Monday, December 31, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Jackie

Jackie is stay at home mom from Nevada who is very new to the frugal lifestyle!

What is your financial life?

I am a stay at home mom to a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son, we have ALOT going on right now money wise with an credit card debt, student debt, and car payments. Not easy with one income so I have to keep more control of our money and where it goes!

What is your budget buster?

Debt repayments especially the paying off the credit card bills.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

I am a recovering shopaholic so staying out of the stores and particupating in no buy challenges.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
I would put it towards the credit card debt.

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I have only really gotten into frugal living the last couple of months. I started readng Mary Hunt's books from the library. I know I needed to do something.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Frugal Meal Planning Dec 30th

Like many others, one of my husband and I resolutions is to try to loose a few pounds. We will be following South Beach Diet starting on Wednesday. My husband is prediabetic and this way of eating was suggested by his doctor.

Sun Steak, french fries, veggies

Mon New Year Eve- Chinese food!!

Tues Leftover Chinese food

Wed Starting South beach diet Asian Ground beef (we use ground turkey, mix browned ground turkey, cole slaw, onions, peppers and soy sauce and lots of garlic)

Thurs Italian chicken in foil (Chicken breast with zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, onions in foil with some italian dressing)

Fri Leftovers

Sat Meat crust pizza

2008 financial goals

Here are my 2008 financial goals

1) Continue to fund husband 401k to 15%

2) Increase monthly contribution to Roth $400 a month

3) $100 a month each (total $300) towards 529 for 2 sons and a mutual fund account for my 3rd son

4) Do estate planning

5) Big purchase a new used car. My husband's mini van is now 12 years old with 106,000 miles. This will probably be in the middle of the year. My 3 yr car loan will be done in June. I do not want to do a monthly payment of more than $250. We will use tax refunds plus my self employment tax savings (I save 25% of all of my money just in case) for the downpayment.

6) New couch We need them big time now.. just waiting for some sales.

7) Save $200 a month towards bathroom remodel for 2009

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 year end financial review

Here is my 2007 financial review! All in all not too bad of a year

While not a goal our Net worth did increase $27,000 this year in saving, retirements, college funds, and mutual funds!

Here are the goals that I set-up for ourselves!

1. Continue funding DH 401k at 15%
Yeah we did this! It really has helped with retirement savings.

2. Continue to deposit $350 a month into a Roth IRA for me. This is done through automatic deducation
$4,000 funded

3. Save $5,000 outside of retirement and college saving plans. This will help with a downpayment for a newer car for 2008 and/or bathroom remodel. Will attempt to do an automatic deduction for $220 each payday from hubby's check.

Nope only about $3,000 saved

4. $50 each, each month into kids 529 plans-automatic deduction

Two of boys have active 529 plans. My third son has autism and will probably never go to college so we are saving money into mutual fund instead. We actually increased this to $100 per kid each month in July.

5. Disney trip need an additional $1000 cash! Use tax return money (and money saved for self-employment taxes)

Woo hoo we had an excellent trip to Disney the end of June

6. Excess tax return money will go towards new couches first and then some minor remodeling for our family room.

I forgot that I included couches in our financial goals for 2007. We did add some new barn board to our family room in the basement this year for about $2,000. It looks great!

 Disney World vacation saving tips

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 12/30-1/05

Here are the CVS sale starting tomororw . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up

CVS printable coupons
$4.00 off $20
expires Jan 13th

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)

$5 ECB WYB $15 Mega-T Green Tea Supplement
$3 ECB WYB Nature Bounty Vitamins – on sale B1G1 free!
$3 ECB WYB Osteo Bi-Flex
$3 ECB WYB Two (2) Biotene
$2 ECB WYB Castiva Arthritis Pain Lotion $9.99
$5 ECB WYB $20 - Olay Regenerist, Olay Lotion, Olay Definity, Olay Plus Ribbons, Zest Body Wash, Olay Quench, Noxzema, Olay Daily Cleanser, Zest/Ivory/Safeguard Soap, Old Spice Body Wash
$10 ECB WYB $30 – ALL Roc products

Maybelene Mascara - All
Kleenex Tissues
Colgate toothpaste and toothbrushes (until Tues.)
CoverGirl Clean Makeup (until Tues.)
All CoverGirl Radiance
CoverGirl TrueShine or Incredifull Lip Color
2 Pocket Portfolio

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off

CoverGirl Smoothers
Neutrogena Triple Moisterizer Hair Care
Marc Anthony Hair Care
Gillete Disposable Razors
CVS Premium Notebook

Other deals
Tide 4.99
Bounty Basic Paper Towels 8 Rolls 4.99
Dawn .99
Cascade 2/$5
Febreze 2/$5
Always Pads 2.99
Pantene 3/$10
Head and Shoulders Shampoon 2/$9
Aussie or Herbal Essence Shampoo and Conditioner 3/9.99
Pampers Baby Wipes 2/4.99
Pedialyte 2/9.99
Johnson's Baby Care 2.99
Similac Advance 2/10.99
Pampers Jumbo Packs 8.99
Durcell Batteries 5.29
Pringles .88
Coke 12 Pk. 3/$10

ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Smart money tips for joining a gym

I joined a gym this past fall after not being motivated to workout at home. I feel that putting in the effort into my health is well worth the $35 a month that I am spending. I was familiar with the gym that I joined since I was a member many years ago before I had children I liked it location and hours however since it had been many years since I used it last I wanted to double check that it was still a good business.
Here are some smart money tips:
Do a free trial Most gyms offer at least a one day free trial if you go to their websites, but it's possible to get them for much longer, especially at the start of the year, by cannily using special vouchers offered on the web or local papers. If you can't find a trial offer for your gym, just call it up and ask, most will say yes. Negotiate to see if you get the registration fee waived
Take a Tour See how many people are there! Tour the gym at the time you want to work out so you can see how crowded it is. Take a look at the equipment, make sure that's clean that there are things to wipe down the machines as well as the number of machines. Are the locker rooms clean?
Check to see what is included Sometimes a club will throw in a few free personal training sessions. Are group classes included-if they are extra and you want group classes, this gym may not be for you. My gym includes aerobics and weight training classes in the monthly membership fee however you can buy special boot camp classes extra or personal training sessions. My father goes to a more expensive gym where they have a pool and there is an extra cost for access to the pool.
Read the contract thoroughly before you sign the dotted line: Make sure you know if you are signing for a 1, 2 or lifetime (I have several friends that signed up for Lifetime memberships to Bally's years ago for $19.99 a month-not one of them uses them right now) If you need to do an automatic monthly charge, use your credit card so they do not have access to your bank account. Also sure the terms of cancellation are clear as well.
The bottom line-a gym membership is worth it if you are going to go!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Daisy

Daisy is a frugal stay at home mom of 2 girls. She has a blog Learn to Live Well without spending a lot of money where she shares her frugal advice as well as tips on how she makes sure extra money to be able to be a stay at home mom.

What is your financial life?

