Monday, January 31, 2011

Prevent Heat Loss From Your Home

We all know that it costs a fortune to heat our homes and it doesn't matter whether you heat with oil, gas or electric; it is all expensive.  While we can't (shouldn't) make our homes 100% leak free, we should do our best to make sure we aren't trying to heat the great outdoors or our attic spaces.

Here is an article from The New York Times on preventing heat loss from your homes.  It gives hints on how to find leaks, where they are most likely to be found and how to fix them.

God bless,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Credit Maintenance

You maintain your car and home, but have you ever maintained your credit? We all know how negatively having a low credit score can affect our financial lives. Let us be good stewards of our finances by keeping our credit squeaky clean.

There are three credit report companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Each of these companies are required by law to provide you with one free credit report a year. This means that you can get a free copy of your credit report every four months.

Right now, before I go any further write these names on your calendar as a reminder: January - Equifax, May - Experian, September - Transunion. When you see these names on your calendar run your credit report through the listed company.

Once you have your credit report in front of you check it with a fine toothed comb. Is every bit of information correct? If not, immediately call the credit reporting company and tell them that you want to contest the incorrect information on your credit report.

We have found incorrect information on our credit report several times and have found it easy to correct. Keeping your credit clean is very frugal.

God bless,

Friday, January 28, 2011

Save Money On Homeowners Insurance

Lately, while speaking to friends and family, I've come to the realization that insurance (homeowners, health and car) is consuming a large percentage people's income. Often insurance is 20% or more of a family's money.

Deciding to go without insurance is risky, but I am aware that, for some people, it is their only option. But, there are some ways of reducing your homeowners insurance premiums:

Make sure you are only covering you house for replacement value. Your lot will never blow away or burn down; no need to insure it.

Raise your deductible. Keep a savings account with enough money to cover the amount of the deductible and let that money earn interest for you.

Upgrade your security/protection devices. An alarm system, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, fire extinguishers and storm shutters can lower your premiums.

Buy a house in a neighborhood with a low crime rate. Also see how close the house is to fire hydrants and the fire station.

Keep your credit clean.

Use the same insurance company for all of your policies.

Stay current. Are you insuring a five year old computer for the purchase price or it's current, devalued price?

Pull out your insurance declarations and start checking your coverage. If there is something you don't understand, don't hesitate to call your company's customer service and ask.

God bless,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Frugal Soup Container

How many times have we completed a meal and there is less than one serving leftover; not enough to eat for lunch the next day.  It seems like a waste of food, but what can you do but throw it out or into the compost bin?

Try keeping a freezer container or bag in the freezer labeled "soup scraps".  Place these little bits of leftover food into the container; meat, gravy, vegetables, just about anything.  When your container is full, place the leftovers in a pot with some broth.  Let it simmer for an hour to merge the flavors, taste and adjust the seasonings.  You will be amazed at how good this type of soup can be.

God bless,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't Over Shop

Once you become experienced at saving money it can be hard to ignore a good sale opportunity. Getting a deal can be addicting, but it is no longer frugal when you buy such a large number of one type of item that there is no hope of your using it before it goes bad, or you don't have room to store it.

As an example I have purchased enough deodorant to last my family for a year. Now I pass up great sales on deodorant, no matter how tempting they are, unless I get them for almost free and I plan to donate them. When our supply gets low I will again buy deodorant.

Another example is when someone I knew discovered thrift stores. She enjoyed saving so much that she ended up spending more money on used clothes than she would have allowed herself to spend on new. She had become addicted to the process of getting a good deal.

Learning to use and stack coupons and shop sales is wonderful, but know when it is appropriate to say, "I have enough".

God bless,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Homemade Whitening Mouthwash

You can replicate the expensive tooth whitening mouthwashes with just a few basic ingredients:  To a 32 ounce bottle add 1/4 cup peroxide, then top off with water.  Add 1-2 drops of mint extract, shake and taste to see if it is minty enough.  If not, add extract just one drop at a time until the desired intensity is reached.

Use this mouth rinse once a day, before brushing your teeth.  Do not swallow it!  Your teeth will gradually become whiter, but remember that tooth enamel has a natural color.  Your teeth are not supposed to be glaringly white.

