Friday, September 28, 2007

Freebie Friday!

Free Cookbook from Omaha Steaks

Free Dove deoderant sample

Free sample of GoodNites sleep boxers or sleep shorts

Free sample of Folgers® Gourmet Selections™

Creative Recycling: Crystal Light Containers

Over the years, it's become harder and harder for me to drink plain water. Therefore, to increase my water intake, I drink generic Crystal Light. I hated throwing them away because they were pretty sturdy little containers. Yes, you can use one for a pen and pencil holder but I didn't need one of those.

There are times I will think on something for weeks and finally, a rush of creative inspiration hits me and I wonder why so many brain cells had to die for this simple idea to be born. The idea that I came up with for my generic crystal light container, was to use it as a party favor holder instead of the traditional bags. You can decorate it to match the party's theme. You are limited to what favors you can put in it since the container is narrow. Just make sure to keep that in mind to avoid buying favors you won't be able to use.

I did one for an example and used some favors I had on hand. I went with a sports theme. I made a label for it and didn't decorate it further for sake of time. But you can paint it, decorate it with stickers, etc. It says, "Thanks for being a sport at Nathan's birthday party!". I made a slideshow with mine below.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Heads Up: Dollar General 90% off Summer Items

According to Haylie from Arkansas, the Dollar General has marked their summer items down to 90% off original prices. I went and checked my local one yesterday and items were still 50% and 75% so I'm biding my time and am going to check back in a few days. I know summer is almost over (and it's already over for some of you), but think stocking stuffers, party favors, or birthday gifts for next year.

Reader Tip: Chicken Broth

This tip was submitted by Jill from Georgia:

When I boil chicken breasts, I reserve the chicken broth in sandwich baggies, put the date on the bags, and freeze them. I think each bag equals 1 or 2 cups (I can't remember). I don't have to ever buy chicken broth for other recipes and it's no sodium (unless Idecide to add a little salt to boost the flavor). Not much of a money saver, but every penny counts! :)

Too right Jill! Every penny does indeed count and being frugal just isn't about saving money, it's about using what you already have. So why go buy chicken broth if you already have it on hand? I'm sure the homemade broth is a lot more bangin than the store bought anyway. Thanks for the yummy tip!

If you have any frugal tips or suggestions you'd like to share with us, click on the send me a message icon in the first column.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Giving Without Spending: Ronald McDonald Pop Tab Collection Program

The Ronald McDonald House is a "home away from home" for many sick children and their families each year. They are asked to make a $5-20 donation each day of their stay, but if they can't, their stay is free. What an awesome program!

You can help these families continue to have free or majorly discounted stays by saving the tabs on your soda cans, vegetable and soup cans, and pet food cans. Drop-off sites for pop tabs range in location, from the House to McDonald's restaurants, local banks and grocery stores.

Here's a picture of our collection so far. It's amazing how many aluminum cans have went into this small pile! We started doing this at the beginning of August when I was told about it from a friend.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(I think it's true what they say about film and camera. My hand does look 10 pounds heavier!)

National Free Museum Day this Saturday!

From the site:

Museum Day is a nationwide event taking place on Saturday, September 29, 2007, where participating museums and cultural institutions across the country offer free admission to Smithsonian readers and visitors. Museum Day celebrates the country’s cultural offerings, allows the dissemination of knowledge and brings Americans together.

Museum Day is open to all Smithsonian readers and friends. Participants must present the Museum Day Admission Card available in the September 2007 issue of Smithsonian Magazine or downloadable via this site to receive FREE GENERAL ADMISSION. The Museum Day Admission Card is valid for you plus one guest and is limited to one per household.

More information and restrictions here.

Search for participating museums here.

Thanks to Wendy from CT for this tip!

The Gift Bag Revamped!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Last school year, I saw these bags in a dollar store in our local mall. I never pay more than $1 for a gift bag. When I saw these, the idea popped into my head that it would be really neat to use them as gift bags for two reasons:

1. It cost the same as a gift bag and looks better than alot of them
2. It can be part of the gift itself

My need for gift bags at that time was for my son's teacher and para pro's. I had already gotten a smokin' hot deal on the candles at Goody's. They were on clearance for 75% off. They were very nice candles. I think I paid $5 for package. I decided to throw in a scented sachet so when his teachers unzipped the bag, they would be greeted with a nice fragrance. I believe I paid .50 each for them. So I got some tissue paper and packaged it up nicely and arranged everything inside, zipped it up and voila! I paid $20 for 3 really nice gifts. It really spruces up the presentation and makes it a little more special.

Don't Forget Wednesday Deals at JCPenney!

Looks like they have some good deals today. Click here for Wednesday Deals.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heads Up: Soy Milk Drinkers

Thanks to Kelly from Delaware for this info!

I was at the Dollar Tree yesterday and they had West Soy soy milk made with organic beans for $1 for a quart. Great deal, even cheaper than regular milk at the grocery store! I don't know if they always have it but I think I'm gonna go back and stock up. It's the shelf-stable kind... you may want to check your local dollar tree. I never would have thought they'd have soy milk!

You and me both but the Dollar Tree has surprised me before. I'm still dreaming of the day someone tells me to run up there because they've just gotten in a batch of Ipods. Hey, a girl can dream right? LOL

$1 Pregnancy Tests

I know some of you know about these. However, I found out last week that some don't. As Frugal Girl, it is my duty to make sure all are informed of such inexpensive products that can save much moolah!

