Cleaning and budgeting.

Photo by Elle Hughes on

It’s a hot one today and we all know that if you want to work outside, you do it early. I woke up to coffee brewing. I love when Bali gets up before me and I smell the brew through the house, nothing inspires me to rise and shine more.

I took the dogs and one boy went for our quick forest walk and then I spent a couple hours outside pumping water from the kid’s pool to water the orchard well before Mother Nature kicked on the heat full blast. It is amazing how much water is in that pool! It was only half full and quite dirty from a weeks worth of play. It was enough to soak every green thing on this property. I then took the bucket of shower water run off and watered the porch plants. Just got my bi monthly water bill and we are keeping the water usage low, much to my relief.

I hauled out a lot of stuff to the curb the other day. These were items I’d been eyeing for removal for months. This downsizing has taken a good year. Some people clear out their homes of unwanted goods and minimalize their spaces in a matter of days. For some people, such as me, we need time to evaluate and decide about each item. I’ve gone on purging flurries only to regret losing items later.

Who knows what will be on it’s way out next but the house is feeling open and clean and great! Cleaning and tidying is just getting easier and faster with each purge. Which brings up the question; can one become addicted to purging and downsizing? Maybe, but I think that you just keep it up until you look about and it feels right. A woman told me a story about her grandmother and how the house was always scrubbed clean and neat. She had a big family and this was probably back in the day when a woman had a large kitchen garden to tend, cooked and baked from scratch. Laundry was washed by hand and there were many children to tend to. Her house was kept clean because it was very sparce. She had the basics; beds, table, chairs, maybe a couch, a bible and that was it. Maybe not that sparse but you get the idea. All you have to do is look at the old photos of homes around the early 20th century to see how simply furnished they were.

And it makes such sense. The less stuff one has to clean and keep organized and put away, the more time a person has for gardening, walks, reading, writing, and being productive in other areas. Thus, as I feel time expand and space in my house, I am driven to keep weeding out the extras.

That is Sammy’s little body doing acrobatics on the chair, by the way. A few of you suggested I use the kitchen island for the TV and I finally got around to it. Love it, thank you!!

Bali helped me decorate the front porch. We used the old trunk out there and got rid of all the old stuff.

Things are looking good. The rest of this summer we will work on the yards, front and back and side. Much too hot right now for that. We are all inside watching movies.

Speaking of movies, the boys and I walked down to the old theater and watched Peter Rabbit 2. Not my first choice but it was what was offered and we haven’t been inside a movie theater in a couple years. I love the old carpets, the smell of hot popcorn, the huge screen and high volume. I love everything about the theater. We plan on making it a habit when ever a good movie is offered. Swimming, reading big novels and matinee movies are a big summer thing.

I’m waiting for the next big payment to post on our mortgage. What a thrill to watch that big mortgage going down, down, down. All the money has been distributed to pay down the mortgage, savings, and there is a tiny bit set aside for some improvements to the house.

I found this blog that the woman was going over what she saved the household each day, each month and total for the year. I will try and find it. She would record the daily savings of cutting your own hair, making bread from scratch and so on. It looked like she saved the family around $12,000 a year. I couldn’t believe it. We do things automatically and don’t realize just how much we save. I loved this tally.

Found it! Here is Blue House Journal:

Cutting and dying our hair, doing our pedicures, baking our bread, especially learning to do sour dough, finding deals or only shopping at certain stores for great savings. It saves hundreds. A hair cut is around $40, last time I had one. Coloring the hair starts at $65 and up. Highlights are around $100. Waxing starts at $10 just for the lip. Pedicures start at $25. So, say you get a cut and color, pedicure, and lip wax; $150 plus tip of 20%. $180. At home it’s about $2.99 for hair color at Grocery Outlet and maybe $1 for a wax strip or two. If you have the tools, then pedicure and hair cut is free. $3.99 at home with a savings of $176.01.

We can do this tallying of savings on our own if we care to. It may get tiresome after awhile but it is eye opening and sort of fun for a bit of time, just to see that all we are doing is making a difference in our bank accounts. If you realize that you save, say $12,000 or more a year doing the things you do, it will motivate you to great heights of frugality.

