Monday, January 28, 2019

the start of homemade vegetable stock

Here's my little bin I keep in the freezer door for vegetable scraps that I'm going to use to make my own stock! I have some leftover celery from our housewarming, an almost off carrot that was going to be tossed, and some green onions. Since we don't eat onions or carrots, it was a great score from my meal prep job so they weren't tossed (everything is fresh there) and I didn't have to spend money on them. I believe I'm going to try this slow cooker version of making it, but I've been following this list of what vegetable scraps are acceptable. It's pretty easy to save for it and I can't wait to have enough to make my own stock.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

thrifty thursday #11


  • I received 9¢ back via ibotta last month for buying an eBook copy of Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I highly recommend it (though it is much darker than the movie)!
  • The new year has brought some new decluttering habits, including my inbox. I've been deleting emails and unsubscribing from email mailing lists, saving myself from tempting sales.
  • I was just looking at phone stands for my desk at work and then the next day a company rep came in with some! Saved me $7.
  • Another item sold via swap.com so I'm just waiting for enough to cash out. I wish they'd reopen inbound shipments!
  • During the snowy weekend I chopped up some sweet peppers and froze them for another day, along with three bananas that Kyle had let brown on the counter.
  • I picked up a second job working one day a week at a local meal prep company. It's laborious, but easy work prepping and since they only cook once a week, we all get to take our pick of the extras from the day. I brought home some chicken breast, a whole bag of turkey meatballs, some kale slaw, and grape tomatoes. These will definitely help us pad out the grocery budget for the week.
How have you saved or made some money this week?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

frugal recipe // 15 minute croutons

We somehow ended up with a pretty stale, almost complete loaf of whole grain bread. Since Kyle had already replaced it, I knew it wouldn't be eaten in it's current form. I froze half to make into breadcrumbs later, and for the other half croutons were born! They're super easy to make. Here's how I make mine:

Easy 15 Minute Croutons
6-10 slices of bread
olive oil
garlic powder
herbs or spices

Preheat oven to 400°
Cut slices of bread into small pieces, however small or large you want your croutons
Lightly coat with olive oil
Season with spices - however you choose to season your croutons is up to you, but I shook garlic powder and parsley over my batch
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until hard (but not burnt!)
Remove from oven and allow to cool
Store in airtight container, use within a week

You could mix these up anyway you'd like. Parmesan, basil, lemon pepper. The ideas are endless! If you make some, let me know!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

how to read books for free or cheap

Books are expensive, as all bookworms know. However, there's a way to read to your heart's content for little to no money! I rarely buy books at retail cost. Here's how I get mine:

The library // Oh, the wondrous library! The majority of places (even my small hometown) have a library that's open for public use. Most of the time you just need to prove your residency and they'll give you a card.

Email Lists // The lists I use are Bookbub and Riffle. They send daily emails with eBooks that have been lowered in price or free! Most are anywhere from free to $2.99 and you can choose which platform you use for the download (Kindle, B&N, iBooks, etc.)

Kindle Unlimited // This one isn't free, but it is only $9.99 per month via Amazon and you have access to 1.4 million eBooks, including some popular titles like the Harry Potter series. You can only "rent" ten books at a time, but I just add future books to a wish list to keep track of them.

Amazon Prime // If you already have Prime, you have access to First Reads, which is a monthly service that gives you early access to new releases. They send you an email on the first of the month and you can make your choice of one of the several books available. I discovered The Rule of One this way (highly recommend). The First Reads books are available on Kindle Unlimited once they're released.

There are many more ways to find books, but these are the easiest I've found and what work best for me. If you know of others, let me know! I love connecting on Goodreads and seeing what everyone is reading, so send me a friend request!



unsplash-logoUgur Akdemir

Thursday, January 10, 2019

thrifty thursday #10

  • While shopping for Christmas gifts, I earned $30 Old Navy Super Cash to use in February!
  • Made a couple more sales on Poshmark & Mercari. So happy to be clearing out older inventory.
  • Check to see if you have a Mapco near you - I routinely save 7¢ off per gallon with their promo emails!
  • We used my almost ten year old pre-lit $40 Black Friday special Christmas tree in our new apartment.
  • Kyle went to the grocery store for me on Christmas Eve (I avoid grocery stores around the holidays like the plague) and I earned 25¢ with an 'any item' rebate via ibotta for his receipt.
  • I have over 10k points on Fetch Rewards! Use code JJ2TJ and you'll get 2k points just for signing up!
  • Kyle's wonderful family gifted us a vacuum and a slow cooker for Christmas and we are forever grateful!
  • I received a Yeti Roadie (for those tournament days!) for Christmas from my mom and Kyle and I registered it and I'll be receiving a free bottle opener!
  • I cancelled a rewards program membership that cost per month. It reimbursed me for a one time reward of $7.99 for shipping and I knew I wouldn't benefit enough to justify the cost.
  • My mom sent us home with a bunch of food so I'm trying to stretch it as much as I can to keep our food budget in check.

Frugal Fails
  • I just went Platinum in December at Ulta, meaning I spent an ungodly amount of money on cosmetic and skincare this year. But I get extra coupons??

Monday, January 7, 2019

frugal recipe // leftover tater tot casserole

There are only two of us in our household, not including the dogs, and one night Kyle made dinner. A dream, right? Well, he cooked the entire bag of tater tots. I love potatoes, but I can only eat so many tots. So we had a fairly large amount of them left over in a container in the fridge. They sat for a couple days and they weren't amazing heated back up. Thus, this dish was born. Here's how I made it!

Leftover Tater Tot Casserole
Tater tots
3 eggs, whisked together
Leftover cubed cheddar, cut into smaller pieces
2 tbsp butter, diced
Pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Sour Cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven safe dish, spread the tater tots along the bottom. Whisk together the eggs and pour over the tots. Stir to coat. Dice the butter and cubed cheddar and spread evenly across the potatoes. Put into the oven for 25 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with sour cream.

That's it! You could easily modify this to suit your needs. Add whatever leftover meat you have, more egg, different spices. It was tasty and we didn't toss out those tots!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

no spend & declutter january


For the month of January I decided to challenge myself to a no-spend month to start the new year off on the right foot. We spent way too much this holiday season, so we need to recoup a little. I've really been needing to save up some money and my spending habits (a snack here, Taco Bell there, cheap beauty products at Ross) have gotten a little out of control. So here we are! Hopefully this challenge will reset some of my bad habits. I gave myself a few rules:
  • Buy only necessities. // I consider necessities as food, medication, bills, and gas. Obviously things come up, but no spur of the moment eating out or going by Target and picking up random cosmetics.
  • No stockpiling beforehand. // I have an ungodly amount of cosmetics/personal hygiene products/cleaning supplies. I need to use the older suckers up so I can replace them completely with cruelty free versions.
  • Declutter. // We live in a tiny one bedroom apartment. I have too much stuff in general, so if I can't use it when I'm not buying new things, why do I need it at all?
Things I most definitely won't be buying:
  • Bath & Beauty // As stated above, I have waaaaaay too many products.
  • Books // I could read for years and not buy a new book.
  • Clothing // Either wear it or get rid of it.
  • Fast Food // It's not even good for you.
I'm hoping to not only get rid of a lot of things, but to put a little money into savings, too.

Have you ever done a no-spending challenge? If you have tips, leave them in the comments!

unsplash-logoMathieu Turle