Frugal Living

10 Ways To Save Money On Meat {via}

10 Ways To Save Money On Meat

Meat is one of the most expensive purchases in most household budgets, especially in America where the average person eats 192 pounds of meat a year.

1Learn what the cost of meat is. If you just buy meat based on need rather than price then you may not even be paying attention to what the going price of meat is. I used to do this myself before I started couponing. If I needed hamburger I bought hamburger and did not really pay attention to the cost. Prices vary greatly depending on the area you live in, weather conditions also affect the current price of meat. Keep a price book and learn what the prices of meat are in your area. That way you know if you are saving money or not.

2Watch the sale prices. Once you get a feel for meat prices in your local area watch for sales and the loss leaders (heavily discounted prices to entice you in the door). When the price is right stock up and freeze meat. For example when hamburger is $1.50 a pound or under I buy 25-50 lbs at a time and freeze it in meal sized portions. The grocery store is not the only place to purchase meat in bulk at a good price either. There are really great bulk buying programs that you can participate in as well. My favorite by far is Zaycon Foods. This easy to use program is available throughout most of the US and allows you to purchase meat in bulk at an excellent price point.

3Eat cheaper cuts of meat. If your budget is tight you may need to forego of the more expensive cuts of meat. Steaks are usually 3 to 4 times the cost of less expensive cuts of meat like ground beef and roasts. Chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts. Roasts are cheaper than steaks.

4Grind your own ground meat. Watch for low prices on roasts, London broil and other lean large pieces of meat and either ask your butcher to grind it into hamburger (they will at no extra cost) or invest in a meat grinder or Kitchen-Aid attachment and grind your own. The benefit of grinding your own meat outside of the cost savings is there is less risk of contamination than in mass ground beef and you can control the fat content to your own liking. This also applies to ground pork (add spices to make sausage even) and ground turkey or chicken.

5Watch for meat markdowns. Most grocery stores have a small section in the meat department for meat markdowns. This is meat that’s nearing it’s “use by” date but is still perfectly fine and safe to eat. Make sure that the price of this marked down meat is a good price however, as sometimes you can do better with a sale. If you are not going to eat the meat within the next day or two, package it up and put it in the freezer for long term storage.

6Get to know your butcher. Making friends with you butcher can really net you some good insider tips and deals on meat. Do not be afraid to ask the butcher what’s a good deal this week. Also in some areas and at some stores the butcher has the option to negotiate prices. In some areas the butcher has to mark down any ground beef at the end of the day and if it is not sold they toss it out. I have had great success in getting a discount on this meat by going in near closing time for the butcher counter and offering to buy whatever is left of the days ground beef if he can give me a good price. This can net me 20-40 pounds of ground beef at $0.99 a lb. sometimes. It’s a win-win situation. I get great deal and the butcher does not have to throw away food.

7Buy a whole or half animal. If you live in an agricultural based area or have one nearby look into buying and freezing a whole or half of an animal. Look in your local classifieds, inquire into your local FFA or 4-H clubs or make a post on Craigslist to see who is selling. Last year we purchased a whole lamb for $3 a pound butchered from a local 4-H youth. Lamb at our grocery stores easily runs $5-$6 a pound on sale and we like lamb steaks more than beef steak. Plus we are supporting a local child. A side of beef goes for $4 a pound here and we go in with my in-laws.

8Buy in season. While you may know that produce is seasonal so is meat. In the warmer weather  look for deals on meats for grilling such as hamburger, ribs, chops and steaks. While in the cooler weather seasons there will be better deals on roasts and larger cuts of meat that are perfect for long cooking time in the oven. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas look for deals on whole turkeys (this is one meat that is cheaper per pound than just about any other meat. At the holidays you can often find turkey for 80¢ a lb. or cheaper which is cheaper than you can find for just about any other meat pound for pound. Also ham is a great price during the winter holidays and again near Easter. Lamb is cheaper in the spring, and beef when bought locally is usually butchered in the late summer or early fall. Chicken prices go up and down throughout the year just keep your eyes open for sales and stock up!

