PhotobucketWhy Be Frugal?

I consider frugality an art form and a religious conviction. I learned about paying cash for purchases, recycling and reusing just about everything and being generous to friends and those in need from my parents.

My faith instructs me all things are gifted by God and so I am compelled to be a good steward of my gifts. [The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. Psalm 115:16]


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Frual living is about more than clipping coupons!

Being frugal and adopting a frugal lifestyle isn't just about spending less or devoting hours of time on couponing! I spend about 30-40 minutes a week clipping coupons, visiting blogs like Hip2Save, Saving Addiction, Stretching A Buck, Mommy's Wish List, and several others.

These blogs offer match ups with store sales and currently running coupons - so I don't have to spend a lot of time doing it myself. More thank just matching grocery coupons, these blogs also alert readers to on-line sales and coupon deals.

At each of these blogs, you'll also read that to them, living frugally is about more than 'clipping coupons.' The blog, Couponing For Disney was created as a result of one woman's desire to take her family on a Disney vacation. She realized she needed to either make more money (not practicable) or save enough to finance a vacation.

These blogs offer step-by-step ways to change your lifestyle, modify your perspective and achieve your financial goals. It can be overwhelming to dive in head first and try to make the changes all at one time. These ladies can help you pick and choose where and how to start.

I save at least 25-28% on every grocery trip and aim for 33% on each trip -- I've even gotten my husband to use coupons! He has actually achieved our highest percentage of savings @ 44% on one grocery trip! (You can bet he doesn't let me forget it every time I report my latest savings to him.) I could spend more time and probably save more, but it's important to calculate the value of your time. It's really a personal choice. With persistence and good planning, I have raised my expectations on grocery and other savings in the coming year. I'll probably devote a few more minutes a week to my efforts.

One of the most helpful, and I think important, things I did this year, was develop a simple spreadsheet showing when our bills are due - divided into 4 weeks. It was pretty interesting, and also helpful because it helps us determine if we should make and unplanned purchase during the current week, or wait. Even if the item is something you want and is available at a deep discount, it's not a good deal, if buying it means you won't have enough left in the bank to pay your bills or have to put the purchase on a credit card.

This year I plan to build my stockpile inventory with the help of Stockpiling Moms.

What's the smartest thing you've done to live more frugally?

Impromptu shopping can still yield mega savings

I really did not feel like leaving the house today, but after going through my coupon file, I realized lots of them were expiring today! I checked the Kroger ad on line and then matched up as many coupons as I could.

Many of their items were 50% off or buy one get one free that I matched with coupons: Athenos Hummus (also on sale), candy bars (on sale) (buy 2 get one free), Hillshire Farms Sausage (1/2 price), select Kellogg's cereals (50% off).

I also got 4 bags M&M's on sale @ 2/$6 and used 2-$1.00 off 2 bags coupons.
2 bottles Spice Island Vanilla on sale @ $4.99 each and used $1.00 off 2 spice island products.
Slimrite (Kroger brand SlimFast) on sale for $6.99 - used $1.50 off 8 pack Catalina coupon from a previous visit.

Lunchables were on sale @ 3/$6.

Kroger Wholesome Home Classic Pizzas were on sale @ 2/$10.

I had 5 reusable bags @ $.05 each; used my son's employee discount on Kroger products ($3.17 total)
Finally, I bought bag of bows for 50% off.

My final savings = 35%

To the woman behind me in line at the checkout who wasn't very happy that I asked the cashier to ensure the bows were 1/2 price and then handed him all my coupons: deal with it:-)

Initial total: $179.16
I paid: $113.92!

Not bad for what was technically and impromptu trip to the grocery store!

Finally . . . I used my Kroger 123 Rewards Visa Card - giving me a reward of: 3 points for Kroger brands; 2 points for non-Kroger brands purchased at Kroger. So far we've earned $10 in rewards - and by February, by the time they pay out their rewards, I plan to have at least $20.

