Category Archives: Frugality

Back to the Mill

I’ve had a lovely 8 days off of work, but I have to go back to the mill (or baby mill as we lovingly call it) tomorrow night. I decided to celebrate my last night of freedom for the week I would cook a special dinner tonight.

Tim and I (mostly I) have been really focusing on spending less money lately. My goal is to eliminate all of our debt and save up one year of my salary. So far we have paid off all of our debt except for my student loan (which seems silly to worry about at less than 2% interest) and our mortgage. We’ve been able to successfully put all of my income into savings since my gallbladder surgery in June!

One way we’ve been able to save money is by using coupons and stockpiling items when they are on sale so that we don’t ever (hopefully) have to spend full price.

This was my loot on my couponing trip today:

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I spent $51.50 on all this and saved $75.11!

This total includes a few high priced items and splurges including 2 packs of diapers and this (which cost almost 30% of my weekly grocery bill):

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Our special dinner tonight was Grilled Bourbon Salmon fillets, warm arugula salad with caramelized onion, toasted pecans and balsamic reduction, and roasted new potatoes.

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It didn’t turn out quite as pretty as I would have liked. The fish stuck to the grill some even though I thought I oiled it up well, I guess I’m still getting used to cooking meat again. But O.M.G it was gooood! And still way cheaper than going out for a nice meal at a restaurant.

It was just the fancy dinner I needed after a hard 5.5 mile run on the treadmill tonight.

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Filed under Coupons, Deals, Food, Frugality, pictures

This is How It’s Done

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to turn Eat to Live, Live to Run into a couponing blog. But I get so giddy excited when I get great deals that I just have to share. Its pretty much a hobby at this point, I find it sooo fun to see how much money I can save. I can’t believe the whole world doesn’t do this!

So these were my buys today:

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Dial Nutriskin bodywash, Bio True contact solution, Schick Hydro shave gel, Shich Hydro 3 razor, Sharpie marker (filler item).

Normally this would have cost me: $21.95

With my coupons I paid: $9.03 out of pocket, but wait .. wait .. I got back Register Rewards (which are basically coupons off your next purchase of any item at Walgreen’s). I got back a $4 RR, a $3 one and a $2 one. So taking that into consideration I only paid $0.03 for all of this!!!

Oh .. but wait wait .. more .. there is also a “try it free Schick rebate” going on. I sent in my receipt and I will receive (in 6-8 weeks of course) the original price of the Schick Razor back, $7.99.

So I MADE $7.96 on this transaction!

Now on to the more blog themed topics:

The Half Marathon training program called for a 3 mile run + strength training today.

The Hubby and I headed to the gym tonight to get our workout on. Of course all of the treadmills were full of walkers reading books. I have no hate for walking, except for when I’m waiting to RUN! To make matters worse, I got ‘mill-blocked twice before I finally decided to get on the crappiest treadmill. In other words, I was waiting to get on and when the person got off someone else jumped on before I could make my way over …. twice!

So frustrating!

The crappy treadmill wasn’t so bad after all though, and I knocked out my 3 miles easily with a pace of 8:20. I did a few of the weight machines and some free weight arm exercises to get my strength training in. Strength is definitely not my strong suit, but I want to get better.

Dinner was a yummy Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella ravioli with a side salad. Followed by my favorite dessert as of late:

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All hail the “Peanut Butter Spoon”, as Lincoln calls it. Really what can be better than a peanut butter spoon? …  except maybe …

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Oh yeah baby!

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Filed under Food, Frugality, pictures, Walgreens

An Update and A Mini Challenge

If you read my blog with any regularity you may remember that back in June I decided to really get back on the ball with my couponing and frugal living. This re-dedication was sparked by my surgery and income loss during my recovery time. Turns out I only missed about 2 weeks of work and it wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as I anticipated, but I decided to stick to my money saving plan to see where it got me. You may also remember that I’m on a debt eradicating mission, my basic goal being to pay off our outstanding debt as quickly as possible. Well, I’ve gathered some information from June and July to compare and the results are surprising … even to me.

July was the first full month that I stuck to the money saving plan, which basically consists of: don’t buy things you don’t need, make a list and stick to it, cut out extra spending where possible, and save wherever you can.