We are a one income family with 2 kids and 2 dogs. We accrued some debt when my husband went back to school to get his Masters degree. I had to become very frugal, very fast or risk going back to work! I didn't want to put my kids in daycare, so we made LOT'S of changes and are doing just fine.

What is your budget buster?

Our biggest expenses are: Braces for our oldest daughter , State taxes, which are $8,ooo this year.

What is your favorite money saving tip?
Meal Planning! It is an absolute must! It keeps me on track with my budget and keeps me from making extra trips to the store!! (I agree frugal meal planning is a must to keep to a budget)

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
Put it in our savings account for those unexpected emergencies that can ruin the budget.

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I love forums for people who are living a frugal life. I have learned so much from reading how others save money. My favorite is

If you would like to be profile send an email

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Giving stories that touch your heart and soul

Dave Ramsey did an awesome show on Friday. He asked callers who had given their time or money to help other in need. Several stories touch my heart such as the lady who helped out a stranded Marine and the bible group that made dinner for the parents of sick kids at the hospital.

Giving is the secret to a healthy life. Not necessarily money, but whatever a man has of encouragement and sympathy and understanding. - John D. Rockefeller

Giving shouldn't be just be done in December-many people are focused on this month because of the spirit of Christmas. Random acts of kindness whether it is in money, time and energy are all appreciated.

Listen to these stories and maybe feel inspired yourself- I know I did

Frugal Meal Planning Dec 23rd

Sun Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries

Mon Christmas eve dinner at my mom

Tues Christmas day dinner at my sister in laws

Wed Lasagna

Thurs Chicken dish

Fri Leftover Lasagna

Sat Homemade pizza

Next week after the new years we will be starting South Beach diet

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The perfect last minute gift Amazon gift cards

With a only a few days left in the holiday shopping season, you may find yourself looking for that “perfect gift” for a special someone on your list. Amazon Gift Cards carries a wide variety of merchandise, from books to clothes to electronics. The gift certificates are available in any amount - starting from $5.00 to $$$ - and they never expire…

Walgreens printable $5.00 off coupon

If you need to pick up any last minute stocking stuffers Walgreens would be the place to go today Dec 22nd. Of course check out Walgreen $5.00 off $20 printable coupon

They also have a ton of those last minute deals!

I need to pick up some candy for stocking stuffers and one more book for my mother in law and then I am all done! I am be heading out to the new Walgreens they just openned up down the street.

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 12/23-29

Here are the CVS sale starting tomororw . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! It seems a little lite due to the holidays

$2 off of $10 non-rx purchase

$5 off Energizer batteries

$3 off of 6 x 8 photos book

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)

$10 ECB WYB $20 of Gillette Fusion or Venus
$5 ECB WYB $15 of Energizer Batteries – limit 2
$2 ECB WYB any L’Oreal HIP cosmetics
$3 ECB WYB Digital Photo Keychain $17.99
$2 ECB WYB Vivitar Mini Digital Camera with Accessory Kit $9.99
$1 ECB WYB Palmolive Dish liquid $1.49

Coke 2 Liter or Evian 1 Liter – Limit 4
Hershey’s Pot of Gold $8.95
Russell Stovers Chocolates $7.99
L’Oreal Infallible Lip Color $11.99
Sprint Prepaid Phone Cards
CVS Alkaline Batteries
Maxwell House (grounds) - psa $3.99
Puff Tissues
Maybelline Great lash or Define a lash mascara
CVS Power Flash Camera
Lays Potato Chips (excludes baked)

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
Holiday Gift Sets
Photo Frames or Albums
Essence of Beauty Glamorous Getaway Travel Bag
Skin Care Gifts Under $10
Assorted Holiday Plush
Select Holidat Toys psa $1.29

ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Easy Taco Pie

This is a super easy recipe to bring to potlucks

Taco Pie

1 can refried beans
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 jar of salsa
2 cups of nacho cheese (or cheddar)
Taco seasoning
Garlic powder or cloves
Jalapeno peppers (optional)
Black olives

Heat the refried beans in the microwave so they spread easier and line the bottom of the 9x13 or pie plate.
Warm the cream cheese and combine taco seasoning to taste and spread on top of re fried beans,
Layer the salsa and the cheddar cheese
Add Peppers, and black olives to the top.

Serve with tortilla chips or use a filling for tortilla

You can also add ground beef to this over the refried beans and cream cheese.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Return on investment for hybrid cars

Hybrid cars are very popular these days. You turn on the TV and there are a lot of advertisements on them. They are better for the environment but do they really affect your pocketbook as gas increases. Edmunds did a recent report of the return on investment on some popular hybrid cars.

The 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid has the earliest break-even point. However, it still takes 2.9 years to save an Escape Hybrid's owner enough money to break even when compared to the cost of a four-cylinder 2007 Escape XLT

The Toyota Camry Hybrid takes 8.2 years to break even compared to the powerful six-cylinder Camry LE and 5.8 years with the loaded four-cylinder Camry XLE. The Lexus RX 400h takes a whopping 13.6 years to break even with the Lexus RX 350.

Check out Edmunds full list!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Caroline

Caroline is a frugal single women in her mid 30s from Rhode Island

What is your financial life?
I was married in my early 20s and divoreced by 30. My ex-husband was very controlling of money and it often caused stress between us. I purchased a condo 3 years ago-luckily I was smart enough to do a 30 year fixed rate. It is my largest expense but I can well afford it. I work as a financial analyst for a mutual fund company. I am currently going to my MBA at the URI. I do have some credit card debt I am still trying to pay off

What is your budget buster?
Going out with friends on the weekend. I am trying not to drink as much and do more potlucks suppers with some friends.

What is your favorite money saving tip?
Stay out of the store. I am a reformed shopalic I realized I don't need 50 pairs of shoes (yes I did have that many at once time and they were not the payless type)

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
I would put it towards my credit card.

What is your best resource for frugal living?
Mary Hunt's
Debt-Proof Living: got my off my shopping habit and made me realize that I need to start thinking about money.