Some people are so good at investing and building their portfolios. I’m not one of those people. I don’t find investing fun nor interesting. I wish I was one of those investment brains. What I like to do is find ways to cut cost but still have a full and fun life for all of us. There are many ways to build wealth. You can rent out your house when you move, as we did. Sell when the markets high, as we did. You can build up a small cottage industry as one of the ladies here did during the pandemic. You could get really into gardening and start selling your produce. Sell your jams or breads. Crafty people can sell their quilts or pottery. Write a book or two and publish for free on Amazon’s KDP. Start a channel on what you know best. Or just learn to save and cut cost well.

I saw on the Tightwad Gazette club, someone’s library was giving receipts to show how much a person had saved to date with each book they borrowed. Brilliant. We have read 969 books in the last 4 years from our library. We know, from book shopping, the average book cost $15 give or take. Some are $10 and some are up to $25…so we will average it out. We have saved $14,535 over these 4 years. That is enough for a new/used car.

Anyhow, these are just samples. It’s all I have for today. I was inspired to write about savings this morning as I watered trees, but now I hear my free library book calling my name.


  1. Wow, your kitchen island looks great under your tv! It makes the floor space look so much bigger.


  2. Oh Kate your such a breath of fresh air. Always so inspiring. I so appreciate you keeping your videos up. They comfort me every day while I clean or when I’m in the garden.
    Thanks Girlfriend!!
    Debbie Johnson 🇨🇦
    P.S My hubby took our son Ayden he’s 11 to see Peter Rabbit 2 the other day and he loved it! I’m not a movie theater kind of girl. Way too loud for me😉


  3. I am so excited for you that you were able to sell at the top of the market and use that money to pay down your current home !Our daughter and her family rent from us and hope to buy the house from us in a couple years and that’s exactly what we’re hoping to do ,but we told her if home prices come down before they can buy , they will have to wait until they go back up because We can’t to sell it if it goes down in value because the whole point is to make money on it , it was an investment.We will however gift them some of the equity towards a down payment and closing costs as they have been paying the mortgage for seven years and we figure the money we give her will be the money she’s paid down on the mortgage monthly while the home has been going up in value. So she said they’ll just rent until it goes back up if that’s what happens. They can do whatever they want to the house and they take beautiful care of it so it really doesn’t make that much of a difference. But we invested a lot in the house and we have to get our investment back on improvements plus some profit as my husband is going to be retiring in a few years
    Plan is they will rent it for a while longer till prices go back up if they’re not able to do it while the prices are where they need to be. But how perfect for you that you were able to do it now and put that money towards your mortgage and some other things you wanted to take care of.I can only imagine how exciting it is to see that mortgage balance go way down after a big payment is made! It really is quite an accomplishment to pull that off without making a huge income !Shows what hard work can do!
    I really like the idea of keeping track of how much money you save by doing things yourself. We are trying to work harder on not eating out and doing things ourselves and I think it is some thing that more people need to do as things are getting more and more expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is nothing as soothing to me as clean and empty surfaces. We enjoy seeing how much we can save on do it yourself projects and self care. I think our splurge will be an outside projector.


  5. Your house looks so clean and organized. I love the idea of recording your savings. I must do this. Have a wonderful day and I hope you stay cool.


  6. The TV looks great there. I’m itching to purge the house too. And of course I enjoy the little peeks of dogs in the background of the photos. xo


  7. I am a recently retired RN with a Math brain 😉 After reading Your Money or Your Life in the late 90s, I began tracking every penny in 2000. Hubster did agree to do all the work of the book BTW. To dovetail off a comment you made, I’m an avid reader. I spent $1100 on books that year. That alone was a big eye opener. $1100 back in 2000 was a lot of books!

    It was fascinating to observe where all our money went. We had already begun retirement investing but seeing our expenses and evaluating the VALUE from each, we rapidly increased our retirement contributions, set goals to be debt free ASAP and mortgage free by age 50. We also acquired a small dilapidated mountain cabin and paid it off in less than 5y. We have done all the interior work ourselves and only with saved cash. It took us 17y to finish-just last June! All of this effort led to my early retirement at age 58y. I’ve never looked back although I did hire back on this spring for 11 weeks in a Covid Vacc clinic!

    I encourage anyone struggling with $ to do the work. If nothing else, track spending every month and evaluate the VALUE of each expenditure. It truly is life-changing.

    The truly amazing thing is that our annual expenses are still below those of the year 2000. No mortgage, no debt interest, no car payments…..we travel at will and we are frugal but not cheap. We will stay at a nicer hotel rather than Motel 6. We will rent a nicer comfortable car rather than a cheap sub-compact. We will eat at a nicer restaurant a few times each trip. When we actually need a larger priced item, we don’t have to worry. We pay cash unless of course, there is a zero interest loan offered. So we have and do all we want in life and spend less than 21 years ago. Yes, life-changing indeed.

