Tip: Saving Money Eating Out

I had no idea Dairy Queen’s did this. Nor do I know why, or for how long, or if only certain stores participate… So pardon the lack of details and information…

But…

The DQ near us, for several months, hosted 1/2 off lunches from 11a-2p on Wednesdays.

Half off EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING: ice cream cakes, pop, Blizzards, sandwiches, sides, kids meals… The only things not included were the $5 and $6 meal deals. But everything else was fair game.

When I went last time, I filled the bellies of myself and six of my kids for just over $20! It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it! That never happens eating out!

I found out on Facebook that TODAY is the last day my local DQ will be participating in this program. 😦 Don’t know the reason why.
But someone mentioned in the comments that their DQ in Ohio was just starting up the 1/2 off lunches thing.
So that leads me to believe that other DQ’s around the US are participating in the same program.

So, check with your local or neighboring DQ’s to see if they participate in 1/2 off lunches. You never know! You just might be able to get those Hot Eats, Cool Treats for super cheap!

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Where’d All The Toothpaste Go?

Not too long ago, I found us going through a LOT of toothpaste. I’d buy a tube and not long after, sure enough, a child would come to me saying they’re out (cuz kids, for some reason, can’t report when something’s getting low— they wait and share only when something’s OUT– go fig– *insert eye roll*).

Couldn’t figure out why we kept running out. Are they squirting it into the trash or toilet? Dumping it down the drain? WHAT?!

Then one day I was actually in the bathroom when my kids were brushing their teeth. Found out what was happening. Caught them in the act. All (6) of my kids were using WAY too much toothpaste!!!

Here’s a pic of the amount all my kids WERE using! Two times a day!!!

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Here are the proper amounts of toothpaste to use depending on age:

Children under 2, about a grain of rice amount.
Children 3-5, about a pea sized.

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Children 5+ to adults:

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Using any more than said above amounts prob doesn’t offer any more brushing benefit.

Now that all of our kids know how much to use, toothpaste around here lasts much longer. Yea.

So I know this isn’t a huge thing, but with a large family, every little thing like this adds up. We try to save everywhere we can.

 

 

 

Bag, Bag, Bag!

We save money by reusing bags. All kinds of bags. Like…

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Baggies.

Be it snack, sandwich, quart, or gallon baggies, often times you can reuse them.

Now, if I’m storing something greasy or slimy (like pepperoni or a hotdog)… or something super fragrant (like an onion or garlic toast)… or something sticky (like prunes)… I most likely won’t reuse bags.

But if I was storing something benign like crackers, Cheerios, peanuts, M & M’s, candy, etc., I will most definitely reuse the bag. Why waste and throw away? Either shake out crumbs (if there is any)… maybe do a quick rinse if necessary (and set out to air dry)… and reuse it for later.

Reuse for food, of course.

But I’ll also reuse old bags for getting rid of stinky stuff: like poopy diapers or rotten leftovers. Seals in the smell. PU

Or if I’m throwing away something liquid-y but chunky (like a soup that died in the fridge), something I don’t want to run down the drain, I’ll dump it in an old baggie and then thrown away in the regular kitchen trash.

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Who else keeps a “bag of bags”? Come on, show of hands.

Well, we sure do. Those bags are SO dang useful. (Thanks Walmart & Kroger!) We seriously use them all.the.time.

Biggest most consistent use for us is as bathroom trash can liners. They fit perfectly. I know, not terribly classy, but they work and it saves us money. I’ll often leave a bag or two at the bottom of the trash for ease of emptying out the trash the next time.

We also will use them for poopy diapers. Thankfully Miss Little Lamb is still exclusively breastfed and so her poo’s don’t smell too bad. But man, when they start eating solids, HELLO. This isn’t quite as effective at trapping in smells as a seal-able baggie, but these do work well enough to at least get it out to alley trash without dying.

But for storing, carrying, and all around every day usage, can’t beat these bags!

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And weekly grocery shopping.

We’ve used these bags for SO long. Yeah, some of those are Windows 7 bags. That’s dating them. But they are so useful. Since we do 90% of our shopping at Aldi, it saves us $$ each week, that we don’t have to purchase bags to take our groceries home in. I know it’s only pocket change, but it adds up. Especially if you’re purchasing weekly groceries for a family of 9!

 

There’s a monetary gain to reusing bags… but yeah, it’s also better on the environment as well.

So reuse those bags! 🙂

A Whole Day Out, Didn’t Spend a Dime on Food

Yesterday was a BUSY day for us. Unusually busy. Like, we’re rarely that busy.

  1. I had to go out of town (40 min drive) to get some blood labs done.
  2. I had to nurse the baby before we left for home. So while I fed the baby, and since we had gorgeous weather (high 60’s in mid Nov!), the kids got their wiggles out at this super cool park:

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    SO fun!

  3. Ran into Aldi to get some pecans for a Thanksgiving recipe.
  4. Rushed home to meet my husband. We had to take our son to the Children’s Hospital for an outpatient appointment. He had an accident/head injury in October and needs to have a couple check-ups.
  5. And the long drive home through a crazy thunderstorm.

Basically, we were in the car all.day.long.

It would have been SO EASY to buy food and snacks for everyone while we were out.

But, with proper planning, we didn’t spend a dime on food while we were out.

