Sunday, April 29, 2018

What We Ate This Week


Cheesy Potatoes
Diced Carrots
Stir Fry Vegetables

Sunday & Monday
Deconstructed Egg Rolls
Fried Rice
Stir Fry Vegetables

Wednesday & Thursday
Hurst's Pizza Beans

These are so good and never fail to disappoint us. 

Friday & Saturday
Homemade Chili
I made this in my GE roaster again. It made enough to last a few days. 

We had beans on the menu several days this week. They make it easy to save money on the grocery bill and there are numerous ways to eat them to keep them interesting. 

What was for dinner in your home this week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saving Money on Laundry

Laundry is one of those things that everyone has to do sooner or later. Let's discuss ways to save money while doing our own laundry. has a really neat laundry costs calculator located here: 

Laundry Costs Calculator

According to this website, in our home, it costs us 44¢ to do one load of laundry in the washer and 33¢ for 45 minutes in the dryer. We are on a well and do not pay anything for water, but our house is all electric, so we do pay to pump the water into the house. 

Make It Yourself

There are multiple ways to make your own laundry detergent. I don't make my own laundry detergent because we have enough laundry detergent, bought on sale and with coupons, to last us for a long time. 

I also don't make my own laundry detergent because of this article, Why you Should Stop Using Homemade Laundry Detergent. I read the article a long time ago and thought about this and realized how true it was. 

A bar of soap will leave soap scum in your bathtub and in order to be removed your tub will need to be cleaned and or scrubbed. 

The homemade laundry detergents made with soap will do that same thing to the insides of your washing machines and hoses and there is no way for you to get inside those hoses and clean that soap scum. This is why I steer clear of homemade laundry detergent. 

You can also save money by making your own homemade fabric softener and vinegar also makes a frugal fabric softener. We used to make and use the homemade softener, but don't use anything these days as it makes the cloth pads less absorbent. 

You can save money by making your own stain remover using one part Dawn dish washing detergent to two parts hydrogen peroxide along with some baking soda. This has gotten old stains out for me, so I keep it under the sink with a toothbrush for stubborn stains. 

Treating stains before washing helps to ensure the stain is removed and multiple washings are not necessary. 

There is also the stain remover recipe in The Tightwad Gazette you can use. 

Also, the University of Illinois had a stain solution guide on their website that can help with those stubborn stains. 

Other Ways to $ave on Washing

Take your clothes out of the washer right away. Letting clothes sit in the washer until you end up having to rewash them is a waste of time, energy, and water. Steer clear of this bad habit. 

Do your clothes need to be washed after every wearing? Check them and see if they can be worn more then once. Oftentimes, items like jeans and pajamas can go longer between washings. 

Hang your towel after bathing and showering, so it will dry and you can use it multiple times before needing to wash it again. 

Protect your clothing. Use cloth napkins and wear an apron when you're cooking in order to avoid any splashes on your good clothing. 

Back when I was growing up our neighbor was a great seamstress. She made herself a beautiful apron to wear over her good work clothes since she usually always started cooking the minute she came in from work. 

Use Less Everything

Always measure your detergent as it is too easy to overuse detergent. And, use less detergent than the laundry detergents experts call for and see how clean your clothes become. 

If you can get away with even less try that and see how low you can get it before you can tell the difference and then bump it back up again. Also, cut fabric softener sheets in half and they can be used more then once.

Wash Only Full Loads

Common sense tells us to wash only full loads of laundry to save the most money. If you have one or two items that need washing before laundry day, consider hand washing them and hanging them to dry. 

Wash in Cold Water

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the hot water used to wash your clothes uses 90% of the electricity while only 10% of the energy is used to operate the washing machine motor. 

Switching to cold water can save the average person anywhere from $30 to $40 per year while washing full loads and can save more than 3,400 gallons of water per year. 

Dryer Savings

The best way to save money on drying clothes is to NOT use the dryer. 

Now I know that is impractical for some people, but one time I did state that  If my dryer broke down again I was not going to replace it. But, for those of us who do use a dryer, here are a few ways to save. Again most of these are common sense. 

Use the dryer less or for a short time to remove wrinkles and then hang your clothes on clothes hangers to finish drying.  

Use an outdoor clothes line or a shower rod indoors or a homemade drying rack. 

Laundry drying racks can be expensive unless you find them inexpensively. My solution until then is to use homemade drying racks like the one I made here using the backs of two chairs and two broom handles: 

If you do use the dryer to dry clothes and your machine has a moisture sensor use it to automatically turn your machine off when the clothes are dry. 

Make sure to clean your lint trap after each and every load. Your lint trap can be an important energy saver. If your lint trap is not clean it will take longer to dry your clothes, which will use more energy and cost your more money on your electric bill. 

