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30 Sep 2011   ·   135
Money Saving Mom

12 Simple Things You Can Do This Weekend to Save Some Money

Guest post by Sam from Grad Money Matters

Here is a quick to-do list you can tackle this weekend to save some money:

1. Unscrew one (or two or five) light bulbs from your bathroom light fixture.

I have never understood what the fascination is with having so many light bulbs in the bathroom. Frankly, one CFL bulb on the sink is all I care about!

2. Freeze your credit cards – literally!

If you have credit cards, put them in a ziptop freezer bag, pour water until all the cards are submerged, squeeze the air out, seal, and shove it in the freezer.

3. Make some snacks (cookies, trail mix etc.) and package them into single-serving packs.

It is a lot cheaper (and healthier) to take your own snacks with you than buying pre-packaged stuff. And, if you have your children help, it’s a fun way to spend some quality time with them, too.

4. Look through your dresser for clothes that need quick mending.

A missing button can make a shirt completely useless, and it takes less than five minutes and minimal skills to stitch a button back on.

5. Ditch the phone landline.

If you tend to make a lot of calls during day time, check out cheaper options like Skype or Magic Jack. If you tend to call mostly on night/weekends, a cell phone might suffice.

6. Cook or prepare and refrigerate/freeze some food.

Having a part of the meal (or the entire meal) ready in the fridge/freezer can go a long way in cutting down the impulse to eat out.

7. Check the pressure of your tires and fill air if needed.

Keeping the tires properly inflated can result in better gas mileage.

8. Seal any leaky faucets, windows that let the draft out.

It’s time to take care of some of the items on your honey-do list that are costing you ka-ching!

9. Change the A/C duct filters, if you have not done so recently.

Clean filters not only improve the efficiency of the A/C but are better for your health, too!

10. Collect some coupons.

Sort through your Sunday newspaper and save the coupons. Don’t get the paper? Print some coupons online for things you are planning to buy on your next shopping trip.

11. Spend some time reading articles on how to save (a ton of) money at stores like CVS and Walgreens.

Be warned though, this could get pretty addictive. Don’t buy things you don’t need just because they are cheap!

12. Cancel unused subscriptions.

Have magazines that are hardly ever read or gym that is rarely used? Get rid of them and save yourself some cash!

See, its a simple list and its hardly any work at all. Even if you scratch off only a few of the items on the list, I bet you will still manage to save some money.

What are some of your quick tips for saving some money over a weekend?

Sam is as fanatical about making more money as she is about saving money. Check out the massive collection of money-making ideas she has put together on her site.

photo credit

30 Sep 2011   ·   62
Money Saving Mom

31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget Video Series: Save Money By Buying in Bulk

My husband and I shot this short two-minute video last night on three things to consider to make sure you are actually saving money when buying in bulk.

I’d love to hear what pitfalls you’ve discovered when trying to save money by buying in bulk.

Related posts:

29 Sep 2011   ·   106
How Chasing a Good Deal Can Make You Go Broke

How Garage Sales, Clearance Sections, and Dollar Bins Can Make You Broke

Do you LOVE a good deal? Do you have a difficult time holding back from purchasing something just because it saves you money — even if that means breaking the budget? Read this for some practical encouragement!

How Chasing a Good Deal Can Make You Go Broke

Guest post by Jenae from I Can Teach My Child

I love a good bargain. Not only do I love it, it’s a bit of a high for me to find a really great deal!

Some of my favorite deals are found at garage sales and the clearance sections of my favorite stores. These same places, however, I now consider “danger zones” to my budget and my self-control.

You see, the thrill of the chase sometimes outweighs the need or desire for the item itself. Recently, I went to use my Old Navy Groupon and found a $4 cardigan for my 3-year old son. I was so thrilled with the price for a winter sweater, I picked it up to take to the checkout line. I suddenly stopped to ask myself, “Wait, do I really like this? Am I really going to dress my little boy in a cardigan???”

I didn’t end up getting the cardigan. I decided I didn’t love it and therefore wouldn’t dress my son in it. Plus, it was itchy. But had I let my “deal-loving” side win, I would have bought the sweater and it would have ended up sitting in the closet with the tags still on it nine months later.

Similar scenarios have occurred time and time again at garage sales and dollar bins. Sadly, however, I had not yet learned to stop and think, therefore ending up with a bunch of junk I didn’t need. Many garage sale “bargains” have ended up being put in my own garage sale/Goodwill pile while the dollar trinkets quickly wound up lost or in the trash.

