Friday, June 22, 2007

Freebie Friday

Free Student Activity Book
Free Patene shampoo sample
Maybelline® New York Superstay Silky™ Sampling
Olay Total Effects Moisturizer Unscented
Pain Reliever
Lemonade energy drink
Honey Bunches of Oats BIZ IS BETTER
Free travel pet bowl
Wizkids: Star Wars PocketModel TCG
Play games and win cool prizes
Make money playing games

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Saving on air conditioning costs

Just when you are able to start shutting off that furnace, it seems as if it warms up enough to start having your air conditioning cost you money. In the Midwest, unseasonably warm weather has had people using their air conditioning already. And in many areas, electric rates are going up. Can you save money on air conditioning?

You can. You simply have to be smart about it. While there are frugal people out there that believe air conditioning is purely a luxury that isn't necessary, I disagree. In many parts of the country air conditioning isn't just necessary, it is vital. Small children and the elderly have a hard time cooling off when they get too hot. Heat can be just as deadly as freezing cold, and it can often kill much faster.

So if air conditioning is a necessity for you, go ahead and turn it on. There are other places you can skimp. There are also some steps you can take to cut your bill.

First, when you are buying a window air conditioner, consider the size of the room you are putting it in. You don't have to buy the biggest air conditioner they sell, if the room isn't that big. Having too small or too big a unit causes the unit to work harder than it has to and will cost you more in the long run. Look for units that are energy efficient (a rating of 11 or higher) and good brands -- they will last you longer.

If you need to replace your central air conditioning unit, make sure that you look for a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 13 or better. A less efficient system will cost you more to run. High efficiency appliances do cost you more, but in the long run, it is worth the reduction in electricity bills.

Take care of your unit. Have you ever tried to breathe through a straw for an extended period of time. You know how much that takes. That is what an air conditioner goes through when its filter is clogged up. Replace or clean the filter monthly during the summer and have your central air conditioning serviced at the end of each winter. If you have a window unit, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions for winterizing the unit. You may need to cover it or remove it during the cold months.

Your air conditioning is one of the biggest energy monsters in your home. If you have an old air conditioner, it may be worth it to have it replaced with a newer, more efficient system. The cost should pay you back in a few years if you are replacing a unit over 10 years old.

Take the time to install a programmable thermostat so that you can set the temperature to adjust on its own. Have the thermostat at 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees when you will be gone for several hours.

Think about the placement of your air conditioner. It won't have to work as hard if it is located in a shady spot with plenty of room to vent heat. Don't plant shrubs or put up fencing too closely, you could hinder its performance.

Did you know that a little gardening can save you up to 30% on your cooling costs? Plant shady trees and shrubs around your house, especially on the west and south sides. This will help reduce the direct sun that warms up your home. You can also close the drapes on the sunny side of the house to block the sun.

If you have large windows on the sunniest side of your home, consider installing awnings for shade. You can also paint your house a lighter color that will reflect the sun's heat, instead of absorbing it.

Leaks can suck the warmth and the cool from your home. Seal off the places were utilities come into your home. Stop any potential drafts under doors and around windows with weatherstripping. Fill the gaps around your chimney. Consider replacing your windows with new, energy efficient windows.

Make sure that your attic is properly ventilated. Thirty percent of the heat in your house is absorbed through the roof. An attic fan can reduce your cooling costs and get the air in your home moving around.

Ceiling fans may not be a designer's dream, but they can make your home cooler. Using a ceiling fan can allow you to set your thermostat 5 degrees higher, which reduces your cooling costs. Running the fan doesn't lower the temperature, the moving air lowers your perception of what the temperature really is.

You can also save on your air conditioning by turning things off. Lights create heat, so turn them off when they aren't in use. Your computer creates heat, so don't leave it running. Use a crockpot or microwave to cook dinner so that you don't heat up the kitchen with your stove and oven.

There are many ways to stay cool during the summer. If you stay home all day, consider taking a day trip to the mall or to the library to reduce the need for cooling. Do all housework early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cooler out. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. And stay cool.

