Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 365 Goal

I heard about Project 365 a while ago and thought it was a fun interesting idea. I had heard about something like this about 2003 or 2004 and took pictures every day for awhile but that faded with the cost of having photos printed.

Now with my digtal camera I plan to give it a try again. The idea is a simple one, take and post one picture every day for 365 days.It will become a visual diary of one year of your life.I'm told it makes you a better photographer as you strive to find something interesting to photograph every day. Sounds good to me but will force me to get out of the house to find an intersting photo. Some days that may be a challenge but a good one.

The key to this project is to keep doing it every day. I know there will be days when I'm busy or tired or when I just don't want to be bothered to leave that house.I'm going to try to snap a picture anyway. Whether or not I post every day will be or several in a row will be seen. So if you want to see where life takes me this year just stay tuned here !

And while you are at it check out one of my favorite genealogy bloggers as she now has a new blog up for her 365 project.

Care to join in please leave me a comment with your page on my photo blog site, so I can watch your pictures .

thanks for stopping by.. Grace

Grocery Shopping Challenge Staying On Budget 1/6/11

Grocery shopping challenge staying on budget for the week ending 1/6/11.
Using cash in the envelope helps me stay on budget. When cash is gone it is time to stopping shopping for groceries or take it from another envelope.
This week I went to Walgreens, Target, Super One and Cub. Cub is always a stop since our bank is there and we can take out cash for the week to go into our envelope system.
Cub for milk $2.99 total spent

Walgreens for coupon deals
4 butter ball broth for 4 for $2.00 after sale and store coupon
Folgers coffee 2 for $4.50 after sale and store coupon and manufacture coupons
cough drops $2.29
Total spent at Walgreens $8.79

(1) Reach floss 97 cents
(2) 4 packs of Scott Toilet paper $1.64 after Target coupon
after using manufacture coupons this store visit cost us $1.58
clerk kept looking at coupons trying to find something to cause me a problem but no luck.

Super One visit 1
2 Kellogg Special K 2 for $5.00 ( I was able to use my coupon of buy 1 get 1 free)
4 Store brand diced tomatoes 44 cents each
1 package of 6" taco tortillas on sale with store coupon 88 cents
2 loafs of bread 2 for $3.00 with store coupon
1 Peter pan peanut butter 99 cents with store coupon
1 corn chips $2.00
2 boxes of pasta $1.39 each
2 packages of malto meal frosted cereal 88 cents each on sale
1 hunts tomato paste 69 cents
5 chi chi salsa $7.40
1 onion 68 cents
2 mini french beads 97 cents each with store coupon
2 I can't believe its not butter $1.88 each before using my coupon for b1 get 1 free
2 coffee mate $2.99 each before using 2 coupons of $1.00 off each
cottage cheese $1.99 with store coupon
6 yogurt 44 cents each on sale before coupon

After using store coupons and vendor coupons and advertised savings total spent $30.28 with a savings of $35.21 a total savings of 53 percent.

Next trip to Super One not as good. Wanted ground beef for dinner and not on sale
Ground beef $3.70
1 bag of Idaho potatoes $2.98
Sour cream $1.99
Shredded Taco cheese $1.49
total spent $15.15 savings of 7 percent.

Total spent for the week $63.72
$3.72 over weeks budget not horrible
$176.28 left on month's budget

I am sharing this at
Grocery cart challenge
Southern Savers
Addicted to Savings

Living Well Spending Less
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together and please remember
Never under estimate the value of a small amount of money... Grace

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beef and Green Chili Enchildas What's For Dinner

Why go out to eat Mexican when it can be made at home for so much less? Hubby and I love Enchiladas a lot and when we go out to eat it is usually Mexican. But it can be fairly pricey. Normally at least $10.00 a plate so $20.00 for the two of use.

So on the menu for this week I wanted to try a recipe I found on line at Betty Crocker. Of course I have to change it to fit our taste and it turned out fantastic.

