Friday, March 12, 2010

Do you know where you hide your money?

I'm not talking about the big mayonnaise jar you have buried in your yard 10 paces from the tree. I'm talking about day to day stuff. Where is your money going? Just a second, I am getting a head of myself here...this is supposed to be a scrapbooking blog. But the other day when I posted my review of that finance article and went on a little rant about budgeting I got a ton of feedback. People actually blogged...about my blog. That never happens! Check out Pam and Jenn. Thanks for the shout out girls!

I honestly thought this was all stuff that every single person knew. We just chose to live differently. But then I thought back to a few years ago when my benefits ran out at work and I was truly an AT HOME MUM. Making nothin'. Spongin' off the Hubs. {Don't freak out ladies...I know that's not how it is we just feel like that at first, right?} So I had to rein in the family finances and I hadn't a clue where to start. So that brings us to today's post. Do you know where you hide your money? No? I can tell you. Go get your garbage can. No really, go get it. I can promise you that this one change {the first one I ever made and have been building on ever since} will alter your budget and is a great jumping off point. So here is the question nobody wants to answer {I don't care who you are}. Are you looking at your garbage can? Ready? Ok, here goes:


I can bet at least a few of you blushed. When I asked myself that question on the first day I thought "I need to start saving my family some money!" I was APPALLED at how much food we threw out every month. So here are a few ideas that might help you out in that area. These are things I do all the time and really, it takes 5 minutes out of your day. So I don't want to hear "I don't have time to do that." Get off Facebook for a few minutes. {I am SO guilty there! LOL}

Common things that hit the trash the day before garbage day:

Carcasses. Whatever it is, I make it into broth. My fave is chicken. You know that rotisserie chicken you had a quick supper with last week and it's been hanging out in the fridge waiting to be thrown out? It still has a bit of meat on it but nobody really wants to pick it off and one sandwich isn't enough to even feed the kids at lunch so why bother? It's worth money. Take your slow cooker out, save the carcass and GO HERE. I guest blogged on my friend's food blog a great while ago. This is what I do with every single carcass that comes into my house. If you want to get really frugal, you can steal them from other people's houses too. I seriously LOVE Christmas and Thanksgiving. "Are you throwing that out? Can I have it? No, I brought my own ziploc bag, thanks." No kidding. My Aunties love me. And if I don't have time to deal with the carcass right then (I really do cook it in the slow cooker for a couple of DAYS as it says in the other post) I just throw the thing in my freezer. I have even been known to put a rotisserie carcass in the freezer still in the plastic store container. Whatever works. Think about how often you use broth. Recipes call for it all the time. I freeze it in 2-3 cup bags in my freezer and always have it on hand. It tastes FAR better than the store bought stuff and is hugely cheaper. You just may have to add a dash more salt but salt is cheap.

Produce. Ok, here is a sticky subject with me. For those who know me personally, I can be a, shall we say? I will often buy a bag of carrots and by accident it gets pushed to the back of the fridge until it's bad. DARN IT! I am trying to avoid that! So first rule of produce is don't buy it if you aren't going to eat it. I know we all have the best of intentions to eat healthy but you know your family best. Are they really going to eat that pretty spinach? The fastest way to kill your grocery budget is to buy stuff you don't eat. Now, if you just haven't gotten around to it and your peppers/carrots/whatever are just going a little south, they are still usable. Whatever is still good can be chopped up for stir fry, or sauteed and blended with the food processor and stirred into pasta sauce or soups. If I have zero time for that it gets blended, bagged and frozen. Again with the freezer. Is she on to something here?

Cupcakes anyone? I love me some tiny bits of frosted heaven. No matter how much weight I lose (or want to lose) I will never give up cupcakes. So what do you do with all the bits of frosting when you are done? I used to rinse it down the drain when I washed my icing bags. No more! I might as well be rinsing quarters down the sink. Now when I am finished, I use those cute little snack ziplocs and save the icing in their individual colours. It's genius because I can either use them again exactly how they are (icing freezes SO well) or if I need a whole bunch of brown or black I just take everything I have, whip it together and then add more colour. So no matter what I am using, especially fillings, everything gets saved and frozen for a future use.

