Thursday, January 08, 2009

Burning questions

I am working on a list of frequently asked questions. If there's an answer you've always needed about this blog, would you let me know in the comments below?

Thanks!

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

do you homeschool your son, if not quite at that age yet, will you...

are you done with 3 kids...do you want more, (bad time to ask, after my son, i swore no more, got rid of everything and now 5 yrs later were trying again..lol)

Celina in Canada

Tubo Family said...

Hi Meredith, I feel like I "know" your blog story since I've been reading since before you were pregnant with Elise, but perhaps a brief narrative to answer the question "How long have you been doing this?"

Lolly said...

Well, I don't know if it's a frequently asked question but I have wondered how the Miele rotary iron worked out for you?

I also wondered (this is another oldie!) how the fabric veggies that Andrew was going to make Elise for Christmas turned out.

Neat feature! These may not make it into the FAQ's but I'm still curious :).

Lolly said...

Oh you know what, it would also be really neat to know your top 3 thrift store/garage sale best and worst buys. My questions are a little random, I guess :D. I'll be interested to see what others come up with!

Anonymous said...

Well, my burning question of the moment is - what the heck was the "find" in the bag of toys??

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Meredith - I love the about the author page. Very welcoming! Here's my question...do you have any tips for jumping back on the frugal bandwagon? I seem to have slipped off during my last pegnancy (that was 16 months ago!) and since then my heart just isn't in it. But you're site is always such an inspiration - how do you keep up the motivation?

Anonymous said...

How many houses have you flipped? Do you try to do all the renovation at the start of the project so that you can enjoy the upgrades for as long as possible?

Where do you get recycled paint?

Thanks!

Heather

Anonymous said...

Do you ever splurge and forget frugality once in awhile? I know most of your childrens toys are bought used, but if Andrew or Elise asked for a particular toy (for Christmas, for instance) would you just go to a toy store and buy want they really wanted? Or would you ever just buy that cashmere sweater (or whatever your weakness is; cashmere happens to be mine) that speaks to you without looking at the price tag? Order at a nice restaurant based solely on what sounded tempting without regard to price if it were birthday or anniversary, maybe?

I try to be frugal most of the time, but occasionally I just say life is too short to think about what everything costs ALL the time, and sometimes I just have what I WANT. I mean, I am not stupid about this. I would not buy something wonderful if I could not pay the electric bill. But if I can pay the electric bill, then if something really makes my heart sing, I try to figure out a way to own it or do it.

I am curious to know if frugal people ever let go of it if they can truly afford to or would you feel quilty. Obviously, I am not frugal by nature and have to work at it, both from an economical need and an enviromental concern.

Anonymous said...

How do you find time to shop thrift stores with three children, a home to tend to, and food to cook? Wow! Is it more time consuming to shop at thrift stores or just as easy than going to the retail giants? Just curious.
I was always an antique store shopper, looking for the treasure that I was hunting down. However, these days, I am clearing out closets and trying to achieve the "minimalist look". I have never shopped thrift stores. I have of course shopped garage sales, but again, I have not done that in a long time. Thanks. I am really enjoying your blog. You seem to be the everyday, common household woman's version of Martha!!!

Michelle in Hawaii said...

What motivated you in the beginning and what keeps you going now? We have a family dream that we'd like to accomplish in 10-12 years that helps keep us on track.

Do you have a thrifting budget? What criteria do you use in deciding what to buy now, when to wait for a sale, and what to pass up altogether? How do you separate wants and needs when you shop second-hand?

Do you set budget limits for your kids for Christmas and other holidays or wait to see what comes up? Do you think you'll eventually have to buy more new toys as your children get older and request specific things? How do you deal with Christmas presents from relatives to your kids? The grandparents went so crazy this year I had to put away 3/4 of the toys for later and I'm trying to decide whether to impose limits next year.

What does your overall family budget look like? I don't mean specific dollar amounts just general priorities. Has this changed over time? Do you spend more or less on a certain category than you used to?

