Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thrifty Living is Great for Your Health!

By deciding to have a frugal and simple holiday season, you not only save money, but can lower your stress levels and stay healthy. Many people grow up believing  that Thanksgiving and (especially) Christmas have to be expensive and lavish events when in reality most of the best memories are made when the focus is on spending quality time with your loved ones. I know my daughters value the time I spend with them more than they would electronic toys or dolls.
I think that making simple and fun plans for the holidays also allows you more time for the best part: enjoying vacation time with family and friends.. My family has always stuck to the motto “K.I.S.S” during the holidays and we still do today. We never have a set time for dinner (we are usually eating around lunch time), no dressing up (unless you want to), no expensive dinners, or lavish gifts.
For example, on Thanksgiving we share cooking and supplying food. We pick one home to go to and cook together so that no one feels left out of the festivities or like they are doing all of the work. Half of the fun is cooking together and sharing each other’s “secret recipes” or just catching up on what has been going on. We also cook early so that everyone can sit down and relax.
If you have kids, consider letting them decorate for Christmas or do it together. I have more fun watching my girls decorate the tree and the house with homemade projects than decorating. Also consider that kids should not be brought up to expect many presents for the holidays because if the economy is hard on your family, it could cause your child great disappointment. I have seen it turn many kids into spoiled and uncontrollable kids.  My daughters mostly get things they need (like clothes) and a few fun items like crafts and educational toys. My girls find these items more entertaining than electronics and games.
The tips above can greatly reduce one’s stress levels as well as save money. Many people fail to realize that kids would rather spend quality time with their families than have expensive toys and games. family bonding is an easy way to save money and to reduce stress levels.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have A Great Thanksgiving Without the Bird Breaking the Bank

Keeping things simple will help keep costs and stress down. Simplicity will allow you to save time and money in the kitchen and spend more time socializing with your family.


If you choose to decorate your home for Thanksgiving, there are several inexpensive ways to accomplish this without having to skimp on dessert:

  • Hang up decorations and coloring pages your kids make at school. They will love showing off their creations to your holiday guests.
  • Find tablecloths, centerpieces, and other fall items at The Dollar Tree for inexpensive and festive pieces.
  • Check out the Clearance section this year and get more expensive items at a large discount, usually 50%-75% off the day after Thanksgiving.
  • Look up crafts on the Internet to find new ways to spruce up the house.
  • Look at thrift stores. This is a great place to find lots of things for your home at a great price!
  • Consider borrowing items to use from someone who has extras.
Now to the Best Part....FOOD!

If you need ideas on how to make a fantastic turkey dinner on a budget, check out for new ideas and old favorites.


turkey Pictures, Images and Photos

Turkey is often under $1.00 a pound during the holiday season. Be sure to keep an eye out for deals after about the second week of November. Turkeys are cheaper the closer to Thanksgiving, you just have to be willing to take a chance that the store may not have the size you want in stock. Many stores also offer special prices on turkey if you spend a certain dollar amount on other items in the store first. Look around and see what sale will work best for your needs.


The Dollar Tree and Big Lots have great prices on spices. Depending on your cooking style, you may already have some of these spices on hand. Check your inventory before you shop! You might luck out and have everything you need.


There are countless ways to make this wonderful comfort food. Some like to add fruits and veggies. Whichever way is your favorite, you can find all the ingredients you need on sale. Be sure to check around for the best deal.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Homemade mashed potatoes are a frugal yet yummy dish that everyone loves. Potatoes can be found as cheap as $3.00 for 10 pounds. If you prefer a particular type of potato (Russet, red,or Idaho), look for specials on them to utilize the best prices. Use as many as you need and add a little butter, milk, salt, and pepper for a thrifty side. You can even add a little excitement by adding cheese, chives, ranch, or any other favorite ingredient. The time it takes to boil and mash those potatoes will be well appreciated by your guests and you will save money (and preservative intake) by not using potato flakes.

Green Bean Casserole

Whether you require fresh or frozen green beans, you can still create this dish on a modest budget. My favorite is the classic recipe that calls for mushrooms, mushroom soup, and fried onions. Find your favorite recipe and go for it!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Buy an aluminum pan from The dollar Tree and they may even have the macaroni noodles there. Find Velveeta and cheddar cheese on sale and walla! You have a scrumptious dish without putting a hole in your wallet.

Cranberry Sauce

Unless you make a special cranberry dish during the holidays, buy a couple of cans of cranberry sauce and your done! There are no huge fans of this dish in my household, so we use this dish a small side.


If you can follow directions, you can make homemade biscuits. Bisquick has a good one for drop and regular biscuits. Not that kitchen savvy? Fear not, there are biscuits in a can that taste just as yummy, or look in the bakery at you favorite grocery store.


Homemade pies a the best, but they can be costly. You may find it easier to hand make your favorite pie and then buy the others at the grocery store in the bakery. They usually go on sale for 2 for $5.00 in my area. No matter the dish, there is always a way to "have your cake, and eat it too!"

Pumpkin pie Pictures, Images and Photos

Take  the time to shop around, collect coupons, and look for sales. Shopping a little early will ensure that popular items are in stock. You will also avoid the hassle of last minute shopping and crowds (unless you enjoy that sort of thing). However, if you want to save the most money, you may have to make an extra trip to the store during the week of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saving Money on Your Electricity Bill Without Freezing Your Butt Off

Saving money on your electric bill is not that difficult. There are a few easy ways to reduce the amount of electricity that you are using.

In the Winter Months You Can:

  • Buy and install a window insulation kit
  • Use a fireplace (if you have one). Watch out for No Burn days in California and other states that have these warnings
  • Put rugs under drafty doors
  • Open curtains and blinds to let the sun warm your house
  • Use a heavier blanket on your beds
  • Wear sweats, socks, and slippers in the house
  • Snuggle with your favorite person or pet

Tips That Work all Year:
  • Use a programmable thermostat
  • Use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs
  • Close vents in unused rooms
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are Coupons Really Worth the Hassle?

Do Coupons Help You Save Money?

Many of us spend a big chunk of our budget on food, especially if we have kids. To make matters worse, many of us are getting laid off or losing our jobs altogether. To add insult to injury, food prices are creeping up yet again. Unfortunately, we can't change this, but we can find creative and relatively easy ways to save money while grocery shopping!

Coupons are very helpful, but collecting any and every coupon you can find is not going to help you save you money. In fact, you may spend more if you buy items just because you have a coupon for them. In my case, I collect coupons somewhat sparingly because I purchase mostly name brands. Besides, the store brands are usually cheaper than the brand names, even with a coupon!

Caveat: Some store brand foods do not taste as well as their competitors. Do some experimenting to see what you are willing to tolerate. I can't stand generic mac and cheese, so I look for sales and coupons on Kraft.

We all have our favorite grocery store (mine is Walmart), but we should all take time out each week to check out other store ads in the neighborhood for specials. Check the mailbox  or the Internet to avoid wasting gas on driving. If you go to the store, pick up the sales paper if you didn't already get one in the mail. Some stores do not mail them anymore, such as Walgreen's, so you may want to sign up for newsletters from your favorite stores.

I Have My Coupons...Now What?

  • Put all of your coupons in a coupon organizer or envelope
  • Keep coupons accessible during the grocery shopping trip
  • Keep coupons organized and updated
  • Save Money!
So, if you use coupons as an ally instead of an enemy, then coupons ca be worth the hassle of looking for them and clipping them out of the newspapers and junk mail ads!