Make Less Trash and Save Money and Help the Environment

trashOne of the difficulties of living in such a rural area is dealing with trash. No matter how hard you work at it, you will still produce garbage. The only trash pickup in our area is expensive, so we have been motivated to be more aware of how much garbage we produce. We have also needed to get creative when disposing of our garbage. How have we been able to avoid paying for regular trash pickup? Keep reading! Continue reading

10 Frugal Date Night Ideas

10 frugal date night ideasIt’s hard to believe that my husband and I will be married for 5 years this week! That’s  a major accomplishment. We’ve been through a lot together, and we’ve learned a lot about how to make it work through good times and bad. One thing that keeps us close and in sync is having a regular date night, a special time we can spend together with no distractions. Sometimes this is hard to do when life gets busy. But we’ve found that when we don’t make this time together, we end up out of sync.

As my readers know, we live on a tight budget. And we are in a very rural part of northeastern Arizona. Our little town is 90 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart and one hour from the nearest movie theater. We used to go to the movies at least once a week before moving here, so this was definitely an adjustment. Now we have to get creative when it comes to date night-finding ideas that work in a rural area and don’t break the bank.

The key here is to find something you both enjoy and think outside the box. Read this list of inexpensive date night ideas and get inspired!

10 Frugal Date Night Ideas

  1. Cook a meal together. We have discovered many new dishes this way. This will definitely save some money over eating out (and where we live there are very few options for eating out. Plus I eat gluten free, so eating out is a challenge anyway.) My husband especially loves this one if we grill together. Then we eat outside and enjoy the evening. Check out our latest grill creation, grilled seafood packets, here.10 frugal date night ideas
  2. Make some popcorn and watch a movie together, or start a new show on Netflix. This is an idea that is mentioned often, but it’s worth noting. Take turns picking what to watch, and you might be surprised to discover something new to enjoy. I know my husband has picked a few things I didn’t think I would even like, but ended up loving!
  3. Pack some snacks or even a picnic meal, grab some blankets and pillows, and head out to where there are no lights so you can watch the night sky and really talk with no distractions.
  4. Find a nearby hiking trail and enjoy the scenery together. Be safe and take plenty of water, especially on a hot day.
  5. Work on a DIY, hobby, or craft project together. This is a great way to practice working as a team and maybe you will find something new to enjoy. We built our grill out of a 55 gallon drum (I’ll post about that later.) And now we can grill together!10 frugal date night ideas
  6. Go for a walk. We have a beautiful area just below our house with a wash that is almost always running and is very green that we like to walk. Hold hands while you walk.
  7. Play a board game, card game, or video game. We are highly competitive, so this is a fun one for us. This is another great way to discover something new to enjoy. We like Monopoly and Uno, just to name a couple of favorites.
  8. Start a collection. It can be something small or big. As mentioned above, we love Monopoly, so we have a small collection of novelty Monopoly boards. There are many things you can collect, such as stamps, rocks you collect on your walks, coins, bottle caps, Star Wars memorabilia (something else we collect), comic books, buttons, guitar picks, key chains, magnets, Pez dispensers, the list is endless.
  9. Get a couple of Nerf guns, make some targets, and have a contest. A basic Nerf gun and a package of foam darts is pretty inexpensive. I surprised my husband with this idea one date night and he loved it! The whole thing cost less than $25. Again, this is great for competitive couples and didn’t break the bank. Alternatively, the weather allowing, you could use water guns and turn it into a water fight.
  10. Make some props with colored paper and have a fun photo shoot. You can also use fun hats or scarves and dress up. Check out my Pinterest board here for ideas. Then make an album or scrapbook with the photos, either digital or paper.10 frugal date night ideas

What other date night ideas do you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Also check out one more Pinterest board full of great date night ideas.

 

Starting a Natural and Frugal Life

how i got started on the natural and frugal life

As a kid, my mom did some things naturally for my brother and I. She had a homeopathic kit and would give us echinacea and vitamin c when we were sick. So I got a good foundation in using natural treatments as a kid.

The Natural Life

When I was around 15, I started experiencing fatigue and muscle pain issues. Over the next several years I had some blood tests and a sleep study done. One blood test showed that my bad cholesterol was a little high, and because of my age(I was 27), the doctor didn’t want to put me on medication. When I got home and did some research. I began an aggressive vitamin/herb regimen. After 3 months my bad cholesterol was down 58 points. My doctor couldn’t believe it, and I was amazed, too.

After my sleep study showed nothing was wrong, the same doctor told me to take more naps and I wouldn’t be so tired. I have gone through phases where I slept most of the day, so I clearly didn’t need more sleep. At that point I was tired of doctors, so I did more research. I learned that gluten could cause many of the symptoms I was experiencing. I also learned there were vitamins and herbs I could be taking to improve my energy levels. (I’ll expand on the various things I have taken and tried in later posts.) Once I made changes to my routine and diet, I had more energy and could get through a day without sleeping for half of it. This convinced me that natural was the way to go!

A few years later, I contracted MRSA. I had painful abscesses on my legs, two of which had to be surgically drained at the emergency room. So-you guessed it-I did more research. I learned about herbs and essential oils that would help. The doctors wanted me to go on long-term, low-dose antibiotics. (In the interest of being fully honest, I did take a course of antibiotics. But just one course really messed me up.) I was not thrilled with the idea of long-term antibiotics. I worked out a natural routine and as long as I stay on it, the MRSA doesn’t flare up. Thank goodness for that, the abscesses are incredibly painful and usually come with a high fever.

Learning to Be Frugal

As far as being frugal, I also learned a lot from my mom in that area. She was a single mom raising two kids on a very limited income. So I learned to shop sales, buy in bulk, go to thrift stores, appreciate hand-me-downs, use coupons, and make it myself if possible.

When I got married, my husbandd made good money. Right before our first anniversary, he needed neck surgery and couldn’t work for about 6 months. His company had a disability policy, but it was only about two thirds of his monthly income. So I had to put those skills to good use.

Later we moved to a very rural area (90 miles from the nearest WalMart) where there aren’t a lot of jobs and the ones that are available don’t pay well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love living here. But again, those frugal skills that my mom passed on to me came in handy. We don’t have credit cards and we limit how much debt we accumulate. Both the cars we own are paid for, eliminating another bill. Our monthly bills (not groceries, gas, pet supplies) are around $400. I know that sounds hard to believe, but there’s a certain freedom in being frugal. We can live in a place we love and aren’t slaves to making payments.

So in this blog, I want to share some of what I’ve learned about cutting back expenses, making it work on a small income, and living naturally to improve health. Hopefully I can help you in some small way.