Thursday, March 31, 2005

Copy Cat Recipe Site

Hey Mom what is for dinner! I am in a dinner funk lately... need new ideas.

Check out this great site and their forums as well!
Top Secret Recipes

Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

5 Tips for bringing college costs within reach

Boston University announced the other day that the cost of a year tutition and room/board would be $40k starting this fall.

Average cost of tuition, fees, room & board 2004-2005
Public $11,354
Private $27,516
Check out

Paying for college

5 Tips: Bringing college costs within reach.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - College acceptance letters are coming soon to a mailbox near you. In other words, it's about that time when parents and students begin to get nervous about the final step to the college application process: financial aid.
Continue reading

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Seniors drowning in credit card debt

Seniors and aging baby boomers are struggling with growing credit card debt - and experts expect the numbers to rise as retirement funds fall short and the cost of living spirals ever higher.

We see a lot of older folks on fixed incomes who are finding retirement funds are not sufficient to keep up with everyday living,'' said Andy Liles of American Credit Counseling Service Inc. ``They go into credit-card debt trying to pay for their meds.''

It's a shift from the common debt demographics of years past: college kids charging burgers and beers on plastic with no real plans of paying off the balanceContinue reading

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Your local library

Is more than just books.

Tofay in fact we are going to see a magic show for free. We are lucky that library has a great youth services librian and runs different programs such as library school for toddler and preschoolers.

Our adult program has a local writers group meeting 1-2 times a month plus there are different historical program being run as well.

We also have a good selection of both children and adult movies. Maybe not the newest releases but ones that just want to try out.

Enjoy your savings!

Credit card companies' top 10 money-grabbers

Credit card companies' top 10 money-grabbers
The fine print is a license to steal, rigged to trap the unwary with huge fees and rates increases. Know your enemy.


Credit cards. It may seem very difficult to get by without them in this day and age, but the fact of the matter is it's becoming more and more expensive to live with them.

That's because credit card companies have managed to stack the deck in their favor, thanks to obliging lawmakers and regulators who have allowed them to gouge consumers for exorbitant fees and unconscionable interest rates.

And you don't have to look hard to find out how tricky they can be.

"Just read the fine print of your credit card agreement," says Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in Washington, D.C. "It's a license to steal."

"The industry is out of control; it's getting away with robbery," says Robert Heady, author of the best-selling book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Money."Find a loan that's
right for you at the
Loan Center

Robert Manning, author of "Credit Card Nation: The Consequences of America's Addiction to Credit," agrees. "The system is weighted against the consumer," he says.

Top 10 tricks
But knowledge is power, and if you want to avoid getting squeezed, you should be aware of the top 10 money-grabbing tricks credit card companies have up their sleeves:

The universal default penalties. Card issuers regularly check their customers' credit reports for late payments on any of their bills. Any late payment can be used as an excuse to trigger a hike in your credit card's interest rate, even if you have never made a late payment to the card issuer.

A recent study by Consumer Action, a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group, found that 39% of credit cards had universal default penalties in 2003. This year the figure jumped to 44%.

Bait-and-switch card offers. Direct mail offers generally advertise the issuer's premium card at an eye-popping low interest rate, while the fine print says the company can issue a more costly non-premium card with a higher annual percentage rate if you fail to qualify for the premium card. Just because you apply for a card with a low rate doesn't mean the card that shows up in the mail actually carries that low rate.

Shrinking grace periods. Historically, grace periods -- the time during which your transactions don't accrue interest -- were 30 days. They now average 23 days, and some issuers have whittled the grace period to 20 days. Some cards have no grace period at all.

Two-cycle billing. While most card issuers use the standard one-month method to calculate interest charges, some use a method that calculates interest on two previous months' balances.

Companies compute interest charges on your average daily balance by adding each day's balance and then dividing that total by the number of days in the billing cycle. Some do it on a monthly basis, but others use the average daily balance over the last two billing periods.

If you carry a balance, this usually means that you've lost any grace period on your new purchases. Unless you pay off your balance for two months in a row, the two-cycle method will include the prior cycle's average balance in calculating your finance costs even though you paid off that cycle's balance in full. You don't face that expense with a single-cycle card.

Inactivity charges. Credit card companies don't make money if you don't use your cards. Keeping your card in your wallet could incur a hefty fee, as much as $15 if you haven't swiped your card in six months, but charges may be incurred for shorter intervals.

