Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Magazine Subscriptions

I have a couple of thoughts about these. First of all, if you find yourself buying the same magazine brand 4 times a year - you're better off with a subscription. Most mags on the shelf are 4.99 plus and the subscriptions are about $25, plus they are delivered. If you don't want to commit to the subscription, or you don't want magazine clutter around your house, there's a better option - the library. I know I sing the library song a lot, but it truly is a wonderful place. I currently read real simple, Martha Stewart Living, Sew News, Gourmet, Cooks Illustrated, Southern Living, and many more for free. I can also get my hands on back issues there. So please, if you want to read some magazines, or 'try it before you buy it' then hit up your local library - you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Double Coupons

I just discovered last night that Harris Teeter offers double coupons every day (and occasionally triple) for a face value up to .99 (which is 1.98 when doubled). That can add up to some serious savings. If you live near one, take the time to either look at their flyers or their website http://www.harristeeter.com/ and look up coupons in the search bar and it will give you all of the coupon rules.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Price Notebook (revised repost - sort of)

First of all, the original post:

If you have not done so already, you may want to keep a price notebook, or a price spreadsheet on your computer that you can print off before you go shopping. Here are the basics of this idea: keep a running record of an items price, size, store purchase and unit price so that when you are at another store, you can easily calculate whether or not it is a good deal. This is especially helpful at warehouse stores since buying in bulk is not always saving money.

Now the new part:
I was at Food Lion a couple of days ago and the quart size jar of Hellmann's was 4.79 - OMG - almost $5 for mayonnaise! MAYONNAISE! Flabbergasted doesn't even begin to describe it. Our local Wal-mart has the same jar for 3.59 - better, but still high. Yesterday I was at the Wal-Mart in E.C. with my mom (long story on how I got there), and the same jar of mayo was 2.98 and I had a .65 off coupon. Still more expensive than making it myself, but much better than buying it locally. So sad.

Locally, our Food Lion has 5oz cans of Food Lion brand tuna for .84. This is not only a price increase from .74, but they shrunk the can from 6oz to 5oz (as if no one would notice). I went to Harris Teeter a couple of weeks ago - HT brand tuna was .77for a 6oz can. I bought 10, and will probably buy 10 more each time I go. Canned tuna is a frugal family's safety net when the recipe goes bad or gets burned - hi ho it's tuna melt time! PS - the HT tuna is chunkier than the FL, which is good if like a larger flake tuna. FL tends to be mushy.

So, back to the price book. If you can, try to at least track 15 of your most commonly used items by writing down where you can buy them for the least amount of money, what that amount is, and how large the package is. I put my pricebook sheet from my excel in my coupon book so I have it when I need it. Also, if you really want to be a detective take a calculator too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Please don't ever pay money for these - just take leftover stale bread, bread heels or just over baked homemade bread and throw it in a food processor and toss them in a bag and in the freezer. Store bought ones are about 1.50 for a small canister, leftovers are free and if you don't use them, they just get wasted.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sam's Club

First of all, I am usually a die-hard bulk shopping Sam's club believer. I love the place and it suits me perfectly. However, I have been doing some comparison shopping and am sad to report that it may no longer be worth it to pay the $40 a year membership fee and gas to drive there (the nearest one to me is about 1 1/2 hours away) just to save a few bucks. When you get the opportunity, do your own comparison shopping online at www.samsclub.com and compare their prices on products to your own stores regular and sale prices. It was a mildly depressing day at my house when I discovered this - my proverbial bubble was shrunk slightly - I guess I have to find something else money-saving to refill it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book Recommendation

One of my all-time favorite frugal living books with tons of tips, tricks and thoughts on frugality is Yankee Magazine's Living Well on a Shoestring. Check you local library or yard sale for it - It's great!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I made laundry detergent!

and it wrks just like my regular

1/2 cup borax
1/4 cup washing soda
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 bar ivory (grated)
about 1 1/2 gallons water

boil half the water
add the grated ivory, borax, washing soda and baking soda and turn heat to low and stir until all dissolved.
removed from heat and allow to cool in pot, stirring occasionally (will gel)
add remaining water and stir until well blended
add to empty container
use 1 cup per large load (adjust for smaller or extra large or extra dirty loads (just like you would regular detergent.

You may add an essential oil for fragrance if you like, I just tend to like the plain clean sent of ivory.

**********Addendum added 1/29/09**********
Here's an answer about the popular question "What is washing soda?"

Washing soda is a highly alkaline chemical compound which can be used to remove stubborn stains from laundry. It also has numerous uses around the house, and it is used in a range of industrial applications as well. Washing soda should not be confused with washing powder, which is a powdered soap used as a detergent; it is also not the same thing as baking soda, although the two compounds are closely related.
The chemical formula for washing soda is Na2CO3, and it is also known as
sodium carbonate. It is a salt of carbonic acid, a chemical which produces a wide range of salts collectively known as carbonates. One common source of washing soda is the ashes of plants; for this reason, it is sometimes called soda ash. Sodium carbonate can also be extracted from sodium chloride, also known as table salt.
In laundry, washing soda accomplishes several things. The high alkalinity of washing soda helps it act as a solvent to remove a range of stains, and unlike bleach, washing soda does not usually stain. It is also used in detergent mixtures to treat
hard water; the washing soda binds to the minerals which make water hard, allowing detergent to foam properly so that clothing will come out clean, without any residue. Sodium carbonate is also used by some textile artists, since it helps dyes adhere to fabric, resulting in deeper penetration and a longer lasting color.
Around the house, washing soda can be used to descale things like
coffee machines and bathroom tiles which may accumulate mineral deposits as a result of exposure to hard water. It can also be used to strip floors of wax so that they can be refinished, and for other touch cleaning jobs like scrubbing the stove. However, you should wear gloves when cleaning with washing soda, because it is very caustic and it can cause severe skin damage. Incidentally, the best way to treat a chemical burn is with baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, as it is a buffer and it will neutralize both acids and alkalis. Apply baking soda to the site of the burn for several minutes, flush the wound with water, and seek medical attention.
Many markets carry washing soda, typically with other laundry products. Some companies make mixed detergents with washing soda which are specifically formulated for hard water, and you can also find washing soda on your own. Since sodium carbonate can be dangerous, make sure to keep washing soda out of the reach of children and pets, and clearly label the container to indicate that it is caustic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Weeks Specials

