Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Category Archives: Thrifty Thursday

Yes, you read that title right! Today’s thrifty tip is Facebook. Not only is it a handy tool for staying connected to loved ones but it also can be the source of a deal. Marketing experts have started to notice the trend of social media. And, like the President, they are attempting to use it for their benefit by giving out coupons, free product or notice of upcoming sales.


Now, I’m not a huge subscriber to jumping on the boat of all things “free” on social media. There’s no need to find yourself swamped by useless emails. I am, however, a fan of following the pages of local stores and markets that you enjoy shopping. By following you can become aware of special pricing deals. My Facebook find was 12 32 oz bottles of Gatorade for $6 and $0.10/gallon fuel savings (my local food chain has paired up with a gas station that gives cents off per gallon of gas on specially marked items). Bonus! It was a double savings!

The other nice thing about my grocery store and its Facebook deals is you don’t have to have your phone with you or even have Facebook. They marked the Gatorade and placed the qualifying ones all together in one spot in the store. The bonus to actually following them is you will know ahead of time of great deals to buy them before they sell-out.

Have you found any good deals using a social media site? If so, share with us!


It’s hard to find a time and the finances to go out on a date with your husband. I and my husband went on our first real date in a long time on Valentine’s Day. It happened quite quickly I don’t think we really had an option to say “No”. My sister-in-law arranged for us to go on a double date and set-up a babysitter who took a bottle of wine as payment which my sister-in-law paid promptly. We went to a local restaurant where my other brother-in-law (my husband has 7 siblings!) worked, it was much nicer than we usually eat. Since we’d not been out in a long time, we’re talking a year, we spent more than we ever would’ve dreamed of doing.

We’d had such a good time but I know honestly we don’t have the time or funds to repeat an expensive dinner anytime soon. And that’s OK. We don’t need expensive, fancy dinners to be able to have a date. We can date frugally and simply. After all, the purpose of a date is to spend time together not spend a lot of money. So here’s my list of simple, cheap(er) date ideas:

1) Rent a movie: Dollar red box is always a bargain. But don’t forget your local library may have deals too. If you subscribe to Netflix or a DVR service, you could save money by using services you already pay for. Don’t forget the popcorn! Go for the bag of kernels and pop your own over the stove to add some additional fun while saving some money over the microwave popcorn.

2) Do Breakfast: We have a couple of donut shops in town and are planning a breakfast date for coffee and donuts. Don’t have the luxury of going out to breakfast, arrange your morning routine to get up a bit early and enjoy a breakfast at home. You could make a breakfast casserole the night before and warm it up.

3) Play together: Having a relaxing afternoon or evening playing a board game, cards, or video games gives you a chance to relax and laugh together. Choose something you both enjoy and, if possible, something you use to do when you dated.

4) Go on a Picnic: You could even take the kids with you on this! Plan an easy to carry menu and if you have kids, kid friendly options. Choose somewhere that has a quiet place you can put down a blanket. If you’ll have the kids, make sure it’s somewhere they can safely play. If its more secluded with no playground equipment (which would be nice!) bring outside toys for them. After quickly setting up boundaries for the kids (no further than that  tree or stay where we can see you), you and your husband can sit and enjoy each other’s company.

5) Eat Late!: This may not be good for a diet but its a great way to get some time with your husband. Feed the kids something easy, wear them out and put them in bed a little early. Once they’re settled, get your supper on the table. I recommend cooking something while you go through your evening routine. This way its ready when you are (get the lasagna in the oven when you’re putting the kids in bed or have the salad chopped and ready to go). To add the atmosphere of a fine restaurant, shut off the lights (or lower them) and light some candles.

6) Adult Only Dessert: If waiting to eat isn’t an option, make a nice desert and eat that later with your husband. Pick a dessert you both like or alternate between each of your favorites.

