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10 Ways I Save Money

10 Ways I Save Money

Kind of catchy, huh? Everyone I know is either going through financial struggles or working hard to meet some financial goals. In our case we are working to buy a house. ūüôā Yay!

In honor of our shared desire to save money, you and I are going to chat about how to get sneaky with the budget. I have decided to share my various tips and tricks over the next few posts. Some are obvious, some are very, VERY strange. (Be forewarned.)

Today’s tips:

  1. Recycled Vinyl Record Sleeve Gift Bags: Basically, you get crafty with a charming old (but worthless) vinyl record sleeve. Make sure the opening is at the top instead of the side (using colorful tape, or however you want to do it);¬†attach handles; a “to & from” card; tissue paper; glam it up however else you choose; and voila– you have a unique gift bag for the price of a few minutes spent doing a craft. Look around… What do you have that can be recycled into something new?
  2. Menu Plan: This one is kind of obvious but we all might need to be reminded. I know what we will eat for the next week, and have planned my grocery shopping accordingly.¬† Leftovers go in the freezer in individual servings for my husband to take to work. Almost every day for lunch we eat either leftovers from dinner or a quick sandwich. Writing down my menus ahead of time has saved me a lot of time and money! When I forget–that is when I find myself running to the store for a tub of sour cream and come home bearing a dozen impulse items because I shopped on an empty stomach.
  3. Finish your food: My girls can be pretty picky eaters. I have had it. If they don’t eat it for breakfast, I will cover it and save it for their lunch. No sense in letting wholesome food go to waste. Most of us spend many hundreds of dollars in food every month–why should we let it go in the trash?
  4. Men, (Beware this warning will be in caps. I am serious.)¬†PLEASE LEAVE THE CONVERSATION AND COME BACK TOMORROW. THIS TIP IS NOT FOR YOU. I SAY THIS TO PROTECT YOUR FEELINGS. In the future my tips will be friendly for all ears but this one pertains to a monthly occurence which applies only to us ladies. OK I think I can proceed now. Diva Cup: Yes, I said that. It is kind to the environment, very comfortable (spoken like a true veteran) and more reliable than most tampons and napkin, and inexpensive. ¬†http://divacup.com/¬† about $22 plus shipping, this is a steal compared to what most of us pay for disposable female products. In the past I experimented with recycled flannel/jersey “things”–which work just fine for a lot of women. Since it is already recycled (from an old sheet, t-shirt) etc. one can feel¬†better about either washing or throwing it away. Either way it is kinder to the environment, health, and budget than the usual disposables. After trying¬†cloth for a while I decided I wanted something lower maintenance with less chance of, errr, spillage. The Diva Cup is easy to use (simply rinse and re-insert every 12 hours) which is more my style.¬† See risks for conventional feminine hygiene here http://femininecare.mercola.com/¬†¬† The point is, spending around $60 per year on disposable feminine products is neither ideal nor necessary.
  5. Hankies:I don’t know if you are still listening, or if totally shocked you with that last tip. but this one is real and can be very kind to a raw nose¬†when getting over a cold. Who needs to spend $10 or so on a multi-pack of tissues that feel¬†scratchy anyway? Not to mention unkind to the environment.¬†I recently took some 100% cotton flannel and cut it up into hankies. A little stich¬†on the edges with the sewing machine to prevent fray, and I have over a hundred reuseable hankies¬†for under $11. So soft. Do I need over a hundred hankies for my family? Certainly not. What was I thinking? (another tip: buying too much flannel is not a way to save money.) ūüėõ

That was 5 out of 10 Ways to Save. I will continue to share both my strange and common money-saving strategies.  Please also let me in on your tips.

Cheers,

Western Woman

Chickpeas!?

Chickpeas!?

Who knew you could do so much with chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, depending on where you grew up.) So, let’s talk about hummus, protein shakes, chocolate “pudding”, and more.

Details before we start… First of all, my 25 pound bag of dry chickpeas costs only $26.15 from Azure Standard, making each serving ridiculously cheap. Second, I love chickpeas, always have. They are delicious. Third, chickpeas are wonderfully nutritious;¬†a balanced protein too, meaning they don’t have to be combined carefully with rice, etc. like some other beans do. Easy.

The Master Batch

I cook a large amount to be used in various recipes throughout the week.

  1. Pour dry chickpeas in slow cooker, about 2/3 full. Fill to top with water, and splash in a little ACV*, lemon juice, or whey. Let sit about 24 hours. (This works on the pre-digestion effect. The beans will sprout a teeny tiny bit. This is good!)
  2. Skim off bubbles, add salt to taste. and cook on low for 8-10 hours. (Or until soft, depending on your slow cooker.)
  3. ¬†As it is cooking, skim off bubbles periodically. (This is important, greatly reducing the “gassy” side effect.)
  4. Chickpeas are ready to serve right now, a great side or main course; I like to add sauteed onions. There should be plenty left over to use for the next recipes.

Hummus

A personal favorite that never fails; The perfect crowd-pleaser. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love this hummus!

  1. 1 peeled garlic clove in your food processor.
  2. juice of 1 lemon.
  3. Free-pour (or carefully measure) about 1 T cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. (EVOO—I love it! There are so many uses for this¬†amazing oil.)
  4. Optional; other spices to taste.
  5. Ladle in about 1 1/2 C cooked chickpeas with a little of the water. (You will get a feel for how moist you like your hummus.)
  6. Process until creamy and serve. Be sure to make extra batches to keep in the fridge for meals or snacks throughout the week, even to freeze for later. Hummus makes an excellent main course.
Chickpea Protein Shake
  1.  1/2 C cooked chickpeas in your blender.
  2. 1/2 C ice.
  3. a few drops of stevia OR raw honey and cinnamon to taste (for an immune boost)
  4. fruit and veggies if desired.
  5. 1/4 C cocoa or carob powder, if desired.
  6. 1 C cultured raw milk (unsweetened filmjolk, buttermilk, kefir, yoghurt, etc.)
  7. Blend until creamy. Add about 1 C water, and blend again.
  8. Serves 4. (Or maybe just 2 if people are feeling greedy!) Feel free to enjoy as is, or make extra and turn leftover shake into popsicles for an after-workout muscle recovery treat.

Chocolate-Chickpea “Pudding”

I really couldn’t not include this recipe. No judging until you actually try it.

  1. Ladle 1  1/2 C cooked chickpeas with some of the water to your food processor.
  2. 1/2 C chocolate or carob powder.
  3. 1/3 C raw honey & 1 T cinnamon (immune boost)
  4. 1/4 C raw cream or cultured raw milk
  5. Blend until creamy. Optional, add fruit or nuts for a delicious crunchy texture.
  6. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve. Play 20 Questions with your family. I bet nobody will guess they are eating chickpeas!

Also look for…

I have enjoyed fantastic chickpea creations such as chocolate peanut butter protein bars, salads, soups, hotdish, and so much more. (Most of these recipes are quickly located via google.)

Please share with me your special chickpea recipes! I have a large pot of chickpeas ready to be transformed into a mouthwatering masterpiece.

*ACV is short of Apple Cider Vinegar ūüôā