I am a Catholic, homeschooling mom of two from Alabama. I love finding great deals, trying new low carb foods, reading tons of books, and homeschooling on the cheap. I hope you can find some great ideas on here that will enrich your life and save you a few dollars!
Since I have been trying to not buy anything “new” this year, my kids have found that between the thrift store, yard sales, and the occasional treat from a grandparent, this whole buying things used idea has its perks. One of the things that my son has been wanting since last Christmas was a Imaginext Batman playset. I explained to him that I was challenging myself to only buying used items for the entire year and that if we could not find one at the thrift store or yard sales, he could get a new one for his birthday or Christmas. Well after searching at the thrift store for the past 10 months, we found one for $3!!! To say that he was excited would be an understatement, he kept telling everyone that he hit the jackpot:)
**Ben also found a WWE wrestling ring ($3) and two Star Wars action figures ($2) on this trip as well…so maybe he really did hit the jackpot.
My daughter is playing Aunt Tilly in It’s a Wonderful Life this December and needed two 1930’s era outfits appropriate for a middle aged lady. The director strongly urged everyone to search at the thrift stores because they usually have tons of antique clothing for great prices. We had a relatively easy time in coming up with two outfits that would work for my daughter. We found a dark dress that will work for a wedding/funeral scene and a frilly blouse matched with a conservative skirt to wear for all of the other scenes. **Both costumes were less than $10 each, so we were very happy to pay that price:)
We have been enjoying our local library a lot these past few weeks and we love that they try to keep up with all of the most popular new releases that have come out lately. Two new releases that I was excited to find at the library this past week were Deborah Harkness’s Time’s Convert and the new Bess Crawford mystery, A Forgotten Place. **If you enjoyed the Twilight series, then you must read Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy beginning with A Discovery of Witches. If you enjoy historical mysteries, the Bess Crawford mystery series will be right up your alley:)
4. Essential Oils
FYI: If you mix your own essential oils blends, you will save a ton of money! This week we have been using thieves oil to treat a cold and a new blend that I mixed together to inspire tranquility and lower anxiety. **Both seem to be working well, so we are coughing less and more peaceful this week. I used clary sage, lavender, lemon, and geranium in the tranquility blend and this is the easiest recipe that I have found for thieves oil.
5. Repaired a zipper
Last week my zipper on my wallet came undone and I thought it was a lost cause until my daughter said that it looked like it just needed to be zipped back on, so after a little wrestling, they zipper zipped back on and it is as good as new….Thanks Emma:)
1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (395 down and 105 to go)
We finally had fall temperatures in North Alabama this week, so I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked all 11 miles outside.
2. Read two non-fiction books each month
I have four books picked out to borrow from the library this week, so hopefully two of them will be keepers. **I sincerely believe that life is too short to read crappy books, so if a book does not strike my fancy by Chapter 3…I move on:)
3. Eat low carb each day
This was probably my worse low carb week ever (well at least since I started eating a low carb diet three years ago)…..I think I only ate low carb-ish 4 days this week.
4. Have two family game nights each month
This week we played Clue and Hi-Ho Cherry-o. Emma won Hi-Ho Cherry-o and Ben and I won Clue. **In case you were wondering it was Ms. White with the wrench in the Dining Room.
5. Have two date nights each month
This week we went out to a local bar and grill and then watched a few Blacklist episodes at home on Netflix.
I had written this recipe down years ago and recently it has made its way back into my monthly meal rotation (mainly due to all of the cubed steak that I have leftover from the 1/4 beef we bought from my dad in July) The marinade is really forgiving, sometimes I use more or less soy sauce and it always turns out fine. We like to serve it over cauliflower rice, but I am sure zoodles or regular rice would be just fine too.
2 lbs cubed steak
For the Marinade:
8 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
2 Tablespoons of sesame oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons of minced garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
1. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour it over the cubed steak (I usually coat the meat with my hands to make sure all sides of the meat get coated…its a little messy but worth it!)
2. Let the steak marinade for at least two hours or more in the refrigerator.
3. Preheat a grill on low to medium heat.
4. Grill the steak on both sides for 3-5 min. (This cooks really quickly due to how thin the steak so watch it closely….it tastes best when it is slightly underdone)
5. Serve by itself or on top of zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. If you are not counting carbs, I am sure normal rice is awesome:) **When I make the cauliflower rice I always add a little butter and salt to jazz it up a bit before I put the beef on top.
We had a pretty good week for finding things at the thrift store. Ben “hit the jackpot” as he likes to say:) He found two full size action figures for $1.99 each, a Phineas and Ferb t-shirt for $1.99, and an Avengers t-shirt for $1.49. Emma found three hardback books in a series that she enjoys for $1.50 each. I found a copy of Mansfield Park to use for a unit in our High School English class next semester for $1.
2. Kroger finds
Kroger had a lot of great deals this week again. I stocked up on ribs and pork loins for $1.39/lb and one pound blocks of cheese for just $2.50 each.
3. Repaired clothes
I mended a pair of shorts for my husband and took in the sides of a shirt for myself.
4. Halloween decorations
My children decorated for Halloween with items we reuse each year and we watched Hocus Pocus to get in the spirit:)
5. Canned goods
I used home canned pumpkin to bake pumpkin bread for a bake sale….this is the recipe I always use….the only substitution I make is to use brown sugar instead of the suggested white sugar. This recipe always gets a lot of compliments!
