Sunday, September 14, 2014

My frugal week ending Sept. 13

Last week I bought 36lbs of pears, and canned 8 pints.  This week I canned another 17 pints and 6 half pints.  I wasn't sure if I should bother with the half  pints, but my oldest really wants canned pears with lunch so I made these for her.  I am hoping I can get another box of pears next week.  I have been watching my local stores and the lowest price this year has been .99 lb, at this price I think store canned pears are going to go up in price, making me even happier I got the .69lb pears canned up.  On the down side I did buy more jars. 1 more box of 12 pints and 12 half pints.  I am finding that as I get used to using my canned produce, the more things I am canning.  I am actually considering watching for a pressure canner.  Hmm, but pressure canning still makes me nervous so we shall see.

We have had a super busy week this week, and I still managed to get dinner on the table.  Not completely from scratch, but not take out either, YAY!

One of our activities this week was a 4H food and nutrition meeting.  I am running this and we made individual chicken pot pies, we talked about how these can be made using left overs.  My  kids actually really loved them.  I forgot my camera at the meeting, but here are the two samples I made at home.

I menu planned. 
Made bread.
It was spending money, but since my oldest got a expander last month I picked up a waterpik to help keep her mouth and teeth looking good.  I priced it out and was going to buy it for $60 at Walmart, but they had sold it when we went to get it, a few days later my mom in Ca told me she found one for the same price at Costco.  I went to Costco and got it!  It was awesome because the one I got included a travel model and had 12 flosser ends.  So much more for the same cost.  Thank you MOM!  Also as it turns out my husband has been wanting one, so they both are using it.

I went to Randall's(was in that part of town)
got $1 from last week from redeeming a missing coupon.
spent .68. and got
Stayfree liners 20pk
small blue Dawn dish soap

Sprouts $0, actually they gave me nickel because I brought in a reusable bag.
Free Tortilla chips from email coupon.

HEB $81.31 (had a $10/$30 Beauty coupon)also Checkout51 covers 2 weeks of offers, if I got more than one it was some Sun-Wed, then it resets on Thurs
Dove curly hair mouse
3-Dove hairspray's
4-1.8 trial Men's Dove body wash(free with the above purchases)
8-clearance CoverGirl nailpolishes(marked down to $2 plus $1 off coupons)
Tabasco sauce(had .50 off coupon plus .75 checkout51 rebate)
10 donuts(just because)
1 Banana(again checkout51 spent .17 got back .25)
2-Organic milk
6 McCormick Grillmates marinade(2 free w/store coupon 2 free w/checkout51)
2 Challenge Cream Cheese (2 $1 coupons plus 2 $1 checkout51 rebates)
Duncan Hines Brownie box
sm avocado
3 bags tortilla chips(checkout51 rebate)
Sunday paper
2-Neutrogena face wash($2 off each store coupons)
Arm &Hammer deodorant
HEB mixed frozen vegetables
1 small white onion(checkout51 rebate)
1small tomato(checkout51 rebate)
clearance min tongs
clearance peeler(mine came up missing)
12 pints mason jars
12 half pints mason jars
12 ball lids
Liquid fruit pectin

Total spent for the week out of my grocery budget $81.04, will also get back $6.

YAY!  I didn't count my Costco purchases because non of that came out of my grocery budget, that was medical and educational(found an awesome two wall map set I have been looking for only $15, one is US and one is world)
All our meat came from our freezer this week.

I did eat three meals this week that I did not cook.  One is a smoked chicken from a friend, I do this one just about every week, I haven't been counting it but I guess I should:D  One was lunch out and was planned, the last was sheer exhaustion, my littlest is getting me up in the middle of the night with nightmares, it is hard to function for me with only 3-5 hrs of sleep. 

Also I don't wear make up, I got the 8 nail polishes for my kids and a few of them to give at Christmas to my nieces.

Spending wise, I ordered a 8x8 photo book from Shutterfly, total cost of $8 shipping, this one for my SIL pictures of niece's senior pictures.  Got her 5x7's that I ordered for them to have and pick from what they want to get enlarged and give away.  They came in with my niece having an orange skin color!  Shutterfly chat got replacements ordered should get them on Monday.  Was friendly, they think they know the problem and can fix it, just frustrating.

I have 3 more 8x8 photobook codes that will cost me shipping only, hopefully I will get those done in the next couple weeks, we like to do one of our summer, and any family trips we take.

