Friday, July 1, 2022

First Frugal Friday of July 2022



Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

On Saturday we went to several yard sales and one of the things I found was a vintage Tupperware Vegetable Dip serving tray for $1.00. New ones on the Tupperware website go for $49, although you can buy the vintage ones for around $10 and up online at eBay. 

We also bought a little chicken coop for a couple of chickens. We’ve been thinking about getting some again since the price of eggs has risen so much. 

We went inside Food City and I used their coin machine while I was in there. Mom had coins in several different places, so I had just been putting them all in a ziplock bag. Turned out to be $8.76 when the counting was finished. 



Some of my friends sent flowers after Mom passed away and I wanted to share the pictures of them with you. Both of them came in pretty vases to keep and one of them came in a pretty piece of purple tissue paper, which I kept to reuse later. 


We use these grabber tools around the house for various things like reaching for something we can’t get without assistant. They really come in handy for all sorts of little jobs. In fact, we have several of them around the house for various reasons.


This week one of the suction cups came off of one of mine and I was determined to fix it. I found the suction cup and using a sharp knife “drilled” a hole all the way through the suction cup and then used a plastic coated wire to fasten it to the end of the grabber. It works just as good as it did before the suction cup fell off. 

The plastic coated wire I had was saved from various new products we purchase. They are sort of like a bread tie, but much sturdier. They come in very handy for various repair jobs such as holding the cage onto a fan when the clips have failed. 

Question of the Week

Does your vacuum have a bag or is it bagless?

About one month before Mom passed away she asked me to buy her a new vacuum. The one I bought for her is a Bissell that uses vacuum cleaner bags. The one Bailey has is a Dirt Devil bagless model. 

I was vacuuming up dirt/gravel the other day and the Dirt Devil was throwing it back at me from behind. I could feel it hitting my bare feet. So, I got Mom’s new vacuum out and started to vacuum up the mess. 

I was shocked at how much better the Bissell vacuum worked over the Dirt Devil. It was a BIG difference, but it could be due to the fact that the Bissell uses vacuum cleaner bags. Now Bailey is using the Bissell vacuum cleaner as well. 

Avoiding Spending

I tried to avoid spending this week, but that cats needed some Frontline medicine for fleas and ticks, so I did have that expense this week. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

We stopped in at Food City after we were done with yard sales on Saturday. They had two pound bags of rice marked down to $1.50 (75 cents/lb.), so I picked up five of those. I also found a couple of bags of marked down cole slaw, which I picked up to make deconstructed egg rolls for Sunday dinner. 

I also picked up four pounds of great northern beans and four pounds of cranberry/October beans. I feel the need to be stocking up on non-meat alternatives after watching this video on YouTube this week. 

Here is a link to the video if you’re interested: A Warning from a Farmer

On Sunday I made four gallons of tea, two sweetened and two unsweetened. We’ve been drinking a lot of tea now that the weather has turned hot. Of course, we do drink plenty of water, but I do like to have a glass of unsweetened tea with dinner.

Meals This Week

Friday: Blackened Chicken, Buttered Basmati Rice, Mixed Vegetables. 

Saturday:  Chicken Strips, Potato Salad, Watermelon. 

Sunday: Deconstructed Egg Rolls, Egg Rolls, Mixed Vegetables. 

Monday: Deconstructed Egg Rolls to finish it off, but first I doctored it up by using a mix of peppers and onions from the freezer and more ginger. I served it with steamed broccoli. 

Tuesday: Movie Night Pizza. 

Wednesday: Tacos with all the fixings, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, jalapeños, and I put potatoes and onions in the taco meat to s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out as far as possible. I grated the cheese and chopped up all the vegetables early in the day that way I just needed to brown and season the meat and warm up the tortillas. 

Thursday: since I had taco meat left from Wednesday night’s dinner, I decided to make a taco salad with the leftovers. I served it with corn and a salad. I made my own dressing using sour cream and two Taco Bell taco sauce packets. 

Saving on Entertainment

We’ve been watching North and South this past week, which is the adaptation of John Jakes’ trilogy of books. The mini-series depicts the lives of two families, the Hazards and the Mains and tells the story of the events and emotions before, during and after the civil war. It’s an old tv mini series from the 1980s, but has been interesting to watch. 

