Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cost of Food eating at home What Plan Are You On?

I am for ever complaining about the cost of food... how can it cost $60.00 to feed to adults for a week. Problem is the cost food keeps creeping up on me. I remember back to buying Campbells Tomato soup in 1966 10 for $1.00 and now I see it many times at $1.00 for one can and when I can find it on sale for 50cents I am thrilled.

Last night as I was doing my usual grumbling I wondered " How much does the normal family spend for food in a week or a month?

Does not take long to do some searching at to find a lotof nothing posts and then this\

Here we can see what the normal family sends on the cost of Food at four levels.. and it can vary from family size and child's age.
Thrifty plan
Low Cost plan
Moderate Cost plan
Liberal plan

This can give us an idea but more than any thing is what can your family's budget allow you to spend on food. Our budget is $60.00 a week for the two of us in our senior years.

By looking across I can see that the average family of (2) 51 to 70 years old spends on the thrifty plan $331.10 a month.
We are at $258.00 a month we are below thrifty or maybe that is all there is in the budget.

How does your family compare to the US adverage? I have used the June 2010 as an comparison.

Well as the year draws away from us, I want to wish you all a happy New Year and wish that next year is better for all of us in finances, health and peace through out the world.
See you next year...

Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money... Grace

Grocery Shopping Round Up 12/30/11

Last round up for 2010. I plan to attempt to keep a better running total of how much I spent and saved on grocery/personal items next year.

This week was done in three shopping trips
Cub Foods

Delmont vegtables 79 cents each
Lays Chips $1.99
Reese peanut butter ( treat for me) 78 cents each
4 Diet cokes $1.25 each
Campbells soup 59 cents each
Swanson chicken broth 59 cents each
milk $3.19
sour cream $2.99
coffee mate creamer 2/ $5.00
$29.76 no coupons used sadly

Super 1
off brand diced tomatoes 44 cents ( delmonte and hunts wanted $1.00 for same size can)
orange juice for hubby ( sick) $2.29
total spent $3.61 no coupons cash register slip has a savings of 32 percent

Super 1
had some great 11 cent coupons and I wanted to take advantage so since we were passing by anyway made another trip. They had limits of course and I bought what I could except for soda they had no more diet left.

Hungry Jack potatoes $1.00
4 cans of soda 11 cents each
3 taco seasonings 11 cents each
1 tuna 11 cents
1hunts tomato sauce 11 cents
bread 11 cents
2 bags malt o meal cereal one bag at 11 cents and the other 88 cents

Total spent $3.12 no coupons sales slip says savings of 73 percent

Total spent for the week $36.49
Total for the month $183.82
Balance remaining $16.18 ( this was spent on Christmas gift)
I will be sharing this at
Thanks for stopping by...Lets keep saving together... and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money... Grace

Extreme Couponing What's On TV Last Night

Hubby and I watched this last night.
A couple of these people can give couponer's a bad name. Total hoarding greed is what I saw. When couponing comes before family happenings that is to much in my opinion.

I enjoyed the woman from Philadephia who bought what she needed with her coupons and no more. She also shared with others in the store. She was an inspiration.

The gentleman who shared the cereal with his church was great but I bet the rest went into the house to pile up.

Interesting show... did you watch it and what did you think about the show?

Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together.. and remember please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money... Grace

20 Frugal Tips from Someone Who Lived Through the Great Depression

I found this great posting this morning and wanted to share with you..
20 Frugal Tips from Someone Who Lived Through the Great Depression.
This was written by a 75 year old grandmother but full of wisdom that we should all take to heart.

Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together.. grace

Goal : I Want To Read More Books in 2011

One of my goals is to read more books in 2011. I hardly read last year which is sad for a ex bookstore owner and some one who sells books on the Internet.

Excuses are ....

working to much,

moved from Texas to Minnesota


New goal is to take at least 1 hour and read every day. Turn off TV and read.
Yesterday I actually turned off the TV and read for an hour. Reading Vince Flynn " Protect and Defend " enjoyable thriller. 9th book and the 8th in his Mitch Rapp series.

If you are looking to read more pop over to Life at Mom's she has put together a reading club.

She has put together two options
1. structured list
2. make your own list of books

Every one will check in on the 10th of January and share what they plan to read and then the due date book should of been read is the next month on the 10th

My plan is to read at least one book a month and more if possible. With one hour a day I should be able to do that. I will have a combination of non fiction and fiction ( mystery/thrillers)

I have started my pile of book will decide the rest over the next days.
My plan is to read books I already have bought and not read rather than look for more.
Except for a couple of selections. I am still looking for a used copy of Mary Higgins Clark's newest title.

Another goal I have is to read through the bible in one year. Every year I plan to do this but have never accomplished it.
I found an old book mark from 1992 that had a list of what to read every day.
I will be using this list starting the first of January.
If you are a fan of Dave Ramsey here is his suggestion of reading. I have a couple of these titles that I have not read and may add to my pile.
Hope that you will join in with reading more. I would love to hear what you are planning to read this next year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wallet Friendly Wednesday .... Do You Save All Your Christmas Cards?

Do you save all your Christmas cards? I love receiving Christmas cards ... pretty Christmas cards.

What should we do after the holidays have past.

