Friday, June 29, 2018

Frugal Friday ~ June 29, 2018

On Saturday our power was out for seven hours due to a thunderstorm. Towards the end of that time I was ready to get in the car for some cold a/c and go somewhere for something ice cold to drink, but I resisted. 

I'm keeping an eye on our meter reading on the electric company's website. I expect to see a drastic drop in the amount of kilowatts we used on Saturday due to the power outage. 

We vacuumed both window air conditioners this week and took apart the fans and washed the cages very well. We do this on a monthly basis at least during this time of year. 

This immediately made a difference in how the acs were cooling and how the fans were moving air. 

Image Credit

We were at a thrift store last week when the cashier made an announcement that they had just received some Build a Bears and they were available at the front of the store. 

There were two shopping carts full of them and they were going for $2.00 each. 

Now I don't know the circumstances behind this donation, but I was surprised that someone would donate these. 

My daughter treasured her childhood trip to Build a Bear and still has her bear, not wanting to part with Patches and the memories that go along with him. 

All of our meals were cooked at home this week as usual. 

On Wednesday we went to town to run errands and I brought food and drinks, but started getting hungry before we were done. 

Combining errands to save money can sometimes take longer than expected. We resisted getting any fast food, but went home and had lunch there instead. 

This is one of the keys to leading a frugal life ~ being disciplined when it comes to spending money. We have very specific goals we are saving for and don't want any unnecessary spending to get in the way of those goals. 

We continue to find things we need at yard sales, rummage sales, and thrift stores. 

My daughter recently expressed interest in having a pair of knee pads for certain activities. We found a pair this week at a church rummage sale for 50¢. 

She also suggested finding a litter pan for three kittens and we found one a new one this week for 50¢ also. 

She has made the comment a few times this summer that when she buys something retail she oftentimes finds it at a yard sale afterwards. 

And it's probably related to the fact that we go to so many yard sales, but we enjoy it and it saves us money, which is a win-win situation. 

We have had thunderstorms every day this week. Our driveway is a mess from all the rain. We'll be looking at the least expensive option to fix it this weekend. 

I had a large medical bill from January where I was offered a deal to pay 50% and get 50% off my balance. I paid my half on June 6th and called on the 28th and they still hadn't written off the other half, so I will stay on top of this to make sure the other half gets removed. 

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, June 25, 2018

Should we stop complaining about the price of chicken?

This week I watched a YouTube channel that told people they needed to stop complaining about the price of groceries and about how people in different areas can buy things cheaper. 

Specifically they were talking about the price of chicken and how people (the ones complaining) needed to stop buying chicken breasts and instead buy drumsticks and thighs if they wanted to buy chicken at the lowest price. 

I am not a big fan of poultry and definitely not a fan of dark meat. If it came down to eating dark meat poultry or something as cheap, I would choose something else as cheap, like beans for example.  

I just thought it was interesting and wondered what you all thought about the discussion. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, June 24, 2018

My Frugal Kitchen ~ What We Ate This Week

Last Sunday was so hot here that I didn't even feel like cooking, so we had cheese & crackers for dinner. 

This week was rather rough as we are still sore from the accident and it's still so hot in the house to cook, so meals were different this week and some days I did not take a photo. 

On Monday we had a store bought pizza cooked at home. 

Pizza Quesadillas

Beef & Bean Burritos


Friday & Saturday
Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

Our power was out on Saturday for seven hours due to a storm. We simply ate leftovers from Friday. 

One day this week I made up some individual jello cups with fruit. I always drain the juice from the fruit and then use that as part of the cold water called for in the jello.

What was on the menu in your home this week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, June 22, 2018

Frugal Friday ~ June 22, 2018

The land next door to ours was clear cut last week, which has brought more sunlight and heat into our home. As a result, our house has been much hotter than it normally is this time of year. 

In the beginning we put dark fabric over the windows, which didn't help as much. Then we put black poster board in two of the windows, which brought the temperature down about five degrees. 