9Use coupons and rebates. Many people think that there are not coupons for meat. However that just is not true. While meat coupons are rare they do exist you just need to learn where to look for them. You can search the Coupon Database for the current meat coupons – just type “meat” in the searchbar!  Winetags are coupons found usually hanging around the neck of the bottle of wine (although they can also be found as tearpad coupons, peelie coupons or other types of coupons). These coupons, the good ones anyways, can be for $1.00 or $2.00 (or more) off any meat and in some states do not require you to purchase the wine to use the coupon. If you are lucky enough to find the “holy grail” of coupons, meat winetags this can be a great way to save on meat. However, not everyone has these great coupons at their disposal. But, not to worry there are other coupons out there too for meat. Many brands issue coupons for you to save on meat/beef/poultry/seafood when you buy their brand. For example you may find a coupon for “Save $1.00 on meat when you buy Mrs. Dash seasonings”. If you wait until that brand is on sale and use a coupon on the brand name item you can then get some savings on your meat. Many couponers ask the butcher to package up their meat into packages priced at a dollar or slightly above and buy multiple items. Another way to save money on meat with coupons is to use Catalina coupons that are good off your next order. Don’t forget mail in rebates, there are a lot of them offered by the wine and beer companies and like winetags, depending on what state you live in, you do not have to purchase the beer or wine to participate in the rebate.

10Hunt or Fish for your own meat. This can be a real viable and money saving option for some people. The cost of a state resident hunting or fishing license varies from state to state but usually is very reasonable.  I live in Wyoming where hunting is a big thing (the Antelope outnumber the people in Wyoming) and a hunting license costs around $34 for a resident license. One deer or antelope can fill the freezer and last all year! The principal applies to fishing. While this is not an option for everyone it is something to consider. And even if you are not a hunter you may know someone who is or can find someone local who is selling meat from hunting at a reasonable price.

How do you save money on meat? Leave a comment below and share your tips!

200 Frugal Easter Basket Ideas - Discover over 200 different items you can purchase or make to fill those Easter baskets without breaking the bank! Something for kids of all ages from babies to teens! | via

200 Frugal Easter Basket Ideas - Discover over 200 different items you can purchase or make to fill those Easter baskets without breaking the bank! Something for kids of all ages from babies to teens! | via

Easter is such a fun holiday, and every kid loves waking up to find a Easter basket filled with little treats and goodies. Filling Easter baskets does not have to be expensive, look for candy deals with coupons and sales (drug stores like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid usually have the best deals) and you can get many little inexpensive toys and games at the dollar stores. Set a budget for each child so that you don’t break the bank and focus on personalizing each child’s Easter basket and gearing it towards your child’s interests and likes.

In our family we don’t hunt Easter eggs, but each child gets a basket (or sand bucket, flower pot, beach bag or other fun container) with candy and other goodies. For our family we try to always include something that helps remind our children of the religious meaning of the holiday by including Christian books, music, t-shirts, etc.

This post was originally created in 2012 but has been dusted off and updated with a few more great Easter basket ideas from our readers as well as a few more that have come to me as my own children have grown and their interests have changed. 

Here is a list of 200+ Frugal Easter basket ideas:

For children of all ages, from babies, toddlers, small children to teens.