Harris Teeter
  • Asparagus 1.49/lb
  • Land O Lakes Butter 2lb/$5
  • Celery 1.49/bunch

Food Lion

  • Spiral Sliced Ham 1.98/lb
  • Turkeys .39/lb with $35 purchase
  • Sweet Potatoes .29/lb
  • Gwaltney Bacon 2lb/$4
  • Ritz crackers BOGO Free
  • Stove Top Stuffing BOGO Free
  • 45oz Country Crock Spread 2/$5

Star Value

  • Green Onions .79/bunch
  • Celery 1.19/bunch
  • Our Family Butter 1.99 with one filled card
  • 4lb Value Choice Sugar 1.39 with one filled card
  • Condensed Milk .99 with one filled card

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baking Soda

I was given a used set of white Corelle dishes yesterday and I put them in the dishwasher and let them run through. So when I took them out, the first thing I did was inspect the reddish brown rusty stains that I had already noticed on them to see if the dishwasher had helped get them out. well, they didn't, the rusty stains remained. So I tried something. I put a little pile of baking soda right on the stain, wet a sponge and scubbed for a few seconds, and the rusty stains came right out.

Baking soda is cheap, and I think sometimes we overlook how good of a cleaner it really is. It saved my corelle from the garbage, but it can also be used to clean coffee pots, stainless steel (for getting the stuck on stuff off without scratching the metal, toilets, tubs, sinks, ovens, etc, etc. AND it does it all without harming the environment, an asthmatics breathing, an allergy sufferers allergies or your wallet.

Now polish away the cheap and friendly way!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Grocery Shopping for a Month

I am going to try this in December. I have read about it and thought about it and wanted to do it, but I've never gotten the nerve. Finally, after doing the math over what I could save if I could just get everything I need from Sam's (mostly) for one month. And that includes about $20 in gas for a round trip - $10 if I have a partner in crime for the trip.

Step 1 - know your prices: my mom wanted to go to Sam's one day last week when I spent the week with her, so I made notes of prices of things I buy so I could do the math

Step 2 - meal plan: in order for this to work, you have to have your meals planned in order to make sure you get enough in your trip that you not running out to the grocery store all the time during the month

Step 3 - write out your list: base this on your meal plan, AND add a few convenience items or extra lunch items just so you don't run out

Step 4 - set a date: pick a day and hopefully pick a 'date' and take someone along that's not a kid

Step 5 - leave your kids at home: little ones make you rush and make poor decisions, plus they don't want to be there anyway

Step 6 - cargo space: make sure the vehicle you take can fit plenty of stuff, and that it's free of clutter which can take up precious cargo space (especially if 2 or 3 of you are going)

Step 7 - cold storage: coolers and ice for refrigerated and frozen items

Step 8 - plan a snack or lunch: picnics are still fun unless it's cold, then you may want to take this opportunity to go out to lunch with your girlfriends

Step 9 - fill your tank: if you start out your voyage with a full tank, then upon return, you can refill it and you'll know exactly how much gas money to collect from everyone

Step 10 - have fun with it: saving money is serious business, but don't let it be a downer - take some friends, have some friendly conversation, and just enjoy each other's company while you ride. You may also learn some secrets to saving money here and there from your friends.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Power of Will Power

Okay, I admit it, I have been a little slack in my money saving creativity lately. I've even gone so far as to allow a couple of my feet to drag off the back of the proverbial wagon. But, here and now, I vow to not only get back on the money-saving wagon, but to push my way to the front and grab the map and give out directions. I hope this means that I will come up with some new and creative money saving tips, tricks and ideas.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Benefits of a Coop

I am a member of a local coop. It participates in the distribution of all natural and organic foods, health products, nutritionals and cleaning products. Generally speaking, those items are not the cheapest on the market, but they tend to be better for you, and buying them through a coop makes them a bit easier on the wallet. Of course, there are many types of coops out there, and I suggest calling your local cooperative extension office (there is usually one per county or group of counties) and asking about coops in the area. Some require a membership fee, but many do not. Most will also allow you to review the catalog for free to determine whether or not it's something you are interested in before you sign up. Remember it only costs time to ask a question and review information, and this may benefit you greatly in the end, so give it a few minutes and see what you come up with in your area.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Convenience Foods

As an all-natural ingredient, from scratch as much as possible, chemical fearer type of person, I am naturally of the belief that homemade is better. And quite frankly, I can't think of one instance where that is not true. But I do have to remember that this is a money saver blog so I am going to delve into the issue of convenience foods from that perspective.

I do not believe that convenience foods are all bad, just those purchased through a drive through window at 6pm because you don't know what else to do. Total drive through cost for a family of 4: $15 if your 2 kids are 2 & 4, $25 if your kids are 12 & 14, and of course, much more if you have more kids or if your family tends to get all of the supersize, extra bacon tack on options. So what's a mom to do at 6pm when she has no clue what to do: Stouffer's frozen lasagna $8, Freschetta Frozen Pizza $6, Voila Frozen Meal Bags $4. Any one or even 2 of these is better for you than fast food fare, AND is better for the wallet.

If you can, cook and freeze your own convenience items like the lasagna homemade, but if that's not your style, then check out stouffer's. The goal here is the highest quality the fastest and for the lowest price. I'm not saying every meal should go down this way, but it does happen on occasion to all of us, even me.


I have been reevaluating my money, habits, spending, saving, etc. for the past couple of weeks when the markets starting heading south. I am currently formulating new tips, tricks and plans to post as soon as possible.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just Take it with You

This past weekend my family took a mini vacation to a zoo and train show. Fun, fun. I decided to pack our lunches for the zoo because the kids can be picky when they are on the go, plus I wanted to be able to get up and move and enjoy the rest of the zoo without the heaviness of corndogs, burgers or spaghetti in me. We took a couple of sleeves of Ritz crackers, some colby jack cheese I had already cut up (can't take a paring knife in the zoo), and some deli turkey (again, cut it up beforehand). At lunchtime, all we had to do was sit and eat our homemade lunchables without wondering whether or not the food would come back to haunt us later. Plus we did not have to worry about a sloppy mess.

Cost of the homemade lunchables to feed the family: about $5
Cost of one box of premade lunchables (for one person - a child at that): about $2.50
Cost of one 20oz coke from a vending machine at the zoo: $2.75 (not kidding, that's how much it really was - I was stunned!!!)

