Broke as a Joke ? 30 Meal Ideas For the Times When Cash is Low

Times can be hard. So we have meal ideas from our kitchen and from those of our group members for when you are broke as a joke but still, need to eat. 

Be sure to come Check out Mrs. G’s Cooking Corner for more meal ideas

Cheap meal ideas for when you are broke

  1. Chicken Corn Chowder
  2. Salisbury Steak over potatoes or rice
  3. Spaghetti and meat sauce with bread
  4. Canned beef stew over rice or potatoes
  5. Eggs and toast
  6. Mac n Cheese with Tuna and Peas
  7. Mac n Cheese with hamburger
  8. Beef flavored rice with hamburger mixed in and a veggie on the side or mixed in.
  9. Chicken flavored rice with chicken mixed in and a veggie added in.
  10. Pancakes
  11. Tuna Noodle Casserole
  12. Hamburger Helper
  13. Raman and hotdogs’
  14. Beans and Hotdogs
  15. Cheap Sandwiches like Bologna, PB & J, Tuna Salad, Grilled cheese and add cheap canned soup.
  16. Beans and Rice
  17. Chop Suey
  18. Baked chicken drumsticks and potatoes with a veggie.
  19. BLTs
  20. Loaded baked potatoes add small amounts of cheese, meats or whatever you have on hand.
  21. Chili and cornbread
  22. English Muffin Pizzas
  23. Corn Dogs
  24. Frozen Pizza
  25. Tuna melts
  26. French Toast
  27. Tator Tot Casserole
  28. Easy Hamburger Soup

29. Chicken Nuggets and fries.

30. Cereal and fruit

What are your go-to meals when cash is tight?


Keeping Stress Down and Spirits Bright During the Holidays


Keeping Stress Down and Spirits Bright During the Holidays:

‘Tis the season to be merry and bright—that’s what the greeting cards say. But while holiday cards will scarcely mention it, stress and frustration are felt in households all across America during this time of year. Presents need to be bought and wrapped, and family meals need to be prepped and served. If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy heading into the holidays. Here are some steps you can take to beat the stress and keep a happy home and family.

Make a Plan

Nothing can be more stressful than not having a plan. You wake up in the morning with a list of things to do that rivals Santa’s own, and you already feel overwhelmed before it’s 9:00 a.m. You then move about your day trying to tackle one thing at a time, but in no particular order. This is not only stress-inducing, but also highly inefficient. Scheduling your day from sunrise to sunset will help you get a grip on what needs to be done. Fill out a calendar, or keep a personal scheduler, and start jotting down what needs to be done and when to do it. Keeping a schedule also helps sets expectations for your children to follow and can ease some of the burdens of parenting.

Starting Your Day Off Right

Remember the old adage, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Well what you put in your body in the morning can and will affect how the rest of your day goes. If you skip a meal, you will be depleted of energy and patience before noon. If you spend your mornings lounging around aimlessly until lunch, you’ll only push off more things to do in your afternoons and evenings.

Set goals for what you want to achieve soon after waking up and develop a routine around them. Some of these tasks can be as small as making your bed, wrapping presents, or preparing breakfast for your family. Completing these small tasks before the rest of the family is awake will open up your day for the larger tasks at hand. Think of your morning time as a practice run for the rest of your day.

Get Into a Solid Routine

Just like with exercise, it takes a little while before you start seeing the results. Going all out on the treadmill for one day only won’t help you reach your weight-loss goal; it takes time, and most importantly, consistency. Get into your daily routine now, before the holidays really start to set in. You might just find that your routine becomes a lifesaver during a turbulent holiday season. After practicing your routine for awhile, it becomes ingrained into your muscle memory. This means that it takes less concentration while completing your tasks, freeing your mind from not only the task at hand, but also any holiday stress that’s been building up.

Don’t Neglect Your “You” Time

The trick to making your daily routine as stress reducing as possible is to include one or two activities that you genuinely look forward to. This could be something you do before the kids wake up, where you allow yourself to read a book, watch a TV show, or spend time exercising. Taking time for yourself in your routine will give you something to look forward to and relieve any stress you may have about what still needs to be done. Caring for yourself will also put you in a better mood that will carry over to the rest of your family, keeping holiday spirits merry and bright.

