Quick Meals Using Ground Beef

December 19, 2009 · Filed Under Frugal Meals · 1 Comment 

No matter what day of the week you come over to my house, there’s a good chance you will find some ground beef both in my fridge and in my freezer. It is inexpensive and a great way to make some quick meals in about 15 minutes.

My big time-saving trick when it comes to ground beef is to go ahead and brown it as soon as I get back from the store. I just season it with a little salt and pepper while it cooks, then allow it cool and store it in the fridge.

When dinner time comes around and I am in a rush, I use the already browned ground beef to make:

Spaghetti Sauce
Just heat the meat in some tomato sauce while the pasta boils. Serve with garlic toast.

Tacos
Heat and season the meat, scoop into taco shells and top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and a little sour cream. Serve with refried or black beans.

Quick Beef and Vegetable Soup
Add the ground beef to a stock pot along with several cans of vegetables (we like green beans, tomatoes, corn and lima beans) and some beef broth. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 5 minutes or until you are ready to eat. The longer it simmers the better the soup will be. Serve with some bread, cornbread or biscuits.

Quick and Easy Chili
Heat your ground beef in a pot with 2 cans of chili beans and a small can of tomato sauce. Add salt, pepper and chili powder to taste. Serve with tortillas or corn chips.

I always include at least 2 dishes that include precooked ground beef or chicken in my weekly meal plan to use on days when I know we are busy. It’s a great time saver as well as frugal.  If this is something you are interested in, take a moment to read a conversation I had with my good friend Christine about family meal planning here.

Smart Yard Sale Shopping for Frugal Moms

June 25, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on Smart Yard Sale Shopping for Frugal Moms 

Yard sales, garage sales, rummage sales, tag sales – whatever you choose to call them – are a great way to save money on almost anything you need. Some people shy away from such sales because of the stigma associated with buying someone else’s used stuff. But if you can change your mindset and see yard sales as a way to get what you want for less, you’ll be amazed at what you can find.

If you’re a total newbie to the yard sale frenzy, there are some things to keep in mind. In no particular order, here are some tips to help make your yard sale experience a huge success from the first day out.

Beware… yard sales are addictive! After finding a few great deals, you may discover you need one of those bumper stickers that say, “WARNING: This car stops at all garage sales!”

• Yard sales are everywhere, so keep your eyes open. Check your local paper, Craigslist and other sites that offer free yard sale ads. If you plan to spend the entire day “yard saling,” map out a rough route so you know which direction you’re going. Be on the lookout for unadvertised sales, too! A lot of people will simply set out some items and throw a sign up on the corner rather than spend the money on advertising.

• The most common days for sales are Friday and Saturday, but you can find some sales on other days of the week. Get in the habit of stopping at every sale you see if you have time. A quick stop may uncover an expected bargain or two for just a couple minutes of your time.

• As you become experienced in locating sales, you’ll develop a feel for what areas to avoid, but give yourself time before you eliminate neighborhoods. Just because an area is filled with expensive homes and nice cars, never assume they have good yard sales. Often, the sales in those neighborhoods are much more expensive than sales in average middle-class communities. Often people who don’t frequent yard sales have no clue as to how to hold one, or how to price their merchandise.

• Always be safe. Never leave your car running when you stop at a sale, and never leave a child in the car unattended. Keep your purse or wallet with you. Never set your belongings down if there is anyone standing nearby. Be aware of your surroundings and never stop at a sale where you feel uncomfortable. For the most part, yard saling is a safe hobby, but it’s best to use common sense to safeguard yourself and your property.

• Plan your day well. Rather than spend money on food, pack a cooler with some water and soft drinks, a snack and a couple of sandwiches. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, take cash for your purchases, and don’t forget the sunscreen. You can have a lot of fun at yard sales and save a lot of money in the process.

• While many “experts” will say you should expect to pay about one-third of the retail price for an item. that generally applies only to very large items such as appliances or furniture. Smaller items such as books, clothing, household gadgets, home decor items, etc. can be found much cheaper. Depending on the area in which you live, you can find many nice items at yard sales for 25¢ to 50¢ and sometimes less.

