Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mailbox Day!

More freebies from my mailbox from the past couple of weeks!

Lots of coupons and "travel size" items!

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 83

Tip # 83 Ignore Society and the Media

This one can be tough. The 3 main things that come to my mind are:
1) Weddings
2) Babies
3) Houses

Society and the media lead us to believe that we need to spend more money on these three things than we really do. Sure, all are expensive endeavors, but you can easily spend way more than you bargained for on any of them.

I know there were certainly things I bought for our wedding that we didn't need. Here are a few good articles about the "essentials" for having a baby. And I think the current "housing/mortgage crisis" speaks for itself!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 82

Tip # 82 Shop at Goodwill or Salvation Army

You definitely have to be in the mood to sort through some crap, but you should be able to find some good deals. I've seen brand new clothes (with tags) at our local Goodwill store! I've also seen quite a few pieces of furniture that just need some TLC (paint, stain, etc). Most stores have an extra percent off on certain days too. Just call to find out how you can save even more money!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Crock pot ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, homemade mac & cheese, green beans Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Rice, broccoli, cheese & almond surprise
Wednesday: Birdseye Voila Meal (ended up making Squash Casserole last week instead of having this. So good!)
Thursday: Homemade sushi?
Friday: Dinner's my birthday!!
Saturday: Meatball Sub Casserole (didn't make this last week)

Be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 81

Tip # 81 After you pay something off, keep paying yourself

This is easiest to do if you are paying something off via a monthly payment plan (car, credit cards, student loans, house, etc). It's an awesome feeling to make a final payment on something. But once that money isn't going toward something specific, it can easily get lost in your budget. Set up an automatic investment/deposit plan with your savings account for the same amount. Although if you have other "bad debt" hanging over your head, I would recommend using this "extra" money to pay it off first.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Frugal Trip to the Mall........without coupons?

I met a friend at the mall on Saturday to check out Ann Taylor Loft and J Crew since we heard they were having some sales. I did a quick online search for coupons before leaving the house but couldn't find anything. I ended up buying something at every store we walked in to.....thankfully we only went to 4! It helped that every store we went into had an additional 20-40% off clearance items! Here is the breakdown.

1 pair jeans
1 button down short sleeve shirt for work
1 pair cute dressy flip flops
Spent: $8.70
Retail: $79.50
Long, hooded, cream wraparound sweater
Ann Taylor Loft
Spent: $22.88
Retail: $84.50
1 green T for work
1 pair (super comfy) jeans

J Crew
Spent: $17.43
Retail: $69.99
long-sleeve beige wrap around cardigan
Total: $105.66 (within budget for the week!)
Retail Total: $386.99
Also - I don't need to buy any more jeans or green shirts for at least a year!!

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 80

Tip # 80 Find free things to do in your community

Especially in the summer! It seems as though I'm always reading about festivals, family events, outdoor movies, or free entry to musuems! This is another benefit to following certain frugal bloggers via RSS feed. There are a lot of random "free" coupons out there for various bookstores, ice cream shops, and fast food restaurants. A lot of cities and towns also have a website or free paper dedicated to local events.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Publix Trip

Nothing to brag about this trip....although I will be submitting for the Schick Hydro rebate so if you subtract another $6.99 from my total that makes it a little better!

Spent: $17.37 ($10.38 after rebate)
Saved: $30.34 ($37.33 after rebate)
2-5lb bags sugar
4 Chef Boyrdee
2 boxes Lucky Charms
1 bagged salad
1 Schick shave gel
1 Schick razor
Some green beans
1-3pack Sponges
2-7th Generation Dish soap (raincheck from last week)
1 free dog food sample and coupons for Purina (in store display)

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 79

Tip # 79 Stock up on gift wrap & bags immediately after Christmas

In addition to doing your holiday shopping for the next year immediately after the holidays, don't forget about gift wrap/packaging/bags. There are often a lot of neutral colors that can be used for various occasions throughout the year. Stock up after Christmas when it's 50-90% off!

Friday, June 25, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 78

Tip # 78 Play the drugstore game!

Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS all have "rewards" programs that, if you play your cards right, allow you to get tons of household and health/beauty items for free! Money Saving Mom has a great post here on how to get started at any of these stores. You definitely have to stay on top of things, as many of the "reward coupons" expire, so I would suggest picking one of these stores and sticking to it. Juggling 2 or 3 can be very, very time consuming! This post also has links to helpful hints for each of the stores.

Many frugal bloggers do most of the work for you, they list out all of the sales for the week with matching coupons and where you can find them. They also will sometimes work out some deal scenarios for you. You have to be careful though, because sometimes the scenarios have you buying like ten of a certain item which means you may have to have ten coupons for that item, which isn't entirely realistic.

