Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

So I had promised a couple of weeks ago to share money saving tips with you all on Thursdays, and since then we started tball, graduated from kindergarten, got the stomach flu, and are preparing for a FIRST birthday party. All and all it is a whirlwind and I wouldn't trade a minute of it, okay, maybe the stomach flu, but she sure was cuddly for those couple of days! ;)

Anyway, I thought while I had a moment between laundry loads, I would share a few more tips with you all. We have actually been able to cut our grocery bill to 30 dollars a week. :) So I have been doing well on our goal of 40 per week!

1. I clip coupons! I know, I was once one of those, UGH! I don't have time for that kind of ladies, but man it really is like holding a job. I save as much as I would make if I were working a lot of weeks. If you like a brand or a companies them an email and let them know...odds are they will send you a coupon or two and they are typically high value. I also follow blogs such as Faithful Provisions, The Thrifty Mama, Hip2Save and For the Mommas, these help me match up the coupons I clip to the best deals and get things for next to nothing or for free...Seriously, I cannot tell you the last time I paid for something like shampoo, shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dish soap, etc. If I clip coupons and shop Rite Aid, I can often make money on these items! My general rule is, if I don't have a coupon, I don't buy it! :)

2. We plant a huge garden and can and freeze. We typically spend about 50 dollars a year on seeds, and gardening supplies, this includes my canning lids. I have really surprised myself with this new found love of canning and freezing as well as gardening. I used to wonder why on earth people did these types of things. It saves us a ton of money and I love knowing that we do all of our gardening organically and that my kids are not eating pesticides. This year we planted the following : tomatoes (LOTS), red peppers, green peppers, and banana peppers, peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, and eggplant. ( I am sure I am leaving something out) We have also added two blueberry bushes, two pear trees, and two nectarine trees as well as several grape vines in the past year or two, but they have yet to produce just yet) We only own about an acre of land so it can all be done in very little space if planned out well.

3. Cloth Diapering. Another thing I SWORE I would never in a million years do, and yet I love! We have just in the past month gone from using disposables at night and when on the go to being 100% cloth! I love knowing that Hope has NO chemicals against her skin and that we are not filling the landfill with diapers that take over 500 years to break down! Well, if I am being honest...Howard loves the environmental thing more, I love that they are cute most! :) Cloth diapering is NOTHING like I had imagined it would be. It is not gross or terribly time consuming and has already saved us a BUNDLE! The money I invested in Hope's newborn diapers, I was able to make 80 percent of that back by reselling them! Now she will be in the set she is in until potty training!

4. We drink water, tea, coffee and milk. I typically do not buy juice or other beverages, they are typically expensive and add only empty calories to our diets. We get our fruit nutrients from fruit so that we also benefit from the fiber and skip the juices. My kids are drinkers and it would be easy to go through a lot of juice which would fill them up not leaving room for other foods. SO they have gotten accustomed to drinking water, milk (at meals) or tea.

5. I have begun making our own breads. Not just loaves of bread, but also bagels, hot dog buns, etc. I make it all from scratch and it costs pennies compared to supermarket prices.

SO there you have it...a few more tips...I will share more next Thursday as I have a birthday party to plan now! :)


Amy said...

What brand of cloth diapers do you use? I plan to cloth diaper with my new babe due in Oct, and am trying to do some research. Thanks!

boltefamily said...

We started Hope out with just unbleached prefolds and thirsties covers for the first three months or so. Now we have a few BumGenius one sized pocket diapers, a dozen FuzziBunz Mediums, and I just bought a Flip Day Pack which I LOVE! I actually like the Flips more than the pocket diapers...less messing around pulling the inserts out.

Lori said...

I love all the coupon sites--need to get back into those, so thanks for recharging me!

Also--researched and researched and researched and had 36 newborn BumGenius diapers (so teeny and cute!) and several Flip packs waiting to use with Matthew...bittersweet for me, now, of course, but praying that we'll be able to use them with his little brother or sister!!

Jennifer said...

I am really not trying to be rude. However, I do question how you spend $30/week. I was trying to do the math...a loaf of bread is $.99 on the cheap side here is Ohio. Milk is $2.50, not to mention the very basics of other things. I am an avid coupon clipper. I have found many a great deals (I have 30 bottles of Tobasco that I did get for free). I am just curious since you live on one income (and a teacher's income) are you able to qualify for WIC? Or do you eat out a lot? We have a family of five and do not qualify for WIC and my $150 a week does not seem to always cut it. Actually, I cook every other day and we eat leftovers on the off cooking days. We do not eat out at all. My kids pack peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and I freeze them water at night (so no juice boxes). I make tea, we do not buy things like Pop Tarts, or fancy cereals. Again, I am not trying to be rude at all, I am more curious about what I am doing wrong with my frugaility. Aside from geographic issues (Ohio vs. PA) I am spending 5x's the amount you do.