• If you see something you really like but aren’t sure you want to buy it, pick it up and carry it with you as you browse. Planning to “think about it” with the intention of going back for an item before you leave could cost you a bargain you’ll regret losing.

• Inspect everything you’re considering before you buy. If it’s made of fabric such as clothing, linens, etc., look for rips, stains, flaws and other irregularities. If it’s made of glass, check for cracks or chips. Examine every item very closely so you know exactly what you’d be paying for.

• Don’t disregard an item simply because it’s damaged. For example, if you find a great designer outfit that you know would fit you well and in a color you absolutely love, but it has a small stain no the fabric, consider your options. Can you remove the stain? Cover it with lace or another kind of trim? Wear a jacket or vest to hide the flaw? Consider all possibilities if it’s something you really like. If you don’t think you could repair it, or don’t believe it’s worth your time and effort, then put it back. But look at the potential in yard sale finds – especially if you know they’re a really good deal.

• On the other side of that coin, don’t buy something only because it’s a good deal. You’ll find a lot of really great bargains on some really great items at yard sales. Learn to discipline your yard sale spending just as you would if you were shopping at the mall. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a house full of great deals you don’t want, and no money to spend on what you need.

• .If you’re looking for something specific, go early. Many times the “good stuff” will go quickly. Most sales start by 8:00 a.m. and end by 1:00 or 2:00 in most areas. Don’t go too early, however. Common courtesy says to follow the hours advertised and not arrive before the sale opens.

• Many people fear they must haggle for prices if they go to yard sales, but that’s entirely up to you. If you feel comfortable asking for a reasonably lower price on something, do so. If you don’t feel comfortable, and you’re not willing to pay the price on the tag, pass the item by. Let your own personality guide you. You’ll discover as you become more comfortable going to sales that even the most introverted shopper will ask for a reduced price at times.

• Take along a friend but leave the kids at home, if possible. Any mom knows what it’s like to take children shopping. Multiply that by 25 when you’re going to yard sales. It’s much less stressful, quicker and cheaper to ask someone to watch the kids if you plan to spend the day at sales.

Declutter to Reduce Moving Expenses

June 16, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on Declutter to Reduce Moving Expenses 

In our mobile society, it’s not uncommon for individuals to move several times during their lifetime. In fact, according to a US Census estimate, nearly 40 million people (13.2 percent of all Americans) moved in 2007 alone. And that number continues to rise!

If you’ve ever moved, you know it can be very expensive – whether you move across town or across the country. Even the most diligently organized among us tend to accumulate “stuff.” And stuff makes moving take longer and cost more, especially if you pay someone to move you. Here are some clutter-busting tips to help frugal moms lighten up for a move, simplify their lives and save money on moving expenses in the process.

• Look at every piece of clothing you own. If you haven’t worn it the last two seasons, you’re not going to wear next year either. Regardless of how much you like it, how much it costs, or who gave it to you, if you don’t wear it, get rid of it. Do the same for every member of the family. While you’re at it, get rid of your “skinny” jeans. When you lose weight you’ll want new clothes, anyway.

• Examine your shoes, too. If you’re moving to a warmer climate, there’s no need to keep those fur-lined boots. That applies also to styles that have changed, shoes with scuffed heels you’ve never got around to repairing, or those you just don’t wear any more.

• Are you an avid reader? Now’s the time to reduce your personal library. If you’re like most book lovers, you have boxes of books you’ve never read, and others you have read but will never read again. Get rid of them. Sell them, swap them or simply donate them, but eliminate some books for a quick reduction in your moving expense.

• Go through your magazines, too. If you find an article you like, and it contains information you can’t easily find later online, then you may want to hang on to it. But there’s no need to keep the entire magazine. Simply clip the article and file it, or put it in a pocket folder or three-ring binder then toss the magazine.

• Reduce kitchen clutter by keeping only what you use regularly. Most of us acquire more bowls, glasses, cups, utensils, even pots and pans than we’ll ever use. Cooks are creatures of habit. We keep going back to our old favorites while all those fancy dishes and unused gadgets simply take up space. Clear out anything in the kitchen that you don’t use – at the very least – when you entertain or prepare special dishes.

