Parties and getting together with friends is a ton of fun. It could also mean a ton of food, drinks, and left overs that don’t really fit into dinner plans. While fun at the time, most of us don’t want to waste food, or see food wasted. It breaks our thrifty hearts. Here’s how to reduce the amount of party leftovers you will have and tips for what to do with what is left over.
Think Before You Buy
When having people over consider having foods that will last longer, morph into meals and are semi healthy. When you have candy you will either destroy your diet or never be rid of it. When you have tortilla chips and bean dip you can later add salsa, shredded cheese and sour cream to make nachos for lunch on the day after your get together.
Make It Potluck
Potluck parties are the best because with everyone bringing something you know two things. First, there is going to be plenty of food. Second, everyone should have something there they like. After the party you can just send people home with the leftovers of what they brought. You can send everyone home with something they didn’t bring.
Try To Pawn Them Off
If you have thrown a party or had a family get together, try to pawn some of the food off on those that attended. Often you have paid for the food, but what is left over is more than your little family unit can ( or should ) eat before it goes bad. Make plates or bags designed with the purpose of sending your food orphans home with family and friends.
Left Over Day
Have the day after your party be a left over day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should all be comprised of left overs. So should any snacks that are consumed on that day. While you will have some less healthy options and some interesting meal combinations, you will also avoid wasting those costly party foods.
No one like to waste money by wasting food. Smaller, more picker members of our families, however, may not care at all how much we are spending on groceries. They may demand a diet of peanut butter sandwiches for a year if we allowed it. It’s tempting some days, but we don’t. Still how can we get our little one to eat right without breaking the bank.
Believe in Seconds
You aren’t sure if your little food critic is going to devour dinner or turn their nose up at it. So give them a tiny portion to see if they like it. They are more likely to try it because it’s such a small amount. This means that your more likely to get them to eat it because they now know they like it. If they don’t like it, you haven’t wasted a full portion on them.
Never Force Food
Having control of what they put in their mouth is big for little independent minds. when you try to force food on a child they are more likely to rebel against eating it. This will set a precedent with all new food. It’s important that your child gets to choose what they will try. Offer small amount of a large variety of foods. You can do this by buying or making fruit, vegetable, and cheese platters with crackers and various dips. There could be yogurt dips, peanut butter dips or just plain old ranch dressing. This gives you picky child the opportunity to pick.
Mix It In
Put a new vegetable in a casserole or in some pasta. Put fruit in pancakes. Make things that are salads (potato, pasta, or egg) that otherwise wouldn’t pass as a salad. Get veggie dogs or vegan chicken nuggets. Make sweet potato fries instead of regular french fries. Get bread with a fruit of vegetable in them. A little camoflauge could go a long way if your little one isn’t paying attention.
First birthdays are a fun and important milestone for a little one as well as mommy and daddy. That doesn’t mean that the party you throw for your child’s first birthday needs to be an epic undertaking. The cost doesn’t have to be epic either.
Limited Number Of Guests
The first birthday is the only birthday you can really get away with having a small party. Chances are your one year old hasn’t made very many friends and ones he or she has made won’t even remember ( or feel hurt because) they weren’t invited to a party. Their parents won’t raise to much of an eyebrow when you declare that it’s just going to be a small family get together. When they hit two you may have to invite your whole play group, but for now you can keep the memories to the family in town.
Make The Cake
Buy a cake mix and make the cake. Your child most likely doesn’t need the extra sugary goodness of a store bought cake anyway. You can control cake size or make cupcakes. You can control the type and amount of frosting that goes on it. Plus your little one year old will give you as many great, messy, pictures you your photo album with a cake mix cake as they would have with a store ought cake.
Don’t Go Crazy With Presents
Your child is at an age where boxes hold just as much of their interest as what’s inside them. In fact I have seen a one year old unwrap an empty box and proceed to play with the excitement as though they had received the latest fad toy. Just be sure that the toy is age appropriate and easy to clean. Little sticky hands will be all over the place today.
Having a baby is expensive. There is the medical portion, upgrading to a larger apartment and stocking up on diapers and everything else you little one may need. While having a baby is a joy for any family. Here’s how to keep your baby preparation a joy as well as within your budget.
Two In One Items
Buy dual purpose items. My favorite two in one item was a playpen and a bassinet. There are also strollers systems that also include a car seat. Use resting items ( such as baby seats) that have a tray. You can use it both as a secured play area and a high chair.
To make baby food all you need is a high quality blender and a baby food recipe book. Make sure that the foods you choose to grind or puree for your little one are age appropriate. Many citrus fruits are not appropriate for a six month old to eat. There is to much fruit acid. Make sure to use blander foods to start out with.
Goats milk is healthy for an infant as opposed to cows milk, that a baby can’t consume. It’s preferable to use breast milk or formula, but when you need to feed your baby and neither are available, goats milk is a good third option. Just warm it up to a nice lukewarm temperature and feed it to your little one. You can also learn to make homemade goat milk formula, which is really good for babies with a lactose intolerance.
Babies go through stuff faster than rain through a storm drain. People either save the stuff for the next baby or give it away. They donate cast offs to pregnancy centers, thrift stores and their friends. Most of these are wonderful to have and cost next to nothing, but be careful buying safety items such as car seats. Many thrift store car seats are outdated and not up to today’s safety standards.
