With summer here and rising gas prices we are all looking for ways to save! The amount that we drive in our house always goes up in the summer. We are not only driving our regular routine, but now kids to and from camp, vacations, and to fun outdoor events around town. My car used to take $50 to fill up about 4 years ago. Now, it costs me $80! Yikes! This summer, beat the pump! Here are 5 ways that you can save on gas!
There is a little bit of strategy to filling up your tank! Generally experts agree to fill up in the mornings – before 9 or 10 AM. What day depends on the state you live. Luckily, Gas Buddy has compiled a list for you for a state by state comparison. The list is compiled by a year’s worth of gas price entries! You can check out the list here. Weekends aren’t always necessarily the most expensive time to fill up!
Because in the morning owners are deciding what the weekend gas prices will be! Get into the station to fuel up before they have a chance to raise the prices for the day!
Clean Out Your Car
Oh the things I have hauled around in my car. Did you know that for every 250 pounds of stuff in your car you lose a mile per gallon that your car can get! Clean out the stuff and keep what you need. Your car (and wallet) will thank you!
Keep Your Tires Filled
Keeping your tires properly filled isn’t just good for safety reasons, but you can actually improve your gas mileage by 3%! It’s also a good idea to keep your air filters changed regularly. You can save up to $72 for every 10,000 miles just from that one simple maintenance!
Use Gas Buddy
I’m a HUGE fan of Gas Buddy! Gas Buddy is a free app to download to your smart phone. It lets you see the gas prices of the stations around you (or on your route!) Often times the most convient gas station has the highest prices. But we’ve all been there! We’ve driven past a gas station thinking the price would be lower ahead, just to find out we should have stopped 10 miles ago! Gas Buddy eliminates the guess work!
Check into the gas station that you use the most about their gas card. Many gas stations offer great rewards with their credit cards.
Also, if you shop at Kroger check out their 1-2-3 Rewards Visa! This card lets you earn points on purchases anywhere, but extra points when you use it in Kroger stores and on Kroger products. Then each quarter you will get rewards certificates! You will earn an additional 25¢ off per gallon when you use your card and redeem your first Kroger Fuel Points!
You can also get a prepaid card if you don’t want a credit card. With the prepaid card you can still earn rewards (and free groceries!) and you will earn an additional 5¢ off per gallon of gas. This can be combined with your Kroger Fuel Points.
What are Kroger Fuel Points? For every $100 you spend you earn 10¢ off per gallon. You can let your points add up to get up to $1 off per gallon of gas!
What are your tips for saving money on gas? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Hey everyone! We back with another great Thrifty Tuesday tip! This time we are talking about recycling and reusing something you may (if you have a baby or toddler) laying around your home. And that my dear friends is the baby wipes container. These handy-dandy boxes have a ton of great uses to repurpose them instead of tossing them in the trash.
Here are some ideas to reuse those baby wipe containers and turn them into something nifty!
1. Toy Storage – Use baby wipe container to store Legos, crayons, Hot Wheels, Polly Pockets and other small toys. Peel off the label and use a Sharpie marker to make a label. The containers are now portable and can easily be transported in the car or while traveling too.
2. Hair Accessories – Stash your little girls hair ties, bows and barettes in an empty box and store in the bathroom. I like to also keep a mini purse-sized brush in there.
3. Fabric Softener Sheets – Did you know that the size of most baby wipe containers are just right for storing your fabric softener sheets. The flimsy cardboard boxes fabric softener sheets come in are not exactly sturdy, nor are they air tight. Your fabric softener sheets will smell better longer if you store them in a air tight container.
4. Organize your plastic cutlery – if you have a lot of BBQ’s and picnics you may have some plastic cutlery that you need to store. Again, the plastic boxes these come in are often flimsy. Put your plastic spoons, knives and forks each in their own baby wipe container and label. Now your cutlery is nicely organized, the containers stack well in the pantry and they are easily portable when you are going on a picnic at the lake or camping.
5. Recipe Card Storage – If you use index cards or recipes to write down your tried & true recipes a baby wipe box makes a nifty box for storing your cards in. Pretty up the box with some contact paper so it can sit on your kitchen counter.
