Friday, March 31, 2006


Yesterday was a winner.
After having cleaned the house yesterday, I decided not to cook. Hubby had a hankering for pork chops so we decided to go to the Boulder Creek Steakhouse and order some take-out.
We ordered 2 Cripple Creek Chops with sweet baked potato and two orders of Chicken Tenders and fries- bringing our total to $40.25. I happily plonked down two twenties and a quarter because it meant not cooking OR doing dishes (NO CLEAN UP)... boy was I wrong.

We all sit down to eat at around 5:30 (our usual dinnertime). I wolf down my grub while the girls daintily dip their chicken into little ketchup pools. All done by 6:00. I toss the remaining food & bones into the trash and we all proceed upstairs to play the newest Kingdom Hearts game. At about 7:30, my daughter complains of stomach pains. She lays down on my side of the bed to watch" wheel of fortune".

About ten minutes later, she gets up and goes to her room to take a nap. Minutes later, she wakes up startled and makes a bee line to the can. To make a long story short, I spent 6 hours intermittently cleaning up projectile fluids in the bathroom AND carpet. Her first and second set of PJs are destroyed. Thank you, BOULDER CREEK, for messing up my evening. I have spent the night caring for two instead of one. This morning (4:37am) my youngest booted me out of bed. Apparently she wanted MY SIDE of the bed. Oh well. It's okay though.. the sun is out, it's a brand new day, and I am feeling invigorated.


Check this out:

Starting Now

I learned another important credit lesson recently. We have ahome improvement store credit account and received a specialoffer several months ago for no payments/no interest for sixmonths. We made a somewhat large purchase, thinking we wouldbe able to pay it off before the end of the six-month period.When we couldn't pay off the total balance, we were surprisedto find out that the interest didn't begin after six months,as the payments did. We were charged the interest that wouldhave accumulated during the six months.

Sherry A.

Little Packets Add Up

My husband brown bags his lunch, but the other four men in ourfamily-owned business often bring back carry out. I set out abasket and asked for them to put the extra condiment packagesin it. At the end of a month, I squeezed out the packages just to see how much I had collected. I had enough ketchup torefill two large bottles and enough mustard to refill one bottle. In addition, I had more salt, soy sauce, taco sauce,mayo, and relish than our family uses in a month. And I evenleft some in the basket for their use! I also found the packages handy for impromptu picnics and BBQs at the park.

Laura in AR

Yesterday, I found a penny on my way to Best Buy (in the parking lot). The night before I found a penny at 10pm on campus (CSI barely has ANY lights on at night!!) on my way to the car.

I'll update more throughout the day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Grocery Bills got you down? Check this out

Cut Your Grocery Bills by Half
by Faye Prosser
Eight essential techniques for boosting your buying power

Want to buy much more for less? Imagine filling your cart with
your favorite groceries, but only paying a fraction of the
total cost. By mastering these eight essential techniques,
every shopper who buys groceries can get the most out of their
hard-earned money.

1. Learn the art of couponing. Smart shoppers know, without
question, that using coupons wisely is the greatest money-
saving technique when it comes to buying groceries. They know
how, when and where to use those little pieces of "paper gold"
and they know just where to find the best coupons for the
products they prefer to buy. Their coupons are well-organized
and accessible so they don't ever miss an unadvertised sale.
Smart spenders pay for a good portion of their groceries using
coupons and save more than 50% off their weekly budgets each
and every week.

2. Compare apples to apples. How do you know whether something
is really a bargain just because it is on sale? By developing
a Price Book, you are able to compare the price per unit of
one size package to another. This allows you to compare the
200-ounce box of warehouse club bran cereal to the 20-ounce
bag of the same type of cereal from the grocery store. Smart
spenders know the surprising news that often the smaller
container is less expensive per unit than the bulk container
when used in conjunction with coupons and sales.

3. Gain leverage from sales flyers. By reviewing the sales
flyers that stores issue every week, you can plan your weekly
menu, decide where to shop, determine what to include on your
grocery list, and choose the best money-saving coupons to use
at the store. Smart spenders realize that the key to the
greatest savings is purchasing the best sale items listed in
the weekly flyers and then using coupons for those items.

4. Be a proud card-carrying member. Sign up for the frequent
shopper rewards cards at the stores you shop. Without them,
you won't be offered the sale prices or special incentives and
you may lose out on thousands of dollars in savings a year.
Many stores will even mail great money-saving coupons to
members throughout the year. Smart spenders take advantage of
the sale prices by using their rewards cards every time they

5. Savor store brand savings. Companies have worked hard to
improve their private-label brands and often the taste is just
as delicious as the national brand. Store brand products are
generally 20% less expensive than the national brands, which
means everyone should consider them as a money-saving option.
Smart spenders understand that store brand items are another
effective tool to lower their grocery bills and they don't let
a little brand name loyalty stand in their way of savings.

