WFM Wednesday 7/11/12

Today’s Works For Me Wednesday is all about grocery shopping. I took the time and made a pre-filled out list and broke it into sections. I have a space to mark down the amount of each item we need and I put a C next to the item if I have a coupon. I keep a highligher in the kitchen so the kids and husband can just highlight what we need or what they want. I also have a  blank space to write in items that I may need just on occasion or if I am trying a new recipe and need a rare item. I like having this already pre-printed….it makes it easier to read rather than my kids horrible spelling. (Or my husband’s…lol) And I can update the list as needed too. Below is my master grocery list. I put mine in excel form. Do you use a pre-made form or write it down or do you have it in your smart phone or ipad?

Master Grocery List
Produce Snacks Ethnic Food Condiments Cereal
Potatoes Cookies Refried Beans BBQ Sauce Oatmeal
Onions Graham crackers Taco Shells Mustard Cherrios
Lettuce Popcorn Enchilada Sauce Mayo Fruit loops
Carrots Chips Salsa Relish Grits
Bananas Gum Soy Sauce Ketchup
Apples Rice Salad Dressing
Grapes Taco Seasoning Vinegar
Tomatoes Canned Goods Pizza Sauce Syrup
Strawberries Sp. Sauce Pepperoni Honey
Baked Beans
Tom Sauce Meat
Tom paste Ground Beef PB Aisle
Tom soup Chicken Peanut Butter
Breads Green Beans Stew meat Nutella
Breads Canned Beans Lunch meat Jelly
Flat Bread Mushrooms Pork Chops
Rolls Rotel Pork Loin
Hotdog buns Cranberry Sauce Bacon
Burger buns Tomatoes Hotdogs Frozen Food
Tortillas Smokies Ice Cream
Dairy Sausage Veg
Milk Waffles
Butter Pizza
Beverages Eggs
Juice Yogurt Baking Aisle
Soda Am Cheese Flour
Lemonade Cheddar Sugar Household Goods
Coffee Mozzarella Brown Sugar P Towels
Tea Cream Cheese Powdered Sugar T. Paper
Wine Velveeta Yeast Tissue
Coffee Mate Pudding Mix Bleach
Cake Mix Dish detergent
Canned fruits Choc. Chips Foil
Applesauce Pasta Fluff Baggies
Peaches Spaghetti Pam Dish soap
Raisins Mac & cheese Oil Trash bags
Olive Oil
Brownie Mix

WFM Wednesday

My Works For Me Wednesday post today is about my snackbox in my vehicle. I briefly mentioned it in my last WFM post so I thought I would go a little more into it today.

Its not much really but I get so many comments on it (positive and not so positive) in real life I thought I would blog about it. (Because that’s what bloggers do right?)

Anyway all that it is, is a plastic shoebox sized tub with a lid that I got at the dollar tree. Yes folks, I shop at the dollar tree. Anyway in it I store snacks like granola bars, cereal bars, individual chip bags, and other non melting snacks (today it was 115 degrees in the truck at 6pm) and I also have some juice boxes in there. Its under the front seat and pretty much stays there. At least once a week I refill and rotate drinks as needed. But usually come Friday its in need of refilling.

The reasons I have this are plentiful but mainly I am cheap and my kids are ALWAYS hungry. They both have fast metabolisms and so they constantly snack. I want them to have healthyish options that don’t break my budget. Also I have been known to dip into it when running around and hungry.

Another reason is you never know what might happen. Recently there was a very bad accident on a bridge and cars were trapped for seven hours. HELLO?! You on a bridge for seven hours? What if you have kids? People laugh at my snack box and laugh at my anal retentiveness and OCD but trust me, you want to be in the car with me when you are stuck on a bridge for 7 hours. I know you won’t starve to death but you won’t kill your kids because they are crying because they are hungry.

I urge you to make a snack box and keep it filled and put it in your vehicle. Its to cheap not to do.

What works for you?

My love hate relationship with Menu planning

Ok….I menu plan. Now I’ve said it & most of my friends will either look at me as if I am some weird Martha wanna be or that my anal retentiveness has been kicked up another notch. Or maybe both. I hate to menu plan but I do it b/c it saves money, helps me grocery shop & saves money in the long run. Now…I am not a menu Nazi. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes stores have coupons or sales which change my plans or sometimes I get sick & the hubs is gone & I let the kids eat cereal or raman noodles.

I like to have pretty much the same thing every week. (Stew on Sundays, spaghetti on Wed, etc) Its usually b/c of how my week goes. We have a church function on Wednesday nights so I can make the spaghetti sauce in the morning. I just make it fit my life.

Now the hate part. I really hate having my life dictated to me but….I really like only really having to think about dinner once a month. I love that I can look at my list in the morning & know that everything I need is right there. No last minute trips to the grocery.

