Sunday, December 29, 2019

My Frugal Week


My Christmas Cactus has been beautiful this year and I wanted to share a photo of it with my readers. 

One frugal tip I want to share with you this week is in regards to Dawn dish soap, which can be used in several ways around your home. Today I'm going to share two ideas with you. 

The first tip concerns washing laundry. When you go to put your laundry in your washer be sure to squirt a small amount of Dawn dish washing detergent into the machine. This will help get any stains out of your clothes.  


The second tip I want to share is to take a reusable plastic bottle and squirt a small amount of Dawn into it and fill the rest of the way with water. 

This makes a great cleaner for counters, cabinets, stoves, and washing one or two dishes. 

Stretching your Dawn out this way will definitely save you money in the long run because one bottle will last much longer when you stretch it out this way. 

Speaking of laundry, we are quickly coming to the end of our stash of laundry detergent, which we bought when my daughter was couponing back in 2016. We have not bought laundry detergent or Soft Scrub in all that time. 

This month I bought my first bottle of Soft Scrub in three years. Now we are going to have to start buying laundry detergent again or find another way to wash our laundry. Stayed tuned for updates on this process. 

Speaking of being frugal, while I was wrapping Christmas presents last week I made sure to use something up before I opened a new one. 

For example, I made sure to use ALL the gift tags on a sticker sheet before I opened a new package. I made sure to use all the bows before I opened a new pack. 

And I do that with other items all year long. I make sure to empty a container of something before I open a new bottle. 

My Mother had a bad habit of opening new bottles before she used up the older bottles. As a result, she had her bathtub lined up with multiple bottles of half filled shampoo, which was very wasteful. Use up those items and save yourself some money. 


My Hamilton Beach hand mixer, given to me by my exdh for Christmas in the early 1990s, bit the dust while I was making a cheese ball last week. 


Holiday cooking always makes me nostalgic especially when I use appliances like this and remembering people who are long gone and it made me a little sad. 


To the rescue was my Mom's Dormeyer hand mixer (100 watts) from the 1960s, which didn't have as much power as mine had (290 watts), but it got the job done.


We did go out on Friday after Christmas to get some wrapping paper and bows, which were priced at 50% off. We have plenty to add to our stash for next year. 

The other days this week we've been staying home and working a few hours in the morning and then playing games in the afternoon and watching a Christmas movie in the evenings. It's been fun & saves us money by staying home and using what we have to entertain ourselves. 



How was your week? Any frugal wins you'd like to tell us about in the comment section? We would love to hear about them. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

My Frugal Week

This week we had the last of our cats spayed at the clinic that utilizes a grant to help cover the cost and then only charges $25 for each spay or neuter. Now all of our cats are fixed, and hopefully no new ones show up here. 

I worked all five days last week and brought all food and drinks from home. Scratch that...we had snow last Wednesday and school was cancelled. Drat! Make that four days worked instead of five. 

On Wednesday I worked on hand warmers in my Etsy shop. I also made brownies and deep cleaned the kitchen, and folded laundry. 

Saturday we went to the annual Hallmark Christmas get together for work. We had the best time with friends and look forward to this fun event each year. 

Sunday we put up our Christmas tree, decorated for Christmas and listened to Christmas music. 

This week I redeemed several of my reward point programs towards Amazon gift certificates. 

I redeemed $10 from Microsoft Rewards, $15 from MyPoints, and $4 from Checkpoints. I also earned a $15 Amazon credit for using Amazon photos. 

This money went towards a gift I will be giving this year and I only ended up paying 21¢ for it in the end. Using reward programs are a great way to get presents inexpensively. 

This week I received a free calendar from Betty Crocker. 


This week I took the apples from our refrigerator and dehydrated them. The apples get eaten faster when I do this and make a great side with a sandwich for lunches.  

Aldi had butter and eggs on sale this week, so we stocked up. Butter was $1.99 per pound while eggs were 49¢ per dozen. 

Food Lion had Spam on sale last week priced at 2 for $3.00, but when you bought two you got one for free, so that made them $2.00 each. 

