Friday, March 31, 2006


Here are some freebies Enjoy!
Friskies Variety Show Free Sample
Free cork screw
Yappy Treats Free Gift
Free Sample Form for Nautica Launch Men's Fragrance
Free paper pack from Hewlett Packard
Free Workout DVD from Nike
And a couple of contests
CALGON Instant Win Game: Win Free Bath & Body Products
Win a Visa Gift Card by putting in your vote for the next American Idol.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring Fever

It is here! Spring! This is my absolute fave time of year. Time to put the winter coats away, and get out the shorts and T-shirts.

My favorite part is Spring Flowers. I love all types but the most special are Lilies.

Calla Lilies, -- Majestic Beauty
Day Lilies -- Coquetry
Orange Lilies -- Wealth, Pride
White Lilies -- Majesty and Purity, Virginity
Lily of the Valley -- Purity and Humility, Sweetness

Lilies are perfect for Easter. I try to make sure that I get some from the flower store before they come up in my garden.

Monday, March 27, 2006

What form of payment do you use for groceries?

In another frugal momey poll, we are looking are you paying cash, using a debit card or a credit card. I have always used a debit card for my groceries. I don't like carrying cash in my pocketbook. It is easier for me to track and I do not overspend either.

What form of payment do you use for groceries?
Debit Card
Credit Card
Free polls from

March Madness office pool poll

Well in our poll about March Madness office pools, it seems like most frugal minded people do not participate in office pools.

Do you (or your spouse) participate in any March Madness office pools?


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Frugal Menu Planning wk Mar 26th

Hard to believe the end of March is here already. Before you know it will be summer time and we will be grilling all the time!

Here is my menu plan for the week:

Sun Patty melts, french fries, corn

Mon Leftovers we got some left over nacho stuffed shells, and chicken bruschetta

Tues Hamburger spinach bake

Wed Chili

Thurs Soup and Sandwich night or leftover hamburger spinach bake

Fri Leftover chili

Sat Pizza

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Make your own seasonings

Spice it Up! Make Your Own Seasoning Blends

If you like to cook, you?ve probably purchased a ready-made seasoning packet or spice blend at one time or another. While they are a convenient way to add some flavor to your recipes, they can be expensive. Did you know that you can purchase bulk spices and make your own seasoning blends right at home for the fraction of the price?

Bulk spices can be found at warehouse grocery stores or retailers such as Sam?s Club. Stored in an airtight container, most seasoning blends will keep for up to six months. And, in a decorative bottle or jar they can make a fun gift for any gourmet!


2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground oregano

Combine seasoning mixture with 1 lb. Drained ground beef and ? C. water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.



2 tablespoons Romano cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper

Tastes great mixed with Italian Salad dressing and pasta.



1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper

Adds flavor to chicken, pork, and pasta.



1 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley leaves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried green pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground basil
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container.



1/4 cup crushed dried minced onion flakes
4 teaspoons crushed dried vegetable flakes
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried orange peel
2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened lemonade drink mix (such as Kool-Aid)

Great for those on a low-sodium diet!



1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Add savory, marjoram, dill, allspice and ginger according to your own personal taste. The recipe above makes about 1 tablespoon, enough for 1 chicken dish.



1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Black pepper to taste

Grind the coriander and fennel seeds with the bay leaf. Combine with additional
ingredients. Makes about 2 tablespoons.



4 tablespoons paprika
1 ? tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons salt
1 ? tablespoons oregano
1 ? tablespoons thyme

Rub this blend on meats before grilling.



1 cup paprika
1 cup dried basil
1 cup dried thyme
1/2 cup cayenne
1/2 cup file gumbo
1/4 cup chili powder


Emeril's Essence

5 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme

A basic spice mixture used in dozens of Emeril Lagasse's recipes. Mix it up and keep some on hand to "kick" any dish "up a notch!"

About the Author:About the author: Kim Danger is a self-proclaimed thrifty mom and owner/operator of the website She lives with her husband and daughter in Southern Minnesota.

Tags: recipe

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Freebies!

Enjoy these great freebies!

Today Show had a segment devoted to freebies. Check it out for some great deals.
Trial pair of contact lenses
Free POISE Pads
Small Bites recipe book from Hidden Valley Ranch
Free Asprin
Tea Sample
Free Vitamin Sample
Feiya Express Peeling Cream
Win a Lowes Gift Card

Drug Recall lawsuits

I have received a few notices of class action these in my lifetime. For example, I was part of the Netflix class action lawsuit as well as one for an MBNA credit card.

