Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas From Surviving and thriving on pennies!

Taking the day off to spend time with family. Have a wonderful day and spend time with the family.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How long will food last?

Here's a handy little list you can print and keep.
Bread............5-7 days
Cereal...........1 year
Pasta.............2 years
White Rice....1 year
Canned Goods... 1 year
Bottle salad Dressing....1 year
Jams, jellies, honey, syrup.....1 year
Peanut Butter....6 months

Bread...........up to 1 year
Ground Meat.......3-4 mos
Beef Steaks.........6-12 mos
Fish..........2-6 months
Whole Poultry.....1 year
Lunch Meat........1-2 months
Fresh Veggies.....up to 1 yr
Fresh Fruit........up to 1 year
Keep this in mind when stocking your kitchen. Take advantage of after Christmas sales on seasonal food. Whole chickens and turkeys are super cheap right now. Cranberry sauce, gravies, potatoes, etc. All are super cheap right now. So stock up, stash away, freeze, do whatever you can. The less you pay now, the more money you will save later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter things to do

Weve been snowed in for days now and I thought I would pass on what weve been doing to keep ourselves busy. With 4 daughters running around, weve had to get creative.

Board Games-Once I knew it was going to snow us in, I pulled out every board game I could find. Not only is this free, but it brought us closer together as a family.

Craft time-I worked for a craft store for 10 years so I have plenty of craft stuff around my home still to use up. We made ornaments, christmas pictures, and even beaded gifts.

Cleaning-Yep, we did some good old cleaning. Finally cleaned and organized our twins room. Took us about 2 hours to do and we did this as a family. Also got caught up on laundry and the dishes. Take advantage while you can.

Movie time-James Bond marathon this weekend so I dvred them. Plus I also had dvred old christmas tv specials from the last few weeks so the kids loved watching those. I usually will pop some popcorn and the kids will get their blankets and pillows to lay down and watch the movie.

Take a walk-we did this the day after the first day of snow. The snow was only about 6 inches deep at this point so it was easy to walk. Really did get some good pictures too from this walk. Now if I could get them to stop eating snow, that would of made it more fun. lol.

Reading-1 hour a day the kids will go upstairs in their rooms and read a good book. Gives us parents alone time and the kids get some good reads in.

Baking time-Made homemade biscuits with gravy last night for dinner. Since I had all the time in the world to try it, went ahead and tried them last night. Was a big hit! So try some new recipe's out.

Listen to music-Our power never went out so we just would listen to christmas music channel on our tv. Was nice. I try to listen to christmas music to set the mood. Maybe when my girls get older, they will hear the music and remind them of all the good times we had as a family.

Computer time-my girls would take turns playing games on the computer, I would blog it on, and my husband would tinker around too. This took up some time.

Family time-Priceless. You just cant put a price on family time. But you sure can say its frugal. lol

Hopefully ive given you a few things to do when you cant leave the house. My husband was able to get out of the house and buy some milk and toilet paper. Definatly couldnt go on without those. lol

