Friday, April 24, 2009

Loss of job? Need to cut back? This list is for you!

Did you or a spouse lose your job? Need to start a savings but do not have extra money after bills are paid? Or maybe you just like to save money like me? Here is a list of super easy ways to save money. Most are fast ways to save money, but some are long term savings. Do not judge, just accept.

1. No soda, fancy coffee, bottled water, or energy drinks. Waste of money.
2. No paper towels. Use fabric napkins.
3. No a/c. Morning just open your windows all the way. Shut as soon as sun comes up. Close your drapes.
4. Keep thermostat at 60. Wear socks and sweatshirts.
5. During winter, keep drapes open when its sunny. Close when its not.
6. Pay bills over the internet. Saves on stamps and theft.
7. Think twice before you buy. Do I really need it? Or think about it and come back later. Chances are you wont.
8. Walk. Those 2 things on your legs called feet? Yep those will help you walk. Saves on gas. Good for everything.
9. Dont buy cleaners. Make your own. Fill spray bottle with water and a tiny bit of vinegar. Does not smell when dry.
10. No cable, dish, net flicks, nothing. You dont need it. Red box has free movie code every Monday on blogs. Use different debit cards and get more than 1.
11. Buy 2nd hand everything possible.
12. Wear clothes more than once before washing.
13. Designate a towel to each person in your home. Wash once a week.
14. Use your library. Free books, movies, etc. Remember to return them on time.
15. Line dry your clothes. If you dont like your jeans scratchy, just dry them outside until almost done, then throw in dryer for 5 minutes. No more scratchy.
16.Do not eat out.
17. Pack your own lunches.
18. Use cold water in your washer.
19. Unplug everything when not being used.
20. Buy after season sales. Buy seasonal clothes for your family in the size they will be in 1 year.
21. Get to know mark down area's in each store. Visit them 1st. Anything in them will be marked down 50% off.
22.No lights on till dark. Just open your drapes/blinds.
23. No shaving cream-just use soap
24. No land line phone. Cheaper to own a cell. Search for the best deal.
25. Buy meat markdowns or sales only. I will not pay more than $1 per lb for any meat. I feed a family of 6 and this can be done. Plus you get a variety of meats to choose from. Get to know your mark down area in each store. Separate and freeze when you get home.
26. Start a garden. Store bought potato's, tomato's, green peppers can be used to start them. Just wait till potato's get to growing. Tomato seeds strained and dried. Peppers seeds taken out to dry.
26. Freebies/samples used. Yes, you can use those. Husband travels and keeps soaps/shampoo/conditioners for us. I use them. Have not bought bar of soap a long time. Use them. They really do add up.
27. Skip mouth wash. Use hydrogen peroxide. This keeps your teeth white and does not taste. It taste like water. Swish for 30 seconds. $4.50 a bottle or $1.00 a bottle? You choose.
28. Children school hand outs. If one side is empty, use it to print on. Less paper you have to buy.
29. No chips, fancy crackers, or cookies. Instead buy bulk nuts, and dried fruit. Make your own muffins or cookies.
30. Buy in bulk first always. These days even shampoo or soap can be bought in bulk. Just look for it.
31. Look up a recipe instead of buying a boxed meal. Hamburger helper is made with noodles, water, seasonings and meat. No brainer. Try making it instead of buying boxed food stuffed with preservatives and other things I cannot even spell.
32. Use condiment small packs. Katsup, mustard, soy sauce, and much more. This will save you a tiny bit.
33. Try sweeping your drive way instead of using your water hose.
34. Try blending frozen banana's with a little milk for homemade ice cream. Much cheaper than $5 ice cream.
35. Dilute your shampoo and conditioner down. Works just as well.
36. Buy store brands only unless name brand is cheaper.
37. Need medicine? Try all natural methods. Just look it up on google. Or try This is my go to site.
38.  Express to friends, family and neighbors that you are on the hunt for "instert here". You would be suprised who would give you it.
39.  Ask friends and family if they know of any outlets or programs to help people in need. Someone always knows of someplace.
40.  Dont step foot into a store unless you need to. Temptation is a powerful thing.
41. Let it be your best friend. They have everything you need for free. Find your nearest local group and have fun!
42. Internet is optional. If you have a computer at work, cut your internet bill. Local libraries have them too. This is a $10 or more savings each month. But some would argue (me) there is alot of benefits to having internet service. Like my blog! 
43. Use what you have. Dont have sugar? There are other things you can do to make up for that when baking. Just try for no sugar recipe's. You can last a while without sugar.
44. Try emailing all your favorite brands and giving them a compliment. You would be suprised who sends you coupons for free product. Sunny D just sent me one. Note: Dont expect anything though. This is a good way to express how much you love them.
45. has tons of things to get for free. Plus forums on everything you can think of. Great moms with great advise.
46. No movie night, bowling, miniture golf, nothing. Try to think of fun free stuff. Board game night, picnic's, game systems, etc. Rethink your thinking.
47. Garage sales. There usually is a free box at garage sales, check them out. You might find that spatula you been wanting. Never know whats in them. I find alot of my Tupperware lids in them. 
48.  Last but not least check my blog everyday. Its my goal to get you the actual free stuff, super easy recipe's and every way to save money as possible.  Im here for you. Just email me if you need anything at all. Promise!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Line dry for as little as $2 investment

There is 3 methods on how to make a line for only $2. Dollar Stores have wooden clothes pins for only $1 and you get a good amount of them. I needed 1 pack. Then they also sell the plastic type rope made just for clothes lines. Again only $1. All you have to provide is a hammer and long nails. Here are my 3 methods ive used over the years.
1. Extra wood or brace from a shelf nailed to the fence. Take take the rope and string it through. I add a nail or two in between them to in case I need the extra support (clothes can get heavy). Make sure you get it super tight and have no slack. It will sag a little over time so make sure you can undo it later and tighten it again. Your done. As you can see I took advantage of the under area and planted things under it.

