Saturday, July 22, 2017

Third Frugal Week of July 2017

     

Last Friday we both went to Starbucks and got a free sample of Teavana's new teas. She got the Pineapple Black Tea and I got the Strawberry Green Tea.

On Friday we went to 13 yard sales and 2 church rummage sales. Three of the yard sales either decided not to set up or had already closed up for the day. 

One of the items I found 81 pencils for 75¢ total. One of the teachers on my Facebook page said to get someone to cut them in half for me, which I thought was a great idea. I can't have too many pencils for when I'm subbing. 


I took my kitchen fan apart and cleaned it with hot soapy water to get it good and clean. It cools so much better when it's cleaned well, which helps it cool more efficiently, which saves me money. 


Pictured above is the cell phone I bought new in January 2012 and blogged about here. This was a good phone for me helping me to earn money for over five years. 

I endured many comments from students about my phone and how I needed to upgrade. One of them even went so far this year as to call my phone a throwback phone. LOL

One of the hinges even broke on it this past winter and made it unable to stay open to use the keyboard, but I continued to use it as it still worked fine. 

This week I finally went with a smartphone, but did not have to pay any actual money for it. It is a iPhone 4, which my daughter was excited for me to finally get as she wants to Snapchat with me. LOL


I didn't pay any money for the phone, but traded for it at McKay's Used Books like we did when we needed one of those expensive graphing calculators

We bought ten board games at a yard sale the weekend before and traded them and received $51.95 in trade credit. The phone cost $49.95, so almost an even trade. 

I even worked out a deal with Verizon, so this phone won't cost me anymore than the cell phone I had before. That was the one thing that held me back from getting a smart phone for so long. I didn't want to pay more for it each month. 


We stopped by a new spice & tea store in Chattanooga and my daughter checked in on their Facebook page, which entitled her to one free item. She picked this Spiced Ham seasoning, which I think will go well in some of our 15 bean soup recipes. 

Today is Saturday and we are going to more yard sales. 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Second Frugal Week of July 2017


Last week we found a full length mirror at a yard sale for $1.00. It had been on our wish list for some time, but I hardly ever see full length mirrors for sale at yard sales. The one we've been looking at @ Lowe's is $14.98, so we saved $13.98 on the mirror. 

We went to Jo-Ann's Fabrics over the weekend. The reason I went was to get a cleaning brush for my sewing machine and sewing machine oil. Mine did not come with these since I bought it at a yard sale and I've used mine a lot since I bought it, so it was time for a good cleaning and oiling. 

I had sticker shock while I was in Jo-Ann's. We used a 40% off coupon, but even with that the prices were very high, even double in some cases when compared to other stores. This makes me happy for my frugal ways as I find other sources for fabric that don't cost me as much as stores like this. 


I made one more cloth pad for my daughter this week. This fabric came from one of the scrub shirts we bought at a yard sale last weekend. 

I figured the cost of ordering 30 cloth pads from Etsy, and the total cost would have been $610.50. I did not pay anywhere near that amount for the materials I bought. 

I used good quality fabric obtained second hand and bought PUL and Zorb to make these pads, which ended up costing less than $3.00 each to make, which saved me over $500. And now that my daughter has a sufficient supply we are saving money on electricity via less laundry as well. 

On Tuesday we went to McKay's Used Books and traded books and games again. We received right at $50 in trade credit and picked up several new to us books & movies in return. One of the movies I picked up was Simon Birch, which I had seen years ago, but enjoyed watching again this week. 

We also went to the Samaritan Center on Tuesday. I picked up a couple of fabric bundles inexpensively (88¢ and $1.36) and also some pretty cloth napkins for 25¢ each.

We went to the Mennonite Farmer's Market on Tuesday. We picked up tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, red cabbage, cantaloupes, and potatoes. For dinner that night we had soup beans, cabbage, and tomatoes & onions. Delicious!



I'm not sure if you can see that, but I ordered Redbook, Woman's Day, and Woman's Health magazines for free from Verizon Rewards this week. I also ordered Rachael Ray's magazine free from Recycle Bank this week. 

On Wednesday I drove Mom to a doctor's appointment. We stopped at the Peach orchard and bought peaches. These are so delicious that the juice will run down your arm when you eat them.  :)

I sold an item on Ebay this week that netted me $36.55 after all Ebay and Paypal fees. 

What frugal things have you been up to this week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, July 8, 2017

First Frugal Week of July 2017


Monday we went to the YMCA for my daughter's Zumba class and I went for a swim while she was exercising. I used my new to me swim bag that I picked up at a yard sale for 50¢.