Mom’s don’t get a day off. It doesn’t matter if you work at home or not. We are on the clock from time to wake up until it is time to sleep. Then we are on call through out the night. The best way to get any time for oneself is to hire a babysitter and leave the house for a little while. Not all of us can afford to do that though. Here are a few ways to get a little me time even when you don’t have a babysitter.
Have a designated quiet time in your home. It could be a few hours on Sunday afternoon where the kids play in their rooms or a a daily hour where the kids spend a little time reading. Making a little quiet time a part of your routine helps you get a little time in for yourself and teaches your children to entertain themselves.
The After Bedtime Routine
After your kids go to bed, and before you go about picking up toys or doing the dishes take some time to breath. Enjoy a snack or a soda without little ones around begging for a taste. Take fifteen minutes to fish that book you have been trying to get through for a month. Then when you have had at least fifteen minutes to yourself you can get your chores done. Nightly chores can feel like a much smaller task once you have taken a moment to calm down.
There are many places you can go to take a moment to breath. You could have a lemonade in the back yard. You could take an extra long shower. Use weeding the front yard as an excuse to be away for a moment. If your kids rebel against the idea, offer to have them help so you can get to what they want you to more quickly. They will either help or let you alone to get your weeding done.
At some point most people end up getting a better vehicle and when that day comes (unless you are passing it down to someone) it’s time to figure out what to do with the old vehicle. What if you couldn’t really sell it to someone in good conscience? What if you need to get it out of the apartment complex’s parking lot before it gets towed or ticketed? Here are a few ways to get rid of or use that old car that can be a profit to you.
Use It For Parts
Save yourself some money by buying a newer model of the same make of car that is currently sitting in your yard or driveway. You can use the old car as your own personal pick and pull. If you know how to do your own work ( or know your way around the maintenance manual) you can save quite a bit of money on auto repair.
Sell It For Parts
There may be parts that you can’t use from the older model on the newer car. In a case like that you could sell the used part. The same applies if you choose to get a different type of car altogether. When your old car just isn’t running this is a good route to take. You can still get some of that money you have invested in that car rather than just call it a loss and have it towed away.
Sell It For Scrap
When you just can’t find a use for your old vehicle (it’s too old or too rundown) you can sell it for scrap. This is a great option when you have an older car or truck because there seems to be more metal in older vehicles. It may not be a huge sum, but it’s still money.
One of the best ways to save money is to have a bit of land and to be self-sufficient. The only problem is that becoming self-sufficient costs money in the beginning. Here are a few things to consider if you are considering a small backyard farm.
Multi Purpose Animals
Think about getting a couple of miniature goats. You would want a type of goat that has a body covering that can be used to make yarn. You would also want female goats to produce goats milk. Last you may need to learn to make cheese from the goats milk. While these animals will take money to shelter and feed these animals they can provide much in return in the way of materials and food products.
Chickens can also be multipurpose. They lay eggs and their poop can be added to fertilizers for the garden. Of course you can eat your animals too, but that can make your farm less productive.
People go a little crazy when it comes to their gardens. They often bite off more than they can chew. While it is good to have a garden to cultivate food independence, it is also good to know how much you can actually handle. There is the cost of watering the garden, fertilizer costs and of course the amount of time and manpower you have to provide upkeep.
Also consider what crops you are growing and how much room they are going to take. Growing wheat or corn is a noble goal, but do you have the room to actually grow enough to make it worth your while.Will your family eat the plants that you grow? You can grow all the okra in the world, but if your children detest okra it won’t get you very far.
Last you need to be able to store your harvest. Get a friend to teach you how to jar or can your excess produce. You may also want to learn to pickle or dehydrate your harvest. This will allow you to enjoy your investment into the winter months.
Congratulations! You have a one year old. You also have a couple cases of left over baby food that he or she wasn’t eating last week and definitely won’t eat now. I mean they can have the goodness of solid food. You may find yourself in a position where you don’t have friends with babies and a while bunch of baby food you don’t want to waste. Here are some ways to use up that baby food.
Instead of waiting for bananas to soften for banana bread use the already pureed banana baby food. You can also use other baby food fruits as a pie filling. Using a jar or baby food corn works great for adding a little moisture into corn bread
You can dump the leftover baby fruit into a bowl and freeze it. Then eat it with some whipped cram as a frozen treat. You can take the runnier fruits and make them into fruit popsicles.
You can add vegetables in disguise in soups and chili by stirring a jar of baby food vegetables into the mix. The same can be said of baby food meats. It’s a fast way to add meat to a chili or soup without the thawing and cutting. it also ensures the meat is easily chewed by your younger family members.
If you have a sick child and are worried that they need to eat something ( or your trying to avoid dry heaving) consider using baby food. It’s broken down enough to get some nutrients into your child’s system and if they do end up throwing up, at least they have something to throw up.
Cereals can be mixed with other hot cereals or add-ons such as peanut butter or jelly. Rice cereal is a good base for a rice pudding. You may also find you like baby oatmeal better than regular oatmeal. It pours smoothly, and if stirred well, can have less lumps. Baby cereals are also a good way to add texture to soups or chili.