Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Frugal Things and Some Not so Frugal Things

Remember my charity dinner I attended?  We were invited by a friend so it was free to attend.  I would of loved to bid on something but they were out of our price range so we just ended up spending time with our friends, ate some lovely dinner and danced the night away. Miss Oregon was there, there were free snacks...and I feel as if I'm forgetting something.... Oh and there was wine.  Lots of wine. Since the husband was driving I had a glass or two.....too much. I slept awful and woke up at 6am for my trip very very very tired.  So I ate some breakfast and filled my belly with coffee and we were on the go! 

1. Saved $7.50 by parking in the neighborhood and not in the city street.  Woot!

2. Lunch was just a sausage and only set me back $6.50.  Simple but oh so goooooooood!

My not so frugal thing was dinner.  We ate at a authentic German place and my dinner and drink set me back $30 after taxes and tip.  Yikes! Honestly it was well worth it. Plus I'm going to research and try to learn to make this DIY style! Can't put a price on that! 

3. Instead of going out for drinks we picked up this game at a shop for $13 and headed back to our KOA cabin.  We will never book a cabin at this particular KOA ever again thank you very much. It wasn't a pleasant expierence and Ive been to many KOA camps in Oregon and Washington. But we made the best of it. We brought some brews from home, a book and played this game. Way cheaper than if we had gone out for drinks.  

4.  We headed back into town and had breakfast. I ordered banana bread french toast and a huge cup of black coffee. It was SO GOOD!  Again I will have to make it DIY style at home. Yummo! We went for a walking hike at Blackbird Island right after breakfast.  Free to do and takes about an hour of walking.  While we were walking I was working on a photo project I'm doing for my husbands Christmas gift.  More details at another time for that.  This walk really cleared my brain and completely  soothed my soul.  It was a much needed break in nature.  Oh and FREE!!!!!

5.  Spent 2 whole days with my best friend. Thats priceless! The radio didn't get turned on once and we enjoyed our time together.  I love my best friend so much and cherish our overnight trips we take a few times a year.  She is as frugal as me so our trips are usually fun filled and don't break the bank.  Camping, cabins and cheap hotels. We choose to spend our $$ on memories not lodging.  

My not so frugal thing is how much I spent on stuff.  I picked up a few birthday gifts and a Christmas gift for my girls that totaled $50.  Then I wanted to find something that I could always think of my trip every time I saw it.  This authentic German made Quartz Cuckoo Clock with Swinging girl for $49 fit the bill.  Its flashy enough with the swinging girl to keep my girls fascinated often but doesn't make a cuckoo noise that will drive us nuts.  One day I plan to buy a nicer one but this particular one was in my budget.

So as you can see I had a blast on my trip but also kept on budget.  In fact I have a little extra money left over so I will put it in my grocery budget.  Were cutting back on everything for a little extra $$ for Christmas.  Instead of using credit cards to buy things we save money everywhere we can, plan ahead and use cash.  We also don't buy a ton of gifts but instead get our girls meaningful things they really want.

A HUGE shoutout to Joslin for all the tips you sent me for my Leavenworth Washington trip.  You did a fantastic job of pointing out where to go. THANKS!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Spicy Sausage Pumpkin Soup

Spicy sausage pumpkin soup I only made in the Fall so we look forward to it all year long.  This soup even converted my husband to liking pumpkin. SHOCK! It is made with just a few ingredients and really is very simple to make.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.

Pumpkin or squash you like
Spicy sausage of your choice
Milk or broth
Salt and pepper
Optional: bacon 

Cut the pumpkins/squash in half and scoop the seeds out.  Save those seeds and bake them for a yummy snack! Lay the pumpkin/squash flat on a cookie sheet lightly oiled with olive oil.  Bake at 350 degrees till you can poke the pumpkin with a fork and its goes straight in with no problem.  Bring the pumpkin/squash out and let them cool.  

2.  While the pumpkin/squash is cooking go ahead and cook up the spicy sausage.  I am using pork spicy chorizo sausage because it was on sale so go ahead and use what your budget allows.  If the sausage isn't spicy then add some red pepper flakes and spice that sucker up! My husband came up with the idea to add bacon so I threw that in as well.  Once done remove the meat from the pan and set aside.  

