Saturday, April 29, 2006

Frugal Dinner Planning wk of Apr 29th

Sun Hamburgers on the grill

Mon Beef stew in the crockpot

Tues Homemade chicken nuggets

Wed Leftover beef stew

Thurs Spaghetti

Fri Clean out the fridge night

Sat Homemade pizza

Resources and Tools for Internet Marketing

The question of the week at Wahm Bloggers Network is What business tools have you purchased to help increase your home business earnings? If you haven't where you go to "learn" for free?

I have been doing affiliate marketing for over 4 years. I have many different websites that I have built over the years. But my first one will always be my baby and where I got my feet wet.

Pay Per Clicking Marketing I don't do this as much as I used to. I think the main thing is to make sure is you know you keywords and what you competitors are paying. Also set a budget. I got stung during my first campaign and spending too much money.

Ebooks I have only bought my ebook called Super affiliate handbook by Rosalind Gardner. It is a good handbook and has taught me a lot about affiliate marketing.

My other resources are free. I spend a lot of time reading different sites for hints
Here are some good resources:

Self-Starters Weekly Tips!
ProBlogger Blog Tips
Friendly, helpful affiliate forum
Internet Marketing & Search Engine Forums

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Disney World Money Saving Tips

We have a guest blogger today Ashley of The Kid Within focuses on Disney and other Orlando parks. She is also a contributor to Wahm bloggers network. I asked Ashley if she had some money saving tips at Disney. As you have read I am hoping my family goes in 2007 so I am truly trying to find how to do Disney on a budget.

AAA members you can get a better deal on tickets thru them. Also sometimes if you purchase the tickets online you can get a little discount.

Disney has some hotels that are called Disney Value Resorts. Anyways, If you book thru them it's like an all exclusive deal where your tickets to the park are included with the price of your hotel. You still have to pay for the tickets. It's more like a package deal.

If you are planning on staying for a full week or a little more it's probably in your best interest to get a annual pass. It's a lot of money up front but in the long run you save. The have other ticket options you can choose from too. If you are planning visiting all the parks I would suggest to get a multi-day pass called Park Hopper . c there is no way you can see all 4 Disney theme parks in one day.

Another way to save on drinks when going to Disney is bring a water bottle from home. You can refill it from the water fountain. The water fountains there are always ice cold. If you don't do this you are looking at paying anywhere from $3.50 to $4.50 for a bottle of water. The usually always have some sort of special bottle you can buy at Disney you pay like anywhere from $7 to $10 for this thing but you get free refills all day long.

I would also suggest eating breakfast before you get to the park b/c you will save money that way.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sunscreen will help you fight fat

Did you know that a special sunscreen will help you fight fat while lying on the beach?

Give me a break! This magical 8.5 oz bottle that is just $36 will help you look your best. With exclusive sun-activated spheres that release fat-attacking caffeine molecules when you need them most— while bearing the better part of your birthday suit in the sun—

If you don't believe me yourself check Bliss
which is the manufacture

Cough cough... I will save my $36 and buy my $9.00 bottle at CVS However people will buy and spend money on things that will help make them look and feel better.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hey Mom I want an Ipod

I am sure alot of Mom and Dad have heard that statement. My children are still on the younger side and I don't think my 7 year old knows what one is. However he wants to expand his ever growing collections of little Legos and X-box games. Are we creating a nation of spoiled little brats by providing our kids expensive toys?

Spare the Ipod, Unspoil the Child takes a look at the overindulgence of parents giving kids all sorts of toys and gadgets.

However it is just not the spoiling issues or keeping up the jones kids, it has to do how we raise them to be money smart as well.

Parents are spending so much to keep their children entertained that these young folks don't know how to entertain themselves with anything that doesn't cost money.

Right now there are debt-plagued parents parading through Disney World or Disneyland or some other vacation spot adding more charges to their credit cards to please their children.

What are you teaching your kids? Instant Gratification and spend, spend spend or live within your means?

I am trying to raise my children that they do not need the latest gizmos. You can save and earn money to buy their toys. However I know as they get older they will say "Sam as has an Ipod or cell phone and I need one to fit in" Hopefully I will stick to my guns (and my husband as well) and say no in 5 years as well.

Heck I am 35 years old and don't have an Ipod.

Enjoy your savings!

Should my teenager pay a small bill each month?

hi got this question from a reader Her oldest son got this first job working about 20 hours a week. She wants to teach him to be responsible about money and wanted to know what other frugal like folks thought.

I got my first job at 15 and had to give my mother 1/4 of my money made to put towards my college savings. Everything else was mine to use however I had to pay for any fun stuff that I wanted to do.