We opened up the house one night as it was actually cooler outside. We also have the ceiling fans running to help cool the rooms we're using. Cold wash cloths are helping too. 

It's been so hot in the house I haven't felt like cooking much due to the heat. It was so hot on Sunday that we ate cheese & crackers for dinner. 
We did the bulk of our grocery shopping for the month this week mostly shopping the sales. I bought twenty pounds of ground beef on sale for $1.99 per pound. 

Now I have my pantry and freezer pretty well filled with plenty of food to make meals for the next month. 
How was your frugal week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mob Mentality & One Day Sales

Have you noticed lately that grocery stores are having these one day only sales? I have to say that I am not a fan of the one day sales as it's creating an environment that is a little bit frightening. 

There are a lot of people who come to these one day sales because they are looking for the sales to feed their families for less money and we're included. 

The behavior of some of the people inside and outside the stores is sometimes rude and overbearing. I like to shop in the morning when stores are mostly empty and take my time and concentrate on what I'm doing. But when stores have one day sales sometimes they don't start until noon and that makes for an environment that is chaotic. 

I blogged about my daughter getting in on a 25¢ can sale that left her shaking from the chaos. 

I don't know why stores want to create such an environment that can sometimes be unsafe. In the parking lot we witnessed an elderly driver give no regard to someone who was honking their horn and calling out loudly that they were about to hit them with their vehicle. 

The best thing to do is to stay away from sales like this and I've even thought about writing a letter to my favorite grocery store to let them know how I feel about this as a customer at their store. 

Have you witnessed anything like this in your area?

~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Last Wednesday Bailey and I were stopped at a red light in Chattanooga when we were rear ended by an uninsured motorist. 

The police rendered her car undrivable at the scene and her insurance company rendered the car totaled. 

Physically, both of us are fine, so please don't worry. 

Emotionally it was tough as this was her first car, a high school graduation present. She felt safe in that car and had planned on keeping it for at least ten years. 

The uninsured driver told police that he took his eyes on the road for a moment. We believe he was on his cell phone as it was in his lap when his door was opened. 

Bailey has had auto insurance through our local insurance company from the first day she owned the car. Driving without insurance is not an option in our home. 

Having full coverage/uninsured motorists coverage, when you have a newer car that you couldn't replace financially, is the responsible thing to do to protect yourself.

Bailey has already replaced her car with the check she received from her insurance company. 

This was a huge shock to both of us, but we are still counting our blessings. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, June 16, 2018

My Frugal Kitchen ~ What We Ate This Week


Egg Rolls
Potatoes & Carrots

Sunday & Monday

Chicken & Dressing
Green Beans 

On Sunday I was out of cream of anything soup, so I substituted using the recipe below. I also started with raw chicken, which I cooked in my Instapot. 

Chicken & Dressing Casserole
3 chickens breast, cooked or 4 cups cooked chicken
1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup 
(I substituted using the recipe found below)
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 - 8 ounce package dry stuffing mix 
(Pepperidge Farm is my favorite as my grandmother worked there)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
Whisk together soup and milk and add chicken.
Pour into casserole dish. 
In another bowl, melt butter and add dry dressing mix and mix well. 
Sprinkle over chicken mixture in pan. 
Cover dish with foil, but remove 10 minutes before taking dish out of the oven. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
6 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
Melt  butter in saucepan.
Add flour and mix into a paste.
Whisk in milk and chicken broth. 
Add onion & garlic powder, salt & pepper.
Continue to whisk until smooth and creamy.

Use 1 & 1/3 cup to replace one 10 & 1/2 ounce can of cream of chicken soup in recipes. This recipe makes the equivalent of two cans. 


Chicken Tacos
Mexican Rice


Pinto Beans


We took the Mexican Rice from Tuesday and the Pinto Beans from Wednesday and had those. Delicious. 

Friday & Saturday

Taco Salad


It's been hot here in SE Tennessee, so I've been really working on having plenty of drinks on hand. I drink water all day long, but not everyone in the house wants to do that. 

