Sunday, September 30, 2012

End of the Month Wrap Up

Just a quick update for today...Our grocery bill expense for September was $197.50, which is lower than normal for us for a couple of reasons. I have not been to the grocery store as much this month as I normally have been. I only went shopping for groceries four times this month and we have eaten out more than usual this month and especially this past week since my Mother has been hospitalized. Hopefully that will come down once she is back home. Same with gas expenditures this month, which were $175.16, which is higher than normally also due to driving to the hospital all this past week. I am fortunate to have worked almost every school day in September with the exception of two days. I paid off one of my clothing store credit cards this month and have no plans to use it anytime in the near future. We have a well stocked pantry and things are looking good for us going into October.

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Search & Win 

If you've been thinking about joining Swagbucks, now is a good time. New users to Swagbucks can earn up to 80 Swagbucks by using code FINCONF2012. 

If you are interested in joining Swagbucks, you can sign up here

I have $105 in my Amazon account right now that I earned through Swagbucks, and I have another $50 worth in my Swagbucks account right now too. As you all know I am saving them for Christmas presents. I learned about the code this morning and wanted to let you all know.

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday at the Frugal Workshop

It has been an extremely busy week here. You can probably tell from the lack of a daily post and my lack of commenting on this and other posts and blogs. 

First off, I worked every day this week, which usually makes it harder to post everyday. 

Secondly, my Mother fell this past Tuesday and had to be taken via ambulance to the hospital. She is OK from the fall, but they found several gallstones and needed to operate to remove her gallbladder. She had it done Laparoscopically, so a minimally invasive surgery. She is doing well, and we have been to visit with her every day after school/work this week, so I've had very little time to spend on the computer. If all goes well today, she may get to come home. 

I just wanted to let you all know why I have not been here this week as much as usual. I hope things will settle down soon and I will be back with you regularly. :)

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Saving Money on Haircuts

Saving money on haircuts is important to me as another way to continue to control the flow of money coming from our household.  Because of that, we usually get our hair cut at Great Clips for $12.00 each. As a result of being a regular customer there, every so often they will send us  postcard/coupon in the mail to get a haircut for $6.99. I was thrilled when I opened the mailbox earlier this month and found one in that day's mail. 

The other day my daughter bought a bag of beef jerky during her lunchtime at school. She noticed a coupon attached to the bag from Great Clips for $3.00 off a haircut. She immediately took this coupon off the package and brought it home to me. It was a proud moment for me when I realized that some of my thrifty ways have rubbed off on her.

We both have short hair cuts and normally get our hair trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. This ends up costing us close to $30 with tax and tip. Last time we had our hair trimmed, which was about 2 weeks ago, I went armed with both of my coupons. We ended up paying $18 instead of the usually $30.  I was thrilled with the fact that we both had haircuts for under $20.

So, one way to save money on haircuts is to get your hair trimmed at one of the salon chain stores like Great Clips and sign up for their email list, so you can get money saving coupons in the mail. Also, be sure to look on all of your food packages to see if there are any money saving coupons on there as well. 

Great Clips also has a promotion going on their website right now where you can win free haircuts for one year. Be sure to sign up for this promotion here

Other ways to save money on haircuts include waiting a longer amount of time between trims and cutting your hair at home. 

What are some of the ways you save money on haircuts?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Sunday, September 23, 2012

United Grocery Outlet

This is a picture of our local grocery outlet, United Grocery Outlet. 

Do you remember Amy Dacyczyn writing about Caswell's Liquidation center in Lewiston, Maine in the Tightwad Gazette? Or this article from CNN that had this to say about Caswell's:

Jim's favorite stop, though, is Caswell's Liquidation Center, a repository for food items no longer ready for grocery prime time. In this dimly lit warehouse-style emporium reside dented cans, cornflakes whose packages are printed in Arabic and food that has passed its "sell by" date. That's right. "People are confused about those dates," insists Amy. "Often the date means only when the food is at the peak of quality. It doesn't go bad on that date."
We have our own close out store here in the south, which is known as United Grocery Outlet. UGO has locations in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, and Georgia. This is the store where I once bought cheese in the eight ounce block for fifty cents. I bought enough to last for year and stored it in our freezer. We shopped there this past week and I wanted to show you some of the remarkable bargains we found and purchased there. 

This is actually a picture from Walmart. This is two pound package of Land O Lakes white cheese. As you can see from the picture, the price at Walmart is $7.97, but we were able to pick up this same package of cheese from UGO for $3.99, which is almost half price. 

