Friday, December 7, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake: 10 minute dessert for less than $0.86 per serving and 150 calories using pantry ingredients you can keep on hand.

Hands down, this is my favorite dessert to make. Besides being ridiculously easy to make, it’s healthier than most desserts, low calorie, and can be made from ingredients in your pantry and freezer. It’s a fantastic recipe to keep around for unexpected guests or an alternative to late night binges on chocolate chip cookies.




1 bag of frozen strawberries (I use whole, but you can also use sliced, chopped, or whatever you can find)- $2.99

1/2 container of light cool whip (I get the frozen tubs) $1.29

4 tablespoons of splenda or sugar – Pantry Item

1 Bavarian sponge cake crust (you can also use angel food cake, pound cake, or shortcake cups- I buy the Bavarian sponge cake crusts at Wegmans- they store for a few months before they expire, you can also purchase them online here).- $2.59




Pour Strawberries into large microwave safe bowl. Follow directions on package for thawing in the microwave. I thaw mine at 30% power for 4 minutes. They should still be firm and a little cold.



Take them out of the microwave and add sugar, then toss. Pile strawberries onto crust (I leave them whole, but you can chop or slice them if you prefer). Spoon large dollops of frozen cool whip onto the strawberries. It will look a bit like ice cream. 


Serve immediately for a cold treat. Store leftovers in the fridge, it will be good for 2 additional days.


150 calories is calculating using Bavarian sponge cake, light whipped cream, splenda and frozen strawberries and cutting the whole pie into 8 equal pieces.


If you’re feeling creative, feel free to scatter chocolate chips or chocolate sauce on top.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Easily Calculate the Yearly Cost of Anything You Use Regularly. *Shop for 3 months of necessities at a time, saving time and money. *Know exactly how much to budget for household needs.

Do you want to almost eliminate errands from your life? Do you want to be able to accurately budget your financial needs? Do you want to save thousands this year? It’s easy. No seriously, it is. Much easier than losing 10 pounds, so make this your new years resolutionJ

Make a list of everything you need for the house. List everything from deodorant and trash bags, to tooth paste and shampoo. Log on to and find the cheapest unit price (read about how to calculate unit prices here). Your goal is to eventually keep a closet or corner of your house dedicated to 3 months worth of supplies for the house. It’s actually not as much stuff as your thinking in your head. Mine takes up a bathroom closet upstairs.

You can order from and pay the same (or better) price online as your do in your local store. I went through my entire list to ensure the prices were the same. Most home essentials ship for free as long as you spend more than $45. I order once every three months and replenish my supply closets.

You save time, reduce your errands, save your back from lugging 35 pound boxes of cat litter and money from buying the things you use the most at the cheapest prices (which can save you hundreds of dollars per year easily). You also save frustration of running out of something that you need and having to alter your schedule to pick it up.

Once you know how much you use of something in a year, it’s easy to calculate the costs of running the household for the entire year. Once that’s done, you can budget the correct amount accordingly and plan ahead.


When I first started calculating how much we used in year, I had charts and paper and routinely checked things off. Silly me J  You won’t waste your time like I did. Just use a sharpie (we keep one in my craft room and one attached to the fridge so they are easy to find) to date the item when you first start using it. When it’s done and you open up a new one- document the dates anywhere you would like (for me it’s the notes app in my iPhone). When you sit down to do your budgeting, add up the days it took for you to use that item up. Divide that number into 365 days.


For example:

It takes me 7 days to use up 1 pack of 90 count baby wipes.

365 (Days in a year) / 7 (Days it takes me to use up a 90 count pack of baby wipes)= 52.14 (How many packs of 90 count baby wipes I’ll need in a year)


The 90 count wipe pack was bought at Costco, but I want to purchase them off of to save myself errands. On, Parent’s Choice baby wipes are sold in boxes of 700 for $11.97 so I need to calculate the unit cost per wipe.


11.97 (cost of package) / 700 (wipes per package) = .017 per wipe.


I need 52.14 packages of 90 wipes. That’s a total of 4,692 wipes in a year. (Let’s not even discuss how many diaper changes that is!)


To calculate how many boxes of 700 wipes I need to buy from Walmart- I divide the number of wipes needed in a year by 700.


4,692 (wipes needed in a year) / 700 (wipes per package) = 6.7 packages of baby wipes. Since I can’t purchase .7 of a package, I round that up to 7 packages in a year.


To calculate the total cost of my wipes- I multiple the number of packages by the cost of the package.

7 (packages needed in a year) x 11.97 (cost per package) = $83.79 per year needed for baby wipes.


Once you get used to this, it takes about 2 minutes to calculate the yearly cost.

What have I saved in that 2 minutes?


If I just picked up baby wipes when I did my grocery shopping, and still bought the store brand to “save money”, I would spend $2.29 for 64 wipes. The total cost per year would be $167.89. In two minutes, I saved $84. You can multiply this savings by doing it with everything you purchase routinely. Your items are shipped directly to your house, with no cost for the shipping. You can really nail down your budget and keep it on track with no unexpected costs.


Read more about how to create your own home stock room here.