Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Frugal Week

Staples recently sent me a coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase. Not wanting this freebie to go to waste, my daughter and I stopped in there yesterday to use it. We ended up with a package of colored filler paper, heavy duty packaging tape, and some one touch tape strips as well. I ended up paying $1.39 for these items, so not bad at all. 

Panara Bread recently sent me an email letting me know that my rewards card with them had a free bagel on it every day in February. So far I have taken advantage of it three times choosing a cinnamon raisin bagel each time. What a great reward.  :)

My first bagel...

IGA has a sale on Hillshire Farm Little Smokies this week. They are priced at $2.00 per package. 

We were lucky to be able to get the five packs pictured here. The cashier said they had been sold out earlier in the day and when I went back the next day they still did not have any more. 

These will make for some inexpensive dinners. I've already made pigs in a blanket with them one night for dinner this week. 

Here are a few cleaning products I picked up for $1.00 each this week. 

Two bleach tabs for the commode and a package of eight scouring pads. 

I always cut these scouring pads in half and then into quarters and usually into eighths to make them last longer. These will last me well over one year using them this way. 

Here is a man after my own heart. 

Someone posted this picture on Facebook of a customer buying eggs at our local Aldi where they were on sale for 99¢ a carton this week.  The man has twelve cartons of eggs in his cart. Like I said, a man after my own heart.  :) 

How was your week?

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Friday, February 5, 2016

Down to Earth Blog

Rhonda over at the Down to Earth blog has the type of blog that I think my readers will enjoy. She believes in the power of her own home to live a simple life, which allows her to avoid needless spending and acquisition. Here are three links to a series that she wrote that I think you will particularly enjoy. 

Reducing the Cost of Living Part One

Reducing the Cost of Living Part Two

Reducing the Cost of Living Part Three

~ Living within my means ~

Monday, February 1, 2016

January End of the Month

Saturday breakfast was sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits, strawberry or grape jelly, hot chocolate, and orange juice. 

$142.56 was the total amount I spent on food in the grocery stores in January. 

Of course, we had a lot of food left at the beginning of the month from the holidays and we have a well stocked pantry, so those things helped me to keep a lower grocery bill this month. 

I mostly shop the sales as you can see from my shopping trips. I buy enough to last us a while and that helps to keep my grocery bill lower. 

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Kmart Rewards Program

Unfortunately our local Kmart is one of those on the chopping block and will be closing this spring. Everything is 30% off right now, so I decided to go and see if there was anything that we needed. 

Kmart sells the Joe Boxer socks in the longer lengths for people with larger shoe sizes. My daughter is very tall and needs the longer length in order to fit properly and I've always bought them at Kmart. 

The night before I shopped I went online to the Shop Your Way Rewards website to look at the coupons and found one for $10 off a $30 clothing purchase. I went ahead and added it to my Shop Your Way rewards card just in case. 

When I first went in the store I thought to myself, "Good Grief!" They must have raised their prices before they marked everything 30% off", because the prices I was looking at were high!

Eventually I was able to find the socks I was looking for and purchased three packages of them. I also found her two shirts in her size and a Rubbermaid one gallon pitcher. 

When I got up to the cash register, my total came to $32.27 and I had forgotten about the $10 coupon I put on my card, so I was pleasantly surprised when it took $10 off my purchase. 

Then I asked the cashier to apply my Shop Your Way rewards balance to the total, which took off another $5.65. My total ended up being $16.62. I came home with 15 pairs of socks, two shirts, and a pitcher. Not a bad deal at all! :)

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Friday, January 29, 2016

We made it to Friday!

I was able to work all five days of school this week for which I'm grateful. 

I have a Tightwad Horror story to share with you today. One of my daughter's teachers asked her to help clean out one of the cabinets in her classroom today. She had bought some new items to replenish her stash and needed to clean it out before she brought in the new stuff. 

She asked my daughter to throw out a box of 50 Natures Valley Sweet & Salty granola bars. She wanted them thrown out because they expired this week. Of course, my daughter wouldn't ask for something like that and did not want me to ask. Her feelings always come first with me. 

But I was sick hearing about this as I'm sure they were still good, and there are hungry students at school who would have eaten them. :(

Before we headed home from school for the weekend, we stopped at IGA to run in and get one of their sale items. They had eggs on sale for 99¢. There was a limit of four, so I bought four cartons. What a great price.  :)

I also stopped and filled up my car with gas and paid $1.53 a gallon. I am enjoying the lower gas prices, but have to wonder what is going to happen down the line due to the lower price. 