I understand tomorrow's paper will have FOUR coupon inserts!! I can't decide if I want 3 or 4 Sunday papers . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More non-traditional holiday savings

Unique ways I saved an extra $8 at Kroger: As a Kroger loyalty card holder, I receive great coupons in the mail periodically. One of the most recent ones that came in handy (and saved me money) was: spend $25 on Hallmark Expressions cards, save $5. I stocked up on greeting cards (and received fuel points).

I also saved $3 for buying 4 participating General Mills participating items - yesterday I stocked up on Pillsbury cookie dough plus used a coupon to save $1/3. I bought 3 rolls of cookie dough and 1 pack of Pillsbury Sweet Moments bit size cheesecake brownies.

I stocked up on other baking supplies (I make most of my holiday baked goods from scratch). Even purchasing expensive items like several varieties of baking chips, brown sugar and other supplies, I saved 22%!

If you know someone (including yourself!) who loves steaks and other great quality food, I just snagged a great deal from Plum District: It's only available for 5 days, so if you are interested, you need to act soon. $75 for The Holiday Festival Package from Omaha Steaks - a $132 Value. Today only, save $30 more by using this code: saturday40. That makes the final price just $45--a 65% savings!!

Did you have lots of Thanksgiving leftovers? I'd love to hear your ideas and recipes? I'll be posting some of mine later this weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Non-traditional Black Friday savings and deals

I, for one, will NOT be out shopping on Black Friday (and I'm going to try to avoid it on Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving as well)!

That being said, if you are one of those brave souls who will not doubt find amazing bargains, I'd like to offer you some additional great deals! After all, you should be rewarded for helping the economy by "shopping til you drop"!

You have to stop to eat at some point, right? Why not buy one (or more) of these restaurant and other gift cards:
Applebee’s — In-store only: Buy $50 in gift cards, get $10 bonus card.
Arby’s – Buy $20 giftcard, get a FREE Combo meal.
Barnes & Noble — Buy $100 in gift cards, get free $10 eGift card.

To see even more restaurants offering free gift cards, food, or other treats in exchange for gift card purchases, stop by Mommy's Wish List.

Want to get all your gift cards in one place AND save a ton of money on gas for driving from store to store on Black Friday? Through 12/11/11, Kroger is offering quadruple fuel rewards points on many of the gift cards sold at its in store kiosk (excludes Kroger grocery gift cards). That means, if you purchase a $25 gift card, you'll earn 100 fuel rewards points. The rewards points can be redeemed for discounts of up to $0.10 per gallon on fuel at Shell stations and up to $1 per gallon at Kroger fuel centers.

What other "non-traditional" deals do you know about?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frugal Family Dinner

Tonight my husband, son and I went out to eat at Silver Diner. They have a great new menu, but the prices have increased a bit so we really got creative to save 35% on our dinner bill.

We used a $5 off coupon we received via email for being a Silver Diner Rewards Club member (a great perk to belonging to the club is the 'random' coupons we receive periodically in addition to a free meal (including dessert) on your birthday.

Then we had two "free milk shake or dessert" coupons my son and I received the last time we ate there and each filled out a survey.

Our initial bill was $49.40
free milkshake - $5.69 (son)
free dessert - $5.89 (husband)
coupon - $5.00

Total bill: $33.85

Not bad! A little over $10 each and we were all full and happy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Record savings @ Kroger and more stockpiling

Today I achieved my personal best savings at Kroger: 58%!

