Simply Saving Saturday - January 30

After entering all our transactions into EveryDollar for this month, we are over budget for the month of January.  It wasn't a surprise to us since we paid for two home repairs and a very expensive vehicle repair. We will use income from previous months and money from our savings account, if needed, to cover the difference. Hopefully we'll be able to stay on track next month!

I didn't have a lot of savings this week besides the every day things that we do, but here are a few savings from this week:

I worked four days this week and my husband and I both took lunches to work every day.

We borrowed several books and a movie from the library.

I used Swagbucks to purchase a $25 Walmart gift card.

My husband used his Irving Rewards and paid $1.79 per gallon of gas for one fill up. We are very thankful to see gas and oil prices going down this year.  While everything seems to be increasing, that is one budget item that is decreasing!

We used a gift card to eat out.

I gave the boys a haircut.

I bought bread at the bread store for $1.03/loaf and English muffins for $.99/pkg.

We ate popcorn that I made on the stovetop while we watched the AFC Championship Game.

How did you save this week?

Meal Plan Monday - January 25

Instead of having a taco last week, I made myself a taco salad.  It was so delicious that I decided to have taco salads this week! Here's what our family will be eating this week.

Baked Ravioli, peas

Taco Salad, pineapple

Cornmeal Oven-Fried Chicken, Yogurt Biscuits, salad

Biscuit Pot Pie (made with leftover Yogurt Biscuits)

Breakfast for dinner: breakfast sandwiches, Meatless Hash, leftover pineapple

English Muffin Pizzas, carrot sticks, applesauce


Get more meal plan ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

Simply Saving Saturday - January 23

We signed up for a free offer from Dish Network for four free movie channels for a month.

I cooked a big pot of pinto beans and I added them to four of the meals that we ate this week.  Three meals this week were meatless meals.

Whole chicken was on sale for $.88/lb. last week.  I bought two and put one in the freezer and cooked the other in the crockpot.  I also made chicken stock with the chicken scraps.

I saved veggie scraps and froze them to make chicken stock.

I made banana muffins with the very ripe bananas that I froze a few weeks ago and reused the freezer bag that the bananas were in.

Thanks to a free graphic found online and a photo editing program, I was able to change the design of the blog for free.

How did you save this week?

Meal Plan Monday - January 18

I cooked a big pot of pinto beans and plan to use them in several recipes this week including the Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac that we are trying for the first time. Instead of using a whole cup of cheese in that recipe, I will just sprinkle a little bit on top of each serving. Using less cheese will make this recipe a little more inexpensive, and will be a better option for our heart healthy diet.

Another way I plan to make our meals a little less expensive this week is by adding beans to the hamburger for tacos.  The leftover hamburger that was not used to make tacos will be used as a topping for the pizza.  I will also make my own taco seasoning for the tacos.  I have tried many taco seasoning recipes and this recipe is my favorite. I do leave out the salt for our heart healthy diet.

Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac, cornbread

Super Sloppy Joes, salad

Taco Chicken Bowls, Yogurt Biscuits, orange slices


Homemade pizza with whole wheat crust

Classic Minestrone

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas, apple slices

Get more meal plan ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

How I Saved This Week - January 16

I mentioned two weeks ago that I started using the free version of EveryDollar.  I have been faithfully entering all our transactions and I was excited to see how it has already saved us money. When my husband asked about eating out this week, I knew exactly how much we had already spent on eating out and we decided to eat at home.  My husband and I took a lunch to work every day and we ate at home every night this week. 

We had some apples that were getting soft so I made apple crisp with them.  I really made an extra effort this week to use up leftovers and we did much better with that than we have in the past.

I used online bill pay to pay bills.

I used a coupon code to get a crochet pattern for free on Ravelry. I am a member of a crochet Facebook group and designers will often post sales and free coupon codes. I occasionally check for coupon codes and have gotten a few really cute patterns for free.

I bought bread at the bread store for $1.03 per loaf.

I started using water instead of milk to make hot chocolate. I'm not a coffee or tea drinker, but I love a nice, hot cup of hot chocolate on cold winter days. Our boys have also started asking for hot chocolate when they come in after shoveling snow or playing outside. I love how creamy it is when I make it with milk, but I realized recently that I could save a little bit of money if I made it with water instead of milk.  It seems like a small thing, but with milk over $3.00 a gallon here, I want to make the milk stretch as long as possible.

