Is Part of Your 2019 New Years Resolution to Save Money?

file7251237401168.jpgDoesn’t everyone want to save money?

There is no better time to start than January 1st- New Year, New Start!

If you want to start the year off with a frugal mind, check out my posts below. I wrote most of them a few years ago, but all the advice/tips/tricks are still applicable.

Here are the top ten resolutions, and tips on how to make them all happen!

Resolution: #1 Make More Money!
Resolution #2: I want to save money!
Resolution #3- Live a richer, fuller life (without spending more money)
Resolution #4- Spend More Time with your Family (without breaking the bank)!
Resolution #5 & #6 Exercise & Lose Weight
Resolution #7: Get Organized
Resolution #8: Learn Something New
Resolution #9: Quit Smoking
Resolution #10: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If you feel like you are too busy to “deal with” coupons:

6 Tips to Save Money WITHOUT Clipping Coupons!
How to save money without coupons: Part One- Meat!
How to save money without coupons: Part Two- Produce!
Simple Steps to Save at Target

I hope these tips and articles help!

 

Talk Back: How do you plan to save money in the new year?

Support your New Years Resolutions with our Uplifting Prize Pack!

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Three weeks into the new Year and there are so many of us that are settling into our routines that incorporate our New Year Resolutions (NYR). One thing that really helped me is posting our family’s weekly meal plan. I love the Weekly Meal Planner pad from Shutterfly- It’s easy to use!

I’ve partnered with my friend Brooke, over at Crying Out Loud to help one lucky winner with their NYR with an awesome Uplifting Prize Pack!

This Prize pack includes:

  • Yoga Toe Socks
  • Adult Coloring Coffee Tumbler (I go one of these for Christmas and I love it! I use it daily- it helps me stay out of the coffee shop). I’ve stuffed it with some of my favorite tea bags!
  • The Gratitude Journal for Women
  • Weekly Meal Planner pad (30 pages)- That’s enough for a whole year, plus a few extras.
  • Multi-color Unicorn Pen
  • $25 Tiny Tags Gift Certificate
  • $10 Starbucks GC (not shown)

To Enter to win, Click here or here to enter.  We’ll randomly choose a winner on 1/27/18. Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Don’t forget to leave a comment as part of the mandatory first entry! Have you turned your NYR into a habit yet? If so, how? If not, Do you need support?

2 freebies from Kroger Stores!

I love that the Kroger Stores do a free Friday Download coupon most weeks. It’s a chance to try new food for free.

This week both Food4less and Ralphs have a different freebie!

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The Food4Less freebie is a spicy one!FREE Doritos Dinamitas Receive ONE (1) FREE Doritos Dinamitas, any variety (4.25 oz.). Available in most stores. Exp 01/14/2018

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Ralphs Freebie is for those of us trying to eat a little healthier!FREE Del Monte Fruit Refresher or Fruit & Chia Receive ONE (1) FREE Del Monte Fruit Refresher or Fruit & Chia (14 oz.). Available in most stores. Exp 01/14/2018

If you are new to Free Friday Downloads from Ralph’s, here is more info about how it works:

WHAT IS FREE FRIDAY DOWNLOAD? An exclusive benefit to having an account online at ralphs.com is FREE products (yes, we said FREE!). When you download the free product coupon, it will be loaded directly to your Shopper’s Card and applied at checkout in-store.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Visit this page on Fridays

DOWNLOAD the digital coupon for the free product (make sure to download between 12:01 am and 11:59pm PT). View the coupon under ‘My Coupons’ in your account online or in the mobile app.

You have two weeks to redeem this coupon in store! Pick up the product at your local Ralphs store and digital coupon will automatically apply at checkout.

 

Is Part of Your New Years Resolution to Save Money?

file7251237401168.jpgDoesn’t everyone want to save money?

There is no better time to start than January 1st- New Year, New Start!

If you want to start the year off with a Frugal Mind, Check out my posts below. I wrote most of them a few years ago, but all the advice/tips/tricks are still applicable.

Here are the top ten resolutions, and tips on how to make them all happen!

