Monday, December 30, 2013

Free Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent after Rebate


The other day while I was shopping I needed to pick up some baking soda for the freezer, which I had just cleaned out and defrosted. I picked up two boxes of Arm & Hammer baking soda and was pleasantly surprised to find a rebate for up to $5.00 for a free bottle of Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent. 

All I needed to buy was two boxes of baking soda and one bottle of detergent, which I had already bought this month. So I came home, printed off the form, and sent it off with my receipts. The offer is good through 2-15-14. Here is a link to the rebate offer if you are interested: 

Get one Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent Free

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Little Humor for the Day

Image Credit
hehehe ;)

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas


We celebrated a pretty simple Christmas in our home this year. 

We made our traditional Sloppy Joes for Christmas Eve dinner, and I also made a very nontraditional Taco Salad, which we warmed up today when we got hungry rather than making a big Christmas dinner. We decided this year to make it easy on ourselves and not cook a big Christmas dinner and just enjoy the day without having to cook or clean up a messy kitchen. It was really nice to just be able to enjoy each other's company and not have to worry with cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. I think this will be a new tradition for us in the years to come.

I actually lucked out on the price of the ground beef for the Sloppy Joes. I was behind another customer who was right behind the meat department employee who was marking down the meat with yellow stickers and I was able to purchase four pounds of ground chuck for $9.49, so $2.38 a pound, which normally sells for $13 plus change for the same package. This made a large amount of Sloppy Joe meat, which will be frozen after Christmas into meal sized portions for those who want them. This will last for several months. 

Presents were kept simpler this year than in years past. There was no big gift for my daughter this year, but I did take the time to pick out several smaller, thoughtful gifts that I knew she would like. One was a personalized notebook with her name on it from Etsy, and a handmade necklace, also some Harry Potter stamps from the post office, which she was thrilled with and said she would never, ever use because they were so special. In the end she was very happy with her presents and that made me happy as well. 

As for the tree, we used our artificial tree, which was bought on clearance from Lowe's several years ago, the special ornaments that we've collected down through the years, and the wrapping paper was also from the past, bought on clearance in January of 2012. At the rate I am using these ten rolls they are going to last me for a long time. 

I sent fewer Christmas cards this year and even used some forever stamps that I already had on hand rather than buy new Christmas stamps. And of course I already had the cards from past years as well. The number of cards we receive diminishes each year and I suspect younger generations are more into greetings on social media and not the Christmas card tradition as older generations were in the past.    

As we begin to close out the 2013 year, we think of many of the things we accomplished this year and look forward to what is in store for us in 2014. I hope all of you, my readers, had a blessed Christmas day today and your 2014 holds many treasures for you. 

Until next time,

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to all my readers from the Frugal Workshop. 

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Final Day Triple Coupon Deals


Saturday was the final day of the Bi-Lo triple coupon promotion. Here is a photo of what we were able to purchase:



One of our deals today was Hunt's spaghetti sauce, which was on sale at 10 for $10.00. I also had 6 coupons for 55¢ off two cans, which were tripled, so I bought 12 cans. 




Spaghetti Sauce
Cost before coupons: $12.00
Coupon amount: $9.90
Cost after coupons: $2.10
Cost per can: 18¢ per can

Yesterday I bought the pasta and today I bought the sauce. Imagine how inexpensive our spaghetti meals will be for the next few months with free pasta and 18¢ sauce. I love triple coupons! :)

The following three items were completely free after coupons:



We were able to pick up one more box of the Barilla pasta for 24¢, so we now have two of those in our pantry for a total of 48¢.


We picked up 4 Dannon Oikos yogurts, which had 50¢ off coupons on them. They were originally $1.19, but the coupons tripled, so those were free as well. 

Other items include 2 bottles of Dawn for 75¢, and 6 boxes of Puffs Lotion tissues for $1.00 each. 




 In all I spent $128 in the past three days at Bi-Lo and saved $90.00 with coupons. This was a rare coupon promotion from Bi-Lo and not one we normally see here. I suspect it was because we recently had a brand new Publix grocery store open up in our area in the last month and these two big giants are competing for customers. 

Either way, it pays to be aware of the sales cycles. We had heard chatter online about Bi-Lo doing this early last week, and we always get the newspaper on Wednesday for the sale ads and sure enough the chatter was correct. As we were checking out last night, our bag boy asked the cashier, "How are these people getting all this free stuff?" It pays to be aware. :)

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Friday, December 20, 2013

Triple Coupons at Bi-Lo


Bi-Lo has been offering triple coupons for the last 3 days and tomorrow is the final day for this promotion. The policy is 20 coupons per day per family with a limit of 3 like coupons. We shopped on Thursday and Friday and have plans to return tomorrow for the final day. Here is a photo of today's shopping trip:


I had 3 coupons for 75¢ off Mueller's new pot-sized spaghetti, which were tripled. They were on sale for $1.88 and buy one get one free and each package had a 55¢ off coupon attached to it. So I bought 9 packages and received them all for free. 