Ok, on a serious note...The Dollar Tree has pregnancy tests. I'll give you 3 guesses on how much they cost. You guessed it! One dollah! And yes they are accurate. These $1 preggo tests really come in handy if you're anxiously trying to conceive and having to buy enough to test every minute of every hour. The only thing is you'll have to pee in a container and then use the little dropper to drop some of that liquid gold onto your test. No big whoop about that especially if it's saving you at least $5 a pop (no pun intended).

Monday, September 24, 2007

James Jones: Children's Letter of the Month Club

I have posted about this guy before. I get his newsletter that sends out a business idea every week. A majority of these ideas aren't what I would call mainstream, but they are interesting. Here is the one I just received for this week:

Here is a really simple business anyone with a flair for communicating with children can turn into a great income.

What you do is create a subscription "letter of the month" club for children. Every month you write a personalized letter on a specific theme and mail it to the child.

For example, if your theme is exotic places, you could call yourself Traveling Tina and write a letter that both entertains and teaches about a different local each week.

You do not have to write a personal letter to each child. Simply create a "boiler plate" document and use your computer to insert the child's name in relevent places. You can also have the parent fill out a form that further personalizes the letter with the names of pets, playmates, food likes and dislikes, etc.

To make your service really unique, include a low cost gift with each letter, like a bookmark or picture.

Market your club in national parents magazines and sell one year subscriptions for $20-$30.

To subscribe to his newsletter, click here.

Phrugalosophy: Don't Go It Alone

Trying to live a more frugal lifestyle is best done with others who share your same goals. Trying to do it by yourself is like deciding you're going to jump in your car and take a trip to I've Never Been There, Idaho and not taking a map to help. It just wouldn't work well would it?

No matter how awesome you are at living the frugal life, you will never know everything there is to know on your own. Yes, I've come up with alot of my own great ideas, but I've also learned so much through friends and online resources. I have come across ideas that I would have never thought of myself. For example, using cloth napkins instead of paper towels. This idea never occured to me until I was eating over at a good friend's place (Hi Erin!). She asked if I wanted a napkin and being the napkin whore that I am, of course I said yes. She then proceeds to bring me a cloth napkin and a very pretty one I might add. I thought she was out of paper towels at first. She then explained she was too cheap to buy paper towels.

I got to thinking about it. Cheap? I don't think so. How about wise. I did a quick calculation on how much I spend on paper towels. I usually get one 3-pack of the wally world paper towels each week. With tax that would be about $1.75 per week. Multiply that by 52 and I'm spending at least $91 a year on something that's going to go in the trash. So why not spend half that amount stocking up on cloth napkins and then you can cut that expense out completely. You're also helping the environment. Can't beat killing 2 birds with one stone right?

Another example...a couple of weeks ago, my friend Stacy informed me that a local furniture store makes donations to our Habitat for Humanity thrift shop the first week of October. Therefore, I'll be checking it out this weekend and the next to see if I can find a nice piece of furniture for an insanely inexpensive price.

Those are just a few examples, but I think they illustrate my phrugalosophy well. I would have never known or thought about these things had I not surrounded myself with a frugal possee.

P.S. A napkin whore is someone that has to use multiple napkins per meal. I'm sorry, but I can't eat KFC and use just one dang paper towel!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Giving Without Spending: Make a Wish Foundation

I received this information in an email:

Enter code 2840005523 in the first box on the left and click on the submit button below. When you do this, Lay's will donate 25-cents to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (minimum donation $300,000, maximum donation $345,000) for each entry in their Destination Joy promotion.

It was very simple to do so pop on over there and let's help some dreams come true!

Credit: This information was sent to me by Jo Dee of Savannah, GA who said "As some of you know I had cancer at a young age.. and Make A Wish is very dear to my heart. .. so please take a moment to do this.. and hopefully we all can help Make A Wish come true."

New Name, New Look...Same Principles!

Hello everybody! Well, I told you it was coming and now it's here. Presenting The Adventures of Frugal Girl! I love my phrase and mantra "work around your wallet", but I decided that I wanted a blog name and look that reflected my personality more effectively.

For me, being frugal is indeed an everyday adventure. I am constantly learning new things and coming up with new ideas on saving money and stretching the almighty dollar just about as far as it will go. I want to continue to share those ideas with you so I'll hope you'll join me in my adventures as Frugal Girl!

(Subscribe to my blog and everytime I make a new post, it will be emailed to you.)

Jones...James Jones

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/4/07)

This guy sends out a weekly newsletter with creative, sometimes unusual, money making techniques. Here are two examples:

Souvenir Soil
James J Jones -- Publisher

You've probably heard about the men who bought land that once belonged to Elvis Presley and sold "deeds" to the one square inch plots. Another guy did the same thing with a farm that Abraham Lincoln once owned.

Below are some other companies that are making money with dirt. Maybe you can come up with a way to do something similar to these ventures:

The Dirt Mall sells One half-ounce vials of soil from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon.)
The genuine soil from Saigon is marketed to vietnam vets and is packaged in a clear corked glass vial and labeled for display. A vial sells for $20.00 plus S & H.
Another company, Footwhere, markets "Genuine Soil Specimens encased inside a foot cavity." "FOOTWHERE™" is a product line of authentic location souvenirs that acknowledges where you've actually set foot. Encased inside of a foot cavity within each embodiment, (e.g. key chain, magnet, etc.) is a specimen of genuine soil from a specific location adorned with colorful graphics that reflects a place's popularity, recognition and landmarks. You can visit the Footwhere website at:

The Museum of Dirt has on display dirt from famous or newsworthy locations. Although they are not selling their dirt specimens yet, I think they have a really great idea. Here are some examples of the dirt they have on display:

Dirt from The Ponderosa Ranch -- the location used to film the TV show Bananza.
Dirt from the parking lot outside the Betty Ford Clinic.
Dirt from the yard of Harry S Truman.
Dirt from Graceland.
Dirt from Sonny Bono's Front Yard.


