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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Be A Copy Canner!

All that this means is that when you are grocery shopping you buy extra cans of stuff that you routinely use. Things that you know that you will eat. Rotation of your stockpile is the NUMBER 1 thing that you need to learn and stick to. Do not buy anything that your family does not normally eat just because it is on sale. That will be a waste of money.
You can do your Copy Canning technique a couple of different ways. You can buy one can of something for yourself and the other for the stockpile. This will keep you a steady stockpile going.
You can also do what I often do, which is when something that I use a lot goes on sale, I buy as much as I can afford to buy. And this goes for anything. Canned goods, toilet paper, condiments, etc. You can save some money in the long run by bulk buying.
Get to work on seeing how you can be a Copy Canner!

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I thought that I would share a free e-book with my readers. It is a Frugal Recipe E-Book. It is in a zip file , but very small. Just something that I thought that I would share. I have been cleaning up my computer and finding all of these great e-books that I had bought off of ebay a while back. Some of them I will be sharing with you on here.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Get More Life Out Of Old Clothes.

I always have tons of t-shirts and stuff that I keep and try to make something else out of it. I make cloth diapers, shorts, etc. I love doing this. It is basically free fabric. Jeans can be made into many things , also. Like purses, quilts, pillows, curtains, etc.

If you use your imagination , you can come up with tons of things to make and this is also a great way to save money.

I have found some great ideas online to make items out of clothing.
Recycled T-Shirt Patterns

Great Ideas can be found here

Sewing Projects Using T-shirts

Make Easy T-shirt pants for kids!!

Recycle T-shirts into underwear!!

25 Things to do with your old jeans

Repurpose Jeans

Fabric and Clothing Reuse: This is a mega list!!

Sew A Prefold Cloth Diaper From a T-shirt Check out the whole site for other cheap ways to make cloth diapers.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

14 Tips to Help You Find Great Deals at Garage Sales

For the most part, this can be a fun Saturday activity that can save you tons of money, and become addictive. Warning: Remember not to brake too fast for garage sales; you don’t want to get rear-ended!

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I personally believe garage sales are the best thing since triple coupons for the *cost effective spender.* Others might call us tightwads, penny pinchers, cheapskates, frugal....but I just think we are making smart choices with the money we have to spend!

Here are some tips for making "garage saling" fun and worthwhile:

1. Keep a list of things you are looking for that you *know* you need or want. Often I’m looking for certain garden equipment, kitchen utensils, tools, etc. that I can live without until I find a good deal.

2. Find a good route, in a fairly affluent area, and follow the route and signs along the way. I don’t mean for this to sound snobbish, but I have often found the best quality items in more affluent areas. Generally speaking, clothes, toys, and other items are in great condition because they have a faster turnover as they replace their inventory more often. You’ll save gas by following a particular route once you’ve found an area you like rather than driving in all directions.

3. Get to know your prices, just as you do with your regular shopping. For example, I would never pay over $.25 for a paperback book. Since we like to make copies of movies, we look for video tapes at garage sales. We have often found them at 4/$1.00. We won’t go much higher than that. Some people are clueless about what to charge because they haven’t been to garage sales. You can find wonderful deals, or you can find things way overpriced. If I stumble on one where the items are really high, I usually walk away pretty quickly, unless they have something I’m extremely interested in purchasing.

4. Polish your negotiation skills! This is the best place in the world to practice negotiating. It is also a great learning opportunity for your children. We used to make this a weekly family affair. One of our sons loved to negotiate at garage sales. Now he is in Sales Management and does very well in his profession. There are different ways to negotiate, and sometimes you can get a *feel* for how flexible the people are with their prices by listening to others making offers. I use one of two approaches. I will either say, "Are your prices negotiable? If so, what is the lowest you would go on this item?" The other approach I will use is to simply offer a certain amount based on what I am willing to pay for an item. This is particularly true of items I find often, or something I could walk away from and not be sorry if I didn’t get. Always show respect to the seller when negotiating. You will get much further by being friendly and not trying to use an intimidating lowball approach.

5. In addition to items on your list, look for things that will make nice gifts. Keep a list of those people you need to buy gifts for and any particular interests they might have. You can find wonderful jewelry at low prices. I’ve often found board games in *like new* condition, or still packaged in the original shrink wrap. If the game has been opened, take the time to make sure all pieces are there and things look new. I also have found books in new condition for gifts. Garage sales are great for finding *specialty* gifts that might fit a particular person’s hobby or tastes.

