Monday, February 9, 2009

More Money Saving Tips

1. Stop drinking pop and drink more water! You will save SO much money!
2. Go over your grocery list. Try buying more off-brands. I rarely buy name brand items, and you would never know the difference. My family has never said anything about it, and I am saving a lot of money.

3. Buy clothes and shoes for you and the kids from the clearance racks. When I am shopping, I almost NEVER buy anything full price...this was a difficult concept for my husband to grasp. He grew up paying full price for everything, but we just don't have that kind of money. A few weeks ago, we went to Express, and they were having their clearance sale. I was rummaging through the boxes, and asked my husband if he had looked, and he said that he had not because he only liked the full price items. So...I started looking through the men's boxes, and found some great deals! He ended up getting five ties and a pair of cufflinks for $30.00! We were so excited because one tie from Express usually costs about $49.00!

4. Get movies from the library instead of renting them.
5. Do the same with books, borrow instead of buy. Most people only read them once anyway.
6. Go on a picnic instead of going to the restaurant. It is more fun and much cheaper, and your kids will love you for it!
7. Toss all your change in a "piggy bank" of some kind and let it accumulate for a few months or longer. You will think you struck it rich! (Not really, but it does add up) We have a container in our laundry room that we throw all of our change's almost full...can't wait to cash it in and see how much we've saved!
8. If you have all the movie channels, cut them down a bit. Most of the movies rotate through them all anyway. We have very limited basic cable, and it is good enough for us. We have found that most of the shows that we watch are on regular network tv anyway.
9. Do your laundry at night. The rates are cheaper.
10. Give your clothes an extra spin as it costs less to run a washer than the dryer. We have started doing this, and a huge load of laundry only takes about 30 minutes to dry.
11. Ask your credit card companies for a lower interest rate. Sometimes rather than lose a good customer, they will grant your wish! Better yet, don't use credit cards at all!
12. Buy your holiday decorations AFTER the holiday. You can save up to 75% or more. We did this last year with Christmas ornaments, and got all new ornaments for a large tree for about $20.00 total!
13. Turn down your heat a couple degrees more at night and throw on an extra blanket. Better yet, if you can, turn it off completely.
14. Clean behind your refrigerator at least once a year to get out all the dust and dirt that can cost you more money. You'd be surprised at how much gross stuff accumulates!
15. Save empty bread bags and grocery bags instead of buying box after box of storage bags.
16. Keep your car tuned and your tires properly inflated to save money on gas. This will also increase the life of your car.
17. Buy inexpensive fabric for cloth napkins, doilies, etc.
18. Be creative when it comes to decorating. Use sheets to make curtains. Use an old quilt as a cozy wall-hanging. Create an artful display with family photos. I made a curtain valance out of fabric napkins and some ribbon that I had. It is so cute, and everyone loves them!
19. Save the new, convenient plastic coffee cans with handles. Paint them, decorate them and use them for organizers for kids art supplies, your CDs, pens & pencils, food envelopes, recipes, craft supplies, etc.
20. Turn unused stuff into money. If you have a gift you haven't used or that shirt you bought and never wore, take them back to the store. You might not get full price, but some is better than none. Or, re-gift the item, and you won't have to spend money to buy a new one!
21. Use petroleum jelly to remove make-up. It is much more economical then beauty products made for removing make-up. You can also mix petroleum jelly with lipstick in a container to make a tinted lipgloss.
22. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to kill germs in cuts and sores rather then expensive antibiotic medicines. It doesn't burn or sting, and kids will like to watch it bubble.
23. Make windowsill or container gardens and grow herbs and fresh vegetables. This is a project we will be starting in a few weeks when it gets a little warmer!
24. Instead of a night on the town, send the kids to Grandma's and have a romantic night at home. Trust me...your husband will love the idea! :)
25. Make and STICK TO a budget!
Try not to slip, but if you do, get back on-board and stick with it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Save Money on Groceries

Happy Saturday everyone! I don't know about you, but Saturdays are typically the day that my family goes to the grocery store and plans our meals for the week. I thought these tips might be useful for you and your family the next time that you go to the store! Happy shopping and saving!

Expert Advice:

1. "Plan ahead of time, and shop with a grocery list. Buy only what is on your list. Prior to that, you can plan your meals. We know it does work" to lower bills, said Carolyn Leperi, extension agent with the LSU AgCenter in St. Bernard Parish.
2. Plan quick meals of sandwiches or food you make in advance, for nights when family members will be busy with meetings, sports or school activities.
3. Use the weekly grocery ads and circulars as you plan. Focus menus on seasonal foods and vegetables, and what's on sale.
4. Have variety in the plan, so you don't get tired of the same old thing and be tempted to go out to eat.
5. Buy things that can be used multiple ways. Leperi suggested cooking a turkey as a healthful, inexpensive protein. You can use it in your favorite chicken dishes and put some in the freezer for future meals. A beef roast can be turned into pot roast, shish kebabs, shredded barbecue and sloppy joes.
6. Use coupons. Consumer Reports says Americans saved an estimated $30 billion with manufacturers coupons last year. Most of the 278 billion coupons redeemed last year came from Sunday newspaper sections.
Check manufacturers' Web sites for coupons for their products, as well as specialty Internet coupon sites.
7. Keep on hand the ingredients for a fast meal for nights there is nothing else to eat. A backup meal in your pantry or freezer can keep you from busting the food budget (or your diet) with delivered pizza or fast food.
8. Track contents of your pantry and freezer so you don't buy what you already have.
9. Keep a running grocery list. Any time something is used up or is almost gone, add it to the list.
Supermarket strategies
10. Never grocery shop when you're hungry. This is the No. 1 rule for controlling impulse purchases.
11. Shop alone if you can. If you have to take children, Tucker suggested letting them prepare their own grocery list of products they can actually pick up and put in the basket. Let them select a special fruit or vegetable that they really like.
12. If possible, grocery shop at a quiet time so you can compare prices. Leperi said Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best.
13. Even though you have your plan and list, be flexible enough to take advantage of any in-store specials you might find.
14. Ask for rain checks if a sale product is out of stock.

15. Avoid processed food whenever possible. For years the trend has been toward convenience, but processed food costs more. Last week at a New Orleans supermarket, containers of peeled, cut-up cantaloupe were $3.79 per pound. Nearby, the special price on jumbo cantaloupes was four for $5, or $1.25 each, for those who signed up for the free frequent-shopper card.
16. Stock up on basics when they are on sale.
17. Pay attention to unit pricing, the fine print on the little tags on the grocery shelves. It's an easy way to see how brands compare.
18. With meat, figure cost per serving instead of cost per pound. A pound of ground or boneless meat will make more servings than a pound with a lot of bone or fat.

Grocery Store Tricks and Tips

19. Know the secrets of the supermarket. They are scientifically designed to sell you groceries -- and not necessarily the ones you have on your list. Impulse purchase temptations lurk everywhere.
20. Beware the forced march through the aisles. Milk and meat are at the back of the store so shoppers must walk through the store to get to them.
21. Don't be tempted by the "end caps," the big stacks at the ends of each aisle. They do not always indicate a sale.

22. Look beyond eye level on the shelves. Manufacturers pay for this prime space. Look high and low for comparable items. This is where I almost always find the best deals!
23. Consider store brands. Store brands cost less because less money is spent on advertising and packaging. Savings can approach 50 percent.
24. Fight check-out temptation. Consumer Reports and other sources note that the candy-and-gum-and-magazine laden area right around the cash register is one of the most profitable areas of the store. Packages a few steps away are much more economical. I personally check out in the line where you can buy cigarettes, and where they are displayed because I don't smoke and that is not a temptation for me or my two year old son!
25. Buy day-old bread and keep it in the freezer for toast.
26. Choose plain frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables in special sauces are much more costly than plain frozen or canned vegetables. Also, watch the sodium levels in canned veggies.
27. When grilling outdoors, cook an extra entree to heat later in the week. Undercook the second meal just slightly so it will be perfect when reheated.
28. Switch to water or tea. Soft drinks are expensive.

29. Try store brand soft drinks, if you must have soft drinks.
30. Bring soft drinks from home, if you tend to buy drinks from the machine at work. This will save you tons of money!
31. Pack a lunch to take to work. Use up leftovers or "planned overs." I haven't eaten out for lunch in over two months, and it has saved so much I've dropped three pants sizes!

Ideas that may not be for everyone....but if you want to save, try them!

32. Drink tap water instead of bottled water. If you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents."
33. Learn how to clean a fish. This could save you tons!

34. Make coffee at home. (Starbucks is raising prices, too.) Chill leftover coffee to use in iced coffee or lattes. Iced latte: Combine 1 part chilled coffee to 1/2 to 1 part milk and sweetener if desired. Stir well and pour over ice in a tall glass. Iced mocha: Add 1 or 2 squirts chocolate syrup to the milk and coffee.
35. Cut up your own produce and meat. Bonus: It's safer to eat, too. Many of the incidents of food-borne illness linked to fresh produce are traced to processing.
36. Grate your own cheese, carrots, cabbage, etc.
37. Buy the bigger package of snacks and repackage it into smaller bags yourself. This has saved us tons of money with our two year old! Plus, you're not tempted to overeat.
38. Find a shopping buddy, particularly if you're single or live in a small household. You can share big items or the price of gas to the supermarket, or the cost of a warehouse membership, where you can split large packages.
39. Plan to buy nothing but groceries at the supermarket. Toiletries cost 20 to 40 percent less at discount stores.
40. Shop at a farmers market. There are many benefits to this strategy. Here's one: The produce is so fresh it will last for weeks. This is one of our favorite family outtings on Saturdays in the Spring and Summer!
42. Change a flower bed to a mini vegetable garden.

43. Join a food co-op. Members order organic food online and split the cases as well as the work to sort it into individual orders.

44. Seek help if you need it. Many churches offer Angel Food programs. Participants do not have to be church members. Based in Monroe, Ga., the non-profit, non-denominational organization is now in 32 states. Angel Food is a medium-sized monthly box of fresh and frozen food for $30, generally enough to feed a family of four for about a week or one person for almost a month. The group's literature says the average retail value of food in the box is about $50. Menus change every month. For more information, see
45. Use one weekend to make and freeze food for a month of meals. Or make your own mixes for all kinds of dishes.

46. Buy a side of naturally raised, hormone-free beef (or pork).

47. Try stocking up when it's cheap and freezing milk. Full-fat or 2-percent works better than skim. Just be sure to pour off the top couple of inches so the jug doesn't explode when the milk expands. We do this a lot...just make sure to pull it out of the freezer a couple of days before you need it and move it to the takes a while to thaw.
48. Make your own whole-grain cereal with cholesterol-lowering oats. Store brands of old-fashioned oats were 7 to 11 cents an ounce last week.

49. On the weekend, make a double batch of a favorite recipe. Freeze or store half for another meal later in the week.
50. Eat more beans. Beans of all kinds are nutritional powerhouses. And added plus...they are super cheap!

Friday, February 6, 2009

All of my old posts!

Okay everyone...there was really no good way to move all of the information from my old site to this new one, so I just went through and copied it all onto this post. I apologize for the formatting...I know that it's not great! I did want to move it all over though, because there was a lot of useful information. I didn't move the pictures, but I will be adding pictures to this new site. Look through these posts for any information that you previously viewed! For those of you who are new, browse through this post for some great info!

I'm Back!!!
Hi Everyone! I am so sorry that I haven't posted anything in several weeks! My work schedule has been hectic and we have been redoing our kitchen, and I have been selling quite a few orders in my Etsy shop, so I have been busy crafting. I really am going to try and get back on a schedule of posting several times a week now!
Today, I am going to talk about an EASY way to make money! I wasn't so sure about it, but in less than one week, my husband and I have made around $200.00! How did we do this? Instead of selling back my husband's college books to the bookstore and getting maybe $5-$15 per book, we listed his books on! This is an eBay sponsored site where you can sell movies, books, music, etc. and they actually do not charge you one cent to list your items! We listed my husbands books on the site six days ago, and they have been selling like crazy! He even got $70 for one book! The site does charge a very minimal fee if you sell the item, but it is such a small percentage, you won't even miss it. You do have to pay to ship the item to the buyer, but it doesn't cost that much. So...on that $70 book that we sold, we are actually getting to keep about $62 of it after the fee and shipping!