Specialized Dating Parties and Services
James J Jones -- Publisher

Ever noticed the singles ads in newspapers, news weeklies, and on the internet? Maybe you've even placed or answered a singles ad yourself. The problem with these types of ads are they are anonymous and desperate sounding. SWPM ISO SF reply to voicemail box xxx.

Honestly, I don't think I would want to go out with someone who would answer an ad like this. I think it was W.C Fields who said, "I would not want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." And today's busy lifestyle makes it increasingly harder for singles to meet.
In my research I have found a few people who are turning this problem into a lucrative businesses. What they are doing is targeting like minded singles and putting them together in a relaxing environment for a fee.

For example, one woman holds dinner parties for singles in her house. She advertises in the personals section of her local newspaper with an ad that reads...
Meet Single Professionals at Invitation Only Dinner Party. Call 555-5555 to request invitation.
When an interested prospect calls she interviews them to make sure they are sincere and have conversational skills. If they meet her criteria she tells them to send her a check for $75.00 which covers the dinner and cocktails. The fee also serves to eliminate the curiosity seekers.
Her once a week parties usually draw 20 - 24 people from which she nets $1000 - $1200 after expenses. And, of course she keep a record of their names and address for future dinners.

Another person advertises a singles game night called "Thursday Night Out." He rents a small convention room and once a week organizes a gathering of singles who like to play board games. For a $5 admission Thursday Night Out supplies the board games and also makes money selling pizza and soft drinks. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. He advertises with an ad in the Movie Section of the local newspaper and flyers on bulletin boards.

I have been subscribed to this newsletter for a few months and I must say Mr. Jones has some interesting ideas. Go here to subscribe:

Blogging for Bucks

(Orginally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/4/07)

I was looking through the other night and found that they will pay you to blog for them. Here is what the site says (copied and pasted directly from

Become a Blogger

A Blogger is someone who writes in a "Blog". A Blog is like a journal on a specific topic. This is sometimes personal and sometimes topical, but always informative.

A Blogger writes daily articles with a minimum of 300 words. Bloggers work one, two and sometimes three to a topic. A Blogger must be versatile, creative, experienced and well informed on their chosen topic. They must have a solid grasp of the English language and be able to edit their own work. is growing every day and that will be reflected in the number of bloggers we employ. We will continue to take blogger applications on an ongoing basis. If you are interested in a topic already being covered by a blogger, we may just need an additional blogger on that topic or will keep your application on file in the event that blogger should resign their position or need additional assistance covering that topic. If there is a topic that you are qualified to write about, but feel isn't being covered and would add value to, then we welcome you to suggest that topic and provide us with your application to be the blogger for that topic. is the blog network for family topics. We currently have more than 40 blogs on topics such as parenting, marriage, family fun, fugal living, and home & garden. For a full list of topics, visit Incomplete applications will not be considered, so please see below for exactly what should be included in your application package.

What Do You Get by Writing for

The opportunity to share your passion, to be published and to have your voice heard by large numbers of readers.

We take care of the technology, hosting, graphic design and marketing. There are no fees to you.
We will cross-promote your blog on

We pay you $4 per blog entry ($3 during 90 day training period). 2-3 posts per day would be about 75 posts and $300 per month.

We will also pay our bloggers approximately 5% of profits from the blogs so that the revenue of our bloggers can grow with the site. This revenue will be divided up between the bloggers based on a formula that includes factors such as the number of page views your articles/entries receive.

What is Required of Bloggers?

The blogs will only be as good as our bloggers. We're looking for amazing bloggers who can write passionate, high-quality, interesting, thought-provoking articles.

A minimum of five blog posts per week and a maximum of three blog posts per day. Blog entries don't have to be full articles. Entries should be at least 300 words, but will often be much longer. A blog can be as simple as a website link with your comments or a photo with a description. The entries could also be full articles. They could include a tip or idea, a top 10 list, a story or quote, "how-to's", demos, photo, essays, or a product or entertainment review. The important thing is that whatever material you write is informative and/or entertaining for our readers.

Review comments to your blog entries, delete inappropriate comments and respond to comments where appropriate.

Avoid topics that are not appropriate for the family-values centric audience, such as drug and alcohol abuse, profanity, gambling, pornography, extramarital sex, and nudity, except in the context of helping families to overcome these issues. There is definitely a place in the blogs for PG-rated discussions of intimacy and sexuality in marriage, however, these blogs are not the appropriate place for sensualized sexuality. Do not use the blog to advocate for a specific political party, religion, alternative lifestyle, abortion, etc. Please see us if you feel an exception needs to be made to this rule. It is appropriate to talk about faith and spirituality without advocating for a specific religion, or to talk about advocating for families without endorsing specific political candidates and parties.

Successfully complete Blogger Training and a 90 day probationary period. Then, continue to maintain a high quality of blog posts and work well with the team.

Post regularly on the forum that corresponds to your topic to build a connection between the online community and your blog. Post links in your blog to other blogs and content sections.

We're looking for bloggers who are self-motivated, who can keep a good balance between hard work and lots of fun, who have expertise in their topic, and who can add personality to their blog.

