Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Deals

Head on over to My Coke Rewards today to  pick up a coupon for a free box of Ritz, Wheat Thins, or Triscuit crackers for only 50 My Coke Reward points. 

Also, head on over to Earth Fare where you can get a coupon for a free pound of chicken or beef with a $10 purchase just for signing up for their newsletter. There is an Earth Fare located in Chattanooga on Gun Barrel road.

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coupon Thief Caught

 The Chattanooga Times Free Press ran an article on Wednesday about a coupon thief in Athens. Many of my readers, including myself, are unable to have delivery of the Chattanooga Times Free Press because the paper does not deliver to our rural area, so we depend on picking up papers at the store or in a vending machine where theft sometimes occurs. Here is an article from this week detailing a theft in Athens:

Thief takes Sunday newspapers, clips coupons, and returns them to store

Paula, over at Monroe on a Budget, often writes about this topic. Here is a quote from her article, "Subscribe today to guarantee you get coupons”:

The main detail to be aware of is that single copy papers can, and sometimes are, tampered with on the sales racks. I’ve long told my readers to skip the vending machine papers if they are in search of coupons. You really don’t know who was messing with those unattended papers.

Please let this serve as a reminder, if you are buying your newspapers at the store or in a machine, make sure you check the paper you are buying for coupons if that is one of your reasons for buying the newspaper. 

Belinda 
 © Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WFD: Pasta Day - Macaroni & Beef

Today is my first day off this week, so I decided to use this time efficiently and use up my latest bowlful of tomatoes from the garden. I started by placing them in hot water for a few minutes and taking the skins off and then dicing them up and adding spices to make a pasta sauce (free tomatoes). Afterwards, I browned one pound of ground beef (chuck) ($1.99) with an onion (25¢) while cooking a pound of elbow macaroni (free after coupon). Afterwards, I mixed the elbow macaroni with the beef and added the sauce until it looked right. I have enough sauce leftover to freeze some for another dinner later.   So for less than $3.00 we have a delicious dinner with plenty of food left for more meals later. 

What's for dinner at your house today?


Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Roundup

What I've been reading this morning:




Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Higher Milk Prices this Year


The Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting local milk prices are up 34 percent from last year. I know I was floored when I saw the price of a gallon of Mayfield milk going for $6.00.

From the article:

Phillip Brooks, part owner of Brooks Dairy in Ooltewah, said [...] [prices for] diesel fuel, insurance and corn for feed are higher.


Boyd Brady, an extension dairy specialist at Auburn University, said corn prices have probably tripled as heat and drought stress farms.[...] "When corn goes up, everything seems to follow," he said.
Here is a link to the article:  
Got Milk? Got Money?
 Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Rest of the Chicken

Using up the last of the chicken, I decided to make a chicken spread for lunch tomorrow. I took what was left from tonight's chicken dinner and added it to my food processor along with a block of cream cheese, bought on sale, and some green olives. I whipped this up to a good spreading consistency and will have this for lunch tomorrow on crackers. There is enough for at least three people to have lunch with this chicken spread.

I think that without a doubt, I have shown you how to stretch chicken this week to last for four or more meals. I started out with eight chicken breasts on Tuesday and served them for dinner to four people, and then made Lemon Pepper Chicken on Wednesday and served that to four people. Tonight, I made Chicken Tacos for two people, and now have enough left for three people for lunch tomorrow. The 8 chicken breasts cost me $10, and I was able to stretch it over four different meals.

What have you been doing in your Frugal Kitchen to stretch food?

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

WFD: Chicken Tacos


Dinner tonight consisted of the last two chicken breasts that I cooked on Tuesday. I diced up an onion and sauteed it in olive oil. I added the chicken and heated that up and added lime juice, cumin, salt, taco sauce (from my Taco Bell stash), and added some cheddar cheese once it was all warmed up. 

I served them on freshly cooked corn tortillas with lettuce and tomatoes. It was very satisfying and inexpensive, which hit the spot and fit our budget perfectly.

