Simply Saving Saturday




It's often hard to see the tangible savings from the simple things I do every day to save money and I sometimes find myself discouraged with my efforts. Writing down all those little things I do in order to live more frugally has helped me to see that all those little things actually can make a big difference!



Here's how I was able to simply save this week:

--Made chicken stock.

--Made apple oatmeal muffins with apples that were getting too soft.

--Received a free cat food sample.

--Listened to music for free on Spotify.

--Bought bread at the bread store during their 5 for $5 sale.

--Cut buttons off an old shirt of hubby's before throwing it away.

--Downloaded a free ebook to my Kindle for PC.



How were you able to simply save this week?

Frugal Living: Make Your Own Yogurt

 
{Grapefruit, Strawberry, Banana Yogurt}

I was amazed to discover that it is possible to make yogurt right in my very own kitchen!  Since I cut back on the amount of yogurt that I was buying due to the price and the amount of sugar in most flavored yogurts, this was an experiment that I couldn't wait to try.

What I love about making my own yogurt:

1. It's healthy.
2. It's inexpensive.
3. I can experiment with new flavors.

There are a many different ways to make yogurt and lots of suggestions on how to go about it, but I used this recipe from Anna at Feminine Adventures.  The yogurt turned out to be much thinner than what we are used to, but it was delicious!

{heating the milk to 185 degrees}

Next time I will try removing some of the whey from the yogurt to make a thicker yogurt (Anna shares how to do this in her post).  A thickener can also be added to thicken the yogurt.  Kelly from Faithful Provisions shares a recipe that includes using gelatin or nonfat dry milk for thickening.

The freshness of homemade yogurt can't be beat.  It's delicious in smoothies, as a substitute for sour cream or flavored with fruit.



Simply Saving Saturday

 

It's often hard to see the tangible savings from the simple things I do every day to save money and I sometimes find myself discouraged with my efforts. Writing down all those little things I do in order to live more frugally has helped me to see that all those little things actually can make a big difference!
 
--Rode early to church with hubby so that we didn't need to take two vehicles to church.

--We didn't need to buy the book for the new study we are doing in our small group since I had downloaded it for free to my Kindle for PC earlier in the year.  We just take our laptop along with us instead of a book!

--Found many gardening books at the library.  So excited to start planning our garden!

--Made my own yogurt for the first time.  We are enjoying grapefruit, strawberry, banana yogurt and I am experimenting with yogurt smoothies. 

--Paid a hospital bill by the prompt pay discount date and received a 10% discount.

--Made garlic bread sticks with the whole wheat hot dog buns that I bought at the bread store for $1.

--The satin edging on a blanket that we received as a wedding gift 8 years ago was unraveling.  Instead of throwing it away and buying a new one, I cut all the edging off and I'm sure this blanket will last us for a few more years.

--Made cake flour for a new recipe I tried instead of buying it.


How were you able to save this week?

Shoe Boxes For Boys: Grooming & Hygiene


Welcome to the Shoe Boxes for Boys series. This year I am focusing on packing boxes for boys after reading a comment on this post about the need for more boxes for boys (especially 10-14 year olds). If you are packing shoe boxes this year, I hope you will find some new ideas and also share your ideas!

When I first started packing Operation Christmas Child boxes two years ago, I packed lots of school supplies, toys and candy.

And then I read Ted's story;  stories of children in orphanages sharing towels, washcloths, and toothbrushes with many other children.  There are many more children around the world who don't have them at all.  So last year I determined to make sure that all the boxes that I packed would include practical things that many of us take for granted every day.




Suggested Hygiene & Grooming Items

Floss
Comb/Brush
Nail Clippers
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Washcloth









Soap Pouch
Soap
Travel size hand wipes
Travel size tissues


Many of these items can be purchased inexpensively or for free!  Here are a few tips when buying these items:

1.  Remember--no liquids.

2.  Sign up for toothpaste samples!  They are perfect for shoe boxes.

3.  Look for Colgate coupons in the newspaper.  I can often get the 4 oz. Colgate toothpaste at Walmart ($.94) for free with a $1 coupon (some regions will have the $.75 coupon).  Colgate toothbrushes are under $.50 with the $1 off 2 coupon.

4.  For the last few summers there has been a kids toothpaste coupon in the newspaper, sometimes right around back-to-school time.  I use the coupon to get Kids Crest toothpaste for free at Walmart.  Reach floss can also be purchased for free at Walmart with the Reach coupon that is available once or twice a year.

5. I have found large packs of combs from the Dollar Tree. You might find these at your local dollar store as well.

6.  The single packs of Olay soap can also be purchased for free with the $1 Olay soap coupon that is sometimes in the monthly P&G coupon insert in the Sunday paper.





Posts in this series:

Note: The information shared in this series will follow the OCC-US regulations. When packing shoe boxes from other countries, please refer to the rules and regulations from that country as they vary greatly from country to country. Thank you!

Operation Christmas Child Canada
Operation Christmas Child Australia
Operation Christmas Child UK

Swagbucks Tip: New & Improved Toolbar



The first thing you will want to do after signing up with Swagbucks is download the toolbar.

Not only will you earn 1 Swag Buck each day that it is installed, but it also gives you quick and easy access to the search box.

Swagbucks has completely redesigned the toolbar and has made it much easier to find Swag Codes by adding a "Check for Swag Code" button on the toolbar.  Check this button throughout the day and if there is an active Swag Code available, a hint will be given to help you find the Swag Code. 

