"A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Family Meals for Under $5 - Hamburger Soup

This was one of my husbands favorites when he was growing up. The nice thing about this is you can open up your fridge and use up some of your leftovers. Let it simmer on the stove while you do other things.

Hamburger Soup - $4.13
French Bread - .66c

Total - $4.79

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey - $2.04 (I buy the 1 lb frozen ground turkey tubes. These are a lot cheaper than ground beef but taste just as good)
1 sm onion - chopped - .27
4 carrots, halved and cut in chunks - .36
4 potatoes diced - .16 (10 lb bag on sale for 99c)
2 ribs celery, sliced - .16
8c beef broth - .64 (I use bullion cubes)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes - .50 (on sale at Fred Meyer)

Brown meat and onion till no longer pink. Add vegetables and cook a few min. Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hr or till vegetables are tender. Season to taste. Serve with french bread.

I realize I've posted a lot of soups lately. They are one of my favorite meals because they are really easy to prepare and are one of the most frugal meals there is to make. They also freeze well so you can make a large batch and freeze some to use for a later day.

Live less, live more
Renee


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Day 3

Last but not least in our series on being green and frugal is recycle. This one can be lots of fun. I'm so impressed with the myriad of ways people use things in a different way.

At our house we participate in our communities recycling programs. We have curbside recycling, which is just as easy as taking out the trash. We can also take our recyclables to our schools and drop them off there. This helps earn money for our schools.
I remember paper drives in elementary school. We had fun pulling our wagon down the street and collecting the unwanted papers from our neighbors.

Then there's the fun, creative ways to recycle. Here are some of the things I do:
Save rainwater and use it to water indoor plants.
Instead of throwing away the ends of my bread, (my kids don't like them) we make breadcrumbs or croutons.
I've cut up old denim jeans and made them into picnic blankets, quilts and bags.
The inside packaging of cereal boxes can be used like a freezer bag. The box can be cut and covered with cute scrapbooking paper and used to store magazines.
Milk jugs are in an area all their own. Cut the top off but keep the handle intact and you now have a nice handled bucket that can be used for picking berries, Easter egg hunts and Trick-or-Treating (decorated of course), cleaning etc. You can even hook it on to your belt for hands free work. Cut more of the jug off to make a scoop.
Use your empty laundry soap container, the big ones, as a washing station when camping. Just fill with water and put on its side on a table.
Cardboard egg cartons are great seed starters. Plus when its time to plant outside you can put it right in the ground.

Thanks for joining me in this series. I'm sure there are many things that you do in your frugal lifestyle that are good for our environment as well. If we continue to think of the ways we use things we can make our world a better, cleaner place to live.

Live less, live more
Renee


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Day 2

How'd you do yesterday? Were you able to get rid of anything you didn't need? I took one box to St. Vinny's, should've taken more, but I did tell the ARC they could come next week. Now I have a few days to collect more "stuff" for them. My friend Julie told me that when they call you should always tell them to come by even if you don't have anything. They give you a week and in that time you'll feel pressured to have something for them because you know they're coming so you'll have to go through your "stuff" and get rid of something. Give it a try, just make sure you actually do have something for them.

Today we'll focus on the next part of the slogan, Reuse. When I talk about reusing something I'm talking about using it over and over again. Who says you have to use something just once then throw it away.
There are so many things you can reuse. I always wash and rinse out my ziploc bags and use them over and over. You can also do this with aluminum foil. We save our ice cream pails (yes we need a pail) and use them for cleaning, in the garden, painting projects, etc. I also use them when taking dinner to someone. That way the recipient doesn't have to worry about returning my dish.

If your reusing something that means your not buying something, which is saving you money.

One of the biggest ways I reuse things is my childrens clothing. To be honest I don't buy a lot of clothes, especially for my little ones. When someone outgrows something and there is still some life left in it I just box it up and wait for the next one to grow into it. I label the boxes with the size and gender so it's easy to find. If I don't have anyone in my family to save it for I'll pass it on to a friend. I have to say I am so grateful for my friends sharing their childrens clothing with me. And I have some friends with excellent taste so I always get super cute things. The little ones are so excited when someone drops off a bag of clothes. They are equally excited when they get to share their clothes with others.

