Tag Archives: budget

Captain America’s Lemonade

Happy Thirsty Thursday Everyone!

I hope you are getting ready for a relaxing weekend and I hope this drink helps contribute to your relaxation!

But maybe you’re like my hubby and me and between you both you hold down 6 different jobs and one or both of you have to work through the weekend again. I’m not complaining. The Good Lord has seen fit to make sure we can pay all of our bills which is a blessing many people don’t have. And if your situation is anywhere close to mine, I hope this drink helps to take the edge off in a very tasty way!

Captain America’s Lemonade

1 shot of Rum $0.42
1 shot of Blue Curaçao $0.34
3 oz of Squirt soda $0.07
Juice of 1 whole lemon $0.10
Pour over ice
Top with grenadine (approx 1/2 shot) $0.05
Garnish with lemon slice


Restaurant price $6+
Total SAVINGS: $5.02+




What am I Wearing Wednesday – Black tube dress

What am I Wearing Wednesday

What am I Wearing Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

Thanks everyone for bearing with me as I make a few changes to the blog, mostly the addition of new content. As always, though, it will always be relevant to anyone who wants to live the champagne life on a beer budget. Or Diet Coke, whichever you prefer!

I’ve mentioned previously that I am a poor newlywed college student and that comes with many demands, oddly enough, on my wardrobe! I’m expected to:

  • dress “like a young professional” while I’m teaching my classes as a graduate student
  • dress for my on-campus job
  • dress casually while in class
  • dress for performances {choir dress is ugly and uniform, other choir dress is our choice but black and formal}
  • dress for other performances {something like “Sunday Best”} during the day time
  • dress for recitals {ball gowns}
  • dress for auditions and job interviews
  • dress up to meet the inlaws
  • dress up to go to church
  • dress appropriately for professional rehearsals
  • dress for dates with the Hubby!
  • casual outfits
  • dress for the gym or the pool
  • dress for girls nights

Sure, sure. Some of these are unique to my major {I don’t think pre-meds or business majors need a closet full of ball-gowns} but many of these are real needs for college students and other young wives! And how am I supposed to accommodate all these demands on a newlywed’s budget? Especially since many college towns don’t have H&M or other places to buy cheap clothes, and the options drop to almost nil when you include the Tall & Curvy Factor! Dress pants are high-waters on me! Appropriate length skirts are NOT appropriate on this body! Nice blouses aren’t supposed to show the bottom of my belly button, right? And yes, I do buy my pants online, on-sale for $30 a piece. I own two pairs of black pants. Boring. And even when I order online there is no guarantee that they’ll be tall enough, wide enough in the hips, and are rarely quality products. Not worth it!

So what’s a girl to do?

Make her own clothes!

Admittedly, this outfit is a bit simplistic but it fulfills several roles. I wore it to work on Monday. I’ve paired it with a black cardigan and worn it as my “Black Dress” to performances. I’ve worn it to teach in. And the creation is so easy it’s almost criminal! In fact, you’ve seen something similar from me once before.


Sorry that the image is so bad. My husband took with my iPhone before I downloaded the Camera+ app that makes all iPhone pictures better.

All you have to do to make one for yourself is:

  1. Get a length of fabric that wraps 1 1/2 times around your body. $5 with coupon
  2. Fold it in half “hamburger-style.”
  3. Sew together the two cut edges.
  4. Cut a length of elastic to fit around your chest, just under your underarms. $0.75
  5. Sew that length into a loop or a circle.
  6. Sew it onto the “ugly” side of the fabric, 1 inch below the top of the dress, using the zig zag stitch.
  7. Flip it right-side-out.
  8. Wear it!

Normally I’ll have step-by-step pictures, but I made this dress 6 months ago.

For this outfit I’ve paired it with a red cardigan and a belt. Had I thought about it, I’d also be wearing a necklace, but sometimes when you’re running late to work you have to forgo the final touches.

Dress: $5.75 Homemade
Cardigan: $30 from Lane Bryant {one of my last retail-price purchases}
Belt: $5 from Eloquii’s going out of business sale

Outfit total: $40.75

Thanks for joining me today!

What article of clothing have you sewn for yourself lately and how have you used it?

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment – Step 1 AGAIN

Sunday! A time for rest and reflection. Right?

I hope I’m not the only one like this but rest and reflection absolutely cannot come until I’ve done something productive. Unfortunately today’s productivity comes as a repeat {sort of} of a previous post. As you can imagine, I am not pleased with that.

When my family and friends were in town for our reunion, we dragged the smoker out of the closet we had previously stuffed it into and grilled up a brisket and wings and jalapeno poppers. It’s been two weeks and the smoker has been shoved in my office with all the boxes that were packed in with it laying all over the floor making the room completely unusable for me. Do you see my poor, lonely little sewing machine in the background there behind all those boxes? Yep, I haven’t sewed a stitch in over 3 weeks! But my office was not unusable for Hubby who took advantage of my refusal to enter that room by eating in there while working online. I chose to take the picture before cleaning up his wrappers and boxes so that while I’m working at making our home its best, you can see it at its worst.


