How I Saved Today: Baking homemade cookies!

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

How did YOU save today?

I saved by making homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies for my family. They love home-baked treats and they are less expensive (and usually better for you!) than buying store bought.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used our family’s favorite Freezer-Friendly Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookie recipe. These are packed with fairly wholesome ingredients and so delicious.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

I especially love that they can be made ahead of time and frozen. You can either freeze the unbaked cookie dough or bake the cookies and then freeze them. Or, just eat them fresh from the oven! :)

Your turn: Tell us what you did to save today in the comments!

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How I Saved Today: Making homemade foaming hand soap

Making Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to my first How I Saved Today post yesterday. I think this is going to be such a fun post to put together.

I’m going to try to get it this feature posted daily. However, I know you all will be patient and understanding if I don’t always get it done every single day. Because sometimes, well, life just happens and my best-laid blogging plans go out the window. :)

I knew I could count on you all to give me great input on repairing glasses with missing screws. I should have just asked you before I tried to fix them myself! But alas, they are fixed and now I had a kit to fix them should a screw go missing again in the future.

That said, I’m hopeful maybe there will be fewer lost screws in my future, because I took the advice some of you left and secured my glasses screws with clear nail polish this morning. What a brilliant tip! And one that I would have never come up with on my own. Thank you, all!

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

How I Saved Today

I saved today by making some more homemade foaming hand soap. This is SO easy to do and a great way to cut down on hand soap costs.

I used a little dish liquid, water, and some Citrus Bliss essential oil for the hand soap today. For detailed instructions, see my post on How to Make Foaming Hand Soap.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

How did YOU save today? Tell us in the comments!

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How I Saved Today: Repairing my glasses {and what do you think about making this a regular feature here?}

How I Saved Today: Fixing My Broken Glasses

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking it’d be fun to have a feature called “How I Saved Today”. This would just be a short post about a specific way I had saved money that day. I can’t promise it will happen every single day, but I’m going to try it out here (hopefully a few times per week) and we’ll see how it goes.

I wear contacts almost full-time as they seem to work better for my eye sight. But I also wear these special glasses when I use the computer.

{The optometrists here will know what I’m referring to, but I’m not sure of the official name of these glasses. I just know that my eye doctor prescribed them to me while I was writing my last book and said they would cause my eyes not to get focused and locked in — which was causing my eyesight to go downhill. I get so focused on what I’m doing that I’ll forget to look up occasionally like you’re supposed to do to help your eyes not get locked in on any one thing. So these glasses are supposed to help with that. Anything to protect my eyesight from going downhill while I work on the computer and write books? I’m all for it!}

Last week, the screw fell out of my glasses. We searched high and low and could not find the screw anywhere.

I wore the glasses without the screw, but the lens kept falling out. I knew I needed a long-term solution, but I also knew that I don’t have an eye doctor here in TN yet. So going somewhere to get my glasses fixed would kind of necessitate having to also schedule an eye exam. Which would cost money out of pocket that we didn’t need to spend since I’m not due for another eye exam for a while.

I thought about taping the glasses together, but knew that would just bug me. So instead, I bought an inexpensive eye glass repair kit and fixed the glasses myself.

It took me all of 5 minutes and they are good as new. Best of all, the eye glass repair kit came with extra screws so I can fix the problem in the future if it happens again to my glasses or Jesse’s glasses.

A simple solution, a few minutes of time, and quite a bit of money saved = totally my kind of thing!

How have you saved money today? Also, would you be interested in me regularly running a How I Saved Today feature here? Leave a comment and let me know if it’s something that would interest you.

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7 Simple Ways to Save Everyday

7 ways to save

Guest post from Sarah of Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style

When it comes to savings, we often spend a lot of time focusing on coupons, special sales, and the hottest deals of the week. However, some of us frugal moms know it goes much further than that! Saving money for your family isn’t just about hunting down the next deal, but about making small lifelong changes in your home.

