The Annual Mothering Frugal Ideas Contest - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 118 Old 02-06-2012, 11:27 AM
 
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Make your own cleaning supplies!! An initial investment in some baking soda, vinegar, borax, castle soap, grapefruit seed extract and maybe some essential oils goes a VERY long way in cleaning supplies. Laundry soap, kitchen cleaner, glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner,etc. I haven't bought traditional cleaning supplies in 3 years! And those suckers are expensive!

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#62 of 118 Old 02-06-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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Avoid the media! We don't have a TV and I am trying to cut down on my magazine reading obsession, but I've noticed that the less I expose myself to commercials and ads, the less I feel like I "NEED" the latest greatest time saving gadgets or hippest coolest pair of shoes or cutest most intellectually stimulating toy and on and on and on and on....and I feel much more confident that we can thrive on less! 

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#63 of 118 Old 02-06-2012, 12:25 PM
 
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Stop thinking about what things cost per day/per week or per month and start thinking about the annual cost of the things you purchase.

 

For example, they might sell you on a newspaper subscription by telling you it only costs $3 a week. That seems like such a small amount of money but it is actually over $150 when you think annually. Similarly, cable tv might sound like a reasonable thing to have at only $80 a month. You might rationalize it saying that is less than $20 a week or just a few dollars a day. But, it is nearly a $1000 for the year. Think about what else youc could do with that money. Perhaps you could take a family vacation just by skipping cable.

 

 

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#64 of 118 Old 02-06-2012, 02:55 PM
 
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Or, it's sometimes crazy thinking about how much it's costing you by time worked.  Like, a new $20.00 shirt costs me 2 hours work.  New boots $80.00 costs a days wage.  (this really works if you don't like your job!  LOL)


 

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Stop thinking about what things cost per day/per week or per month and start thinking about the annual cost of the things you purchase.

 

For example, they might sell you on a newspaper subscription by telling you it only costs $3 a week. That seems like such a small amount of money but it is actually over $150 when you think annually. Similarly, cable tv might sound like a reasonable thing to have at only $80 a month. You might rationalize it saying that is less than $20 a week or just a few dollars a day. But, it is nearly a $1000 for the year. Think about what else youc could do with that money. Perhaps you could take a family vacation just by skipping cable.

 

 



 

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#65 of 118 Old 02-06-2012, 09:56 PM
 
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When I used disposable wipes, I'd rip one in half--sometimes thirds--to make them last longer.


Happily married to Tigger, SAHM to baby Roo.

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#66 of 118 Old 02-06-2012, 10:22 PM
 
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My mother-in-law bought us normal washcloths for cloth wipes, but they're so big I only use half or a 4th at a time so as soon as DD gives me free time, I'm going to cut them in half and sew them so they don't fray. I'm also going to go through the bin of fabric we already have to find some material to make more wipes.

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#67 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 04:47 AM
 
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I've been using some old face cloths for messy changes too.  I think it works 1000x's better than wipes AND with wetting the cloth under warm water, you totally rid yourself of thinking "maybe a wipe warmer would be a good idea"  :)  Especially it winter!  Poor cold bums!
 

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My mother-in-law bought us normal washcloths for cloth wipes, but they're so big I only use half or a 4th at a time so as soon as DD gives me free time, I'm going to cut them in half and sew them so they don't fray. I'm also going to go through the bin of fabric we already have to find some material to make more wipes.



 

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#68 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 04:54 AM
 
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Pick up some END OF THE ROLL NEWSPRINT PAPER at your local newpaper office for cheap.  Most offices do this and I've seen it advertised from time to time. 

It's great for kids drawing and painting, covering your kitchen table when they are doing other art projects, packing dishes for moving, making your own gift wrap, etc.  I'm amazed how far it goes.

 

Just be warned...these rolls are heavy!  There is metal at the ends of the rolls for the printing machines.

 

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#69 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 07:18 AM
 
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I have committed to two no-drive days a week. One weekend day we just stay home. One work day, I bus to the office. I normally visit my clients in their homes, I  drive over 500 miles/week for work, but this one day is dedicated to staff meetings, paperwork, and the like.


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#70 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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When our family decided to have me home with our kids and therefore drop down to one smallish income we had to seriously take a look at our finances.  That simple act of going through our expenditures each month has saved us a lot of money.  We found lots of little ways to cut back on our spending, like calling our garbage pick-up company to switch to the smallest size garbage bin, eliminating cable TV, setting a goal for a smaller amount of energy consumption, putting our Netflix subscription on hold, and so on.  It's amazing to see all the little money-saving tricks that pop out when you really look at what you're spending.  What's more is that once you've started really looking at what you're spending you start thinking of ways to save money on a day-to-day basis.

