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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Weekly Frugal Meal Plan

I’ve decided to change things up a bit and talk about what we spent and are planning to eat in the beginning of the week. If I lay my frugal meal plan out here for everyone to see, there is a better chance that I will actually stick to it. Fingers crossed!

frugal shopping frugal meal plans

Weekly Grocery Trip

On Sunday I spent $85.52 at the grocery store and accrued $.60 in fuel perks. Mr. Daisy ran his truck over later that evening to fill up for a whopping $1.20/gal. Full disclosure, I haven’t made it to ALDI the last few weeks. It’s just too. damn. crowded. I truly love the efficiency of ALDI, but I have zero patience when it comes to cart traffic. I don’t have the option of going shopping in the middle of the day or at other potential slow times. I’ve tried everything…Saturday mornings as soon as they open, Wednesday evenings an hour before closing…but to no avail. I don’t browse through the grocery store. I have my list and I know what I want. I’m afraid you’ll see me on the news for reckless operation of a cart 🙂 So, that’s why my grocery bill has been a bit higher than normal. I have no doubt that this grocery trip would have been more around my goal of $50 but I just wasn’t in the mood to battle the crowds.

No grocery picture, sorry! So, here’s a quick rundown of what I purchased. I put it in a pdf so that if you’re interested, you can click and read it. If you’re not interested, I haven’t wasted any extra blog space for you to scroll through .

Shopping 032617

Weekly Meal Plan


Mr. Daisy eats Clif bars each morning on his way to work with his coffee. I can get them for $1/bar at a regional chain store. That’s not too frugal, but in comparison to him running through a drive-thru each morning, it’s definitely frugal. I’ll take the $5/week breakfast over a potential $20-$30/week.

We are fortunate that Little Daisy’s daycare provider feeds her breakfast each morning. If she’s up especially early one morning I will give her a piece of toast while I get ready for work.

For myself, I alternate between peanut butter toast and maple brown sugar oatmeal. With coffee of course. Both of these tend to hold me over until lunch so I’m not itching for a snack at 10am.


Our predominate lunch expense is with Mr. Daisy. He is unable to re-heat leftovers or have a hot lunch. Most of the time he will eat right in whatever equipment he’s operating (not while in operation, though). He alternates between egg salad, tuna salad, and salami sandwiches. He also packs some chips or pretzels, cashews (which are not cheap!), Gatorade, and some sort of snack. It reminds me of a lunch your mom would pack you in 4th grade, but it works and he’s not picky. Little Daisy of course eats at her daycare and I always try to bring leftovers to avoid food waste. However, there are times when I get restless and need to leave my desk. Once per week I’ll use some of my weekly spending cash and grab lunch out (usually meeting with my brother’s girlfriend).


Here is our weekly dinner plan:

Monday| Breakfast sausage and cheese quesadillas with rice and black beans

Tuesday| Family meal at my grandfather’s. It is my week to cook and I am making a big batch of baked spaghetti.

Wednesday| Crock Pot vegetable soup with grilled cheese. I have a love/hate relationship with my slow cooker, but that’s a post for another day.

Thursday| BBQ shredded chicken sliders with a veggie side.

Friday| We have bowling league this night. I’m sure we will have leftovers from the week, so we will try to eat some of those up.

Saturday| We are going to experiment with our new smoker on Saturday. I think my husband is planning on smoking a wild turkey breast, so we will have that for dinner!

Sunday| We will pick through the fridge and try to gobble up leftovers to reduce any food waste.

Meal Prep for the Week

In order to spend as little time as possible preparing dinner after work (and more time with my family!), I try to do a bunch of meal prep on Sundays. This saves in cooking time as well as clean up time. This week I spent only 45 minutes doing the following:

  • cooked up 1 pound of ground breakfast sausage for Monday’s meal
  • cooked up 2 pounds of ground beef for Tuesday’s baked spaghetti
  • boiled 4 chicken breasts for easy shredding for Thursday’s meal
  • moved the wild turkey breast from the deep freezer to the refrigerator to thaw for Saturday
  • I have a small basket on the counter full of Mr. Daisy’s lunch items. He is NOT a morning person, so rifling through the house getting his lunch ready is not the way Mr. Cranky Pants wants to start his day. So, on Sunday we pre-portion out his chips, cashews, and fill his basket with his other items so all he has to do is grab what he wants and go.