Anonymous said...

Right now I don't have any questions, but I did want to compliment you on your new photo and welcoming page. Wonderful additions to your blog!

Valerie

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

Like a lot of other people, I want to know what was in the toy bag.

Also, it seems like by now you'd be getting ready to move. Are you moving again soon or thinking about it?

Musings of a Housewife said...

Oooh! Great idea! I may do this. Can't wait to see your final product!

NeedANap2 said...

Our oldest was diagnosed type 1 juvenile onset insulin dependent last Sep. I know your husband is a diabetic but I don't think you've ever discussed what type or what resources you utilize on a day-to-day basis. I'd love to know how you save $ on his care, what are your priorities for treating/what do you consider necessities, and what food recommendations do you have (besides cheesecake, brands/type/websites)?

We're prepping our house to sell, what do you recommend for those first impressions? I couldn't seem to find a few things I know you've talked about before - floor care (I've got the wax stripper, but what do I do with it???) and wood table care (how can I cover up those scratches?)? Thanks for asking! :)

Cindy Brick said...

Meredith, you are beginning to seem like an old friend...

I also would love to know your 3 best (and worst) garage sale/thrift shop buys.

But even more, I'd love to see you talk about how you decorate and do table arrangements. Your style is just lovely. How do you choose items? Do you have some sort of mental steps you follow through? (choosing a certain color, visualizing a shape, whatever.)

Your house and tables look so wonderful -- yet, based on what you're telling us, you're using very little 'fahncy' things. Wow.

Renee said...

I'm another waiting for the grab bag treasure answer! lol

I've been thrifty and shopped at thrift stores all the adult life. I rarely go into the mall or high end stores. How do you recognize the great deals you find when you thrift? How did you know that red pie pan was something to pick up and turn over? How do you keep up with the brands for resale?

Julie said...

Hi Meredith,
It seems everyone is on a minimalist kick these days. I love the way you add beauty to your table and your home without adding clutter. Would you share some of your sources of inspiration?

PleaseRecycle said...

Do you take your kids with you when you go to thrift shops/yard sales?

How much of your thrifty purchases do you resell (craigslist/eBay)? If it is a lot, do you have a separate storing/packaging/shipping spot in your house? Do you count on the proceeds in your budget, or is it "extra"?

Love your blog- keep up the great work!

Sandy said...

i just want to say your blog is a treasure, and i love how you are real, and helping so many peeps.

keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Meredith,

Everyone has asked such good questions! I, too, want to know what was the 'surprise' in the toy bag. And your best and worst 2ndhand buys.

I'm interested in your daily schedule. How do you juggle it all with such young children?

(edited for privacy by meredith)

I'm struggling to duplicate a very few of your ideas. But you seem to have a better 'eye' for the way things work together than most humans.

Jora

Heather said...

Long time reader, though I don't know that I've ever commented! I love your blog.

We are trying to pay off an adoption and in this economy, want to minimize expenses as much as possible. I've always been more of the frugal type and frequently shop at a few thrift stores, but I never seem to find the great things you do...especially the kids' toys! How do you find these things?

Anonymous said...

1. Why were you nearly to the end of your first trimester before you even knew you were pregnant with baby #3?

2. What make/model of camera do you use?

Ewokgirl said...

You may have addressed this much earlier in your blog, but what exactly got you started on this frugality path? From things you've said, I get the impression you come from a bit of a spendthrift family, so I'm curious what caused you to do things differently.

Michelle Smiles said...

I would like to know why people leave you mean, nasty comments when you are the nicest person I have on my googlereader (and one of the nicest I've met).

LeeAnn said...

Will you ever try that 1950s menu plan again?

Kylie's Mom said...

I'm so sorry, I don't have time to read through all the comments so I don't know if this has been asked already: my question would be, do you have a grocery budget, and if you do, how much do you spend on groceries in one month?

That's it...thank you!

