Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Resolutions for Thrifty Momma Ramblings

thriftymommarabmlingsnewyearresolutions
On this New Year's Eve, I would like to share my resolutions and goals for Thrifty Momma Ramblings in 2012.

1. Post regularly. I realize I haven't contributed regularly for the last two years, but I have explained why as my life was so chaotic with Robbie and the anxiety I was battling. I have posted at least 2-3 articles each week since October of 2011. I plan to post at least 2-3 each for 2012. I might even post 4 some weeks but I promise to always post a minimum of 2 each week.

2. Host more giveaways. I plan to host at least one giveaway each month. I hope I can expand by having giveaways from other companies with great products and prizes.

3. Redesign Thrifty Momma Ramblings. I am hoping to have this accomplished by March of 2012. I am still not sure if I will move this blog to another server, but I want to give this blog a face lift. As much as I enjoy the fancy templates, I find they take much longer to load for people on slower servers. I think I will keep it simple but a custom design to help this blog stand out from the crowd.

4. Write guest articles for other blogs. I would love to write guest articles for other blogs. I would also like to feature more guest articles about frugal living, green living, gardening, diy projects, recipes, crafts, or just saving money in general. If you are interested in writing an article for this blog, then please contact me which can be found at the top of the page. I have a PR2 blog. I can't afford to pay for guest articles, but I will gladly link back to your site with a short write-up for your blog. If you are interested in a guest post written by me, then please contact me.

5. Write articles to be published nationally. Along the same lines, I really want to work on writing articles for magazines and well known publications. I am trying to make a career as a writer. I love to research and share my experiences so it seems like a perfect fit for me. I hope to continue working on my BA after I graduate in May with my AS degree in General Studies. I will minor in English, Film Studies, and Web Graphics. I can apply this to what I'm already doing. I have some plans to submit thrifty tips, and my stories of battling anxiety and losing over 100 pounds to women's magazines. I am also working on writing a book which shares my struggles of losing a baby to SMA, the major anxiety and depression I battled, and fighting so hard for my oldest son who has PDD-NOS, SPD, and Anxiety. You can read more about those struggles on Robbie's Corner.

6. More marketing for Thrifty Momma Ramblings. Writing articles are great, but I need to really get more social. I would love any suggestions on any social networks that anyone uses and loves. I am looking into Blog Frog.

7. Raise my stats. I want at least a PR 3 blog before the end of 2012. I also would like to see 10,000 monthly visitors and 20,000 monthly page hits. I am already at 4K monthly visitors and 5K page hits. I think I can easily double this before the end of next year. I would really like to have 1K daily visitors but I want to baby step it. I don't want to put the cart before the horse so I will take it one day at a time. I am planning to put out good quality back links to higher ranking blogs.

8. Publish Thrifty Momma Ramblings on Kindle. This one is pretty straight forward.

These resolutions are the main goals for my blog next year. These are some pretty lofty goals with the articles in national magazines and publications. I have already done things this year I never thought would materialize. I went back to college after 16 years and will graduate in May 2012! If I can accomplish a goal I talked about doing for the last 10-12 years, then I know I can accomplish writing or anything I set my mind on doing. I will discuss this more on The Cajun Blogger, but finishing my first semester with a 4.0 has really boosted my self-esteem. I have also found myself so to speak. I forgot how much I enjoyed reading and writing. Being back in college turned my brain back on. I am a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and so on. I am more than those labels. I am Bonnie who has something to offer this world. My writing has given me a voice I forgot I had. It sounds a little cliche, but being on the other side nothing is impossible. Happy New Year from Thrifty Momma Ramblings and 2012 will be a great year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #86

First I have to comment I never post two frugal living tips in a week so consider this a nice bonus for the end of 2011. I don't have any pictures to show for this daily tip so I apologize for cleaning it so quickly.

Today's thrifty living tip is to clean or fix appliances before replacing. I know this seems pretty logical, but many people get discouraged by older appliances and distracted by new shiny ones. My Kenmore gas dryer is 14 years old. I already replaced the washing machine a couple of years ago with a front loader. That was a great decision which has saved me money in water and electricity. I just want to say it wasn't worth fixing so it was time to replace. The dryer works great, and works less as my clothes are drier when they come out the washing machine. I do like to line dry which also helps extend the life of the dryer.

Lately it's too cold and rainy to put it on the line. I've been a little too busy to keep up with laundry because of the holidays. We noticed all these scuff marks inside the dryer while doing laundry this past weekend. It wasn't getting on the clothes so I wasn't too concerned. Hubby mentioned maybe it was time to replace it with our income tax refund next year. He tried to clean it but said the marks weren't coming out.

I looked at it again today as I needed to do laundry. I pulled out my Mr. Clean magic eraser, and viola! The marks were coming out quite easily. I did take a wet dish towel to wipe it out a couple of times to make sure no residue is left. I wiped it with a dry towel afterwards, and over 90% of the marks are gone. I'm not sure what caused them, but now they are all gone. I have dried a load of towels and all looks good. No marks on the towels or the dryer. I will keep an eye on the dryer, but I'm hopeful I can get a few more years of service. I will also start a new appliance fund just to be on the safe side.

Monday, December 26, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #85

Today's thrifty living tip is to save money by coloring your own hair. I usually get 2 boxes of hair color for $5 after sale and coupons. My stylist charges me $35 so I was going every 3 months. I was spending $140 yearly not including tip so around $150+ with tip. I can color my hair every 8 weeks which costs me $30 a year. I am saving over $100 each year. It might not seem like much, but it does add up.

I use Garnier hair color, and I have used all of them. I prefer the ultra color as I find it covers the gray well and the color lasts. I have become a bit of an expert on coloring my own hair. I don't do streaks or frosts. I just want to cover those stubborn grays. I'm much too young to have gray hair. I love the dark auburn color as it is closest to my natural color. I love how the red looks when I'm outside in the sun. I get lots of compliments on my color so I must be doing something right.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Thrifty Momma Ramblings!



I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours. If you don't celebrate Christmas, then have a very happy day with whatever holiday or non-holiday you celebrate.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card Announced!

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner of Thrifty Momma Ramblings Countdown to Christmas $25 Amazon gift card giveaway. My bed was oh so warm and snug, and I didn't want to get out of it. Hey at least I'm honest. I have already emailed the lucky winner so check your email and junk folder. Without further delay, the winner is.....................J Billiris!!! Congratulations on winning and again check your email.

I want to thank everyone for entering this giveaway. I'm so happy to have so many people who stop by and read my little ole blog. I have big, big, BIG plans for it next year. Keep coming back as there will be more giveaways next year as well as other great changes to this blog. I have officially finished my shopping as of yesterday. All presents have been wrapped, and some were already exchanged. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! If you don't celebrate it, then just insert your holiday name instead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fun Sewing Project Perfect for Christmas- Towel Twist Turban

My mom surprised with me one she made about three to four years ago for Christmas. We call it a towel twists or towel turbans, or whatever name you want to give it. You can buy an already made one in the stores for around $5-6, but they look cheaply made and very thin. The one my mom made is still in regular use and well made. I made a total of five towel turban twists as Christmas presents, but I did keep one for myself. The first towel I used was a leopard print towel.

