April 24, 2012

Giving up on Non-Stick Cooking Sprays

I have been trying to find more ways to save money in my household and while some would think this wasn't a good reason, I do. I have decided that I am not going to buy cooking sprays anymore. Why? Because they are too costly and they leave a horrible brown residue on your pans that you have to really scrub to get off. Usually it takes a good scrub with a paste of baking soda and water. 

I use cooking sprays quite a bit and when I reached for the spray today I realized that I may be using it a little too much. It seems as if I go through this stuff quite fast.

The can says that a "serving" is a 1/3 second spray. Yeah, right. When I spray a pan with a light coating, it is more than a 1/3 second spray. I don't over coat, but it doesn't take long to go through a can of this stuff. 

Today as I was checking the grocery ads they had canola oil on sale for $2.99 for a 48 oz. bottle whereas the cooking spray was on sale for $1.99 for oil thinned with water with an emulsifying agent (lecithin) added. 

I've decided that while it is nice to have the convenience, I am going to give up on the cooking spray. I would rather spend the money on a 48 oz. bottle of canola oil. A drop of oil spread around a pan with my finger tips will do the same job with a little less convenience and it will be one less thing I have to store in my cupboard.

I have searched the net and yes there are "recipes" for making your own cooking spray by mixing water and oil in a spray bottle, but honestly I would rather not go to the bother of having one more item in my cupboard.  A quick swipe with my finger tips will do a great job.

My Secret to Saving Money - Oops

I need to elaborate on my previous post as I realize that I may have been misunderstood.

I am home because I choose to be home. My problem is that it is easy for me to get caught up in doing lot of volunteer work that takes me out of the home. When I am gone, things don't run as smoothly and I end up spending some money on convenience items.

It wasn't the intent of my post to tell women that you can save more money by quitting your jobs and staying home. I worked for years and during that time I did a lot of frugal things to stretch our budget. However now that I have made the choice to be home, I need to guard my time and not be drawn away from my home by too much volunteer work. Some volunteerism is great, but too much is not a good thing. 

I need to say "No" more often. I hope this clears things up.

April 21, 2012

My Secret to Saving Money . . . . .

. . . . and living a frugal life.

Here it is: Stay Home!

Yes, that is it - stay home. If you don't have a job outside of the home and you can stay home, do it.

Staying home means that you spend time on your craft. Yes, you stay home and organize, clean, bake, cook and plan, plan, plan. You have the time to hang laundry on the line and for that matter, make your own laundry soap and do the laundry. There is time for meal planning and not just thrown together meals but actual planned out meals.

Now before anyone thinks that I have lost my mind, I'm not talking about staying home 24/7. In the almost 3 years that I have been home I have been adding too many activities that are taking me away from home. It's getting a little out of hand and time to pull back.   I knew it was getting bad when I wanted to sew a dress for Easter and I couldn't even find the time to begin.  That was very frustrating.  
I also want to research and experiment with some new frugal tips. 

Time to get my priorities straight and time to get back to what I have enjoyed and that is being home and doing all the things that I do that helps us save money.

I've already begun - two loaves of whole wheat bread are in the oven. Ahhh - I love being home.

April 19, 2012

Blogger Changes

I must be getting old as I don't like the Blogger changes and it will be awhile before I understand everything.  Sometimes I wonder if things have to change just so they have a "pretty new look."  Well, I will have to get this figured out as having extra spaces between paragraphs is getting to the "type A" portion of me.  Ugh.

April 18, 2012

My Way of Shopping is not Glamorous

I've never liked the word "hoarding" when it comes to stocking my freezer and pantry with sale items.  I buy many items on sale and
I am a prolific couponer, but I have never gone into a store with hundreds of coupons and walked out with carts loaded to the brim with free products.  For many of us, that is an impossible feat as we don't live where there are stores that double coupon.  So we have to hone our skills to get a good value.  We can't rely on getting a lot of things for free.

My world of shopping starts with the sale flyers that I review to see if there are any good deals and I then look through my coupons to see where I can team up a good sale with a coupon. The only time I ever bought 50 like items was when store brand spaghetti sauce went on sale for 59 cents for a 28 oz can.  With an expiration date out there for 2 years, I stocked up knowing that there was no way I would get that kind of deal again.  I was right.  That deal came and went and there hasn't been anything like it since.

Free is nice, but in my opinion 59 cents was a phenomenal deal.  There are no TLC shows for the way I shop and yet isn't this way of shopping the way it usually is for most people?  We may get the great coupon deal every now and then, but it is not the norm for the majority of us to have our coupons doubled.  

I get tired of reading or watching t.v. shows showing people with great cart loads of stuff that they have paid next to nothing for.  Why watch what I will never have?  It just makes you feel like a failure because you can't get stuff for free all the time.  So, I quit watching.

Just do your best with the resources that you have.  It may not be as glamorous as walking out of a store with cart loads of free food, but it is rewarding when you know your prices and can stock up when a sale is a sale.  

April 16, 2012

Freezer is Full

She's cute and she keeps me moving!
It has been 12 years since we had a young puppy in our house but I never forgot how much time a puppy took to raise.  Right now my life revolves around house breaking our little pup.  I miss posting and I finally found some time.  

Meat prices have been going sky high.  Imagine my delight when over the past 2 weeks our two local grocery stores ran some really great deals on meat.   When I say really great deals, I mean really great deals such as boneless skinless chicken breasts @ $1.69 lb. and ground beef @ $2.38 lb.  Also one week frozen vegetables were on sale for 69 cents for a 1 lb. bag.  These were definitely the kind of deals to get you into the store and I know that the store managers were hoping that it would mean that once they got me into the store that I would purchase other items and spend a lot of money. 