If you’re tired of holidays plunging your family’s home into chaos year after year, then consider these steps to beat the stress. Make sure you have a plan, get into a daily routine, and don’t forget about self-care.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

How do you manage your stress during the holidays?


The above post is a guest post written for us by Daniel Sherwin.

Five Things About Me

I am taking part in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week I choose prompt #4

4. Five Things. List 5 things we don’t know about you, 5 things you’re knowledgeable about, 5 things you know nothing about, and 5 things you believe.


Mrs G

List 5 things we don’t know about you

1- I will go without so my kids can have things. Even things they do not really need.

2- I have a tendency to pull away from people who hurt me over and over. Once we are done, we are done.

3- I married young and do not regret it. I also had children young and do not regret that.

4- I have lived in poverty just about my whole life from that I have learned to make do and be creative with what I have.

5- I dislike making cookies it is too repetitive for my liking.


5 things you’re knowledgeable about

1- Making bread.

2- Sewing

3- Cleaning and organizing on a budget.

4- Finding fun things to do for free.

5- Raising children.

5 things you know nothing about

1- Driving

2- Having a job outside the home.

3- Often keeping my mouth shut LOL.

4- Electrical work (I leave that to the professionals)

5- Plumbing beyond Draino or a plunger.

5 things you believe

1- Karma you get just what you give.

2- Never pay full price.

3- That children will become who they choose to become regardless of your parenting.

4- That just because someone is related it does not make them family.

5- In God.


I am taking part in Mama Kat’s Writers Work Shop Link Up.




The Go-Getter’s Quick Guide to Thrift Shopping

Hey, Mama, I figured I would drop in here today and talk with you for a few minutes about shopping. Not just hop in your car and run to Wal-Mart credit cards waving sort of shopping but something a bit more frugal, more fun a challenge if you will. Thrift shopping.  Personally, thrift shopping for me is a game, a personal high, my way to be and rule to live by. I mean when all those other people are out there paying full price I am waving around my thrifty finds like I can buy five of those for what you just paid and guess what? I am going to let you in on a few of my personal secrets so you can do it too!

Personally, thrift shopping for me is a game, a personal high, my way to be and rule to live by. I mean when all those other people are out there paying full price I am waving around my thrifty finds and I am all like I can buy five of those for what you just paid and guess what? I am going to let you in on a few of my personal secrets so you can do it too!

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Thrift shopping guide to getting quality items at a steal.


Be so nosey about their sales.

Knowing about sales is key knowledge about the thrift stores you frequent. Ask them when are your sales? Is an end of season bag sale held at any point? Are there times of the month or week certain Items are price dropped? Stores like Goodwill and Salvation army tend to have scheduled sales. Small shops often do as well but they are not always as well planned.

Remember seasonal things in many stores are higher so they do not run out of those items and they can make the most money on them. For example, Halloween is around the corner.  All their Halloween things are at their high price point from now until Halloween. Yet when you plan to walk in there the day after and you can score dress up items for a small fraction of what they were asking the day before and even buy next years costume bigger for your little one to grow into you are saving even more. Knowing the sales is going to help you maximize your savings.

Girl, what are you even looking for?

Be a man with a plan…err a woman with a plan.  Every few months I go through the kid’s clothes. You do that too right? I keep an inventory of what is going to be needed, what is wanted, Ideas I have to decorate my home. So when I have my little list and I am dragging around those millions…Okay, yeah, my ten measly bucks; I know if Little Miss needs pants because she is outgrowing them or has ruined them in one of the million ways she finds to ruin clothing… That her pants are a high priority on my list. So go in there with an idea of where to start first.


The hunt is half the fun, right?

I am going, to be honest. When you walk in and see a mixture of this and that it can be overwhelming. I tend to stick with thrift stores where things are categorized by size and item. Otherwise for me personally it all just blends in together.

When looking for clothing for your self or anyone I want you to start at one end of the rack of let’s say pants and item by item work your way through. Pull anything you think you might like off the rack, shelf, bin and put it in your cart and continue to look and pull. You are NOT making choices you are simply selecting what you might like.

