Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chili for 4 for $2

My Cheap, Healthy, Good Chili Recipe
1 can Hormel Turkey Chili with beans ($1)
1 can diced tomatoes (.50)
1 can kidney beans (.50)
couple of dashes of hot sauce (free)

Heat and serve with crackers, cheese, onions and if feeling fancy cornbread. This makes 4 generous servings and is super fast!

Frugal Christmas- Part One: Food Gift Containers

Frugal Food Gift Containers in 10 Easy Steps
Why spend $1-$2 each for tins or plastic Christmas buckets to give your homemade holiday treats? These are very inexpensive to make and are not labor intensive. I spent about 1 hour while watching TV last night and made 12.

  1. Collect canisters- I saved formula canisters. Other ideas: Pringles cans, Crystal Light Canisters, coffee cans, shoe boxes, cardboard boxes.
  2. Wash if needed, I gave mine a good rinse and let air dry.
  3. Wrap with Christmas wrapping paper you got on the cheap last Christmas and the free tape you got from Walgreens.
  4. Add a bow or some ribbon for festiveness.
  5. Use a glue stick and a little patience to glue paper over the Enfamil logo on the lid.
  6. Make yourself feel fancy and cut out white card stock circles to put inside the lid to cover the edges of your wrapping job (also a great place to put your Holiday Greetings)
  7. Put a piece of wax paper inside and fill with goodies or wrap goodies up in plastic wrap and put tissue paper inside.
  8. Sing Fa La La La La as you pat yourself on the back for doing something both green and frugal. (Optional)
  9. Deliver goodies to all of your loved ones.
  10. Feel Merry Christmissy ( yes not a word and yes it was only added because 9 easy steps seemed just silly :) )

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I started a high interest savings plan to today through ING, now whenever I save money, I can quickly transfer it to my savings plan. So if my grocery budget is $100 a week and I only spend $47 (like I did this week) then I will transfer the balance to the new account. I do have debt that could be paid down with this money but with the economy I am afraid to pay of my credit cards and have the balance lowered or interests rates raised. After I go back to work, all the money in the savings fund will be paid to my credit card.

A "Naked Line"

We moved in June and where we moved to ONLY had DSL or dial for internet, no cable. I called to sign up and was told I had to have a phone... even though I was never going to use it. I got the most basic plan, which they say is $18 a month but after fees, it was more like $30. So that with the basic DSL was around $50 a month. Fast forward a couple of months and I heard a rumor from a friend that you could get "a naked line" with no phone on it if you knew to ask. No way... So I called and I got it and I am saving $25 a month. (would be $30 a month but I have Direct TV and if you are not connected to a phone line for pay per view they charge you $5 a month). I am just bummed that I am out $150 from those 6 months. I am transferring that $25 a month to a high interest savings plan with ING.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Getting rid of old electronics

So you have an iPod shuffle and you want to upgrade to the Nano or maybe you have a Razr but want an iPhone. You have a couple of choices, you can attempt to sell your old stuff, you can give it away or you can toss them(bad for the environment- recycle instead)and then go buy the new (hopefully while they are on sale). But you probably wont get very much trying to sell them on ebay, craigslist ect. I found a neat thing that Best Buy does- they will buy your old electronics- postage paid and everything. Go here http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=pcmcat133600050011&type=category for all the details.

For the Shuffle they offered $14 in great condition and for the Razr V3 in fair condition they offered $27 and both of those include prepaid shipping. Now you get the money back in Best Buy gift cards, but those can be given as gifts or sold on ebay if you cant think of anything that you need from Best Buy.