#2. No brace or extra wood? Just hammer a nail in the fence, then do another at the other end. Make it as long as you want, just add a nail every 4ft or so for extra support. Then just tie the rope at one end and stretch it super tight to the last nail, then loop it around and bring it back to the first nail you tied it on. Tie it but make sure you can undo it so you can tighten it up again later. Done. This method takes a tiny it longer to dry because the are so close to the fence but it does work.

#3. No picture for this one but I did this at my last house. I took advantage of a side yard that we didnt use that had a fence around it. I took the rope and ran it from one side of the fence to the other, back and forth as many times as you want. Then just tied it off. It was kaddy corner. Then hung my clothes to dry. Depending on your type of fence, this is super easy to do. If you cannot tie it around the actual fence plank, then you can use nails again. This is a super easy method and good if you are renting because you dont leave nail marks on the fence. You can get alot of clothes on this method.

Other ways to hang dry clothes are the following:
1. Buy a collapsable wooden clothes rack. They are anything from $10-$15. You can use these anywhere. In your laundry room, or any dry place. I have mine outside and on my garden bench shelf. Its the only place my dog cannot get into and chew it up. You cannot put as much clothes on it but its perfect for appartments or condo's. You can often find these at thrift stores. The older ones are the better ones. They usually are all wooden. Mine is a newer one and is half wood and half cardboard tubes.
2. Plastic contraptions. You can find these plastic contraptions that hang from a hook in the ceiling. They have clips and are good for hanging your undies, bra's, etc.
3. Fence, play structure, etc. You can hang towells to dry on these. Ive even hung blankets off my girls play structure because they were too large for my line I made. My dog also cannot reach them.
You will save so much energy by doing this. I just love the smell of my clothing. They smell like the good old outdoors. Memories of my mother doing the same thing come flooding in. You can have a line anywhere, just get creative. Mine is above my plants on the fence around my garden. Yours can be along your house, a fence, or side yard. Just get creative.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!! Make money the greener way!

Happy Earth Day everyone! 
I wanted to introduce you to a amazing company. Terra cycle Inc.
TerraCycle Inc is paying you to send them your trash. Yes, I said it. Your trash. Do you buy a lot of drink pouches, cookie wrappers, Frito Lay chips, Kashi, Cliff bars, Bare Nakes, wine and yogurt? If you do, they will pay you for each one you send them. TerraCycle makes products from our waste. Its an amazing company that I could go on and on about.
They pay 2 cents-25 cents per item. Depending on which item you send them. This is a great way to teach your children how to reuse things. Maybe the kids can send their trash in, and then buy a item from the company. Just think of all the questions your little ones will come up with. This company is going to be huge and im supporting them all the way.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Natural Bug Spray for plants

I found an interesting blog about a natural bug spray that is super cheap to make. I will be using this in my garden this year. So stoked!

Natural Bug Spray

Spray water bottle
1-2 tablespoons of Dr Bronners peppermint soap

Spray and let dry. Might do this a few times over a few days. Watch the bugs drop like flies around it. 
Helpful hint:New Seasons sells this peppermint soap by the lb. Im sure 2 tbsp will only cost you pennies. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2 liter bottle lightbulb

I found a very interesting youtube video today. Im not sure it works for everyone but its worth just looking at. This would be pefect for any small room like a shed, or garage not attached to your home. 
Please watch the video even if you are not interested. Its just inspiring.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

ALL YOU Reality Checkers

 ALL YOU Reality Checkers,

All you like to try a delicious authentic Italian meal for free? They are currently looking for volunteers to taste a NEW dinner product and provide their feedback - all compliments of Marie Callender's!

To receive a FREE product coupon for a NEW pasta dish that is easy to prepare in just minutes, please provide your full contact information. Please submit by Tuesday, April 21st.

You will receive a FREE Marie Callender's product coupon in the mail between May 2-15. So be on the look out for your Passport to flavor! ALL YOU will follow-up with an online survey the week of May 18th so you can provide your honest feedback. And the best part? Your quote (along with your first name, city and state) could be featured in an upcoming issue of ALL YOU.

Just a heads up, I did this once and recieved the new Breeze Tidy Cat Litter System for free! This alone was worth over $30. You will not get a confirmatioin letting you know you have been selected, it will just show up at your door step. But what a suprise it is!

