Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to shop for bargains online

A report on a news magazine website recently made a
surprising disclosure about the incomes of certain types
of online shoppers. Evidently, shoppers with higher
incomes are more inclined to use the internet to make
comparison price searches before they purchase. This fact
seems to defy common sense since the poor need the price
breaks the most. Research has shown that users of
comparison shopping sites are reporting incomes above the
average American household's.

One surprising demographic is shoppers on eBay. While more
than thirty percent of all internet surfers browse eBay at
least monthly, more than half of eBay's shoppers earn an
income of more than seventy-five thousand a year.
Three-quarters of its buyers are over the age of
thirty-five. Another interesting statistic reported by
regular search engines is terms like "cheap" or "discount"
combined with a product name is used most frequently by
the affluent searcher than not.

So what types of shopping websites do the poor surf?
Perhaps it is merely to fuel their daydreams, but the poor
are browsing exotic cars, expensive designer clothing and
high-end electronics.

If you are not already using the power of the internet to
find those bargains, here are a few tips for you.

1. Start by going to a comparison shopping website, such
as Froogle, or find sites by doing a search for
"comparison shopping."

2. A good comparison site will help you to get a feel for
the right model and the best price you can get. Follow up
with a specific search in your regular search engine.
There may be other merchant sites listed that are not on
the comparison site.

3. Look for evidence of stability in a merchant website as
well as price. A reliable business will have a secure site
and an offline presence such as a street address and a
telephone number.

4. Always take into account the cost of shipping. With
shipping added in, you may be better off in a store.

5. Before you go to a store, print the best prices for an
item and carry it with you. Even if you prefer to buy in
a local store, showing you are knowledgeable may put you
in a better negotiating position.

With all of this bargain hunting on the internet, is the
humble offline garage sale becoming an endangered species?
Apparently not, you would think if you look at the garage
sale listings on the Craigslist website. In April 2002
they had a mere two thousand garage sale ads and in April
2007 there were one hundred twenty thousand.

Make the most of the power of the internet to hunt down
and buy those bargains. There is no reason to feel like
you are slumming when you do. Now you know you are in good

Matia Bryson teaches the
newcomer to eBay shopping the fundamentals so they can
catch up quickly:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Traci

Traci is a frugal college student and mom from Oklahoma

What is your financial life?

I'm a full time college student and mom so work for me is out of the question at the moment. I am the mom of 3 kids ages 10, 8, and my youngest is going on 4 in December. I am going for my nursing degree. My husband is a carpenter and we do have a mortgage and minimal credit card debt. I am trying to cash flow my college degree.

What is your budget buster?

Lately it has been car repairs. our car is a bit older.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

I save change! I signed up my bank's keep the change program. My bank rounds up my purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference from my checking into my savings account. It is pretty cool!!

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
It would go towards a new car fund!

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I just finished Suze Orman Women and Money book-it had a lot of great ideas.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cheap Dinner Planning Week of Oct 28th

Here is what we are having for dinner this week!

Sun Steak, potatos, veggie

Mon Ravoli lasngnan simply layer ravoli and sauce, veggies ( use zuchini and spinach) in 9 x 13 inch plan add cheese to that top and bake! You can put in ground beef or turkey too.

Tues Broccoli, chicken and cheese biscuits

Wed Candy! Hey it is Halloween! Probably some leftover ravoli lasngna

Thurs Leftover Broccoli, chicken and cheese biscuits

Fri Nacho Stuffed Shells this will be leftovers for lunch over the weekend

Sat Pizza

Who keeps the ring in a break-up?

Luckily when my husband asked me to marry him, I said yes and we made it down the alter. However I know several friends that were engaged, but broke-up before they were actually married. You hear a lot about well if the couple breaks up Who gets the ring? Is it considered a gift or a contract?

This became an issue recently in the Tennessee Court of Appeals, where a judge ordered a man’s former fiancée to give back the engagement ring. According to court records, Jason Crippen placed an engagement ring on Catharyn Campbell’s finger on Christmas Day 2005 and proposed. When the relationship ended and no wedding took place, Campbell kept the ring and refused to return it. A trial court ruled that engagement rings are gifts, meaning Campbell did not have to give the ring back.