That 45 minutes is time well spent in my eyes because it leads to more time with my family during the week.

I’m hoping to calculate a cost for each meal because I am curious to know, maybe you are too! I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, sorry 🙂 I will update you next Sunday on how well we stuck or didn’t stick to plan!

Do you meal plan or prep food for the week? Why or why not?

What We Spent | What We Ate {still on budget!}

Although we had a crazy busy week with dance rehearsals, recitals, and broken vehicles; we managed to stay on budget and eat from home. Hooray!

What We Spent

This week’s grocery trip was $95.00. Although it is much more than my budgeted amount per week,  we *should* come in right on budget. This week’s shopping trip included several toiletries and household purchases like toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, shampoo, deodorant and so on. Moving forward, I think I’m going to break the budget down into a few more categories and be more specific about what is spent on food vs. household items vs. personal items so that I can visually see what is being spent on each. What do you think?

grocery haul
This week’s cart. Groceries this week included household and personal items, lunch-y items for Mr. Daisy and items for a big family dinner this weekend.

What We Ate

Sunday 3/19: I spent a few hours doing some food prep for the week ahead. I have no doubt that this is what saved us from ordering take out while we were running around everywhere. I made some venison meatballs (so yummy), cooked 2 pounds of ground venison, and boiled chicken breasts to shred. Mr. Daisy threw a venison roast in the crock pot when we woke up that morning.

Monday 3/20: We had dance rehearsal and photos, so we didn’t make it home until about 7pm. Little Daisy and I ate some granola bars on the way to rehearsal and Mr. Daisy had packed a larger than normal lunch. When we got home, I pulled the pre-made meatballs out and threw them in a skillet with homemade pasta sauce while I pre-heated the oven. Once the oven was pre-heated, I quickly assembled some meatball subs and baked them for 10 minutes. We had green beans on the side. Quick and easy and definitely wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t prepped.

Tuesday 3/21: It was Little Daisy’s first ballet recital! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry a little bit. Again, we got home around 7pm and Little Daisy was whooped. I made her a PB&J with some grapes on the side before she collapsed into bed at 7:30. I had some Ramen and Mr. Daisy made macaroni and cheese. It wasn’t the healthiest, but I prefer it over going through a fast food drive-thru!

Wednesday 3/22:The day that the dreaded budget setback reared its head. While Mr. Daisy was out in the shop diagnosing his truck, I made some angel hair pasta with leftover meatballs from Monday’s meal. Served with garlic bread and some peas on the side.

Thursday 3/23: On Thursdays, Little Daisy usually spends time at my mother-in-law’s with her aunts and baby cousin. Mr. Daisy and I used what was left of our weekly spending cash and stopped in at our favorite local restaurant. We had wings as an appetizer, Mr. Daisy had a huge hamburger, and I had a chicken wrap with their delicious homemade potato chips.

Friday 3/24: Today we will be running around getting the parts that are needed for Mr. Daisy to work on his truck. I’m not sure what our plans are for dinner. If we eat at home, it will be something quick and simple like a tuna melt.

What was your week in food like? I’d love to hear about it

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Budget Setbacks {& how I handle them}

When it comes to planning and organizing, I am 100% Type A. You should have seen our first budget as a married couple; there were pages and pages of categories and formulas and colors. It was too specific. Because of the specificity, our first budget failed. Big time. I was trying to be far too precise and particular about tracking our money and telling it where to go. For example: under Little Daisy’s category, I had 5 budget lines. Why does an infant need 5 budget lines? I was also trying to track every transaction as it occurred. I would be checking our online banking at least once each day. You know what happened? I got tired, burnt out, and pissed that my day was now revolving around our money.

Fast forward 3 years and several other budget system fails: I’ve created a much simpler, visually pleasing, and easy to navigate budget. Even my free-spirit husband doesn’t mind sitting down to our  weekly and monthly budget meetings. I still tweak it each month because life happens. Our daughter is getting older and we are hitting different milestones and seasons of life. Just like the world around us, our budget is a living thing. It evolves with the ebbs and flows of time. We have the quick weekly check-ins, the mid-month check, and the “big” end of the month/beginning of the next month meeting. Less is definitely more when it comes to our budgeting style.

