Frugality Gal http://frugalitygal.com Life on a Budget Tue, 18 Aug 2015 10:45:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Free Fall Printable http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/free-fall-printable.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/free-fall-printable.html#respond Tue, 18 Aug 2015 10:45:57 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3173 Free Fall Printable

Who else is ready for fall? I can’t wait for my favorite season to roll around so I can start drinking too many pumpkin spice lattes, start up my seasonal baking and enjoy the amazing weather! But my favorite thing of all about fall is the start of seasonal decorating. So with the fall season […]

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Free Fall Printable

Who else is ready for fall? I can’t wait for my favorite season to roll around so I can start drinking too many pumpkin spice lattes, start up my seasonal baking and enjoy the amazing weather! But my favorite thing of all about fall is the start of seasonal decorating.

So with the fall season fast approaching, I wanted to give you a free printable that you can use to get a jump-start on your fall decorating for free!

How to Download & Print:

Note: the art print is 8×10” – If you don’t have 8×10” cardstock or photo paper on-hand I recommend printing on standard 8.5”x11” paper and trimming off the border.
Click here to download the high resolution .JPG file.
– Save to your computer and print on cardstock or photo paper.
– To print simply choose your paper size and make sure that “fit to page” or “full page photo” is not selected if printing on paper larger than 8×10″ so it doesn’t stretch the artwork to the paper size (and in doing so, distorting the image).

If you’re looking for more fall wall art, be sure to visit my etsy shop! I’ll be loading in tons of new seasonal prints this week!

Happy fall, guys!

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Tips for Ditching Paper Towels http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/switching-to-reusable-cleaning-cloths.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/switching-to-reusable-cleaning-cloths.html#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 10:02:05 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3157 Frugal Living Tips : Here are a few simple tips to make switching from paper towels to reusable cloths easier!

We switched to using reusable cloths in the kitchen a few years ago. I loved the convenience of using paper towels, but I didn’t like paying for them month after month! It took me a couple of tries to make it work for us. Mainly, I didn’t like how they left tiny specs of residue […]

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Frugal Living Tips : Here are a few simple tips to make switching from paper towels to reusable cloths easier!

We switched to using reusable cloths in the kitchen a few years ago. I loved the convenience of using paper towels, but I didn’t like paying for them month after month! It took me a couple of tries to make it work for us. Mainly, I didn’t like how they left tiny specs of residue on mirrors and dark furniture (I’ll tell you how I deal with that below!).But now that I have a mix of different types of cleaning cloths, I’m comfortable with our current system and don’t miss the disposables at all!

Have More than you Need

The reason most of us love using paper towels is because reaching for one is mindless and there are always plenty in supply! I think it’s best to approach switching to cloth the same way – have more than you need on-hand and it’ll be almost as easy!

If you’re constantly running out and having to wait until the laundry is done to clean something, it’ll start to feel like a chore! I recommend keeping at least 20 on-hand for kitchen/general cleaning purposes. I know it sounds like overkill, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll likely go through half of that in a day!

You can get started for free by cutting up old tee shirts, for about $5 by going the wash cloth route (18 to a pack at Walmart!) or go with microfiber cloths for about $20 (I use these, comes 36 to a pack and has three different colors so I don’t get the bathroom and kitchen ones mixed up!). I have wash cloths, dish cloths and microfiber cloths and I add to the stash every six months or so.

Have a System in Place

Where do you store ready-to-use cloths?

Where will you stash the dirty ones?

How often will you wash them?

Answer these questions before switching and it’ll make the process 10x easier!

I’ve gone through a few ways of doing it over the years. Currently, I keep my clean cloths in a basket on the counter and I keep an extra stack of under the kitchen sink. I toss my dirty cloths in a lingerie bag hanging from a kitchen cabinet (classy, I know). I wash them when I’m running low (not completely out!). I just toss them in with our towels (lingerie bag and all). Keeping them zipped in the lingerie bag while washing/drying makes it super simple to fetch them out of the dryer and quickly fold because you don’t have to sort through the laundry basket to find each one!

Separate their Uses

This may be just a personal preference but I don’t like the thought of cleaning my kitchen counters with something that has cleaned my toilet! I recommend keeping separate stashes for different purposes. I have a stash for the kitchen. A stash for the bathroom. And a smaller stash for general house cleaning. I bought my microfiber cloths from Amazon and love them! I use the yellow ones in the kitchen, white ones around the house and the blue ones for the bathroom, so they’re easy to tell apart. I have also purchased great microfiber cloths from Home Depot (in store), but they were more expensive at $8 for three!

