Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Update from the Frugal Workshop


Thanks to Carol over at CT on a  Budget, I have fixed the crack in my windshield. She sent me a link to the video above, which used the Permatex windshield repair kit. 

The kit was $13 at Auto Zone and here are some photos of the repair I did. 



 The crack during the repair...


After the repair, it is not perfect, but looks much better and hopefully will prevent the windshield from cracking further. 


Looking through the windshield, you probably cannot even see the repair. I am very excited about this repair as I was very concerned about the windshield cracking further.


 So, thank you to Carol for suggesting this repair. I'm grateful because I did not know such a thing existed until she mentioned it to me. 

Carol also mentioned that I should put an ad on Craigslist for a free, working microwave, which I did, and we had a "working" microwave within the hour! 

Unfortunately, I think the move was hard on it because it did not work once we brought it into the house. It was an older model microwave (1984), but the lady who owned it took good care of it and it was super clean. 

We do have another person offering one though and we are in the process of making arrangements to pick that one up. 

So, I wanted to let you know of these updates and to thank Carol for making these great suggestions to me.  :)


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Frugal Weekend

We set up at the Flea Market again on Saturday this weekend. Doing so has really supplemented our income this summer and we will continue selling there this summer and into the fall months. I am very motivated by our success and plan to declutter relentlessly as a result.  
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Our microwave died this week. It had been dying over the last few months whenever we cooked something for an extended amount of time, but on Thursday night there was a small fire inside of it, so I have it in the car ready to take to the recycling center. 

Learning to do without the microwave will be a challenge, but we will be steadfast. I have no intentions of replacing it this summer.  I did use the big oven this week, but do not want to heat up the house anymore than necessary, so I moved our toaster oven over to the counter area where it will be easier to use. We will do whatever it takes to avoid replacing it this summer.
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My car windshield was hit by a rock this week when a semi-truck was passing me. My deductible on my auto insurance is $500 and won't cover this since I've not met that this year. My plans are to wait until I am working again before I replace this unless the ding becomes a big crack. 
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We continued to eat from home this week. Last night I took some Italian sausages from the freezer, cooked those, added leftover marinara sauce & pizza sauce, and combined those along with some penne pasta I cooked. I also added some mozzarella cheese, and served this with garlic bread. 
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We found a great deal at Dollar General stores this past week. We found spices on clearance for one penny each! We bought nine bottles of cumin and I was able to refill my Cumin bottle from Sam's for 9¢. We also found Oregano and Bay Leaves for one penny each. 


If you are interested in the penny items at Dollar General you will need to do your research. My daughter has done a lot of reading on the subject. I give her all of the credit for this great deal. 
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She has also been experimenting with making fruit leather in the dehydrator. She used a mixture of strawberry applesauce and bananas. 


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I've been working in the kitchen this morning making iced tea, squash casserole, bacon pasta salad, sandwiches for pool side later this afternoon, washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, and all the other little details that are essential to living the frugal lifestyle and living within our means. 

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Frugal Saturday

We've had a very frugal weekend here. 

We went to the flea market on Saturday and set up, and although it was slow, we did make around $40, which was enough to fill up both cars with gas, so that was a good thing. 


We found eggs on sale at the flea market also. Cartons of 18 eggs were selling for 75¢ each, which is such a great price. I bought five cartons and immediately came home and boiled two cartons in the Instapot and made egg salad. That will make for some terrific lunches this week. 


Sluggy aka Denise over at, "Don't Read This; It's Boring!" recently held a giveaway for the month of June and I was drawn as the lucky winner! She had the following items in the box: 

CeraVe Lotion, Stopain Topical Pain Reliever, Nivea Body Wash, Pantene Shampoo, Olay In-Shower Lotion, Colgate Mouth Wash, Ace Heating Pad, Colgate Toothpaste, Summer's Eve Wipes, AlevePM, Rite-Aid Toothbrush, Chloraseptic Cough Drops, Advil Sample, ExoDerm, and 9 yummy Lindor Truffles, which were sampled right out of the box! lol

So many great and useful things, I want to thank Denise for coming up with such a thoughtful giveaway. She is a sweetheart for doing this and I appreciate her so much. Be sure to go over to her blog and read about her amazing deals she gets from Rite Aid. You'll be glad you did. 


Dinner tonight was Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice. I cleaned out all the vegetables from the refrigerator, which included orange and yellow peppers, cabbage, sugar snap peas, yellow squash, cauliflower, and a can of diced pineapple from the pantry. 

I used the juice from the pineapple instead of oil to saute the vegetables. I added some onion powder and just a drop of sesame oil and some soy sauce to complete the dish. 

