Sunday, December 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Husband on his own, Girls Christmas Party: bringing Mini Pigs in a Blanket, half a raspberry cheesecake leftover from Christmas, Hanky Pankies, and a couple packs of Oreos.

Tuesday: Spaghetti (was free), made with $0.24 jar of sauce, and garlic bread (was $1 a loaf, using half). Feed three people for $0.74!

Wednesday: SIL in town, making Black Bean Burgers, Sweet Potato Cottage Fries, Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Thursday: dinner date out!

Friday: French Toast using Homemade Bread and Fruit for Breakfast

lunch is hunt and peck

Dinner is Marinated Roasted Veggie Sandwiches, homemade rosemary focaccia, Cheesy Potatoes, Gingerbread

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast, OJ

lunch is BLTs, salad, fruit

dinner is Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup, Beer Bread, corn on the cob, Apple Crisp (using new Pampered Chef apple peeler)

Sunday: brunch at local restaurant

Hundreds more menu plans this week over here!

Weekly Match-ups

At CVS, FREE Tone body wash, Pantene for $0.84, Gillette Fusion Razor for $1.99, Always Pads $1, four Vitamin Waters and two Honest Teas for $0.16 each, Pampers for $6.49, Tide for $3.97, Metamucil for $3.99, Thermacare products for $1.99 each, two FREE Kodak photo books, Dawn for $0.44, according to Deal Seeking Mom.

At Walgreens, FREE Colgate MaxWhite Toothpaste, three Vick's Sinex VapoSPray, 1 Vicks Vaporub, and 1 Puffs Tissues all for FREE, Gillette Fusion Razor $1.99, Head and Shoulders Shampoo $1.50, Pantene $0.67 each wyb three, Pampers for $6.49, Car,mex Lip Balm $0.44, Dawn $0.49, according to Deal Seeking Mom.

At Kroger, make $0.50 buying Blue Diamond Almond Milk (internet coupon has expired, but there are $0.55 blinkies at the store that double to $1 now), FREE Voskos Greek Yogurt, Bob Evans Sausage $1.50, Frank's Red Hot Sauce $0.67, Yoplait $0.25 each, International Delight Creamer $0.19, Crest Toothpaste $0.50, according to the Savings Lifestyle.

Lean Cuisine meals for $1.24 each wyb seven, using two $1 off 3 coupons, Herbal Essences as low as $0.99, Secret or Old Spice Deodorant as low as $0.29, according to Stockpiling Moms.

Other deals:

Two 25 oz. Zoe Organic Olive Oil for $13.05 at, when you use subscribe and save. This is a great price for organic olive oil!

Also at Amazon, Seventh Generation Diapers for $5.58 a pack.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Hamburger, Peas, and Carrots one-dish meal

Tuesday: ever so popular Pear Oven Pancake

Wednesday: Fettucine Alfredo

Thursday: BLTs, pears, broccoli

Friday: Christmas Eve at Home: Spiced Cranberry Cider in the slow cooker, hummus, pita bread, Black Bean Burgers with Avocado Mayo

Saturday: Christmas brunch, making stuffing (twiddled to be dairy-free and vegetarian), Pigs In A Blanket, and my dad's favorite cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Sunday: hunt and peck with leftovers

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Game Of Cards Anyone?

Many people on a budget choose not to use credit cards so they don’t accidentally over spend. While that can be an excellent tactic for someone hoping to control their spending, credit cards can provide some benefits when used properly. When you pay off your balance on time every month credit cards can offer benefits and perks worth considering.

The first thing to consider about your credit card choice is your lifestyle and where you are at financially right now.
• If you are someone who has a balance of credit card debt, focus on cards that offer low interest rates and look at rates on balance transfers. A reward card negates itself because of the high interest rate you will be paying.
• If you pay your balance in full every month, you will want a credit card with no annual fees and a good cash rewards program.
• Consider specialty credit cards if they fit your lifestyle better than a general rewards program. If you spend a lot on gas, consider a gas credit card that gives added rewards on auto expenses. If you travel a lot, look for a card with rewards for flights and lodging.
• Are you a light spender or heavy spender? Some credit cards only give a small percentage cash back until you reach $1,500-$5,000 spending. If you won’t spend that much you will be better off with cards that offer a higher percentage on specific items.

There are a lot of options to consider and it really takes some research to find the best card. To start you off I’ve listed a few options to consider.

Cash back cards
If you use your credit card frequently, the American Express Blue Cash card is a good choice. When you first sign up, you get 1% cash back when you buy gas, groceries and drugstore items. Other purchases earn 0.5%. Once you spend more than $6,500, you earn 5% on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases, and 1.25% on other items. The card has no annual fee and no limit on the rewards you can accrue. (I have this card and have earned $600 cash back this year!)

Another top pick is the Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards card, which earns 2% cash back on gasoline and groceries and 1% on other items. The card has no annual fee, no limit on the cash you can earn, and it carries a rate of 0% until August 2011. After that, the rate goes up to a variable 14.9%.

