Monday, October 13, 2008

Short Break

I will be taking a short blogging break for the next few days. I have a family concern which must be attended to and will not have time to update.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Your prayers for wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Free Admission to Children's Museums

I first found out about this deal at Coupon Cravings.

The Association of Children's Museums has partnered with ParentsConnect Local (GoCityKids) to offer children free admission when accompanied by a paying adult at participating children's museums as part of ParentsConnect Local's Deals & Steals program September 29-October 26, 2008. Nearly 130 museums nationwide are participating.

Participating Museums in Maryland include:
For information on museums nationwide visit GoCityKids.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday: Links that Make Us Think

Many ways to use a pumpkin @ MoneySavingMom

When I'm a Little Old Lady @ OwlHaven

What I Hope @ RocksInMyDryer

What's Your Beef Night @ WeAreThatFamily

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cheap Mocha Latte

Back in our DINK (double-income no kids) days, I got accustomed to drinking mocha frappocino by Starbucks, almost every morning. It started with an occasional visit to the Starbucks near our home, then hubby found the bottled version at BJs and surprised me with a case of them. Before long it was a habit, an addictive habit.

Then, we had kids. What had been a wonderful induglence, I quickly realized was a luxury that just didn't fit the budget. So, I found a cheaper version... this time it was adding International Delight's Chocolate Caramel creamer to my home-brewed cofffee each morning.

Then, we moved. And I could no longer find my beloved creamer. None of the stores in our new town carried the flavor I loved. I made several reqeusts at several local stores, but to no avail.

So, I came up with a new plan:
1 cup coffee + 1 splash of whole milk + 1 squirt of chocolate syrup =

One mocha-latte

My version is really good and a whole lot cheaper than buying Starbucks, even the bottled version. It works for me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Maryland Monday - Flour

Maryland Monday is a new series on grocery prices in the Maryland area. Each Monday I'll post the price of a common grocery item from a variety of Maryland grocery stores. I hope this helps you to find the best prices in your area and keep your grocery bill as low as possible.

This week's grocery item is flour. The prices listed below are the best price per pound at that store for the store brand unless noted otherwise:

All Purpose Bleached Flour
  • BJ's (Westminster): $7.99/20 lbs (Gold Medal) = $0.40/lb
  • Food Lion (Eldersburg): $1.89/5 lbs = $0.38/lb
  • Giant Food (Westminster): $2.29/5 lbs = $0.46/lb
  • Martin's (Eldersburg): $2.34/5 lbs = $0.47/lb
  • Martin's (Eldersburg): $11.29/25 lbs = $0.45/lb
  • Safeway (Eldersburg): $4.99/10 lbs = $0.50/lb
  • Shopper's (Eldersburg): $2.19/5 lbs = $0.44/lb
  • SuperFresh (Westminster): $4.49/10 lbs = $0.45/lb
  • Wal-Mart (Eldersburg): $2.42/5 lbs (Gold Medal) = $0.48/lb
  • Weiss (Westminster): $4.49/10 lbs = $0.45/lb

See more of Maryland Monday here.

Be sure to vote in the poll (left column). Which item would you like to see in the next Maryland Monday grocery comparison?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Free Night of Theater!!

I just discovered this via Freebie Friday @ MomAdvice...

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the not-for-profit American theatre, is sponsoring a free night of theater in cities around the nation. Shows are available from Oct 16 - Oct 30.

You can go to their website to find more details.

When I checked this afternoon Baltimore was completely sold out, but Washington DC still had a few tickets left.

These cities or states still had openings:
Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Philadelphia, San Diego, St Louis, Washington DC, Maine, New Jersey, New York state, North Carolina, South Florida, Utah, Wisconsin

It looks like tickets are going fast in most cities, so you 'll want to snap these up quickly.

10 Things I Learned from the Tightwad Gazette

Several months ago I borrowed "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn from our local library. I can't remember how I first learned about this book. It may have been from MoneySavingMom or it may have been from a subject search at my library. I also cannot begin to list all I've learned from this book. As we began our journey in search of a more frugal life, this book really served as both a source of inspiration for new ideas and an encouragement to continue the journey.

The book is over 800 pages and I'm no speed reader and I didn't come close to finishing it in the allotted 3 weeks. So, I renewed it. And then I renewed it again. And again. Evidently, at the time no one else in the whole county wanted this book. If had been requested at all, I would not have been allowed to renew it again and again.

Over the course of the several months I had possession of the book these are some of the things I learned (in no particular order) ...

1. Wash out ziploc bags and reuse them. Never reuse one that's contained raw meat, but otherwise until it has holes or has held raw meat there's no reason to throw it away.

2. Stop using so much extra dishwasher soap. I'd been filling the cup up completely, but after reading the Tightwad Gazette I realized for most loads I only need half the amount of soap. What a waste this had been.