Monday, December 15, 2008

52 Super Foods to help you fight disease

Again, another thanks to Womans Day Magazine. Their January issue is plum full of great articles. Ive always wondered which food to buy to help me fight off colds and what not. They made this huge list to help people like me eat better.
1. Eggs-Each egg has 6 grams of protein and only 72 calories.
2.Tomato Sauce-Its loaded with lycopene (makes your skin look younger). Harvard did a study that found women with the most lycopene in their blood reduced their risk of a heart attack by 34%.
3. Dried Plums (prunes)-packed with polyphenols , plant chemicals that have been shown to boost bone density by stimulating your bone building cells.
4. Walnuts-14 walnut halves provide more than twice your daily dose of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat thats been shown to improve memory and coordination.
5. Brussels Sprouts-they have more glucosinolates (compounds that combat cancer & detoxify your body) than any other vegetable. Super yummy with a small bit of olive oil and garlic.
6. Acia Juice- A glass or two of this anthocyanin-rich berry juice can boost the amount of antioxidants in your blood.
7. Apples-They have quercetin, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of lung cancer.
8. Bok Choy-Calcium rich veggie can protect your bones and even ward off PMS symptoms.
9. Steel-cut-oats-They're less processed than traditional oats, they're digested more slowly keeping you full all morning long.
10. Salmon-You will get omega-3's you need for 1 day just in 3 oz of it.
11. Avocados-Healthy fat keeps you satisfied and helps you absorb other nutrients.
12. Spinach-1 half cup provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and builds stronger bones.
13. Canned Pumpkin-Its filled with natural cancer fighters alpha-and beta carotene.
14. Cauliflower-Packed with cancer fighting glucosinolates.
15. Scallops-1 3 oz serving has 14 grams of protein but just 75 calories.
16. Collard Greens-Lots of vitamin A, zeaxanthin and lutein, and these keep your eyes healthy.
17. Olives-7 calories per jumbo olive. Plus healthy oil
18. Brown Rice-Top source of magnesium, a mineral your body use's for more than 300 chemical reactions (such as building bones and converting food to energy).
19. Oysters-3 oz serving of this (6 oysters) gives you a quarter of your bodies daily iron, plus nealy twice the zinc and all the selenium you need.
20. Edamame-One cup has 22 grams of plant protein, as well as lots of fiber, folate and cholestrol-lowering phytosterols.
21. Strawberries-Loaded with ellagitannins, phytochemicals that may hault growth of cervical or colon cancers.
22. Lentils-Great source of meat free protein. Half a cup of cooked lentils gives your body nearly half folate, a B vitamin that protects a womans unborn baby from neural tube defects.
23. Bran Flakes- Keeps your heart in good shape by reducing inflammation and melting away belly fat.
24. Kiwi- Researchers found that it reduces asthma-related wheezing, thanks to a high vitamin C content. One kiwi has 110% of your daily requirements.
25. Black Beans-Loaded with protein, fiber and flavonoids-antioxidants that help your arteries stay relaxed and pliable.
26. Sunflower Seeds-1 quarter cup delivers half your days vitamin E, which keeps your heart healthy and fighting infections.
27. Sardines-3 oz provide more than 100% of your vitamin D. Also a top source of omega-3 fats.
28. Asparagus-1 half cup of this supplies 50% of your daily bone building vitamin K and a third of your days folate. It banishes bloating too.
29. Banana's-Loaded with several kinds of good for you fiber, including resistant starch which helps you slim down.
30. Broccoli Sprouts-They have 10x more of the cancer preventing compound glucoraphanin than regular brocoli.
31. Fat-free milk- With a third of the calcium and half the vitamin D you need in a day, plus 8 grams of muscle-building protein. Its the ultimate energy drink.
32. Baked Potatoes-Each one packs a megadose of blood pressure lowering potassium even more than a banana.
33. Sweet Potatoes-Half of a large baked sweet potato delivers more than 450% of your daily dose of vitamin A, which protects your vision and your immune system.
34. Flaxseed-Loaded with plant omega 3's, it also has lignans(compounds that prevent endometrial and ovarian cancer) than any other food. Store flax in your fridge and sprinkle on yogurt, cold cereal or oatmeal.
35. Greek Yogurt-twice the regular protein of regular yogurt.
36. Dried Tart Cherries-Researchers have found that their potent anthocyanins help control blood sugar, reduce insulin and lower cholestrol.
37. Wheat Germ-A quarter cup of this gives you more than 40% of your daily vitamin E and immune boosting selenium.
38. Whole Wheat English Muffins-you get 4 1/2 grams of fober for only 134 calories.
39. Tea-Both green and black tea prevent hardening of the arteries, according to researchers.
40. Peanut Butter-This has arginine, an amino acid that helps keep blood vessels healthy.
41. Blackberries-Boast more antioxidants than strawberries, cranberries or blueberries.