Be proud of what you have Part 3

Well here you go. My baking cabinet. I was very lucky to find two large vintage Tupperware bowls with lids for only $1 a piece. I just love those. Far top right are the amazing 3pc baking bowls. Some rims are chipped but still work perfectly for my children. Bottom left are my baking pans. Aluminum vintage muffin tins, hand me down glass casserole dishes and a vintage white glass dish with lid. Kitchen Aid chopper bought 5 yrs ago new on clearance for $9 (originally $120) that still needs a blade. I know, I need to get one. Behind the light green ceramic bowl is a vintage popcorn popper. I use this every movie night. Nothing beats the smell, sounds and watching my kids try to peek over the counter to watch it just like I did as a child. Aluminum round cake pan from my wedding (10 yrs old) is still used every birthday. Clear blue bowls were gifts at my wedding. And last but not least a green round ceramic bowl with lid I just bought for myself at 75% off. I love it.

Now here is where im not exactly organized right now. My pantry Easter baskets (paid 25 cents for last week) and Easter candy is stashed away for now but will be gone soon. As you can see, my Tupperware addiction is in full swing. Bottom left is my vintage Tupperware cake carrier with handle. Mason jars everywhere. Crock pot is a must in any home. This was a Christmas gift to myself. I only paid $20 for it, its the largest one you can buy without a timer. Party bowls, seperated slots, and lids for them all. Of course im going to have a jello ring mold made by Tupperware. Not sure if you can see it but I also have a Tupperware bacon container and Tupperware lid holder that I need to put on the wall. Yep, vintage as well. You cant buy them and havent been able to for a long long time. One thing about my stuff is I can find anything at any moment. I love my stuff so much that no matter how unorganized I am, I can find it. I can tell you exactly where I found it, and how much I paid for it. Its like a well oiled vintage machine. It all works for me. My mother always told me that I was born a generation too late. And im starting to see it more and more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Be proud of what you have Part 2

Notice anything again? Yep, its Tupperware. From scoops, to egg seperators, to orange peelers. You can find anything in a thrift store. I use all these all the time. You might be wondering why I have Pampered Chef stuff in there. Well I had a part and invited all my friends and family. I earned enough credit for those items. Produce pick(holds produce while you slice it), bamboo spoons, and the silver oblong item is a apple corer.

Sometimes I find collections. Yellow Tupperware measuring cups. Still hunting for the rest. Ive had the same rolling pin since I was married. Orange measuring bowls were a gift from my best friend. Yes nothing matches in my house. Its not name brand. But I love every single thing I have. They are beautiful long lasting objects. When I see them, it brings back memories of my childhood. My mother dragging me to Tupperware parties and me begging her to buy those Tupperware stencils. And yes, I still have those and my name is on every single one of them. And yes, my kids use them all the time. I should be a Tupperware consultant huh? Well I thought of that but no. I like the old stinky Tupperware. The old ugly colors. My heart just gets pumping more and more when I think about it. I might have a problem......I dont like the new colors they have. Good news though, they have been bringing back the old Tupperware style but in new colors. The push lid on the drink pitchers, the cool old orange color, and much much more. Maybe I should rethink it. .. Hmmm
Next time its onto my baking cabinet. Your excited huh? Just expect Tupperware. Thats all im going to say. Until next time....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be proud of what you have Part 1

I was thinking the other day about how our kitchen cabinets tell a lot about who you are. Some would be ashamed of theirs but i'm proud of mine. Yes most my items are old, and 2nd hand but I searched high and low for them. I love everything I own. Take a peek at mine.Notice anything? Old Tupperware? Yep, im in love with it. The kids love them because of the bright colors, I love them because they were cheap and on another life with us. On the right are Ikea adult dishes.Very budget friendly. I would use Tupperware but my husband wouldnt have it. lol. Bowls with lids to get my kids into drinking their milk after they eat their cereal. Pizza plates to make pizza night more fun. On the top shelf are Tupperware triangle spice containers. I use these for my girls lunches. Also when I cook my dried beans, I put the beans in there and freeze them. My shelf is a bit bowed but still works. My cabinets are original to my 1967 house and are still very sturdy and have tons of character. I am proud of my things.

Yes, there it is again. Old Tupperware. A basket (thrift shop find) to keep my to go coffee mugs lids in order. And clear Dollar Tree glass cups for the adults. All coffee mugs were gifts or prizes we won from my husbands work. Again notice the shelf? lol. Now you have peeked into my kitchen. I feel alot better now. My secret it out. Im a vintage Tupperware finatic. I just cant help myself. Next time you will see whats in my drawers. What do you think will be in there?

Monday, April 13, 2009

One question away from going green

Everyone wants to do their part  to reduce, reuse and recycle but how can you do it so it works for you? Well its pretty simple really. Just ask yourself one question. Do I really need this? To find out which items can be donated (to be reused), and which items you can skip at the store (reduce), here is a little check list.

Before you buy

Do I really love it?
Do I already own anything that performs the same function?
Does this item save me time or space, or otherwise make my life easier?
Where will I store this?
Is this the best possible price and quality I can get?
Do I need to do more research before I buy it?

Before you return it to the closset

Does this item serve a clear purpose in my life?
Do I have another item anywhere in my home that does the same thing?
Have I used this in the last year?
Is it broken, and if so, will I actually get it fixed?
Does it make me happy to look at or use?

Ask yourself these simple questions and I guarentee that you will cut back on unessisary purchases. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lost and found

Again I was stumbling around the blog world and found this cool site. This site is called Found Clothing. It is exactly what it says. Clothing that has been found. Pretty neat site that I discovered I had been on for 20 minutes. Its amazing what people lose and people find.