Just take it with you, it cheaper, healthier and easier - only takes about 20min max to prepare.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Aqua Globes

Have you seen the Aqua-Globes advertised on TV? The point of them is to keep your plants watered for a couple of weeks without you having to worry about it. Okay, not a bad idea. Here's alternatives for free:

  • empty soda bottles
  • empty water bottles
  • pretty much any empty bottle with a longer neck and smaller opening

Try them out and let me know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leftover Magic for $3.20

We had hamburgers a few days ago and there were several leftover. Well, we did not want to have reheated hamburgers (let's face it, they are just not as good the second time around), and I didn't have any hamburger buns anyway, so I had to think of something to do with them or throw them out. I hate to throw out food that still has potential. It just seems wasteful to me and I think it's not being a good steward of our family's money. Anyway, I had an idea - spaghetti. I had a couple of 8oz boxes of spaghetti that I had gotten for .29 each, plus a half of a jar of leftover sauce that I had gotten 3/$5, so I just chopped up 4 hamburger patties ($2.08/lb.) with my food chopper and added it to the sauce and let it heat thoroughly. My husband made a comment that the spaghetti was better than usual, and told him what I had done. We figured that the difference had to be the leftover hamburgers because we seasoned those with a little bit of steak seasoning prior to cooking so they had a slight steak-y flavor that complimented the spaghetti sauce.

Cost of the spaghetti meal for the entire family of 4 - $3.20 (plus we have leftovers for lunch today)

If you have good leftover stories or ideas, please, please, please post them!!!! I am always looking for more!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free Movie Rentals

The Public Library in our town carries movies of all types. We have rented Veggie Tales, Saturday Night Fever (didn't like it BTW) and We Own the Night (got disgusted with the content after about 30 seconds), and there are many more on my 'to watch' list. We rent these movies for free and the rental is 3 weeks long. Our library is also part of a regional library system which means I can go online and search the library catalog for the entire system (about 6 branches) and have whatever book or movie that I want shipped to my home library (for free) and they even call me and let me know it's there. There's also no limit on how many movies I can have out at once - as long as I dont' abuse my videos while they are in my possession.

Free is better than cheap (like the netflix and blockbuster mail in systems), especially since no one wants to pay for movies they didn't like.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Walgreens and Rite Aid

I can't believe I have forsaken those stores for so long. Today, I looked them up on the internet and they both offer printable coupons. The one for Walgreens was $10 off any purchase of $40 or more in store. Okay, so walgreen also had their brand of diapers on sale for 2/$11.98. My son wears a size 5 which is 30 in a pack, so at the sale price they were about .19 each, if you get enough to get over $40 and use the $10 coupon, they become .15 each. Awesome. So if you have those stores in your neighborhoods, by all means, shop the website and see what deals are in store for you, and if you can, combine their sale items with printable coupons to really increase your savings and get the maximum bang for your buck!



Sunday, September 7, 2008


Chicken Creole turned out great, hubby loved it and he doesn't even like veggies (which this wall full of - there is hope after all).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slow Cooker Heaven

I am a fan of the slow cooker. I think that it is a mom's best friend - whether you are a working mom or a SAHM. I have found a new recipe site solely dedicated to the slow cooker http://www.slowandsimple.com/ This site is for ONLY slow cooker recipes, and I am adding it to my recipe links list.

The benefits of a slow cooker are many including 'hands off' cooking which is good if you work outside of the home. When I worked during the day, I loved the thought of coming home and not having to worry about my dinner - because it was waiting for me, all I had to do was a side dish, usually a salad that takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and I was done.

The library has a ton of cookbooks (especially if you search the regional system and have it shipped to your local branch), so you don't have to purchase one, you can just borrow it as often as you wish and as many different ones as you wish.

Other slow cooking benefits:
1) reduces need for take out
2) maintains nutrients even if your picky eaters 'pick out' the veggies (since they are cooked together)
3) uses much less energy than the oven and stove
4) no pre-cooking required
5) one pot to clean
6) slow cooker meals are usually less expensive
7) food stays hot for serving after you turn it off so you don't have to nuke your dinner

Today is rainy and windy (thanks Hanna), so I am cooking a slow cooker chicken creole.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Work, Give, Save, Spend

I was watching Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer this morning and she was speaking about finances. I enjoy these type lectures because I am always looking for a way to save a buck or two. She had 4 topics: work, give, save, spend.

Work: earn your living or assist your spouse in their earning.
Give: tithes, gifts, missions, give with a gracious and loving heart
Save: put away some for emergencies, make it like a regular bill for instance $100 is due in the Money Market account on the 15th of every month
Spend: spend your leftovers, but be wise.

Her thought for debt: list each one by name and amount (i.e. - face the truth), then take the one with the lowest balance and pay it off first (being able to mark one off the list is a positive reinforcer), take what your payment was on the first you marked off and apply it to the next lowest one in addition to your regular payment (budget the same, apply differently), when it is paid off, mark it off and go to #3 and apply the amounts of your regular payment, #2's payment and #1's payment until it is paid off too. Use the same technique through your debt list until they are gone - even if it's 3-5 years.

The problem many people have is they feel the need to reward themselves with a 'thing' each time they reach a goal. Why do we need more stuff? I already need to have another yard sale, the last thing I need to do is buy more junk.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Salad Dressing

2 recipes I use often

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chives (dry or fresh)
1 tbsp parsley (dry or fresh)
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

mix well, allow to set overnite to thicken. depending on the degree of spiciness you like in your dressing, you may have to adjust the spices - the marjoram and dill are the most potent in this recipe, those are the ones I would monkey with first.

Raspberry Vinagrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

mix well, again, depending on the sweet/tart ratio you prefer, you may need to make those adjustments.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Junk Mail Coupons

I have put a little extra thought into this one. Printing coupons online does cost money, a few cent, but nevertheless, it's still money. One way to cut down on the cost of your coupons is to use junk mail, old mail, etc. For instance, the letters you get asking for help in promoting McCain or Obama are usually printed on one side only, so why not use the other side. This way, you save on the paper that you have to purchase for your coupons and that cuts down the cost of printing your coupon. Also, it reuses the junk mail paper in a creative way so as not produce more waste than needed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Homemade Bread

If you have never tried it, please do, it is worth it!