WHO PUT THIS SOUR MILK BACK IN THE FRIDGE?!?!? Oh, we've all done it. Poured ourselves a tall, ice cold, lumpy glass of milk. UGH! We've cut back on our milk a whole bunch so it doesn't happen as much as it used too but from time to time it does still happen and I am actually happy! Many, many muffin and cake recipes call for sour milk. Normally, you just measure your milk and add a touch of vinegar to curdle it. But why not use the real thing? If milk sours in our house I make sure I take the time to whip up a dozen muffins to use it up.

The dreaded leftovers {insert villain music here}. Commit to actually using your leftovers. It's something that does take getting used to but now I make it my own personal challenge to make leftover meals actually taste good! Leftover roast beef? Shred it, melt some cream cheese with it, hollow out some french bread, stuff it in, top with sauteed peppers, wrap the whole thing in foil and bake until heated through. YUM! Tons of my leftover veggies get sauteed, blended and stirred into pasta sauce. You can add a whole lot of leftover veggies to a meat sauce before you even notice a hint of flavour change. Try it out!

But it was SUCH a good deal I couldn't turn it down. Ok folks, I love Costco just as much as you do. But seriously, does your family of 3 really need such a huge block of cheese? Costco is all about the commitment to prepare for the future. I sound like a mortgage broker here. LOL But really, if you buy a huge block of cheese, cut into it and a month later you toss half of it out is that really saving you money? Nope. Same goes for the great meat deals. And the cereal. I could go on and on. Ziploc bags are your friends. Not the cheap Dollarama ones {I use those for school lunches when a plastic container isn't appropriate} I use the real Ziplocs for storing food. Shred a certain amount of your cheese, bag it and freeze it for future use in cooking {tacos anyone?}. Invest in a good solid piece of Tupperware for your cereal so it doesn't go stale as quickly. Got some in the cupboard right now that isn't so savory? Turn it into sticky bars. Recipe is on the side of the Smooth Kraft Peanut Butter jar. I just add whatever I have on hand. The kids love them.

No, I am not one of those people on Hoarders who eats rotted food. I am a normal, reasonable gal. LOL But my journey in the whole world of saving money and making our family thrive on a single income started here. In the garbage can. It was the first change I made and I know you can do it too!

And since this really is a scrapbooking is a layout I did a while ago with one of my favourite children's poems Wynken Blynken and Nod. I have no idea why the title has that weird shadow on it, it's very clear in real life. Lots of textured embossing and my favourite part is the little ship I made with the ribbon flag. Super cute. Have a happy, creative, frugal weekend everyone! I think Friday shall now be referred to as FRUGAL FRIDAY. See you next week!~xox


Bamm-ela said...

Frugal Fridays it is! You'd be so proud - yesterday we skipped the groomers and its $50 charge and puppy got a homemade haircut. She looks great! You are SO right about the garbage can. While you're in there, look how much packaging you're throwing out. Are all those items necessary for you or for our environment? For years, I am sure we've thrown out more veggies than we've actually eaten. All that is changing. Now, I have a half a baked salmon - leftovers - and I have no idea what to do with it. Any suggestions? I swear, you may just have found your niche, girl!

Kate said... are an endless source of future Frugal Friday blog posts girl. I am writing notes as I type this. Thanks! As for the salmon, you can shred it up, add an egg, some leftover mashed potatoes, bread crumbs {or crackers} make it into patties, fry in a little butter for a yummy brunch. Or do a classic salmon salad sandwich on a nice homemade bread. A little mayo, a little dill...muck it all together and add slices of cucumber. How can you go wrong?

Leica Forrest said...

