Try It Tuesday

Try It Tuesday Cooking Badge 2

 

I am always trying to find new ways to save money. That’s one of the main reasons Huff the Hubs and I decided to cloth diaper; the savings were astronomical! Now that we’re saving for a down payment, my money-saving mind has been searching for tips and tricks that will help our spread our budget a little further. So earlier this week when I noticed I was almost out of coffee creamer, I thought, “Why don’t I try to make my own?” Then I stumbled upon this pin!

try it original creamer

Its DIY coffee creamer!

Here’s what you need:

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~1 can (14 oz) condensed milk (I used fat free; I like low-cal creamer)

~Milk (again, I used skim; but the original pin says that the more fat your milk has, the creamier it will be)

~Vanilla extract

The original pin has a host of other flavor mixes, but since I typically use French Vanilla coffee creamer, I used that recipe!

All you have to do is combine the can of condensed milk with 1 3/4 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and mix well:

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And then, BAM! you’re done!

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I think it turned out pretty good! I’m kind of picky about the brands of creamer I use, so it was a little different using this. But it wasn’t bad. PLUS, I did save some money! Here’s the math:

Coffeemate Sugar Free French Vanilla Creamer: $3.18

Homemade Creamer: $2.46

Savings: $0.72

Not a huge chunk of change, but every little bit helps! I’m going to use all of the creamer I made and, by the time the bottle is empty, if I’ve gotten used to it I think I’ll continue to make my own!

 

Have you ever made your own coffee creamer? What recipe did you use? Share in the comments!

There’s An App For That!

Alright people, now that the hub-bub of the holidays are over (and it’s a Monday, and we all know diets can’t start on any other day of the week) we can officially start working on our New Year’s Resolutions!

 

It seems like the toughest part of keeping a resolution past February is lack of accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard (or said):  “Well, I would go to the gym/save money/eat healthier, but I don’t have anyone to go with me/know where to start/have motivation.”

 

Thankfully, there’s an app for that! And by “that” I mean all of your excuses-ha!

 

Sparkpeople

Used For: Weight Loss, Healthy Living

Price in App Store: Free

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This is one of my FAVORITE apps! I’ve been using this site for over 5 years now. It’s similar to MyFitnessPal (which I’ve also used) but SO much more user-friendly. You can track your calories eaten, fitness minutes, calories burned, and water drank! And, you can sync it with your FitBit! (A little shameless plug: I used this app when I first started trying to lose weight and it helped me lose 35lbs!)

 

Good Budget

Used For: Money Management, Budgeting

Price in App Store: Free

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Huff the Hubs and I are all about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and implementing the Envelope System. The gist is you pay in cash for everything you purchase because it has more of an emotional connection to you. You also separate your money into envelopes labeled “Groceries”, “Gas”, “Food”, etc.  But, it’s not for everyone. Some people hate carrying around envelopes and others don’t like toting a bunch of cash in their purses because they like the convenience of debit/credit cards. Thanks to the Good Budget app, you can still utilize the Envelope System without carrying caboodles of cash! Just note the amount budgeted for each category and then track where you spend! Super easy!

 

Coach.Me

Used For: Wellness, Healthy Living, Relationships

Price in App Store: Free

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This app is an all-over-the-board-motivator! Whether your resolution is to stop complaining, start working out, or learn to play the piano, Coach.Me is there to help you achieve your goals! There are tips, forums, and plans to get you motivated, moving, and feel great—inside and out!

 

 

Are there any apps that have helped you? What are they?

Make it Rain!

Good news, Okies! According to Apartment Guide, Oklahoma Cityand Tulsa are two of the top 10 budget-friendly cities in America! Woot, woot! This bodes well for my Okla-homies that have made resolutions to save more money/be more budget-minded.

money gif

But just how do you become more budget-friendly?

Let me tell you what works for me. Personally, I really like the teachings from Dave Ramsey.

I took Financial Peace University twice: once when I was single and then after Huff the Hubs and I got married. (I think EVERY engaged couple should take this class together. It really helps you to get in the mindset of “I need to make sure I communicate with my partner about finances!”).

Shortly after we got married, we followed Dave’s debt snowball plan. We got our $20K student loan debt paid off in a year and a half! (Actually, it may have just been 13 months…)

Now, we rely heavily on the envelope system and pay in cash for everything (except the stuff I buy from ThinkGeek). Every time I get paid, I separate out my funds to the different things I need to put money toward:

Tithe

Gas Money

Phone Bill

Car Insurance

Groceries

Water Bill

Investments (Roth IRA)

Restaurant Fund

Slush Fund

Savings

 

The good thing about this is, I can see exactly where my money is going. Plus, I can show it to Huff the Hubs so we can have an open and honest communication about our finances. That is KEY.

Plus, every time we get paid, we both put money in our “Restaurant Fund Folder” so we can go out to eat and we’re both contributing. And, if we run out, we run out and we eat at home. We also take money out to “pay ourselves back” (i.e., our Slush Fund) and we can use that money on anything we want without any judgment from each other. (When I was preggers, my Slush Fund was a literal slush fund. Seriously, I probably stopped at 7-11 everyday for a slushie.)

This system works really, really well for us. Neither one of us like using debit cards (we’ve both gotten into trouble with those in the past) and when I pay in cash, I’m more aware of what I’m spending my money on and I’m more likely to say “Eh, I don’t really need this,” so I can save my money.

You’ve just got to find what works best for you. Some people spend more money when they have cash and like debit cards because they can check their stuff online. You just have to tinker around a bit and see how you and your household will work best. It will take a little trial and error, but I guarantee you, you can do it!

Try It Tuesday

I. LOVE. ROOT. BEER.

 

Throughout my first trimester (and a lot of my second) I craved root beer. Especially Diet A&W. So when I saw these, I HAD to try them:

Root beer AND cupcakes?! I'm in heaven.

Root beer AND cupcakes?! I’m in heaven.

 

The cupcakes themselves weren’t too tough to make. All I needed was this:

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings...

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings…

That’s right; all you need is a can of diet root beer and a box of cake mix! Technically, I was supposed to white cake mix. But Wal-Mart was all out. So I used a yellow mix instead.

 

Preheat your oven to 350*. Then, all you have to do is pour the soda into a bowl with the cake mix and stir. When it’s all stirred up, pour it into your muffin tin and bake for about 19-20 minutes. The batter should look like this:

And! I could eat this batter because there were no raw eggs. Life is good.

And! I could eat this batter because there were no raw eggs. Life is good.

 

When they’re done, let them cool. While they’re cooling, set to work on the frosting.

 

For the frosting, here’s what you need:

Tricks of the trade.

Tricks of the trade.

 

The measurements are:

~1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

~1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Root Beer Concentrate

~1 box (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

~1/4 cup milk

This makes 2 cups. I cut it in half because I didn’t think we needed 2 cups for all the cupcakes and I was right!

The frosting was pretty easy to make. Here’s what you do:

~Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Then add the root beer concentrate and mix well.

~Add the confectioners’ sugar, little by little, mixing well after each time you add.

~Then, add the milk and mix until light and fluffy. If the frosting looks a little too thick, add some more milk.

 

After the cupcakes cooled, I frosted them and placed a little root beer barrel candy on top, just for flair. OMG, you guys. They were so freaking good! I highly recommend these. Especially with a side of vanilla ice cream!

Next time, though, I don’t think I’ll add butter to the frosting. I’ve made frosting without it before and honestly, I can’t tell a difference. I’m just not a fan of the way it looked. You can see in the picture above that the butter looked like it had separated from the other ingredients (i.e., leaving those dark spots). Other than that, these were FAB!