A "class action" is a civil suit brought by one or more people on behalf of themselves and others who are similarly situated. In other words, the others are in a substantially similar circumstance where the common issues are the most critical to the lawsuit. For example, if a large number of consumers is injured as a result of an allegedly defective product, the principal issue will be whether the product caused the injury. Some examples of class actions are those brought against the manufacturers of allegedly defective or hazardous products, such as asbestos, certain vaccines, Agent Orange, tobacco, and breast implants. Only then will the question of how badly each party was injured be heard.

One of the biggest class action lawsuits around now is for arthritis drug recalls. I have seen numerous ads on the tv with vioxx lawyers looking for people to partake.

Some of the serious side effects of Vioxx and other Arthritis pain relief drugs

High risk of heart attacks, chest pain related to heart disease, stroke, sudden death, and blood clots.

Stomach problems, such as stomach and intestinal bleeding, can occur with or without warning symptoms. If severe enough, these Vioxx side effects could lead to hospitalization or death.

Allergic reactions including swelling of face, lips, tongue, and/or throat which may cause difficulty breathing or swallowing but may require treatment right away.

Kidney problems including acute kidney failure and worsening of chronic kidney failure.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Old Navy Discount Coupon

I wanted to pass along this great coupon for I love buying clothes for the boys there especially their summer outfits. Makes them look all spruced up!
Get $10 off any purchase of $50 or more
To redeem online, enter this promo code at checkout:
Expires: March 27, 2006
Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Home improvement tax credits

We are getting new windows with our tax refund this year. We can get a tax credit up to $200 for installing new energy efficent windows. We were planning to do this anyways, so the tax credit will be a nice bonus.

If you are doing some improvement around the house, here is what qualifies.

Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credits
Consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in the home can receive a tax credit of up to $500 beginning in January 2006.

The EPACT also provides a credit equal to 30% of qualifying expenditures for purchase for qualified photovoltaic property and for solar water heating property used exclusively for purposes other than heating swimming pools and hot tubs. The credit shall not exceed $2000.

Improvements must be installed in or on the taxpayer’s principal residence in the United States. Home improvement tax credits apply for improvements made between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007.

What is a tax credit? You don’t receive an income tax credit when you buy the product, like an instant rebate. You claim the credit on your federal income tax form at the end of the year. The credit then increases the tax refund you receive or decreases the amount you have to pay.

Tax credits vs. tax deductions: In general, a tax credit is more valuable than a similar tax deduction. A tax credit reduces the tax you pay, dollar-for-dollar. Tax deductions – such as those for home mortgages and charitable giving – lower your taxable income. If you are in the highest 35-percent tax bracket, the income tax you pay is reduced by 35 percent of the value of a tax deduction. But a tax credit reduces your federal income tax by 100 percent of the amount of the credit.

Bridesmaid Gifts on a Budget

There are many little expenses that pop up when you are planning your wedding day. For sure, bridesmaids will appreciate at least a token gift to help them remember the day without breaking the bank.

Here are some suggestions for bridesmaid gifts.

Personalized Gifts
Anything engraved or embroidered adds that personal touch. You can engrave jewelry, candles and candle holders, wine glasses. If you start early you maybe able to get some bargains. One bridemaid gift I received was a personalized jewelry box with the with the bride and grooms name, date and a thank you for being part of their special day.

Gift Baskets
There are so many ideas for gift basket ideas for bridesmaid. Create a bath and body works gift basket which can include some stress relivers. A stationary basket with some nice paper and pens. Other basket suggestions, wine and cheese, a sun lover basket, and a chocolate lover basket.

Bridesmaid gifts do not need to be expensive. You don't need to impress your bridesmaid, they already love and have your friendship.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Do you tear up credit card offers?

I received 3 credit card applications in the mail today. One for Citi financial, and 2 for Capital One. I rip them up into many pieces but didn't shredd them since we don't own a shredder. Would someone ever go through my garbage and try to piece together an application that is ripped into 12-15 pieces?

After reading this man's story of apply for a credit card using a torn-up application, I need to run out and get a shredder.

Even mailing it to a different address and using a cell phone activate makes this situation seem even more scary.

