Homemaking 4 My Guys

Thoughts on Homemaking, Saving Money, Faith, Family & A Life Worth Living

Archive for the category “Money Saving Tips”

Meal Planning

OHRMThis weekend Brenda and I had the honor of spending some time with military wives and soldiers who have been blessed with child at A Star Spangled Baby Shower hosted by https://www.facebook.com/OHRockyMountains.

Brenda and I both have been military wives and know the sacrifice of these wonderful women.  We thank them for their family’s service and sacrifice in defending our freedoms.  We thank you.  I huge thanks to Nina and her staff of volunteers who  made this fun pampering event happen.

Brenda and I talked a bit about some money-saving ideas/tips.  One of the things we shared was regarding making a meal plan each month.  This simply put is making a list of the meals you would like to make for the week, every two weeks or monthly, whatever works best for your family. I did our family’s while on a drive from our community to another one weekend.  Next I got through and list the ingredients I will need to make these meals.  Once that is completed, I cross off any ingredients I already have stocked in the kitchen and freezers.  Lastly I either make a neater list of what is needed at the grocery stores or I can use my crossed out list of needed ingredients.  I personally like to make a new list and categorize them by the store I will purchase them at based on the best value I can get.

We already have the supplies for each meal in-house and can pull whatever is need prior to the day it is prepared.  We have personally learned the value of doubling or tripling a meal our family enjoys.  We do with everything from meatloaf and Salisbury steaks to pasta sauces, chicken pot pies to various casseroles.  With the extras, place in serving size containers or zip lock backs and throw in the freezer.  This is so nice in the weeks to come.  For every time this is done we have two extra meals already made and we can just continue to rotate them through over the next few weeks.

We have learned meal planning saves us time, at the grocery store but also at home because we already have prepped so much of our ingredients.

We definitely save money since we are making fewer trips to the grocery store and therefore not buying as much.  Grocers want in there their stores as often as possible.  Most of us do not  go in and pick up just that loaf of bread or the gallon of milk we need, we usually add extra items to our cart.

The lack of stress is wonderful.  It is so nice to know we have everything we need in-house for whatever we decided to have that night.  If you do some freezer meals or preparatory pieces it is great to be able to pull that and defrost in the fridge and them whip up in a few minutes when it is dinner time.

Meal planning for us has also become a way to combat spending money at the last-minute with eating out or purchasing ready-made meals at the last moment when a day has been extremely busy or stressful.  It has also been a saving grace when Mom goes down sick or has to be out-of-town.

The Mastering-Meal-Planning-class-handout is some wonderful information we had gathered from Kelly over at http://www.thenourishinghome.com.  Check her blog out 🙂

Check out http://www.operationhomefront/rockmountains.net as well.   They are doing some awesome work with our military families.  Consider joining them as a volunteer.  You will be blessed by it.

Have a wonderful week,

Marilyn

 

Powdered Laundry Soap

 
Last nigSONY DSCht my friend Brenda was blessed to share with some women last night ideas for saving money.  Sorry I was unable to make it as well.  I so would have loved to share with you as well.
 
 Some of the women were asking for a powdered version of homemade laundry soap.  So here it is ladies, from http://www.diynatural.com
 
Homemade powder laundry detergent recipe
This powdered detergent recipe requires just three simple ingredients and takes only a few minutes to make.

Detergent Recipe

Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load).

Ingredients

1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) of shaved bar soap (a homemade laundry barDr. Bronner’sIvoryZOTE, or Fels-Naptha)

1 cup of borax

1 cup of washing soda

Directions

Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes and enjoy the results! You can take this a step further and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor to create a powder that will dissolve easily even in cold water. (Just be sure to let the dust settle before removing the lid of your blender or food processor so you don’t inhale the fine particles.) Store in a sealed container with a small scoop.

To Use

Use 1 Tbsp per load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads).

http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-soap/

 
 

 

Budget Saving Tips

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Tips for saving $$$

Make a monthly menu plan.  This is huge, make a list of all ingredients needed, check and see what you have in your home already.  Make a list of the items you do need.  It will blow you mind how much this cuts down on the grocery bill
 
Shop loss leader items
 
Stock up on sales
 
Make your own laundry soap and cleaning products (super easy and cheap!!!)
 