So...if you have any old books around that are collecting dust, or old movies or CD's, check out! It is very easy to use, and you might just make a little bit of money (or in our case, a lot of money)!
Also, if you are needing to buy any of these items, I would highly recommend checking out this site as well. Why pay $15 for a CD when you can buy it for $2? It just doesn't make sense! I know that we are going to look for all of my husband's school books on this site from now on. The days of paying the bookstore price are over for us!

A Few Tips for Saving Money with Kids
While my son is only two, I am finding out very quickly that it takes quite a bit of money to raise him. I mean, I knew it would take a lot of money for diapers, school trips, maybe a car, and college, but I never really thought about all of the small things that add up over time. I am devoting this post to helping you all save money while raising your children.1. Watch for kids' stuff sales, especially for toys and newborn clothing. These are common gift items that often end up at sales before they are even used. You may even find the store tags still attached. I know in the Oklahoma City area where I live, there are huge consignment sales at the fairgrounds a couple of times a year, and they have great buys!2. Bundle up your kids at night. Put socks on under their flannel sleeper pajamas, and teach them how to pull the blanket up. Now you can turn the thermostat down a notch overnight. Obviously, don't freeze them, but a degree or two won't hurt, and it will save you some money.3. Skip the pre-packaged snacks. Instead of fruit snacks and granola bars, try crackers and apple slices or cheese. If you're about to run some errands, take along some cereal in a sandwich bag, or my son's favorite, pretzel flavored Goldfish crackers.4. Stop buying juice boxes. On the road, just bring along sippy cups. You can refill them for free at water fountains.I know that this is only a few ideas, but I will give you some more later (dinner is ready, and since we actually cooked, I'd like to eat it while it's hot!). This should get you started though!

We Eat Out Way Too Much!
I am so good at saving money and finding ways to cut corners when it comes to expenses, but my one true weakness is eating out! I love to go out to dinner! You have great conversation, your food is prepared for you, and you don't have to clean the dishes. This year, my main goal is to cut back the money we spend eating out.For those of you who are familiar with Dave Ramsey's philosophy, he believes in dividing your money into envelopes for different categories of spending. While I think this is great for those who cannot control their spending, the only aspect that I truly struggle with is the money that we spend on food. So, I am going to apply Dave's philosophy to our food budget. Each paycheck, I am going to set aside a certain amount of money that we can spend on food and put it in an envelope. Once we have gone through the money in the envelope, that is it for the month. We will have to live off of PB&J I guess. I really hope that this will help us to spend less on food!I don't know if this will help you at all, but I hope that it does. You can apply this philosophy in any area that you spend too much money on (clothes, makeup, household decorations, etc.). Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you. I will give you an update on how we are doing within the next month or so! Good luck!

Time for a Fresh Start!
Happy New Year's everyone! I hope that everyone sets a goal for themselves this year and that you are able to stick with it and succeed. And...I hope that one of your goals is to live a little more frugally as our country is in an uncertain time right now and no one knows what is going to happen in the future. Hopefully, I have inspired you to find some ways new ways to cut back on your spending, and that I will continue to inspire you as this new year progresses.I am going to make this a short entry today, as I have a rare moment to actually spend the entire day with my husband and son, and I am going to enjoy it!Here are a few different uses for everyday items around the house!Ice Cube Trays1. Add a squirt of lemon to your ice cube tray and you'll have lemon flavored ice for your tea.2. Kool-Aid flavored ice for the kids, mix the flavors up for fun.3. Use trays as drawer organizers for paperclips or sewing notions.4. Ice cube trays are the perfect size for freezing small portions of left over baby food, or making your own homemade.5. Freeze tablespoon sized amounts of broth or special sauces for cooking soups and casseroles.Jelly Jars/Mason Jars1. Remove labels and use for gifts, placing a pretty piece of fabric on top and tying with a ribbon.2. Great for pencil holders.3. Fill with candy.4. Use for storing cotton balls or q-tips in the bathroom.5. Store sewing notions, crafts or hardware.Egg Cartons1. Great seed starters, get a head start on Spring.2. Storing plastic Easter eggs.3. Make a memory game for children, matching up items from around the house.4. Storage for collectible rocks.5. Jewelry box, great for earrings.Lemons1. Mix with a little salt for cleaning copper or brass.2. Remove odors from hands or cutting boards.3. Keep a supply on hand for seasoning poultry and seafood.Baking Soda1. Add to a damp cloth and remove crayon and marker from walls and furniture.2. Pour a little down the drain with some vinegar, let sit 5 minutes and wash down with warm water to clear clogged drains.3. Mix with facial cleanser to make an exfoliator.4. Ease the pain of bee stings.5. Line a litter box to prevent odors.6. Keep an open box in the fridge to prevent odors, put one in the freezer too.7. Use ¼ c. on a damp food burned pan, let sit for 5 minutes and scrub clean easily.Well...that's all for today! Once again, Happy New Year's!

Organize It!

With the New Year rapidly approaching, most people make some type of resolution. One of the top resolutions that people make is to become more organized. This is a great time to organize your home, as you will feel so much calmer with a home that is neat and tidy. This is one thing that my family has decided to implement in 2009.
As you know, I am all about finding ways to save money! Organizing can be expensive if you are not careful. One of the first things that you need to do is take inventory of everything that you are wanting to tidy up. If you do not do this, you are more than likely going to go to the store and buy a bunch of containers that may not be suitable for your possessions. This will cause you to spend money that you should have spent on something else, and if you are like most people, you are not going to return the item, thus creating even more items that you have to store!
Once you have a list of what you think that you need, my best suggestion is to go to a dollar store. They have so many different types of organizational products, and more than likely, you will find most of what you need at these stores. If you cannot find some of the items at the dollar store, I recommend going to Target. They have a location in the front of most stores called "The Dollar Spot," and you can find some great deals. I would suggest going soon, as their items change frequently, and I just saw organizational items two days ago. They had the large canvas boxes (without a lid) for $2.50. If you buy these elsewhere in Target, they cost at least $10.00! They also had those closet organizers for sweaters/purses (five shelves that hang in the closet) for $2.50! The cheapest that I have found these other places is $5.99. I stocked up!
If you still can't find everything that you need, I would go to a discount store such as Ross. It took me forever to drag my husband into Ross, because he thought it was such a horrible store, but when he saw the housewares section, he was sold! They have the most amazing housewares at a great discounted price! Now, this is one of the only places that we shop for items for our home. Their organizational selection is great! Check them out!
My last suggestion would be to search online for item you are wanting. You can get tons of items for a really inexpensive price on EBay, or If you don't find what you are looking for, get on, and find your desired item at one of the stores on their site. Not only will you get a good deal, but you will receive cash back!
I hope that I have given you some choices/ideas for places to find storage options. Remember, if you just have too much stuff, have a garage sale, and clear out some space and pad your wallet! Good luck and happy organizing!

I Love EBates!
So this is seriously one of my new favorite sites! This website lists tons of stores that we all shop at, and gives you discounts, cash back, and coupons if you purchase an item through ebates. It is so easy!Say you want to purchase something online at Target. Go to, and locate Target. It will tell you how much cash back you get (usually 2-8%). Then, click on the Target link, and then find your item on the Target website. As long as you go through the website this way, ebates takes care of everything for you! If you purchase a $100.00 item, and get 6% cash back, you will get an email in a few days saying that $6.00 has been credited to your account. Ebates sends out checks quarterly for the cash back you have accumulated. The way I see it, if you have to make an online purchase, you might as well check on Ebates and see if the store is listed! After all, who doesn't like to get cash back on purchases?!

Save $988 Per Year
All you have to do is pack your lunch instead of buying it! I know...this is really hard for some people to do, but you need to just bite the bullet and take your lunch. You will save so much money-on average, $988 per year-and you will be eating a lot healthier. Most people who do pack their lunch everyday get stuck in a rut and pack the same thing. Most of the time, they will get sick of this, and quickly fall out of the habit and fall back into eating out everyday. Here are some ideas of different things that you can pack so that you won't get tired of eating the same thing everyday.

Monday Lunch:
PBJ sandwich on wheat bread, raw carrots, baked chips and an apple:
Peanut butter ($0.11)Jelly($0.07)Wheat bread ($0.30)Raw carrots ($0.12)Bag of baked chips ($0.28)Apple ($0.50)Water from the fountain (free).Cost: $1.38
Tuesday Lunch: Turkey sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, light mayo, carrot sticks, canned pears in light syrup and a snack pack of Oreos:
Turkey sandwich on wheat bread ($1.30)Lettuce ($0.25)Tomato ($0.25)Light mayo ($0.14)Carrot sticks ($0.12)Canned pears in light syrup ($0.69)Snack pack of Oreos ($0.41)Fountain or cooler water again (still free)Cost: $3.16
Wednesday Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich, banana, celery sticks with peanut butter, baked chips
Tuna sandwich (light tuna canned in water on wheat bread with light mayo) ($1.00)Banana ($0.25)Celery sticks with peanut butter ($0.25 + $0.11)Bag of baked chips ($0.28)Water from the water fountain (free again)Cost: $2.00
Thursday lunch:Repeat of Monday.Cost: $1.38
Friday lunch:Repeat of Tuesday—have to use that lunch meat!
Cost: $3.16
For those of you on a diet, here is an idea for a weeks worth of lunches:
Fitness Expert Alan Harris' 5-Day Meal Plan*
Monday * Alan's Awesome Salad3 to 5 of your favorite vegetables (lettuce, tomato, carrots, broccoli and peppers) to make 2 to 4 cups of salad 1 to 2 tablespoons of favorite fat-free, low calorie dressing (200-300 calories)Optional ingredients: add 1 piece of your favorite fruit (sliced) or a small can of solid white Albacore tuna in water (drained) or 1/4 pound of shrimp or crabmeat (164 calories)Prepare vegetables in airtight container. If adding seafood, place in a separate airtight container and add at mealtime to ensure lettuce does not will. Prepare dressing and add at mealtime.** If you are still hungry, add 1/2 cup of yogurt (60 calories) or a 4-ounce cup of sugar-free pudding (80 calories)Fight the snack attack: one apple (80 to 100 calories)* Tuesday * Allan's Fantastic Flour tortilla wraps and a side of a baked sweet potato1 or 2 Ole Flour tortillas (81 calories per tortilla) select 2 to 3 vegetables (including lettuce, tomato and raw or steamed broccoli** Optional ingredients include 1 slice of low-calorie cheese (40 calories); lean ham or turkey breast (60 calories per 3 slices); 2 tablespoons of little mayonnaise (60 to 80 calories) 1 baked sweet potato (175 calories). Eat with the skin intact.Prepare salad in airtight container. Prepare dressing separately and mix at mealtime.Fight the snack: Choose a banana (150 calories)*
Wednesday * It's Time For a Chili Cookoff!Lean Turkey or Ground Beef Chili 2 cans of cooked kidney beans (drained) 2 cans of diced tomatoes (drained) 2 cans of tomato sauce/paste 1 cup of brown rice, cooked 1 1/2 pounds of 93 percent lean and 7 fat ground turkey or beef* Cook meat on top of stove in large saucepan low heat for about 6 minutes; add kidney beans. diced tomatoes and tomato sauce/paste. Serve on top of brown rice (170 calories per two cup serving).*** Makes 2 to 3 lunches.Fight the snack attack: Choose an orange (63 to 100 calories)*
Thursday * Sandwich2 slices of low-calorie bread (40 calories each slice) Lean ham or turkey breast (60 calories per 3 slices) or 1 can of solid white albacore tuna in water (drained) 1 slice low-calorie cheese (40 calories) 2 tablespoon of favorite fat-free, low-calorie dressing or 1 tablespoon of little mayonnaise (50 to 80 calories).Wrap bread and all ingredients separately, and combines at mealtime to avoid the bread becoming soggy.Fight snack attack: Choose 1 cup grapes (80 calories)*
Friday * Chicken or Seafood Stir-fry1 4-ounce slice of breast of chicken or (1/4 pound of shrimp or crabmeat) 2 to 4 cups of steamed broccoli, carrots, red peppers, water chestnuts (drained) mushrooms and celery 1/4 onion, diced 1/3 cup soy sauceWhile vegetables are steaming, spray a saucepan with nonstick cooking spray and saute chicken breast and onions over low heat. Reduced heat. Remove from heat. When vegetables are tender, add to the sauteed chicken and onions. Add 1/3 of a cup of soy sauce. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes and remove from heat. (Makes enough for two lunches). (About 175 calories per serving).Fight the snack attack: Choose an apple (80 to 100 calories)

