Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dollar Tree & Noteworthy!

On a recent trip to our local Dollar Tree I found a few note worthy and stock up worthy items I'll share with you:

Mott's Organic Unsweetend Applesauce 23oz jar

Apple & Eve 8oz. Juice Boxes 3 pack

Metal 8x5 Loaf Pans (not the toss away kind)

Metal 6 Muffin Pans (not the toss away kind)

1 Dozen Medium Eggs

8 oz Block Cream Cheese

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tin Cans

I try really hard to find interesting and useful ways to reuse things so as to #1)keep them from being garbage and #2)save some money.  Let's take tin cans (from veggies, fruit, etc) - I wash them out, let the kids decorate them with colored paper, or you can use a piece of cloth and some glue and actually make them kinda pretty and wah-lah, you have pencil holders, sorting cans for change, screws,etc, and you could probably use them to start seedlings.  They are a free with purchase item, and reusing something in a creative and useful way is even better than recycling because even recycling uses energy and emits greenhouse gases. 

What other common household item could you reuse creatively?  I'd love some ideas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cosmetic Bags

If you don't already own one, please don't buy one - I was in wal-mart today and those things cost anywhere from $5-$25 depending on how fancy you want it to look.  Really?  $25?  For a glorified ziplock bag?

Okay, I personally vote for the ziplock, if something spills inside of it, it's contained, and you can just ditch the 3 cent bag and get another one.  If liquid spills in a cosmetic bag, it's going to leak out through the zipper or the corners and you need to toss the whole bag.

Still don't want to use the ziploc, need something a little sturdier - look around, many items you normally buy come with a sort of baggie - for instance, if you purchase clinique, about twice a year you get a free bag with it; chances are at least 2 of the men in your family have received one too many shaving kits in their lifetimes and never threw away the bag - use it, they are VERY sturdy; pencil holders are made of nylon or burlap, these are very sturdy also and may have more than one compartment; go to the dollar tree and get one, but my Lord, don't pay $25 for one!

What can you do with the saved $25:
1 - milk, eggs, flour, sugar, butter, coffee, half n half, cereal
2 - underwear
3 - socks for 3 people
4 - a movie
5 - a new book
6 - new makeup for your bag
7 - gas for the car
8 - a christmas present
9 - groceries for someone in need
10 - enough packs of seed to plant a full garden in the spring

See, that $25 can be used so much better than on a cosmetic bag

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Credit Card Bonuses

Okay - there are some that like the little bonuses you get with credit cards like sign-on points, purchase points, airline miles, gift certificates, etc.  These are nice and they can save you money.

But. . . . . if you are trying to get out of debt, that means you already have a problem with debt and self-control when it comes to money and getting another card or putting everyday things on a card 'just for the rewards' becomes self-defeating.  You adding to your debt just so you can keep trying to pay it off and all of that hassle is just for 'the free stuff' that may or may not even be useful -

If your debt is under control - of course if you have debt then by virtue of having it means it is not completely under control - then go for the points, but beware of being beholden to a company for 'stuff'.

When you are in debt to someone, you are then under their control in one form or another - always beware of that fact.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Debt is such a bad word - kinda like saying stupid.  I tell my kids all the time "don't say that word!"

I have analyzed our debt situation, and have a few goals:

House:  Refinanced 2008, not going to worry about putting extra on it to pay it off until the following other things get done -

My Car:  will be paid off in March '10

Husbands Truck:  will be paid off in April '10

Boat:  currently at a not-so-lovely interest rate, when car and truck get paid off, will refi at the credit union and then work our butts off to pay it off in a couple of years or less if we can manage

Computer: relatively new, old one crashed, balance is about 1000, will pay off with tax return

Currently our budget is very tight, it drives us nuts sometimes, but, we don't mind too much because we know that 2 of our cars will be paid off very, very soon, and when that happens, that will be 650 of new 'wiggle room' to put more into savings and into eliminating the boat debt.  We also never use credit cards, and haven't used them in about 3 years now.  If you ever me whip out a vise, it's the debit card, not the credit card.  We agreed a long time ago that we would rather pay cash than put it on a visa/mc/discover, etc.  My husband was looking at our home one day and was making mention of how other homes are so modernly decorated with beautiful carpet and fancy furnishings, my comment was "yeah, but I wonder what their credit card bill looks like."  Enough said there -

I am a decent budgeter, and am relatively creative in how to save a few bucks, but even I have moments of weakness that can be difficult to get under control from time to time.  When things get hairy, I just have to take a step back, look at the big picture, then pull the 'ol bootstraps up and get to work again.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Homemade Deodorant Recipe

This may be the easiest one I have ever seen;  thank you to the creative soul who came up with it :)

I implore you to explore their website for more interesting ideas, I added their link to my sidebar.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Milk Prices

What happened?  2 weeks ago milk was 3.29 a gallon and yesterday it was 4.09 - did all the cows in America go on strike?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Leftovers

What does a frugal girl do with holiday leftovers?  (Because you know, we hate to throw away money like that!)  So here is my short list:

1)  Leftover Turkey and Ham:  cut off the meat and freeze in small portions to add to soups, beans, salads, etc.;  then take the turkey carcass or ham bone - and boil it to death for homemade stock to divide up into quart sized portions and freeze (say goodbye to Swanson's broth - or any other for that matter). 
Toss what is left of the bones, or grind them down to a powder to add to your garden

2) Cranberry Sauce:  cut it into 1" cubes and place between layers of muffin mix and bake to make  a cranberry filled muffin; use as a sandwhich spread - this is expecially good on turkey sandwiches; repace the grape jelly in cocktail meatballs with cranberry sauce - just as delicious and zesty (maybe just a tad zestier, but it's wonderful)

3) Stuffing - you can freeze it in appropriate portion sizes

4) Green Bean Casserole - I actually don't have a good idea for this one, do you?

5) Pies & Cakes - Freeze them

6) Sweet Potato Casserole - Freeze it

Monday, November 16, 2009


Dried beans are an excellent source of protein, and are way cheaper than meat.  Unfortunately, they are pretty boring by themselves.  So, you have to be creative about how you spruce them up.  Things that I have found to work the best are chicken/beef/ham stock for both the soaking and the cooking liquid, plus I add salt to the cooking water.  This improves their flavor significantly.  Then, I also add them to other dishes instead of just having them as their own dish (except baked beans at a barbecue - love those).  For cooking tips and recipes on beans, check out The Family Homestead and click on her kitchen link and she gives you several tutorials on bean cooking.  Then you can also visit sites like all recipes,, simply recips, etc and check out their bean recipes too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I peruse websites from time to time, and there are always a few that I go back to time and again.  The Family Homestead is one such site. it provides a plethora of information as well as meal planning ideas, cooking tutorials, craft ideas, all done from within a budget (one income family homeschooling 8 kids).  She also does this while slowing incorporating more organic and natural food choices for the conventional ones.  You go girl!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

1 leftover chicken carcass
3 quarts of water
*Boil these 2 for about 45 minutes until the water has become a broth and the meat begins to fall off. Remove the chicken from the pot to cool, continue to boil the chicken broth

1/2 pound pinto beans
1 tbsp salt
1 quart water
*add these to the chicken stock and boil about an hour and a half (until beans are tender and done)

chicken meat from cooled chicken
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 diced onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp chili seasoning (purchased or homemade)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 tsp cumin
*add these to the pot and simmer for about a hour

Get creative and modify this to your taste - enjoy!

top with sour cream, cheddar and fresh cilanto

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Home Decorating and Organization

I am not the most well organized and managed woman on the block - not by a long shot.  Of course I also don't claim to be.  However, there comes a time in every person's life when they realize that they need to be more organized and more managed because they need to be more responsible with their time and energy.  So I have been perusing the websites to look for good ideas, great pictures of ideas and of course, cheap ideas.  So, I have added a new link box to the right for Home Organizing/Management.  Enjoy the links, and if one doesn't work, let me know so I can fix it.

Harris Teeter is back to triples!

From November 4-10, Harris Teeter is offering triple coupons again - face value up to .99 which means your highest possible total value of the coupon is 2.97. ***However, make sure you look at your coupon closely and make sure your coupon does not say 'do not double or triple' or 'face value only'

Happy Shopping.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

'Tis the Season

This is a wonderful season with Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching.  However, there are many who are strapped because of job loss, etc.  Please consider adding an extra bag of rice or beans, mac & cheese, canned goods, etc to your cart with every trip to the grocery store and donate it to a food pantry or local family.  If you attend church, you can organize a group to bring foods together to donate to needy families. 

Please remember those in need  - most of the grocery store chains will be running wonderful sales in time for Thanksgiving, so please consider buying a bit extra to share.  You never know when your turn to be in need will come.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicken Breasts

I like to use chicken breasts in recipes, but I hate the 2.99/lb price tag for the boneless variety, so I don't buy them often.  Right now, Food Lion has split chicken breasts for .77/lb which is DIRT CHEAP!!!  And it is not that difficult to cut the hunk of breast meat out.  It may take you a couple of minutes of time, but when your done 'processing' your chicken, save the bone and skin portions (in the freezer) to make broth later.  Double whammy savings!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Phonics Tiles

I found these at my local dollar tree for (of course) $1 and they sell online for $5-$12 a pop - so if you are a homeschooler or just interested in teaching your young child reading skills, go pick some up. *Steph - if they don't have these in your area, let me know and I'll ship you some!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Old Socks

We often have 2 problems related to socks - #1 - the mismatch with no clue where the other one is; or #2 - the elastic stretches out (especially on hubby's socks - hmmmm, bet there's a link there). So my dilemma is what to do with old socks and I have a couple of ideas

1 - sock puppets - a good and time consuming craft idea for children which can followed by puppet shows for hours of free entertainment

2 - dusting - slip the old (clean) sock on your hand and it becomes a mitt without the $5 price tag of buying the name brand mitts, plus you have reduced, reused and recycled some old thing that could have been useless trash into something useful once again.

