Friday, August 31, 2007

Freebie Friday and coupons

CortiSlim samples


Maybelline mascara sample

Serenity® Sampling

Metamucil: Free Sample—

Pepcid

Dove® | Energy Glow® Sample Registration

CD visor case

Real estate success kit

FREE Sample sugar free candies

Febreze Scentstories samples

Campbell’s Soup for Life booklet

Hamburger Helper - Microwave Singles


Upromise: Register your grocery card and save when you shop!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No magic answer to paying off your mortgage early

One of the American dreams is to live in a home with no mortgage. Unfortunately, a lot of scammers (and some banks) are coming up with some creative ideas to get folks to pay them money for the secret. I first heard of this on the Dave Ramsey radio show a few weeks back on the latest Early Mortgage payoff gimmick Money Merge Account.

Here is a news program that shows the Money Merge Account



You PAY $3500 for a special calculator that will show you how to pay off your mortgage must faster. Your putting your paycheck into a home equity line of credit vs a checking account. This news report sounded more like an advertisement than a news report.

My thoughts take the $3500 and apply it to your mortgage as a mortgage principal payment. You can pay off your mortgage early if you live below your means, have control of your finance and be aggressive on paying extra.

Check out any of the FREE mortgage calculators that are available on the Internet and see what you need to do is pay off your mortgage early.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Frugal, easy and healthy school lunch ideas

Packing a healthy child lunch your children will enjoy day in and day out certainly isn’t an easy task.

It’s hard to keep coming up with fresh ideas for packed lunches for the 20 or so school days there are in a month. No wonder we often rely on the same old lunch recipe favorites.

Here are a few kid lunch box ideas. I’m sure you’ve heard some of them before but I’m hoping you’ll find a few new ideas to inspire you.

Change the bread
For a change from everyday sandwich use soft tortillas for wraps, bagels, English muffins, pita pockets or fresh baked rolls. Frugal tip: Hit your local bread store. You can get a ton of different types of bread for really cheap!

Create your own snack mix
Use a selection of small flavorful crackers, cereal, dried fruit or pretzels. Just about anything goes. For an occasional treat toss in a few M & Ms or yogurt or chocolate covered raisins. Experiment with different mixes and pre-package in individual zip lock bags. Do it once a week to save a ton of time and you won't be running out to buy the prepackaged ones.

Try different sandwich fillings
Alter the sandwich fillings. Consider combinations like diced chicken and corn, ham and avocado, grated carrot and cheddar cheese, or jam and cream cheese.

Quesadillas
Place on soft tortilla in a hot frying pan. Spread with tomato sauce or pizza sauce. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and other fillings like ham, bacon, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Place another tortilla on top and heat until cheese melts. Cut into pizza triangles.

Don't forget veggies
To ensure your child gets her daily requirement of vegetables cut up a selection of carrot sticks and celery sticks. Consider also other veggies like cucumber, ears of baby corn, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini. Pack a small container of dip.

Fruit cubes
Cut up different pieces of fruit and package in a plastic container. Use fruit or vanilla yogurt as a tasty dip. This is much cheaper than $2.00 plus that it cost for those fruit bowls.

Fruit & cheese bites
Cheese cubes and grapes make a nice snack or lunch dessert. Pineapple and apple slices dipped in lemon juice also go nice with cheese.

Mini muffins
Kids love things that come in small packages. So think ‘mini’ – small muffins and bagels. Vary flavors to avoid boredom.

Sandwich shapes
Remove crusts from bread and cut out different shaped sandwiches using cookie cutters.

Pack a note
Occasionally pack something extra special in your child’s lunch like a note saying I love you or even a simple smiley face. Be creative and come up with something like a funny cartoon or saying that you know will put a smile on your child’s face.

Beyond sandwiches
If your child is tired of bread in any form consider crackers. What about packing a few crackers in your child’s lunch along with a side of cheese and ham slices? Kind of like a homemade lunch able only healthier. You can even cut the ham and cheese slices into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Be sure to package the crackers, cheese and meat separately.

For more fun and creative lunch ideas and recipes visit http://www.school-lunch-ideas.com

Monday, August 27, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Annita

Annita is a wife, mommy of one, and freelance writer in Kentucky living a frugal life while trying to earn some money working from home. She just started a new blog about her frugal journey at http://thefrugalmama.blogspot.com/


What is your finanical life?
I am married with a one year old son. I stay home full time and I am trying to build a career as a freelance writer. We own our home, but while we were both working we racked up quite a bit of credit card debt that we are currently trying to pay off.


What is your budget buster?

Credit card debt is what really hurts because often we can only afford to pay the minimum which means interest is eating us alive.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

My favorite tip has to be menu planning. It sounds simple enough, but in our budget groceries are often the only flexible spending area that we have. By planning out a menu every week I know exactly what I have to have and there are no unplanned trips to the grocery where I might be tempted to buy things we don't need. I can also plan meals around available funds, if we have more I willl choose different meals than if money is tight.


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

Since cold weather is right around the corner I would probably stick it in an envelope marked electric bill and use it as backup when our bill gets high this winter. If I had any left when winter was over I would apply it to our highest interest credit card.


What is your best resource for frugal living?
When I decided to quit my job I started searching the internet for tips and websites like thefrugalmom.net and miserlymoms.com were a big help to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Frugal Menu planning Aug 26th

I have to head out to the grocery store this morning, but it will be another pantry challenge weeks as funds are still tight! My husband will be getting commission again at the end of September-we haven't had a commissionless month in 3-4 years. So it has been back to basic frugality for us! Thankfully a pretty full pantry plus an overflowing garden! Here is what I keep in my pantry

Sun Turkey burgers, french fries

Mon Tuna Tomato Skillet yes I am still eating down my tuna stash!! Scroll down for this easy recipe.

