Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A new life for leftovers

So I've been doing my best to keep making inexpensive dinners for the family, and have been mostly successful. Ok, we did cheat and eat at McDonald's last night, but kept it to the dollar menu at least. We can't all be perfect. One of the ways I try to keep food costs down is to make sure we don't waste a lot of food. That means eating leftovers rather than tossing them in the trash, as well as buying only what we will eat. The kids usually love it when we have leftovers for dinner. Sometimes it can get boring eating the same thing over and over though, so I try to get creative with what we have in the fridge. Just a couple days ago I made up some fried rice using nothing but leftovers. 
It's super easy- just toss some cooked white rice with whatever leftover meats and veggies you have in a pan with a little soy sauce. It's really yummy, and best of all really cheap! This meal was essentially free!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Turn it off!

The kids are home from school today because of yet another snow storm that is blowing around outside. I am determined to continue my thrifty ways even with all the miniature money-suckers around though. I have spent a good portion of the day following them around and instructing them to TURN OFF THE LIGHTS, especially when I find them on in nearly every room of the house during the daytime when lights are not necessary. Sigh. 

I did catch myself using some unnecessary electricity as well. With so many people living here, our dishwasher gets used OFTEN. I usually have to run it twice a day, sometimes more such as holidays or weekends. One thing I was doing without even thinking about it was using the "heated dry" cycle to dry the dishes faster. Honestly, this is really not necessary and uses quite a bit of electricity. So I simply turned that off and leave the door cracked open to allow the dishes to air dry. I suppose if I was feeling like Martha Stewart I could towel dry the dishes, but I seriously don't have time for that. 

Dinner was nice and cheap today. We had tacos with yellow rice and corn- yummy! The ground beef for the tacos was purchased on sale a while ago and has been waiting patiently in the freezer for me to cook it up. The taco kit I used was less than $1 after coupons, and the corn was bought on sale as well. The rice was FREE thanks to coupons (my favorite price). Our dinner cost just under $5 total for the 7 of us. Not too shabby. 

Hubby also did something frugal today- he cleaned! He went through the giant pile-o-crap on our desk and found a couple gift cards that we had completely forgotten about. He decided to use them to buy himself a treat (some DVDs from Best Buy). I don't even know where the gift cards came from in the first place, but it's always fun to find things like that. I wonder what I'll find when I do the laundry...

Back in the saddle again

For the past couple months we have been practically hemorrhaging money. 'Tis the season, I know. We bought an obnoxious amount of gifts for the kids, ate out way too often, drove around more than usual, and celebrated the holidays in fine consumerist style. While I admit that it was a nice change to be frivolous, I am just plain burnt out from all the shopping. Normally I'm as thrifty as possible, and I plan to get back to being that way. 

I figured this was a good place to not only keep myself accountable, but also share some of the ways I stay thrifty. I do many things every day that are thrifty or frugal without even thinking about it- I wear clothing purchased at the thrift store, wash our laundry in homemade laundry detergent, cook from scratch, use cloth diapers on the baby... you get the idea. I want to share at least a few of the things I do here to help me get back to my frugal ways. 

Today I did something simple that seems to be a bit old fashioned to some- I darned socks. Some of my hand knit wool socks were getting worn thin, so rather than tossing them and buying new ones, I darned them so I can hopefully wear them for another season. I often darn the hubby's socks too (that man is a sock killer!), and occasionally the kids'. I know socks aren't that expensive, but when your available cash flow is nonexistent, replacing them just isn't an option. I forget where I learned to do this, but I know there are plenty of tutorials online. 

Today's dinner was also thrifty. I made baked Mac & Cheese with some pasta and cheese that I got for cheap with coupons. Even with the veggies we ate, dinner cost less than $5 total for the six of us. Eating at home is so much more frugal than fast food!