It’s been a while since I’ve posted a grocery/menu post. My grocery shopping was minimal this week. We have plenty of hamburger meat in the freezer so I didn’t need to buy any protein other than a bag of lentils, and we have a variety of things in the pantry. Plus a couple of the things on my list to buy were actually donated to our school making my grocery list even smaller.

I spent about $40 on food. I price matched a 3 lb. bag of onions for 79 cents, 2 8 oz. boxes of mushrooms for 99 cents/each, and 3 16 oz. bags of baby carrots for 69 cents/each.

Here’s our menu plan, which I’m sure I won’t follow exactly, cuz I never do:

Breakfasts: breakfast rice, oatmeal, eggs, toast, smoothies, breakfast burritos

Lunches: leftovers, burritos, quesadillas and sandwiches

Suppers:

Linked at Organized Junkie.

It seems so simple…so “duh!” but yet I don’t think most of us really realize how much we waste by not getting everything out. Whether it’s mustard in the bottle, toothpaste in the tube, or whatever. When I started cutting, scraping, shaking and slicing, I was shocked at how much was still in those containers!

Scrape it

I love my rubber spatula! That bad boy can scrape more out of a bowl of batter, or a jar of mayo. Although mine in particular is too big for some jars and bottles…but that’s where cutting them open comes in.

Cut it
Once when I cut open a mustard bottle I was able to scrap at least 1/2 Tablespoon out of it.

See how much mustard was still in there?

 

Cut tubes of toothpaste and lotion to get a few more uses out of them.

I now always cut open my tubes of toothpaste, and though I haven’t kept exact track of how much longer I use them after that, it’s probably a few days if not a week.

Keep it upside down

When the honey starts getting low, upside down it goes! Same with many other things, but that’s a no-brainer, in fact many products are sold the with lids on the bottom just for that purpose.

Add water and shake

I don’t do this with everything…watered down mayonnaise anyone? But it works just fine with liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner, liquid laundry detergent, etc…

You can even water down food items if you’re going to be using them in a recipe. Like if you’re making a salad dressing that calls for mustard, shake one of the liquid ingredients (like vinegar) up in the mustard jar to get more out. I often rinse my tomato sauce jars with water then dump it in the pot. Amy Dacyczyn talks about shaking milk up in a jelly jar and then using it to make fruit flavored popsicles.

What did I miss? What ways do you make sure you get every last drop out?

Amy

 
Joy Focused Learning – See more at: http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/search/label/Anything%20goes#sthash.PEKprUs5.dpuf
 

1. Shopped from my pantry, then price matched and shopped sales, so I didn’t spend too much on groceries.

2. I’m having fun trying to do home school activities with the kids using what I have around the house, like for music week they banged on an oatmeal canister for a drum and I put two spoons together with a rubber band for them to play the spoons. I like collecting ideas on my home school board and home school craft board.

3. Made a couple of batches of homemade granola bars, but the second batch was so crumbly, I didn’t feel like I could really call them bars, so instead I put them in our granola jar and decided it was just granola!

4. Cut open the kid’s tube of toothpaste and got a few more uses out of it.

5. Last, but not least. I picked some wild watercress…and I must say it tasted better than tumbleweed. :) Speaking of foraging watercress, here’s an article on it, and here’s another one that mentions watercress giving you liver fluke…whatever that is…but I got it from a flowing stream feed by a spring, so I’m hoping that means my liver doesn’t go all fluke on me.

Watercress salad- free, other than the cheese, oil and seasonings and SUPER healthy and fresh!

 

What are 5 things you’ve done this week to spare a buck or two? I love hearing ideas from all of you!

Amy

I’ve been reading lots of great articles lately about fostering and adopting and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. So grab some kleenex and read away…

Adoption Story Written by God

 

Another Perspective on Birth Families and Foster Care

 

It’s Not About You

 

 

 

 

 

1. Cashed in another 450 swag bucks* for a $5 Amazon gift card.
2. Price-matched getting avocados for 29 cents each, bananas for 29 cents/lb., and cantaloupe for $1.49 each. Price-matching helps us eat healthy on a budget.