Old life...New life

Did you know......
Recycled glass is made into road asphalt?
Recycled plastic bottles are made into shoelaces and diaper bags?
Recycled newspapers are made into wallets, combs and pencils?
Recycled tires are turned into handbags and mousepads?
Recycled cassette tapes are turned into gel pens?
Recycled computer circuit boards are turned into picture frames and clocks?
Recycled bicycle parts are turned into cd racks, and bottle openers?
Recycled vinyle records are turned into iPod cases? 
Recycled jeans are turned into home insulation?

Its just crazy how many recycling suprises there are!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Green tips for any family

I just read a wonderful article in the "Family Fun" magazine. I just love this magazine. I recieved this subscription for free which makes it even better. They have a article on ways for your family to be greener, and all tips are from readers all over the usa.  I really did get alot of info from these tips and thought I would pass it on. 
1. Buy local food. This supports our economy and cuts down on fossil fuel used to transport food across the world.  
2. Use reusable shopping bags for more things that just bags. Use them to put gifts in. You can get a reusable bag cheaper than pretty paper and a bow. Plus they can reuse it over and over.
3. Make your own laundry detergent. You can find my recipe in my past post. Soap for 1 load of laundry will only cost you 1 cent verses 10-50 cents for big brands. Plus you can make it natural and smell like anything you want. Stop buying fabric softner or dryer sheets. Instead use vinegar.
4. Buy used things for gifts. Example: I love all things vintage Tupperware. My family knows Tupperware is how you get to my heart. Think to what that person truly loves and go nuts with it. You will spend way less this way. Plus they will wonder how you found these things. 
5.  Extra paper put to use. Use your childrens papers they bring home from school for scraps to do crafts with. Blank on one side? Use it in your printer. Reuse anything you can.
6.  Buy a kilowatt tester that shows  you how much electricity you use in differant deviced around your home. You will see what you are using when and where. You will rethink next time you leave the lamp on in a room no one is in.
7.  Use reusable plastic bottles instead of buying bottled water. Just make sure its a safe plastic bottle, there are many choices out there now. This will cut down on water bottles litering our planet.
8.  Look for the free National Wildlife Habitat Program near you.  click on "Outside inNature," then "Garden for Wildlife". This will help you change your back yard into a wild life friendly place. Your kids will benefit from this.
9.  During the summer, limit your oven and stove time. Try cooking outside on the bbq, or plug in your crock pot outside. Keep the heat outside so your home doesnt heat up. 
10.  Pack "No Trash" lunches. Dont have money to buy new plastic containers? Use 2nd hand Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers. I always see these in thrift stores for cheap. Try for reusable fabric sandwich bags. Pack fabric napkins. Stop using Ziplock bags that fill up our landfills and make our animals sick.
11. Use a pitcher or 5 gallong bucket to collect the cold water that comes out while you are waiting for your water to get hot in the shower or sink. Use this to water your plants, pets, bird baths and more. 
12. Instead of buying scrapbook paper chipboard, use cereal boxes. Just cut into shapes and cover them with patterned paper. Use magazines, newspapers, and junk mail for craft paper too.
13. Try to not buy paper towells. Invest $4 in fabric ones and just wash them after each use. Save yourself over $100 a year by just doing this one thing.
14.  Use rain barrels hooked up to your gutter for watering your plants. You can get by using large trash bins too. There are hundreds of easy cheap ways to make these on the internet.
15. Invest in a SHARE. Its a program farmers started. You pay a monthly fee, they grow your produce, you just pick it up each week. Most are organic farmers. 10 minutes of internet research and you will find tons of them.
16.  Put a paperbag in each bathroom, kids room, and laundry room. the kids can decorate these each week. These bags are for recycling. You would be amazed how much you can recycle from these places. Toilet paper rolls, tooth paste packaging, etc. 
17. Organize a Put and Take. Maybe with a church or just all your friends and family. Everyone puts things into one place and takes what they want. Do the same with coupons, freebies, and magazines. 
18. Pick a few days where you dont drive. You will reduce your carbon footprint, suppport local businesses and get extra dose of fresh air. 
19. Put a timer in each bathroom. Showers 10 minutes or less. Watch how your electricity bill falls by up to 30%. 
20.  Line dry your clothes. You can do this anywhere. Homes, apartments, condo's, etc. Shower rod works well. There are even devices you can screw into the wall and a nail in another wall. Just retract your wires when done. Have room outside, install a actual drying rack. No money to get one? Tie string around each fence picket alternating until you get the desired amount of cross strings. I did this for years. Or just find or go buy a wooden foldable one. Usually around summer you can find these, college kids use them. 
21. Assign every family member their own towel. When done, they can hang dry them and use them a few times before you wash them. This will cut back in laundry and save on your energy bill.
22. Shop strickly thrift stores. Everything from clothes, toys, kitchen stuff, books and much more is there all the time. Try . You can find 2nd hand anything there. Or maybe and find your local freecycle group in your town. Everything is free for the taken there. Must act quick, they go fast.
23. Styrofoam isnt recyclable in most places. Use cut up styrofoam to fill up a bean bag. Maybe use it to pack into a box your shipping. 
24. Use solar items. Flashlights, walk way lights, etc. There are so many solar products out there now. Spend a little more cash up front but save your a bundle down the road. Even christmas lights are solar now. 
25. Instead of using the rechargable swiffer vacume, try sweeping. Yep, good old elbow greese will get you far. Try sweeping your driveway instead of using your hose. 