6. First Aid Kit – Make a portable first aid kit from an empty wipes container. Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, gauze pads, first aid creme and maybe some Tylenol and you have a mini first aid kit. Stash one in the car for emergencies. I have one I keep under the seat. Never know when you will need a Band-Aid!
7. Sewing Kit – Have everything you need for quick mending or sewing on a stray button by creating a little sewing kit. Stash some thread in basic colors such as black, white, navy, brown, ivory, red, green, and tan. Needles, pins, and a cloth measuring tape and you should be good to go.
8. Grocery Bags – They work perfectly for storing your empty plastic grocery bags. You can pull out a new bag easily. And if your drawers are deep enough you can easily stash the container in a kitchen or bathroom drawer.
9. Yarn – If you knit or crochet slip your ball of yarn or crochet thread into the container, thread the loose end up through the hole where you would have pulled the wipes out and you are in business. This keeps your yarn clean, knot free and your cats from swatting your ball of yarn across the room.
10. Valentine’s Day Box – If your kiddo needs a box to take to school for their Valentine’s Day party. Repurpose a wipes box by cutting a slit in the top with an Exacto knife and decorating the box with some stickers and markers. Easy!
11. Snack Boxes – Pack a baby wipe box for each kid for long road trips. Some great snack ideas – grapes, raisins, Goldfish crackers, Granola bars, fruit snacks, juice boxes. It just makes travel easier!
11. Craft Supply Storage – Yep, those empty baby wipe boxes are handy for storing your craft supplies. Thread, paint, markers, ribbon, if it fits inside a box you have handy dandy storage!
12. Indoor Planters – Simply remove the lid and drill a couple of drainage holes in the bottom and now you have a nice rectangular container perfect for growing some indoor plants. They sit nicely on most windowsills and are perfect for herb plants in the kitchen!
13. Game Storage – You know your game closet is a hot mess right now. Corral up any small games and game cards (Uno, Skip Box, Phase 10, etc) and store the cards in empty wipe boxes. If you still have the original boxes the cards came in you can just cut out the front panel and tape it to the side of the box for a label.
14. Screws & Nails – If your garage is looking like a hot mess with screws, nails, bolts and other “hardware” tossed here and there. Get organized by sorting those do-dads into containers and giving them a label.
15. Sidewalk Chalk – Store it in a baby wipe container. That way if the kids leave it the container outside the chalk won’t get soggy if it rains or the sprinklers come on.
16. Hide The Girly Stuff In The Bathroom – Decorate your empty wipes box with some pretty contact paper and stash your pads, pantiliners and tampons in there (maybe a bar of chocolate too!). It just makes something that is a bit embarrassing for some women a little more discreet.
17. Traveling Art Supplies – Take a travel sized baby wipes container and toss in some crayons, colored pencils or markers and a small pad of paper. Then when the kids are whining from the backseat “are we there yet?” you can patiently tell them “no” and whip out these traveling art supplies and they can color. Also nice to keep in your purse or diaper bag to keep them busy at restaurants.
18. Homemade Baby Wipes – If you want to go with making your own and saving even MORE money. Make your own baby wipes and store them in an empty wipes container. We have a recipe for that here – Make Your Own Homemade Baby Wipes.
19. Keep Baby Entertained – Babies don’t need fancy toys with all the bells and whistles. Instead keep them entertained with an empty wipes box. Fill it with small toys, blocks, fabric squared (even wash cloths work in a pinch) and let them entertain themselves by putting things in, or taking things out. That should keep them busy long enough for you to pee in peace.
20. Coupon Organization – Of course, being a coupon site it would not go without me saying that an empty baby wipes container makes a great organization box for coupons. Many folks here at HCW use them for organizing their “carry to store” coupons. That is the coupons they are planning on using at the grocery store this week. While they store their other coupons in a coupon binder or box. Click here if you want to learn more about organizing your coupons.
Share YOUR tips and ideas for reusing those empty butt wipe (that is what we call them) boxes and containers!
