Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Make a few extra bucks...

For frugal people like us...every penny counts! Through the frugal blogging community I have found a few great ways to make a few bucks (or gift cards) online - and a few things I think are total ripoffs/wastes of time. Here is the scoop:

Swagbucks - I love, Love, LOVE Swagbucks! Basically you randomly earn bucks for doing searches online. You can use those bucks in the Swag Store to purchase merchandise and gift cards. It is 45 Swagbucks for a $5.00 gift card to Amazon.com. Since I signed up in October last year, I have redeemed $55.00 in Amazon.com gift cards! This hasn't just been for doing my own searches, though, the BEST thing about Swagbucks is their referral program. You provide your link to friends, family, fellow bloggers, etc. When they sign up you earn Swagbucks for their searches...up to their first 100 Swagbucks. This is a very powerful tool. I would love it if you would sign up for Swagbucks using my link HERE. Then get your own link and start telling your friends - then start racking up some Swagbucks! You will LOVE it. Check out some of the things I have purchased with my Swagbucks and more of my experiences here.

YouData - I have been really impressed with YouData. This is a service that pays you to view ads. You earn between $.05-$.15 for each ad you view. The best part of this program is that you are paid every Friday directly to your PayPal account! There is no threshold for a payout! I signed up January 22nd and have earned $11.33. This is real cash!I have just been letting it build in my PayPal account. YouData also has a referral program, for each person that you get to sign up, you get $.01 for each ad they view up to 100 ads - or $1.00. Depending on how many people you sign up...this could add up fast. Again, please use my link HERE to sign up then get your own and tell all of your friends and start collecting some money!

A note about surveys...

I don't do the surveys, mainly because I haven't really found a great site that pays a decent amount. I don't feel like it is worth 15 minutes to make $.50-1.00 especially if you have to build up $20.00 or $25.00 to get a payout. If anyone is aware of some great survey sites, please pass them along!

And now for the ripoffs...

Have you heard of Inbox Dollars or Send Earnings? These are sites that pay $.02 when you read e-mails. The problem? You have to earn $30.00 before you can get a payout. This means you have to read 1500 e-mails to get a payout. You get about 2-5 e-mails per day, so let's say an average of 3. This means it will take about 500 days to get your payout - or almost 1.5 years! Yikes. To make matters worse...there is a $3.00 processing fee (or 150 $.02 e-mails) to get your cash - so you end up with $27.00 for reading e-mails every day for a year and a half. This is not worth it to me. At all.

So tell me. What have your experiences been with making money and gift cards online? Any great sites or other ripoffs? Please leave a comment!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

I am weak. I am so weak. I was already over budget last week by $16.36, but I spent some more. Quite a bit more in fact that I have spent my grocery budget for two more weeks. Ugh! I spent an additional $79.08! So for last week I was $95.44 overbudget! So much for my $50.00 budget. So now, I can't really go shopping for the next two weeks. Instead of not going shopping at all, I am going to give myself a $10.00 budget each week for the next two weeks (for milk and stuff) and play catch up. I did pick up some great deals...but still. Ugh!

So first was Albertson's:1 family pack chicken - $5.56

1 family pack boneless pork ribs - $5.70

2 pork roasts - $5.70

3 pkgs ground beef - $7.45

1 4# pkg strawberries - $5.96

Net OOP: $32.75

Then it was the bread store for buns:

Net OOP: $1.74

Finally, Fred Meyer there were some great markdowns and I couldn't seem to control myself. I am really well stocked on meat and stuff, but I am mad at myself for going "crazy." Here is what I got. 2 Deli Creations sandwiches - $2.58 (clearanced)

1 10# bag flour - $8.79

1 2# container cottage cheese - $1.19

3 turkey polish sausages - $5.97 (clearanced)

2 salad kits - $3.38 (clearanced)

2 pkgs gouda cheese - $1.98 (clearanced)

2 1# pks ham - $3.98 (clearanced)

1 pkg stew beef - $2.90 (clearanced)

4.4# bananas - $1.47 (these were organic bananas marked down to 3 lbs for $1.00!)

6 onions - $1.08

2 FM butter - $4.00

1 gallon milk - $1.99

2 bags oranges - $2.75 (these were also on sale 3 lbs for $1.00)

Net OOP: $44.59

Check out the Grocery Cart Challenge for some "legit" shopping trips this week!

FREE Stuff!!

Here is your FREEbie roundup for the week. Be sure to get your FREEbies before they are gone!