This is a bag of Archway iced lemonade cookies. They are priced online anywhere from $3.00 at Shop Rite to $8.50 at Amazon. They are delicious lemon flavored cookies and only cost 59 cents at UGO, which is a really good bargain in my book.

Here is a bag of Allens (another name brand in the south) baby Brussels Sprouts in a butter sauce. These are twelve ounces and only cost $1.00 per bag.  

Here is a bag of Ore Ida County Inn Creations Peppers & Onions Hash Browns in the twenty ounce size, which cost $1.39 per bag, which is a great deal since this product costs $2.96 at Walmart. 

 Here is a bag of Allens Veg All Okra and Squash Blend, which was another good bargain at only $1.00 per bag. 

Here is a family size frozen dinner of Chicken Fried Rice. There were two large bags of frozen stir fried rice inside the box. I made one bag for dinner one night for three of us and it was more than enough. Total cost of this was $4.49 for the box, so dinner that night was only $2.25 for the main course. This was so good that I almost went back the next day to buy more.

Another great deal was the Allens Broccoli with Cheese Sauce, and again was only $1.00 per bag. I served this along side the Chicken Fried Rice and liked it as well.

Another bargain I picked up this week was this two pound bag of hash brown potatoes for $1.39. I figured I would use these to make a Hash Brown Casserole for dinner one night.  

Now this is just a sampling of the items we bought there this week. As with everything else, some things are priced higher than others, so you still have to be sure and know prices in your area. Oftentimes I can find Pepperidge Farm breads here for 99 cents, and they did have some on the day we visited, but not any that I wanted. This store is just another way that we save money here at the Frugal Workshop.

Do you have a close out store in the area you live or any other kind of discount grocery store?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012 -2020.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Night Dinner

I had a package of ground chuck in the refrigerator that had to be used up today since I put it in the refrigerator to thaw on Thursday. I decided to brown it with a chopped up onion, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. After it was completely browned, I added a can of Campbell's Beefy Mushroom Soup.  

I also made mashed potatoes from real potatoes and mashed them with my hand mixer, which makes the best mashed potatoes in the world as far as I'm concerned. I have a potato masher, which is perfect for when I'm in a hurry, but potatoes whipped with a hand mixer taste the best. The beef was thick enough to stand on its own, but it also made a great topping for the mashed potatoes. I served this with creamed corn, green beans with onions, and brussel sprouts. I also made a gallon of sweet iced tea to go with our meal.

After working all week, it was nice to go in the kitchen and prepare a meal from scratch without having to worry about the time it took to prepare the meal.  In my opinion, a good home cooked meal lovingly prepared from scratch is one of the better things in life.

What are your dinner plans for tonight?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Simple Lunches from my Childhood

I grew up in a small town about 30 miles south of Chicago. The grade school I attended was small as well with only two hallways and the gym which was also served as the auditorium and the cafeteria as well as the gym. I have fond memories of the time I spent there and sometimes I feel nostalgic as I think about those days. My sister attended a reunion not too long ago and visited with several of my teachers from back then. Of course they have fond memories of those times too. :)

I can remember the Melamine lunch trays we used to eat from with their many different colors. Do you remember these?


I still remember some of those lunches they served in that school cafeteria. They were simple lunches back at a time when life was simpler too. Even to this day I still make peanut butter and butter sandwiches just like they made in that little school. My sister also eats them from time to time. Others in our family think we are weird for eating something like that, but we enjoyed them as children and we enjoy them as adults today.

Peanut Butter & Butter Sandwiches

Sloppy Joes

Hamburger Bun Pizzas

What are some of the simple lunches you remember from childhood?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Week's Frugal Round Up

Sorry for the poor picture quality, but it was about six o'clock in the morning and I was tired. Originally I was scheduled to work three days this week, but ended up working four instead, which will be great on payday. I brown bagged my lunch for three of those days, although one day the call came so late I was already on my way to school, so I didn't have a lunch with me, but that was OK. I bought a school lunch for $3.00 and had fish, corn, Texas toast, and the best pear along with sweet iced tea. 

If you can see from the photo, I put my sandwich in the bread wrapper since I used the last of this loaf and saved myself the cost of a baggie to put my sandwich into, and let me tell you it fit much better in the bread bag. lol

Last weekend we stayed home over the weekend rather than drive anywhere. Last Sunday, my Mom wanted me to drive to the convenience store and buy newspapers and lottery tickets. I declined and figured I saved $2.50 for papers, $5.00 for lottery tickets, and $1.75 in gas.  It's the little things that add up over time.

Search & Win

I'm still doing Swagbucks and this week earned another gift certificate for $25 to Amazon. Now I have $105 saved in my Amazon account, which I am saving up for Christmas.

