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Below are the 18 most recent journal entries recorded in Frugalities - Frugal Living's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
7:03 am
Back To Frugalities
Well I am trying to get back to my frugal ways. I had some set backs awhile back. but with school starting again, it seems a time to start fresh.

Food is one of the easiest ways to save money and one of the things that can be done every day. To that end I have brought back the Bentos. Okay for Katie they really are Bentos. Some are the $1 Hello Kitty ones and some are $1 for 3 sets I got at the Disney store last year and they nicely double as food storage containers as well as looking cute. Chris and James get food storage containers. But they all also have soup thermoses and fancy water bottles or drink thermoses to go with it all.

James has a seminar to go to for work and is supposes to expense his lunch, but decided the extra $10 to pay for parking again isn't worth the free lunch so he packed himself a peanut butter and banana sandwich and some fresh fruit to go.

Since I didn't buy enough bread at the grocery store (ore more acurately my teen boy finally developed a teen apetite and ate almost all the bread early) the kids have mac and cheese in the soup thermos with bentos with fruit and veggies on the side as well as one small home made chocolate chip cookie.

I am also back to a nice cheap menu plan. Tonight will be bean burritos with corn and bean salad, fruit and raw veggies. Actually those vegetarian meals like that will feature a lot for us. Although I am cooking up a 1/3lb of ground beef for the boys to share. Mostly for the teen boy as he doesn't like beans and I figure he will eat less if he actually has some meat to eat today.

I bought 1 lb of ground beef that is going to be divided up for 3 different meals this week. Later in the week it will go into a mostly veggie shepherd's pie and Friday a mostly bean chili (the leftovers will be used for the traditional Labor day hotdog lunch).

Anyway, tonight I will share the recipes for the simple dinner that I will make and how it goes over with the family.
Monday, May 12th, 2008
6:23 pm
Dave Ramsey community on LJ

I wanted to let this community know that there is a Dave Ramsey community on LiveJournal. For those who don't know, Dave Ramsey is the author of The Total Money Makeover, a book that shows you how to build an emergency fund, pay off your debt, and invest for your retirement.

I know there are lots of different authors on this subject, and as many different methods for managing or getting out of debt, but I wanted to point those interested in this author (whether a full-fledged "gazelle," or someone who's been meaning to check Dave out) where to find info on LJ.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
9:45 am
Pasta Salad Recipe
I have been having some random pains that have started to scare the half silly. Made me start considering the effects of my weight on my health. So as well as starting an exercise program again, I am trying to find healthier frugalities to satisfy my cravings.

My current favorite is various pasta salads. But instead of a Mayo or Ranch saturated salad that was mostly Pasta, today's lunch is a bit different.

I made up a bunch of whole wheat organic owtie bpasta for myself and seperated it into 1 c servings to eat off of the rest of the week, and be able to make different salads.

Today's Salad

1c pasta
1c veggies (mix of some leftover bell pepper, leftover shredded carrot, and frozen peas)
1/4c feta
1/4c chick peas (I put the rest in the fridge to have with my pasta tomorrow, or make some Hummus from)
3t Balsamic Vinagarette dressing (James picked it up at the store, trying to find a soy free salad dressing for me, a bit pricier than what I would have chosen, but it is seasoned and yummy)

The Balsamic Vinagarette dressing and the feta mixed together well to give a creamier feel to the dressing that I like. Note I usually use Mayo or Ranch for these sorts of salads.

I am very happy with it. 
Sunday, February 10th, 2008
11:16 am
For Sale: Kitchen Items (Sun City, Arizona)
 Kitchen supplies, dishes, etc..I am selling everything I have in storage including (http://picasaweb.google.com/VickiNBoston/ItemsForSale):
  • a toaster ($3) ,
  • a blender ($7),
  • plate set including plates, bowls, cups, ($7)
  • 4 drinking glasses ($1)
  • muffin baking pan ($1)
  • very used small cooking pots <$1)
  • glass casserole baking dish ($2)
  • silverware ($4) ,
  • wooden dishrack ($1)
  • drawer divider for silverware ($1),
  • ice trays ($free with purchase of anything else),
  • wooden napkin holder for table top ($1)
  • wooden countertop knife set ($5)
  • wooden paper towel holder with wooden salt and pepper shakers ($1)
  • 2 place settings, including 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 cups, 2 napkins and 2 napkin holders , 2 chair cushions, 2 wine glasses and matching flower vase ($7)(SEE PICTURE BELOW)
  • Monday, November 5th, 2007
    9:51 am
    Bentos 11-5
    Today I made Bentos for James and Katie