Here are 7 simple ways to save money every day that are easy to implement into your daily life. While not all will work for every family, you’ll easily find some tips that are simple changes you won’t even notice or feel like you’re sacrificing.

1. Ditch Paper Towels

If you have kids in the house you know that paper towels can be a monthly investment. Between meals, cleaning spills, and wiping sticky hands you are throwing away a ton of money each year.

Instead of buying paper, invest in some nice cloth napkins for your kids to use at meal time. Grab some old hand towels and wash cloths and designate those for cleaning up spills.

Tip: Colorful bandanas make great color coded dinner time napkins for large families! Each person has their own color to use.

2. Turn Off & Unplug Electronics

This is a great way to save money. While the savings are small, they do add up over time. Turn off all electronics when not in use and make a habit of hitting light switches as you leave a room as well.

Go even further by unplugging in between uses, too. That toaster sitting out on your counter that is rarely used? Simply unplug it and save yourself some money.

3. Plan a Menu

Taking the time to make a menu plan will cut back on last-minute take out and wasted food. And don’t forget to utilize your slow cooker during the school year or a busy season!

By having a plan in place, you will use more of what you have on hand and cut back on extra spending. No more running to the store for that one ingredient you forgot!

4. Learn To Sew

This is a great tip for those with girls, especially. Old pillowcases, t-shirts, ladies’ dresses, or men’s shirts can all be easily revamped and tailored into dresses for little girls. Shopping the thrift shop for gently used clothes in different patterns and styles can also lead to fun new revamped ensembles with a bit of sewing.

If you’re not a seamstress, even something as simple as replacing a button instead of throwing an item out is helpful. Or, if you have a son like mine, when he blows out the knees in his jeans, you can easily make them into shorts for the next season!

5. Brown Bag It

Taking your own lunch consisting of healthy portions of leftovers or specific lunch items can really save you a lot of money over time. If you also learn to make your own snacks and gourmet coffee, you’ll significantly increase your savings.

Don’t have time to make your own snacks all the time? Buying a box of granola bars in store is far cheaper than buying a single bar from the gas station or vending machine.

Do your kids like Lunchables? Make your own! All it takes is Ritz crackers, some deli meat, and cheese singles, and you’re good to go.

6. Cook From Scratch

It may seem like it will take so much more time, but simple things like making soups and beans in a slow cooker can cost a fraction of what canned varieties do.

Grab dry beans for $1-$2 a pound and cook them in your crock pot all day. When cooked, a $1 bag of dried beans will often be the equivalent to 4-5 cans you would have purchased at $1each. Over a year’s time, that can add up to quite a bit of savings in your grocery budget.

7. Pay With Cash

Make a point of paying for things with cash. There is a lot to be said about the concept of not buying anything else for the month once you run out of cash on hand. It helps you stay within your means, and not rely on credit cards. It also gives you a chance to save that change in a piggy bank for rainy days, treats, or vacations.

No matter what your household budget is, you can easily put into place a few of these 7 simple ways to save money every day and increase the money in your pocket. These things can free up money to pay off debt, or simply help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

What simple things do you do to save money every day?

Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live well on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.

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5 Ways to Live Well on One Income

 photo moneysavingmombadge_zps424af520.jpg

Guest post from Liz of The Quick Journey

As a momma to four kiddos and one handsome hubby, I am always on the lookout for ways to stretch our money and still live well. Many people think that giving up the “two-income” lifestyle means that everything else goes with it.

Sure, you’ll probably need to pare down some, but life doesn’t need to be boring and stifling. I have found 5 tried and true ways to save our pennies and still enjoy a good life:

1. Set Goals

It is so important to set goals for your family. When you have goals in place, it makes it easier to save those pennies because you get to dream about the reward at the end of the journey.

Goals also add resolve when things might get tough. Remember, pennies add up to dollars and dollars to hundreds of dollars. So every penny counts toward your family goal!