• Look over the pantry as well. Check expiration dates and throw away anything that has expired. Use up or give away food that you’ve had for awhile and that is due to expire soon. Get rid of anything that’s stale, even if the date is still valid. And give away food that you bought for a specific recipe that you never prepared, and that you’re not likely to prepare anytime soon.

• Check under the counter while you’re in the kitchen and get rid of dangerous chemicals you’re afraid to use, spray bottles or aerosol cans that don’t work properly, and anything you’ve had for ages and that is just taking up space. NOTE: Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials correctly. Read the label for proper instructions.

• Go through your bathroom cabinet. Throw away nearly-empty bottles and jars, samples you’ve had for months, and products you bought but decided you didn’t like.

• Don’t forget the medicine chest. Toss expired medicines, over the counter drugs that don’t work well, or prescriptions you no longer take.

• Get rid of any decorative items you no longer use or like. Think about the colors in your new home. If something you have won’t work there, now is the time to eliminate it.

• Toss dying houseplants, or give them to a friend with a greener thumb than yours. You can always get cuttings or new starts later on.

• Reduce your music and movie collections. Have your tastes in music changed? Get rid of the old and make room for the new – after you move. The same applies to movies. Get rid of all those VHS tapes, cartoons and documentaries you’ll never watch again.

• Work with the kids to sort through the toy box and donate unused toys, stuffed animals, games, puzzles, etc. to a child who will play with them.

• If you’re paying someone to move you, weight means money so get rid of as much weight and as many heavy objects as possible. This includes duplicate tools, exercise equipment you don’t use, bicycles you never ride, furniture you don’t like, etc.

In essence, get rid of everything you don’t need, don’t want, or no longer use. Have a massive pre-move cleaning and ruthlessly eliminate anything you have that is simply taking up space.

Hold a yard sale and make a few bucks to help with the move, give it to a friend, or simply donate it to a local charity. Not only will it save you money to move it, or the labor of having to haul it yourself, but it will make your new home less cluttered and more organized from the outset. And that’s always a good thing.

8 Ways to Save Money on Postage

June 11, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on 8 Ways to Save Money on Postage 

Maybe we shouldn’t complain about the 44¢ it costs to send a first-class letter today. After all, the Pony Express charged $15 per ounce when they began the first mail service in 1860! But postage and shipping costs can still add up. And frugal moms look for ways to save in every area of life, so here are some tips to help you reduce your postage and mailing costs considerably.

1. Use the Forever stamp. Even when the price of postage goes up, you will only have paid the current rate. Consider Forever stamps an investment and buy as many as you can realistically afford.

2. Use email whenever possible. There are certain types of correspondence that should always be done through “snail mail,” but many others work just as well electronically.

Use the Post Office when a document must be signed, when the recipient needs the original, when there are attachments that can’t be included via email, or when the situation is more formal and etiquette requires a physical mailing. For most other types of communication, email is fine.

3. Pay bills in person if you’re nearby. Spending extra money on gas to drive a long distance to pay a bill can defeat your frugal purposes. But if, for instance, you pass the utility company every day anyway, drop in and pay your bill at the office instead of mailing it.

4. Pay bills online when you can. Many companies offer this service now at no additional cost. Paying bills online is quick and easy, and saves the cost and hassle of writing a check. Most sites will require you to register the first time you use their service, but after that it’s just a matter of logging in. And many sites will even securely store your banking information which really speeds up the bill-paying process in consecutive months.

5. Pay bills over the phone. If the company doesn’t offer online bill paying services, ask them if you can pay over the phone with a debit card. Again, it’s quick and easy and saves a stamp every month. Always ask if there is a fee for this service before you commit to the payment.

6. Send a gift card instead of a package. Shipping packages is especially expensive. For long distance relatives and friends to whom you mail gifts, opt for gift cards to national stores whenever possible. That way you can keep your postage cost to a first-class stamp on a card.

