Monday, December 27, 2010

Frugal New Year's Eve With the Kids

Looking for some ways to ring in the New Year with out spending a fortune. Here are some links to make crafts and decorations. I plan to celebrate at home with my family and want to make it as festive as possible with as little money as possible.

Here are some recipes for mock champagne:
equal parts of white grape juice and sprite or 7-Up
equal parts of purple grape juice and sprite or 7-Up
equal parts of white or purple grape juice and ginger ale
2/3 part purple grape juice to 1/3 part sprite or 7-Up

We will watch the ball go down on TV and may even make confetti and put it in balloons we can pop when the clock strikes midnight.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Stockings and Merry Christmas

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. My mother-in-law has been in the hospital since right after Thanksgiving and is now in rehab for congestive heart failure and that is why I haven't had time to post. I hope the Christmas posts I have done has helped some of you be able to provide a Christmas for your children. If you are still working on Christmas and don't have stockings, here is a webpage that shows you how to make them out of a paperbag. Fill them with some of the printables from my posts, candy, or even homemade cookies. Stay tuned for money saving and grocery lowering ideas soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers and friends. I know this time of year is depressing when you don't have any money. Everywhere we turn there are more ads and commercials and pressure to buy.  Please remember you can have a Christmas without spending a lot of money. You really can. Read my Christmas posts, make crafts and presents, print out decorations and toys and even ornaments. The true holiday spirit is not in what you buy. It is in spending time with your loved ones and doing things together. Walk around the neighborhood and look at the lights, sing Christmas carols together, have a craft night....I think you get the idea. This Thanksgiving I ask everyone that reads this to think of one thing or person they are thankful for and share that thought with someone. It is hard to feel deprived when you are focusing on being thankful. Even if you are in a homeless shelter, you can be thankful you have somewhere to sleep and for the chance that next year will be better and you can change your situation for the better.  Before all this commercialism changed the focus, our ancestors had it right with how they celebrated the holidays. They enjoyed the time spent together and took pleasure in homemade gifts.  Maybe, just maybe we can get some of that back.
I will be posting more money saving tips, grocery shopping advice, freebies, and more Christmas posts soon. Today is going to be about my family and spending time with the ones I love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Easy Thanksgiving Meal for Singles, Couples or Elderly

I wanted to share an easy way to have a Thanksgiving meal for singles, couples, or the elderly that is not labor intensive at all and is really good. The Hormel Fully Cooked Turkey is in the refrigerated part of the grocery store near the hot dogs, and other foods that are already cooked. It is microwaveable and has 5 slices of real turkey in it. It also has a great tasting turkey gravy in it. There is enough gravy in it to put on your mashed potatoes and stuffing. It is literally heat and serve and takes only minutes. Walmart super centers have them for $4.98 so, you don't have to wait for the grocery store to put them on sale. Heat a can of corn and a can of green beans. Make mashed potatoes and stuffing. heat some rolls and you have a Thanksgiving meal that tastes great and was not hard to make at all. Get a ready made pie to top it off and you will be eating like royalty.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas helpers to make your life easier

Go to the link below to get a free Christmas Greeting Card list, template to make a small gift box (fits in a stocking perfectly), template for gift card envelopes, gift tags, money holders, Santa letters, grocery shopping list, stationery, wish list, and printable wrapper sheets in case you run out of wrapping paper at the last minute.
I just love this site.

Freebies for you

Tide is giving away 5,000 bottles of Tide Stain Release Pre-Treat Spray."Like" them on Facebook and be on the lookout for their announcements

Free Christmas herbal candle

Free handmade peach soap

Free golf grip

Free condoms

Free Lube to go with the above freebie

Hopefully some of these freebies will come before Christmas. The soap and the candle would make great presents. The golf grip would be a great stocking stuffer. Freebies go fast so hurry to get yours. Also, you might want to use a different e-mail address set up for freebies in case you get some spam.
Have fun!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Make a Puppet Theater for all the printable puppets

Here it idea for all those printable puppet posts. Let's make a puppet theater.
Get a Cardboard file box or bank box and cut out the bottom. you aren't using the lid so this will make a box with no top or bottom. You can paint the box using tempra paint or wrap the box with wrapping paper. Hot glue or staple two pieces of fabric to the top back of the box. Leave an opening in the middle to create the back curtain. Put the puppet theater on a tabletop. You could use a table cloth on the table so, your kids' legs don't show.Your children kneel or sit behind the table and put the puppets between the theater and the curtains. The curtains hide their hands. Let the shows begin.

Free printable letter from Santa for your child.

I just found a great resource for parents to make their own letter from Santa. You are able to print it right then for free. Also, you can mail it to your child and they will feel so special getting a letter from Santa.
Here you go:
I know my son loves to receive mail. I can't wait to see his face when he gets a letter from Santa.