FREE Samples:
Cottonelle toilet paper and flushable moist wipes here. (Great to keep in the car!)

Old Spice body wash here. (Great for travel!)

Eucerine plus Smoothing Essentials lotion here.

Nordic Naturals Sample pack here.

Pantene Pro-V here.

FREE Coupons:

Get $10.00 in coupons from Eat Better America here.

Great FREEbie websites:

Get check Baby to Bee here for FREEbies for mom and baby!

Get a daily FREEbie list from Shop4Freebies here.

Check out CoolSavings.com here for FREEbies and coupons.

Go to MySavings.com here for even more great FREEbies and printable coupons.

Check out FreeFly's for great FREE samples here.

Other FREEbies:

Sign up here to get FREE green living tips from IdealBite.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of March 30-April 4

no. No. NO! I refuse to believe it is going to be April. Seriously. Where does the time go?

Okay. I'm done whining. Now on to my menu for the week (and thanks to orgjunkie for hosting - you rock!). I tried something new for this week. I made a list of possible dinners that I could make from what I currently have in the cupboard. Then I had my husband put a star next to the ones he would enjoy. So...this week's menu is planned by my husband...sort of.

Monday: Sloppy Joes, fruit salad

Tuesday: Hamburger stroganoff (we didn't have this last week as planned), broccoli

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner - French Toast, eggs, hash browns, bacon

Friday: Pizza Night!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Leftovers

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oh Henry Bars

These are a super easy, super yummy dessert. My grandma used to make these all the time when I was little. I have had the recipe in my recipe box for quite some time and had forgotten about it. My ADORABLE daughter "accidentally" dumped my recipe cards all over the floor and as I was picking them up, a hot pink recipe card caught my eye - this recipe.

Oh Henry Bars

1/2 c. corn syrup

2/3 c. melted margarine

4 c. dry oatmeal

1 c. brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chocolate chips

2/3 c. smooth peanut butter

Melt margarine in a large saucepan. Add oatmeal, sugar, vanilla, and corn syrup. Mix well. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. In a small bowl in the microwave, melt chocolate chips. Add peanut butter, mixing well. Spread evenly on cooled oatmeal mixture. Let set until chocolate/peanutbutter mixture is set.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Frugal Friday - Yard Salin'

Now that the weather is going to be getting warmer, I know how my Saturday mornings are going to be spent for awhile...Yard Saling!

Yard sales are one of the BEST resources for a frugal person. I have had great success making purchases at yard sales. Just to name a few...

  1. a $5.00 patio umbrella

  2. a $4.00 Big Wheel bike

  3. a $2.00 highchair/booster seat that attaches to a kitchen chair

  4. countless clothing items for under $1.00

  5. an opened package of swim diapers with one taken out of it for $1.00

  6. several pairs of kids shoes for $.50 each

  7. a $10.00 "Love Sac" (giant beanbag chair)

I could go on all day...but I won't. So, how do you get the best deals at yard sales?

  1. Shop early or late. Pretty contradictory, but you can get the "good stuff" or items in high demand like furniture, or kids clothes, but later in the day, the sellers just want to haul less stuff back in the house, so you can really bargain with them!

  2. Have a Plan. I try to hit all of the neighborhood sales that I can (one neighborhood has a Saturday where everyone is invited to have a sale). I also check the classifieds for certain types of sales and make a route to that sale and others along the way so I don't backtrack.

Other than that, just have fun. Just like couponing, you don't have to hit every good deal or sale. You will just drive yourself crazy!

How about you? Do you have any great yard sale tips? Please leave a comment!

For other Frugal Friday links, check out Life as Mom!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - All Recipes

Since I started menu planning, the Internet has been a huge resource for me for getting recipes to try. I am in LOVE with All Recipes - and you should be too!
Here's why...

++All Recipes is SUPER easy to navigate.

++You can search for a recipe based on ingredients you have and ingredients you want to leave out!


++Many of the recipes have been tested by readers and they leave a review. It gives you the opportunity to see what someone else thought. This has saved me from trying some IFFY recipes.

++Join and you can post recipes for readers to try!