Martin Lukac, represents, a finance web-company specializing in real estate/mortgage market. We specialize in daily updates, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies! Visit today

Dump the pump day

'Dump the Pump Day' delivers an environmental friendly alternative to driving. It also helps reduce our nation's dependency on oil and rising fuel costs, at least for one day.
People are encouraged to leave their vehicles at home Thursday and rely on public transit. By doing so, you'll join more than 34 million riders across the country who use public transit each weekday. American Public Transportation Association or (APTA) says 'Dump the Pump' will create a positive experience for drivers.

I wrote about this last year and my thoughts are about the same.

Public transporation in my area is crappy. I live about 25 miles outside of Boston. I can get the commuter train into Boston about 3 miles from my house, but it goes to Boston. I used to take that commuter train into Boston when I worked. My husband doesn't work in Boston so he drives to his work about 10 miles away. There are no buses around here either.

If you have the option to take public transportation to work, today might be a good day to take advantage of it.

In the meantime, here are some

Gas Saving Tips

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Festival of Frugality

Finance is personal did the honors and hosted this week's fesitval. If you didn't see last week's
Freebie Friday, that is what I submitted!

Here are some of the top picks...

The Junk Car Stays @ Money and Such. I would have been wise to listen to this post, I recently dropped $5000 on an 01 stratus, and of course two weeks later I find out it needs over $500 in repairs…should have kept the 95 intrepid.

60 IN 3 HEALTH AND WEALTH; Sodas, coffee, bottled water and you! at 60 IN 3. This is a great article about out of all things, what we drink. Most of us (including myself) shove coffee and soda down our throat all day and we certainly aren’t doing our bodies any favors. Josefsburg offers an interesting alternative for us to drink ,and apparently it comes out of the faucet!

The Happiest $6.20 I Made in My Life, at Money Ning. A lot of us don’t recycle because we’re lazy, and it’s not very profitable for us personally to do so. Money Ning takes a fresh look at how recycling can not only make us feel good, but also provide enough money to go out to McDonalds once and a while.

What I'm Doing Right at m's blog. It appears someone else drank the “PF Blog” magic koolaid and trying to become a better steward of what she has. Take a read about her struggles, and the progress she’s already made. Keep up the progress, M!

Free and easy ways to help charities at My money and my life. Take a few minutes, spend some time helping out a charity. It’s not a lot of work, and someone up above might smile at you!

Check them out!!

Bubble up pizza recipe

Bubble up pizza is what we sometimes have on our pizza night! It is easy to make and cheap too!

3 packages Refridgerate type of  biscuits like the pilllsbury ones  (I have used crescent rolls in pinch too)
1 jar Spaghetti sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Pizza toppings (if you don't have any, you really don't need them) I will often add in some finely chopped peppers.  

Spay 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Stir sauce and quartered biscuits together until the biscuits are well coated. Spread evenly into the bottom of the pan. Top with cheese, then add toppings.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Check to make sure all dough is cooked through.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Watch TV shows on your computer for free

If you are like me, I don't watch much tv on the tv these days. My good shows are usually on after I am sound asleep. Many of the network shows have their latest 2-3 episodes available online the day after the show airs on their network web sites. and have alot of their own shows online well.

Here are some other websites that you can view Tv shows:

Peekvid has 700 episodes of well know tv series like 24, Buffy, Desperate Housewives, Family Guy for free. You can view them online or even download them to your PC.

TV Links has a lot of free tv shows-some from the UK and alot from US including Scrubs, The office, Sex and the City!

If we need to cut down the budget some more, I would feel comfortable cancelling cable and being able to watch some TV shows.

I think I got a case of the I want I want

My family room couches are not in great shape. They are 13 years old now.

We spent a lot of time down in the family room. Hanging out, watching movies. They get jumped on by the boys and the dog.

We just did some nice improvements to downstairs-repainted it and added barnboard to the bottom.

Now I really want new couches. I find myself on computer looking at couches. I considered craigslist but hubby thinks buying a couch used is gross.

I don't have the cash right now so it would need to be credit.

Decisions, decision....

Frugal Five Meet Denise

Denise is newly frugal mom to 2 pre-teens from Pittsburgh area.

What is your financial life?
After living like the Jones for years, my husband and I got serious about our finances. Our church was having a financial bootcamp. I decided to go because I knew we were spending but not saving. We do have a mortgage and are currently paying off over $45k worth of credit card debt. The debt is mostly from vacations that we took. We would travel to Disney each year plus go to Mexico during the winter months. Also some gadgets-we have started selling a lot of the stuff we could as well. We only recently went on a budget and while it hard, I feel like we are getting somewhere. My husband isn't fully on board just yet or we would have sold one of 2 unpaid for cars.

