Sunday, June 9, 2019

In My Frugal Kitchen This Week

Here is what I planned for dinner last week:

1. Tacos
2. Teriyaki Chicken
3. Meatloaf
4. Spaghetti
5. Beans, Greens, & Potatoes
6. Grilled Chicken
7. Smoked Sausage

Sunday: Having picked up lettuce and cheddar cheese I knew I had the makings for Tacos, which is one of my favorite meals, so that's what I made. I also made another gallon of tea as it is hot here. 
Tacos

Monday: I put some smoked sausage in the refrigerator to thaw today. I think I'll serve that with mashed potatoes and green beans. 
Smoked Sausage, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans & Onions

Tuesday: We had multiple errands to run on Tuesday and ended up eating dinner later than usual. In fact it was so late that we combined our movie night with a buffet type dinner. We ended up with a pizza, chips and dip, cherries and cantaloupe. 
Pizza, Chips & Dip, Cherries & Cantaloupe

Wednesday: For the life of me I cannot recall what we had for dinner on Thursday. Oops. 

Thursday: The last corned beef was pulled out of the freezer to cook today. I placed it in the Instant Pot and cooked it. I served it with green beans with onions and potatoes. 
Corned Beef, Green Beans with Onions & Potatoes

Friday: I pulled some Italian Sausage out of the freezer to thaw. I have one jar of spaghetti sauce on hand, a loaf of Italian bread bought on mark down for 36¢, and some broccoli from the freezer. I don't have any Parmesan cheese on hand, but do have a couple of packets from somewhere we can used if wanted. 
Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Broccoli

Saturday: I had plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator for dinner on Saturday ,so there was no need to make more food. There was a choice spaghetti, corned beef, and green beans with potatoes. 
Spaghetti, Corned Beef Sandwiches

As you can see we didn't always stay true to our menu. Here is a list of possible menu ideas we could have next week. 

1. Meatloaf
2. Teriyaki Chicken
3. Tacos
4. Smoked Sausage
5. Grilled Chicken
6. Cheesy Potatoes
7. Spaghetti

What's on the menu in your home?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, June 7, 2019

Frugal Friday ~ June 7, 2019


Wednesday we stayed home and I mended a pile of clothing, which had at least a dozen items in the pile. Several items needed the hem put back into place where the stitching failed. Some things needed a fastener put back into place. 


Fixing things like this can make the difference between keeping an item useful or not, being able to sell it or not, or having to donate it and leave the problem to someone else. I choose to repair this one, which will make the item useful for much longer. 

Two cloth pads were repaired also with one needing sewing all around and another one just needing a new snap put into place.


Jean shorts...


One of the items needed the pockets redone.  The bottom of the pockets went past the hem on a pair of shorts my daughter liked. I shortened the pocket and then trimmed them, so you can't see them past the hem. She likes them much better this way. 


Youngsters nowadays love their jeans to look like this. Back in my day we prefered jeans that looked new and not distressed, but I'm older now and not a fashion expert. LOL

One freebie I received in the mail this week was a reusable shopping bag from Earthbound. We really like and use the reusable shopping bags and this one is a bright and colorful welcome addition to our collection. 



Taco Bell fans take note. The Golden State Warriors won a road game in the NBA finals, so Taco Bell will be giving away a free Doritos Locos Taco on June 18, 2019 from 2 to 6 p.m. Here is a link to the freebie on the Freebie Shark website if you're interested. 

Image Credit

The weather here this week has been rainy and cooler as a result. As of this writing I have both the air conditioner turned off and the fans as it is really cool at 63 degrees in the house right now. I love it as I would much rather feel cool than hot. 

We continue to use up items in our pantry to make food here at home to save money. I didn't go to the grocery store at all this week. In fact I did not look at the grocery store sale ads this week, which is unheard of for me. 

So far we've had plenty of variety in our diets. Breakfast was a delicious bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts, blueberries, and cherries. 