Freebies


Bailey went to her book club meeting on Friday night and one of the ladies gave everyone some cucumbers from her garden. We had them for dinner with several dinners this week, they were so fresh and delicious. 


Do you have big plans for the holiday weekend? We would normally yard sale, but often notice that not many people hold yard sales on a holiday weekend, so we will stay home and do stuff around the house this weekend. 

I did check for yard sales and there is one in Hixson, but we will not use the gas to drive there for one yard sale. We have to make it worth our time and gas money by going to multiple yard sales, so only one doesn’t work for us. 

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
Debt Free & 
~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, June 24, 2022

Fourth Frugal Friday of June 2022




Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

We replaced one of our window air conditioners this week. This one in particular would run up the electric bill using 50 kilowatts per day, so I was looking to get a more energy efficient model. 

Taking the old one out was a dirty job. I lined the house with old bed sheets and turned it over from end to end to get it out of the house. Lots of rust came out along the way. And then I washed the heck out of that window. The unit had been there since 1986, so you can imagine how dirty it was. 

Here is the view from that window…



I’ve been keeping an eye on our daily kWh usage on our electric company’s website/app. That is how I knew the old air conditioner was using too much electricity. The new air conditioner is using 30 kWh less each day than the old unit. Watching this daily will help us in our goals to lower the electric bill each month. 

This week I won a Swagbucks Collector Bill worth 21 SB. 


One of the tasks that fell to me before and after Mom’s passing was to deal with the paperwork/mail that comes in for her regularly. I also had to notify both Social Security and her pension company that she had passed. 

Mom retired in 2012 and she decided to take a monthly payment rather than a lump payout from her pension because she didn’t want my Dad to get half of it. They divorced in 2014 and Mom never did change the beneficiary. 

So, the pension company made their decision this week and sent me a letter. My father will be getting that monthly payment now for the rest of his life, which I know my Mother did not want. 

The moral of the story here is to make sure all of your affairs are in order before something happens. My friend Linda who is 84 years old and quite wealthy doesn’t have a will set up either. We need to be taking care of these things while we still can so that our wishes and not someone else’s takes place after our death. 

Groceries in August 2022 in Tennessee will be tax free. Here is a link for more information. https://www.tn.gov/revenue/taxes/sales-and-use-tax/sales-tax-holiday/sth-food.html

Our local thrift store had a buggy sale this week where they let you fill a buggy and only pay $15 for the lot. Bailey went and added more inventory for her online shops and also picked us up two new bowls for the cats. 

We line dried our clothing indoors this week.  Outdoors doesn’t work for us due to allergies, but indoors works well. 

Photo of the Week


This photo was pasted in a Facebook group I’m part of and I wanted to share it with you. The person has taken Minute Maid lemonade and added a packet of Kool-aid to make different flavored lemonades. 

One of my favorite drinks is strawberry lemonade, although I really like blackberry lemonade too. These drinks are easy enough to duplicate at home without the added cost of buying already made lemonade. 

The Tightwad Gazette recipe for lemonade is easy enough with one cup of lemon juice, one cup of sugar, and two quarts of water. And you can easily reduce the sugar and then add your own flavors either with real fruit or a Kool-aid packet. Summertime is the perfect time to enjoy beverages like this. 

Avoiding Spending

Due to the extreme heat last week, we did not go to any yard sales. I’ve stayed home all week and have spent no money. Bailey did go thrifting on Thursday and I gave her some money to look up markdowns for me. She came home with four packages of ground beef and several loaves of bread. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

I’ve not done any major grocery shopping this month. Instead we’ve been  using up food items we have on hand here. I had a jar of sweet and sour sauce in the fridge that we were not using, so I made grilled chicken one day and basted the chicken with the sauce. Turned out very tasty. 

One day I made Chicken Teriyaki using some chicken tenders we bought on markdown. I served it with basmati rice and vegetables for inexpensive side dishes.

Meals This Week

Friday: Hamburgers & French Fries.

Saturday:  Sweet & Sour Chicken, Vegetable Fried Rice, Carrots, Egg Rolls. 

Sunday: Patty Melts, French Fries, Cole Slaw. 

Monday: Better Cheddars, Rice & Mixed Vegetables.

Tuesday: Movie Night Pizza

Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken, Basmati Rice, and Stir Fried Vegetables. 

