Getting More at A.C. Moore

A.C. Moore can be a very expensive place for me. I constantly have 'projects' in the works. Just ask any one who has been inside my house. The dining room table is covered with a sewing machine, ribbon, a glue gun, beads, pins, and other random items. All of these items belong to one project or another. I have to do my best to pinch pennies where I can at the craft store.

A.C. Moore has become my newest weakness when it comes to crafting. The area that I live in does not have a lot of options for crafting so A.C. Moore is the best we have as far as places to purchase craft items. The wonderful thing about A.C. Moore is that they have coupons in the Sunday newspaper ALL THE TIME! They also have coupons you can print out at home off of their website and from time to time you get a coupon along with your receipt when you check out.

My latest way of pinching a penny takes a little planning and a bit more patience. I use my coupons that I clip out of the paper and I print out off the website to purchase the items for my project one at a time. It may take a few weeks to get all my items but I have saved 50% off my project. It is worth it to me!


Pinch A Christmas Penny

My favorite shopping day of the year is a toss up between Black Friday and the day after Christmas. The key to black Friday is to have a plan. After you are in a turkey coma on Thanksgiving day surround yourself with those fabulous adds, a notebook and a pen. Each page in your notebook will represent a separate store. Go through your adds and make notes in your notebook of awesome deals at each store. Make a notation of any time restrictions at each store for certain items. Ex. Early bird specials 5 -7 am. etc. Be careful to make sure your black Friday deal is truly a deal. $5 off a $50 product is NOT a good black Friday deal. But getting a $250 coffee maker for $70 IS a good deal. AS LONG AS YOU DRINK COFFEE OR HAVE SOME ONE TO GIVE THE COFFEE MAKER TOO AS A PRESENT! If you are getting the item JUST because it is a good deal does not make it a deal unless you have a purpose for said item. It has taken me a LONG time to learn this. Just ask my husband!

Items that I specifically go Black Friday shopping for are sheets, towels, duvets, feather beds, table cloths, kitchen gadgets and memory cards for your digital camera. For some reason I have always been able to find wonderful deals on these items. But you need to prioritize your list. If you know they have a wonderful deal on an electronic go to that store first. Electronics are always the first to go. Another tip is to see if more than one store is running the same or similar deal on the same item. That way if the Big Box store runs out of your electronic the smaller box store still might have some left over. If you are able to get several deals at one store that you know will be busy go there first, take a buddy and divide a conquer the store. Each of you going specifically for a particular item. The key is not to get distracted by other shoppers or in store specials. Go for your advertised item and get it. Everyone has the same add and probably will be going for the same thing. If you happen to see an in store, non-advertised special, make mental note of it and return after you have crossed off all your items on your list.

Also it is key to ASK a sales person where the items are located in the store. I also try to ask an associate whom I know is not seasonal help. The seasonal help is pretty easy to pick out. They usually have the deer in the headlights look as the public descends on the store. Their hands are usually in their pockets and they are trying to blend into display racks. Chances are if you ask this person they are going to have to go ask some one because they are "new' or "don't know". Save yourself time and just avoid them.

On to the day after Christmas sales. Use the same preparation as you did for Black Friday sales. This time you are going to be shopping for NEXT Christmas. Look for strings of Christmas lights, storage for your Christmas items, the bath products and candles that are holiday scented. These items do not go bad and will be just as fabulous next year.

After you get home with your treasures it is time to sort. Make a list either in your little notebook or in your computer of the items, what they cost and whom they are to be gifted to next year. The key here is to keep track of what you spent on whom. Come next Christmas you can pull out your list on Black Friday and see how much you have already spent on each person ( but you did get a great deal LAST day after Christmas) and use the adds to fill in the holes in your list. I also add to the list through out the year as I find items on clearance tables or have a great coupon. The idea is to look and see if you would buy the item for the person if it was NOT such a great deal. If you WOULD and it is a steal of a price....you are a great penny pincher!


Stretch Your Juice

As a rule we dilute the juice we give our girls.

Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting writes,

"Did you know that juice contains roughly the same amount of calories per ounce as soda? I used to give my kids juice whenever they asked for it but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for children 1 to 6 years old. Infants should not be given any juice and children age 7 and older should limit their daily juice intake to between 8 and 12 ounces."

