Monday, February 25, 2019

New Wife and being broke- memories of younger years and Pepperidge Farm Cake

If you read this title I know you are thinking.... WHAT? I'll explain.

My son stayed the night with my parents Saturday night and apparently my mom went to the grocery store and brought home a cake for him that was on sale. He wanted to bring it home to share with us as well. Super sweet kid.

But what it did was bring back memories. My husband and I got married when I was 21 and he was 23. He was just getting out of college, I was still in college and waiting tables. We were broke. He had an entry level job but we just didn't make much then. I remember it was his birthday and I wanted to so something special for him. I had been saving change in a Mason jar and went to our Kroger and cashed it in using that coin machine. I got about $15 out of it. I bought two pieces of meat, two fat baked potatoes and salad fixings. Then for dessert I splurged on a Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Fudge cake- just like the one my son brought home this weekend.

I remember my husband being thrilled with his steak dinner all those years ago. It's been a beautiful journey and even though we literally were "living on love" back then, I wouldn't change it. Good times and we learned to rely on each other and lots of prayer.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Word of the Year: Abundance


Abundance. That is my word this year! Every year I try to pick out a word that I'm really going to focus on. You can read about a few previous years and my "word" here. 
This year I really want to focus on the abundance I have in my life.
The abundance of family and friends and love.
The abundance of the community and love I get from my church family.
The abundance of life and light that my children bring.
And also I'm going to focus on the abundance of material items as well.
 I've been really trying to instill in my kids that we have SO much.
 We have an abundance of food, of clothing, of space in our home.
We really need to be aware and be thankful of that abundance.
Do you all have a word for 2019? 
What is your word for 2019? If you wrote a blog post about it, feel free to comment with it below.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

A frugal- yummy comfort food- Tator Tot Casserole

In my quest for frugality and still eating good tasting food We have turned towards casserole quite a bit lately. It's a nice dinner and I normally serve it with a green salad and a veggie. My youngest son doesn't care for the casserole, but he will eat the salad and vegetable. We normally have enough for 1-2 servings for leftovers as well. My husband says a nice hot sauce makes it just right:)

For this recipe you'll need:
1 pound ground beef ( or deer or sausage)
1 12 oz can evaporate milk
1 bag of tater tots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup

Brown the meat and drain. Put in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Layer the tater tots on top of the meat.
Mix the milk and two cans of milk together in a bowl and whisk together. Pour mixture over the top of the tater tots.
Cook for about 1 hour at 350 degrees.

What are some of your frugal, easy dinner ideas?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Frugal Lunches for the week

I'm off work for the holidays but my husband will be going to work this week. One thing that I've been doing for a while now is making sure we have our lunches ready to go for the week before we go to bed on Sunday nights. It's one thing to say " we'll take leftovers" or " I'll come up with something in the morning". But what happens is that did not always happen and we ended up purchasing a lunch here and there and blowing our budget.
This nice little meal consists of a bean and cheese burrito, chicken flavored rice and pickled jalepenos that I put up this past summer. The entire lunch costs less than $1.50 TOTAL. I also had enough left over for about 2 servings of rice that I can eat for lunch sometime this week or we can use it for leftovers or in a soup or something for dinner and 4 bean burritos that I wrapped in foil and put in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner down the road.

Here we go- five, frugal- yummy lunches that will ensure that my husband has a good lunch and we don't spend money on food we weren't planning to!
What are your go to lunch preps?
Happy Homesteading guys!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Earning Amazon Gift Cards for Christmas ( or whatever else you would like)

My husband and I have three kids and of course Christmas comes round once a year. So this year I tried to earn a few gift cards here and there through a few sites to save some money for the holidays. The great thing about Amazon is that they have toys of course, but also pantry supplies and I've purchased things like coffee and toilet paper from there before. The main site I use is


The main ways I earn are from the daily poll ( 1 point) and then the searches. You get random amounts for searching through their search engine. They have games and such called Swago ( like Bingo) they do sometimes and if I have time then I'll do that- but it adds up nicely. You can cash out with as little as 300 points which is $3. Besides Amazon they have a ton of other options, and I cashed out $25 to Target around back to school for school supplies.

