Meet Me at Money Saving Maven!

Today is a bit of a bittersweet one, as I’ve decided to wrap up my efforts at The Daily Whisk, and launch a new blog, Money Saving Maven

The Daily Whisk is ridiculously special to me, and I’m a little sad to end this chapter, but I’m also excited for what’s to come on my new site.

Thank you so much for your readership all these years. I truly appreciate it. I hope you’ll join me at Money Saving Maven!

November in Review + Sugar Free Recap

November Review |

Well, let’s get right to it! I successfully went 25 straight days with no added sugar. That is probably the longest stretch since… childhood. I truly can’t recall the last time I accomplished something that required as much will power as those 25 days did, and I’m super proud of myself for sticking to my goal. In total, I lost 2 pounds and overall felt less fatigue during the day. 

I broke my streak on Thanksgiving morning when I woke up early to bake banana bread muffins and inhaled one almost immediately after it came out of the oven! For the next few days I ate “normally” and  quickly realized that when it comes to sugar, I’m terrible at moderation, I’m impulsive, and I have very little control. 

What’s Next?

Despite the cravings, I feel better without the added sugar in my diet. Shocking, right?! However, since we are entering holiday party season I need to be realistic and strike a balance, so I’m going limit my sweets (and baking!) to two times a week. 

Now, let’s move on to a little series I like to call Frugal Gold and Tarnished Thrift. Frugal Gold celebrates the shiniest of frugal happenings over the past month, and tarnished thrift laments marred money outcomes. 

Frugal Gold

November was glittered with frugal gold! I scored some major deals on clothing including:

  • I paid $11 for $50 worth of clothing at Kohl’s – thanks to a reward and some coupon stacking!
  • I used my $20 credit at thredUP to buy two skirts (my only out of pocket cost was $5.99 shipping)
  • I received another $20 credit (thanks, Julia!) and bought another two skirts. This time shipping was free since I was a returning customer! $0
  • I scored a big bag of hand me down clothes from my much more stylish and amazing friend Ashley.

Free Clothing! |

I had zero plans to go shopping on Black Friday, but after swinging by Lowe’s to grab birdseed for the flying freeloaders in our backyard, I saw that poinsettias were .99! I love to use Poinsettias as Christmas decor, so I grabbed two. I guess that makes me a black Friday shopper, huh?

I’m back on my Craigslist game, and am selling while decluttering! I earned $50 last month. 

Tarnished Thrift

A few weeks ago we decided to have a family fun day. We hit open gym in the morning and decided to go out to lunch afterward. Smarty pants me picked a chain restaurant thinking it would be the most kid-friendly and bacon savvy option. I was so wrong! After paying way too much for lunch (including $2.19 for a Tetley tea bag) I was quickly reminded how most of the time dining out just isn’t worth it.

The Daily Whisk – November Posts

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my other posts from November:

Will Giving Up Sugar Pay Off?

One Week Without Sugar

Look Great for Less This Holiday Season (Enjoy $20 free to thredUP)

10 Ways to Curb a Sugar Craving

5 Thanksgiving Sides Under $5

Did you score any great deals in November? Make any blunders? Share away!

5 Thanksgiving Sides Under $5

5 Thanksgiving Side Dishes Under $5 |

Happy Thanksgiving Week! Yep, I’m celebrating all week. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it combines three of my favorite things. 1. Gratitude 2. Family 3. Food

Also, in three short days I will wrap up 25 days sans sugar and let’s face it, I can’t wait to eat a real dessert! 

This year we’ll travel to my parents house for dinner number one at lunchtime and then come back into town for dinner number two at supper time with Matt’s family. There will be lots of family and lots of food. For that, I’m thankful. 

Today I wanted to share my favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes, and as bonus each recipe can be assembled for less than $5. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

Roasted sweet potatoes rule! This recipe for Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes* is my absolute favorite. I’ll be preparing this dish for dinner number one this year. 

Honey Glazed Carrots

Fun fact: when I was a kid raw carrots were the only vegetable I would eat. Thankfully, my palate for vegetables has improved over the years. I like this recipe for Honey Glazed Carrots, because it’s so simple, only requiring three ingredients and makes the perfect companion to any meal. 


