Family Life, Frugal Living

Meal Plan March 29 – April 4

Well, here I am a couple days late again with my meal plan.  Unlike last week, my tardiness is due to me actually doing stuff around the house.  Notice, we are eating more meat than we normally do.  I have found that during these weeks, I have wanted to make more comfort foods.  So often, those meals include meat.  I am being gentle with myself these days as we get through this.

Sunday March 29 – pasta with sausage, salad and bread

Monday March 30 – grilled steak, asparagus, baked potato and salad

Tuesday March 31 – vegetable pot pie

Wednesday April 1 – vegetable fried rice

Thursday April 2 – minestrone soup and bread

Friday April 3 – fish, potatoes and salad

Saturday April 4 – chicken noodle soup

What is on your list for the week?

soup served on bowl
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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Below is the list of things we did this week to save money.

  1. I signed up for The Great Courses.  It’s an online library of classes that includes everything from history to professional development.  Cost for 30 days is $0.  If I chose to keep it after 30 days, it will be $10/quarter.
  2. I took advantage of one month free on audible to download a couple books that I can’t get on the library’s online option.
  3. I literally haven’t gone anywhere, so I spent $0 on gas.  I filled up my tank two weeks ago and it remains full.  I will need to drive it a little bit this weekend to keep my battery happy.
  4. I have used up food that I was holding onto in the pantry that I thought I would eventually throw away.  One thing about being in isolation, you learn to make do with what you have on hand.
  5. I started a batch of salad sprouts!  I used to do this more regularly.  I realized that I had a bag of seeds for sprouts and decided to give it another go.  They started slow, but started to take off.

What did you do to save money as the majority of the world is trapped at home?

money pink coins pig
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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

I know you are all shocked to read that this was an incredibly frugal week.  We barely spent any money.  Crazy how being trapped at home helps save money.

  1. On Saturday, when I was running last minute errands to prepare for life at home, I needed to pick up chicken food and wild bird food.  I had $20 in rewards at our local pet food store.  I paid $9 for $30 worth of food.
  2. I went through all of our monthly expenses and was able to shave off $369.  Most of these will be temporary, but will be helpful.  I am currently at home from work, paid.  But, things are forever fluid and I feel like it’s best to plan for the worst.
  3. Eric was able to get our garden started with lettuce, spinach and kale.  The chickens have also started to lay again.
  4. Have you seen those gas prices?  Both cars have been filled with gas.  I honestly don’t know when we will need to fill them again.
  5. We have at least 6-8 weeks worth of food.  When things in China got bad, my husband knew it would get here and we would be in lockdown.  Here we are and he prepared us.  So, if you are reading this Eric, I am sorry for all the times we laughed at you and told you were crazy.  Your thoughtful planning has proven to be a relief.  However, I am the one who made sure that we have enough toilet paper.

What did you do this week to save money.

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Family Life, Frugal Living

Saturday Stuff

This morning my daughter and I took a walk in our county park.  The fresh air was a much needed start to both our day and our weekend.  Getting out of the house was certainly something that we both needed.

I set up a corner in our living room with a table and lamp for board games and puzzles.  I used items I had on hand.  An old card table, a pretty tablecloth and dining room chairs.  It might not be pretty, but it is doing exactly what I need it to do.  Provide a space for free entertainment.  My daughter is already busy putting together a puzzle and eating some snacks.  Like her mother, she ran before I could get a photo of her.  But, this is our little area to keep ourselves entertained.

Have a good Saturday!

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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Here is our list of things that we did this week to save some cash.

  1. My husband is making a batch of home brew with the ingredients he has on hand.  This should be interesting.  Below is a picture of something that has to do with the brewing.  To be honest, I am not sure what this is all about.                                                                                                       IMG_0629
  2. We have driven very little this week and the savings is obvious in our checkbook.
  3. Does the fact that at my parents party, my daughter’s boyfriend won the centerpiece and he gave it to me?  Free flowers always make me happy.                                              IMG_0624 (1)
  4. Home brew isn’t the only thing that was started in this house this week.  Wine making is on the list.  Very hopeful that this batch doesn’t taste like the piss water that the last batch tasted like.  It was a chardonnay.  I made a lot of risotto to use it up so that it wasn’t just dumped out.
  5. Someone at work left a brand new box of Yankee Candle lavender candles in the free to a good home spot.  This made me very happy!                                                          IMG_0630

That’s it for this week, what did you do to save money?

Family Life, Frugal Living

Meal Plan March 8 – March 14

lunch table
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Below is our meal plan for the week.  When I plan ahead, I save so much money and I am never asking myself, what am I going to make for dinner.  It makes my days so much easier.  Tuesday is leftover night.  I am really hoping that we have enough on hand to make that possible.  We have my daughter’s chorus concert that night with very little time for cooking with our work schedule.