If you want to buy a specific item and you’re not sure it could be found locally, shop online and have it shipped directly to the recipient. Many online stores will even include a gift card free of charge with this service.

7. Avoid international shipping if at all possible. A friend of mine had some used books she wanted to donate to an orphanage in Kenya that had requested them. When she went to mail the package, she discovered it would cost over $40! That was more than four times the value of the literature she planned to send. Sadly, she was unable to send the books at that rate.

8. Buy stamps at the Post Office rather than printing them or buying them online. USPS.com charges $1 extra for every roll of stamps you purchase online. Obviously, it’s cheaper to buy them locally and save that fee.

The same goes for printing stamps with an online service. While the convenience of Stamps.com is great, it’s generally not worth the money for frugal moms. Even at their lowest rate (which they will only give you if you specifically ask), Stamps.com charges $7.99 a month for the privilege of using their postage-printing service. For most of us, that money can be better spent on something else.

While our families today don’t use as much postage as previous generations, thanks to many of the cost-saving strategies mentioned, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be able to fully eliminate the expense of mailing letters and packages. That’s why saving every penny we can is essential and these tips will help us do just that.

Frugal Father’s Day Gifts

June 10, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Cheap Holiday Ideas · Comments Off on Frugal Father’s Day Gifts 

Since Father’s Day will be here before we know it (it’s June 21, this year), it’s time to consider some ways to make this an extra special day for Dad while keeping it frugal.

• Set a budget amount and stick to it.

Sometimes our best gift-giving intentions fly out the window when we actually get to the store. We may discover everything is higher priced than we expected, or we just can’t find anything we’d like to give. But surrendering to the temptation to spend more than we had planned is a quick way to sabotage our budget for the entire month. To get around this problem, discipline yourself to spend only what you allotted then fill in with free gifts if you feel what you can afford isn’t enough. Many of the ideas below are completely free, costing only time and effort. These will make wonderful additions to any small gift you can buy.

• Make Dad King for a Day.

Let him sleep as long as he likes. When he does wake up, place a foil-covered crown on his head and serve him his favorite breakfast in bed. Have the kids make cards and banners thanking “King Dad” for everything he does and for being who he is. Ask him what he’d like to do for the day then do your very best to make it happen. Let him control the remote, choose the activities, and plan the entire day. Give him a massage. Have the entire family wait on him hand and foot, and generally treat him like a king. He’ll love it, the kids will have fund doing it, and it will make for a day he’ll never forget.

• Give him a coupon for services he’d enjoy.

You and the kids can make simple coupons by hand or print them on the computer. Consider gifts such as a complete car wash (inside and out), mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, taking out the trash for a week, a guilt-free night of sports on TV, his favorite dessert, or anything else you know he’d like.

• Create a one-of-a-kind gift basket.

Find a simple basket, bucket or other container and place some shred in the bottom. Now, fill it with small gifts he’d enjoy. Snacks, pens or pencils, a keychain, a wallet, disposable razors, after shave, nail clippers, fishing lures, golf balls or tees, tools, a crazy tie, etc. are always good ideas.

• Consider a gift certificate.

While it’s not the most original gift, a gift certificate to his favorite store ensures Dad will get exactly what he wants. Tuck it inside a nice card filled with encouraging or humorous notes from the family.

• Use your talents.

Write a poem, song or story, create a custom scrapbook, draw a picture, or crochet an afghan. Whatever you or the kids create will be sure to make a treasured frugal gift for Dad.

• Frame some family photos.

Create a photo collage of the kids, ask a friend to take some group family photos, or have a nice 8 x 10 photo framed of you alone.

• Send a candy or cookie bouquet.

Find online instructions for creating a simple candy or cookie bouquet and have one of the kids hand-deliver it to Dad on his special day. Use his favorite flavors and don’t let anyone else eat them unless Dad offers.

• Deliver a singing telegram.

Write a funny song, dress up in an appropriate costume and knock on the front door. Wait for Dad to answer and deliver your singing Father’s Day greeting with confidence.

There are a myriad of ways to honor Dad and show him your love on Father’s Day. Get creative and use these ideas as a starting point to create a memorable, lasting memory for the man in your life.

