Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Ugh. I did not feel like making a menu plan for this week because nothing sounds good. But I know it will save me time and money so I am doing it anyway.

Here goes....

Multi-grain Cheerios, banana, milk
French toast, orange, milk
oatmeal, banana, milk

PB&J, carrot sticks, milk
Lunch meat sandwiches, broccoli/dip, milk
Mac and cheese, cottage cheese with peaches, milk

Monday: Spaghetti, lettuce salad, garlic bread

Tuesday: Grilled cheese, tomato soup

Wednesday: Out to eat for husband's birthday Woo hoo! I will be making him this yummy chocolate cake.

Thursday: Breakfast for supper

Friday: Homemade pizza with my new favorite crust

For more menu plans check out Organizing Junkie.

Conquering the Clearance Addiction

I have been exercising quite a bit of will power this year. I have a real love of clearance shopping (especially at Target) and often spend more money than I should.

I actually went into debt partially due to buying clearance items in order to save money. Make sense? I would buy things on clearance way in advance, basically inventing a reason to buy such a great deal (ex. a b-day present for my niece for next year). The problem is I wasn't paying with cash and would up with a credit card bill I couldn't pay off. So I'm not really saving money if I'm paying interest on it, right?

Anyway, I had to go to Wal-Mart today. I have put this off as long as possible so I wouldn't be tempting myself. I did have $20 in birthday money from my husband's grandma and I decided to allow myself to go down the clearance aisle. I ended up buying three frames (which I have been wanting for over 6 months and match the ones I currently have). They were on sale for $5 each (8X10). So I paid cash for these and ended up getting just what I wanted. Woo hoo!

I am proud of myself for sticking to it. It's the little things that add up to make a difference!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Frugal Friday

I am happy to report I am saving major money on diapers and pull-ups. My two-year-old is finally potty trained! Hooray! With the generic pull-ups at 27 cents a piece in my area, it's like getting a raise. :)

I used to make my own baby wipes which saved SO much money! ($9 in supplies lasted 6 months) Unfortunately, my youngest has major sensitive skin issues and I now have to buy Pampers extra-sensitive wipes. So to save money I tear each wipe in half before I use it (unless I'm dealing with a poopy diaper of course). I really don't need more than a half sheet on just a wet diaper. I've really been able to stretch each tub of wipes this way.

That's my Frugal Friday tip! Check out more ideas at Biblical Womanhood.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I have had mixed success with my menu plans. Sometimes life happens and I'm not able to follow the plan. In the past I might have given up but not this time. We really need to save money and following a menu plan helps us do that. So I'm back with another go at it.
Multigrain Cheerios, fruit, milk
Blueberry bagels, banana, milk
Toast, yogurt, milk

PB&J, apple slices, milk
Lunchmeat sandwich, cheese, crackers, milk
Mac and cheese, peas, milk

Mon. - homemade veggie soup and homemade bread
Tues. - easy chicken casserole, green beans, mixed fruit
Wed. - supper at my parent's house for my birthday :)
Thurs. - pork patties, baked carrots, peaches/cottage cheese
Fri. - frozen pizza, mixed fruit

Menu planning and paying in cash at the grocery store is really helping our budget. Hopefully not too many surprises pop up this week so I can stick to it.

For more menu plans, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Saving Money on Prescriptions

Last year my husband suddenly developed terrible allergies. It took a lot of trial and error to come up with a set of prescriptions that worked for him. He now takes two different types, a pill and a nasal spray that work wonders.

The problem is that they are two of the most expensive co-pays we have with our insurance. We were paying almost $100 a month! That was pretty tough on our budget but he had to have the medicine. Without it he had a fever almost every day, had no energy and had severe cold-like symptoms.

So this year we upped the money we contribute to our Cafeteria Plan or Flex Spending Account. It is designed for medical and childcare expenses. You designate a certain amount (chosen by you) to be deducted from your income PRE-TAX each month. This reduces your taxable income therefore reducing your taxes.

The only caveat is that if you don't use all of the money by the end of the year the government gets to keep it.

I'm sure many of you already participate in programs such as this. If you don't, find out if you or your spouse's employer offers this program.

How do you save money on prescriptions?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Great Gifts on a Budget

I have a very large family and many nieces and nephews. I enjoy buying them birthday gifts but don't have much to spend. My budget is $10 per kid. My other siblings all spend much more than that so I really try to find a $25-30 gift marked down.

My favorite place for bargain gifts is They have an amazing toy outlet and many items quality for free shipping if you spend $25 or more. I usually buy several gifts at once to get the free shipping.

In my experience, Amazon routinely marks down regularly priced merchandise for a day or two and then the item often returns to regular price.

For instance, I wanted to get an activity table for my niece. It was regularly marked $24.99. It first appeared in the toy outlet section for $14.99 and I added it to my cart. The next day when I was ready to place my order, it was marked down to $10. I had several other gifts to buy and received the free shipping.

My sister was estatic! She had looked at a similar activity table at Wal-Mart for $40.

I was able to give her something of great quality for a fraction of the price. Give the Amazon Toy Outlet a try for your next gift!

Where do you consistently find great deals?
For more frugal ideas check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.