Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Stretch a Chicken: 5-6 Meals Out of One Chicken for 3-4 people.

Here are 5-6 meals out of one chicken for 3-4 people. 

Day 1: Meal 1: Roast Chicken. Yum Yum! This is so easy to make with a couple of baked potatoes and side veg. I usually make extra potatoes for leftovers.

 Day 2: Meal 2 Leftover Roast Chicken and Potatoes. Heat and eat.

Day 2 or 3: Meal 3 Chicken sandwiches for lunch or dinner! Add whatever you want, lettuce, mayo, cheese etc.

Day 3 or 4: Meals 4 and 5 I will often make chicken burritos but today I made chicken noodle soup with all the meat left on the carcass.

Everything that didn't go into the soup went into the pot. I will boil this on low for about 4 hours and make bone broth. I will strain out all the bones and skin etc. I usually just drink the bone broth, it is so good for you! (Can be used for a meal 6.)

None of this chicken goes to waste! There should be enough soup left for tomorrow night as well. The bone broth can be frozen into cubes for later soup if desired.

Last but not least, scraps for the cats.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reusing Aluminum Foil

If you use aluminium foil, like I did for these baked potatoes, you can rinse off the foil, dry it, fold it up and reuse it! This is a trick I saw my Mom doing growing up.

The Big Glean

Every year in this area there are a number of large potato fields that are harvested. They only take the largest potatoes and leave behind the smaller ones. Many people in the area go and harvest the smaller ones left behind. As you can see from the photo, these are not tiny potatoes, they are reasonably sized for eating. My husband and I went out and it took us one hour to pick these up. I did not weigh them all but I did weigh one 5 gallon bucket full at 35 lbs. The tubs have maybe two of the pails worth in them so lets say 7 five gallon bucket pails. That is 245 lbs of potatoes! Right now, I have seen russets go for about $1.97 for 10 lbs. or .20/ lb. so that's about $49.00 of potatoes. Take out about $2 for gas and it comes to about $47.00. It took my husband and I an hour to gather these so that is about $23.50/hour. We will use these all winter long plus I will give some to my parents and other relatives/friends who want some. I keep them covered in the garage and some of them might freeze but the ones closer to the house are usually good. I will end up throwing a few out at the end of the winter no doubt.

Beyond potatoes I do think about sustainability. According to this article, it says we spend 10 energy calories producing one calorie of food.


Not only am I saving money by doing this, but I feel I am being a responsible citizen. I hate seeing this energy go to waste. These potatoes were planted, grown and harvested with oil. It makes me feel good to glean it off the land and put it to good use.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fancy Schmancy the Frugal Way: How a 3 Day/Two Night Trip cost us $240.00 vs $475.47 Including Gas!!

My husband and I just got back from a 3 day/2 night vacation. We had a blast! But instead of this vacation costing us $475.47, it instead cost us $240.00 including gas to get us there and back. Since this is a blog about frugality, I would like to say here that if you are living next to the edge where you are only making minimum payments on your credit cards, taking a trip like this may not be in your best interests. A trip camping or something more frugal should be in the works. However, if your finances are in relatively good order and you are looking for a way to have a frugal but fantastic vacation, you could do something like this:

Here is my travel folder that I prepare before every trip. It has every coupon, every map to and from every destination we plan to go to plus a few extra coupons just in case they are needed.

First, hotel. I did a bid on a Priceline Hotel. Priceline has two ways to get hotels. You can go to their website and pick or you can make a bid on a hotel. I have historically always bid because you can get much better prices that way. The main drawback to the name your own price feature is that you cannot pick your own hotel. This means if you want certain features like breakfast or a pool you can't be certain of getting them. The only thing you can choose is how many stars and in what area. My first bid was $40.00 per night. This was rejected by Priceline and they told me I needed to bid at least $47.00. So I left. I went back later and bid $41.00 and they took it! Yay! I got a hotel with pool AND breakfast, so I was very excited. This was a La Quinta hotel. This would have been $75.00 per night otherwise. so $82.00 vs $150.00.



We have birthdays this time of year which is one reason we go for a fall vacation every year. There are many restaurants that if you sign up for their newsletter etc, they will give you a freebie on your birthday. For this, you just have to search for different places you might be interested in and sign up. I had a few coupons for different restaurants.