42. Mustard Greens-Top source of vitamin K.
43. Grapes- leading source of resveratrol, then plant chemical responsible for the heart healthy benefits of red wine.
44. Soy Milk-Good source of vegetable protein, calcium enriched soy milk has as much calcium and vitamin D in cows milk.
45. Brazil Nuts- They have more selenium than any other food. One nut delivers your entire days worth.
46. Canola Oil- 1 tbsp of this oil has all the alpha linolenic acid you need in a day plus two differant forms of vitamin E.
47. Blueberries-They improve memory by protecting your brain from inflammation and boosting communication between brain cells.
48. Oranges-One orange supplies more than 100% of the vitamin C you need in 1 day. Good source of calcium and folate.
49. Watercress-Just 4 calories per cup, this cruciferous veggie delivers a heft dose of vitamin K, zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene and cancer fighting phytochemicals.
50. Turkey Breast-20 grams of protein but has 90 calories per 3 oz serving. Yummy!
51. Barley- A top source of beta-glucan, a fiber that lowers cholestrol and helps control blood sugar.
52. Shitake Mushrooms-One serving (about 1/4 lb) procides as much vitamin D as you would get from 1 glass of milk.
Now here's your challenge. I know there is a few of these you say you dont like. Well its time to try them again. There are too many healthy reasons to not eat them. So get over it and eat them up! Try a new one each week or maybe each paycheck. Try ways to hide them into food. Like parents hide spinach in brownies. There's an idea!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Inexpensive Holiday Gifts to give RECYCLE GIFTS

Holiday Crackers

Toilet Paper Rolls, wrapping paper (homemade or bought), and ribbon or straing. You fill with the candy of your choosing. Just cut the toilet paper almost in half so its easy for people to crack them upen. Stuff the candy inside and wrap with paper. Tie ends off with ribbon or string. DONE!

Holiday Hot Cocoa Gift Bag

Clear bags with ties, cocoa powder (I made my own), Marshmellows, and a candy cane. This can be super budget friendly. This is what I used. I put my homemade cocoa powder in a clear bag with tie. These are usually $1 or less because they arent ziplock type. In a seperate one, put the marshmellows. They will dry out if you combine the two. Then I bought large clear bags with ties for $1.32 and marshmellows for $1 from Walmart. Put the two with a candy cane ($1 store) and tied it all together. My daughter made tags from contruction paper we already had and ribbon from our art chest. Wrote on each bag "Add 1 cup of hot water and enjoy!". Super easy and cheap recipe.

You can just buy single serving cocoa in a box for $1 at Walmart and put that in with marshmellows if you like. I made my own version with the directions off the baking cocoa box, and powdered milk. This way all people have to do is add water. I could leave out the powdered milk but its cheaper for them my way.

Each child in our family will get these two items and another gift im in the works with. I will post it tomarrow. Felted ornaments made from sweaters. Its another recycle gift.

Plastic Bags Facts-I challenge you to change

Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.

According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)

According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year - 900 per person.

According to Australia's Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year - 326 per person. An estimated 0.7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.
Environmental Impact

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.

Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade - breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.

According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78 degrees North [latitude] to Falklands 51 degrees South [latitude]."

Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.

In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%.

Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.

July 2003, goes live, advancing the mainstream adoption of reusable shopping bags.

Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.

My challenge to you-Next time they bag your groceries, if you can physically carry the items, do it. They rarely ever ask the question "Paper or plastic?" any more. Sometimes they grumble, and sometimes they even give you a look. But its your stuff and you can have it your way. No plastic or paper bag. Obviously if you have too much to carry, you will need to have a bag. So try to invest $1 in a fabric bag or just use one that you already have. Extra back pack? Book bag? Im sure you have something. Budget friendly and free! I dont advise getting a bag from name brand stores with their name all over it. They arent good quality usually and its free advirtisment for them. I only advirtise things im passionate about. So use what you have! Try this for a week and watch your plastic/paper bag count go down.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top Tips to reduce plastic and paper bags consumption

Not only is this good for the earth, but its good for your wallet. Ive stopped using plastic ziplock bags and have saved the earth each year from over 1,500 ziplock bags. This is just from my girls lunches. Just add up how many you use per week, x that by 7 days a week, by 4 weeks a month, by 12 months in a year. Makes me sick to think I put that many bags in a landfill. Ive saved myself over $100 a year by not buying them anymore. Here are some tips on bags in general.

