Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Handling a big credit card bill

I've decided it is easier to make a game with points.

For example, if you need to find $10,000 (for a credit card bill or down payment) look for 10,000/100 points or 100 points. It easier to come with increments of $100 than to think of one big block of money.

1 point - cash in loose change around the house
1 point - return items to Home Depot or other retailers for things that were purchased and not needed (bathroom fan, tool)
1 point - cancel membership ie ymca or monthly services
1-5 points - sell some collectibles
1-10 points - don't reinvest your dividends for a period of time - especially for non retirement accounts. If your account is earning less tha 4% and your paying more than 10% on the credit card (example), use some of that money.
1 point - unclaimed property Look at the state of Illinois for unclaimed property (use previous names and at may be surprised.)
1-3 points (check your withholdings on your paycheck. Do you typically get a refund? Check with your CPA to see how this will affect your income taxes. Especially if your state is in trouble financially, you don't want to get an IOU from them.
1-30 points - income tax refund example

In any instance, look for increments of $100.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Appreciation Gifts

Do you come up with a great gift idea and the costs are waayyy out of budget? I do all the time. Well, I was at my son's kindergarden class and was talking with the teacher. She has young grandchildren in California, and a number of other interests.

My idea for her appreciation gift: a tape recorder and some books to read to her grandchildren far away. I went to Walmart expecting a recorder to be $10-$14. NO - it was closer to $30. My son has 3 teachers this year due to pregnancy among the primary teacher. But I loved my idea. Found the recorders on ebay (NEW) for $2.98 plus $5 shipping.

I am so excited that I bought one for my mom. I told her to find a book for my son and a book for my daughter.

The beginning of the tape she should say something: "This Grandma ...." "I hope you have your pajamas on, brushed your teeth, and are getting ready for bed. Grandma is going to read you a very special book. I picked this book because...

Page 1 read and remark any notable pictures, turn the page...

Paper Source

Frugal Gifts

Lip Balm Recipe

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So far this week...

My budget week is Monday-Sunday. For Groceries, convenience foods, cosmetics, cat food, cleaning products ($81/week):

McDonalds: 3 hamburgers $3.04
Convenience Store diet coke $1.25
Little Italian Pizza: $21.60
Caputos: $10.14
7.02 lbs apples $6.88 - (for applesauce and apple pie)
rye bread 1.39
1/2 lb turkey deli 1.70

Jewel: $24.88
2 Fresh Express Salads
5 boxes cereal (cocoa puffs and trix)
3 yoplait 4-6 packs yogurt
2 dannon danonino for kids
3 Viva Big Rolls
8 Progresso Soups
6 Chex Mixs

So far oop 60.91. with $30 in OYNO catalinas. I have a list of items that I want to purchase at Walgreens and Target (if possible).

Don't forget the beer and meat :-)

If you like them both, then it is a good idea to check for cross promotions:

  • New Castle Brown Ale $3 off meat (beer costs $12.99 at Jewel)
  • Heineken/Amstel Light $3 off snacks (crackers, cheeses, salty snacks or deli items) exp 12/31/09 possible to stack cracker q or snack q with it.
  • Stella Artois and purchase of wine receive $10 back mail in rebate exp 12/31/09
  • Budweister, Bud Light, Budweiser Select, BL Lime, Budweiser American Ale with purch of ham, turkey or deli platter $10 mail in rebate exp 12/31/09
  • Baileys Irish Cream $4 off ground coffee exp 01/03/10

Many of the hard liquor, having hanging mail in rebates for up to $50 back for the purchase of xx number of bottles and min. sizes. Combine this with purchase of 6 get automatic 10% discount and possible coupon in Sunday paper for specific liquor brings bottles to less than $10 each.

Great Christmas Gift for friends/family to use for New Years. Also, can make Super Bowl Party Basket with the snacks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Canning Jars/Mason Jars/Ball Jars

I love these jars of all sizes:
1/2 pint
1/2 gallon

We went through a period where all of our drinking glasses (from our wedding) broke. (One by one --no big trauma drama) We used the pint jars as drinking glasses, even today, my kids drink out of them. They think it is silly.

We went on vacation to Tennessee and one of the bbq-restaurants served their drinks in these jars and it seemed authentic.

One of the other uses is for temporary food storage--leftover rice, soup, etc. The benefit is the uniformity of the storage units ie finding lids. I also don't have to worry about plastic toxicity in the food. And I can see what is inside the container.