6. You can sometimes find great deals on clothes. It was much easier to shop for my children at garage sales when they were younger and had not developed any particular sense of style! Many times I have found clothes and shoes that I like for myself. I’m one of those who likes to tell everybody about my great finds. I remember an occasion where I was at a business luncheon and an executive at my table complimented the antique scarf pin I was wearing. I knew him very well and felt comfortable, so I told him it was an earring I had found at a garage sale and had paid 10 cents for the pair! He laughed and said I should come up with a better story the next time I received a compliment. I guess we shouldn’t feel compelled to tell all of our secrets.

7. If you have an expensive car, use a different one for garage sales. If you drive up in an expensive car, or wearing flashy jewelry and fine furs (yeah, right!) there goes any leverage for negotiating.

8. Look for block sales. These are great because you can park your car and walk to several at once. Many areas hold annual yard sales and we track those.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for something you might be looking for but don’t see. My husband always asks sellers if they might have any video tapes they want to offload. Many people say "just a minute," disappear into the house, and shortly we are walking away with a box of tapes we just bought for a song.

10. If you enjoy doing crafts and making gifts, garage sales are fantastic for finding craft supplies. I have found countless items such as yarn, embroidery thread, cross stitch material, stitchery kits that have never been opened, scrap material, silk flowers, lace, shadow boxes, frames, etc. I have also found many supplies for my painting hobby which makes it much more cost effective.

11. Tools, camping equipment, outdoor and indoor furniture are always available at yard sales. This can be a cost effective way to pick up what you need at prices you can afford. I would personally tend to stay away from electronic items since I don’t know much about them. If we find something that either my husband or I are pretty sure we can repair, we might take a chance if we can get a real bargain.

12. We always look for items we can resell to make a profit. We used to resell things at garage sales or through want ads. Now we have Ebay! We have made a lot of extra money over the years doing this.

13. To avoid filling up your own house with more clutter and items you won’t use, always ask yourself if you will be able to use the item you are purchasing, give it as a gift, or resell it for a profit. In my earlier days, I accumulated too much stuff just because I couldn’t resist great bargains. I have become much more picky with all purchases, including my yard sale finds.

14. Budget a certain amount per month for garage sales. Keep the money in an envelope so you will have cash for your purchases. If you buy items to give as gifts, then you might add some to your garage sale funds from your gift fund. There’s always a way to do some creative financing here.

Have fun with this. Expect to go to many garage sales where you won’t find good bargains. My husband and I have a slogan: "We have to kiss a lot of frogs sometimes before we find the prince." Expect to run across a few people who are rude. Probably, they woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning because they had to get up so early to set up for a garage sale so you could get some good deals! For the most part, this can be a fun Saturday activity that can become addictive. Warning: Remember not to brake too fast for garage sales; you don’t want to get rear-ended!

Copyright 2001 by Karen Kuebler

Better Budgeting

Fabulous Finds
Garage Sale America

Friday, August 20, 2010

Freebie Sites Are A Great Way To Stockpile

I just love getting freebies and samples in the mail. I go to Today's Web-Freebies Blog to find the best freebies to sign up for and my mail box is full every single day. My mail lady really does not like me. Sometimes she has to bring all of my mail to the door in a box!! But I have tons of stuff stockpiled up for when needed. Sample stuff is great for traveling also. Great for kids. My son loves the little bottles of shampoo and toys that he gets in the mail. He gets toothbrushes and stuff like that too.

Saves some money getting freebies in the mail.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cook Outside to Save Money

Firing up the grill is a great way to cook in the summer! Here are a few grilling tips and a couple of recipes, too.

For great grilled burgers, form the patty gently. Smashing the meat forces out moisture.

Sear both sides of the burger on both sides, then move the burger and cook with indirect heat till done.

Use a meat thermometer to gauge when the meat is done. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

When grilling chicken, remember that dark meat needs longer on the grill than breast meat. Also, bone-in parts cook longer than boneless parts.

Place the pieces that need to cook the longest on the grill first, and then move them to a cooler area of the grill to finish cooking after they have browned.

Again, use a meat thermometer to tell when chicken is done. Bone-in parts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees; boneless parts to about 160 degrees.

Tropical Glaze for Grilled Chicken

* 1 small can crushed pineapple
* 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon mustard

Drain pineapple, reserving 2 tablespoons of juice. Mix pineapple, reserved juice, brown sugar, lemon juice and mustard.

Brush chicken parts with glaze often during last 10 minutes of grilling.

Barbecue Sauce

* 1 cup ketchup
* 1 cup water
* 1/4 cup vinegar
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon celery seed
* 2 or 3 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)

Mix all ingredients in saucepan; bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Use to baste burgers or pork chops during last 10-15 minutes of grilling.