Cook and debone your own chicken breasts in a crock pot.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and whatever herbs you like and make great health stock at the same time
 
Prepare your own mixes: spices, biscuit/Bisquick, muffins, cookie dough, marinara sauce
 
Parboil potatoes, peel and shred then freeze for hash browns
 
Blanch/freeze diced vegetables once a month for economical, fast and healthier options when cooking
 
Buy meats on last sale date, big savings
 
Buy cheese in bulk store, grate in food processor and freeze (much cheaper and healthier than buying pre-shredded)
 
Share a membership to a warehouse store with a friend.  Every membership has two access cards.  Split the cost and reap the savings
Make it a practice to double your recipes and put 1/2 of each in the freezer for another day
 
Get together with some friends and each of you make a few of the same recipe and then swap them out so everyone takes home a few new dishes to try
 
Shred zucchini in the summer and fall months, bag and freeze for making breads, muffins and cakes with in the winter and spring.  Do the same for bananas as the start to brown for same purpose
 
Got picky eaters, cook vegetables and them puree them with the some of the liquid cooked with and pour into ice cube trays. 
 
 
Once froze, place in freezer storage bag.  Add to recipes and your loved ones will be none the wiser but will receive the nutritional value
 
Take chicken broth from cooking chicken in crock pot and place in ice cube trays.  Once froze place in storage bag/container.  You will always have broth at the ready that is health and very low in sodium but high in flavor
 
Make your own baby food, cook fruits, veggies, meals and desserts.  Puree in blender then freezer in ice cube trays.  Store in plastic bags.  Defrost as needed.  Not only is this a cheaper option, your child is developing a taste for the foods your family eats
 
Cook big batches of rice and place in containers and freeze.  You can pull it out and thaw before usage.  A great time saver.  DOES NOT WORK WELL FOR PASTA
 
Precook hamburger with onions, garlic and peppers, then freeze in serving size baggies/containers for quick usage
 
Grow your own vegetables/herbs either in a garden or in containers
 
Turn the heat down when not at home or at night
 
Sign-up for daily updates on free or reduced e-books (if you are a Kindle app reader)
 
Use a crock pot, microwave or grill to cook as much as possible
 
Dry clothes outside on a clothes line whenever weather permits 
 
Your oven and dryer are your two largest electricity consumers  as far as appliances go

 Websites that I frequent or follow, many cover multiple areas listed below:

Recipes/Cooking

http://www.budget101.com

http://www.grocery101.com

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com

wwwfavfamilyrecipes.com

http://www.chocolatechocolateandmore.com

http://www.myrecipemagic.com

 

Frugal Living/Make Your Own

http://www.budget101.com

http://www.theprariehomestead.com

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com

http://www.thethriftycouple.com

http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com

http://www.staceymakescents.com

http://www.passionatepennypincher.com

 

Christian Living/Wife/Mom Stuff

http://www.timewarpwife.com

http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com

http://www.unveiledwife.com

http://www.club31women.com

http://www.homewiththeboys.net

http://www.mobsociety.com

http://www.thebettermom.com

 

Free Educational/Homeschool Stuff

http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com

http://www.smartappsforkids.com

 

Christian E-books

http://www.gospelbooks.com

http://www.vesselproject.com

http://www.christianbook.com/page/ebooks/free-ebooks?view_all=1

 

My contact info  

Website:  www.homemaking4myguys.wordpress.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/homemaking4myguys

Pinterest:  www.pinterst.com/homekaking4myguys

Email: homemkaing4myguys@yahoo.com

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions I can address or research for you 🙂

Blessings, Marilyn

Hooked On Phonics

4391If you have an IPad or IPhone you might want to check this out:

Hooked On Phonics Learn To Read Classroom Edition app, regularly $49.99 is free today only.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hooked-on-phonics-learn-to/id806401149?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Skinny-Baked-Mozzarella-SticksOur youngest son has a love affair going on with mozzarella cheese sticks.  As they tend to be not only expensive but very bad for us I was excited when I received this post from my friends over at http://www.budget101.com.  They posted it from  http://www.skinnytaste.com.

If you have a membership to Sam’s Club, they are by far the cheapest place to buy string cheese.  Make my friend Jen’s marinara sauce (or pull it out of the freezer, if it is already made) and you have one amazing snack or appetizer.  Now we can enjoy this yummy snack with a little less guilt.  Gotta love that!!!

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 2 pieces • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 2 pts*
Calories: 86.8* • Fat: 4.8 g • Protein: 7.4 g • Carb: 3.5 g • Fiber: 0.2 g • Sugar: 0.2
Sodium: 168.6 

Ingredients:

  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese (Sargento)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray (I used my misto)

Directions:

Cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Place cheese in the freezer until cheese is frozen.