Kanas has a different approach on the law: Kansas considers an engagement ring to be a "conditional gift." If there winds up being no wedding, by law it goes back to him. Several other states agree with Kansas as well.

However many states don't have any "laws or rules" on engagement rings? What do you think?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why you shouldn't lease a car?

The thing that really helps us when evaluating purchases is that we now look at the price instead of the monthly cost. When we used to look at vehicles we would decide whether we could afford the payment. It's easy to look at a brand new car and think "Wow, I can easily afford $300 a month or$400 a month payment ".

Now we look at the price. A recent vehicle we looked at was about $300/month over 48 months plus a couple thousand down. Total cost after 48 months with the down payment was $14,000. At the end of the lease I would own nothing.

For us, looking at driving for4 years and then needing to buy or lease something else for $14,000 sounds ridiculous. I can buy a vehicle for $14,000 and after 4 years I still have a very good car that depending on the vehicle, is still worth several thousand dollars. Plus I can drive it for another 5-8 years.

Leasing is great for driving a car outside of your price range, but in the long run it will catch up with you. I strongly disagree with those who say it doesn't matter since you'll have a car payment for the rest of your life anyway.

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 10/29-11/3

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow. Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! The soy joy bars are good snacks to have in the car so you don't need to stop at the store! I haven't gotten my candy yet so I think I will be heading out to CVS!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)

$4.99 ECB WYB Rohto V Eye Drops $4.99 *FREE*
$4 ECB WYB 4 (four) Soy Joy Bars 4/$4 *FREE*
$1 ECB WYB 2 (two) fun size candy – Kit Kat, Reese’s 2/$5.00
$25 ECB WYB Kodak EasyShare C613 Digital Camera $89.99
$5 ECB WYB 2 (two) CVS Regenerating $14.79
$2 ECB WYB 2 (two) Softsoap Body Wash $3.49
$3 ECB WYB Visine Drops $8.99
$2 ECB WYB Any Renu (as shown)
$5 ECB WYB $30 of any Full Size Be Fine Skin Care
$5 ECB WYB $29.99 of any Pre-Ventin AT Skin Care
$2 ECB WYB Covergirl Lashblast Mascara $8.49
$4 ECB WYB ANY Schick Quattro or Intuition Razor for Women
$5 ECB WYB 2 (two) Bengay Pain Relief $5.99
$2 ECB WYB Cortaid Anti-Itch
$1 ECB WYB any Johnsons & Johnsons Strips, Pads, or Tape
$1 ECB WYB Colgate Total Whitening with Free Toothbrush $3.49
$20 ECB WYB Nova Max Blood Glucose Monitoring System $29.99
$9.99 ECB WYB CVS True Track Blood Glucose Monitor $17.99
$10 ECB WYB $20 worth of items on this page – Prilosec OTC 28ct $19.99, Zantac 150 24ct, Zantac 75 30ct, or Pepcid AC or Complete, Mylanta, Maalox, Tums Tablets (excludes Sugar Free)
$5 ECB WYB $15 Meta T Green Tea Dietary Supplement
$10 ECB WYB Nicorette, Commit, or Nicoderm CQ
$5 ECB WYB Any Sleep MD, Joint MD, or Allergy MD
$2 ECB WYB Tums Sugar Free $4.99
$2 ECB WYB Crest or Scope 2/$7.00 (Limit 2)
$3 ECB WYB Rembrandt Toothpaste $7.49 (Limit 2)
$3 ECB WYB Orajel Mouth Sore Rinse $6.99
$2 ECB WYB 2 (two) Colgate Toothpaste/Toothbrush 2/$5.98 (Limit 5)
$5 ECB WYB Vagistat-1 or Vagistat-3

All CVS Vitamins/Minerals
Kodak PowerFlash Camera $9.99
Mennen Deodorant

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
The Indulgence Candle
Cottonelle Wipes
All Ocuvite or PreserVision Vitamin & Mineral Supplements
CVS Photo Frames & Albums (excludes digital)
CVS Tape
All Essence of Beauty Cosmetic Accessories
All CVS Hosiery by L’eggs or Trouser Socks
All Reading Glasses by Foster Grant & Magnavision
All Schick Disposable Razors (excludes Quattro)
Ocuvite DF Eye Vitamin
Dietary Supplement – hoodia, green tea fat burner, natural fat burner

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Flashback budget now vs then

I was born in 1970s I only can't really relate too much moneywise except the oil crisis and waiting long lines at the pump.