Walgreens Double Dip Days

I spent money at Walgreens for the first time since AUGUST! I kept using my gift card reloads but then I really really really needed batteries... I have a 6 month old and it seems like every thing that keeps him occupied contains batteries and they all seem to die at the same time so I needed ALOT! and our rechargeable batteries that I use in my camera had stopped charging and I have been using the regular ones and going through a bunch. Everything else that was bought were things I needed. After spending ZERO money for the last 2.5 months at Walgreens it was kind of painful to pay that much. I make myself feel better that it would have been more than $75 just to get my hair dyed professionally.
Cost Break Down
4 large packs of batteries- .75 Q *3 and there is a December Rebate for $3 each = $6.25 -$7.00
4 bags of Hershey's candy = $2.50 *4 - $5 December rebate- $1.50 Q - $2 from November Easy Saver = $1.50 for 4 bags
2 L'oreal Hair colors= $6.99- 2Q= $4.99 each
1 Chex Mix= $1- .50Q= .50
1 Energizer Recharger and 2 AA recharge batteries (great for my camera)= $7.99 - $5 December rebate= $2.99
2 Spin Brush Pros= $4.99- 3 coupon from December Easy Saver = $1.99 each
I spent $71.53 out of pocket. (I will get $22 back on my gift card but I do not count that now, I just look at it as no spending later)

Stuffed Animal Hammock

I have been working on getting Jackson's room more organized and I wanted a toy hammock for the corner, a friend of mine had one in her little girls room and it looked to be made out of just a long piece of fabric. Well I decided I could make one. First I thought about sewing it and I found this pattern/instructions: http://sewing.about.com/library/weekly/aa020206a.htm
But I didn't have any fabric that matched his Razorback/red and white checked room, but I did have a Razorback blanket. BUT I didn't want to cut it, bc I might hate it and ummm the hubby loves the blanket. So instead I used black ribbon on the ends and push pinned it up.
Not bad for 5 minutes of work and it was FREE!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

Cranberry Sauce
1-1/2 C sugar1 navel orange, scrubbed clean1/2 t grated fresh ginger4 C cranberries ( 1 bag washed and picked over)1/2 C (2 oz.) toasted pecans (can be toasted in oven at 350 for a few min, or in frying pan w/a little butter) ... don't burn the nuts
Grate the orange peel over the pot making sure to just get orange part. Juice the orange into the pot
And add sugar and ginger.Simmer over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved.Add cranberries and cook/simmer until they "pop" and mixture thickens some -- about 15 minutes or so.Add pecans and cool sauce. Store in the refrigerator.
(How to peel ginger -- use a chef knife and cut the sides off like a rectangle, it's cheap, don't worry about wasting some)
Homemade Sweet Rolls
Pecan topped Sweet potatoes in the crockpot (new recipe I am going to try from a blog I follow: A year of Crockpotting
Mashed Potatoes using the steam and mash potatoes- they are really good!
Steamed broccoli
Chicken dressing and gravy (for my southern hubby I am going to attempt this one)
and of course PIE, prolly pumpkin and maybe chocolate.

Easy Homemade Rolls and Breakfast!

I tried a new roll recipe called Sweet Dinner Rolls from allrecipes.com and I LOVED IT, it was so easy to throw in the bread maker on the dough setting and then divide up with the pizza cutter for rolls and use some to roll out and make cinnamon rolls. After allowing them to rise 1 more time, I baked at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes. As you can prolly tell I am not the worlds most precise cook, and they turned out awesome!
I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house and the rolls are on the menu for dinner and the next day, the cinnamon rolls are going to make an easy breakfast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Pictures from Snapfish

order date:Nov 18, 2008
20 4*6

standard S&H:
You saved $5.80 by shopping at Snapfish!*

Thanks Money Saving Mom for this great tip- Snapfish is offering free shipping, today only and if you are a new customer than you get 50 free prints- I am a returning customer but lucky me had a credit for 20 free prints! To bad this wasnt a couple of weeks from now though, would have been nice to have Christmas pictures for free! Oh well, on to the next deal!

PS I have ordered from them before and their quality is superior to walmart 1 hour in my opinion.

Over Budget Like a Crazy person!

So I have definitely went over some on my grocery budget this month, well kind of- I shoot for $50 a week for all food, toiletries and house stuff, but have a budget of $100 a week and then use the extra for other stuff, like paying extra on our debts. Well this month the sales have been crazy good and we are now stocked up on a lot of essentials for the next few months which I have to say gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. For the next 4 months (at least) I do not have to worry about buying: toothpaste, feminine products, deodorants, shampoo, hand soap, drinks for Kirt to take to work, cooking oil, sugar, pasta, toilet paper, cleaning supplies... well you get the picture. So now I feel comfortable staying home with Jackson for next semester, I had contemplated going back to work but now I don't have to and its FREAKING AWESOME!

