4 Ways to Save on Groceries for Maximum Savings & Limited Time

Coupons

Hello Lovelies,

Couponing has been very extreme in recent years. People spend countless hours searching, printing, collecting, and matching sales to get their payouts next to nothing.  It is becoming harder to coupon nowadays due to the television series “Extreme Couponing”. Remember that show! Those people pretty much won the lottery with their grocery hauls, but are they realistic?  Not really unless you have 50+ hours to devote to the craft and eat mainly processed food.  Rules are more restrictive and companies are making sure coupons are being used correctly, so be sure to read coupon policies before shopping. They are public information located on their website.  If it is not available, the customer service desk would have information on what is accepted and any limitations they set. It is so difficult not to feel discouraged or feel like you’re not saving enough especially with such a limited budget and little humans to feed. Dumpster diving for coupons, buying ten papers per week, etc. is fine if you have the time to dedicate to it like a full time job.  A single mama……not so much!  I’m not an avid couponer, but I do watch for steals on items we eat and fit our food preferences/allergies. For me, time is of the essence and very scarce. Here are a few tricks for couponing without major time consumption.

Southern Savers is a website that collects information from various grocery stores and puts them in one place. This site we use weekly for an hour or two while preparing our grocery budget.  I make a list of items we need, then try and only match those items with sales. The site then shows you the current weeks sales/deals for the store you shop at. With each deal or sale they offer they give what coupons match those sales.  There are two major coupon companies that provide inserts in the weekend papers, Red Plum (RP) and Proctor & Gamble (PG).

For example: Kroger Prego Pasta Sauce $1 off two jars (.50 PG 3/27) * not an actual deal

Which means Kroger has a sale on Prego pasta sauce buy two jars and get a $1 off.  PG has a .50 coupon that was published in the paper dated 3/27.  If you got that paper and saved the coupons, it tells you what week it came out and matches it to a sale, so you know when to use it.  Kroger doubles coupons ;). One coupon per item, doubled, gives you two jars with $3 off. See how this works?

They also have a page dedicated to online coupons which are very easy to print. You have a two print limit on online coupons from one device.  Use many different types of electronics such as a tablet, desktop, or laptop giving you two coupons per device for one item.  The site is user friendly and very easy to navigate.  What makes this site amazing, is it will give you valuable information eliminating tedious leg work. They also offer couponing video tutorials for beginners.

Grocery Store Emails are a great way to be in the know of sales.  Stores can also announce sales by email and often they are 72hr sales.  Recently I was able to get 14 organic pineapples for $1 each from an email notice.  Some stores will even give a coupon by email that you won’t find anywhere else.

Watch for steals!  They call this method “stacking” meaning using many different types of coupons to maximum savings. It is easier than it sounds and after awhile your eyes will be fine tuned to scope out deals without much effort. The manufacturer puts coupon machines in the aisles that you can pull. They are random and not always available, but if seen grab a couple. Using good practice is best meaning don’t take them all. Nothing is more disappointing than seeing a person empty the entire machine leaving none for anyone else.

Combine those coupons with an actual coupon from either offline or from an insert. Now you’ve got the sale + manufacturer coupon + store coupon or rewards.  In some cases, you can get items for free and you’re only responsible for the tax. Use this method with reward cards, Extra Care Bucks if shopping at CVS, and do the math.  Sometimes you will find that what is on sale is a bigger item by weight.  If you do the math of how much it would cost per ounce vs buying a smaller item not on sale…you may find it is cheaper and not a good deal.  This is a sale you’d pass on and just buy the smaller item. If you don’t need the coupons, simply put the coupons next to the items on the shelf for someone else to use.

Sunday Coupon Preview is a website that will tell you the Wednesday before what coupons will be available in the coupon inserts that will come out in the weekend paper. This is a great website giving you a heads up of what to expect.  It is a good way to decide if you really need to buy the weekend paper. There is nothing more disappointing than spending money on numerous papers only to find that there are no coupons you would use.