  1. Action figures
  2. Address book
  3. Admission passes to the zoo, water park, children’s museum, etc.
  4. Annie’s bunny crackers (so cute!)
  5. Apron
  6. Army men
  7. Baby Bib
  8. Baby blanket (use instead of Easter grass in the bottom of the basket!)
  9. Baby Bottle
  10. Baby leggings
  11. Backpack charm
  12. Barbie doll
  13. Barrel of Monkeys
  14. Baseball or Softball (this is going in our Easter baskets this year for our twins who start softball next month)
  15. Baseball cards
  16. Bath beads
  17. Bath fizzes
  18. Bath puff
  19. Bath salts
  20. Bath soap
  21. Bath toys
  22. Bathing suit   
  23. Beach towel (use in large basket instead of Easter grass)
  24. Beach toys
  25. Beads and string for making own jewelry
  26. Beef Jerky
  27. Bento box (like this sweet little piggy or froggy)
  28. Bible
  29. Blocks
  30. Boo-boo bunnie
  31. Bookmark
  32. Books (my favorites: Pat the Bunny, Happy Easter Mouse!, Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales, The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story and The Easter Story for Children by Max Lucado)
  33. Bouncy balls
  34. Bracelets
  35. Bubble bath
  36. Bubbles
  37. Bug catching kit
  38. Bunny ears
  39. Bunny trinket box
  40. Candy (you can’t go wrong with jelly beans, Peeps and Whopper eggs if you ask me!)
  41. Card games (like Go Fish or Old Maid)
  42. Character Band-Aids
  43. Charger cable identification beads
  44. Chocolate Easter bunny
  45. Chopsticks
  46. Coin purse
  47. Coins (hidden inside plastic Easter eggs)
  48. Cologne
  49. Colored pencils
  50. Colorful dinner plate
  51. Colorful erasers
  52. Colorful socks
  53. Coloring Books
  54. Comb
  55. Comic book
  56. Compressed towels
  57. Cookie cutters (for play dough)
  58. Crayons
  59. Crazy straws
  60. Christian T-shirt
  61. Crocs
  62. Crossword Puzzles
  63. Cute shoelaces
  64. Daily devotionals
  65. Diary
  66. Disposable camera
  67. Dominoes 
  68. Dried fruit
  69. Duplo blocks
  70. DVDs
  71. Earbuds
  72. Earrings
  73. Easter pencils
  74. Easter pens
  75. Easter Weebles (Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down!)
  76. Easy Bake oven mixes
  77. Electronic travel games
  78. Fairy wings
  79. Finger lights
  80. Finger paints
  81. Finger puppets
  82. Flash cards
  83. Flashlight
  84. Flip-flops
  85. Flower seeds
  86. Foam shapes or stickers
  87. Fridge magnet toys
  88. Frisbee
  89. Fruit snacks
  90. Fun socks
  91. Game cartridge or disk for gaming system
  92. Gardening tools
  93. Gift cards
  94. Goldfish crackers
  95. Granola bars
  96. Gum
  97. Hair accessories
  98. Handheld game
  99. Harmonica
  100. Hat
  101. Headphones
  102. Homemade cookies
  103. Homemade coupons (with coupons for things like “choose what’s for dinner, one free ice cream cone, etc.)
  104. iPod case
  105. Jacks
  106. Jewelry
  107. Journal
  108. Jump rope
  109. Kaleidoscope
  110. Kazoo
  111. Key-chain
  112. Kids gardening gloves
  113. Kids watch
  114. Kite
  115. Legos
  116. Lip balm
  117. Lip gloss
  118. Little piggy bank
  119. Lotion
  120. Mad libs
  121. Magazine
  122. Maracas
  123. Marbles
  124. Markers
  125. Microwave popcorn
  126. Mini Etch-A-Sketch
  127. Mini hairbrush
  128. Mini journal
  129. Mini tea set
  130. Mints
  131. Modeling clay
  132. Mouse pad
  133. Music CD’s (such as Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics for babies)
  134. My Little Pony
  135. Nail grooming kit
  136. Nail polish
  137. Nail stickers
  138. Neck tie
  139. Necklace
  140. Nightlight
  141. Noise putty
  142. Notebook
  143. Onesie
  144. Pacifier clip
  145. Pacifiers
  146. Patterned duct tape (my 13 year old would love this!)
  147. Pencil pouch
  148. Perfume
  149. Personalized bike license plate
  150. Personalized stationary
  151. PEZ dispensers
  152. Pinwheel
  153. Play dough
  154. Play food
  155. Play money
  156. Playing cards
  157. Pocket pack tissues
  158. Post it notes
  159. Poster paint
  160. Prayer book
  161. Puzzles
  162. Rattles
  163. Reading light
  164. Rice Krispie treats or Popcorn balls 
  165. Rings
  166. Rubber ducky
  167. Rubber stamps & ink
  168. Rubix cube
  169. Sandals
  170. Sandbox toys
  171. Sidewalk chalk
  172. Sidewalk paint
  173. Silly Bandz
  174. Silly String
  175. Silly putty
  176. Sippy cup
  177. Slinky
  178. Small collapsible umbrella
  179. Small game
  180. Small picture frame
  181. Small purse
  182. Small stuffed animal (like this Lovey Lamb)
  183. Soduko Puzzles
  184. Soft baby spoons
  185. Spring Pajamas
  186. Spring scarf
  187. Squirt guns
  188. Stickers
  189. Stuffed animal
  190. Sudoku puzzles
  191. Sunglasses
  192. Sunscreen
  193. Suspenders
  194. Swim goggles
  195. Swiss army knife
  196. Teething ring
  197. Temporary tattoos
  198. Thomas the Train engines
  199. Tiara
  200. Tickets to a movie or other event
  201. Toothbrush
  202. Toy cars
  203. Toy watering can
  204. Travel sized toiletries 
  205. Troll doll
  206. Vegetable seeds
  207. Wall decals
  208. Wallet
  209. Washi tape
  210. Water balloons
  211. Water bottle
  212. Watercolors
  213. Wii controllers
  214. Wind-up toys
  215. Word searches
  216. X-Box Live membership card
  217. Yo-yo
  218. Zipper charms


