Friday, December 28, 2007

Frugal Fun and Entertainment - Free Books

Free books, you ask? Why, yes! If you're a true bookworm like yours truly, then you'll love these tips on getting books for FREE (or very inexpensively.)

  • Join a book swap - there are a few of them online, such as Paperbackswap. You just join up and pay postage to swap books! A great idea.
  • Create your own book swap by swapping your used books with friends. Get a few friends in on the action and you'll be surprised by how much reading you'll do for free.
  • Check out boxes of books at estate sales, garage sales and yard sales. They're often incredibly reasonable - let's say 25 cents each - or else near the end of the day the vendors will often sell for less, or even give away books for free. Just so they don't have to stash the remainders of their sale!
  • Take your used books to a used book store. You'll get credit (or even cash) for your books, which you can use in turn to get more books!

Any more ideas on cheap books? Post a comment!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Keep your Coupons Well Organized in this Handy Coupon Organizer

Coupons are a frugalite's best friend! But, if those grocery coupons aren't properly organized, you might as well not even have them. Because if you can't find the coupon you need at the checkout, you won't get to use it! Here are some of my favorite handy coupon organizers to make organizing your stash of money saving coupons a breeze!

And the fact that all of them cost under $8 makes them a great bargain too!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Purchasing Makeup/Cosmetics and Beauty Products on eBay Saves Money

I've found a great way to get awesome beauty products and cosmetics for a lower price - by scanning the auctions currently running on eBay! I've found all sorts of new, unopened goodies by brand names such as Burt's Bees (which I absolutely love - great natural products, but normally a wee bit pricey for me), Revlon and many other common make up brands.

The prices are at least a good 50% off what I'd pay at department stores! So next time you're looking to stock up on some new beauty aids, try shopping at eBay.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Money Maker - Sell Your Unused and Old Clothing at Consignment Shops

Here's another excellent way to make money, from things around your home that you're not even using right now. Raid your closets! (And that of all your family members!) All of those unused pieces of clothing can really make you a great bundle of money, if you do a little research first.

Consignment stores can earn you a substantial amount of money, but first you need to find the right consignment shops in your area, for the types of clothing that you have. Some specialize in vintage clothing, others in high end brand names, and still others in children's consignment clothes. Also call ahead first and find out if that particular consignment store accepts out of season clothing. Some only accept the appropriate clothing for that season - for example, sweaters and heavy winter coats in wintertime.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Baby Steps Towards Frugality - Fun Frugal Tips

Here's a baby step towards a more frugal lifestyle:

- Use grocery coupons to ease the strain of your wallet at the supermarket! Find a few local friends who also want to use coupons, and help each other find the greatest coupons. You can look on store shelves, and check out newspaper inserts. Swap coupons you don't need with your frugal friends who need them - and in exchange get the coupons you covet!

There are also a number of online coupon groups where you can swap coupons. It's a great way to save money on groceries - which is, after all, one of the hugest monthly expenses!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Saving on your Phone Bill - Vonage is a Good Option

We're all concerned about 'out of control' phone bills. One way a lot of people are saving a LOAD of money on their monthly phone bill is by switching to Vonage. Apparently it's one of the better phone services, and for under $25 you get your home phone service plus unlimited local and long distance calling!

For more information, click on the button:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Frugal Fun for Families - Grab an Old Board Game

Whether your family loves Monopoly, Risk, or Trivial Pursuit - make a plan for a Family Fun night! Not only will you have a lot of fun (therefore the name of the evening!) but you'll have time together, a rare commodity in these hectic, over-scheduled days that we find ourselves living.

Pull out your favorite old board games, make up a few frugal snacks (a big bowl of buttery popcorn literally only costs can add homemade iced tea for just pennies more) and have a great time! You'll also be teaching your kids that fun doesn't have to come with a huge price tag attached.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Power of Potatoes - a Great, Filling Food - and a Blank Canvas for Cooks

I love a good baked potato. Come to think of it, I also love a delicious dish of cheesey Scalloped Potatoes. Oh, and a plateful of fries...and mashed potatoes are my ultimate comfort food. Hmmm, come to think of it, I just plain old love any kind of potato.

Buy a big bag of potatoes on sale, and just look at some of the amazing ways you can use them to feed your family inexpensively!

  1. Stuffed Potatoes - basically just bake your potatoes as usual and then add all sorts of yummy fillings. It's a great way to use up leftovers. Top with cheese if you like (I do, because I'm a huge cheese fiend!) Add some extra veggies on the side and you have a meal all in one potato.
  2. Mashed Potatoes - A delicious side dish that we all know and love, but make sure to make extras. The next day, you can make yummy potato cakes - just mix the mashed potatoes with some green onions (or regular onions if that's what you have on hand), an egg, salt and pepper, and any other leftovers. Again, some grated cheese works marvellously in this, as would some crumpled up cooked bacon. Yum!
  3. Scalloped Potatoes with Onions - If you've never made this nourishing, filling and oh so delicious dish before, don't worry! All I do is butter a casserole dish, and then put a layer of thinly sliced potatoes (you don't even have to peel them; I often don't!) on the bottom. Follow up with a layer of onions, salt and pepper. Continue those layers, until you're nearly at the top of the dish. (I like to add seasoning to each layer, as then you have a perfectly seasoned dish when you're done.) Then, pour milk or half and half (or a combination of both) over, until the milk covers the potatoes. Dot a bit of butter on top, and bake in a 350 oven until the potatoes are tender and the whole sauce has thickened. No need for flour or cornstarch - the natural starch of the potatoes will thicken it up beautifully. Grate a bit of parmesan or cheddar over top if you like, and pop into the oven just to let the cheese melt and get browned and bubbly. Oh, so good!