I also made a cute shirt for myself yesterday, I rarely make or spend on myself, but I have made myself two shirts this year, and have plans for a few more:D  Maybe my kids will appreciate what I make them more, they have been a little upset and asking for some like what I have made.  My kids are a bit ornery though, if I had made for them first their would be no appreciation, they take it for granted.  They also really have plenty of clothes, I am waiting to make things they need them, while most of my clothes are several years old.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My frugal Week ending Sept 6

Blogging like being frugal takes deliberate thought.  My current season in life I am wanting to put more thought into  being frugal, and thought I could use my blogging to be
more own accountability tool.

I already follow Brandi at The Prudent Homemaker and her weekly frugal post.  So I will be joining her in posting at the beginning of the week.  I hope you will share with me some of your tips and thoughts each week.

My fails:
I took two of my kids to a restaurant for lunch instead of waiting an hour and eating at home.  I was starting to feel light headed from not eating enough at breakfast.

What I did right:
I finished making another page for daughter's Christmas gift felt quiet book.  I also finished the front and back panels, still need to put those together.
I made 2 batches of bread this week, and gave some to a friend.  She has just finished her first trimester for baby 6 and couldn't keep up with bread baking.
Picture is missing 3 bell peppers and the Prickly Peas, I was already processing the Prickly Pears into Jelly.

I made my menu plan
I ordered from Bountiful Baskets I got a box of 36lbs of bartlet pears for .66lb, I'll be canning those, my kids loved it when I canned pears last Aug.  Last year I got them for .87 a lb I believe at Sprouts.  The box of pears plus my basket I spent $45.00  I always get at least $18 in fresh fruits and vegetables that we will consume, and a few things I gift to friends with different pallet.

When I got my basket I got lettuce($1.58), a cucumber(.58), large green bell peppers(.52each), pricklypear apples, 3 corn on the cob(4/$1), 3 small/med red onions(.98lb), green grapes(.79lb), 8 lemons (3/$1),5 peaches(.98lb), 4 applepears(2.99lb), 6 hatch green chili's $1.98lb.   Approximate value this week based on my local store prices $21.77 for the basket portion.

On Saturday made 2 pints and 4 half pints of the pricklypear jelly(didn't set will try reprocessing Monday.  Also canned 8 pints of pears.

Shopped with a list:

HEB $60.03
3 big packs of toilet paper(got $10 coupon for future purchase
3 wet wipes containers(free with purchase of toilet paper)
3 yellow cake mixes
1 pk frozen hash browns
1 pk frozen curly fries
1 Pam spray(free with frozen potato purchase)
1 Hunts ketchup(also free with frozen potato purchase)
1 gallon milk
1 mixed spring greens package
2 sweet potatoes
Cat Food
2 jars BBQ sauce
Fresh Pineapple($1 a piece!)
Also $2 off baking products

Randalls $22.53
2 12pks Poptarts
6 cans chicken noodles
4 cans green beans
2 small cans pineapples
1 small Dawn dish soap
4 small cans of chicken
1 small Tabasco Sauce(checkout 51 also has .75 back on this one)
2 pk yogurt
12 Ball Pint jars

Sam's Club  $60.87
1 25# Jasmine Rice
2 pk Lemonade
2 pk Hershey's Syrup
6 lbs raw chicken breast
2 boxes General Tso's chicken
1 #10 can tomato sauce
18ct eggs

Bad thing one item at Sam's rang up higher than marked and I didn't notice till I got home and had already opened the item:(
Total spent for the week. $185.43
Okay, higher than last week!  YIKES 
Some of this is stock up for the future weeks.  We eat one box of the General Tso's a week, Chinese food is a big take out item for us, having this in the freezer gives me a 20 minute dinner.  Usually takes me out of the take out mode.  The Pint jars are not a normal purchase, but I needed a few more as I am still stocking up on my jars.  Also the toilet paper, really we have enough, but the price is good and the coupon makes it better, I stock up during weeks like this so that I don't ever have to buy toilet paper at fool price.  Lastly the canned chicken breasts are for a 4h cooking class, I am going to be teaching kids to make individual pot pies.  For this class canned chicken makes the most sense.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Frugal Accomplishements for week ending Aug 30

Blogging like being frugal takes deliberate thought.  My current season in life I am wanting to put more thought into  being frugal, and thought I could use my blogging to be more own accountability tool.