God bless,

PS.  I was going to put a photo of white teeth here, but all the images I found were kind of scary.  So think of a pleasant smile with white teeth.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Radical Homemakers: Changing Educational Needs

I have read three quarters of the book "Radical Homemakers" by Shannon Hayes and I am finding that some of the ideas posed in the book parallel thoughts that I have been musing over lately.

Over the past few years I have watched our current economic crisis change the criteria for finding employment. The job market has completely changed, yet our educational systems are still spitting out graduates that have been trained to serve a now defunct industrial/consumer based economy.

Well, guess what, we are not consuming. All of a sudden the skills necessary for survival consist of creativity, cooperation and flexibility. Skills such as how to make repairs, raise food and making the items your family needs.

During the Great Depression subsistence farmers were in a better survival situation than were bankers. The farmers were able to feed their families well and their creativity led to clothing being made from feed sacks. They taught their children how to do everything. I remember that my grandfather and my uncles could fix anything and hunt to put meat on the table. My aunts could make anything that was needed for cleaning, dress their families, raise food animals and gardens and preserve their homegrown food.

I am not sure what the answers are for economic survival, but I know that I want my daughter to be competent in our new economic world. I don't know if our current university system will be able to help her, but I will do my best to teach her the subsistence skills I know and that we can learn many things together.

This is a complicated time with an unpredictable future. Flexibility will be our most valuable tool.

God bless,

January Sales

The after Christmas sales are over, but January is known for being a time when particular categories of items go on sale.

White sales, also known as linen sales, where stores are marking sheets and towels down by 50%.  Target has some good deals on sheet sets right now, including organic cotton sheets.  I've always liked the Macy's sales with their king sized, deep pocket sheets for around $39.  Remember that high thread count does not guarantee high quality.  Feel the sheets; are they soft to the touch and dense, then they will be a comfortable, long lasting sheet.

The stores are unloading their winter clothing to get ready for the new Spring lines.  Don't buy trendy items, but focus on well made classics that will serve your family for years.

Electronics are being marked down to lure in those pre-Superbowl buyers.  May be a good time to purchase a new TV (if you watch TV).

Many people are doing a post holiday purge of their belongings, so the thrift stores should be filled with new items.  Think ahead and buy your children winter clothing in next years, anticipated sizes (only if you have the storage space).  But before you buy keep repeating to yourself, "Hand me downs are good. Hand me downs are good.", then decide if the younger children really need new or new used clothing.

God bless,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Frugal Kitchen: Dough Enhancers

In our pursuit for healthier eating and after seeing the lovely whole wheat loaves of bread being sold at bakeries, many of us embark on a mission to bake our own home baked whole wheat bread.  It's not too far fetched, we have been at least semi successful at baking white bread, why not whole wheat?  We find out why when we pull the equivalent of a whole wheat brick out of the oven.  You could build a retaining wall with that stuff!

Don't give up.  I finally figured out that most professional bakers use dough enhancers to get those beautiful, well risen loaves of wheat bread.

I discussed lecithin and it's usefulness in the kitchen when making nonstick oil (see previous post), but it is also a dough enhancer and will boost the wheat gluten's rising ability.  Other enhancers are dried wheat gluten, ascorbic acid and the list goes on (check the above link for details).

So, yes, we can bake light, well risen, wheat bread that we can be proud to serve to our family.  We can relieve their stress at trying to say the right thing about the semi-edible brick we have served them.  You know, something that won't hurt our feelings, but won't encourage us to bake this stuff again.  Let's take them off the verbal tightrope by using gluten/dough enhancers in our bread.

God bless,

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Frugal Home: Remedies My Grandparents Used

Some of these old home remedies are completely out there, but some could be used today. Think of living in a place where traditional medicines are not available; suddenly these remedies sound less unusual. People used what they had to cure themselves and their families.

My dad always talked about how his mother would cure a chest cold. She would rub goose grease (had to be goose fat) on Dad's chest then cover it with red (had to be red) wool felt. He had to sleep with this at night until his chest congestion cleared. Dad was very happy when Vick's Vaporub became available.

My grandpa would make hot toddys for anyone (children included) with a cold. He mixed whiskey, honey, lemon and hot water in a mug. We slept very well afterward. He had nine children, so I've always felt that he did this just to survive cold season.