Here's what I've been reading this week...

Len Penzo asks the question: My Margarine Taste Test: Which Brand Tastes Most Like Butter?  I've always wondered this question myself, and I like the way Len conducts his experiments. He actually had a panel of 12 members that conducted this survey. I have to admit that I used to use Country Crock regularly until they took the trans fat out of it a few years ago, and I switched to butter at that point in time, but I think I will give both it and the Land of Lakes buttery spread a try because I as you know we are all about saving money here at the Frugal Workshop.

Frugal Workshop was mentioned last week on Len Penzo Dot Com's blog. This was Len's monthly list for his Top 25 Referrers for August. Look below and you can see us tied at spot number 22 with Couple Money. I consider it an honor to be listed on his blog.

Image Credit: Len Penzo Dot Com
Finally, don't forget about my blog giveaway, which I mentioned here. You have until the end up the month to become a follower of the Frugal Workshop and that is when I will have the drawing. 

What frual things have you done this week to save money? 

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dinners this Past Week

This is what we've had for dinner this past week at the Frugal Workshop. We ate one dinner out of the house this week at our favorite Chinese buffet. Other than that, we ate at home this week. I made a large roast on Sunday and made three meals out of this week and we still have some left. It sure helps to save money when we choose to eat at home verses eating out in a restaurant or fast food.


Today, I made the Beef Sirloin Tip Roast that I bought at Sam's Club last month for $15.23. This was a 5 pound roast and there is plenty left over for other meals, so looks like it will be reinvented into something else and on the menu again later this week.

Sirloin Tip Roast with Roasted Potatoes & Carrots
Corn & Green Beans with Onions & Evoo
Grape Tomatoes fresh from the garden
Sweet Iced Tea ~ The House Wine of the South

Repeat of Sunday's Dinner

We came home from work/school and there was no power on at the house, 
so we settled for Sandwiches with chips for dinner.


We had erands to run in town, so I treated my daughter and myself to the Chinese Buffet. Total cost was $16 and totally worth it. :) 

Chinese Buffet


Chicken Stir Fry


Soup Made from Sunday's Dinner



© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bi-Lo ~ Free Minute Maide Coolers from My Coke Rewards

My trip to Bi-Lo yesterday also included picking up a box of Minute Maid Coolers. This was a coupon for a free box that I "purchased" from My Coke Rewards for 40 points. A nice freebie for us as we rarely ever buy juice boxes.

Also, they had the Southern Home Cheddar Cheese on sale. 24 ounces for $4.99, which works out to $1.66 for an 8 ounce block, which is definitely our new stock up price. I bought three blocks, which should last me a while. :)

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Crash & Burn

My Mother had a doctor's appointment in town today, so I dropped her off and made  a quick run to Bi-Lo to see what they had in their Crash & Burn section. You can probably tell I took these photos in the van while I was waiting on her to finish. 

I found 6 items in all, and here is the list:

1 can Campbell's Chunky Chicken Broccoli Soup - 65¢
1 can Campbell's Broccoli Cheese Soup - 85¢
1 can (29 ounce) Peaches - 85¢
1 can Peas - 50¢
2 boxes Lime Jell-O - 50¢ each

I found it funny that the better quality Campbell's Chunky Soup cost less than the smaller can of Broccoli Cheese soup. I guess it just depends on who is doing the pricing that day. 

Have you found any good deals in the Crash & Burn section lately?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Saving on Gasoline

(Image Credit)

News from AAA this morning is that gas prices have stabilized this week once it was determined there would be little impact in the gulf from Hurricane Isaac. In our area we saw a ten cent spike in the price of gas as Hurricane Issac was getting ready to make landfall, but thankfully saw the price come back down about a week later.
Here is an interactive website where you can go and click on various parts on a car and find gas saving tips for that section of the car. For example, if you click on the driver's seat, you will learn about carpooling, walking, and combining errands.
(Image Credit)
Saving money on gas is not as easy as it sounds since we have no control over the price we pay at the pump. The only thing we can do to minimize our use of gas is to use less. And we can do that by walking to our destinations when possible, staying home more instead of going out shopping for recreation or entertainment, among other things.
These are some ways that I save money on gasoline and make it go farther: 
Tune Up Car. A tune up allows your car to run more efficiently, which results in more miles to the gallon.  I had my car tuned up in February of this year and immediately noticed a one mile increase in my gasoline consumption.
Drive Slower. The slower you drive your car the less gas your car will burn. Driving at 55 miles per hour will save you two miles per gallon over driving 65 miles per hour.
Reconsider Air Conditioning. Running your air conditioner will use up more gasoline than simply using the air vent, but I have to say I doubt we could go without air because we live where it stays humid from March through November.
Combine Errands. This one practically goes without saying. Combine all of your errands into one trip and take the most efficient route to complete them. We drive 30 miles round trip to make a trip to town, so when I combine errands I am saving myself a great deal of money.
Keep Tires Properly Inflated - I am really bad about this one, but in my defense there are no full service gasoline stations and our Sears Auto Center, where I bought my tires and could get a free tire pressure check, closed down last spring, so I'm on my own with this one. The only way to check my tire pressure is to pay 50¢ to one of those machines at a gas station and hope that it works.  I've been to more than one that does not work. I'm open to any and all solutions here. :)
Don't buy Premium Gasoline. Len Penzo conducted an experiment where he bought premium gasoline for his automobile for 30 days. Turns out he averaged one mile per gallon less than when he used lower octane gasoline. You can read about Len's experiment here.

