Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Taking A Little Break

I've decided to take the rest of the week off from blogging.  I'll be back next Monday though with a new post to share with you.  Have a fantastic remainder of the week my friends!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

I went to Albertson's on Sunday morning to buy some meat that was on sale.  I used money from next month's grocery budget to pay for it.  I don't plan to use any of it this month.

For our Sunday dinner I took the leftover meat I had saved from last week's pot roast and made a pot of beef barley soup in my slow cooker.  I made the broth with the drippings from the roast, some vegetable broth I had saved in the freezer, water and a packet of brown gravy mix.  I added a quarter cup of barley and let it cook for about four hours before adding half a bag of peas and carrots.  I made a batch of homemade baking powder biscuits to go with it.  It was such a good meal.

I went to two stores on the way home from work to pick up a few items on sale for my HalloWine party.  Perfect timing because one store had a big wine sale going on plus some brands were offering rebates.  Because of that I was able to get some peanuts and candy corn on sale that I wasn't originally planning to get.  It was a real hit at the party

I worked some overtime this week.

I took my daughter to a friend's house and stopped along the way to put our water bill in the drop box so I could save a stamp.

I printed some online coupons for groceries.

I used a 50% OFF coupon at JoAnn Fabrics to buy 300 cupcake papers in super cute printed designs.  I paid for them using a gift card so they were no cost to me.

How was your thrifty week last week?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Spicy Italian Sausage & Pasta

We loooooove this recipe.  Super simple to make and fast too.

Spicy Italian Sausage & Pasta

1 pkg. hot Italian sausages
2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. dried basil
2Tbs. olive oil
1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
Parmesan cheese

Slice the sausage links.  

Heat oil in a large pot and sauté sausage.  

Add tomatoes, one tomato can filled with water, garlic and basil stirring well to combine.  

I start my pasta water while I saute the sausage
so it is done at the same time the sauce is ready.
Simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Basil & fresh garlic added.
Toss pasta together with sausage and sauce.  Serve garnished with parmesan.

If spicy isn't your thing the mild Italian sausage is every bit as delicious in this recipe.  Either way you can't go wrong. J

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How I Plan On Stocking Up On Meat For Winter

Meat prices have been crazy high lately.  My goal to keep purchases under $2 a pound or package has been nearly next to impossible.  But not completely.  On top of that we moved back into our house with a completely empty chest freezer and winter is fast approaching.

I always feel much better going into winter with a full freezer so my goal right now is to fill up that freezer.  So far I've been fortunate to find quite a few bargains in the markdown bin but the sales have been less than stellar.

Last week Albertson's had pork roasts and skinless boneless chicken breasts for $1.99 a pound.  I couldn't pass it up.  Using money from next month's budget I purchased two large pork roasts and five pounds of chicken breasts which I repackaged when I got home.

All re-wrapped and ready to go.
While I continue to scope out the markdown bins at the grocery stores I will be focusing my grocery dollars on a few key items.

Ground beef and turkey
Ground pork sausage
Pot roast
Whole turkey - for Thanksgiving
Rib eye steaks - for Christmas dinner

So far the freezer in the garage is only about a quarter full.  I don't need to fill it to the top but it does need to be a little bit fuller.  All in due time I suppose. J

What kind of winter preparations are important to you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HalloWine Party Plans On A Budget

Some of the ladies I work with have been anxious for a get together at my house.  I decided to have them over for a Halloween themed wine party.  I set a budget of $25 to put this together.

I made the invitations on my computer and hand delivered them so no postage was needed.

The dollar store supplied me with Halloween plates, napkins, a black plastic table cloth and a package of toy rings.  I thought the rings would make great wine glass markers.  Pretty clever, huh?  Total spent - $5.

Two bottles of wine on sale for $5.99 each at Walgreens plus a$2 rebate on each bottle.  Total spent $9.98.

Isn't this cute?  I tested it out to make sure they didn't fall off.
They didn't.  LOL.
I plan to make a few appetizers using items I already have on hand but I also needed a few items as well.  I bought half a pound of shrimp on sale for $3.99/lb and cream cheese on sale for 88¢ each along with a bottle of cocktail sauce for $.99.  I also picked up two boxes of crackers on sale for 2/$4 and used a $1 coupon - Total spent - $6.87

Ever make this easy shrimp dip?
Layer cream cheese with cocktail sauce and shrimp.  Serve with crackers.
Walgreens had peanuts and candy corn on sale so I picked up a bag of each to mix together and set out in small dishes - total spent $2.99.

On the invitations I asked the ladies to bring a bottle of wine or an appetizer to share so there will have plenty to enjoy.  This not only helps with the expense but allows us to sample a larger variety wines and tasty appetizers.  
Grand total spent $24.84.  Barely made it but I did it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our Cloth Napkins

A couple weeks ago I found a darling fruit basket on sale at ShopKo for $4.99.  I wanted one just like this to keep our cloth napkins in so I was very happy when I found exactly what I was looking for.  Even more so that it was on sale.

