There is only one way to save money and that is to pay less for everything that you buy. One way to do this is to use manufacturers’ coupons. Manufacturers and stores have made many changes to their coupon policies in recent times that getting coupons no longer, for the most part, involves clipping them for your daily papers.  Here are a fews tips that will help you to save a bundle when you go shopping.

Blogging Frugally

Stay at home mothers have become very creative and have created blogs (websites) where they search the web for the best coupons and deals and list them on their blogs for you to take advantage of.  Most of the time, they update their blogs on a weekly basis so the information is very up to date.  Not only is the information that these bloggers provide is updated, they ensure that you are paying the absolute lowest price by matching in store specials with the manufacturers’ coupons.  They will provide all of the information that you need such as when the coupon was made available as well as provide you with the information about the stores that are offering the deals and how to get the most store sales with the coupons.  Sites such as MoneyMoneysavingmom.com, DealSeekingMom.com, and CouponMommie.com are just a few of the blog sites that can help you with this.

Sites by Manufacturers

If you like certain manufacturers’ products such as detergent, soda or deodorant, to name a few, all you have to do is to go their websites and look for coupons.  Also, sign up for the mailing list when you visit the site.  This way, they will email you sale promotions or announce new products.  They will also send you coupons as well as frequent buyer deals.

Coupon Issuing Sites

If you remember, I said that you don’t have to shell out of your hard earned cashed for a paper to get coupons.  The reason I said that is because, thanks to the internet, many manufacturers now use their own webistes to offer coupons online.  Coupons.Redplum.com, Print.Coupons.com, and SundayCouponPreview.com are a few of the online services that offer printable coupons.  Before you obtain internet coupons, always check with your store to find out what their policy is.  Although most store accept coupons, I have found that policies can vary from one store to the next.

Swapping Coupons

If you have a selection of coupons that you no longer need, for example, coupons for diapers, don’t throw them away. You can swap coupons that you don’t want for coupons that you want. There are many coupon clubs in your communities where members give away or trade unwanted coupons.  If you don’t know of any near you, all you have to do is an online search for “coupon swaps” and you will get a selection of actual swaps.  Just like everything else, take heed to this WARNING that you should look for a site that investigates its members or ensures that the members provide some personal information so you don’t end up with out of date or worthless coupons.

Double Coupons Days

If you are making the effort to clip and download coupons, you should make the most of your savings.  To make the most of your savings, you should take advantage of unadvertise store savings . On a regular basis, stores will double the savings on manufacturers’ coupons so why not take advantage of this.

When you start using coupons and you realize how much money you can save, your mindset will change and you will start looking for deals on other things for your home.

In summary, the above tips on frugal living will save you tons of money if you are living on a budget.

Filed under: How to Live Frugally

This is one of the homemade crafts for kids that you will have to help them with because it involves the use of the stove.

Ingredients:

1 c. cornstarch

2 c. salt

Enough water to make a thick paste

Method:

Put the cornstarch and salt in a pot and add water to make a thick paste.  Cook until it becomes stiff.  You will have to stir the mixture while you are cooking it.  Next, you well let the clay cool and then you will cover it with a damp cloth until you are ready to use it.

If you want to have a colored clay, you will need to add food coloring before you cook it or you can paint it with color after it has been molded and dryed.

Caring For Your Clay:

It is very simple to care for your clay even if you have painted it.  Just don’t let it dry out.  In order not to let it dry out, just cover it with a damp cloth to keep it moist and you will be able to use it over and over again.  If it becomes a little bit too dry, simple make holes in the clay and pour water in the holes and put in a container until the clay absorbs the moisture and it becomes pliable again. Just keep your clay moist and you will be able to use it over and over again.

This is a fun kids craft project that will keep your kids busy for hours.