Source: Fitness expert Alan Harris, author of Absolute Body Power

Here are 15 more ideas to help you out!
1. Pasta Lover's Lunch Salad. Pack a cold pasta salad and a plastic fork, and your pasta lover will love you, too! Make your salad with lean meat or low-fat cheese (so it has some protein), lots of vegetables to boost fiber and nutrition, and use a whole-grain blend pasta, like Barilla Plus. Then just drizzle some light vinaigrette over the top and toss.
2. Pita Pocket Sandwich. Pack your whole-grain pita pocket with chicken Caesar salad, or any other lean meat or cheese filler mixed with vegetables and dark green lettuce.
3. The Fruit and Cheese Plate Special. Make crispy cracker sandwiches with whole-wheat crackers, slices of assorted cheese, and lean meats. Don't forget the fruit, which goes nicely with the cheese and adds fiber and nutrition.
4. Peanut Butter Fun Pack. Pack 1/8 cup of natural-style peanut butter, along with a plastic knife or spoon, wheat crackers, and celery sticks, and you have a peanut butter fun pack!
5. Bagel With Cream Cheese, Please. Bagels are a wonderful foundation for hardy sandwiches that stand up to being in a backpack or locker all morning. You can toast a bagel in the morning and simply spread some light cream cheese in the middle. Or make a bagel sandwich with, say, a little light cream cheese, some turkey, and cranberry sauce, then top it off with alfalfa sprouts or Romaine lettuce.
6. Carry a Cobb Salad. Plastic containers can hold the makings of a delicious salad lunch. Fill it with chopped green lettuce, chopped hard-boiled egg, light cheese, and/or lean ham. You can buy packets of light dressing, or just use extra packets of light salad dressing left over from your last trip to the fast-food chain.
7. It's a Wrap! Wraps are a nice change of pace from the usual sandwich. Use one of the new higher-fiber tortillas, like the multigrain flour tortillas available in most supermarkets. Then fill it up with chicken Caesar salad or assorted lean meats, cheese, tomato, sliced onion, shredded Romaine lettuce, and light dressing. Just roll it up and wrap in foil.
8. Noodle Soup Cups. Many offices offer a hot water dispenser so that you can add hot water to packaged noodle soup cups. Some brands are higher in sodium and fat, and lower in fiber than others. Check out the options in stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.
9. Veggie Sushi. Not all of you will go for this one, but there are some out there who really like seaweed-wrapped sushi rolls. You can now buy pre-made sushi at many supermarkets, too. Choosing the veggie-filled sushi means there's no chance the sushi will get a little "fishy" while it's in your lunch bag.
10. Toss Some Taco Salad. If taco salad is a favorite, you can pack the meat mixture tossed with the shredded cheese, tomatoes, and chopped Romaine lettuce in a plastic container. At lunchtime, you can add crunchy, reduced-fat tortilla chips and a little light dressing.
11. Fried Rice Can Be Fun. When made with eggs or chopped lean ham and lots of veggies, cold fried rice can be a satisfying noontime treat. Make your own, or plan on leftovers the night before if you're ordering from a restaurant.
12. Talk About Taquitos. I started doing this last year, and it seems to have stuck. I pop some Bean and Cheese frozen Taquitos from Walmart into my toaster oven in the morning, then let them cool. Then, I wrap them in foil and make sure they stay cool by packing a frozen juice box or small water bottle. By noon, they are cold, fun finger food.
13. BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Your child can assemble a yummy BBQ grilled chicken sandwich fresh at lunchtime. Just pack a grilled, boneless, skinless chicken breast (you can make it in your indoor grill the night before) with some lettuce and sliced tomato in one baggie, and a whole-wheat bun in another. Add a packet of BBQ sauce to the lunch bag, and it's good to go.
14. Meal Muffins. Certain types of muffins work as a lunch entrée. If you bake them over the weekend and keep them in the freezer, you just have to pull one or two out in the morning. By lunch, they are nicely chilled and ready to eat. Try ham and cheese muffins, Mexican Cornbread muffins, or quiche muffins (quiche filling, baked with or without crust in a muffin pan).
15. Turkey Jerky. You can round off a lunch packed with fruit, vegetables, and maybe trail mix or crackers by adding some high-protein turkey jerky. I found a turkey at Trader Joe's that is made without nitrites, MSG, or artificial ingredients, and the turkey is raised without added hormones. Can't argue with that. A 2-ounce serving of turkey jerky contains: 120 calories, 22 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 540 milligrams of sodium, and 20 milligrams of cholesterol.

Hopefully, I have inspired you to start packing your lunch! Even if you don't feel like you can take your lunch every day, just taking it two to three days a week will still save you big money. Good luck!

Crazy, Busy Time of Year!
So I have been so stressed out about everything that I have had to get done recently! I think that I am finally caught up and maybe I can breathe and blog again! This is not going to be able to be very long because my husband needs the computer for homework, but I wanted to give you all a few tips since I haven't been around in a while!

Tip 1. You know how when you run out of a tube of lipstick and it is so frustrating because you can see that there is still some in there but you can't get to it? Well, I love this idea! Get a clean pill box or contact case. Dig out the remaining lipstick with a toothpick-you will be surprised how much you actually get out of the tube! Put the lipstick in the pill box or contact case and mix it with some Vaseline or petroleum jelly. You have tinted lip gloss that you haven't spent a fortune on!
Tip 2. This is the time of year when your skin gets so dry and chapped. This is also the time of year when strawberries don't taste so great, but the store still carries them-many times on sale! So....why not make a great Strawberry Hand and Foot Exfoliant! You just need 8-10 strawberries, 2 tablespoons apricot oil or olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of course salt, such as Kosher Salt or Sea Salt. Mix these ingredients together into a paste and massage into hands and feet. Rinse and pat dry.
Tip 3. I love chocolate! Unfortunately, my waistline loves it too! This Chocolate Facial Mask is one way for me to enjoy my chocolate without putting on the pounds! This decadent mask is actually an excellent moisturizer -- it leaves your skin baby soft. Recommended for normal skin. The ingredients are: 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 3 tbsp. heavy cream, 2 tsp. cottage cheese, ¼ cup honey, 3 tsp. oatmeal. Mix all ingredients together (a bullet blender is ideal, but not required) and smooth onto face. Relax for ten 10 minutes, then wash off with warm water.With such a stressful time of year, relax and enjoy some of these inexpensive ideas!

Sorry it's been so long....
I know it's been a while since my last post, but life is so crazy right now! My little side business is booming (, which is great, but I don't have quite as much time to blog as I would like. Can you believe that it is only two weeks until Thanksgiving, and six weeks until Christmas?!? If you haven't started your Christmas shopping, I would recommend that you do it soon! I have found that the more time you have to buy gifts, the less money you will spend because you won't be desperate to find a gift, and you can shop around for the best prices and sales! Better yet, if you get a head start, you can really cut your costs by making gifts which your friends and family will appreciate more than a store bought gift, and you will spend a fraction of what you normally do. I have decided to dedicate this post to gifts that you can make inexpensively!-If you are crafty-make something!Paint a pictureMake a scrapbookMake a picture frameSew something-cute aprons are really coming back into style and are easy to make!Embroider a dish cloth or a hand towelMonogram a towel or a pillowcase-Make laundry detergent (find my recipe within my blog) and put it in a really cute jar.-If you cook, give your goodies as a gift! People love to eat!Bake cookies and put them in a cute containerMake truffles and put them in a pretty box (google truffle recipes...there are easy ones!)Make homemade salsaMake banana bread or another favorite breadChristmas candy is always appreciated-Make a jar gift (once again, google for tons of ideas!)Cookie mix in a jarSoup mix in a jarSalsa mix in a jarPie in a jarCake in a jarCocoa in a jar-Create your own gift basketsBath and Body productsArt suppliesPolka dot products-Have a family portrait made (Portrait Innovations will take a great photo for $9.95). Buy an inexpensive frame (Hobby Lobby runs half price specials all the time) and add the photo. Give this to all of your friends and family. Very inexpensive, and everyone loves pictures!There are lots of other things that you can make! Hopefully, this will get you started. If you need more ideas, the internet is a great resource to find different ideas.

More Money Saving Tips
Switch to cloth napkins.
Cut back the cable-or better yet...cancel it!
Look for a value Internet package.
Cancel the land line telephone. If most of your calls are to other cell users in the same network, consider canceling the land line and using a cell phone exclusively.
Have a no-spend weekend. Sometimes it takes a break in the routine to get spending under control. Try to go an entire weekend without eating out, shopping, or ordering something online. Weekends are definitely my family's weakness. We will go the whole week without spending anything, and totally blow it on the weekend!
Carpool a few times a week. Take turns carpooling with a coworker, especially if they live close to you. Pick them up and take them home this week, and next week allow them to return the favor.
Check your vehicle’s tire pressure each time you fill up.
Do not buy new cars - Buy used car, and drive it until the wheels fall off.
Consolidate errands into one trip.
Ride a bike for short commutes.
Unload the trunk, and remove unused cargo racks. Added weight in the trunk reduces gas mileage, as does the added wind drag from an unused cargo rack.
Eat like a kid again. Eat off the same plates your kids eat off, which will force you to eat smaller portions. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Drink tap water.
Eat less meat.
Don’t be afraid to buy generic. Forget brand loyalty when trying to save money.
When in the store, look high and low for deals, literally. Marketers know that eye-level is the place most people tend to shop, so they put the items with the highest margins right in front of you. Better deals are usually found on lower shelves.
Water down juices. When we open a new apple juice for our kids we pour up half in the old container and add about 1/4 - 1/2 container of water to each bottle. This makes each new bottle last a little longer, and dilutes the grams of sugar and calories per serving.
Shop at a farmers market for in-season produce. Few things taste as good as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Avoid using the oven during the summer. Ovens heat up a house faster than any other appliance, adding to the strain on air conditioner systems. Plan meals that don’t require baking, or bake in the late evening and microwave the next night.
When eating out, divide entrees in half and save the rest for a second meal. Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal arrives and save half for tomorrow’s lunch. Restaurants are notorious for piling on portions, so this move will help you spread out the calories and cost of the meal. Also try ordering off of the kid's meal. Most restaurants don't mind, and you can save a ton of money!
Grow your own vegetables.
Say no to fast food.
Properly insulate your home.
Plant a tree next to your outside air conditioning unit. By shading your outside unit you may improve the operating efficiency of the overall system by 20%. Take care not to plant to close to the unit to maintain proper airflow.
Replace home air conditioner filter every month when in use. Manufacturers suggest changing your filter every 90 days, but I’ve found systems work better when changed once a month, especially in peak times like summer. Instead of picking up a top-of-the-line air filter, go for a medium grade filter and just buy more of them.
Switch to CFL lighting inside, and solar lighting outside. CFL bulbs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, and give off less heat. Solar lights used to line pathways around your home run off a rechargeable battery that is charged up during the day by the sun, and lasts for several hours after dark.
Take a quick shower. Get in, soap up, rinse off and get out. And put a low-flow showerhead on there while your at it.
Reuse bath towels. Sounds gross at first, but think about it - you are clean when you get out of the shower. Hang up towels after each use to thoroughly dry, and only add them to the dirty clothes pile after every three or four uses.
Don’t run water when shaving or brushing teeth. While shaving pull up the sink stopper and pool a little water in the sink for rinsing your razor.
Skip baths. Even though they are relaxing, baths require a lot of H20 and drive up your water bill. They also drain your home’s supply of hot water, forcing your hot water heater to replenish the supply, further adding to your utility costs. Plus...when you think about it-baths are gross! You are bathing in your own filth!
Figure out how to do things for yourself, rather than paying an expert.
Diversify your income. Look for ways to increase your income outside of your full time job. Do you have a hobby that you could make a small business?
Cross train at work to make yourself more valuable. Make yourself more layoff-proof by taking on a new challenge, and adding to your skill set.
Look into 3-month supplies of prescriptions via mail order. Many employers now offer as part of the health insurance plan a 3-month mail order prescription plan.
Quit smoking. Besides being an incredibly unhealthy habit, smoking is expensive!
Buy wrinkle-free clothes to avoid dry cleaning bill. I have a golden rule about clothing purchases. Look for kids clothes at yard sales and thrift shops. Kids have a way of outgrowing most of their clothes before they “out use” them. For this reason, many times you can find excellent buys on clothing at thrift shops and yard sales.
Make your own presents. You don't have to send very much money, and the gift will mean a lot more than a store-bought gift!

