Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Target $10 Giftcard with $50 Purchase

Head over to Target to print a $10 Giftcard with $50 purchase coupon. 
Expires 12/3/11 and valid in store only.

Thanks to my son for the heads-up on this one.

Blockbuster Express Free Movie Codes

Head over to Southern Savers for a list of keywords to use to receive a one-time use free movie code.

I got my code in less than a minute.

How To Cook Brown Rice

It might be a stretch to call this a frugal tip, but for the first time I've made good brown rice and this is the recipe/tutorial I used. He says it works with white rice too, I"ll be trying that as I don't make good white rice either.

I'm so happy to have finally made good rice (and the kids were too, "maybe this time it will turn out better" was uttered before the meal")!

*I haven't yet checked out the rest of the site associated with the brown rice cooking instructions, but it looks really interesting and worth a peek.

Great Saveology Cyber Monday Deals -- good through Friday

Saveology Cyber Monday

Saveology has some really good deals this week including:
  • $449 gets you a new HP ProBook 64455 Notebook PC worth $1300
  • $59 For A 4.3 inch Touchscreen Car GPS Navigation & FREE Shipping ($115.99 Value)
  • $45 Gets You A Sena Black Leather Folio Case For The iPad Plus FREE Shipping - Worth $99
  • 70% Off 40 AAA Or AA GP Ultra Plus Alkaline Batteries
  • $65 3inch HD 12.0 Mega Pixel TFT LCD Digital Video Camcorder ($244.39 Value!)
Subscribe to Saveology Cyber Monday Deals to receive great local daily deals via email.

20 Personalized Holiday Cards for $7 Shipped!


20 Holiday Cards for $7 Shipped. Special Cyber Monday Week Offer! For a limited time, get 20 4x8 cards delivered to your door (within 7 days) for only $7 (less than boxed generic cards at the store)! Upload photos of your family or pets and add a special greeting.
*Note: Free shipping only valid on 4x8 Holiday Cards. Additional items will incur additional shipping costs.

When I owned my store, Ditto Kiddo, I used VistaPrint for all our gorgeous postcards, business cards, stamps, and oodles of other stuff. With Because I'm Me I use them for my business cards and beautiful Thank You notes. The quality is top notch.

Tip: Mail Handling

Never handle your mail more than once. Put the bills where they go and recycle everything else. Not only will you not be tempted by the junk mail, your won't have to deal with the added clutter.

Hurry - Chili's Free Appetizer Offer Expiring Tomorrow

 Receive free chips and queso when you join Chili's e-mail list. They send out some great coupons and deal notices, so it's well worth signing up.  Hurry though, this offer expires Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Join AcornPoints and enter to win free Kindle Fire

click image to sign up and enter to win

AcornPoints is a new calendar based, online organizer with a rewards program. As their site says, they pay you to stay organized. Available January of 2012, but enter now to win.

I'm not the most organized person and am really excited to give this program a try when it becomes available.

Tip: Bill Payments

When you get a bill sit down that day and schedule the payment through your online banking. That way you won't have to worry about it when it comes due.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 11/28/11

Each Monday I shall post our dinner menu plan for the current week.

The kids feed themselves for breakfast and lunch (usually lots of fruit, pasta, sandwiches, or leftovers) so I will only be posting the dinner menu, as that's what I cook.

Please link to your weekly menu in the comments if you are inclined. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Sunday - the kids weren't home yet, so I didn't cook, leftovers instead
Monday - Country Frittatta with zucchini and bell pepper, celery sticks with ranch dressing
Tuesday - Spaghetti with tomato sauce, tangerines
Wednesday - Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken (just chicken covered with BBQ sauce in crock pot), brown rice
Thursday - Turkey Burgers on rolls with toppings, broccoli
Friday - Chicken on the grill, grilled veggies
Saturday - Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Free State of Alaska Vacation Planner

Travel Alaska

Great Saveology Cyber Monday Deals -- good through Friday

Saveology Cyber Monday

Saveology has some really good deals this week including:
  • $449 gets you a new HP ProBook 64455 Notebook PC worth $1300
  • $59 For A 4.3 inch Touchscreen Car GPS Navigation & FREE Shipping ($115.99 Value)
  • $45 Gets You A Sena Black Leather Folio Case For The iPad Plus FREE Shipping - Worth $99
  • 70% Off 40 AAA Or AA GP Ultra Plus Alkaline Batteries
  • $65 3inch HD 12.0 Mega Pixel TFT LCD Digital Video Camcorder ($244.39 Value!)
Subscribe to Saveology Cyber Monday Deals to receive great local daily deals via email.

