Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Things that I Do to Save Money and Stretch those Groceries

I had another busy week with everything going on at my school and my son's school leading up to Halloween and two days of a student holiday.  After doing last week's post, I realized that this would be fun to try for a few weeks...of course, you might get sick of the fact that this list often repeats itself.  But I am always settled on saving money and making sure that I fit in all of the things that we need to do in order to save money in a week so I think that this will help me to hold myself accountable.  I also spent the weekend doing two loads of laundry and washing a ton of dishes.  I was hoping to get more baking done on Sunday but all those dishes had me a little hesitant to make more dishes which is the reason that I didn't bake a batch of cookies.  Isn't it always the case that I wanted to do more then I got done.

Here is what I did this week to save a little money:

1. Made Sugar Cookies:

We were having a party at my school on Friday and we were going to have the kids decorate sugar cookies for their work time and snack.  Two families sent in cookies but they were really different so I went home and copied the one cookies so that we would have enough.  I made a whole batch and we didn't use that many so we had lots.  I grabbed some frosting and sprinkles and we decorated our own cookies at home too!!

2. Went to the Library and Got Our Reserve Books and Even More:

We had to return our last Magic Tree House CD which we had in the car all week.  We picked up our massive amount off the reserve shelf.  My son had 4 books and a CD set for the next Magic Tree House.  I had two books which I wasn't expecting that came off my reserve list too.  While we were there, my son found a friend from school and they ended up playing with a puzzle and turning another puzzle into a game.  They had a blast and we got to grab some books that we both really wanted to read.

3. Got Free Papers at the Library:

Super excited that they had the papers already when we got there at 4:30.  I have stopped checking on Friday because the papers are never in but I was so excited to get them especially because there were four coupon inserts.

4. Got Lots of Free Coupons and Cut them:

I was so excited to see the four inserts in this months papers but I was super backed up on clipping all my coupons.  I spent the day Saturday sorting and clipping lots of coupon inserts including a few old ones that I had that needed to get sorted with the rest of the inserts.  I went through my coupon basket and took out all the coupons that expired in October and before.  I added all my new envelopes and finished with the last two inserts on Sunday morning.  All that organization and coupons are going to save us tons of money.

5. Worked at Book Fair at Son's School:

I worked at my son's school and got 10% off on books that he wanted.  He wrote a list of all the books that he wanted to read and buy.  I normally pick a few that he can buy and do it for him but things time I picked up all the books on his list and some different options of the ones that he picked that he hadn't seen.  I told him that he would have $20 to spend and he picked out the two books he wanted and with my discount, he spent $18 on these two books.


6. Make Blueberry Lemon Scones:

I was trying to figure out what to make for Saturday morning before soccer and I ended up with these scones.  I have frozen blueberries that my mom brought me from her blueberry picking last year.  I used lemon zest and True Lemon to pop up the lemon flavor from the raspberry lemon yogurt.  I had a package of oats from another yogurt which I sprinkled on my end.  My husband doesn't like those so I didn't put them on the whole thing.  They were super tasty and we got to eat the leftovers on Sunday morning.

7. Make Loaf of Banana Bread:

My gave my husband the option this week to have applesauce bread, pumpkin bread or banana bread.  My husband picked banana bread so I thawed the bananas and made him the loaf for his breakfast treat for the week.

8. Went Trick Or Treating:

My son got lots of candy which will last us for many desserts to come.  Check out his haul!! He sorted out all the candy that he didn't like so that mom and dad got to eat some too :)  We got lots of exercise walking all over the place and he got some candy and chips so he was happy and exhausted.