I also want to send thanks along to all the other mamas posting on this thread!  Sharing tips with one another is such a wonderful, helpful way to solve a problem.  :)

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#71 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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Oh my gosh! Radiant Lotus, I love love love these ideas!!! I am totally and completely lacking any sort of creativity. Would you be willing to send me instructions for both of these? I am totally impressed with your ingenuity :)

 

Love it!

 

Tina
 

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Originally Posted by Radiant Lotus View Post

I'm doing upcycled cloth diapers the frugal way.  I tore retired and donated flannel sheets into squares to use as flats and folded them "origami" style, so they're dense down the center and trim on the sides. They agitate open to clean thoroughly and dry quickly.  Here is one of his seasonal snowman diapers:
snowman diapers.jpg
 
My covers are made from felted wool sweaters.  The arms sew into pants and the body becomes pull-up briefs. They work great and only need washing every week or two thanks to the antibacterial properties of lanolin.
 
Clip.jpg
I have spent under $30 since birth on my adorable full-time stash for my son who is 20 months old now.  I've even recouped that cost by selling some upcycled woolies.
 
 
 


 

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#72 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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We belong to a whole food coop and order bulk grains, and veggies. This saves a lot of money every month even though it is a lot of money at one time over a month it works out.

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#73 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:23 AM
 
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We live 20-45 minutes from town so we try to combine trips (recycling with coop pickup with library day, etc.) to save gas and time. This also cuts down on spending as we are not always out seeing things to buy. :)

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#74 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:25 AM
 
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We try to grow a garden, some herbs and have a compost pile not only to help with the environment but our pocketbooks. One packet of seeds cost a fraction of what one item at the store would cost. Pots or small haypiles are great to have gardens in if you don't have room for a garden. We garden organically so we save money not buying chemicals too!

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#75 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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We use  the library or kindle app on ipad for free books, magazines, movies, books on cd, etc. Saves a lot of money and resources!

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#76 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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i started with using cloth diapers and cloth baby wipes, home-made laundry soap and liquid hand soaps i even made my own stash of momma cloths and use a menstral cup to save me from buying store bought things, we have a lot of hand me downs for the kids to wear , i have  a small garden in the yard and we compost all the waste from the kitchen, i make things with the kids like my own play doh instead of buying it, i also use simple cleaning products and dont have to buy expensive ones that work just the same! and we dont buy much in the junk food department which saves tons if we want goodies we just make them :)

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#77 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:44 AM
 
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eBay!  We have started to buy/sell more on ebay.  When the kids really want something that would be considered a luxury, we look around the house and list items on eBay.  When we make enough paypal funds to get new toys, we buy preowned!


Nurse and mother to two beautiful boys, William 06/07/06, George 08/27/08, and our newest addition John Bear, born 9/20/10! Married to my lovely dh for 10 years on 06/04/10!
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#78 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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We turned off our land line phone service, saved $25.  Then, we switched our cell service to metroPCS and cut our cell bill in half!


Nurse and mother to two beautiful boys, William 06/07/06, George 08/27/08, and our newest addition John Bear, born 9/20/10! Married to my lovely dh for 10 years on 06/04/10!
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#79 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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We are a completely frugal family. Here is how we live simply with three kids and donate to needy families on one income without feeling like we are poor:

 

- Grow our own produce and herbs. What we don't grow we buy from local farmers for far less than you pay at the store.

vegetable-garden.jpg

 

- Home canning. We make our own jams, pickles, soups, and preserve our own fruits, vegetables, and meats. Inexpensive to start when you purchase your canner, jars, and rings second-hand. Use the produce grown at home or from local farmers and it will save you anywhere from $.25-$1.00 per jar/can. Plus, you control what goes into your food so you avoid excess salt, dyes, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.

IMG_2401.jpg

 

- Buy half a cow, half a pig, or whole chickens. The quality of the meat is higher, the cuts are made to order, and it ends up being close to $1 per pound cheaper in the long run. Plus, you can end up with ham hocks for soups, and with the chicken, you can use the bones and organ meats for healthy, flavorful stock.

 

- Cloth diaper. Either make your own or buy used. Make your own cloth wipes and wipe solution out of old clothing scraps and baby wash. Modern cloth diapering is just as easy as disposables and only adds 1-2 loads of laundry per week. Cloth diapering can save you up to $2,500 per child over two years.

24919_1362329493443_1087758882_31095802_6291028_n.jpg

 

- Bake your own breads from scratch. You can do it by hand or find used bread machines for very cheap. A loaf of bread costs $3.99 at the store, but only costs about $.75 to make at home without all the unhealthy additives.