Some of the other prices after triple coupons were Barilla pasta for 24¢, 6 bottles of Herbal Essence body wash for 25¢ each, and Success Rice for 48¢, 4 cans Hormel Chili for 46¢ each, and Bounce dryer sheets for 85¢. 

My totals for today were:

Before Coupons: $55.17
After Coupons: $19.92

And that was just today. We also went yesterday and watched as our total went from $107 down to $69 using the triple coupon promotion. 
We've saved $63.79 in coupons in the last two days and have only spent $89. We plan on going back tomorrow for the last day and seeing what else we can find. This is just too good of a deal to not participate. 

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2013.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Update from the Frugal Workshop



Stocking Up

I combined some terrific sales with coupons in November and as a result I have stocked up on several items we use regularly here at the Frugal Workshop. 

I don't have pictures of everything, but some of the bargains we bought include:

Four bottles of Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent, 50 ounces for $1.61 each. 


Five cans of Campbell's tomato soup for 24¢ each, which was just too good of a deal to pass up at that price.  


At Aldi, I picked up two, ten pound bags of potatoes for $1.99 each, two bags of cranberries for 99¢ each, and celery for 69¢.

At Publix I was able to stock up on one pound boxes of butter for $1.50 each, two Hellman's mayonnaise for $1.90 each,  several packages of Mueller's pasta in the one pound box for 80¢ each, and mustard for 87¢ each.



At Walgreen's, I bought two cans of salmon with an in-store coupon for $1.99 each. 


I price matched several sale items at Walmart because the stores were out of stock on the sale items. These include a four pound bag of sugar for $1.41,  and Philadelphia cream cheese for 99¢ each.



Christmas

Christmas is eighteen days away. I have the majority of my Christmas shopping done and have kept it simple this year as I did last year and the year before when I made the decision to simplify Christmas and cut my gift giving and the number of Christmas cards I sent. These days I only send Christmas cards to a select few people, in fact it is so small a number that I've been using the same box for a few years now. 

Child Support


I had a bad feeling the other day when I realized my daughter's child support did not show up in the bank, so I made some phone calls and found out my ex-husband quit his job without any word to me about it.


 

I've made a few telephone calls since then, but am very apprehensive about spending any money right now because I don't know what my finances will be like in the weeks and months to come, so I'm being careful. I'm glad I stocked up on needed necessities in November as I've put a brake on any unnecessary spending for now. Hopefully this will be resolved quickly. 

Employment

I applied for a permanent position with my employer, but was passed over for someone else, but have been working every day that is offered to me . Next week I have every day scheduled, so I am grateful for that. What would be even better would be to have permanent full time employment. Hopefully someday soon that will happen. 

In Conclusion

I hope all my readers are doing well. I've been reading many of your blog posts, but have not been commenting. The captcha portion of commenting is sometimes frustrating, so many times I read without comment. Please forgive me. 

Until next time, take care of yourselves. :)

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2013.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shop Your Way


Pictured above is a photo of a promotion I earned from Kmart's Shop Your Way reward program. The details are fairly simple, spend $50 at Kmart and receive a coupon for 30¢ off per gallon of gas up to 20 gallons. 

I've read online that you can purchase gift cards at Kmart and also get this deal, but I've not tried that. I was purchasing items for our house like the deal they had last week on the large boxes of Purex (110 ounces) priced at $2.50 each, so I stocked up on those. 

This morning I went and used my promotion and purchased 11.03 gallons of gas, so I saved $3.30 and paid $2.71 per gallon using this promotion coupon. The coupon is good for up to 20 gallons, but my car only holds 12 gallons. 



I thought this was a good deal and wanted to pass the savings along to my readers. Of course, I'm sure it goes without saying that you would only purchase items your family needs otherwise any potential savings might be lost, which would be a false economy. 

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2013.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Week In Review


 

This past week I've been mulling over what food I've had in my pantry and what meals I could make out of that food. Today I've been working on using up these items. For instance, three cans of fruit that no one has been eating and several boxes of jello. I decided to make Jell-O cups with these items. 

