Friday, December 31, 2021

Frugal Friday #5 of December 2021




Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

It been a quiet week here. There were storms on Tuesday and Wednesday evening with high winds, but no issues here. 

Joy of the Week

My joy this week was watching Bailey open the gifts I picked out for her. One of them was a game (Wasabi) we’ve wanted for a few years now, but was too expensive. That is the gift I made an offer for on eBay. She was VERY surprised when she opened it. I love giving gifts like that. We’ve played it several times already and have really enjoyed it. 

Question of the Week

What do you think of an air fryer? My new grill has an air fryer feature, so I wanted to ask what you all thought of them. I can tell the food does not taste deep fried, but understand that the food will be healthier cooked in the air fryer. 

Avoiding Spending

This week I avoided spending any money on the after Christmas sales. I did need to get some ibuprofen though, so I ordered that from Walmart.com. Bailey has a Walmart Plus membership, so there was no shipping charge. I have an Amazon Prime account, so between the two of us we don’t pay shipping on these two retailers, which saves us money and keeps us out of the brick and mortar stores. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

By Monday I was getting tired of Christmas leftovers and started to freeze some of the things that could be frozen. But then on Wednesday I was glad to still have some at least for breakfast. 



Drinks this week include lots of water as usual and also some hot Hibiscus tea at breakfast time. I do have a glass of iced tea (decaf & unsweetened) with dinner, but mostly drink water. It’s good for me and saves money. 

Meals This Week

Friday ~ Christmas Eve: Italian Beef, Appetizers including BLT Dip, Tuna Pate, JalapeƱo Popper Dip, Cheeseball, and for fun we made s’mores afterwards. 

Saturday ~ Christmas: Hashbrown Casserole, Broccoli Casserole, Dressing, Sweet Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, Croissants, and Cheesecake. 

Sunday: Christmas Leftovers (and I’ve started freezing some at this point)

Monday: Grilled Hamburgers on my new Ninja Indoor Grill. Also, Hash Brown Casserole leftovers, and all the Hamburger fixings like lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese, and onions. 

Tuesday: Grilled Better Cheddars, and the last of the Hash Brown Casserole. I am loving my new Ninja grill.

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Salads

Thursday: Cheesy Potatoes, Green Salad

Saving on Entertainment

On Christmas Eve we watched the movie, Santa Claus, which is one of our favorite Christmas movies. 

We also watched the new Disney Encanto film. 

That is all the news to report on our frugal week in Tennessee. Thank you for dropping by, you are always welcome here. We would love to hear about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree




 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Monday Musings ~ After Christmas Savings



On Monday we needed to run errands, but were stopped when we came across a tree down and across the driveway. We tried to move it ourselves, but it was still attached near the ground, so we had to call for help. We called a couple of people who could help us, but it would be a few hours before they could come out. 

They finally came at 6 p.m. and got the tree moved. 

Even though it was late for running errands, we went out anyway. 

First stop was Walmart where Bailey wanted to look for a new tree and Christmas cards.

We went to three different Walmarts, and all three were already out of trees, cards, and wrapping paper. Not that we need any wrapping paper, but I did notice there was none left.

No worries though, it was just fun to get out of the house and being so late there wasn’t very many people in the stores. 


Bailey did find a hairbrush set. She bought me one for Christmas and paid $5.00 for it, but this one was 50% off, so she paid $2.50. 

She says now she wished she had waited to buy mine. šŸ˜‚ 


She also found two advent calendars for cats where every day has a can of cat food in it
 for 24 days. She paid $10 each and bought two of them. So she got 48 cans of cat food for $20, which works out to be 42 cents per can. Walmart sells these size cans for 70 cents, so this is a savings of $13.44.

They also had bags of M & Ms for $1.60, so she got one bag of those and some Harry Potter ornaments as well. 