My 16 yr old son is now working. I want to teach him to be responsible with his money, should I have him to pay a small household bill each month?
Yes, a small bill
No, he should be able to do with what he wants
Put it towards college
Put it towards his own expenses (he needs to buy his own clothes etc now)
Free polls from

If you have a frugal question you will like to see asked post in comments or send an email

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Extra $1000 poll results

In our recent What would you do if you had an extra $1000 poll almost half said that they would put in it an emergency fund. Paying off credit card debts was second. I stick to Dave Ramsey guidance in establishing a mini emergency fund of $1000 and then putting the rest towards debts. Hopefully it you paying off Visa and Mastercard you have a small rainy day fund. One choice that I didn't add was put it towards retirement in a Roth if you haven't already maxed out.

Stash it away for a rainy day 44%

I already spent it so paying off Visa and MC 32%

Put it towards non-credit card bills 16%

A mini vacation 4%

Shopping Spree

Other-put down in comments what you would do

Comparison shopping on medical procedures

Now I am not going talk about going to doctor to doctor and see what they charge. There is a website that will tell you what the medical procedure will cost and says that you will have the ability to negotiate on the price. Consumers can now obtain average prices for more than 55 hospital-based procedures around the country, ranging from baby deliveries to liver biopsies to bypass and cataract surgeries. The cost of a the report is $7.95

A recent Today show money segment explained what you get for this report.

There are three different prices:

1. List price This is the average amount paid by the uninsured. Prices are generally higher than the what they insured pay.

2. Negotiated amount that insurance companies generally pay in your region. It is about 45% of the list price.

3. Average out-of-pocket fees for insured patients.

Many health care procedures are negotiable and if you have the information on what other are paying, you will be an informed consumer.

Look at these prices only as a benchmark, not your actual dollar cost," suggests Shapiro. HealthGrades based the prices on data received from 80 different health plans. The cost is an aggregate of many different types of patients with varying levels of health. Your bill will depend on the inputs for your procedure, which will vary by severity of illness, fragility of the patient, and other risk factors. For example, the physician may need to do more preliminary tests on one patient than another, which will affect the price. But it does give you something you were lacking previously: A place to begin negotiations.

Frugal Meal Planning week of Apr 23rd

Here are our menus for this week:

Sun Pork Chops, Mash Potatoes Green Beans and Broccoli

Mon Chicken Stroganoff in the crockpot
Chicken breast, can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of milk diced onions, mushrooms. Throw in crockpot for 6 hrs. Add cooked noodles at the end.

Tues Tacos with Ground turkey

Wed Leftover chicken stroganoff

Thurs Pizza at cub scout

Fri Soup and Sandwiches clean out the fridge night

Sat Homemade pizza

Menu and Recipe ideas

Tags: frugal+meal+planning,, , recipes,, cooking,, pork, pizza,, tacos, chicken,

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Discover card gas back bonuses

Saw this at and thought I would share. As long as you pay if off each month and it sounds like a good deal.

If you're a Discover Card member, they are running a 5% cashback promotion that is free to join for existing card members:

Take care of your car and get 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,000 in gas and automotive purchases through June 30, 2006.

5% Cashback Bonus


Car Washes


Firestone Complete Auto Care™


Pep Boys

Sears Auto Center

To sign up, log in to the Account Center or call 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683), then just use your Discover Card to get 5% Cashback Bonus.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Gas Gouging is it happening?

We all know the price of gas is going up. Here is Massachusetts I saw premium at $3.09 at a lcoal Cumberland Farms today. There regular price was $2.89. I remember when I thought $2.39 was high.

Aren’t oil companies and gasoline dealers just price gouging? According to an article on
Msn as long as the markets are working properly — both the global market for oil and the local market for gasoline at the pump — it’s tough to make the case for “gouging.” There are laws on the books in many states, usually invoked when a disaster like a hurricane brings a short-term cutoff of supplies, against profiting unfairly from these shortages. But so far, very few cases of gouging have been successfully prosecuted. As long as dealers don't get together and set prices (that's called price fixing), they're free to charge what they think the market will bear.

The Department of Energy has set up a website to report Gas Gouging

I also found Gas Prices FAQs which looks like pretty good technical resource.

Great Freebies

Here are some great freebies!

Free Krispy Kreme Donut
Free CORTAID® Sample
Degree Women Free Deoderant Sample
Free Coffee Sample
Free Wheygold sample
Free Diaper Bag from Enfamil Family Beginnings
Free T-Shirt
Amino Vital® - Free Sample Request Form Health Bar

Win Babies Supplies for a year

Join the NFO Survey Win Cash and Prizes

Tags: Freebies, , Free+Sample, , Free+Stuff, , Coffee,

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Is it a sacrifice for me to be an at home mom?

