Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Freezing Cabbage

 I had a half a head of cabbage in my fridge that needed to be used up, but we don't eat a lot of cabbage.  I decided to freeze it and bag it in snack sized bags so that I can pull a small amount out to add to a soup when needed.  I think it's the perfect way to not waste the cabbage, thus not wasting money, and a great healthy addition to soup!  

I filled a pot with water and allowed it to come to a boil. I then added the shredded up cabbage and let it blanch for 2 minutes (cook at a boil).  After the two minutes were up I took the pan off the burner, drained the cabbage and cooled it all off with a cold water bath.  Let it set a few minutes longer to make sure it was cooled down.  Then I put it in snack sized bags labeled cabbage and today's date.  Stick in the freezer and when I make my family a pot of soup, I can add some cabbage to it!

Monday, November 18, 2013

How is My 'Stick to My List' Going?

I must say that I am loving sticking to my shopping list.  I truly do write down the essential(s) that I need at the store and only purchase those.  AND...another thing added along with this is that I am watching our gas budget as well. So, how am I doing with that?  I don't go anywhere!  I know when I have to go somewhere, what day I need to go, and then I plan my errands around that time.  No more quick trips here and there.  Our gas budget is really doing well!  I also utilize the discount from our local grocery store.  Each time I purchase groceries I receive a coupon for 5 cents - 6 cents off of gas.  It expires the next day, so I use it before it expires.  It may not save a lot of money at one fill time, but over time it will save money!  

What are you doing to save money? 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Bountiful Baskets

I was reading up on a blog about ways to save money and she mentioned Bountiful Baskets.  I googled it and found out that our state does have Bountiful Baskets delivered right to our town!  Every two weeks you place your order online and pay for it when your order is placed.  Then, that Saturday (or your specific delivery day) you bring your basket and go pick up your order.  I placed my first order last week and picked it up last Saturday.  I just purchased the minimum order of 1 produce basket.  50% fruit and 50% veggies.  Each order is a surprise as to what is in the basket, which I find fun!  You can also upgrade to organic, add breads and other items. It all depends on how you want to order.  I purchased my basket for $15.  There was a start up fee of $3 for Bountiful Baskets to purchase a basket to hold my produce in while they are organizing it and awaiting my arrival.  That is a one time fee.  And there is a $5 processing fee.  So, for under $25 (for my first order) and about $20 for all next orders of the same type I get an awesome deal!  Saves me money and time.  I don't have to drive far to get great produce and it takes about 5 minutes to get in and pick up my basket of goodies.  Here is the link to Bountiful Baskets

Want to know what I received in my first basket:
1 Coconut
1 Romaine Lettuce Head
1 Cabbage Head
3 Purple Onions
1 Bundle Spinach
5 Cutie Oranges
4 Fuji Apples
8 Bananas
1 Bunch Asparagus
8 Roma Tomatoes
8oz. Fresh Mushrooms
3 Zucchinis
1 Mini Watermelon

Now that's an awesome basket!  Everything tastes great!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Diaper Bag Complete!

 A little while ago I posted the fabric and pattern for the diaper bag I want for this baby.  I didn't want to have a bag that everyone could have, so I opted to challenge myself and make my own.  To say that patterns intimidate me is an understatement.  But...I made this bag in segments.  First I ironed the fabric.  Then I cut out the pattern pieces.  Next I cut out the fabric.  Then I set it aside and read the pattern over a number of times to understand what I was doing.  The pattern calls for interfacing.  I chose to use batting instead because I like the thicker feel in a diaper bag.  I really am glad I went that route.  
The above picture is of the front with the flap down (fastened with velcro).
 Here is the back with a back pocket.
 And the inside with two views.  A nice big pocket on the one side.  Don't you love the lining??

And a side view.  There is a pocket on each side of the bag.  I love everything about this diaper bag.  I love the colors because it will work perfect for a girl or a boy.  I love the lining fabric (I love that fabric, but thought it was too busy for the outside, thus a more calm outer fabric was chosen.)  I finished the bag yesterday and am really excited to use it!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Budgeting for Christmas Gifts

It's November and the time of year to start getting ready for the Holiday's and Christmas Shopping.  I want to share some tips and guidelines that our family has been practicing.  This is not an extensive list, but some of the major keys to keeping Christmas affordable and enjoyable.  Because, truly, who wants to begin the New Year wondering why on earth we spent so much at Christmas and asking ourselves
 'How are we going to pay it off?'  
Not me, that's for sure.  

#1.  SAVE FOR CHRISTMAS:  We have an envelope marked 'Christmas Gifts' that we put money into each month during the entire year.  That way when it comes around to Christmas we already have the money and aren't surprised that Christmas is on December 25th.  *If you are just learning about this tip of saving during the year then you will want to start your envelope in January of 2014 for the following Christmas.  But, you can still decide on a reasonable amount to set aside for this Christmas. 

#2.  BUDGET - This is when my husband (Jason) and I sit down and decide how much money we are going to spend on each person for Christmas.  Only with the money saved during the year in the 'Christmas Gifts Envelope'.  No new funds will be added.  We make out the list of people we need to purchase for: Our kids, each other, Grandparents, Nieces and Nephews, Teachers, other special people.  Some people may have a huge amount budgeted/saved for Christmas, while others have a smaller amount.  The amount doesn't matter, it's the gift of giving and thinking of them that does. 

#3.  INTERVIEW YOUR KIDS:  See what they would like for Christmas and from Santa.  Ask for lots of ideas because some of the items they may list are pretty expensive.  Let them know that you also want inexpensive gift ideas.  Make sure you write down their ideas because, if you are like me, you'll forget by the time you get to the store.  Some of the items they'll ask for you can just skip with writing down because you know they won't play with it or use it anyway. 

#4.  BAKED TREATS:  This is an excellent way to give a gift without spending a lot of money.  These baked treats can be for Teachers, Grandparents, and other special people in your life.  You'll probably be baking a lot anyway so you may as well give some of it away. 

#5.  DOLLAR STORES:  This is a great place to let your kids shop for each other.  You give them a dollar and tell them to go find a gift for their sibling.  They have fun choosing the gift (makes it more personal for them than having parents pick out the gift for them to give), paying for it, and wrapping it. 

These are 5 tips for you to think over and implement.  
Stay tuned for more Holiday Budgeting Guidelines!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I stuck to my Challenge!!

For the month of November I have challenged myself to sticking to my shopping list and not putting anything in the cart/basket if it's not on the list, even if I think I could use it.  So, today was the big day!  It was my 'one month of shopping' day.  (I try to do my major shopping only once a month).  The girls and I headed to town to get the shopping done.  There were a few times where I stuck something in my cart and then had the girls put it away since it was not on my list!  It worked!  I am super excited to tell Jason about my shopping trip and how well I did with our budget.  I even told my girls before we started shopping that they may as well not even ask for anything because if it's not on the list, it isn't getting in the cart.  They did ask for things, but I said, 'So sorry.  Not on the list'.  To which they thought was kind of funny.  I am really proud of myself.  And proud of my girls for all the help they were.  Lifting heavy items for me and unloading the van when we got home.  

So far, the challenge is a huge success and motivator!