The Budget Setback

But just when you think you’ve got said perfect balance and your system is flowing perfectly…BAM! In comes the budget buster! Crashing through your wall like the god damned Kool-Aid Man. Not just a $50 buster that you forgot to budget for. But a $600 vehicle repair that was most definitely NOT in your plans.

Mr. Daisy has been worried about his transfer case for about a month. We knew it was going to need replaced eventually. He crawled under yesterday and in his words, “It’s puking fluid. Needs fixed now.” But as he was under there he also noticed that the front ball joints were in bad shape, the water pump needed to be replaced, and might as well throw in the wipers while we’re at it. Before our balanced budgeting days, I would have had a mini meltdown any time something popped up that I hadn’t accounted for.

Now that I’m in my budget-Zen mode, I take a few breaths and look at the bright side:

  1. If we had to take his truck to a shop to get repaired, this would easily cost us well over $1200 with parts and labor. Mr. Daisy is a mechanic so no labor costs and we have the wholesale hookup on parts through my Dad and brother’s businesses, so no crazy marked up parts prices.
  2. Daisy’s truck will get him from point A to point B safely.
  3. I enjoy working on vehicles with Mr. Daisy. One of his 5 Love Languages is Quality Time and he appreciates when I take interest in something that he’s doing. (I would prefer that it didn’t cost $600, but I digress).
  4. We can afford the costs of repairing his truck and we can afford having two vehicles. We are fully aware that this type of setback would cause other people in other situations much more grief than it has caused us. It will not affect our ability to put food on the table, get to work, or disrupt our daily lives and we are grateful for that.

It is natural and automatic to immediately compartmentalize unplanned and unfortunate setbacks into the “The Sky is Falling” category. It’s something that I did for a really, really long time. I would get frustrated and give up on budgeting and gaining control over our finances. It was difficult for me to see that light at the end of the tunnel and still is sometimes. If this would have been a $3000 repair, I would have panicked. No doubt about that. In my struggle to become more calm and Zen with our budgeting and finances; I am trying to teach myself  that much (if not all) of life is about balance. It’s about understanding which situations require calmness and which require an intense approach. Does this small thing really require an argument with my husband? Does the plant that Little Daisy accidentally knocked over validate me losing my patience?

It’s nothing groundbreaking on how I handle budget busters and life setbacks in general. I attempt to find and keep stability, get back up from whatever set back it is, notch it in my brain for future reference, and move on. It may require creative tweaking in next month’s budget, but life will go on with or without me pouting about something. There’s no room for hostility towards something I cannot control when there’s an adorable three year old asking me to play Candy Land with her.

What types of budget setbacks have you encountered? How do you handle them?

5 Frugal Things {how I’ve saved money this week}

{Much like a budget, a food journal or a gratitude journal, I believe that recording and acknowledging your frugal successes (and maybe some failures) is a necessity when you are embarking on a frugality adventure like myself. I first came across 5 Frugal Things on THE FRUGAL GIRL who came across it on THE NON-CONSUMERADVOCATE.COM and I’ve been hooked since.}

frugal lifestlye

How I saved money this week

  1. We have a busy week, so I spent Sunday doing some meal prep to reduce the likelihood of grabbing dinner out. I made meatballs for subs on Monday, cooked up 2 lbs of ground venison, and a few pounds of chicken breasts. Cooking ahead like this also minimizes the amount of time that I will spend cooking after work. Instead, I can spend that time with my family. Win!
  2. Rather than pay a ridiculously high amount for Little Daisy’s dance photos ($30 for a few 5×7’s and a button!), I am taking them myself, printing with a coupon from Shutterfly, and sending them to family in Easter cards.
  3. Our huge local children’s consignment sale is coming up. Even though I’ll be spending money for Little Daisy’s summer clothes, they will be affordable and second hand.
  4. We’ve started to thrift and scrounge for cheap (free) containers to do some container gardening in this year. Our tomato plants completely took over our garden last summer and hogged all of the sunlight. We are going to try container planting them this year.
  5. We ate at home all weekend and are still under budget for groceries for the month. Rather than dumping half full glasses of water down the drain, I’ve been watering plants or topping off the dog’s water bowls.

    What frugal things have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!