What is your budget buster?
Credit Card debt

What is your favorite money saving tip?
I am still in the learning stage of this but I would suggest knowing what is coming in money wise to what is going out
If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
Easy answer buy it towards our credit card debt. .

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I just found out about Dave Ramseys The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness through my church. I enjoy reading his books and like posting at Living Like No one Else which is a group of kool-aid drinking folks that are looking to get out of debt.

Thanks Denise for sharing all of your story! Let us know if you would like to be profiled in the Frugal Five

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Reflections on my Dad

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! I hope you are spoiled rotten today!

My Dad is amazing. I don't often tell him that, but he is. Two years ago he was in a serious accident, I didn't share it on my blog. He fell off a ladder and hit his head on concrete. We almost lost him and we are very lucky that he wasn't working alone that day. Luckily, we didn't lose him that day and his recovery was long journey. However for the simple outspoken remarks that he makes, he is pretty much back to normal. No more ladders for him.

My Dad is one of those that heard of the "American Dream" as a young boy growing up in Ireland in the 1950 and 60. He came out in 1964 with a few pennies to his name after working in England for a few years. He stayed with his Uncle and Aunt who had moved over here in the late 1930 early 1940. My father is a carpenter. That embarrassed me as a kid for reasons unknown.

My father worked hard, often 6 days a week as construction carpenter and doing his own work on the weekends. I remember going over to investment property cleaning out yards and doing the weeding. I used to tell my father that this was "slave labor" but my father would say work hard and you will never having to worry about putting food in your mouth.

As I have previously shared my mom was primarily a stay at home mom, my father wanted her to stay home. She took care of the finances as my father to this day has doesn't write check or handle the day to day money. He simply handed over his pay to her. They will be married 40 years next year. They were able to raise 3 kids with values and a good money sense. While we didn't hear about money a lot, I knew my parents were well off. We did the trip back to Ireland every 2-3 years to visit his family, my parents were able to build a vacation home, and send 3 children to college.

My father is also the type slip me a $20 to buy something for the kids. He still works the occasional job and has done a lot of work for us over the years on our house. We has worked with my husband putting a new roof on, new siding, windows, and many other smaller jobs. He has taught my husband a lot of home repairs and has saved us thousands in labor cost. He won't accept a dime, but occasional lunch out at his favorite sub shop makes his day.

I love you Dad

Frugal Dinner Planning week of June 17th

Happy Father's Day!

This week will be cleaning out the pantry challenge sort of week since we are leaving for our Disney vacation this week!!

Sun We are having a small cookout today for family for Father's day! Hamburger, hot dogs

Mon Cook-out leftovers

Tues Breakfast for Dinner

Wed chili

Thurs Homemade pizza

Fri Clean out the fridge night or soup and sandwiches if no leftovers!

Sat We are off!

For more dinner ideas Dine Without Whine -is a great menu planning service for active families

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tips for doing a bikini wax at home

Bikini waxes can be costly-$50 and over $75 if you want a Brazilian wax. You can buy Bikini Wax kits for less than $10

When purchasing a bikini wax kit at any pharmacy or drug store, ensure you read the directions carefully. Waxing consists of a mixture of wax, oil and resin, which is then applied directly over the hairs to be removed. Most kits come with a stick (similar to a tongue depressor) and a strip of cloth or muslin as well. The wax is warmed and melted to a caramel-like texture. It is then spread over the area to be waxed. While the wax is still warm, the muslin or cotton cloth is put over the wax and pressed down. The wax is allowed to cool and then the cloth is pulled off quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth. Hand pressure is then applied to the area for a few seconds to relieve discomfort.

In addition, this procedure will have to be done every 4-6 weeks. Before waxing, make sure the hairs are at least one-half inch above the skin. If you need to, carefully cut the hairs down to the appropriate length. Make sure the area is dry and free from any body oils. Therefore, a good tip is to wash and dry thoroughly. Since you are using this product for the first time, as with anything else, test it on your skin to ensure you are not allergic.

