Score $5 or $10 from Checkout 51!

unnamed.pngCheckout 51 is a savings program that’s so easy to use, and no Smartphone is needed! It’s an app on your iPhone or Android phone, or you use your computer. Just purchased specific products (and these products change each Thursday, so make sure you check out the app/website before heading out to shop), scan and upload your receipts weekly. Checkout 51 is NOT store specific!

I’ve been using it for years, and I love that I’m able to save money when I shop at Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only- Two of my favorite stores that don’t accept coupons.

unnamed.jpgI also like that they frequently have bonuses- right now when you buy any 4 Colgate or Tom’s products, you’ll earn $5 Cash Back. And this is in addition to the individual rebates for Colgate & Tom’s product that are available!

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Right now, Checkout 51 has an awesome referral bonus!

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Invite a friend to join Checkout 51 and earn $10* once they become a saver.

Offers on Checkout 51 change weekly, so I recommend that you download and start saving!

 

*Disclosure* Most of those links are my personal links, so if you sign up I earn a few cents. When you sign up, you can share your links too and earn a little bit of green!

Three Easy Recipes for Curbing Food Waste!

About 40% of the food in the US is wasted– That is from the fields to your fridge. Pretty sad, right?  40% seems like a lot, and it is- if you break that down, on average, the typical American family throws away over 25 lbs of food per family member each year!  Throwing food away is throwing money away.

Here are some simple, frugal recipes that can help you curb the food waste in your home.

To curtail my family’s food waste, I cook mostly from scratch.  When it looks like fruit or veggies are about to go bad, I turn them into something.  Recently, I made spicy Pomodoro sauce when the tomatoes at my parents’ house were starting to look squiffy (we were house-sitting for them).

 

Mom had left 6 tomatoes in the fruit basket and they were starting to get soft.  I took them home and pulled the tomatoes and half of a sweet onion I had put in the freezer just a few days ago. The sauce was easy to make!

 

Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

Makes about 4 cups of sauce

  • 11 fresh, whole ripe tomatoes (they can be frozen)
  • 1/2 chopped large sweet onion (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon butter (or olive oil if you are vegan)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1T. Basil (dried)
  • 1 T. Oregano (dried)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon (a pinch) of crushed red pepper flakes.

 

  1. Saute onions in butter until clear, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook on low, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  3. Add whole tomatoes (it’s ok if they are frozen), cover pot and simmer on medium for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes start to fall apart.  Stir every 10 minutes or so.
  4. Add herbs.
  5. Simmer for 1-2 more hours.  Sauce will be chunky. Break up tomatoes as much as you’d like with a potato masher or a stick blender. Add Red pepper flakes about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Serve sauce on pasta of your choice or on a bed of lightly sauteed spinach.  If you don’t like your sauce spicy, omit the red pepper flakes.

 

86ed9fe0ab9a414c3c58b748e8ea6560.jpgAnother recent “from scratch” dish I made was strawberry syrup.  We’ve been getting a lot of strawberries lately, but last week, we didn’t get around to eating them all before they became a little squishy.

I hulled and chopped them up and tossed them into the freezer, in a bag with other chopped up hulled strawberries that were dead ripe.  The bag was getting full, so Saturday evening, I decided to make strawberry syrup for our Sunday morning pancakes.

I used my mom’s recipe for homemade pectin free jam and just didn’t cook it as long. You can substitute in any other fruit you prefer, except pineapple, kiwi, mangoes, bananas, or coconut (those fruits lack natural pectin and the mixture won’t thicken).  This is best with berries.

Strawberry pancake syrup

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 cups chopped ripe fruit (can be frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups of white sugar (do not use Splenda or honey)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  1. Add all of the ingredients together in a pot, cook on medium, and stir every 5-10 minutes to keep the sugar from burning.
  2. Once it has boiled and the fruit has thawed (if working with frozen fruit), mash up the fruit with a potato masher.
  3. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture looks glassy.
  4. Remove from heat, pour into a container with a lid. Once cooled,  you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The mixture will be slightly chunky, and not as firm as jam, but a little more substantial than pancake syrup. This is also good on ice cream or pour a few tablespoons into plain Greek yogurt.

There are a lot of great dishes you can make from scratch anytime- you don’t need to wait for the veggies or fruit to start to turn!

We make applesauce from scratch at least 3 times a month.

Applesauce in the Crockpot

It’s Simple! Peel and chop apples (whatever quantity and variety you have on hand), toss them into the crockpot with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and let it cook for 4-6 hours. Hot applesauce is the BEST!

I’d love to hear about how your family combats food waste. If you are looking for additional ideas, check out my post about food waste in 30 minutes here.