Resolution: #1 Make More Money!
Resolution #2: I want to save money!
Resolution #3- Live a richer, fuller life (without spending more money)
Resolution #4- Spend More Time with your Family (without breaking the bank)!
Resolution #5 & #6 Exercise & Lose Weight
Resolution #7: Get Organized
Resolution #8: Learn Something New
Resolution #9: Quit Smoking
Resolution #10: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If you feel like you are too busy to “deal with” coupons:

6 Tips to Save Money WITHOUT Clipping Coupons!
How to save money without coupons: Part One- Meat!
How to save money without coupons: Part Two- Produce!
Simple Steps to Save at Target

I hope these tips and articles help!

Protein Shake Recipes!

DSC_0824For some of us, our New Year’s Resolution to lose weight has already started to peter off. NOT ME! I’ve got 40-ish lbs to drop to get back down to my pre-bitty Bird weight. I’m using protein shakes to help me.

A few years ago hubs and I did Sharp Weight Management to lose weight and to this day, we still use the protein shakes that are part of their program. HMR shakes are tasty and have a good amount of protein and other nutrients. All of the recipes below use HMR shakes, but you can use whatever kind of protein powder you like best (everyone has their favorite!).

I usually start my day with a coffee based shake!

Hazelnut Mocha: Mix Chocolate protein powder with  tablespoon sugar free chocolate pudding powder, 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons Sugar Free Torani Hazelnut syrup, and 12-20 ounces of strong, hot coffee, When blending hot drinks in the blender make sure to vent the lid or it might pop off! To do this cold, use cold coffee and add 8-10 ice cubes.

Cinnamon Dulce Latte: The same drink at Starbucks (made with Fat Free milk and without whipped cream) has 210 Calories. With my version, you save 40 calories, and score at least 10 more grams of protein- this will vary for you, depending on how many grams of protein your protein shake has. Mix vanilla protein powder with 12-20 ounces of hot coffee (I like a larger drink, so I add more coffee), 2 tablespoons of Torani Syrup Brown Sugar Cinnamon (sugar free), a dash of cinnamon.  When blending hot drinks in the blender make sure to vent the lid or it might pop off! To do this cold, use cold coffee and add 8-10 ice cubes.

Frappacino: If you have leftover coffee after making your morning pot, don’t throw it away, put it in the fridge and make yourself a blended frozen protein shake. They will taste just like a frappacino, but with a lot less calories.  The average ice blended drink from a coffee shop has 300 calories!

The basic Frap recipe is as follows:

  • Protein Powder (the amount indicated on your package for 1 serving)
  • 12-20 oz cold coffee
  • 8-10 ice cubes (add more if you want it more icy)

Add in any of the following:

  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite sugar free syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder, Ovaltine, Sugar Free Pudding powder (your choice of flavors)
  • Use  Walden Farms Calorie Free Chocolate Syrup (or one of their other ice cream syrups- they make caramel and strawberry too) as a drizzle inside the cup and on top to make your drink with more of a Coffee House Flair without adding any calories!

Here are a few more of our favorite shakes. When we did the Weight management program through Sharp, we drank 6-8 a day, so creativity was the key to keep us from becoming bored and deviating from the program. (AKA cheating) These days, I use these shakes as a swap for a higher calorie dessert most of the time. That way my sweet tooth is happy, and I’m consuming WAAAY less calories!

As a note, I usually use a lot more ice to make it more “ice cream-y” and less like a chocolate milk.

Cherry Cheesecake shake: 1 pouch vanilla HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free cheesecake flavored powdered pudding, 3 pumps (roughly 3 tablespoons) sugar free black cherry Torani Syrup. You can substitute Strawberry syrup in place of the black cherry.

50/50 Bar Shake: 1 pouch vanilla HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free vanilla flavored powdered pudding, 3 pumps (roughly 3 tablespoons) sugar free orange Torani Syrup.

Eggnog shake:  1 pouch vanilla HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free cheesecake flavored powdered pudding, 1tsp. rum extract, sprinkle/dash of grated nutmeg. (Mr. C had this on X-mas eve and it was FABU!)

Lemon/Raspberry Shake: 1 pouch vanilla HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free lemon flavored powdered pudding, 3 pumps (roughly 3 tablespoons) sugar free Raspberry Torani Syrup.

Peanut Butter Cup Shake: 1 pouch chocolate HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free chocolate flavored powdered pudding, 2 tablespoons of PB2 powder.

