Saturday, March 31, 2018

What's on the Dinner Table this Week?

This is what we ate this week:

Sunday: Potato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Monday: Homemade Pizza

Tuesday: Homemade Chili

I brought down my GE electric roaster to make a large portion of homemade chili on Tuesday. I wanted to make enough to last for a few days and some to freeze for later. 

I used up several cans from my pantry including a couple of Crash & Burn items. One 28 ounce can of tomatoes that cost 50¢, and one can of diced chili ready tomatoes for 29¢.

And that was all the cooking I had to do for this week. We ate on the chili for the rest of the week and I even had some to freeze. I love cooking once and eating two, three, or even four times. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, March 30, 2018

Frugal Friday ~ 3~30~2018

Hello to all my frugal readers. 

If you read last week's Frugal Friday post you know we've been on Spring Break this week. My plan was to stay home for the majority of spring break and get some sewing done. 

This was definitely a week of minimal driving, so no extra money spent on gas for my car. 

I made my daughter a Dr. Seuss cloth pad this week. This was upcycled from a scrub shirt she found while thrift store shopping. 

We went to Joann Fabrics on Sunday. I used a coupon on my smart phone rather than print one out, which saves ink from my printer. 

Printer ink is expensive and we need to use it for reselling, so we try to conserve it whenever possible. 

We both listed more items to sell on Ebay. One of the items I picked up at a yard sale last Saturday sold on Sunday. That was pretty neat. 

On Monday the tension on my sewing machine wasn't making stitches correctly, so I had to work on it for a while, but I managed to fix it watching a few Youtube videos.

I went to Walmart on Wednesday to pick up a few things and bought some bread on markdown. 

On Thursday I earned another $5.00 Amazon gift card from Microsoft Rewards. 

We stayed home on Thursday and I spent part of the day sewing a new to me project. I'll wait until next week to post any pictures of the project, but I'm excited about it.  

How was your week?
~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An Easy Kitchen Re-Do

We have a friend who recently moved, but wasn't too keen on her kitchen countertops as she thought they were outdated.

She couldn't afford to replace them right now, so she covered them with contact paper with a slick finish, so they would be easy to clean. 

She felt like the contact paper made a huge difference and I agree. I wanted to share this with my readers because it's such a great way to update countertops without spending much money.  




What do you think? I think they look great and didn't really think about being able to do something like this with contact paper. 

Please let me know what you think in the comment section. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, March 26, 2018

Multiple Ways to Save Money on Sewing

Learning to sew was one of the best skills I ever learned, and has served me well over the years. 

Here are some tips on how to help you save money on sewing. 

1. Spread the word to family and friends that you are sewing. Remember how Amy Dacyczyn "put the word out" about her daughter wanting earrings and how she ended up with multiple pairs? 

Use that same philosophy for your sewing. Many people these days are decluttering and getting rid of things they no longer need. And many older people, who are no longer sewing, would love to give those items to someone who would love to use them. 

2. Use what you have. People who sew usually have a stash of fabric on hand for projects. Make a dent in your stash and use what you have to save money. 

3. Look for fabric and sewing supplies in all the places you shop regularly. I've seen fabric for sale at yard sales, thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, and I've even scored free fabric once at a yardsale in the free for taking box, so be sure to check those too. 

Also, while you are busy decluttering, see if what you want to donate can be used to make other things. For example, those long flowing skirts have a lot of material that can be used in other projects. 

4. Upcycle other items for sources of fabric. My regular readers know that I sewed thrifty cloth pads for my daughter last summer using mostly scrub shirts that I upcycled. 

Use clothes you no longer wear, sheets, drapes, table covers, baby blankets, whatever you can think of to save money. 

5. Buy purses and backpacks inexpensively at yard sales and reuse the hardware on your own projects. Remember Amy Dacyczyn saving and reusing the hooks off of overalls? Purses and backpacks are a dime a dozen at yard sales. 

6. Keep all of your scraps and use them. They can be used for interfacing, stuffing, linings, pockets, facings, or even just as rags. I keep a basket of my scraps to reuse for other things. 

7. Look online for free patterns. There are thousands on them all free for the taking. 

8. Shop the sales. If there is something you need to buy, look for a sale and/or a coupon to save money. Joann Fabrics usually has coupons every week to help you save money. If you need to buy a pattern, look for them during their $1.00 pattern sale. 

9. Use your library to borrow pattern books for free as another way to save money on patterns. 

10. Save your patterns to use later. I think this one goes without saying. I always save my patterns that I know I will use again and again. 

11. Use programs like Ibotta , Ebates and Receipt Hog to earn money on products you do buy for sewing. 

12.  Save money by doing your own alterations. If you don't know how to do that, there are plenty of tutorials online and on YouTube to learn how to sew hems, make a dart, or any other alteration you need. 

13. Barter your services. Do you need something of value that someone else has and do you have something of value that they need or want? Use your sewing skills to get what you need without having to pay for the item. 

14. Shop at Wawak for supplies. Seriously, they have the best prices on sewing supplies that I've seen than any other company. 