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 12/16-12/22

Here are the CVS sale starting yesterday . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)

$1 ECB WYB two (2) Hersheys Chocolate miniatures, kisses, reese’s, almond joy, mounds, rolo, nuggets, or york 2/$5.00
$2 ECB WYB Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara $8.49
$5 ECB WYB any 24.7 Skincare Product
$30 ECB WYB Oral-B Rechargeable Toothbrush
$3 ECB WYB $9 of Smooth N’ Shine Hair Care
$2 ECB WYB Playtex Gentle Glide or Sport Tampons Bonus Size 20-22ct $4.99
$10 ECB WYB $20 of Gillette Fusion or Venus Shaving Products
$3 ECB WYB Schick Quattro Disposable for Men/Women $5.99
$4 ECB WYB Mens Schick Quattro Razor Power, Midnight, or Titanium $7.99
$2.49 ECB WYB Tylenol Vial 10 ct - $2.49 – FREE
$10 ECB WYB $20 of these products: Excedrin ES or Migraine, Doans, Bufferin, No-Doze PSA 3.99
$10 ECB WYB Nicorette, nicoDerm CQ, or Commit Products
$3 ECB WYB Clean Care, Zaditor, or GenTeal Eye care $14.99
$1 ECB WYB Crest Toothpaste or Oral-B Toothbrush PSA $2.19
$3 ECB WYB 6x8 Photo Book 10 pages $12.99
$5 ECB WYB Norelco Face or Bodygroom Shaver $34.99
$1 ECB WYB Irish Spring 18oz OR Softsoap Cashmere/Nutra Oil Body Wash $3.99 – Limit 2

Maybelline Mascara (excludes Great Lash)
All Maybelline Lip Color
L’Oreal Vive Pro Shampoo or Conditioner
CVS Alkaline Batteries
Duracell Batteries
Kodak Power Flash Camera $9.99
Nature Made & Olay Vitamins
Lays Potato Chips

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
Conair Hair Appliances
CVS Photo Frames/Albums
All Maybelline Foundation, Powder, Blush, or Concealer
All Almay Cosmetics
All Milani Makeup
Got 2B Styling Products
L’eggs Sheer Hosiery
All Revlon Lip, Eye, or Nail Color
Holiday Fragrance Set
Assorted Holiday Toys
Boxed Holiday Cards
American Outdoor, Marshall Collins or Sharp Watches

Other deals
Austin Cracker Sandwiches 5/$5.00
Giant Hershey Bars 4/$5.00
Dove Chocolate Bars 2/$5.00
Aquafresh Toothpaste $0.99 – FREE WITH COUPONS!
Dove, Caress, Lever 2000 2pk - $1.99
Pepsi 4/$11 PLUS get a free pack of Diet Pepsi Max
Gold Emblem nuts $2.9
Scotch Tape – Buy 2 get 1 Free
Buy Any Revlon Foundation get a free Revlon Age Defying Face Primer or Precise Wrinkle Eraser
Accu-Check Compact Plus – Free AFTER MIR $19.99

Frugal Dinner Planning Dec 16th

Sun Steak, potatos

Mon Pesto chicken and pasta

Tues Layered Ground beef crockpot

Wed Leftover pesto chicken and pasta

Thurs Husband's Christmas party

Fri Homemade pizza

Sat Family Christmas party bringing desert and mini pin wheels with ham and cheese

Monday, December 10, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Val

Val is frugal mom to 2 girls from Atlanta, GA

What is your financial life?

I am a working mom who waited until I was almost 40 to have my first child. . I have 2 daughters 6 and 9 years old. I work as a business analyst in the insurance industry. My husband also works in insurance more in the marketing side (we met at work 15 years ago). Our finances are pretty stable-we do not have any credit card debt and have 2 paid for cars. We did recently splurge on a vacation home that is almost paid off. Our home is almost paid off, we don't have one of those McMansion . It would be considered a smaller home but most people in our income bracket $200,000 but we both wanted a vacation home instead.

What is your budget buster?
The cost of upkeep on a second home

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Don't overspend. If you do not have the cash, you can't afford it.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?

It would go towards the vacation house payoff.

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I enjoy reading many messages boards including Women in Red msn message boards.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Frugal Dinner planning Dec 9th

Here is our dinning plan for the week

Sun Steak, sweet potatoes fries , green beans

Mon Asian ground beef (basically ground turkey or beef with a bag of cole slaw, some soy sauce, onions, mushrooms-yummy)

Tues Mexican Lasagna this was on my menu last week but I didn't have any salsa in the house

Wed Dinner out or take-out Hubby's birthday!!

Thurs Leftover Mexican lasagna

Fri Spaghetti and meatballs

Saturday, December 08, 2007

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 12/9-12/15

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)
$2 ECB WYB Two (2) Hershey Kisses 2/$5.00
$3 ECB WYB Four (4) Coke Fridge Packs 4/$12.00
$5 ECB WYB $15 of Energizer Alkaline Batteries $5.29
$2 ECB WYB any L’Oreal HIP Cosmetics
$1 ECB WYB Dove Body Wash
$5 ECB WYB $10 of Soft & Beautiful Botanicals, Just for Me or Motions Hair Care
$6 ECB WYB Gillette Fusion Razor $9.99
$3 ECB WYB Two (2) Always pads $5.99
$5 ECB WYB Aquafresh White Trays $29.99
$1 ECB WYB Listerine $4.49
$2 ECB WYB Any Tums Tables 36-150ct
$1 ECB WYB Oral-B Power Toothbrush
$5 ECB WYB Two (2) of these Robitussin or Advil Products $4.99
$2 ECB WYB Mucinex $11.99
$3 ECB WYB 6x8 photo book or larger $12.99 for 6x8
$5 ECB WYB Hot Wheels Turbo Town Playset $14.99
$2 ECB WYB Crest Pro-Health Rinse or Toothpaste – Limit 2
$3 ECB WYB Thera Breath products – Limit 5
$5 ECB WYB CVS Stop Smoking Aid $32.99 – Limit 5

All Life Fitness Vitamins or Supplements
Kodak Power Flash Camera $9.99
Holiday gift Wrap $5.99
Russell Stover Chocolates $2.99
Hersheys Pot of Gold
Doritos $3.49

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
All L’Oreal Cosmetics
CVS Alkaline Batteries
Schick Disposables
L’eggs Socks, Trouser Socks, or Tights
Boxed Holday Cards
All Fragrances or Gift Sets
All CVS Glucosamine Chondroitin
CVS Food Storage Bags
All Sally Hansen or Healing Beauty Cosmetics
All Physicians Formula Cosmetics
All Essence of Beauty Cosmetics
All Marc Anthony Hair Care
All John Frieda Sheer Blonde, Brilliant Brunette, Radiant Red Shampoo/Conditioner/styler

Friday, December 07, 2007

Freebie Friday and coupons

Another great Friday freebies

Free gift from IBM You get a choice of mug, pen, sudoku game or alarm clock. It does ask for a business name.

Papa Murphy’s Take ’n‘ Bake Pizza $2.00 OFF COUPON

Free condoms

Jiffy Lube $5.00 off printable coupon

Kmart printable coupons expire 12/8

SquidSoap by Airborne coupon

Eucerinus skin lotion free sample

Jergens® skin care lotion samples

Free 2008 Calendar


Why should they get a free pass?

"President George W. Bush will outline on Thursday a plan to freeze mortgage rates for five years for many homeowners facing sharp interest-rate resets, an industry source said on Wednesday.

The source, who is familiar with details of the plan, said it would cover subprime loans originated between January 1, 2005, and July 31, 2007, with rates that are due to reset between January 1 of next year and June or July of 2010.

The plan is primarily aimed at borrowers who can afford their existing rates and who are current on their payments, but who would face default when the rate resets higher.

Among those borrowers, homeowners whose credit scores have risen since they took out their loan would qualify for "fast-tracked" loan modification that would hold their interest rate steady for five years.

