Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday ~ 8-31-2014

Good Sunday morning everyone. It's a rainy day here in southern Tennessee. I woke up early and headed to the walk in clinic. The doctor says it is the ragweed/allergies causing me to be sick right now. She ran a strep test but it came back negative, but she prescribed antibiotics anyway. So, I'll be going to town later to pick those up today. 

The family who wanted our trampoline came Saturday evening to pick it up. They have 5 grandchildren who will use and love it just like my daughter did for so long when she was younger. It really made me feel good to know someone will enjoy it once again. :)

When it comes to our finances we need to get the most out of our money. We do this when we buy second hand items, go to yard sales, thrift stores, accept hand me downs, Freecycle/Craigslist, barter and swap. We don't go into debt to buy things to keep up with people (and with a teenager in high school, I can attest to the fact that they really feel the pressure to keep up). We simply do without those things that are beyond our financial reach. I would rather do without those things than have the added stress of paying for them later. 

I am fortunate to have learned/taught myself more skills over the last few years, so that we've been able to stretch our resources as far as possible even as we continue to hone our budgeting skills further.   We should never stop learning or trying how to do things better and more inexpensively. 

We make our own fabric softener, make do and mend clothing, grow some of our vegetables, preserve food, cook from scratch to sufficiently meet our needs. Whatever money I can save by making or doing it myself is money I can spend on necessities like food, insurance, car repairs, etc.  

We need to teach others these things as well and make sure no one is left behind. We especially need to teach these things to our children, so they don't make the same mistakes we made. My daughter experiences some of the same sticker shock that Amy D. wrote about her children experiencing. She helps me in so many ways with couponing, looking for bargains at yard sales, and she isn't even afraid to ask if the seller will take less for an item either.  I just love that about her. :)

Dinner tonight will be Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream and cheese if desired. I'll serve steamed Broccoli as a side dish or topping for anyone who wants that. 

This is one of our favorite meals here at the Frugal Workshop and one we serve regularly. It cost me less than $5.00 for this meal and fits well in our budget. 

What's for dinner at your house tonight? 


Saturday, August 30, 2014


Another hot and humid day here in southeastern Tennessee. We had some rain this evening as a result. 

My daughter and I went to McKay's this afternoon to do a little bit of trading. We went through our books and movies and sorted out the ones we are finished with for the time being. We came back with two movies, Frozen and Divergent, two books, and $53.00 in cash. Definitely a good trade. 

Before we left I woke up early this morning and started laundry right away. I cleaned the bathroom, emptied the last of the cat food into the canister and cleaned up that area of the hallway, then washed what few dishes were in the kitchen sink. I can go to bed with an empty sink, but incredibly there are always a couple of dishes in there when I wake up. ;)

In the kitchen today, I washed all the breakfast dishes and made up two single size servings of stir fry (from leftovers not eaten this week) and placed them into the freezer. These will be great to include in a lunch one day soon. 

Meals today included...


For me: 
Biscuit (leftover from Thursday dinner)
Red Grapes
Water to drink

For my daughter:
Fried Eggs
Biscuit with Butter (last one)
Sweet Tea

Lunch was Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches and dinner was Homemade Pizza. I did not feel like cooking at all tonight. I have been getting sick all week and will probably go to the walk in clinic in the morning. 

The couple who wanted the trampoline came by today and picked it up. They have 5 grandchildren who will enjoy it now, so that makes me feel good knowing that someone will love it again like my daughter did. 

We stopped in at one yard sale today where the lady was selling hard back books for $1.00 and paperbacks for 50¢. The lady hosting the sale brought my daughter a bag and said she could fill it up for $5.00 and my daughter told her she only had $4.00 and the lady told her that would be just fine. She was thrilled!

It is so wonderful looking forward to a three day weekend, which is a real treat. I am hoping to get a lot of things done around the house. My home is my castle and it makes me feel good to tend to things around here, cleaning and creating order. It also helps the work week to run smoother, which also helps to keep stress to a minimum. 

I hope you are having a good weekend.  :)

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Friday, August 29, 2014

~ Friday ~

Well I had no job offers for today, but I woke up at 5 a.m. and got ready for work anyway, just in case. I dropped my daughter off at school at 8:00 a.m. and went grocery shopping. I did end up getting called at 11:05, but I was driving. When I called back, the secretary asked me to come in, but then the principal said they had it covered, so I didn't go in today, which is OK with me even though I could always use the extra money. 

I went to four stores all together today. My first stop was Walmart where I spent $45.81. As I was wandering around the store I was thinking to myself that if prices continue to rise like this only the rich are going to be able to afford groceries. I know we are not the only family who is struggling to put food on the table. I know I said it recently, but this is the lowest my pantry has been in years. 

I went to the meat counter to see if they had anything on mark down. I just stroll along the counter looking for the yellow mark down stickers. As I was doing this, I saw three fireman looking at roasts and one of them said, "We can't afford them anymore". I had the same thought. It has been about two years since I bought a beef roast. No problem though, we just make do with what we can afford. 