What other good uses do you have for old socks?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Olive Oil Thing....

Okay, a few weeks ago I posted this about olive oil for moisturizer. So, I've been doing it since then and have noticed a few things:
  • My towels are not spotty (question I received)
  • My bathtub is not slippery (You only use a tad)
  • If I miss a day, I'm still not ashy
  • I use it on my face (a single drop on wet hands spread onto a wet face, the pat dry with a towel), and while I have seen no increase or decrease in acne (I still have the occasional small breakout), I have a noticeable difference in the smoothness of my skin and my normally very oily skin is less oily (that was a suprise to me - I was truly expecting the opposite effect).
  • My skin does not feel oily, but moisturized
  • My clothing is not spotty either

If you have not tried it, you're not going to hurt anything, just remember do it after you shower when your skin is still wet and don't use very much, or you will feel like a McD's french fry.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Heat wave

We recently had some super hot, sunshiney weather. While this was great for hitting the pool, or beaching it, my AC unit was struggling to keep up in the afternoons! In order to keep the heat to a minimum, and to save some energy dollars...I closed the curtains. I love to let light in, but with light comes heat. So after lunchtime each day, I closed all the curtains & blinds on the sunny side of the house. I also made a temporary curtain for a full glass door out of a dark fitted sheet. This made it shady...perfect for the napping children. I also noticed my AC did not have to run as continuously!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The County Dump

Check your county central recycling center for free items. For instance, today I got 2 desk/chair combo units with NO RUST, NO DENTS, and NO CHIPs for free - and there were several more, plus highback computer/desk chairs and other odd and end furnishings. I was told they were happy to pass the items on to those that would find them useful instead of having to destroy them -

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pesto on the Cheap

If you buy all of your pesto ingredients at the grocery store to make homemade pesto, then you are going to pay premium price, but there is another way.

1 - grow the basil yourself. It costs $1 to buy a pack of basil seeds, and you can just put it in your flower bed and take care of it with the rest of your flowers, and you end up with way more basil than you and your neighborhood could ever use

2 - grow your own garlic. Buy a bulb from the grocery store, and plant a couple of the cloves (again, in your flowerbed) - look up specifics on drying and storage for your area so you don't get rotten garlic. One bulb produces roughly 15 cloves and each clove produces another bulb, so you may never have to actually purchase garlic again

3 - pine nuts. This is the toughy - you can do one of 2 things - buy them in bulk to save the moolah over time, or go find some pine cones and harvest them yourself. This can be done, but it is a little labor intensive. However if you have the time, go for it - make it a job for kids looking for something to do.

4 - Olive oil - unless you know how to press it yourself, just buy it, and get a good quality.

Put basil leaves (4 cups unshredded is a good place to start), 2 garlic cloves, and 2 tbsp pine nuts in a blender and blend for 20 seconds on pulse. Then, drizzle in the oil from the top of the blender (through the hole made for that purpose, not with the lid completely off) and pulse the blender at the same time until you reach the desired consistency. Easy smeasy - and you can vary it how you like: add in another herb, use a different nut, salt, pepper or cayenne for flavor, add parmesan cheese, etc, etc - have fun with it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guest Post - Soap Non-Slip

Hey, ladies. I'm going to share a totally stupid and purely accidental tip.

You know how, in the bathtub/shower, you always have a hard time keeping the soap in place? Well, I do. So you buy those stupid metal holders that rust or the plastic holders that get all gross and mildewy ...right?

All of you have long hair, I know because I know you :). So, spend $3.00, get yourself a dozen ponytail holders with the elastic no-slip grip on them, and put one on the shelf of your tub. Sit your soap on top of soap, no mildew, no rust.

Works like a charm. :)

Courtesy of Jodi

Thanks Jodi - MommyB

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shred cheese

My family loves shredded cheese. We use cheddar & mozzarella mostly. I usually buy the bag kind when it is on sale. But sometimes, the bag stuff will start getting moldy before we can use it all. It is nearly impossible to seperate it to be used. I recently found block cheese cheaper than the pre-shredded cheese. So, I broke out the cheese grater and got to work. I shredded into a large bowl, then divided the cheese into smaller portions to freeze. This way I can not waste cheese, and I don't eat the added cellulose- whatever that comes in the pre-shredded kind to keep it from sticking. I find that my frozen doesn't stick together, even without additives!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Homemade Febreeze

Homemade Febreeze

1 - spray bottle (usually about 22oz)
water to fill bottle to about 90% capacity
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 oz liquid poppouri (sp?)

Mix in spray bottle and enjoy!

**You may be able to add more baking soda, but I haven't tried this yet and I want to make sure it doesn't leave a powdery residue. 1 tbsp won't, but I'll try 2 next time. I want the additional odor absorbing power but not the residue. You could also use less or even no fragrance if you wish, depending on your preference. let me know how it goes

****Don't forget to write on your bottle what it contains******

Monday, July 20, 2009


I'm going to assume that we are all familiar with the distinctive taste and smell of nutmeg. In the winter it reminds us of pumpkin pie, sweet potatoe pie (in the south anyway) and cinnamon buns. I personally don't use it very often, but I've found other wonderful uses for it such as homemade cake doughnuts, cream sauces, spice cakes and fruit based breads (ie banana, zucchini, etc) and muffins.

Ground nutmeg can be purchased at the dollar tree for $1, and it's fine for awhile, then you have to replace it because it does lose it's flavor. Well, I do something a little different that is worth it in both taste and money.

First of all, I have a nutmeg grater - these tools can be purchased anywhere from $1 to $40 depending on how fancy you want to get. I personally have a Microplane nutmeg grater that I got for about $5. And I buy whole nutmeg. Whole nutmeg is literally the whole nut - dried. You get about 10 in a little glass jar for about $3.50.

I have had my nutmeg for 2 years now and I'm still grating on the first nut (I'm about halfway through it). You see, when you grind your own nutmeg, you don't get the flavor loss issue because your whole nuts don't expire and each time you use it it's a fresh grate. It also takes less because fresh grated has more explosive flavor than powdered. The smell is also phenomenal, and has a subtle sweetness to it.

Come to think of it, I bet if most of you checked your kitchens, you probably have a nutmeg grater, or some variation of it in your home already, maybe as just a plain old box grater - one side of it has very tiny compacted protrusions that most people don't have a clue what to use it for - so use it for nutmeg.

But please don't tell me you've paid $40 for a nutmeg grater - that's just not a 'money saving mommies' thing to do :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Homemade Pancake Syrup

A few months ago I posted "Homemade Pancakes", well, now I'm posting the syrup recipe to go along with it. I actually just finished making this for my family and they gobbled it up.

1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup or 1/8 tsp maple extract
other flavoring as desired

Put the water, sugar and vanilla (and any other additive you chose) in a pot and boil rapidly while you make your pancakes. When your pancakes are done, so is the syrup (about 5 minutes of rapid boiling). It will be a little thin while hot, but will thicken when cooled. We actually prefer it hot though since the butter on the pancakes tends to cool them down. If you want it cooled - do the syrup before you do the pancakes so it has a couple of minutes to cool down before using.

Makes about a 1 1/2 cups syrup


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make your own deodorant

This is taken from an online article in Health in High Heels.

I've been looking for good, healthy deodorant for a while now, but came to the conclusion I wasn't going to find one that I like for a good price and with a great smell that didn't let me!

I have to say I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I definitely will be.

Here is what the woman wrote:

"Ok, the super simple recipe: Get out a little container. Mix in equal parts (I use about 1/3 cup each) cornstarch, baking soda, and coconut oil. Drop in two drops essential oil. Let it sit outside in the sun, on your heater, or melt it on the stove (gasp) by placing the container in a little hot water.

Stir it up, and if your coconut oil was solid at your room temperature, let it harden up and just scoop a little out to use it. If your coconut oil was liquid at your room temperature, you can put it in the frig and try to scoop a little out each day. If refrigerated, it tends to get too hard for my liking so I devised a Dixie cup applicator. Go to your mother's house and borrow a little Dixie cup from her bathroom dispenser. Then fill it with the mixed up liquid deodorant and let it harden in the frig. Tear the paper down and apply just like your stick deodorant. You'll likely have to store it in the frig during the summer. Play around with it to see what works best. If it melts and separates, just stir it up and refrigerate again."

If you try this please post a comment and let us know how it turned out and if you have any tips or hints for the everyone else. Can't wait to hear! Have fun & happy "cooking"!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Homemade Bagels

This is one of my very favorite recipes, and if you're really crafty, you can also make your own pizza bagel bites out of these (just make them much smaller). You could also wrap the dough around a hotdog prior to boiling for bagel dogs.

