Archive for January, 2007

Save Money On Printing

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

My husband is my web guy so he knows a few things about computers. Through his experience, we have been able to save ourselves some money by doing these things every day. Now if you know a few things about computers these ideas might not be mind-blowing, but I still think they are worth mentioning for the novices out there.

– When we print documents (unless they are needed for something important) we always use the “Draft” mode and the “Black & White” mode for printing. When you go to print, you can select, “Options” and you will select the black & white mode (should you have a color printer) and the draft mode. This will cut down on your usage of your ink considerably.

– If you work somewhere where you do a lot of printing, bring home your recycled paper for the kids or even for yourself. My husband brings home his paper for our son and it doubles as great paper for coloring for him.

– When you are home printing, use both sides of the paper to do your printing instead of just one side. You will use much less paper. You can save paper from junk mail, school announcements, fliers, etc.. and use these as paper for printing on too. Anything with one blank side is fair game in our house for printing or coloring on. This paper is basically free so it works well for a tightwad like me!

– Don’t pay full price for inkjet replacements. There are great sites out there that you can get your ink through without spending an arm or a leg. Websites like 123 Inkjets, offer up to eighty-five percent off of the regular price on these cartridges. Companies like these use remanufactured cartridges and refill them (often times with more ink than you would have gotten in the original cartridge). Consumer Reports tested remanufactured ink cartridges versus their brand name counterparts and felt that the brand name ink cartridges did perform slightly better, but using these would only be preferable in situations where the quality of your printing is of the utmost importance. For the regular old computer user, it usually does not matter.

– When printing from another web page, sometimes you are printing extra pages of advertisements or printing items on the page that you don’t need. I like to highlight what I need and plop it into a Word document so that I don’t end up with the extra cost of ink & paper. If you want to avoid opening Word, you can highlight what you are wanting to print you can select the File button at the top of your web browser. Next select Print. Then go under Print Range option and choose the Selection button. Only the area that you would have selected will be printed.

For those of you who are more technical than the average Joe, check LifeHacker out, as they have featured a free download that you can add as an extension to Firefox that allows you to customize pages and change their color, dimensions, or remove selections completely.

– Before making a printer purchase, always compare rates on the ink cartridges first. Even if the printer you are looking at is dirt cheap, you might be putting yourself in a worse financial position over time as the cartridges need to be replaced.

– Empty cartridges can be taken to your local office supplies stores for recycling. Call around in your area and see if they recycle the cartridge and if they offer anything in return. Some office supplies stores will give you money off of your next purchase or they will give you free paper for dropping your cartridges off at their location.

– If you have a large print job, it is usually cheaper to do these print jobs at copy centers. Ask if they offer any types of paper that are cheaper than others or how to reduce the cost on your job. Doing the printing yourself at a self-service copier is cheaper than having them print it for you.

If you have ideas that you would like to share with the readers, feel free to share under the Comments section.

Budget-Friendly Ideas for Kid’s Rooms

Monday, January 29th, 2007

First, do not be intimidated by the bright colors on our son’s walls. What appeared to be a cheery Granny Smith apple shade assaulted us with its fluorescent glow instead when applied to the walls. Although the color is a bit brighter than I had hoped, where else except our children’s rooms could we be so bold?

I had been looking for some cute artwork for his room since we had tons of empty wall space, begging to be filled with cute artwork. We did not have the budget though to go out and blow tons of money on artwork so when I happened upon this clever idea in my Real Simple Magazine, I jumped right on it and was so pleased with the results.

The magazine had suggested using book cover jackets as art for your walls. As my son has received wonderful hardcover books from his grandparents, I had been removing the jackets and putting them on a shelf in his closet (for fear that they might be damaged or torn). Two of the jacket covers were for two of his favorite books, “How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight” & “How do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food.” The artwork on them was just perfect for framing.
I went to the Dollar Store and purchased two frames. I then used the cardboard insert to map out how I would frame the pictures to size them and then cut them out. For one of the pictures, I just used the picture that was on the front of the jacket. I used the back of the other cover because it contained some of the story within the picture.

My son was so pleased with his new pictures on his wall as were we! What a great way to really bring to life and share your children’s favorite stories.

The linens on his bed were also in need of being replaced. My son suffers from very bad bloody noses and I could not remove the stain no matter how many times I washed it. My mom had suggested contacting the lady over at MomAdvice to find out how to fix this (obviously I get a lot of jokes about that one!), but apparently she had no idea either.