As for me, I looked at all they had to offer, but didn’t see anything that I needed, so I didn’t spend any money. It was fun to look at what was offered this year though

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Sunday, December 26, 2021

Self Care Sunday ~ The day after Christmas

Image Credit: Sesame Street


Here it is already the day after Christmas. We did the best we could to stretch the holiday out as long as possible yesterday in order to enjoy the moments as long as we could. 

Rather than opening our presents at the same time, we watch as the other person opens their gift and if we're lucky we get to hear a story about the gift such as where we found it or how hard it was to find. 

Two of the gifts Bailey gave to me were ones she found thrifting and at a yard sale. She was sure I had seen one of them this summer when she picked it up, but it was before my eye surgery and I didn't see a thing. She had wondered all year if I had seen it or not. LOL

In opening our gifts this way we get to enjoy the holiday even more by making it last as long as possible. 

Fleeting moments happen so often that we want to stop and cherish moments like these. We don't know what the future holds and don't know if this may be the last time we're able to celebrate and we want to cherish moments like these. 

I hope all of you who celebrate had a  wonderful holiday filled with peace and love.

Today is Self Care Sunday again. One of the presents I received was an electric toothbrush, which can be had for as little as $5.00 these days. I absolutely love it. It's like brushing my teeth elevated to a new level. It's the perfect way to utilize  self care regarding oral hygiene.  

I'm also spending part of the day doing my own laundry, folding and putting it away, which is another way of taking care of myself. It ensures I have the clean clothes ready for when I need them.

We will be spending today at home, enjoying the food of which we have plenty, and watching Christmas movies and playing some new games we received for Christmas. 

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday. :)


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, December 24, 2021

Frugal Friday #4 of December 2021



Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week
Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more?” ~ The Grinch
My Frugal Week

I had a broken tooth on Thursday of last week that was giving me a great deal of pain, so I went to the dentist and had an extraction. The cost was $287 and I was thankful for the emergency funds on hand to cover this. 

On Saturday the church was giving away free food again, so I went and came home with carrots, onions, turkey, fruit snacks, taco kits, and 24 cans of Pepsi. 

I’m very grateful for all of the food. I was going to put the Pepsi in the Little Free Pantry, but Bailey said to keep it, so I did. 

Earning Money

My income from Adsense came for my blog this week. The income threshold before you get paid is $100, so I usually get a check every three months. It’s just enough to pay for my health insurance this month, so I am grateful for that. 

Avoiding Spending

Other than groceries and one prescription, I didn’t spend any other money this week. All the presents I am giving for Christmas had already been bought and wrapped before this week. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

We finally had groceries delivered on Wednesday, until then I was successfully making meals out of what we had on hand.   We bought enough groceries to last for the next month and had it delivered to avoid the crowded grocery store. Bailey made sure to leave the delivery person a big fat tip since it was a big order right here at Christmas time. 

Some of our items were substitutions and turned out to be better deals. We ordered the Crisco butter shortening in the four pack, which they were out of and substituted the 48 ounce can instead, which cost $1.86 more, although we paid the lower price. 

We paid $3.68 for Jimmy Dean sausage instead of the $4.00 because they were out of the Swaggerty sausage I ordered. Bailey likes Jimmy Dean the best, so I was happy to get this substitution. I had ordered two of both Jimmy Dean and Swaggerty just to make sure I got one or the other for Christmas. 

I bought a beef rump roast for Italian Beef on Christmas Eve, but they substituted that for a chuck roast. We will just make do with what they gave us. It turned out to be a two pound roast, which isn’t much, but at $6.00 a pound cost $12.00. 

As far as meat goes, we paid $2.64 per pound for ground beef, and $1.99 per pound for two packs of chicken. I divided the ground beef into 16 packages and the chicken into 4 packages, so right there gives us 20 meals for the next month or so.

I also bought pork sausage, smoked sausage, Polish sausage, and tuna, which is enough for 16 or more meals, so we have plenty of meat to last for the next month and then some

Bailey is making Jalepeno Dip and BLT Dip for Christmas appetizers.  I’ll be making cheesecake, tuna pate, hash brown casserole, broccoli casserole, croissants, cheeseball, jello salad, sausage balls, dressing, and sweet potatoes. Some of it will be for Christmas Eve and some for Christmas Day. 

