Friday, September 29, 2023

Fifth & Final Frugal Friday of September 2023

 


Welcome to Frugal Friday! 


My Frugal Week

This is the final Friday of September and the new month of October begins on Sunday. I’ve had my October budget set for a couple of weeks now, but did do some tweaking with it this week. 

It’s still warm enough that we need to run the air conditioning at times, but during the night we use the eco feature, so it doesn’t run all night long when we don’t need it. The electric bill has already come down a great deal since the highest month in July and every little bit helps us to save money. 

My Monday garbage man did not show up this week, so I texted him, but have not gotten a response yet. I pay him $35 per month and he usually no shows about once per month. I have a back up garbage man that I use on Saturdays, so that is not an issue. 

We don’t produce a lot of garbage, but we live in the humid south and I need our garbage taken off regularly to avoid any bug issues and/or wild animals getting into it. (We have garbage can lids with bear claw holes in them.) This is something that is important to me and I will pay up for this service. 

Now I’m looking for another back up garbage man now as I no longer trust my Monday guy to show up when he is scheduled. Since I need knee replacement surgery, it’s important for me to have reliable garbage service because I can no longer do this by myself. 

I had errands to run in town on Tuesday & Wednesday this week, so I took advantage of being in town and went to the grocery store for a few items we were out of recently. 

I had a wisdom tooth extracted on Wednesday and thought I might want to use my free GrubHub membership to order dinner. But after a nap, I felt well enough to make dinner here instead, saving that eating out money for another time. 

Joy of the Week

My cousin Jonathan asked me recently for a photo of our uncle when he was in the military service. Jon wants to join the American Legion and needed a family member who has served our country. This led me down a rabbit hole of ancestry that was a real joy to me this week. My Dad and I even found photos that even he had never seen. Good times! 

Photo of the Week


My great grandfather, Milledge David Davis, born July 13, 1896, died October 18, 1984. Photo is from 1917 when was was a corporal in the United States Army during World War 1. 

Question of the Week

Do you use the Shopkick app? 

Shopkick let’s you earn points called kicks for things like watching videos, or scrolling through short advertisements and walking in and scanning items in the stores. Then you can trade your kicks in for gift cards to retail stores or even PayPal cash. 

If you’re interested and sign up using my code WIN526035 here and earn 10 kicks (easy to do) in 14 days we will both get 500 kicks. How neat is that?



Avoiding Spending

I bought a few groceries on Tuesday, so I couldn’t avoid any spending this week. I bought cheese, cottage cheese, onions, and sour cream. I spent the last $14 of my September grocery budget on these items. 

Saving Money YouTube Videos

USDA Tips to Reduce Food Waste at Home



Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.


Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Saving Money on Foods by Making Them From Scratch


I've been cooking on a shoestring budget for over 35 years. I have many recipes and often make things from scratch.  Over the years I've grown and canned my own vegetables, raised my own eggs, and did what I could to save money in my kitchen. 

If you've been a regular reader here or want to browse back through this blog, you can see how I've saved money in my frugal kitchen down through the years. 

There are multiple items you can make at home in your own kitchen to save money. Items such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, yogurt, cheese, jelly, and many other foods and cleaning items as well.

Sometimes the cost of making food at home depends on the cost of your ingredients in the grocery store. When the price of eggs was high this past summer, we ate less eggs than usual. When we find milk on markdown, it’s a great time to make homemade yogurt. 

Listed below are recipes on my blog that I've made over the years from scratch. And this is just the tip of the iceberg on what you can do in your own kitchen. There are many blog posts and books out there on how to make your own groceries at home.

You can use these recipes to save money in your own kitchen. This is a list that I will add to from time to time, and if you have a recipe to share, please add it in the comment section. We would love to try it in our own kitchens.  

