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27 Feb 2009   ·   6
Money Saving Mom

Worth Reading: Recession-Proofing and Saving Money on Children’s Clothes

::Amy from The Finer Things in Life has a great guest post up at Homemaker Barbi on Recession-Proofing: It's Not About How Much You Make. I completely agree with Amy that you can thrive on a small income. Who says it takes lots of stuff and money to make one happy and fulfilled?

::I found Stephanie's post on "Clothing Your Children Without Breaking the Bank" to be timely and insightful. I'm still learning the art of planning ahead and clothing my girls on a budget so I found her post to be very helpful.

27 Feb 2009   ·   7
Money Saving Mom

A source for inexpensive cloth diapers

Hope emailed me the following:

I wanted to send you a note telling you about Mrs. Harry Miller. I got
her name from Keepers At Home Magazine. She had an ad saying the she
makes "Pamper-like" cloth diapers for $30 a dozen–shipping is extra (my shipping was about $7.00).

These diapers are made from soft flannel material
and you can request pink, blue, white or baby patterned material. The
closures are velcro. You can order them for $3.00 less per dozen if
you don't want velcro.

I was so pleased with mine. They are well made but not so thick
that they have a problem drying completely. I line dry as much as I
possibly can and they dry in a nice amount of time on the line. You
can add a doubler and still not feel like the baby is a "snowman" shape
at the bottom. They launder beautifully.

For inexpensive doublers, buy a big package of cheap bathroom washrags at
Dollar General. Cut in 1/2 and serge the edges and you have instant doublers! You can also use an old diaper wipe tub and soak half a dozen of the
"doublers" in some warm water and a little baby wash and baby oil.
 Then use them throughout the day as wipes and just throw them in with
the cloth diaper pail to launder them.

Here's Mrs. Miller's contact information:

Mrs. Harry Miller
4156 US Route 62
Millersburg, OH 44654

I have not ordered any of these personally myself, but since I know Hope, I felt comfortable passing this on to the rest of you. I'd recommend writing Mrs. Miller for more information on her diapers if you are interested.

And if any of you have ordered from her, please let us know your thoughts on these diapers.

26 Feb 2009   ·   73
Do you have a baby on the way, but you're worried about your finances? Read this encouraging series on how to have a baby without breaking the budget! TONS of great tips!

Having a Baby Without Breaking the Bank: Cloth-Diapering (Guest Post)

Do you have a baby on the way, but you're worried about your finances? Read this encouraging series on how to have a baby without breaking the budget! TONS of great tips!

Guest post by Crystal from The Thrifty Mama

Cloth diapers have come a long way from what our grandmothers used to use. In fact, there are so many great options these days when it comes to cloth diapering, that it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.

To get started, let’s talk about the five basic kinds of cloth diapers which are currently on the market:

All-In-One Diaper (see an example here)This is a tapered fabric diaper that has an outer layer of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL). This is a water-proof material that works very well at preventing leaks. This type of cloth diaper is the most similar to disposables. It doesn’t require a cover, and it usually has velcro or snaps. The only draw-back with this type of cloth diaper is that it can sometimes be harder to clean, and take longer to dry.

Fitted Diaper (see examples here)–This diaper fits snuggly on the baby, is all cloth and it requires a waterproof cover. It usually has velcro or snaps so that it can be easily secured on the baby. This diaper cleans and dries easier than an All-In-One, but it can still take a while for it to dry.

Pocket Diaper (see examples here)A pocket diaper usually has two layers of fabric and has a pocket for inserts. You can place fabric inserts or prefolds in the pocket for absorbency. Pockets can either have an outer waterproof layer so that they are more like an All-In-One when stuffed, or they can just have two absorbent fabric layers so that they are more like a fitted when stuffed. Pockets are very easy to clean and dry, because you remove the inserts when washing.

Prefolds (see examples here)–These are like what your grandmothers used to use. They work by folding the diaper onto the baby, and attaching it with either pins or a snappi (more on snappis later). These can be more work to fit on the baby, but they are so easy to clean and dry. Prefolds require a cover.