What do you put in your child’s Easter basket?

15 DIY Sharpie Mug Projects Square

15 DIY Sharpie Mug Projects - Make these mugs as gifts or maybe just for yourself. Here are 15 of the cutest DIY Sharpie mug ideas you can find!

15 DIY Sharpie Mug Projects

There are a lot of great craft projects out there there in “Creative Land” but none of them are quite as frugal as the DIY Sharpie Mug. All you need for these projects is some plain mugs which are easily found at just about any dollar store for…well a dollar plus some Sharpie Markers. The key (according to all these great tutorials) is to use Oil Based Sharpie Paint Pen Markers which can be found at stores like JoAnn’s, Michaels,  or Amazon instead of the regular water based ones.

The oil based paint pens are what make these mugs washable (yes…even dishwasher safe!) and last a long time.

The process is quite simple really but here are a few tips to making your Sharpie Mugs:

  • Prep your mug by washing in warm soapy water and letting them dry.
  • Remove any residual oil from your hands and fingerprints with some rubbing alcohol.
  • Use a stencil, sticker or freehand it. Be creative and have fun!
  • Bake your mugs in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Once the 30 minute baking time is up turn the oven off and let those mugs cool inside the oven…this allows them to cool slowly which cures the paint AND prevents your mugs from shattering from the change in temperature going from a hot oven to the cool air in your home.

These mugs make great gifts for your friends, relatives, co-workers, teachers, neighbors too. Really, anyone who appreciates a little handmade artwork!

I hope you enjoy this collection and be sure to leave a comment and let me know which one is your favorite!


Dot Monogram Sharpie Mug

Dot Monogram Sharpie Mug

With a few different colored Sharpie markers and some scrapbook stickers you can make this great mug that is personalized with any letter in the alphabet!

 – Checkout Glued To My Crafts for the how-to!


State Sharpie Mug

State Sharpie Mug

These state mugs are just too cute for words! Originally created for BFF’s who live in other states they are a daily reminder that no matter how far apart you are from loved ones you are thinking of them and wish you were closer!

– Checkout The Cozy Old Farmhouse for the how-to!