 

Filed under: Fun Crafts for Kids

Things you need to make Soap Bubbles:

1 c. soap flakes or 1/4 c. liquid dish soap

1 c. water

1/2 tsp. cooking oil

drinking straws

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a container.  You can use a cup or whatever container you have around the house.  Your kids will be using the straws to blow the bubbles.  This will be a great outdoor activity for your little ones and is another simple kids crafts.

Filed under: Fun Crafts for Kids

If you have been purchasing all of your meals out rather than making your meals at home, then you know that buying them every day can be a drain on your budget. When you lose your job or if your income is reduced, you realize quite quickly how much money you are spending and that you have to reduce your expenditures. If you like eating out, below are a few ways how you can do this while living on a budget:

Restaurants – Mailing Lists

A good way to get freebies is to sign up for your favorite restaurant’s mailing list. When you sign up, they will send you coupons for free meals and sometimes they will send you coupons for special occasions. If you sign up for a few restaurants’ mailing lists, then the restaurants will be sending you plenty of coupons for free items. These lists also apprise you of special deals such as special offers and special discounts.

Savings Books

Savings Books or Entertainment Books are usually doled out via non-profit organizations and community groups; however, they have recently been available at drugstores and bookstores where you can acquire them at a great price. The Entertainment Book is loaded with coupons that you can use for purchasing restaurant meals. Usually, Entertainment Books contain hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of coupons. Since it does not cost much to purchase the Books, you will still save considerably even if you use a few of the coupons. If you want to know where to find Entertainment Books, do an online search or go to this website (put a link to Entertainment.com) to see what books would be availabile near you.

Groupon

Groupon is all about collective buying. Groupon is availble nationwide and the reasons they are able to offer members such large discounts is because they negotiate with businesses that they will be a minimum number of purchasers for their products or services. Groupon is free to join and every day they offer a deal. Today’s Groupon deal was an $85 haircut and consultation with a 65 percent discount costing $30. Recently, there was a 79% discount on a $159 golf membership costing members $33.  Groupon offers vary but they have plenty of dining offers.

Be an Early Bird

Many restaurants offer special prices for people who dine early and for the most part seniors take advantage of them but these restaurant offers are not only for that age group. So check them out.  Think about it.  You don’t want to wait until 8:00 pm to feed your kids, so why not feed them at 4:00 pm at an early bird special. In fact, eating earlier can be less expensive than eating later. No only can it be less expensive, there is usually less stress during this time so no matter who you are dining with, this is a great idea. It is not usually busy if you are dining earlier. Another benefit is that the staff will also be able to pay more attention to you. Another added benefit as was said earlier is that you can save considerable by dining earlier rather than later.

Restaurant Offers for Kids

Another good idea is to check out restaurants that have special prices for children.  These restaurants are all across the country.  Once you find good kids deals, you will stop spending big dollars for meals that your kids have no interest in. You should check out restaurants that offer kids eat free deals and sign up for their mailing list.  This way, they will email you when they have special offers and coupons. You can go to this site for a searchble guide – MyKidsEatFree.com.

If you find a restaurant that you like, you can plan a “kids eat free” night often which your children will look forward to. Wouldn’t it be nice if you employ some of the suggestions here and you end up paying considerable less for your meals than you normally would have and you will be saving money in the process.

Filed under: How to Live Frugally

This is one of the easy crafts for kids that you can make at home for your children.

Things you need:

Plain paper

Sponge

Acrylic paint(s)

Marking pen

Method:

Put some of the acrylic paint in a saucer.  Fold your paper in half.  Next, dip your sponge in the paint and design your card to your liking.  You can design both the front and the back if you so desire.  After your design is dry, you can use your marking pen to write “Happy Christmas” etcetera on the card.  Your children will enjoy making these cards at home and this will not cost much money if you are on a frugal budget.

Filed under: Fun Crafts for Kids

Ingredients:

1 c. flour

1 c. water

2 tsp. salt

Butcher paper

Method:

Mix all the ingredients until it resembles very thick gravy.  You can use food coloring if you want to add color. If you will be using colors, use margarine containers or any other plastic container to mix your colors.

