Cheap Stocking Stuffers

My daughter always goes for her stocking on Christmas morning before she opens her big gifts. I think that’s the traditional way to do it. It’s how we did it in my house when I was a kid, anyway.

I always wrap everything (the tiny stuff too) even though it’s a pain in a reindeer’s butt.

I did some research and found a handy list of stocking stuffers, all under $5 dollars, for all age groups, even adults. Why should the kids have all the fun?

Ho Ho Ho!

 

stocking

From Pinterest.

 

I would actually love a stress ball (and a mini bottle of liquor.)

Hey, I don’t get these merry pink cheeks naturally, you know.

Do you have any ideas for stocking stuffers that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Christmas is coming, you guys. You know what that means, don’t you?

Yes, cookies galore. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Presents! Oh, crap. So many presents to buy.

Wait a second, I’m too broke to buy presents except for my daughter, niece and nephew. I try to do what I can for them. My mom and aunt also get a little something. 

But as for the adults, they are just happy enough to have me get drunk on wine and sing carols for them.

This year though, I have found a way to actually make the females in my life real gifts with my own two little hands.

What woman doesn’t enjoy slathering goop on their face? I know I do.

So I had a super idea (it happens sometimes) to make some kind of facial scrub.

There are so many recipes out there for sugar scrubs it truly boggles the mind. I found one that is the most affordable to make from saltlicklessons.com.

Vanilla Sugar Scrub

What you’ll need:

Sugar (Obviously. You can also use brown sugar as well. Yum. )

Coconut oil or aloe vera gel (the cheapest of the two)

Real vanilla extract

A mason jar with lid

  1. Combine the coconut oil or aloe vera and one cup of the sugar in a bowl. Mix until creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla extract while continuing to stir. This is when you would add coloring too if you wanted to get fancy.
  3. Add the remaining sugar until the formula reaches the desired consistency.
  4. Put in a mason jar and decorate as desired.

I plan on using some ribbons and whatnot to decorate mine.

You might be tempted to eat it but I don’t think that aloe vera gel tastes good.

 

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This is an example, mine will be better.

 

You can mix this up by using any sort of essential oil or extract that you’d like. I just happen to have some real vanilla extract in my kitchen.

Do you have any homemade budget friendly Christmas gift ideas? Let us know in the comments!

When to Buy What

I’ve traveled the web for hours looking at puppies looking for new ways to save money. Although I’m a Thrifty Diva, I also admit that there is much more that I need to learn!

I found this simple to follow guide on when the best times are to buy certain things.

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It seems to me that July is not only temputure hot, it’s also a hot time to buy almost anything.

I’ll keep that in mind when I’m ready to buy my next Mercedes.

If you have any thoughts, please leave us a comment! We love comments!

Are Expired Foods Safe To Eat?

canned-food

I recently cleaned out my cupboards and threw away 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese. The dates on them were well past a year. My daughter no longer asks me to make her mac and cheese, which makes me nostalgic.

She loved it when I would cut up hot dogs and mix those in.

My husband noticed the missing boxes and asked me what happened to them. I told him and he got all huffy about it.

“But those were for emergencies, the oh no we have nothing left to eat stash!”

I am weird about expiration dates, I’ll admit it. Having worked in many industrial-sized kitchens and having a mother who is also weird about food going bad, my natural instinct is to toss it out.

I decided to investigate further. I found some information in this article on the topic.

  • ‘Sell by.’ This is the date by which manufacturers suggest that retailers remove the product from shelves. The goal is to ensure quality for a period of time after you buy it. That can be several days to several weeks, depending on the item. For instance, milk, assuming proper refrigeration, should last five to seven days past its sell-by date before turning sour.
  • ‘Best by’ and ‘use by.’ Those terms tell you when to eat (or freeze) a product for the best quality. A jar of salsa may not taste as fresh and tangy as it’s supposed to, for example, and crackers may be soft instead of crisp after those dates.

Hmmm. They might taste funky but not be dangerous to consume.

Maybe I had been a little too quick to discard those boxes of mac and cheese. When you’re really hungry, even powdered cheese sounds like a gourmet meal.

 

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Yum!

 

The next time you go through your cabinets and see that a can of corn is past its due date, I say open it. I wasted at least 3 dollars tossing good mediocre food away, which is not the thrifty diva way.

Do you have any thoughts on expired foods? Let us know in the comments!

Lasagna Dip

I found this delicious looking recipe on Facebook and saved the link. It only has 4 ingredients (besides good crusty bread) as well.

We here at The Thrifty Divas are all about easy and affordable recipes!