Homemade Cleaning Products
With a few simple ingredients to hand, you can make your own multipurpose cleaning products at a fraction of the cost and without polluting your home with harmful chemicals.The basic ingredients are:White Vinegar – excellent for killing germs, bacteria and mould. Baking Soda – A great deodoriser and scourer.Lemon Juice – the acid provides antibacterial and antiseptic properties as well as providing a wonderful fresh smell to your home.Olive Oil – Good for polishing wood surfaces and adding shine to stainless steel.Salt – A multi purpose cleaner and deodoriser, great for frugal cleaning as it is so cheap to buy.
Basic Cleaning Recipes-All of these recipes have been tested, but it always best to try the cleaner on a small area first to make sure that it does not harm your item.All these cleaners can be made up and kept for later use.
Multipurpose Worktop, Back Splash and Floor Cleaner:1 cup white vinegar1 cup waterMix together and wipe over surfaces
Wood polish:1 cup olive oilHalf cup lemon juiceMix together. Use a small amount on a soft cloth. After applying, rub off and buff with a dry soft cloth.
Fridge odors1 cup dry baking sodaPlace on a saucer and place in the back of the fridge. The soda will neutralise bad odors.If mixed with warm water can be used to wash the inside of the fridge out.
Blocked drain cleaner:1 cup salt1 cup baking soda1 cup vinegar Mix together and pour down the drain. Leave for a few minutes then flush the drain with hot water.
Stubborn stains:1 cup baking soda 1 cup salt 1 cup borax Mix and pour onto the stain. Leave for at least 10 minutes then using a scourer rub off. (Only use on surfaces that will not scratch)Carpet freshener:Dry baking soda Sprinkle on the carpet and leave for 1 hour then vacuum up.

Good luck! I hope you find these as great as I have!

Money Saving Tips-LEMONS!
So I have found that lemons are a great way to save money! You can usually buy a large bag of lemons for fairly cheap, and they can do wonderful things! Most of these tips call for lemon juice, so when you buy your lemons, you might want to go ahead a juice them and then store the juice in a container so that you will have it on hand when needed!
Lemons As A Cleaner
1. Apply lemon juice directly to soap scum and hard water deposits. The lemon juice will help dissolve these.
2. Use a bit of lemon juice to clean and shine brass and copper.
3. Mix lemon juice with vinegar and some baking soda to make a good cleaning paste.
4. Cut a lemon in half. Sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. You can then use the half lemon to scrub dishes, clean surfaces and help remove stains.
5. Cut a lemon in half. Sprinkle salt on the cut section. This will clean and make shine the copper bottoms of pots and pans.
6. If you use vinegar as your main cleaner (four cups water and one cup white-wine vinegar), take a few lemon peels and twist them a number of times. Add the peels directly to the vinegar solution and they will help neutralize the harsh smell.
7. Mix olive oil with lemon juice to make a polish for your hardwood furniture.
8. After cutting smelly garlic or onions on a wood board, rub the surface with a slice of freshly cut lemon, rinse well and dry.
9. Whiten discolored chopping boards with lemon juice. It will also work on yellowed ivory handles.
10. Remove fruit or berry stains from your hands by rinsing with lemon juice.
11. Use lemon juice in the washer to remove rust and other mineral discoloration from cotton t-shirts and briefs.
12. Use lemon juice to remove ink spots on cloth.
13. Discolored socks will look white again if you boil them for a few minutes in a pan of water with a slice of lemon in it.
14. Cut a lemon in half and use it, with a little salt sprinkled on it, to dean brass and copper items, and stainless steel kitchen sinks.
15. To shine smooth aluminum, rub it with the cut side of a lemon.
16. To eliminate odors in home humidifiers, pour 3 or 4 capfuls of bottled lemon juice in the water.
17. Lemon juice is the natural way to whiten and brighten nails. Soak them in it for 5 to 10 minutes, then brush with a mixture of equal amounts of white vinegar and warm water. Rinse well.
18. Microwave cleaning will be faster and easier if you heat a bowl of lemon juice and water to steaming in the microwave. Food will loosen making it easier to clean. Smells great too!

Great Find for Promoting Your Business!

For those of you who have your own business or are wanting to start a business, I came across a great website where you can get great promotional products for very little money or even for free! The website: such as business cards, self-inking stamps, brochures, logos, pens, notepads, and various other promotional items can be very expensive. This website allows you to get whatever you need for very little money.
I love making various custom items, so I recently started my own business where I am selling personalized, custom-made gifts! My business is called LeahLee Designs, and the website is I have wanted to have some promotional items made, but as you know, I am all about finding the best deal! Well let me tell you what I have bought for a total of $30.68! First of all, I was able to create a custom logo for LeahLee Designs! I was able to have this logo put onto business cards (250 of them), and a T-shirt. I also received a self-inking stamp, a pen, a window decal for my car, and return address labels-all with my logo and information on them! The $30.86 also includes shipping and handling!I have researched other promotional printing companies, and this is the best deal that I have found. The quality of the products is great, and I am very satisfied with the quality of the products!

