Thursday, February 5, 2009

not in a box and not with a fox UPDATED


Save the cheerleader money, save the world. It’s quite the pressure cooker to feed a family the size of mine on my income and my hours – I am sometimes surprised I don’t poop diamonds. Of course, if I did, it would certainly solve many of my problems, but no doubt at some point some jackass would slit me open. Also take into account the environmental concerns and health concerns, and I start to lose track of how many balls I have in the air.

Jen over at Sprite's Keeper asked to Spin out some frugal advice. So how do I save money? The biggest thing for me is to not buy anything in a box or jar that I can make myself. Like mashed potatoes or spaghetti sauce – I know how to do it and do it well, so why would I buy these things? But I found myself feeling justified in opening a jar of sauce when I’m walking in the door at 6:15 pm and had left at the same time that morning, so I had to make the time to do the prep work the night before and I had to INSIST that my husband do the dishes each and every night. The only exception has been brownies – I just cannot make good brownies! Pasta Fagioli al Forno? No problem! Amaretto Cheesecake? Snap! But my brownies are nasty. Anyone have a good recipe?

I also religiously follow Mir over at Want Not. She has converted me to an Amazon Addict. I have her feeding my RSS habit on my Google homepage - not only does she find me fabulous internet deals, she also has great give-aways and always tells me how pretty I am.

Another big chunk of my shopping philosophy (you know, 20 years ago, if you would have told me the words "shopping philosophy" were going to come out of my mouth, I would have snorted hard enough to make my shot of Yukon blow right out my nose. Seriously.) is that I follow the same doctrine as Pseudonymous High School Teacher – I refuse to shop at Walmart. I will only buy meat from my local butcher (MacDonald’s Meats) and shop locally whenever possible, like buying my spices and such from Grammy’s in Girard, but I am forced to do the majority of my shopping at Giant Eagle. Just last week, my rare stop at the deli counter made me feel so isolated: I asked the girl if they carried pancetta and, as she looked at me with total distain, she said “Ummmm, you have to go to the meat department for, like, internal organs.” *sigh*

Another great way I could save money would be to not buy so many books. But I can’t. Crack ain’t got nothin’ on the crackly sound a brand new book makes when you crease the spine for the first time. To lose myself in the newest murder in Duluth, Minnesota, or the latest house of horrors in Bangor, Maine, or travel through time and know that Clare always waits, or … I could go on and on (take a look at my Shelfari (which only shows a fraction of the books I own) to the left and you'll see what I mean), but to immerse myself in these other stories is something I simply love to do. I ain't givin it up.

Update: While this really isn't a money-saving technique per se, it could be. Giveaways! For example, The Secret is in the Sauce Bedroom Bliss Giveaway. Apparently, the majority of the free world is aware of the fabulous girls, but I just found them (thank you, PHST). Any girl with a leopard blog is a girl I want to know!

I also found ANOTHER giveaway on The Sweet Jelly Bean! But hurry - the contest ends 10 February.

There is also a Shona stone give away on Mozi Esme.

26 comments:

Katie said...

Not buying boxed stuff is a great money saver (Time saver?? not so much, lol). I totally suck at marinara sauce, but am pretty handy with the desserts - amaretto cheesecake sounds to die for, btw -we should cook & swap! :)

Rikki said...

Now THAT sounds like an idea! I'll make a pan of my lasagna (four cheeses, eggplant parmesan in the middle, and a layer of fresh spinach which sounds yucky but is heavenly) you make dessert, and we'll meet somewhere in the middle and FEAST!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Wonderful Spin! I would love a homemade spaghetti sauce, can you ship that stuff? A recipe swap is a great idea and is in the works for a couple of weeks from now. I hope to see your lasagna up on your site! You're linked!

KNab said...

Cooking? That's what you do with that hot box shaped thingy in the kitchen right? That's husband work. Feeding my kids consists of distributing the correct amounts of kibble, canned yummy, Equine senior, hay and stupidly expensive supplements and herbs. I do use the microwave to warm the canned dog food. Does that count?

greedygrace said...

Hello from the SITS welcome committee!