3. The power of Yard Saleing. At the time of the articles in the TWG Amy bought the overwhelming majority of clothes for her 6 children at Yard Sales. I had never been much of a Yard Saler before, but TWG inspired me, and since then I've made several great finds of my own!

4. Keep a Price Book. This means keeping track of the sale prices on the groceries you use most. This was a bit overwhelming to think about at first, but after I started it I found that I began to remember the lowest price, even without my price book. The simple act of writing down the price and figuring out the price/ounce or price/each was helping cement it in my leaky brain. This particularly helps me when I'm comparing the price of a store brand item to a name-brand with coupons. Sometimes the store brand is cheaper. Sometimes the name-brand is cheaper.

5. Make your own bread crumbs. Using the heels of the bread loaves - which no one in my house wants to eat - I can make my own bread crumbs and never have to buy them. Simply let the pieces dry out for several days, or toast them. Then place them in a ziploc and crumble them with a rolling pin. Stored in an airtight container or in the freezer they will keep for a very long time.

6. Comparison shop. Compare prices. Comparison shop some more - for everything from bank accounts to ziploc containers!

7. Get over the "it has to be new" attitude! It really doesn't. There are many things that can be bought used and in great condition, much less expensively than bought new. It all depends on your own attitude.

8. Cooking from scratch is often, but not always cheaper. Making pizza from scratch is cheaper than buying Papa John's (even with a coupon). Boxed mac & cheese bought on sale is cheaper than making it from scratch.

9. Baking soda is a great cleaner/degreaser for many surfaces, including kitchen counters. And, combined with white vinegar it's also a great drain de-clogger.

10. Air dry clothes whenever possible. I don't do this with everything because we're used to the softness from drying in an electric dryer. But, I've started drying socks & underwear on an indoor rack and honestly, no one's complained!

The book is loaded with many more good ideas on how to live a more frugal life. If you want to live more frugally, I suggest borrowing this book from your local library, borrow it from a frugal friend, or if all else fails buy it used on Amazon or Barnes&

BiblicalWomanhood is taking a blogging break this month. So if you have your own frugal idea. You may post it here in the comments.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grocery Gathering & More

Today is Grocery Gathering Day.
If you're looking to match coupons with the sales at your favorite grocery store sales this is one of the best places to visit.

Just a quick highlight I picked up from a quick scan of yesterday's ad:

Shoppers (Eldersburg & Westminster, MD only)- Unlimited Triple Coupons up to $0.50. AND unlimited Double Coupons up to $1.00. (Limit of 4 coupons on identical items). This sale is only for Thurs - Sunday, Oct 2-5.

Definitely a good week to visit Shoppers if you live locally.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Stockpiling Works for Me.

I know there are many people out there who cannot stand the clutter of stockpiling (my sister included - it drives her nuts.) But, for me, this is one of the best ways of keeping our grocery budget low and keeping things on hand that I use nearly every day.

I prefer to buy things as they go on sale, especially if they are on a good sale and I have a matching coupon (see these posts). The "clutter" doesn't bother me, as long as I have a place to put it. I will stockpile almost any grocery item - as long as it has a long shelf life. At the moment I have 3 packs of toilet paper (24 rolls each) stored in the attic. I'm still working on the 5-6 boxes of dishwasher detergent I bought last spring; I have more toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap than we will use in a year; enough Pop-Tarts and granola bars to last through the school year; 8-10 boxes of cereal, 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, lots of extra baggies, 8 bottles of apple juice, and the list goes on.

There are some rules I live by when it comes to stockpiling.
  1. Never stockpile an item your family does not use or does not eat.
  2. Only stockpile items when they are on a good sale. (Not all sales are good!)
  3. Only stockpile as much as you have space for. (I do not stockpile milk - too little freezer space.)
  4. Be extremely careful of stockpiling items with a short shelf life, i.e., produce, dairy products. (If the food goes bad before your family can eat it then it didn't save you money.)
  5. Sales go in seasons - watch for which items are on sale at what time of year.
This is the beginning of a new month, so it's time to examine what items are likely to be on sale in October. I was reminded by Hot Coupon World these categories will probably be on good sales sometime this month:
  • Halloween items (of course)
  • Apples (good for canning)
  • Pumpkins (good for freezing)
  • Kraft items
  • crackers
  • baking and candy making items
  • some holiday foods (gravy, broth, Stove Top, etc.)
  • more items here.

There are several good deals this week at our local grocery stores. Tomorrow I'll be posting about some of the deals I'll be hitting to add to my current stockpile.

Does stockpiling work for you? Or are you a "clutter-phobe" like my sister? I'd love to hear your thoughts on stockpiling.

For more kitchen organization ideas visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.