[note note_color="#cdd2fe"]Welcome to our first Thrifty Tuesdaywhere every Tuesday we will be sharing our best thrifty tips and ideas to help you save money![/note]
In our household of 6 people bread is a hot commodity. If sandwiches, toast or French toast are on the menu we can go through an entire loaf of bread in one meal!
But there are ways to save on bread that are easy to implement in any household and can add up to a lot of dough saved on just this one grocery staple.
Here are my 6 tips on ways to save on bread…
1. Watch for sales & use coupons – obviously as a couponer I save money on bread by following the First Key To Couponing. Watch for sales and use a coupon. While coupons for bread are not as common as coupons for other food items they are out there. Brands that regularly have coupons are:
Almost all of those brands listed have coupons in the Sunday coupon inserts as well as printable coupons from time to time. Combine those coupons with a sale on bread (which is often on sale as a loss leader) and you can score a loaf of bread on the cheap. Our family mostly eats 100% whole wheat bread so my price is under $1 for a loaf. I will purchase white bread if I can get it under 50¢ a loaf and I use that bread for French toast.
Gluten-Free??? - there are even coupons for Gluten-Free breads and baked goods too. Brands such as Udi’s, GlutenFree Bakehouse, Canyon Bakehouse, Schar and others have coupons for their Gluten-Free breads too!
2. Buy store brand – Many store brands have perfectly acceptable bread. In fact I think the 100% whole wheat bread sold at my local Smith’s store is better than most name brand breads. So when the store brand bread goes on sale I stock up! Continue reading →
[pullquote align="right"]Avocado Nutrition: 1 serving of avocado (1 oz.) contains 50 calories, 4.5g of fat (but it is the good kind of mono & polyunsaturated fat), and is a great source of Folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, & Phosphorous.[/pullquote]Most avocado varieties are at the peak of their season from August through December. However, the most common avocado grown in the US is the Hass avocado. A delicious avocado variety with dark leathery skin and a smooth creamy lime green interior which is grown all year round. The state of California supplies the US with over 90% off the avocado market and due to the warm year round climate we can enjoy avocados just about any time of the year!
Growing up in Southern California it was just a given that you grew and avocado tree in your back yard and it was a real treat to be able to eat a avocado right from the tree with a little salt and a squirt of lime juice. Or with a dollop of Catalina salad dressing in the scooped out middle where the seed once was and you ate it with a spoon. So good! Avocado was also one of the first foods we introduced to our children as it make for a highly nutritious and easy to prepare baby food.
If you are not lucky enough to live in a temperate climate where you can grow your own avocados you can easily enough purchase them in the grocery store. When purchasing an avocado the tip for picking a ripe fruit is to look at the stem end (the pointy end of the pear shaped fruit) and if the little stem button can easily be pulled off your avocado is ripe. Slightly squeezing the avocado should yield a little bit, but if the avocado squishes too much the fruit is too ripe and may actually be slimy inside. Pass up on any fruit that is too squishy. If the avocados in the store are too ripe you can easily ripen them further by sitting them inside a brown paper bag on the counter for a couple of days and they should ripen up just fine.
Avocados in the grocery store however tend to be a bit expensive unless you know when to buy them. Normally, they will go on sale around specific holidays & events such as Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. These are all events where the average American household scoops up avocados to make into guacamole for parties and get-togethers. And this is when the price on avocados goes down a little bit, the perfect time for stocking up on these yummy fruits.
As anyone who has ever cut into an avocado and left it sitting out knows, the flesh quickly turn from luscious green to an ugly brown color pretty quickly. This a normal reaction to the flesh when it comes into contact with oxygen. To deter this displeasing discoloration you need to add an acid such as lime or lemon juice or cover the surface with plastic wrap to keep oxygen out. Even with these steps taken your avocado or guacamole will eventually turn brown. So the best way to store avocados or your freshly prepared guacamole is to freeze it.
How to Freeze Whole Avocados
With the skin intact run a sharp knife around the pit of the avocado and cut in half.
Pop out the large avocado seed and discard it.
Place avocado halves in freezer safe bags and remove as much air as possible. I like to remove a lot of air by using my FoodSaver to create a vacuum seal.
Pop sealed bag into the freezer and freeze for up to 6 months.
