Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thrifty Thursday: What Have I Been Doing To Save Money??

I feel like I haven't had one of these in awhile and because my son has been sick and we have been stuck at home, I figured that I would write a little post on what I have used up and done frugally recently.  Of course because I haven't planned on doing this so I don't have pictures of anything but I am going to try my best.

I went through the spice cupboard and realized that I wasn't using a lot of spices that I had because I was "saving" them.  I am not really sure what I do that but I tend to save things that don't need to be saved.  My cousin gave me this really nice spice set which I know cost lots of money so I didn't want to waste it.... the only way to waste spices is to not use them!! I used up Forward!, Cinnamon Sugar, Sandwich Sprinkle, Pasta Sprinkle and Brady Street and I am working on the others.  I have enjoyed using them and can't wait to find lots of uses for the Chip and Dip (thinking roasted chicken), Taco Seasoning (thinking oyster crackers), and Chili Powder.

I have been looking for different things through the cupboard and we have this ugly green bin that my husband brought with him from his parents house because that is what he always used.  Although it is a horrible color, it is the most functional thing to keep all of the packets of powders. Do you have anything like this in your cabinets?

I found two packages of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip which I used to make seasoned oyster crackers.  I mixed it with a little of the white cheddar popcorn seasoning which made them a little too tasty.  My husband ended up eating them very quickly!!  I told him to take it easy on the second batch because we didn't have anymore of those seasonings so the next batch it totally going to be nacho cheese with taco seasoning because we have a bunch!!

I found two packets of green onion dip in their from either his mom or sister who brought them for a holiday.  I decided to use them to mix with the butter and olive oil to roast a chicken.  It was very tasty!!  There were two of them and we enjoyed them and saved on using other spices.  After finishing those spices, I found a few other spice mixes that we could use for chickens including the Penzy ones which I have also finished.  I am going use up a few other chicken spices in the cupboard the next few times and hope to make progress in using up all the free spices already available to us.

I also started making my own salad dressing again.  I have the orange vinegar and apricot jelly which made it easy to make except I was making it without measuring (which my husband hates) so I did it to taste.  After eating my first salad and wondering why it was still a little off, I figured out that I didn't put any oil in.  HAHA!!  Well, I made a really healthy dressing with little to no fat.

I have been making lots of baked goods including my husband switches to rolls instead of bread which is nice because they stay fresh longer but strange to not always have bread on hand.  The great news is that we have tons of cubes in the freezer and we are no longer wasting that much because the rolls can also be frozen and easily thawed to make lunches or dinners.  It also gives me something to do with the milk that is past the date which I have that problem frequently.

I have continued to make brown sugar.  It is awesome that I can make it at home whenever I want to because I have the molasses in the cupboard and I am still working on the first container so hoping that it lasts until Aldi starts carrying it again.  Because I just got a lot of sugar, it allowed me to make a big batch of brown sugar.

As always, we have popcorn on hand for snacks all the time.  My son loves popcorn and it is a super healthy and frugal snack.  My husband brought up a new bag of popcorn from the freezer and he commented on how many bags were in there and I told him that I had to stock up because the popcorn is seasonal at Aldi.  The word that I never want to hear like the molasses and the cloves!!  I realize that they can't carry everything all the time but popcorn is not seasonal!!!  We eat it all year round.  How about your family??

I hope that you have had a tasty few weeks with lots of frugal treats.  The main one is that I have been making cinnamon rolls every week for the last few weeks so that we can reheat them and have them for breakfast any day that we want them.  They are starting to have the thrill wear off and I haven't been making frosting so they are a little more boring but I have some cream cheese and powdered sugar that are going to be used soon to make some more frosting for the next few batches.

I used cranberries and orange juice from the freezer to make cranberry sauce which I think turned out pretty well.  I didn't know how easy that was going to be but it was another totally unexpected short cut that I thought would be way more complicated.  Making things at home instead of buying them is lots easier on all fronts and I am glad that I keep testing more recipes for myself.

I made some more chicken broth from the frozen leftover veggie pieces and chicken bones that I had in the freezer.  I am actually running out of leftover veggies because of the amount that I use for making broth.  We are down to the last few whole chickens so I am hoping to have a little time to catch up with making broth in the coming month with new veggies.

Using all the things around the house has made it easier to stretch the budget but it has also made my shopping adventures a little bit more flexible which always gets me to trouble picking up a few extra special treats to add to the cart.  Not necessarily the outcome that we are looking for but hoping that it still works out to lots of savings!!

How have you done recently with using things around the house to save a little money??  Give me some ideas to integrate into my routine this year because I try to add a new thing every year and the only two left on my list is pressure canning and making pasta which I am not sure if I am going to be tackle them with my schedule this year and lack of free time adjusting to working this year.  Can't wait to get your help!!

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