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Mom On A Budget

with Ashleigh

Hello! I'm Ashleigh! I live in Michigan with my family of 3 girls (4 year old twins and a 2 year old), husband and abnormally large lab mix. Since I was little, I have loved to save money, but my bargaining skills were kicked up a notch when we found out we were having twins. I can spot a red clearance sticker from a mile away! I write tips and recipes on my blog Being Cheap is Easy and also on Recipes4Living. I love to cook, read, listen to music and watch anything on Bravo (so addicting!). Say hello on Twitter or Instagram!

Easy Easter Side Dishes {All Under $5}

Categories: budget friendly, easter, grocery shopping

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A few weeks ago, I posted about how to save money on your Easter dinner. Now it’s time to think about what sides to make! The most budget friendly sides tend to be veggie or fruit based. Since the meat is usually the show of the Easter meal, I like to keep the sides simple…and also on the healthier side.

Here are a few ideas I have, all under $5!

· Strawberries with honey

o So simple! Slice strawberries and toss with about a teaspoon of honey (per quart). Put in the fridge and it will make tasty syrup! Apples can also be added.

· Healthified Green Bean Casserole

o I came up with this last Thanksgiving and it has become a favorite side dish in our house!

· Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes

o Slice washed sweet potatoes in 1 inch coins. In a bowl, melt butter or coconut oil. Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of honey. Brush on sweet potatoes and bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes. For an extra oomph, top with mini marshmallows for the last 5 minutes.

· Roasted broccoli

o Toss chopped broccoli in 1 tablespoon olive oil, pepper and coarse salt. Roast at 425* for 20 minutes, or until slightly brown.

· Cinnamon Apples

o Slice apples (about ½ apple per guest) in 1/10th pieces. Toss with ¼ cup of flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Pour into a sprayed 9×13 pan. Top with ½ cup juice (white grape or apple seem to work best). Bake at 375* for 20-30 minutes.

· Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes

o This is my go-to potato recipe for ham. Although it calls for including the ham in it while cooking, I just leave it out! It’s nice to have a side dish that you can make early and forget about!

If you head over to my blog, Being Cheap is Easy, you can enter to win a $50 gift card for HoneyBaked Ham! We loved the smoked turkey for wraps!

Side note: have you joined my new online book club yet? We’re reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed this month and we would love some more people to help us discuss!

What is your go-to simple side dish recipe?

Budget-Friendly Easter Basket Ideas

Categories: budget skills, easter

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Anyone else having a holiday burn out? I feel like every time I turn around, there is a new holiday to celebrate and the marketing makes kids expect gifts. I believe the focus on Easter should be around the meaning of the holiday and family, not all about a large bunny.

Since my kids are at prime Easter Bunny age, we will do baskets…but we are taking it down a notch. Does that make us mean parents?

Here are a few simple ideas for baskets that the kids will still love. I find that themes help make shopping easier!

1. Art Box (or basket). Fill up each basket with art supplies from the Dollar Store. Another great place to check: clearance from Michael’s! We find stickers and supplies for fewer than 50 cents! Focus on spending $5-10 for each basket and grab a big floor pad of paper. This will keep them occupied for hours! Think glitter, stamps, markers, crayons, googly eyes, beads, string…anything can be used for creativity!

2. Outside fun. Jump ropes, chalk, hula hoops, soccer balls…anything to keep them active outside! The Dollar Tree has fun cones than you can set up to run around for relays. FYI: Did you know you can order from the Dollar Tree online and pick up in store?

3. Gift Cards. I realize it’s not very exciting to open, but kids LOVE to pick things out for themselves. Get a $5 one for a book store and $5 for Target, or whatever might be exciting. Pick a day and make a special trip for the kids…even consider going out for lunch!

4. Family Memory Cards. Make cards out for special family events that the kids can “cash in”. For instance, one card can say “Trip to the Zoo” or “Library Story Hour”. Other ideas: “Trip to Famers Market + $5 to spend”, “Trip to Grandma + Grandpa’s” or “Trip for Ice Cream Cones”! Create 5-7 different cards and decorate them with glitter.

5. Movie Basket. Buy 2-3 $5 movies at Target (Heads up: they are buy 2, get 1 this week!) and fill the basket with fun movie night ingredients: box of candy, popcorn, etc. If you want to spend a bit more, throw in a new pair of pajamas. Make a card that lets them pick the pizza toppings of choice for a homemade pizza. (Want an amazing pizza crust recipe? Check this one out!)

6. Camp or Class Ticket. If your child is interested in a new ballet class or sports camp for the summer, consider creating a “ticket” for the class as an Easter gift.

Whatever you chose, keep it simple. I really love the ideas that create memories, instead of more clutter. The last thing our kids need is more toys to trip over!

What simple basket ideas do you have?

How to Save on: Easter Groceries

Categories: budget friendly, budget skills, easter, grocery shopping

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I know it’s not April yet, but Easter will sneak up on us very quickly! Now is the time to start thinking about your plans!

If you are hosting Easter, think about what you would like to include on your menu. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are hosting guests! Even little things like rolls or a side dish can help a TON, especially if your budget is tight.

Here are some tips to help alleviate any stress:

1. Watch sales for discounted items:

· Ham normally goes on sale a few weeks before Easter. Watch stores like Aldi for even cheaper prices. Since it freezes well, try to snag one during an early sale. They do sell out frequently!

· Potatoes and produce. Since potatoes store well in a dark, dry place, you can buy these now. I have noticed Klondike brand goes on sale a lot and they offer coupons here. Other produce to watch would be pineapples, asparagus or green beans. If you are roasting asparagus, it’s fine to freeze and cook later.
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