Do you have other ways that help you save money on your laundry? Please share your tips and suggestions in the comment section, so we can all learn from each other. 
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, April 27, 2018

Frugal Friday ~ April 27, 2018

This week was very tiring. I worked four days and the other day I took my Mom to the doctor. I came home at least one day after school this week and fell asleep. I'm glad the weekend is here. 

We stopped at Walmart, so Mom could pick up some things. I picked up some toilet paper and spent $12 on that, which is my only spending this week. 

I'm reconsidering subbing at the middle school in the future. The bridge leading to the middle school washed out this week and is now closed. 

There is only one other road up to the school in town and they are only letting buses on that road. 

In order to sub there I would have to drive farther out into the country on a not so good road and I'm not crazy about the idea. 

A friend I spoke with has gotten one nail in her tire and one screwdriver in her tire from this road. 

I've already put a new tire on my car after getting a nail in one when they put a new roof on the middle school. Tires on my car are $200 each and I don't make that much in one day of subbing. 

Part of me thinks it is not worth subbing at the middle school with this new problem. I can still sub at other schools, so that is no problem. I need to make a decision on this matter. 

In other news, I sold parts of a Pampered Chef cheese grater on Ebay this week for $7.50.

My BIL was needing some new butter knives as he was down to two in his kitchen. We found twelve of them at a yard sale last week for 50¢ and I delivered them after I took Mom to the doctor. (combine errands to save money on gas)

My Mom filled up my gas tank, gave me two bananas and bought lunch for me taking her to the doctor. 

The weather has been very rainy this week and it's a bit chilly now as a result. 

That's our week in a nutshell. How has your week been? Any frugal news to report?

I hope you have a great weekend. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Great Meal: Deconstructed Egg Rolls

We had the best dinner Sunday night and I want to tell you about it. 

Cheryl, over at Cheryl's Frugal Corner, posted a recipe recently for Deconstructed Egg Rolls

The recipe sounded right up our alley and we decided to give it a try and I'm glad we did because we all enjoyed it. 

Sunday Dinner

Deconstructed Egg Rolls 
Fried Rice
Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

Sometimes when I make Fried Rice I use the Sun-Bird fried rice seasoning mix. I like the flavors this packet has as it reminds me of the fried rice served in Japanese Hibachi style restaurants.  

I also served this with one of our favorite stir frys, this sugar snap pea one from Walmart's Great Value line of frozen vegetables. 

My family loved this meal and raved about the Deconstructed Egg Rolls, so this will definitely be going into our menu rotation as it is a keeper.  

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Saving on Groceries Series ~ Food Lion Cha-Ching Brand

Food Lion rebranded their store brand items in 2015 with the new Cha-Ching label. They advertise themselves as the place where Thrift is Cool

Each product has a 100% money back guarantee and the prices on those items has always been really good. 

The other day I found a new price for me on a staple item I use to make Chicken Pot Pie. 

Campbell's brand of cream of potato soup is $1.48 and usually substitute the Great Value brand of that, which costs 75¢. 

The other day I realized that Food Lion's Cha-Ching brand of Cream of Chicken soup is only 48¢. 

If you buy this product during one of Food Lion's savings promotions, you can actually receive a  25¢ coupon on your NEXT shopping trip for each store brand item you purchase as long as you buy at least four items. 

This drops the price of the soup to 23¢. Cha-Ching! 

Here are the official rules to the promotion.  

Now I much prefer the cream of potato soup that I normally use, but I am more than willing to switch from cream of potato to cream of chicken for the savings this will bring me.

The point of this post is to be willing to shop around and see if you can find the items you normally buy at even cheaper prices in order to save the most money. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Saving on Groceries Series ~ Cooking Oil

Last year I blogged about buying two gallons of Great Value vegetable oil, which was on sale for $4.98. I emptied the last one of those this past week and wanted to replace them. 

Walmart has them right now priced at $3.98 each, so I picked up two since the price was so good. This is for 128 ounces of vegetable oil.

The 48 ounce bottles of vegetable oil cost $2.28 right now, which is about 6¢ per ounce. The price of the 128 ounce bottle is about half of that costing only 3¢ per ounce. 

This is one case where buying in bulk is definitely saving the consumer money. 

These will probably last us for one year as well as I mostly use this for popcorn on the stovetop. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, April 23, 2018

Yard Sale Saturday ~ April 21, 2018

We got up bright and early and packed our breakfast & lunch for yard sales. I always make four sandwiches and cut them in half and put them in this container. And we always bring water to drink with us for the day. This metal insulated container will keep ice all day long. 

These three fabrics came from one sale and include Finding Nemo and Clifford the Big Red Dog. She had $3.00 marked on them for all three. 

The Nemo fabric is two yards worth of material. It was such a great price and would cost me much more at the fabric store. I have very definite plans for these two materials. 

I love this dish towel. It's Fiddler's Elbow and if you Google them, you can see so many other cute patterns they sell for anywhere from $12 to $15. This one is brand new and I paid $1.00 for it. 

