Thursday, October 19, 2017

Birthday Celebration!

Tuesday was my daughter's 20th birthday. My daughter loves to eat out, so that was definitely part of her birthday celebration. I took her out to Red Lobster for all you can eat endless shrimp. I bought the gift card from Swagbucks and snagged 300 Swagbucks in the process. 

She loves to receive gifts, but she also likes experiences too, so I made sure to include a couple for her birthday. She loves to go to the tea room in Chattanooga, but unfortunately they lost their lease this summer and closed. They do have a different one in Ooltewah, so I made a reservation and we went there on her birthday also. 

We also took a trip to the Chattanooga Zoo for her birthday and had so much fun. Here is a photo of the jaguars sleeping in the sun. We were able to get right up next to them.  :)  

It was back to school for her on Wednesday and I was able to sub for the day. We also were able to get her a free birthday dinner on Wednesday since a local restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, she was able to get it the next day.  

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Second Frugal Week of October 2017


Shrimp Dish

My friend Patti (Hi Patti!) sent me three meals from the Hello Fresh Company and we made the first one of them for dinner on Monday.

This week is Fall Break for the school system here, so I won’t be working at school, but am working at home. I spent the morning sewing and created a new pad pattern in the hopes of selling them, and I also made a new doll quilt in the hopes of selling them for Christmas.

Two trees fell across our driveway in the rain that came our way from the latest Hurricane. These were too big for us to handle by ourselves and needed a chainsaw, so my BIL Jody came over and removed them.


Since I had the week off I made several routine doctor appointments this week and Monday was the first one of those. Since I was in town anyway, I needed to run to the grocery store for onions.

One of the trips I made was to Walmart and found chicken breast on yellow clearance stickers. They were marked down to $1.35 a pound, so I picked up three packages. 

I came home and put one package in the crockpot for a few hours and then added some BBQ sauce and made BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner. I put the other two packages in the freezer to use later.

I also found bananas on yellow clearance stickers for 25¢ a pound and bought two bags of those.


Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

I stayed home on Tuesday and spent no money. I made another doll quilt to sell. I also made Bean & Cheese Enchiladas for dinner.


We had a Pizza mystery shop to do for today, so that turned into dinner for the family.  

I received a free package of cat food from the Purina Rewards cat food program. 

I had an appointment for a mammogram this morning. I also went by Food City to pick up a prescription.


I stayed home again on Friday and spent no money. I took some of the leftovers in the refrigerator and put them into individual servings, labeled them, and put them in the freezer. We have plans this weekend to go out and do things and I don't want to lose any of the food I've prepared this week. 

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, October 7, 2017

First Frugal Week October 2017

Chicken Pot Pie

We stayed home on Sunday and spent no money. I made a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner again as my daughter requested another one, the second one I made in less than a week. 

I also made a large bowl of pasta salad and divided that into 16 different containers for lunches this week. I also made a double batch of homemade granola bars. I used up the last of a bag of chocolate chips that was lingering in the pantry and also the last of my honey, so I will need to replace the honey soon. 

Salmon Patties
Green Beans with Onions

No work on Monday for me, so I stayed home and spent no money, but spent time doing frugal things instead. I've been wanting to inventory my pantry and in my head I've been thinking of things I could use so that my grocery budget will be lower this month. 

I have some Pepperidge Farm herb dressing mix, but thought I don't have chicken broth, but I do have chicken bouillon, so I could use that and make do. Same with the onion soup mix, I can come up with something to make do for that as well, so that's what I did. 

"A thrifty housewife is better than a great income." 
 Charles Spurgeon


15 Bean Cajun Soup Beans

Thankfully, on Tuesday I received a call to sub. I’d already put on soup beans to soak on Monday night, so all I had to do was put them in the Instapot on Tuesday morning along with an onion and seasonings and dinner was ready when I got back home that afternoon.

I was grateful for the sub job because my Thursday job was cancelled. 


15 Bean Cajun Soup

I made enough of this soup to have it for dinner a second night.