Tues Open house for school 4-6pm so an easy crockpot dinner Crockpot chicken Salsa I haven't made this one in while!! Fresh tomotoas added

Wed FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!! I may sit home and eat bon bons all day long!! Mexican Lasagna Doing the meatless version I may add some extra red peppers in there.

Thurs Leftover Crockpot chicken salsa

Fri Leftover Mexican lasagna

Sat Pizza

Saturday, August 25, 2007

CVS Extra Care Buck weekly deals 8/26-9/1

Here are the CVS extra care bucks for next week! For your best value, use coupons!! I think I will be stopping in for coffee and deorderant this week. I got a Maxwell coupon and they are a buy one get one free this week

ECB Specials 8/26-9/1 (All limit 1 unless noted)
$2 ECB WYB 3 Pepsi 12 packs 3/$10.00
$2 WYB 2 (two) Hersheys Kit Kat or Reese's Snack size 2/$5
$1 WYB 2 (two) Sour Patch Kids or Swedish Fish 2/$3
$5 WYB $15 of Energizer Rechargeable Batteries
$5 WYB $20 of Be fine Skin Care
$4 WYB Monistat Ovule $18.99
$4.99 WYB Serenity Dry Active Pads $4.99 –
$2 WYB $10 of Always or Tampax Peral products
$5 WYB $15 of Advil, Children's Dimetapp or Robitussin
$1 WYB Visine Tears or Pure tears $8.99

$5.49 WYB Zantac Cool 150 - 8ct. $5.49 (limit 2) –
$3 WYB Listerine Whitening Strips (limit 2)
$2 WYB K-Y Lubricant or Massage Oil $10.99 (limit 2)
$2 WYB Johnsons Softwash/Softlotion/Softcream (limit 2)
$2 WYB 2 (two) Softsoap Body Wash 2/$7 (limit 2)

$5 WYB $15 of any Nivea or Eucerin products (limit 5)
$5 + get a FREE tote bag WYB $20 of Garnier or Maybelline products (limit 5)
$5 WYB any Acne Free, WrinkleFree, or Regenetresse Kit (limit 5)
$5 WYB $15 of Nexxus hair Care (limit 5)
$5 WYB L'Oreal Couleur Experte Haircolor (limit 5)
$1.50 WYB Optimum Care Relaxer Kit (limit 5)
$1 WYB CVS/pharmacy pain relief (limit 5)
$2 WYB any Lamisil or Lamisilk (limit 5)
$2 WYB Similasan Ear or Eye drops (limit 5)
$3 WYB CVS/pharmacy One-Time Use Digital Camera $14.99 (limit 5)
$3 WYB Memory Play DVD (limit 5)

Buy One Get One Free
Nature Made Vitamins
Kodak Power Flash Camera $9.99
Colgate Toothpaste or Toothbrush PSA 2.69
Purex 24-32 load size
All Mennen Deodorant (excludes Mens 24/7)
Lays Potato Chips (excludes Baked)
Planters Nuts Mixed or Cashew Halves
Maxwell House Coffee – not instant type
Avery Durable View Binders 1”-2”
Avery Advantage Dividers
Pilot G2 Pens
Marks A Lot or Hi-Liter Markers
Bic Velocity Pens 4 pk
Pentech Pens of Pencils
Gerber Baby Cereal or Juice

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
CVS Food Storage Bags
Prestige or Styli Style Lip or Eye Liner
All Essence of Beauty Cosmetic Accessories
Get 2B Styling Products
CVS Disposable Razors or Cartridges



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

Helpful websites!!!
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/extracarehome
http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533
http://www.terismessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=13237
http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62

Friday, August 24, 2007

Freebie Friday and coupons

Free Nutro Dog and Cat Food
Get a coupon for a free 5 lb. bag of any Natural Choice Dog Food and a free 4 lb. bag of any Natural Choice Complete Care Cat Food. Plus a coupon for $1 off and $3 off your next purchase. Allow 3-6 weeks for delivery. United States and Canada residents only.

Free Advil PM sample combines the multi-pain relieving power of Advil with a gentle sleep aid to help you spend less time lying awake with aches and pains, and more time asleep. Advil PM works by rushing pain relief to where you need it, while gently easing you to sleep.

Free Loreal Lipstick sample


Dove® | Energy Glow® Sample Registration

Aquafresh $1.00 off coupon

Kotex®

Metamucil: Free Sample

Free Pantene Shampoo

Olay.com – Samples & Offers

CALGON Get a Free Sample

Folgers Gourmet Selections free coffee sample

Purex laundry sample

NASCAR Sponsor Decal

Free coupons for brand name health and beauty products you and your family use every day.

Free scholarship search for college money



Win $250 grocery store gift card

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why same as cash offers stink

A friend bought a TV with the 1 yr no interest no finance charges. Had been paying perfectly on time, sometimes extra dollars toward their new TV.

On her next to last payment - she was late by 1 day. She opened her next statement...and saw $800 in interest. Yes even though she only had a $300 balance...they charged her interest going back to the original purchase amount.

Was I surprised? No way!

Here's how most of these deals work. If you borrow $1,000 on a 12 month same as cash plan, you have to pay it back within 12 months to avoid interest. That much is obvious. However, the term "same as cash" is very misleading because most of these deals are actually deferred interest payment plans. So, if you borrow $1,000 and pay $950 of it in 12 months and still owe $50, you will be charged interest on $1,000, not on $50! In other words, you will be charged back interest on the full amount regardless of the amount you paid on the loan during the 12 month "same as cash" period

We see these all the time on TV from appliances to furniture. While they may sound good, if you are late at all you will be paying BIG TIME for it. And credit card or financing companies are just so happy to get your money!

I have done the same as cash as few times, but luckily I haven't been burnt on it. However, if I won't do anymore of them. I will be paying cash!!

Pantry list

A few readers have asked what do you have in your pantry. I try to keep my pantry pretty well stocked with canned goods at least 1 months worth of stuff. I do use my price book to make sure I am getting the best deals. I will also pick up the reduced can section.