Borrowers whose credits scores had not improved could still qualify for a five-year rate freeze, but would face more scrutiny before receiving any modification. kE1vAI

I really have mixed feelings about this. While I've been saddened by this housing bubble and the pain it is causing those who got stuck with really nasty ARM's I also know of a ton of people that leveraged their homes like crazy to live a life full of extravagant extra's. I know several people in town who have bragged about refinanancing their houses and takign the extra money out.

We drive cars for 10+ years or until they cost more to maintain then it's worth. We carry no credit card debt and live beneath our means, and have a modest lifestyle. Maybe I should have done the ARM at a crazy low interest rate too.

I just don't get some people. They say "Oh, I didn't understand what I was getting into," or "The bank loaned me the money so they must have thought I could pay it back," etc. . HELLO!! WAKE-UP PEOPLE! A home is most people's single biggest purchase and if you're too lazy to do the research and educate yourself and figure out exactly what you can afford, what all the terms being tossed around really mean, and exactly what you're committing to before you sign that dotted line, I have no sympathy.

I don't even understand those who say "this was the only way we could qualify for a house." Don't buy a house at this point in your life. Know what? That's the way it's always been. Homeownership has never been something that everyone qualifies for. You've always had to save up the downpayment, prove you could pay the loan, and have good credit. If you couldn't do that, then, unfortunately, you couldn't get into a house. I don't know when people started thinking that buying a house was as easy. I know the banks have some responsibility here as wel but people need be their own best resource.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Are you sloppy and getting away with it?

I was listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show the other day and he said I a statement that was made my ears perk up a bit:

Are you sloppy and getting away with it?

I think a lot of people are sloppy with their finances. I know I can get sloppy from time to time and then I need to tighten up the belt so I am no longer sloppy.

You might be sloppy if:

1) You are carrying a credit card balance
2) You have car loans outstanding that are more than 1/2 of your annual take home pay.
3) Your mortgage or rent is more than than 30% of your income.
4) You are not budgeting
5) You don't have an adequate emergency fund
6) You are not saving for retirement
7) You need to take that fancy vacation each year
8) You have a lot of toys but they are not paid in full

Are you getting away with it? You may be getting away for it for a few years or you maybe headed down a slippery slop.

If you or your spouse lost your job, would you be able to survive financially? Will you be eating steak or Alpo when you retire? Are you eating ramen noodles while driving a brand new car? Did you do an adjustable mortgage because the 30 year fixed rate was too expensive for your monthly income.

How about this-starting paying off those credit cards aggressive, driving your cars for 10 years, saving for an emergency and retirement it can be done. It takes a little effort, planning and the ability to say NO.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Lisa

Lisa is a frugal mom to be from South Carolina who runs run a 6 year old collie educational portal, rescue directory, and merchandise store. They can be found at,, and

What is your financial Life?

My name is Lisa, I am 25 years old and have lived in mid South Carolina my whole life. I have been married since June of '06 and we are expecting our first child on May 6, 2008. During our first year of marriage we both worked full time and racked up some serious credit card debt. We have finally gotten our finances straight - we currently have 1 year left to pay on both of our cars (a 2004 and 2006), we own our home, we don't use credit cards (as of Nov. 06) and we're down to one income since my layoff in October 2007.

What is your budget buster?

Our biggest budget busters is the high price of gas! We try to use our economical gas saving car most of the time now that I don't work.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Favorite? I have a LOT! But my favorite would be - STAY OUT OF THE STORE. If you aren't there, you can't buy it.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?

Send it to the credit card. We have 3000 left to pay off out of the 11k we owed at the start of the year. After that we will be "unsecured debt" free!

What is your best resource for frugal living?

My best resources for frugal living are forums, (for when i MUST buy online) and

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Frugal Dinner Planning Dec 1st

Sun Turkey burgers, french fries, veggie on the side

Mon Broccoli and cheese cups made with leftover turkey from the freezer

Tues Mexican Lasagna

Wed Tuna noodle casserole

Thurs Leftover mexican lasagna

Fri Leftover tuna noodle cassorole

Sat Homemade pizza

How to winterize your car

It is absolutely essential that you winterize your car each year to make sure you keep it in tip top shape to avoid any mechanical failure which maybe deadly. My husband makes sure both of cars have been winterize. He spent his Saturday doing this! Both cars went to the mechanic  for basic oil changes (I had coupons for $10 off each one so a total of $50 there) Here are some tips he said I could share with you :

1. Check antifreeze mixture Not just how much fluid is in the radiator, but the ratio of antifreeze/water content. A frozen radiator can cause your car to over heat and it can also crack your radiator and or damage the water pump. Always keep some extra anti-freeze in your car during the winter months.

2. Change the engine oil. Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual -- more often (every 3,000 miles or so) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.

3. Inspect the belts and hoses. Cold temperatures can accelerate the demise of a belt or hose. Before winter starts, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle.

4. Replace the windshield wiper blades Put windshield washer fluid in the windshield washer reservoir (plain water will freeze).

5. The battery Very cold temperatures can reduce a vehicle's battery power by up to 50 percent. If your vehicle battery is older than three years, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion.

6. Tires Make sure the tires are in good condition. If you are not sure what this means, ask a mechanic for an opinion. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Let the tires "cool down" before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. . Make sure there is air in the spare tire and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in the trunk.

7. Ignition System Cold temperatures increase the demands of the ignitions system. Colder air requires more energy to fire the spark plugs. Weak ignition systems usually cause a flooded engine or kill the battery from extended cranking periods. Have your Tune up checked before the winter.

8. Fuel Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Also a gas tank which is kept filled helps keep moisture from forming.

9. Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses.

10. Emergency Kit Put together an emergency kit including blanket, extra boots and gloves, ice scraper, small snow shovel, flashlight and kitty litter (for traction when stuck in the snow). Also consider getting an emergency or prepaid cell phone if you don’t have one already. Some high energy snacks as well.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 12/2-12/8

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)
$5 ECB WYB $20 of these P&G Products: Tide $4.99, Bounty $6.49, Charmin $2.49, Duracell $5.29, and Pampers Jumbo pack $8.99
$5 ECB WYB any 24.7 skincare product
$2 ECB WYB two (2) hershey’s large bad $4.99
$2 ECB WYB two (2) Sunshine/Keebler Pecan Sandies/Cheez-Its 2/$5.00
$2 ECB WYB two (2) Pringles 2/$4.00
$1 ECB WYB Chef Tony Knife Set $9.99
$5 ECB WYB $10 of Febreeze noticeables 6.99, Fabric Freshener 2/$5.00, or Air effects 2/$5.00
$3 ECB WYB any Garnier Nutritioniste
ECB WYB Softsoap
$4 ECB WYB Schick Quattro or Intuition Razor for Women $7.99
$2 ECB WYB Oral B Vitality Rechargeable toothbrush $19.99
$1 ECB WYB Listerine $4.99
$30 ECB WYB any Oral-B Rechargeable toothbrush shown
$5 ECB WYB CVS Sonic Toothbrush $49.99
$1 ECB WYB KY Intrigue
$5 ECB WYB Braun Pocketgo Shaver $9.99
$2 ECB WYB Nutrisse Haircolor 2/$10.00
$1 ECB WYB Tampax or Always 2/$6.00
$1 ECB WYB selected Crest or Oral B advantage items
$2 ECB WYB Any Zantac Product
$5 ECB WYB $10 or Tavist, Theraflu, Buckleys, Comtrex, Triaminic, or 4 way Nasal Spray
$5 ECB WYB Miralax $23.99
$1 ECB WYB Mennen Deodorant (excludes men 24/7) $1.99
$6 ECB WYB Gillette Fusion Razor $9.99
$7.50 ECB WYB $15 of qualifying products: Pepsi 12 packs 3/$10, Doritos 2/$6.00, Propel, Gatorade, Stacys Chips
$10 ECB WYB 1 Fit Shower Chair $59.99