Know their Limits

If you have darker surfaces in your house, you may want to spring for microfiber cloths. Cut up tee shirts and wash cloths tend to leave tiny bits of lint behind. For mirrors, we actually use crumpled up newspaper from our junk mail. It’s free and if it was good enough for my grandmother, it’s good enough for me!

Buy Darker Cloths

If you use white cloths only, they will eventually get stained. I’m not too fussy about this, but I do recommend keeping some darker cloths on hand to handle tougher messes. I’m kind of a whiz at removing stains (I do use cloth pads, after all, so I’ve picked up a few tricks here and there!), but there are some things that I prefer not to use my reusable cloths to clean because I don’t wash them everyday, so they tend to stain with certain messes. If stains bother you, it may be best to keep a stash of dark cloths or even keep one lonely roll of paper towel for the occasional mess that calls for it.

If you use reusable cloths in your kitchen, please share your tips in the comments below!

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Quick and Easy Iced Coffee http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/easy-iced-coffee.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/easy-iced-coffee.html#respond Sat, 08 Aug 2015 19:02:00 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3138 Make your own easy iced coffee in under a minute using these handy (and totally customizable) latte concentrates!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Folgers. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #FolgersFridays When we moved, I treated myself to an espresso machine that lets me make fancy cappuccinos each morning. I saw no sense in having a coffee maker + espresso machine, […]

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Make your own easy iced coffee in under a minute using these handy (and totally customizable) latte concentrates!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Folgers. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #FolgersFridays

When we moved, I treated myself to an espresso machine that lets me make fancy cappuccinos each morning. I saw no sense in having a coffee maker + espresso machine, so I got rid of our old coffee maker. But I didn’t account for one very important fact… I love my cappuccinos (photographic evidence here), but it’s summertime, in the south, and even though I moved a bit north, it’s still HOT!

And since I have no coffee maker, I can’t keep a big jug of double-strength coffee in the fridge for iced coffees anymore. So when I had the chance to test the new Folgers Iced Café concentrates, I couldn’t pass it up – the timing was perfect since I was looking for a solution until the heat starts to die down.

Quick Details:

  • Four flavors: Vanilla latte, Caramel Macchiato, Hazelnut Latte, Original latte
  • One bottle has 12 servings | Cost is approx. 42¢ per iced coffee (plus cost of milk)
  • Tiny and portable, which means coffee on demand wherever!
  • Already sweetened, so there’s no need to add additional sweetener (even though I do personally like to add a little stevia, but I tend to like my coffee really sweet).
  • No sugar or preservatives and only four to five ingredients per bottle (and two of them are coffee!)

What attracted me the most is how fast I can make a cup of iced coffee. You just pour two squeezes into a glass of cold milk and stir it up. My husband and I have tried each flavor, and my favorites are vanilla latte and caramel macchiato (no surprise there!) and his go-to is hazelnut.

And when I’m having a cup later on in the day, I’m prone to play pretend-barista and whip out my milk frother (best $6 I’ve spent!) to make them resemble coffee shop drinks. So far I’ve used whole milk, almond milk, half and half and coconut milk coffee creamer to coffee-shop-up my lattes.

My favorite mixture so far has to be half and half + whole milk.
But close seconds are whole milk + almond milk (directions here!), and almond milk + coconut coffee creamer.

As you can see, I am a huge fan of layering!

Here’s how I made my almond coconut milk latte:

  • 2 Squeezes Folgers Iced Café (I used the Caramel Macchiato flavor)
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer
  • Stevia, to taste (optional)
  • Ice
  • ¼ cup almond milk

I poured the coffee creamer into the glass, squeezed in my caramel macchiato, stirred it up with my milk frother (totally optional, but it gives it a nice texture!) Next I layered in some ice and poured almond milk over the top. Then I swirled it around in the glass to combine everything together and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. It gives it such a pretty effect!

 

If you’re an iced coffee drinker, I’d love to hear which Folgers Iced Café flavor you’d like to try the most! I was super excited to try the caramel macchiato since it’s been my go-to order for quite some time!

Would you like to win Folgers Iced Café Concentrates for yourself?

Each Friday you can enter to win a prize basket of Folgers products ($200 ARV) on Facebook and Twitter from now until September 4th 2015 by answering a question prompted in a post that invites entry into the Promotion.