I read the other day that many of the oil companies in the US are filing bankruptcy because they cannot make a profit if oil falls below $60 a barrel and it is at $28 right now. 

We came home and I scrounged around in the kitchen and pantry to come up with something for dinner. 

We had some Old ElPaso kits with tortilla boats that we bought some time ago very inexpensively using a sale and a coupon.  

So, I made some Mexican rice in the rice cooker and then heated up some chili beans. I then cut up and put out some taco toppings I had such as tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, cheese, and avocado. 

I layered the bowls with rice, cheese, beans, and then whatever toppings that person wanted and served these with a side of corn. They were a big hit with my family.

I just improvised and made these with items we had on hand. The kit still has hard shell tacos, sauce, and taco seasoning in there that I will need to use up at a later time. 

After dinner I washed up the dinner dishes and also washed out my lunch bowls and baggies that we used today. They are drying on some chop sticks right now. 

I buy the freezer bags when I buy storage bags as they are heavy duty compared to regular sandwich bags or even regular quart size. 

I did some calculating the other day and these bags cost me 6¢ each, so by washing them out I am saving almost 25¢ a day (2 in each lunch box). At the end of the month that is almost $5.00 I've saved, which adds up to a savings of $50 at the end of the school year.  

I've also been wanting to mention these peanut butter jars I've been saving. I bought all of these on a very good sale using coupons. They are the 15 ounce size, but the jars are so great that I've been using them in my lunch box. I packed cucumbers and my homemade ranch dressing in one the other day for lunch. They are the perfect size for a lunch box and also very sturdy. 

How was your week?

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


On Monday after school/work I ran to Walmart for some items. There were several things, like eggs, that I looked at, priced at $2.79, and then left on the shelf because the price was much higher than I have been paying at other stores. I'll just wait until I am somewhere else that has them cheaper. 

For those of you that are still having to pay high prices for eggs, I found the following chart from Ordinary Vegan that you may appreciate. 

One of the reasons I went to town was to get carrots from Aldi. They had carrots on sale this week priced at two pounds for 59¢ each, so I stocked up and bought ten bags. 

After we came home Monday, I heated up two of the Salmon Patty plates I made up on Sunday. It gave me a good feeling to know that we ate food here that did not cost me any additional money. 

Dinner on Tuesday was Cheese Enchiladas, which is one of my daughter's favorite things to order whenever we eat Mexican food. These were super cheap to make too. 

My friend gave some string cheese (free) she wasn't using, so I decided to take some corn tortillas (60¢) and wrap them up, cover them in enchilada sauce ($1.18), and made cheese enchiladas. 

I made twenty of them  in all and they cost under $2.00 for the whole batch.  Even if you had to pay regular price for the string cheese, this would be an affordable dinner. 

On Wednesday I went to Fresh and Low and I'm glad I did. They had the reduced rack of produce out. 

I was able to get one bag of cucumbers, one bag of colored peppers with an avocado inside, and one bag with two pints of blueberries in it! All of these were $1.00 each, which was such a great deal.

I also picked up  sour cream ($1.29), bread ($1.00), 3 baking potatoes ($2.02 or 67¢ each), 2 bottles of Italian dressing on mark down (99¢ each), pepperoni ($2.50), mozzarella cheese ($7.76),  and eggs ($1.59 each). I'm glad I did not buy the eggs at Walmart for $2.79 on Monday. 

These things that I do to save money are not magical or even new for that matter, but they save me money when I do them consistently. 

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday 1-24-2016

Dinner tonight is Salmon Patties, Potatoes & Carrots, Green Beans & Onions, and a Vegetable/Lima Bean Blend with a couple of Pickled Beets on the side. 

Afterwards I had enough to package up four plates for meals on other days this coming week. 

Today I warmed up both cars up to make sure they will start up this week and I brushed the snow off both of them. Since it was 20° last night we let our cats Big Kitty & Mozzie sleep inside the house. They were so content.  :)

We've stayed home this weekend due to the weather. We also stayed home several days this past week due to a holiday and weather again. As a result, my gas tank, which I filled early in the week is still sitting on full. Staying home does have its rewards. :)

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Snow Day

Welcome Saturday!

Breakfast today was leftovers of the fried rice I made for dinner one night this week.  Using up what I have on hand to save money. 