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday at the Frugal Workshop

School started full time last Thursday and by Friday, I was already working as, unfortunately, a couple of the teachers were already sick. My biggest downfall when school is in session is eating out and getting drinks from Sonic because it is still so hot here and it is very convenient. Plus I still have a lot of tomatoes coming in from the garden this week that I am dealing with along with our busy schedule. Needless to say I've been busy getting back into our old routines and doing my best to stay within our budget.

I'm happy to report that I've been doing a good job NOT eating out or getting drinks. On Monday I took a package of 8 chicken breasts and a couple of containers of my homemade chicken stock out of the freezer to thaw and on Tuesday I put them into the crock-pot and cooked them while we were at school.  I also made a gallon of sweet tea and had that in the refrigerator, so that it would be ice cold when we got home. 

The chicken breasts were really big and we ended up eating only two of them, so today I took a couple of them and made some Lemon Pepper Chicken. I still have two chicken breasts left and I will either make something out of them for tomorrow night's dinner, or make chicken salad out of them. I love having chicken breasts in the refrigerator already cooked and ready to go. It's like having my own convenience food on hand and that saves me money because I know if I have something I can cook quickly for dinner I won't need to go out to eat. 

 I've also NOT neglected the fact that I have 3 huge bowls of tomatoes that need canning. I do my best not to let food spoil, and I know that the more work I do in the kitchen, the lower I can get my food bill, so last night I got busy canning even though I was tired. As a result, I ended up with 7 quarts of salsa, and 7 pints of pickled grape tomatoes. The salsa will be mostly be used in my Mexican Rice dish. Here is a picture:

Here are my new totals too, which I am very proud of, for this summer of canning:

Canned in 2011
26 pints canned tomatoes
7 pints salsa
7 quarts salsa
12 pints pickled cherry tomatoes
6 pints pizza sauce
58 pints of food total
 
 Also, I've been getting some really good freebies in the mail lately. This isn't a very good picture, but hopefully you can see a compact florescent bulb and a Fresh Express clip, both are freebies that I found by liking companies on Facebook and reading my newsfeed and signing up to receive these offers. The Fresh Express clip even came with coupons and one of those was for a free bag of salad. Make sure you are utilizing Facebook so that you can get in on these good deals as well.One of my favorite ones is Hunt4Freebies.

That's what I've been up to lately. What have you been busy doing in your frugal home? What are you having for dinner tonight? As always, I would love to hear from you. :)


Belinda
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

My Coke Rewards

My Coke Rewards Wednesday deal this week is for a FREE 10 pack of Minute Maid Juice Boxes coupon for just 40 points (regularly 80 points). These retail for $2.98 at Walmart, so this is another good deal from My Coke Rewards.

Belinda
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frugal Living in my Home today

 I've been busy canning in the kitchen again and put up 14 more jars of canned tomatoes and 6 jars of pickled cherry tomatoes. This is the total of what I've canned so far this year:

Canned in 2011
26 pints canned tomatoes
7 pints salsa
6 pints pickled cherry tomatoes
6 pints pizza sauce
45 pints of food total



I still have more tomatoes in the kitchen getting ready to be canned, and also have more on the vine. As I've said before, this has been a banner year for tomatoes in our garden this year. 

Today was the first day of school here although it was only a two hour day. It was good to see everyone after the summer break, and I already have some worked lined up for next week, so that is a good thing. 

Breakfast was Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Cream Cheese and Boiled Eggs on the side for some protein. We were home by lunchtime and  I made a simple lunch of Nachos with some taco meat, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tomatoes. Dinner was going to be Sweet & Sour Chicken, but I ended up being the only one home tonight, so a sandwich will be enough for me and I will take the night off from cooking. ;)

Did make two stops today for groceries at Walmart and Super Saver. Here is a breakdown of what I bought:

