Gardening in Arizona has been a challenge for us. Each year we try something different to see if it helps grow more bounty. We have been blessed with great neighbors with animals that give us all the horse manure we can use. That in itself has improved our soil in our garden. Our soil is clay that is on the alkaline side with lots of rocks & weeds and needs lot of amendments so when have opted for above ground and/or raised beds. We also grow in containers too.
In the Ash Fork area where we live we have to haul water or have it delivered which is a challenge in itself but when it comes to gardening are water usage doubles in the growing season or until monsoons arrive.
Starting plants from seeds seem to do well for us but keeping the plant alive through the hottest days of summer is another challenge.
Final challenge is the wild life and free ranging cows-cows are much easier to deal with we just have to keep our gate shut but the wild life so frustrating! Last year a gray squirrel kept digging in my raised beds and eating some of my vegetables.
The photos below are from previous years.
At the beginning of the year I decided that I wouldn’t spend as much money on groceries and household items and use up what I already had in my house. With the exception of dairy products and meats. Plus over the summer I bought local produce from our farmers markets.
While I don’t consider myself an extreme couponer I am pretty good at saving money using coupons, buying what’s on sale and stocking up on those sales items. For example- I have not bought paper towels since March 2018. Granted my supply of paper towels are getting low so at some time I will have to buy more. For now I’m using what I have and will start looking for sales.
Another thing my my hubby and I have been doing is eating foods from our freezer, pantry and cabinets. This is a good thing because I had lost track of what all we had where. Having a simple inventory sheet for each area helped for quite a while and I highly recommend using one, but I admit I got lazy and quit using them. So instead of looking on the inventory sheet we had to dig through the freezer to see what was in there. Not fun! Pantry and cabinets are more organized because when something goes in there it gets put in the right area right away.
So how did I think we did at using what we had on hand- Fantastic! Not only did we save money but we used up things that were the oldest. No more finding something that expired 4 months ago. At the end of the year I ‘ll add up my receipts and compare to last year and see if I was truly successful. Even before that happens I feel that we were successful and saved our household money.
Buy only what you need not what you want. We hear that over and over but it is something that I live by. This time of year especially, my jobs slow down- from now until March of next year. So I take stock of what I already have in my pantry, freezer, refrigerator, cabinet and closets.
I f something goes on sale and it is something I need then I’ll buy at least 2 or whatever my budget always for that week. Our first priorities are to pay our bills so some weeks I may not buy anything.
We don’t have a huge stockpile of food and paper products like I wish we did but we have plenty for just the 2 of us. Cooking from scratch and eating whole foods really does help to save money and tastes better too.
This was a good shopping trip for stocking up on pantry items. I purchased 25 items for under $20. First stop was the Dollar General website which I clipped the digital coupons (even tho I didn't use any) , second I did a survey from my last receipt and I was emailed a coupon $2.00 off $20.00 all before leaving home. Other than coupons I had a list of items that I want to stock my pantry with, mostly canned items for longer storage. The other items like flour, sugar, brownie mix and instant potatoes will be fairly quickly. The Gold Metal AP Flour was $2.00 for 5 lbs, that's a pretty price. DG brand of sugar was $2.00 for 4 lbs as well. Since I bake a lot I try to keep those staples on hand. Canned vegetables are 2/$1.00, canned diced tomatoes are $0.70 each, Carnation Evaporated milk $1.00 and DG brand cream soups $.50 each. I'm slowly building up our pantry but that's okay because I don't always have the extra money to buy stock up items. So some weeks or months it may only be 1 or 2 items I buy or on occasion 25 items. Anyone can build up a pantry by adding a couple cans of vegetables, fruits or soups each week/month. Start with a list of items you and your family will eat, watch for sales or check different stores prices and decide how much of your food budget can go towards filling your pantry. Happy Shopping!