Anonymous said...

What a cute picture on the welcome page, Meredith!

I could probably answer my only question, having read here so long.
So, it's not worth asking.

Thanks for all you do,

deb meyers

Domestic Accident said...

I'd like to know your background. Were you always frugal? Was your spouse always frugal as well? Did you work pre-kids? Is it your plan to return to work?

Ewokgirl said...

Okay, ignore my question. I just read your About the Author page that people keep mentioning, and I saw that you answered my question there!

Chinamama4 said...

I'm on a "fix up my nest" kick right now. I'd love to see your house, room by room, with your "serendipitous finds" pointed out! I am just getting started on the thrift store circuit around here, and would love some ideas of what to look for, and then how to use those finds!

mama2a&b said...

You seem to find such amazing things at thrift stores! I generally do not enjoy sorting through tons of stuff to find the worthwhile items, but am willing to give it a try. Any tips on getting started? Do you go frequently? How do you recognize which thrift stores are better than others? Any tips for recognizing good brands/ worthwile purchases? Any tutorials elsewhere in the blogosphere for thrift store shopping?

You have a wonderful eye and such a creative knack for putting things together, I'd probably just need to take you shopping with me. :) But any help you can provide is appreciated.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

The only question I have is why are you not revealing the wonderful surprise in the bag of junk toys? It must really be something!

Lolly said...

I love Chinamama's idea of a home tour with serendipitous finds!

Laura said...

I love chinamama's idea too!

Mrs. Darling said...

Meredith I am responding here to your comment on my site as well as responding on mine.

Actually I have never thought about you not following through. Goodness with all of your stuff you take pics of and everything you do you are allowed a little something that you dont follow through on. I was speaking mainly of homeschoolers who are always talking about the craft they are going to make and things of that nature that they never end up doing.

One blog I read is really a good example of how this should be done. She prefaces all her homeschool plans with a sentence letting everyone know that this is just a plan and she already knows she isnt going to accomplish it all.

My point is that women get discouraged and compare themselves to what others are supposedly getting done when in truth it may be just all talk. So to everyone Im just cautioning that what may appear to be wonderful may not really be happening.

I really have to say that I have never once questioned what you are getting done. You are wonder woman with all your arranagements and catering and all. My hat is off to you, dear friend!

Anonymous said...

clone-ready sister?

Loving your new look - you wear it well!

latrice

Anonymous said...

I love your new "About the author" webpage. (or whatever it's called!) I think your new pictures are very cute!
The one thing I read on your new page is that you try not to waste our time, and show us rather than tell us. But Meredith....I LIKE it when you expand your posts and make them a little bit more "chatty"!!!! I have kind of lamented the fact over the past year or two that your posts have grown shorter. I thought your earlier posts had a lot more detail, and I loved reading about all your exploits and adventures as you did different frugal activities. Please don't get me wrong- I LOVE your photos, but sometimes I wish you'd write a little more, and not edit/crop the photos so tightly. Trust me, I don't think any of us are THAT busy that we wouldn't like to read more from you!!
Can't wait to see all the new additions and changes in store. Your blog will forever be one of my favorites!
Susan

annie said...

not a question (though i can't wait to read them and the answers :) but i wondered if you heard yesterday that lawmakers exempted second-hand and thrift stores from the new child safety law: http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2009/01/consumer-produc.html

i was glad to read that in my feed reader this morning!

Rain said...

What are ten things you would recommend to someone just starting out in this frugal lifestyle?
Your favorite books?
How do you keep your home so clean and uncluttered?
Do you have a thrift store budget?
Do you put a cap on certain items? i.e. I won't pay more than $2 for a dress? (no matter how much you love it?)
Are there some things you won't buy second-hand?
Do you plan menus with a cost per serving in mind?
I'm sure I'd think of tons more if I didn't stop myself.
Thanks so much for your blog!

Renee said...