I’m a butternut gal, but appreciate all types of winter squash, especially this time of year. Whether you puree it, roast it, or stuff it, squash is a in-season and wallet-friendly side fit for any Thanksgiving feast. 

Pumpkin Cornbread

What is better than cornbread? Pumpkin cornbread! Go ahead and try the Pumpkin Cornbread mix from Trader Joe’s. No one will mind (or even know) it’s from a box and it will reign a crowd pleaser for sure! 

Mashed Potatoes 

Every year I look forward to Matt’s uncle’s garlic mashed potatoes. Every year I eat an offense amount. I can’t help it! While, I’ve never replicated the deliciousness, the closest I’ve come is with this recipe for garlic mashed red potatoes.

*You’re right. Maple Syrup is typically not cheap. However, since I buy it in bulk (1 gallon for $40), it came out to .83 cents for a 1/3 cup bringing the recipe in under $5.   

How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Linking up with Because I’m Cheap and Mommy A-Z

10 Ways to Curb a Sugar Craving

10 Ways to Curb a Sugar Craving |


Well, here we are. I’ve spent just over two weeks free from added sugar, and I’m ready to stick my face in a bowl of brownie batter. Just kidding…

I assumed that by now my cravings for sweets would be gone, but I still feel cravings and fight temptation daily. Last weekend my parents visited and brought along a box of munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. Ahh! I maintained complete composure in front of everyone, but later I found myself alone in the kitchen with the leftovers, two of them chocolate..and glazed. For a brief moment I thought, I’m alone. No one would know. Well, I would know, and if there is one thing I’ve been able to accomplish during this challenge it’s self-discipline, so I resisted.

It’s hard to tell if I’m feeling any different, however I have noticed that I’m less fatigued, especially during the day. My weight loss total stands at 1.5lbs. I miss baking. I think about coffee cake and peanut butter cookies A LOT.

I’ve discovered a few different strategies to help manage my sugar cravings. I don’t get cravings often, but when I do they are intense!

10 Ways to Curb a Sugar Craving

  1. Drink – Everything I’ve read says “drink lots of water”, which I try to do anyway. However, when that craving really strikes, I try to make my drink a little extra special. Rather than drinking plain water I’ll have ice water, water with lemon, or seltzer water. I’m loving Polar’s seasonal Cranberry and Clementine seltzer right now.
  2. Chew Gum – I have found that gum gives me that little sweet I need when I need it. I’m chewing sugar-free gum which I realize has artificial sweeteners, but for me it works.
  3. Have a Snack – Most of my snacks have been on the savory side (sharp cheddar, corn chips, hummus) but I’ve also been enjoying granny smith apples and clementines.
  4. Change Direction – Sometimes when all I can think about is cookie dough, I have to physically get up and do something else to distract my mind. I’ll take a little walk or I’ll change the project I was working on.
  5. Read – I like to distract myself by reading other people’s sugar-free stories or stories about how bad sugar is in general. I don’t even need to know how thorough or scientific the research is! Right now, the negativity surrounding sugar does nothing but help me!
  6. Brush and Floss – This is the oldest trick in the book, and it usually works.
  7. Vent – Sometimes when I really want something sweet, I whine to my husband about it. I just need to say what I want out loud to another human being.
  8. Exercise – A run or walk usually solves most of my problems, and we can now add sugar cravings to that list! Get moving and enjoy the endorphins!
  9. Pause – I often have to remind my children to take deep breaths when they are mid-tizzy, and I realized this is advice I need to give myself, too! Sometimes all we need is a mindful moment and a few deep breaths.
  10. Plan a Reward – When a craving hits, focus your attention on an end result, or plan a special reward for yourself (massage, new outfit, special meal). I don’t have a specific reward for this challenge, but sometimes, as counter-productive as it may seem, I plan things I’m going to bake once this challenge is over (coffee cake, peanut butter cookies). I can’t wait to start baking again!

How do you keep your sweet tooth at bay? Are you a seltzer fan? What’s your favorite flavor?

