Tag Archives: Budget

Dad’s Third World Hash – who knew?

With everyone home for the holidays you can probably only begin to imagine how much food we have to hunt, gather, and prepare for consumption on a daily basis. Having 6 kids and 2 adults in the house is kind of like preparing a Thanksgiving dinner three times a day, every day – for the rest of your life.

It can become a bit much. Which is what led to Marc’s hash recipe that has quickly become one of our favorite lunches.

Marc sautéed some (lots of) onions in olive oil, then he browned a tube of Jimmy Dean sausage broken up into bits. (apparently the secret ingredient is that it MUST be Jimmy Dean’s) Once the sausage was cooked, it was removed from the pan and frozen hashed brown potatoes were added (the loose kind, not the ones in pre-formed bricks) and cooked until brown and crispy.  

After the potatoes were cooked, they were added to the meat and onions, placed on the table and the dinner bell was rung.

It certainly smelled good enough but when we got to the table and saw what was for lunch, a few of us wrinkled our noses. It was lumpy and white and brown. It didn’t exactly look like something that we would want to eat.

Seriously, does this look appetizing to you?

Um, Marc – it looks like something they would serve in a third world country, I told him.

But as firm believers in waste not, want not and knowing full well that there were indeed people in the third world who were literally dying for a meal like this, we reluctantly tried it.

We had a bowl full.

Then we had another.

Then we all fought for the remains.

Griffin hunkering down with Dad's Thrid World Hash

And with that experience, Dad’s Third World Hash was born. It may not be the prettiest food but it sure is tasty and for very little money, you can apparently feed this entire tribe of ours.


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Filed under Food Savings, Recipes, The Family, The kids

Project Chickens Before the Eggs: Lesson 42 – How to get a rooster to not crow at 5:45 in the morning

Okay, so you know we have a rooster. Actually that should be Rooster with a capital “R’ because since Betty has “come out of the hen-coop”, as it were, she has been crowing up a storm.

For those of you who think I’m confused by naming a rooster Betty and calling her (him) a her, well, let’s just say it’s a long story in which newbie chicken owners are still trying to figure things out.

Yup, and if you ever wondered about all those cartoons you’ve seen, roosters really do cock-a-doodle-doo at the crack of dawn, and also when they are hungry, tired, bored, or just want attention. Continue reading


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What oh what to do with all that candy?

Halloween is over and the kids have come home with far too much candy. In an effort to preserve health we limit the candy intake to 1 piece a day. Even then it would take years to eat it all, so what do we do with all that candy?

The morning after Halloween, we collect all of the packages of plain M&M’s and we have M&M pancakes. Tasting more like giant chocolate chip cookies, these beauties can be frozen and used for breakfast for days to come. Continue reading

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Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 33 – The $729.94 Thrifty Egg

You may be wondering what we are doing with our first egg. It’s not going to Disneyland but it is going to the next best place in America.


Here is the link to our auction –

The $729.94 Thrifty Egg

The text with photo is below: Continue reading


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Guest Post: 10 Ways to Save When Dining Out

This is a guest post written by Michelle Hovestadt of  www.wickedcooldeals.com. We met at a media event and hit it off (you know, moms trying to pinch pennies) If you don’t know about her website, check it out. She has great information on saving money and getting the best deals around. 

Wicked Cool Deals - Michelle Hovestadt

Wicked Cool Deals - Michelle Hovestadt

10 Ways to Save When Dining Out
When tough economic times hit, one of the first things we tend to cut back on is dining out. This is so unfortunate because dining out with your spouse, significant other or entire family can be such a treat! No cooking, no dishes – it’s just great. There are ways to have your cake and eat it too (pardon the pun!). Here are some ways you can save when eating out, along with some Wicked Cool restaurant Deals!

1. Purchase discount certificates at Restaurant.com. Restaurant.com can be one of the best ways to save money when dining out. Simply log on and search either by restaurant or zip code. There are a surprisingly large number of restaurants that participate. You can typically purchase a $25 certificate for $10, or a $10 certificate for $3. However (and this is the good part!), there are often promo codes you can use to get the certificates even cheaper – often 50%, 60%, even 70% off the regular price. I recently had such fun using a $25 certificate I purchased for just $3. A friend and I went out to dinner on a Thursday night. We had cocktails and a very nice dinner and the bill was about $50. I used my $25 certificate, bringing the price down to just about $25!

2. Sign up online at your favorite restaurants. Registering with restaurants online can be a great way to save money. When you sign up, the restaurant will often send you coupons and other promotional deals to save money on your next visit. I’ve registered with Applebees, Red Lobster, Fridays, Unos, and Johnny Rockets and they have all sent me discount coupons. T.G.I Friday’s just sent me a buy-one-get-one free entree coupon! And Johnny Rockets sent me a coupon for a free shake with any sandwich purchase! And, a couple of weeks ago Unos sent me a coupon for a FREE steak dinner.

3. Ask for restaurant gift cards. My parents, siblings and friends are always asking us what we want for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Don’t be shy – ask for a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant! Do you really want another sweater? Gift certificates can be great gifts even for children. My kids love going out to dinner – its’ a special treat. And they certainly don’t need any more toys!

4. Go out to lunch instead of dinner. Can’t afford dinner? Then simply go out for lunch! You often get the same menu, perhaps just a smaller portion. And, lunch can be a great “date” with your spouse or a pick-me-up with a friend or family member.

5. Have drinks and appetizers. Rather than indulge in a big entree, head out to your favorite restaurant for drinks and appetizers instead. This is another way to get enjoy some great food and time away from the kids.

