Penny Pinchers


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Frugal Frida Links: Cheap Vacations

By Julie Norman
Friday, April 18, 2014

It's almost summer, which means it's almost family vacation time!  If you're tired of stay-cations, this link has some great ideas on vacationing on the cheap. Other possibilties for cheap vacations include:

1. Camping.  Compared to staying in hotels, campgrounds are pretty darn cheap.  Add in the entertainment of roasting marshmallows, a campfire and nearby woods/creeks/meadows to play in, and you've got a weekend or week-long trip all ready to go.  Most campgrounds are usually close to other forms of inexpensive recreation like state or national parks, hiking trails or lakes for fishing.

2. Backpacking.  If you've got or can rent the gear, backpacking can be a fun alternative and a great way to get away from crowds and the hustle and bustle of city life. Adding kids to a backpacking trip definitely will make it more exciting and more difficult, but it's still a great option if they're old enough to hike.

3. Road Trips!  With a good old-fashioned road trip you can drive an economical car, take snacks with you and either camp at cheap or free campgrounds or treat yourself to a night or two at a nice Mom and Pop motel. We found several inexpensive options a few years ago on a trip up to Bozeman, MT and back.  It can take a few tries, but you can almost always find a good inexpensive place to stay.  Tip: Always ask to see a room before you pay for a night.

Try something different this year!  Vacations are about experiences and those don't always need to come with a hefty price tag.

Backpacking in the Big Blue Wilderness, July 2013.

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Leftovers

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ah, leftovers...to some they're the things that cause you to throw out your Tupperware.  To others, they're lunch!  Which category do you fall into?  Yesterday a friend and I were discussing leftovers. 

"I need to be better with the leftovers," he said.

"You do," I replied.

"I think it's a texture thing...I get to the last two bites of leftover pizza and I just can't do it!"

I'm not sure when the leftover attitude appears...as a kid are you the one who hates leftovers?  Or as an adult do you just decide they're not your thing?  Honestly, leftovers are one of the best money-savers around! They give you a chance to continue to use an item that you've already purchased instead of buying something else.   They are especially useful for lunches as they can keep you from spending $10 a day on a meal when there's something perfectly edible waiting for you in the fridge!

There are ways to change things up though.  You don't have to just eat leftover chicken.  Add in some chicken broth and some frozen corn, a bit of salsa and some diced avocado and you've got a tortilla soup.  Take those leftover noodles, add some cilantro, scallions and peanut sauce and you've got a great Thai meal.  Turn that leftover roast into an awesome sandwich!

Whatever you do, make it your goal to try to eat those leftovers.  You'll feel so much better when you can actually reuse your Tupperware instead of just having to toss it and its moldy contents in the trash.

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Frugal Friday Links: Cooking on a budget!

By Julie Norman
Friday, April 11, 2014

Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines.  Not only is it full of healthy recipes, but it often also has budget-friendly recipes.  Here's a recent link to many many budget friendly recipes for your family!

image from cooking light.com

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Clearance Ice Cream!

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yesterday while spending too much money at the grocery store, I discovered something.  A clearance ice cream section.  That's right. In the bottom of an end-cap freezer compartment are all sorts of "gourmet" ice cream treats for 50% off! With both people in my home being lactose-intolerant, finding ice cream can be difficult and pricey.  Usually I just make it myself.  Still, it's nice to know I can find stuf flike this when I need it for way less than I'd normally be forced to pay.

Also on clearance (but not in the ice cream compartment), shrimp and Open Nature thin-cut pork chops.  Score!

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Eating Downtown for CHEAP

By Julie Norman
Monday, April 7, 2014

I know I know...you don't think it's possible and my definition of "cheap" is probably like $15.  Well, you're wrong! I've been doing research for this piece (and not just by eating downtown a lot) for a while now and I have to say, it's not nearly as hard as you think to eat downtown in Grand Junction for, wait for it...$7 or less!  I found plenty of places where you could make some sort of "meal" for $7, but three of the best ones were:

Pablo's Pizza (3rd and Main Street)

I ate here not long ago with a friend for lunch.  I was super hungry and had 2 pieces of pizza.  I opted for water over sode and my total was right at $7.  I did leave a little tip in the tip jar, but Rachel Ray on her $40 a Day show never left tips at counter-service places so...that's up to you and not included in my $7 or less options here.

If you want an entire menu of options for $7 or less, check out Roasted Espresso and Subs on Colorado and 5th.   I've only had their chai, but I have friends who love their wraps.  You can get Sub Sandwiches for as little as $5, a Veggie Crunch Wrap for $6 and breakfast items all day long for $4-$5.  They have a great selection of vegetarian items too.

Finally, if you've never been to the Taqueria Guadalajara on the corner of Pitkin and 7th, you're missing out.  This is authentic Mexican cuisine.  Tiny corn tortilla carnitas tacos, horchada, and even chile relleno burritos!  (A friend here at the Sentinel tells me that burrito is a mere $4 and HUGE).  It's a great place to check out that is just a little off the beaten path.

 

So there ya go.  You CAN eat lunch out, without it being fast food, and still stay within your budget.

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