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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.}

I apologize for the blog silence over the last few days. I haven’t been the greatest at pre-writing and scheduling my blogs posts. I’ve made it a priority for the next few weeks, so hopefully I will be chugging out useful posts more often.

frugal lifestlye

How I saved money this week

  1. Our grocery bill this week was a whopping $2. The pantry, freezer, and refrigerator are chock full after this Easter weekend. (We have 3 Easter dinners to hit, and each family sends us home with leftovers!) I may have to make a last minute grocery run for a few things towards the middle of the week.
  2. I talked about this HEREbut Little Daisy’s Easter basket fillings were practically free thanks to  a giveaway from Hannah over at Eat Drink & Save MoneyI got all of this for about $2 out of pocket: frugal shoppingApparently the Easter bunny in our house hands out M.D.’s 😉
  3. I made a huge batch of cowboy caviar to take as a covered dish to two of the Easter dinners. I had all of the ingredients on hand, so no money out of pocket. Recipe for this is coming soon 🙂
  4. We sourced 12 free buckets from my workplace to be used in our container gardening efforts this summer.
  5. We drank coffee at home all weekend, are steadily bringing in side hustle money and have not accrued any more debt.

Budget Fail

On Friday evening, we went out for my best friend’s 30th birthday. We budgeted about $50 for the evening to include food and drinks. Well…the margaritas tasted a lot better than I had imagined they would and our bill somehow ended up being $87. I take full responsibility, but it was so worth it. We had a blast.

What are your frugal successes and frugal fails for the last week?

Getting Out Of Debt: Here’s How to Start

When my husband and I stopped ignoring the fact that we were in six figures of debt and decided to do something about it, we jumped right in the express lane with no plan whatsoever. Our strategy worked for a few months as we haphazardly put extra money here and there on different debts with no real rhyme or reason. The balances slowly started to decrease, but then we hit a wall.

We got disorganized, tired, and lost our motivation. Why? Why did this concept that seemed so simple end up running aground?

Benjamin Franklin said it best,

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

We hadn’t taken any time to lay a solid foundation, set realistic and achievable goals, or truthfully analyze our situation. Naively, we thought that things would just somehow work out.

The rest of this post can be seen over at The Frugal Farmer where I am a guest poster today!

DIY Taco Seasoning {and a recipe to use it in!}

I’m not on my frugal high horse with this homemade DIY taco seasoning. I know that taco seasoning packets aren’t going to break the bank, they cost like $0.69. But, by making this spice blend I am not contributing to senseless packaging waste and I know exactly what is in my spice blend. No starchy fillers here.

homemade taco seasoning

The following recipe will fill a 3 oz glass jar. I used these nifty little jars that I found on clearance. You can use virtually any type of container, just make sure that it is air tight!

 

DIY Taco Seasoning

3 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

I combined all of the spices in a small mixing bowl and stirred them together really well. I also gave the jar a good shake once all the spices were in.

So, now you have this delicious homemade taco seasoning. What are you going to use it for (besides tacos, obvs)? While I was sick last week, Mr. Daisy made this delicious One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet that the entire family loved! It’s basically like a homemade version of hamburger helper. What I really love is that it is a one pot, 30 minute dish. It’s even quicker to make if you prep your meat ahead of time! I have successfully used rotini and elbow pasta in this recipe.

One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet

INGREDIENTS

1lb ground beef, venison or turkey

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch of black pepper

3.5 tbsp of our homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packer store bought)

2 cups water

1 cup salsa

8 oz uncooked elbow or rotini pasta

~1.5 c shredded Taco style cheese

Optional toppings: cilantro, fresh tomato, sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

(Skip 1-4 if you have prepped your meat already)

  1. Preheat a deep skillet (a lid will be needed!) over medium heat.
  2. Add ground meat and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook thoroughly.
  4. Drain grease.
  5. Add and stir in taco seasoning, follow with the water, salsa, and pasta noodles.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Stir well, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  8. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until the pasta is tender.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese.
  10. Season and top with additional toppings if preferred.