This project is for the novice as well as the advanced sewer. I cut out all the towels which saved us time, and my mom did all the sewing. I think doing two from the same towel does save time by using the same colored thread and bias tape. She estimates one twist takes about 15-20 minutes sewing time. If she doesn't have to sew on the bias tape, then it takes her less than 10 minutes to sew and serge a twist. The tape is the longest part of the process other than the cutting. We estimated we spent around 2 hours total for cutting and sewing. I think that is pretty good considering we made 5 towel twists. I did spend a little under $20 so about $4 for each one. It might not save a lot of money over buying a store bought one, but it is a unique and creative present. I have yet to see a leopard print or any fun decorative twists yet. You could save more money by buying the towels on sale.

You buy an ordinary bath towel which you cut out the shape using a pattern template you make yourself. My mom used wax paper to make the pattern template. You will measure 22" straight across the bottom. Then make a right angle straight up 7" and then curve the top to another 3" which is about 10" up at the highest point. Then you will just angle the line to meet at the corner. It should be shaped similar to a head in the back. The points are angled to make the twist and pull into the elastic loop. Now you will cut out your template.

I folded the towel lengthwise so I could cut a total of two twists. You might have to play around a little with the template to make sure you can get two. On your template you need to mark on the straight edge about 5" up for your elastic loop. I used a bright colored pin for this part. I then pinned my pattern and cut it out. You can save yourself a step by folding the towel inside out which eliminates the step of pinning right sides together. You will only sew the sides and curved top of the towel. You topstitch the pieces using at least 1/2" seam allowance.

Now you want to use about 4-6" of elastic and fold in half for the loop. Insert the loop leaving the two pieces where your pin is marked. You will go over that spot at least twice to ensure it is properly secured. She then used a serger to finish the raw edges leaving a nice finished edge. She did tell me if you do not own a serger, then you just have to use bias tape to finish that edge. It will last last longer, and the towel won't leave fuzz in your hair. It opens up flat when you use it in your hair.

I want to make a note here. If your towel has a decorative or colorful binding, then by all means use it in your finished towel twist. The white colorful towel had a lime green binding so we cut it out to use it in one of the twists. It saved me time and money. For other my two twists, I had to use bias tape. I bought it on sale for 99 cents each, and you only use half of the package for one twist. If you do not own a serger, then you have to use one whole package for each one you make. My mom had hot pink so we used it for one of the twists. I used plain white for the one I kept for myself. You will use extra wide double fold bias tape. The bias is what you use around the bottom edge of the twist.



You start the tape at one end and the fold will go around the edge of the towel. You just slowly work your around to the other side using a topstitch. As you near the other end, you have to leave one inch past where you started. Then you will turn it back 1/2" on the cut edge, and finishing sewing that section. This gives it a nice finish. You finally finished and turn it right side out. You might want to shake it out well to get all the towel fuzzies off you and the twist. I am giving mine along with spa goodies so it's a nice addition any girl would love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get Festive with Zenni Optical Frames

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zenni Optical for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Santa Frames

The holidays are expensive enough without having to spend money on unexpected expenses like eyeglasses. In order to have more money for Christmas presents, then I decided to look at frames from Zenni Optical. It is always a good idea to have a backup pair since life happens. I do have eye insurance, but I can still spend over $200 after deductible. I simply can't afford more than one pair from my eye doctor. I am thinking of shopping for some festive frames for the holidays. I really love these frames with Santa Claus on the sides. I think these frames would put others in the holiday spirit as well. I need to finish up my Christmas shopping by buying a few more presents. I can still afford to have my backup pair while showing off my holiday spirit.

I have purchased several pairs of cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical in the last three years. Their customer service was excellent as well as the processing time. I received my glasses quickly and I never spend more than $40 a pair. If you really want a great pair of eyeglasses, then you need to check out ZenniOptical.com to save more money for the holidays. They have an extensive line of frames to shop. Save more money for this holiday season and show off your festive side with fun frames.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thrifty Momma Ramblings Countdown To Christmas $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!


I'm making my list and checking it twice...Thrifty Momma Ramblings is hosting another giveaway!!! {naturally sung to Santa is coming to town}

I promised my readers one more gift card giveaway before Christmas. I know all of my readers and followers are on Santa's nice list. I am giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner in time to use before Christmas. I am not promising what you buy will arrive in time before Christmas. I don't own a sleigh or any flying reindeer. I will email the code before Christmas. Think of it as a buy what you really wanted but didn't get for Christmas gift.


GIVEAWAY RULES:
Just leave me a comment telling me if you have started your Christmas shopping or not. I would love to read more than thanks or you rock! I already know I rock. This giveaway is only open to US residents 18+ please. Make sure you leave your email in your comment. Only one entry per person or email address please. I am including extra entries so check below. The lucky winner will be pulled by Random dot org.

The giveaway will end on December 23rd at 11:59 PM CST! Again only open to the US. Please no anonymous posters. Thank you. No purchase necessary.

EXTRA ENTRIES:
2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Article: Child's Birthday Party on a Budget

The following post was written by Melissa C. who writes for the Blog Content Guild.

Throwing a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Throwing a birthday party for your child doesn't mean you need to break the bank. There are lots of fun tips and tricks you can use that allow you to save money and will still allow for a memorable time!

First of all, if your child is very young, you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy cake from a bakery. These can be very expensive and, if your child is too young to even remember it, it is a waste of money. Many children love the Funfetti cake mix from Pillsbury that you can find at most grocery stores. You can make a fun cake yourself that will save a lot of money.

Instead of a cake, consider having cupcakes. You can make these yourself easily, or buy them from the bakery for usually cheaper than a cake. This takes the hassle out of having to cut a cake, and if your child is young they may enjoy playing with the cupcake far more than they would have enjoyed having a cake.

If you’re having a theme party, like a Mario party, save by buying minimal amounts of mario birthday party supplies. Instead, make some Mario-themed party-ware on your own. You can bake Mario-shaped cookies or a Mario cake.

Before heading to the store, survey what you already have with an eye for repurposing. If you have some leftover curling ribbon from Christmas, you could use it to tie around balloons. Similarly, some wire ribbon could help you decorate chairs and make the interior of your house colorful and welcoming.
Head to your local dollar store, especially goodie bag items. You can often find lots of stickers and small toys that you can put in small bags and tie with ribbons. It will look impressive to the children but won’t cost you an arm and a leg to assemble.

With some creative thinking and a little bit of planning, you can throw a great birthday party for your child without breaking the bank. Sometimes it could be easy to get caught up into the mentality nowadays of trying to have a birthday party better than any of the other children, but that’s not what is important. The important thing is to give your child a great, memorable time without stressing yourself out, and hopefully these tips will help you keep things in perspective and create a great celebration.

Hurry Before The Sprint 3-Day Sale Ends!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sprint for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Christmas is quickly approaching so the rush to finish shopping is on. For some people they are just starting to do their shopping. The holidays are a great time of year to get a great deal on a cell phone for yourself or your loved ones. I would be lost without my phone. I love texting, playing games, listening to my music, and even keeping up with important dates and birthdays. I just find it so easy to keep track of everything on my phone such as phone  numbers, addresses, and birthdays. I have become so addicted to my phone. Once my son is a little older, I will be looking into a cell phone where he can listen to music and plays games as well as talk and text. I can save money by not having a separate music player for him.