Look Great for Less This Holiday Season + Enjoy $20 to thredUP

This post contains affiliate links. 

Save Money Shopping with ThredUP |

The holidays are right around the corner, and I for one am getting pretty excited! I can’t wait to decorate, bake cookies, and spend quality time with family. We tend to have a lot of parties on our schedule during the holiday season, and without fail every year I’m left with five minutes to get dressed and nothing to wear. This year, I’m not letting that happen! I’m also not going to break the bank buying new clothes for holiday parties. 

The holidays can be an expensive time of year which makes it difficult to justify spending money on new outfits. Thankfully, there is thredUP, the largest online consignment and thrift store. 

I was introduced to thredUP by my sister inlaw Crystal who sent me a $20 credit. At first, I thought it was too good to be true and I had to ask her, “hey, did you give me credit to some store??”

Click here for $20 to ThredUP!

How it Works

Join thredUP to collect your $20 credit and enjoy shopping from the comfort of your computer! Once you sign up, you can share $20 credits with your friends and family. When they use their credit and place an order, you’ll receive another $20 credit. 

Shopping is Easy

Shopping at thredUP is so easy! It’s organized by departments (women, plus, maternity, shoes, handbags, etc.) and within each department you can filter by size, brand, color, and price. This makes shopping a breeze if you know exactly what you’re looking (e.g. a black skirt), but it’s also fun to browse different categories to see what’s out there. Hint: a ton! 

Great Prices

You know me. I’m a clearance rack hunter and deal maven when it comes to clothing. I wouldn’t promote thredUP if I didn’t think it was a good deal. Most of the clothing I considered was in the $4.99-$9.99 range. Below are the two items I purchased with my credit. The gray skirt was $5.99 and the black skirt was $9.99.

Thred Up Skirts |

Easy Returns

If you aren’t in love with your purchase, you can easily return it by printing a prepaid shipping label. Returns for store credit are free.

Additionally, you can consign your own clothing on thredUP. I’m in the process of consigning some of my own clothes right now, and I’ll share all the details in a future post. 

What are you waiting for? Join thredUP today and treat yourself to a new outfit! 

What is the last clothing item you bought for yourself? Do you prefer buying clothes online or in person?


One Week Without Sugar

One Week Sugar Free - Results after one week cutting added sugar out of my diet |

Last week I shared my quest to cut added sugar out of my diet for 25 days. I’m here today with recap of the first week!

Day 1: The first day felt easy, but watching my kids sift through their Halloween loot was painful! While I was cleaning up I saw a lone skittle on the table, and out of instinct almost popped it in my mouth. Almost.

Day 2: The second day was surprisingly easy despite the pile of leftover candy sitting on the kitchen table at work. Also, I craved bacon like crazy. Related? I’m not sure.

Day 3: The third day was pretty uneventful until I got home and decided to let my kids each have a treat from their Halloween candy stash. I couldn’t even look at the candy. I let them pick out one piece each and then I had put the buckets away and out of sight. Later that night I was super irritable, especially toward the dogs (sorry guys). Also, I was a little fumbly. My solution was to go to bed as soon as possible.

Days 4-7: The second half of the week went by in a blur!


Self discipline is not one of my strong suits, so I have to share that I’m really proud of myself for making it this far. Here are some other observations:

Do I feel different? Honestly, I still crave sweets, especially candy. However, I have noticed that I seem less hungry and feel less of a tendency to eat in between meals.

Has my relationship with food changed? It’s too soon to tell, but it’s clear to me that my impulses to eat certain things have been challenged.

Have I lost weight? Yes. 1 lb so far! 


Your turn to share! Tell me about your latest accomplishment! Also, in the spirit of living vicariously, tell me about one delicious sugar-laden treat you enjoyed in the last week!

Will Giving Up Sugar Pay Off?

Sugar Pay Off

Several nights ago I was lying in bed eating cookies ruminating about my struggle to lose a few pounds. Cookie soiree aside, I had been diligent about tracking my food, exercising, drinking water, getting enough sleep, etc. yet hadn’t seen any results. What gives?!

