Monday, February 28, 2011

New Project

Yes, our daughter is almost 13 months old. And yes, we still need to fill some of the walls of her bedroom. My husband and I have been debating and browsing art for over a year now, but a sale on finally got us moving. We just bought these prints for our daughter's room and two prints for our room- we've been in our house for over three years and the walls of the master bedroom are still mostly bare.

Next step is for my husband to build frames and mat them. As I mentioned here, framing and matting your own art is a thrifty strategy. The art for her room will all have matching white-stained frames and each will have a different colored mat (I think). The frames for our room will be stained to match our bedroom set. I have step-by-step pictures from his most recently finished framing project, those will be coming in a future post.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Frugal Fatigue?

Have you been thrifty for awhile and are growing tired of living frugally? Many Americans have been tightening their belts for a couple years now, and are ready to spend freely again. A segment on the Today Show on Wednesday explained this phenomenon and some tips to overcome it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Follow-up to my last post

I hit up the Target frozen food sale and Valentine's clearance yesterday. I didn't go nuts on either deal, our freezer is getting full so I just bought things we really needed. A thrifty strategy. Here's the damage:

Box of 32 kids' Valentine's cards: Original Price $1.00. Paid $0.10
Four plastic Valentine's plates: Original Price $1.99 each. Paid $0.19 each.
Total Spent: $0.86

Frozen pizza (backup in case of dinner emergency), frozen appetizer, two boxes of Hot Pockets (yes I know they're really bad for you but they are backup lunches for my husband when there aren't leftovers for him to bring), two packages of frozen chicken breasts, one bag of frozen peas:
Subtract $1.50 Target online coupon for buying two packages of chicken
Subtract $5.00 giftcard for purchasing seven frozen items
Total Spent: $21.38

I feel good about my purchases, but didn't do a blockbuster job working the system on the frozen deal. One blogger did, here's a link:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grocery deal at Target

I haven't had a chance to go check this out for myself, but there is a great deal going on at Target this week. If you buy ANY seven frozen items you get a $5 giftcard. Yes, that's right, any items. It's not just on the items shown in the Sunday paper circular. And you can combine with manufacturer's coupons as well.

I will be heading there tomorrow to see how much I can save! We need some frozen items (chicken breasts, pizza, juice, vegetables), so I might have a fun picture/receipt to show and tell. Also, I have a feeling that Valentine's items, if still left, will be at 75 or 90% off so will have to check that out, too.

Until tomorrow...

PS- I just checked Target's online coupons and there are several out there for frozen items. Some amazing deals to be found for sure!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I joined a gym(?!)

Gold's Gym GG480 <em>Treadmill</em> GGTL39608
Yes, it's true. The girl who had ratcheted down the spending on fitness to $0 for over a year is now not only regularly going to pilates classes but joined a gym!

I have been going to an hour-long Pilates class once a week. It's a great core and strengthening workout, but there is really little cardio involved. Over the past couple months, I'd been thinking that it was time to get going on some cardio exercise, however the two feet of snow on the ground and below-freezing temperatures did little to motivate me. Last week we received a flyer from Fitness 19 advertising a weekend sale. I took the bait and went in.
Here were their membership choices:

Option One: No enrollment fee, $19 per month (plus a once a year charge of $29)
Option Two: $149 enrollment fee, $7 per month (plus a once a year charge of $29)
In both cases, unlimited child care was $5 per month.

After doing some calculations and weighing the options, I went with Option One- no enrollment fee and $19 per month. My reasoning? I am not a big workout fanatic and might just end up quitting once the weather gets nice or if I lose motivation. This way I can easily cut and run without eating the $149 enrollment fee. When I signed up, they even waived the child care fee! So I can work out as much as I want, with free childcare, for $20 per month with tax. Seems thrifty to me!

Why did I go with a no-frills gym? Price and convenience. The gym is about 10 minutes from my house, near our church, and in the same shopping center as the dollar store and a Cub grocery store. It also has a childcare center, so I don't have to worry about finding a babysitter every time I want to hit the treadmill. The price is pretty unbeatable, too. To be honest, I wish there was a pool, sauna, spa, hot tub, waterpark, etc like at our old gym. However I really don't need those things.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thrifty Recipe- Chinese Lemon Chicken

As requested, I will be posting some more favorite crockpot recipes. What's better than putting a bunch of stuff in the crockpot in the morning, smelling the lovely fragrance of cooking all day, then sitting down to a fantastic meal in the evening?! This one is from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow, a cookbook I got for Christmas. The recipe is also available on the blog I stirfried some green peppers, onions, and pineapple to accompany the chicken, and stired them into the crockpot right before serving over jasmine rice.

Chinese Lemon Chicken
From Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces or equivalent
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • olive oil for browning chicken
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (I used just a dash)
  • 6 oz (1/2 can) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional- adds spice)
1. Cut chicken into strips or large chunks
2. Dredge in flour, shake off excess
3. Brown chicken in skillet with a little olive oil (you are not trying to cook the chicken through, just give it some color) and place in crockpot
4. Mix rest of ingredients in a seperate bowl and pour into the crockpot
5. Cook on high for 4 hours, on low for 6-8 hours


PS- Happy Valentine's Day readers! Hope you have a wonderful day. Thrifty Tip: Make a homemade Valentine card on the computer or by hand. Your sweetie will appreciate the personal touch!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I (finally) won something!

Guthrie Theater

I'm "friends" with several businesses and organizations on Facebook. And I have entered several give-aways. I've left comments about cloth diapers and on blog posts, I've answered trivia questions, you name it. Well today I finally won something!

The Guthrie Theater posted a status update to call their box office and the first 19 people would get free tickets to tonight's show. I saw the update four minutes later and gave them a call... and won! So my husband and I are seeing The Winter's Tale tonight, thanks to my in-laws who can babysit last minute. Did I mention they're really good seats, and worth $60 each?

So keep trying, you might just finally get something for free!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thrifty Strategy- Saving on Gas

Wow, gas prices are sure high! They have been between $3.15 and $3.20 a gallon in my area for the past couple weeks. When prices get this high, our family starts changing our behaviors in order to keep our budget in line.

Our main strategy is to cut down on driving as much as we can. This is easier said than done. The main way we do this is by combining trips as much as possible. For instance, I was at church for choir rehearsal last night, then stopped at the Cub grocery store nearby for a few coupon items on the way home. Yesterday, on the way home from library storytime I went to the post office to mail a package.

Some other tips:
1. We use our Exxon Mobil credit card to purchase gas at Mobil stations. We get a percentage back as a credit on our account.
2. Keep aware of which stations in our area are usually a bit less than others, and fill up there. can be helpful.
3. Make sure that the person in your family who does the most driving is driving the most fuel-efficient car.

What else do you do to keep your gas costs down?

Friday, February 4, 2011

What's next?

I've been spending some time brainstorming about possible topics for future blog posts. Anything you'd like to see?

Possible topics:
- DIY poster framing
- More crockpot recipes
- Finish the bathroom remodel series
- Everyday cleaning tips
- A week of menus based on what's on sale/coupons
- Thrifty Valentine's Day
- More travel tips