Frugal Friday Making Greek Yogurt

In case you haven't noticed authentic Greek Yogurt costs a fortune! Well, today I'm going to teach you how to make your own for a lot less! Before you panic and click-out, you can do this....really! Think of this less as cooking and more as a seventh grade science project.

So what is Greek Yogurt? Well, you'll find different opinions on this but it is yogurt with all essential pro-biotics still alive and thicker & creamier then regular yogurt.

 Much of what you buy at the store is not really "yogurt" in my opinion it should be illegal to call it such. By the time they get through adding color additives, thickeners and sugars any pro-biotics that may have been in there are dead...thus it is no longer yogurt but a "dessert item" in my opinion with no health benefits! (more on pro-biotics after the lesson).

I was able to get off medication I was on for acid reflux do to eating this several times a week....if I blow it off for a week....the symptoms come right back like clock-work. See bottom of post for Health Related Links!

So let's get started!

Gluten FREE Diet on a Budget?

Did you know that May is National Celiac Month? Me either I just found out!

More and more people are being diagnosed with Celiac disease and it is theorized that many more have a mild form and don't realize it as the symptoms are being attributed to something else. I myself have Fibromyalgia and am contemplating a gluten free diet just to see if it will make a difference. However, as a chronic frugalist I'm worried it will become a real "budget buster"!

Here are some Frugal Gluten Free Tips:

  • Learn to Cook - or "relearn to cook gluten free"! The first tip is a no-brainer. Learn to cook your own gluten free meals and you'll rely less on costly gluten free products. Develop a catalog of go-to gluten free recipes to make things quicker and simpler. Think Soup - Soups are simple, filling and economical.

    Make GF cookie dough ahead of time and freeze for future use, this will help keep you away from expensive mixes.
  • Concentrate on Naturally GF Foods- Rely less on pre-packaged GF products and more on fruits, vegetables, meat, beans, rice, potatoes, milk, cheese and more. Anything marketed as a "Gluten Free" product is going to be expensive. Cut as much of this out of your diet as possible, by using step more of your own products you'll save lot's of money and you'll know exactly what is going in.
  • Invest in a Good Food Vacumn Sealer - When you make your own gluten free products try to cook/bake in bulk and Vacumn Seal & Freeze to cut back on time & waste.
  • Make a list of Staples - Make a list of your shelf stable naturally gluten free products and then keep track of coupons, sales and promos for these products. That way you will be buying them at the lowest price possible. Buy them in bulk when you can get them at their cheapest.

Gone a Targettin' 5/19

All of this cost $13.23 - Which I put on Gift Cards earned from Transferring Prescriptions - so technically FREE!

Here's how it went down:
  • 1 Finish Quantumatic $5.00 - Used $3.00 MQ that printed out at Pharmacy
  • 2 Pairs Jeans 75% Off for DD - $7.48
  • Thomas Thin Bagels - $2.04 - Used .55/1 from 4/11 SS
  • 1 Gallon Milk $1.99
  • 1 Pair C9 Shorts $4.98 (not pictured) Used $2.50 Hang Tag Coupon
  • 4 Benedryl Pens - $9.16. Used 2 5.00/1 MQ from ?? I forget which insert = $1.24 Profit
  • 3 Nivia Body Wash $11.97 - Used 3/4.00 MQ's 5/02 RP = .03 Profit

Frugal Friday - 10 Small Things you Can Do to Save Money

Here are 10 small non-life altering ways you can start saving money steps if you will:

  1. Bring your lunch to Work
    No brainer here many of us have good intentions here but fail, often because we're rushed in the morning. Solution: Prepare your lunch the night before, right after dinner when you're already busy in the kitchen. As an added bonus a home made lunch tends to be healthier then dining out
  2. Online Bill Pay
    Most banks offer a free online bill paying service. This can save you at least $5.00 in stamps a month. It's also a great way to save on those "late fee's". I have my online acccount set to send out $$ to my credit cards automatically on the same day each month...just in case I forget. When I log onto pay bills I just change the amount to what I owe that month...but if I forget, I'm covered!

Dominicks - Towering Tower of Quaker

Bet you can't guess what our favorite Cereal is? Folks your looking at 20 Boxes of Quaker Oatmeal Squares...what can I say it was love at first spoonful!

Heres how the deal went:
  • 20 Boxes of Quaker Cereal $1.50 if you buy in Quantities of 4 at Dominicks this week. Used 20 $1.00/1 MQ's (expired)
So I paid $10.00 for all that cereal plus tax (?? can't find receipt).....I love stores that take expired coupons, it really expands the deals you can do!

Now who wants to take bets on how soon I get thoroughly sick of this cereal? Luckily they have a long shelf life!

