If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Monday, July 3, 2017

Frugal month kick-off (crazy long post)

Hello everyone,  In my mind, I intended to start  frugal posts on July 1st.  But I've been busy doing things around home and just didn't find the time.  So......here is my first  frugal July post and it will probably ramble on and on

Our ultra-frugal mode actually started about June 25th or so.
My husband had been out of town and was coming home.  I did not prepare regular meals while he was gone but I was more than ready to have real, regular food by then.
Our fridge was kind of empty as far as fresh things go but I found a head of iceberg lettuce,  some tomatoes and onions in the pantry.
With that, I made a taco toppings plate,  a tossed salad and a sandwich topping plate.
We like to add cheddar cheese as a garnish to lots of food.  I used to hand grate cheddar or buy it already grated.   Now,  our favorite cheese is Tillamook extra sharp cheddar in sandwich slices.  I use that cheese now instead of grated cheese.  It chops up nicely and has so much flavor.  For us,  this is thrifty as the Tillamook cheese is a good price at the military commissary.
From the freezer,  I got out a package of Smokies hot dogs and sliced ham and refilled our 3 tier Tupperware deli keeper.  
once the ham thawed,  it shut all the way.  Sandwiches are easy to make when the meat and cheese are stored together and there is box of prepared sandwich toppings.  

We were low of fresh fruit that day too.  There were 4 jumbo oranges so I peeled them and put them in a bowl for meals or snacking.  They were delicious! 
Sometimes the fridge is really empty but sometimes there are enough ingredients to still make a number of good meals even though it looks empty.  

Now on to some frugal decorating...
I wanted to spruce up our garage door.  So I looked on Pinterest for wreath ideas.  
I used just supplies on hand for this tied wreath.  
The fabric strips are cut to 14.5 inches by 2 inches and just tied on the Styrofoam wreath form.  

And this is the garage door- all clean and decorated.  No one really will see this unless they enter our home through the garage but my husband and I like it.  It is sort of a Welcome home to us when we come home.  

no idea why the next several lines appear to be links and are underlined.  

The home sweet home sticker is from Dollar Tree.  It was so easy to put on and looks good. 
My husband thought I had hand painted it.  

The front door needed a paint touch up.  I found the can of paint the builders used 17 years ago when they first painted this door.  After a good shake,  that paint was truly as good as new.  So it was easy to give the door a fresh coat of burgundy paint.  
I tried a Dollar Tree sticker here too but can you see the problem?  They apparently look best on a light covered surface.  

It did peel right off without tearing or removing any paint.  
I then put it on the inside of that door.  It sticks and looks fine but I'm not sure I'll leave it there.
it seems a little odd to say "welcome"  as people would be exiting.

I don't plant to buy many groceries as our freezer and pantry are both pretty stocked.
But we really enjoy salads and summer fruit so I will buy those.
This is what we bought at Sprouts middle of last week- all of that fruit has been so sweet and delicious.
The meats were on sale.  I think the bacon was $1.99 and the baby back ribs were $2.49 a pound or about $6-7 a side.  My husband has smoked 2 of them and they fed us 3 meals and we shared several helpings with my parents.

Today,  I cooked up a big batch of pasta sauce.  We like homemade sauce better than storebought because mine is not as sweet as most jarred sauces.
I don't have a specific  recipe to share but here's how I do it.
In the bottom of each crock pot,  I put diced onion in about 2 teaspoons of oil and let them cook on high about an hour. 
Then I carefully added the tomato sauce in increments as I didn't want to shock the hot crockpots with room temperature ingredients.  Once the tomato sauce was in,  I added garlic salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning herbs and a little sugar- all to taste.  Maybe a tablespoon of all the herbs in the small crockpot,  double that in the big pot.  I also divided 24 ounces of tomato paste between the 2 pots.  Let it all simmer for a few hours.  