Gold Sharpie Mugs

Gold Sharpie Mugs

If you love a bit of sparkle then these classy mugs are for you. Just use a gold Sharpie marker and you will be putting on the glitz while drinking your morning cup of Joe!

 – Checkout Jyll Along The Way for the how-to!


His and Hers Coffee and Tea Mugs

His And Hers Coffee And Tea Mugs

How sweet are these mugs? One for him (who likes coffee strong) and one for her (that loves her green tea). They would make great gifts for any couple!

 – Checkout A Beautiful Mess for the how-to!


Everyday I’m Hustlin’ Mug

Everyday I'm Hustlin' Mug

If you or someone you love is always hustlin’ in the mornings here is the perfect mug for them…simple but gets the message across!

 – Checkout White House Black Shutters for the how-to!


All Mama Wants Is A Silent Night Mug

All Mama Wants Is A Silent Night Mug

I got to admit, this one is my favorite. I can so relate to the message on this mug as a mother of 5 children. Plus…GLITTER!

 – Checkout Nest Of Posies for the how-to!


Sharpie Snowman Mugs

Sharpie Snowman Mugs

Every winter after our first big snow storm I toss a batch of hot chocolate in the slow cooker and the kids all get bundled up in their snow gear and we have a snow man making party. I am thinking I will make a set of these adorable snowman mugs, one for each kid, ahead of time and bring them out for our snowman party. Plus you know…kids love anything with their names on them!

 – Checkout Sew Sweet Vintage for the how-to!


Chevron Pattern Mug

Chevron Pattern Mugs

I love the look of these black coffee mugs with the silver and gold chevron pattern. They have great contrast and pop and are just something a little bit different than the white mug. I guess you could use any colored mug here to match the colors in your kitchen.

 – Checkout Designer Trapped In A Lawyer’s Body for the how-to!


Monster Mugs

Monster Mugs

The tutorial on these adorable mugs uses porcelain markers instead of Sharpies, but I am pretty sure you could accomplish the same results with Sharpies. I love that there is also a design provided to use as a transfer if you are not good at freehand art!

 – Checkout Tuts + for the how-to!


Shhh…There’s Wine In Here Mug

Shhh...There's Wine In Here

I won’t tell if you won’t tell…go ahead and drink your wine from this funny mug!

 – Checkout A World Of Boundless Curiosity for the how-to!


Like A Boss Mustache Mug

Like A Boss Mustache Mug

Does your husband drink coffee Like A BOSS? How about this fun mustache mug?

 – Checkout The Days Of Dawn for the how-to!


Star Wars Sharpie Mug

Star Wars Mug

May the force be with you with this mug that any Star Wars geek with LOVE!

 – Checkout Reddit for the how-to!


Christmas Mugs

Christmas Mugs

These super cute holiday mugs are easy to make with the use of stickers as a stencil. Using gold markers give them that Christmas sparkle! You could even fill each mug with some homemade hot cocoa mix, a chocolate dipped spoon and some hot chocolate toppings as a sweet little gift!

 – Checkout Just A Girl Blog for the how-to!


Bee Happy Mug

Bee Happy Mug

Since I kind of have a thing for all things BEE this sweet little mug really caught my eye. What a kind and gentle reminder in the morning when you are sipping that first cup of coffee or tea to have a happy day!

 – Checkout Mommiedom for the how-to!


Gold Scalloped Sharpie Mug

Gold Scalloped Mug

Can you tell I have a thing for the mugs that sparkle? I just love this scalloped design on this mug done up in gold marker. Plus filled with some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and wrapped in celophane it just makes a sweet gift to give to teachers, neighbors, friends, etc.

 – Checkout Classy Clutter for the how-to!

Which one of these DIY mugs is your favorite? Have you ever made a Sharpie mug?

6 Tips For Growing Basil Like A Boss

6 Tips For Growing Basil Like A Boss

Out of all the herbs that I grow each year in my herb garden, basil has to be one of my favorites. There really is nothing like a few fresh basil leaves tucked inside a BTL sandwich on a summer day or a quick tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes picked from the garden or bought at a road side farmers stand simmered with some fresh cut basil.

