Angela's Frugal Living Challenge!
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  1. #1
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    Default Angela's Frugal Living Challenge!

    This is a challenge to myself, and I'm posting it here to keep myself accountable. Lately, I've had to be extremely frugal due to circumstance. Although the circumstances haven't changed much, I'd like to keep it going. I'm one of those people who gets into it for a while, and then all of the sudden I have all this money, and then whoosh it's gone!

    I will try to update this every day or few days, depending on if I have something interesting to write. I encourage anyone who wants to join me to do so! I know lots of you do these kinds of things by nature, so it might not be anything new to you.

    My main goals:
    -Cooking from scratch as much as possible, and stretching meat as far as it will go.
    -Grocery shopping for just what we need, the bare minimums. Only buying extras that are free or for pennies with coupons. No giving in to bad-for-me cravings. Fruit is okay, potato chips are not okay!
    -Driving as little as possible, to save on gas money. Walking whenever possible, combining errands.
    -No spending! No means no. Unless it's groceries or the gas tank, my money should be staying in my wallet or in the bank!
    -Continuing to get rid of stuff I don't need, sell what I can, and give away what I can't.
    -Keep the kitchen clean! A clean kitchen makes me more likely to want to cook dinner.
    -Continue being an electricity nazi. This new apartment has lots of windows, and is very open and bright during the day time. I will take advantage of that!

    My goal is to save up some spending money for my trip which is on September 17th. However, when I get back I'd like to continue to do this so I can have Christmas saved for as well. DH always gets a generous Christmas bonus, but doesn't get it until like a week before Christmas. I figure if I have the money saved ahead of time we can just throw his bonus at our debt.

  2. #2
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    My first update:

    Today I made a very fun and satisfying dinner with things I had on hand. I took a pound of london broil that I had in the freezer and plopped it in the crockpot. When dinner rolled around I took about 1/2 of it, shredded it and mixed with BBQ sauce. Then I made biscuit dough, lined the cups of a muffin tin with the dough, spooned in the beef and a little sprinkle of cheddar cheese. It was a hit, and a fun alternative to BBQ beef on a boring hamburger bun.

    I also took the insides of the potatoes I used for potato skins last night and mashed them up with a little sour cream, bacon and cheddar and made loaded mashed potatoes. I am out of fresh veggies so we had frozen peas on the side.

    We don't have anything really sweet so I made some easy peanut butter cookies (PB, egg, and sugar) for DH and DS to munch on. I have lots and lots of peanut butter that's approaching the best by date, so I figure that's a way I can use it up, and also stop myself from buying any unnecessary sweets or ice cream.

    Also, I got 8 large size cloth diapers from a nice lady on freecycle. They are big enough to fit my DS who is 2 years old. I've been using them on him while we're at home to cut down on using disposable diapers. I only have about 20 disposables left, and I'm trying to get them to last as long as possible. So far so good!

    I haven't made a big trip to the store yet either. I had to send DH yesterday for juice and sour cream, but that's it. I do plan on getting some fresh veggies soon, but that may have to wait until I get some money on Friday. I have plenty of canned and frozen veggies to supplement, and I also have some fruit.

    That's it for now!

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    Good job Angela! (Love your name by the way- it's mine too.) You are really thinking things through and finding the little ways to make big differences.

    I've been really trying to plan my meals around the food I have at home, and I can't tell you how long it's been since I've thrown something out that I accidentally let go bad. I've also been trying to leave the house less to save on gas. I have a Suburban, and it's almost $100 per fill-up. I recently just filled up (only needed 3/4 of a tank), and the last time I had put gas in it was a month prior. Also, the less I leave the house, the less I spend.

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    Registered User brenda67's Avatar
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    I'm wishing you well on your challenge..I will be reading your updates every time you post..And because I know your a "Coupon Queen" you will do just find..((HUGS)) I'm proud of you..

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    I think these kinds of threads are great it keeps you accountable and the sharing of ideas are important these days. I totally agree about a clean kitchen being easier to cook dinner. Keep up the good work.

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    Registered User Starlight9803's Avatar
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    good luck. I will definately be following this thread, since I feel like I've been getting a little bit lax in the frugal department myself and need to buckle down.

    Oh, and I also agree that your name is great - I'm another Angela!

  8. #7
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    Today was my first day babysitting. After the baby left I made some BBQ beef and cheddar "hot pockets" in the sandwich maker for DH to take to work for lunches. I still didn't use up all the leftover beef, but I did use up the biscuit dough. I'll have to figure out something else to do with that bit of shredded beef...