The other thing you have to be careful about is if your drugstore will take certain coupons or certain deals. My advice is to proceed with caution with certain deals, and don't bank on your cashier allowing you to do the deal.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 77

Tip # 77 Get a ride to/from the airport

Airport parking can be pretty expensive, depending on what area of the country you live in. Fortunately for us, it's not too bad....$8/day I think? But where we used to live? $25/day! Consider taking public transportation, parking in a remote lot, or having a friend/relative drop you off and pick you up!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 76

Tip # 76 Swap services with friends, family, and neighbors.

Need a babysitter? Talk to your neighbors and offer to watch the neighbor's kids one night so they can have a date night, then, let them return the favor the next time you want to get out of town.

Don't want to pay to board your pet? Swap pet-sitting with your friends and watch their dog while they are out of town.

Ask a neighbor or friend to come by and water plants when you're out of town, offer to do the same for them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 75

Tip # 75 Voice your praises, too

If you have a product that you really enjoy, it never hurts to call or email the manufacturer and let them know this. Many of them will send free coupons or products in appreciation of you being a loyal customer!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I just got back into town Saturday night so I didn't have much time to go grocery shopping for this week. Luckily, we have a pretty good stockpile of food that I'm trying to get through. I read through several Taste of Home magazines on the plane and found A TON of recipes that I want to if I can only find time to cut them and organize them! Here's what's on the menu for this week!

Sunday: Baked penne with roasted veggies, (substitute chicken for the veggies if you have a husband who doesn't eat particular veggies)
Monday: Tomato & Basil veggie burgers, baked stuffed tomatoes (for me), rice with veggies (for Tom)
Tuesday: Crab cakes, orzo with parmesan and basil, salad
Wednesday: Rich and Creamy Tomato & Basil soup, salad
Thursday: Birdseye Voila meal
Friday: Pepperoni Calzone
Saturday: Meatball Sub Casserole

Be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

Publix Trip

This week's Publix trip was just a quick stop on the way home from work today. There really isn't a whole lot we need right now as I'm doing a "Clear out the freezer/pantry" challenge (apparently). Here is what I bought:

Spent: $12.71
Saved: $15.65

5 tomatoes
2 Bailey's coffee creamer pints
1 package raspberries
1 package mashed potatoes
1 bag salad
1-100 pack of vitamins

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 74

Tip # 74 Voice your complaints

In a calm, rational, professional way. If you have a problem with a product or were treated rudely by someone working for a specific company, it never hurts to call and voice your complaints. The person at the other end of the phone may not care less, but they could also take it to heart and offer you free products or services in return. However, depending on your issue with the product/company, you may not want what they offer you!

(T-mobile once offered me one free year of service if I renewed my two-year contract. I didn't take them up on it, because it just wasn't worth it! I'd rather pay for reception and be able to use my phone rather than have a free service that didn't work!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 73

Tip # 73 Lose your landline

If you have a cell phone, reconsider if you really need your landline. If you use it for internet only, make sure you're getting a better deal than if you were to switch to cable or DSL and lose the land line.

I haven't had a landline since 2003, and I don't miss it one bit! Luckily, I have no problem with cell phone reception where I live. That can be a deal breaker when deciding whether to keep it or get rid of it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 72

Tip # 72 Get on a family cell phone plan

If several people in your family have cell phones, look into getting on the same plan. And be creative, don't limit it to just your immediate family. But make sure that everyone is on the same page, the last thing you want is one person on your plan running up the bill! If you're on your own, ask the people you talk to the most which service provider they are with, as almost all of them have unlimited in-network calling.

Friday, June 18, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 71

Tip # 71 Get rid of that cable and internet

This is something that I don't think I could ever do, unless we both lost our jobs, our savings, and could never work again. And hopefully that will never happen. If you're like me and can't take the plunge away from technology, you could always switch to the basic version of each of these. It will definitely save you some money.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 70

Tip # 70 Take advantage of movie kiosks

If you are unlike us and actually watch more than 1 movie per year, you should check out the various movie kiosks that many grocery stores and drugstores have. Blockbuster and Redbox frequently put out free codes (and you can find them by following various frugal bloggers who post them). It's usually just an overnight rental, but this means free movie night!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 69

Tip # 69 Plan out your errands

By bundling your errands together, you can save money on gas and excess wear/tear on your car. And you could save time too, if you get everything over with on the way home from work or bunch them together on the weekends.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 68

Tip # 68 Be careful what you put in the dryer

Think twice before you throw certain clothing items in the dryer. Not only will they last longer, but you will be using less energy with your dryer loads. I'm not saying to go out and hang everything on a clothesline, but it might do you some good to invest in a small drying rack to let delicates and finer items air dry.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week will be a whirlwind week as we just got back into town yesterday from my cousin's wedding and I will be leaving on Wednesday for a work trip and won't return until Saturday.

