Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brakes and Bread

The other day, my husband and I were discussing what to do with our van.  It needed new brake pads, which he was fully capable of changing, but he was trying to claim he didn't have time.  I suggested he call around a few places to see how much it would cost to have it done.  He agreed.  After calling a couple places, he reported that to do both the front and back brakes, it would cost nearly $400.  I asked him how long it would take him to earn that much at his job and pointed out that it would take a lot longer to earn the money to pay someone else to do it than it would just to do it himself, so he did have time to do it, since it would be more cost efficient to take an unpaid day off work if necessary, rather than working nearly all week to pay for something he could have done himself in a few hours.  He fixed them Sunday afternoon, having miraculously found the time.  The parts cost about $80, so he saved about $300 in one afternoon!
Can you tell he takes a dirt road to work?

You hear people saying this a lot when taking about doing things to save money, this nonsense about "not having enough time".  Just like the business about not being able to afford to eat healthy, it generally is a load of manure.  People will argue that they don't have time to garden, when you can have a gorgeous garden in about 15 minutes a day using the square foot gardening method.  People say they don't have time to make their own bread, when you can make a loaf that would cost $4 or $5 in the stores in about 5 minutes!  I don't know too many people that make $60 or more an hour after taxes, the amount you'd have to make in order for it to not be worth your time to make your own bread.  I'm thinking anyone making that kind of money wouldn't be too worried about being thrifty anyway!  There are lots of great recipes in the books Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking (I prefer the later, partially because that's the one I own) and I've posted a basic bread recipe before, but here's a recipe that one of my friends swears by to show you how easy it is:

No-Knead Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp honey or molasses
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup orange or apple juice
1 cup warm water
2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients.  Pour into a bread pan, cover and let rise 90 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

The figures I'm throwing around are based on the idea that you can work as many hours as you'd like to in order to make as much money as you need, but that isn't the reality for most people.  You tend to have a set number of hours you can work, or a set salary you can earn.  If you need more money beyond that, too bad.  But, in your free time, rather than plopping your hind end on a couch in front of the boob tube, you can be saving money and saving your health at the same time by doing some of these other activities!  You may even find, like my family has, that you can save more by one partner being home doing these things and many others full time, than you could if both partners were working outside the home!  If I worked outside the home, I'd have to make over $60,000 before it would even break even, from a figure I calculated a couple years ago!  And I would probably be miserable doing it and would hate to pay someone else to raise my kids while I was off doing other things.  I'd much rather be at home, teaching my kids valuable skills and really living life, fixing brakes and making bread!


  1. *AMEN* I have been counseling a momma about breastfeeding. She made the comment that she couldn't afford to take the time off to pump during her work day.. I asked how much she is spending on formula a month (she doesn't qualify for WIC or food stamps). Then I asked her to count up what income she was sacrificing by pumping during the day. Then I asked her to figure up the difference. I did NOT ask her to give ME these figures. Turns out that by taking the time off work VS buying formula for the month (plus pumping during paid breaks and nursing when with her babe) she still came out over $100 ahead..
    We do this with purchases as well.. We break down how many hours hubs will have to work to purchase that big ticket item.. We break a lot of stuff down by the hours he must work instead of income/outgo. If he can't make that many hours we can't get that item or pay that bill. EX) Bill is $70 and he gets $7 an hour. To pay that bill he must work 10 hours. Rent is 45 hours a month, at $10 an hour etc... broken down by real wages. It brings a whole new reality to the monthly budget :)

  2. Yay for a happy breastfeeding story! I seriously don't understand why breastfeeding isn't more of a priority for women in our culture! It's cheaper, easier (no bottles to mess around with!), and more convenient! I talked a bit about breastfeeding and other baby fun in one of my first posts: http://adventuresofathriftymama.blogspot.com/2011/02/baby-stuff-overload.html

  3. They REALLY need to make employers provide a reasonable amount of time for pumping although depending on your job you really may not have the time pump while at work. Ask any nurse you know and I will guarantee they will tell you there are more than a few days when you work a 12 hour shift and you dont have time to sit, eat or even go to the bathroom more than once during your shift. Thats why I always tried to make sure I didnt go back to work until my babies were 5-6 months old.

  4. Jen, that actually is law now. It was part of the "Obamacare" bill that passed last year that employers have to provide time and place for breastfeeding moms to pump. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41249239/ns/business-careers/ I'm not sure if that part of the law has gone into effect yet though.

  5. Where I work,if an employee is breast feeding,she's simply allowed to go in the back room/breakroom and pump as needed...one coworker just brings everything she needs with her,and knowing what she is doing,we simply give her the moments of privacy she needs.

    I think workplaces just need to be more understanding for mothers who breastfeed.

  6. ... my work told me that if I wanted to pump milk for my children when they were born, I could do it on my half hour lunch break, but only in the bathroom, or I could use my restroom breaks- but only in the restroom. So I had a choice between pumping milk in the toilet and skipping my only meal in an eight hour day, or saying 'screw you' to a very high stress workplace.

    My son loves having me home all day. *big grin*

  7. Another great post! And I love no knead bread recipes, so gonna have to try that one out.