Flats (see examples here)Flats are a flat piece of fabric that is folded into the shape of a diaper. It is placed on the baby and then secured with a snappi or pins. Flats are nice because they clean and dry the easiest, and they also give a very trim look, even though they do require a cover.

Flats are one of the least-expensive cloth diapering options. Even if you aren’t good with a sewing machine, you can make some flats out of old shirts, towels and other materials. Receiving blankets are great to use as flats. They are flannel, and flannel is very absorbent.

Depending upon which cloth diaper type you choose, you’ll also likely need a few accessories:

CoversIf you plan on using fitteds, prefolds or flats, then you will want to have covers. There are many types of covers. You can buy covers online or you can make your own.

Fabrics that make great covers are PUL, Fleece, Wool and of course there are the original plastic pants that our mothers and grandmothers used to use. I like using fleece and wool because they allow for breathing of the skin, and they are so cute!

You can easily make your own wool or fleece pants for babies out of your old sweaters and hoodies. Here is a quick tutorial on how to make some recycled wool/fleece pants.

Diaper SprayerYou are definitely going to want one of these. Also known as a bidet, it hooks up to your toilet and is used to spray soiled diapers. [Note from Crystal: I cloth-diapered exclusively with my first child and never had one of these. I used Fuzzi Bunz diapers and got along fine without this. Just wanted to share an alternate opinion.]

Inserts–If you use pockets or want added layers of absorbency, you will want to buy or make some inserts. Usually I just use prefolds or fold up some receiving blankets. Receiving blankets are flannel, thus making them great for absorbency.

Snappi/Pins–A snappi is a little rubber fastener that has hooks. It is used to hold the diaper on the baby instead of pins. You can of course use pins if you prefer to not use a snappi. Here is a picture of a snappi holding together a prefold:

Mail.google.com

Wetbag–This is a waterproof bag used to hold soiled diapers. There are many places online that you can buy these, or you can make your own. PUL is a great fabric to make wetbags out of. You can also find the 3 packs of waterproof bags in the camping section at major retail stores. Those are fairly inexpensive, and I’ve found that they work very well for this purpose.

Cloth diapering is a way our family saves a lot of money each year. However, building up a stash of cloth diapers in the beginning can be costly. To build a good stash, if you do it wisely, you can expect to spend somewhere between $200-$400.

The average person will spend $1,800-$2,000 a year on disposables for one child. Now, if you use coupons combined with sales to purchase disposable diapers, you’ll not spend that much, but you still will probably spend at least a few hundred dollars, if not more, on diapers per child. So while the initial investment in purchasing cloth diapers might seem steep, if you plan on using them for more than one child, you will likely recoup your investment–and maybe even many times over!

Mail.google.com

(My daughter wearing one of the pocket diapers I made for her.)

If you have a knack for sewing, you can sew your own diapers and accessories which will make them much more affordable than purchasing them! I’ve written a post on a quick and easy way to sew a prefold diaper here. I’ve also made my own pocket diapers and show you how you can do that here.

Crystal blogs at The Thrifty Mama, where she posts deals, coupon help, and tips for living a more natural and thrifty life. She’s a stay-at-home Mom to two small children, and does her best to live more green and natural without breaking the bank.

Note from Crystal: Have you used cloth diapers? If so, which kinds did you use and what did you find worked best for you? How did you build your cloth diaper stash on a budget? I’d love to hear your ideas and input!

25 Feb 2009   ·   43
Money Saving Mom

100 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year – Part 1

I often receive emails from readers who wonder how on earth we managed to survive three years of law school on a part-time income without going into debt. I have a series of posts in the works right now on specifically why we did this and how we did this, but I thought it might also be insightful for me to share a 10-part series on 100 different practical ideas which helped us live on our beans-and-rice law school budget.

Not all of these ideas will work for everyone and many of them are probably things that other frugal zealots out there are already doing, but each of these ideas could very well save you $100 per year if faithfully implement. And many of them could produce much higher savings than that.

1) Make out and follow a written budget. I cannot emphasize how much money and stress we have saved over the course of six years of marriage thanks to our written budget. I've written more on budgeting here. I also highly recommend resources by Dave Ramsey if you're new to the whole idea of budgeting or could just use some motivation and encouragement in this area.