Late payment fees. A recent study by Vertis, a marketing company that researches consumer credit usage and payment habits, found that 2% of all credit card holders occasionally miss getting their credit card payment in on time. They pay dearly. The national average is $29. MBNA (one of the largest issuers of credit cards), Bank of America and Providian are among the steepest chargers. Their late-paying customers get squeezed $39, according to Consumer Action.

And there's yet another downside to paying late: a higher interest rate. In a 2003 survey, Consumer Action found that just one or two late payments will trigger a higher interest rate.

Over-limit fees. Exceed your credit limit by even one cent and you'll be hit with over-limit fees of $25 to $39. Cruelly, a $39 late fee can then trigger a $39 over-limit fee.

Balance transfer fees. It's the big tease: A rock-bottom introductory rate to transfer your balance, but that tantalizing low rate may come with a steep transaction fee, 3% to 5%, for transferring your balance to their card, which means transferring $1,000 at 4% will cost you $40. "It's really very tricky," says California attorney Howard Strong, author of "Credit Card Secrets." He adds, "They have all these sneaky fees. You need to be extremely cautious."

By the way, last year, the industry took in $43 billion in fee income, up from $39 billion in 2002, according to R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers. The industry's take is expected to increase again this year.

Mandatory arbitration. "If there's a dispute, you may have given up your right to your day in a court of law," says attorney/author Strong. "If that's the case, your only recourse is mandatory arbitration."

Payment allocation. If you're carrying a balance and use your credit card for purchases and cash advances, or you're paying off a promotional rate and then add charges beyond the promotional period, your card company will first allocate your payments to the charges that will earn it the most money. In most cases, that means it will apply your payment to the balance that has the lower rate, thereby allowing the balance with the higher rate to accumulate and compound interest.

-- By Peter Davidson

Friday, March 25, 2005

10 Frugal Laundry Tips

Help in the Laundry Room -- 10 Frugal Tips

by Cyndi Roberts
Finding bargains on clothing is one of the primary goals of frugal living.

But, making that clothing last and look good for as long as possible is sometimes a real challenge, given today's high prices on laundry products.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your clothes looking their best without spending a fortune!

1. Buy good quality. If you are buying new clothing, it is especially important to get the best quality you can afford. Poor quality garments just won't last no matter how carefully you care for them.

2. Wash as directed on the label. If it says wash in cold water, then be sure you do. One sure way to ruin an article of clothing is to use an improper cleaning method.

3. Wash everything you can in cold water. Most experts say clothes get just as clean in cold water as in warm or hot. For sure, there will be less shrinkage. And if there's a stain you didn't see and pre-treat, it won't be set in by hot water and maybe you can still get it out!

4. Always rinse in cold water; hot water sets wrinkles.

5. Turn T-shirts and sweatshirts inside out before washing. This will cut down on the "pilling" on the fabric caused by the clothes rubbing together during the wash cycle.

6. Hang those T-shirts and sweatshirts to dry instead of throwing them in the dryer. The decals or printing on the front and back will stay looking nice much longer.

7. In fact, hang dry everything you can. Especially if it's 100% cotton. Heat sets wrinkles and shrinks cotton. Smooth the garments out as you hang them, whether you're hanging them directly on a hanger or on the clothesline outdoors.

8. If you accidentally leave a load of clothes in your washer overnight and they have that sour smell, just add about 1/2 cup white vinegar and run through a rinse cycle. They'll smell sweet again!

9. Here's a recipe for homemade pre-treatment that will remove almost any stain: mix equal parts of water, ammonia ( maybe lemon- scented), Wisk and water. Put in a spray bottle and keep it handy in your laundry room. Spray on spots just like you would the expensive kind!

10. Instead of buying an expensive specialty product for your fine washables--try using a small amount of baby shampoo. Works just as good!

But, of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

Cyndi Roberts' website, "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" will show you ways to save money everyday.
Receive a free e-course on saving money at the supermarket! To learn more, visit

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bankruptcy Stats

Here's some interesting bankruptcy stats according to

• Couples with kids are twice as likely to file.
• Single moms are three times as likely to file.
• Over half of filers experience serious medical problem.
• Two of three filers have lost a job.

Enjoy your savings!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Frugal Stain Removers

Are you fighting stains? The never ending battle of kids and dirt. Spray and Wash and Shout cost so much. Here are some frugal alternatives:

Add equal parts water & laundry detergent to a clean spray bottle. Shake well. Spray on ring-around-the-collar and other stains prior to laundering in place of stain stick.

The dollar store carries a product that works well.
I can't reminder the name but it comes in a tub and only costs $1.00.
It is located with the laundry products

If the stain has protein in it,squirt some dish soap and it will go away. Also I spray the generic 409 on the front of my boys shirts and it makes them stay bright.
They get dingy looking for some reason.

