Let me take a moment to set the scene: it’s three days until payday. Dinnertime is fast approaching and you are broke. Broker than broke, even. So broke that when you open your wallet, dust and a stray moth flies out. But still, dinnertime. The family has to eat something. So you check your pantry. You find a lone box of pasta and not much else. No meat. No sauces. What can you even do?
Does this situation sound familiar?
Trust me, I have been there. I have been so broke that I was hunting through my car cupholders for enough change to buy a $1 box of whole wheat pasta. It doesn’t happen as much now that I meal plan and budget, but occasionally I’m still thrown for a loop and things don’t work out as I expected. Sometimes we eat more than I planned for, or some of my ingredients meet an untimely end when a bag breaks. There are lots of little things that can happen to set back your food budget when it isn’t very large in the first place.
Thankfully, I’ve learned a few “bare minimum” recipes over the years so that I can still make the most of dinnertime even when I’m limited by my ingredients!
I am a sucker for free money (or gift cards,) but the idea of filling out 20-60 minute surveys for what amounts to spare change is agonizingly boring. My time is valuable, and I don’t have enough of it as it is. That’s why my favorite reward apps are the ones that I can mostly set and forget, or that are easy to use.
These apps aren’t going to give you huge payouts right away, but they do give you a reward here and there for very little effort.
Here are ten of my favorite rewards apps!
Do you hate carrying around a purse? I certainly do. Purses are nice for always having a little of everything on hand, but they are a pain in the behind to manage sometimes. I went several years using only my clutch wallet at every available opportunity. Then I went several years after that just using a phone case wallet that I could slip into my pocket.
But shopping lists, guys. Shopping lists are so hard to keep track of. I tend to like using those shopping list notepads, but they don’t fit nicely in my wallet. Also, it is really easy to lose them among the detritus of shopping receipts. I wanted something small enough to fit nicely into one of the card pockets of my wallet, so I sat down one afternoon and put together this free printable list template.
Mr. Sublime and I have been extra frugal recently. We are making a conscious effort to cut our spending so we can get the last of our credit card debt paid off and can replenish our emergency fund that was depleted by some costly but necessary car repairs. We’ve really cut back on our “convenience” items. Anything that we don’t absolutely need or can somehow squeeze by without has been crossed off the shopping list. It is times like these that I am extremely thankful I was persistent enough back in college to learn how to knit, because it has been an invaluable skill during these past few weeks.
I didn’t realize how much we actually buy (and throw away) until I wasn’t able to just run to the store for a new pack of headbands when my dogs had a field day chewing all of mine apart. It wasn’t a necessity because I can obviously live without a headband, but I like wearing one. Headbands have been a staple of my wardrobe since I was a pimply preteen, so I was pretty lost without one for a week before I remembered that I could probably just make one.
And I did. Make one, that is. In the grand scheme of things, it only saved me a dollar or two, but those small amounts add up over time. Plus, it works really well! It doesn’t slip as much as its store-bought counterparts, so I doubt I will be buying them even when our spending freeze is lifted.
Reading is an important and beloved past time in my house. Mini has either inherited my love for reading or picked up on my enthusiasm for it. Whatever the reason, she will happily demand that we read her a book at least ten times in a row before she is thoroughly satisfied.
The following books are some of her favorite animal-related reads. In addition to their superb writing and illustrations, they all impart great lessons in a fun and age-appropriate manner. So, if you are looking for some new additions to your child’s bookshelf or just want some ideas for your next trip to the library, keep these in mind!
It is a well-known fact among family and friends that I have a slight addiction to kitchen gadgets. I love the idea of making some of the more unsavory cooking tasks more convenient, and I feel like a total boss when I’m surrounded by whirring, blinking gizmos as I hard-boil an egg or something.
Thankfully, I’ve mostly gotten over this particular addiction. It didn’t take long to realize that many of the “time-saving” kitchen tools and appliances are typically more cumbersome than helpful. And don’t believe any infomercial that uses the words “so easy to clean.” It’s a lie. It’s always a lie!
I’ve managed to trim down my counter clutter quite a bit, and now I only have a handful of specialty items that I keep in my kitchen. Most of them get to keep their rockstar status because they make it much easier to make basic staple foods that I would otherwise have to buy or spend hours doing it entirely by hand. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of scratch cooking, consider investing in some of the following gadgets and tools to save yourself some time (and money.)
With Christmas just around the corner, you may be reaching panic-mode. Maybe you don’t have a ton of money to spend on presents for your kids, and now you don’t know what to do. Maybe you’re like me and just can’t help but procrastinate constantly. Either way, I have one word for you: relax. It’s going to be okay.
You still have plenty of time (even if you’re reading this on Christmas Eve) to make your kids some great and inexpensive holiday gifts. I have made you a handy list of some of the best DIY projects for kids to get you started!
I am a complete sucker for any kind of paper jewelry. Maybe because I am a sucker for paper in general? But really, if someone has the willpower to not want to wear tiny little letters around their neck, it is definitely not me. No willpower here. Zilch. Nada.
If you were wondering: yes, that is a tiny little envelope, and yes, it does have an equally tiny written note inside it. And yes, I really will wear it. I might even have trouble making myself take it off.
These miniature envelope necklaces are super easy to make and they are quite possibly the most adorable thing ever. Plus, they work like a normal envelope, so you can put things inside them. Mini love letters, sentimental messages, secrets. The possibilities are pretty endless.
Let’s get started!
Every once in a while, I get a craving for something sweet, delicious, and full of dairy. Sometimes said craving just cannot be sated with any of the usual confections, so I have to get a bit creative and make something up. These mini yogurt cheesecake pies are a perfect example of my raging taste buds at work.
I wanted pie, but with a smooth filling, and I wanted it bite-sized.
See? I told you my cravings get demanding.
I played around in the kitchen for a bit until I came up with the perfect little dessert. Trust me, they may look messy, but they are delicious. Mr. Sublime, who doesn’t even like yogurt, almost ate the entire plate of them before I snatched away the last few for my greedy self. Even better, they are super easy to make!
Meal planning is necessary if you want to maximize your grocery savings. Successful meal planning uses many of the same ingredients in dishes throughout the week so that any perishables don’t go to waste. You’re also less likely to pick up the phone for take-out if you already have an idea of what to make for dinner. Having a template makes the process much easier, so I made this cute printable meal planner. This is what I use every week for my family and it definitely helps!