After the waxing has been completed, the area will be tender and irritated for a couple of hours. Ensure you have cream or an over-the-counter steroid which will alleviate the irritation. Above all, make sure the wax is not too hot before applying it to the skin. Avoid exposure to the sun for at least 24 hours after which be sure to apply sun block.

While there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not to use hot or cold waxing (some prefer cold waxing at home), cold waxing may not be as effective since the wax may not adhere well to the thick hairs. The good news is that with every waxing, the hairs will become less brittle and the growth of the hair will eventually decrease.

Car repair wasn't a budget buster

I had to bring in my mini-van to be repaired because it didn't pass the annual inspection check. I was a little concerned that it might be a big repair and put a damper on our upcoming Disney trip.

Luckily, it was only a couple of hoses/belts that needed repair and it was $99.

This mini-van is 6 years old and only has 45k miles on it. I want it to last a long more time. Now that school is out, there isn't a lot of driving that needs to be done. As long as I keep up the every 3 months/3k oil change maintanence I hope to have the car for for atleast 5-7 more years.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Freebie Friday

Freebies can be a great way to stretch your budget. I usually get 2-3 freebies in the mail each day. I have gotten toothpaste, deodorant, laundry stuff and shampoo etc. The manufactures often offer freebies to spread the word about their new products.

1. Create a freebie email address-many times these freebies will be sending follow-up emails-some will be "spam" or legitmate information about their product.

2. Use an auto-fill software. I use autofill from Google that I am can fill in very easily. Download the Google toolbar and then fill in your information.

Summer's eve
Aleve Arthritis Foundation Exercise DVD Offer #325866513243
Lacoste Pink Perfume

Sign up to receive a free sample of Senseo Barista Blend Caramel Macchiato flavor packet.

Awaken your senses and receive a free Dior Beauty Kit To Go when you test drive a 2008 Chrysler Sebring convertible. Fill out the form and they will email you the paperwork.

Free Dove skin care sample

Sign up for a FREE sample pack of Sunsilk 3-pack will include ThermaShine Shampoo, Conditioner, and Detangling Shine Spray, plus $2 in gift cards for some retail hairapy!
Sign up for a free Space Camp dvd and bracelet
Know How to Party t-shirt

Friskas Cat food sample

Choose a condom sampler pack or your favorite brand name condoms such as Trojan®, Durex®, LifeStyles® and more. Free condoms
3M post it notes
Get some pain relief with Goody's pain relief

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Festival of Frugality

This week's festival of Frugality showed a common theme-thrift stores and buying used.

Frugal Upstate did the hosting this week so check them out.

Here are some of the thrift store story highlights... and Jen from Frugal States thoughts.

Kevin at Kmull was pleasantly surprised at the quality of clothing that he found at thrift stores. Personally, I think second hand is the way to go on most things!

The Frugal Babe converted to thrift store shopping long ago-but this week she found some great deals on exactly what she was looking for! I usually have to shop pretty regularly for several months when I'm looking for a specific item. She must have good thrifting karma.

Family Finance Blog went shopping for baby clothes. He didn't buy the $150 baby set (ouch!) at Babies R Us, but hit the thrift store and the sales racks at Kohls! That's some smart shopping.

And my contribution to this week festival was...
Frugal Momma has a list of 5 tips and tricks for paying less for your movie theater tickets this summer.

So check out this week's festival of frugality!!

Fake Wedding cakes?

Yes, there is a new company called Fun Cakes out in Michigan that is making a fake wedding cakes that you can rent for $100 vs paying several hundred more for real wedding cake.

The inside of a faux wedding cake crafted by Fun Cakes contains mostly plastic foam, with a secret spot reserved for a slice of real cake to be shared by the bride and groom.

My sister who is getting married in September is paying about $500 for her cake. So while it may but a cheaper option, I know for sure she wouldn't do it.

Cake guest still get a piece of cake from a sheet cake provided.

Is it tacky? Maybe, but it is one way to cut down on the expenses on the brides big day.

Summer vacation begins

Today is our first offical day of summer vacation. I thought they would sleep in late already today, but not all all. We have already been bike riding as it is a little too cold for swimming this morning. I want to do as many free activities as possible over the summer since Disney is a lot of money for us this summer.

We use our library alot over the summer-borrowing books or videos. They have a lot of story type hours.