We've been busy getting ready for Christmas as I'm sure many of you are too. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living from Frugal Workshop.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Free Today on Amazon Kindle: Save More, Spend Less


Save More, Spend Less


UPDATED FOR 2019: It is estimated that 45% of households have no retirement savings, and even fewer have an emergency fund. Add in debt from student loans and credit cards, and it's easy to see why the budgets of most people are stretched to their limits. However, there is help in getting your finances in shape! In "Save More, Spend Less!" author provides dozens of quick and easy ways to tackle debt, build savings, and save money on everything from home and auto expenses to groceries and entertainment. By implementing the tips and tricks in this book, you'll be on the road to financial security before you know it!
Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree


Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Frugal Friday ~ December 6, 2019


“There is no dignity
quite so impressive,
and no independence
quite so important,
as living within your means.”
 ~ Calvin Coolidge



This week I worked four days and had Tuesday off. I used the day off to clean out a closet and work on Christmas presents such as hand warmers, key chains and felt food. 



Last Friday we spent the day with family before they went back to Florida. They treated us out to lunch at a local restaurant where I ordered my favorite, which is their patty melt. 

This week we snagged a free year of Disney as a reward from Verizon wireless. So far I've been catching up on some of my favorite Christmas movies. 



My daughter found a cat food deal from chewy.com this week. She was able to order four giant bags of cat food for only $18.00 total. Pictured above is our cat Scrappy with the boxes. 

Verizon sent us a $20 Amazon gift card this week for our one year anniversary with them.

I earned a $15 gift card to Amazon from Swagbucks this week. I used it as part of a payment towards a Christmas present. I also clipped a coupon on the Amazon website and received $23 off the product I ordered.



The Joy of Cooking cookbook that I won recently came in the mail this week.

Bojangles sent me a coupon via email for a free cinnamon biscuit for December from their Barnyard Calendar. If you live near a Bojangles and want to sign up for their Barnyard Calendar, click here

Each month they will send you that month's calendar to print along with a coupon that is good for the entire month. Best of all, it's free to join.



One day this week I cut up this shirt to reuse the fabric on something else. It's a beautiful fall print fabric. I also saved the ten pearl buttons that came with the shirt. 

I also repaired the hem on a dress for my daughter, replaced a broken snap on one of her cloth pads, and repaired another cloth pad that is simply worn out. She loves it though and is unwilling to part with it, so Mom to the rescue. 

Her and I finished posting two lists of clothing items for sale to both eBay and Mercari. As a result her sales have gone up and she was able to cancel a $50 monthly fee for maintaining the lists. We put our noses to the grindstone to get them done, and  the payoff was worth it in the end. 

We cooked every meal from home this week as usual. All lunches and drinks consumed this week were also brought from home. 

We've had to have the heat on at home several times this week. We keep the heater on 60, so I know when it clicks on that it's pretty cold in the house. Any lower than that and it's too cold for me. 


My Dad has moved back to Tennessee for the winter. The land he is living on right now does not have a driveway and he needs to build one. He asked me if I knew someone who could help him and I mentioned the person who does our garbage for us as he did a lot of yard work for us this year. 

He and my Dad worked out a great bartering deal. Timmy is going to help Dad build the driveway at $15 per hour, but instead of cash Dad is going to have Timmy work towards a truck and 5th wheel camper my Dad was going to sell. 

It's a win-win situation as Dad gets the driveway he needs and Timmy gets a truck and camper that he wants. 

This week I needed to order a clothing item online, and ended up getting free shipping and 50% off my order, which was a $32 savings. 

How was your week?Any frugal wins you'd like to tell us about in the comment section? We would love to hear about them. 


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living from Frugal Workshop.





Thursday, December 5, 2019

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Cheap Meals: How to Prepare Meals that are Simply Affordable and Nutritious



Another free eBook out today...

Cheap Meals: How to Prepare Meals that are Simply Affordable and Nutritious, written by Amanda Joly, is free today on Amazon Kindle.

Please make sure to check the price before you buy it to make sure it is still free.