I already follow Brandi at The Prudent Homemaker and her weekly frugal post.  So I will be joining her in posting at the beginning of the week.  I hope you will share with me some of your tips and thoughts each week.

I feel like I did better, I menu planned using what was in the fridge and freezer, just going to the store to stock up on some things that I had excellent coupons for.

One of my problem area's is lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  I am fine during the week, providing lunch for myself and all 3 girls, partly because they help prepare it, and partly because I rarely make everyone eat the same thing, it is left overs, or soup, or something you make for yourself like crackers cream cheese and fruit, or a sandwich, macaroni and cheese etc.  On the weekend my husband is with us and I feel like I am cooking dinner twice each day.  In the past I often fall into "ugh I am just going to pick up lunch".  Well picking up lunch runs us $25 and up!  Yikes and that is without soda's or drinks of any kind.  To combat this I am getting some frozen things that just require heating up.  Eventually I want to just premake some things things during dinner earlier in the week, but I am not there yet. So this last week I ...

Got some awesome coupons for a Tx only grocer, it included a $3/$30 coupon and a $4/$15 precook meat coupon, $2 off salty snacks (tortilla chips!),  and a few others, plus the sale prices and in store coupons.

This is what I got and spent this week.

$32 in paper products
3 big things of toilet paper
3 flushable wipes
3 boxes of Puffs
Also got a $10 off coupon to use in 2 weeks and will get a Leapfrog writing system in the mail for free with the purchase of these items.

$59.82 on
1 gallon milk
6 24oz bags of precooked chicken breast chunks
6 frozen pizza's
1 24oz bag of chicken thigh fajita meat
2 16 oz bags meat balls
2 jars of parmesan cheese
4 bags of tortilla chips
2 jars cheesy salsa
1 bag of bbq chips
1 banana
1 5lb bag whole wheat flour
1 5lb bag unbleached white flour
1 spray bottle Bakers Joy
a 12x9 glass baking pan
a new bread pan
and a cupcake batter separator.
a small soda as a treat for Middlest
a donut as a treat for Timmie

$20.29 at Randalls
1 frozen pizza
2 small cans pineapple
2 20oz cans pineapple
6 cans green beans
2 small bottles of dish soap
4 greek yogurts
1 bar soap
3 cream cheese 8oz
1 Loaf French bread

2- day old Loaves of bread from Bread store

$60.80 at Sam's Club
2 boxes General Tso chicken
1 box dumplings
1 6lb not frozen boneless skinless chicken breast
1 6lb frozen boneless chicken thighs
2 bottles orange juice
#10 can tomato sauce

Total spent:$177.41
Okay see Yikes I had no idea I had spent so much until I did this.  Spread out over multiple stores and how much I got I was feeling really good about my shopping, not I know I need to offset this with some more frugal weeks!

I can say that I don't buy toilet paper every week, I stock up when they have the buy $30 get a $10 coupon back, this makes it so that I don't buy full price toilet paper.  I also don't go to Sam's club every week.  I also normally do much better on the toilet paper stuff, but I needed that receipt to be over $30 to get the (over a $20 savings and a Christmas present for Timmie)  I'll do one or more toilet paper transaction this coming week.  I'll let you know next week if I manage that.
This loaf was half eaten an hour after it came out of the oven!

I did manage to eat at home for every dinner, only one lunch out.
I got another $5 swagbucks for Amazon
made cherry cream soda syrup
made 2 loaves of partially whole wheat bread using some honey.(didn't burn it this week and finished up the small amount of honey at the bottom of a jar)
I made banana muffins using bananas that had gone black
Also made blueberry muffins
Made Oona several smoothies as she got a expander in this week causing eating to be difficult as she adjusted to it.
found some bath old bath gel that Middlest like the scent of( I did not hence why it wasn't used)
Processed Onion and peppers for freezer.  This just means I cut lots of onions and peppers into strips, taking out seeds etc.
Collect water from my sink when heating up water, use this to water trees and garden.
Downloaded some new books on my Nook.
Watch free tv shows using my Amazon Prime acct.
Shared some of my Nook books with Oona.

Now I am making plans for this week, I need it to include a lot less money spent!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My frugal week

Blogging like being frugal takes deliberate thought.  My current season in life I am wanting to put more thought into  being frugal, and thought I could use my blogging to be more own accountability tool.

