Friday, July 25, 2008

Cutting Back Costs

Sorry, it's been a while...I'm still here. Just busy with family and normal day-to-day stuff.

Everywhere - you see prices rising, and with a family of our size (5 kids) we have to cut back where we can. This past month has been a serious financial reality check for us, and it's time to put our foot down. Here's what we've been "trying" to do better at to stretch our dollars...

  • Hang our laundry, and NOT use the dryer - We recently bought a new umbrella type clothes dryer (our first one broke), and we've been using it daily if the weather doesn't look like rain.

  • Use our air conditioner LESS or not at all - This is another obvious electricity saver. We started running more fans in the far it's working. We have only been putting on the air when we are desperate! lol More home cooling tips here.

There are other cool alternatives that can be done... go to the library (we've done this). Enjoy their air conditioned space, and it doesn't cost a thing to bring some good books home! Go to an indoor shopping mall - careful you'll be tempted to buy stuff (especially if you have kids with you), so you probably won't be saving any money doing this. Go to Costco and stand in their large refrigerated section. It almost feels like a freezer though. I joke about doing this, and we've never done this just to cool down, but it sounds like fun. Oh..but it's another tempting "shopping" situation....remember..we're trying to save not spend!

  • Buy take-out less! - I believe our family is getting better at this. Planning is definitely the key here. Knowing what you are going to make ahead of time, making sure you have the ingredients on hand and your meat thawed, makes it less tempting to say, "Let's order pizza!"

  • Stay focused when shopping - Buy what you need, not what you want! Better yet, stay away from the mall and those SALES period, unless you have to get a gift (why not make a gift instead?) You may think you are saving when there is a SALE,...but you are still spending! I also try not to browse online or watch QVC - too tempting!

  • Use coupons when possible - You can get coupons online and/or from the Sunday's newspaper. I'm still new at this. I currently don't subscribe to the Sunday paper (because I believe our family just gets tempted from all the sales ads) so my mom passes the coupons to me from her paper. I just clip the coupons for the products that I normally use and keep them in a ziploc baggie in my purse. I only use the coupons on the products if they are ON SALE at the store. So that's double savings! The experienced Money Saving Mom has really great advice and ideas on couponing.

  • Saving more energy -We don't have a newer refrigerator with a water dispenser on the door, so my large family has been taking chilled water from our Pur water pitcher from the fridge. Well... opening and closing the fridge door wastes LOTS of energy, and the pitcher runs out of water frequently so we are constantly refilling it. To save time and ENERGY costs, we purchased a 3 quart water jug from Walmart. Filled with iced water, it sits on our kitchen counter for easy dispensing for thirsty family members. I REALLY should have done this sooner! My mom use to do I SHOULD have known!
    Well, better late than never.

Hopefully these little things we are doing, will pay off. I'll know when the next electric bill comes in. What are you all doing to cut back costs? Please share!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nintendo Wii GIVEAWAY!

Ok, WHO would love a brand NEW Nintendo Wii game system?!
Well - check out To Think Is To Create who's giving away one for FREE!
Go here to enter before July 16.
Sweepstakes is open to U.S. residents who are 18 or older as of 07-Jul-2008.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Supercook to the Rescue!

This is not your ordinary "Super Hero"... but to me it's definitely a hero in my kitchen! Have you ever wondered, "What should I make for dinner?" You have ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator/freezer...but don't know what to throw together?

Check out, a recipe search engine that helps find thousands of recipes you can make right now with the ingredients you have available at home. Supercook returns recipes you can actually make right now with the ingredients you have. It even tells you exactly how many recipes you can make, broken down into 'Starters', 'Entrees' and 'Dessert' categories. With Supercook, finding a great recipe is no longer a hassle, simply put in all the ingredients you have at home and Supercook will instantly provide you with hundreds of recipes that are all within your reach. If a recipe requires ingredients you do not have, Supercook takes the guesswork out by clearly listing the additional ingredients you will need. This eliminates wasted time spent browsing through recipes to determine whether or not a recipe is right for you.

I used the website last night, and prepared a new dish for my family, and they loved it! What I love is that I didn't have to go out to buy any ingredients! I just typed in some ingredients that I had on hand and 12 recipes that I could make popped up on the website! I chose one that was simple and had great reviews..... Beef Mushroom Spaghetti. I definitely will be visiting again soon!