Friday, October 31, 2014

End of October

I hope all of my readers have had a good week. I worked four out of four days this week. School is out on Friday this week, so today was the end of the work week for me. The students were so excited this week for Halloween. I loved seeing them in their costumes on Thursday. 


In September I spent $334.22 on food for our family of three and said I wanted to do better in October. Well, I totaled up everything I spent on groceries this month and it came to $324.37. A difference of close to $10.00. While I definitely wanted to do better than that, I have to say that the kitchen is well stocked right now, so I'm happy with that.  

I left home early this morning to snag a couple of deals that were one day only sales and while supplies last. The first stop was IGA where they were offering milk for $2.99 a gallon, which is about an 85¢ savings. I also picked up some ground chuck priced at $2.99 a pound. I plan on making Tacos and Hamburgers this weekend. 

I also stopped at Fresh n Low for Wampler's pork sausage in the one pound packages for $1.99. I bought five pounds of the sausage and put one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. They had three carts filled with Crash & Burn items. I bought several things including Bubble Bath for hand washing for 50¢ a bottle, Suave body wash for 75¢ per bottle and several packages of Jello for 40¢.


This month I made $13.94 on Ebay sales. I mentioned earlier this month that my sales were down from last month. Seemed to me that people were just not buying. My Dad says people are afraid to spend money right now because they don't know what the future holds, which is certainly understandable. 


Gas for my car is one of my biggest expenses each month because we live out in the country and have to drive a ways to get most places. In October I spent $169.09 for gas for my car. It was nice to see the price drop this month though. On my first fill up of the month, I paid $3.09 a gallon while the last fill up of the month was $2.62 per gallon. My Dad says it's because of the November elections coming up, but I read an article this week about OPEC, the price of a barrel of oil, and US supplies were the reason the price dropped. Either way, I'm happy that the cost of gas has come down so much, and I hope it stays that way. 

Dryer News

We've been dryer shopping last week and this week. We stopped in at the Habitat for Humanity store to see if they had any dryers, but no luck. We stopped in at a locally owned appliance store and found one for $356. Home Depot has one for $314 as well, which is probably what we will go with, but for now we are still hanging laundry up to dry. Our electric bill was $45 less this month, so we are already seeing a savings there. 

The thing that I noticed about hanging laundry to dry is that, if you save up your laundry for one day or are washing large loads, you can run out of places to hang it fairly quickly. 

I cannot hang our laundry outside to dry here because of my daughter's allergies. We live on forty-one acres of land that is mostly wooded and she is allergic to many of the trees and grasses here along with the pollen and the ragweed count is very high right now. 

S0, allergies are the reason we hang our laundry indoors. I have four sets of chairs back to back with brooms and mops on them and one clothing rack and it can fill up quickly. I hang shirts on hangers and then hang them on the broom sticks to save room. As a result of this, I have been washing smaller loads, which is not the most frugal way to do laundry. We are going dryer shopping again today, so I'll keep you updated on that front. 

That is my end of the month report from here. I hope you've had a good frugal month in your corner of the world.  :)

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Principles of Frugal Living

There are several basic principles of living a frugal lifestyle. Today I am going to discuss a few of them. 

One principle of the frugal life should be to use your resources wisely and that includes food, time, and money. Instead of watching TV, use your leisure time to learn new money saving skills. Learn how to bake bread, or make yogurt, or learn to change the oil in your car.  Keep track of your spending, so you know where your money is going and then always be on the look out for ways you can save even more in those areas. 

Another principle of frugal living is to cook from scratch as much as possible. This is one of the best ways to save money. And when you do cook, use everything you can. Save those butter wrappers to grease pans in baking, use the chicken carcass or vegetable scraps to make broth, use stock leftover from cooking meats to start other meals like soup, stew, or another dish altogether. Save as much money as you can on food. Look and search out those places where you can find food cheaper. Always keep looking for new places to save yourself the most money. Grow some of your own food by planting a garden, plant fruit trees and berry bushes. Make your own jam, jelly, preserves, and yogurt. 

Another principle of frugal living is to keep a well stocked pantryThis means to fill your pantry with food that you are able to purchase at the lowest possible price. Keep a price book in order to know what the lowest price is for your family. Stocking up when the price is right on food and non-food items you and your family use will provide security against rising grocery prices. 

Another principle is to understand the consequences of your financial choices. Make sure you pay for your necessities first before you spend money on anything that is non-essential. Pay the rent or mortgage, pay the utility bills, insurance, gas for cars to get to work, and food. Paying for necessities first will give you peace of mind over your financial life. 

Did you decide to go to college with student loans? Did you take the full amount they offered, so you could live on it too or did your accept only enough to pay for your classes and books? Borrowing the full amount will cost you more in Interest in the long run. Consider working part time during college to have money to live on instead of borrowing money that won't be paid back for years with Interest accruing.