Almond Joy Shake: 1 pouch chocolate HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free chocolate flavored powdered pudding,2 pumps (roughly 2 tablespoons) sugar free Almond Torani Syrup, and 2 pumps (roughly 2 tablespoons) sugar free coconut Torani Syrup . You can use 1 tsp. Almond extract if you prefer in lieu of the almond syrup.

Mounds Shake: 1 pouch chocolate HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free chocolate flavored powdered pudding,3 pumps (roughly 3 tablespoons)  sugar free coconut Torani Syrup .

Milky Way Shake: 1 pouch chocolate HMR shake, 6 oz cold water, 6-8 ice cubes, 1 tsp. sugar free butterscotch flavored powdered pudding.  To make a snickers shake, add 1-2 Tablespoons of PB2.

Butterfinger: Mix chocolate protein powder with 1 tablespoon PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, 1 tablespoon sugar free butterscotch pudding powder, 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder, 8-10 ounces of cold water and 8-10 ice cubes. Blend on high until the ice cubes are incorporated.

Mud Pie: Mix chocolate protein powder with 1 tablespoon sugar free chocolate pudding powder, 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon Ovaltine, 8-10 ounces of cold strong coffee and 8-10 ice cubes. Blend on high until the ice cubes are incorporated.

Chocolate Malt:  MIx chocolate protein powder with 1 tablespoon sugar free chocolate pudding powder,  1 tablespoon Ovaltine (choose the malted variety- it’s in the yellow package), 8-10 ounces of cold water and 8-10 ice cubes. Blend on high until the ice cubes are incorporated.

PB&J: Mix vanilla protein powder with 2 tablespoons PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, 2 pumps of your favorite fruit flavored Torani Syrup (strawberry, grape, raspberry are just a few), and 8-10 ounces of cold water and 8-10 ice cubes. Blend on high until the ice cubes are incorporated. Tastes just like a PB&J!

Later in the week, I’ll be posting my home made protein bar recipe and an oatmeal protein muffin recipe- perfect for keeping you on track!

Sensible Swap: PB Cup Shake

It’s really hard to lose weight and eat well, especially when there are restaurants like Sonic Drive-In. They have these yummy, thick rich shakes and blasts (which is soft serve ice cream with cookies or candy mixed in and topped with whipped cream), but good lord, do they have tons of calories.

This recipe is a Swap. We swap out stuff with crazy high calories for lower calories ingredients to make a yummy, less calorically dense treat. For reference, a MINI Reese’s Cup Sonic Blast is 580 calories and is about 8 ounces (oh, yeah, they come in four other, progressively larger sizes!). The HMR recipe is 380 calories, and the Swap version is between 380-420 calories depending on which brand of light ice cream you use. Oh, and the recipe makes about 20 ounces! Hooray for more volume and less calories!

I’ve included two versions: One with HMR ingredients (you can substitute your favorite brand of vanilla protein powder and PB Protein Bar), and one using ingredients from the grocer.

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Peanut Butter Cup Shake
Makes 1 large shake (or I guess you could split it and share, but trust me, you won’t want to!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Vanilla HMR Shake (or scoop if you use the 120 version)
  • 2 Tablespoons PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter(I used the choc. PB2, it’s all we had)
  • 1 HMR Chocolate Peanut bar, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces and frozen
  • 2 handfuls of ice cubes
  • 10 oz water
  • Optional, but yummy: 3 T. Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender, except for the syrup
  2. Blend on medium until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixture should be thick and frosty.
  3. Swirl the syrup in a cold glass.
  4. Pour shake into cup and serve with both a spoon and a straw.
Freaking Delish! I have one of these about once a week!

Here is the second recipe, for those who just want to eat a little better:

Peanut Butter Cup Shake
Makes 1 large shake

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Vanilla ice cream (Your favorite brand)
  • 2 handfuls of ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
  • 1 Atkins Endulge Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces and frozen (there are two in each serving- if you want your shake extra yummy, you could use both of them)
  • Optional, but yummy: 3 T. Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender, except for the syrup
  2. Blend on medium until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixture should be thick and frosty.
  3. Swirl the syrup in a cold glass.
  4. Pour shake into cup and serve with both a spoon and a straw.

We have both a  Ninja NJ600 Pro Blender and a Magic bullet.  The Magic Bullet is great for making shakes at the office (for hubs) and the Ninja is great for making multiple shakes at once at home.