In all I made sixteen Jell-O cups with fruit (six lime with pear, six orange with mandarin oranges, and three lemon with fruit cocktail, and one orange/lemon with fruit cocktail). These will make snacks throughout the week and go into several lunch boxes this week as well. 

I also made a pot of hot green tea to sip on since the weather was a chilly 43 degrees this morning. 



Last Sunday I took the beans that were left from the day and made soup out of them. I cooked a box of elbow macaroni, then sauteed onions, two pounds of carrots, and half a head of celery in vegetable broth. I also added canned tomatoes. This made dinner for Sunday night and lunches for several days during this past week. I had two bowls left at the end of the week, so these went into the freezer to make lunches for two more days, which will save me money and time in the long run. 

This soup is an example of the plant based eating style I have adopted this year. This was made with no meat and no oil and is considered to be high-nutrient. 

I also put a two pound bag of 15 bean Cajun soup beans in a bowl to soak overnight and cook in the morning for Monday night dinner. 


I had a box of Penna Rigatoni in the pantry that needed to be used up as well as several tomatoes on the kitchen counter, so I decided to make a pasta salad. I also had some broccoli and cauliflower that I had cut up for family members to snack on through the week, which no one was eating, so into the pasta salad they went as well. I used up a small amount that was left in a  bottle of Ken's olive oil and vinegar dressing and added the last of a bottle of ranch dressing as well. 

Here are the results: 


As far as fruit, jello and pasta goes, this leaves me with three large cans of peaches, three and a half boxes of spaghetti, and two boxes of orange jello. Of course, I will be thinking up ways to use up these items as well. 

Today I recycled two-one gallon containers and filled them with water. These will be placed by our chicken feed for times when it doesn't rain and our rain watering system does not provide them with fresh water. Eggs are made up of 75% water, so providing them with fresh water is essential if we want them to provide us with eggs. 


In my spare time today I've been working on earning Swagbucks. I've met my goal for today and will use these Swagbucks to earn $25 to be deposited into my Paypal account, which I will then transfer to my checking account. If you are new to Swagbucks or just want to learn more about the program, you can read my page on it here


Another thing I've done this week is to join a Yard Sale group on Facebook that is close to the area where I live. I usually donate all of our items to charity since we live in a rural area where a yard sale would not work, but lately I've been rethinking that. Last week we took some of our items and set up at a local Flea Market, but the weather was just too cold and we did not have any customers. I thought about listing the items on Ebay, but the cost associated with that and PayPal can be more than I want to pay. So I've already joined a local group on Facebook and I will let you know how that goes in the next few weeks. 


All the laundry from this past week has been washed, folded, and put away. Outfits for this week have been picked out and are ready for both me and my daughter for everyday this week. Shoes are lined up, book bags are ready by the door and as you can tell I am working on food for the week. 


Pictured above are two pieces of flannel material that I picked up at a yard sale for 25¢ last week. I washed them this week and will add them to my stash. I have a project that I want to work on this month, probably during Thanksgiving week as we have the whole week off from school that week. I'll write more about that when I am closer to getting the project done. 


Pictured above is a bag that my daughter received for free from Cleveland State for a Service Project field trip she went to last week. She has a service learning class this semester at school, which not only teaches them about volunteering and service learning, but also gives them opportunities to volunteer at school although those hours do not count towards those needed to graduate with honors. 

Back when I went to high school we did not need volunteer hours to graduate with honors, but these days students do need them. They need twenty hours to graduate as a local honor student and they need eighty hours to graduate as a Tennessee scholar. So far my daughter has put in over thirty hours. 


Here is my current tube of toothpaste. I was cleaning the sink this morning thinking that I should just open a new tube, but I decided to use the handle of my toothbrush and push as much of the toothpaste up towards the tube as possible. There is enough here to last me not only this week, but possibly the week after that as well. Stay tuned for updates. 

Still in Use It Up mode, I had a large can of refried beans in the pantry along with my last can of enchilada sauce and a small amount of sour cream leftover. Perfect to make Bean & Cheese Enchiladas. I'll make that for dinner tonight and if there are any leftovers we can have that for lunches this week as well. I made these two weeks ago and there were no leftovers then. 


So, I have Bean & Cheese Enchiladas, Pasta Salad, Jell-O Cups, and two bowls of soup ready to go in the freezer. I'll put the beans in the crock pot in the morning and we will have that for dinner Monday night. This gives me a good head start on the work week and will help me to save both money and time by being prepared. We won't want to go out to eat after a long day at work if we already have food prepared at home. 

How are things shaping up in your home today?

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2013.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Good Deal Alert: Aldi Coupon


Here is a coupon good for Aldi for $10.00 off a $40.00 minimum purchase. 