Okay, you’re probably going to point out those cookies I was having in bed right? Well, that brings me to my next thought…wondering why I have such a strange emotional attachment to food. While there is nothing wrong with eating and enjoying food, I don’t always make the best choices nor am I able to keep my treats in moderation. So, full on cookies I started to think about some strategies to clean up my act. 

I thought about eliminating something from my diet. Dairy? Bread? Sugar? Hmm…sugar?

I’m generally against elimination-type diets because I don’t think they are sustainable, however, the idea of removing added sugar from my diet was intriguing. Could a reduction in sugar help my weight loss and emotional eating woes?

I spent a week doing some research and talking to friends (one of whom is a registered dietitian). I started paying closer attention to the sugar content on nutrition labels and seeking out alternatives (like you know, which type of booze has the least amount of sugar). I spent a few days going easy on added sugar (sugar-lite I called it). I also spent a few days binge eating candy. Call it a farewell tour! 

I knew it would be complete nonsense to try to abstain from sugar on Halloween, so I decided to begin my sugar-free experiment on November 1st and go 25 days sugar free. Added sugar that is, I’m not cutting out natural sugar. Also, I’m not going to split hairs over a few grams of sugar here and there. If I want a serving of pasta, and the 2 grams of sugar that comes along with it, I’m going to have it. What I’m really going after with this experiment are the heavy hitters like candy, baked goods, crackers, etc. 

In the next 25 days I hope to find out:

1. Can I do this? Can I actually stick to something like this for 25 days?

2. Will I feel different? More focused and energized? Or maybe light-headed and cranky from withdrawal?

3. Will my relationship with food change? Will I still have cravings and the emotional pull to snack my face off in bed at 10 o’clock at night. 

4. Will I lose any weight? Vanity check! I’m not going to lie, I would be thrilled if this little experiment helped me to shed a few pounds. 

I’ll check in with my progress once a week!

Have you ever given up added sugar? How did it go for you? Tell me everything!



October in Review

October Review

October is winding to a close, and I thought it would be fun to recap the month by sharing some fantastic deals along with my number one time saving tip from the month.

Frugal Gold

I had some lovely financial wins this month, here are some highlights!

FREE Replacement Fitbit

I received a Fitbit ONE for Christmas last year. I’ve tracked my steps almost daily ever since, and I’m convinced that wearing a step tracker has helped me increase my daily activity level, especially on the days I don’t go running. Mid-month my Fitbit stopped working properly. After a doing some troubleshooting at home to no avail, I contacted Fitbit who offered to send me a replacement for free.

House Paint

It only took two years and 20 paint chips to figure out which shade of gray I wanted to paint our dining room, entryway, and hallway. Each of these rooms/areas flow into the next so it will require a decent amount of paint. My husband initially estimated the two gallons of paint we’d need to cost around $70, but thanks to a Lowe’s coupon for Buy One, Get One paint last weekend, we scored two gallons of “Stone Isle” for $27!

Stone Isle


Coral shirt

I wasn’t always a fan of rummaging through clearance racks, but over the past few years I’ve started to enjoy the hunt. A few weeks ago I found this coral top for a whopping $2.97. Definitely worth the hunt!

coral shirt

Halloween Costumes

I’m not so cheap that I wouldn’t buy my kids new Halloween costumes, but I am so frugal that I’ll sure celebrate the not needing to! My four year old son decided to dress up as a firefighter for the third year in a row, thus wearing a costume we already own. My two year old daughter is still in that phase where she has no idea what’s going on, zero expectations, and is just happy to follow her big brother around the neighborhood. We have a collection of dress up clothing and costumes for her to pick from including a giraffe, firefighter, chef, or Elsa.

Tarnished Thrift

I overpaid for a pumpkin…there I said it! Actually I probably overpaid for all three pumpkins I bought this year. Last year we grew pumpkins in our garden, but unfortunately this year none of our pumpkins (or squash in general) took. I wanted a small pumpkin to display in the kitchen, and I bought one at the apple orchard for $4 when I probably could have found it for much less elsewhere. 