6. Look for restaurants where kids eat free. Lots of restaurants offer “kids eat free” nights. You can simply Google your town’s name plus “kids free meals,” and you may be surprised at what comes up! Check out these sites for more info on how kids can eat for free: Kids Eat 4 Free, MyKidsEatFree, and Coupon Diva’s Kids Eat Free page.

7. Skip drinks and dessert. Cocktails, other drinks and dessert can really tack dollars onto your bill. If you are really craving something sweet, have a special dessert at home. When dining out with friends, something I do is have a special dessert, coffee and after dinner drinks waiting at my house after. There are also some great restaurants that allow you to bring your own wine or beer.

8. Plan where you are going. The lack of a plan always gets you in trouble! I recall a few times where we waited too long, the kids were starving and we stopped at the first place we saw. Boy, we paid for those mistakes! The food was lousy, the service was awful and we paid 3 times the price.

9. Look for discount coupons in your local paper or online. Restaurant chains like Uno, Friendly’s and Applebee’s will often place discount coupon offers in the local, often Sunday, paper. The phone book is another place where you might find a discount coupon. And, you can do a simple search online to see if there are any current coupons for your favorite restaurants. Just search by restaurant name and “coupon” or “discount” or “promo code.”

10. Buy an Entertainment Book. Although you do have to purchase these books (often $15-$20), they are chock-full of discount restaurant coupons. This is a good option if you are someone who really enjoys eating out often. An entertainment book also makes a great gift!

So don’t give up eating out because you are cutting down on expenses. You just need to be a little creative, thrifty and flexible!

Michelle Hovestadt
Michelle is a marketing consultant and strategist and current publisher of http://www.wickedcooldeals.com, a website dedicated to providing money saving coupons, tips and strategies. Michelle is also a wife and mother of 4 young children living in Woodstock, Connecticut.

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Guest Post: Teaching Our Young Kids To Be Frugal By Example


Note: I’ve met Becky at a few media events. Her blog is BargainBecky. She’s a very cool mom of 2 adorable, active boys. At these events, she and I hit it off right from the start. Neither of us believes that being thrifty is anything short of being smart and creative.

Photo Credit: Digital Sextant

Photo Credit: Digital Sextant

Because of this, I asked her to write a guest blog for Simple Thrift. Below is Becky’s post.


It’s no secret. I’m pretty frugal and pinch every penny. Having two children of my own sometimes makes me wonder how my frugal behavior will impact them. Obviously, I want to teach them to value money and to use it wisely (what parent doesn’t?). I also want to teach them that with a little hard work, you can make your money stretch further than you can imagine.

I’ve never actually “talked” about money or savings with my kids. For starters, they are only 3 and 1 1/2 years-old. They have other things on their mind like trains, toy tools and race cars. But I’m very surprised at how much my 3 year-old has picked up just by watching me.

I’m always cutting coupons every week. I’ve never told him what I was doing specifically, but as a 3 year-old, he’s asking me what I’m doing all the time. So I tell him simply “I’m cutting coupons so we can save money at the grocery store.” Now when I’m cutting coupons, he grabs his scissors and “cuts with me.” When my two sons pull out their play grocery cart and raid my pantry, I can hear their conversations. Without a doubt, my 3 year-old will mention the word “coupon” during their play. It’s kind of funny actually.

Our latest “subliminal” savings teaching actually involves a coupon! My son is obsessed with this one toy train. So we’ve been giving him quarters and dollars when he does something good to save in his “Special Train Bank.” This special train is available at a store that puts out coupons each week. So each week we’ve been cutting the coupon and telling him “Now save this with your train money so if you earn enough money this week, you can save some money with this piece of paper.” I think he’s more excited to add the coupon to his savings stash than the actual money!

It’s never too early to teach your kids about savings and as I see everyday, they learn the most just by watching our actions. Sure, I could just buy him the train or wait for a holiday, but it’s actually pretty fun for him (and me!) to save his quarters and coupons to get it!

Becky Haugh

Becky is a Stay-At-Home mother of 2 boys living on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She contributes to a blog mostly about grocery store savings at www.bargainbecky.blogspot.com. Her current project on the blog is to see if she can spend less than $5,000 this year on all of her groceries.

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The 2009 Fabulous Food Network Magazine Challenge – Recipe 7 – Grilled Tropical Fruit

The 2009 Fabulous Food Network Magazine Challenge
Recipe 7 – Grilled Tropical Fruit
Page 109
7 down 60 recipes to go

Note: This recipe is not listed in the online index. All you do is brush the fruit with oil (we used olive) and place on a hot grill 3-5 minjutes on each side.

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I’m Gonna Keep my Kindle



Although I have secretly coveted a Kindle, I could never justify the cost of getting one. Even though I buy and read a lot of books (around 2-3/week) it just didn’t seem fair to pay 359 dollars for a book reading device when I could buy a stack of books at a yard sale for .25 cents each.

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What a Dorm Room Needs

I’m in the process of getting things together for my son’s dorm room. He will be attending Rivier College in Nashua NH which is actually down the street from us but he will be living on campus.

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Filed under College Costs, Simple Thrift Tips

Simple Thrift – Nashua Telegraph June 23

Wendy Thomas – Simple Thrift
Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Be thrifty and smart in the grocery store columnists651

Being thrifty is not about living a life of deprivation, but rather it’s about making do creatively with what you already have. It also means not getting more than what you need or can use.

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Filed under Food Savings, Simple Thrift Nashua Telegraph column