Another remedy for earaches is to mix garlic and olive oil, let it steep, then warm the oil and put a few drops in the affected ear. My daughter's pediatrician just recommended this remedy sans the garlic. The warmed oil is also helpful for softening ear wax.

Grandpa also swore by sucking on horehound candy when he had a cough. Horehound is best in candy form because of it's strong taste.

There are so many interesting folk remedies out there that make for fun reading.  Such as using stump water to cure warts:  find a stump with a puddle of water on it, soak wart.  I enjoy rereading the Foxfire books to see the old Appalachian remedies.

God bless,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Frugal Home: Home Remedies Using Salt

Since dear daughter shared her head cold with me I realized that two of my family's tried and true home remedies rely strictly on salt. And they both are very effective.

Gargling with warm saltwater for a sore throat comes to me over the generations, from great-grandma to grandma and so on. One teaspoon of kosher (or other noniodized salt) dissolved in one cup of warm water, is used to gargle several times a day. Do not swallow!

The next is for sinus congestion or to prevent allergy symptoms: the neti pot. It is a small pot with a slender spout that is used to irrigate your sinuses with (again) warm saltwater. It works so well I can't speak of it highly enough. There is a definite learning curve when first using the neti pot, but it becomes easy once you get the hang of it. Rather than go into great detail on it's use, I will just say that each pot comes with detailed instructions.

Why is salt so effective as a home remedy? If you think of salts use in preserving food it becomes evident; salt is an antibacterial agent. Plus, when we mix it into solution with water we come very close to mimicing the body's own salinity, thus making it less irritating to our tissues. When mixing your salt solutions they should taste like your tears.

Tomorrow I'll share some old family remedies that you may not want to use, but they are fun to talk about.

God bless,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Frugal Home: Sell Your Old Books

When organizing and purging your clutter don't ignore your bookshelves and those piles of books on the bedside table. Ask yourself if you will read this book on a regular basis? Is it available at the library if you do decide to re-read it?

I decided that I will only keep a library of reference books for cooking and crafts that I often do.   And I have a few favorites that I read one or two times a year.

Books are expensive and have a great deal of value; don't just give them away, first try to sell them. Amazon buys used textbooks, but I prefer to sell my books to Powells bookstore.  Powells gives a store credit on books they choose to buy, which I find works well for gift giving.

Any books that I am unable to sell I donate to the library.  They have a Friends of the Library bookstore that resells donated books for the benefit of the library.  It's win, win all around.

God bless,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frugal Storage Units: There Aren't Any

I have watched a couple of television shows lately that focus on people that make a living by buying the contents of abandoned storage units.  Most of the time the units are filled with junk.  Most of the buyers own thrift/junk stores and are buying in order to stock their stores.

Today as I glanced through the newspaper I saw three ads for abandoned storage unit auctions.  The ads listed the unit renters names and all of them listed the stored items as "household".

I can think of a few scenarios where a storage unit might be necessary. Home renovation comes to mind or moving if the new home isn't ready to move into.  But, for the most part, I believe that people are paying to store their clutter.  They don't have room for it at home, but "someday it may be needed", so they hold onto this clutter and spend their precious money on storage.

The point of de-cluttering and organizing our homes is to get rid of the stuff.  Sell it or donate it to a charity shop.  Don't just hide it away.

 If you are renting a storage unit when is the last time you used the items in it?  Are you legitimately going to the unit on a regular basis to pull out something that you need to use?  If you haven't been to the unit for months, spend some time there this weekend looking through the boxes.  Will you ever really use these things?  Don't save stuff with the idea that someday it may be used by your children.  To quote my brother, "One person's treasure is another person's junk".  Oh so true.

God bless,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Breakfast Cereal Alternative: Homemade Granola

This is a favorite of ours; mixed with yogurt it is delicious.  It's even good eaten out of hand instead of trail mix.  I have bagged this and given it as gifts.  It was also popular when sold at a school fundraiser.  Change the recipe around to fit your family's preferences.

Pam's Granola

5 cups rolled oatmeal
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup each of any nuts and seeds your family likes
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup dried fruit

Place oatmeal, oil, nuts, seeds, salt and cinnamon in a greased 9"x13" pan, stir to combine.  Toast in a 350 degree F oven for 1/2 hour, stirring frequently.  Add honey, stir well and continue to toast for 20 minutes, stirring frequently (be careful, the honey makes it easy to burn).  Remove from oven, add dried fruit, and mix frequently while the granola cools (if you don't mix it you will end up with a large granola brick).  After it is completely cooled, bag it and enjoy.

