Friday, February 23, 2018

Frugal Week of February 19, 2018

Payday came this week and I paid all the household bills. It's a good feeling and gives me peace of mind to have everything paid for the month. 

Using my Sears/Kmart Shop Your Way reward points I was able to pick up a free water filter for our kitchen faucet and a new pillow for my bed. We had both items on our list of things we needed, but saved money by picking up these for free. 

I received a free $25 gift card to Amazon from Norton for remaining on their anti virus protection plan for another year. 

I returned three pairs of pants that were not the right size for me to wear. No sense in paying for something that does not work. 

I listed several items for sale on Ebay this week. One of them sold about four hours after I listed it, which was pretty neat.  In the end I sold three items this week for a total of $60. 

I like to watch the Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners TV show from the UK on YouTube and found a couple of things they do that's interesting. 

Some of the cleaning people use a steam cleaner after they have cleaned a surface to then sanitize the area. I've been wanting to sanitize my shower recently, so I bought one from Lowe's this week. 

I also used it on my oven and was surprised at how well it cleaned a few areas of grime that I thought would never come off the oven. It's actually been fun, so I've been entertaining myself with cleaning this week.  

My daughter has four pairs of pants that no longer fit, but had masking tape on them, which has left an adhesive residue behind. I used Goo Gone to get rid of the adhesive and now she can sell them for extra money. 

My daughter had her oil changed this week by her uncle, a professional auto mechanic, and he only charges $20 for supplies. This is much cheaper than having it done anywhere else. 

My daughter had to return an item to Walmart this week, so I rode along with her to pick up some bags of frozen vegetables, which were priced at 84¢. I bought enough to fill the freezer above my refrigerator. 

The temperature here on Thursday broke the record at 80 degrees. We have every fan in the house running trying to cool the house. I am still not going to turn on the a/c. It's supposed to cool down this next week and I hope it does. 

I hope you all have had a frugal week in your home too.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, February 19, 2018

Have It Your Way Seafood Casserole

One of the recipes I made for dinner this week was “Have It Your Way Seafood Casserole”, which was a recipe from the original Tightwad Gazette and can be found on pages 209-210.

Have It Your Way Seafood Casserole


4 to 5 ounces pasta
½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
½ cup milk or dry white wine (I used milk)
1 can condensed cream soup (used Amy D recipe)
1 cup shredded American cheese (4 ounces)
½ teaspoon dry mustard or dill (I used dill)
6 to 8 ounces drained canned seafood
(shrimp, crab, tuna, or salmon)
1 recipe crunchy topping


Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Combine mayonnaise with milk or white wine. Stir in soup, cheese, and seasonings. Gently stir in cooked pasta or noodles and drained fish or seafood. Pour into a 1 & ½ quart casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with crunchy topping. Bake 5 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.

Condensed Cream Soup:

Melt 2 Tablespoons margarine in a sauce pan. Sauté 2 Tablespoons chopped celery. Blend in 2 Tablespoons flour. Add 1/3 cup dry milk powder and 2/3 cup vegetable broth or just add 1 cup milk. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until smooth. (Back when Amy D wrote the TG, dry milk powder was inexpensive, which is no longer the case)

Crunchy Topping:

Make your own bread crumbs. Save all your crusts, cereal and cracker crumbs. Store in a bag in the freezer. Process in a blender or food processor.

To make Crunchy Topping:

1 cup soft bread crumbs and 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Or use 1 cup either crushed potato chips, chow Mein noodles or French-fried onions, or ½ cup slivered almonds. 
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Frugal Activities for the week of February 12, 2018

This week I was able to work three days. Next week is Winter Break, so I have the first three days of the week free. 

We've had A LOT of rain here this week, which has made a mess of our driveway. I'm hoping for some sunshine next week to dry up all the mess.

With all the rain came the humidity, which made the temperature warm for this time of year. At school students asked me to turn on the air conditioner one day because it was really warm in their classroom.  

At home I opened the windows and turned the fan on to cool down the house, which helped.  We want to save money here and do not want to have to turn on the a/c in February. 

We've had homemade meals everyday this week. One night I made some brown rice, added some beans I cooked earlier in the week, and then added a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. 

Photo Credit
This was a idea I gleaned from Jeff Novick who is a registered dietician. It was delicious and low in sodium, plant based and cost under $3.00 to make. 