The questions of the week at Work at home Mom Bloggers Network is What do you sacrifice to stay home with your children.

It is sort of the age old questions stay at home mom vs working moms. Which one is better for the kids. Mention it or question the decision on any "Mom boards" and there are flames being thrown from each side. Or watch a Dr Phil be referee when the he has tackled this heated debate. I think each family needs to make the decision themselves. Moms need to ask themselves "What choices are best for me so that I can be the happiest person I can be?"

My family's decision was for me to stay at home. I worked part-time with my oldest. It was a challenge however we were fortunate to have my mother, sister in law and mother in law assist in child care. When I found we were having twins, that made the decision for me to stay home. However we really didn't prepare financially for it. I have made references in the past about how sick I was about our financial situation.

That being said, staying home with the kids is the best decision for me. I really do not find it a sacrifice. So I don't get a new spring wardrobe or spend money on getting my hair and nails done all the time. We may not be able to have the newest mini-van on the block, getting our yard professionally done or taking the annual trip to Disney They were not all that important to me in the first place. However being able to cuddle on the couch at 2pm with one of the kids or volunteer at school is well worth it. Money can still be tight, but we manage with me being the home executive.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dealing with health insurance companies

I got a bill for 2 of my 3 sons annual wellness visit. I called up the doctor's office, it is a new pediatrician that we recently switched to find out why we had a balance of $180. The insurance company rejected the claim because their had been 360 days since their last physical.
Aetna Building - Bismarck, North Dakota
I dread dealing with our health insurance company Aenta because of problems we have had in the past. And they are the only option for health insurance through my husband's company.

1. Lost my entire family's records in their system.
2. Drop off one of my twin sons off our policy because it is fraud to have two people in the same family to have the same date of birth. Ever hear of twins?
3. Drop my oldest son's because he has the same first name as my husband.

So you can tell I am dealing with the brain trust.

I figured I need at least an hour of time to deal with this because of spending 10-15 minutes in automate system hell. And if you press "zero" it tells you not recognizable. And then while you finally get to the customer service line, no music just sort of dead air and you don't know whether you are connected or not.

15 minutes in the call, I get a person!

First person I give my little spiel about the billing problem. Not my area you must have pressed the wrong button. I ask if I have the the direct line, she gives me the same number that I called. She says she will transfer me.

What a surprise 20 more wait minutes

Second person I think you may have been transferred to the wrong area let me transfer you. My blood pressure is rising at this point.

Third person Finally get the correct area! Mrs Frugal I am sorry but we can not allow two wellness visits within one year that is why your claim has been rejected. I had spoken to someone in November when we switched pediatricians and they told me that we can go the new doctor and get a physical. I didn't go right away since we had physicals in Mar 2005. No more need to get the kids looked at, I would wait until the right time. Of course this csr has no idea of that policy even though I have the first name, no they don't give out last names or any other information to track the call.

I ask to speak to a manager and after waiting 10 minutes on hold, I get one but she has no idea what I am referring since the CSR didn't fill her in. She tells me that she can run the claim on through and it should go through no problem.

I should have asked for a manager in the first place.

78 minutes later I hang up the phone.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Our annual bi-weekly mortgage letter

My Mortgage company sent their annual bi-weekly payment letter to us this week.

Dear Frugal Momma and Not as frugal Dad,

XYZ mortgage has a great deal for you! We know that you are interested in saving interest on your mortgage. We hope that you are the fool that signs up for this!

We can save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest if you sign up for the bi-weekly mortgage payment. Instead of paying $1000 each month, you will pay $500 every other week. Just a little math trick for you to pay more, and that trick is to divide your mortgage in half and make that result the biweekly payment. 26 half-payments equal 13 whole-payments or an extra month's payment each year. Obviously, if you pay more money, you reduce your mortgage faster.

For this privilege of paying off your mortgage faster, we are going to charge you a one time fee of $500 and then monthly fee of $9.00. Just think of how much faster you will be paying off your mortgage even though we will be charging you a few thousand extra. If you were really thinking about paying your mortgage faster, you could split up a monthly mortgage payment by 12 and add that each month to your principal. However we really do not want you to do that because that would mean XYZ woudln't make as much money off your mortgage.

XYZ Mortgage values your business and we hope that you will consider taking this option so we can make some more money off of you.