My pantry is in my basement area of my house. We have 8 4ft shelves in a corner and they are pretty much filled up!

flour
sugar
brown sugar
baking powder
canned tuna
Mayo
crackers
soda crackers
Ramon Noodles
creme of mushroom soup, currently have cream of chicken, celery and broccoli
tomato soup
canned fruit
instant brown rice
oatmeal -quick oats
oatmeal- instant flavored
cereal mostly generic Cheerios and Special K
powdered milk *if on sale, at regular price it's more than regular milk
canned soups or stews (if no leftover hubby takes these for lunch, during busy season we might have soup and sandwich nights)
mac and cheese
pasta
tomato sauce
tomato paste
canned vegetables
canned beans pinto, chick peas,
canned spaghetti
canned chili
juice boxes (for school)
oil spray
vinegar
various spices

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to clear a clogged drain safely

I had a slow drain this morning in the bathroom sink this morning . I hate usual drain cleaners like liquid plumber. They are not environmentally friendly, they cost and are in the long run bad for your pipes.

One home made drain cleaner is this mixture:

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup of hot vinegar. Try heating the vinegar in the microwave before adding it to the drain. Wait 5 minutes before flushing the drain with 2 quarts of hot water. You can repeat this process a few times if it is necessary.

You should try to do this once a month to prevent clogged drains.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Are you an identity theft victim?

1 in 12 Americans will become victims of identity theft.

- Today Show / MSNBC

How Can I Tell It’s Happened?

Your identity can be stolen by obtaining bank statements, credit card applications, checks from your trash or mail, purse or wallet, or getting your debit card number from a corporate database. Once a person has this information, he can wreck your good name. Since the crime may take days or even weeks before you noticed what happened, it’s easy for the criminal to commit several crimes before you’ve realized what occurred. This crime leaves your credit history in a mess and can take years to rebuild it.

Warning signs someone may have stolen your identity:

  • Checks disappear from your checkbook.
  • Your credit report shows accounts you didn’t open.
  • A call from a collection agency about a debt you didn’t incur.
  • Bank and billing statements don’t arrive on time.
  • A bill from a credit account you didn’t open.
  • Unauthorized charges on your debit, long distance or bank accounts.
  • You are turned down for a loan, mortgage or other forms of credit because of unauthorized debts on your credit report.

What Do I Do?

If you think you are a victim:

  • File a report with your local police department and keep a copy of the report for your personal records.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any suspicious activity.
  • Report any suspicious charges and accounts to the appropriate credit issuers and credit bureaus immediately via the phone and in writing. Cancel the accounts.
  • If your purse or wallet is stolen, cancel all cards immediately and get replacements. Also, put a “stop payment” on all lost or stolen cards.
  • Contact the three main credit reporting companies to put a fraud alert on your credit report.

The three main credit reporting bureaus are Experian in Texas, Equifax in Georgia, and Trans Union in Pennsylvania. You can report fraud or get a copy of your credit report by reaching one of these companies. Once you report to one bureau, the other two agencies will be sent the report. A fraud alert will be put on your account by each company and you will be sent a copy of your credit report.

Dave Ramsey is the author of The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
Dave is changing the face of America by helping people get out of debt and build wealth. Ramsey exemplifies his life's work of teaching others how to be financially responsible, so they can acquire enough wealth to take care of loved ones, live prosperously into old age, and give generously to others. Read more of what Dave has to say about identity theft.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Bruce

Bruce is from Britain and runs a very informational blog called Finance Choices He started the blog with his wife Barbara to try and help decipher the confusing world of finance with buying guides. Check out their site. You may even find out that you are a credit card tart as I did!

What is your financial life?

I have a mortgage, no credit cards or other debts. I live in Britain with wife Barbara, we have no kids and a household income of approximately £50,000 per annum.

What is your budget buster?


Taxes

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Constantly shop around for the best deals on savings and mortgages.

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

We would put it towards our mortgage.

What is your best resource for frugal living?

There is a website in the UK called The Money Saving Expert. That is very good for money saving tips. Also we're both interested in the environment so www.TheEnvironmentSite.org is good because it has some eco tips that usually result in money being saved too.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Frugal Meal planning Aug 19th

This week is a pantry challenge week as we are on a very tight budget right now. Also,my cupboards are very full so yesterday I only picked up some bananas, apples, milk and a steak to get us through this week. It is nice to walk out of the grocery store only $20 spent!! My garden is overflowing!!

Sun Steak, fries fries, zuchini and peppers

Mon Lipton Asian pad thai noodles with chicken This was to be served last Friday but we had tuna melts instead. (trying to getting rid of my 40 cans of tuna) Chicken will be from the freezer

Tues Tuna noodle casserole - you will see tuna a lot in the next few weeks!!

Wed Pork Chops (got 2 weeks ago on discount meat put immediately in the freezer), mashed potatos,
tomato and cucumber salad

Thurs Leftover tuna noodle casserole

Fri Pasta, ground turkey and sauce

Sat Homemade pizza

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Weekend reading first time home buyers

I remember buying my first home 11 years ago. The whole process from making the offer to getting approved for the mortgage was scary as well as did a job on my nerves!

So get a cup of joe and enjoy your weekend reading for tips on buying your first home.

It's a good time for home buyers Houses are now much more affordable than they were a year ago.

My problem is that the housing prices where I live are just way too expensive for me to be able to buy anything .Finding an affordable first home

Today’s housing market is moving really fast, so for many first time buyers, getting a foot on the property ladder can seem like an impossible task. Yet it’s not all doom and gloom for those trying to clamber onto the bottom rung, the trick is to know what your options are and to do your homework. How to get on the property ladder

So you want to buy your first home, but no matter what you do you can't manage to scrape together the cash to make a significant down payment. Or maybe you finally saved enough to buy your starter home, only to realize you don't have any money left over for repairs. Using your IRA to buy a first home


How to find money to buy your first money

CVS Extra Care Buck deals 8/19-8/25

Here are next week's CVS deals... get the best deals with coupons.

