Thursday, March 26, 2009

Put a Lid on it

I mean that literally. If you need to boil water, make tea, or pretty much anything that is heated on the stove (except frying and one or 2 other things) put the lid on the pot/pan. When you put a lid on your pot, your liquids reach their peak temperature faster AND at a lower energy level. I have a gas cooktop, and what normally simmers at a 3 now simmers between 1.5 and 2 with the lid on. Boiling water boils faster, but make sure you don't forget it's boiling or you may end up with spillover. So, save your time and your energy dollars (electric/gas) and put a lid on it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let nothing go to waste *edited*

I was peeling oranges yesterday and it got me thinking. How many times have I tossed the peel? More often than I would like to admit to!

So, I started thinking about all the things I could do with the peels and I did a google search. Here is what I came up with.

1. Put peels and water in a pot. Then put it on the stove and simmer to release a (hopefully) pleasing aroma.

2. Pet deterrent. Rub the orange peel on the leaves of your plants and animals shouldn't bother them. They don't like the scent.

3. Insect repellent. Rub the peel on your skin for an all natural, healthy alternative to commercial repellents.

4. Sugar softener. Brown sugar a bit too hard? Toss a peel or two in with the sugar and it will soft in a few hours.

5. Orange oil. This one is by far the most interesting to me. For the full details you can visit this site and it will give instructions as well. I think I'll be doing this over the next few days!!

For more ideas you can visit here and here. Or you can google "orange peels" (or some variation of that) and you'll see the ideas pop up before your eyes!

No peel will ever be tossed by me again!

edited: I needed to make laundry soap this morning (see this site for homemade laundry soap recipes) so I decided to add several orange peels to the soap/water mixture just to add a nice, natural scent. So far it seems to working pretty well. It's cooling right now so I won't really know until later on today or tomorrow. I'll keep you posted though.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Redbox *updated*

If you like to rent movies, but are trying to be frugal....try redbox. We have 3 of these redboxes in my area (at grocery stores). They rent movies for $1 per night...and no membership or subscription fees. You can rent at any box, and return at any box. The best thing to me is the opportunity to have free rentals. When I signed up, they emailed me a code good for one free rental, and I have found some free-movie monday codes listed online, so potentially you could get one free movie a week (if the free monday code continues). This is about all my family would have time for anyway. You can use the online page to see what inventory is available in each box (each box varies), and you can reserve your titles from your computer...and pick it up when you run your errands.

(Apparently, there are weekly free codes emailed to you as well...I'm still pretty new to this, so I haven't personally recieved one, yet.)

* Update...I got the email for the free monday movie code...and it worked have to sign up in a different spot for the free code email*


My husband and I resisted temptation like crazy mad people this weekend. We borrowed a friends Wii to try, and of course we enjoyed it. So, later that same day, hubby offers to let me run free for a few hours while he has the kids (yay for me), so I go first to wally-world then to a myraid of other spots. Well, I look at the Wii's then the Wii Fits and I'm just uneasy about dropping that much dough on a game. Then I go to kmart - out of Wii, then yesterday we go out of town for church and went to their local wal-mart - no wii. By this time, we were not only okay with the fact that there were no Wii's to be bought, we were a little giddy - and then when considered the fact that we had just saved about $400 smackers, we shared a kiss of joy.

There are still a lot of activities you can do for cheap or free - do them instead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


If you have never looked this up, I highly recommend it. Freecycle is a group whose philosophy is to recycle and reuse, share, and oh yeah, it must be free. No bargaining, advertising or trading is allowed. You offer something up, people contact you that are interested, and they come pick it up. You can also post a want or need and if someone has that item, they contact you and you pick it up. And it's FREE!!! Locally, I have seen dishes, clothing, food items, furniture, paint, shipping supplies and tons of baby items go around. I have even seen plants and cuttings go up for grabs - what an excellent way to have a garden with lots of variety and very little overhead. so, search for your local freecycle chapter and let the free fun begin!!

And did I mention it's FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why choose ramen?

I am not a fan of ramen noodles. When I was a kid, I loved them all, every salty flavor. Of course I am also a chip lover, but I have been appalled at the price of chips lately - over $2 and sometimes oer $3 a bag. Ramen noodles are about $.11 a package, and cook in about 3-4 minutes in the microwave, and you don't even need the special microwavable kind, the plain plastic wrapped kind will work in a microwave safe bowl with water in it. Plus, the ramen noodles are filling. I'm not saying it's a healthy snack, but it is a cheap snack that most teens will eat, and remember that chips are not a healthy snack either.