Time Saver of the Month

I started cooking a large batch of rice on Sunday night to be used throughout the week. It’s been a great timer saver when it comes to preparing weeknight meals

The Daily Whisk – October Posts

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my other posts from October:

20 Tips to Save Time and Be More Productive

6 Cheap Halloween Decoration Ideas

Is a Costco Membership Worth It?

Tell me about a great deal you got this month!

What are you or your children dressing up as for Halloween?

20 Tips to Save Time and Be More Productive

20 Tips to Save Time

Time is a precious commodity. It seems to slip away so quickly, and I often find myself trying to slow the clock, savor a moment, and relish the present. Along with finding new ways to save money, I’m constantly aiming to save time as well. My goal is always to spend less time doing the things I have to do, so that I can spend more time enjoying the things I want to do.

I’ve assembled a list of my most often used tips and tricks to save time.

Tips to Save Time in the Morning

The best way to save time in the morning is to prepare the night before! It took me a long time to accept this fact, but it’s true. In order for my family to have a (somewhat) seamless morning we do the following each night:

  • Lay out clothes for the next day
  • Pack lunches
  • Prepare breakfast and drinks for the next day (cut up fruit ahead of time, pour milk into cups, etc.)
  • Clean and pick up (especially the kitchen and dining room)

Set a routine. You are more likely to stay on track and on time if you follow a similar routine day after day. Easier said than done, I know! Especially with kids, pets, etc. I swear my dogs take twice as long to do their business when I’m running late, however, once you have found a routine that works for you, stick to it!

Avoid morning rush hour. When I started getting to work for 7am I noticed my commute took less than half the time it did when I started my work day at 8:30am. While, this isn’t an option for everyone if you have the flexibility to beat the traffic, do it! It’s worth the earlier wake up time!

Ways to be More Efficient and Productive at Work

Keep a to-do list. I try to keep my task list short and manageable otherwise it seems to daunting and overwhelming. Crossing tasks off my list always keeps me motivated to keep going and get as much done as possible.

Focus on one task at a time. I pride myself on being a master multi-tasker, but when it comes to certain work tasks, digging in and giving one thing 100% focus is the fastest way to get it done. This is true for blogging, too. When it’s time to write I just need to get in the zone and write. If I’m writing, searching for an image, and commenting on blogs at the same time I get nothing accomplished!

Block time for specific projects. Blocking time for certain pieces of work has been incredibly helpful for me, especially when I’m up against competing priorities. I estimate the time for each project and build in mental and physical break times.

Don’t fall victim to perfection. Oh, that image isn’t perfectly centered in an email that only three internal people are going to see? That’s okay! Send it on and cross it off your list!

Just dive in! We all come across that overwhelming -this is going to take me all week-task. It’s easy to postpone these type of tasks, because just thinking about them can be stressful. You know what you need to do? Just dive in! Start somewhere. Break the task into pieces and get it done!

Stay Organized. I’ve learned that I function at my best when I’m in a productive workspace. It doesn’t matter if I’m working or cooking, I need my space to be neat and clean in order to be productive. My husband however, talks about his method for “organized chaos”.  While it would have me spinning, it works for him. Know which style works for you and keep your workspace accordingly.

Strive for a zero inbox. Email is rarely an issue for me. I credit that with my zero inbox policy. When a new email comes in, I do one of two things after replying. Save it or delete it. I have folders and subfolders for each of my work projects. That way I can keep important emails I might need to refer to at a later time, but they aren’t clogging up my inbox.

But, don’t be a slave to email. It’s easy to watch and respond to emails as they pour in, but then before you know it your day is over, your inbox is nice and tidy, and yet your work still sits in a pile next to you.  I check and respond to emails several times a day, but I don’t instantly react the second an email comes through.

Tips to Save Time at Night

Make ahead meals or prep ingredients. It feels GREAT to just pop a pre-made meal in the oven after a long day at work. Even if you simply prepare ingredients ahead of time (chop vegetables, batch make rice, etc.) you’ll cut down a lot of post-work kitchen time.