When you are looking for hard items be prepared to sift through and move things around. In, under, tucked in dark corners and again anything you find to place it in your cart to inspect and make a final choice. If you leave it sitting, it is likely someone else may need it too. You’ll blink and it will be gone.

thrift shopping and saving money for the holidays and everyday!

Be your own quality control.

Once you have found a stack of possibilities you are going to go through each item putting back anything that is too worn, ripped, stained, don’t work, missing parts and so forth.Don’t be afraid to look for or ask about a plug. For some things, I even carry commonly sized batteries and a small screwdriver. I hate to get home and find out a toy does not work.

They say not to handle items because it creates a sense of ownership. I will tell you, in this case, it really helps to weed out the bad from the good. You do not want to get home and discover those designer jeans have a broken zipper and a nasty hole right where your women parts are. Or the game you picked for the family game night is missing so many parts it is never going to be played unless you count throwing each part in the trash as game night basketball. Take your time to look things over. Many thrift stores have pretty strict return rules.

Too dirty, popped seam? Can YOU fix it? Yes, you can! Ask them for a deal!

Let me tell you if you’ve got some skills like sewing and can simply fix a popped seam, or have an awesome stain remover that you are sure will work on that tiny stain or perhaps you don’t mind the small chip in that beautiful vase that will sit on your mantle untouched. Could be that doll with the horrible hair can be brushed down and braided to make her beautiful and loved again. Walk right on up, point out what they missed and ask if they are willing to mark the item down. Some places will practically give you the item. I will tell you it does not hurt to ask and you should by all means ask.

Thrift shopping means you can be a brand name snob.

I can tell you certain brand names we are talking about clothing mostly here outlast the cheaper brands. When thrift shopping I am sifting through items of clothing  I am not looking for something I can purchase at that big discount store off their ten-dollar rack and personally you shouldn’t be either. You will mostly end up with clothing that pills, falls apart, or once stained will hold that stain in until it sad little death in the trash bin. Think of all those brands you love to shop for or wish you could. Those right there are your target items.

Name brands are often the best picks when thrift shopping.

Know what it is worth.

Once you have shopped around it is important to know the thrift shop values of items in your area and also what you feel is a fair second-hand deal. ladies I’m going to tell you my husband likes to tell me that these numbers are clearly made up, but I assure you for me in my area and for my personal,  budget they are not. Your price point may be different. It is a learned skill over time. I fully expect to hit my price point or under no matter how much I love an item I know I can put it down because I will find a better deal later. I can assure you, you will too.

  • Children’s clothing $1-$2
  • Children’s Winter Coats $2-$3
  • Children’s shoes $1-$2
  • Toys $1 – $4  the higher end for larger or highly coveted toys
  • Adult clothing  $2 – $6 the lower being for T-shirts and the higher for brand names
  • Small kitchen appliances $2- $7
  • Decors such as wall hangings, curtains, and knick-knacks $1-$4
  • DVDs $1-$2
  • Books $1 and under
  • Purses $5 and under
  • Belts, ties, hats, gloves, new socks, gently used bras $2 and under.
  • Small electronics such as alarm clocks & radios $2-$3
  • End tables and small furniture $5 and under unless the piece is special such as mahogany
  • Couches, chairs, and table set $10 – $35 my price point is low here because often you can get these things free on giving away sites.

***Many time larger toys like the ride on toys and outdoor toys will be marked low due to lack of storage space at the store those things they want to move quickly.

Let me tell you, there is nothing like the feeling you get walking out of a thrift store knowing you just ripped them off. Oh, My Gosh! KIDDING. Sometimes though, I really feel that way. So walk in there with an open mind armed with these tips and thrift shop like the pro you now are.

Are you a thrift shopping Mama?  Tell me your own tips in the comments below or shoot me your questions I would be happy to answer them.

5 Bedtime Routine Tricks for Toddlers That actually Work

Tips for getting your toddler go to bed and stay in bed. Five simple things you can start doing tonight. To create a simple bedtime routine and a peaceful sleeping environment so everyone can start sleeping again.

