Monday, January 30, 2006

Frugal Meal Planning week of Jan 29th

Going to try to do a pantry challenge this week. I don't want to buy too much at the supermarket. We got everything we need for dinner already in the house.

Sun Dinner at my mom

Mon Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, zucchini

Tues Kielbasa and bake beans in the crockpot

Wed Use leftover meatloaf for the spaghetti

Thurs Fish sticks, french fries

Fri Pork Chops, couscous, veggies

Sat Son's birthday party in the afternoon at the skating ring. May have leftover pizza or will be sandwiches

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Girls day out

Yesterday was a girl's day out with my mom and sister. We got gift certificates to this spa. Mom and I got a full body massage and my sister got a facial.

I remember in my youger days when I had money and no responsiblities that I would think nothing of dropping $100-$150 for a facial, manicure and the works. Times have changed and I probably enjoyed my little bit of peace a lot more than the ones years ago.

Enjoy your savings!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Homemade Bisquick, Cd ladders, Expensive restaurants

Just sharing some good money related blog posts! Check out their blogs as well.

Chef Michele offers a great frugal recipe for homemade Bisquick Yummy recipes.... too bad I am still doing a modified South Beach diet.

Five cent Nickel shares a strategy for building a cd ladder

New York Money asks Are expensive restaurants worth it?

Enjoy your savings!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Making a grocery list

One important part of frugal meal planning is making a list of what you need. People who have a grocery list, budget and pricebook are more successful in keeping there grocery bills down.

Here my approach to grocery shopping:

1. Check out the store flyers. Mark any loss leaders-can I stock up them. (ie beans, chicken on sale)

2. Meal planning what are my meals for the next week. What do I need. Add them to my list.

3. Regular items each week that are bought, bananas, other fresh fruit that is on sale, salad fixing.

4. Irregular things that may need to be bought such as ketchup, salad dressings.

You can keep your grocery list in a notebook or more organized on a grocery list chart

Enjou your savings!

Saving on Milk

Some items, such as milk, are hardly a great bargains at the grocery store. Check out your local gas station markets A gallon of milk at the gas station location  is $2.39--cheaper than the $3.09 it would cost at the grocery store.

Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

10 for $10

There is nothing better than a hot cup of soup after picking up the kids from school at lunchtime. As the domestic frugal mom engineer (aka home executive) that I am, I do like to make large batches of soup, but that is not always feasible. So I turn to Progresso. I love Progresso soups... Lentil, Hearty Black Bean, Vegetable Minestrone and my husband likes the Beef Barley ones. But they are regularly $2.39/$2.49 a can. The generic brand is really not much better at $1.99 a can. So when a loss leader is 10 for $10 I am sucked right in.

Some other deals I got this week.
I did get a ton of celery for 99 cents in the discount produce area-great diet food plus it is will go fast. Go too large eggplant there as well.

Ground turkey was a buy 1 lb get another free. Whenever that is a sale, I do buy it. Also I got some marked down meat-, a lb of ground beef, and some steak.