This week I took my car in for a front end alignment. It had been two years since my last alignment. I had a tire with a slow leak in March of this year and the mechanic who repaired it suggested my car needed the alignment, so since school is out I decided this was the best time to take care of that. Total cost was $79.95. 

Keeping the front end of your car aligned will save undue wear and tear on your tires and therefore save you money. It wouldn't make sense to buy new tires and not keep the front end aligned. The tires would wear out sooner and need replacing sooner, which would cost you more money.  Taking care of the things you own will save you money.

While I was out of the house I remembered that Panera Bread sent me a free pastry this week. I picked it up after the alignment and picked out a chocolate croissant. I don't know if you've ever had one of theirs, but they are delicious. I split mine with my daughter. 

Cleaning and organizing has continued this week. Over the years we have been given multiple boxes of fabric dryer sheets. We don't always use them as we don't always use the dryer to dry clothes and fabric softener makes some things like towels and cloth pads non absorbent. 

This week I cleaned this area of our home and threw out some of the old fabric dryer sheets as honestly they smelled off and I wouldn't want anything I was wearing to smell like that. I also threw out a couple of empty bottles that were left there to rinse out with water and use. The whole area looks much neater and better organized. 

How has your week been? Anything frugal you would like to tell us about in the comment section? We would love to read all about it.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, June 2, 2019

In My Frugal Kitchen This Week

Anne over at Cooking and All That Jazz  creates the neatest weekly blog post about what they ate that week in her home. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I'm going to try and emulate her posts because I like her style. 

I didn't make a menu plan for the past week, but rather I'm sticking to what we have on hand to make meals. This is what we ended up with this week:

Monday:  I used some leftover taco meat and mixed it with cream cheese and made Taquitos with that. It was hot that day, so I kept it light and served it with pasta salad and sliced cucumbers with ranch dressing. 
Taquitos, Pasta Salad, Cucumbers

Tuesday:  I browned some smoked sausage in a skillet, heated up some beans and dressing from the freezer, and made some mixed vegetables. I also made another gallon on iced tea as it is hot here. 
Smoked Sausage, Dressing, Beans, Mixed Vegetables

Wednesday: We had a really late lunch today, so were not all that hungry at dinner time. My dd ended up having a bowl of cereal later that evening and I ended up eating an orange and an apple with peanut butter. 
Your on your own :)

Thursday: I took some chicken breast out of the freezer to thaw, and still had some of the dressing from Tuesday, so I wanted to use that up. 
Chicken & Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday: There was one chicken breast left from the chicken thawed on Thursday, so I season it well and grilled it and split it into two portions, which was plenty for dd and me. This was served with some steamed broccoli and a side salad. 
Grilled Chicken, broccoli, and salad. 

Saturday: I laid out some ground beef to thaw, but then Mom wanted to go to town, so we went and she wanted to eat out, so we went to Zaxbys for their delicious grilled chicken salads.  I'll be using the ground beef for Sunday dinner. 
Grilled Chicken Salads

Here is what I'm planning for next week, sides to be determined later:

1. Tacos
2. Teriyaki Chicken
3. Meatloaf
4. Spaghetti
5. Beans, Green, & Potatoes
6. Grilled Chicken
7. Smoked Sausage

Of course this could change at a moment's notice, but this is where we are right now. :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Contentment & Frugality

As the first full week of summer vacation comes to an end I find myself happy and content. This week my daughter and I deep cleaned my bedroom and rearranged the furniture. There is more room available to me and I find myself content and satisfied with the changes. 

Other things I've done have been equally as satisfying. I placed a shelf in the cabinet where my pots and pans are stored. This allowed me to be able to place all my lids on the shelf and led to much better organization. Also, I placed a small shelf at the back on my pantry to hold the new popcorn maker and some other items that needed a new home. 

This morning I made bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast. I felt good because I enjoy being in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, organizing, putting dishes away, or even just puttering.  I know not everyone feels that way, but I do. I enjoy the little tasks that inevitable make life easier and more comforting for my family. And a big part of that is because at this time of year I have the time to slow down and enjoy these tasks.  