Your eyes are drooping to your knees but your toddler is running around jumping from couch to couch claiming war on bedtime. Are you tired of bedtime battles only to end up tiptoeing around in the wee early hours of the morning because your toddler finally went to bed and you must have some sleep before they come running and screaming into your bed only to spend the rest of your sleepless night feeling like you spent the night fighting off  fifteen caffeinated ninjas?


Create a bedtime routine you can honestly live with.

Don’t start out with a six-hour routine that involves reading a million books, fifty stuffed animals arranged in alphabetical order from left to right along juniors footboard and 95 glasses of water and just 4,598 more questions. Keep it simple and real. Keep it the same every night. Bath, Jammies, teeth, book, kiss, hug, tuck, and lights out. It is easy and realistic to do for many years to come.

Consider a noise machine

I myself hate sleeping in a silent room because then every little noise jars me awake. Children are often the same. White noise is a wonderful tool to drown out nightly household noise as life continues after their bedtime.

What is their best sleeping temperature?

Like adults, children sleep better in certain temperatures. Some will want to be warmer and others on the cooler side. The trick is to figure that out with a younger child. Little Miss for one likes to be covered well but the room to be cooler because she gets too hot with her comforter on.

Stop screen time about an hour before bed.

Limit blue screens such as tablets, computers and TV to day use only as these screens will interrupt sleep patterns.

Child tablet

According to the National Sleep Foundation, blue screens tell the brain it is time to be awake and alert and the body will not produce enough melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that tells the body it is sleepy. So it is advised to shut those screens down and maybe opt for a bit of classical music or reading instead.

Be Consistent and Firm.


If they come out after being put to bed gently walk them back, place them in bed without any fan fair and simply keep doing it. Be matter of fact about it. It may take many times, it may even take some tears (Them and you) But in the end, everyone should be sleeping far more soundly. Your bedtime routine if used consistently will become second nature if you stay firm on what bedtime means.

Cites :

Nation Sleep Foundation on Blue Lights and Kids

Sleeping photos from

Baby Got The Teething Blues? How To Quickly Soothe Those Little Gums.

Teething: There is nothing as cute and exciting as when baby gets that first little tooth. There is also no bigger of a relief for a tired Mama as when that tooth finally pops out and sleep can once again reign! So many of you are asking what you can do for your little ones teething pain and answers we have just for you! Hang in there Mama, this too shall pass.

How to soothe a teething baby quickly!

** A few mommies recommend rubbing whiskey or other alcohol products on babies gums. Please do not do this. This puts your baby at risk for all sorts of bad things. If you must use alcohol to soothe someone keep the soothing for you. 😉

Tips and tricks to soothe and calm even the fussiest teething baby

Most Popular Teething product

Hand down Simply Moms mothers recommended the Razbaby RaZberry Teether. This pacifier shaped teether seems to be a favorite of babies near and far. It provides your little one with a hands-free teether so they can do their most important work. PLAY! From what I am told by other Mamas’ like yo Razbaby RaZberry Teether for teething babiesu is that you can freeze it to cool your little one’s gums. It is 100% non-toxic silicone and textured not to mention it is freaking ADORABLE!!!

Don’t you agree?

What I personally like is the fact they are not liquid filled. I don’t know about your little one but mine always seemed to puncture those liquid-filled teethers once they were teethers with teeth.

I certainly see why other mommies love these and their babies do as well.


Let’s Get Old-School

Sometimes the best solutions are those handed down through generations, you know the free and easy ones. Perhaps this is something you never even thought of.

When my now mostly grown children and Little Miss were the teething age we would take a new clean washcloth, wet it and squeeze it out and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.

Once frozen it was handed off to the little one to chew and suck on.

Personally, I think it worked swimmingly well. It kept their interest for a long while and the coolness was soothing to their sore gums.

One mommy mentioned soaking the cloth in juice and wringing it out and freezing it. I have never tried it but if you do tell me how it works.

Look Why Not Just Chill?

Mesh net feeders for teething babies just add cool or frozen fruits or veggies.

No silly I didn’t mean you chill out I mean chill those gums right off THEN you can chill, sound like a deal?

