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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?

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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Save Money: Make Your Own Baby Food!

Categories: grocery shopping, parenting

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Before the twins started eating solid foods, I never even thought much about making my own food.  For some reason I thought it was super complicated.  When they were around 6 months old, we bought a few jars of organic baby food (at about $1 a pop!) and started our journey with solid foods.  I tasted a drop of apples and realized it had NO flavor at all.  After that, I started looking into different ways to make baby food!

Even after buying a few supplies, making your own baby food saves money!  If you don’t have a blender, I found a food processor to be great as well.  Once you get the hang of steaming and pureeing, it becomes second nature. Plus, you know what you’re feeding your baby.  As with any other produce, I make what’s in season to save money and supplement with some frozen.
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How To Stock Up Your Pantry {On A Budget!}

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

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We lived in an apartment until after Gabby was born, so we never had a ton of storage space…especially in the kitchen.  After moving into a house, I was so excited to stock up our pantry.  Fewer trips to the store were my top priority with 3 kids!

I know a lot of people see those crazy “extreme couponing” shows and look at their pantries.  They are stocked to the ceiling with food and bathroom products.  I really don’t think that’s necessary (who has 8 hours a day to clip coupons and go on those crazy shopping trips, anyway?!).  When I’m stocking up my pantry, I try to aim for 1-2 months of stock-up…if it’s an amazing freebie or deal, maybe enough to use up before it goes bad.  Cooking becomes easier when you have a well-stocked pantry, since it gives you options for a quick dinner!

Here are a few tips to keep your budget low while stocking up!

1. Keep an on-going list of what you use & need. I have a dry erase board on our freezer in the pantry, which has my stock-up list.  When I grab the last of something, I make sure to put it right on the list.  Since I like to keep about a month’s worth of something, I also note how many I should pick up.  Example: pasta sauce we usually get 4 bottles for quick dinners throughout the month.  
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Store Bought vs. Homemade: Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

Categories: budget skills, grocery shopping, thanksgiving

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As a busy Mom, I’m all about using help from the store!  I love to cook, so most of my food is homemade, but sometimes you need to take help from the store to

save time and money! For Thanksgiving, mostly homemade is just as good!

I will admit, I don’t do much of the cooking for Turkey Day since we go to my parent’s house.  But I have made a few turkey dinners myself!  This is the time of the year when Pinterest can be your best friend!  I love to look for new pie or dessert recipes to switch up the holiday season.

Don’t feel like you have to be a superhero cooking everything on Thanksgiving. I do think Turkey Day should be mostly homemade is because you can control the ingredients and sodium.  When everything is purchased from the store, this indulgent meal even less healthy for you…and it can cost you a pretty penny!

Here are some tips on making a mostly homemade Thanksgiving meal.  I’ve included a few recipes to get the ball rolling!

  • Stuffing can be semi-homemade. I like to doctor up my stuffing with some fresh celery, sausage, onion and spices. Instead of drying your own bread, you can buy cubes in the bakery section of your grocery store.
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