How were you able to save this week?

Meal Plan Monday - January 11

Here's our meal plan for this week:

Spaghetti, salad

Roast Chicken, green beans, orange segments, leftover biscuits

Pulled BBQ Chicken and Coleslaw Wraps, carrot fries, apple slices

Spaghetti PieYogurt Biscuits, peas

Quick Chicken and Corn Wraps

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, rice, veggies

Chicken Taco and Rice

Get more meal plan ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

How I Saved This Week - January 9

My husband baked a cake for my birthday.  He said he took one look at the prices of a store bought cake and decided to buy a cake mix and try to make one himself!  It turned out great.

While I was doing some organizing this week, I found some information about a savings account my husband and I had opened many years ago.  At the time, the account offered a high interest rate and we opened the account for our son's college education.  Since then, interest rates have plummeted and we are going to move the money to his NextGen account.  We opened 529 investing plans for both of the boys a couple of years ago with the hope that it will help defray some of the cost of their college education.

We discovered this week that we could save $50 a year by increasing our auto insurance deductible to $1,000.  In the end we decided not to increase the deductible.  We didn't feel that the extra we would have to pay if we had an accident was worth the savings.

Our older son is working on a project at school and needed props for a presentation next week.  I printed a free printable from onto cardstock and we made a 3D paper model together. The site has several amazing 3D paper models and it is worth visiting if you haven't heard of the site before.

Our younger son has been wearing the jeans that his older brother grew out of, but several pairs have holes in the knees.  I bought him a new pair of jeans with a gift card that we were given at Christmas.

I started crocheting Valentine's gift bags for the boys' teachers.  I used a  free pattern and yarn that I had on hand.

I cut the boys' hair.

How did you save this week?

Heart Healthy Yogurt Biscuits

My husband loves homemade biscuits, but our favorite biscuits, made with shortening, was definitely not on the heart healthy foods list.  I searched the internet, and much to my surprise, found a recipe that uses yogurt and made a few changes to make it a little more heart healthy and frugal. While it's not quite as good as our favorite recipe, it is a very good, and more importantly, healthier alternative.

Heart Healthy Yogurt Biscuits

Servings: about 10 biscuits

2 cups flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. baking powder
1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup milk

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add yogurt and milk.  Stir until a dough forms, adding more milk 1 tbs. at a time as needed.

3.  Working quickly, knead dough just until smooth and roll out to 1-inch thick.  Cut out biscuits and place 1-inch apart on baking sheet.

4.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Meal Plan Monday - January 4

My plan for this week:

Skillet Cheeseburger Macaroni, salad

One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein

Enhanced Macaroni Salad, garlic bread

Homemade pizza with whole wheat crust

One Pan Mexican Quinoa (I'm going to try this with rice), yogurt biscuits

Cornmeal Oven-Fried Chicken, mashed potato, peas, carrot sticks

Chicken Vegetable Soup, leftover biscuits

Get more meal plan ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

New Hannaford Coupons

This coupon booklet was at the Customer Service Desk at my local Hannaford.  It includes the following Hannaford coupons:

$1.00 off Popped, Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion or Barbecue Wheat Thins
$1.00 off Town House Crackers
$1.00 off Pillsbury Pizza Crust
$.50 off any flavor Schweppes Seltzer, 1 liter
$1.50 off Freschetta Frozen Pizza
$.50 off Lipton Soup Mix
$1.00 off M&M's, 9 oz. or larger
$1.00 off Club Crackers
$1.00 off any Coke 8-pk., 7.5 oz. cans
$.50 off any flavor Pure Leaf Tea, 18.5 oz.
$1.00 off T.G.I. Friday's Frozen Appetizer
$1.00 off Hellmann's Mayonnaise
$1.00 off 7" or 9" Dixie Plates, 48 ct. or larger
$1.00 off Old El Paso Taco Shells
$1.00 off Powerade
$1.00 off Dr. Pepper 12-pk. cans
$1.00 off Farm Rich Frozen Appetizer
$1.50 off DiGiorno Frozen Pizza
$1.00 off Lavazza Coffee
$1.00 off Totino's Pizza Rolls, 40 ct.
$1.00 off Pepsi 8-pk., 7.5 oz. cans
$1.00 off Maxwell House Coffee, 28 oz. or larger
$1.00 off Klondike Bars 6-pk.
$1.00 off Mt. Olive Kosher Dill Spears

There is also a new printable coupon on the Hannaford website.  You can print a $3.00 off $15.00 purchase in the Meat Department coupon here.