Questions I Ask My 3 Year Old

There should be a spin-off from the “Kids Say the Darndest Things” TV show called, “The Crazy Things Toddler Parents Say.”

Current parents of toddlers, I raise my fist in tribute with my “I know how you feel” face. To my readers that have yet to become parents or have not hit the toddler stage yet, be warned. This is your future. It is a crazy, crazy ride.

Raising a toddler. Crazy things parents say.

The Crazy Things Parents Say

{I kept track of the crazy things I’ve asked my 3 year old in the last 3 weeks. Yes, I kept track.  And no, this vocabulary is no longer crazy. It’s normal, everyday speech in my house. Although at times I say these things and weep, I hope that you read it and laugh.}

Where are your pants?

Why are the pillows in the bathtub?

Why are my keys in the toilet?

Why are your socks wet?

Why is my phone in this fish tank?

Why did you just lick the dog?

Why is your mouth blue?

Why did you lick my face?

Why is there dog food in your bed?

Why are your shoes in the sink?

Why did you just smell my foot?

Why is the floor wet?

Why are your underwear on your head?

Why are you naked?

Why is your juice box in the toilet?

What is in your hair?

Why are you licking the window?

Why are you throwing a fit in the middle of the freezer aisle?

Why are your hands down your pants?

Where is your other shoe?

Did you just sniff my ear?

Why are you standing at my bed staring at me at 3 am?

Did you play with Legos on my bedroom floor in the middle of the night?

Why are your hands brown?

Why did you lick the bottom of your shoe?

Why did you stick your cheese stick up your nose?

Why is there honey in your hair?

Why did you eat your boogers?

Did you feed your boogers to the dog?

Why are your hands sticky?

Why do you fart so much?

Where are your Barbie’s arms?

Did you poop today?

Do you understand English today?

Why did you just lick your baby cousin?

Why is your baby doll in the refrigerator?

Why is my phone in the trash can?

Did you call grandma 32 times on my phone?

Why are there Legos in the cereal box?

Why are you watching me shower?

Why is the dog wearing a necklace?

Why are you wearing the dog’s collar?

Some of these questions will never have answers and I’m not sure I want to know the answer. Also, there’s a good chance that these questions may have had a swear word thrown in here or there. Life with toddlers and children in general is a stressful, wild, beautiful life. And even though the majority of my life as a parent is spent negotiating with a tiny human, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve said as a parent? Or what’s the craziest thing your parents have said to you?

What We Spent | What We Ate {we’re on budget!}

A quick grocery trip this week cost us $50.83. While this is over my super strict goal of $20/week due to one heck of an expensive shopping trip a few weeks ago, we’re trending right on budget which makes this momma happy.

You’ll notice that this week’s shopping trip is mainly snacky, processed foods. Mr. Daisy was fresh out of food for his lunches. He is unable to heat leftovers at work, so he packs what I like to call a high school lunch 🙂


What We’ve Spent: 

March trip #1 : $33.65 + $27.97 ( I forgot to throw the second shopping trip in last week’s post, oops!)

March trip #2: $50.83

Total: $112.45 

I budget $225  per month for groceries (to see a breakdown of our budget, look HERE or HERE), so we’re left with $112.55 to get us through these last two weeks of the month.


What We Ate: 

Monday is ballet night. We had a snacky dinner that consisted of veggies, fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches.

Tuesday  is family dinner night. It wasn’t my turn to cook (yay!). We had pizzas at my grandfather’s.

Wednesday, I made some delicious homemade chicken nuggets. They were perfect and crispy and moist and so good. I will get a recipe post written and share this deliciousness with you all. We had edamame and some homemade applesauce on the side.

Thursday was a night out to eat. Little Daisy went to spend time with her aunts and new baby cousin, so Mr. Daisy and I stopped in at our favorite restaurant in town. Everything at this place is amazing. Whether it’s the pulled pork, chili, pizza, wings, subs, chicken parmesan…it’s all good. It is a locally owned, family run business so we have no qualms whatsoever about spending our money there.

Friday is bowling night. I have errands to run after work so I brought an extra sandwich and a granola bar, Little Daisy is having dinner with her grandma, and Mr. Daisy is on his own.

We will be spending this weekend trying to master our new smoker, planning the garden, and doing some frugal DIY projects that I hope to share next week.