  • To enter on Facebook: Answer in the comments section.
  • To enter on Twitter: Send an answer in a non-private Tweet @Folgers, and include the hashtags #FolgersFridays and #PromoEntry.

Promotion is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C, 18 years of age older. Internet access and a valid Facebook account are required to enter the Promotion on Facebook; to enter on Twitter you must have a public Twitter account and follow the Twitter account @Folgers. Void where prohibited. For details on the #FolgersFridays Promotion and a store locator to findFolgers Iced Café near you, please visit Folgers.com and follow Folgers on Facebook and @Folgers.

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The Redesign is Live! http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/the-redesign-is-live.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/08/the-redesign-is-live.html#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 21:02:29 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3119 The Redesign is Live!

If you haven’t noticed yet, the site has received a MAJOR upgrade! The redesign that I’ve been working on is finally live (if you’re on mobile, you’ll have to jump on a desktop to see the full design). I am happy because I just winged my way through it (as I do with basically everything!) and […]

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The Redesign is Live!

If you haven’t noticed yet, the site has received a MAJOR upgrade! The redesign that I’ve been working on is finally live (if you’re on mobile, you’ll have to jump on a desktop to see the full design). I am happy because I just winged my way through it (as I do with basically everything!) and there were a few moments were I wasn’t so sure it would work out – it’s always surprising just how much you can do with the help of Google and a good theme!

Here’s a quick before and after!

Before

After

The Design

Theme: Divine Theme from Restored 316 (Here’s the Theme Demo for reference)
Header and Graphics: Designed myself using Adobe Illustrator
Fonts used in Header: Booster Next FY Light & Boho Script

I need to give a BIG shout out to the Restored316 support team – they saved my behind majorly this week!
I wanted a lighter, brighter site that gave off a fun and happy vibe. So I chose my color scheme and decided to make confetti part of the design, because what says “fun” more than multicolored confetti?

This isn’t a pro moodboard by any stretch, just something I threw together to show you what I was going for. The design itself is super simple – and I needed to keep it that way because I’m no web designer!

 

Time for a Tour?

My main goal for the site was to make it easy to browse through the blog. I’ve written a TON of posts, but it wasn’t easy for new readers to discover old content unless it was on the first couple of pages.

That led me to adding a couple of new features, one of which is pretty obvious the second you hit the site…

New Homepage Layout


This lets you browse by category and find other posts you may be interested in. And if you’re not a fan of the new homepage, there’s still a traditional “blog” view for you too! Just click “blog” in the navigation menu.

Recipe Index


If you click “Recipe Index” in the navigation menu, this will take you to the new recipe area! You can also browse by frugal living (of course!) or meal planning.

Subscriber Freebie

Guys, I have had such a hard time delivering the free printable set. I get so many emails from readers that have signed up and not yet received their printables and I just can’t figure out why it isn’t delivering correctly to a small portion of new subscribers!

Some readers have also pointed out that it was hard to access the freebie as an existing subscriber. So I decided to add a link to the downloads at the bottom of every email that you get from Frugality Gal. So a link to your download will always be fresh in your inbox!

So overall, the aesthetic of the site has been freshened up and things are more organized! I am still ironing out some details (like rogue square thumbnails!).

I’ll still be taking it light on content for the remainder of the summer since I’m trying to grow my shop as much as possible before the fall season. But I am so excited to get back to blogging – the break from writing has geared me up with a ton of new ideas for the next few months!

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A little Vacation http://frugalitygal.com/2015/07/a-little-vacation.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/07/a-little-vacation.html#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2015 14:31:11 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3054 Hey all! I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off from writing new posts for the blog. As you may remember, I’ve been working on a DIY site redesign since… uh… April! So it’s time for me to hunker down with a human-sized pot of coffee and get this redesign officially completed and launched. […]

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Hey all! I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off from writing new posts for the blog. As you may remember, I’ve been working on a DIY site redesign since… uh… April! So it’s time for me to hunker down with a human-sized pot of coffee and get this redesign officially completed and launched. I can’t wait for you to see it! I gave a little sneak preview on instagram if you’re interested in peeking.

I’ll also be checking off a huge goal from my 2015 goals: physical products will be available in the shop!

A photo posted by Frugality Gal (@frugalitygal) on

Until now I’ve only sold digital art prints (thanks so much for your support!) and the shop will soon be branching into physical shipped-to-you products! I’ve been working tirelessly on getting set up with the right printers and it’s finally happening! Pretty and witty coffee mugs, notepads, invitations and shipped-to-you art prints will be available in the shop soon.

