Friday, January 30, 2009

Freebie Friday

I interrupt the regular scheduled post to make an announcement..... I went Krogering!!! I did it and I loved it I only spent $11.23 on all these goodies the bill was $32.89 before my coupons and savings card. We were so excited Frugal Dude (Will's new bloggy nickname) and I had to take a photo to show our finds. Yes.... we are a Texas Longhorn family. This is only a small portion of my weekly groceries tomorrow we will be back at Wallyworld.
Now back to the regular post.....

Free Diet Dr. Pepper - I love this stuff. Funny Medical Tip: If you having a little trouble going, drink one and problem solved. Natural quick laxative. Really try it why do you think they call it DR. Pepper?

Free Flush the Internal Fat- Sorry I had t post this after the Dr. Pepper medical tip. LOL!

Free Quaker Mini Delights- I got my free sample this week they are sooo good. I am ordering a second sample. They are diet friendly.

Free Always Infinity Pad- OK.. anyone else wonder about the name, Infinity means to go on forever. This has me interested in a sample. They claim ground breaking and innovative. Really..... it's just a pad.

Free Gardener's Idea Book- Sounds fun spring is around the corner. After our ice storm this week I like to think about spring. Only thing about Gardening.... I don't have a green thumb :(

Funny Crazy Freebie of the week: America's Best Car Commercials DVD... really it is all yours no need to DVR the shows just watch the annoying commercials.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

With Kate out of school for an ice day it was a great opportunity to go kitchen shopping.. once the ice melted. So we headed out to look for tile for the back splash, cook top and a sink.

Will: Mom do you like this one?
Oh my.... this is it!!! Can you install this tomorrow. Oh yeah no... my husband and his friend are installing it for me we are saving money. Look at this can you believe each
tile is only 39 cents!!
Look at this door it is amazing just like I've always wanted I can see our family in front of it for a Christmas card. Oh yeah... this door is as much as my whole kitchen updating. I need to get focused.

Ok I think I am on sink overload... this is at the builders surplus honestly the prices are a little better than Lowe's but not by much.

So at the end of the day, I have picked out my tile for the back splash I am doing slate. I thought it would be more expensive then the ceramic tile but it isn't. I am excited. I went to a builders appliance store I checked the scratch and dents for the cooktop the cheapest one was $500 so not a great deal, I passed. I am planning to get my sink at Lowe's. Hopefully they will send some coupons out soon. So next step is getting Lowe's out for the counter top measurement.

Don't forget to enter April's Say It On a Sign Contest! P.S. if you have a contest you want to feature on my blog let me know I would be happy to post it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday- My Grocery Confession

Background: I've had many people email me about my grocery shopping and how much I spend. Grocery shopping is usually a high budgeted amount for families. We have been in many phases during our marriage. We've been on the $50 a week budget when that was all we could afford but luckily we are in the stage where we can spend more and I am not as stressed out about staying under the budget. So.... yes I spend more than I should ......

My confession: I go to wal-mart and sometimes I don't even have coupons. If I won the lottery I would shop at Central Market every week .... no coupons ... oh and their personal chefs would cook my meals.

  • Spend $120 - $150 a week ($150 is my budgeted amount) Yes I can do better and I hope to. I am not the perfect frugal grocery shopper but some other bloggers have inspired me.... keep reading.
  • I shop at Wal-mart every Friday morning ( This is a nice swanky new one always super clean and the same lady checks us out) but.... I am thinking about switching to Kroger because of all the online bloggers showing their savings.
  • I do clip coupons out of the Sunday paper ...well most of the time unless I am lazy
  • Wal-mart will price match other stores ad's so I browse and circle the items in a purple marker for the cashier with the item .... if I remember
  • Meal plan and itemize the grocery list ... we pick the meals based on what the family wants not what is on sale. I do this every week never go to the store without a list!

So .... I enjoy reading the blogs where they spend so little and get a ton of stuff at the grocery store! Here are a couple of my favorite super savers! Hat's off to these ladies.... you have inspired me

  • Frugal and Fabulous - Yes our blogs have similar names we have laughed about that. Lindsey is a master of bargain shopping and finding great deals
  • Jane and 4 Girls - This lady has an annual budget of $800 for her grocery's. I am always amazed at her finds. Fun reading!
  • The Grocery Cart Challenge- she spends $60 a week for a family of 6.
  • The New Frugal Mom - she has a great feature Let's go Krogering. Check it out! This lady makes me want to shop at Kroger again. I think I will give it a try next week.