Kate, seriously you have the frugal thing down pat, you should change your blog name to suit your talent!!!!!"Frugal diva"? I have a limit to how frugal I am. And sadly for me it comes down to my time. How much is my time worth? And some days I think I'm worth lot's some days not. So with that in mind, sometimes I'm okay with taking all the extra steps to do what's right and am happy saving a dollar or two, then other days I'm all about convenience. I do split things when I go to Costco with my mom, or brothers. I will turn leftover taco meat into chili, I do that kind of deal. I always slow cooker my carcasses, however, I have not "beg, borrow or stole" them yet. LOL! I can picture you with your baggies. {{insert HUGE smile here}}. The milk thing will NEVER happen in my house. I don't drink milk, so spoiled milk is ALWAYS a gag reflex to me,instantly, but milk never seems to spoil in our house ever. Sadly, I am not a consistent creature of meal plan. I LOVE to change my mind if the weather all of a sudden condones BBQing, or if it means our family isn't crazy for what I had planned. I recycle consistenly, pick up cans, etc. And you know you are so true, we buy broccoli and asparagus by the bunches weekly. 4 asparagus just this week alone. And if any even remotely wilts or leftovers, you can make a WICKED soup. I am the first to admit that I need help in the frugal area, so I will loyally be stalking your fridays! till the next one. (however, tell me the secrets before I throw in the garbage, I am NOT a dumpster diving

Cheryl said...

Kate , love all your frugal ideas and as a child of a woman who grew up in the dirty 30's, I am well aware of all the things one can do to be frugal and it is so refreshing to hear someone young doing all these things. Any milk that is still in the jug on the best before date in this house gets made into puddings or the supper that night will be pancakes or waffles. My mother even went so far as to grease her baking pans with the paper wrapping that came on the margarine or butter. I make alot of soups and any leftovers get frozen for future use. I do use all my own carcasses but I don't "beg, borrow, or steal" them, at least, not yet anyway!! I enjoy reading your ideas, keep them coming!!

Bamm-ela said...

OMG, I am seriously LOLing here! If I am an endless source of inspiration, perhaps when I start my own blog, I will have to develop my specialty: Wasteful Wednesdays, dedicated to frivolous spending and wanton accumulation of unnecessary goods. Too funny! I'm just glad my Dad is not longer alive to see that I'm inspiring your frugal Fridays and that my mother is not computer savvy enough to find that comment.
Love y'a!

Kate said...

NO!!! LOL I meant the awesome frugal things you are doing! Your frugal pet trim was genius! And over packaging...that's a post all on it's own. Plus the leftover salmon inspired me to jot down a whole leftovers recipes post. THAT'S what inspires me about you. The other stuff will come. No judgement here!

Bamm-ela said...

Okay, now I'm laughing even harder. That I would inspire anything frugal, except by my lack of thrift, is a complete comedy. And my Dad is laughing hardest, wherever he is. As a product of the Depression years, he brought frugality to a high art in our home. I will share details which will certainly become a post for you (including storing the used Christmas wrapping paper between the mattress and box spring for 11 months of the year only to be brought out for another round each December!) or maybe we can all supply you with some of the wacky things our parents did to save money and then compare notes.

As the proper rebellious daughter that I am and have always been, I have spent my life turning my back on all his desperate teachings. I love good deals for sure, but when I find something at 50% off, I'll buy four of them and end up spending four times as much! It's like I spend to make up for all he didn't contribute to the economy. Wherever I've moved in this country, I've found that entire businesses have had to close their doors in my wake. Or at least that's what Dad claimed. (Sorry, running family joke, there) Ha, Ha, Ha!

Anyways, I don't feel judged at all. Besides, I've already confessed some of my bigger financial sins to you and you didn't judge me then. This Frugal Friday thing is going to be Fantastic!!!

Kelly said...

Love your blog post babe! You for sure need to do a post on meal planning ... that is built in portion buying control and it almost forces you not to overbuy & to eat what you did buy. Any tips & tricks I can use to save my family some $$ to pay for pool chemical, I'm all for it.
P.S. That cute girl in your scrapbook layout is too precious, who is she? hee hee

Mandy Higgs said...

lol,,i'm learning the hard way to be frugal, love frugal friday!