Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frugal Fridays

Yeah for Friday! Today's frugal tip is perfect for date night or a night out with friends: Check your local restaurants for happy hour.

Last Friday, the kids were at Grandma's so we went to dinner and a movie with friends. Instead of an expensive dinner, we went to the bar area (non-smoking!) of a very nice restaurant. All their appetizers were 1/2 price from 3 - 7 and they had drink specials also. One drink each plus six appetizers fed us all for less than the price of two of us to have dinner there!

Of course the movie was free from previous Walgreen deals I had done (AXE bodyspray and Mamma Mia Ponds). We didn't need expensive popcorn as we were full from the much healthier appetizers.

Listen to these yummy appetizers we enjoyed: sweet potato fries, chipolte blue cheese potato crisps, Kobe beef sliders, salmon scallop lollipops, fried calamari and buffalo wild wings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Just for fun, I thought I'd participate in Works for me Wednesday - it's a fun place to get all kinds of great tips!

My tip of the week is how I use bread crusts. My daughter won't eat bread crusts. I used to either eat them myself (didn't need those extra calories!) or throw them away. Now I just tear them up into pieces and put in a gallon sized freezer bag in the freezer. I also tear up heels and stick those in there. When it's time to make stuffing, I'm all set - no need to buy extra bread.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yummy! Free chocolate!


Deal of the week!

A few good deals on restaurants and clothing this week!

Use the code TREATS at checkout (through 10/31) and receive 80% off your order. I was lucky enough to snag a $25 certificate at The Melting Pot for $2.00!!! It's off of two entrees and does include 18% tax, but it should still give us a relatively inexpensive night out. With my birthday coming up, I've just decided where I'd like to go to celebrate.

Taco Bell: Free tacos today from 2- 6 - we will all be heading over. Be sure to call your store before you go to make sure they are participating.

Ann Taylor Loft has an additional 40% off clearance. I've been looking for a few months now for a nice denim pencil skirt and I found one there for under $15. Score!!!

If you go to or Ann Taylor Loft, be sure to purchase through eBates (
This will give you an extra % back on your purchases. Example - I just got $1 back from my two purchases of the day. It adds up! And if you register through the link above, you'll get $5 automatically!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

So glad to be home for a week! Only one more week of travel and them I'm switching jobs within the company! YEAH!!! This has been a hard few months - lots of late nights and weekend working and I'll be glad to be done with it before the holidays start.

This week, I'm back to menu planning, but we have ordered a cow, so I'm trying to clean out the freezer further. That will keep my shopping to a minimum.

Monday - chili, garlic bread (from freezer)

Tuesday - Free Taco's at Taco Bell!

Wednesday - Baked Potato Bar (with leftover chili)

Thursday - Chicken Fried Rice

Friday - Homemade pizza

Saturday - I'll be out of town (last weekend on the project) so hubby is on his own

Sunday - Taco Salad

Breakfasts will be pancakes, omelets/eggs, cereal, oatmeal and I think I'll make some pumpkin scones!
Lunches will be leftovers and sandwiches

Small grocery list so I think I'll stock up on baking items that are on sale right now!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saving Money with Baked goods

I love to bake - muffins, breads, cookies, you name it, I love to make it. However, in my family with just my husband, myself and two small kids we often can't eat a whole batch of something before it tastes stale! So, after I've made something, I pull out what we will eat in the next few days and then freeze the rest. If it's bread, I slice it, freeze the slices on a cookie sheet and then combine into a ziplock - same for muffins, cookies, etc.

I've found that if I pull out a slice of something or a muffin as soon as I get up, by the time my coffee is made and I'm showered and dressed, it's thawed out enough to eat. This is a terrific time and money saver on days I have to leave the house early or just don't have time to make breakfast! It also allows me to bake whenever I want, and have a nice variety of baked goods on hand in the freezer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October goals

Well, I know October is almost over, but I HAVE been working on my focus of the month ( October I chose to concentrate on two things I enjoy and want to learn more about. The first is blogging and the second is travel writing.