How about a breast milk or formula popsicle?


Cold and tasty um for them ha ha.Or if your days with your little are more adventurous some frozen fruit puree.There are so many awesome popsicle molds for making popsicles at home my favorite ones for babies are the new silicone popsicle  molds that do not have a stick (Think freeze pop) you can check them out >> here << 

Or of the idea of popsicles doesn’t work for you. You can add frozen fruits or ice cubes to a mesh feeder. Little Miss loved hers with frozen banana chunks in it. There are so many possibilities here, frozen blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nice cold apple slices just to name a few. What would you add?

Teething Biscuit Any One?

I confess I always used these with my babies. They LOVED them. Here is another confession. I sat there and watched them munch on them because I was well aware of the fact pieces can, would and did break off and it poses a choking hazard. This is not something you hand to a baby and walk away they need to be supervised closely with these. However, with that supervision, they are generally a big hit and well, a big old mess but isn’t that half the fun?

The Teether You Always Have Right At The Tip Of Your Fingers.

A nice clean mommy or daddy finger can make for a wonderful teether. Just apply light pressure to their gums and it helps relieve of some of the pain.  I am pretty sure it does not get any more simple, or cheap but people have done it for generations and it does indeed help.

Amber Necklaces Do They Work? Are They Safe?

Some of you mommies swear by these. Others say they didn’t see any difference at all. The medical field does not advocate their use due to choking and strangulation risks. The is also strong doubt in the medical field that they work.  I personally have not used one. So I can’t weigh in with my opinions.

A Word On Orajel and Infant Pain Relievers

This article was written with the idea in mind of trying to avoiding the medicated route of caring for a teething baby.

However, we realize as a mom you will make the ultimate choices for your own babies comfort.

It has been mentioned recently that an ingredient in Baby Orajel,  Benzocaine could possibly be very unsafe for babies. The FDA states “the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia” Though there is  Baby Orajel Natual that does not contain this ingredient or alcohol, it also left out any food dyes. Making it a much safer alternative.

It is my suggestion for infant pain relievers that you speak to your child’s pediatrician about proper dosage and use.


How did you deal with teething? We would love to hear your comments, questions, and ideas below!

Chicken and Rice Dinner with Homemade Bread

When money is slim we tend to fall back on cheap meals that are stick to your ribs filling that does not break the bank. This Chicken and Rice Dinner with Bread is just that sort of meal. I am going to assume you have a pantry with things like flour and margarine and little things like that. So the meal out of pocket came to $6.00 for six adults/teens plus a toddler sized portion that she promptly took two bites of and fed to the dogs….

How I feel six adults dinner for six dollars with this frugal meal.

Cost Break Down

Chicken Breast we bought a two pack at Save A Lot yesterday on sale two large breasts for $4.21 We are using 1 tonight so

Chicken $2.11

2 boxes Rice A Roni Pilaf Flavor

2 Rice $2.00

Broccoli 1 steam fresh bag from Target

Broccoli 1.00

My guess to make the bread it cost well under $1.00 but we will toss it out as that much just to keep things real.

Bread Ingredients $1.00

Total $6.11


Make rice according to the package instructions.

Cube chicken into 1/2 inch cubes and cook in a small amount of margarine until just browned and cooked through.

Microwave broccoli according to package directions.

Once everything is done dump it in with the rice and stir it together and serve,


You can vary this meal with whatever type of rice you like, meat or veggies. The possibilities are endless.

Bread helps make this meal more hearty. You could purchase it or easily make it at home. I make mine with a bread machine on nights I realize I would like some but it is too late to fuss with the mixer and rising cycles. My machine has a 58-minute cycle it comes in handy when I need a loaf fast.

Homemade bread

Come back tomorrow and I show you how I make bread in my speedy bread maker.


What is your favorite frugal meal?





Alligator Cake Pull Apart Cupcake Design

Let me say I love these pull apart cupcake cakes.

So easy to make and no playing around flipping cakes out of pans to tear them up before you even start. Can you guess this happens to me a lot?

This alligator cake was super simple and I put my own little spin on it.