Here's how I did it today:
$1 on 3 Gen Mills Cereals (Also part of buy 4 save $3) (limit rewards per transaction)
$1 on 3 Nature Valley or Fiber One bars (Also part of buy 4 save $3)
$.50 on Pillsbury Refrigerator Pie Crusts (doubled)
2 - $.35 on Bob Evans Refrigerated Side Dishes (both doubled) - on sale for 2/$6
$1 on 2 Idahoan Potatoes (on sale 10/$10)
$.60 on 3 Green Giant FrozenBox Vegetables (on sale for 10/$10)
2 - $1.00 on 2 Reddi Whip (on sale for $2/$4)
$1 on 1 Digorno Rising Crust Pizza (on sale for $5.50)
$1 on Kroger Truly Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies(on sale for 2/$5) (got this coupon and part of my Bzz campaign)
Buy 3 Stove Top Stuffing, receive $.75 on next shopping order
I also earned a second frozen turkey at $.39/lb for spending $25 (one per transaction)

Tuesday is senior day (I'm barely eligible!) so I got an additional 5% off my total order.

My register total: $113.18 - I paid $66.46 - for a total saving of 58%! Woo Hoo!

Stockpile Items this trip: Stove Top Stuffing, cereal

Of course I used my Kroger 123Rewards Visa Card and earned points toward a Kroger gift card.

Have you made a comment on my previous post to receive a $1 off Kroger The Truly Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Have you started stockpiling to save money and time?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kroger's The Truly Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies Really Are! (totally awesome, that is)

I registerd to be a Bzzagent with some time ago and never really became active until recently. My latest BuzzCampaign assignment arrived on Saturday. I received 2 boxes of The Truly Awesome Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies to taste and review.

We absolutely love these cookies! The first ingredient on the ingredient list: chocolate chips! Made with real butter,each of these cookies has 120 calories, 6 gm fat. There are only 8 cookies per box, but the cookies are about 2X the size of Chips Ahoy and other chocolate cookies on the market. The Truly Awesome cookies ar a bit pricey, but i will definitely stock up when they go on sale or I have coupons.

Your family is going to love these, and you for bringing them home. I'm trying them for free because I'm a BzzAgent! I received 4 $1.00 off coupons and I'm giving away one to each of the first three readers who leave me a comment! (Sorry . . . I have to keep one for myself or my family will kill me!)

Exclusively available at Kroger, Fred Meyer and Ralphs stores (the Kroger Family of Stores)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kroger Mega Event and coupons = 40% savings!

2 frugal transactions on Sunday:
1st stop was CVS:
1st transaction: $1 off 2 jars Smucker jam plus receive $3.00 ECB - total $3.13
2nd transation: 1 Jar peanut butter and 1 bag 75% off Halloween candy - free:-)

Next stop:

Kroger has been running Mega Event savings specials for several weeks now. This week I really prepared my shopping trip. I bought 40 Mega Even items (buy 10 participating items, save $5) so I automatically saved $20 right off the top.

I also used coupons on these Mega Event items for additional savings:
1 - $.50 off 1 Steamfresh vegetables
1 - $2.00 off 5 Healthy Choice entrees
2 - $.55 Pepperidge Farms Texas Toast
2 - $.25 on 4 Campbell's condensed soups (one of my stockpile items this week)
1 - $.50 on 5 cans Swanson broth (2nd stockpile item)
2 - $.40 Pillsbury crescent rolls - also used this purchase toward: Save $3 on Butterball premium w/ purchase of 4 selected items
Used a $2 "thanks for purchasing GE lighting" from my last shopping trip
Also purchased 1 Axe Shower Gel & got one free

Total manufacturer coupons: $17.13
Total bonus coupons (from doubling up to $.50): $2.60

Spent: $84.83 - saved $55.48 or 40%

I also earned 102 fuel points (since our son is an employee, we benefit from his 10% employee discount on Kroger brand products0 this order ($.10 off/gallon for every $100 spent) and paid my bill with Kroger's 123 Rewards Card (up to 3 points per dollar) - $1000 spent = $5 reward.

Pretty happy with myself. We donated some of the soup and broth plus the peanut butter from CVS to the food bank our church supports.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A New Adventure: Stockpiling

Wow! I can't believe I haven't posted since May!! Life has been very busy at our house, as demonstrated by my lack of posting! I've been busy learning more about couponing and stockpiling though!