Then, I saw an event I wanted to do and did a search for a coupon online, which a person can often find. I didn't find one, however, I found out that the twin cities has a coupon book that you can buy. The coupon book was more than I wanted to spend however and so I looked on Craigslist and found someone who was wanting to trade some of the coupons from this book. I wrote to this person and asked her if she would be willing to sell me some certain coupons. She was. Cha-Ching! I offered her $8.00 for four coupons and received them in the mail. These coupons saved me a total of $58.90. (I wasn't able to use one because the place was closed for the season.)

So the trip went as follows:

Buy one get one free for Birthday. Total cost $4.10 vs $8.20.

Next was a really expensive dinner. I mean really. My frugal bones just about couldn't stand it, but I did anyway. We went to Red Lobster where I got the Seaport Lobster and Shrimp and my husband got Yellowfin Tuna in Garlic Butter. We always order water in restaurants so there was no charge for drinks. Total bill $57.37 plus tips! Woah! But, my Mom and Dad (thanks Mom and Dad!) had given us a $25.00 gift certificate earlier in the year for our anniversary and I saved it for this trip. So total cost was $32.37 plus tips. Hey, we could have easily tried to stick closer to that $25.00 and done much better cost-wise, but we both ordered what we wanted and it was soooo good. :)

Next morning, free breakfast vs $20.00 somewhere else X 2 days = free vs $40.00.

I knew before we left that one coupon I had purchased was not going to pan out so I found a deal for a shooting range on Groupon. I knew my husband would enjoy that. It cost us $18.00 vs $40.00.

We ate lunch at Fuddruckers. (Were all the good names taken when they named that place??). I had a birthday coupon for a free burger $11.03 vs $18.12. My husband had the burger and I, the salad.

Then we went to a play at a theater. This would have cost $64.00 but cost $32.00 with my buy one get one coupon.

After the play we went to Woolley's.  This is a super good restaurant. Real tablecloths and napkins, excellent service and the best food ever! I forgot to take pics of the food here but here is a link to the restaurant. My husband had the Panko Walleye and I had a burger (the best burger ever!). My husband and I split both meals and traded half and half. We do that quite often. I had a buy one get one free entree coupon. So what would have cost us $40.60 cost $23.55.


The next day, after free breakfast and a swim, we went to Mill City Museum. This is where they used to make Gold Medal Flour. It was very interesting. I had a buy one get one coupon. Regular would have been $22.00 but we were there for $11.00.

We had one more Dairy Queen coupon so it was back to dairy Queen for one last blizzard before we headed home $4.10 vs $8.20.

I still have some freebie coupons for birthdays. I hope to use one next weekend. These expire quickly and it seems impossible to use them all every year. 

So, this trip cost $240.00 vs $475.47 for a difference of $235.47. I spent about an hour and a half looking for these deals and putting them together. That's about $156.98/hour. Or if you wanted to give yourself a raise for the year, about .11/hour. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quick View on Walmart Ad Match: Deals I Got Today

I'm sharing these deals so you can see some of the deals I get on a regular basis doing Ad Match. Anyone with a Walmart nearby can do this!

Fresh Sliced Mushrooms 8 oz. .98
McCormick Taco Seasoning .25
La Choy Chow Mein Meal $2.48
Large Dozen Eggs .68
3 lb Apples $1.77
Blueberry Pie Filling $2.69
Gallon Apple Cider $2.99
Red Grapes $1.19 lb
Scott Bathroom Tissue 12 roll $3.98
Milwaukee Baby Pickles 32 oz $1.88
Cream of Mushroom Soup .49
Sharp Cheddar Cheese $2.99 lb

The photo above shows the print outs I make of the ads in nearby stores. I highlight and list what I want to make it easy at checkout. I do this almost every week and save quite a bit!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tonight's Dinner; Very Healthy and Very Inexpensive Homemade Split Pea Soup

Tonight's dinner was a very inexpensive split pea soup. I didn't add up all the costs on this like I do on some things, but a 16 oz bag of generic split peas at the Mennonite Bulk store that I shop at is .88 lb. I used about a lb of these for this soup. I used pork bones for the meat which are very inexpensive. I added some vegetable juice that I made with older vegetables in my juicer that were getting older and I wanted out of my freezer. I had saved bacon grease from bacon that we had made previously and added that for flavor. I also added a few lentils for variety. This was topped with some cheddar cheese.

I used bread crusts from the $1.00 a loaf bread I bought the other day.

The lemonade was free Country time I got from Walgreen's. I water it down because it's too sweet otherwise and put a few squeezes of real lemon juice in it.

