Mindset the Real Purpose of Frugal Living

Frugal Living, Mindset, Food Cost, Food Expense, Food Waste

There’s the battle inside my soul. The battle of the busy. The battle of wishing I could take my kids on a bike ride everyday but can rarely seem to find the time. The battle where what is left at the end of the day doesn’t include the energy to engage fully. I lay to read stories only to fall asleep. I sit to watch a movie to do the same.

I crave time with my precious babies that I created in my womb. I crave memories for them that I had as a child of the simple. The time. The lake. The beach. The campground. The pool. The bike paths. The ski hills. The presence.

When I am naturally homemade I feel connected. Connected to generations past and to generations (who if I do this thing right) will lead our future. It’s not a philosophy; it’s modeling. It’s ingraining in the younger generation that there’s another option to eating vegetables than out of a can. Not so they can judge vegetables that come from a can but so they can have a healthy appreciation for ones that don’t. And a reminder for myself of that fact in the process.

The busyness often blurs the lines of the beauty. I craved the simple. The time we were impervious to the world around us. A time that was naturally homemade.

Your Naturally Homemade Life – Trisha Funk releasing summer of 2015

So many bring up the frugal living that has become part of my business model over the last few years with question marks in their voice. The professional investment advising strong women wants to talk frugal living?

But it’s life that we crave. A life filled.

Filled with more money than we need. Filled with more opportunities than we could wish for. Filled with more time with the people most important to us. More security. More breathing room. 

When we really grasp frugal living into our core we accept that there are things we don’t need to be sold. We are empowered by an ability to be self sufficient. 

So yes. Practicing frugal living keeps money in our bank account that we may otherwise spend. But to me it’s so  much more than that.

It’s the actions ability to influence the mindset. 

A mindset of security. A mindset of calm. Simple. Authentic and Transparent. Natural. 

What mindset does the concept of frugal living evoke for you? Why or why not is it something that is important to you?

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And if you’re not on the list you won’t be one of the first in the know when “Your Naturally Homemade Life” hits the major retailers and just might have an opportunity to score a review copy before it does! Hint..Hint….. 

How to get the best customer service ever

I’ve learned something in my almost (cough, cough) 40 years on this planet about getting some exceptional customer service and it’s something I think you frugal fanatics around me will really appreciate. Are you ready to learn my secret about how to get the best customer service ever?!? 

I thought so. 

It’s called bribery!

You know………. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

I know the mention of it seems so very wrong, but stick with me. And if you really don’t like the connotation we can just change it to “sharing”.

Say it with me now. S.H.A.R.I.N.G…….That doesn’t sound so bad does it? 

The first time I realized how this “sharing thing” could actually work in my favor was when one of my oldest girlfriends and I were pregnant at the same time. Her mother casually mentioned she was going to get a box of Sees candies to put in her room while she was laboring and in the hospital with a note for all the nurses to please help yourself. Well guess what happened when nurses came in to get a piece of chocolate? Yep. They asked her if there was anything she needed.

Her brilliant methods were a way to thank the nurses who were caring for her daughter and new grand baby but also knew that this little action would also increase the odds someone would just happen to be in the room just when they were needed. 

It’s all about a mutual agreement. It’s a natural instinct when someone goes out of their way to think of you and do something nice for you for you to want to repay them in some way. We live in a give and take society. That’s just the way it is. 

When we had our roof replaced a number of years ago I had a bucket full of iced cold electrolyte drinks on hand at all times. And if workers were there after about 3 o’clock I generally would take out a plate of some sort of snack just to honor the fact that they were still there. 

I know what you are thinking……

If you’re paying them, that’s they’re job.

I agree.

And yet. I wanted the best roof possible.

I think very logically about these sorts of things. In my mind I think if I were ever going to scrimp a corner on a job, would it be the job where the owner brought me a skinny hazelnut latte (honestly feel free to deliver them at will) or would it be the one the homeowner (or patient or client) that didn’t even acknowledge me?

We were built to be a part of a community. We were built to be a bigger part of something outside of ourselves, so why would we not take that into account when we have the highest expectations of how we expect to be treated and the work we expect to receive.

But it touches one very important step further as far as I’m concerned. Bribing Sharing with others when you have entered into a transaction with them is also about the universal truth of telling them, “I see you”.  It’s telling them, “You are providing me something of value and I appreciate that.”

