Going off directions from another blogger, my husband and I attempted to freeze raw potatoes. Here are the results of our Frozen Potato Experiment.

Our potatoes were un-pealed and shredded hash brown style, instead of cubed. Now we didn’t freeze completely raw potatoes, they were par boiled. Once they were par boiled, we spread them out on cookie sheets and freeze them, per the directions.

We love making breakfast scrambles, and thought this would be a frugal way to get potatoes for breakfast. That may sound silly, but we don’t buy potatoes often because we don’t eat them very often. Hence wanting to stock up and have them on hand in the freezer.

We treated a bag the same way we would a bag of the Simply Potatoes ® brand. We dumped them into a frying pan to make breakfast potatoes.

They turned into fried mashed potatoes!!!

At first, my husband was disappointed (actually, more than disappointed, there was swearing), but then I pointed out that we had mashed potatoes!!! We love mashed potatoes, but again, we don’t buy potatoes too often. I’m very happy that I have frozen potatoes that will turn into mashed potatoes whenever I want mashed potatoes.

There are some readers who will question why I just don’t go buy a few fresh potatoes for mashed potatoes. I like convenience foods. I really do. Keeping fresh potatoes around doesn’t work for my household. They usually go bad before they’re all used, especially if I get a bag of potatoes. And buying the smaller packs of baking potatoes isn’t fiscally smart in my opinion. At least in my local grocery stores, 2-4 large baking potatoes is the equivalent cost of a 10 lb. bag of potatoes.

Here’s a picture of the remaining three bags in my freezer:

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© Cori Large 21 August 2016

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Very Brief History:

Invented and patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason, these jars are still largely used for their original purpose: canning and preserving food. While canning and preserving fads have come in waves over the last century, mason jars are now used for more than their original use. Look up mason jars on Pinterest and you’ll find a multitude of non-food related activities to use Mason Jars on. In this post, I would like to share with you why I think Mason Jars are awesome and what I use them for.

Awesome-ness Reasons:

*Long lasting and reusable, unless broken.

*Versatile. It will hold almost everything you need it to: canned produce, homemade preserves, unused coffee grounds, brewed coffee, other drinks, can go in the fridge and freezer as well as the pantry.

*Pretty uniform when it comes to lids. No hunting around for the correct one.

*They come in a variety of sizes and colors.

What I use Mason Jars for:

*Storing leftovers, mainly soup and coffee.

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(Photo taken inside the fridge.)

*Portioning out foodstuffs to be frozen, like chicken broth or cheese.

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Photos of my messy freezer. Both of these have cheese in them.

*On the go drinks. There are new lids and straws for this.

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*Mason Jar gifts for Christmas.

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Christmas 2015 gift.

*Dry tea canisters. I received a lot of lose tea, and wanted to combine the same tea types into a single container.

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Purple anniversary Ball wide mouth edition jars.

I did find some different styles at my local Dollar Tree:

A hinged one

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And BABY mason jars!!! OMG these are so cute!

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With these two new style finds, it’s time to start thinking about this year’s Christmas gifts!

Links for more information:

Mason Jar Wikipedia

The Mason Jar, Reborn

Ball: History & Timeline

© Cori Large 7 June 2016

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Last year, one of my first blog posts and YouTube videos was of a meat haul my husband and I had done in our attempt at saving money on meat.

We supplemented that haul with smaller purchases of chicken breasts and ground beef (most commonly used in our kitchen). We also had scored a 40 lb. case of chicken breasts (normally priced at $80.00) for $46.98! That lasted us a long time!

Our latest meat haul came from a local meat market, where they have Meat Deal Packs. We got the Medium deal.

From that, I split it up into more manageable portions and ended up with:

# of Packages Contents
2 Ribeye twin packs (4 steaks total).

 

Already separated into two-two packs. Just wrapped in Aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.

2 Packages of Bacon.

 

Again, already separated and just put in the freezer.

1 Country ribs.

 

Came prepackaged. Wrapped it in Al- foil.

2 Whole chickens!

 

It’s been so long since we’ve had whole chickens! Again, the came individually wrapped and were put in the freezer.

1 Beef rump roast.

 

Came prepackaged. Wrapped it in Al- foil.

3 T-Bone steaks.

 

I individually wrapped these in Al- foil and put them in a large plastic zip bag, so I could find them easier.