We do have an infant and I used regular diapers and formula feed, but I budget his stuff outside of our normal grocery budget.

boltefamily said...


I guess I am surprised to hear so many spend so much per week on groceries just as you are surprised at how I spend so little. :) I don't think prices differ from PA to OH much as we live right on the OH line, just inside of PA. I do know that we do not pay tax on food for one thing. That may or may not make much of a difference...

You site bread I said...I make my own. SO instead of paying over 1.00 per loaf, I pay pennies. We grow most of our own produce and shop the local farmer's market for what we cannot grow and can and freeze as much as we can while things are in season so we don't have to buy much at the grocery store. I make most things from scratch and instead of cold cereals, we eat steel cut oats or other grains I can buy in bulk and make in the crock pot. It has just been the past few weeks I have been able to get by on 30 dollars...I am not sure I can do it all the time. We have been living on 50 dollars a week for a long time. Seriously I think if you were to watch some of the sites I sited here in this post I think you would find women who spend even less for even larger families.

Ronda said...

I also don't quite understand how you are doing it on $30 a week. What about toilet paper, cleaning supplies, plastic ziploc bags, kleenex, over the counter medicines, bandaids? I can spend over $30 just on that stuff alone. Do you not count non-food items in your grocery budget? I used to clip coupons but I found it incredibility frustrating and confusing and I found that I was buying stuff I didn't need just because I had a coupon. Also, living in Austin, TX, is really expensive, I think it has to be a higher cost of living than where you are. I'm embarrassed to tell you we spend over $100 a week for me, my husband and our toddler. I do cloth diaper, including using cloth wipes. We have an HE washer so I rarely buy soap, the smallest amount cleans very well. We do buy juice but my daughter only gets it at breakfast and it's mixed with water. I do buy organic milk and that's about $5.50 a gallon. We all suffer allergies and so I am buying the store brand of Claritin and Benadryl frequently. I just don't have a green thumb, I have tried to garden before, just starting out with tomatoes but it didn't go well at all. We were in a terrible drought then, maybe I should try again. Maybe you can do a post to share your bread recipes? I've tried making bread but never got the yeast part to work out.

Anyway I have to add that I love Fuzzi Bunz diapers, and I've tried ALOT of different brands! Bum Genius are ok but the velcro didn't last a year on mine and I never dried them in the drier. I had someone convert them to snaps so we can still use them.

boltefamily said...


That DOES include things like Ziplocs, cleaning supplies, band aids, soaps, over the counter meds. We tend to be quite healthy so I buy very few over the counter meds (no allergies here) I don't typically do Tylenol or Motrin for the kids as their bodies were made to fight things off.

ALL of the things you mention, I mostly get for free after coupons by shopping Rite Aid or CVS. (My kids also HATE Band Aids so that helps :)

I make my own laundry soap, and I clean most of the house with either white vinegar and baking soda or peroxide. All very, very inexpensive and not so toxic. We do eat out once a week. Typically this is pizza on Friday nights...we typically spend about ten dollars that night.

I will also add that it helps that my in laws and neighbors also garden and we all share and grow different things. I highly recommend you guys check out the websites I listed...these ladies actually spend EVEN LESS than I do!

I would also like to add to Amy, that after using the Flips for a few more days, I do still like them, but prefer the Fuzzi Bunz...when she poops the Flips are kind of tough to clean. I agree with Ronda...I like the BumGenius, but prefer the FuzziBunz because of the snaps. They do last set are second hand and still going strong.

I will share my bread recipes, ASAP! I have also had trouble Ronda, but have found a few foolproof recipes! :)

Amy said...

Ok, thanks. I have a handful of BumGenius one sizes that I used briefly with my oldest son per recommendation from a friend, but he was almost 2 when I started and I always felt they didn't fit him quite right. I had planned on using them again with Levi, but that didn't work out. I'll have to try some FuzziBunz this time around as well.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the link to the bagel recipe- Lydia and I made them and she had tons of fun shaping them and sprinkling the toppings. We made raisin cinnamon with a brown sugar topping...yum! I never knew bagels were boiled!

Carla said...

Great ideas. We do a lot of the same things like gardening and making pretty much everything from scratch. I never seem to come across coupon out here in the boonies though. Maybe getting on some coupon mailing lists would be a good idea. hmmm
thanks for the tips!
The cost of groceries where I live is really high . Especially produce...which is why I turned my front lawn into a garden :) Normal milk here is over $5 a gallon...and bread on sale is $2.50. We spend AT LEAST $100 a week on groceries (family of 5 plus foster baby). Wish I could get that down more. You've inspired me to try. Once garden season is in full production that will help.

