Posts tagged freezer

Strawberry Freezer Jam


2 Cups Crushed Strawberries

4 Cups Sugar

¾ Cup Water

1 Box Pectin

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Ten Tips for Tuesday: Money Saving Round Two

1. Save oodles of money by preserving seasonal produce! When berries are in season you can get them for a steal- same with citrus. I bet if you look around in your area you’ll find that prices drop to unbelievable prices on certain produce in the appropriate times of year. That’s because of a huge increase in supply. Yes, you can buy berries in the middle of December and you can get good quality if you get frozen because they are preserved at the peak of ripeness. Either way, it will still almost always cost you more. This year I found strawberries on sale for 98 cents a quart. It’s only July and they are already up to $1.78 at our cheapest grocery store. I made it a point to buy extra strawberries when I knew they were at rock bottom prices so that I could pop them in the freezer and have them all year round for the best price possible. I just found another good deal at our local restaurant supply store and stocked up on even more. When citrus comes into season this coming winter I’ll be canning mandarin oranges. Whenever something is in season, I make a point of preserving as much as I can in whatever way we like so that we can have it whenever we want for as little money possible.

2. Many people don’t even consider making your own pet food but it’s such a money saver and it’s SOOO worth it. Not only does making your own dog or cat food allow you to control what goes into your pet’s food, it saves you money in multiple ways. Besides the fact that your cats and dogs will begin to eat less over time because they are getting what they need in concentrated form (because most commercial brands bulk up their foods with fillers like corn, rice, and potatoes) they’ll also cost you less in hygiene and veterinary care over their lifetime. Feeding cats and dogs a natural, raw, and healthy homemade diet improves skin conditions, gives shiny coats, and increases health over an animal’s lifetime reducing necessary veterinary care costs as your pet ages.

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Summer Update and What’s to Come!

Well after abandoning my four faithful followers for a few months I have decided its time to get back on the bandwagon.  Thank you to those of you who have been checking back for my return to It Makes Cents to Me! Life has been so hectic and while I wouldn’t say its any easier now, things have slowed slightly. I also can’t pass up the opportunities about to be presented (summer canning and preserving) for material. Hopefully I can find the will and the energy, not to mention the brain power, needed to continue on.

As I said, life has been busy. Among other things, I put in a full-blown container garden that includes 8 tomato plants, 5 types of lettuce, 3 types of carrots, 5 types of potatoes, strawberries, zucchini , herbs and SO much more. With all the produce beginning to come in it’s looking to be a plentiful summer. We recently bought a freezer to store frozen summer produce, freezer jams, and a cow we’ll be purchasing (more on that later).

First up is jamming. I just bought some new 4 oz jars and freezer containers. I will be doing two types of jams. I’m doing strawberry freezer jam because, well, it’s amazing! And I may try a few others. Then I’ll also be doing no sugar added jams. I’m not sure which kinds yet but strawberry, peach, and blueberry are definitely on the list. I love these because they are lower in sugar since I am able to use Stevia and it ends up being more like a fruit puree that’s been preserved.  I love plopping a spoonful into cream of wheat or using them in homemade frosting. I’m also planning to attempt grape jelly. I’m not nervous and I expect that everything will go well but I have never done it before. I read a blog a few months ago though that pointed out how much more cost-effective it is to make grape jelly versus buying it. I’ll give you a rundown of the price comparison when the time comes.

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Ten Tips for Tuesday: Vegetable Glycerin

Here are ten uses for an uncommon but useful and economical product- vegetable glycerin.

  1. Mix salt, baking soda, peppermint (or your favorite) oil, and vegetable glycerin into a paste and store in an air tight container. You now have healthy, homemade, and CHEAP toothpaste. Another bonus… toothpaste contains fluoride which, in excessive amounts, can be harmful and even lethal to your health. The average American receives enough fluoride through their drinking water and doesn’t need the extra fluoride they receive from toothpaste and mouth rinse.
  2. Don’t waste tons of money on products for curly hair that just don’t work. Mix equal parts water and vegetable glycerin in a spray bottle with a fine mist. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice. Shake vigorously before each use and sprits on your curls. Vegetable glycerin is a natural humectant so it helps hair keep its shape while fighting frizz. The water is important however because without it the vegetable glycerin will get jealous and suck moisture out of your hair verses locking it in. The water also helps prevent ‘crispy’ curls. Others can use this spray as well as a natural hair spray that will have a double action as a leave-in conditioner.
  3. Make your own body scrub by mixing vegetable glycerin, olive oil, used coffee grounds, and a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. Mix ingredients together thoroughly and use as a scrub in the shower. The grounds will exfoliate for you while the olive oil and glycerin hydrate your skin and lock in moisture. Read the rest of this entry »

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Come to Jesus: Best Buy

Come to Jesus

I had quite the religious experience the other day, and in of all places, Best Buy. As I grow further and further in my walk with Christ I become more and more aware of Him and His works in all areas of my life. Over the past six months, but especially the last three months, He has been speaking both LOUDLY and CLEARLY to me. While I haven’t been perfectly obedient, I’m doing my best to do what He would want me to do with our money. He is blessing us and providing for us during these difficult months while Chris was losing his job and out of work, so who am I to disobey His commands? The GOOD news is that Chris has a full-time job now that he will be starting in a couple weeks and I am working part-time, as well, to help provide for our small family.

As I said before, God is working in our lives and we are doing our best to listen to Him and be obedient to His plan. We’ve had several dilemmas where we’ve had to think about need vs. want in the last several months knowing that money was a limited resource and that we had to make the most of it. I can’t honestly say we’ve made the ‘best’ decision EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. (the ability to repent is a true blessing of grace) but I truly feel we can say we’ve never made the worst decision and we always strive to do what’s in the best interest of our current and long-term goals to be good financial stewards of our money. Yes, just like the rest of you, we have moments of weakness where we decide to eat out once in a while but we try to be reasonable about it. We also have moments where we don’t plan ahead like we know we should and pack a lunch to take with us but we do our best to eat on the cheap in those situations. The only time we’ve really splurged for the last 3 months (which is a very long time for us- we don’t have kids yet, can you tell?) was this past weekend. On Friday we celebrated an early Valentine’s with dinner out on the town, but that was only because we knew we both had jobs and new found sources of income to replenish the money we were spending. Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting Off to a Rough Start

Just as I was creating this blog our world came tumbling down… we have lots of faith in God to get us through, but smart financial decisions will be necessity for a while. I started to learn about couponing and frugal ways of life out of want. I was led by a desire to provide the most I could for my family. We’re small but we have family spread out all over the country, we’d like a house one day, and while loads of money will never be what makes us rich, having a little extra in the bank gives us a definite feeling of financial security. However, we found out 3 or so weeks ago Chris will be losing his job with the Air Force which now makes frugality a necessity.

It’s a long story, one that I’m just not going to bother re-hashing, but the Air Force announced it would be cutting back 3,700 Airmen and Chris just happened to be standing in front of the firing- no pun intended. God blessed me with a sense of calm from the beginning and while we’ve had our moments of trying to control our life, we are constantly reminded that if we want to get through this unscathed we’ve got to put it in God’s hands. The job search began yesterday and we’re casually looking at rentals and for a second car. Read the rest of this entry »

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