Turn off the TV, Turn on the Savings!

If you are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table, sacrifices sometimes need to be made.  Heat, food, electricity…all necessities.  Internet, television, smartphones are all luxuries.  So here comes my question…if you are seriously pinching pennies could you live without cable or satellite television programming? 

If the answer is absolutely not, can you at least downgrade to a cheaper programming package?  Do without the DVR or second receiver?  Can you cancel your cable/satellite service and instead use Netflix or Hulu

I find when I turn my TV off, I find more time to blog, read, exercise, cook from scratch, clean my house and my favorite- spend time with my family!  Make movie night a special treat instead of a habit. 

I challenge you to try it for a month.  Simply wake up tomorrow and pretend the TV is broke.  Unplug it (this saves on energy too).  Take the batteries out of the remote.  Take on organizing that closet you have been wanting to tackle.  Take your kids to a museum.  Make an entire meal from scratch.  Read a book.  Exercise.  At the end of the month evaluate if you could do without the boob tube. 

If you aren’t ready to quit cold turkey, ease into it with a free month of Netflix.  To learn about the details for a free month click here.

I don’t think anyone on their death bed wishes they would have watched more television. 

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Almost 200 Fans!! I’m Thinking It’s Giveaway time!!

I get so excited when I see my number of followers climbing that it just makes me want to give stuff away!  One Penny Pincher will win a Proliss Jungle Prowler Flat Iron! 

To enter, simply leave me a comment below with your best budget friendly beauty tip!  You must “like” Penny Pinching Parents on Facebook as well!  Get an extra entry for any friend that you refer as long as they mention in their comment that you referred them!  Good luck Penny Pinchers!

3 DiGiorno Pizzas and a box of Frozen Fruit bars for $10.00!

Target has a deal right now where buy (2) DiGiorno frozen pizzas for $10.00 and get a FREE 6ct Edy’s Frozen Fruit Bars.  To sweeten the deal head  here to print off a coupon for a FREE DiGiorno pizza when you buy two!  So that means 3 DiGiorno Pizzas and a Box of Frozen Fruit Bars for $10.00.  If you use your Target Red Debit or Credit card you score another 5% off as well! 

Coupons.com – Buy 2 Large DIGIORNO® Pizzas, Get 1 Free

DIGIORNO®

Selected California Pizza Kitchen or DiGiorno multi-serve frozen pizza
2 for $10sale
FREE 6-ct. frozen fruit bars when you buy two pizzas listed. Free offer quantities limited; no rain checks.

Selected California Pizza Kitchen or DiGiorno multi-serve frozen pizza

 

 

FREE, FREE, FREE!! Price Chopper Freebies!

Sign In Now for FREE Price Chopper Potato Chips!

Free! bag Price Chopper Potato Chips, 10 oz.

FREE Yogurt!

**Note:  You must have an AdvantEdge card in order to score these freebies!  If you don’t have one, stop by customer service to score a FREE AdvantEdge card!!  Don’t forget to scan your card at the coupon kiosk located at the entrance to the store for even more coupon savings with iScan!

One Woman’s Garbage is another’s Treasure!

I LOVE recycling what would be garbage into some purposeful at home!  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to think that I am reducing my carbon footprint on Mother Earth and being less wasteful!

Here are some ideas that I LOVE on how to reuse an item that you might throw out!

 

Wine Cork hot pad

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Reuse a laundry detergent bottle for bubble solution

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Magazine rack made from recycled magazines

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Use duct tape to make sturdy boxes look decorative.

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Hanging Hairbrush Storage from Tin Cans

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Old popcorn containers spray painted for dog food storage.

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Ideas for recycling the hanger that comes with pants or skirts:

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Ideas for recycling cereal boxes:

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Try to think outside of the “box”! : )

Remember the more you recycle, the more you reduce your waste and that means a lower trash bill!  $$$

Dirty Thirties?!

It’s Friday night.  Another week bites the dust and millions of people are ready to kick back and enjoy the weekend.  So how does this penny pinching parent spend her Friday evening?  The last Friday evening of 2012?  In the lovely local laundromat. 

Yup, that’s right this blog is brought to you from a plastic white table in the middle of a cold laundromat, with only the gently hum and whirling of machines as background noise.  Apparently, this is not the cool spot on a Friday night as I am the only one present.  For some reason, the local laundromat has gigantic windows in the front, nearly covering ceiling to floor.  Do they want those driving by to look in at the joy and fun happening in the laundromat?  Anyone who did tonight saw me typing away furiously at my lap top, rocking a gray hoodie, black yoga pants and sneaks.  The suggested apparel of the laundromat. 

And laundromats are NOT Penny Pinching recommended.  $14.50 later, I have three loads going.  Ouch.  I do have my own washer and dryer at home (sooo never taking them for granted again!) and our water is not frozen despite this wonderful Northern New York winter we are in the midst of.  So what brings someone like me to a place like this?  Vomit.