Well, I am not one of those kind of people.  I have my list on an app on my phone and I stick to my list, period.  That's it.  I stick to the list with the only exception of an unadvertised in store special on something I use.  Then and only then do I deviate.  The special had better be a necessity too and it always is.  

I purchased a lot of meat, vegetables and mozzarella cheese in the last 2 weeks.  The cheese was on sale for 99 cents for an 8 oz. bag and for every 5 bags you purchased you also got a $2 coupon towards your next grocery purchase.   I bought 30 bags.  

My freezer is stocked to the brim.  I have 50 lbs. of ground beef, 8 chuck roasts, 10 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, 30 lbs. chicken hindquarters, 9 pkgs of bacon, 6 pork roasts, 6 lbs. ground chicken, 2 whole chickens and pork chops, boneless pork ribs, ham loaf, ground pork, ham, breakfast sausage, mozzarella cheese, butter,  frozen vegetables and frozen fruit.  All of the above were purchased at rock bottom prices.  

I'm in my "happy place" and I'm ready. 

Ready for what? 

To sit back and purchase minimal groceries for as long as possible and to stretch the food that I have on hand for as long as possible.  That's right, stretch it.  Just because I have a freezer stocked to the brim doesn't mean that I will be serving meat and potato meals every night.  My goal is to get as many hearty, healthy meals as possible from this stockpile.  How long can I stretch this food and make it last?  I serve an average of 6 people each evening so this will be a fun challenge.

Now I just need a name for this challenge -- any ideas?

April 09, 2012

Liebster Awards

It has taken me awhile to post my Liebster Awards, as I had to get used to the way Blogger is now operating in Google Chrome.  As with all things, I will get used to it as I don’t really have much of a choice. 

Back on March 23rd, Sue over at Berkshire Cottageawarded my blog the Liebster Award.  As Sue told in her post:

"This award is geared toward new bloggers or bloggers that have under 200 Followers.  The word liebster in German means favorite.  When accepting this award, there are several things the blogger must satisfy."  They are:   

1.  Choose five up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to. 

Here are my choices:

Towards Retirement with Debt  Maureen lives in Australia and while she would probably say that she does not deserve an award for her blog, I say nay to that.  She has been through a rough year in that she followed a dream and it didn’t quite work out the way she had hoped.  I was delighted that after months of not blogging, she started back at it sharing what she had been through.  Maureen is honest about what is going on in her life and how she is balancing wants and needs.  I appreciate that.  

How to be a Housewife  This blogger has great recipes and household tips.  I love to read about her watching her grandkids.  While I read her blog, I delight in knowing that someday I will be a grandma like her.

Head over heels in Debt  This is an honest blog written by a woman who began her journey to deal with her debt back in 2010.  She has been on quite a journey and has made hard decisions to pay down her debt.  Again she gives an honest critique of her situation. 

Simple Every Day Living This blog is about simple living and self-reliance.  I love to read what Rose has posted, perhaps it is because I have a secret desire to live an Agrarian lifestyle.

Simply Living  I learned of Kris’ blog when she posted a comment on my blog.  Kris is living on a very, very tight budget and I enjoy stopping by her blog to read about what she is up to.  She gardens and cans and has the skills to live on a very low income.  Kris has a very full life.  Kris is the one that I can turn to when I need to find another way to save money.  I wish she could stop by my home for a couple of days and show me how to can.  I am “canning deficient.”

The above blogs are worthy of being among my favorites.  Just like many of you I spend time reading my favorite blogs and feel as if the above are some of my dear friends.

2.  Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.  

3.  Post the award on your blog.  List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites.  Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.

4.  Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don't know about you.

Okay - here are the random facts about me.  

1.  My DH and I dated only 2 weeks and then became engaged.

2.  I hinted to this above, but I would be happy living in a little farm house, with a garden, and some chickens (for meat and eggs) and a goat (for milk and cheese).  This would be “heck” for my DH. 

3.  I have a two year college degree in nutrition.

4.  I am totally in love with the fashions of 1910 through 1919 and want to sew dresses from that era.

5.  I am landscaped challenged.  My yard looks like something a 2nd grader designed on a bad day.  Hence there would be a problem with number 2 above if I had a garden and wanted to raise all my own vegetables.

Thanks again to Sue at Berkshire Cottage for this award.  It was fun to receive this award and it was fun for me to give it to five deserving bloggers.

April 06, 2012

A new puppy

My husband holding Molly.

About two weeks ago my husband started talking about getting another dog.    We were fortunate to know a local breeder of labradoodles (Labrador Retriever/Standard Sized Poodle) and goldendoodles (Golden Retriever/Standard Sized Poodle). This breeder only has two litters a year and is very selective about who gets "her" puppies.  Well, she was very happy to offer us a labradoodle puppy since we know her and her husband.  
Now a new puppy is not very frugal.  We were given a discount on Molly's price since we know the breeders, but we have spent money on a crate for her and of course on her food and chew toys.  As time goes on the cost of owning her won't be as much as it is the first few months of her life.  We will need to buckle down to afford the extra expenses but it is worth it.

Never wake a sleeping puppy.
 Molly arrived in our home last Saturday evening and she has been a great dog.  We are on our way to housebreaking and she has fit in so well with our family. 

I know that I had a lot of comments about our putting Buddy to sleep and not sticking it out.  However, I stand by that decision and we have moved on. 

April 05, 2012

Meet Molly . . . .

. . . . our wonderful new labradoodle puppy.  Been up at night with her and spending my days getting her housebroke.  She is so sweet.

Will post more tomorrow including the blogs that I will be awarding the Liebster Award to and a discussion about grinding your own meats.