Young, Fabulous and Broke?

October 11, 2008 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on Young, Fabulous and Broke? 

Suze Orman Has Debt Relief & Financial Freedom Advice Books for You!

Are you a parent that has all the financial responsibility in the world on your shoulders and living paycheck to paycheck? Does it seem like there is no way out of this endless cycle of working just to pay your bills? Well, I certainly felt this way. I have been in consumer credit counseling, which was very helpful, but I still felt like a financial idiot. What was I supposed to do to get ahead? How was I going to ensure that my family was going to get the best they deserve which includes the finer things in life AND me? Well, I was sitting at home one day contemplating this and watching my local PBS station when an infomercial came on that was an real eye opener.

Enter Suze Orman, my financial guru! I had heard of Suze Orman before briefly and about her cable TV shows, but didn’t really know what all the hype was about. I decided I would watch this infomercial and see if there was anything to the Suze Orman phenomenon. The infomercial was to raise money for PBS and promote Suze’s Book “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke“. I got a chuckle out of the title, but thought to myself, “I’m young, fabulous and definitely broke” let me hear what this Suze Orman person has to say! Suze revealed some very interesting things to me such as:

1. Your credit score can have an impact on your car insurance premiums!

2. Your Fico Score is different from each of the credit bureaus and they are combined to make ONE Fico Score.

3. Each credit bureau has their own credit report on you, and they don’t always have all of the same information that the other ones do.

4. If you have debts that are way overdue, they automatically fall off of your credit report in seven years.

5. If you make a payment on those old debts at any time during the seven years, even if it is at the sixth year and eleventh month, you have started the seven year cycle all over again!

6. As if you didn’t know it already, bankruptcy is the WORST thing you can do to yourself and you should avoid it all costs. Suze recommends joining a consumer credit counseling agency if necessary.

7. It’s actually OK to live off of your credit cards while you are young for necessities so you can work the job of your dreams and put away the maximum amount of money in your 401 K Plan (only if they match).

8. You should switch credit card balances to other credit cards as often as you need to to get the best interest rate.

9. Despite what you may have heard, you should avoid interest only home mortgages at any cost, because if anything were to happen to you and you lost the home for any reason, you would have no equity and would have to start from scratch.

And much more!

In addition to the advice above, in Suze’s “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke” book, Suze gives you an access code so you can access more financial secrets at the Suze Orman Website.

All in all, I would recommend any of Suze Orman’s books, they are a real lifesaver and will put you on the path to financial freedom!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christina Khan is a single-mother and a recovering young, fabulous and broke parent. She runs a baby birth announcement website with parenting advice and articles for new and expectant parents.

7 Tips for Thrifty Living

October 11, 2008 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on 7 Tips for Thrifty Living 

It is no secret that life is more expensive today than when our parents were growing up. How can we offset soaring prices without sacrificing quality of life? Here are a few tips to help you save more:

1.) It is no surprise that credit cards represent a trap for many people. Incentives such as “earning” frequent flyer miles or free internet access are only “free” if you can pay off the balance every month. Otherwise, you end up on the losing end of the stick, paying interest rates in the double digits. It makes more sense to save for that ticket to visit the Caribbean or your relatives than to rack up frequent flyer miles on a card you can never pay off. Tip: Only use credit cards if you know you can pay off the balance at the end of the month.

2.) Electricity doesn’t come cheap. Heat-producing appliances such as dryers and refrigerators burn up enormous amounts of energy. Tip: Consider purchasing an energy saving appliance. Turn down the refrigerator in the cooler months. Hang your wash outside instead of using the dryer. It will save you money, and the clothes smell fresh!

3.) It is tempting to spend a lot of money on the weekends “because you deserve it.” That may be true, but you may not be able to afford it, too. Tip: Instead of that expensive weekend at an amusement park or that ski trip that costs a bundle, take a bike ride with your kids or check out a new park to go sledding. You’ll get some exercise and needed fresh air while creating memories with the kids.