The way I see it is you can give your kids all 4-6 oz. at one shot or you could give them 8-12 oz. of 50/50 water/juice mixture. Also if you start them out early in life with diluted juice they don't mind the added water because they don't know the difference! This is considering children get 100% juice. No high fructose corn syrup or added sugar for kids!

This brings me to the point of this post. What is good for the kid-o is good for you. Not only will you save on calories but diluting juice is an excellent way to pinch a penny.


Baby Wipes

When I was pregnant with my first child I was given a roll of paper towels, baby oil, baby lotion, a plastic bowl with a lid and a recipe card. I was a little perplexed as to what I was to do with all of these items but this was the foundation for home made baby wipes. Here is something that is NEEDED and the baby wipes companies KNOW IT! So they charge your for it. Simple laws of supply and demand. So here is my way around buying lots of baby wipes. Make them. Here is a recipe for you. It can be found HERE.

1 package cloth-like paper towels (not the cheapest papery type)
2 cups hot water, boiled
1 tablespoon baby bath soap or baby shampoo
1 tablespoon oil (baby oil, mineral oil, massage oil)
1 tablespoon lotion (baby lotion or regular)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (to inhibit mold)
** the oil, soap and lotion is an excellent opportunity for you to control what items touch your babies bum. Go organic or use a product that is kind to your baby's skin

1. Saw the paper towels in half lengthwise with a serrated kitchen knife (not your best one ... this can't be "good" for it). Mix the hot water and following ingredients.
2. Put the half roll in a plastic container that has a lid, Tupperware-type, empty roll-type baby wipe container, etc.
3. Shredded side down -- I pick as much of the shredded paper off as I can -- otherwise you leave "lint balls" on your baby's bum.
**another option is to tear the paper towels apart and stack them pre-folded in a container.
4. Pour the water solution over the roll.(Don't worry about the cardboard tube.)
5. Let sit about 5 minutes, then turn upside down for 5 more minutes to saturate the roll.
6. Now the cardboard tube will pull out easily.
7. Pull a "wipe" from the center.
8. Wash the container well between uses. (Note: Mold can be an issue. Suggestions include using Johnson & Johnson soap or 4 drops of tea tree oil to inhibit mold.)

I haven't bought supplies recently so I don't have a cost breakdown for you but it has to be cheaper than buying packages of wipes. But the true pay off is you know for sure what ingredients are touching your baby's bum.

For a more environmental option use small cotton face cloths or pieces of flannel. Stack them in a plastic container and our your solution over the stack. After each use these can be tossed in a bucket of water with a touch of vinegar and laundry soap in it and then washed and reused.


Laundry Detergent

I am just about out of laundry detergent and my penny pinching fingers hit the Internet. Was it possible to MAKE laundry detergent? To my excitement I found a few recipes. Here is the one that I used. You can find the original HERE.

1 bar bath soap, grated (I used Ivory)
1 cup arm & hammer super washing soda laundry detergent (a laundry booster)
1/2 cup borax
hot water
Essential Oil (optional 2 drops per gallon)

1 Place grated soap in a pot. (I used my food processor with the grater attachment)

2 Cover with water and simmer over medium heat until all soap is melted, stirring occasionally.
3 Pour into 5 gallon bucket. (I just used the same tall stock pot I used to melt the bar soap)
4 Add washing soda and borax.
5 Add enough hot water to fill the bucket.

6 Stir (I used a whisk)
7 Let sit overnight to gel.
8 Use 1 cup per load.
9 You can pour this into old detergent containers or leave it in the bucket and scoop out as you need it.

** Please cover with a lid if leaving in the bucket to protect children and pets.

Now let's look at the cost breakdown.

Borax $3.59
A&H Washing Soda $2.59
Ivory bar soap (3) $.99
tax $.43
Total $7.60

Total Cost for one recipe
Borax $.18
A&H Washing Soda $.43
Ivory bar soap (3) $.33
Total $.94

Did you see that!? $.94 for that whole big bucket of laundry soap!!! I am floored. I could sing more praises but please go to the website at the top of this post and read the reviews.

So now you have these 2 boxes of Washing Soap and Borax. What can you do with it before it is time to make more laundry soap!?

