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.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Get Crafty This Holiday Season

Christmas season can wipe any frugal person out, and put some in debt. Buying gifts for everyone on your list, especially if your list is long, makes even the cheapest tightwad sweat. Who has hundreds of dollars to spend on some electronic toy that will be uncool by next year? Not me, that's for certain!

Making your own gifts can easily save you money and time. Putting together the perfect present crafted by your own hands is such a warm feeling, unlike the feeling you get after spending hours in a crowded mall. And knowing that you can make everyone happy without breaking the bank gives a warm glow too. But what can you make that everyone will love?

Head over to Creative Mom Cafe! All during the month of November a different craft project will be displayed each day. Each one will be perfect to give as a gift, and easy to make no matter how un-crafty you may be. Be sure to bookmark the site to subscribe to the feed to keep up with all the great crafty, and frugal, ideas!

30 Gifts in 30 days

Have a Frugal Halloween

Allison at Frugal Mania had a great post the other day on Frugal Halloween Ideas. I was inspired to share what I did last year for Halloween. We were not planning on going out last year because it seemed too cold, though at the last minute we did go out and had a great time. However, I wanted to do something better than just piles of candy and yet still not spend an arm and a leg. Apples and pennies, two Halloween treats I remember getting as a child, were certainly out. Unless I wanted the house toilet papered.

Just before Halloween I went to my local dollar store. I picked up a package of fun Halloween goodie bags, some cute stickers, Halloween themed pencils, a bag of bubble gum, and a case of small boxes of raisins. All together I spent less than I would have on giant bags of candy and I managed to keep the kids happy enough that no one came back to trash my front lawn. Plus I felt good knowing that I was not contributing to the sugar overload of the night.

This year we will be going out and collecting huge bags of candy of our own. But I still have a few plans for frugality. Candy and goodies after Halloween are often slashed down to sale. You can store candy in your freezer until next year when you can give it out then. The trick also works if your children bring home tons of candy. Store it in your freezer and bring it out in small amounts to last the entire year. You can also buy up goodies from Oriental Trading Company to use, often at a huge discount from what you would find at other stores.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sponsor Spotlight - Go Freelance

This week's Spotlight Sponsor is GoFreelance, a growing online community for freelance professionals and companies looking to hire skilled freelance experts. Many families who are trying to be more frugal often are looking for ways to add a bit more to their income. Working from home is a great way to do that. At Go Freelance you can find ways to supplement your income at home. There are thousands of job listings for writers, designers, programmers, and many more.

It is easy to find great work from home job opportunities. Simply fill in your name, email address, and select from the drop down menu what kind of jobs you are looking for. If you are looking for work at home opportunities to bring in extra income check out GoFreelance and see if they have what you need.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Winter Gardening

Many frugal people know that growing a garden is a great way to save money on groceries. A few dollars for seeds and tools can return a few hundred dollars in fresh fruits and vegetables. But when winter comes what can you do with your garden tools so that they last until the next season? There is a great article in Mother Earth Living that shows you just How To Winterize Your Garden Tools. Taking care of your tools so that they last year after year is a great frugal step to take.

If you are not ready to put away the gardening tools just yet there is also an article on Winter Gardening that shares some great tips for gardening through the winter and how to get your soil ready for next spring.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Living On A Dime's Pre-Order Sale

I just ordered two books that I hope will become valuable resources. "Penny Pinchin' Mama: 500 ways I lived on $500 a Month" and "Dig Out of Debt". Both are on sale right now at Living On A Dime. The books are at the printer and should be ready to ship out on November 1st. So until then they are taking pre-orders and offering 20% off both books. If you buy them together you also get free shipping and 4 free downloads:

All together I paid $27.92 for both books plus the downloads. That is about what I could expect to pay for one new book at the book store. It certainly seems like a good deal, but time is running out. If you want to pre-order your copies you should do so now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do You Want To Be A Stay At Home Parent?

Choosing to be a stay at home parent is a difficult choice. Can you handle being home with your kids all day? Will you go crazy from lack of adult interaction? And, most importantly, can you afford to stay home? It is something every family must think about, and no two families will come out the same way. For some it would be impossible to survive without two incomes, and for some staying home seems the less expensive choice.

There is a great calculator at Today's Parents that you can use to crunch the numbers and see what your family can afford. But what if you truly want to stay home and the numbers aren't in your favor? Where there is a will there is a way.

