Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Had my hubby look as the dryer first instead of calling the repair guy.  He fixed it for free :)

2.  Hung 3 loads of laundry instead of drying them due to the broken dryer

3. Used rags instead of paper towels.

4. Kid # 5 took her lunch all week instead of buying hot lunch.  ( this was more because she didn't like anything they were having, but still taking a sack lunch IS cheaper)

5.  Used up several leftovers for lunches/dinners so that the food did not go to waste.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Searl House Happenings

Wow! I can't believe it has been over a week since I last posted.  It seems like the weeks just fly right by.  My kids and I are counting down the days until school is out.  I would really like to say that our time will be less structured and busy but that is not the case.  It will be different though and less stressful. 

Kid # 2 has been playing on her schools badminton team.  We have traveled to watch her play a couple of times now.  We live a little over 2 hours from where she attends school so when I say travel it really is a drive.  In our school district we do not have badminton as a sport so it was very interesting to see her play and how it all works.  This Saturday, Kid # 3 & 4 and I will be traveling again to watch her play in an all day tournament.

                                                   Here she is in action :)

We had all the kids here Saturday to color Easter eggs.  They all seem to really enjoy doing it still.  Heck even my husband and I still like too :)  I found a good deal on eggs for 99 cent and I used a dye kit I bought last year after Easter for 25 cents :)  For their Easter baskets I try to collect things all year long.  I have a storage box I put everything in and it holds things for Easter and Christmas stockings.  I have saved a ton of money by purchasing things on clearance or on sale and saving them in that box.  Sometimes I add the samples I get in the mail too.

Here are all the kids coloring eggs.

I have several project I am working on and hope to post about some of them soon.  It would really help if the rain would stop, as I have several painting projects I would really like to get done also.  Today is pay day so I will be working on paying bills, updating the budget for the next two weeks and the menu plan. 

So there you have it that is what has been going on around here for the last week or so.  Hope everyone had a nice Easter and all are staying dry!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tip

The very first thing I did when I wanted to cut my grocery budget........I STOPPED BUYING CEREAL!  I know that is a radical thought for many people.  I can't tell you the number of people who ask me " well what do you eat for breakfast then and do you cook every morning?"   No I do not cook every morning!  But I do cook a couple of mornings a month.  Usually every other Sunday we have "family breakfast" and cook a big breakfast.  When we have things like waffles, pancakes or french toast I double or triple what I would normally make and freeze the leftovers.  Every so often I make a big batch of muffins and I freeze some of those also.  The same with sweet breads like banana bread.  I do buy bagels and English muffins and occasionally when Kroger has their brand of pop tarts 10 for 10 I will buy those also.  With 5 children eating cereal every day you can imagine how expensive that was.  I really believe that I am probably saving about $50 a month from not buying cereal, cooking food for breakfast and utilizing my freezer.  I also make my own syrup for the waffles and pancakes but that is for another post :)

Here is a pic of my frozen breakfast items from today :

                               Frozen french toast and some banana bread

I am linking this post up to   LearningtheFrugalLife

Friday, April 15, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Researched and found a groomer close to my home that did not charge and arm and a leg for our dog

2. Made some repairs ( with the help of my wonderful husband) and I am fixing up a small bookcase that I purchased at a yard sale last summer for a $1 for kid # 2 and 3's room. ( a post and pics to follow soon!)

3.  Went to the bank and got my cash out for my expenses in the next two weeks.  Groceries, date night, haircuts for kid # 3 and 4, and a haircut for our dog.

4. Planned my menu for the next two weeks ( yesterday was pay day and I plan my menus from one pay check to the next).

5.  Made up a double batch of semi-homemade laundry soap.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Tip

So I have a quick and easy tip to share with you today :)  We eat alot of soup especially in the winter months.  I have several recipes that call for crushed tortilla chips as a garnish for soups.  It just so happens that chips and salsa is one of my favorite things to eat so we always have bags of them around.  So your probably thinking OK get to the tip already!  So here it is: save the crumbs at the bottom of the bag to use for recipes that call for crushed/crumbled tortilla chips.  I have a  Ziploc bag that I keep in my cabinet that I dump the crumbs from my tortilla chips in.  I add to it all the time and it works great when a recipe calls for them! 