If you need to reach me, I’m always reachable through social media (though I’ll  be most active on Instagram). Or you can, of course, send me an email.

Talk to you soon!

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A Week of No-Cook Freezer Lunches http://frugalitygal.com/2015/07/make-ahead-lunch-freezer-meals.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/07/make-ahead-lunch-freezer-meals.html#respond Fri, 10 Jul 2015 10:02:11 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3027 Freezer Meals: Put together a week of no-cook make ahead meals to save time and money! Just take 30 minutes to put these make ahead lunches for work together, and grab and go in the mornings!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EverydayEffortless #CollectiveBias The last few weeks have been a little more than jam packed. We moved from FL to NC, have been in and out the door nonstop to get our apartment in functioning order, and my husband […]

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Freezer Meals: Put together a week of no-cook make ahead meals to save time and money! Just take 30 minutes to put these make ahead lunches for work together, and grab and go in the mornings!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EverydayEffortless #CollectiveBias

The last few weeks have been a little more than jam packed. We moved from FL to NC, have been in and out the door nonstop to get our apartment in functioning order, and my husband now works from home! It’s been a crazy (but exciting!) adjustment to say the least. As we get into the swing of both of us working from home (his employer graciously allowed him to work from home after our move), I needed to deal with the lunch situation.

So I borrowed the idea I had last month when I prepared freezer meals for a loved one using just frozen foods (because all of our cooking supplies were already packed up, so I had to get creative!), I liked the result so much that I decided to do it again for ourselves.

This post is for those of you that want to avoid eating out for lunch or purchasing pricey prepared meals, but can’t devote the time to a full-on freezer cooking session. My goal was to make this in as little time as possible since I know so many of you have very little time to spare – you can knock these out in about half an hour and prepare a whole week of lunches (or dinners) without ever turning on the stove!

So let’s get to it – first up, the burritos!


 

No-Cook Make-Ahead Freezer Burritos

Base Burrito Ingredients:

Seasonings:

  • 1 tbsp Fajita Seasoning (mixed into 2 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp Adobo
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

To Heat Up:
Remove from foil, pierce center with fork and microwave for 90 to two minutes, halfway through flip over and pierce other side with fork and continue microwaving. Let stand for a minute or two.

I separated the recipe into “base ingredients” and “seasonings” because this is a versatile recipe and you can easily use your favorite burrito flavorings. But just in case you don’t have any go-to burrito seasonings, I included my seasonings of choice!

Other Seasoning Ideas:
Hot Sauce, Cilantro (I sprinkled in some cilantro), Taco Sauce, Taco Seasoning, Sofrito, Sazon, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, etc. Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Dice or slice your chicken and place your base ingredients in a large bowl.

Then add your seasonings of choice (or you can use the ones that I mentioned above) and thoroughly mix all ingredients together.

Lay out tortillas on a flat surface and place ½ cup of the filling in the center of the tortilla and roll your burritos. You’re going to want to work quickly, because everything is still frozen! Wrap your burritos in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag.

I had 1 ½ cup of filling left over, so I used one cup for a burrito bowl and used the other ½ cup for one of the meals I’ll show you in just a sec.

You can find everything you need at Walmart. I got the chicken, vegetables and rice from the freezer section.



Portioned Meals

I measured out ½ cup servings of both the rice and my chosen flavor of the Birds Eye Protein Blends (there are several flavors to choose from!) and paired them with one piece of chicken. Feel free to choose whichever sides you like – when I made these last month, I used different pairings of veggies and rice/potatoes – just go with whatever works for you!

Now, we did still have some ingredients left over from the burritos. I used ½ cup of the remaining brown rice as well as ½ cup of the left over burrito filling as a side for the chicken in one of the meals.

Since we didn’t season these beforehand, I do recommend keeping some salt and pepper on hand or spicing it up further with a bit of soy sauce or salsa when serving (I know the salsa idea sounds out there, but trust me!).

To Heat Up:

When heating up, simply add a spoon of water to the rice/veggies and pierce the chicken with a fork and microwave for four to five minutes, stirring halfway through.

A Breakdown of all Meals Made:

  • 3 Burrito Lunches (two burritos per meal, or six meals if you only take one!)
  • 3 Single-Serve Portioned Meals
  • 1 Burrito Bowl
  • 1 Portioned Dinner that serves two (or count this as two meals if you’re portioning separately)

So we made an entire week of lunches and then some! I’m pretty pleased with this since there was no actual cooking involved – super convenient!