Where are your spending money each month that you can do without? Can you make it from scratch cheaper than you can buy it? Do you really need it? If the cheaper version just as good? Would buying it in bulk save money in the long run? These are just some the questions to go think about as you look at where your money is going each month. You might be surprised at how a few simple changes can change your entire budget and give you the financial freedom to be a stay at home parent.

Eating Healthy Frugally

I read a great post on nutrition and eating foods we love this morning. She emphasised not stressing as much about what your kids are eating and not to feel guilty if the only way you can get your kids to eat vegetables is to sneak them in. For me, I want les fight at the dinner table. So if that means sneaking in veggies on top of an extra cheesy pizza then I will do it. The kis are happy, they eat it, and they are still getting something good in them.

But those trying to live more frugally it can be difficult having even some healthy foods on hand. It seems that the "junk" foods are often cheaper and easier to come by than fruits and vegetables. If you are lucky enough to have a nice sized yard you can start a garden and frow your own for just a few dollars worth of seeds. Even those living in apartments or in homes with little to no yard space can grow a few things indoors in pots.

Another trick is to buy your foods in season. Apples are at their prime in late summer and autumn. That also means that the prices usually drop. If you are good in the kitchen you can buy your apples in bulk while the prices are low and freeze some apples for later use. In the spring look for leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, or romaine lettuce that are coming up. During the summer months cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers are in season. And in the autumn onions, garlic, squash, turnips, potatoes and carrots are abundant.

Make a list of what fruits and vegetables to look for each season will help you be able to stock up for less.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sponsor Spotlight

Every week a featured sponsor will be showcased right over there on the right. Companies that are about saving money, saving time, and saving you from headaches are who will be shown. I promise to always inspect any advertiser before accepting them into the spotlight so that you can always trust who you are seeing.

This week's advertiser is Debt Match, one of the nation's top debt help companies based on years in business, clients served and overall customer satisfaction. They are dedicated to help people in debt find solutions to get out. You simply complete a short 1-page form (6 fields and 2 drop-downs) and you will receive a FREE debt assessment in just a few seconds. Perfect for those who are trying to be more frugal but are already drowning in debt.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Make Your Own Rice Milk

Buying milk can be expensive, and the prices seem to keep going up. For many there is the cheaper option of buying powdered milk. But for those with milk allergies or those who are vegan the cost of cow's milk alternatives can be high.

That is why I was so excited today when I was given a grat tasting and low cost recipe to make rice milk. You can make it yourself and save money. And it tastes great! Try it yourself and see what you think.

  • 1/2 cup brown rice

  • 8 cups water

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 cup or more cold water

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated kelp (optional)

Place rice, 8 cups water, salt, and kelp in pan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer 3 hours, or until rice is very soft. (You can also do this in a crockpot overnight.)

In blender, puree rice mixture with remaining ingredients. You will have to do it in two batches. Puree each batch at least 2 or 3 minutes to completely liquefy the rice. Add more water if a thinner consistency is desired. Keep refrigerated.

Yield: About 6 cups

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Make Your Own Laundry Soap

A friend of mine recently pointed out that she has begun making her own laundry detergent and saving a ton of money. I was curious. How easy is it to make, does it work, and how much money could she really be saving?

The answers surprised me. It's easy to make, the ingredients are common and don't cost much, it works beautifully, and the cost is incredible. Less than a penny per load! Yes, you read that right. It comes out to $0.007 per load of laundry. I knew I had to pass on the savings.

The recipe is easy to make. I was able to get most of it in one place, though the washing soda took a trip to a second store. But even with the added trip it was too easy to make and saved me so much money. You can find the original recipe and an interesting discussion on it in the comments by reading here. But I'm also going to share it here.

  • 1/3 bar Fels Naptha or Ivory Soap
  • 1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda!)
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 2 gallon container

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

Sometimes the soap has a tendency to separate from the water, but a quick sloshing around will mix it back together easily. It works perfectly, even on the dirty clothes that my sons can create. And for the cost it is so worth it.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Do You Know Where Your Money is Going?

I read an older post today over at Frugal Mania 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 to give and receive used books for only the cost of shipping.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Save Money By Saving Water

water drops

A while back I had a tip up on saving money by turning things off and unplugging them when you are done. In the tip I briefly mentioned a few ways you can change your water usage to save money. I thought that was something that I should talk about a bit more.