Top tips to reduce plastic (and paper) bag consumption

1. Start using reusable shopping bags. Find the right styles and designs to suit your taste and lifestyle. Take a look at our store for ideas. Or you can just use a lunch bag of your choice.
2. Refuse a bag. Cashiers are programmed to keep the line moving and don't always stop to think or bother to ask if you need a bag. If you don't need one, don't take a one. Just carry them out or use a reusable bag.
3. Reuse plastic bags you have accumulated as garbage liners. We use these in our bathrooms along with a paper bag in each for recyclables.
4. Start using Ultra Compact bags. We love these since people tend to forget their bags when they go shopping- Ultra Compact bags are small enough to stash in your purse, jacket, backpack, car, etc. so one is always handy.
5. Get stores to offer cash credits if you bring in your own bags. Winco is a good one!
6. Open your eyes to how many bags you consume: keep count. For instance, if you have a giant plastic bag holding plastic bags in your closet, take 5 minutes and count how many you have. (Ours had 323 and drove someone to start the reusable bags company!) OR, count how many plastic and paper bags you go through in a week.
7. Spread the word to wake up others. Make a statement with our Plastic Bags Blow™ bumper stickers, t-shirts, hats, etc. Open peoples eyes to this massive plastic bag problem.
8. Cut down on plastic produce bags by bringing your own reusable produce bags.
9. Create a safe, eco-friendly lunch kit with our wide range of smart reusable lunch bags, bottles, food containers, sandwich / snack bags, & utensils. I use vintage Tupperware ive found from thrift stores. Saved them from a landfill and I never have to use ziplock bags again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

50 Free ways to be greener

1. Turn off standby on appliances or even better uplug them
2. Fill your kettle only with as much water as you need
3. Wash clothes/dishes on a full load, and use the economy programme when you can
4. Wash clothes at 30C, and use a short wash where possible
5. Turn off lights when you leave a room or dont turn them on during the day.
6. Dry your clothes on hangers and reduce the time and energy you spend ironing . Or hang dry polyester items or lightweight items.
7. Use a washing line, not an electric drier. Use a colapsable.
8. Plan your ironing sessions so that the clothes that need a lower temperature are done first - then you don’t have to keep heating and re-heating the iron
9. Turn off the dishwasher before it has completed its drying cycle – the dishes will dry in the heat inside or turn off heat choice.
10. Don’t leave appliances such as mobiles on charge once the battery is full
11. Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running efficiently
12. Clean the back of fridges regularly to keep them running efficiently, and also check door seals are working properly
13. Keep your room thermostat no more than 21C and your water no more than 60C
14. Programme your heating to come on half an hour later or go off half an hour earlier. Better yet, turn off when your not home.
15. Keep your windowsills clear to maximise natural light but close your curtains at dusk to keep the heat in


16. Cut vegetables into small pieces so they will cook faster
17. Take bulky food out of the fridge an hour before cooking so it can reach room temperature first
18. Cook with pan lids on
19. Boil cooking water in a kettle first
20. Use glass or ceramic dishes rather than metal as they shorten cooking time
21. Match your pot sizes to your hob rings, and keep the flame under the pan rather than going up its sides
22. Keep the oven door window clean so you don’t need to open the door, letting heat escape when checking on food. Better yet when your done using your oven, turn it off and leave open a tid bit to let the heat into the room.
23. Batch cook and freeze so you only have to reheat food rather than cooking a whole meal again
24. Use a toaster rather than a grill to make toast
25. Keep your fridge and freezer full to maximise their efficiency
26. Let chilled food come to room temperature before putting in the oven to cut cooking time
27. Find out from your local council exactly what can and can’t be recycled locally
28. Compost leftover fruit and vegetable peelings. Use plastic trash bin, drill holes in it everywhere, and keep a lid on it. Bugs can get in, it can compost and you can keep it out of site.
29. Take reusable bags to the shops. try for super cheap bags. or use what you have around the house. library book bag or even a back pack.
30. Make a meal plan to reduce food waste
31. Donate old clothes, books, CDs, DVDs and household linen to charity
32. Reuse aluminium foil for sandwiches etc. Better yet stop using it all together.
33. Check use-by and sell-by dates of food to avoid waste
34. Make a shopping list so you don’t over-buy
35. If you’re preparing a packed lunch take reusable containers for sandwiches