Even laundry has been a fulfilling task. I find myself enjoying washing the clothes, drying and folding, and putting away. It's so nice to be able to not have a schedule outside my home and stay here and take care of our home. I find doing simple tasks at home making our home more enjoyable feeds my soul. I miss that during the school year when I'm busier. I love these slow summer days in this season of my life.  

Frugal moves we made this week include saving an egg that broke in the carton. My first thought was to toss the carton, egg and all, but then I decided to save it in a bowl and used it for breakfast this morning. We paid 49¢ for these at Aldi this week, and even though the egg was only 4¢, it still saved money. 


We went to yard sales on Friday. The only thing I bought was one of those electric plug ins that allow you to plug in more than one thing at a time. I paid 50¢ for it and is money well spent. 

The only groceries we bought this week came from Aldi. Eggs for 49¢ per dozen, strawberries for $1.29 per pound, and cantaloupes for $1.49. Our total came to less than $10 and the cashier commented that she only buys her fruit from Aldi because of the savings versus other grocery stores. 

We're not buying much from the grocery store right now because we are eating down our stockpile. Using up what we have on hand and making do with what's here. Our meals have been a reflection of that. Organizing the freezer yesterday I realized we have enough meat to last for over a month of meals, which will last even longer as I stretch it and include meatless meals in our dinners. 

May was unseasonable hot and humid this year for some reason and our dehumidifier was working hard to keep the humidity out of the house. I've been emptying it several times during the day. My Dad, who was visiting from Illinois where the weather was cold, couldn't believe how hot and humid it already was here.  

One way we save money on electricity here is by using fans around the house rather than relying only on the air conditioner. After moving my bed I realized I needed a fan to circulate the air better, so I placed one close by and as a result slept very well that night. 

How was your week? Any good yard sale finds or great frugal wins? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

What You Can Cook For the Price of 2 Domino's Pizzas?



Right now Domino's Pizza has a special mix and match deal where you can buy two topping medium pizzas for $5.99 each. The deal is that you have to buy at least two pizzas. 

So let's do the math on two pizzas here in Tennessee. 

2 x $5.99 = $11.98
Garlic Sauce 50¢ each = $3.00 (My dd likes this & gets extras)
Tax = $1.50
Total $16.48

And that price is for when you pick it up yourself not for any delivery charges. I usually add extra cheese to mine for which they add $1.00, so we could easily pay $17.48 for the two pizzas. 

What could we buy at the grocery store and make at home for $17.48? When you're trying to save money by cooking at home you can either keep it simple or you can go gourmet or even try to recreate some of your favorite restaurant meals at home. The choice is entirely up to you. 

When you cook your own food at home you get to control the ingredients and can make dishes healthier if you choose to do so. I know that I lose a little bit of weight when I am cooking the majority of my meals at home. 

Back when I was growing up it was a real treat to get to eat at a restaurant, but that isn't always the case today. Today eating out is done on such a regular basis that it is not always a treat like it was back then. 

Let's say you wanted Italian food for dinner, so we will look at spaghetti for example. 

Last week Kroger had Prego sauce on sale for 99¢ and we have a stockpile of pasta from Kroger we bought for 50¢. 

Now I save more money because I utilize the Pantry Principle. I purchase food at the lowest possible price and then stockpile. 

But, to be more reasonable, I'm going to use Walmart's website to look up prices that anyone can purchase today. 

Large jar of Prego spaghetti sauce - $3.30
Box of spaghetti - $1.00
Can of tomatoes - 74¢
Onion - 54¢
Garlic - 15¢ (1/4 of a head for 60¢)
Italian Bread - $1.00
Broccoli - 87¢
Margarine - 40¢

In order to make a batch of spaghetti at home you'll spend approximately $8.00 for the entire recipe. Depending on the number of people in your family this will make multiple servings and maybe even enough for two meals, which it does in our home. 