Summer Reading Programs

Keep your child reading all Summer Long with these Summer Reading Programs, one of the worst things about Summer break is that your child tends to lose some forward momentum when it comes to reading. Reaing programs can be a fun and frugal way of getting your child to keep their interest in reading and keep up their skill level.

Here are some programs that can help:

Check your local library. Most libraries run a summer reading program every Summer. Kids are encouraged to get their own library cards, and they often get prizes for the number of books they've read or are entered into a drawing.

Barnes & Noble - Each year Barnes & Noble encourages kids to read by offering a free book to each child who turns in a journal listing 8 books they’ve read over the summer. Journals can be downloaded at the Barnes & Noble. Go here for more information -->

Half-Price Books Feed Your Brain Program - Kids can earn a $3 Half Price Books shopping card for each week they read at least 15 minutes a day in the Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program.

Go here to find a store near you -->    Go here to learn more about the program -->

Borders - If you're 12 and under they dare you to read any10 books you choose. When you do you'll get one FREE! No purchase necessary. Just download the form, complete and turn it in for your free book by 8/16

National Amusements/Bookworm Wednesdays - Every Wednesday at 10:00 am beginning July 7th for six weeks. A fun and rewarding summer reading program developed to encourage young children to read during the summer months. BOOKWORM WEDNESDAYS entitles kids to free admission to a select children's film when they present a book report at a participating cinemas.
Go here for more information -->

Reading Warriors Challenge - This program is for Kid's eight and older and is rooted in the Legends & Adventure of of the Warrior Cats in Erin Hunters' best selling Warrior Series.
Go here for more info -->

TD Bank Summer Reading Program - Read 10 books get $10
Go here for more information -->

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Reward Calendars - Children read daily for a two-week period, log their time on a Chuck E. Cheese calendar, and get 10 free game tokens with any food purchase. This can be repeated every two weeks. Just print out the calendar keep track and bring it in!
Go here for the calendar print-out -->

Build-a-Bear Reading Program - Build-A-Bear Workshop has created Bearemy's Book Club to encourage children of all ages to read about bears and other wonderful friends and adventures. The Book Club also gives kids a voice in reviewing and rating books for other kids. Check out our spotlight page to find this month's top recommended books and enter your own personal paw rating and review.
Go here for more information -->

CVS Gift Card Winner! CONGRATS!

Emily CONGRATS! You Won! I will contact you by email for your address! Thanks all for entering and taking the time to stop by and take a look at my new blog! Check back because I will be having another giveaway within the next week!

Free & Cheap Things to Do with The Kid's This Summer

Some free & cheap ideas to keep kid's from getting bored this Summer and to help you keep your sanity!

I will add to this list as I find more! Just click on the links below for more information!

Free factory tours -->

Arts and Culture Events (sponsored by Target) -->

Free Crafts for Kid's at Lakeshore Learning Center -->

Free Kid's Workshops at Home Depot -->

Michaels Free & Cheap Craft Projects -->

Kid's Bowl Free -->

Regal Family Film Festival (link to post on this blog) -->

Lowes Build & Grow Clinics -->

Marcus Theatres Kids Rule Summer Film Festival ---> (link to post in this blog)

Thrifty Shopper - Buying Kid's Summer Clothes

To get the best deal on Kid's Summer Clothes or any clothes is to buy at the end of the Seaon for the following year. With that said if you did not get a chance to buy up at last years end of season sales here are some tips on saving money this year:

Buying Second Hand from Thrift Stores

I do this all the time. I head out to Goodwill, Salvation army and some local thrift stores before going to the mall and I go more then once as they are always repleneshing their stock. I'm lucky to have all of these fairly close to me. You'll have to sift through alot of racks for the right size (they're not always organized) and for things in good condition, but if you like a "treasure hunt" this could be fun.

Here are some tips:

Prescription Coupons/Why to Save Them!

Went to the Doc this morning....and left with 2 new prescription slips. A few weeks ago CVS had a $25 Gift Card when you bring in a new prescription. Yep! Used both of them today (well I'm using one tomorrow as it's one per visit).

Anyhoo....that's why it's imortant to get several copies of those coupons when you see them and hold on to them, especially when you have kiddos.

CVS will take competitors prescription coupons as well.

Here are the stores you will typically see these coupons for:
  • CVS (in their ad or sometime the "magic coupon machine" will print one out

  • K-Mart

  • Meijer

  • Target (usually only $10 but hey it's something)

  • Walgreens (once in a blue moon)

People I've made $800 in Gift Cards in the past 6 months using new and transferred prescription coupons!

I'll be writing up a more extensive article on this and how to maximize your savings with Prescription Coupons so stay tuned!