My basic recipe:

2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups bread flour

combine water, yeast, sugar and salt and mix well then let sit until proofed (puffy bubbles will form). add flour 1 cup at a time and either stir by hand or in your mixer. If stirring by hand, when the dough gets too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead while adding the rest of the flour a little at the time. If using a mixer, when the dough gets stiff and still sticky, switch from your flat beater to your dough hook. Knead dough until it is as smooth as a baby's behind. Place in a well-oiled bowl, turn to coat both sides with oil, cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm spot (about 90-100 degrees) and allow to rise until doubled (about and hour). Punch down. separate into 2 equal pieces and knead each piece for a couple of minutes then shape in 2 9x5 loaf pans. cover again and allow to rise about 30 minutes more. Place in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then switch to 350 for 20 minutes without opening the door. Cool on racks.

Now granted, there are a million variations of bread, and I have made a ton of them, but a good old fashioned plain loaf is really tasty some days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is one area where I am not exceedingly creative. My husband loves plain old white rice with salt and butter, he also loves it cooked just a little on the sticky side. I love basmati rice or wild rice. My youngest son will eat just about any type or flavor of rice and my oldest son won't touch rice with a ten foot pole. The problem is, about 4 months ago, I bought a 25lb bag of plain white rice from Sam's just before it's price went up, I think I paid about .20 a pound. Anyway, I have a lots of rice left and only a few ways I normally use it: white rice with butter, rice pilaf, fried rice and in a casserole.

I NEED IDEAS! PLEASE HELP! leave an idea or a recipe in the comments section please!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Small Machines

I have 2 small machines in my kitchen that enable me to make the most of both my time and my food. They are the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and the Kitchen Aid Food Processor.

Things I probably would not make homemade as often if it were not for the Stand Mixer:
5)whipped cream
6)pizza dough
7)experiment recipes

Things I probably would not make homemade as often if it were not for the Food Processor:
2)hash browns
3)pie dough
5)crumb topping

Now, I am not saying that everyone should go out and spend $500 buying both machines, but when you get the opportunity, check them out and see if they would be helpful to you and your lifestyle and goals. If so, maybe consider it as a gift option.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sam's Club

I normally do not make special trips just to go to Sam's Club because of the distance and when you add in the cost of gas, it means the 'deals' are no longer deals. However, I had to go to the town the Sams is at to renew my CPR, and I went and I loved it. You do still have to be careful that what you're getting is actually a deal, but for the things that are cheaper, you can't beat it. For instance, gas is usually about 8-10 cent a gallon cheaper, butter is 7.68 for a 4 lb. pack, and gatorade is about 2/3 the price of Food Lion, and my hubby drinks a ton of gatorade. I also bout a 2 1/2lb bag of nestle chocolate chips for 7.28 along with 80/20 ground beef for 2.48/lb. I was happy and now there are more things in my inventory to do my meal planning from.

Remember, making a special trip just to go to a particular store cuts into your savings, but going to a special store because you have to be in the area anyway just means more savings for you in the long run.

You also have to consider the long term savings of buying at clubs like Sams. They sell in bulk, and if you are going to use it without a problem, then you save in the long run. If you are not going to use it and there will be a bit of waste, you have to calculate whether or not you're actually saving anything.

Just food and ideas and my personal reasonings for your consideration.

Adios amigos!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fish Cakes

I saw Rachael Ray do this on one of her shows about a week ago. She took some plain fish, poached it in a little salt water, then flaked it, added egg, mayo and seasoning (I used Emeril's Byou Blast), then pan fried the little cakes in a little Olive Oil until browned. Presto, dinner. I did it with leftover flounder and also added a bit of hot sauce - yummy and good way to use up leftover fish, or just fish out of the freezer that you don't feel like deep frying.

Fish thaws pretty quickly, so this can be done from frozen pretty easily.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Your Flowerbed Plan

I have a flowerbed in my front yard. In the 7 years I have lived in this house, this year has been the first year that I have really cared about it, and it has returned the favor to me. In the spring, I planted rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley, bell peppers and grape tomatoes in the flowerbed because I use them so much and they herbs cost a lot of money to buy every couple of weeks. So, for about 1.75 per plant, I now have as much basil, oregano and parsley as I want, my rosemary sprigs were a gift that my uncle gave me and I now have 2 thriving bushes. The bell pepper plant has so far yielded 4 large delicious peppers, and #5 & #6 are growing. My grape tomato plant is large with probably 300 little tomatoes on it at various stages of growth and development.

Today's lesson: Plan next years flower bed to include often used herbs and veggies to save money, time and increase nutrition because you can choose to grow them pesticide free!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

15 uses for the potato

I went to the grocery store tonight with a friend and we talked about rotten potatoes. Let's face it, the bags of potatoes we buy in the grocery store do not last long, so you have to use them up fast, but not wear your family out on them either. So I started thinking of how many ways one could make potatoes in order to use them up before they rot (very wasteful), but not make your crew sick of mashed potatoes (as if ANYONE could get sick of mashed potatoes).

1) mashed potatoes: I make mine with salt, pepper, milk, sour cream
2) potato cakes: take 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes and add 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 1tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1tsp sugar, about 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (to pancake mix consistency), cook just like small pancakes in hot cast iron pan with a little oil, drain well, serve smeared with a little butter
3) au gratin: sliced potatoes, bechamel (roux, whole milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg)
4) cheesy: sliced potatoes, bechamel, shredded cheddar
5) home fries: sliced potatoes, diced onion, pressed garlic, diced peppers, oil, salt, pepper, hot cast iron pan
6) baked potato
7) twice baked potato (cheesy style for me)
8) homemade french fries
9) roasted with salt, pepper, butter, rosemary
10) hash browns
11) soup
12) homemade potato chips
13) potato bread
14) gnocchi
15) pierogis

Can you think of more?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

Okay, this may be a stretch for some folks, and even if it's not your bag, I implore you to just consider the possibilities of just how many items in the store we consider to be 'too difficult to make at home' that are actually quite easy.

Homemade Yogurt

4 cups milk (your choice of fat quantity or type)
2 tablespoons yogurt or a package of yogurt starter

Scald milk (185 degreees if you have a thermometer, if not, it's that point where the milk is steaming but not boiling). Remove pan from hot burner and allow to cool to 110. Add starter or 2 tablespoons of commercial yogurt (this is where you get your good bacteria from). Keep at a constant temperature between 90-110 degrees for about 4 hours, or until the yogurt firms. I do this with a crock pot. Turn it on the warm setting for a few minutes (maybe 10 - depending on the type of crock pot you have) and then back off for 45min to an hour or so).