When I hit a local thrift sale in the area though, I hit the jackpot. Tucked away in a corner was an entire Pottery Barn Kids comforter set. The set included sheets, pillow cases, comforter, shams, bed skirt, and curtains. The total price on the whole thing was only $25. The colors matched perfectly with the theme we already had so these worked wonderfully.

As a side note, you will notice that our son has his bed backwards. One of the truly great things about daybeds is that you don’t have to purchase bedrails to keep them secure in bed. Simply switching the bed around (with headboard on the opposite side) and scooting it next to the wall keeps him safe in his bed without making a bed around bedrails. We will be purchasing this same type of bed for our daughter because it has worked so great. If you are worried about when they have friends come to stay the night, you can invest in a trundle bed that can be tucked underneath and can be popped up when needed. It is an ideal space saver.

I hope these ideas inspire you in creating a special space for your little ones. Feel free to share some of your own ideas by leaving a comment!

Freebie Friday: January 26, 2007

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Is it Friday already? This week has flown by and I am excited to share all of these great freebies with you. It happens to be a good week for freebies this week so I hope that you really enjoy these.

As I was sitting at the dentist’s office this morning, I noticed that they had a big stack of the new Michiana Family Magazines out. My dear friend Betsy is running this magazine and she is doing such an outstanding job with it. We are honored to be included among her writers and to have the opportunity to share more ways to save money with some of the local residents. Welcome to all of our new readers. Please be sure to introduce yourself or just leave a comment and let me know that you are out there. It helps to have the community support in our efforts here at Please be sure to be looking for the March issue of the magazine. We will be including frugal ideas for organizing all of the clutter in your house. Don’t worry if you don’t live in this area! These articles will be appearing on our site too in the months ahead.

Now here is this week’s round of freebies:

Receive a coupon for a free jar of Prego Spaghetti Sauce. There is a printable form to print out to receive this freebie. You will need Adobe Acrobat to print out this form. This offer expires 03/31/2007 or while supplies last.

Fill out the form to receive a free sample of Advil Pain Reliever and a coupon for $2 off your next purchase. The coupon will come to you as a free downloadable coupon after completing their form.

Receive a complimentary subscription to Boating Magazine. You can answer, “No, Thank You” to all of their offers. This is good for a one-year subscription.

This freebie seems almost too cool to be true. If you register on this site, you will receive a free Chinese Hand Painting Silk Handkerchief. This should be mailed to you within two to three business days.

You will need to go to a dealership for this freebie, but this site is offering free tickets to the Chicago Auto Show (great freebie for the local residents here!)

Receive a complimentary subscription to Vacations Magazine. Simply answer, “No, Thank You” to all of their offers. This is good for a one-year subscription.

Nature’s Bounty is offering a free sample of their Omega-3 Fish Oil Caplets. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.

Kenmore Appliances is having a free House Party on Saturday March 10, 2007. It is a play date of sorts that they are sponsoring. They suggest getting dirty doing fun science experiments, let the kids watch “Grossology” (a new Discovery Kids cartoon) and relaxing with your friends while your washer cleans up the mess. You will receive a free DVD featuring three episodes of Grossology, enter to win a contest for new laundry products & a new washer and dryer, sample new Spray & Wash Products, and use their new free website tools.

You will need a company name for this freebie, but this company is offering a free 128 MB USB flash drive.

RogerOger is offering a free full size bottle of Windex Multi Task Sparkling Lime. Please allow four to eight weeks for delivery.

Dawn is offering a free Kid-Friendly Sponge. This will be available while supplies last. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.

Get your free 2007 Dessert Calendar from Mrs. Smith. Supplies are limited- order today. Your order will arrive in two weeks.

Sign up to receive a free sample of Garnier Nutrioniste of Ultra-Lift or Skin Renew.

Receive a complimentary subscription to ReadyMade Magazine. This is good for a one-year subscription while supplies last.

This one was posted before, but just in case you missed it….Banquet is offering refunds on their Banquet Wings, Drumsticks, or Crock Pot meals. You can receive a refund or a coupon booklet by visiting their site.

In appreciation of all the great teachers across the United States & Canada, AMC & Paramount Pictures is offering an exclusive opportunity to see the new Freedom Writers movie for free between January 26th to February 1st. You must present a school-issued ID or pay stub and a valid photo ID. Visit their site for more information.

Purina is offering a free print publication of the Dog’s Life Magazine for free.

Enjoy your freebies, everyone!