Friday evening we went to the thrift store and I picked up Dean Ornish's book, Eat More, Weigh Less for $1.00 to read the recipes and possibly add them to our plant based menus. 

I had plenty of time for reading this week (I had no students on one of the days I subbed) and managed to read two books for some free entertainment. 

My daughter needed three of her cloth pads repaired this week, so I brought out the sewing machine and quickly repaired those. Taking care of simple repairs will make the pads last longer. 

The wrestling team at the high school did so well this year that they went to the state championship in Nashville yesterday. We were able to watch the matches online at school. It was very exciting to watch. 

I did not spend any money for Valentine's Day as it was just a regular day here. 

What have you done to save money this week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, February 12, 2018

Frugality the first half of February 2018

Sorry I've been absent from my blog. I was able to work eight days during the last two weeks, but then school was cancelled due to illness.  School reopens tomorrow and I'm scheduled to work. 

This past week I challenged myself to use up what we have in our pantry rather than buying more groceries. As a result, we had some creative dinners this week. I will be doing the same thing this week as well. 

For dinner today I will make fried rice using some planned over brown rice, stir fry vegetables, sesame oil, soy sauce and one egg. 

My daughter was able to pick up some tomato paste for us this past week and with coupon and a sale she was able to get four cans for 8¢ each. 

She also picked up some Wish Bone dressings for 24¢ each, also combining a sale with coupons. 

How have you been doing in your frugal journey?

~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Challenge Yourself to Lower Your Monthly Expenses

Cutting down your monthly expenses can be as helpful to your budget as increasing your income. By lowering your expenses, you will be increasing the amount of money you have left over each month. Money that you can save for the future. 

By decreasing the amount of money you need to live each month you won't need to earn as much money to live on, so long as you don't start taking up additional expenses again. From then on out, you can continue to live on this lowered amount each month. 

The best way to do this is to make a list of all monthly expenses. The best way to do that is to write down anytime you spend money. Use a piece of paper, notebook, journal, or anything that is convenient for you. 

Amy Dacyczyn, author of The Complete Tightwad Gazette says in this video that people who do this (write down every penny they spend) don't need to buy her book because they will know where they are losing money. 

Writing it down really does make a difference in how you spend money. It's like the old saying, what gets measured, get improved. 

At the end of the month you can write down all of those expenses into categories, and look at what you spent in each one. 

Once you figure out where your money is going it's time to see if you can cut some of those expenses. January and July are the months when I pay for my auto insurance. 

Ask for discounts on your insurance premiums. I currently get discounts for safe driving, number of years with my auto insurance company, and a multiple driver discount. Some companies even offer discounts if you take safe driving courses. 

At least twice each year I check with other companies to see if I can reduce my auto insurance costs. So far, my insurance company has been the most affordable to me for over twenty-five years, but I still check every year. 

We, like so many other people, had our land line removed a few years ago. With cell phones there was no need for a land line in our home. We also save money on our cell phones by splitting the cost between three people. 

There are multiple places to lower your monthly expenses, but no one can do this for you. You have to make a list of all your expenses and start calling people and asking for a discount. It doesn't hurt to ask  and you may be able to trim your monthly expenses by hundreds of dollars and that is money in the bank. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, January 27, 2018

4th Frugal Week - January 2018

This week I emptied out the jar of strawberry preserves while making sandwiches for lunch one day. I had two small packets of strawberry jelly in the fridge, so I used those up to finish the sandwiches.   

In my pantry was a brand new bottle of jelly from Kroger that we bought recently, but I wanted to stretch what I had before opening it. 

I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the snap down lid on the new bottle of jelly was broken off, which is how it was when I bought it. 

Since these bottles stand up on the lid, the jelly would just leak out. I was willing to do what I could with it for the savings. These bottles normally cost upwards of $2.75, but this one was marked down to $1.49. 

What I did was wash the old jelly jar and emptied the new jelly contents into the old jar.  Problem solved and money saved since it was on yellow sticker markdown.

My daughter and I both gave ourselves a haircut this week saving us at least $20 in the process. 

Since we've been cooking at home everyday I have used up a lot of the onions I had. Cooke's had the three pound bags on sale for 99¢ last week, so I bought four more bags. 

I earned another $5.00 Amazon gift card from Microsoft Rewards this week. 

I also received my $25 in PayPal money from Swagbucks, and a check for $27 from Inbox Dollars. 

Combined with the $25 PayPal money I received from MyPoints last week, that is $77 I will be putting towards my car insurance premium, which is due at the end of January.  