2) Use cash only for the majority of your purchases. I know that there are a handful of folks who can use a credit or debit card without overspending, but we personally have found it is much easier for us to spend more when swiping a debit card as opposed to parting with literal cash. So we use cash for the majority of our purchases and it has saved us hundreds of dollars in little excess purchases over the years.

3) Use an envelope system. In addition to paying with cash, we also designate a certain amount of cash each month for our spending categories (groceries, clothing, eating out, gifts, etc.) and put this amount an assigned envelope. If we need to make a purchase in any of these areas, we use the cash in the envelope.

When the envelope is empty, there is no more money left to spend in that category that month. This has taught us to learn patience and self-discipline in our spending habits. Undoubtedly, this has also saved us a large amount of money.

4) Plan a menu and follow it. Not only will planning a simple menu for each week save you last-minute frustration or trips through the drive-thru lane, it will also save you money. I wrote more on how I plan our menus and weekly shopping trips here and here.

5) Designate one or two nights per week for meatless meals. Now, not all families would go for this, but I promise you that it's a simple and easy way to cut down on your grocery costs and explore some new recipes at the same time!

When my husband was in law school, we often only had $20 to spend on groceries each week so meatless meals were a must for us. However, I determined to exercise creativity in the kitchen despite my limited resources and since then, I've come up with a number of delicious meatless recipes that my husband loves. I've written more on how to keep meat from breaking your grocery budget here.

6) Buy your prescription glasses from Zenni Optical. Seriously, I think this was one of my best frugal discoveries in the last few years. I was very skeptical at the thought of purchasing prescription glasses online for only $8 to $20 per pair, but after ordering mine and wearing them for almost six months now, I'm sold! You can read more on my personal experience with Zenni Optical here.

7) Utilize your local library. I have no clue how much money we've saved by frequenting our libraries over the years. We checked out thousands of books, movies, DVDs, and CDs and had countless hours of free fun, learning, education, and inspiration as a result–all thanks to our local libraries. 

When my husband and I were first married, we often went on "Library Dates". We'd just go hang out at the library for the evening, perusing books, and checking out a big stack to take home. It felt like a splurge of sorts and yet it was completely free!

8) Carefully evaluate all purchases and expenditures. Before spending money, always ask yourself: "Can I afford this? Do I really need this? Can I purchase this somewhere else for less?" Just taking the time to think before spending can eliminate many unnecessary purchases and save you hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars each year.

9) Frequent consignment shops and thrift stores. For the first few years of our marriage, we bought very few clothes. We tried to make do as best as possible with what we already had. But when we did need to buy something, we almost always purchased things used from a thrift store or consignment shop. Yes, it takes a bit more work to look through the racks at thrift stores but the rewards in the money saved are worth every bit of it.

The funny thing is, even though our income has dramatically increased since our law school days, I still prefer to purchase the majority of our clothes second-hand. In fact, I've gotten to where most of the time I can't even bear to pay normal thrift store prices so I go on the half-price days or Dollar Days!  

However, let me give one word of caution when it comes to thrift store shopping: do not buy more than you need. Just because it's a great price does not mean you need to buy it. Don't get carried away when thrift-store-shopping. Have a list of items you need and shop from that list. (Refer to #8 above!)

10) Use less whenever possible. Conserving in simple ways throughout each day can add up to big savings in the long run. Use less shampoo, less laundry detergent, fewer paper towels (or do what we've done and just eliminate them from your home and use towels instead!), turn off the lights when you're not in a room, and so on. I loved Trent's recent post on this subject.

25 Feb 2009   ·   0
Money Saving Mom

Worth Reading: The Happy Minimum and Plastic Costs More Than Cash

::I totally concur with Trent in his post The Happy Minimum: "You'd be shocked how much less you can use during the day without sacrificing any quality." Read the full post here.

::Meredith's post, Using Plastic Costs More Than Cash, was spot-on. We've certainly experienced the same thing: it's much easier for us to swipe a debit card than to part with cash. So by using cash-only for the majority of our purchases, we not only stick with our budget, we spend a lot less money.