Free Farm printable Play Set includes animals

This is a cute farm set and includes printable animals and even a silo.
Here are the links:
I hope your little one has hours of fun with this. This would make a great present if put together and presented as a set.

Wonder Pets!, Mickey Mouse bowling pins & Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Play set Printables for you

These Wonder Pets! printables are adorable. They should provide hours of entertainment for your little ones.
Wonder Pets!

Here's a bowling pin set that is printable and 3-D. You use a small ball with it to play the game.
Mickey and Friends bowling pins
I couldn't believe my luck with finding this printable. If your child likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he or she will love this play set. I am definitely making this one for my son.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Characters Playset

Free Printable Toys for Ni-Hao-Kai-Lan, Team Umizoomi, and Backyardigans

Here are more free printables for you.

Team Umizoomi

A few more posts and then the big paper puppet idea.

Free printable toys for Pinky Dinky Doo, Moose & Zee, Yo Gabba Gabba, Wubbzy, Olivia, and Max & Ruby

Here are more Nick Jr. printables from other shows. I am working on an idea for all the printable puppets so
be on the look out for that post soon.

Pinky Dinky Doo

Moose & Zee

Yo Gabba Gabba



Max & Ruby

Blue's Clues printables

The printable puppets from the link below would make a great Christmas present for any Blue's Clue lover. Just group them together and wrap or set them up under the tree to be found on Christmas morning.
If you laminate the placemats using clear contact paper or clear shelf paper, they will last a lot longer and you can write on them with dry erase markers.
These small paw prints are just the thing to lead a trail to a present on Christmas
Want to play Blue's clues? Here are some big paw prints to hide. Have fun playing.

Diego printable toys for your little boy

I wanted to share these printables with you. My last post was Dora printables. It's only fair I post Diego too.
These would be cool put together as a present for a little boy.    (both Dora and Diego paper dolls)

Printable Dora toys for your little girl

I wanted to share with all of you these wonderful printables from nick jr. The snow princess dress up and the mermaid dress up printables would make great presents for any Dora lover. You could make 2 dress up kits with them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Printable Christmas Toys for your Little Boy: Car Mat, Street Signs, Car, & Planes

If your son likes to play with cars or planes, these are the printables for you. The thing I love, is if they get messed up or broken, all you have to do is print another one. You can't do that with store bought toys.
Street Scene Mat for 3D Cars Paper Craft
Rules of the Road: Street Signs
Cool 3-D Cars Paper Craft
Full Throttle Paper Airplane
Red Rocket Paper Airplane
Target for Paper Airplanes
I will be posting more toys soon. Enjoy!!!

Printable Toys For Your Little Girl's Christmas: Princess, Cinderella, Snow White, & Barbie

If your little girl loves to be a princess or loves Barbie, Cinderella or Snow White, then these are the printables for you.
Disney Preschool Printable: Ariel's Wand
Disney Preschool Printable: Ariel's Crown
Princess and the Frog
Princess and the Frog
Princess and the Frog
Princess and the Frog
Snow White
The next link is for a printable paper Barbie doll with outfits. The pictures/printables are right on the front page. Just print it out and there you go.
I will be posting more printable toys soon. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Free Milk for Utah and Nevada

This offer is for residents of Utah and Nevada only.
Here's the link:
To receive a free 1/2 gallon of Winder's fantastic milk, 3 free samples of our new chocolate recovery milk and learn more about their service just fill in the form and click submit.

Heating Oil Assistance for select states

This is for the states: 
Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, and Wisconsin.
Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program provides a one-time delivery of 100 gallons of home heating oil to low income families. Over 1.2 million families are helped each and every year.
Call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645) to learn more or apply for the Oil Heat program. The program does have limited funding and supplies, so be sure to apply early and do not wait.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Decorating the house for Christmas

Here are some of my favorite links for Christmas decorations. I think you will be very surprised at the cuteness factor of the decorations. The hangemups can be used as wall decorations or laminate them with clear contact or shelving paper and put them on your front door. There is even a 3-D Santa Claus village and a Christmas train. Enjoy surfing.
You can make Christmas happen and it doesn't have to cost a lot to do it.
There will be more to come soon.

Printable Christmas tree ornaments for the kids

If you need Christmas ornaments and don't have the money...try these printable Christmas ornaments.
How about a Dora snowflake chain:
The tree is decorated but, there's nothing on the top. Here you go:
There's also the old standby of making paper chains and stinging popcorn to decorate the tree. In keeping with a home made Christmas, these sound like some quality family time to me.
More Christmas decorations to come soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More free samples for you...think Christmas

Free sample of parents choice baby formula:

Free Style and smile magnet photo frame:

Free Betty Crocker 2011 calendar:

Free Let's Have Fun with Fire Safety: Marty & Jett's Activity Book:

Free Sesame Street get ready for school freebies (includes Sesame Street DVD):

Free Pillsbury 2011 calendar:

Free first hug blanket for expecting moms:

The blanket, photo frame, and formula would be a great gift if paired together for an expectant mother.
The Sesame Street freebies, photo frame, and the fire safety activity book would make great gifts for a child for Christmas.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Food Lion's $15.00 turkey certificate for shopping 6 weeks

I wanted to give a heads up about the Food Lion $15.00 turkey certificate for shopping the past 6 weeks. It does not have to be used for food. I repeat it does not have to be used for food. If you are on food stamps (EBT), use your EBT card for food and use the Food Lion certificate for paper products or other products you can not buy with food stamps. If you combine the certificate with coupons and sales, you will be able to stretch the certificate and get even more items you normally can't buy.