Etsy Cyber Monday Deals

A few etsy deals available today:

Because I'm Me, use coupon code BEC20 to save 20% storewide

Robynesque Jewelry Designs, use coupon code BLKFRDY50 for 50% off storewide

One Shabby Chick, save 20% storewide (no coupon needed)

Fabric Shoppe, 2 free Fat Quarters with any purchase over $25 by entering "Cyber Monday" in note to seller

I Heart Organizing, 35% off all printables, use code IHEARTCYBERMON


Burt's Bees Free Honey & Sugar Shea Scrub + Free Ship w/ $40 purchase

Get a free sugar scrub worth $13 + Free Shipping when you spend $40. Valid Cyber Monday only! Shop Now. (no promotional code necessary)

Free Shipping Day

On Friday, December 16, more than 2,000 participating merchants will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve in the continental United States. Click here to view a list of the participating merchants and to sign up for an e-mail reminder.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SAVE $2.00 on Publix Limited Time Whole Turkey Cranberry Sub Combo (Redeem only at Publix)

 Publix Turkey Cranberry Sub Combo Save $2

My daughter and I split this sub combo the other day and were very impressed, and it was plenty to share.

Save on Handcrafted Items at BelleChic

BelleChicSign up for BelleChic for handmade goods from the world’s best artisans at up to 75% off.

I had a chance to check out their site and I was very impressed. The items they carry are very high quality and at good prices.

Right now they are running a Black Friday sale with handbags, belt buckles, cake pops (yum!), and more all at about 50% off original retail prices.

Great place for some one-of-a-kind holiday gift shopping!

According to their website: 
"BelleChic is your place to buy handmade goods from the world’s best artisans. Be inspired by their artistry, passion, and creativity while you discover BelleChic – “the beautiful style.”

Not only will you find savings of up to 75% off, you’ll meet your new favorite designers. In short, it’s the best of the best of handmade.

Boutique Sales: Curators of the Best of Handmade. The best of the best in handmade. We are your handmade curators, introducing you to the best new handmade designers and their brands. You’ll shop a variety of categories such as bath and body, children’s apparel, jewelry, art and d├ęcor. Our Boutique Sales launch every day at 8 am PT / 12 pm ET and last 48 hours. Shop early, as quantities are limited and tend to sell out quickly.
Email Newsletters. When you subscribe to receive daily email notifications of our new sales, we’ll keep you updated with what’s new each day. Newsletters are sent every day at 8am PT/11 am ET.
Chic Inspired. Go beyond the scenes and meet your newest favorite brand! Our Chic Inspired blog will take you beyond the sales, into fascinating features and designer profiles that will inspire you. Learn more ways to live the “beautiful style” from those that create it. Visit Chic Inspired."

Artisans, they are accepting applications for new vendors.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Save 20% Storewide at Because I'm Me

Use coupon code bec20 to save 20% on everything at Because I'm Me. Coupon code expires Monday, so hurry!

Tip: Grow Herbs Instead of Buying Cut

Happy Black Friday. If you braved the crazy hours and crowds I hope it was productive. I hope you bought from a list and only bought what you had cash for. :)

Today's tip ... the grocery store sells bunches of fresh herbs for $.99 and up. They're delicious.

The garden center sells fresh herb plants for $1.99 and up. The garden herbs may cost a little more but they will continue to produce fresh herbs as long as they are alive (keeping things alive isn't so easy around here). And they'll keep the area they're growing in smelling and looking wonderful.

