Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: 25 Things I Have Done This Week to Save Money (with recipes)

I go through every week and give little tips to help you save some money and I try to make them different because it makes it interesting for you to read and interesting for me to write but I was thinking about what to write about this week.  I decided to tell you what I did to save some money this week so I wanted to share my list.  These may or may not be in the order of the week because I am writing as they are coming to me.

1.  Made homemade rolls- I am going to tell you that it isn't that hard to make them because I use my bread machine and pop in the ingredients and let the machine do all the work but it wouldn't be a ton harder to do it by hand either.  We really love the homemade rolls which we use for our salsa sloppy joes, french dip sloppy joes and hamburgers.  My husband said tonight how great the rolls were and I think that it makes the meal that much better.  It does take a little extra time for me to make sure that I get them made but the one batch makes between 12-16 rolls depending on the size.  We only use about 3-4 depending on the meal so that lasts for at least 3-4 meals when I make them.  I freeze the extras and we heat them up when we make the next meal with them and they are still as fresh as ever. (recipe here)

2. Make loaf of homemade bread for the week- I make our bread for sandwiches every week.  I should go back and see how long ago was the last time that I bought bread from the store.  I realized that this only saves a little bit of money each week but it also means that we are eating just a little better and not eating the preservatives found in the store bought bread. (recipe here)

3. Made chicken broth from frozen veggies and chicken carcase- I try to save all of the bones from my chickens and the juice to make broth because it is so much more flavorful then the store bought ones and it is cheap and easy. (recipe here)

4. Eat Breakfast at home- We all eat breakfast every morning before we leave the house for school or work so that we don't feel the need to stop and get something while we are out.  My husband likes oatmeal every morning so I stocked the cupboard full with his favorite oatmeal.  My son switches between oatmeal and cereal usually and sometimes mixes in a peanut butter sandwich.  I prefer cereal mixed with granola or a baked treat like muffins.

5. Pack Lunches at home- I pack a lunch every morning for my husband, son and myself depending on where we are going.  Sometimes my son and I will eat at home but more often we are out and about.  I try to pack a variety of items so that we have a good lunch and snacks through the day.

6. Pack Drinks- We all have a different size of the same water bottle from Rubbermaid.  My husband has the big one, I have the medium one and my son has the small one.  I put ice water in the container for my husband for him to drink at work.  He is lucky and can refill at work when he finishes his but if he couldn't I would send a second container for him.  I pack myself a reusable cup in the morning with my ice tea and my Rubbermaid container goes on ice in a lunch bag so that I can refill my cup through the day as it gets low.  My son gets his filled with water and sometimes gets filled at water fountains or other things while we are out.  In the summertime, I pack him two or three waters because he drinks a lot more.  We never stop to buy convenience drinks at the store because that could be as much as $6 for the three of us and I would rather spend that on other things.

7. Went to the library to get books for my son and for me- We love the library and since you can get up to 50 books and other items for check out at the same time, my son and I are often fighting for the books we get to check out but he got some fun books that he picked out and a few more about space that he couldn't live without.  I got a few more mystery novels to read.  Reading is the greatest form of entertainment and it can be done for super cheap because of our great local library system.  I have even checked out DVDs and other movies that we have watched at home and saved lots of money.

8. Went to a Kids Gym Open House followed by ice cream- This one might have been a letdown but most Opening events are really fun and we actually got to play soccer inside on a turf field which was interesting and something we don't get to do every day so it is great to take advantage of free things in your area.  Afterwards, we went to Dairy Queen with a gift card that my son got from participating in a reading program and got a huge cone and a Orange Julius for $1.23 after gift card and our family had a fun day out that we normally wouldn't have splurged on.

9. Went to a Library program- We love our library programs and they cover all the basis from storytime, doing crafts, bands and music, puppet shows, and more. We went to a storytime and enjoyed all of the stories.

10.  Downloaded free activities from Teachers Pay Teachers- My son loves activities and asked for more activities every day so I went online and pulled down some activities about space which is his current love.  All of the activities that I chose were free so that saved tons of money because I got educational materials for my son that kept him happy and entertained and spent no money.

11. Made Responsibility Chart for items around the house- I decided that I was done with the morning struggle to get out of the house and I made my son a chart of all of the things that he needs to do in the morning so that he can leave the house.  It was with all the things that we already had around the house so if it works, it saves me time and energy every morning and if it doesn't then it cost me nothing.

12.  Run the washing machine and dishwasher at night while we are sleeping- There are supposed to be peak energy hours and non-peak so if you do the energy taking items at night then it is supposed to work out cheaper on the electric bill.  I am not sure if it works but it also means that all the work is done while I am sleeping and I can empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning or put the stuff in the dryer.  I don't have to wait for the cycle to finish.

13.  Got two brand new books in the mail-  I am a member of three different blogging to get free book organizations and there are ups and down of all of them but the great thing is that I get free books for just clicking on the titles that I might be interested in and I get to keep them when I am done.

14.  Enter Pampers Points online- If you don't have an account, it is a great way to enter in points and get free stuff.  I have gotten a puzzle and a hippo nightlight through points that I enter online.  I don't have diapers anymore but there are free points that pop up from time to time and I enter in the information from that and I have gotten free stuff for my son.  I also do the Huggies points which we used for a potty seat and another toy which we ordered online and it was shipped to our house for free.  I love to get things for free so these points sites are great to save up and use for holiday gifts or things for baby showers if you don't have your own kids.