ECB Specials 8/19--8/25 (All limit 1 unless noted)
5.00 ECB WYB (4) Four Kiss/Broadway Artificial Nails PSA 2.49 but all onsale this week for $2 off so $0.49 and up.
3.99 ECB WYB Sea Breeze astringent 10oz - $3.99 FREE
2.00 ECB WYB (2) two Ponds towelettes, cold cream or cleanser - $4.99-$6.99
5.00 ECB WYB (4) four Neutrogena Cosmetics PSA $3.49
4.00 ECB WYB Bic Soleil Razor or Blades $6.99
1.00 ECB WYB Oral-B Pulsar Vibrating Toothbrush $5.99
3.00 ECB WYB Clear Care, Zaditor, or Genteal
2.00 ECB WYB Tylenol Rapid Release 24ct or 20ct PM
1.00 ECB WYB Tide/Gain Laundry Detergent $7.99
4.00 ECB WYB Centrum or Caltrate
2.00 ECB WYB Viva 8pk Paper Towels $6.49

3.00 ECB WYB Listerine Whitening Strips $23.99 (limit 2) - $3.00 off coupons around

1.00 ECB WYB Arm & Hammer or Mentadent Toothpaste $1.99 (limit 5)
10.00 ECB WYB One Touch Ultra Mini $19.99 (limit 5) - $20.00 off coupons out exp 9/30/07

Buy ONE Get ONE FREE
Life Fitness Vitamins & Supplements
Stridex – all varieties PSA 3.99
Avery Binders (Buy TWO (2) get ONE (1) Free!) PSA 1.99
Trapper/5 Star Portfolios PSA 1.15
Its Academic Scissors PSA 2.19
Pentel Writing Tools PSA 1.99
Pilot Easy Touch Pens 2 or 5 pack PSA 1.99
CVS Batteries PSA 5.59
CVS Tape PSA .49
Right Guard, Soft & Dry, Dry Idea PSA 2.99
Arrid/Arm & Hammer Deodorant PSA 2.99
Ajax Dish Soap $1.69
Edy’s Ice Cream
Starburst/Skittles 16oz bag PSA 3.29

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
All Maybelline Cosmetics
Covergirl Clean Makeup
Milani Makeup
L’eggswear Trouser Socks or Assorted Hanes Socks
Conair or Scunci Hair Brush
All Marc Anthony Hair Care
Childrens Multi Vitamins
Special K Protein Bars
All CVS Sun Care or Sunless Tanning
Lumene Lifting or Time Freeze Skincare $19.99


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

Helpful websites!!!
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/extracarehome
http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533
http://www.terismessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=13237
http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62

Friday, August 17, 2007

Home made cheese sticks

My kids love cheesesticks and they are quite expensive from the store. I saw this tip on Dollar Stretcher and tried it out this morning. The cheese sticks were a success (ie kids eating them up) using my french fry cutter


I love cheese, so we buy it in bulk. We received a French fry
cutter for our wedding. I trim a section of cheese so that it
will fit the fry cutter and use it to make cheese sticks. They
make great portable snacks and you don't have to buy the
expensive individually wrapped ones from the store!
Ashley D. in Maxwell, TX

Freebie Friday and coupons

Enjoy your free samples this week!

Free Nutramigen, Gentlease, and A.R. LIPIL
Free Nutramigen LIPIL, Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL, and
Enfamil A.R. LIPIL instant printable certificate.

Free blood glucose meter

Free American Baby Magazine: 2-Year Subscription
Free two-year subscription to American Baby Magazine. It has pre- and post-natal information with great tips for keeping your newborn healthy!

Free Sun Crystals Natural Sweetener (McNeil)
Click here for a free sample of Sun Crystals™ Natural Low Calorie Sweetener.

Free Scotch-Bright Toilet Scrubbers
Free Scotch-Bright Disposable Toilet Scrubbers. The Only One with Built-in Bleach!

Free Starbucks Grande Beverage
Free Starbucks grande size prepared beverage with beverage purchase of same size, at Target

Free Guide to a Healthy Home
Free copy of "What To Expect Guide to a Healthy Home." This new guide is full of helpful information and simple ideas so you can keep your home and family healthier.

Free baby magnet

Free school folders

Free Purell Hand Sanitzer

Sharpie Disney Dream Vacation and free Disney coloring pages

Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program: Grades K-1
The Junior Scientist Program consists of six modules. It includes a video, materials for students, a parent newsletter, and a teacher’s guide for each module. The goal of the NIDA Junior Scientist Program is to lay the foundation for future scientific learning and substance abuse prevention efforts by providing an early elementary school-age audience with a basis of knowledge and critical thinking skills

Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program: Grades 2-3
This package is designed to interest and educate students in an age-appropriate manner about their brains, why they should protect it, and how drugs such as nicotine and inhalants can hurt their brain. The parent's guide describes activities that can be done with the whole family and includes a listing of resources. The teacher's guide provides more in depth information, suggestions for activities for the classroom, and a list of resources.



Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program: Grades 4-5

The Brain Power! program takes students in grades 4 and 5 step by step through an exploration of the processes of science and how to use these processes to learn about the brain, the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the nervous system and the body. The materials include a videotape, a teacher’s guide, trading cards, and parent newsletters.

Chocolate Chex Chex® cereals offer wholesome great taste, essential vitamins and minerals and an enjoyable crunch. The savory new flavor of Chocolate Chex® gives you one more reason to be glad to get up in the morning. Chocolate Chex is an everyday, affordable and nutritious cereal the whole family will enjoy

Playtex Sport Tampon

Free post it pack includes Note Cubes, Flash Cards, Flag Highlighters, and Flags

Enter to win $5,000 cash by taking a survey

Get paid to read emails



Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pots and Pan basic-what you need in your kitchen

Just as any great carpenter requires the perfect tools to get the job done, so does a chef require the right tools - in this case pots and pans. We don’t realize it, but pots and pans have a lot to do with the type of foods we cook and the quality and ease of preparing such meals. If you are hoping to maximize your meals and cooking experience, here are some hints on the exact pots and pans to utilize.

