Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday's Frugal Finds

Good morning! 

I wanted to mention two frugal things we've done this week so far. 

The first one is my daughter went to Aldi for me and picked up carrots (2 lb. bag) for 49¢ and potatoes (5 lb. bag) for $1.49. 

She also picked up a deal at CVS for paper towels and toilet paper. Scott paper towels were on sale for $5.49 for a 6 pack and Scott toilet paper was on sale for $6.99. 

When you spend $20 you earn a $5 extra bucks reward. She also rolled $8.00 worth of extra bucks she had from last week. 

We also printed off coupons from the ScottBrand.com website for both. There was also a $2 rebate at Checkout51, which makes each item only $1.53 each in the end.  

Here is a 45 second video that my daughter made about this deal:

Hope you are having a frugal week so far. 
Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekend Update

Hello to all my frugal friends.  :)

Last weekend I ended up hurting my back while lifting a garbage bag into our county dumpster, so much so that I went to the doctor who prescribed me pain medicine and a muscle relaxer. The pain was rough and while not 100% yet, is better than it was. I ended up working every day this past week even with the pain.

My long term sub job ended on Friday and since Monday is a federal holiday there will be no school. But, I do have a job lined up for Tuesday already. 

My daughter stepped up to the plate for me this week as making dinner was causing the pain to be even worse. We made it through though and did not succumb to any take out food. 

My daughter received her scholarship funds within the last week and created a very detailed budget for every dollar. She moved some of the money into her savings account and will use those funds to pay her monthly car insurance until September when her next scholarship funds come through.  She is very good at managing her money, has no debt, makes sure all her bills are paid on time, and is a whiz with couponing, which saves the whole household money. I'm very grateful for this. 

Friday was payday for me, so I've been going over my budget the last week with a fine tooth comb. I transferred money into both our emergency funds savings account and our "new home" savings account. I have five paydays left until the end of the school year, and I want to make sure that my budget will work based on my income and our expenses during the summer will be as small as possible. 

Our electric bill was down this month to $133 instead of the $200 bill from last month. We've had a mild winter here this year, hardly using any heat, and our bill reflects that. 

Some deals that we were able to get in on this week include:

24 boxes of Barilla pasta for 4¢ each. Here is a video my daughter made about the deal. 


Since we have all this pasta, I'm going to be making a pasta salad for lunches this coming week. I like to combine ranch dressing with Italian dressing for the sauce in my pasta salads, but I am out of ingredients to make my homemade version. 

I do have some Greek dill yogurt dressing that my daughter bought but did not care for, but I think I can substitute it in the pasta salad and disguise it. That will save money over buying ingredients for homemade ranch and I'll be using this dip instead of tossing it, a win-win situation. 

For dinner on Saturday I made soup using up the remainder of a pork roast that I had stored in the freezer, along with carrots, potatoes, onions, and corn. I seasoned it with a bay leaf, Hungarian paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper. 

Then on Sunday for lunch I thickened the soup with some cornstarch and turned it into a stew for lunch ad served it with bread and butter slices. 


Other frugal things this past week...

- I received a $25 Amazon gift card this week for renewing my Norton antivirus protection last December. 
- Picked up a free newspaper at school with the sale ads inside instead of paying 50¢ for one. 
- The last three days I've stayed home to rest my back as much as possible, so it has been a no spend weekend. Did not use any of the gas in my car either, so a win-win situation there as well. 

How was your weekend?
Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Weekend Wrapup

The weather has been mild here this week and we've not had to have the air or heat on, which will save on the electric bill. Usual frugal things we did included packing our own lunches, bring our own drinks (water), combining errands, keeping the lights off, etc.

We also...

Listened to free music on Pandora Radio.

Researched new tires for my car and will include that in another post at a later date. 

Closed my savings account. The bank that I have been with since 1999 began charging me $9 per month for my savings account. So, I moved that money into a free online savings account and closed my old account.

I will also be closing my checking account with them this month as they are charging me $8 a month for that service. So, I will also be closing my checking account and opening one at the credit union that offers free checking. That move will save me $96 over the course of one year. 

We recently watched two movies on two separate Family Movie Nights. We watched Middle School: The Worst Years on My Life that we borrowed from the library and we rented The Great Gilly Hopkins from Redbox using a coupon, so we paid 55¢ to watch it. The Middle School film was OK while I really like The Great Gilly movie. I would recommend it.  

My daughter and I were talking about pot pie the other day and how much she enjoyed it. Then she made a comment that gave me an "aha" moment. She said that she didn't even need meat in a pot pie, it was all the other stuff she liked. I knew then that I had to add a vegetable pot pie to our menu for the month and that would be cheaper than making a pot pie with meat and just as good tasting. 

I placed the leftover vegetable chili and Cajun soup beans from the refrigerator into individual bowls and froze them for lunches at a later date.


Breakfast today was homemade waffles since I usually have extra time to make a more involved breakfast on Sunday. 