The truth is, even if we spend $5 a week on “deals” at garage sales or dollar bins, that’s $260 a year! With that money, we could have bought something that we really loved and even paid full price for it (not that I’m suggesting that, by any means).

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself whenever shopping to avoid the “deal-buying remorse” that often ensues:

  • Would I pay full price for this? Even if you rarely pay full price for anything, the answer to this question usually determines your attitude towards the item in question. When the rubber meets the road, we are all willing to fork over the cash for the things that really matter to us.
  • Do I love it? If the answer is “no”, don’t buy it!
  • Do I feel good wearing this? If you don’t feel good about yourself in any clothing (besides pajamas, perhaps), you won’t wear it. Period.
  • Will _____ really like this gift? Chances are, your friends and family members would rather have a thoughtful card or handmade gift rather than trinkets that seemed like a good deal at the time.

Don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not suggesting that garage sales and clearance sections are “bad”. On the contrary! These are the places where we all should shop. But for those of us who love the thrill of a good deal, it just means we have to exercise some major self-control to ensure we don’t buy something we later regret.

Jenae is a Master-degree holding former first grade teacher turned stay-at-home Mom. She loves finding creative ways to save money, spending time with her family, and sharing fun and educational activities on her website I Can Teach My Child.

photo credit


29 Sep 2011   ·   133

Do-It-Yourself: Homemade Rice Milk

Homemade-Rice-Milk

Guest post by Adrienne from Whole New Mom

Milk alternatives are really filling up the grocery and health food store shelves. That’s due mostly to the many people (like some in my family) who have dairy allergies or who are lactose intolerant. And if you have someone in your family with food allergies, you know how finding (and affording) substitute foods can be really tricky.

Well, today I’m sharing how you can save a lot of money by making your own rice milk. Even if you don’t have someone in your home with a dairy allergy, this is a great tip for all of us who love to cook and bake. The next time you run out of milk while you are baking, just whip up a batch of this rice milk and you’ll be able to finish your recipe–no problem!

I figured this out one day while shopping at a health food store. While looking at the options in the “milk substitute aisle”, I noticed that the only ingredients listed on the boxes were–grain, water, and occasionally sweetener and flavoring. There just had to be a way to make this myself and save a lot of money.

So I went home, got out my blender, estimated the amount of rice and water I should use, added a dash of salt and a tablespoon of sweetener, and the rest is money-saving history!

Make Your Own Rice Milk or Milk Substitute

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked rice (I prefer to use brown organic for a more nutritious option. We buy it in bulk to save money.)
  • 4 cups water (filtered, if possible)
  • Dash salt (I recommend RealSalt.)
  • 1 Tablespoon sweetener (or to taste; optional)
  • Additional flavoring (optional; vanilla for vanilla-flavored milk; to taste)

Method

1. Place all ingredients in blender.
2. Blend for four minutes in a regular blender, or two minutes in high-speed blender like a Vitamix.
3. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Use less or more rice, depending on how thin or thick you like your rice milk to be. Standard rice milk is thinner than regular cow’s milk.
  • Filtered water is extremely important. You can read my post on Is Your Water Safe? to see more about water quality concerns.

  • Add other flavorings like chocolate too. Makes a great alternative to chocolate milk.
  • If you’ve been thinking about a Vitamix and someone in your family has an allergy to dairy, you won’t believe how much time and money this machine will save you. And clean up is a breeze!
  • Prepare extra rice ahead of time, portion it conveniently (like one cup in each bag) into small plastic bags and secure with a Twixit Clip (you can use any kind of clip, but these clips are amazing. They last basically forever, and have a lifetime guarantee! Good-bye pesky twist-ties!) Just thaw out your rice whenever you need rice milk, and if you have a Vitamix, it can handle the rice frozen.

How much money can you save?

A 32-oz container of rice milk costs about $2.70 each (even at a good price on Amazon.com). Assuming that a typical family would use about 2 of these containers each week, I calculate your savings as:

Buying boxed rice milk:
If you bought two 32-oz. containers of rice milk at the store at $2.70 per week for 52 weeks, you’d be spending $275.08 per year on rice milk.

Making rice milk:
It takes 3.25 ounces of rice to make 64 ounces of rice milk. Our family purchases brown rice in bulk at $1 per pound, which comes out to a cost of $0.20 per week for rice milk or $10.40 per year for the rice needed for a year’s worth of rice milk.

