Monday, December 27, 2010

Tightwad Tuesday: Buying your freedom through frugality

 I'm continuing to read through my old copy of The Tightwad Gazette to prep myself for 'The Most Frugal Year' of my marriage.  There were some real nuggets of encouragement in the article called, "They call me "The Frugal Zealot". These were my favorites...

~ "Saving money, rather than earning money, became the means to my goal".
~ "Certainly the recycling of aluminum foil did not greatly contribute to our dream.  Rather it was the attention to all the thousands of ways we spent our money that made a tremendous difference."
~ "Over the years our average income had been less than $30,000..In less than seven years we saved $49,000, made significant purchases(vehicles, appliances, furniture) of $38,000 and were completely debt free"!

Amy states that frugality is a means to her goal. That's a good question to ask.. why am I practicing frugality? What is MY goal for frugality? For me personally...  it's the means I use to (hopefully) secure my position to remain a homemaker. I have a daily choice on how I spend the money that comes into our home. If I can save more money than I spend then my chances of not having to work full-time may be accomplished (Lord willing).

A family member once said it would drive her crazy to pinch every penny.I actually enjoy the challenge of cutting expenses and living below our means. I like finding new ways (and sometimes untraditional) to meet needs in my family on little to no money.

How about you? What is your goal? How does saving money or stretching your husband's income help meet that goal?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I am discovering this Christmas is very different from past ones due to our financial downsizing. I can remember spending hours and weeks shopping for the family and then just as long wrapping. Then there were weeks of baking and delivering goodies to friends and loved ones. By the time Christmas came (and even up to the night before) I was still running back to the stores thinking I didn't have enough and looking for just 'one more gift'. I crawled out of bed on Christmas morning feeling beyond exhaustion. It was fun in a crazy, insane kind of way. But, living on less money has brought it's own kind of peace in the midst of the chaotic storm of December that I'm frankly enjoying.

I can remember reading excerpts from Laine's Letters on her gift giving budget of $3.00 per person and wondering how anyone could buy a decent gift for that amount. (She made a specific effort to point out that she prayed for the Lord to give her 'eyes to see' before she entered a store). The thought stuck with me and now, more than 8 plus years since I first read her letters, I am seeing that it's very possible to give less and still bless the person you are gifting. I love to look back over the years and see how the Lord has brought different people into my life that have radically impacted my way of thinking and prepared me for the life that He has given me the past few years.

This year I cut my gift giving budget down to a third of what we normally spend. Practically speaking that means I targeted to spend $20.00 on each grandchild. The adults have exchanged names this year with a $20.00 budget per gift. I have 7 grandchildren that I buy gifts for. I also have 3 birthdays in December. I asked their parents to give me suggestions which was very helpful and then I watched the sales. I was able to find a nice gift for each child... one that they had hoped for.

A few of the BEST gifts I received for Christmas last year...
performing for Grammy!

Staying out of the stores this time of year has been essential to sticking with my budget. I've had one point this month (thankfully it was while I was at home) that I panicked feeling that I had not given enough. If I had been in the stores regularly or reading the sale ads I'm sure I would have given into the pressure to buy more. When I really took time to look at the panic I realized it was a fear that my grandchildren would not love me as much because I was unable to buy them more. Once I evaluated the fear I could see it was ridiculous.. I am not loved because of what I can or cannot give at Christmas. If I am.. then we have a serious problem.

As much as I love to give gifts I can see the downsizing as a very good thing (if received in a godly manner) to not be bombarded with every material thing the heart desires. Do you remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie where the children were snowed in and it looked like they were not going to receive any gifts for Christmas? Remember Mr. Edwards? He came at the very last minute and brought oranges I believe and maybe a few small trinkets. The children (and Mrs. Ingall) were overwhelmed with gratefulness. Can you imagine the response from a child in this generation if they were given just an orange as a gift? Their expectations have been raised by the abundance of a prosperous time in the history of our nation. As our economy (and the nations) downsizes I'm hoping so will their expectations.

There will not be the crazy wild tearing of a gazillion packages with paper flying everywhere this year. I'll kind of miss that in one way. I do love to give and see the excitement on a child's face when they see a mountain of presents. But, my heart is content knowing that God has sovereignly assigned the amount of money He has given and it is all working into His plan for my good and therefore the good of my children and grandchildren and all involved. That contentment brings far greater pleasure than a mountain of gifts ever could.

I continue to learn in God's school that age old lesson that Paul spoke about several thousand years ago ...

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.

For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 1 Tim 6:6-9 NASB

Has your family cut back on your budget for Christmas this year? How has it effected you personally? What did you do to cut back?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The cloud is moving... and so are we!

I've become fond of the story of Moses the past few years ..especially the exodus from one place to the unknown. I was thinking about this story quite often the past few weeks. Maybe you'll understand when I tell you our new plans...
A few weeks ago my husband and I interviewed for a job as a caregiver in the town where 2 of my children and their families live. We've been praying to move back close to our family and my mother and now it seems that God has answered our prayers.  We will be caring for a 90 year old woman who in exchange will provide a studio apartment and a small salary. I will cook two meals a day along with light housekeeping. We're free to come and go as we please since she is still self-sufficient and very independent. We've known her son and his family for years so it's not like we'll be taking care of a complete stranger.
My mother will be within walking distance. I haven't lived in the same town with her for over 18 years. She's needing a bit more help the older she gets so I'll be thankful to live so close.  Five of my grandchildren will once again be close by. I've missed being a part of their lives on a regular basis. I'm already dreaming of how I can spend more time with them.