In the tip I mentioned using cold water instead of hot to save money. When washing your hands, rinsing off food, and even washing your clothes using cold can be an effective way to save. You no longer need to waste water down the drain waiting for the hot water to come and you can save on your gas or electric bill by not needing to use your hot water tank's supply as often. But there are other ways to lower your water usage and save money too.

One trick is to turn your toilet into a "low flow" toilet. By doing this you reduce the amount of water used in each flush, and take a bite out of your water bill. You can do this by filling up an empty 2-liter soda bottle or an empty milk jug and placing the bottle in the tank of your toilet. Want to see how much water you'll save? Use a permanent marker to draw a line at your tank's water level when full. Now add the bottle. How much the water rises about the line is also how much less water you'll use on each flush, as your toilet will only fill to the original depth. If you want to make sure after the next flush hold the float in place and remove the bottle or jug, you'll see the water level drop.

You can also save water and save money by not letting your water go down the drain. In some homes it may take a while for the hot water to get from the tank to the tap. Meanwhile all that cold water is going down the drain. Keep a small bucket that you can pull out to collect that water instead. You can then use it to water plants or clean with. You can even collect the water in a pitcher and save it in the fridge for cold water to drink. No need to run extra water if you use what you already have

Do you have any water saving and money saving tips of your own? I'd love to hear about them! .

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Make Your Own Cheap Halloween Costumes

Halloween is approaching fast and many people are still trying to find the perfect costume. But let's face it, store bought costumes can cost a lot of money and you end up looking like everyone else who bought the same costume. Halloween can be fun and still be frugal if you are willing to put a little effort into making your costume.

Check out thrift shops for decades old clothing. Be a hippie or a disco dancer with clothing that is really from that era. If you are lucky you might even be able to find nice clothing from much older than that. You could even go through any old clothing that your parents or grandparents might have stored. You might be surprised by what you find tucked away in an old trunk somewhere.

If you don't want to go retro with your costume there are still great ideas you can put together. A fancy dress can make you a prom queen or a beauty pageant winner. Baggy, brightly colored clothes can easily be transformed into a clown or a hobo. Old plaid pants, a button up shirt, and a hat can make you an old man.

If you really want to go frugal all you need if matching sweats. A brown pair of sweats can be a great dog costume, all you would need is ears and a tail. If you have green sweats you can cut a large oval out of green poster board and attach it to your back to be a turtle. White sweats with ears and a tail can be a rabbit. All you need is an old sweatshirt and matching sweat pants and you have the beginnings of a great low cost costume.

Balloons are a great way to transform ordinary clothing into a fun costume for Halloween. All you need to do is attach the balloons to you and you're done. Use purple balloons to be a bunch of grapes, white balloons can create a bubble effect, or attach a bunch of balloons to your head to be an "air head".

There are so many great ideas for making your own Halloween costumes without spending a lot of money. I'd love to hear a few of yours!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Shopping the Clearance Rack

clearance rackI'm the queen of the clearance rack. At least in my own mind I am. Buying clothes on sale is great, but when they slash the prices to get them out of there then you can start finding some real bargains. And the best time to hunt through the clearance rack? Right as the seasons change.

Now that autumn has taken over the local clothing stores are desperate to get rid of all the summer attire that is still hanging around. And I am more than happy to help them out. Over the weekend I found two new baseball caps for my sons, marked down to $1.50 each. And they are adjustable so I know they can still be worn next summer. I also found for myself three new short sleeved shirts for $3 each that I can wear next year.

With children it can be a bit harder trying to buy out of season clothing in hopes of wearing them next year. Children are still growing, and often they grow in unpredictable rates. Will there be a growth spurt over the winter? Will they suddenly slim down or bulk up? It's hard to tell. If the outfit is really too cute to pass and at a great deal I'll often go for it. If I find out next year that it does not fit I don't have to call it a bust. I can often get my money back by reselling it at a consignment shop or in a garage sale, especially if the price was really right.

If you want more tips on saving money clothing shopping I found this great article over at Life Tips Daily on How to save money on clothing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Save Money While Washing Your Hair

I wrote a couple days ago about saving money by making your own beauty care products. Making your own products, such as the ones I listed recipes for, is a great way to be frugal without giving up your beauty routine. But one other way that you can save money and still look great is by going No Poo.