Yes, this is something that has to be watched - no that you have to be right on top of it, but you may not want to make it on the day you're going to Sam's Club, pick a rainy day when you're going to be home anyway to give it a try.

Why the commercial yogurt? Commercial yogurt has the good bacteria already bred in it, and it's easier to find than yogurt starter, unless you have a plethera of health food stores around.

I sweeten mine with homemade strawberry jam, or with honey and I add homemade granola for heartiness.

If you want to flavor and sweeten prior to setting, add those ingredients at the very beginning.

****I'm adding this addendum after an excellent reader question.

Okay, after the four hour curing period, it should be the firmness of commercial yogurt. If it's a little thin, don't worry, you can leave it to cure for up to 7-8 hours. Lowfat milk takes a little longer to set than whole. After it has set you just refrigerate and eat in within a couple of weeks.

You can also either put it in cups as a liquid and cure in the cups in a warm water bath, or you can just cure the whole batch and separate into cups later. I personally put it into cups first. Since you are not using high heat during the curing process, Rubbermaid or like style containers will do just fine. If you wash an reuse butter, cool-whip and other such containers, they work fine too. I've tried them all!

Also, the yogurt will thicken just a bit more once it gets cold in the fridge.As I side note, this is what I usually do with older milk - not spoiled milk, but the milk that has a few days on it and I want to start a fresh gallon for drinking. The scalding process kills off bad bacteria, but it won't work on milk that has already spoiled.This is also a good thing to do with your leftover milk if you're going out of town for a few days and don't want to waste your milk!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pigs in a Blanket

I refuse to buy frozen pre-made pigs in a blanket. This morning I made them homemade and the kids loved them.

pancake mix and water (mix it a little on the thick side)
sausage (cook it first)
minimuffin pan
oven at 400.

put a dollop of pancake mix in each minimuffin well. Put a piece of sausage on top of pancake mix. Top with cheese if you want. Top with more pancake mix (enough to cover the sausage). BAke for 6 minutes. Done!

This should work the same for a homemade corndog, just use cornmeal mix instead, and you made need to adjust your cooking time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In a pinch . . .

Have a few things on hand for a meal in a pinch so that you don't fell like you absolutely HAVE to call for takeout or go out to eat. Don't go overboard with this, but consider it and here are a few things that I keep on hand just in case a recipe goes bad or I need to have dinner ready in 15 minutes.

Tuna melts - tuna, cheese, mayo, bread, skillet (takes about 8 minutes to make)
Pizza - refrigerated croissant dough, tomato sauce, cheese, whatever topping available (15 min.)
Pesto Pasta - noodles (usually penne), pesto sauce (preprepared, multi-use size) (15 minutes)
Salad or Chef Salad - salad fixin's, deli ham, turkey and cheese if going Chef style (10 minutes)

These are my fall back recipes that are quick, satisfying, low stress and inexpensive.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have nonstick cookware, stoneware, glass, cast iron and silicone cookware and bakeware items. My observations are: cast iron gives the best results and the best flavor, it's just a bit heavy. Silicone gives good results, but crusts are not as crispy as I would like, and it's really floppy so you need a sled or cookie sheet to put it on before you use it in the oven. Glass is a little uneven in cooking and baking, not too bad, but a little, plus it can't take the really high heat like for breads. Stoneware is wonderful, it's just harder to clean and little heavy like the cast iron. Nonstick performs well, you just have to worry about the chemicals if you have to cook at high temperatures.

Have a few good pieces, but don't waste your money on big sets of one type. Do your research first, pick out a couple of high quality (not necesarily highest price) items and use them often.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My advice - have several, but don't buy them if you don't have too (unless they are at yard sale prices or you have checked it out from the library so many times you can literally hear it calling your name every time you walk in the library)

USE YOUR LIBRARY!!!!!! This is an excellent way to 'test drive' a book before you take the plunge. Another thought is if you have checked out the book more than 3 times, AND have enjoyed using it (not just looking at the pics), consider having it on your birthday, Mother's Day, Easter, or Christmas wish list (of course you do have to let people know it's on that list for this to be effective). This way your family gets you something you love and you get something you don't have to return for a smaller (or larger) size.

Cooking at Home

Now, how often have we heard that cooking at home instead of going out to eat will save us money? All the time, and for good reason, because it's true! The only problem is, most of us get taste-bud bored after a little while, and even though we have the best intentions in the world, we give in to our salivating tastebuds after a few minutes of daydreaming about out favorite dishes at our favorite restaurants. Do I blame you, absolutely not! Is there a way to get around this, well, sometimes.

What I have found helpful is to think of your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant and then search some recipe sites to find recipes for it. I particularly like the recipe sites that have pictures to go along with it because it makes it easier for me to see if the dish resembles what my restaurant serves. I also like to work something new and untasted into my mealplan every once in awhile. However, do the new things on nights when there are leftovers, that way you are not forced into ordering take out because a meal went wrong.

New Food Styles on my "To Try" List:

It may take me 5 or 6 months to get through this list because first of all I want a good recipe and second of all, we have many other dishes in my families 'preferred' list that they like to get through on a monthly basis too. But trying new things may just help your tastebuds help you steer clear of a $70 tab at your favorite restaurant.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dollar Tree

I am generally wary of food items for sale in The Dollar Tree. However, I was pleasantly suprised to find Nature's Own brand Butterbread, Honey Wheat Bread, Wonderbread, Hamburger Buns and Hotdog Rolls in the store. There were all normal sized and had the same expiration dates as their Food Lion counterparts (I checked) which cost about 2.29 (already a 1.29 per loaf savings. And remember, bread freezes well. I also found 8-packs of medium eggs for $1.00. An 18 count pack of large eggs at Food Lion is 3.29. So, even if I have to pop an extra egg into the recipe since they're medium instead of large, I'm still saving the bucks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Local Grocery Stores

In order to compete with large discount grocery chains, many locally owned stores hve great sales and produce to draw customers in. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE!!!!! My local grocery store has Domino brand granulated sugar in the 5lb bags for 4/$9. That is 2.25 each PLUS I downloaded and used 2 $.55 off 2 domino sugar coupons. If you get fliers for these small independent establishments, please take a moment to peek at them because you never know what great buys they may have. Mine also does a stamp card discount thing which return the filled cards in for even bigger deals. For instance, this week a regular sized can of peas or corn (about 15oz I think) is on sale for $.49 each, but if you have a card, they are $.39each. Just make sure you use them on things you will actually eat, not just because it's on sale.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meal Planning Part 4

This one takes a bit more work and getting used to.