Have any green tips for me? Send anything you want to share with others to me

Friday, April 10, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Brown Sugar Syrup*

Homemade Brown Sugar Syrup

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp butter

Put both sugars  and butter into a medium size pot, add water and stir until sugar is disolved. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes. Do not stir while you are cooking it, it will bubble up like crazy. If  it starts to bubble too much, lower the heat. Must be watched at all times. Once 10  minutes are done, turn off heat and let set until all cooled down. 
I put my syrup into a old syrup container I had but you could use any container with a spout. This will fit into a standard size syrup bottle. Regridgerate  once done. 

I sorta made this recipe up myself. Ive seen many other recipes but they consist of maple flavoring or butter flavoring. They also want molasas which I dont buy. These can be pricey so I came up with this one. My kids just love it. They dont miss the maple flavor. I think this will cost you about 50 cents to make if you buy your sugar from the bulk section.  You can make this organic too, just use organic sugar which is also found in the bulk section. Might cost you about $1 to make. Beats the heck out of paying $5 for organic kind from the store. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Are you drinking your money away?

If there is one thing that I could pass on to people that would save them a bundle, it would be about beverages. I know it sounds silly but its the number one waste of money. From soda's, to special coffee drinks, to bottled water, and energy drinks. Waste of money. Here is a compiled list of specific beverages you need and dont need. I promise, you will save alot of money by just not buying these things. Spend your money on drinks that are healthy and dont break your bank.  Here we go:

Fruit Flavored Drinks=I know Koolaid is cheap, but think about how much sugar you are putting into your body. No way. If you use a sugar substitute then I would say its better but there are no health benefits from it. We drink the store brand of Crystal Light. Its sugar free and doesnt taste like it. Its sweet and yummy. No measuring any sweetners, just add water and drink. You can find the store brand for only $1.75-$2 at Walmart or Winco. You get 5 packets to make 5 gallons.  I will buy name brand crystal light only if I have a coupon with a sale and its cheaper than the store brand. That doesnt happen often. 

Fruit Juice Concentrate=I really find it hard to pay $1.50 -$2 for each can of juice. My kids drink so much that I would need 1 per day costing me $15 and more each week. So this one is out. I do buy lemonaid during the summer when Fred Meyers has them for as low as 10 cents. But thats it. When my girls were younger, I did need to buy apple juice and orange juice for them. I would wait out for a sale and stock up. Little ones need the health benefits. I also make lemonaid with lemon concentrate ($1 or so). Use 1 cup of lemon juice, 3/4 cup of sugar and fill the rest with water in a quart container. My kids love this.

Tea=Tagless black tea is your best value. You can add some sugar and a tsp of milk to make it yummy. I will also get tea in the mark down section but only will pay $1 or less. I have so much tea that I could just drink tea for a few years and be fine. I drink tea with no sugar during the summer with lots of ice.  Might add some lemon juice(bottled). Dont waste your money on specialty tea's. They have the same amount of caffine as all the rest.  You can also get good value with instant tea. I dont like the taste of it so I dont buy it. Thats just my taste.

Coffee=Again I stay with store brands. If I have a coupon with a sale price, I sometimes will buy the name brand coffee. On my birthday each year I ask for gift cards from coffee places like Starbucks or Tulleys. Then I go take the gift card and purchase coffee grounds. I have them ground it to expresso. (I get better flavor this way).  This way its no money out of my pocket and the value goes a long way. I have a expresso/coffee machine (xmas gift $99 at Fred Meyers had it for 3 yrs now) So I just use 1 tbsp of coffee grounds and I get 4 oz of expresso. Then I add milk and sugar to taste. If I still need some caffine, I just add more water and use the same grounds again to get another ounce or two out of it.  If I buy coffee grounds and dont have a coupon or sale, I will buy it only if I can get it for  $5 or less per lb. Winco has a good selection of their brand coffee. Or I will use what friends and family have given me. Were not picky on brands, they taste the same to us. Stop buying foo foo drinks(starbucks and etc) and buy their grounds. You will pay 50 cents or less per cup verses $5 they want to charge you for making it for you. I cannot even remember buying a specialty drink. A friend brought us 2 coffee's a few weeks ago but other than that, nothing. 

Soda=Another waste of money. I will only buy soda if I can get it for free. Once in a while I find coupons for them. Other than that, its a no go. We recieved some from friends and family and save those for when we have company or for a treat. I found that once I stopped drinking soda, I would just crave the carbination. Once I I got past that, I was fine. 

Water=This is the biggest waste of money if you ask me. Why pay for water in a bottle when it comes through your own pipes at home? It seems so silly to me. We drink alot of water in our house. If we eat out, we drink water. If we pack drinks for the zoo, or hiking, we pack water. Its a no brainer. If you do buy a water, reuse the container. This is doing two things. Saving you money and recycling. Just make sure you wash the bottle after each use.  Vitamin waters and things like that are also a big waste of money. If you take a multi vitamin everyday, you dont need that to drink. 

Energy Drinks=Unless I get a coupon to get it for free, I dont buy them. My husband (urr) buys them at work but they dont come out of my budget. I wont allow it. I allow myself 2 caffinated drinks in the morning/afternoon (coffee usually) and no more after 2pm. Way cheaper than a energy drink thats full of sugar and cost $1 -$3 each. 

