Thursday, February 24, 2011

my frugal exercise routine

I do not like to exercise! I avoid gyms like the plague. But I do like to look and feel healthy. What's a girl to do?

I walk. I try to walk 2 miles a day at least 2-3 days a week.

I own a stair stepper and indoor bike. I try to ride the bike for 5 minutes a day. Sometimes a couple of times per day. I also make it a goal to get at least 400 steps on the stair stepper. I have free weights and a Kettle Bell. If I'm watching TV, I will use those then.

All of my equipment was gifted to me, or purchased at a thrift store. I refuse to pay for a gym membership. I'm far too cheap!

At random times during the day, I stop and do 40 or so jumping jacks, push-ups or bicycle crunches.

I keep track of my steps using a pedometer and my goal is 10,000 steps per day.

I practice yoga. I try to fit yoga into my schedule a few times per week. I have DVDs that were gifted to me as well.

During the growing season, I spend as much time as possible doing yard/gardening work.

I don't really have a routine. I just make it a plan to do something every day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I've got a little bit of Spring fever!

I've already been looking through gardening catalogs, now I'm reading old gardening magazines. I found an armload for sale at a thrift store. They are older, {2-6 years} but at $0.25 a piece, I couldn't resist.

I've spent my free time looking at the beautiful gardens, missing the green grass and foliage on the trees. Kids running barefoot. Iced tea on the side table. Ahh......Spring fever.
Time to get serious about planning my veggie garden. I plan to spread out just a little bit more, and you need to rotate most crops, so a plan is always helpful.
It also helps that the temps are between 50-60 degrees this week. The snow is melting. Yes, I know. The snow will return soon. Until then, I will be dreaming of Spring.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did you get it?

Did you get your free coffee from McDonald's? I just stopped by, while running errands.
Coffee. Yum. Free coffee? Even yummier.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

frugal b-day gift

I have a friend with a birthday coming. She loves to sew and also loves vintage treasures. So, I've spent the past couple of days treasure hunting. {my favorite thing to do} We have 5 thrift stores within a 5 mile radius. We are so lucky!

So far, I have found a beautiful vintage sewing box. {I let out a little whoop when I found it} I've also found various sewing supplies. I had a small Mason looking jar and many buttons, so I filled the jar with buttons. It looks so pretty!

I have a 40% off coupon for the sewing store, so I thought I'd go get a couple yards of fabric.

All in all, I may spend about $10-$15, but I know that she is going to love this new treasure.

It's the time that you take and the thought that you put into a gift that matters most. I really believe that!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Testament is a bit depressing

Since starting the one year Bible reading plan I've rediscovered how sad and depressing the Old Testament was. So much anger and violence. So much death. I feel really sad after each daily reading.

Come on New Testament! I can't wait for the good news and rejoicing!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

shopping with a purpose

I am a "treasure hunting" addict. Okay, not really an addict, but I do enjoy the hunt.

Going into a thrift store, with my list in hand, and hunting for treasures is indeed a favorite pastime. I don't come home with every little thing that I find. Not at all. It would be very easy to go into a thrift store or even a yard sale, and come home with a lot of "crap"! Believe me, I've done it.

Lately, though I keep a list in my purse. I have a small daily planner {$1 at Dollar Tree} that I keep in my purse. Not only do I have my daily chores and to do list in there, I also keep a running list of items needed/wanted. This way, when I go on a "treasure hunt", I have a plan. It saves the budget as well as keeps our house relatively clutter free.

One example is a basketball net. I bought a "new" basketball hoop at a yard sale last summer. It was in great condition except for the net. I searched for 8 months. Last week I found one at Goodwill for less than $2. I was so excited to find this, I let out a little "whoo" right there in the store. Did people look at me. Oh yes, but tell me that don't get excited when they find a treasure!

Yes, it took awhile to find it, but I did and did not pay retail for the net. It takes patience to shop this way, but it does pay off in the end.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

more snow and combining coupons

It's another snowy day! So far, we haven't received the full amount of snow that was predicted. It's very pretty though!

Yesterday, I stopped at the grocery to take advantage of my new discovery. After my last visit, I went home, loaded more ecoupons onto my card and printed matching coupons. I was ready!

I bought:

"Ester C" reg price $6.49, after ecoupon and paper coupon I spent $2.49!

Maybelline mascara reg $4.79 after both coupons- $2.79

Vlasic pickles reg 2 for $6.50. After both coupons, 2 for $3.50

Suave deodorant reg price $1.98, after coupons- $0.17

Pillsbury Crescent rolls reg price 2 for $3.98, after coupons 2 for $2.28

Fiber One bars reg $3.49, after both coupons- $1.99

So, the moral of the story is: I can buy little splurges that I don't normally buy{Crescent rolls and Fiber One}, using this method! {and things I will use as well}

Monday, February 7, 2011

My 101st post. Wow! ...and budgets

Who knew that I had it in me? Well, my hubby says I always have plenty to say....he he.

We just finished our new budget. It is a bit tight, but the goal that we are striving for is going to be worth it!

I kept track of all our expenses last year. Regular monthly bills, groceries, home expenses, mad money etc...