Kroger was my main benefactor for the last 2 weeks they have been running a buy 10 items get $5 off your order- I ordered coupons offline and then I had some and then some more came in this Sundays paper. I don't have pictures of everything but here are some highlights.

Highlights on prices: (most of the freezer stuff did not make it in the pictures)

Drinks: Got 60 drinks for a total of $10 plus tax (.17 each)

Real Butter: .90 each after sale and .55 coupon that doubled

Pepperoni and turkey pepperoni: 1.40 each

Crisco Oil: 1.40 each

Quaker Oats: Free

Sugar: $1 each

Toothpaste: $.25 each

Activia 4 pack: $.50 each

Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes: $.40 each and I got a free box of hamburger helper

Ozarka Water: Free

Scrubbing Sponges: Free

Hefty Zip Bags: Made $.10 on each

Toaster Strudel: $.70 each

Pizza Rolls (40 count bag): $.70 each

Dial Handsoap: $.40 each

Armour Bagged Frozen Meatballs: $.90 each

Walmart was also my friend, he gave me great prices on Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamer Frozen Veggies at $1.08 and I had $1 off coupons making them $.08 a bag, and Ronzani Pasta that was priced at $1.50 and I had $1 off coupons for those as well, making them .50 a box, which is really good because these are those pastas with extra protein, and whole wheat combination- so it still tastes good but is actually good for you!

Walgreens had some awesome make up on clearance and I got some with L'oreal and almay and rimmel lip glosses and shadows for .89-1.27 after coupons. I also got diapers and feminine products. I put $35 on the gift card and I will receive $15 on the free after rebate items and I received $2 in register rewards. I spent no money out of pocket.

Total Money Spent for November as of the 18th for groceries and household = $274.48

Coupon Give Away

Wanna win some fabulous coupons??? I have a large envelope of over 150 coupons that I am giving away. To enter just leave a comment. For an extra entry, blog about this giveaway then come back and leave the link in the comments. The winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by email (so don't forget to leave a valid email address when you enter!) The winner will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address or an alternate will be drawn. This contest is open until November 20th, 11:59 PM CST.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cloth Diapers

I am considering cloth diapers. But I have to admit I am scared of the laundry that comes with cloth diapers (oh ya and did I mention cloth wipes). I have been researching all the different types both online and talking to the one person I know who uses cloth diapers. I have always hated disposable diapers, they are bad for the environment and also all that plastic ick and have you ever seen the gel from the inside of the diaper??? it just can't be good for the baby. Oh ya and it saves money which I am definitely down with.

I am the first to admit it though, I am kinda lazy when it comes to laundry and I would have to get my shit together if we did switch to cloth. LOL i couldn't resist!

My hubby admits that while he is down with trying it, he is not so sure that it is a good idea for us (because I am kinda lazy about laundry).

But as I watch the Today show talk about the environment I realize that everyone is going to have to start doing their part for this planet to keep it alive and I am going to have to just get over my laundry laziness, or at least give it a really good try.

Menu Monday

OK I just know as soon as I post this, I will go in the kitchen my meat will have gone out of date, my husband will call and tell me he cant eat half of it and some how we will be allergic to the other half, and oh ya my stove will combust because I can NEVER seem to stick to a menu once I make it. I know I could do better with my groceries and feel more organized and actually get dinner on the table on time if I could stick with it. So here goes.
Pork chops and tomatoes in the crockpot
Brown Rice
Pesto Chicken
chicken noodle soup over mashed potatoes
mixed veggies
cabbage rolls in the crockpot
scalloped potatoes

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Great Give Aways to check out!

Check out these great give aways!

Go to Ebay Selling Coach site here, she is doing a great give away for Yankee Candle Coupons and just in time for Christmas!

Go to Raising peanuts site here, she is doing a give away for BPA free sippy cups cuz BPA is YUCKY!

