Have Yourself a Frugal Little Christmas



Have yourself a frugal little Christmas and make your wallet smile! 

It is never too early or late to talk about Christmas. Planning your Christmas is just as important as planning your weekly menu. The more planning you put into it the more you can save. 

Having a frugal Christmas doesn't mean being cheap it means being wise with your spending choices. It is possible to have a frugal Christmas and also have tons of fun! Trust me we do it at our house and fun is something we definitely do have.

frugal christmas

The pressure from retailers and our children and family members can be overwhelming, to say the least. Everywhere we look there are sparkling lights and decorations galore. Even grocery stores become a treasure chest full of offers and sparkling wrapping paper and chocolates.

The problem is that if you really take a look at the offers they are not really bargains or good deals at all. The buy one get one, 1/2 price sale is only good if you need two of the same item otherwise you are draining your purse on something that is not needed. These offers are great if you have a large family but if you don't it isn't really a good deal.

My best advice to stick to your frugal Christmas is to stick to your budget. Also, a frugal Christmas can be fun because it takes away the taxing shopping away and puts a little creativity back into your life.

The Tree:

The most economical is an artificial tree but I know some people love buying and cutting their down their tree every year. For us, we use an artificial tree mainly due to allergies. Yep, I am allergic to Christmas trees, talk about humbug!

frugal christmas

The Decorations:

So many thrift stores sell Christmas decorations and you can find some real treasures this way. Also if you have small children there is no greater joy then seeing their faces light up when they have made some Christmas decorations and you have proudly displayed them on the Christmas tree. Let's face it even if you don't have small children we all love to colour and what is more fun then spending time together colouring to ornaments for your Christmas tree.

Talk a walk through a forest and grab some pinecones and either dry them out and use them or spray paint them various colours to makes your decor. Add a little glitter to them to help them sparkle up any decor.

A favourite ornament among children is dough ornaments or even cinnamon dough ornaments. As a matter of fact this year we were unpacking our Christmas decorations and we found two cinnamon dough ornaments that were over 20 years old and both still smell wonderful and are in great shape.

For any candles, you use just use plain ones and add a ribbon it really adds a finishing touch. And here is my placemat idea for Christmas. A few years ago I hosted a table at the church where we decorate for the adult Christmas banquet and I didn't have anything that matched so I went out and wrapping paper was on sale at Zellers and I am always on a budget. So I purchased some wrapping paper for $2 and that did 8 placemats for my table and it matched so nicely. I will hunt up the pictures I have of it.

Card & Wrapping tips:

One of my favourite things to do is to go to the local paper and buy the end of roll newsprint. They sell them really cheap. I use it as wrapping paper with some red and green yarn instead of ribbon. If newsprint is left over I just use it for my kids to draw on afterward. Or if you want to have even more fun get out the pants and stamps and let your children decorate the paper for you.

For cards, I recommend making them yourself or using a family picture and printing it and sending it out. I find most people just end up throwing out their cards. I know for my family I don't I keep them and scrapbook them every year.


frugal christmas

Gifts:

I know for me, I have entered contests online and ended up winning some amazing gifts for my family. So bonus all the way around. Also if budget is a problem you have to be very creative in what you do and can buy.

Making your own gifts from things around the house you already have. Bath bombs, Epsom salts for the tub, hand lotion, personal care items you name it. I watch the sales like crazy to get what I do get on sale and not to mention combine coupons too! Save, save, save!

I almost forgot we limit the number of gifts we give to people. We usually don't buy for the adults because well they really don't need anything and it is not in the budget. Secondly, each one of our children only gets 4 gifts, a want, need, something to read and something to wear.

Let's Chat!

How do you have a frugal Christmas? What way do you save at Christmas time?








WHITE TURKEY CHILI in the INSTANT POT(Video Included) #WhatsCookingWednesday


I am trying to use up our Thanksgiving Day leftovers since we will be enjoying more turkey in December for Christmas. This White Chili recipe is an easy way to use up the leftovers and get a quick meal on the table using my instant pot. This recipe can also be done on the stove in less than 30 minutes.

 

2 cans White Kidney Beans (15oz)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups Turkey, cubed
1 1/3 cups Milk
1 can Green Chilies (4oz)
1 TBSP Cilantro
1 TBSP Onion, minced
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano    

Put all ingredients in Instant Pot.

Mix chili and close instant pot. Set to manual 8 minutes. 

If making the Chili on the stove put in all ingredients and stir bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.       




LET'S CHAT! 

How do you like to use up your Turkey Leftovers?




Real Food on Budget
Week of November 5, 2018.

The past three weeks I have finally felt like me again. Life is full of hills and valleys and I feel like my life has been one rollercoaster ride for the last 8 years. I am so beyond grateful for my amazing family and how much of a support they have been for me over the last few years. I am not sure how I would have made it through without them.