    To celebrate my babysitting job we went out to dinner. What?! That's not frugal! Well luckily we had a gift card, and I had a coupon on top of that. $12.xx for dinner for the three of us. The server forgot to charge me for my soda (I normally don't get soda but it was required for the coupon!), so I tipped him extra. I had cash from selling our old TV today so I used some of that for tip. After dinner we went to Dave and Buster's to play some games. I had a $10 power card coupon from mycokerewards.com, so that was free to us. We played some games, then cashed in our tickets and DS got to pick out a few prizes. I have two more of those $10 coupons, and I think I might get a couple more before they go away! After that we went to Target to pick up some groceries. Used up the remains of two gift cards and only payed $8 out of pocket. We got a gallon of juice, a gallon of milk, two boxes of pasta, two jars of sauce, fruit snacks, two pounds of rice, mozzarella cheese, and a big bag of shredded mini wheats. Not bad.

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    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    So, this is a bummer. Double coupons are turning into a thing of the past. My store went from doubling anything up to a dollar, to only "doubling" the amount of the coupon to equal a dollar. So $1 coupon is worth just that, but a $0.50 coupon is worth $1. It's better than nothing, but it looks like I'm going to have to start getting a little more creative with my couponing. I've been reading blogs and forums about it and trying to make sure I learn every little trick of the trade.

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    Registered User Dobby's Avatar
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    This is probably too late for a suggestion, but anytime I have a bit of leftover meat (almost any kind or flavor), I throw it in a tortilla wrap. I almost always have a package of them in the fridge for leftovers or emergency dinner nights.

  11. #10
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    Yesterday was a great day! I finally used up the last of the shredded beef. I made beef and cheese quesadillas for dinner. I had a packet of Spanish rice mix, and I added a little extra plain rice to it to stretch it out a bit, and then the last of my frozen corn. I didn't want to eat too much because we were having friends over.

    I am very proud of myself because I was able to host a few guests yesterday and I didn't spend a penny!!!!

    DH does fantasy football, and his "draft" was last night. I told him the day before that he could invite a few friends over if they had laptops so they could use the internet and hang out and make it a little more fun. Fun for me too, because then it's not just me at home with DS and DH in the bedroom for an hour on the computer...

    So anyway, it turned out to be 4 of his friends, and two of the friends brought their wives. So six people total. As an afterthought, I was like "What was I thinking?! I don't have party food!" But being the resourceful person I am, I figured it out. I cut up some carrots and a cucumber, the last of my veggies, and served those with a dip that I made from half a tub of sour cream, a little mayo and half a packet of ranch powder. Then I took my dozen eggs that were nearing the end of their shelf life and I made deviled eggs. Lastly, I took some of my crock pot black beans out of the freezer and threw them in my magic bullet to make bean dip! Then I told DH to have his friends bring drinks, and have his brother bring a bag of tortilla chips. Voila! A party without going to the store!

    I felt very proud of myself for throwing all that together with absolutely no planning. I have lots of carrot sticks left, so I will be enjoying those with the remainder of the dip. A great snack for me and for DS.

  12. #11
    Registered User frugalfriend's Avatar
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    Wow, you are doing just great and very resourceful!

    I know what you mean on the coupon front. It's depressing, huh? King Soopers out here does the same as Ralphs is now doing there. Does Vons still double? If you come across any tips for compensating for the cutbacks, please pass them along!

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    I just wanted to say that you did great! It is hard enough sometimes to just come up with a meal but you did a dinner party on what you had-very resourceful!!

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    Registered User MomK's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are well on your way to a complete lifestyle change! I love it

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    Registered User MomK's Avatar
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    It sounds like you're well on your way to a frugal lifestyle! Congratulations...there's no turning back now!

  16. #15
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    So, I got to have a frugal weekend, but not by anything of my doing. DH's parents had planned to go camping in Sequoia National Park. They had invited us a while back, and I declined due to not having the money for it, and also I'm not the most outdoorsy person in world. Well, Friday rolled around and they were really pushing it hard. FIL got a $500 bonus from his work to enjoy the trip, and they really really wanted us to come. They said they would pay our gas and food so finally I gave in and we went camping. It was just Saturday and Sunday, but it was fun. DS really enjoyed it, and we got to see lots of deer! No bears or mountain lions, thankfully. But now we're back home, and I'm going to need to concentrate on being frugal again. I am down to bare bones and I really need to go shopping, so I will be doing that later today.
    Last edited by itsahumanzoo; 08-25-2008 at 12:50 PM.

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