My husband and I paid off $20,000 in debt and medical bills in five years on $22,000 per year averaged income, and I am disabled with Fibromyalgia and ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Here are some of the ways we lived frugally and made it work:
#1 Keep meals simple. Try any of these simple meals:
-Chicken, with a bottle of hot and sour sauce dumped over the top and served with rice.
-Taco salad made with bagged lettuce, hamburger browned with taco seasoning, sour cream, salsa and olives.
-Baked chicken with freezer rolls and sliced cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and ranch dressing.
Most of our meals take under 20 minutes to prepare. Write down 10 quick meals that are family favorites. Keep the "quick favorites" list in a specific spot and always keep the ingredients for these favorite meals on hand. Then, when you are sick and can’t spend a lot of time cooking, you can make something quick and easy.
Also, make as much of dinner as you can when you are feeling your best. Then if you aren't feeling well come dinner time it will be almost all done and you won't be tempted to send for take out.
#2 Get the kids to help with daily cleanup.
Kids can help pick up most of the house with proper direction. Mine are 10, 9, and 5 and have been helping since they were 3. I ask each of them to pick up toys. Then I ask each of them to pick up four more things. Later, I might ask them to empty all the trash cans and the dishwasher. Let the kids help as much as possible. Mine spend about 10 minutes a day helping and it makes a world of difference!
#3 Use paper plates.
They are cheap, come from a renewable resource and can be composted – use them! They cost about one cent each, so spending five cents for our family of five is way cheaper than the $40 take out!
#4 Give each person his own color of drinking glass.
This way, you can prevent family members from getting confused about whose glass is whose and constantly getting out new glasses.
#5 Try to do at least one load of laundry a day. That way you won’t get overwhelmed or behind.
#6 Let non-critical things go!
Ignore the dust, the dirty windows, and other things like that. If you are lying sick on the couch where you look right out a dirty window, then ask your kids or hubby to clean it, but otherwise forget it until later!
By doing just these few things, you can keep yourself from going insane and save some money, even when your sick.
Tawra and her mother, Jill Cooper (who also has ME/CFS) are frugal living experts and the editors of http://www.LivingOnADime.com , a website filled with tips on how to save time, money, and energy – all of which are often in short supply for most of us! They have helped thousands of people all over the world to save money and get out of debt.