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A healthier life should not cost more! How we’re doing it and saving money!

Aug 21 2017 -
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Many of you have probably already drawn the impression that I’m a little bit of a health nut (and also a smoker which I am aware makes me the ultimate oxymoron…) What bothers me terribly is that oftentimes the healthier choice for our families is usually a lot more expensive and, sometimes, simply not at all affordable. There is so much fear mongering in our media that we’ve become totally numb to headlines, “Coconut oil can save you from cancer!” “Man dies on the clean eating diet!” “New superfood, eat a pound every day to become immortal!” “Toxins in sun screen causing skin cancer!” “Wear sun screen or get skin cancer!” And it goes on and on and on. It is totally the boy that called wolf and the general consensus now is: “Everything is bad for us so I’m not going to bother changing how I’m eating or what I’m buying!” Which is totally understandable but also just awful.

My living challenge that saved us money and made it possible for us to buy organic and live a much healthier life, come and see how I did it.Turn Your To Do List Into A To Done List at acehardware.com

On Facebook I have about 300 “friends” and they all have either stopped following me or have decided to put up with my shares about GMOs, the horrors of factory farming, the dangers of vaccines, the dangers of round up etc. etc. etc. Every now and again I’ll post something that hits a nerve and never more so then when I posted excitedly about how I had eliminated cows milk from our household. People were offended! Seriously offended! I wasn’t telling them THEY had to give up milk but my goodness you would have thought I was! The responses were as follows, “Giving up bacon too then?” “Milk is a good source of calcium!” “Why on earth would you do that?” And there were some much harsher comments that I won’t bother you with. It really surprised me and I look back at it now and laugh. For one thing: Milk is NOT a good source of anything for humans and I’m lactose intolerant and Joe doesn’t drink milk so it just didn’t need to be in our house, the moment I dumped it down the drain because it went bad I vowed to never buy it again. On another note I also know for a fact that milk is perfectly designed to take a 60 pound calf and turn it into a 900 pound steer and my goals in life do not include becoming a 900 pound steer.

So, I’m a hypocrite because we still eat cheese and butter however, once I eliminated milk from my cooking I also found a million and one ways where I did NOT need to add butter or cheese either. Try it, you’ll be amazed because most of the time you will never notice that you didn’t add butter to a dinner. (NOTE: I am not much of a baker so I’m sorry to say I have absolutely no help in how to make the perfect pie crust without butter but I am sure that it has been done and would only require a google search to find out about it.) Here’s a big one: I made mashed potatoes the other day with NO milk and they were the BEST mashed potatoes I have ever made. Of course they still included butter… baby steps.

My living challenge that saved us money and made it possible for us to buy organic and live a much healthier life, come and see how I did it.

What does all this rambling translate to? I eliminated milk from my cooking and I believe we’re healthier for it and its saving us money. I’ve also cut back on cheese and butter and, of course, that translated to the exact same thing. We are saving money. Dairy products are expensive!

I also make all of our cleaning products. You can read my post about how it saves us around $1,000 a year and it only costs me about 10 minutes of my time a month in making them. Oh my gosh I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and heard people talk about household products, “There’s no proof they’re bad for you, why bother?!” “They have technology you hippies don’t have to make better and safer cleaning products then you ever could!” Well, you can save money but when it comes to my family’s health why would I take the chance? From air fresheners to countless different cleaning products and laundry soaps: they are FULL of chemicals. Chemicals that people have to wear hazmat suits to handle before they’re mixed, bottled and sold and then we bring them home, put them on our clothes and on our skin and in our air. And they’re expensive!

My living challenge that saved us money and made it possible for us to buy organic and live a much healthier life, come and see how I did it.

Personally, if we can afford it, I just don’t take chances on our health. Everything I have mentioned so far has SAVED us money so I don’t really see any real argument against cutting back on dairy or making our own household products. (I just made my first ever batch of perfume too and, I can’t believe it, but it actually smells like perfume!)

Now that I have mentioned those choices that also save us money the elephant in the room smacks me with his trunk and forces me to sometimes choose whether to save money or put my family’s health first. It should be black and white: of course I’m going to choose our health first! But it is RARELY that black and white and anyone who is living on a tight income right now knows exactly what I’m talking about. You practically have to be rich to be able to go to the grocery store and afford to buy anything organic.

My living challenge that saved us money and made it possible for us to buy organic and live a much healthier life, come and see how I did it.

Which is why I’m coming at this from a different direction entirely. What if instead we didn’t buy it at all? What if, instead, we grew it or made it ourselves or just learned to go without? One of my biggest frugal suggestions when it came to grocery shopping and saving money (check out my post about that here) was to STOP buying it because you ran out but first, instead, to try to eliminate the habit and see how you do without it. We really don’t need near as much as we think we do, we don’t need our homes smelling like fake flowers that are actually just chemicals, we don’t need snacks that are nothing but empty calories when we have leftovers in the fridge and supper cooking on the stove, we don’t need a single thing that has EVER gone to waste in our refrigerators, we don’t need that chicken Alfredo boxed dinner when we can make our own for a fraction of the cost. Its time to get honest with ourselves and what we actually NEED. And this is truly going to be different for every single household.