Great Article on Ways to Save Money!
Okay....since I have started this blog, I have always posted my own ideas. But, I came across this article today, and absolutely had to let you all read it. I know that it is really long, but it is worth taking the time to read it. I hope that you will find it as useful as I have! I promise, next post will be my own creative ideas! This one was just too good not to share!Little Steps: 100 Great Tips For Saving Money For Those Just Getting StartedFebruary 6, 2008 @ 2:00 pm - Written by TrentYesterday, I discussed how anyone can turn their financial life around if they just take that first step - the first step is always the hardest one. After that, you start taking more and more little steps and before you know it, your financial life is getting better and better.What follows is a list of 100 more steps to take. Each of these tactics are simple little moves you can make to improve your financial situation. Some of them take just a few minutes, others might take an hour or two, some of them require a bit of regular effort, but they’re all incredibly simple - anyone can do them. Each of them also save significant money, especially over the long haul, and when combined together these tips can save you a lot of money now.Obviously, not all of these tips will apply to everyone. Just go through the list and find ten or fifteen that do apply to you and use them in your life - you’ll quickly find yourself saving some serious scratch.1. Switch your bank accounts to a bank that respects you. You shouldn’t be spending your hard-earned money on maintenance fees - you also should be earning some serious interest on your checking and savings accounts. I use ING Direct as my primary bank - I earn roughly 3% on my checking account and 3.4% on my savings account and they’ve never dinged me with a fee. Here’s a guide on how to make that switch.2. Turn off the television. One big way to save money is to watch less television. There are a lot of financial benefits to this: less exposure to guilt-inducing ads, more time to focus on other things in life, less electrical use, and so on. It’s great to unwind in the evening, but seek another hobby to do that.3. Turn a critical eye to your “collections.” Most people collect something - what do you collect? Is it something that consistently brings you joy? Or is it something that you just do out of habit at this point? Does the collection itself have value? Could you perhaps “trim the fat” from this collection by getting rid of duplicates or getting rid of the items you no longer use? Also, could you perhaps cut down on your spending on that hobby? Focus on trimming the things you don’t feel strongly about - if you dig into things that bother you, you’re going to eventually relapse.4. Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can. Even if you rarely shop at that place, having a rewards card for that place will eventually net you some coupons and discounts. Here’s the basic game plan for maximizing these programs: create a Gmail address just for these mailings, collect every card you can, and then check that account for extra coupons whenever you’re ready to shop.5. Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff from the store. You can make food mixes, candles, bread, cookies, soap, and all kinds of other things at home quite easily and inexpensively. These make spectacular gifts for others because they involve your homemade touch, plus quite often they’re consumable, meaning they don’t wind up filling someone’s closet with junk. Even better - include a personal handwritten note with the gift. This will make it even more special than anything you could possibly buy down at the mall, plus it saves you money.6. Master the thirty day rule. Whenever you’re considering making an unnecessary purchase, wait thirty days and then ask yourself if you still want that item. Quite often, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed and you’ll have saved yourself some money by simply waiting. If you want, you can even keep a “thirty day list” where you write down the item and the day you’ll reconsider it, but I prefer just to keep this one in my head - that way, I often just forget about the unimportant things.7. Write a list before you go shopping - and stick to it. One should never go into a store without a strong idea of what one will be buying while in there. Make a careful plan of what you’ll buy before you go, then stick strictly to that list when you go to the store. Don’t put anything in the cart that’s not on the list, no matter how tempting, and you’ll come out of the store saving a bundle.8. Invite friends over instead of going out. Almost every activity at home is less expensive than going out. Invite some friends over and have a cookout or a potluck meal, then play some cards and have a few drinks. Everyone will have fun, the cost will be low, and the others will likely reciprocate not long afterwards.9. Instead of throwing out some damaged clothing, repair it instead. Don’t toss out a shirt because of a broken button - sew a new one on with some closely-matched thread. Don’t toss out pants because of a hole in them - put in a patch of some sort and save them for times when you’re working around the house. Simple sewing can be done by anyone - it just takes a few minutes and it saves a lot of money by keeping you from buying new clothes when you don’t really need to.10. Don’t spend big money entertaining your children. Most children, especially young ones, can be entertained very cheaply. Buy them an end roll of newspaper from your local paper and let their creativity run wild. Make a game out of ordinary stuff around the house, like tossing pennies into a jar, even. Realize that what your children want most of all is your time, not your stuff, and you’ll find money in your pocket and joy in your heart.11. Call your credit card company and ask for a rate reduction. Take any of your credit cards that are carrying a balance, flip them over, and call the number on the back. Tell them that you want an interest rate reduction or you’ll take your business elsewhere. If the first person you talk to won’t do it, ask to talk to a supervisor. If you have a $5,000 balance, even a 3% rate reduction saves you $150 a year.12. Clean out your closet. Go through your closets and try to get rid of some of the stuff in there. You can have a yard sale with it, take it to a consignment shop, or even donate it for the tax deduction - all of which turn old stuff you don’t want to use any more into money in your pocket. Not only that, it’s often a psychological load off your mind to clean out your closets.13. Buy video games that have a lot of replay value - and don’t acquire new ones until you’ve mastered what you have. My video game buying habits have changed quite a bit since my “game of the week” days. Now, I focus on games that can be played over and over and over again, and I focus on mastering the games that I buy. Good targets include puzzle games and long, involved quest games - they maximize the value of your gaming dollar.14. Drink more water. Not only does drinking plenty of water have great health benefits, water drinking has financial benefits, too. Drink a big glass of water before each meal, and not only will you digest it better, you won’t eat as much, saving on the ol’ food bill. You’ll also find yourself feeling a bit better as you begin to get adequately hydrated (most Americans are perpetually somewhat dehydrated).15. Cut back on the convenience foods - fast foods, microwave meals, and so on. Instead of eating fast food or just nuking some prepackaged food when you get home, try making some simple and healthy replacements that you can take with you. An hour’s worth of preparation one weekend can give you a ton of cheap and handy meals that will end up saving you a lot of cash and not eat into your time when you’re busy.16. Give up expensive habits, like cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. Those habits cause money to flow away from you with nothing in return. Call up your fortitude and work hard to kick the habits and you’ll find that money staying in your pocket instead of burning up and floating away.17. Make a quadruple batch of a casserole. Casseroles are nice, easy dishes to prepare, but on busy nights, it’s often still easier to just order some take-out or eat out or just plop a prepackaged meal in the oven. Instead, the next time you make a casserole, make four batches of it and put the other three in the freezer. Then, the next time you need a quick meal for the family, grab one of those batches and just heat it up - easy as can be. Even better, doing this allows you to buy the ingredients in bulk, making each casserole cheaper than it would be ordinarily - and far, far cheaper than eating out or trying a prepackaged meal.18. Be diligent about turning off lights before you leave. If you spend one minute turning off lights before a two hour trip, that’s the equivalent of earning $50 an hour. That’s some impressive savings, particularly if you do it before longer trips. The key is to use less energy, particularly when you’re not using the device.19. Swap books, music, and DVDs cheaply on the internet via services like PaperBackSwap. You can very easily swap the books and CDs and DVDs you’ve grown bored with via the internet with others. Just use sites like PaperBackSwap, clean out your media collection, and trade them with others online. The best part? You’ll get a flood of new books (or CDs or DVDs) to enjoy, mailed right to you - for free.20. Maximize yard sales. I like to stop by yard sales if I see them, but I recognize that often the stuff there is junk. Thus, I’m careful about what I buy and I use clever tactics to find it - and lower the prices. That way, I wind up with a really big bargain - or else I can just walk away with the money in my pocket, having been entertained for a bit.21. Install CFL (or, even better, LED) bulbs wherever it makes sense. These bulbs might cost more initially, but they both have a longer life than normal incandescent bulbs and they both eat far less electricity. CFLs tend to use about 25% of the electricity of an incandescent - LEDs use about 2%. CFLs are cheaper than LEDs right now and produce better light, but not quite as good as incandescent bulbs. My policy? Put LEDs in closets and out of the way places, use CFLs for hall and some room lighting, and use incandescent bulbs (until the other bulbs get better) where you read and do other eye-intensive activities. This will trim a significant amount from your electric bill.22. Install a programmable thermostat. These devices regulate the temperature in your house automatically according to the schedule that you set. Thus, when you’re not home, it allows the heating or cooling to turn off for several hours, saving you on your energy bill. A programmable thermostat can easily cut your energy bill by 10 to 20%.23. Buy appliances based on reliability, not what’s cheapest at the store. It’s worth the time to do a bit of research when you buy a new appliance. A reliable, energy efficient washer and dryer might cost you quite a bit now, but if it continually saves you energy and lasts for fifteen years, you’ll save significant money in the long run. When you need to buy an appliance, research it - start with back issues of Consumer Reports at the library. An hour’s worth of research can easily save you hundreds of dollars.24. Clean your car’s air filter. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to 7%, saving you more than $100 for every 10,000 miles you drive in an average vehicle. Plus, cleaning your air filter is easy to do in just a few minutes - just follow the instructions in your automobile’s manual and you’re good to go.25. Hide your credit cards. Take your credit cards and put them in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet where it’s easy to spend them. If you argue that you need it for “emergencies,” just be sure to keep a small amount of cash hidden in your wallet for these emergencies. Don’t keep plastic on you until you have the willpower to not use it even when you’re sorely tempted.26. Plan your meals around your grocery store’s flyer. Instead of just planning your meals based on a cookbook or whatever you can dream up, plan all your meals around what’s on sale in your grocery store’s flyer. Look at the biggest sales, then plan meals based on those ingredients and what you have on hand, and you’ll find yourself with a much smaller food bill than you’re used to.27. Do a price comparison - and find a cheaper grocery store. Most of us get in a routine of shopping at the same grocery store, even though quite often it’s not the one that offers the best deals on our most common purchases. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to find the cheapest store around. Just keep track of the twenty or so things you buy most often, then shop for these items at a variety of stores. Eventually, one store will come out on top for your purchases - just make that one your regular shopping destination and you’ll automatically save money.28. Challenge yourself to try making your own things. Before I tried it myself, I thought homemade breadmaking was complicated and a waste of time and money. I came to find out that it was pretty easy and it was actually much cheaper, healthier, and tastier than buying a loaf from the store. Now, we rarely ever buy bread products at the store - and we save money by making that choice.29. Don’t spend money just to de-stress. Quite often, I used to spend money just to wind down from a stressful day at work. Instead, I’ve found that I quite often feel much better by going home and taking some quiet time just to stretch and then meditate. I end up feeling much more together, happy, and ready to face an evening with the kids in the right mindset than I ever would by just blowing some cash after work. Instead of spending to de-stress, try some basic meditation techniques, stretching, or yoga and see how you feel.30. Talk to your loved ones about what your dreams are. This seems like an odd way to save money, but think about it. If you spend time with the people you love the most and come to some consensus about your dreams, it becomes easy for you all to plan for it. If you’re all planning and working together towards this dream, it becomes easier to stay focused on it and reach it. Set a big, audacious goal together and encourage each other to be financially fit - soon, you’ll find you’re doing it naturally and your dreams are coming closer than ever.31. Do a “maintenance run” on your appliances. Check them to make sure there isn’t any dust clogging them and that they’re fairly clean. Look behind the appliances, and use your vacuum to gently clear away dust. Check all of the vents, especially on refrigerators, dryers, and heating and cooling units. The less dust you have blocking the mechanics of these devices, the more efficiently they’ll run (saving you on your energy bill) and the longer they’ll last (saving you on replacement costs).32. Cancel unused club memberships. Are you paying dues at a club that you never use? Like, for instance, a gym membership or a country club membership? Cancel these club memberships, even if you think you might use them again someday - you can always renew the membership at a later date if it turns out that you actually do miss it.33. When shopping for standard items (clothes, sports equipment, older games, etc.), start by shopping used. Quite often, you can find the exact item you want with a bit of clever shopping at used equipment stores, used game stores, consignment shops, and so on. Just make these shops a part of your normal routine - go there first when looking for potential items and you will save money.34. Keep your hands clean. This one’s simple - just wash your hands thoroughly each time you use the bathroom or handle raw foods. You’ll keep yourself from acquiring all kinds of viruses and bacteria, saving you on medical bills and medicine costs and lost productivity. That’s not to say you shouldn’t explore the world and get your hands dirty sometimes - that’s good for you, too - but basic sanitation does help keep the medical bills away.35. Remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts. It’s easy to spend online when you have your card information stored in an account - just click and buy. The best way to break this habit is to simply delete your card from the account. That way, when you’re tempted to spend, you’ll be forced to spend the time to dig out your card - and really think about why you’re spending this money.36. Give a gift of a service instead of an item. For new parents, give an evening of babysitting as a gift. If you know pet owners, offer to take care of their pets when they travel. Offer up some lawn care as a gift to a new homeowner. These are always spectacular gifts for anyone - I know that, as a parent of a toddler and an infant, I love receiving a babysitting gift, probably more than any “stuff” I might receive.37. Do holiday shopping right after the holidays. Most people use this technique for Christmas, but it works for every holiday. Wait until about two days after a holiday, then go out shopping for items you need that are themed for that day. Get a Mother’s Day card for next year the day after Mother’s Day. Get Easter egg decorating kits the day after Easter. Get wrapping paper and cards and such the day after Christmas. The discounts are tremendous, and you can just put this stuff in the closet until next year, saving you a bundle.38. Join up with a volunteer program. It’s a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, and involve yourself in a positive project that can lift your spirit. It also comes without a cost to you and can provide a lot of entertainment and a fulfilling day when you’re in the right mindset. I’ve come to spend more and more of my time volunteering, serving on various committees and groups in the community - and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.39. Reevaluate the stuff in the rooms in your house. Go into a room and go through every single item in it. Do you really need that item? Are you happy that it’s there, or would you be just fine if it were not? If you can find stuff to get rid of, get rid of it - it just creates clutter and it might have some value to others. You also improve the perceived value of your house - and you’re likely to get a lot of cleaning done in the process. It’s a frugal win-win-win.40. Try generic brands of items you buy regularly. Instead of just picking up the ordinary brand of an item you buy, try out the store brand or generic version of the item. Likely, you’ll save a few cents now, but you’ll also likely discover that the store brand is just as good as the name brand - the only difference between the two, often, is the marketing. Once you’re on board the generic train, you’ll find your regular grocery bill getting smaller and smaller.41. Prepare some meals at home. Get an accessible and easy-to-use cookbook (my favorite “beginner” cookbook is Mark Bittman’s excellent How to Cook Everything) and try making some of the dishes inside. You’ll find that cooking at home is much easier than you think - and way cheaper and healthier than take-out or dining out. Even better, you can easily prepare meals in advance - even handy fast food type meals.42. Switch to term life insurance. Repeat after me: insurance is not an investment. Switch to term insurance instead and use that difference in cost to get yourself out of debt and start building some wealth. Universal and whole policies are much more expensive and offer a sub par investment opportunity - you’re much better off getting yourself free of a debt burden than spending extra on such things.43. Go for reliability and fuel efficiency when buying a car. A reliable and fuel efficient car will save you thousands over the long haul. Let’s say you drive a vehicle for 80,000 miles. If you choose a 25 miles per gallon car over a 15 miles per gallon car, you save 2,133 gallons of gas. At $3 a gallon, that’s $6,400 in savings right there. Reliability can pay the same dividends. Do the research - it will pay off for you.44. Don’t go to stores or shopping centers for entertainment. Doing so is just an encouragement to spend money you don’t really have on stuff you don’t really need. Instead, find other places to entertain yourself - the park, the basketball court, a museum, a friend’s house, or even in your own home. Don’t substitute shopping for entertainment and you’ll be way better off.45. Master the ten second rule. Whenever you pick up an item in order to add it to your cart or to take it to the checkout, stop for ten seconds and ask yourself why you’re buying it and whether you actually need it or not. If you can’t find a good answer, put the item back. This keeps me from making impulse buys on a regular basis.46. Rent out unused space in your home. Do you have an extra bedroom that’s not being used? Rent it out. In our home, we could, if times were tough, rent out our entire basement - it has a “living room,” a bedroom, and a bathroom and has a stairwell right by the kitchen. If we found the right person, this would bring in a lot of extra money.47. Create a visual reminder of your debt. Basically, just make a giant progress bar that starts with the amount of debt you have and ends with zero. Each time you pay down a little bit, fill in a little more of that progress bar. Keep this reminder in a place where you’ll see it often, and keep filling it in regularly. It keeps your eyes on the prize and leads you straight to debt freedom.48. Get rid of unread magazine subscriptions. Do you have a pile of unread magazines sitting around your house? Likely, it’s the result of a subscription that you’re not reading. Not only should you not renew that magazine, you should give their subscription department a call and try to cancel for a refund - sometimes, they’ll give you the prorated amount back. I’ve had to cull my subscriptions in the past, but I’ve never regretted