I'm getting paid a commission to sell you this

PS Even though you only got 19 years left on your mortgage how about refinancning to a 30 yr fixed. You would take $200 off of your monthly mortgage payment and end up paying $50,000 more in interest! I promise you it is a great deal.
Tags: mortgage, , payment+options, , loan, , money, ,

Monday, April 17, 2006

What would you do if you got an extra $1000?

Imagine you got an extra $1000 what you do with it! I'll go first. I would put it towards a rainy day fund. We are building up an emergency fund still. How about you?

What would you do with an extra $1000?
Stash it away for a rainy day
I already spent it so paying off Visa and MC
Put it towards non-credit card bills
A mini vacation
Shopping Spree
Other-put down in comments what you woudl do
Free polls from

Online Banking Poll Results

It is not a big suprise that 86% of people responded that they bank online to pay their bills.

The benefits really outweigh any negatives.

Save time It only takes me about 15-20 minutes each month to pay bills!

Save Money Alot of banks offer free online banking as one of their perks. Plus saving the hassle of mailing the bills. You may break even if you have to pay a monthly fee.

Easier to budget You can watch your money on a daily basis if you want to. By keeping close tabs on your money, you'll always be aware of what's happening in your bank account.

Tags: budget, banking

Frugal Lawn and Landscape Tips

Hello and Welcome!

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

Money Saving Tips
Featured Article Frugal Lawn and Landscape Tips
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Meal Planning Potato Salad
Read this issue at:

Enjoy! Best of luck in your savings

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Gas prices going up and what you can do to save

All over the news Gas prices are increasing. Jason Toews, co-founder of the national Web site, which tracks gas prices nationally, said he expects prices to hit $3, “possibly as high as $3.25.”

Oh my! It cost $45 to fill my gas tank yesterday with gas being at $2.69 here in the Boston area. I don't drive much but my husband drives to work daily which luckily is a fairly short commute. I can't imagine filling up 2 cars a week $50 a piece-that is $400 a month just on gas! Our next car will probably be a hybrid car.

Here are some gas saving tips that I have shared before but worth the while.

Frugal Menu Planning week Apr 16th

Here are this week menu's

Sun Easter Dinner

Mon Mexican Lasagna (didn't make this last week) Leftovers will be mine for lunch!

Tues Tuna and tomato pasta Skillet

Wed Homemade chicken nuggets, veggies, fries

Thurs Leftovers

Fri Sandwiches (hubby and oldest boys are going to a cub scout overnight)

Sat Pizza

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Financial Cost of Smoking

Many people often talk about the costs related to smoking in terms of health, or future health care needs. However I would like to address the actual financial costs of smoking cigarettes on a daily basis. To follow are a few of the facts that come along with being a smoker.

Average smokers consume about 1 ½ packs of cigarettes per day. The cost of the average pack of smokes is around $4 after taxes. If you take this average and add up the costs for one year, it’s over $2,000 smokers spend on cigarettes. That’s a lot of cash to be spending on cigarettes.

Why it’s important to know these numbers is to understand the cost or burden it’s putting on you and your family. Smoking costs you more per day than you’re probably spending on lunch. If you consume a greater amount of cigarettes per day you could be even worse off financially. If you smoked 2 packs a day in New York City, you would be spending over $5,000 per year on cigarettes.

The things could do with this smoking money are endless. You could start a business, or buy that new computer you always wanted. You can upgrade your car with that money. You can even start to save for a larger purchase, because in the years to come there will be more cash just the same. If you have college loans, let’s say $30,000 worth, in just over 14 years your entire loans would be paid off from money you used to spend on cigarettes.

Interesting investments don’t just come in the form of real estate, or stocks. You could initially take the money you’re saving from not smoking and purchase some stress relieving supplements to keep you smoke free. One company that has such supplements is NicoDrops (, the organic all natural stress relieving drop. Or maybe a gum like Nicorette (, which is more expensive, but still far cheaper then smoking! By investing in staying smoke free, you are truly investing in your future.

Nicolas Gremion is a health buff, business consultant, and apparently a part-time writer. His latest venture is a Canadian mineral exploration company called IQ Mining Inc. (

Beauty Tips on a Budget

We all want to be beautiful but no matter what color your hair, what size your dress, or how straight your teeth you must have inner beauty. You have to realize that we are all beautiful in our own individual way and that you don't have to try to look like someone else to be pretty. Feeling good about yourself and having confidence will give you a radiant glow that others will find beautiful too.
Makeup Bag

Now that you're feeling good about yourself, we'll move on to the frugal beauty tips.

I have dry hair and have tried a million things, some very expensive, and this has worked best. Mash one ripe banana with a teaspoon of almond oil and massage into your hair. Rinse after 20 minutes. I do this once a week. you may not need to as often.