To save even more, consider growing your herbs from seed. They don't take long to sprout and begin growing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.

It is my hope that your Thanksgiving is blessed with love and contentment, joyful moments, and good food. And an 11th Packers win.

If you're braving the crowds tomorrow ... stick to your list and your budget, stay safe, and have fun.

Tip: Make Your Own Foaming Soap

This tip for making your own foaming soap in seconds (and saving a crazy amount of money while doing so) was given to me by Nikol, The Yard Sale Chick.

Thank you Money Saving Mom for this one!

If you search the internet you'll find plenty of sites that'll sell you a foam soap pump and bottle. Do not buy this, simply buy a foaming soap on sale, combined with coupon, and ECB's at CVS (or some sort of deal like that ... the point is, buy something you can use and then just refill it).

10 FREE Holiday Products & Gift Ideas from Vistaprint


10 FREE Holiday Products & Gift Ideas! Choose from Flat and Folded Holiday Cards, Wall and Desk Photo Calendars, Holiday Postcards, Totes, Holiday Labels, Mugs, Stamps, & Business Cards. Products are FREE, pay only for shipping & processing. Order today; receive in as few as 3 days. Click Here

Money Saving Offers from Scrubbing Bubbles

Scrubbing Bubbles

Get money saving offers and more in the free e-newsletter from the makers of Scrubbing Bubbles. Click Here

Free 8x10 Canvas at Canvas People

Canvas People

A head's up on another great Black Friday deal.

Turn your favorite photo into a free 8 x 10 canvas or get $55 off toward any size canvas at Canvas People.

Free State of Alaska Vacation Planner

Travel Alaska

Ah, Alaska. I've been there twice and found it to be absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I'd love to take another trip there someday.

These state travel planners are terrific resources, and in addition to using them for travel planning I add them to my home schooling books - they are generally packed with good maps and information about the states.

Orange Julius BOGO Offer

Orange Julius

Click the image above to join the Quench Club. Upon joining you'll receive a Buy One, Get One coupon ... perfect for some Black Friday shopping rejuvenation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tip: Bringing Lunch to Work

Looking for a simple way to save $260? $1040?

How? As easy as bringing your lunch to work.

Bringing lunch to work one day a week saves about $260 a year ... that's enough for a family of 3 to go to Busch Gardens.

Bringing lunch to work four days a week saves about $1040 a year ... that's enough for one very nice family vacation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tip: Rebates

Rebates don't have to be a pain in the neck.

In my coupon binder I keep a full-size insert page filled with all rebate submission forms. On the front of the insert page, before all the rebate forms, I keep a handwritten sheet of notebook paper listing the rebate, the requirements, and the submission dates. In the same section of the coupon binder I keep envelopes and stamps.

As I collect rebate requirements I slip them into the folder page as well - the box tops, UPC codes, receipts, etc.

It is now very easy to track rebates and to complete and submit them before the expiration date.

After mailing out rebate forms I forget about them. When a rebate check, or a gift card as is becoming more common, arrives it's like getting something free in the mail.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tip: FridgeKeepers

Fresh produce is a wonderful thing.

Fresh produce is also, however, not inexpensive. And it doesn't last as long as most of us need it to.

That's where the Tupperware FridgeSmart containers come in. They extend the life of my produce significantly, at least double what it would be without the containers. The produce stays fresh, crispy, tasty, and healthy in appearance for much longer.

I buy romaine at Sam's Club and can cut it up and put it in one of these containers. It stays fresh and crispy without browning, and it's quick and easy for all of us to grab a bowl of salad as it's already prepared.

After using these for a few years I can't imagine not using them, and wouldn't want to.

I'm going to be the first to admit that these Tupperware FridgeSmart containers are pricey. It is possible that there is a less expensive alternative to them, and I'd love to hear from you if you've found one.

***I don't work for Tupperware nor do I represent them in any way. I just like this product. If you're going to purchase the containers ask around and find a friend or associate who sells the product so they can receive the commission on the sale.  If you sell Tupperware, or a line with a similar product, feel free to leave a comment saying so.