Yes these bloggers make me think.... I could save more. I sometimes wish if only they could come help me shop maybe just maybe I could save a little more. You can see I do splurge on my groceries. I admit I am not the perfect frugal person but, this is my weak area and I hope to improve and share my improvements. Any tips ????

One more thing... one of my blog readers Say It On a Sign is giving away a free custom sign. Go enter to win!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Who put all the clothes on my son's bed??? It was me of course... showing off my latest frugal purchase. It is basically a complete wardrobe for only ..... $20!!! How did I do it? Craig's List! This batch of clothes consists of name brand clothes... Old Navy, Polo, Levi's etc. I got some size 5 clothing and size 6 for next year. Will was very excited to get all his new clothes out he especially liked the Old Navy one with a dinosaur on it.

Here is a link to Craig's List for my Dallas/ Ft. Worth or find your local Craig's List.

Do you use Craig's List? If so what is the best thing you have sold our bought. My answer we sold my Lexus RX 300 in 1 day

Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Monday

Hope you all had a great weekend!Here is what's for dinner at our house:

Monday: Leftover Lasagna from Sunday dinner

Tuesday: Nacho's (we enjoyed them so much last week) This is a night my daughter has dance classes so quick and easy is in order.

Wednesday:Brisket (Prepackaged Sadler's Brand), Tator Tots and Corn

Thursday: Grilled Fish and Baked Potato's (I have a girls dinner for a friend visiting from Germany)

Friday: Make your own pizza (from scratch 2nd time around) Last week I posted about trying 2 new recipes. They were great! The dough was very easy and I got my bread machine which has been in the closet for..... about 7 years. The sauce was a little runny I would only use 3/4 cup of water or less. Here is our pizza after we dug in....

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Get your own Mommy Money!

I found a great idea from a reader who is also another frugal blogger. Read all about her great idea to reward the kids and do it frugally. I enjoyed her idea so much I am going to try this with my kids. So here is my mommy money. My Best Friend Adrien is a master with photoshop, so she made me mommy money. Don't worry she also edited the wording so it is not counterfeit money!

How can you get your own mommy money? Adrien will put your photo on mommy money and send you the PDF file so you can print your own at home for $2. Your $2 will go towards Averys Lil Angel Caps.

Here is a special message from her:
Avery's Lil Angel Caps are hand made crocheted hats. They are made in honor of our son Avery Davis Maroney that was born on July 6, 2007 and passed away July 6, 2007. By donating to his cause, you will be providing the materials to make one cap for a baby in need. We hold dear the cap that was made for our son and wanted to pass on a cherished memory for mothers out there that have lost their precious child.

Please feel free to post this offer on your blog. Many of us read similar blogs about families loosing children. This is so close to my heart, Adrien is an inspiration and a wonderful friend. I am so proud of her, what kindness in making these beautiful caps for these little angels and their parents.

Freebie Friday

The freebie list is a little shorter this week, but there are some good ones! Enjoy!

Free Crest Whitestrips sample- I've been waiting for a freebie of these. Now maybe I will have whiter teeth :)

Get a free sample of Kid Essentials drink- maybe my picky eater will drink this.

Free 4 pack of organic apple juice for kids! Really! - this is liquid gold for the kids. You already know Pace salsa is my liquid gold. Remember their contest is still going on. I've already won 2 free jars of salsa.

Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix Sample- this sounds good. I hope it is better than their turtle granola bar. Let's give it a try, it is free!

Halo Hair Product- this is a hairdresser sample, a good one!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

No more last minute runs to the store for birthday or occasion cards..... be prepared! Create a binder with cards ready to sign plus the goodies to make your own. Here is my binder....

I visit the "Boutique Custom Card Shop's" they almost always have a clearance box. These hold individual blank invitation paper (see the photo above) I find the pretty paper and make my own occasion cards. I just sign and write a personal message. I get comments like "where did you find this beautiful paper". It is personal and inexpensive. I get most of my paper for 10 cents each including the envelope. Dallas/ Ft. Worth readers my favorites are Paper Capers in Arlington and R.S.V.P in Colleyville.

I also buy holiday cards on clearance after the holiday and put in my card binder. I used large zip plastic bags no expensive storage bags.

Clearance scrapbook items
also come in handy to make your own cards for those craft frugal girls!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday

It is not always wasteful to splurge, if it is important to you then ask yourself "Is it Splurge Worthy?" Here are some of my favorite splurges. I save in some areas so I can still have my splurges that is how frugal is fabulous!

Vacuum- Dyson yes it does work better than my old Hoover. I don't spend money on filters and I vacuum almost everyday (3 kids).