In small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour on another small dish. In separate bowl,combine bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried parsley.

Dip the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then coat with the crumbs.

Repeat this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden).

When ready to bake preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.

Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and bake in the bottom third of your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 4 – 5 minutes watching them closely so they don’t melt.

Makes 24 pieces.

* There will be extra crumbs and flour after breading, I’ve deducted them from the nutritional info.

Snapfish Deal

For all you Snapfish fans out there, here is a terrific deal for you courtesy of Passionate Penny Pincher

 

I love this deal!  Download the free Snapfish App and get 100 free 4 x 6 prints each month for 1 year, when you head over to iTunes or Google Play.  This is a total of 1,200 prints in all!

You’ll receive credit when you login to the app, after the download.  Then, each month, you’ll automatically receive credits for 100 free prints (you don’t need a code).  In addition, you can use promo code APPSHIP right now to receive free shipping.  Love it!

Jen’s Marinara Sauce

My friend Jen is half Italian.  She learned how to make this marinara sauce from her family.  It is amazing.  I like to use it not only for pasta dishes like spaghetti and lasagna but also as pizza sauce.  Jen uses this with her meatballs (which are widely known and coveted in our community) for meatball subs.  
 
Thanks to her hubby,Brook, for allowing us to share in wealth while watching football.  You’re a jewel too.  Love ya friends.
 
It is very economical to make.  Much cheaper than purchasing pre-made sauce, better for us and quick as a lick….
 
Keep it handy, you will absolutely love it!!!   Printable version here: Jens Marinara Sauce
 
Ingredients
 
1 Jumbo can Tomato sauce (restaurant size from Sam’s Club or Costco)
Minced garlic (to taste)
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon Olive oil, divided
1 or 2 large cans tomato paste
1 large onion
Basil (to taste)
parsley (to taste)
 
1. Pour tomato sauce in large pot or crock pot.
2. Sauté garlic in 1  teaspoon olive oil in pan.
 3. Once garlic is tender add garlic to sauce then add tomato paste to pan garlic was cooked in and sauté until sauce is orange.
4. Add tomato paste to sauce in pot and mix well.
6. Blend in 2 tbsp. olive oil.
7. Peel outer skin of onion and cut ends off.  Float onion in large pot of sauce.
 8. Add basil, parsley, olive oil, and paste/garlic mixture to large pot and simmer for a while or overnight.
 
Place marinara sauce in containers,  freezer.  Use as needed.

Pods for the Dishwasher

b101-dishwasher-podsHere is the recipe for some homemade dishwasher pellets.  The recipe is from http://www.budget101.com/myo-household-items/homemade-dishwasher-pellets-3916.html  She states this recipe ends up costing her $.02-$.03 per pellet or pod.  That is quite a savings.

I have listed the recipe here, however if you click on the above link, it will show you step by step pictures.  I love how she shares that if you do not want to make the entire batch all at once, you can store the powder for the next time you are running low.  Sweetness!!

If you I do not use a dishwasher so I have not made them but I have friends who have and love them.    Enjoy……..

From Budget 101

Recently I started noticing how much money I was spending on dishwasher detergent, especially the pods or pellets. Brand-name pellets ranged from a low of 2.98 to 6.29 for 20 pellets on a recent visit to the grocery store. That’s when I decided to make my own.

Materials and supplies:
2-gallon bucket
measuring cup
spoon
large glass mixing bowl
tablespoon
3 – 16 cube plastic ice cube trays

1 – 54-55 oz box of washing soda / detergent booster (3.89)
1 – 76 oz box of borax (4.49)
1 – 2 lb carton of epsom salts (.99)
1 – bottle reconstituted lemon juice (32 oz for .99)
$10.36 for over 300 pellets

I used a 2 gallon bucket to mix the following dry ingredients;
1-54 oz box of washing soda (you can substitute a box of White King Detergent booster (no chlorine or phosphates) for the washing soda)
1-76 oz box of Borax
1- 2 lb carton of epsom salts

I measure out 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the mixture into a large glass mixing bowl and add lemon juice a a tablespoon at a time and stir until it begins to clump. It will fizz a little bit but not very much. If you squeeze the clumps between your fingers it will feel slightly sticky.