 

What we did yesterday:

  1. Ate breakfast at home before leaving to get my labs taken.
  2. Packed several canteens of water and water bottles for everyone for our AM outing.
  3. During that quick stop at home for lunch, we:
    1) packed several non-messy food items for lunch & snacks: peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly), deli ham, swiss cheese, peanuts, raisins, chips, protein bars, and apples.
    2) Literally threw in the crockpot a fryer chicken, some water, and some herbs/spices.
    3) Got the rice cooker going (it automatically turns off when done).
    4) Refilled canteens and water bottles.
    5) Hubby and I grabbed a pop each, just for us.

We had plenty of food and drinks for the car ride. And when we came home from the hospital, dinner was 80% ready. I simply threw some frozen veggies on the stove, and voila, dinner was served in a jiffy.

I’m not gonna lie, that quick trip home at lunchtime was a tad crazy. But I assigned everyone with a job and we were able to get stuff done in an organized, very fast fashion.

When I menu-planned for this week, I took into account this crazy day. I knew we were going to be gone most of the day. So I specifically made sure we had quick and easy food items on hand so we could just GO.

I had the fryer chicken previously thawed and waiting in the fridge, because I looked ahead at Friday’s activities the day prior.

With proper planning, trips out do NOT need to be costly.

Sure, it would have been EASY to run through McDonald’s and buy food for everyone. But I’m telling you, with a family of 9 (well, 8, because the baby is nursing), we could easily spend $40-$50 at McDonald’s. Convenience has a price.

But with proper planning, looking ahead, and some prep work, you can save money by not eating out on those super busy days. Especially if you KNOW those super busy days are coming.

Sometimes the unexpected occurs and you can’t plan ahead and you do have to eat out. I get that.

But if you know, just be prepared. Save yourself a wad of cash. $$$

Get Inexpensive Medical Tests Done!

Here’s how our family saves a decent amount of money on medical matters! This may help you and your family save some cash as well!

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Have any of you ever heard of www.RequestATest.com.

A few years ago, I was needing some blood labs drawn for my mild hypothyroid condition. At the doctor’s office, a basic routine thyroid lab costs over $100 (and that was a few years ago- I have no idea what it costs today). When talking to my girlfriend, who also has thyroid issues (and who regularly gets labs drawn), she suggested I check out Request A Test.

It’s SO easy and inexpensive to get labs through them… WITHOUT needing the doctor to call them in. YOU can call them in.

If you know what specific test(s) you need (or have a general idea)- be it blood, urine, stool, etc- you can easily search for them on their website. They have just a TON of labs available- common ones, uncommon, and everything in-between. Heart health, hormones (male/female), celiac, autoimmune, cancer, STDs, Lyme, heavy metals, etc. If you don’t see what you need, they have “additional testing available”. Simply call them at (888-732-2348) to inquire. They could probably hook you up with whatever you are needing.

So, you pick which lab(s) you want (either “ala carte” or in a “package” deal), put them in your shopping cart, and go to checkout. There’s usually a “special of the month” promo code- check it out on their home page and see if it applies to what you’re ordering. Prices per individual test/package are easily seen. Sometimes there’s even a price slash or sale available.

At checkout, they have you search for a local lab near you by address, town/state, or zip code. Just click on the lab you want to go to.

Once you hit the finalize button, you will receive 2 emails… one is the receipt and the other is the actual order confirmation. These are basically just for your records. You do NOT need to bring these with you when you visit the lab. An order will also be sent (from Request A Test) to the lab that you requested.

At the lab that I go to (LabCorp), it’s not imperative that I make an appointment, although I could make one either by phone or online. Maybe some lab offices request that you make an appointment. But I’ve never had to.

Be sure and look at the requirements for your test! If you clink on test “info”, it will tell you what the requirements are, if any. It also appears on your receipt and order confirmation. Some labs request that you fast several hours prior to getting your lab done. Glad I looked for myself today because I ordered my tests this morning and was ready to go to the lab. But then I saw that for the CMP I needed to have fasted for 9-12 hrs. I’d already eaten breakfast at this point. :-/ So… I’ll go tomorrow morning. Be sure and look!

Just an FYI, the receipt will come to your email inbox right away. The order confirmation may take some time to come though. Mine comes in fairly quickly, 5-10 min. But depending on circumstances, it could take longer. Do NOT go to the lab until you have received that second email, the order confirmation. When you get that confirmation, you now know the lab has your order in. THEN you can go to the lab.

So anyway… that basically how it goes: search/find, order, pay, find a lab, and get your test(s) done! Easy-peasy.

Results come back fairly quickly. They can either be sent directly to you doctor or you can have them sent to you via email or you can view them online (securely).

Today I ordered a Comprehensive Blood Count (CBC), a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), and a Thyroid Basic Panel w/ TSH (T4, T3 uptake, Free Thyroxine Index, & TSH) for a grand total of: $107!              (CBC– $29, CMP– $29, Thyroid– $49 = $107)

Un-real! No joke!

So seriously, if you’re needing labs, check out Request A Test!!!

Let me know if you catch yourself a deal and save some money doing this!!!

This is a fabulous way to get labs done if you don’t have insurance, are self-pay, your insurance doesn’t cover certain tests, have highly sensitive tests you want/need to take but want confidentiality, need results fast, are monitoring your own health for personal info, don’t want to have to go (or pay) for a doctor’s visit every time you need a routine test done, etc. No hidden fees or pricing. Super easy to use website. Great customer service.

I highly recommend Request A Test!

 

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