Monday, January 23, 2006

43 ways to spend $1.00

Sharon the Creative Budget group posted about 43 ways to spend $1.00

1) Bought 1-10 books from charity shops or boot/yard sales and read
them/sold them on ebay
2) Bought a small amount of good cheese and combined it with garden
vegetables to make a good sandwich
3) Bought frugal food and made 3 meals for one person
4) Gotten 10 packs of seeds on sale which would produce about 1370 pounds of
vegetables plus flower bouquets and herbal uses
5) Bought a complete outfit and coat for a child at a charity shop
6) Stamps and pretty writing paper or envelopes
7) Made a spaghetti meal with tomato and mushroom sauce
8) 4 Pepsis
9) 2 breads from the bakery
10) Some apples
11) 2 yogurts
12) half of a hot shower in their university
13) Yogurt with half a teacup of ginger-almond granola from the bulk food
14) 10 to 100 tea bags
15) 4 children's toys from a charity shop
16) A camp shower, matches, firestarter and a fire while camping under the
17) Newspaper
18) Telephone time
19) Half a round trip on a subway or bus or train
20) Bag of yarn at a boot/yard sale
21) Bar of handmade soap
22) Candles
23) Bar of Chocolate or package of smaller candies
24) 3 lbs Bananas
25) 2 wine glasses from a charity shop
26) 3 dozen eggs
27) 3 different jars of spices
28) A trip with her child to a conservatory
29) 6 gallons of filtered water
30) Ingredients for an Indian Chickpea meal
31) Yarn to knit 5 premie caps
32) A days worth of utilities or a subscription
33) A soft drink, a piece of fruit, and a used paperback book
34) A china plate
35) 10 packages of Ramen noodles
36) A pair of new socks
37) A pair of designer pants/trousers or pair of capris or a Tshirt from a
charity shop
38) 10 cloth serviettes/napkins from a charity shop
39) A damask tablecloth from a charity shop
40) A yard/meter of fabric
41) 6 skeins of embroidery thread
42) Ingredients for a loaf of pumpkin bread
43) 4 children's books

Weekly meal budget on a budget Jan 22nd

Meal planning is so important to help keep my food budget in check. I am really trying to keep from throwing out food as well.

Sun Out to eat-this was a last minute thing

Mon Leftover Chicken Stragnoff

Tues Chili

Wed Pork Loin, Potatos

Thurs Meat crust pizza (this is a low carb meal)

Fri Leftover Pork Lion

Sat Maybe pizza we may be having company

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Road Runner High Speed ISP users

I saw this post on and it was too good not to pass along. :)

I wanted to let all the Road Runner internet users know that you don't have to pay the 40 some dollars a month for internet.

For a year I was using Road Runner and decided that it was too much, so I called them and told them I would be cancelling it to go to Verizon DSL. They told me if I stayed with them they would charge me only $26.95. I wasn't really wanting to switch (it was basically for the cost) so I stayed at $26.95. After a year we received the bill and the price had jumped to the original price. I called and they said it was only a special for a year (which doesn't make sense because I asked them many times if this was for the life of me having the Road Runner, but I digress). Anyway, they mentioned that they have a plan called Road Runner Lite. It is Road Runner just at a little slower speed, and they said they could do the $26.95 a month forever (this was a supervisor in the Road Runner sales area). I jumped at it. I have been using this for about 4 months now and don't see too much difference in the speed of my internet. If I download a video or a huge Flash file or something it tends to be slower but for regular surfing it is fine.

They don't advertise Road Runner Lite so you have to call them up and tell them you want to switch. I have told many family members that had dial-up or no internet at all and they called up and got it. If surfing/email is all you do it is a great price for internet.

Another poster responded and Cox does this as well! Heck everyone on cable modems should.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Electric bill woes

My electric bill for the second month in a row is over $200. Last month was $201 and now this month $207. I know it has something to do with the Christmas lights but

Some times to be more diligent about:

1. TV is off when no one is watching it. The kids tend to turn it on and then leave the room.

2. Turn lights off. One of my 3 yr old twins thinks it is the best thing to turn on all of the light switches. He is high function austistic and it currently one of the things he is doing all the time. We are working with that he doesn't need every light on.

3. Turn off the hot water heater each day.

I am hoping our next bill be less than $150, let's hope.

new freebie samples

Here are some the latest free samples that I have found on the web!

Free sample of friskee cat food

Free sample of blistex

Home Depot Home improvement guide

Free tofu noodles

Free M&M

Free Bounce

Enjoy your savings!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Homemade bread crumbs

Deep Freeze

Don't toss bread that has become hard. Store it in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you need bread crumbs, simply remove a piece and grate it on a cheese grater.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Quick home and water heating tips

Turn it Down!

Water Heating

Save 3 to 5 percent for every 10 degrees you lower the thermostat.

Home Heating

Each degree over 68 degrees can add 3 percent to the cost of heat.

