Friday, February 3, 2012

Moving back to Blogger...

After a couple of years on my own site, I've found that there's just too much spam over there and never bothered to figure out filters. I will learn, eventually, but for now I'll be writing here. Bonus points for the fact that I can post from my phone from here!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frugal Road Tripping...

I love me a good road trip. No, really, I do! And that's a good thing, considering I have family that I visit each week that just so happen to live 100 miles away from me. After 5 years of making this trip, and yearly longer road trips, I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks.

1. A cooler is your best friend! Rather than buy individually packaged drinks like juice boxes, water bottles, and soda cans, I prefer to pack everyone their own reusable water bottle and their own travel mug with a top. This way I can buy the larger, less expensive per serving drinks, and pour a drink for whoever wants one. Bonus points, most places will discount your cup of joe if you bring your own cup. Filling your cooler doesn't need to be expensive, either. I fill up milk jugs that have been well cleaned with water, freeze, and use that as both my ice and a drink. I bring flavor sticks, and now some of those neat little liquid concentrates to add flavor to the water. I usually pack a few snacks, including fruit and baby carrots.

2. Thermos. I know I just mentioned discounted java, but you can also bring a big thermos filled with coffee or tea. I'm the only one that drinks coffee in my house, so I don't have to worry about various levels of sweetness or milk, but you can also bring some sweetener with you. If you use liquid sweetener, try reusing a baby food jar! You can also use a thermos for cold drinks, of course!

3. Emergency kit. There's nothing quite like a roadtrip to draw "Murphy" into your life. I keep 2, one for car related, and one for "personal" related emergencies. My car emergency kit stays in the car- jumper cables, a can of fix-a-flat, a jug of water, a quart of oil, and the liquid concentrate windshield washer fluid that I use. There's also a pack of baby wipes for quick cleanups, a small tool kit, and of course, the spare tire and everything I'd need to change it!

As far as for "personal" emergencies- in my world that means stuff that I'd be tempted or required to stop if I needed them. So, I have an old purse with deodorant, "lady products", tums, pain relief meds, chapstick, sunscreen, etc.

4. Plan your stops. Let's face it, you're going to have to stop on the road! I love using my smartphone to make this easier. I use the Gas Buddy App to find the cheapest gas, and search the Google Map app to find the nearest grocery store (almost always have public bathrooms, and if you feel like you "have" to buy something you can get fresh fruit), plus in phone navigation keeps me from getting too lost and reminds me which way the highway is...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So I've been in hiding...

After a tumultuous 2010, I'm back on the blogging scene. I moved to my own site, then tragedy struck and my entire life pretty much imploded. Everything I had a year ago is pretty much gone, but I'm working on building back my life. There's so much I miss about my old life, but I have to move forward and make the best of what I have now. I'm also working on restoring certain aspects of my old life- but that's a lot more personal than I can reveal on a public blog while there's still a lot up in the air that could be affected if I post about it now. I promise, someday the whole story will come out, but for now, just know that I'm working through what I can.

I don't really have much of a plan for this blog right now, other than to try to teach people how to save money and share my experiences with ninja-shopping.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

CVS Clearance and ECB burning....

I had a bunch of ECBs that were expiring, so I headed out to CVS to "burn" them. Here's what I got:

Transaction 1, Store 1: This store had a decent amount of stuff on clearance, so that's pretty much what I bought!

1 box Electrosol Power Tabs, $3.99 (reg. 5.99)
1 set pretty Bobby pins, $1.50 clearance (reg $5.99)
1 makeup bag/hair tie set, $2 clearance (reg $7.99)
1 travel sewing kit, 75¢ clearance (reg. $3.99)
1 CVS green bag tag, 99¢

$2.50 Electrosol coupon
$6 ECB

paid 78¢ oop.

Since my store didn't have what I was looking for, I headed to the next nearest store, about 3 minutes away.

Transaction #2, store 2
2 6-packs soyjoy, $12 total
used $12 ECB, paid 0 OOP, got back $12 in ECB

Transaction #3, store 2
1 Powerbar strawberry gel bite thingy, $1.50, reg 1.69
1 Dove candy bar (cuz momma needs candy!), 50¢, reg 89¢
1 pack Orbit gum, 99¢, reg 1.29
1 pack Easy Up pampers, $3, reg 11.99
2 packs gel cushions, $1 each
1 Dove men's bodywash, $5.49

Used $1.25 coupon out of today's paper,
$12 ECB

Paid 24¢ OOP, got back 5.49 in ECB

All told, I spent $1.02, saved $66.81, and still have $5.49 in ECB to play with!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken Challenge wrap up

Life got in the way this week (again) as I'm trying to make room in my day-to-day life for more writing, but I'm going to recap what happened with the rest of the chicken challenge:

Day 1, made chicken and dumplings for dinner, had enough leftovers for day 2's dinner

Day 2, had chicken sandwiches for lunch, and the leftover chicken and dumplings from day 1

Day 3, made a pantry salsa "salad" to go with chicken quesadillas

Day 4, packed up 2 small bags of chicken (meal sized, about a cup of chicken apiece)
made chicken chili out of the rest of the chicken and the salsa salad. I also have a total of 8 bottles of stock (2 cups each, packaged in waterbottles so they can be poured and stay neat in the freezer door....) which is the amount I need to make a quick pan gravy.

All in all, I think 7 meals from a 6.33lb chicken is pretty good!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day one of Chicken stretching challenge.

Day One, I'm trying something different. I saw Tyler Florence poach a whole chicken to make his chicken and dumplings, so I decided to give that a shot.

In the pot: 2 bay leaves, a few peppercorns, the scraps from onions/carrots/celery that were sitting in my freezer, some garlic, thyme, and a Tbsp of salt. Place chicken in pot, then cover with cold water and bring to gentle boil.

After the chicken was fully poached, I pulled it out of the pot and let it cool till I could handle it, and while it was cooling I strained out the broth and stuck it in the fridge. Then, I returned the pot to the stove, and then put all the bones back into the pot to get another batch of broth out of them. The broth that was already done would be for that night's dinner of chicken and dumplings, and the batch I was making was for the freezer since I use a LOT of stock!

I ended up with a large container of meat- and this will be the basis for meals for the rest of the week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicken stretching challenge!

Today, I am taking a 6.33lb whole chicken, and I'm going to see just how far I can stretch it. I paid 79¢ per lb, making it exactly $5 for the whole bird. I'll be posting what I'm doing with it every day- today, I'm poaching the whole thing for chicken and dumplings. Stay tuned!