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Monday, April 19, 2010

Money Monday!

My friend Laura over at Life Happens has started a Money Monday blog hop where we hook up and give tips, suggestions, and ideas on how to save money ... or if we've had a money success (big or small), we can share it here.

I feel a little hypocritical since I had an impulse buy today at Walmart {smacking fingers}.  I got Alex this cute pair of Toy Story cowboy boots that were marked down to $9.00.  Did he need them?  Certainly not.  Are they seriously cute?  Uh huh!  :)  He didn't take them off until bedtime tonight and I think he plans to wear them to preschool tomorrow.  Sweet!

I've been jotting notes down all week so I would remember what I wanted to write about this week.  :)

A few things that we/I do to save money:
1.  Make my own spaghetti sauce.  I started making my own spaghetti sauce a few years ago when my favorite sauce was either discontinued or the stores around here stopped carrying it ... I just couldn't find it anymore.  After trying a few other sauces and not really liking any, I decided to try making my own.  Now my husband (who does our grocery shopping) buys me a huge can of tomato sauce at Sam's (about a gallon maybe?  I don't know ... it is big) and I add my own spices.  I never measure anything so it always tastes a bit different but we still like it.  I crush 3 garlic gloves and throw them in, throw in some dried minced onions, parsley flakes, Italian seasoning, and a little sugar (takes some of the bite away from the garlic).  I simmer for about an hour, let cool, then pour or scoop into quart sized freezer bags and freeze until I'm ready to use.

Also here's a recipe for taco seasoning from Leanne Ely of Saving Dinner.
Taco Seasoning:

1 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
4 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine all ingredients and store in a cool, dry place.

When you're using for Mexican dishes, use about 1 tablespoon or so per 1 pound ground beef, or chicken or beans. More if you like the extra flavor.

I haven't actually tried her recipe yet :) ... later this week I plan to.

2.  I think I may have mentioned this before but we started menu planning this year and it truly saves us a great deal of money.  We order pizza (or whatever) a lot less often, but we still throw in a pizza night every once in a while.  The difference is that it is planned now, not spur of the moment - I forgot to defrost something for supper so let's just get pizza.  Plus after I make up the menu, I check to see if there are any ingredients that need bought and write them on the grocery list so Doug can get them when he does the "big" shopping.  Which saves on all of those little trips to the store throughout the week because we need to get something else for tonight's supper.  Those trips do still happen occasionally, but way less often than they used to.

3.  I also plan a meal based on leftovers.  For instance, we had roast beef and mashed potatoes on Saturday.  A perfect day for it because it was cold and snowy here.  I know we never eat the whole roast, so I planned a beef and noodles night for later this week to use up the remaining roast.  I'll just shred up the roast and mix it along with the broth it is in with some cooked egg noodles ... have a little steamed brocolli on the side and dinner is done. 

I hate throwing food away and this really helps.  Plus the kids love knowing what we're eating for dinner.  It is written on a calendar on the fridge.

4.  Consignment sales.  I'm preparing some items to sell at a local consignment sale next week.  In fact, that is what I should be doing right now instead of writing this post.  :)  Actually the items are ready, I just need to enter them into the computer.

This sale works out good for me.  I make a little money on some items the kids have outgrown or no longer use/play with and I spend a little money on some things the kids may need - I usually break even.  And I pay way less than full price on name-brand items.  It is a win-win for me.

5.  Contentment.  This is a hard one for me because I want a plasma TV and a big entertainment center and a new car and a new house.  The list could go on an on.  :)  But I thank God daily for what we do have.  Our house is a work in progress.  My car runs great and looks good.  I hardly watch TV so why do I really need a big plasma?  :)   My friend, Kiersten, has a saying that she tells her boys when they have a case of the "I wants" ... God gives us all of what we need and some of what we want.  I have to remember that when I want to keep up with the Jones's.  Because the Jones's are broke and I'm not!  :)

My last tip for saving money ...

Don't have kids!  :)  Now, obviously I can't follow my own advice (see my 3 little angels up there in the header?  yeah, too late for me) but you can save yourselves!  :)

Seriously, kids cost a lot of money.  Aside from the biggies that you are thinking (childbirth, diapers, formula if you are not going to/can't breastfeed, college tuition).  Geez, those alone might make me reconsider.  :) 

It's the things you don't realize ... telling them a gazillion times a day ...
turn the light off when you leave the room
don't stand there with the refrigerator door open
turn off the water when you are done
don't wear your good clothes/shoes to play in the sandbox/outside
we don't throw balls (or whatever) in the house (we might break a window, the TV, someone's tooth)
don't take so much food if you're not going to eat it

The list goes on and on.  All of these little things cost money.  So if you don't have kids yet, spare yourselves!  :)

Well, those are my tips on saving yourself some cash.

Be sure to check out Money Monday on Laura's blog and hook up with any ideas you might have on saving money.


kathryn said...

Great list, sweetie!

I know what you mean about the kids sucking us (financially) dry...I've occasionally seen the number for how much it costs to raise a child, but no-one wants to know that going in!

There are days when I wind up skipping dinner 'cause the boys eat every. single. bite.


Laura said...

hahahaha.... did you have a long day with the kids before writing this haha!? Love it! And I might have to try your spaghetti sauce.