Category Archive: Family

How To Save Money In The Kitchen

I am a big fan of using a combination of coupons and a grocery price-book to save money when buying groceries.  I am also a big fan of saving money in the kitchen, after those groceries have been purchased.  Here’s how to save money in the kitchen – and minimize those costly trips to the grocery store.

These tips work for our busy family of 5.  There are no professional organizers in this bunch!

In the refrigerator –

Keep things neat and tidy.  It’s easy to forget what you have if you can’t see it.

Prep fruits and vegetables.  We have kids – and kids like convenience foods.  Rather than see our fruits and vegetables spoil, we slice and peel them when we buy them, and the kids eat them up.

Use it up.  Waste not, want not.  When a bottle is almost empty, turn it over, let gravity help you out, and use it up.

In the pantry –

Invest in a decent set of food storage containers.  Stale cereal is the worst.  We keeps ours nice and fresh in these cool Rubbermaid containers.  As soon as I get home, we remove cookies, crackers, and cereals from their bags and boxes and pour them into storage containers.  This keeps food fresher – and we think they make things look nicer, too!

Teach the kids to put away the groceries.  Our kids have been taught to help around our house.  As a result, they respect and value the things that we buy.

Put things where you can get to them – unless you shouldn’t.  I have a sweet-tooth, so I put all of the healthy stuff at eye-level – and the not-so-healthy stuff in the back.

Rotate your canned-goods.  Get in the habit of placing newer cans behind older ones.  Check those dates!

Donate what you do not need.  If you aren’t going to eat it – donate it to a local food-bank or homeless shelter.

Cooking –

Invest in a crock-pot.  Seriously.  A slow cooker saves us so much time and theyare so simple to use.  If we are worried about cooking meat before it spoils, we’ll slow cook it in the crock-pot, with a few vegetable and some seasonings.

Use the oven when electricity is cheaper.  Check with your power company and plan accordingly.  Ours offers a plan with less expensive electricity before 2pm and after 7pm.

Make compost.  We have a spring and summer garden – so we are always looking for scraps for our compost bin.  Rather than waste egg shells and apple skins, use them to create awesome soil for your garden!

save money in the kitchen

At the table –

Start with smaller portions.  We have kids.  Kids are picky.  Rather than give them a huge scoop of beans, we’ll start them out with just a few.  If they want more, they can have them.  If not, we can put them in the refrigerator and have leftovers the next day.

Make the kitchen-table an awesome place to be.

Share the clean-up responsibilities.  We clean up our kitchen as a family.  Our kids know how to wash dishes and put them away.

Skip the heated drying cycle.  Instead, dry dishes by hand.  If you have a small amount of dishes, skip the dishwasher and wash by hand.  (I’ve read conflicting articles about how much money is saved when washing by hand versus using the dishwasher.  We use ours for one load a day and always wait until it is full to run it.)

These simple tips for how to save money in the kitchen work for our family.  Our goal is to maintain an organized kitchen where we can enjoy good meals and good company.  Blessings.

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Simple Ways To Save Money While On Vacation

My family and I just recently returned from a week at the beach.  We had an awesome time – and we even figured out some simple ways to save money while on vacation.

Check online for attraction discounts, coupons, and codes.  Our three kids like putt-putt and the water-park.  A simple online search, and I found coupons for both attractions.  We saved 50% on the putt-putt – and 60% at the water-park!

Side note – By visiting the water-park’s website, we were able to better plan our visit.  We avoided a particularly busy day at the park – and the kids were able to ride the slides without waiting in super-long lines.

Take beach toys with you – or improvise!  We love the beach, and our youngest really likes to dig in the sand.  I packed several buckets – and a really sturdy plastic spade – in our van.  She loved being able to make sand castles, in varying sizes, and the spade was big enough to really move the sand.

Buy groceries at home.  This one is huge.  The grocery store near the condominium we rented is convenient – but pricey.  We only buy perishable items from that grocery store, and buy the non-perishables before we leave.

Check gasoline prices and plan accordingly.  We purchased three tanks of gas while on vacation.  I used a couple of the apps mentioned here – and was able to save a few bucks.  (Prices in neighboring states can vary.  Check before you cross state lines.  You may save a few bucks by making purchases before or after crossing.)

Eat in – and search for restaurant coupons.  Here’s what works for us – we eat breakfast and lunch at the condo – and then go out for supper.  Before visiting any restaurant, we’ll search its website, and check for coupons or codes.  We’re all pretty picky eaters – but this year, we managed to find one restaurant that we all agreed upon – and the kids ate for free!  Pretty cool.

