Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thrifty and Stretching a Dollar

THRIFTY - definition - wise economical, thriving, prosperous or successful.  Economic or frugal.
I think that describes us - huh folks?

It just makes good sense.  There are so many ways to stretch our dollars each and every day.  The old saying "waste not want not" is absolutely true.  If we take care of our pennies - the dollars will follow.
Here are some ways we can all stretch a buck and still have a fantastic and frugal lifestyle.

  • Use old cake mixes to make cookies, crisp toppings, waffles, etc.  You can add a bit of baking powder if you want to make a cake and the mix is pretty old.  Make waffles and break into fourths and then make ice cream sandwiches out of them!  IF the mix smells fine - it IS fine to use.  Don't worry about dates.
  • Use leftover chili for topping on hotdogs, over baked potatoes or over nacho chips.  Make a casserole by placing chili in pan and top with a package of corn bread mix (mix as directed).  Add a bit of cheese if desired
  • Use leftover taco meat on pizza, potatoes, fries, nachos.  Add to soup or mac and cheese
  • Flat or stale soda pop can be used to make jello or freeze it in cubes to keep drinks from being watered down.
  • Save change all through the week and use for farm market purchases or for a weekend treat for the family without breaking the budget

  • GARDEN - grow something!!!  Even if it is just green onions or lettuce or herbs.  Anything you grow will save you money at the store and it so much better for you.

  • Save the 'crumbs' in the bottom of cereal boxes and use as topping over pudding or ice cream.  Add into the topping for crisps
  • Use leftover coffee and freeze in cubes.  Will cool down that too hot cup.  Place in a jar in frig and use when making a shake - love me a mocha shake!
  • Repurpose ALL leftovers - "eat your garbage".  Sounds funny - but why throw things away when they can be re-invented into something new
  • Instead of serving each person a serving of meat - use half the meat and cut it up into a main course dish.
  • CLEARANCE is our friend!!!!  ALWAYS look for mark downs.  If you find items that you use all the time - BUY ALL THAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY!
  • Don't worry about dates!  They are nothing that is etched in stone.  Things are good for ages and ages after dates
  • Catch shower water in a bucket.  I know it doesn't seem like much savings - but it will water plants or flush a toilet - and if done daily, it saves money.
  • Add pasta, potatoes or rice to stretch meals.  These are all inexpensive and will stretch a meal incredibly
  • Turn AC higher or heat lower.  When using AC, basically you need it to remove humidity from the air.  It will do that at even a higher temp - thus you will feel cooler.
  • Sale stuff you aren't wearing or using.  Unused stuff is just taking up space in your home and you can make some much needed funds.
  • Shop the Dollar Tree if you have one.  They are carrying more and more brand names and they do take coupons now.  This is THE place to buy health and beauty items and cleaning stuff.
  • Make your own lunch treats.  Make peanut butter and crackers or cheese and cracker.  Make your own Lunchables - so easy to do.  Make your pudding or Jello cups.  It is so much cheaper.
  • Learn to make yummy and filling finger foods.  there are tons of cold meals that are filling and inexpensive.  It is amazing what you can do with a loaf of Italian bread!!!!!
  • Family doesn't like veggies or you have leftovers to use up - puree them and use in soups or in muffins and breads - no one will know!
  • If you have hit on HARD TIMES - DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO FEED YOUR FAMILY.  Go to food pantries, apply for WIC or SNAP.  Do NOT be ashamed.  These resources are there to help and the good Lord knows we have all had hard times.
  • Barter with family, neighbors or friends.  If they have excess garden - perhaps you can barter a service with them
  • Out of money?  Inventory absolutely all food items you have and put together creative meals using those ingredients.  Use your imaginations - you make creative a new family favorite!
  • Take advantage of RAINCHECKS.  If a sale item is out - ALWAYS ask for a rain check.  You can get the sale price later on.
  • Consider shutting down cable.  Neflix, Hulu, and other are much cheaper and you can watch movies and many TV shows.  You tube is great too.  It is not just a 'how to' channel anymore.
  • Check into selling home canned or home made items in your area.

It is almost as good as cash (maybe better) in many instances.  If things get bad - all your many thrifty ways WILL save yours and your families lives!

We all need to know ways to stretch our dollars, be thrifty and save NOW - then we will be able to thrive if things go south someday.

How do you stretch your dollars?  We can all use every tip we can find!!
Looking forward to learning some great new tips.


  1. I had always thought of baked beans as a side dish, but when I add a can of chicken and some rice, and maybe even some black beans and chopped onion, it can become a main dish...idea from ''...but I wouldn't have thought of it except for your post Cheryl ! thanks again !

