Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Comments and e-mails (answered kinda')

Thank you again so much for all the encouraging comments and e-mails.  They are all welcome, even if I may never be able to respond!!!  Consider yourself hugged...  :)

Now, to answer some questions.  Please don't take offense if I don't answer your question, some are buried in comments and e-mails and I can't even remember them.

Non-food stock up... Yes, I did purchase cookware and a few other items when I was still able to work part-time.  I remember a lot of talk at the time about the importance of keeping our equipment updated when possible, as well as continuing doctor and dental updates, maintenance on the cars, house, etc.  I haven't written much about that lately but thanks for the reminder!

Some non-food items I make a priority are TP, dishwashing liquid, tall garbage bags (since our trash pick-up service requires all trash to be in garbage bags), kitty kibble (for obvious reasons), and Charlie's Soap for the laundry.  I need to add a backup media card, too, for the camera.

What is it about salt?... The emergency preparedness sites all recommend storing large amounts of salt for pickling and curing of meat.  I only purchase extra kosher and sea salt right now but I should buy some pickling salt for... pickling.  I'll leave meat curing to those on a farm.

What will be in short supply?... I only know what I hear on the business news and on a few websites.  I don't trust the media in general because they have been wrong too many times.  If you connect the dots, you can figure out some things for yourself.  If wheat fields are in trouble then everything made with flour will go up... the last I heard, half of our corn (or more) is going to fuel so if corn is in short supply for feed, meat prices will go up... etc.

Transportation costs are once again going through the roof which causes everything to rise.  The dollar is falling in value which affects everything but especially all that is imported... coffee, most sugar, European olive oil, bananas, etc.

Alexandra Stoddard... Yes, she is on the "spiritual" side in her writings but I can overlook it with no problem.  There was only one book of hers that I took back to the library without reading all of it and it was entirely about spiritual influences.  Otherwise, she is SO inspiring and provides many ideas.  After reading her decorating books, I find myself "decorating by puttering" around the house.  :)

Paying off debt or stocking up... I had an e-mail from a blog friend about this.  It's hard to say because each family's circumstances are different.  Off the top of my head, I'd say try to do both but just a little at a time as you can, writing out your priorities for the pantry as I just wrote about.

Budgeting... If you have high interest credit cards and such, it would be a good idea to contact a reputable organization to see if someone can help you lower your payments and even more important... lower your interest rate.

When we went through long term unemployment, such an organization was able to help us have the interest go down substantially (it may have been eliminated, can't remember) and a payment plan set up for paying it off.  Of course, we had to cut up the card but that was how we kept our credit rating good.  These days we don't have a credit card... too tempting!

I know at least two large churches in our area which provide financial advice but at the time, I believe my husband talked to someone at Crown Ministries, although that ministry has changed some since Larry Burkett passed away.  There is also Dave Ramsey.  Just beware the agencies with TV ads who ask for upfront money to help you get out of debt... is it just me or is that weird?

We have our utilities on a budget payment plan to make budgeting easier.  We pay everything upfront when the Social Security check comes in.  Even the bills due at the end of the month go in the checkbook as paid immediately.  If you can't make a payment, call the creditor and let them know what is going on.

If you have been out of work or had another reason for getting late on bills, write a letter explaining the situation to each national credit company.  That's what we did (that and keeping creditors updated each month) which saved our credit rating during extended unemployment.

Dish soap container... I use a bottle originally intended for olive oil and I found one entirely different than the bottle I DO use for olive oil... so as not to get a soapy salad.  I use a plastic spout and when empty, I fill it about one third full of water and then pour in the 7th Generation... it stretches the dishwashing liquid a little and makes it easier to come out of the spout.  If you do this at night and put the water in first, it tends to combine the water and dish soap overnight without shaking and causing mucho many bubbles.

Taking care of wood furniture... Layers of wax buildup can be removed by using a furniture cleaner, I know Formby's makes one... here... they suggest trying it out on a small part of the furniture first to see how it reacts.  My husband always liked Formby's products when he was doing refinishing.   There must be natural recipes to try, too.

I use lemon oil on my dining table with no problem.  I just let it dry completely and make sure I use either a tablecloth or placemats for a couple of days (I tend to use them all the time, anyway) after rubbing the lemon oil in the wood.  Of course, different brands of lemon oil are more or less natural.