24 Feb 2009   ·   100
Money Saving Mom

Homemade Pizza (in Less Than 30 Minutes)

We love homemade pizza at our house. It’s filling, inexpensive, and easy-to-make! Best of all, though, in our opinion, it’s so much better than carryout or frozen pizzas!

I’ve tried many different pizza crust recipes and this one is not only our favorite, it’s also one of the quickest to make. The pizza, from start to finish, can be ready to pop in the oven in less than 30 minutes.

Do you make homemade pizza at your home? If so, what are some of your favorite toppings?

21 Feb 2009   ·   37
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: The camera-less edition

My camera batteries died a few days ago and I've yet to get any new ones, so this edition of Super Savings Saturday will require you to use your imagination to picture. 🙂

We only did a quick shopping run this week for groceries and I spent about $47 at Dillons. My friend also found Libby's canned pumpkin at Wal-Mart reduced to $0.25/can so she picked up 24 cans for me! I was very excited about this deal as I love cooking with pumpkin and I have never in my life gotten Libby's pumpkin for that inexpensive!

I'm envisioning more than a few batches of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins and Pumpkin bread in the very near future. And wouldn't those be great to add to my ever-growing After-the-Baby freezer stash? Methinks so.

In other bargain news this week, we also went shopping for a "coming home" outfit for the baby. We discovered, in going through our baby clothes boxes recently, that we have no newborn outfits aside from a few gender-neutral onesies. I guess the girls wore all their few newborn things completely out (and I suppose you could say that is one downside to only having a few outfits–especially when you have babies like mine who grow slowly–there aren't many hand-me-downs!)

At any rate, since we know what we're having this time and we had some extra cash in the clothes money envelope, we thought it'd be fun to go out and do a little bit of baby shopping. We noticed Gymboree was having a big sale so we decided to check it out. I really didn't expect a "big sale" at Gymboree to be much of a bargain when their normal prices are far above what I'd ever consider paying.

But was I ever surprised! They had a number of racks of clothing priced at $5.99 and under with an additional 20% off that clearance price! So we ended up buying a few teensy-tiny little baby things for just a few dollars each.

(By the way, it's probably a good thing my camera batteries aren't working because otherwise I'd be extremely tempted to post pictures of these absolutely adorable baby things. And then that would totally spoil the secret we've been closely guarding for the last 10 weeks–whether we're having a girl again or not!)

———————————-
Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week, if so, be
sure to post about them and leave your link below.  **To make it easy
for everyone to navigate quickly through
the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday
post.**

20 Feb 2009   ·   25
Money Saving Mom

Guest Post: Why I Enter Sweepstakes

Guest Post by Cathy of Chief Family Officer

I've never been one of those people who always win something. Buy me a raffle ticket and I guarantee you've wasted your money.

But I've discovered that one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it really is the great equalizer and provider of opportunities. There are so many contests and sweepstakes out there that even I win sometimes.

I hold out no hope that I will ever win the $100,000 grand prize or trip to Disneyworld. But I do expect to win when the odds are pretty good.

For example, prior to the Super Bowl, Kraft had a sweepstakes where the prize was $15 worth of coupons. That's the perfect prize for someone like me, who loves to use coupons. It was a daily entry sweepstakes, so I entered every day after I found out about it. And not only did I win, I won twice and received 6 coupons for free Kraft products. That's $30 of products that I'll be using to get my total purchase past the $75 mark so that I can use a $5 off $75 purchase at Ralphs (our Kroger affiliate).

There were 43,000 prizes in the Kraft sweepstakes. That makes sense, since the value of each prize is relatively small. But $30 worth of free product coupons was worth the minute it took to enter the contest every day for a couple of weeks.

Another example is the Winter Match game from Pampers Gifts to Grow. It's a game that you can play three times per day, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can enter without using any Gifts to Grow points. There are 3,700 prizes. I'd obviously love to win the year of diapers, but I probably won't–and that's okay. I've already won two Shutterfly prize packages, giving me a total of 58 free prints with free shipping. In a few months, I'll order the free prints and give them to the grandparents and great-grandparents for Mother's and Father's Day.

