Saving Money – my way!

I love bargains! Free is the best but cheap is great! Consequently I go “shopping”every Saturday morning from April – October to the many yard sales in my area. In the winter I hit the thrift stores when I need something. I also enjoy using Freecycle, the local on-line groups in which members post items that they don’t want anymore. Some of my favorite finds through these means have been the sofa and loveseat that matched my basement rug (free), the kennel for the new puppy ($10), the trampoline ($20), the 7 seasons of Next Generation DVD’s ($15) and lots and lots of clothes!  And then, when we are done with some items, I’ve even been able to sell them on Craigslist so ultimately, we used them for no cost.

I’ve also discovered that I can win free books just for reading and posting reviews on line. Tyndale Publishing has a summer reading program – read and post reviews of 5 books and you get to pick a free book from their list. Bookfun.org gives books away once a month for you to read and then post a review. Since I am a quick reader, I can read lots of books. (I’ll start posting my reviews here!)

Another place for freebies is from companies themselves. Ben and Jerry’s has a free cone day every April. Baskin Robbins just had their reduced price cones (and if you sign up for the Birthday club they will give you a free cone on your Birthday!). 7-Eleven gives a free Slurpee on July 11 (7/11 in case you were wondering why that day!). For veteran’s, Veteran’s Day has become quite the freebie day. Numerous businesses and restaurants give away free meals or extra discounts. In fact, Home Depot gives a 10% discount all the time with a valid military ID card. Teachers and homeschoolers get other discounts – 15% off at AC Moore, Michaels, Joann Fabrics and Barnes & Noble just to name a few that I use.

Did you know that you can buy gift cards at discounted prices? Or you can sell one that you know you’ll never use but some well-meaning person gave you? Sometimes I’ve found the discounts to be up to 25%. So I buy the card at some place I go to all the time and then get an extra discount when I go there and use it. CardCash has a lot of different gift cards!

Stretching my dollars and squeezing my pennies mean that when I want to go on a cruise, we have the money – especially when we follow the cruise tips!!

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Summer Stir-fry pasta

Summer Stir-fry Pasta (or what Rachel ate for dinner)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Pasta (I used shells, but whatever floats your boat/what’s in your pantry)
  • 1/2 Sausage (I used Johnsonville smoked sausage, but you could easily put in kielbasa, or if you’re really poor hot dogs)
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1/2 Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Onion
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 t. Garlic Powder
  • 1 t. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 t. Italian Seasonings
  • 1/8 c. Cheese

Directions:

1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.

2. While waiting for it to boil, chop and add to a skillet with olive oil: Peppers, Onions, Sausage, and Zucchini

3. turn heat to medium(ish) and stir occasionally

4. When the pot of water boils, add pasta and cook according to directions on box/ or just let it boil for 8-10 minutes

4. Add the seasonings (Italian, red pepper, and garlic) to skillet with veggies and sausage.

5. When pasta is finished, drain and return to pot

6. Turn off heat for the skillet (this can be done before or after, depending on how cooked you want your zucchini to be)

7. Put pasta on plate, followed by the sausage and veggie mix

8. Add cheese to your heart’s content!

9. BAM! you just made a healthy and delicious meal in about 10 minutes, WHAT NOW?

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****Some notes about the ingredients:

  1. You could easily add squash or tomatoes (or both) to the mixture if you’re a fan
  2. If you’re lazy like me you should grab a bag of frozen “stir fry mix” peppers and onions – it is absolutely wonderful!
  3. If you’re really just feeling like having sauce with your pasta, I’m sure it would taste great with either marinara or alfredo sauce (or the two of those mixed together), or try throwing some tomatoes in with the zucchini
  4. Play around with the spices until you love it
  5. I used both Parmesan and cheddar cheeses because I’m poor and don’t have a need for more variety, but I’m sure mozzarella would taste great!
  6. Yes, I used white pasta, but I mean come on, vegetables!