Every penny that you spend on something you don't really need is a choice you are making. Do you want to stay in debt or do you want to remain debt free? The choice is up to you.  

Another principle of the frugal lifestyle is to buy second hand. Always shop the second hand market first when you need to buy something. Shop at flea markets, yard & garage sales, pawn shops, and thrift stores. Only then, when you cannot find what you need in the second hand market should you consider buying something new. And even then make sure you pay for it with cash you've saved up and not on credit.

Another principle of frugal living is to save money every month even if it is just $5.00, which will add up over time. Having money in the bank will allow you to have some security in case something happens and you need a cushion to fall back against. 

I've only scratched the surface here of frugal living. There are many different ways to save money and live the frugal life. 

What are some of your favorite ways to live frugally? 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Frugal Things We Did This Week

I hope all my readers have had a great week. 

I worked two days this past week. I could have worked three, but I had something to take care of one day and if it pans out, I will tell you all about it next week. :)

Now onto what we did this week...

We ate ALL of our leftovers from last week. The Potato Soup, Spaghetti, Apple Crisp, and cooked apples, all gone. 

I sold a pair of shoes for $10 on my Facebook yard sale group, which meant I removed them from Ebay and saved myself from paying Ebay and Paypal fees. 

Yard Sales

I picked up a Bananagrams game for $1.00, which was complete with all tiles and instructions. I bought these because I need the Scrabble-like tiles for a project, but the game looks like fun, so I might keep it and look for more tiles. Either way, this was much cheaper than Scrabble tiles are going for on Ebay right now. 

I picked up four cds for $1.00 each. We will add any songs we want to our i-Tunes account and then trade them at McKays making them free for us to own. 

I found a bean pot here in Tennessee! I've not seen one of these here at a yard sale before and was excited to see it. I only paid $2.00 for it too, which was a sweet price.  ♥♥♥

Lastly, I found a brand new Wilton Mini Cake Pan in the heart shape for $3.00. 

My daughter had her own stash of goodies she picked up too including a really cute lime green jacket. No photo of that today. 

Afterwards I took her to the mall to spend her birthday money. My "little girl" turned 17 years old on Friday. Afterwards I took her out to eat at her favorite restaurant and bought her dinner, which she loved. And by the way, I did not buy anything at the mall. LOL


This month I've not sold very much on Ebay. I don't know if it's because people are afraid to spend their money due to the economy or if they are saving money for Christmas. Either reason is understandable.   

I feel like I spent more money than usual last week on gas and meals out and dd's birthday. I need to go to the store for my Mom today and pick up some things for her and I need to get the Sunday paper for the coupons today, but after that I am going back into gazelle mode. 

Did you have a good frugal week? 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What We Ate This Week


Dinner: Bean Burritos

The big pan of pinto beans that I made on Sunday were stretched to cover various meals for three days. They were made into Sunday & Monday night dinner and also lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday. Like most food I make, we usually eat on it until it's gone. 


Lunch: Rice & Cheese
Dinner: Pinto Bean & Cheese Quesadillas 
Snack: Apples & Cheddar Cheese


Lunch: Pinto Bean & Cheese Quesadillas
Dinner: "Salisbury Steak", Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables


Lunch: Leftovers from Tuesday night dinner
Dinner: Spaghetti & Garlic bread


My daughter and I worked side by side in the kitchen and made potato soup. I cut up the carrots, onions, and potatoes while she gathered up all the ingredients and actually cooked the soup. 

Afterwards, I took all the vegetable scraps and placed them into my electric pressure cooker along with a bay leaf, garlic, peppercorn and water and turned it into this beautiful vegetable stock. No food waste here today. :)

I went to the apple orchard on Thursday to pick up some apples and I made cooked apples that day as well. 

Friday & Saturday:

We still have plenty of potato soup to have for dinner on Friday & Saturday, so no need to cook unless we want to these days. 

What have you been eating this week?

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Great Yard Sale Day ~ Reminiscent of Amy Dacyczyn

We had a great yard sale day! 

Someone posted their yard sale for today on the Facebook yard sale group last night advertising clothes in my daughter's size, so we set out early to go there. I'm so glad we did too because she was selling them for 25¢ and 50¢ each.  

Three sleeveless shirts and eight short sleeve shirts were 25¢ each, most of them are perfect for school. There are also two pair of Bermuda shorts, which were 50¢ each, perfect for school too. 

Another cute shirt for 25¢.

We bought this for 50¢ for each piece, so $1.00. She probably won't wear the top, but the skirt is very in style right now. 

I still can't believe she sold them so cheaply. I would have gladly paid $1.00 each for all of them. 

I did not buy my daughter any back to school clothes this year and now I am so glad I waited because she has gotten enough clothes these past two to three weeks to do for this school year, and we saved a lot of money in the process. 