I don't buy jarred spaghetti sauce because.... well, it's gross. But, although my homemade sauce is all that is delicious, I doubt it's cheaper, especially when you factor in the time it takes to make it. My time is very valuable!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Wow...thanks for the shout out. My philospphy is buy less, buy local.

I am like you, we eat out of the house. But, sometimes I don't do it all from scratch. Being a 10th grade English teacher, I'm guessing we have similar hours.

I read your profile, and I used to be a horse person, back in the day. It's been a long long time.

AP said...

great tips. I also fail in the book buying, trying hard to get it from the library.
welcome to SITS

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

I try very hard not to eat anything that's processed, so that pretty much forces me to go homemade. Timesaver? No. Worth it? Yes!

Welcome to SITS!

Rikki said...

ha - you guys are right that in that it usually isn't cheaper to buy all the ingredients, but I can my own tomatoes, grow my own spices, and my husband hunts so the venison is outrageously expensive if you factor in the Secnt-loc he bought this year!

sandy said...

I stopped by to Welcome you to SITS! I'm glad to have you as part of our group! I'll see you around:0)

Eudea-Mamia said...

I love your blog!

Welcome to SITS - I'll be back. Em

Joy said...

Great post chock full of money saving goodness!!

Welcome to the SITS community! Glad you found us. :o)

SITS Girls said...

If you figure out how to poop diamonds, let us know!

Welcome to SITS, we are thrilled to have you join us!

Rachael said...

wow, that had lots of hreat tips! i am always looking for ways to trim a bit more off our budget.

stopping by to welcome you to SITS, you will love it!

Brenda Jean said...

BAHAHAHAHAHA on the girl at the store. Sometimes people frighten me:) I found a good brownie recipe that I made around Cmas. Hmmm...where did I put that?

Books are my weakness. I do use bookcloseout.com though--the only problem there is they have what they have and you have to wait for titles, but the prices are super cheap. I just got in 4 books from Amazon--but hey, one was free-- it was a buy 3, get one free. So, I think it's okay:)

Julie said...

Surely there's a made from scratch brownie recipe out there for you. I'll be on the look out, I could possibly even test them for you. Welcome to SITS!

Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom said...

Ooooh I love being a Cheap-O! lol

These are some great tips! Thanks for sharing!

Welcome to SITS too!!

Lisa M said...

Welcome to SITS, from your friendly neighborhood SITS Welcomista!

Love your blog and thanks for the links. I'm over at Want Not right now!!

DiPaola Momma said...

Oh my long lost SITSta.. Like how I tied that into the fact that I'm here from the SITS Welcome Wagon to .. WELCOME you?! I mean it though.. I share your philosopy on cooking and SAVING.. I do my Pasta Fagioli minus the al Forno (#3 of my 4 kids isn't so big on Spinach).. I have found GREAT ways to save, still eat healthy and pump money into the kids hemoraging college fund.. I've got some ideas for saving time too.. I'm going to post some "starter" meal ideas.. like how you can make a HUGE batch of red sauce and get 10 different meals out of it (and NOT all Italian!).. I'm so glad I found ya, Welcome to SITS and stop by my blog. I bet YOU would dig my contest!

Shangrila said...

Books are a huge weakness for me (although I'm not addicted to "newness"-lol!) Thanks for the link to The Secret in the Sauce!

K said...

I'm very impressed that you make everything. I rely pretty heavily on the box (not proud of this - just the truth).

Welcome to SITS!

Brandy said...

I'm interested in this pooping diamonds thing. Is it hereditary or can I just eat something special? I promise to keep your secret if you share.

Welcome to SITS!

littleeverydaythings said...

I like the brownie recipe on the Hershey cocoa box. Welcome to SITS!

Aubrey said...

Great ideas! I wish I had the dedication to being more frugal. I'm all about whatever is easiest! LOL

WELCOME to SITS! It's a pleasure to see a new face!

Noah's Mommy said...

Welcome to SITS....I love your writing....and I do browinies from a box....so I'm not help there

Rhea said...

Sounds like you have good techniques in place to save money and eat well.

I'm part of the SITS Welcome Wagon! I've been a member since last summer, and I've read so many fun blogs and met so many amazing women through SITS. Welcome aboard!