• The night before Cameron headed for Mexico, we had a spur of the moment date night. His parents watched the kids = free babysitting. :) We went to Subway where Cameron got a $6 footlong and I got 2 flatizzas for $5, cuz I had a coupon (thanks Mom!). We got waters = free again! Then we went and walked around the outlet mall, which always reminds me how out of touch I am with cool people. We didn’t buy anything, just looked at stuff. Then we finished the night off by going to Sonic for slushies.
  • I’m trying to make use of free and cheap ways to have fun with the kids. So far this has involved swimming in the lake, going to parks and enjoying the library.
  • I just ordered Cameron’s b-day gift off of Amazon.I paid it COMPLETELY with credit earned from swagbucks!!!* Woo-hoo! He’s always making fun of me for doing swagbucks, so I like to buy him things with my earnings, then he doesn’t have a right to poke fun at me! HA!
  • You know how I had myself a little canning lesson? Well…last night, after the kids were in bed, I tried canning all by myself and now I have 4 jars of pickles sitting on the counter. I’ll have to update you after we’ve tasted them.
  • I gave Little Dude a hair cut. Oh how I love the savings of cutting male hair at home!

 

The kids with their new haircuts...and the cones they earned in the summer reading program.

 

 

Not-So-Frugal: Speaking of cutting little Dude’s hair, we took Gracia to Wal-Mart this week and got her hair cut. I have tried to do trims on her before, but I have a bad track record with female hair, so I’m sticking with professionals for longer hair.

Amy


*Referral link

  • The kids were invited to a superhero birthday party and I maybe, just maybe put off getting a gift until right before the party. I thought about mixing up some play dough, but didn’t have enough cream of tartar, then I remembered cloud dough, which I made once before. Get this, it only requires 2 ingredients, 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part conditioner (yes like the kind you put in your hair, I know it’s weird, but it works). We whipped some up last minute and the kids made some cards. So if you ever procrastinate like me, this recipe  is super quick, no cooking or anything.
  • I’ve been listening to lots of music. God’s truth blaring at me in music challenges and encourages me in so many ways, and I’m so grateful for it! Spotifiy is a great way to listen to all kinds of music for free, I use it almost daily.

 

Pantry in our travel trailer we lived in for 2 years.

 

 

  • Shopped my pantry before making my menu and grocery list. I usually do this mentally, but I find that when I actually go look and see what I have then write it down, I realize that I have more than I thought. Speaking of eating from the pantry, have you read Money Saving Mom’s Eat From the Pantry Post?
  • I get the Shutterfly emails about deals and took advantage of 24 address labels for free (just $3.16 for shipping and handling). However I didn’t put our address on them, but tweaked them so I can use them in as a gift idea.

  • I was at Wal-Mart multiple times this week (I know…that’s not frugal to go to the store multiple times a week). But when there I checked the meat department and found some reduced for quick sale meat! Oh how I love those beautiful yellow stickers!

 

Not so frugal - Drove all the way to town yesterday, then realized I didn’t have my purse with me and had to drive all the way back home and then back to town again….Moral of the story: Loosing your mind can cost you time and money.

What are some things you did this week to spend less money?

Amy 

  • Took another box of things to the consignment store. Our last box, plus one thing that was too big for the box, has earned us about $40! I’m sure this one won’t be as much, but I’m still excited to see how much we get. :)
  • I cleaned out my fridge. I feel like this is one of the biggest things that helps me waste less. When I go through the fridge I’m reminded of what still needs to be eaten and often end up freezing some things that I don’t think I’ll finish in time.
  • We bought a new (to us) car! Just $1500 for a Subaru Outback. This may need to be a post in and of itself.
  • About the car, we had to drive a few hours away to get it. That meant supper on the road. I’m always so tempted to just grab some fast food, or even if I do pack a meal, we often still buy some drinks and snacks at gas stations on trips, but I determined not to do that this time! Before heading to the store, I stopped by the consignment store to return a pair of  jeans. I got about $9 in cash back for returning the jeans and I thought it’d be a fun challenge to see if I could buy enough food (in combination with what food I already had at home) to use for our drive that night. Sure enough I was able to spend under $9 and we had wraps, homemade ice-coffee, cereal and raisins for our drive, and the only thing we bought at gas stations was gas! Savings – If we had eaten out and bought some snacks or drinks at a convenience store it could’ve easily totaled $25 and since I only spent $9 out of pocket that’s a savings of $16 (plus it was way healthier).

 

Homemade ice coffee

 

  • We keep a box with pieces of scrap paper for writing notes on or for the kids to color on, but they got all used up. So yesterday I cleaned out my card box and found a few envelopes that the flaps were stuck shut and some other miscellaneous pieces of paper to add to the scrap box. This cuts way back on our notebook purchases.

Your turn!! What are a few things you’ve done to spend less this week? I love hearing what you’ve been up to!

Amy 

I meant to make this post Friday, but didn’t get around to it, sorry it’s a little late.

You know what I like about these kinds of posts? As I think of what things I’ll choose to share about, it reminds me that spending less money is not always something big and huge, but those little things we do day-in and day-out really do matter.

Cameron and I are opposites when it comes to money saving strategies. I thrive on the little things, like finding coins or cutting our meat with beans. But he’s the one who finds ways to save big, like living in a travel trailer, or spending lots of time researching cars before we buy one. But in the end both of our methods save. His saves big chunks of money every now and then, and my ways save just little bits, but it’s on a regular daily basis.

So if you’re feeling discouraged in your money saving goals, remember those little things you do, really can make a difference, and it’s really encouraging to write a few of them out, just as a reminder to yourself. And I love it when you share them here too, it makes my day and might give me some good ideas!

  • This brown dress was in perfect condition other than a button loop needing to be reattached, so after a quick fix, it’s perfectly wearable.
  • Speaking of sewing, Gracia got a hole in the seam of the other dress pictured above. She’s gotten her fair share of wear out of this dress, but I figured she could get just a little more use out of it, so I stitched it up.

  • I got a Shutterfly book finished today, just in time to use the coupon code for a free book!! Woo-hoo! They usually cost about $30, but I just had to pay for shipping and taxes.
  • We spent lots of time outdoors. The kids love playing outside with friends and what can I say… it’s FREE!
  • Oh, and even though I’m usually the one saving money in little areas, I think I’m wearing off on Cameron. The other day I noticed he had watered down his almost empty bottle of soap. :)

What have you done this week to save a buck or two?
Joy Focused Learning – See more at: http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/search/label/Anything%20goes#sthash.PEKprUs5.dpuf

Amy

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’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 

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

I enjoyed this post at of 5 Ways We Saved This Week by Mother Mode so much that I thought I’d do one myself! :)

  1. Made homemade bread.
  2. Made homemade play dough. Our current play dough was getting hard and not very fun to use. So we made a batch…actually 2 batches, I accidentally put 1 1/2 cups of oil in instead of 1 1/2 Tablespoons…big difference…so I guess it wasn’t very frugal after all.
  3. Asked for a book from the library, Mary Ostyn’s Family Feasts for $75 a Week, I’ve read it before, but it’s been a while and can’t wait to read it again! :)
  4. We made our own shape flashcards instead of buying some.
  5. Used the back of a used envelope to make a to-do list on.

What have you done this week to spend less money?

PS – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Amy 

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