Monday, April 30, 2007

The Frugal Five Meet Denise

Denise is a work at home mom from Central Pennsylvania in her late 30s

What is your financial life?
I am married and have one income. We have 3 children, one will be going to community college in the fall. We own our home and have recently remodeling it.

What is your budget buster?
Groceries and utilities. Both are getting higher and higher. Seems no matter how I try to cut back, conserve, etc. These two bills still climb!

What is your favorite money saving tip?
Grocery shop for meat on Sunday and Wednesday (In my store) for the markdowns. I have cut my grocery bill in half this way.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
Since we have recently remodelled, I would like to add the finishing touches.

What is your best resource for frugal living?
Being a work at home mom, my two fave places for sharing money saving tips are WAHM message boards- and

If you would like to be profiled send an email to info @

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Frugal Meal planning Apr 29th

Sunday Steak, roasted potatos, mushroom peppers, onions

Monday Chicken pizza bake-use chicken as the pizza crust" add sauce, cheese, veggies and some peperoni-very good and yummy

Tuesday Meatless lasagna

Wed Mini meat loaf, rice, green beans

Thurs Leftover meatless lasagna

Fri Clean out the fridge night!

Sat No idea Son's first communion is early afternoon and we are having a late lunch.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Freebies

Bath and Body works coupon
Request Your Free Secret to Hitting DVD
Downy - Request a Sample
Free fridge magnet
Free making memories kit
Free diabetes wellness kit
Georgia Pecan Commission - Brochure Recipe booklet

Cell phone saving tips

My local stations did a story on cell phone secrets.

Here are some of the tips

I know Verizon charges me over a dollar for 411. I use this service now-Simply dial 1-800-Free-411. You just have to get past a pre-recorded ad first. This works well at home as well.

Talk to a live person

Tired of dialing 1-800 numbers and not being able to get through to a human who can help you?
BRINGO cuts through all of that so you don't have to. That's right, BRINGO has conquered phone trees.

Here's how it works- No more phone trees!

Find the company you'd like to call by category (credit cards, mortgages, loans, health care)
Enter your phone # (we will never disclose your phone number to anyone, not even your mother!).
Wait a few seconds while we navigate the phone tree.
When we call you back, pick up your phone and you're done. No more phone trees.

Free conference calls
Just call the number and you and you friends or business associates can all chat together!

Find out more of the tips at: Cell Phone Secrets

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Healthy eating on a budget- Part 3

Sometimes you see stories "Mom pays $29.46 for over $300 in groceries" who knows if that is true or not. However using coupons wisely can help decrease your food bill.

1. Matching coupons to weekly sales.
Every week the web site tips you off to the best sales at your local grocery store and how to maximize those sales with coupons you get from the paper. The site organizes grocery stores' best sales in a spreadsheet and tells you how much you'll save by using your coupons on top of that. A double whammy that can cut your bill in half or better. There is a $5.00 per month cost.

Another resource that is free is While not as great; it does highlight the "Screaming Deals" state by state.

2. Coupon Trains
Coupon trains are simply a way of exchanging coupons by snail mail. It all starts out with a group of people. Members clip coupons, even ones they might not need. They pack them up and mail them to the next person on the list. That person takes the coupons they need and replaces them with new ones. They ship the stack off to the next person in the group and the cycle repeats.
Looking for coupon train
There are yahoo groups with coupons trains as well as several frugal and saving money message boards have active trains. Check out Coupon train FAQS

Bottom Line: The key to saving with coupons is to only purchase the items you would normally use anyway. You will also find that the store brand may still be the better bargain.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Healthy eating on a budget- Part 2

Frozen dinners, Hamburger helper are staples of many households now these days. Convieience food isn't always good for the waist line as well your food budget

Here are some tips for Cooking From Scratch or atleast not from a a box!

1. Use your freezer! Sometimes you will hear this called Freezer cooking, once a month cooking. Otherwords cooking multiple entrees in a single session banks home-cooked meals--and precious family time--for busy moms. I don't do "once a month cooking" but more bulk cooking. If I am going to make a lasganna, I make two. The same with meatloaf. Friendly Freezer is a great resource to see what freezes well, get menu suggestions etc.

2. Use a crockpot! I use my crockpot atleast once a week. Nothing is easier than throwing in some chicken, sauce and some veggies for a great filling dinner.

3. Be creative Homemade hamburger helper mixes are a great way to make a good filling meal.

Make sure you add veggies to every meal!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Watch and click to earn money for Autism speaks

One of my twin sons has autism and I have been involved in local support groups and fundraising on some of the national walking events. Here is a simple way to click for autism.