7) Do Something Active: So, this may not sound like your idea of a romantic time. But it really can be fun and a great way to grow closer. Plan to do a 5K walk/jog/run together. You might have to train separately if you’ve got kids. You can help cheer each other on, support one another. It will give you something to look forward to. The day of the event you will see each other’s hard work pay off. And if you’re walking together its a great way to get time to talk and relax together. Want something less competitive? Try riding bikes together. This is a pretty stressless activity that you can start right away with a short ride around the neighborhood. Evening walks are always relaxing.

8) Sit on the Porch: In the summer one of my favorite things to do is sit on the porch and while sipping on some ice tea watch the lightning bugs. When I lived in a small town, I’d be greeted with the neighbors coming and going. Living in the city, now my porch is much more secluded as it faces the back yard. If the kids are in bed, I’m close enough that I can bolt in there quickly. If they’re still up, they can safely play in the yard while my husband and I watch from our comfy porch spot.

9) Do Lunch: Lunch meals are often cheaper than supper or dinner time meals. Why not grab lunch with your husband? You can avoid the crowds by going on off times such as 11 or 1. If the meal out is not in the budget, try meeting at home and sitting down at the table and eating together. If the weather is nice, each of you pack a lunch and meet in a park.

10) Take advantage of a Babysitter: Now, I don’t mean financially or exploiting their time. I do mean if you’ve already scheduled a babysitter take advantage of the time and sneak in a quick lunch or dinner. We’ve been known to hire a babysitter so we could get our taxes done. Since we’ve already got one and paying her, we’ll grab a quick lunch on our way home. Thus taking full advantage of what we’re already paying for. If grandma volunteers to babysit on Saturday for a few hours so you can clean the house, grab a dinner with the hubby before picking-up the kids.

I’ve not done all of those date ideas but they are certainly ones I’m hoping to try sometime. I believe the best frugal dates are ones that are personal to the couple. They are ones that emphasize your relationship. What creative date nights have you had?

My husband is from a large family, there’s 8 siblings. Now that we’re all adults, that’s 8 siblings and their families. That’s a lot of people! Especially considering I’m one of three and the only one married with kids. Buying gifts for everyone quickly can become extremely expensive. This year we did a white elephant gift for the older the kids and adults and a name exchange for the littlest kids. Even though the gifts were technically covered, I wanted to do something for each sibling. The problem? It needed to be nice but cheap.

So, I started thinking about little gift baskets I could easily put together. The women’s were the quickest to come up with but the men’s were by far the easiest to do. The trick to the baskets was thinking about each person and their likes/dislikes and personality. In my case, I wanted to have each one essentially the same so that I wouldn’t have to label each one and worry about getting the right basket to the right person. Essentially, I wanted to say, “Merry Christmas! Pick a basket”. So, I thought of generalizations for each one and went with that. I was lucky because all of the girls like girly things and the men all (except one brother-in-law) like beer.

So here’s the baskets with a list of what I put in each. I tried to get everything discounted or on sale. The women’s baskets I purchased almost everything on black Friday. The men’s baskets I purchased everything at Sam’s club which made it cheaper than buying it somewhere else.


Man’s Basket

2 winter selection beers

1 bag of nuts

2 jerky sticks


Woman’s Basket

1 Bubble Bath

1 pair of colorful socks

1 candle

1 lotion

As you can see I kept them pretty simple. I do have one brother-n-law that doesn’t drink alcohol. So in his I replaced the two beers with ice teas. I was also thinking this basket could be easily down with soda and candy bars. Or if the person is into the movies you could do a movie themed one with microwave popcorn, movie theater candy and movie tickets. If you weren’t a budget, you could use more expensive items too.

Have you done or are you doing anything DIY for Christmas presents this year? Have you in the past? If so, what did you do? Were they a success or would you do something different?

The Second Thrifty Thursday. This is a planned ongoing blog series to include ideas and tips on ways to save a little each month. I’ve always tended toward a thrifty nature but since having kids and the economy crash, saving has become so very important for us and, I suspect, most of America. My ideas are not all new, and many of you may be using these ideas already. If you are, please comment, share your thoughts on the ideas. Please, share if they’re working for you or not. Especially if you are able to attach a dollar amount saved. I personally hate math so I won’t have figured out the dollar amounts every time.