Sprint is offering the Android™ powered EVO 4G devices for FREE here: http://bit.ly/rBqHmY.  This great deal is ending on December 14th! Time is running out to get snag this great deal. Sprint has sweetened the deal even more with waived activation for new lines of service and free shipping from Sprint here: http://bit.ly/rBqHmY. Finish up your holiday shopping by checking out this great offer before times runs out.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Great Shopping Day!

freeChristmasgifts
I received several coupons and offers in the mail from different companies in the last week. I wanted to take advantage of a few of these offers to snag more Christmas presents. I needed to look for printed bath towels to make towel wraps as presents. I will post an article on what those are and how to make them soon. I made a day of shopping on Friday with a good friend. I have to share with everyone my great deals.


FREE COFFEE

She wanted to stop at McDonald's on our way out, and there was a sign stating Free Small (12 oz) coffee for the month of December. We were thrilled and we each got one, and she bought a breakfast sandwich. I'm not much of a breakfast person. She only spent $1.52 for her sandwich. That was a great way to start off my morning. This offer is good for the whole month of December!

ROSS DEALS
My friend wanted to hit Ross to look for her Christmas presents. I went to the towel section. I did find a really cute girly pink and other pastel stripe towel for my project. I ended up putting it back since I wasn't sure about paying $5.99 for the towel. That was actually a great price for printed towels. Oh well. Live and learn.

I did find a pair of Dockers brand shoe style slippers for my husband's grandfather. The best part was they were marked down to $6.99! That was the cheapest price I have seen including Black Friday. I found the last pair in black in his size. I also found a bamboo remote caddy to replace mine for $7.99 which is a present for us. The caddy I currently have is being held together by tape. I know pathetic. I also found a great deal for my hubby. He needs a new wallet and is always needing new belts. They had a package deal for both for $12! Both are Dockers and leather so I'm thrilled to have 2 presents for the price of one. I usually pay $15 for his wallet so it was like getting the belt for free. This was the most I spent all day for a total of $30.

TARGET DEAL
I had printed out a coupon to receive a $10 gift card when you spent $50. I did find several things at the dollar hot spot area for stocking stuffers and extras for some of my gifts. I had a $10 gift card to use when I redeemed my rewards. I spent exactly $10.66 so I had to pay the 66 cents out of pocket. I was thrilled to get some more goodies for basically nothing. Since I couldn't find any towels or bigger items, then I decided to hand my coupon to the lady behind me. She had lots of toys and was so excited that I gave her the coupon. I wasn't coming back and hated to throw it out so I did a kindness by paying it forward. She hadn't heard about this deal so she was so excited to receive the $10 gift card for free. I responded with a Merry Christmas and left her all smiles. I was glad I could help someone else save money, and it does feel good to do random acts of kindness.

BED, BATH, & BEYOND DEAL
I had a $5 off coupon when you spend $15 or more. I found a mini-flashlight for my son's stocking which was $5. He is always begging to use a big flashlight but mostly wants one for bed at night. I know this will make him happy. Again I couldn't find any towels for my project, but I did find a six pack of washcloths. I always need them and seem to lose them. These were on sale for $12 and so super soft. I hate buying the cheap thin ones as they are so rough to use on my face. I'm glad I spent the extra money as I used one last night. These cloths are wonderful to use when I take off my makeup and especially my eye makeup. You know what, I'm definitely worth it. I spent $14 after coupon. My son's stocking stuffer was free and just paid for the washcloths.

BURGER KING DEAL
We ate lunch at Burger King to take advantage of the BOGO deal on Whoppers. We each bought a small soft drink. We split the cost on the whopper and we spent $3 each with tax. We didn't buy any fries. I had a coupon deal for Auntie Ann in the mall and I knew we would be eating a pretzel there so I saved room for it. That deal cost us less than $3 each as well as it was a BOGO coupon. I had a bottle of water with me for both of us. I hate spending almost $2 on a bottle when I can pack a small ice chest for the road.

VICTORIA'S SECRET DEAL
I'm especially thrilled with this deal. I picked up a pack of four smaller sized lotions. It was marked $18 but rang up $10. I had my $10 off any regular priced purchase so I paid $0.87 cents! I had no idea as I really thought it was priced $18. I'm not sure if I am going to give this as set or take out the bottles to make 4 presents. I'm thinking the latter as teacher gifts. My son has 4 teachers and the teacher aide. I love giving them a little something to show my appreciation. I feel this was my best deal of the day!

TOWELS
I finally found a leopard print towel at Kmart for $7 which wasn't too bad. I also found a wonderful wrist watch for my mom. She had a very specific type in mind and it was the only watch I found for what she wanted. I found the other towel for my project marked $9! I know that towel was much more than I wanted to spend, but it is perfect for the recipients of this project. I bought the bias tape at Hancock's fabric store and spent $3 with tax for two packs. I wasn't expecting it to be so cheap but they were on sale. I will break down the prices on that project and all the details in my other post soon.

Total for the day was around $75! I used the money I received in rewards to pay for my purchases. I didn't spend a dime of my money on any of these purchases. I spent $5 on food for a grand total of $80. I didn't count the cost of gas, but I don't do have many shopping excursions. I do most of my gift buying online. I was happy to get items and use coupons to save more money. I have a very gas efficient car which gets averages 37-38 miles to the gallon. I had a full tank and only used a quarter of a tank for the whole day including going to the town and coming home which is 50 miles round trip. I had a really fun day with my friend shopping and saving money. You can't put a price on a shopping day with the girls.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Create a Family Cookbook for Christmas

My husband's family shared their favorite family recipes in order to create their family cookbook. They also included family pictures and anecdotes. I think this makes a creative and wonderful Christmas gift the whole family can treasure. Your family's favorite recipes are kept forever in the family and passed down to future generations. Check out The Family CookBook Project website to create a family treasure below.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #84

hollyjollychristmasToday's thrifty living tip is take your own Christmas pictures. When I received photo studio coupons in the mail, I would bring my son for his Christmas pictures to save money. The catch was you could only pick the first pose. The whole time I had my fingers crossed the picture turned out nice. I know some photographers would retake the picture if I wasn't happy with that pose, but many of them are making minimum wage. Taking my child's perfect Christmas picture is not high on their priority list.

I began taking all of my son's Christmas pictures when he was about 5 years old. I was already taking pictures of the items I sold on ebay so why not take his pictures. I take shots in front of the tree, in front a white sheet (just like the studios), outside, and maybe on location. I do not own a high quality digital camera, but it is a decent camera. I upload all my pictures on Snapfish. I can edit all the pictures and have the ones I wanted printed. You can add fun borders and other neat options. I'm not sure if you can order the pictures with borders. I think that might be for online use only. I usually spend $20-30 for many pictures in different sizes such as 8x10, 5x7, and wallet. This price even includes the price of shipping.snowflakes

You might be thinking...well, I don't know. This idea might not work so well if you want to be in the pictures such as a family picture. You might be lucky and know someone who takes good pictures that might do you a favor or barter for taking your pictures. I have a couple of people in my family who love to play photographer for fun. They would never dream of asking for money. Save some money and have fun taking the pictures. I also love the editing. The picture shown is one I took a few years ago and added a fun holiday border.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Visit Gift Card Weekend For a Chance to Win a $20 Regal Gift Card!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gift Card Weekend for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

regalcinemas_giftcard.jpg

Christmas is almost here and you still have gifts to buy. Do you have a movie buff on your list? Then you need to visit Gift Card Weekend for a chance to win a $20 Regal gift card.  They are giving away those daily to Facebook fans from December 5-9 (12/5 to 12/9).