I recently discovered and have become a huge fan! Melissa and Shelley and two awesome ladies who share their knowledge of stockpiling, couponing, and just generally saving money on groceries and other items.

I've learned a lot, already saved a lot, and recently began their Stockpiling 101 series. This past week I began a new adventure: stockpiling. I'm not talking about stockpiling so much stuff we have to add a wing on our house! These ladies suggest a 3-month stockpile. That works for me. I've started with laundry detergent and toothpaste - because I caught a good sale and had high-value coupons.

I invite you to join me! I'm combining stepped up coupooning with stockpiling to save even more than in the past. I'm using my extra savings over the next year to make some home improvements and maybe even take a nice vacation. What would you do with a few extra dollars in the bank?

I've also posted on facebook that I've purchased several gift cards for half price (one $10 CVS card for $5; two $10 Subway cards for $5 each) through If you visit, please use my referral link.

What are some great sites you visit often?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program=free books!

Who: Barnes & Noble

What: Imagination's Destination summer reading program for children grades 1-6. Details here.

When: May 24th thru September 6th.

Where: Find your nearest Barnes & Noble here.

How: Kids can earn ONE book from Barnes & Noble when they read 8 books of their choice over the summer and submit the list to Barnes & Noble in the form of a Journal.

BONUS: It's available in English (pages 1 & 2 of Passport) and Spanish (pages 3 & 4).

Thanks to Mommy's Wish List!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Target beats out Wal-Mart prices on many items

While I've always liked Target a lot, and even found some good prices--plus the fact they "stack" store issued and manufacturer coupons, I was surprised to learn they beat out Wal-Mart in the low-price war!

In an article from Jeanine Poggi at MSN-partner site "The Street"

According to pricing studies conducted by Customer Growth Partners, a consumer research firm, January, February and March all revealed Target's prices were lower than Wal-Mart's. The monthly study, which is conducted in four states, compares products across segments, including 30 fresh, frozen and nonperishable groceries, eight household chemicals, paper and other consumables like detergent, seven health and beauty aids like shampoo and counter medicines, and 10 general merchandise items like apparel and toys.

There is a caveat in the article, though: "According to the Kantar study, Wal-Mart was cheaper in edible grocery items by about 1% and has a 3.4% advantage over Target with non-grocery home goods."

You can read the entire article here. The moral of the story: It pays to compare prices and match coupons with store sales.

Which store do you prefer, Target or Wal-Mart?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

33% Off Grocery trip to Kroger

It's not secret I love Kroger! Even before my son started working there, I shopped Kroger for the prices, coupons, quality products and discount gas. Now that he is a Kroger employee, we benefit even more by receiving 10% off all Kroger-branded items!

Today I only needed "fill-in" items. I received a pack of Kroger brand coupons earlier in the week (these are generated based on my buying habits - tracked via my Kroger card usage.

I had 5 reusable bags, so saved 25 cents right off the bat! I had a $5 off coupon when you spend $50 coupon and a $1.50 off coupon when you spend $10 on sodas (any brand). I don't usually buy sodas, but the guys like them for their lunches, so stocked up in order to use the coupon.

I had these additional coupons for:
2 packs of Kroger shredded cheese (40 cents each-doubled) (on sale)
1 pack of Frigo Cheese sticks ($1.00)
1 bag Fresh Express Salads (40 cents-doubled)
Kroger brand pizza ($1.00) (on sale for $6.99)
2 Pillsbury refrigerator breads (40 cents-doubled)
Oscar Mayer Hot dogs ($1.00).

Most of my other items were Kroger brand, except for a cucumber, and marked down pork chops (which I will divide into three freezer bags for meals later).

