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Frugal Mamas in January

post #1 of 509
Thread Starter 
I've searched high and low for a January thread, but cannot find one. I hope no one mids me starting this one.

Let's talk all things frugal! Maybe post about decisions we make in every day life that is frugal and is helping us work toward our ultimate goals?

DH and I are working on paying off CC right now and we are coming up with the extra money by paring down everything else. I've been shopping the 75% off sales at our thrift stores, keeping groceries down (can go down more!), getting books and movies from the library and packing food instead of eating out. It sounds like elementary stuff but actually implementing these tactics have never been our strong suite.

How 'bout anyone else?
post #2 of 509
I was just coming over to find your guys! I have really veered far off course. After looking at what we took in, spent and saved last year there is, can I be frank, there is a HELLAVA lot of improvement to be made.

My secret New Year's resolution is to eat out/order in less. It is such a challenge because 1.) We live in NYC and that sort of food abounds! 2.) My husband literally cannot boil a pot of water which leaves every last lick of cooking up to me (can you say exhausting whilst working, taking care of toddler, being 6.5 months preggers, on and on and on and on)

So can we share some freezable receipes and ones that last for more than 1 meal? I don't like chilli and have a really hard time making yummy soups (I know this can get better though because I am generally a pretty good cook).

Also here is a question for you. Ricotta cheese. I only use half the container when making baked ziti. It turns so quickly I often end up throwing out the rest of the container. What can I do with it?
post #3 of 509
Thread Starter 
Osiyo Goodcents! What sort of stuff does your fam eat? Any dietary restrictions? Just about everything I make is made in bulk and frozen. I only like to cook once or twice a week, yk?

As for ricotta, I love to make it into mousse. Do you have a food processor? If you do, take the ricotta and for every 1/2 cup that you have add a tsp of cocoa, 2 tsp sugar of choice, 1/4 tsp vanilla and a touch of instant coffee or expresso powder. Whip it in the FP or you can mix by hand but it still have the ricotta texture (for some folks that's not a problem). This is really good! I promise. You can do other versions too with different extracts. Yesterday I made a whole batch with orange extract and orange peel.

I too am also working on eating out less (this also helps with getting healthy - my other NYR). I feel for you living in NYC though; every time I am even near NYC I feel the pull of the awesome food scene.
post #4 of 509
I haven't been part of the frugal threads before, but I am really needing to now. We are on a very tight budget, and I don't see that changing any time soon. *sigh* I did hit a half off sale at the Salvation Army this week and got three sweatshirts for my dd, but I had to buy her pants new, although on sale. The kids are both starting to grow out of everything! There is another thrift store near us that has half off on Mondays. I am planning on checking out all the local second hand shops one by one so that when we need things I have a better idea of where to look. I'm not buying anything at the after Christmas sales- we just can't afford to buy anything we don't right now. I am trying to figure out a way to cut down our grocery expenses, AND save up to redecorate the kids romos for their birthdays. Even with shopping at the Dollar stores, Big LOts and Grocery Outlets, it is not happening. I'd like to cook less- I'm cooking daily now, but my dd is a vegetarina (except fish) and sensitive to dairy, and the kids don't like beans.
post #5 of 509
Thread Starter 
Welcome Khrisday! I think the key to thrifting is going regularly. I used to go once in a blue moon and never find anything. Now I make it part of my Sunday routine (when they change sale tickets over here) and I find things pretty easily. In fact, I found a few really great designer items that I am going to sell on Ebay. Even if they only sell for $2 that's 100% profit.

I find that I can keep food costs low when an ingredient that I like (last week it was cabbage) goes on sale and then I search for recipes that I can build to surround that ingredient. For example, with the cabbage, I made soup and a mock lasagna. Both things freeze well and have really different tastes, but used basically the same ingredients.
post #6 of 509
I've been to half price day today at the thrift store. I got son a pair of jeans and a nice shirt for about a 1.50$ a piece.

I've sorting all kinds of clothes and nice unplayed with toys into the "out" pile for the local consignment shop. I need less clutter and more pocket money.

I brought home the turkey carcass from Mom's xmas and have it simmering for stock with the wilted fridge veggies. This will be the next set of "bases" for the next round of soups and stews.