 

My Monthly Savings to do list, updated for 2019!

file000901554050I wrote about this topic 4 years ago, and my… how the savings game has changed. In addition to sharing how I save and earn money each month, I’ve included some other tips at the bottom of the post.

I still do a lot of the same things:

Weekly: Print coupons & Check Savings Apps. I print coupons from Coupons.comSmartSourceRedPlum, and check apps and add items that appeal before I hit the grocery store each week. Here is a list of the apps I use.

 

1st and 15th: Mail out SBKC junk mail envelopes. I process our mail when it all comes in and I put the junk mail in the envelopes as it comes in.

Daily: I spend a little time each day (usually while I drink my coffee in the morning working my points programs. This includes  Mypoints (I save all of my Mypoints emails and do them all at once, one time a day). I also check my Field Agent App to see if there are any quick tasks I can do to earn some extra money that day.

As I am notified via emailPaid View Point (some of the surveys are time sensitive- those usually pay extra!), PineCone Research (surveys must be completed 3-6 days upon receiving the email).

Last day of the month: Clean out coupon wallet and removed expiring/expired coupons.

As needed/codes become available: I use the Swagbucks tool bar to do most of my internet searches, so I earn Swagbucks points intermittently with that too. I also order free samples when I see them available online. I’ll be posting about what I do with all the samples coming up.

I try to do as much shopping online with discounts as I can.  That means I check with  Mypoints and Topcashback  to see who is giving the better points/cash back, and I shop online a lot (especially in the summer when I’ve got both kids at home- it’s easier on the budget).

 

Other ways you can save money: 

 

How do you keep track of all of your programs to save money?

 

Stretch your Grocery Budget with Free Produce Distributions!

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This list is only central, south bay, and east county locations. North County locations can be found on the Neighborhood Distribution Program website.

It’s a pretty common complaint that kids eat A LOT during the summer. There are lots of causes: Increased activity, change in schedules, and let’s face it- kids just eat a lot. This can increase a families grocery budget at a time when they are already spending extra money on activities for their kiddos.

I have a possible solution! Check out the San Diego and North County Food Bank Neighborhood Distribution Program! From their website, “The Neighborhood Distribution Program distributes food to thousands of individuals and families once a month at more than 20 different sites throughout San Diego County.

Distributions take place in our nonprofit partners’ parking lots. The majority of the food distributed consists of fresh fruits and vegetables which is part of the Food Bank’s Nutrition Initiative to provide healthy, nutrient-rich food to our clients.

Neighborhood Distribution Program sites welcome anyone in need of food assistance. I.D. and documentation ARE NOT required, and there are no income or asset restrictions for this program.”

You may be wondering, “But what do you get?” Well, one of the distribution points, Faith Chapel in Spring Valley posts photos on their  Meet the Need Ministry Instagram page!

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White onions, red potatoes, watermelons, honeydew melons, oranges and Washington apples were available today. And it’s not just a few of each. Each person who came through got a bag of white onion, a bag of red potatoes, 1 large watermelon, as many honeydew melons as they wanted, a bag of oranges, and a dozen apples.

This produce is often “ugly” or considered an “allowable second” (a production term used in several industries for an item that is functional but may not be perfect looking), but it’s always tasty and nutritious.

If you’ve got hungry faces that need food this summer, I recommend stopping by your local distribution at least once this summer. If you aren’t in the San Diego County area, check with your local food bank for Neighborhood Distribution Program.

Don’t forget that there are tons of free summer lunch locations all over the state of CA (for more info on San Diego locations, check out this post). Text FOOD  (Or COMIDA for a list in Spanish) to 877-877, or call 211 and you can find a list of free summer lunch locations near you.

And if you need further help, here is a post with food resources in San Diego County. If you are outside San Diego County, Feeding America has a really great Food Bank Locator.

 

Talk Back: What is your kids favorite summer snack?

Summer Fun on a Budget!

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It’s here again… Summer Vacation. Soon we shall hear the sounds of sighs, the boredom, and the wailing about how there is nothing to do or eat.

Ya’ll can feel me, right? Ok, so here are some ways to beat the boredom without breaking the bank.

Kids Bowl Free All Summer! Just pay for bowling shoe rental!

Free Summer Lunches for kids– Lots of locations have events or activities nearby, so you can have fun and have a free lunch!

The splash ground at Santee Lakes is GREAT! It’s only $2.00 per kid to play and if you park outside the Santee Lakes, you don’t have to pay to park! Take a picnic and it’s a great frugal outing! We go at least once a week in the summer and it’s always
a GREAT time!