Spaghetti I make at home gets doctored up with onions, tomatoes, and garlic, so I added the cost of those items into the mix as well. I like the Prego sauce with the mini meatballs, so there is no need to add meat to this unless you just want more meat. 

Forbes magazine published an article titled, "Here's How Much Money You Save By Cooking At Home". According to the article, it is five times more expensive to order from a restaurant than to cook at home. And they found that the cook at home meal kits are three times more expensive. 

But getting back to the Domino's Pizza, you could make enough spaghetti for four meals and possibly extra over the cost of one meal of Dominos Pizza. Cooking at home definitely stretches your budget. 

The point to all of this is that you'll definitely save the most money by cooking the majority of your meals at home. 

And if you wanted to make pizza at home you will definitely save over pizza bought at the pizza place.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Yard Sale Saturday & My Frugal Week


School is over for the summer, so I was able to turn off my alarms this week. Of course, my body knows what time it is and I've been waking up right around 5 a.m. each morning. LOL

First thing we did on Friday was go to several yard sales. We also went to multiple sales on Saturday and had the best time. 


Of course, I brought sandwiches, granola bars, and drinks with us, so we didn't spend any money for food out of the house either day.  

Here are some photos and descriptions of the goods I found this week. 

Acer Laptop $30, which will be perfect to carry as it's a smaller one. We haggled with the seller to see if he would take $25 or throw in this bread machine and he did. 

Rival Bread Machine 



Tupperware canisters and cups. There are two canisters, one is nestled in the bigger one. Both of these items were  $1.00 each. 


Brand New Kenneth Cole Leather Laptop Bag $1.00. 

These sell for over $100 online, so this was a surprising find. I'm going to list this on eBay for some added income this summer. 


What was funny was that I found eleven brand new pencils in the bag. I've added these to my sub bag for next school year.


This brand new 8 Quart Stockpot, Steamer, Pasta Insert was only $2.00 and sells for over $50 online. This will also be listed on eBay for added income this summer. 


Popcorn Machine $5.00


Other items I found, but did not picture include: 

Multiple CDs 10¢ each
Movies $1.00 each
Cookbook $1.00
Tennessee Vols Sweatshirt $1.00
Thirty One Bag 50¢
Bathroom Rug 50¢

Like I said it was a great yard sale weekend. 

On the frugal front this week we went to Kroger on Tuesday afternoon and found several items in the marked down bread section. 

One of the items was a bag of cinnamon raisin English muffins marked down to 59¢. There was a 25¢ Ibotta rebate on those making them 29¢ or 5¢ each. 


We also picked up the Kroger Friday freebie, which was a bottle of Core water. 

Kroger

Kroger also had Hillshire Farms smoked sausage on sale for $1.99 when you buy five, so I bought those as well. 

That's all the news I can think of for now. I have several projects I will be working on this week and updating my blog more often is on that list. 

I'd love to hear how your week went. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, May 17, 2019

Frugal Friday May 17, 2019

Good morning to all my readers. I hope you are doing well. I'm fine just tired from being busy this week. 

I've worked every day this week and we were pet sitting over the weekend through Tuesday, so my commute to work Monday and Friday was longer than usual.

On Wednesday we went to Red Lobster with family to celebrate my nephew's birthday. My niece treated us to dinner that night. 

My dinner choice was Fish & Chips, which was delicious. I also had the strawberry lemonade, which was also very good. We didn't get home until 10:30 that night, so I was tired the next day at work. 

Now my Dad is in town from Illinois and we've been visiting with him also, so you can see why the week was so busy. (And tiring, I'm hoping to get an extra hour of sleep tomorrow. LOL) 

Today is the last Friday I'll be subbing this year as next week is the last week of school this year. I'm subbing four days as of right now, but that could change. After that I'll be busy pursuing some of my side hustles and helping my daughter with her business. 

