Penny Pinchers


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Cut the cord already! And a few confessions…

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

There's a great article in the NYTimes today about options for those who wish to ditch cable. You can read it by clicking here.  I'm not advocating getting rid of cable; at least, I don't believe that's right for everyone. I DO however believe that you should shop around and find what works best for your family and lifestyle. Maybe it IS a money issue for you and you just can't afford cable.  Perhaps as an alternative you could get a strong antennae for network channels, and buy a cheap Hulu Plus subscription. Really it's the same as choosing your newspaper options: digital only? 7-days? Saturday and Sunday only? They're all options and they fit a variety of budgets and lifestyles!

In other news, I have a food waste confession. I had to throw away onions last night. The BF reminded me that onions are inexpensive and that I shouldn't feel that guilty about it, but I do.  See, we'd been gone quite a bit lately; we were on a ski trip for four days and then the following weekend were out of town again. Because of that, my bag of onions began growing.  I mean, like 4 of the onions had sprouted and probably, had I just put them out in the dirt, I'd have lots of onions later this season! Alas, they were mushy and just before rotten when I threw them out yesterday.  I did manage to salvage a few and used one the day before yesterday on a pizza.  I used another last night for stir fry, another this morning to season a chicken I'm cooking in the crockpot, and I'm using yet another on Friday for fajitas.

So that's it folks. I wasted food BUT am at least trying to avoid wasting anymore. If you're looking into the cable alternatives from that article here are my thoughts on several of them:

I like Hulu Plus because I have easy access to "Brooklyn 99," "The Daily Show," and the Danish version of "The Bridge." Its two downfalls are that it sometimes freezes and you have to completely restart your streaming device (we use ROKU) and that it doesn't remember what episode of a show you're on.  That's up to you.

Netflix we have almost abandoned, though we've considered getting the DVDs again. The best movies are available that way long before they're available for streaming.  We do enjoy watching some of the Netflix originals though, so we share a subscription with a friend and watch "House of Cards."

Amazon Prime is probably our favorite of the three.  Amazon has done a great job of creating original shows and we're anxiously awaiting new seasons of "Alpha House," "Transparent" and "Mozart in the Jungle." It has many of the same shows as Hulu Plus, but some, like The Daily Show, aren't available as quickly on Amazon as they are on Hulu.

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Richie saves a bundle

By Julie Norman
Thursday, March 12, 2015

This is Richie showing me the original price tag on a new coat that she bought and then her receipt showing that she saved a TON!  The original price was something like $250 and she got the coat for under $100! Richie was at Herberger's and purchased their coupon book for a small amount ($5 to $10).  With that she found a coupon that, along with sale pricing, helped her to save so much money on this awesome new winter work coat!

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A Penny Pinching Ski Lunch

By Julie Norman
Monday, February 23, 2015

We decided to take a trip to Snowmass this weekend to use 2 of our Classic Pass days. Snowmass, you ask??? How do we make that cheap at all???  It's not easy, but it can be accomplished by:

1. Not staying in Snowmass.

2. Not eating out for breakfast (we take something to heat up in the microwave in our room or we make do with whatever is at the "continental breakfast" at our hotel).

3. Not eating out on the hill for lunch. This is the part that really makes the difference.  Yes, we're going to eat out for dinner, but even that can be cheap..lunch on the mountain? No way. It's pricey!

Here's a picture of what we had to eat this weekend for our ski trip lunches:

We made bagel sandwiches (bagels were BOGO this week at City Market) using blueberry bagels, peanut butter and honey.  We also had packs of our favorite completely over the top processed crackers and (not pictured) granola bars. The beers? Yes, we splurged on those!  Still, a sandwich and 2 sides at a mid-mountain restaurant would easily set you back $20 PER PERSON. As it was, we spent $7 each on the beer. It was worth it though!

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Ask for a refund?

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I jus saw this post today from The Frugal Girl about asking for a refund when you miss a credit card payment.  I'm one of those crazy people who pays bills as soon as they arrive, but even I, on occassion, have forgotten a bill until after it's due date. Still, it's never occurred to me to ask for a refund! She's got some great tips for how to handle yourself if you find yourself in this situation.  It never hurts to try, right?

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Valentine’s Day Update

By Julie Norman
Monday, February 9, 2015

When I was at the store this past Saturday I remembered Valentine's Day was only a week away and I still had items to pick up! I searched the clearance bin for some good Open Nature filet mignons, but the ones I found looked too fatty.  So I wandered over to the regular Open Nature beef section and discovered 2 perfect sized New York Strip steaks for a total of $10! I was pretty pleased with that deal so I threw those in the cart.  Then I noticed my favorite yellow 50% off sticker looming nearby. I looked over and found grass-fed butcher's cut ground beef (93% lean) 50% off! I hardly ever buy ground beef, but I couldn't pass up that deal.

So let's recap:  so far we have 1 lb of large, raw ez peel shrimp for $7.50 and 2 NY Strips for $10 total. 

I've got lettuce, lemon and croutons for a caesar salad (about $5).

Dessert? I splurged on Breyer's Lactose Free vanilla but scored a BOGO deal on the Safeway brand of cool whip in a can. I also bought some Smucker's "Simply Natural" salted caramel topping.  We have roasted almonds at home that I thought would add a great topping too.  So dessert was around $10.

I do still want to get another vegetable, but I'm thinking maybe just some nice baked potatoes would be great with our surf and turf.  I've got those at home already too.  Let's assume a 5lb bag of potatoes (about $2.99) contains 8 potatoes.  That makes these .74 cents total.

So far then on Valentine's Day dinner I've spent: $33.25.  I'm pretty sure that unless you take your Valentine out to Taco Bell (not that there's anything wrong with that) you'll be hard pressed to spend less!

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