This recipe tastes just as good as leftovers the next day! If you’re looking for a new, fun, quick & easy recipe to add to your arsenal – this One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet will fit the bill!

 

5 Frugal Things

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.

I received an email letting me know that I made a sale on Half.com for $40. I had completely forgot that I listed an old textbook months ago just to see what it would bring. That was a nice surprise email 🙂

I coupled some coupons with rewards at Kohl’s and got the following items for less than $10 out of pocket:

These will be stocking stuffers for Mr. Daisy and Little Daisy next year.

I am really excited about this find! I’ve been looking for a wreath for the last two years, finally found one at the right price and in the right condition!

I’m not sure why this is sideways, but this is also something I’ve been on the lookout for!

I am finishing up entering items for the large children’s consignment sale coming up in our area. It’s a win-win situation; I get to purge our items while making a little cash and purchase secondhand summer clothing for Little Daisy.

I found some change while cleaning out my car, $2.55 worth!

I drank the free coffee at work, got some free laundry detergent with coupons at a drug store, and stayed under budget with groceries and spending money.

I have almost convinced Mr. Daisy to cut the cord with cable. We purchased a Roku with Christmas money and are definitely loving it. The only reason we are keeping cable currently is to be able to watch our beloved Cavs and Indians. (This might give away the area we’re in 🙂 ) Our cable price is relatively cheap, $60 through our local co-op. $60 for a few sports games, though? Not worth it. I’m researching other options like an NBA subscription, but they’ve blacked out the Cavs games. Go figure. Once I find a viable, cheaper option though, we will finally cut the cable cord!

Frugal Fail

I posted HERE about how my family alternates cooking dinner on Tuesdays. Well, this week was my Tuesday. I had planned to make baked spaghetti on Monday night, but it just didn’t happen. So, I swung through KFC after work to take to my grandpa’s. Not frugal.

But for a mom, there are times that convenience trumps frugality.

Tuesday was one of those times.

How frugal has your week been?

2 ways we are teaching manners to our toddler

As soon as they placed an 8 pound bald little human with huge dark brown eyes in my arms, I quickly became aware of the weight that is present to protect and raise a well-adjusted, functioning, polite, kind, strong, smart, and confident little person.

I find myself laying in bed each night rehashing the day and wondering if I was a good mom. Sure, my kid was fed, well hydrated, sheltered, clothed, bathed, and played to her little heart’s content. But, what did I teach her? What did she learn from me? Was I kind? Did I yell? Did she feel loved? Did she go to sleep happy?

While I’m not a child behavior expert and I’ve not read any “How To” books on raising my child, here are two ways in which I am teaching manners to our 3 year old (that is working…so far):

Setting a good example

My dad is your typical middle-class, blue collar farmer. Stoic, hard working, and strong. He instilled a distinct work ethic and respect in my siblings and I from an early age. He didn’t beat it into our heads or have to tell us day in and day out to use our manners.

He simply led by example. 

We watched him treat the land we lived on, the animals we raised, and the people we met with kindness and respect. What made an even bigger impact than watching how he carried himself, was watching how people reacted to him. He was and still is a very well-respected man in our small rural community. As a child, you already think that your Daddy hangs the moon. But to witness every person you meet hold him in the same regard left a monumental mark on our lives.

We were involved in 4H growing up (it’s where I met my husband!). We raised and showed livestock, mostly cattle. If my dad came down to the barn and we forgot to feed our animals, we didn’t get dinner that night. If their water was empty or dirty, we didn’t get to drink the rest of the evening. If their pen was messy or we forgot to put down straw, you guessed it. We got to sleep on the floor that night.

My husband and I do our very best each and every day to carry out our lives in a manner that we would want our daughter to.

We are not perfect. I have a potty mouth. I’m completely guilty of calling a driver a not-so-PG name when they pull out in front of me.

But I’ve learned, at least in our experience, that our daughter listens with her eyes a whole heck of a lot more than her ears. 