    1. how cool Ellen.
      I sometimes mix hot dogs or smoked sausage into mac n cheese or sausage and cooked cabbage.
      I think once you add meat - anything becomes a main dish!
      Have a great weekend.

  2. Thanks for the great tips! I'm going to have to stretch our dollars even more since I am not sure what is going to happen with my husband's job. If it wasn't for health insurance, I wouldn't be too worried, but I and my son have pre existing conditions...
    Anyway, I will continue to buy what we need as cheaply as possible. Kroger has free friday downloads and coupons, so I will use those as much as possible. If I shop on weekends, I can get extra fuel points. I have three turkeys in the freezer that are over a year old, so I will start using them which will help save grocery money. We paid off our house several years ago, and our cars are older but paid for...I just paid our real estate taxes, and have the money for insurance next month, so I am going to try to cut expenses and save as much as possible.
    Thanks for your blog and all the good information.

    1. Kathy I sure hope things work out with your husband's job. I didn't think 'pre-existing' mattered any more. I thought that got changed that everything was covered. Heaven knows I could have misunderstood that.

      Sounds like you have a great handle on things. Mortgage and car payment free are HUGE accomplishments.
      Stock up while you can - and learn as many new things as possible.
      I pray all works out for your family.

    2. Thanks for your blog! It is great to learn new things.
      Yes, pre-existing conditions were covered under Obamacare, but I'm not sure what changes will be made now. They may still be covered but at much much higher premiums. Praying for wisdom for our leaders.

    3. Thank you for your sweet words.
      I will continue to pray for your family. I hope things don't change for you.
      God bless.

  3. These are some really great tips on how to stretch your dollars, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing them.

    You mentioned adding pasta, potatoes or rice to stretch meals. One thing I do is to take a couple of cooked potatoes and dice them into a small dice and add to our taco meat, which makes it more filling and stretches the taco meat to last for longer than one meal. The cost of beef is still high, so this helps make it a little more economical. :)

    1. Oh I never thought about adding potato to taco meat. I usually add chili beans to mine.
      I will have to try the potato trick! sounds yummy.
      Thanks for that tip.

  4. Really good tips, Cheryl.
    Those new fangled dates on everything are such a pet peeve of mine. They just contribute to wasted consumer dollars and increases profits for manufacturers.
    We had a thrifty make-do supper last night. I cooked some baked potatoes in the crockpot and we topped them a little cheese, and some finely chopped leftover smoked sausage. It was just a little meat but it tasted delicious.

    1. Rhonda - I think the dates are to make us spend more money too. People panic - when the food is just fine.
      We do loaded baked potatoes every week or two. the are yummy, filling and cheap!

  5. I am sure I have spent more on my garden this year than I will get food out of it but I can count it towards other things too. Nancy

    1. Nancy at least you know where the food comes from and it will be fresh.
      You always save in other ways.

  6. Cheryl another meal extender is bread crumbs. Pop the crust end into a bag in the feezer. When you gave enough blitz them to crumbs in a blender. The crumbs are also good as a thickener in gravy sauces.
    Keep an eye out for fruit trees growing along the side of roads. Free fruit is it isn't on someones property. I have a neighbour with a large avocado tree in their yard. They don't eat avocado and are quite happy to pop the fruit in a plastic shopping bag and hang this over the fence. It's always a nice surprise. I put excess veg in the bag and place it on their side of the fence. Don't be afraid to ask people for their excess fruit on the trees in their yards. Often they want to get rid of the fruit and are more than willing to give it to you.
    Left over vegies can be made into a whole other meal in the form of a vege frittata. Just place the vegies into a greased oven proof dish. Pour some whisked eggs over the top. If you have some cut up some fetta and mix through. Bake until firm, cut into slices and eat with salad. This is just as nice cold as it is hot.
    Great post with lots of good ideas. Thanks Cheryl.

    1. Jane those are really great ideas. You are so correct - I forgot to mention gleaning! Many people have fruit and nut trees that they do not utilize. It is also nice to find trees on abandoned property. Wild berries in the woods are also great.

      I use leftover veggies in soups, casseroles, and also do frittatas. They are so good. Another favorite is fried rice - so easy and inexpensive.
      Good tip on the bread crumbs.
      Have a good day.

  7. Hello Cheryl, as usual you have lots of great tips and ideas. I had completely forgotten about that website and now have it bookmarked for future reference. Thank you!

    I use my leftover bread from the week (I make 2 fresh homemade loaves a week) to make homemade croutons. My hubby and our middle grandson go wild over them and will eat them for snacks as well as use them on salads and as toppers for soup.

    1. You are so welcome. That is such a great site!

      Good going on the bread. I love using for dressing bread as well, and as crumbs for coating.
      Croutons out of homemade bread has to be the BEST!
      Oh, you mentioned soup - my mind went to French Onion!!!