The snow did not amount to much here, around two inches at the most, which is what the weathermen were predicting for our area. We won't be going anywhere though as the area we live does not plow or salt the secondary roads, so they can be dicey to travel. We will be staying home safe and sound today. 

So what to do when you are stuck in the house with no where to go? Why make food of course. 

I have an abundance of oatmeal, graham crackers and peanut butter in my kitchen, so I made the following items today...

- Made & wrapped 17 Granola Bars

- Made Peanut Butter Bars

I also made Egg Salad for Lunches.

- Made Spaghetti and Garlic Bread for Dinner. There is enough Spaghetti left for another meal or two, so I may just make Baked Spaghetti with it for dinner tomorrow or dinner another night. 

We also warmed up with Hot Chocolate today.  

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday ~ January 22,2016

We went to school today and hadn't been there more than one hour when the principal announced that we would be dismissing at 1 o'clock due to the impending snowstorm. The students were so excited. :)

Once school let out my daughter and I headed to town, ahead of the snow, to run errands and head to Food City for their sale. It was a madhouse at Food City with people trying to get groceries before the snow came. 

I wasn't there to get groceries because of the snow, I just wanted two items that were on the Friday one day ONLY sale. I think I looked kind of funny with canned tomatoes and bleach in my cart when others were buying groceries to survive the snow, but that was all I needed. 

12 cans tomatoes (28 ounces) at 88¢ = $10.56
2 jugs of bleach  (64 ounces) at 99¢ = $1.98
Total spent with Tax = $13.76

We made it home in plenty of time before the snow came. :)

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Earn with Swagbucks

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday ~ January 21, 2016

Lunch today was fried rice, which I made since I had a couple of bowls of rice in the refrigerator. I started out by browning onions, scrambled two eggs, added the cold rice, soy sauce, seasonings, and a package of stir fry vegetables. We served it with a choice of white or soy sauce. 

This lunch used up some rice that I had on hand, so I did not have to use any new ingredients, which helps me to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my resources. Using what I have on hand to make meals rather than going out and buying more food helps me to save money by not wasting the food we have. It is the little things like this that help me to stay on budget. 

$25 was deposited into my Paypal account thanks to earnings from Swagbucks. I also earned an extra $15.00 this week from my blog, so I'm ahead an extra $40 this week. 

My paycheck came this week and the first thing I always do is pay any bills that are due. In January I always have more expenses as this is the time of year when my auto insurance, license plates, and yearly insurance membership are all due in addition to the other regular monthly bills I have to pay. 

Those items were all paid in full this morning, then money went into savings, and what's left over is what I will use for gas and food until I get paid again. Paying the bills first gives me peace of mind and allows me to sleep better at night because I don't have to worry about having an unpaid bill hanging over my head. That is no way to live in my opinion. 

The weather looks good for us to return to school tomorrow and I have a job lined up, and I'm grateful after losing two days of work this week, three if you count the MLK holiday on Monday. Lunches are already made, the snow has been brushed off the car, the steps have been salted, and our clothes are laid out. 

After school I need to go to town and run by the bank, pharmacy, and Food City. They are having a Friday only sale on 28 ounce cans of tomatoes for 88¢, which is a great price. They also have bleach for 99¢. I plan on stocking up at that price. 

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee ~

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday ~ January 20, 2016

Today is a snow day for us here. The weather forecast is calling for snow to start falling around 7 a.m., so school was cancelled for the day. The teacher I was supposed to sub for texted to let me know yesterday afternoon, so unfortunately, no work for me today. 

We made the best of it though and stopped by IGA for some ground beef to make Chili for dinner. I bought this three pound chub of 80/20 for $4.77, which is $1.59 per pound, which is a pretty good price. 

I also bought corn (59¢), tarter sauce (1.79), skim milk ($2.99), sour cream ($1.69), eggs ($1.49), cheese ($1.77), and bread ($1.00), and one marked down yogurt (45¢). Some prices were higher because I stopped at IGA, which is where I was located at the time. I didn't want to drive farther (where I normally shop) to save money as the money I would have saved would have been spent on gas. 

Snow in the forecast is the perfect time to make chili in my opinion. My family thought so too.  So we hunkered down and watched the movie, The Lost and Found Family, while eating our bowls of chili. :)

Two other teachers have called me today for Thursday and Friday. That all depends on the weather though as it is a mixture of snow and sleet right now and the roads are icy and slick. And as luck would have it, they've already called school off for Thursday too, so maybe we will be able to head back on Friday. :)

~ Living within my means in Southern Tennessee~