Total before coupons and discounts? $97.43. Amt. paid at checkout: $65.30

My total savings with coupons, discouts and marked down items: 33%!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Coupons and Bonus Savings like Free Money

I saved a ton from my trip to CVS. My husband had purchased something earlier in the week and received a "Save $5 on a $15 purchase" coupon at the bottom of his receipt.

I checked the CVS ad on line and found the Maybelline Mascara I use was on sale AND offered a $2 Extra Bucks coupon when you spend $7. I bought the mascara as a separate purchase and my total for the Mascara was $12. 16.

Then I scanned my CVS card and received 2 coupons for savings on Twizzlers and Milky Way bars. (I'm not a big fan of buying candy, but my husband and son get really a little panicky if I don't keep some in the house:-)

I bought
2 cans of Deluxe Mixed Nuts (saved $2.65 each),
2 bags of 75% off chocolate eggs
1 bag of Twizzlers and
Mother's day card for my mother-in-law.
At the check-out I used the $5 off coupon, the $2 EB coupon from the Mascara purchase, $.25 off two Milky Way Bars and $1.00 coupon off Twizzlers (also on sale).

Total paid: $12.42
Total savings: $17.75

I haven't been shopping too much at CVS, but I think I'm going to be more vigilant about potential saving opportunities again!

How have you saved money at CVS this week?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back to Cooking from Scratch

I used to cook and bake almost everything from scratch. When I went back to work full time several years ago, that practice gradually fell by the wayside. In my latest "spend less on food" adventure, I've been looking for good, easy, relatively inexpensive meals. Thought I'd share part of tonight's dinner first:

Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip from All You! May 2011 issue

Prep: 15 mins.
Cook: 40 min. Chill: up to 2 hours
Serves:10 (3 of us finished these off quickly!)
Cost per serving $1.61

4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1 TBS lemon juice
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cut hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot) I used 1/8 of a cup!
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 TBS spicy brown mustard
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS sugar
4 TBS unsalted butter
3 lb. chicken wings, tips removed, wings separated at joints (I bought a bag of these frozen and all ready to go)

Make dip ahead and refrigerate

Preheat oven to 450 deg. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a small pan or microwave safe bowl, combine all sauce ingredients, heat until blended. Coat wings. Cook for 40 minutes.


Stay tuned! Coming up: Apricot Round Steak, Hero Joe Sandwiches, Unstuffed Pepper Bake.

One way we've been saving on our grocery bill is to purchase groceries through Angel Food Ministries.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Discount Pizza Codes!

Ordering Pizza for the big game tonight?

Two for one large pizzas at Domino’s with online promo code access.

Domino’s Free Cinnastix with any order with promo code EBCS.

Papa John’s Pizza - large two topping pizza and two 20 oz drinks for $12.99. Use promo code victory.

Thanks so much to Lori at More With Less Today for these codes!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

CVS Today = 57% savings!

I'm really on a "savings roll" this weekend! After church today we made a trip to CVS where I saved 57% off my total! Here's how I did it:

4 bottles of Nature Made Supplements @ buy one get one free (plus two $2.00 off coupon)
1 box Slim fast shakes - $.50 off coupon
1 bag Kibbles N Bits dry dog food - $2.00 off coupon
2 bags candy @ buy one get one free (CVS $1.00 off coupon from card scanner at the front of the store & an additional $1.00 coupon)

Plus I used $10.00 Extra Bucks from my visit last week and a 20% off entire purchase coupon I received in the mail as my quarterly Extra Bucks reward!

Total merchandise cost: $80.39. I paid: $34.52.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good Will Shopping

I had quite a successful shopping trip at the Good Will store today! Here is what I bought for $58.18:

1 black suit (jacket and skirt) - $15.99
1 dress - 50% off @ $3.49
2 pr. capris - $4.99 each (both still had the original tag)
1 polo shirt - $3.99
2 short -sleeve tops - $3.99 each
1 pr black pants - $4.99
1 pr shorts - $3.99
1 long-sleeve cotton blouse $4.99.