Gym Membership- around here even the YMCA gyms are pricey. Shop around find the rates and don't get caught in the trap "This deal is only today" SO NOT TRUE. In college I worked at a health club. Also bring up the other rates they will price match.

Hair Cuts - absolutely for women! I had a horrible experience at a local hair school. Went in for a trim ended up with 7 inches gone. I don't highlight my hair because that is maintenance and is expensive. Gave that up when I had kids.

Diet Coke- no store brand can ever compare to this genius chemistry combination!

Vacations- just do it, plan and save for it. Even if you stay at a hotel a few hours away with a indoor pool for the kids. Time away from home and from the distractions is priceless and will form many memories! Of course search for a great deal!

Krispy Kreme Donuts- once a month we take the kids after church for "Hot Donuts Now". Of course we go all out, 2 dozen donuts and drinks for all of us (not water)

Babysitting for a date night with hubby- Enough said!!!

What do you like to splurge on?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesdays Tip

The old school way of getting things.... bartering! ( I am reposting about this for my new readers and to remind my veteran readers)

There is always something that you can do that others can't or don't want to do. Swap services. I hear some of you already, but what can I make? My answer think outside the box. Here are some easy ideas:
  • Ms. Betty Crocker: Cakes, cookies, casseroles. My favorite is making double of a recipe swap with a friend for a service they do. Example food for children's clothes.

  • Crafty Lady: Do you scrapbook, put a small book together for a friend. Sewing, painting, or jewelry making.

  • Organizing Junkie: Help a friend clean out a closet organize it for her. I need help with pantry!

  • Baby Lover: Babysitting

  • No skills?: Everyone, well almost, can clean do laundry.
What are my bartering skills? Painting and crafts. I have a side custom painting business and I do murals and paint furniture. What do I get in return just to name a few (yes you will see a theme stuff for my baby girl).....



Ultimate my Family Portrait Session! Shout Out Brandi, B4 Photography

Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Monday

Last week we ate out 2 times and messed up our meal schedule. We decided we are so tired of eating out! We end up eating out when we crave things or we feel lazy.... burgers, mexican food.... or just don't want to cook. This week NO eating out for us.

Monday- Nachos loaded with ground beef, (fat free can) refried beans, black beans, cheese, and jalapenos. We each make our own so we adjust to our diets.

Tuesday- Crock pot salsa chicken I was supposed to make last week but we went out for greasy burgers instead... then my tummy hurt for the next 24 hours.

Wednesday- Lasagna Toss and garlic bread

Thursday- Hot Dogs.. kosher of course and French Fries (Salad for Me)

Friday- Make your own pizza. I am trying a new homemade pizza sauce and pizza dough recipes(I found these new recipes from the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekend Edition- What's for Dinner

I realized I don't post weekend meals, I grocery shop on Fridays and plan my meals for the following week on Thursday. So I will share what we are having this weekend.

Saturday- Burgers and Tator Tots for hubby and kids (I have a girls wine party, so much fun!!) Each girl is assigned a type of wine to bring along with a food choice. Well I got Riesling which I don't normally drink, I am a red wine girl. I have to show this ... look what I am bringing as my pairing with wine.... chocolate covered pretzel sticks.

Sunday- Chicken Parmigiana (ck breast marinated in Italian dressing then covered with bread crumbs then baked) and Spaghetti with Prego Roasted Garlic Sauce

On a serious note.... I came across a blog this weekend that I thought I would pass along. I wish I had been reading it for a while because she has a great blog... but I found it today more importantly when it was most important to find it. Please read and say a prayer for her little baby girl.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Freebie Friday

Freebie Fridays... my favorite post of the week. I love the giddy feeling of going to the mailbox and seeing the free samples inside.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser- OK, this product is magic I use them ALL the time for my little finger prints everywhere. You MUST try this sample.

Toilet Paper- we all need this, why not try a free sample of toilet paper. I signed up for the green paper, I thought the kids would laugh at this. Oh... I hope it doesn't rub the color off on their little bums.

Heart&Minds Peanut Butter- sample of some healthy stuff. I love PB on warm toast in the morning. That is the ultimate prego craving I've had.

Rachel Ray Nutrish Dog Food- we don't have a dog but this must be YUM-O! I heart Rachel Ray Free Scrubbers - unfortunately I am the maid in the home and I do all the cleaning so I always need cleaning supplies.

Carmen Estate - want some free coffee from Panama?

Febreeze Sport- free sample of odor eliminator. This is going to work in my husband's gym bag.

AROMATIK- sample of eucalyptus milk bath stuff, sounds interesting....

Free Nanosaur Autographed Comic Book- I signed up for one of these for Will, what a fun freebie.