God bless,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good Reads: Radical Homemakers

I am writing a short post today because I have spent my afternoon curled up with a wonderful book, "Radical Homemakers" by Shannon Hayes.

Here is one review:

"The world is moving towards a tougher period, when the relative ease and luxury we've known will be tested. But that test can deepen our family and community lives, as Shannon Hayes shows, providing more of us-of both genders-become homemakers."-Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

Is it possible for men and women to influence their countries and the corporate culture by altering their lifestyle to one that is more sustainable and self sustaining?  Can we end our enslavement to corporate workplaces to live a life that consciously revolves around our family and home?

I certainly believe so and, obviously, so does the author, Shannon Hayes.  Dr. Hayes and her husband did everything the "right" way;  ivy league colleges and high powered careers, but they found that their lives were unfulfilling.  Now they live on a family farm, raise their children, work hard to provide the majority of their family's needs and find themselves to be happy and challenged.

A great read.  

God bless,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Frugal Gardening: Microgreens

The weather is lousy, and you are dreaming of fresh salads and tomato sandwiches. One option is to begin to grow micro greens on a sunny window sill. Micro greens are those tiny, baby plants that chefs like to use as a garnish or in salads.

To start find some of the clear plastic containers used to package take out food. You will need both the top and the bottom. Basically, you will be creating a mini greenhouse. Fill the bottom of the container with sterile potting soil or mix.

Now for seeds; the easiest to start with is broccoli or a broccoli mix. Sprinkle the seeds heavily over the top of the soil. Lightly sprinkle soil over the seeds until just covered. Mist with water in a spray bottle until the soil is damp. Note that I said damp, not wet.

Cover with the clear plastic lid and place in a sunny place. Keep the soil damp with your mister. When the seeds germinate remove the lid. Your greens should be ready to harvest after 5 to 12 days. You are looking for the development of the secondary leaves.

When you harvest use scissors to cut the greens off above the soil. Do not reuse this soil, put it in the garden and restart with new sterile soil.

Another way to add fresh flavor to your winter meals is to grow garlic greens. This time I would use a small pot that fits on the window sill. Use sterile soil. Look for the small garlic cloves in the middle of the bulb. Plant them with just the tip of the cloves showing above the soil, several to a pot. Keep the soil damp, not wet. When they sprout you can snip off the greens with scissors just as you would harvest chives. These greens have a strong garlic flavor.

Enjoy your first gardens of the year.

God bless,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breakfast Cereal Alternative: Homemade Grapenuts

Homemade grapenuts are a staple in most Amish and Mennonite homes.


7 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. soda

Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients. You may need to add a little more buttermilk, but this should be thick. Pour into two greased 9 x 13 inch pans. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 450 degrees F. Let cool, then crumble and toast/dry on on cookie sheets. This should be completely dry. Store in air tight containers. Serve with milk.

God bless,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Breakfast Cereal Alternative: Baked Oatmeal

This is an Amish and Mennonite favorite; easy to fix and has only a 30 minute bake time.

Baked Oatmeal

1/2 cup butter
1 cup maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups rolled oatmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk

Cream together the first three ingredients, then mix in the rest.  Bake in 10 x 10 inch pan at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.

Maple syrup gives a wonderful flavor, but is very expensive in the stores.  Try substituting honey or agave syrup.

God bless,

The Frugal Home: Homemade Nonstick Spray

Well, for the third night in a row I am sitting here in the middle of the night wide awake listening to my daughter coughing. It's a mom thing: they cough, but stay asleep, while we (with our mom instinct on full alert) are wide awake in case they need us. So, rather than wander around the house aimlessly I thought, "Hey, why not blog?".

If you read the ingredients on a bottle of no stick spray oil you will see that the main two ingredients are canola oil and lecithin. Plus a bunch of accelerants that we should probably be doing without.

Liquid lecithin is readily available in liquid form and it is the ingredient that makes the nonstick spray "nonstick". Mix one part liquid lecithin and three parts oil in one of those handy oil dispenser thingies. Sorry, it's late. You see these oil dispensers being used by Food Network chefs to drizzle oil into pans.