The matching game takes a little more time than the Kraft sweepstakes did, but I play it in the morning in between checking my email and Google Reader. In fact, I've made entering sweepstakes a part of my daily morning routine. It takes less than five minutes to enter four or five in quick succession.

A few words of caution: It's always a good idea to read the fine print, and have an email account that's dedicated to sweepstakes and contest entries. You can usually opt out of additional emails from the sponsors, but you'll inevitably get some messages. And you might forget to opt out once in a while. Having a dedicated email account will keep your inbox from being flooded. (It's easy to get a free Gmail account.)

I don't win all of the time, but I win often enough to make the effort more than worthwhile. My favorite resource for finding out about sweepstakes is Freebies for Mom. Heather regularly posts about winnable sweepstakes. I don't enter every one, because my time is precious, but I do enter the ones with lots of prizes that I could definitely use. And so should you!

Cathy of Chief Family Officer writes daily about family finances, parenting, cooking, and more.

Note from Crystal: Do you find Sweepstakes worth your time? Why or why not? I'd love to hear!

19 Feb 2009   ·   50
Do you have a baby on the way, but you're worried about your finances? Read this encouraging series on how to have a baby without breaking the budget! TONS of great tips!

Having a Baby Without Breaking the Bank: Prenatal Stockpiling (Guest Post)

Do you have a baby on the way, but you're worried about your finances? Read this encouraging series on how to have a baby without breaking the budget! TONS of great tips!

Guest Post by Jessica Fisher from LifeasMom.com

When my first son was born, I was teaching high school full-time. Living on two incomes had allowed us to live pretty luxuriously. However, we knew that I was going to stay home for at least the first year, so we began to economize during my pregnancy to pay off my student loan and to create an emergency fund. That was a nice cushion for a time, but things were still tight living on one income.

One year has become twelve and one child has become six. I’ve been more than blessed to be home with my children. Yet, with each new addition to our family, I have felt a little squeeze of pressure. Or should I say, our budget felt the squeeze? How could we accommodate one more mouth to feed? And though the births of each child has always been surrounded by happy moments, I often became stressed by the vast amount of supplies that were needed, particularly in the early weeks. How was I going to fit diapers, wipes, and extra feminine products in the budget?

Now twelve years and five children later, we still try to economize. But I am pleased to report that with the birth of our sixth child last summer, I did not feel the squeeze. Neither did our budget. Did we have a huge income in comparison to years past? Did we win the lottery?

Quite the contrary. I simply applied what I knew about stockpiling to the purpose of preparing for a new little one. Not only did I spare us some change but I also saved time and energy in not shopping for these items in the busy hormone-induced daze after the baby arrived.

Here are my suggestions to help you ease the squeeze on your budget.

— Put out a call for coupons. Let friends and family know that you are looking to collect coupons for baby and other post-natal products. Keep your eyes open for coupon fliers in all the free stuff you receive from your doctor’s office or hospital. Keep these coupons with you at all times in an envelope in your purse or wallet. You never know when you’ll find a good deal; coupons will make a good deal great. Don’t limit yourself just to baby items. Consider the other needs a new mom has, such as feminine pads, Tucks, Advil, etc. and collect those coupons as well.

— Learn to play the Drugstore Game. I learned almost everything I know about CVS-ing from Money Saving Mom® and following along with other bloggers who report here every Saturday. Drugstores like CVS or Walgreens often feature great prices on baby and feminine products as do Walmart and Target. Choose a drugstore that is close to home and learn how their sale system works.

— Keep track of prices. In order to stockpile effectively, you need to know what a good deal is. You already know that Money Saving Mom® regularly reports on great deals. Baby Cheapskate also keeps track of diaper and formula prices each week. Check to see where the deals are so that you’ll know a good one when you see one.

— Buy low even if you don’t need it right then. This is key to creating an advance supply before your baby is born. Keep your eyes open for good sales and clearance opportunities. Last Spring I happened to find jumbo diaper packages for $2.25 each because the manufacturer was changing their packaging. I bought all that I had room in the budget for and that kept us in diapers for quite some time.