One thing that has always worked well for us is creating a playgroup. I did this with children from my oldest's preschool group and now again with my other boys. We do scheduled times at local playgrounds once a week. There are about 15 families who are received schedules and no one is obligated to come. It gives the kids a chance for the kids to play with their school friends as well parents to connect. Most of the moms in the group are either stay at home moms or work part-time so are looking to keep the budget in check as well.

Find cheap summer fun ideas ofr the kids

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Father's Day homemade gifts

I think I made a lot of homemade ash trays for my Dad on Father's Day. Homemade gifts are frugal and come from the heart.

Here are some good hand-made gifts that kids can make for their Dads or grandfathers.

Special t-shirt painted by the kids; a card made of construction paper and decorated for dad; a picture frame made out of two pieces of cardboard and painted by the kids; or dad’s favorite cookies made by the kids with a little help from mom. If dad is a golfer, why not have mom buy a box of golf balls and have the kids paint their initials on each one. How about taking a small Xmas tree and turning it into a Father’s Day tree. Decorate it with his favorite candies and cookies.

For the dad that is a baseball or football fan, the kids can decorate it by taking white Christmas balls and drawing baseball stripes on them; and making cookies in the shape of footballs using gingerbread dough! A baseball cap with dad’s initial can adorn the top of the tree, or you can find a mini sized football helmet and add his name to it as well.

Does dad lose the remote control often? Why not make him a TV remote holder using cardboard and fabric. The kids can decorate the cardboard with glow in the dark paint color, so that no matter where the holder is, he can always find it!

No matter what Father’s Day handmade gift ideas you come up with, there are plenty of ideas you and the kids can come up with. Don’t forget the handmade ashtray; your dad can use it as a paperweight, too!

Will having credit card in college make your life hell?

My first credit card experience is almost 19 years old. The allure of "free money" sometimes just too much for 18/19 year old kid that really doesn't understand what getting into debt really means. I had a number of college friends (and myself a few times) who whipped out the credit card, many times and said Dinner is on me.

10 ways that credit card debt can turn your college life into hell It might make your life difficult, but not hellish. Some of the reasons are a little too far out for me.

Some shout outs

Credit card debt make you get a job during college.

What is wrong with working a part-time job during college. I think it gives you a little bit of responsibility while working in college. It may make you think more about the value of a dollar. If you are working 15-20 hours a week, you may not be using the credit card as much. I did work all 4 years in school, while it didn't necessarily stop me from using the credit card, it kept me busier than I would have been partying.

Huge amount of credit card debt in college can cause sore relationships
The reason could be lack of money, lack of proper financial management, or simply not being able to buy enough presents to your girlfriend. My money was pretty private until my Mom found my credit card statement. She was pretty upset with me that I got to a balance over almost $2,000. I don't remember it causing too many problems with friends or my boyfriend at the time-it never really came up. Of course, once you are in serious relationship and looking towards marriage, the credit card debt can hurt the relationship.

Credit card debt affects the studies seriously.

It you are stressing about it, or you have a lack of concentration about it. Your grades may suffer, but to totally fail out of college. I know I was a little stressed out about it especially after my mom found my statements, but it never threw me over the edge and made me want to quit school.

My final thoughts is that high school kids and college students should take classes on personal finance to avoid get trapped into credit card hell. Once again I recommend picking up this book by Dave Ramsey called The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Frugal Scrapbooking tips

Hi my name is Frugal Momma and I am addicted to scrapbooking.

I got into scrap-booking several years back and have been hooked every since. I went to my first Creative Memories party and spent $100. Scrapbooking can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn't have to be. If you know where and what to buy, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Not made of money shared 5 great tips on how be a frugal scrapbooker. Check out those tips.

1. Ebay I haven't done this one yet, but will have the check out the lots.
2. Store Clearance I always hit the clearance section first. Open packages, out of style paper.
3. Gargage Sales- my local scrapbook stores do this. I have gotten some good deals this week on stuff
4. Store coupons Michaels and A.C. Moore each have weekly coupons- they are a great deal. My local store also accepts their coupons on certain items.
5. Dollar Stores Sometimes I can get nice individual layouts for a Dollar! Great deals.