6. Refuse to be overcharged. Many grocery stores carry 30,000
or more items. It is not hard to imagine that there may be a
price mistake or two at the register. Before you leave the
store, thoroughly review your receipt to make sure you weren't
overcharged. If you discover an overcharge, head straight to
customer service and explain the error. Many stores have a
price scan guarantee, which means that you will receive the
entire cost you paid for the item and get to keep the product.
Yes, this means you will take home the product for free! Smart
spenders never leave the store without reviewing the receipt
and requesting the price scan guarantee, when applicable.

7. Enjoy delayed gratification. Yes, it's just what you were
thinking. Rebates. You buy an item that offers a rebate, fill
out the form exactly as required, send in the UPC, receipt or
other necessary proof of purchase, and after a short delay,
you get your money back in the mail. If you are thinking that
it doesn't sound so difficult, you are right! Surprisingly,
many people don't take advantage of the amazing rebates
available for everything from beef to toothpaste to pies.
Smart spenders recognize that the savings opportunities are
huge, if they are willing to fill out a little form and wait
patiently for their gratifying reward.

8. Stick to your strategy and avoid the tactics. Do you smell
the fresh cookies baking in the deli? Did you taste those free
samples of cereal when you walked into the store? Welcome to
the world of store tactics. Their job is to make money
marketing the products they sell. Your job is to steer clear
of the tactics and stick to your grocery list. Don't be
enticed by the sale signs when you know something isn't a good
deal. Don't go to the store hungry and don't impulse-shop
(unless it's a good unadvertised buy, of course!). Smart
spenders come prepared to shop for the items that will save
them the most money and they avoid the clever methods designed
to persuade you to part with more of your paycheck than you

These aren't the only money-saving techniques used by the
shopping experts, but they are the basis for the very best

Faye Prosser is the author of "The Smart Spending Guide." Faye
regularly conducts college courses and workshops. With the Smart
Spending Grocery System, Faye's family saves well over 50% off
their weekly grocery bills!

Faye's motto when it comes to spending is "It's your money,
spend it wisely!" For more information on "The Smart Spending
Guide," see

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pointers to make your FRUGAL life easier

From SAVINGADVICE website:

1. Keep a mini book of everything about your house, size of windows and how many, size of rooms, doors, everything. divided by rooms, i know if theres new carpet at a sale, ill peek in my book and know if it would fit. princess like curtains, my daughters room has one large window, i have the size in the book, ill know if its worht it, if its a good size. i dont like to buy puzzles at yard sales, never know if its missing a piece. however if its a kids puzzle, 24 pieces, i will count those and got four diff walt disney ones at a yard sale for 25 cents each. knowing the dimensions of your doorways too, will save you buying something you cant get into your house to start

2. Prepare a list of things you need before you head to the store (complete with totals and cash equivalent). Keep all cards and extra cash in your house so you won't overspend or get side-tracked. Marketing principles count on side-tracking (aka impulse shopping).

3. Never leave the house hungry-especially when you have children!! A quick snack (sandwich,piece of fruit) will eliminate the mistifying "come-hither" scent of cinnabon or McDonald's at the mall. I try to maintain the snack ratio to six small ones throughout the day in order to prevent the crave meltdown.)

4. Keep your house clean! Re-arranging your clutter will only make your mind jumble and cave in eventually. It takes less time to clean a house once your baubles are in order than to fix a tornado-ridden domicile. I've even instructed the children to take charge of their rooms by assigning clean-up times (4pm, 7pm and right before bed). These drills take less than five minutes and the results are overwhelming!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Interesting Finance Article...


Cutting Expenses Doesn't Equal Saving Money
by Jeffrey Strain
Cutting expenses is only the first step to saving money

There is a misconception that cutting ones expenses equates to
saving money. While cutting expenses provides you with a great
opportunity to save money, you need to take an additional step
to actually make this work.

Cutting expenses is the first step in a two-step process. In
addition to cutting your expenses, you actually have to place
the difference between what you were paying and the new price
after cutting the expenses into a savings account (toward debt
reduction). While this may seem obvious as you read, many
people fail to do just that and wonder why cutting their
expenses hasn't resulted in more savings (or debt reduction).

What happens many times is that a person cuts expenses, but
then takes that money and places it somewhere other than their
savings (or against debt). How many times have you gotten such
a great deal on something that you felt it was okay to spend
some money on something else as a reward? When you decide to
spend extra money gained from cutting expenses to reward
yourself, the savings never materialize.