Garbage Disposals
Sprinkle 2-3 Tablespoons in the drain, let it stand for at least 15 minutes, then flush with water for the few seconds with the disposal on. This treatment can also be used in your regular sink drains.
Mattress Odors (can you say "potty training toddler"?)
Dampen the spot and sprinkle Borax over the area. Rub into the area and allow to dry. Brush or vacuum to remove the dry borax.

General Household
Dissolve 1/2 C in a bucket of warm water.
Wash surface wearing rubber gloves; then rinse.
**Not recommended for aluminum surfaces; may cause discoloration. Not recommended for no-wax floors.


Find A Penny Pick It Up

These days bending over to pick up that penny that is tails up is well worth your time. Put your superstitions aside and think of all the coin you you will pocket. I am not only a penny pincher but a penny (and nickle and quarter) saver. I have a little basket on the wall that I toss all the spare change that I find in pockets, on the counters and on the ground. When it gets to the point that it wants to fall off the wall I empty it into a plastic baggie and off to coin counting we go. I have a couple of options here in York. I can go to the grocery store and use the coinstar machine or I can go to Commerce Bank and use their free coin counting machine. I have never thought to ask my bank if they will count coins for free. I rarely go into the lobby so I have no reason to ask. I am sure there are other options but I have not explored them.

Let's take a look at Commerce Bank. They have a machine called the Penny Arcade. You have the option to make a guess as to how much coin you have, input that number and if your guess is within a certain amount of your actual coin count you win a prize! Push your coins into the machine and watch your coins being counted. They even have a screen on a child's level so they can see the numbers go up. The machine prints out a slip and you take it to the teller and they give you your cash. You don't have to bank at Commerce to use the Penny Arcade. I am not a member at Commerce and we use it all the time!

Another option is Coin Star machines. There is a small fee for counting your coins but you can get around that if you choose to turn your coin into selected gift cards. For a currently list of gift certificates click here. This is great if you were going to spend money at these particular places in the first place. You also can choose the option to donate your coin to charity. Check with your local coinstar for more information.


A Simple Bag of Potatoes Part 2

I know you ran out last night and got yourself a 5 lb. bag of potatoes! Just in case you had some left over here is something else I do with a bag of potatoes.

Home Fries

1. Place your sheet pan/sided cookie sheet in the oven. Heat oven to 450*. The idea is to preheat your pan while your oven is heating. This will make your home fries sizzle when they hit the pan. This will caramelize the sugars in the potato thus giving you a crispy edge and a tender inside. YUMMY! ** Please note the whole potatoes in the photo are from when I did Part 1

2. Cut your potato into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes. The more even the cubes the more evenly they will cook.

3. Add olive oil to coat the potatoes. By doing this as soon as they are cut this will prevent the oxidation of the potato. That is the yucky blackness that appears after a potato is exposed to air. Now it is time to add your spices:

1T each:
Chives, dried ( use fresh if you have it but add 1/4 cup instead)
Sage, dried
Oregano, dried
Thyme, dried
salt and pepper to taste

I penny pinched here and used herbs I grew in my garden. Feel free to add or take away from this recipe. I think rosemary would be yummy but my rosemary plant died this year.

4.Stir to coat.

5.Pull your preheated sheet pan/cookie sheet our of the oven and spread your home fries in an even layer on the pan. You will hear a wonderful sizzle as the potatoes start to caramelize as they hit the hot pan. Pop them back in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. Do not try to stir them for at least 30 minutes. I have found if you stir before this you will tear the crunchy side off the potato. And that defeated the purpose of preheating your pan!

6.After 30-45 minutes stir your home fries with a flat sided turner. If your pan in a non stick pan be sure you use a turner that don't scratch the finish of your pan.

7. Once you have reached your desired crispness remove from the oven and enjoy! If you have any left over or if you have made a large batch go ahead and use your food saver to freeze your home fries for future enjoyment!


A Simple Bag of Potatoes Part 1

I was inspired by a 5 pound bag of potatoes that I bought for $1.35 at Save Smart yesterday. I am looking at this big bag thinking of all the wonderful things I can make with potatoes. So once again I came home from the grocery store and hit the Internet. I found this:

4 large russet potatoes, about a pound each
Olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp cream

Cheddar and Bacon Version
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 strips bacon
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Blue Cheese and Chives Version
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 Bake the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes clean under running water. Poke each potato in several places with the tines of a fork so that when the potatoes are cooking they don't explode. Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil. Place directly on the middle or top rack of the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. They should give a little when pressed.