I have online circulars for my local grocery stores placed in my inbox when they come out each week. That morning, I check the circulars online, find the deals on stuff we already like plus things that we would like to try. Then, I hit my coupon websites (couponmom.com, coolsavings.com, couponbug.com and smartsource.com) and look for matching coupons along with whatever useful coupon I find. Another thing I'll do is go to the individual brand websites to look for coupons too. After all this, I'll make my list of what to get at each store (there are only 2 here, so it's not a big venture), and I'll go early the next morning with the kids. I go early for one main reason - markdowns. Every morning, the stores go through their produce and meats and mark some down. I look through what they have available and pick and choose the best. I save a ton on meat this way, and no, I've never gotten sick off of it, but that's probably because I don't buy meat that's dark brown or green, I only but meat that still looks fresh and has no smell. Produce has never caused me any problems either. My biggest items to buy at reduced are apples, bananas, squash, peppers and broccoli. Apples and bananas are good choices because if you are not going to be able to finish them before they spoil, you can always make a bread, muffin or cake out of them and freeze that. Squash, peppers and broccoli also freeze well for later use if you can't get to them in time.

Okay, when I have my shopping done, I put everything away, and then I add to my list all of the extra items like the reduced meat and produce that I purchased and I meal plan. At this point, I already have the following week's meal plan done, so I make the plan for the following week. This way I get to use some of the great finds along with rotating my current inventory.
Something to remember, when you are doing your meal planning, plan on using your leftovers as part of a new meal. For instance, Monday's roast chicken can become Wedneday's chicken pot pie or chicken enchiladas or chicken casserole or chicken salad, the list goes on. Leftovers do not have to be used the next day if stored properly, you can wait an extra day or so (depending on th item) so that you don't chicken or beef yourself to death. have fun with it and go online with your list of leftovers and find a new recipe to try!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I have discovered the Microfiber cloth! A friend of mine who also has small children was giving me her advice on keeping her home clean, eco-friendly and non-toxic (she has 3 children 3 and under). She told me about norwex and I looked it up. It turns out instead of a bunch of chemicals, they sell a lot of cleaning utensils like cloths. Well, I did some more research on microfiber cloths, and apparently you don't need a lot of chemicals with microfiber. In fact, they recommend that you just use water and a little elbow grease (not a lot though, about the same as if you were scrubbing a surface with a chemical cleaner and regular sponge or paper towel). It worked awesome! I had been trying the clorox greenworks glass and surface spray, and it left my windows streaky, but it cleaned surfaces well. I tried method stainless steel cleaner, and even though it smelled great and cleaned well, it left my appliances streaky. So, I went over both surfaces with a microfiber cloth wet with plain warm water and wrung out really well. To my utter amazement, my glass was clean and NO STREAKS and my appliances were clean and NO STREAKS. So, one good quality microfiber that will last a long, long time is still cheaper than 1 bottle of stainless steel cleaner or 2 bottles of windex! Happy Cleaning!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Meal Planning: Part 3

Now, take your inventory and your list of your family's favorite meals and plan your dinners based on these lists for the next 3 days, and stick to it! After you accomlish this, you will be ready for part 4

Monday, June 2, 2008

Meal Planning: Part 2

Take a quick inventory of your fridge, freezer and cabinets, this does not have to be exact, but get an estimate, and remember to write it all down, or put it on computer. Also try to keep in handy to check things off as you go so you always know what you've got available.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meal Planning: Part 1

This will come in many parts because I have a lot to say and I don't want one really long post because that will get boring.

Meal Planning:

The first thing to do is make a list (in an accessible area, or on the computer) of your family favorite meals. Beside each meal, list the ingredients required to make that meal. Definitely do this for dinner, but if you are a SAHM, do it for every meal and snack. Don't worry about doing it all in one day, but add to a bit at the time and always leave room for new creations/recipes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Coupon Sharing

as anyone ever done this in a group? How did it work? I would like to start something like this, by mail, in person, whatever.

I think it would work something like this . . . clip and post what I have, then mail them them out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Cleaning Rag

I was a paper towel user, big time, many a day, sometimes a half a roll if I was doing a whole house spruce up. As I was going through my expenses and rethinking some things, I realized I use a TON of paper towels. So, I now use an old rag. I have probably 5 or 6 old rags, in previous lives they may have been washcloths or dishtowels, but now they spend their days in the lively profession of homecleaning. Some days I just use one if I'm not doing much other than the casual table and coutner top wipedown a couple of times a day. If I'm doing some serious work, I may use 3 or 4. The cost of tossing them in the laundry then drying them on the line is pretty much nil, especially compared what the cost of papertowels used to be (and even the good papertowels will only stand up for so long. A couple of words to the wise about this though - rinse often so they don't get nasty, sweep up the crumbs first (I sweep the table, counters, etc. with a little dustpan and brush set). Sweeping up the junk first takes only a few seconds, and disposes of the particles so that you rags and your home feels cleaner.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Dilution Solution

I buy concentrates on just about all of my cleaning products. This saves money since I can add the water myself and storage space because the packages are smaller and I don't have a hug home. I am trying to go green at my home, and I have discovered that the green concentrates are probably 1/5 the price of the regular. So, for all purpose cleaner spray, I use the concentrate and dilute. For window cleaner, not only do I dilute, I actually over dilute simply because I feel like since you could actually clean windows with just plain water and a good microfiber cloth anyway, why do I need a ton of chemicals (ecofriendly or not) to make my glass streak free? Good news, over diluted window spray still makes your glass sparkle and leaves a few extra cent in your pocket, which is good news for me.