And then there is of course pesto sauce. I ADORE pesto sauce and I make batches upon batches of it each summer and freeze it. Because it ends up costing me about $1.00 to make up a batch of homemade pesto versus the $4.00 + I would pay for it in the stores.

And, let’s be frank (OK I will be Heidi and you can be Frank 😀), homemade pesto just tastes infinitely better than the store bought pesto.

Get My Homemade Pesto Recipe Here!
Do you want to learn how to make pesto at home? Check out my recipe for Frugal Homemade Pesto…it has a secret ingredient in it that adds extra nutrition and saves you money!

My Tips For Growing Basil Like A BOSS!

Basil is actually a rather easy herb to grow at home. Even up here in zone 4 in Wyoming (ie. super short growing season) I have never had a problem growing it and getting a healthy harvest of fresh basil for my kitchen.

There are several varieties of basil (Latin –Ocimum basilicum) that you can grow, from the classic sweet basil, which is what most of us know and love as the yummy Italian herb in pasta sauces, pesto, bruschetta, etc.) to lemon basil, Thai basil, purple basil (adds some interesting color to your plate for sure!).

Basil is considered an annual, meaning that you usually have to replant your plants each year because they eventually die off when the weather gets cold. Some folks have been able to grow basil perennially (meaning it comes back year after year), but that is mostly for folks in very warm locations. Even when I lived in hot and sunny California my basil plants eventually bit the dust and I had to plant new plants each year.

Regardless of which type of basil you decide to grow they all require the same sort of care.

1Start From Seed Or Plant Started Plants:

Depending on your level of gardening expertise you can either plant your basil from seed or plant already started plants. There are pros and cons for each.


  • Pro – Cheapest way to go with a packet of seeds costing about a buck at home home and garden type stores.
  • Con – Unless you live in the warmest of warm locations you have to start your seeds several week (6 – 8 weeks to be exact) before your areas last frost date.
  • Pro – You will get way more basil plants out of 1 packet of seeds. More basil plants equals more fresh pesto in the freezer!
  • Con – Starting seeds takes time, space and effort. It is do-able but it is not always easy.

Started Plants

  • Pro – Instant herb garden, just dig a hole, remove the plant from the pot and plant it in some dirt and voilà you have an herb garden.
  • Con – More expensive. Started herbs can cost anywhere from $1 to $3 per plant.
  • Pro – No need to think ahead…if your garden is ready and it is warm enough to plant, you are ready to go!
  • Con – Less plants, unless your budget is out there you are not going to get as many plants as you would if you started them by seed.

I personally have done it both ways, but these days, because I am busy and have limited space to start seeds indoors I usually opt for the started plants. I know it is not the most frugal option, but when I can turn a $2 plant into $30 worth of pesto it is still a frugal option for me!

2Plant Basil In Full Sun:

Basil requires a good 6 or more hours of full sun. So find a nice sunny spot in your garden to plant your plants. My back yard is mostly shaded by the house so I actually plant my herbs in the front yard which faces west and gets the most sunlight.

3Give Your Basil Plants Plenty Of Water:

Regardless if you start your basil plants from seed or plant already started plants from the nursery your basil plants are going to need a lot of water to begin with. When I first plant my basil in the spring I give them a good soaking every day in the early morning. This helps ensure that they are well hydrated throughout the day and gives them plenty of time to dry out and prevent any fungus or mold growing on them like you might experience if you water in the evening.

Water daily for the first 2 weeks or so until your plants are established and then you can let up on your watering schedule to every 2 to 3 days. If your plants are looking droopy in the hottest of summer days you may want to increase your watering to every 1 to 2 days so that you plants stay luscious and do not melt in the summer heat.