TIP: Pay attention to sale cycles.  Most are six or eight weeks depending on the store and region.  Every six to eight weeks, that same item will go on sale again.  So stock up for that time frame.  It makes it much easier to budget! Sales also occur during seasons or major holidays.  Ketchup and mustard would be on sale late May for the summer BBQ season while cranberry sauce and stuffing would be on sale prior to Thanksgiving or Christmas. Here is a fantastic blog post from Family Friendly Frugality of what food goes on sale each month and when.

Happy Savings!

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Eat Free on your Birthday! Enjoy Over 100 Birthday Freebies

downloadHello Lovelies,
What better way to spend a birthday than getting freebies!  I found a very sweet list that you can get on your special day.   If you find more freebies in your area, let me know and I will add them below.

9 Ways to Save Big on Children’s Clothes

jeans-hipster-urban-will-milneHello Lovelies,

The one area I excelled at was making my son look like a million dollars for very little. Often by searching in unlikely places or places out of the norm can save you a ton of money even on name brand clothing.  There are many places online and around your local area that in my opinion beat all department stores.

 

thredup-logo-september-2014Thredup! is an online fashion website focusing solely on the buying and selling of secondhand clothing. Think of this as an online version of a consignment store. There are different styles available all over the country and you can always stock up on off season clothes or save on different items they may not sell in your local area.

For example:  In MA summer clothes are often cheap in the winter where in Texas or Southern States still are wearing some summer clothes as it isn’t that cold. Winter jackets you can buy in the summer. More designer styles sell in major cities while casual outdoorsy styles sell well in smaller communities.

download-1Goodwill is my favorite as they sell a lot of name brand clothes.  Some consignment stores especially near big cities will only allow clothes of certain name brands and have a way of looking up style numbers to decipher whether or not they will sell your items.  They usually only accept clothes that are no more than 3 years old.  They can tell by the style number. These clothes that are not accepted, most give to Goodwill.  I always found Children’s Place, Osh Kosh, and, Nike, and Tommy Hillfiger to name a few.  Kids also grow out of shoes quickly from their bodies constantly growing. If you are leary or squeamish about buying used shoes think about it…why not buy used shoes for a child that is less than a year old?  They don’t walk and many times they look brand new and never worn. For a child in elementary or middle school buying used is logical because kids only get 4-6 weeks out of one pair.  High school kids I would buy brand new as they need good support and their shoe size won’t change that much.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased an item at Goodwill with the original tags still on.  By people spending foolishly, never wearing them, and then donating is our gain!

Consignment stores are awesome not only for the kids but for mom too.  Stores near where I live are very specific.  I have found that stores are brand specific such as in the upper income communities.  While lower income communities will sell less expensive and more department store variety of clothing. The good thing about these stores is that once your child grows out of them, turn around and consign them back for resale.  Give a bag, get a bag.

Facebook Garage Sales are a great way to gain access to garage sales in your area versus driving around wasting gas.  People can post items for sale and often if no one wants them will drop the price to next to nothing.  I’ve seen moms post trash bags of one size like 0-3mo or all size L and sell bulk. They also sell things like cribs, toys, backpacks, shoes, etc.

download-5Craigslist is my least favorite as it can be a little intimidating.  This site has everything under the sun.  Make sure you meet at a well lit area, during the day, and in a busy place like a grocery store or bank.  I’ve also seen trash bags of clothes sold here but of much lesser quality.

download-4EBay is great because sometimes you can score a great deal!  When my son was 6 months old I won an auction for a trash bag of name brand clothes for $1.50 plus shipping.  Watch for the auctions posted late at night as they will end late at night.  Most people go to bed early and most likely will not be awake sitting at their computer anxiously awaiting for an auction to end giving you the upper hand to swoop in and bid.  You can also decide the amount that you are willing to pay and set a max bid.  Every time someone bids the price will automatically increase to the next tier.