Source: Edison Electric company and U.s. department of energy

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Are you being honest with your money?

Suze Orman has a new article on yahoo finance
Want to be rich, be honest! . Even though I am not typically a Suze fan, I think it makes people question their priorities and are they trying to keep up with the Jones. It is sort of like watching a plamsa tv today and eating dog food when you are retired.

Ask yourself
Are you leasing a new car every few years?
Buy used and drive it into the ground
Are you paying off your credit cards each month?
If not, you are spending above your means
Are you contributing to your 401k?
If there is a match you are leaving money on the table.

Are you being honest with yourself about money?

Enjoy your savings!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Money Survey

This money survey was on Women's Day Magazine... 16,000 people responded. See where do you stand.

You Just Got a $1,000 Bonus
What do you do?

Stash it away for a rainy day: 57%
Visa is already knocking at the door for it: 25%
Vegas, baby, Vegas: 10%
Ten pairs of shoes are calling my name: 8%

Rainy Day fund

Credit Check
How much do you owe on your credit cards right now?Not a penny: 28%
Less than $1,000: 17%
$1,000 to $5,000: 27%
$5,000 to $25,000: 20%
More than $25,000: 8%

Nada here
These days you're most worried about...
Rent and bills: 37%
Credit card debt: 23%
Funding retirement: 16%
Financing my children's education: 13%
Paying for health care: 9%
Child care: 2%

Retirement and kids education are the most pressing financial issues for me
Living (Un)easy
If you were laid off from work today, what could you afford to buy?
A villa in Tuscany: 8%
A used RV: 9%
A small condo: 15%
A pack of tissues to sob into: 68%

Inbetween the tissues and the used RV.
What you love to buy
Clothes: 66%
Cosmetics: 23%
Shoes and bags: 8%
Jewelry: 3%

I am not a shopper but of those choes it would have be clothes

Staying Afloat42% haven't saved enough for the future
32% are worried about getting out of debt
18% have enough saved
8% are worried about a job loss

Saving enough for the future and job loss would be my main 2 concerns

File Not Found
If a financial planner looked over your finances, she would find:
34% Balanced checkbooks, up-to-date files and a lockbox for important papers
34% A shoebox full of old receipts and a file folder with important papers and old bills
32% Notices from collection agencies

I bank online ... so no more checkbook but my account is balanced.
Money Talks
When is the last time you and your partner fought about money?
Last year: 36%
Last month: 25%
Last week: 29%
Within the last five minutes: 10%

We don't really fight too much anymore about money.
Keeping Tabs
Does your partner think you spend too much? Over half said, “Yes, he gripes sometimes.”

I am the saver he is the spender

State of the Union
Do you and your partner share the same attitude toward money?
YES, we both like to plan and save for the future: 47%
YES, we spend like Ben Affleck and J. Lo: 20%
NO, he's pretty stingy: 19%
NO, he thinks he's Donald Trump: 14%

Hubby is getting more into the saving portion.

Never Enough
86% of us don't think we make enough money.

What Women Want
Which would you rather have?

A winning $1 million lottery ticket: 61%
Mr. Right: 24%
The most exciting career in the world: 10%
Halle Berry's figure: 5%

Mr right but I alreayd have him
Little Spenders
What kinds of things do your kids bug you the most to buy?
Video games, CDs and DVDs: 35%
Toys: 25%
Clothes: 24%
A car: 14%
Sports equipment: 2%


It's About Looking Good
Which items usually take up the most room in your shopping bags?
Clothes tipped the scales at 57%; only 2% went for the latest TV or other electronics.


You're Not All Clothes Minded
64% would choose a sexy weekend hotel stay with their spouse over a $1,000 gift certificate for new clothes.


Where do you stand?

Enjoy your savings!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Homemade cleaning solution

All Purpose Spray Cleaner

1 pint rubbing alcohol
1 tbsp dishwashing detergent
1 tbsp household ammonia(
1 tbsp vinegar

Put in gallon jug, top off with warm water and shake gently. Pour into a spray bottle and start cleaning.