If short on time you can bake the potatoes in the microwave, 10 minutes on high heat for 2 potatoes, 15 minutes for 4 potatoes. The skins of microwave baked potatoes aren't nearly as crispy, so you may want to rub a little olive oil on them and finish them in a conventional oven at 400°F for 10 minutes.

2 If you are including bacon as one of your mix-ins, while the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon strips in a frying pan on medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Let cool. Crumble.

3 Allow the potatoes to cool to touch. Slice the top third lengthwise off the potato. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides, forming a potato "canoe", leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the skin.
Alternatively you can slice the potatoes in half, lengthwise. In this case you may want to bake an extra potato so that you will have more potato filling to mound into the potato boats.

4 Place the scooped out potato insides, sour cream, milk, cream, and butter into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher. If you want a creamy texture, beat with an electric beater until desired consistency. Note, do not over-beat potatoes, they can turn glue-y.

5 Mix in the extras with the potatoes. Reserve some of the extras to sprinkle on the tops of the potatoes. Spoon fillings into the potato shells. Sprinkle with extra toppings.

6 Heat oven to 350°F. Place potatoes on a roasting pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.
Serves 4 to 6.

** This would be an excellent recipe to freeze using your Food Saver. Freeze your stuffed potato first, then vac and seal.


Just how much can you cut back?

I read a number of blogs every day that deal with everything from Technology stories, to the local news, and they cover the full gamut all the way to other blogs dealing with saving and financial issues. One of my favorite blogs is Get Rich Slowly. JD posts several times a day with excellent posts on taking advantage of simply steps to help you save money and gain wealth.

Today he has an excellent post titled "How Low Can You Go? Cutting Back to a Minimum" This is right up our alley as these are perfect examples of things you can do to squeeze a few more pennies out of your purchases. Here is a short excerpt:

"I was sick again yesterday morning. To console myself, I made a cup of cocoa. As I was preparing to add the required three tablespoons of chocolate powder, it occurred to me that maybe I could get by with two tablespoons. I’d be saving calories and money at the same time!

The cocoa wasn’t quite as good as usual, but it was good enough. And by dropping to two tablespoons instead of three, I saved 33% (or about 29 cents)."
Keep tuned to our blog as we bring more topics like this and if you'd like to read more of JD's post, check it out here

The Power of a Vacuum Sealer

click on the banner to receive free shipping

We have all seen those big bulk packs of chicken and ground meat in the big box stores. They look so tempting because they are a great deal. Who wouldn't want to pinch a few a pennies by buying in bulk? It only makes cents. But your bulk purchase will not be a deal if your meat goes to waste. You have great intentions and you separate your meat and put it in freezer bags. You pop it into the freezer only for it to get lost in the back under the top layer of your wedding cake. Your great intentions have gone to waste because there was air in that freezer bag and your meat is now freezer burnt. You toss the meat, and all your great intentions, not to mention your money in the trash!

Take it from me. Do not eat freezer burnt meat. In my penny pinching ways I just cut off the white parts and cooked it up for my family. There was this funny taste to the recipe. Kind of a chemical-not-natural taste. We determined that it was the freezer burnt meat. It is not good penny pinching when your food is bad. EW!

So what is freezer burn exactly? According to www.loc.gov it is,"When food is frozen as a method of preservation, thousands and thousands of water molecules within the steak [or other frozen item] form ice crystals. These water molecules prefer the most hospitable environment- the coldest place in your freezer. The molecules migrate from the steak to the coldest place they can find, which is often the side of your freezer. The loss of these water molecules causes the steak to become dehydrated. The end result is freezer burn."

A few years ago I asked for a Food Saver for my birthday. My mother thought I was crazy and would never use it but she appeased me and bought it for my birthday. It is on my counters weekly and my 4 year old knows how to operate it. It is an investment initially but if you are a true penny pincher pick up one on e-bay or your local Craig's List and get one on the cheap.