See...I told you it was a great site! Go check it out for yourself here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Uses for Tortillas

No, I don't make my own tortillas. Honestly, I have never tried. I do love them, though. I have realized that they are extremely versatile and I love trying new things with them. I can get a package of 10 at the Hostess Bakery Thrift Store for $1.35, so they are pretty cheap. Here are a few of the ways I have used tortillas:

++Wraps (add chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and ranch! Yum!)
++Cinnamon roll ups (put butter, cinnamon, and sugar microwave for a few seconds, roll up and eat)
++Mini pizzas (add sauce and other pizza toppings)
++Fun burritos (add shredded BBQ pork or chicken, rice, and cheese)
++Breakfast burritos (eggs scrambled with salsa, add cheese YUM!)

I LOVE finding creative ways to use tortillas - it works for me! Check out We are THAT Family for other Works for Me Wednesday topics this week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

Hmmm...a weekly shopping trip. I just posted a weekly shopping trip. What am I doing shopping again? It is because I am SICK! Not health sick - brain/mind/crazy obsession sick. I cannot stay away from the store. It all started with K-Mart's double coupons. I have always been disappointed when I go, but I decided to go just to see. We'll talk about that one later.

I first decided to stop at Grocery Outlet. I hadn't been there forever and thought I might come upon some good deals. But why am I shopping when I'm over budget? That is a good question...but here is what I got:

2 5# bags of cornmeal - $1.38 (they were marked down to $.69 each! I'm not sure what I am going to do with all of it...but we'll see)

1 2# pkg ham - $2.99

1 huge jar of minced garlic - $2.99

6 Yoplait cherry - $2.00

1 container shredded Parmesan cheese - $1.99

1 bag of frozen peaches - $1.99

4 jars of gravy - $2.00

2 cornmeal muffin mixes - $1.00

Net OOP: $17.32

PLEASE remind me NEVER to go to K-mart. I wandered around for about an hour looking for a rockin' deal. I wanted to stock up on some Lysol cleaning products, but alas they were all gone. I think if I was on a diet I would be more excited about my finds. Or if I had more coupons and could stock up on this stuff.

1 Quaker rice snacks - $1.99 (1 $1.00 off coupon doubled) = FREE

1 Celestial Seasonings herbal tea - $2.00 ($1.00 off coupon doubled) = FREE

Paid $.12 OOP

For some reason, I decided to go to Fred Meyer on the way home. Obsessed, I tell you. I did find some great deals and some things I didn't need. Don't lecture me :) - I am already doing that to myself!

4 loaves bread - $5.36 (w/in ad coupon)

1 whole chicken - $3.62

2 Kraft singles - $2.68 (w/in ad coupon)

4.5# oranges - $1.50

2 FM frozen potatoes (hash browns and tater tots) - $3.34

1 Kroger cream cheese - $1.39

3 cans FM tuna - $1.77

4 Marie Callendar's frozen entrees - $8.00 (w/in ad coupon)

2 Hillshire Farms smoked sausage - $5.00 (w/in ad coupon)

1 Johnsonville hot Italian sausage - $2.29

Net OOP: $37.01

With my overage from last week, I am now up to $66.36 for the week or $16.36 over budget! It is only Tuesday! I think I need to take a break from shopping and start eating through our stockpile and freezer. It is getting kinda crowded :). Next week is going to be minimal. Just the necessities. I promise!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of March 23-29

Spring is in the air - and I LOVE it! The weather has been so nice here and the heavy meals and hot soups of winter just don't sound so good anymore. Here are the meals I am planning this week - as always thanks to orgjunkie for being a fine host!

Monday: Hamburger stroganoff over mashed potatoes, green beans

Tuesday: Baked potato bar, pasta salad

Wednesday: Spaghetti w/Italian sausage, garlic toast, sauteed zucchini

Thursday: Polish sausage, broccoli, oven roasted potatoes

Friday: Pizza night!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Baked chicken, hot buttered noodles, mixed vegetables

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

I am over budget AGAIN this week! At times I just don't think I can do this $50.00 thing. As I look at my purchases, though, there are things I could have done without. Anyway...here is what I did this week.
I did make a trip on Monday because we were out of distilled water and my husband needs it for his C-pap machine, so I ran to Albertson's and got some double coupon items.

2 TreeTop juices - $5.00 (- 2 $1.00 off coupons doubled) = $1.00

1 Ken's salad dressing - $2.50 (- $1.00 off coupon doubled) = $.50

2 distilled water - $1.78

1 2# bag of grapes - $2.16

Net OOP: $5.95

Friday night I went to Fred Meyer. I have really loved their deals lately:

3 FM ice cream - $5.00 (I think this would be in the non-necessity category!)

2 FM 18 ct. eggs - $2.29 (they were B1G1F with in ad coupon)

3 1/2 gallons milk - $3.00

2 1/2 gallons OJ - $2.00

2 1/2 gallons chocolate milk - $2.00

1 mozzarella cheese - $3.00

3 zucchini squash - $1.14

1.5 lbs grapes - $1.46

1 pkg fresh mozzarella - $1.89 (clearanced)

1 fresh ravioli - $.99 (clearanced)

Net OOP: $25.33

Next was Walgreen's - they had a great deal on their brand of diapers.