What's for dinner at your house today?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waste Nothing


Necessity means that we have to be very frugal right now and stretch every penny as far as possible. One common theme in our home now is to waste nothing

One of the items my friend gave to me the other day was frozen mashed potatoes. I thawed these in the refrigerator overnight and realized that they were watery, so I decided to see what I could do with those.  

I started by placing them into my stockpot along with some milk. Once that was warmed up I added some canned carrots (I am out of fresh), dried onions (out of fresh), and salt & pepper.

Once that was heated throughout, I decided to add some cheese. I wanted my daughter to eat this and I knew adding cheese would help with that, but the texture wasn't right. I knew she wouldn't like it the way it was, so I put batches in the blender to make it smooth. And it worked like a charm. 

My daughter had a bowl for lunch today and deemed the soup, "delicious!"  Success!

So, rather than tossing these out because they were watery, I doctored them up and made them into something edible for my family. And so we continue to use up what we have and not waste food.  

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, June 10, 2016

My Frugal Week

This week went by quickly! Here are some frugal things we've done...

- Earned $25 Paypal card from Swagbucks this week. 

- Earned $30 from Inbox Dollars this week. 

- The air pressure in one of my tires went from 30 to 15 in just under an hour one day this week and I knew I must have gotten something in it. 

I dropped it off at the auto shop where my brother-in-law works. He fixed it for me and didn't charge me for it. We tend to help each other out when we can. I recently gave him a twin size bed for his son who needed a bed. 

I'm very grateful to have him in our lives and also grateful that I didn't have to spend any money on this repair at a time when I am watching every expense. 

- Today I was looking through the Craigslist ads and found this...


- If you recall, I just stated the other day I was waiting for a sale or coupon on a haircut. Then this pops up on Craigslist. So, I made an appointment for both of us and we got our hair cut for free today. How neat is that? That saved us at least $26 plus tip. 

Be sure to check the free section of Craig's List where you live. You never know just what you might find. :)

My friend that occasionally gifts us with free food gifted us this past week also. We received multiple items for the freezer, corn on the cob, numerous baked items and bread items. 

I know in my heart that we have been blessed beyond measure and it especially feels so this week. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Frugal Weekend

- I sold three items on eBay this weekend, which will help towards increasing our income this summer. I worked it out this year so that I would have minimal costs this summer, and one of our biggest expenses is auto insurance. Any extra money I earn will go towards this expense. 

- We set up at the flea market again on Saturday, which is another step towards increasing our income this summer. We are going to continue to do this over the summer months. 

- Because of the flea market, we have continued to declutter the house and make money by selling those things we no longer use or donating them. I was able to fill up my car and my daughter's car with gas ($40) from what we made and still had money left. So I did not have to dip into my savings for these items. 


- We've been drying apples this weekend due to an abundance of free apples we received recently. These made a handy addition to our PB & J sandwiches this weekend. 


- Trimmed my own hair this weekend. I needed a haircut, but I don't want to pay for one without a sale or coupon, so I am waiting. In the meantime I have trimmed my own bangs and taken a little off the top of my hair and it feels so much better. 

- Found a book I had on my wishlist at Amazon at McKay's Used Books instead. Therefore, I did not have to put out any money, but traded for the book instead. The book is The Good Life for Less by Amy Clark. 

- We ventured out a little farther for groceries this week, and I was pleasantly surprised. We went to Kroger in Dalton, Georgia and found milk for $1.79 a gallon. Milk price here are always over $2.00 a gallon and closer to $3.00. Also, the clearance items I looked at were priced budget friendly. I will definitely be watching their sale flyers online weekly.

- I bought Sweet Italian Sausage for $2.99/lb at Kroger. 

- I stopped by a local farmer's stand advertising cucumbers, but they were sold out. He told me he had cabbage, so I bought one of those for $2.00, and he went to the field and picked it fresh. He also gave me a bunch of yellow squash just because. Wasn't that sweet? It will make a great side dish this week. 

Here is what was on our menu for the weekend.

Friday - $2.00
Smoked Sausage
Mashed Potatoes
Corn

Saturday - $4.25
Smoked Sausage 
Rice & Cheese with Broccoli 
Cucumber Slices 
Red Pepper Slices 
 
Sunday - $6.23
Spaghetti 
Italian Sausage
Steamed Broccoli
Garlic Bread 

Our dinners are inexpensive for several reasons. We have three family members here, but sometimes I am only feeding two people. Oftentimes I make a dish and spread it out over multiple meals. 

Oftentimes I buy groceries in bulk, especially sale items. Sometimes that means a meal will be repeated more than once during the month. I have no problem with that as it helps me to keep my grocery costs lower. 

The other day I took a 5 pound bag of potatoes that cost $2.00 and mashed them, but spread them out over 4 meals, so each meal I used 50¢ worth of potatoes. I don't always figure out the cost of each meal, but sometimes I do just for fun. 