Thursday: Dirty Rice, Potato Salad, Salad. 



Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Friday, June 17, 2022

Third Frugal Friday of June 2022



Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week

We don’t grow up all at once in youth, we do it slowly, one day at time. 
Same can be said of aging. We don’t grow old all at once, we do it one day at a time. ~ Belinda

My Frugal Week

Our garbage man called and asked if he could come on Friday instead of Saturday last week. I said yes immediately because I find it very satisfying when the garbage is hauled off. I recently gave him a small raise due to the price of gas. 

Sunday evening I began to feel sick and feverish. This continued for several days when the nurse practitioner (who treats the whole family) called to see if she could come to the house and see Mom. 

Grief comes in waves and this was one of times. My voice started to crack as I told her about Mom and I just started to cry. Being sick probably didn’t help. She was very sympathetic and came to see me the next day. 

She thinks I have Covid and sent someone Thursday afternoon to do a Covid test on me. By that time I was already feeling better and now on Friday morning I don’t have any symptoms left, but I’ll keep you updated. 

I’ve been working in one of our bedrooms this week and hired someone to deep clean it for me. I had a lot of trouble getting someone to come out here and I think it’s because of the price of gas. One lady wanted to charge me $25 additional money for gas to come 15 miles. 

So, I kept looking and finally found someone who was pretty reasonable and only charged 10 to 20 cents per square inch depending on the dirt. He also shampoos carpets, so I had him come out on Thursday and it took him about two and a half hours to deep clean the room. 

He shampooed the carpet twice and only charged me $50 for the cleaning and $75 for the shampoo. He cleaned the ceiling, ceiling fan, walls, windows including tracks. The room looks so much better and was worth every penny to me. 

Bailey went thrifting on Thursday and as usual stopped in for markdowns at Kroger and IGA. She came home with three packages of ground beef marked down to $4.99 each, three types of bread marked down, and three packages of salad marked down.

Photo of the Week

It was a real scorcher here this week.

Question of the Week

If someone gave you a box of everything you’ve ever lost, what is the first thing you would look for?

Years ago when I was married, my husband and I went to Chickamauga Battlefield on Lookout Mountain where I bought a book in the gift shop. The book was about Tennessee Historical Markers and was titled the same. 

Soon after my ex began substituting and brought the book to school. The teacher he was subbing for liked the book so much my ex told her to keep it. I tried to replace the book, but it was out of print for many years after that. 

Fast forward to today and there are numerous copies of the book for sale online. In fact, Bailey knew I missed the book so much that she replaced the copy I “lost”. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

We stopped in at the grocery store on Saturday after yard sales. Food City had the 32 ounce bags of cheese priced at $5.00 each with a limit of two, so we bought two. They also had their Buy 5 Meat Items for $19.99 on sale for $14.99. Bacon, which is a rare treat here, was on sale for $5.00 each.

One thing I noticed while grocery shopping was the shrinking packages, which corporations are doing to combat their own rising costs. The meat I purchased from Food City has definitely shrunk

These packages of boneless county style ribs worked out to $2.99 a pound with the sale. Which to me brings then down to a better price and not a sale price, 


We’ve been sure to use up all our leftovers, so as to not have any food waste. Oftentimes that means serving some things the next day, which is no problem with us.

On Thursday I decided to make Mexican Goulash for dinner before I realized I was out of elbow macaroni. The only pasta I had on hand was spaghetti, so I used that instead. I told Bailey (who has been tired of spaghetti for a long time) to imagine it was Mexican and not spaghetti. 

She enjoyed it, but also says spaghetti noodles taste different than elbow macaroni and that is why they have different sauces. 😂 

(now to figure out what to do with my remaining two boxes of spaghetti 😉)

Meals This Week

Friday:  Dirty Rice, Green Beans with Onions. 

Saturday: Chicken Tenders, KFC Coleslaw, and Mixed Vegetables. 

Sunday: BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs, KFC Cole Slaw, Rice Pilaf. 

Monday: Beefy Baked Beans, Green Beans with Onions, Carrots. 

Tuesday: Movie Night = Pizza

Wednesday: Sweet & Sour Chicken, Rice, Broccoli

Thursday: Mexican Goulash, Green Beans with Onions, Salad. 