Bagels: Boil:
6 ½ cups bread flour 2 tablespoons baking soda
2 cups water 1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons yeast Topping:
2 tablespoons oil (I use olive) 1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar (I use honey) Other: poppy seed, sesame seed, salt
1 tablespoon salt (I use kosher)

*Combine bagel ingredients but only 4 cups of the flour in a bowl and stir until well combined
*Add in another cup of flour and stir (this should get pretty difficult, that’s normal)
*Turn dough out onto kneading surface (table, cutting board, etc)
*Knead dough while adding the last flour about ¼ cup at the time until the dough feels “as soft as a baby’s bottom” and is not sticky at all (it may take a little more or a little less flour, that’s okay)
*Oil a large bowl and put dough ball into it and roll it around to coat it. Cover with a warm damp towel and put in a corner to rise until doubled (about an hour). Then punch down
*Knead dough ball for just a couple of minutes to get the air bubbles out
*Cut or pull apart into 4oz sections (about the size of a small yellow onion)
*Working quickly, and doing one section to completion at a time . . . . .
*Roll under your palm on a kneading surface until the ball is smooth, then Poke a hole in the middle with your thumb and work the dough from the hole until it is the size of a small bagel with a slightly large hole then immediately place on a cookie sheet
*Boil Water in a pot with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt
*Boil each bagel for 30 seconds on each side then remove promptly
*When all bagels are done boiling, brush them lightly (starting with the coldest first) with a raw egg that has been beaten in a bowl. (This will help the bagel get a brown chewy crust)
*If you care to add toppings such as kosher salt, poppy seed or sesame seed, do it now
*Bake at 400F until done (about 15-20 minutes)
*Allow to cool before cutting into

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Olive Oil

I am always in the pursuit of personal care items that are more natural, and less, well, chemically-concocted. So, I was doing a little 'green' reading and came across an interesting idea - olive oil as a body moisturizer after bath instead of lotions (which are a myriad of chemicals anyway). So I tried it, and I love it (and no, I don't smell like and italian restaurant all day).

So, what you do is take a shower or bath, then, while your skin is wet (or in other words, before you towel off) rub a little olive oil in your wet skin. That's easy. How much? I use a dime sized amount for each arm and a quarter sized amount for each leg and my torso. Just rub it in well before you towel off and that's it.

I don't have to continuously remoisturize, there are no ashy elbows or knees, and the 'heavy' oily feeling (not really heavy, feels about the same as if I just slathered on lotion) only lasts about 5 minutes, then it's gone.

And yes, I use plain old olive oil like for cooking.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


This is a newer thought for me, and I mean stockpiling as being a more intense effort than 'stocking up'. Our economy is not better than it was just 6 months ago, and I have been thinking that it may be wise of me to create a stockpile in case of even more difficult times, especially since we are a single income family.

Creating a stockpile does not need to take up a ton of space nor a big investment. For our family, I plan to dedicate just $5 a week to creating our stockpile. I plan on placing the items in different places around the house, like in the back of closets or in other storage areas where the items will #1 be out of the way, and #2 not be used just as routine items. I also will list them items (like a log or an inventory) of where the items are, what they are, how many and the expiration date (so I can rotate items out seasonally and nothing goes bad).

As a side note, does anyone know how I can post any of my listing/recording keeping documents to share - I can't figure it out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweetened Condensed Milk

I had to make Key Lime Pie today for supervisor lunch and I thought I had a can of sweetened condensed milk, but I was wrong. So, I went searching for a good substitute and this is what I found:

The best make-your-own version is to mix 1 cup of evaporated milk
with 1-1/4 cups of sugar in a saucepan, heat and stir until the sugar is
completely dissolved, and let cool. If you don't have evaporated milk on
hand either, you can make your own by slowly simmering any quantity
of milk in a pan until it reduced by 60%, and then adding the sugar.
This was easy and it worked really well - plus the evaporated milk is about 1/2 the price of the sweetened condensed per can.

*****let it steam for a little while so it can thicken - -about 10 minutes********

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise

Yesterday we were going through a few things we would need at the grocery store and hubby mentioned we were out of mayo. I wrote it down on the list, but then remembered I had a recipe to make my own!

So, I decided to whip up a batch to save a few dollars! Plus, I love knowing exactly what is in my food!

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Mayonnaise (Yield: 2 cups)

1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I omitted this)
3 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used canola)

Put egg, salt, sugar, mustard, paprika & vinegar in blender. Cover & blend for a few seconds. With blender still running, add the oil very slowly. Blend until thick and smooth.

Note: you can substitute pasteurized egg substitute for raw egg for pregnant women or elderly persons.

Personal notes: This recipe turned out really well. It was a little tangy, so I think I'll play around with the vinegar and sugar. Next time I will use 2 tablespoons vinegar and add an extra teaspoon of sugar.

Hubby is pretty specific about his mayo and how his food tastes and he approved this, so it was success. No more buying mayo for me!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Playpen sheets

If you have small ones, then you have probably had a pack n' play, or some other brand of playpen. If you need to use sheets with them, as I do, you know how expensive this can get! I had 2 of the store bought sheets, but one of them got ruined. At $7 to $15 each, I didn't want to have to buy more. I rummaged in the linen closet and found an older child print twin size flat sheet that did not match anything. (You could even buy a new sheet or fabric, and this would still be cheaper than buying the packages ones!) This was just right to to turn into 4 new sheets for my playpens! I just used the old sheet to mark my sizes on the "new" fabric. Then I just copied the old sheet style to fold the corners & sewed them tight! It took me less than 1/2 hour to cut & sew it. Four new playpen sheets that are nice & tightfitting for nearly free!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Koolaid Cake

No, that's not a type-o. The cake mix most commonly on sale is yellow or plain, and Kool-aid packets (the little ones) are about 4 for $1. Well, if you want strawberry cake, or orange cake, lemon cake or even the lemon-lime flavor, just add a package of Koolaid mix to the cake (2 if you want a really intense flavor and color) during the mixing and bake as usual. The Koolaid mix doesn't alter your recipe because it adds no liquid and very, very little dry volume. If at first glance you say "but Kool-aid has artificial dyes," then I would encourage you to look at the flavored cake mix box - theirs are artificial too. Besides, you don't have to flavor every cake, just have a little fun with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Home Garden

A home garden can save you some $$$.

You can grow so many things, and can store some for the winter if you know how (or are willing to learn).
Share your seeds and /or seedlings with friends. (Thanks Mommy B!)
Reuse items. We are using an old trampoline enclosure for the trellis to our beans. Our tomato cages are being re-used from previous years. Some of the plants I bought were buy 1 get 1 free because I started them a little late for the season. Our weed blocker fabric wil be reused for probably 2 more years.
Fresh is best!
If you grow your own produce, you know exactly what has been done to it (important if you like all natural & organic goods), and can cost a lot less than at the grocery store.
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Washcloth

Here is an underestimated tool. Laugh all you like, but here me out. Have any of you ever purchased a pouf? You know one of those plastic fluffy shower scrubber things - well, if you look at them closely, they do not have protrusions to create a 'rough' surface that is needed for good exfoliation like the loofah has. The washcloth on the other hand, has tons of them, and since they are soft, they do less damage than the loofah - and all you have to do to make them work is, well, wet them, apply soap, use a little bit of pressure and a circular motion and then you have it - exfoliation. And I didn't even mention the fact that they are a wash a reuse item. The pouf is supposed to be replaced every 30 days (about $25 annually), and it's a massive germ magnet because it's not designed to be tossed in the washer on a regular basis.

Oh and by the way, you probably already have washcloths, so you don't actually have to buy anything, just use what you already have :) Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's better than ice cream?

Why, free ice cream, of course!

Oh yes!!

Go check out the Walmart website and put in your zip code to make sure they are participating in Free Ice Cream Day. Then get your bottoms over to your Walmart on Saturday, May 30th between 11am and 4pm and enjoy!

Just don't miss it! It's Saturday, May 30th only!

Monday, May 25, 2009


This is actually pretty versatile. I make mine with shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, onion powder, salt, mayo, cider vinegar, sugar, salt and celery seed. Coleslaw is based on cabbage which is cheap, but also, since it is not a cooked food, you get the health benefit of both the green leafy cabbage and the orange carrot raw which keeps it's nutrients intact.

My basic recipe, and I do modify for fun pretty much every time

2 heads cabbage (any variety you like - or are given)
1-2 carrots (depending on how much you want in there)
2 cups may0
1/4 cup cider vinegar (you can try varieties here, could be fun)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

Mix the mayo, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and onion powder in a large bowl. taste it after you mix it to see if you need to make any changes because remember, this is the dressing and it's easire to modify before you put the slaw in it than after - trust me on this!!! After you get it right (and please writed down what you changed as you did it so you don't forget). Shred your cabbage and carrot and add it to the bowl and mix well. It's best if you refrigerate it for at least an hour so all the flavors can mix, but if you don't have the time, it will still be great.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Teaching Tools - Placemats

In Wal-Mart, KMart and most Family Dollar or Dollar General type stores you can get laminated place mats to use not only to keep your table a little cleaner at lunchtime but to help get an educational point across to your child. They make them with the alphabet, numbers, planets, presidents, colors, shapes, cursive letters, addition, subtraction and even multiplication tables. They are about $1 each and are very handy.

If you can't find one to fit your needs, here is a frugal alternative: Create an 8x11 document with the information your child is studying on it, decorate it with colorful fonts and graphics, print it off and laminate it yourself (if you have a machine). This gives you a little more versatility with the information on the placemat and the child can help you create it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Response Letter From Harris Teeter

Thanks for your email and for taking the time to respond to your shopping experience. Our pricing program during the summer months/peak season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) in this store will in fact differ from other stores; as the store is so much different than our ?regular? stores. This store during the summer months will have great prices on summer items all summer long to support the need of the thousands of vacationers.