After placing the napkins in the basket it looked so cute I decided it needed to be on the shelf of our cabinet in the dining room.  It looks great sitting there too.  Do you use cloth napkins or do you prefer paper?

For the longest time I used paper napkins but I can't say I loved them.  I decided a little more than a year ago to make my own cloth napkins and use them instead.  I definitely can say I LOVE my cloth napkins.

I made them with fabric from my stash using up a bunch of extras pieces I had.  They are made from two pieces stitched together so they are extra durable and absorbent.  The cotton blend fabrics I used make them easy to launder and they come out relatively wrinkle free.

I made some using fall themed fabric which are perfect for our Thanksgiving table, a Hawaiian print for BBQs on the deck, and calico prints for everyday use.  This year I hope to make some out of Christmas print fabric.

Want to make some like I did?  This is how Idid it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

After nearly two weeks without grocery shopping I headed into Albertsons to take advantage of some really good sales items.  This is what I got:

Four boxes of cereal on sale - 3 for $1.88 each less a 50¢ coupon made the final priced $1.38 and a box of Captain Crunch on sale for $1.99 just because I wanted it. J
4 cans of soup - 2/$1
4 cans of green beans and 2 cans of corn - 49¢ each
6 cans of spaghetti sauce - 77¢ each
6 boxes of breakfast sausage links - 77¢ each
2 cartons of fruit punch - $1 each
2 cartons of eggs - 89¢ each

I also picked up a package of lean ground beef on markdown for $2.29 and a pot roast on sale for $9.00.  The bagels were in the markdown bin at the bakery for 99¢.

On my birthday I found a rug at Fred Meyer that would be perfect in our living room.  I almost bought it for $129.00 but my gut told me to wait for it to go on sale.  I am so happy that I waited because I was able to buy it on sale last week and save a whopping $40!  It looks great.

We veered from our menu plan quite a bit.  Instead of the meatloaf I had originally planned for our Sunday dinner I made the pot roast I got on sale.  I used the leftover roast to make a batch of Bolognese and invited a friend over for supper.  Then I saved the last of the roast to make some beef barley soup.

Thursday we made a pizza and used up quite a few leftover items in the fridge.  We had leftover cheese, mushrooms, pepperoni, bell pepper, diced onion and diced ham.  Even the dough was leftover as I had made breadsticks to go with the Bolegnese using half the recipe of dough.  It was an awesome pizza and it sure didn't taste like it was made of leftovers. 

My slow cooker was looking pretty dingy so I put 2 Tbs. of bleach in it and filled it up with hot water.  After letting it soak for about 20 minutes it looked good as new.  Before I dumped it out I used some of the water to clean a tea stain out of the bottom of one of my white coffee cups.

I went to the movies on "Tightwad Tuesday" for only $5 a ticket.  I used a gift card I got for Christmas last year to pay for my ticket and saw Dracula Untold.  Loved it!

A couple of weeks ago I unpacked my son's old Sega Genesis game and set it up for the girls to use on our old TV set.  They were able to determine one of the controllers wasn't working anymore.  I found a set of replacement controllers on eBay for $6.88 with free shipping.  They arrived this week and work perfectly.  The girls are in hog heaven.

Thursday after work I went to ShopKo to exchange a pair of my daughter's jeans and pick up some new mini blinds that were on sale.  I was able to get two new blinds for $7.19 each.  I also had a $5 store coupon to use on my purchase.

While I was there I happened upon four packages of pudding cups on a clearance shelf for 50¢ each.  These will be great for the kid's lunches.

When I left the store I didn't make it to my vehicle and I knew I was heading back inside to make another purchase.  I bought this adorable ceramic jack-o-lantern for our front porch.  It was on sale for $19.99 and I had a $10 store coupon ShopKo had given me for my birthday so I just had to use it.  Now I have a jack-o-lantern on the porch the squirrels can't eat and make a mess all over the place.

Isn't he cute?!
Not so thrifty, but necessary, was to purchase a book of stamps at the post office.  Since I was there I picked up a book of Christmas stamps to.  I like to use those after Halloween to send mail as well as my Christmas cards.  I will be paying myself back for the stamps I use for cards out of the Christmas Budget.

One of the managers at work gave me some Friendship Bread starter.  The last starter I had going for 11 years.  I let it go when we moved so I am extra excited to get it going again.  We loooooove Friendship Bread.

I watched a cooking show on PBS online for free.  Now I am anxious to try making Artisan Bread.  I've heard it is delicious and dead easy.

We watched Castle and The Goldberg's on our Roku.

I baked four loaves of whole wheat bread and my oldest made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

I went through all of my partially used labels and used them up to make return address labels and all the mailing labels I will need for Christmas.

I also burned three music CDs to give as gifts.  I already had blank discs, cases and CD labels in my office supplies making this a no cost project.

How was your thrifty week?  Any great bargains?