Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year ~ 2018

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Happy New Year to all my readers. I hope that 2018 will be filled with love and laughter, many blessings, good health, and good finances for you. Thank you for your friendship over the last year. It has been a blessing to me to keep in touch with so many of you while also getting to know some new friends too. I wish you all the best in 2018!

Tonight marks the beginning of a brand new year, and is often the time when people reflect back on the previous year and make a list of goals they would like to work on in the new year. 

Most of my goals are usually ongoing, such as living within my means, increasing my income and savings, avoiding consumerism, and living debt free.  My goal for the new year is to continue these and do them even better in 2018. I hope you'll join me. :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday's Frugal Foodie

We went to my BIL's home for our Christmas celebration on Tuesday. He served Ham, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, Deviled Eggs, and Rolls for dinner along with Sweet Iced Tea to drink. We had a great time visiting with them. 

On Wednesday we had been to town and ended up picking up a Roast Chicken from Sam's Club. $4.98 out the door. We came home and I fixed some green beans with onions and a salad to go with it. 

On Thursday I made another batch of Broccoli and Cheese soup for lunch and to use up the last of those ingredients I had on hand. 

And for dinner I served hamburgers using some of the on sale ground chuck I bought the day before. 

On Friday I was going to take my car to town for an oil change, but ended up giving someone a ride somewhere and they paid me $5.00 for taking them.  

I had to run to Food City to pick up an RX and took a look at their marked down meat and found a roasting chicken for $2.99. I came home and put it right into the crockpot. 

I'm going to make White Bean Chicken Chili with it for dinner when the times comes. 

What's been for dinner at your house this week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Frugal Week

When I listed my BoxTops for Education on Ebay the other day they sold within the first hour that I listed them. I've never had anything sell so quickly before. I earned $7.50 on those after fees. I also listed two more items for sale on Ebay this week. 

Something else we did to save money this week was to go to Target to get in on a cat food deal

Target had Purina brand Cat Chow on sale for buy three bags and get a free $10 Target gift card. They had the 13 pound bags, which are normally $13 on sale for $12. We also had multiple $3 off one coupons. 

We bought nine bags and were also able to get in on a 25¢ rebate on Ibotta for any cat food. Each bag ended up costing us $5.67, which is a great savings over the $12 sale price. With four cats, hopefully this will last until summertime. 

Of course, we will save the codes off the bags and apply them to the My Perks rewards program to earn more free cat food. 

For fun and free entertainment around here, we've been watching Christmas movies and playing some of our favorite board games. One of the games we've played is Ticket to Ride. This was the game we found at a yard sale this summer for $3.00 that sells for over $30 on Amazon. We really enjoy this new to us game and it was money well spent. 

As usual I perused the grocery store ads on Wednesday to see if there were any good deals we wanted to pick up this week. 

Fresh & Low has 8 ounce bags of cheese on sale for $1.18, while Cooke's had the same cheese for $1.25 and ground chuck for $1.99 a pound.

We decided to go to town to stock up on these two deals and to check out Walmart's Christmas clearance. 

At Cooke's, I bought ten bags of cheese and ten pounds of the ground chuck. Those were the only two grocery items we bought this week. 

At Walmart we bought thirteen rolls of wrapping paper, which they had on clearance for 50% off. We paid 61¢ per roll for eight of them while the others cost $1.50 each. We also bought some smaller bows in a container, so they won't get crushed during the year, for 50¢ each .

We are all in different places financially and you may or may not need these frugal living tips. Hopefully there is something here that you'll find useful that will help motivate or inspire you on your frugal journey. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all my readers. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and spend it with the ones you love. 

This year, as well as other years, I earned free money to buy some gifts. For example, I earned  $50 both through MyPoints  and Swagbucks. I had this money sent to my Paypal account, so I could spend it anywhere. 

I also received a free $50 Walmart Card from my Insurance company for having a mammogram in October.  I also earned a $25 Bath & Body Works gift card from Swagbucks

Here is our menu that I have planned for the next two days. Most everything was cooked from scratch, except for the crackers. 