Milk=We drink milk but water usually first. Milk is used for cereal, coffee, or cooking. I buy powdered milk for baking and cooking. Its around $2.50 per lb and last forever so you dont have to worry about it going bad and wasting your money. Fresh milk is bought if its $2.99 or less per gallon. I bought cereal last week 3/$5 and recieved a free milk coupon. I used that coupon towards organic hormone free that was $5.79. Coupon was good up to $4.50 then I had a $1.50 off coupon for that brand of milk. Making it FREE!  There are ways of getting milk for free. Did you know you can freeze milk? Yep! So buy those marked down small containers of milk and just freeze them for later use. Same goes for butter, yogurt, and things like that. 

Here is what we have in our fridge always
2 gallons of fresh milk
1 qt homemade store brand crystal light
1 qt  water

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The A to Z tightwad

A is for apple oatmeal bars
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups chopped apples
1/2 cup sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients and pat half into a 8 inch by 8 inch pan. Layer on apples and sugar. Crumble remaining mixture on top. bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

B is bake everything. Do not fry anything.

C is for credit card insurance. You dont need it. Most credit cards have their own insurance, just call them and ask about it. 

D is for defrost. Do it when the ice buildup in your freezer is 1/4 inch dep. Doing it more or less often wasted energy.

E is for egg carton. Come up with creative idea's for your childrens crafts. Put soil in them with seeds and let things grow. Just place directly in the soil.  

F is for film. Why buy it? Most people own digital camera's now. Just keep your pictures on your computer, print them out when you want a picture in a frame.

G is for grocery store scale. Its your best friend. Most 3 lb bags of apples dont weigh exactly 3 lbs. Weigh them all and buy the one thats over 3 lbs.

H is for hangers. Use those old wire hangers in a creative way. Tomatoe wire cage. etc.

I is for ice cream sandwich. You can make them easily. Just use 2 cookies and put ice cream between them. Yummy treat!

K is for Kaput. Which is what an item must be, absolutely, before a tightwad will consider throwing it away.

L is for labeling. Makes the user responsible for their item. Great for kids.

M is for money. Save as much as possible in every way.

N is for nuts. You must be nuts to pay more than $2 per lb for nuts.

O is for oil and filter change. Easy to do and cheap when you do it yourself. Internet has lots of free tips on this.

P is for prepare early. Have a birthday next month? Start looking for cheap gifts, decorations, and what your going to bake. 

Q is for quote. "that most of us are considered poor is no disgrace, but does us credit:for, as the mind is weakened by luxurious living, so it is strengthened by a frugal life." Minucius Felix Third Century A.D.

R is for rubber spatula. You can rescue a half muffins worth of batter with it. This pays for itself in 2 use's.

S is for stamps. Which you can buy by mail. Why waste your gas? Try walking. 

T is for thermos. Bring your own drink in a thermos and save money. 

U is for user's manual. Read it, you can find many tips in it. How much dishwasher solution to acutally use, what temp to have your fridge at, etc. It will save you money too.

V is for vegetable storage. Root vegetables ( like carrots) can be stored in a cook dark place iin 5 gallon buckets of sand. Layer flat so they dont touch each other.

W is for wait it out. You really want that perfume that your husband didnt get you? Wait until after christmas and get it for super cheap. Plus usually comes with matching lotion.

X is for xenoJell-Ophobia. And irrational fear that strange convenience foods like Jell-O pudding snacks will invade your happy tightwad home. You can find these marked down and on sale too (bet you didnt think I would come up with x did you?)

Y is for yeast. One of your best bulk buy deals. 

Z is for zero. My favorite price.

Brought to you by The Tightwad Gazette  II by Amy Dacyczyn
Extra funnies by me. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Maybe the dingo ate your baby......

Sorry couldnt resist the Elaine Quote from Sienfeld. lol. I wanted to talk a little bit about ways to save money when you have a baby. It can be done with the help of friends and family. When its your first baby, you want to buy everything for your baby.  But by the time your 3rd and 4th ones come(I had twins lol) you just want to save money and cant believe how much you spend on the first one. Here are a few tips on how to save money.

1. Buy used. When you no longer need them, well-maintained items can be resold the same price you paid for them. So take care of these items if you want your money back.  

2. Subtly steer well-meaning relatives and friends from getting you outfits that will fit and or look new for 5 minutes. Encourage age practical gifts. Ask for things like jammies, onsies, and things like that , they will be used more.

3.  Borrow. Most people dont sell their stuff right away. Borrow a crib, or portable crib. Why buy one for that one trip your going to take to a relatives house. 

4. Graciously accept all the second hand things people give you. Keep what you can, and pass on what you dont need. This ensures a steady flow of used things. Plus you will help others as well. 

5.  Put off necessary purchases until you can find the item cheap. Watch for sales. Look for free shipping. Baby items change all the time so wait for them to be clearanced out. Or try to find that particular item on craigs list. 

Substitute substitute substitute. Can I say it anymore? Yes I can. Try these idea's out.

Baby Shampoo-Use regular shampoo but be careful to keep out of eyes.