I just hate throwing them away that is for sure, but there comes a time when the piles of paper gets over whelming.

So what can I do with them.

1. How about cutting off the front and using all or part of for Christmas tags next year. So much nicer than those hundreds of cheap looking ones I have in my drawer.

2. How about cutting off the front again and using in scrap books I plan / want to make this year. Sounds pretty good to me. For the mean time I will just stick with the pile of photos waiting to be put in an album. ( Reminder to me .... make it a goal to sort those photos and do some albums)

Just what I need as another goal for 2011.

1. stay on budget save $1,000 emergency fund pay off debt

2 work harder selling on eBay so I can leave cold Minnesota next winter part of above goal really
3 . making scrapbooks with all my photos

4. Gotta lose 35 pounds so I can get into those clothes I bagged for

5. minimalist clothing and other belongings

6. Read at least 1 book a month

Lots of goals set for this year .. but if you don't aim you will never hit a target..

okay back to Christmas cards

3. If you do not decide to make scrapbooks and use cards, they could be donated to a senior center for their craft projects.

4. Could always recycle them if nothing else

Do you have any ideas for your cards .. Christmas or any others. I have saved my cards from parents and grandparents and have put in a three ring family binder. That way they will be saved hopefully for generations.

Would love to hear any of your ideas for used Christmas cards ...
I am sharing this with Bargain shopping Wallet Friendly Wednesday
Thanks for stopping by ... lets keep saving together .. Grace

Extreme Couponing What's On TV Tonight

I have seen on a couple sites that Good Morning America had done a segment on Extreme Couponers.

Over at Kingdom First Mom she shares the clip in case you want to see it.

It will be on TV tonight channel 280 7pm central in my area.
This will either encourage couponing or have a back lash on the hobby.
I do not consider myself as an extreme couponer.
I do use coupons and have at times have gone over board with buying but have then shared with others my excess.
I do know that having extra products in my home bought at a good price has saved us money, and does give me some comfort and security.

Do you plan on watching this TV show tonight?

Thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together.. Grace

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monthly Budget Wrap Up December PLUS 2011 Financial Goals

December is just about gone and we made it. Was not easy or fun but we made it.
Christmas comes in December every year and we had not saved any money to buy gifts for the grandchildren (13 ) of them.
They all get something at our limit price and with some coupons at Hallmark I saved some money on one of the gifts. Thank you Hallmark.
With some juggling of money, pulling a little from our grocery fund and selling some junk silver we pulled it off.
Grandchildren all enjoyed their gifts from grandpa and grandma.

I sold some books on eBay and took some of that money and bought hubby new winter parka, gloves and knitted hat ( all half price at JC Penny's)
We have sold on eBay since 1998 and business is getting slower and slower or I am finding less every month worth while selling. I hoping things get better this coming year.

Mr. Murphy hit us hard in September when I ended up in surgery and the hospital for 10 nights with a horrible infection. Thank goodness we had insurance but we are still left with almost $1000 to pay off.
The smallest bill my wound vac will be paid off end of December and then we will work down the Clinic doctor and finally will work at the hospital.

Our goals for this coming year are to
1. Stay on Budget
2. Work at paying off the hospital/doctor bills
3. Work at improving our internet sales to bring in more income. This income will be used to
a. put 1,000 in bank for emergency fund
b. increase debt reduction plan.
c. save money for plans to travel next winter
d. put together money for deposit to a new apartment building. This one is to small
we would move into a senior high rise that is secure and hopefully less money every month
in rent and a view of our beautiful Lake Superior.
4. Attempt to get health insurance for me at a better price. We had gone and done this first of September and I was approved with a larger deductible. Just before we could finalize this I was put in the hospital with my infection. That plan was cancelled. We will try again after the first of the year but I am sure my monthly payment will not be as good as it could of been.

So this is the update on my December budget and and plans and goals for next year.
Have you made your budget and goals for next year?

Thanks for stopping by.. Lets keep saving together.. Grace

Working To Make Do With Less Project Clothes Challenge

Working To Make Do With Less Project and I am starting on the clothes challenge.

Finding 33 items and ridding my self of the rest. Some of these shoes can only be worn in the summer but I am counting them at this time. May have to purge here.

As I go through my closet I am giving to friends and family, giving to thrift store, storing what I want to get into when I lose weight ( another challenge).

Here is what I planning to keep as of now

1 black pant suit light weight ( 2 pieces)

1 blue pant suit medium weight ( 2 pieces)

2 black knit short sleeve blouses

1 navy knit short sleeve blouse

1 peach knit short sleeve top

1 black flowered print blouse

1 black and white dotted top

1 short sleeve white knit sweater

1 short sleeve tan sweater

1 short sleeve knit black sweater

1 short sleeve burgundy sweater

1 pair of black slacks

1 pair of brown slacks ( give away when I lose weight I hate them will need to replace then )

1 pair of green slacks ( will be give to thrift store when I lose some weight hate these also will need to replace then )

1 pair of blue jeans (a little tight ... I have put the Christmas candy in the freezer. Bought these at the thrift store for $3.00 yesterday.

