Monday, March 29, 2010

Frugal Giveaway- The Complete Tightwad Gazette

I have a confession to make. My parents never taught me anything about money. They both lived hand to mouth for their entire lives, and now, in their 60s and 70s, have nothing to live on.

A decade ago, I made enough to support myself, lived in a cheap apartment, had an old broken down car, and occasionally had a little money to splurge. I never saved anything. Nine years ago, I found myself in a new city, out of the job I just moved there for, in a more expensive apartment, and was forced to take the only job offered to me. I made $12,000 a year working in a group home, despite my college degree, and had several thousand dollars in credit card debt from my four months of unemployment.

I had no money for food. I developed medical issues and couldn't pay the bills. My electricity was almost turned off. I thought my only problem was my meager paycheck. But I was wrong. Even someone making $12,000 a year can be a spendthrift.

Ten years later, my husband and I save at least 20% of our income. We have a few splurges, but only when we meet our savings goal. When my car broke down two weeks ago, it was not an emergency. Our credit rating is so high, we qualified for the lowest interest rate you can get. I could afford a newer car. When I couldn't work the second half of my pregnancy, and opted to stay home with our son the first 6 months, we were able to afford that luxury. I enjoy the thrill of a bargain hunt. I can envision a future where I don't have to work, and we have a paid-off mortgage. Long before retirement age.

I owe my turnaround in most part to reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I discovered it at the library, and invested the $15 to buy the book new. It has returned that investment many, many times over now.

Because of this book, I have chosen to use cloth diapers, eat lentils, wash my foil and use reusable bags, cook from scratch, use a price book when grocery shopping, and read frugal/deal blogs to reduce our grocery budget (lots of links on my sidebar).

I was able to live years with only $10/week for groceries- and my cabinets were stocked. If there was a such thing as a frugal-person's Bible, The Complete Tightwad Gazette would be it.

This giveaway is open to my US-readers only (postage too high otherwise!), and closes on Friday, April 2nd. I'll choose a random winner via

To win:
Leave a comment

Follow me in a reader for a 2nd chance, leaving a comment that you have done so

Post about this giveaway, also leaving a comment notifying me you've done so

Good Luck!
Mrs S

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Addictive Corn Chowder with Bacon. We have A LOT of bacon to use up! Apple Crisp, a la my friend Cathy. Made with applesauce instead of butter for my boy with dairy issues.

Monday: Sausage and Cheese Quiche with Rice Crust. Pear Puff Pancake.

Tuesday: Homemade Calzones. Mommy is getting a manicure at 6:15, so these will be made ahead of time!

Wednesday: Poker Night for daddy. Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Quesadilla for me, Hot Dog for boy, and Spanish Rice

Thursday: Chicken Piccata, Scalloped Potatoes, Broccoli

Friday: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

Saturday and Sunday: At the in-laws, no cooking for me! Bringing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

For Day Care: Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Cinnamon Muffins, Bunny Cupcakes for class Easter party

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pasta with Bacon, Pierogies, and Fruits of Good Labor

My "shelter box", now full. I do so enjoy the thrill of the hunt when it comes to coupons and deals, and will say that everything you see here was less than $20 total. The huge Olay Quench in the corner was free with a rebate, and most of these toiletries were free or less than $1. These will be going to our local St Vincent de Paul homeless shelter.

Finds from a recent shopping trip. All less than $20.

A new favorite in the house, Pasta with Bacon and Tomato. There are some deals coming up for both Philly Cream Cheese and Oscar Meyer Bacon, and I have several boxes of pasta to use up, so this will be made weekly in April, most likely.

Mr S is Polish, and loves pierogies with an undying passion. The real deal is quite time-consuming to make, but Mrs T's brand has been on sale recently, and I stocked up. Mr S makes these with red onion, peas, red wine, and balsamic vinegar. Very yummy, though our house will reek of onions!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3/24/10 Deals

* An Olay Quench (600ml size) for FREE! I used a $1.00 P & G coupon, and then used this rebate to make it FREE.