Celebrating Mama's birthday at my son's home this year


So.. the paring down continues. Our new home will be close to the same size as the one we're living in now. The only difference will be that we won't have the extra storage we have in the barn. I've spent the past few weeks going through paperwork, paring down cookbooks, setting aside clothes we don't wear, tossing out old business paperwork and going through my books to save only the best of the best. I won't start packing until after Christmas so I'm using this time to look over everything within our small little home to make sure it's absolutely essential to take along for our next move. Living in small quarters has really given me a sense of what is truly essential to our daily existence. It has really simplified my life.
I'm assuming I won't have a lot of time to keep up with blogging this next month so I wanted to wish all of you a blessed Christmas. I hold so many of you close to my heart. My prayer for you and me is that our hearts will lay hold of the beauty of our Savior this Christmas and that He will truly be the greatest gift.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tightwad Tuesday: Storage Bags

I've decided to try and apply one tip from The Tightwad Gazette each week for the next year. I've learned a lot from this author. This is one of  my old standby book 'friends' that has tutored me in how to live frugally.  Since we will be living off our savings and my small part time income this coming year, I thought it would be a good time to pull the book out again and see if I can learn some new skills in stretching our money.

I learned a great tip from Tightwad Gazette years ago which was to examine every plastic bag that comes into your home with an eye for reusing it. I used to spend a lot of money on store bought freezer and storage bags. Because I've incorporated this tip in my home I only occasionally purchase bags at the dollar store.

Here is a short list of bags that could be reused:

- bread wrappers
- vegetable bags (you normally find these on a roll in the produce department)
- apple bags (or any other bag that fruit comes in) 
- powdered sugar bags
- brown sugar bags
- dried fruit bags
- nut bags
- corn or flour tortilla bags
- chips
- cookie bags
- any plastic bag that comes in a box. For instance, the plastic bag that holds instant mashed potatoes.

 I don't mind washing the bags as much as drying them. I normally hang them up to dry but this doesn't always completely dry them inside. So oftentimes I'll place my hand in the corner of a dish towel and then in the bag while drying the outside with the other end of the towel. My husband has promised to make me a drying stand so I won't have to dry them by hand.

I found a new suggestion on washing plastic bags in the book that I haven't tried yet. It suggested throwing them in with a load of white clothes along with 1 tsp. of bleach and 1/2 cup laundry detergent and warm water. I'll be trying this soon.

Once the bags are dry I store them by rolling them around the cardboard tube that you find in the middle of a paper towel roll and then I place the roll (of bags) in my kitchen drawer where I store the tinfoil ,etc. 

My goal this next year is to find more and more ways to use what I already have on hand. The less I throw away the less I'll have to buy.

What do you save and reuse?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Free Pumpkin and a little work

My sister blessed me with a HUGE beautiful pumpkin. It's been years since I cooked a pumpkin but I had hoped I would be able to find one this year since it would help stretch my grocery budget. Thank you, Lord!

I had read that you should not pressure can pumpkin that had been pureed so I decided to freeze most of the pumpkin in 2 cup servings. I have about 1/4 of the pumpkin left and I hope to pressure can it in chunks tomorrow. I'll use it in soups this winter.

I scraped out the seeds inside the pumpkin with a large spoon making sure it was nice and clean with no strings. I placed the seeds in a strainer to clean. I cut the pumpkin in large pieces and then placed them in my tallest pot. I filled the pot with water about 1/4 of the way full and steamed the pumpkin until I cook easily pierce it with a fork. It took at least 30 minutes of steaming with the lid on.

Once it cooled I used a cheese slicer to peel off the skin. I cut the pumpkin flesh into chunks and pureed them in my food processor. I had to add a little bit of water to get the pumpkin moving in the processor. Once it cooled I scooped out 2 cups and poured it into a small baggie. I ended up with 6 bags (one of which I gave to my aunt).

I followed Crystal's suggestions on processing the seeds and they turned out perfect. I cleaned the seeds well removing all the pulp and then placed them in a large pot. For every 1/2 cup of seeds Crystal said to add 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 cups of water. I boiled the seeds in the salt water for about 10 minutes and then drained in a colander.

 I poured olive oil in the corner of a cookie sheet and then placed the seeds onto the tray coating them with oil. I baked them at 400 degrees until they were brown. I stirred them a couple of times.

 The picture above was taken before I baked them so they had not browned yet. They turned out great!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Productive Home

My hubby and I were not feeling very well today so we decided to take it easy. There has been a steady rain in the valley so it was a perfect day to rest inside. I'm fighting off the urge to take a nap but I feel so lousy that I might just give in.  I think it might help the pain in my husband's back if he'd rest, too. The rain seems to be effecting his arthritis and the pain is increasing.

A few projects were finished up  this week.

 This wooden version is much sturdier than the plastic ones sold in catalogs like Harriet Carter. I purchased my original one from the Amish many, many years ago and it has served me well.  Mine hangs in my laundry area and use it to dry lingerie, socks, plastic bags, etc. Sometimes I'll hang it on my clothesline outside.

I made a bible cover and hope to make more to sell.

I wish the fabric would have shown up better. It has a pretty gold thread that runs through the pattern. I may use ribbon for the tie next time. I'll see how this one works. I love it!
I think I just may head for that nap now! My warm, comfy bed is calling me! winky

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waste Not Wednesday: Dog Food

  • Waste Not Wednesday: Dog Food

     Feeding my dogs on an extremely tight budget has been an area I've been thinking about lately. So my interest was sparked when I began reading about making your own dog food.  (I'm also looking for ways to fight fleas without spending so much on commercial flea products. Anyone have any ideas?)
    This week I made a pot of chicken broth. I had been saving leftover carrot peels, onions and celery in the freezer for a few months. I also used a cooked chicken carcass plus a few pieces of raw chicken.  When the broth had finished simmering for a few hours I started to throw out the veggies and meat pieces when I suddenly remember the article on making dog food. It dawned on me that I could reuse the carrots, celery and chicken pieces.
    The recipe I had my eye on called for 2 cups of cooked pasta, 2 cups of cooked rice, vegetables and a tablespoon of peanut butter boiled in a large pot of water. I had some beef broth that I also stirred into the mixture.

    I ended up with 5 meals for 2 dogs. It's not a huge amount but every little bit helps these days to stretch my budget. And the great thing is that most of the food was going to be thrown away. I'll still leave dry dog food out in a bowl in case they get hungry during the day.