A Giveaway - $10 Starbucks Gift Card - Winner Time!

According to the infamous Random Number Generator the winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is entry #4, Kathryn, who said, "woohoo, great giveaway!". An e-mail is being sent to Kathryn, and a huge thank you goes out to everyone who participated.

Look for a new giveaway contest beginning Sunday, November 27th.

Menu Plan Monday 11/21/11

Each Monday I shall post our dinner menu plan for the current week.

The kids feed themselves for breakfast and lunch (usually lots of fruit, pasta, sandwiches, or leftovers) so I will only be posting the dinner menu, as that's what I cook.

Please link to your weekly menu in the comments if you are inclined. I'm always looking for new ideas.

No menu plans this week. The kids are off with their father for Thanksgiving so this week I'll be enjoying a few of the meals I've packaged and frozen over the last few months.

Please do share your menu plans though, I'd love some great new ideas for next week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tip: Make it a Lunch Date

Interested in trying a new, or new-to-you, restaurant? Looking for a little one-on-one time over a meal with your spouse? Getting together with a girlfriend to chat over soup and sandwiches?

Save by going for lunch instead of dinner.

Why the savings?
  • Many restaurants offer a different, lower priced, lunch menu with smaller portions.
  • Diners are not as likely to be as hungry at lunch and thus order less.
  • Diners are not as likely to order large full dinners.
  • Fewer diners order dessert at lunch.
  • Fewer diners order drinks at lunch, or don't order as many.
  • Many children are in school at lunchtime, thus avoiding the cost of an evening sitter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tip: Bring a Lunch

Heading out for the day? Plan ahead and pack a cooler of lunch or snacks, including water or other beverage.

It's easy to stop at a fast food restaurant for a quick bite, or to eat at an attractions restaurant, but that can cost $30 or so and, especially with fast food, won't be the healthiest choice.

Busch Gardens, and many other parks and attractions, will allow you to bring a cooler into the park. Lockers are available to rent if needed.

Instead, spend a few minutes making sandwiches and slicing veggies and you're good to go.

Worried that your cooler will get warm before lunch? Freeze your water bottles the day before and they'll serve double duty - as ice packs and refreshment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1/2 Point Offers at My Coke Rewards

For a limited time there are some great deals at My Coke Rewards for just 1/2 the points, including a couple gift cards for Subway, AMC Theatres, TJMaxx/Marshall's/Home Goods, and Nike.

I picked up the 12 pack of coke for 120 points.

Also, from the home page click the link to watch a polar bear video for 3 bonus points.

Earn a $10 Amazon Gift Card through StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is currently offering a free $10 Amazon gift card to everyone who gets 5 friends to join StumbleUpon. Here’s how to get your referral link:
Sign up for a StumbleUpon account, if you don’t already have one.
::Once you’ve registered, sign up here to get your referral link
::Share this link with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.
::If 5 friends sign up, you’ll get a free $10 Amazon gift card.
 StumbleUpon is a "discovery engine" that finds websites that match your interests.

Tip: Bread Outlet

The cost of bread seems to be going through the roof. $2-3+ per loaf is standard right now.

One way to save on that high cost is to shop a local bread outlet.

One in my area is Flower's Bakery, and all bread there is $.88 per loaf. Whole wheat, multi-grain, gourmet breads, rye, sourdough, white, organic, bagels, tortillas, English muffins, and buns are just $.88 per loaf or bag. They carry other things too, like crackers and snack cakes, but it's the bread that keeps them busy.

The bread sold at the bread outlet is within the freshness guidelines, and not sold past the "sell by" date. This is simply good product at a much better price.

Do you shop at a bread outlet? Any tips or tricks to pass along?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Walgreens Black Friday Deals

I couldn't pass up sharing this post with you. Marcy at Stretching a Buck has compiled an extensive list of Walgreens Black Friday Deals, and a whole lot of them are FREE.

Win Dave Ramsey's Class or Book!

I'm really excited about this opportunity. I love Dave Ramsey. I just do.