Liz Pullman gives an idea of what typical families expenses were in the 1970 in her flashback budget.

Smaller homes The average new home in 1970 took up less than 1,500 square feet. Today, new homes average more than 2,400 square feet.

Smaller cars 1 per household The 1973-74 oil crisis led to lines at the gas pumps and a new interest in fuel-efficient vehicles. But most households didn't have multiple tanks to fill. At the start of the 1970s, only 31% of households had more than one car, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; more than a quarter had no vehicles at all.

Less eating out Eating out used to be a fairly rare treat. Eating out just one less night a week could save a whopping $1,560 a year

Driving or train vacations I think my parents were an exception to this because my Dad is from Ireland but we made several trips back Ireland in the 1970s. However most families drove to the campground (we did plenty of that as well)

Families had 1 phone number And it wasn't a cell phone!

TV was free Cable really didn't start getting big until the early 80s! I remember fiddling around with the antenna many times trying to get the local channel to come on in.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paying down the mortgage

We have been receiving this switch to a bi-monthly mortgage letter since we had our mortgage. We are currently not preparing the mortgage as we are trying to save for an emergency fund, retirement and college! Once those are all set, then mortgage will then be the focus!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Broccoli and Cheese Biscuit Cups

Here looks like an easy recipe that I will be adding to my meal planning

Broccoli and Cheese Biscuit Cups

1 chicken breast
1 can on biscuits
1 cups of broccoli
1 can 98% FF Broccoli soup
1/2 C FF Chedder chesse

Cook chicken breast with your favorite spices. Place broccoli, soup concentrate, and cheese in a seperate bowl and mix. Grease your buscuit pan and flatten biscuits out to where they are in the shape of a cup so the mixture will be held inside. Mix cooked chicken in with your soup mixture and place in buscuit "cups". Bake for about 10-15 minutes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Jodi

Jodi is a frugal mom from New York who shares her Saving Money Journey

What is your financial life?

I live in NY with my husband and two children, ages 4 and 2. We rarely carry balances on credit cards unless it is 0%, and we currently have two paid-for cars. One was bought with cash and the other was paid off two years early. Our biggest debt is our student loans - almost $20,000 combined, as my husband just recently went back to school and obtained his Masters in Education.

What is your budget buster?

Gas. We travel a lot both for work and to see my husband's family. The price of gas really hits our pocketbook.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

You would be surprised at what you can get free when you ask (try or "putting the word out" when you need something). If you can't find it free, buy used whenever possible. You will discover that buying secondhand clothes, toys, books, furniture, etc. will save you 50-90% off most "new" prices. Of course, there are always things that you need to buy new (i.e. car seats), but most things can safely be bought gently used at garage sales or thrift stores. Half the fun is in the hunt!

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

I would put it into our Roth IRAs so that we can fully fund them for the year.

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I love for support and tips. The best book, in my opinion, is The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyzyn. Reading this book is what changed my entire mindset about money.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Frugal Dinner Planning Oct 21st

Sun Steak, roasted potatoes, french fries

Mon Spaghetti and meatballs

Tues Mexican Lasagna

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

Thurs Leftover Mexican Lasagna

Fri Clean out the fridge night (or sandwiches)

Sat Bubble up pizza

How to do cheap green beauty

While it's great that there are many natural and organic beauty products available nowadays, it's still better for the environment and your pocketbook to avoid buying products you don't need. Let's focus on the "reducing" aspect of the equation. If you don't NEED it, don't buy it, even if it's eco friendly. Here are some ways to be a "green" beauty.

Eliminate products you don't need

Skipping beauty products you don't really need means using less packaging and other resources. Here are some of the products you can probably do without.

Beauty and skin care experts agree that toner (or astringent) is not necessary. If you cleanse your face well and rinse well, you can skip the toner.

If you have oily skin you probably don't need moisturizer, and if you have normal skin, your sunscreen might be enough of a moisturizer. All skin types should use a sunscreen daily. If your skin is dry, use the gentlest cleanser you can and you can get away with less moisturizer.