Annual savings: $264.64.

And you save even more when you add in the savings in car use and gas by not making another trip to the store!

Want more money saving tips? You might want to check out my posts on:

Adrienne, of Whole New Mom, is a wife and homeschooling mother of two boys, one of whom has Asperger’s Syndrome and life-threatening food allergies. She has a passion to help others navigate the sea of information on the road to healthier lives. She specializes in frugal living and simplifying special diets. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

photo credit


28 Sep 2011   ·   47
Money Saving Mom

How to Significantly Increase Your Income Without Working Harder (Part 5)

If you missed them, read the first four parts of this series here.

We’ve talked about many things in this series, but if there was one thing that has changed our income status, it would be what I’m going to talk about today. Not only has this principle transformed our mindset, it has also multiplied our income substantially.

What’s the principle?

4) Diversify your income

I first heard of the concept of income diversification when I was also learning about residual income. Since that time, we’ve experimented with numerous income stream ideas. Most of them have flopped royally on their face. However, some have been moderately successful and a few have been wildly successful.

The concept of diversifying your income is basically to set up various income-producing sources, instead of putting all your eggs into one basket and expecting that basket to be your sole source of sustenance.

We realized the beauty of income diversification when Jesse was unemployed back when we lived in Kansas City. Since I had spent the last two years experimenting with ways to earn money from home, we had a cushion to fall back on. It wasn’t a very soft cushion, but at least it kept us from crashing and burning.

If you lost your job tomorrow, would you have something to immediately fall back on?

Even if your employment is very secure, it’s always a good thing to prepare for the unexpected. Plus, even if you never lose your job, having secondary sources of income in place will allow you to save more aggressively toward your financial goals, give more generously, and/or just have more wiggle room in your budget.

When people ask me how I make money blogging, most of the time they are quite taken aback when I say, “It’s the power of multiple streams of income.” My blog earns a significant amount of money every month, but it comes in through dozens of different checks and electronic transfers from dozens of companies. Some of the checks (such as those from my sidebar advertising) are routinely much higher than what I’d make off of promoting something like CashCrate, but each check brings in a trickle that turns into a strong stream of steady income to pay my team, my blog expenses, and to have leftover as personal income.

In blogging–and in most businesses–things ebb and flow. Certain things will do really well at certain times of the year. At other times, that income stream doesn’t do so well. If I were to just rely on sidebar advertising or one affiliate program for all of my blogging income, it would be a lot lower than it is. But because I have multiple streams of income in place, the ebbs and flows help balance each other out so that the income is fairly consistent.

When you understand and implement income diversification in your lives, not only does it allow you to often significantly increase your income, in experimenting, you’ll probably discover a number of different income-earning ideas that will give you a very good return on your investment of time.

How do you set up multiple streams of income? We’ll talk about that next Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Do you have multiple streams of income in place? If so, I’d love to hear what has and hasn’t worked for you.

photo credit

28 Sep 2011   ·   97
Money Saving Mom

Homemade Foaming Soap

Okay, so I can’t believe that I waited all these years to try making homemade foaming soap. It is SO easy to make and it will greatly extend the life of a bottle of handsoap.

In case you’re like me and one of the last people on earth to discover this amazingly easy way to save money, here’s how to do it:

28 Sep 2011   ·   116
Money Saving Mom

How to Cut the Costs of a Babysitter or Nanny

Guest post by Elizabeth from Learning Life with Liz

If you have children, you will probably need a babysitter at some point. Most people hire a babysitter and pay them between $5-$12 an hour depending on the number of kids and the family’s budget.

If you need a full-time nanny, you’re likely going to pay between $8-$12 an hour. That adds up fast! If you use your nanny 40-45 hours per week, you will be spending between $320-$540 per week!

Here are some money saving tips to think about when you want to hire someone:

Trade services

If you have friend’s with kids, trade date nights and outings. This will save you 100%.

Be creative, there are plenty of ways to trade services. I know a massage therapist who trades massages for sitters. This works very well when you need a babysitter for a few hours.

Share a babysitter

Contact your friends and see if they would like to share a babysitter. Have a few friends agree to this so that there is a better chance of someone going out the same night. This also works great for double dates.

I wouldn’t suggest combining more than three or four children. If you do, ask the sitter if she can handle it. You might have to pay her a little more though. If you usually pay $10 an hour, pay her $12 an hour. You are still saving $4 per hour with sharing the cost. The babysitter will also like having more families in her network.