Christmas Eve

Italian Beef
Cheese Ball & Crackers
Sausage Balls
Spiced Cider

Christmas Dinner

Mashed Potatoes
Carrot Raisin Salad
Green Peas
Crescent Rolls
Spiced Cider


Spice Cake
Banana Pudding
I hope you have a wonderful holiday!
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, December 22, 2017

Food this Week at the Frugal Workshop

Last Saturday we ran a few errands stopping first at Publix for their buy one get one free deals. We bought Ritz crackers, Velveeta mac and cheese, smoked sausage, and Pillsbury pie crusts, which were all B1G1Free. 

I'll combine the pie crusts with the sausage, also bought last week, to make Sausage Quiche for dinner one night soon. I can also make Chicken pot pie, which is one of my daughter's favorite dinners. 

We also bought a sirloin tip roast, which was on sale for $3.99 a pound. I'll use it to make our traditional Italian Beef for Christmas Eve. I already have the Italian seasoning, beef broth, and rolls needed for this dish. 

On Monday I made BLTs for dinner, which were so refreshing and a nice change of pace.

Tuesday I worked half a day, and now school is on Christmas break until after the new year. 

I filled up my gas tank on Thursday and plan to stay home more than usual the next two weeks, which will save me money on gas.

Now I can spend my days getting things ready for Christmas. I sure am enjoying being at home all day. 

We ran errands again on Wednesday and I picked up the last few items I needed for Christmas dinner. I also found two packages of ground beef on yellow sticker. 
We went to Target and found half gallons of half and half for $2.26. 

Thursday I made Broccoli & Cheese soup in the crockpot. It's been raining off and on here for a few days, so it was good and filling. We also had this for lunch on Friday. 

I used my immersion blender and blended it together when it was done. 

On Thursday I also pulled out my GE Roaster and made Taco Meat in it for multiple meals this week leading up to Christmas. 

This will save time to not have to cook a new meal each evening, so that I can concentrate on Christmas things. As usual I cut up a potato to 
s-t-r-e-t-c-h the taco meat. 

On Friday I made a cheese ball, banana pudding, a spice cake, and carrot raisin salad. 

My Christmas cactus has so many more buds this year versus last year. 

I listed three things for sale on Ebay today. One of the items was BoxTops for Education. If you sell these, don't do what I did. I let mine go too long before I checked them and had some expire on me. 

I hope you all have had a good week so far.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Missing Frugal Queen?

It's been a busy two weeks here and I ended up working nine of the last ten school days. Payday came early this month and I've already paid the monthly bills, which always gives me peace of mind. 

Last week I sold three things on Ebay that netted $36.83 after fees for the items that cost me $1.24 at a thrift store and rummage sale. 

We've been in use it up mode here using several items out of the pantry that are good to get off the shelf.   It's so important to use up what you have stored in your pantry because it saves you money because then you don't have to buy more food. That will free up money for other things like an unexpected expense. 

With that in mind, I would like to share a link with you. 

Better Times Almanac

I've shared this link before, but it's been a while. There is a lot of good, useful, and frugal information there. Bob advises people to keep two months worth of food in their pantries. 

He says...

If hard times come your way -- if you get fired, get sick, there's a blizzard, your utility bills are too high, whatever the crisis, with food in the pantry, hard times are less hard. 

One way we do this is our home is to get the Wednesday grocery store sale ads and find out what is on sale that week. Food City has begun to have Friday only sales or three day only sales, so we went yesterday and picked up four packages of sausage, bacon, and cream cheese. 

These were good prices for our area and I've already put the bacon and sausage in the freezer. Bacon is a rare treat in our home, due to the expense, so I was tickled to find it at this price. BLT's will be on the menu sometime soon. 

It's cold here this weekend, so I'll be making soup today. I have plenty of ingredients on hand from shopping the sales and stocking up on them. 

Many people are talking about the Frugal Queen blog disappearing. You can always use the Internet Wayback machine to access her older blog pages. 