What did you have to eat this week? Are you on budget?

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Mid-Month Budget Check-In with Actual Numbers

{A side note: Yesterday, Dirt Road Daisy hit its first 1000 views! I am so excited and thankful to those of you continuing to return}

Near the middle of each month, I print out our bank statements, comb through them, categorize each transaction, add it to the budget spreadsheet, and take stock of where we stand.  I primarily do this mid-month check-up for one reason: to assess our variable expenses.  We’ve identified the variable expenses as the category that kills our budget for very obvious reasons…they vary. By looking at what we’ve spent so far this month, I am able to grasp whether we are on track to be below, on, or exceeding  our budgeted amounts.

I have this in a nifty 3 columned spreadsheet with some very obvious formatting to let me know how off or on the tracks we are. The 3 columns are: Budgeted, Actual, and Results. I put the values pulled from our transactions into the actual column. The results column contains formulas and conditional formatting built into the spreadsheet so the values and colors are generated automatically.

Green means we are under target, yellow is on target, red is exceeding target.

A quick glance at the Living Expense category will show you a few things: we are on budget for rent and car insurance. Duh, those are fixed and don’t change each month. I overestimated our utilities bill, so we are under in that category. I underestimated gas, so it is red.

The glaring factor in this snippet is that we are $175.06 over budget in the cell phone line. My poor 6 year old Samsung Galaxy finally died on me. The $295.06 we spent here takes the replacement phone I purchased into account.

Here is our mid-month check up:

{ If you would like an in-depth look at our monthly budget, I wrote about it HERE }

Like I said, at the mid-month check-in I’m most focused on the variable expenses. Here are the main take-aways:

  • Groceries: We’ve used about 50% of our grocery budget. I’m happy with this and will just be mindful to shop smart the rest of the month. Status: Good. 
  • Pets: We have $41.30 left to spend for our pets. I anticipate we will go over this by the end of the month. The price of their dog food has jumped, plus they will need their flea/tick/heartworm meds. Status: Meh. 
  • Household Misc: About 50% here, not bad. I don’t have any more purchases planned in this department. We’ll see how well that goes. Status: Good. 
  • Fuel: This will be a close one. Gas prices have risen to about $2.25/gallon here. We were spoiled with the prices hovering around $2.00/gallon for a while. This line will probably have to be adjusted next month. Status: Meh. 
  • Entertainment: We are on track to be a little over budget here. Mr. Daisy spent around $40 at an indoor archery range to practice his craft. He could have worse hobbies 🙂 Status: Over-budget
  • Spending cash: We’re definitely on track to be over-budget here. No rhyme, reason, or excuse. It’s just something we will have to be smarter about next month. Maybe a goal for next month will be to track our (ehemm, my) spending money and see where’s it’s going… Status: Over-budget. 
  • Little Daisy: We spent some money on matching outfits for Little Daisy and her new baby niece for Easter photos. I know, not frugal. But I have justification! These photos will make adorable frugal gifts for grandmas, great grandmas, and great-great grandmas (yes, we have those!). I will take the photos myself with my DSLR. So in the long-run, it may be a frugal win 😉 Status: Good. 
  • Oh $hit: Remember my KFC frugal fail that I talked about HERE?  I threw that in this category. Status: Good. 
  • Other: Another budget buster. I forgot to budget for two wedding showers this month and clothing for a wedding that Mr. Daisy is a groomsman in. There are also a few ATM fees and eBay sales packaging purchases thrown in. Status: Over-budget. 

In addition to the mid-month check up, Mr. Daisy and I have quickie budget meetings, usually each Sunday evening. These last no longer than a few minutes and are not in depth whatsoever. I’m the spreadsheet nerd, him not so much. Since I manage everything financial-related, we utilize these to maintain open communication about finances and where we stand. I’m sure we are all aware that finances are easily a top contender in the category of divorce-causer. We quickly discuss how much is in the checking account, what bills will be paid in the coming week, and any other expenses we assume will come up. For instance, this past Sunday Mr. Daisy let me know that his truck will need ball joints and some sort of transfer case thingy in the very near future. While it will be a hit to our budget, we are fortunate to not have to shoulder full retail prices on parts or pay for service at a shop. The perks of marrying a mechanic and having a dad that’s a business owner.