Beef and Green Chili Enchiladas

1 pound of lean ground beef 85 percent $3.70 ( not on sale of course gotta watch for sale)
1/4 of a medium onion chopped fine 15 cents
1/2 cup of sour cream 70 cents
1 (4.5 oz) can of chopped green chilies 75 cents
2 cups of shredded colby- monterey jack cheese $1.50
1 (10 oz) can of Enchilada sauce $1.89
6 flour tortillas 55 cents

add shredded cheese, tomatoes and additional sour cream if desired

Total cost $7.74 and if I had bought the hamburger on sale I could of save almost $2.00 less.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In non stick skilled brown ground beef and onion over medium heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring often. Drain grease. Add sour cream, green chilies and 1 cup of shredded cheese.

2. Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce bottom of 13 by 9 baking dish. ( I still have not bought one so I have to use 2 smaller baking dishes). Spread about 2 teaspoons of enchilada sauce on each tortilla. Top each with some beef mixture and a dab of re fried beans ( if desired and I do). Roll up the tortillas; place seam side down over sauce in baking dish.

3. Drizzle remaining enchilada sauce evenly over filled tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray, place sprayed sheet down on top of baking dish and seal tightly.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Served garnished .

These were as good as I have bought out at restaurants. I bought 6 inch tortillas on sale so ours were smaller. I made 6 enchiladas. We shared 3 and will share the other 3 later this week.
AND I had enough meat sauce and enchiladas sauce left to make 3 to 4 more. This I put in the freezer for a quick dinner another night. Hubby I will get 3 meals for the $7.74.
I served this with re fried beans and tortilla chips.

My sweet hubby loved it and must of told me 6 times how good it was. Even as he fell asleep I heard it one more time. But he does love his food and loves Mexican a lot.
I will be sharing this at the following sites this week.. check out what others are cooking.
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together and please remember never under estimate the value of a small amount of money.

Making A Grocery Product Price Book

Do you use a price book? If so what kind do you use? A tightwad like me may use a small binder or spiral notebook to track the price book information. Someone else may use tabs in their three ring binders to separate the price book pages. The hi-tech person will use a computer spreadsheet and of course the highest tech person will use their smart phone.
Whatever the form we use, the heart of the price book is the product page. Each page will track price information for a single staple product. Down the page, we list the date, store, brand, size, price, and unit price for that product. Over time, we will be able to identify the best price, recognize special sales, and track sale cycles for that product.
Let’s start our price book by deciding our method. Mine will be a spiral notebook I just bought at the thrift store.
Next we find all those itemized grocery store receipts we have saved. If you are not saving them you should. You never know when a refund will be offered and you need that receipt to qualify. On those receipts we will find the item, price, date and store where we bought the item.
Use a calculator to find out your unit cost. Lets say a can of tomato sauce is 40 cents and there is 8 ounces by dividing 40 by 8 we know we have paid 05 cents per ounce. At the grocery store you can usually find that same information on the shelf tag.
In the beginning we will be filling in many product pages but as time goes on and our price book grows we will be able to see what the sale cycles are for our stores.
Take your price book with you every time you shop. Let’s say you see a great sale on cereal but don’t need cereal. Record that price in your notebook. That way you will have an idea when the next sale will be. Once you have recorded the price at the stores you shop at you will only need to record a price if you see it lower.
Over time, you will have built a wealth of knowledge. You will be able to take the grocery stores on. Shopping for groceries is a game and we need to win at that game.
With your price book you will know when to buy salsa at the best price and which store to buy it at. You will know where to get the best cereal prices, the best price on canned tuna fish. That way when we see the best price, we know the store sale cycle we can stock up and fill our pantry and do it all the thrifty cheapskate way.

Thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together and remember never under estimate the value of a small amount of money.. Grace

Wallet Friendly Wednesday Stop At A Thrift Store

Wallet Friendly Wednesday idea for the week is Stop At A Thrift Store.

