Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Daily...

There are days and weeks, when our budget becomes more of an after-thought instead of the intended DAILY guide.

On those weeks, I am quickly able to justify "little" expenses that surely add up and before I know it, we are short on money and living on love until then of the month :)

I am not the most tech-savvy person in the world, my twin got those genes, so I started carrying a 4x6 notecared in my wallet with  my weekly and daily budget on it.

Staying accountable to this little piece of paper has helped us tremendously the past few weeks.  I'm sad to say I was letting money just FLY out of our bank account instead of me telling it where to go.

Back on track feels good, because as my momma would say:

"KNOWLEDGE IS POWER"

Hugs and happy keeping more of your money :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Homemade Potato Chips! A family favorite!



Frugal snacks with little to no preservatives are a BIG goal of mine

Homemade potato chips have 3 ingredients:

Oil

Potatoes

Salt

1. Soak thin slices of potatoes in cold, salted water for 10 minutes

2.  Pat Dry

3.  Add to hot oil

4.  Remove when turning brown and place on paper towel to drain

5.  Salt lightly

Frugal

Yummy

Snacking

(Happy Sigh)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Whole chicken in the crock pot = Frugal meals

Yesterday I bought a 5lb whole chicken at Aldi for $5.32

It slow-cooked all night in the crock pot with water, salt and pepper and 3 garlic cloves....  




Oh my the heavenly smells in our home this morning!!!


Then I took it apart to yield almost 4 cups of chicken and 3 cups of broth!




We will be having

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken and Noodles

and 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

We MIGHT be able to squeeze another meal in there if the tall guy stays out of the chicken, 
I will have to hide it in the back of the fridge

SIMPLE

FRUGAL

MEALS

{Happy Sigh}

Friday, June 20, 2014

Frugal Summer Fun



One of our FAVORITE activities is visiting our local zoo.

We currently live in Indianapolis, about 8 minutes from our zoo, and often will run over 2 or 3 times a week to hang out even for just an hour.  (But even when we lived in South Bend, we visited the zoo often on a yearly membership)

The Indy Zoo yearly pass will set you back $136 per year, but if we annualize our visits, conservatively figuring we visit about once a week over the entire 52 weeks, it comes out to $2.62 per visit.

I love math that works out like that.

In the cooler months, we bundle up and rush from indoor exhibit to the next indoor exhibit

In the summer months, we pack swimsuits and finish our visit in the splash park.

Simple

Frugal

Summer Fun




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Joy



Not even sure what is happening here, 

but

The look of joy on her face 

makes my heart so happy.

{sigh}

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eating Out(side)



While we don't eat out very often, there are times it sounds so appealing.

But I have often found, in the warmer seasons, that preparing lunch and simply taking it outside (by the garden is my favorite) and having a simple picnic is a way to feel like we've had a special lunch, outside of our kitchen.

Frugal

Simple

Happy Sigh 

Hugs and happy picnics this summer!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup


A dear friend shared her Tortilla Soup Recipe and it was AMAZING!!  

Super Easy

Super Healthy

and frugal 


2 Chicken breasts

1 cup onion, sauteed

1 cup corn, added to onion saute

I added 1/2 packet of taco seasoning to the saute mix to wake up the flavors (originally calls for a few diff spices, but I did taco mix because we had it on hand)

1 box chicken broth

1 jar salsa

Add all to crock pot

THAT IS IT!!!

We topped ours with sour cream, freshly grated cheddar cheese (I grate mine because the already grated kind in the bag from the store tastes like plastic to me, PLUS its cheaper to buy it in the block...)

and tortilla strips which I was able to find at Aldi!

I was hoping for leftovers, but it was not to be... (sigh)

But that meant the family loved it!

Simple, frugal, filling and healthy!!!  




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Money, its either yours or its theirs"



I remember when I was little.

Our tiny town had ONE grocery store.  

And it pretty much JUST sold groceries.

Today, a "Grocery" store RARELY just sells groceries, there are PLENTY of other things in the store to tempt us into parting with our money.  {ahem, Target, oh my the temptations....}

As an Amish man once said 

"Money, its either yours, or its theirs"

Even Aldi, which we LOVE has some hidden temptations, that aren't so hidden anymore.

Extra goodies, a few toys, gardening goodies, etc.

So when we shop, we are armed with CASH and a DETAILED LIST.

Its so true, cash is harder to spend.  Even using a debit card (cash coming right out of our checking account) I spend more.