I pack it in meal size containers and freeze.  
I'm not sure homemade sauce is cheaper than jarred sauce.  It might be but it is frugal to have easy meals on hand that can be cooked quickly when meal time sneaks up on you.  
I've made this sauce, taco meat and chili in big batches for years and it has been so handy so many times for quick meals.  

Now on to doing fun things......
all towns are different but most of them have at least a few free or low cost fun things to do.  My town has a great library,  2 free splash pads  and 2 huge Transformer statues.
This is Bumblebee,  made from all kinds of vehicle parts.  He doesn't really do anything except look awesome.  Its really fun to pose for pictures under his legs.  
His buddy Optimus Prime lives on the other side of town and we will visit him this summer too.  

How to make a little money.....
I've dabbled in a several online rewards programs over the years.
The 2 I've done the longest are MyPoints.com and Swagbucks.com   I looked over my accounts and saw I had quite a few points and cashed them both in,  I had enough to get 3 $25 gift certificates to CVS.
I also do Walmart Savings catcher when I think about it.  I had enough there to cash in $12.

I also like Ibotta
You don't have to do anything for Ibotta except shop.  They have rewards for some "any" purchases like bananas or bread.
The bigger payouts are for name brand items- everything from foods and beverages, to health and beauty things and even some restaurants and online stores.

If you have a smart phone or tablet that has a camera,  Ibotta is easy.  Just scan through the list of refunds and check what you bought.  Then take a photo of your receipt and sometimes of the items UPC.  When you've earned $20,  you can cash out for Paypal or Walmart or Amazon, etc.
I had enough to cash out last week for $26.25 Paypal.
If you haven't joined Ibotta,  I'd love for you to use my referral code if you do sign up.
I think you get $10 just for being a new sign up.

You wont get rich doing online reward programs but it is nice to earn a bit every now and then

and if you're still reading this far along,  thank you
I plan on doing more frugal posts as July goes on.  


  1. My grandkids would go nuts with those Transformers statues! How cool are they? :)

    Your new wreath looks lovely, as does the one you previously made. You are so creative. I think I need to follow your lead on getting sandwich and meal making stuff ready for the week. It would make life so much easier for both my hubby and I and maybe, just maybe things would not get lost in the back of the refrigerator as much. ;)

  2. You have been very busy, and I love the way you organize your food. Every week I promise myself I am going to do it your way and every week I fall short. This week I'm really going to organize and get all the salad fixings ready to eat.

  3. I loved this post and am thrilled you will be doing more post like this! You have been doing so well with your Fitbit too - I think you need to pat yourself on the back about that since it's a frugal win in the long run! =)
    I truly wish our town had more free summer stuff to do - we have our library, a great recreational path, and a few hiking trails. I guess I'm just irked that townspeople have to either pay for the (one) town pool per visit ($8/day) or get a big bucks yearly pass (I believe a family pass is $300 plus!) The last town we lived in had THREE summer pools dispersed throughout the town that residents could use for FREE!SMH

  4. Cute wreath and it looks easy to make. I really like your stackable container for the deli meat. It looks like a space saver. July will be a very frugal month for us as June was a big spend month for us. We purchased two new appliances, splurged on tickets for a train ride for Megan's birthday and ate out more times then I want to admit. Besides a trip to the fair next month the rest of our summer fun will be doing things that are free. I enjoy seeing your frugal post.

  5. I enjoyed this post! I usually try to cook a full meal for hubby when he comes home from work. However, it has been so hot the past couple of days, we have eaten out of the fridge and it was so refreshing! Plus the house was cooler! I like your ideas. Homemaking Dreams posted about the DG wall decals too. I have never noticed them, but will be looking for one next time I go! Your new wreath is really pretty. Happy 4th of July!

  6. I enjoyed this post! I usually try to cook a full meal for hubby when he comes home from work. However, it has been so hot the past couple of days, we have eaten out of the fridge and it was so refreshing! Plus the house was cooler! I like your ideas. Homemaking Dreams posted about the DG wall decals too. I have never noticed them, but will be looking for one next time I go! Your new wreath is really pretty. Happy 4th of July!