Major bulk Stores, you know the Coscos and Sams Clubs;  I use to hate those places. Yup, I hated them. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the concept, buy in bulk and save. However, I never thought they actually worked. I dislike Walmart, they’re company policies, the feel of the store, shopping environment, etc. So that pretty much ment I disliked Sams. However, because of my son’s multiple severe food allergies our grocery bill effectively doubled. I was in despite need for saving some money.

My cousin convinced me to go into Sams with her, she was convinced I would love it. After going there a couple of times, I started doing some research on the non-health food items we purchased regularly. I compared the price per unit at Sams to the price per unit at our usual grocery store. What I discovered was good and bad. Well, the truth I found out was this, there really is something to this buying in bulk. Not everything in bulk is cheaper or better even. But there was enough that I knew I’d save money if I sucked it up and got a membership. I then became the bulk shopper. I now can buy more than a month’s worth of meat, a months worth of toilet paper, a few odds and ends for right around $200.00.

Two months ago I bought 15 pounds of ground beef and that was a bit too much and has lasted so far through this month’s menu (I’ve got a couple of pounds still in the freezer). So, bonus, I didn’t buy any ground beef so far this month. I was able to buy some Steak from our regular grocery store (on sale, great price). I buy 2 bags of frozen chicken breast at about 10 pounds two months ago and found out that we really only need a little over one bag. Again, the second bag is still going strong this month. The TP was 90 rolls which lasts at least a month. We purchase a 22 roll package of paper towels which again will last the month. We also buy individual pizzas every other month for my husband’s and mine lunches. Each of these products were less than buying them at Target or our grocery store.

Two months ago we spent right at 200.00, this last month we were under by about 30.00 since we had some carry over. What I don’t buy bulk: Soda, no clothing items (unless I really like it knowing I’m not saving any money), junk food, foods we won’t finish before spoiling. Some of their fruit is a good price, but not always. They’re typically priced very much the same as I would normally buy but I’m forced to buy more. There is an occassional exception to this rule being strawberries, the price is often times less per unit compared to my usual grocery store. Bananas I’ve found to be basically the same price.

Other items we buy less than monthly:


Protein Shakes (for working out)

Vitamins- kids

Diapers and Pull-ups

Thinking about bulk? Do some research first. Find out what you can save money on and what just looks like a good deal. Here are some websites to get you started.

Leave a comment, tell me what you find to be a good money saver at the bulk stores. Happy shopping!

This is the very first Thrifty Thursday. This is a planned ongoing blog series to include ideas and tips on ways to save a little each month. I’ve always tended toward a thrifty nature but since having kids and the economy crash, saving has become so very important for us and, I suspect, most of America. My ideas are not all new, and many of you may be using these ideas already. If you are, please comment, share your thoughts on the ideas. Please, share if they’re working for you or not. Especially if you are able to attach a dollar amount saved. I personally hate math so I won’t have figured out the dollar amounts every time.

Toothpaste. Everyone uses it. Have you ever thought about how much toothpaste gets stuck in the tube and never comes out? Do you just waste that toothpaste or do you try rolling the toothpaste tube trying to force out the last bit of paste? Well, in our house we do both. We try the rolling it up and forcing out what we can. But then end up just tossing it because of not wanting to put so much effort into it.

Thanks to my sister-in-law who stayed with us a couple of weeks ago, I’ve discovered a cheap product that helps you get that last bit out of your toothpaste tube. Oh, do you have expensive creams/ointments in tubes? This works with it too, thus very quickly saving you money!

This tube squeezer is found at the Dollar Store and costs, 1.00. Great deal! It goes easily on the tube and has a knob on the side to move toothpaste out of the tube. As the bottom of the tube empties, it curls up inside the tube squeezer. Directions for putting it on the tube is on the back.

It’s a simple little contraption but boy is there savings in it. We use it on our ointments to help decrease the number of times we’re filling it. Its increased the amount of toothpaste we get out of our tube and decreases my frustration of fighting with the tube. Over all, this is a great, simple product and saves us money!