    I thought this would also be a great way to use leftovers that normally go to waste. I forgot to mention that I went through my fridge and found some leftover vegetables and a small amount of Chorizo that was outdated that I put in this batch of dog food. Unfortunately, I do have leftovers that go to waste if I don't get them frozen quick enough. No more. From now on I'll use them in future batches of dog food.
    I know some dogs may have sensitive stomachs but we've been giving our dogs small amounts of scraps from the table since they were young. I just make sure I don't give them onions or Chinese food and I watch the portion size.  I also try to be careful about the amount of fat I give them and I don't give them chicken or fish bones. We've never had any problems and I think we'll be fine as long as we keep the food simple. 
    I'm thankful to find another way to stretch our budget for this coming year.
    My God IS Jehovah Jireh.. my Provider! He has proved Himself to be the best provider anyone could hope for over these past few years. I'm at rest knowing He will provide for all of our needs in the coming year while we wait for an answer from Social Security on my husband's disability. Teaching me how to stretch our food is only one of many ways He is doing so.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm learning to use a Pressure Canner

I've learned to use a pressure canner this summer. We had a truckload of beautiful tomatoes that we couldn't let go to waste and I didn't have enough room in my freezer.

I've always been a bit leery of using a pressure canner. I can remember my mother telling stories of families they knew when she was a child who died from eating tomatoes and green beans that were not canned properly. So, I've only water bathed fruit over the years and made jelly.  This is the first year I've canned tomatoes. I'm very happy with how they turned out.  I use canned tomatoes and tomato sauce a lot during the winter in soups and stews.

The tomato sauce recipe I used is a new one I received from a friend. The flavor beats the canned sauce hands down. I'm learning to make more and more things from scratch which helps lower my food budget.I also pressure canned a batch of chicken broth last week.  Since it's just my husband and I at home these days I often have to freeze leftover soup and stew but this winter I hope to pressure can the leftovers.

It's really not hard to use it at all.  I make sure the product being canned is hot and I put it in hot jars and lids. Be sure to add lemon juice to canned tomato products.  I place the jars in the canner and add 3 cups of water. I also add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar so that the jars don't end up with a white film from the water deposits. My husband puts the lid on the canner and makes sure it's lined up with the handles. We place the little weight on the top over one of the vents and set the burner on high. I watch the pressure gauge until it reaches the right pressure and then time it according to the directions in the book. The scary part is taking the weight off the lid because the steam comes out very fast. I always pray that my husband won't get burned as he lifts it off quickly. Once the pressure is down to zero then I take the lid off the pot and lift out the jars.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spicy Tomato Sauce

Spicy Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
4 lbs. ripe Roma tomatoes, skinned and seeded (I didn't use Roma's but what I had on hand)
6 ounces tomato paste
2 tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper (or use less and add red pepper flakes to your liking)
4 cups water
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley (flat leaf) (I used dried)

     1.  Heat olive oil in a deep pot.  Add onions and cook, covered over low heat until tender and lightly 
          colored, about 25 minutes. 

     2.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 mins. Stir occasionally. 
     3.  Add water and cook very slowly, uncovered for 3 hours. 

     4.  Stir in the garlic and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes. 

     5.  Taste and correct seasoning, if necessary. 

Makes 3 quarts. 

*From the Silver Palate Cookbook

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waste Not Wednesday

Today I thought I'd do a post on how I took several food items that are normally thrown away and turned them into another useful product and thereby saving myself money in the future. Have you ever heard the saying, "Waste Not, Want Not"? I was sifting this saying through Scripture to see if it was a biblical thought and Proverbs 31:11....

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

One commentary I read on this verse said that her husband 'knows she will take care that a proper provision is made for his household, and will not waste anything'. 1

I've been making a determined effort to not waste food. I really can't afford to waste food but it's amazing how much food does go to waste each month. We've been blessed with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables this summer. Our vegetable garden is still producing and the trees on our property have been very generous. This week I picked 2 tall buckets of Granny Smith's and 1 bucket of Fuji's plus a previous bucket I made into 2 batches of applesauce and 8 jars of canned apples.  I would feel guilty letting all of this produce go to waste...especially considering our financial situation.It feels as if the Lord is raining manna from heaven. :-)  I've recently gleaned almonds and grapes and we're still cracking walnuts from previous months.

Here are just a few things I did within the past week to make sure food did not go to waste in our home.  

1.  Leftover bread turned into bread crumbs: We don't eat a lot of bread these days but my husband does like to keep a loaf of lower carb/high fiber bread on hand for an occasional sandwich. I had saved quite a few end pieces so I decided to make some bread crumbs. I recently bought a container of bread crumbs and was shocked at the price. Here is how I made them. I turned my oven on the lowest temperature and placed the bread on a cookie sheet. I set my timer for 30 minutes and then turned the bread over and set the timer for another 30 minutes. Be sure to check your oven after 15 minutes in case it runs hotter than mine. Make sure that the bread is completely dried out. You want it to feel hard and stale with no moisture left. Place the dried bread in a food processor. Use the blade and process until it's in fine crumbs. I also added Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes.

2. Free apples turned into Apple Butter for Christmas gifts.  I decided to use some of the apples I picked to make Apple Butter for gifts. I purchased small jelly jars. I found a great recipe on Food (previously Recipezaar) which is one of my favorite places to find recipes. I'm hoping to can more jars of apples this coming week after I can some spicy tomato sauce.

Here is the recipe:

Apple Butter

    • apples ( enough to over fill slow cooker or 4 quart crock pot)
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 cups white sugar(I only added 1 cup of sugar)
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill a 4-quart slow cooker or crock pot so full that the lid will not go down over it.
  2. Add vinegar; cook for 18 hours.
  3. If crock pot is fast cooking, cook on high for 10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
  5. Put into blender to blend it like apple butter. Mix all together and cook 4 more hours.
  6. Seal in jars.

* The 'author' of this recipe is Brenda Hall from (11492)

1 Clarke's Commentary

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Preparing for Winter Comfort

Fall is right around the corner. I can feel and smell it in the early morning air. My thoughts are beginning to turn from the busyness of harvesting our small summer garden and fruit trees to preparing our home for the cold winter months ahead. I've learned over the past 30 plus years of 'keeping a home' that it's not wise to put off these preparations until the last minute otherwise my family suffers the consequences.