it.49. Eat breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast fills you up with energy for the day and also decreases your desire to eat a big lunch in the middle of the day. Not only that, breakfast can be very healthy, quick, and inexpensive. A bowl of oatmeal in the morning is often the one thing that keeps me from running out to eat an expensive lunch later in the day - and it keeps me peppy and full of energy for the entire morning instead of in a coffee-laced daze.50. Swap babysitting with neighbors. We live in a neighborhood with an army of young children out and about. Because of that, there are a lot of parents out there who are quite willing to swap babysitting nights with us, saving you the money of hiring one for an evening out. A few families even take this to incredible extremes. Try to find another set of parents or two that you trust, and swap nights of babysitting with them. That way, you’ll get occasional evenings free without the cost of a babysitter, saving you some scratch.51. Don’t fear leftovers - instead, jazz them up. Many people dread eating leftovers - they’re just inferior rehashes of regular meals, not exactly enjoyable to the discerning palate. However, there’s nothing cheaper than eating leftovers and with a few great techniques for making leftovers tasty, you can often end up with something surprising and quite delicious on the other end. My favorite technique? Chaining - using the leftovers as a basis for an all-new dish.52. Go through your clothes - all of them. If you have a regular urge to buy clothes, go through everything that you have and see what you might find. Take the clothes at the back of the closet and bring them to the front and suddenly your wardrobe will feel completely different. Take the clothes buried in your dresser and pull them to the top. You’ll feel like a brand new person who doesn’t need to spend money on clothes right now.53. Brown bag your lunch. Instead of going out to eat at work, take your own lunch. Lots of people think that this means “nasty lunch,” but it doesn’t. With some thoughtful preparation and just a few minutes of time, you can create something quite enjoyable for your brown bag lunch - and save a fistful of cash each day, too.54. Learn how to dress minimally. Buy clothes that mix and match well and you’ll not need nearly as many clothes. If you have five pants, seven shirts, and seven ties that all go together, you have almost an endless wardrobe right there just by mixing and matching. This is exactly what I do in order to minimize clothes buying and still look professional - I just mix and remix what I wear by using utilitarian clothes options to begin with.55. Ask for help and encouragement from your inner circle. Sit down and talk to the people you love and care about the most and ask them for help. Tell them that you’re trying to trim your spending and you’d love it if they offered any suggestions and support they might have - and pay attention to what they tell you. They might have some personal insights for your situation that will really help.56. If something’s broken, give a fair shot at repairing it yourself before replacing it or calling a repairman. Get a handyman’s book or advice from the internet and give it a shot yourself. I’ve fixed clocks, air conditioners, and VCRs by doing this before, saving significant cash by saving on a replacement or on a repair person.57. Keep an idea notebook in your pocket. I’ve wasted countless amounts of time and money simply because I’ve forgotten things in my head. Instead of relying on my memory, I keep a small notebook with me to jot down ideas and things I need to remember, then I check it regularly throughout the day. This keeps me from forgetting to pick up milk and having to backtrack ten miles, for starters.58. Invest in a deep freezer. A deep freezer, after the initial investment, is a great bargain. You can use it to store all sorts of bulk foods, which enables you to pay less per pound of it at the market. Even better, you can store lots of meals prepared in advance, enabling you to just go home and pop something homemade (and cheap) in the oven.59. Look for a cheaper place to live. The cost of living in Iowa is surprisingly low, enough so that I’m quite happy to give up the cultural opportunities of other places to enjoy Iowa all year around. When I want to enjoy the cultural opportunities of another place, I’ll travel there - after all, I can afford it. Take a serious look about moving to a less expensive area - if you can find work there, then a move can definitely put you in better financial shape.60. Check out what your town’s parks and recreation board has to offer. My town has several wonderful parks, free basketball and tennis courts, free disc golf, trails, and lots of other stuff just there waiting to be used. You can go have fun for hours out in the wonderful outdoors, playing sports, hiking on trails, or trying other activities - and it’s all there for free. All you have to do is discover it.61. Air up your tires. For every two PSI that all of your tires are below the recommended level, you lose 1% on your gas mileage. Most car tires are five to ten PSI below the normal level, so that means by just airing up your tires, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 5%. It’s easy, too. Just read your car’s manual to see what the recommended tire pressure is, then head to the gas station. Ask the attendant inside if they have a tire air gauge you can borrow (most of them do, both in urban and rural settings), then stop over by the air pump. Check your tires, then use the pump to fill them up to where they should be. It’s basically free gas!62. Start a garden. Gardening is an inexpensive hobby if you have a yard. Just rent a tiller, till up a patch, plant some plants, keep it weeded, and you’ll have a very inexpensive hobby that produces a huge amount of vegetables for you to eat at the end of the season. I like planting a bunch of tomato plants, keeping them cared for, then enjoying a huge flood of tomatoes at the end of the summer. We like to eat them fresh, can them, and make tomato juice, sauce, paste, ketchup, pasta sauce, and pizza sauce. Delicious (and very inexpensive)!63. Dig into your community calendar. There are often tons of free events going on in your town that you don’t even know about. Stop by the local library or by city hall and ask how you can get ahold of a listing of upcoming community events, and make an effort to hit the interesting ones. You can often get free meals, free entertainment, and free stuff just by paying attention - even better, you’ll get in touch with what’s going on around you.64. Take public transportation. If the city’s transit system is available near you, take it to work (or to play) instead of driving your car. It’s far cheaper and you don’t have to worry about parking your vehicle. When I lived in a larger city, I bought an annual transit pass that actually paid for itself after less than two months of use compared to using an automobile - and after that, for ten months, I basically could ride to work (and to some events) for free. That’s money in the bank.65. Cut your own hair. I can cut mine myself with a pair of clippers, for example. I just cut it really short every once in a while and don’t worry about it too much. Just put a garbage bag over the bathroom sink, bust out the clippers and scissors, and get it done. Two or three cuts will pay for the clippers, and then you’re basically getting free haircuts. With a bit of practice, you can make it look good, too.66. Carpool. Is there anyone that lives near you who works at the same place (or near the same place) that you do? Why not ride together, alternating drivers each day? You can halve the wear and tear and gas costs for your car - and for your acquaintance as well.67. Design your “debt snowball.” Everyone needs a plan to help them get out of debt, so sit down and plot out what debts you’re going to pay off and in what order. Simply having a plan goes a long way towards bringing that plan into action, and paying off debts early is one of the surest ways to put money in your pocket over the long run.68. Get a crock pot. A crock pot is perhaps the best deal on earth for reducing cooking costs in a busy family. You can just dump in your ingredients before work, put it on simmer, and dinner is done when you get home. There are countless recipes out there for all variety of foods, and every time you cook this way, you’re saving money as compared to eating out.69. Do some basic home and auto maintenance on a regular schedule. Instead of just waiting until something breaks to deal with it, develop a monthly maintenance schedule where you go around your home (and your car) and perform a bit of maintenance where it’s needed. This little activity, taking you just an hour or two a month, will keep things from breaking down and help you see problems before they become disasters.70. Pack food before you go on a road trip. Have everyone pack a sack lunch for the trip. That way, instead of stopping in the middle of the trip, driving around looking for a place to eat, spending a bunch of time there, and then paying a hefty bill, you can just eat on the road or, better yet, stop at a nice park and stretch for a bit. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money and a fair amount of time this way.71. Go through your cell phone bill, look for services you don’t use, and ditch them. Sit down and go through each item on your bill and see if there’s anything there that you don’t use, like a surfeit of text messages or web access or something to that effect. Then call your cell phone company and ask to have those services eliminated. Boom, you’re saving money.72. Consolidate your student loans. Interest rates are quite low right now, so it might be worthwhile to consolidate your student loans into one low-rate package. Look into the various student loan consolidation packages - even a 1% reduction on a $10,000 loan saves you $100 a year - and your loan is probably bigger than that (and the rate cut you could get is probably bigger).73. When buying a car, go for late model used. These are typically cars coming straight off of leases, meaning they were cared for by reliable owners. My truck was purchased with this criteria and has lasted me several years already with only one significant issue - and I saved a ton of money on the purchase price over buying new. Only now is it beginning to show significant signs of aging - and with the money I saved on that purchase, I was able to get out of debt that much quicker.74. Hit the library - hard. Don’t look at a library as just a place to get old books. Look at it as a free place to do all sorts of things. I’ve used it to learn a foreign language, meet people, use the Internet anonymously, check out movies and CDs, grab local free newspapers, and keep up on community events. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.75. Use a simple razor to shave. I’ve been a big advocate of the basic safety razor for a long time, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. For “normal” shaves, I just shave in the shower and dry off the blade afterwards, using just soap for lather - incredibly cheap, since I only swap blades once every few weeks. The real moral of the story? Use a simple razor - not an expensive electric one that stops working in three years - and shave your face when it’s wet. You can get a very good shave with some practice and save a lot of money over the long haul.76. Find daily inspiration for making intelligent moves. I’m usually inspired by my children. Perhaps you’re inspired to make changes by your spouse - or even by someone in the community you respect. Maybe it’s just a personal goal, like an early retirement. Find something that makes you want to make positive changes, then use that person or thing as a constant reminder. Keep a picture of it in your wallet, in your vehicle, and on your bathroom mirror. Keep it in your mind as much as you possibly can.77. Find out about all of the benefits of your job. Most people aren’t even aware of all of the benefits available to them. Spend some time with an HR person finding out about all the benefits of your job - you might be surprised at what you might find. I found free tickets to sporting events, free personal improvement opportunities, and an optional employee match on some retirement funds that maximized the money I was socking away. This not only cut down on my own spending on things like sporting and community events and educational classes, but also improved my retirement plan.78. Make your own items instead of buying them. I like to make my own laundry detergent and my own Goo-Gone, for starters. I also like making Glade, Windex, and Soft Scrub. In both cases, it’s way cheaper than buying the commercial version. Hunt around for recipes - it’s amazing how many things you can make at home in just a few minutes that saves a ton of money compared to the commercial version.79. Encourage your friends to do less expensive activities. This is often a tricky thing to do, but there are a number of techniques you can try. My favorite one is to be the first one to suggest something - that often gives you the power to steer the group towards things that are cheaper. If you can convince your friends to go to the park and shoot hoops instead of going golfing, those green fees are going to stay in your pocket.80. Don’t speed. Not only is it inefficient in terms of gasoline usage, it also can get you pulled over and cost you a bundle, as I discovered a while back. It’s highly cost-efficient to just drive the speed limit, keep that gas in the tank, and keep the cops off your tail.81. Read more. Reading is one of the cheapest - and most beneficial - hobbies around. Most towns have a library available to the public - just go there and check out some books that interest you. Then, spend some of your free time in a cozy place in your house, just reading away. You’ll learn something new, improve your reading ability, enjoy yourself, and not have to spend a dime. Here are some more techniques for getting into the reading flow.82. Buy a smaller house. I currently live in a 2,000 square foot house with my wife and two kids. Frankly, it’s just the right size for us - if anything, it’s a little big. We often find ourselves in the same room in the house, just surrounded by empty space. You don’t need a giant place to live. Instead, buy something more modest and you’ll find yourself with plenty of room - and still plenty of cash in your pocket.83. Drive a different route to work. This is an especially powerful tip if you find yourself “automatically” stopping for something on the way into work or the way home. Get rid of that constant drain by selecting a different route that doesn’t go by the temptation, even if the new route is a bit longer. You’ll still be time ahead (because you’re not stopping) and you’ll definitely be money ahead.84. Always ask for fees to be waived. Any time you sign up for a service of any kind and there are sign-up fees, ask for them to be waived. Sometimes (but not always), they will be - and you save money just by being forthright about not wanting to pay excessive fees. I did this with my last cell phone sign-up and got part of my fees waived, cutting down significantly on the bill.85. Don’t overspend on hygiene products. For most people, inexpensive hygiene products do the trick - for example, I just buy whichever toothpaste is the cheapest, and the same goes with deodorant and the like. The key is to use this stuff regularly and consistently - bathe daily, keep yourself clean, and you’ll be just fine. No need to buy a $40 facial scrub if you actually scrub your face properly.86. Eat less meat. For the nutritional value, meat is very expensive, especially as compared to vegetables and fruits. Simply change around your regular meal proportions to include more fruits and vegetables and less meats - eat a smaller steak and a bigger helping of green beans, for example. Not only is this a healthier way to eat (saving on health costs), it’s also less expensive.87. Use a brutally effective coupon strategy. Here’s the trick: wait a month before using the coupons. Save your coupon flyer out of your Sunday paper for a month, then bust it out and start cutting anything that might be of interest. For a bonus kicker, use the coupons in comparison with your grocery store flyer that week to find out ways you can use a coupon to reduce the cost of an item already on sale - you can wind up paying pennies for some things and, on occasion, actually get food for free (I’ve came home with a ton of free yogurt containers before, for example).88. Air seal your home. Most homes have some air leaks that make the job of keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter that much harder - and that much more costly for you. Spend an afternoon air sealing your home - the DoE has a great guide on basic airsealing.89. Make your own beer or wine. If you enjoy an occasional drink, this is a great way to enjoy some of the beverages that you love at a very cheap price. You can easily make five gallons of beer or wine at once and it doesn’t take that long, either, once you have the basic ingredients. Even better, it’s a great activity to do with friends - you buy the equipment, they bring the juice and you both get a few bottles of delicious homemade wine out of the deal. A nice entertainment, plus some free beverages - that’s a great frugal deal.90. Make sure all your electrical devices are on a surge protector. This is especially true of your entertainment center and your computer equipment. A power surge can damage these electronics very easily, so spend the money for a basic surge protector and keep your equipment plugged into such a device.91. Get on an automatic debt repayment plan for any student loans you have. Many student loans offer a rate reduction if you sign up for their automatic debt repayment plan. This way, not only do you save a few bucks a month, you don’t have to go to the effort of actually paying the bill. Our automatic plan saved us about $60 a year.92. Cut down on your vacation spending. Instead of going on a big, extravagant trip, pack up the car and see some of America some years for vacation. One of the best vacations I’ve ever taken was when my son was an infant - we just packed up the car and drove around Minnesota, eventually camping for a few days along the north shore of Lake Superior. For a week long relaxing vacation, it was incredibly cheap and quite memorable, too.93. Cancel the cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Many people with cable services often are paying for a premium package but rarely watch those extra channels. For the longest time, my wife and I were subscribed to HBO, Starz, and Cinemax, yet we would only tune in once a month at best. We argued that it was worth it because we could watch a movie or a great drama whenever we wanted, but it would have been far cheaper just to rent a movie. Get rid of the excess channels and put that cash back in your pocket.94. Exercise more. Go for a walk or a jog each evening, and practice stretching and some light muscle exercise at home. These exercises can be done at home for very little, meaning you’ve got an activity without a lot of cost, and the health benefits are enormous. Just set aside some time each day to get some exercise, and your body and wallet will thank you.95. Utilize online bill pay with your bank. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps you in much closer contact with your money, as you can keep a very close eye on your balance and be in much less danger of overdrafting. Second, it saves you money on stamps and paper checks by allowing you to just fill in an online form, click submit, and have your bill paid. Try it out - and take advantage of it if you’re not already.96. Buy staples in bulk. We buy items we use a lot of in bulk, particularly items that don’t perish - trash bags, laundry detergent, diapers, and so on are purchased in the largest amounts possible. This cuts down on their cost per usage by quite a bit and, over the long haul, begins to add up to some serious money. Even better, we don’t have to shop for these items very often, saving time and a fraction of the cost of a trip to the grocery store.97. Connect your entertainment center and/or computer setup to a true smart power strip. A device like the SmartStrip LCG4 basically cuts power to all devices on the strip depending on the status of the first item on the strip. So, if you have your workstation hooked up to this, every time you power down your workstation, your monitor powers down, your printer powers down, your scanner powers down, and so on. You can do the same thing with your entertainment console - when you turn off the television, the cable/satellite box also goes off, as does the video game console, the VCR, the DVD player, and so on. This can save you a lot of electricity and significantly trim your power bill.98. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Even if you make ten good choices, it’s easy to beat yourself up and feel like a failure over one bad choice. If you make a big mistake and realize it, think about why you realized it now instead of then, and try to apply that later on. The memory of that mistake can end up being very valuable, indeed.99. Always keep looking ahead. Don’t let the mistakes of your past drag you down into more mistakes. Look ahead to the future. The choices you make now won’t affect the past - but they definitely will affect the future. Think back, and remember how the bad choices you made earlier are costing you now, and constantly remember to not make those mistakes now so that they don’t cost your future self.100. Never give up. Whenever the struggle against debt feels like it’s too much, go read a personal finance blog and remember that there are a lot of people out there fighting the same fight. Read around through the archives and learn some new things - and perhaps get inspired to keep going, no matter what.