I had leftover cupcakes so I just placed them around and decorated them separately. There is no need to do that it is just what I choose to do. Fish on them would have been cute. But more time-consuming

alligator cupcake pull apart cake.

This alligator cupcake pull apart cake was made the morning of the party so it has to be easy!

When I said I wanted to keep it simple I really did mean that. What you see is a couple boxed cake mixes and about five cans of frosting. One thing I would have done differently was to have added about a 1/4 of a cup powdered sugar just to stiffen the frosting slightly as it was hot and pretty loose. Poor alligator his snout got a bit droopy LOL. Oh and I should add that I did add food coloring gels to the vanilla frosting.

Alligator homemade Birthday cake

I have one other reason I like these pull apart cakes. They are so much easier to serve just grab and go. So they are perfect for a large crowd. Not to mention this alligator cake was pretty unique and caught my guests by surprise. he made a nice little conversation piece.

I did not come up with this idea on my own, however. I found it on Pinterest and it lead me here

Alligators and cupcakes how you can impress your guests with this super simple cupcake based pull apart cake.

Do you make your own cakes? What is the most unique or creative cake you have made feel free to link to it!

I am sure that for me this alligator cake takes the cake on that one!


FREE Animal Themed Weekly Meal Planners To Print

Make meal planning fun with the cute free printable for your weekly meal planning created for you by Mrs. G as a thank you for visiting our site.

Free printable meal planner green and owl themed

Download Owl Themed Meal Plan to Print


Free printable meal planner blue and bunny themed

Download Bunny Themed Meal Plan To Print

Free printable meal planner grey and panda themed

Download Panda Themed Meal Plan to Print


Did you enjoy these meal planners? Please let us know in the comments below and share them with others who may enjoy them.

15 Cleaning Tips To Steal From Homemakers

I know cleaning is the last way you want to spend this beautiful day but it must be done. I am going to share with you cleaning tips that as a homemaker for27-years I live by.


Cleaning tips that will keep you on track and cleaning like a professional!

1-  Clean top to bottom and out of the room.

This way the dust, dirt, and crumbs get knocked down and you are not recleaning what you have already done. Make sense? It sure does!

2-  Let spray on cleaners have time to work.

Spray it on and walk away. Do some other task and then come back and wipe it and the grime away with little to no elbow grease. Why work harder than you need to?

3- Make decluttering a priority.

People who spend time cleaning around a cluttered mess baffle me. Get rid of it. Cleaning will be faster and far more effective. Clutter looks messy. Do you self a favor… put it away, throw it away, gift or donate it.

4-  Get your self a Laundry basket.

Instead of running from room to room use a laundry basket to gather up things that do not belong and put them away once you are working in those rooms. This will keep you on track and save a ton of time.


5- Use multitasking cleaners.

I admit it I am a glass cleaner girl. Not really the best choice but for quick cleaning of the counters, stove top windows or walls I think it is great. You can even make your own DIY Cleaners here.


6- Microfiber for dusting is a must!

Microfiber cloths are a must have for dusting.

This is such a time saver. Microfiber cloth is a  dust picker-upper. I love them! It not only wipes the dust up but the cloth picks it up and holds it right onto the cloth! No more just pushing it around!

7- Everything should have its own place.

Every time you purchase something you should know exactly where its home will be. If there is no room then delay the purchase or plan to purge some things.

8- Remove distractions.

My biggest problem as a homemaker is distractions. Turn off the phone, stop checking the computer and just get things done. The reward at the ned can be some free time for all those things.

9- Maintain each day.

So many of my fellow homemakers will save laundry for a day or two a week and just be swamped on those days? Or they will see a spill and think “Oh I can just get that when I wash the floor.” You are making things harder ladies. Clean a bit each day. Wipe up spills, pick up as you go. Do a load or two of wash a day.

10- Do not do it all alone.

Get those children helping with chores too!

Listen, just because the home is your job does not mean everyone gets off scott free give those kiddos some chores. It makes them into nice sweet, helpful, productive little citizens. To not give them chores would be an injustice.


 As a homemaker what cleaning tips or tricks do you do to stay on track or make cleaning more simple? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below.