That's how our weekend shaped up here. How was your weekend?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Do You Live Like a Typical American?

My daughter and I had to make a trip to town last week during lunch hour. I had just finished reading an article about how easily a person can spend their hard earned money by living the usual American lifestyle. I'd say spending money everyday for lunch on a fast food meal would qualify.

She and I had already eaten before we left home that day. Because we know eating the majority of our meals at home is  huge money saver. We do our best to save eating out for special occasions like birthdays, graduations, etc. 

My daughter was driving that day in town, so it was easy for me to look around and observe things. 


As we drove past multiple restaurants and fast food establishments, I noticed how many cars were parked there and even more so, how many cars were lined up in the drive thru. Many of them had cars backed all the way out around the building and up to the street. 

These days it is not uncommon for a drive thru to have two lanes. One local fast food chain is even remaking their drive thru to include two lanes. 

Even just buying drinks away from home can get expensive and vending machine drinks also add up. A stop at a fast food establishment for drinks can easily cost $2 a day or more. Add that up and it is $60 a month, which is enough in some cases to pay a bill. 


I know of a man who worked with my ex who would not buy drinks out. The EMS crews often stopped at the local convenience stores for drinks and snacks. He did not buy snacks or drinks at these stores. He would always buy snacks or drinks at the store  in bulk and then bring those items from home to save money. It's easy enough to do this if you plan ahead. 


How many people are buying drinks, lunches, and snacks at convenience stores who really cannot afford that convenience? Eating away from home definitely costs more money than eating at home or bringing your lunch to work. Are they paying cash, which could be earmarked for other essentials like gas or mortgage payments? Or worse, charging these items on a credit card they are unable to pay off in full each month?


Trust me when I tell you that I have no credit card debt. We do our best to live within our means and for us that means keeping eating out to a minimum.


Now, having said that I would also like to say that for some of you eating out does not present any problems. You have an adequate income, no debt, so eating out is not the problem it may be for some other people. I think that's great. We love to eat out! This post is meant to be helpful to those people who are struggling to make ends meet. 

Is eating away from home preventing you from realizing some of your dreams of home ownership or a new car? How many Americans file bankruptcy each year due to living beyond their means? And I am not referring to people who file bankruptcy due to medical bills, which can wipe a family out in some cases. 


People think they do not have the time to make meals from home, but how much trouble is it to make a sandwich the night before and stick it in the fridge? 


Len over at Len Penzo.com states...


The truth is, despite those ever-increasing grocery bills, for most people, brown-bagging a sandwich, piece of fruit, and carrot sticks or a serving of chips is less expensive than buying lunch — regardless if they’re at school or work.

You can check out Len's annual sandwich cost survey, which I always find interesting, here: 

Len Penzo 7th Annual Sandwich Cost Survey 


Just some food for thought this Saturday evening.  :)



Belinda
~ Living within our Means~
Earn with Swagbucks

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My Frugal Week

Frugal Things I've done this week include...

- We found more jeans that my daughter does not wear, so we priced them and listed them on Facebook. Seems like we are able to ask a little bit more for items on the local Facebook groups than we could get at yard sales or flea markets. 

- On Tuesday I cleaned out our freezer. I thought I was completely out of cheese, but I found a couple of bags of mozzarella cheese in the bottom of the freezer.  

- The flea market is letting sellers set up for free on Wednesdays in June, so my daughter and I set up that day. We did not sell much like we did on Saturday, but I found two great deals on food.

- We found a twelve pack case of Pringle's Tortilla Chips for $3.00 and a twelve pack case of Chicken Flavored Rice for $3.00.  Each item ended up being 25¢ each, which reminded me that we always need to be on the lookout for cheaper, more inexpensive sources of food.  The rice will definitely be used for inexpensive side dishes this summer.

- I went to the foot doctor on Tuesday because 0f left heel pain. The doctor diagnosed me with Achilles Tendinitis, three Calcaneal Spurs, and Plantar Fasciitis. He gave me a cortisone shot, Naproxen for pain, and physical therapy for my foot. 

- Naturally, I picked up two free bottles of water (dd was with me) when I filled my RX at the pharmacy. 

- For Wednesday's lunch I used the mozzarella cheese I found in the freezer, some wrap outs I had in the freezer, and some pizza sauce from the pantry and made pizzas for lunch along with the last of the watermelon. We continue to work on our goal of eating at home. 

- On Thursday I made Banana Pancakes again for breakfast and sent my daughter to her college orientation. I cleaned up the kitchen and took garbage off (still doing this myself at no cost) and started decluttering again. I found several items to sell at the flea market on Saturday. 



- Since I had my grill out for Pancakes, I decided to make Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup for lunch today. I also used it to cook salmon patties for dinner tonight. 

How is your week going?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~