Penny Pinchers

Page 15 of 33

Squirrling away for winter…

By Julie Norman
Monday, July 28, 2014

Like a little squirrel hiding pine nuts and acorns for winter, I've been busy freezing zucchini and corn for that season too.  Though my zucchini is coming along slowly, a friend growing a different variety keeps bringing in huge ones to work.  If no one else grabs them, I take them home, grate them up and freeze them for zucchini bread later in the season. This recipe is my go-to zucchini bread recipe.

I also discovered City Market had Olathe Sweet Corn 5 ears for $1 this week!  WHAT A BARGAIN! I'd already gotten some from Safeway, but yesterday I ran down to CM and got 12 more ears for $2.40.  I mean...can you really beat that? I kept two out for tonight but blanched and cut the rest off the cob for freezing.  Between my Safeway and CM trips I have 3 quart bags of corn in the freezer.  Let me tell you, if it's still that cheap next week I'm buying more!

What's coming up later in the season? Well if the flowers on them are any indication I'll be overrun with zucchini, spaghetti and butternut squash.  My tomatoes and peppers are already producing lots and my cucumbers are right behind them.  While I can't freeze the cucumbers, I can most definitely freeze tomatoes and peppers.  The squash will keep just fine in a cool place for a while (the winter varieties anyway).

Finally, I"m keeping an eye out for City Market's sale on Hatch Green Chiles.  Last year they had them for .99/lb.  Yes, I can go buy them already done from a farm stand, but they make my house smell SO GOOD when they're roasting! Then I'll peel them and freeze 3-4 chiles per bag for chili verde, green chile and cheese quesadillas and all sorts of other awesome dishes for winter.

If you've got the space and the income right now, buy a chest freezer.  This is the time of year when everything from peaches to peppers is in abundance and you'll be grateful this winter that you were able to capture as much summer goodness as possible.


Facing Reality

By Julie Norman
Friday, July 25, 2014

If money is becoming more and more of an issue in your life, sometimes it helps to just get a kick in the pants.  This article from Yahoo Finance will force you to take a cold hard look in the mirror!

I feel pretty lucky that these aren't serious issues for me.  I am rarely an impulse shopper and in fact will often "wait" until I just don't want something anymore. Or have forgotten about it...if anything I tend to be one of those annoying, "Man...I need some new tennis shoes..." people who will just continue to say that and not ever buy new shoes!

I do use my credit card, but I keep the balance low and to a point that I know I could pay off completely if I had to; I don't always try to because the card has a very low interest rate and I make way more than the minimum payments on it when there's a balance. Mostly this article seems to be aimed at those of us who think "things" will make us happy.  Here's the thing: they won't.  Those things are just filling a void and emptying your bank account at the same time. 

Listen to the words of Voltaire: I've decided to be happy because it's good for my health.


Lunch on the Cheap

By Julie Norman
Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some days leftovers just won't cut it, right? You scrounge around but there's just nothing there! Even if there is, maybe this is one of those mornings when you just don't have time to make a lunch before rushing off to work. So, sometimes eating lunch "out" is just inevitable, but that doesn't mean it has to be expensive. 

While this isn't the best pic, this quesadilla from Taqueria Guadalajara (7th and Pitkin) is a great, cheap lunch.  If you just get the cheese one it's only $3.75.  Today I got that and a small horchata (awesome cinnamon and rice drink) and spent maybe $7 with tax and a small tip. It IS possible, to find great cheap lunch options without resorting to the Taco Bell!


Is it Better to Rent or Buy?

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When you're just out of high school or college, renting is what makes sense.  You most likely don't have money saved for a down payment on a house, and you haven't had time to build up any sort of credit from owning cars, renting or having credit cards.  But as you get older, having a place of your own, whether it's a flat, a duplex, a giant house or a tiny house, makes all the difference.

This is the backyard at our little house.  We've had it for 2 years now and I wouldn't trade it for the world!  Before that we did own a condo, and that was great too for a time.  In both situations we have/had the freedom to make changes to paint colors, add built-in shelving, loft space and more.

This diagram and accompanying article from the New York Times provides a lot of insight on how to decide if renting or buying is right for you!


Chicken and Free Stuff to Do

By Julie Norman
Monday, July 21, 2014

Saturday was a full day of activity for me.  First my friend and I headed up to the Mesa for some cool temperatures and wildflower viewing while biking.  The Mesa is a great place to head to for free activities in the summer: you can hike, kayak in the lakes and reservoirs, fish, camp, etc.  It's beautiful up there and if you haven't been yet this season, what are you waiting for?  All it costs is gas money!

We also hiked in town at Lunch Loop on Sunday.  Again, all it costs is gas money and it's a great way to get out and about on the weekends.

BUT back to Saturday...after our return to town I went to the grocery store to get the week's shopping done.  I was excited to see the fish/seafood clearance cooler stocked full of stuff! I got 2 large (about 1lb each) packages of salmon for 50% off! THEN I got even luckier and found an Open Nature 6 lb chicken for 50% off.  Basically I got it for .99/lb! I immediately texted my friend that she should come for dinner Sunday night and started making plans for roasting this chicken.

Click the image to go to the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Roast Chicken.  It's my go-to recipe for at least remembering what temp to cook the chicken.  A whole chicken is an expensive way to have a great, elegant meal.  You can use the leftovers for so many things: making broth, chicken pie, sandwiches, etc.  If you've never tried it, go for it!

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