Gas cards
The no-fee ExxonMobil MasterCard earns you 15 cents per gallon when you gas up at an Exxon or a Mobil station. The card also has a tiered rebate of up to 2% on all other purchases until you spend $10,000 for the year. After that, you get 1% back. Rewards are credited on your monthly statement in $10 increments and expire after two years. The interest rate for the regular card is a variable 23.99%. For the platinum card, it's a variable 19.99%.

If you'd like to earn a rebate on all brands of gas, consider the no-fee Discover Open Road card. The Discover card offers a 2% rebate on gas up to the first $250 spent per month and up to 1% on everything else (the variable interest rate runs from 11.99% to 19.99%, depending on your credit history).

Travel Cards
If you want to be able to transfer miles to more than a dozen frequent-flier programs and are willing to pay off your balance each month, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold charge card fits the bill. Each dollar you spend on airline tickets earns you three points, and a dollar spent on gas or groceries gets you two points. For other purchases, you earn one point per dollar. (One point translates to one mile in airline frequent-flier programs.) With this card, you don't have to worry about a limit on your points; nor will they expire. You'll pay a $175 annual fee, but it's waived the first year. Because it's a charge card, not a credit card, you may not roll over a balance to the next month.

Low Rate/Balance Transfer Cards
Capital One Platinum Prestige Card offers a 0% introductory rate until June 2011 on balance transfers and purchases. After the teaser rate expires, the rate adjusts to 11.9%. That means the card has a longer introductory rate period than most,'s Woolsey said, plus a lower long-term rate. The balance transfer fee is 3%.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Kind of hard to lose when you are the only player! Congrats Bionic Mama for winning the nursing cover and gel pads!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Big Plans

The Mister and I are pretty regular watchers of Suze Orman's show every Saturday night (on my bucket list, being on her Can I Afford It? segment), and I have started going through her book Women And Money and listing those very important things we need to do that we've been procrastinating on forever. Three years ago, before our son was born, we made sure to make our Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorneys (links to free forms at the same site). We seriously discussed who would raise our child if we both died, and decided upon my SIL.

And then life got busy and we stopped.

The past two weeks, knowing we have another baby on the way in 9 weeks, and that things will be a little more complicated this time as far as the birth and my health afterward, we've gotten serious again about getting our ducks in a row.

Scratched off our to-do list already are:

1) Refinancing our mortgage. Interest rates have gone way down since we bought the house, and our credit is fantastic. So, we are now saving 1.5% in interest. We opted to keep the same payment and shave 5 years off our mortgage, which is a nice thing when your husband is, ahem, getting up there in years.

2) We finally opened a joint bank account. I know, almost 5 years of marriage later. Did I mention we tend to procrastinate?

3) Made an appointment with an attorney to make our will and living revocable trust. The goal is to have it completed before the baby comes.

On the to-do list:

1) Get loads of term life insurance for the Mister. One huge regret is that we didn't do this for me a few years ago- and now I am pretty much uninsurable. Thankfully, my work is very generous with its life insurance, and I opted for the max I can get without requiring a health exam. In the next few weeks, we'll be getting quotes for my husband, so if something terrible happens, myself and the kids will be taken care of.

2) Research college savings options.

3) Start going through and selling/giving away the excess "stuff" that is wasting space in our home. This week, I shipped some nursing scrubs I will never wear again to a friend who has lost 100 pounds, and moved most of my toiletries/diapers/socks stockpile to the homeless shelter it was meant for. I have about 10 cardboard bankers boxes that will be sorted and filled with the rest of my scrubs and nursing shoes I will never use again, high heels that are on the no-no list now, knick-knacks that don't belong in this house, purses I don't use, and cloth diapers that never made it into my favorite stash.

This, of course, doesn't include all the other little projects we are working on. This weekend, Mr S hung a cabinet in our master bath, and started moving the new office furniture into the study (we got two huge desks, 3 cork boards, and two leather desk chairs in fantastic condition for $98). I am schlepping our hundreds of books to another room. We ordered the furniture for our daughter's room, and he is planning on putting up shelves in her closet. We plan on putting a second shelf in the basement for my ever-growing stockpile. I am researching organization blogs for ideas to make our home tidier, as I seem to have been born without an organized bone in my body. Any recommendations?


For one lucky reader, I am giving away a First Years Nursing Care Gel Pad with 4 disposable sleeves, and a black and white Udder Covers Nursing Cover.

There are two chances to enter: 1) follow me in Google Friend Connect and 2) leave a comment telling me your greatest frugal success- I always find these stories inspiring!

Open to US readers only, and contest ends Thursday, December 16th. Please be sure to leave a valid email address.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: switcharoo to Cottage Pie With Leeks

Monday: leftover cottage pie

Tuesday: Pear Oven Pancake and Sausage

Wednesday: Mushroom Omelettes

Thursday: Spaghetti with Ragu (lots of $0.24 sauce still) and garlic bread

Friday: Homemade pizza with veggies

Saturday: eat out with coupon

Sunday: Corn Chowder