I saved money this year for Christmas by only making one dessert, which was the cheesecake. We just don’t need anymore sweets than that. Besides I like the savory foods better than the sweet ones. 

One day for breakfast I made cheese quesadillas. I used the flour tortillas from a taco kit that was given to us. 

Meals This Week

Friday: Better Cheddar Smoked Sausage, Seasoned Fries, Broccoli

Saturday: Hamburger with Brown Gravy over Buttered Basmati Rice, Green Beans with Onions.

Sunday: Tamale Pie, Corn, Salad

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie, Cornbread Bake

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza, Salad

Wednesday: Polish Sausage, Fried Potatoes, Green Beans with Onions

Thursday: Polish Sausage, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Peas



Recipe of the Week

This is a recipe Bailey made for the first time three years ago. The secret to making this not be hot is to scrape out all of the seeds in the jalapeƱo peppers. I am not a fan of spicy hot foods and even I liked this. It’s definitely a keeper. 

JalapeƱo  Popper Dip

Ingredients:

2 (8 ounce packages) of cream cheese, softened
6-8 slices of bacon, cooked till crispy and crumbled 
1 cup mayonnaise or sour cream
4-6 Jalapeno's, chopped & seeds removed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cut mozzarella cheese shredded
1/4 cup diced green onion

Topping:

1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of butter melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 8x8 casserole dish and set aside.
Blend cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
Add to cream cheese mixture: 
bacon, mayo, jalapeƱos, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese & diced onion. 
Mix well.
Transfer mixture to casserole dish. 
Spread evenly in dish.
In a small bowl combine Ritz crackers, Parmesan cheese & butter.
Sprinkle all over the top of the dip.
Bake the dip for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly

Saving on Entertainment

I’ve been watching Miss Potter on YouTube this week. It’s free to watch with advertisements. 


I created a new to me playlist on YouTube of Christmas music, so I can play it when I’m busy doing things around the house. 

What I've been Reading This Week

15 ideas for Consumable, Sustainable, & Homemade Gifting

Freebies


Our local Farm to Farm shop had a giveaway the other day on Facebook for a free bar of soap and I won. I thought that was pretty neat right here before Christmas. 





On Wednesday our local Walmart was giving away what Christmas trees they had left

That is all the news to report on our frugal week in Tennessee. Thank you for dropping by, you are always welcome here. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of love. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~



Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Christmas Fulfillment Curve

In the Tightwad Gazette Amy Dacyczyn wrote about what she called the Christmas  Fulfilment curve. She first learned of this idea in a book titled Transforming Your Relationship with Money, which was written by Joe Dominguez. 

The theory behind this idea is that when we spend money on basics like food, shelter, and clothing, we receive the maximum fulfillment for the money we spend. Beyond basics however, we receive less fulfillment as the more money we spend to fulfill our needs begins to drop off. 

Amy wrote about this fulfillment curve in reference to Christmas morning. She wrote about parents who overshot the peak when it comes to gifts. She says that, “spending beyond this peak fails to add significantly to your holiday experience”.

This reminded me of a story...


The Christmas when Bailey was two years old, my sister sent her a Blues Clues kit, which was a very simple gift of a notebook, crayon, and three paw print felt cutouts. It was similar to the kit used on the television show, Blues Clues, which Bailey loved to watch. 

She was so excited about that gift that she wanted to play with it and not open any other gifts. But we were spending Christmas morning with my parents and tradition called for us to continue opening gifts.

I wish I could go back in time and change that. If I could I would have let Bailey play with that to her heart’s content. There would be time later to open the other presents she received that day.  

See she had reached the fulfillment curve with that one simple gift. Sometimes we don’t need the “WOW” factor when it comes to gift giving. Sometimes a small simple gift and being with family are the only gifts we really need.