Last but not least my friend Lindsey has a giveaway for some super cute and warm chenille socks. Go enter!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Any moms of little boys? If your son is anything like mine loves to crawl and play on the floor sometimes even sliding on the wood floors you go through blue jeans like crazy.

I bought Will several new pairs of jeans at Target it was their special $6 ones right before Christmas, being the frugal girl I am I buy the cheap ones. What do I get?? Holes in the knees in 3 weeks in every pair!!! Urgh.... I could scream.

As I was reading around in the blogosphere (love to read my readers blogs too) I came across one of my readers post. Was it a sign , maybe... she was blogging about holes in jeans too. So I would like to feature her as my frugal find of the week. Check out her blog to see what she did with this problem. PS I also give her my frugal seal of approval for her rockin signs!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Free Shampoo today

I almost forgot to post this one.... click here to get a free bottle of Suave shampoo good only today!

Wasteless Wednesday

I finished my new personal cookbook. I posted about this project last week. It turned out FABULOUS!!! Family recipes, friend favorites, magazine tear outs (Southern Living), online recipes and last but not least my library recipes( for copyright reasons you must hand copy not photocopy). These recipes were all over the place not to mention I have sticky notes in 10 cookbooks. So I consolidated them into this.....

I made these dividers (individual to the way I organize and think of recipes):
  • Appetizers
  • Soups and Sauces
  • Bread
  • Sides
  • Mexican Food (it gets it's own section)
  • Casseroles
  • Breakfast
  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Desserts

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kitchen Dilema Solved!

Thanks for all the great comments and emails about my kitchen dilemma. After more research and evaluating more options we have decided to do it all (except for the bathroom)! How, you ask well compromise.. here is the plan:

Kitchen: Instead of granite I have decided on high definition laminate. To save even more $$$ we are going to have them fabricated and install ourselves. Tile the back splash ourselves too. I will purchase the tile at Floor & Decor a huge discount tile outlet in Arlington. Appliances (sink, faucet, cook top and vent hood) we will find scratch and dent deals and also check out the builders surplus. Luckily we already have the stainless fridge and microwave. We will just wait on the oven and dishwasher. Our plan is to spend about $1,500. I will be blogging about our finds and progress.

With axing the granite we save a ton of money enough leftover for other projects throughout the year. When we really weighted the granite we realized it wasn't that important anymore we would rather do more with that money. Really.... who will think less of me and my home by not having granite.... and if they do well they aren't good friends anyway, right?

Tuesdays Tip

Free Makeup anyone... but not the cheap stuff I now purchase at CVS but the good stuff from the department stores.

Take a look and see if you are eligible

I was giddy to read that yes Frugal Jen is eligible for my "maximum of one free cosmetic item from the store I originally purchased from". I am thinking I want the Lancome Mascara.

Let's see.... back in the day when I was Posh Jen I purchased all my makeup, perfume, and lotions from department stores. I actually purchased some of the listed brands at this store! Yeah!

January 20th (Tuesday) I will be at my local mall at 10 am in front of Dillard's to get my free makeup or settlement makeup what ever the reason I am excited!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Menu Monday

Monday: BBQ Brisket (were from Texas ya'll) and tator tots

Tuesday: Crockpot Salsa chicken (Another frugal girl Lindsay's recipe) as the taco meat and a side of rice (knorr spanish rice) and can of black beans

Wednesday: Mini meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn

Thursday: Eating out probably Chili's always easy with the kids. We order 4 waters. Hubby and I split grilled chicken sandwich, 2 kids get cheese pizza and fries. Of course we have chips and queso for an appetizer. We get out of there for about $22 with tip for all of us.

Friday: Make your own pizza and a family movie

Let's start Monday off right with a contest. $5 Dinners is having a giveaway for a super cute lunch bag. I pack a lunch for my husband and oldest daughter everyday. This is a great way to save some $$$$.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kitchen Dilema

If you've been ready for a while you know how much I want granite counter tops and a kitchen remodel. Well the time is close and hubby and I are talking about it and budgeting. I've become so frugal that I don't know if I want to spend that much anymore..... I've been dreaming about this fabulous kitchen idea for so long and now that it is close I am suddenly becoming cheap. I think about all the other projects we could do with that money ....