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Friday, June 10, 2022

Second Frugal Friday of June 2022



Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~ Mark Twain

My Frugal Week

Thank you for all the kind comments you made to me about my Mom. Each one was thoughtful and comforting to me and I wanted you all to know that they meant so much to me. Thank you. ❤️ 

It looks like Blogger has fixed the issues with commenting.  I’ve switched my comment section back over to embedded, so I can respond to each comment. I like it so much better that way. Keeping my fingers crossed that it continues to work. 

We went to several yard sales on Saturday and Bailey was able to get restocked on clothing inventory for her shops. She ended up with 124 pieces of clothing for her shops. 


For the house we found two Tervis hot beverage mugs. I actually wanted one of these for Christmas, so it was neat to find two on the same day. The one I wanted on Amazon goes for $16.99 and these were $2.00 each, so a good deal. We also found an old Planters peanut jar from 1981, which I will use for storage. Also, a new strainer/steamer and a casserole dish. 


I’ve decided to buy casserole dishes when I find them. Rather than use disposable foil pans when bringing food to a potluck, I’ll be using casserole dishes I find at yard sales. 

Whenever we go to Bailey’s uncle’s home for a get together I usually leave my dishes behind and get them back at the next get together. I found a blue rectangle one, which will be perfect for such an event, and was only $2.00 at a yard sale this weekend. 

Then on Sunday evening I happened to read a Facebook post by someone in our community giving away all their yard sale stuff for free. Bailey went over and picked out multiple clothing items and a glass bowl and 11 x 15 Anchor Hocking casserole dish for me. I was so tickled as I’ve never had one that big before. 

I hired someone to help me with some cleaning and moving this week. My Dad had boxes of books in one of the closets. He hasn’t lived here in over ten years, so it was time. He still has an office with his stuff downstairs where he ran his business for years, so the lady I hired carried all of them down there for me. It's wonderful to have reclaimed that space. 

One of the reasons I was in that closet was to sort through papers and pictures. I labeled one box for me, one for my brother, and one for my sister, and put each item in its rightful box. My Mom kept many things of ours and I know they will be thrilled to get a box of their own stuff that she lovingly kept all these years. And it’s been cathartic for me in the process.

The Story of a Millionaire & Catching Up with an Old Friend

On Wednesday evening I spoke with a childhood friend. We spent many days and nights at each others homes when we were growing up. Both our parents did the flea markets on the weekend, so we would always hang out there too and of course at school. 

Her Dad was a union man who worked for International Harvester in Chicago and sold at multiple flea markets every weekend, all year long. He spent his childhood in an orphanage with nuns and priests and started life with basically nothing.

He was the definition of frugal and would make deals with the produce men at the flea market on boxes of produce to feed his family. He made similar deals with the butcher and anyone else who he could trade or barter for food with including dumpster dived food. 

He made deals with businesses to pick up their discarded wooden pallets and took them home and cut them up for firewood  to save money on heating. He would bring sandwiches all stacked neatly in the bread bag to feed his family at the flea market. He had a camp stove in his booth at the flea market and would make popcorn as a snack for the kids. 

Although he wore a white shirt and tie for work he dressed plainly on the weekends. No fancy designer clothes for him, his wife or children

He passed away last year and rather than leave his estate to his children, he left it to his twelve grandchildren. Each one of them has a trust fund set up in their own name when they turn 21 years old with each one receiving around $140,000 each.

His safety deposit box at the bank had so many silver bars in it that they had a party and gave several to each grandchild. 

To say I was floored would be an understatement. He certainly did not seem or act like a millionaire, but he was a hard worker and so were his children. I knew he was frugal but didn’t know he was a millionaire. My friend didn’t know either and was as shocked as me when she learned the news.

It’s a testament to how a man who started his life with nothing used hard work and frugality to make a fortune.

Question of the Week

What are you or your family doing to combat the high gas prices? 

Meals This Week

Friday: Hamburgers, Tater Tots, Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Onions. 

Saturday:  Shrimp, Egg Rolls, Cabbage & Kale Greens.

Sunday: Patty Melts, French Fries, Cole Slaw. 

Monday: Chicken Sandwiches, Tater Tots, Teriyaki Stir Fry. 

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza for Movie Night. 🎥 

Wednesday: Tacos ~ I chopped and grated the toppings early in the day, so when dinner time rolled around all I had to do was brown and season the meat and heat up the tortillas. 