There is still some cleaning up to do but I wanted to share with you our closet before and after.


If you compare the final product of the closet in the last post to the final product of the closet in this one, I think you’ll notice a huge improvement!

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Sunday and we’ll see you tomorrow for Museum Monday!

Frugal Friday – Supermarket Edition

Frugal Friday

Happy Day-After-Independence Day everyone! If you are anything like me, you need a holiday after your holiday to recuperate! Hubby grilled hot dogs and hamburgers on our mini-$5-grill from HEB and we had friends over to watch operas on DVD. We even avoided a $2000 ticket for having a grill on the premises by giving the cop a cheeseburger! I’m not sure how frugal that technically is but I’m always happy to feed the local police officers who keep us safe! Poor guy had to work on Independence Day too! He deserved a burger.

I’m sort of a hoarder of good deals and frugal tips and tricks. I have books about money management and being frugal and I guarantee you I didn’t pay full price for any of them! In fact, I picked up a few more on Wednesday at my local used bookstore, Golden’s Book Exchange, for 5¢ a piece! Of course, Hubby found the first four books of the “Game of Thrones” series and just had to have them, so my original basket of 15¢ jumped up to $18.15 But to be fair, this was the cheapest he’d seen these books for by about 70% and he has been looking for about a month. It makes me so proud when my Hubby shows progress in becoming a savvy shopper like me! But on to the frugal tips of the day!

Frugal Friday – Supermarket Edition

1. Shop with cash only

When you shop with credit or debit card close by you will be tempted to spend more than you have budgeted. You may even start justifying unnecessary purchases. But if you are held accountable by the limited cash on-hand, and you don’t want to have to return things when you’re in the check-out line, you can avoid at least one budget error!

2. Pay attention to “price per count”

You’ve of course seen the price sticker underneath the items you buy. Have you noticed the smaller number under that? It tells you how the item costs per ounce, pound, count, box, ply, sheet, etc. As you buy larger packages of an item {2 count vs 8 count vs 24 count} this number should decrease because buying in bulk should save the consumer money. Sometimes this is not the case! Sometimes it is genuinely more financially prudent to buy the medium sized package than the large sized package. But you won’t know unless you check the “price per count!”

3. Add a pinch of salt to milk

Adding a pinch of salt to a gallon of milk makes it last longer. Why? I don’t know. It just does. And if your supermarket lowers the price of milk with a closer expiration date this little trick could save you up to 50 ¢ per gallon!

4. Avoid leftovers

You think you’ll take it to work with you tomorrow, but you’ll forget. And there’s not enough to server tomorrow night for the whole family. Before you know it, it’s a science experiment-gone-wrong in the back of the fridge and you’ll toss it anyway. Make only what you know you’ll eat in one sitting and stick to it! And if you avoid going back for unnecessary seconds, you are already on the road to a healthier lifestyle!

5. Make your own flavor packs

I love Mrs. Dash and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning as much as anyone else. But let’s face it: They are more expensive per ounce than the individual ingredients themselves and loaded with preservatives! Buy individual jars of spices that you like and make your own spice mix or meat rub. Customize it to your tastes. Not only will you become better acquainted with the flavors you really love, you can brag to all your friends about your extraordinary culinary prowess. And who knows? Maybe you’ll one day be marketing your own spice blend!

6. Eliminate choices at meals

Stick to the meal plan you’ve carefully budgeted. When you start offering two different proteins, two different vegetables, three different starches, before you know it your fridge is piled high with tupperware full of food that is more than likely going to go to waste. Remember #4?

7. Select aisles carefully

The perimeter of the store is reserved for fresh produce, meat, dairy, and otherwise healthy and perishable items. The inside aisles are where all the preserved and manufactured foods in plastic bags, metal cans, and glass jars and kept. When you’ve made your list and are familiar with the store, go only to the aisles you know you need to visit. Straying from that can lead to impulse purchases that will blow your budget.

8. Learn to s-t-r-e-t-c-h

Breadcrumbs or oatmeal can stretch a pound of ground beef into a 1 ½ pounds or more! And let’s face it, meat is getting expensive these days. Nonfat dry milk stretches a gallon of milk into two. Borax and baking soda stretch dishwashing detergent too.

9. Cheap gourmet coffee

Store-brand coffee beans {ground or whole} can taste like your local coffee house’s special brew if you add a cinnamon stick into dry coffee grounds. Or Add a few drops of vanilla or hazelnut extract to brewed coffee. Pour any left over coffee into an ice-cube tray and freeze it. If you’d ever like iced coffee but don’t want it to get watered down then this is the perfect solution!