The lecithin settles to the bottom, so you do need to shake the mixture up before using. This mixture is wonderful for oiling casserole and baking pans. It makes washing up so easy, the food washes off with little scrubbing.

Another trick with lecithin is to add a small amount to your bread dough when baking. It enhances the gluten in the flour, enhancing the rising.

Time to try to get some sleep...

God bless,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Breakfast Cereal Alternative: Slow Cooker Oats

One of the biggest wasters of your food budget are commercial breakfast cereals. You are paying several dollars for high sugar content, artificial dyes, heat extruded, highly packaged, fake food.

The best alternative to these processed cereals are cooked grain cereals. Oatmeal, wheat berries, rice porridges, millet; the list is long. For the next three days I am going to provide you with easy ways to prepare natural cereals.

To make oatmeal in the slow cooker you must use steel cut (Irish) oats. It holds up to the long cooking time without getting mushy. Place the same amount of oats, water, and salt into the cooker as you would in conventional cooking. Before you go to sleep turn the cooker onto low. You should wake up to a nice pot of hearty cereal.

Add the toppings your family enjoys. Heavy on the fresh fruit and light on sweeteners and butter will keep it healthy.

God bless,

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Frugal Home: Home Remedy for Colds

In honor of my dear daughter being sick with a cold I will share this home remedy with you:

1/2 cup of honey
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Mix, cover and keep at warm temperature.  Have patient swallow a spoonful several times a day or when coughing or sore throat becomes uncomfortable.

After five days discard and make a new batch.  Surprisingly, this mixture doesn't taste half bad.  I keep thinking that it would make a great glaze for roast pork.

God bless,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Using Coupons Effectively: An Example of Stacking

I want to give you an example of how you can "stack" coupons to save more. This is a purchase I made today at Walgreens:

3 deodorants at $5.49 each = $16.47
minus store deal of buy one get 50% off second = $13.73
minus coupon for buy 2 get third free = $8.24
minus coupon for 50 cents off one = $7.74
Total spent is $2.58 per each deodorant

If I had two more of the 50 cents off coupons I could have save a dollar more. Stacking takes a bit of time and creativity, but it can definitely be worth the few extra minutes of time.

God bless,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Frugal Home: Homemade FelsNaptha Laundry Detergent

A popular homemade laundry detergent is made using FelsNaptha bar soap (or Octagon, or Ivory).

You will need:
1 bar FelsNaptha
2 cups washing soda
2 cups borax

Grate the soap, finely, then mix with the washing soda and borax. At this point I think you can stop and just use a tablespoon full in each wash load. However, if you want a liquid detergent, add your dry mix into a pot of boiling water to dissolve. Pour into a 5 gallon bucket, keep adding boiling water one gallon at a time, stirring after each gallon, until the bucket is full. Stir each day until the mixture stays homogenized. It will have a gel like consistency. Add a quarter cup per load of laundry.

While the Orvus Paste is gentler to fabric, if you have small children or live on a farm, the homemade FelsNaptha detergent is better at removing stains, but you will notice eventual fading of your clothing.

God bless,

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Frugal Home: Orvus Paste

Most of us are using our coupons to buy laundry detergents that contain bleaches and other chemicals that eventually strip the color from fabric.  Sometimes we end up getting rid of perfectly wearable clothing because they have faded so badly.

Most quilt conservators use a product called Orvus Paste.  It is extremely gentle and will not strip the color from fabric.  Small jars of Orvus Quilt Soap can be purchased at most quilt stores at a fairly high price.

Here is the secret:  Orvus Paste was developed years ago as a shampoo for farm animals.  It was intended to effectively clean their fur without drying and damaging the animal's skin.  It is sold in large containers in feed stores for a reasonable cost.  In my area the cost is $21.

The other secret is how little of this detergent it takes to wash a load of clothes.  Just a tablespoon in a top loader or a heaping teaspoon in a front loader.  The large container of Orvus will last my family of three for a year.

God bless,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Frugal Home: Organize and Purge

I firmly believe that frugality doesn't apply only to money. We are told in the Bible of the need for us to be good stewards of all that the Lord has bestowed upon us. You are not a good steward if you are allowing your belongings to gather dust and fall into ruin through disuse. You are not a good steward if clutter is preventing your family from using and enjoying your home.