Cheap Generic shampoo makes a good stain remover. I keep them on top of the washer , pour a little on the stain and it works as well as the expensive stain removers and so much cheaper. Works wonderfully well on ring around the collar

Enjoy your savings!


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

10 ten tips when nearing retirement!

Nearing Retirement - Ten Essential Tips
Ramp it up. Pump up your retirement saving by increasing your contribution to your 401(k). New contribution limits let you stash more dollars in your qualified plan than ever before.
Save automatically. Consider setting up automatic deposits to a mutual fund or IRA. (Such a plan does not guarantee profits or protect against loss in declining markets.) When you get a raise, consider directing all or part of it to your retirement savings

Check your strategy. What will be the right investment mix for you once you are retired? What is your current investment mix? Take advantage of this opportunity to rethink your investment strategy.

Get covered. Review your life insurance coverage and consider long-term care protection. While it may seem an impossibly long way off now, preparing now could save you thousands later and give you the ability to choose your own care.

Be a little selfish. Many people who are nearing retirement are also paying for their children's college educations. Remember how the flight attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others?

Don't let a job change pull you off course. If a great career opportunity comes along, take review every how changing employers may affect your future. Depending on your situation, consider getting professional advice as you weigh your options.
Investigating your options. Determine the impact of early retirement on your retirement benefits from your employer's plan. Learn the difference between taking a lump sum payout and income for life. This is another situation where you may want professional advice.

Think ahead. Start thinking about your estate before you retire. Under new laws the estate tax was repealed, but if it isn't reinstated after 2010 and your estate is large enough, your family may have to pay taxes. Consider ways to structure your retirement income to benefit your estate.

Consider the effect of taxes. Look for tax-deferred and tax-exempt investment opportunities. Take advantage of the provisions of the recent tax reform legislation that apply to your situation.

Stay the course. Don't let a new car or a vacation lure you off course. Make your retirement a priority now, and you'll have more money to spend on all the things you want in life later.

For more in-depth information, visit American Express Financial Advisors.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Orman gives young, broke people a place to start

Orman gives young, broke people a place to start

Suze Orman's The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke her latest in a line of personal finance products, pitches to people in their 20s and 30s.
She already knows this Net-savvy audience will click onto her site,, to glean all the wisdom she hasn't been able to squeeze into this volume. (Don't panic, it's not really nearly 400 pages of financial information. Some pages have just a couple of bold words; plus there's a glossary and index.) But that doesn't stop Orman from often urging readers to go to her Web site.

Continue reading

Enjoy your savings!


Sunday, March 20, 2005

Menu planning week of Mar 20th


Sun Steak and cheese sandwichs, fries salad

Mon Crockpot Cranberry Chicken w/rice
Tues Spaghetti
Wed Leftover cranberry chicken
Thurs Burritos
Fri Homemade chicken nuggets,
Sat Homemade pizza

We made a huge batch of pancakes yesterday. I also make banana bread.
Breakfast will be oatmeal, pancakes. Lunch is usually soup or leftovers for me. For the kids will be sandwichs, mac and cheese.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

10 Minute Tasks to Save Money!

Hello and Welcome!

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World
Money Saving Tips
Featured Article 10 Minute Tasks to Save Money
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Recipes Crock pot Pizza

Read this issue at:
Money Saving Newsletter

Enjoy! Best of luck in your savings


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New survey and sweepstake sites

You are not going to get rich doing these but a few bucks here and there doesn't hurt. sign up for Pinecone today

PineCone Research conducts on-line interviews with consumers from all walks of life to obtain their opinions about new products. To become a panel member, all you need to do is complete the simple form above. This will only take a few minutes of your time.

It's easy and fun to see and evaluate new product ideas in the comfort of your own home. You will earn points for each completed product survey, which can be exchanged for cash and other rewards. PLUS you will be automatically entered into a bi-weekly Sweepstakes to win additional cash prizes for your time. Each interview usually takes 15-20 minutes of your time. Plus, you are free to leave the panel at any time should you choose to do so.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Biggest $$$ Mistakes Families Make

If you feel like you're living hand-to-mouth and drowning in bills, Dr. Phil offers some "financial CPR" to help you turn things around. Check out Dr Phil

Dr's Phil was an excellent one. Once again good financial common sense from his financial expert Elizabeth Warren. She has written a new book All Your Worth : The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan

You work hard -- really hard -- but it seems like there's never enough. Never enough to cover all the bills. Never enough to relax and have some fun. Never enough to save some real money. What has gone wrong? What is the secret that you haven't figured out?