Sunday March 8 – pesto ravioli, salad and bread

Monday March 9 – crockpot taco soup

Tuesday March 10 – leftovers

Wednesday March 11 – lasagna

Thursday March 12 – chicken noodle soup

Friday March 13 – date nigh

Saturday March 14 – potluck with friends

What is on your menu for the week?

 

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

 

close up photography of old books
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It’s that time again.  I need to go over our frugal finds for the week.

  1. My daughter is in college to be an early elementary teacher.  I found a great deal in the library book sale room.  I found a dvd set of 100 scholastic storybook classics for $5.00.  I found several on sale online that sell for between $40 and $60.  I am hoping to help her build up her classroom with finds like these.
  2. Speaking of the book sale room, I found two, brand new bestseller hardcovers for .50 each.  I bought them for a Christmas gift for next year.  I am pretty sure that neither book was ever cracked open and I have someone on my list that loves the genre of book I purchased.  If your library has a book sale room, visit it often.  A lot of really good stuff is donated to those sales.
  3. Eric found a gorgeous glass bird feeder at Goodwill for $8.  It came with the artist information and has proved to be a good buy.
  4. I got a haircut with a $25 off coupon.  Haircut came to $23 with tip.
  5. By shopping at Aldi, our grocery bill was $73 for a week’s worth of food for 4 people.  I am able to do this by avoiding meat (for the most part), writing up a meal plan and sticking to it and avoiding processed foods (again, for the most part).

What did you do this week to save money?

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time lapse photography of hummingbird flying
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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

  1.  We recently did a new puzzle that was missing 3 pieces.  I contacted the company and they sent me a brand new puzzle.  The company is Cobble Hill, customer service like that deserves a shout out.
  2. At work we bring in items we are no longer using or don’t want, to pass on.  Someone recently brought in some brand new, never opened, really nice bath products.  I let them sit for a day and then took a couple for a Christmas gift.  I know, re gifting is tacky.  But, this is product that I would have likely purchased for this person anyway.
  3. We  checked out 3 really good DVDs from the library.  For free we saw Parasite, Jo Jo Rabbit and It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.  Please visit your library to save money.
  4. We paused my daughter’s gym membership for 3 months while her doctor continues to try to get a handle on her grave’s disease.  Grave’s is a battle that she is having a tough time overcoming.
  5. I made a chicken on Sunday and made a batch of soup that fed us for two dinners and 1 lunch.  I also made a chicken salad for lunch for 1 day.  By doing that, one chicken provided ten meals.

What did you do this week to save money?

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Use your library!

 

Family Life, Frugal Living, Recipes

Cherry Crisp

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On Sunday night I used the last of our Door County cherries to make a cherry crisp.  The rest of the world may not know this, but Door County Wisconsin produces that best cherries around.  I look forward to them every year.  Honestly, nothing tastes better than  warmed Door County cherries over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I am very lucky that my family lives very close to Door County and that a trip up there every summer is not an obstacle.  In fact, my dad spent his summers picking those cherries, as that side of my family has very strong roots in that area of the state.  Here is my recipe for cherry crisp.

 

Cherry Crisp

Filling

4 cups of pitted cherries

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

Topping

1-1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons butter, melted

For filling, combine cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Pour in an 8 x 8 baking pan. Combine all topping ingredients; sprinkle over filling.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around edges.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

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Frugal Living

Reuse Packaging

Another post from my friend at Green Suburban Living.

Reuse Packaging

We all order from Amazon.  I like to think that I’m helping save on gas emissions by shopping from home and seeing what my choices are, instead of driving all over town to find just what I need. And there’s the birthday-like feel of having a package arrive at your door, just waiting to be opened…

But I have seen a few posts lately talking about not popping the air packets inside your packages, because of the Coronavirus. The theory goes, these air packets are filled with air from China, which is shipped over to us, and could be infected with unknown pathogens.

Now, I am skeptical for one big reason.  It seems silly that the plastic sleeves would be filled with air before shipping.  That’s a lot of space to take up on a shipping container/ship/truck/train. Perhaps the sleeves themselves are made over there, but it’s more likely that they are filled at the distribution center.

But, that’s a sidebar. My post today is about reusing that packaging that comes free to you with your Amazon order.  Yes, it is satisfying to pop them, and yes, I have entertained my children by giving them bubble wrap and letting them go to town. But this is free packaging, people!!!

Couple of ideas for you:

Save one of those big Amazon boxes and throw the air pillows and bubble wrap in there whenever it arrives.  It comes in handy for birthday gifts and around Christmas time.

OR, save them up in a bag and take them to your nearest UPS Store.  YES, they take them for free! And YES, they reuse them when someone pays them to ship something.

Either of these options helps the environment by a) keeping the plastic out the landfill after just one use, and b) if everyone started doing this, UPS would have to order a lot less of the new packaging, which is an even better goal. Less need = less production.

So, take a look at the packaging you get next time, and take an extra minute to reuse it or bring it to someone who will!

Smile more,

Laureanna