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Monday, December 20, 2021

Music Monday

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem is one of my favorite songs and no one sings it better to me than Patty Loveless. 


Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shining far through shadows dimmed

Giving the light for those who long have gone
Guiding the wise men on their way
Unto the place where Jesus lay
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on
Oh beautiful star the hope of light
Guiding the pilgrims through the night
Over the mountains 'til the break of dawn
Into the land of perfect day
It will give out a lovely ray
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on
Oh beautiful star (beautiful, beautiful star)
Of Bethlehem (star of Bethlehem
)
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on
Oh beautiful star the hope, the grace
For the redeem the good and the blessed
Yonder in glory when the crowd is one
Jesus is now the star divine
Brighter and brighter he will shine
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on
Oh beautiful star (beautiful, beautiful star)
Of Bethlehem (star of Bethlehem)
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine 


I’m wishing you peace today in these days leading up to Christmas

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Some of my Favorite Christmas Ornaments

Some of my favorite Christmas ornaments over the years are...


This was a gift from my niece right after Bailey was born. Even though it has my ex’s name on it, I couldn’t part with it. We think it’s cute and put it on our tree each year. My sister bought us a new one in 2006 with just our names on it. 


This red boot is a handmade ornament from my childhood. My name is written on the bottom in my mother’s handwriting. There were three of them all together that we made, one for my brother, one for my sister, and this one for me
.




This red basket and the mailbox one below were made by Bailey’s grandmother who we never had the chance of meeting as she died in 1987. Even though we didn’t know her it gives us a sense of her being part of our family





Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, December 17, 2021

Frugal Friday #3 of December 2021



Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. ~ Maya Angelou

My Frugal Week

Our local thrift store had a buggy sale, so Bailey went on Friday and was able to get 24 items for her shops and a couple of things for home. They allow you to fill up a shopping cart for $15.00, so each piece was less than one dollar each. 

We pray for the people In the path of the tornados that devastated areas in Arkansa, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois last Friday evening. I have a lot of family in Mayfield, Kentucky. Two of my family members both lost their homes in the tornado that touch downed there. No one was hurt though and we are so grateful for that. 

Over the weekend I finished processing and steaming what clothing we will do before Christmas for Bailey’s shops. She has all of her inventory from yard sales this summer listed and what remains is from consignment sales. She will definitely have to start sourcing again after Christmas. 

So, I’m feeling excited just like the last day of school before Christmas break. I have plenty of things I want to do In the days we have left before Christmas, which include baking, cleaning, etc. I have all the presents wrapped that I’m giving out and the house is all decorated, so hot chocolate and Christmas music will enjoyed in the days ahead. 

If you’re interested, McDonald's is having special offers on their app from now through Christmas. They are offering 1 free thing daily (with $1 purchase) now till December 24th if you have their app. On Tuesday we went to the post office and stopped in for a free Big Mac with a $1.00 purchase. 

Simple Joy of the Week

Bailey and I were sitting on the back porch one day watching the cats play with each other in the yard and to our surprise several birds came to the bird feeder. It was so fun to sit there and watch them eat.

Avoiding Spending

On Wednesday I went to town for a follow up doctors appointment, but did not spend any money. 



Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

On Tuesday I made a batch of granola in the crockpot. I like making it in the crockpot because it doesn’t have the potential to burn like it does in the oven. I had some dried fruit and nuts that I added to it at the end. I like making my own cereal at home to save money. 


We enjoy this
Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning on our burgers. That and a splash of Worchestishire sauce and they are good. 

Meals This Week

Friday: Beanie Weenies made from scratch with dried navy beans. 

Saturday: Plant Based Vegetable Burgers, Baked Potatoes, Carrots, Green Beans

Sunday: Chicken, Beans & Rice, Stir Fry Vegetables

Monday: Salmon Patties, Basmati Rice, Mixed Vegetables

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza, Salad

Wednesday: Vegetable Burgers, Oven Fries, Peas, Corn & Carrots

Thursday: Better Cheddar Smoked Sausage, Tater Tots, Broccoli 

Recipe of the Week

This is a recipe my friend, Linda Poole, gave to me back when we both worked at Rhea Medical Center in the early 1990s. She said this was her family’s recipe for cheesecake. This is a tried and true family favorite these days as you don’t have to bake this version of cheesecake. 

Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese
1 - 16 ounce Cool Whip
1 - 8 ounce sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar (may use less if desired, I use 1/2 cup)
Vanilla Wafers for the crust

Directions:

Line pan with vanilla wafers.
Mix all ingredients, except vanilla wafers, until blended.
Pour on top of vanilla wafers and chill well. 

Saving on Entertainment

What I've been Reading This Week

I’ve been reading in the povertyfinance subreddit this week. There was a discussion on the cost of protein rising. Someone mentioned the price of Popeyes chicken. The conversation then steered towards buying fast food verses cooking at home. 

Curious, I checked the Popeyes app and was offered a “deal” on a chicken sandwich, side item, and drink for $10.00. Wow, I wouldn’t want to see their regular prices if that was the deal of the day. 

Another poster made the comment that companies are raising their prices to make up for lost revenue during Covid19. I’m not sure how this will all pan out, but I do know if this continues they are going to price themselves out of serving some of their customers. 

Freebies

That is all the news to report on our frugal week in Tennessee. Thank you for dropping by, you are always welcome here. We would love to hear about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree



Monday, December 13, 2021

Menu Plan Monday


We are at the end of the groceries from our last monthly shop, so this is the time of the month to get creative. Last month with the rising price of groceries, I had enough money in the budget for three weeks of meals, so I knew this time was coming. We were able to get some free food during this month, so that definitely helped. 

Here are some meals I can make this week, although they may change up as we will be getting groceries in the next week.

I have one more package of the plant based burgers that Bailey got for free after an Ibotta rebate, so I will make a meal out of those one day. We had them for dinner on Friday and they were delicious. We would definitely buy them again. 

I have two cans of chicken breast meat and plenty of mixed vegetables on hand. I can make a sauce and pie crust from scratch to make a chicken pot pie for one day. If I don’t want to make a pie crust, I can always make a biscuit topping for the pot pie. 

We always have beans on hand. I have pintos, great northern (soup beans), and navy beans on hand. So, we can have beans and cornbread for dinner one night along with some ham or I could make baked beans. 

We have some canned beef on hand that I can make a meal out of as well. I thought about making BBQ sandwiches, but would need to make the BBQ sauce from scratch. I have all the ingredients for that on hand, so that shouldn’t be any problem. 

We can also have a big vegetable stir fry this week, which is one of our favorite meals to have. And another good meal would be to have a baked potato night. 

We have all of the items needed to make breakfast for dinner one night too. I could make a quiche, pancakes or waffles, and/or eggs.

We also have plenty of rice, elbow macaroni and spaghetti on hand for those types of meals. I even have a couple of bean and rice packets I could make one night. 

We also have several cans of salmon to make salmon patties one day. And we have plenty of delicious tarter sauce to make to go with them. 

It still surprises me how many meals we can make from what we have on hand. We wouldn’t have to do any grocery shopping this week and still have plenty of food to make meals. That is what I love about The Pantry Principle. There is always something we can make for dinner. 

How about you? What kind of meals will you be making this week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree



Sunday, December 12, 2021

Self Care Sunday

Abbie Paulhus

When I was married we attended church regularly and referred to Sunday as the Lord’s Day because it was the first day of the week and we would spend that time at church. It was a time of rejuvenation, which gave us renewed hope and energy for the coming week. 

We can still spend Sunday like we did back then taking time to care for ourselves. This gives us the opportunity to stop and take in all that surrounds us, take time to pamper ourselves, and renew our spirits for another week. 

What do you have planned for self care today?

I’m going to pamper myself a little bit. I gave myself a haircut, so I plan on washing my hair and pampering myself a little bit. I also plan on doing some reading and I may watch some YouTube videos on personal growth. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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