Beanie Weenies

Bisquick Substitute

Cajun Seasoning 

Chocolate Syrup

Dirty Rice

Vegetable Egg Rolls

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

English Muffin Bread

Garlic Butter

Homemade Granola

Honey Butter

Hummus

Onion Soup Mix

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Pimento Cheese

Potato Salad

Ranch Dressing

Taco Seasoning Mix


Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27



Monday, September 25, 2023

Saving Money in my Frugal Kitchen ~ Menu Plan Monday

 

Saving Money in my Frugal Kitchen


My Frugal Week

Good Monday morning to all my readers, I hope you are doing well this morning. The weather is cooling down here and you know what that means, it’s soup season and that includes chili. Don’t forget about the Universal Soup Recipe to build soup from ingredients you have in your home and my soup blog page dedicated to soups. 


This week I had a taste for something sweet and a glass of cold chocolate milk usually hits the spot. So, I made a batch of chocolate syrup this week and added it to a glass of almond milk. It’s definitely cheaper to make your own at home and it definitely tasted good. 

We received multiple items of free food last week, which I wrote about in my Frugal Friday blog post, so I added the new food to my inventory list to keep it current. Knowing what food we have on hand definitely helps in planning meals, which helps me save money on my food budget. 

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Water Tok or not, but it involves Jordan’s Skinny Syrups, which are zero calorie syrups you add to water or coffee to add flavor. I don’t use them as they bother my stomach, but a Bailey enjoys them. 

The pumps for the bottles are sold separately, and they come with just a regular screw on lid. However, I keep lids and various tops from certain bottles and had a couple in my collection with pour spouts, so I replaced the regular caps with the lids with pour spouts, which will make them easier to pour thus eliminating any waste. 

Recipe of the Week

Savory Baked Spaghetti


Ingredients:


1 - 16 ounce package spaghetti

1 medium onion, chopped

1 - 26 ounce jar spaghetti sauce

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

5 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups small curd cottage cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Directions


Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Cook beef and onion until beef is cooked through and then drain.

Stir in spaghetti sauce, seasoned salt, and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, parmesan cheese and butter.

Drain spaghetti and add to egg mixture, and toss to coat.

Place half of the spaghetti mixture in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Top with half of the cottage cheese, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Uncover, and bake 20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.


Photo of the Week



Making taco seasoning mix recently. Making my own spice mixes really helps me to save money in the kitchen over store bought spice mixes.

What’s for Breakfast


Breakfast Options for this week included waffles, cottage cheese, grilled cheese, toast with jelly, oatmeal, grits, eggs & toast, yogurt, and fruit options were nectarines, oranges, apples, strawberries, applesauce, apricots, pears, and blueberries. Yogurt parfaits were also an option. 


What’s for Dinner


Monday ~ I made a teriyaki sauce using one cup water, 1/4 cup sauce sauce, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon garlic, and a slurry of 2 tablespoons corn starch with 1/4 cup cold water. I then used the chicken breast I made up in the crockpot on Sunday and added some to the sauce. It was more than enough for dinner and still have more chicken for tomorrow. I served it with rice and steamed broccoli. 

Tuesday ~ I used more of the Sunday chicken and chopped some up into bite sized pieces and stirred in some sugar free BBQ sauce. Then I made two baked potatoes in the oven and topped them with the BBQ chicken. They are always a big hit. 

Wednesday ~ I took more of the chicken from Sunday and added cheese and pepperonis to it to make it like a pizza with no crust. I served this with corn and cherry tomatoes. I also put the last of the chicken into th freezer for future meals. 

Thursday ~ I pulled out a package of bacon from the freezer and also pulled out some ground beef to thaw for Friday. For dinner Thursday I made breakfast for dinner, which can be a real money saver.

I cooked the bacon and used the drippings from that to make white gravy. I also made scrambled eggs with cheese and served them with the  gravy, toast and the bacon. 

There was also have plenty of fruit (peaches, oranges, apples, apricots and pears) on hand in case anyone was still hungry, which turned out not to be the case.


Friday ~ Meatballs (recipe below) in brown gravy, steamed carrots, corn. 

Second Recipe of the Week

Meatballs


Ingredients:


2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

1 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

Salt & Pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, chopped


Directions:


Add all ingredients together and mix well.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen meatballs.


Saturday ~ Meatballs, Green Beans, Corn.