Focus your watering to just the base and root area of the plants to avoid getting too much water on the leaves. This also helps with mold and fungus. A drip irrigation system is ideal, however, you can also just water by hand and just focus your hose or watering can at the base of the plants. My kids love to take over watering duties and as long as I show them how first, they do an excellent job at this easy gardening task.

4Mulch Your Basil To Conserve Water And Prevent Weeds:

Weeding the herb garden is never my idea of a good time. So to help prevent weeds from taking hold in our garden we apply mulch pretty liberally around all our of garden plants. In our city the city waste department allows you to buy mulch that they have made from ground up tree branches collected in our parks and throughout the city. The cost is about $10 for 100 yards of mulch. It might be a good idea to see if your city or county offers a similar program where you live. Otherwise you can purchase mulch in bags at any home and garden center for a couple of dollars a bag.

In my neck of the woods we have a big problem with Canadian Thistle which has long tap roots and stickers all over it. I hate these weeds with a passion because once they take hold in the garden they are extremely difficult to get rid of. So as an extra measure of precaution I recycle cardboard boxes but cutting or tearing them into chucks (be sure to remove all packing tape, staples or stickers from the cardboard first) and placing those chunks around our plants in a nice thick layer before topping them off with the more decorative garden mulch. This really works for me in keeping those nasty Canadian Thistles and other pervasive weeds from growing in the garden.

Not only does mulch help prevent weeds, it also helps you conserve water by slowing down the evaporation process from the soil to the air. Meaning you may be able to water your basil plants a little less often. And that ends up saving precious resources, time and energy…a win, win, win all around!

5Fertilize Your Basil Plants To Give Them Food To Grow:

Everything that is living and grows needs to be fed and your basil plants are no exception. Make sure your plants are fertilized and fed with a good organic fertilizer. I really and honestly think that if you are going to grow your own food at home you might as well try to use organic products whenever possible. I mean organic produce is expensive at the grocery store…so why not grow your own at a fraction of the cost for almost zero extra effort?

I personally like to use  a liquid organic fertilizer such as Miracle Grow brand, simply because a. it is easy to find where I live and b. plants absorb it both through their roots and their leaves. But you can also use a granulated organic fertilizer too.  Most garden centers are carrying this stuff these days and the price is compatible to their non-organic counterparts. When shopping for a fertilizer look for one that is neutral in PH – a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 should do the trick. That just means that there is the same ratio of nitrogen, potassium and
phosphate. If you use a granular fertilizer be sprinkle it around the plants in the soil, but be sure to avoid getting any on the leaves as this will cause them to burn.

6Pinch Your Basil Plants For Bushy Growth:

I have saved the best tip for last folks! They key to getting big luscious basil plants is to pinch your basil plants. The process is simple. Once you basil plants get to be about 6 inches tall, pinch off the plant at the stem right above where there are two leaves growing. You can pinch the tips of your plants off with your fingers or use a pair of scissors or gardening sheers. Either way snip the tops off right above a two-leaf bud and the plant will then grow more stems and leaves. You should pinch your plants at least once a week during the peak growing season, your basil plants will get bushier and bushier creating more delicious leaves. If you skip a week or two it will be OK but you should really try to keep on top of it. If your basil plants start to flower be sure to snip those flowers off too because the plant will put all it’s energy into creating seeds from those flowers and the quality and flavor in the leaves will be diluted.

Of course, while you are pinching and snipping off those basil stems you are essentially harvesting your basil. Turn those leaves into pesto, dry them in your oven or food dehydrator or toss a bunch into your favorite pasta sauce!

As long as you give your basil plants plenty of water and sunshine, feed them regularly and pinch them off you should end up with beautiful plants that will supply your family with fresh basil all summer long!

Click here to pin this on your gardening board on Pinterest!