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Casserole (from freezer)
Tuesday: Ribs in the crock pot, homemade mac & cheese (previously frozen), veggies/salad
Wednesday: Leftovers for the hubby
Thursday: Same
Friday: Same
Saturday: ??? Who knows, maybe Tom will have decided to prepare me something as my flight gets in around 5!

Be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 67

Tip # 67 Sell stuff online

If you're cleaning out clutter and things you don't use, take a look on ebay or Amazon to see if people are spending money to buy similar items. I've sold numerous books on Amazon for quite a profit. I've sold some things on ebay too, but be careful because depending on the selling price, it might be hard to make much of a profit. It never hurts to do a quick search!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Publix & Rite Aid

We were out of town this weekend for my cousin's wedding but I was able to run to the store quick on Thursday before our flight left.

Rite Aid

Spent $2.23 (after $5 rebate)
Saved: $22.74
Lubriderm lotion
Clean & Clear acne control
Gillette ProGlide razor

I wasn't even planning on going to Rite Aid this week, but I needed to pick up some Clean & Clear (as I was in the above-mentioned wedding) which was priced over $5 at Walmart. This way I got it for less than half the price and I got a free razor and big bottle of lotion!


Spent: $23.07
Saved: $36.53

4 packages shredded cheese (freezes well)
2 packages cookie dough (also freezes well)
1 tomato
2 pints of creamer
1 package Ritz Crackers (free with coupon)
1 package Orzo
2 Combat Roach killing things
1 package Hefty zip bags
1 scrub sponge

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 66

Tip # 66 Bring your own food on roadtrips

Whenever we used to go on roadtrips, we would always build "eating out" money into the budget. Half of the time I would find myself unsatisfied after a meal, because we didn't want to stop for a long sit down meal and fast food can just be gross.

We started packing sandwiches and snacks (of which I stocked up on in the weeks prior to the trip). This was cheaper, a lot more convenient because we didn't have to stop, and we ended up feeling better because we were eating healthier.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 65

Tip # 65 The Use Less Principle

The next time you use something consumable, pay attention to the amount you are using, and ask yourself if you could be using less of it. This could apply to any number of things, including shampoo, face wash, shaving cream, paper towels, laundry detergent, salad dressing, toothpaste, and this list goes on. By paying attention to this, I've realized that I've been using way too much face wash and shampoo. By only using a small amount, I am able to work up quite a lather, and these two bottles have lasted me almost twice as long as they normally do.

Friday, June 11, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 64

Tip # 64 Learn to DIY

There are so many things (more than I am even aware of, I'm sure) that if you put in a little time and effort to do it yourself, you can save a ton of money. A few things that come to my mind.......
  • Oil changes (Tom may be learning how to do this in the near future)
  • Home repairs
  • Sewing
  • Computer repair
  • Giving your dog a bath
  • Cleaning your house
  • Cutting your family's hair

And the list goes on. The next time you find yourself paying for a service or a repair, ask yourself if it is something you could do yourself with some time and effort.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 63

Tip # 63 Don't buy "travel size" items

Or if you do, save the bottles and simply refill them every time you travel! Occasionally, free samples will come in travel size bottles. You are paying for the convenient size of these bottles rather than the actual product, if you do the math. (Especially if you've started stocking up on health & beauty supplies when they are on sale and you have a coupon and you can get them for free or close to free!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 62

Tip # 62 Reconsider your premiums

It never hurts to take a look at your premiums on your insurance. Just remember that the lower your premium, the higher your deductible. Make sure it's a number your comfortable paying if need be!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 61

Frugal Tip #61 Get renters/homeowners insurance

Unfortunately, you never know when disaster is going to strike. It's so easy to get insurance on your belongings and really doesn't cost that much per month. It's well worth it! I wouldn't want to be stuck without it!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last week we actually ended up having a few different things for dinner than I had planned. We made Squash Casserole one night (Yum!!) and Farmer's Market Squash Saute another night. Here is what is planned for this week:

Sunday: Parmesan-Garlic fried (baked) chicken, salad
Monday: Chicken & rice enchiladas, frozen veggies
Tuesday: Rice, crab cakes, salad
Wednesday: Pasta & veggie bake
Thursday: Dinner on the go (Sadly! Since this is our 4 year anniversary!)
Friday: Dinner @ Aunt Judy's!!!!!
Saturday: Sarah & Pat's wedding dinner!

Be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's website. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 60

Tip # 60 Kiss the Jones' Goodbye!

Something that you HAVE to do when you choose to live a frugal lifestyle is STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS! This is something that we (as a society) do way too often, and it is way to easy for us to fall into the trap. The bottom line is that you never know what kind of financial situation the "Jones'" are in! Who cares if they just bought a new house, a new car, and always go shopping for new clothes? They could be up to their eyeballs in debt and not have a penny in savings!