2 Walgreen's diapers - $9.00

3 Orbit gum - $.96 (these were on clearance, but there was a $.99 off 3 coupon in the easysaver)=FREE!!!

4 Starburst - $.88 (on clearance - these will be great for Easter baskets!)

2 Trolli Gummy Peach O's - $.74 (on clearance - YUM!)

Net OOP: $11.32

My final stop was Albertson's again. This time I NEEDED meat.

1 roast - $6.07 (on sale for $1.99/lb)

1 pkg ground beef - $9.21 (on sale for $1.99/lb)

1 2L Diet Dr. Pepper - $1.69 (used FREE coupon) = $.10 (they only took off $1.59)

Net OOP: $16.40

With my $2.91 I was over last week, I am now up to $61.91 - $11.91 over budget. It will come off next week's budget! Will I EVER conquer this? Be sure to check out the Grocery Cart Challenge and Money Saving Mom for other grocery deals this week!

Apple Pie Filling Cake

I actually got this recipe from a cookbook called 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix by Stephanie Ashcroft. I have used this cookbook a lot - I have a lot of cake mixes. There are many times I can get them FREE or nearly FREE with coupons, so I have a lot in my stockpile. There are some really fun recipes in this book - I highly recommend it (check out my sidebar to get your own copy)!

1 white cake mix

1/3 c. oil

2 eggs

1/2 c. water

1 21 oz can apple pie filling

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and water. Pour mixture into a greases 9x13 in pan. Add dollops of pie filling and then "marble" it with a butter knife. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


1 T. margarine, melted

1 c. powdered sugar

1/2 t. vanilla

splash of hot water

Combine all ingredients, drizzle over warm cake. This was really good. I would also add some cinnamon - either to the glaze or the cake mix. The cake is better warm, so we put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Frugal Friday - Save a Stamp!

Are any of you out there still buying stamps, writing a check, and mailing your bills? I must say that I hadn't purchased a stamp for quite a while until I joined my coupon train. I love doing things electronically - plus it saves money!

There are SEVERAL different ways to pay electronically:

Autopay - This is when you still may receive a bill, but it is pulled out of your account automatically each month on the due date. You do not initiate this type of payment. You make one authorization and they continue to pull your payment out each month until YOU cancel. Many companies offer this - cable, insurance, phone, gas, electric, etc. Check out your billing statement or their website for details.

Pay Online - This can be used for those who would like to initiate their own payments. You control when it is paid and pulled out of your account. You go to the company website and make the authorization each time you want to make a payment. Again, many companies offer this, check out their websites!

BillPay - This is a service that is probably offerred by your bank or credit union. I LOVE using BillPay because I can pay anyone with this service, even if they don't accept electronic payments. You can either initiate the payments or set up autopay (you can control all of this through your bank or credit union website). The best part is if the company or individual you want to pay does not accept electronic payments, the BillPay provider will mail a check. It depends on the bank or credit union whether or not you pay for this service. My credit union offers standard BillPay for FREE or an upgraded version for $2.00 per month. At $.42 per stamp, this is a good value!

If you are still writing checks and using stamps to pay your bills...STOP! You will save money (and a few trees!) by paying electronically.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - Beat My Price

I recently learned about a cool site called Beat My Price.

It has a "people helping people" type of concept which I like.

Basically you go to their site, enter a product you might purchase online, enter the price, enter the URL for the item, and it is stored in their database. You can look up that item in their database to see if someone else has entered a lower price, if not, your price is stored as the lowest price.

It helps to compare your research with thousands of others who may be researching the same item to help you find the best price for anything you might purchase online.
Pretty cool concept, huh?

Check it out here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Makin' Bacon

This past weekend we made some BLT's and they were so good. Mostly because of this awesome idea I totally stole from HERE that shared how to make bacon. The reasons I loved it:

++No dirty fry pans
++No burns
++No popping or splattering
++No stinky house!

Just delicious bacon - baked on a cookie sheet in the oven!

