A New Budgeting Tool Video

This is a video from a fellow blogger friend that he just recently put out. He has another one for a site called Every Dollar from Dave Ramsey that he seems to like as well. I’ll post that one next ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Finding Food in Your Backyard

With all this wonderful weather we are having in California, if you are anywhere else it will be there soon, we are having quite the time with our backyard. As I have bugged my husband to mow it, he finally got his newest toy! Believe it or not, it is a manual mower.

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Hubby proudly mowing his lawn ๐Ÿ™‚

He did all the research, and fought with a gas mower that we were given, and decided this was the best and most cost effective way to go. I think it is rather sexy to be honest but that is just me ๐Ÿ™‚ And as you can see, the front yard could have really used it.

It’s not the conventional thing to do but who is to say that we are conventional?

But there’s more and I am sure you are going to face palm when I say this but we have lettuce growing our back yard! And we didn’t even plant it! Here is Northern California we have this thing called Miner’s Lettuce and it 100% edible. Most people just think it is a weed and mow it down.

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So I did the weird thing and told my husband not to mow this section of grass until the Miner’s Lettuce dies off because we don’t have to pay for letus for our salads while it’s growing. I know I am crazy but it saves me money ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have this wonderful plant in your back yard? If you do, then maybe you give it a chance in the kitchen instead of the mower ๐Ÿ™‚

A Normal Saturday

So this morning, I woke up with a huge list to do. Well actually every Saturday I do since that is the day for Emma will be distracted by my wonderful hubby until I am finished and I don’t have to worry about her. Any way, I woke up and started my bread for the week and get it rising, then I had to do the pizza dough for the next couple weeks to put in the freezer, then I had to make soup for the next two nights and get it in the crock pot, then the bread dough was ready to be split to rise again, then the I got to sit down for a couple minutes before they had to go in the oven, and finally I prepared sweet potato fries to go in the oven when the bread was all done. Whew! That was a busy morning.

Why am I bringing this up? It is not because I am bragging. Trust me, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch with my family and watch Tinker Bell for the 100th time, but I was instead in the kitchen all morning. The reason I did this was because it saved my family over $30.00 in products.

Each loaf of bread only costs $1.50 each (I made four) and in store they go for $3.00 a loaf. That’s $9.00 saved there.

The pizza doughs cost about the same and they go for $5.00 in the store (I made 3). That’s $10.50 saved.

The fries go for a small bag at the store $2.29 and I made enough to be the size of two of the bags. The bag of sweet potatoes only costed $1.79 to that was $3.00 saved there.

And with the soup, I used left over chicken from a chicken I had already made two meals out of, the veggies were already in my fridge and costed me all less than a dollar and I have bone broth in my fridge so I didn’t have to spend any money on chicken broth. If I had to buy it in a can, it would cots me at least $2 a can and I made enough to make five cans so $10 saved there.

In total that was $32.50 saved (before taxes that would be included on the purchased items), and all it costed me was a few hours this morning.

So for me it was worth it. That doesn’t even considering the health benefits from them being homemade but that is another post ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you considered doing more home cooking but don’t think it is worth the time and effort? Well I can tell you it is. My husband and I are now saving for a house and retirement for the little areas that I can help save money will make a bigger impact later for us. And that to me is worthย threeย hours in the kitchen ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you have fun in the kitchen and have a blessed rest of your day!

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Anybody hungry?

One Free Day

We have been blessed the past few days. We have been wanting to build some raised garden beds for the up coming spring but didn’t want to spend the $100+ dollars for the kit plus all the dirt. We are able only spend $60 on a 4’x4’x16″ cinder block bed. The dirt is another story since we will have to spend about the same in dirt. But still was less expensive than a wood kit and this one won’t rot over time and we would build it twice as high. (The kits could be built on but that would double their price.)

But the problem was that we needed more than one 4’x4′ bed to feed the family and still be able to can some away for the rest of the season. We could do the cinder block method but that would be another three load heavy trips to Home Depot and then when we move we will have to individually take the the blocks apart. So I still really wanted a wood bed.

We have been praying since we got here for free wood. We live in suburbia so there had to be people remodeling stuff right? Wrong. I posted wanted listing for months for free scrapes and nothing. So we bought our blocks and the next week I find exactly what I was looking for. Someone had remodeled their closet and were giving away the, still in good shape, boards that made the shelves. Now we can make the rest of our beds at a much lower cost! If we were really cheap, we would return the cinder blocks but that just is too much work.

That was blessing number one. Blessing number two came from family.

When we moved into our duplex, we we on a budget but we had almost no furniture. So we went bargain shopping and found a futon for $170. It was a nice one and it would stand the test of our little girl jumping and playing on it. Also if she destroyed it, it wouldn’t be as heart breaking. But it also $170 comfortable. So we had a fund for a new couch. We figured by the time Emma was no longer a toddler, we would have enough for a nice couch. Then a blessing happened! My sister and her husband upgraded their couch and gave us their old one! They are the ones with a recliners built in ๐Ÿ™‚ It was such a blessing and now we also saved money since now the futon is Emma’s new big girl bed. So it was a two for one. We got a new couch and Emma got a new bed.