The $10.00 Grocery List
Sometimes, when times are really tough, you find yourself with only about $10.00 left over in your budget for food. Obviously, this is not ideal, but sometimes it just cannot be helped. I have put together a grocery list of items that you can buy for a total of $10.00! If you have some of these items on hand, you can add something else or save some of your money!

The List

Baking Powder
Fruits (on sale)
Rice or Ramen Noodles
Vegetables (on sale)
Tuna (1 or 2 cans)

Now this may not be the healthiest food on earth but it will get you through for a week! Below, I have listed a few ideas of what you can prepare with these food items plus some staples that you would probably already have on hand.

Scrambled eggs in a Biscuit
Fruit Smoothie, Hash Browns
Muffins, many kinds...
Pancakes, Fruit
Potato Pancakes
Tortilla with scrambled or fried eggs inside
Donut Muffins
Rice Pudding

Tortilla with anything you have on hand in it.Tomatoes/onions/hamburg etc.
Shepherds Pie (Hamburger/gravy over mashed potatoes/corn)Veggies in gravy over rice
Baked Potato and Vegetables
Scalloped Potatoes and Vegetables
Oven Baked French Fries & Salad
Vegetable Soup w/ or w/o
Tuna/ Pea Wiggle (serve over toast or biscuits or saltine crackers)
Scalloped Potato/Tuna Casserole
Popovers fill with: tuna pea wiggle recipe or gravy/veggie mixChicken Pot Pie

Recipes Listed For Food Listed Above

Tuna Pea Wiggle
3 T. Margarine
3 T. Flour
Dash of salt
1½ c. Milk
1 can Tuna, drained
1 can Peas, Drained
Melt butter, add flour, mix till pasty, add milk and stir constantly over medium heat until thicken and bubbling slightly, (do not bring to a rolling boil). Add the tuna and peas. Stirring constantly until bubbling.Serve over toast or biscuits or saltine crackers

Chicken Pot Pie
1/3 C. Chopped Onion
1/3 C. Flour
1/3 C. Margarine
1 bag peas/carrots blend or a big can of Veggie Blend (drained)
1¾ C. Chicken Broth
2/3 C. Milk
1 c. cut up cooked chicken (or any leftover meat)
Melt butter, add onions- sauté for a minute, add flour, mix till pasty, add broth and milk. Stir constantly until creamy and thick ( cooking over medium heat), Add veggies & chicken. Dump into a pie crust, bake 40-50 minutes at 350º.

1 C. Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 C. Milk
2 Eggs
Heat oven to 425.Beat ingredients together with a wire whisk or rotary beater until just smooth. Pour into well-greased muffin tins, (about halfway) and bake till golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.These freeze very well and can be reheated in a paper bag in the oven at 425 for 3-5 minutes.

Quick and Easy Gravy
3 T. Flour
3 T. Butter
2 C. Water
4 Bouillon cubes
Salt & Pepper
Melt butter, add flour, salt & pepper, & cook until smooth. Add water and bullion cubes, bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes.

Donut Muffins
2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tsp. Baking
1/2 C. Sugar
Mix the above together: Then Add: 1 or 2 eggs,1/4 c. Melted butter 1 c. Milk Chopped Nuts if you have some 1/2 tsp of nutmeg Spread in a buttered 9x9 pan and sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar. (Or Muffin tin) Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

Angel Food Ministries times are tough. We are pretty much living off of my salary, my husband is a full time student, we have a growing almost two year old, a mortgage and bills to pay, and we have to eat on top of it all! Sometimes, I don't think we are going to be able to get through the month without sinking! We have discovered a great ministry though. It is called Angel Food Ministries, and it is a faith-based organization that allows anyone to sign up to get a ton of food for really cheap. You do not have to meet any qualifications, and there are all different types of people who utilize this service. All you have to do is get onto their website (I just searched for Angel Food Ministries, and found their sight instantly), choose the best location for you to pick your food up at, and place your order. It is that easy! You also have several different packages that you can choose from. You must purchase the basic box of food which costs $30.00, and then you have the option of choosing from various other packages. I just purchased the basic box this time since it was our first time to order, and you cannot believe the amount of food we received! If we would have gone to the store and purchased this amount of food, it would have easily cost between $75.00-$100.00! The people at the church where we picked up the food were so friendly and helpful! And you don't have to worry about them trying to talk you into their religion because that is not what this is about. This is a ministry about helping people make it...and this month, they helped us make it, and I am very grateful!

Inexpensive and Beautiful Fall Decorations

Yea!! Fall is finally here! It's time to enjoy the cooler weather and the beautiful colors that come along with the season. Make the inside of your home look and feel nice and cozy with some of these fall decorations! Here is a list of some tasteful decorations that will last throughout the season, and not break your budget!
Change out your lightweight, summer tablecloth for a heavier one in a rich, warm color. For example, instead of a lightweight white tablecloth, try a nice red one, or a thick fall colored plaid one! Add some elegant gold or bronze candlesticks for added effect. This will make your kitchen look completely different!
For a simple centerpiece, hollow out an over sized gourd and fill with autumn harvest such as apples, pears, and nuts. You can also do fill the hollowed out gourd with fall flowers which creates an amazingly pretty centerpiece! A large wooden bowl would also work.
Purchase a variety of potted mums. These flowers come in many different colors (yellow, orange, red, etc.) and can withstand chillier temperatures. Arrange with gourds of different shapes or ears of Indian corn for a decorative porch display.
Take a stroll in a wooded area and pick up items such as twigs, nuts, berry clusters, pine cones, and leaves. Use these autumn treasures to make a centerpiece later. The best part about this-it's free and you get exercise!
Spiced candles will add a warm autumn aroma to your home. Baked apple, nutmeg, cinnamon, or French vanilla scents work best. Craft stores ALWAYS have candles on sale! You can get a really nice candle many times for around $1.00!
Buy or make a wreath with colorful, preserved leaves and sturdy decorative ribbon for the front door—it will add a welcoming touch. Another idea for a wreath? Buy a grapevine wreath and a bunch of fall "picks" that you can find at your local craft store (Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc.) You can usually get these picks regular price for anywhere from 2/$1.00 to $3.99 each (depending on how decorative they are). Look for the 1/2 price sale and this will save you even more. Anyway, arrange the picks in the wreath however you think that they look best. They should stick right into the wreath, and you won't have to use hot glue or anything to secure them. This gives you a beautiful fall wreath! And the best part of all is that you can buy picks for each season and just switch them out! That way, you don't have to buy a new wreath every time!
Line mantles with gourds or mini pumpkins—alternating with flowers—for a rustic look.
Spread a heavy throw over chairs and sofas. Add red, orange, or brown pillows for a colorful accent.

Make autumn votive holders with mini pumpkins. All you need to do is hollow the pumpkins out and let the pumpkins dry. Then place votive candles inside. This is one of my favorites! I think it looks beautiful! For a fun Halloween twist, add black pipecleaners for legs, and you have spider votives!
Fill old potato or feed sacks with straw and flowers for outdoor decoration. Fill smaller flour sacks with flowers and use as a centerpiece.

Buy inexpensive pumpkins or gourds. They don't have to be beautiful. Coat them with glue and roll them in glitter. I like them to only be covered in one color of glitter per item, but if you like the look of an orange, black, and silver pumpkin, go
for it! This is a great craft for kids, but it is rather messy, so you may want to pick a nice fall day and let them do this outside! My favorite glitter colors to use for fall are red, orange, gold, silver, black, and green. You can make a great centerpiece out of these!
I hope that these ideas help to inspire you to get into the mood of fall! Try these out, and if you have any other ideas, let me know, and I will be happy to post them!

Some Useful Information that I have Collected through the Years!
Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any
Spray the inside of your pasta pot with Pam before you boil noodles--it will not stick!
Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea
Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
Burn your tongue - Put sugar on it!
Arthritis - WD-40 Spray and rub in, kills insect stings too
Itchy Bug Bites - Rub Menthelatum on them
Bee stings - meat tenderizer
Chigger bite - Preparation H
Puffy eyes - Preparation H
Pesky Pimple -Preparation H or Toothpaste overnight
Papercut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)
Stinky feet - Jello !!
Athletes feet - cornstarch
Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub - Works Amazingly!
Kool Aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. This really works! I would use a yellow flavor of Kool Aid instead of red! (Wow, and we drink this stuff)
Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!
Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper
Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby
Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on!
Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar !
Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!
Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia , soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years
A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!
To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste
Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.
To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.
Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!
Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets , soak overnight!
Crayon on the wall - Colgate toothpaste and brush it!
Dirty grout - Listerine - the original brown/amber color works best!
Stains on clothes - Colgate toothpaste
Grass stains - Karo Syrup
Grease Stains - Coca Cola , it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!
Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours.
To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox , or 2 Bayer aspirin , or just use 7-up instead of water.
When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you 'squeeze' for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie. They are:
Monday = Blue
Tuesday = Green
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow
So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow - Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.
Don't forget Gatorade for Migraine Headaches. PowerAde won't work.

Today was State Fair Day! was the day that we went to the Oklahoma State Fair, and we had such a great time! Thanks to the company that I work for, we were able to purchase our tickets for only $3.00 each instead of $10.00 each! Plus, our son was free because of his age! This is something to definitely check into if you work for a company. Many companies offer discounts to attractions in your local area, and sometimes, they even offer free passes! I know that the company that I work for offers free passes to the zoo whenever we want them as long as we request them a couple of days in advance! Definitely cool!
Anyway, at the fair today, we really were able to have a great day that didn't break the budget. We took full advantage of all of the free shows and activities that were offered! We watched the pig races (yes, I did say pig races!), and had a blast. Our son loved every minute of it. We also walked through all of the exhibits and got to see tons of animals and even got to pet some of them! Our favorite was the pigymy goat! We walked through all of the air conditioned buildings to stay out of the heat, and got to see some really cool items. I will say that we were definitely tempted by some of them! We did end up buying a set of sheets. I know, weird, huh? But, you can't pass up a bargain like this! We got a really nice set of Egyptian Cotton 400 Thread Count Queen-sized sheets for $20.00! And they are sooooo comfortable!
We brought our own water jug to the fair so that we wouldn't have to pay at least $3.50 for a small drink. We brought our son lots of snacks from home like grapes and goldfish so that he wouldn't be begging for all of the fair food. And I do have to say that fair food is my weakness! I am all about eating healthy and staying in shape, but that tends to go by the wayside when it comes to this yearly event! But I discovered a great way to taste several different things, and not spend $50.00 each! Hello....share! The portions they give you are huge! So, instead of buying two Indian Tacos for $14.00 that could feed a small army, we bought one at $7.00 and shared it between the three of us! And, we were all full! This way, we could spludge later on another yummy fair food...a $6.00 funnell cake! And yes, we all three ate that too, and were more than perfectly content. We spent about six hours at the fair today, and had a really enjoyable time.