Hugs and happy "Keeping more of your money"


Monday, April 28, 2014

Homemade Pizza Night


Pizza:

Definitely a family favorite at our house.

Old days:  Papa Johns $25 AT LEAST on delivery

Then:  $4 -6 for a "good" frozen pizza

Now:  $2.15 for homemade

In the past we have tried the box dough (add water) but it tastes more like cardboard than pizza crust.  

I was perusing an Amish cookbook and found our new favorite,

TASTY pizza crust


1 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp. (2 packages) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour, approx.

Combine water, yeast and sugar, let sit 5 minutes.
Add rest of ing. and mix into dough
Knead 5-7 minutes
Let rest 20 minutes
Bake for 7 minutes at 400
Take out and top with toppings and bake additional 8-12 minutes







I have my grandmother's mixing bowls.  

She was a FANTASTIC COOK!

Love remembering her warm, inviting kitchen when I cook





Can you guess which is the kid's side?  {sigh}

Our side has:

Sausage (bulk of the price of this one)
Baby Portebellos
Green Peppers
Mozzarella

Homemade
Frugal
Yummy

Hugs and happy frugal dinners :)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Use it UP!



Amish frugal tip  (and depression era):  DON'T THROW ANY FOOD AWAY!

I could do alot better in this area.

Actually our society (North Americans) could do ALOT better as a whole.

I recently read that  40% of the food produced for consumption in the US NEVER will be eaten (Sharon Palmer, "Paying the High Price of Waste")

That statistic STOPPED ME in my tracks!

So today, I surveyed our fridge and saw 3 ears of corn we just didn't work into our menu.

After deciding that it would be COMPLETELY unacceptable to allow it to go bad, I cut it off the cob, flash froze it and placed it in freezer bags.

We will be able to enjoy fresh corn in our Mexican dishes and chili! 

Happy USING up ALL food! 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How we kept our "Free" event, free


The kids' school (K12 virtual school) had a FREE event yesterday.

A showing of How to Train Your Dragon at the movie theater in Brownsburg.  

We got up and started in on our "lists" for the day


We arrived at the theater to find it was reserved for JUST our group.

So fun.

We packed our own movie-snacks, to avoid the EXPENSIVE movie treats.  {WHY does the popcorn have to smell SOOOO good???} We practiced self-control and ate our snacks instead.

At the end of the movie, each child received a free book and the Learning Coaches (me) received a very nice Reading Comprehension packet. yay!

We practiced a little more self-control as we exited the theater only to be BOMBARDED with AMAZING nearby restaurant smells.  {Seriously, I am usually only this sensitive to smells when a) I am pregnant and b) I am hungry)  and no I am NOT pregnant}

We quickly got into the car and RACED home, narrowly escaping the call of MANY drive-thrus, VERY CONVENIENTLY placed along our path.  

Yikes.  Our fore-fathers may have had to fight off wild animals on  their treks across the country, but they did NOT have to contend with DRIVE-THRUS!

We arrive home safely, fixed a nice HEALTHY lunch at home, and made a batch of home-made chocolate chip cookies. {I felt the need for a reward.  For all of us.  The kids agreed}

I LOVE free events for our children.  But if we are not prepared, our free events quickly turn into, "well the event was free, but then there were treats, and we got hungry..."

Hugs and happy FREE outings :)



Monday, April 21, 2014

Olivia's $6 Easter Outfit



Olivia and I recently visited a local Goodwill store (I know, shocker, right?)

She picked out this outfit and decided it would be PERFECT for Easter!

I LOVE her style and I LOVE that she loves thrift shops as much as I do.

Her dress was $4 and the sweater (Children's Place) was $2

Hair in a cutie bun complete with flower bow (gift) and 2 butterfly barrettes (in the back) that our dear friends sent from Ethiopia.

Not pictured:  Her silver ballet flats, also from Goodwill (brand new with tags, last fall)

I know I am slightly biased, but I think shes adorable  (and the outfit is too) :)

Hugs and happy keeping-more-of-your-money




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Charleston, WV


We really enjoyed the capital building grounds in Charleston.  Pretty view of the river (don't think we got a pic).  The kids ran around and explored :)






When I saw this picture my first thought was "look at that running form!"  He could just pull his elbows back a little bit, not crossing his body so much.... oh my.  Years of running ingrained in my head. HA!

This was a GREAT trip.  From a Fruglicity point of view we had a couple setbacks.