For whiter teeth, mix a little baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Use once a week. Will give you the same effects of those over the counter pastes but much cheaper.

If you have a problem with acne, try making a facial mask from brewers yeast and plain yogurt. Those zits will disappear. It's amazing!

For an invigorating facial toner, add two drops essential oil to 8 ounces of mineral water. I use peppermint and keep it in the fridge.

Caffeine is a main ingredient in many cellulite creams. Try massaging warm coffee grounds into your skin while in the shower. It sounds gross but it works.

You can also use baby oil lotion as a moisturizer and it works better than the expensive ones.

And use egg white as a mask . Let it dry then rinse off with warm water...tightens your face. And for nails I have used in the past the Hoof cream used by trainers on the horses hoofs. You can also use diluted vinegar as a hair rinse to get out all the film left by hairsprays and mousses that shampooing doesn't get.

For those who struggle with limp, oily hair Use an inexpensive clear shampoo and then blow dry hair. Another option is to towel dry while spraying inexpensive hairspray on the roots. Fluffing the roots should bring out volume.

When it comes to zits, Don't squeeze them, don't even touch them! Clean your face normally and apply an antiseptic.

Some faces suffer from dry flaky patches. Scrub the area and cover with petroleum jelly or vegetable shortening before going to sleep.

Don't worry about what skin tone you have! You know that fad where women thought they had to be a “cool summer” or a “spring”? Wear what colors you like. Coordinate with your hair or outfit and don't be afraid to try any of the current fads. Use tinted Chapstick or pale lipstick as blush. An eyelash curler is a good investment. Stock up on cheap lip liners, and use Vaseline as the lip gloss. Another use for Vaseline is to mix it with sugar and rub it into the lips. Once you blot you'll discover a very soft, naturally red and pouty mouth.

Most important, drink lots of water. Most adults, especially women don't get enough water anyway. Becoming dehydrated will dry out your skin and make you feel sluggish. Water flushes out the toxins in your body and leaves your skin, hair and nails looking great! Try adding a little lemon for flavor.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Free Samples

Hope you enjoy these free samples!

1-800-SNAPPLE Free Snapple Drink1-800-272-9652 Free Crayola Stain Removal Guide1-800-787-0078 x40 Free Purina One Dogfood1-800-222-9546 Free Similac Baby Formula Sample1-800-858-6673 Breathe-Right Nasal Strips sample and $1.50 Coupon
Free copy The Princess Diaries book
Sorrento Cheese : Recipe Book Request
Sunmaid Recipe Book
Free Elan Frozen Yogurt
Free Dandy-Lyon Bites
Free Tea Sample
Free Chicken of the Sea
Free Ragu Recipe book for kids
Free Coffee Samples and Free Coffee
Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Free Sample

Win a Sam's Club or Costco Gift Card

Why do I blog?

We have an active group of bloggers on the wahm forums and have started the wahm bloggers network The first question is why do I blog?

Well I first started this blog as a way to keep my customer updated on new products for Budgetdial Discount telecommunications. If you go back to October 2004 archieves you will see posts about new telecommunications as well as I was starting my frugal newsletter.

I became frugal when we had our first son. My goal was to get out of the credit card mess we were in. I was one of the first memebers and currently still a member on the very active Creative Budget yahoo group. I love hearing ideas about being frugal.

I also worked in the financial industry for 10 years before I took the leap to be a stay at home mom. I worked with retirement accounts and did the training for the sales reps. I have always had a passion for learning and reading about money.

I like sharing ideas about how to save money, make money, saving for retirement and of course getting out of credit card debt. And I make some money from this blog as well. I have created a few others for business reasons now.

Tags: blogging, , money, frugal, wahm,

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

$300 Clog Drain

Our Bathroom sink drain was clogged on Sunday!

Liquid plummer didn't work. Plugging the sink didn't work.

Hubby ran out to get a drain snake thing at Home Depot but it didn't work. That was $40 and then we had to replace the drain right under the sink. Then it started leaking.

We had to call Roto-Rooter the drain specialist on late Sunday. They came out within 90 minutes and $300 later it was fixed.

They also said the commerical liquid drainers hurt the pipes and my husband bought some special solution.

It is a budget buster for us this month.

Openning Day at Fenway Park

Opening Day for the Red Soxes at home is greatly reported here in Boston. I haven't been to a game in about 5 or 6 years. We used to go as work outing when I was working near the park.

The cost of going to a game at Fenway isn't cheap at all.

The average family of four can easily spend more than $300 for a trip into Fenway.