Sound frugal enough?
post #7 of 509
S
post #8 of 509
hey everyone- i've lurked a bit on previous threads and am more active in the Getting Out of Debt thread, which makes me need to be inherently frugal. but i wanted to respond to the above post about balancing storing/decluttering. I think the key for me is organization. If i can organize things that i have stored in such a way that they are easy to find and hence I will actually use them again, then its worth it. Otherwise, its out the door. Kind of depends on the philosopical foundation of being frugal.. :LOL like, more monetarily frugal, or frugal for the sake of simplicity as well? simplicity breeds more in the decluttering camp, where as more saving-money driven would be to store/organize. me, i'm down for both.
post #9 of 509
Selu you're right about having to thrift regularly. That's exactly why I stopped. I used to buy about 80% of the kids clothes used, but with two homeschooled kids with special needs it just wasn't feasable at a certain point. Not sure if it's feasable now, either, but I am going to try.
I do try and get what's on sale and cook around that, but my family is so picky. This week I got a vacuum packed frozen (the kind that are done right on the boat?) half of a salmon for under $3- and it was huge. I am hoping they still have some left when I go grocery shopping Friday. Of course, I am the only one in the family that doesn't liek fish lol
Does anyone else do the Freecycle thing? There are yahoo groups by area where people offer thigns for free. I haven't gotten any of them yet (trying to keep that balance of clutter/simplicity), but htere have been some good things. If I *know* I can use that cheap or used item, and that it will somehow save me time or money later, I will get it. If not- I hate to do it, but I have to let it go.
post #10 of 509
I too am in frugal mama mode. We just moved to cut expenses. DH has been managing (or should I say mis-managing) the budget without me for the last 3 years and that is about to change. Things have gone really far downhill and I know we can save more $$ than we are right now (which is none) I hate not having a safety net, so I am going to get my hands back into the finances even tho it makes me sick to my stomach to deal with $$$ issues.

I also do freezer or cook ahead cooking when we can. Our new freezer is smaller than our old one and so is our pantry, so it will probably cooking for a week or two at a time rather than for a whole month, but still better than cooking everyday.
post #11 of 509
I have about five outfits for each child that I wash over and over again.

I have minimal towels for bodies but a lot for spills and clean up.

I hang dry a lot.

We compost and grow a lot of food and herbs in seasons where we can.

I buy garage sale or thrift but sometimes I find that those items break or tear so I really do not have much.

I like reading about your ideas. I want to save more money on food.
post #12 of 509
Thread Starter 
Newmainer - ITA that organization is the key. I live in a tiny 400 square foot apartment and we must be organized or I'd go crazy and just begin throwing everything out. Over my holiday break I decluttered and I donated and/or sold on Ebay a TON of stuff that I bought on impulse. Very sad when I think of all the life energy I spent on knick-knacks and such, or a book I read once when I could have just got it from the library. Sigh.

Khrisday - I hear you about thrifting. I was at GoodWill yesterday and I found myself with stuff I did not need or could not sell just because. I am trying to break myself of consuming even when it's cheap. I have very specific dietary needs (and I'm a li'l picky) so I just look for the stuff that I buy in the sale papers and stock up when I see it. I admit that I eat more frozen fruits and veggies than fresh and when I eat fresh they are seasonal. I hope you can get that salmon when you head back to the grocery. My fave part of salmon is the leftover bits... because then you get salmon patties!

Bonny - you sound like me! I cannot wait to get a freezer. Right now I am cooking a few times a week and my freezer is always full. So full, actually, that I lost out on a couple of really good sales. My goal is to fit a tiny square chest freezer in our apartment by June (this goal has also sped up the decluttering and saving goals).

Enchanted - excellent ideas! I don't always do it, but I've found I can save the most money on groceries if I cook *everything* from scratch. I do about 90% scratch but I save at least another $20 a week when I am 97-99%. It's time consuming though.