What can you do:
Opt out of credit card offers at or call 800-5OPT-OUT

March Madness Office pools poll

You have to be living under a rock not to hear the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Many office workers participate in office pools. However loss of productivity is expected as workers sneak to watch these games or discuss results.

Many who don't even participate in office pools take part.

Do you (or your spouse) participate in any March Madness office pools?
Free polls from

Sunday, March 19, 2006

How will you spend your tax refund poll results

The results for How will you spend your tax refund are in. Over 1/4 are not getting refunds. Most are applying it to debt or saving it in an emergency fund. No one is going on vacation with their refund either! I would have thought some would be using it for vacation.

No tax refund for me 25%
Applying it to debt 30%
Saving it for a rainy day 20%
Vacation 0% 0
Home improvement 10%
Other 15%

Easy frugal Recipes

Here are some recipe posts

Easy Tuna Recipes

Pancake and homemade syrup recipes

Easy potato recipes

How to cook a turkey

Freezing Turkey leftovers

Easy homemade soup recipes

Easy BBQ Sauces and Marinades

Easy pasta recipes

Trip to Disney

As mentioned in previous posts one of my savings goals for a trip to Disney. We are debating on whether or not staying onsite at one of the Disney hotels or go off and rent a Vacation Home Orlando.

The reasons to stay on property is that the magic is always around 24/7. The downside is that we would have to rent two rooms because of our family size. Staying off property would be less expensive and we may get to have a longer trip. So there are pro and cons to for both.

Decisions Decisions Decisions.

Enjoy your savings!

Frugal Dinner planning wk Mar 19th

Sun Steak, potatoes, green beans

Mon Leftover ground turkey enchiladas

Tues Chicken Bruschetta Bake

Wed Nacho Stuffed Shells

Thurs Leftover Chicken Brushetta Bake

Fri Leftover Nacho Stuffed shells

Sat Kids School Fundraiser Kids over grandparents

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Which Pizza Place?

I like to support the businesses in my community that support the schools in my town. I don't expect businesses to contribute but value the ones are community supporters. I am helping running comedy fundraiser for my son's school.

I have been regularly going to one pizza place the last few years because they support the community. They donate pizza or give us a really good discount. They are able to deduct as a charity expense plus they get some exposure.

This past year the owner died and a new owner took over. Absolutely no way will they donate any pizza or give a discount.

The pizza place down the store is now providing the pizza for free. Plus they donated 3 $25 gift certificates to be rafffled off.

Which pizza place which will be getting my dollars when we get the urge for pizza.

Getting rid of the clutter

Everyone has some degree of clutter lurking at home. When you're tired of moving it around, stepping over it, and losing important items in it, it's time to take control of the clutter. What should you do with it? You have seven options:

1. Dispose of it. Much of clutter is trash you either thought you would need or figured you'd throw out later.

2. Put it away. About half of the remaining clutter in most homes consists of items that simply haven't been put away. Fill a laundry basket then deliver the items to the proper rooms. Avoid this trap by making things easy to put away and by enforcing a family "use it and put it away" rule.

3. Donate it. If you don't use it, it's not a treasured decorative items or memento, and it's not an important piece of paper, get rid of it. Pass it along to someone who can use it.

4. Refer it. The novel you've been saving for Debbie, the recipe you copied for Aunt Jan and the glove borrowed from Mom need to be sent or delivered to their rightful owners. Gather them and make your rounds tomorrow.

5. File it. Set up a "hold" file for wedding invitations and concert tickets (after you note them in your calendar). Set up a "to file" file for all important papers.

6. Fix it or have it repaired today. Those buttons aren't going to sew themselves. Either mend them or take them to a seamstress. The same goes for the broken toys and watches.

7. Give it a home. Everything else is something that belongs in your home but you don't know what to do with it. Where DO you put extra batteries and your kids' artwork? Designate a permanent place in your home for each group of items you find in a clutter pile. Simplify by making a list of items and where they belong.

Barbara Myers is a speaker, author and organizing consultant. Enjoy a free time management tips booklet at

Free HBO this weekend!

Yeah! I have Comcast cable and will be checking it out. I did start to watch Big Love (Polygamy for the Desperate Housewives set) on On-demand (get that free too) but fell asleep. Maybe catch-up with my fave mobsters and re watch some So my Netflix movies will be watched later so I can take advantage of watching the free HBO weekend.

And not I will not order HBO after this weekend! I don't think that it is worth it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How to motivate yourself to be frugal

Hello and Welcome!