Go to Penny Pinching moms site here, she is doing a give away for Entertainment 2009 book!

For more great give aways check out the BIG OL list on Money saving Moms site HERE!

Have a great day! K I think I have abused the exclamation point enough now!!! Oops, ok really now I am done. Night all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

cabbage with ham and onions
corn bread

Mac and Cheese

Wednesday (I have class that night)
Leftovers/sandwiches (everyone fend for themselves)

BBQ on homemade bread
Au gratin Potatoes
mixed veggies


I usually do not plan the weekends because our schedules tend to change a lot at the last minute. We go out to eat once a week, usually for lunch on Saturday. Then we eat leftovers or easy foods like sandwiches, scrambled eggs, toast, cereal etc.

FREE Starbucks Coffee

November Spending

So far for November I have spent $88.43. That's a lot of money to have spent in 3 days. But it was money well spent on things that really mattered to me and my family. Money is such an easy thing to lose track of, for years while I kept track of my bills and such I never tried to stay on a budget and never really tracked what I have spent on food and extras. Recently I have been trying harder to keep track of exactly what we spend because it is soo easy to over spend when you don't pay attention (or lie to yourself about what you are really spending, this is what I do,). You think well we haven't gone out to eat much this month, but then if you added it all up its over $500. As humans we don't really have good memories, I mean think about it, women forget the pain of childbirth....that's got to be way harder to forget than say the $4.50 you spent on coffee last Tuesday morning and the $11.76 you spent on clearanced Halloween stuff on Saturday.

I love Ebay!

Ebay rocks my world! I sell my extra coupons on Ebay to help pay for more coupons and this week was a great week, I made $12 for "my time clipping, sorting, and sending my customers their FREE coupons.

Weekend Wrap Up

We traveled to see our family this weekend, so there was not much shopping. Saturday we took my husbands grandparents and aunt out to lunch and Sunday I bought A paper. Yes just one because I did not get a chance to get one until late Sunday and they were all sold out at 2 different Walgreens (they didnt have anymore of the razors that are on sale either) and the kid was tired and I was tired so we just went home. Oh well ya just have to let some stuff go.

Dinner- $50.00
Paper- $1.25
Gas- $25.00

Total Spending for the weekend $76.25

Halloween Sale

Today I stumbled upon a GREAT sale at Walmart, a store I usually hate. I was just stopping in to fill a prescription and out of the magical sky came a voice that said "ALL Halloween merchandise is now 25 Cents each" My heart started to beat faster and my once slow pace quickened to almost a run, when I got to the Halloween aisle it was full of people with carts and I couldn't get in so I left the cart, grabbed the kid in his seat and my purse and started down the aisle grabbing what I could. INSANE I know. After my first trip down the aisle my arms were full so I went back and got my cart and slowly scooted down the aisle filling it up as I went. I got everything a girl could want for a total of $12.18, original prices would have been over a $150!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Olive Garden
Lunch with the Hubby- $28.00 including tax and tip
Whole Foods
I spent $6.58 on spices and an impulse buy on some organic pears baby food for the kid. Buying my spices from whole foods bulk section is the cheapest way for me to do it. Look back later this week for what I have made with the spices.
2 St. Ives Cleaners ($4.99 and had B1G1 free Q- received $5 RR) 0
1 Air Wick Fresh Matic Ultra ($5.99- $4 q, will submit for $3 rebate) made $1
1 Oral B toothbrush ($4.49- .75 Q, received $4.50 RR) made $.76
1 Almay Mascara ($6.99- $1 Q, Nov FAR) made $1
3 Theraflu warming meds ($15- $6Q, received $8 RR) $1
Total= up $1.76

I had some candy to return to Kroger because I got the wrong kind for the deal I thought I would be doing, so I decided to take that $16.50 and see how far I could stretch it. I try never to spend money out of pocket anymore at Walgreens, I just roll register rewards and monthly rebate items.
1 OB tampons (clearance for 2.14- 1 Q) ($1.14)
2 Annies Organic Shells and Cheese FREE
1 Soup Bowl ($.99)
1 lb on the vine tomatoes ($1.85)
total 4.31