Here are the goals I've been working on:

1. Take a travel writing class through continuing education.

2. Complete and submit three query letters.

3. Investigate different blog ideas (i.e. weekly posts, series, revenue)

4. Limit blogging (and reading blogs) to certain hours of the day - things were getting out of hand!

5. Do another giveaway.

6. Increase blog traffic.

It's been an interesting month to say the least - I'll be sure and post updates in early November on what I did and the results!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Deal of the Week

This was an easy one:

Free Starbucks! You can only print once, so I set my printer to print 2 out - one for me and one for my husband. According to the fine print, you do not have to be a B&N member to qualify for the free coffee, so I feel comfortable sharing. This will be our fun date night this week! Or it might be a family outing - one way or another, we'll use this one!

Free drink

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, traveling for work - so not much point in Menu Planning . . . I stocked up on food my husband can easily fix, so they are on their own . . .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Giftcards!

Have you ever tried any of the search sites that award stuff? I've done a few of them, and my current favorite is Swagbucks:

"Get rewarded for searching the web with SWAG BUCKS! You'll never need another search engine!"

It's very easy to use and I use it multiple times a day - anytime I want to do a search, I open Swagbucks and use it instead of google, etc. It works great and I often get awarded "swagbucks". Once you've accumulated enough of them, you can trade them in for gift certificates - I'm almost up to a $5 Starbucks card after just a few weeks. Fun, easy and free!

I've also used Blingo and been very happy with it - if you are lucky and win, the person you signed up under wins also. Between my own wins and others I've won several movie tickets and several $5 gift certificates to Amazon.

Give these a try - if you start now I bet you can get a giftcard or two for free by Christmas!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We have a winner!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered - these giveaways are fun and I'll definitely do more in the future. I spent some time tonight after drawing the winner and checked out all the blogs of the participants and there are some interesting, talented people out there - you should be proud!!!

Check out the brand new blog of our Halloween Tee winner:

I'm traveling this week and quite busy with work, but I remembered to pick the winner - in fact, I'm in a hotel room, so the ice bucket got the coveted job of holding the names!

80% off Restaurants!!!

This deal is now over - but you can still purchase certificates - just not at 80% off. Hope some were lucky enough to get in!

Wow! is offering 80% off until the end of today - great deal! This means you can pick up a $25 certificate for only $2!!!! Use the code: EIGHTY when you check out - I see a few inexpensive date nights in my future!

I just went to the site and purchased four certificates ($10 value each) for a total of $2.60. One was for my hometown (a restaurant we like to go to) and the other three were for various cities I know we'll be traveling to in the next few months. So, if you have a trip planned, you might want to search that location also - think ahead and you'll save quite a bit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Deal of the Week!

Once again, two great deals this week!

Target - more free produce this week!

Baby carrots are on sale for $.99 - $1.09 a bag. Use the coupon at A full cup coupon_generator for $1.00 off a bag and get free or almost free carrots! I plan on buying a few extras to shred and freeze for winter baking.


Buy 3 Children's Robitussin at $3.99 each. Use 3 of the $2 off coupons at

If you have any register rewards left over from last week's deal, this is a great time to use them. You'll get a $10 Register Reward after this transaction!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm out of town most of the week on business, so easy week of menu planning - but it means my family will have to fend for themselves a few nights . . .

Monday - Pork tenderloins with apricot sauce (we had spaghetti instead of these last week)
Tuesday - out of town (leftovers)
Wednesday - out of town
Thursday - out of town
Friday - homemade pizza
Saturday - Tacos, beans, rice
Sunday - Ham & Bean soup, cornbread

Friday, October 10, 2008

Money Saving Tip!

It's Friday and I like to end the week with a frugal tip if I can!

We've been going to garage sales quite a bit recently and there are deals to be had. However, it's good to keep in mind that even though an item is "only" $1, if you don't need the item, it's still not a bargain. To keep myself from going crazy when prices are rock bottom, I even do my garage sale shopping with a list - actually the same list I keep for all my shopping!

Example: Right now, my list includes:

Air Popper (going to try to roast coffee beans!)
Khaki and/or Denim skirt for me
White Turtleneck for daughter

If I see something that's not on that list, then I don't buy it. Once in a while of course I'll see something that isn't on the list that I have an immediate use for, but even then, before I purchase, I'll ask myself the following questions: "Is it a need or a want?" "How often will I use it?" "Will I get tired of it and get rid of it in 3 years?"