How Do I Apply to Be a Blogger?

Select a Topic - Select 1-3 topics either from our list of current topics or topics you feel would add value to our community for which you would like to write.

Outline - Please provide an outline of the sub-topics that you would like to cover in your blog. (i.e. Food would include subtopics such as Menus, Recipes, Restaurants, Preparation Tips, etc.)
Samples - Please send three sample blog entries or articles with varying styles related to each of the proposed topics you are applying for.

About You - Please provide us with a short bio about you and your family, including your name and city or location. Please also send your resume, your qualifications and your experience in the topic area(s) you are applying for.

Email Us - To apply, send your completed application with all of the information described above to with the topic(s) you intend to apply for as the subject line.

Other Issues

Because of the cultural writing issues surrounding our target audience, the writer must have been raised and educated in the US (including military bases abroad), Canada, Australia or UK.

Once you are accepted, our lawyer will provide you with the full legal agreement with all of the terms and conditions.

We reserve the right to have more than one blogger on a topic, to sub-divide topics into more than one blog, or to change the terms of the agreement.

All content is owned by

We will receive many more applications than we could possibly accept. If you are not accepted immediately, we will keep your information for consideration at a later date.For additional comments and questions, please email We look forward to having the opportunity to work with you.

To view the list of topics, go to and look on the top right. This is a great way to earn extra money! Let me know if you apply and get accepted so I, and other's that read this, can check out your work.

Giving Without Spending: Hungersite

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/17/07)

Frugal folks are some of the most generous people around. They may not have a lot, but they're willing to give what little they do have to help someone in need.

When most people think about donating to charities, they think the only way is by donating money. And since they don't have much money to spare, they feel like they are unable to help. This is far from the truth. You can donate things like your time, special services (computer, landscaping), and stuff you have stored up or laying around your house that isn't being used.

Each week I'm going to post a way to give to charity or your fellow man, without spending a dime in the process. The rewards in giving are priceless!

The first charity I'm covering this week is a website that contains several sites that you can visit and click daily to help feed a starving child, feed a starving animal, fund a mammogram, fund healthcare for a child, save the rainforest, and provide books for needy kids. Just go to daily and click the "Help Feed the Hungry" button pictured below. After you have done that, visit each of the other sites by clicking on their tab at the top of the page which can also be seen in the picture.

One way to remember to visit everyday is to set it as your homepage. Remember, one click doesn't provide a free mammogram, a cup of food, etc. It takes many clicks to reach just one goal of each site so visit daily and click away. It's easy and free!

Giving Without Spending: Old Glasses for New Owners

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" 3/8/07)

As I said a couple of weeks ago, you can donate to charity without spending a dime. So many people miss out on oppotunities to help because they don't realize this.

This week's featured opportunity is the Lions Club. They collect used eyeglasses which are cleaned then sorted by prescription. The glasses are then distributed to those in need in developing countries.

So do you have an old pair lying around or know someone who does? Instead of letting them collect dust, let the Lions Club put them to good use. You will greatly improve the quality of someone's life. To find out where to donate in your area, go the Lions Club website at and click on "Club Locator" located on the left portion of the page. You will be given contact information for your local chapter.

Giving Without Spending: Movies for the disabled

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 3/25/07) ( is a program that sends out movies to people that are disabled and on a limited income. They accept donations of gently used VHS and DVDs to distribute to those eligible for the program. If you have a few movies you've only watched once or twice and have no plans to watch again, think about sending them to Ok, you will have to pay for shipping but the cost shouldn't be much using media mail. Just make sure you tell the post office clerk that you want to use media mail.

Giving Without Spending: IM'ing for a cause

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 6/19/07)

This has got to be the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Yes, I live a sheltered life! I received an email from MSN Messenger stating you can now IM for a cause. From the site:

i’m is a new initiative from Windows Live Messenger™. Every time you start a conversation using i’m, Microsoft shares a portion of the program's advertising revenue with some of the world's most effective organizations dedicated to social causes. We've set no cap on the amount we'll donate to each organization.
The sky's the limit. So any time you have an i’m™ conversation using Windows Live Messenger, you help address the issues you feel most passionate about, including poverty, child protection, disease, environmental degradation and animal protection. It's simple. All you have to do is join and start an instant messaging conversation. We'll handle the donation.

Go here to get started: http://http//

I am IM'ing for the Red Cross.


(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 1/26/07)

Freecycle is the brainchild of Deron Beal in Tuscon, Arizona. He launched the group in May of 2003 with a group of 30-40 people. Today, freecycle has over 2,000,000 members! Now that's success! And what a great idea too. Instead of throwing away perfectly usable items, give these things to someone who could use them and keep them out of the landfills at the same time. It also helps reducing clutter in your home or garage and saves money if you receive something you needed.

The rules are simple: The item must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. This means you can't offer up your old porn collection or that half full bottle of Jack Daniels. Life stinks sometimes doesn't it? ;0) Spamming is prohibited too...that's a given.

I'm a member of course. It has been a blessing to me and also given me a chance to bless others in need. There are so many generous members of freecycle. If you are a person that likes to help those in need, this is a great group to be a part of. Some may be weary of joining freecycle because they think if it's free, then it must be junk. Not so! There are such a wide variety of items posted and most are in good condition. I've seen baby furniture, clothes for all, pianos, coupons, and toys to name a few. Give it a chance!

If you join, and I hope you do, make sure to read the rules and instructions on how to post. It's very simple to follow and I can't help but be irritated when people don't follow the posting instructions. Lastly, if you want to get free items, then this is one way to do it. However, don't let that be the only reason to sign-up for the program. Look at it as a way for a community to come together and help one another.