There was no beef on markdown, but I did find two, one pound packages of Italian Sausage marked down to $2.51. Perfect, as I already have the pasta and sauce on hand to make Spaghetti. I looked at the French bread and Parmesan cheese, but decided against buying both of them. The bread was $1.00 a loaf and I can buy a loaf of whole wheat bread for 88¢ and get 20 slices out of that, which is what I did. We will make do with a slice of toasted bread with butter and garlic sprinkled on it and it will be good. 

I also decided that $3.00 for Parmesan cheese was not in my budget, so we are going to do without and make do with what we have. This is what people did in the Great Depression and even today, in the Great Recession, all over the world people do without. I'm grateful that we will have meat with this spaghetti as I've made it the last five or six times with no meat. 

One of the other things I picked up was a two pound bag of pinto beans for $1.98. I looked at the one pound bags, priced at $1.28, but the two pound bag was a better buy. I can always freeze the leftovers. I also bought a package of 8 large flour tortillas for $1.88 and two 8 ounce blocks of cheddar cheese for $1.98 each, the shredded cheese in the 8 ounce bag was $2.58. I will save money by shredding my own cheese. So for less than $5.00 we will have burritos for dinner one night this week. 

I also picked up a package of 100 corn tortillas for $2.88. I'll be making tacos with these at least two days. We can use rice, potatoes, or beans for the meat and then top as usual with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. I don't even miss the meat in the tacos anymore. I made some tacos with rice that I had mixed with green taco sauce this past week for dinner and they were really good. I recently bought a 20 pound bag of rice for $9.99, so I've been including it in many of our meals. 

I picked up three large baking potatoes and two containers of sour cream. I already have broccoli in the freezer, so one night we will have a baked potato night with broccoli. There will be cheese too if anyone wants that on their potato. 

Other items I bought include paper towels, a dish pan, a 9 volt battery, hair gel, and tortilla chips. The back of my receipt also has a coupon good for a $9.99 hair cut, which we will definitely use soon. 

The next place I stopped at was Bi-Lo. I went because they had eggs on sale for 99¢ per dozen and pasta on sale for buy one get one free. The pasta turned out to not be a very good deal, so I passed on that. I did pick up the eggs, but there was a limit of two. So I went to the other Bi-Lo in town and ended up with 4 cartons. I will be making egg salad with some of these for dinner another night this week. 

They also had soy sauce on mark down for $1.00, so I bought one of those. I also bought some peanut butter and crackers. 

My last stop of the day was Fresh and Low (formerly known as Super Saver) where I spent $28.95. While there I picked up two loaves of bread (89¢), butter ($1.80), black olives (82¢), relish ($1.01), corn chips ($1.24), pork & beans (50¢), red grapes ($1.27 pound), half gallon of skim milk ($1.77), American cheese ($2.01), and the pick 5 produce for $9.99 where I picked up two bags of Brussel sprouts, one bag of broccoli, one bag of potatoes (5 pounds), and one bag of three onions. 

Dinner tonight was more of the chicken and side items from last night. And we still have one piece of chicken leftover for someone's lunch tomorrow. 

I've been wanting to get rid of my daughter's trampoline for a while now since she no longer uses it. So, after dinner, I place and ad on Craig's List, Freecycle, and on a Facebook group for an online yard sale. It was gone within 5 minutes and they are supposed to be here tomorrow to pick it up. It went so fast it made me wonder what else I can give away for free here. LOL

That's all the news that's worth reporting from here today. I hope you all have had a great day and that you enjoy this three day weekend. 

Until next time...

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

WFD Thursday

My plans were to work half a day today, but I was called this morning to work the morning as well, so I got a full day in at work today, which makes me happy. 

After school I had to take my Mom to the doctor to get her INR test. She filled up my gas tank for me in the town where her doctor is located because gas is cheaper there. The tank full cost $33.50. The price of gas has been coming down here recently and was actually $2.99 per gallon last weekend. Yesterday, it was back up to $3.02 per gallon. When we got back to the town where we live I took note of the price, $3.12 per gallon. So, we saved $1.20 by filling up there instead of here. 

Mom also bought dinner for us as well. We had Chicken Strips, biscuits, Cole slaw, potato salad, mashed potatoes with gravy and mac and cheese. Lots of carbs, but it was good.  :)

So far I do not have any work planned for Friday, which is highly unusual on a three day weekend. Several of the teachers were teasing me that I would end up working tomorrow. lol

If not, I am planning on getting some groceries as we are running low on several things. 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Update

Fruit Juice

My daughter has been feeling sick this weekend, and she told me she wanted some type of fruit drink. I was out of fruit juice, so I decided to see what I could come up with for her. 

I took a couple of cans of pineapple and drained the juice off of them and added them to some black cherry Kool-Aid with sugar and gave her some in a tall glass of ice. It was exactly what she was wanting and she said it hit the spot. I know it saved me a trip to the grocery store. And I can use the pineapple in a stir fry for dinner tonight. 


