Tag Archives: Living on a Dime

Crazy Week Pitfalls

Oh My Goodness!!!  Last week was definitely one of those crazy weeks.  I was so busy that my weekly shopping was being pushed out-of-the-way for more important obligations that needed my attention.  We were still doing fine with meals for dinner.  Thank God for Angel Food Ministries keeping my freezer affordably stocked!!  However, our lunch and breakfast items were running extremely low or completely out.

Drastic measures were being taken.  I began stopping at the little corner convenient store near our home  for bread, milk, and other foods to tie us over until I could manage a grocery trip.  I spent $5 for a gallon of milk.  $3 for a loaf of bread.  Each purchase was dipping into my weekly budget of $120.  We even had to make a fast food drive by while getting from one event to another only because we didn’t have bread or peanut butter to make sandwiches.   I am ashamed to say that I completely fell for the “crazy week pitfall!”  And it was quite pitiful I might add.

So yesterday I had a window of opportunity to sit down to make out my grocery list.  We had just picked up our Angel Food so we were good to go with dinners for the next four weeks.  I sat there and planned out the meals like I always do.  I checked my pantry and refrigerator for items that needed replenishing or for items I had to make the delicious meals I was planning.  I was on top of everything.

After the planning was done, I did my regular estimating of the cost.  $129 was the total.  OUCH!  Nine dollars over my budget.  But then remembering the stops throughout the week, I pulled out my receipts and started adding up what was already spent for the weekly Angel Food cost and those items purchased here and there all week.  Oh dear…..I only had $65 left of my weekly allowance.  A far cry from the $129 I just estimated.

At this point, I had a choice.  I could have just gone with the $129 menu or start over.  I chose to start over.  I reevaluated my list.  Cutting out things that we could wait another week for…..that elminated $30.  So then I looked at my menu of wonderful yummy meals and redesigned it.  Now, I was at a grand total of $85.  I worked and reworked that menu and couldn’t get it under $85.  That is $20 over my weekly allowance.

So, anyway, I was off to the ATM to get cash.  I could only get out $80 or $100.  Missing the old days of increments of $5, I selected $80 knowing that something was going to have to be sacrificed.  Armed with my list and $80, I set out to shop.

One trick I have learned while shopping is to use a calculator.  I have it in my hand the whole time I am putting things in my cart.  Adding a running total of the purchases in the buggy helps me keep within my alloted cash I have on me.  Plus this keeps me from having to guess how much I am spending and from the embarrassing, “oh dear, I don’t have enough money….let’s put back….”  Been there??

Another trick is I round up to the nearest dollar to compensate for the taxes.  I punch in $2 for a product that is priced $1.02.  This trick really helps out a lot. I would rather be way off on the calculator than way too short of cash at the register.

Well, as I was shopping and tallying up my expenditures, I was making decisions as well.  Like, for example, peanut butter….Mark loves crunchy, Justin doesn’t and Joellen can’t because of braces….well, instead of buying both I just got creamy.  Mark will live for a week without crunchy.  Instead of toothpaste that costs $2 I chose the $1 smaller one.  I know that the $2 bigger one will eventually cost me less because it will go further but I didn’t have the wiggle room this week.  Clean healthy teeth was my goal.  Those little last minute decisions paid off.

I spent $70 on the nose. I had $10 to spare.  I was only $5 over my budget. Needless to say that the smile across my face at the register was worth the hard work.  So a lesson was learned, when you get in a crunch for time and think that it is worth stopping at the convenient store for necessities, the price paid will only end up costing you in the long run.

An Englishman Once Said…

There are days around here when I get pretty lonely.  The kids have gone back to school and I am left to do the housework alone.  Sometimes I just have to have noise in the house for company.   I had the TV on for background noise.  It was on our local PBS station.  (Remember, we do not have cable or satellite at our house.) I don’t even know what the program was but it caught my attention.

The gentleman on the set was explaining the difference between Americans and the English.  He brought out a tea table as an example.  He explained to the American culture this old table was junk.  Pointing out the glass rings, scuffs and discolorment on the little table, he commented that the English would place  a piece of fabric over the top and enjoy tea.  We, Americans, however would either repaint or replace.  He stated so matter-a-factly that since we live in a disposable culture we would simple toss the table out and find a new one.  Then pointing to the floor he drew the viewers attention to the rugs.  There were rugs on top of rugs.  Peeling back the edges of each rug, he exposed the wear and tear from years of use.  Again, he said that the English has created a very stylish look by covering up the shabby.

This got me to thinking…Have we forgotten how to be satisfied with what we own?  Has our disposable attitude towards things gone so far that an Englishman is bashing our  lifestyle on PBS??  Have we forgotten the old saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned?”

Oh my, have we forgotten what that means?  Not spending money is as good as earning it….. And by the way, a famous Englishman, Charles Dickens quoted that in the 19th Century.  I know people who will just cringe at my suggestion…. not to replace anything broken, tarnished, or scratched????  Could I be suggesting to hold off on major redecorating because we have grown tired of the color?  Are we going to live up to the Englishman’s accusations???

“NOT ME!”  I shouted at the TV set.  Then as I looked around my horribly stained carpet and thought, “Hope I can find nice rugs at yard sales cause this carpet needs to be covered.”

Fried Pies

At a southern deli or restaurant, you can find a modern day version of an old tradition…. fried pies.  I will never forget introducing this southern pie to my husband who is from the Northeast.  To say the least, he has enjoyed every mouth-watering fried pie I make.