Free food samples for your cat or dog

Here are several pet food freebies for your pets. I suggest having a different e-mail address that is set up for only freebie offers because you will get some spam. I still love finding freebies in the mailbox. cat or dog food sample dog food sample cat or dog food sample dog food sample dog treat sample cat food sample cat or dog food sample dog food sample dog treat sample

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week of coupon shopping wrap up and how to do it yourself

Here's the past week wrap-up for shopping with coupons. Between Food Lion, Bi-lo, and 3 trips to Harris Teeter, I spent $188.33 and received $472.35 in groceries. That is $284.02 in free groceries. I saved anywhere from 41% to 77% for an average of 60% which isn't too shabby.
I hope by previous articles, I have shown what can be done to lower your grocery bill buy using coupons. Want to get in on the deals and try it yourself? The first step is to get as many coupons as you can. You can get coupons from the Sunday newspaper, sometimes the library has a coupon exchange box (if they don't, ask them to make one), from relatives and friends, and of course printable Internet coupons.
The biggest Internet coupon sites are:,, and which is
You can print each coupon twice.
The best website I have found for helping you match up coupons with the store weekly specials is:
  Just click on the box and you are on your way.
They have price match ups for Harris Teeter, Bi-lo, Food Lion, Kroger, Publix, Bloom, Commissary, H-E-B, Harveys, Ingles, Lowes Foods, Sweetbay, and Winn Dixie. There are match ups for pharmacies and some super stores but, more on that later. I will also being doing an article on coupon organization soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3rd Trip to Harris Teeter $65.68 in groceries for $16.67

This is from my final shopping trip to Harris Teeter during there double coupons up to $1.99 during the week of 11/3/2010-11/9/2010. I scored $65.68 in groceries for $16.67.

Here's the run down:
4 Betty Crocker potatoes on sale for $1.00 each. I had 2 $ .50/2 coupons which doubled to $1.00 each, making each box of potatoes $ .50.
2 cans of Clabber Girl baking powder for $2.00 each. I had 2 $ .75/1 coupons which doubled to $1.50 each. I paid $ .50/can.
2 Idahoan mashed potatoes packets on sale for $ .99 each. I had 2 $ .60 coupons, which doubled to make both packets free.
3 cans of pringles for $1.50 each. I had $1.00/3 coupon which doubled to $2.00. I paid $2.50 for 3 cans or $ .83 each.
1 can of Hot Shot ant and roach spray for $3.99. I had a $1.50 coupon which doubled to $3.00 making this $.99.
2 Friskies cat treats for $2.00 each. I had 2 $1.00 coupons, which doubled to make these both free.
2-7th generation dish washing detergents for $1.99 each. I had 2 $1.00 coupons, which doubled to make both detergents free.
1-4 count of wisps toothbrushes on sale for $1.50. I had a $.75/1 coupon which doubled to make this free.
3 packs of bagel bites pepperoni pizzas on sale for $2.59 each. I had $1.00/1 and $1.50/2 coupons. After doubling, I paid $2.77 for all 3 or $ .92 each.
6 green giant frozen vegetable boxes on sale for $1.00 each. I has 2 $ .40/3 coupons which doubled to $ .80 each. I paid $4.40 foe 6 or $ .73 each.
Country Crock margarine on sale for $1.14. I had a $ .40 coupon which doubled to $.80 making the Country Crock $ .34.
4 pack of Danactive on sale for $2.50. I had a $ .55 coupon which doubled to $1.10 making the cost $1.40.
1 Dannon Greek yogurt cup on sale for $1.00. I had a $ .30 coupon which doubled to $ .60. This cost me $ .40.
Harris Teeter large eggs on sale for $ .77.
Between VIC savings and coupons I had $49.01 in savings. I paid $15.76 EBT and $ .91 cash for a total of $16.67 for $65.68 in groceries. That is a savings of 75%.
Now Harris Teeter is back to doubling coupons up to $ .99. I can't wait for the next triple to $.99or double to $1.99 coupon sale comes again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Food Lion $63.16 in groceries for $37.41

This is what I bought on my shopping trip to Food Lion last night. Food Lion does not double coupons but, you can still get some good buys. The receipt did not want to scan clear so, I will do a run down for you.