New Year’s Resolution #10: Reduce, Reuse, recycle

So this is the last one! I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so, but I hurt my wrist (I fell while hiking!), so I’ve been off the computer a lot.

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#10 is a big one for our family! Reduce, re-use, recycle!

Reduce:

  • Buy less stuff. That one is pretty simple.
  • Use what you have on hand.  There are some pretty awesome websites like Recipe Key and Recipe Matcher that help you find recipes based on what you have in your pantry.
  • Reduce your waste out put.  I’m not asking you to hold it when you gotta go, but put your eggshells and coffee grounds in your house plants and tomato plants.  Try composting.  You’ll be  reducing your carbon foot print and you’ll make your plants happier!

Re-use:

  • Re-purpose items!  This includes eating your leftovers.
  • Here, here, and here are some great Pinterest boards that have re-using ideas.
  • I love this one: Making re-usable shopping bags out of old t-shirts (they make a great gift too).
  • Mend your clothes- including fallen hems, loose buttons and minor tears.  Sewing kits are inexpensive.  If you don’t know how to sew or even thread a needle, check out YouTube for some tutorials. And hey, you’ll learn a new skills!

Recycle:

  • In some areas, recycling is done by weight (like the majority of the recycling centers we have here).  You bring all of your aluminum cans crushed up or your glass bottles in big garbage bags and they are weighed, and you receive a per lb. price.
  • In other areas (like where my in-laws live back east and very few locations here in So Cal) there are machines that you deposit bottles and cans into one at a time and a per piece bottle deposit is returned to you. Re-Planet is one of those companies.
  • Some areas mandate recycling- Where we live there are special cans: Black for trash, green for yard waste, and blue for recycling.  The items that cannot be returned for a bottle deposit like milk cartons, soup cans, cereal boxes can be placed into the blue bin.
  • Recycling doesn’t only mean bottles and cans , it can also be to give an item a new life and a new home.  Donate clothes and other household items to charity or use freecycle and help your neighbors. I especially like the Buy Nothing Movement.
  • You can also sell items on Craigslist, have a garage sale or sell your items via a consignment shop.  They will go to a new home, you will have kept the stuff from a landfill, and you’ll have a little cash!
  • Did you know that in some states you can recycle your unwanted house paint? Check out PaintCare here for more details!

How do you incorporate the three R’s into your daily life?

New Year’s Resolution #8: Learn Something New

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#8 is a resolution that I thought would be closer to the top of the list: Learn something new!

There are lots of ways that you can learn and grow without breaking the bank!

      1. Borrow books from the library- most libraries have their card catalogs online, so you can check and see if your local library branch has the book(s) you are looking for before you step foot in the library.  AND- some libraries have the ability to hold the books for you until you can get down there (usually 24 hours).
      2. Can’t find the books in print near you? Check out Google Books.  There are tons of free books that you can read online.If you head over to Amazon you’ll find thousands of Free E-books on Amazon in all reader formats.
      3. Check out community learning opportunities. Grossmont Adult Education has tons of great classes, including some great Mommy and Me style pre-school classes for kids!
      4. Check YouTube for tutorials or seminars that are of interest to you.
      5. Harvard (yeah, *THAT HARVARD*) has free, no credit open courses here. Other Colleges including MIT, Yale and Stanford offer free online no credit classes for the public to take/sit in on.
      6. Check your local museums for free days for locals.  San Diego Locals- here is a list of free museum days in Balboa Park.
      7. Craftsy has a ton of free classes and patterns! Check out this post with just a few of my favorite classes!
      8. There are tons of free opportunities for kids to learn here. Most public libraries have story time or other free activities and workshops for kids. Check out Red Tricycle’s website for all kinds of free and cheap learning opportunities for your littles!
      9. Love documentaries? Love to read? If you haven’t tried Amazon Prime yet, there is an awesome promotion right now- sign up and get your first 30 days free. Prime gives you access to more than JUST free shipping. You can stream movies, documentaries, enjoy the free Kindle lending library, and more! Start Your Prime Video 30-Day Free Trial Now!

New Year’s Resolution #7: Get Organized

Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!

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#7 is a resolution that I thought would be closer to the top of the list: Get Organized.