 9. Made Dinner All Week Except Halloween:

I made homemade fries to go with my son's favorite chicken fries from Aldi and my husbands new favorite which is popcorn chicken mixed in the Franks Wing Sauce I got at Harris Teeter.  We used lots of leftovers and made a meal of them with taquitos for leftover night.  We usually get pizza on Halloween as part of the special day.  We had soccer and then had an early dinner of our $5 Little Caesars Pizza.  Sunday night was breakfast for dinner night where I cut up the last of the red potatoes to make diced hash browns.  I had both pancakes and waffles made ahead and frozen.  My husband also had eggs and a grilled roast beef sandwich.  I used the free noodles, free sauce and free pre-cooked chicken and made a quick stir fry which after we finished, my husband said was amazing....good thing because we have a ton of it!!  I made mac and cheese for my son with french dip sloppy joes for us with some cooked ground beef out of the freezer.  YUM!  We followed the meal plan and enjoyed lots of food this week for the last week of the month.

10. Made Pancake and Waffle Mix:

I make my own mixes so that I can have them ready just like the store bought version in my cupboard so I mix them when I get low.  It is great because I don't have a bunch of pre-made boxes all over the kitchen and I can reuse the Tupperware container.

11. Made Ice Tea:

I make a pitcher of ice tea sweetened with a little sugar everyday (and drink the whole container in one day).  It is a great and thrifty treat for me which I bring to work in my reusable cup.  I also bring one or two other containers to refill my cup when I run out which I keep in my cooler with my ice packs that I got at CVS at the end of the summer sale.  The big bonus is that I use family size tea bags so I only need one and I usually get the tea bags free at Harris Teeter where there is a sale and coupon.

12. Make a Loaf of Homemade Sandwich Bread:

I make a loaf of bread every Sunday or Monday depending on how much bread is leftover after the weekend to have enough bread for the weekend. 

13. Made Chocolate Chip Cookies:

I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies so that we would stay out of my son's candy.  Mission accomplished... we were in the cookies instead.

14. Made Garlic Bread Packets:

I used the ends of the bread to butter and put garlic salt on and wrapped in foil so that I can stick in the oven or toaster oven when pasta night comes so that I don't have to make any garlic bread.  It is super easy to do ahead of time and saves time in the kitchen when you need it most.

15. Made Pizza Bites:

I made a batch of garlic pizza bites with my last box of Bisquick that I got for free at Harris Teeter.  I used the last of the cooked sausage in the freezer, some cut up pepperoni and some cheese that I had grated from the fridge.  These are super easy and I will have them for a family meal to add to dinner without having to make them the night of.  They are super easy to make and freeze!

16. Make Oyster Crackers: 

My husband loves to take the seasoned oyster crackers to work with his lunch and eat them for snacks so I grabbed two more bags and made them quickly on Wednesday afternoon.

17. Made Popcorn:

I made popcorn for snacks for my son and myself.  YUM!  We both enjoyed getting back to our popcorn snacks.  Whenever I make it in the morning, my son always wants to eat it fresh.  He had a cup after eating his oatmeal breakfast.  

My husband hung up the towel bar, toilet paper holder, and towel ring in the guest bathroom that we finished.  Super excited to have those checked off the list before we have a month of visitors using that bathroom.  My mother in law is coming and then my cousin and then my mom so the bathroom with get a lot more use then just by my little man.  He also painted the edge of the wall near the new chair rail that he finished installing because I wanted it gold like the rest of the top of the room.  It was white but I thought that little inch more made the chair rail pop.  Don't you think that it looks good?

My little man put together a new set of Megablocks Skylanders which my mother bought him at the consignment sale for $5.  Most of the packages inside were still in bag so it was totally brand new and brand new to him at a great price.  It was super entertaining and a special treat for him for a super cheap price. 

We had a bunch of thrifty fun!!  I hope that you had a thrifty week too!  

What did you do this week to save money??


  1. I looooove this post, Alison! Feel free to repost the same things every week, I personally don't mind. Those things that you do so often that you stop thinking of them as frugal endeavors are what really save you money and can inspire countless readers!

    I laughed at your line about staying away from the candy only to get into the chocolate chip cookies, so funny :)

    Ah, I see the Rubbermaid container that you are using for store your homemade bread. I have a couple of the same ones but I use them to store my flours. Scratch that, I just checked and I have one that's empty so I'll have to try that.