Sweet 16 sugar donuts on sale for $1.49 which is half off
Quaker Quick Oats Instant oatmeal on sale for $1.99. I had $1.00 coupon so, I paid $ .99
2 Bush Collard Greens $2.38
2 Duke's Mayonnaise BOGOF Paid $3.88 for both
Food Lion diet cola $ .88
4 Hunts snack sugar free chocolate puddings $5.00. I had a store coupon for $ .75 off of  4 so I paid $4.25 for 4 packs.
Brach's Candy Corn on clearance for $ .49
Smart Option peanut butter $1.79
2 Swiss Miss Hot Chocolates on sale for $1.00 each. I had a $1.00 off 2 coupon so, these were $ .50 each.
Food Lion hot dog buns for $1.17
Hormel Turkey Breast on sale for $4.99. I had a $1.00 coupon so, I paid $3.99
Gwaltney Hot Dogs $ .99
2 Holly Farms whole chickens for $ .59/lb. for a total of $4.58 for both chickens
1 tomato on sale for $1.99/lb. I paid $1.09
2 cucumbers on sale for 2 for $ .88
Iceberg lettuce $1.29. This was the cheapest at any of the stores I shopped this week.
Kid Cuisine kid's meal on sale for $2.00
2 Hershey's milkshakes on sale for $1.00 each. I had 2 coupons for $.35 off so, I paid $ .65 each.
3 Pillsbury Grands! Jr. Golden Layers 10 count biscuits on sale for $1.00 each. I had a $ .40 off 3 coupon so, I paid $2.60 for 3 or $ .87 each.
1 Cottonelle Flushable Wipes for $2.50. I had a coupon for free wipes so this was free for me.
I paid $37.41 in EBT and saved $25.75 in coupons and store sales so, I received $63.16 in groceries for $37.41. I saved right at 41%. Truthfully the savings are higher than that because some items like the peanut butter and lettuce were not on sale but were cheaper at Food Lion than at the other stores. Part of keeping food costs down is knowing where to buy for the lowest price but, more about that later.

Bi-Lo $179.57 in groceries for $88.84

This is what I bought at Bi-lo last night:

2 French Vanilla 8 O'Clock coffee
Dixie Crystals sugar
5 cans Del Monte diced tomatoes
Hunt's Ketchup
Taco Bell taco shells
can of Southern Home chili beans
can of Hormel chili beans
Clear Value party peanuts
Hormel Completes Pot Roast
2 Hormel Completes Chicken & Dumplings
4 cans Progresso French Onion Soup
2 cans Progresso Tomato Rotini Soup
2 cans Progresso 99% fat free Minestrone Soup
2 Wise Cheese Doodles
14 packs of Koolaid
2 Packs of Nabisco Iced Animal Cookies
Act II popcorn
Nerds rope candy
Southern Home snack mix
Southern Home pretzels
Southern Homes sugar substitute
4 Whiskas cat food (single serve)
Gain Dish washing detergent
Pampers baby wipes
Marcal Facial Tissue
Breakstone Sour Cream
Kraft Mild Cheddar Cheese
Southern Home Mild Cheddar Cheese
Smart Balance Milk
6 Banquet Frozen Meals
Healthy Choice frozen Shrimp Diavolo meal
2 Healthy Choice Sesame Chicken Steamers
5.88lbs. Ground Chuck
Bar-S bologna
3 lunchmakers
Land O Frost Turkey sandwich meat
Del Monte peach fruit cup
2 Del Monte Mandarin orange fruit cups
2lbs. carrots
Sweet Moments bite size brownies
Sweet Moments molten Lava brownies

Total before savings:$179.57
bonus card and coupon savings: $91.08
EBT total: $87.60
cash total: $1.24
Grand total: $88.84 for a savings of 49%
This isn't too bad considering Bi-lo only doubles coupons up to $ .99 and I bought 5.88 lbs. of ground chuck and nerd candy rope because my child was with me and had stuck it out this far so, I treated him. Several of the items ended up being free and I am able to try out some new products I have been wanting to try.  Because of using coupons, I paid $1.24 cash for 4 Whiskas single serving cat food, gain dish washing detergent, Marcal facial Tissue, & pampers baby wipes.

Trip 2 to Harris Teeter $74.27 worth of groceries for $16.94

Here's the picture from my last night shopping trip to Harris Teeter during their double up to $1.99 coupon week. There is a limit of 20 coupons a day per household.