From the Amazon website...
Do You Want to Attain the Secret to Eating Great Even On The Tightest of Budgets? If So, Listen Up...
Who Else Wants to Eat Better Than Ever By Putting These Cash-Saving Food-Shopping and Preparation Tips to Use -- You‘ll Literally Save Money Every Time You Visit the Kitchen!
I'm really enjoying these books on frugality and the price cannot be beat. I hope you are enjoying them as well. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Monday, December 2, 2019

Dirt Poor and Lovin' It!: Learning to live on minimum wage painlessly


Dirt Poor and Lovin' It!: Learning to live on minimum wage painlessly, also written by Kate Singh, is free today on Amazon Kindle. 


Please make sure to check the price before you buy it to make sure it is still free. 


From the Amazon website...

For everyone on fixed incomes, military incomes, minimum wage, disability, or social security. This is for families and individuals that want a quality of life on limited funds. This little book is packed with simple and fun advice to eat well and healthily, live well, have fun, beautify their homes, make their own laundry detergent, and ideas for urban farming. For less than a cup of coffee at McDonald's, you will have a great little money saving novelette.


I've enjoyed reading about her Home Economics book this weekend on frugality. I thought you might enjoy this one as well.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Saving on Electricity: Reverse Ceiling Fans for Winter



Ceiling fans are another tool we use here at the Frugal Workshop to help save money year round. Not only do they add beauty to our home, but they also serve as a supplement to both our heating and cooling systems. 

Several times this season my daughter has wanted to turn on the air conditioning, but I turned the ceiling fans on instead. This provided enough of a cool breeze to avoid turning on the air conditioner, which ends up saving money on our electric bill.

Ceiling fans made these days are very efficient in moving air around and are built to be used all year long. The key to using your ceiling fan properly is to adjust the rotation of the fan blades according to the temperatures. 


Because hot air rises, the air that we normally pay to heat at this time of year ends up accumulating towards the ceiling. 

When ceiling fan blades are reversed and forced to move in a clockwise direction, the air is pushed up towards the ceiling and down the walls. This moves the hot air down to the floor, thus making the room feel warmer where people are gathered, rather than being allowed to accumulate towards the ceiling.

Do you need to know how to reverse the direction of your ceiling fan? Here are directions to help you with this task. 

First off you need to turn the ceiling fan off and wait until the blades have stopped moving completely. 

Then you can follow these easy directions:

Get a step stool or ladder to stand on.

Locate the directional (forward/reverse) toggle switch on the body of your fan.

Flip the toggle switch in the opposite direction.

Get off step stool or ladder.
Turn fan back on.

Stand directly under the fan and make sure the blades are rotating in the proper direction for the season.

Then sit back and enjoy the comfort and savings that a ceiling fan will provide year round.

Right now we still have our ceiling fans geared towards warm weather, but starting in January we will begin to experience the cold winter weather and will be changing the direction of our ceiling fans at that time.

What about your household? Do you have ceiling fans to help save money on your heating and cooling system? Are they rotating in the correct direction for the season?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Home Economics: How to Run the Whole House, Budget, and Garden

Image Credit

Home Economics, written by Kate Singh, is free today on Amazon Kindle. Please make sure to check the price before you buy it to make sure it is still free. 

From the Amazon website...

Want a fun book that teaches you how to run your home like a business...a cozy business, of course. Turn the kitchen into a cafe and your pantry into a grocery store. Grow your own organic produce and save tons of money. Learn how to budget like a pro without all the fancy financial spreadsheets. Make your house sparkly clean and charmingly decorated from thrift stores. Learn to love this job and become more creative with a tiny budget. Have fun and learn to slow down and be a bit old fashioned. This book will explain in detail every inch of house management and inspire you greatly. Brew up a pot of coffee and dive in.

I've enjoyed reading about her frugality. I thought you might enjoy it as well. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, November 29, 2019

Frugal Friday

This month I paid in full some charges I made on two credit cards in order to avoid paying any interest charges on them. 

I listed multiple items for sale on eBay this week including some Boxtops for Education. They are switching over to a new system and won't be offering the paper Boxtops any longer, so I wanted to sell them before they stop making them. 

The Boxtops sold within the hour of listing them on eBay. 

We did not eat out this week and ate all of our meals at our home or with family. We even took sandwiches and drinks with us on Saturday when we needed to run errands just in case we got hungry. 