Head over and read this wonderful post by the Thrifty Decor Chick. At the bottom are the directions to enter to win the book or classes.

Come to think of it, Dave Ramsey is giving away some pretty incredible stuff right now too ... links are on the home page.

Good luck!

*** and don't forget to enter to win the $10 Starbucks Card here at Because I'm Frugal and the baby bib set at Because I'm Me ***

A Giveaway - $10 Starbucks Gift Card

Another Starbucks Card giveaway! A $10 card this time.

To enter, simply leave a comment with a valid e-mail address (no ulterior motive, I just want to contact you if you win).

To receive additional entries post about this giveaway contest, with a link to this post, on your blog, tweet, or facebook and then come back and leave a unique comment telling me each thing you did (if you FB'd and tweeted leave 2 additional comments, one for each thing, so you get two entries into the contest), again with an e-mail address to contact the winner.

The contest will end Sunday evening, November 20, 2011 around midnight or so. Good luck and thanks for playing!

If you are interested in gaining exposure to your site or product by contributing an item to give away at Because I'm Frugal contact me at

Tip: Using a Slow Cooker

A crock pot or slow cooker cooks food by simmering it for hours at a relatively low temperature, allowing for unattended cooking of a gazillion things (or so it seems).

In the crock pot you can cook:
Two of the best go-to slow cooker sites are:
365 Days of Slow Cooking
A Year of Slow Cooking (easy to search and each recipe includes her review of the results)

Any favorite slow cooker recipes or links to share?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tip: Write a Weekly Menu

Have you noticed that I post my weekly menu plan here at Because I'm Frugal?

Creating a weekly meal plan was an idea I resisted for a long time. I just didn't think that the time it'd take to do it would be worth the results.

One day, however, I broke down and just did it. I got out all the old recipes I hadn't made in ages and, looking at them, got really excited about all the great meals we'd been missing. I also asked friends for their tried and true healthy, inexpensive recipes and was overwhelmed by the response ... and by the number of them who write a weekly menu (and hadn't told me!).

Each Sunday or Monday I sit down and plan the menu for the week, based on what's on sale, what I have on hand, and what I purchased at the farmer's market over the weekend.

I keep a binder on the counter with printed recipes in it. It also contains calendar pages of what we've eaten the weeks before so I can repeat the good stuff, NOT repeat the bad stuff, and avoid repeating things too often.

I now spend about 10 or 15 minutes planning our meals for a week.

A few of the benefits:
  • When you have no idea what you're making for dinner and it's 5:45 getting pizza or grabbing a bite somewhere is so easy. With a menu plan a meal is already in the crock pot, or at least planned, taking the "deer in headlights" feeling out of dinner preparation.  
  •  It's a time saver. No spending time searching for recipes and ingredients to use what you have. You've already done that ahead of time.
  • Helps save at the grocery store. Knowing what you'll cook makes it easier to not give in to the temptation of those impulse extras. Also, it allows you to purchase what you'll actually use in quantities you'll actually use.
  • Having a weekly plan makes it easy to provide a healthy and nutritional balance throughout the week.
  • Trying new things is fairly simple with a meal plan. 
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store. It's easy to add something to the weekly grocery list, much easier than running out at the last minute for some odd lone ingredient like Smoked Paprika (which tends to lead to impulse purchases as well).
  • Having shredded chicken one night and diced chicken another? Cook them at the same time and set one aside. The work for the second meal is done with no extra effort.
  • There's much less waste. The perishable fruits, vegetables, and meats are used before they might go bad, because the menu is planned around their existence and life span.
  • Family time. Knowing what the kids activities are ahead of time enables planning a meal that works with their hectic schedules, while still allowing time to eat as a family . Also, there's something about a meal or dinner menu plan that says "sit down and eat this meal as a family".

Menu Plan Monday 11/14/11

Each Monday I shall post our dinner menu plan for the current week.

The kids feed themselves for breakfast and lunch (usually lots of fruit, pasta, sandwiches, or leftovers) so I will only be posting the dinner menu, as that's what I cook.