36. Take a (non-power) shower, not a bath, to save both water and energy
37. Invest in a water butt to make the most of free rainwater
38. Turn off taps while you’re brushing your teeth to save water
39. Fill an old plastic milk or fizzy drink bottle with water and place in your toilet cistern – the heavy weight displaces the water meaning you’ll use far less each time you flush
40. Use warm-up water for washing, watering plants or cleaning
41. Wash your car with a bucket and sponge rather than a hose
42. Cut back on water use by filling a large jug with water and keeping it in the fridge so you have chilled water all day instead of allowing the tap to run each time
43. Use leftover boiling water in the kettle to sluice out sinks, rather than bleach, or keep it for next time in a thermos flask
44. If you wash up by hand, use a bowl rather than leave the tap running, and rinse in a batch at the end


45. Stuff old tights with rags to use as draught excluders
46. Don’t throw away old T-shirts etc - use them as cleaning cloths instead
47. Use nylon mesh packaging eg from satsumas as plastic scouring pads
48. Use cardboard egg cartons to make seed starter trays
49. Reuse yoghurt pots, shoe boxes and other packaging as pen/peg holders, food containers etc
50. Reuse old newspaper to clean your windows for some extra sparkle

Thursday, December 11, 2008

20 Ways to save on groceries

Have you recieved your Womans Day January 2009 magazine? One of the best so far. In this issue they show you 20 ways to save on groceries. This is a great list of easy ways to save that wont confuse anyone. Most ive been using forever but some are a new. Here is the list of 20 ways to save on groceries with my twist on them.
Thanks to Womans Magazine!
1. Shop alone-OMG really did you need to put this on the list? As a mom, this is a big tip. How many times did you find things in your cart that you didnt put in? Or realized after you drove home that you were over charged but didnt notice because you were tired of yelling at the kids to stop fighting? Uhh huhhh. Need I go on? Trade babysitting days with a friend so both you can go shopping without the kids. Save yourself a bundle this way.
2.Buy only what you need-Duh. This will save you a ton. Instead of getting things because they sound good, get them because you need them. Think "Do I really need that icecream that is $5?" 95% of the time the answer is NO!
3. Supersize-You usually get the best price on meats when you buy the larger cuts of meat. You can have them cut it for you and pay the same price for not cut meat. You can repackage it and freeze it for later use. I 100% of the time do this. I buy packages of chicken legs for .99 cents per lb, split them up and refreeze them. Same with any other meat.
4.DIY and save-another DUH! Of course if you do it yourself, its gonna be cheaper. My kids just love those small packages of crackers with cheese or peanut butter in them. I buy regular saltines ($1.25 box) and just throw some peanut butter between them. Done. I paid pennies vs the $1.50 for 6 small packs of 6. I DIY everything. No boxed meals, no prepared meals, no easy too cook just add water anything. My kids now prefer me cooking this way. They get stomach aches from any prepared anything. Too much sodium.
5.Dont over purchase-this is a big thing for me. I refuse to pay certian prices for things. I wont buy it unless it stays within my price range. We will just adjust and move on. Produce, refuse to pay more than $1 per lb. Meat no more than $1 per lb. When it goes on sale, I stock up. I make a plan to spend only a certian amount on anything. I shop enough to know whats a good deal and whats not. Some limit how much they can spend on a total grocery trip. This I dont advise. You want to take off one package of meat because you went over by $5? Not advised. Just stay within your spending limits on each item and you will be fine. Plus you will still get everything you need.
6.Say "So long to snack packs!"-These are just smaller less expensive packs but if you add up how many small packs are usually in 1 box and compare, your spending more $. Plus usually these items are not healthy. No snack packs in our house unless they are freebies I recieved in the mail. We save those for long trips to events or family outings.
7. Weigh your choices-When you see oranges $1 per pound, then you see 4 lb oranges in a bag for $1.98. HHmmm which do you choose. Of course the bag. Your paying only 50 cents per lb instead of $1. Do your math. You cant always judge a orange by picking up each and every one and choosing them. The bag has done all this work for you. Do the math!