FYI - I don't get flyers where I live so I check my weekly grocery ads on-line. I look at Wild Oats, Marc's, Meijer, Kroger and Giant Eagle online.
post #13 of 509
Thank you. That is a great idea to look at online ads. I have never heard of that. But I do not have a computer at home so that is probably why. :

What sorts of things do you make from scratch?
post #14 of 509
Hi there! I have vowed to become much more frugal this year. last year was pretty tough with unexpected bills and now a new babe on the way too! right now my big thing is getting ds out of sposies and back to CD's. we have done both since he was born but I have to admit I've been extremely lazy latley (before the times we didn't CD was because he outgrew things) anyway no more excuses here! I am even doing cloth wipes too!
post #15 of 509
I was just coming onlint now to look up a recipe to make my own cleaning wipes. I admit that I am addicted to those disposible cleaning wipes that make life so much easier for me, but the expense and toxic chemicals are something I just can't deal with anymore. I finished a big jug of wipes this morning while cleaning the bathroom, and decided instead of buying more I am going to refill it and make my own.
post #16 of 509
Thread Starter 
Enchanted - I pretty much make everything aside from bread, condiments and yogurt from scratch. I am sure there are some other things as well, but we eat very simply (whole foods with good seasonings) and basic.
post #17 of 509
Oh yeah- I am also going to get back to cloth for my feminine needs. I have some cloth pads that I made for myself, but I want a container for soaking them. I also want to make cloth pantyliners. I ned to get my sewing machien fixed, though.
Selu- what types of meals do you eat? can you post an example of your dinners for a week? I hear people say basic simple, but I don't really knwo what that means.
post #18 of 509
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by khrisday
Selu- what types of meals do you eat? can you post an example of your dinners for a week? I hear people say basic simple, but I don't really knwo what that means.
Sure. Due to health problems, I must eat 6 times a day, so I eat three meals and three snacks. I did not elaborate more than the title of a recipe or whatnot but feel free to ask for more details or recipes. I've marked frozen meals made on the weekend with a (*) and made-ahead fridge foods with a (+).

Monday
B: cheddar crustless quiche+, 2 small clementines & coffee
L: ½ roast beef sammie, homemade coleslaw+ & water
D: smoky orange bbq chicken* topped with homemade coleslaw+
S: 2 cheese rounds, spicy hot chocolate & baked apples with raisins+

Tuesday
B: cheddar crustless quiche+, 2 small clementines & coffee
L: ½ roast beef sammie, homemade coleslaw+ & water
D: pizza beans with Parmesan & tomato and cukes+ with ranch
S: 2 cheese rounds, spicy hot chocolate & baked apples with raisins+

Wednesday
B: cheddar crustless quiche+, 2 small clementines & coffee
L: leftover pizza beans with Parmesan+ & leftover homemade veggie soup*
D: homemade chili, whole wheat bread & cukes with ranch
S: yogurt cheese with cinnamon, smoked almonds & ricotta mousse

Thursday
B: oatmeal with almond butter, 2 small clementines & coffee
L: leftover roast beef & cukes and tomatoes+ with ranch
D: homemade chili*, whole wheat bread & cukes+ with ranch
S: yogurt cheese* with thawed raspberries, spicy hot chocolate & ricotta mousse+

Friday
B: oatmeal with almond butter, 2 small clementines & coffee
L: hamburger-cabbage soup* & whole wheat bread
D: cheddar omelet, steamed green beans & apple slices
S: yogurt cheese+ with cinnamon, spicy hot chocolate & ricotta mousse+

Saturday
B: oatmeal with almond butter, 2 small clementines & coffee
L: lunch with family - TBA
D: seven layer Mexican casserole & steamed green beans
S: yogurt cheese+ with thawed raspberries, spicy hot chocolate & ricotta mousse+

Sunday
B: whole grain pancakes with baked apple topping & coffee
L: hamburger-cabbage soup* & whole wheat bread with a slice of cheese
D: leftover seven layer Mexican casserole+ & steamed green beans
S: yogurt cheese+ with cinnamon, spicy hot chocolate & ricotta mousse+

HTH! Paris
post #19 of 509
Hi all!
Well, we are needing to get back on track here too. My freezer is empty, and we have 3 months before DH gets his cow from my parents (his xmas gift was 200 lbs of beef which is still in the field)
I was reading the cook book about make-ahead meals, but I am a vegetarian, DH is a diehard carnivore and DS's likes and dislikes change day by day. I just don't know what I could possibly make, except baked spaghetti.
Selu- I like to add leftover ricotta cheese to spaghetti, put it in a casserole dish and freeze it with a bit of mozzarella on top for a quick meal. that's my baked spaghetti.

This month, we are going to try putting all of our grocery money in an envelope, and leaving our bank cards at home. That is, right after Dh gets home tonight with my new cel phone (whoops, not so frugal)
post #20 of 509
Always wanting to learn more
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