Additional Reading

Frugal Homemade Pesto

 Frugal Homemade Pesto Recipe

Creamy Pesto Dressing

Creamy Pesto Dressing

Milk Jug Herb Garden

 Milk Jug Herb Garden

Save over $500 on produce this summer - 5 easy-to-grow Fruits & Vegetables that will save your family a bundle

5 easy-to-grow Fruits & Vegetables that will save your family a bundle

Follow our Frugal Gardening board on Pinterest!

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Cold Weather Stockpile Storage {via} - If you have your grocery stockpile stored in the garage or other unheated space you need to read this article on what grocery items you can and cannot store in the cold. Don't let your groceries go to waste!

Cold Weather Stockpile Storage {via} - If you have your grocery stockpile stored in the garage or other unheated space you need to read this article on what grocery items you can and cannot store in the cold. Don't let your groceries go to waste!Cold Weather Stockpile Storage

Many people store their stockpile in places where the temperatures can get below freezing in the winter. I personally store most of my food stockpile in an insulated garage. And winters here in Wyoming can definitely get well below zero. So that means I have to move around some of my stockpile items to protect them from freezing and being ruined by the cold.

This is not one of my favorite fall activities but it is something I do each year before winter sets in. I try to look at this chore of moving my stockpile around a bit as a time to access my stockpile too though. As I move things around I get things reorganized, make a list of things we are running low on or things I want to stockpile for holiday baking or for some of our favorite winter recipes. And then I use that list each week to narrow down deals for things we need.

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The Best Day To Get Gas And Other Tips To Save On Fuel! (via}

The Best Day To Get Gas And Other Tips To Save On Fuel! (via}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!

The Best Day To Get Gas

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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!

Download Gas Buddy for Android or Apple devices now!

Use Your Rewards Card

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!

20 Uses For Baby Wipe Boxes (via

20 Uses For Baby Wipe Boxes (via 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!

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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!

6 Ways To Save On Bread {via}

6 Ways To Save On Bread {via}

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:

  • Sara Lee
  • Roman Meal
  • Aunt Millie’s
  • Schwebel’s
  • Pepperidge Farm
  • King’s Hawaiian
  • Nature’s Harvest

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!

3. Stockpile Bread – When you can get bread at a great price AND you have the space in your freezer go ahead and stockpile it. Obviously, it would be a waste of freezer space to buy 100 loaves of bread. But if you have room in the freezer for a couple extra loaves by all means!

My special tip for freezing bread….double wrap it in plastic (I use an old bread bag that I have saved) and place the bread in the middle of the freezer away from the sides. This helps prevent freezer burn. Thaw your frozen bread on the counter for about 1-2 hours. And you just saved a bunch of dough!

4. Watch the day-old bread discount sections – Most grocery stores have a rack or section of the store where they sell day old bakery items. You can find some great deals on bread here. I usually don’t find sliced sandwich type bread on the discount bread rack but I do find loaves of French bread, bagels, English muffins and other goodies.

5. Shop at a discount bread store – Many of the major bread companies have their own discount bread stores where they sell day-old bread. The breads are still perfectly fine and are often sold at about a 50% discount. Here are some of the bakery outlets that I am aware of. There may be others…if you know of more let us know in the comments!

6. Make your own bread – seriously baking your own bread is one of the best ways you can save money on bread. I am actually a pretty good bread baker. The problem lies in that when I, or anyone in my house, SMELLS homemade bread baking we are all practically salivating at the oven door with butter in hand the minute it comes out of the oven or bread machine. And in 2.5 seconds the hot from the oven bread is gone and I saved NO money at all. Because my family just has no reserve with the homemade bread I reserve my bread baking to special occasions or to making bread just for dinner, like a loaf of French bread or rolls which are baked just in time for us to eat them hot out of the oven with our meal.

If you have the will power, go ahead and make your own bread and you can save a lot of bread.

Do you have a clever way of saving on bread? We would love to hear it! 

How to Freeze Avocados - via

How to Freeze Avocados - via

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.

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
  • Click here for MY favorite Guacamole 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.
Got Guac?
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!

More Avocado Recipes

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