Personal note: I have coffee ice cubes in my freezer and a gallon of brewed coffee in my fridge. For a better-tasting Frapp knock-off, throw it all in the blender with some creamer and cocoa powder {and protein powder if this is your breakfast} for a drink for which you will happily turn your back to Starbucks!

10. Shop late in the day

Ask the butcher or produce person if they have anything they plan to mark down today and when. They may mark it down early for you {since you asked so sweetly} and that $8 t-bone steak only costs you $5. They may even give you a heads-up on what will be marked down tomorrow!

Thrifty First Year Anniversary Gift Guide – Paper

I am so excited to tell you all that this Sunday, June 16th, is the Hubby’s and my first year anniversary! I can’t even tell you how excited I am! We have made it one year without killing each other and thankfully it wasn’t that hard.

But of course with each milestone, gifts must be given, especially with a milestone as important and this one. So I take to the internet-machine to figure out what I am supposed to be getting for him. According to Wikipedia.org, the first anniversary is traditionally paper.


Yes. Paper. What am I supposed do with paper? How am I supposed to give paper? When in doubt, ask Pinterest!


Um… Uh. Okay, so these ideas are fine and dandy if that is what you’re into. This, however, is NOT what hubby is into. These ideas are really cool for the giver, not necessarily the receiver, especially if the receiver is a guy. So what’s a girl to do?

After some thought, I’ve come up with a few hopefully unique and useful ideas for… paper.



I am not even close to kidding. I think that “paper” was designated to anniversary number one because newlyweds are BROKE and money would be the most helpful thing for them. Right? Especially if they are newly wed college students.

But this is a practical gift to give even between certain spouses if given in the right spirit. If the Keeper of the Finances sets aside even just $20 for the spouse to spend on whatever he or she wants, no questions asked, no stipulations, no saving any part of it to put toward bills, especially if the couple hasn’t allowed themselves many {or any} extras in quite a while, then this is a pretty sweet gift! We have a gift card left over from Christmas for $10 at Barnes & Noble and we are so excited to spend it between the two off us. I think if Hubby had $20 all to himself, he’d be so excited!



Who doesn’t love a good wine? Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Zinfandel, oh my goodness when is Sunday going to get here?! And there are plenty, PLENTY of cheap and tasty wines at your local grocery store, unless you’re in a dry county, in which case I am sorry for your loss. I can pick up my favorite cheap bottle of wine at the HEB grocery just up the street for under $5. At 4 pours to the bottle, that comes to $1.25 per glass! That same glass of wine can go for $4 to $7.50 at many local restaurants, so you can already see how much you’ve saved!

What does wine have to do with paper? The label on the bottle is paper, obviously!


Magazine Subscription

I love gifts that keep on giving! Potted plants. Jewelry. Puppies. Any gift that doesn’t get “used up” is excellent. But in my humble opinion, gifts that continually surprise are the best! Of-the-Month Clubs are great! But if you can’t quite afford one of those, magazine subscriptions are a great option for those who want the joy to last through the entire year.

Hubby loves Men’s Health, and at Amazon.com you can get the Print & Kindle combination subscription for $19.95 ($2/issue). What a steal!

If Hubby {or one of our friends} is reading this, he and I would both enjoy a subscription to Opera News, available at Amazon.com for $22.95 ($1.91/issue).


Gift Certificate

If you are poor but like eating out, then this is the website for you! Just type in your ZIP code, hit ‘enter’ and BAM! Food for cheap! Buy your sweetheart a gift certificate at 60% off at Restaurant.com, print the certificate, and no body has to cook or do the dishes for a night! And you won’t be put in the poor house over it either! I’m not saying that all the restaurants they will be listing 5-Star dining experiences in your area, but to be fair some of the most romantic and meaningful times I’ve had with my hubby have been at one of the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joints around town. Nothing says romance like ordering a Piña Colada for your hubby so he won’t look like a sissy ordering it for himself. For the record though, he orders his own Piña Coladas now. So proud!

brown butcher paper


Or beef and cheese slices. Pick up some spicy mustard and some marbled rye break. Grab a couple of drinks while you’re at the deli too. Because what could be better than a picnic in a local park! And since it’s wrapped in Butcher PAPER, it’s will totally fit this anniversary’s theme! If you’d rather head home for an indoor meal, grab some steaks {in butcher paper} and let the Hubby do the cooking! Men like to grill. It’s fun for them. And I know I want my Hubby to be in a genuinely good mood instead of just putting up with the romantic pomp and circumstance.


Lottery Tickets

This one is really more for entertainment value than anything else. Be sure to get the one where you pick your own numbers and wait for the announcement, NOT the scratch-offs! And of course the numbers you pick MUST be your anniversary date! It’s surprisingly fun to daydream about what the two of you would buy with all that money if, I mean when, you win!

For the record, when Hubby and I win {we’ve played the lottery exactly once during our entire relationship}, we are going to pay for the renovation of our church’s 60-year-old organ. And probably get the church a new AC unit for the hall.