Most people, unless their skin is extremely oily, don't need to wash their faces with a cleanser in the morning. Of course it goes without saying that you should thoroughly remove makeup and cleanse your face at night, but as long as you do this, your face is clean enough in the morning. Just splash with warm water then apply sunscreen.

Exfoliation is important for healthy and pretty skin, but you probably don't need an expensive product. Use a very clean washcloth to gently scrub your face. Or put some baking soda in your hand and use that as a gentle scrub. Or sugar or salt mixed with a little olive oil. Olive oil makes a great eye makeup remover too.

Skip the allover foundation. Most people don't need it all over their faces but just a little bit under the eyes and around the nose. Use a little tinted moisturizer instead or try mineral makeup, which makes your face look flawless and seems to last forever.

Skip certain steps in your beauty routine

If you curl your eyelashes you might be able to skip mascara and eyeliner. It opens up the eyes and really makes them pop. Keeping your brows groomed also shapes your face without needing a product. In addition to tweezing, try trimming the longer hairs that stick out after you comb your brows (use cuticle nippers).

Many hair care experts agree that most people wash their hair too often. Twice a week is enough. On the other days, you can rinse your hair and then reapply a small amount of styling product. Not washing your hair daily saves water and you will often find you won't need conditioner and other products for the hair, as it will be easier to style with some of the natural oils intact.

Try multi use products

Dr. Loretta, author of "6 Weeks to Sensational Skin" says that dead sea salts have multiple uses for skin problems: everything from acne to eczema.

Body lotion or conditioner can double as shaving cream. You can even buy makeup that can be used for eyes, cheeks and lips.

Make your own green beauty products

Making your own skin care products usually means you'll use far less packaging than if you bought everything. It doesn't have to be super complicated though. You can mix honey and salt to make a body or facial scrub. Or sugar and olive oil. Lemon juice, salt and olive oil are great to exfoliate and bleach elbows and heels.

Learn to love your natural look

My sister has super thick, curly hair. The kind that, if it were long, would rest in ringlets down her back. The kind that other people spend $100 per perm to try and achieve. Now she has accepted her hair and decided not to fight nature, but when she was a teenager and everone had Farrah Fawcett wings, straight was the look. So she would spend money and time trying to chemically straighten her hair, which was mostly an exercise in futility!

Learn to accept your natural face. Freckles are cute and don't have to be covered up. Curly hair is beautiful and doesn't have to be straightened. Ask your hairdresser to help you choose a style that works with your facial shape and hair texture. The more you try to change your natural look the more money and time you'll spend.

For free natural skin and body care recipes, visit and for more ideas on how to be a natural beauty, visit

Saturday, October 20, 2007

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 10/21-28

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow. Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! I need new razors and the lifestyle vitamins are a good deal especially for the omega 3 ones!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)

$5 ECB WYB $10 Energizer Batteries $5.29 each
$5 ECB WYB Flair Fragrance $15.99
$4 ECB WYB Keri Lotion
$5 ECB WYB $15 Essence of Beauty $4.99 each
$5 ECB WYB $20 Lumene Premium PSA $12.99
$4 ECB WYB Granier Fructis Shampoo/Conditioner $7.79 (Limit 2)
$2 ECB WYB Two (2) Clairol Herbel Essences $3.00 each (Limit 3)
$2.49 ECB WYB Renu Travel Kit $2.49
$3 ECB WYB Maalox, Gas-X, Benefiber, Perdiem, Ex-Lax PSA $2.89
$5 ECB WYB $15 Future Products
$10 ECB WYB $20 Large Tylenol $8.69 each (limit 3)
$5 ECB WYB Two (2) Alka Seltzer Plus $4.99
$2 ECB WYB Triaminic, Theraflu, Comtrex, Buckley’s or 4 way Nasal (limit 5)
$5 ECB WYB Miralax 30 dose $19.99
$5 ECB WYB NatureMade RX Essentials $12.99 (limit 5)

All Revlon Cosmetics
Nature Made or Nature’s Resource
CVS Power Flash Camera
Maxwell House Coffee (not instant) $3.99-$5.89
CVS Alkaline Batteries
CVS Hearing Aid Batteries
Osteo Bi-Flex

