Saturday, June 4, 2011

Guest Post - Frugal Tips

Three Frugal Tips That Are Too Simple To Skip

Today's financial climate has inspired many things. With saving money on the forefront of everyone's mind, the internet is swarming with frugal tips and tricks. While some of these helpful hints are less than practical (toilet train your cat, really?), there are several incredibly simple tricks to frugality that can save anyone some extra cash. These three tricks are extremely easy steps you can take to help you save on your household expenses.

Many of us fail to realize just how significant the amount of money we spend on groceries really is each month. For most households, the grocery bill is the largest bill we pay. The easiest way to save money on grocery shopping is by writing a grocery list before you leave for the store. Go through your kitchen and pantry before you leave and write down all of the items that you are out of. Try to devise a meal plan for the week, so that you can go to the store with specific meals in mind. This way you can purchase the items you need for individual meals without forgetting items or getting items you do not need. All too often, we go to the store and buy whatever items we see on the shelves that look appetizing. This often leads to either buying things we do not actually need or want or having duplicate items in our pantry. Each of these situations leads to both a waste of money and a waste of food. The key to cutting back on unnecessary purchases at the store is planning a careful list before you leave and sticking to it. Do not deviate from your list. Also, beware of the store's discount marketing plans. Signs will often say "4 for $4" and people think this means that they must buy four items. Usually this sign means that each item costs one dollar a pop.

Next, cook large dinners in the evening and freeze the leftovers. Cook up a double or triple batch of casserole or pasta and put the remaining food in meal sized tuperware containers. You can then take these pre-cooked meals to work for lunch or serve them again for dinner some time later in the week. Although leftovers are never super popular with the kids, there are things you can do to spice things up a little. Try adding new and fresh side dishes to go alongside the leftover meal. Eating leftovers is a great way to save money and time for the busy professional parent. Eating out is a huge expense. While going out to dinner for a special occasion or celebration can be a lot of fun, it is usually very expensive and not particularly healthy. Eating leftovers can save you a significant amount of dough and a significant amount of time.

Lastly, (and I know this one is going to be less popular) try to eat less meat. Meat is expensive. Cut back on the amount of meat that you eat and notably cut back on your spending. Don't get me wrong. I love eating a delicious steak or a tasty fish filet. But, these dishes can be very pricy. At least once a week, on a day that you would have eaten a meat product, try replacing it with a delicious and inexpensive meatless meal. Pasta dishes, vegetarian chili, and hummus with pitas are all great choices, among dozens and dozens of others. I'm not suggesting that you become a vegetarian (although that probably would save us some money), but sacrificing some of your meaty meals can help you save quite a bit of cash.

Saving money takes a little more effort and a little more forethought. While these tips are not going to give you thousands more in the bank right away, they can help you save little by little. The key to living a frugal life is doing it one small purchase or practice at a time.

Author Bio:
Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities, contributed this guest post.  She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pay it Forward

In our economy today, it is the "thing" to be thrifty it seems.  We are always trying to find savings wherever we can and cut corners where we can.  I think sometimes we forget that there are others that don't even have the option to cut corners.  How can you cut when you never start with anything?

Pampers has a campaign running called "Little Miracles Mission".  They had the fabulous mission to Pay-It-Forward within individual communities.  They have sent me a $50 gift card to use to help someone in need.  They told me I could use it however I saw fit to help someone in need.

Here is how I have chosen to use it.  I have a friend from church who works at a local pregnancy resource center.  I asked her to find me a mother that has a real need and could be greatly blessed by $50 worth of goods.  Here is the story for the family I am supporting.

The family of S (names changed for confidentiality) is a couple who recently had a set of twins and already had 4 children.  The father is unemployed and the mother works a part-time job but searching for more employment.  They are definitely struggling but are very thankful for what they do have.  Unemployment is a hard thing to deal with but the fact that they are trying to do better for themselves makes me happy to help support their efforts and be a blessing to them.

With the $50 I was able to purchase 6 bags of diapers, 2 large packs of wipes and a box of disposable nursing pads for the family.  I hope to deliver them this week.  I did not purchase Pampers diapers for this family because I got what was the best deal so I could get them the most possible for the money.  (Pictures to come.)

I love that Pampers is running this promotion.  Babies are a special treasure no matter how they got to this world or what they are like, they are a special little miracle.  Here is a wonderful video that Pampers put together to show their mission.

Because Pampers wants to continue their mission, they are offering one of my readers a $50 gift card to Pay-It-Forward as well.  Here is what you need to do to win the $50 gift card:

1.  Tell me how you would use your $50 gift card.
2.  Once I have read and considered all the entries, I will write a post of how the 2nd $50 will be used.
3.  Once the winner receives  the gift card, they must purchase the items and write a post (if they have a blog and link my blog) or send me an email story about how the $50 was used (so I can make a post).
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