Frugal Queen on The Internet Wayback Machine

You can even access her recipes using this link

Hope all of my readers are doing well and have a great weekend!

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Final Frugal Week of November 2017

I listed five items for sale on Ebay on Sunday. 

We stayed home on Black Friday and spent no money. I did spend part of the day wrapping presents I already bought. 

My daughter gave me a free haircut at home over the weekend. The weather was nice enough to do it outside, so minimal cleanup, which was nice too. 

I took a Nielsen Family survey in October that earned me a free $5.00 Amazon gift card this week. 

I was tired from work on Monday and did not relish the
thought of cooking dinner when my daughter surprised me with a free pizza via a mystery shop she did.  It was a nice surprise.

It was cold enough that I finally turned the bathroom heater on to warm the bathroom for a morning shower. I turned it off right after I was done. So far we've not had to turn it on in the bedrooms, living room or kitchen. 

We spent Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law's home. I brought a chocolate cake with me and left it for them to enjoy over the next few days. 

I brought my own lunches to work this week. On Tuesday I brought Macaroni and Cheese, which was left from dinner the night before. There were four classrooms I subbed in this week that had microwaves, so it was easy to heat up lunches. 

I am almost done with Christmas shopping. I just want to pick up a couple of Bath and Body Works hand soap to finish my shopping. I have all of my daughters gifts already wrapped too and just have my Mom's gifts to wrap. I found her flannel pajama bottoms at the thrift store that were like new condition for $1.99. 

My daughter has two weeks left of school while I still have 3.5 weeks before our Christmas break. We've both already been cleaning and decluttering for the holidays. Our house always feels more homey when it's cleaned and everything in its place. 

Free Entertainment
I sorted through our DVDs looking for a certain one for my Mom and found our Laverne and Shirley DVDs. I watched some of the episodes over the weekend for free entertainment. 

My daughter and I have already watched the first Santa Clause movie over the weekend. 

I rolled up a towel and put it in the bathroom window so cold air won't seep into the bathroom. It's the only window in the house that does that. 

I can't believe that Friday will be December 1st. I don't know where November went! I hope it was good for you.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, November 19, 2017

My Frugal Weekend

I made $11.95 on an item I sold on Ebay this weekend. This was for an item I paid $10 for to use myself, but it ended up not working, so I was able to recoup my money for the item, which is good. 

We went thrift shopping on Saturday. I found a bag full of gift bags for 99¢. There were 10 gift bags in the lot, so they ended up being 10¢ each. 

Even with thrift stores you really have to watch the prices. I found these gift bags at the Salvation Army thrift store. The ones at the Provident thrift store were priced starting at 99¢ each, so it really pays to check prices even with thrift stores. 

I also found a Charles Panter Griscer Deluxe food grinder for $9.95. I love that this is non-electric. I have fond memories of a lady that I knew years ago who would make carrot salad with one of these. 

I also found a Roseville Robinson Ransbottom crock for $1.99. These are so beautiful to me and I find them very useful to store things. I have one on my desk that holds pens and scissors. 

One of the items I was looking for was flannel, but I didn't find any in the price range I was willing to pay, so I will keep looking for that item. 

My Mom requested flannel pajama bottoms for Christmas, so I am looking for a deal on them. In the meantime I found a pattern for them for 10¢ at the thrift store, so I picked that up. If I find flannel at a good price before Christmas, I will make her some. Otherwise, I am still looking for a good deal on them. 

We are staying home today as my daughter has school work and I have several things I want to do at home. I hope you are having a great weekend.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Second Frugal Week November 2017

There was a Veteran's Day program at the school where I worked on Monday. After the program was over, teachers were able to go in and have any lunch items that were left. 

I had some delicious chicken noodle soup, scalloped potatoes, green beans, half of a pimento cheese sandwich, sausage balls, and a brownie. It was so good too. It is always nice to eat someone else's cooking for a change. 

I brought my lunch back home and will eat it tomorrow. After school I came home and made spaghetti with garlic bread and steamed broccoli for dinner. 