So I took the challenge and let us run out! Our refrigerator and pantry became impressively spare and I tackled using everything we already had on hand. So, how’d it go?

Well, it turns out Joe and I are kinda weird.

Two items on our “need” list are green olives and pepperoni, they will always be in our refrigerator and that’s just that. I don’t buy anything fresh now unless I’m planning to use it in a meal within the next two days. (Yes, I meal plan.) Most of the time our refrigerator looks like we’re a couple of college kids: Juice, a little cheese, lots of condiments, olives, pepperoni, beer and boxed wine (I’m a classy broad lol). The only vegetables I keep around are onions and potatoes and they are organic. Giving up on snacks (mostly) as well as milk and cutting back on all of our dairy products means that we can afford to buy those things organic now while still saving money.

I also took the challenge in another way: not only did I let us run out but I worked very hard to change my thinking. I love salami (stop it, I know that sounds dirty) but I really do, I’m a salami fanatic, I love summer sausage, cotto salami, hard salami etc. etc. Literally anything in a casing with who-knows-what random animal bi-product ingredients – I love it by itself, on a cracker, warmed up, with cheese and absolutely any time of the day. But I don’t need it! And its expensive! Once I learned to go without something really changed in me because now when I get it I make it LAST and it is a TREAT to me.

We get so used to having luxuries that we forget that they are, in fact, luxuries! My great grandma must have rolled over in her grave seeing how much butter I used to use so casually and so flippantly in almost every meal I made. What a waste! What an excess of calories we didn’t need that we couldn’t even tell had been added!

My living challenge that saved us money and made it possible for us to buy organic and live a much healthier life, come and see how I did it.

My challenge has given us what I believe to be a much healthier lifestyle at a fraction of the cost of how we were living before. The savings I’ve found by creating a healthier environment has given us the opportunity to afford the organic staples I never thought I could afford otherwise.

Now that I’ve mentioned between choosing our “health” and an option we can actually afford I have to bring up our railroad ties garden that I posted about a while back. After a lot of research (and comparing the costs to cedar etc.) we decided to forgo the warnings and just go ahead and use railroad ties. What pushed us over the deciding edge was, in fact, that the railroad ties we were buying had been sitting outside for YEARS and had more then likely already leached out any amount of toxic substance that they had to offer. SO, I went ahead with the railroad ties as we simply could not afford to do otherwise. I literally had no choice but to choose the option that we could afford instead of being cautious about our health. It did not sit well with me but it did remind me that there may always be times in our lives when I simply have no choice 🙁

On the brighter side though with all of my research and by covering the ties with mulch I am VERY confident that they pose absolutely no danger to us! And that’s really all we can do sometimes which is, of course, the best that we can.

My living challenge that saved us money and made it possible for us to buy organic and live a much healthier life, come and see how I did it.

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28 Comments

  1. August 22, 2017 at 2:52 am

    There’s a lot of food for thought in your post. We’ve been “eating down” the kitchen this month and staying home instead of eating out. It’s the little things that add up. We’d rather splurge on a better meal than eat out more often. Thanks for posting this and giving us something to think about.

    • August 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you for coming by, reading and commenting! It really is the small things that add up for sure!

  2. August 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I found your post very interesting and thought provoking! My husband will be retiring soon and we need to make lots of changes in our lifestyle. You are very right, we have come to think so many things are necessities when in reality they are luxuries. Thank you for sharing at Party in Your PJs! Pinned and shared.

    • August 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you for coming by and reading Teresa! Have a great week!

  3. August 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    What a great post!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    • August 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks Jess! Have a great week!

  4. Gentle Joy Photography
    August 25, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I find that being frugal and healthy, is an ongoing exercise. There are so many things we can learn and implement and doing so a little at a time makes a big difference. We, too, have found that there are so many things we can do just fine without. 🙂

    • August 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      It is a really good lesson for all of us I think! And when we start focusing on being frugal it is amazing how many more places that we can save.

  5. August 25, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I love this post! We have made drastic changes in the way we eat this year, not because of money, but because of health. It’s amazing how your tastes changes when you cut out certain things. Also, there’s such a gratification in growing your own food. Plus, it tastes amazing! I will be sad when our cucumber crop is done for the season.

    • August 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Joanna, I really know how you feel, I think I just picked the last of our green beans, pretty sad about that! Definitely going to have to grow more next year!

  6. August 25, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I’m taking baby steps on cutting back on buying groceries. With just me and the hubby at home now we really don’t need as much food as I buy each week.The sad part is that much of it goes to waste and I throw it out. Thank you for the inspiration and I will take baby steps. We appreciate you sharing each week at Celebrate Your Story and wish you a peaceful weekend.

    • August 28, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Sandra, it is definitely a whole new way of living, buying and thinking when there’s just two of you! Its funny how we get into the routine and the habit, go to the pantry, the refrigerator, make a list and never stop to consider “maybe we don’t even need that?” Thanks for reading and coming by!

  7. August 25, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    You have to do what is best for you and your family and not let others bring you down. I also have been making our cleaning supplies and laundry soap. I think I will have to try making the perfume. That sounds fun.