I also stopped in at Publix today to check out their crash and burn. I'm so glad I did too. Look what I picked up today:

2 packages Jiffy Apple & Cinnamon muffin mix for 35¢ each, 2 packages Jiffy pizza crust mix for 45¢ each, 2 packages of Glory Cornbread mix for 37¢ each, 2 packages of Bacos for 50¢ each, and a one pound package of yeast for $2.00. 

I also picked up these Betty Crocker mixes that were on sale for buy one get one free and I had coupons, so I paid $1.35 each for these. 

I spent $10 at yard sales today and another $10 at Publix and came home with a lot of items. Like I said, it was a great day. 

How was your day? Did you find any bargains?

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher © Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Frugal Week

The Facebook yard sale groups have been particularly beneficial to us recently. On Monday I met a lady in town to buy a shrug for my daughter after finding it advertised on a local group. I also met a lady on Wednesday evening to pick up several other items. One of them was a red shirt that will go with the shrug. 

Total for the two items was $5.00, I paid $4.00 for the shrug, and $1.00 for the shirt. My daughter is going to wear this instead of the flowery one I pictured last week for a dressy event coming up at school. All she needs now are some dress slacks and shoes. 

I also sold two things I advertised on the same Facebook group. I had both items listed on Ebay, but they didn't sell, so selling them on the yard sale group worked out great because I earned $15.00 from the combined sales and didn't have to pay any Ebay or PayPal fees. 

I met both people at the same location, one that I was going to anyway, Walgreens, so I didn't have to go out of my way or waste any gas. Mom came along with me, so she could pick up a prescription, get her flu shot and I went inside to pick up three cans of salmon, which Walgreens has on sale for $1.99 this week with a limit of three.  

On another note, I have a purple laundry basket that has seen better times. Every time I picked it up it would sort of collapse because all four corners were split. I took some purple duct tape and fixed all the cracks and splits, which has made it more durable. Now when I pick it up, it is much more stable. 

I have a yellow hamper that I did the same thing with years ago and it has lasted so much longer because I took care of it by stopping it from cracking any more with the duct tape. It may not be beautiful, but it has been very functional like this for over five years now. 

Ebay sent me a $25 off coupon for being a new seller last month. Of course, I spent it on necessities and bought three packages of Stayfree to add to my pantry. 

Other frugal things we did this week include:

Cleaning the kitchen sink with baking soda. 

Hanging up our towels after a shower to dry and reuse them. The towels are just wet, not dirty, and just need drying.

Perused the sale ads online Wednesday to see what food items are on sale this week. There wasn't anything on sale that I would stock up on this week, so I will wait and see what next week brings. The feeling of knowing that I don't have to go to the grocery store is very freeing. We have enough food in the house to last us until I decide to shop again. 

It's been cool enough here that we've not had to use the air conditioning, but not so cool that we have to have the heat on either. Also, we have been hanging our laundry to dry on our homemade drying racks since the dryer broke two weeks ago. As a result, we should see a significant reduction in this month's electric bill. 

All meals have been eaten at home this week, which saves us a lot of money. I'll be making a post about that later in the week. 

I made a birthday card for my Dad this week. I used the website to learn how to fold a $10 bill into an origami heart and made him a card with this inside.  I also baked him a chocolate birthday cake to celebrate. 

We have plans to go out tomorrow and yard sale, so stay tuned for any bargains we happen to come across. 

How has you week been so far? Any frugal activities you would like to talk about? I would love to hear about it in the comment section. 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher 
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Saving Money on Cat Food

Last spring I ran across a very good sale on Purina Cat Chow cat food, which is what we feed our cats exclusively since it is not made in China. I buy the sixteen pound bag of cat food because I find that is the best value and lasts a long time. During the sale I bought five bags of cat food and have almost finished up using the last bag. 

Previously I've written about saving money on cat food in this blog post. Specifically, I spoke about the Purina My Perks rewards program. This is a very good program because you can earn points towards coupons for free cat food. 

The UPC code from a sixteen pound bag of cat food is worth 3,000 points. In order to get a coupon good for a free bag of cat food you need 30,000 points, so for every ten bags of cat food you can get a coupon for up to $15.99 off, which is a free bag of cat food.  

The program is easy to use and you can earn additional points by logging in everyday, visiting the Purina Cat Chow website, connecting your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and other activities. I make a point of logging in every day. 

As a result, I have earned enough points for a free bag of cat food, which came in the mail this week. 

This is a high value coupon and only requires a couple of minutes of my time each day to earn. Even now, I already have enough points in my account to request a coupon towards another free bag and am well on my way to earning enough for a third bag. 