Great prices on summer items, great service, fresh products and clean stores are how we will best meet the needs of our summer customers. Concentrating on these areas will enable us to spend less time/labor changing prices every week and allow us to put our efforts on great service, fresh products, and clean stores to get our customers in and out of the store and back to the beach in the fastest way possible.

During the off season as the market changes to mainly serving our local customers, the Outer Banks store(s) will be on the same advertising program as the other stores in the nearby area.

We are truly appreciative of all our shoppers and find our pricing program flexible enough to meet the needs of all customers.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns. I hope this letter gives you an understanding of our pricing program and how we plan to meet the needs of all our customers. I hope your enjoy your new Harris Teeter and we are able to meet your shopping needs.


Harris Teeter Customer Relations
Reference: #873005

- so, in essence, they understand that I was not excited about their decisions, but they are justifying it with catering to the vacationers - I guess us local folk will be important again after Labor day

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I was at Sams' Club today and was looking at the prices of meat. Chuck roast was 1.98 per pound and ground beef 80/20 was 2.48 per pound. So, I am going to try something new tomorrow - I am going to dice up the chuck then grind it myself. I already have the food grinder I have just never used it for meat. I'll let you know how it goes. If it goes well, I will have saved .50 per pound and instead of a 'mystery mix' of meats for ground beef, it will be all chuck, or round or sirloin or whatever I want. You could also do it for turkey, chicken or pork. You can grind veggies with the food grinder for sauce making if you have folks in your family who want the benefits of homemade sauces, but don't like chunky vegetables. I can live with making sauces smoother so my hubby is happier. He doesn't mind veggies, he's just not into chunky sauces. What else could I use a food grinder for?

5/18 - I did the ground beef today - very easy and it looks much better than the store stuff. Took all of 10 minutes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Free Coupons

I recently emailed a few companies to ask questions about where the produce for their products comes from, 2 of them were Welch's and Florida's Natural. Both of these companies mailed me coupons after I got their email responses. It pays to ask a question.

BTW both companies' products are grown, harvested, processed, packed, shipped and are sold right here in the USA.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Frugal Friday - Harris Teeter

There are a few things about this store that make it a good frugal choice:

1) Double coupons every day and triple every month or so

2) 5% discount for seniors every Thursday

3) Sales on their organic merchandise

4) Their discount produce cart is almost always available, the produce is not already rotten to the core when it makes it there, there is usually some organice choices on the discount produce cart, The discount produce is cheap, and it gets emptied within a day so that the same old stuff isn't there day after day after day

5) Repeat #4 for their meat section

6) Variety - there are so many brands and variations to choose from it will make your head spin. Why is that frugal? Because the more options you have for eating at home, the less likely you are to just say "Forget it, I'm going out"

7) Ready to take home food. They have preprepared chicken, sushi, mac & Cheese, wraps, chicken strips, etc so that 'take out' can be a little better for you and probably cheaper than sitting down at a restaurant

8) Products made in the USA. What in the world does that have to do with frugal? Easy - take apple juice for instance. Did you know there are only 3 brands that I can find that are 100% made in the USA? Murray's out of Roanoke, Virginia; Floridas Natural out of FL and Martinelli's out of either PA or NY. Buying made in the USA means that the growers, packers, processors, shippers, distributors and retailers are here in the USA, so buying from ourselves is keeping ourselves at work and having a job gives us the money we need to be frugal with in the first place.

9) Eggs - 2.97 for 2 1/2 dozen - a good frugal food

10) Open 24 hours - this lets you pick a time to go without the kids because we all know that when you take the little ones, they get bored, we get tired and we rush and don't take the time to look at the options and get the best deals and selections (You don't need 2 hours to grocery shop, but a good hour without bored kids every once in a while may be a good idea

11) They give away groceries for a year every week for VIC card holders (see website)

12) Promotions, I recently got $50 in gas cards from them for spending a certain amount of money ( like $50 a week for 6 weeks or something like that). I was going to spend the money anyway, so it was nice to get the $50 in free gas

Take a minute to look around, there are frugal deals to be found everywhere, it just takes a little know-how.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Frugal Friday - Math Manipulatives

Buttons. Plain and simple, bright and fancy, you name it, you can have it. Buttons can be found or purchased dirt cheap and used as math manipulatives with you homeschool curriculum or if you just want to teach you child how to count items, group items by size, shape or color. You can even use them to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication and simple whole number division. My son likes to take items like this and use them to make letters. Have a wonderful and button smart day!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I love this stuff. I really try to go low chemical and low odor in my home (youngest child has milk asthma), so this stuff works well. Yes, it has chemicals, but not too many and there is very little smell. It's also been around for about a hundred years, and YES!! it cleans wonderfully!! Sinks, tubs, microwaves, grout, toilets, toaster ovens, faucets, and so much more. Plus the best thing - IT"S CHEAP!! It costs only about a buck a can and the can lasts a looooooong time!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Frugal Friday - Envelopes

You know how every piece of mail you get nowadays comes with it's own envelope, well do you just toss the envelopes? Save them! Use their backsides to make lists, plan meals, doodle, brainstorm, let the kids draw, or just use them as envelopes. No matter what you do with them, they were free for you, they have already been made into a piece of paper, so you might as well use it instead of throwing away that perfectly good piece of scrap paper to reach for a piece of 'pretty' scrap paper that you paid good money for - Remeber, every penny saved counts, especially if it's not a painful way to save the pennies!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring has sprung, and so have sprouts!

Vegetables are one of those things that elicit 2 types of reactions: yum and yuck - mostly dependant on your age group. If you are one of those people who likes to serve veggies to your spouse, your kids, yourself and pretty much anyone else that comes along, try growing a few. I planted a few things in my flowerbed right along with my flowers last year and had a great return. For instance I had 3 grape tomato plants, that probably cost about $2.50 each, but it yielded at least 600 tomatoes over the course of about 3 months. Now, in the grocery store a pint of conventional grape tomatoes is about $2.50, and the organics are about $4. Each pint is worth about 40 grape tomatoes. So, let's do the math:
  • 3 plants at $2.50ea yielded 600ish tomatoes = 200ish per plant (.013 each tomato, about 16 per week for 3 months in the summer)
  • 1 pint at $2.50 = 40 tomatoes (.063 each tomato)
  • A tomato plant in the Southern US will yield fruit for about 3 months
  • 1 pint of tomatoes a week for 3 months = $30
  • 2 plants that produces for 3 months = $5.00

You can save about $25.00 by having 2 plants that produce during the summer, plus you make your plants as organic or not organic as you want depending on the water and fertilizer you use. If you want to go even cheaper, plant the tomatoes from seeds inside about 4 weeks before the last frost - then you get probably 20 plants for about $1.50 - you'll be giving away tomatoes! Or better yet, let your kids open up a front yard produce stand and you can sell the surplus and teach your kids about money. I personally also planted basil, rosemary, parsley and oregano in my flowerbed because the cost of 1 plant is generally equal to the cost of 1 of those little plastic prepaks of the same herb, so if I just use each plant one time I'm even, if I use it twice or more, I'm saving money already. And as an added bonus, my rosemary, parsley and oregano have survived the winter to give me a second year of fresh herbs!!!

This year, I have also planted green beans, broccoli, mixed lettuce, greeen leaf lettuce, spinach, green onion, chives, cilantro, and bell peppers. My husband is going to till up a portion of the backyard so I can have a small garden to work with the kids. We'll both be learning this year, but I think it's a good lesson for both them and me. If you can't have a garden due to space and or time, go for just a couple of herbs in some flowerpots, they'll be easy to maintain, and give you lots of savings since fresh herbs are so expensive anyway - more bang for your buck

PS - If you're local, I'll be happy to give you some clippings of my own herbs for you to root and grow yourself. I'll also share a few sprouts if you want to pot something.

***If you feel intimidated by the thought of 'gardening', please don't. It is not that hard - but start small. I think most people feel like failures over this because they start too big or too complicated. Find something you like - maybe tomatoes and green beans and just plant 2 of each to start. Next year, you can go onto some more adventurous stuff. You need the encouragement of having a few plants do well in order to gain the confidence to work with many.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mascara Remover

A few months ago, I was reading a book entitled "Cheap Talk with the Frugal Friends" and came across this tip - it's a great one.

If you wear mascara and want a macara remover that is easy, effective, safe for your eyes, clean rinsing, nonirritating and recommended by pediatricians - (drum roll please) - baby shampoo, especially the tear free kind. The cheap brands are about $1 a bottle, but if you have sensitive eyes, I would go ahead and splurge on the $4 per bottle brand - it's gonna last you a long time anyway!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Put a Lid on it

I mean that literally. If you need to boil water, make tea, or pretty much anything that is heated on the stove (except frying and one or 2 other things) put the lid on the pot/pan. When you put a lid on your pot, your liquids reach their peak temperature faster AND at a lower energy level. I have a gas cooktop, and what normally simmers at a 3 now simmers between 1.5 and 2 with the lid on. Boiling water boils faster, but make sure you don't forget it's boiling or you may end up with spillover. So, save your time and your energy dollars (electric/gas) and put a lid on it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let nothing go to waste *edited*

I was peeling oranges yesterday and it got me thinking. How many times have I tossed the peel? More often than I would like to admit to!

So, I started thinking about all the things I could do with the peels and I did a google search. Here is what I came up with.