Thursday: Chicken Fajitas, Stir Fry Vegetables.

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Friday, June 3, 2022

First Frugal Friday of June 2022



Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week

A rising tide lifts all ships. 
~ Jack Monroe ~ The Bootstrap Cook

 Update on my Mom 

My Mom has earned her angel wings as she passed away on Friday, May 27, 2022. She came to me in a dream that morning in her red nightshirt and was leaning into me to give me a hug. I sat up to hug her back and woke up and I knew in my heart she was leaving. She was the best Mom ever and I will love and miss her for the rest of my life. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts to me after her fall and illness. They have meant so much to me.

My Frugal Week

Bailey had book club last Friday, so we did not yard sale on that day.

We decided to stock up on cat food this week and bought four - thirty pound bags for $19.48 each. 

It really pays to hang on to some of your old cords and chargers. I keep mine in a ziplock bag and label them. Sometime this week I had lost the charger to my cordless headphones. Bailey has a bag of old chargers and we found one in there that works for the headphones. I have since found my charger, so now I have two of them.

We sent back Mom’s hospital bed on Tuesday. They were going to charge $12 per month for the next year, so she would own it outright. But there is no need for that now. 

Our local charity shop came by on Thursday as we donated her wheelchair, shower chair, bedside commode, brand new packs of diapers and pads. They allow people in our community to use these things for free as long as they need them, so we wanted other people to benefit from these items. I also sent along a box of food of items that she enjoyed but we would not eat, so others may benefit from them too.

Photo of the Week


Mom & Me ~ Summer 1980

Question of the Week

Did you know that some Corell dishes made before 1970 might contain lead in the paint? The white dishes, which are non painted, are fine. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

With rising grocery costs facing us, I’ve been thinking about some of the dishes we used to make back when money was tighter. Dinners like baked potatoes, rice or macaroni and cheese, beans, etc. Several of our dinners this week reflected that as we want to make the best use of the resources we have available to us. 

Bailey went to multiple thrift stores on Thursday. She stopped in at both Kroger and IGA for meat markdowns and came home with three packages of chicken, four packages of hamburger meat, and several packages of already made hamburgers. All of that went into the freezer for future meals.

Meals This Week

Friday: Bean & Cheese Enchiladas. I used McCormick Enchilada Sauce Mix with an eight ounce can of tomato sauce to make these enchiladas, which cost $1.90 to make. The Old El Paso enchilada sauce is $1.98 for a ten ounce can, so the price is similar. 

This was a meatless meal, which is a good way to save money since the cost of meat has went up in price with so many other things. 

Saturday:  Bailey’s uncle and cousins treated us to dinner delivered to our home since my Mom passed away. We decided on pizza from our local Italian restaurant. 

Sunday: Dirty Rice, Corn on the Cob, Potato Salad. 

Monday: Better Cheddars, Buttered Noodles, Carrots, Corn on the Cobb. 

Tuesday: Tuna Salad for lunch, Pizza for movie night. 

Wednesday: Macaroni & Cheese, October Beans ~ another meatless meal.

Thursday: I took the last two hamburgers from the freezer and the October beans from yesterday, added onions, tomatoes, and chili powder and made chili for dinner. Cheese, sour cream, and saltine crackers for those who wanted that. 

Recipe of the Week

This is the cake recipe that was involved in my question of the week last week. Is Watkins dessert mix the same thing as dry pudding mix? Several people asked for the recipe, so here it is in its entirety. It’s a delicious cake if you do get the chance to try it. 

Vanilla Filled Fudge Crown Cake

Ingredients: 

1 package (18.5 ounces) Swiss or milk chocolate cake mix
1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 & 1/2 tablespoons Watkins vanilla dessert mix (pudding?)
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Watkins chocolate dessert mix (pudding?)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons warm milk

Directions:

Prepare cake mix as package directs adding cinnamon.
Pour into a greased Bundt pan.
In a small mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and dessert mix. 
Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
Pour evenly over cake batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until done. 
Remove from pan and let cool. 
Drizzle glaze over cake. 

Glaze Directions:

Combine powdered sugar, dessert mix, oil, and vanilla. 
Add enough milk to make desired consistency. 


Thank 
you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

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