So now I come home from the big box store with my bulk meat in tow and I divide my ground beef into 1 lb lumps and my chicken breasts into piles of 4. I put the ground beef on metal cookie trays (spray the tray with non stick spray) and freeze for a few hours if not over night. I prefer a few hours to freeze the juices in the meat because if I let it go overnight it will turn into several overnights. Once frozen enough that the juices stop flowing I seal and label it and right back into the freezer they go.

I make bags for the chicken (the instructions will show you how to do this) and put my 4 chicken breasts in each bag. I then set the bags upright in a 9x13 dish so that they don't flop over and pop them in the freezer till frozen. Then I seal and label and back into the freezer they go.

I can't tell you how much I have saved by having my vacuum sealer. I love it. I not only seal meat but I also seal blocks of soup, vegetables, cookies, bar cookies, and fruit just to name a few.

Make pinching your pennies worth your while.


Linens 'N Things - Going out of Business

One way you can save money in your day to day life is to take advantage of last minute sales or in the case of Linens 'N Things, a Going out of Business Sale. This is a perfect time to pick up that new bathmat, or bed sheets that you've needed but wanted to hold out on. Linens 'N Things carries many name brand items from KitchenAid, Calphalon, Wamsutta and more.

From Marketwatch.com
Linens-N-Things store closing sales begin on Friday, October 17, at the remaining 371 stores in 48 states. Over $1 billion of high quality, name brand home furnishings will be sold at discounts up to 30%. Consumers will be able to take advantage of outstanding savings on a tremendous selection of merchandise, from bed, bath and kitchen basics to the latest high-tech household appliances and the newest trends in fashions and accessories for every room. In addition, store fixtures, furniture and equipment will also be available for sale.

If you're not terribly picky about style or color you can find some good deals. As with most bankruptcy sales, the longer you wait, the better the deal will be; but wait too long and your new toilet seat cover might be gone....

MMMM Coffee

Don't throw away your cold coffee or even your coffee grounds. Give them to your plants. Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and wonderful for nutrient loving plants such as tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will also benefit from the added nitrogen as it will aid in the tomatoes ability to suppress late blight.   Your house plants would love a drink of your cold coffee as well.

The coffee grounds make a wonderful addition to a compost pile. Also use them as mulch. The dark color looks fabulous as a background for your bright colored plants. Who wouldn't want to brush up against some coffee mulch and smell the fabulous aroma?!

Have a slug or snail problem? Not a problem for coffee mulch. The little buggers crawl across the caffeinated concoction and it is curtains for them. Your coffee and grounds will do double duty for you and you have pinched a penny a little further. Oh, if you do follow this little penny pinching tip...please remove your filter. Just because you are pinching pennies doesn't mean you have to be trashy.


Date Night

Pinch a penny on date night? Of course! My husband did the penny pinching this time. He went to the grocery store and found bags of salad mix 2/$5 and because they were going to be out of date in 2 days there were $1 off coupons on each bag! He got $7 worth of salad mix for $3. Awesome deal. He picked up 2 sweet potatoes instead of a whole bag of potatoes. This way we are not allowing the rest of the bag to go to waste if we don't have a recipe for them this week. He went to the meat department and found a steak to feed us for $7. It was not the fillet Mignon but it was good enough for me! All you have to do is cook a piece of meat correctly and it will just melt in your mouth. He then went to the wine store and got a $9 bottle of Jacob's Creek Shiraz. We try and keep our bottles under $10. A sign of a good bottle of wine is not its price but what you think of it.

A penny pinching tip for when you are going out to eat in a restaurant is to see if you are able to bring your own bottle of wine with you. Some restaurants do not have liquor licences and will allow you to BYOB. Even those with liquor licences sometimes will allow you to bring your own bottle. The catch there may be they might have a corking fee. Something small, like $5, is to be expected. But that is far cheaper than purchasing a bottle at the restaurant. Did you know that restaurants mark up the bottle of wine 200-250%? But please be nice to your server and tip them as if you had ordered the wine in the restaurant. They are taking the extra time to open it for you, get extra glasses and make sure your glass is full of the wine YOU brought.

So we put the kids to bed, pulled out the wedding china and crystal and hubby and I had a steak dinner for 2, with wine, for under $20. We even thought enough to turn off the lights and light some tapered candles. Hubby went as far as to turn on some Michael Buble for our dinner music.