1. Put peels and water in a pot. Then put it on the stove and simmer to release a (hopefully) pleasing aroma.

2. Pet deterrent. Rub the orange peel on the leaves of your plants and animals shouldn't bother them. They don't like the scent.

3. Insect repellent. Rub the peel on your skin for an all natural, healthy alternative to commercial repellents.

4. Sugar softener. Brown sugar a bit too hard? Toss a peel or two in with the sugar and it will soft in a few hours.

5. Orange oil. This one is by far the most interesting to me. For the full details you can visit this site and it will give instructions as well. I think I'll be doing this over the next few days!!

For more ideas you can visit here and here. Or you can google "orange peels" (or some variation of that) and you'll see the ideas pop up before your eyes!

No peel will ever be tossed by me again!

edited: I needed to make laundry soap this morning (see this site for homemade laundry soap recipes) so I decided to add several orange peels to the soap/water mixture just to add a nice, natural scent. So far it seems to working pretty well. It's cooling right now so I won't really know until later on today or tomorrow. I'll keep you posted though.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Redbox *updated*

If you like to rent movies, but are trying to be frugal....try redbox. We have 3 of these redboxes in my area (at grocery stores). They rent movies for $1 per night...and no membership or subscription fees. You can rent at any box, and return at any box. The best thing to me is the opportunity to have free rentals. When I signed up, they emailed me a code good for one free rental, and I have found some free-movie monday codes listed online, so potentially you could get one free movie a week (if the free monday code continues). This is about all my family would have time for anyway. You can use the online page to see what inventory is available in each box (each box varies), and you can reserve your titles from your computer...and pick it up when you run your errands.

(Apparently, there are weekly free codes emailed to you as well...I'm still pretty new to this, so I haven't personally recieved one, yet.)

* Update...I got the email for the free monday movie code...and it worked have to sign up in a different spot for the free code email*


My husband and I resisted temptation like crazy mad people this weekend. We borrowed a friends Wii to try, and of course we enjoyed it. So, later that same day, hubby offers to let me run free for a few hours while he has the kids (yay for me), so I go first to wally-world then to a myraid of other spots. Well, I look at the Wii's then the Wii Fits and I'm just uneasy about dropping that much dough on a game. Then I go to kmart - out of Wii, then yesterday we go out of town for church and went to their local wal-mart - no wii. By this time, we were not only okay with the fact that there were no Wii's to be bought, we were a little giddy - and then when considered the fact that we had just saved about $400 smackers, we shared a kiss of joy.

There are still a lot of activities you can do for cheap or free - do them instead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


If you have never looked this up, I highly recommend it. Freecycle is a group whose philosophy is to recycle and reuse, share, and oh yeah, it must be free. No bargaining, advertising or trading is allowed. You offer something up, people contact you that are interested, and they come pick it up. You can also post a want or need and if someone has that item, they contact you and you pick it up. And it's FREE!!! Locally, I have seen dishes, clothing, food items, furniture, paint, shipping supplies and tons of baby items go around. I have even seen plants and cuttings go up for grabs - what an excellent way to have a garden with lots of variety and very little overhead. so, search for your local freecycle chapter and let the free fun begin!!

And did I mention it's FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why choose ramen?

I am not a fan of ramen noodles. When I was a kid, I loved them all, every salty flavor. Of course I am also a chip lover, but I have been appalled at the price of chips lately - over $2 and sometimes oer $3 a bag. Ramen noodles are about $.11 a package, and cook in about 3-4 minutes in the microwave, and you don't even need the special microwavable kind, the plain plastic wrapped kind will work in a microwave safe bowl with water in it. Plus, the ramen noodles are filling. I'm not saying it's a healthy snack, but it is a cheap snack that most teens will eat, and remember that chips are not a healthy snack either.

Personally, I would prefer a slice of homemade whole grain bread and some sliced cheese, and yes, that is healthier, but the title of this blog is 'money saving mommies' so I have to keep the ideas in context

If you show a teenage boy how to microwave his own ramen noodles, he can safely do it himself and take care of his own snack attacks - and teenage boys have lots of these, and they can get expensive. So, pass over the chips and try some ramen instead, and save a big chunk of change.

If times get REALLY tight, and if the economy gets worse, it may come to that, then you could feed a family of 4 on ramen noodles for about $1 or less, depending on everyone's appetite. (I'm not recommending people start doing this on a routine basis, but I do know that sometimes when disaster strikes people feel like they are at the end of their rope and they don't know how they will feed their families, this is just an idea if you have only a buck or 2 to spend for food for a few days)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Plans, Planners, Planning

I love those three things. I love everything from looking at the selection of planners at my local Staples (and trust me, this could take an hour, easily), to picking out the color, opening it up and taking a whiff of the fresh paper, thinking about how I could use each and every section, etc, etc. Then I look at the price tags. My goodness. Oh my goodness. I do not want to spend $15-$50 on a planner. I can't do that, that's crazy. I have heard people say "Yes, it's expensive, but it can do this, this and this and organizes this, this and this for me." FOR me? When I see a planner get up off my desk, grab my papers, file them in itself (neatly of course), and scribble down my appointments, deadlines and inner thoughts - THEN it might be worth $15-$50. But it otherwise doesn't DO anything for me because I still have to do the work! So, of course I have a money saving solution from the same Staples store, on the same day:

1" 3 ring binder= $.60 on clearance (ugly gray, but who cares)
1 ream 92 brightness, 20lb copy paper = $3.92
1 full package HP printer ink= $35

Now that's enough materials to last probably 5 years of printer planner related stuff. Of course I'm not going to use the whole package of ink just on that, but let's say I just use 10%, that would still only be $3.50. And I'm really not going to use all 500 sheets of paper on planner stuff, but if Used say 25% (125 sheets - still a bit of a stretch), that would be a whopping $.98. So right now my total comes to $5.08. Not too shabby.

Now all I need is a good website. Well, that is the easier part. has ton of planning related printables including calendars of all types free to print, just browse around for a little while and you'll see them.

The main Microsoft Office Templates site allows you to browse through tons of free printables too, some are in pretty colors, some in black and white - find something you like and looks useful.

Organized Home has nice calendar and planner printables in addition to cleaning, organizing and pretty much any checklist you can imagine.

Of course you can google what you want like "Free printable planner pages" or whatnot. In the end, if you can't find exactly what fits your needs, but have lots of ideas you can start up your good ole' Word program and make what you want tailored to your needs with columns, sections, colors, checkboxes, or whatever else you love!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I am not a huge body and facial scrub user - not because I don't like it, just because it can irritate your skin if used too often and there was a point in my life that I felt like I had to use it every day because it made my skin feel super-soft. Unfortunately after 2 weeks, my super soft skin was red, itchy and irritate - even my moisturizer burned. So I cut back to about once a week for my face and whenever I can remember for my heels. Okay, so maybe that was a little personal to share, but anyway -

There are several things you can use for scrubs without having to break the bank for the fancy smelling-good kind (especially since the scent doesn't last very long and you generally lotion up anyway. The most common one i see is: place fine granulated sugar in a screw top jar (about an 8-16oz flatter, squattier shaped jar - something like an empty chicken base jar - and oh yeah please remove the label and write scrub on it) up to about half full, the fill with baby oil until it reaches the base of the neck of the jar. Put the lid on and agitate until mixed. It's ready to go. If you like it thinner just add more baby oil, if you like it thicker, use less

However, the most interesting one I have ever heard of came from a comment left on this blog on Sunday evening:

zolocafe said... I also use coffee grounds as a bath scrub. Instead of buying fancy scrubs (which I love), I have a moisturizing soap bar that I coat in the coffee grounds and scrub my needed areas. It really makes my skin feel soft. Although it does look messy, it rinses off cleanly. My DH thought I was crazy! BTW, don't fill the bathtub with water, do it in an empty tub or shower. March 1, 2009 8:06 PM

I never would have thought of that one, but what a clever idea! Think about it - the high dollar moisture creams claim 'skin brightening' and 'lifting' effects, but most of them just contain some caffeine - so why not just get it for free from a good source of caffeine - coffee!

You guys rock!! Keep the ideas coming!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Frozen Milk Review

The milk did fine - and I could not tell that it had ever been frozen. So, the next time I went to the grocery store I picked up an extra gallon to freeze. We hate running out of milk, and now we don't have to, which is good because a lot of the homemade things I make require milk.

BTW - the milk does turn a light yellow color when frozen, I don't know why, but it turns creamy white again when thawed. Strange, but true.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Friday

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade . . . . Who hasn't heard that one?

My household is going down by 7.5% due to payroll cuts at hubby's job (hey - at least he still has one). So, I need to cut my variable expenses by about 10% to compensate. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you already are trying to be frugal to keep costs low, an additional 10% can be a real challenge. So that's it - a frugal challenge

10 ways I can cut 10% off my variable expenses:
  1. turn down the thermostat about 3 degrees
  2. eat more beans & rice
  3. negotiate a trade for services (the lady that cuts our hair like my homemade poundcake so instead of money I give her a cake in exchange for haircuts - makes our hair cheap to maintain), I wonder if the man down the road with hens would trade cake or bread for eggs?
  4. increase my use of the crockpot instead of the oven or range
  5. do I really need half and half for my coffee or can I get by with milk?
  6. discover more ways to cook chicken and ground beef since I have a ton of both
  7. cut out all prepackaged food (I generally keep a few things around in case of emergency so we didn't have to order out - but I guess this emergency means I won't buy any more)
  8. stay away from the stores - why even bother going if you don't have the moolah to spend
  9. more pb&j for lunch and less grilled cheese
  10. try to go meatless 2 days a week instead of 1

I welcome other ideas. I already make homemade bread, pancakes, waffles, sauces, etc. I also use my clothesline and make homemade laundry soap and my own household cleaners.