Place enough to loosely fill each of the ice-cube molds in a plastic ice cube tray (you will need 3 trays with sixteen molds per tray.

Put on disposable glove or cover your thumb with a thin plastic shopping bag (this is very drying to your skin) and press the damp mixture into the mold until it is level in each mold. The tops of the molded pellets should be moist and slightly sticky.

Put them in the back seat of your car in direct sun – it will take several days to dry out depending on the temperature and humidity. (Do not microwave – it will prolong the drying time and the cubes will stick, do not put them in your oven – the trays might melt) You could also use a food dryer, or if it is summer set them on a table in the sun. We have very low humidity in the Central Valley, so I often set the trays on the trampoline when it is not in use. I bring them in at night as the dew re-wets the cubes.

They are ready to tap out of the trays when they pull away from the sides of the mold.

If you haven’t tamped your cubes down firmly, some will crumble. Don’t worry about it. Crumble up the cube and let it dry until it is like a clod. They grind it in a mortar, put into a shaker bottle. This is the best abrasive cleaner that I’ve found. A little sprinkle (takes very little), hot water, wait a few minutes until the
detergent starts to dissolve, then use a rag to scrub. My broiler pan came clean so easily.

Also, if you are making just 48 pellets at a time, what do you do with the powder that’s left? I asked for a large empty whey powder container and stored the extra powder there.

From what I can figure, it costs me about three to four cents per dishwasher pellet.

You should use some lemon juice as a rinse aid in your dishwasher to avoid spots.b101-dishwasher-pods

Wool Dryer Balls

Here is a really awesome idea I cannot wait to try.  For the cost of a skein of wool yarn and a drop or two of essential oil you can eliminate the cost of fabric softener or dryer sheets.  This comes from One Good Thing By Jillee

How would you like to never buy another fabric softener product again AND cut your laundry drying time in half???

Would you believe me if I told you these little woolen gems can do that?

Wool Dryer Balls save you moneyenergy and time by cutting the dryer’s drying time and by eliminating the need to buy softeners. When you use 4 balls in your dryer, you can cut your dryer time by 25-50%!

HOW IT WORKS:

The balls circulate and separate the clothing and get the warm dry air right down to the core of the laundry load! The more balls you add, the faster the drying time. They also soften your clothesthrough gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers. And as if that weren’t enough…..they LAST for YEARS!

They couldn’t be simpler to make (all you need is some wool yarn, and a pair of pantyhose) and I just LOVE howPRACTICAL they are! I actually think these would make a wonderful gift! (Making mental note.)

HOW TO MAKE A WOOL DRYER BALL:

Start with a skein of 100% WOOL yarn. (This cost me about $5 and I got four balls out of it.)

 

To start your ball, wrap the yarn around your fingers about 20 times and then slip it off and wrap the yarn around the middle of that circle you just made about 20 more times.

wool dryer balls

Now pinch the beginnings of your yarn ball together and keep wrapping! Make sure you wrap it nice and tight.  Pretty soon you will have something that looks like this. Tuck the end of the yarn under some of the other strands of yarn to secure.

Repeat above steps until you’ve made 4 or more balls.

Now you are ready to give them the “felting” treatment. You are going to need one leg ofwool dryer balls a pair of pantyhose or tights. Put the first ball into the toe of the pantyhose and secure it there with a piece of embroidery floss or acrylic yarn. Do NOT use wool yarn, you don’t want this to felt.

Toss the pantyhose “snake” into the washer (the hotter the water the better) and then into the dryer (again, the hotter the better. Speeds up the felting process.  After the first felting. The fibers have fused and it’s much smoother and tighter.

At this point you can do another layer of yarn and “felt” again if you want a larger sized ball. I chose to leave mine as is. Keep in mind they will get slightly smaller over time as they continue to felt.

 

You just made your own wool dryer balls! Go ahead, give them a spin! If you want, you can even add a couple of drops of essential oil to the balls before you throw them in the dryer. I used 1 – 2 drops of lavender on each one and my clothes came out smelling sooooooo nice!!!  I think the scent should last through several loads!

Boost Your Plants

PeppersOur friend Hugh shared this tonight.  Thought it was a nifty little tip to pass on.  Definitely cannot wait to try this with our plants.

Thanks Hugh.  He is right, this is so cool!!!

1 tsp epsom salt in 4 c warm water….spray on plant and then again 10 days later. Produces more fruit due to boost of magnesium… especially for tomatoes, peppers and roses.

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