2 1.5-2 lb. packages of ground hamburger meat.

 

These came in one of those large 4 lb. bundles, and I split them into two packages, roughly 1.5-2 lb. each. I didn’t get my digital scale out this time, just eyeballed it.

This haul is not as big as the one we did last year, but this one contains stuff we’ll actually eat. The bigger haul from last year was a learning experience. There’s no sense in getting bigger meal deal when there’s stuff in it you won’t eat. (Like smoked sausage and bologna, in my case.)

We have a large chest freeze that will accommodate a lot of food, so shopping for bulk deals works for us. It has saved us money, and 99.99% of the time, if there’s a recipe or dish we want for dinner, we have the meat in the freezer already and just need to thaw it. (That .01% is when I want lamb and haven’t found a good price on it.)

Is there anything you buy in bulk to save money on? Please share in the comments.

© Cori Large 11 May 2016

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Ways I’ve Found to Save Money

Back Story: These are ways I’ve found to save money. Some of them may be repeats from a previous post or well-known ideas. If you would like to adopt them, please feel free!

Hand Washing Dishes

After we stopped using our dishwasher, our electric bill dropped by $20 a month. Granted it’s just the two of us and I understand that dishwashers are a God-send for moms, but I’m doing without it for now.

Using a Clothesline

A clothesline or a drying rack. We have both. A clothesline rigged under our carport and a drying rack in the bathtub of our spare bathroom. (This only happens when we don’t have long-term guests.) The clothesline is weather-dependent, but it’s great when you can use it.

Using the Dryer—the smart way

Contract your electric company and see if they have peak hour pricing. For example, if your electric company’s off peak hours are 9 pm to 6 am. Go ahead and wash the clothes, but don’t start the dryer until after 9 pm.

Coupons (you knew it was coming)

I used to coupon for every conceivable item I ever thought I would buy. It took up a lot more time and effort than I really wanted to put in. The TV show Extreme Couponing has made some shoppers feel inadequate because they are not getting $2000.00 for pennies. Honey, anything you save at the grocery store is awesome!

I now only cut coupons for items I know my household with use, and I don’t mean ALL of the laundry coupons. I mean I use specific types of laundry detergent because I have sensitive skin, so those are the only coupons I cut out. It has saved me a great deal of time, and I’m not wasting money on buying items my household doesn’t want or need just because it’s on sale and I have a coupon.

Cash Budgets

This is still a new concept to me, but I’ll try to explain it the best I can. I withdraw a specific amount of money at the beginning of each month. It gets divided between the cash budgets for the month: $300 for groceries, $100 for home stuff including health & beauty, $20 for fun for each myself and my husband, $50 for pool and grounds maintenance, $50 for Christmas gifts, and $20 for birthday gifts. There are other items in the budget, but these are just the categories that I stick to using cash for so I won’t overspend.

Buy Generic

Look into purchasing store brands instead of the name brand. Just because the name brand is on sale and you have a coupon doesn’t mean it’s still a better deal that buying the generic store brand.

General Shopping

My husband and I have gotten to the point where we only buy something is we absolutely need it. If we can borrow a tool or piece of kitchen equipment, we do that instead. Or try to find another way to do something if we don’t have everything we need to do something.

Flea Market Produce

This tip may be regional: Fruits and vegetables can be cheaper at the flea markets. This is the case where I live.

Garage Sales/Thrift Stores

Look for gently used household items and clothes at thrift stores and garage sales. You’d be surprised at what you can find at garage sales and thrift stores. But remember!!! Just because it’s cheaply priced, doesn’t mean you need it.

Free Books, Movies, etc.

Utilize the library and/or other used bookstores for books. You may have to wait a little while sometimes, but you’ll pay less or nothing at all for books. Libraries are also great places to get movies and music.

For full disclosure, my husband and I aren’t living paycheck to paycheck like a lot of people do. We’re very fortunate for that and we know it. We’ve had distracters tease us about our ways, imply that we’re cheap, and flat out tell us we’re being dumb. Well, we live in America and everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

Our goal is to save as much money as possible to hopefully buy a house with cash. And spending money on nonessentials is the quickest way to make that not happen.

So for those of you who are saving for something specific (a house, car, vacation, pay off a debt), don’t let the naysayers get you down. It won’t last forever. Every penny you find of the street helps.

Good luck!