Please link to your weekly menu in the comments if you are inclined. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Sunday - Turkey burgers with assorted toppings (turkey bacon, avocado, BBQ sauce, pickles, catsup, etc.), salad
Monday - Southwest Roll-ups using homemade refried beans, orange wedges
Tuesday - Corn, Avocado, and Black Bean Tostadas
Wednesday - Ooeey, Gooey Mexican Chicken, Salad
Thursday - Curry Chicken*, corn muffins
Friday and Saturday ... camping and not cooking!

*Curry Chicken
1 lb. diced chicken breast
3 T butter
1.5 t curry powder
1 onion, diced
2 T flour
1 C milk
1 C homemade chicken stock
Rice or Pasta

Brown chicken and remove from pan. Melt butter, add curry powder and onion. Cook onion. When onion is cooked add flour. Stir, mixture will be very pasty. Add milk and chicken stock. Stir until desired consistency.

Serve over rice or pasta.

A Giveaway - Starbucks Gift Card - Winner Time

The winner of the Starbucks Card was comment #15:
Cassidy Sanders said...
Shall be mine! She commented, tweeted, and facebooked about the contest and it paid off. Congratulations. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tip: More on Lowering the Electric Bill

A few of the things we've done to lower the electric bill are:
  • turn off lights and fans when leaving rooms
  • unplug items not in use
  • raise the AC temperature
  • turn off the downstairs AC at night, raise the upstairs AC during the day
  • short showers
  • large laundry loads, doing laundry less frequently
  • open the blinds during the day for light, close them when the sun hits those windows
  • change AC filters monthly
For other ideas to lower the electric bill try these links (read the comments on the first two posts as well for more tips):
13 Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill
10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill
Becoming Green By Spending Less - Lower the Electric Bill

Any tips to add to the list?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fun and Free Wednesday (On Thursday ... Again) Grand Adventure

The other day we stumbled upon a new park, not much more visible from the entrance but a small sign. Up for an adventure we turned in and followed the gravel roadway, wondering what could possibly be ahead. 

A covered picnic table. And the road continued. Another covered picnic table, this one backed by what appeared to be a small path. No playground, no water park, no ball courts, not even a restroom.

But maybe that path was the passageway to Grand Adventure. So we meandered.

And we did indeed find Grand Adventure. Over an hour was spent exploring the floating docks and accompanying sealife, enjoying I-Spy while examining bits and pieces of nature beneath the pathways, and playing freely at the swampy edges of a large grass playspace (complete with hills to roll on, anthills creating obstacle courses requiring great precision, and echoing shelter posts begging to be banged into musical instruments).

Our Fun and Free this week ... Grand Adventure. These impromptu treks are often our most memorable and most fun happenings ... the play isn't planned, there are few rules and restrictions (just the legal and safety ones!), and the brains get to go, go, go (and, often, I get a rest while they explore and play).

I can't wait to hear about your Grand Adventures.

Tip: Lowering The Electric Bill

This post was featured at Money Saving Mom and bears repeating.

"For a long time, I’ve been on my kids to turn the lights off, unplug things we’re not using, close the doors, take shorter showers, etc. They were tired of hearing it and weren’t listening.

One day a light bulb went on in the brain and I presented my children with the following offer: Each month the electric bill was below $190 they’d get the dollar amount the bill was below $190 (i.e.: if the bill were $180 they’d get $10). That money would go towards a party, be it candy, ice cream, cake, pizza, chips, whatever they could buy with that money. (more here)"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tip: GasBuddy

Following up yesterdays gas saving tips post, GasBuddy is a website that'll point you in the direction of the least expensive gas in your area.  The price points are inputted by consumers, and there are prizes to be earned for entering gas prices in your area.

GasBuddy also offers a phone app, super easy to use no matter where you are (it coordinates with your phone's navigation system).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tip: Gas Money Saving Tips

I am not a car expert. I am not a fuel expert. So I shall defer to the experts for this thrifty tip:

How to Save Money on Gas - 29 Tips
Tips from the FTC
30 Tips to Save on Gas

It may also be possible to convert your car to use less, or no, gasoline. I have no intimate knowledge of this but I'd love to hear, and share, your story if you've done this.