Baby Tub-Wash infant in the sink(my mother did this) and take lots of pictures. Or use your bathtub and only use 2 inches of water. I put a towel down inside the water and was very careful. 

Baby Wipes. Use old washclothes or cut up old fabric diapers. Just wet them with warm water right before use and wash them that day. 

Bottles-Babies can be nursed until a year old or longer. Then can be tought to use a cup. No bottle needed.

Car Seat-There is NO substitute for this.  Only thing I can think of is if a friend gives you one that their child just outgrew. Make sure there are no recalls on this. And make sure you put it in your car correctly.

Changing Table-I never owned a changing table. You dont need one. Soft carpet is just as nice if not better.

Cloth Diapers-These can be bought used. Find them in thrift stores while your pregnate and stock up. Buy from friends and family. 

Clothes-You will get bags upon bags of free stuff from friends and family. Just know its coming. I still get stuff for my girls. Appreciate everything and use everything. They more you get, the less you spend. Otherwise 2nd hand is the way to go. 

Crib-Borrow one from a friend. Once you know your pregnate, let everyone know you are on the hunt to borrow one.

Crib Bumper-Sew one made from 2nd hand quilts. Or make a towel roll.

Diaper bag-Any sturdy bag will work. I used a beach bag. Those cheap diaper bags just fall apart. I also used backpacks. 

Diaper Bucket-Use a 5 gallon bucket (usually around $5) and make sure you keep the lid on.  

Diaper stuff-Shortening substitutes for petroleum jelly and cornstarch substitutes for baby powder( I did this, daughter was alergic). Use samples from hospitals or websites. Let your baby be in their birthday suits for a bit. Just keep them on a towel just in case. lol. Let the skin breathe.

Eating Utensils-Adult dishes and silverware will work fine.


High Chair-Use a walker, stroller or hold them. Or find one second hand that attaches to the table or a chair. Much cheaper. Or better yet, borrow one.

Mobile-no need for one. Just use a toy that has music. They enjoy this better. 

Shoes-Do not use until the child actually begins to walk. Use socks and booties. They are cheaper and can be found in 2nd hand stores. Or friends and family will give you all theirs.

Store Bought Baby Food-Make your own. Just cook, smoosh, and freeze into ice trays. Thaw and use when needed. Sweet potatoes, pea's, green beans, etc. You can find a hand cranked devise in baby stores for less than $10 and well worth the money. Then introduce meats ground into it later. 

Toys-friends and family will give you plenty. Or just let them play with bowls, measuring spoons, or lids. They like those more I think.

Walker-not reccomended. Maybe a baby saucer. Borrow one or buy it 2nd hand. Or just skip it all together. 

Wind Up Swing-We only used this for maybe a month. They liked us rocking them more. Save your money. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Orange Marmalade*

Tired of paying a bundle for sugar filled jelly? Try this one out. I do this whenever oranges are in season (right now!). You can control the sugar content yourself.

1 orange
1/2 cup sugar

I love orange marmalade but dont have the patience to follow usual recipe's. So I cut up oranges with the skin on and place them in a blender with a few tablespoons of water. After blending, pour into a pan along with 1/2 cup of sugar(I use organic) ore more and boil. Depends on how much  oranges you have to how much sugar you want. Boil for 15 minutes. Cool and put into a air tight container in the fridge. Keeps for a few weeks. Extra can be froze and used for later. This is super yummy and my kids love it! 
Nice thing about this is that you can control how much "chunk" factor is involved. If you dont like alot of chunks, blend longer. You like alot of chunks, blend less. 
If possible, use organic oranges with this. If not, wash the orange peel really good. 

I do the same with berries. They keep for weeks as well .Ive even done this with frozen peaches. Try combinations out too. You will pay about $1.50 for 1 lb of jelly compared to $2-$5 for store bought 12 oz size's. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I dont.....

Managing my time is one of my down falls. To make my life easier and to get quality time with my 4 children and husband, I dont do many things. That sounds bad but it isnt. Here is my "I Dont.." list that makes my time go further. 