My father-in-law often uses a phrase that makes me cringe. “Do as I say, not as I do.”  It is meant to be a light-hearted and nonchalant expression, but I wonder how often he used it when my husband was young and how confusing it must have been.

As parents, we are charged with teaching and preparing our children for the world. The foundation of their disposition and personality begins with us the moment they are born. How can I tell my daughter that a certain behavior or action is not the right/moral/healthy/etc. thing to do when I do it myself?

We treat her with respect

This does not mean that we coddle, cave, or don’t ever tell our daughter no. It simply means that we treat our daughter the way we would want her to treat her friends, family, and strangers. By using words like please, thank you, and you’re welcome with her as part of our daily conversations, these words are instilled in her vocabulary and become mainstays.

Rather than saying, “Little Daisy, pick up your toys.”, we say something like, “Little Daisy, will you please pick up your toys?”. Or, “Will you please help me feed the dogs?” instead of “Come help me, now!”.

As adults, we respond more positively to someone that uses manners with us. Why would it be different for a toddler? 

Remember what I said about toddlers listening with their eyes instead of their ears?

It makes using your manners with toddlers difficult at times, and it takes a great deal of patience. Something that I do not have a great deal of. If I am in another room, I find it more effective to call her name first in order to get her attention and ask her to please come here. Then proceed to say what I was going to say. In our household, hollering orders across rooms does not work so well.

Getting down to eye level with her, being calm and treating her with respect is what she reacts to. 

At least most of the time. She’s a toddler. And I’m hoping every day that all of this doesn’t fly out the window when she is a raging hormonal 13 year old Belieber or whatever it will be in 10 years.

 

Here are some books that are in our home library about manners (click the title to be taken to a description):

Get Dressed Max and Millie

Do Nice Be Kind Spread Happy

 

 

If you have children, how are you instilling manners?

 

I am attempting to grow this blog and foster a community of like-minded individuals that will engage in fun and enlightening conversation.

If you would share this blog post over social media, it would be much appreciated! 🙂 

 

5 Frugal Things

 

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. It is amusing to recount the frugal events of the past few days to keep encouraging me on this expedition.

Without further ado, here are my 5 Frugal Things from the weekend:

  1. I was away on a bowling trip this weekend, so Mr. Daisy and Little Daisy were holding down the fort. They stayed home all weekend entertaining themselves and eating at home.
  2. We had budgeted $100 for me to have this weekend on the girls’ bowling trip. I’m happy to say that I came home with $50…even after having a few too many blackberry Long Island Iced Teas during Applebee’s happy hour.
  3. I listed some items on my EBAY STORE. Once each month, I transfer this money directly from my PayPal account to whichever debt I am currently using the snowball method to pay off (in addition to the minimum payment).
  4. I made a batch of breakfast burritos for a quick-grab breakfast to bring to work.
  5. I found a cart of final markdowns at our local supermarket that contained a large cardboard box of travel size shampoos and conditioners for 15 cents! I refrained from buying the whole box, and instead limited myself to 10. These little guys work perfectly for my gym bag!

Frugal fail…woh woh.

Usually, I do the grocery shopping by myself. It is my mommy time on those glorious early Saturday mornings. However, since I was away all weekend, I brought along the entire Daisy family so that we could spend a little time together. I just couldn’t bring myself to come home from a trip and leave them again to go to the store.

Bad idea.

Have you ever shopped with a husband and a toddler?

I generally keep our grocery budget to $50-75 weekly. Our total was, drumroll please….$155! What the what?! It is safe to say that this will become a mommy-only even from now on.

Because of this crazy $155 shopping excursion, I’m challenging myself to make it on $20 the next two weeks. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

What are your frugal successes and failures (if any!) for the last few days? Do you think it’s possible for me to restrict myself to $40 for the next two weeks?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Welcome to Dirt Road Daisy!

Hi!

I’m Mrs. Daisy.

And my family is $115,676 in debt.

Not including a mortgage.