8. Go generic-Why buy Ritz Crackers for $3.50 a box when I can get Winco brand ritz type crackers that taste the same for only $1.35? Duh! There is no differance between these crackers. They are just price differances. Do yourself a favor and get generic brands. The only reason I will ever buy name brand is if I have a coupon or the item is on sale for cheaper. This doesnt happen often so dont get your hopes up.
9. Compare cost per lb or per unit-Those places like Costco and Sams Club are not always deals. I found that buying diapers with coupons, sales, etc were so much cheaper than getting a big box from these places. Sometimes I get them for free. So remember if you get coupons from these brands, certian stores have them for cheaper, etc. Places like Winco have info on their tags. they tell you how much per ounce each item is so you know which is the best deal.
10.Make friends with the butcher-Ask your local butcher what days and times they do their markdowns. My local Safeway and Fred Meyers do theirs about every other day right after opening. So I hit them up around 10am. Not too early and not too late. Never hurts to ask.
11.Check out the chicks-A precooked roaster chicken is just a chicken they cooked and marked at a higher price. Dont pay more for a differant label, just buy the whole uncooked chicken and cook it. Much cheaper and you can control the sodium, and how much spices go into it. Plus you will have cash left over in your pocket.
12.Think ahead-If your family never finishes a bowl of noodle casserole, then take 1/3 out that you know they wont eat and freeze it before you even bring it to the table. Use it for a lunch later. Same goes for any other meal. 1 whole chicken will be 1 dinner plus 3 lunches for my husband. Plus the bones will be turned into broth. My $4 investment has now turned into many many other things.
13. Invest in a second freezer. I dont need this because my fridge has a huge freezer. Plus im so forgetful that I would forget what ive put in there. But for those who are really organized and have a good memory, this is a must. You can stock pile up on stuff like meat, vegies, and specials. Try to get a Energy Star one so you can save on energy as well. Right now this economy is trying to recover so there are tons of specials., rebates, etc. Take advantage!
14. Shop with left overs in mind-Like whole chickens stated in #12. Or left over turkey. Rethink these items. I save left over dark meat chicken for soups. Much more moist and yummier! Rethink your left overs.
15.Learn when to leave left overs way! Just doesnt work. Dressed salad just isnt the same 2nd time around. Make what you need with these items.
16.Count on discount and clearance stores-Grocery Outlet is fabulas store that sells items that are overstock, froze at sell date, testing products, smashed packaging, etc. I LOVE this store. So I usually will hit this store up before I go to my major shopping. Everything is always cheaper there.
17. Visit price clubs with a friend.-Maybe you dont need that much cheese but its a super deal. Split it with a friend. My mom and I used to get buy 1 get 1 free large packages of meat. We would split the price and each would take a package of meat. Super savings this way.
18.Buy a Sunday or Wednesday paper-this is a must for those who have alot of stores to choose from. I have 2 stores so this doesnt apply to me. I get alot of coupons from my blog freebies post and other blogs. Usually samples come with coupons that are better than the papers plus the expiration date is a year away unlike the papers. Your choice on this one.
19. cut corners on clipping coupons-As stated above this one is by choice. Online coupons are sometimes good besides regular coupons. Keep on top of the blogs or freebie sites. They will post deals that last 1 day only or up to a week. My christmas cards (60 for $3.49 shipped) or build a bear (this week ) 2 for $19 shipped. Keep tabs on these things.
20. Stock up on local seasonal produce-I buy only seasonal produce. Right now pumpkins,etc are on sale. I buy that and freeze them. Use them for later. I do this all year and manage to get my produce for an average of 50 cents per pound. Which is a good deal. So alter your meals around this tip alone and save hundreds each year. Plus how much fun is it to cook differantly every time? My kids can look foward to certian things on each season.

I am happy to announce my top pick for internet sites. is a eco friendly and budget friendly site. I couldnt believe the great deals they had. So now you can feel good about spending your money on something that is eco friendly and sustainable.

This site has reusable bags, containers, water bottles, and many more items. Prices vary from $3.49-$100 depending on what you want. They are having a huge holiday sale right now so hurry before its over. Plus shipping is only $4.95 on anything which is super cheap.