And so it goes. I would encourage you the next time you are soliciting (or paying for) help from others go ahead and bake that loaf of banana bread or that batch of cookies. Grab a to go box of coffee from Starbucks and give them a reason to feel honored and appreciated and just see if you don’t find them providing you with their best work possible. 

Homemade Pepperoncinis Without Canning

One of my favorite things about summer is our garden. 

Every single summer growing up the kitchens were inundated with canning jars and some sort of fruit or vegetable that was next to be processed. 

Walking through the garden with Grandpa helping to pick the green beans that mom and grandma were prepping and canning is a memory that will forever be etched in my mind. 

And now I love the opportunity to walk into the garden with my own kids, check the plants, and watch food grow. Sharing with them the experience of “where” food comes from that doesn’t have anything to do with a car or cash registers is so important to me.  As an added bonus, I love being able to “put up” jars of the healthiest food I can possibly provide for my own family. 

I have this rule when it comes to my own canning. I will only preserve what we will eat ourselves or what will make great gifts. 

Pickled Pepperoncini without canning

Pepperoncini’s are one of those things that get eaten in our home weekly. We love salami, cream cheese, and peppers as a snack or even light lunch. (Seriously, you really need to try them.) So this little pepper plant is a standard for the garden every year.

So what if you have a pepper plant or know someone else that does that just keeps producing like crazy?

CAN them! Well….. without actually canning them.

I mean you totally can, can. (Hahaha…..)

I’m not the boss of you. But for the love of God, it’s 100 degrees outside and unless I have an entire months worth of marinara to can at the same time it’s just not going to happen.  (I can can to….Hahaha.) Sorry it’s been a long week.

Homemade Pepperoncinis Without Canning:

I slice mine because we use the rings in sandwiches, salads, and salami. (Oh how I wished I could think of about 9 more things that start with “s” to add to that sentence.) But if you want to pickle them whole you can if that’s the way you use them. 

  • A few pounds fresh pepperoncini’s
  • Clean canning jars (This recipe usually makes 2 pints and 1 quart for me. I prefer the wide mouth jars because it’s easier to get the peppers out of the jar; but use whatever you have.)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Water
  • 3 Cups Vinegar
  • 4 tbs pickling salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs whole peppercorns
  • 1 large tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 3 Bay Leaves ( I use three because I want one to end up in each jar and I end up with three jars. Again the boss issue.) 

Mix your water, vinegar, salt, sugar together in a saucepan and heat until sugar and salt are fully dissolved.

Add your garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns and let simmer about 5 minutes or so to bring out the oils. 

Slice peppers (or if using whole, pierce with a fork about three times each)

Fill clean jars with peppers and pour hot liquid over top. 

Cover with lids and rings and let sit on the counter to cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator once cooled. Let “pickle” for a week before using. Peppers can be stored in the fridge for months. (If you can’t use that many peppers in several months you may need to pressure can them. I promise the process is much less difficult than it sounds….AND I still use my grandmothers pressure canner so just think of it as an investment you are making for generations to come.)  

Pickle Peppers without canning


What would you like to say that you can can? Wink, Wink! Leave it in the comments and I just might provide you a tutorial for that!

Do you have a super easy canning or non-canning recipe? Leave that or a link to that in the comments too!

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How to Save More or Payoff More Debt; My completely unscientific tip

Because I’m highly unscientific like that…… But what I am, is an avid competitor…..With myself.

How to Save More, Stretch to the finish line,

I have always been a huge advocate of goals and honestly I don’t remember a time in my life I didn’t actively set them and work towards them.

You can call them lists. What I’m going to do this year. What I am going to get done this week. What I’m going to have done in the next five years. It doesn’t really matter what you call it I work towards things.

While I am naturally determined; when I don’t have a plan to follow I am like my six year old on too little sleep and a bunch of cotton candy.

(And if you don’t have a six year old that doesn’t usually consume sugary deserts the size of his head and have no idea what I am talking about……by that I mean.) He’s all over the place.

The TV goes on and he’s putting on his shoes to go outside. He comes back in to put his swim suit on and finds a bag of Legos that he brings to the dinner table to build. At the table he feels this insane need for some level of protein to try to regulate his sugar induced foggy brain and stomach ache, while reaching for the salami he sees the leftover pizza and wants to play ninja turtles, where he goes to as he leaves the door to the refrigerator wide open…….No? Never seen anything like it?

It’s awesome……And highly annoying…..And exactly like me…….God bless my Husband…….

