arrival less than a year ago. He tends to counter Boots’ attempts at dominance in the kitty social order, has an anxiety condition (due to having only two teeth? malicious treatment by humans?), and is still curious about Athena. His two favorite hobbies include intimidating other cats to get prime spots on human laps and playing in the laundry.
The cats are the reason we bought the house. The house is the reason we’re expanding our garden. Once we have the fence enclosure set up, the cats will get to play in the garden. There will be lots of pictures of the cats here.