    Leftover stuffing meal
    apple pieces
    half a pumpkin butter and cream cheese sandwich
    home made roll
    last of his wasabi peas
    seed and nut mix

    half a pumpkin butter and cream cheese sand cut into heart shapes
    peanut butter to dip carrots in
    mini ham and cheese sandwich made from home made roll
    seed and nut mix
    apple pieces
    Pumpkin milk from Target

    The seed and nut mix was made from honey roasted peanuts that were on clearance and some leftover ingredients from recipes (pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)

    I usually let James and Katie pick out one "special" snack to put in their lunches and this week was the honey roasted peanuts and the pumpkin milk.  At $2.08 for a jar of peanuts. I thought it was a great deal.  A couple months ago James got the Wasabi Peas from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.  He didn't get many, but I would just send him with 1-2T worth at a time and then only a couple times a week.

    This morning Katie informed me that one of the 1st grade teachers finds her lunches so interesting that she has to come by and check out what she brought each day.  I didn't think that I sent her anything that interesting.  Although I have managed to avoid the standard sandwich and chips.  And when I do send sandwiches (about 3/4 of the time) I try and make them interesting.  If my brain is completely dead I will just cut the thing with a cookie cutter.

    They will probably be seeing more pecan items in their lunches since I got a huge bag from my in laws this weekend.  It is nice that they have all those pecan trees.  I still need to shell them all.
    9:28 am
    A very frugal dinner recipe - Veggie Stuffing
    This recipe uses all that leftover bread loaves that I stick in the freezer.  No one seems to like heels for their sandwiches and sometimes various other bread products sit around until I am afraid that they are about to go bad and all of that ends up in the freezer.

    Veggie Stuffing
    8c bread torn into thumb size peices
    3 eggs beaten
    2c chicken broth
    1 onion chopped
    2 stalks celery chopped
    1 can of spinach (or leftover vegetable)
    1c shredded cheese (optional)
    1t thyme
    1t sage
    pepper to taste
    Salt if you used broth from boiling chicken bones, leave off if you used bullion to make broth

    Mix it all together and pour into large greased baking pan (I prefer my 9x13" cake pan for this one).

    Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

    Everyone but Katie loved this one. But she admitted to holding out for the home made bread that James put in the oven after I pulled out the stuffing.  Making use of the already warmed oven and all.

    BTW he did a double batch of multi grain bread that was wheat flour, white flour, cracked wheat (leftover from cereal making), oatmeal put through the food processor to make into a flour.  Half was made into a loaf and the other half he formed into various shaped buns.  My favorite were the bento sandwich size buns some with poppy seed and some with sunflower seeds that we had leftover from other recipes.
    Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
    12:50 pm
    Salmon Pasta Salad Recipe
    Okay this one is real easy

    cooked small shell pasta
    1-2c frozen green peas
    1 small can salmon drained
    Mayo to taste
    1/4c chopped onion
    pepper to taste
    salt to taste.

    Just mix it all up and chill.  I use the small shell pasta because it fits better in the small bento boxes.  If I had some carrots I probably would have shredded some into the salad to make it look pretty.

    12:38 pm

    Sandwich cut into bat and heart shapes.  They are learning about bats in school this week
    johnny cakes

    Not the healthiest, but my brain wasn't working that well


    Salmon Pasta Salad
    Last of the Johnny Cakes
    Brussel Sprouts.
    Sunday, October 21st, 2007
    8:49 pm
    Monday Morning Bentos

    Katie's Bento
    Johnny Cakes cut into stars
    Cheese cut into stars
    syrup to dip cakes in
    grapes, strawberries and pineapple

    James's Bento

    strawberries, black and green grapes and sandwich crakers (store brand wheat crackers and cream cheese and raspberry chipotle sauce)
    All leftovers from studio tour
    Bacon, Johnny Cakes and cheese stars  l
    Mostly leftovers from Sunday breakfast.
    He also didn't finish his Bento from Friday and still has a top bento section filled with Tuna Mac at work.

    I am really liking how I can repackage leftovers for lunches with these bentos and James and Katie think they are getting something special.  With Katie all I really have to do is cut something into a cute shape and she thinks it is wonderful.  James prefers not to have cute shapes, but he likes the fact that I pack his lunch for him. It makes him feel special.  And I get leftovers out of the house and extra work out of James (hey a guy that feels special will wash dishes without being asked).  And they think I am super mom.  Kinda weird really.
    8:44 pm
    James's Johnny Cakes
    James adapted this recipe himself.