For example: you enter a max bid of $10.00.  Someone bids $2.  It will jump to $2.25 with you are the top bidder if the seller has the listing set for .25 cent increments.  Until your bid of $10 is exceeded.  If not, you automatically will win the auction.

downloadName Brand Stores always have sales, coupons, and online deals.  Sears is my favorite because during the holidays they offer layaway.  I use this perk for clothes my son will need for the second half of the school year as the layaway usually starts in September.  I just buy a size bigger.  I can budget the total sale over 3 months and save using coupons I get from their site, newspaper, or mailers. Walmart and Kmart also provide layaway. Most down payments to start are 10% or around $20.

download-2Children’s Place offers a very unique feature in their pants and jeans.  My son wore their pants until he was about 10 years old and the only reason he could was because their pants have elastic waistbands.  But not just any elastic waistbands, adjustable!  There are 2 buttons one on each side of the waistband.  The elastic has individual holes so you can adjust the waist size 4-5 times.  I could get an entire year out of one pair of pants.  Get them a little long and use iron on hemming tape until the pants no longer need it.  Then rip the hem apart with your hands.

download-3Walmart not only provides layaway also in September, but they offer good clothes for gym class, sports, undies, socks, bathing suits, PJ’s, and play clothes. Their t-shirts are also good.  I don’t think they offer quality pants or kids sneakers but for clothes that you know the kiddos will destroy…why not!

Clothes are very overpriced.  Kids will never get longevity out of their clothes which is why I refuse to spend a lot of money.  They seem to grow every week and what fits them now next week may not.  Use out of the box ideas to get the most bang for your buck.  No one will be able to notice that your child is wearing a Nike shirt or pair of shorts and know that it is used. I promise!

What other places do you shop at to save money on kids clothes?

When Life Gets Demanding, Kids Eat Free!

Hello Lovelies,

Every once in awhile we find ourselves really pressed for time.  Like in between practices, working late, or school functions.  Sometimes life just says “don’t cook” and the kids are hungry!  Choose restaurants that cater to families by offering a “Kids Eat Free” incentive. Check your local area on all of these first. Some locations may not participate, or do it on a different day.

Here is a list of places where kids eat free or next to nothing.  If you have somewhere to add let me know and I will update the list!

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Applebees – Kids eat for free on Monday/Tuesday Nights at select restaurants. One free kids meal per adult entree purchase but additional kids are only $1.00. Participation may vary so definitely call ahead.

Baja Fresh– Free kids meal on Sunday with an entree and large drink purchase.

Bob Evans Restaurants -Free Kid’s Meal with every adult meal purchased after 4:00 pm on Tuesdays.

Captain D’s -Kids eat free restaurants offer the deal on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Limited: Two free kid’s meals for each adult dinner purchased.

Champps Americana -For every paying adult two children can eat free.

Chilis– Monday through Wednesday kids eat free – two kids per adult entree.

Chik-fil-A -On Tuesdays when you purchase a combo meal you get a free child’s meal (some areas it is $0.99, not free and some areas it’s on a different day, call to check before you go).

Cici’s Pizza – Kids 3 and under eat free 7 days a week.

Country Buffet – Kids eat free with purchase of adult buffet. Use the printable coupon on the kids menu.

Denny’s – Kids eat free on Tuesdays and (some locations) Saturdays. From 4-10 PM.

Famous Dave’s – Kids eat free on Tuesdays (could vary by location).

Friendly’s – Kids eat free on Tuesdays. Can vary by location.

Firehouse Subs -Kids 12 and under eat free from 4-9pm on Wednesdays and Sundays. One per each adult purchase.

Fuddruckers -Not completely free but, 12 and under can eat for .99 from 4-9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. Locations may vary.

Go Roma – Kids eat free on Sundays.

Godfather’s Pizza – Kids 10 and under get a free buffet from 11am – 2pm and 5-8pm on Tuesdays.

Golden Corral -Kids eat free on Tuesday Nights.

Hooters – Kids eat free on Sundays.

IHOP – Kids eat free everyday from 4-10pm. Not valid at all locations.

Ikea – Kids eat free every Tuesday and during special promotions throughout the year (which they post on their website).

Johnny Carrino’s – Kids eat free on Thursdays.

Lonestar Steakhouse – Kids 12 and under eat free on Tuesdays – all day. Two children per adult entree.

Maggianos – Kids eat free on Sundays
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Marie Callender’s– Tuesdays and Saturdays 12 and under with the purchase of an adult entree.

Macaroni Grill – Kids get a free drink and ice cream with their meals.