Every Family Can Benefit from a High Quality Pot and Pan Set
Today’s pots and pans can easily last numerous years even with continued use, so it is definitely worth the extra moola to buy a high quality pot and pan set that won’t give you problems for several years, rather than a set that can save a couple of hundred dollars momentarily but will lose their value in half the time. While you don’t need a signature pot and pan set, look around and comparison shop. You will be pleasantly at how wallet friendly a high quality pot and pan set can be.

Essential Pots and Pans
You don’t have to be a master chef to use a wide variety of pots and pans in your home. No matter if you are an occasional cooker or create meals each day, a wide array of pots and pans is a good idea. Each good set should have at least two types of sauce pans, usually 1 quart or 1.5/2 quart with tops, two types of skillets and baking casserole dishes. While each pot and pan set can vary, choose the one that most closely matches your cooking style.

Non-Stick is a Life Saver
Definitely, one of the best inventions in cooking has been the non stick pan and while there are a couple types of non stick surface types, they all are often awesome at saving you time and energy cleaning off the mess. One of the ways to maximize your cooking surface, especially if it is a non stick pot or pan is to use plastic or soft edged wooden utensils. Never scratch the non stick surface and never use any kind of metal to scrape at the pot or pan. This will significantly decrease the life and effectiveness of the non stick pot or pan.

Add Some Style to Your kitchen
One of the best reasons to buy a new set of pots and pans is if you are redesigning your kitchen. There are so many styles for pots and pans and with numerous types of colors, finishes, materials and designs available, you can easily accent your kitchen with a beautiful set of pots and pans.

While many times neglected, pots and pans are one of the most important accessories in your home. Whether you cook a little or a lot, the better the tools of the trade, the higher quality and more simple your meals will be to cook.


For additional great cooking and kitchen ideas log onto
Dine Without Whine - newsletter

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How to save on back to school supplies

Back to School Kids: Tips for Saving on School Supplies

Unfortunately, most schools do not have the budget to afford supplies for the students. Parents usually need to buy school supplies every school year. Here are some ways to save on school supplies.

If you belong to a one of the many stores chains, such as Costco or BJ, you can load up on supplies by buying in bulk throughout the year, especially when there are sales and coupons offered.

In addition, the office supply stores such as Staples, Office Max or Office depot always have sales during the summer months and also have give-a-way supplies such as calculators, as well as discounts if you spend a certain a certain amount. In fact, you can save lots of money by purchasing the store brand of supplies, especially paper, pencils, pens and other items needed for school. Also, most office supply stores offer recycled paper as well, and is very inexpensive to purchase.


There are many chains of dollar stores which also have some school supplies available. They have incidental items as well which can be purchased, such as: tissues, handy wipes, zip lock lunch bags, school bags, and other items wherein you can save quite a bit of money.

Another item which you can buy ahead of time are the white boards used for exhibiting art work, science projects, or used for any subject where the student has to showcase his or her work. These are expensive items, and while some schools have a budget for them, others do not. You may need three or four, depending on your child’s curriculum.

Tip: If you have purchased any school supplies online, you will no doubt receive emails from office supply stores offering $25.00 or more discounts on purchases of $100.00 to $150.00. In addition, when new chains of office supply stores open, you may also receive a circular in the mail or in your Sunday newspaper offering a discount and free items if you visit their store.

Supplies are expensive, and taking advantage of every promotion, sale, and coupon offered will save you a great deal of time and money.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Simple Chicken, Broccoli and rice bake

I have made this a few times and everyone seems to like it around my house. Just thought I'd share it . . . it is a good way to sneak in some veggies into the kids!

Chicken rice bake

1lb cut up diced chicken breast-uncooked

1 can (10.75 oz) 98% FF cream of chicken soup

1-1/3 c. water

¾ c. uncooked white or brown rice (add 20 min. to cooking time for brown rice)

2 c. (at least) broccoli florets (I use 3-4 cups)

½ t. onion powder

¼ t. black pepper

1 T. soy sauce

optional mushroom



Mix soup, water, rice, broccoli, onion powder, pepper & soy sauce in 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with chicken. Sprinkle additional pepper on chicken.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes (65 with brown rice).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Story Girl

Story Girl is wife, a teacher, and a writer is sharing her frugal journey at My Money and My Life
and shares some more frugal resources

What is your financial life?

I'm recently married (1 year now!) to a grad student and I'm a teacher.
Together we have an almost respectable income, which I leverage as best I
can into repaying student loan debt and building up savings


What is your budget buster?
We eat out much too often. What can I say, we really love food.

What is your favorite money saving tip?
Call your cable and Internet companies every few months and see if they
can give you a better deal or promotion. It saves you money every month
for almost no effort.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
I would probably put half of it toward paying down student loan debt, one
quarter of it into our investment account, and spend the other $250 on
stockpiling groceries and buying household items that will save us money
later.

What is your best resource for frugal living?
I could read The Tightwad Gazette every year for the rest of my life and
still keep finding new things in it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Frugal Meal Planning Aug 12th

Hello
Here is what is for dinner this week....

Sun Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries

Mon Roasted chicken (got it for 49 cents a lb... going to make it last for the week) mashed potatoes, veggie

Tues Lasagna

Wed Naked Burrito using leftover roasted chicken-will shred it

Thurs Leftover Lasanga

Fri Lipton Asian pad thai noodles with leftover chicken. (on sale for $1.00 this week and had a couple off $1.00 off of three-super deal) If no chicken leftover, will use some boneless chicken breast that I got on sale for $1.69 a lb that is in the freezer!