We stopped in at Aldi the day we were running errands. They had packages of chicken with two breasts in each package marked for $3.00 each, but had $2.00 off coupons attached. We bought seven packages and put them in the freezer when we got home. 


The Republic of Tea sent me a catalog with a free tea bag sample and a coupon for $10 off any order over $10. I ordered an item to be included with a Christmas present. 



Image Credit
Paper Dolls by Cory was created by Cory Jensen who shares his creations on Facebook for free. 

Image Credit
If you know of any small children who would enjoy playing with paper dolls, these are offered for free on Cory's Facebook page. 

All you have to do is print them out. With the right presentation, they would make some children a lovely and inexpensive Christmas present. 


One place to get free eBooks is the website www.freereadfeed.com. You can check it daily to find interesting books to read. I use the filters there to find non-fiction books to read as those are my favorite books because I like to learn new skills. 


Yesterday we spent a lovely day with family. We enjoyed the day, ate good food, laughed, and looked at old photographs of us when we were young and spry. 

Today we are going to spend the day with family again before they go back to Florida tomorrow. No black Friday shopping for us though. How about you?


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living from Frugal Workshop.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Blustery Fall Days & Soup



Image Credit
Blustery, cold fall days make a hot bowl of soup very appealing.  It’s great comfort food and easy to fill with healthy ingredients. Serving a bowl or cup of soup along with your choice of bread or sandwich several times per month really helps to stretch your grocery budget. 

When money’s tight, adding one or two of these recipes to your meal plan each month will help save money on your grocery bill. When you take the time to make soup yourself you will definitely be saving money.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Homemade Chili

Creamy Corn Chowder

Taco Soup

Potato Soup

15 Bean Soup

Soup is also a wonderful resource for using up leftovers. Chop up leftover chicken, hamburger, ham or roast. Start by sauteing an onion and any other vegetables you have on hand and you have the beginnings for a great pot of soup.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Use It Up Potato Soup

What are some of your favorite soups to make?


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree
Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living from Frugal Workshop.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Frugal Friday

Payday fell this week and unfortunately my check was short due to a clerical error. Normally I will pick up take out on payday, but not this time. I just came home and made dinner using items we had here. So, a frugal win on dinner anyway. 

Our local gas station changed rewards cards, so I needed to have my information switched over and it turned out to be more work than I thought it would. Several phone calls later it's now fixed and can be used to save money on gas again. This saves me 10¢ per gallon and adds up over time. 
This particular gas station has two reward cards. One is for Exxon and gives you points for each purchase while the second reward card lowers the price of gas by 10¢ per gallon. When I paid for the gas myself I paid $2.02 per gallon.


When I filled up my car this week I used my Exxon rewards card to use the free $8.75 worth of gas I had earned. We have found that the reward does not come off if you pay with a debit or credit card. So, to get around this issue we insert $1 into the pump and can then get all of our rewards. It might seem like a little bit of work, but I received $8.75 in free gas today, so I consider that worth the effort. 


This week we cooked all of our meals at home.
 
- Baked Potato Night, Broccoli
- Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Vegetable Stir Fry
- Chili Tacos, Lettuce & Tomatoes
Chicken Pot Pie
- White Chicken Enchiladas & Salad
- Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, apricots
- Smoked Sausage, Fried Potatoes, Corn


My Dad, an electrician, came down from Illinois and fixed one of our thermostats while he was here. This allowed one of the rooms upstairs to have heat again. Cost for the thermostat was $22, which was the only cost involved and saved us from calling a local electrician and being charged for labor. 

We used the free weatherstripping we received the other day and redid the weatherstripping on our back door. There was a draft coming in the door, which we used to solve by hanging a coat on the doorknob, but now it has been fixed. 
 
Last week I requested and received two free Sesame Street coloring books for fire safety. I'll be including these in a Christmas gift for two little girls this year. 

This week I perused the grocery store sale ads online and saved myself $1.00 for the cost of a newspaper to get them. 

Payday came this week, so all my bills were paid online, which saves me money spent on postage. 

How was your week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree
Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living from Frugal Workshop.
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