Category: Frugal Living Tips

TMR Frugal Living Tip #87

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Today’s thrifty living tip is to take an inventory of purchased gifts. This is the time of the year I take advantage of clearance sales by purchasing gifts now to give throughout the year. I like to have a stockpile of gifts for teachers, last minute gifts, kid birthday parties, or gifts you know a certain person would love. You aren’t saving money if you forget you have Aunt Sally’s gift sitting in the closet so go out to buy her another one. What if no one else on your list likes poodles? Then you’re either stuck with it or donate it to charity.

I like to keep a list either on my smartphone or computer with all the gifts I have purchased. I know what I have in my gift closet, and I know who is getting what. I do make changes if I find something else during the year, but I make sure to change it on my list. This keeps me organized and on budget. I also have a special closet where I store all the gifts. Lately I have started storing them in a chest, and I keep an extra list taped to the inside lid. I have my list in two spots. Do you have a system to keep you organized for extra gifts? I have also created a gift list that is printable for anyone to use. I would appreciate a link back to my blog if you decide to post it on your blog or website. Just save the picture and then you can print. Enjoy the free printable gift list.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #86

First I have to comment I never post two frugal living tips in a week so consider this a nice bonus for the end of 2011. I don’t have any pictures to show for this daily tip so I apologize for cleaning it so quickly.

Today’s thrifty living tip is to clean or fix appliances before replacing. I know this seems pretty logical, but many people get discouraged by older appliances and distracted by new shiny ones. My Kenmore gas dryer is 14 years old. I already replaced the washing machine a couple of years ago with a front loader. That was a great decision which has saved me money in water and electricity. I just want to say it wasn’t worth fixing so it was time to replace. The dryer works great, and works less as my clothes are drier when they come out the washing machine. I do like to line dry which also helps extend the life of the dryer.

Lately it’s too cold and rainy to put it on the line. I’ve been a little too busy to keep up with laundry because of the holidays. We noticed all these scuff marks inside the dryer while doing laundry this past weekend. It wasn’t getting on the clothes so I wasn’t too concerned. Hubby mentioned maybe it was time to replace it with our income tax refund next year. He tried to clean it but said the marks weren’t coming out.

I looked at it again today as I needed to do laundry. I pulled out my Mr. Clean magic eraser, and viola! The marks were coming out quite easily. I did take a wet dish towel to wipe it out a couple of times to make sure no residue is left. I wiped it with a dry towel afterwards, and over 90% of the marks are gone. I’m not sure what caused them, but now they are all gone. I have dried a load of towels and all looks good. No marks on the towels or the dryer. I will keep an eye on the dryer, but I’m hopeful I can get a few more years of service. I will also start a new appliance fund just to be on the safe side.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #85

Today’s thrifty living tip is to save money by coloring your own hair. I usually get 2 boxes of hair color for $5 after sale and coupons.Do not be intimated by using a coloring hair at home kit. Many of the do it yourself home kits are super easy to use with great instructions.

My stylist charges me $35 so I was going every 3 months. I was spending $140 yearly not including tip so around $150+ with tip. I can color my hair every 8 weeks which costs me $30 a year. I am saving over $100 each year. It might not seem like much, but it does add up.

I use Garnier hair color, and I have used all of them. I prefer the ultra color as I find it covers the gray well and the color lasts. I have become a bit of an expert on coloring my own hair. I don’t do streaks or frosts. I just want to cover those stubborn grays. I’m much too young to have gray hair. I love the dark auburn color as it is closest to my natural color. I love how the red looks when I’m outside in the sun. I get lots of compliments on my color so I must be doing something right.

Do you color your own hair at home or do you prefer to have a professional color your hair?

Guest Article: Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Child's Birthday Party on a BudgetThe following post was written by Melissa C. who writes for the Blog Content Guild.

Throwing a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Throwing a birthday party for your child doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. There are lots of fun tips and tricks you can use that allow you to save money and will still allow for a memorable time!

First of all, if your child is very young, you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy cake from a bakery. These can be very expensive and, if your child is too young to even remember it, it is a waste of money. Many children love the Funfetti cake mix from Pillsbury that you can find at most grocery stores. You can make a fun cake yourself that will save a lot of money.

Instead of a cake, consider having cupcakes. You can make these yourself easily, or buy them from the bakery for usually cheaper than a cake. This takes the hassle out of having to cut a cake, and if your child is young they may enjoy playing with the cupcake far more than they would have enjoyed having a cake.

If you’re having a theme party, like a Mario party, save by buying minimal amounts of mario birthday party supplies. Instead, make some Mario-themed party-ware on your own. You can bake Mario-shaped cookies or a Mario cake.

Before heading to the store, survey what you already have with an eye for repurposing. If you have some leftover curling ribbon from Christmas, you could use it to tie around balloons. Similarly, some wire ribbon could help you decorate chairs and make the interior of your house colorful and welcoming.
Head to your local dollar store, especially goodie bag items. You can often find lots of stickers and small toys that you can put in small bags and tie with ribbons. It will look impressive to the children but won’t cost you an arm and a leg to assemble.

