Bountiful Baskets, Homemade Cleaners & Frugal Spending

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our first time to participate in Bountiful Baskets was successful!
We took home several oranges, a ton of pears and apples, squash, a yam, grape tomatoes, bananas, zucchini, cabbage, spinach and cauliflower. 
We did spend an hour at the location, but for $ was worth the wait :)
And because we were up so early, we dropped off our tax info., picked up several books at a local bookstore and were home before 11am!

After watching a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, the hubbs and I have been increasing our intake of fruits and veggies and have stopped buying pre-packaged food. We knew that the prepackaged food probably wasn't the healthiest thing for us, but we honestly didn't realize exactly how bad it really is.

We have also been juicing-EVERYTHING-from sweet potatoes to collard greens. I bought a Jack LeLaine juicer about 3 years ago and for some reason, it wasn't juicing like it was supposed to so I hid it away. The pulp always came out dripping wet. Well, I dug it out to test it out before investing in a new juicer and we figured out that we were using the machine incorrectly. Now that we know what we are doing, the machine works perfectly!

Along with our endeavor of becoming more health conscience, we are being a bit more frugal. We have a baby coming in May and still have the same ol' bills coming each month. We are trying to find ways to cut back without suffering for it.

This is the best place to start. Make a list of your incoming bills and list everything that is a monthly occurrence. Then list all of your other expenses (gas money, groceries, date nights, dining out, clothes, etc.). 
Keep track of everything you spend for one month and fill in your list. See where you can cut back and then set a budget for your other expenses.

Grocery Shopping & Menu List
I make a menu for every week of the month, write down the ingredients on a list and head to the grocery store. I buy exactly what is on my list and nothing else! I clip coupons (but buy no means am I into the whole extreme-couponing thing) and I use an app called ibotta (paper-free coupons that earn you money and can be transferred to your paypal account). As long as I stick to my list, I can stick to my budget. It also doesn't hurt to buy store brands or to shop at a local discount store. I have an Aldi that is about 5-10 minutes away!

We no longer go out to eat whenever we want. Now, we did go out to eat with my parents on Sunday night and were perfectly fine picking up the tab (they always pay!). But we really appreciated the food and service because we were used to eating at home. It has now become a special treat!
We also take our lunch to work instead of stopping at a fast food drive-thru. This has really saved us so much money, it's ridiculous! It also helps knowing what we are putting in our bodies when we eat that junk we just...don't!

Entertainment used to cut into a HUGE part of our monthly earnings. In order to cut back, we decided not to get cable and instead went with internet only. This will save you a ton of money! We subscribe to Netflix and use the Redbox free rental codes that we get via text messages for our movies. There is also a local video store that always has awesome rental deals and free kid's movie rentals if we want to make it a special weekend "outing" for our 6 year old.
My husband also utilizes his Elk's membership when he wants to hang out with the guys. Fun atmosphere, karaoke, lower priced drinks and awesome people! It only costs $10 more a year for my membership :)

Other ways to save on Entertainment:
Participate in a local sports team
Hit some golf balls at a local driving range
Have family/friend game nights
Family movie night with homemade pizza
Participate in a book club
Visit your local library or discount book store
Go to movie matinees
Attend free concerts
Visit local museums
Attend the local zoo or aquarium on a discount day

Household Cleaners-DIY
I have started making my own household cleaners. You wouldn't believe how much we spend on cleaning products! I am a neat freak so I have to have my cleaners! This weekend, I spent around 10 minutes total making my own fruit and veggie spray, Febreeze and kitchen cleaner. I bought 3 spray bottles from the dollar store, labeled them and filled them up. I saved money and I am not using harsh chemicals to clean.

Fruit and Veggie Spray
White Vinegar
Spray Bottle

*Fill the spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. 
Add a tablespoon of salt and shake vigorously.

Kitchen Cleaner
12 oz. of Dawn dishwashing liquid
12 oz. of White Vinegar
1 Tbl of Fabric Softener
Spray Bottle

 *Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake to mix. 
A little spray goes a LONG way!

Homemade Febreeze
1/8 cup of Fabric Softener
2 Tbl of Baking Soda
Hot tap water
Spray Bottle

*Add fabric softener and baking soda to bottle. 
Fill the rest of the bottle with the tap water. 
Shake before each use.

Have a great week!

Bountiful Baskets

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This Saturday we are participating in our first Bountiful Baskets Co-op. 
Bountiful Baskets is a non-profit food co-op for families that want to have more fresh produce for less money. In order to participate, you must set up a free account on the website

Every Monday you may sign up to receive your produce ($15 per basket or $25 for organic baskets) and pick it up on Saturday mornings. You may participate as many weeks as you like!

I am excited to see what we end up with in our basket (every week is supposed to be different). We are trying to increase our intake of fruits and this seemed like a pretty good idea! 

I will include pictures of what we brought home this Saturday.

For more information, please check out this blog:

Blissful & Domestic

Food Labeling and What You Should Know

Weekly Menu

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 4-8, 2013

Monday - Hotdog Night served with Fruit Smoothies

Fruit Smoothie
Serves 2-3
1 cup ice
1 whole Banana, broken into pieces
1 cup Berries (I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
1 1/2 cups Orange Juice (Any juice will work)

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Tuesday - Baked Barbeque Chicken with Bacon, served with Crescent Rolls and Balsamic Parmesan Green Beans and Mushrooms

Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms

Wednesday - Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo, served with Broccoli

Broccoli Chicken Fettuccine Recipe

Thursday- Beans and Cornbread

porch beans cornbread 119

Friday - Homemade Pizza Night