How do you reuse? I'd love to learn from your experience so please share.

Live less, live more
Renee

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Did you realize that by being frugal you were also being "green"? Many of the frugal things I naturally do are good for the environment as well. Think of the slogan reduce, reuse, recycle. It goes hand in hand with frugal living.
For the next few days I'll be addressing each of these areas and sharing ways you can be both frugal and green.

Today we start with reduce.

No brainier here. The less "stuff" you buy the less resources have to be used to fulfill the "demand" and the more money you have in your pocket.

Also, think in terms of natural resources like water and natural gas. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and even when taking a shower (I'm not quite here yet, I love hot showers). Just turn the water on to rinse. Take a shower instead of a bath, but remember to keep it short. Keep your thermostat programmed at 68 degrees (or lower) in the winter. In the summer, turn off your air conditioner and use fans. If you do use an air conditioner set it as high as possible.  Run heat-producing appliances at night.
This save resources and reduces your monthly bill.


How about gas? It's tempting to run around from store to store scoring all those deals but when you add in the cost of gas it's not such a great deal. I've often been guilty of this. Now think off all the carbon monoxide your adding into the atmosphere with that extra driving. Try combining your errands so your only driving on one day. Make a menu plan so that you only have to go to the store once a week instead of driving there every day. Every time you go to the store you're more likely to buy stuff you don't need or haven't budgeted for. No reducing there. Price matching is great as well. Many stores will match a competitor's price when you bring in the ad. Some will even let you just tell the competitors price. Look on the stores website for their pricmatching policy. That means you just have to go to one store and less driving.

What about reducing the amount of "stuff" you already have. I just realized, I have 3 strainers. Do I need that many? No. What we don't realize is that there is a cost to maintain all of this and not just a monetary one. The more clothes we have, the more laundry we do, the more water and energy we use. Think about cleaning out the extra stuff you have that you don't need and donating it to a charity. Not only will you feel better, you'll be allowing those things to bless the lives of others.

I hope you'll share ways you have found to reduce, reuse and recycle that fit into your frugal lifestyle. Come back tomorrow and we'll talk about reusing.

Live less, live more
Renee

I'm sharing this over at The Penny Pinching Party Go on over for some great ideas on how to pinch your pennys.


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Monday, April 19, 2010

Save Water Challenge

My kindergartener came home with a "Save Water" challenge from one of the local girl scout troops. They asked us to have one of our family members brush their teeth with the water running for the reccomended 2 minutes. We were to collect the water and measure how much was used. WOW!  It was really amazing to see how much water was wasted. I even had the water on low, not full force like the kids do. When we did the math to see how much our entire family would use each day it came to 20 gallons. That's a lot of water just going down the drain just from brushing your teeth.

We live over an aquifer so I think we tend to take water for granted and assume it'll always be there. I know, not very frugal. There are so many simple ways to save on water too.

Well, we have taken the challenge and from here on out will be brushing our teeth without the water running.

Thanks troop 3008 for reminding us to "Save Water"

Live less, live more
Renee


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Friday, April 9, 2010

Family Meals Under $5 - Split Pea Soup

It's time to use that leftover hambone from Easter dinner. What better way than yummy split pea soup. This is really easy to make and can even be done in the crockpot. Add a salad and some toasted french bread for a complete meal.

Split Pea Soup - $3.37
French Bread - $0.88
Tossed Green Salad - $0.67

Total - $4.92

Split Pea Soup
1 hambone with meat - $1.52 ( I was able to get 3 meals out of the leftover ham from Easter. Whole ham cost $9.09, half eaten on Easter = $4.55. Divide the remaining half by 3 = $1.52 for each of those 3 meals)
1 1lb package split peas - $1.08
1 onion, chopped - .27
3 carrots, diced - .27
2 stalks celery, diced - .16
1 potato, diced - .03 ( 10 lb bag on sale for .77c @ Trading Co.)
1 clove garlic, minced - .04
2 qts water
1/4 t pepper
salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hrs. Remove ham bone and cut off meat, dice and return meat to soup. Season to taste.

