Frugality, Winter, Moving, Planning, My Book, and More

Packing has started!
As I mentioned in my last post, on the 31st of October, my book was due for submission to the Back to Basics bundle. I was working crazy hours on it, staying up and out of my house working with my layout and graphics person, until the wee hours of the morning... but I did it! I finished my book and submitted it on time!
Since then, I'll be honest, I've just been in recovery mode. Cleaning the house that fell apart during that time... somewhat. But mostly just trying to catch up on sleep, and vegging out, and decompressing. Trying to pretend like I have no responsibilities once I have no looming book deadline. However, that isn't quite true since I will be moving soon, but more on that in a minute. A decent chunk of my time that isn't being spent on cleaning and cooking has just been spent on hanging out on Facebook, watching movies, and Pinterest. I needed that after the stress of the last few weeks.

So... moving. We had our second to last inspection of the house, and the last inspection next week. We still don't know yet when we're getting the key- originally we were told by the 15th, but now we were told that perhaps later, on the 21st... I'm really hoping that it won't be that long, since I'd like to be able to find people to take over our lease starting December, and people like to move in on the first of the month.

We got a price quote from our carpenter for the kitchen, and yowza, cabinetry is expensive... So we were looking into buying a second hand kitchen from one of the local second hand sales sites, but even though the second hand kitchen was 1/4 the price of the new kitchen from the carpenter, the sellers expect the buyers to dismantle and uninstall the kitchen themselves, so paying someone to do that adds to the cost, as does transporting it from there to here and installing it, which are included in the cost of the brand new kitchen from the carpenter. Adding to that is the fact that we don't have a place to store the kitchen until we can install it- our contractor won't let us put the kitchen in before he gives us the key. We'd have to figure out storage, and then pay for transportation twice- from the sellers to the storage and from the storage to the house. After all the costs involved in second hand, especially factoring in the cost of transportation twice, buying a second hand kitchen will cost us pretty much the same as a new one, so that isn't even worth it...
However, we will be keeping an eye out on sales of kitchens, and when we do have an exact date, and we can already deliver the kitchen directly there, we can price compare and see what would be more worthwhile- getting a second hand kitchen or a new one.

I'm trying to plan what our new house will look like, and been scouring Pinterest for ideas. I've been making boards for various things- some for general styling advice, some for making small entrances both pretty and useful, for making small bathrooms beautiful and practical, and for different and unique storage ideas for our bedroom that will be very small, and I hope much more clutter free than our current bedroom (which is clutter heaven, since it is one of the larger rooms in our current house, so everyone's clothings and all our random things get stored here). I came up with so many ideas for our approximately 85 square foot bedroom to be able to save floor space while at the same time giving it a clean, streamlined look, including a closet behind the bedroom door, drawers under the bed, a headboard made out of Ikea shoe boxes... but I didn't realize how opinionated Mike would be about the bedroom and how things should be, and he doesn't like the ideas I came up with, and I don't like his ideas... so in the meantime I'll continue coming up with ideas and he'll come up with ideas, and then hopefully there will be some ideas we can both agree on. If you have any ideas for clothing storage in a super tiny room, so that it won't take up the little available floor space and still look good, yet be practical for someone like myself that is messy, I'm really interested in ideas. (Caveat-  Mike doesn't want things in drawers; he grew up keeping clothes on shelves and finds the concept of clothing in drawers to be really weird and off-putting. But all shelves need to be closed, so they don't get dusty since he is allergic to dust mites.) Thanks in advance!