Not so good:  1.  Had to stay at a hotel without FREE breakfast.  Ugh.
                      2.  Had to stay at a hotel without FREE breakfast.

{That one was big enough to be counted TWICE!}

Good Fruglicity parts of the trip:  1.  We ate 1 sit-down meal and Tommy and I shared an entree.  This is HUGE for us!  ( I can never get him to share).  Glad we did, saved us at least $10.
     
            2.  Most of us (ahem, Tommy) had water for lunch at said sit-down restaurant.  After working in a restaurant (Panera Bread) and realizing HOW MUCH MONEY people spend on restaurant drinks, we do our VERY BEST to only drink water.

           3.  We took alot of snacks.  The kids and I baked a full batch of chocolate chip cookies and instead of stopping for sweet treats, we had cookies and bottle water (which we ALWAYS pack).

Hugs and happy Fruglicity Traveling!







Tuesday, April 8, 2014

$25 outfit






Sweater (Goodwill) $3
Black T-Shirt (Meijer of all places!)  $7
Skirt (Meijer, who knew?) $15

Total $25!

Hugs and happy bargain hunting :)

How long can we go?

Our dryer died a few weeks ago.

We have money saved for a new one...
 but I have been meaning to reduce our dryer use 
and hadn't tackled it full-force yet.  

Nothing like being without one to make me dive in!

So we (mostly me) decided to just wait on purchasing a new one.

What would our energy bill look like after a month of not using the 2nd MOST ENERGY CONSUMING appliance?  
(refrigerators being #1 and I have 
NO desire to tackle giving up that one. 
Even I have my limits)

Would our laundry pile up and make me crazy?

Actually, I have been more organized and more "on top" of the laundry 

I do a load every day and hang it to dry over night. 
 (Kids fold it in the morning)

So our living room has one of these at night 
(so the ceiling fan can expedite drying)



And our bathroom looks like this...



So while I caved and bought a coffee-maker when ours died (only boiling water to pour over the grounds for about a week),

I am holding out a while longer on this one.

BIG PLUS:  No more full loads sitting in the dryer for days getting wrinkled.  Not that that EVER happened at our house.

Hugs and happy energy saving!



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Goodwill Love...

If you know me at all, you KNOW  I LOVE Goodwill!  I have found that I have to be choosy about the ones we visit in order to find what we are looking for.

Over past few weeks we have had some luck at a couple north-side (Carmel) and far west-side (Plainfield and Brownsburg) Goodwills.

We spent $90 for:

Logan:
1 pair jeans (Old Navy)
2 pairs of sweat pants (1 Under Armor)
1 pair of shorts (Old Navy)
1 shirt (Old Navy)

Olivia:
4 dresses (Children's Place, Justice and Old Navy)
4 shorts
2 tops
1 sweater
1 pair of Jeans (Children's Place)
1 purse
leggings


Me: 
2 purses
1 Jacket (Columbia)
1 sweater  (Hollister)
1 sweater (Gap)
3 sweaters (off brands)
1 skirt (Old Navy)
1 dress (Merona)

I think thats everything,  total of 29 items which equals out to average $3.10 an item.  My stuff is obviously more expense than the kids their stuff is usually $1.99, Olivia's dresses were $3.99 but if you buy the color of the week, they are half off.

Here are a few of my favorite finds:






Hugs and happy bargain hunting!



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Treats


While visiting our local zoo yesterday, our children were BEGGING for ice cream.

Dippin's Dots to be exact.

Where it is $4.50 for JUST 1 dish.

Far be it from me to deprive my darlings of an ice cream treat.  HOWEVER, this is a request that happens EVERYTIME we visit the zoo. Which is MULTIPLE times per month.

So...

I said time for a lesson in economics.

We can buy a half gallon of ice cream for $2.89

and cones for $1.19

So for a total of $4.08 we can ALL enjoy ice cream for the ENTIRE WEEK!  Instead of $9 for just Olivia and Logan, 1 time.

I realize there are special times when an ice cream treat is ABSOLUTELY a must!  And when those times arise, I am all in.  But most of the time, I would rather save the money and enjoy Fruglicity ice cream treats.

Hugs and happy sweet treat savings!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dinner :)


Last night's dinner:

Sauteed in cocnonut oil:  
baby portebellos
zucchini
cilantro
chicken
 freshly grated parmesan (from Italy of course!) 
lime juice  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts


Logan (very calmly): "Momma, they gave me a shot in my mouth at the dentist yesterday"

Oh my word. Do you even KNOW how hard I have tried to hide the fact that they do that? How is he so grown up and brave?