It can be hard to keep up with the clutter that accumulates so quickly, but if we go through our homes in a systematic way, it can be easy to organize.

Pick your first room (I've chosen our master bedroom), stand in the doorway, then turn left. Now spend 20 minutes organizing the first piece of furniture/space you come to. Have two bags, one for trash and the other for charity. Pick up each item on/in the furniture and decide if you truly have a use for it. If you don't or haven't used it for over a year consider donating it to charity or, if it has become damaged, throw it out.

Move at a slow, steady pace. It may take several 20 minute sessions to organize a piece of furniture, but it will get done and you won't feel overwhelmed. When you have finished your entire home, start all over again. Organization is a lifelong task.

Just a little story: 25 years ago when we moved into our house I stored two boxes of important items in my garage. I had forgotten about them until recently, but I found them and began to go through my precious objects. Much to my surprise I found junk. My idea and view of what is important had completely changed. Most of the things in the boxes were donated to charity. Our homes need to be kept up with our current tastes and needs.

Happy Epiphany!

God bless,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Using Coupons Effectively: Change for Coupon Organizer

Having filed my coupons away I immediately saw one thing that is not going to work.  Instead of buying the business card sized plastic pages I would have bought twice as many of the trading card sized pages.  Few of the coupons fit in the business card sized slots.

I took the organizer on a test run and it works well.  Easy to look for coupons and not too bulky.  I am happy with how it is working out.

God bless,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Florida Snowmen

This is what people in Florida do during the winter.  There is no snow, but sand works fine.

Dear husband and dear daughter took this photo at the beach.  Of course, our Florida snowmen are not so elaborate.

God bless,

Using Coupons Effectively: Organization That Works

After struggling with my little accordion binder for several months, I decided to look for a better way to organize my coupons.  I found one system online that I liked, but the $60 dollar price tag put me off.  So, off I went to Office Depot to see if I could recreate the expensive system for less money.

Here are my results:

For $28 I purchased a binder with magnetic clasp, 3 x 5 photo plastic pages, trading card plastic pages, business card plastic pages, package of 8 organizer label pages and a paper pad.  I chose three different types of plastic pages because coupons come in so many sizes.  With time I may decide that one size works better, but most people use the trading card pages.

I used the organizer label pages (with plastic tabs) to divide the organizer into 8 sections:  grains, vegies, fruit, dairy, snacks, drinks, healthcare and sundries.  Some people divide their coupons alphabetically and since I used pencil on my labels I can always change them if I need to.

A pad in the back pocket will be great for lists or to keep track of what is in my cart.  An automatic pencil finishes off the back section (I had a pack at home).

In the front is a business card sized pocket which I will use for my name and phone number.  I don't want to lose my organizer and not give the finder a way to return it to me.

Now I get to put my coupons in my new organizer and give it a test run.

God bless,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Using Coupons Effectively: Organization That Doesn't Work

Here it is:  my pathetic, overstuffed and hard to use plastic file.  It worked fine for me when I was only occasionally using coupons; you know, two or three at a time.  But now that I am committed to saving more money with coupons, it is not very functional.

The problem with this type of file is that when I am making my shopping list and am looking for a particular coupon, I have to look through every coupon in one section to find what I need.  This is especially difficult when I spot an unadvertised special while I am shopping and I want to see if I have a coupon that that item.

Sooo, now I am on the hunt for a better system and, especially,  a better system that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  I just saw one online that cost over $60 dollars (not frugal!!).  If you have a system that works well, let me know.  Off I go to check out a couple of office supply stores.

God bless,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year: Frugal Resolution

First of all, I want to share a traditional celebration of Epiphany that takes place in my county every year.  Tarpon Springs is a Greek community and every year they celebrate Epiphany by having the Greek Orthodox, sixteen year old boys dive for a cross that has been thrown into Spring Bayou.  It's a great honor for the young man that retrieves the cross.  I'll put some photos at the bottom of this post.

Here is my resolution for this year:  to give up spending $5.00 at day on some small item.  It could be a caramel latte or lunch at a restaurant, but giving up spending this amount every day can save over $1800 a year.  Pretty tremendous!

Is there a small expenditure in your life that you can live without?  I am sure that we can all stop spending $5 a day.  It seems like such a small amount, but adds up to a considerable savings.

Happy New Year and God bless,