With moving dates up in the air, I wasn't sure when we should start packing, because we don't really have much storage room for packed boxes. We dumpster dove some boxes, and I found a few corners of the house were packed boxes could be stacked, so we packed 13 boxes so far- mainly novels and such (leaving out some reading material, but I don't need that much out now), extra pillows and blankets and stuffed animals, and just packed the kids summer clothes away in boxes. We still have more books that we plan on packing in the next few days, and I want to pack up some of the kids' toys.
But more than anything is decluttering. In the past week alone, I sorted out 3 giant garbage bags of clothing that we no longer need or want, and hope to donate it to a clothing swap next week. (Not sure I'll actually be taking any clothing, unless I can find winter clothing for my boys, but more on that in a minute.) Our last move we did such a bad job of it that while we were unpacking, we were also decluttering, which made me have such a big headache, trying to figure out what we wanted to keep at the same time as we were trying to figure out where to store everything in our much smaller apartment. Though we're moving to an apartment that's twice the size of our current one, I have no interest in it being filled with clutter (even if there is more room for it) so I want to declutter already now so I don't have to do it later. (We also don't have an unlimited supply of boxes, so if I declutter now I need fewer boxes.)

It just became winter, overnight, literally, in the last week, and it hit me that I didn't have winter clothes for my kids who are growing like weeds. Yesterday, after Lee told me in the morning that he was cold, and he couldn't find warm enough clothing to wear (compounded by the fact that he just lost his winter coat, though I have a feeling I know where it is and will be checking it out later today), I realized that I needed to shop pronto, so went to the nearby cheap store (unfortunately our second hand store is closed until further notice) and even getting everything cheaply, I spent over $125 on the very basics for winter: one warm sweatshirt each for my kids, winter PJs for the girls (my boys didn't want), slippers, warm undershirts, and winter hats for the girls (I know I have for the boys... somewhere)...
Then, of course, today I discovered the winter clothes that I put away for my girls last time the seasons changed, and realized that they had a full stock of winter clothing... and I didn't need to buy anything for them yesterday. Note to self- check first to make sure that you don't already have certain things in storage before you go to buy new... I don't have clothing in storage for the boys for the winter, so at least that wasn't a waste.

And now groceries... With the winter starting, so has foraging season. I haven't had much time to go grocery shopping lately what with working on my book and all, and certainly not to go to the market and get my amazing deals and steals. Instead I've been buying from either the most local Mom and Pop shop, or the closest somewhat cheap store, and being careful with my shopping to spend as little as possible. One time that I went to the grocery store for produce, especially vegetables, I found a huge amount of edible wild plants (mostly sow thistle, but also some wild mustard, mallow, milk thistle and amaranth greens), and now even right outside my front door I am able to forage those, which made me not need to do so much produce shopping, so that saved money and time. Most of my meals in the past 2 weeks have included at least some foraged greens.
So even without my being able to do my usual frugal and money saving shopping things or doing so much cooking from scratch, our grocery bills this past month were only 398 dollars! Much lower than my usual! So that's amazingly awesome.
I'm hoping to keep that up this next month, but we'll see how I manage to keep down our grocery bills with the move.

What I have planned in the next few days is finalize my book files so they can be uploaded to Amazon as an ebook, in time for the holiday season, and then do so. (Just a few minor changes hopefully!) And then I'm hoping to work with a professional photographer to do even more pictures for my print book...
Speaking of which, I had a really hard decision to make. I plan on self publishing my print book on Amazon Create Space. The problem is... color printing is expensive. Amazon takes a cut of any book, so whatever price you charge, you get what is left after Amazon takes its cut, which is extremely large for a print book. In order for me to make any profit whatsoever (not even counting any book related expenses, simply after Amazon takes their large cut), I'd have to charge at least 25 if not 30 dollars for my cookbook if its color. As a frugal person, that makes me want to scream, because I don't care how pretty the colors are and how important delectable looking pictures are for cookbooks, it goes against my values to sell something called "Penniless Foodie in the Wild", where I specifically lament the fact that foraging ends up being something elite, that only the rich people are able to access, and talk about how I want to bring it back to the masses, especially to people who are short on cash, and charge a price for it that makes my book unaffordable to people that need it most. It doesn't matter how good an investment it is, or how much it'll help people save money, I have a hard time stomaching charging that much for a book. But I can't charge less either for a color cookbook.

So the decision I made is to make two print versions of the cookbook- one will be labeled "Economy Version" and will be black and white with no pictures (but all the pictures available online for those with the link inside the book) and I'll make it very affordable and still be able to make a profit after Amazon's cut. And also make a full color version with lots of great pictures for those that can afford to spend more on a more ideal book.