Sunday ~ Fish & Chips ~ I baked some frozen salmon filets from the freezer and then flaked them into a bowl along with some lemon juice, dill, onion powder, cornmeal and an egg. I made them into salmon patties and browned them in a little olive oil. I served them with potatoes that I air fried into chips and some green beans. 


Beverages This Week

Sweet or Unsweetened Iced Tea
Herbal Hot Tea
Homemade Lemonade
Black Cherry Kool-Aid
Water, as usual

What’s on the Menu for This Coming Week

These are the items we have on hand that I can use to make meals this week. Canned salmon, ground beef, canned chicken, beef stew, baked spaghetti, BBQ, and plenty of rice and beans. Be sure to come back next week to see what sides we serve with these main dishes. 


Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27


Saturday, September 23, 2023

How to Reduce Food Costs


Food ranks among the average American’s top five monthly expenditures. The battle for your wallet is often quietly fought at the dinner table, where the desire for convenience and comfort sometimes conflict between nutrition and cost.

According to the USDA, U.S. consumers spent an average of 11.3 percent of their disposable personal income on food in 2022. While 30 to 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, which ends up costing approximately $161 billion every year.

By making goals for your kitchen and making some small changes such as taking inventory, and using food creatively, you can have a major impact on your food budget.

How to Reduce Food Costs

Reducing food costs and waste starts with tracking and monitoring the food coming into your home. Some families order food in bulk, but then do not have a system in place to use up that food. Then those items linger in the freezer or pantry and it may be difficult to use all of that food before it spoils.

Consistency is key here when it comes to saving money on food by cooking from our own kitchens rather than eating out regularly.

We purchase food in order to feed our families, and one of the reasons we choose to do that is an effort to save money. So, we need to use up that food rather than let it go to waste, which would end up costing more money in the long run.

To reduce food waste, here are some steps you can take:

Calculate Your Food Costs


Calculating food costs in your home can be a time-consuming task, but staying on budget with your finances could help you save time, money, and food in the long run.

Be Consistent When Taking Inventory

When a grocery order arrives, you should always inspect the contents to ensure that you are not accepting food (and therefore, paying for it) that is past its prime or damaged and unusable.

Checking inventory regularly can give you an idea of how and at what rate your food is being used or wasted. For example, if you notice that you have an item that is going unused and spoiling, change your grocery order to a lesser amount to reduce food waste. Conversely, if you’re running out of mozzarella cheese before your dinner service even starts, you need to increase your grocery order.

Work with Your Food Suppliers


Once you have an idea of how much food your family uses at a given time, you can work with others to lower your food costs. If possible, shop around and see what competing food suppliers are willing to offer you. My friend’s Dad would make deals with the produce sellers at the flea market where they both sold items,

When purchasing food, there is also the option to cut out the middleman and go straight to the source which includes local farms and farmers markets. We often see homemade signs selling eggs in people's yards. Buying food locally ensures that you’re getting the freshest products possible while also supporting your local economy.

Manage The Food You Purchase

When it comes to food, the harder you’re willing to work, the more you can save. Below are some ideas on how to save money, while also making good tasting food.

Offer a limited menu. By limiting your menu, you can cut the number of ingredients you need in your kitchen. This will definitely help reduce food costs and food waste.

Take extra time to do the prep work yourself. For example, buying a chicken that is already deboned, skinned, and portioned is going to be more expensive than just buying whole chickens.

Keep track of food prices and how they can affect your shopping list. For example, a drought in California would affect the avocado harvest, so it probably wouldn’t be the best time to introduce avocados in your menus.

Use Portion Control

Controlling food portions is an excellent way to reduce food costs. If your family is unable to finish a dish consistently, the portion is too big. Use food scales, measuring cups and spoons to serve the proper amount of food to your family. Serving smaller portions will help lower your food costs.

Use the First In, First Out Method


The first in, first out method is pretty straightforward: use the first ingredients that you put into your pantries and refrigerators first. This forces you to use the oldest food first and ensures you’re always stocked with fresh ingredients. It also helps prevent food from expiring without being used.

Tips on How to Reduce Food Waste

Here are a few ideas for using leftovers wisely and reducing food waste.