Moe’s Southwest Grill – Kids eat for free on Tuesday’s with the purchase of an adult entree. (Some restaurants have different days, call for participation)

O’Charley’s – Kids 12 and under eat free every evening. Note: only some stores are participating, call first before you go.

Old Country Buffet -Kids eat free with purchase of adult buffet.

On the Border Mexican Grill -Free sundae with kid’s meal purchase.

Perkins -Kids eat free at Perkins all day on Tuesday.

Pizza Hut– Kids eat free on Tuesday evenings, definitely check your location.

Pizza Street -Kids nine and under eat free from the buffet on Tuesday from 5-8pm.

Planet Sub – Kids eat free on Tuesdays and Sundays with each adult meal purchased.

Ponderosa Steakhouse -Kids eat free from 4:00 to close on Tuesdays.

Qdoba Mexican Grill – Kids eat free at Wednesdays (some locations) and Sundays (some locations).

Quiznos – All day, every day receive one FREE kids meal with the purchase of an entree (sub, toasty torpedo, regular chopped salad). Participating locations only.

Red Robin – Kids 10 and under can eat for free on Monday and Tuesday from 5-9pm

Rock Bottom Cafe -Kids 12 and under eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Ruby’s Diner -Kids 12 and under eat for free Ruby’s Diner after 4:00 on Tuesday.

Ryan’s – Kids eat free with purchase of adult buffet.

Shoney’s -Kids four and under eat free everyday with an adult entree purchase.

Steak n’ Shake-Kids 12 and under can eat free with a purchase of an adult entree valued at $8 or more only on the weekends.

Texas Roadhouse -Mondays or Tuesdays (check your location) kids 12 and under eat free.

TGI Friday’s-Kids three and under eat for free on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Tony Roma’s -All of Tony Roma’s kids eat free restaurants offer the deal for 12 and under on Tuesdays.

UNOs-Kids eat free Tuesdays. One free kids meal per purchase of an adult meal.

Homemade Noodles! It’s Super Easy

Hello Lovelies,

I had a lot of canning to do this weekend and included in all my food glory was my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce.  I had some larger jars that I didn’t have new canning lids for, so I decided to keep them in the fridge and attempt to make my own pasta.  It was super easy and really doesn’t require fancy equipment. Just your hands.

You will need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups of white flour OR half flour/half semolina flour
  • 1 tsp water
  • Rolling pin

Dump the flour on your counter top.  Make a well in the middle (like a crater in the center of your flour) for the wet ingredients to go.

Add the rest of your ingredients. 

Using a fork, scramble the eggs carefully incorporating the flour as you go. Eventually, you will get a wet slop of flour as it will still be sticky. This is the perfect time to start using your hands. As you knead the dough, it will come together quickly.  

Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes to activate the gluten in the flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Now to get creative!  Cut the dough in half and start rolling. You do not have to add additional flour because it really doesn’t stick.  Every time you roll about 7-8 times, pick up the dough completely from the counter and rotate it.  Do this until it gets really thin and almost see through a little against your hand.  Not see through, but you can see the shadow of your hand behind it.

Cut into strips for spaghetti or fettuccine, squares for raviolis, or 2″ rectangles and pinch in the middle for bow tie pasta. Sprinkle a little flour as you cut your pasta, tossing lightly to coat so they don’t stick together.  The sky is the limit and it is really fun to make!

To cook, boil in salted water  for about 5 minutes until the noodles are al dente. Fresh pasta has more chew than box pasta, so don’t get discouraged. 

Pasta uses common staples that most homes always have on hand.  It’s fresher tasting with a slight chew versus box pasta that can get mushy.  Commercial pasta isn’t always made with eggs, just semolina flour and water, then it is pushed through molds.  So if you have an egg allergy, homemade pasta isn’t the best option unless you make it without eggs.

An average box of pasta can run up to $1.50/lb, fresh pasta at the store up to $4/lb, and homemade pasta for me in my area cost me about $.27 cents.  I buy 50lb bags of flour keeping my cost down and my eggs are .89/dozen.  In the time it takes to boil water, then cook commercial pasta, you can make your own.