What's a mommy to do?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baby Wipes

Have you ever thought about how many baby wipes you use in a day? 10-20? More? Well, I was discussing this issue and the associated cost with my mother and her statement was "We didn't have baby wipes when you were a baby, we just used a wash cloth and washed it in the maching with the rest of the laundry." Well, I try to do that now. I will admit, I do keep the baby wipes around for a couple of things - car trips and poopy diapers. I do break out the washcloths at home and use those for a pee diaper though. So, now I only probably a third of the baby wipes that I used to. Baby wipes are not expensive, but why not save the penny where you can because you may need it somewhere else.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leftover Makeovers

There are several fast and yummy ways to get rid of your leftovers without them resembling the original meal AND only doing your major cooking chores about 3 times a week (for those of you not in love with cooking!), you just have to throw a little more (not alot) in your original pot. 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 and garlic bread

The rest of your week can be transformed like so:

  • Wednesday chicken fajitas with spanish rice (Sunday's chicken cut up with peppers and onions and seasonings added - plus leftover Sunday rice with chopped onion, garlic and seasonings added, and a few tortillas),
  • Thursday beef stroganoff from the leftover pot roast adding egg noodles, mushrooms, sour cream and seasoning, veggie medley on the side as is or you can add a little cheese sauce
  • Friday's meatball sub - just add cheese and a bun(or use your garlic bread), with a salad on the side
Salad components are generally stored separated anyway 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, stir fry, casseroles, homemade pizza (any style), soups (add a few beans for protein and filler).

Get creative, and let me know some of the things you do to stretch your meals out - I need new ideas too!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Using Energy

This is probably going to be a redundant thing to most moms, but let's just say that sometimes I'm a little bit behind. Anyway, I realized today, while getting the things together for roasting some chicken leg quarters, and making some white rice to go with it - instead of roasting the chicken in the oven, and cooking the rice on the stove or in the microwave, why don't I put the rice and other rice cooking ingredients in a dish with a lid (like a corning ware or pyrex type dish), put the lid on and stick it in the oven with the chicken. This way instead of using electricity for the chicken and gas for the rice, I use the same amount of electricity for both the chicken and the rice at the same time. I'll let you know how it goes.

Better late than never :)

Friday, February 20, 2009


For you cost-wise folks out there...Kmart is getting ready to have a double/triple coupon promotion. Starting the 22cd until the 28th, they will triple coupons up to .75 and double coupons from .76 to 2.00. I've never used this shopping opportunity before, and am not real familiar with what Kmart might have cheaper than my normal shopping. But, it could be a bargain! (I'm not sure what other restrictions might be...I'll have to wait to read the fine print later~when I get the sale paper). Have fun saving!

Homemade Muffins

In the grocery store, the name brand ready to make muffin kits are about $2. Here is the homemade version that I like to make:

Homemade Muffins

Preheat oven to 400

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (I use home milled whole wheat)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil

mix dry
mix wet
mix together
pour in muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes (watch it, my oven cooks a little faster.)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Free is good

I just love free stuff! Especially when I get to try free samples of products I already love or haven't tried, but want to!

Those of you who know me are aware of my love of coffee! I drink it throughout my day, and even at night! Fortunately caffeine does not keep me up!

So, I was excited to see an email in my inbox from talking about a new product. It was an instant version of their already delicious coffee. (Normally I don't like instant anything because I think of all the stuff they may have put in it, but we're talking coffee here!!) It gets better because I can get a free sample!! Go here to get yours! I can't wait to see how it tastes!

Also, I signed up at for a catalog and they send you a sample of their tea. I received it the other day and the sample included was for green tea! I started looking at their catalog and the items in there are so cool and definitely not free. It was fun to browse though!

There are other good sites to get free stuff and you would be surprised how much you can stockpile. One last site is at

As with anything, just be careful what offers you sign up for. Any offer that "requires" you to go through a lot of steps or sign up for multiple offers in order to get your free product isn't worth it. Trust me. I tried once and was bombarded with spam email for the longest time. I eventually changed my email and made my old email address my junk email. Now I don't see the junk. Only the free stuff!

Have fun "shopping"!

Beating the Electric Company

Electricity is costly - and it's going to get worse, and if you lose your job that just throws another monkey wrench into the whole thing. Start getting into the habit of conserving now and watch your electric bill come down.
  • turn off the lights if you're not in the room or if it's daytime (everyone needs this little reminder from time to time)
  • unplug your electric appliances (mixer, toaster oven, coffee pot, hair dryer) when not in use because they actually do use little bits of electricity when they are not on (and if you have small children, they find a way to turn them on without your permission)
  • hang some clothing to dry. If you do not have a clothes line, can't have a clothes line, or just don't want one, but have a spot somewhere then hang a few things up to dry. Thicker, harder to dry items like sweatshirts and jeans take the most dryer time to dry, so that's where you can get the most bang for your buck. It will take a little longer to dry than outside unless you put it over/under a heater vent. If you really want to be constructive, get a piece lof alundry line and a small bag of clothespins from the Dollar Tree and do like I did my first year - string a line up from window to window or around the posts of my spare bedrooms 4 post bed - or even your own bedroom (I wouldn't do it in the kids' room though). The string from the dollar tree is about 100 feet long, so you can furnish yourself with a few small clothes lines here or there.
  • put ice in your freezer if it's not full. What I mean by that is, take empty plastic jugs and fill 4/5ths with water and put it in the freezer. This helps keep your food cold and reduces the amount of time your freezer runs. It'll also be there for when the electricty goes out and if you need the ice jugs to pack your sam's freezer bag for a trip
  • If you're not home during the day, turn off your computer - this also helps prevent hackers into your system - it's not like you're using it when you're not there anyway
  • turn down your hot water heater to 120 - you don't actually need to burn yourself silly to get a hot shower
  • CHECK YOUR BILL for accuracy, and for extra charges. Just this month, dominion has added a $22 fuel charge for my area - call and complain about superfluous charges!

Happy Saving - and remember, why give your hard earned money to the electric company when you could be keeping it yourself.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Freezing Milk

I will admit that I have never done this. However, a mom in my homeschool group says she does this routinely so she doesn't have to pack up her 4 small children just to go to the store for more milk. She also says she uses about 4 gallons of week, so that's a lot of going to the store.

According to her, she buys a lot of it from Sam's when she goes because it's cheaper there than anywhere else and she just pops it into the freezer, she doesn't take the top off or pour any out at all and had never had an explosion issue. I am going to try this, and I'll let you know.

She also says she just takes a gallon out at night and by morning it's almost completely thawed and she just puts it in the fridge to finish.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Dryer Sheet Alternative

This one was emailed to me by my friend and blog-follower Jodi

Instead of using dryer sheets (I ran out last night), put a couple drops of hair conditioner on a clean washcloth and toss in the dryer with your laundry. Worked like a charm.

There is lots of creativity to be discovered.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Going the Way of Cloth

Cloth diapering was, for millenia, the only way to diaper. Disposable diapers weren't 'born' until around the 40's or 50's (from the info I can find), but still didn't gain real popularity until the 70's. Nowadays, most parents use disposables for convenience, or so they think. So let's touch on this a second.

First, pee diapers - When you change a disposable, you throw it away; when you change a cloth, you throw it into a laundry basket or diaper pail. Either way, you have to throw it somewhere and it takes about the same amount of energy.

Second, poop diapers - when you change a disposable, you have 2 options: dump the bulk of the poop in the toilet and flush before you toss it in the trash or just toss it poop and all in the trash. when you change a cloth, you dump the poop in the toilet and toss it into the pail or basket. Not a whole lot of difference there, I mean we're talking 30 more seconds of work per poopy diaper which is usually only a couple of times a day.

Third, money (everyone like money to some degree) - average cost of a pack of size 5 diapers (30#) is 9.99 (unless you get a sale, then it's more like 7.99) - you know what, we'll go with the 7.99 figure for this since this is a money savers post and most of us are not paying full price anyway. So, the price per diaper at 7.99 is .28 per diaper (7.99 + 6.75% tax = 8.53). The average for a new package of Gerber 6-ply diapers (6#) is about $12 or 2.14 each (tax again). So the startup looks pretty high, especially since you really need about 2 dozen for a good startup other wise you're doing laundry daily. So, we'll use 102.72 for 2 dozen 6-ply cloth diapers. Pins are usually $1 for a pack of 4 - and you can only use 2 at the time so you don't need more - I mean you can't really lose something that's actually on the child all the time. Anyway in 1 year of disposables at .28each x 6 a day (a very conservative figure) = 1.68 a day x 365 days in a year = 613.20 per year. Okay now cloth: 102.72 +1 for pins= 103.72. Okay, if you only wash diapers together 3 days a week and you pay for water, the water use is about .04 per load (check your area), the electricity about .05 and the store purchased detergents are about .15 per load = .72 per week x 52 weeks = 37.44. If you homemake your laundry soap, that goes down to about .02 per load or .06 a week x 52 weeks = 3.12 per year. If you line dry - there is no additional cost, if you dryer dry, that's about .15 per load (again, check your dryer and your local rates)= .45 per week x 52 weeks = 23.40. So, let's compare:
  • disposables = 613.20 annually (for conservative diaper use)
  • cloth with line drying and commercial detergent = 141.16
  • cloth with line drying and homemade laundry soap = 106.84
  • cloth with dryer drying and commerical detergent = 164.56
  • cloth with dryer drying and homemade laundry soap = 130.24
  • cloth with line drying and homemade laundry soap (after 1st year, assuming you don't have to buy anymore diapers = 3.12 the second year (boy that's a lot better than 613.20)

Fourth, the environment. Do I really need to go over this?