The cheapest game-day parking in the city is the 3,000-space garage at the Prudential Center, which charges $12 to drivers who show a valid ticket stub, according to the Red Sox Web site. Some

Four grandstand tickets (including service charges) at the park's price of $48.50 add up to $194. Bleachers seats are $23

Fenway Franks for the whole family will be $15 (at $3.75 a pop).

Two souvenir sodas for the kids at $5.25 each, and two beers for the parents at about $5.50 each add up to $21.50 for beverages.

Baseball caps are $25, and children's T-shirts are about $20. One each for the children will set parents back $90.

That's $332.50... before factoring in the cost of gas to drive into Boston.

It is not cheap. We have a smaller local team that try to go see for the baseball experience.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Frugal Meal Planning wk of Apr 9th

Sunday was a crazy day so we had breakfast for dinner.

Mon Pot roast, mashed potatos, green beans

Tues Cheeseburger pasta (got a can of Campbells chedder cheese soup for 25 cents and this recipe was on the back)

Wed Mexican Lasgnana

Thurs Leftover cheese burger pasta if any or soup and sandwiches

Fri Pork Chops

Sat Pizza

Free Summer Camp

Another mom passed this along to me

With summer round the corner thought some of you could use this or pass it forward to those that might qualify. Free summer camp for children of deployed soldiers.

I think that it a great benefit for the kids of soliders. Camp can be fun and especially with kids who understand what you are probably going through.

I went to one away summer camp after my freshman year in high school. It was sponsered by a local church. I have great memories of that week.

My oldest son will be going to 2 weeks of camp at his school It is $75 a week for 4 1/2 days.

We could send him to the YMCA camp but it close to $350 for the same two weeks.

Tags: free, camp

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Homemade Facial and Foot Scrub Recipes

Here are some good pampering recipes that you can find right at home. They were featured on Today show

Coffee Foot Exfoliator

1/4 cup sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee beans
1 tablespoon ground vanilla beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pot of coffee, at room temperature
Whipped cream

How to
In one bowl, mix salt, coffee and vanilla beans, and oil. Set aside. Next, pour the coffee into a basin (add the whipped cream) and soak your feet for about 10 minutes. Take a scoop of the salt mixture and rub it over feet and calves, concentrating on callused areas. Rinse feet with warm water, and follow with a hydrating moisturizer

Citrus Facial Wash

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons granulated brown sugar
2 tablespoons juice from your choice of citrus fruit (lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange)

How to
Combine ingredients and apply to the skin in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Tags: recipe

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What is your attitude about money?

Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to money?

Think about your financial choices lately? Are you in debt? Did you buy the house that you really can't afford? Do you throw the bills and hope that no one calls?

One of my favorite financial guru Dave Ramseys says:

It's become clear it isn't a simple lack of money that keeps people from achieving what he calls "financial peace." Instead, it's their attitude about money

Dave appear on CBS news early show this past week to talk about Financial Peace.

Dave says that there are 3 things preventing most people to acheiving financial peace:

Is your spouse aware of your debt?
If you have been watching Oprah's Debt Diet you have heard about Lisa Bradley. In order to purchase her pricey new truck, Lisa admits she forged her husband's signature. Now, she has $1,100 in car payments every month.

If you haven't told your spouse about debt, you're either scared of the consequences or don't think it's enough of a problem to address. Either way, your family can't achieve financial peace until you spill the beans.

Not knowing what you owe or having to defend your spending are also signs of denial.

Keep up with the Jones
We have all hear this phrase which really means living beyond your means. Your keeping up with the Jones if:
Buying stuff you don't need or you can't afford
Gifts or trips

Another couple on Oprah's Debt Diet who transitioned from a dual income to a single income and didn't adjust their spending (a.k.a Keeping up with the Jones). Instead, the couple purchased a brand new home they knew they couldn't afford. Their house payments tripled, and the couple says that's when they got into trouble. First, they cashed in the husband's 401k, quickly spending all $40,000 in savings. And when that was gone, they began living off their credit cards.

Let's be clear: This barrier is not from a lack of intelligence, but from a lack of know-how. "I'm smart, but I don't know how to perform brain surgery," Ramsey said. Plenty of people out there don't have the financial education they need to make smart financial decisions. The key is figuring out that you're ignorant, then getting help.

Learn about your 401k and investment options. There are plenty of resources out there like Morningstar. Take time to educate yourself.

Tax Time is where alot of people realize how much money they have spent. Set up a spending plan (aka budget)

Credit Card interest rates be aware

Financial Peace is a wonderful thing. Am I there? Some days I think I am. My husband and I have made a choice for me to stay home and he works. We could spend like we are a two income family and say "charge" but we have adopted a no credit card rule in our house. If we can't afford to pay cash, we don't buy it. Does it always work, no but most of the time it does.

