Thrifty Tells

Check Out Our Podcast with Tricia Goyer at Living Inspired

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by Cassie on June 13, 2014

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We had a wonderful opportunity to share a bit of our financial story and money-saving, becoming debt-free tips with Tricia Goyer on the Inspired Living Podcast Show (our interview is the first 30 minutes of her show). We really enjoyed our time with Tricia – it actually felt like we were in her living room having a great conversation amongst friends!

You can hear this interview and learn more about us, our site and what we have to say over Living Inspired site HERE. If you haven’t read about the way we paid off our debt and became The Thrifty Couple we encourage you to listen and learn a little more about our secret formula we used to pay off over $100K in consumer debt.

She is also giving away a copy of our home binder, so be sure to enter the giveaway too!

Thanks to Tricia from Living Inspired!

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Alex & Cassie
 

How to Make Chalk with This Easy Homemade Chalk Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on June 9, 2014

homemade-chalk-easy-to-make

So you want to learn how to make chalk?  Well, making your own chalk is a fun and creative way to enjoy the summer. Our kids always love to make their own concoction and see the results. They are eager to learn how things are done and eager to try new things…. so you might want to add chalk making to your summer bucket list!

Now, before I begin to share the recipe….I do want to say that I a not convinced that making your own saves you money in this case – chalk is so cheap in the store. Most all of everything homemade that we make saves us loads of money. Well, this is not one of them….. but the experience and fun of it is where the reason for making your own comes in. It is a project for fun!

Here’s what you need to make your own chalk:

  • 1 Cup Plaster of Paris
  • 3/4 Cup of Water
  • Powdered Tempura Paint in any color(s) you want!
  • Molds of some kind – toilet paper/paper towel (they will be BIG, but good for little hands!), shape molds, you can even use a muffin tin, like we do for the cookie crayons. Anything, really!
  • If you are using muffin tins, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, then you will also need to use wax paper to line it. You will also want to tape one end of a roll closed with wax paper and tape.   It is not needed for silicon molds.

How to make chalk:

  • Mix the water and Plaster of Paris until well blended.
  • Then mix in the color(s) to the desired color you want.   If doing many colors, just divide the wet mixture into different bowls and then add the paint to the mixture.
  • Let is sit for a few minutes.
  • Then pour into the molds you have prepared and let it dry completely – about 1 hour.
  • Then remove from the mold and let it set overnight – 24 hours until firm and chalky like!

That’s it! It’s time for some fun homemade play!

Here is a printable recipe for you to print and keep in your home binder for easy access and reference!

How to Make Chalk with This Easy Homemade Chalk Recipe
Print

Recipe type: Fun for Kids
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Kids will love this fun summer project and you can make them into any shape!
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Plaster of Paris
  • ¾ Cup of Water
  • Powdered Tempura Paint in any color(s) you want!
  • Molds of some kind – toilet paper/paper towel (they will be BIG, but good for little hands!), shape molds, you can even use a muffin tin, like we do for the cookie crayons. Anything, really!
  • If you are using muffin tins, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, then you will also need to use wax paper to line it. You will also want to tape one end of a roll closed with wax paper and tape. It is not needed for silicon molds.
Instructions
  1. Mix the water and Plaster of Paris until well blended.
  2. Then mix in the color(s) to the desired color you want. If doing many colors, just divide the wet mixture into different bowls and then add the paint to the mixture.
  3. Let is sit for a few minutes.
  4. Then pour into the molds you have prepared and let it dry completely – about 1 hour.
  5. Then remove from the mold and let it set overnight – 24 hours until firm and chalky like!

 

See more Craft and DIY Ideas

See our Fun for Kids Pinterest Board

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Alex & Cassie
 

Our Miracle Birth Story: In Hopes of Helping Others

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by Cassie on May 28, 2014

our-birth-story-in-hopes-of-helping-others

Hello online friends! We took nearly a week and unplugged from creating new blog posts! It was the longest break we have had since, well… this story we told you three-years ago!