For some people that means professionally, financially or personally.  I can’t help you with your professional life, but I can help you with some tips to getting your finances and personal life organized.

balancing-a-checkbook-paying-billsOrganize your Finances:

You really can’t start to save money unless you get your finances in order.  I cannot stress how helpful setting up a budget has been for our family.

There are a few companies that offer free budgeting tools: I like both Manila and Mint. Check both out and see which one suits your families needs.

Calendar_0Organize your Personal Life:

Use a calendar.  It doesn’t have to be a paper one.  I have a paper calendar on my desk.  I write all of our play dates and appointments, parties, and other functions outside of the house on it. That way I can see at a glance what’s going of for the week. If you’ve got a smart phone, you can utilize the calendar feature. iPhones can sync to the iCal on your desktop computer. If you opt for it, iCal will pop up reminders on his phone and the computer. He uses it for business and home.

  • If you want to use a calendar online, Google’s Calendar feature is great, especially if you use Gmail.  It can add appointments, reminders and birthdays from your email into your calendar and it will remind you of them!
  • If you don’t use Gmail or Google, Facebook has a great calendar under the events tab from your FB feed.  It shows you upcoming events and birthday and it’s easy to plan or add an event with the “+Create Event” button.
  • If you are looking for Coupon Organizational methods, I’ve written about how I organize my coupons here.
  • I am always getting packages! I signed up for a USPS.com and now I get a text when a package ships and when it arrives! It’s a great way to keep track of packages that you are expecting.

New Year’s Resolution #5 & #6 Exercise & Lose Weight

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Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!
The Number 5 & 6 New Year’s Resolutions on most top ten lists are: Exercise and Lose weight.  I decided to tackle both of these at the same times since they can go hand in hand.

I am not a doctor or dietician.  I will share with you what works for my family, but YMMV, and remember to go to the doctor and get the OK before starting to exercise or diet. Seriously.

#5: Exercise without breaking the bank:  Starting in probably 2 weeks, even before January 1st, there will be ads in the paper, magazines, on the internet and of course commercials on TV advertising free 7-day trial passes for every gym on earth.  Take advantage.  If you haven’t worked at a gym in a long time, or are thinking about joining one, Check out a bunch of different gyms and see which one is a good fit for your goals.  BTW, when those free deals go live, you know I’ll be posting them.

If you aren’t a gym person, check out your local parks. Lots of parks in our local area have special walking loops and even fitness stations (Mast Park in Santee has both!). Other parks in San Diego with fitness/exercise stations include: Mission Bay Park,  Embarcadero Parks North & South, Tidelands Park near the base of the Coronado Bridge as you arrive in Coronado, Hilton Head Park in Rancho San Diego, Chollas Lake Park, and Morley Field (near Balboa Park). If your local park doesn’t have a fitness course, play on the jungle gym or go for a walk!

Luckily in So. Cal. we are blessed with pretty good weather, so outdoor exercise is almost always an option. On those extremely rare days where the weather sucks, try indoor mall walking.  I know, it makes me sound like an old lady, but when it’s cold or rainy, I strap the kiddo in the stroller and we walk a few laps over at Parkway Plaza. A few laps around the mall and I’ve gotten almost 4 miles under my belt! There is also a play area where the kiddo can let his energy out while mama recuperates.

Everything seems to go better with a partner in crime- enlist the help of a friend or family member.  Exercise with a buddy.  Go for a walk, look at holiday lights.  Keep each other accountable!

#6: Lose Weight without losing your shirt.  Losing weight doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Here are some tips, tricks and deals you can use to save while you lose.

Sign up for free websites that can help you be accountable: Spark People is a great site that can help you track your calories and exercise. I also like Map My Run.  It helps you log activities and gives you a rough idea of how many calories you burn when you are active. And you can use it to log all kinds of physical activity, not just running! I also use Achievement– It syncs with your fitness device and you earn points for being active, logging water and food in your device. Points are redeemed for money via paypal.

If you are changing your eating habits, your doctor may recommend that you take vitamins.  And they can be expensive.  Keep your eyes open for sales at the drugstores in January and there will be coupons too!

There will be tons of sales and coupon available in January for healthy foods and supplements!

What are your frugal  tips and tricks for exercise and losing weight?  I’d love to hear from you!