You will add the food coloring after you have mixed the paste.  Be sure to put your children in old clothes before they start to paint.  Use sheets of paper over your table, then put blobs of the paint on the paper and let them finger paint to their hearts content.  Cleaning up after they are finished is quite easy. This is very easy kids craft project.

 

Filed under: Fun Crafts for Kids

Most people think that they live frugally. The reason that most people think that they live frugally is because most people do not go out and purchase luxury items like million dollar homes, expensive crystal, or expensive cars like BMWs. We might not splurg on these luxury items, but the fact of the matter is that we all spend a lot of money buying things.

If you pay attention to how your money is trickling out of your pocket or purse, you can easily save $500.00 without feeling like you are depriving yourself of the things that you want. The suggestions below will allow you to maintain your lifestyle without giving up on things that you enjoy doing. You will even be enjoying some perks so see how it works below:

Shop From Your Refrigerator

Instead of running to store when you run out of staples, trying looking in your cupboards or refrigerator to see what you have stored there. You might be suprised and you will delay your shopping trip. You need to get creative. If you want to make a sandwich, you don’t necessarily have to have a sandwich loaf. You can subsitute bagels, wraps, buns or any other type of bread. You can also forego the bread and simply eat a salad with your fish or whatever protein you like. You can save money by not using milk with your morning tea or coffee and you will save money as well as calories. By doing any or all of these things, you will have saved money because you would have delayed your trip to the market which means you did not have to spend money. Avoid the store… avoid the impulse shopping. Just think about it. Think about how much money you waste by purchasng food that you don’t even use and it rots in your fridge. Also think about all the foodstuff you have knocking around your cupboards.

Go for the Smallest Size

Another way you can save money is by not purchasing the largest option when you eat out. People always like to purchase the largest option because they think they are getting more for almost the same price but do you really need to drink a supersize drink. Always choose the smallest option. In other words, resist the temptation for the super size because it might be a better deal. Invariably, when you supersize, you are simply spending more money which you don’t need to spend. Think of all of the calories you are saving by not eating large meals.

It is probably a better idea to go out with your friends or even get together with them for a potluck lunch or dinner.

Another idea is to host some of your favourite events like Monday Night Football at your house rather than going out to the bar. Just ask your friend to share some of the responsibilities for the items needed. For example, someone might want to be responsible for the main dishes, someone else might want to bring the drinks. You get the idea. Just think about how much money you all will be saving because you will not have a large bar tab if you had gone out. You might also like some of the foods that you friends prepare that you are willing to trade recipes.

Change in a Jar

Another good way to save money is to empty your wallet or purse at the end of every day. What you will do is to put this money in a jar at the end of the day. There are also some tin cans that can be purchased for this very purpose. It may not look like it but those dimes and dollars add up very quickly and think of the things that you can spend this money on. You can use it to buy something special. Just think about it. You might even want to save this money for a trip. It can and has been done.

Go to the Library

When was the last time you went to your local library. Just stop by. You will be pleasantly surprised. Nowadays, you can find items such as DVDs that you can borrow. The library also puts on events occasionally that you can attend. Also, if you go the library often you might not need those subscriptions that you are paying for because you can find most publications at your local library where you can read them there or borrow them for free. You will meet a lot of people at the library who will have probably share your interest. Talk about social networking. The library is the ultimate social network.

Drink Water

Have you noticed that when you go out to eat, that drinks, no matter what type, can be very expensive. Why not order water instead of drinks and it’s free. You can also do the same thing when you are eating at home. Soft drinks or hard liquor is not good for you anyway and think of all the savings that you will be making. If you opt for water, your skin, weight and general health will improve and not to mention all the money that you will be saving.