If you have checked out Dave Ramsey's books I highly recommend them.
Financial Peace: Restoring Financial Hope to You and Your Family

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Energy Star labels Are they worth it?

My husband and I have had to buy a new appliances in the past 2-3 years. One of the things looked at was the Energy Star label. Being the frugal gal that I am, anything that saves me money or the old catch phrase "it will pay for it self" usually gets me. I trusted that having an Energy Star label was going to cost less to run. Well according to The truth behind the Energy Star Label that is not necessarily the case.

The magazine found that the testing is least reliable on TVs, air conditioners, desktop computers, laptop computers and VCRs.

Price are typical 20%-40% higher with the Energy Star Logo. Some items above are tested being turned off. HUH?????

The Energy Star logo is more reliable on dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and washing machines. And consumers are willing to pay the higher price in exchange for the lower utility bills.

Sears has 20 Energy Star Washers on its website ranging from $429 to $999. One lone non Energy Star one is $529. Manufactures seem to think having the Energy Star Labels helps.

Certain products, including dryers, ovens, home water heaters, toaster or toaster ovens and MP3 players should never have the logo, but often do.

"This is one of the most egregious violations," she told Chen. "Clothes dryers use so much energy and they all use basically the same energy no matter what. They are excluded from the program. They aren't allowed to participate."

But some stores display rows of dryers with the Energy Star label prominently displayed, because retailers are allowed to participate in the marketing of the Energy Star program. While managers promised to correct the mistake, "in the meantime, lots of consumers went in and bought a dryer thinking they were going to save energy and it's not possible."
Now I find this completely appalling. However it is always consumer beware. I just checked a number of dryers on Sears and Best Buy's website and none of them had the Energy Star Label. I did find some other selling trademark "Even Heat Technology" and WrinkleShield™ which tumbles clothes intermittently without heat to prevent wrinkles. As I said Buyer Beware.

The more reliable way of checking whether a product is energy efficient is to look at the energy guide, which is on the back of all appliances.

"It's a yellow and black label mandated by the (Federal Trade Commission)," she said. "That's the energy guide label. This isn't the marketing splash of the Energy Star. It's an FTC required label that tells you where this falls in the range of other appliances and how much you'll save per year. This is a much better indicator. Not that the Energy Star means it's bad. It's just not always what consumers are led to believe."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Freebies

Here are some great Freebies

Glad Trash bags
Notebook dividers
Free Child Magazine for joining Club Mom
Free Swiffer Dusters
Free Vital Radiance Make-up
Free sample of Eucerinus rediness relief
Post-it® Perks - Free Sample
mary kate and ashley free sample
Free tea sample
Get a Free Sample of Tampax Pearl

Free Ambien Sample

Free Surveys Fill Out Surveys and Win Cash!

New alternative to Freecyle

Mark over at has started some new yahoo groups which may be an alternative to Freecycle. I love freecycle as I am in a major decluttering phase.

We are a non-profit community helping others by giving away various items. NO TRADING OR SELLING HERE - Everything is totally FREE!You come here if you need or are giving away an item.Please keep all your dealings/postings legal & appropriate for all ages.

YOU MAY ADVERTISE YOUR YARD SALE as long as you're offering freebies at your garage sale.YOU MAY POST GROCERY DEALS & other great deals found in this state.No Trading, no offering services, no jobs wanted, no roommates, etc... Please keep to free & legal items

Check out the individual state links at State Recylcing Groups

Help with Food Budget

Another mom passed this along to me

I was at the post office when something on the bulletin board caught my eye. I had never heard of angel food ministries. They have a box of food for $25 to actually feed a family of 4. So here's the link with the states that are involved and what is on their monthly menu. go the HOSTS on the top and it will link you to your state and where you can find them. hope it helps you out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

When is meat safe to eat?

I went grocery shopping this morning. Every week I go through the meat aisles, look at pork chops, ground feef and steak. I am looking for those $2.00 off stickers. Right after dropping the kids off at school is the best time. I hit the jackpot today. Really good deal.... 4 packages of sliced thin pork chops for $1.50 each, 2 1lb packages of 93% ground beef for $2.09 and then a steak for $2.00 as well. I never have found chicken marked down. The meat is thrown right into the freezer.

I came home and found this article Is your meat safe to eat Of course that catches my attention as I am concerned about food safety for my family.

Shoppers who think they can spot older meat may be getting outsmarted by a secret science — using carbon monoxide to keep meat looking red and fresh.

Well that was my secret weapon, I guess no more.

