Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What You Don't Buy

Today as I was driving my daughter to school, I watched a police officer pulling over a car for speeding, I assumed. It got me to thinking, the town where my daughter goes to school is a small town. It has one traffic light. It is a four lane highway with a turning lane in the middle. When the state built the road a few years ago, the city wanted the speed limit to be 30 MPH, but the state of Tennessee said no, it had to be 40 MPH. 

Well, as you can imagine, the police regularly patrol this road. Even after you leave the city limits on both sides, you have to go about one mile before the speed limit goes back to 55 MPH and many people push it and go 55 before they are legally allowed to, which is what, I assume, happened to the driver today. I try my best to stay right under 40 because I don't want a $100 speeding ticket. Sometimes I get to thinking about other things and catch myself over that speed limit, but I try to be careful and I am for the majority. 

This thought process led me to thinking about other things I don't want to spend money on, so I made a list of items I don't spend money for and they include things like...

Coffee, beer, wine, soda pop. I drink a pop once in a blue moon, although I do buy them every now and then for my daughter and I do keep Sprite on hand for sick tummies. While these drinks are good for other people, I don't drink them because I don't like them, which, lucky for me, just happens to save me money. I mostly drink water, and occasionally tea. 

I don't keep up "appearances" or keep up with the Joneses. There is no way for me, a single mother on a limited income, to keep up with some of the other people in my life. And you know what? It does not bother me. I'm happy for people who have realized the American Dream. My sister is one of them and I'm very happy for her and her family. That just wasn't in the cards for me, and I'm OK with that. I am happy on a daily basis and I love what I do for a living. Yes, sometimes life if hard, but I still find blessings everyday that I am grateful for. 

We don't take yearly vacations. One of the reasons is because I do not like traveling far from home without another adult with me, so that is more of a personal reason for not going than financial, although it does save us money. 

I don't spend money on a gym membership. We have plenty of ways to get exercise at home without spending money for a gym membership. We live on 40 acres here and we can find a lot of things to do that will help us in that area without spending any money. 

I could list other thing, but I'm curious, what are some things you don't want to spend any money for?



Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ebay, Etsy, Amazon Sales & Are You Throwing Away Money?

My sales on Ebay are still helping me to earn some extra income and now I've opened an Etsy shop for any vintage items I have and I have started selling books on Amazon. 

I'm not sure how well Etsy will do, since they are vintage items and therefore priced higher than Ebay items, but I have already made my first sale there and Etsy charges less fees than Ebay, so it may be worth it in the end. 

Time will tell, but having the extra income from Ebay has helped me a great deal the last six months, so I have plans to continue. In fact, my daughter has been selling things on Ebay as well and she is thrilled to be making some extra spending money. 



Here is a picture of my egg cartons that I save. Did you know that there are things you are probably throwing away that you could sell on Ebay? Things like egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, and even empty inkjet cartridges? Just look at Ebay for these things and you will see for yourself. I've always saved my egg cartons and inkjet cartridges, but now I'm saving toilet paper and paper towel tubes as well. 


Belinda
Simply live by the rule of not spending money you don't have. 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tip of the Day


Tip of the Day:

The following tip comes from Chef AJ. She saves her spice bottles when they are empty and reuses them. 

She says that research shows that most people don't eat 30 distinct and different meals each month, but rather repeat their favorite meals every week. 

Chef AJ says her Red Lentil Chili is no exception. Instead of measuring out all 7 of the spices everytime she goes to make it, she uses several empty spice bottles and makes them all at the same time. Then all she has to do is grab one and put them in her pressure cooker with the rest of the ingredients. 

I have always done this with taco seasoning mix that I make up, although I just place them into small bowls. I make about 10 at a time and it is a big time saver, but now I'm going to start saving my spice bottles for this purpose.  :)

Belinda
Simply live by the rule of not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rambling

Good morning to all my frugal readers. :)

Today is Wednesday and I have the day off, which is nice because I have several things, paperwise, that I need to work on today. I worked yesterday and I'm working the next two days, so today will give me a bit of a mental break and I can get some other things done. 

Today was bill paying day for me. I have expenses during the month of January that I don't normally have every month, which falls under the periodic expenses section of my budget. Auto Insurance, license plate renewal, Insurance membership yearly renewal, are all things I paid today. There was a statewide auto Insurance increase, which raised the cost of my insurance about $20 or $6.00 per month. seems like everything but gas is going up in price right now, but I'm still happy over the price of gas, which is $1.65 here right now. 