Here's the run down:
2 liquid original coffee mate creamers for $2.85 each. I had 2 $1.50 coupons which doubled to make both free.
2 Martha white muffin mixes. BOGOF + $ .55 coupon on 2 which doubled to $1.10. The muffins were $1.15 for both so, I paid $.05.
2 Jello instant sugar free chocolate puddings. $ .95 each and I had a coupon for $ .50/2 which doubled to $1.00. $1.90 - $1.00 = $ .90 for 2 or $.45 each
2 boxes of Ritz Munchables pretzels/crackers on sale for $2.99 each. I had 2 $1.00 off each coupons which doubled to $2.00 each. I paid $ .99 each.
2 Friskies treats for cats at $2.00 each. I had 2 $1.00 coupons which doubled to $2.00 each.These were both free.
Act II popcorn 3 count on sale for $1.99. I had a $ .75 coupon which doubled to $1.50. I paid $ .49.
2 Zone bars for $1.25 each. I had 2 $1.00 coupons. HT doesn't allow overage so it doubled the coupons $ .25 each to make them both free.
7th Generation dish washing detergent for $1.99. I had a $1.00 coupon that doubled making it free.
7th generation baby wipes for $2.99. I had a $1.00 coupon that doubled. I paid $ .99 for baby wipes.
2 Kotex pantiliners for $1.45 each. I had 2 $1.00 coupons that doubled to make them both free.
Jimmy Dean sausage, egg, & cheese biscuits on sale for $4.99. I had a $1.00 coupon that doubled. I paid $2.99 for sausage biscuits that are normally $5.99.
4 boxes of Totino's pizza rolls for $1.00 each. They are usually $2.19 each. I had 2 $ .40 off 2 coupons which each doubled to $ .80. I paid $ .60 for each box. On the back of each box are $1.00 off 3 Totino's pizza coupons.
10 Totino's pizzas on sale for $1.00 each. I had 2 $1.00 off 5 coupons which doubled to $2.00 each.
I paid $6.00 or $ .60 for each pizza.

My total was $15.50 food stamps and $1.44 cash for a total of $16.94. Between coupons and sales, I saved $57.33. That is $74.27 worth of groceries for $16.94 a savings of 77%.
I will be going to Harris Teeter one or two more times before the double coupon sale ends on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are Coupons Worth It?

$89.67 worth of groceries for $28.47. This is the results of my shopping trip to Harris Teeter on Thursday.
I saved 68% off my bill this time. Normally, I can save between 35%-80% on a given shopping trip. How is this possible? Harris Teeters in NC are doubling 20 coupons per houshold per day up to $1.99 this week. It is a dream come true for couponers. Harris Teeters in other states may be doing this also. Just go to their website and look at the weekly specials for your store to find out.

Here's the receipt from this trip:

I am going to go one or two more times before the sales change next Wednesday to see if I can do even better. I will post how I do here so stay tuned. I also will do some shopping at a store that doubles up to 99cents everyday and a store that does not double at all to show what can still be done to lower your grocery bill. If you want to try this and need some coupons, try,, and for printable coupons. Also try to get your Sunday's newspaper for more coupons. The double coupons at Harris Teeter don't stop until Wednesday so, you have time to use coupons from tomorrow's newspaper. Look at the advertised sales in the weekly specials section of and see if you have any coupons for the same items and you should be able to score some great deals.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lowering Your Grocery Bill

If you are looking to lower your grocery bill or wondering how are you going to survive on food stamps, then this article is for you. This is the first in a series of articles on grocery shopping that will help you survive the food price increases and shrinking product sizes and stretch your food dollar.

When you look on the Internet for tips on grocery shopping, most of the sites you find fall into one of two camps, the cooking everything from scratch camp and the shopping with coupons camp.
I fall right in the middle of these two camps. I believe to lower your grocery bill the lowest it can be, you need to use a variety of methods. I use a combination of cooking from scratch, using coupons, stockpiling, and obtaining free samples to keep my grocery bill down, provide for my family, and to be able to help others.

The first step is to stock your pantry with the basics to be able to cook from scratch. If you are on food stamps or have a small grocery budget, when your food supply starts running low and you don't have grocery money yet, you can cook from scratch. You can also stretch your groceries by cooking from scratch throughout the month.

Here are my suggestions for the bare minimum to stock your pantry with:

baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, cocoa, cornstarch, food coloring, salt, pepper, vinegar, yeast, ketchup, grape jelly, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, powdered milk, boxed puddings, vegetable oil, cornmeal,
all purpose flour, white rice, egg noodles, elbow noodles, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti noodles, beef bouillon cubes, chicken bouillon cubes, maple flavoring or extract, vanilla, basil, oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, garlic salt, marjoram, onion powder, oregano, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, powdered sugar, white sugar, corn syrup, dried beans, peanut butter, ramen noodles, spaghetti sauce, cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, tomato soup, can tomatoes diced, tomato paste, tomato sauce, graham crackers, saltines, bread, oatmeal, grits, instant mashed potatoes, popcorn

eggs, pickles, salsa (if you like it), sour cream, whole or skim milk (your preference), margarine or butter, American cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese

canned tuna, pepperoni, ham, ground beef, chicken (whole is the cheapest), pork chops, ground turkey (if you like it), sandwich meats

coffee, tea, kool-aid packets or comparable brand, orange juice (canned is the cheapest)

fresh fruits, canned fruits, canned vegetables, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, mushrooms (add or take away as you like)

