Thursday, May 14, 2009


I actually reached this milestone on Tuesday and didn't even realize it. I'm very excited that my blog is a year old but I admit it's not where I hoped to be by now. I have no one to blame but me since I haven't promoted it as much as I should. I am happy with the direction it's going. At first I did start this blog to do paid posting, but I realized how I much I disliked it. I didn't have as much control over the content with certain companies, and it didn't seem worth the effort. While I still hope to make a little money on here, mostly to pay the rent of my blog, I am mostly blogging to share what I'm doing and hoping I can share ways to help others save money. I didn't know a lot of things when I was a young adult and wasted quite a bit of money. I also racked up a good chunk of credit card debt. I was very fortunate to have married a wonderful man that came from a frugal family. I learned many things from them, and we were able to dig ourselves out of a financial hole. We also have a healthy savings and emergency fund.

Along our adventure I came across some awesome books. The first one, my thrift bible, is The Tightwad Gazette. I have learned so much by reading this great book. It's where I first learned about the snowball method. Her example illustrated a couple saving for a down payment to buy a house. Instead I decided to use it to pay off our debts. I started with the smallest ones first and worked my up. I had never heard of Dave Ramsey at this point. I probably didn't do it in the exact way he outlines in his book The Total Money Makeover, but I was pretty close. He is right in the sense that mastering money while paying off debts is more about emotion than about math and logic. If I had used my credit card logically, then I wouldn't have been in a mess. I also recommend reading his book since it's a good starting point for getting out of debt. The big key point is you have to stop using credit while digging out of the mess. Otherwise you will never win. Once we stopped using them and cut them all up, then we did dig out of the hole. That is the best feeling in the world to not have any debt! I sleep so much better at night and I don't cringe every time the phone rings.

Yes cutting out the bigger items like cable, phone plans, getting better rates on your insurance, eating out and such will make a dent in your monthly budget. Doing many of the little things will add up to bigger savings as well. If you can master your grocery bill, then you can save hundreds per month. The bigger the family the bigger the savings. I don't buy nearly as much food for my family of 3 as someone will with a family of 4 or 5 and more. I'm constantly trying to cut down my bill and still eat healthy. That's one reason I started a garden so I can make more items from scratch like tomato sauce and it's healthier. I am using more of an organic approach and not spraying my plants. I am also composting my kitchen scraps along with yard waste like leaves. I just wanted to share a little bit more about me and my reasons for doing the blog. I really hope that all my tips are helping others to save money. I said in a previous post that most frugal tips are good for your pocketbook and the environment. Thanks for reading and I hope to continue writing for another year!

TMR Frugal Living Tip #66

Today's thrifty living tip is sprinkle a little baby powder on your hair to absorb any oils. Yes this tip really does work. My best friend Heather gave me this great one many years ago. Basically just sprinkle a little powder on your hair (mostly it will look oily around the scalp or top) and just blend it in well. I really like to brush mine since I have darker hair. Sometimes you might get invited to a last minute event and not have time to wash. You can also keep a small bottle in your purse if you are on the go.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Inexpensive Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is right around the corner, and many people will buy a last minute gift and card. They will be spending more money than they planned since they won't know what to get and feel pressured to buy something. There are many ways to give a great gift without spending lots of money plus it would be a gift the recipient really wants. It's a win for everyone. Some of these ideas may require a little creativity, but most are easy to complete. These ideas are great for any gift giving occasion and not just Mother's Day. It also adds a nice personal touch and a little thought than just buying something at the store. There are tons of great ideas, but these are just a few. I would love it if you want to add your own that isn't listed.

*Make a gift basket. This can be anything that you know the person likes. I have made baskets by using a popcorn container and adding in a box or two of the big candy, microwave popcorn, either a small bottle or cans of their favorite soft drink, a free rental or a DVD movie. This is a huge hit with people that love to watch movies. I have also done Wedding gifts with a nice piece of Tupperware and putting in small kitchen items like measuring spoons and cups, nice dish towels and other items. I have also made up baskets using body lotion, razors, bubble bath, the poofy sponge things, shower gel, and such.

*Give a framed picture. This is a huge hit with grandparents and distant relatives. I do this for Christmas and sometimes Mother's Day. I take a very nice picture of my son or if you have one done at the studio is fine. I then buy a nice 5x7 picture frame and insert the picture. Of course I buy frames when I see them on clearance and many times I can find new ones cheaply at the thrift store or at yard sales.

*Make a nice photo magnet. This is another idea of using pictures of your children or a nice family one. You can even have the kids help make one from foam that you can buy at most craft stores. Then glue a magnet on the back. My son has made these at school and I still have them. I love refrigerator magnets and it's nice having a picture of him. You can also make photo mugs, calendars, keychains and so much more. You can make these at places like Vista Print and Snapfish. Many times they offer coupons to make the cost even less.

*Make a handprint plaque. You can either buy a kit or make your own. There are many great ideas on the internet. This is a great way to preserve your kids memories.

*Make a recipe binder or coupon binder. You can buy these cheaply during back to school sales and even at yard sales or thrift stores. I usually buy 1" binders but any size is fine. Then get the sheets where you can add your favorite recipes. This is a really great idea for newlyweds or a way to preserve some family favorites. Make a coupon binder and adding some nice coupons to help someone that is getting started. You can take it a step further by covering the binder with some nice fabric. My mom made me a sewing binder and she then put in some great patterns from her favorite sewing magazines. The patterns were for beginners.

*Sew something for that special person. This will depend on your skill level and if you actually sew. I have made some really items like a wall organizer, pot holders, aprons, and even simple quilts. These were all easy for a novice like me, but I did get some pointers from my mom who is a professional. There are lots of very easy to do simple projects.

*Give a gift that you cooked or a recipe in a jar with all the ingredients inside. These can also vary by your cooking level. Many people love quick and easy recipes like soups, hot chocolate, cookies, and such. Some people make their own sauces, jams, salsa, candy, cookies, and such from scratch. A friend of mine gave me a few bottles of beer that they make at home. Each bottle was a different type so it was wonderful.

*Have a nice meal at home instead of going out to eat. Maybe have a picnic in the living room with candles and a nice bottle of wine along with your favorite items to eat. Many people really appreciate a nice cooked meal at home. The best part is you don't have to fight the crowds.

*Give a plant. I love plants in my yard, and this would last much longer than flowers. It's much cheaper and you will be in their thoughts each time they look at that plant. I also give plants when a loved one passes away rather than send flowers.

*Offer a service. This can be anything like babysitting, cutting grass, cleaning, washing a car, fixing something, or whatever skills you have. Many older people would also just love to get a nice visit from their family. I know many of us are very busy but just simple things like spending time with our families is a nice way to spend a holiday. I don't mean in front of the tv either, but really connecting with them. My grandma loves telling me stories of her childhood. They have so much to share with us if we allow them.

*Give stamps and stationary. With the cost of stamps going up almost yearly, buy them a couple of books of Forever stamps. I know I would love this for myself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April Entrecard Top Droppers

I want to thank my top 10 droppers on Entrecard for April. I really appreciate the drops. I hope you guys enjoy the link love.

The Credit Bum

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Vacation Orgeon

Money Snip

More Than Sew So

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Super Fisherman

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A Pinch of Thought