The next site I use a lot is Bing
I'm pretty sure I don't get referral bonus points for when my friends sign up- but it's a super easy site so I wanted to share with you all anyways. You can earn up to 150 points a day searching and they have some bonus opportunities for earning through daily polls etc. It's super easy and I cash out 1-2 times a month for a $5 Amazon code.

The next site I use is Ibotta

When you sign up I get a $5 bonus and you get $10! You need $20 to cash out and you get paid for items you purchase at the grocery store ( or other stores) and then you scan the receipt with your phone. They have some offers that are called " any brand" so you may get 25 cents for a loaf of bread- it doesn't matter what brand. A while back they had a great deal on a particular breakfast sandwich my husband likes at Sams. They were on sale for $9.98 ( from $12.98) then for each box you got $5 from ibotta! It doesn't take long to rack up that way.

I hope some of these sites help you. There are several more I use but these are the easiest and faster I've found to earn money.

Please note there may be affiliate links in my post. Thanks!

October Financial update- lets talk numbers

It's been a while since I've posted about our debt free journey. You can read about the mountains of debt we have here and here. 

So you may recall that at the beginning of this year we started really trying to get out of debt and pay off our debt aggressively. I'm not exactly sure what happened with that. The first few months went well! Like really well. But then around April we started to slip. I say we, but really it's mostly me, which is another hard pill to swallow. My husband has a debit card, but really only uses it for gas. He does not spend money for anything for himself really. It's mainly going over on our grocery budget, going out to eat, fun stuff like movies for the kids, clothes that we probably don't have to have etc. So we started to kind of started a slow decline of not paying as much as I had hoped on our debt. So the good news- NO NEW DEBT.

That's a start right?

So actually from January 1st until today we have paid off $6,580 which brings our non mortgage debt to $144798.

While my husband has been " on board" with debt payoff I think he kind of just left it to me and did whatever. I pay the bills, I pay for groceries, I pay for the kids stuff etc. So he just kind of didn't know. But we had a long talk and I told him that I really needed more support in this. I needed him to be a cheerleader and be much more present in our budget, our finances etc. He is more than willing- I think I've just never really expressed to him my desire for his help.

So that's where we are. We haven't gone up, but not as much progress as we have hoped.

I really want all of debt paid off by the time I turn 40. I turned 36 last month, so we have about 47 months to work with. Sigh.

How are you all doing on your financial goals? Are you saving for a rainy day? Trying to pay off debt? Have a saving goal for a vacation a car? I would love to hear how it's going for you all!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Productive- Frugal Sunday

Happy September. I am a lover of all the months- but Fall, in particular, is my favorite. It's not quite Fall yet- but it's coming. Summer was pretty much a hot mess for our finances for a variety of reasons, but September hopefully is bringing calmness and more of a routine.

I love Sundays for many reasons. I got up early this morning with some coffee and time to reflect and pray. Then we all got around and went to Church. Our church starts a "new year" the first Sunday in September so the kiddos all went to a new classroom. They were excited to "move up" and were excited about their new teachers. My husband and I are still in the "30- 40" year old couples class and will be there for a bit longer :)

After church we came home and had a nice lunch.  Sunday's are normally a bit lazy for us and we don't go to town if at all possible.

We will have enough leftovers for dinner tonight.

I also made a big batch of Hurst Bean Soup in my instapot- which I love by the way... and put into small batches that my husband and I will take to work next week and maybe even eat tomorrow for lunch.

I need to do a whole post about this because it is soooooooo yummy and frugal and easy. For real like under $4 for probably 8-10 servings. Many people will spend that or much more on one meal out at lunch at work! So I try to make bean soup pretty often as we all like it.

I also made a batch of no bake oatmeal chocolate cookies and a batch of chocolate chip muffins for snacks, lunches , etc.

I know many people see Sunday as a day of rest- and we do in a sense. We try to chill out, hang out with the family, maybe take a nap etc. I do enjoy cooking though and while many times I do some food prep on Saturdays, sometimes I like to kind of do it on Sundays.

What all have you done today to get you ready for the first full week of  September? Are you looking as forward to Fall as I am?