Buy 100% Gas. I keep records of my purchases of gasoline and have found consistently that when I can find and purchase 100% gasoline that I can get more miles to the gallon on a tank of gas. Sometimes 100% gasoline is hard to find and sometimes it costs more. In our area it costs about 10 cents more per gallon over 85% ethanol, but the increase in price is worth it to me because I can get more miles out of a tank of gas.

Use Reward Perks. Does your grocery store offer fuel reward perks?  The Bi-Lo grocery stores here offer fuel reward perks for customers. I have written about them before here if you want to read about this program.  Your savings per gallon depends on how much you spend in grocery money, but every little bit helps. I know I personally have saved as much as 25¢ per gallon by using this program.  

Yesterday, I read an article about a man whose car got 35  miles to the gallon but he had started coasting down some hills when he drove and was now seeing 39 miles to the gallon. I have heard about that experiment before, but have not tried that yet.

What about you? How does your family deal with and save on gasoline?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

My daughter has a birthday next month, so I've been tossing a few ideas around in my head on how to celebrate with her. For a variety of reasons, one of her favorite things to do is to spend the night in a hotel.  

One of the reasons she likes to do that is because they offer Free Unlimited Internet, which is something we don't have at home. Because we live in a rural area, we do not have an ISP that offers unlimited internet, so we only have one choice and that is using a data package from Verizon. We pay $80 per month for 10 gigabytes of data, and have to be very careful to not go over the 10 gigabytes or it is another $10 for every 1 extra gigabyte. As a result, we do not go on websites that offer any streaming videos, or You Tube or Pinterest as pictures will use a lot of gigabytes too. So, when we go to a hotel and have free, unlimited Internet then that is a real treat. It is one of my daughter's favorite things to do because she loves to watch You Tube videos and download current TV shows like Glee from I-tunes. 

Another reason she likes to stay in a hotel is Restaurants that Deliver.  Again, because we live in a rural area, we do not have any restaurants that deliver to our door, so when we are somewhere that offers this service, we consider it a real luxury. She also likes hotels that offer a Free Complimentary Breakfast simply because she likes having so many choices available to her. She also enjoys the Cable TV, which is available at hotels. And finally, she likes to be able to swim in the hotel Swimming Pool.  

From the time that my daughter entered Kindergarten the school system here has had a Fall Break and it has always fallen on her birthday, and this year is no exception. How neat is it to get three days off from school for your birthday? Think I could convince her that is her birthday present this hear? LOL, I didn't think so either. :)  

Having said all of that, this year I've decided that I am going to let her spend the night at a hotel for her birthday. As with other things in our lives, I am going to do this on a budget. So we are going to be Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

How am I going to approach this on a limited budget? Well, I've been doing some research on local hotels online and have found that with a coupon, I can book one night for around $46 plus tax. And, Pizza Hut has a special right now where they will deliver a pizza with any toppings for only $10 (plus $2.50 delivery charge, tax and gratuity, so slightly less than $20). Breakfast the following morning will be free. So for around $75 we can spend the night in a hotel and enjoy swimming, free Internet, movies, and pizza. Now that sounds like a lot of fun to me because I like all of those things too, and I know this is something that she will love to do for her birthday. 

So, how do I budget in the fun stuff? I've checked my calendar twice now and figured out that I have four paychecks between now and her birthday. My plan is to skim off $20.00 from each check (which should be easily done now that I am back to work) and save them towards her birthday celebration. We did not take a vacation this past summer, which is unusual for us as we normally go to Illinois every summer. So, I think this will make a nice treat for both of us. A mini vacation for her birthday is also a mini vacation for me.