My husband and I were talking about just this very thing on the way to church. This coming winter will be a bit more challenging since all of my household items are not under one roof. Since we are temporarily living on my aunt's property in a small studio I have many of our household items stored in her sheds. It will mean much less work for me if I can prepare now while the weather is mild instead of waiting until a storm hits to start searching for extra blankets or running into town for medicine. I'll also save money if I can prepare ahead of time while watching for the sales on medicine.

Here is my winter checklist.
  • Oil lamps: I only have room for 1 oil lamp in our little place. It sits on my kitchen counter. It is full of oil and ready for use with a lighter sitting next to it. 
  • Flashlights: I have a flashlight sitting on my end table next to my bed, next to my husband's chair in the 'living room' and one on the kitchen counter hidden behind the oil lamp. I've learned the hard way that when you live in the country it gets VERY dark (think 'no street lights') when the electricity goes out. That is NOT the time to try and find a flashlight. When we lived in a larger home I had a flashlight in every major room.  I need to check the batteries and purchase more batteries for backup. 
  • Extra blankets: I'll be pulling these out to see if they need to be washed. 
  • Electric blankets: The electric blankets will need to be plugged in to make sure they are still working.  My daughter found one on sale last year so I purchased it for a backup. They are horribly expensive if you buy them in the middle of winter so I try to purchase ahead of time at the lowest price. The heat helps lessen the pain in my husband's back so I always want to have an extra one on hand. 
  • Heating pad 
  • Small room heaters need to be located and cleaned. We do not have central heat and air.
  • Winter clothes need to be pulled out of storage and washed. I need to take inventory of what we have and what we may need to purchase. I think we probably have enough clothes and coats to get us through another winter without any purchases. I've been picking up a few winter tops at the thrift store through the summer when I see them on sale. I just purchased 2 long sleeve blouses for less than a $1.00 each. 
  • Cold and flu medicine: I'll be taking inventory of what we have on hand, checking expiration dates and then watching the ads for 'free' products through the drug stores. We had our first round of flu and colds this past month. I was thankful to have cold medicine I had received free last year. 
  • I'm researching a few herbal remedies I want to try this coming year. One is an herbal tea recipe for colds and I'm also hoping to make cough drops. 
  • Soup: I made some wonderful, rich chicken broth that is waiting in the freezer to be made into chicken soup. I'll also be watching the sales for Campbell's Chicken Soup, just in case I'm the one who gets sick so my dear husband just has to open a can. I always try to keep a couple of extra meals in the freezer .. just in case. 
I love being able to make our home warm and comfortable. I remember how much satisfaction I felt when I used to tuck my children into a warm, clean bed at night. I miss those days but I find that same since of satisfaction knowing my husband's needs are met and he is warm and comfortable.

 She has no fear of winter for her household, 
for everyone has warm clothes. (NLT)

That's my beginning list. I'd love to know what you do in your households to prepare for the winter.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A little this and that...

My honey is on the mend from his cold (still coughing) and it looks like I won't be escaping the nasty little bug. So, I tried to take it easy the past few days. Our church is having our Sunday service at the river for baptisms. We'll have a pot blessing after service. I'm so hoping I will be well by then.

So.. let's see.. what did I do today? In between resting and coughing I roasted the Poblano peppers from our garden. I used some for Chile Rellenos. Since I wasn't feeling well I did the Rellenos in stages. I don't have a dishwasher so I roasted the chile's early and washed those dishes. Then a few hours later I peeled the skins off of them. Then later I made the sauce and washed those dishes. That left with me with just a few skillets and our plates and silverware after dinner. I wasn't up to washing a sink full of dishes. The older I get the easier it is to work in stages. I find it much easier to break big jobs down into smaller portions.

Our garden is in full production. Yesterday (in between coughing spells) I canned 8 quarts of apples.  Last week (did I already tell you this?) I pressure canned a batch of homemade tomato sauce and another batch of whole tomatoes plus one pint of pickled beets and a batch of salsa.  I'm growing the wrong kind of tomatoes for canning. I should be growing Roma's. If we are still living here next summer then I'll plant Roma's (Lord willing).  I've made several huge batches of salsa and still have tomatoes coming out our ears. I think I'll make some spaghetti sauce next and use it with the zucchini.

I spent some time gathering scriptures on a biblical communication and a wife's tongue for a friend and then rested while listening to Hinds Feet on High Places.

All in all it was a very nice day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cheap deodorant this week at Walgreens

Walgreens 8/15-8/21

The best deal I found this week were (supposed to be) free deodorants. I had 3 coupons (buy 1 get 1 free). Remember that when the stores offer a B1G1 free and you have a B1G1 free manufacturer coupon you end up with both items free.  But, this B1G1 free coupon had a limit which was .50 cents less than the sale price. So, I basically ended up paying .50 plus tax for the Right Guard deodorant which is still a great price.  I shouldn't have to buy deodorant for quite a few months.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Command to be Hospitable (regardless of where you live)

I thought when we downsized (to a home that was smaller than our last garage) my 'hospitality' days would be over. Our previous homes housed many family gatherings over the years and I loved it!  I really did! I loved the preparations and I loved cooking and baking for my family and friends.

It's obvious due to the size of our new little bungalow that we won't be gathering 30 plus loved ones into our home for the holidays. But, we are still given the command to be hospitable in Romans 12:13 no matter what the condition or size of our dwelling.  It's not a suggestion or an option.. it's a command for a follower of Jesus Christ. So with that command the Lord gives His grace and as always makes it very possible.