My son found a pair of jeans in great shape and a dress shirt, 1 hardback novel and 1 DVD for $20.19!

I'm really excited because I had originally planned on going to J.C. Penney today but my gift card I earned from Mypoints hasn't arrived yet. Now I can look forward to another fun shopping trip next weekend!

Have you found any great bargains at Good Will lately?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Great CVS trip today!

I just had to share my great trip to CVS today!

First I scanned my CVS card and received a coupon for 25% of my entire purchase!

I bought 2 CVS brand Skin care/moisturizers and earned $10 Extrabucks
Bought 1 toothbrush & got 1 free
Bought 2 single size M&M's & got 1 free

I used:
$1.00 off coupon for Aleve
$1.00 off coupon for large bag Pretzel M&M's
$1.00 off coupon for Maybelline Mascara

I got a twin pack of Nice N Easy Hair color for $3.49!! (on closeout)

I'm going to use my $10 Extrabucks next week to apply toward "Spend $10 on Maybeline products, get 4EB) That will be like paying $1 for $15 worth of products!

Have you had a great shopping experience lately?

Total before discounts and coupons: $92.38. I paid: 54.92!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Free Dessert at Starbucks With Drink Purchase

Thanks to Julia Scott @ for this great freebie announcement:

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Mar 10-12, 2011 from 2- 5 p.m., you can get a free sugar-packed dessert at Starbucks when you buy any beverage while supplies last. The freebie is to celebrate Starbucks' 40th anniversary and promote a new line of tiny, sweet treats.

Julia has added this disclaimer: Unclear if all beverages will get you a free petite or if bottled water, juice and kid's drinks are excluded (as they often are in Starbucks promotions).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cinderella Dreams Project Helps Richmond Area Girls Afford Prom Dresses

The Midlothian Junior Women's Club and 103.7 The River are joining forces to ensure that no young woman is denied her chance to experience a quintessential event of adolescence – attending her Prom.

The Cinderella Dreams Project aims to help shoulder the financial burden of attending this formal event by providing gowns and accessories for free to any girl who, like Cinderella, needs help obtaining a gown for the ball.

Have last year's gown you can donate? Donate new and like-new gowns and accessories at Local YMCAs and Puritan Cleaners. For more information, call Chrystal at 804-201-3332. Want to donate or help in some other way? Click HERE.

Find out where to Shop for a gown!

Suggested donation $5.00.

Friday, March 18, 2011 5:00PM - 8:00PM
Saturday, March 19, 2011
11AM - 3:00PM
Saturday, March 26, 2011
11AM - 3:00PM

For more information on the Cinderella Dreams Project or to find out about other projects of the Midlothian Junior Women's Club, you may reach them via e-mail: or on the web:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Birthday Freebies

Some great birthday freebies, in honor of my daughter's 26th birthday on February 5! Register at the sites and receive a special gift every year on your birthday!

Free entree from India K’Raja (postcard)
Free entree from Mexico Restaurant (postcard)

Emails to print:
Free entree from Moe’s
Free burger from Ruby Tuesday
Free burger from Red Robin
Free bowl of noodles from Noodles & Co
Free smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Free ice cream cone from Baskin-Robbins
Free creation from Coldstone Creamery
Free $10 gift card to Short Pump Town Center – Sign up for Shoptopia
Whole Foods Market – Free baked good on your birthday
Einstein Bros
– Free bagel and shmear
Express – $15 off card

Do you know of others? Leave a comment and let us know!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugal, Green Solutions to Some Peskiest Household Problems

From AOL Shopping in a post by Marquette Heaven

Marquette shared some reader ideas for using everyday household items to solve some of life's peskiest problems--frugally!