Getting the Silent Treatment

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Have you felt like I have been giving you the silent treatment on my blog? I feel like my blogging hasn’t been at its best, but all of those things that you put off because they cost money or time, seemed to demand my attention these past couple of weeks so I have been busy doing those things instead of my normal socializing. The things that I had to accomplish these past two weeks:

– Going to get my eyes examined. It had been since 2004 since my last visit and I had a baby between now and then. Did you know that your prescription can change just from that alone? I needed to get in and get this taken care of for quite some time now and they happened to have an opening that day so I got this done. Unfortunately, it took an hour and a half for this visit. I needed my eyes dilated and this required some waiting time. Imagine a baby screaming every time the doctor looks at her or talks to her. Imagine even louder screaming when the doctor tries to check my eyes. Yes, that visit was most unpleasant, but it is finally done. All that time and effort only to discover that my prescription is exactly the same. Well, I guess it will save on glasses then!

– My daughter needed new cloth diapers. It was evident that she was outgrowing them because she was wetting up her back and soaking through them because they were too small. Although cloth diapering saves us a lot of money, the initial investment is a bit of a sticker shock when you move up sizes or when you begin the first time. I bought my diapers off of another cloth-diapering momma and was able to save quite a bit of money. I am now trying to unload our last round of diapers to hopefully help us break even. Imagine diapering your baby for free? That is basically what we are doing by buying used and selling them back.

– I have an oil change scheduled for tomorrow. I called around and priced out who could offer us the best price and found it at Bittersweet Automotive (the only competitor being Wal-Mart) in Granger. Although changing our oil costs us some money, the results have been great for keeping our cars running longer. I always try and be very prompt about scheduling these. I would hate for my car not to run because I was too lazy to make it over for the oil change. I have had experience with this, as I was not very responsible when I got my first car, and my cars never lasted very long.

– I also have a dental appointment scheduled for tomorrow. I hate getting my teeth cleaned, but would hate getting them filled or replaced more. Hopefully there will be no cavities and I will be able to enjoy some time away from the dentist for a few months.

Grocery shopping and menu planning. Although this happens every couple of weeks, I was trying to incorporate many more recipes to our plan this month so that I could share them with all of you through my blog. That takes a bit of planning, but hopefully we will have lots of new dishes to share with you.

– I had to write an article for the site and it is done. Be looking for that in the next week! I am sharing some frugal ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day without totally busting your budget.

– Tonight I will begin working on this week’s Freebie Friday. I don’t get to do this until late in the evening or on Friday itself because the offers come and go so quickly. I apply to each of these myself to make sure you don’t get error messages or find out that the offer wasn’t available in the first place. Besides, who loves a freebie more than me?

I still have laundry, house cleaning, and bill paying to do…but, it’s a start in the right direction.

I am looking for feedback from our readers and am asking for suggestions on future article topics. What are you interested in reading about? What free downloads would you like to see added to our Downloads section? Please let us know so that we can improve the site for 2007!

Cloth Diapering Mommas- Diapers for Sale

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Our daughter is moving up a size in diapers. Anyone who is interested in taking these off my hands is welcome to them. I accept PayPal payments to [email protected]. Please just send me your name and address and I will calculate shipping for you.

Fuzzi Bunz Size MEDIUM

9 White Fuzzi Bunz. All are in good condition- normal pilling from regular use, but they were used in a large rotation. One of the Fuzzi Bunz has a label that is only halfway attached and one has some light staining. All diapers are $10 each.

1 White Fuzzi Bunz that is in good condition- normal pilling from regular use. The stitching is coming loose on the back of it though so I am only asking $8 for this one.

2 Periwinkle blue Fuzzi Bunz that are in good condition- normal pilling from regular use. One has no staining the other has a small stain that could be sunned out. Both are $10

3 Pink Fuzzi Bunz in good condition- normal pilling from regular use. Asking $10 each.

2 Butter Yellow Fuzzi Bunz. Good used condition- normal pilling from regular use. Asking $10 each.

1 Sage Green Fuzzi Bunz. Good used condition- normal pilling from regular use. Asking $10 each.

5 Purple Fuzzi Bunz. Good used condition- normal pilling from regular use. Asking $10 each.

Bumkins Medium Diaper Covers

1 Pink Nova Print (see for the pictures) in EUC asking $8

1 Pink Fish (Dr Suess) print in EUC asking $8

Bummis Medium Super Whisper Wrap

1 White Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in EUC asking $8

Hemparoo Inserts Medium

I will include these with the purchase of a Fuzzi Bunz for an additional two dollars. These have staining on them, but are in good condition.

Happy Shopping!!

Frugal Momma’s Test Kitchen: Roast Chicken Recipe #2

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

I have started sharing my roast chicken recipes because a whole chicken is so darn cheap and so good! Last week, I shared my Roasted Balsamic-Glazed Chicken recipe that I happened upon through the Food Network website. If you haven’t tried it, I do highly recommend that one.