    Love that you made delicious meals with that free food you got. You go, girl! How awesome is it that you got all those free newspapers with 4 coupon inserts in them! Are those free local newspapers that get dropped off at the library for patrons? Ours usually don't have coupon inserts but yesterday they had 1 Redplum insert so I got all excited and greedy and grabbed 4 or 5 of them. But when I sat down to clip the coupons, there hardly was anything interesting (to me) inside. Still, free coupons are always something to celebrate!

    Love the chair rail and you're right, it looks very nice. Your husband does good work!

    Did you already post the recipe for Pizza Bites? I have Bisquick mix to get rid of (I don't like using it and it's been sitting in my fridge since Greg's summer camping trip and then my daughter brought me back some from her weekend leadership retreat too!) and that sounds like something the kids would enjoy.

    Great idea to make the garlic bread in advance! Didn't you get tons of free garlic bread this past month though? Did you already eat it all? Never mind, you probably made it just to use up the bread heels. Sorry, talking to myself outloud :) I haven't made garlic bread for dinner, I'm not sure that's something the kids would eat and I'd probably lose it in the freezer, but it's certainly a good use of old bread. Which reminds me that I have old bread in the fridge, maybe I'll put French toast on the dinner menu. Growing up we had no money and often times my mom would serve us French toast for dinner. Of course, it's not called "French Toast" in France, it's called "Pain Perdu" which means "Lost Bread". And we don't use syrup, we'd just use sugar sprinkled on top. Bread and sugar for dinner... that tends to explain some of my adult addictions!

    Well, I'm off to repeat and catalog my own frugal and thrifty ways. Sometimes I get tired to typing the same things over and over again, but when I re-read my own posts (which I actually do quite often), it's very self-encouraging to keep going!

    Have a great day!

    1. When my son was younger, we ate some of his Halloween candy but now I think that he will start to know that some is missing. We will certainly help with those that he doesn't like but at least we have a treat for us too :)

      Love the Rubbermaid container for the bread. I took that picture for you :) I was going to do a post but I haven't gotten to do it yet. I have a bunch of pictures so maybe it will go up soon.

      The local newspaper is free through the local stores and library. There are big piles on Friday or Saturday so that I can go in and grab a bunch. Depending on how big the papers are, I have to make two trips so that I don't look like I am cleaning them totally out. I love getting all those coupons and I got them all cut and sorted so that I am all set for the coming month to keep updated.

      I am the only one in the family who likes french toast. I actually did make some for my mom when she was here from the frozen bread. We make more bread and bread cubes then we actually use so I make stuffing and bread crumbs from it. We have a lot in the freezer.

      Good luck with your frugal list :) Hope that you get a great list!! I am sure you will :)

  2. What a great list. I like the weekly summary format. Most of what we do is a repeat of frugal practices, but it is a great reminder of how we are doing or how we can do better.

    Making your own mixes is such a huge savings, isn't it? I have used the bisquick mix for many, many years to make my own impossible pies. But when my kids were young, I would call it "Alligator Pie" (like the book), because I would put any kind of leftover meat with leftover veggies, add cheese and the "pie" ingredients over top. I don't think any two of my pies were the same. When my son moved out and had a family of his own, he called to find out the recipe for Alligator Pie. *laugh*

    1. I usually make my own Bisquick baking mix but I got four boxes as a freebie or money maker at Harris Teeter. I just used the last one so I am sure you will be seeing that on the list next week for me to make my own. I used to make a chicken pot pie like that where there was chicken and rice on the bottom topped with the bisquick. I have never heard of Alligator Pie so I am going to look that one up :)

  3. The chair rail looks awesome! And I don't mind reading this repeating list at all! It's actually very inspiring! Great job!!!

    1. I was adding more and more things as the list went on so it helped me to know that I had a good week. I am hoping to continue having good weeks to share.


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