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Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Clearance Items

Don't forget to stock up on Valentine's day clearance items.  Many stores already have started marking stuff down and will continue to do so until it's gone.

Valentine's Day means lots of red which works out great 10 months from now at Christmas.  This is a good opportunity to get napkins, plates, utensils, etc.  You can also get some decorations such as candles (that aren't too glittered with hearts) that will work great for the Christmas holiday.

And of course, stock up on inexpensive candy.  Yum!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

HOT Baby Product Coupons!

Here are some awesome baby product coupons. This could really help the grocery bill this month!

$1.00 off ONE Luvs Diapers

$2.50 off NESTLE NIDO 1+, 3.52 lb can

$1.00 off NUK Nursing Pads or Seal ?n Go Milk Bags

$1.50 off Triple Paste Medicated Ointment

$1.00 off any 3 Gerber Graduates Puffs snacks

$1.00 off any 2 Gerber Graduates Fruit & Oat Bars

$1.50 off any JOHNSON'S Baby Washcloths product

$1.00 off any 3 Gerber Yogurt Blends

$1.00 off any 3 Gerber Graduates Grabbers™ items

$1.00 off any 3 Gerber Graduates Meal Options

$1.00 off Any Kandoo Personal Care Products

$1.00 off any 2 Gerber Graduates Breakfast Buddies

$2.00 off one Dr. Smith's Diaper Rash Ointment



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wine Bottle Craft Ideas

Do you have empty wine bottles that you're wondering what to do with?  Or maybe full ones that you're eager to empty in order to do something with them??  Here are some awesome craft ideas from Fave Crafts.  They are offering a free eBook full of ideas of things to do with wine bottles.  There are some cool gift ideas in here too!  Check it out:) 






Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent (Liquid and Powder)

I found this awesome recipe for laundry detergent that I wanted to share with you.  I have been making the powdered stuff for years and really like it.  I've never given liquid a shot, but I think I'm going to give it a whirl.

http://wellnessmama.com/462/how-to-make-nautral-homemade-laundry-detergent/

Wellness Mama gives easy recipes for both.  Not only can this save a lot of money, but it's also natural and doesn't contain a zillion chemicals like the store-bought stuff does.

Already tried it?  Tell us how you like it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

25% Off Valentine's Day Flowers

Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  Don't pay full price for flowers!  Here's an offer for 25% off a beautiful bouquet.  Check it out!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Things to Remember When Shopping on eBay

If you're looking to save money, eBay can be a great tool.  You do need to be careful to not get caught up in an adrenaline fueled bidding war.  But if you make smart choices, you really can find some great deals.  Here are some tips on how to make the most of it.

1) Buy things you actually need.  This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are tons of cool things on eBay and it's easy to make impulse buys.  Make a list of common household things you buy, particularly in large quantities.  Search for these specific items rather than browsing and being tempted by all sorts of other neat things.

2) Make sure you have room for them.  You may be able to get a great price if you buy a large quantity of something, but make sure you have the room to store all of them.  Buying 10 cases of toilet paper may get you a great price, but if you don't have anywhere to put it, you're going to be annoyed by your purchase.

3) Buy non-perishables.  Don't buy things that will spoil before you use them.  Remember, it's only a good deal if you can use all of the product before it becomes unusable.

4) Not everything is a good deal.  You might be surprised how many people buy things on eBay for more than what you can buy them for in the store.  Don't assume that everything you see is a good price.  Do some comparison shopping to make sure you're getting a good deal.

5) If it saves you a trip to the store, it might be a good deal.  If you only need a couple things, buying on eBay could save you a trip to the store.  This saves you money on not only gas costs, but also prevents you from buying other stuff while you're out or spending money on a latte on your way to the store.  Think about your total cost!

Here are some things that I commonly buy on eBay: deodorant, razor blades, kitchen gadgets, body spray, shaving cream, and make-up.  What is your favorite eBay find?

Parents Magazine 33 Cents an Issue

Parents Magazine is having an amazing sale right now. You can get a 2 year subscription for only $7.99. This breaks down to 33 cents an issue. Wow! Plus you get a free gift when you subscribe.

Free Gym Trial

Ok, you've put it off long enough. It's time to get started on your New Year's Resolution to lose weight! Here's a free week pass to get you started. Click on the picture below and print off your one week gym pass at 24 Hour Fitness.  They have a ton of locations!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World

Here's an article worth checking out.  These 50 ideas will help you get organized without breaking the bank.  I especially love #4.  I'm always wondering what to do with those pop tabs!

Check it out--which one is your favorite??

http://twistedsifter.com/2013/01/50-life-hacks-to-simplify-your-world/

Thanks Twisted Sifter!