I know this seems like a big list. The spices can be bought at the dollar store or at a place like Big Lots fairly cheaply. I am writing this at the beginning of November and we are getting ready to be in the baking season. Baking supplies are on sale between now and Christmas so, it is a great time to stock up. Condiments and canned foods can be bought on sale and with coupons for fairly cheap. Meats should always be bought on sale. Even sandwich meat can be bought on sale and with coupons. Produce goes on sale and it is always cheaper to buy fruits and vegetables in season.

The idea is to use up the fresh fruits and vegetables first and then use your canned supply. That way nothing gets wasted and you are able to have fruits and vegetables throughout the month.

Let me give you an idea of what you can do from scratch: chicken & dumplings, muffins, pancakes, spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, you can even make spaghetti noodles, cookies, cakes, soups, & casseroles. The list is truly endless.

Check out and look at the articles and recipes for some great cooking from scratch recipes. Check out the old site and the new site. The link takes you to the new site but, everything hasn't been added yet, so there is a link there to go to the old site also. If you are looking at ways to save money, plan to stay awhile at this site because there are plenty of ideas and recipes there that can help.
The best frugal cookbook I have found by far is the "Dining On A Dime" cookbook by Tara Jean Kellam. This book used to be called "Not Just Beans" but, has been updated and is even available as an e-book.
This one costs some money but, I promise it is definitely worth every penny. It will save you money from the day you get it. Here is a link to get the e-book: Not only does this book have recipes for food, it also has the mix in a jar recipes that are great Christmas presents and recipes for kids like finger paints, chalk, slime, play dough, & so much more. There are even recipes to make home made cleaners. I love this book and recommend it without any reservation.

My next article will be about shopping with stay tuned. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Free samples

Here are the latest samples I have been able to find from doing searches for freebies. Just click and then fill out the form and the samples will be on their way. Some of the samples may make great stocking stuffers.
It really is better to create a separate e-mail address for freebie requests so, your main e-mail doesn't get flooded with spam. Happy freebie hunting.
Free coffee sample :

Free Deigo/Dora potty training kit from pampers (includes coupon)

Free adult multi-vitamins:!

Free sun cyrstals sweetener sample:

Free foot/leg pain patch:

Free calcium sample:

Free Breathe right strips:

Free Atkins bars:

Free playtex sport tampon samples:

Free children's toothpaste/toothbrush

Free car air freshener:

Free sweetener samples:

I can see the children's toothpaste & toothbrush and the car air freshener making great stocking stuffers. I will post more samples as I run across stay tuned.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Free pumpkin carving templates

I found a wonderful resource for pumpkin templates I wanted to share. Here's the link:

Here's the jack-o-lantern my husband made with my son.

Home made Halloween Makeup

It's the day before Halloween and your children have no costumes and you don't know what to do. Well, this post is for you.
If you are still wondering how you are going to come up with costumes for your children or yourself, here is a reposting of the link to the no sew costumes.
Here are 2 links to recipes for home made Halloween makeup.
With a little creativity, you can salvage Halloween, give your children some fun and a way to get (hopefully) a lot of candy. Now, getting them to share the candy....that's another story.
Please be safe out there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to find a food pantry

If you are in need of food and need a food pantry here are some links for you:
211 is the number to know. In most states, you can call that number and they will be able to refer you to almost any kind of help you need. If you are not sure if 211 works where you are, go to this link and it will tell you the number to call based on your location.

You can also do an Internet search for a food pantry by typing in your city, state + food pantry. Sometimes food pantries can be hard to find so, these links are a great start in your search. It doesn't matter if you receive food stamps, especially if the amount you receive doesn't even cover you for half the month.
Food pantries are nothing to be ashamed about. They are here to help and right now with the economy the way it is, there are people having to go for help that have never had to do so before.  It is a good idea to call the pantry before going to find out if you need to bring any information with you for verification. It is a shame that people are starving in America. When you are back on your feet, maybe you can give back to the pantries that helped you in your times of need.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weatherization Assistance Programs & LIHEAP

If you are low income, you may qualify for weatherization asistance from your state. They will come and analyze the energy usage in your home and help lower the usage. This may involve insulating your home or maybe replacing your heating system. To find the contact information for your state, go to this website:

I would love to receive some comments on how this program has helped you.