I am looking for a few people to spread the word about my cookbook on social media, so if anyone has a popular blog or other social media account and wants a free review copy of my ebook, let me know by emailing me at and we'll be in touch.

Last but not least, my brother got engaged and will be getting married in January, so I have to figure out clothing for myself and the kids (for various reasons we aren't wearing the same things as last time) without breaking the bank...

What is up with you lately? Any frugal things you managed to do? Foraged some great things lately, or is your foraging season over?
What are your best frugal moving tips, or just moving tips in general?

Regarding my book, what version would you be most likely to buy? The ebook? Economy version black and white print book? More expensive full color cookbook?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I was going to mention just putting a link in your book with pictures on the website. I like to do that with my books. Not only does it make the book cheaper to print, but it sends readers to your website.

  2. Hurray for getting your book done!

    And congratulations on being so close to move in in your new home! My son's bedroom is roughly the same size as your bedroom (84 ft sq)and we have a bed and a single wardrobe in there - a tall skinny one from IKEA with mostly shelves and a single hanging rod for things like his suit coat. Under the hanging rod is a clothes hamper for dirty laundry and we do have two baskets for socks and underclothes. He keeps toys and books in there too since he doesn't have many clothes (school uniforms, a few play clothes, his suit coat and accompanying shirts and slacks). He also has a shelf in his headboard and drawers under the bed for out of season items and bedding. That leaves plenty of floor space and keeps the room relatively clean since there aren't a lot of places to put things down. A wardrobe with sliding doors would take up even less floor space.

    Have fun with your dreaming, planning and moving!

  3. Have you thought about a foraging app? Not sure how much that costs to create, but for people out and about foraging, it's simpler to have teheir phone, pics can be interactive and you may be able to offset cost with pop up advertising, which people expect on their phones, but not in a cookbook.

  4. If you produce the in-color print book, do you think you will sell enough to make a profit? I'm assuming you're paying for the photographer.

    The economy version, linking to online pictures, is actually a great idea and might be a good way to test the market before going all-out on the fancy book.

  5. Sounds like Mike wants a Gap store like bedroom (shelves) but need traditional bedroom due to mites. I say, find glass cabinets and hang them high up on the bedroom walls. That can be his storage and you use something more traditional like under bed pullouts or dresser. I've also seen where someone has taken an entire wall and installed bookcases with dividers (easy to cover up with curtains or fabric).

    Books, no reason to keep them if you can get yourself a Kindle. I've found that in a years time since owning mine, I've gotten around 150 free books for the Kindle and have donated my actual paperbacks to charity. No books means no mites and no need to store them. Major space saver. I got my Kindle HD6 for $50 last year during Black Friday sales. The only books I kept are my hardback cookbooks and large art books.

    Your book: I would love the more expensive color book and I think people will buy it even at the more expensive price since in the USA people are foodies and they have the money to spend. A great foraging book is so needed in the world today. Good luck with that and the move. Hope everything goes smoothly.

  6. I love your idea of a cheaper b&w economy version! I would probably buy the color one, but that's just me. As for ideas about clothes storage, I've been obsessed with the idea of a capsule wardrobe, so I have been thinning things down to stuff I love and is flattering, plus the other few classic base seasonal items I need. I'm trying to go for a classic French basic style, via Pintrest. As for storage, I've always wanted to try the idea of open or closed shelving near the ceiling as a general design, that may work. I have to recommend any furniture to have doors to hidden storage inside, the taller the better...I can hide lots of (organized) stuff inside, and it doesn't look like a mess. I always had marked boxes for my kids clothing (4 yrs apart, girls), tossed stuff good enough to save, marked box, go the idea from the Tightwad Gazette book! Do you have a Buy Nothing FB group in your area? I love it here, as people just offer up what they don't need and give it away. I live in an upscale area, so I have gotten oak tables and chairs, solid wood glass-fronted tower shelves, rugs, food, and I pass along what I no longer need too. It's an amazing movement! Maybe you can start one in your country?? Stressful but exciting times ahead for your family, good luck!

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