For those of you that have been with us for that long, our sudden “no warning” break might have brought back memories of when we totally disappeared online for several months.  We received hundreds of emails and comments from concerned readers asking why we had dropped off the face of the earth.

Well, this past week, we celebrated a beautiful event – the 3rd birthday of our miracle baby boy, Josiah! Even as I write this, this precious little boy is sitting on my lap telling me about how elephants eat watermelons and spiders in his very imaginative and creative 3-year old mind.

We have learned so many incredible things about this precious gift and he is the cutest, smartest, most creative, talkative, happy, “no-fears” 3 year old boy that I have ever met (of course I am not biased :)).

We have learned that when this spunky, fearless boy says to any of us….”watch this!” we all come running to stop him from whatever he is about to do!

But his “watch this” approach to life is truly reminiscent of his miracle birth story – that his life was hanging by a thread without us even knowing.

His story shows us the true hand of God in how this little life was spared and thrived since his birth.  We thank our Lord and Savior every single day for him and the gift God has given us in all of our children. Our previous four birth stories are nothing short of a miracle as all life entering this world is truly a miracle, but as we state in one of the parts, we are sharing this in hopes of helping others with some of the issues I experienced during my pregnancy so that you can be aware of symptoms in your own pregnancies. Many similar stories haven’t had the same happy ending.

So join us in celebrating Josiah’s 3rd year of life and read up on the miracle birth of this little boy 3 years ago!

Here’s a link to all three parts to his birth story:

Thank you for letting us share again with you and for all of our new readers from the past three years. Thank you for your love and support through all of our ups and downs in life and for faithfully following us as we continue to share so much with you…..including bits here and there from our personal life!

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Alex & Cassie
 

You Want Me To Eat What?! The Next Part of Our Debt-Free Story

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by Cassie on May 20, 2014

you-want-me-to-eat-what-next-part-deep-in-debt-to-debt-free-story

Last we left you in our personal story of deep-in-debt to debt-free, we attempted to use the “magic money” called coupons.  Well, our first attempt ended in disaster and did not save us anything, but sucked our time like crazy.  It was a very frustrating experience.  We wanted to save money on our groceries as we couldn’t stop eating, but since the generic was still cheaper than the coupons on name-brand, we felt hopeless in this area.

So we went back to advice from Dave Ramsey. He knows that you can’t stop spending in the area of food…so what was his advice? Eat rice and beans. EAT RICE AND BEANS for the next “who knows how long….?!”

This was going to be very painful, but we had to do something.  So if our lavish dinners out for a few years means a few years of rice and beans….. well, we couldn’t argue with it as we didn’t have any other option!

Trying to eat like a bird on rice and beans did not last long.  It was very difficult, very impractical and certainly not a long term option.  We knew that sacrifice was needed to accomplish our goal, but this was causing us more temptation, irritability, frustration and ultimately setting ourselves up for failure.

So this option was not turning out well.  I was so frustrated, I would spend so much time praying and crying for relief from our selfishness.  I knew it was 1,000% our fault that we were in the mess we were in, but I was pleading with God for relief many times per day.  I tried with all of my might to make rice and beans work, and it did fill us up.  But I needed another answer.

A short while later, Alex was listening to a Saturday morning radio program while in the shower (from our shower radio from our spending days). This particular program was done by a man in our area that was a grocery coupon shopping expert and had been for years.  Again, we had heard of him, but did not really listen to him… until now.  He seemed to be telling us something that we hadn’t ever heard.  We could actually combine coupons with sales and get food items for nearly nothing?

He worked for the news station and the news station website had a section where he showed the sales that week with coupons matched up to those sales.  He then took those sales items that week and made a menu out of it so that you would buy what you would eat that week.

Should we give this coupon thing a second chance? Even cooler was that he had printable lists that showed you everything on sale – which store of many to shop at that week and then a menu based off of what you bought on sale with coupons that week! WHAT!! This was way too exciting to not jump on board…. I mean who wouldn’t want to do this?