Never pay to call information again!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/1/07)

Thanks to 1-800-FREE-411, you don't have to shell out $.50 or $.75 each time you call info. The service is absolutley free. All you have to endure is a very short ad. If you don't want to make a call, you can go to their website and search for a phone number. I've used both methods and I give FREE 411 two thumbs up!

Go Melanie! Go Melanie! It's Your Birthday! It's Your Birthday!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/13/07)

And it really is! I was born on Friday the 13th in was a lucky day. I'll just go ahead and tell you I'm 31 so you don't kill any brain cells trying to do mental math. :oP

Many places offer birthday freebies or specials. I received an email this week from Sonic with a printable coupon for a free dessert treat. I also received an email from Red Lobster with a printable coupon for $5 off two adult entrees.

I did a search for "birthday freebies" in Google and here are the results:
Birthday Freebies

Check it out and start getting freebies and deals on your special day. Have fun!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet")

This is my first project to share with you all. As I said in my "Coming Soon" section, I had one of those cheval mirrors like the one pictured on the left, that I was going to put in our yard sale. It hadn't been doing good for a while now. It wanted to stay permanantly tilted upwards so if I wanted to use it, I would have to push it down straight, quickly take a few steps back, and try to admire my outfit in a span of 2 seconds. Not very easy for someone who is detail oriented!

Our dining room is where we have had the computer since we moved into this house. I had planned for it to be the computer slash playroom. However, it seemed the kids' toys never stayed in this area so I said "Forget it!". I made the decision to make it my computer and sitting room for reading and such. At my direction, my loving and patient husband moved a small couch in there that we had stored in our bedroom. I liked the way it fit and looked, but I wanted something nice to hang above it.

The "dining room" is small and they say that mirrors can give the illusion of more space. Instead of placing this aggravating cheval mirror in our upcoming garage sale, I decided to see how it would work as a wall mirror. If I did pull it off, I would save at least $30 going out and buying one from the store. Jon, my patient love, removed it from it's hinged prison, and he was also nice enough to paint it for me. I was going to paint it myself, but he does renovations and remodeling for a living, so he's better and more importantly, FASTER!

Here are the results:



The Sporty Project

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet")

We decided to change my son's bedroom decor from Noah's Ark to a sports theme a couple of years ago. It's a theme that you can do inexpensively if you want to. Over the past 2 years I have slowly added to the decor here and there with little things I've found at auctions, Goodwill or yard sales. However, the walls were still bare.

On one of my yardsaling Saturdays, I found 3 frames for a dime each. Two were blue and the other was brownish orange. The light bulb went on and I purchased them. I was going to print a picture of a sports ball for each frame and hang them in my son's room. Well, I was at the good ole Dollar Tree one day and they had a huge pile of these cute decor wall stickers in all kinds of themes. I sat there squatted on the floor and dug for about 10 minutes (praying I didn't have plumbers crack in the process) and finally found a sheet of sports balls that were the perfect size for the frames.

I stuck the glass from the frames in the dishwasher to get them extra squeaky clean. I then took some cardstock and cut it to the correct size. After double checking my scissor work, I choose three balls to use, stuck them on each piece of cardstock, and framed them. It was my husband's turn after that. I make him hang most everything because he does it so much in his work that he has a great eye. If I tried to hang something side by side, it would be very lopsided! LOL And I speak from past experience. I really like the way it turned out and it only cost me about $1.50.

Here are the before and after pictures:


(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 1/31/07)

It's all inside...their outlet section that is! And it's Wednesday today, so that means they are having their Wednesday deals where they mark down select clearance items even further for one day. They only mark down about 15-20 items, so you may not see anything you want or can use this week, but check back every Wednesday.

Also, check the other outlet categories every couple of weeks. The categories include:

top sellers
$9.99 or less!
new markdowns
wednesday deals (only on Wednesday of course!)
final clearance
catalog outlets

They have some great prices and don't forget to google coupon codes to use. It seems like they always have a few good ones floating around. One more way to cut a little off the total is to have your order shipped to your local JcPenney store...if you have one. It doesn't make a huge difference but every little bit helps! Have fun shopping!

Cheap Magazine Subscriptions

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/7/07)

Never, I repeat never, pay full price for a magazine subcription again. Ebay is a great place to find really inexpensive subscriptions. For example, an online store that sells magazine subcriptions has 1 year (52 issues) of US Weekly listed as $49.40. I did a search on Ebay and found a 3 year subscription (156 issues) for $17.95. HUGE difference. Not only is it less, but it's for 3 years as opposed to 1. There is only one magazine store that I buy subscriptions from sometimes because they have a deal of the day magazine that is marked down and you should be able to find a coupon to apply to the purchase to make the price a little lower. The store is called Best Deal Magazines ( and if you sign up for their offers, they'll usually send an email with the upcoming deals of each day of the week. That way if there is a magazine you'd really like to get, you can make sure you head there on that certain day of the week to take advantage.

There are times you can get magazine subs for free and I'm not talking about the trade magazines either. You just have to keep an eye out. The best place to look are freebie forums. The subscrptions usually go fast so don't dilly dally if you come across a posting for a free sub to a magazine you like. One place to check is They actually have a sub-forum called Free Magazines located in their freebie forum. Here is the link to it: Also, your local library is a good place to read and check out mags. It doesn't cost anything and you don't wind up with a stack of them that clutter up your house and for some reason are so hard to throw away even though there is a layer of dust an inch thick on top and you haven't looked at them in forever and a day.