    • August 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks for coming by Tracy, that perfume has really saved us some money I just love the way it smells. Next I need to figure out how to make it stay a little longer!

  8. August 26, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Tarah, you’re on the right track – except for the smoking, of course. I’m always on about GMOs, Roundup, etc, and have been eating organic, sustainable, etc since forever. I was raised by a mother who was way ahead of her time and who got interested in health and nutrition when she was just a young girl in the 40s. Like you, my mother was a health nut *and* a smoker! She never spared any expense when it came to the most healthful foods and supplements, and she died at 64 from lung cancer. There is nothing more important you can do for your health than quit smoking!

    • August 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Hi Jean, thanks for coming by and reading! I definitely hear ya about the smoking!

  9. August 27, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I enjoy reading your posts. We do some of the same things, and we share some of the same thoughts. Of course you would give up milk if you’re lactose intolerant! My daughter is, too, so she doesn’t drink milk, eat cheese, or use butter at all.

    We love our cow and our goats, and continue to happily drink milk, make our own cheese, and butter, as well as grow a garden. My husband and I tend to eat like our grandparents did. They ate veggies, meat (or protein), and some sort of bread/carbs/fruit every day. They were also big fans of milk and milk products. They all seemed to live forever! My grandmother worked until she was 83. She broke one bone, her wrist, after slipping on the ice on a sloped driveway.

    All that to say, we are still fans of milk, cheese, and butter at our house. I’d love to live to the ancient age my grandmother llived, and my husbands grandparents lived (well into their 80’s and 90’s) and as strong and healthy as they were. We find we are healthier and stronger when we have dairy in our diet.

    But we also understand that some people’s bodies cannot tolerate any of those things. To each his own! Live and let live! You have to know your own body and what it can tolerate and what it can’t. In the end, that’s what keeps you healthy.

    • August 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Hi TJ! This old farm we’re living on used to be my grandparents’ dairy farm. They drank fresh milk, made homemade cheese, butter and cream and he lived into his 80s and she lived into her 90s. If I had access to raw milk I would definitely reconsider its roll in our household! I think the factory and commercialization that has happened with everything from our vegetables to our beef has been the direct down fall of our health as a society. Maybe someday we’ll add goats to our little place here and see what their milk is like 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by and for your thoughtful comment!

  10. Pat
    August 27, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Joanna, You’re right down my lane on admitting what we do & don’t need. If a person is able and has the space, home grown is truly the best for us and tastes so much better too. Maybe you’ve seen or heard of the movie, Forks Over Knives. There is a follow-up website that provides so much information and encouragement on how to go about moving in this direction. It is not only a good preventive way to live but also helps in eliminating many diseases that plague people today.

  11. August 30, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Tarah this was a very thought provoking post. I too struggle with trying to live healthy at the same time working with a limited budget. It shouldn’t have to be this way. The most important thing, food should be cheaper than all those boxes of junk food. It’s ironic because I now use butter more then before. We used to use margarine here and in fact it is a third of the price of butter. So at least that is one step in the right direction. We also try to not buy anything but choose to repurpose or upcycle what we have. And of course we love our vinegar.

    • August 30, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Mary, it is a hard balance to reach and its just insane how much cheaper junk food is compared to vegetables or fruits. I totally agree it shouldn’t have to be this way at all! Yup, we buy vinegar by the gallon lol 🙂

  12. September 1, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I am in a healthy mood the last 3 months and try to eat and live in the right direction! Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party

    • September 1, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for coming by Christina!

  13. September 12, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I loved your post and most of your ideas. Health first where ever we can, health is not a luxury item, if we have it then it is most treasured.

    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    • September 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you for coming by Kathleen!

  14. Sandra
    October 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Tarahlynn –
    Good morning! Enjoyed your article. Unfortunately, there are several generations of consumers now who don’t remember a time when everyone “Made do, used it up, or wore it out,” before replacing anything. Sometimes things just never were replaced. Clothes were mended and when they couldn’t be mended any more or were too small for anyone, the items were used to make quilts, pot holders, braided rugs, etc. I’ve always shopped in thrift stores. Had to, there was no choice.

    I don’t buy or use expensive beauty creams or cosmetics. I can’t afford it and the list of chemical ingredients is scary. (I live by the old saying, “If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, then it can’t be good for you”.) I wear makeup but I am not paying ridiculous prices when I can buy similar items at a big box store for a fraction of the cost.

    Having not grown up in the US, my son always thought that his “mom” was a bit of a strange bird when it came to meals (some meals had no meat) or making my own cleaning products (yeah!! for vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and borax). It’s funny to see a new generation discovering what some of us older folks have known for years.

    Have a great week!

    • October 16, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks you Sandra for coming by, reading and commenting! It is always so good to hear from like minded folks! That’s so true, my cleaning cabinet as vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and borax lol there isn’t anything else you could ever need for cleaning that’s for sure! Most of my generation looks at me like I’m insane when I start talking about how we live until, of course, I mention how much money we’re saving. But for me the savings is just a plus, I really feel like this is how we ALL should be living regardless of anything else!

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Making a shoe rack and closet storage out an old ladder

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