This is a much more common practice than you may realize. In
the fall of 2004 in New York, tests were conducted using new
supermarket scanning devices that showed that people who used
coupons ended up spending on average 8% more than folks who
didn't use coupons. A Washington University study conducted in
2002 found that for every $1 a person used in coupons, they
ended up spending an extra $8 in unplanned luxury items. One
of the studies authors, Ambar Rao, concluded the following:

"Steak, flowers, candy -- people were treating themselves
because they felt good after using coupons, and of course they
spent a lot more on the treats than they saved on the

The key to making your cost cutting effective is to make sure
that the money realized after making the cost cuts goes to
your savings (or to pay off debt). While small rewards can
help motivate you when making the cost cuts, they should be
well defined ahead of time (as well as their cost) and not
spur of the moment rewards.

Simply understanding that there is an unconscious tendency for
many people to spend more when they think that they are
cutting expenses can help you fight these urges of impulse
rewards and guarantee that when you set out to save money by
cutting costs, you succeed.

Jeffrey Strain is the owner of - a
website dedicated to saving you money and also writes the
daily updated blog at

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rustic, Rusted Change.

Change is inevitable. In order to survive, we must adopt change into our lifestyle (along with nutrition, relationships, work ethics etc.) What I don't get is how many people WANT change but never try to consciously change. So many habits. So many vices. So many viable options to drain away our lives, our finances, and our health. It's no great secret that the United States as a whole is spiraling into the red pit of international debt!

Change has to come from within.

Last year, I got fed up looking at all the money people throw away in school. Soda cans and loose change litter college campuses everywhere! The irony is that college students are almost always "broke" and in need of some quick bucks. Last week, my daughter and I set about picking up recyclable cans around the campus. We collected 84 cans in total. Quick math: $4.20. Four dollars isn't much in this economy today but this is tax-free money we're talking about here.

Change wise, I found 17 cents while collecting cans that day, bringing the total to 4.37. I am proud of DD because she is understanding the concept of money through bonding with "cheapskate mommy". She has helped me pick out energy saving bulbs, clean up clutter and sell it on ebay and, perform comparison pre-shopping on the internet before I go out to the stores. My ingenious little darling is coming up with business ideas to stir up some more cash flow. She has started her own junior changepot for found money!

Well known family Principle #1:

know how to separate money

If you find money in the street, put it aside from all the other cash you have on hand. When you get paid, pay yourself first for any habit you may have cut out (smoking in my case yields anywhere from $112 to $140 monthly before I pay anyone else). Separate that money and put it into an account or safe. This money grows quickly because we pay habits usually before ANYTHING ELSE- like essential groceries, rent, gas, etc. The key is to change the recipient of your hard earned cash to a plain bank passbook or drab grey box as opposed to Phillip Morris or Lorillard. I am close to having $1K in the bank from this alone.

It's important for you to decide how you want to change your life. You should strive to become financially smart and not depend on accountants or bankers/financial planners to tell you what to do. Ultimately, it's your money and no one will look out for your best interests without some capitalistic interest (even the gov't!)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Funky Cold Medina

Time is passing soooo slooowly as of late. I've been concentrating more on home etiquette (keeping my house spotless) and less on actual work. It's gotten to the point where it takes me 10 minutes to get the house in order when I wake up and 10 minutes to prepare the girls for bed. I feel so much better though!!

Hubby and I have been spending long amounts of time playing Onimusha:Dawn of Dreams as opposed to the usual weekend forays. This game is saving us tons of cash (we usually spend a few hundred every weekend).


The changepot has now changed POTS!
The yankee candle pot I had the found money in is much too crowded with the duckets I found so I've made a new changepot (I"ll take a pic and post it here soon.. it's alot bigger now yayyy)
Two of my friends have also started this habit but they plan to spend the cash once it accumulates. I, on the other hand, am going to let it grow for five years THEN i'll consider depositing it into a passbook account (nothing like having other people's cash work for you!)
Total accumulated so far, you ask?
46 bucks since OCTOBER 2005. Thanks to all the folks who drop change on the floor and are too lazy to pick it up. TYTYTYTY!!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hubby Time!

The past couple of weeks have flown by. Hubby's got a bad injury and I've been helping him out and also keeping an eye on everyone else. When will someone watch me? Sheesh!
Anywhoo... today marks seven months since I stopped partaking of that nasty habit. It's time for change!!! I have started new goals for the rest of this year (none of which include my previous businesses!) Let's see what happens.