You can make a profile on Care.com or SitterCity.com and this will help you find a babysitter fast. You will have access to their pictures, information, and best of all, background checks. There is a cost to signing up for these services, but you can share that cost, too!

Share a nanny

If you need a full-time nanny, but can’t afford one, consider sharing one with a friend or family member. If you and a nearby friend both need a nanny, you can cut your costs in half! Instead of paying $320-$540 per week, you will only be spending $160-$270!

Plan it with a friend and sign up for Care.com or SitterCity.com, listing your plan in your family bio. You can also alternate houses and split the costs of food for the children each week. The kids will love having playmates!

Don’t forget the tax credit

Be sure to get your nanny or babysitter’s SS#. Track the hours and how much you are spending and report it on your taxes. You will get a percentage of that money refunded. This is a way to save money even without sharing a sitter. {Note from Crystal: Make sure to check with a local CPA regarding tax credits what you may or may not be eligible for in your situation.}

I hope this encourages you to be creative and save money when using a babysitter or a nanny. It may not work for everyone, but suggesting it to friends/family won’t hurt. I’m sure they would like the savings, too!

Elizabeth is a wife, and a mother to her son, Liam. She works part-time in childcare and also blogs at Learning Life with Liz. Besides doing research for her blog, she enjoys couponing and spending time with family!

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read our disclosure policy here.)

27 Sep 2011   ·   21
Money Saving Mom

Using Technology to Simplify Couponing

Guest post by Laura from Unpunctuated Life

I use technology to help me keep track of my coupon stash. I have a coupon organizer that is divided into categories that work for me, including a “using now” section, but sometimes I found myself in the grocery store confronted with an unadvertised sale and having to dig through my entire file to figure out whether or not I had a coupon for that item. I decided it would be a good idea to keep an inventory of my coupons and figured out a way to make it work!

When I began using a smart phone, I discovered a site called Evernote.com that allows me to edit documents and sync them among multiple devices (computer, phone, tablet, etc.). ­I created a document entitled “Coupon Inventory” and divided it into the same categories as my coupon organizer. Under each heading, I keep a bulleted list of each coupon I have, when it expires, and whether or not I have multiples.

In addition, I created a category for e-coupons, since I tend to forget what I have loaded onto my shopper cards. This also saves me paper, because I used to print out a list of my e-coupons each time I went to the store.

Once a week or so, when I’m organizing my physical coupons, I also pull up my document and make sure I have deleted any coupons that have been used or have expired, and I add any coupons I have recently clipped or printed. When I pull it up on my phone, the document looks like this:

Using this technology, it is so easy to view my coupon inventory even in the middle of the grocery store! If I see a coupon listed under a given category, I know that I can flip to that tab in my coupon organizer and find it there waiting for me to use. This has really helped me capitalize on deals I hadn’t known about ahead of time or hadn’t planned on using.

Laura is a young wife who recently moved to a new city with her husband and is looking to find work in the non-profit world. She enjoys hiking, reading, and finding a good bargain. Laura blogs at Unpunctuated Life about cooking, saving money, and learning about life in general.

photo credit

27 Sep 2011   ·   9
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Make money at home through ODesk.com

Lisa emailed in the following tip:

I don’t know if you have heard of this site before or not but you might want to check it out when you have the time. It’s called Odesk. There are literally thousands of jobs available on here, all work-from-home jobs too.

Basically what you do is read through all their policies and then create a profile where you describe what skills you have. You can then apply for any job you think you may be qualified for. One of the neat things about this is that you can set your own hourly wage.

There are web development jobs, transcription jobs, design, administrative support, and others as well. It may be a good option for someone who wants to make money from home but doesn’t know where to start.

I know a couple of people who have had great success using this site. – Lisa

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read our disclosure policy here.)

27 Sep 2011   ·   160

4 Tips for Having a Minimalist Wardrobe

4-Tips-for-Having-a-Minimalist-Wardrobe

I’m the least likely candidate to be giving fashion tips, but ever since I posted the video of my minimalist summer wardrobe, I’ve gotten question after question after question about my wardrobe. So, in an effort to answer a few of those questions, today I’m sharing four tips for having a minimalist wardrobe.

1. Only Own What You Wear

Are you wearing everything you own on a regular basis? If not, why are you hanging onto it? It’s just taking up space in your closet and cluttering your life.