I already follow Brandi at The Prudent Homemaker and her weekly frugal post.  So I will be joining her in posting at the beginning of the week.  I hope you will share with me some of your tips and thoughts each week.
My fails this week:
This week I made bread, but over cooked it.  Ended up tossing one loaf and making croutons with the other loaf.
I was also suffering very badly from allergies, so we ended up eating out for 3 meals that I had not planned on.
How my Bread is suppose to look!

Yummy right:D

My wins:
I got two bottles shaving cream for my husband at CVS for $1.49 total.
I ordered from Bountiful Baskets this week, and managed to make it to volunteer, this got me two extra bell peppers.  This weeks basket was full of things we eat and now I don't have to buy at higher grocer store prices.  I also got a few things I'll be gifted to a friend.
I cashed out for a $5 amazon card on my swagbucks account.
I sent in a bag of cheese packaging and a bag of babyfood pouches off to Terracycle, this really isn't "frugal" but by sending in what would otherwise be trash I can make donations to charities of my choice, and these two packages put me over the $10 donation minimum.
Made it to Costco and bought several things of salsa, they have the best pricing on the salsa we like.
Also got butter, and canned dog food.  My poor dog has no more teeth she is now on a soft food diet.

As you can see she is a tiny dog, she has her teeth in this picture, but she has lost them in the last 6 months.
I also hit $20 on my Checkout51 and cashed it out.
Collect water from my sink when heating up water, use this to water trees and garden.
Downloaded some new books on my Nook.
Watch free tv shows using my Amazon Prime acct.

I also made several felt quiet pages, I used felt I had bought for other projects, and Timmy is not the only loving these, Middlest is getting into playing with her, finally something they enjoy together.

My mailbox came from here
The pig, cow, chick, sheep, and farmer girl are finger puppets

I have plans to do better next week:D

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My 2013 Christmas Gift Planner

I start prepping myself for making Christmas Gifts in July, sometimes I even get an early start.  This year I am starting later, but will hopefully finish up on time.  I'll make my who list and add the what as I know and or finish them.  If you have a list or an idea let me know in the comments!

Girl (16)
Weekend bag from Sew Serendipity Bags using black/white/red prints

Boy (15)

Girl (13)
Weekend bag same pattern as about in  lavender/purple

Girl (12)
Barnes and Nobles gift card from swag bucks. 
Sewing Basket full of sewing supplies.

Barnes and Nobles gift card from swag bucks

Barnes and Nobles gift card from swag bucks

Boy (3)
Not handmade but Lego Duplo's

I am making her a felt doll house inspired by these from Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker
Leapfrog Scout got free from HEB and P&G promo

Sweater, knit or crochet have not yet decided.
sensory toys


Teacher's(since we  homeschool this is extra activites, church etc.)
loaf of homemade sourdough bread

riding instructor is gluten free- I am making her a cowl

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Frugal Challenge is canning really frugal

I have still been working on my frugal habits.  Including adding new skills and new menu's to my household's diet.  Included in these pursuits I canned peaches and pears for the first time ever!  Well since I planted a two-in pear tree this year I should prepare for my future bounty.  The questions I kept having are these:
"Is it really cheaper to can?"
"Even if I have to buy all the fruit?"
"At what price is it frugal?"
"Supplies are expensive, are their ways to cut the cost?"
most import "Will they taste the same, better, or worse?"

Let's start here:
15oz can of peaches or pears = $1- $1.50  I shoot for $1 and stock up when I find them that low, but $1.40-$1.50 is much more normal.  I rarely spend that  so my goal is the cost of canning to be no more than $1 per pint(16oz).

I started my research on Brandi's site The Frugal Homemaker.  Obviously growing your own makes it a doable choice, but I don't have any trees currently bearing fruit.  I also have not found any one letting fruit go to waste, though I am still keeping my eyes and ears out!  Some places mentioned for getting jars cheap or free, garage sales, friends(especially older friends who no longer can but once enjoyed it), craigs list, or at the very least don't do what I did and decide to start to week after all the coupons expired.  I pd $8.49 for 12 pint jars.

From Bandi's site I went to this site.  It gave me some more practical how to info on pears and peaches.  Also found this wonderful tip here under Step 7 for not needing to buy special solution to keep pears from turning brow.  I used this method and my pears are all creamy white, I forgot this step for half my peaches and they are having some browning.