Just in case you wanted to know our steak recipe here it is:
2 pounds flank steak or tri-tip, cut into 8-ounce pieces *
4 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly cracked
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon **
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat grill to high heat.

Cut flank steak into 8-ounce portions and lightly tenderize with mallet. Dust with crushed black pepper and kosher salt. Press salt and pepper into steak with the palm of hand. Transfer steaks to a baking dish and place in the refrigerator. Let marinate for 4 to 8 hours.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil and onions and lightly saute until onions are caramelized. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to turn brown. Deglaze with wine and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar and let simmer and reduce for 20 to 30 minutes until mixture reduces to 3/4 cup.

Place steaks over a hot grill. Move once on first side to mark the steaks, cook for 5 minutes and flip, again only moving once to mark steak, cook for 4 minutes. When desired doneness is achieved, remove steaks from grill and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
Strain wine mixture and return to heat to reduce for 5 more minutes or until thick syrup is created. Serve with the steaks.

* just a note we used sirloin steaks
** we used our Shiraz

We also had baked sweet potatoes baked in the oven for 45 minutes at 400*. Bagged mixed salad greens with bottled dressing we had in the refrigerator. I topped mine with a few nuts and dried cranberries.

I love a penny pinching date!



I think a penny pincher's best friend is a digital camera.  Take a picture and if it is not right delete the picture.  If it is close to right edit the picture.  No more buying film, taking pictures, hoping they are going to turn out, sending them off to be developed and being disappointed only 15 or so of them are usable.  Now you have to do something with them!  

My newest obsession is digital scrapbooking.  I have always looked longingly at the rows and rows of beautiful scrapbooking paper, scissors, pens, embellishments and doo-dads.  But the penny pincher in me just didn't allow me to take the plunge.  I was worried about getting the most bang for my buck.  What if I cut wrong?  Wasted paper? What if I tore the picture when making a circle cut?  I would have to have that picture reprinted wasting more time and money. What if I messed up my journaling with my poor spelling?  I do not like my handwriting so I wouldn't have one of those elegant or kitchy pages.   It just was not worth it to me.  

Jump forward to last August when I was able to convince my hubby to sit down and show me a few editing techniques using Adobe Photoshop.  After a bit of struggling and a few stomped feet (mine) I was able to figure out the bare bones of the program.  Looking for what to do with my newly cropped and enhanced photos I went on line to find a cheap way to have the prints printed.  At the time my Wal*Mart was offering prints for $.24 each.  I was on the hunt to see if I could pinch a penny or two with an online company.  I discovered Shutterfly (there are others out there) and the photo books that they had available.  I was happy to find that you could upload your photos and they would be printed and bound in a hard bound book.  I loved that they had templates that you just dragged, dropped your photos and you had a page completed.

So there you have it.  A great way to save the expenses of film pictures, the expense and frustration (to me) of traditional scrapbooking and pinch yet another penny.


MMM Tortillas

If you have never had a fresh, hot, home made tortilla you don't know what you are missing!  Up until a few months ago I had not enjoyed home made tortillas but my penny pinching ways forced me to give them a try.  Flour tortillas in my grocery store are approximately $2 for 10 of the large burrito size.  Not a lot of money but when you are pinching a penny to stretch it as far as it will go that is a lot of money.  So I hit the Internet to see what  I could find. 

Here is what I found: BLOG

Here is the recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup lukewarm milk (2% is fine)

Of course I can never follow directions. (Just ask my mother.) So here is how I changed the recipe.
*I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
*I used water instead of milk (how penny pinching is that!)
*I added a pinch of sugar to give the heat something to caramelize because I omitted the milk.
*A second batch I omitted the baking powder.  The baking powder makes them puffy and chewy.  If you like a thicker tortilla go ahead and leave the baking powder in the batter.

I put the flour, salt, baking powder ( if you are using ) in my food processor and gave it a quick pulse or two.  Then I put in my oil and let it whirl.  Then with the machine on I streamed in the water till it pulled away from the sides of the bowl and formed a ball. ( or a couple small balls )

Then I dumped it out on a floured table and formed all the dough into one big ball.