I also dilute dishwashing liquid, hand soap, moisturizer, juice for the kids (they don't need all the sugar anyway), fabric softener (and it still does the job), foundation makeup and mascara (keeps it from clumping or looking 'whore-y'.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Line Drying

I know, I know. The first thought that comes to mind is poor people with crusty clothes. But have you ever considered the potential impact line drying may have on your wallet? In the summer you pay to have your home cooled, so why dry clothes in a dryer that's going to fight your AC unity. I'm not saying everything has to be dried on a line, but I bet if you do the heavier items that take too long to dry anyway on a line instead, you'll see real savings in your electric bill. I did, and now I'm drying as much as possible on my line. And it's also eco-friendly since you're not burning extra electricity.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Depression Generation

I am 31 years old, my mother is 59. This means that neither of us has ever lived through a time of true need and depravity. My maternal grandmother is 81, which means that she was a small child during the depression era, my paternal grandmother, who recently passed away, would be 91 now, which means she was a child and into her teens during the depression. Now, people who lived through this era really know how to be frugal and thrifty. They know how to make it work without all of the parts or ingredients, but they got it done. They lived off of very little money and/or resources. I can remember listening to my late grandmother talk about the things she and her family used to do just to make the ends meet (7 children in the home). My living grandmother has a treasure trove of stories too as she was one of 13 and they were poor even before the depression.

So I encourage you, please take the opportunity when you can to talk to those who have lived through the worst so you can gain a few tips to prevent it in your own homes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homemade Quick Wipes

I used to buy the Clorox and Lysol brand quick wipes all the time, but at $3 or more a pop, that can get pricey. So, I did a little research on other sites and came up with a formula and method for my own at a fraction of the price. I purchased 2 square shaped tupperware-style containers at my local Wal-Mart (about 2.50 for a pack of 2) and of course you pick the size that fits the size of the wipe. I also bought a top quality white napkin (the ones that are folded into quarters like bounty or brawny) I stuffed the square container full of the napkins. Then I used a high quality all purpose concentrate like Lysol and diluted it according to package directions. I poured the mix over the napkins a cup at a time until they were well soaked. I closed it up and left it overnight so that the solution could have time to soak into the middle of the stack. Then I just labeled the container as such and use them whenever I need a quick wipe.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This is something I used to hate to do, re-use stuff in a new way. I don't know why, but when I was younger I just never saw the need to do this. Hmmm, I wonder how many bucks I could've saved then?

Re-use does not mean washing out and reusing your ziploc bags or butter containers, although that is a useful habit (the butter containers, not the ziploc bags - could be dangerous bacteria since a bag is harder to clean). I use the term reuse to describe taking something and creating it into something new. For instance, I was looking through a pottery barn book at some of their decor ideas, and one thing that they had was 3 purchased open cynlinders (like oatmeal cylinders) that were stacked in an offset fashion between a wall and printer and they were being used to cubby things like scissors, writing utensils, rulers, etc. Well, what about the good 'ol oatmeal container? You can cut it to your desired length, decorate it with leftover wallpaper, wrapping paper or just let the kid color them and add bows, ribbon, jewels, whatever and use them for storage. For girls they're great for brushes, hairbows, doll clothes, etc. Boys may use them for toy soliders, blocks, or matchbox cars. When I get mine done, I'll take a pic and show you what I use mine for, but be creative and take a second look at things that are going to be tossed out, or are just collecting dust on top of a shelf or shoved in the back of a closet somewhere.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Free Exercise Videos

Do yourself a favor, don't buy another exercise video that you know will just end up collecting dust and taking up precious space after about 2-3 weeks of use. Rent one for free (for about 3 weeks at a time usually) from your local public library. The loan time is generally about as long as your interest in that particular video will be anyway. AND, to optimize your workout you're supposed to change it up every couple of weeks anyway to keep your workouts effective and calorie burning. You could also look for free workout videos from myspace and YouTube also, but please, don't pay money for them!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Independant Gas Establishments

My family and I just got back from a trip to visit relatives from Maryland. On the way up and on the way back I noticed something. the independent gas stores were cheaper than the chains (for the most part). For instance, we visited St. Mary's County in Maryland, and in Leonardtown, the Burchmart was 3.68, and when got about 6 or 7 miles outside of town, the little older, almost run-down looking store (but very much open) was only 3.55. And all the through Virginia, we noticed much the same thing. So, pay attention to your gas stations.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dollar Stores

They go by many names, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, 99 cent store, etc. But have you ever been down the grocery items aisle? Now I normally do not go grocery shopping in a dollar store, never have, but I found some suprising finds. For instance, Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread, in Food Lion it's 2.19 a loaf, there, $1. There was also Cinnamon Toast Crunch which in Food Lion goes for upwards of $3 for a 14oz box, is on $1 for a 9 oz box. Yes, it's a smaller box, but you can't be the price per ounce, and with a smaller box, it's less likely to go stale. Also, minced garlic in the 8oz jar for $1, which in the grocery is usually $1 for the 4oz jar. Now if brand is an issue for you, buy all means, get what you're comfy with, but for me, things like garlic, elbow macaroni (32oz for $1), kids juice boxes (100% natural, of course), I am happy to save the bucks on!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Crusty Stale Desserts

I don't know about other households, but when I make a batch of cookies or brownies or even a cake, there are always leftovers that get stale and hard and eventually thrown out. Well, here's an idea. Take your stale leftover desserts, and whir them in a food processor or blender until they are bread crumbs. Then store them in a baggie in the freezer until it's time to make a cheesecake, pudding pie or other yummy that may benefit from an extra boost of flavor. Can you imagine how wonderful a homemade cheesecake would be with a chocolate chip cookie crust? Or a chocolate pie in a fudge brownie crust with chocolate shavings on top.

Related tips: If you are going to try this with leftover cake, either don't use an iced cake or make sure you don't use the part of the cake that's touching the icing. For soft dessert leftovers like brownies or cake (without chocolate chips in it - they'll just melt and get nasty during toasting) crumble them on a cookie sheet and dry them out a little more in a warm oven (but by all means, don't turn your oven on especially for this task - energy waster) just pop the sheet into the oven after you're done using it for something. This way you don't waste the heat that's already been produced and you're not cranking up the oven again ($$$) just to try to re-use something that may save you a buck or two.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Thrift Shopping

My advice is if you are going to shop at a thrift shop, do 2 things: visit a good one and check your merchandise thoroughly. One of my local thrift shops is always kept very clean, no stuff on the floors, and the clothing is sorted by type, size and color. This makes searching easier and faster. If you check your merchandise well and make sure there are no holes, stains or excessive signs of wear, you can leave with a quality item at a low price.