We will both have a great time and I can relax knowing that I planned ahead and saved up for this celebration and didn't put it on a credit card to have to worry about paying later.

How do you Budget in the Fun Stuff in your life?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dinners this Past Week

Dinners this Past Week

This is what we've had for dinner this past week at the Frugal Workshop. Once again dinner was cooked at home every night this week saving a lot of money over eating out in a restaurant or fast food.


Frugal Workshop - Grilled Chicken Salad



Grilled Hamburgers
Baked French Fries
Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion


Easy Quiche

(I made two of these and had enough left over for breakfasts all week long) 

Steamed Broccoli


Chicken Stir fry


Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Mashed Potatoes


 (No Photo - I didn't have one last Friday either - Hmmm)

Beenie Weenies
Mashed Potatoes


Pedernale's Potatoes 

Steamed Broccoli
(This is a repeat from just a week ago, but my daughter has requested it again) 

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday's Frugal Flops

Not everything is sunshine and roses here at the Frugal Workshop. Sometimes things don't work out like we want them to work. Pictured above is a bag from a 10 pound bag of onions, which I tried to turn into one of those scrubby sponges. As you can tell from the picture below it didn't work out very well. My sponge ended up having many strings that would just fall out of it. Might be good for one use only. Next time I won't use scissors to try and make one.

Another frugal flop at the Frugal Workshop is the Misto Gourmet Olive Oil sprayer.  I bought two of these last December from Amazon. I gave one to my dad for Christmas and kept one for myself. I was never happy with the one I had. The olive oil tended to leak around the spray nozzle, which was irritating and wasteful. The can also needed to be pumped on a regular basis, which was also irritating because you could only get one or two sprays out of it before it needed pumping again. And it did not give a nice, smooth even coating when I sprayed with it, but would rather pool the olive oil into a puddle. I've since made the switch back to store bought spray and am much happier with the results.

The lesson here is that we should always keep trying to save money even though some things might not work. If we stop trying then we wouldn't find new ways to save money. 

How about you? Do you have any frugal flops in your home?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award

Guess What? Lili, from Creative Savv, has nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  I am so excited! I love to receive awards. :)

Lili has an awesome blog and I enjoy reading it every day. She blogs about things like frugal living, gardening, fruit trees, sewing, shopping at thrift stores, grocery store shopping and blogging about her monthly grocery expenses among many other things. As you can see it is right up my alley, which is why I enjoy reading there regularly.

I am honored to receive this award from Lili and I humbly accept and want to thank her here on my blog for thinking of me when it came time to nominate other bloggers.

Here's how the Beautiful Blogger Award works:
  1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post. 
  2. Write something about the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate other bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.  No number was specified to me, but online, I found other bloggers were nominating 7 new bloggers for this award.
 Seven things about myself:

1. I absolutely love blogging. I have loved creating this blog and enjoy taking pictures and sharing them with my friends on here.  My family thinks I am nuts when I take a picture of our groceries or dinner, but I enjoy it, so I am going to keep doing it. :)

2. I was born and raised in Illinois, but now live in Tennessee. I graduated from high school in 1985 in a small town in Illinois. I moved with my parents here to Tennessee in 1986 and have been here ever since.

3. I am a single Mom. I was married in 1989 and divorced in 2000. I tell people I was married for 10 years and it took another year to get the divorce, lol. Our daughter was born in 1997. I never intended to have a child and then raise her all by myself, but that is what happened and we are doing just fine. :)

4. I am a Substitute Teacher. I sub at the middle school and high school levels. I love interacting with the students and most of them like me too, so it is a mutual admiration. When we are out of school for the summer, I miss them.

5. I love Frugality. I was first introduced to the Tightwad Gazette in 1992. I was in Target and saw it on the bookshelf and didn't buy it! Can you believe that? It took a second trip to Target before I bought the book. I also subscribed to Amy D's newsletter and still have those original newsletters. Getting one of those in the mail used to be the highlight of my day.

6. I am a prize winning chef! I've received awards for my peanut butter cookies, peach preserves, and my pickled grape tomatoes.  I have two of them on my refrigerator and one of them tucked away in my recipe box. 

7. I raise chickens. We currently have 15 chickens in our back yard and I enjoy raising them. Sometime soon I will be doing a blog post on them, so stay tuned. :)

And now, I want to spread the love and nominate 7 blogs to receive the Beautiful Blogger Award. Visit them when you have some extra time and see what you think. 

Thank you very much to Lili for thinking of me when it came time to select bloggers for this award.  I am very honored to receive this award. :)

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...