That is $77 that I did not have to earn, but spent just a few minutes per day working towards. 

The weather has warmed up this week, which allowed us to turn the heat off for a few days. The savings on the electric bill will be good. 

Our electric company put this YouTube video on their Facebook page to help customers dispel some energy myths, so I wanted to share it with my readers. 

I perused the grocery store sale ads online this week making note of several sale items. On Thursday I went to IGA to pick up some Nature's Own whole grain bread, which was on sale for 99¢. I bought four loaves. 

Two other markdowns made their way into my cart as well. IGA Herb Dressing Mix was marked down to 50¢ per bag, so I picked up four of those. 
They also had Oscar Mayer Ham & Cheese loaf in the 16 ounce container marked down to 79¢, so I picked up six of those and put them in the freezer. 

This week I was able to work the first two days and was scheduled to work more, but became sick on Tuesday night and ended up cancelling the rest of the week.  

I suspected I had the flu and went to the doctor on Thursday. Today is Saturday and I'm already feeling so much better and will be able to return to work on Monday. 

That's all the news from here this week. I hope you've had a good week. Leave me a comment and let me know how you're doing.  I love to hear from all of you.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, January 22, 2018

3rd Frugal Week - January 2018

Last Sunday we went grocery shopping and were able to get in on some good deals. 

Using coupons and sales I was able to get Ragu pasta sauce for 67¢, store brand peanut butter for $1.39, and V-8 juice for 95¢. So, I bought 4 jars of Ragu, 6 jars of peanut butter, and 6 bottles of V-8.  

We also picked up multiple items on reduced yellow sticker such as a loaf of whole wheat bread for 39¢, quart size zip lock type bags for 49¢, hamburger buns for 69¢, and pita bread for 79¢. 

I earned $25 in PayPal money from MyPoints this week, and also earned $25 in PayPal money from Swagbucks this week. I will be using this money to add to other funds to pay my car Insurance this month.

There was no school here last week due to the MLK holiday and inclement weather. Icy road conditions closed school for the remainder of the week. 

We finally got out of the house on Friday to run some errands. There was still patchy ice sections on several of the roads. 

I bought a bottle of Tide this week for 78¢ using a $10 credit from Google Express. The deal was posted over at How to Shop for Free. Here is a link to the deal if you're interested. 

This week school is open and I am scheduled to sub three days. I hope you all have a great week!

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, January 12, 2018

Second Frugal Week January 2018

This week started out with several phone calls asking me to sub this week and I'm so grateful. School was cancelled on Monday due to the weather, but I was still able to work at three days this week. 

Our Internet is on a data plan and therefore we have to be careful to not use it all before the end of the month. Google Chrome has added an extension for a text only browser to avoid using up all the data for the month. It's called Text Mode if you are interested. 

If you are a Shop Your Way rewards member from Sears or Kmart, be sure to check your account to see if you have any money to spend. I did that last weekend and had enough in my account to buy this free pan. It's a air fryer for the oven. I came home and made some baked potato fries in it and it worked really well. Best of all they gave it to me for free. 

 We have not eaten out anytime since before Christmas. In fact I couldn't even tell you when the last time we ate out even happened.  I've made dinner every night. Here is our menu from the last week. 

1-5-2018 - Chicken Pot Pie
1-6-2018 - Pedernales PotatoesCorn
1-7-2018 - Smoked Sausage, Green Beans & Onions, Potatoes
1-8-2018 - Cream Cheese Chicken Chili, Mexican Rice
1-9-2018 - BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
1-10-2018 - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Broccoli
1-11-2018 - Leftovers - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Broccoli

The Cream Cheese Chicken Chili was a new recipe for me, but turned out to be a keeper. Next time I will add a can of tomatoes instead of the tomatoes with chilies to keep the heat down some. 

Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
1 - 12 ounce can chicken, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
4 ounces cream cheese

Rinse and drain black beans and to pan. 
Drain corn and chicken and add to pan. 
Add canned tomatoes, but do not drain. 
Add spices, stir well and heat through. 
Add cream cheese an stir until melted. 
Serve over rice. 

I've not been grocery shopping lately either, so that is what we'll be doing this weekend, weather permitting. There is possibly bad weather in the works for Tennessee today and that will determine if we are wanting to get out of the house this weekend. 

I hope you have a great weekend!

~ Living within our Means ~

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