I made three new pads for my daughter this week. The one above was made from a Camp Rock sheet, which was bought at the thrift store and upcycled. The one below was a scrub shirt, which we bought at the thrift store. 


This cloth pad below was made from a flat sheet, which we bought at Goodwill and upcycled. We kept the pillowcases. 


I only have five cloth pads to go before I reach the number of thirty that we settled on before. 

We stayed home on Tuesday and had a quiet 4th of July. I made a vegetable stir fry for dinner and made some more vegetable egg rolls. We wanted to go to our local fireworks show, but it was cancelled due to rain. 

On Wednesday I went to Walmart because I needed a few things. I picked up some distilled water for my CPAP machine. I like to get it there as it is only 88¢ per gallon. 

I looked at the fabric while I was there, but didn't find any that I liked. I did pick up a birthday present for my Mom. It was a set of summer pajamas. I also bought her some soap, on sale for $3.00, from Bath & Body Works over the weekend. 

Afterwards we went to the library with our laptops and utilized their Internet. We also picked up a couple of movies to watch at home later. No money spent there. 

When we came home my daughter gave me and herself a haircut. No money spent there either. 

I baked a cake on Thursday for Mom's birthday on Friday.  

I paid for my auto insurance this week. I could have paid two installments or a one time payment. Paying the one time payment saved me $12, so that is the one I chose. My auto Insurance is now paid up through January 2018.

On Friday and Saturday we went to several yard sales before the rain set in for the day.  


I found a sewing box to store thread for 25¢. 

We also did well on finding scrubs both days. Some people were just wanting to get rid of stuff and were willing to sell us a bag full for $2.00 at one sale. 


In all we ended up with about 20 scrub shirts for about 25¢ each, which certainly beats the Goodwill thrift store price of $4.99 each. 


We found two Disney movies for $1.00 each. 


I'm going to file this under unbelievable. We bought two brand new HUGE beach towels for 25¢ each. They are Better Homes and Gardens brand and one of them still had the tag for $12.97 on it. They practically gave them away!

My daughter found multiple items to resell online. She has done well for herself this summer by flipping and reselling items. 

We had a good frugal week here and hope that you did too! :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls ~ Original Recipe


Here is my recipe for Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls. I wanted to include it here for anyone who wanted the original recipe. I usually just use a bag of coleslaw mix to make them and they turn out great. I've also used regular cabbage in this with good results. 

Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

1 head Chinese cabbage, outer leaves removed, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium scallions, white & green parts, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, fresh, minced or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
8 egg roll  wrappers

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°
Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place cabbage in a microwave dish and cover.
Microwave on high for 4 minutes until wilted. 
Drain and transfer to a large bowl. 
Add carrots, garlic, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch and sesame oil and mix well.
Arrange egg roll wrappers on a clean, dry surface.
Spoon cabbage mixture diagonally onto each wrapper. 
Fold over one corner to cover filling. 
Fold up both corners towards center of egg roll.  
Moisten edges of remaining flap with water and roll up jellyroll style until sealed. 
Transfer egg rolls to prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. 
Bake until golden brown, 25 minutes. Serve hot.  

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, July 3, 2017

Frugal Weekend #1 July 2017


On Saturday we went to the 50% off Goodwill sale. 


Here is a list of the things we bought:

- One flat sheet and two pillowcases - pictured above - $1.00
- A River Runs thru It DVD - $1.00
- It's Complicated DVD - $1.00
- Magnetic Hall Passes for school - 50¢
- Two Liz Claiborne HUGE towels - $1.50 each
- Brand new Dirt Devil handheld vacuum - $5.00

While we were in Chattanooga on Saturday we stopped at Sam's Club and picked up a container of chives and one onion powder as we were out of both of them. We also picked up two ten pounds bags of gold potatoes and one package of black grapes. Total spent was $28.

We also stopped at Aldi and picked up three cantaloupes, which were on sale for 99¢, and one package of strawberries, also on sale for 99¢.

This weekend I made one pad for my daughter. This fabric came from Hobby Lobby and was on clearance for $4.00 a yard. I just love this fabric.


I bought this flannel sheet at a church yard sale for $1.00 a couple of weeks ago. I decided to cut it up into 9 x 9 squares and make some flannel cloth wipes with it. 


I made these double sided and was able to get 39 squares out of it, which made 19 cloth wipes, which made them 5¢ each. 