1 navy sweat shirt

1 gray sweat shirt

Dark navy dress ( perfect for weddings and funerals)

Winter Coat has 2 layers and can be worn year round really ( counting as one item )

1 gold and white purse

1 turquoise and white purse

1 turquoise and pink and white purse

1 brown coach purse bought some time ago at a thrift store

1 black purse

2 pair of black high heels

1 pair of black sandals

1 pair of gold sandals

1 pair of pink shoes

33 items

I need to bag up the rest of my purses and shoes to give or sell this summer and I have several summer jackets that I have to go through also.

Need to think about this list. I love my purses and shoes and have not gone in jewelry boxes as of yet. I just may not count my jewelry since so much was given to me by my children and grandchildren

I have 2 necklaces that I wear almost every day and my wedding rings that do not count on this list.

I also am not counting underware, nightgowns and 2 pairs of lounging outfits that I use to work out in also. Then of course there is my winter mittens and knit hat one of each not counted and winter boots not counted.

It is amazing how things can pile up without me even thinking about them. This week I threw out a bottle of nail polish remover that did not work good (cheap junk) ... .. why did I drag it from Texas when I knew it was garbage. Also I am throwing out a blush that is all dried out. Not that old but dry. I will throw away after emailing Cover Girl and Olay to complain about this product.

We have made one trip to the Salvation army with two bags of clothes.

Are you going through your closets and purging clothing.

Next I should go through all my VHS and DVD movies... I even hate to count them... As I see my favorite movies on DVD at a garage sale, I am buying and then will either sell the VHS at a sale this summer or give to the thrift stores.

I already took some of my junk silver pieces to sell before Christmas and got some money that was put towards gifts.

thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday Menu Plan For The Week

Good evening every one.. meant to post this last night but lost track of time I guess.

Time to figure out a menu using up some items in the house. We went out to dinner Christmas with one of the sons and hubby had left over prime rib and I had left over ham so these will be used up this week.

Beef Stroganoff over noodles using hubby's prime rib

Home made Chicken noodle / vegetable soup ( I had plan to make this last week and changed recipes so this week it is

Spaghetti sauce from freezer over pasta

Hamburger patties with vegetables

Ham dinner using my left over ham

Left overs

out to dinner for our anniversary 22 years.. boy the time flys

whats on your plan for the week? New Years eve will be spent at home real quite night. If I was in Las Vegas it would be another story but here I will stay

thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together.. I hope that you visit again real soon.. Grace

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Working To Make Do With Less Project Clothes Day 1

Day one of paring down my clothes
1. throwing out the worn and disgusting
2. giving away things that are wearable but I do not like
3. boxing up clothes I love but are to small for me now. I am giving myself 6 months to work off the pounds so I can wear again or they also go to the thrift store.
4. Rest are clothes that I can wear at this time. Will be deciding what of these I will keep or re place.
I have come to the conclusion I keep clothes to have even if I do not wear them. I like the looks of a full closet just like I like a full pantry even if it is food I bought on sale but do not want to eat.
Not a very good reason is it.

Tonight I threw away 3 items worn and torn
To the thrift store items 8 items
Given away 2 items
Boxed up for 6 months 25 items ( I had lost weight on Atkins and bought these then gained back weight after I got breast cancer.. 5 years ago but some of them are so cute ... I give my self 6 months to drop 35 pounds so I can get back into these tiny items)

Total out of closet and drawers tonight 38 items

Just a start but a good start.. is decluttering on your list of projects for this next year.
Tomorrow I will pare down my purses and decide what I will keep and what will be boxed up for a sale next summer or sent to the thrift store.

Thanks for stopping by... grace

Working To Make Do With Less Project 1 Clothes

I have been feeling like it is time to start paring down much of my belongings. To much of everything. I found this blog on being a minimilist. I have taken the following from there on working on my closet. The idea is to get down to 33 items not including certain items.

Original rules are as follows

When: October 1 – December 31 (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!) I need to get started since it is December 26th already.

What is included : 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes. ( the jewelry boxes will be the hardest for me even though I rarely wear jewelry. Time to pick my favorites and wear.

What is not included : these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)

Outline your 33 items, by the 1st of October ( too late for that for me box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of site.

What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months.

If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.

How to Make Space .. I will start with my closet and pare down my clothing to 33 items as suggested. Hopefully I can continue to other areas of my home after that.

Here is the process that is recommend:

Start making piles of clothes and be ruthless.

Pile One: I love these items. They fit me well and I wear them frequently: Keep
Pile Two: I want to keep this but I don’t know why
Pile Three: These items don’t fit me or my style: donate.
Pile Four: These items aren’t in good condition: trash.

Take Pile Four to the trash.
Box up Pile Three and put in your car before you have time to re-think.
Put the items from Pile One back in your closet.
Box up all items from Pile Two and put the box in the back of your closet for 30 days.

If you didn’t miss the box after 30 days, DO NOT OPEN IT, donate it.

After you make some progress, if you love that feeling of empty space in your closet, join hundreds of us in minimalist fashion Project 333.

Take a peek at her site... you will find others that are involved. I am now off to start my clothing declutter project will be back to let you know what I am keeping. ... Grace

Watergate Salad Perfect Buffet Party Food

I really love Water Gate Salad ... my step son calls it the green stuff but it is Water Gate Salad and I am told they served it at the Water Gate Hotel.