Free H and R Block Tax Filing

Have you done your taxes yet? If you've been putting it off, you're not alone.  Don't add insult to injury by paying for tax prep.  You can get a free 1040EZ filing through H&R Block.  Click on the link below to get started.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Custom Phone Cases $10

If you're looking for an inexpensive Valentine's Day gift, here's an offer from Vistaprint you won't want to miss! Upload your favorite photo and create a custom phone case for only $10. Cute!

Vistaprint

Monday, November 21, 2011

Importance of Positivity

While this topic strays a bit from the typical "how to be frugal" articles posted on this blog, it is nevertheless important.  It is remarkable how a situation can change just by keeping a positive attitude.  Rather than feeling sorry for yourself because of your financial situation, recognize that you are on the one who is in control, and make steps to move forward.  No one can do this for you.  It is a decision that you and you alone have to make for yourself. 

End each day by asking yourself "What three things am I thankful for today?"  This can be anything such as good weather, light traffic, a good meeting, or a productive workout.  What is important is that you recognize that even when things are going bad, things are also going good.  When you change your outlook to see the positive, you will be more motivated to keep going.  You will begin to see the opportunities that you have to make a positive change. 

Here are some more tips on how to "Infuse Your Day With Positivity"  http://www.dumblittleman.com/2011/11/5-small-things-you-can-do-today-to.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DumbLittleMan+%28Dumb+Little+Man+-+tips+for+life%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Are you one of the brave souls that will be lining up outside the stores in the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving?  Are you camping out to be first in line to get the best deals?  If you are heading out on Friday, keep in mind these tips for shopping on black Friday.

1)  Make a list.  Go through the ads ahead of time and figure out what you want from where.  You can get up-to-date sale information by visiting http://bfads.net/.  If you head into the store without a list, you will be more likely to go overboard.  Impulse purchases can quickly erase what you save by buying things on discount. 

2)  Define your "must have's."  Decide what the main purchase you absolutely cannot leave the store without.  Head for that item first.  If it sells out quickly, you ensure that you still get you "favorite" purchase.

3)  Get help.  Team up with friends so that you can tackle the store (or stores) more quickly.  If you are heading to Target and your best friend to Wal-mart, do some shopping for each other. This will be less stressful on you, and you will get the good deals before they sell out.

4)  Send someone else to stand in line.  When you arrive at the store, send someone to stand in line.  When you are done shopping, join them.  This will save you a lot of time that you would have spent waiting in line.

5)  RELAX!  We've all heard the stories about fights, injuries, and even deaths on Black Friday.  At the end of the day, it is important to remember that these are THINGS that are on sale.  No THING is worth fighting over or harming yourself or someone else.  Relax and enjoy yourself. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Low Cost Wall Art

India Pied-a-terre just posted a great idea on how to make inexpensive wall art using scrapbook paper.  If you would like to learn how to make this:



For not a lot of dough, visit India's blog at: http://indiapiedaterre.com/2011/11/10/wall-art-with-scrapbook-papers/

What a great idea!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Make Your Own Applesauce

Applesauce is a delicious snack that is also very nutritious. But so many store bought types contain added sugar and preservatives. Here is a recipe for home made applesauce that is easy to make, inexpensive, and delicious!

Peel and core a three pound bag of apples (between 8 & 9 apples).
Chop into small pieces and put into a crock pot.
Add 1/2 cups sugar.
Add 2 cups water.
Sprinkle in cinnamon (if you would like).

It will look like this:







Cook in the crock pot for 4-6 hours. It will look similar to this:








Mash the apples with a potato masher or meat tenderizer.
Scoop out any excess water to create the consistency you like.
Add sugar or cinnamon to taste.

Put the final product in a jar and refrigerate!









Please share your experience if you try this recipe!

Where Does Your Credit Score Come From?

Your credit score impacts numerous facets of your life, from where you live, what you drive, to how much it costs to get your electricity turned on.  Despite the hold that credit has on all of us, few of us know how it is calculated. 

Check out this great article by wofin. 
http://wofin.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/factors-affecting-your-credit-score/

Wofin's blog is filled with financial information and budget-saving ideas!

How to Make Your Own Pizza Crust

If you are like many households, pizza is a staple meal.  Rather than buying processed mixes, try this simple recipe to make your own.  It is quick & easy, tastes great, and is less expensive than store bought types.

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 1/2 tsp. quick-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup warm water

Simply mix the flour, yeast, and salt together.  Gradually add in the warm water and mix until the dough becomes a large ball.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about a minute. Shape into a large ball, cover, and leave for 10-15 minutes to allow it to rise.