Once thawed use avocado as you would fresh. But eat quickly before they turn brown.
How to Freeze Guacamole
Prepare your guacamole according to your favorite recipe
Place prepared guacamole into a freezer safe bag and remove as much air as possible. Again, I prefer to use my FoodSaver system)
Pop bags of guacamole into the freezer for up to 6 months.
When it comes time to serve your guacamole at your next party, just thaw, stir and serve.
[label type="info"]Tip[/label] - Score on a great deal on pre-made guacamole at the grocery store? You can freeze it too. It is already in a air tight package so all you need to do is toss the package straight into the freezer!
Part of being frugal is reusing things you already have into something useful, or just fun! Not only does this save you money but you are also being green by reusing something that otherwise would have gone in the trash!
9 Clever Things To Do With Toilet Paper Tubes!
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Toilet Paper Tube Wall Art
Did you know that by cutting each tube into thin slivers and gluing the strips together you can create some really cool designs and turn them into your own wall art! I love how Angela over at 365 Days to Simplicity put her geometric design into a round shadow box and framed it to hang on the wall. The addition of little faux pearls just makes it extra special I think.
If you are a crafter, scrapbooker or just have a lot of markers (or pens, pencils, even crayons) corral them all up in a nice and tidy Toilet Paper Tube marker caddy. So easy to put together using an empty shoe box and toilet paper tubes! I love how Aunt Peaches did her’s up. The polka dots on the box are cute. I think her shoe box came like that but you could use some wrapping paper, shelf liner paper or leftover wallpaper and cover your box to make your box match your decor!
This I save my toilet paper tubes just for this purpose every year. It is super simple to create little seed starting pots out of toilet paper tubes. Fill with potting soil, plant your seeds and watch them grow into seedlings. When it is time to plant, just pop the entire thing into the ground and the paper tube decomposes away naturally. No little plastic pots to do something with, and you are returning these paper tubes to the earth. I am quite envious however of Little Bambino and her Beefsteak tomato seedlings. I just have almost zero luck growing tomatoes from seed here where I live. Oh I can get them to sprout but our season is so short that I never get any tomatoes!
When I saw these little birthday crowns made out of, you guessed it, toilet paper tubes I admit I squealed just a little! I gotta give it up to Creative Jewish Mom for coming up with this idea because when I showed my 8 year old daughter these she BEGGED me to make her one…so guess what we are doing tomorrow? These would be so cute at a princess (or prince) themed birthday party and are super frugal to make!
Going right along with the party idea in number 4 how about making some cute little party favor boxes out of your toilet paper tubes! You could decorate these in just about any way possible with a little scrapbook paper and Mod Podge and some imagination! Crissy’s Crafts has several different ideas and step-by-step directions on how to make these. What you put inside is totally up to you but the possibilities are endless – candy, gum, little toys, crayons, little bottles of nail polish, etc!
The end of an empty toilet paper tube is a circle and you can use it sort of like a stamp and stamp circles on just about anything. Give your toddler a toilet paper tube roll and some kid friendly (WASHABLE) paint and let them go to town on a piece of paper. Or, if you like something a bit more adult how about these chic picture canvases from Creative Carmella? I think they look great and you can paint them in any color you want. These look like picture frames but they aren’t, but you could buy some wooden frames and paint them just the same!
This little craft project is for the birds… literally. Have the kids help you feed our feathered friends by covering empty toilet paper tubes with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed. Cocktail Mom has full instructions on how to make this (plus some cute pictures of her kiddos)
This fabulous wreath is made out of toilet paper tubes, can you believe it? Oh my gosh how adorable. I have a thing for stuff that is slightly shabby chic and this would just be adorable I think. Who would have thought that you could turn a humble toilet paper tube into a rose? Well Melissa over at Proverbs 31 Life did and it looks great. She spray painted her wreath white but honestly, I sort of love the look of the unpainted one above!
I love this idea from Nadine’s Nook! Making your own fire starters is the ultimate when it comes to recycling your trash into something useful! Stuff your empty toilet paper tubes with dryer lint and wrap with newspaper and you have a very handy and easy way to start a fire be in a fire in the fireplace or stash some away in your camping gear!