My mother would make this for holidays and special occasions so when I make it I always think of her.

It is easy and so tasty... here are the ingredients

1 package of Pistachios instant pudding
8 to 9 oz cool whip
1 can of crushed pineapple juice and all
1/2 package of miniature marshmallows... white or colored..

to the cool whip add the pudding and combine good. Add pineapple with the juice and then marshmallows. Let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour before eating.

Pretty in my glass bowl and a sure winner at our Christmas Eve party..

thanks for stopping by.. I will be sharing this on these blog party sites

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grocery Shopping Wrap Up

I have headed to the grocery stores a couple of times this month as we needed items. I think it went fairly well. Most of the items I bought I did not have coupons for but with buying on sale or priced best we had a good week

Cub Foods trip 1 for needed paper products ( toilet paper and paper towels plus my need coffee cream plus a treat of a magazine total cost was $22.35 ( toilet paper not in pictures I had put away already)

Cub Foods trip 2 for the majority of groceries final cost of $26.58 with a savings of 20 percent by buying sale and reduced price items

Super One trip 3 needed to buy items to make Water Gate Salad for Christmas Eve. We bought off brands or items on sale costing us a total of $3.58

Total for the week $52.51
Total for the month $147.33
Balance remaining of monthly budget $52.67
I am linking this at
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money.. Grace

11 Ways to be Weird in 2011 by David Ramsey

I am a huge David Ramsey fan and today he has a great posting on 11 Ways To Be Weird.

Here is what Dave says in this post.. please click on the link to read other great postings by Dave Ramsey
Everyone has their own definition of what “weird” means. To us, it means having some—or actually a lot—of money, because so many people are broke! If you could keep hundreds of extra dollars a month instead of paying credit card bills, car payments and your alma mater, would you want to become weird?
If you’re tired of being normal (aka broke) like everyone else, here are some ways to get started on your journey to weirdness!
1. Set a solid foundation.
Without a proper start, big plans will eventually crumble. We are here to help you along the way during this weird year that will carry through the rest of your life. Find out how to set a solid foundation.
2. Bring out your inner bookworm!
According to The Literacy Company, 90% of learning is based on reading. You would think that Americans would read a lot, right? Well, about 27% of adults read no books at all in the past year. Set yourself apart from the majority by reading a few beneficial, nonfiction books this year! Here are some suggestions from Dave’s library.
3. Take baby steps with meal planning.
Food often costs more than you think. Plan your meals ahead of time to eat healthier and avoid hitting up your favorite fast-food spot five times a week. It’s not a daunting task when you get help from eMealz for just $5 a month!
4. Compare yourself to the Joneses—really!
The Joneses are broke. They’re in debt and don’t have money for emergencies, retirement or college. Do you really want to be like them? Doubtful. So compare yourself to them and determine what you need to do so you aren’t like the Joneses.
5. Practice saying no!
There are so many good things to do, but you can’t do it all. Learning to set limits in your life will actually allow you to do more, whether it’s with your time or money. Plus, you’ll be better at those things you do since you aren’t rushing around trying to cram a bunch of stuff into your schedule.
6. Surprise!
Who says giving to others only has to take place at Christmas? Challenge yourself to continue giving like no one else throughout 2011. You’ll be amazed at how much better life is when you give to others!
7. Dream.
Just because you’re a responsible adult who’s all grown up doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming. But don’t just be a dreamer; do something about it! Determine what’s stopping you from making your goal a reality, and challenge yourself to overcome it.
8. Sacrifice.
Most people cringe at the “s” word. But sacrifice doesn’t mean you have to live in a cave and never have fun. Maybe you need to pick up an extra job or cut out a monthly treat from your budget to get closer to achieving your goal. Think of something you can give up, and commit to following through this year.
9. Get a will for real.
About 60% of Americans die without a will. So what’s the big deal? That means that when you die, everything you owned is either left to the government to divvy out, or your relatives will fight over your belongings. Avoid that heartache by creating a will. Stop procrastinating and just do it! makes it easy for you to leave this legacy for under $30.
10. Quit your J-O-B.
Don’t love your job? Then quit it! Find your passion and do work that truly matters to you. Yes, even in this economy you can quit your job—just be smart about it. Think it through. Have a plan, and be wise about your decisions. Consider this.
11. Pass on the weirdness!
It’s cool to be weird! Tell others about your journey to weirdness and how you’re changing your life for the best. Send them our weekly email challenges, pass along your budgeting knowledge, or invite them to a free Financial Peace University class. Dave has so many resources available for you and your friends that there’s definitely something for everyone.

Okay what will I do this year to improve myself by being weird?

I already do number 3 .. meal planning this does help us to eat more at home which saves us big $.
I have started to do freezer cooking which I think is the way to go. Having meals of Chili and Spaghetti sauce in my freezer makes some nights so easy.

We already have our Wills #9 could use a small update probably.

What I think I need to do is take more time reading # 2.
I will have to take a look at what Dave has on his reading list. I want to read more American history books. I into my family genealogy and this goes along with this perfectly.

# 7 Dream and goals ..hubby and I have been working on that the last few days.. we know what we need to do just have to get going...

What do you plan to do to make next year better?