No, it isn't what you think! What the "poo" in No Poo stands for is shampoo. That's right, skipping the shampoo when you wash your hair can save you money each month. But don't think that it means letting your hair become a dirty, oily mess. There is a system to No Poo that, when done correctly, can leave your hair looking better than ever. That's because most shampoos are made with chemicals that actually strip and damage your hair. Choosing to go No Poo can save your hair's health.

And it can save you money. With shampoo costing $4 per bottle and up you can spend quite a lot to keep your hair clean. Those who go No Poo spend just pennies a month to make their own cleaning paste from baking soda and water. Then rinse it off with vinegar and your hair will become healthier and more beautiful than you've ever known.

A disclaimer here: Because of years of regular shampoo use it can takes days or weeks to get your hair back to a healthy, chemical-free state. Often people will find their hair looking quite bad while they wait for it to even out. Think of it as the dark before the light, and buy lots of hats. It's worth it though! If you are interested in learning more click here to read about what is No Poo.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Low Cost Baby Care

Having a baby can be expensive, that's what they say. But what if there were a way to lower your costs? I've written an article on how to have a baby without spending a lot of money as well as a tip on making your own baby food. So what else can you do?

If you are crafty you can skip buying and go straight to making new thins for your little one. Clothing, bibs, even the bedding can all be sewn for a fraction of the cost of new. Thre are several sites that offer free clothing patterns, even patterns for knitting and crocheting too. There are even patterns to make crib sheets and quilts if you need to.

Thre are many baby items that are freguently needed and can cost quite a lot lof money. Diaper rash cream is one such item that can add up. Instead using Vaseline or petroleum jelly works just as well in creating a protective barrior. The gel from an Aloe Vra plant works wonders on diaper rashes also. Many breastfeeding mothers also swear on applying breastmilk to a diaper rash to both soothe and heal the rash.

There are many ways to help lower the cost of having a baby. Making your own baby items is one simple way to save a bundle for your bundle. If you have anyother tips please share!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Make Your Own Personal Care Products

Making your own products is a great way to save money. Not only that but using natural ingredients is often better for you than the chemicals found in many ovr te counter personal products. In the spirit of saving you money and time I am going to share my three favorite recipes for personal care products. I hope you enjoy!

Facial Cleaner

  • 4 very ripe, medium sized strawberries

  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil

  • This is a very easy to make, low cost, and effective way to clean your face. Slice the strawberries and remove the green stems. In a small bowl mash the strawberries slices into a pulp. Then squeeze the strawberries, you can use a cheese cloth or even nylon hose, catching the juice in a small bowl. Mix the oil with the juice and stir. Apply this mixture to your ace and neck, avvoiding the eyes, and let sit for one minute. Then rince with cool water.

    pH Restorer

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vingar

  • 10 drops your favorite essential oil (lavender or lemon work nicely)

  • Combine in a plastic container and stir to mix. I use cheap plastic squeeze bottles that I can find in beauty supply shops for $1. You can use this as an astringent on your skin, applying about a teaspoon to a dry cotton ball then washing the face. You can also use this as a rinse for your hiar to restore the pH shampoo strips away.

    Purifying Clay Mask

  • 1 tablespoon powdred French green clay

  • 2 drops chamomile essential oil

  • aloe vera juice

  • French green clay (AKA Illite Clay) is one of the most effective and most commonly used mineral skin clays. Don't worry, you can buy an 8 oz jar of French Green Clay Powder for around $6. IN a small bowl swisk the clay with just enough aloe vera juice to form a smooth paste. Then stir in the oil. You can use this as a facial mask by applying to the face, lett dry for 20-30 minutes, then rinse clean. It can also be used as an overnight blemish treatment. Dab some oneto the blemish and let harden overnight. Rinse clean in the morning.

    Friday, September 7, 2007

    Tips For Using Coupons

    Using coupons can be a great way to save money on the things you need. But in the excitement of saving money some people can use coupons and end up spending more than they planned. How? It is all in the fine print.

    Coupons often have limits put on them. Where you can use them, how many items you can buy, and if you can use them on with other sales are some of the limitations that companies can tack onto their coupons. Not knowing these limits can sometimes end up costing you more. Before you go shopping take the time to review what limits are on your coupons and decide if they will really help you. Saving a few cents off a frequently purchased item may seem great, unless you have to drive out of the way to use it or you can only use the coupon with the purchase of a product you do not normally buy.