Adding a bit of meat to any of these - let's say sliced up leftover ham - would make them a real meal. The ham would be especially good in the scallopped potatoes. Then all you need is a salad or some steamed veggies on the side, and you're set. No wonder I love potatoes so much!

Have a great potato idea to share? Please send it to me at

Save on Your Water Bill - RunningToilets, Dripping Taps and more

Saving on your water bill can be relatively easy and painless. Make sure to fix any dripping taps or faucets as soon as possible, and running toilets. Both of these can add incredible amounts to how much water your family is using!

And...if you can help it, try to take showers more often than a full bath. A quick, refreshing shower uses just a fraction of the water that a filled bathtub does. And, in this hot summer weather, using cool water will also help you save on the heating costs of your home!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Frugality Tips - An Inexpensive and Effective Air Deodorizer

Remove smelly odors from your home with one very common household essential that I happen to love. Vinegar! Just a bowl full of white vinegar left out will absorb and deodorize even the stinkiest household odors like pet odors or cigarette smoke.

I've found this even works with tough-to-remove smells like burnt popcorn (I hate that smell!) Give it a try - just leave the bowl of vinegar out for an hour or two, and then remove and throw away. You'll be amazed by how well it works!

As I mentioned, white vinegar is one of my favorite household products...look at the list of ways to use it I've come up with at: Enjoy - and stock up with a big jug of vinegar the next time you go grocery shopping. :)

Store Brands (Generic Brands) vs. Pricey Name Brands

Did you know...that many of the 'cheap' store or generic brand products in your local supermarket are actually made with the same ingredients at the same factory? So, if you don't have a fantastic coupon to use on the pricier name brand items, definitely purchase the store brand instead. There's a good likelihood that it's the same stuff anyway!

I do find that sometimes there is a real difference between certain products - so try out some store (generic) brands and see which products are different, and which ones are practically identical.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Frugality Tips - Write down everything you spend

You'll be shocked by how much money you're actually spending. Know how it feels when you look into your (empty) wallet, and wonder where that 20 went? The only cure is to invest in a cheapo notebook and start writing down EVERYTHING - and I do mean every single cent - that you spend.

After a week or so, look back and chart out where your hard earned money is really going. Make one goal a week to cut back. For instance - those super pricey Starbucks creations on the way to work everyday could be costing you $5.00 a day. Instead, try splurging on a latte once a week, as a real treat. Save the rest of the money and after only a couple of months you'll have a few extra hundred dollars! Not bad for a few coffee drinks...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Frugal Cooking - a Slow Cooker (Crockpot) is an Essential in a Frugal Kitchen

If you don't already have a crockpot, then you'll definitely want to invest in one. :) Why do I think a slow cooker is so worth it? With a slow cooker, you'll have delicious home cooked (and healthy) meals ready for you and your family to eat as soon as you get home in the evening! And, thankfully, with such little effort...

There are loads of free recipes on the Internet for Crockpot meals, but here is my favorite, easy recipe for you to try:
  • BBQ Beef, Pork or Chicken - Just put your meat of your choice, a chopped onion, a few sliced peppers, a few tablespoons of brown sugar and a half bottle or so of good quality barbecue sauce. If you like spicy foods, add some cayenne pepper. Always add some salt and pepper too, of course. Cook on low for about 8 hours for scrumptious BBQ'd meat. You can also pull the meat apart and serve on rolls with the delicious, tangy sauce.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Frugal Tips & Hints - Housecleaning - How to Deep Clean (Steam) the Carpets Frugally!

With two cats, I've noticed lately that there are some areas on our carpets that need some attention. But, I don't want to spend $40+ to rent a steam cleaning carpet machine. Of course, I searched for the best FRUGAL ways to get the carpet clean. Here's what I discovered:

  • If you need to clean your carpets often, purchasing a steam cleaner is likely the most frugal thing to do. (Cheaper option? Borrow your parents' machine or a friend's!) Just fill the water tank with the hottest possible tap water and a cup of white vinegar. This is the BEST way to get carpets really clean, without leaving sticky residue in carpet fibers that will actually attract more dirt. (Which, of course, was certainly not your purpose in the first place!!) After a while, the vinegar scent will naturally dissipate, and because vinegar is a terrific natural odor neutralizer, your floors will smell fresh on top of looking so fabulously clean!