This week in our fridge you'll find water, milk, orange juice, green tea, sweet tea, lemonade, and fruit punch (Kool-aid) all made here at home in order to quench any thirst. 

Click here to read what the original Hillbilly Housewife, Maggie, had to say about mixing your own beverages at home. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, June 15, 2018

Frugal Friday ~ June 15, 2018

Frugal Workshop is now on Instagram if you're interested.

My frugal drink for the week. Kool-Aid lemonade with only about 1/4 cup of sugar. You can save money by adjusting the amount of sugar or sweetener to your taste. I save money by using less sugar.   

While perusing YouTube this past week I stumbled upon the Prepper Princess channel. She has some great videos on how she saves money if you want to check it out. 

My daughter got to see Tonks and the Aurors at a free concert held at the library this past week. The library is a great place to save money and find free entertainment. 

I needed to pick up an RX at Food City and checked the yellow sticker meat section. I found an almost 1/2 pound burger for $1.59 and a package of pork chops for $1.42.

This week I sold my Kitchenaid mixer on Facebook Marketplace for $100 because I did not use it. I bought it brand new twenty years ago for $50 in one of those closeout stores. It was a bargain for me at the time and a bargain for the man who bought it this week. 

I perused the grocery store sale ads online. I see a lot of pork on sale this week and ground chuck for $1.99 a pound in the ten pound rolls at Fresh & Low. I'll be buying one or two of those and planning meals around those this month. 

Kroger has Kraft mayonnaise on sale this week for 99¢ with their digital coupon and will allow you to buy up to five. So, if we get down that way we'll definitely stop in to get that deal. 

My brother in law changed the oil in my car this week and only charged me $20 for supplies. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Items Left Behind at Bonnaroo

Remember when Amy Dacyczyn wrote about the differences in what people left behind in the 1969 Woodstock and then later in the 1994 Woodstock? 

She said that a great deal of useful stuff was left behind in the 1994 Woodstock when that was not the case in the 1969 where very little stuff was left behind. 

Bonnaroo is a music and arts festival held here in Tennessee for several days. People set up tents and camp out for the time the festival is held. 

One of the local businesses in Chattanooga went to the Bonnaroo sight in Manchester this week after the festival was over and canvassed the area and brought back a trailer full of useful items. 

They are selling the items and donating the profits to charity. Here is a photo of their yard sale and some of the useful items left behind. 

My daughter and I went to the yard sale and couldn't believe the brand new stuff that was left behind and up for sale. 

Hundreds of brand new chairs, coolers, tents, grills, tent awnings, etc. It was unbelievable!

We didn't buy anything because it was raining and muddy and we didn't bring appropriate gear for that mess. 

It was shocking to me to see all those useful items left behind, but I was glad to see someone get those items and hopefully put them into the hands of someone who will use them again. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Saving Money with Krusteaz Pancake Mix

Some frugal advice tells us that making pancakes from scratch is a money saving activity, and that is true. 

But, I've never liked making pancakes from scratch because they don't taste as good as pancakes made from a mix. Even Pioneer Woman agrees with me

So, I decided to try an experiment and bought this ten pound bag of Krusteaz pancake mix, which I bought this week at Walmart for $7.42.

According to the label, there are 90 half cup servings in this package. 

Using my mini ladle, I was able to get four pancakes from 1/2 cup of the mix. 

$7.42 divided by 90 means each half cup costs approximately 8¢ each, which works out to about 2¢ per pancake. In my book, that's a pretty good price for breakfast. 

 My pancake making station...

Hot off the griddle...

The first day I made the pancakes without any additions, but we love banana pancakes here and I'll be making them with this mix on a regular basis. 

Reading online I found multiple recipes here and here that I can use with this mix. Things like muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies, etc. So, I will be using this pancake mix for more than just pancakes. 

How about you? Do you like pancakes made from scratch or from a mix? 

~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Living Within Your Means

Image Credit
Learning to live within your means is a goal that is achievable for everyone. It may not be easy, but it is definitely doable if people are willing.