Thanks for stopping by... Lets keep saving together .. and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money... Grace

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Not Your Every Day Sloppy Joe's ... Whats For Dinner Tonight Totally Yummy !!

I have shared this recipe before but never added to the food blogs so since it is on the menu for this week I am sharing again.

Tonight for dinner I am making one of my favorites. This is full of childhood memories. As a young girl in gradeschool my best friend was Patty D. Her mother would invite me and my sister over for lunch once in awhile and would make us Sloppy Joes. This is not your normal tomato soup Sloppy Joes. The taste is amazing and you really should give it a try.

Okay I have to admit I love Sloppy Joe's. Big Sloppy Sloppy Joe's . The meat sauce hanging out of the bun Sloppy Joe's. So here is my recipe...

Brown one pound of hamburger, spoon the grease off.
season to taste with pepper and salt.
To this I add 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup ( Mrs. D also added a can of Chicken Gumbo soup but the thrifty side of me ignores this and they are still great).
After mixing this up real good I squirt a good amount of mustard and ketchup into the meat mixture. Continue to let simmer till nice and bubbly. Makes 4 Sloppy Joe's This will give us each 1 for tonight and 2 for another meal later in the week)

I am posting at

Sunday at One Feature

Saturday Party at Recipes of a Cheapskate

Hunk Of Meat Monday

Monday Mania

Home Maker Monday

Delicious Dishes at It's A Blog Party

Tuesday Night Supper Club

Tasty Tuesday at Beautiful Mess

Tuesday At The Table

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Dr Laura's Tasty Tuesday

Take A Look Tuesday

Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays

Real Food Wednesday

Works For Me Wednesday

Pennywise Platter Thursday

Life At Mom's on Thursday

There you go easy, thrifty and so tasty...
Thanks for stopping by.. Grace

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things I Do And Can Do To Save Money

While I was drinking my coffee this morning ( at home ) and wandering around looking for new blogs (to me), I came across the Nourishing Cook and her blog post from yesterday. I have found that the best way for me to find new blogs is to become part of a blog party and then choose a few to read.
Here is a plug for one of my favorite blogs to find new people to read Real Food Wednesday
Well I am always on the hunt to look for ways to save money so off to her site I went to see what she had to say. 25 Things I do to Save Money over at the Nourishing Cook.
1. We have already gotten rid of our land line and bundled cable and Internet connection # 9 on her list.
2. We cook at home a lot more and eat out less which of course saves us a lot of money # 6 on her list. I agree it is a lot healthier than eating out. There portions are way to big.
3. We also brew our own coffee and rarely go to a coffee shop. Hubby does not like the fancy blends ( Folgers for him) and I buy my flavored coffee creamer on sale. I do have to admit while Christmas shopping yesterday I did buy a medium Mocha coffee using white chocolate. My goodness what a treat but a $4.00 treat. #10 on her list.
4. We do not go out shopping unless it is something we really need and then we price compare and if possible by used.. #5 and # 7 on her list.
5. We are cutting back on meat, instead of 1 pound of ground beef we are cutting back to 3/4 pounds. (not noted on her list but I guess it is part of her eating at home savings)
6. We buy our books at used bookstores or thrift stores and garage sales.
We sell books on eBay, amazon and on our own site.
These we have to find in good condition and mainly at thrift stores and estate sales.They have to be specific books and not the common titles.
I do not have a kindle and will not get one. They are the killer of the used bookstores plus the economy is hurting the used bookstores also. Support the independent business owner by shopping there once in awhile. # 5 and #11 on her list of saving money.

Other ways we save money

7. We do not use cash machines unless they are hooked to our bank. I hate ATM fees and would only do so in an emergency.
8. We use cash only no credit cards so no finance charges other than our car payment. We use our debit card if buying something or paying something on line.
9. Using coupons when possible but I do not buy something just because of the coupon. We price compare products.
10. Drive a used car rather than buying a new car. Drive off the new car lot and money is thrown out the window immediately. Would of been perfect if we had been able to save up the money and paid cash for the car. I did buy used from my nephew Brett who buys and sells cars in Houston so I did get a good deal.
11. Hubby pays the majority of our bills on line which saves postage costs.
12. We no longer drink Alcohol or smoke that saves us a ton of money and is improving our health.
13. We rarely go to the movie theater and mainly watch movies on no additional cost cable tv or buy at garage sales. We do not have HBO etc.
14. I do register my coke rewards that gives me some free coke, but I have not bought any coke to bring home in a month or more which is saving us $30.00 a month. I get my rewards when I buy it as a special treat or from sons.
15. We buy our gasoline from independant gas stations that can save us 02 cents to 10 cents a gallon. Plus we attempt to consolidate our shopping trips to cut down on gas.
16. We shopped for car insurance and saved $ this year.

What we can do to save money that we have not as of yet.

1. Start making my own refried beans, Nourishing Cook had a posting on Tips for making of Beans, but no recipe for her refried beans. I have never made refried beans. I never ate them till about 2 to 3 years ago, when we lived in southern California and the Houston Texas area. I have slowly fallen in love with them and now on the look for a good recipe.
Now guys please do not laugh. I grew up in northern Minnesota with lots of white colored food. Mash pototos, Mac and Cheese, Chicken gravy and even lutefisk ( never ate it ) My idea of Mexican food was Chi Chi's until then.
2. We plan to look for ways to cut our health insurance cost after the first of the year by shopping for a new policy and upping our deductible.
3. Start using swagbucks for searches more than the other big name search engine. I would love to work towards get gift cards

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's For Dinner .. Hubby's Rich "Sloppy " Burgers

I have been married to my hubby for over 20 years and early on he won me over with some of his recipes.