Some more ways to save:
6. Crop with your friends. Someone maybe have the latest tool or stamps out there. We often exchange paper as well.
7. Save your scraps-I keep a lot of little papers left over because I can use them for punchouts, borders etc.
8. Save cards-Christmas cards, birthday cards are perfect for adding to your pages.
9. Save ticket stubs, invitation, etc they make great embellishments

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

Can you say yummy and so simple to make? I will often bring this to potluck suppers. Everyone loves it and asks for the recipe.

Mexican Lasagna Ingredients

2 cooked chicken breast cut up into 1-inch cubes (can be omitted if you want to go meatless-just add more beans)
8 burrito size flour or corn tortillas
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 jar of salsa
1 cup of onions
1 green pepper diced (can be omitted if none on-hand)
1 red pepper diced (can be omitted if none on-hand)
2 cups cheddar cheese

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan with salsa
Place two tortillas over the salsa
Layer some beans, cheese, onions, pepper, salsa and chicken over the tortilla
Repeat and keep layering
Keep enough cheese aside to cover the top layer.
Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes

Serves 6-8

Want to make it lower fat, substitute low fat cheese. For the low fat cheese to melt better spray the top layer of cheese with PAM.

This recipe is great for leftovers! We usually have it twice for dinner and will bring it for lunch one day.

This recipe also freezes well. I have often made two of these and will freeze the second one.

Father’s Day Ideas for Younger Kids

Father's Day is almost here. I know my kids are trying to think of some ideas on what to get Dad.

Here are some ideas for younger kids:

* Make a Father’s Day card using construction paper, crayons and draw dad on the front with the words “I Love You Dad!” Mom can also download the many coloring templates kids can use to glue on to construction boards to make larger 8-1/2x11 cards.

* Kids can take their teddy bears and dress them up with a hat, tie, and glasses….and place a Happy Father’s Day sign for the bear to hold.

* Kids can help you make a Father’s Day breakfast for dad and present it to him either in bed or at the kitchen table.

* Kids can help mom make gingerbread cookies and using piping to outline the facial features. It can then be glued to a piece of cardboard and the kids can decorate the cardboard with dad’s favorite things!

* The kids can present dad with a card containing a list of chores they will do for dad for a week.

* They can also make a story book using construction paper, to tell about their dad and why he is so special!

* Mom can bake dad’s favorite cake and the kids can decorate it with dad’s favorite sports games, such as baseballs, footballs, soccer, or basketball.

Kids love to draw, paint and mold. Using some clay, they can make dad a handprint and sign their names on the palms. He would certainly love that! In fact, kids also love to build things, so why not build day a special kite (with the help of mom, of course), then the entire family can enjoy this wonderful present.

Father’s Day ideas for younger kids can be achieved by asking them what they would like to make for dad; or perhaps buy for day. One thing though, he may not want any more ties! Make a Happy Father’s Day Sign using construction paper, and hang it in the kitchen or living room area. Dad will be so happy to see how much effort his children have put into making his day a special one!

Frugal Five Meet Jacky

Jacky is a new stay at home mom from Vermont who is blogging about her adventures of visting all 251 towns in Vermont at Vermont 251 She and her family are part of a club that's goal is to visit all towns in her state.

What is your finanical life?

I am married with 2 kids. My son was born 2 months ago and we have decided that I will be a stay at home mom for a while to be with him, so we really only have 1 income coming in now. We own 2 cars and a house in Vermont. We have stayed away from establishing any credit card debt.

What is your budget buster?

Right now it's learning to live with only one income after we have been accostumed to 2. (check out The transition to be a one income family-a 6 month plan)

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Clip all the coupons you can and use them when the item is on sale. It also doesn't hurt if your grocery store will double or triple coupons!

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

Put it into our savings account to use for a rainy day (or when money is tight).

What is your best resource for frugal living?
I love the book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 20s And 30s

Thanks Jacky for sharing all of your great tips! Let us know if you would like to be profiled in the Frugal Five

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Frugal Dinner Planning week of June 10th

Here is our dinner plans for this week:

Sun Late afternoon christening so if anything sandwiches

Mon Mexican Lasagna

Tues Asian ground turkey

Wed Sloppy Joes

Thurs Chicken on the grill, baked potatoes, veggie

Fri Clean out the fridge night :)

Sat Pizza

For more dinner ideas Dine Without Whine -is a great menu planning service for active families

Friday, June 08, 2007

Healthy Snacks for Kids

With school out (or almost out for summer) many kids, will be asking for snacks during during.