Don’t know what to keep and what to get rid of? Try the one-year wardrobe project that J.D. from Get Rich Slowly did. Personally, I think you could probably accelerate it to three or six months, if you want to get a move on your clutter more quickly.

2. Mix and Match

Never buy something that can only be worn with one item you own. If possible, only buy items that can be worn with just about every other item in your closet.

Jessica shows her Mix and Match wardrobe here. Good Housekeeping shows some basic Mix and Match wardrobe pieces here.

3. Know Your Colors

About ten years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the concept of color palettes. Up until that time, I just wore whatever I found at the thrift store or got off the sale rack. I didn’t really feel great in many of the items, but they were inexpensive, so that’s what mattered–or so I thought.

But after discovering what my color palette is and switching to only wearing clothes that are my color, I’ll never go back. Wearing your colors instantly makes you look more youthful and energetic. Plus, I find that shopping is so much more efficient because I can scan the racks for my colors, instead of having to look through each and every item.

You can take a free color analysis here (I’m not sure how accurate it is since it’s online, but it might be fun to do.) Also, you might consider checking out a copy of Color Me Beautiful from the library.

4. Accessorize

A few accessories can make a big difference and can spruce up a small wardrobe in amazing ways. For instance, if you only have six tops, but you have three scarves and two necklaces that match with almost all of those tops, you just extended your wardrobe possibilities quite a bit. Best of all, most accessories can be very inexpensive. You can even make your own.

In the cooler weather, scarves are my favorite. The whole figuring out how to wear them used to scare me–especially because I’m no fashionista and can never seem to pull off the cute looks others do. Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, generous friend that she is, bought me a scarf and taught me how to tie it. After wearing it a few times, I was sold. I went out and bought a few more scarves and I’m now rarely seen without a scarf in winter!

Watch Jen’s video here on how to tie a scarf. You can also check out her post here. Also, Tip Junkie has a post on 12 Trendy Ways to Wear a Scarf.

Having a minimalist wardrobe will not only save you quite a bit of money (the less you shop, the less you spend!), but they will also help to simplify your life. I know I might be weird, but I find that it is so easy to get dressed in the morning when you only have a few options to choose from. In fact, I’d rather have a few items that I love and feel great in, than a closet full of clothes that I don’t really like, don’t fit that well, and haven’t been worn in a number of months.

photo credit

This post was brought to you by T-Mobile. America’s Largest 4G Network — Now faster than ever. Click here for more details.


26 Sep 2011   ·   55
Money Saving Mom

This Week’s Pumpkin-Themed Menu

Glazed Cinnamon Scones

We’re having a Pumpkin theme for our menu this week to celebrate the beginning of Autumn and just because I’m excited that the weather is cooler so I can bake again. If the recipes turn out, I’ll share pictures and how I adapted them later on this week.

Breakfasts

Cereal, juice
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins, fried eggs
Apple Pie Crockpot Oatmeal
Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup, scrambled eggs
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Pumpkin Pie French Toast, fruit
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Lunches

Snack-y lunch
PB&J, carrot sticks
Salad with hard-boiled eggs, feta cheese, dried cranberries, toasted rolls
Macaroni & Cheese, frozen veggies, fruit
Homemade Pizza Pockets, carrot sticks, apples
Leftovers x 2

Snacks

Granola bars
Fruit/Veggies
Pumpkin Pie Hot Cocoa
Easy Morning Glory Muffins

Dinners

Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Bread Machine Breadsticks, tossed salad
Cheeseburger Flatbread Melts, tossed salad, steamed veggies
Steak, Twice-Baked Potatoes, frozen veggies, Easy Morning Glory Muffins
Homemade Pizza Pockets, fruit, veggies
Dinner with extended family x 2
Dinner out

Freezer Cooking Projects

Homemade Pizza Pockets
Easy Morning Glory Muffins
Pumpkin Scones

What’s on your menu this week? Share details and/or your link to your menu plan in the comments.

26 Sep 2011   ·   102
Money Saving Mom

How Not to Play the Drugstore Game

Guest post by Jessica from The Abundant Wife

A few weeks ago, my goal was to learn how to play the drugstore game. I’ve heard a lot about it in the past year, and now I live in a town where CVS is located five minutes away. So I decided to give it a whirl.