This will help save money!!!

Entertainment Book

I've mentioned this several times in my previous posts and the 2009 book is on sale right now!

Entertainment Book 2009

We get this almost every year, and I highly recommend it. Sometimes we even order it before a vacation. If you aren't sure, just go to the website and you can preview the coupons in the book before you purchase - that way you can be sure you'll get your money's worth!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Halloween Giveaway

I had such fun with my last giveaway that I decided to do another! This one is for a very cute (tags still on it) 24month tee.

To enter, just leave a comment or send me an email with your favorite fall or Halloween tradition. Easy Peasy! I'll take comments until Wednesday, October 15th at 8:00 EST.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Deal of the Week

Two great deals this week!

Culver's - $1 Butter Burger is Today! We are going to go over there for dinner(it's 5 min from home) , pick up a burger for each of us and take them home to enjoy with my homemade oven fries:

Oven Fries:
Clean and slice several potatoes (don't need to peel)
Toss lightly with some olive oil
Place on foil on a cookie sheet
Sprinkle with McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
Roast in the oven at 425 until crispy outside and soft inside

Walgreen's - this one is a moneymaker! The Glade Wisp Flameless Candles are on sale this week for $5.99. In one of the ads a few weeks ago (either last week or the week before) there is a $5/1 coupon. So, your out of pocket cost is $.99. But - when you purchase one you'll get a Register Reward for $3 off your next purchase. You have to buy them one at a time to get a Register Reward for each of them, but still it's a little under $2 profit on each! (taking into account tax).

If you have the $2/1 Glade scented candle holder coupons, they are on sale for $3.99, so with the coupon would be $1.99 - and there is a rebate in the EasySaver this month for $2 off (up to 2), so they end up free. I'm going to use my $3 RR from yesterday to buy one of these and add on toilet paper or a sponge to get my total over $3.00. That way I'll be getting the rebate merchandise with no out of pocket cost and getting something I need for almost free!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

An easy week of menu planning:

Monday - Olive Chicken with Couscous
Tuesday - $1 Butter Burgers at Culver's
Wednesday - Mystery Shop - Pizza
Thursday - Homemade Red Sauce with shrimp and spaghetti
Friday - Beef & Blue Cheese Wraps, salad
Saturday - Family Cookout
Sunday - Apricot Onion Pork Medallions, mashed potatoes (from October All You)

I need to pick up some deli meat for sandwiches, eggs and maybe some fruit (other than apples), but that's it for the week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Frugal Friday - mini vacation

By now, if you've read any of my previous posts, it's probably obvious I love to travel. Sometimes we just don't have the time to take a long vacation. So, we take a mini vacation. Not only are they time savers, they are typically budget friendly also.

This week Wed/ Thurs was a family "vacation." We drove to a city one hour north of us (not much in gas), stayed in a hotel (with an indoor pool and free breakfast) using our points, used coupons for dining out and spent yesterday at the zoo. We did spend more than we could have - (because we can afford to and we felt like it), but we figured out we could have done the entire two day trip for around $60 - including gas, free lodging, the zoo, rides at the zoo, dinner Wed and lunch Thursday.

We all had so much fun and it felt so relaxing to "get away." This morning as I was getting my daughter ready for preschool she said "I don't want to go to school today." I said "why honey, I thought you liked school?" Her answer: "I do, but I want to go on more vacations instead."

I think she's gotten the travel bug too!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ham & Bean Soup

Well, the weather has turned colder, so it's time to make my favorite fall food - Ham and Beans! I have Ham Casserole on the menu for Saturday night, but with the colder weather, I'm changing it to this favorite . . .

bits of leftover ham (a couple slices cut into bite sized pieces)
2 cans white beans
cup of water
1 diced carrot
1 diced stalk of celery
1 small onion, diced
1 - 2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Put into the crock pot and cook on low all day - serve with warm cornbread drizzled with honey!

Yum!!! Easy and frugal to boot!