All you have to do is like Gift Card Weekend on Facebook for your chance. Share with your Facebook friends and you can receive an extra chance to win for every 'like' you influence. Then stick around through the month for more giveaways!

Gift Card Weekend is a once-a-year event where participating retail partners give featured offers for gift cards purchased during the Holiday season and redeemed from January 6 - January 8, 2012. They have other great partners listed below.

Participating stores and restaurants:
-JCPenny
-Regal Cinema
-Subway
-Sephora
-Applebee's
-Bass Pro Shops
-Adidas
-Buca di Beppo
-Lowe's
-Spa Finder
-Marriot
-Giant Eagle

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, December 2, 2011

EntreCard Top Droppers for November

November has come and gone. We are now in full swing of the holiday season. I wanted to take a little time to thank all of my Entrecard top droppers for November. I appreciate the time you took to read my blogs and for the comments. I have found so many great blogs to read through Entrecard, and have made some good friends. Thanks again for dropping by.

  1. Comedy Plus
  2. Serian Man
  3. Zenith
  4. Dragon's Alley
  5. Digital Rebel350
  6. Rambling Thoughts
  7. Funky Town Disco Music
  8. Picture to People
  9. Awww...Mondays
  10. My kids are my world

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winner of the Tupperware Bowl Giveaway Announced!

I will no longer keep those who entered the Tupperware Bowl giveaway in suspense. I already emailed the lucky winner. If you see this announcement first then please check your email. I used the email you put on your entry. You might want to check the junk folder as well just in case.

DRUMROLL...................................................The lucky winner using Random.org is caroline! Congratulations on your new set of Tupperware bowls.

I want to thank everyone who entered. I will try to host at least one giveaway a month. So keep checking back for more and I should have my next one up in the next week before Christmas. I love hosting them, and I appreciate all the subscribers and followers. So please keep reading and commenting. I enjoy reading every one's comments and any suggestions. Check back soon for my new giveaway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Earn Money While Christmas Shopping

earnmoneyshopping
If you aren't taking advantage of reward programs, then you are missing out on free money. I don't mean doing offers where you have to pay like trials, but just for doing the things you already do like shopping or reading emails. You can do those offers especially if it's for something you will use. I have taken advantage of deals where I wanted to try a new service and then I earned points on top of it like Netflix. Many banks have reward programs on their checking accounts and credit cards. I bank with Capital One and earn over 10,000-20,000 points yearly for banking. Some cable companies are offering reward programs. I have a Charter bundle package and I also earn points with their reward program. I don't know if all cable or phone companies offer reward programs. I would check and most are free to sign-up.

I'm part of several reward programs like My Points, Big Crumbs, and now Ebates. I received a $15 bonus for signing up with Ebates. I had to spend $50 online before Christmas. I already made the requirement since I had certain presents to buy that I could only find online. I love to snag deals online as well as in the stores. I spent $60 yesterday on presents and will receive double rewards since it was Cyber Monday. I also use My Points when shopping and it just depends on who is offering the better deal. I can't cash out my Ebates since I just joined. I want to share with you the other rewards I'm getting to use for Christmas shopping. I love using these programs which really helps to lower my Christmas expenses. What are you waiting for and start earning rewards while you shop! I know there are many reward programs available, but these are the ones I have used and know have been around for many years. I am looking into Swagbucks.
  • Charter- $25 gift card and $10 gift card
  • Capital One- $50 gift card, $25 gift card, and $10 gift card
  • My Points- $25 gift card and $10 gift card
  • Grand Total- $155 in rewards= FREE MONEY!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

broccolicasseroledish

I first learned how to make this very tasty casserole when I was a teenager still living at home. I love to eat this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is one of those dishes that many people in my family ask me to bring or to make at the holidays. I wanted to share this very easy yet very yummy recipe. I have to add my husband, who loathes broccoli, absolutely loves this casserole and will go back for seconds.

The recipe as follows:
2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup of uncooked white rice (2 cups cooked)
1/2 bag of frozen broccoli (I use a whole small bag)
cheese cubed (depends on how cheesy you would like)


As for the broccoli, I use Pic sweet frozen florets and one small bag. I usually get them on sale 2/$3 and I use the whole bag. You could use chopped but I just prefer the florets. I prefer to use Velveeta cheese as it melts so well and has a great cheesy taste. I will admit I usually buy the small block of Great Value brand as it's cheaper. I will use at least 3/4 of the smallest block. I do slice them into small cubes. It will be easier to mix into the casserole.

I have a smaller microwave so I put a small amount of water along with both cans of soup and the broccoli. Mix it as well as you can and put in for about 4 minutes. I take it out and stir it again. I microwave it for another 4-5 minutes. You might have a couple of pieces of broccoli that are still a little frozen but this is alright. It will finish cooking in the oven.
broccolicasseroledish

Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well.
broccolicasseroledish

Last you will spread it all out after you mixed it well. You kinda just want to smooth the top so it looks nicer. I use a Pyrex glass dish. I find those glass dishes are so easy to cook with, and you just serve from that same dish once cooked. They also clean easier and won't stain. I have owned my Pyrex dishes for at least 10-12 years. They just last.
broccolicasseroledish

Now you will put the casserole uncovered into the oven for at least 15 minutes at 350. I personally find 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to have it cooked and the cheese a little bubbly. The edges may be a little browned but it's fine. I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner, and there was just enough leftover for me. I was happy everyone enjoyed it so much, but I just wished there was a little more left. If you try this recipe, then please let me know if you and your family enjoyed it as much as my family does.
broccolicasseroledish

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Relax This Holiday Season


The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving almost here. Thanksgiving is the signal that Christmas will be here in a month. Oh no! I still have to buy the turkey and trimmings, clean the house for the guests, then start decorating for Christmas, buy the presents, wrap them, and send out cards. Whoa! Slow down and take a deep breath. Do the opposite and take time for yourself this holiday season.

While this tidbit sounds great in theory, didn't you just see all of the things I still have to do. Believe me I understand, but take your finger off the panic button and relax. I'm going to list a few tips on how to take time for yourself which will make the holidays even more enjoyable.

Make a Plan:
Everyone needs a plan of action. Make a list of all the items you need to make for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner. Make a list of all the people you buy presents for or make treats. I realize I'm a little late planning this post as I wanted to write this last week, but this is still useful for Christmas. I always make a list of the people we buy presents for, and I always buy a couple of extra items for those last minute gifts. The plans are also good for cleaning or maybe with traveling.

Delegate:
I realize some of you are probably laughing, but I want you to delegate that list to others. Get your husband involved, the kids (if they are old enough), friends, and other family members. If someone asks if they can bring something for Thanksgiving, then tell them yes. It could be soft drinks or desserts. Maybe they make a wonderful side dish that everyone enjoys. You aren't superwoman so stop trying to act like one.