My first attempt was, as my 16-year-old brother would say, an “EPIC FAIL”

So here are my instructions for how not to play the drugstore game:

1. Don’t bring your children along.

It’s hard enough to think about your coupons and savings without your infant crying and your toddler bolting across the store before you can get her in the cart or knocking toothpaste and toothbrushes to the floor as you push your cart through the narrow aisles.

2. Don’t try to do too much in your first trip.

I bought a mouthwash, dental floss, and detergent. I had two coupons. Just buying these three items was too complicated for my first trip.

3. Don’t go at a busy time of day.

It was late afternoon and it was hot, so not only were my kids tired and cranky, but other people were getting out of work, so a line developed behind me while I tried to figure things out at the register.

4. Don’t spend a lot to get a little.

Set a spending limit for yourself. It’s not worth it to spend $11 just to get $1 ECB back.

5. Don’t go without first looking at the weekly advertisement.

I didn’t look at the CVS weekly advertisement until I arrived at the store. I just trusted the CVS deal websites I’d been reading. The coupons I chose only matched the store deal if I bought the most expensive mouthwash and dental floss available. Rather than saving money, I spent more than I usually would have.

6. Don’t lose sleep over it.

I spent all day and all night thinking about how to work multiple deals. Just pick one item to start.

After I returned home and had a chance to regroup, I decided to go back and try again. I returned my mouthwash and dental floss. Instead, I bought one Revlon nail polish ($4.99) and got $4 ECB back. I used a $1/1 coupon, and ended up paying only the tax ($0.29) for it. Now I have $4 ECB to spend on a future purchase.

EPIC SUCCESS!

What else did I learn through this process?

::Sign up for the CVS card, if you haven’t already.

::Sign up for CVS e-mails.

::Look at your local CVS advertisement on-line.

::Save and date your weekly Smart Source, P&G, and Red Plum Coupon Inserts.

::Do your homework. The Thrifty Mama and Money Saving Mom® have some great tips for getting started.

::Take your time. You’re learning how to do something new that will save money for you and your family. So be patient with yourself. If you fail miserably, you can always return your items and start over again.

Do you have any other great tips for Drugstore Game newbies like me?

Jessica is a former middle school art teacher who also taught English in China for two years. She now lives in her parents’ basement with her husband of five years and her two beautiful babies. She recently began blogging at The Abundant Wife about faith, family, debt, and unemployment.

photo credit

26 Sep 2011   ·   80
Money Saving Mom

10 Goals for This Week

I found many nuggets of truth as I read Tribes by Seth Godin last week. Here’s one quote I was especially inspired by:

“There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of ideas. Ordinary folks can dream up remarkable stuff fairly easily. What’s missing is the will to make the ideas happen. -Seth Godin, Tribes, page 42

Written, specific goals put feet to your dreams. And for me personally, when I have a list of realistic written goals for each week, I’m much more motivated–and I get a lot more done. Plus, it’s so encouraging to look back on the week and see that chipping away at my goals each day resulted in many completed projects at the end of a week!

Here’s last week’s goal list:

Mothering Goals

1. Finish reading The Courage of Sarah Noble aloud to the children. (In case you’re attentive and noticed I changed our read aloud goal from last week: I got mixed up on our assigned reading for homeschooling and thought it was Sarah: Plain and Tall when, in looking over the school plan last Monday, I realized it was supposed to be The Courage of Sarah Noble.)

2. Take children on a field trip.

Personal Goals

3. Run 12 miles (total).

4. Finish reading All the Money in the World and Tribes.

5. Finish embroidering quilt block for my sister’s baby quilt.

6. Work on Rag Quilt.

Home Management Goals

7. Spend 10 minutes picking up/cleaning our bedroom/bathroom every day

Business Goals

8. Shoot video for 31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget series.

9. Finish putting together talk for a speaking engagement next week. (I worked on it, but it’s not finished yet.)

10. Put together a list of speaking topics and speaking page. (In case you’re interested, the finished Speaking Schedule Page is here.)

And here are my goals for this week:

Family/Mothering Goals

1. Finish reading The Imagination Station: Problems in Plymouth aloud to the children.

2. Go to see Courageous (Note: we were planning to take the whole family, but thanks to some commentor’s input, it may just be my husband and I going.)

3. Work on our current habit training project.

Personal Goals

4. Run 12 miles (total).

5. Finish reading EntreLeadership, Eat Mor Chikin, and Womanly Dominion.

6. Listen to Poke the Box audiobook.

7. Finish Rag Quilt.

Home Management Goals

8. Spend 10 minutes picking up/cleaning our bedroom/bathroom every day (I’ve really been working with the children on keeping their room/bathroom cleaned and I realized that I’ve not been setting the best example for them!).