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
CVS Photo Frames/Albums – excluding digital
All Fashion Lashes or Brow Accessories
All Almay Cosmetics or Skincare
All Milani Cosmetics
Conair or Scunci Hair Brush
CVS Hair Dryer, Straightener, Curling Iron (THINK HOLIDAYS!)
L’eggs Sheer Energy or Sheer Vitality

Other deals
Hersheys Snack Size Candy $1.97
Glow Sticks, Necklaces, Assorted $0.99
All laundry Detergent $3.99

Free Halloween Bear with 3 American Greeting Cards Purchase
Buy Home Accents Tealight Holder (5ct) get a free Candle-lite tealights 25 or 50ct scented of unscented
Buy 1 Skincare Product get 1 free – see items on page 7 – a lot of L’Oreal & Garnier, Revlon, Maybelline Products

Don't forget!!! When in doubt and they are out, get a RAINCHECK! they can be used at ANY store and DO NOT EXPIRE!!!

Any questions regarding the ECB program please browse through our 1st thread at:

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

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Freebies and coupons

Another great week for freebies

Free Sample - GoodNites® Boxer Style Sleep Pants -

$1.99 movie rental from blockbuster

SkinWear USA - Free Sample

Nicorette chewing gum

Good Morning Hawaii t shirt

Free 2008 prayer calendar

Skin cream

Healthy gummy bears

Celestial Seasons tea

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to find bargains on eBay

If you have not heard of eBay, then where have you been? I
like to call eBay the largest garage sale in the world.
You could say it is a cyber garage sale. EBay improves
upon the conventional garage sale, by making it so much
easier to find the needle in the haystack with it powerful
search engine. I have a friend who still burns gas and
time going to garage sales and has met many people who say
they wish they knew how to buy or sell on eBay

I understand that completely. For a long time, I browsed
eBay, agog at the prices, but I just did not understand
it, so I bought nothing. Then I had a friend who let me
look over her shoulder as she showed me around on the eBay
site and explained the basics of buying and selling. Even
without the listings of things for sale, eBay is a huge
website. There are pages upon pages of policies, rules,
helpful resources for buyers, resources for sellers, and
much more. In short it can take a long time to read and
even longer to take action to buy or sell something for
the very first time. That is why having a helpful friend
with eBay experience is of great benefit.

My friend made me familiar with eBay by showing me
different areas like the seller's feedback, the search
listings, the product description and emphasizing those
aspects of them which were important. Sometimes it was the
conspicuous lack of the words "new" or "smoke-free" that
mattered most.

After I knew how to find those needles in the haystack I
wanted to buy, and I understood how to buy, the last piece
was to get the scoop on how to tell the good sellers from
the not-as-good sellers on eBay. I could see that my
friend, who was an eBay seller herself, cared a lot about
her one-hundred percent positive feedback. I knew she
would go to the post office the very next day after making
a sale, so she would get comments from her customers about
her fast shipping. I learned how to read the feedback

Not only did I get comfortable with eBay, I also started
having fun. Recently I purchased a couple of new clothing
items for less than half the price of one and that
includes the shipping. What is more fun to a shopper than
picking up some real bargains?

Matia Bryson, the author of this article, teaches the
newcomer to eBay shopping the fundamentals so they can
catch up quickly:

The eBay Shopping Home Study Course

Monday, October 15, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Marianne

Marianne is a frugal lady from New York that shares a ton of ideas on frugality on several yahoo groups!

What is your finanical life?

I am married with two boys and we live in Upstate New York. My husband is in sales and I am currently a stay at home mom. It's a commission based job, so our income varies from month to month. Our credit card debt equal a little less than $5,000. I hope to have that paid off by February of next year. Then we will be completely debt-free! We are currently renting so buying a home is our goal within 2-3 years.

What is your budget buster?
It's definitely eating out. I need to cook more.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

Stay out of the store and avoid impulsive buying!

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
I'd put it toward our credit card debt as it would put us 1-2 months ahead of schedule!