3.  Scoop all pumpkin/squash meat and put into the pot.  Here is where you can make it as thick or runny as you want.  Sometimes I just add almond milk and sometimes I just add any broth I have on hand.  Tonight I decided to add a little of both.  Tonight's choice is almond milk and mushroom broth because I had it in the fridge and they needed to be used.  Get creative and try different things.  Once you have done this get your emulsifier out and start getting that soup creamy. If you don't like chunks at all go ahead and add the meat into it as well.  We prefer a little bit of chunks so once I'm done with the creaming I add the meat back in.  Add salt and pepper to taste and there you have spicy sausage pumpkin soup.

Vegan? Don't add the meat.

Dairy free? Add any non dairy free milk you like. Heck just add broth.

Don't like spice? Don't add spicy sausage just add regular sausage.

Now go enjoy the soup.  You can thank me later

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 Frugal Things

1. My steal of a deal on dried beans at Whole Foods.  These Heirloom Jacob's Cattle Trout Beans were 50% off making them $2.25 a lb which is more affordable for my budget.  Trying new things also gets my girls to eat new foods.  Today I'm soaking one pound of them in hot water so I can cook them later on.  I make a batch of beans about once a month and freeze them in 1 cup sizes so they can be thawed out easily.  These beans are so beautiful and I'm pretty sure you could use them in just about any meal.  If you do the math I'm paying only about .37 cents compared to a can of beans (which they don't sell these types so I compared to other beans) for $1.  Now that is frugal! 

2. Its roasting fire season baby! Today we plan on having our first fire of the Fall season.  Its a annual thing we do each year.  Kids get home from school, I start making a hot yummy dinner and my husband gets home from work and starts a fire.  Can't wait for the smell...oh the smell! The sounds....oh the sounds! My girls will be happy to lay in front of the fire and putting their toes up to get warm.  LOVE!!! Also we turn off the heat and that saves us a bundle of $$.  We saved wood all year long so we can do this.  Free wood from neighbors, left over wood from projects and salvaged wood from everywhere.  Now that is frugal!

3.  Bulk section.  Each Fall I try to take advantage of seasonal sales.  Dried food in the bulk section is ALWAYS a money saver. It takes a tiny bit of preparation but its well worth it.  Not only is food cheaper but its straight up just food.  No fillers and no hidden ingredients as long as you buy just real food.  Some stores have some not so healthy things in there as well.  I buy all kinds of beans, lentils, herbs and even rice.  You see this also helps me save energy.  No storing food in my fridge! No need to hurry and use it up because these can last for months on end.  This is hands down the best way to save on organic food.  Now that is frugal.

4.  Second hand stores.  Now don't get me wrong.  I love going to antique stores to drool over all the vintage clothes, kitchen items and just about everything you can imagine.  But the sticker prices are shocking sometimes!  I like to hit little thrift stores that are out of the way or almost even look like they are out of business.  Thats where you find the good stuff.  Above is a slip from the 50's-60's.  Baby blue with white lace.  Antique store would charge me $10 easily for this. Since I found this at Goodwill Outlet (pay by the lb) I think I paid maybe 10 cents for this. Its as light as air!  Now that is frugal! 

5.  Loved gifts. While I was at Goodwill Outlet I found this beautiful loved book.  My twins 10th birthday is coming up next month and one of them is in love with Raggedy Ann and Andy.  I paid $2 for this 1925 GOLDEN BOOK.  Its old, smelly and been used a ton.  SHE WILL LOVE IT!  I could of paid $14 for it at Powells, $4.99 at a regular Goodwill store but nope I paid $2 at the Goodwill Outlet.  Now that is frugal! 

And I saved the best reason for this book. 

Just look at these illustrations!  Look at the vivid colors! Look at the characters! I mean really.....

This post was inspired by The Non Consumer Advocate and I had her permission to write this.

Now its your turn.  What frugal things have you been up to?