This is a good solution to put in those clorex and swiffer mops.

Enjoy your savings!

Meal planning on a budget week of Jan 15th

Two weeks into the New Years! I am still doing modified south beach. :) My meals are more modified no starches for me.

Sun Steak (got it in the marked down section for $2.00 off), potatos,

Mon kielbasa and baked beans in the crockpot.

Tues Hamburger and spinach

Wed Sausage, peppers and onions

Thurs Clean out the fridge night... leftovers or sandwiches if nothing else.

Friday Homemade chicken nuggets, potatos,

Sat Pizza

Understanding Life Insurance

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World

Money Saving Tips
Featured Article Understanding Life Insurance
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Focus on cooking: Converting recipes to the crockpot

Read this issue at:

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Paying cash for the car repair

After much discussion and a higher than expected commission check of my husband, we are now paying cash for our transmission car repair We only had to take $1000 out of the emergency fund, the rest from this week's paycheck.

So the plan for the next 6 months will be to pay $166 back to our emergency fund.

Enjoy your savings!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tax Season, bad money advice, cheap movies

Just a trip around the money blog world!

SavvySaver posts about the beginning of tax season in getting prepared.

Sound Money Tips analyes some bad money advice in Money Magazine I agree it was truly bad advice

Boston Gal shares a coupon for $5.00 movies in January.

Enjoy your savings!

Pension issues

I thought I would pass along a good series of articles on pensions and retirement! No pension plans here. I had one at my previous job that I cashed out instead of rolling over into my IRA.

01/11/06: Pension Peril: Securing income for life ... How to make up for income shortfalls if your company freezes your pension

01/12/06: Good riddance to pensions ... Corporate pensions are an unstable, unfair and economically perverse means of paying for retirement

01/13/05: America's pension time bomb...Commentary: Workers, employers, taxpayers, governments. Meet the key players in the coming battle

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Car Repair

Well something that I should have know might happen, did happen. Our 1996 Dodge Caravan's transmission went and it needs to be fixed to the tune of $2200. I have seen reports in recent years that this does happen and it happened to us at 92k miles.

I was going to just take the money out of the emergency fund but it is very low right now.

So the plan to take out my emergency credit card and use that. Our tax returns should hopefully cover that

Some of you may ask why not a new car, well we just got 1 car loan back in May for 3 years. I don't want to have a 3 year loan. Also looking at $2200 for atleast one more year vs a car payment is a difference. I am hoping that we get atleast 2-3 more years from the car.

Frugal meal planning wk of Jan 8th

The second full week of the new year! We used our once a month going out to eat on Saturday night.

Here is the menu plan for the week:
Sun Steak,potatos and green beans

Mon Crockpot chicken Salsa

Tues Spaghetti and meatballs

Wed Leftover crockpot chicken salsa

Thurs Fishsticks and french fries

Fri Pizza

Sat Hot dogs

I am still watching my carbs so I am not eating the carby meals. I am usually having a salad, another veggie and just the meat portion. I am down 8lbs in the first week! Yeah!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Low carb on a budget

A low carb diet doesn't have to break the bank. It can be done on a budget. I am doing modified south beach-mostly increasing veggies, cutting out sugar.

Here are some great places to get ideas:

Can you do Low carb on a budget?

$50 a week budget low carb food planning

Suggestions on eating cheap

South Beach Diet food on budget

Cheap filling soups

Superhero 401ks, food stamps, and homeowners

In case you missed it here are some good reading posts from the world of personal finance and frugal living.

Everybody loves your money talks about his 401k performance and how reminds him of a super hero.

Jeffrey over at PF advices gives a reminder it time to look over those homeowner insurance documents.

Frugal for Life shares a story about surviving and food stamps.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lowering credit card interest rates

I am currently debt free except for a car loan and a mortgage. My husband and I had over $20k in credit card that we paid off a few years ago. One of the strategies that we used lowering our credit card rates and surfing the cards.