What is your best resource for frugal living?
I am an active participant in several frugal boards and yahoo groups. They are very inspiring to me!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Frugal Dinner Planning Oct 14th

Sun Dinner at my parents I am bringing easy Applesauce cake

Mon Layered Ground beef casserole

Tues BBQ chicken, with potoatos

Wed Leftover Layered ground beef casserole

Thurs Spaghetti and meatballs

Fri Leftovers

Sat Pizza

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

Saturday, October 13, 2007

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 10/14-20

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow. Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! I need new razors and the lifestyle vitamins are a good deal especially for the omega 3 ones!

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)
$1 ECB WYB Dawn, Ivory, Joy Dish Soap $2.79
$5 ECB WYB any Two (2) Jergens Lotions
$5 ECB WYB $15 any Nivea Visage or Body Care
$5 ECB WYB any Two (2) Curel Lotions $7.99
$2 ECB WYB Advil Maximum Strength $6.99
$2 ECB WYB Caress Body Wash $3.99
$2 ECB WYB Gilette Disposable Razors – Venus, Daisy, Gillette Sensor 3 $6.99
$5 ECB WYB Gillette Fusion Razor $9.99
$9.99 ECB WYB Accu-Check Aviva or Compact Plus $19.99
$5 ECB WYB $15 Covergirl Products

$2 ECB WYB Serenity Pads $11.99 (limit 4)

$2 ECB WYB Two (2) Herbal Essences Hair Care 2/$8.00 (limit 5)
$1 ECB WYB any Yeast-Gard Product (limit 5)
$12 ECB WYB $20 Eucerin Redness Relief (limit 5)
$2 ECB WYB Five (5) Gatorade or Propel 5/$5.00 (limit 5)

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent
All L’Oreal Lipcolor, Mascara
Colgate Toothpaste
3 Musketeers, Snickers, M&M’s funsize $2.99
All Chase & Sanborn Coffee
Arizona Tea
CVS Batteries

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
All Life Fitness Vitamins or Supplements
CVS Storage Bags
All Physicians Formula Makeup
All Sally Hansen Nail Color or Lip Treatment
All Marx Anthony Hair Care
Cristophe Beverly Hills
All Bonnie Bell
All Blistex

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

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Easy Applesauce cake

This is an easy cake to make. If you have a lot of apples using homemade apple sauce is wonderful in this.


1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups apple sauce
3 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
1 ¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a medium sized baking pan and lightly sprinkle with flour. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the applesauce (make sure it’s cold) and 2 ¾ cups flour. Mix well. Add in the raisins, remaining flour and vanilla extract. Mix well and poured into greased baking pan. Bake approximately 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes until golden and baked through. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Note: You can also add 1 cup chopped walnuts to this bread when you fold in the raisins.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Food Safety Facts

I just started receiving Prevention magazine in the mail again (as a freebie) . They had a quiz about food safety. No one wants to get sick from spoiled food!! Here are some of the questions and answers:

Frozen food stays good for as long as it's kept in the freezer.

Foods frozen at 0°F are safe to eat indefinitely, though flavor and texture may change with time, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

If you see a spot of mold on your Cheddar, you can cut it off and eat the rest.

A bit of mold on hard cheeses like Cheddar or Parmesan can be trimmed off, 1 inch around and below the spot (be careful not to touch the mold with your knife to prevent cross contamination). But soft varieties such as Brie or cottage cheese can be affected below the surface, so if you see mold, throw it out.

Rinsing eggs before cracking removes bacteria lurking on the shells.

I thought for sure, you would rinse! I always do, but I was totally wrong! Rinsing eliminates the protective coating added to already sanitized grocery store eggs. The USDA requires that all graded eggs go through this process.

It's best to thaw a frozen chicken breast in the microwave

Microwave thawing is safe but only recommended if you plan to prepare the food immediately it begins the cooking process, which can allow bacteria to grow. Otherwise, let chicken thaw in the fridge. This is good to know in case I forget to take chicken out in the morning from the freezer!!

Leftovers should be frozen or refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking.

Two hours is the maximum time that perishable foods can sit out at room temperature which includes the time they're on the table during your meal.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Living Large

Living large 20-something in the northeast trying to figure out how she and her husband can find their way to true financial freedom. She shares her financial journey at Living Almost Large There is a lot of great info on merging funds as a couple!

