Monday, May 21, 2012

Frugal dinner planning week of May 20th

We had a beautiful weekend weatherwise. We got a lot of yardwork done plus power washed our house plus some baseball and soccer games . No eating out-had our meal plan in place. loving our crockpot  makes meal planning very easy!

Sunday  Burgers. roasted potatoes. green beans

Monday lazy cabbage rolls

Tuesday School is doing a fundraiser @ McDonalds

Wednesday  pesto chicken with pasta in crockpot 

Thursday Layered ground turkey in the crockpot  click for

Friday clean out the fridge night!

Saturday  Cookout at friends house we will be bringing pasta salad plus some burger and hot  dogs

Friday, May 18, 2012

How to eat healthy on a budget

Shape magazine ran a story on how to eat healthy on a budget for the family! It has some pretty good advice and includes things that I already do with my family.  

Trade meat for beans

One can of beans, which contains 3.5 servings costs about $1.00 compared to $2.00 per pound for chicken on the bone (which is less expensive than chicken breast). Swapping black, pinto, kidney or white beans for meat in tacos, burritos, salads and whole grain pasta meals not only saves money it ups your antioxidant intake, slashes calories, wipes out saturated fat and cholesterol, and just a half cup provides a quarter of the fiber you need daily. That may be one reason why regular bean eaters have a lower risk of obesity and smaller waistlines. 
We do eat alot of beans in my family. I usually try to incorporate them 1-2 a week at night-whether it is in chili or the layered ground turkey crockpot that is a family favorite. I can get a can of beans for  $0.50 when it is on SALE.  I also will add chickpeas to my salad at lunch which keeps keep me full. 

Buy in-season, local produce

From either your farmer’s market or local grocery store, in-season fruits and veggies are chock-full of flavor but can cost pennies per pound. Right now, at my local market, cantaloupes and bell peppers are 99 cents each. Load up when you see a great deal (like the buy one get one free blueberries I spotted today) and freeze the extras.  
I always buy apples and bananas they are fairly cheap year round. However the berries get quite pricey.  I tend to only buy those fresh during the summer months and will buy unsweetened frozen during the winter months.   I attempted to grown watermelon and cantaloupe in the past but it wasn't a good success.     I also stock up on frozen vegetables each week-especially on chopped broccoli and spinach.  We do baked spinach casserole a lot with frozen spinach

Exchange packaged snacks for popcorn kernels

One bag of organic popcorn, which contains 28 servings costs around $2.50 compared to about $3.50 a bag for potato, corn, and cheese snacks with 10 servings. Pop retro style on your stovetop in oil, but hold the butter. If you need some flavor, sprinkle with fresh herbs like Italian or chipotle seasoning. 

Having individual size snacks for school lunches is SOOO easy but it very pricey.  I will sometimes buy then if they are on sale and I have a coupon-rarely though.   I stock up on large bags of pretzels and crackers.  We do pop popcorn for snacks alot at home. Sometimes those bags  in the microwave and sometimes in our air popper. 

Invest in a water filter or filtering pitcher and ditch the soda habit

Two liter soda bottles are inexpensive, about $1.00 each. If you buy one a week, that’s only $52.00 per year, but for about $25 you can buy a water filtering pitcher and get into the habit of drinking pure chilled water with every meal. 

Soda is very rare in our house and juice has been lately as well.  Water is  the drink of the day since we added in a filter a few years back.  

Overall good common sense advice and add in some meal planning you can do healthy eating on a budget. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Frugal Meal planning week of May 13th

Spring has finally sprung. I love to eat dinner outside on our deck so that means some grilling time.  

Sunday  Momma wanted Mexican so we got some Mexican food at this great local hole in the wall.  Had a wonderful mother's day with the kids and my husband.

Monday   Burgers and french fries, squash fries for me  (ate too much over the weekend need to get back to fighting weight)

Tuesday  Meat Crusted pizza very good and FILLING!

Wednesday  Chili over baked potatos

Thursday Chicken skibobs  on the grill with pasta salad

Friday   Fish and a mix of leftovers

Saturday Homemade pizza

Are you looking for even more menu ideas check out  Monday meal plans at organizing junky

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Easy and Frugal Homemade Dog food

This post brought to you by All opinions are 100% mine.