Are you a thrift store shopper? Whether shopping for pretty glass ware, books or even gently used clothing.. it can be found there.
We pop in the thrift store every week to see what is there to buy and sell on the Internet.
We have lived in California and there are lots of wonderful thrift stores, Texas has a fair number some better than others and here in Minnesota there are good ones and so that are not so good.

We stopped at the Goodwill yesterday to see if there were any good books. None to be found but walking in hubby spotted a shopping basket with spiral notebooks. 5 for $1.00. Great price so I picked up 5 of them.
1. Will use for my grocery price book.. will be sharing my ideas on the price book soon.
2. Will be used in the car as a mileage book for our Internet business. Will have starting mileage for the year. Then every time we go out for business will have date, mileage start, mileage end, how many miles we went and finally what did we buy and how much we paid. Of course we have our receipt to go along with this.
3. Rest will be used in my traveling genealogy notebook binder. These note books I found at the thrift store had tear out pages so just perfect to add to my binder.

These were a great buy for me and would be a great buy for the family with children and their school work.

There are great deals all around us .. we just need to look.
I am posting this at Wallet Friendly Wednesday

Thanks for stopping by.. hope that you stop back soon and please remember...

Never under estimate the value of a small amount of money... Grace

6 Easy Ways To Save Money With Or Without Coupons

Most of us have a goal to save money this year. Saving money at the grocery store is one great way accomplish part of this.

Whether that extra money goes into the savings account, helps to pay down debt or like hubby and me just helps us stretch our dollars, cutting the grocery bill is where it is at.

With the current economy as it is more coupons are being used . When we use coupons properly and follow the following rules, we can cut our grocery bill sometimes up to 50 percent.

Here are 6 simple ways to start saving at the grocery stores this year:

1. Understand the Sale Cycle
Just about everything in a store will go on sale at some time, so why would you pay full price if you didn't have to?
The cycle can differ depending on where you live in the country. Sales can run every 6 to 8 weeks and up to 12 weeks in some parts of the country. For us to save the most, we need to watch for sales and only buy at the low price. A great example is cereal, regularly it can cost $4 or more for name brand cereals. When it goes on sale we can buy it $1.50 to $2 a box. You will have already saved 50% and we haven’t even used our coupon yet!

2. Make Price Book
Know what items you normally use and what is the lowest price you have seen them or bought them.

3. Stock up at the Sale Price
Since we know that items are only on sale every 6-12 weeks, its important to buy enough at the low price to get from one sale to the next.
For some products this may mean 1 or 2, and for others items we may have to stock up a little more .
How much will we need of that product? You need to know how many you think you will use in a week or a month time. Then multiply that amount by the cycle your stores are on. If your family eats one box of cereal a week and it goes on sale ever 6 weeks we need to stock up 6 to 7 boxes to get you by till the next sale.
You may not be able to stock up every thing at once but do what you can and soon your pantry will be stocked.

4. Use those Coupons
When you are shopping and see that great price, that is the time to use the coupon! You are allowed one coupon per item so that means if you want (5) boxes of cereal and have $1 off coupons you can use FIVE coupons!!
a. Buy the Sunday paper each week.
b. Ask friends and family for their unused coupon inserts. It can be unbelievable how many people do not use coupons.
c. Watch for tear pads or coupon booklets in the store. If it is a product that you use take a couple.
d. And watch for printable coupons. You can usually print them twice.
e. carry your coupons with you every time you leave the house. You never know when you will come across a sale that you did not know about.

5. Focus on your favorite stores
If you have (2) name brand stores and they are within a reasonable distance get to know them.
One may offer some items at a better price and the other better prices on other items.
Get to know your drug store some items are best to buy there. Why would you buy toothpaste at the grocery store when you can find it often at the drug store FREE or almost free with sales, register rewards and coupons.

6. Don't be loyal to one brand and know your unit price
If one brand of ketchup is on sale and you have a coupon why buy the other brand. How about using the store brand? Have you tasted it? Most time it is just as good as the name brand.
Figure out the unit price. One item may look like a better deal but by knowing the unit price we will know which item is the best deal.
This morning's news had a story on how some companies are not raising the prices but are lowering the quantity in the packages. Name brand orange juice, same price but maybe 4 to 6 ounces less in the package. Looks the same but is not. This has been going on for over 6 months. This is where our price book will come in handy. We know the price by ounce of what we use.