    1 1/3 c cornmeal
    2/3c flour
    2-3t sugar
    1t salt
    1t baking soda
    2 eggs beaten until frothy
    1 1/3c buttermilk

    mix dry ingredients together
    mix wet ingredients together
    mix the mixtures together
    Fry in bacon drippings.

    1T batter for dollar size cakes and 3Tbatter for regular size cakes.
    8:33 pm
    Weekend of not being so Frugal
    I feel kinda bad.  Although I wasn't as unfrugal as my pre-frugal weekends were.

    Friday I headed out to get supplies for the tour after the kids had been picked up and was starving and stopped at McDonald's on the way out.

    Saturday I fixed up the house, had a sandwich at home hung out for the studio tour until 6pm.  When it was over we closed up, went to the bank to deposite the money that had been my change and then had a very frugal date night.
    Date night was $3.50 for the dollar movie showing of Stardust (when did Dollar Movie stop meaning a movie for a dollar?), then we went to Taco Cabana for dinner and spent $14.08 and even had dessert to share, but we filled up before we could eat it, and just now finished it off Sunday night.

    Then this morning James made homemade Johnny Cakes, bacon, and eggs.  We shared 3 eggs and have lots of leftover Johnny Cakes and bacon.  We had to cook the bacon to fry the cakes in.  We are Southern, ya know.

    And we had such a hearty late breakfast that we didn't bother to pack bentos, thinking that the next meal would be dinner.  But when we were about to head home at 3pm she informed us that she was starving so we broke down and had lunch at Dairy Queen.  But we didn't buy drinks on the way out there because we did have enough forethought to actually pack us some in a reusable drink container before leaving the house.

    Current Mood: okay
    Thursday, October 18th, 2007
    11:02 pm
    Grocery Shopping and Weekly Menu
    This week I spent $42.08 on groceries.  This included stuff for a fruit and cracker tray for the studio tour Saturday.  But my menu for next week relies heavily on things I already have around the house.

    Grocery List
    Cereal (I buy commerical cereal about once a month for Katie) - 2.69
    Bread 2.69
    Frozen Mixed Vegtables 0.87
    Frozen green peas 0.87
    Large container of StoneyField Farms Vanilla Yogurt (for fruit tray dip) 2.99
    16oz tub of cream cheese (for cracker spread, but James also likes it with sundried tomatos for a sandwich spread) 3.59
    Butter 2.29
    Organic Milk  3.79
    Apple Juice 1.25 
    Strawberries (for fruit tray) 2.50
    Cucumber 0.79
    Green Bell pepper 0.89
    Bananas 1.18
    Black Grapes (fruit tray and Bentos for next week) 4.22
    Green Grapes ("") 4.28
    Jones Soda Candy (clearance and a special treat for james) 1.11
    Whole Wheat Tortillas  1.69
    Canned Pineapple 0.92
    Crackers (fruit tray) 1.59
    18 ct eggs 1.79
    Tax 0.09

    menu for the week

    L. Bento
    D. Sandwich (James will be at school, Katie at her grandparents and Chris at his dad's)

    L. Nibble off fruit tray and sandwich
    D. Salmon Pasta Salad

    B. Pancakes if I can talk James into it
    L. Sandwiches in Bentos cause we will be on the road to pick up Katie
    D. Chopped beef, mashed potatoes and whatever veg I randomly choose from pantry (leftovers that have been frozen)

    L. Bentos and leftovers
    D. Rice Pilaf

    L. Bentos and leftovers
    D. Quiche

    L Bentos and leftovers
    D. Soup from leftovers, and vegtables

    Channa Masala  - that bell pepper was the only thing I was missing to be able to make it again

    Falafels with tortillas and cucumber

    I expect that a lot of the items that I bought for the studio tour will end up in Bentos.  The strawberries are probably the only thing that all of them will be eaten. The leftover yogurt will also make nice smoothies for breakfasts during the week.  Cause other than oatmeal and smoothies the only thing offered for breakfast during the week are things I cooked the night before like muffins.  I am just not a morning person.  I make the 16 year old fend for himself since he has to leave at 6:25am.

    Well off to bed with me.  As tired as I am, I am still excited about being $8 under budget on groceries this week and $8.76 below budget on James's Birthday gift.  Although it looks like I will just be adding that bit into what I spend for Christmas.  Because even the best deals I am finding for the Settlers of Catan expansion are over $25.  Oh well, if I can't find it within budget, I can get him some games at Cheap Ass Games. 