 

- Bartering. Sounds odd but many people are looking to trade labor for items. Need yardwaste hauled? Look online to see if someone will haul it in exchange for your old stuff. I had a garage door rehung in exchange for 2 loaves of home-baked gluten-free bread each week for 2 months. The bread cost me a total of $15 and I saved over $300 on the rehanging.

 

- Couponing. You don't have to be extreme to use coupons effectively. Through couponing we save an average of 70% off our grocery bill. Since sales come in cycles, we stock up while the prices are good and essentially never run low on anything until right before it goes on sale again. Learn the cycles, use the coupons, and stock up...hoarding is not necessary.

coupon binder.jpg

 

- Plant fruit trees. Not only will you benefit from the free fruit, but your kids can set up a little table at the end of the driveway and sell fruit. It becomes a moneymaker.

 

- Start a small honey bee colony. We found that our garden produced more bountiful fruit after we started a little colony. The bees have never stung anyone, and we have a fresh supply of honey. Another bonus is having your kids sell excess honey. It is very easy to start a colony and it helps the environment as bees are disappearing quickly.

 

- Utilize free children's activities like the public library, playgroups, childcare co-ops, church activities, nature walks, etc. If you get your kids out of the house frequently, they do not feel as if they "need" more toys, electronics, and TV to be entertained.

 

- Many cities provide free or low cost rain barrels. Use them to catch water for watering the lawn/garden, washing cars, outdoor uses to save on the water bill.

 

And the obvious...cut back on cable packages, cut cell phone plans, use energy efficient bulbs and appliances, unplug things while not in use, turn the temperature down on your water heater, combine trips to save on gas...

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#80 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 11:33 AM
 
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I knew I didn't want to use disposable diaper wipes because if the waste and also because cloth ones are more effective, but was also overwhelmed by the price tag of cloth ones. So I took an old strained terry cloth bathrobe, cut it up into squares, large for poop wipes, smaller ones for pee and hemmed them with a zig zag stitch. (They still fray a bit but the thread stays contained.) You can also use towels from the thrift store that cost just a dollar or two. The thick terry cloth is even more effective than store bought cloth wipes. I only need one cloth wipe when it would take three or four disposable wipes. It saves me so much money. And I make my own wipe solution. I take a big yogurt container (not the huge Nancy's ones) and put a couple drops of baby soap or shampoo or castile soap in it along with a few drops of jojoba oil and add water. Done!

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We baby wear, co-sleep, cloth diaper, don't vax and intend to nurse for a good long time.  

I don't care what you do as long as it works for your family.

 

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#81 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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I have made a lot of lifestyle changes in the last year. I have become a stay at home Mom which requires a lot of frugal ideas. I make my own cloth diaper covers, which is a huge savings. We were given quite a few that cost around $20 a piece, I can make them for about $3 each or less if I use recycled old clothes. I also made our wipes out of old towels and a bathrobe. We planted a vegetable and herb garden, which is amazingly healthy and delicious plus it saves us gas and at least $400 a year. We became a one car family. This was a hard adjustment, but it encourages a lot of walking and creativity. I have started making my own: glass cleaner, laundry detergent, hand soap, and a lot of other household cleaning supplies. The other plus to making my own cleaning supplies is that they are less toxic, which is nice for baby. Breastfeeding has been a great money saving alternative to formula.  Since my baby has begun eating real food I make all my own baby food from vegetables from my own garden. Meal planning has come into play in my house. It helps to utilize left overs when you have a plan before hand. I line dry all my laundry. Even in the winter I have an indoor rack. I discovered a thrift store in my area that has 30 cent Thursdays, which means all clothes are 30 cents. That has been really nice for me, I can get new clothes on the budget I have been allotted. We have been limiting our light use and burning candles instead, we melt down old candle wax and make new ones, or we buy tea lights in bulk. I buy food in bulk. By using dried beans instead of canned we have saved a lot of money. I have gotten really good with coupons. I cut my family's hair, which is a great savings. I made almost all of our Christmas gifts this year. We don't have cable, which a lot of people don't realize how expensive that is. Not having cable saves us at least $1000 a year. Instead of buying books we go to the library.

I would definitely consider myself a frugal Mama, but I don't feel like we sacrifice anything to live this way.