Scotch Tape
CVS Power flash camera $7.99
Covergirl TruShine or Incredifull Lip Color

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
All Covergirl Face, Lip Color, and Mascara
Assorted Holiday Toys
Neutrogena Cosmetics
Photo Frames/Albums

Other deals
* Buy Kodak C613 ($99.99) and get 25 – 4X6 prints Free
Save $2 on Energizer E2 Lithium Batteries
M&M’s $1.88
Kelloggs Cereal 2/$5.00
Breeze 2 Blood Glucose Monitor $14.99 – free after MIR

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

8 Christmas gift idea for teenagers

Teenagers are very hard to buy for! I have a 16 year old nephew and a 14 year old neice. I don't want to break the bank.

Here are eight Christmas gift ideas that even hard to please teens will love

Buy a MP3 player or Ipod . These are coming down on prices all the time. Therefore, you surely can find one that fits your budget. Doesn't worry about the fact that the teen may all ready have a deluxe model. There may be times and places where the teen may fear to take his/her best model (fear of losing or fear of it being stolen). Times like these would be perfect for the teen to have a backup player.

Cell phone accessories are something teens usually love. They not only love the phone, they love the ring tones, the cases, the blue tooth and all the other accessories to match. If you are not sure of the brand or model of the phone, this would be a great time to buy a gift certificate to their local cell phone dealer.

DVDs.Teens like to watch and rent these. If you don't want to buy a selection of DVD's for fear that the teen will soon get bored of them, you could get the teen a gift card to your local DVD rental store. Then the teen can pick out his or her favorites.

Health and Beauty products are great gifts for teens and can even be bought for male teens. For the girls, you have your choice of makeup, jewelry, holistic items as well as perfumes and bath products. For male teens, you can buy after shave products, colognes and some bath products.

Will the teen soon be heading off to college? If the answer is yes, you could begin buying items that the teen will need. Some great and cool gifts for college are: Bean bag chairs (always a classic item), clocks, lamps, comforters for the bed, etc.

Do you know if the teen is into video games (most teens are)? Find out just what platform they like best and if they are looking for any certain game. Better yet, again turn to the gift certificate idea and this time get one to the local video game dealer or online dealer.

Puzzle books could be an interesting present to buy a teen. If the teen actually would play them, they could help sharpen their minds. The newly popular brain puzzle Sudoku could be a big pleaser.

Finally, you could try to help the teen remember this fun and sometimes trying days of their life by giving them a journal. You can buy an economical one or nice leather bound one. If you have a flair for words yourself, write a nice inspiration inside the front cover for the teen and sign and date it.

Deciding what to buy a teen for Christmas can be a hard and somewhat daunting task. But it isn't impossible. Just think about the teen in question and soon you will have an idea or two that even the fussiest teen should love.

Jeffrey Meier of Jam727 Enterprises at offers information articles on a wide variety of subjects including Christmas Gift Ideas at

Monday, November 26, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Stephanie

Stephanie is frugal teacher from Pennsylvania who does web design on the side. You can check out her profile at

What is your financial life?

I am currently single and proud! I have gone through a messy messy divorce and he left me and my financial life in such a mess. We were married for 8 years, bought a a house and he just charged charged charged everything. I am on a lot of stuff that I still need to get paid off. We did sell the house. Currently I am renting a condo and hope to buy my own in 2-3 years.

What is your budget buster?

Dealing with the mess my ex-husband left

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Honestly make sure your life partner has the same value system as you towards money.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?

Towards the credit cards to get paid off!

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I am currently reading Suze Orman's Women & Money I have always enjoyed reading her books for ideas on getting financial advice. I wish I followed it more.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frugal Dinner Planning Nov 25th

Leftover turkey oh my!! I love it, but not every day. I have put all the turkey in baggies so we can use in future meals. Here is what is for dinner this week

Sun Ground turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, green beans

Mon Turkey, broccoli and stuffing casserole (this is really simple a box of stuffing mixed in with cream of mushroom soup, broccoli and turkey. You can add some cheese-Swiss or cheddar works really well here)

Tues Layered Ground beef crockpot

Leftover Turkey broccoli and stuffing casserole

Thurs Leftover layered ground beef crockpot

Fri Spaghetti and meatballs

Sat Homemade pizza

Saturday, November 24, 2007

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 11/25-12/1

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! I will be hitting CVS since I have a couple of $5.00 of $30 coupons to use. Tooth tunes was a request from the kids and now I am getting Extra Care bucks!! And I need some Gas X for hubby this week!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)
$3 ECB WYB 6X8 photo book $12.99
$5 ECB WYB Hotwheels Turbo Set $14.99
$5 ECB WYB $10 Ponds Products – towelettes/cream – Limit 2
$3 ECB WYB CoverBlend Concealer $13.99
$5 ECB WYB 2 (two) CVS Regenerating Products
$10 ECB WYB $20 Revlon Cosmetics or Beauty Tools
$3 ECB WYB $15 Any Lumene Premium Beauty Products
$3 ECB WYB $15 any of these hair accessories
$4 ECB WYB Fructis Haircare Products
$2 ECB WYB Tooth Tunes $9.99
$5 ECB WYB CVS toothbrush sanitizer $15.99
$10 ECB WYB $10 worth of these products: Gas-X, Maalox, Ex-Lax, Perdiem, Benfiber

Hershey Kisses $2.99
Russell Stover Gift Boxes
Holiday Gift Wrap
Wisk Laundry Soap
CVS Alkaline Batteries
Celestial Seasonings Tea Bags $3.49
Maxwell House Instant Coffee
Chase & Sanborn Coffee $2.99
Instant Energy Drink $4.59

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
Frames & Photo Albums (digital excluded)
All Neutrogena Foundation powder, blush, and concealer
Holiday Fragrance Gift set
All Brut
Life Fitness Joint Care
All Ocuvite or PreserVision Vitamin & Mineral Supplements
All Reading Glasses by Foster Grant & Magnavision
All CVS Vitamins, Minerals, or Herbals

ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Friday, November 23, 2007

How to survive Christmas on budget

Who's idea was it to still be paying for Christmas gifts 7 months later?! It sure doesn't sound good to me! Make this Christmas season a memorable one - one with NO MORE DEBT.

