$40 Thanksgiving Dinner

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The countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun and there are only 8 days left! I love the holidays and I enjoy spending time with friends and family but it can get pretty stressful too. Let’s face it Thanksgiving dinner can be a headache especially if you are the one hosting the event. If your finances are already tight this time of year can be more than just a little stressful. According to Fortune, the average family spends approximately $100 on Thanksgiving dinner which is a hefty price tag for most families watching their budget. This year I want to share a few ideas to help you keep Thanksgiving fun and your budget on track.

The first thing I recommend is to sit down a week prior to Thanksgiving and plan your menu. Knowing what your menu is in advance will allow you to price shop and get the best deals. Snag as many grocery store ads as you can so you can compare prices and see who has the best deals. This year my local Kroger store has the best prices so that is where I will be shopping. Once you have your menu planned write down your list but before you hit the store take a look in your pantry first. You may be surprised to discover that you already have some of your ingredients on hand. If you do cross those off your list, grab your favorite cup of coffee and tackle the grocery store. Only buy the things that are on the list because even a few small add-ons can blow your budget.

I am able to keep my budget for turkey day under $40 by making things from scratch. It might be tempting to buy assembled dishes from the grocery store but you’re going to compromise on budget and quality. Keep your menu simple and enlist the help of your family to whip up affordable dishes. Sure you will have more dishes and flour will cover every surface of your kitchen but you will be making beautiful memories and this alone can reduce the stress of preparing a holiday meal. If you are interested in getting recipes for this menu stay tuned because I will be sharing recipes as well as additional holiday tips!

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My Love Affair With the Instant Pot

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I am seriously in love with my Instant Pot. I have been wanting one for the longest time but as a frugal mama, on a budget, the cost has kept me from running out and grabbing one. That is until a few weeks ago when I had enough money left in my grocery budget to finally make the jump and purchase the famed pressure cooker. This turned out to be the best investment I have made in a long time and I am kicking myself for not getting one sooner. If you are sitting on the fence and wondering if it is worth it to throw down $80 for this product then let me assure you that it absolutely is especially if you are wrangling a busy family that is always on the run.

You can find millions of recipes on Pinterest and the Instant Pot comes with a small recipe guide to get you going. They also have a whole line of cookbooks featuring a variety of different styles of cooking as well as recipes geared towards those with dietary restrictions. It truly is a miracle machine you can whip up tender fluffy rice, cook a soup or a roast and you can even bake a cake. Today I made Sesame Chicken and the chicken was so tender it practically melted in my mouth. That Sesame Chicken took me less than 15 mins to make from start to finish which is faster than ordering pizza or grabbing something in the drive-thru. We haven’t grabbed takeout or ordered a pizza since I bought the Instant Pot and that used to be a once a week occurrence. This means that not only has it saved me time but it will save me money.

Yes, I am a nerd and I know how weird I sound but I love things that make my life a little less chaotic. This is my honest review of the Instant Pot and I am not being paid or sponsored to write this post. Seriously though if you are looking for something that will help you cook meals faster without compromising on that home cooked quality than an Instant Pot is what you need. Now that I have poured out my heart and confessed my love affair with my Instant Pot I am going head off to bed and dream of the many recipes I can whip up for my family in the near future.

Saving Time & Money with Grocery Service

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I decided today that I was going to handle my grocery shopping a little bit different. Normally I head to the store armed with my list and ready to battle the hundreds of shoppers in the store for the best deals. For the most part, I enjoy the challenge of grocery shopping and I love to see how low I can keep my bill but it is inevitable that I see things that I want or think that I need.

Our local Walmart just began to offer grocery pickup and I decided to give it a shot especially because they were offering first-time users $10 off their grocery bill.  So a couple of days ago I logged in and created my list and what I really liked was that I could come back and edit the list as needed. Then last night I was ready to finally submit my order and select my pick up time.

Around noon today, I received notification that my order was ready so I headed out to retrieve my order. I have to admit I was a bit anxious because I am a bit of a control freak and I just let strangers do my grocery shopping. When I finally arrived at the store I was surprised with how painless the whole process was. Within minutes of me arriving two employees pushed my order out to my car and they loaded my trunk.

I have to say this was a great experience. It will be a bit of an experiment over the next few weeks to see if I can slash my grocery budget, even more, using this service. Today’s trip was $55 and I have enough groceries for my family of five for the week. I was able to keep my bill low because I only selected the items that I absolutely needed and there weren’t any extraneous expenditures. If I can keep my bill low consistently using this service I may have just found a great way to save money and time.

 

Have you used a grocery pickup service? What was your experience?

How Trial Sized Shampoo Bottles Can Save You Money!

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When you have a large family that is comprised mostly of little ones you learn very quickly that some things like toilet paper and shampoo disappear very quickly. I still haven’t figured out a way to stop the hemorrhage of toilet paper in our home but I did discover a neat trick for making the shampoo last a little big longer.  Little kids have a very hard time measuring out the correct amount of shampoo to use on their hair and this leads to a waste of shampoo and excessive soap buildup in their hair.

I will never forget the one time my daughter came downstairs after her shower and I could see her hair was slick with shampoo. I discovered that she had used a half a bottle of shampoo on her hair and struggled to get it all out it took me almost 20 minutes to rinse it all out.

It didn’t seem to matter how many times I showed them the correct amount to use because they always used way more than necessary. My daughter complained that it was because the bottles were too big and it was hard to squeeze a small amount and that it came out of the bottle too quickly.  One day while walking around our grocery store I happened to pass the trial size section in the health and beauty department and noticed that the little shampoo bottles were the perfect size for little hands.  I purchased several, one for each child, and filled them halfway with shampoo and gave them to the kids. I was surprised to find that it really did work because the bottles are smaller they have more control over how much shampoo comes out and it saves me money because we are no longer throwing shampoo down the drain.

This little trick may not save you hundreds of dollars a year but it will save you money because it will reduce the amount of shampoo being washed down the drain and it will shorten shower time. It can take a long time to rinse half a bottle of shampoo from your hair but just a few minutes to rinse away the correct amount. This means that alongside your savings in shampoo you can save a little money on your water bill as well. Every little bit does count in the long run, now, I just need to figure out away to stop the waste of toilet paper in our house.

 

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