As long as you will use it in the next few months or so, it is probably worth buying multiples of an item, provided that you can pay cash for it and still meet your other household needs. If you’re going the disposable diaper route, you know you will be using them. Buy diapers, wipes, and baby toiletries at low prices and store them up.

— Protect your investment. Your stockpile is not just worth what you paid for it. It also represents time and energy spent to hunt and capture the good deals. Don’t leave it where it can be damaged. Paper products should be protected from excessive temperatures and rodents. So, be wise where you store these items. Top closet shelves and under beds and cribs are great places to keep your stock safe.

There is so much joy in welcoming that new little one–live it to its fullest, without being worried about how you’ll pay for it all. With a little clever maneuvering, you, too, can have a baby without breaking the bank.

Jessica Fisher, happy wife and joyful mom of 6, regularly writes about fun, frugality and the pursuit of a clean house at
Life as MOM. Join her on “the Road to Joyful Motherhood”–because no one wants a crabby mom.

From Crystal: We have lots of soon-to-be new mommies reading here who have asked me for specifics on diaper stockpiling. If you have some experience in this area, I’d love to have you share your thoughts on how many diapers (and in which sizes) you would recommend stockpiling ahead of time, how long you think it takes to build up a good stash, and where you find the best diaper deals. In the near future, we’ll have a counterpart post and discussion on cloth-diapering.

18 Feb 2009   ·   85
Money Saving Mom

Ask the Readers: Health Insurance

I am wondering if you or any of your readers
have any advice about health insurance. My husband’s company does
provide our health insurance–at least, they obtain it and then put a
certain amount towards the premium each year and we pay the difference (it is an
HMO policy–optical insurance and dental insurance are not offered).

The
premium went up last year, and my husband was just informed that it may
increase again this year–by between 20-60%. We are beginning
to research alternate forms of insurance for our family. Do you have any
experience with Samaritan Ministries?  We contemplated using them last year,
however, my husband was concerned (and still is) about what would happen if we
should have a major medical expense arise (such as a major surgery or cancer
diagnosis). -Wendi

We personally have private health insurance through Humana (PPO-HSA). We shopped around quite a bit to find a policy which not only had an affordable monthly rate for a family plan (we pay $347/month) but which had the kind of coverage we were wanting.

Since we have a fully-funded emergency fund, we are able to have a higher deductible which, in turn, allows our monthly rates to be lower. Currently, under our plan, we have a $5000 deductible per year and 100% coverage above that. For me, I like the assurance of knowing that were we to have a major medical expense, we would be covered.

We've seriously looked into Samaritan Ministries and other such insurance alternatives but found we felt our current insurance plan was better suited for our family's needs.

I would recommend knowing what is important to you and your family in an insurance plan, knowing what you can afford as far as a monthly payment and a deductible, and then taking some time to really shop around and see what various plans and options are out there.

I'd love to hear from the rest of you on health insurance. What do you have? What kind of rates do you pay? And do you have any suggestions or input for Wendi and her family?

14 Feb 2009   ·   12
Money Saving Mom

Finally back from shopping

Kathrynne and I had a fun Mommy-Daughter Date shopping this morning. She loves to go shopping–especially when it's just with me. And I feel like I'm on vacation just taking one little one with me to the store. 🙂

We hit Dillons, the health food store, and Aldi. We mostly just bought the sale items and mark-downs at Dillons and then got some staple items and produce at Aldi.

Since we had the time, we stopped in at the health food store to pick up a few sale items, and was I ever glad we did! Unbeknownst to us, the health food store was having a special "Customer Appreciation Party" today and there were samples galore, freebies, and a 10% discount on everything in the store. We had quite a fun time going around to booth after booth and sampling all sorts of yummy and healthful goodies–all for free!

Here's what we ended up buying for this week:

004

All totaled we spent $61.45–and I'm still under our $60/week budget allotment for this month. I'm so thrilled to be stocking up our pantry and freezer in preparation for the baby all the while staying under budget. Who knows? We might just go a number of weeks after the baby comes without even so much as stepping foot in the store except for milk, produce, and eggs. We'll see!