    Also always be sure that the coupons you are using have not expired. Some may last months while others may have a usage time of a few days or weeks. Taking a stack of coupons to the counter only to discover that half of them are out date is not only embarrassing it can also cost you if you are shopping with limited funds.

    Before you go shopping take some time to check you coupons. It can save you time and money.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2007

    Garage Sale Shopping Tips

    Garage sale season is winding down. As the summer ends and fall begins to show more and more the typical weekends full of yard sales seem less and less frequent. But you can still take advantage of those sales to get great bargains on things you need. With patience and an eye for a discount anyone can save money by visiting garage sales. Here are some tips to help you:

    • Find good areas and stick with them. Driving all over town trying to find deals can end up costing you time and money. Instead find an area that you know has the best selections. Often high class areas will have items for sale that are of higher quality and used less. Also stick to areas that you know you can get what you need. if you are looking for children's clothes an area populated by singles or elderly is less likely to have what you might need.

    • Shop with a list. Often we can be dazzled by all the things for sale that we end up walking away with far more than what we need. Instead keep a list of what items you are looking for and try to stay with that.

    • Set a budget for what you will spend. Make a note of how much total money you have and are willing to spend. Keeping that number in mind will help you not to go overboard. It also helps to keep an individual budget. Make a list of what you are willing to pay for certain items and stick with that. For instance, you might make a note of not spending more than a quarter on a book or more than $2 on a pair of jeans.

    • Don't be afraid to haggle. One of the joys of garage sales is being able to haggle down the price. This takes balance, as trying to go too far down is seen as rude and can make the seller refuse to sell to you. But haggling the price down some, especially if you are buying multiple items, is a great way to save a little more.
    Shopping at garage sales can be great ways to get items you need, find gifts for friends and family, and even find items that can be resold for a small profit. By being smart about how you shop at garage sales and yard sales you can save money and still walk away with what you need.

    Sunday, September 2, 2007

    Coupons Can Save You Money

    Every frugal shoppper knows that coupons can save money. Though it may not seem like much one by one those few cents can add up. That's part of how America's cheapest family saves money on groceries. You can clip coupons from newspapers that often have flyers featuring coupons from local grocery stores. Certain brands of food will also toss in aditional coupons into newspapers around the country.

    You can also get coupons online. Visit the websites of your favorite brands and you will often find special discounts only available online. Even some grocery stores offer special coupons you can only find online. You can also visit websites specifically designed to help you save. and Wow Print Couons Coupon Chief are two such sites that allow you to pick which coupons you want to use and print them off to use instore. Other sites such as Coupon Chief and Coupon Cabin have discounts that you can use when shopping online.

    To those trying to be more frugal coupons can be a great way to save money on your grocery bills.

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    Mvelopes Budgeting Tools

    I have been introduced to a new budgeting tool and I'm really loving it. It seems to have quite a following already. It's called Mvelopes Personal. Mvelopes is a personal budgeting tool like Quicken, only a thousand times better. You put together an online home budget, track all your spending, and always know exactly how much you have left to spend. Frugal familes know that budgeting is key. Tracking where your money is going helps you eliminate the expenses that you should not have and make better choices. You can take a tour of Mvelopes Personal and see what you think. They have a FREE debt calculator you can use and a financial fitness quiz with 25 simple multiple choice financial questions that tells you how financially fit you really are. There is a FREE 30 day trial to try out their budgeting and see what you think.

    You can also download a FREE budgeting E-book from them to read called Money4Life. It's a great read for anyone getting into the business of budgeting for thier families, and if you're not the first chapter is enough to make you want to start.

    Thursday, August 30, 2007


    Welcome to Your Frugal Family!

    Living frugally is important to so many today. As prices continue to go up many families are needing to find ways to cut down their spending. That's where I come in. As a stay at home mom I have made saving money an artform. Finding the best deals, the cheapest items, and the easiest ways to save a little money is important to me

    I hope to be able to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned and pass on any new savings I find. With a little budgeting and time anyone can save money and live more frugally.

    Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed to get updates of my blog daily. Also subscribe to my Frugal Living Tips. A new tip comes out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to help you learn simple ways to live a little more frugally.