I'd love to hear your tips on which carpet cleaners work the best. If you own a carpet steamer, please email me at to tell me how you like yours...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Frugal Tips - Frugal Cleaning Solutions You Can Make Yourself

The simplest and most effective all-purpose cleaner for around your home is my Very Vinegar Cleaner (You can find out more about that & my Happy Slob Housecleaning methods at Here it is:

  • plain water
  • white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar if you really hate the aroma of regular vinegar)
  • a drop or two of dishwashing liquid soap

Use about 1 part vinegar to 2 or 3 parts plain tap water, adding a drop or two of dishwashing liquid soap. (For washing dishes in the sink, not dishwasher detergent.) Shake it all together in a clean plastic bottle with a spray attachment. Use to clean just about everything!

I have a lot more free homemade cleaning formulas at

Peroxide Tips - Uses for 3% Over the Counter Hydrogen Peroxide

Uses of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

This was written by Becky Ransey of Indiana
and submitted to me by Jeannie V.

"I would like to tell you of the benefits of that plain little old bottle of 3% peroxide you can get for under $1.00 at any drug store. My husband has been in the medical field for over 36 years, and most doctors don't tell you about peroxide, or they would lose thousands of dollars."

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it when I bathe) No more canker sores and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash. (Small print says mouth wash and gargle right on the bottle)

2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of "Peroxide" to keep them free of germs.

3. Clean your counters, table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. I had fungus on my feet for years - until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day. My husband has seen gangrene that would not heal with any medicine, but was healed by soaking in peroxide.

7. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, or plugged sinuses. It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria . Hold for a few minutes then blow your nose into a tissue.

9. I f you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten minutes several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly.

10. And of course, if you like a natural look to your hair, spray the 50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You will not have the peroxide burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages, but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, faddish, or dirty blonde. It also lightens gradually so it's not a drastic change.

11. Put half a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.

12. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, Pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

13. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors with, and there is no smearing which is why I love it so much for this. I could go on and on. It is a little brown bottle no home should be without!

With prices of most necessities rising, I'm glad there's a way to save tons of money in such a simple, healthy manner. Send on to others who might need to know the benefits of 3% peroxide

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Buy Store Brands vs. Pricey Name Brand Products at the Supermarket

Generally, buying store brand (or generic brand) products at the supermarket will save you a lot of money. Plus, often times you can barely tell a difference between the two.

Of course, some favorite snacks and foods will be worth the extra money to buy the name brand that you love. But, at least give the generic or store brands a try, so that you can learn which ones you and your family don't mind at all. You'll be able to save 30% or more when you choose these rather than the pricier name brands.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Savings Tips - Have a New Attitude toward Saving Money

Ask most people if they save enough of the money they make in a savings account (or investments) and they look sort of sheepish and admit that they don't.

By adopting a new attitude about saving money, you'll find that your savings account balance will grow.

Instead of thinking of saving money as an OPTION, think of it as just another bill that you pay. So, when you get a paycheck, put a specified amount directly into your savings account. Let's say 15%. (The amount you can realistically afford is up to you.) Put it right into your savings account and then FORGET ABOUT IT, just as you would do with a bill you had just paid.

If you had paid a bill, you would know that money was no longer yours. Think of your savings account in the same way - that the money is no longer yours, and that it's out of your hands. Of course, it IS still your money, but adopting this kind of thinking will help you save a lot more - and KEEP a lot more of your savings in the savings account where they belong.

Do you have some savings and frugality tips to share? Please email me at with your favorite tips and I'll post them here on the Frugalites blog!

Frugality Tips - Save on Filtered/Bottled Water

Tap water isn't always that yummy to drink, but you'll often find that by using a Brita system (or another filtering system) that you can get safe and better-tasting water to drink. It's still far cheaper to do this than to buy bottled water all the time.

Or, if you prefer bottled water - check around to find the best deals. Pricey brand name bottled water can easily be $2 a bottle or more! But, you can get delicious spring water at a fraction of the price if you check stores in your area and compare prices.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Getting Old Stainless or Copper Pots and Pans Shining Clean Again

If you have some beautiful old pots and pans that you just can't get clean (and wanting to stay frugal - you want to save them!) then try Barkeeper's Friend. At the store where I work, we sell a few bottles of it everyday, and it literally gets most types of pots and pans gleaming clean again. It's available in both a powdered form and in a paste.

It's also a great way to 'deep clean' your stainless steel sink once in a while, because it's stunning how good a job it does.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Do any grocery stores DOUBLE Coupons in Canada?

Doubling coupons in Canada.

This is much more a QUESTION than a posting. :) I would love to hear from any of you in Canada, if you know of ANY grocery stores that double grocery coupons. Do you know of any stores at all that do this? Please email me at if you know of any.

I'd also like to hear about stores in the US that doubles grocery coupons. I think it's much more common a practice in the US, but I still want to hear from you guys about this!

Recycle those Glass and Plastic Bottles - And Earn a Little Money

Earn a little money by recycling glass or plastic pop or beverage bottles. Cans are also a great way to earn a little extra money. This is a great tip for kids - work at gathering cans and bottles to earn some extra money. Yes, it definitely takes work, but you'd be surprised at how quickly those cents add up to dollars!