14 Feb 2009   ·   3
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday… my picture is coming in a little while!

I didn't get to the store on Friday as I'd planned. After a busy morning, I opted to stay home and rest in afternoon instead of shopping. (I seem to be opting to rest more and more these days–guess that's part of being close to the finish line with this pregnancy, eh?!).

However, I have my grocery lists planned and my coupons organized so I'll hopefully be hitting the store on Saturday and will post about my shopping trip after I do so.

But I didn't want to keep the rest of you waiting on me since I'm running slow this week. So, if you snagged some great deals and bargains this week, be sure to post about them and leave your link below.  **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through
the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday
post.**

10 Feb 2009   ·   13
Money Saving Mom

Celebrating a Frugal Valentine’s Day

top photo of graphic provided by Paper-Pixie

Valentine’s Day is Saturday and many of you have requested I share some ideas for celebrating this holiday without spending a lot of money. I briefly considered writing an article, but I have to tell you that we’re pretty plain Jane folks when it comes to Valentine’s Day. In fact, we don’t usually do much outside of a nice meal at home or maybe decorating some Valentine’s cookies.

However, even if I’m not bursting with creative inspiration when it comes to February 14th, the frugal blogosphere certainly is. In fact, there are more great ideas floating around out there then you could probably do in a lifetime of Valentine’s days.

Here are just a few great links I found:

Sarah at Fiddledeedee has some unique ideas and yummy recipes posted including one for chocolate fondue.

Centsable Momma walks you through making homemade chocolates.

Amy at The Finer Things in Life encourages you to celebrate big without spending big.

Thrifty Mommy gives you ten ideas of ways to save money this Valentine’s Day.

Claire from Choyster Cash suggests an inexpensive date idea and Mercedes shares tips for having a fancy dinner on a budget.

Probably my most favorite idea of all came from The Happy Housewife. She and her husband celebrate with a Valentine’s Day challenge:

First decide to
celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 19, 20, 21, or whenever, just as
long as it is after the 14th. Then decide on a set amount of
money, for example $10. Now for the challenge part, see how much candy,
or trinkets, cards, and other treats you can get for $10 or less. Most
stores have everything marked down at least 50% on February 15 and the
prices keep dropping as the days go on. Then on your Valentine’s Day,
you and your spouse can trade gifts and admire each other’s frugality.

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Do you have some great ideas, recipes, tips, or inspiration for those of us seeking to celebrate a frugal Valentine’s Day?
If so, post about them on your blog and leave your link below. (Please remember to keep it family-friendly and to leave a link to your direct blog post on this subject–not your blog’s home page.)

 

6 Feb 2009   ·   24
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: Our $66 shopping trip

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I was really happy with this week’s shopping trip. As you may recall, I didn’t go shopping last week, so I had quite a bit of extra grocery money to spend. But I decided to challenge myself to try to stay quite a bit below the budgeted amount I had available to spend (we budget $60 each week for groceries right now and since we only spent $10 last week plus I had some left over from January, I had quite a bit I could have spent).

I went to both Aldi and Dillons and spent a total of $66!

My best bargains were the three bags of Gala apples on sale for $1.19 each at Aldi, and free Suave lotion (priced at $0.99, used $1/1 coupon), toilet paper (priced at $0.99, used $1/1 coupon), Johnsons’ Buddies (priced at $0.99, used $1/1 coupons), and Yoplait (marked down to $0.99, used $1/1 coupon) at Dillons.

I was also very excited to get more diapers for $3.99 (used the $3/1 coupon on Kroger.com), toothpaste for $0.07 (marked down to $1.07, used $1/1 coupon), toothbrushes for $0.44 (marked down to $1.44, used $1/1 coupons), and Honey Cheerios and Multi-Grain Cheerios for $0.67/box (on sale for $1.67, used $1/1 coupons).

All in all, it was a great trip and our refrigerator is now well stocked again!

How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and bargains you
were able to snag this week or other ways you saved money on your blog
(with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and leave your
link below. **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through
the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday
post.**