Wal-Mart Groceries 8-9-2011
3 pound bag yellow onions - $2.38
1 gallon white vinegar (for canning) - $2.18
2 boxes decaffeinated Tetley Tea - $2.32 each (after two 50¢ off coupons)
1 – 2 liter – Mountain Dew - $1.25
1 head Lettuce - $1.38
1 bag Great Value potato Chips - $1.98
2 bags Great Value Tator Tots - $1.97 each
2 packs Italian Sausage - $2.50 each (after two $1 off coupons)
2 packs Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage links - $1.50 each (after two $1.00 off coupons)
1 package Great Value American cheese - $3.04
1 box garlic – 68¢
1 box (30 count) Swaggerty sausage patties - $6.98
1 package copy paper - $2.97 (School requested item)
3 packages Kleenex - $4.08 (after 50¢ off coupon) (School requested item)
1 – 8 ounce – sharp Cheddar cheese - $2.18
2 – 24 ounce – Great Value sour cream - $2.08 each
1 jar Great Value light mayonnaise - $2.92
1 container Mayfield French Onion Dip - $2.42
1 package Hawaiian King Rolls - $1.00 (after $1.00 off coupon)
1 bottle lime juice (for canning) - $1.68
1 bottle lemon juice (for canning) - $1.88
1 can LaChoy Beef Chow Mein - $2.96
1 bottle white wine vinegar (for canning) - $1.58
1 box canning salt - $1.12
1 tub County Crock margarine - $2.88 (after 40¢ off coupon)
Total Spent for Food $57.18 (subtracted school supplies)
Saved $5.50 with coupons
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Super Saver 8-9-2011
2 cans ripe olives – 89¢ each
1 gallon skim milk - $3.34
1 box instant potatoes - $1.52
1 container oatmeal - $1.00
 1 gallon buttermilk - $3.41
1 jar green olives - $2.09
6 extra-large baking potatoes - $5.47 (88¢ pound)
2 cans beets – 73¢ each
1 container baking cocoa - $1.99
1 jar peanut butter - $1.50
1 loaf whole wheat bread – 89¢ (1¢ increase)
2 packages chocolate chip muffin mix – 50¢ each
1 package hot dog buns – 89¢
Total Spent $25.61
Total Spent in August for Food: $124.19

That's what I've been doing today. What have you been busy doing today?  Any frugal adventures to tell me about?  I would love to hear them. :)

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Crash and Burn 8-9-11

Walmart had these Pillsbury Snicker Doodle cookies on the clearance shelf the other day for 47¢ per box. There wasn't anything wrong with the boxes either, so it wasn't really a Crash & Burn item, but I knew I couldn't make them from scratch for that amount, so this was a good deal. Same thing with the two packages of chocolate chip muffins I bought today. I knew I couldn't make them for 50¢ a batch, so the muffin mixes were a good deal. Usually muffin mixes and cookie mixes aren't the least expensive way to get muffins and cookies, which are usually cheaper when made from scratch. 

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

My Coke Rewards

Back in June I mentioned the Coke Rewards Program in this post. Since that time my Mother has been collecting Coke, Sprite and Powerade caps from both her friends and the hopper where she works. Today she received her first reward in the mail: a coupon for a free 12 pack Coke product. Each cap on a bottled drink is worth 3 points while a 12 pack box of Coke products is worth 10 points. The points have added up quickly for her and she was able to earn the free coupon in less than one month.



To receive a coupon for a free 12 pack Coke product you will need a total of 240 points. Since my Mom has earned her first reward she has went on to earn an additional 380 points and is quickly on her way to two more free 12 pack Coke coupons. Wal-Mart sells the 12 packs of Coke here for $4.50, so this is definitely a program worth doing provided you can get others on board with you in collecting the bottle caps and boxes.



Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 8-8-11

This week we head back to school on Tuesday for a two hour day and then the first full day will be on Thursday. We already have all of my daughter's school supplies ready to go at the back door waiting for the first day to start.  It's going to be hot again all week and I'm going to avoid using the oven as much as possible. Here is what's on our menu for this week:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Onions in EVOO

Thursday:
Grilled Hamburgers
Lettuce, Tomato, Onion
Tator Tots

Friday:
Homemade Pizzas

Saturday:

Sunday:
Pork Loin Roast
Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Steamed Broccoli
Sliced Tomatoes from the Garden

This week I've decided to link up with I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday, and Stone Gable for On the Menu Monday.  If you are having trouble deciding what to have for dinner these should give you some good ideas for dinner.