Besides, being frugal isn't about saving more money than other people, it's about reaching your own financial goals and your own happiness.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 59

Tip # 59 Join Swagbucks

Swagbucks is basically an online search engine that rewards you with points that you can trade in for gift cards or other free stuff. Honestly? It's not the best ever search engine, but I have earned about $30 in Amazon giftcards in the past 7 months! There are plenty of ways to earn points faster than I do, but I only search once every 1-2 days. You can earn points by searching like you would any other search engine, finding codes in the Swag Blog or on facebook, or answering surveys/polls. It's very little work for some free money!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Best Ever Frugal Day

Today was quite possibly my best ever frugal day.

Ironically we spent more money today than we have in our entire lives. But that's only because we bought our car. We leased a car back in our "pre-frugal" days, immediately after we got married and moved across the country.

So we started out today going to the dealership to try to get a better price than I was able to get on the phone with the leasing company. And guess what??? We did! We saved $221!! After we bought our car, we swung by the post office so I could mail an old PT school book that I sold on made a profit of $48!!

Then I went to Walgreens where I took advantage of their B1G1 Nivea body wash deal with a B1G1 coupon from the June All You magazine. I got 2 bottles of Nivea body wash for a total of $0.60!!!! I saved $12! After Walgreens, I swung by Food World to get a free roll of paper towels ($0.09 after tax) with a "Free" coupon I had.
Next up was Kmart where I followed my own advice, filled a new prescription, and got a Kmart gift card for $10 (which should come in handy at the next Kmart super doubles event!)

And finally, I went to Publix, where I spent $24.43 and saved $68.47!

Spent: $24.43
Saved $68.47

3 Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers broccoli
2 Pillsbury Pizza crust
3 packs Yoplus yogurt
1 Uncle Ben's Ready Rice
1 Sweet vidalia onion
1 Red Baron Pan Pizza
1 Publix bagged salad
2 boxes Crystal Light Immunity
1 box South Beach Living bars
2 Knorr pasta sides
4 bags Beggin' Strips
4 boxes College Inn chicken broth
1 Dial for Men body wash
2 Infusium (Shampoo & Conditioner)
1 Publix Chocolate syrup
1 Thomas whole wheat English Muffins
1 Hunt's ketchup

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 58

Tip # 58 Take advantage of free gift cards with prescriptions

If you currently take any prescription medicines OR if you have recently been prescribed something, do a quick google search to see if any drugstores or other store-based pharmacies are offering a gift card with a new or transferred prescription. A lot of times stores will offer a free $10-$25 gift card!

Friday, June 4, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 57

Tip #57 Cut your own hair

Or your signifcant other's hair, or your kid's hair. Not everyone is able to do this, but consider this if you have an "easy" do or if your husband/boyfriend likes to keep his head buzzed. There are plenty of tutorials on This can be a big money saver. I personally could not imagine cutting my own hair, but I know some girls who have been brave enough to let their husbands cut their hair!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 56

Tip # 56 Limit your eating out

Or use a coupon when you do. We rarely eat out, but last weekend we ate at 4 (gasp, FOUR!) different restaurants. We had a friend in town, and that is one of the rare occasions that we will eat out. If you do frequently eat out, I recommend purchasing an entertainment book for your town which often have B1G1 or B1G1 50% off coupons in them. Many students (from grade school to grad school) sell these books and they are usually about $20. also frequently offers giftcards you can purchase for 80-90% off. The catch with these is that they usually require your "food purchase" to reach a certain amount in order to use it (i.e. $20 gift card with a $30 food purchase). They almost always exclude drinks. BUT, if you're already planning on going to a particular restaurant on the list, it's certainly worth it. You won't get anything for free but you'll get a decent discount.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 55

Tip # 55 Do your holiday shopping immediately after the holidays

The best time to buy holiday decor and other holiday related items is immediately after the holiday. If you have some patience and a little space to store things, you can get all of your decorations, etc for next to nothing a few days after each holiday. Obviously, the longer you wait, the higher percentage off items will be, but they will also be picked over pretty well. Getting something for 50% off is much better than trying to wait for 75%-90% and taking the chance that they will be sold out and you will have to pay full price next year.

This is also a good time to do some "generic" gift shopping. You can stock up on candles, soaps, lotions, etc, etc, etc that always come in good for work gift swaps or other times you need a small gift for someone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

100 Frugal Tips in 100 Days: Tip # 54

Tip # 54 Learn to sew!

OK, I admit, I don't own a sewing machine and I don't really know how to sew, but imagine if I did. I could do my own alterations, sew on loose buttons, and fix small snags or tears in clothes! Think about the money (both the cost of the clothes and the cost of repairs) you could save! I actually have managed to reattach buttons and have fumbled through fixing some small holes in shirts and pants thanks to a little sewing kit my mom gave me several years ago. This should definitely go on my To Do list.