Everything else on my list came from a church yard sale. My daughter and I bought two boxes worth of items here and paid $14 for the boxes. We counted all the items we bought and they ended up costing us 33¢ each. 

Two brand new 100% cotton dish towels, still had the starch in them from being brand new. These make great pieces for sewing projects, so I added them to my sewing stash. 

Two more dish towels. These are for my sewing project I still want to blog about soon. 

This is a shower curtain and made of canvas. I bought it to upcycle and will be revealing tomorrow on the blog what I'll be making out of canvas in the future. 

A Tigger flannel sheet, which I will be using to make more flannel wipes. I love the flannel wipes I made here and would love to have more on hand, so that is what this piece and the next two sets of flannel sheets are earmarked for. 

I found four men's brand handkerchiefs new in the package. The package was rough, so I removed it for this photo. 

Also, this beautiful jar with ribbon and trinkets, and underneath is a beautiful piece of fabric, possibly a scarf, with beautiful edging and embroidered hearts.  

I've been looking for some very light weight material to make my own produce bags and this material suits that purpose. 

A brand new in the package Florida Gators flag, which I plan on reselling. 

A cute box for birthday cards, which is filled with new birthday cards. One movie with eight different animal movies on it. One cookbook, one book, Life Lessons From My Father's Garden, one Nintendo DS Mario game, which I plan on reselling, and a Food Network spatula. 

The church yard sale was the best one with the prices. I didn't even look at everything they had because they had so much. We love to go to these because we can get so much more stuff in one place and the prices are usually just great. 

Did you get to yard sale this week? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day ~ April 22nd ~ Reusable Shopping Bags

Image Credit
Today is Earth Day and the focus this year is to help end plastic pollution. 

Plastic is threatening our planet's survival, from poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our streams and landfills. 

A few weeks ago my Dad was shopping at Lowe's in Chicago, Illinois, and they wanted to charge him 7¢ for a shopping bag and he was flabbergasted. 

The new "checkout bag" tax applies to ALL Chicago retailers, and applies to both paper and plastic bags. Shoppers who do not have their own bags will be charged the 7¢ at the checkout. 

What is a frugal shopper to do? 

Make your own shopping bags! 

In doing so, we can help end the plastic pollution caused by plastic shopping bags and can even save some money when retails like Target pay us to bring our own shopping bags. 

Here is a shopping bag I made on Wednesday using fabric I bought at a yard sale last weekend. 

Here is a link to the pattern for this bag. 

Mean Queen over at Life After Money makes her own shopping bags also and even gives them away free to other shoppers. 

There are multiple videos on YouTube on how to make your own shopping bags as well. 

Here is some fabric that my daughter picked up recently at a yard sale that I'm going to use to make my next shopping bag. 

This is a nice sturdy canvas fabric, which is perfect for a reusable shopping bag. 

Let's do what we can to save our planet and use reusable shopping bags when we shop. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, April 21, 2018

What We Ate This Week


This is one of my favorite meals.

Taco Salad
We had extra taco meat from Sunday, so made taco salads on Monday to avoid food waste.
Pepperoni Pizza
Green Salad

Chicken Tenders
Potato Salad
I used paper plates, so not many dishes to wash as I was working on a sewing project.

Thursday & Friday

Chicken Pot Pie


~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, April 20, 2018

Frugal Friday 4-20-2018


I sold six items on Ebay this week and after fees made $65.46 on those items.  

One of the items that sold was a microwave glass plate, which came from our microwave that broke down last year. 

Sometimes the funniest things sell. For example, we've had this Kraft cheese container:  

We hadn't been using it, so I listed it for sale last week and it sold for $14.00 this week.  

It definitely pays to keep and then sell items like that because sometimes someone will buy them. 

Freebies This Week:

We picked up a free bag of popcorn from a Walmart kiosk. We used the Freeosk app on our smart phone to snag this freebie.

We picked up a bag of trail mix for 49¢ in the crash and burn section of Food City. 

I used my Food City card to save money at the pump this week. I had one reward that I could use, which saved me 15¢ per gallon. I bought 13.66 gallons, so saved $2.05 using this strategy. 

I'm still watching Pretty Little Liars on DVD and listening to The Butler audiobook in my car. I also did a lot of reading online on sewing tutorials. I like to read about what other people do to save money and learn new skills to help my family save money.

Spring or Not?

The weather here cannot decide what season it is and we've had a mixture of weather this week as a result. It was so cold on Monday that it was snowing here and I wanted to turn on the heat. I'm glad I didn't because it was so warm on Tuesday that we had to have the air conditioner running.

I much prefer the colder weather myself and will even open the windows to let some of that good cool air inside.

In My Frugal Kitchen

Egg salad was on my menu for this month, but after looking at the price of eggs at several stores, I changed my mind. I'm going to baby the three eggs I have left and only use them when absolutely necessary.

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~
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