Now I will say while there may be some element of that sort of behavior in my house on a normal basis I am convinced these boys do not process sugar like normal small people. They have a tendency to be out of their minds when they ingest it. It’s like they can’t think straight.

And then my point in all of that…….That is exactly how my brain functions when I do not have a plan.

I was so excited to take this afternoon out of the office to get some writing done but hadn’t bothered to set aside and prepare what exactly I was going to work on, and so far this afternoon, I have planned a vacation, written a blog post (not this one) checked Facebook 12 times, walked to the mailbox and back, sent about 15 text messages, talked on the phone with 3 people. Scheduled an appointment for my car to get serviced and not even touched about 3/4 ths of what I wanted to do today. Yep just call me the efficiency ninja.

And as much as I hate being off task I feel just as strongly when I feel like my money is off task.

So let me share with you one simple tip that motivates me to save just “one more” in my own life.


Yep. That’s it. Something I have incorporated in my financial plan (simply because of the way my brain works) that has allowed us to pay off thousands of dollars more in debt and save thousands more than we would have.

Here’s my question? How many of you just pay the specified amount on your mortgage or car payment every month? It might even be automatically set up to draft a certain exact amount on a certain date. That’s great for your savings but if you aren’t bothering to give those statements some analysis you are missing out on some powerful opportunities.

Just this last month as I was looking at the mortgage statement I was doing the math on how close we would be to our balance being in the thousands bracket below where it currently sat. This means if my normal payment was $455 (which it’s not) and I normally pay $500 so I can payoff the mortgage sooner I would do the math on what would put me into the next bracket.

That means if my balance is $19,639 then I feel this desire to push to get my balance under $19,000.

(Although admittedly irrational) A $19,639 balance doesn’t feel any closer to freedom than a $19,305. A $18,999 balance does. (Welcome to the psychology of marketing 101!)

A $5,289 balance doesn’t feel a whole lot different than the $5,463 one you had a month ago but a $4,999 does. 

But Trish…..There’s all that technical math stuff involved with calculating interest.

I know that’s intimidating. Here’s how to make it super simple.

Take how much interest you paid last month right from your statement and add to it the amount of principal you would really like to pay off.

If I paid $166 in interest and wanted to get my balance under $5,000 I would just need to add $166+289. A $455 payment this month will put me below the $5,000 mark on my credit card. Now that’s progress.

It’s amazing what I can come up with or do without when I am stretching that extra $75. 

That exact process alone has allowed us to pay off twice as much principal on our mortgage just in the first half of this year as we would have paid with my set automatic payments.

Apply this thinking to your savings and investing in exactly the same way. Get that Emergency Fund over $10,000. Push that IRA over $15,000. Pick a new target every single month you want to hit and you will be amazed how much quicker you get there than if you simply automate it.

So now give me your mind tricks…..We’re all human so we all need something that works for us to motivate us to keep pushing…..What’s your’s? You never know who it may help.

Now if you liked this post be sure to share it with all your friends. They want to be debt free with ample savings too.

And be sure to sign up for the weekly e-mail update so you don’t miss one (unscientific but humanistic) update with information I don’t share anywhere else but there. 

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Are you dirty? I mean your clothes you sicko..Homemade Stain Remover to the rescue!


Young Super Hero Standing on Laundry Machines

Get your mind out of the gutter and into the washer machine…. because today I’m giving you a video comparison of my homemade stain spray that I use on clothes, carpet, upholstery, you name it….because quite obviously I’m dirty. I’ll admit it. 

I will warn you going in that I absolutely suck because in the process of the experiment I actually lost one of the exhibits. How much exactly do you think that effects the reliability of the results?……..I didn’t think it did either…..I’m glad we’re on the same page. 

I know you’re all antsy in the pantsy now so I’ll just give you the video.

Here is how to make your own homemade stain remover for your laundry. 

It does take a whole 2 ingredients. Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap. I know it seems hard but I have complete faith in you. And after that try a cleaner fit for a 5 year old. Homemade Dishwasher Detergent!

Love this video and want more like it? Well first share it on Pinterest, Facebook, and Every Other Social Media site you can think of, then be sure to sign up on the frugal living page to get five free video tutorials delivered directly to your inbox. 