If you are trying to get out of debt, one of the first thing you need to do is try to lower your credit card interest rates.

Call your credit card companies to see if they will lower your interest rates.
A major consumer group conducted a study to find out how easy it is to get a lower credit card interest rate. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of those who simply telephoned their credit card company and asked for a lower interest rate got one instantly. This rate was anywhere from 7 to 10 points lower than their current rate.

A sample opening on a phone call to your credit card company may go like this I have received a pre-approved offer in the mail from _______ Bank offering me a ____ interest rate card. Can you beat or match that offer or do I have to transfer my balance to their credit card?
If you do not succeed with the customer service rep, ask to speak to a supervisor.
You can also pay the balance transfer game. First, ask these questions:

1. How long does the introductory rate last?
2. What is the card's annual percentage rate after that teaser rate expires?
3. Does the teaser rate apply to transferred balances or new purchases or both?
4. Does that card have an annual fee?
5. What about late fees and over-the-limit fees?
6. Ask if there are balance-transfer fees (Some issuers charge transaction fees as high as 4 percent. So the higher that balance, the higher the transaction fee. A 4 percent fee on a $5,000 balance would cost $200).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Peerflix Trading DVDs

As part of my annual decluttering, we are going to sign up using Peerflix. to get rid of some DVDs that we are no longer interested in and get some that the kids may like.

How does it work!

Peerflix. is free to sign up for.

You list the DVD you have
List the DVDS you want to trade for 99 cents per trade.

Get the Details

Keep what you receive. You own them.
You own what you receive. That means you can keep them as long as you like or trade them again. There will never be any late fees.
Our network is growing fast
Peerflix is growing at a fast rate. Our selection of titles grows with every new member. Click Browse, and check our 'DVDs Available Now' & 'DVDs recently added' section daily to see new DVDs that our members have recently added and that are available now.

No membership fees
Peerflix will ALWAYS be the lowest cost way to watch DVDs - legally. With Peerflix, you pay as you go only 99 cents per trade. There are no hidden charges, no contracts.

With Peerflix, you're not billed by the month. So, if you try it and don't continue, you wont be billed. But, you can easily cancel your membership anytime, online, 24 hours a day. There are no cancellation fees, no commitments and no 800 numbers to call.
Low Shipping Costs
Because only the DVD is traded and not the entire case, it only takes one stamp ($0.37 in the US and $0.50 in Canada) to mail the DVD on.
Peerflix PeerSafe Protection
All members are protected by the Peerflix PeerSafe protection program. This means you can trade DVDs that you own, worry free. We will credit you for any DVD that is lost, stolen or damaged, subject to the Terms Of Use

FREE DVDs Promotion!!!
As your sign up gift, you will receive one free DVD from Peerflix once you fully activate your account. You will have a chance to select the specific title you'd like to receive when you complete your risk-free trial offer. In addition, you'll receive credit on Peerflix to request a 2nd Free DVD from the network.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Openned a new savings account

I had some Christmas money given to me and the children by my parents. I openned up a new ING account for our Disney 2007 trip. I am hoping to put in about $250 a month towards this.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Frugal Meal Planning week of Jan 1st

Aahh the first of the year, the time to go on diets. Yup me too. Mine will be lowering my carbs and calories.

Sun Leftover chinese food for family, grilled chicken salad for me

Mon Hot dogs, french friends for family, soup, and taco salad for me

Tues Chili

Wed Hamburger, Spinach and cheese casserole

Thurs Pork, Green beans, potatos

Fri Leftovers clean out of the fridge night!

Sat Pizza, eggplant pizza

Enjoy your savings!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Tips to get out of debt

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World
Money Saving Tips
Featured Article 5 tips to get out of debt
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Meal Planning

Read this issue at:

5 tips for getting out of debt

Happy New Year!

Hope you are enjoying the first of a great 2006!