Yep, you read that right.  Vomit.  My youngest is ill.  We braved the nasty roads for a trip to Urgent Care last night and she was diagnosed with tonsillitis and sinus infection.  They warned me it would get worse before it got better.  They were not lying!

I headed to bed around 11:00.  She had fallen asleep sitting in the chair with me and I let her sleep like that for awhile, since her coughing fits had been severe before she fell asleep.  I carried her up to bed with me.  When she is sick, I prefer she sleep with us so I can keep a close eye on her all night.  My oldest daughter had febrile seizures so it became a nervous habit to have the little ones sleep with us when ill.  I can feel their bodies warm up when a fever hits and I am right there in case they throw up. 

The minute I laid her down the coughing began.  Minutes before she got sick, I could tell it was about to happen from the force of her coughing.  So I woke up my husband and asked him to go get a “puke bowl” and did what any mother in my position would do.  I cupped my hands, placed them under her mouth and let her let loose in my hands, all while cursing the fact that I didn’t have a third arm to pull her hair back and a fourth arm to rub her little back while she heaved.  Oh, the joys of motherhood. 

Now I can’t imagine how many of you are gagging from just reading that.  However I just go into Xena, Warrior Mother mode and instinct takes over.  Someone get me a medal and a cookie.  Chocolate chip, please!

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Pause while I stop to realize that I brought the party with me to the laundromat.  Two cars have pulled in and brought with them a party of three launderers.  Now a third car has arrived with two more.  Cheers to the freaking weekend, as Rihanna would say.  Let’s clink together our detergent bottles. 

So anyways FOUR sets of bedding later I decided that a trip to the dreaded laundromat would be necessary.  I don’t feel so bad putting the water temp on scorching hot to kill off any lingering germs.  Plus I get the work that would typically take half a day done in one hour. 

When I turned 30, my friends and family welcomed me to the Dirty Thirties Decade.  Fresh out of my twenties, I envisioned shots, pool tables, DJ’s and dance floors.  Heels and thongs galore.  However I have come to realize that the term “Dirty” in this phrase was actually referencing the endless parade of dirty clothes, dirty dishes, dirty faces, dirty towels and dirty rooms of the house that seem to trail behind families.  I didn’t realize that I would trade in my Friday nights of dancing for Friday nights of laundry.  But what I didn’t realize most of all, was just how much I would not mind the trades, how I would not miss the nights out when compared to the nights in.  How late night puking would be only a result of the stomach bug or a nasty case of post nasal drip induced coughing fits instead of Amaretto Sours or Smirnoff. 

It’s important to see the beauty in moments like this, to not take a second of life for granted.  To take laundering four sets of puked splattered bedding and giggle about it, poke fun at it.  Life is dirty, messy and spontaneous.  When you hit a spin cycle, you can either hang on, close your eyes and enjoy the ride or you can spiral out of control. 

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Cheers to the weekend, to the laundromat, to the dirties of life and above all to laughter!

Confessions of a Recipe Rebel

I have a confession.  I more often than not improvise on recipes.  Sometimes I omit ingredients that don’t appeal to my taste buds.  Sometimes I add more of a certain ingredients that sounds tantalizingly delicious.  Sometimes I scan the recipe to get a gist of the idea and just shoot from the apron covered hip. 

Another confession?  I am a sucker for a Buy One, Get One Free sale.  I get giddy over Buy One, Get Two free sales.  I am a Thrifty Thrill Seeker, who gets euphoric over big savings.  Oh what a rush!

So last week there was a sale on London Broil.  Buy One, Get One Free.  In the cart you go London Broils.  In the summer we love to start an open fire in our pit and grill a marinated London Broil over the open fire.  Mmmm.  

Back on track…So I have London Broil to work with for a meal.  I LOVE me some Pinterest for food ideas.  I saw an amazing looking plate of Beef and Broccoli in the crockpot over rice and I was infatuated instantly.  Scanned recipe, got the gist and took meat out of freezer to unthaw overnight. 

Now while we are waiting for the meat to unthaw let me preach to you about avoiding overly processed foods.  General rule of thumb…shop around the outside perimeters of a grocery store for a majority of your groceries.  Granted, there are not a lot of coupons out there for fresh produce, meats and dairy but health always prevails over savings.  If in doubt, read the label.  If it has ingredients you can’t even pronounce, it’s probably best to avoid.  It’s quite tedious to eat clean 100% of the time so I try to aim for 65-70% clean.