Now days, more than ever children should be eating healthier. For millions of children in America consuming junk food and increased inactivity has led to obesity and an increasing number of children being above ideal weight. Not only is it important to teach your child which snacks they should eat, but educating them during the early, formidable years may help them sidestep obesity and becoming overweight in the future when they are adults. Here are some tricks on tasty healthy snacks for children.

One way for your children to eat healthy snacks is to get them started on naturally sweet foods. Since most kids crave sweets for snacks, naturally sweet foods such as fruits are ideal. Encourage them to enjoy a banana, orange, apple, cherries, strawberries and other berries whenever they have a sweet tooth. You can mix in yogurt or even make a fruit smoothie for them with some milk and a drop of chocolate or other natural flavors.

Another great way for your little ones to enjoy healthy snacks is to give them fresh nuts. Kids love peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc. One of the things to recognize about children is that if they try enough types of natural and healthy snacks, they will find one that they love. The problem is that many times parents give up trying to find the snacks that their kids enjoy and settle for popular junk foods instead.

When deciding on a healthy snack, what you want to avoid are products with boatloads of sugars, unwanted preservatives and empty calories. While most kids will fight you tooth and nail if they have to eat wheat germ and tofu, most children will be more than happy to eat snacks if they have a sweet taste and are presented in the right way.

Other healthy snacks that many children like are dry cereals. For example, there are many breakfast cereals that are derived from corn, wheat, bran and include nuts and honey. These cereals when consumed at breakfast usually include milk; however, you can easily serve them without milk to your children. One of the most popular dry cereals which are healthy and nutritious for your little one at almost any age is Cheerios. Cheerios are lightly sweetened and tasty either moistened with milk or dry. If your little one craves a delicious snack for lunch or to take along for camp or little league, dry cereal is not only nutritious, but delicious.

For those children that are terribly picky and only want junk food, one strategy to use in order to get your child to eat nutritious snacks is to buy premade natural snacks. Today, there are tons of prepackaged snacks that might look like junk food, but are actually healthy and nutritious for your little one. They include certain fruit roll ups, string cheese and granola bars. Many of these snacks look like junk food, but are actually made from natural ingredients and include relatively little sugar and empty calories. If you are looking for a great way for your child to remain healthy, check out the above mentioned tricks on healthy snacks for little ones.

Dine Without Whine -is a great menu planning service for active families

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fill a bag for $5.00 at Children's Orchard

Fill a Bag for $5! they got good kids clothing there.

n Saturday, June 9 you can
bag the best deals of the year. Just grab a bag, then stuff, pack, jam,
cram and fill it as full as you can with all of the resale clothing on
clearance - and pay just $5 for it all.

So practice your packing, and come early for the Fill a Bag for Five Event,
June 9.

Find the nearest stor

5 simple ways to reduce your energy bill

Some old, some new tips for saving energy in your house from Consumer Reports

1) Use your washer's cold water setting. 90 percent of the energy you use to wash a load of clothes goes toward heating the water.

Check we do this

2) Use the microwave instead of a conventional oven. A conventional oven uses 5 times more energy.

I do to do this more often. I use my crockpot alot

3) Lose the loaded roof rack on your car or SUV. Doing so can cut fuel efficiency by 5-15 percent.

No roof rack here

4) Use the dishwasher instead of hand-washing dishes. It could save up to 20 gallons of heated water per day.

Check this is an easy one for me

5) Let your computer sleep. Allowing your computer to go into a sleep mode when it is idle could reduce your electricity usage by up to 40 percent. You can do this by clicking opening your "Control Panel" and selecting the "Power Settings" option.

This is a new tip to me. I will have to start doing it

Frugality Festival

Thanks to this week's host My 2 dollars for hosting this week's Festival of Frugality.

I shared So do some frugal tips make you want to gag?

How to Have A Wedding for Under $200

Free Children’s Books From Barnes & Nobles

Buying The Entertainment Book Each Year Saves Us A Ton Of Money.

How To SAVE A Million Dollars

Monday, June 04, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Candi

Candi is a frugal college student and also runs several business online including Making money online

What is your finanical life?