"But I can't do that! There's no hope in sight!" you may be saying. Well, you CAN do it and there IS hope! The trick is to start right now with a plan. It's never too late. The people at the mall have tons of plans to get your money. Now you need to plan how you're going to keep some of your money.

Here are some quick tips:

Remember Christmas is in December every year—don’t let it sneak up on you. Start planning in February (or right now!) by putting back little bit aside each month to cover the cost of gifts.

Make a list of everyone you are buying a gift for and put a dollar amount by every name. Total it at the bottom. This is your Christmas budget. The people in the mall have a plan to get your money – get a game plan for your shopping so you can keep some money. There is no excuse for financing Christmas.

Pay cash – put the total from your budget in an envelope and when the cash is gone, stop spending. This will help keep you on budget because if you overspend on Aunt Sue, Uncle Harry won’t get a gift.

69% of Americans bought a gift for themselves last year. DON’T BUY YOURSELF A GIFT! This is the season to give not to receive…from yourself.

Friday Freebies and coupons

While you are recovering from Thanksgiving... enjoy these freebies

Free redBox movie code TURKEY

34 Free songs from ITUNES

Free Printable Photo Calendar

Dixie State College | Free T-Shirt

Free Maybelline Mascara

Free Letters from Santa - personalize and then print!!

Slim·Fast Protein chew bars free sample

Free 2008 calendar Looks like PA residents only

Green tea sample

Free baby wipes

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I am thankful for?

I am up early cooking today all the veggies that I am bringing over to my mother in laws. I wanted to share what I am thankful for:

Being a child of God
Being a Mom to 3 wonderful boys
Being a wife to the best husband in the world
Living in my own home with no sense of fear that I will lose it
Living my large extended family
Living in a country that gives us freedom.

I have been very blessed in my life!

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

~~Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882

May all who share these gifts today
Be blessed by Thee, we humbly pray.

What God gives and what we take
'Tis a gift for Christ his sake;

Be the meal of beans or peas,
God be thanked for those and these;

Have we flesh or have we fish,
All are fragments from His dish.

~~Robert Herrick 1591-1674

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Big Macs causing debt?

Driving by McDonald's on a recent weekend, the line going through the drive-thru was at least 7 cars deep. I wondered how many were paying cash vs using a credit card.

Yes, credit cards! Most of the fast food places now accept credit cards.

I will say I am not 100% innocent here. We do take-out fast food through one of the burger places at least once a month and use a debit card for the most part. However using a credit card isn't the smartest thing here.

People who use credit cards to buy fast food actually purchase 30 percent more than those using cash. So people are consuming extra calories too and people are getting fat every day that eating large burgers and super size fries.

Those who do choose to use credit cards to buy fast food should make sure they follow the most important rule, which is to never carry a balance over from month to month.

"We know that only one-third of consumers truly pay off in full," Anyone who does not pay in full should avoid using credit cards at fast food restaurants at all costs.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Sharona

Sharona is frugal mom of 2 teenage girls from San Antonio Texas

What is your financial life?

My husband and I have recently settled down in Texas after many years of many places. I am originally from California and we have lived all over south and west coast. My husband has been in technical sales and makes a decent income. I am a teacher by trade but due to us moving around I am currently working as an instructional aide in the resource room at the local school. I am hoping to get my foot in the door. My husband makes over six figures and we have been luckily living on his salary. However, we have two teenage girls that we need to cash flow college for. We do have a mortgage however no credit card debt and our 2 cars are paid off.

What is your budget buster?

My husband thinks just because we earn it, we should spend it.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Pay yourself first and stick to it. I try to save as many as I can from my job and put it in to college savings or retirement at this time.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?

Save it!! And hide it from my husband.

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I enjoy many message boards geared towards living a frugal lifestyle. I want to make sure we have enough for college and retirement. My husband is all spend spend spend and I look for tips, suggestions on how to make him understand that we need to save.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Frugal Meal Planning Nov 19th

Check out Thanksgiving and Turkey tips if you are hosting Thanksgiving day or even if you cook a turkey like me just for leftovers!! I am making green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and carrots for dinner that I will bring over to my Mother in laws. My sister is law is bring the turkey and stuffing. My mother in law does the potatos and desserts. It makes it easy for all of us. I will make some coconut brownies for my aunt's house for dessert.

Here is our frugal meal planning for this week

Sun I am going out to eat with all the girl cousins and cousin wives (and one soon to be wife) -there are 12 of us which is nice. The silly aunts wanted to come but we said no!! My men are getting hot dogs and french fries tonight!!

Mon Lasagna

Tues Cheesy beef and broccoli Not enough leftovers for another meal, but plenty for lunch the next day! I have box of Rice a roni that was marked down for 40 cents that I will add so hubby and I can do lunch the next day.

Wed Leftover Lasagna

Thur Gobble Gobble! Eating at my mother in laws

Fri Turkey I make my own turkey dinner on Friday. The sides are fairly simple, green bean casserole, leftover sweet potato casserole, and of course stuffing!! I freeze the leftovers to use for meals in the upcoming weeks.

Sat Hot turkey sandwiches.

Grocery store savings will help you cut down your grocery bills without going crazy using coupons.

Thanksgiving and Turkey frugal tips

Gobble, gobble the cost of Thanksgiving is going up 11% this year.

Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people with customary dishes like turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie will cost an average $42.26, up $4.16 from $38.10 last year.

A higher turkey price was the largest contributor to the increase in the cost for this year's feast. The trade group's 22nd annual informal survey of prices found that a 16-pound turkey cost $1.93 more this year at $17.63.

I don't cook Thanksgiving dinner myself- I make most of the sides and bring them over to my mother in laws. However it has been tradition in my house for me to cook a turkey on the Friday after and have another Thanksgiving feast! Of course, for having leftovers!! I was able to get 2 turkey for 39 cents a lb as long as I spent $10. I did two rounds of my weekly grocery shopping-but I did it. Our second frozen turkey will give us a nice Turkey dinner in January. I would picked up a 3rd, but no room in the freezer.

Here are some tips that I have shared in the past!

How to cook a turkey

Freezing Turkey leftovers

Crockpot recipes for Turkey leftovers

Homemade cranberry sauce

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 11/18-11/24

Here are the CVS sale starting today . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! This is a great week to stock up on make-up! If you are do any beauty gift baskets, stock up!