In the end, it's up to you how you want to view your favorite magazines, but just know you don't have to pay alot to do it.

Hostess with the Mostess!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/22/07)

I hosted my first party ever a couple of weeks ago. It was a Pampered Chef party to be exact. Now I had heard of Pampered Chef and had been invited on a quite a few occasions to a party that an acquiantence was hosting. I finally decided to lose my PC virginity and attend a party at my friend Robin's house and even decided to book a show of my own! I know right? I'm wild!

I knew I could get free and discounted products depending on how well my party did, but honestly, it wasn't the reason I decided to host one. A group of fellow mom friends and I get together often and I thought this would be a good way to get together inexpensively. I invited a lot of people but only 6 actually came. Others had to cancel but still ordered something and I emailed all the ladies on my contact list and told them if they wanted to order something just let me know. I also asked briefly when talking to pressure, just simply asked if they wanted anything. Before I knew it, I had almost $600 in orders. Not bad for a first timer!

But I say all that to say this...Hosting a party is a good way to get some nice things at a hugely discounted price. For my $600 party, I only had to pay $45 for all this:

*Click on the picture to see full size*

With tax and shipping, I would have had to pay $184.03 for everything you see in the picture. What a great deal to only have to pay a fraction of that! Plus it's Pampered Chef! It's good quality stuff we're talking about here. I love all my items and I like to joke with my husband and tell him to check out my three tier rack. LOL

There are so many consultant businesses now so you have a variety of types of parties to choose from that you could host. I never thought of this as a way to get free and discounted things. I'm biding my time and plan to host another party in the future. Now I just have to decide what kind!

3 Part Yard Sale Series

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet")

Part 1

Ok...I'm finally starting the yard sale series! It took long enough eh? In this part of the series, I'm going to talk about what I've found and give some tips for yard sale-ing.

I really think alot of people have the wrong conception of yard sales. They think yard sale equals junk and that's just not the case. Yes, sometimes there is junk but I believe most would be pleasantly surprised at what they could find. And not only what items you may find, but how little they cost. With that said, click on the slideshow below to see some my recent good buys:

I'm doing a palm tree theme in our bedroom and bathroom hence all the palm tree items! The items pictured in the slide show are just a handful of bangin' deals I've found at yard sales. I don't want to keep you here all night though. :oP

I've seen just about everything for sale: toys, furniture, books, cds, movies, kitchenware, picture frames, decor, collectibles, and even some unusual items. The list and possibilities of what you can find is endless.

Now for some tips. These are just things I do and guidelines I follow for myself:

1. If there are alot of sales it's best to organize them. Get a sheet of paper and create sections by the time the sale starts. A majority will start at either 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. However, you do have a few every now and again that will start at 7:30 or 9:00, etc. Write down each adress under the corresponding time that it starts. This may sound crazy but trust me, it's alot easier than trying to read small newspaper print. When you have them all in front of you in this manner, you can better organize your route. This way, I can go to the ones that are in the same area of town and then move on to another area when I'm finished. It saves time and gas as well. After I check out a sale, I cross it off my list.

2. Have somewhat of an idea of what you're looking for. Since I'm doing our bathroom and bedroom in palm tree decor, I'm always on the lookout for those things at any sale I go to. Another thing I keep an eye out for are Dr. Seuss books because they do well on ebay which I'll get to in the last part of the series. Those are just a couple of examples but you get my drift.

3. If you don't have a place or use for it, don't buy it. I know it's hard when you see something cool that's cheaply priced. But if you don't have a place for it, it will just create clutter and probably end up in your yard sale.

4. If you see something you really want and the price isn't what you would like, don't be afraid to ask the owner if they'll come down on it. You can either suggest a price you think is fair or let them suggest one if they are willing to budge. The worst they could say is no and a majority of the time they don't because they are ready to get rid of the stuff.

5. Don't show up any earlier than 10-15 minutes before the actual start time. Early birds can be a nuisance. I speak from experience. Usually, most owners are set up by that time and have probably already been raided unfortunately (for you anyway lol). It's a personal rule for me. I just think it's courteous and respectful not to show up mega early. It's easier to set up when you don't have someone looking over your shoulder trying to see everything you're sitting out to sell and asking you questions.

6. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Yard sales in nice neighborhoods may yield the nicest items, but don't pass up a sale because the place doesn't look good. I'll share my story. A friend and I were on our way home from yard sale-ing when we passed an old house that had stuff set out. It was an unadvertised sale and mind you, I didn't see anything from the road that looked useful, but I decided to stop anyway. As I'm looking through the items, I come across a Mary Engelbreit napkin holder (pictured in the slideshow). I couldn't believe it. My kitchen decor theme is Mary Engelbreit so I snatched it up. The sticker said $.50 but when I went to pay the guy, he gave me one of my quarters back. So it only cost me $.25! That was the last place I would have expected to find anything Mary Engelbreit. So check out every sale whether it's in a ritzy neighborhood or the ghetto.

7. To save time, make sure your car is gassed up and make sure you have plenty of cash so you don't have to make unecessary trips to the ATM.

8. Have fun! Make friends! I see alot of the same people every Saturday. I guess you could call us regulars. It's nice to chat with them and I find they are a hoot. I really enjoy my Saturday mornings out. It's nice to get out of the house and there is a little excitement in me as I drive to each sale. I get such a high on finding a good deal. I like nice things and finding them at rock bottom prices is the bomb diggity.