There is enough left over for leftovers for tomorrow night's dinner. Very inexpensive and healthy and tasty too! :)

Give Yourself an .18 an Hour Raise! Save on Heating Costs with Little Time or Money

What you see in the picture above is a programmable thermostat. I think whether you rent or own, you could possibly use a programmable thermostat in either case. There is some debate on whether programmable thermostats actually save money. In an article I read today about programmable thermostats that said they do not save money, it said that the people who use them think they are saving so much they put the temperature very low while they are gone and then very high while they are there so they end up not saving any money. Well, I thought that was kind of a no-brainer. You just have to use your head a little bit.

The concept is that people are not always at home and they also sleep, so you program your thermostat to your advantage. For example, if no one is home from 9-5, the thermostat can be turned down from 9-4:30. Then, as well, it can also be turned down while sleeping. I think many people actually sleep better in a cooler temperature. The point behind programmable thermostats is that how you program it is up to you. You can set it at any temperature that works to your advantage.

I used the below chart to come to the figure in the title. Annual savings of $365.00 a year and of course this will vary depending on how you set your thermostat.

You can spend a lot or a little for a thermostat. I saw them online from anywhere between $25.00 and $125.00. These costs should be easily recouped in the first year. There are a lot of videos on youtube  for how to program them. Here is another article for a few pointers:

So, you may be able to get more than an .18 hour a raise depending on your climate and how well you program your thermostat. Once again, an easy and relatively inexpensive way to save money with little time or money! Tax Free!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Saving on Meat: Today's Dinner

Since we have been starting to run low on venison, rather than waiting until we are out altogether, I check and see if there is any marked down burger now. These pre-made burgers are nice because I don't have to make them into patties (a real plus with Raynauds!)

I am making half of these today and half later on. I am also making some garden potato raw fries with them. Burgers are not really a cheap meal but they can be cheaper if you buy the meat on sale or mark down. I hardly ever buy really cheapy hamburger because we don't like it at all, so this is angus.

Yes, we did just go out to eat for burgers last night! However, I have half a burger left from my meal from last night and am going to eat that. We also have a few other leftovers (broccoli and rice) that I am adding as sides.

Dinner for Two: $11.50 Plus Tips vs $20.02 Plus Tips

My husband and I went out to dinner last night. (So sorry, forgot to take photos of the food!!) Anyway, we went to Stout Ale House. I hardly ever go out to eat without a coupon.



Stout Ale House has very good burgers. They are more of a sports bar/restaurant. I like the food and good deals (but wish they would turn down the music!)

Anyway, my husband had this:

Buffalo Curd Burger* - Topped with buffalo cheese curds and cheddar jack cheese and served on a kaiser roll - 9.49

And I had this:

Mushroom Bacon Blue Cheese* - Grilled mushrooms, bacon, and blue cheese crumbles top this 1/3lb chargrilled burger, served on a kaiser bun - 9.49

Many area radio stations all over the nation offer good deals on out to eat and all kinds of other things. If I were in a different area than I am, I would do a web search on the area radio stations and see what they offer. I would also do some web searches and just see what there is for coupon deals in that area. There are always, always deals to be found. Here in this area, there is also a place called Eau Claire Square that gives good offers.

Here are two places to get deals in my area:




So, our tab came to $20.02. Since I bought $50.00 of coupons for Stout Ale House for $25.00 plus a $3.75 handling fee, our total was $11.50. I have coupons left over for another time. These have to be used by a certain date or they will expire.

I hesitate to write about deals in my area thinking people will get discouraged thinking all the good deals are where I live. That is not true! You just need to sniff out the deals where you are, I know they are there. Happy sniffing! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Zipping Through the Store

Once in a while, I just need to zip through the store with no pre-planning. I zip past all the clearance stuff. Here is what I got today:

Marked down meat. These drumsticks are all natural, no antibiotics etc. The brats, well....:) But the yellow tags mean they are marked down. If you look closely you can see the amount saved.

Almond milk, regular buy. Yogurt was on sale for $2.00 each so I bought two.

Yellow tagged baked goods. Don't need these but bought them anyway. You can see my double-mindedness on health food. LOL!

Sugar was on sale at $1.48 each. I got organic decaf coffee on clearance for $4.00, Regular priced canned soup. Healthy tomato soup on clearance for $1,50 a carton.

These were on sale for .25 each. Half price.
When I can't buy eggs on sale, I get these all natural ones. Today they were $2.38. 

So, now you can see my confessions of a person who tries to eat healthy but kinda falls off the rails. Oh well. Anyway, you can see that I just zip through and save as I go!