Indulge Yourself:
I am very serious. As women we try so hard to please everyone else, that we neglect ourselves. I know I'm not useful to my family if I'm stressed out and snapping at them over trivial things. When I start to feel my breaking point, then I take a deep breathe and lock myself up away from everyone. You don't have to make a dramatic exit, but just excuse yourself for a few minutes. I realize some moms don't have as much time to get away, but honestly even five minutes of peace and quiet makes a huge difference in your attitude and well being. Below are some things I like to take time to do for myself.
  • Take a bubble bath. (I have occasionally brought a glass of wine to sip while soaking).
  • Do some reading. (It could be as simple as thumbing through your favorite magazine).
  • Do a craft. (If this truly relaxes you then go for it).
  • Enjoy a glass of wine or beer by yourself. (Maybe a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate instead).
  • Pray or meditate. (I know I feel more at peace after saying a prayer or two).
  • Eat a piece of chocolate. (Seriously I love a piece of dark chocolate and just savoring it).
  • Go for a walk. (This really helps to clear your head).
  • Exercise or dance. (Along the same lines but it really does help to soothe frazzled nerves).
  • Listen to music. (I even do this while taking a hot bubble bath).
I think you get the idea. There are times I just lock myself up in my room for a few minutes. My latest guilty pleasure has been writing. I find it really enjoyable to put my thoughts down on paper. It has proven to be quite therapeutic and relaxing for me. Please take some time for yourself this holiday season. A few minutes to yourself daily can make quite the difference in your attitude.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Get Bowled Over-Tupperware Bowl Set Thrifty Momma Ramblings Giveaway


With the holidays coming, who can't use more bowls? My mom sold Tupperware when I was growing up. She still has pieces from over twenty years ago and still going strong. I naturally bought Tupperware as an adult, and I have containers and bowls from ten years ago that still look great. I really believe they make quality bowls and containers that will last for decades. You definitely don't loan out your Tupperware to anyone! I will to my mom but that's it.

I sold it a couple of years ago and amassed quite a collection. One lucky reader will receive a Tupperware Wonderlier 5 piece Bowl set! This set is brand new and still wrapped. I did take it out to show the colors of the set you will win in this giveaway. I'm not asking anyone to go to the website, and I don't have a link to the site either. I just thought it would be fun to do a giveaway and I know many women love Tupperware. It is pricey but it's a great investment and I got mine discounted. I want to share the love with my loyal readers.

THE PRIZE:
The bowl set you will win is a 5 piece Tupperware Wonderlier® Bowl. The colors are different from that set above. Look below to see the actual bowl set. The set includes one of each 2-cup/500 mL,3-cup/700 mL, 4-cup/1 L, 8-cup/2 L and 12-cup/2.8 L bowl. I also have all the lids. This set will not come with the salt and pepper shakers shown above. You will only get the 5 piece bowl set with lids! This bowl set is worth $60.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
This is super simple. Just leave me a comment telling me why you love Tupperware. That's it. This giveaway is only open to US residents 18+ please. Make sure you leave your email in your comment. Only one entry per person or email address please. I am including extra entries so check below. The winner will be pulled by Random dot org.

The giveaway will end on November 30th at 11:59 PM CST! I will need your mailing address to ship the bowls to the lucky winner. It will be shipped priority mail so it will arrive quickly. Again only open to the US. Please no anonymous posters. Thank you. No purchase necessary.

EXTRA ENTRIES:
2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Thanks again for reading this blog and enjoy the giveaway! Below is a picture of the actual bowl set the lucky winner will receive. Good luck to all who enter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #83


Today's thrifty living tip is to stop throwing money in the trash. You read that correctly. I am guilty of buying perishables that never get eaten. Fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, yogurt, etc. It never fails I will buy items that just don't get eaten before they go bad. I don't do it too often, but I'm still throwing a few bucks away each time. Sale items are the biggest temptation. It's not a good deal if you won't use eat it in a timely manner. One method I now use is by keeping track of which items were getting thrown out. Now I rarely have to throw out bad food.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Black Friday is Coming!


Yes it's that wonderful time of the year again where you begin to make those infamous Black Friday plans. It's just as important, if not more important, than your Thanksgiving Day plans. I'm actually getting a bit of a late start on making my plans. This year I already promised myself one store fighting the crowds. The rest of my shopping will be done online.

Yes I will be shopping at Wal-Mart which I know many people hate this particular store. I have my eye on a few items like the sheets, jeans for hubby, video games, and a couple of toys. I haven't had to deal with any stampeding crowds since Wal-Mart has always let people in before opening the pallets. So people would crowd around the hot items they wanted, and many were very friendly by handing out the stuff to others around them. The electronics department would hand out coupons, but I have yet to buy any big items like tv's, video game systems, or such. I mainly hit the bedding, clothes, and toys on sale plus any dvd's and games. Many times I could still find everything I wanted on sale the next day and not fight any crowds. I get what I want and get out. The older the kids are getting, then the less toys I need to buy. I give out more gift cards to my nieces as they prefer Itunes and such.

If you haven't already seen the ads, which I'm sure the avid shoppers already have, there are a couple of good websites to see the ad scans. I am not getting paid for this post, and these are sites I have bookmarked for every Black Friday. One site is BFads and the other site I frequent is Black Friday Info. Happy shopping and remember that nothing for sale is worth hurting someone else over. Be courteous as everyone is just trying to save a buck.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Guide to Sucessful Budgeting

Budgeting is something a lot of us would like to be better at. But the thing is, successful budgeting isn't actually that hard - you've just got to go about it in the right way.

So, what should you do to create a successful budget?

Well, first of all, it's important to understand what budgeting is all about.

It's about having full understanding and control of your finances - your income (the money you earn) and your expenditure (the money you spend).

To create your budget, start with writing down absolutely everything you earn each month (that includes your wages, any benefits you receive, child maintenance payments, etc.).

Once you've got this written down, you need to move onto your expenditure. You should write down everything your household is spending each month. Start with your priority debts (your mortgage/rent, secured loans, utility bills, etc.), and your everyday expenses (food, transport costs, etc.).

At this stage, you shouldn't include your non-priority debts (credit cards, unsecured loans, etc.) - as you'll account for these later on.

Once you're happy that you've written everything down, you should subtract your essential expenditure from your income - this will leave you with what's known as your disposable income.

Your disposable incomeis basically the money you have available to pay towards your unsecured debts each month - as well as saving and spending on non-essential/luxury items.

Working with your disposable income
Now you know how much your disposable income is, you need to figure out if it is enough to cover your monthly unsecured debt repayments.

To do this, simply subtract the amount you spend on debt repayments each month from your disposable income…

If your disposable income is more than enough to cover the cost of your debts, did you know you could save yourself a lot of money in interest if you paid more towards your debts each month? So, if you've got spare money left over after covering the required monthly payments, you should consider overpaying your debts. Just find out if you'll be hit with any 'early repayment charges' for doing this.

For advice on how to make the most of your income, you could read some of the budgeting, debt and money saving guides on this website.

If your disposable income isn't enough to cover the cost of your unsecured debts, you should take action straight away. You need to contact your creditors and explain your situation, and it might also be a good idea to seek professional debt advice.

The right advice can help you improve your situation - you might get a few tips on how to tighten up your budget, for example, freeing up the money you need every month.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #82

stainlessbottlescommutermugsBPA-freewaterbottles
Today's thrifty living tip is to use sports bottles or commuter mugs. I do have some plastic Tupperware mugs and big sports bottles to bring when I'm traveling and to use at school. It's an environmental friendly way to cut down on trash and of course it does save you money.

It saves you money by making your own coffee to bring with you instead of buying it on the road. This can easily save you $20+ per month or even more depending on the size of coffee you purchase. It might not seem like much, but that is $240 per year! You can also save money by not spending $1.25-1.50 for a 20 oz bottle of water. Now if you bought a case of water (16 oz) you still spend $4-5 per case. You won't save as much money unless you buy a bottle daily at the vending machine. But you can refill your bottles or mugs, and it cuts down a big amount of trash. Even if you recycle the bottles, it still isn't as environmentally friendly.

