Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Frugal Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is fast approaching in the U.S. and many people are scrambling to plan a perfect meal for their entire family. Luckily Thanksgiving does not have to cost a fortune to celebrate. Here are some tips that can help you cut costs.

  • Go potluck this year. If you are expecting a large group showing up have everyone bring one dish with them. You can easy fill the room with food and save money too.

  • Skip the turkey. While turkey may be the traditional meal it can also be pricey. Look for cheaper main course ideas you can serve instead. Check your local store ads and see what is on sale. You may start a new tradition of Thanksgiving ham or Thanksgiving burgers.

  • Serve plenty of snacks. Inexpensive snacks such as fruit, crackers, or trail mix can be put out before the big meal. The more people snack the less room they will have for the main dishes, and the less you will need to make.

  • Don't do dispossable. I know how tempting it is to use dispossable plates and napkins, but that is one expense you can avoid by simply using your own dishware. If you do not have enough you can often find sets in great condition at thrift shops for cheap. And just think of how much trash you'll save.

  • Instead of a meal serve a brunch. Plan a smaller, earlier meal time for your family to enjoy. Then you can enjoy a peaceful evening or have the big meal at another person's home.

  • Stay small. If you have a truly tight budget perhaps the best advice is to keep it simple this Thanksgiving. Stay home, or least local, and invite only the bare minimum of guests.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Recycle Old Bedding

With colder weather coming I am pulling out all the blankets from storage. Some of them are older and a bit tattered. While it would seem easy enough to toss out the old blankets and get new ones that certainly would not fit in with the frugal mindset. Instead I prefer to recycle the old bedding and get more life out of it.

I am lucky to have a sewing machine but for those who do not you can hand stitch up new bedding that works just as well. First check what blankets or sheets just have minor tears or holes. Those can often be easily patched up so that they can live another winter season. But for anything that has seen better days you can transform the pieces into a warm and cosy quilt.

Cut your old blankets and sheets into pieces to be put together. There are a number of great quilt patterns found online for free that you can use. Old sheets, especailly flannel ones, can be great backing for your quilts. Using up the old bedding to create warm quilts that you can curl up under this winter will save money, space, and give you something creative to do.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

If I Could Fix My Life in 5 Classes

I found this fun meme over at Got No Dough and thought I would do it here. Here are the rules:

“Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”
  1. Nixing Impulse Buys 101 - This one I'm including. I think that's one that a lot of us need to take, myself included. When I go to craft stores or even just thrift shops I can't help but buy a couple unexpected pretties on my way out.
  2. Meal Planning 101 - As I mentioned previously, as good as it sounds in theory I just cannot seem to get it to work in real life.
  3. Basic Follow Through - I have a thousand and one ideas every day but never the drive to see one of them through. If I could just make one of them work I would be so much better off.
  4. How To Go To Bed - I'm one of those who stays up all night writing, working, and creating. Then I spend the morning a groggy bear. I need to learn how to get my butt into bed at a decent time.
  5. Rags to Riches For Beginners - Is there a class on how to become fabulously wealthy overnight? I didn't think so.

I'm leaving the tagging part open. If you feel like doing this please take the ball and run with it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Meal Planning to Save Money

Being sponsored by a recipe site this week reminded me of something I have been trying to do and wanted to share. Meal planning.

I recently read the ebook on feeding a family of 4 for $200 a month over at The idea of it seemed pretty exciting but also nearly impossible. Being a stay at home mom and having young children at home I found it was hard to stay in the price range. If I only took supper into consideration we were fine. But adding breakfast, lunch, and snacks in threw me over the budget. Even just figuring in cold cereal or warm oatmeal for breakfast and leftovers for lunch I still find myself over. I suspect this would be much easier to do during the summer when one can have a garden and cut out the costs of some fruits and vegetables. But right now it is too cold to grow much and buying fresh costs a good penny.

So I am curious if anyone else does meal planning and if they find they save money. It would seem that having a plan ahead of time would save mony from buying the "junk" foods, but I wonder how much.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Frugal People Love Free Stuff!

You know it's true. There is nothing better than getting something you love for absolutely free. On the web there are hundreds of chances to win free anything. Companies often have free samples or special coupons that you can only find online and some shops offer free products to people willing to write reviews on them. Or, if you look in the right places, you can find bloggers giving things away for the fun of it.

Today the right place to look would be at the Fall Y'All giveaway where hundreds of bloggers are offering up free goodies just for the fun of it. Hurry over there and check out what is going on. Be sure to enter as many contests as you can and pass on the fun by letting everyone know about it.

Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sponsor Spotlight

It's a new week and a new sponsor on board. This week I'm saying thanks to Recipes 4 You, an online cookbook filled with hundreds of great recipes. Recipes categorized by food type or main ingredient, with recipes for everyone from beginners to the seasoned chef. If you are looking for a different recipe to try visit Recipes 4 You.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do You Know Where Your Money Is Going?

Yahoo Finance has a great post on the top ten money drains people can have. It is interesting to think about where your money is going when you don't think it is going anywhere. That is why having a solid budget is so important! Keeping track of how much you are really losing on all the little things will help you see how to better spend your money.

No body is perfect and often the most seemingly frugal person finds themselves spending more money than they thought they were. Before I cracked down on the budget I was losing money in little places and wasn't sure how. Here are just some of the ways I was letting money go down the drain.

  • Stopping to get "just a drink" and "just a bite to eat" at the gas station on my way out of town. If I'm really in a rush and need to eat in the car it's cheaper to bring my own bottle of water and a snack from home.

  • Running single errands during the day. I burn more gas by running out once to the post office then later to the store than if I do them in one trip. I was letting a lot of money go down the drain each time I wasted gas making separate trips.

  • Paying just the minimum on my credit card charges. I know it seems hard to get that you can save money by spending more, but letting charges add up by only paying the monthly minimum you're losing money in the long run.

  • Buying books. I'm a book lover, so books have been a huge drain for me. Instead get books for free at the library to enjoy. Or, if you absolutely have to buy a book, look for a cheap used copy. You can even join PaperBackSwap to give and receive used books for only the cost of shipping.