Other frugal things that happened this weekend include:

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

- On Sunday we had a mystery shop for pizza, which we will be reimbursed for later. 

How was your weekend?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Final Frugal Week of June 2017

One of the ways we've saved money here this week is by turning off our air conditioner at night to save on the electric bill. It's been cooler here than what is normal for this time of year, so that will help save on our electric bill next month. 

Another way I saved money this week was to use residual heat to finish any cooking I do on the stovetop, such as making popcorn one night.


My neighbor set his free produce basket out again this year, so we picked out three cucumbers. 

We traded board games at McKays Used Books this week. We paid $4.50 for nine board games at yard sales last week and earned $43.00 in trade credit. 

We picked out two TV shows on DVD and several books with the credit. We do not have streaming services here (which also saves us money), but are able to still pick up DVDs on the cheap here.  

We found Princess and the Frog last weekend at a yard sale for $2.00. It had been on our wish list for about six months. 

We stopped at Food City on Wednesday to pick up some red bell peppers, which were on sale. I also picked up five bags of 15 bean soup beans. 

We also stopped at Cooke's on Wednesday as they had their bags of coleslaw for 99¢. I picked up five of those and also the last two bags of Cajun 15 bean dry soup beans. 

I made baked vegetable eggrolls with some of the coleslaw. They are easy to make. You take one package of the coleslaw mix and microwave it for four minutes. 

Meantime in a separate bowl you add one tablespoon cornstarch, two tablespoons soy sauce, one teaspoon sesame oil, one teaspoon ginger, one teaspoon garlic, one teaspoon salt, and mix together. 

Mix with the cabbage and place a spoonful an egg roll wrappers and roll up. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. 


My daughter picked up a scrub shirt jacket last week at a yard sale, so I cut it into useable fabric pieces. I was able to make two pads with it for her. 

This week I was able to make four cloth pads for her, which has resulted in doing less laundry.  

I've made her a total of 19 pads now and she isn't having to wash them everyday like she did when her stash was smaller. 

She went three days without doing any laundry this week, so that will be an additional savings on our electric bill next month.  :)


Another way we've been saving money this summer is by not buying any meat. The last month I bought meat was in March and our grocery bill for that month was right at $300. 

I've not bought any meat since then and our grocery bill has dropped over $50 each month. I do have some canned salmon on hand if anyone wants meat, but we've been eating a plant based diet all summer and have even dropped a few pounds. 

We went to the yearly SDA church rummage sale on Wednesday. We only found a couple of things this year, nothing to write home about. Same with the 40% off sale at the Habitat Restore sale this week. We didn't buy anything there and yard sales were rained out on Friday. 


On Saturday we headed out to our local Goodwill stores for their first Saturday of the month 50% off sale. 

You can read about our trip in June here.  

I'll be posting about this month's trip next week. 

I hope you have a great weekend.  :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Financial Lessons Learned from Others

What types of financial lessons did you learn from your parents or other family members when you were growing up? 

What kind of financial lessons did you learn from your spouse/significant other or friends?

My parents believed, like many Americans, that borrowing money for cars, or a shopping trip to Walmart, was and is a perfectly normal thing to do when they run out of money. Both of them have thousands of dollars in credit card debt. 

My Mother has cable TV for which she pays almost $200 per month for, but she cannot find the money to pay her property taxes or buy food for herself.

My Mother and Father, who are now divorced, both managed to spend every cent they made while working and both retired with no retirement savings. Now they live on what they get from social security and my mother gets a very small pension. 

My ex-husband could spend our last nickle on a pack of cigarettes. It used to drive me nuts. Anytime I would budget or plan ahead for our paychecks he would be upset that I was "spending his money before he even earned it". 

My ex has a history of being financially irresponsible. He put brand new windows, to the tune of over $5,000, into the home that his Dad left for him and his brother. The house is now being sold on the auction block next month for back property taxes, which were only about $250 a year. 

These people definitely had their priorities out of order and are financially irresponsible, and I learned my financial lessons from these people. The only difference is that I learned to NOT do what they did. 

I do not carry credit card debt, I pay all of my bills on time and in full every month. I have both checking and savings accounts, I do not bounce checks, I have investment accounts, and I live frugally and save for the future. I could not imagine living any other way because I could not sleep at night if I were financially irresponsible. 

How about you?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fourth Frugal Week of June 2017

Last Friday I made arrangements with someone on Craigslist for a free chair. We both agreed to the day and time, but when I went to the home no one answered either door and they ignored my text as well. Sometimes our good deals do not always come through. 

