Tag Archives: budget

Buying Healthy Organic Food on a Budget

Let’s face it, we all know that eating organic is a good idea, but organic food can come with a hefty price tag. As a single mom, you may feel that there is no way you can eat organic on a budget like yours. The truth is, however, that eating organically can be affordable, if you know how to do it.

First, decide which items need to be organic. Peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes are sometimes called the “dirty dozen,” because they are so high in contaminants due to the way they absorb pesticides while they grow. Make a commitment to purchase these organically, and allow yourself to purchase other fruits and veggies in the regular isle. Then, buy only in season to save even more.

If you make the decision to switch to organic meat, look for a local producer. Then, cut the amount of meat you put in your foods. You can make a casserole, for instance, with ½ a pound of ground beef instead of a full pound, and save substantially by doing so and switching to organic, grass-fed beef. Look for meals that you can make with another protein source, like beans.

Whenever possible, buy fresh instead of packaged organic foods, but make sure you plan appropriately to use them before they go bad. Packaged foods, even organic ones, always cost more and have less nutritional value than fresh foods.

Finally, go local. A local CSA farming program, butcher shop, or even farm is going to have a lower price on organic or chemical-free foods. Remember, just because it isn’t certified organic doesn’t mean it is full of chemicals. Some chemical-free farmers opt not to pay the money to become certified organic, but they can be a source for affordable, chemical free foods. Take a weekend to shop around your local area to find these types of local resources, and make yourself a list of places you can shop organic on a budget. Your children and their future health will thank you, as will your grocery budget.

Budget Friendly Summer Decorating Tips

A clean, uncluttered room gives the impression that it’s a lot cooler than a room that is heavily furnished and filled with large furniture. During the warmer seasons, the single mom is probably looking for decorating ideas that will be easy to take care of, make her family comfortable and invite them to spend time together. If the decorating changes can be done for little or no money, so much the better.

There are several summer decorating tips a single mom on a budget can use to give her home a new look for spring and summer without completely overhauling each room and buying new accessories.

Window Treatments

A single mom who doesn’t depend on window treatments for privacy can take down heavy drapes or dark curtains and replace them with panels of sheer material for summer. For more coverage or to partially block the heat of the afternoon sun, consider stitching together light color panels from bed sheets.

Fire Place

A fire place is seldom used during summer, but that doesn’t mean the single mom can’t use it as a visual focal point. Clean it well and set plants inside. A basket of dried flowers or fake greenery will also brighten up a space that would have otherwise been neglected.

For the single mom who likes scented candles, make an arrangement of candles and candlesticks of various sizes and colors that are used elsewhere in the room. The candles will give the illusion of a working fireplace while filling the space with a light scent.

Greenery

Artificial flowers and greenery can often look natural in a room. Look for items at rummage sales which are everywhere during the summer, thrift shops and even dollar stores. Place the greenery on surface that would be wasted space, like on the top of cupboards, in containers you have on display, or tucked in bookcases and display cabinets.

Kitchen Ideas

If you can take an item off of the counter, do it. Hang shelves from beneath the cabinets to store items you need within reach.

Replace the dark tablecloths with light colored place mats.

If you have a kitchen window, fill the ledge with pots of herbs. The herbs will not only make the kitchen smell good, but will give it a clean and airy feel.

Cover a cork board with a remnant of material to use as a family communication center.

 

 

Gifts for the Single Mom on a Budget

Let’s face it: Holiday gift-giving can be tough on single moms. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, giving gifts to family and friends might seem like an impossible proposition. But remember the saying that the best gifts are those that come from the heart? That’s absolutely true — and here are some frugal ideas for gifts to get you started.

A Paperback Book. A nice book can be purchased as a gift at a used bookstore for a few dollars, sometimes for just a few cents. You can even find brand-new books that have never been opened! Make a homemade bookmark out of a small wallet-sized picture of your kids, or get artsy and create something unique out of raffia and ribbon.

Coupon Books. Want to give something but all you can spare is time? Great! Give a coupon book promising certain things to the receiver. Offer to mow their lawn, cook dinner one night, or keep their kids while they go shopping. Sometimes the gift of time is the best of all.

Recipe Cards with Favorite Recipes. Pick up recipe cards at the thrift store for pennies, and write down your favorite recipes. Tie them all together with a pretty ribbon and include a batch of homemade cookies. It’s a gift that will last a lifetime, and could even lead to new recipe traditions.

Anything Homemade. One of my favorite gifts to receive — ever — was a simple pint jar of strawberry jelly. It was delicious, given from the heart, and reminded me of my friend every time I opened it. I was so sad when it was all gone! You can give homemade goods from your garden, packaged in a pretty basket you purchased for pennies at the thrift store. If you love to sew, create a scarf or cotton lining for a bread basket — again, for only pennies.

Dinner at your house and a heartfelt letter. Offer to make dinner, and then make a point of sitting down and catching up on everything you’ve missed. Before the dinner, write a heartfelt letter to your friend, and hand it to them as they walk out the door. They will cherish the time and the words.

Small gifts of fun. If you have a little bit of money to spend, use it for movie vouchers for a friend and their kids, or purchase a gift card online — you can usually get discounts for up to 50% off if you go to places like Restaurant.com. You can also find gently-used DVDs at your local movie rental store for a few dollars apiece. Offer to watch it together and maximize the gift by spending precious time with your friend!