Kroger is having their Buy 10 Save $5.00 sale, so on Tuesday I went to Kroger and bought the following sale items. 

Betty Crocker Cake Mix 49¢ (I bought two)
Ronzoni Pasta 49¢ (I bought 40 boxes)
Del Monte tomatoes 49¢ (I bought 50 cans)
Milk 99¢ (I bought 4 - 2 skim & 2 chocolate)
Kroger Cheese 3.79 (16 ounces)
Bob’s Red Mill Sale 20% off 

One thing I bought at Kroger was a bag of Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour. Kroger had Bob Mill on sale for 20% off and I had a coupon for $1.00 off from a free magazine, so I paid $1.22 for the bag. 

We also went thrift store shopping on Tuesday before we bought groceries. I found two ink-jet cartridges for our printer, they were marked at $1.99, but the cashier only charged us 10¢ for them. These normally cost $18.99, so a great savings there. I also found a new book of scrapbook papers for 25¢. A brand new deck of playing cards for 49¢ and a flower pot for 49¢.

On Tuesday I needed to have a new battery installed in my car, which cost $110. My brother in law installed it for me, so no cost there.  

I received a $50 Walmart card from my insurance company for having a mammogram in October. I will either use this for gas in the car or Christmas presents. 

I worked four days this week and have all of next week off for Thanksgiving. Today we are going thrift store shopping again. What are your plans for the weekend?

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, November 10, 2017

First Frugal Week of November 2017

The first frugal week of November came with illness, which started when I subbed for a sick teacher on Halloween. Four days later I ended up with the virus. By Monday my fever was gone and I didn't work on Monday, but did work the rest of the week. 

Before all of that happened, I had been buying Christmas presents. I earned another $50 PayPal credit, this time from Swagbucks, and will use it towards Christmas. 

Even though I was feeling under the weather this week I still made dinners at home. One night I made a double batch of pasta salad, which was great to take for lunch the next couple of days. 

Thursday night I came home after work and made another pasta salad as we had eaten the other one I made. I also made spaghetti for dinner that night. Friday night was Macaroni & Cheese with steamed broccoli on the side. 

The ladies I eat lunch with rarely bring their lunch to work. They eat out of the school cafeteria, which is $3.50 each day or they get take out food from a local diner, which is easily $5.00 per day. I like to eat out too, but when you add it up at the end of the month, this type of eating out can average between $70 and $100 each month or maybe even more. 

Knowing myself, I would rather have that chunk of money to spend on something else. What do you think?

It's been very warm here until rain moved in two days ago and cold temperatures have been the norm. It was 34 degrees here this morning, but we've not had to turn the heat on in the house yet as it is insulated very well. We always save more on our electric bill in the winter as we don't run the heat as often as we run the a/c in the summertime. 

How has your week been?

~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Final Frugal Week October 2017

Over the weekend I made some popcorn to take along with a sandwich for lunches this week since popcorn is cheaper than potato chips.

I also made up some lime jello and poured them over canned pears to make some jello fruit cups for lunches this week. I used the juice from the pears for the cold water to make the gelatin.

I made the popcorn on our electric stovetop, and turned the burner off early using the residual heat to finish the popping process. I often turn the burner off early when cooking for this reason.

I made a batch of my Mexican Rice for dinner on Sunday and combined it with some Cauliflower Taco Meat I had in the freezer. I served it over tortilla chips and topped it with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.

On Monday I used some of the same mixture and added canned tomatoes and pinto beans, turning it into chili and made chili tacos with it.

Other dinners this week included chicken enchiladas using up some of the chicken I bought on sale recently, salmon patties served with green beans, onions and potatoes, and roasted carrots.

On Tuesday I spent some time sewing as I am working on making some Christmas presents right now.
I got started on my Christmas shopping over the weekend.
I listed five things for sale on eBay this week and sold two of them by the end of the week helping to create some more income.

I worked four days last week and took lunch from home with water to drink all four days.

