Archive for the ‘ Must Read ’ Category

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

I love a good glass of creamy, rich, chocolate milk- it’s so satisfying!  But for the last couple of years I rarely enjoyed that little treat because I couldn’t bring myself to buy Hershey’s syrup with it’s list of 20 some ingredients, many of which I couldn’t pronounce.

So when I discovered that I could easily make my own chocolate syrup from just 6 simple ingredients I was excited!  Rich and delicious, this homemade chocolate syrup does not disappoint!  It makes a wonderful glass of chocolate milk and it is also tasty drizzled over ice cream for a special treat. And on top of that it is inexpensive, easy and super fast to make.  In fact, why don’t you go stir up a batch for yourself?  I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. white sugar
  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

  1. Combine sugars, cocoa powder and salt. Add water; whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 min.*
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool. Store in fridge.

* Syrup will thicken as it cools, but if you like a really thick syrup, you may want to boil longer than 5 min.

Linking up at Living Well Spending Less.

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4 Frugal & 4 UnFrugal Things I Did Recently (June)

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Most of the time I share about the different things that I (we) do to help us save money because that’s what this blog is all about: inspiring you to save money and live well.

But even though I love to save money and am passionate about it, I sometimes do un-frugal things too.  Sometimes I mess up on a coupon deal.  Sometimes I just simply don’t have the energy to do the thing that I should do to save money.  And sometimes I might decide that saving the money isn’t worth it this time around.

So just for fun, I do posts about 4 frugal and 4 un-frugal things that I did recently- you know, let you see a little bit of both!

4 Frugal Things
1.  Defrosted our chest freezers.
This is a job that I do not enjoy doing, but I figured before I fill them up with all the fruits and veggies I’ll be preserving this summer and fall, I’d better go ahead and do it.  Because afterall, freezers do run more effeciently when they are defrosted.  And honestly, it was rather appalling how jumbled they had become!  It felt very fulfilling to get them both nice and organized again.

Speaking of freezers, you might enjoy this post: When should you buy a freezer? (And 4 ways our freezer saves us money.)

2.  Bought clothes for the children second hand.
It’s no secret that it’s much cheaper to buy clothes used.  And I’ve been blessed to be able to get the majority of our children’s clothing secondhand.  I am finding though, that as our son gets older it is harder to find nice used pants for him.  It can be done though, if I’m persistent enough.

A couple of places that I’ve had good success getting used clothes in the past:
- online yard sale (you can often find a local group on Facebook)
- Freecycle
- consignment sales and stores
- yard sales
- Thredup (especially when they have sales)
- from friends

3.  Made butter from farm fresh milk.
In reality, I wasn’t even sure if this was frugal when I did it.  I did it more because I had always thought it would be fun to try to make my own butter.  And it was!

Turns out it actually was rather frugal too.  We get fresh milk from a local farm for $2.00/gallon.  Out of 2¼ cups cream I was able to get ¾ cup of butter plus close to a pint of buttermilk!  So the cost of the butter alone was just roughly $0.34/lb.!  If you include the expense of electricity, you could be generous and say that it was $0.50/lb.  Either way, it was super cheap and it’s really quite easy to do.  And did I mention fun?  I kind of felt like Ma in the Little House on the Prairie books!

4.  Read books for free on my phone.
I love, Love, LOVE the Amazon Kindle app on my smartphone.  I get so many more books read as a result of it because well, my phone is always with me and it’s much easier to take along than a book  Plus, I can get lots of great books for free as well.  Authors and publishers frequently drop their books down to free for special promotions and I take advantage of those times and as a result am able to enjoy many books without paying a cent.

Three of the books that I recently read and enjoyed for free:
- Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews…this is a great, helpful, easy to read book.
- Pinterest Savvy: Strategies, Plans, and Tips to Grow Your Business with Pinterest by Melissa Taylor….if you blog or have a business that could benefit from Pinterest traffic, this book is a useful read.
- Tiny Titan – One Small Gift (Journey of Hope) by Ann Yurcek….a fascinating, amazing story!

4 UnFrugal Things
1.  Allowed flower to die.
So, I had desperately been wanting to get a few flowers and plants to brighten up our outdoors but never got it done because, well, there were just always other things that were more pressing.  Then last Saturday we were driving to a dinner function and went right past this lovely little greenhouse that was still open, even though it was 7 pm.  I begged to stop, my husband kindly obliged and I bought several plants.

I knew I wouldn’t get them planted right away and had good intentions of watering them well the next day.  But I forgot about it until two days later when our son came running inside and desperately informed me that my plants were dying and needed some water!  Thankfully I only lost one of them and although they really weren’t expensive, it was disappointing.