This doesn't just go for clothing, but also for decorative items, items used for crafts, kitchenware and furnishings.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Diapers at 60%+ off

I have a discount card at every store I regularly use (MVP at Food Lion, VIC at Harris Teeter and ExtraCare at CVS). These cards will prompt the little coupon machines at the store to spit out coupons. Well, on my excursion to the grocery store (Food Lion) yesterday, I noticed that the Jumbo Packs (40 size 5's) of Luvs diapers were on sale for 7.99 a pack with your MVP card (.20/each). Okay, nothing to get too excited about because the boxes I get at Sam's Club breakdown to .17/each. Well, I also happened to have 2 $3.00 off Luvs coupons (spit out of the register machine) PLUS a $2.00 off any $15 baby purchase (same machine) coupon. So let's see, 7.99 a pack on sale is over $15 (for 2 packs) so the $2.00 off coupon applies, plus the 2 - $3.00 coupons (1 coupon per pack, since I bought 2) that equals 3.99/pack or .10/each. NOW THAT'S A DEAL!!!!!!!

Check your coupons and sale ads regularly and save (especially on pricey items like diapers)

Friday, May 2, 2008

What to do with Leftovers

There are several fast and yummy ways to get rid of your leftovers without them resembling the original meal. For instance, Sunday's roast chicken with rice and a salad, Monday's pot roast with mashed potatoes and veggie medley and Tuesday's Spaghetti and meatballs with salad can be transformed like so: Wednesday chicken fajitas with fried rice (Sunday's chicken cut up with peppers and onions and seasonings added - plus leftover Sunday rice with chopped onion, garlic and seasonings aded, and tortillas), Thursday beef stroganoff from the leftover pot roast adding egg noodles, mushrooms, sour cream and seasoning. Friday's meatball sub - just add cheese and a bun! Salad components are generally stored separated and can show up again as a side dish for any meal and veggie medley can be added to a casserole or just show up as a side dish again. Re-used side dishes are better if served with a new main course than with the same main course again.

Things to consider when re-using leftovers:
fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc
stir fry
homemade pizza (any style)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Keeping Tabs

If you have not done so already, you may want to keep a price notebook, or a price spreadsheet on your computer that you can print off before you go shopping. Here are the basics of this idea: keep a running record of an items price, size, store purchase and unit price so that when you are at another store, you can easily calculate whether or not it is a good deal. This is especially helpful at warehouse stores since buying in bulk is not always saving money.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Clutter Costs

Clutter costs money, time, energy, and happiness Money: misplaced bills cost late fees, misplaced library books cost fines, etc. Time: digging through clutter takes a lot of it. Energy: digging through clutter takes a lot of it (again). Happiness: who likes digging through junk and losing stuff?

Advice: get rid of the junk; keep the important stuff organized; after you use it put it away; after you pay it, file it; if it gets dirty, go ahead an clean it and put it away; and last but not least: STOP LETTING THE CLUTTER IN TO BEGN WITH!!(of course, this is the most difficult to do, especially if you live with others:)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


With the exponentially fast rise in the price of wheat, I urge people to try your hand at making your own bread at home. It tastes better, you get to control the quality of the ingredients, and it generally costs about 80% less than the store bought kind. I was at Sam's Club last week and a 25lb. bag of bread flour cost about 10.50. It only takes about 3 cups of bread flour to make one 9x5 loaf of bread. Yeast was about 4.30 for 2lbs and it only takes about a teaspoon per loaf. Most people add a little salt, usually around 1teaspoon per loaf and some add sugar, again about a teaspoon per loaf. And the water is such a small amount it won't even count. Now, I am not mathmatician, but I think that all adds up to about 0.35 per loaf, and baking doesn't take long either, and if you do not want to heat up your oven just for bread, then just make it when you're making something in the oven anyway, and make more than one loaf at the time, and just freeze the extra loaves.

Monday, April 28, 2008


This may be a bit of a stretch for some people, but I'm very oily skinned, so this works really well for me. I buy oil free facial moisturizers, which are about 90% water, and I add more water to it to do a couple of things: 1) thin it out because I am a habitual over-applier which means I waste it and end up with an over moisturized face (not good for an oily girl), 2) make it last about an extra month.

Like I said, this in one of those things that's not up everyone's alley, but that's okay, it's all about ideas!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Deli Meat

Problem: price, at $5.99/lb who can afford more than a couple of shavings on a sandwich.
Solution: slice your own. Bulk ham is about 1.59/lb, bulk turkey (for slicing) about 2.99/lb.

If you don't have your own meat slicer, I wouldn't go out and buy one especially for this, but if you know someone with one they would like to part with, or find one at a yard sale or thrift shop - go for it. I can thinly slice a 5lb. ham in about 6 minutes, the I separate it out into 1lb stacks and use my foodsaver to freeze it and keep the frost off.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


A few notes on this: $4 a pop at the grocer, $1 a pop at the Dollar Tree, CVS, Family Dollar, Dollar General, etc. Just think it over. If you are making sauce and you need oregano, basil and then garlic salt for the bread, that's roughly $12 at the grocer (big dent in the grocery budget) and $3 at the 'dollar' stores (just a ping in the grocery budget). I personally find the ones at CVS to have more potent flavor, easy flip shaker tops, glass bottles, larger sizes and more variety.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Browsing Online

When you have a few minutes of computer time, try to look up the websites of your favorite brands in addition to any general coupon printing sites. For instance, the Betty Crocker websites gives you printable coupons that you can't get at coolsavings, coupons.com and the like. Also try horizon organic and stonyfield farms. You can get excellent money saving coupons with just a couple of minutes effort.

How we got here

Holy cow! I went to the grocery store today prepared, and it was a good thing. Not only is gas through the proverbial roof, but food is rising too. I needed brown sugar, but the 1lb bag at Food Lion which is usually $.59 is now $.93, about 45% more. A 1lb. block of Kraft cheese is $5.39. Milk is still high, $4.19 at Food Lion, $3.99 at Harris Teeter. So what's a mom to do? Well, I created this blog to discuss that very thing: saving money, playing the money game, meal planning, creating new meals with leftovers, home cooking, etc, etc, etc. So please, join in and leave your comments, recipes, ideas, suggestions, thoughts on the matter.