November 26, 2014

Tips For Saving Money On Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a holiday where you are usually hosting a crowd and making many different types of dishes, so it’s really easy to go over your budget! You can still have a lovely Thanksgiving without breaking the bank. Here are some ways that you might be able to save on your Thanksgiving Dinner.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some tips for saving money on Thanksgiving dinner

9 Tips For Saving Money On Thanksgiving Dinner

1.  Trim the Menu –  If you’re having a small gathering don’t feel like you have to buy a whole turkey and make all the trimmings. You could just get a turkey breast. Last year there was just the 3 of us and I just bought turkey legs and only made our very favorite sides (since I didn’t have to make other people’s favorite sides). We had enough for sandwiches and leftovers for one more meal and that was fine for us.

2. Share the Menu – if you’re having guests let them bring something. Don’t cook everything yourself. Most people want to contribute. Even people that don’t cook can bring soda, napkins, bagged salad greens etc. This helps save not only money but time too.

3. Don’t serve alcohol. Booze is expensive for a large crowd. You can ask others to bring the wine/beer. If you can’t do that then go for the cheaper boxed wine.

4. Use natural decorations or make your own Thanksgiving decor. There are so many cute Thanksgiving/Fall printables, candle centerpiece ideas, banners, place cards etc that you can make yourself.  You don’t have to spend money on buying decorations.

5. Be a smart shopper. Shop your pantry first and then be sure to check your store ads for special offers. Check websites for coupons. For example if you always buy a Butterball turkey I would check out their website. I know they offer coupons. Some stores offer a discount on the price of a turkey if you buy $x.xx amount of groceries. You might even snag a free turkey! Of course if you kept a price book, you would know what you paid last year, when it went on sale, and whether the price is the best now!

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can throw your budget off. Here are some great tips for hosting Thanksgiving on a budget!

6. Unless you stocked up on pecans when they were a good price I would skip the pecan pie and go with apple. Apples are in season and less expensive than pecans. That goes for other dishes as well. Choose the simpler sides. Make cornbread stuffing instead of chestnut/oyster

7. Borrow stuff from friends and family. Need a large platter for that turkey, gravy boat, more glasses. Borrow them instead of buying them. If you have to buy these things wait until after Thanksgiving when stores will clearance their inventory and you’ll have your own for next year (or Christmas).

8. If you are having lots of people over you might want to try turning down the heat. All those bodies throw off heat and I know I’m always hot in a large crowd.

9. Make Stock – Save the trimmings from any fresh veggie side dish you make and be sure to use that whole turkey up! Make stock with the carcass and/or vegetable trimmings when it’s all over . Then your groceries are doing double duty!

Just remember the big picture –  Thanksgiving is about being grateful for all the great things in your life and celebrating with loved ones. Don’t stress yourself out trying to have the perfect house or the perfect meal. Just enjoy the day!

You may also like:

Last Minute Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids & Printable Decor

My Thanksgiving Pinterest Board

 

Linking to: Thrifty Thursday

Using A Home Management Binder To Stay Organized

A home management binder is typically a 3 ring binder that stores information in it that you use to run your household (and what type of information is different for everybody). The first step to using a home management binder to help you stay organized is to create one, of course!  I did create one a few years ago that I shared on the blog. The tutorial is here if you’d like to see it.

Using a home management binder to stay organized

I really like organizing with binders and my home management binder stores everything I need for managing my home in one convenient place. I do have a  separate budget binder , a price book/meal planning binder ( I may put this info back into my home management binder),  and a binder for blogging.

You’ll be amazed at how much smoother things run when you actually sit down and gather all your information in one spot.  It also makes it easier for other family members to know where important information is.

Here are some homemaking binder categories that you may want to use to help you stay on top of  it all.

1. A Family Calendar
Once central place to have everyone’s schedule of events

3. Important Documents
You may want to keep copies of important family documents in your binder.

4. Menu Plans & Food Inventories
Your home management binder is a good place for your meal plans or at least a go to list of your family’s favorite meals. It’s also a good place to keep your food inventory lists. That makes it so easy to have everything you need for meal planning right in one place. Each week when you decide it’s time to meal plan, you just go to your home management binder.

5. Chore Lists for the kids
If you use the chore list system this is a good place to keep that. You can hand out new chore assignments every week or month. However you do it.

Organizing with binders

6. To Do/Cleaning Lists
Keep your household & spring cleaning lists here. This is a great way to track your own daily/weekly/monthly/seasonal chores.

7. Babysitter Information/Contact Information
One of the major reasons I love a family binder is because you can store important information such as babysitter and contact information. If you need a babysitter, then you know where to look. If the babysitter needs to contact you or other emergency phone numbers, then they know where to look.

8. Contact phone numbers/emergency numbers
This way if a family member needs to call the gas company or soccer coach or the neighbor they know exactly where to look.