Okay, meat thawed.  While sipping on a delicious latte, I prepare my Crock Pot meals before hopping in the shower in the morning.  (I am also in love with my Crock Pot…..I use mine several times a week, year round).  Meat goes on bottom of Crock Pot.  Dump a bag of still frozen broccoli (or you can use fresh) over the meat.  Pour some low-sodium soy sauce over the meat and broccoli until the liquid covers the bottom of the crockpot.  (Piece of meat should not be submerged in soy sauce- holy sodium intake!)  Pour water over beef and broccoli until piece of meat is fully submerged in liquid.  Broccoli does not have to be covered with liquid.  You can choose to use beef broth as well for more flavor.  I threw a boullion cube in with mine.  Sprinkle over the broccoli some minced garlic and brown sugar.  Now whether you use a pinch or a dash is up to you…be as rebellious as your taste buds require, you naughty chef you!  Set on low for 8 hours.  Slice up meat and serve over brown rice.  Use black pepper to season.  Super yummy, super easy and fairly healthy (healthy points deduction for soy sauce and brown sugar). 

Reduce Trash, Reduce Costs!

When looking at cutting costs, look at what you pay for waste removal.  Do you take the waste to the local landfill or transfer site?  Do you pay for a company to pick it up from you? 

If you live in Northern New York, you should know that it is illegal to burn or bury your waste.  Not only is it illegal, but it is also not good for the environment.  If you are looking to pinch pennies, the last thing you need is a fine!

To reduce waste costs, the answer is super simple.  RECYCLE!  It is estimated that 70-80% of what we throw in the garbage can actually be recycled!  Less garbage = less service = less out of pocket cost!  Increased savings & better for the environment = AWESOME! 

North Country Recycles

To start, pay attention to what goes in your garbage.  Is there a lot of cardboard?  Is there a lot of leftover food?  Plastic?  Tin?  Start small and work your way up to a full blow recycling junkie!  Click here for a list of recyclable material in Northern New York Counties! 

If you garden or would like to start gardening you should compost most food waste and lawn debris!  For more info on composting click here! 

Check with your local Waste Removal company to see how they would like you to prepare and bag your recyclables.  If you take your garbage to a transfer site or landfill, discuss with a staff member how they prefer the recycling be prepared and bagged.  Once you notice your amount of trash decreasing, ask your provider to decrease your service to every other week or maybe once a month for the Recycling Superstars! 

You could even MAKE MONEY off of recycling!  For North Country Residents if you recycle your old refrigerator or freezer through National Grid you can receive $30.00!  For more information click here!

North Country Recycles

Chair = Home Gym?!

Until your home gym starter kit gets delivered you can use household items to get in a good workout!  For instance a chair- preferably without wheels!  Wheels = possible ER trip! 

Seated Squats

Start with both arms down by your side and slowly bend at the knees like you are lowering yourself to sit in the chair while raising your arms out in front of you.  Don’t lock your knees but pause just as your behind is about to hit the seat.  Hold for 15 seconds and slowly straighten your knees and lower your arms to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.  Keep breathing even and controlled.

*To increase difficulty increase hold time*

20 Jumping Jacks

Leg Lifts

Place hands palm down on the seat of the chair for balance. Keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent (don’t lock) slowly lift your heel towards the ceiling until your leg forms a straight line with your back.  Hold for 5 seconds before slowly lowering to the ground to starting position.  Do 10 reps per leg.  Remember to keep breathing even and controlled. 

*To increase difficulty increase hold time and number of reps.*

15 Burpees

Chair Push Ups

Place palms on seat of chair.  Step feet back to get into push up position, with arms still straight (don’t lock elbows).  Slowly bend elbows and lower chest down towards chair.  Be sure to position so that you do not take a chance of hitting your head on the back of the chair either while lowering body down or if your arm strength falters.  Slowly straighten arms until starting position.  Do 10 pushups.

*To increase difficulty increase number of pushups or reverse pushups by placing feet on chair and palms on the floor.

Repeat 20 Jumping Jacks

Chair Dips

Start with sitting in the chair with hands gripping edge of seat.  Distribute body weight into feet and arms and lift off the seat so that your knees are bent and your butt is lifted off of floor but arms are straight.  Slowly bend at elbows lowering your butt towards ground, without allowing it to touch the ground.  Pause when elbows are at a 90 degree angle and then straighten arms until back in starting position.  Don’t lock elbows.  Keep breathing even and controlled.

*To increase difficulty increase pause time before straightening arms back to starting position and increase reps.

Repeat 15 Burpees

Abs in the Chair

Sit on the edge of the chair with knees bent at 90 degree angle.  Grip edge of chair for balance.  Slowly raise knees towards chest and then lower to the starting position.  Repeat 15 times.

*To increase difficulty don’t touch your feet to the ground between reps, pause just as your feet are to touch the ground and then move on to next rep without touching ground.

Water Break (take as often as needed- hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!)

Repeat entire workout!

As this workout becomes easier add in more jumping jacks and burpees.  If you find it is too difficult, decrease the number of reps you are doing until it becomes easier.  As with any exercise program, check with your family physician before attempting the above exercises to see if you have any medical issues that may prevent you from performing this routine. 

Get fit for FREE!