There is a big debate of plastic bottles vs stainless steel. Many of the plastic sports bottles and mugs were made with BPA which we found out was harmful since it leached into acidic (orange juice) or hot liquids (coffee and hot tea). Now you must make sure that your stainless steel bottle doesn't have a liner as it will contain BPA. I'm not going to have that debate and will leave it up to each individual.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Winner of the $50 Gift Card Giveaway!

First I would like to thank everyone who entered. I was not expecting this big of a response to my little ole giveaway and I feel honored to have generated such a buzz! Again thank you to all the posters who made this a big success in my opinion. I do have more giveaways lined up in the near future plus many posts on saving money, generating a little extra money, and such. Please keep coming back and visiting my blog. I really appreciate the comments and sharing with others.

So without further delay, the winner of the Get a Jumpstart on Christmas Shopping $50 Gift Card Giveaway! is..............drumroll....................Maggie at Tethered Mommy! Congratulations Maggie and I have emailed you and she has received my email. I am so excited you won and she already picked the card of her choice! I used Random.org to pick the winner of this giveaway. Thanks again to everyone who responded and I appreciate the support.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vote For Your Favorite: Puppies vs Babies Online Contest

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puppies vs. Babies for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

PvB-CuteDar-Green-300x250-Backup.jpg

Finally a Puppies vs. Babies online contest to answer the age old question of who is cuter? I'm not much of a gambler, but I will wager babies will come out as the winners. While I love animals, I would prefer to cuddle an adorable baby over a drooling puppy any day. I don't really care for being licked in the face or having a cold wet nose on me. I have yet to be licked by a baby, but I have been drooled on by both puppies and babies. I really enjoy listening to all the funny sounds babies make, and they melt my heart with their tooth less smiles. I think the real clincher for me has to be that wonderful baby smell. Of course I am a little biased as my nephew is just too cute.

Swing by the Puppies vs. Babies contest to cast your vote today. The best part is the winner will receive a $5,000 prize! Now that is a lot of bones (yes pun intended) or a lot of diapers. But hurry as the contest ends on November 23rd! I am curious to see who comes out as the top dog or baby. I would love to know who you voted for and who you think will win. Let the smack talk begin.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, November 4, 2011

Land Lines- Ditch or Keep?

ditchlandlinesavemoneyhousephone
In this digital age where almost everyone owns a cell phone, the question becomes do I even need a land line? I have a packaged bundle with Charter which recently ended. My husband and I use our cell phones much more than the house phone. Actually the majority of the people calling on my house phone are those pesky telemarketers. We will receive the occasional call from a relative who doesn't call us often. I'm in school all day and even the school has my cell phone. The teacher texts me if she needs to get in touch with me as I usually have to put the phone on silent during class. I keep it in my pocket in case of an emergency so the cell phone is so convenient.

It seemed obvious it was time to ditch the land line. I called Charter to negotiate my rates when I was told it wouldn't make sense for me to drop it. It would cost me more to not have it, but I felt like maybe that was part of a scheme to keep me bundled. More money in their pocket. After talking to a couple of higher-up's, I got a great deal on a new contract and yes the land line is included. I have a great rate for all my services for two more years. It's not terrible having the land line. It's probably better to have it for 911 but that's a decision everyone has to make for themselves. I know many people ditching their land lines so you really need to consider all the benefits or negatives like an extra bill. Sometimes it also pays to call the company and negotiate for better rates. You never know unless you try.

Monday, October 31, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #81

homemadehalloweencostumesthriftycostumeideascreativecostumes
Today's thrifty living tip is to be more creative in making your child's Halloween costume. I personally don't have anything against store bought costumes except that most are overpriced junk. Some years I have purchased a $10-15 costume from Wal-Mart that would basically fall apart during the first wearing. I have also bought better quality costumes from the Disney Store that would last several wearings, and then sell them used on ebay for more than I paid new. I would purchase them on clearance and sometimes spring for the extra accessories which completes those costumes. The problem now is my son is too old for most of the Disney costumes as those are for babies. *SIGH*

Most people are not going to sew a costume from a pattern, which can still cost a pretty penny in fabric and not to mention the time, unless of course you really enjoy sewing. I don't enjoy sewing so we have gotten more creative in putting together a costume for my son by just digging in his closet. There might be times I have to purchase an item to complete his costume, but most of the time I don't as he already owns most of it. I put up a picture of his homemade Halloween costume from last year. He was his favorite wrestler, Ray Mysterio, complete with the mask, a jacket, a Ray shirt (you can't see but it's under the jacket), a pair of jeans and tennis shoes. He used one of his toy wrestling belts to complete the costume. He already owned everything so cost to me was FREE! He actually received a ton of compliments from other kids and adults on his costume. I think the authentic mask was the true gem of this costume as a friend of mine gave this to my son. This was one of those expensive replicas they sell and not the cheap plastic masks.

This year he is going as a military man. I don't have a picture but he already owned a camouflage shirt, shorts, and hat. I have a pair of military issued combat boots that I wore when I was in the army many years ago that he can wear now at age 10! Since we are trick or treating, we are not bringing any toy guns. Everyone will know what he is supposed to be anyway. Again total cost to me= FREE! These creative costumes are actually his idea as he complains about how the store bought costumes are itchy and fall apart. I have taught my little grasshopper well. I would love to hear other creative solutions for Halloween Costumes. Happy Halloween and be safe tonight!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get a Jumpstart on Christmas Shopping with a $50 Gift Card Thrifty Momma Ramblings Giveaway!

thriftymommaramblingschristmasshoppinggiftcardgiveaway
Christmas is right around the corner so Thrifty Momma Ramblings is hosting a $50 gift card giveaway for one lucky reader to get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping! You can be totally selfish and use it for yourself if you choose. I will post the list of stores you can choose from for your gift card. The rules are super easy and this contest will end on Sunday, November 6th at 11:59 PM CST. So basically midnight. The winner will be announced on the blog the following day and I use Random.org to pull the lucky winner by number.

Giveaway Rules:
To enter this drawing all you have to do is leave a comment about how you would spend the $50 gift card if you won. As I said, you could use it on holiday shopping, regift to someone else, or use it on yourself. No anonymous posters please. You don't have to have a blog but leave your name at least in the comment. All anonymous poster comments will be deleted. I hope you enjoy the giveaway. This giveaway is only open to United States (US) Residents! Only one entry per comment, but and I have included a a couple of extra ways to earn more entries.

EXTRA ENTRIES:
2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Stop reading already and leave your comment for your chance to get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping with a $50 to one of the following stores of your choice. Thanks so much to all my readers. I wouldn't have much of a blog without you guys. Good luck!

$50 Gift Card List:
1) Wal-Mart
2) Target
3) Amazon (online)
4) CVS
5) Walgreen's
6) Best Buy
7) Rite-Aid
8) Itunes

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paint- It's Cheap and Comes in a Can

paintremodelingkitchencabinetsinexpensivesavemoneyfrugalgreen"It's called paint- it's cheap and comes in a can." This has to be one of the best quotes I've heard while watching a tv show. I really wished I could remember which show I was watching, but this is exactly how I feel about paint. Paint is a wonderful inexpensive way to spruce up just about anything. I didn't want to replace my kitchen cabinets since they are actual wood and not cheap particle board. The cabinets are in excellent condition but just needed a facelift. To paint or not to paint was the question. I really wanted the kitchen to be brighter and stained wood darkens spaces. In the end, I decided to paint them. Below are the steps that I took and some pictures. (Oh quick note, that picture was drawn by my husband. I asked if he could draw me a paint bucket with brush for this post. I outlined it in paint, but will eventually figure out how to actually paint in photoshop. I think he did a fabulous job!)

