I am loving the new year and getting back into a schedule.  The holidays were fun, but I love getting back into my routine that includes a thrifty Thursday post.  I’ve done pretty well this week and wanted to share some of the fun ways I’ve saved a bit of money.

1.

Free Seeds of Change meal

Smiley 360 arm and hammer seeds of change

Smiley 360 is another one of the word of mouth marketing sites that I use.  They sent me these coupons for a free simmer sauce and a free microwave pouch of rice from Seeds of Change.  I also got this awesome bag.  Instead of using both coupons for one meal, I’m trying to stretch it into two meals.  I’ll do one with the rice and another with the simmer sauce.  I’ll post a more detailed update later on how they turned out.  I loved getting this in the mail!  Remember, anyone can sign up for these word of mouth marketing sites.  I think it is worth the time I put in to get all the free stuff.

2.

Free Arm and Hammer Truly Radiant toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash

It was a good week for Smiley 360 freebies because they also sent me this:

Arm and Hammer

Tom and I are so happy with Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant.  I’ve been on a big all natural kick and usually only use Tom’s of Maine and the Trader Joe’s knockoff.  While I love the all natural stuff, it doesn’t taste great.  It is nice to take a break from it and try something else for a bit.  Tom and I both feel like our mouths are super clean now.  We just might start buying this all the time.  We are taking the 5 day challenge to a whiter smile and I think it is working.  Of course, I didn’t take a before shot so I can’t really tell, but my teeth look and feel healthier.  I was suffering from some severe pregnancy gingivitis and haven’t had a single issue with gum bleeding since we made the switch!  That is worth the switch!

3.

Week 3 of couponing

CVS coupons

Like I said last week, I haven’t seen a return on groceries yet.  I am still seeing a big amount of savings in toilet paper, paper towels and razors.  I was able to get $15 back from the above purchases and the pain medicine was free because my coupons paid for it!  Right now I am going to be happy with that.  I’ve gotten pretty picky with our foods and prefer to go organic and hormone free when I can.  Unfortunately it isn’t super easy to get everything you want with coupons.  You save the most money by trying different brands and I’m not willing to do that right now.  I will give myself a couple more months of trying with coupons and if it doesn’t pay off I think I’ll go back to Amazon Subscribe and Save for toilet paper and paper towels and The Dollar Shave Club for razors.

4.

Finally figuring out how to cook for me and my husbands tastes

I’ve mentioned before that Tom likes meat more than I do.  I’m no vegetarian, but I don’t like meat centered meals.  I’m finally finding some ways to compromise!  I’ve been doing stuffed mushrooms and stuffed peppers and making each one different.  It’s great because I can make one dairy free and less meat for me and one with more meat and dairy for my husband.  I finally feel like I’m winning at dinner time!  I’d like to do a full post soon on how we are figuring all this out.

5.

I made bread!

homemade honey wheat bread

You all know that I have expensive taste when it comes to bread.  I love Dave’s Killer Bread, Food for Life Ezekiel bread, and all fresh bread from Whole Foods and Publix.  When it is all said and done I could spend around $7 each week on bread which is ridiculous because Tom doesn’t even eat bread.  I’ve decided to cut that out of my shopping list for now and make my own.  It comes with other benefits too!  I don’t have to worry about preservatives or strange ingredients in my bread.  Plus it is something I’ve always wanted to do.  It was on my baking bucket list and now I feel more accomplished.  I’d like to bake at least one loaf every weekend until I find the recipes I like the most and then I’ll start making 3-4 at a time so I can freeze some for when the new baby gets here.  Let’s get real, I’m not going to have time to bake bread when the new little man arrives.  I fully expect to live off take-out for a while and I won’t even feel guilty for spending the extra money!

Anyway, here is the recipe I used:  Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread    My friend, Mandy, shared it with me and I’m so happy that she did.  She also humored me by talking bread tips and techniques with me during our last play date at the zoo.  What would I do without my mom friends?  Another friend, Mary, also talked me through the yeast process.  I’m telling you, this bread baking experience was a big ordeal.  I’ve been researching, thinking and talking about it a lot lately.  I’m lucky to have friends that will support my whims!

It turned out really well!  I can’t wait to experiment with a new recipe next week!

6.

King Cake from Cinnamon Rolls

The main reason I wanted to learn how to make bread is so I can eventually make fancier bread such as king cake.  I grew up outside Mobile, AL (the birthplace of American Mardi Gras) and I miss king cakes more than anything else from the South, with the exception of kind strangers.  I definitely miss kind strangers the most.  We order a king cake every year, but we can only afford one because they are pretty pricey, up to $50.  I know that sounds like a colossal waste of money if you’ve never had a real king cake from Louisiana.  Trust me on this one, it is not a waste of money.   Since we aren’t ready to buy our king cake yet, I had to make do with cinnamon rolls.  This turned out pretty well.  It tastes nothing like a king cake but it got me in the spirit!

cinnamon rolls into king cake

I braided the cinnamon rolls together.

king cake and cinnamon rolls

Baked it according to the package.

king cake cinnamon rolls

Iced it and added sprinkles.

king cake from cinnamon rolls

Then I ate the whole thing in less than 24 hours.  Hello, gestational diabetes.

7.

Experimenting with Granola Bars

Robert loves chewy granola bars and could eat two or three a day.  I’m tired of buying so many of them because they are pricey and I’ve never found one that has quality ingredients that I can afford.  I’ve made them in the past and now I’m trying to perfect them even more.  I’m not in love with this recipe, so I won’t share it yet.  Here is my first batch made with sunflower seed butter.  Hopefully I can get it perfected before the next baby gets here.  I’d like to make a bunch to freeze for when I’m too busy to make stuff like this.

granola bars


How did you do this week?  Feel free to leave a comment letting me know!