Personally, I would prefer a slice of homemade whole grain bread and some sliced cheese, and yes, that is healthier, but the title of this blog is 'money saving mommies' so I have to keep the ideas in context

If you show a teenage boy how to microwave his own ramen noodles, he can safely do it himself and take care of his own snack attacks - and teenage boys have lots of these, and they can get expensive. So, pass over the chips and try some ramen instead, and save a big chunk of change.

If times get REALLY tight, and if the economy gets worse, it may come to that, then you could feed a family of 4 on ramen noodles for about $1 or less, depending on everyone's appetite. (I'm not recommending people start doing this on a routine basis, but I do know that sometimes when disaster strikes people feel like they are at the end of their rope and they don't know how they will feed their families, this is just an idea if you have only a buck or 2 to spend for food for a few days)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Plans, Planners, Planning

I love those three things. I love everything from looking at the selection of planners at my local Staples (and trust me, this could take an hour, easily), to picking out the color, opening it up and taking a whiff of the fresh paper, thinking about how I could use each and every section, etc, etc. Then I look at the price tags. My goodness. Oh my goodness. I do not want to spend $15-$50 on a planner. I can't do that, that's crazy. I have heard people say "Yes, it's expensive, but it can do this, this and this and organizes this, this and this for me." FOR me? When I see a planner get up off my desk, grab my papers, file them in itself (neatly of course), and scribble down my appointments, deadlines and inner thoughts - THEN it might be worth $15-$50. But it otherwise doesn't DO anything for me because I still have to do the work! So, of course I have a money saving solution from the same Staples store, on the same day:

1" 3 ring binder= $.60 on clearance (ugly gray, but who cares)
1 ream 92 brightness, 20lb copy paper = $3.92
1 full package HP printer ink= $35

Now that's enough materials to last probably 5 years of printer planner related stuff. Of course I'm not going to use the whole package of ink just on that, but let's say I just use 10%, that would still only be $3.50. And I'm really not going to use all 500 sheets of paper on planner stuff, but if Used say 25% (125 sheets - still a bit of a stretch), that would be a whopping $.98. So right now my total comes to $5.08. Not too shabby.

Now all I need is a good website. Well, that is the easier part. has ton of planning related printables including calendars of all types free to print, just browse around for a little while and you'll see them.

The main Microsoft Office Templates site allows you to browse through tons of free printables too, some are in pretty colors, some in black and white - find something you like and looks useful.

Organized Home has nice calendar and planner printables in addition to cleaning, organizing and pretty much any checklist you can imagine.

Of course you can google what you want like "Free printable planner pages" or whatnot. In the end, if you can't find exactly what fits your needs, but have lots of ideas you can start up your good ole' Word program and make what you want tailored to your needs with columns, sections, colors, checkboxes, or whatever else you love!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I am not a huge body and facial scrub user - not because I don't like it, just because it can irritate your skin if used too often and there was a point in my life that I felt like I had to use it every day because it made my skin feel super-soft. Unfortunately after 2 weeks, my super soft skin was red, itchy and irritate - even my moisturizer burned. So I cut back to about once a week for my face and whenever I can remember for my heels. Okay, so maybe that was a little personal to share, but anyway -

There are several things you can use for scrubs without having to break the bank for the fancy smelling-good kind (especially since the scent doesn't last very long and you generally lotion up anyway. The most common one i see is: place fine granulated sugar in a screw top jar (about an 8-16oz flatter, squattier shaped jar - something like an empty chicken base jar - and oh yeah please remove the label and write scrub on it) up to about half full, the fill with baby oil until it reaches the base of the neck of the jar. Put the lid on and agitate until mixed. It's ready to go. If you like it thinner just add more baby oil, if you like it thicker, use less

However, the most interesting one I have ever heard of came from a comment left on this blog on Sunday evening:

zolocafe said... I also use coffee grounds as a bath scrub. Instead of buying fancy scrubs (which I love), I have a moisturizing soap bar that I coat in the coffee grounds and scrub my needed areas. It really makes my skin feel soft. Although it does look messy, it rinses off cleanly. My DH thought I was crazy! BTW, don't fill the bathtub with water, do it in an empty tub or shower. March 1, 2009 8:06 PM

I never would have thought of that one, but what a clever idea! Think about it - the high dollar moisture creams claim 'skin brightening' and 'lifting' effects, but most of them just contain some caffeine - so why not just get it for free from a good source of caffeine - coffee!

You guys rock!! Keep the ideas coming!