How I Transformed My Kitchen Cabinets
I must have looked up almost a hundred articles and websites looking for information on properly painting previously stained cabinets. The problem is so much of the information, even from the "experts", varies by technique and even properly cleaning or degreasing the doors. I decided to use a no rinse TSP cleaner. Then I did lightly sand the doors since the stain was pretty old and faded. After I wiped them down with a clean tack cloth, I have knotty pine wood so I used a shellac primer in a spray can just on the knots. The knots vanished after I primed the doors with a regular primer.

Finally I did use 3 coats of white Kitchen and Bath enamel paint. It is a little more expensive than a semi-gloss, but it's made for specifically for a high humidity. I used a paint brush and not a sprayer. I didn't know how to use a sprayer and I definitely was not willing to experiment. I used a very high quality paint brush made to eliminate brush strokes. I have to admit it came out great. I can barely see any strokes, and I am very happy with the results. The whole process of cleaning, sanding, and painting took me about 2-3 days. I had 16 doors so I had to paint eight one day and paint the remaining eight the next day. I did let the doors dry for about 4-5 days. I was a little paranoid. Most experts recommend at least three days. I know many people would not use a white, but I have found it very easy to keep the cabinets clean. I just wipe them a couple of times a week after I do the dishes. The best part is my kitchen is much brighter, even with the lights off.

Spray Paint- Who Knew?

I really wanted to replace the door handles, but we couldn't find new handles to match up as the old ones are hung differently than today. I cleaned them, but couldn't get all the rust out. My brilliant husband suggested we just spray paint them. We got a flat satin black and one with the primer already mixed in. It cost us about $8 with tax and it worked perfectly. The handles look brand new again! I am thrilled with the results, and it was much cheaper than buying 20 new handles. The total project cost us $90! That includes all the paint, primer, brushes, and sandpaper. I did get some discounts with coupons that I was mailed. I think that saved me about $12-15. I have brand new cabinets and handles for under $100! We did splurge on the better paint, but I think it was worth every penny. I think a picture is worth a thousand words...literally!
oldkitchencabinetsremodeledkitchencabinetsinexpensivespraypaint

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Warehouse Clubs-Big Savings or Money Drain?

warehouseclubssavingmoneyorwastingmoneydrain""

First I want to mention I only have a Sam's club near me so my experience is limited. I been a member for a couple of years. Lately I haven't noticed much in the way of savings. I'm finding better deals by just watching the other store sale ads. For instance, Sam's has a 30 roll package of Scott's toilet paper for over $22. I can buy 3 packs with the 12 rolls for $6-7 on sale and end up with more toilet paper for the same price. I'm not saying there aren't good deals to be found at these clubs, but you should just ask yourself a few things before buying.


Can I get this cheaper on sale somewhere else?
Do I really need such a big size of this item?
Will we just eat it all quickly since it's in the house?
Will it go to waste before we can use it?
Do I have enough room to store these bigger packages?


I am guilty of some of the above. I like buying my groceries and health/beauty items in bulk, but I have noticed some of the snacks don't last as long as they should. Or I've had some items go to waste before we could use it all. I mostly try to stick to dry goods and frozen foods for this reason. I live in a bigger home, well big for 3 people, but I do have plenty of space to store items. I hope these questions can help you stop and think before buying something you don't need or can't use.

There are other savings such as the pharmacy, travel discounts, office supplies, tires, appliances, and such. I split my membership with my mom. I have a card and she has one so it does save money by only paying $20 yearly. I asked and it's acceptable at Sam's. I do save money on gas but I will be doing some more number crunching come renewal time next year. I would love to read your thoughts.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

50 Free Spooktacular Disney Movie Rewards Bonus Points

Today is the last day to redeem your 50 Halloween points for the Disney Movie Rewards program. Here are the 5 codes to enter:

PUMPKIN 10pts
SCARY 10pts
BOO 10 pts
AUTUMN 10 pts
HOOK 10 pts

Just remember these free "BOO"nus points ends today on October 16th so hurry before they RIP! I have embedded the new Monster Mash video for the Spooky Buddies DVD. Very cute.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Save More While Talking More with Straight Talk

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pretty much everyone has a cell phone these days. More and more of us are using our phones for more than just talking. I know I love to text, search the internet, check my Facebook account, and even play games on my phone. My life is literally on my phone, and I know lots of people who feel the same. Many people are either unemployed or had to take a job making much less than before. They still need a phone, but can't afford the high cost most plans charge. Then others might not want to be stuck in a contract or can't get a contract due to poor credit. What is someone to do?

Straight Talk has the solution to this dilemma with Feel Richer with Android. Smart Talk offers a plan for every budget. There is the "All You Need Plan" which offers 1,000 minutes and text messages plus 30 MB of web data. Of you if you prefer to have unlimited service for a flat rate of $45 per month then the Unlimited Monthly plan would be better. If you really want to save, then getting unlimited calls, text, picture messaging, and web for a whole year is a steal at $499.00! You still get 411 calls at no extra charge, free activation, reactivation, and no termination fees ever. If you need to make International calls, then that's fine as they offer flexible plans.

Straight Talk is a great way to save a lot of money on your cell bill. They offer great brands like LG, Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, and more. Save even more with a great reconditioned phones starting at $10.00 which includes a camera, mp3 player, mobile web access, and blue-tooth capability. This is perfect for the kids. Straight Talk has many android smart phones with all the apps and games you need. Start saving today with The power of Android while keeping in touch with friends and family.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thrifty Momma Ramblings Gets a Facebook Page

I just wanted to share with my readers that I created a page on Facebook just for Thrifty Momma Ramblings. I also added a bar to the right side under Social Networks that will take you to it and you can like it. I would appreciate the support on Facebook so please click like on TMR's page. Click Here to Like Thrifty Momma Ramblings and become a fan! I'm trying to really establish and expand the blog after neglecting it for so long. I realize how much I do enjoy writing and sharing my tips and ideas. I hope you will come by and say hi.

Get More with YoFreeSamples.com!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of yoFreeSamples.com for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

With so many families hurting financially, who wouldn't want some Freebies? More and more people are trying to stretch their dollars as far as they can. I know I am constantly looking for good deals, coupons, and even free samples to try items first before purchasing. Nothing is worse than spending your hard earned money on a product that no one in your family will touch! That is such a waste for both the environment and your wallet.

YoFreeSamples.com will also eliminate the hassle of spending hours cutting and sorting Coupons. They will send them straight to your email inbox or your Facebook account! They offer many great deals from brands you know and trust. You can choose grocery, pharmacy, and even printable coupons. They even share local deals by city including restaurants to save you even more money. This website truly has it all.