Tossed Green Salad
1/2 head Romaine lettuce - .29 (.57c @ Trading Co.)
1 carrot, shredded - .09
1/2 cucumber, sliced - .29 (.58 ea @ Wal-Mart)

It's great when you can use 1 piece of meat for so many dinners. Don't let the cost scare you, just remember you're dividing this up between many meals. Look for sales and this can be a very frugal way to stretch your grocery budget.

Live less, live more
Renee

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Walgreens Photo Deals

Today only, (Friday) you can get a free 8 x 10 with Walgreens 7 Days of Deals promotion. Just head on over here to check it out.

Live less, live more
Renee


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Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers

I was so excited to find out from my very helpful cashier at Wal-Mart yesterday that you no longer have to bring in the actual ad in order to price match. We can now go back to making our lists and just telling the cashier. If something seems a little too good they will want to check it with the ads they have at the store so you might want to be prepared if you find a super good deal.
You will probably want to verify your own local stores policy as they seem to vary by store. It's just a good idea to know your stores policies and even have a copy with you in case you run into any questions. Most stores have them available on their webpage.
Also please remember to do your very best to honor store policy. It was people being dishonest that made them change their policy in the first place.
See ya at the store.


Live less, live more
Renee 


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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Walgreens Photo Deals

 Just in case you didn't already know Walgreens photo dept. is having a 7 Days of Deals promotion. Each day there is a different deal. Today you can get 20 free 4x6 prints when you enter code PRINTS20.
Check out their site here for other great photo deals the rest of the week.

Live less, live more
Renee


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Friday, April 2, 2010

Family Meals Under $5 - Chicken Pot Pie

This week we're using that rubber chicken to make our Under $5 Dinner. Growing up we used to have the little store bought pot pies. I loved those... but as I'm sure you all know those little things can be quite spendy, especially when your feeding a big family. I also have big eaters so just one isn't enough. Solution. Cook it from scratch baby. I take the simple route and just dump it into a 13 x 9 but if you want to really impress you can make individual pot pies.

Chicken Pot Pie - $3.59
Tossed Green Salad - $0.73

Total - $4.32

Chicken Pot Pie
1 stick margarine - .19
1/3c flour - .06
1/2t salt
1/8t pepper
1/2t dried thyme - .05
1/2c chopped onion - .13
2c chicken broth - .16
3/4c milk - .08
1 16 oz package mixed veggis - .57 (March was frozen food month - yeah!)
3c cooked chicken - $1.80 (see rubber chicken)

Pastry for double crust pie
2c flour - .22
2/3 c shortening - .33
6-7T water
1/2t salt

Make pastry by mixing flour and salt. Cut in shortening till it looks like course meal. Sprinkle in water a tablespoon at a time till all is moistened. Gather dough into a ball. Set aside.
Rinse mixed veggies in a cloander with warm water till thawed. Set aside.
Melt margarine in a saucepan. Add onions and cook till tender. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Add chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir till thickened. Add chicken and mixed veggies. Pour into 13 x 9 baking dish.
Roll out pastry to 1/4 in thick. Place on top of baking dish. Flute edges as desired. Cut slits in top.
Bake in a 450 oven for 15 min or till pastry is golden brown.

Tossed green salad
1/2 head Romaine lettuce - .38 (.77 head @ Trading Co)
1/2 bunch radishes - .12 (.25 bunch @ trading Co.)
1 c chopped broccoli - .18 (.78/lb @ Super 1 Foods)
1/4 shredded sweet potato - .05 (Trading Co. had a tote bag full of these for 99c. I figured I'd just substitute it for my carrot - I liked it, the kids didn't)


I'm sharing this over at The Grocery Cart Challenge recipe swap

Live less, live more
Renee

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