I was shocked at the amount that we spent! {let me add a few more exclamation points!!!!!!!!} We could have paid off the student loans! Yikes! Once I showed this to hubby, he got right on board with a new budget. He hasn't always been a willing participant on the ole budget plan. {show him the numbers and he finally gets it!}

The new budget categories: all of the regular monthly bills, groceries, home repair, auto, hobbies, clothing, pets, school expenses, allowance, eating out, entertainment, gift giving, donations, savings and miscellaneous expenses. Absolutely everything has been accounted for in this plan. We will still have fun, but we will only do that within the budget.

So, there will be less eating out, less buying something because it looks cool, less buying magazines and more borrowing from the library and so on....

We really hope to eliminate $15,000 of extra debt this year, so that we can aggressively attack the mortgage. End goal? Completely debt free in 5 years. We CAN do this!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This weeks deals and a new discovery

This wasn't a big grocery shopping week. I just needed a few things at a couple of stores. I did save about 49% off of the total spent with my lovely coupons.

My new discovery? Ecoupons. I loaded them right onto my loyalty card. No, that's not new. The new part is that they WILL combine with paper manufacturer coupons! Yay!

So I bought:

2 bottles of Tag body spray, regular price 2/$8.74. After my bogo coupon and $2 off ecoupon, my price was 2/$2.37! I'd much rather spend $1.18 for a can of body spray, than $4.37. My kid swims in it sometimes!

I bought a bottle of lotion: reg price $2.39; after loyalty card savings, paper coupon and ecoupon, I spent $0.89.

Select Harvest soup: $3.00 per can, after card savings, paper coupon and ecoupon- $1.50 per can.

Coconut milk: reg price $2.35, after loyalty card and coupon- $.69 each.

Celestial Seasonings tea: reg price $2.99, after card and coupons- $1.49 each

Free items: 1-18 ounce jar of peanut butter, 1 bag frozen veggies.

Now that I know that the store will combine the ecoupons with paper coupons, I will start adding more to my card! I also discovered that the health food store has no limit on the amount of coupons that you can use per item! {the grocery store only allows 3 per item per trip} I plan to print more coconut milk coupons and head back to the health food store. I'm also going to compare my ecoupon list to my paper coupons and make a return visit to the grocery store! Yay me! ☺

Friday, February 4, 2011

such a quick and easy side dish...

I've discussed this before, but this is absolutely the quickest dish! I stumbled upon this recently. I found a bag of coleslaw mix, in the produce mark downs, for $0.48. A few days later, I still hadn't made coleslaw and needed to use the cabbage soon!

I just dumped it into the skillet with a bit of olive oil. I sauteed it for a few minutes. The result was a very tasty veggie dish!

I made it again last night, but this time I added some fresh herbs from the freezer. I also added a bit of sea salt and pepper.

So yummy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Would you just look at that!

I reached in for an onion and found this:

I use onions many times each week. Not really sure how this happened! It seems to have grown overnight. Weird.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January wrap up

I think if I really want to achieve the goals that I set for myself, then I should probably hold myself accountable for them.

So far for the year:

*working out 20 minutes per day- not doing as well as I initially hoped, mostly every other day.

*20 minute devos everyday- I am reading the one year Bible plan. Although I must confess to not reading every day. I sometimes do 2 readings the next day. which leads me to:

*reading the Bible in a year- as previously stated, I'm not getting my reading done daily, but I am keeping up with the plan.

*gardening- well, it's below freezing today. Not much happening there! ;0)

*hanging with friends- I have 2 "mommy play dates" this next week. Yay! Seeing friends is awesome!

*debt repayment- well, we had some major financial blows this month. Darn furnace. Stupid radiator! I didn't get as much in savings, IRA's, extra mortgage payments or student loans. There's always next month!

*grocery bill- I did go a bit over on this. I found some great stock pile bargains.

*cooking all meals- did pretty well here. We did get take out once and went to a sit down restaurant once. We did go a bit over the budget here as well.

Black bean side dish

This is a quick and yummy side dish! My family loves it. You can adjust the spices to your family's tastes.

Black Beans and Tomatoes

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained
1 can chopped, stewed tomatoes or 2-3 fresh
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add tomatoes and chilies. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered 6-8 mins until thickened. Stir in beans and spices. Cover and heat 5 mins. Sprinkle cilantro over top and serve. Serves 8.

If you grow cilantro, make sure that you chop and freeze some. Then you just whip this dish up in the middle of winter! Cooking your own beans and using tomatoes preserved from your garden will also cut costs on this dish.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

lesson learned

I try to only go grocery shopping 2-3 days per month. It's a big deal. Lots of coupons, lists and trips to multiple stores. Although, I have been known to go the store in search of a great loss leader sale combined with coupons. This just happened.

I went to the grocery store in search of this week's loss leaders, armed with coupons. I only brought the coupons needed for this trip. Big mistake. As I looked through the grocery clearance section, I noticed bottles of dish soap. I had coupons for these items! At home!!! They would have been free!


I will now take my coupon binder with me whenever I go to the grocery store.