Here are the results:

  June July
Groceries & Household $813 $495
Dining $285 $185
Electricity $293 $244

By just being conscientious of what we buy, eating at home more and being mindful of the electricity we use we were able to save $467 in just one month in these categories!!

We were also able to live completely on Hubby’s income during the month of July which allowed us to pay off my car loan. Yay!

My big on-going challenge that I’m currently working on is to continue to live only on DH’s income and send my entire income towards our outstanding debt which at this point includes: hubby’s car loan and my student loans. But I also like to set mini challenges for myself.

Today I went through my pantry, fridge and freezer and created a list of meals that I have all of the ingredients on hand to make.

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The challenge is to eat all of these meals before buying any additional groceries other than fresh vegetables and milk.

I’m confident that we can do it 🙂

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If you are interested in hearing more about specific things I did to save money and websites I found particularly useful … read on …

  • Couponing – Most people think that couponing is just hours of work for $0.25 off this or $.50 off that. I thought that too, until I learned the art. You have to combine coupons with sales to buy things at rock bottom prices. You also have to stockpile items that you can get super cheap until the next time they go on sale. Some websites that I have found particularly helpful are: Southern Savers, I Heart Publix, and My Frugal Adventures.
  • Making It From Scratch – This entire month the Hubby and I have made all of our own bread instead of buying bread at the store. You wouldn’t believe how much money this saves! I have been using my bread machine (check at your local thrift store and you may score one super cheap), but you can also do it old school style. I’m looking into making my own laundry soap also (really easy), and vinegar makes a great household cleaner. There are tons of “recipes” online for household cleaners, as well as homemade bread. Hillbilly Housewife has tons of great recipes and tips.
  • Use less AC – I realized that my thermostat doesn’t have to run at 72 degrees for me to be comfortable. This month I’ve kept the thermostat between 78-80, turned on some fans, worn cooler clothes and it hasn’t been bad at all. I also got on a levelized billing plan with my electric company where I pay an average of the last 6 months usage. This will cost me a little more in the winter, but I’ll see the savings in the summer.
  • Cloth diapering – Once I realized that disposable diapers cost about $.25 each (not to mention are horrible for the earth) I pulled my cloth diapers back out. We use about 5-6 diapers a day, which saves us about $40 a month!
  • Sell It – I went through my closets and storage areas and sold a bunch of things on eBay that were just sitting around that I’ll never use. I made $330 on eBay this month by just selling off a few things. I still have tons of stuff left to list.
  • Reuse/Recycle – Find new uses for old things. I’ve been using old bread bags to keep my homemade bread in. There are tons of uses for plastic grocery sacks. Re-use Ziploc bags, no sense in throwing them away unless they get really dirty. Use cereal bags in place of wax paper.

Other ideas?

 

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Filed under Challenges, Frugality, pictures, Tips/Tricks

It Doesn’t Take Much

It doesn’t take much to excite me. I get thrilled by the simplest of things. Today has definitely been thrilling already.

I had a crazy dream last night and woke up in a panic at about 4:30 this morning. Since my alarm was set to go off at 5:00 anyway I just stayed up and diddled around on the internet for a while.

The hubby and I met up with some R3 friends this morning at my favorite park for a group run.

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The group meets every Saturday at 6:30 am, but I’ve never been up early enough on a Saturday to go. I think I’m going to start making a serious effort to make it a regular thing though. It definitely started my day off right and I’ve been in a great mood ever since.

I ran an easy 4 miles in 36:52. A nice recovery pace.

It was so nice to get back out on the road! I’ve been treadmillin’ it for so long now because I can’t get my ass out of bed early enough to beat the heat that I had almost forgotten how much I love the roads!

My route:

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I love seeing those little maps of where I ran. See … it doesn’t take much.

After our run we headed over to the Farmer’s Market and to run a few more errands.

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I was in a silly mood.

There was so many delicious local fruits and veggies at the Farmer’s Market, I wanted to buy them all.

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I could have easily spent a lot of money, but instead I decided to leave empty handed. Tim and I promised each other that as soon as we find out when I’ll be able to go back to work we will start buying our weekly produce at the Farmer’s Market instead of the grocery store. Its important to me to buy locally.

One thing I’ve never seen before there that I really liked was local Organic Milk, unfortunately it was $7 a gallon though.

We went to Publix to get a couple good deals that I had coupons for while we were close-by. This is what really made my day …

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The grand total for all of that …

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Oh yeah baby!