Also check out these HOT CVS online printable coupons:

Hot CVS Coupons!
$5/$30 coupon
$2/$10 coupon

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)
$3 ECB WYB two (2) always pads 24-48 ct. 2/$12
$1 ECB WYB Tide or Gain $8.99
$2 ECB WYB Dove gift box $9.99
$1 ECB WYB Ivory Dawn or Joy dish liquid $2.79
$10 ECB WYB NicoDern CQ 14 ct.
$5 ECB WYB (2) Mucinex
$2 ECB WYB Delsym 12 hour cough syrup
$5 ECB WYB (2) Robitussin $4.99
$3 ECB WYB Gillette Venus disposable 3 ct. or custom plus 10 ct. $7.99
$10 ECB WYB Accu-chek $19.99
$1.50 ECB WYB Cover Girl lash blast mascara $8.49
$5 ECB WYB $19.99 worth of lumene lifting time freeze
$5 ECB WYB $10 of any St. Ives skin care
$5 ECB WYB $29.99 of any Prevntin –At products
$4 ECB WYB Keri 15 oz lotion or 4 oz serum
$4.99 ECB WYB two (2) olay body wash 10-12oz
$5 ECB WYB three (3) John Frieda product
$30 ECB WYB oral-B rechargeable TB
$1 ECB WYB Soft soap, Irish spring body wash $3.99 - limit 2
$1 ECB WYB crest or Oral-B - limit 2
$5 ECB WYB $30 of any skin effects - limit 2
$2.99 ECB WYB Tylenol Vial EX SG. 10 ct. $2.99 =FREE! - limit 2
$2 ECB WYB any christophe shampoo or conditioner $7.99 - limit 3
$3 ECB WYB four (4) Pepsi 12 pk, 4/$12 - limit 4

Russell Stover Chocolates $7.99
Holiday Gift Wrap $2.99

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
All Maybelline Cosmetics
Photo Frame or Albums (excludes digital) Perfect for frugal gifts!
Wrigleys Value Pack $1.99
Hallmark Boxed Cards
Almay Cosmetics
All Revlon Cosmetics & Beauty Tools
All Milani Cosmetics
All NYC Cosmetics
All Trim Beauty Tools
CVS Baby Care
All Blistex
All One A Day Vitamins
VO5 Extreme Styling Hair Care
Axe Deodorant

ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My black friday deals

I don't do the shopping orgy otherwise known as Black Friday. This consumer maddening day has gone to new heights in craziness. Honestly,the mall and the big stores aren't worth the aggravation and craziness, no matter how big the markdowns are. The truth is most do not get to buy the crazy advertised deals on the Black Friday flyers because way too many people are competing for the same deals at Wal-mart, Best Buy, Circuit City or Target!

The KB Toys by my house is openning at midnight! Yikes... now that is nuts

In case you are making the trip out... here is the best website for those black friday deals.

So do "Black Friday" or avoid it?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Easy Chicken Spinach soup recipe

I made a batch of this soup since it is starting to get cold! It is perfect for lunch-if you are doing low carb, or even weight watchers! This is such a healthy and easy chicken soup to make!!

5 cups chicken broth (I make mine using boullion, but canned would be fine)
1 10 oz. box frozen spinach
1 10 oz. can white chicken breast, drained and broken up or 1 cup of chicken diced very small.
2 eggs, beaten

Heat broth until boiling. Add frozen spinach and chicken and cook until the spinach is seperated and not frozen. Bring back to a boil. Pour half the egg mixture in by swirling it around the broth mixture. Using a spoon stir until the egg hardens. Repeat with 2nd half of egg mixture. Simmer 10 mins. and serve with Parmesan sprinkled on top

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kids Christmas gift giving crafts

Are you looking for new Christmas crafts - something different? Here are three fresh ideas to get keep and your kids busy and creative.

Christmas Ornaments with Kids' Photos

Your children will love giving these to their grandparents each year.

To make one, cut two identical stars from cardboard. Cut a hole the right size to frame your child's photograph in the centre of one of them. Decorate the stars by painting them gold or silver and gluing on craft jewels and sequins. Use a black marker pen to write the year in the centre of the star that has no hole in it. Once the stars are dry, glue your child's photo into its star frame. Arrange the two stars back-to-back, with the decorated sides facing out, and glue together. Punch a hole in the top and add a loop of silver or gold cord to hang it by.

Your home-made Christmas gifts will decorate the tree each year, and be treasured as your children grow up.

Christmas Candy Crafts

These make a wonderful Christmas gift for a family. Make cookies on sticks, like lollipops, and give them happy faces with candy. Here's how:

Use any chocolate chip cookie recipe. Put balls of cookie dough onto non-stick baking paper on a baking tray, and poke a lollipop stick horizontally into each cookie before baking it. Once the cookies are cool, lift each one by its stick, dip it into melted chocolate and then coloured sprinkles to make the hair, and stick candy on with chocolate for the eyes and mouth. Wrap in small cellophane bags, one for each member of the family. Tie ribbons around the tops, and attach a gift tag with each person's name. Delicious!

The Great Christmas Candy Chase

This Home-made Christmas gift will be a hit! It's also a cool present to give a family.

Buy a large men's shirt, preferably in bright red or green, from a second hand shop. Wash and dry it. Using a hot glue gun, glue wrapped lollies and candy about every 5cm (2 inches), all over it. Fold it, and wrap it up along with these instructions:

"The Great Christmas Candy Chase: On Christmas Day, Dad needs to put this shirt on, shout, 'Ho, Ho, Ho!', and run away. This is the signal for all the kids to chase him and get the candy!"

If Dad isn't fit now, he soon will be!

I hope you enjoy these new Christmas crafts, and the pleasure of those who receive your gifts.

Find more children crafts at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Frugal Dinner planning Nov 11th

Here is what we are having for dinner this week:

Sun Steak, sweet potato fries, green beans

Mon I made a big batch of chii last week so it will be made into chili pie.... add lay some tortillas and chili with some cheese. I made add an extra can of diced tomatos to stretch this into 2 meals.

Tues Chicken and pasta

Wed Leftover chili pie

Thurs Leftover chicken and pasta

Fri Turkey burger melts, french fries, veggie

Sat Homemade pizza

How to save money by buying discount gift cards

Did you know that you can buy gift cards at a discount? You sure can. Thousands of gift cards are given each year and many times the person who receives the card doesn't need it. Now what do they do? They list it for sale on Ebay. That's right, every day people put unneeded and/or partially used gift cards from every major store in America up for auction. Ebay has more of them added every hour of every day. As the gift card market continues to grow, so will after market sales. This is a great way to save money during the Christmas holidays.

Why would anyone sell a gift card for less than retail value? It has to be a scam! No, actually it doesn't. While I am sure that some of the gift cards that go up for sale are stolen, I doubt that they are the majority of cases. There are many legitimate reasons why someone would sell a gift card to the highest bidder.

The gift card they received may be to a store they do not frequent or may not be local to their area. If grandma sends them a $25 gift card to the Olive Garden but the closest one to their house is an hour away, they might not be in a hurry to spend $10 in gas to go use it. Or maybe they just prefer to dine elsewhere.

Sometimes people just get too many cards for the same store at once. Seven $500 gift cards to Target as wedding gifts might be more than the happy couple will spend at the store in a year. Perhaps they could use cash in order to save for the down payment on their dream house. A gift card is not going to earn them interest.