15. If you need to buy fabric shop at places like Joann Fabrics, which frequently has terrific sales and coupons to match.  I like to use their 50% off coupon and buy one thing I need.

16. As always, be sure to check in the remnant bin for any fabric you might need. Wal-Mart even has a remnant bin these days.

What good tips do you have on sewing these days?
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Yard Sale Saturday

On Saturday we spent part of the day going to several yard sales. Even with the rainy weather we were able to find multiple sales. 

Some of the items I picked up were in order for me to resell. I picked up a tupperware canister set, a Tennessee Vols jacket, and a Pampered Chef Deluxe Cheese grater all in order to resell. 

Yard sales can be a treasure trove of items that you can pick up and then resell. As long as you find one where the prices are reasonable.

We've stumbled across plenty of yard sales where the prices are too high. But as Amy Dacyczyn implied in the Tightwad Gazette, going to multiple yard sales is what will yield you the best results. 

Reselling allows me to create another income stream without having to put a lot of effort into the mix. I absolutely love going to yard sales, so this part is pure enjoyment for me. 

For myself I picked up a tupperware pitcher for $1.00, a brown jacket, two dishtowels, and some pop tops.

My daughter uses the pop tops on her canned drinks. They keep the soda contained in the can, which saves on possible spillage and makes it easier to tote with a person. We picked up nine of these for $1.00, so 12¢ each. 

Image Credit

One yard sale we went to had a sign that read, "prices are negotiable," and the seller even told us the same. 

She had DVDs listed for $3.00 and I found one I hadn't seen in a long time, so I haggled with her to she would take $1.00 and she agreed.  

Now when I'm done watching it, I can trade it at McKay's Used Books and get my money back. That's another way we save on entertainment here. 

Haggling is fun and also saves you even more money. 

We are not yet in full yard sale mode here yet due to the weather, but it is picking up slowly and will be in full session before we know it. We are definitely ready for it here. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Blog Business

Listed to the right of my blog are three side bars labeled,  Blogs I Read, which are blogs I read regularly.  I know that some of you follow these blogs I read, so I wanted to mention a couple of things about them. 

If you are interested in the article listed, be sure to click on the title of the post, which is listed directly under the title of the blog. 

However, if you want to read the latest blog article, I would be sure to click on the title of the blog. For some reason, Blogger does not allow some blogs to show up as current on these sidebars. 

For example, My Frugal Home, is a great blog right here in Tennessee and it is updated regularly, but if you look at it on my side bar, it shows that it has not been updated in a long time, which is not true. The same thing can be said for Debt Free, Cashed Up & Laughing. 

Some of them have truly not been updated in a long time such as Low Cost Living and Down the Frugal Lane. I plan on keeping both blogs here simply because they both contain such good frugal information. 

Anyway, I just wanted to mention this in case anyone was wondering why that was happening. There is a slew of great information out there and the blogs I have listed here are some of my favorite ones. I hope you enjoy them as well.
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, March 23, 2018

Frugal Friday ~ 3~23~2018

On Monday I missed a call to sub by just a few seconds. Arrgg! So instead of working, I stayed home and made potato soup for dinner. 

And you know what happened? Bad storms came our way and schools let out at 1 o'clock as a result. After Monday I was able to work the entire week and now we are on Spring Break. 

Being on Spring Break will give me the chance to stay home, which is what I did this past weekend. We're going to eat what we have on hand, make do with what's here and save on gas. I plan on working on some sewing projects. There is joy in ordinary days like this. 

The weekend weather was warm, but we managed to keep the a/c off and used fans and opened windows to create a cross breeze and cool the house. It's always good to air out the house as well. 
Towards the end of the week temperatures plummeted. It was 27 degrees on Thursday morning and I actually turned on some heat in the bathroom when I was getting ready for work. 

Payday fell this week and I paid all of our monthly expenses online saving the cost of postage. It's always a good feeling and gives me peace of mind to have the bills paid. I know I say that regularly, but it's true. There is nothing like being able to sleep at night without worry. 

All meals were made at home this week and all lunches packed and taken to school/work. My daughter has been wanting to stop at Cookout for their large iced tea, which cost $2.18, so I've been extra vigilant about making her tea at home. 

Four of the items that I listed on Ebay last week sold over the weekend. After all the fees I made $36.54 this week from those sales. That is more than enough to fill my gas tank without having to dip into my gas budget for the month.

One item that I use regularly here is my CPAP machine and I needed a new strap for it, which sells for $24.99 on Amazon. I also had, in my possession, one brand new strap that was too small for me.

What I did was list the smaller strap on eBay and sold it this week for $19.99, so some of the money from that sale went to pay for my new strap. I love being able to buy something I need with proceeds from selling something I already had, but could not use.
We stopped at the bakery thrift store in Chattanooga the other day and bought our favorite Nature's Own bread for 79¢ per loaf. We also found Dave's Killer Bread for $2.00 a loaf, which is a great price considering it sells for over $5.00 at the grocery store.

What frugal things did you save on this week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Frugal Week of March 12, 2018

I worked two days this week and brought lunch & drinks both days. 