Trying to obey the command to be hospitable while living in a barn has revealed some interesting things about myself that I didn't know or didn't want to face.  I never thought of myself as a materialistic person.  I never thought material things were important to me or that I tied material things to my reputation. We lived most of our married life in older homes and from paycheck to paycheck. It's only been the last 15 years that things changed for us financially.  We lived in several nice homes but I never imagined that pride had set in due to what we owned.  It wasn't until we moved into a barn that I began to see my pride surface.   Our situation has brought this sin to the surface and for that I am grateful because it clearly is opposite of everything Christ represented. (He was born in a barn! *Smile*)

Recently this sweet lady wanted to come by our home to take care of some business. I had been to her house and it was a big and beautiful. I found excuses to delay her stopping by  for several times until I realized what I was doing. I finally just got it out in the open and said, "we live in a barn". Whew! I felt so much better not pretending we were something that we were not. Now that the pretense is gone I can just focus on making her feel comfortable when she visits. 

I think learning to be content with your present situation involves embracing it as directly from God's hand. We are thankful for our little place. It's a great blessing to be rent free while we wait for a determination from Social Security. I want to thrive where God has placed us... not hide in embarrassment. God promises to withhold no good thing from those who are His and I believe He has fulfilled that promise in this provision. I've reminded myself often that 'this' and all it entails is a GOOD THING.. a precious gift given from the hand of God.

Lord willing, I will write soon about the practical things I'm  learning concerning hospitality in a small place.

My friend Pam came for lunch.
(Kevin said something silly and made us laugh!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm so content...

Everything has changed ... yet nothing has changed!

That is what I was thinking this afternoon at the end of a full day of work in my little home. Yes, my surroundings have changed... my space is smaller.. much smaller!  I am still doing many of the duties I did in a home ten times this size.. just on a smaller scale. There are still dishes to be done daily, furniture to be dusted, a bed to be made and a floor to be cleaned.
The 'fun' part is that I can finish my housework lickity split! I love that! Since we moved into our small space I'm able to spend more time studying God's Word, reading good books, ministering to His people and studying areas that interest me in God's Word. I hope I don't ever have to give that up for a big home again.

I'm content... happy as a bug in a rug... thank you Lord for this wonderful gift of time and freedom!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The end of saving is ...

"But, in inculcating economy, we must be careful not to drive the mind into covetousness; hence it is of consequence, that with all our endeavours to cherish frugality, we should be no less assiduous to encourage generosity; and to impress them the idea, that the end of saving, is not to hoard, but to distribute to the wants of others."

A Help to Domestic Happiness by James

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Update: It was a long winter!

Many of you read our testimony to God's faithfulness over the past 5 years through the loss of our business, homes and my husband's present physical disability. At the beginning of this year we settled into a little bungalow in my aunt's barn which is nestled amongst her 10 acres of almonds. The winter months were difficult for my husband physically while his body adjusted to many new medications. Several of the medications that were prescribed to relieve pain had horrible side effects which brought their own host of serious problems. The colder temperatures also brought more pain. We spent many of our days at doctor appointments and tests with a few trips to the E.R. I'll be honest and share my very heart with you ... some of those days felt very 'dark' and I struggled at times emotionally as I watched my husband suffer knowing I could do nothing to relieve his pain. Yet, through the myriad of trials we're experiencing a richer walk with the Lord as He teaches us more about Himself. Some of these lessons involve dying to dreams that have long been a part of us. These lessons, although painful, are proving in the long run to bring a deeper joy than we've ever known in our Christian walk.

I am finding a greater need to daily rest in the knowledge of God's sovereignty. I'm slowly learning the lessons of what Amy Carmichael once shared in her poem, "In Acceptance Lieth Peace". I am convinced that Scripture teaches a loving God has 'assigned my portion' for each day (Psalms 16:5). Some of that portion may involve suffering, some may involve sorrow. He is the 'blessed controller' of all things (1 Timothy 6:15). What that means to me personally is that even my husband's pain is not out of His control.

Elisabeth Elliot once wrote, "I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion." ("This belongs to it, that does not")? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives."

I cannot live in the past of what my husband and I had hoped our future would look like. I cannot live in the fantasy of what we 'thought' our future should be. I especially will not mourn the loss of 'things' that with time would only rust and be left behind on this earth. I choose to rest in the security of knowing an all loving and all-powerful God has not left His throne but is masterfully in control of each intricate detail of our lives. We seeing His plan unfolding each day and are witnessing His skillful craftsmanship as He weaves all of our circumstances into a pattern for good.. even the painfully, hard ones! I pray His lessons will continue to change us and be used to conform us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:28,29)

You know.. the amusing thing is that the ideals we had for our future were no way as glorious as what we are experiencing today.... even in the midst of the painful times. Our 'imagined' goals focused on the temporary things of this world and how we would live financially in our old age. We labored to that end. A very small portion of our imaginations for the future had to do with God's kingdom. These days my husband and I talk much about the Lord's kingdom and how we hope to serve more. God is teaching us to 'seek first His kingdom' and we're finding a huge portion of joy as our focus becomes set more on the eternal things rather than the temporal.

(I have a small window (possibly) of opportunity to share lessons we are learning while my husband's physical state is temporarily stabilized and my help is less needed. I hope to share more in a later post... Lord willing.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Inexpensive Soda Replacement

If your food budget is minimal like mine then you've probably discovered that items such as soda are a luxury.  We've not given it up completely in our household but we're slowly replacing it with other less expensive and healthier drinks.

My husband has switched from sugar sodas to mostly a Stevie sweetened Kool-aid. I use a package of Kool-Aid with an 1/8 of a tsp.of pure stevia. Oftentimes he'll  top his glass with a bit of diet soda, just for old times sake. I've gone quite a few weeks without a diet soda and I don't miss it at all. We're living 'minimally' these days and diet soda is something I can live without.

During the summer months I enjoy making pitchers of herb tea. My favorite is spearmint or peppermint although I've used many varieties in the past.   This week I made a pitcher of orange spice tea.

I make the tea by heating 2 cups of water in the microwave and steep the tea bag in the hot water for about 20 minutes or until the water has turned a darker color. I pour it into the pitcher and fill the rest with water then refrigerate.  Once the first pitcher is nearly empty I fill it up with water again leaving in the tea bag for flavor. This way I get twice the value from the tea bag and the water is still flavored.

 Herb tea is totally satisfying and refreshing. Since I'm the only one in our household that drinks the herb tea I've been known to come in from the garden very parched and drink straight from the pitcher in the fridge. (**sssshhhhh, don't tell anyone!***)

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I found two great coupons to print! Hurry while they last!