Tuesday is Halloween and since we have no trick or treaters come to our house since we live in rural area, we do not have to buy any candy. So, no money spent for candy or costumes here.

I made some pumpkin muffins using a boxed cake mix and some canned pumpkin. These items were lingering in the pantry, so it was good to use them up. I also made a chocolate cake and packed individual slices into containers to take with lunches this week.

Save a Lot had onions on sale Friday and Saturday only priced at 99¢ for a three-pound bag. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them at that price, so I bought six bags or 18 pounds. I brought them home and put them in panty hose and hung them in the pantry.

It was raining on Saturday, so we knew yard sales would be a bust, but we did go to one church rummage sale. They had a 25¢ clothing room and we picked out several things to both use and resell.

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Third Frugal Week October 2017

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The weather here has finally turned cooler, so we've turned off the air conditioner for the time being and opened up the house and it feels terrific. Resting on the couch with a blanket feels good, I love this time of year.  :)

We went to several yard sales on Saturday the 14th. We found some cute material and my daughter wanted me to make her more pads out of it. I have a feeling anything cute she comes across she will want pads out of it.  (I'm ok with that) 

On Sunday I cashed out some of MyPoints and redeemed them for a $50 PayPal credit. I can either transfer the $50 to my checking account to pay bills with or keep it in my PayPal account for Christmas money. 

MyPoints is easier to me than Swagbucks. I just started using MyPoints again earlier in the summer and only spend a few minutes each day there. I like the fact that I already earned enough for $50 from them. 

Other Frugal Things We Did This Week...

I did not buy any souvenirs in the gift shop at the zoo this week. We went in and looked at what they had to offer because looking does not cost anything, but we didn't buy anything because we didn't need anything they had. 

If you recall one of my New Year's goals the past two years has been to avoid consumerism. This cartoon I saw recently reminded me of my goal. 

Filtered tap water with ice is our preferred drink every day. I have plenty of other drinks to make on hand like hot or cold tea, lemonade, Kool-Aid, Sprite, juice, but water is the most frugal option and I like how it makes me feel. 

I perused the grocery store ads on Thursday to see if there were any good bargains to pick up this week. There were only a couple of good deals, nothing to write home about. 

I stayed home on Thursday and Friday and spent no money, which was nice after the birthday outings this week. I made a chicken pot pie for dinner on Thursday and baked meatless spaghetti with steamed broccoli on the side for dinner on Friday, which were both frugal meals. 

Gas prices have finally come back down to where they were before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Gas is now back at $1.89 per gallon here in SE Tennessee. 

We ventured out to multiple yard sales on the 21st and only found things my daughter can resell. She has a good little business running and pays for her own gas and car insurance, and anything else she needs. I looked but didn't find anything I needed. 

The electric bill came on Saturday and it's down to $175, which is down from $223 last month. Turning off the air conditioning has been a real money saver. 

We did stop at Earth Fair while we were in Chattanooga and bought some honey, which we needed. I also stopped at the Bread Outlet and picked up two loaves of Nature's Own Honey Wheat bread for 79¢ each.  

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Birthday Celebration!

Tuesday was my daughter's 20th birthday. My daughter loves to eat out, so that was definitely part of her birthday celebration. I took her out to Red Lobster for all you can eat endless shrimp. I bought the gift card from Swagbucks and snagged 300 Swagbucks in the process. 

She loves to receive gifts, but she also likes experiences too, so I made sure to include a couple for her birthday. She loves to go to the tea room in Chattanooga, but unfortunately they lost their lease this summer and closed. They do have a different one in Ooltewah, so I made a reservation and we went there on her birthday also. 

We also took a trip to the Chattanooga Zoo for her birthday and had so much fun. Here is a photo of the jaguars sleeping in the sun. We were able to get right up next to them.  :)  

It was back to school for her on Wednesday and I was able to sub for the day. We also were able to get her a free birthday dinner on Wednesday since a local restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, she was able to get it the next day.  

~ Living within our Means ~

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