Visit the local recreational facilities or state parks.  In the city where we vacation, there are dozens of local parks – each with a walking track, tennis court, and playground.  Our kids love exploring new spaces – and these are free!

Check online for a booking discount.  I almost forgot this one – and it saved us the most money!  Before we booked, I searched online for a discount code – and managed to save 20% off the cost of our reservation!

These are just a few, simple ways to save money while on vacation.  To be honest – a vacation will always be a bit of splurge – so it’s important to save money, even while relaxing and enjoying ourselves.  Be blessed.

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Silver Coins – List Of U.S. Coins Containing Silver

Silver coins are easier to find than you might think.  My son and I recently began collecting coins – and we are finding silver coins. The cool thing is – we are finding these (partially) silver coins while sorting through rolls of commonly used U.S. coins.

We have learned that sorting through rolls of coins is often referred to as coin roll hunting.  Pretty cool.

Once or twice a week, we’ll go to the bank and get a few rolls of coins – some dimes, nickels, and quarters.  If the bank has them, we’ll also get some half-dollars.  We’ll come home and hunt through the rolls for any interesting – or valuable – coins.

By the way – this is a rather inexpensive – and potentially profitable – hobby.  Once we sort through the rolls of coins, we’ll keep any that we think are worth keeping, and re-roll the remaining coins.  These are then exchanged, on our next trip, for more coin rolls.

My son did a little research and discovered that several commonly used – and not super rare – U.S. coins actually contain a decent amount of silver.  (Obviously, there are special coins that are pure silver.  When we say silver coins – we are talking about coins that are partially silver, consisting of silver and some other metal.  These coins, because they contain a precious metal, are often worth more than face value, which is pretty cool.)

Here’s our list of silver coins –

Jefferson Nickels from 1942 – 1945 contain 35% silver.*

*1942 Nickels with no mint mark do not contain silver.

Roosevelt Dimes from 1946 – 1964 contain 90% silver.

Washington Quarters from 1932 – 1964 contain 90% silver.

Kennedy Half-Dollars from 1965 – 1970 contain 40% silver.**

**1964 Kennedy Half-Dollars contain 90%silver.

Kennedy Half-Dollars Silver Coins

Kennedy Half-Dollars

So far, we have managed to find at least one of each of these – except for a Roosevelt silver dime.  We did, however, find a silver dime – from Canada!  Awesome.

There are older coins, much more difficult to find, that also contain silver.  Once in a while, when hunting through a roll of coins, you might stumble upon one of these.  To be sure: A quick internet search will usually reveal a coin’s worth.

Sorting through a roll of coins only takes a few minutes – and finding silver coins is always fun.  We are brand new to the hobby, and being able to find interesting – and valuable – coins, in rolls available through our local bank, makes it pretty easy.

Thanks for checking out No Credit Needed.  Take a second and follow me @NCN and say Hi!  Be blessed.

Additional resource –

Check out this article from the archives: 10 Places To Look When Scrounging For Change

The picture above features some of the silver coins we have found – and two silver coins we received as gifts when we first started collecting.

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Grace And The Wild Blackberries

They grow in the field behind our house.

Wild.

Free.

Blackberries!

My son and I just picked a small, bucket-full of fresh, wild blackberries. A harvest of delicious and nutritious bites of awesome.

Bowl of wild blackberries

A small bowl of delicious, wild blackberries.

Picking blackberries is pretty simple. Watch out for the thorns. Be careful not to squish each berry. Eat slightly fewer berries than you place in your bucket. Check for snakes!

Grace.

We didn’t plant the blackberries. We didn’t water them. We didn’t fertilize them. We didn’t provide for them.

We simply enjoy them. That’s grace.

It’s free – and amazing.

Grace.

The ancient Israelites were told not to harvest the corners of their fields – so as to provide food for weary travelers. As we were picking blackberries, we picked some for our family, some for our neighbor, and we left many on their bushes – for others to enjoy.

Grace.

My son found the blackberries. He was so excited. I was in the house. He burst through the front door, hands full, calling “Daddy!”.

What a blessing, to pick those wild blackberries, side-by-side, talking about our day. He, picking the ones nearer the ground. Me, picking the ones harder to reach.

He’s getting older, I have no idea how many more springs he’ll be excited, be ready to go, set for adventure at a moments notice. Throwing the ball, riding bikes, hiking through the woods. These things still fascinate him. I hope they always will.

The wild blackberries are in the refrigerator, washed and ready to eat. There are thousands of them in the field, not quite ready for harvest. No doubt, we will return, buckets ready, until the summer heat takes them away. Until then, we will enjoy this “grace” in our lives. Delicious food. Sun on our backs. Time together.

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