Here are a couple of great ideas:

"Hard to believe but true: Worcestershire sauce makes a great (and cheap) compound for restoring dull, tarnished brass to its original shine. Just take a small amount of Worcestershire sauce, place it on a soft toothbrush, rub it wherever your brass needs a good polish, let sit for a few minutes, then rub off residue with a soft damp cloth. Do this a few times as needed and soon you're brass will look shiny and new once again! " J.

"White distilled vinegar is a housewife's best kept secret! It is one of the strongest natural astringents, so you can disinfect your bathrooms toilets, tubs, and also clean your kitchen counter top with it. Plus, it removes stains from upholstery, carpet, and clothes! You can also get rid of an abscess toothache, toe nail fungus, and strep throat with it. All for these things for just a couple dollars at your local grocery store." T.

This one is really clever:

"Dryer sheets contain positively charged ingredients that are released by heat and movement. To loosen caked-on food from a pan, place a fresh sheet in the bottom of a dirty pan, fill with lukewarm water, and let soak in the sink overnight. The pan will be a breeze to clean in the morning." Charyn

Stay tuned for more great ideas!

I love these tips because not only are they frugal . . . they're "green." No chemicals or toxic products required to clean our homes, for grooming or for solving some of life's inconveniences.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Buy Second Hand to Save Money

Author's bio: The following article has been written by Roxie Willis, who with her vast experience in the mortgage industry has been associated with the MortgageFit Community as a contributory writer . Not only does she participate in the community forums to give her suggestions, but also makes her contributions through different articles on mortgage, refinancing, loan modifications etc.

How can one buy second hand goods and save more money

In this current financial scenario, you need to save more money and try to lead a frugal life. If you can try to save on daily products as well as other items, you can easily get used to the current financial market. You must try to buy second hand goods so that you can get the advantage of that item as well as save your hard-earned money as well. You can get the same material and benefits that you may get if you buy the same thing first hand.

Tips to get you started on buying second hand goods

There are certain things that you need to invest in without spending excess of money on must be bought second hand. If you have the place and the people you trust with these things, you can easily get going with your second hand buying. Take a look at the tips that’ll help you buy second hand goods:

  1. Trust yourself

    You must trust your instincts and yourself so that you can easily buy the second hand good. If you think that there really is a problem with the thing, you must not get it in the first place. But you must be sure of the thing you buy and ask from the source about the quality of that thing without buying it before. Even if you buy a second hand good, you must be sure of the quality of the thing. This will help you use the good for a very long time and help you get the worth of the thing. You’re saving money and if you get a good quality second hand item, you can easily save the money as well as invest in a better thing.

  1. Trusted source

    This is also an important criterion to tell you that you can still buy a great second hand good without getting duped. If you know any dealer or a person who sells second hand goods which are of good quality, you can easily buy them from him. This is an important tip that’ll help you buy a second hand and safe thing. You can also fulfill your purpose of saving your money and get a worthy good. But if you see that the thing is not that good in quality, you can say this to your trusted dealer and he can also make it a point to change it and give you the best one.

  1. Safety standards

    This is also an important tip that’ll help you buy a second hand good. If you buy anything for your children or toddlers, you must be extra careful. If you buy a chair and table or a playpen, you must be careful that the things don’t have any sharp edges or the paints are not toxic. If you buy goods for the elderly such as shawls, heating equipments or anything else, you must also check the quality of them. Sometimes the heating equipment can make your hands burn or they may also easily catch fire. This will help you check the safety standards of the things and help you judge the second hand goods.

You must remember that since you’re paying the money for these goods, you must check the quality well. You must research well on the dealers of the second hand goods and that can really help you save your money and get the worthy things.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Savory Beef Make Ahead Dinner

As promised on facebook, here's the Savory Beef recipe from Once-A-Month Cooking.