The industry says that consumers can rely on the sell-by date on the package, and that the process is well-studied and safe. However, some food-safety advocates point out that the practice is banned in Europe, and they want the U.S. government to take a harder look.

I also go by the sell by date but I find my store marks down the meat on the last sell-by date so I shop for the good deals and freeze it as soon as I get home.

I guess my tactics for buying discounted meat are still safe.

Gift Budget

I am doing my budget for May and it is going to be an expensive month. I have a wedding shower, a baby shower gift, mother's day gifts for my mom and my mother in law plus a graduation party. I am sure I am missing several social events as well. My gifts for the baby and bridal shower will be limited to $30. For mother’s day my sister and I are getting tickets to a play that we will go to. and that will also be her birthday gift which is in late May. My husband is in charge of my MIL but it will probably be about $30-$35. For graduation it will be another $30-35 in cash.

I have money set aside for gifts each month but May always brings that money close to zero. I put in $80 a month that goes for any gifts and for Christmas each year.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Prom Night on a Budget

Prom Season is just about here! Whether you are the guy or the girl going, it is a great high school experience, however it can be a very expensive night. Here are some typical prom night costs from

Prom tickets ($25 to $200 per couple)
Outfit (her): dress, shoes, shawl/wrap, jewelry, bag, stockings, corsage ($50 to $200)
Outfit (him): tux, shirt, suspenders or cummerbund, shoes, socks, boutonnière ($75 to $150)
Gorgeousity (her): hair, makeup, manicure/pedicure, hair clips, ($50 to $250)
Gorgeousity (him): haircut, shave ($5 to $40)
Boutonniere (her): ($5 to $10)
Corsage (him): ($10 to $25)
At-Prom Photos: $40 to $150 (remember, families will want copies)
Candid Photos: disposable camera or extra film ($10 to $25)
Transportation: limo/rental split with other couples, gas money ($5 to $1,000)
Dinner (if not part of prom ticket): cook your own romantic dinner or go to a nice restaurant. If you're going out, bring $1 bills for coat-check ($1 tip for each coat) and valet parking (around $5 plus $2 tip) ($25 to $125)
Miscellaneous: Souvenirs, etc. ($10 to $40)

Teens spend upwards of $600 to even $1,000 on prom, a total of more than $4 billion in the U.S. If you have the money, go for the works — but if you don’t, you won’t have to sacrifice high prom style because of a low budget. You can cut the cost of a prom with these tips from the Today's Show.

Consider shopping on ebay, or borrowing from an older sister or friend. Consignment Bridal Stores may have some good deals as well. I know my sister and her friends shared several dresses as they were invited to a number of proms junior and senior year.

Shop around for the best deals. Some places offer like a "wedding package" when you rent so many tuxes. Go in with your guy friends and split the difference. Or get a nice suit however I think young guys look good in a tux.

Consider using less expensive flowers like lilies or carnations

Instead of going to the hair salon to get your hair done, do a ponytail with some bling. Get regular manicure instead of tips. Instead of the tanning salon use a spray on tanner.

Getting there
We did a limo on prom night and it is worth it in my opinion. If you have multiple couples sharing one, it will bring down the price.

Finally, enjoy the night! It can be magical and fun but it doesn't need to cost alot too.

Tags: budget, , frugal,

Monday, April 03, 2006

Do you bank online?

Do you bank online? I have been banking online since 1998. It helps me organized with my finances. Bill paying is easy and takes hardly any time. My mother who handles the bills still writes checks each month. She is nervous about using the computer anyways. If you don't bank online share why in the comments.

Do you use online banking to pay your bills?
Free polls from

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Grocery Store Payment poll results

Well the results are in for What form of payment do you use at the grocery store

It was close results with 40% using debit cards and 38% using credit cards. Less than 1/4 use good old fashion cash. It is not a suprise to me that many debit and credit were really close. Alot of folks use credit cards for the rewards feature.

Frugal Dinner Planning wk of Apr 2nd

April is here! I love this time of year. Especially with the clocks changing.

Here are my dinner plans for the week:

Sun Steak, roasted potatoes, corn

Mon Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans

Tues Leftover meatloaf in crock pot through in spaghetti and sauce

Layered beef in crockpot

Thurs Soup and Sandwich night or leftovers

Fri Pork chop, rice and veggie

Sat Pizza

Saturday, April 01, 2006

15 steps to a clutter free home

Hello and Welcome!

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

Money Saving Tips
Featured Article 15 steps to a clutter free home
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Meal Planning Ham and Broccoli Casserole

Read this issue at:

Enjoy! Best of luck in your savings