I can whip up a wonderful lasagna, but it’s a real time-consuming entree to make, what with all of the layering of noodles and such.

But this lasagna dip is a snap to make! I can’t wait to serve this on football game day Sunday! I just know that it’s going to be a hit.

 

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Please wipe your drool on that washcloth over there.

 

Here’s the basic recipe.
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  1. Cook the meat, drain, then add the tomato sauce and simmer for about 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Spread the ricotta over the bottom of a baking dish, the meat sauce and then top the whole shebang with mozzarella cheese.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Put fresh basil (like the song Hey Mickey) on top. (Optional. Just sprinkle some Italian seasoning and call it a day.)

Use crusty bread (or not crusty, it’s cool) as dippers.

Do you think you’ll make this recipe? What would be some alternate versions of this? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Generic Meds Do The Job

Whenever I can, I buy generic over-the-counter cold meds, muscle rubs, cough drops and stomach ache remedies. My local drugstore has their own brand. I’ve found absolutely no difference between name brand cough syrup and Drug Mart cough syrup other than the packaging.

I usually stock up on these items once every three months. That way, when my daughter tells me that she has a headache, I can point to the kitchen cupboard and go back to watching Netflix.

I bought some muscle rub for $4 dollars the other day, instead of paying $9 for the “real” stuff.

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Non-greasy is an important feature.

It smells like Pepto, but it does an amazing job of helping with my muscle pain/twitching.

If you haven’t been using generic meds, give it a try at least once. You’ll save money, which is what we strive to do here on this blog.

Do you use generic drugs? Let us know in the comments!

Dining Out on a Budget

eatingoutonabudget

No matter how broke we were, Friday was always “dining out” night when I was a kid. Somehow, my parents were able to pull this off every week. We’d order a pizza, go to McDonalds, or to an affordable family restaurant. I would always get the cheeseburger and fries off of the children’s menu.

It was our splurge for the week. As much as we enjoyed my mom’s cooking, dinner out was a special occasion. (Not to mention a well deserved break for our mom.)

It’s not that difficult to find a decent restaurant to visit at least once or twice a month to give you that feeling of treating yourself. We all deserve that, no matter what our bank account looks like.

Here are a few tips…

  • Ask around. Most people love to share where they go for an affordable tasty dinner.
  • Check out the appetizer menu. Despite what anyone says, onion rings can be an entire meal.
  • Find a place that doesn’t upcharge you for salad, soup, bread and side dishes.
  • Ask for water to save extra money.
  • If you’re old enough, order something from the senior menu. Sadly, I have a few more years before I can do this. Boo.
  • Tip nicely and be amazed when your regular waitress doesn’t charge you for coffee and throws in an extra roll. (This actually happened.)

And remember, always use a napkin and excuse yourself when you belch.

Do you have any tips on dining out on a budget? Let us know in the comments!

Cowboy Fuel

I’d like to share a recipe from Ladybuggz aka Teresa, a long time blog friend of mine.

If you’d like to share a budget friendly recipe, please email either Jackie or myself.

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I call this recipe Beef, Beans & Biscuits or Cowboy Fuel!
Most of us on a small budget have these ingredients in our fridge and pantry….it’s a rib sticking, great meal!
Ingredients needed: Ground Beef, Onion, BBQ Sauce, Brown Sugar, Salt, Refrigerated Biscuit Dough (premade) or make your own… 1/2 cup of Shredded Cheese (your choice/or not). You can also add more veggies to it if you have them..like celery, carrots, & green  pepper.
cowboy
Step 1:
-Use as much Ground Beef as your family usually uses……
-dice 1/2 medium  onion or more (to your liking)
-Brown Ground Beef and Onion together…Keep on low
Step 2:
-Add 3/4 cup of your fav. BBQ Sauce to the beef and onion mix & next  3 ingredients
-Add 2 Tbsp of Brown Sugar/ or what ever sugar you have on hand
-Add 1/2 tsp Salt
-Mix in 1- 16oz can of your fav. Baked Beans, bring to a gentle simmer….
Step 3:
Pour meat and bean mixture into a casserole dish big enough for all to fit! (or see end of step 4 for alternative).
Step 4:
-Either Make or use pre packaged Biscuit Dough, place Biscuit’s on top of beef and bean mix, cover with 1/2 shredded cheese and bake according to Biscuit recipe. Or bake biscuits separately and keep meat mix hot on top of stove ( I do this to keep bottom of biscuits from getting soggy).
This will fill your bellies and keep your house warm in more way’s than one!
Enjoy!
Thanks Merry and Jackie for considering this recipe for your new site!
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You’re welcome, Teresa! I’ll have to give this one a try (and light a candle!)