Dough after being mixed & kneaded.
Divide this into 3-4 smaller balls. If you are using a 12 inch round pan, this will yield 4 doughs. Slightly flatten the doughs and place in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use them, remove the dough from the freezer and allow to thaw before rolling into a flat crust. Spread onto a greased sheet and bake at 450 degrees.
 
Costs:
Bread flour: 15 cents per cup
Wheat flour: 27 cents per cup
Salt: 1 cent per tsp.
Yeast: 60 cents for 4 1/2 tsp.
$1.33 per batch
 
If you make 3 crusts, cost per crust is $.44. If you make 4 crusts, cost per crust is $.33.
The final product was actually better than store bought. The crust is sturdier than normal, allowing you to pick up the pizza rather than having to cut it. Freezing them allows for a quick and easy meal. 
 
Give it a try!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great Holiday Gifts Under $15

The holidays are fast approaching, and gift shopping can be daunting!  Not only is it expensive, but it is time-consuming too.   If you're wondering what to get your 8-year-old nephew, your 60-year-old aunt, or your best friend, here are some great finds that are unique & budget friendly.  These items were picked specifically because they qualify for free super-saver shipping on orders over $25.  Pick out a couple of gifts and the shipping is free, and you're in plenty of time for them to arrive by the holidays!

1) Brain Quest Trivia Games $14.90: Available for all different age ranges. The cards are all secured to each other so you don't have to worry about losing the cards or making a mess. Each card contains trivia and academic questions that will get kids engaged and learning. (They are fun for adults too!)

Brain Quest Grade 3


2) I'm Not a Plastic Cup $6.79: These cups are great because they are reusable (great for the environment) and are insulated so they do not sweat (less mess!). Great gift idea for your coworkers!

I Am Not a Plastic Cup Plastic Acrylic Tumbler ECO CUP on Ice with Straw


3) Pashmina Scarf $9.99: Available in 33 beautiful colors (not all colors qualify for free shipping) this is a universal gift that any lucky woman in your life will love!

HOLLYWOOD PASHMINA, Orange


4)Emergency Flashlight/Cell Phone Charger/Window Hammer/Seat Belt Cutter $13.99: This is a must-have for every vehicle. These are the issues no one wants to think about, but it is better to be prepared than scared! A great gift or stocking stuffer for an elderly relative or a new teenage driver.

Emergency Crank Flashlight Radio Cellphone Charger Life Hammer, Seat Belt Cutter, Escaping Tool for Automovite, 3110


5)IPhone Touch Gloves $11.99: These gloves have unique technology in the pointer finger & thumb tips that allow the ability to use touch screens. Great for the gadget lover in your life!

N-SQUARE TouchMate Faction Gray iPhone iPad HTC Blackberry NANO iPod Touch SmartPhone TouchScreen Gloves S/M - Never again take your gloves off just to answer the phone.


6) Keep Calm & Carry On Day-by-Day Calendar $10.39: Give a daily dose of inspiration! Your friend or loved one will think of you every day in 2012!

Keep Calm and Carry On 2012 Calendar (Page a Day Calendar)


7) Colorful Luggage Strap $8.00: Anyone who travels will appreciate these colorful luggage straps. They make baggage claim go much smoother when bags can be easily identified.

Eagle Creek Id Luggage Strap, Pacific Blue


8) Baberoo Organic Baby Socks-Sneaker Style $15: These unique baby socks have the look of high-top sneakers. They are adorable!

Baberoo Organic Cotton Socks for 0-12 Months - Ultra Cool High Tops


9) Trudeau Wine Glass Charms $7.18 for a set of 12: These adorable glass charms are unlike any charms you've seen before. Great for the person who has everything!

Trudeau Duo Tone Floral Wine Charms, Set of 12

10) Lipsmackers Coca-Cola Party pack $11.98 for a set of 8: Even the pickiest teenager would get some use out of this gift!

Lip Smackers Coca Cola Fanta Sprite Coke Bargs, Set of 8 Lip Balms

Space & Time Saving Tip for Refrigerating Meat

Do you like to stock up on meat when it's on sale but don't have the space in your freezer?  Or run out of time to defrost it?  Try this quick tip:
Put the meat into a baggie and flatten it down until it is no more than an inch thick.  You can also use non-freezer safe baggies and put numerous ones into one freezer safe bag.  (cheaper than using freezer bags for each serving)
This is a great way to freeze meat because it defrosts very quickly (because it is so thin).  Put the baggie into the sink with hot water and this will defrost in just a few minutes.  These take up much less room in the freezer than "bricks" of meat.  They can stack easily on top of each other and between boxes. 

Give it a try!

Great Dollar Store Finds!