At the end of the month I will share the final numbers for the month, including our income (which is set to be more than expected, yay for overtime!).

How is your budget looking so far this month?


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Our Emergency Preparedness Philosophy

In THIS post, I talk about how I am passionate about many things including emergency and disaster preparedness. Before you put your judge-y pants on, know that I am not sitting here with a tin foil hat, ammo stacked to the ceiling, testing out the functionality of my radiation suit. Not yet at least.

I don’t necessarily feel the need to defend or justify the reasons my family and I choose preparedness as a facet of our lifestyle, but I do feel the need to do it as a way to educate others. My family, especially my younger brother, mocked us to the point of being a little cruel. I would just play it off as a joke and say something like, “Well, when $hit hits the fan, you’ll wish that you were in my little club.” It’s similar to the frugal journey we are on, friends and family that aren’t on the same journey simply don’t understand. Maybe they don’t even care to try to understand.

I think one of the reasons that we got so much negative feedback about disaster preparedness is due to the way “prepping” has been sensationalized in the media. I’m sure you’ve seen an episode or two of Doomsday Preppers. Much like extreme couponers, a very small percentage of the prepping community is actually like how it is portrayed.  Those “extreme” preppers are focused on world-ending events like nuclear warfare or an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). While those are possibilities, especially in the unstable world we have the pleasure of living in, I’m more focused on what can and will happen in my region.


If a blizzard were to strike tonight knocking out your power, would you be able to feed your family for up to 2 weeks? Would you have enough fresh water to keep them hydrated and clean? How would you do laundry? Where would you go to the bathroom? How would you keep warm? Blankets are definitely not enough. Do you have a means of keeping your house lit and your family entertained? 

What if something were to occur making it unsafe for you to stay in your home? Recently, families in northern California were given no notice whatsoever that they needed to evacuate their homes due to the Oroville Dam catastrophe. Could you grab everything you needed in a matter of minutes and get out the door to safety? Would you be able to immediately locate all of your important documents? Prescription medications? How about food, water, and clothing? Do you have somewhere to go? Do you have phone numbers and addresses written down?  Is there enough gas in your car to get you to safety? Do you have cash on hand in case the ATMs aren’t working? 


Someone posed these same questions to me a few years ago and my initial reaction was overwhelming and paralyzing panic. I am a parent. I am responsible for keeping Little Daisy safe, healthy, fed, warm, and hydrated. I was ready to build my bunker, eat MREs, and proudly put on my tin foil hat. After the initial shock and realization wore off, Mr. Daisy and I began expanding our lifestyle to include preparedness.

Our philosophy on preparedness incorporates more than stocking up on all of the items we may need to survive. To us, it’s not just about having a bunch of stuff. Our attitude is equal parts preparedness and self-sufficiency. We don’t want to rely on anyone but ourselves to provide for our family. If there was a disaster in my area, I do not want to be herded into the local high school’s gym, with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people, without my pets, and sleep on a cot. And let’s not even talk about the illnesses that will quickly spread in those tight quarters, most likely causing a mini pandemic. No, thank you. I don’t want the government to have to take care of me. Heck, the government doesn’t even want to take care of me. Check out FEMA’s website. They want to educate you so that you can take care of yourself and others in your community.

So, what is the relationship between frugality and emergency preparedness? In our life they hold hands quite nicely. Living frugally allows us to allocate money towards our preparedness and self-sufficiency goals. If money is short at any given time, we have reserves of food and water to survive (over one year’s worth of food).  Activities like gardening, composting, recycling, farming, reading, living on less, and needing less fall into both categories.

Preparedness is 100%, absolutely a lifestyle choice. Lifestyle choices are not universal and made for everyone. Much like a city, suburban, or beach lifestyle is the preferred for others…not so much for us. But I can appreciate it, because I don’t wear judge-y pants 🙂

Tell me, do you do any type of large or small scale emergency planning? If not, why not? 



Save some money today

We live in a society that, for the most part, operates on instant gratification. While most strategies tied to money are long haul, long run types of payoffs, I thought it would be interesting to list several things, 21 to be exact, that could save you money right away.

There’s nothing groundbreaking below and this list is nowhere near all inclusive. When I started to document my 5 Frugal Things recently I noticed that there are tons of everyday things that were often overlooked as being frugal. I’ve come to find, in our lives at least, that taking a few frugal minutes to think about what we are doing and consuming can make a big difference.