The Santee Lakes hosts free summer movies throughout the summer.  If you park your car outside the gates (there is lots of street parking!), there is no cost of the movies.  If you drive your car into the park, it’s $8.00 per car, regardless of how many ppl are in your car.   Bring a picnic and some blankets and kick back for a fun family movie!

There are a bunch of municipal pools in San Diego that have open swim times, and a couple that have splash pads!

Most San Diego, CA area YMCA locations have fun events for kids a few Saturday nights per month. Our local Y does Kids Night at the Y twice a month. It’s only $20 per kid (Just a little more if you aren’t a member), and your kids go have fun for 4 hours. It’s cheaper than a sitter and a lot more fun!

Speaking of the YMCA- Most locations have pools, splash pads, or other aquatic fun, entrance is included with YMCA membership. If you aren’t a member, entrance fees are just a few dollars (it varies by location).

Balboa Park still offers Free Tuesdays at various museums in the park.

San Diego County Libraries have story time and various kid events each week.  I love taking the kids to the Santee library story time!

El Cajon, La Mesa, and Escondido all have classic car shows/rallies each week that are free.  Most have free live music too!  Check out some sweet rides, cool tunes, and have a fun frugal night with the fam!

San Diego County has great parks, as do most of the cities in San Diego County! Our favorite parks include Big Rock Park in Santee, Kennedy Park in El Cajon, La Mesita/Junior Seau Park in La Mesa, Harry Griffin Park in La Mesa (great for little kids).

If you’ve got a Starwood Managed Mall Near you (We do- It’s Parkway Plaza), check out their fun kid’s events each month called: MallStars.  There are different crafts, games, and sometimes even snacks for the kids (10 and under) to do! Times and locations within the mall vary, so check with mall management.

Talk Back: What kind of stuff do you do to keep your family entertained for free?

Photo Freebies & Deals, Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

Three weeks until Mother’s Day, and there is still time to make a fun, frugal photo gift for the mom (or grandma) in your life.

Ya’ll know how much I love photo gifts- They are perfect for our family that lives all over the country. We don’t see them much in person, except for the weekly FaceTime chats, so photo gifts are a great way to stay connected.

If you want to send a photo in a frame, Free 8×10 Photo Print at CVS (chose the pick up at the local store to save on shipping costs). You can score a great frame at Michael’s or Joann’s with one of their coupons- which are plentiful online and in their apps.

York Photo is offering a 5×7 Softcover Book for FREE from York Photo (just pay shipping- which starts at $4). I love these type of photo books because they are the best size for grandmothers to stick in their purses and pull out to show all their friends.  Use Promo Code: Soft5x7 at checkout!

If the mom/grandma in your life is more of a mug person, York Photo is offering a Free 11oz. Ceramic Mug. (just pay shipping- which starts at $6). Use Use Promo Code: FBHOT at checkout!

 

 

 

Canvas People  has a great deal: Receive your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas or get 65% off any other size Canvas from CanvasPeople, just pay shipping.

 

Order your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas from Easy Canvas Prints, just pay shipping.

Upcoming Clothing Swaps!

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It’s time to start cleaning out the closets, dressers, and drawers! My favorite clothing swap is this weekend!

I love clothing swaps- it’s a great way to get gently worn clothes and other goods (I love looking for linens and new accessories), and get rid of the clothing your kids have outgrown.

The Skyline Swap is scheduled for March 30, 2019. I’ve got it in my calendar and I’ve started the bag of clothes to swap! It costs $2.00 to get in, kids under 12 are free. I have two huge bags in my garage ready to go!!

Porchlight Community is hosting a Clothing Swap on April 27th at their office in Clairemont.

And if you’ve got kids, Bethel Christian Assembly in Alpine is hosting a kids clothing, toy, and gear swap on June 8th.

And as always, here are a few other clothing resources:

Naomi’s Closet is located in Santee, and they provide clothing and toiletries to women in need.

The Sonrise Church in Santee has a clothing swap too! One for kids clothes, and another for women’s clothing. Miss Charity’s Closet & Little Blessings Boutique 2nd Saturday of every month at 9:00 am Contact Charity Murphy for more info clmurphy71@gmail.com

If you are looking for a group that hosts clothing swaps more frequently, check it out the Thread Bumpin’ Meet up Group. They host a monthly swap in OB area.

And Finally, the Closet of 54th isn’t a clothing swap per se, but they do help those in need with new to them clothes. They are open once a few times each month. You can find them on Facebook. They are located at the Calvary Lutheran Church, 3060 54th Street, San Diego, CA. Contact The Closet at thecloseton54th@gmail.com.

 

Talk Back:  I’d love to hear about other San Diego area clothing swaps that you know of! Favorite swaps and/or what your best score has been!