Find the Swag Code, enter it into the "gimme" box at swagbucks.com and earn easy points!   Occasionally you may find a Swag Code when you click on the button. 

To download the toolbar, go to swagbucks.com and put your mouse on "Tools" in the menu bar.  Click on "toolbars" and scroll down to the "download" button at the bottom of the page.




Simply Saving Saturday

 
It's often hard to see the tangible savings from the simple things I do every day to save money and I sometimes find myself discouraged with my efforts. Writing down all those little things I do in order to live more frugally has helped me to see that all those little things actually can make a big difference!

Here are some small ways that I was able to simply save this week:
 
--Since we have been buying extra meat while it is on sale, we have plenty of meat in the freezer and we didn't need to buy any this week.
 
--Crocheted a scarf with yarn that my mom found at Goodwill and gave to me.  There just happened to be a few skeins of really nice, expensive yarn in the huge bag that she gave me.
 
--We were able to get interior paint for 50% off!  There are a few paint projects that we wanted to do around the house this year and when a local hardware store started selling their paint for 50%, we decided to pick out colors and buy the paint now instead of waiting until we were ready to paint. (Planning ahead is a big money-saver!)
 
--Received a full-size box of cereal from BzzAgent.  BzzAgent is a social marketing company that allows members to qualify to try products for free and then spread the word on social media and by word of mouth about the products they try.
 
--Found some coupons that I could use in the community coupon box at our local library.  The coupon box has been such a blessing to us!  Our library has put out the coupon box for people to share coupons and it allows me to get one or two more coupons for free-after-coupon items or for things that we need without buying a second newspaper each week.
 
--Downloaded free ebooks to my Kindle for PC.
 
--Used a coupon to get free toothpaste.
 
 
--Used a notecard that a friend sent me several years ago and painted a plain frame in order to make an inexpensive wall art.  I had a great time with this project and for a little more than $5 I was able to add some life to a very boring wall.



How were you able to simply save this week?

Make Your Own Notecard Wall Art and An "Aged" Picture Frame





For this project, I used this note card that a friend sent me several years ago...



and purchased this plain picture frame and the gray and white acrylic paints at Walmart.



I started by mixing the dark gray and white paints together and painting the whole frame with the light gray.



After the light gray coat was dry, I brushed on the dark gray in three spots that form a sort of triangle as explained in this video.



The gray paints were covered with a light coat of white paint.  I dabbed just a small amount of white paint around the edges so that some of the light gray paint would show through and help give the picture frame an aged look.

 

Once the white paint was dry, I very lightly sanded all the edges and the spots on the frame where I wanted the gray to show through.
 
 
 
The notecard was too small for the picture frame so I attached the notecard to a piece of cardstock that I cut to fit the frame and it is now hanging in our bathroom!
 
 

Simply Saving Saturday


 

It's often hard to see the tangible savings from the simple things I do every day to save money and I sometimes find myself discouraged with my efforts. Writing down all those little things I do in order to live more frugally has helped me to see that all those little things actually can make a big difference!

 
 Here's how I was able to simply save this week:

--Made ham and bean soup with the ham bone from the $.99/lb. ham we bought the week of Christmas.  I used chicken stock from the freezer and made a few substitutions (used one small can of tomato sauce instead of vegetable juice) in order to use things I already had on hand and make the recipe a little less expensive to make--this was delicious!

--We decided to use a gift card that we got for Christmas to stock up on meat.  This week I bought two $.99/lb whole chickens and put them in the freezer.  I can't wait to replenish my supply of chicken stock since I used most of it to make the ham and bean soup.

--Made whole wheat tortillas for the first time!  Discovered that I need to practice with this recipe a little more.

--Made homemade instant oatmeal packets for breakfasts.

--Went to the bread store and discovered that they have changed their prices.  On Fridays and Saturdays everything in the whole store is 5 for $5.  I was able to get  100% whole wheat, no high fructose corn syrup bread for just $1 each!  Had to take a chicken out of the freezer in order to put the bread in.

--This week I started grocery shopping with cash in an effort to reduce our grocery budget.  I am hoping this will help me be able to keep better track of how much we are spending and also give me an incentive to only buy things that we need.  I think handing over cash instead of swiping a debit card will be a big motivator!

--Received four Airborne samples in the mail this week.


What did you do to simply save this week?

Shoe Boxes for Boys: After Christmas Sales


 
Welcome to the Shoe Boxes for Boys series.  This year I am focusing on packing boxes for boys after reading a comment on this post about the need for more boxes for boys (especially 10-14 year olds).  If you are packing shoe boxes this year, I hope you will find some new ideas and also share your ideas!
  
After Christmas sales are a wonderful opportunity to buy gift wrap, pencils and other small items at a great price.  If you haven't been to the after Christmas sales, there's still time!




The Christmas clearance at Walmart is now 75% off and I was able to find gift wrap (90 sq. ft.) for just $.61 each.  I also found pencils, stamp sets and colorful cups for just $.21 each.

Tip:  When buying gift wrap, try to find coordinating prints so that if you run out of one roll and weren't able to finish a box, you can use the another roll that coordinates well.





Note:  The information shared in this series will follow the OCC-US regulations.  When packing shoe boxes from other countries, please refer to the rules and regulations from that country as they vary greatly from country to country.  Thank you!

Operation Christmas Child Canada
Operation Christmas Child Australia
Operation Christmas Child UK