Great Discovery! I am taking a new medication, and it is giving me insomnia, so here I am at 12:30 am updating my blog, and I just found this great blog that I had to share with you all because they have the cutest free blog templates that I have found! The blog is It is really easy to apply the templates to your blog that you have already created. So if you want a change, you have to check this site out!
Also, for those of you who were interested in the makeup that I mentioned in an earlier post, I forgot to mention an important fact that will save you even more money than the $1.00 makeup! If you sign up for their email, you get an email from them everyday that offers free things! I received one of these email, and it offered me free shipping (a $6.95 discount) if I ordered a package for $9.95. I did, and the makeup was wonderful! For $13.95 (I added a few items), I received an All Over Cover Stick, an All Over Color Stick, Tinted Lip Gloss with Plumper, Cream Eye Shadow, Mascara, an Eye Shadow Brush, a Foundation Brush, one Blush, and a clear Lip Gloss. Plus, they threw in another free Mascara, Blush, Eye Shadow Brush, and pretty Lip Gloss for free! Talk about a deal! You couldn't get that type of bargain at any store that I know of. Plus, I have skin that breaks out really easily, and I have not had any problems at all with the makeup. In fact, my skin looks better than it usually does, and the makeup stays on really well. I can't wait to order more, and try out different products! Just thought you all might to know that I have tried it out and love it! I will never go back to spending $10.00 for each product that I buy when I know that I can get it for $1.00!

The Long-Awaited Laundry Detergent Recipe!!! I know it's been forever since I've posted to this site, but what can I happens, and we have been so busy! I promise, I am going to try to do better though! I have had so many requests for my laundry detergent recipe, so I am finally getting around to posting it. Some of these items can be difficult to find, but I have found that here in Norman, Homeland grocery stores carry all of these on the laundry aisle! There are only a few items needed for this detergent, and it is so easy to make and lasts forever!

You will need the following items:
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap or Zote Soap
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (this is different than Baking Soda, and comes in a large box)
40-Team Mule Borax (also comes in a large box)
Cheese Grater
**Optional-OxyClean Product-Must be in powder form**

This only takes a couple of minutes to make, and I love it! And it saves SO much money!

The first thing that you need to do is grate up the fels-naptha soap with the fine side of the cheese grater. It should grate to a very fine powder. Once you do this, put the powder into a dry container with a lid that you will want to store your detergent in. Once you have this in the container, add one cup of the Super Washing Soda and one cup of the Borax. Mix these together so that they are well combined. At this point, if you want to add some OxyClean, you can, but it is not necessary. If you do want to add it though, add about a half cup and mix in with the other ingredients. That is it! I told you it was super easy! I use a tablespoon of this detergent for small and medium-sized loads, and about two tablespoons for large loads. I never use hot water to save money, and this still cleans the clothes better than any detergent I have ever used!

Now if you are wanting a great smelling product like Tide or something like that, this is not the product. It doesn't really have an appealing just smells like cleaning products. This smell does not wear off on your clothes though. If you like laundry that is really fragrant, I would suggest adding fabric softener, so that you get the smell that you are wanting. You can buy a generic brand of fabric softener that will last for about 60 loads for around $2.50. Not bad if you ask me!

There are also a lot of liquid detergent recipes on the internet, but I like this powder one the best. The liquid recipes are really messy and you have to have a large bucket to store them in. However, if you want to try a liquid one, please do so, and post a comment on this site and let me know how it worked for you!Good luck!!!!!!!!

My Top 10 Ways to Save Money
Cook your own meals. It costs a lot of money to eat out! You can save hundreds of dollars per month by just planning your own meals and sticking with it. Even if you just spend $5.00 a day buying your lunch, if you do that five days a week, and there are four weeks in a month, that is $100.00 a month you are spending on just lunch! And most of us spend more that $5.00 on lunch. If you go out to dinner--it is even more expensive! The average couple spends $30.00 per dinner eating at the average restaurant. If they eat out three nights a week, that is $360.00 a month just for dinner! With a little planning, you can buy groceries for a whole month for around $200.00 a month.
Buy generic. For a lot of people, this is a difficult thing to do because they think that name brands are better. This is exactly what the name brand companies want you to believe! They pay advertising companies millions of dollars every year to put this idea in your head. Since they pay so much for advertising, they have to make up that cost somewhere--leading to their high costs. If you actually compare the list of ingredients on the name brand item and the generic item, you will see that most of the time, they are identical! And, if you buy generic, you can save tons of money--sometimes, up to 50% off!
Join your grocery store's or drugstore's loyalty club. When you sign up for one of their free loyalty cards, you can get great deals. The store runs sales every week, and you can only get the sale price if you have one of these cards. At drugstore's like CVS, you earn ExtraBucks and additional coupons and savings everytime you use your loyalty card. This is a great deal, because the ExtraBucks are like free money that you can use with your next purchase. An example of the savings with ExtraBucks....I bought about $68.00 worth of products a few weeks ago from CVS, and after I used my extra bucks, I only had to pay $0.53! You cannot beat savings like this! Also, at some of the grocery stores that have loyalty cards, they will double coupons up to $1.00 if you have one of their cards. So, if you get an item on sale because of your card, let's say a box of cereal that was originally $4.50, and is on sale for $3.00, and you have a coupon for $1.00 off, they will double that to $2.00 off! This means that you get a $4.50 box of cereal for $1.00! Just pay attention, and stock up when they have great deals like this!
Use coupons! The best coupons come in the Sunday paper. I choose not to subscribe to the paper because we do not have time to read it, nor do we have the money, but I ALWAYS go to the store on Sunday and buy the paper. It costs $1.50 (no tax), and it saves me a ton of money when I shop. Some people only clip the coupons that they think they will use, but I clip all of them. You never know what will come up, and sometimes you need an item that you don't usually buy and you might have a coupon for. MY WARNING ABOUT COUPONS: STILL CHECK PRICES! TYPICALLY YOU DON'T GET COUPONS FOR GENERIC ITEMS. OFTEN TIMES, THE GENERIC ITEM WILL STILL BE CHEAPER THAN THE NAME BRAND ITEM THAT YOU HAVE A COUPON FOR! IF IT IS....BUY THE GENERIC! ALSO, DO NOT JUST BUY AN ITEM BECAUSE YOU HAVE A COUPON FOR IT! IF YOU WILL NEVER USE THE ITEM, OR DO NOT NEED IT...PASS IT UP!
In the summer, keep your blinds closed during the day. Also, run your dishwasher and wash and dry your clothes at night. By doing this, it will keep your house cooler during the day and it will save you a lot on your electric bill. Do the opposite of this in the the blinds during the day, and run the dishwasher and washer and dryer in the day. It will help to heat your home and save you money on your gas or electric bill. Also, after you use your oven during the winter, if you do not have children or pets, leave the oven open a little ways while it cools down. This will also help to heat your home. If you do this though....BE do not want to injure yourself!!!
Make your own laundry detergent. I sounds dumb. You can save a ton of money buy doing this though! Laundry detergent really adds up, especially if you buy name brands like Tide. I can buy all the supplies that I need to make laundry detergent for about $6.00, and the materials will last me for about two years! You cannot beat $6.00 for two years worth of clean clothes....and the detergent does work....our clothes have never been so clean! (I will post my recipe for laundry detergent on a later post.)
Join I just found this resource and it is wonderful! Just search for a Freecycle group in your area. This is a website similar to Craigslist, only everything is free! If you have something that you are wanting to donate or just don't need anymore that you think someone else might be able to use, you can post it. Usually you will get a response and the person needing the item will come pick it up! If you need something, just look on the list and see if it is there. If it is, contact the person who listed the item, and you can make arrangements to pick it up! The best thing about this site is that it is 100% free, and you are not allowed to sell or trade anything. It is about helping others and recycling things that people don't need anymore. Check it out! It's a great resource! It is also a place to find pets for free! :)
Make your own cleaning products. The cleaning product companies have led us to believe that we need a different cleaner for everything that we own, and this is not true! You can make your own cleaners that will clean just about everything in your home with items like white vinegar and baking soda! I will post some of these recipes at a later time.
Plant a garden. You can plant a garden that will produce all the vegetables and herbs that you need for a fairly small price! The cost of seeds is very inexpensive, and with some care, they will yield a whole season's worth of vegetables. The cost of starting a garden is much less than buying all of your vegetables in the grocery store. And, you can can or freeze your vegetables to get you through the fall and winter.
Buy your makeup online. There are websites out there that offer very inexpensive, yet high quality, makeup. One of these sites is All of their makeup is $1.00! You cannot beat this price. The shipping and handling fee is $6.95, but if you buy all of your makeup at once, your savings is well worth having to pay shipping and handling. You can buy foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, and lipgloss for $14.95, and this includes shipping and handling! And, if you have friends or family who want to order at the same time, you can split the cost of shipping and handling, and this will lower your overall cost. Definitely something to check into!

Up and Running!
Yea!!! My first post!!! I hope that this will be my first of many posts, and that you will gain a lot of useful and valuable knowledge from the advice that I give on ways to save money. I am in no way an expert on the subject, but I am just doing what I can to help share what I have learned, and hope that you will be able to save as much money as I have!The first thing that I would recommend that you do would be to track your expenses for at least a week-a month is really better though! You have to track this accurately to get an idea of how much money you are actually throwing down the drain! What I have chosen to do is track my expenses in a spiral notebook (now is the time to buy these-school is about to start, and many places have them on sale for 0.10 or less). You can also track this on a spreadsheet on the computer if it is easier for you. I am just more of a pen and paper girl, so a notebook is easier for me. Plus, I can have it with me where ever I go. I just label the top of the page of the time range (example: August Expenses) and have three columns labeled: Date, Location, and Amount. You have to be very dilligent and record EVERYTHING that you spend. Once I do this, I get several different colors of highlighters and highlight accordingly. For example: I highlight all of my bills yellow, my groceries pink, my automatic transfer or any other tranfer to savings green, necessities (prescription meds., doctor's visits, toothpaste, gasoline) blue, and I leave everything else that I have written down unhighlighted--including money spent eating out! This helps show you just how much money you waste on things that you don't even realize every day! You don't think about how much that one tube of lipgloss, or one cheeseburger costs when you purchase it, but when you see just how much you spend on these items over a week or a month, be prepared for your jaw to hit the ground!This method will also help you be able to prepare a better budget--please tell me that you have one! A budget is a necessity whether you make $6.00 an hour or $200 an hour. We are to be good stewards of our money, and a budget is really the only way to do this. I have found a usefuly website that is totally free, and it allows you to record and budget for all of your expenses. I have used this and found it really helpful. The website is . There is a ton of budget software out on the web that you have to pay big bucks for, but the goal is to save money, right? So why not use a free one! There are a lot of other websites out there that allow you to create a budget for free, so if the one I have recommended doesn't work for you, look around for one that does. Just be careful and make sure that it really is free, that they don't ask for your bank account information, and that if they do, they are totally secure. There are a lot of new sites out there like that allow you to actually link your bank account to their site, and it shows you the pattern of your spending. I have heard great things about this site, and hope to use it soon. My bank is a smaller one, so they are trying to get it set up in their system. If you bank at a large national bank though, give it a try! I am in no way being paid by these companies to talk about them, just as I am in no way endorsing them, I am just telling you what I have heard and found for myself!I had better wrap this up! Try tracking your expenses creating or revising your budget. On my next post--after you realize how much money you are throwing away--I am going to list my Top 10 money saving tips!