Having fun at the fountain on our walk.

2.  Bought ice cream at a local ice cream shop.
If you follow my Weekly Spending Summaries you know that we have lots of good Turkey Hill All-Natural ice cream in our freezer that I got for $0.50 or less.  And in all reality, we could have just enjoyed some of that.  But we take one night each week and call it Family Night and on those nights we try to do something fun together as a family.

Our last family night together we went on a walk downtown and decided to stop by a local ice cream shop for a treat.  (They make it themselves and it is really, really good!)  No, it wasn’t the cheapest way to enjoy ice cream but sometimes the experience is worth something too!

3.  Left lights on when we were away.
Unfortunately, this happens way too often, mostly when I am going away during the day with the three children.  There’s something about getting everyone out the door single-handedly that just distracts me enough that I often miss turning a light off.  I do try, but it’s just one of those things that I do my best and don’t sweat the rest!

4.  Forgot coupons when I went shopping.
I mentioned in my Weekly Spending Summary that I forgot $4.00 worth of coupons when I went shopping.  I had printed the coupons right before I left and then promptly forgot about them and left them lying on the printer.  There was no way I was going to head back home to get them…wasn’t worth the time or gas!  The nice thing was, someone had left a $1.00 coupon for the product that I was buying on the shelf, so I took advantage of that.  I guess, really then I only lost out on $3.00.

What frugal or unfrugal things did you do recently?  I’d love to hear about it!



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Ibotta- Now Accepted at Weis + Save on Milk, Naked Juice, Dial, Reynolds Wrap & More!

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

If you like Ibotta, you might be interested in some of the other 8 Money Saving (and money making) apps that I recommend!

I’m so excited- Ibotta is now accepted at Weis!  And it’s super simple to use because you only have to link your Weis club card to your account and the offers will automatically redeem when you buy the correct product. Just yesterday I used the $1.00 Dial for Men rebate there and by combining a $1.00 Dial paper coupon with the Ibotta rebate and a sale, I got a great deal on body wash for my husband!

Here are some of the current offers on Ibotta.  If you think you are interested in them, be sure to load them now as they sometimes disappear before the expiration date.  Not sure what Ibotta is?  Read my post explaining it.

One Gallon White Milk – Any Brand – Limited time only. Excludes all flavored & non-dairy varieties $0.25.
Naked Juice® – Kale Blazer™ variety only – 15.2 oz. bottle. $1.00

Naked Juice® – 15.2 oz. bottle or larger. See details. Exclusions apply. $1.00

Naked Juice® Variety Pack – 12 pk. of 10 oz. bottles only. $2.00

Naked Juice® – Chia variety only – 15.2 oz. bottle. $1.00

Naked Juice® – Protein & Greens variety only – 15.2 oz. bottle. $1.00

Good Earth® Tea – Any variety – Any size. $1.00
Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil – Any variety – 30 sq. foot or larger. $0.75

Dial for Men- Any body wash or bar soap- Any size. $1.00
Dial Body Wash- 11.75 bottle or larger. $1.00
Dial Bar Soap- Any size. $1.00
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Lotion Sunscreen – 3 oz. tube or 0.47 oz. stick. $2.00

Neutrogena Wet Skin Lotion Sunscreen – 3 oz. tube. $2.00
Advil Congestion Relief – 10 or 20 ct. pack. $2.00
Advil Allergy & Congestion Relief – 10 or 20 ct. pack. $2.00
Pine-Sol – Any variety – Any size. $0.75

Triple Play Bonus
Redeem any three (3) rebates in-store only and earn an extra $.50. Hurry! This bonus ends Sunday night.

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Kellogg’s Family Rewards: 110 Free Points! (redeem for coupons and gift cards)

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Get exclusive coupons and earn rewards from your favorite Kellogg’s® brands.  (Click the banner above to sign up!)

Then use these rewards codes and add 110 points to your Kellogg’s® Family Rewards account.  I don’t know when the codes expire so you’ll want to add them now!





Kellogg’s Family Rewards points can be redeemed for  high value coupons, gifts cards, magazines, toys and more.  And by inputting codes from Kellogg’s® products you’ll also earn more points!

If you are new to Kellogg’s Family Rewards you can also use code JOINKELLOGG2SAVE to add another 50 points!

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Tags: | Categories: Freebies, Must Read, Online Deals

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Free Audibook + 30-day Trial from

Saturday, June 14th, 2014


Wish you had more time to read?  Why not give audiobooks a try?

You can currently get an audiobook of your choice free with a 30-day trial of  After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.  But you can cancel at anytime.  In fact if you cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged a cent! has over 150,000 titles to choose from and works on iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone and MP3 players.

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