5 Combos
5 Sunday Papers
total $11.25 ish before RR, $0 out of pocket

2 cucumbers ($1.76)
1 green pepper ($.50)
4 Gala Apples ($1.38)
3 taco bell bowls ( $1.98 x 3 - 3($1 Q) = $2.94)
2 Ronzani Pastas ($1.50 x 2- 2($1 Q) = $1.00)
7 Green Giant Steamers plain ($1.27 x 7 - 7($1Q) = $1.89)
2 Green Giant Steamers with Sauce ($1.50 x 2-2($1Q) = $1.00)
total = $11.94

So for the whole weekend I spent $34.58 and got lots of stuff. Starting next Saturday, Nov 1, I am going to start blogging every purchase I make and track my spending and savings.

Needed Some Basics- saved 50%



brown sugar ($1.67)

whole wheat ($2.69)

bread flour ($2.85)

Also used up some coupons that were going to go out of date on friday:

(5) dole fruit jars ($5.45)

(4) Ortega taco seasoning packets ($2.46)

Gum snuck in there too- $.90 for 2 mentos containers.

My total was $13.96 after coupons and taxes and I saved $13.16 or 50%.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Free Friday

Ok these were not technically free, I did pay .75 cents for the large bottle of Shout and the 6 containers of Scrubbing Bubbles Wipes.

The mouthwash came from Walgreens- I paid $3.49 for it and got a $3.49 Register Reward back, while the toothpaste and pain meds were Free After Rebate this month at Walgreens.

Gotta Love Free Pop Tarts! These came from Target, 6 large boxes!

Saved the best for last... my favorite bargain recently FREE TOILET PAPER! These came from Kroger, on sale for .99 cents then I had a coupon for .50 cents off which Kroger doubles!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Life Changing News

Its been a while since I have posted, mostly because I have been working on a big, huge, scary change in my life and the decision making process sucked every ounce of brain power I possess. I have committed to staying home with Jackson til Christmas and possibly until May. This was an agonizing decision for me personally because I was torn between the need to contribute money to the household on a regular basis (and my new job was going to make us very very comfortable) to letting strangers raise my baby. Everyday I would take him to daycare it would kill me because I love being with him so much. My field is working with children with multiple issues and most have bad home lives and the more I thought about it the more I realize that by working 45 hours a week to help these kids, I was missing out on helping my kid. To be able to stay home I am putting myself into slightly more student loan debt and money will still be tight at our house but I have committed myself more than ever to being frugal and I think the reward of getting to be here for more of Jackson's firsts more than makes up for us having to not eat out as much or buy more crap to fill our house. Kirt, my DH agreed to give up his day off in the middle of the week and will keep Jackson while I do an UNPAID internship at the alternative school, this way I will still be able to graduate in May with my Master's Degree in Counseling. So what then you may be thinking?? Well I have already been in contact with a company that hires part time therapists as independent contractors so next year if all things go right I will be able to work 2-3 days a week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Trip to Walgreens

In some ways I think I did a good job and in others I didn't. I don't have a large supply of coupons yet, I am still working on ways to get multiples of inserts. Eventually I would like only buy most things when they are on sale with a coupon and create a stock pile in my house.
What I got...
3 pks of Brillo Kitchen Wipes on clearance for .37 each- $1.11
cottonelle fresh wipes -$1.99 WAG coupon
Packaging tape BOGO $2.99
Neutrogena Foamy Cream Cleanser- clearance $1.99
Bioinfusion hair spray- Free after rebate
Bioinfusion wrap and set foam- Free after rebate
Reynolds aluminum foil- $.89 WAG coupon
Pert Plus- Free after rebate
total after rebates but before tax = $8.97

*** Note- I have already sent in my rebates, I did this very quickly online at www.walgreens.com, just click on easy saver, then you set up an account, click the deals you have and enter a receipt number. You can enter as many receipts as you want.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mrs. Fields Files for Bankrupcy!!