4.) Children usually like to draw. If your little Picasso is eating up all of your expensive computer printer paper, think about this. Tip: Consider using paper bags or recycled office paper for some of their artwork. They work fine for collages, and they are free. An added plus? You’ll reduce that pile of bags in the pantry that keeps growing, and you’ll save several trees.

5.) Spending time away from the kids is essential, but babysitters can be expensive. Tip: Consider swapping babysitting with a neighbor, at least some of the time. It will reduce the cost of going out with your partner, and you’ll benefit from a night on the town for less.

6.) Good picture frames can be very pricey. Tip: Purchase one stable picture frame for the kids’ annual school photos. Keep the old photos behind the frame to compare prior years’ pictures. An added benefit? You have all of the school pictures in one place!

7.) Entertainment need not be expensive. Tip: Rent a video instead of attending a movie in a theater. Invite your friends and have a potluck supper. Now you’ve multiplied the fun without the extra cost of parking, movie tickets, and refreshments!

Life can be beautiful. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, is a freelance writer living near Munich, Germany with her husband and two kids. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Smith College and an M.A. in International Relations, German and English Literature from the University of Constance, Germany. When she is not leading a toddler playgroup or writing, she likes to dance, sing with her kids, and generally frolic.

mailto:chohlbaum@smith.alumnae.net

(c) 2003 Christine Louise Hohlbaum. All Rights Reserved.

How to Grow Your Very Own Money Tree

October 10, 2008 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on How to Grow Your Very Own Money Tree 

©2004-2005 Darlene Arechederra

Okay. So money doesn’t really grow on trees. Unless you plant your own Mighty Money Tree, that is!

Imagine that only a few moments ago you planted a young sapling in your back yard. You gave it just enough water to ensure a good start. Not too much, not too little. You even propped it up with a stake. You’ll continue to nurture it, feed it, water it.

And with each passing year, your tender young sapling will grow stronger. Taller. Healthy. As it ages, your tree can better defend itself from natural predators. Even harsh weather.

Growing your savings account is similar to growing your new sapling. Given lots of tender care, your savings account will become your Mighty Money Tree. Use the following tips to ensure a great start. So, grab your shovel and let’s get planting!

Prop Up Your New Savings Account

To build an account you can enjoy for a lifetime, prop it up with nutrients to help it grow.

a) Feed your account with bonuses. Deposit money saved through cancelled subscriptions. Don’t forget those unexpected windfalls, either.

How about money owed and paid back to you? Be sure to include these amounts, even if they’re small. Small is great — and very do-able.

b) Nurture your savings weekly with money saved from using coupons.

Do you buy items on sale? Take that money you saved and use it to grow your account. Tuck small amounts into an envelope. Deposit weekly.

c) Shower your fund with birthday, anniversary or holiday gifts of money. Refunds, too! This is money you normally wouldn’t have had (or already spent.)

Remember, out of sight, out of mind!

Fiercely Protect From Natural Enemies

Just as you might spray your tree to ward off insects or disease, you must protect your fledgling savings account. It’s precious — and a result of your patience.

a) Avoid spending too much time with others who make it seem *natural* to go through money. They may not give it much thought because spending is a comfortable habit for them.

But you actually have a plan. And you have the big picture of how and when you’ll spend. You will decide the where and why of spending your money. Make your spending thoughtful.

b) Pace yourself as you spend your weekly allotment of money. If you run on $35 per week (for example), that gives you five dollars per day.

Stay just under that five, and you’ll always be a few dollars ahead. You’ll also be less tempted to tap your savings.

c) Practice *tough love* with chronic spenders who repeatedly borrow your money. Give yourself permission to state firmly that borrowing your money is *not* an option. Remove the stakes that prop up others’ spending.

Say yes to protecting and taking care of your money. It will be there to support you, your family, and your true needs.

Promote and Maintain Healthy Growth

Small amounts add up big time, so keep money coming into your account on a regular basis. Keep it growing!

a) Remember *why* you set up your account. Know your balance at all times. Keep your eye on the bigger picture.

Will it help you pay for a gently used car, eliminating future car payments year after year? Is it your *freedom from working for others* fund?

b) Begin with one great strategy, and use it to create a steady stream of money to feed your account. Will it be a direct deposit through payroll?