His beef stroganoff is fantastic and usually on the menu New Years Eve if we are staying in town. I would rather be in Vegas but with living on a budget and no longer spending money on credit cards that has not happened in a couple of years.

The other item he cooked for me early on were what he called rich burgers and boy are they rich in taste.

That is what we had last night.

Ingredients ( he does not measure so this is a guess)
3/4 pound of ground beef
about 1/3 bottle of ketchup
handful of brown sugar
Lawry salt and pepper

He browns the hamburger then spoons off the grease.

Next goes all the ingredients.

Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes

Once done this is spooned generously on hamburger buns where he has placed a slice of Velveeta cheese.

This serves 4 .. for us it gives us 2 meals.

Served with chips, dip and maybe some beans and you have a easy, very tasty meal.
Thanks for stopping by... Grace

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now Is The Time To Look At Our Finances Past And Future

With the year coming to an end it is a good time to look at our finances. How did we do this year? Did we accomplish our goals and follow our budget? Was it a good year or tough year. For us it was a tough year. We decided to move home to Minnesota.

Good because we are now near the children and grandchildren.
Bad because we lost income and the cost of moving from Texas to Minnesota was costly. Then in September I got sick and ended up in the hospital. I am thankful that we had insurance but we still have hospital/doctor bills to pay off.

Now is also the perfect time to sit down and look at where we want to be this next year. What are our goals and dreams.

This process starts first with looking at our monthly income and monthly expenses.
Our monthly income is fixed with retirement and pensions. Our other income is flexible with our Internet book business. We can only cut our costs so much increasing our income is the only answer.

If you need to increase your income to accomplish your goals there are ways to do this.
You can go to your boss and ask for a raise. Be ready with reasons why you should get this raise.

Maybe you can work over time or get a second job.

Another answer is to find a way to make extra money using a talent or skill you may have. I know some one who is handy with tools and makes bird feeders to sell on the side. We have for years bought and sold books on the Internet. This is where we will have to increase our income this next year.

Another way is to clean and sell the clutter to pay down debt. As debt goes down life gets so much better. I have so much stuff in our home that needs to be sold. Books, vintage paper and just waiting to be sold . Costume jewelry to be sold. I may try and re purpose some of it to sell.

By looking at our expenses we can determine what is important to us. We do not need or want a new car or fancy furniture.

What we would like to do is pay off our used car and my hospital bill. We want to travel and see the beauty around us. We have dreams. What are your dreams? Now is the time to start looking at where we have been and where we want to go next year.

Thanks for stopping by...Grace

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan For The Week

What is on the menu at our house this week? I love planning our menu. I am flexible and things can change if necessary. This is what I have planned this week.

Italian Chicken soup recipe to come
Beef and Green Chili Enchiladas with re fried beans and tortilla chips recipe to come
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe to come
Layered Mexican Casserole
Hubby's Rich Sloppy Burgers recipe to come
Barbecue Meat Balls, Boiled Potatoes and Vegetable
Left over buffet

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's On The Menu This Week Layered Mexican Casserole For Sure

This on the menu for sure this week. I picked up this cookbook for 99 cents at a thrift store and tried it for the first time last March. Since then I have only made one other time.. why only twice? this is so tasty and easy really should be on my menu's more often.

Cook book is Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Weeknight Meals.

Layered Mexican Casserole.
8 ounces of ground beef
1 (12 oz) can of whole kernal corn drained ( more than hubby and I like so this time I will cut in half)
1 (12 oz ) jar of chunky salsa
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced pitted ripe olives drained
1 cup cream style cottage cheese
1 ( 8 oz) carton of dairy sour cream
5 cups of Tortilla chips ( 7 to 8 ounces)
2 cups ( 8 ozs ) shredded Wisconsin Chedder Cheese divided
1/2 cup of chopped Tomato

Brown ground beef in large skillet ; drain.
Add corn and salsa; cook until thoroughly heated.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of olives; stir remaining olives into beef mixture.
Combine cottage cheese and sour cream in bowl.
In 2 quart casserole, layer 2 cups chips, half of meat mixture, 3/4 cup of chedder cheese and half of cottage cheese mixture. Repeat the layers
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
Line edge of casserole with remaining 1 cup of chips; top with tomato, reserved 2 tablespoons of olives and remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
Bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and chips are hot.
makes 4 to 6 servings.
Serve with more chips if desired.
I loved the taste and the texture and isn't a pretty dish
Favorite recipe from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Brand.
I will be sharing this recipe
Check out some of the other recipes and maybe leave a comment starting here please.

thanks for stopping by.. Grace

Freezer Cooking Stage 2.. Lets Make Spaghetti Sauce

Stage 2 of my Freezer Cooking is making Spaghetti Sauce.This recipe will feed 6 but since it is just the 2 of us I can stretch it to 3 meals

As I browned the ground beef hubby diced up 1/4 of an onion.