2 lbs. Beef round tip steak (I used stew beef/bought on sale)
1 C sliced fresh mushrooms
1 sliced onion
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 TBS all-purpose flour
2 C water & 2 beef bouillon cubes (I used 2 C beef broth)
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dill weed
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 8 oz package wide egg noodles*

Cut beef into thin strips (if using tip steak). Sprinkle beef with pepper, and set aside in a cool place. In a heavy skillet, saute mushrooms and onions in oil until golden; remove them from skillet. Put meat in same skillet; cook and stir beef on all sides until brown. Remove meat and set aside.

Blend flour into the oil in skillet, gradually adding water/bouillon or broth. Stir constantly until smooth and slightly thick. mix in tomato paste, dry mustard, oregano, dill week and Worcestershire sauce. Stir meat, mushrooms and onions into sauce. Cool meat mixture and freeze. (After the mixture cools for a few minutes, I place it all in a zip-lock bag to store in the freezer).

To prepare for serving, thaw beef. *Prepare noodles according to package directions. Heat beef in saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it's bubbly. Serve meat over noodles. Makes 6 servings.

Serve with: Green beans and/or salad and rolls.

Use any leftover beef for sandwiches.

This is so yummy and one of my family's favorites.

Tomorrow I will have a guest blogger, Roxanne Peterson, offer some advice on saving money by buying items second hand. Roxie has written extensively for numerous financial planning and mortgage industry websites.

I think you'll enjoy what she has to share. Would you like to be a guest blogger on Just Be Frugal? Just leave me a comment letting me know your topic and I'll get in touch!

Stop by tomorrow to read Roxie's suggestions on how to buy second-hand without sacrificing quality.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eat Better. Eat Cheaper

Eat Better. Eat Cheaper. These are two of my goals for 2011.

Eat Better = better health--lower weight, fewer blood sugar peaks and valleys; lower blood pressure and on and on.

Eat Cheaper = more wealth! It's that simple. Sometimes, though, it can be challenging to eat well while eating on a lower budget. The grocery store and kitchen are two of the few places where we can actually directly impact our household budget in a meaningful way on an on-going basis.

I don't know about you, but I work full time and have a very busy family life, even though we have all adults (4 total with another one here on the weekends often) in the house now. While I would still like to cook and bake from scratch, I don't have the time or energy these days. So I've compromised, adding home-made, from scratch meals with some that are made partially from canned/boxed ingredients and even a few "convenience" foods--though I keep an eye on the sodium and calorie content of those.

Yesterday I thought about what I wanted to fix for dinners this week - it's so much less stressful to have a plan AND to have items all ready to pop in the oven or microwave when I come home after a long day!

I went through my coupons, my weekly Kroger sale flyer and pulled out Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson & Mary Beth Lagerborg. I really like this cookbook because all of the recipes are designed specifically to freeze well.

These are the meals I decided to make from Once-A-Month Cooking for dinners over the next couple of weeks: Chicken packets, Chili Verde, Savory Beef (I substituted stew beef because it was cheaper than the round steak called for in the recipe), Linguine A La Anne, Wild Rice Chicken, Poulet de France, Baked Eggs.

I also bought a Kroger fresh made Pizza marked down to $4.99 and some Home Style Barbeque chicken from the deli, marked down to $5.99 (for 8 pieces). Tonight we had the pizza with a salad for dinner and I prepared the Savory Beef and we'll have the chicken tomorrow night so I can fix a couple of the other dishes for later.

This afternoon I made a batch of blueberry pancakes with some blueberries that wouldn't have lasted more than a couple more days. Those are stacked with wax paper between them, in a freezer container and in the freezer for breakfasts this week-needing only a few seconds in the microwave. I also made some sausage biscuits using breakfast sausage (in the roll - not preformed patties) and baked refrigerator biscuits.

This evening I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies (from a roll of Kroger brand cookie dough) and a 13x9 pan of brownies. Our week is off to great start and I love that I won't have to think about what to fix for dinner every night-or worse-stop by the grocery store on the way home and spend more money than necessary.

What are some ways you have started Eating Better and Eating Cheaper?