I hate those trips. I go in for one or two things & walk out $100 poorer. So I menu plan & I coupon & you can think I am weird that’s ok. I still like you…lol.

I made my laundry soap.

Ok well this was the first time that I’ve ever done this. I was really excited. I got the recipe off of the Dugger’s Website, with a few changes due to product availability. Here is the recipe.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap-
Front or top load machine- best value
4 Cups hot tap water
1 FelsNaptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax
– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
So..I used Ivory Soap because it was all I could find & I love the smell. (Reminds me of grandma) 3 bars were $1.07 at Wal-Mart. The Borax was $2.98 & should last a life time. I could not find Arm & Hammer washing soda but other sites I read said that baking soda was just as good as it is a deodorizer. That box was $2.12 for a big box. I buy the big box because I use it for other things to such as a drain cleaner. The bucket was by far the most expensive item. The bucket itself was $4.24 while the lid (a must) was $1.27. I followed the directions but chose not to add oil as I like the smell of Ivory. Now the REALLY important part. When you do this have someone there to help you lift the bucket & put it out of the way. My husband did this. I did this yesterday & checked it this morning. It really wasn’t to gelled but I stirred it and measured it out for just 1 load as it was an experiment. Now it wasn’t really sudsy but that is not a problem for me as its just more chemicals. My clothes came out clean & smelled nice. I didn’t add fabric softener just as a personal choice. I really liked this. I will have to keep store bought soap on hand for when my husband brings home clothes from offshore as they reek. I also wash those separately. I think that between making my soap & my husband putting in a clothes line I am well on my way to saving money.
In all seriousness though I am so not crafty. My sister is the Martha Stewart of the family, but this was easy so please give it a shot for yourself then be sure and let me know how it turns out.

I made my own baby wipes.

Well I did it. I made my own baby wipes & laundry soap. So excited. Already used the wipes & they worked out fine. The soap has to sit over night so I’ll know more tomorrow. Here’s what I did for the wipes.

These wipes are very gentle on baby’s sensitive skin. The recipe can be altered to use any skin oil or baby bath you like, which is great for babies with allergies or skin sensitivities.

Here’s what you need:

1 4 qt square or round container(8” H x 7.25” W x 7.25” D)

½ roll Bounty Big Roll Select-A-Size paper towels

2 ½ cups hot water

2 T baby bath (I use Parent’s Choice brand because it’s very inexpensive)

2 T baby oil (substitute coconut oil if baby is sensitive to mineral oil.)

Finding the container was hard. I found this to be really close & it was at Walmart.

I cut the paper towels in half. Note next time I will use electric knife.

Put 1 towels half in container cut side down.

I mixed ingredients in a large measuring cup but use what you have.

Pour over towels then cover & invert for 5 min.

After 5 min flip again then open & remove cardboard center.

I found this recipe on this great blog.

Heather has been doing this for a while. This is my first time but it was very easy & I am craft challenged. She has also answered some questions too. Its a great blog that I really enjoy following.

On your mark…get set…get frugal!

Ok, so I am somewhat new to actively being frugal. We did little things growing up and I still do things today but I am trying to step up my game. Some things I already do is we have switched to CFL bulbs, always turned off lights when not in use, I usually do not turn on lights during the day if it can be helped, (I have to when its stormy & dark), & we compost. At my last house I had a clothes line & we just never got around to putting up another…well that changed. My husband was not impressed with our last electric bill. ($200) But in all fairness it was not my fault. I mean its not like I started air conditioning the free world. Usually our bill runs between $100-$150. I showed him online where our highest bill is usually in Dec & in Feb we used less energy yet our bill was higher. They (the electric co-op) decided to really give it to us. The next bill for Mar. was only $90. Now some of it was steps taken after seeing the $200 bill.
Here’s what I did.

  1. I got more ruthless about lights/TV etc on.
  2. I walked around the house & made sure if it wasn’t being used it was unplugged.
  3. At night I shut down my laptop & UNPLUG it. (those things are energy hogs)
  4. I flipped off the breaker to my water heater at night.
  5. If I don’t have a full load of dishes I wash them by hand.

That’s it. Now that my husband is home he showed me a few more things. First he made sure all of our breakers were properly labeled. Then we shut off 2 major appliances that we don’t use constantly, the stove & dryer. We also try to go as long as possible before we turn on our a/c but hello we live in southeast La. so that lasts till about 1. If my husband is home & I am not it stays off longer. (He spends every other month in Panama so its colder here now.)

I am working on using my coupons more so I plan to update more on that & other frugal ideas such as making my own baby wipes, cleaning products, & laundry soap.

Until then y’all take care.