Since we last spoke I've turned another year older, so we celebrated my birthday over the weekend as well. I didn't tell the 6th grade class I was subbing for that it was my birthday, but one of the students asked me yesterday when it was, so I told them. They were so sweet and sang the Happy Birthday song to me. 

Birthday freebies included a free milkshake from Steak & Shake, a free sub from Firehouse Subs, $5.00 from Mcalister's Deli, $5.00 from Jason's Deli, a free buffet from Golden Corral, a free pastry from Panera Bread, a free doughnut from Krispy Kreme, and a free drink from Dunkin Doughnuts. I have a couple of other freebies, but haven't found the time to use those yet. 

We did get two more of our cats spayed for free last week. The local animal clinic was doing these for free again, so we took two of our female cats and had them fixed. They also gave them free rabies vaccinations. 

I hope you all have been doing well and living the frugal life as best you can. Now that summer break is almost here, I'm hoping to spend more time on the blog. 

I hope you have a great weekend. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Frugal Friday on Saturday



Good morning to you this beautiful Saturday. I'm doing well today, but my daughter has come down with strep throat, unfortunately. 

She was asleep when I came home from work on Thursday, which should have been my first clue that she was sick. 

She is still sleeping this morning, so we're not going to any yard sales today. 

This was a busy week work wise and I ended up working everyday, so I didn't get my Frugal Friday post up yesterday. 

This week I'm scheduled for four days, but we will see what happens there. I could end up working all week again. 

Frugal things that went on here this week include:

Made a $10 sale on eBay this week. 

Found this reusable bag in the clean garbage can in one of the classrooms I subbed in this week, so I rescued it.



I made ham broth in my crockpot with the hambone from Easter dinner. I have five of these in my freezer. I will be using some of this to make potato soup, which will give the soup  a lot of flavor. 
 

We picked up these two egg containers for 50¢ each at a yard sale on Friday. These sell for $9.99 on Amazon. (Affiliate Link)


They are a nice hard plastic that washes easily. They stack on top of each other and have lids as well, so I can set things on top of them in my fridge if needed. 

I love refrigerator containers and look at them whenever I go into Lowe's. 

This one will be short and sweet this week. I hope you all have a terrific weekend!

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April 2019 End of the Month Wrap Up



My goals for April included at least fifteen no spend days, a new source of income, and no new debt. I ended up with twenty-two no spend days and no new debt! I have several ideas in the works for the new source of income, but I am still working on those. 

Some bloggers say no spend days don't work because they will simply spend the next day. In my case I like to string as many no spend days together as I can and hopefully have more no spend days than spend days. 

I think having twenty-two no spend days out of thirty is pretty good. Having no spend days helps me to save money by not spending it in the first place. 

My goals for May include no eating out, no new debt, and as many no spend days as I can get, which will hopefully be over twenty. 

Some of my spending in April included..

Gas $94.01
Groceries $132.69 
Insurance $255.67
Yard Sales $5.00

Insurance is normally our biggest spending category. It's a necessity in my book as I would not want to be without it. 

I already have my budget written out for May and plan to continue as many no spend days as possible. 

In May and June we will have income from pet sitting again. I am still working on other sources of income for the summer as well. 

Have you made any goals for May yet?
Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Thank you to Sluggy



I want to send a warm thank you to Sluggy for sending me this terrific care package after I won one of her giveaways this month. She told me that my readers stepped up to the plate and that I needed to thank them, so thank you to Sluggy and my readers who entered her give way and let her know I sent you. 


She sent me three bottles of shampoo, two deodorants, Tums, two tubes of toothpaste, and lots of chocolate including Oreo candy bars, Elite chocolate, Lindor truffles, and Hershey's gold candy bars. 

Sluggy is a very giving person and I appreciate her hosting this giveaway. Several of the items like the deodorant were on my shopping list for the weekend, so now I can scratch them off. 