What is your finanical life?

I am 28 year old woman married, no children but two dogs. We have a mortgage on a townhouse in Massaschusetts. We also credit card debt free and have 2 cars paid in full! We do have student loans of $17,000.

What is your budget buster?

The mortgage hurts us the most. Of course we bought it stretching and honestly it's gotten easier as our incomes increased rapidly.

What is your favorite money saving tip?

We max out our 401k and Two Roth IRAs by setting that as the first line item. We have our gross income and minus out those two items 401k/IRA. Then we chose our house, cars, eating out, vacations, taxes based on what was left. Savings before even taxes.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
Blow it on a weekend getaway

What is your best resource for frugal living?

I really enjoy and Women in Red message board

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Frugal Meal Planning Oct 7th

I am doing a pantry challenge week here.

Sun Turkey burgers, oven roasted potatos

Mon BBQ Pork in the crockpot

Tues Creamy Chicken with pasta (cream of mushroom soup, tomato pasta mixed together)

Wed Meatloaf, mashed potatos,

Thurs Leftover chicken and pasta

Fri Sandwiches we got movie picnic night at school!

Sat Pizza

CVS weekly extra care bucks deals 10/7-10/13

Here are the CVS sale starting tomorrow. Of course check your coupons to see if you can match any up! I need to stock up on my cold medcine this week! Check out Saving at CVS for beginners

Two Day Sale – Sunday & Monday ONLY!!!

All Revlon Lip – Buy 1 get 1 free PSA 6.49
Craig CD Playes – Walkman type $9.99
Craig MP4 Video Player $29.99
Folgers 13oz $1.99 (GREAT DEAL!)

ECB Specials (All limit 1 unless noted)
$10 ECB WYB $30 of Neutrogena Lip & Listerine Whitening Strips
$3 ECB WYB Keri Lotion $7.99
$2 ECB WYB Johnsons Soft Cream/Soft Lotion $5.49
$5 ECB WYB $15 Clean & Clear
$2 ECB WYB Any L’Oreal Voluminous or Telescopic Mascara
$2 ECB WYB TWO (2) Lubriderm 6oz or Purell 8oz
$2 ECB WYB TWO (2) Herbal Essence 2/$8.00
$2 ECB WYB Ellin LaVar Hair Care $5.99
$5 ECB WYB $20 of Boost 6 packs
$14.99 ECB WYB Contour Glucose Monitor $14.99 – FREE
$2 ECB WYB Viva 8 Pack of Paper Towels $6.99
$5 ECB WYB $10 Energizer Batteries
$1 ECB WYB any Mennen Deodorant (excludes mens 24/7)
$3 ECB WYB Playtex Tampons $4.99
$3 ECB WYB Degree Clinical Protection for Men/Women

$3.29 ECB WYB Crest Pro Health NIGHT - $3.29 – FREE (Limit 2)

$5 ECB WYB $15 Esence of Beauty Products (limit 3)
$2 ECB WYB any Revlon Cosmetic Shown – Renewist Lipcolor $7.99, Age defying $9.99, Limited Ed. $8.99, 3D Mascara $6.99 (limit 3)

$2 ECB WYB Colgate Total Advanced or Max Fresh $2.99 (limit 5)
$1 ECB WYB Palmolive Dish Liquid $1.49 (limit 5 – YAY!)

Snack Size Candy – Kit Kats, Hersheys $2.99
Planters Nuts – Mixed/Cashews $4.99
All Natures Bounty Vitamins or Supplements
Very Fine Juice or Fruit 2O
Kodak PowerFlash Camera $9.99

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
Neutrogena Foundation, Concealer, Blush, or powder
John Freida Shampoos, Conditioner, Stylist
All One A Day/Flintstones Vitamins

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

Helpful websites!!!,f533

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Easy Halloween Party Games for kids

I am running an open house the weekend before Halloween at cub scouts and another one at my kids school. Part of the fun of Halloween is playing silly games. When planning the games, it’s best to keep the costumes in mind and plan things that will work around them. Games should be simple with easy to follow rules.