Part 2

I'm now going to discuss having a yard sale of your own. Not much to it really other than I think lots of people have an unecessary fear of having one themselves. It's veiwed as a whole Saturday gone and forget the weeks before just trying to get everything ready. Granted, it is a little work, but you can have fun with it. There are two positive aspects to consider when throwing your very own yard sale: 1.) You are decluttering and opening up spaces you never knew existed in your home, garage or attic and 2.) People are paying for it.

Nobody ever said you couldn't have more than one every few years. We've had 4 since September. Granted, the most recent was our last one for a while. We were getting ready to move along with trying to clean out our storage unit but with me having two little ones at home and my husband being so busy, we had to do a little at a time. Hence, 4 yard sales in 6 months. LOL

It doesn't have to be all fancy shmancy either. I did the most work the night before and the morning of. I threw prices on stuff using those little price stickers you can get at Wally World with the amounts already on them. We tried to put all the toys, clothes, household items, etc. together. That was about as organized as it got. It doesn't have to be perfect! It's a yard sale for cripes sakes not the grand opening to Bloomingdale's.

Just remember too that since it's yard sale, people expect to pay yard sale prices which is cheaper than Goodwill but a little more than free if you catch my drift. You can't always expect to get half of what you paid for a yard sale anyway. If want to get more money for an item, it's best to try or ebay. If you're ready to get rid of the stuff, work with people. A little generosity goes a long way.

As far as setting a time to start. Whatever time you choose, plan to start an hour early because you will have early birds whether you said "No early birds please" or not. They'll come anyway so just be prepared. It's ok if you're not finished setting everything out. Just keep going and let them peruse. Most are very nice.

We did good at all our sales. We made at least $200 at each one with the first one making around $350. Not too shabby! That's almost an extra $1000 in 6 months. You can view it as getting paid to declutter. LOL

A good reference and resource website to check out is There are all kinds of tips and even a message board if you have questions. She's more hardcore than I am but use the tips you want and then make your own rules. It's your sale!

Part 3

If you want to make some extra money, you can scope out yard sales for items to resell. It's a way to acquire cheap inventory. Go with products you know about. For example, if you're a parent, then you're quite up-to-date on the hottest toys and their price range so keep an eye out at each sale you go to.

Do a little research first by checking out completed ebay auctions for items that you're "in the know" about. If you come across something at a yard sale and you aren't 100% sure about the profit potential, don't buy it. Instead, make a mental note to go home and research it. You have to make sure there is enough profit to make it worth your while. If you plan on putting the item on ebay, remember to consider the auction and paypal fees. Personally, I don't feel like it's worth my while to go through all the time consuming activities of ebaying (taking pictures, uploading them, making sure you have accurate description) for just a buck or two profit.

A great site to check out is She has great tips mostly on children's items to resell. She hasn't been posting much lately but check out her archives. She'll crack you up too.

And lastly, a warning. If you want to maybe try reselling hangbags, MAKE SURE THEY ARE AUTHENTIC. If you don't know how to check for the authenticity of a certain "brand", google for direction. I got a Kate Spade hangbag at a yard sale for $1...or so I thought. The bag was in like new condition and I had every intention of putting it on ebay. It occured to me a couple of days later that I might better check and make sure it was a really a Kate Spade and not some knock-off. I googled "authentic kate spade" and it led me to a site that instructed how to check my purse out. As I was checking out the little tag that seemed to be sewn on, I noticed a little bit of the thread was unraveling. From the advice of the site, I decided to make sure the tag wasn't glued on and sure dang enough, that sucker peeled off. I was so disappointed. LOL The dollar signs diminished but my little girl did inherit a cute play purse in the process. Can you imagine if I'd put it up on ebay and this happened to the person who purchased it? And they would probably not believe it was just my sheer ignorance! So heed warning and be careful.

Sing it with me..."I always feel like somebody's watching me!"

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 1/31/07)

I really felt like singing that song yesterday when I went to the grocery store. As you walk in, there's a room for the buggies and the sale papers before you actually enter the grocery part. As I strolled in, I noticed 2 buggies with clearance items. Woo hoo! I head straight to them. I stood there digging around for about 15 minutes while other people came in and just walked on by. I could see people looking over at me out of the corner of my eye. I felt like a homeless person digging through garbage. LOL Not really, but you would have thought that's what I was and what I was doing. Nobody else stopped to peruse these items and they had some bangin' hair products too. Unfortunately, the conditioners didn't have the matching shampoos and vice versa and that's something I'm a bit anal about. I have to have the same brand and type of each. You will never see me using White Rain Cocunut Tropical Moisturizing Shampoo with Herbal Essences Lavedar Orgasmic Conditioner. I did find some hairspray though.

On into the store I went. I go through the veggies and fruit section, pick up what I need, and when I round the corner there is a one of those big wheely shelf things full of clearance stuff. It's like waving a steak in front of a starving dog. I go right to it and start carefully looking through everything because you know it isn't very organized. I take my time because I'm afraid I'll miss something. I have to squat to view the items on the bottom shelf. I'm there about 15 minutes as well, and yet again, I'm the only one. And yet again, I feel the looks.

Personally, it doesn't bother me because I know how much money I save by doing so. I actually used to be one of those people that would never stop and dig through a clearance buggy or shelf because I might look needy or poor. Guess what? I am better off financially now than I was then. What irony! Now...I'm financially stable but will shop clearance. Then...I was in awful debt but trying not to look like it by bypassing those cheapo clearance products. You could say I'm wealthy now compared to then.