7 Ways to Save Money in an Apartment

Hello Lovelies,

I have lived in an apartment all of my adult life, since I was 19. Looking back, I’ve moved 6 times between two states and each and every time I minimized and saved where I could. Since coming to Texas, my penny pinching has grown by leaps and bounds. What started off by simply buying whatever is the cheapest has grown to incorporating frugalness into my family’s lifestyle on a daily basis. It is now second nature and yet I learn something new each and everyday. Being frugal or living on a budget comes with trial and error. Something may work this year that won’t work the next or something will work in this home but not in the next. While you can’t necessarily negotiate your rent especially in a complex, you can make it a hell of a lot easier on your wallet.  Here are few ways to save.

Choose Wisely

Type:
If you are like I was, single with a child then try opting for a 1 bedroom with a den over a two bedroom apartment. Why? Your young child won’t care in the least that he/she doesn’t have a closet. That is the only difference. Are you willing to pay a few hundred dollars more for a closet? In my complex at the time my 1 bedroom with a den ran me
$1100/month versus a two bedroom starting at $1495/month. By law, all a child needs is a room of their own.
Floor Level:
If you are living in a two story apartment, get the first floor! It will cut your air conditioning costs down, but it is offset by the heating bill depending on your geographic location. In Massachusetts, I would get the second floor because our winters are harsh. Knowing that heat rises, this will give me some of the first floors heat which in turn lowers my bill. In New England, people often leave doors and windows open so air conditioning isn’t an issue. However, in Texas and southern states air conditioning is the bulk of your annual electricity bill. Getting a first floor apartment which is cooler and often with a concrete floor under the carpet is a God send! Also, you won’t have to deal with the heat rising issue in the winter.

Always Ask Questions
Every year upon lease renewal, most complexes give you ample notice to renew.
During this time, it is your opportunity to ask questions. Do they need help? Would they consider creating a welcoming committee for new residents? You can develop a committee to hold events for the tenants in the clubhouse or by the pool for a small fee off your rent. We had one at our apartment that welcomed new tenants upon move in with coupons they’ve gathered from neighboring businesses, information about the community, and offered a small candle as a welcome gift. It was quite a shock and yet made me smile when they welcomed me at my door. Ask about perks. My complex gave one free rug shampoo each year upon renewal. This serves a dual purpose. They protect their investment and
you get a fresh shampooed rug!

Use community resources

Laundry Room:
If your apartment has a laundry room or area, think about your situation
before making a decision. If you are like me and do multiple loads a few
days a week and have more than two people, then having your own
washer and dryer is beneficial. I had the luxury of having hookups in my
apartment. You can also utilize this space for added storage if your
family is smaller and you don’t wash clothes that often. If this is the case
then I would use the laundry room. Spending a few dollars a month on
laundry does more good to your bottom line than paying a higher water
and electric bill. You have to do math to justify bills and savings.

DO NOT RENT! Use the available resources around you and look for a
used washer/dryer. You can get some really good deals off Craigslist,
second hand appliance stores, or in outlet stores like Sears Outlet.
Renting these units will cost you on average $50/month when a brand
new set on the low-end side will cost you $500 total. This doesn’t include
delivery fees; install fees, late fees, or any other fees they dish out. This
is bare minimum. Let’s do the math shall we?
12 month lease x $50/per month rental = $600

Utilize the pool!
Instead of cranking up your thermostat, cool off in the pool. I know many
friends who simply took repetitive cold showers. Oh hell no! Go jump in
the FREE pool with FREE water!

Get involved
Community events are a great way to engage in your local community
and meet new people around you. Befriending your neighbors has its
drawbacks but more often perks. At these events there is food or drink. I
had an apartment that had social cocktail hour and offered free wine,
another who held simple dinners in the clubhouse like tacos or breakfast
socials. Free food for the family will drop your food budget even if by a
few dollars.