In All Your Worth, Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi -- mother/daughter authors of the acclaimed The Two-Income Trap -- tell you the truth about money. They lay out the new rules of money -- the ones nobody talks about. They show you how to get out of debt, cover your bills, and start getting ahead -- without needing to carry a calculator everywhere you go. All Your Worth will help you get control over your money once and for all so that you can finally start building toward the life you've always wanted.

All Your Worth isn't based on lucky guesses or gut reasoning; it is the result of more than twenty years of intensive research. As a result, the authors don't offer you a few quick fixes destined to fall apart, and they don't waste time trying to solve problems you don't have. Instead, the authors lay out a breakthrough approach for getting control over your money. And they use this approach to help you conquer your financial problems, step by step. They help you create a plan that isn't just for a week or for a month; this is a plan that lets you master your money for the rest of your life.
The secret? It's simple, really: Get your money in balance. Warren and Tyagi show you how to divide and conquer. You will learn to balance your money into three essential parts: the Must-Haves (the bills you have to pay month after month), the Wants (some fun money for right now), and your Savings (so you can build a better tomorrow). No complicated budgets, and no keeping track of every penny you spend. Once you have the basics, it gets easy. You can put your money worries behind you and get on with what really matters -- living your life.

Whatever your struggles with money, Warren and Tyagi can help you get your finances on the right track. They will show you things about yourself that you have never quite seen. Are you an emotional spender? Is debt robbing your future? Do you spend too little on fun? Are you and your partner trapped in the Money Blame Game? After you read this book, you will never look at your money -- or yourself -- in quite the same way again.

Whether you are knee-deep in past-due notices or you just don't think you're saving enough, money worries can chew away at your life. Warren and Tyagi are here to tell you that you can stop the worry. You can change it all. You can have enough -- enough to cover the necessities, enough to put some real money in the bank and start bringing your dreams into reach. You can even have enough money to have fun. (In fact, they insist that you have enough for fun!) Best of all, with All Your Worth, you can have peace of mind for the rest of your life.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Some freebies!

FREE bumper sticker ~ speeding ticket on the information super highway

Free grad student survival kit

Free pet rescue sticker

Free address labels

FREE Vegetarian Starter Kit International

Gas Saving Tips!

With Gas pricing going up higher and higher... I heard 25 cents within a month. Yikes. Here are some tips from
How HIGH will the gas prices go? $3? $4? Tell us what you think and you'll be entered to win in our monthly sweepstakes


1. Shop around for a lower price, but don't go miles out of your way to get the best price. When traveling a long distance to save a few pennies, you end up spending more on car driving expenses (AAA estimates that it costs 51.7 cents a mile to drive a car in 2003 while the IRS allows a deduction of 36 cents a mile) than you end up saving with the lower gas price.

2. To find the least expensive gas in your local area, don't drive around looking. Hit the Internet. Sites like will let you find the lowest gas price without leaving your driveway.

3. It's best to purchase gas from a station that is busy. Gas that sits in tanks for long periods can get contaminated and lower its effectiveness. Fresh gas is less likely to be contaminated ensuring you get the most power for your dollar.

4. Avoid purchasing gas from a station that has just had a truck fill the station's underground tanks. Filling up the station tanks will stir up particles from the bottom of the tank which can clog your fuel filter and make your car run less efficiently.

5. Purchase your gasoline in the early morning or at night when it is cold outside. Gas becomes denser in cooler temperatures. Since gas pumps only measure the volume of fuel - not the density - you'll get better overall gas mileage for your money by purchasing fuel when it's cool outside rather than in the heat of the day.

6. Take the time to check your car's tire pressure each month (purchase a good-quality dial-type gauge for yourself -- pencil-style gauges and the ones mounted on the air hose are unreliable according to federal surveys). Under inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency by 2% for every pound they are under inflated. Under inflation also causes premature tire wear giving your tires a shorter use life.

7. Be sure to use your owner's manual for the correct tire pressure. The pressure printed on the sidewall of the tire indicates how much the tire will safely hold and should not be used since it has no connection to how much air should be in the tire for routine use.

8. Check your tire pressure when it is cool outside. A good time is in the morning after the car has rested overnight. Driving only a few miles to a gas station will build heat in the tire and can increase the pressure enough to give a false reading.

9. Drive at the speed limit. Cars use about 20% more fuel driving at 70 miles per hour than they do at 55 miles per hour.