Your local dollar store can be a great resource for budget-friendly purchases.  Keep in mind that even though each item is only $1, not every item is a good deal!  Many items come in smaller containers so the per unit price is actually higher than at a typical store.

Here are some items that can be purchased at dollar stores that are truly a great value.

1) Greeting Cards.  Many dollar stores often have 2/$1 deals on greeting cards, and they offer quite an assortment too! 

2) Toothpaste.  Make sure you are getting a full-size container or the per ounce price is probably higher than a traditional store.  You may have to go to a less popular brand (AIM) to get a full size tube.  Many of the popular brands are available at dollar stores, albeit in a smaller tube. 

3) Toothbrushes.  If you want name-brand, you can easily find an individual toothbrush for $1.  Often times you can get double-packs of the name-brand as well.  If you're willing to go with an off-brand, don't be surprised if you can get 3 or 4 for a buck!  Avoid the "8 packs" as they will be so cheaply made it will not be worth it in the long-run.

4) Mailing Supplies.  Many dollar stores sell bubblepack envelopes 2/$1.  This is less than half of what you would pay at a big-box store. 

5) Coloring Books.  You may be surprised at the selection of popular character coloring books at your local dollar store.  The price will easily be half of what you would pay at most traditional stores. 

What great dollar store finds have you found?   

Book Review: Your Money or Your LIfe

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin is a “must read” for everyone who deals with money (that’s everyone)!

The book walks you through the steps of finding out where you are financially. It forces you to calculate your spending down to the penny & find savings opportunities. The book walks you through determining your values and goals to find ways to put your money to work towards the future. 

It is different from the typical budgeting book in that it focuses less on specific tips of how to save money, and more about examining needs versus wants. It speaks to the value of your time and whether your spending is aligned with your values.

You can visit your local library to check out a copy or buy a used copy very reasonably through Amazon by clicking on the link below.

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent-Quick & Easy Recipe!

I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for years. I’ll share with you the recipe. Give it a try, it’s amazingly simple & one batch lasts a long time!
What you need: Borax, Washing Soda, bar soap, a cheese grater, a storage container, and a spare scoop. I’ve been able to find these products easily in stores. Smaller grocery stores may not have the washing soda-it tends to be the more difficult to find.

 Use the cheese grater to grate the bar soap. My grater does not have a “fine” option, although I’ve never had a problem with larger slivers of soap. Add in two parts soap, one part borax, and one part washing soda. Use two tablespoons per load.

This is what the final product looks like:


I found all of the ingredients at Wal-Mart. But here are some links to where the items can be purchased online.

Borax: Found at Wal-Mart for $2.98 for a 76 oz. box ($.32 per cup)
http://www.walmart.com/ip/20-Mule-Team-Borax-Horizontal-Laundry-Booster-76-oz/11027366

Washing Soda: Found at Wal-Mart for $2.98 for a 55 oz. box ($.43 per cup). Below is a link to the least expensive online option I could find.
http://www.alice.com/products/1264075?p=1264075&&source=google

Bar Soap: I prefer Dial which can be found at Wal-Mart for $3.98 for 8 bars. ($.50 per cup)
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Dial-Bar-Clean-And-Refresh-White-Antibacterial-Deodorant-Soap-Bars-4-oz-8-ct/10290825

How do the costs stack up?
The above recipe costs FIVE AND A HALF CENTS per load (assuming you use two tablespoons).
I found a large box of Tide Powder on Amazon.com for $33 including shipping. This was enough detergent for 80 loads of laundry. This equates to $.41 per load.

If you do ten loads a week, your savings is $3.55 per week!

I especially like this detergent because besides cleaning well, it does not contain any dyes or perfumes (unless you add in scented soap). The only downside I have found is the box of Borax is larger than the box of Washing Soda so I run out of them at different times. I’ve also added a little OxyClean to a load if I’m concerned about colors.

Give it a try–I’d love to hear your opinions!

Welcome to the World of Frugal & Fun!

Hello All!
If you’ve read as many personal finance/budgeting articles as I have, you are probably sick of all of the “revolutionary” ideas that people come up with. Move to a cheaper place, refinance your mortgage, ditch your car, drop your cable. Undoubtedly, all of these things can save you a LOT of money. But who can make such drastic changes overnight?

This blog is full of money-saving ideas that I have discovered. It is about making small changes to save incremental amounts of money. Some of my ideas are unorthodox, but you won’t hear me advising dumpster diving for extra coupons or stealing sugar packets from restaurants. All of the ideas are easy to implement and include products that are easy to find. Best of all, the majority of the ideas are not only good for your pocketbook, but also the environment!

I would love to hear everyone else’s frugal & fun ideas!