I went to Walmart for a few things and found 3 boxes of Lime Jell-O on clearance for 50 cents each and 3 bottles of chili powder for $1.04, which was nice since I was out of chili powder. 

One of the reasons I went to Walmart was to buy some Rayovac batteries. This is for the Swagbucks deal that is currently going on and I also needed some batteries for two weather clocks in the house.


Bean & Cheese Enchiladas
Mexican Rice

I picked up a prescription for Montelukast for my daughter at Publix, which offers this prescription for free. I also picked up a prescription for myself and a free bottle of water.

We received a free calendar in the mail from Colonial Williamsburg. The calendar is nice enough to give as a Christmas present.  


I worked today and packed my lunch. We ended up having grilled chicken for dinner tonight.  

On Saturday we went to the library. Our Internet is down at home, so we made a day of it there to catch up on my daughter’s schoolwork and my blog.

I brought us lunch since we were there a while. I brought peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, using up some jelly packets we had, oranges, the last two bowls of pasta salad, and some homemade granola bars and water to drink. 

Other Frugal Things This Week

While I was recently inventorying my pantry, I noted that we had three cans of beets. It’s easy enough to turn canned beets into pickled beets, which is what we really like more than canned beats.

The recipe is simple, take one can of beets, one small onion, sliced, a half cup of vinegar, three tablespoons sugar, and three whole cloves. Bring all ingredients to a boil, remove from heat and cool. Then chill for at least four hours.

Making your own pickled beets from canned is much cheaper than buying pickled beets for consumption. 

I cleaned up the spice section of my pantry and combined some spices where I had duplicate bottles. If I'm buying spices and it's one I use regularly, I buy more than one bottle. Then, when one bottle gets low I can usually make one bottle out of the two. I was able to empty these six bottles. 

I also found a honey bear that was about half full. I thought I was out of honey, but did find this little bit. I placed it next to our tea center to use it up and have already used some of it this morning in my tea. 

We watched reruns of Downtown Abbey this week, which we borrowed from the library, so free entertainment and no money spent there. 

 Since our Internet is down at home I will only be posting sporadically. The technician is supposed to come on Wednesday to fix it, so I may or may not be posting much until then. I hope you all have a great frugal week.

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Final Frugal Week September 2017

On Sunday I made a stockpot full of chili for dinners this week. Other meals this week included Chicken Pot Pie, Tacos, Grilled Chicken Salads, and Beans & Cornbread. 

I read a really good article this week over at The Luxe Strategist called, "What my Immigrant Mother Can Teach You About Money". It's one of those really good frugal stories you'll want to read. 

My daughter is making a community notebook as one of her projects in her Social Work class and needed a notebook to contain it. Lucky for her she found a free one at a yard sale on Friday. 

My daughter and I both had the oil changed in our cars this week. Her uncle changed her oil and charged her $20 for supplies. I had a coupon from Valvoline for $19.99, but when I got there they said my car needed synthetic oil and the cost was $65.99, but they would be glad to take $20 off that price. I know he was just trying to up-sell me, so I told him no, thank you and left. I had the oil changed at another place in town. Next time I will have my daughter's uncle do mine as well.

I went to Target on Tuesday while I was waiting for my daughter to get done with one of her classes. I looked around, but the only thing I bought was a new pair of fingernail clippers, which will replace a pair of mine that broke last month.

There were not many sub jobs for me this week as I only worked on Friday this week. I'm scheduled for two days next week, but I hope to get more days as the week progresses. 

I had a doctor's appointment this week and she usually asks me if I check my blood pressure regularly at home and I always answer no because I do not have a blood pressure monitoring kit at home. 

So, I decided to use my Walmart gift cards from Swagbucks to buy myself a blood pressure monitoring kit for use at home. I was able to get in on free two day shipping and it arrived on Saturday. 

We found a penny at the library on Friday and picked it up. Have you found any money this week?