This one isn’t quite as impressive, but we also picked up a few good deals at Walgreens.

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2 Men’s Old Spice Body Wash, 2 Deodorants, a Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor and Colgate toothpaste for $11.02.

Not bad. 🙂

Lunch was leftover Stuffed Jumbo Shells from last night and what else but …. corn.

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For some reason these shells turned out even better than usual. I used my basic recipe and substituted ingredients based on what I had on hand. I ended up using a combo of:

  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Onions
  • Spices

It was out of this world.

Now I’m off to continue this wonderful Saturday with my family and a birthday party this afternoon.

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Filed under Coupons, Deals, Farmer's Market, Food, Frugality, pictures, River Region Runners, Running, Shopping

Reason to Celebrate!

I’ve been doing alot of thinking lately about how to save some money. If you read my blog with any regularity you probably already know that I had my gallbladder removed exactly 1 week ago and that I’m out of work for an undetermined amount of time (could be as much as 6 weeks) right now while I “recover”.

Missed those blogs?

Here.
Here.
Here.

Anyway, today I did some research about other ways to save money around our household. I calculated our bills, re-calculated, and re-calculated again to see if we can afford to live only off of the hubby’s income. I’ve determined with a little finagling and cutting back on our average grocery spendage we can reasonably live off of just the hubby’s income.

Of course at some point I’ll be going back to work, but I would love to be able to dedicate my entire income to debt, then savings and eventually be a stay-at-home mom.

I love reading Frugal Reddit to get great ideas (and general entertainment) about living frugally and saving money.

Some of the sites that I have discovered recently that I find really cool are.

Swag Bucks – A Google based search engine toolbar that earns you “swag bucks” for internet searches. You can redeem your swag bucks for prizes in the Swag Store. I actually got 2 free $5 Amazon e-gift cards a few days ago just for using this toolbar to search the internet. I’m close to being able to get a 3rd. This will come in handy for Christmas shopping. Hopefully I’ll have a few more by then 🙂

Restaurant.com – I found out about this website from Reddit also. I purchased a $25 gift certificate for one of our favorite local restaurants for $2! They have promotion codes available online for huge discounts. (More on this in a minute)

Ebates.com – I haven’t used this one much yet, but basically its a cash back rewards site. You get $5 for just making an account which they either credit to your Paypal account or send you a check. When you buy from specific retailers through the site you get a designated percentage of your purchase as cash back. Similar to what some credit card companies do.

After all this “research” today I really needed to get out of the house for a while. I originally planned on taking today off from working out, but I ultimately decided I felt good and up for it, so why not? I thought I might even …. *gasp* … run.

I got dressed to go to the gym and did a 2 minute “test run” on my treadmill to see if I thought I might be ready. It went well enough that I thought running was feasible today. I prefer to run on the gym treadmill when I have the chance for several reasons:

  1. Its cooler at the gym. (Especially since I’ve been setting our thermostat higher than normal to save electricity).
  2. I like being around other people.
  3. The machines are better.
  4. I can look out the window while I run.

I decided to try to run about 2-3 miles, depending on how I felt. But I would stop immediately if I had any pain that I thought was related to my surgery.

I ran 3.1 miles in 26:03! Not bad for my first time back!

I was so elated to be back in action that I needed to celebrate! I wanted to make tonight a “family date night”. We decided to use one of the Restaurant.com gift certificates that I bought today to go out to dinner (on a budget).

And I got to wear some of my new clothes

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Me and my date …

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We went to the restaurant that we went to for our first date … Ala Thai. Although its in a different location, the food is the same as it was a little over 10 years ago when we went for the first time.

Free wine, free beer …

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I don’t know why its free. But it is. I had 3 glasses 🙂

In order to use our $25 gift certificates it specified that we must spend atleast $35 before the discount, so we scoured the menu online before and decided on what exactly we’d get to get us just over the $35 mark. We decided on …

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Spring rolls. My long-standing favorite appy! And a newbie app …

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Vegetable roll. Basically pineapple, shredded carrot, and bean sprouts with a yummy dipping sauce. It was pretty good, but its no spring roll.

For my entree I decided on my usual, the tofu Pad Thai.

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Tim had Red Curry with Tofu.

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It was pretty tasty, but melt-your-face-off spicy. Definitely not for me!