We turn our bottles upside down to get the last little bit out of the bottle.


For dinner I will be using one of the packages of ground beef I put in the freezer last weekend. I have some Campbell's beefy mushroom soup that I will use for gravy to serve over the Salisbury Steak.



I'll serve it with rice, since we are out of potatoes, corn, and a slice of bread with butter. The bread was on mark down at Walmart for 50¢. 


I did an inventory of my spices this weekend to see what I had on hand and what I need. I know I need Lawry's seasoned salt and some vanilla extract. It will definitely be imitation this year as the cost of vanilla extract has skyrocketed according to the news. 

These are the spices that I have on hand:

Spices
 
Accent
Allspice, ground
Alum
Basil
Bay Leaves
Black Pepper
Celery Seed
Celery Salt
Chili powder
Cloves, ground
Cloves, whole
Coriander
Cream of Tarter
Cumin
Curry
Fennel
Garlic powder
Garlic salt
Italian Seasoning
Lawry's Chicken/Poultry Rub
Mustard Seed, ground
Mustard Seed, whole
Old Bay Seasoning
Onions, dried, chopped
Onions, powder
Oregano
Paprika
Paprika, Hungarian
Paprika, Smoked
Parsley
Red Pepper Flakes
Sage
Salt
Taco Seasoning Mix
Thyme
Turmeric

That's all the news from here. 

I hope you have had a great weekend.  :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, February 9, 2017

This Week...

Since school was out on Tuesday due to illness I took advantage of the day off and was able to get a doctor appointment for my Mom and take her and went to Food City afterwards to snag a few deals. 

They had 1 pound rolls of breakfast sausage on mark down for $1.49, so I picked up two of those.


For breakfast I cooked the sausage and toasted an English muffin (bought on markdown at Kroger for 25¢/pack). 
 


A sausage muffin at McDonald's  cost $1.00 each while my homemade version came out to just under 30¢, which makes it a money saver. 


Food City also had a package of ground chuck marked down to $8.67 for just over three pounds. I brought it home and divided it up into three separate freezer bags and stuck those in the freezer. 


Food City also had corn on sale for 50¢ per can, so I bought 10 cans for my pantry. 


They also had cream cheese on sale for buy one get one free, which made them $1.15. I paired this with some Hormel Chili, which was on sale for 99¢ and I had a 55¢ off coupon for two cans. I'll use this to make my daughter's favorite dip. 


On Wednesday I received a call from Central Office informing me that school was closed for the rest of the week due to illness. I was so disappointed as that will be four days of work I have missed this week.  I do have three days already scheduled for next week, so that is good. 

Wednesday afternoon we went to the library, so my daughter could work on some school work. Did I tell you that she made the Dean's List last semester? She did. :)

I like going to the library because we can use their Internet at no cost.  We are on a data plan at home, which is not unlimited and tends to run out before the month is over. 

Since I was off school this week and had plenty of time on my hands, I've been reading the forums over at Money Saving Expert and on the Frugal Living Reddit sites. 

I did make a trip to Chattanooga on Thursday to have the oil changed in my car at the dealership. This did not cost me anything out of pocket today as I prepaid for this service when I bought the car.


I did run to Sam's Club for cheese since I was going right by there anyway. So I made pepperoni pizzas for dinner. 


How has your week been?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

This Week at the Frugal Workshop

On Saturday morning I headed out early to avoid the crowds and ended up finding some markdowns on meat. 



I found Chorizo marked down to $2.45 and some Spicy Pork Meatballs marked down to $2.06, which were both on yellow sticker mark down. 


For dinner on Saturday I made Chorizo tacos and I also made four chorizo pockets using one lone pie crust I had left from the holidays. 


My daughter has found someone who delivers papers for a living and she has been giving her the coupon inserts that are left over at the end of the day, which has been such a blessing to us. 

Here is one such deal: 

She had 16 coupons for 75¢ off any Bush beans and Target has them on sale this week for 75¢, so all of these were free. 


This was a money maker on this canister of bread crumbs after rebate. 


She bought eight bottles of Heinz ketchup for 25¢ each and these are the 32 ounce bottles. 


Here are photos of the lunches I made for this week. I make a large batch of vegetable soup or chili and we have that for dinner on Saturday night and then I divide the remaining chili into individual bowls for the week. I've been doing this for about six weeks now and it has streamlined my mornings. 


I also made broccoli cups and a salad for each day. 



Here is my Christmas Cactus when it was fully bloomed. 


And the mending I need to do today. One of my daughter's pads needs to be repaired today. 


I was supposed to be at work today, but school has been cancelled due to sickness for the next two days, but I will be back at work on Thursday. 

I hope you are having a great week.  :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Update from the Frugal Workshop

Hello to all my frugal readers.  :)

For the past month I've been working a long term substitute job, which explains my absence here on the blog. The assignment, which started out being two weeks, has increased each week and right now I am on schedule to sub for at least five weeks. As you can imagine, I am thrilled for a variety of reasons. 