My daughter is doing so well with her reselling that she has asked me to join her. So, on Saturday I started helping her because business has been doing so well. 

On Ebay I listed several more items for sale over the weekend. One of them sold on Thursday for $19.99. 

We were able to get in on an Angel Soft toilet paper deal at Dollar General this week. We used a $5 off $25 deal, plus a $5 off $15 Angel Soft deal, and $1.00 off coupons for each package.  We bought 5 packages of 12 rolls each and paid 91¢ for each 12 pack, which was a 92% savings.

I downloaded several free health videos and sewing tutorials to my computer to watch at a later time. 

On Thursday I had the day off, so we took the opportunity to drop off my daughter's car at her uncle's auto shop to get the oil changed. He also rotated her tires for her and only charged her $20 for supplies. 

While we were waiting on her car we went to the thrift store and picked out several items to resell. 

On Friday night I made a large taco salad for dinner on Friday and Saturday. I like making enough of one dish to have for the next day too. 

How was your frugal week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Free Items @ Provident Thrift Store

My daughter had an errand to run yesterday and one of the ways we save money here is to combine errands, which we did yesterday. 

One of the places we went to was one of our favorite thrift stores. I'm so glad we went because they were giving away produce inside and outside the store. 

There was a limit per family of two items inside the store, but you could take all you wanted of what was outside the store. 

Inside the store they had boxes and boxes of these Power Greens, so we took two boxes of those.  

Most of what was on the outside of the store was already picked over, but I did manage to get a few things like these cucumbers, tomatoes, and a few strawberries. 

Needless to say, I was very grateful for the free produce.  

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, March 12, 2018

100 Words on the Small Stuff

Many of the small daily things we do each day save a very small amount of money that we might not think are worth the effort.  If we look at the big picture though, look at those savings over an entire year, then they add up to a considerable sum and become eye opening. 

To live our best frugal life, we need to make the effort to do the little things every day even if we don’t think it will make a difference. The little things WILL make a difference, and soon they will become like second nature to us.  

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Frugal Week of March 5, 2018

This week I was able to work three days and brought my lunch and drinks from home all three days. 

My daughter trimmed the bushes that line our driveway near our new steps. It's amazing how much better it looks and how much light is there now. I would have had to pay someone to do this for me, but she did it for free. 

We had multiple loads of laundry to work on this week since we were pet sitting last weekend, most everything was covered in dog hair. I'm happy to report that all the laundry is finished, folded, and put back where it belongs. 

We went to a couple of thrift stores while we were in Chattanooga and I found a really thick, new to me, thermal blanket. I've been wanting one of these for a while, my price out the door was $6.99.

We filled up our rewards card at this local thrift store, so the next time we shop there we will be getting $25 worth of items for free. Even some of our local Goodwill stores have a rewards program. It always pays to ask if they have one where you shop. 

I earned another $5 Amazon gift card from Microsoft Rewards this week. If I spend just a few minutes each day on this I can earn this reward once about every three weeks. 

We have flowers blooming here right now from the recent warm weather. These are the grape hyacinths that I planted in 1986 right after we moved here. They come up every year during this time. 

We also have daffodils ready to bloom and our Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom as well. Our daffodils bloom later than anyone else's daffodils since these are in the shade. 

We had both of our male kittens neutered last week. We took them to Dixie Day Spay, which is a low cost spay/neuter clinic and a PetSmart charity. 

They charge $40 for spay or neutering, which is a great savings compared to the vet's office. 

On Thursday we were invited to a birthday dinner at a local restaurant. Dinner was free to us paid for by the birthday host. 

I ordered an item from Amazon in January that never came. I emailed the seller several times with no resolution. I finally let Amazon know and they refunded my order this week for the $23 purchase. 

We went to PetSmart last week, which is right next to our Aldi, and found a shopping cart that had not been returned. We returned it and earned a quarter (25¢) in the process. 

I listened to Pandora radio for free while I was at school one day this week. 

We attended a class last week while we were in Chattanooga and received a 20% off coupon for a future purchase. 

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Frugal Fun this Week

We've had a fun and frugal week this past week. 

We had so much rain the past week. School was called off at 1 o'clock on Thursday due to roads beginning to flood. So, I actually got off work early and headed to Chattanooga for a paid pet sitting job

We always enjoy pet sitting there. We get to stay in her house and love and enjoy her dogs.

She has awesome unlimited Internet and is close to many of the places we enjoy. It's like having a mini vacation and getting paid for it. 

We stopped in at Sears to get another free item using their Shop Your Way rewards program. I picked up another filter for our kitchen faucet. 

Auntie Anne's was giving away free pretzels on Saturday, so we stopped in to get one.  

We stopped in at Barnes & Noble and found they had planners marked down to $2, so we both picked one out. I also picked up a Zentangle book for my favorite art teacher for $2.

I sold two items on Ebay this week and made $10 on both items. 

I did not do any grocery shopping this past week since I knew we would be out of town. In fact, the lady we pet sit for bought fresh produce and said she forgot she would be out of town and to enjoy it ourselves, which was very nice of her. 

That was a wrap up of our week, how was yours?

~ Living within our Means ~

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