Once the ground beef was browned we spooned out the grease and added the onion to brown.
To this was added sugar, salt, pepper,oregano, thyme, basil and garlic.

Then comes the tomato products

Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour and you are ready to eat.
Spoon over cooked Spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese ( if desired)

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef ( I used 85 percent)
1/4 of an onion
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt ( we are cutting down on salt)
1 tsp of pepper
1 1/2 tsp of oregano,
1 1/2 tsp of thyme
1 1/2 tsp of basil
1 tsp of garlic
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
1 oz can of diced tomatoes
I love our Spaghetti sauce, better than any I have ever had in an Italian restaurant. In the freezer it goes for future meals.

Thanks for stopping by .. grace

Freezer Cooking Stage 1 Our Fantastic Chili

With winter closing on us here in Northern Minnesota I am in the mood to cook and get some freezer meals ready for cold nights and easy cooking. Our freezer is really only the top of a refrigerator so I can not get that much in.
There is only 2 of us so what I am cooking this afternoon is our homemade Spicy (to me) Chili and I am dividing it in to 3 containers for 3 different nights.
We can add some crackers or bread for a fast tasty dinner.
My recipe is for 6 servings so would be a nice amount for 4 to 6 people.
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef 85 percent fat free

small amount of onion chopped up
2 tsp of garlic
4 tsp of Chili
2 tsp of basil
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of oregano
2 16oz cans of Chili or Kidney beans
1 32 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 32 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 can of water

Brown ground beef

then add your spices and stir.

Add your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes

and chili beans

Simmer for about 45 minutes . It is now ready to eat or cool and freeze for future meals.

This pot has been divided into 3 containers for dinner and there was enough for us to each have a small bowl for lunch.

Stage 2 of Cooking will be coming up soon..
I am sharing this recipe at Potluck Sunday.. hope that you will check what other's are cooking and leave a comment maybe when visiting starting here.
Thanks for stopping by .. Lets keep saving together .. Grace

Grocery Shopping For Freezer Cooking

Went shopping today for this weeks groceries plus extra to do some freezer cooking at Cub Foods today. Boy was it ever chilly out.

They had 85 percent hamburger for $2.49 a pound ( not as good as last freezer cooking at $1.99 a pound but better than some weeks). I picked up 2 / 3 pound packages. This will give us 8 meals.
Cub had Chicken Breasts skinless at buy 1 get 1 FREE. I got two packages for 8.07. This should give us a few meals.
2 packages of Land O Frost lunch meats using a coupon for buy 1 get 1 FREE so 2 packages at $4.99
Chi Chi Salsa $1.79 used 50 cent coupon off
1 Enchilada sauce $1.89
Green Chili diced 75 cents
2 cans of peas 59 cents each
1 cub cereal $2.39
2 cub chili beans 79 cents each
1 package of Spaghetti noodles 99 cents
2 Cub Tomato crushed $1.19 each
2 Cub Tomato Sauce $1.19 each
1 Yolk less noodles $1.29
1 re fried beans $1.29
1 Mission Shells $1.99
Tortilla Chips $1.99
Potato chips $2.79
1 onion 68 cents
2 loafs of bread $1.49 each
1 shredded Parmesan cheese $4.13 ( thought it was $2.00 and did not notice till home)
1 shredded cheese $2.00
1 milk $3.19
2 sour creams $3.00 on sale
Total spent $67.66 this week
Total for the month $94.82
Remaining of monthly budget $105.18
I am sharing this at
thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together.. Grace

What's For Dinner " Chicken And Rice Casserole" So Yummy

What is for dinner? Last night we had a Chicken and Rice Casserole. So yummy..

Here is the recipe..
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In 13 by 9 pan (or a casserole dish as I did) combine the rice, celery, carrots, onion, butter, salt, soup and water.

Arrange the chicken on rice skin up. Sprinkle with paprika or poultry seasoning and bake uncovered 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.

I had 5 thighs.. cooked the other 2 in a baking dish. Gets crispier that way for those who want it crispy.

1 1/2 cups of rice $.50
1 stalk of celery $.25
1 carrot $.25
1/4 cup of onion diced $.15
1 can of cream of chicken soup $.50
2 cups of water
4 Chicken Breasts ( I used thighs) $3.39
1 tsp of salt
2 Tablespoons of butter $.05
paprika or poultry seasonings
Total cost for my meal $5.09
serves 4

This was so good the way we had it. I have also served with peas and a dinner roll. Any way served it tasty and a sure winner.
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep serving together... Grace

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mama's Hamburger Hot Dish / Casserole

There is no need to go out for good food is there? Yes I do love having people waiting on me but I also love the comfort food we can make at home. Best of all we are keeping the $$ in our pocket. That is even more of a comfort to this lady.
Tonight's dinner is my mama's Hot Dish. We call it a hot dish in this part of the country, other parts call it a casserole. I will never forget the first time I told my east coast son in law I was making a hot dish. He had no idea what I was talking about. After explaining to him what a hot dish was, he said that is a casserole and looked at me like I was from another planet. Then of course there is the pop/soda conversation with him. Gotta love that guy.

It is cold outside but warm inside with the oven on. Last night for dinner we had one of the old standards. Hamburger Hot Dish my mama's way.

