Saturday, April 30, 2011

10 Money Saving Tidbits

As being unemployed from a full time job drags on, I am finding new ways, in addition to tried and true ways, of saving money here and there. Yes, some ideas, tips and tricks may only save a penny or few, but as I always say when picking up a penny, "if you have enough pennies, you can be a millionaire!".

So, here's a few favorite things I do to save towards being a millionaire (= ...

1) I use a pea sized dollop of toothpaste to brush my teeth. Years ago I read that the toothpaste companies show a full toothpaste head of toothpaste to make you think thats the amount you need thereby using more toothpaste and buying more. Now, if I accidentally put more toothpaste on my brush, I find I don't like that big glob of toothpaste feel in my mouth.

2) When I see veggies in my veggie crisper threatening to go bad, I wash 'em and throw them in the freezer into my "soup pot veggies" container. When I have enough of those veggies, I either throw them in the slow cooker to flavor some yummy chicken, beef or veggie stock, or depending on the veggies in my "collection" I just may put them into a steaming pot of turkey, chicken or beef soup!

3) I do the same as #2 with fruit. Any and all fruits. And then I make sweet, healthy fruit smoothies with any combination of what I have shivering in my freezer. Sometimes I might add ground flax seed, bee pollen, yogurt, stevia, honey, spinach (yes, a handful of spinach! The taste is practically nonexistant.) or anything else I have on hand and feel the spirit to add! Be adventurous in the kitchen!!!

4) I clip coupons! I've given coupon clipping a go in the past but never with any real heart or strategy. But since I challenged myself back in September to see if I could go a full year without spending full price for anything (or as reality set in... MOST things ;D ), I have picked it up again. And I am really enjoying the thrill of the chase (of bargains and saving that is)! Who knew? I get them from a Sunday paper of course but also find them in other places: magazines (All You is a great one~{get two free issues here} but they are in other magazines too, online in various places ~{side bonus: earn Swagbucks by printing coupons from the Swagbuck site}, some grocery stores are offering e-coupons now that you can load onto you shopper saving card, those blinkie things on the grocer's shelves that you pull the coupon from (you can tell I've got the coupon lingo down can't you? (; ), you can buy 'em & trade 'em, (I feel like that scene in the movie Forrest Gump right now where Bubba is talking about all the ways you can fix & eat shrimp). They are everywhere! Start using them and you'll see...THEY will find YOU!

5) I grow my own fruits, herbs and veggies. I give this a go every year but so far, the only real success I've seemed to have is with herbs. So I faithfully sow herb seeds regularly (those are very expensive in the store, fresh or dried, and we use a lot of herbs and spices in our cooking~savings!). I grow basil, dill, rosemary and chives with ease. Other herbs test my patience, (I dunno, maybe they are too delicate for me and my "survival of the fittest" gardening ways) like thyme, tarragon, lavender and parsley. We also have a fig tree and a couple of pear trees that came with the property that produce well. I just wish and pray I could grow big, fat, juicy tomatoes and tiny, pop-in-your-mouth-straight-off-the-vine, cherry tomatoes. So far, nada, but I WILL keep trying! Oh yes, I will!

6) I use way less dishwasher/laundry detergent and fabric softener than the recommended amounts on the containers (unless our clothes are particularly dirty, which doesn't happen often) and they come clean just fine. And I have tried the homemade recipes for dishwasher detergent with awful results (don't know why). I do use vinegar as a fabric softener frequently~it also helps get rid of bad odors, which is a bonus!

7) I send off for free samples. I regularly get free stuff in the mail for things we use: toothpaste, laundry detergents, feminine products, pet food & treats and even stuff we don't normally use~it's fun to try new stuff, is it not? Ohhh the variety is endless! All You has a Daily Free Sample Calendar~try it!

8) I fill out surveys (when I have the time-they CAN be time consuming). Which helps me build credit towards free stuff). One of my all time favorite survey sites is e-Rewards. You earn a Partial Credit Amount even if you don't qualify for the survey!

9) I use services, money saving blogs and websites such as to help me get the best value for my family's money. Right now I'm trying out The Grocery Game for free with their four week trial to see if it's something I think (every family and it's circumstances are different!) worth paying for. If I do, it's very reasonable in price!

10) (Which should ALWAYS be #1: PRAY. I pray over everything in my life, right down to the little things. The Lord cares about everything having to do with us and our lives (big and small) and doesn't want us worryin' & frettin'. He wants us to live a joy filled life. And if we are trying to be better stewards of our money, I believe He will honor that and our endeavors attempting to do so.

Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Meals From Our Stockpile

In an effort to use things I have on hand, instead of going out to buy more groceries (when I have my own little grocery store filled with food that threatens to go bad eventually if I don't use it), I have come up with a few meals this past couple of weeks that used only what we had in the pantry or freezer. I will admit, it feels easier to come up with new recipes and meal ideas (and go to the grocery store & buy the ingredients) than to come up with creative meal solutions using ingredients in our stockpile~already bought & paid for. Silly me, that kinda equates to me taking my already paid for car and letting it sit & rust in the driveway while I go out & buy a new car because I don't want to deal with the maintenance of the blessing I already have. Spending more time, gas & money to aquire more.

I know everyone has different foods, and amounts of food, on hand but with a little creativity and effort (thumbing through your cookbooks, going online and googling recipes that contain key ingredients that you already have) we could probably eat for days or even weeks with items we already have socked away.

Here's a few dishes I came up with using leftovers, pantry items and meals that were previously cooked and then frozen for later use:

1) Italian sausage stew - going through the freezer unearthed some italian sausage that hubby had cooked previously and with a little rifleing through my recipe box for a faintly remembered recipe, I was able to make a yummy stew with ingredients on hand that everyone loved.

2) Banana bread - what I made with my favorite, often used banana bread recipe and a freckled bunch of bananas that no one seemed interested in eating when they were in the prime of their life. Again, I had everything on hand that I needed to make a few loaves.

3) Peanut butter cookies - another old faithful recipe made with stuff I already had.

4) Beans and ham & cornbread - hubby takes pride in the hams he makes around the holidays! And we love 'em but can't always eat all of it before it threatens to end up in the garbage, so I freeze one pound portions and the ham bone by itself for future meals. Yes, I had everything I needed for this meal too!

5) Yankee noodles - I ran across this recipe in a newsletter I got from Living on a Dime and happily realized I had everything I needed to make it, substituting ground turkey for beef. WINNER!!! (Thanks for sharing Tawra!)

Those are a few meals and sweets that I've come up with lately and am enjoying being creative and using what I have on hand more often these days. I'm also trying to eat the leftovers from dinner the day before for breakfasts or lunches or trying to remember to freeze them for a future meal, rather than letting them go to waste. I'm getting better at it. And that's a start.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks Mom...

for bringing me into this world

and being such a great influence and role model in my life!

Thanks Daddy, for doing your best to raise me right! Love, Tommie Jo

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Like FREE SAMPLES? I do! Here's a Few Just for YOU!

Just thought I'd share a free sample offering I just took advantage of courtesy of my online subscription to ALL You Magazine's daily free sample calendar:






& one more...

I don't know how long these great offers will last so...hurry over to the ones your interested in!

Because, hey, we can all use a little free stuff once in a while!


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