Sunday night dinner was your choice of Beef or Chicken Chow Mein. (a mistake on our part, we thought we were picking up two cans of Beef when we really picked up one can of each). I also served this with rice, broccoli, and stir fried Napa cabbage with the pineapple. There is plenty left over for another dinner or even two or three lunches this week. 

Collecting Metal

We've always done our part to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles including detergent bottles and milk cartons. Recently I read a comment from a friend of mine on Facebook. She saves her metal cans from food and sells them to the recycling center about two times per year. I asked her for more information and she says she takes them about twice a year and gets about $30 each time. That definitely sold me because I could almost fill up my gas tank for that amount of money. So in the last few weeks I have been saving my metal cans for this reason. 

No Spend Weekend

We came home from school/work on Friday night and have not ventured back out at all and won't until we go to school on Monday morning. That means I have had a no spend weekend. No money spent for gas or food out or anything! I love weekends like that. 

I hope you have a great week!

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Morning Update

Good Saturday morning to all my Frugal Workshop readers. 

Back to School/Work

This week was the third full week we have returned to school/work. I worked everyday this week and even received my first paycheck, which was a surprise. I subbed for half a day on the second day of school and that just happened to be early enough to get paid this month, which was actually a first for me as I usually do not get my first check until September. 


I started selling a few things on Ebay this month to earn some extra money. Unfortunately on my very first auction I had a buyer who did not pay for her winning bid. So now I am in the process of working that out. I was hoping to already have the money in hand for the item, but that didn't happen. I went ahead and listed two more items this morning, and I hope I will have better luck with these two items. 

I read Credit Card Free's personal finance blog regularly and she sells items on a regular basis. She doesn't make a great deal of money from each auction, but the total does add up over time and is what inspired me to list a few items for sale. Usually I donate my unwanted items, but I am going to try this for a while and see what happens. 

Reward Programs

I'm still earning rewards from Swagbucks, My Coke Rewards, Purina's My Perks, Recycle Bank, and Inbox Dollars. If you would like any information about any of these just let me know in the comment section or you can look through my archives. 

The Art of Leftover Wizardry

Sometimes when I'm at school and the students are busy with their assignments, I think about what I'm going to make for dinner. One night for dinner this week I made a very successful leftover dish that even Amy D would have been proud to eat. 

In my freezer were several one person meal servings of leftover red lentil chili, and assorted beans (lentil, black, and black eyed peas) in my freezer. I also had eight jars of home canned tomatoes that I want to use up this year. I figured I could do something with these, so I came home and microwaved all the chili and beans into one dish. 

I added four of the pint sized jars of tomatoes to my stockpot (down to four jars left now) along with the thawed beans and added chili, onion, and garlic powder. I also had two chickens breasts in the freezer, which I cut up and added. I'm not crazy about much meat anymore, so I made sure my bowl didn't have any chicken in it that I could see (Ha! Ha!). 

It turned out really good and my family really enjoy it and we even had a couple of servings leftover for lunch the next day. 

After school on Friday night we went swimming for a couple of hours to cool off and on the way home, coming up the driveway, we saw a  huge black snake. I have a picture of it, but Blogger isn't letting me load any pictures right now. 

Hope you all had a good week! 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Monday, August 11, 2014

Making Do with What's on Hand

This is the time of year that we are in "use it up" mode here at the Frugal Workshop. My income is reduced during the summer months and I tend to get very creative in the kitchen making do with what we have on hand. Our pantry is at the lowest I can remember it being in many years. This weekend I ended up making some Beanie Weenies from one can of pork and beans, the last of the barbecue sauce, and the last of some hot dogs. 

Here is a photo before I baked them off in the oven:

Another day I made some Fried Rice using the last of the brown rice I had on hand, a bag of peas and carrots I found in the freezer, a fried rice spice packet I found in the pantry, the last of the sesame seed oil, and my last onion. I also used the last of the soy sauce I had on hand or thought I had on hand. Then I remember I had bought some packets from Amazon for lunch boxes, and these worked perfectly for those who wanted additional soy sauce with their fried rice. 

Yesterday I cooked some chick peas/garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker that I had soaked overnight. After they were cooked I made some mock tuna salad out of them. I like the mock tuna salad even better than I liked tuna salad back when I used to buy tuna. I don't buy tuna anymore due to the cost and the possibility of contamination.  

As I mentioned earlier, my pantry inventory is very low. Right now I have on hand 4 boxes of spaghetti, one box of Bisquick, 2 bags of frozen carrots, 1 bag of frozen cauliflower, 1 can refried beans, 2 cans of mixed vegetables, 3 cans of green beans, and plenty of canned tomatoes including my last 8 jars of home canned tomatoes. 

Two of the burners on my stove top are not working and I've been making do without them all year. I cannot can on the two smallest burners, therefore I did not can any tomatoes this year. I've been using my electric pressure cooker for so many things that other than canning, I don't even miss the stove top.

I have plans to go grocery shopping on either Tuesday or Thursday of this week and have plans to replenish several things that we have run out of this summer. 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
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