Even though I am working everyday, I still take the time to cook dinners from scratch and take my lunch to work everyday. We have not eaten out dinner even one time since I started this job. We have goals that we want to reach (buying our own home) and eating out moves us farther away from that goal.  

There are several projects on my to do list this weekend including repairing a couple of clothing items. I also have a three ring binder that needs some repairs with duct tape along with the usual weekend chores of hauling off garbage, laundry, cleaning, and cooking. 

It's chilly here tonight and they are calling for snow flurries here this weekend, so I made chili for dinner tonight, which is the perfect thing for cold weather. 

Frugal Things I've Done This Month...

1. Attempted to use a $10.00 reward certificate that was about to expire, but the item was put on back order and my account was credited with $10.00 instead, which works for me since it was about to expire. 

2. I repaired two work shirts for my niece.  Her boss gave her second hand shirts when she started working there and she had washed them so many times that the material in the armpit area needed to be repaired rather than just stitched along the seam. Her Dad does so many nice things for us that I was so happy to be able to do something so simple for her. She was thrilled that I did this for her. 

3. As we were driving by Fresh & Low the other day while running errands I noticed a sign that said they had greens for 39¢. We make a quick stop inside to pick up this great deal. 

4. We made one trip this month to Kroger to get in on some great yellow sticker items. I plan to do this at least once a month to get in on those good deals. 

Until next time...

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

Image Credit

Our friend Linda came to visit us for five days after Christmas. We had a really good visit with her and other family members while she was here. 

As is her usual spirit, she was very generous with us this year. She waited until she came here to decide what to get me for Christmas as she wanted to get me something that she felt we needed.  

We have been getting along well without the microwave since it died last summer, and had gotten to the point where I thought about never replacing it because we had learned to live without one. 

Linda felt like she could not live with a microwave and therefore she decided that she was going to buy me a new microwave for Christmas. 

Here is a picture of the new microwave: 



I have to admit it is really nice to be able to warm up the cream cheese danish we had on hand and to soften butter and heat up food quickly again. 

She also noticed that the water filter on our sink had a red light on it, so she bought us a package of three new water filters to have on hand. 



She also took us out to dinner several times this week and we also had dinner at my brother-in-laws home this past week for dinner twice. 


I've been busy today in my frugal kitchen. I don't have any bread on hand, but I do have the ingredients to make bread from scratch, so that is what I did. 

Here is a picture of the dough after kneading and ready to go in the oven with the oven light on to keep it warm for rising. 


And after slicing...


A pork loin roast was set out of the freezer to thaw for dinner tonight. I will save a portion of this to make Pork Fried Rice for dinner Monday night. 


I also cooked up some rice today, so that it will be chilled for tomorrow night's dinner. I kept the lid on the pan while cooking to keep all the heat and energy inside so the rice would cook faster, which saves money.

I am using the foods we have on hand here rather than going out and buying more food in my efforts to save money.  

I also have 15 bean Cajun soup beans along with Chickpeas soaking for another night's dinner this week and for some mock tuna salad. 



Finally, here is a photo of my Christmas cactus. It's not bloomed yet, but it is trying.  :)



I hope all of you have a wonderful 2017.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Christmas Has Come and Gone...

Christmas 2016 is behind us now. I hope all of you had a wonderful time and spent it with the people you love. 

One of the gifts my daughter received was the Harry Potter Clue game. We spent part of Christmas day playing not only this game, but other games as well. 

Playing games is a fun way to spend time together and, as an added bonus, we are not spending money. 

Harry Potter Clue is different from the regular Clue board game as it has four circle pieces you connect on the bottom of the board that turn with certain plays, so the game is always changing. We really enjoyed  playing it. 

Other items I bought for her included a new wallet, Bath and Body Works Sweet Pea hand sanitizer, which she loves and is hard to find. Minion sheets, Taco Bell gift card, gloves, and the first season of Sherlock. She was very happy with everything I purchased for her. 


She bought me a new wallet as well along with a brand new clock, which I love. I love clocks and have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. My large one stopped working earlier this year and she replaced it as she knows how much I love them. She also bought me a new calendar from my favorite author, Susan Branch. 

Even though my income was much lower this month due to school being out for three weeks we did not overspend this holiday season. 

I did not go all out and buy a lot of things since we didn't have the money this year. All gifts were bought with cash we had on hand.

I did not buy some of the traditional food items we normally have at this time of year simple because the money was just not there and I did not want to dip into our savings. But you know what? We still had a wonderful holiday. I kept dinner simple and it was good and filling. I couldn't ask for more than that. 

We went to my brother-in-laws home for dinner Monday night. He served ham, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, deviled eggs, and rolls. We had a great time spent with good company. 

On Tuesday we will be welcoming my daughter's grandmother from Florida in for a five day visit. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~