It turned out perfectly and tasted awesome. This is the only way I will make bacon and it works for me!

Want to see some more Works for me Wednesday ideas? Check out We are THAT Family!

Monday, March 16, 2009

FREE Stuff!!

There are some great FREEbies available this week. Check them out!

FREE Food:

Billy Boy Candies sample pocket tin

FREE taco from Taco Del Mar on Tax Day (April 15th!)

Emergen-C drink mix sample

Betty Crocker Warm Delights (must sign up for the Betty Crocker Newsletter - current members not eligible)

FREE tips:

Eco-living tips from Ideal Bite

Health tips from Vital Juice Daily

Other FREEbies:

FREE discount drug card - save up to 75% off prescriptions

Just for Men Touch of Gray hair color - FREE box!

FREE $1.50 off Pampers coupon

FREE sample of GoodNites boxers

Get some FREE tomato seeds from Campbell's - you have to enter a code from the bottom of 2 tomato soup cans

FREE Spring Recipes from Pillsbury

FREE Bread Breakthrough recipe book from Fleischmann's

Don't forget about these great sites:

Cool Savings

Earn a little bit of money:

Sign up for YouData

Earn FREE stuff and gift cards for searching the web:

Sign up for Swagbucks (read more about it here)


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of March 16-22

Last week turned out pretty well, I mostly stuck to the menu! Woo hoo! I really appreciate Orgjunkie hosting this round-up each week! This week orgjunkie is out of town and is having Erin from $5.00 Dinners host. Be sure to check out her awesome $5.00 dinner recipe blog! Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: Frito Pie (fritos on the bottom, topped with hot chili, and cheese)

Tuesday: Ritzy Chicken, (Ritz crackers, cooked cubed chicken, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup I got this recipe from Money Saving Mom's e-book Simply Centsible Suppers), green beans

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Scalloped potatoes, peas (I didn't end up making the meatloaf last week)

Thursday: White Bean and Chicken Chili

Friday: Pizza night!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Roast, mashed potatoes, rolls, green salad

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

This week was a pretty good week for me although I did go over budget due to some stupid mistakes on my part. I'll explain later. I was pretty bummed also because I was not able to get the diaper deal at Walgreen's. They didn't have the sizes I needed and they didn't have any wipes. I went twice, but I know it was a pretty hot deal and I am happy for those who were able to get what they needed :). Here is how I spent my budget this week:

First stop - Fred Meyer. I have been really impressed with their deals lately and this week was not exception:

1 15# bag potatoes - $2.49

1 bag Fritos - $1.67

2 gallons milk - $3.98

2 lbs asparagus - $3.49

4 onions - $.79

2 Roma tomatoes - $.36

1 pkg bacon - $1.99 (clearanced)

2 2# cheese - $7.98 (w/in ad coupon)

2 FM butter - $2.97

3 loaves bread - $4.00

1 Suave styling gel - $2.79 (-FREE coupon) = FREE!!

Net OOP: $31.36

My next stop was Walgreen's and they didn't have any diapers at all (this was on Friday), but said they would have more on Saturday. I went Saturday and all they had were size 6 and 3 and no wipes. I only had $18.64 left in my budget so if I bought 3 pkgs of diapers to get the $10.00 RR it would have put me over budget. They didn't have any wipes that would keep me under budget, so I just decided to not get them. I actually have about a month supply of diapers right now, so it would have been nice to get the deal, but they I don't feel super disappointed. I still have the coupons...so hopefully there are some upcoming deals before they expire in April. Anyway, this is what I got at Walgreen's:

5 Garnier hair products - $14.95 (-2.00 IVC from Walgreen's EasySaver booklet, -5 $1.00 off coupons) = $.05 overage

1 mac n cheese crackers (filler item) - $.29

Net OOP: $1.16

Finally I went to Walmart - not my favorite place, but there were some good deals to be had. I had a coupon for some FREE delmonte peaches and I totally forgot to give it to the cashier. Then I bought some salad dressing that rang up wrong, the difference was only $.46, so I still would have been over budget, but I did get a lot of items for just over $20.00

2 dozen large eggs - $2.00

1 bag tortilla chips - $1.00

1 red onion - $.44

2 bunches bananas (my family was chowing down on them before I had a chance to take the picture :).) - $2.59