Most states will be taking applications for LIHEAP in early November. They go on your income in October and money is usually sent out in February. This is a federally funded progam to help low income housholds with their energy bills.
To find out more information for your state LIHEAP program go here:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Make Shift Grill to Cook With Wood

I thought I'd share a great idea my husband had. He wanted to grill some chicken but, we had no gas in the grill and no charcoal either. He made a grill from concrete blocks to burn wood. He had 2 metal rods he put imbetween some of the blocks so, he could lay the rack from our grill on them. He then found some wood (read sticks, old branches...etc) and cooked our dinner. I thought this sure will come in handy if we have another hurricane or don't have any power.

The chicken was good and I was quite proud of my hubby.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Toy Story Christmas

Have a child that loves Toy Story? I know I do. We did a Toy Story birthday party and I wanted to share a great resource that can be used for Christmas. Go to this website:
You will be able to print and make a 3-D Buzz light year, a 3-D octopus, a whole Toy Story 3 character play set with the nursery background, and a marionette Woody puppet. There are many other items as well. You can also print out coloring pages and make a Toy Story coloring book, which would be great as a stocking stuffer. If you want more coloring pages, just do a search for printable Toy Story coloring pages, and you will be surprised by what's out there. This is the Disney website so, there are printables and games for other characters as well. My son loved playing with the character set at his birthday. I know your child will love it too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Free toiletries, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste & stuff

If you are on food stamps, you know they don't pay for anything not food. Not having any money when unemployment runs out just stinks. There's still not enough jobs out there and what was that?  You are out of shampoo, lotion, and other toiletries. I hear you. One of my favorite sites:  has numerous wishes for toiletries. I will do an article on them soon but, for now what to do about getting the things you need... Getting the coupons from the Sunday newspaper is a must. If you can't afford the paper, see if a relative or neighbor will give you their coupons. Also, check your local libary as many of them have a place for people to put coupons, which are free for the taking. Coupons for $1.00 off any size Tide and $1.00 off pert plus shampoo 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 will get you a free sample at Walmart. The sample sizes are near the pharmacy. You may have to pay tax but, that won't be much. Coupons for $1.00 off any size All laundry detergent will get you a free sample at Target. $1.00 off of Reach floss coupon will get you free floss at Walmart. The recent $1.00 off Gain dishwashing detergent will get you free dishwashing detergent at Walmart. $1.00 off Marcal Smart Steps coupon will get you a free box of kleenex. I found the kleenex at Bi-lo but, you can check to find out where to find it near you. Sign up for their newsletter and you may score some free coupons.
Create an e-mail account just for signing up for freebies and coupons so, your regular e-mail isn't flooded with spam. Go to,,, and There are samples available right now for shampoos, lotion, & toothpaste. Keep checking these sites and soon your mailbox will be a treasure box you can't wait to check. These samples can fill a need now or they can make great stocking stuffers for Christmas. More to come soon.....

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Homemade Christmas

The economy is terrible. Many people are on unemployment or worse yet unemployment has stopped. Christmas is right around the corner and for many families, it is the first Christmas they have no idea how they will have a Christmas at all.
This would be the year to have a homemade Christmas. This is the year to do more as a family and to create precious memories. Make gifts for your family, children, and friends. Watch Christmas movies together. Make homemade ornaments and tree trimmings. Bake Christmas cookies as a family. Take a walk or drive around to look at Christmas lights. Attend a free Christmas parade. Get involved with Church. Many will have special services or Christmas plays. Attend a live nativity. The options are limitless if you put your mind to it and keep your eyes and ears open. Here are a few of my favorite websites to get homemade gift, recipes, and decoration ideas:                                                                       (scroll down for Christmas ideas) (plan to be at this site for a long time) (do a search for Christmas) This website has a wealth of money saving ideas. The recipe section has recipes for even convenience foods and of course there are recipes for gifts in a jar.
Also, check your local craigslist and free cycle groups daily. Many people are giving toys, Christmas trees, decorations, and other items you can use. The offers will be more plentiful the closer we get to Christmas. It helps you and keeps items out of the landfills. Think about your best Christmas memories, I bet it wasn't so much the gifts as it was the time together as a family and the activities done together. I hope you have the best memory making Christmas ever.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Dollar Tree Christmas

Many parents are extremely worried about how they are going to provide Christmas for their children. I understand the feeling all too well. Before my husband's unemployment ran out, I was able to get some used toys for my son but, it breaks my heart when he sees an advertisement on TV or sees something in the store and begs for it. Of course, I have to tell him no because we just don't have the money. His response is, "Well I guess I can ask Santa to bring it for Christmas" (insert knife in heart and twist).  I hope some of you that still have unemployment, or better yet a job will be able to get some presents for your children, while you still have some income. If you have a dollar tree near you, now is the time to go. They are stocking Christmas items now and they do take SNAP (food stamps) so, that should help with candy, cookies, or any other food items.
Here are some suggestions:
stocking stuffers: candy, cookies, Christmas pencils/pens, Coloring book & crayons, toothbrush & toothpaste