On Saturday while we were out shopping yard sales, we stopped in at Walmart and picked up a twenty-two pound bag of cat food, which cost $17.48 plus tax. I did this because I wanted to use up the full value of the coupon ($15.99). If I had bought my usual size, I would have only benefited from the $12.78 the 16 pound bag cost if that makes any sense. 

On a side note, I also love the bags from this cat food. One way we save money here is by finding alternative sources for things we already use. The cat food bag is perfect to use as a garbage bag, and if you're really thrifty, you can even reuse these more than once since they are so durable. 

I know I've written about it before, but I love rewards programs. We joined a new one last week for the Speedway chain of gas stations and are now on our way to earning money off a future gas purchase. And just today I turned in 250 of my Coke rewards points for a free 12 pack of Coke. I'll be getting a 12 pack of Sprite for sick tummies when the need arises. 

Have you benefited from a rewards program lately? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comment section. 

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bean and Cheese Burritos

Yesterday I put two pounds of pinto beans on to soak overnight and today I cooked them along with an onion in my pressure cooker for fifty-five minutes, so they would be good and soft enough to make refried beans. 

Afterwards I scooped some out and mashed them with my potato masher to make them into refried beans. 

Then I warmed a tortilla in the microwave and place some beans on each tortilla. 

Afterwards I added the toppings each person wanted. On mine I placed cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and taco sauce. Other good toppings would be onions, black olives, and jalapenos. Even some Mexican rice would be good in one of these. 

Then I rolled them up...

They look as good as anything from Taco Bell, right?! My daughter says once I duplicate the cheese sauce on the Taco Bell burritos I can say that. LOL

I didn't use all of the bean broth, so I made sure to save it as I can use it for other things later like a soup base. 

My daughter even made brownies for us to enjoy afterwards. 

That's what's for dinner at our house tonight. What's for dinner at your house?

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"

Frugal Saturday

The weather here in Tennessee yesterday was wonderful. It was a cool fall day and perfect for yard sales. 

Here are a few things we picked up:

One pair of skinny jeans for $5, one pair of capris for $5, three pairs of shorts for $3 each, three shirts for $2 each, one pair of like new OPI sandals $1, and one American Eagle jacket for $4. The pants and shorts are all name brand. 

All of these are for my daughter. She was thrilled with all of it, but especially the American Eagle jacket. And the flowery shirt in the front will be perfect for a dressy event she has coming up at school. 

A brand new, still with stickers, double wall cup with lid and straw. We like these cups because they have the lid and they keep drinks colder for long periods of time. These cups retail for $5 and up at most retailers, but we bought this cup for 25¢. We still can't believe the person sold it for that amount. 

Other things we bought, but are not pictured are two boxes of thank you notes for 25¢ each, and a thermal blanket for $3, which was needed for the living room as the blanket I used in there has been permanently borrowed by my daughter. lol

Since I was in town, I decided to stop at Bi-Lo and Cooke's to check out their crash and burn items. I couldn't find any at Bi-Lo, but I was glad I stopped in anyway. Looked what I scored:

These are 30 count bags of tortillas for $1.19, but see the coupon attached? I carefully read it to see if it would double, since Bi-Lo doubles coupons up to 60¢, and I figured it would, so I tried it and it worked. That coupon doubled and gave me 70¢ off each bag, so 49¢ a bag...what a deal. I'm so glad I stopped in there today. Always be on the look out for peelies to see if you can score a good deal on an item.  

My other bargain of the day came from Cooke's. Their crash and burn cart was filled with one pound bags of black eyed peas for 50¢. If you look closely you can see the 50¢ on the package. This was such a great deal that I bought ten bags. I love finding great deals like this so I can feed my family inexpensively.  

These two items were the only food items I bought on Saturday. 

Once we got home I got busy cleaning, hanging our laundry up to dry, and doing some things in the kitchen.  

I made sure to put the onions I bought this week into pantyhose and hung them in the pantry. I mentioned in a blog post a while ago that I would let you know how my experiment turned out. 

Storing the onions in panty hose, where the air is able to circulate around them definitely helps to keep them longer. The ones I bought and kept in the original mesh bag sprouted after one month, but the ones I stored in panty hose lasted four months. As a result, I will be storing them this way in the future.  

If you don't have any panty hose, Walmart sells knee highs for 30¢, which is what I used in this photo, so one of these would only cost you 15¢. Not a bad price to help keep your onions longer. 

I do have one frugal fail to mention today, if you are interested. I scored this 42 ounce canister of oatmeal at a yard sale today for 50¢. I was  actually kicking myself because if I had gotten there sooner, I could have gotten all three that he had for sale. 

When I got it home I looked at it closely and it expired in 2009. I should have looked at it closer when I was buying it. Now I will have to Google non food ways to use up oatmeal. lol

We are on Fall Break this week from school/work, so I am looking forward to getting a lot of things done. 

How was your Saturday? Did you find any good bargains?

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"
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