I'm a full time college student so work for me is out of the question at the moment, I make my money online. I have been making money online for over 2 years now and love it! I make a decent living at the moment, enough to get around and be able to take my kids out and buy them the things they need. I am the mom of 3 kids ages 10, 8, and my youngest is going on 4 in June

What is your budget buster?

Without a doubt it has always been when the family car breaks down,
it is what gets our family around so fixing it is a must.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

I save change! lol. I have always saved all the change I get even if it's pennies and once a year i'll put it in the family bank account. It works well for me! I always save more than $100 a year. Not bad

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
I would definitely save it. Right now i'm saving for a better family car. (Check out Tips for buying a used car )

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I like books by Suze Orman she has some really good advice and tips.

Thanks Candi for sharing all of your great tips! Let us know if you would like to be profiled in the Frugal Five

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Frugal Dinner Planning week of June 3rd

Sun Graduation party late afternoon

Mon Cheesy Beef and Broccoli

Tues Chicken Bruschetta Bake

Wed Sandwiches we are going to see the school drama club do a play

Thurs Leftover chicken bruschetta

Fri Pasta of some kind

Sat Homemade piza

Saturday, June 02, 2007

5 ways to go to the movies for cheaper

We all know going to the movies can be expensive. It can cost a family $40 or so to go; so we don't go all that much!

Here are some tips to save money on going to the movies

1. Buy tickets in bulk
An example of this would be to go AMC theatres You can buy a minimum of 50 tickets with no expiration date for $6.00 from them. You usually need to wait a few weeks before seeing the movie, but for the savings it may be worth if you have a family and go to the movies often.

2. Buy from ebay
So you don't want to buy in bulk, check out ebay. Just doing a search found me several auctions for 10, 20 tickets. Of course do your research to make sure they are a good seller.

3. Loyalty or reward cards
Most of the major chains have them. Show it each time you buy tickets or popcorn and you will get points. You can redeem those points to use at the theatre for later time.

4. Drive in theatres
There are still 500 drive in theatres in the United States. In fact we went to one to see Spiderman 3 a few weeks back. It only cost us $20 to get in. Check to see if there is a
drive in near you. You can bring your own snacks. We got there about 1 hour early and the kids played ball and frisbee-it was like tailgating.

5. Free movies for kids
Sometimes they might not be first run but you can see if you local movie theatre is offering free summer movies for the kids

Friday, June 01, 2007

Netflix is getting better-instant watching

We have a netflix membership that we love. We have the 3 at a time program. We also have our in-laws on the 3 at a time-that is their gift for birthday, mother's day, father's day etc.

I had been considering getting rid of Netflix for us because Blockbuster was taking their mailing program to another level but allowing you to get some movies in the store.

Netflix now offers Instant Watching. This feature allows Netflix members to instantly watch movies on their PCs. It is included in your monthly membership plan at no additional charge.

I can use it in the kitchen which is very cool to catch up on tv shows on DVD or movies. They don't seem to have everything on Instant Watching

Free Sample Friday!

Free Lipton tea sample
Free 4 in 1 screw driver
Gleam Gourmet Coffee
Free condoms
Clorex wipes
Free IAM dog food
Free diaper wipes
Olay Regenerist new eyepod sample
Print coupons from your computer
Did you know you can get paid for taking surveys

Teaching money values to kids

One of the sayings that my mom use to say "money doesn't grow on trees" is coming out of my mouth more and more these days. My 8 year old is starting getting it. However I still hear Give me money for this and that. We do an allowance and bribery for being good at school (he is very hyperactive and money motivates him)

I don't feel kids learn enough about the value of money at school I really think that mandatory for high school graduation should be a personal finance class. Parents of course should teach the values, but many adults are money messes themselves.

I got excited when I saw this program geared towards middle schoolers that was in the Yakima Herald
"You need to save money or you won't be able to get what you want," said Rebecca Horn, a sixth-grader at the school.

That's one message the 12-year-old Horn took away from the program titled "Mad About Money," sponsored by the state Department of Financial Institutions.

During each of the 45-minute presentations -- one for each grade level -- two actors with the National Theatre for Children played various characters in comedic yet educational sketches that emphasized determining needs and wants, noting the difference between cash and credit, and stressing the importance of saving and investing for the long term.

Some simple tips that they shared:

"Don't spend more than you bring in,"

"Only borrow what you can pay back tomorrow,"

Good advice for the young or old regarding money