9.  Some miscellaneous things you might want to have easy access to such as:
a list of birthdays, list of home projects, bible study lessons, bill paying schedule, stain removal guide, info for the school book sale, lunch schedules, car maintenance schedule, list of gift ideas etc.

10. Not a category but you may want to have Lots of Extra Folders & Dividers
One thing to keep in mind is that you will always be adding ‘something’ to your family binder. I always keep extra folders & dividers at the end, so when I do need to add something to it, it’s not a big deal.

There are many free printable forms on Pinterest that you can use as well as ones on Etsy that you can buy to help you put together your binder. Remember to customize it to fit YOUR needs.

Keeping organized these days can be tough. I know that everything in my house isn’t perfect but a home management binder is the perfect way to stay organized.

You may also like to have a look at my other binders:

How to make a price book

How to make a budget binder

Linking to: Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday

10 Inexpensive Handmade Christmas Gifts

I started the Frugal Christmas Gift Guide a few years ago and will be continuing it this year (the other posts are linked at the bottom). Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some ideas for homemade Christmas presents that are cute and easy (or fairly easy) to make that I’ve found on Pinterest. So let’s get started!

10 Inexpensive Handmade Christmas Gifts to Start Making Now.

Giving a handmade gift is a great way to celebrate Christmas.  It’s not too late to start making gifts!

Frugal DIY Christmas Gift Guide – 10 Homemade Gifts

1. DIY Gift Card Snow Globe ~ The Creative Mama
2. Cinnamon Sugar Scrub ~ Sisters Saving Cents
3. Handmade Rustic Coaster ~ Making It In The Mountains
4. Russian Tea Mix Mason Jar Gift ~ Baby Loving Mama
5. Printed Burlap Wine Bag – HP Creates featuring Skip To My Lou
6. DIY Gardener’s Olive Oil & Clove Hand Soap – A Cultivated Nest
7.  We Whisk You A Merry Kissmass gift set (with printable tag) ~ Views From The Ville
8. Gift Card Holder ~ Hydrangea Hippo
9. Reindeer Hot Chocolate ~ Thrifty Jinxy
10.Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub with free downloadable gift tags ~Uncommon Designs

I hope you’ve found this helpful!  You may want to also look at these Christmas Gift Guides from previous years  linked below for more ideas.

Frugal Christmas Gift Guide #1

Frugal Christmas Gift Guide #2

Frugal Christmas Gift Guide #3

Frugal Christmas Gift Guide #4

Frugal Christmas Gift Guide

Nesting Skills: DIY Dry Ranch Seasoning

The Nesting Skills Series is all about making your own versions for various store-bought products. Last week I shared a homemade brownie mix recipe and today I’m sharing a homemade dry ranch seasoning mix recipe!

Nesting Skills Series | How To Make Dry Ranch Season Mix | Frugal Homemaking

It’s really easy and inexpensive to make your own ranch dressing mix. Not to mention that you don’t have to deal with unknown ingredients or fillers! Plus these are ingredients that most people always have on hand! If you want to make ranch dip or ranch dressing you just had this dry mixture to sour cream or mayonnaise (instructions below).

Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix

5 tbs. dried minced onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
7 tsp. dried parsley flakes
4 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. If you prefer, you can mix it up in a blender to get a finer consistency. Shake the seasoning well every time prior to using to mix the ingredients up.

Dressing Directions:

Add two tablespoons of the ranch seasoning mix to one cup of mayonnaise and one cup of sour cream( or Greek yogurt) .  Mix well and let set in the fridge for at least one hour prior to using. If you like a thinner consistency you can add a bit of milk (or buttermilk) as well.

*Add more or less seasoning to taste if you wish.

Dip Directions:

Add two tablespoons of the ranch mix to one cup of sour cream (or Greek yogurt). Mix well and let set in the fridge for one hour prior to serving.

Nesting Skills Series: DIY Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

Either way you make it, I’ve found it stores well for several days in the fridge.

You could also give this as gift – just increase the amount and place it in a pretty mason jar with a cute label!

Nesting Skills: DIY Dry Ranch Seasoning
 
Author:
Recipe type: Seasoning
Ingredients
  • 5 tbs. dried minced onion
  • 7 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. If you prefer, you can mix it up in a blender to get a finer consistency. Shake the seasoning well every time prior to using to mix the ingredients up.
  2. Dressing Directions:
  3. Add two tablespoons of the ranch seasoning mix to one cup of mayonnaise and one cup of sour cream( or Greek yogurt) . Mix well and let set in the fridge for at least one hour prior to using. If you like a thinner consistency you can add a bit of milk (or buttermilk) as well.
  4. *Add more or less seasoning to taste if you wish.
  5. Dip Directions:
  6. Add two tablespoons of the ranch mix to one cup of sour cream (or Greek yogurt). Mix well and let set in the fridge for one hour prior to serving.