Many stores offer gift cards as special promotions. Lowes or Home Depot runs ads for a free $250 gift card with the purchase of a certain number of shingles (or other item). Perhaps it is easier to do that than issue rebates, or maybe they do it so you have to spend the money at their store--a wise business decision on their part. A free gift card is great but if they already bought all the items they needed for their project, they might be willing to discount the card for cash today. Basically it comes down to the time value of money. A $250 gift card that they won't use for a year or $200 in cash today, hmmmm. What would you do?

Another reason is that many companies no longer offer cash refunds. If someone returns an item without a receipt, they will only get a merchandise card. Again, if they won't be needing anything from that store in the next few months, maybe discounting it is a wise choice. If they returned the item due to damage and no longer plan to shop with the retailer, then selling the card really is their only option.

So there are legitimate reasons why gift cards are auctioned off on Ebay. However that doesn't mean they are always legit. One way to protect yourself is to pay the seller with a credit card, that way you have some protection on top of Ebay's protection. You can also ask the seller for the card's code on the back and then call the store to verify the amount remaining on the card and that the card has not expired. I only deal with high feedback long term sellers on Ebay but after the Christmas holiday season you will find many new sellers popping on Ebay looking to sell their unused or partially used gift cards. The overwhelming majority of them will be legitimate sellers with valid cards but always take precautions.

Ebay's policy states that a seller may only auction one gift card per week, and no cards over $500 are allowed. So if you check a seller's feedback and see that they auctioned a gift card for the same amount last week, it is due to the one gift card at a time policy. They must sell them one at a time, which helps control the possibility that someone might list a bunch of bogus cards and then disappear.

I have never had a problem buying discount gift cards off Ebay. I am cautious though. As soon as I receive the card in the mail I immediately take it to the store and have them scan it to make sure it is valid and has the correct amount that I paid for on it. Never leave feedback for a seller before confirming this.

Enjoy your discount shopping while avoiding the clearance racks, or shop the clearance racks and get an even bigger bang for your buck!

Check out these great discount gift card deals going on at ebay:

Best Buy Discount gift cards
Walmart Discount gift cards

Old Navy and Gap gift cards

Can you afford this dessert?

Maybe Paris Hilton can, but she does doesn't like she eats desserts- this is a frozen dessert that costs $25,000! Unreal who thinks of these things. I guess they are not marketing towards me, a simple middle class mom. I think of these things that I would like to buy with $25k and dessert doesn't come into play. Make money towards retirement, investing or even paying down my mortgage.

From the AP
The Frozen Haute Chocolate was declared the most expensive dessert in the world on Wednesday by Guinness World Records.

The dessert is a frozen, slushy mix of cocoas from 14 countries, milk and 5 grams of 24-carat gold topped with whip cream and shavings from a La Madeline au Truffle.

It is served in a goblet with a band of gold decorated with 1 carat of diamonds and served with a golden spoon diners can take home.

The dessert was created by Serendipity 3, a restaurant popular with tourists and once featured in a John Cusack movie.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 11/11-11/17

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow . Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)

$5 WYB 2 (two) Advil Cold & Sinus 20 ct $5.99
$3 WYB 4 (four) Coke 12 packs 4/$12.00
$5 WYB 2 (two) Dimetapp $4.99
$5 WYB $15 Oral B/Crest Products
$5 WYB Dove Vitalizer Facial Cleansing Massager $12.49
$5 WYB Gillette Fusion Razor $9.99
$4 WYB Gillette Venus Razor $8.99
$3 WYB 2 (two) Hershey’s Chocolate $2.50
$5 WYB $20 Lumene products
$2 WYB Pantene, Herbal Essences or Head & Shoulders $5.99
$1 WYB Toms of Maine Deodorant $3.99
$2 WYB Tums $4.29
$5 WYB $15 Tylenol Products – see ad for specifics!

$2 ECB WYB Mennen Speed Stick for Men $3.99 Limit 2
$5 WYB Night Guard Tooth Grinding Protection Limit 2
$10 WYB $20 Engergizer Alkaline Batteries Limit 2
$10 WYB 2 (two) Garnier Nutritioniste Products $5.99 Llimit 2

$1 WYB Palmolive Dish Liquid Limit 5

CVS Power Flash Camera $7.99
All L’Oreal Lipcolor
All Natures Made Vitamins
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce $1.29
Hersheys Pot of Gold $8.95
Holiday Gift Wrap $5.99
Cambell’s Soup or Swanson Broth
Sweet N Low
CVS Alkaline Batteries
Move Free Advanced
Photo Frames & Albums

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
All L’Oreal Mascara, Eye Shadow, Liner, or Nail Enamel
All Physicians Formula Cosmetics
All Bonnie Bell
All Sally Hansen Nail, Lip Treatment or Color
Revlon Moon Drops Lipstick, Super Lustrous Lipstick, or Lip Gloss
All CVS Tape
Any Fragrance
Optimum Oil Therapy and Optimim Care Maintenance
All Marc Anthony Hair Care
All CVS Disposable Razor or Cartridges
Holiday Boxed Cards
CVS Storage Bags (like Ziplocks)
All Bausch & Lomb Advanced Eye Relief
ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Friday, November 09, 2007

Why flexible spending accounts are worth it

It is open enrollment time! We did the paperwork this week at my husband's work for 2008. One of the things we started last year was a flexible spending account for health care. We did $2000 for 2007 and needed to decide what to do for this year . Bankrate shares tips for making the most of your Healthcare flexible spending account.

1. Review the past year's costs.
We have used $1700 so far and I have just over $300 of dental work being done in the next 6 weeks. This worked out perfect for us and was a typical year.

2. Set aside money for major work.
My oldest son had some major work this past spring and I had to get new glasses. This worked perfect since I was able to submit these expenses right away. Having $76 dollars out of each paycheck makes it easier to do this!

3. Save all receipts.

Put all receipts in safe place because you will need to send them in. I do it once a month and send my receipts in. We got several prescriptions a month and all this goes into a shoe box that I have in my home office.

4. Know the rules.

Know what is covered! Not only are doctor appointments covered but dental, eye glasses are too!

5. Buy medicines with leftover funds.

If you have extra near the end, stock on on medcine for the year!

6. Don't be afraid to 'lose' it.

This was one of the reasons I was always afraid to start one of these accounts. However after having it one year, it was a very smart decision for my family.

The biggest potential drawback of opening a flexible spending account is the risk that you will have to forfeit funds at the end of the plan year. But this fear can be misguided.
"One of the big hesitations people have about FSAs is they're worried about losing the money in their account if they don't spend it in time," says Dippel. "But even if you don't use it -- say you only spend 80 percent of what's in the account -- you're still coming out ahead because of the tax savings."

Friday Freebies and coupons

Here are some great freebies this week...

healthy living for diabetics

Free 2 yr subscription to LEGO MAGAZINE

Free calander

DanActive™ Challenge free week supply

free chalk

Old Navy Coupon sign-up

Free contact lense solution

Free Sensodyne toothpaste

Simply Nutrilite nutrition bar

Free Socks

Free nutbella sample

Iwon chance to win $10,000 early day

Convert Youtube videos to MP3 and ipod files