Getting rid of the credit card junk mail

I hate credit card junk mail. I used to get 7-10 new offers a week for a new credit card. Luckily I opted out https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t My mail did decrease and so did my clutter!

In the meantime send back to them in their prepaid envelope The Dave Ramsey Credit Rebellion letter

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Your credit company has been chosen, out of all those in your area, to receive our special “Send us junk mail and get it back at your expense” deal.

I know this is not what you expected when you opened this envelope, but I did not expect your garbage when I opened my mailbox either. I considered sending the following

  1. One chain link, symbolizing the people you have enslaved
  2. One lollipop, symbolizing the suckers who use your credit cards every day
  3. One miniature American flag, representing the members of congress you bought to pass recent legislation
  4. One brand-new, stylish BRICK…representing the homes you have wrecked!

Many people on your mailing lists listen to The Dave Ramsey Show, so we are sending you the following suggestions instead:

  • Take us off your stupid mailing list!
  • Clean up your act, then your guilty conscience will let you sleep at night. No more will you jump at your own shadow, suffer night sweats, avoid eye contact with your children, or have terrible nightmares that are introduced by your former business partners, which feature three strange ghosts.
  • Upon receiving your offer in the mail I was excited to see I would have had the opportunity to pay several fees, including the application fee, the acceptance fee, the annual fee, AND the monthly user fee. Seeing how you are full of fees, perhaps I can interest you in my $250 unsolicited mail fee!

We, The Dave Ramsey Show listeners hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are: Life without credit card debt, Liberty from ridiculous interest rates, and the pursuit of happiness which will be achieved when you finally get the message: Reply THIS shark!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Weekend reading Your career

Here is some weekend reading on your career which can make you rich or poor.

Second act: Boomers embark on new midlife careers
Some baby boomers are part of a revolution that may change the nature of work and retirement in the United States -- people who, instead of fading from the workforce in midlife, are embarking on second careers.

The Best Jobs for Six Personality Types Like looking for a marriage partner, you may need to do the same for finding a career for yourself

Jobs You Wish You Had?
At a dinner party, you've got to go around the table and ask the obligatory questions: What's your name? What do you do?

And a little humor if you are looking for a job 15 top job hunting tips

If your dream is to work at home find daily job leads here.

Have a great weekend!

CVS Extra Care Buck deals 8/12-8/18

I have really been getting into CVS lately and wanted to share the upcoming deals for next week. This past week I got $20 extra care bucks for purchasing $20 worth of Kraft products that I would have normally bought.

ECB Specials 8/12--8/18 (All limit 1 unless noted)
$2 ECB WYB Any Maybelline Products – Definite A Line Eyeliner $4.99, Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector $5.99, Dream Matter Powder $4.99, Superstay Lip Gloss $6.99

$3 ECB WYB Revlon limited Edition 9.99
$2 ECB WYB L’Oreal Infallable Lip Color 9.99
$2 ECB WYB $10 CoverGirl new cosmetics – Line Exact Eye Liner 5.49, Lash Exact or Volume Exact Mascara 6.49
$3 ECB WYB Lumene Full Size Premium, Advance, or Radiant PSA 9.99
$10 ECB WYB two (2) Garnier Nutriste Moisturizers or Eye Cream PSA 12.99
$2 ECB WYB Caress Body Wash
$5 ECB WYB two (2) Nexxus Stylers PSA 6.99
$2 ECB WYB three (3) Pantene Pro V Shampoo, Conditioner, or Styler 3/$12.00
$5 ECB WYB Venus Breeze Razor 8.99 – Vocal Point $4.00 coupon makes free!
$3 ECB WYB two (2)Ban deodorants 2/$6.00
$3 ECB WYB Listerine Whitening Quick Disolving strips $23.99
$5 ECB WYB Crest Whitestrips $19.99
$2 ECB WYB Oral B Value Pack $4.99
$2.50 ECB WYB Tylenol Rapid Release Extra Strength or PM $4.99
$1 ECB WYB Tylenol Sinus Congestion, Allergy, or Multi Symptom $4.99
$4.99 ECB WYB Advil PM $4.99 – Free or Money Maker with coupons!
$2 ECB WYB Bengay Pain Relief PSA 5.49
$9.99 ECB WYB Ascensia Contour Glucose Monitor $9.99 FREE!
$3 ECB WYB two (2) Slim Fast Optima 2/$11.98
$2.50 WYB $10 Dr Scholls for Her PSA 5.99
$2 ECB WYB three (3) American Greetings Cards
$2 ECB WYB Vagisil Screening Kit $16.99
$2 ECB WYB two (2) Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner, or Deep Conditioner 2/$12.00 (limit 2)
$1 ECB WYB Irish Spring 8 pack or Bodywash/Softsoap Liquid refill $4.99 (limit 2)
$1 ECB WYB Softsoap Pure Cashmere or Nutra Oil Body Wash (limit 2)
$2 ECB WYB Boston lens Care of Renu Multiplus $8.99 (limit 2)
$1 ECB WYB Softsoap Handsoap $2.49 (limit 2)

$2 ECB WYB Colgate MaxFresh Burst or Total Advance Clean $2.99 (limit 3)

$10 ECB WYB $30 Skin Effects PSA 9.99 (limit 5)
$2 ECB WYB Mane N’ Tail Shampoo or Conditioner $6.79 (limit 5)
$1 ECB WYB Hoodia Green Tea Sup or 5 hour energy vitamin sup. B1G1 50% (limit 5)
$3 ECB WYB CVS One Time Use Digital Camera $14.99 (limit 5)
$3 ECB WYB Memory play DVD $12.99 (limit 5)
$3 ECB WYB CVS Flash Camera & Processing 9.99 (limit 5)
$1 ECB WYB five (5) Gatorade 32 oz or Propel 1 liter 5/$5.00 (limit 5)

