Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner for 8 for Under $20.00 including Turkey and Duck!

I had Thanksgiving at my house this year and spent under $20.00. We had turkey, duck, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, two kinds of cranberries, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. My guests brought a couple of things and this added key lime pie, lemon meringue pie, a salad and some rolls. You may remember when I blogged about finding some great deals on turkey and duck a few months back. I put them in the deep freeze and they were perfect for this meal! 

The turkey was on sale for $6.33! This was marked down from $25.77 (13 lbs.). The only thing wrong with it was a broken handle on the package. If you are having Christmas at your house, keep your eyes out for deals like this right after Thanksgiving this year and, if you have a deep freeze, all year long for deals like this. You can save a bundle when you have guests over.
 I was able to have both turkey and duck for this Thanksgiving meal as a special treat. The duck was only $2.88, marked down from $16.36. It came with a special orange sauce which tasted fantastic!
I knew my guests were bringing pie and I didn't need to have any but I saw this pie on the mark down table. It was marked down from $5.98 to $2.99. The only reason for this is you can see on the right side, it got slightly overcooked. Other than that, it was perfect! 
 I made a dish called Green Bean Casserole. It has only green beans, mixed with Cream of Mushroom soup, topped with French's Crispy Fried Onions and baked. The green beans were bought on sale for .49 each and so was the Cream of Mushroom soup. The French's I bought on clearance a while back and saved for a special occasion such as this. It had a coupon with it, making this box only $1.00.
 Every year, we go out to some local potato fields and get tubs of free potatoes left over after the farmers get what they are going to get. So, these were free and made into mashed potatoes.
 The cranberry sauce was .49 on sale and the fresh cranberries were bought with ad match at Wal-Mart for .99. I added some water and sugar and boiled them.
 This gluten free stuffing was on sale and had a coupon so I ended up spending .50 on them plus .49 for the chicken broth on sale.
 My mother-in-law gave us some elderberry wine last year for Christmas so I served that with the meal.
 Last but not least, I never pay full price for decorations! The best time to buy is a week or so after the holiday when prices are not 50% off, but 90% off! The centerpiece in the first photo was bought at Goodwill for $1.99 and I bought some gourds on clearance for .20 a bag to fill it with. The tags you see below are tags from other Thanksgiving decorations.

 The only things I needed to buy specially for this meal was the pie and the cranberries. Everything else I already had in my pantry and bought when it was on sale. If I had purchased everything for this meal at regular price (food only), it would have cost me $68.35 to serve this meal. It cost me less than $20.00 (about $18.00). This is a difference of $50.35!! And I didn't even need to buy the pumpkin pie or serve the duck and this still would have been a nicely rounded meal, so, if I were really wanting to skip those two items, I could have served the meal for about $12.00!!

The key to saving money is to buy when things are on clearance. Doing this regularly saves a lot of money and you don't have to skimp on quality.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Savings!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pennies Pennies Everywhere: Reuse Freezer and Storage Bags

A good way to save some money is to re-use your plastic freezer and storage baggies. I usually manage to re-use mine a few times before throwing them away. I suds them up well using some dish soap and hot water and wash them out well. I then turn them upside down to dry on whatever I have available. Usually that is on top of cups or a faucet handle or a bottle of some kind. There is often a little moisture left in them so I dry them out before putting them away. Depending on how many baggies you use per year, you can save a fair amount of money. If you normally use 100 bags per year, for example, and you buy 20 and re-use them over and over, and you normally pay 99 cents per 20 (which is what I get them for on sale), you can save about $4.00. That might not seem like a lot of money but remember when you save pennies on a little of everything all year long, and do it year after year, it can amount to a lot.

If saving a few dollars isn't a good enough incentive for you, you may want to consider washing baggies out for environmental reasons. According to Ecowatch, "Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.Apr 7, 2014"  There is so much plastic thrown away, it really is quite tragic. A great thing about frugality is that is usually has further reaching effects than just your personal purse-strings. This is one reason why frugality is such a great concept.

Here is an article from Mother Jones on washing out sandwich baggies:

I re-use plastic baggies over and over and have not had a problem. I just make sure they are clean. However, there comes a point when I do throw them away. It is not recommended to re-use discolored baggies or baggies that had meat or oil in them for food use. Use common sense when re-using baggies.

Here is an article about re-using plastic baggies in ways other than putting food into them:

Happy Savings!