  7. I really enjoyed this post! Please do continue with them. I too did not know that DG had the wall decals and your tupperware deli organzier has caught my eye as well. I'm going to borrow your wreath idea as I've been thinking lately that I need to spruce up my front door too. Again, loved this post, thank you for inspiring me in my quest to live frugally with contentment!

  8. Great post, I also make my own pasta sauce its so much better then store bought, I really like the idea of having snacks and sandwich toppings ready - I have to try it. Your creativity and frugal ways are very inspiring.

  9. It's nice to take a break from cooking while husband is gone. What I like is how you made do with what you had! Great ideas too!

  10. We're on a grocery buying freeze, except I'll get some lettuce this week for salads. We need to eat out of the freezer and use up what we have this month as all of the freezers are packed as well as the house and garage frig. A good problem to have, but no need to buy more.
    I love how you made several meals available just by prepping what you found in your frig. I could use that inspiration for this month! :)

  11. I am planning most of our meals from the freezer and pantry this month too. We have so many odds and ends!I always enjoy frugal posts and we are trying to save more and keep our money in savings right now as much as possible!

    I love Tillamook cheese, being from Oregon and all. The health food store near us carries some but it is not frugal at all! We always bring cheese back with us when we visit my parents. It is so good!

  12. I also am on a spending freeze. By the way the wreath you bought breaks very easily. Mine shattered and had to be wired back together. Go back to the green Styrofoam that is looser in nature and I will never buy the tight Styrofoam again.

  13. Wow! You've written an inspiring blog! I don't really like to cook anymore since it's just the two of us and we're pretty picky about what we eat. Age can dictate what one can and can't eat. I do try to cook a good noon meal then eat from what's leftover for supper.

  14. Thanks for all the great tips! I love to use my crockpot and i'm always looking for new recipes!

  15. Nice post with sharing lots of great ideals. Love the wreath on the garage door. The one on your front door--way back when--my sister would sell at craft shows.
    I have seen the stickers at Dollar Tree and gotten a few--but like you said light color surfaces do look nicer I think too.
    Our area does not have to many cool things for free. About 20 minutes away is a splash pad.
    Take Care and thanks for sharing.

  16. Do you deliver those wonderful meal trays?! ;) I used to do a similar thing when I was single & working 3 jobs. It made me eat healthier and saved time. I mostly made salads.

    Your garage door looks great! We've been in this house for 14 yrs. now and I keep thinking that I should do something to ours. The front door looks so welcoming, but we never use it!! I think it's great that your door welcomes you home in such a cozy way. I'm gonna go check those stickers out. I might even paint my own! Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Love your garage door, love your productivity, love the tupperware deli keeper (I have never seen this before!), love your ideas about taco meat/spaghetti sauce, love your inspiration as usual!

  18. I laughed at your "Welcome" on the exit side of the door because Mama always insisted on putting her welcome mat on the reverse at her door so as you stepped out that's what you saw, lol. Love these posts! I know they are a lot of work and take time but it's fun to see all the creative work you do. From one of the newer posts...Isn't that new paint in your dining area as well?

    1. Hi Terri, I guess your momma would like a Dollar Tree sticker to put inside her door too. 😂 Mine is still there but I don't like it. Just been to busy to take it off.
      We've done a lot around here but no painting, I think that dining room photo looks different because I had to lighten it to get the curtains to show up. All our walls are still a sandstone beige except for the 1 yellow bathroom. I have extra of the paint and just touch up spots as needed

  19. I absolutely love your garage door. It is so welcoming. I am sogald that you did it so that you can enjoy it.

  20. You're reminding of just how handy that crock pot is. I need a deep freeze freezer or what ever it's called. I'm having my afternoon coffee and enjoying all these tips. I think I signed up but not sure. Hoping to get your post in my email.:)


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