Close unused rooms
By closing I mean prepare them to be uninhabited. I had two bathrooms
in my apartments. I had no choice, but I made the best of it by making it
work FOR me. I used the second bathroom as storage! I closed the vents
in the ceiling so the air would redistribute to other areas and we didn’t
use double the water and double the electricity. It also saved me time
and effort because I didn’t have to clean it and that made mama very
happy. You can use this concept with spare bedrooms. Close the air
vents so you’re not heating and cooling an empty room. Also, shut all
doors and roll up towels to sit on the window sills to block drafts.

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4 Easy Recipes for Homemade Cleaners

Hello Lovelies,

I’m not at all a fan of store bought cleaners especially super stinky ones.  About 3 years ago, when I was dirt broke, I got into a rut where I had friends coming over.  I completely forgot to buy cleaner to clean my bathroom and I was not about to let them see how dirty it was!  So I tried making my own household cleaner and have never gone back.  I use just a few staples that I always have on hand and they cost just pennies compared to the $4+ most cleaners cost.  Plus, they are non-toxic.

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The basic items to always have on hand are baking soda, Borax, Washing Soda, bleach, white vinegar, spray bottles, dish soap.  Mix different combinations to accommodate what you want to accomplish.  For example: baking soda is abrasive, so its wonderful on bathrooms and counters, while vinegar is a natural odor absorber.

All Purpose Cleaner

  • Fill an empty spray bottle with 1 part white distilled vinegar and 4 parts water

All Purpose Kitchen Cleaner

  • Fill your sink up with very warm water, 1 squirt dish soap, 1 splash bleach.  I buy Dollar Tree face cloths to use to wipe down my kitchen, appliances, counters on a daily basis.  It disinfects and smells CLEAN!

Glass Cleaner

  • Take a empty spray bottle with 2 part white distilled vinegar and 4 parts water.  Use old newspaper to clean the glass avoid steaks.

Laundry Detergent

  • I’ve been making my own laundry soap for more than 3 years and I will never ever ever buy store bought again.  It is amazing on clothes especially with my husbands nasty oilfield work clothes. See my recipe here.

No More Sponges

  • They collect germs and bacteria.  I simply go to the Dollar Tree and buy face cloths.  I buy neutral colors only as bleach will discolor them, but my bathroom face cloths are bold dark colors. This helps me distinguish between the two.  Plus, buying super cheap ones mean pretty abrasive/rough cloth which helps some in scrubbing.  After I’m done using them, I throw them in the washer. They usually come in 4 packs for $1.
  • If you feel the need to have a sponge, use your dishwasher to clean them weekly.  The high temperature of the water will disinfect the sponges.  Then let air dry.

Add Essential Oils

  • By adding essential oils to your homemade cleaners, you are taking  advantage of their natural properties.  Lemon, orange, and lavender are the most popular which have anti bacterial and anti fungal properties.

Making your own cleaners is so easy and takes no time at all.  If there is a cleaner that you use often, try searching for a healthier, non toxic alternative.  I promise, you won’t go back!

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42 Ways to Pinch Pennies in Your Home