    Current Mood: tired
    10:47 pm
    Note that tomorrow's Bentos are rather simple, cause I am still burned out from cleaning all week on the house.

    Katie's Bento
    PBJ sandwich cut into one large heart and one small heart.
    home made lemonade

    James's Bento

    leftover tuna mac
    turkey pastrami sandwich
    granola bar
    pickled peppers and sour kraut in a little container to add to sandwich later (his idea, I think it is gross)

    My Bento
    Yes, I get a Bento because it was just the right size for leftovers
    You guessed it.....
    Leftover Tuna Mac

    Current Mood: tired
    10:36 pm
    Quick Recipe - Tuna Mac
    Okay, this is the standard "I am so burned out I don't even want to think about going out, let alone cooking" meal.

    2 boxes of mac and cheese (bought on sale or in bulk)
    butter and milk according to directions on box
    one can tuna (sale or bulk purchase)
    half a bag of frozen mixed veggies (87 cents for the whole bag at Target)
    shredded cheese (cause really the more the better)

    Cook mac and cheese according to directions, add one can of tuna, and half a bag of mixed veggies and mix together in microwave safe bowl (really big bowl, I use glass mixing bowl) top with cheese and nuke for 2 min. to melt cheese.

    I expect that this is around $3 or less for the meal.

    This was enough for the a family of 4 and still enough leftover for lunch for the 2 adults the next day.

    Not really the most healthy dinner that I could provide the family.  But with major cleaning for Saturday's studio tour, I am just happy I could provide something cheaper and healthier than McDonald's.   Some days it seems frugal is just what is better than the alternative.  The mood I was in the alternative was McDonald's or Taco Bell.

    Current Mood: tired
    4:31 pm
    Christmas Savings!
    Today I officially started my Christmas shopping.

    I have a Budget of $275 for everyone!  That is the kids, the husband, the in laws and my large extended family.

    How am I doing it?

    Well in my family we don't buy for the adult extended family except for grandparents, and those are small items. 

    I am going to make purses for the younger girls. I am going to use fabric I already have and buy a solid cotton fabric for the lining.  a half yard should make purses for both girls. 

    I am going to give Katie 3 of my canvases to make art for the grandparents and suppliment those with small gifts.  My MIL is already taken care of because the boys chipped in together and got her a shirt from Spam-a-lot.  My grandfather will get the standard Old Spice and we will likely put our money together with my BIL and his wife for something for my FIL. I still need to figure out what to do for my mom.  James's grandmother is in a nursing home and so we are going to splurge with her and give her $20 cash to help pay for her care.  All the grand kids are doing this.

    The two older girl cousins I need to buy for (teens), I am just going to give $10 gift cards to Target.  I figure that they would have more fun with the shopping trip than anything else.

    I still have 2 children of a friend that I want to buy for, but I have myself on a $5 limit for each of them.  One is a baby and the other 6. 

    My son should be easy enough.  He wants books.  And with the $50-$60 that I want to spend on him, I should be able to get him several at Half Price Books.  Especially since I just received some coupons that are good next week for there.  I have 4 coupons and a list of 5 books that are old enough that I should be able to find them.  Then he wants a book that should be coming out soon in hardback, that will likely eat half my budget for him.  But that is still 5-6 books for Christmas.

    My daughter wants a doll that looks like a porcelain doll I have, but one she can play with.  So I am going to get her a standard 18" doll.  The Our Generation is $20 at Target.  Then I am going to make a dress similar to the one the porcelain doll wears.  Then the pattern that I buy to make that will be used again to make extra clothes for Katie's birthday as well.  She also wants a Rubber snake and art supplies.  The rubber snake is pretty cheap and the art supplies I can buy one at a time with the 40% off coupons I get from Michael's.

    Sticking to $40 for James's birthday and Christmas I thought might be difficult.  But today I got a 50% off coupon for one item at Barnes and Nobles.  So I decided to go ahead today and buy the new Terry Pratchett book for him.  I got there and discovered that it already was marked down 20%.  So I got the $25.99 book for $11.24.  That includes the sales tax.  I think that I might be able to do this.  His was going to be the hardest.

    And I am going to make most of the candy that goes into the stockings this year as well as give candy as gifts to friends.  I will cheat there and the costs will come out of my grocery budget.

    The money isn't even coming out of our regular budget.  Or at least most of it isn't.  I got a check for $149.04 from CafePress yesterday that is going towards Christmas and I have a $25 amazon rewards gift certificate that will be used towards purchasing gifts for my BIL and SIL.  Since I am budgeting $15 each for them, I will really only be spending about $5 for them.