People should be wise about their finances, educating themselves and always be evaluating those areas where they may be living above their means. For some this may be a lifelong learning process. 

Living paycheck to paycheck, carrying credit card balances, having no emergency fund, not planning for the future, paying overdraft fees, buying or paying for stuff one cannot afford are all signs of living above one's means.  

Credit cards and loans allow people to buy more things than their income will allow. That kind of lifestyle is not sustainable. 

Eventually this type of lifestyle will catch up with a person. The interest payments made to credit card companies will eventually take the majority of their income leaving no money for essentials.

Instead, imagine a lifestyle where people seek to live on the income they make. For it fosters in many people a resourceful attitude, learning to become creative if necessary, which will ensure the financial safety net needed to survive. 

Many of my readers are currently living within their means. If you're not one of them, I encourage you to educate yourself and learn just how to do that.

There are so many resources out there for you to learn. My hope for you is that you will one day enjoy the peaceful life that comes without having financial worries. For it is a very worthy and achievable goal.

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, June 11, 2018

Salmonella in the News

Image Credit
On Sunday it was reported in the news that salmonella was found in cut melons and had sickened multiple people in several states. 

Those packages of precut fruit are expensive. 

It's an important safety issue that the food you are going to eat is properly cleaned. Sometimes when we count on other people to do that for us, those safety precautions are not always met. 

Melons should always be cleaned on the outside before cutting into them to avoid getting any fertilizer that is on the outside of the melon getting inside to the meat of the melon. 

I place my melons in the sink and give them a good scrubbing with a vegetable brush and water. That ensures that the melon is clean on the outside and I'm not introducing any foreign matter to the inside. 

If you're buying precut melons in the store, you are paying more money for your fruit than if you were to buy a whole melon and cut it up yourself. 

By buying whole melons you are going to save money and not pay for the convenience of precut fruit. Also, you are going to be extra careful in preparing your own food and hopefully prevent any illness to you and your family. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Yard Sale Saturday ~ 6-9-2018

Here's what we bought on yard sale Saturday this week...

Two huge books of scrapbook paper $1.00 each
(Sherlock photobombed)

One high powered fan - $3.00

Adorable Canvas Fabric - $2.00

 Harry Potter Blanket $1.00
For my Harry Potter lover, Bailey

Keyboard for my iPad or Cell Phone - $1.00

This was the sight of the honey hole today. Bailey was able to buy about $500 worth of Maurice's clothing for 25¢ a piece. She paid a total of $9.25. 

On Friday we visited 14 yard sales and 24 on Saturday. One thing we noticed was at two separate yard sales they were selling receiving blankets (which I use to sew) for $1.00 each. We wouldn't pay that price as we've bought too many for 25¢ and 50¢. 

The secret to getting the best prices is going to multiple sales. If someone is charging too much, don't buy. Wait until you find a sale with your best price in mind. Bailey did that today with the yard sale that had Maurice's clothing for 25¢. Those good sales are still out there to be found even in 2018. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, June 9, 2018

My Frugal Kitchen ~ What We Ate This Week

Saturday & Sunday
Chicken Teriyaki - Sorry, no photo. 
Steamed Vegetables
Fried Rice

Pizza  - Sorry, no photo. 


Chicken Pot Pie


Mixed Vegetables
Cole Slaw

Mixed Vegetables
Cole Slaw 
Potatoes & Carrots 

Bacon & Cheddar Burgers with all the Trimmings
Sorry - no photo

We stopped in Food City to pick up an RX and found these on yellow sticker, so we bought them and brought them home for dinner. Sorry, no photo. 


We've been in use it up mode this summer. This week I'm using up a box of Quaker oatmeal packets that I bought on yellow sticker markdown. 

I'm also using up the Craisins we bought on clearance at Dollar General. 

And...I'm using roasted cinnamon in my oatmeal. Have you tried it? It has a different flavor over ordinary cinnamon. 

That's what was on the menu in our home this week. What's been on the menu in your home?

~ Living within our Means ~
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