With some creative thinking and a little bit of planning, you can throw a great birthday party for your child without breaking the bank. Sometimes it could be easy to get caught up into the mentality nowadays of trying to have a birthday party better than any of the other children, but that’s not what is important. The important thing is to give your child a great, memorable time without stressing yourself out, and hopefully these tips will help you keep things in perspective and create a great celebration.

Create a Family Cookbook for Christmas

My husband’s family shared their favorite family recipes in order to create their family cookbook. They also included family pictures and anecdotes. I think this makes a creative and wonderful Christmas gift the whole family can treasure. Your family’s favorite recipes are kept forever in the family and passed down to future generations. Check out The Family CookBook Project website to create a family treasure below.


TMR Frugal Living Tip #84

hollyjollychristmasToday’s thrifty living tip is take your own Christmas pictures. When I received photo studio coupons in the mail, I would bring my son for his Christmas pictures to save money. The catch was you could only pick the first pose. The whole time I had my fingers crossed the picture turned out nice. I know some photographers would retake the picture if I wasn’t happy with that pose, but many of them are making minimum wage. Taking my child’s perfect Christmas picture is not high on their priority list.

I began taking all of my son’s Christmas pictures when he was about 5 years old. I was already taking pictures of the items I sold on ebay so why not take his pictures. I take shots in front of the tree, in front a white sheet (just like the studios), outside, and maybe on location. I do not own a high quality digital camera, but it is a decent camera. I upload all my pictures on Snapfish. I can edit all the pictures and have the ones I wanted printed. You can add fun borders and other neat options. I’m not sure if you can order the pictures with borders. I think that might be for online use only. I usually spend $20-30 for many pictures in different sizes such as 8×10, 5×7, and wallet. This price even includes the price of shipping.snowflakes

You might be thinking…well, I don’t know. This idea might not work so well if you want to be in the pictures such as a family picture. You might be lucky and know someone who takes good pictures that might do you a favor or barter for taking your pictures. I have a couple of people in my family who love to play photographer for fun. They would never dream of asking for money. Save some money and have fun taking the pictures. I also love the editing. The picture shown is one I took a few years ago and added a fun holiday border.

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

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I first learned how to make this very tasty broccoli casserole when I was a teenager still living at home. I love to eat this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is one of those dishes that many people in my family ask me to bring or to make at the holidays. I wanted to share this very easy yet very yummy broccoli casserole recipe. I have to add my husband, who loathes broccoli, absolutely loves this broccoli casserole and will go back for seconds.

Broccoli Casserole

Recipe Type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Author: Thrifty Momma Ramblings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-12
I normally make this casserole for the holidays which consists of rice, cream of chicken soup, cheese and broccoli. My family can’t get enough of it.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice (2 cups cooked)
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli (I use a whole small bag like Picsweet)
  • Velveeta cheese cubed (at least 1 small 8 oz loaf)
Instructions
  1. Use a 9×13 glass dish like pyrex and you will add enough water to barely cover the bottom. Then add both cans of soup and stir and add in the broccoli. Cook in the microwave uncovered on high for 5 minutes. Take out stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir again.
  2. Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well. Now you want to spread it out and smooth out the top.
  3. Finally you will put it in the oven uncovered on 350 degrees for 20 minutes and the cheese should bubble. Then take out and let it cool off.

I usually buy Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup as I find it goes on sale often around the holidays. As for the broccoli, I use Pic sweet frozen florets and one small bag. I usually get them on sale 2/$3 and I use the whole bag. You could use chopped but I just prefer the florets. I prefer to use Velveeta cheese as it melts so well and has a great cheesy taste. I will admit I usually buy the small block of Great Value brand as it’s usually cheaper. I will buy the Velveeta Cheese when I can find it on sale with a a coupon! I will use at least 3/4 of the smallest block. I do slice them into small cubes. It will be easier to mix into the casserole.

I have a smaller microwave so I put a small amount of water along with both cans of soup and the broccoli. Mix it as well as you can and put in for about 4 minutes. I take it out and stir it again. I microwave it for another 4-5 minutes. You might have a couple of pieces of broccoli that are still a little frozen but this is alright. It will finish cooking in the oven.
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Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well.
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Last you will spread it all out after you mixed it well. You kinda just want to smooth the top so it looks nicer. I use a Pyrex glass dish. I find those glass dishes are so easy to cook with, and you just serve from that same dish once cooked. They also clean easier and won’t stain. I have owned my Pyrex dishes for at least 10-12 years. They just last.
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Now you will put the broccoli casserole uncovered into the oven for at least 15 minutes at 350. I personally find 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to have it cooked and the cheese a little bubbly. The edges may be a little browned but it’s fine. I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner, and there was just enough leftover for me. I was happy everyone enjoyed it so much, but I just wished there was a little more left. If you try this broccoli casserole recipe, then please let me know if you and your family enjoyed it as much as my family does.
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