Clean up as you cook. If you do need to spend some time in the kitchen preparing dinner, try to clean up as much as possible while you are in between chops and stirs.

Clean up as a team. Once dinner is over, tackle kitchen clean up as a team. Several months ago we started asking our four year old to start clearing his plate after dinner. Now, he’s part of the clean up team clearing dishes being our point person for anything that needs to be thrown away or recycled. This small tasks free up time for us to tackle loading the dishwasher, wiping counters, etc. The cleanup routine goes faster and in turn we have more time to spend as a family at night.

Smart Multi-tasking. Multi-tasking works well when the attention required for each tasks are complementary. Holding a meeting while simultaneously trying to participate in a webinar is not smart multi-tasking (true experience). However, I will clean up the kitchen while listening to my favorite podcast or radio show on replay, and I will fold laundry while watching television. My husband and I will catch up and dish on our days while doing dishes and preparing lunches.

Use down time productively. When my husband gives the kids a bath it’s prime productivity time for me. It’s easy to get caught up staring at my phone for 20 minutes, but I know in that amount of time I can sweep the floors, pack bags for the next day, and put away a load of laundry. Then, once the kiddos are out of the tub I’m available to be 100% present for the night time routine.

Don’t relax too soon! I have this terrible time and productivity sucking habit. Often right after I put one of our children to bed, I walk right into our bedroom and sit on the bed and check my phone.  This leads a downward spiral of procrastination and loss motivation and all I want to do is lounge in bed watching Netflix. Rather than get sucked into my phone or the television, I need to head straight down the hall and get something done. Then, I can retreat to bed!

Although it takes time to save time, these actions help me free up extra time when I want it the most.

What are your top tips to save time and be more efficient?

Have you liked The Daily Whisk on Facebook yet? Does your blog have a Facebook page? Leave a link in the comments so I can check it out!

Linking up with A Pinch of Joy and Mommy A-Z

6 Cheap Halloween Decoration Ideas

Cheap and Easy Halloween Decoration Ideas

I love Halloween. Well, I love just about every single holiday. Any reason to celebrate, decorate, dress up, be in theme, or binge eat candy, and I’m in! Halloween nails just about every single one of those, so it’s no surprise that I’m getting excited to kick off the holiday season!

I had so much fun putting together a list of frugal Halloween decoration ideas last year, that I thought I would share that same post this year. Then, I realized I had a few new tips and ideas to share, and then I decided to create a new image, and the next thing you know my inner overachiever kicked in and here we are with a brand new post!

Cheap Halloween Decorating Ideas: how to celebrate Halloween by spending very little…or less!

Find Freebies

Last year I scored a few hand me down decorations from my Mom which I dug out and put on display this year, too. Check with family and friends to source free Halloween decorations, and keep an eye out for roadside treasures.

Halloween decoration


Ceramic Jackolantern



Items found in nature are great free finds for Halloween and Harvest decorating. Last year our garden produced six pumpkins which I proudly displayed all over the house. Sadly, this year our pumpkins didn’t take off, but all’s not lost! The bright orange marigolds that protected our garden from bugs all summer are still in abundance along with our sunflowers. Additionally, you can decorate with squash, acorns, pine cones, leaves, rocks, and more!


Source Used

If you can’t scrounge up any free Halloween decorations, try visiting garage sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. One person’s trash is another’s Halloween treasure!

Hold Out for Sales

If you don’t mind waiting, or even stocking up a year in advance, sales and clearance can be your best friend. Most Halloween merchandises marks down to at least 75% off. In my case I’ve waited so long to buy mums that most places are selling them buy one, get one now! 


DIY Decorations

Break out the glue gun! Here are some really fun DIY Halloween crafts!


If you’re not interested in accumulating more stuff, you can re-purpose everyday items into decorations. A regular bowl, plate, or platter can be transformed into a dynamic decoration by simply adding a little Halloween flair. Break out your harvest-colored dishes, fill a clear jar with candy corn, or layer acorns and leaves in a vase.

Those are my cheap and easy Halloween decoration ideas. What are yours? Tell me about your favorite Halloween decoration!