Yep, you read that correctly.

What a way to start off my very first blog post. You are probably wondering why I am airing my dirty laundry for the entire internet to see, right?

For the longest time, I have felt ashamed and embarrassed over the amount of debt that we have racked up. While doing some research on strategies to dig ourselves out of this hole, I came across some staggering statistics:

  • The average American household has a total debt of more than $90,000. This includes households that are debt free.
  • The average household carrying debt averages more than $130,000.
  • Total debt in the U.S. is $12.12 TRILLION.

I may have done a selfish little happy dance when I realized that we are not alone in this hole. Just a short dance though, because it also kinda sad and disheartening that Americans have been sucked into this debt trap.

We have not taken out any new credit lines or used any credit cards in over two years, but it’s still an uphill battle.

Who is Mrs. Daisy?

I’m going to have a hard time making this short and sweet, because I’m the kind of person that wants to give you alllllll the details. Here we go.

Mrs. Daisy is not your typical frugal finance lifestyle blogger.  I am not a homeschooling, stay-at-home, Christian wife and mom of several children that makes every meal from scratch.

Please don’t get it twisted. I have no dispute with anyone that is. Do your thing, sister. That’s just not me – but 7 of the 8 blogs that I dutifully read every morning are.

I am a 50 hour per week working, sarcastic, slightly (ok, really) inappropriate, non-religious, mother and wife that serves my family processed foods at least once per week.

Working mom guilt is a thing y’all. But that’s a topic for another day.

I am a happily married woman to man much younger than me.

Where my cougars at?!

Mr. Daisy’s list of talents is a mile long, but my favorite things about him is that he is willing and able to cook, clean, bathe not-so-willing dogs and our 3 year old daughter (not at the same time…at least I don’t think so), pick up tampons from the store, do laundry, and let me sleep in when I’ve stayed up until 3am reading a book that I can’t put down. Insert heart eyes emoji here.

Little Daisy is our three year old, stupidly smart, animal loving, dancing queen of a little girl. She makes our hearts smile every single day. But damn, she’s expensive. Kids are expensive.

How did we get here?

By here, I mean $115,676 in debt. Without a mortgage. Let me break down all of the embarrassing details for you.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT $86473

I am the first member of my family to attend and graduate from college. It’s safe to say, we had no idea what we were doing. I blindly took out loans, chose an extremely expensive private school, and paid for room, board, and a meal plan for 4 years.

 CREDIT CARD DEBT $ 4785

Mr. Daisy had never had credit cards before we got pregnant with Little Daisy. I had one in college to pay for important things like textbooks and spring break trips. Priorities. There’s no excuse for our credit card debt other than we were impatient and wanted things now rather than waiting to save the money to buy whatever super important item it was.

VEHICLE DEBT $25847

When Little Daisy was born, we realized I needed a car that was a tad bit safer than the old (paid in cash!) Impala that I was driving. We decided to roam a Kia lot one day around noon, and by 2pm we had been financed for a brand new $26000 2013 Kia Optima. Walking out of the dealership was like exiting the Twilight Zone. It all happened so quickly. But it happened, and now I am going to drive the wheels off of this beast.

Mr. Daisy’s trusty old truck started to have some transmission issues and he let me know that we needed to find a replacement quickly. He is a mechanic after all. We didn’t have the savings, but had the credit approval from our local Credit Union to purchase a $17,000 truck.

 

PERSONAL LOAN $2571

We ran into an unfortunate personal situation that required a few thousand dollars that we did not have saved. Our only option was to take out a personal loan from our Credit Union to take care of it.

So, here we are.

Come along with us as we navigate through this debt; share our frugal lifestyle adventures, our failures and successes, some of the things we’re passionate about, and hopefully a little entertainment.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing with you what you can expect from Dirt Road Daisy should you decide to come back…which I hope you will!

If you stopped by today, I’d love to hear about who you are in the comments! Tell me one thing about yourself…frugal related or not and how you found Dirt Road Daisy.