Be sure to read Sluggy's Blog, Don't Read This; It's Boring, and get in on all the fun. She holds monthly giveaways and you could be her next big winner. :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, April 26, 2019

Frugal Friday ~ April 26, 2019

This week I was able to work four days and got to stay home on Wednesday, so I decided to make our Easter dinner then. 

One thing that the water problem did was soak through some of my Dad's clothes that he left here when he moved five years ago. 

There is normally red clay mud at the bottom of our water tank/heater, so if it leaks red clay comes with it and his clothes soaked up a bunch of the water and mud and I didn't think the red clay would come out. 

I asked him if he wanted me to wash them or get rid of them and he told me to trash them. So there is a section of the downstairs that has been cleaned out as a result. It looks so much better than it did before.  

Some of the items we dried outside in the sunshine. I kept all of the towels and will use those for the cat beds. I'm not going to wash them in my washer with the red clay. 

Some things I did to save money this week include...

- Cut my own hair. My bangs were getting too long and annoying me, so I decided to trim them and decided to cut my hair in the process.

- Earned another $5 from Microsoft Rewards


- Perused the grocery store sale ads online. Here are some good deals I plan on picking up:


Kroger

Peanut Butter 99¢
Cheddar Cheese 99¢

Both of these involve digital coupons and you can purchase up to five, so we both picked these up on Thursday. 

I just opened the  last jar of peanut butter from Kroger's last sale, so the timing worked out well. 


We now have ten jars of peanut butter in our pantry and ten blocks of cheddar cheese (blocks as I prefer to shred my own cheese) in our refrigerator. 


Food City

Food Club Tomatoes 50¢ Friday Only
Luck's Beans 50¢ Friday Only
Smuckers Grape Jam 99¢ Friday Only

Kroger regularly sells canned tomatoes for 50¢ per can, so we picked up two cases (24 cans/$12.00) on Thursday. I was down to one can, so we definitely needed them. 


In my Frugal Kitchen this week I made another batch of granola bars. My daughter bought some Hershey chocolate chips last week when Kroger had them for $1.00 a bag, so I put 1/2 bag in this batch along with some coconut we had in the pantry. 


My recipe calls for 1 & 1/2 cups of peanut butter, but since I was on my last jar when I made them, I only used 1 cup and then used 1/2 cup of peanut butter powder, which helped me stretch my peanut butter and helped me use up the pb powder at least until I bought more on Thursday. 


I've been saving my peanut butter jars to reuse for other things. 

Hershey's Chocolate Chips 
$1.00 @ Kroger

The ham bone from our Easter dinner was put into the crockpot to make ham stock. I used some of the ham stock to moisten the cornbread dressing I made to go with the ham and it really added good flavor to the dressing. 

Beans I had in the fridge were put into individual containers and placed in the freezer as we were not eating them this week because I made a big ham in the middle of the week. 

One thing that I made this week and no one like was a package of cheese sauce. which I doctored with taco sauce. No one liked it though, so I need to decide what to do with it. 


Stir fry has been served in our home more often since I bought the Breville wok a few weeks ago. It's a good and healthy dinner, which is filled with vegetables and one that we all enjoy. 

This was a cabbage stir fry I made:


Rice in my Rice Cooker to go with the Stir Fry.


One day for lunch we had a marked down pizza we picked up at Kroger for $2.99. We also picked up some marked down chicken and ground beef. 





On Tuesday evening I made cornbread in order to make cornbread dressing on Wednesday for our Easter dinner. 

Here it is broken up as I was trying to get it cooled off before I crumbled it. 


Freebies this week included multiple free magazines such as Newsweek, Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, etc. A free Nibbler (chicken sandwich) postcard from Zaxby's for my birthday next month. 


Yesterday I felt like Sluggy when I found a quarter in the girl's bathroom at school. :)


Another free juice from one of the students at school. I'm so glad they've started asking me rather than throwing these away. This one was a combination of citrus juices and not just orange juice. 

That's all the news from here this week. How was your week? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section. 

Stay frugal my friends. :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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