The history of the fried pie is a difficult one to pin point.  Some  believe they are the offspring of  New Hampshire’s “crab lanterns.”  Others say they are primarily a southern tradition that began to use scraps of dough and dried apples.  Then there are those who believe the fried pie is a relative to the “turn over.”  Whatever the case may be…..the fried pie has had a significant place in my family.

My Grandmother, Bonnie, would make fried pies as soon as her apple tree started dropping apples.  She would collect the apples in her apron, cut off the bird pecks, and cook up those apples with lots of sugar and cinnamon.  When she was younger, she would use biscuit dough left over from making biscuits.  But as she got older she began using canned biscuits and rolling them out flat then filling those suckers with her apples.

I can remember my Grandfather coming home from work and smelling the fried pies.  He would be smiling from ear to ear and Grandma had to shoo him from the kitchen so he wouldn’t spoil his dinner.

There are dozens of fillings for those pies.  Apples are a staple but you can find chocolate, peach, blueberry (my favorite), cherry, blackberry, boisenberry….any fruit you can think of can go into those pies.

A few years ago, I found a newspaper article that was about fried pies.  It was about a lady whose grandmother used to make her fried pies out of pie crust leftovers and sugar.  She would use different food colors to make a rainbow of fillings.  The lady explained that it was always fun to find out what color you got.  My family’s favorite is cinnamon sugar fried pies.  They will dance a jig if they see me making them!!

Here is a few recipes that you might can use to make delicious fried pies!!

Colored Sugar Fried Pies

pie crust scraps, pie crust dough, biscuit dough or canned biscuits

1/4 cup granulated sugar


Food coloring of choice

Roll dough into a circle 5-7 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle sugar across bottom half of circle.  Divide a pat of butter into thirds and place on top of sugar.  If desired, drop 1 drop of food coloring of choice on each pat of butter.  Fold top half of dough over bottom half, press edges of dough together using tines of a fork.  Poke a few holes in top to let steam escape.  Bake @ 425 degrees until brown.

Cinnamon Sugar Fried Pies

pie crust dough, biscuit dough, or canned biscuits

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Ground cinnamon


Oil or Butter for frying

Roll  dough into a circle about 5 inches in diameter, sprinkle sugar on top and cinnamon too.  Place dot of butter over sugar.  Fold dough over to form a half circle. Using tines of fork, press edges together.  Heat oil or butter in a skillet and fry dough, turning once to brown both sides.  Butter will melt into sugar and make sugar fried pie.** I use cinnamon sugar… you can find it in the spice aisle of gro. store or make your own.

Fruit Fried Pies

pie, biscuit or canned biscuit dough

Fruit of your choice chopped or mashed



oil or butter for frying

Roll  dough into a circle about 5 inches in diameter, sprinkle sugar on top and spoonful of mashed fruit.  Place dot of butter over sugar and fruit.  Fold dough over to form a half circle.  Using tines of a fork press edges together. Heat oil or butter in a skillet and fry dough, turning once to brown both sides.  Butter will melt into sugar and make sugar fried pie.

I hope you enjoy making these wonderul fried pies!!  And they are cheap to make!!  Thank God for Grandmas!!

Wal-Mart and Ice Cream

Oh…..my…. goodness!!  Have you seen the Wal-Mart commercial about saving money and eating ice cream at home????  For $3 a family can have ice cream sundaes at home and save hundreds of dollars by not going out for ice cream.   Once again, I agree that eating ice cream out is more expensive than eating at home.

Occasionally, we go out for ice cream.  We will go to McDonald’s and have a $1 sundae.  But this is a rare occasion.  But we do enjoy our own homemade Frosties!!   And it is sooooo cheap to make…. Take a look!!

Homemade Frosties

2 cups milk


4 Tbsp Nesquick

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter

Blend in blender until smooth….

Simple enough right???  Let’s see how much this costs:

2 cups milk= $.34

4 Tbsp Nesquick powder= $.18

Ice= Free

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter= $.004

Grand Total:  $.52 for 4 servings!!  Now if you add a little vanilla your cost might go up $.005….But it is definitely your decision whether or not you want to drive up your cost!!


Slightly Imperfect But It Works for Me!

Whenever I begin a redecorating project, I like to shop around to find best deals and great finds.   It has been well over due to paint our master bath.  A while back I decided on a beach theme.   So I set out to find the perfect  paint color.

First stop, Lowe’s and Home Depot…… I realize that their paint cost a bit more than Wal-Mart.  I know that a gallon of paint at Wal-Mart is $7.94.  If I can find a reject for a cheaper price, I will most certainly find a bargain.   If you go to the paint department, you will find on a shelf just by the mixing center.  On that shelf there are gallons of paint that is imperfect… meaning that the color wasn’t right.  It was off a hair or two.  The customer has rejected it and well…. they put it on sale.  This can definitely work in our favor.  The only pitfall is if there isn’t any color you like and it may take weeks, months, or years  before the color you want is rejected.  However, if you don’t mind the color, you have a wide selection to choose from.   I have also found Wal-Mart is doing it as well….

Second Stop, the Habitat for Humanity Store….Here you can find left over paint from the built Habitat Homes.  You can find the big 5 gallon or even larger cans.  These are mostly off white but sometimes if you are lucky contractors will donate colored paints to be sold as well.  The paint ranges between $3-$15 depending on the quality and quantity.  The extra bonus here is that you are helping Habitat for Humanity with your purchase.

If all else fails, I will end up at Wal-Mart buying the color of my choice.  Well, as it turned out, I found what I was looking for at Home Depot.  I paid $3.00 for a gallon of an imperfect sea green.  I fell in love with the color right off the bat!!  Oh, by the way, it looks great in my bathroom!!

Happy Bargain Hunting!!