Grocery Store Run

Since I was off this morning, I stopped off at Fresh & Low to pick up some things. I'm glad I did as I went in there to buy some flour tortillas to make my daughter some pinwheels. I found a great deal. They had the Chi-Chi's flour tortillas priced at $1.60, but they had coupons on them for $1.00 off a package. How great is that? I love it when products have peelies on them. I paid 60¢ for each package and bought 9 of them. I also picked up corn chips, chili beans, black olives, pepperoni, batteries, potato chips, and feminine products and ended up spending $36.75. 



WFD Tonight

Tonight for dinner I am going to make pizzas. I have several cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls on hand that I bought for 25¢ on close out, because they are close to the expiration date, and I am going to use those for the crust. I already have spaghetti sauce on hand and I bought pepperoni and black olives this morning to top them with. 





I'll leave you with this thought this afternoon...


Simply live by the rule of not spending money you don't have. 


Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cuisipro Foam Pump


Pictured above is a Cuisipro Foam Pump that we received as a Christmas present last month. I've used foam soap pumps before and even have a Bath & Body Works one at the kitchen sink, which I am reusing. I have this soap pump by the bathroom sink and I really like it. 

First off, it has a suction cup at the bottom of it, so it stays in place instead of careening off the edge of the sink when it's almost empty. (I've had to rescue more than one bottle of soap for that reason). Also, the bottle comes off the suction cup in order for you to refill it. 

All I have to do is add about 1/4's worth of liquid soap into the container and fill the rest with water. I've been using the same container of body wash since Christmas to refill this foam pump and and still have over 2/3s of the body wash in the bottle left to be used.  A record for us here. 

Also, according to the manufacturer, this pump is made of a durable plastic that will not break, crack or peel. Time will tell on that one as I've had more than one pump go bad on me. I save the good ones and reuse them when one breaks on me. A saved pump has come in handy more than once here. 

I think what I love best about this is according to the website, it will reduce my soap usage up to 75%, which is a lot! We wash our hands multiple times per day here, so if this is going to save me money in the long run, I am all for that.  :)

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cooking in Bulk

Cooking in bulk or batch cooking is one of the frugal tools I use to feed my family. Not only does this way of cooking save money but it is an essential skill to many thrifty cooks. Cooking in bulk rather than cooking for one meal provides my family more meals and also helps to save money on the electric bill by having to cook only once instead of cooking smaller quantities more often. 

I do this with many things that I cook like spaghetti, pizza, meatloaf, chili, just to name a few. I will make a big batch of something and then we eat on it for days or until it is gone or I decided to freeze what is left. This is why you don't regularly see me post what we eat from day to day because I cook in bulk and then we eat on the meals for a couple of days. I find that this method of cooking saves me a great deal of money. 

For example, when I made my filling for the stuffed peppers last week, I tripled the amounts I wanted to use, so I had plenty left over. I used the filling to feed my family for the next three days. I also made a few burritos from the filling for lunch one day.  


A few weeks ago I found a new enchilada sauce recipe that I wanted to try. I usually buy the large cans of enchilada sauce that cost close to $2.00 per can, and I've always wanted to duplicate that at home, but a lot of recipes I see use a tomato sauce base, which is not authentic and not something we would enjoy. I knew enchilada sauce was made from chilies, so when I saw this recipe I knew this was worth my time and effort to try. 

I love the fact that this recipe uses one quart of water because water is free. This is a very economical recipe. You just need to make sure you cook the flour, so that you don't taste it in the final recipe. I tried it and liked and it and am happy to include this in my list of tightwad recipes. 


Enchilada Sauce: Heat together 1 quart cold water, 1/2 cup chili powder, 1/2 cup paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and then stir in a mixture of 2 tablespoons oil and 4 tablespoons flour. Stir and heat until well mixed. 


This is what it looked like afterwards, the picture does not do it justice as it was velvety smooth. 


And of course I had the ingredients on hand to make enchiladas. 


Here are the enchiladas ready to go into the oven:


I did another batch cooking dinner last Saturday night for dinner. I wanted to make a stir fry in order to use up several vegetables that I had on hand. 


I had red cabbage, broccoli, and two peppers in the crisper, and since I didn't have many vegetables on hand, I turned to my canned goods to see what I could use to make more servings. I pulled out cans of pineapple, mandarin oranges, mixed vegetables, water chestnuts, and the soy sauce. 


From the freezer I pulled two chicken breasts, carrots, and sugar snap peas.   I started out by draining the pineapple and used the juice instead of oil to saute my raw vegetables and thaw the chicken breasts. Using the pineapple juice saves me money by not having to use oil to cook everything. 


I also cooked some rice in my pressure cooker and warmed up some carrots from the freezer to go along with the stir fry. 