Lucky for us though we were able to pick one up while we were going to yard sales on Saturday, so we were happy with that. 

Last Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we stayed home, so no wear and tear on the car, no gas used, and no money spent. 

On Monday, dd went to her Zumba class while I did a quick run to Food City. I found bananas on markdown as well as taco sauce and water chestnuts. I also bought more 15 bean dry soup beans and tortillas. 

The only other groceries we bought this week came from Aldi, which included two watermelons and ten packages of sweet corn on the cob. Both were on sale and a great price. 

We packed a lunch to take with us on Monday and brought water to drink in reusable water bottles. 

We also went to McKay Used Books on Monday.  I found a good book about sewing. 

We also went to the thrift store. I found a couple of shirts to reuse the material. And an electric can opener. I found a brand new Saltbox Illustrations notepad, still in the wrapper for 55¢. That will be going into my gift closet for Christmas.

I made four more cloth pads for my daughter this week. I've made her a total of seventeen pads now. 

Friday we went to multiple yard sales including some in Chattanooga. We found several things that we were needing such as a new rug for the bathroom ($1.50), a new shelf for our board games ($2.00),  a pencil box filled with new embroidery thread ($1.00), heated drying rack ($5 goes for $47 @ Amazon).

Ironing board ($1.00), two Dr. McDougall books ($1.00 each), several board games (50¢ each), several items of clothes (4 pieces for 50¢ and the lady even gave dd a very nice coat), and multiple other things I cannot recall right now. We checked off several things on our "things we need list", which is always a good thing.

How was your week? Hopefully it was a frugal one. :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, June 16, 2017

Third Frugal Week of June 2017


First thing Monday morning someone came, at my Mother's request, to pick up her van and car. She had sold both of them for salvage over the weekend. 

Neither one of them would start anymore and she decided to sell them since she was afraid of how much they would cost to try and get them fixed. 

SusanBranch.com
I made six more cloth pads for my daughter this week. I have now made 13 pads for her, so we are getting closer to the 35 we settled on when I started. 

I had to order more Zorb and PUL as I'm about out of both of them, but I used coupons for both purchases. 

This one was made from some pinwheel fabric she found at a yard sale last week. Of all the pads I've made her so far, this one is my favorite. 



This sock monkey fabric was actually a bandana in it's former life. My daughter loves this one.  :)


The cat material below was the scrub shirt we picked up at a yard sale earlier. 



 This pinkish material below was also a scrub shirt we picked up at a yard sale. 


I've made two Day of the Dead pads and have enough to make a third one. Day of the Dead anything is very popular right now. 


We stopped at Aldi on Wednesday and picked up the following:

2 Watermelons ~ $2.99 each
2 Blackberries ~ 99¢ each
2 pounds Strawberries ~ 99¢ each
1 cucumber ~ 49¢
4 packages sweet corn ~ $1.29 each (16 ears)
4 pounds red grapes ~ $1.98 for 2 pounds

Image Credit

On Friday we went to multiple yard sales. 

Some things we picked up include:

- 4 nesting plastic containers - $2.00
- RTIC Tumbler - $1.00 - ($18.99 at Walmart) (we both have one now)
- Lilly Pulitzer shopping bag - $1.00
- 3 antique cookie jars - $13 - (going to flip these)
- 4 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts, 3 swimsuits - 50¢ each
- Bag of craft items - $2.00
- Buckbeak plush animal - $1.00 new with tags - I told dd she could flip it, but she is a true Harry Potter fan and said, "no way!" ($46.57 at Walmart

Sadly we did not find any fabric today, but it rained a lot last night, so some people may not have set up. 

Other frugal things we did this week include:

- Received a free issue of Money magazine in the mail.
- Received a free taco at Taco Bell on Tuesday. 

How was your week?


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer Time means Gazpacho

www.SusanBranch.com
Summertime means plenty of vegetables around here. 

One of my favorite summer time soups is Gazpacho and this recipe from Susan Branch is one of my favorite cold soup recipes. 

This soup recipe is very refreshing and hits the spot on a hot summer day. 

Susan Branch ~ Gazpacho

Combine in your blender:

10 ounces cold tomato juice
1/2 medium cucumber, cut up
1 medium tomato, cup up
1 Tbsp sugar (I leave this out)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup salad oil (I leave this out)

To the blended ingredients add:

2 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped 
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 green onions, green part only, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped (I had red on hand)

Add or subtract any vegetables you like. Serve very cold. 

SusanBranch.com
Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~