This week I found a few great deals on Walmart’s clearance aisle. I picked up two boxes of granola bars for $2 each and two bags of sushi rice for $1.50 each. **The sushi rice was an especially great deal for around here, considering Publix sells a small container for $7!
2. Made my own curriculum
We are starting our second 8 week section of homeschool this week, so that means that I have been writing out assignments, questions, and tests for the past few weeks in preparation. Considering that this saves me hundreds of dollars a year, I try not to complain too much:)
3. Packed snacks and drinks
We had a church picnic this weekend and decided to bypass all the delicious food trucks, by bringing our own food and drinks. **I did buy the kids a snow cone so they did not feel too deprived.
Our Honda dealership sent us two separate coupons in the mail over the past month for future services. I did not know which one would work out the best for the types of service we needed, so I sent both with my husband. Apparently they let him use both coupons since we technically had two services done and saved $90.
5. Free online classes
My daughter is taking Spanish and Sign language as foreign languages this year for high school credit, so we have been searching for ways to supplement her textbooks. We have been using Duolingo for Spanish practice this year and that has been working out very well, but we needed an option for sign language as well. Luckily my daughter’s sign language teacher recommended a site called ASL University that offers free sign language lessons that my daughter can use to supplement her textbook and co-op classes. **I am always happy to tell people that it does not have to cost a fortune to have a well rounded homeschool education…especially if you put in a little time and effort:)
1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (364 down and 136 to go)
I walked 9 miles this week and my wonderful husband joined me almost every time so we had lots of great conversations:)
2. Eat low carb every day
I did this for 6 days this week
3. Read two non-fiction books each month Accomplished
This week I read Educated by Tara Westover. I did not read any reviews or even a summary about this book before I picked it up, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into! (I tend to avoid books that have a lot of stressful situations that never really get resolved, so this book kind of tortured me in so many ways)
The story follows a girl who is being raised in a very unconventional family, which is led by an unpredictable, bipolar father. The book chronicles the challenges she faces (ex: lack of formal education, parental neglect, and abuse by an unstable brother) and how she rises above those circumstances to excel in college and beyond. **Warning: This is not a feel good book at all. Even though she becomes successful in the end, the traumas that she endured during her life continue to haunt her future. The writing was really captivating though, so I stayed up to 2am to finish it…yawn…
4. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished
5. Buy nothing new this year
Nothing new was bought this week
6. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 out of 6 completed)
No progress this week:(
7. Have two family game nights each month Accomplished
This week we played Cadoo and Moustache Smash.
8. Have two date nights each month
One down and one to go
9. $5 Weekly Challenge
This week I picked up a 5 boxes of Macaroni and cheese to donate to the foodbank.
We received our Book It package in the mail this week and my son is now very excited to start earning pizzas by simply reading books this school year…who doesn’t love pizza??
2. Packed snacks and lunches
I think packing snacks and lunches to take while we run errands or go to the park, has to be the biggest money saver in our household. Our favorite snacks to eat on the go are string cheese, nuts, chips, and granola bars. **Also, I have noticed that if I have a snack and a cold drink waiting in the car, my son tends to fuss less when its time to leave somewhere fun. Please tell me your kids have thrown fits when its time to leave the park too!!
3. Kellogg Free Book Program
I noticed on a box of cereal that the Kellogg’s company is giving away a free book for each box of cereal sold. The customer can either choose to donate the book or keep it for their child. Since we are book lovers in my house, I am planning on giving these five new books as Christmas gifts this year. **To sweeten this deal, each box of cereal was only $.99 at Kroger this week.
4. Decluttering = $$
My husband has been decluttering this week and decided to sell off a lot of his beer making equipment. Luckily, there is a huge beer making community in North Alabama, so everything is selling rather quickly. **As a bonus, he has also met a lot of beer making enthusiasts, who have promised to send him some samples as a thank you.
I made sure to download numerous e-coupons onto my Kroger card before I left for the store this week (I usually forget half the time!) This alone helped me to save almost $10 on my grocery bill.
What did you do to save (or make) money this week??
1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (355 down and 145 to go)
Wow there are just 15 weeks left in the 2018! I am going to be cutting it a little close, but I think that I should hit 500 miles by the end of December. This week I walked 9 miles outside and 1 mile indoors.
2. Eat low carb each day
I did this for 6 days.
3. Read two non-fiction books each month
This week I read For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I was looking for something inspirational and funny and this book happens to check both boxes. Jen Hatmaker is one of my favorite Christian authors mostly due to her great sense of humor and her understanding of the human condition. In each of her books, Jen Hatmaker finds a special way of challenging you into living outside of your comfort zones and getting more out of life by living intentionally. For the Love is meant to reassure the reader that while there will always be room for improvement in your life, as long as you are doing your best, sometimes that is enough. **Also, anyone who can poke fun at themselves, is ok in my book:)
4. Have two date nights each month
We went out for Mexican food this week and it was delicious!
5. Have two family game nights each month
This week we played Avengers Bingo, Crazy Eights, and Apples to Apples. **Ben won both rounds of Bingo, Emma won Crazy Eights, and I won Apples to Apples.
6. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished
7. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 out of 6 completed)
No progress so far…
8. Buy nothing new this year
Nothing new was bought this week
9. $5 weekly challenge
This week Kroger had cereal on sale for $.99, so I picked up five to donate to the food bank.