.75 off: Best Foods Mayonnaise Coupon

.$50 off 2: Campbell's Soup Coupon

$1 off any 4 Campbell’s Condensed Soups
$.50 off any two Campbell’s Spaghettio’s Pasta
$1 off two jars of Prego Italian Sauce
$1 off two cans of Swanson Premium Chuck Chicken Breast
$1 off two V8 100% Vegetable Juice (46oz or larger)
$1 off one Campbell’s V8 Soup
$.50 off any two Campbell’s Condensed “Great for Cooking Soups”
$1 off any two V8 V-Fusion juice 46oz Varieties

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How does your garden grow?

We are enjoying our little garden patch. The picture above was taken quite a few weeks ago. The veggies have really taken off in growth since then. The first fruits of our labor are finally ready for the pickin'. Hubby picked 2 zucchini the other night and I sauteed it with onion,  tomato and  small amount of corn. I seasoned it with garlic powder and a bit of seasoned salt and sprinkled Parmesan cheese on the top. Kevin really liked it.
We have a ton of peppers. I'm freezing them until the tomatoes have ripened.

I have more radishes than I know what to do with. I've tried roasting them but hubby didn't care for them. I'm going to look for a radish salad recipe. Is there such a thing?

I pickled a batch of beets.  I used a combination of stevia and erythritol for the sweetener. I love pickled beets with my salads. They are stored in the fridge in a pint jar. When we finish the beets I'll put a boiled egg in the jar to soak in the juice. We can then use the egg on our salads. The beet juice gives them a great flavor.

The Lord taught many spiritual lessons related to gardening. Oftentimes when I'm pulling weeds or sowing seeds the Lord will bring those verses to mind. I enjoy my time with Him in the garden. I often enjoy singing the old hymn.."I come to the garden alone".

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

God used the simple duties of our lives to teach deep spiritual truths. This old mind is thankful for that! :-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Work from Home: Pinecone Research (HURRY!)

I wanted to quickly post this before they close the registration for Pinecone Research. I've been doing survey's for this company for a while and highly recommend them. They pay on time and I never feel that I'm 'tricked' into giving a ton of information before they decide to disqualify me for the survey. They pay $3.00 a survey. My checks are mailed to my home. I get the check in the mail within a short period of time. It's not a lot of money but it adds up quickly. I consider it our 'fun' money to eat out or for entertainment. I'm going to start putting it in an envelope for that purpose.

Here is where you sign up. Hurry! They don't advertise for long.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Toilet Paper Principle

I read this tip last week on Deal Seeking Mom's site! I thought it was an easy way  to figure out what is the best price to stock up on toilet paper. This is simple enough for my old brain to retain!

"Look at the front bottom of the toilet paper package to determine the total square feet. Now insert a decimal point in this number two places to the left. If the cost of the package minus coupons is less than or equal to this figure, it's a decent deal -- basically $0.01 or less per square foot!
TP #1 = 400 sq. ft.; price = $6; stock-up price $4, so not a fabulous deal....
TP #2 = 650 sq. ft.; price = $5; stock-up price $6.50, so definitely a bargain!"

Easy, huh?!

Picture used with permission from All Posters

Monday, July 5, 2010

Coupon Data Search Engine

One of my favorite couponing resources is a webpage called, Hot Coupon World. I use their Coupon Data Base every week. This is how I use it:

I first make up my weekly shopping list according to the sale items that week. I then go to Hot Coupon World and click on their Coupon Data link on the right side of the front page. I work my way through my shopping list to see if any of the items I'm purchasing may have a coupon.  Just place the name of an item in the search box and it will tell you if there are any coupons available ANYWHERE on that item. Many times they will offer a link to a coupon that can be printed off of your computer.

Do you have any favorite couponing sites you visit regularly?

Hot Coupon World

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday nights hold a valuable resource for saving money over at Life as Mom. 

It's called

There are many, many links to blogs who post on a topic having to do with frugality and saving money.
I always learn something new!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Make Do Monday: Homemade rolls

We were invited to my older son's home for a Father's Day dinner last Saturday.  I was asked to bring a vegetable dish but then a few days before the party my daughter in love asked if I could bring rolls, too.  I had already gone over my food budget for the week and I didn't want to dip into next weeks budgeted money so I decided to make-do with what I had on hand. I made 3 batches and all it cost me was my time.

One of my favorite bread recipes is from Laine's.  I have 2 bread makers which helps the process go much faster.  I used my bread makers a lot when the children lived at home but rarely do these days since we're eating a lower carb diet. I had considered getting rid of the bread makers for that reason but I'm glad I didn't since it saved me some money. 

Uncle Raymond's Rolls by Laine
Put in the bread machine in order:
1 c. warm water
2 T. oil
3 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 c. bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

Hit dough cycle. Let rise in machine until doubled. Take dough out onto a floured counter, and using a pizza cutter, cut dough in half. Then cut each half into six pieces. Then cut each piece into three pieces. You will end up with 36 pieces. Grease a large muffin tin (12 muffins). Put three pieces in each section, then cover and let rise 'til doubled. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rite Aid & Walgreen Deals 6/27-7/3

One of the ways I'm keeping my food budget low is by taking advantage of the free deals at the drug stores. I stock up when items are free so that I rarely/never have to pay money for toothpaste, dental floss, toothbrushes, shampoo, hairspray, feminine products,body wash, aspirin or razors. I'm setting the free Lip Balm Smoothies aside for Christmas gift 'fill-ins'.