Save vegetable scraps like onion skins, carrot peels, and mushroom stalks for making homemade vegetable stock.

Don't throw away any stale bread. You can use it to make things like croutons, breadcrumbs, and bread pudding.

Shred up roasted chicken and turkey the following day and use the meat in a soup or stew.

Food waste can have a big impact on your food budget. But by shopping the sales, looking for markdowns, buying locally, serving reasonable portion sizes, and using your ingredients creatively, you can reduce food costs in your frugal kitchen.

Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27







 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Fourth Frugal Friday of September 2023

 


Welcome to Frugal Friday! 

Quote of the Week

Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” ~ Dolly Parton

My Frugal Week

I scanned all my receipts into Fetch this week. It’s great how fast it all adds up as you get 25 points for every receipt and sometimes more. I’ll be using my reward points for $50 gift cards for Kroger or Walmart. We could definitely use free groceries for something as simple as scanning our receipts for items we are buying anyway. 

If you are not a member of Fetch and want to sign up using my referral link you can sign up here with code KB3EV and get 100 points in the process. 

I filed a claim form with Angie's List for the stolen artwork, broken appliance dolly, and a service call for an HVAC company. The total cost was $120, so now we will wait and see what happens. 


We received a check from Sweet WeePeets for the consignment sale, which was right under $500 for everything we sold this past week. I ended up with one item from the consignment sale for the kitchen, which was this scraper for $1.00. I’m such a big spender. πŸ˜‚ 



I was out of the house on Tuesday and Wednesday for physical therapy and a routine doctor visit. The physical therapy office had a Little Free Library in there. I picked out three cook-booklets for myself and will bring some books with me for the next time I go back.

My doctor wrote me a DME prescription for my physical therapist. Rather than having to drive back to Chattanooga to give them the prescription they allowed me to take a photo of it on my phone and text it to them, which saved me time and gas. I just love technology. 

Also on Tuesday I had a Zoom meeting about bank overdraft fees. There were three other people in the meeting with me and we spent ninety minutes in the meeting and were paid $150 for our time. Cha-Ching! 

I redeemed a $5 coupon Etsy sent to me via email and used it to purchase a Christmas present. 

On Saturday we decided to get out of the house and have some fun. Yard sales weren’t very good as it kept raining off and on all morning. So, we headed to Chattanooga and went to McKay Used Books. We brought multiple books to trade and we received $36 in trade credit. I spent all of my time in the cookbook section, which is always fun for me. 

Here is a photo I took of my new to me books. 


Here is the link to each book on Amazon, if you're interested. 

Southern Living The Slim Down South Cookbook Eating well and living healthy in the land of biscuits and bacon

Ultimate Superfoods by Kelly Pfeiffer

Good And Cheap by Leanne Brown

The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet

Vitamix Getting Started Plus The Perfect Inspiration for Every Meal

Vitamix Savor Recipes

The Great Chicago Style Pizza Cookbook by Pasquale Bruno, Jr. 

Alabama’s Historic Restaurants and their recipes by Gay N. Martin

Famous Dave’s Backroads & Sidestreets

Freebies

This week I received a free copy of the Halloween Magic issue of Good Housekeeping.


My three free cook-booklets from the physical therapy office. 

Through my no spend group I received a box of four rolls of toilet paper, one box of tissues, one roll of paper towels, one bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent, and a bar of soap. Also received a box of spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, several granola type bars, corn, soup, canned chicken, a loaf of bread, grape tomatoes, and a bag of oranges. 

Photo of the Week


This is our cat Archie, who was so busy scratching his ear this week that he didn't realize he flipped his ear backwards. LOL

Avoiding Spending

I filled up my gas tank on Wednesday, so I couldn’t avoid spending this week. 

Saving Money on Entertainment

Shadow Casting on PBS The Making of “A River Runs Through It” 

What I've been Reading This Week

Last week in the comment section, Barb told me that Rhonda over at the Down to Earth blog is back to blogging again. Rhonda is a wealth of information as is her blog, so be sure to check it out. And thank you for letting us know, Barb. 

My Frugal Halloween

60 Dinners that will $ave you Money



Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.


Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27


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