I have used olive oil on all kinds of surfaces with no problem, too, especially items like my cutting board.  But I have used it on the table.  Olive oil is amazing!

Maternity fashions... Oh, I do so agree with Karen Andreola.!  I remember when Stephanie was expecting (David I think) and I tried to find a cute top for her as a birthday gift.  I couldn't find anything in the stores!  I haven't figured out this fashion trend of expecting women wearing tight clothing...???

College Basketball... We're not bringing up that subject in this household after our team fell apart at tournament time.  Although we did love it that Butler made it to the finals again... wish the little Midwest school was able to pull off the victory over the big, bad, Eastern college (hehehe)... in Christian love, of course.

Books and such... I did use to review for publishers but gave it up when I had no more time to read for fun.  Writing a book... I will leave that to my talented friends like the Clarkson ladies but thank you for saying nice things about my writing.  At least with blogging, I can write on my own schedule.  Recommendations... LOVE your recommendations, that is how I found many of my favorite books and authors.

Wheat grinders... mine is an older electric model which is no longer available... well loved I may add.  I would highly suggest getting an electric grinder if you plan to grind daily... check out info on The Urban Homemaker... here.  Having said that, if I had the funds to purchase a really good nonelectric grinder, I'd buy one of the large jobbies at Lehmans... here.  I have read they work well and don't take as much effort as the little grinder I had eons ago... and they don't depend on electricity being up and running.

Coupons... I have not watched the new TV show about Extreme Couponing.  I admire people who can save money but I don't have the energy to go that far... and I admit to having enough of a challenge just keeping my coupons from the paper and internet organized!  :)

It is certainly amazing how they can pull all those coupons and offers together, isn't it?

Okay, this is as far back as I can go to answer questions... puff, puff... need a cup of tea and to REST.


Vee said...

I am old. I am stodgy. I do not like the fashions for pregnant women at all. They make pregnant women look so unattractive. But then, I do not like fashions for most of us, including little girls whom the fashion industry all want to look like popular rockers or something.

So not into stockpiling for a disaster. I just can't do it, though I do believe in a stocked pantry for personal financial reasons...the ups and downs of life.

The good news in today's despicable economy is that credit cards companies are willing to talk so one should not hesitate to call them. I am very glad that I did.

Scrappy quilter said...

Some great answers there Brenda. Hugs

Mrs.Rabe said...

Love the questions and answers!

Good thoughts about the rising food costs and things to stock up on.

I love to use the 7th Generation Lavender and Mint dish soap!

If you ever get to Lancaster County - we must meet for tea! I know of several great places to go...wouldn't that be delightful? I could maybe talk Karen A. into joining us. Sigh....well a girl can dream, can't she?


Anonymous said...

On the newest Suzi Orman..I hope I have her name on PBS she said she had changed some of her advice from what she used to recommend. Her latest idea is to not now put any extra $ towards paying off credit cards...but DO pay the minimum on each, each month. Instead put the extra $ in savings in case you get out of work...I would personally add those stock up items in case of no work ..or prices raise a ton would be a help too. I would stock up. It is as you said Brenda, a truly a personal decision for each family. Thanks a ton for all the answers...and so fast! :) It is so comforting to know there is a community of people out there like you all who are trying to figure out these confusing times too. Sarah

Sheila said...

Wonderful post! As a single mom I try hard to pay off debt and stock up for emergencies. I am also trying to get money into savings to buy a house of my own. Its slow going on all fronts, but I'm getting there!

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for answering my furniture problem. You are the BEST.
Have a wonderful Easter.

Denise said...


Another Alexandra Stoddard book that is fun to browse is 'Tea Celebrations'. Perhaps your library has it...I found a cheapo used copy at a library sale. Fun!

Denise in Dallas :)

Anonymous said...

Great stock up post. Very practical advice. I was interested in your thoughts on grain grinders as I've been thinking about getting one. Have you any advice on yeast? I buty inexpensive packets of Hodgsens in muy market, but I wouldn't mind finding it even cheaper:) I debate about the chest freezer. I don't use coupons much either. I find I spend less when I do not use them. Of course, if it's something I was buying anyway, that's a different story...
I cracked up at the photo of your cat watching tv! We recently added a puppy to our household, and she enjoys watching tv too.
How'd your son do in the competition he was in recently? Hope his trip went smoothly.

Happy Easter!

D in NY

matty said...

Happy and blessed Easter, Dear Brenda!