 I don't have a good 'math brain' so I make sure I do the Register Reward deals separately. For instance, at Walgreen's I would purchase the highest paying item for Register Rewards first ( moisturizing socks) and then I would purchase the Lip Balm Smoothies. I'd take all of the RR's and purchase the other products on my list.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Rite Aid Deals

Stay Free Maxi B1G1 Free (16-24 ct)
Use Stayfree  B1G1 Free coupon in Red Plum 6/27
Both FREE after coupons

Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield Toothpaste $2.99
Single Check Rebate $2.99
FREE after Single Check Rebate

Walgreens Deals

Blistex Fruit Smoothies Lip Care 3 pack $2.99
Register Rewards/ Good on next purchase  $2.99
Like getting it for FREE

Airplus Ultra Moisturizing Socks for Her $3.00
Register Rewards/ Good on Next purchase  $3.00
Like getting it for FREE

Reach Dental Care .99 (In store coupon)
Reach Dental Floss $1.00 (Red Plum 5/16/10)
Free after coupons (you'll need a 'filler' to make up for the .01 difference. Possibly the Dentyne Gum?)

Dawn Dish Liquid  10.3 oz. $.99
Dawn coupon .25  (P & G 6/6)

* B1G1 means (Buy One Get One Free)

Did you find any good deals?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keep meat costs down

So far I'm doing pretty well at keeping my food budget at $50.00 a week. Remember, though, that I get help from a food pantry so that helps keep the overall cost down. We rarely eat pasta or rice for health reasons so I'm unable to use many of the items the food pantry offers. But, we are blessed with the food we are given and it does help a lot.

I've been trying to find recipes that have a small amount of meat and lots of veggies to stretch my meat budget. (Does anyone have any good recipes?)  My husband loves Chile Relleno's but I rarely make them because I've had such a difficult time peeling the skins. A few weeks ago at the 99 cents store they had the chile peppers in a bag. I already had pepper jack cheese at home so I knew it would cost me next to nothing for the meal. A Spanish woman walked up as I looked at the chilies. I asked her if she had an easy way to peel them. Boy, am I glad I asked because it made peeling a snap!

Here is what she suggested:

Wash and dry your peppers. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes on each side ( until blistered) and then turn, repeating until all sides are blistered. Wrap each chile in a dampened dish towel and place inside a plastic bag to 'sweat'. Peel and de-seed. 

Here is the recipe for the Chile Rellenos:

 Stuff chilies with monterey jack cheese (I used pepper jack because that is what I had on hand). Pour some white flour on a plate.  Heat oil in a skillet. In a bowl beat 4 egg whites and fold in gently 1 egg yolk.  Dip the chile in flour. Take a large tablespoon of egg mixture and place it the skillet. Smooth it out with the back of your spoon to the size of a chile. Place the chile on top of the egg mixture. Take another large spoonful of egg mixture and place on top of the chile. Smooth it out to cover the chile. Let the egg mixture brown on the bottom. Flip onto the other side and let brown.

Meanwhile, you can make a sauce if you like one on your chile. My husband does.  I've made white or red sauces.

Cheese Sauce:

Heat until bubbly:
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Add 1 c. milk slowly whisking it so that you don't get lumps. Add one cup of yellow cheese. Add 1/4 c. salsa.

You can also use a red sauce or a salsa verde.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Work at Home ideas

If you're like me you're always looking for ways to make money from home. One day I realized that I 'was' making money at home. How you may ask? (you did ask, right? *S*) By doing the job that I would pay someone else to do.

Let me try to give an example. Our car needed a bath terribly. We live in the country in the middle of an orchard. The wind is either blowing or the tractors are spraying or harvesting. Our car sits outside under an overhang from the barn so it's always dusty.

My first choice used to be a run through the car wash. I did this for years. The fee is $6.00. We even paid a monthly fee ($30.00) at one time so I could run it through anytime I went to town. But, my budget doesn't allow for this luxury now. So, the way I figure it is if  "I" wash my car then I save $6.00. It's as if I am paying myself to wash the car since this was a normal expense previously.

It took me less than 30 minutes which means I paid myself $6.00 for a half an hour worth of work.

How many jobs or duties do you pay someone else that you could do yourself? This could include food items in your budget, too. Do you pay someone to bake your bread (when you purchase it from the grocery store)? Do you pay someone to make your clothes? or sew your children's clothes? Do you pay someone to cut your children or husband's hair? or bake your children's birthday cakes?

If you are currently paying $3.00 or more for a loaf of bread and can make it for 1/3 the price then isn't that the same thing as earning $2.00 for baking your own bread?

I make as much as I can from scratch but I'm always watching for new things to try. I think my next project will be finding a good recipe to replace Cream of Mushroom & Cream of Chicken soup.  I did try making Cream of Chicken soup years ago but haven't since. I wish there was a way to freeze it because I'd like to have it handy when I try a new recipe rather than make it on the spot.

Happy Homemaking!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Big Savings

I accomplished a lot in my little bungalow and on the grounds today!  It always amazes me that I am still putting in a full day's work and our home is so widdle! :-)   We do have a large flower garden to keep weeded and a vegetable garden.  I'm still working on organizing my aunt's barn, too. I never get bored.. that's for sure! My hands are always busy.

I even found time to prepare a batch of homemade laundry detergent.  I've been making my own laundry detergent for approximately 3 years. I always put off making another batch until the very last minute. I'm not sure why because it takes less than 30 minutes to make. I think it's the grating of the soap. It's my least favorite part of the process. Once I start the grating I always chastise myself for putting it off because it's done in no time at all. Sometimes if I'm overly ambitious I will grate the entire bar so I have a head jump on the next batch.

There are quite a few recipes online for making your own detergent. The one I use was found on Crystal's Family Homestead Site. I double the recipe to fill up my bucket which is supposed to give me enough detergent for 160 loads. I purchased all three products at Winco. I put the entire cost of the product next to each item. Remember that you're only using a small amount for each load. You can see how inexpensive it is to make. I used to be able to find the Washing Soda at Walmart but they stopped carrying it. I believe they still carry the Borax. I've read that you can order all items online. I think Food Maxx used to carry some of the products also.

1/3 bar Fels Naptha (1 bar $1.09)
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing SODA (not baking soda) (1 box $2.77)
1/2 cup Borax ($3.86)

Here is how I make it:

1. Grate the soap (I also save slivers of bath soap to add).
2.  Place the grated soap in a large, tall pot. Add 6 c. hot water. I don't put the temperature on high because it will boil over and make a mess. I turn it on low to medium and keep an eye on it.
3. Once the soap is melted in the pot I add the washing soda and Borax. I stir until it's dissolved.