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

Money Saving Tips
Featured Article How to motivate yourself to be frugal
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Meal Planning Ground Beef enchilada casserole

Read this issue at:

Enjoy! Best of luck in your savings

Monday, March 13, 2006

Make money blogging

There are several way to make money blogging

1. Selling advertising space. You can get advertisers on your blog if you have a blog with a lot of traffic or with Google Adsense which is an ad network run by Google.

2. Affiliate Marketing Amazon is example of an affiliate that pays websites or blogs a commission for selling their program. There are thousands of affiliate companies out there. If you are interested in a company, check to see if they have an affiliate program and you make some extra money. For example if you want to write about ceramic ducks there is probably a company that sells them.

3. Make money by selling your own products. Do make crafts or sell for a direct sales company. A blog is an excellent way to keep in contact with potential buyers.

There are alot of ways that you can make money blogging. It just takes some times and effort to make such you got a good topic and readership.

How will you spend your tax refund

How will you spend your tax refund?
No tax refund for me
Applying it to debt
Saving it for a rainy day
Home improvement
Free polls from

We are buying new windows this year so ours would be under home improvement! Last year it went through our car downpayment.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Do you do your own taxes poll result

Here are the results from our second poll

Do you do your own taxes

Yes I do it by hand 10%
Yes I use software 48%
No, I use a local independent tax preparer 33%
No, I use a chain like H&R block 10%

It looks like almost half are using software such as TurboTax or TaxACT today!

A close 2nd is getting it done professionally by an independent tax preparer or a chain.

Only a month left to file if you haven't already!

Frugal Dinner planning wk of Mar 12th

Can you say leftover leftover and even more leftovers!! We had the twins birthday party yesterday. It was just for family. I made a large batch of meatballs and ziti. I got enough to feed an army still.

Sun Ziti and meatballs

Mon Pot Roasted and potatoes

Tues Ziti and meatballs

Wed Leftover pot roast

Thurs Meatball subs?

Friday Fish sticks or tuna sandwiches

Sat Homemade pizza

My pantry is starting to look a little bare (yea) so I will start watching the loss leaders to see what I need. I got plenty of meat so it just canned goods plus cleaning supplies.

How to avoid hidden fees?

There are a lot of different ways to avoid getting hit with hidden fees. $750 is what the average average pays in hidden fees each year, most of them are for credit cards but other businesses have them as well.

Late Fees
This is the biggest one. The important thing is to get your minimum payment in as soon as possible. Do it online to get it there faster or make sure you are sending in the payment with the bar code payment stub. Or consider setting up an automatic payment from your checking account. Also if you are late on one bill, you may see your credit card interest rates go up.

High-speed Internet connection
Federal regulations require the big telecommunications suppliers to contribute funds to the Federal Universal Service Fund to defray costs of increasing Internet access at libraries and other public places and of advancing online availability to low-income and rural Internet users.

I just checked my comcast bill and didn't see it.

Cell Phone Hidden Fees
These fees are hard to avoid once you see them because you are most likely in a contact they include fees for user portability and 911 cell phone locator services. Watch out for text messaging as well. It can 5 to 10 cents to text message each time. That can add up big bucks if you are constantly text messaging friends or sign-up for automatic text message announcements to your cell phone.

Personally I have never used text messaging and don't see what all the fuss is about. Call them on their cell phone if you need them.

Be an informed consumer can help you be aware.

Enjoy your savings!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Saving on Printer Ink

Yesterday I ran out of color ink for my printer and I needed it!! I was going to a "Girls Night Out" and was printing a copy of a birthday party invitation that I made for my son's birthday.
Spiderman printing out yellow isn't cool.

Running out to CVS and spent $35 on a printer cartridge. I usually get mine at 123inkjets. For the same color cartridge it would be $22 and no shipping.

I have been using 123inkjetsfor years and never had a problem with the product or getting my product within 3-5 business days.

It shows you proper planning can keep more money in your pocket!

Frugal Dog Care Money saving tips

Make an inexpensive dog toy. Drill a hole through a tennis ball, large enough to put a rope through. Thread a 6-8 foot rope through the 2 holes, and tie knots as close to the ball as possible. Then make a loop with the remaining rope, and tie a knot. Dogs love to play "Tug and Toss" with this.

Did you know that adding a little sage to your dog's diet may help keep fleas off him? (The little suckers hate the stuff!)