And what not to do (some of these are mentioned in the posts above, use your best judgement):
6 Ways to Not Save on Gas

A Giveaway - Beautiful Brown Bag

Head on over to Because I'm Me and enter to win this gorgeous handbag ... perfect for yourself or as a holiday gift!

And, don't forget to enter to win the Starbuck's card here at Because I'm Frugal.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tip: Homemade Laundry Detergent

An easy to make, easy to use, cost-effective alternative to traditional laundry detergent.

In a large tub mix together 1/2 Borax and 1/2 washing soda. Grate in "some" Fels-Naptha bar soap. Mix your concoction well. Use just 1 Tbsp. per load.

I use 1 box of Borax and 1 box of washing soda, then about 1/3 bar of the soap. If I have a powdered stain treater, powdered laundry detergent, and/or powdered washing machine fabric softener I'll add some of that in too, just for the extra "oomph".

The cost of using homemade detergent is about $.01 per load. You can't beat that. Really, you can't.

This is a low-sudsing formula, when I had an HE washer I used this mix with great success. I now use it in a regular washer. It also will fill in as a dishwasher detergent in a pinch.

Some recipes call for adding water to the mix, I don't do that as it dissolves really fast in the washer and is much less messy in powdered form.

I am able to purchase washing soda at Wal-Mart and Borax at Target, but I've included links to the products on Amazon just in case you can't find them.

Menu Plan Monday 11/7/11

Each Monday I shall post our dinner menu plan for the current week.

The kids feed themselves for breakfast and lunch (usually lots of fruit, pasta, sandwiches, or leftovers) so I will only be posting the dinner menu, as that's what I cook.

Please link to your weekly menu in the comments if you are inclined. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Sunday - pizza night, salad
Monday - leftovers (kids will be gone for the night)
Tuesday - Crock pot BBQ chicken (chicken, bbq sauce), rice, salad
Wednesday - Country Frittata*, apple slices, salad
Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese, pumpkin muffins,
Friday - Chicken on the Grill, peppers and zucchini on the grill, salad
Saturday - leftover pizza

Country Frittata, from the recipe paper on top of the Philadelphia Cooking Creme container
1 tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme Original, divided (link to coupon below)
6 eggs
1/4 t black pepper
2 T butter
1 C chopped green pepper
4 green onions sliced or 1/8 cup chopped onion
1/4 C chopped smoked ham or chopped cooked turkey bacon or cooked diced chicken
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Set aside 1/4 C cooking creme.

Whisk remaining cooking creme with eggs until well blended.

Melt butter in ovenproof skillet on medium heat. Add peppers: cook and stir about 5 min, until crisp-tender. Stir in egg mixture, onions, and meat; cover. Cook on medium low 8-9 minutes, until center is almost set.

Heat broiler. Uncover frittata; sprinkle wiht cheddar. Broil, 6" from heat, 2-3 minutes or until center is set and cheese is melted. Drizzle with reserved cooking creme.

***This is a good clean-out-the-fridge recipe. You can add in cooked pasta, cooked veggies, almost any meat, and almost any cheese. Be creative.

$1 off 1 package of Philadelphia Cooking Creme
We love this stuff. The frittata is always a hit at our house. I've also used it pretty much anywhere that calls for cooked cheese - quesadillas, pastas with alfredo sauce, etc. - and the kids even like it on bagels because it's smoother than regular cream cheese.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Giveaway - Starbucks Gift Card

Contest over. Thank you. Visit Because I'm Frugal often for more offers.

 To thank you for joining me and getting this new blog off the ground I've decided to do a little giveaway. Today I'm offering a $5 Starbucks Card.

To enter leave a comment, making sure there's a valid e-mail address in there somewhere so I can contact you if you win.

To receive additional entries post about this giveaway contest, with a link to this post, on your blog, tweet, or facebook and then come back and leave a unique comment telling me each thing you did (if you FB'd and tweeted leave 2 additional comments, one for each thing, so you get two entries into the contest), again with an e-mail address to contact the winner.