15. Made Banana Bread- I had some bananas that were going bad from my parents visit so I used them to make banana bread.  We love banana bread here so it goes quickly and it is a great treat. (recipe here)

16.  Made Homemade Pancake Mix- We love homemade pancakes and waffles and I keep a tupperware container of the mix ready to go on the counter.  It is super easy to make and cheaper then buying a box in the store.  Plus I can mix it up whenever we need it with things already in the pantry. (recipe here)

17. Paid Homeowners Insurance- What?  How did that save you money?  I paid the total balance and my insurance company gives me money back at the end of the year.  I just got my check for $180 last year and deposited it in the bank so it adds up to a lot of money.

18. Got together all our taxes to file- We hope to get back some money this year and that would be a great jump to our savings account so hoping that we can get that direct deposited soon after filing!

19.  Stained Yogurt and made smoothies- My son loves the little smoothie containers with the monkey on the side and he could drink 3-4 in a sitting so I buy the 6 pack and then instead of letting him drink them in two sittings, I strain some strawberry yogurt that I got for free to take out all of the seeds and mix it with a little apple juice to make it the same thickness as the smoothie and refill the container.  He gets one and as many refills as he wants for the same price!

20.  Printed out free calendar from the Internet- I use a printed calendar every month to make my menu plan.  I used to use a free calendar that I got from Pillsbury or Betty Crocker and I missed the sign up window for both of them so I came up with another free method for doing a monthly menu plan.  I have to download and reformat the calendar before printing and using it so it takes a little bit of work up front.  I will work on the draft of the menu plan starting this week and fill the rest of it out going into the beginning of April because I always need a few passes at it to fill in all the spots.

 21. Worked as a substitute teacher at my son's preschool- How does this save money?  Isn't this something I do to make money?  Well, I get a small paycheck for doing it which goes into the bank to pay for some things like groceries and other things that we need.  I also get to send my son to lunch bunch that I would otherwise not do and he seems to enjoy.  It normally costs $10 a day so that was extra money that I didn't have to spend because I am working at the school.  It is a great perk that has sent my son to lunch bunch a few times this year with his friends.

22. Baby Kid Sitting sharing- I guess you can't call it babysitting now that they are getting so big!  Another mom and I are switching time that we watch each others kids so we get one afternoon a week where we have two kids and they get to play together and then another week where we have none so that we get to do something by ourselves for a few hours.  She went to a doctors appointment and I got to take a nap and make rolls.

23. Got the free local paper to get my coupons- I love our local paper and the fact that I can get coupons from it so I am excited every week when I can get the local paper and get all of the coupons that save my family lots of money and let me continue to be a stay at home mom.

24.  Made Special Treat- I decided to make some cookies because we needed some sweets for the week and I had a little extra time to make something because I wasn't working as much!  We love having goodies but we don't buy any of that stuff at the store anymore.  It saves a little bit of money getting a lot of junk food and it means that if we want something that I have to make it from scratch.  It takes a little bit of time and saves a lot of money.

25. Eat all our dinners at home- I make the menu at the beginning of the month and try to make some favorite meals that are spread through the month and I always have a back up in case we have a busy day and I can't get it done because take out for convenience is not an option for us.  We get take out once a month and we want to enjoy it so we don't want to do it because we are stressed and overworked.  We

What have you done this week to save money?  Can you think of some things that you can do next week to save a little more?  There are always things that can be done to save a little more.  I could have hung the laundry out to dry on a line and I could have put a bucket in the shower to catch the extra water to water the plants.  I try to do as much as I can but there are always some trade offs that have to be made in order to fit everything into the time you have available.  I hope that you try a few more things to be thrifty this week. Who knows, maybe those new attempts will become habits like they have for me!


  1. A loaf of homemade bread only lasts one day in our house! I hope you will share your homemade pancake mix recipe in a future post - what a great idea to have it in a container already mixed up!

    1. Pancake recipe is super easy. I have tried a bunch and I love these. Here is the link: I will update it so it is above too :) They are great to make and freeze too so that you can have them every day. I use the same batter for waffles.

    2. Thanks, Alison - I will try it!

  2. Sounds like a great frugal week for you! You are so lucky to have your local paper free. We pay $2.00 for Sunday's paper with coupons but it's worth it.

    1. I used to pay for our paper and the price of the Washington Post went up but I got the double paper where there are two papers in the bag to save a little money but I am super glad to find the local paper with coupons. It doesn't always have all of the coupons that the paper that you pay for but you get what you pay for right? I save money and there is no money out of pocket to get them so it is a win-win for me. It is easy to save the $2 you pay for the paper with just a few coupons which is what I told myself back when I bought the papers :)

  3. Hi! Just found your blog through the Loudoun County Limbo blog and I love it! When you have some time, would you post some recommendations for books related to saving money/frugal living/couponing, etc.? I'd love to read a few good ones! Thanks!

    1. I have a bunch of books that I have read but I haven't put together a big list so that is a great idea to post this week. Thanks for the great idea! I will put up my list so that you read some great books too. I love recommendations too so feel free to share! super glad that you found me through Loudoun County Limbo because I love her too! Thanks for visiting.


Thank you for visiting my blog today! I really appreciate any input or ideas so add your comment below.