If you have children, this site is for you. I was looking for friendly plastic bottles all summer long for my girls lunches. All I could find was large bottles which wouldnt fit into their lunches. I did find some at REI but they were all $20 and over just for a small water bottle.. This would of been a big investment considering I have 4 daughters. So when I stumbled upon this site, I was amazed that they had some as low as $8.99.

For now I ordered the following which I will be reviewing once I get them

3 Mesh bags made from 100% recycled cotton-used for fruit

1 Womans Med Top Front says "Plastic Bags Blow". 1 way to inform people about how bad plastic bags really are.

All these shipped for around $20. Super good deal.

Anyways, dont take my word for it. Just check out their site and get inspired. Lots of info to read up on, ways to help stop plastic bags from taking over our world, and tons of ways to be eco friendly. Its time to put a stop to plastic bags and paper ones too to be honest. We need all the tree's we can get. Start using reusable bags!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Save where you can and be ECO FRIENDLY!

Ive been trying to come up with super cheap but alot of though gifts. You can be super budget friendly and still give people gifts that are heart filled. Promise! Here is a example of what im doing for my best friend.

She loves coffee, old things, unique things, and loves when I put together baskets for her. Here is what ive come up with this year.

2 handmade vintage stonewear coffee mugs. Deffinatly from the 60's or 70's. So retro and cool!
Paid 25 cents each

1lb Starbucks coffee.
FREE! Used a gift card that I won at a company christmas party.

1 eco friendly bag for fruit
Organic cotton mesh bag bought on for only $3.49. Using this to wrap her gift in.

Whole Wheat Flax Seed Organic Pancake Mix
cost maybe 25 cents to make. I put together this in a small vintage tupperware container I found for 25 cents. Making directions on a handmade tag. Will come with a wooden spoon.

1 small BEE MOVIE bottle of honey (use in pancake mix)
25 cents

Handmade cookies etc.
Free from my pantry

I christmas card I made on . Cost me pennies. This expired already but I paid $3.49 for 60 cards sent to my house. Each card has a picture of my dog, and the words peace, love, 2009. Super cute!

So you see, you can put alot of heart into a gift without spending at on. I think ive paid around $4.75 give or take some. Has tons of personalized details and its all meant for her only.

Every gift this year is eco friendly. Bought used, or its super earth friendly. Plus homemade mix's that are organic and healthy. You would be amazed how many things you can find in a thrift store. Plus you had put thought into finding these things for each person so they will love that idea. I would rather take something from these places so they dont end up in the landfill. I also encourage people to shop eco friendly sites. The cheapest eco friendly site ive found around is and their shipping is only $4.95 no matter much you spend or how many items you buy. Has everything from shirts, lunch bags, fruit bags, containers, water bottles, etc. Lots of bags to choose from. Regular bags, unisex, and even artist bags. You can use these bags as gift wrap too!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Took a break for family

Sorry everyone but I really needed to take a break. Really isnt much going on the weekends anyways so I just took a day off from blogging. It was really hard for me not to pull out the laptop, its become such a habbit for me.
My husband's work had a Christmas Party so we all dressed up and went to it. Balloon man, Magician, face painter and play casino were just a few things that were there. A raffle was done later, which we won 2 $20 Starbucks cards. I was thrilled!! I will save these for later use when money is tight.
These can be used to get regular coffee (less expensive). You will get around 10 drinks instead of the usualy 4. Coffee can get expensive. If you go inside to get your coffee, they have a few shakers with vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon powders. Makes your plain coffee taste like a fancy one. While im in there, I can get a bag of coffee grounds to throw in my garden. These are free as well. Maybe if im really up to it, I will walk up there and use no gas.
But anyways, we ate till our stomach's couldnt stuff anymore food in them. Full buffet with treats after. My childrens eyes were huge when they saw all that food. lol.
Plus we had to leave a little early due to us living an hour away. One good thing was that the girls were able to see lots of christmas lights on house's. They just love driving around to see the lights. One budget friendly thing we do every christmas is looking at the christmas lights. I have a large van so my friend and us usually do this. I make cocoa for all of us in kid friendly mugs (99 cents box of 9 Walmart or make your own for free) and we drive around super slow looking at all the lights around our town. Since gas prices are at a all time low, it really didnt cost us but pennies to do this. My kids just love this!
But im back now and hunting for the deals for you again!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

*New* Product Review Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation has been around for years now and I must say they are one of the best products around. I contacted them to maybe get some product samples so I could review them and put them on my blog. To my suprise they sent me a fabric bag filled with "FULL SIZE" products. They came through in a huge way for me. So a big THANK YOU to them!