A World Where...", a new video from Autism Speaks, is now available for viewing on, the fundraising web site launched by John Ondrasik, the lead singer of pop group Five for Fighting. The site was launched in conjunction with the recently released song "What Kind of World do You Want." Users are invited to upload videos describing how to make the world a better place, or to simply view videos created by others. Each time a video is uploaded or viewed, up to 49 cents will be donated to charitable organizations -- Autism Speaks is one of six charities selected by the band to be supported by this project.

Click here to view "A World Where...". Be certain to click the sponsor ad at the end of the video so that the donation can be completed. And click here to view a video produced by Ondrasik, describing how Autism Speaks makes a difference in the community. Donations are made with each viewing.

Healthy eating on a budget- Part 1

Healthy eating and eating on a budget do not have to be separate thoughts. Many families including mine try to each healthy and frugally at the same time.

Plan your meals around the sale!

Plan your weeks menus around the sales flyer for the store where you frequently shop for groceries. If there's a great buy on ground beef, plan to have spaghetti, chili, meatloaf, or some other ground beef dishes. The same applies if chicken is on sale. You can have two or three meals planned around the meat special for this week. If you do meatless, you can try meatless meals that consist of beans or other vegetable proteins.

A pricebook can be made out of a small three-ring notepad or an excel spreadsheet. In my price book I write down an item, its regular price at a certain store, and the current sales price. After keeping a price book for a little while, I can keep up with how much things typically cost. There are certain items of which I am really comfortable about prices on. I know to stock up chicken breasts when they are less than two dollars a pound. However , there are other items that I don't buy as often and so I am not so confident. Sometimes it is hard to tell if an advertised price is a good deal or not unless I keep track of the prices in my book.

Many grocery stores publish their flyers online these days. Here is a listing of most of the major grocery stores

Grocery stores weekly sales

Frugal meal planning Apr 22

I haven't posted a menu plan in the longest time.

Here is what we are eating this week

Sun Steak on the grill, sweet potatos, green beans

Mon Chicken, broccoli and stuffing!

Tues Easy night... chicken patties or nuggets

Wed Lazy Man's Cabbage rolls- New recipe

1 pound 95% ground beef browned and drained, then rinsed with hot water
1 small can sauerkraut (I will probably omit this)
2 small cans or 1 big can of diced tomatoes (not drained)
6 tablespoons instant brown rice, uncooked (or bulgur, cooked)
1 small chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 cups chopped cabbage

Simmer first 6 ingredients for 10 min.
spray 13x9 baking dish and lay cabbage in the bottom.
Pour simmered mixture over the cabbage. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour!

Thurs Chicken and some veggies

Fri Leftover lazy man cabbage rolls

Sat Homemade pizza

It feels good to have this down on paper (or on the computer again)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The cost of loosing 30lbs

There is an interesting article on diet blog called The cost of loosing 30lbs. It compares the main weight loss programs out there.

I will admit to be a current member of LA Weight loss and a past member of Weight Watchers. And I have had more success with LAWL more so then Weight Watchers. LAWL is more of a pay in advance versus pay as you go program. Both programs teach you how to eat real food-LAWL does have bars that you can buy (you can get them for $15 a box on sale-just like everything be a informed consumer.

Of course, my Father in Law says I will weigh you in each week-you can pay me the money. Diet and exercise are the only ways to loose weight which is what I am working on with LAWL.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Voicelog work at home phone operator is hiring is hiring a lot of independent contractor right now!

Live Operator Independent Contractor

VoiceLog is looking for English, Spanish or Bi-lingual Independent Contractor Live Operators with flexible hours.

VoiceLog is the #1 provider of third party verification services in the US. Our operators receive live verification calls for telephone companies and other service industries looking to help combat sales fraud. All calls are recorded for quality assurance and compliance purposes.

Work at Home as an Independent Contractor during the hours of 9am PST to 6pm PST Mon-Fri and every other weekend. You can choose to work shifts of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 hours. As an Inbound Live Operator Verification Agent you will earn a guaranteed minimum $8.50 per hour for weekdays and $9.00 for weekends. Bi-lingual operators will be guaranteed a minimum $9.00 per hour for weekdays and $9.50 per hour for weekends.

Pay increases are at the discretion of VoiceLog and are based on schedule compliance and quality!

Check it out in more detail

Working for voicelog review

Good Morning America mentions Voicelog as a great work at home job.

Back on the frugal band wagon

I think I had some blog burn-out. I had no desire to be frugal or to even blog. I am feeling the need to start blogging again and getting back to some frugal basic rules. I fell off the frugal bandstand really hard!

1. Blog atleast 3-4 times a week
2. Track my spending
3. Stop eating out
4. Stop spending money like it's growing on trees!

So I am back on track, sharing my frugal tips, ideas and just general thoughts about saving for college and retirement.