Oatmeal and Amazon
We have a few favorites around here. In the cold cereal department, I save money by combining coupons with B1G1 deals at our local Publix. (I think Kroger's up north has similar policies). When our faves are on sale, I stock up. This will get me boxes of Frosted Mini-Wheats, for example, at around $1.50 apiece. Since I started throwing a pinch of salt into the freshly opened milk jug, I haven't had to throw out any sour milk.
We also eat several hot cereals: steel cut oats, buckwheat (both me ;o), and grits. These are cheap, cheap considering that a very little makes a whole lot. I like McCann's quick-cooking steel cut oats, and find buying both the oats and buckwheat in bulk through Amazon makes the most "cents" for me.
Quick-cooking steel-cut oats should take no more than 5 min in the microwave to cook. OR, for the same health benefits and a great arm workout, you can buy the regular steel-cut oats that you stand in front of and stir for half an hour. Um, no. The buckwheat cooks in 3 min. in the microwave, as do the Wal-mart brand of instant grits. Cheap, cheap. Soothing and great choices if you have to need to add extra fiber to your menu. Note: Oatmeal bubbles more than the others in the microwave and needs a deeper bowl.
Muffins are another favorite. These get cooked in large batches and frozen. (In our house, if you are freezer safe, dryer safe or dishwasher safe, you are a FRIEND!) A zap in the microwave and they are still delicious! Kathryn loves pumpkin chocolate chip muffins year round.
Smoothies are a great way we save money, and I still sneak in extra nutrition for the kids. I buy bananas when they are on the "we ordered too many; these are overripe and already have gnats around the bag" stage. Mere pennies. Peel, halve and freeze. Pop a frozen banana, 1 c. milk, a dash of vanilla flavoring, (and I throw in a scoop of vanilla protein powder for my munchkins) in the blender, and voila! a shake that they love!!! It makes just enough for two kids. I do this so much that my blender lives on my countertop now. If I only have under-ripe bananas, then I stick one in a paper sack with an apple overnight, and add a couple of ice cubes to the recipe. I drizzle a bit of dishsoap inside the dirty blender, fill it half-way with water, and turn it back on. Self-cleaning!
On my next post, I'll include the recipe for the muffins and my favorite smoothies, too!
*Speaking of Amazon, it is one of our family's methods of choice for saving money. Nathan's addiction to books spurred this decision on. He has a layman's library that many pastors would give good money for ;o) We pay $70 a year for Prime Membership, which provides us with free 48 hour shipping for a year. It's ridiculous how quickly this pays for itself. I often buy things cheaper on Amazon than I ever could at Wal-Mart. If you can wait two days for the product, you don't have to waste gas/time/money on an extra trip to the store. What do I buy from there? Well, recent orders have been:
1. a pair of tennis shoes for me(the size and brand that makes my feet happy): this saved me from running around town looking for that specific type of shoe and was cheaper to boot (no pun intended) I go through at least two pairs of year pounding the treadmill. Nathan says that's ridiculous, but I seriously wear them out.
2. a small cast iron griddle (cheaper than the store)
3. a small rolling cart- homeschool expense
4. rubber shower door sweep
5. 3 pack toner for the printer (far, far cheaper than the store)
6. frontline-type flea treatment for our Schnauzer from a wholesale supplier (80% cheaper than the store)
7. hot cereal
*Some of the above I got for free. We use an Amazon credit card on all our in town purchases, and accumulate points in their reward system. I often just save them up and let that be the bulk of our Christmas budget.