Will you fund it by using only dollar bills, and setting aside all change at the end of each day? If so, scoop up your change and deposit weekly.

c) Each month, find a new, creative way to put more money in your account. Then find another method and repeat for a month. Keep the top three or four methods which seem to work best for you. Toss the rest, because you want methods that work for you consistently.

Need a starting point? Why not begin with spending ten dollars less at the store each week? Tuck your ten bucks into your savings account. It’s simple, and it won’t leave you feeling deprived.

Lastly, feel the wonder of knowing that your money tree will continue to grow. Like a faithful friend, it will remain at your side. Your champion in good times, a comfort in the rough patches of life.

It has the power to draw your dream out of the darkness and into the light. How long have you had that private, special dream? Only you can know.

Now, what would *you* do with your own Mighty Money Tree? Plant one today! Prop it up. Protect it. Watch it grow.

Author and ezine editor Darlene Arechederra inspires busy women to put the fun back into saving their money. Her complimentary newsletter serves up heaps of motivation with a unique, down-home style of writing.

Join her today at Rat Race Remedies

Frugal Books by Darlene Arechederra

Savvy Saving – Imagine Saving Money Without Scrimping, Depriving Yourself or Drowning in Coupons!

10 Ways to save $50 per month: The art of pinching a penny until it screams

October 10, 2008 · Filed Under Being Frugal · 1 Comment 

by Kimberly A. Griffiths

1. Save up to 50% per month on convenience cleaner cloths by cutting them into half, i.e. dryer softener cloths, face cleanser cloths, etc. Savings: $5 per month

2. Find more thoughtful gifts and buy when the item is on sale, shop for birthdays and holidays throughout the year not at the time of the events. Savings: $10 per month

3. Bring your lunch to work once a week instead of eating out. Savings: $7 x 4 weeks = $28 per month

4. Don’t go to the coffee shop on the weekends.
Savings: 2 visits @ $2 = $4 per week x 4 weeks = $16 per month

5. If you carry a balance on your credit card, and you’re only able to afford paying the minimum monthly amount, pay weekly installments instead of one monthly payment. For example, if you owe $100 per month, pay $25 per week. Because credit card companies accrue interest daily on your balance, paying only once a month is a huge
detriment to your fiscal health. Savings: $10 – $100 per month (or more!)

6. Instead of a family night out, consider having an old fashion picnic together or a bike ride. Curbing entertainment costs doesn’t mean curbing the fun. Savings:
$25+ per month

7. Spend a day cooking meals that can be frozen for later use for your family. Once a Month Cooking, a book by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson, features grocery lists and recipes to prepare and freeze a month’s worth of food for you and your family. Not only are you able to purchase the food in bulk, this method prevents having to throw away any spoiled food. Savings: $50+ per month

8. If you are a regular monthly book buyer, stop the habit and visit your library instead! If you insist on buying books, buy it used at your local store or online at
merchants such as www.half.com or www.amazon.com. Even a better
idea, how about selling the books you have that you don’t need! Savings: $5 – 15 per month

9. Use less expensive gasoline. If you live in North America and have Internet access, you are able to search for the cheapest gas price in your neighborhood with Gas Buddy, www.gasbuddy.com. Savings: $5 – 15 per month

10. Use two-for-one coupons when dining out; search for these in local newspapers, flyers, and in your “junk mail.” If you are a group of four or more people, consider buying dining certificates at Restaurant.com, www.restaurant.com.
After choosing your city and state on the Website, you will be presented with a listing of restaurants vying for your dining dollar! Savings: $5- $50 per month

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This is an excerpt from ONE PAYCHECK AT A TIME, by Kimberly A. Griffiths, ISBN: 1591133327. ONE PAYCHECK AT A TIME, a 200 page workbook, contains budget management exercises for an entire year of paychecks. The author, Kimberly A. Griffiths, has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself, and provides a no-nonsense system to managing your money paycheck to paycheck. You customize the journal based on your pay schedule and learn the necessary tools for making ends meet.

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