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Always be sure to cook on a clean grill. If you have a gas grill, leave it on for a couple of minutes after you finish cooking, with the lid down. If you have a charcoal grill, just close the lid and let it burn out. Then you can scrub the grate with a wad of aluminum foil.

Don't cook at too high a temperature and don't lift the lid and peek too many times. You'll just be adding to the cooking time, because the temperature will be lowered.

For a great warm weather dessert, try this cool fruit combination.

* 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stir together and spoon over sliced fresh bananas.

About The Author

Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" bi-weekly newsletter and founder of the website of the same name. Visit to find creative tips, articles, and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".

Weber's Big Book of Grilling
How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques
Weber's Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling (Sunset Books)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

10 Ways To Lower Your Utility Bills

The average U.S. household spends about $2,150 every year on utility bills. If you're spending more than $152 per month, you're paying more than average. By making simple improvements to your home you could reduce your utility bill from 10 to 50 percent.

1. Shade Those Windows

How you cover your windows has a direct impact on how much energy you save. Dark curtains and good covering blinds are important. In the summer keep curtains/blinds closed to windows facing the sun. In the winter, open them for some natural heating.

2. Landscape That Lawn

Not just for looks, trees can be an important way to reduce energy. Planting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) around your home will help keep your home cool in the summer, and let the sun through in the winter.

3. Choose Your Exterior Wisely

When painting, or replacing your siding or roof, be sure and pick white or light colors. This, though it may not help a whole lot, is a no-cost way to reduce your bill. For roofing options, a white metal roof gives the best benefit.

4. Use CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Lights)

CFLs cost a bit more, but use 75% less energy than regular light bulbs and last about 10 times longer -so you save money, and you stay cooler. Replacing just four well-used 100-watt bulbs with equivalent 23-watt CFLs will save you $108 over three years!

5. Turn Off Those Lights

This should be a no-brainer, but we all need reminders every once in a while. This is a 100% free way to reduce your energy bill. If a light isn't being used, turn it off. If this is a hard habit to get into, install timers on all of your lights

6. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances

A lot can be said here, as this is a huge way to cut energy costs. A few things to remember: Every appliance in your house uses energy, and knowing how much energy each uses is a big benefit to you. A good idea is to check the yellow Energy Star label on appliances.

7. Upgrade Your Attic Insulation

If you don't already have insulation, adding it can save you between 10% and 20% on your heating bills. The higher the R value (heat-resistance factor) of the insulation, the better. For the attic, use at least R40. It's also a good idea to use a good sealant on your attic door.

8. Seal Those Air Ducts

The typical home lose 30%-40% of the cooling they pay for. This is because most ducts are leaky. Not a good thing, being as your ducts are the hottest place in your house. To avoid this, seal your duct system with mastic and mesh (not duct tape), and insulated with R-8 or better.

9. Clean Those Air Filters

You need to clean or replace air conditioner and furnace filters at least once per month. A dirty filter makes these appliances work much harder, using more energy and costing you more money.

10. Use More Cold Water

Yet another no-brainer, sometimes people forget this important tip. Reaching for that hot water faucet need not be a necessity. Dishes, clothes and hands can all be rinsed in cold water.
Author: Allan Wilson

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thrift Stores = Saving Money

This is a great way to save money. If you have kids than you know how fast they grow and how expensive their clothes can be. I shop at thrift stores for most of my kids clothing. I can get name-brand clothing at next to nothing prices. They have more clothes to wear because of this!! For the price of 1 pair of jeans I can go to a thrift store and get my kids a few outfits and the accessories. You will have to hunt in the store for the good stuff and make sure you look the items over really good. Check the zippers and buttons. Although I did buy my hubby a Christian Dior dress shirt for a $1.00 that had a button missing because I knew I could go home and sew one on!!!! Now I have a new baby and if it was not for thrift stores he would be naked right now! Also when I was pregnant I got all of my maternity clothes at thrift stores and then resold it on ebay and made 3 times more than what I bought it for! Some people even make a business out of thrift stores - go to them and buy high end items for next to nothing and resell it on ebay! You can even get others items at thrift stores that can save you money. I got some awesome shelves last year. They are very old and I got them for $5.00 each. They are worth a lot more than that. If you really look you can get some great antiques at thrift stores.
Thrift Stores also came in handy when I was homeschooling my kids. You can always find textbooks ,workbooks, and more at thrift stores that you might need for teaching. I bought a chemistry kit one year for only $2.00!! A lot less than if I had bought it new and it did not have anything missing.

Great for back to school shopping!!