How was your week, frugal or no? We would love to read about it in the comment section.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Third Frugal Week of September

Here is a photo of our new staircase leading into the upper section of our home. My brother-in-law built the stairs for us and the amount spent on the wood was $700. The old stairs were 31 years old and it was past time to replace them. So happy to have this item checked off our to do list. 

Even though I was scheduled to sub four days this week, I ended up subbing all five days. I'm very happy about that. I was going over my budget this week with a fine tooth comb since this is my first big paycheck of the school year. Last month I only had one day on my check. 

I went to town today to get some oil for my daughter's car and picked up a few groceries. I found a dime on the ground when I walked into the store and picked it up.  :)

I found 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes in the crash and burn section for 50¢. There were five of them, so I picked them all up. Such a great deal!

Food City had some great sales this week on canned tomatoes (50¢/14.5 ounces), corn and green beans (50¢), canned beans (50¢), cheese - buy one get one free,  sour cream - buy one get one free. 

I am really enjoying my new smartphone and learning new ways to use it to save me money on a regular basis. 

If you have a smartphone and install the McDonald's App you can get a free large sandwich when you buy one, so if you have someone with you, you can eat inexpensively. It's a good deal if you are out and about and get hungry and did not bring something with you to eat. 

Checkpoints is another new to me app that allows you to check in at various places you do business and turn them into gift cards. I have enough right now for a $2.00 gift card to CVS, which will pay for one of my prescription co-pays. 

What kinds of ways do you find to save with your smartphone?

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Second Frugal Week September 2017

Monday was a full day of work after which I came home and made a batch of Sticky Sesame Cauliflower for dinner. It was easy with the prep work I'd already done over the weekend. 

I filled up my gas tank on Monday using both my Plenti card and EZPay card. I saved 10¢ per gallon using the EZPay card and earned points towards my next purchase of gas with the Plenti card. 

Tuesday the school system was concerned over Hurricane Irma, so we had a two hour delay, which worked for me as I still get paid for the whole day even on a two hour delay. 

I worked all five days this past week. Four of those days was for special education, which meant I traveled from classroom to classroom helping students with special ed needs. I was bone weary tired at the end of those days, but it was especially an satisfying experience. 

On Friday I was able to stay in one classroom. And if you are a regular reader you know  that I finally have a smart phone, which means I am able to use the Wi-Fi at school.

That's great, because now I can use it to earn points playing videos on Swagbucks. (Playing the videos is often a inattentive activity) So, not only was I earning money for subbing, but I was also earning money from Swagbucks, a win-win situation. 

Today I cashed in some of my Swagbucks and earned a $25 Walmart gift card, which I will combine with the $10 one I redeemed a couple of weeks ago. offers free shipping on any orders over $35, so I'm going to use the gift cards to order things we need around here including dry beans, so this will help me save money on groceries too. Another win-win situation. 

Yard Sale Saturday

On Saturday we went to multiple yard sales. I found a real metal gumball machine for $3.00. I've been wanting one ever since I saw this in one of the classrooms I subbed in last year.

The teacher has erasers inside this one, so students can buy one for 25¢. Isn't that a cute idea? I thought so and knowing me I would keep a stash of quarters just in case they needed one.  :)

Switching Gears

By now you've probably heard about the Equifax data security breach, but if not you can read about it at the FTC website here. Turns out 143 million American consumers personal information was exposed to hackers in a data breach. 

Equifax has set up a website where you can go and input your last name and last six digits of your social security number to see if your information was impacted. 

You can go to the website here: Equifax 

Click on the Potential Impact button. 

Trouble is the information given may or may not be accurate. I keyed in my information two different times and the first time the website stated my information was impacted and the second time it told me it wasn't impacted. 

I've read information about putting a freeze on your credit and how to do that, so it will be a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report for a long time. Some sources are saying this could have an impact on your credit for years to come. 

Beverly Harzog weighs in on the debacle here if you'd like to read up further on this issue. 