Shop at your local Humane Society for dog food. The price is low, and the money benefits a great cause!

All natural, homemade flea dip: Boil a quart of water; remove from heat and add 2 cups fresh rosemary and/or mint and let it steep for about 30 minutes. After straining the herbs, dilute with 4 quarts of warm water. Pour it over your dog, working it into his coat and skin.

Rabies and other vaccinations: In some cities, local vets get together once a month or so to offer a vaccination clinic, and charge substantially less than an office visit! Check with your local pet supply store or vet to see if there's one in your area.
For more dog care tips and money-saving coupons, visit

Friday, March 10, 2006

Free Samples

Free Allure Sample from Murad

Dove Calming Night free sample! You got to watch the clips with
Felicity Huffman in the Brady Bunch and other classic shows.

Free Silk Skin samples

Free Power Foundations from Glamour magazine

Free Samples of H.O.T. Sauce

Colgate Total Rebate

True Lemon® Drink free sample

Surveys or contest to check out

Win a $50 Gift certificate Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts

I-Say surveys Make your opinion count by joining the Ipsos i-Say Panel. Simply give us your opinion and you could win $1000!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cut your grocery bill in half

I was standing in line at the checkout counter and saw the headline cut your grocery bill in half, it caught my attention on the Woman Day issue. Of course being the frugal momma that I am, I am always looking for some new tips. The secret ingredients Use Coupons!

The Recommendation : is a time-saving way to watch coupons and check prices. The "rock bottom" prices on hundreds of products each week and matches them up with manufacturers' coupons for the best possible savings at your local supermarket. The Grocery Game has exclusive databases that track manufacturers' coupons along with weekly sales and specials, both advertised and UN-advertised

I personally haven't used the grocery game nor have an interest in it. There is a $1.00 trial and then costs you $5.00 per month to use it. For someone who doesn't have the time to look at grocery fliers and match coupons up, it maybe worth it. I am going to pass since I rarely use coupons.

A good source of grocery store coupons is mentioned in the article and I do recommend it. The Coupons Clippers has a lot of coupons that you can order online and have them mailed to you. Also check out ebay.

My 3 personal recommendations on saving on groceries is:
1. Pricebook where you keep track of prices.
2. Weekly grocery fliers
3. Menu planning

Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Scooby Doo meets Jimmy Buffet

is what a recent music review called Uncle Moondog Yes that is a compliment

"I got stanky socks you can smell them down the block" is a song that is often sung around our house with 3 young boys. Uncle Moondog is the composer and singer of such songs like Stanky Socks, Dancing with my Dog and I got a new goldfish. Uncle Moondog is the brainchild of one of my husband's co-workers son.

While it might not be exactly "Cheeseburger in paradise" it does have Porpoises, Pelicans, & Palm Trees and much better to listen in the car than Barney or the Wiggles.

If you want to find out more about

It makes a good Easter bunny gift!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Do you do your own taxes?

Another frugal poll to see the pulse of the frugal world.

Do you do your own taxes?
Yes I do it by hand
Yes I use software
No, I use a local independent tax preparer
No, I use a chain like H&R block

Free polls from

My answer is an independent tax prepared. It is not necessarily frugal but gives me peace of mind.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Easy Tuna Recipes

Tuna Fish is for more than sandwiches. It is a cheap but filling food.
Tuna, an excellent source of lean protein, vitamins and minerals, is a wonderful
way to excite the palate while maintaining a balanced diet. However, tuna has
more to offer than just great taste and nutrition. Tuna can also help lower
blood pressure and cholesterol. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids,
found in abundance in fatty fish like tuna, can help lower the risk of heart
disease, ease the pain of arthritis, reduce asthma complications, and is
essential in the growth and development of young children.

If Tuna Noodle Casserole makes you think of Julie and Gabe on Welcome Back
Kotter, you are probably not alone. If you are a child of the 70s, you can't
forget Gabe making fun of his wife's cooking. Most will put their
noses up at tuna casserole but it is good and cheap dish. And since it is
now lent, tuna noodle casserole is a good Friday night food.
Here are some easy tuna recipes besides tuna noodle casserole

Tuna Casserole Recipe for Crockpot

Tuna Strata with Cheese and Eggs

Tuna Muffins Great Low Carb recipe

Low Carb Tuna casserole

Tuna and tomato pies
Tuna Tomato Skillet

Cheesy Tuna Melts

How often do you go out to eat poll results

Drum roll please.