Patio Furniture like this(bought off season or at furniture liquidators)and:

A bathroom remodel like this (new tile in shower and floor, I redo cabinets, discount mirrors) and:

Build-In's and a Flat Screen (Hubby and grandfather make built-ins and find rock bottom priced flat screen) like this and:
A dream closet like this (purchase the Lowe's system and hubby puts together):

Or my dream kitchen like this(New counter tops, backsplash, stove, dishwasher, vent hood, sink and knobs, I redo the cabinets myself):

Any ideas my frugal friends? Of course I get everything at rock bottom prices with my discount shopping . Hubby is also the master negotiator and handy man. So we spend a ton less than many people. Rule #1 we only pay cash no charging that is why it is hard because we don't charge and pay later.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Freebie Friday

Free Quaker Mini Delights- these are really great on the go snacks, especially the chocolate

SOYJOY Free bar - I love free granola bars

Fazoli's Free Spaghetti Dinner - We used to have one by us I loved it especially the garlic breadsticks

Free Cream of Wheat - I've never tried this I guess I will now.

Remember the Pace Salsa contest is still going. Try to win a free jar of salsa you can enter daily. This is my FAVORITE! The grand prize is salsa for a year, can you imagine I would be in heaven.

Oh the joy when I won this....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Our library (North Richland Hills, TX) is the ultimate freebie fun for kids and adults. They have a soft play area that my kids love and a Starbucks for mommy. Yesterday we met some friends after school. It reminded me to post this freebie again that is easily forgotten.

Madeline and Milla in the soft play area.

Here is what we got:
  • The kids all checked out 3 books

  • We got 2 DVD's Love Bug and Transformers

  • Mommy got 2 cookbooks and made copies of the favorites from the last cookbook checkout. I am so tired of having so many different cookbooks so I am putting together my own. Right now it is a big pile of mess, papers torn out from magazines and online printing. So I am getting a HUGE 3 ring binder and sorting and organizing to make the Mommy Cookbook for myself. Look for that post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday

Don't waste your money going out to eat queso eat at home. I love cheese, yum! get your coupon for $1 off Velveeta cheese and make some queso at home tonight.

We make easy queso for get togethers. All you need a 1/2 package f Velveeta, 1 can of rotel (blend in blender to reduce the chunks), and a small container of sour cream melt together and put in little crock pot to keep warm serve with chips.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesdays Tip

With the beginning of the new year I always try to get organized. I get so many coupons for restaurants, groceries and home services. I am so bad about throwing them in my coupon drawer and I end up forgetting them when I need them. So one of my New Years Resolutions is to keep my coupons organized.

Here is my plan:

  • Utilize one of my 3 ring binders that is empty
  • Divide into restaurant types (ex. pizza, mexican) and then also home services and retail stores
  • Also put in take out menus
  • When I get a new coupon I just file it easy so I can pull out when I need them

Keep a folder in your car for: (Thank you Audrianne for this one)

  • Car Wash coupons
  • Fast Food
  • Dry Cleaning

Monday, January 5, 2009

Menu Monday

Today is back to our regular schedule. Kate is in school and the two little one's will hopefully be back on schedule. I've added an estimated cost behind my meal item

Monday: Nana's Taco Soup (Watching the Fiesta Bowl, Go Texas) $10
Tuesday: Leftover taco soup
Wednesday: Burgers and Tator Tots $5
Thursday: Skinny Chicken Alfredo (I was supposed to make it last week but we ate out one night) I am using chicken left over from fajitas $5
Friday: Regular Make Your Own Pizza $8

I tried the best recipe on Saturday night. We made apple crisp. I found this recipe from Kraft foods. We topped it with light blue bell ice cream in homemade vanilla flavor.

Want to enter a contest for a $25 Kroger gift card? $5 Dinners is giving it away one of my favorite frugal meal blogs. Check it out!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Freebie Friday

Happy New Year! Here are some free sample to celebrate 2009

Free Coupon for Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Yum!!!

Free Total Cereal - my husband loves this brand

Invisible Glass wipes sample - too bad they can't send someone to clean my windows

Free Revlon makeup sample - I can always use free makeup. I love the Revlon color stay products.

Free Vitamin C 14 day supply

Free Popcorn sample - from Kroger and Start Sampling.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Year of Frugal Living 2009

2008 was a great year and a stressful year! It was also the start of Frugal Jen and this blog. After the market took at big dip (my husband is a finanical advisor) I decided to share my frugalness with others. I am so excited each day to write and most of all to know I have readers that can also save money by a tip or two. When I see I get a new follower I haven't met it makes my day.

I've talked to so many women who have in the past lived in materialism and spending and now are enlightening by frugal and happy living. I hope 2009 brings more to see the stress free frugal living and also living within their means.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope to grow my readership and offer lots of great tips and savings for you and your families. Pass my blog to your friends, I am glad to announce you can also find this blog by visiting

God Bless you and your family in 2009! Lots of great things in store for 2009!