Dinner for 7 under 10 dollars

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Today was Cooper’s birthday dinner, and my in-laws were in town to visit with my nephew.  The challenge, how to fill up three boys and four adults without spending a ton of time or money doing it!?  Turkey meatloaf muffins, macaroni and cheese, and baked beans.  I snuck the veggies into the meatloaf muffins.

Turkey is cheaper than beef.  I use store-bought raw veggies, and fresh herbs that I grow myself, (I have a brown thumb, most herbs are pretty hard to kill), and of course a few Tbsp of the 20 oz ketchup I bought on sale  for .75 cents (~$5.50).  Insert your meatloaf recipe here.  For the macaroni I buy the 88 cent box of noodles (whatever fashion you like), when they are boiled I mix some milk and 5 or 6 slices of cheese until it makes a cheesy sauce and I mix them together (~$2.00).  I cheat on the baked beans.  I buy plain jane baked beans for 1.89 (family size can) and add a few Tbsp of barbecue sauce (~$2.00).    The grand total, drumroll please….  $9.50 for 7 people.  The meatloaf “muffins” cook faster than traditional meatloaf, so that’s a bonus!

I also budgeted 65 dollars for Cooper’s presents.  Not much, right?  Yet, I was still able to buy him 125.00 worth of gifts.  How is that!?

I had budgeted an outfit for myself for an interview.  Once I realized I’d have to pay full price for the wand I decided I could wear something I already have to the interview, and I took the outfit back in order to apply the money to Cooper’s gifts. (-$30.00)

Present #1, Harry Potter Self-Illuminating Wand 45.00. Full price because my amazon deal fell through. (+15.00)

Present #2, New Super Mario Bro. $22.00 (orignally 39.99).  I went to Game Stop, found a used one for 29.00 (-10.00).  Then I traded in some old games we don’t play anymore (- $5.00), then I applied my member discount of 10% off (-$3.00). (+37.00)

Present #3, Smithsonian Sea Monster growing Kit $15.00 on sale (originally 19.99).  (+52.00)

Present # 4 Hex Bug $9.00.  (+61.00)

There we have it.  I bought things off amazon, used, or on sale.  I made a sacrifice on my own part.  This is another key, SACRIFICE.  If you want to get debt free, if you want to have extra cash, you have to ask yourself what’s really important.  You also have to train your children to accept practicality.  I didn’t need an outfit for interviews.  I have plenty.  My son however, only has one 11th birthday and with my frugal shopping I can make that 30$ go a long way, 2 presents in this case!

As for training your children to accept practicality and frugality, starting young is easiest.  You can start anytime, just be prepared for some pull back, and plan accordingly.  Be patient and consistent.  I give my kids a choice for their birthday; 1 present and a party where ever they chose with whomever they chose, or multiple presents.  They can’t have both.  Parties are EXPENSIVE, even when done frugally.  I am lucky the boys accept whatever they get graciously and with joyful hearts.  Cooper didn’t care that his game was used, it was new to him.  Why give your money away to people who already have plenty of it to begin with?!

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