I was confused back then and associated frugal with being cheap. Now I know better and I see so many that don't. Those people are more than likely in the same shoes I was about 6-7 years ago. I had credit card debt up the yin yang. Now, I don't have one except for my bankcard.

So I challenge all of you to dive into those clearance sections. The next time I go to the store, I don't want to see anything but your ass and legs in the air and the other half buried in a buggy full of perfectly great items that just happen to be marked down for quick sale. The stores need the room, so help them out!

Ebay and The Spelling Bee

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/3/07)

A majority of us frugal folks already flock to Ebay to try and find a deal on things we like, collect, and need. We type in whatever it is we're looking for in the search bar and view the results with anticipation. What we don't know is that there may be some auctions selling our wanted product that did not come up in our search results. Why you ask? The answer is misspellings! For example, a seller may spell Channel instead of Chanel. Or Playtsation instead of Playstation. Sometimes the word is misspelled because the seller thinks they are spelling it correctly. Other times it is just getting in a hurry and hitting the wrong key.

This website,, offers a search for misspelled auctions. Simply type in the correct spelling of the item you are looking for and it will produce results of misspelled auctions pertaining to that word. If you want to search with two words, choose 'advanced search'. Finding auctions that are misspelled means less competition for you and therefore, possibly a lower price.

Just Do It!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet on 3/27/07)

No, this isn't an ad for Nike. I'm talking about mail-in rebates.

Near the end of January, I had to purchase a new cell phone. I just fell in love with the Pink Motorola Razr plus I could get a $50 rebate. Could is the operative word here. I looked this morning on my slip to check the deadline date and it was today! ARGH! Granted, I didn't purposefully keep putting it off but that's fifty bucks I could have had and most definitely used.

Oh well, lessons must be learned right? So please learn from my mistake and get on it dogonit.

Angel Food Ministries

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 1/29/07)

How much would you expect to pay for all of this? At least $50 right? Realistically, depending on what grocery store you use, you'd probably pay more. Thanks to Angel Food Ministries, a non-profit, non-denominational organization started in 1994, you can order a box with all this food for only $25 and you can order as many boxes (units) as you'd like. This program is available to ANYONE, wealthy or poor, and there are no applications to fill out. Each month presents a different menu and they also feature different specials as well. You'll need to go to their website to find the nearest host location in your area.


(Orginally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 1/30/07)

I am very lucky to have a Sonic Drive-In less than five minutes from my house. Actually, it's a blessing and a curse. A blessing for my wallet, a curse for my thighs.

What I love most about Sonic is their Happy Hour. I don't think all Sonics have their Happy Hour at the same time, and some may not have them at all. Check with yours. Our local Sonic's Happy Hour is from 2-5. All drinks are half price. I'm a coke-aholic and tend to crave it when I'm out and about so this is quite nice. I get a large coke for $.86 whereas if I were buying it any other time, it would be $1.72. I think the Route 44 during happy hour is $0.96. That's a huge drink for less than a buck!

Another special they have is every Tuesday starting at 5:00 p.m., you can get five sonic burgers for $5. Grab a bag of frozen fries at the store and you can feed a family of four for less than 2 bucks each. Not too shabby. It's a great "convenient" meal too. There are just some nights you don't feel like cooking or you're running behind and need to whip up something quick. The 5 for $5 is one way to do it quick and cheap.

Do the Dishes!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/28/07)

Believe it or not, keeping the dishes washed can save you money. It could have saved me $18 tonight.

For whatever reason, the dishes don't get done and instead of washing the ones you need, you eat out. I think we all do this at one time or another. I know I do! With two small children and other obligations, it becomes harder and harder to get things done. My bad habit is not thinking about dishes until I need one. Then I think: "Oh yeah, I need to load the dishwasher."

That happened tonight and instead of doing it, I ordered pizza. I used the last of my money for the week, but it was worth it because I was tired. I went to Papa Juan's online and used a coupon for a large one-topping with a free order of cheesesticks for $12.99. Of course with tax, delivery fee and tip, the total spent was 18 bucks. But I knew we would have enough pizza leftover for lunch tomorrow so I view it as paying $18 for two meals, possibly three.

It's ok to do this sometimes, but just make sure it doesn't become a steady habit because it's one that can cost you big. We allow eating out about once or twice a week in our budget, but it's these extra unplanned ones that can start adding up if it becomes a frequent thing. If you do find yourself in this situation of just not wanting to deal with cooking and cleaning, try to get the most for your money by using a coupon or take advantage of restaurant specials.

Free Food for the Kids?

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 3/22/07)

Many restaurants offer free meals for children. Days of the week, qualifying ages, and times will vary per restaurant. Here are a few websites I found where you can do a search of restaurants in your area that offer free kids' meals:

These sites offer searches in your particular area. However, I came across alot of sites dedicated to certain towns and cities so google "kids eat free (enter your town and/or state here)" and see what pops up. You can always call the local restaurants in your town as well and ask if they have a kids eat free program.

1 lb. of ground beef: 2 for 1

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 6/23/07)

I think we all are a fan of at least a few flavors of Hamburger Helper, some more than others. Personally, I adore the Philly Cheesesteak Flavor and I love to sprinkle those french fried onions on top. But that useless information aside, a while back I started using only a half pound of hamburger meat instead of the full pound. This way, I can get two Hamburger Helper meals out of one pack of meat. I find that a half pound is plenty of meat for a HH meal especially when you serve it with a veggie or two. I promise nobody will ask, "Where's the beef?"