* Closeout Ban Vanilla Swirl deodorant at CVS for $0.87.

* Beach towel at Target for $0.50.

* Scotch tape at Walgreens for $0.29.

* FREE Fisher Price Geotrax DVD.

* 10 FREE Disney Movie Rewards Points.

* 50% off any one item at Half Price books this Sunday.

*FREE Monopoly Card Game.

* FREE business cards and address labels from Vistaprint.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Beef Vegetable Soup in the slow cooker
Tuesday: Lentil Burritos, Asparagus with parmesan and balsamic vinegar
Wednesday: Black Bean Chili (minus the meat)
Thursday: BLTs
Friday: Pizza on Homemade Dough
Saturday: dinner out
Sunday: Pierogies with Peas and Onions

Snacks for day care:
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Blueberry Muffins

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Favorite Deals This Week

* $5 off Disney's The Princess And The Frog, Toy Story, and Toy Story 2. Buy two packages of Success Rice, and receive an additional $5.00 rebate on the Princess and The Frog. I got a Meijer gift card for my birthday, so I am buying the rice with that. Target has it on sale for $15.99, so with coupon and rebate, it's $5.99!

* Suave Deodorant coupon- $3 off 2. Get 'em cheap at Target, and this will cost you nothing for 2 bars. It was $2.94 for two at my local Target. I got a 3rd bar for free with another $1 off one coupon. We're hippie folk and don't use much deodorant, so these will be going to the local shelter. Target has a lot of Suave items on sale this week, and I had loads of coupons from this week's Redplum. I also got a Suave Free kid's body wash for $1.

* Kellogg's cereal at Meijer this week is $1.99. I have two coupons for $1.50 off two and $1.00 off one, so will be getting 2 boxes of Raisin Bran and 2 boxes of Mini Wheats for $5.50. Kashi Heart Smart was on sale for $2.99, and I had a $1.50 off one coupon, so that was $1.49.

* Del Monte tomatoes are $0.49 each when you buy 8 at Kroger this week. We use a ton of canned tomatoes, so I will be using 3 coupons of $1.00 off 4, found here. That's 12 cans for $3.

* Mr S is a big Listerine fan, and 500ml bottles are $3.00 at Kroger. I have two $1.00 off coupons, so it's $2.00 each.

* I'm a member of I took an online member survey they sent through my email, and received a download for a 50-page color booklet full of casserole recipes.

* Dial handsoap only $0.02 after coupon at Target. I have two coupons, so $0.04 cents for 2 bottles!

* FREE "Favorite Foods At Home" cookbook download from Harper Collins. The recipes look fantastic, and there are color pictures.

* Kraft cheese is $1.67 when you buy 8 participating items at Kroger. There was a $1.00 off two coupon at the store, so 16 oz of shredded cheese for just over $2.

* I've been getting a great register coupon every time I buy J's expensive almond milk at Kroger. I buy 4 half-gallons of almond milk each week, and I had a coupon for a FREE Silk almond milk, $2 off, and $1 off Silk and $1 off Blue Diamond. When I used them, I got more register coupons for a FREE Silk milk and $2 off a second half gallon.

* Target had Dove Men's 4-pk soap with a free sample of body wash for $3.99. I had $1.75 coupon, so that 5 more items going to the shelter for $2.24. Dial Nutriskin Soap 10-packs were $4.99 at Target as well , and I had a $1 off coupon. 10 more bars of soap added to the shelter pile.

* Ronzoni pasta was on sale at Kroger for $0.75 when you buy 8 participating items. You can get a coupon for $0.75 off one and $1 off two here, making at least 1 box of pasta FREE.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Favorite Deals This Week

Click here for the details about how to get a year subscription to Shape Magazine for $2.50.

I signed up for a free 7-day trial for that gave me 25 free MP3 downloads. I am canceling my trial after the downloads.

I bought a Dancing With The Stars exercise DVD this week at target, and in my DVD I received 2 postcards for a free subscription to Ladies Home Journal or More magazines. I used one and gave the other to a friend. is offering quite a few magazine subscriptions for very low prices. Details here.