When I’m brushing my teeth, do I really need that big of a blob? Or will a small blob do the job? Ha! I’m totally going to use that phrase when instructing Little Daisy to brush her teeth,

“A small blob will do the job!”

🙂 Anyways…

  1. Make your coffee at home. (Or if you’re lucky like me, free coffee and tea at work!)
  2. Eat breakfast at home.
  3. Plan ahead. For everything. Plan your meals, your money, and your time.
  4. If you work out of the home, pack your lunch.
  5. Stop purchasing bottled water.
  6. Are you renting a modem through your wireless internet provider? We were paying $11/month for modem rental. After speaking to some tech-savvy friends (because Mr. Daisy and I are not tech-savvy), we purchased a modem at a big box store for $75. No more rental fees, and the modem paid for itself in 7 months.
  7. Actually read through your bills. Don’t just skim and assume everything is accurate.
  8. Water down your drinks. I dilute my Little Daisy’s apple and orange juice. She has no idea, and I can make one jug of juice last an entire month!
  9. Make Brinner – breakfast for dinner!
  10. Phase out the use of paper products in your home.
  11. Make your own seasonings rather than buying packets.
  12. Call your cable company to see if there are any discounts you qualify for. Or cancel cable altogether.
  13. Call your cell phone provider, home insurance, vehicle insurance, and rental insurance companies and do the same as above.
  14. Buy dryer balls for less than $5 and stop buying dryer sheets.
  15. Unplug anything you are not using.
  16. Reduce the amount of single serve food items you purchase. (i.e. lunch size bags of chips, snack packs)
  17. Re-use your Ziploc bags.
  18. Recycle. It will cut down on your trash costs and reduce the likelihood that your child’s future home will be built on top of a landfill.
  19. Use less of everything. Shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap, body soap, toothpaste. A little bit of pretty much everything goes a long way.
  20. Make your own laundry detergent.
  21. Use the library for books, movies, and magazines.

Like I said, nothing groundbreaking. Each of these 21 things is relatively effortless. If only half of them became a habit, you will see the savings add up as I have.

If thoroughly checking your bills and invoices becomes in an ingrained habit, I guarantee that you will catch a mistake that ends up saving you money.

If you make breakfast for dinner at lease one night each week, you will feed your family for pennies on the dollar.

If it becomes a habit to take a few seconds and rinse out Ziploc bags, you will save yourself the $4 each month (of few times each month) purchasing them.

A few small tweaks in habits and our daily lives can really make a difference!

What are some every day, instant savings things that you do? What would you add to the list?

What We Spent | What We Ate

This week did not go as planned whatsoever. The good news though is that we only spent $33.65 at Aldi! I’m over my goal of $20/week that I talked about HERE, but $33 is a win in my book! Even better news is that I am not going to need to spend more than $5 on groceries this week. We just need some bread and milk, and we’ll be good to go.

On Sunday, I made a beef and rice taco recipe based off of one from DAILY DOSE OF PEPPER. Rather than baking it, I just made the beef and rice on the stovetop and combined.  I had them over nachos while Mr. Daisy had it in a burrito, and Little Daisy just ate it with ketchup. We served some homemade apple sauce on the side.

Beef and rice taco filling

I also made some banana blueberry muffins to use up the fruit before they went bad

Monday is ballet night, we all had something quick and different. Little Daisy and I had some sandwiches and fruit, while Mr. Daisy made a chicken patty…I think.

Tuesday is my Frugal Fail of that week that I talked about HERE. Convenience trumped frugality this day.

Wednesday we spent the evening at my family’s farm. It’s calving season so all hands are on deck. It was pretty amazing to watch Little Daisy experience seeing a freshly newborn calf for the first time. We ate dinner in the barn, a roast beef made by my stepmom.  It might sound icky to some, but it’s life for us.

On Thursday, my in-laws invited us out to dinner at a new restaurant in town and it was DELICIOUS. It is a small, family owned place where all of the food is homemade each day. Nothing premade and reheated. We will definitely be eating there again!

I have some lunch meat to use up, so I’m thinking paninis tonight with homemade applesauce for dinner.

What was your week in food like? I’d love to hear about it

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