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Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's time to talk about saving money

I'm proud to be a member of the Southern Savers Community. We're a group of coupon savvy people, and we help each other with savings ideas and commiserate when our couponing strategies get thwarted by untrained cashiers.
Most of all we have a good time on Jenny's site chatting and helping each other out.
Some of these couponers are extreme, but many are not. And trust me, we've discussed the subject ad nauseum!

On Monday I queried another group of writing friends about offering a coupon for Victoria's Secret that I received in the mail. What I have needs more fabric than Victoria uses, and in the past I've offered them to the harried mom behind me in the checkout line who has to wait through all my coupon transactions (really, I warn people to pick another lane when I have a bundle of coupons!).

One friend answered with the words, "It's tough out there. Any woman would love to receive them for some nice lingerie."
Which got me thinking...
Any of my readers would like to know about money saving tips I use myself, to live on one income and pursue my own writing career, while putting one (soon two) boys through college.

The holidays aren't far off, and the airlines have raised their fares for holiday travel.
Even if you drive, who knows where gasoline prices will be in November and December?
And thanks to Android and Apple, it won't be a stretch for my kids to guess what Santa put under the tree this year.

This is small - but I thought I'd offer a series of posts on some ways to cut some corners and save on the everyday stuff, like the staples: eggs, bread, cereal, laundry detergent, and ...

Any of ya'll see the price of milk lately? Remember when it cost 1.99, then went up to 2.50...2.79... and now it's 3.18 where I live! 
Well, I've seen this question before, & it appears every time Smart Balance or one of the lactose free milks goes on sale: 
"Can I freeze milk?"
Why yes, you can freeze milk, and I'll tell you how. 
First, don't freeze anything less than 2% milk - the fat will help it taste better after it thaws. Less than 2% milkfat, and you'll be pouring it down the drain, and that's a waste of money, right? 
No matter what type - store brand in plastic or national brand in cardboard - you'll need to open it and pour off the top inch. Pour it into a container for something or drink it down - I don't care. But you have to give the milk room to expand when it freezes. If you skip this step, it will expand in its frozen form and split the container and - more waste. 
Waste = Bad     Forethought & Prep = Good
Now that it's colder, you'll need at least 8 hours for frozen milk to thaw. Think ahead - is there enough milk in the fridge for tomorrow's cereal and coffee? If you're down to the last bowls' worth, go ahead and take some frozen out to thaw overnight. Place it in the sink - somehow it always 'sweats', even if it's cold outside. You'll need to give it a good shake to thaw the tiny bits of ice and mix the water with the milkfat, because they separate upon thawing.
Warmer months, it takes less time to thaw, so plan accordingly. 
Sometimes I get lucky and my Kroger or Ingle's marks down milk that's a day away from its expiration date. It's becoming less and less frequent to find those sales, but that's a great time to buy extra and put it away. But please leave some in the case for other shoppers - senior citizens and single moms and single incomes all need to save on milk too! 
Now you can laugh at the snow forecast, because you know there's milk in the freezer already! 
One more tip to stretch out milk. And it's not for everybody. 
I have a son whose nose turns up at this if he knows I've done it, even though he was raised with it from babyhood. So I understand not everybody will take to dry, powdered milk. 
Blech! Boo! 
I can hear you already. 
Bear with me here: you're going to see how to disguise powdered milk with the regular milk and save about a buck per gallon. 
Now, I was lucky to find dry milk on sale for $4.50 / 10 quart packets. You  might not be able to find that, so it may not be worth your time. BUT, I ask you to consider dry milk for making recipes like Ranch dressing or baking. 
But here's just the basic "stretch' recipe: 
You need one empty milk jug to get away with disguising this to your children.  Just pour half of the whole milk into the empty jug, reconstitute the dry milk, and voila! 2%Milk. If you make it when they're outside playing and have it really cold, you might not be able to discern a difference in taste. I can't taste it in cereal or my coffee, but if I were to drink it from a cup I can. It's not bad, but it is discernable. So don't ruin a whole gallon of milk before you try this - split a package with a neighbor, or experiment. 
And yes, it does freeze well. 
Leave a comment or question. Do you think you'll give it a whirl? How much is milk in your area? Will your kids be able to notice? 
If you like this post, I'll come back with some ways to stretch other staples, like eggs, coffee, bread, and cereals. 
It's tough out there! Let's all stick together and things are bound to get better! 


1 comment:

  1. Great info Pamela. I think I posted a comment somewhere. ;)

    I LOVE this idea on blogging about savings. Awesome idea. I will definitely be back to follow these tips.




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