Thrifty Thursday

Now that we have started back to school, I have to pack my lunch each day.  Packing your lunch for work can really save lots of money.

My Top 3 Favorite Cheap Lunches:

  1. Soup.  I eat it fresh or freeze it when I make big batches.  No matter what, soup is yummy, cheap, and easy to take to school/work.  I try to always have at least 1-2 bowls in the freezer all school year long.  I love chili, broccoli soup, vegetable soup, and chicken soup.  I am on the lookout for a tomato soup recipe like Campbell’s but gluten-free.  :)
  2. Leftovers.  Whether it is pizza, pasta, or a hearty meal, I try to tuck leftovers into an easy to carry container and use them at lunch.  I try to get a doggie bag if I have leftovers at a restaurant, and those make an easy lunch too.
  3. Large Salad.  Add your favorite toppings and dressing.  This can be a fast and somewhat healthy meal too.  Some of my favorites include a taco salad or a salad with leftover grilled chicken.

What are your favorite cheap and easy lunches?

Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week? Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? If so, please leave a comment or link below!

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There are times in everyone’s life when it is just hard to use coupons and save tons of money at the store. Having a well stocked stockpile helps during these times!  Even if you don’t have a large stockpile, using a couple of smart shopping techniques can still reduce your grocery bill without coupons.

  • When you have a fully stocked stockpile and there aren’t any rock bottom deals, you shouldn’t shop.
  • When you start a new job or a new marriage, it is OK to be too busy to bargain shop as long as your budget allows.
  • When you are out of money in your budget, you shouldn’t shop.
  • When there is a new addition or other big change in your family, you might need to stay away from the stores for a while. Just live off that stockpile and only buy what you need.
  • When you are feeling burnt out with coupons, it is ok to take some time off.
  • When you move to a new home , you will be too busy to shop. Don’t feel too bad.
  • When you are a teacher and start a new school year, it is OK to leave the coupons at home a time or two ;) .  You all know I have already done this…yikes!

Do you ever take a break from shopping or couponing?

Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week? Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? If so, please leave a comment or link below!

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One thing I talk about in my Savings Nation classes is having some 10 minute meals in mind for nights when things get crazy!

These ideas for meals can help ward off the temptation to eat out too much when you are tired, have a lot going on, or are just feeling lazy!

Easy and Quick Dinner Ideas

1. Eat breakfast for dinner.  Breakfast is fast to make, because we have to get to work or school.  A bowl of cereal, some fruit, and milk can be a super quick dinner meal too!

2. Make two meals in one. I do this one a lot.  Like sometimes I make a whole chicken, and use it for 2 meals.  Other examples would be freezing an extra meatloaf or making chef salads and subs in the same week. The second meal is always easy to throw together!

3. Keep a frozen meal your family likes.  Maybe it is frozen pizza or one of the frozen skillet meals, but it is always nice to have a hot meal in less than 20 minutes.

4. Don’t forget your leftovers. Having a leftover night once a week can save you time, and it can help your family waste less too.  Just make sure nothing has been kept too long!

5. Soup and sandwiches. My favorite soup is cream of tomato soup (and I can’t eat it right now), and it goes perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich.  Keep your family’s favorite soup on hand and add an easy sandwich for a quick meal.

Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week? Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? If so, please leave a comment or  your link  below!

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I am going to assume for this article that your child does not received free and reduced lunch.  If you qualify for this program, I strongly encourage you to contact your child’s school.  I hate to say it, but many schools receive federal funding based on their % of students with free and reduced lunch.  I say, if you qualify and it doesn’t bother your conscience, please take advantage.

Saving on Lunches Bought at School:

  • Many school lunches are based on a fixed base price, so unless they are really hungry, request that your child does not buy an extra entree or side.  I had a young man at school buy 3 entrees and barely finish 1 1/2 of them.
  • Many cafeterias still sell snack type items and even ice cream at lunch.  At my school, a parent can actually block the child’s account for them to not purchase these items.  I know it may seem mean, but many times the kids eat an ice cream bar and a cookie instead of their lunch.  And they pay for it all.
  • Pack an extra treat, even if they are buying school lunch. If you feel bad about your son or daughter not being able to buy extras, many schools will allow students to bring food into the cafeteria.  (At least if you send the treat, you know what is in it, what you paid for it, and that your child likes it.)

Saving on Packed Lunches:

  • Don’t buy individually wrapped items, unless they are free. It is usually cheaper to buy a whole bag of chips, pretzels, cookies, etc. than to buy individually wrapped ones. The same goes for fruit and veggies. Check out Snack Taxi’s or Lunch Skins to save on the price of plastice baggies and the waste.
  • Use leftovers, if your child likes them.  I can still picture one of my students this year loving every bite of some of her mom’s leftovers.  Just be aware that many schools won’t allow students to reheat things.
  • Don’t over pack.  Send only what your child might normally eat at home.  I can’t tell you how much food I see wasted every day, and most of it is the healthy stuff.
  • Pack unconventionally.  If you child hates sandwiches, don’t force them on him or her.  Think about other sources of energy like healthy crackers, yogurt, fruit, nuts, etc.
  • Invest in a good thermos that doesn’t leak.  It will save a ton of money on drinks/juice boxes.

Are you a lunch packer?  Or does your child eat school lunch?  What are your tips for saving?

Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week?  Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? Leave a comment or link below!

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It is the time of year to really enjoy those garden fresh tomatoes.  Here are a couple of my ideas for using them up:

  • Summer Salads
  • Pasta Salad
  • Salsa
  • Sandwiches
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

What is your favorite use for summer tomatoes?

Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week? Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? If so, please leave a comment or leave your link below in the comments!

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There are several ways to get multiple copies of each week’s coupon inserts. I recommend everyone tries to get at least 2 copies, and some larger families need even more!

  1. Buy multiple copies of the Sunday paper or have them delivered. Some papers are available at the Dollar Store or some areas offer discounted newspaper subscriptions. You can also use your RR to get papers, if you have a Walgreens nearby!  I get 2 sets of the Sunday paper delivered for the whole year for just over $2 a week.  Call your paper and see what deals are available.
  2. Get your non-couponing family to save you inserts. This is an easy one, and many family members are willing to help out! Just be careful when they see all your free stash, they might keep the coupons for themselves.
  3. Get your co-workers to help out. The casual coupon clippers are the best to ask. They clip a few coupons, but don’t clip them all. Many are happy to give you the rest! Some businesses have a subscription to the paper, and you might be able to pick up some inserts there.
  4. Keep your eyes peeled at restaurants and coffee shops. Many people leave their whole Sunday paper for others to enjoy. Make sure it is not property of the restaurant before taking the coupons out!
  5. Check out the library. Many libraries have newspaper subscriptions. You could ask the librarian to save them for you. Some libraries also have take a coupon, leave a coupon boxes.

Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week? Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? If so, please leave a comment or link below in the comment section!

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