A few things to consider:

  • If you add cloths to you collection, add an additional $2.14 per diaper added to your figure
  • If you use a more expensive brand of cloth, add for that too
  • If you homemake your cloth diapers from scrap material, just use the cost of the material instead of the 2.14 per diaper
  • If you buy from ebay or thrift store secondhand, use that cost

Under all of those circumstances, the cloths come out cheaper by far. Most moms today say cloth is too hard or too messy. I used to say those same things until I used them. The first couple of times were a little difficult, but after about my 3rd or 4th diaper change, it wasn't hard at all, and after about 1 1/2 weeks, it was like second nature.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cheese Please!

I am one of those people who loves to make homemade - well, everything. When it comes to my mac & cheese, that is homemade too. I used to buy medium cheddar and use it in my bechamel to make a nice cheese sauce. The problem was that it took nearly half a bar (4oz) to get the cheese flavor where I want it. So I have been watching my food tv and tried something new. I purchased a block of extra sharp cheddar to use in my sauce instead of medium cheddar, and it took only about 2 1/2 ounces to get my cheese sauce flavorful and yellow - yum! Medium cheddar and extra sharp cheddar cost about the same, and I only needed about half as much!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Some of the Deals

Okay, so here is a breakdown on some of the coupon deals I got at Harris Teeter this morning:

Clabber Girl Baking Powder - 1.99/can - 1.65 (.55 tripled coupon) = .34
Wacky Mac Veggie Spirals - 1.59/bag - .20 VIC savings = 1.39 - 1.50 (.50 tripled coupon up to price of 1.39) = FREE
Suave body Wash - 1.97/bottle - 1.50 (.50 tripled coupon) - .47
Land o lakes Buttery Spread - 2.39/small tub - .40 VIC savings = 1.99 - 1.65 (.55 tripled coupon) = .34
Dannon Light & Fit yogurt 6pack - 2.50/6pack - 2.25 (.75 tripled coupon) = .25
Cottonelle Ultra toilet paper - 3.89/4-double roll pack - .89 VIC savings = 3.00 - 1.50 (.50 tripled coupon) = 1.50
Betty Crocker Frosting - 1.99/tub - 1.50 (.50 tripled coupon) = .50

That comes to: $3.40!!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Triple Coupons for 4 Days

Harris Teeter is offering triple coupons for 4 days (February 5-Feb 8). The couponing rules can be found here. Scrap up as many as you can and you can walk out of there with a lot of free stuff. The biggest thing is that the face value has to be .99 and under in order to be tripled. But that's okay, most coupons are only about .50 which makes them worth 1.50

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Aloe Vera Gel

This stuff has been around as a sunburn cure for ages. I have a ton of it, and in an effort to find a good use for it in order to use it up, I tried something new that worked REALLY well. . . . I used it in place of shaving gel. I noticed a couple of very specific things about it; it clings to the skin really well so that the shower water doesn't rinse it off as easily, it moisturizes at the same time, if you nick yourself you get instant first aid, it's cheaper per oz than the gel you get made just for shaving that has aloe vera gel in it, it's safer in case you kid tries to give it a taste test, LESS RAZOR BURN!!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Coupon savings

Last night, I purchase 2 packages of Loreal Featherlash Mascara from Rite Aid for a grand total of 23 cent, and 3 bottles of hot sauce from Harris Teeter for 18 cent.

What in the world? Easy. Rite Aid had the mascara clearance 75% which made them 1.98 each and I had 2 $2 off coupons. harris teeter had the hot sauce on sale for $1 or less each, and I had 2 coupons for 50 cent each and they double coupons. so I only paid tax last night.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pay too much for phone service?

I thought so too, but I figured I had the best deal for what I needed. At least without buying into all the gimics of free service, low cost phone service, free long distance and every other "promise" that was out there.

So, when my dad called and said he just ordered a "jack" that will essentially give him free phone service I was skeptical. However, being the thrifty, "save some money" person that I was I couldn't resist looking into it.

About 10 minutes later I ordered one too. It came with a 30 day money back guarantee. How could I lose? I ended up paying $39.95 for the jack and about $6 for shipping.

I cancelled my phone service through Comcast and have been using the magicJack for approximately 6 months now and really love not having a monthly phone bill. I can make long distance calls, I have caller ID and call waiting, 911 capabilities PLUS it's portable. That means I can unplug the magicJack from my computer and carry it with me if I'm travelling. All I need is a high speed internet connection and a regular phone with a jack and I can and receive calls. It keeps the same number and everything.

The best part is the service is about $40 - $50 per year.

I can definitely vouch for it though. All you do is hook up the jack into a USB port on your computer, follow the instructions on the screen for set up, select your telephone number and start using. One thing about the magicJack is that the computer has to be on to be able to make and receive calls. It wasn't a problem for me though since it's on during the day anyway.

The only drawback to mine is it won't connect well with my desktop, so I have to plug it in to my laptop. No problem except that I have a cord or two that I have to watch out for if I'm sitting on the couch. I think the reason it won't work on my desktop is because I have work programs on it that interfere since I work at home.

Anyway, that is my money saving tip for today!

It's definitely worth checking out!
For more info on the magicJack you can click on the link.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Broth

This is too easy to make. Take any leftover chicken you have (skin, bones, grease, little bits that did get eaten), put in a crockpot, fill to within 1" of top of pot and set on high overnight. In the morning, take the pot out of the cooker, allow to cool, refrigerate until the fat hardens, skim it off, then package in 1 cup increments in the freezer. Or, fill ice cube trays with the stuff, and pop out the cubes and put them together in a bag - you'll have about 1 ounce of broth per cube. This uses up pretty much any value left in your leftover chicken carcass in a productive, cost saving way. PLus you know what in it!

That's the basic, here's the specifics
*If you only have a few little bones and skin (not a whole chicken), either use a smaller crockpot or only fill half full of water otherwise your broth will taste watered down
*You can add onion, celery, carrot, herbs, whatever you want for taste, I personally like it plain
*If visible bits of sediment in your broth bothers you, run it through a coffee filter over a clean pot, that should take care of any bits and give you a clearer broth - but do this while it's hot because the broth tends to thicken when cold
*If you've never done this before, it's an easy and almost free way to experiment - the crockpot does not use much electricity, it's only a few cups of water and you were going to have to toss the chicken carcass or bones anyway.
*Putting the chicken grease from your initial cooking in the pot is only for the purpose of flavor infusion. when you refrigerate the cooled broth, it will harden at the top and you'll easily be able to remove it for a virtually fat free broth.
*Swanson is about 1.50 a can and still contains some ingredients that I don't know what they are.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Giving up paper plates

Self-explanatory, right? I'm trying a new thing to save a few $$$. I'm giving up my paper plates.

A bit more about me, and why: I am a mom. I have three children and a husband. For my work, I have a childcare in my home. I have 4 children enrolled. I hate to do dishes. anyone could see that paper plates were saving me a ton of time. But I am picky...I didn't want the cheapest paper plates, because they get all soggy and food soaks through. And I didn't want foam, because I felt that was really bad environmentally (never researched...just my thoughts). So I liked a particular type of plate that cost between 30-45 cents per plate (depending on sale pricess, package size, etc). but when I looked at how many plates I was gets scary. 3 to 6 for breakfast, as well as lunch, 5 days a week. Thats a lot! And of course, because they are in the cabinet, they were usually used for dinners and weekends. Thats a ton of trash and $$$! I'm giving them up! Yes, I'll use a bit more dish soap and water...but not much compared to what was wasted before. It might take a little more time, too...but I'm already going to be washing the cooking utensils and pans.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dryer Sheets (or sponges in this case)

Take some of your liquid Fabric Softener (if you use it), pour it into a recloseable tub (like a used and cleaned butter/spread tub), then add twice as much water as you did fabric softener. Take 4-6 kitchen sponges (cheap kind), cut them in half and put them in the tub with the liquid and cover. When you put your clean clothes in, take a sponge out, squeeze most (but not all) of the liquid out and pop it into the dryer to tumble with the clothing. I've tried it, and now it's a regular thing for me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Homemade Pancakes

I love to make homemade pancakes for my kids. It's much healthier than the box stuff for a few reasons: I mill my own flour, so the pancakes are always fresh & whole grain; real eggs, real milk. The recipe is as follows

1 cup all purpose or fresh milled flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp veggie oil (you could probably substitute melted butter)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (not in the standard recipe, but I like it)

Mix dry
Mix wet
Mix together

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Travel Food

I don't personally care for eating in the car - it's messy, crumbly, drippy and cramped. But when you are traveling 8+ hours as we recently did - it's a necessity. The worst part about traveling that far is that the last thing you want to do is increase your travel time by stopping and eating in a restaurant, so what do you do - you get drive through. And the worst parts about drive through - it's devoid of any nutritional value and we still pay money for it. So, on the way, I planned something quick, easy, and relatively less messy. I made chicken salad and brought some crackers for hubby and I, and the kids had cheese slices, raisins and apples. They like the smaller apples because they can handle them pretty well themselved. And we drank water or had juice boxes for the kids. The cost of all of that - maybe $4 (less than the cost of 1 value meal and much healthier). If you know me well you will probably think 'juice boxes? but they're more expensive!' Yes, they are. However, having a few juice boxes handy beats trying to fill a sippy cup while riding in the seat (not that we havent' done that before - it just gets messy at times), and is worth the extra cost to save the mess and spills.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reuse - and be creative