Belinda
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Roundup

Here is a roundup of what I've been reading online today and wanted to share:

Thanks to Pamela at Feral Homemaking, I've been reading Len Penzo and his post on his third annual Brown Bag Survey of the Ten Most Economical Sandwiches.  Len has completed a price survey and chart, which shows per-serving costs for ingredients. I was shocked to see the percentage change in prices from last year. Tomatoes are up 129% while wheat  bread is up 121%. I like Len's writing style and I have used his Use a Ledger to teach Kid's Money Management Skills to my own daughter for over two years now. It is a system that works for my family. 

Cheryl over at Copperswife has an article on Using Your Menu Plan on how to be flexible without being careless and possibly wasting food.  

Thanks to Carol at CT on a Budget for introducing us to a new blog called Cook'N Cents about cooking with Angel Food items. 

J.D. Roth over at Get Rich Slowly has an article on Playing to Win: Turning Money Management into a Game.


What have you been busy reading online this week?

Belinda
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

WFD: Friday 8-5-11

Friday's night dinner was homemade chili, which cost less than $9.00 to make for an entire stockpot full. This fed four adults with plenty leftover for other meals like taco salad  or loaded baked potatoes. 

Homemade Chili
2 pounds ground chuck - $4.00
2 onions - 50 cents
Beans - 2.00
Spices including garlic - less than 1.00
Can of tomatoes with green chilies - 85 cents
Can of tomato paste - 40 cents
Bowl of homegrown diced tomatoes - Free
Total Cost:  $8.75

I didn't include the cost of the corn chips, cheese, or sour cream because they were all part of other meals I've already calculated the price for, so in other words they didn't cost me anything for this meal. 

What's for dinner at your house today?

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Friday, August 5, 2011

About.com Grocery Coupons

Thanks to Carol at CT on a Budget for her post on 16 Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Budget on About.com.  While I was reading the article and clicking on the various links, I came across the About.com page on Free Printable Coupons. There are a lot of coupons here and many products my family uses. Some I have not seen before, so definitely worth a look.

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

$1.00 coupon on Roman Meal Bread

 Click here to get a $1.00 coupon for Roman Meal bread:


Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Tennessee's Annual Sales Tax Holiday


Sales Tax Holiday
The State of Tennessee's Annual Sales Tax Holiday is held every year on the first Friday in August and ends the following Sunday night. This year's tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m on Friday, August 5 and ends Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 p.m.



“Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday” going on now till 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 7. The promotion applies to any clothing item that cost $100 or less (per item). The promotion also includes school supplies that that cost $100 or less (per item) and computers with a purchase price of $1,500 or less. You can get complete details at http://tn.gov/revenue/salestaxholiday/ .

Belinda
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Today in my Frugal Kitchen…

For dinner today I am going to serve a copycat version of Cracker Barrel’s Grilled Chicken Tenderloins just like the ones they serve on their Grilled Chicken Salad. I'll be using my last 2.5 pound bag of $4.99 chicken from Aldi's grand opening sale.


My daughter loves this salad and orders it whenever we have the chance to go to Cracker Barrel. There are copycat versions of this recipe all over the Internet, but this one from Southern Plate looked the best to me and this is the one I’m going to duplicate in my frugal kitchen today.  

 I’ll serve this with Potatoes with Peas, Fried Okra & sliced tomatoes, both from the garden, homemade bread, and sweet iced tea. 




The tomatoes are coming in quick right now, and as a result I’ve been busy canning.  Today I’ve canned homemade salsa and pizza sauce. On Wednesday I canned another half dozen pints of tomatoes.  This has been a banner year in our garden for tomatoes and there are still many more to be picked and canned.
This morning I also put a dozen eggs on to boil in order to make egg salad, and to have on hand for snacks. I also made a batch of Tuna Pate to have on crackers or as sandwiches. Both of these will be served at lunchtime along with some grape tomatoes from the garden. 

Tuna Pate

Ingredients:
  • 1 large can or 2 small cans of tuna, drained well
  • 1 - 8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons Chili Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hot Sauce
Directions:
  1. Using a hand mixer, mix the tuna and cream cheese until well blended.
  2. Add other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate, overnight if possible.

Here is a picture of the brand new bread machine I picked up at a yard sale for $3.00 this summer. The lady I bought it from had taken it out of the box, but never used it. She was asking $5.00 for it, but didn’t have any change, so she gave it to me for $3.00, which I happened to have in one dollar bills. I am completely out of bread right now and rather than go to the store for bread, I decided to make a loaf in the bread machine.  That not only saved me money but gas and wear and tear on my car as well.