Remember we want to use our coupons when an item is on sale.
Stock up when on sale and soon we will have a nice looking pantry of food to use in our recipes.
Make our menu plan around our pantry and what is on sale that week.

Be flexible with your menu plan.. if ham is on sale that may be the time to buy a ham and make several recipes around it or freeze part of the ham to use in the future.

Thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together... and please remember never under estimate the value of a small amount of money.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tidy Tip Of The Day : Set The Timer : Go Sort Receipts

Take 10 minutes... set the timer and go do something to tidy up.

I set the timer today and went through a packet of receipts I had packed up when we moved from Texas.

There they have sat on my desk just waiting for me to sort out since August.

Hubby wanted to know if I had anymore receipts for our eBay business.. I thought No, I have given them all to him.

BUT I eyed the packet of receipts .. what did I find.. not just some old store receipts, dining receipts, deposit slips, business cards but BUSINESS RECEIPTS.

Only ten minutes and I accomplished something I had been putting off sorting for month.

thanks for stopping by... hope to see you again soon and please remember never under estimate the value of a small amount of money.. grace

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cheesy Lasagna Soup .. Boy Is This Good Hubby Says

Well tonight I gave a new recipe a try and it passed the hubby test. Well they normally do pass the test. He ate three bowls of Cheesy Lasagna soup tonight. Small bowls so not horrible of an amount. To this we added warm slices of garlic bread.

I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker recipe book " Soup, Chili and Bread " January 1996. Soup is pictured on the cover and had me from the day I bought this used somewhere.

Finally had to give it a try. I will give you the recipe from the book and the add my few changes.

Cheesy Lasagna Soup

1 pound of ground beef
1 medium onion ( I used only a fourth of an onion)
2 green peppers cut into 1 inch pieces ( No green peppers here)
2 gloves of garlic finely chopped
4 cups of water
2 cans of diced tomatoes in garlic and spices undrained (14 oz each)
1 (6 oz ) can of tomato paste
2 cups of mafalda ( mini lasagna noodles pasta) I used Farfalle
1 T packed brown sugar
1 1/2 t Italian seasonings
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 cups of Italian style croutons ( I did not have any in the house)
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese ( I had shredded Parmesan cheese and did not want to go out.)
Cook beef, onion, bell peppers, and garlic in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown and onion is tender; drain. Stir in water, diced tomatoes and tomato paste until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients except croutons and cheese.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes stirring occasionally until pasta is tender.

I do not cook my pasta this way. I rather cook separately and then add and simmer in soup.

Recipe calls for you to put it in oven proof bowls or casseroles . Top with croutons and cheese and broil with tops 3 to 4 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes till cheese is melted.

I just added the cheese and it melted okay for us. We added a little salt at the table.

Like I said hubby loved it, I loved it and he requested that we make it real often.
I am sharing this at
Thanks for stopping by... hope that you return again real soon... Grace

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 1/3/11

Another week another menu plan. This week I am attempting to make three new recipes to me. Will share the recipes if they turn out good. One has been on my menu plan before and never got made.

I am flexible and things can change depending on my mood, but I find having a menu plan a great saver. Not a only a money saver, a time saver but also a stress remover. No more extra trips to the store or going out to eat at the last minute.

On the menu this week is

Cheesy Lasagna soup (new to me ) with warm bread

Beef and green chili enchiladas with re fried beans (new to me) and nacho chips

Spaghetti from the freezer over pasta with warm bread

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo (new to me)

Meat balls and gravy over noodles

Tomato soup and grilled cheese

left overs

breakfasts are cereal, toast or eggs

lunch are either left overs from night before or sandwiches.

I will be sharing this over at
Do you make a menu plan? I would love to hear what you have on the menu.
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together and please remember never under estimate the value of a small amount of money