The contest will end Sunday evening, November 13th around midnight and a new, just slightly bigger, giveaway contest will begin the following morning.

Free Carmex with this Coupon

Free Carmex on Black Friday at CVS with this coupon:
Save $.30 on one Carmex Lip Balm

There's also a nice Diet Coke coupon to use at Publix (I used zip code 33913), it won't result in a freebie but if you love Diet Coke like I do it'll make you happy. It makes me happy.
Save $1.50 on (2) 12 pack cans of Diet Coke or Caffeine Free Diet Coke (Redeem only at Publix)

Most coupons can be printed twice per computer.

A Few Great Coupons To Report just released a few great I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Coupons.

If you're in a Publix part of the country hold on to these for a few weeks, ICBITB! tends to go BOGO pretty regularly.

$1.50/2 I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!
$1/1 I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!
Free Bread on any Two I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Products

Sunday Paper Coupons

Just a quick head's up that there are a lot of coupons in the Sunday paper this week. I only received two coupon inserts, but one of them was chock full of coupons.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tip: Give Time and Talent

givingpresent participle of give (Verb)

  1. Freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to: "they gave her water".
  2. Bestow (love, affection, or other emotional support): "his parents gave him encouragement"; "he was very giving and supportive".
 As we approach the season of giving it's important to remember that "giving" doesn't have to be financial.

There are many other ways to help:
  • bake cookies and deliver them
  • sing to someone, or a group of someones
  • volunteer to read with a group of children or elderly
  • volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • create something using your unique talents, donate it as a gift or to be auctioned or sold
  • teach
  • repair something for someone, or teach them how to do it
  • give your time, call a service agency that interests you and ask what you can do
  • pass along information of needs, use your internet networking skills to increase awareness of a need or relief effort
  • give manual labor
This is just the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure there are as many charitable outlets as there are people.

I'd love to repost this list in the future with more ideas, please add yours in the comments.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fun and Free Wednesday (On Thursday)

Each Wednesday I will post a free, or almost free, fun family activity. Please share yours in the comments, I'd love to add some guest posts to this feature, especially from different areas of the country and world.

The kids and I planned a little adventure to use as this weeks "Fun and Free Wednesday".

We traveled to the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers, Florida. The idea behind the visit was to suggest looking for free quirky places in or near your own town and spend some time exploring. Play tourist in your own town.

image courtesy of the Shell Factory
The Shell Factory is basically a large indoor shopping area, with shells, an outdoor restaurant, a little zoo, bumper boats, and a few other little things. Entrance to all but the zoo is free.

We've been to the Shell Factory before, but not in the last few years. My memories included a Waltzing Waters light and water show set to music, glass blowing, a train room filled with moving trains and lit buildings (which was what prompted the visit as the youngest is big on trains and "The Little Engine that Could"), and other similarly neat stuff.

Well, the place had changed a bit. The trains were gone, the glass blowing had been replaced by a taxidermy display, the light/water/music show ... gone too. There is now a fun pirate room with a talking mechanical pirate and a huge Christmas shopping area -- the best part of which was a guy who came in looking for a Santa suit and he looked just like Santa (even Momma was thinking he might be the real deal ... he sure looked like the genuine article). We meandered for about 45 minutes and we were done.

image courtesy of the Shell Factory
The place seemed tired and dated, and in need of some serious energy infusion, another bit of Old Florida ready to retire. It is in a really tough location - business, tourism, hotels, restaurants have left that area and, other than the Shell Factory, there isn't much going on. The place has quite a history and is really very unique, but I'm not sure that's enough to keep it going.

We left less than mesmerized, but still with plenty to talk about on the ride home. It certainly was unique. We'll play tourist in our town again, just perhaps not there.

Here's a video of one of the Waltzing Waters shows, just because that had been our favorite thing at The Shell Factory and the attraction we were most disappointed to see was no longer there.. If you ever have the chance to see one of these shows do. It's really beautiful.

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