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#82 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 12:08 PM
 
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I don't know our alltime best frugal tip but we have done a lot of little things that add up to big savings over a longer term. First, stop driving the minivan! It's expensive on gas and too many trips mean too many fill ups. Stay close to home. We (three kids) pack our own water and snacks and lunch when we go anywhere. Even the little snacks have kept our expenses down by not having to get something on the go. We hardly ever buy kids clothes or boots new. Gently used on local swap sites on facebook. We also cut out cable, home phone, took data off our cell phones. We make coffee at home to bring out. We sell items we aren't using-like the extra bike trailer, the furniture we don't use. Then we use that towards the extra things we do each month-try to go swimming, and playzone type place when raining, etc. The second biggest saver has been vigilantly couponing. It's not as extreme here in Canada as the US as we can't stack that many coupons in hardly any stores but my savings (and just starting) are incredible! I am saving at least a couple hundred a month on groceries just on coupons. Last month I got toothpaste for 0.04 c each!  It takes watching sales, organizing, and trading coupons for what we use. We also don't use any cleaning products (only vinegar) in the house so we don't spend 15 bucks on new cleaners each month, etc. We definitely see the benefit of planning home meals to cut down on quick trips to the grocery store (without coupons!) and having savings (from planning ahead)!

 

The best part of it all? The kids see the benefit and enjoy being frugal. Why buy the most expensive thing if there isn't a reason for it? Do we have a coupon for that? Turn off those lights-wasting energy! They are more earth/eco conscious as well which makes me more proud too!

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#83 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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I save glass jars from grocery items and use them for tons of things! Food storage, to store leftovers, use as to-go containers or in lunchboxes. I take them to the grocery store to buy "bulk" spices(that i dont grow), oats, beans, rice, ect. I use them for rinsing paintbushes, organizing craft materials(beads, stickers),as craft materials, for flower vases for my table or for gift-giving! I use them to drink from, give chili bean "mixes", or cookie "mixes" in.  I make and store sidewalk paint in them, cleaners in them. I use them to shake up drink mixes. The possibilities are endless and most of the things they replace can be pricey!  treehugger.gif

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#84 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 03:04 PM
 
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I am on a a mission to get out of debt. With that in mind I have cut a lot of extras out of my spending. I avoid advertising and stay out of stores. This has really helped me cut back on my budget. When I don't shop, I don't spend money.

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#85 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 03:11 PM
 
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Last year, I was given the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I make the basic recipe and practically never buy bread now. This bread costs my family about $.30 per loaf and where I live junky bread casts at least $2 per loaf. This one things has saved us a lot on groceries. It is fast, simple and I enjoy baking fresh bread for my family and friends. The bread makes an inexpensive meaningful gift. everyone feels valued when they get a loaf of homemade bread.

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#86 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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Eat less meat. Seriously. We save SO MUCH on our grocery bill by being part-time vegetarians. When we do eat meat, it's not in huge quantities/servings, it's usually mixed in with rice/pasta/veggies etc., so this makes the meat that we do buy go further. There are so many high-protein yummy meals out there that don't need meat. You'll save money, and perhaps weigh less and become healthier!


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#87 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 03:49 PM
 
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Go with a midwife! belly.gif

They almost always charge less than doctors. Frugal? Yes. Wonderful for a million other reasons as well? Absolutely. luxlove.gif

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#88 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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Our kids take a lot of splash-and-relax baths without soaps. To off-set the water usage and to make use of plastic milk jugs, we fill old milk jugs with the old bath water and store them to water the garden and flowers in the summer. It's a great way to get a lot of use out of our water and to save on summer watering bills!
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#89 of 118 Old 02-07-2012, 10:02 PM
 
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Two years ago I made a full sized quilt for my son, the top was all new material I bought, but the back was a queen size cotton sheet I bought from the good will and dyed.  The part I am most proud of is the lining!  I sewed together all my no-longer in use prefold diapers and used them as the lining/batting on the quilt!  It has a great weight and is warm.

 

Fletcher's quilt 2010

 

Fletcher and his quilt 2010

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-Sara, working Mom to Fletcher (2003) and Magnolia (2008):, wife to Jim the best SAHD in the world (1999) NVC has changed my life
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#90 of 118 Old 02-08-2012, 09:12 AM
 
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We enjoy eating chicken occasionally.  I buy a local chicken, about $11 depending on the size and cook it up at home.  I will roast the whole thing and use it as the main dish, roast the chicken & then make soup or casserole out of it. (The soup or casserole cooks faster when the meat is already cooked, I LOVE that!)  I can then usually make ANOTHER soup out of what's left on the bone.  I also learned how to cut the chicken up into peices (breasts, thighs, wings) from my grandma so I can cook them faster, cook them in the pressure cooker for really fast or just not use the whole thing at once.  If I buy organic chicken in peices it will cost me $6 for 2 breasts.  I can only get one meal for the 5 of us out of that vs the 2-3 with the whole chicken.

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Refbacks are Off