Here is my bag with the chip crumbs :)

I am linking this post up to


Monday, April 11, 2011

Frugal Funk

I feel like I am in a frugal funk.  I don't feel like worrying about money.  I don't feel like even doing the banking and worrying about how much money is left to buy groceries.  I don't want to have to wait to slowly save money to purchase things to finish home projects. I don't feel like being "gazelle intense" to pay off my car loan!  I don't necessarily want to go out and buy the most expensive items I can to finish up our projects but I would just like to finish them.  Sometimes being frugal is alot of work!

Menu Monday

I have decided to try something new and list the cost of each meal. I will try to list if the item is something I already had in my pantry/freezer or if I bought it when grocery shopping.

Monday- Hot dogs-Free from my parents, Buns, from my freezer, French Fries, also from my freezer.  $5.64 total plus a few pennies for condiments

Tuesday-Shrimp Stir Fry - Shrimp and frozen Stir Fry Veggies from my freezer, Rice from my pantry - $6.50 total cost

Wednesday - Chicken Fingers, Sweet Potato Fries, Green Beans  all from my freezer or pantry.  $6.97 plus a few pennies for the crushed cereal and spices for the chicken coating

Thursday- Pepperoni Roll-  I have every thing for this in the pantry. - I estimate this is maybe a $5.00 meal???

Friday- I have no plan for this day prolly left overs

Saturday- chicken patties, buns and chips- $5.67 plus a few pennies for condiments

These are mostly just quick estimates and the next time I grocery shop I will try to keep better track of my prices I buy for meals

Friday, April 8, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. used cloth napkins
2. did a craft project using items I already had
3. bought some items for our home at a yard sale instead of buying them new.
4. ran the dishwasher only when it had a full load
5. bought a piece of funiture on craigslist that we really needed at a deep discount instead of buying new.  ( this also will be a future project of mine that I will post about later)

You know it is getting warm when........

you start seeing signs for yard sales!  Yesterday my husband and I went to the first yard sale of the season for us!  Woohoo!  I love yard sale season.  I love to go to yard sales.  I love to look for things we might need and be able to get them at a fraction of the cost of buying new.  In my mind it is also good frugal entertainment on a nice day and a good way to get alittle exercise and fresh air in the process.

Here we are waiting for the sale to start!

This is I am waiting in line to go in.

Here is what we got.  Total spent about $14.  I had been wanting a spring form pan and found one for 25 cents!

The best purchase of the day was these stepping stones.  We got 6 of them for a $1 a piece.  There is a spot in our yard I had been wanting to get some for so this was perfect!  Here are 3 of the 6.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Tip

A couple of years ago I was looking for ideas on how to save money on my grocery bill.  My grocery budget consists of all household paper products as well as toiletries, animal food and people food.  As I was looking around on the Internet I came across several blogs who had switched from paper napkins to cloth ones.  This was a light bulb moment for me.  I was like duh why had I not thought of that.  I then began looking for cloth napkins at thrift stores and yard sales.  I quickly had accumulated a large supply of them.  I found a location to store them in my kitchen and we have been using them every since.  I put a basket under my kitchen sink which is marked "dirty" on it and that is where the dirty napkins go until I launder them.  I have a small stack of white napkins which I throw in with my white clothes when I wash them and the rest are washed with my towels or other dish clothes.  I have not noticed any difference in the quantity of laundry I do by adding cloth napkins to it.  Does it save me a ton of money?? No it does not but it does save me at least a few dollars every month which then frees up that money for something else maybe some ice cream :)


Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Monday

I love menu planning!  Not only has it helped me to save money but it also helps to save my sanity.  Here is what we will be eating this week.