I have chosen to renew my blog domain which also means I am going to get back to what I am passionate about. My passions have not changed. I love sharing my simple living tips and life with all of you. We are just getting into the crazy Christmas time of year. It is even more important that I keep on track with my grocery budget so that all other things can be kept within my budget making Christmas easier to cash flow.

I did a major inventory of my freezer and I have enough meat in the freezer to make it through the whole month of November. I know I will have to pick up milk and fresh produce but I should be able to save a lot of my grocery budget this month.


$75 for a family a week

Meals this week:

Chicken and Dumplings
Pork Chops, Onions, Rice and Veggies
Mac & Cheese Pasta Bake
Chili
Garden Vegetable Soup
Shepherd's Pie
Nachos

Lunch:

Our lunches usually consist of dinner leftovers. 
- Salad
- Soup

Breakfast:

- Fresh Fruit (Oranges, Strawberries & Apples)
- Toast
- Bagels
- Oatmeal

Snack:

- Brownies
- Oatmeal Cookies 
   
Shopping:

$ 7.97   Ice Tea Mix
   9.99   8kg Bag of Rice
   2.99   Fudgicles
   0.99   Celery
______
$21.94

Leftover for next week - $53.06

Items on hand:

- Onions
- Potatoes
- Carrots
- Frozen Vegetables
- Rice
- Chicken Breast
- Ground Chicken
- Chicken Thighs
- Pork Chops
- Pasta Sauce
- Pasta (Various)
- Bread
- Wraps
- Apples
- Grapes
- Oranges
- Cheese
- Creamed Cheese
- Ricotta Cheese
- Quinoa

If you are looking for more menu inspiration be sure to check out Orgjunkie, she hosts a weekly menu plan Monday link up.   


LET'S CHAT!

What is one of the ways to try to save on your grocery budget?





FEEDING MY FAMILY ON $75/WEEK OR LESS


I think we are all aware of the rising costs of food no matter where you live. I know here in Ontario, Canada some of the prices are crazy when it comes to food costs. I am always up for a challenge when it comes to saving money without compromising what we eat. I did some hunting to find out what the average cost for food for a family of three should be and it came out to $100/person/month. For my family that works out to be $300/month which is $75/week.

My goal is to eat healthy meals every day on $75 a week for the three of us. That is two adults and our teenage daughter. Years ago I used to just head to the store and not think about the price of the items I put in my cart. But in the last 15 years, things have changed. We have been living off of a very limited income and I need to really think before I put something in my cart to purchase.


Over the years I have learned that their are less expensive alternatives to meat. Beans and lentils can be used to bulk up meals and if you have a farmers' market near your house you can often get good deals near closing time. Don't forget that when it comes to vegetables and fruit frozen are often cheaper and last longer without losing nutrition value.

Using coupons really does help me reduce my grocery cost on some items but to be honest for me price matching is where I save a ton. This last week alone I saved over $20 just by price matching items in my cart. I came home with 5 bags of groceries and only 3 items were not price matched. I try to just go to one store only so that I also save money on gas(the rising price of gas is another story) and I do all my price matching at that one store. 


Saving money does take a little work. Going through flyers to find the best price on the items you use takes time but the internet is a huge resource and their are many places on the web that do all of this for you so it doesn't take you long at all to gather the best prices you need for price matching. I spend less than an hour a week gathering the different screenshots I need on my tablet to price match with at the store. I do realize that everyone's time is worth money but when you are saving over $20 by spending about 45 minutes before heading to the store I feel it is more than worth it. 

Weekly menu planning is also key for us when it comes to saving money on groceries. When I am going through the flyers to see the sale prices I am also going through recipes in my head that I can make with the items on sale that week. My goal is to make every meal at home and not to have to ever eat from a restaurant. With menu planning it means I am making my meals from scratch and that does take time and planning and meal prep. Nothing that can not be done on a Sunday at the beginning of the week and then meal prep during the week is a lot less. 

In short here are the ways I save:

Menu Plan - I do this every week so we don't get off track on our budget and so I know what to make for the week. It really eases the stress of cooking dinner.

Baked Goods - Every week I make our baked goods including bread for the week. I usually make brownies, cookies, puddings, jello and bars for the week. 

Buy in Bulk - We purchase flour, rice, and beans in bulk which significantly cuts down with the costs. 

No Juices or Soda - We do not buy juice or soda as a general rule

No Boxed Snacks - We bake all our snacks for the week so baked snacks are not needed in our house.

Buy Produce we eat - I only buy the produce that we will eat and if something is going bad I try to use it up in baking or cooking right away or put it in the freezer to use at a later time. I try to do zero waste.  

Let's Chat!

What are some ways you save with your weekly food budget?