My husband’s family is a really big dog family.  My husband grew up with dogs since he was a baby.  I never had a dog growing up, so you have dog person and a non dog person married.  Well, you become a dog person.  We have had a dog for 14 years now, called King a beautiful golden retriever.    Over the years I have become a dog lover plus my own sons love them.
My sister in law who has 4 dogs including 2 pugs,  and 2 labs got into making Homemade dog food a few years back.   She said she really likes doing that to be able to control what is going into their diet plus she says it is budget friendly!  Well being a frugal mom,  you know I like to save money.
The number one reason I initially thought about making my own dog food was for cost savings. Coming in close for reasons to make your own dog food are all of the dog food recall scares, as well as simply wanting to provide my dog the least processed foods.   I found an easy recipe that I can bulk cook and then simply feed  to my  dog King!
I found  an Easy cooked dog food recipe   that has step by step instructions that I can  bulk cook and simply feed to my dog King.   After you make it, you can store the food in the freezer and take it out using as needed.  From there, you add the supplements before serving the Homemade dog food to your dog. Without  the supplements, this recipe is essentially a meat loaf and will result in multiple nutritional deficiency diseases.  This recipe makes approximately 48 cups of dog food.  For a small dog (10 lbs or less), this recipe will yield approximately 96 days worth of food. For a GIANT dog (approximately 80 lbs), this recipe will yield approximately 12 days worth of food. With the added supplements,  For my dog King (40 pounds) it will get me almost a month of food!
King as a puppy
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Monday, May 07, 2012

Can you save too much in retirement?

A recent question on the Daily Worth message boards was can you save too much for retirement? 

Question Marks
I know there's supposedly no such thing, but I have a defined benefit pension, my husband and I are each maxing out our 401Ks, and I have a Roth IRA (although we're now past the income limits to continue contributing to it). So my question is, if this amount of retirement savings is delaying buying our next house, is it possible that we're saving too much for retirement? When should you stop saving and start enjoying the money a bit more? 
My husband and I are both 30, which also makes it very hard to talk about specific retirement numbers, since it's so far away.

My response..... 

I don't know if I would ever be in a position to say we are saving too much.  We are putting away 15% of my husband's income his 401k and we fund my roth each year. I really don't feel that is truly enough and some the retirement calculators confirm this. Now if I was saving maxing out 401k and Roths in my mine and my husbands, I would probably say that is enough.    You can earmark money from an annuity or do a tax advantage mutual fund if you wanted more of a cushion.  

If you you have other dreams, like buying a house that should be part of your retirement not have a mortgage when you retirement. Retirement should also come before paying for the kids college. 


Frugal Meal Planning Week of May 6th

My oldest is getting his braces on this week! Luckily we have that budgeted! Here is the meal plan Sunday Steak, roasted potatos and green beans  

Monday Chicken drum sticks, baked spinach casserole (mix frozen spinach, 2 cups cottage cheese, 2 eggs and parm cheese) 

 Tuesday Ham & Broccoli quiche, roasted potatos on the side 

 Wednesday Layered ground turkey in crockpot (simply layered ground turkey, brown rice, tomato sauce, and black beans and cook on low for 8 hours-very good!

 Thursday Baked chicken pizza (use chicken breast as the crust and throw on pizza toppings) So good! May add some pasta as a side as my boys are eating more and more these days. 

Friday Fish and veggies Saturday Having my mother in law over-debating on whether pizza take out or doing a taco bar. My mother in law is pretty easy to please..  

Are you looking for even more menu ideas check out  Monday meal plans at organizing junky

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Excited to plant my vegetable garden this year

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whitney Farms for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Whitney-Farms-Logo_Banner_New_C.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)One of my favorite hobbies to do is gardening. In our backyard, we have a beautiful  tier raised bed  vegetable garden. We grow everything from tomatoes  to red and green  peppers to watermelons   in our garden! Once the grounds thaws in April, we are busy tilling and turning over the soil.  We also also busy starting our plants from seeds as well. 

One thing that is important to us is that we have an organic vegetable garden.   Organic vegetables in the grocery store are so expensive so being able to grow my own is helpful to my budget.   There are a lot of different products out there but one that I am going to try this year is Whitney Farms.  

Whitney Farms®  carries a variety of organic gardening products. Included in their line of products are both granular and liquid  organic plant food . These plant foods will help make your garden full of rich and fertile  organic soil am loving the fact that I know what will be going on my sons’ dinner  plates.

My oldest son loves the idea of having a garden and is my biggest helper taking care of it.   Each year he  looks  forward  to  planting seeds in the dirt and watching the seeds sprout into healthy food that he can eat,  He thinks of nothing of popping a tomato ripped from the plant into his mouth  Doing this organically will make me feel better about him just popping them into his mouth. Whitney Farms even has specialized plant food.  109103_1.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)

Check out Whitney Farms®. You can also save by using the $3 Whitney Farms® coupon available at their website that you can use at the local store to buy. 



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