So that was our recent blessings. It might not seem like much to most but for us it was great thing from God.

Yum, Yum! Homemade!

So I have posted a few things concerning tightwad things and my new tightwad bible so to speak,ย The Tightwad Gazette. This one is more about how tightwading can be used in the kitchen. Believe it or not, cooking at home is much cheaper than going out or pre-made foods. Here are my most recent examples.

My family loves this pre-made dish from Costco that is $10 a bag. It’s rather tasty but I was looking at it and knew I could make it better. So I looked and saw the dish pretty much chicken, carrots, broccoli, noodles and corn. The seasoning was garlic and butter for sure and the rest I would have to play with. I said in my head. “Oh my gosh! This is so easy to make and I could make it I’m sure for half of what this cost me”. So I did.

I looked at the back of the dish’s bag to get some other clues on seasoning but otherwise went and bought the ingredients at the store. Carrots: $1.75 for 16oz (only used a a quarter of the bag), Broccoli $1.50 (only used half the bag), Chicken: $2 (bought a $16 for a stock up on chicken and only used 3 breasts), ย Noodles: $1.00, and 1 can of corn: $0.89. The seasonings were all in my cupboard so they were not going to be calculated.

So to make this dish from scratch it costed:

Carrots: $0.44

Broccoli: $0.75

Chicken: $2.00

Noodles: $1.00

Corn: $0.89

Total: $5.08

And I think it looks pretty close to the original inspiration of the dish.

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So It is a simple as that. In a matter of twenty minutes and some prep work, I saved myself $4.92. Not only that but here is the ingredient list for the pre-made dish:

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There are so many preservatives I can’t pronounce them all. It’s a simple chicken dish for heaven’s sake! It should only be 5 ingredients. So not only did I save almost half of the cost but I saved my family from the harmful preservatives and other “ides” that should never be in food. Isn’t that worth the extra ten minutes to make a dish from scratch instead of out of a bag?

Another thing we love in our house in pizza. Who doesn’t? But it’s super expensive out and even self bake is over priced in my opinion. It saves time but that is it.

Our favorite pizza is veggie combination. The cheapest we could find it is for $10 from our local warehouse store. But I thought I could do better. This requires more time but the dough can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge. So here we go.

Pick your recipe but they all consist of flour, oil, yeast, water, and salt. All these things are either in your pantry or very easy to get. We buy our flour in bulk (25 lb. bag for $7.00) so that plays a part in my calculations but most are about $3 for a 5 lb. bag. So to be fair I will use the average cost of a 5 lb. bag of flour.

Next is the sauce. You can buy it for $2-$3 at the store in the little jars or you can buy the big can of plain tomato sauce and season it yourself for less than $1 a serving. This is what we do. We buy a #10 can of tomato sauce from our warehouse store for $3 and get 14 cups or 7 pizzas out of it. We freeze the rest and have it ready to pull out later.

Next is cheese. This is the most expensive part of the pizza no matter where you go. You can buy bulk cheese and shred it or just buy the little bags. I will let you guess what we do but there is no true tightwad way to do this. We get our cheese in bulk (2 lbs. of cheese for $7) and shred it. Each pizza normally takes up 2 cups of cheese. But we will just use the average price for a 2 cup bag of cheese.

And lastly, the toppings. This is to the imagination but for right now we are just making a veggie combo. Green bell pepper: $.69 (half used), onion: $.69 (used half), mushrooms: $2.00 (used half), sweet sausage 5 pack: $3 (used only 2), and olives: $1.00 (only use half the can).

So now let’s break that down.

Yeast: $0.33

Flour: $1.00

Sauce: $0.42

Cheese: $2.00

Bell Pepper: $0.35

Onion: $0.35

Mushrooms: $1.00

Sausage: $1.20

Olives: $0.50

Total: $7.50

That is enough to add on a soda if you absolutely had to. We don’t do soda so that just goes into the food budget ๐Ÿ™‚

So I hope I encouraged you to look a little more into making your own food from home instead of buying it from a pre-made store item. You might think you are saving time but in the end you aren’t. I won’t go in to that right now. Maybe another post. But I would love to see your creations. So post the pictures below in the comments and happy cooking! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Being a Crafty Fixer

This is going to sound silly as a post to most people but I thought it was a good idea. The screw fell off my sun glasses and I was really bummed. I tried to put it in but it fell into the void of my car. Even more bummed, I was thinking I would have to throw them away until an idea hit me.

I took the sun glasses in the the house to try it out and it worked! I just slid a paper clip in the place the screw was and that was that. I saved my favorite sun glasses with for free.

What are some crafty fixes you have done? There are many out there and I’m sure I’m not the first person to fix glasses with a paper clip but to me it was an awesome moment. I saved myself $10 with something for free. It was a good feeling ๐Ÿ™‚

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How Do You Save Money?

I would love to hear from my readers with tips on they have learned to save money. Obviously washing and drying clothes is one way but it is rather extreme. One other way we save money as a family is we don’t eat out but a couple times a month and use programs like Netflix instead of cable.

How do you save money? We all can learn from eachother since every penny counts these days.