 You Might Also Like These Other Nesting Skills Posts:

DIY Orange Clove Gardener’s Soap

Homemade Cinnamon Syrup

Homemade Cream of…..Soup

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

This is an original post from A Cultivated Nest.  If you are reading this anywhere other than A Cultivated Nest, this content has been stolen.

Nesting Skills – Make Your Own Brownie Mix

Here’s a really ridiculously easy brownie mix that you can make at home instead of buying a boxed brownie mix.  You can buy brownie mix really cheaply when it’s on sale but at least in a homemade version you know what’s in your mix and you can easily customize it to your taste!

Ridiculously easy homemade brownie mix: Never buy boxed brownie mix again! Not only frugal but better for you since it eliminates all those crazy unknown ingredients.  Makes a great gift too!

With the holidays right around the corner, this would also make a great gift that you can dress up with a cute tag/label & ribbon. Include some add-ins like chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, nuts, crushed peppermints or crushed cookies to really take it up a notch!

Homemade Brownie Mix -

1 C. sugar
½ C. flour
1/3 C. cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder

*Mix makes 1 pan of brownies.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To Make Brownies (write this on a tag or label if giving as a gift):

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×9 baking dish with non-stiock spray.

2. Combine the homemade brownie mix with 2 eggs, ½ C. vegetable oil and 1 tsp. of vanilla.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Insert a toothpick around 20 minutes and if it comes out clean, the brownies are done. Don’t over cook if you want moist brownies!

Thick chewy brownies made from scratch! Ridiculously easy brownie mix that so much better than boxed and would make a great gift!

My favorite way to have brownies is hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! What’s yours?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Nesting Skills - Homemade Brownie Mix
 
Ridiculously easy homemade brownie mix: Never buy boxed brownie mix again! Not just frugal but better for you since it eliminates all those crazy unknown ingredients. Makes a great gift too!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 C. sugar
  • ½ C. flour
  • ⅓ C. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
Instructions
  1. To Make Brownies (write this on a tag or label if giving as a gift)
  2. #1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x9 baking dish with non-stiock spray.
  3. #2. Combine the homemade brownie mix with 2 eggs, ½ C. vegetable oil and 1 tsp. of vanilla.
  4. #3. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Insert a toothpick around 20 minutes and if it comes out clean, the brownies are done. Don't over cook if you want moist brownies!

You may also like these recipes from the Nesting Skills Series:

Homemade Cinnamon Syrup

Homemade Dry Onion Soup Mix & Cream of….Mix

Homemade Liquid Soap

Homemade Gardeners Orange Olive Oil Bar Soap

 

This is an original post from A Cultivated Nest.  If you are reading this anywhere other than A Cultivated Nest, this content has been stolen.

 

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Syrup

Last year I started a Homemade Solutions Series and somehow got sidetracked.  I’m going to start it back up since we’re going to be in our new home next week and I’ll finally have more time (Yay!) and making things from scratch is going to be a priority. So to start this series off (again) as Nesting Skills.  I’m sharing a easy homemade cinnamon coffee syrup (although you could also use this in place of store bought syrup on pancakes).

This homemade coffee syrup recipe is so easy to make (only 3 ingredients).  Just delicious in coffee or even on top of pancakes. Makes a wonderful gift too!

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Coffee Syrup

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Syrup
 
Very easy to make (only 3 ingredients) cinnamon syrup that's good in coffee and also on pancakes. This would make a great gift for a coffee lover.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ C. water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 C. + 2 tbs. of brown sugar
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the water, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. (You're house will smell amazing btw)
  2. Add a cover and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick
  3. Store the cinnamon syrup in a mason jar or other air tight container in the fridge when not using. Will last about a week.
  4. Use in strong hot coffee along with steamed milk topped with whipped cream & a sprinkle of cinnamon for a yummy homemade Cinnamon Dolce Latte!

Ingredients:

1 ½ C. water
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 C. + 2 tbs. of brown sugar

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the water, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. (Your house will smell amazing btw)

2. Add a cover and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.

3. Store the cinnamon syrup in a mason jar or other air tight container in the fridge when not using. Lasts for about a week.

4. Use in strong hot coffee along with steamed milk topped with whipped cream & a sprinkle of cinnamon for a yummy homemade Cinnamon Dolce Latte!  How much depends on how sweet you like your coffee.

Treat yourself to some delicious coffee that tastes like a specialty flavor and give this recipe a try (or try it on pancakes/waffles).  It would also make a wonderful gift for a coffee lover (especially if you package it in a pretty glass bottle).

Make your own Cinnamon Dolce coffee with this easy to make coffee syrup. This would be a great gift for a coffee lover!Have you ever made a flavored syrup before?

You might also like:

Homemade Onion Soup Mix & Dry Cream of…..Soup Mix

Homemade Liquid Soap

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