 Do you have any simple make-ahead meals that you make when you’re short on time? 

Tell me about it in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas!


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6 Tips for Saving Money on Groceries When Life Gets Hectic http://frugalitygal.com/2015/07/save-money-on-groceries.html http://frugalitygal.com/2015/07/save-money-on-groceries.html#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 10:02:35 +0000 http://frugalitygal.com/?p=3002 Realistic tips for staying within your grocery budget and still saving money on groceries even when life gets a little hectic!

I often talk about planning ahead for busy times in order to save money on groceries. But sometimes, life just sneaks up on you and you won’t have the time to set aside a meal prep day, or do freezer cooking or meal planning. And that’s okay! © SkyLine / Dollar Photo Club Life happens. […]

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Realistic tips for staying within your grocery budget and still saving money on groceries even when life gets a little hectic!

I often talk about planning ahead for busy times in order to save money on groceries. But sometimes, life just sneaks up on you and you won’t have the time to set aside a meal prep day, or do freezer cooking or meal planning. And that’s okay!

© SkyLine / Dollar Photo Club

Life happens. And since I’m currently in a state of transition, it is happening quite a bit lately for us. So here are a few of my tips for saving money on groceries even when we don’t have much time to dedicate to our usual frugal efforts.

1. Prioritize your Tasks

If we really try, we can usually spare a few minutes every couple of days to keep our budgets in check. Things like making beans in your crockpot take almost no hands-on time at all and it will save you at least 50% over the cost of store-bought beans! Another frugal thing I always try to prioritize is making sure breakfast is dealt with ahead of time.

For the last few months I’ve been making homemade oatmeal packets in bulk –takes just a few minutes and breakfast is handled for the entire month! Here’s a post I did on 15 Make-Ahead Breakfast ideas if you’d like some more frugal breakfast ideas. If you only have a few minutes to spare here and there, make them count and tend to the areas that will affect your budget the most!

2. Be Okay with the Next-Best-Thing

I think many of us get into the habit of thinking “if it’s not homemade, it’s not frugal” and while that may sometimes be true, it isn’t always the case. Life doesn’t always allow us to be in tiptop money-saving mode. And when that happens, it’s so important to know your habits!

Fight the urge to think with rose-colored glasses and think reasonably about what your worst case scenario may look like and plan for THAT. Best case? You were right and you totally wouldn’t have had time for anything else. Worst case? You just bought yourself a little breathing room and may be able to spend more time on something else.

3. Keep it Simple

The simplest meals are often the most frugal meals! Rice and beans, baked chicken and veggies, spaghetti with homemade meat sauce –all frugal staples, and all ready in under 30 minutes! My go-to on super busy weeks is to cook as many one-dish baked meals as possible and lining the baking dish with foil. This typically requires very little hands-on time and clean up.

These simple frugal staples mixed in with crockpot meals, anything I can pull from the freezer and some of our favorite under 10-minute meals like BLTs or tomato sandwiches allows me to put home-cooked food on the table most nights, even if it’s nothing fancy or blog-worthy!

4. Set Yourself up for the Best Deal

Go to the store with a few frugal tricks up your sleeve. Shop loss leaders, always look at the price per ounce to see if something is truly a good deal and look to the bottom shelves first to find the cheapest options.

These are all things that I do each time I’m shopping, but I do prefer to shop at Aldi when possible because most things are a better deal than my other local options. So if you have an Aldi or a similar store locally, I definitely recommend saving yourself the work and shopping there!

Check out this post: 30 Things to Buy at Aldi

5. Recycle Old Meal Plans

I shared this little nugget on my friend Missy’s blog recently. I’ll let you head over to read the full tip, but to sum it up –I recycle my old meal plans from prior weeks when I know I won’t have time to make a fresh new meal plan. Head on over to Missy’s blog to hear more on this tip and read the 4 time-saving meal planning tips I shared as well!

6. Use Cash-Back Apps

Download cash-back apps like Checkout 51 to earn cash-back on groceries. I don’t recommend changing your shopping list excessively just to accommodate a deal you can earn cash-back on. But if all you have to do is choose a different brand, it’s usually worth it to earn a little extra on something you’d be purchasing anyway.


I’d love for you to share your own tips for staying on saving money on groceries when life’s a little hectic in the comments below!


 

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