After our 2 apps, 2 entrees and free drinks we were still $3.75 short of the $35 requirement to use our gift card so we haaaaad to get dessert.

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Fried cheesecake!

The summary …

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember the last time I ate out at a nice place and had 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 5 alcoholic beverages and dessert for $23. And that included the gratuity. Score!

Actually we determined that the meal actually cost us exactly … $25.14 including buying the gift certificate, and the cash back reward that we get from our credit card. Still … not bad at all!

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to eat out and just because I’m on a “budget” doesn’t mean I’m not going to find a way to make it happen. It was a great date night.

Lincoln slept through the whole thing …

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Filed under Food, Frugality, pictures, Restaurants, Running

Happy … July 5th?

I’m in a happy place today. Despite having a crappy nights sleep, I feel like today has been pretty great. I woke up super early after tossing and turning with strange dreams most of the night. I decided to make “perfect oatmeal” and read some of this blog that has been intriguing me about a guy who ate “healthy” off of $1 a day for one month.

My oatmeal pre-stir:

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Contained:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • blueberries
  • 1/4 trail mix
  • cinnamon
  • drizzle of syrup

Post stir:

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Mid-morning I met my Nana at the mall for some clothes shopping.

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I’m not sure if I can technically count it towards my wardrobe I vowed to buy myself in my 101 in 1001 list since my gracious grandmother bought it for me, but I ended up with 8 shirts, 5 pairs of capris/jeans, and a dress. Love you Nana!

For lunch we stopped at the Food Court in the mall and I was excited to see some vegetarian options. As a newbie on the vegetarian front there are lots of situations I haven’t had to face yet, but this is what I got.

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A veggie wrap from Falafel Express. I didn’t really know what the veggie wrap would involve, but it turns out it wasn’t as healthy as it sounded with all the cheese, tzatziki, and fried falafel on it. And of course the fries. I guess this was the true test of how I’d fare without my gallbladder. It was 2:00 by this point and I was HANGRY, so health wasn’t the first thing on my mind.

I ate the whole wrap and about half of the fries. While I felt a little rumbly in the tumbly it certainly wasn’t the death and destruction I feared without my gallbladder. (The gallbladder processes the fat consumed in ones diet and breaks it down before passing on to the intestines, without it some people have chronic diarrhea when eating fatty foods). Yummy, huh?

I decided to try the elliptical today and see how that would go since I still can’t run yet. I did an awesome 1 hour and 5.6 miles!!! No pain! I felt on top on the world. I feel like soon I’ll be back running like I never missed a beat, but until then atleast I have my 2nd love, the elliptical, as an option.

Dinner was a veggie plate. I worked up quite an appetite on the elliptical and I definitely threw down in the kitchen tonight.

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  • Mashed curried sweet potatoes
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Corn on the Cob
  • French Baguette

I ended up eating about twice the amount of bread shown, and two beers. What can I say? This girl has an appetite!

Tim and I have been playing a game lately to try to estimate what our meals cost us to make. We estimated this meal to cost less than $5.00 for the both of us.

$0.30 for 2 ears of corn, about $.50 for the bread or less, maybe $1.00 for the broccoli, I really have no idea how much sweet potatoes cost, but I used 1 fairly large one … lets just guess $1. Thats what? … $2.80 for the food and then about $1 each for the beer.

It was a good day, all the way around.

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Filed under Clothing, family, Food, Frugality, pictures, Shopping

Still Trying To Figure It Out

I still can’t figure out how a gallbladder came out of a hole this small.

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Actually I have 4 holes that size. Well, at least I think I have 4. I thought I remembered the doctor telling me that I would have 5 holes, but I can’t for the life of me find the 5th. I gave up looking after the 2nd day.

I’m not dirty I swear, that brownish looking tinge in the pic is leftover iodine. Its a bitch to get off.

I found an article on Reddit about a surgeon that started this new “ground breaking” procedure of extracting the gallbladder out the vagina. Ummm … no thanks.

Speaking of … I’m so proud of my hubby. He had a fabulous new money saving idea today. He tells me in the grocery store, “Hey, if you start a new pack of birth control instead of taking the week off we won’t have to buy tampons”. Woot! I gave him a double fist pump on that one!

Frugality at its finest. I knew I was meant to marry that man.

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Filed under Frugality, Medical Issues, pictures