Homemade Dish Soap Video Tutorial

So you are ready to get on the bandwagon of frugal living, want more all natural products for your family, or just are sick of being tied to the 24 hour mass retailer and want to learn to make your own household products that you only run out of at 9pm after you put kids to bed when you have already abandoned real pants for the day and have just poured your second glass of wine for the night…….OK that last one could just be me. Let’s not judge. Here’s how easy it is to make your own Homemade Dish Soap and I’m bringing it to you in a video.

Even if you really can’t get behind this recipe 100%, but only 98% (most can’t, you know because bubbles clean dishes) I absolutely think you should try this. Grab a bit and try it on your oily, greasy dishes. Bacon grease, no problem. Did you make taco’s last night for dinner? Grab a dab on your rag to wipe down your stove. I’m not kidding. It just works.

I will 1,000% admit I use commercial dish soap sometimes. (Although I try to use more natural ones the majority of the time.) But when I need to let something sit or that has a ridiculous grease content I grab a dip in the homemade soap bowl.

I’ll shut up now and give you your video. I do really think you should try it. Because I rarely lead people astray. Well there was that one time…..And possibly 19 more. (Why do ideas always sound better in your head?) 

And be sure to jump over to my Frugal Living Page to get five additional tutorial videos delivered right to your inbox. 

Catching Cash that’s Running Down the Drain and more on water price increases


Are you facing a water price increase too? 

I was sitting with my sister in law in my father’s back yard a few weeks ago looking out at the Sacramento River that runs through his back yard. 

“I don’t think I have ever seen it so low.” I mention. 

“It’s crazy isn’t it? We could walk halfway across the river on the rocks.” She points out. 

“You know on the water we are on we were sent a mandate that we will be able to use 40% of last years average at our normal rate and over and above that our rate will jump to 5x’s the regular rate.” 

I looked straight at her face to see if I heard her right and she just just nodded.

“Can you believe that? What about our friends that put in a pool last year and are having a new baby in a few months? They are going to end up with a $1,000 water bill.” She said. 

I literally right then thanked God for the fact that we live on property that has a well and then went to sharing some of the water saving ideas we try to utilize and others I have heard of to help them offset some of the costs. Here are some I shared and a few others I have found since then.

A 5 gallon bucket

I have shared this one before and it always has people saying that’s a great idea. I keep a five gallon bucket in the shower when we are not using it. When we turn on the shower the bucket collects the 2 1/2 gallons of cold water from every shower that comes out before the hot water gets to our shower head. 

I use that hot water for watering plants that aren’t on the drip line or sprinklers and sometimes to fill pet’s water if I don’t have plants that need it. You can also use it in your toilet tank or even on the stove in cooking. The shower water is the exact same that comes out of your faucet at the sink. 

Wrap Your Pipes

Not into the bucket idea? That’s OK. Then make sure that you insulate those pipes so the water get’s warmer faster and to you faster. The quicker it warms up, the less water that uselessly goes down the drain. 

Toilet Tank Bag

I personally have never used this but a plumber friend of mine shared this idea with me for those of us who have older toilets. Essentially it’s basically a balloon that takes up some space in your tank that allows it to fill up with less water. 

Work Less on Your Dishes

I have researched this a lot. I know for a fact that if you hand wash dishes with the water running while you rinse every single thing you will use more water than running a FULL load through the dishwasher but there are way’s you can even cut that down. The most water efficient method. Dish soap side and rinse side both with water. (Add a dab of white vinegar to your rinse side if you really want to get crazy.) But one tip that I remember both sides of my grandparents doing was wiping plates into the garbage fully before they ever touched the sink. 

We live in a lazy culture so we just run water for 45 minutes while the garbage disposal runs. By scraping them fully they only took a second to actually wash and then grandma would always leave the stuck on “stuff” in the sink for a while to let the water do the trick. 

Use Your Clothes Washer Correctly

I know this laundry fairy that has a bad habit of washing everything on bulky or heavy duty setting. That setting is perfect for bedding, or a full load of towels. But for normal articles of clothing regardless of how big your drum is the normal setting should work just fine. The heavier duty the setting the more water is used to get the grime out of those bulky items. And most washers use the same amount of water regardless of the size of your load so be sure to fill the drum before you run it. 

You have a teenager that just has to have that one shirt by tomorrow too? Then I guess it’s her new job to find enough other things that need to be cleaned to run the full load or she can do without. (And I wonder why my kids think I’m mean….. Oh well.)

