Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My new shopping love - SAVERS!

A new store opened close to where I work called Savers. It is honestly a good mixture between a goodwill and a consignment shop. Why? The store has basically only popular labels - abercrombie, nautica, aero, express to name a few, similar to a consignment shop. However, the prices are more like a goodwill! The best part of Savers - if you donate things, you automatically get a 20% off coupon towards your total purchase! I got a nautica bathing suit for $4! Now, I know, I know, no shopping! It is bad! BUT, if you are going to take a trip to buy new clothes, choose Savers. Good buys, great clothes, good quality.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Frugal Dog Treats

We have two dogs - one big and one small. Nevertheless, dog bones are starting to add up! I recently found some good recipes for homemade dog bones. I have not tried them yet, but they do look promising. I have these common ingredients at home, so I thought this would make sense to make them at home while I am cooking all of the time anyways.

Dog Cookies from  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Good-Dog-Cookies/Detail.aspx


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 cubes beef bouillon cube 3/4 cup boiling water 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Lightly grease one cookie sheet.
Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water and allow to cool.
Combine the flour, dry milk, egg, oil, beef broth and brown sugar. Mix well and knead dough for 1 minute.
On a floured surface roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out bones and place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool.

Homemade Dog Treat Recipe from http://www.bullwrinkle.com/Assets/Recipes/Everyday%20Biscuits.htm
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons dry parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons honey
1 egg
5-6 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C).
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the parsley, garlic, broth, honey, and egg. Gradually blend in flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.

Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball, and roll to 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. Using small bone-shaped cookie cutters, make biscuits! Transfer to ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn over. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on both sides. Let cool overnight. (After we finish baking all batches of biscuits, we turn off the oven, then spread all the biscuits out on one baking sheet and set them in the oven to cool overnight. The extra time in the oven as it cools off helps make the treats crispier and crunchier.)

Apple Cinnamon Drops from http://www.bullwrinkle.com/Assets/Recipes/Apple%20Cinnamon%20Drops.htm

1 large apple
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/8 cup whole wheat flour


Preheat oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C).
Core, slice and mince the apple (use a food processor if you have one). In a large bowl, combine the minced apple bits, honey, water, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Gradually blend in the wheat flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.

In a small bowl, add 1/8 cup wheat flour. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5cm) apart. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the wheat flour (to prevent sticking), flatten each spoonful of dough into a circle. Adjust the size of the drops based on how big a treat you like to feed your dog.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each cookie to brown evenly on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ° F (180 °C). Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool overnight.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coupons - deal or no deal?

I was clipping coupons tonight and I have to say, I was unusually disappointed. I only found a few, in the past I would have found a ton. Not that I used all of those, but I  kept them in case I needed something I frequently bought or if there was a good sale (use the coupon with the sale = fantastic deals!). I was talking to my mom and grandmother (coupon experts) and they too felt that coupons are becoming less beneficial than ever before. Oy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shopping in a Smart Way

Last week was February vacation for me. I have to admit I went shopping. BUT, I went to some of the local consignment shops and goodwills. I am all for buying newish things at low, low prices.

 Some of the highlighted buys for me -
BCBG sweater
The limited wrap-around sweater
Abercrombie cords
Banana republic sweater

Overall, I got some good buys! None of the clothes were above $7.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Recycling – Things That Help Me and the Environment

There are a few smart things that I re-use that I want to share. These are frugal and useful to me.

1. TV dinner trays – I clean them out and use them as drawer organizers.

2. Condiment to-go holders – every time I get sides such as salsa or sour cream from restaurants, I always wash and re-use them. They are great for when I have salads for lunch, they hold the exact amount of salad dressing I need.

3. Plastic to-go containers – some of the restaurants actually use plastic containers to send meals home. I clean it out and use it again.

4. Egg containers – these are versatile. You can use them to organize drawers, jewelry, or sewing materials.

5. Plastic containers (such as large coffee containers or cat litter containers) – these are great for a lot of different things. Sometimes I use them to organize things in my office or odds and ends.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good Read - The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey was a good read.

I like to read a good book relating money, finances, frugality at least once a month. I have found that it helps me stay on track with saving money and not over-indulging.

His book really helped me to think about debt. We all have some form - whether it is college loans, mortgage, or car loans. Nevertheless, he speaks about reducing debt as quickly as you can. Now, that sounds easier said than done, but he spoke about a couple of things that hit close to home. The first is 'stuffits', which is basically means buying and wanting stuff. The end product of ‘stuffits’ is basically that, too much stuff that means nothing to you. I do this all the time, I will be out shopping and have to have that purse or picture frame. The bottom line is - that is where savings/paying down debt is broken down. Second, I know so many people who NEED to have the best of things - stereo equipment, new cars, and the best clothes. Again, that impacts your bottom line - saving and paying down debt.

The book really helped me see that I would have a sense of personal peace, the less debt I have. Most people want this, but don't have this motto. My goal for 2010 has been to save money - the book helped me remember this.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Do you sew?

I do! What a great way to fix or repair things that might otherwise be thrown in the trash. I learned when I was a little girl in 4H. But it can be an easy self-taught hobby that can save you money here and there. I lost count on the number of times me and my husband had buttons fall off our shirts. My dogs are so rough on their toys, I am constantly repairing them. Sewing is definitely a skill that remains essential - as far as I am concerned.