Monday- Leftovers ( we have several different leftovers to choose from that really need to be eaten up so they don't go to waste.)

Tuesday- Roast Whole Chicken, Potatoes and a Veggie

Wednesday- Chicken Noodle Soup ( with stock made from the left over roast chicken which I will put in the crock pot on Tuesday night after dinner and let cook over night)

Thursday - BBQ Sandwiches ( made from a deer roast and also cooked in the crock pot) Seasoned Oven Fries and Veggies/Dip

Friday- Home made Pizza ( we will have company for dinner this night)

Saturday- Black Bean Burgers ( this is a new weight watchers recipe we are trying)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekly To-Do List

I often find that having a to-do list helps me stay on track with the things I need to accomplish in a week.  So here it is my list of things that I would like to get done for the week of April 3-9

1. Banking
2. get the paper shredder hooked up
3. shred my pile of papers
4. put away laundry
5. deliver the rest of the girl scout cookies
6. mail package to my sister
7. grocery shopping
8. work on Lilly's room
9. clean up the garage
10. get out a few Easter decorations

Friday, April 1, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Planned a menu, cooked and ate at home
2. Baked kid #3's birthday cake myself.
3. Made kid #3 a present. Wrapped all her gifts in re-purposed gift bags.
4. Used semi homemade laundry soap and washed full loads in cold water.
5. Re-purposed an area rug and cleaned it myself with our carpet steamer.

I am sure there are other things I could list.  But these 5 are what came to mind.  I have decided to regularly try to list or keep track of things I do that may be considered frugal or thrifty or even cheap :)  This may or may not help me to stay on track with our goals.

Update of Yearly Goals

Since today is the first day of a new month I thought it would be a good time to review the goals I set for the year.


1. Visit more with my girlfriends.  Shoot for once a month. -I think I have done pretty well with this so far this year.
2. Invite friends over for dinner or out to dinner.  Shoot for every other month. - we have done this a couple of times since the first of the year
3. Be more mindful of the amount of time kids are using the compute. - need to work on this one more
4. Be more mindful of my own computer time. - I think I am improving on this one alittle at a time
5. Read with Lilly more - I have not done this as much as I would like
6. Ask for help from everyone in my family more when I am feeling overwhelmed - I think I have been improving on this but it is a work in progress
7. Teach the kids to cook a few basic meals - Alayna has cooked a few things recently and they were good
8. Family movie night once a month - we have done this a few times but I don't think it has been once a month 
9. Go to the library more - not done this yet 
10. Read more books - I have read several books at least 2 a month since January
11. Wiener Roast 2x - to cold yet to do this
12. Camping at least once this year - hopefully in the summer we will get this accomplished13. Be more mindful of scheduling my time - work in progress
14. Make more gifts this year for bday's and Christmas - I have definitely done this and have several ideas to use for Christmas too!
15. Exercise more - not really done this one yet :(


1. Sewing desk for office
2. Shelves for office
3. Closet shelves for office4. Peg board for office
5. Organize office
6. Downstairs bathroom floor
7. Kitchen Floor
8. make better use of chore notebook
9. organize coupon binder
10. Make a price book
11. Make a household notebook


1. Pay off the balance on windows
2. Save for South Carolina trip
3. Pay extra towards car
4. Sell on eBay
5. Pay cash for downstairs bathroom floor
6. Try to shave $50 a month off grocery budget - Here are my numbers so far this year- January $13, February, $54 and March $15. As you can see February was my best month so far.  Hopefully April be also!
7. Save for Christmas - I have been putting aside a minimum of $40 a month since January  and plan to keep doing so for the rest of the year.
8. Track clothing/shoes purchases for family for the year - have been doing this each month. 
 9. Pay bills on time
10. Possible bathroom remodel

Well there you go.  I think I am making good progress on my goals so far.  Hopefully that will continue!