They also post many contests/giveaways and Free Stuff.  You can follow them on twitter or join their Facebook page by searching for Yo Free Samples. This site has also posted freebies for the UK and Canada. It's completely free to join this great website. Join today and start saving more time and money!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #80

Today's frugal living tip is to reuse those coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and vegetable/fruit peelings. Yep I drink coffee and tea on a daily basis so I take the grounds, and work them directly into the soil around my plants. Of course you can also throw them in a compost pile. I take rinsed eggshells and crush them before mixing into the soil. I also compost. You can either compost vegetable/fruit peelings or just dig small holes into your garden. I dig them in a few inches and let them rot until it's time to till the soil. I love just digging small piles directly into the garden as I don't have to deal with a compost pile this way. My soil still benefits and it gets worked into the whole garden plot twice a year. Not everyone is keen on the idea of having a compost pile so here is another alternative way to reduce waste, but it still helps your soil and plants thrive. The best part is that worms love the coffee grounds and seem to attract them. This is actually a positive as worms help to aerate the soil.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog & College Life Update


As my mid-terms are coming to an end next week, I'm looking forward to our short break. I just have to brag a little since I have straight A's thus far. It's funny how as an older adult, I refuse to accept less than the best. Whereas, when I was straight out of high school, I was happy to get out the class with a C.

Next week I am planning on possibly moving my blog to wordpress and hosting it somewhere else. I want more control over it, and I would like to concentrate on a new design. I'm not sure if I will keep the other one I started called Shrinking Cajun. I think I might axe it and just revive the Cajun Blogger. I also would love to chronicle more about how fun it is trying to juggle family, part-time work, with going to school full-time as an adult. I know many other women face this same struggle so I would love to write more posts about college life and time management. I'm really beginning to enjoy writing more lately, another idea I have for that blog would be to interview local Louisiana business owners.

I really want to review products and more money saving tips. I am hoping to host some giveaways soon. I have already invested so much time into this blog that I refuse to let it die a slow death. I really want to share a great project we did on a couple of pieces of furniture we already owned. I just need to take some pictures, but I don't really have any before to compare. I am planning on doing the same thing with the living room furniture when the weather gets a little cooler. Keep checking back as I will have this up by this weekend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back in School & Blog Update


I feel so badly that I'm ignoring my blogs, but my life has been very busy. The first update I want to share with everyone is that I'm back in college! That's right. I have taken the plunge to finish my degree. I'm very excited but it's also proving to be overwhelming. Yes that picture sums up how I'm feeling lately.

I have always regretted not finishing my degree. I had 33 hours under my belt when I was at Nicholls State University from 1993-95. For the last few years, I was on the fence about going back. I regained a lot of my confidence back after dropping 100 pounds. I still feel out of place being older, married, and already having a pre-teen. I have met some other classmates my age so I'm starting to get over that awkwardness. But being older than a couple of my professors doesn't help at all.

I decided to get my Associate's Degree in General Studies so I will graduate next spring in May. I'm debating if I should get my Bachelor's degree, but I'm not sure that I will. I'll worry about it next year. For now, I have plenty to keep me busy. One of the classes I'm currently taking this semester is a Dreamweaver computer class. I got the program heavily discounted as I'm a full-time student. I'm already learning so much. I really think I would like to learn more about managing websites and even SEO. I am taking a class next semester on social networking which I do have a good bit of knowledge but looking forward to learning more.

I am going to work really hard on getting this blog back on track since I've lost readers and page ranks. It's totally my fault, but I have some major plans for this blog. I am hoping to move this blog to my own host. Then I will give it a major overhaul design wise. Stay tuned as I am planning a big contest next month and unveil the new blog design.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Renovation Reality

Yes just like the show, house repairs are unexpected and extremely time consuming. Our renovations are coming to an end inside the house thank goodness. I don't think I ever want to look at another paint brush again. Ok so just a bit of an exaggeration, but I am happy to step back from remodeling for a few months. I plan on doing a few posts about time saving tips that I learned and just show off our projects. I'm extremely pleased with how my house has turned out so far. We saved a lot of money by tackling many things ourselves like patching drywall, caulking trim, painting, and lots of comparison shopping. I'm waiting for it to cool down (say October) before I tackle any outside projects. I want to caulk and weatherstrip my windows to further reduce my electric bills. I still have a couple of small projects to finish up, but I admit that I'm procrastinating as I'm burnt out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #79

Today's frugal living tip is use Citrasolve and an old credit or debit card when removing paint splatters from wood floors. You should really use a drop cloth when painting. But if you are lazy like me, then these two items will make removing paint much easier. I really like the Citrasolve cleaner. It smells great and polished my wood floors making them look new again. I did try Goof Off, but it didn't smell nearly as nice. It also didn't work well at removing the paint. I had to really rub to get any paint up. I gave up and switched to the Citrasolve, and all those paint marks were cleaning up easily.

The credit card was great at removing tiny and big paint drops. I should mention my wood floors are unfinished which is probably why they look so polished. I then used a damp sponge mop with warm soapy water to wipe up the Citrasolve. In the future, I can say I will use a drop cloth when I paint my bedroom.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

House Remodeling Projects

I can't believe I haven't posted in so long. I was going to start another blog about my weight loss journey, but that hasn't happened yet. I will say the main reason I haven't posted in so long is I've been remodeling my house. We are in the midst of multiple house projects including painting, new floors, plastering drywall, ripping out old and trying to make new items fit. We also had our house leveled, which is great, but now many of our doors have to be shaved or door latches readjusted so doors will shut again. I'm also kicking myself for not doing some before/after pictures. I'm cutting out old drywall around door cracks. My husband wasn't sure if I could handle fixing all of the crumbling drywall above the tub where we ripped out an old cabinet. I have proved him wrong, and you can't even tell there were big chunks of drywall missing exposing the wood beneath it. All I can say is the internet, google, and youtube are your friends in diy projects like this.

On the flip side, I have also spent countless hours planning and shopping. I do enjoy all the shopping, but I don't always enjoy making all the decisions. I can be extremely indecisive plus I love getting a bargain. When I would find something I liked, then I would worry that I could get a better deal somewhere else. I solved that problem by downloading a free app to my iphone to price compare called Shop Savvy. It also lists all the local & online stores with the cheapest price listed first. That cool app has saved me time plus I know if I'm getting a good deal or not. I love technology.

The other reason I haven't done any blogging is I'm still trying to get my son all the help he needs. That has been an ongoing struggle with the school and doctor. The doctor finally came to the conclusion that my son does struggle with major anxiety along with the autism. The doctor thinks he has more Asperger's syndrome coupled with anxiety plus the Sensory Disorder. Trying to find a good balance of medications to help him has been very hard. He was having lots of trouble in school at the beginning of the year. He had three different teachers in a matter of two months. Not good for a child who resists any change especially in his routine. That has been a fight at the school along with fighting with the doctor my son needed to be put on an anti-depressant. I hate medicating him, but I knew in my heart he needed to be put on one. Right after Christmas, the doctor agreed with me and was put on Zoloft. He has been doing so much better. He is now making straight A's again, and I'm curious to see how he did on the ileap. His teacher thinks he did extremely well.

With the summer coming, I'm looking to make some big changes with his diet like I did with mine. I have been struggling some with my weight loss for the last several months. I gain a couple and then lose them. I will save that for another post. All in all, life has been very hectic so I tend to forget about the blog when I get very busy with other projects. I am excited to share pictures and my experience with these projects. I have to share here since my husband refuses to go on Renovation Realities with me. I know we would have the highest rated show ever since I do have a bit of a temper. Ok, so that is a tad of an understatement I admit. I am a bit of a perfectionist so it's better that I'm doing most of this work myself. I do enjoy having an ipod on this phone since I love to sing while I'm plastering and sanding.