Bobbing for Apples – A classic Halloween party game has always been bobbing for apples, however some kids don’t like putting their face in the water or don’t want to mess up the make up that took a long time to perfect. One variation of this game is to tie the stems of the apples to varied lengths of string and then hang them up. Then the people have to put their hands behind their back and try to take a bite out of the apple. You can also play the game using marshmallows.

Mummy Wrap Up – Divide guests into small groups. Provide them each with a roll or two of toilet paper and see who can use the tissue paper to wrap up one of their teammates the fastest. The first one to complete their mummy using the entire roll wins.

Jack-o-Lantern Faces – Hang a picture of a jack-o-lantern on the wall and have matching face pieces cut out of black paper for the eyes, nose and mouth. Place sticky-tack on the back of the pieces. Blindfold each player when it is their turn and play the same as pin the tail on the donkey except players put the eyes, nose and mouth on the pumpkin face. Younger children can do just the mouth, while older children and adults can do the entire face for more of a challenge.

Ghost Hunters – Cut out several paper ghosts and divide the players into two groups. Have one team hide the ghosts around the room. The other team has to hunt down the ghosts. Play continues until all ghosts are found. The team that hunts the most ghosts wins.

Ghost Bowling – Collect ten empty one or two liter soda pop bottles (use the larger bottles for younger guests). Paint the bottles white and decorate with silly ghost faces. Use a small playground size ball as the bowling ball. If you can find orange ones, decorating them as jack-o-lanterns can add to the fun.

Upset the Candy Dish – Place chairs in a circle, facing in, having one less than the number of players. Whisper in each child’s ear the name of a favorite Trick or Treat candy. They will become this piece of candy in the candy dish. Have one person stand in the middle of the circle to be “it”. The child in the middle will call one or two types of candy. If the candy name that’s called is matches the one the children are, they should stand up and try to move to another empty seat. Occasionally, the child who is “it” calls out, “Upset the candy dish.” and all the players need to move to a new seat. If any of the candy kids can’t find a seat they then become “it.”

Pirates’ Treasure – Fill two small buckets with sand and place inside a larger washtub or box. Bury treasure in the buckets such as small prizes or candy. Each player receives a plastic spoon to dig for their treasure. Divide players into two teams. Position players around their designated bucket and tell them when to start. They dig in their treasure “chests” until every piece is found. The first team to find all their treasure wins.

Check out Frugal Halloween Guide to keep Halloween on a budget.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Finally credit card debt free again

The very end of July we charged $600 that I know we wouldn't be able to pay it off right away. I was worried about falling down the slippery slope of credit card debt again! I am happy to say last week I paid off the credit card in full and no more debt!

For the wedding, hotel, tuxes and the other various expenses we paid in cash or used the debit card. The hotel suggested having me give my credit card so I wouldn't have to have a hold put and then switch it to debit once we leave! I love that idea and took them up on it.

It feel good not to have any credit card debt over my head right now!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Frugal Five Meet Jennie

Jenni is a stay at home mom from Nebraska and blogs about being a mom and parenting 3 young girls at

What is your financial life?

I am a SAHM of 3 girls ages 3 1/2 yrs, 2 yrs & 2 months! my husband works 2 part time jobs and has his own business. Apart from the business debt (which doesn't affect our household budget, thank goodness!) we have our mortgage and a little credit card debt on a 0% interest card.

What is your budget buster?
My trips to Target! It is amazing what I can walk out of that store with! Really if I don't watch my spending at any store, our debt would skyrocket.

What is your favorite money saving tip?
Shop sales and use coupons, especially at CVS and Wal-mart. It's amazing the things you can get for REALLY low prices at these places on things you always use (toiletries and cleaning supplies)!
Also, don't go shopping and especially don't buy things you don't NEED! When we had our baby a few months ago, it was c-section so I wasn't able to drive myself anywhere for a few weeks. It's amazing how low our main credit card bill was that month. It has opened my eyes on how many things I buy that we don't NEED and I'm now more committed to spending less and trying to get us back on our budget.

If you had an extra $1000 what would you do with it?
I'd pay off our other credit card so we could start saving more.

What is your best resource for frugal living?
An awesome website is it helps you find good deals and how to pair up the sales with coupons to get an even better deal and they are all at stores that most of us have in our area! I also like to search for blogs that offer tips on saving money