I didn't get a picture of the cards I made this week, but here's some I made a long time ago.

3. Made  some thank you cards. Making homemade cards isn’t necessarily cheaper, depending on how much you spend on materials, but I was able to use rubber stamps that have been gifted to me and re-purpose some old cards into new ones.

4. For a fun evening we let the kids watch Winnie the Pooh in a tent they made, while Cameron and I played 2 rounds of Pandemic*. What I love about games is that they can be played over and over again, with no extra charge, just the initial cost (but we did buy this game on sale). Speaking of entertainment costs, our expenses in this area has gone way down since moving to Missouri. We quit our Netflix account and we don’t rent Redbox as much as we used to. One advantage to being busy is we have less time to spend watching movies! Also that fact that we sold our TV and now have to watch things on a small laptop screen make it a little less tempting. :)

5. Darned a sock! The funny part is, I just discovered that it’s match has a hole, so it looks like I’ll be getting more darn practice!

What are 5 things you’ve done to spend a little less money this week?

*Affiliate/referral links

Linked at Frugally Sustainable.


Amy

I own this nice pair of super warm Red Head socks. I don’t know how much they cost, since they were a gift 2 Christmases ago, but they feel like really good quality. After looking up that brand socks, I didn’t find this exact pair right away and decided not to waste more time, but compared to the other socks in that brand and similar styles I think saying they cost $8 is pretty fair. So one sock is $4, but we all know you can’t buy just one sock. In fact a good tip for saving on socks is to buy a pack of the same color so if one wears a hole you can just match the good one up with another. Either that or just be cool with wearing mis-matched socks…which I do and I think it’s very fashionable.

I used the Zero Waste Home’s tutorial as my guide, and I highly recommend it if you’ve never darned a sock before. My socks are grey, but the only grey yarn I have is really thick, so instead I opted for some thin white yarn. It doesn’t blend in as well, but I figure the hole’s on the bottom, how many people are really gonna see? And if they do….I really don’t care, it’s not like I’m gonna wear these to a fancy event or anything.

Anyways….onto the money savings. Lets say that I saved $4 by darning this. The amount of yarn I used to darn it is pretty insignificant and it was some I had already on hand.  It took me about 10 minutes to do, and that was with me stopping to take pictures.

So I saved $4 in 10 minutes, that’s $24/hour “savings wage.” TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Plus:

  • Saves these socks from going into the trash, or at my house they go into the rag bucket first, but these are just too nice for the rag bucket.
  • Didn’t take much time to fix.
  • Gave me yet again much needed practice with needle work!

 

Yay for warm feet!

 

You may also like Simple Mending & is it Really Worth it, where I mended a couple of shirts and broke down my savings per hour.

Linked at Frugally Sustainable and The Shabby Nest.

Amy

Write them in the  snow (if snow is lacking, sand and dirt work too) :)


Build them with Legos, this gets tricky with some letters, but works great with some letters, like I,L,T, etc…

Spray some shaving cream on the table and draw the shape with your finger.

Form the letters with playdough.


Use dry beans to make the shape of the letter.

 

PS- I’m back on pinterest. I had gotten off of it because I was just spending more time than I wanted on it. But I’ve now reactivated my account and am trying to use it as a helpful tool in finding ideas (mostly home school ideas) and keep those ideas organized, so if you want to follow me, feel free!

 

Amy 

I’m enjoying these 5 Frugal Things posts so much! Thanks My Mothermode for the inspiration! :)

1. Picked up the check for $39.19 we made at the consignment store! :)
2. Made a batch of pinto beans in the pressure cooker, I used some in chili the next day and the rest I froze, so this isn’t just a money saver, but a time saver too.


3. Had myself a little cooking session earlier in the week baking a double batch of cheese muffins and a double batch of flour tortillas.
4. Made some veggie broth with veggie scraps in my pressure cooker and used the  broth to make soup.

Veggies and scraps ready to be made into stock!