Good at all Aldi store locations. 

Here is a link to the coupon where you can print this for yourself: 

Aldi $10 off $40.00 coupon

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2013.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cooking with Dried Beans


Dried Beans 

Dried  beans are one of the most economical dishes you can feed to your family and they taste great when prepared properly. A one pound bag of beans generally costs anywhere from $1.00 to $1.50 and sometimes up to $3.00 a pound for some specialty beans. 

You may think there isn't much savings when buying a bag of dried beans verses canned beans, but there are savings to be had not to mention the added flavor of home cooked beans. A one pound bag of dried beans will cook up to make the equivalent of around three 15 ounce cans of already cooked beans, so when buying dried beans over canned beans you will be saving money. 

Variety of Beans

When I was growing up my Mom made at least four types of dried beans: Great Northern, which we called Soup Beans, Pintos, Lima Beans and Black Eyed Peas. 

These days,in my frugal kitchen, I make all kinds of dried beans. I've come to realize that pinto beans are really not that flavorful. Have you ever tried Cranberry Beans? They are so full of flavor, even when cooked without oil, and are now my favorite bean and they can even be bought at Walmart these days. 



I currently have 25 pounds of beans on hand and they include, Great Northern Beans, 15 Bean Soup, 15 Bean Cajun Soup, Cranberry Beans, Split Green Peas, Lentils, 16 Bean Soup mix, Butter Beans, Lima Beans, Baby Lima Beans, Red Beans, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Yellow Eyed Peas, Black Eyed Peas, and Garbanzo Beans. 

Sorting and Soaking Dried Beans  


The first thing you need to do when getting ready to cook dried beans is sort through them to remove any pebbles or clumps of dirt. Beans are harvested in a way that does not always remove these things, so it is important to sort and then rinse the beans for any dust that may be on them. 




Usually what I do is the night before I want to make beans, I pour them onto the counter and sort them and then place them into a colander and rinse them under cool water. I then place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water up over the beans and allow the beans to soak overnight. 



Soaking beans has at least two major benefits. The first benefit is soaking breaks down some of the starches,  which can cause discomfort later after eating beans. I can always tell a difference when I've soaked my own beans at home verses beans I haven't soaked or canned beans. Another benefit of soaking beans is it makes cooking times shorter, which saves cooking fuel and money. 

Here is a photo of what the beans look like after soaking all night long. You can tell they have more than doubled in size. 



Cooking Beans from Scratch

In the morning, drain the beans and discard the soaking water and rinse again. I always discard the soaking water because to me it does not make sense to cook the beans in the water I soaked them in since that is where some of the unpleasantness of the beans is residing. 



Afterwards I place the beans in my slow cooker, but you can also make them on top of your stove. I used to make my beans on top of the stove, but that requires a great deal of what I call babysitting the beans.  I would have to check them regularly and add water as needed, but with the slower cooker I can turn them on and let them cook and not have to give them very much of my attention while they are cooking




Please excuse the photos as it was dark in the kitchen this morning as I was making these before work. I added an onion to this batch of 15 Bean Soup for flavor. 

What I do is place the beans in my slow cooker and cover with fresh water. Turn the slow cooker on high and cook the beans until they reach my desired stage of tenderness. We like some beans to be soupy and that requires additional cooking time. And I can always add more water to the beans as needed during the cooking process. You can cook them to whatever stage you would like. 

Here is the 15 Bean Soup after it has cooked all day and what it looks like in a serving bowl. 



It is a very hearty and delicious, stick to your ribs kind of dish. There is no oil in these beans although you could add some if you wanted for seasoning. My grandmother used to add bacon grease to her beans for flavoring and so did my Mother, but she eventually switched over to using vegetable oil for seasoning, which is what I had always done. I have used olive oil as well, which makes a great seasoning. But after doing my research this year, I change the way I make beans now and just add onion and some salt for seasoning. 

You can read about that update here

I've cooked dried beans for at least twenty-five years now, and I have made them as a main dish meal many times before. But it was not until this year that I have made them as a main dish meal on a regular basis. We eat beans almost everyday now and on days I am not cooking them we are usually eating beans from the batch made the day before. 

This is a change I've made in our diet to combat some of the rising cost of meat and groceries these days and in my attempt to eat a healthier, plant based diet . I made this 15 bean soup and it cost me approximately $3.00 to make and feed 3 people for dinner tonight. That works out to $1.00 per serving. Like I said about the onions, "I love getting a good bargain and feeding my family with food bought at the lowest price possible while still maintaining a healthy diet". 

Belinda
CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2013.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”