Super easy with just browning the hamburger and boiling some pasta. After degrease the hamburger add tomato soup to both the hamburger and pasta then mix together. Mama always fried up onions with her hamburger but I was out. We used a little onion powder, some salt and pepper.

At this point I differ from mama and add some cheese to my hamburger and pasta combination. All I had in the house last night was a little Velveeta and some Havarti cheese so put a little of each in.

We baked at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour and dinner is on. Simple, easy but comfy food during the winter.

What a thrifty dinner.
1 1/2 pounds of hamburger $3.00 bought on sale for $1.99 a pound
2 cups of pasta $1.00
3 cans of Campbells tomato soup $1.50 I bought on sale at 50 cents a can (used a coupon so really less than 50 cents a can
spices pennies
Total cost for Hamburger Hot dish/Casserole $5.50
This can easily feed 6 people or the 2 of us 2 dinners and 1 lunch.

I will be sharing this at
Hearth and Soul
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Who is Laura
Healthy Home
A Beautiful Mess
Mouth Watering Monday
Tuesday Twister
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays At The Table
Delicious Dishes
Anti Procrastination Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Menu Inspiration Monday
Menu Plan Monday
Hunk Of Meat Monday
Tidy Mom
Thursday Life As Mom
Grocery Cart Callenge

Want to thank you for stopping by.. maybe leave a comment letting me know you were here and lets keep saving our $$ together... Grace

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Plan For The Week Saving Money Eating At Home

Menu plan is on Monday this week. Yesterday was dear hubby's birthday and time was spent with family instead of planning this week

Meals for this week are

cereal, or eggs and toast and yogurt
soup and sandwiches or any left overs that may be there

Meat balls in gravy, potatoes, and veggies

Hamburger hot dish, veggies, and warm bread

Chicken and Rice with veggies

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches with multi types of cheese, chips and dip

Chicken, Pasta and Vegetable soup with crackers

Chili and Cornbread

Left over Buffet

I am keeping it simple and frugal this week with using a lot of items from the freezer and pantry.

What's on your menu this week? I will be sharing this over at organizing junkie.
Take a moment and see what others are cooking up this week and leave a comment letting them know that you passed by.. Everyone likes hearing some one visited.

Thanks for stopping by.. Lets keep saving together.. and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money... Grace

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whats For Dinner Easy Chili Cornbread Bake

Recently I found a recipe at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen for her Chili Cornbread Bake and thought it looked so tasty.
This is my super easy version for the two of us, Chili from the freezer thawed out and slightly warmed and 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix prepared by box directions. ( bought the corn mix on sale at Walgreen's a while back)

You can get my Chili recipe here .. trust me it is really good and freezes good with the beans included.

Started the corn bread batter with mix, milk and egg

Greased my casserole and spread about 1/2 of cornbread batter in bottom of casserole.

To this I added about 1/3 of my chili recipe from recipe above ( that is what I had in one freezer dish).

Next I spread process cheese on top of chili ( did not have enough shredded cheese in house)
and did not plan to go out for just this since it is snowing outside..

Poured remainder of corn bread batter on top of cheese and then remainder of my shredded cheese ( had about 1/4 cup of cheese ) on batter.

Baked in preheated 425 degree oven.
Boy did it turn out good. Next time I would have 1/2 to 2/3 of my chili recipe in the casserole.
I added a small dollop of sour cream on the side since I always put it on my chili.

I will be sharing this at

Hearth and Soul

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Who is Laura

Healthy Home

A Beautiful Mess

Mouth Watering Monday

Tuesday Twister

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Tuesdays At The Table

Delicious Dishes

Anti Procrastination Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

Tuesday Night Supper Club

Menu Inspiration Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Hunk Of Meat Monday

Tidy Mom

Life As Mom

Grocery Cart Callenge

Thanks for stopping by.... Lets keep saving together.. and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money.. Grace

Wonderful Memories And Old Family Soup Bowls

I was reading a story over at Greta's Genealogy Bog about memories of old bowls and children fighting over one certain bowl. I had those same bowls at one time. They would not break.
My bowls that bring back great memories are these old soup bowls that belonged to my mother. I remember her warming up Campbell's Tomato soup. She would serve in these bowls with a few crackers along side.
I still have them and use them several times a week for my soup or chili. I still feel like a little girl every time I have some soup with a few crackers or a piece of bread on the side.
Got to love those old memories.. Grace

Grocery Shopping Roundup

With our cupboards full and freezer having some meals ready to go
we did not have to buy alot this week.
Super One
Bread $2.49 ( way to much, did not want to drive to Cub which would of been at least a dollar in gas.)
Jumbo Eggs $1.69

2 11.3 oz Folgers coffee $2.00 after coupons
2 Quaker Instant oatmeal $4.00
1 AA batteries $3.99

Cub Foods
Deli Ham Salad $4.99
Deli Turkey breast $3.21
1 Milk $3.19
Sour cream $2.99
Cream Cheese $1.64

Total spent today $30.50
Total spent for month $206.96
$6.96 over budget. It is a good thing we were invited to son's for Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanks for stopping by.. Lets keep saving together .. and please remember Never Under Estimate The Value Of A Small Amount Of Money... Grace