5. I’m trying out this homemade version of oxiclean to see if it helps some armpit stains.

Not so frugal:

Bought some green beans and noticed they weren’t so fresh looking, I made a mental note to cook them soon…soon turned into a few days and I ended up tossing over half of them. :( But the rest tasted great sauted up with olive oil, salt and garlic powder!

Took the kids to watch a movie for Little Dude’s birthday, then went to Wendy’s afterwards. Speaking of which did you know Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s was adopted and a portion of the proceeds from Wendy’s goes to help kids available for adoption from foster care? You can read all about the Dave Thomas foundation here.

What are 5 things you’ve done to spend less money this week?

Amy 

It’s amazing to me the wide variety of things people use to help them save money in the kitchen. We all have our favorites. We all also have our different situations, special diets, different numbers of mouths to feed, varying amounts of kitchen space, some have more time to cook than others. Because of all these differences our favorite kitchen tools are gonna vary a little, but I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorites that we use a lot at our house and that save us money.

Cheese slicer. When you eat as much cheese as we do, this thing is handy-dandy! We buy big blocks of cheese and slice it for things like sandwiches. You can just use a knife, but it’s easier to get thinner slices with this, making our precious block of cheese last a little longer.

Cheese grater. Like I just said, we buy blocks of cheese. If we’re not slicing it, we’re grating it. Check the unit prices though, blocks of cheese aren’t always cheaper than the already shredded kind.

This is a very old picture from when we lived in our hangar apartment at the airport, but you can see Gracia holding my rubber spatula.

Rubber spatula - This little bad boy can help you get one more muffin out of that remaining batter in the bowl, or scrap ever last drop of yogurt out of the container, perfect for cutting back on wasted food.

Pressure cooker - This baby uses way less energy to cook foods. I’m trying to use it more and more and have now made broths, whole chicken, chicken breasts, venison, beans and more.

Cutting board – I actually own 3. One for raw chicken, a cute small bamboo one, and my most used one pictured above. Cutting up your own fruits and veggies can save you tons, as well as chopping your own meats, nuts and whatever else comes already prepared. If your cutting board starts to smell, like after chopping garlic or onions, try cleaning it with baking soda.

What are your favorite money saving kitchen tools?

Linked at Frugally Sustainable.

Amy

 

I’m copying My Mothermode again with 5 frugal things I’ve done this week….thinking this might become a weekly ritual.
  • Went to the library and got lots of books for the kids and 2 movies for them, Learning with Leap Frog and Reading Rainbow…”It’s in a book, take a look, reading rainbow!!!!” Happy memories come back with that song. :)

  • Made homemade flour tortillas from Family Feasts for $75 a Week*. They were yummier than store-bought, but more work and not as perfectly round (I’m not one to spend forever getting things perfect!). I think I’ll still heavily depend on store-bought flour tortillas, but it’s a good recipe!

 

Making flour tortillas - This is an old picture, and a different recipe than the one I tried this week. The one from her book uses shortening and it's easier to get thinner tortillas.

 

  • Combined errands. It seems like lately I’m running to town all the time for dropping Little Dude off at visits, picking him up, going to the post office, store…it’s always something. But I try to combine errands when possible. For example, one day I picked Little Dude up from a visit and we went to the library all on the same run. Today I picked him up then we went shopping and filled up on gas.

 

Combining errands saves gas money and time!

 

  • Cut open my Burt’s Bees lotion to get more out and was pleasantly surprised at how much is still in their.

 

Burt's Bees is good stuff, gotta make sure none of it gets wasted!

 

  • Ran out of conditioner so I pulled out the ol’ bag of free samples I’ve been collecting and poured 7 samples of hair conditioner into my bottle. I probably use only half the amount from each sample per wash, so theoretically this will last 14 hair washes! :)

 

Making use of my free samples.

 

Speaking of freebies, here’s a picture of my most recent free goodies:

What have you done this week to save a buck or two?

*Amazon affiliate link – If you make a purchase through my link I receive a portion of the proceeds.

Amy

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