The results of our first frugal poll....

How often do you go out to eat?

Never 11%
1-4 times a month 53%
5-8 times a month 22%
over 8 times a month 14%

I find myself average as I said we go out 2-3 times a month.

Eating out is a huge budget buster and one thing we can do to keep our budget in check. Try to do brown bag lunches, once a month freezer cooking, make menus. All of that can happen in keeping the eat out budget less.

5 tips to avoid tax audits

I have never had one but worry about having one. I haven't done anything wrong or nothing should really stick out. Probably having an audit is one of life's most stressful money moments.

5 audit red flags shows you how to keep a low profile in the eyes of the IRS and avoid an audit.

Overkill on charitable contributions
We have donated two cars to charity because we wanted the tax deduction. I am glad that we didn't overinflate the value because that can stick out like a sore thumb.

The smart things is to have receipts for your charity giving.

Too many deductions for the self-employed
I am self-employeed (affiiate marketing and my Cognigen biz) and I get decent money from it. I make sure my deductions are legit and keep track of all expenses.

Above-average deductions
We are average average boring folks here! 3 kids, mortgage, nothing out of the ordinary here.

Making six figures
Not in this category but it won't stop me from hoping to be here one day. Of the 1.2 million audited last year almost 20% had income of 100,000 or more.

Careless omissions
Take the time to do it right the first time. Keep your 1099, W-2 and all other tax paperwork in safe and organized. Use a tax prepared or software to help you do it correctly.

Hopefully I will never have to experience a tax audit. As long as I hopefully do not stand out too much, my husband and I will be ok.

Frugal Meal Planning wk of Mar 5th

Sun Pork Chops, mashed potatoes

Mon Cheeseburger Casserole
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. Bisquick
3 eggs
2 tomatoes, diced
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
Optional: Green peppers & mushrooms

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 10 x 1 1/2 inch square pan. Brown beef or turkey and onion together and drain off fat. Stir in salt and pepper; spread in pan. Beat in a bowl milk, Bisquick and eggs until smooth.
Pour into pan over meat mixture. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees, then top with tomatoes and cheese. Return to oven and bake about 10-15 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

Tues Chicken Stroganoff

Wed Leftovers from cheeseburger casserole or chicken stroganoff

Thurs Son's bday maybe Burger King

Fri Tuna and tomato Skillet

Sat 4 yr sons birthday party pasta, meatballs

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Scarlett Fever

I didn't even know that this existed anymore. Well it does and my oldest son has it. He woke up the morning and had a rash with pink dots all over his torso. He has no fever, or cough. Just a slight cough. My son will be fine, just needs to be quaratine into his bedroom. Luckily we have a portable dvd player and my husband bought him a handheld Battleship game.

So another doctor's visitor co-pay of $25 plus the cost of amoxycillin, our medical bills keep going up and up each day.

Frugal Pet Care Homemade Dog Treats

Homemade doggy biscuits treats

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup skim milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk.
Add wet mixture to dry, and mix well.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out to 1/4-inch thick and cut out shapes.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a rack then store in an airtight container.
Makes 30 large bones

This is a great to make for Christmas for those canine family members.

Pantry Challenge week 2

This was the second week of my pantry challenge and I didn't do too well. My goal wasn't to spend more than $30 but I spent over $50. I got an good deal on ground beef and bought some extra snacks type food for cub scout. I wouldn't have bought the ground beef but I am going to make meatballs and freeze them for my sons' birthday party next week.

I am off the pantry challenge next week but will try to not keep stocking up unless it is a really good deal.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Tax Refund

I had my taxes done last Saturday and received my state refund via direct deposit yesterday! This is the first year that I have e-filed and I am impressed with the speediness.

Hopefully our federal tax refund will be here soon as well. We are expecting a good amount back. Yes I know we are loaning Uncle Sam money interest free but for us it is a way to get a large refund and use that money towards a home repair or special savings towards a car. Last year was a new used car, this year will be some new windows for the house. The reminder will go into our emergency fund which hasn't been looking too good lately.

Friday Freebies

Free Recipe Cards
Coupons and special offers from Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Basic, or Parliament.
Free sample bags
Free Disney Pin
Free Dentyne Gum
Free Crayola® Dry Eraser

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How to find and get college scholarships

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

Money Saving Tips
Featured Article How to find and get scholarships
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Meal Planning Oatmeal Bars