A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer

by Melody on May 7, 2012

Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I will even be mentioning those methods that may seem insignificant to you.  I truly feel that anything that saves time is saving money in some form or another.  This week everything seemed to revolve around food.  But let’s be honest, everything I ever do revolves around food in some form of another, so not much new there.

More homemade coffee creamer

I have been experimenting with different flavors and simmering times to find what we like the best.  I initially made it with half whole milk and half 1/2 and 1/2, but was needing to use quite a bit to get the creamy consistency I like in my coffee.  I decided to switch to all 1/2 and 1/2 (which is cheaper anyway, our whole milk is EXPENSIVE!) and it seems to do the trick.

I realized after the 2nd or 3rd try that the recipe actually calls for adding the extract after you remove the pot from the heat, which definitely makes the flavor stronger.  Imagine, when you follow a recipe and don’t just haphazardly throw things together, it actually turns out right.  Who would have known?

So far from the homemade creamer post, I have made Cinnamon Strudel, Chocolate Almond and Peppermint Mocha.  All delicious.  And no hydrogenated yuckiness in here.  I also just realized she has a Homemade Creamer Part II.  Can’t wait to try the Honey Vanilla!

Post-Microwave Breakfast Success

Oddly enough, after losing our microwave, breakfast has been the biggest challenge.  My husband goes to work early and we’ve been trying to avoid cereals, so it was a bit of a struggle finding him something filling, easy and healthy that didn’t need to be heated.

After a few failed attempts at overnight oats, I think I have found the perfect combination.  He came in the first morning to declare them delicious, so I was pretty happy.  All I do is combine equal parts UNCOOKED steel cut oats, almond milk and plain Greek yogurt in a tupperware dish and leave them in the fridge overnight.  It comes out thick in the morning, with the oats taking on the perfect chewiness.  My boys love it with a little cinnamon and my husband and I crumble homemade protein bars over the top.

I am determined to not replace our microwave.

Freezer cooking and helping out a friend, all rolled into one

My friend’s husband took a new job and had to start early, while she is staying behind with 3 kids and one on the way to try and sell their house.  I knew if it were me, my kids would be eating PB&J for the entire month, so a few friends and I decided to make her some meals she could throw in the freezer for when she wasn’t feeling the whole dinner thing.

While I love to help a friend out (I seriously think food is my love language), I was able to make it work for me as well.  All the meals I made for her, I just doubled and threw one in our own freezer.  It only takes a few extra minutes to make two of one dish, as opposed to making the same dish two different times.  Less mess, less prep, less clean-up.

Here’s what I made for her:

Restarting green onions

I can not be the only person in the world who always lets their green onions get all wilty and destroyed.  No matter how I store them, they always ends up going bad.  I do chop it and flash freeze it when I remember, but I saw recently that you can throw your bulbs in some water and they will regrow?  If this works, it could be the best thing I will have ever learned in my life.  If it doesn’t, they were bad anyway, so now I’m just out a little water.

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Emilie May 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Now that I see what you typed, the oatmeal makes sense! I’m trying that. :o)

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Erin @ Simply Frugal Mom May 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I’m interested to see how the green onions turn out. I was skeptically when I saw it on Pinterest :)

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Annie May 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I’ve been ‘re growing’ green onions for weeks now! :) Its AWESOME! I do only let them go for so long and then get a new bunch – but its GREAT :)

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Annie P. May 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm

My husband recently used an insurance broker ( I didn’t know they exist) to find us a better deal on our insurance. It lowered our monthly premium by 60$. Our broker will help us to stay with the best coverage for the best price. And, we didn’t switch to a no-name company, just one big one to another. I’m currently on unpaid maternity leave and it’s great to have less coming out each month.
The other thing he did was call our cable company to renegotiate our cable/Internet. It saved us 30+\month and we get more channels than before!

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Kim May 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I’m curious about the oatmeal. I, too, have failed at the overnight steel cut oats. Think I could use regular milk and regular yogurt? Do you just eat it cold? This seems odd to me, but I would love it if it works and tastes good! Tell me more…

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Melody May 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

The base recipe I used called for regular milk so you’d be fine there. I’m sure with regular yogurt as well, I just like the thicker texture of the Greek. We do eat it cold, it’s basically just like adding granola to your yogurt in the morning but you don’t have to cook anything!

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Kim May 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Thanks! I love greek yogurt, too. But right now I just have regular on hand. I’m going to try it tonight!

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Annie P. May 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I’m sure you have covered all these (boring) things before, but the other thing we recently did was switch from paying for things on a monthly basis to a yearly basis. We didn’t know that things like life insurance premiums are at a discount when you pay once (or twice) a year versus every month. Now we’re just putting money each month in a savings account to pay for all the yearly premiums and it saves us $. Easy!

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Melody May 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

We do the same thing! We pay our car insurance every 6 months and just set aside the money each month into savings like you. We have also signed up for the budget plan with our utility company, which doesn’t necessarily save us money but makes it much easier to budget.

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