Okay, so I had a half a bag of sugar left over from Christmas cookie baking.  I would start with that, I have a canner, that I rarely used, bought when I wanted to make homemade jelly.  I broke down my cost on sugar.  $8.54 for a 25lb bag equals 52 cups at (rounding up) .17 cents per cup.
I also had a ton of rings and disks from the past all unused.  I have been saving Classico sauce jars for many years, well until this year when I started buying big can's of sauce and seasoning it myself.  I did buy 3 dozen pint size jars, and I had a couple Quart size jars from other projects.

What I learned about jars, Classico does not recommend reusing their jars.  I did it anyways, you need to make that decision for yourself.  Personally I have a no metal on glass rule and only use my rubber spatulas on glass or plastic spoons.
rings and disks if recycling jars
fruit 40 lbs of pears at $.50 a lb = $20

Calculate for yourself=
Bag of Sugar   
pint size jars

For me:
8 cups sugar=$1.37
36 pint jars(576oz) =$25.47
4 recycled (104oz) =$0
total cost=$66.84
or .10 an oz, first time around it is NOT cost effective comparing a 15 oz jar at $1.50 and a homemade jar at $1.60, BUT next time I did not have the cost of jars

2 cups sugar=.34
7 recycled jars(160)=0
per oz .05 or .80 per pint jar

Is it cost effective?
The first time I paid .50 per lb the second time I paid .67 per lb.
If buying jars and all the equipment then no it is not cost effective.
If you can find ways to lower the start up cost(recycle jars, get jars  some other ways for free),
get the fruit for free or my price point is .67 or less per lb.

"Even if I have to buy all the fruit?
Yes, if you can find ways to lower the start up cost(recycle jars, get jars some other ways for free, borrow the canner and other supplies).
My price point is .67 or less per lb you will have to do your own math, sorry.

"Supplies are expensive, are their ways to cut the cost?"
Look on Craigs list, or freecycle, yard sales, ask around let your friends and family and just people you know that you are looking for canning supplies for cheap or free or possible to borrow.  Obviously it does not make sense to borrow jars or lids, but you can borrow a canner.  Every spring I see coupons for jars, rings and lids.

"Will it taste better? worse?

The only way to know is to try it.  For my family the peaches were a bust, we will eat what I canned but I will not be making more unless fruit is giving to me, the pears though, they LOVE.

One time cost:  You will need to decide if you want to factor these in, but be aware of what you need.  (Maybe you can borrow from some one for a weekend.)
jar grabber
(did not list jars here because more may need to be purchase, and at least disks will need to be

Now I have my price points, I hope my math was helpful to you in decided to can or not to can.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Frugal Challenge week #13

I feel like I took a back slide on my frugal habits this week.  I was not feeling well and when you have a sore throat and intestinal distress it is hard to focus on feeding the family.  Yes they got fed, but three times I succumbed to restaurant food.  My goal this week is homemade food all week.  I started with homemade pizza for lunch.
I also used more disposable diapers at home than I like, when I don't feel good it is easy to fall into the disposable habit.

Frugal accomplishments this week:
-Shaved my older dog.  This is her first ever shave, since she is no longer young enough to possible breed I am not worried about ruining her coat.  Pomeranians can have coat issues if you shave them.  This is a money saver because I won't have to pay to have her bathed to cut down the smelliness, I couldn't bathe her with the thick coat, now she can get bathed, be cooler, and I can see she is a nice healthy weight.
-Got free cheese, bacon, sausage, hamburger, cookies, cookie dough, bread dough, milk, orange juice.
-Oona has been gone to camp this week, so I saved some money on food and laundry, one less person to feed and keep clean.  I missed her so much!
-We also skipped the pool saving on the gas to drive there.
-We did use that saved gas to drive up to the Cameron Zoo in Waco, used our family membership and got in free, also go free cake as they celebrated an elephants birthday, and played for free in the kids splash pad.
-Called my insurance and my Dr. when I got an EOB stating I would owe $205 for a yearly well exam.  Turns out that the insurance billed it as out of network, when it is actually in network, because of something on my Dr. end was off line.  Calling both places should fix the problem faster because while the Dr. office was aware of a problem, my name was not yet on the list.  Saved myself a headache later over the money by calling right away.
-Used gift cards to pay for groceries and gas this applies towards a reward in August.
-Refilled soap with watered down soap to make foam soap refill.
-Oona had a birthday and I gave her $15 in Barnes and Nobles egift cards I earned thru swag bucks, I also, at her request a roll of duck tape, used a 40% off coupon to buy it.
For next week:
-Get back to cooking all our meals
-Get back to using clothe diapers at home