Put Something Back

Another way you can save money is to put something back when you are shopping. You simply take one item out of your cart and put it back on the shelve before you check out. Whether you were planning to buy two packets of sock or two pair of shoes or whatever, simply put one back and you will keep that money in your pocket. If you don’t purchase that extra item you will also cut down on the clutter anyway. I know people who have a lot of unopen products that they have never looked at after they have purchased them. There are simply sitting in the box taking up valuable space.

Living frugally is as plain and simple as cutting back on our consumption. Some frugal tips involve saving money where we can by avoiding impulse shopping. And there are some frugal tips that require us to stop our habits. When you combine all of your living frugal tips, you will see some great savings in your budget.

Filed under: How to Live Frugally

Some of the time we don’t have time to cook. The reason this happens is because we have so many things going on in our lives that time is short to do homemaking chores. We are in a hurry from the time we wake up in the morning.  You know exactly what I mean.  You may have to hurry to eat your breakfast or you might not have breakfast and simply have a cup of tea or coffee. Then, if you have have children, you have to get them ready for school before you go to your job. So, by the time you get home, you have very little energy to prepare a good dinner for your family. We all want to serve nutritious and delicious meals to our family but we don’t want to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen preparing the meal. Another thing is that you don’t want to bust your budget by buying prepared meals night in and night out.

Is there anything that can be done about this?

If you know the secrets of good cooks, then you will be able to prepare good meals for your family without spending hours in the kitchen. You will be able to put together a good meal in about an hour if you know the tips and if you are prepared.

The first step in preparing a good dinner or lunch, for that matter, is to have the right ingredients in your pantry.

To make things easy for yourself, your pantry should contain the following items:  Rice, pasta, potatoes, chicken or beef stock, bouillon, fresh meat, poultry, spices, herbs, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables and fresh vegetables.If you have these groceries in your pantry, you will be able to whip up dinner quickly.

One pot dinner recipes can be made if you have the above-mentioned groceries in your pantry. The reason that is possible is because pastas, grains or potatoes for that matter are the foundation for many meals. Once you have the foundation, all you need to do is to add other things like vegetables or meat to make a meal that you and your family will enjoy. You don’t really have to make a meal that is complicated and you know the types of food that your family like to eat.

To step it up a notch, you will have to learn how to make sauces.  An example of a sauce that you should learn how to make is the roux. To make a French roux, you will melt 1/2 cup of butter in a pan on a low heat. Next, you will add 1/2 cup of flour to the butter and whisk the mixture until it becomes thick. Next, you will whisk in some stock or bouillon. If you like cheese, you can also add it to the sauce.  Next, you can add some chicken, meat and other flavourings and you will have a dinner recipe that will please you and your family. To add a finishing touch to your dinner, you can buy some dinner rolls or garlic bread to serve with it.

You will sure get a lot of compliments from your family for this fast dinner recipe. Do you see how easy it is to prepare a quick dinner recipe if you have a well stocked pantry?

In summary, to make a quick dinner recipe or 30 minute meals, have a pantry stocked with basic ingredients so that you can make recipes at home.

Filed under: Cheap Meal Ideas

how to make chocolate cakeIngredients:

1 tbsp butter

2 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour plus extra flour for dusting

3/4 cups cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup of low fat milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 cup of hot water or hot coffee

 

2 9″ round baking pans

Toothpick

large mixing bowl

Hand mixer

Large wooden spoon

Cooling rack

Method:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease the two baking pans with the butter and lightly dust the pans with flour and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and flour and salt until well combined.

Crack the eggs into the mixture and add the milk and oil.  Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.  Add the vanilla to the chocolate batter and beat on slow speed for one minute. Pour hot water into mixture and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter evenly  in the prepared pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the center is firm.

To check for doneness, do the toothpick test.  When you place a toothpick into the middle of the cake and it should come out clean without any batter or crumbs sticking to it the cake  is done.

Place the cake pans on a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes to 20 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the pans and let throughly cool for about 2 hours.

If you want to frost the cakes, place on a plate.

Filed under: Easy Recipes at Home

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