    For anyone who thinks they can’t do this? At one point, prior to reading YMOYL, we were ready to file bankruptcy. We are living proof the discipline works!

    A friend of mine once said: ‘Now that I can afford broccoli, I’d rather grow it.’ Cute 🙂


  8. All of the spaces look so tidy. The living room looks huge now. Watering my plants and reading free library books is my jam, too. What are you reading right now?
    Valerie in SC


  9. Yes, we live in a rural area. For a hundred bucks, you can have a drive in movie at home with your streaming device. That is a win.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Kate, I love the purging and changes you’ve done. That beautiful rug MAKES the livingroom. I once also moved my free standing kitchen island to the livingroom for my tv. But after awhile I missed the workspace and moved it back to the kitchen. But that is part of the fun of homemaking. I like what you’ve done with the trunk out on the porch. I have similar old trunk and it’s been the livingroom coffee table, it’s been at the foot of bed and it’s been a coffee table on the screened porch. It doesn’t know whether it’s comin’ or goin’…hahahaaaaa! You are smart the way you are using every drop of water! Have a great day/weekend/week ((hugs)) Sis


  11. Thank you for sharing a link to my blog. In 2013 I tracked a full year of savings and later I tracked only a few months just to remind myself that it was worthwhile to be a sahw and mom. My husband has done me proud more than once by telling others that he cannot afford for me to go to work, I save him too much by being at home. It was lots and lots of years of practicing, lol. Eventually I came to a point where I realized that I couldn’t generate anymore savings unless I increased my skills set. So I started baking bread, learned to re upholster furniture, etc. It’s a wonderful adventure to live well on a budget!!


  12. That was you/is you?! Blue House Journal?? I have been enjoying it so much and getting inspired buy you know you stuff and I have a very lazy math brain so I round everything up or guestamate it.😊


  13. Your house always looks like what I call a “sleepy house”. One that you just know, if you visit, it would be so comfy and cozy, you would nap on the couch, after a good visit!


  14. Everything looks so beautiful and clean. Though I am also a purger and cleaner you can not tell it by looking at our place. At all. We bought our one bed, no bath four years ago. There were 43 huge, crumbled, totally useless concrete steps to reach our front door. My husband and I are elderly and disabled but we framed and rebuilt the steps one every day during our first summer here. We brought in a plumber, but we .framed, drywalled, and everything else to build a kitchen and a bathroom. Between youtube tutorials, county code people, and Home Depot we turned our one bedroom into three. Our s##t shack on the side of a mountain into our shangra la.

    And now, though it is beautiful, there is still so much to be done. About two hundred projects remaining on our list. We work on them when time and money are available. It’s going great but going slow.

    For a couple of years I had a Youtube channel. Havn’t touched it in about 4 years. Recently I started thinking about starting it up again, probably the latter part of August. But my dream home is still, and always will be, so far from perfect.[whatever that means] and I am a terribly sensitive person who takes criticism to heart.

    To protect my heart from people who take such pride in hurting other people I deliberately got myself banned from one of the more malevolant sites.[you know the site I am referring to] because I fear that the first comments about me, my home, my body, my face, my everything being ugly, fat, old and inferior, I know I will cave. This way I will be unable to read anything they post.

    So, there is an expression by Winston Churchill, which is “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” That is something that I, and I assume others, need to take to heart. And that is the reason that my first new videos will be a series titlled ” In Defiance of the Enemy of Progress.”

    Thanks Kate. Oh, and by the way, I know you weren’t too keen on reading the first book of my fantasy adventure trilogy.The protagonist in my series is Autistic [like me. like some of my kids. and grandkids. maybe Arjan.] Do you think he would be interested in reading it?


  15. Hi Vicki! You two sure don’t sound disabled to me with those stairs alone, most would be exhausted just thinking of tackling them! YT, it is a wonderful and scary place to be. And for the sensitive person it can destroy them. The trolls have been multiplying. Arjan may like it, I can’t say. He likes mostly facts or Diary OF A Whimpy Kid type books.


  16. Thank you Kate, I’m so happy I found you again. I am still learning from you everytime I read your blogs getting in the mood to purge and make living, simpler
    Your friend

    Liked by 1 person

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