Ive used their spray cleaners and dishwashing for a few months now and they are my ultimate favorite in cleaning supplies. As most you know, my children and I are allergic to all perfumes and dyes. We also have excema which doesnt help out. So I have to be really careful what I use in my home. Not only are their products safe but all of them are recycled packaging in some kind of way. Just an amazing company. Here is a review of a few products that I reccomend. These are my openions and you should use with caution. Test these out on small items before using regularly. If you dont have allergies/excema then just use them to green up this planet. They work the same as regular cleaning brands but are safe and natural.

Free and Clear Natural All Purpose Cleaner

Features and Benefits
Non-toxic & biodegradable -
Hypo-allergenic -
Does not create harsh fumes
Not tested on animals

I tested this on my kitchen against another leading all purpose cleaner. (no names but its blue in color). There was no smell, no suds, and I didnt have to clean it again to get any residue off my counters like you usually do with cleansers. I kept having a film on my counters which made me nervious about what kind of chemicals I was leaving on my counters for my children to touch and get in their mouths. No residue here! Left my counters shiny(I have tile counters) and left no residue. No smells, and actually left my hands soft. The bottle contains a min. 25% post consumer recycled plastic.

Free and Clear Natural Dish Liquid

I have a dishwasher but I admit that I actually enjoy washing my dishes by hand. Grew up doing dishes by hand only so it comes natural for me. Due to my allergies and excema, ive had to stop doing them for a long time. Excema and allergies were very hard to pin point when I was growing up and I didnt know I had these until the last few years. So I was excited to try this one out.

Features and Benefits
Non-toxic & biodegradable
Free of phosphates
Safe for septic & greywater systems
Not tested on animals

Perfume and Dye free

I have not seen any differance in this soaps cleaning power than in regular cleaners. Works wonderful! Still very sudsy and gets all food and grime off my dishes. You can get this scented too so if its hard for you to clean without scents, then your in luck. Not only can I use this, but my children actually love doing the dishes as well. Bonus for me! Plus it leaves our hands super soft when done doing dishes.

If every house hold in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 25 oz petroleum based dishwashing liquid with their 25 oz vegetable based product, you could save 81,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 4,500 U.S. homes for a year! That alone should inspire you to try it out and use it.

Natural 2x Concentrate Laundry Liquid

Like ive stated in the past. I have had to make my own liquid laundry soap for a long time now so I was pretty nervious about trying out this one. So I used it to wash my sheets and blankets. My excema isnt as bad as my childrens so I wouldnt have a problem trying it out. I used it in my HE washer(used half the amount required) and it worked perfectly. I used it along with their Natural Fabric Softner . They came out soft and fluffy as usual. I put them on my bed and went to bed. The next day I had no affects. No itching or anything. They were flannel sheets and were super soft. So the next load I tried them out on my childrens clothing. Again same results. They werent scratchy and their skin didnt blotch and turn any colors. Worked perfectly!!

Features and Benefits
Non-toxic & biodegradable
Free of phosphates & optical brighteners
Safe for septic & greywater systems
Not tested on animals

If every household would replace their petroleum based based liquid laundry soap with their vegetable based liquid laundry soap, you would save 460,000 barrels off oil. Thats enough to heat 27,000 us homes for a year.

I could go on and on about this company. But check it out for yourself at and find a local store who carries it. Ive seen it in just about every mainstream store around. Fred Meyers, Target, small local grocery stores, Whole Foods, New Seasona, etc. Its everywhere. They sell everything from toilet paper, baby whipes, diapers, feminine products, household paper supplies, trash bags, and even baby products.

Sign up for their newsletter and get good reads. You also can get valueable coupons to print out and periodically get sent coupons as well. Save them for when the brand goes on sale and get them for super cheap and stock up.