Cover with a clean cloth and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  This will let the gluten in the flour relax and you will have an easier time rolling our your tortillas.

After 10 minutes divide your dough into 10-12 parts.  I have a small digital scale so I do 2 oz. balls.  This will make a ball about the size of a large walnut.  Roll these balls into tighter balls and cover and let rest 10-15 minutes.

Roll out the dough balls as thin as you can get them.  In my opinion the thinner the better!  Keep in mind when you cook them they will be about twice the thickness of what you roll them.

I use a non stick griddle pan to cook them.  Preheat the pan on medium high.  Cook the tortillas one at a time.    You will know it is time to flip the tortilla when small bubbles pop up on the top of the tortilla.  Much like bubbles in pancakes.   Flip and cook approximately another 30 seconds or so.

I keep them on a plate covered with a piece of plastic wrap that way they are able to steam and become more supple.  For best results serve immediately but they an be reheated in the microwave under a damp paper towel for a few seconds.

There you have it.  Fresh tortillas.  Yet another way I pinch a penny.


Home Made Starch

My husband was out of his spray starch.  It was on my grocery list when I had a brainstorm.  I wonder if I can MAKE starch.  We had the trigger spray bottle left over so why not try and fill it up with a home made concoction?  Here is what I found:

I did the 1 Tablespoon corn starch to 2 cups of water.  I did heat the mixture up to try and help dissolve the cornstarch.  I let it cool and then dumped it in the trigger bottle he had emptied.  I told my husband to just give it a shake each time he used it to shake up any sediments.  After a week of use I have heard no complaints other than there is no "fresh smell".  If you would like you could add essential oil like lavender or tee tree oil.  But we don't have any of those in our house so my husband is going to have to deal with out the fragrance.  Happy ironing!


The Joys of Goodwill Industries

I recently got a seasonal job where I need to wear khaki pants.  So off to Goodwill I went.  Goodwill is not just a place to drop off your outgrown or no longer needed clothes, shoes and household goods but a great place to find an awesome deal!  As with any shopping experience I came out with more items than I had originally intended.  I went in for a pair or two of khaki pants and came out with a pair of khaki's and 2 pairs of jeans.  But check out my deal!

Gap Jeans: $6
Apostrophe pants: $4.50

I doubt you can get this good of a deal off the clearance rack.  I could not see any wear marks, tears, or stains.  All zippers, buttons and clasps worked perfectly.  You may be thinking: "Ew!  You would wear some one elses' clothes that they donated!"  But when you go to the store other people have tried on that pair of pants before you.   When I got home I just cut off the tags and popped them in the washer.  No big deal.

When you donate or buy from Goodwill it is a win/win for you and your community.  I found this on the Goodwill website:
"When you shop at Goodwill, you get great bargains and help someone find a job. The money you spend in Goodwill stores goes to support job training and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.
Goodwill stores feature gently-used and new items that are bargains for smart shoppers. The more than 2,200 Goodwill stores in North America are independently owned and operated, but most Goodwill's offer basic items that guarantee great finds — jeans, business attire, baby and children’s clothing, housewares and appliances, furniture and more."

How wonderful is that?!


Juice for .75?

My newest favorite place is Save Smart.  It is a new grocery store in Dover, Pa that is a no frills grocery.  No childcare, no canned music, no deli, no bakery and no pharmacy.  The cans and boxes are still in their shipping boxes.  They just cut the face of the box off and toss it up on the shelf.  You bring your own bags. (Yeah environment)  If you forget a bag you can buy one for $.03.  You are probably thinking... well why do you go?  Because there are awesome deals and I am a Penny Pincher.  I got Macintosh apples for .77 a pound, canned black beans for .55 a can, and Cheerios for $1.80 a box. ( I will have to check on that price but I know it was less than $2 a box) AND THEY ACCEPT MANUFACTURE COUPONS! 

But my biggest deal was Minute Maid Country Style orange juice ( the kind that comes in the carton) for....drum roll please.... $.75!  That is the beautiful thing about SS... they get these shipments in and they are not only name brands but CHEAP!!  So I bought 3 of them and popped 2 of them in the freezer for a rainy day.

So if you are in or around York, Pa... go to Save Smart and get your cheap juice!