Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let's Get Rrrrrrready to Rummage!

That's right, folks. Rummage sale season "officially" begins this weekend! For those of you in the south, I'm sure they last all year round, but here up north, most wait until the weather is a bit warmer to start. This is also the spring fishing opener weekend, so many men will be out on the lake, leaving their wives to hold sales or to go shopping!

Last year, I wrote a post about garage sale strategy. However, I thought today would be a great time to mention it again. Some key thrifty garage sale tips:
- With the price of gas at an all-time high, doing some research before setting out makes more sense than ever. Use Craigslist to search for garage sales in your area. Once you find some promising ones, map the addresses out using google maps in order to determine the best route.
- Take some time to empty out your change jar, pockets, cup holders, and other places that coins gather. Keep them in a ziptop bag in your car or purse and use them for your garage sale purchases. Garage sale hosts love getting more change, and it's "free money" for you.
- If you really don't need it, don't buy it. Even if it's only 50 cents.
- Check everything over to ensure it's in good condition, and make sure to disinfect or wash the items once you get them home.
- Have fun!

Over the past two days, I went to four garage sales and purchased the loot you see below. Any guesses as to how much I spent? Answer below.
Black jean jacket, fleece hoodie, fleece hat with matching gloves, 2 pairs fleece gloves, four Christmas hand towels, Strawberry Shortcake beach towel, hooded sweater with flowers, new tights, new swimsuit, four pairs of shoes (two being Stride Rite brand), Connect Four (not pictured).

Grand total..... $20.25. $5 of which was from my change bag so really I only spent $15.25 of "real money."  Nice.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thrifty Tip- Rental Car vs Taxis

From Google Images
I learned a good lesson when planning for a recent trip. Make sure to check the distance from the airport to your hotel and the price of a taxi ride. Sometimes, renting a car is a much better deal. Plus, having your own car allows you to leave the hotel or resort to grab some groceries or eat at a non-hotel restaurant. When making your comparison, be sure to include the cost (if any) of parking at your hotel or resort. On our recent trip, we got a car for the whole weekend for $77, a one-way ride from the airport was going to be $60. Even with a daily parking fee we saved quite a bit of money and were able to explore the area on our own without having to hire another cab.

Also, when we reserve a rental car, we always pick the smallest/cheapest car on the website. And every time, when we get to the rental desk, they don't have that size and we get a free upgrade.

Any other rental car tips you want to share?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thrifty Strategy- Pantry Staples

A few weeks ago I wrote (link here) about how I went for almost a week without going to the grocery store, just using items I had on-hand to make dinner each night. Many people out there have created pantry staples lists, and I have linked to several below

Real Simple Magazine's List
Rachael Ray's List's List

I'm not going to compete with the above and list out every single thing you should always have in your pantry. However, there are certainly some key things that I try to always have on hand because they make quick and healthy meals in a pinch. Keeping items such as these can help you be thrifty by avoiding so many trips to the grocery store. What's on your list?

Crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
Tomato paste
Spaghetti sauce
Quick-cooking couscous
Jasmine rice
Shredded cheese
Quick-cook oatmeal
White onion
Sweet potato
Lettuce or spinach

Frozen vegetables (peas and broccoli are favorites)
Frozen chicken breasts
Frozen chicken thighs or drumsticks
Frozen pizza (last resort!)
Frozen white fish (cod, swai, flounder)

Ground beef

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Splurge-worthy Tuesday: Facial tissue with lotion

Puffs Plus Lotion Facial Tissue, 2-Ply, Plus Lotion
Picture from Google Products

For the past couple weeks, my daughter and I have been battling Spring Cold 2011. She has it beat and I am on the mend. The worst part were the unending runny noses. It wasn't just a matter of having to wipe my nose every once in awhile. We're talking bring the whole box of tissues in the car, have to ask for more at the service desk while shopping at Target, leaving piles all over the house, you get the idea. Needless to say, after a couple days my nose was red and painful. My daughter's was, too.

Enter the savior of the hour: Kleenex (or Puffs) with lotion! My parents bought us a box, and the difference was miraculous. Our noses were saved! When the box ran out, I bought more. So worth it. I'm not going to stock it thoughout the house in every room, but next time we're battling a cold it will be first on my shopping list!

Do you have any splurge-worthy items that help you when you're sick?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

No longer thirty. Still thrifty.

I've been off the blogging bandwagon a bit lately, I'll blame it on travel, being under the weather, and the run-up to my birthday. Yes, it's true. Today I turned 31. No longer thirty, but darn it, I am still thrifty. There are several blog posts running through my mind, the key is to find the time to get them (and accompanying pictures) put up here.

Until then....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thrifty Recipe- Applesauce Chicken

It's been awhile, sorry about that! Between travelling and an unpleasant cold going through the family, blogging wasn't high on my list for a week.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned an applesauce chicken crockpot dinner made during a week I avoided going to the grocery store. With a toddler, there is always some applesauce in the house. Add in a few spices and vinegar and you have a tasty dinner. Here's the recipe. Add some sweet potato fries (or a sweet potato) and peas and you have a healthy, balanced meal.

Applesauce Chicken
From Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

--4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs
--1 1/2 cups of applesauce
--1 T dried onion flakes, or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
--1 T apple cider vinegar
--1/4 tsp cinnamon
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--2 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 2 tsp of dried garlic flakes instead)
--1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I'd add even more, especially if serving to adults)

1. Put the frozen chicken pieces into your crockpot. Add the onion (if you are using the dried onion, wait and add it to the applesauce).
2. In a bowl, mix the applesauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices together. Pour on top of the chicken.
3. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or on high for 3-4.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

National Park Week- Free Admission

A photo I took in Yosemite National Park
If you're looking for an excuse to explore a national park or national monument, here's a great one. During the week of April 16 to April 24, admission is free. You can learn more at

Some of our favorite vacations have been to national parks, including Yosemite, Acadia, and Sequoia to name a few. If you're trying to figure out which parks are near where you live, here's a site to help you

Get out and enjoy some nature!