Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Magic Act

Two posts and then a disappearance. That always makes for a good blog, doesn't it?

I found it difficult to save money when we first started this blog, because both of us were unemployed. There's not much saving when there's no income. Four months ago, Justin finally landed a job doing what he loves at a wine shop. While it's awesome, money is still really tight. He got promoted after his manager left, and hopefully the raise will help us out a ton.

Me, on the other hand...I'm still scouring to find a job, and I only have less than a month before my student loans start popping their ugly heads up, and I am over 20k in debt.

I want to start this blog up again, but entries will probably still be sparse until I start making money.

We have been doing things very frugally still. It's not that difficult because we don't have much of a choice.

Some Things We Are Doing To Keep Costs Down

1. We got permission from our neighbor to use their internet connection, as long as we are not uploading/downloading large files and such.

2. When we need to go grocery shopping, we go to Aldi instead of Harris Teeter or Bi Lo. We still go to Bi Lo mainly for produce, but the main shopping is done at Aldi, where we significantly save money.

3. Driving to South Carolina for gas. I know, it seems like driving over the state line is spending more on gas than saving. However, South Carolina is right there -points-. I can see it from my balcony.

4. I have hand-washed socks/shirts/undergarments in the past few months. Not every time, but sometimes.

Those are just a couple things. I've also been going through my closet and am hoping to fill up my Ebay store pretty soon. It's been empty a long time.

The thing on my mind right now is this: Am I brave enough to cut my own hair? I have very dry, very thick, and very curly hair that needs serious attention. I have all the products and whatnot to wash it with, I rarely straighten it, but it has not been trimmed in over a year. I found a great post on Anna Newell Jones' blog but I'm still a bit scared. Does anyone have any advice? I need to get these split ends gone!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Homemade Noodles

Have you ever wanted pasta really bad but didn't want to spend the money to buy it? We had that issue last night. Justin is a pasta addict and he really, really wanted it. The soba noodles my parents gave me a while ago wouldn't cut it. So, super savers as we are, he looked up how to make it. It's very easy and most of you probably have the ingredients right in your kitchen.

All you need is an egg and one cup of flour. I kid you not. I'm going to go over what we did, starting with sauce. Now, we have a lot of canned foods stocked up. Either my parents or his parents gave us this stuff a bit ago. I also have a lot of dried spices, and I try to always have onions and garlic on hand at all time. I'm Italian, what can I say?


This is what we used for the sauce (plus onion, I forgot to include it in the photo). We drained the petite cut tomatoes for a thicker sauce (feel free to make a less thick sauce by not draining them. It's up to you!) We filled a saucepan with the petite cut tomatoes, one can of tomato sauce, minced garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, and Italian seasoning. Leave over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Now if you want meat sauce, brown some ground beef in a skillet. You don't need to do this, but we had some frozen ground beef that we needed to use so we opted for it.


Our sauce and meat.


As soon as the meat is browned add it to the sauce. Continue to stir occasionally. Now, onto the noodles!


Add one egg to one cup of flour.


Whisk together.


Now, it should look flakey. But it should do this when pressed together:


We lack a rolling pin, so we used an empty wine bottle. Of course, if you have a rolling pin, use that.


Woo, wine rolling pin!


Flatten out out the best you can. We ran into an issue where our mixture fell apart WAY too easily. So we added one more egg and a little bit more flour. If you don't get this issue, awesome. But it is fixable by adding another egg and aout a half cup more flour.

Once you get it rolled out flat enough, cut strips into noodle shapes. 




A word of warning: we learned that if you don't flatten it out enough and cut small strips, your noodles will get huge. This seems a fairly obvious fact but we didn't think of it and had huge noodles. You'll see at the end of this post :)

Add your noodles to boiling water with some olive oil.



Let cook.


Taste your sauce. Resist eating it like chili.

Your noodles should be done when they are limp, like this:


Strain and place into a medium/largee bowl.


Add your sauce and mix to coat. You can do this in separate bowls if you want. It is up to you!


Looks like zombie food...
Justin added feta to his. I added a ripped up square of swiss.



It was very good! The noodles were huge, like I said before, which overwhelmed me a bit. But it was warm and filling which left us satisfied. And we have leftovers! Money spent: $0.00.

So there you have it. You can easily make a good, basic pasta dish with things you have in your own home. And you don't really need one of those crank things to do it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Beginning

Hello!

This blog is dedicated to saving money and living a frugal life. My boyfriend Justin and I are embarking on a lifestyle that will take a lot of patience, diligence, and endurance. It will be tough but I believe we will be able to do it.

We didn't live a luxurious life to begin with: typical college students, small apartment, the whole deal. But, after we got out of school, I didn't have a job anymore (I worked at school) and our savings simply dwindled. My parents give me a small allowance (because THAT doesn't make me seem like a spoiled hipster...) but trust me, it comes at a price.

As we continue our look for jobs (which seems like it's harder than it needs to be) this blog will be our tracking device and our record of how we reduce, reuse, and recycle. We will share how we save money to get to where we need to be. Hopefully, after we become employed, my $24,000 in student loans will be paid off because of our savings and his things will be paid off as well.

The first thing we did was save about ten bucks last night by utilizing what we already had to make dinner instead of going out and buying more to cook with. Our end result: Veggie fried rice!


Onions, a bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, a bag of frozen peppers, and leftover yellow rice. Fried up with some soy sauce and pepper. Yum.