Friday, February 12, 2010

After researching the swagbucks site and asking a lot of questions, I have signed up at swagbucks. com. This is an amazing opportunity to rack up swags (e-dollars) to buy items online. There is a section in the store to purchase amazon gift cards as well as other well known retailers.

I have started my holiday shopping. In less than a month I have 84 swagbucks. When I hit 90 I can 'buy' 2 5.00 Amazon gift cards. I'm paying for our garden seeds with these cards.



75 Cents off One Nestle Chips

Copy and paste this address to get a coupon for Nestles chocolate chips. http://www.verybestbaking.com/products/toll-house/special-offers.aspx

Chocolate chip cookies are a great Valentine treat.

VALENTINE"S DAY

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite celebrations. Even though we show our loved ones our feelings all year long, this day is an opportunity to create comforting memories. Some frugal people pooh pooh Valentine, but I see it as an opportunity to enhance a relationship.

Here's some ideas to celebrate without breaking your budget.

One flower tied in a bow and placed at the recipient's place at the dinner table is a surprise that can bring a warm smile. The smile warms the heart of the giver. Both of these are a gift.

Cut a piece of paper in the form of a heart and write a note describing how much you love your spouse / boyfriend, etc.

Make brownies and layer with a favorite frosting. Draw hearts in the frosting with a toothpick.

Create a coupon for a free night of man movies without pouting. If you are male, make a coupon that says you will watch a chick flick with your partner without being 'distracted'.

This list should get your creative juices flowing. The list could be endless and the effort appreciated by everyone.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

BJ's Coupons

Copy and paste this address for a number of coupons BJ's is offering. BJ coupons can be used with manufacturer's coupons, which is referred to as stacking. All of the coupons are food items.

https://www.bjs.com/member/coupons/display

Friday, February 5, 2010

Free Book From Pampers

Fill out a short survey to get a free Scholastic book from Pampers.

http://www.pampers.com/en_US/potty-kit-request (copy and paste to browser)

Home Made Rice Mix (Think Roni)

RICE MIX
2 C uncooked rice
1 C broken spaghetti
1/4 C dried parsley
6 T bouillon (cook's choice)
2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder

Mix and store in an air tight container

To Cook: Mix 1 C of mix with 2 C water. Bring to a boil on high, reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until water is gone.

If you like the rice softer, add a bit more water 1/4 C at a time toward the end of cooking.

Serves 4. Makes 3 C of rice. Cut ingredients in half to serve 2.

This recipe makes 3 four person servings or 6 two person servings.

It tastes great.

A Helpful Woman

Years ago I came across a blog on www.msn.com's money and finance page. The blog is called SMART SPENDING. Donna Freedman writes the articles.

Donna had a difficult life raising a daughter on her own with little education. Donna supported her daughter by thinking out side of the box. The end result was she landed a gig with MSN online sharing her tactics with readers.

Through the years Donna has documented a plethora of helpful information on her blog. I would suggest to anyone who is serious about reining in their budget read through Donna's articles and choose what would work in your situation.

Congratulations are in order for Donna because she just earned her 4 year degree.

Great job, Donna!

Clucking Suggestions

A friend, Teresa, called me after reading yesterday's post. She has 4 children, three of them teenage sons. Teenage sons can eat all day, every day. There seems to be no end to their hunger.

Teresa became creative while solving the problem of feeding her family and staying within budget.

The problem was each of her sons would eat 2 -3 chicken breasts at a time. That's 6 - 9 breasts per meal. There are three other members in her family, so the cost was becoming prohibitive. Teresa wanted to serve healthy food so she came up with this idea.

She now serves one chicken breast per person. Teresa simply pounds the meat with a meat tenderizer hammer which makes it slender, but stretches it out. The appearance is large on the plate. This satisfies her growing men. The chicken appears to be large and their tummys are fooled - and satisfied. Hammering the meat also makes it more tender. ( I use a can of veggies to do this)

Teresa also stretches chicken by cutting it in small pieces and adding it to a favorite recipe such as Mexican dishes.

Thank you Teresa for the suggestion. It's one I haven't thought of.

Do you have a trick you use when cooking to make food go further? Please share it with us.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Menus Equal Vacations?

Menus are an important part of the frugal lifestyle. After a while you'll know what your family will eat and the written menus tend to go to the wayside. But until this time, I suggest you rely on writing out weekly menus.

To plan a menu with the sales in your area simply check out the sales and the coupons and rebates you have for the sale items and jot down dinner meals for the week. The time it takes depends on your schedule. I take a bit longer because I am retired and can go through the task in a leisurely manner. A young mother who is at the mercy of a baby's schedule most likely won't have as much time. You'll come up with a routine that works for you.

A typical meal would contain the 4 food groups and look something like this:

Monday (dinner)

Roasted chicken
Roasted potatoes
Green beans
Plums
Milk
Chocolate pudding

Tuesday's lunches would contain chicken salad sandwiches.

The chicken can be used later in the week as a soup or hot sandwiches and gravy.

Or it can be frozen for additional meals later on. The chicken is used because it is on sale as are the potatoes. Chicken on sale for 49 cents a pound as opposed to 1.19 a pound will save 3.50 on a five pound bird. If the potatoes are BOGO at 4.00 for a 5 pound bag, (this is a common lost leader item) the savings is an additional 4.00 for 5 meals. A savings of 7.50 is rather significant. Add these savings up over a month and your grocery bill has noticeably been reduced.

So give it a try. If you work outside of the home, take a few minutes at lunch to plan your meals. If you put the savings in a jar or an account, there will be a visual resource that will empower you to continue saving. At the end of the year, I see a nice little vacation for the whole family.

RITE AID 1/31-2/6 Rebate

The only full rebate offered by RA this week is:

Blink Tears Gel, 10ML size. It is on sale for 7.99 with a rebate for the same amount. There was also a $2.00 coupon in Sunday's paper. This deal will make $2.00.