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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Homemade Shampoo

Another way that I save money is by making my own shampoo. Not only does it save you money you know exactly what is going into what you're washing your hair.

You need:
1 gallon of water
1/2 cup of baking soda
1/4 castile soap
3 tsp of Xantham Gum
A bottle for foaming soap or a spray bottle

First, boil the water and add baking soda.

Turn off the heat after you've added the baking soda and let the water cool off.
Then add the Xantham Gum.
 It will foam up a bit when you add the Xantham Gum.

Then pour some into your foaming soap bottle/spray bottle and pour the rest into a clean milk jug.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Grilled Cheese--Awesome Style.

Eric and I had Grilled cheese and it was AMAZING.  Seriously. The best.

For those of you scoffing and saying "are you really giving me a recipe for grilled cheese?" yes. yes, I am. Deal with it and pin it.

So the secret ingredient is powdered sugar. yep, powdered sugar. We also put shredded cheese on the outside, but we might skip that next time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Groceries for 1 month= $150

         Recently I posted on Facebook that I had bought a month's worth of groceries (including toiletries) for less than $150. Cutting down our food bill was an important next step for Eric and I to become debt free as we had gotten on a budget, cut down on overspending on things we didn't need and cut down on our utilities bill. After we posted our successes, a lot of people asked us how we did it, so here's what we did.

Part One: Some Disclaimers

There are multiple factors outside of our process of grocery shopping that contribute to our ability to keep our grocery bill pretty low. We don't really subscribe to any current food trends. We aren't paleo and we don't eat organic or gluten-free. We're okay with eating canned or frozen vegetables. We also eat out once or twice a month. We also are only feeding two people, two adult people. However, I follow a lot of mommy bloggers that use the same system and it saves them loads. 

Part Two: Meal Planning

This is the second most important part to us saving so much on our groceries. We planned out all of the dinners we were going to have for a whole month. It took about 45 minutes and most of that was searching when we had events going on for the month. I made a theme for most nights, Meatless Mondays, Leftover Night on Wednesdays, and New Recipe Night on Thursdays. Without having theme nights it can seems like a daunting and overwhelming task to plan 30 or 31 days of meals. Make sure you inventory what you already have so you have meals that make you have to buy less at the store.

Part Three: Couponing

Be skeptical all you want but coupons were a key part of getting our grocery bill down to $150 for the month. You want to match up what you buy with a place that has coupons for those items. For example if you buy a lot of produce, a Super Target might be a good choice because they have plenty of coupons on the cartwheel app for fresh produce and some coupons on their website as well. I honestly spend only an hour or two tops on couponing. Before you gasp that per month you judgey judgertons! per month! I follow coupon blogs. Check out (which is what is featured in my coupons tab), and I also have a Walgreen's app and get a weekly e-mail from CVS.

Part Four: Drugstores/Petco

This $150 also included toiletries. I'll wait while you clean your spit take off of your computer screen... Ok? done? cool. Oftentimes, you can get toiletries for free or for excitingly cheap. Walgreen's and CVS are equally awesome at this. Sometimes you get instant coupons and sometimes you get cash back for a future purchase. Toothpaste is pretty much always free between either CVS or Walgreen's. Walgreen's has an app where you can load manufacturer's coupons on to your balance rewards card and of course you can always use newspaper and printed coupons there in addition to sales and coupons in their ads.

Another phenomenon that is exciting is that Petco basically gives away pet food to their pals rewards members. You get coupons in the mail and in your inbox but sometimes you can look to coupon blogs to find better coupons. A lot of times the coupons are "Free ___" not Buy one Get one free. just free. For Funsies. Because there's cat and dog people who pay $25 for a bag of dog food because they don't coupon so Petco can stay afloat just fine. One caveat: you will never have a 0 balance at Petco because they make you pay the sales tax on everything but we paid $1.23 for a $22 7 lb bag of cat food, so I'm not really complaining. 

Part Five: Less Dining Out

Yep. The unfun part. Stop dining out. or at least limit it. For Eric and I even eating at a fast food place can mean dropping $20 on food. Just find copycat recipes and pretend you're eating at that place you love. If it's the getting home and making food part then make a bunch of meals ahead of time and heat and eat. (obviously easier said than done, but I'm assuming there's some goal that is worth the work otherwise you wouldn't be looking at this blog)

Part Six: Freeze Stuff

For those of you who are wondering about veggies, dairy, bread and fruit. I freeze most dairy products (it really works and is ok) I also freeze bread. Some people get veggies and fruit from CSAs or they eat canned or frozen varieties of produce. Eric and I do the latter. Choose what you want.
Serenity you

Monday, February 17, 2014

Recipe Monday:Ranch Bean Dip

    Starting some new things for the blog! First off, I am now an Amazon affiliate, so when I review a book or post a new (non-food) recipe, you can buy what you need by clicking the link right in my article and support the blog you have come to know and love! Second, I'm posting 3 times a week (and actually doing it for those of you who noticed that I fell off of my new year's resolution wagon) Mondays will be recipe Mondays and then I will do two other posts each week. I will be reviewing some books and post some projects I'm working on. Let's see how it goes!

For this "Recipe Monday"

Ranch Bean Dip

1 (16 ounce) can refried beans

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 package of Ranch Dressing Mix

1 cup sour cream

In a small pan, mix all of the ingredients and stir until the cheese is melted and the dip is well blended. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hit another milestone!

     We paid off a credit card today! This one was a bit of a tough battle.

       At the end of each month we make our "snowball payment" (that way if there was money left in the food or gas budget, it jumps in to pay off the debt) Well there was a mistake and Bank of America was trying to pull the payment out of a bank account we don't use. Dealt with the charges from our bank, and then Bank of America refunded our current account. We called them to try and fix it and they told us to pay our credit card twice the original payment. -Shrug- ok. Then, yesterday, we were hit with the amount we'd originally paid and $25 bank fee.

       After primal screaming for about 15 minutes, I chatted with a Bank of America representative and the bank fee was waived as a "courtesy" to me. Oh thanks for the courtesy of not making me pay for your mistake BOA.

      We have a car loan with BOA as well. We're not quite done with this BOA constrictor yet.