• Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Meal Planning… Save Time, Save Money, Eat Healthier…stay sane

        I love to cook and I think it’s a skill that helps me save money and eat healthier foods. One thing I’m a huge believer in is meal planning. Every week I sit down plan out one or two weeks, yes, even a whole month’s meals. I print out recipes and then make a grocery list and that way I don’t waste food or give in to impulse buys. This year, I’ve been busy…maybe I’m getting a bit fatigued with the whole meal planning thing too, but I thought wouldn’t it be great if someone else did this for me? I did an Internet search for meal planning sites, tried…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

    The first snow of the season arrived…and thankfully melted because it’s too early for that. It’s not too early for a hearty bowl of chili (this one uses sausage and not ground beef). Once again, let the slow cooker do most of the work for you. Let this cook while you’re out raking leaves and step inside to a hearty meal.   Ingredients: 1 pound spicy bulk pork sausage, crumbled 1 pound sweet bulk pork sausage, crumbled ½ c. chicken or vegetable stock, plus additional, if needed 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 medium white onion, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Mulled Apple Cider with a Twist

          The other day I got a great deal on apple cider. Besides drinking it as is, I thought about another way to enjoy it. You know I love using the slow cooker and went searching for a mulled cider recipe. Most of them used the classic pumpkin pie spices but I wanted to use something more unique and remembered I had some five spice powder sitting in the pantry. That’s the “twist” with this mulled apple cider recipe because it adds a little something special to an already great tasting combination. Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 3 hours – 7 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: ½ gallon…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Slow Cooker Apple-Cinnamon Oats

      It’s apple season, it’s also starting to get chilly too. Two good reasons to make some oatmeal. Not the kind you have to stand and stir on busy mornings. And definitely not the waste of money, prepackaged oatmeal. This type of oatmeal cooks overnight and is ready when you get up in the morning. (Added bonus is your kitchen smells wonderful too). Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 6-8 hours Serves: 4-6 Important Tips:  Do not substitute any other type of oats for this recipe. Cooking times are based on using steel cut oats only. Either line or use non-stick cooking spray before preparing this recipe. If you skip…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Credit Cards-Enemy of the Budget Smart Girl…well sometimes-Part Two

      Here’s part two of when it might be a good idea to use a credit card… You Get a Bonus – Some credit cards offer you immediate cash and credit the moment you open the account and if you use it within a certain amount of time. If you pay the bill off before it adds interest then it’s a great deal. You Get Cash Back – If you’re going to get cash back for your purchases, and you’re going to pay it off before any interest is added, then it’s a good deal. Points to You– Some cards offer points which can be used for things like flights,…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Credit Cards-Enemy of the Budget Smart Girl…not always-Part One

      I have to admit I’m not a fan of credit cards. I delayed having one, until many years ago when I took a trip with my mother to the Pacific Northwest. We’d booked a rental car and when we landed at the airport, my mother discovered she’d left her driver’s license at home. I handed over mine but because I didn’t have a credit card they wouldn’t let us rent the car in my name, even though we had mom’s credit card. Long story short, my mom did find her driver’s license after another search of her purse and we got our rental car. All was not lost but when I…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    “Creamy” Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

    Fall’s officially here, nights are getting longer and leaves are turning. It’s my favorite time of year and not just because Mother Nature puts on a beautiful display. Colder temps mean you have an excuse to make some soup and this one is especially warm and comforting. The wild rice is filling, while the finely minced and chopped vegetables give the soup a more consistent flavor throughout. What’s more, some its “creaminess” comes from pureed cannellini beans, rather than a larger amount of high-fat dairy products.   Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 3-8 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 1 c. multi-color wild rice blend, uncooked* 1 small white onion, roughly chopped…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Ten Phone Shopping Apps That Could Save You Money

      Just about everyone has a cellphone and new shopping apps you can use on them are springing up every week. Many of them can help you save money via percent off coupons, tell you about daily deals, or provide rebates. Here are ten you might want to check out…   LivingSocial – This shopping app that works on both Android and iOS will help you find local deals that are up to 90 percent off. You can match the deals to your shopping list. https://www.livingsocial.com/mobile Amazon Price Check – This app helps you scan barcodes in person to find out if you can get the item less expensively online…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Splurge on Clothing and Shoes?

      I’m seeing lots of articles about fashion week and what’s going to be the next ‘in thing’ in clothing. Some of my clothes are older than I’d like to admit to and I think I’ve always been budgt savvy about making wise purchases. Cheap isn’t always necessarily better especially if you want them to last. So here are some tips on how to decide if something is worth spending more money on… Check Your Closet Look in your closet. Note any clothing that is not a well-known, well-made brand, which you bought on the spur of the moment because it was cheap. After you wear these items and clean them,…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Spicy Pineapple Pork Roast

    In the last post, I told you why I love using my slow cookers so much so I thought I’d share this recipe with you- This delicious sweet and savory dish is sure to become a new family favorite. Here, fresh pineapple and spicy jalapeno are paired with toasted sesame oil, five-spice powder, creamy peanut butter, and fresh cilantro for a rich and flavorful combination.   As written, this recipe contains a couple of extra steps you can skip if you’re short on time. To make this a one-pot meal, simply place the well-trimmed and seasoned pork butt roast directly into your slow cooker without searing. In addition, the juices…

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