In the pantry, I don't have to worry about pantry flies or ants.

I use masking tape and a sharpee to label. I tried to be perfect and use labels with typed print. It is a nightmare to get off after use.

I have read and not tried baking a cake inside one. Do a google search of cake in a jar and there may even be a instruction/video.

Jewel Stockman & Dakota Angus London Broil

Sunday was a steak and potatoes day. Went to Jewel bought it at $4.99/lb - oop $7

Checked the liquor department to see if there were any coupons. Purchased 12 pack Newcastle Brown Ale for $12.99 and took $3 off my steak.
7-3/1.5= $2.66/lb ok

Cooked it on the grill and it was tough and chewy (prepared medium rare). My husband thinks it's because we have been spoiled by Casey's meat. I told him we purchased steak from Jewel before and have been satisfied. We ate about a 1/2 of the steak. (what to do)

Yesterday, I used the meat to make a roast. Threw it into a dutch oven and cooked it with au jus, onions, carrots, potatoes, and wine. When it was almost done, added milk/sour cream and cornstarch. Then placed it on top egg noodles. It was great.

Other options with this meat:
marinade w/soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, oyster sauce and sautee it with an Asian medley of vegetables over white rice


cook it, chop it up and bake in a pot pie:
2 pie crusts
recipe: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup shortening, 1/4 cup cold water
mix into a ball, and place in fridge for about 10 minutes, roll with additional flour.

can cream of anything soup (preferably cream of mushroom or celery), carrots, peas, celery, and little chunks of cheddar cheese (optional) and bake about 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

PS the pot pie recipe is great for leftover steak at restaurants. or chop it small and place in an omelet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Using pantry items/gardening items

This summer froze watermelon pulp/juice, made peach nectar and so forth.

Today, it was a beautiful day. We went for a bike ride as a family and returned for smoothies:

frozen watermelon cubes
peach nectar (liquid)
a few ice cubes

Kids and husband loved it. My husband was thinking 'rum runner'. Too early for us. Maybe during the Sunday Bears game.

I used my 'faux' pineapple cubes (canned zucchini and pineapple juice) in the smoothies this past week. My son didn't like it. I think if I add the faux pineapple with orange juice it will turn out better.

Riverwalk Quilters Guild

presents Beth Weheeler and Lori Marquette:
presenting a lecture and trunk show of lighthearted mixed media adventures with samplesa nd examples, demos and handouts.

7pm Tuesday at Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville
registration 6:30pm
guest fee $5

Everday Cheapskate, Mary Hunt in Naperville

7 pm Tues, 11/10/09, Nichols Library, 200 W Jefferson Ave., Naperville. No registration is necessary for free presentation. For more information contact Bobby Rudnick at 630-961-4100 x 6328.

A Place to Bead 11/06/09

in Naperville has a girl's night out event and one on 11/13/09. I went it is a create your own event with little instruction.
1st pick your beads, then the assistant will give you a wire to string them. They will tie the ends for you and add the clasps.

I thought I would learn how to do the ends.

2nd The prices on beads seemed a bit high (compared to ebay or other stores. ie price per bead .25 cents -.60 each for smaller items.

3rd love my piece.--oop $37
I'll post a picture if I can figure out how.

Michaels Craft Store

regular size calendars 2010 16 month on sale for $1 regular price $9.95
cute kittens
light houses
funny farm animals
extreme sports
m & m's
and many more

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jewel, Caputos 11/06/09

Wow- Jewel has spend $30 get $15 back. For experienced couponers...

Gold Medal Flour 5 lbs could be as low as 32 cents each - no coupons (shelf price 3.49 and pref 1.99) 9 x 3.49 = $31.41 actual $17.91 - 15 catalinas = 2.91/9 = 32 cents each bag/5 = 6 cents/lb

Trix Cereal 10.7 oz as low as 8 cents each shelf price $3.09 30/3.09 = 10 boxes x 1.88 pref price 18.80 - $1 off 3 (see x 3 =15.80 less $15 back = .80 for 10 boxes or 8 cents each plus tax.

Also at Jewel, Green Giant Idaho Potatoes 5lbs for 99 cents or 20 cents/lb. There are so many things to make with potatoes or store them in a cool dry spot in the basement (root cellar) and they should last months.

Apples - several variaties for 33 cents/lb. Great for applesauce, freeze for apple pies, baked apples...
Also check out deli meat.