 

So what have you been working on in your Frugal Kitchen today? Is your garden produce coming in now? What’s for dinner at your house?


Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lessons from my Frugal Father

Wise Bread staff writer,  Kentin Waits, has written an article worth mentioning about his Father and the frugal life he lived.  Here is a quote from the article:

Now, decades later, I look back at my childhood and see the simple, direct, conscious attitude that drove my parents' financial decisions large and small. They had a goal, they discussed it, they kept the goal in focus and their biweekly paychecks weren't occasions for temptation, but little task-master reminders.
In the article, Kentin lists five principals that he considers to be his dad's financial priorities. 

This one is definitely worth a read: 


Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Homemade Fabric Softener


The first time I wrote about homemade fabric softener was in this post:


At that time I said I would try the recipe and get back to you with the results. 

Today was the first time since that post that I've been without fabric softener, and I also happened to have an empty fabric softener container on hand. I have a lot of conditioner on hand as well because we use more shampoo than conditioner in our house, and my mother gives us conditioner because she will open a new bottle even before her old bottle is empty. Since this is canning season I also have a lot of vinegar on hand. Therefore, this was the perfect time to try this recipe. 


Pictured above are the ingredients needed to make the fabric softener. It took only a few minutes to mix up a batch. 

Homemade Fabric Softener 

Ingredients: 

- 2 cups hair conditioner
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 6 cups warm water 

Directions:

Add ingredients to an old fabric softener bottle or any other suitable container, and mix well. Use as you would any other fabric softener. 

Total Cost to make:

- 2 cups hair conditioner - free - (gifted to me by Mom)
- 3 cups white vinegar - 39¢- (from a 64 ounce bottle at the Dollar Store)
- 6 cups water free - (we have well water)

Total Cost: 39¢ for an almost full bottle


Even if you had to buy the conditioner the cost would be cheaper than buying a bottle of fabric softener.  

The results were good. I used a lilac scented conditioner, so the laundry had a nice feel and smell to it with no static cling, which is exactly what you expect from fabric softener

What do you think? Would you be willing to give it a try or have you tried it and would like to talk about it in the comment section? Feedback is welcome. :)

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Sale on Ground Chuck

 As I mentioned in one of my posts last week, IGA has ground chuck on sale for $1.99 a pound. Today was the last day of the sale, so I went and bought twenty pounds. This is another example of how I save money by using The Pantry Principle

In essence, The Pantry Principle means storing commodities today for future use. Stocking up when the price is right on food and non-food items you and your family use on a regular basis. Not only is this the most economical way to shop and live, but shopping this way will provide security for you as well. When emergencies arise your family will not be found wanting with The Pantry Principle.


Amy Dacyczyn describes The Pantry Principle on pages 172-173 in her book titled, The Tightwad Gazette II. Amy states that the idea of planning meals thirty days in advance in not the most frugal way to go about planning menus for your family. She states that planning meals in advance is backward and that stick-to-your-list thinking does not allow an individual to take advantage of unadvertised deals.


The best approach that Amy suggests is what she calls The Pantry Principle which she first learned about in a book written by Barbara Salsbury and Cheri Loveless called Cut Your Food Bill in Half. Amy claims that many families do not take the concept far enough to save the maximum amount of their money.


The basic idea behind The Pantry Principle is to stockpile your pantry with food that you are able to purchase at the lowest possible price. The purpose of grocery shopping then becomes a trip to replenish your pantry, and not a trip to purchase specific ingredients for specific meals. 


The lowest price I have paid for ground chuck in the past was $1.39 a pound, but that was before the Great Recession. Ground chuck today costs $2.99 a pound at the regular price, so I knew the IGA sale was a good stock up price. 

I brought it home and packaged it up into two pound packs for the freezer.I kept one pack out to make meatloaf for dinner and the other nine packs went into the freezer to be used for meals later. Now whenever I want to use ground chuck to make dinner, I can get a bag out of my freezer knowing that I bought it at the lowest possible price.


What have you been working on in your frugal kitchen today?

Belinda 
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”