2. Find Free Family Fun

Instead of spending a lot of money going on expensive family trips, find ways to enjoy each other without spending the money. Some great ways to “stay-cation” would be to gather around a campfire and roast s’mores with the fall season coming up. Or, go to the park for a family picnic.

Then, when you do get to experience a “true” family vacation, it will be well appreciated and the experience will be much sweeter.

3. Eliminate Desires

It is simple: the less I see, the less I want.

When we transitioned into a one-income family, I had to eliminate desires from our home. That meant eliminating TV so commercials didn’t create the “I want” effect for both my husband, myself, and the kids. The less we saw, the less we wanted things.

I also limit my time on Pinterest and websites that drive my desires. When I go shopping, I avoid those areas that encourage me to spend on things I don’t need.

4. Limit Shopping Trips:

The more I go to the store, the more I buy. Because of this, I only go to the store twice a month to prevent extra buying opportunities.

I also go with a list and stick closely to the list. Not only does this help with “little” purchases here and there, but it saves on gas!

5. Utilize Bargain Shopping

Aldi has been mentioned here on the blog many times. I love shopping Aldi and reaping the rewards that go along with that!

I also think a great way to purchase products is second-hand. Whether it be thrifting or garage saling, it saves money and still allows the shopper to enjoy “new” items without breaking their budget!

These are simple ways to pinch pennies and not feel too restricted.  They have worked great for our family and I hope they work for yours as well!

What would add to my list?

Liz is a stay-at-home, homeschooling momma to four precious kiddos. She finds joy in the little moments and enjoys spending her evenings snuggled up with her handsome “high school sweetheart” hubby. Liz blogs at The Quick Journey where she shares her journey through motherhood.

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Homemade All Purpose Lemon Power Cleaner

Homemade Lemon Power Cleaner

I was inspired by reading the All-Natural Living ebook that I got as part of the Healthy Living Bundle to continue on in my quest to slowly make the switch to more natural alternatives for household products we regularly use.

I especially loved these simple steps the author outlined:

Ditch your fabric softener/dryer sheets – These are some of the most toxic things found in the home and really aren’t necessary. There are homemade options, plus different detergent options that may make the need for fabric softener obsolete.

Make your own detergents – Making your own laundry and dish detergent are both easy and cost effective.

Make a simple All Purpose Cleaner – Even if you aren’t convinced that this homemade stuff can really replace all your cleaners, starting with a simple APC can help ease you into the transition.

Try switching out one beauty product – Not sure if you’re up to a full commitment of diy beauty products? Just pick on that you are willing to try. Maybe it’s the homemade mascara, or the mouth wash, or shaving soap.

These seem doable — even for busy moms, don’t they? I’m all about baby steps and taking it slow, so this was perfect for me.

Homemade Lemon Power Cleaner

After reading through the ebook, I picked one recipe to try and I landed on the All Purpose Lemon Power Cleaner.

All Purpose Lemon Power Cleaner

1 cup warm distilled water
1 cup white vinegar
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
10 – 20 drops lemon essential oil (you could also use orange or tea tree oil — or just omit this)

Measure ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to mix. Shake before each use.

This recipe was very easy to make and very inexpensive (especially if you opt not to use the essential oils). It smelled very strongly of lemon and wasn’t the best all natural cleaner I’ve ever used before. But I’d say that it was fair and one that I would make again.

I love that the ingredients are things I usually have on hand, but I thought the smell was pretty strong. So if/when I make it again, I’d probably adjust the essential oil ratio down or use a different essential oil than lemon.

Homemade Lemon Power Cleaner

All in all, I enjoyed All-Natural Living ebook. The one thing I didn’t love was the author plugging her essential oils site multiple times in the space of just a few pages. Once or twice would have been great, but doing it repeatedly got a little old and sales-pitchy feeling.

However, I loved that she included so many different recipes — even one for Windshield Wiper Fluid! Some were really basic, but there was a lot of variety — including recipes for homemade makeup.

Have you tried making some of your own household products or make-up? I’d love hear about how it worked (or didn’t work!) for you.

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