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  1. Lower water heater from a standard 140-150 degrees to 115-120 degrees
  2. Turn off extra rinse cycle while washing clothes
  3. Turn off heated dry on the dishwasher.  I wash at night, open the door, pull out the first tray and let air dry overnight.
  4. Make your own laundry detergent.  Click here for a basic recipe. 
  5. Make household cleaners
  6. Grow your own herbs
  7. Sprout certain veggies like scallions, and celery.  Just save the ends, pop in an inch of water and in days they regrow!
  8. Unplug everything except my big TV
  9. Keep the thermostat at 85 in the warm months and 65 in the colder months when you are not home. Keep all doors closed.
  10. Dark curtains make a home stay cooler during the summer
  11. Keep used dryer sheets to dust. They become staticy and do a good job.
  12. Reuse grocery bags, onion bags, bread bags, and cereal bags
  13. Save condiments and silverware from takeout in case you run out of something
  14. Grab extra sauces, condiments, and ketchup when you order out which are great for kids school lunches or food on the go
  15. If you have a vanity light in your bathroom,who needs all that light?  you pay for it! Take out a few bulbs. The light will not be as bright, but it will add up in savings.
  16. Use water displacement.  Use soda bottles in both toilet tanks to displace the water and lower consumption when flushing. This will save a few gallons with each flush.
  17. Reuse containers such as butter, cottage cheese, or sauce/pickle jars.  They make excellent makeshift Tupperware
  18. Keep a change jar for your kids.  Once the jar is full, bring them to a store with a change machine to turn change into cash.  Use for things like treats, the $1 theater or ice cream.
  19. Use money-saving apps on your mobile phone to use on the go.  Often they have coupons.
  20. Make butter
  21. Make yogurt
  22. Make cheese
  23. Make granola
  24. Make Fabreeze
  25. Keep heat low in the winter around 65 and use a small office space heater. Some of them, if you live in an apartment will heat the entire room. Why heat the whole apartment when you are in one room?
  26. Shop garage sales, flea markets, and Goodwill.
  27. Coupon for everything or use discounts!
  28. Watch gas consumption
  29. Always shop for services.  I will call every quarter especially around the new year and ask if there are lower rates in my area or any promotions I qualify for.  They won’t offer the information, you will have to ask.
  30. Live by a budget.  There are many apps that can help you do this.  MINT.com is one of them, which is what I use. Click here for info on budgeting.
  31. Just because you have insurance, doesn’t mean that you have to use it.  Sometimes financially, it doesn’t work.  My sons on medicine for ADHD and with my insurance costs me $185 now.  I looked for an online coupon or manufacturers coupon to cut the cost.  I make too much money to qualify for free drug through a manufacturer or any assistance programs.  By using such a coupon without using my insurance makes his medicine $77 versus $185 going through my insurance. Check out www.goodrx.com
  32. Get rid of cable!  Use cheaper services such as Netflix and Hulu instead. Less than $20/mo compared to $100/mo for most plans.
  33. Search online for free Redbox promo codes, so often you can get free promo codes by text or email.
  34. Look for dollar theaters or second run movie theaters.  Second run means the movies have already been in major theaters for a while. You wait a month or two longer, but it is worth saving the $10-$12/person. Their matinee is $1.60/person or $1 on Tuesdays.
  35. Take advantage of free breakfasts at the end of the school year.  Often times schools will over purchase food based on the number of students enrolled.  But this doesn’t mean students will purchase especially seeming its almost the cost of lunch.  After January, the schools have all this overage so they offer free breakfast to get rid of their excess.  This saves on my grocery bills as my son can eat breakfast at school.
  36. Sign  up for rewards cards, email list for restaurants, or mailing lists for stores.  I always get coupons, free appetizers, free food or dessert, and even coupons you wouldn’t get otherwise.
  37. Price match major retailers.  Many price match but are not advertising they do so.
  38. Save dryer lint and toilet paper rolls to make easy fire starters.  Lint is flammable.
  39. Make flea repellent for animals.  It’s pennies compared to national brands and non-toxic.
  40. Save bacon grease!  This is a flavor enhancer and free.
  41. Save expired milk, but only by a week or so.  This is the start of cheese!  Nature just started the process for you.
  42. Shop Dollar Tree or Dollar General type stores.  A lot is cheap, but its amazing what you can find for good quality.  Look for bins, trays, and baskets for organizing. Also, dishes, glassware, and kitchen supplies.

What are some of the ways you save money?

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Broke ‘Til Next Payday? Meal Ideas for in Between Paydays- Cheap Marrow Bones

Hello Lovelies,

Ya know when you have that one paycheck that seems to be gone before you even get close to payday?   Or something came up that was unexpected?  You’re in a bind and panicking over how to buy food until payday comes again.  GET CREATIVE with cheaper choices that are delicious if you get creative in how to use them.

Why are they so good for you?  ‘Soup bones’ or marrow bones that you find at the grocery store don’t have much food value at all.  There is hardly any meat on them.  The nutritional value inside the marrow is enormous. Any bone broth is extremely high in minerals. Bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, and fish bones contain iodine.

They are really affordable even if you scrounge for loose change.  All you need really is $2-3 dollars. Using bones to make broth allows you to serve a very healthy meal to your family for just pennies.  I use two bones for a meal and packages usually have about 6-8 bones in them.  That is 3-4 meals for the price of the package. I usually get a package of eight marrow bones that are bigger than my fist for around $2.00.  Sometimes they are even cheaper and they freeze well if you come across a deal. It is a great stock up item for those hard times.

