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

by Melody on January 30, 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.

Homemade Croutons

I really hate wasting food, but I’m also not a huge fan of eating the butt ends of a loaf of bread.  I keep a gallon Ziploc bag in the freezer that I throw all my extra bits of bread, including leftover hoagie rolls and even hot dog buns.  Once the bag gets full, I chop everything up and toss with garlic-infused olive oil and seasonings and bake.  I’ve tried several different temperatures and cooking times, but this recipe seems to always come out the most consistent.

Croutons are something I will never spend money on, they are so darn expensive in the store and just not REALLY a necessity.  Doing it this way is so easy, saves waste and you can change up the seasonings to suit your tastes.

Monthly Costco stock-up trip

We generally make 1-2 trips to Costco per month.  Every time I go, I also pick up milk, eggs, bananas and usually lettuce.  I don’t necessarily consider these stock-up items, just things we go through all the time and they are very reasonably priced at Costco.

For our stock-up items, I picked up organic baby peas and corn (grown right here in the Columbia Basin!), organic strawberry jam, 2 enormous jars of Star pickled jalapenos, whole wheat tortillas and a delicious wedge of Pecorino Romano cheese.  We also picked up two tubs of sour cream and cottage cheese, you can’t beat the price per pound.  You can’t tell from this picture, but the cottage cheese is half gone already.  My husband and I fight over it.

I’m working on a post of all my favorite things to pick up at Costco.  There is always this great debate over Costco’s prices vs coupon prices, but I have definitely found on certain items, Costco can’t be beat.

If you are looking for price comparisons, check out my Pantry/Household Stock-Up Price List.

Frugal wrapping paper

I have approximately 872 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper and no paper that can even sort of be used as birthday (or any other holiday) paper.  I kept an eye out after Christmas for clearance paper that was just a basic red or green or even striped, that wasn’t super-Christmasy.  I couldn’t find a thing.

My husband and son love to read the comics every Sunday, so my husband has decided to start saving them for me after they are read.  We are just keeping them in a pile in our closet and I’ll use them for wrapping paper.  It sounded kind of boring to me until I found these cute ideas on Pinterest.  I’m going to pay for the paper anyway, might as well squeeze every cent out of it.

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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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

michelle January 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I cannot wait for the costco list!! We just started going to costco and it is so hard to know what to buy and what not to buy!! but I NEED to cut down on all of my coupon shopping and costco seems like the best choice!



Julie K January 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Those croutons look delicious! I do the same thing with bread, but I just throw them in the food processor and make bread crumbs and then put a gallon-sized bag back into the freezer. Bread crumbs are something I would also never spend money on. Also, we have been using plain yogurt instead of sour cream for quite some time, because it seems more versatile, cheaper, healthier, and we actually like the taste better.


bryn January 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I have been using a huge roll of white paper, or thinner brown packing paper and rolling it out across the kitchen floor and letting the kids go crazy coloring on it. Almost no cost, it entertains them while I am cooking or cleaning, and the family loves all of the “art”. For Christmas I picked up 2 rolls of ribbon at Costco make it more festive, and the kids decorated plain tags from the Fred Meyer office supply section with markers, stickers, and holiday paper. The rest of the year I use whatever ribbon I have saved, twine, or even yarn- since really… am I ever going to get around to knitting anything?!


Trina January 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I just recently tried a similar method to make my own croutons! For a few years now I’ve been saving the bread heels in an empty pie plate in the oven. They dry out in there over a few days, and then I move them to a thick ziplock freezer bag. Once the ziplock is full, I take the rolling pin to it and make bread crumbs!


Stephanie January 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Great idea on the croutons! I take the butt ends and turn them around when making pb&j sandwiches so the kids can’t tell the difference. I don’t ever eat it, but they don’t seem to mind! ;0)


Steph January 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Ha-ha, that reminded me of what my mom used to do. I was on to her, though. I HATED the heels (still do)!


Miss Jay January 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

My daughter is a strange eater, she actually prefers the crust. Go figure.


Karen February 2, 2012 at 9:53 am

I save the crusts and other odd bread in the freezer until I have enough to cube up and fill a 9 x13 pan. Usually a gallon zip lock bag full. I then make egg bake.


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