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

This is a great way to save some money. Plan your meals for the week and make a list for the grocery store. Actually stick to the list. When you are at the grocery look for store brand items , they can save you quite a bit. Always check the meat-sales. Our local grocery store puts the meat from that day in a "meat-sale" section and you can get some great bargains there. The meat is always just from that day and never out of date. They just do not like their meat to carry over to the next day so they mark it down. I can get ground chuck family packs for $2.50!! Steaks are usually $.99 and big roast are always $3.00!!!! Our freezer is always full. If you have to buy name brand ,than always try to use coupons or buy the item on sale. When they have something on sale that you are always using ,STOCK UP!! Like ,for example, the grocery store has tomato juice (that I always use for soups) on sale for $.89 when it is usually $1.09, so I bought the limit of 4 cans !! Now I have it on hand and saved money! You can sometimes get some great deals on closeouts. I got 5 things of Suave Deoderant that was once $1.99 for $.88 each because it was a closeout that they were not going to be carrying anymore. If you really take your time , leave the kids at home, and stick to a meal planning list ,you can save a lot of money at the grocery store.Download our free toolbar

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Save Money At Breakfast

You can save a lot of money if you switch to eating oatmeal for breakfast and with these recipes you can make it an enjoyable experience ,too.

Instant Oatmeal Packets

3 cups oats (quick cooking works best)
8 small zip-like baggies

Process ½ cup oats in a blender (or 1 cup oats in a food processor) on high until powdery. Set aside. Repeat with additional ½ cup oats if using blender. Put the following into each baggie: 1/4 cup regular oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Store in an airtight container.

To serve, empty packet into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for 2 minutes. Adjust water amount for thicker or thinner oatmeal.

Try some of the following variations:

Sweetened Oatmeal: Add 1 T. sugar

Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Oatmeal: Add 1 T. brown sugar and 1/4 t. cinnamon

Raisins and Brown Sugar: Add 1 T. packed brown sugar and 1 T. raisins.

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal: Add 1 T. sugar, 1/4 t. cinnamon, & 2 T. Chopped dried apples

Fruit and Cream Oatmeal: Add 1 T. non-dairy coffee creamer and 2 T. dried fruit

Health Nut Oatmeal: Add 2 T. any kind of wheat germ

Chewy Granola Bars

3 cups oats
1 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla
2/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips or M&Ms
Optional: raisins, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, and baking soda. In another bowl, combine vanilla, butter, honey, and brown sugar; add to oat mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Lightly press mixture into the pan with the back of your spoon. Bake at 325 for 22 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

If you cook oatmeal in milk rather than water, the oatmeal will taste creamier. Apple juice, peach syrup, or mixed fruit juice, or even a combination of juices and milk make wonderful new flavors without having to add much extra (if any) sweetener. Cinnamon and nutmeg with chopped apples make a delicious combination. Use your imagination to add whatever you like. (Once, I added hot chocolate mix. That was good!)One last tip for saving money at breakfast: use powdered milk either in part or whole to save money. When powdered milk is cold, you hardly notice a difference, especially on cereal or in recipes. If you think your family will be skeptical about drinking powdered milk, mix it with regular milk. I've served powdered milk with cereal to extended family, and when asked about it later, they never noticed the difference.

Even if your family doesn't want to drink powdered milk, keep some on hand for using in recipes. An added benefit to using powdered milk is convenience. I don't have to run to the store each week for fresh milk since I buy powdered milk in large quantities and make as needed.Download our free toolbar

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sewing For Baby

I am wanting to start with some great sewing websites that I found for sewing accessories for babies. If I did not do a lot of sewing when my son was a baby , I do not know what we would have done. What, with sewing diapers and stuff, it really saved a lot of money!! You can find a lot of places online for sewing patterns.

Free baby sling and carriers patterns

Free Maya Wrap baby carrier pattern

Great resources for making cloth diapers - FREE

Free Cloth Diaper Patterns

How to sew a fitted diaper

Martha Stewert Tea Towel Bib

Martha Stewert Felt baby shoes

Free info on sewing cloth diapers and training pants

Free patterns for making baby toys and there is even one for making a cloth book

These are just a starting point for some items that you can sew yourself and save some money. Reuse bigger clothing to make baby stuff ,like toys etc. Reuse blankets and more. Use your imagination.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Survival Blog

I am working on a few ideas and hope to have some new stuff on here soon!! Stay with me. Download our free toolbar
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The Survivalists Web Ring (Western)
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Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to share more information and get closer to getting my family totally off-grid and on our own piece of land. This will let me share more and more information to allow , hopefully, for you to become more self-sufficient and able to become more prepared by reading my blog and purchasing items that I share with you that will help you. Thank you! :)