Have you ever opened your freezer door and something falls out on your foot? Well I sure have. My refrigerator freezer doesn't have a shelf, it never came with one. Wow I can't believe how much of a mess it gets. I try to freeze most things flat so they will stack but that isn't always the case. The small rack and the black food container only helps so much as you can see. I ended up pulling turkey, turkey stock and the last of the ham leftover from Christmas and pressure canned them so now they are shelf stable. It still needs to be organized but has so much more room. Can you relate?
My printer is on the fritz so I went to my local library a few days ago to print off a couple papers I needed. While there I looked around to see what movies they have. I decided on to check out dvd's to watch instead of regular tv-limited to 4 channels. This weekend the weather was cold and snowy so I have been watching seasons of tv shows. It sure is a nice change and no commercials. I definitely have under utilized my local library and missed out on activities there as well. Be sure to check out your local library who knows what kind of fun things you'll find. I know I sure will and it's free.
I don't know about you but I like to have fresh vegetables in the Winter. I always start lettuce & spinach to have fresh salad greens throughout the winter. I cut some of the leaves and let them grow back. This year I also started radishes and carrots but so far only radishes have sprouted. Another tray will be started soon but I haven't decided what else to grow. The temp dipped down below 30 I'll be bringing the pans inside to put in a sunny window. You can do this too it's easy and good for you.
This was a quick trip after doing some merchandising work but even tho it was quick I was able to save $50.00 or 55% in this trip. I finally picked up the turkey for Thanksgiving- 18+ lb frozen turkey for $11.60, 6 boxes of stove top stuffing $6.00, Best Foods Mayo $2.99, 4 cans Swanson broth $2.00 and more for a total of $40.21. Now I was happy with that total. I didn't use any paper coupons but I did load digital coupons to my Safeway card.
After I got home I was get cash back from 2 apps on my phone. The first was Checkout51 where I earned $1.25 cash back. Best Foods mayo $1.00
The second was from Savingstar where I earned $1.00 cash back on Best Foods Mayo.
So the mayo ended up costing my $0.99. If I would have printed a coupon (no longer available) from coupons.com it would have brought the price down even more on the Best Foods Mayo.
Don't be like me and miss out on savings click on the link below and save on your broth. There are many other coupons available like Reynolds Foil, Campbell's Condensed Soup, Mezettas Olives, Ziploc Bags and more.
Thrifty living started many,many years ago.
It was tough to start out as young newlyweds combining households, income and everything else. I had way more stuff than my husband did so moving into a new place wasn't so hard as far as making it a home. We had family that helped us with furniture, kitchen stuff, and more. I shopped at thrift stores to find those odds and ends that you realize you need.
We also had to learn to budget our money. It can be a struggle at first but then it gets easier. We found that paying a little towards bills every week or bi-weekly helped stretch each pay check. Paying that way instead a huge chunk our at once left no money for food or other expenses.
The food part wasn't hard for me I was lucky enough to have a great Home Economics teacher in Jr High and she moved to my high school the same year I did. I learned so much from her- Thank You Mrs. Young! Cooking from scratch helped then and now. I've also taught myself how to can and preserve food. More on that in another post.
Happy Thrifty Living!
Condiments aren't something that I ask for when ordering fast food because I feel that if the fries are good enough they don't need ketchup. Now if they put them in my bag that's fine they will get used. The ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc packets get put in a zip top bag and put in one of the drawers in the refrigerator, in a lunch bag or used when we grill outside. My husband complains if we have to many and throws them away when he can so I try not to keep very many at any given time.
Salt and Pepper packets are different those get opened and put in the salt and pepper shakers. Plus the paper wrappers get put in my compost.
These are everyday items that don't get much thought and get tossed out. You won't believe how many times we have ran out of ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise in my house and these little packets made it onto a sandwich of some sort. :)
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Hello I'm Michele & I'm the matriarch of the Leverone Family Farm. I'm a wife, a mother of 2 grown/married sons and have 4 adorable grand kids. Thrifty for more than 30 years. I love gardening, cooking and saving money.