-I dont blow dry my hair, put make up on or spend more than 5 minutes on my outfit. Make up is for the once a year we go out together alone or to cheer myself up.
-I dont commute to a job. Im a homemaker. I walk anywhere I can. 
-I dont have a spotless house. Its tidy but not spotless. I have 4 kids and would be cleaning 24/7 if it was to stay spotless.
-I dont clean my childrens room's. After the age of 4, they clean their rooms. They are not allowed to have any fun time until their room passes my inspection.
-I dont prepare meals that would impress Martha Stewart. I do make everything from scratch but its home yummy meals. 
-I dont chauffeur my kids to several places each day. I walk them to and from school. Us parents take turns driving them to and from friends house's. 
-I dont insist on 24 hours together with the hubby. He has his "bike" time in the garage, I have my "blogging" time in the mornings. We respect each others times alone. 
-I dont micromanage my kids appearance. I let my kids choose their outfits and will only make them change if they resemble a clown.  I believe its who they are and their outfits reflect it.
-I dont read more than 1 book per child a day. Thats 4 books that I read with all them around me. Its our special time.
-I dont have any volunteer commitments. My children have soccer and thats it. 
-I dont give my kids a bath everyday. They get a bath as needed. My children do not like dirt thankfully. Soccer nights are a must. 
-I dont have a bed time ritual. Once we say "Bedtime!" , they are to have teeth brushed and in bed within 10 minutes. No questions asked. 
-I dont get my kids hair cut but maybe 1 time a year. Only when there is a super sale for $6.99 or less. Girls dont need theirs cut as often as boys. My husband cuts his own hair with a electric cutter. I only get my hair cut once a year. I trim my own.
-I dont need a newpaper. I get the weekly ad's and free magazines from blogging. I can get coupons from the internet or sent to me. 
-I dont do everything my children ask me to do when they want it. If I do, I do it while doing something else. Like watching them color , I clean my kitchen at the same time. Or make dinner while they are doing crafts. I stay busy.
-I dont spend more than 10 minutes on lunch. I make sandwiches, cut up fruit, and give them nuts. Easy and done within 10 minutes.
-I dont spend hours on the phone. Once every few days I call my mom but other than that, I only text. 
-I dont watch tv much. I have no cable or dish. We have regular tv with about 10 channels. I will watch it while folding laundry or just for background noise. 
-I dont go to the gym. I jog pushing my twins while my older girls are in school. I walk to and from the school to get the kids. I take walks alot with the kids. That is my work out. My hubby works out every morning at his job . They have a nice gym for anyone to use for free.
-I dont have alot of relatives so I dont drive to spend time with them much. Once a week I see my mother and occasionally I will see my sister. They live right by each other so I can kill two birds with one stone. Sorta speak. 
-I dont like ziplock bags. I only use them to freeze meats that were bought in large quanities.I will use paper, or foil(I will recycle it) to wrap them. We use fabric bags in our lunches for our sanwiches and Tupperware for everything else. I "DISLIKE" ziplock bags.
I feel better now that I got that off my chest. lol. No wait, I have one more. I dont feel bad about my "I Donts". Im not perfect and I make mistakes just like all of you. I try to lead by example for my children and live my life my way.  
You have any I Donts?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Frugal Baby Wipes

When my middle daughter was born, she would get a rash after every diaper change. So I made my own wipes until she was potty trained. She never had a rash again.
Here is what I did.

1 baby wipe container (use a old one or any reclosable container)
1 bottle of witchhazel (found anywhere)
1 small bottle of baby oil (just for smell and softness)
Roll of Viva Towels (do not use cheap ones, they will fall apart. Viva towels are thick)
Don't want to buy Viva Towels? Use old cotton fabric scraps and simply wash instead of throwing away.

I would pull the viva towels/cotton fabric one by one off the roll and stack them nicely. I then would cut them into 1/2 or even 1/4.

In the baby wipe container I would put 3 parts witchhazel to 1 part baby oil and mix well. Then I would put in the cut viva towels in till it was full.

Use as you normally would.  This would cost me around $1.50-$2  to make 3  packages of wipes. You can make them for less if you just dont use baby oil.  I found it made her skin softer with it though. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hey you tightwad! Can you be trusted?

Just how does one distinguish the practitioner of lifelong frugality from those drifting with the current fad? When visitin ghe homes of individuals in question use this handy checklist to record the telltale signs of a classic tightwad.

[]A scrubber made from a mesh onion bag
[]A squirt bottle of homemade window cleaner
[]A new soap bar with a soap sliver adhered
[]A bundle of old socks in the workshop to be used as grease rags.
[]A pair of pantyhose minus a bad leg.
[]A jug of vegetable broth in the refrigerator.
[]A 20 qrt box of powdered milk (used for only cooking is acceptable)
[]A roll of paper towels cut in half (or none at all, just fabric ones)
[]Any overturned bottle in the process of draining the last bit out.
[]A pencil less than three inches long
[]A marked-down crushed box of cold ceral
[]Any item repaired with a twist-tie, paperclip or hanger.
[]A shower curtain repaired with duck tape (or anything else for that matter)
[]A impressive stash of one of the following items:egg cartons, styrofoam meat trays, toilet paper tubes, or frozen juice lids.
[]A screwdriver with a tip that has been reground several times.
[]A started shopping list on the back of a utility bill envelope.
[]A stockpile of 44 cents per can tuna.
[]A started container of "refrigerator stew" in the freezer.
[]An indoor clothesline or a wooden dryer rack. 
[]In their freezer all you see are Orange mark down stickers
[]Chunks of banana's in a ziplock bag in the freezer
[]A storage system just for samples or freebies in the closset
[]Coupon organizer is bigger than your wallet

Any individual scoring 9 or higher is likely to be a genuine tightwad and can be trusted. I scored a 9 by the way. lol

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Homemade Goodness *Dog Biscuits*

Pooch Dog Biscuits (not for humans unless you like them. lol)

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup of rye flour
2 cups of bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup instant non fat milk
4 tsp salt
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups chicken broth
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tsp milk

1. Turn oven on to 300 degree's. Mix first seven ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
2. Dissolve yeast thoroughly in warm water in a glass measuring cup. Add to dry ingredients.
3. Add chicken broth to flour mixture. Stir until dough forms.
4. Roll out dough until its 1/4 inch thick. Cut out bones with cookie cutters (can find dog bone shapes at Kitchen Kaboodle). Place on greased cookie sheet.
5. Brush dough with egg glaze.
6. Bake bones for 45 minutes. Turn oven off. Biscuits should remain overnight to harden. Makes 30 larger bones and are about 40% cheaper than store bought and much healthier.