Buy ONE Get ONE FREE
All CVS Pharmacy Vitamins, Minerals, Herbals
Bic Velocity 4pk Pens
Trident 9 Pack Sugarless Gum $2.29

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
ValuStrip Blood Glucose Test Strips
All Revlon Lipcolor
Noxema
CVS Notebooks 1, 3, 5 subject varieties
Scotch Mailing or Transparent Tape
Revlon Lipcolor, Face or Eye Makeup
Any Designer Fragrance PSA $19.99
John Frieda, Frizz Ease, Sheer Blonde, Brilliant Brunette, Radiant Red PSA 4.99
Ellin LaVar Hair Care

Other deals
Aquafresh 6-6.4 oz $0.99
Gold Emblem Water 3.99
Charmin 4 pack $1.99
Doritos 2/$5.00
Gold Emblem Peanuts 2/$4.00
Mars 8 Pack Fun Size $0.99
Paper Mate 10 Pack Pens 2/$1.00
2 Pocket Portfolios 10/$1.00
Poster Board 2/$1.00
Pampers Jumbo Pack 2/$16.99
Pampers Wipes $2.99
J&J Reach Dental Floss 2/$3.00
CVS 1 Subject Notebooks 3/$1.00
Paper Mate 10 pack pencils 3/$1.00
American Outdoor or Marshall Collins Watch B1 at $9.99 get 1 for $1
Kotex – get 2nd for $1.00 PSA 3.49
CVS Bandages get 2nd for $1.00 PSA 2.49
Scott 8 Pack Paper Towels 4.99
All Laundry $3.99
VO5 $0.77
Sunsilk 3/$9.99
Save $2 Schick Quattro Womens single razor
St. Ives Skin Care $2.99
Shout, Scrubbing Bubbles, Fantastik, Windex 2/$5.00
Buy $20 of Energizer Alkaline Batteries get FREE CVS Energizer Gym Bag
Gold Emblem Candy $0.88


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

Helpful websites!!!
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/extracarehome
http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533
http://www.terismessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=13237
http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Freebies and coupons

Here are some great freebies and coupons to enjoy this week


Free Peripheral Artery Disease Kit

Free Nutramigen, Gentlease, and A.R. LIPIL

Free Breast Cancer Awareness Kit

Free KraftMaid Idea Book and Planning Guide

Free Shaq's Big Family Challenge Report Card Does your family need to lose weight? Get a free family report card from Shaquille O'Neal! Eat better, live healthier.

Free Beech Nut Baby Bowl
Free sturdy plastic Beech Nut baby bowl. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. United States residents only

Free Beech Nut Baby Bib
Free Beech Nut "Small is Big Here" baby bib. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. United States residents only

Free Auric Blends Perfume Oils
If there is a perfume you’d like to sample, please click here and request your fragrance (limit of 2 free samples)

Free Bibles for America
Bibles for America (BfA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to distribute free copies of the New Testament Recovery Version and Christian literature throughout the United States.

Free Guide to a Healthy Home
Free copy of "What To Expect Guide to a Healthy Home." This new guide is full of helpful information and simple ideas so you can keep your home and family healthier.

Free Healing Garden Skin Organics Lotion
Free sample of The Healing Garden Skin Organics Renourish Moisture Lotion SPF 15. Also get a coupon for $1.50 off your next purchase of any product from the healing gardern ORGANICS LINE! Allow 4 weeks for delivery. United States residents only.

Neoteric Diabetic Skin Care Lotion

Free 2007 Nestlé Good Start Limited Edition Backpack
Our 2007 NESTLÉ GOOD START Limited Edition BACKPACK celebrates the launch of NESTLÉ® GOOD START® NATURAL CULTURES™ — the first and only infant formula with beneficial cultures to help support Baby's healthy immune system.

Free condoms

Free PetStyle T-Shirt

Free Maybelline Make-up sample

Sign-up for great baby freebies and deals

Frosty Paws free dog treat for your dog

Always pad free sample

Print real coupons from your computer

Win a $500 VISA gift card by voting do you think America is ready for a women president

Netwinner Have you check out this yet? Simply spin the wheel and earn points. Rack up the points and get gift cards from Target, Wal-Mart etc!! Working on paying for some of my Christmas shopping this way!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chocolate chip zucchini bread

My sister in law passed along this great bread recipe that I brought on my recent vacation. The kids loved it as well as my parents. A great way to sneak in some veggies for the kids as well as use up zucchini!

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. chocolate chips


Combine eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla; beat until smooth and thickened. Stir in zucchini and flour, soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Fold in chocolate chips
Spread batter in 2 greased loaf pans or in muffin cups, Bake loaves at 350 degrees 1 hour or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Our No spend vacation!

I am back from a couple of days at the beach. It was actually pretty much of a no spend vacation!! Of course, we are staying at my parents house and I brought up food that would be part of my normal food budget. It was just me and the kids plus my parents. My husband stay back at home.

The kids really enjoyed the beach. We spent the majority of waking hours at the water. We built sand castles, floated around on water tubes. Fun!

Cards and board games were played in the evening! I think we played Monopoly about one dozen times. Fish, war and crazy eights.

So our no spend vacation was enjoyable and I don't think the kids even noticed!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

20 Frugal Gift Ideas Under $5

You want to give something but the occasion says it shouldn't be too much. Or the whole family is getting together to celebrate a birthday, Thanksgiving, or Christmas and that means 45 presents. You want to give something to every one in your class. Or your budget will soon reach the red ink stage.

What should you do? Here you'll find ideas for items that cost less than $5, but each gift can still have special meaning.