Children's presents: Disney (princess, Cars...etc):  jump ropes, yo yos, harmonica, maracas, stamp activity set, ribbon batons, jewelry sets with changeable gems, tea set, flying discs
(now for not Disney): children's aprons that are great for artwork, cowboy/cowgirl hat, fire fighter helmet, fire fighter action playset, toy dinosaurs, mini monster trucks, 12" newborn baby doll, outfits for doll, magic baby doll bottle, toy soldiers, policemen, firemen...etc, 6 count die-cast cars, hot wheel cars, light up plastic paddle balls, pack of 3 card games, Tigger & Pooh 25ct puzzle, mermaid playset, pirate playset, cheerleading playset, 3 count juggling balls, and Christmas stuffed animals, books

Older children & teens' presents: animal friends paint by number set, non skid slipper socks, wooden travel peg games, polyston figurines (snowmen, Santas, teddy bears), snow globes, velvet art posters, hair accessories, put together a makeup kit, put together a car kit, put together a bath/pampering kit, dream catcher

women's presents: Christmas kitchen towels, oven mitts, place mats, put together a makeup kit, put together a bathing kit (body wash, candle, inflatable pillow with suction cups, bath sponge, microfiber hair towel, exfoliating bath gloves), put together a nail kit, Christmas village mini house, candy dish, decorative nutcrackers, non slip slipper socks, & crafting supplies

men's presents: wooden travel peg games, screwdriver set, put together a tool kit (flashlight, safety goggles, plastic level, tape measure, screwdriver), work gloves, put together a car kit (tire shine, terry towels, shammy, car wash...etc), ceramic mug, Christmas tie

They also have ornaments, stockings, Santa hats, cards, gift wrap, gift bags, and decorations. Look for more of these items to be added each week along with other Christmas items.
As you can see, Dollar Tree has a lot of items to help make Christmas special for your family.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Free eye exams and possible eyeglasses for the needy

Here's a resource for free eye exams and possibly glasses for low income people. It is Vision USA and here is the link:

This organization will provide eye exams to people with no insurance or medicaid who need an eye exam.
Without your health, you can do nothing to change your situation. If you need an eye exam and you qualify for this, please look into it today.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Medication Patient Assistance Programs

If you do not qualify for medicaid, do not have insurance, and are having a hard time paying for your medicines, I have some good news for you. Chances are you qualify for the patient assistance programs that the major drug companies have. Here is a link:
You should be able to type in the medicine name and any programs available will come up. Many of them have application forms you can print right then. Your doctor will have to fill out part of the form and you fill out the rest and attach any information they need for proof of income. Most of the programs will qualify you for a year and give out medicines for 3 months at a time. There will be paper work every 3 months but you shouldn't have to qualify financially more than 1 time a year for most of the programs. If you do get insurance or later qualify for medicaid, you will need to notify the program as you will no longer be eligible.  If you do get insurance or on medicaid, you won't need the patient assistance program anymore anyway.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Free Cell phone with 250 minutes a month for people with low incomes

Safelink wireless is a government supported program that provides cell phone and up to 250 minutes per month to people with low incomes or people that are on food stamps, public housing, or mediciad.

Each state has different guidelines. In general, you probably will qualify if you meet these conditions:
  1. You receive Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps or Medicaid.


  2. Your income is around poverty level
You can not be receiving this service through another carrier and you need a physical address in the US.
Here is the link:

House sold at foreclosure for more than owed, you may be owed money

If you have lost your home to foreclosure and the bank sold it for more than you owed on the loan, you are quite possibly owed money. Contact the clerk of superior court in the county that the home was sold in to find out if you are owed money. They will be holding the money for you and should  be able to instruct you on how to get a check issued to you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Free Mammogram & Cervical Cancer Screening for the needy

Did you know, if you are uninsured and are not on medicaid, you can get a free mammogram and pap smear for cervical cancer? If you are in need of screening or know a woman who can benefit from this, here is the website link:
This program is in all states is the US.  If you go through this program and are diagnosed with cancer, you will automatically qualify for medicaid. Breast cancer has affected my mother and 2 of my aunts. Please don't hesitate to get this screening if you are in need.

Broke and need Halloween Costumes for the kids

I have just found a whole list of no sew costumes for Halloween. Here is the link:
If money is tight and you don't know what to do about costumes for your children or even yourself, check out the list of ideas. Some are very simple to do.
Since, time is short and I don't know how to sew... I may just try one of these costumes and adapt it for adult size. My son wants Mommy and Daddy to dress up this year too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Free Samples for you to stretch your budget

Companies give free samples to get you to try their product and to hopefully buy their product. If money is tight or nonexistent, samples are a great way to stretch your budget and to try new products. To start you off, here are some free samples for you. Samples go fast so please let me know if any of these samples are not available anymore. - oxy samples - crest toothpaste sample - certificate for sample of prosobee baby formula redeemable at your doctor's office  - Shout Color Catcher sample