I consider myself a moderately frugal person. I shop sales, I reuse, I reduce my waste, I trim the budget, I don't eat out, etc, etc. Tonight I had some free time so I looked up a favorite topic of mine in relation to my frugalness - reusing. I love to look at something not only for it's face value, but for the potential it has past being what it is. For instance, I look at today's jar of spaghetti sauce and see tomorrow's dry storage for bulk-purchased rice. I can look at today's cereal box (which we rarely have nowadays) and see tomorrows standing filer. Today's used coffee grounds are now being saved (in the freezer) to be reused in the spring in my flowerbed as a fertilizer enhancer (hope my herbs like Dunkin! - BTW, I did not realize this was a possibility until tonight, apparently this is an old trick from back in the day that now in this penny stretch society is coming back to light). My empty milk jugs store extra sugar, extra rice, clothespins (after being modified slightly) and even small dried beans. Why pay money for Tupperware and Rubbermaid (both of which can leach nasty carcinogenic chemicals into your food anyway) when Ragu and Classico give you sturdy glass jars for free. If you decide to keep the plastic off of your food - please don't toss the plastics, just use them for you non-food items like buttons, craft supplies, crayons, q-tips, cotton balls, safety pins, paper clips, etc. Have great day!

Homemade Cleaners

I make a homemade all-purpose cleaner for my kitchen out of water, white vinegar and lemon juice (16oz water, 2 oz white vinegar, 2 oz lemon juice). Today, I am going to try something new, I have made a rosemary infusion (cutting fresh rosemary leaves and boiling them in water for about 10 minutes then turning off the water and letting them steep for a little while) and using that in place of half of the water in my all purpose cleaner. I'm trying this for 2 reasons: 1) rosemary has antibacterial properties and 2)white vinegar can take your breath away sometimes. Plus I have 2 very prolific rosemary bushes so it's not going to cost me anything. I'll let you know how it goes!

***Review - okay, the infusion did not have an overwhelming rosemary fragrance, in fact, it had more of a medicinal/piney/woodsy scent. It was not an unpleasant scent, nor was it overpowering (not like pine-sol). I had no problem mixing it in the cleaner and using it. It did cut the vinegar scent some, but not completely out. All in all, the mix now smells woodsy/vinegary clean, which doesn't sound to swell, but it isn't bad at all. I can't wait to try a few more. Experiment with the free stuff***

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free, reusable bag at Stop n' Shop

Just in case you have a Stop n' Shop (also part of Giant) near you...

They are giving away one reusable shopping bag per family when you present your store card at checkout. Make sure you bring the bag up with you and the cashier will credit you. This goes until January 31st. (I'm not sure what the availability is and if every store is offering this, but it's worth a call just to see)

I use them all the time because they hold more than the plastic or paper bags and they have large enough handles that make them easy to carry! Love them. Love saving. Love free!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eye Glasses

Hi everyone! My name is StephG and I am honored to be posting along side Misssnippity and Mommy B.

One thing I dread when I go to the eye doctors is getting my glasses prescription (RX) and then feeling like I have to browse their optical shop for a new pair. Not that I have anything against optical shops, but the prices are pretty outrageous when you're working with a budget. (This is coming from someone who has worked in the "eye" business for over 12 years!)

Imagine my delight at finding Zenni Optical. An online optical shop with absolutely amazing prices! Now, I was slightly skeptical at first, so I did some research and digging. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were thrilled with their service and quality of their glasses. The frames start at $8.00 and they have many options including anti reflective coating which cuts down on the glare you see on someone's lenses. Plus, the shipping is $4.95 no matter how many glasses you order!

Now, it just so happens that my step daughter had an eye exam about a week ago, and is in need of a new pair of glasses. So, I decided to go check out their site. Miya chose the frames she liked and I just ordered them today. It was so easy and I have a pair of glasses coming in about 2 weeks that I paid $28.95 for. Total. Including shipping.

One thing to remember when ordering is that you will need a copy of your current glasses RX and it must have your PD (pupillary distance) on it. If your RX doesn't have it then you'll need to call your doctor and have them give it to you. (The PD is the measurement in millimeters between the center of one pupil to the center of the other, so technically you could do this yourself if you had a mirror or someone to help you)

Definitely worth checking out if you are in need of a new pair of glasses or even a back up pair!

We should have Miya's glasses in a couple of weeks, so I'll be back with an update of our service, time frame, and satisfaction with the finished product.

Happy saving!

Free Suave shampoo-today Jan 14th only

You register at the link above to get a free coupon by mail for suave shampoo.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stretch your ground meat

Specifically, ground beef (ground chuck, sirloin, whatever you choose), but this idea might work well with other ground meats. I always add some "filler" when I make meatloaf, meatballs, or hamburgers. I throw in about a cup of oatmeal and half a cup of wheat germ with the spices (instead of bread crumbs). This helps make the meat stretch farther, and I like to think I'm tossing in a small health benefit as well. You can also use grated carrots or other "on-hand" veggies, like zucchini, onions, etc...too! (I, unfortunately, have a picky eater in my house that does not tolerate veggies, or I'd pull this trick more often!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

College Books

Hi everyone! I am Misssnippity, and I have taken Mommy B up on her invitation to post some money saving ideas. My first post is something that is dear to my heart right now, as I am still in college. Ask around to see if anyone you know has the books you need. Check bulletin boards on campus if you are close! People may be willing to get rid of books for cheap. Unfortunately, I couldn't find what I needed this time. If you ever have to buy textbooks for you, or your not just take the price offered by the school bookstore. Do a little research and find out the ISBN of the books your professors require. Then, go to a site such as (my favorite) or a simple internet search of that ISBN. You can find the same books at a much better price! I saved over $100 dollars last semester (2 classes), and this semester's savings are about $50 (one class). This was on brand-new texts. You can sometimes buy used and save even more. The site I use shipped for free, and gave me a buyback promise, which was 50% of what I paid. They even paid for the return shipping!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I have opened up this blog to a couple of ladies who are also trying to live frugally during this difficult time in history. Should they accept, that means that they too get to share their ideas and ingenuity by posting along with me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Storage Space

Okay ya'll - I know that at times I go overboard and at other times I am slow - I just take me as I am and laugh at myself occasionally.

First, I buy eggs at Harris Teeter regularly - I get 2 1/2 dozen for 2.97 (grade A large). Well, they come in a 2 piece clear plastic bin. After I finish the eggs, I'm keeping the bins to plant and sprout some seeds for my garden this year. 1 package of seeds is about $1 whereas one plant is about $2 - plus the planting and sprouting lessons are great for the kids homeschool botany lessons (okay, so a modified botany lesson since they are 2 & 4). I am planning to use one of the bins to organize my jewelry too (I don't have enough to justify purchase a box unless I see a good one at a yard sale, so for now this will do fine). One pair of earrings per well, one necklace per well, etc, etc.

Okay, number two, at the dollar tree they sell those little plastic organizer bins in several colors and sizes. I have some of the largest ones (about 13x10ish) doing different jobs around the house and yesterday I had a thought - how about using them for my messy freezer (yeah, I know some of you are WAY ahead of me on this one - duh). So, my seal-a-meal sized 'sleeves' are now nicely filed in a bin insead of falling down all over the place in my freezer causing clutter and taking up much needed space. Yay!

Third one is great, and it was my hubby's idea not mine. Do you guys love the dry erase board as much as I do? I really love them, but I hate the idea of paying $10 a pop for a good sized one. So, one day at the Home Depot, my hubby spotted a 8ftx4ft sheet of it for (drum roll here) $12. Holy cow! So, we bought it. It is very easy to cut down to whatever size you want and you can put it in an old photo frame, have hubby build a frame around it out of spare wood bits or you can just hang it up bare edge. You can have a different size piece for each room if you want. We used a chunk to top the boys play table so they can draw race tracks or rain tracks on it, I had my husband build a frame for a custom sized fit by the kitchen where I now write down my grocery list, shopping list, to do list, ideas list, meal plan, a notes section, hubby's to do list, things to keep my eyes open for list and pretty much whatever my little heart desires. Oh yeah, we still have a big chunk left he's going to hang up in the classroom as my teaching board. All for $12 and scrap wood. I love my husband's creativity.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bouillion and Bases

I love to use these in place of boxed chicken, beef or veggie broth. They cost a lot less per serving and they take up less space. I personally use the Better than Bouillion brand of all natural and organic bases. If you don't mind the MSG and other non-prounounceables, go for another brand and save yourself some cash.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The candle with staying power - or at least reuse power

I had a good idea today. I was putting away Christmas decor and it included some old candles. So, I'm trying something. I melted out the little bit of wax in the jar, dumped it and then cleaned the jar and voila! A new storage canister!

*****update - I ended up using it to store a snack - homemade granola. The airtightness seal on the candles canisters is so much tighter than on a food grade one (who knows why that would be) and my kids can't even get it open (maybe that's why). But it works great and would probably hold small amounts of things like beans, rice, brown sugar, etc. pretty well. If you buy the 50lb bags of rice or oats like I do, you can use one of these to keep a small amount handy and keep the rest in a cellar or pantry for longer term storage.