Devin said...


You know that I am beginning the coupon journey as well, and I totally can see how you could get by on $30 a week. I echo the fact of not buying things like toothpaste, body wash/soap, deodorant, etc...I've been couponing for only a few weeks, and I already have enough of those items (stockpiled for pennies on the dollar of regular prices with my coupons) that I probably won't have to buy them again for 6-12 months! If you read the money-saving blogs (I read a few that you mentioned plus a couple of others) you can easily be trained in just a couple short months on how to do it yourself! However, MOST people (and I can understand this, as I was one of them at one time) do not have the desire to commit the time to it. It really does take a couple of hours a week...but for what I save, it is so worth it. I DO consider it part time income, for sure!

I also grow/can/freeze. It is wonderful to be able to pull out a jar of tomatoes and have fresh sauce in the middle of January, or have a jar of home-grown organic green beans! I planted almost all of the same things you did this year. So exciting to watch them grow--AND to see little ones actually excited about eating vegetables, because they helped to grow them!

I don't do the cloth diapers--do you think, with Lola being 4 months, it is too late to start? I don't even know that I would know where to begin....

AND, finally, I just made your laundry soap. I have to say, it is GREAT! It is cleaning everything, has a wonderful smell, and is fantastically inexpensive...YAY! THANK YOU for sharing your money-saving finding with the rest of us!

leaslooks said...

I am so going to check out those sites! I NEED to coupon with the amount of kiddos that I have to feed. I, too, make most of our bread products (bread, bagels, tortillas, pizza crust, etc) and I also cloth diaper. We use unpaper towels in the kitchen and cloth wipes for the babies plus noses and faces but I do buy tp for the bathrooms ;)

Now I'm going to go on a mission to lower our grocery bill. I know I can do it! Plus, we have a Rite Aid here so I'm going to try what you do :)

Jamie said...

I just stumbled across your blog while browsing other blogs and I'd like to say good for you for saving so much! I'm in Pittsburgh and have found it very easy to spend a little on groceries with the amount of coupons available. I have made it my "living" to stretch my husband's income as far as I can. My budget is $75 a week which includes dog, cat and guinea pig food, bedding, treats (2 dogs, 2 cats and 7 piggies live with us) as well as food, household items and H&B items for four. I have not paid for toothpaste or other H&B items for at least 5 years, either! My biggest expense is milk - we go through between 3 and 4 gallons a week because my girls love it. I joke all the time that we need to get a cow! I know that I have room to improve (I have made my own bread, but I am not currently doing it) but I can't complain.

I just wanted to say that I know it IS possible to spend so little a week and that it is great to hear of other moms who are making their money work for them!

Ronda said...

Hey Kristy,

I'm really following the websites your recommended and I got the paper on Sunday so I clipped some coupons! I have run into a silly problem with our computer not allowing me to print coupons from the internet. I was just wondering if you print coupons from online, and do you also buy the Sunday paper? I hope my husband can get this issue fixed soon because I'm dying to print all these great coupons!

Thanks again!


Loy said...

Just wanted to let you know I am now using cloth diapers. You and fuzzi bunz have inspired me. Do you have the toilet diaper sprayer? Amazing invention!!!
Here is my first blog post about my conversion to cloth. I'm sure there will be more. I'm cloth crazy right now. I'm trying everything. I don't think I'm saving money but I'm having fun!!

bookworm0709 said...

I have two comments: First, Kristy - how do you make your hot dog buns? I make my own bread dough (in a bread machine) and then bake it in my oven, but how to you shape the buns from raw dough?
Second, to Rhonda,, concerning your inability to print internet coupons, it might be your web browser. Some coupons are created for certain browsers (Internet Expolorer, Mozilla, FireFox, etc.) You might try loading a different browser to your computer, and going to the website through that browser.

boltefamily said...

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to some of you! Hope is finally back in good health and I have a few minutes! I am so happy to help any of you in any way I can! :)

@Devin, it is NOT too late! I didn't start Hope until she was about 2 months...once I had healed well from c section. I would highly recommend Flips for Lola girl. They fit great, are trim and less costly than many of the other options. glad you liked them! They are a favorite here! Fun to experiment with the recipe too!

@Ronda...way to go! I have had issues with servers and coupons. I get the sunday paper some weeks and my in laws give me their coupons, I have also asked the local paper boy for extras and he has been glad to hand some over! :)

@Diane...I DO have the diaper sprayer and I am not a huge fan...I have not figured out how to spray the diaper without getting poop water all over my bathroom yet! Any advice?

@Bookworm...this is the recipe I use