I have quite a few questions:

1. Where do you get the specific ideas from in all that you do ? (I noticed you can take a shopping basket of fruit and present it in a way that looks like you have a business and spent big bucks!)

2. There are many great books and blogs but is there a few that just speak to you like no other, or that they have really changed your thinking or have guided you on this path?

3. Do you have a daily routine with your family as far as cleaning,time with kids and husband?

4. With the recent headlines about the economy taking a slide and maybe getting worse, do you have thoughts, or provisions or are you going with the flow so to speak?

I have a bunch more but I will leave some room for others to ask away.

Love the picture of yourself and also a recent and refreshing "About the Author" page with past re-caps.

Hugs~ Renee
Mom to four~ 14,6,4,and 2 yrs.
rbrown7997@yahoo.com

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

I've always wondered if you worked outside the home before kids, and if so, what your job was. Or, if you went to college, what your major was.

I ask because I've always wondered if you were ever a professional decorator! Your style is so beautiful and graceful, and your blog is such an encouragement!

Carla said...

How do you get such an interesting perspective on your photos? I adore the way you crop your photos and catch just the right portion to put with your blog entries.

Carla

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for being able to feed a growing family for only $50/week. I assume this is strictly food items and does not include cleaning supplies, tolietries, etc. Do you have a regular once-a-week shopping day or do you shop at different stores randomly based on sales? Do you place any limits on food - for instance, can the children drink all the milk they want? Do you ever use powdered milk, either in cooking or for drinking? Is eating out a separate budget and how often do you eat out? You are blessed to be able to breast feed or your food budget would have to soar with the cost of formula!

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of questions--are there things you never buy second hand? If so, where do you shop for these items? Will you buy used shoes and/or underwear for the children? Stuffed animals? Do you take a chance on clothing items that are too big for the kids now, but you hope will fit later? Would you buy used sheets, towels, etc? Just curious as to what others will/won't buy! Just yesterday at my thrift store, I bought 5 pairs of new underwear for my son for 20-cents per pair (too big now, but will fit next year)and a set of Lands' End Coming Home twin size sheets for his bed for $1.25 for the set, which I immediately washed with Clorox and hot water!
And one other thing, PLEASE follow thru and tell us what the super-duper toy is! We are all so curious!

3boysmama said...

I'm sorry, I couldn't find a link to email you, so I'm posting it here:
I just read that they've said that the new law won't apply to thrift stores. If you do a search for news articles about the lead testing topic you will see it.

Karen said...

OOoohh, oooh!

I want to know more about the merchant ships bringing food from afar. Call me dense, but I don't totally understand what that means -- you know, what is bringing food from afar? Is it about exotic, rare? Is it about persistence? I don't quite get it and I want to know how you read it...

Karen said...

I also want to know if you keep an extra freezer, since we are considering purchasing one. I will do a search!

Karen said...

oooh! Here's another one! I want to know how much time you spend thrifting (I mean, with all those great finds) and how you manage to shop w/3, even 2, kids along!

Michelle Smiles said...

Are there any items that are off limits as far as being frugal? Like some people won't buy cheap toilet paper or won't give up expensive shampoo. Just curious if there are any little luxuries that you don't feel guilty about since you are frugal in so many other ways.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see some of your weekly menus :)

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I love this idea!

Someone may have already asked this, but...

Have you always been frugal? Were your parents frugal? Or is this something you had to work at and teach yourself?

Ginger said...

I just want to say I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your blog. What was your career before you married or became a full time stay at home mom? What work would you do if you had to return to work for financial reasons?

Abbie

sherri said...

I love your blog Meredith. The thing that I ponder the most is how do you store all your "buy aheads" and lovely decorative things?

Anonymous said...

I did not read through all the comments to know if someone else already asked this question... but I would really like to know how long it took you to really develop into the frugal pro that you are? For me, I sway in and out and I sometimes find great deals and other times I do not. It feels like a "cancelled each other out" situation... do you know what I mean?

I love reading your blog, btw.