    Current Mood: creative
    12:56 pm
    I recently discovered th joy of Bento lunch boxes.  I picked up several for $1 at Dollar Tree for Katie, and some will end up as gifts filled with candy.  I also ordered a nice one for James on eBay, before I decided to actually try and save money again.  Until it arrives, he has been taking the Hello Kitty ones that I got for Katie.

    Katie's Bento
    yogurt dressing
    apple slices
    mini bear cookies
    She will buy milk at school today.

    James's Bento (breakfast and lunch)

    pita bread
    yogurt dressing
    protein bar (this is the breakfast part)
    His work provides free drinks

    Maybe next time I will take photos like most folks seem to do for their Bento lunches.  But don't count on that much motivation from me.

    Also since we started using the Bentos I have noticed that I am providing healthier lunches instead of sandwich and chips.  And James has discovered that he is eatting a lot less.  Seems to be loosing weight too.

    Current Mood: accomplished
    12:39 pm
    Frugal Recipe - Falafels
    This is last night's dinner

    3c cooked chickpeas drained
    1/2c flour
    1/2c loosely packed fresh parsley
    2T lemon juice
    2Tchopped onion
    6 cloves chopped garlic
    2t paprika
    1/2t salt

    put it all in a food processor and blend until smooth.

    heat oil for frying

    Drop small spoonfuls of mixture into oil to fry, cook until balls are browned all over.  Some recomend making ball shapes withh the mixture, but it is kinda sticky and I found it easier to just scoop it up with a spoon and push it off the end gently.

    Yogurt sauce
    Stoneyfield farms organic plain yogurt  (yes, this is one of my luxuries in life, but for this it works best because it is a thinner yogurt, add milk to thin if using firmer yogurt)
    dill to taste.

    place falafels on pita or flour tortilla with veggies of choice (cucumbers, lettuce and chopped tomatos recomended) and drizzle with the yogurt dressing.

    This meal probably cost me $5, but I used store bought pitas.  Next time, I think I will use tortillas to save another dollar.  And there was enough for lunch for Katie and James.  Although Katie didn't get a pita with her lunch because she didn't eat the one with dinner.  She just got cold falafels with yogurt dressing to dip them in.  The chick peas were cooked earlier in the week.  I used part to make channa masala, and the rest are in the freezer for next time.

    Current Mood: accomplished
    11:32 am
    In the beginning
    It wasn't THE beginning, but A beginning.  I saw a billboard promoting the money values I remember having.  Back in the days when I eliminated the $30k in debt that came with the husband I married.  It got me to thinking about what happened.  After our daughter was born, we fell back on the lifestyle he had back before we met.  I realized things were getting bad, and fast.

    So last week, I started listening to the radio station that the billboard was promoting.  This week I made use of the local library and picked up a couple of the guy's books.  And I also sat down and made a budget again.  I forgot how much fun I had doing that.

    Anyway the plan is:
    Pay off the credit cards AND home improvement loan in just 18 months.

    How am I going to do this?

    Why by sticking to my new budget.

    And I will admit that I am not going to completely deprive us while sticking to this budget.  We are keeping the gym membership for now, as well as netflix and our booksfree.com membership.  After Christmas I will reduce the netflix to 2 at a time and seriously consider dropping the booksfree.  My Christmas budget is only $275 for everyone (that includes buying James's birthday gift).   And $149.04 of that is coming from the recent Cafepress check I received.

    Oh yeah, I also made the budget without including child support money.  My ex is out of work and hasn't been paying anyway.

    One of my challenges is to keep my gas bill at $50 a week and my groceries at $50 a week.

     I also might be able to cut the time that it takes to pay off the debts by keeping my utility bill low.  My highest was $475 for July this year and so I budgeted with that in mind.  But this month's bill was only $220 and some change.  Which means I should be able to find another $255 to put towards the debt.  Although maybe not that much because James already ate out at a fast food place last night.  But that was my fault for not packing him a dinner as well as a lunch, even though I knew he had study group after work.

    Oh yes, did I mention that I am taking on this project while my partner in crime is working full time and going to grad school?

    I have my work cut out for me.

    So goals include
    Pay off credit card #1 by the end of March 2008
    Pay off Credit card #2 by the end of June 2008
    Pay off credit card #3 by the end of December 2008
    Pay off home improvement loan by the end of March 2009

    After that I will work on paying off the house and James's grad school early. 

    Current Mood: determined
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