Fix sink and shower head drips

Or find a way to collect them for another use. I read somewhere that a drippy faucet or shower head could waste 3,000 gallons of water a year. (I don’t remember exactly where, and I could be wrong so don’t bother trying to prove I am.) Regardless that’s a lot of water. As referenced in the bucket earlier it would be fairly easy to use a gallon jug or whatever to collect your water to reuse if you are not going to fix it. 

Flush the toilet when necessary

This one might be way beyond any of your comfort zone but there’s something I’ll never forget. In the drought of 1987  all kinds of conservation slogans were coined. The one I remember the most? “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” I can’t remember if we actually did this or not but I can tell you times that we’ve had issues with our water I’ve repeated that slogan to my kids. 

Re-purpose cooking water

So you used a pot of water to boil some pasta? Or you’re one of my people and in the summer you canned 100 jars of your famous blackberry jam. Your lemon bush and your herb garden will thank you for it. 

Mulch your plants

Providing a good quality mulch around the base of your plants can retain moisture content. Less evaporation means less water needed. Plus your plants will be healthier. 

Now you go! What is one way that you plan on cutting back your water usage this summer? Leave your tip in the comments below. 

Make Aloe Vera Gel from Raw Leaves, Your Step by Step Tutorial

Aloe Vera Gel is such a great base ingredient or additive to so many all natural products that I love to have it on hand. But having it on hand doesn’t mean that you have to keep the bottle from the local drug store chock full of unnatural ingredients. So today I’m going to show you exactly how to make aloe vera gel from raw aloe leaves at home with no added harmful ingredients. 

Make Aloe Vera Gel

It takes about 3 minutes and 4 steps to make your own at home from the monster aloe plant growing in your neighbor’s yard.

(Don’t take things out of your neighbor’s yard without asking. That’s stealing. Stealing’s wrong.)

Here is exactly what I do to make my own gel at home from raw aloe leaves. 

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Magic Uses for Mismatched Socks; My Top 9 Tips

Uses for Mismatched Socks, Matchless Socks

It is exactly two weeks after I purchase a brand new package of socks for my children, or my husband that we start “the collection” and with that inspiration I’m sharing my top 9 uses for mismatched socks with you today.

You know “the collection” because chances are you have a collection too.

So here you have all the ways that I put “the collection” of mismatched matchless socks to good use.

  • Use them as a glove to clean the leather or dashboard of the car.
  • Cut them into it strips to hold together wrapping paper or any other long rolls.
  • With longer socks I fill them with plain white rice, tie the end and put inside of another sock. Instant heat pack for sore muscles or earaches. One minute in the microwave stay’s warm for a LONG time.
  • Repeat process listed above for an instant bed warmer. Just toss it under the sheets about 10 minutes before you crawl in bed in the winter.
  • Using the same concept, add 10 to 15 drops of essential oils and fold over itself to form a ball, slip inside a second sock and throw it in your dryer to freshen and fragrance your laundry naturally.
  • For longer to style socks, keep one in the door compartment of your car during rainy season to slip around your umbrella to keep the car dry.
  • Car wheel wash mitts. It’s easy to slip your hand inside and get all of the nooks and crannies of your wheels.
  • Spraying with a natural all-purpose cleaner and slipping onto mini hands of mini human beings that can go around cleaning surfaces, baseboards (you know because they are closer to them anyway) or floors (again, simply because of proximity it makes is so much more appropriate for them to tackle that job).
  • Use them in your own container of all natural cleaner/disinfectant to create your own Lysol/Clorox type wipes. (I’m a snob with a clear container for mine so my reusable fabric scraps had to be from all the same color t-shirts to match the colors of the bathroom counter they sit on.)

Now it’s your turn.

What uses have you found for your matchless socks? Leave yours in the comments below! Or meet us over on Facebook to share yours.

Tax Tips

tax tips, financial advice, get tax deductions, taxreturn

It may feel too early to start thinking about tax season but if you want to maximize your return, decrease how much you pay, and prepare for a stress free tax time………..Tis the season to start finding the receipts and adding up the deductions.

Ignorance won’t work because you know……It’s the law and stuff. 

Avoidance will work for a few months but could leave you scrambling and missing hundreds in deductions you could have taken if you just took the time to prepare. 

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by a reporter for rTV6 about some best filing practices and tips. 

You can read all about the tax tip goodness here

(And be sure to throw me some great financial advice love and share it with your social media peoples. Help me Help them.)

photo by: 401(K) 2013