How I Saved This Week - January 2

Happy New Year!

It was so nice to have a week off from school this week! I spent some time reading and working on hobbies that I enjoy, but I also started decluttering our home. I have a box of toys and DVDs that my children have outgrown and a few other things ready to go to Goodwill.

It always feels good to get rid of things that we don't use.  If you would like to get rid of clutter in your home and are feeling overwhelmed, start with just 10 things. This week try to find 10 things that you no longer need or want. Once you get started, it's hard to stop! I shared this article on Facebook about clutter that I found very thought provoking and has forced me to think about what I am buying and whether or not I really need it (even when I tell myself I do).

I downloaded a free wallpaper for my computer that I really love!  The wallpaper came from and you can find all of their January calendar wallpapers here. They also have free ecards and facebook covers.

I signed up to use the free version of EveryDollar and I am very excited about using this program this year! It is a budgeting program that allows users to set up a budget by categories and input transactions into each category. The transaction amounts are automatically subtracted from the category and show how much money is remaining. The program was created for the zero-based budget, where every dollar that a person spends, saves and earns is budgeted and accounted for. I love the user-friendly design, and I think the program will be a huge time saver, since I won't be doing all the figuring manually.

I scheduled bills to be paid through online bill pay.

I ran out of envelopes this week, so I used the envelopes that are sent with the bills that I received in the mail (since I use online bill pay, we don't use them).  I wrote the address on a small scrap piece of paper and put it inside the envelope to cover the open "window" part of the envelope.

I found a couple of books on photography at the library that I'm hoping will help me improve my photography skills.

I made blueberry pancakes with blueberries that we picked in August for $1.25/lb. and froze. I also cooked a whole chicken (that was on sale for $.99/lb.) in the crockpot and made chicken stock with the scraps. We ate turkey and other leftovers from last week and I made Alphabet Soup.

My favorite find this week was wrapping paper for $.38 a roll!

I bought bread at the bread store for $1.03 per loaf and put bread ends in the freezer.

Today was free Saturday at the Fitness Center. The boys and I enjoyed getting out and getting some exercise this morning.

How did you save this week?

Food City Coupon Matchups and Deals 1/1 - 1/7

View the sales flyer online

Honey Nut Cheerios 2 for $5.00
-$.75 off 1 printable coupon
Final Price: $1.00

Lucky Charms 2 for $5.00
-$.50 off 1 printable coupon
Final Price: $1.50

Nature Valley Granola Bars 2 for $5.00
-$.50 off 2 printable coupon
Final Price: $2.00 each wyb 2

Prego Pasta Sauce 2 for $4.00
-$.50 off 2 printable coupon
Final Price: $1.50 each wyb 2

Barilla Pasta 4 for $5.00
-$1.10 off 3 printable coupon
Final Price: $.88 each wyb 3

Cabot Cheese Bars 2 for $5.00
-$1.00 off 2 printable coupon
Final Price: $2.00 each wyb 2

Daisy Cottage Cheese 2 for $4.00
-$.50 off 1 printable coupon
Final Price: $1.00

Dannon Yogurt Mulitpacks $1.88
-$1.00 off 1 Light & Fit printable coupon (registration required)
-$1.00 off 1 Activia Light or Activia Greek printable coupon (registration required)
Final Price: $.88

Jolly Time Popcorn $2.29
-$1.00 off 2 printable coupon
Final Price: $1.79 each wyb 2

Ken's Salad Dressing 2 for $3.00

Tuttorosso Tomatoes 28 oz. $.99

Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks $.99/lb.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast $1.69/lb.

Kitchen Basics Chicken, Turkey, Vegetable, Beef, Seafood Stocks 32 oz. carton $2.00 
(through 1/9)