That's all the news I have to report from here. I hope you had a great frugal week and that this next week is even better for you. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 10, 2017

First Frugal Week September 2017

Sunday: Dad brought me O-Ke-Doke cheese popcorn, Jay's potato chips, and lots of tomatoes grown in good Illinois black dirt. They also treated us to dinner that evening. 

Monday we had a cookout with my Dad for Labor Day. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, shoepeg salsa, and chips. The food was delicious and the company even better. It has been over a  year since I saw my Dad, so it was good to catch up with him.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I worked. I took my lunch on all of those days using up some leftovers from dinner I had made earlier in the week. I also took an orange each day that I had picked up on the reduced produce bin from Food City. 

On Monday I cashed in some Swagbucks to earn a $10 gift card for Walmart, and I already have enough Swagbucks to earn another $10 card for this month. I'm going to save them up this month to see how many I can get. It would be great if the things I need monthly from Walmart can be obtained free by using Swagbucks. 

My daughter gave both of us a haircut this week, so free to us. I love saving money this way as I usually save around $20 having our hair cut at home versus getting our haircut at Great Clips. 

My daughter made a run to Aldi on Friday to pick up fresh produce while I was working. She picked up carrots, watermelon, cauliflower, potatoes, bananas, lemons, and naval oranges. We shop from their "Produce Picks of the Week" section, which saves us money. The total amount spent was: $20.00. 

On Saturday I woke up early and started cleaning and making stuff for the upcoming week in the kitchen. I had some bananas that needed using up, so I made green smoothies for breakfast also using up some fresh spinach. The rest of the bananas went into the freezer. 

I cut up all the cauliflower, watermelon, and cantaloupes for the upcoming week. I had some corn on the cob, which I shucked and cooked. I also made a batch of vegetable egg rolls. 

Prep time on the weekend saves me time during the week which helps to ensure that I takes meals from home for our lunches and that saves me money. 

We stayed home this weekend, not venturing out and not spending any money or using up the gas in our cars. 

Today I was able to cash in some reward points for a free bag of cat food from Purina My Perks reward program. 

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Final Frugal Week of August 2017

Hello to all my frugal readers. This week I was able to work Monday & Thursday and then a surprise 1/2 day on Friday. Next week we are off on Monday for Labor Day, and then I'm scheduled to work Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

On Tuesday I woke up and started working in the kitchen. I picked grapes off the vines from three packages of grapes and washed them and divided them up into twelve individual containers. We picked these up at Aldi where they were on sale for 79¢ per pound. These went into lunch bags this week until they were gone. 

I also cut up a watermelon, made some black bean burritos for dinner and baked some sweet potatoes for the week.

Our washer stopped working this week, so we went to Lowe's to replace it. We bought the lowest priced Roper model they had because of planned obsolescence. I figure I might as well go with a basic, no frills washer since they are designed now to not last as long.  

This is a high efficiency washer without an agitator. The employee told me that's how all washers are made nowadays. She said they only use one to two tablespoons of detergent, so looks like we will be saving money there as well. 

The reviews were very good on the model I chose and the price was $299 plus new hoses, taxes and delivery fee, which made the price come to $420.97 and that is with a 5% discount for using my Lowe's card.  I will pay that off as soon as I receive the bill. The savings amounted to $17.14.

We could have bought a Maytag or Whirlpool machine online for $279, but I didn't want to buy one online. I'm glad I didn't too because when we arrived at the cash register the employee had just gotten off the phone with someone who was having trouble with her online order, so she told me to never to buy a washer online. LOL

On Wednesday I found a penny on the ground while I was dropping off garbage. It reminded me of something that happened when I was subbing one day last week. 

One of the students found a quarter behind the door and picked it up to keep. He told me there was also a dime back there, but he didn't bother to pick it up. I told him he should get it too and he said it wasn't worth it. I found that odd. 

It was cool on Saturday morning, so much so that we didn't need to turn on the a/c and I even put on a sweater to keep warm. Very odd for this time of year here. 

We have family visiting us today, so we will be busy visiting with them all week. I hope you all have a great weekend!

~ Living within our Means ~

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