There are so many uses if you make a simple broth

  • You can mix the marrow into the boiling liquid and use this a base for soups.
  • You can make a basic broth with just bones, water, and any spare veggies you have in the fridge.  I almost always never use really fresh veggies for my broth.  I use scraps or veggies that are on the verge of going bad.  No waste in this house! You can add barley, noodles,rice, or vegetables and make a homemade soup.  It will taste like a hearty meat stew.
  • Boil rice or noodles in the broth instead of water, drain and add in frozen veggies like a stir fry.  This is a great option if you only have one piece of meat in the fridge to feed more than one person. Cut in small pieces or shred it.
  • Use it in place of water to thin or dilute your babies homemade baby food or dilute in a bottle of water.
  • Put in a mug and sip in between meals.  It will aid in digestion and increases energy because of the protein.
  • Flavor mashed potatoes.  You can add a can of corn or veggie for less than .50 and have a meal.
  • Make your own cream of something soup to thicken dishes or make a gravy. In a pan, combine melted butter and flour to make a roux.  Add your broth and it will become a thick gravy. This is great on toast!

Marrow a fantastic substitution for beef bouillon and much cheaper than buying beef or bouillon cubes which contain large amounts of sodium. You get all of the flavor without the cost and you won’t even taste the marrow, just beef flavor!

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Also, these are a fantastic treat for your dogs!  Give these to them instead of the overpriced commercial marrow bones that are coated with I don’t know what. The dogs cannot break the bones and they last a long time.

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Mom, Inc.: Free is always Better!

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Free isn’t always a good thing, but in this post it is always better!  Free affects your bottom line and if it is being offered, then why not take advantage.

7-11 ever year has a free slurpy day in celebration of their anniversary.  Get a free small slurpy of any flavor.

Restaurants give thanks by rewarding you with a free dessert, free appetizer, or discount off your next meal. Sign up on their website and within 24 hours they will email you a coupon.

Dunkin Donuts will often have a free coffee day if your local sports team wins or its National Coffee Day.

McDonald’s has a free coffee Monday every so often which is displayed on their electronic bulletin board or near the register.  They are time restrictive so make sure you grab one during the time allotted.

Download store apps.  Sandwich shops, ice cream places, coffee places, etc. often have a free treat when you download their app. It doesn’t cost you anything.

Birthday treats come once a year but you can make a day out of it!  Everywhere nowadays offers freebies on your birthday.  I got a free coffee to start my day, a free basic breakfast, a free donut, free chips and queso for a quick lunch, a free ice cream, and a free appetizer for a lite dinner.  I was out and about using Groupon to make my own spa day and I ate for free all day! If a place offers birthday rewards sign up the entire family.  It’s easy and it takes just a few seconds.

Party Centers offer a free dozen or half dozen balloons for kids on their birthday up until age 5.  I have found one place that goes to age 3 but most are age 5.  You can call in or visit to order your balloons in the color of your choice and pick up on the day of.  They are basic, but kiddos will not know the difference.

Nearly Free Options are fantastic if you are out with a crowd or feeding a bunch of hungry kiddos.  Sonic for example offers free wing Mondays buy one get one free and Domino’s has buy one get one free pizza.

Saving money on expenses especially for birthdays and some convenience items such as as coffee, even if a few dollars can go towards something else.  I have in our budget a line for miscellaneous which includes birthdays, gifts, and holidays.  By taking full advantage of freebies, this savings can go towards a high electric bill or add to your food budget. Facebook and websites are a great tool to find stores, restaurants, or items for free. On Facebook it is often too good to be true so be sure to use Google to find out if it is a scam. I only pay attention to a freebie on Facebook if it comes directly off the company page.  If you don’t mind an additional email address, create a free account just for subscribing. This way emails and promos do not clog your main email inbox.  Pay attention inside places you frequent like a restaurant, cafe, gas station, or party supply store. They are in inconspicuous places like an ad stand on your table or near the register, a flyer, or inside the black book with your dinner check.