Olivia: "Momma, my mansion in heaven will have a room made of chocolate, and I will have pink tigers for pets. And I will have wings. Will you have wings too?" 

Seriously  her thoughts. And yes, I will ABSOLUTELY have wings, sweet girl. 

Fruglicity Travel Tip


How to see the sights without paying the high price?

Stop into a Starbucks (or any other nearby establishment), 
ask some locals  
how to see the sights off the beaten path.

We "saw" Rock City without paying $70 to "see" Rock City.

We didn't get the $70 view, but we got to see some  
AMAZING, BREATHTAKING
 views

Without the Crowds


For Free.

Yay!  Love free




Monday, March 17, 2014

Favorite Things


Kids doing their favorite thing:  Climbing trees

While they do my favorite thing:  Reading

{happy sigh}


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fruglicity - Breakfast (Stretching Eggs)



At our house, we can QUICKLY go through a dozen eggs  (if we have scrambled eggs).

So pairing them with toast is a GREAT way for us to stretch them.

We buy Organic, cage-free eggs (when we can find them) and they are pricey.


When the toast is Ezekial Bread (sprouted grains) it is SUPER healthy.

I feel British when I eat it.

Sort of my version of "Toad in the Hole"

Hugs and Happy Egg-Stretching


Friday, March 14, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today's Fruglicity Lunch



Cilantro-lime rice 
Pico de gallo

Just veggies and rice

Simple

Filling

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Little Hands



I LOVE little hands.

Hard to imagine they will be as big as his daddy's one day.




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Olivia and Gracie


Olivia and Gracie (Aunt Nancy's dog).  

So sweet.

Color? nope.


While preparing for a recent trip, I hung up my outifts to take in the bathroom to be packed.

Then I noticed

No color! 

 At all!

I knew I was drawn to muted, neutral tones, thinking my style could be described as "classic", but I was actually surprised to see it this way.

So I bought a BRIGHT pink sweater (Hollister, $4 from Goodwill {of course}, in GREAT shape)

Let's see if I actually wear it :)

Hugs and happy bargain shopping for color!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Frugilicity - Cleanliness



You know I hate to brag, but I'm pretty sure my family was SINGLE-HANDEDLY keeping pump-soap companies in business.

Insert children.  

In the bathroom.

By themselves.

Making a bunch bubbes in the sink while they "wash" their hands.

Super cute.  

But NOT affordable.

So we switched to bar soap.

In the kitchen (to wash hands) and the bathroom.

I really am amazed how long a bar of soap lasts versus pump-soap.

Our favorite bar soaps are the pretty, scented ones from TJ Maxx.

Luxurious money saving :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fruglicity Breakfast



One of our favorite Fruglicity breakfasts

Eggs

Cilantro-lime rice

Homemade Pico de Gallo

stretches the eggs, the rice is filling and the pico tastes so fresh!

Frugal.  Simple. Breakfast!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I am often asked why we choose to homeschool our children.  
(We do the K 12 program)

Honestly, this is the #1 reason.

Traveling.

Periodically we have to opportunity to travel with Tommy and the kids LOVE IT!  

We (kids and I) have fun swimming and exploring whatever city we are in.

Unlimited learning experiences. 

Love our little swimmers:)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fruglicity - Aldi Love {again...}



Another one of our "go-to" SUPER QUICK meals from Aldi

This $2.99 box of goodness keeps us out of the drive-thru line :)

Done in 8 min (in 425 oven)

Olivia dips hers in marinara sauce

Logan's are dipped in ranch dressing

Throw some broccoli on the side and its a meal!


 A cost-effective alternative to eating out when I would rather not cook (which seriously doesn't happen very often, but there are nights it just isn't going to happen)

Hugs and Happy Fruglicity Meals!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Homemade Coffee Creamer



Super excited for this one.

Found this recipe on pinterest and LOVE that it only has 3 ingredients!

3 1/2 cups of Almond milk (we used vanilla for extra sweetness)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Vanilla to taste
And a cutie kitchen - helper :)



Combine and whisk

Ask kids to taste, because I feel sorry for them not being able to actually drink coffee.





And finally,

Pour into a mason jar, 
because EVERYTHING is better in a mason jar

and pair with your favorite coffee (ours is from Aldi of course)

Frugal, Simple and YUMMY!