1. A swimmer can always use a new set of ear plugs.

2. Someone who works nights will love a new night shades for sleeping.

3. If your grandma travels, get her small travel bottles of lotion, hairspray and deodorant.

4. Everyone can use a new lint remover mitt.

5. A luxury item is sachet bags to hang in closets or place in drawers.

6. A coffee mug with their name or a picture that represents something about the recipient.

7. Most women will appreciate a bottle of bubble bath.

8. Any woman will love mini tote bags to hold and organize items in their purse.

9. A coin purse will be easier to find in a purse and fit easily in a man's pocket.

10. Everyone goes shopping. Get them shopping pads to hang on the refrigerator door.

11. Get padded velvet or satin coat hangers. They come in pretty colors.

12. Find a key chain that represents the recipient's hobby.

13. Jigsaw puzzles will help fill the hours for your stay at home grandmother.

14. Wind chimes will add a cheerful note on almost any day.

15. Everyone has items they keep. Give them decorative boxes to organize them.

16. Decorative baskets hold and organize things throughout the house.

17. Get a special perfumed bar of soap.

18. Anyone who travels will love a fold up travel toothbrush.

19. Bath oils will soothe her skin.

20. Coffee lovers will appreciate small bags of flavored coffee.


Friday, August 03, 2007

I just saved a bunch on my auto insurance

I got my auto insurance bill and being in Massachusetts, you really can't do any comparison shopping with Geico or Progressive. Auto insurance are set by state regulators. The Division of Insurance sets a baseline rate for all companies. Good drivers get credit for clean records, but they also help pay for bad drivers. Massachusetts is ranked at the 4th most expensive state for auto insurance.

My insurance was down 11.7% thanks to a ruling change in April I will take any saving! I am saving about $180 since last year.

Friday freebies and coupons

Enjoy this week's freebies

New Beleivers Growth pack

Free Tape Measure

Free Chanukah kit

Wisdom for the Heart - free gift package

Cat treats

THE CONSTIPATION FOUNDATION - Free Sample

Pepcid Complete Coupon

Get a Free Sample of GlucoBurst

Free Post It notes

Print real coupons from your computer

Netwinner Have you check out this yet? Simply spin the wheel and earn points. Rack up the points and get gift cards from Target, Wal-Mart etc!! Working on paying for some of my Christmas shopping this way!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

When a rainy day happens

Dave Ramsey calls it Murphy, others financial guru call it curveball and lots of us just call it LIFE!

Whatever happens and you need to dip into your rainy day errr Monsoon fund here are some tips shared by Today show money expert on how to plan and save.


Call your creditorsCall your mortgage company, credit card company etc. The sooner the better, let them know that you got laid off, someone is sick etc.
Explain that you're taking full responsibility for putting a plan in place to get them their money, and then get back to them quickly. “They'll respect you for doing that, because you've made their job so much easier,”

This is not the time to get gazelle about paying off your debt. Only pay the minimums. 

Make more moneyGet a second job if you need to build an emergency fund. If you lost your job, check out craigslist for some freelance work and sell stuff on ebay, craiglist or have a yard sale. If you are still working, go to your boss and ask for a raise. 


If you still have your job, see if you can get overtime.  Some freelance sites include  odesk, fivrr work at home job

Cut your spendingTake a look at your budget and what you are spending day in day out! Save that $3.00 on your Starbucks latte or that Outback dinner and put that money aside to help pay the bills. Bare bones until you get your head from underwater.





No eating out-focus on the basics check out these  easy recipes


You don't need any toys. In fact this may be the time to sell some of your toys on craigslist 

Ask for help
I am not one to ask for help so this one is hard for me to suggestion. However if you need assistance, you church, your local community would be places to go. I think friends and family would be the last ones to go ask for financial help. Of course, an hour or two of free babysitting could help a job search go easier.


Once you're back on your feet, plan for next timePeople who have emergency funds are far less likely to take a dive every time an extra bill comes their way. When the unexpected pops up, you can dig into your emergency savings for living expenses instead of whipping out the plastic. Think of it as borrowing from yourself instead of the bank. Aim to have three to six months' worth of expenses stashed in a savings account that's easily accessible but will still bear you some interest.

Recommend



The Orange Savings Account. Great rates, no fees, no minimums.


The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security

What is in your cleaning products?

Guest blogger nurse Teri Rouse talks about the chemicals in cleaning and laundry products.



If you are like millions of consumers you assume the government is protecting you. Unfortunately you are mistaken. Make an informed decision next time you purchase household products.

Reading labels might not be good enough. Many ingredients are kept off labels entirely by “trade secret” or proprietary blend. This means that manufacturers are not required to divulge the actual ingredients in their products, including those which are toxic. Another way around telling you what is in their products is using alternative names for ingredients. All these ingredients contain, break down into or release formaldehyde: 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1, 3-diol, diazolidinye urea, DMDM nydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15. All the manufacturer has to do is put safe handling instructions on the label. If the warning label includes danger, hazardous, toxic, use in well ventilated area, think twice before bringing it into your home.

What chemicals are in your home? Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene and chlorine are commonly found in most households. They are ingredients of products like cleaning products, dishwasher detergents, laundry products, personal care products (soaps, shampoos) and cosmetics. These ingredients are known or suspected carcinogens and cause many adverse reactions including allergy symptoms, difficulty breathing and chemical burns.

According to the EPA the air inside your home is 3 to 70 times more polluted than the air you breathe outside. Cancer rates have doubled since 1960. How many new products are being used in our homes compared to 1960? According to a study by the National Cancer Association women who work in the home are a 54% higher risk of developing cancer than women with traditional employment out of the home.

There are safe ecologically friendly alternatives available. Many are also more cost effective per use and actually work better than the products found in you grocery store. Don’t tell this to the big name manufacturers. Do your homework before you reach for a product at your grocery store; while you are there, take a deep breath, and notice the smell. This is called out gassing, remember these chemicals are packaged in sealed containers and you can still smell the chemicals. Are you willing to expose your family?

For more information visit: www.solutions.nontoxichomes.info www.epa.gov


Teri Rouse has been a registered nurse for 10 years. She is currently practicing for the State of Idaho. She is a wife and a mother of six.