10. Avoid driving fast in low gears. Driving at high speeds in the improper gear can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 40%.

11. Avoid using air conditioning whenever possible. Air conditioning reduces fuel economy by 10% to 20%.

12. Don't open windows when traveling at high speeds. Open windows on the highway can reduce fuel efficiency by 10%. It is much better to use the ventilation system.

13. Remove car racks and other items which make your car less aerodynamic when they're not being used. Leaving them on only makes your car less fuel efficient.

14. Use cruise control to maintain a steady pace on the highway to increase fuel economy.

15. Avoid rough roads. Driving on roads made of dirt or gravel can reduce fuel economy by up to 30%.

16 Don't let your car idle. Even on cold mornings, there's no need to let your car idle for more than 30 seconds. Newer cars are designed to be driven almost immediately and letting your car idle longer is a waste of gas.

17. It's more efficient to turn off your car and turn it on again than to let it idle for more than 45 seconds while waiting.

18. Remove all excess weight from your car. Many people use their car trunk as a storage space adding unneeded pounds to the car's weight. This unnecessary weight reduces the car's fuel efficiency.

19. Try to accelerate gently, brake gradually and avoid stops when driving. Gunning engines, quickly accelerating, and abrupt stops all waste fuel.

20. Try to avoid driving during rush hour periods when you know traffic will be stop and go. If you do find yourself in stop and go traffic, try to maintain a crawl.

21. When approaching hills or steep slopes, accelerate before the hill. Accelerating once on the slope will consume much more gas.

22. Service your car regularly while paying special attention to oil and filters. Blocked air flow from clogged air filters will increase fuel waste.

23. Check your car's alignment since this can cause engine drag which will also increase gas waste.

24. Periodically calculate your car's fuel efficiency. A loss in fuel efficiency is an indication of possible mechanical problems.

25. For most cars, higher octane gas is a waste of money. Regular unleaded(approx. 87 octane or so) is the least expensive and what you should purchase. It's important to remember that octane is a measurement of how hard it is to ignite the gas, not the quality of the gas. Purchase mid or high octane gas only if your engine pings, knocks or rattles when using regular unleaded fuel.

26. Don't purchase gasohol if possible. Some areas require gasahol (a mixture of gas and ethanol for your car. Ethonal is alcohol made from grain) because using it for fuel is considered a way to help farmers as well as help cut pollution. The problem is that ethanol contains only about two-thirds the energy of gasoline which means gasahol forces you to use more to go the same distance.

27. For short trips close to home, try walking or riding your bicycle. Not only will you save money on gas, you'll also get some healthy exercise.

28. When you go shopping or run errands, take a little time to plan and combine them all into one outing instead of several. In addition to saving gas, you will also save yourself time.

29. Car pooling or using mass transportation systems when possible is an excellent way to reduce your gas consumption. There is an added benefit that utilizing these methods to commute will likely result in a discount in your car insurance.

30. Refrain from "topping off" at the gas station. Gas pumps don't contain enough pressure to deliver gas well in short bursts meaning that you get short changed when you top your tank off.

31. After you have finished filling up, turn the gas pump nozzle around 180 degrees. This will drain about a half cup of gasoline into your tank which you would otherwise spill or give to the next customer.

32. Rotate your tires and periodically check them for uneven wear. Proper alignment saves both gas and tires.

33. Keep the outside of your car clean and waxed. Doing so will reduce drag and save gas mileage.

34. Keep your foot off the brake. Some people have a habit of resting their left foot lightly on the brake while driving. Not only will this will cause drag that will require you to use more gas than needed, you'll also wear out your brakes sooner.

35. The next time you are in the market for tires, consider purchasing radial tires instead of standard. They can cut your fuel bill (if kept properly inflated) by 2 - 3%.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Free Prevention Magazine

Prevention Magazine - One-year Subscription-Magscentral

Here is Preventions website so you can see what you will be receiving. It is a great magazine on Health & Wellness, Exercise & Fitness, Weight Loss, Beauty, Home and Family. For guys or gals.

Enjoy your savings!


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

How to reduce your ATM fees

Q: I get hit with fees every time I go to the ATM machine. How can I avoid ATM surcharges?

A: The good news is that more and more banks — and I see this as I walk around Manhattan — are voluntarily waiving these buck-fifty fees
Continue reading

Tips for saving on your auto insurance

Hello and Welcome!

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World
Money Saving Tips
Featured Article Tips for lowing auto insurance
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Recipes Two meals in one Ham

Read this issue at:
Frugal Living Newsletter

Best of luck in your savings