6 cans Ortega green chiles - $5.52 (-3 $.75 off 2 coupons) = $3.27

2 jars Nalley pickles - $3.52 (-$1.50 off 2 coupon)=$2.02

2 French's mustard - $2.00 (-2 $.50 off coupons) = $1.00

1 3# bag chicken - $4.98

2 cans Hormel chili w/o beans - $1.96 (-$.55 off 2 coupon) = $1.44

1 Ken's salad dressing - $2.24 (-$1.00 off coupon)= $1.24 (this was marked on the shelf for $1.78 I didn't notice the error until I got home)

1 Del Monte peaches - $.82 (this was supposed to be my FREE can, but I forgot to give the guy my coupon BOO HOO!)

1 pkg Huggies disposable changing pads - $2.82 (-$5.00 off Gentle care) = $2.18 overage! I had more coupons, but I wanted to see if this would work. I might go get more!

Net OOP: $20.39

My total for the week is $52.91 - $2.91 overbudget, which I will take from next week's budget!

Don't forget to check out Money Saving Mom, Centsible Sawyer, and Grocery Cart Challenge for other shopping trips!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This is super easy and super yummy. This is one of the "old standby" dishes that we had growing up. Now it is a comfort food for me!

2 boxes macaroni and cheese, and ingredients to make it

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can of tuna fish drained and flaked

1 c. frozen peas, thawed

1 c. breadcrumbs, French's fried onions, crushed chips, or whatever

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to package directions, transfer to a large bowl. Add cream of mushroom soup, tuna fish, and peas. Stir together well.

Spread in a 9x13 pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


Don't forget to check out the Grocery Cart Challenge's other great recipes here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Frugal Friday - Give it up!

It is amazing how the little things make a difference.

  • Buy a $.50 can of soda from the vending machine each workday will cost you about $130.00 per year.
  • Buy a $2.00 cup of coffee each workday and it will cost you about $520.00 per year.
  • Buy two kids a happy meal once a week and it will cost you about $311.00 per year.

When I made my move from full time to part time, these were some of the things I had to think about and give up in order to be home with my kids more.

It has been fun to continue to analyze our budget and make more cutbacks as time goes by - and I know there is room for even more!

Some things I have given up in the name of frugality:

  • Eating out (as much) - we have cut WAAAAAYYY back on this. I wish I could get to a point where we didn't go at all, but I'm not quite ready for that!
  • Splurge trips. I used to make a trip to Target or somewhere about once a week and just buy some knick-knacks, lotion, clothes, etc. I haven't missed this at all.
  • Unplanned grocery shopping. I used to shop without a list and just buy what looked good. I have saved a bundle planning and have cut my grocery expenses by at least 1/2.
  • Expensive nights out. Nice Dinner. Movie. Popcorn and Milk Duds. I can't believe that we used to do that! Now we eat dinner at home, go to the $3.00 movie, split a popcorn, and I bring Milk Duds in my purse :).

It is amazing how a change in your way of thinking and giving up a few things can save big bucks!

How about you? What you have you "given up" in the name of frugality?

Check out some other Frugal Friday posts on Life as Mom!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - Every Day Food Storage

I actually found this site through Making Life Sweet when she posted making your own condensed soups. She linked to Every Day Food Storage and I checked it out. Boy, am I glad I did!
Every Day Food Storage is a great blog FULL of recipes and ideas for the use of food storage items like rice, wheat, powdered milk, etc.

++The first thing I learned from this blog is Magic Mix. This is a base you can use to make a perfect white sauce, condensed soups (cream of whatever), pudding, etc. I recently tried this for making cream of chicken soup - it was to die for!

++Crystal also has TONS of how to videos - great for those of us who are visual learners!

++She also provides several FREE handouts to make your food storage cooking a success. Check out the Kids in the Kitchen one...so fun!

++Of course, she has a TON of recipes - check out her recipe section here.

Besides all of that...her blog is WAY cute! Check it out!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Love my tongs!

This may seem like a no brainer, but I LOVE tongs in the kitchen! For some reason we never had them growing up. I saw Rachel Ray using them on an episode of 30 Minute Meals. So I asked myself, why don't I have any tongs? I bought some at the $1.00 store and I have had them forever! I use them all the time.
Here are some of the ways I LOVE to use my tongs:
  • Salad (obviously)
  • Flipping anything - steak, chicken, etc.
  • Getting to things I can't reach in my cupboard
  • Handling raw chicken (gross!)
  • Getting the neck and innards from the inside of a whole bird (ewwww!)

I LOVE my tongs and they work for me!

Head on over to We are THAT Family for some more great Works for me Wednesday ideas!

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