You know the economy is going to shit when Mrs. Fields cookie company is filing for bankruptcy. It didn't say so in the linked story but our local news reported that the reason for Mrs. Fields money issues is the rising prices of the ingredients in the cookies. Whats next the Build a Bear Workshops?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yard Sale

I made $181.50 for doing around 10 hours of work today!!! $18 an hour isnt a bad paycheck and I got a lot of stuff cleaned out of the house. There is still alot left. The baby stuff is going to be consigned at the Duck Duck Goose Sale (http://www.duckduckgoosesale.com/), some of the books are being donated to the library because they are having a book sale fundraiser and some are going to be traded in at the used book store for some new books, some of the other stuff and all of the leftover clothes are being donated and then a couple of medium sized boxes are going to be stored in the garage because my friend Breanna is having her yard sale in a couple of weeks and invited her friends to join! Originally I was just going to do a yard sale with her but I had way to much crap since we just moved into the new house and had the baby, plus that sale will be more about socializing since some of her friends from work that I dont know will be there.... YA potential new friend people!

Running total for savings
$100 that my parents paid us to watch their cat for 2 weeks while they were on vacation +$5 in coupons + $181.50 from the yardsale = $286.50

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Recent headlines on the state of the economy

Higher inflation brings lower standard of living
With prices up and wages flat, consumers have to make do with less

"After adjusting for inflation, the average weekly paycheck dropped by 0.8 percent in July from June, extending an ongoing slide in real income. That left real earnings 3.1 percent lower in July than they were a year ago"

"Faced with higher shipping costs and pricier plastic, consumer products companies like soft drink maker Dr. Pepper Snapple Group have raised prices — even as sales have fallen."

"Some companies that haven't yet passed along higher costs are having trouble holding the line. Some 38 percent of small businesses surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business said they plan to raise their prices in the coming months..."

"With the economy shedding jobs and unemployment rising, it’s a tough time to ask for a raise. That means that – unless your paycheck is growing by 5 percent a year – you’re actually taking a pay cut. "

"During the prolonged inflation of the 1970s, house prices also rose rapidly. But today, consumers’ budgets are also being squeezed by falling equity in their home which, until recently, was a critical source of spending power"

Consumer Prices Shot Up in July

"Consumer prices shot up in July at twice the expected rate, pushed higher by surging energy and food costs. The latest surge left inflation running at the fastest pace in 17 years."

"...labor market remains under severe stress from the weak economy"

"Energy prices jumped by 4 percent last month, driven upward by a 4.1 percent rise in gasoline prices. In July prices at the pump were 37.9 percent above where they were a year ago"

The moral of these headlines to me is that this mess is not going to clear up any time soon and each person/family has to make the consious decision to change their behaviors that have to do with spending. Each family is different in how much or what they need to change. For my family I am currently focusing on our food budget- both eating out and groceries and electricity which you can see what we are doing in my previous post. My adventures with my food budget are chronicled at my other blog http://cheaphealthygoodlife.blogspot.com/ . We also just moved closer to my husbands job to decrease his commute from 70 miles each way to 20 miles each way and he also carpools 3 of the 4 days a week that he works.

Ways I save on electricity

1. energy efficient appliances
2. shut the air vents and the doors in the rooms we dont use - guest room and guest bath
3run our ceiling fans constantly bc I read somewhere that helps your air conditioning be more efficient by around 30%
4. turned up the thermostat to 75 during the day and then to 70 at night- when I go back to work I will turn it up to 80 when we are not here during the day- for Christmas I want a digital thermostat that we can set
5. we are slowly changing over to the super bulbs that last for 7 years and use less energy and put out less heat- every time a regular bulb dies we replace it with an energy efficient.
6. almost completely quit using the clothes dryer- I hang everything outside on our clothesline or on a rack inside
7. put the dishwasher on air dry
8. only run full loads in the dishwasher/washer and run them on the light or regular cycles

This has kept our electricity bill in the summer in southern Arkansas in a 1700 square foot home to $200 a month - some of the changes we have just started and we should see the results next month including- the not using the clothes dryer and installing the new light bulbs.

Some of the more extreme things I have been thinking of trying include: unplugging the tvs and other appliances when not in use and turning off the computer everyday.