Business Goals

9. Shoot video for 31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget series.

10. Finish putting together talk + handouts for a speaking engagement this week.

How did you do on last week’s goals? What are your goals for this week? If you feel comfortable doing so, I’d love to have you share your progress on last week’s goals and your goals for this coming week in the comments. Let’s cheer each other on to live purposeful and productive lives!

You can download a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.

photo credit

24 Sep 2011   ·   50
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: 25 pounds of wheat!

Some friends were heading to the bulk foods stores and graciously picked up 25 pounds of wheat for me while they were there. I’m so thankful to have wheat to grind again. I bought one bag of whole-wheat flour recently and we noticed that none of our baked goods tasted as good with it. Freshly-ground whole-wheat flour just can’t be beat!

The wheat was a little over $19 for 25 pounds. It’s less expensive from Azure Standard, but they were all out of wheat when the truck came last month. I’m planning to order a 50-pound bag from Azure soon. In the mean time, I’m just happy to have wheat to grind again!

My mom also gave me some Lundberg Brown Rice that she got clearanced and we bought some basics at Aldi again this week: bread, peanut butter, fruit, vegetables, and cheese. Plus, we also bought some farm-fresh eggs from my brother.

Would you like to know what the best deals and coupon match-ups are for your local stores? Be sure to check out the Store Deals section of our site where we post the best deals and coupon match-ups each week for over 100 different stores across the country. You can sign up to receive the top deals in your email inbox each week as soon as they are posted!

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Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

24 Sep 2011   ·   82
Money Saving Mom

Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Baked Chicken, Pumpkin Pancakes, Honey Rolls (+ Bread Machine Pitas)

Since I’m taking this week off from my usual Freezer Cooking in an Hour session, I’m going to post my session from two weeks ago that I never got to post because I ran out of time since we were preparing for our trip to Texas.

4:30 p.m. — I stick the chicken in the oven and then promptly get distracted cleaning the kitchen up from the mess that was leftover from lunch and our school lessons for the day (yes, I know, I should have cleaned it up earlier, but you know how some days go!).

4:40 — I determine not to get sidetracked again and get online to look up the pumpkin pancake recipe. I start mixing up the pancake batter only to realize I forgot to set out the buttermilk earlier. And of course, our microwave is still incapacitated (it’s been out of order for almost two months and, most of the time, we’ve barely noticed it. But there are a few times–like today–when it would be really nice for it to be working!).

I stick the buttermilk in a hot water bath and finish mixing up the pancake batter.

5:00 — The pancake batter is finally ready to start cooking, so I pour the first pancake on the griddle and go downstairs to lug my KitchenAid up from the basement pantry in order to start making the Honey Rolls.

5:15 — Silas is up from his nap, Kaitlynn and Kathrynne are finished with their quiet time and craziness ensues. They “help” me put the roll ingredients into the mixer (and spill quite a bit of salt in the process–oops!).

Note to self: If there are 15 things going on in the kitchen at once, set the timer when cooking pancakes–if you want to be able to eat any of them, that is.

Gratefully, only a few of the pancakes end up rather burned. The rest can be salvaged.

5:20 — While the roll dough is mixing, I chop up the chicken and bag it for the freezer.

It’s so easy to bake and chop chicken for the freezer and it’s so nice to have on hand for making homemade pizza.

5:25 —  I sit Kaitlynn and Silas down at the kitchen table to eat a pancake to tide them over until dinner. I get this “brilliant” idea to have them sprinkle powdered sugar on top instead of syrup. Um, you’d think I’d know better than to let them help put the powdered sugar on. Oh well, I scrape most of it off and they enjoy their pancakes while I hurriedly try to finish up the Honey Rolls.

5:35 — The roll dough is rising and I quickly clean up the kitchen and get dinner finished. After dinner is done, I bake the rolls–and they turn out really well. The recipe is definitely a keeper!

And just for fun, here’s a picture of my Bread Machine Pitas that I made the day before. I didn’t love them as much as we liked our non-bread-machine pitas, but they still turned out alright and were a piece of cake to me. Anyone have another bread machine pita recipe that you’d recommend?

Have you done any cooking or baking ahead recently? If so, I’d love to hear about it!