I jumped right onto this website, printed the list from the one store that he recommended we shop at that week and planned our shopping trip. Honestly, it sounded a lot easier than it really was.  I had fun with it.  I was seeing good results in the sense of our budget was dropping, but it only lasted about 2-weeks.  Why?  Well, this man had a plan and an idea – but the follow through was very impractical.  You had to shop every week and then you had the craziest menu because it would totally depend on the sales that week.

The first week wasn’t too bad; it wasn’t a great healthy menu, but workable for a time. However, by the second week, I was starting to have serious doubts about this approach. I was a little surprised by the suggestions on the menu that week. Fruit Loops for breakfast one day, fruit snacks and bananas for another day’s breakfast, boxed mac and cheese and bologna sandwiches for some of the lunches, and many boxed dinners like Hamburger Helpers – well, all because these items were on sale that week.  

So I lost my faith in using coupons for the second time.  This concept could not be a long term option!  We had a while to go to rid ourselves of $100K of consumer debt – this was going to take a while and we couldn’t live off of boxed foods reasonably for health’s sake.  We had to find money within our current budget and make extra money to even get started on paying off our debts.

The burden that this brought to our lives was so overwhelming……here I was, pregnant with our first and filling so completely hopeless.  I did not see a way out and I was so angry with myself and with Alex for letting us get into this mess.  I did not want to bring a baby into our lives with this stress and burden that had us aching, crying, fighting and totally incapacitated.

We had successfully scaled back our lavish lifestyle due to necessity – we ran out of money and credit.  Our attempts at getting more credit those final months before starting our pay off journey were very stressful and usually ended in a “no”.

Well, since we had to scale back our lifestyle out of necessity, how do I scale back our grocery budget.

Well, for a while after these few experiences of trying to cut our grocery budget, I was just shopping at Walmart with their everyday low prices and every once in a while using a coupon on items we really needed.  I just tried to be as careful and intentional about what I bought and this was the first step in saving my grocery budget; our grocery budget did decrease some.

But the ideas that this man on the radio introduced to us still intrigued me – was there a way to actually make it work to use coupons and shop the sales to be a bit more normal with the diet?

Well….. this next idea actually worked, and it was a huge blessing…….

Stay tuned for our next part coming soon!

If you haven’t read the story or need a refresher up to this point, check out the previous parts of our story:

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Alex & Cassie
 

Our Bountiful Baskets Produce Co-Op Order This Week: Organic and Blueberry Stock-Up

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by Cassie on May 12, 2014

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This is a sample from our $15 conventional basket last time!

We haven’t mentioned this nationwide produce option for a while and so since we placed our next order today, we thought it was a perfect time to remind you and show you what we got!
We grabbed our basket of 50% fruit and 50% veggies for $25, but also this additional item:

  • 12 6oz. clam shell packs of Blackberries for $17.  This is $1.42 each package, which is a great price.  They are $2.99 – $3.99 for regular blackberries in our local grocery stores. I plan to freeze these as well!  We grabbed 2 of these for 24 total!

Blueberries are really easy to freeze and work well from frozen for the many purposes that we use them for…. of course after each a few containers fresh.

Anyway, that was the big thing we are excited about!

Our total was a bit more than normal, but stocking up on Blueberries and Organic produce for a great price is awesome!

boutniful-basketsmay12

We will be picking this order up on Saturday!

Have you gotten any of these before?

If you want to see if they are available in your area too, then…

Head to Bountiful Baskets HERE and choose your state and then a pick-up location closest to you from the drop-down menu.

If Bountiful Baskets is not in your state yet, either contact them to see what they need to start one or keep watching for them to open up in your state too! They are rapidly growing and rapidly opening other states.  We have been fortunate to have been the first state and so we have been able to do this for quite some time!

*Please note, you only have until tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 13th) at 10pm PST to order your produce for this week for pick-up on Saturday at a local location!

Also, to fully understand what we are talking about, you do need to read this article HERE.

For more fun and informative frugal reads, don’t miss this page regarding all things produce:

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Alex & Cassie