Monday, August 29, 2011

Thrifty Strategy- Ikea for breakfast


One of my best friends was in town last week and wanted to check out Ikea for some kitchen and bathroom ideas and just to see what the hype was about. I had heard that they have some good breakfast prices and I knew it was a child-friendly store, so my friend, me, and my toddler headed over on Thursday morning. We got there at 9:30, as I had heard that the cafe opened before the store opened at 10:00 am.

We were not the only ones there for breakfast, the place was busy! There were elderly folks, families with kids, hipsters, all kinds of people. Coffee was free until 10:00 and my friend got a full breakfast with potatoes, eggs, and bacon, for 99 cents. Our location offers free breakfast on Mondays. I had three Swedish pancakes with lingonberry and butter for $1.99, also a good deal. My daughter had a bit off of each of our plates. There was even a kids' play area in the cafe and a lot of high chairs and booster seats available.

So, if you're near an Ikea and in need of a tasty, reasonably priced breakfast, head on over. Their lunch and dinner food looks good, too. I also saw frozen yogurt for $1 and hot dogs for 50 cents. Have you ever eaten there? what do you recommend?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thrifty Strategies for the Great Minnesota Get-Together

It's the end of the summer, and that means it's time for the Minnesota State Fair. Being a transplant to Minnesota, it took me a couple years to become a big Fair fan, but now I certainly am. Last year, I posted my insight on thrifty ways to travel to the Fair here. (hint: think park and ride, not driving and parking there yourself) We are planning to head there this Friday and so I'm getting my Fair strategy together. Some other tips:
2010 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book cover
The Blue Ribbon Bargain Book: This book sells for $5 both at the Fair and at Cub Foods and includes 125 different coupons. You can look on the website to see the vendors who are included. Some example deals include $2 off a corndog at Corndogs and Lemonade, $3 off BBQ Wings at Famous Dave's, and $2 off a steak or porkchop on a stick at Rajun Cajun. This could be a good deal for you if it includes vendors that you were planning to eat/shop at anyway. Sometimes you can find people giving theirs away as they leave the Fair, usually in the evenings and near the closing weekend.

There's an app for that. Yes, there is a new Minnesota State Fair app. It has a map and a cool feature where you can search for food vendors by categories such as type of food, prices, Blue Ribbon Bargain Book coupons, etc. You can also search for activities and merchandise.

Discount Tickets: Tickets are available for $9 (a $3 savings) at Cub Foods and several other locations in the Twin Cities through August 24. There are also several Discount Days during the Fair:
Thrifty Thursday, Seniors and Kids Day, Military Appreciation Day, Read and Ride Day, Seniors Day, and Kids Day. See the State Fair Website for more details.

Food and drinks can be a major expense at the Fair. There are so many fun foods to try, and you need to keep hydrated on a hot day. My recommendation is to bring some snacks and drinks with you.  Coolers are allowed but might be searched, and you're not allowed to bring in alcoholic beverages. Other than that, you are free to bring food and drinks.  Of course it's no fun to go to the Fair and not eat something on a stick, but even bringing your own water, soda, and some granola bars can save you a lot of cash when bottled water is selling for $3 to $5 each.

Have fun at the Fair! Post any of your Fair thrifty tips in the comments.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sesame Street Financial Education

Have you heard about Sesame Street's financial literacy program? It's called For me, for you, for later, and teaches kids to save, as well as to give away, the idea of delaying gratification, and several other important financial topics. While we don't let our daughter watch TV at this point, I would probably utilize these videos and learning tools when she was older, along with our own family's discussion and education on finances. Several studies have shown that Americans are lacking in financial literacy. Maybe programs like this will help create a new generation of thrifty adults.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday Paper still Key for Coupons

From MediaPost

Do you use Groupon, Twitter, or online coupons to save a little money? You're not alone. However, a recent study shows that 49% of coupon users still use the good ol' Sunday paper. Are you one of them?

People Still Turn to Sunday Papers for Coupons

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Free food at Famous Dave's

Is your name Dave or David? If so, you can get a discount tomorrow, August 14th, at Famous Dave's Restaurants. If your first name is Dave or David, you get a free entree, and if it's your middle name you get half off. The deal is called Dave's Day.

So, if your name is Dave and you're in the mood for some barbeque tomorrow, go to Famous Dave's!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What to do with leftover tahini?

File:Tahinijar 453g.jpg
Picture from Your Dreams Coming True Cooking Blog

We have all been there. We buy an ingredient that's required for a recipe, and then have to figure out what to do with the leftovers. In my case, I'm stuck with a large jar of tahini. For those who haven't used it before, it's a sesame seed paste. The thrifty person in me needs to figure out how to use it up. Help!

In a cooking frenzy earlier this week inspired by a beautiful homegrown eggplant my parents brought me, I made a batch of baba ghanoush. One of the ingredients was tahini, which I was able to find at the store, but only in a large jar. After making the recipe, I still had at least a few cups left. I sent my mom home with some, but the huge jar is still there every time I open the fridge.

So far, my plans are to make some homemade hummus (though I didn't list it in my recipe, tahini is often added to hummus). I also found an interesting-looking tahini cookie recipe.  There is also an interesting recipe here. Do you have any other great ideas? Have you had a similar problem with another ingredient? Do share.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Craigslist Find

It took a couple months, but yesterday I finally took the plunge on a climber for our daughter. For $35. Similar ones brand new can run between $100 and $200. Thank you Craigslist (and the nearby family who is in the process of selling all of their "big plastic" so they can buy a bigger swingset for their school-aged kids)!

Are you on the hunt for anything on Craigslist right now? Share you stories in the comments.