This is what the stir fry looked like afterwards and we ate on this for a few days as well. 


Another thing I like about this type of cooking is the time savings factor. I don't have to cook every day unless I want to cook. This saves me time when cleaning up and washing the dishes the next evening because the dishes are kept to a minimum. 

Do you bulk cook in your frugal kitchen? What are some of the advantages you see in this type of cooking?

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Stuffed Peppers

I've been mulling tonight's dinner over in my head all week long. I had several beautiful peppers gifted to me by a friend of mine. After thinking about them all week I decided to make stuffed peppers with them today.

We were out of school today due to the low temperatures here, so I had plenty of time to make dinner from scratch today. 

I started out by making my Mexican Rice recipe in the pressure cooker today. I didn't follow the recipe exactly since I did not have any salsa, so I decided to improvise. 

I used some canned tomatoes, V-8 juice, garlic & chicken bouillon cubes, and a can of Rotel. This rice turned out as good as the Mexican Rice I normally make, so I proceeded to use other items I had on hand. 

I didn't have any meat, but that was OK with me, so I used some chili beans I had on hand instead. I also used some Cracker Barrell Havarti cheese that was gifted to us at Christmas time as well.  I grated that up and added it to the rice & beans mixture and then stuffed the peppers. 

I made six in all and had only one left after dinner, so I took a photo of it. 

I served it with the last of the carrot and raisin salad from earlier in the week and added some steamed brussel sprouts on the side. I had pears, apples, and oranges for anyone who wanted any afterwards. 

This morning's temperature was nine degrees fahrenheit, which was too cold for children to stand outside and wait on the bus, so they closed school for the day. Tomorrow we are on a two hour delay, and hopefully the weather will warm up a little by then. 

I hope you have a good evening and stay warm. :) 

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"


Friday, January 2, 2015

Last Day of Christmas Break

This is the last weekend of our Christmas break. 

Here are a few things we accomplished today: 

Cleaned the bathroom and kitchen from top to bottom. 
Washed, folded and put away all the laundry. 
Prepared our bags for heading back to school on Monday. 
Put Christmas tree and all decorations into storage.  
Mended three pairs of jeans for my daughter, which saves me money. 
Took my Mom to the doctors office for lab work. 


Speaking of mending clothes, there are so many groups on Facebook now and they even have one for mending clothes. The group is called Make Do and Mend-able in case you are interested in joining. They want to share your Makes, Mends, and top tips for Making Do, and is for people who Upcycle, Repurpose, Make Do and Mend.   

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I love Ebay.  :)

I just bought these new shoes on there for my daughter.  The pair she is currently wearing is the pair I bought her to start back to school in LAST year and they had begun to hurt her feet if she walked in them too long, so it was time for a new pair. 

I utilized the same procedure I did to buy her Christmas presents. I used money I had from selling on E bay things that we no longer used, so I don't feel like I spent any new money on these. Rather I feel like I traded for them.  It is such a great way to get her the things she needs without having to find the money in my budget. After all, athletic shoes can be very costly! 

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Here are a few things we ate this week:

Lunch on Wednesday...



Baked Potato, steamed broccoli, sliced cucumbers, and red & yellow peppers. Plant based, healthy, delicious, and very affordable. 

Lunch on Friday...




Grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup...It's been so nice to have steaming hot lunches instead of a cold lunch these last two weeks. Today is the last day of Christmas break though, so no more hot lunches from home through the week for a while. 

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Chick Fil A used to serve a very good Carrot Raisin Salad, but it has been off the menu for about a year now. I've always made a copycat version of the recipe because my daughter always enjoyed it. Now that it's been off the menu for a while, Chick-fil-A has issued a press release about this salad...
Nostalgia and the holidays—around here they go together like carrots and raisins. That’s why, for the first time, Chick-fil-A is releasing its time-honored recipe, Carrot & Raisin Salad.
Carrot & Raisin Salad is one of our company’s original southern recipes. Prepared and served by founder Truett Cathy himself, Carrot & Raisin Salad was a menu staple for four decades. While it’s still a Cathy family favorite, Chick-fil-A removed Carrot & Raisin Salad from the menu in 2013 to make way for new salads and a new wrap.
 If you'd like a copy of the recipe just click here:

Chick-fil-A Carrot Raisin Salad. 

I made some of the salad today, and it is as good as I remember. Here are some photos of a batch I made today.






It's so good and refreshing and more affordable than green salads at this time of year. 

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In the mail this week, I received...

A free calendar from Pillsbury...  



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How was your day today?

Belinda