4. Place in a large bucket.
5. Add 1 gallon of hot water plus 10 c. water and stir.
6. It will thicken into a kind of gel as it sets overnight. You can add essential oils if you want a scent. You can use 1/2 to 1 oz.
7. I use 1/2 cup of detergent per load of wash.  It cost me $1.60 to fill this big bucket with homemade detergent!!! Pretty good, huh? A friend uses this detergent in her high efficiency washer with no problems since it does not have a high suds. She uses the same amount as she would any other detergent.

Crystal figured out the cost of the detergent and it came out to .01 a load. When you compare that to the detergents on the store shelf you'll see it's quite a savings.  That was a huge enough saving to convince me to try it. Our clothes have never been dingy. Also, my husband is not able to use scented detergents but this detergent does not effect his skin.  The only load I do use store bought detergent for are my towels.  When we lived at a previous home the well water had a mineral that gave my towels a funny smell.  They would probably be okay by now but I have always used the store detergent (currently using a brand from the dollar store). I also add White King water softener to my white load (washed in warm water) and let them soak for 30 minutes. Other than those few additions the detergent has always worked great for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Use it up: Food

There is an old saying that goes....

                 Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. 

Today is my 'use it up' day! 

I sold and gave away a lot of things we owned when I knew we'd be selling our home and moving to a tiny place (less than 300 sq. ft). Most likely, we'll be here until next Spring if not longer so I'm still evaluating all that we moved in light of an upcoming move. One of the items I did drag along were 2 HUGE plastic tubs of material. I promised myself that if I didn't make use of the material while living here that I wouldn't move it to our next home. 

Considering our current financial situation I'm looking for ways to use up what I have on hand. 

So, today I dragged out one of the bins in hopes of starting a scrap quilt. I used to make expensive quilts in previous days that never cost less than a $100.00 a quilt. Making a pricey quilt is out of the question these days since we are living on a very limited budget.  Since I have so much material already at my disposal I decided to see if I could find a cute FREE pattern online. I spent some time last night looking at scrappy quilt patterns and found one that I want to use. Here is a picture:

Obviously, my quilt will not look like this one. But, I do have quite a few darker colors so I'm hopeful that I can produce a quilt that may be similar. My plan is to make each of the grandchildren a quilt when they turn 13. We'll see how that goes!

The 'use it up' philosophy can be applied all throughout our home. I had a small baggie size of turkey meat in the freezer that needed to be 'used up' so I made a stir fry with green peppers, onions and carrots and added a small amount of oyster sauce and sesame oil. I'm determined to use up the meat in the freezer before I purchase anymore. 

How many times do we purchase a 'new' product when we have several products at home that will do the same job?  We just don't 'like' the product at home  or we're bored with it and want to try something new. Sometimes I used to think I'd be more motivated if I had some new cleaning product to try.  But, much to my shame, I had several products on my shelves that would do a similar job. I was so wasteful! 

Do you have ways you 'use it up' before purchasing a new item?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Free Entertainment

One of our granddaughters came for a 'slumber party' this past week. The older the grandchildren become the more of a challenge I have in finding things to entertain them. They are pretty good at keeping themselves busy but I always like to have some ideas up my sleeve just in case.

This visit was a bit more challenging because of our financial situation and small living quarters.

This was our itinerary. :-)

  • Played Bible Trivia. 
  • Went to the library and checked out Pollyanna and Kit: The American Girl Series
  • Took a tour through McHenry Mansion. Very educational and FREE. 
  • Picked peaches.
  • Soaked in my Aunt's hot tub. 
  • Picked blackberries.
  • Picked cherries.
  • She drew pictures for her Bapa and I.
  • Read the Bible. 
  • Made fruit smoothies. 
  • Mimi (that's me!) French Braided her hair. 

I often tell my husband when we go to the library on Saturday's that there is an 'underground world' that the rich (by the world's standards) know nothing about.

Miss A. had a wonderful time (her words not mine) and all was accomplished for very little money.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Savings Tip: Reducing the cost of baggies

Quick Tip: I read once in The Tightwad Gazette to change the way you think about every bag that comes through your door for the possibility of re-use. I keep a paper towel roll (the inside of the roll)  in my baggie drawer to keep them wrapped around with a rubber band holding them in place. I re-use baggies/bags that I place my fruits and vegetables in, bread wrappers and I even consider bags that are not food related. I wash and dry them of course. But, I NEVER use bags that had meat,egg or cheese items.

I rarely buy plastic freezer bags or baggies any longer and if I do I pick them up at the dollar store.

Happy Homemaking,


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stacking Coupons

One of the greatest helps to stretching my food budget is 'stacking coupons'. Here is how it plays out..

The majority of stores will allow you to 'stack' a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon. This will give you the lowest price on an item. I watch for these kinds of deals (I'll share about BOGO free deals later). My weekly grocery list is mostly made up of items that I can find at their lowest price with the combination of coupons with sales. I'll buy multiple items to stock my pantry until the next sale.

Here is a scenario that may help explain it clearer.

This week CVS had a coupon in their flyer for Van Camp's Pork & Beans @ 2/ $1.00. I also saw that some counties offered a coupon in the Smart Source coupon booklet on 5/16  for this item (ours did not). So, you could use the CVS's coupon and also use the coupon from Smart Source for the same item. This way you get the product at the very lowest price so it's wise to stock up your pantry. Normally, I will try and set aside at least $10.00 for extra good deals.

Walgreen's has a monthly coupon book that they publish. It's at the front of the store with the weekly sale  flyer. You can also stack these coupons with the flyer sale AND a manufacturer coupon to get a great deal. 

This is one way I end up with free items or close to free items.

I subscribe to quite a few blogs  that share weekly scenario deals from CVS, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid and Walmart. I'll share those with you another day. I eventually want to have those links permanently placed on the sidebar.

I hope I explained this clearly.  It's fun to come home with bags full of free or nearly free items.

Sweet dreams,


Poster used with permission