This recipe came out of just the types of ingredients I happened to have on hand. Grocery day was looming, but still so far away, so I had to be a little more creative in the kitchen. Time was also in short supply so this recipe had to be quick and require no monitoring on my part.

The chicken turned out moist and delicious. Despite dumping an entire contents of a dressing packet on top, the chicken is not salty at all and just leaves a pretty crust on top of the chicken.

As with all my recipes where I use a chicken in the slow cooker, I always make a rack of tin foil before putting the chicken in so the meat doesn’t become soggy. Simply ball three pieces of tin foil up and make a rack for the chicken to rest on. Place the chicken on top and when it is done cooking, remove the tin foil and you should have a lovely broth on the bottom to spoon over mashed potatoes.

Hope this recipe is a hit in your house too!

Amy’s Quick & Easy Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken
3 lemons
1 packet of Italian seasonings dressing packet (zesty or plain)

Clean chicken and remove the giblets and extra fat on the chicken. Make a rack out of tin foil by balling three pieces of foil up and putting them inside of your slow cooker. Rest the chicken on top. Cut the three lemons in half. Juice two of the lemons over the chicken and then rest them around the chicken. Put the other two halves of the third lemon inside of the chicken. Empty the seasoning packet on the outside and inside of the chicken. Cook on low for six to eight hours.

LetterPop! Makes Family Newsletters More Bearable

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

I am probably among the select few who do not publish a family newsletter detailing the events in our family over the years during the holiday season. First of all, I don’t think there is anything all that interesting going on in our lives that is newsletter worthy. An exciting day for us would be going to the supermarket tantrum-free or getting together for a playgroup with my friends. Not exactly newsworthy! Maybe we are just too boring and other people are much more exciting.

We have received very sweet and heartfelt letters from family & friends though and I do appreciate their efforts. For long-distance buddies, this has been a great way to feel a part of their lives. For others, it offers a humorous slant into their homes and makes me chuckle. I have received some rather amusing letters too detailing not just the positive things in their family, but the negative too (“Johnny received a D in his class this semester and is now grounded off of the television until he can bring his grades up. Suzy continues to be lazy and we are trying to encourage her to get her rear in gear or else she won’t graduate.”) To be honest, the last letter usually cracks me up the most. I figure, at least they are being honest!

Now there was a time when I did a newsletter for the website and we have gotten lots and lots of emails questioning when the next newsletter will be. I am sad to say, but I am not sure when we are going to get back on the newsletter wagon. With the growing number of accounts, it has become a huge expense for us to do and consumes much of my time during the month. The newsletter has sort of been replaced by the blog. With running a website, a blog, writing the articles, and running/moderating a forum discussion my time has become far too limited to expand it further or to justify the expense for my sporadic newsletters.

My husband did happen upon this great service from a company called LetterPop! though and I thought I would give it a test run with a smaller version of a newsletter to see what you guys thought about it. Is it easy to navigate? Do you have trouble reading the newsletter? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

I think LetterPop! is a great free alternative for publishing our newsletter, but I need your opinions too! Let me know what you think!

LetterPop! is currently in beta testing right now so not all of the features that it will offer are currently available. They are offering FREE accounts though for this first year, so get it while it is free and publish up some of your old family secrets. They have great holiday templates and you can include pictures of your sweet little angels in your updates.

Visit our test-run newsletter and let me know what you think. This is a much shorter version than I will be issuing monthly, but it is a great way for you to sample the service and maybe create your own free account.

Thanks to LetterPop! for offering such a great & invaluable service! I hope Johnny & Suzy’s mom find it- I would hate to be without their yearly updates!

Freebie Friday: January 19, 2007

Friday, January 19th, 2007

February 3rd is All Things Baby day at participating Wal-Mart stores. Between the hours of 10 Am and 4 PM you can receive bundles of information, helpful ideas & solutions, and product samples. Please visit this link for more information.
Enjoy a free subscription to Grand Magazine, the official magazine for grandparents, by filling out their quick form. This would make a great gift for the grandparents in your life!
Fill out the form to receive a free sample of Claritin RediTabs Tablets. Please allow two to six weeks for shipment.
Request to receive a trio of sample products from Jergens.
Sign up to receive an email for a free welcome gift for joining Fazoli’s E-Family.
Click here to receive a free subscription to Dime Magazine.
The first 5,000 to register can get TaxCut Online Basic for free, plus a twenty percent discount on all TaxCut Premium products.
Register to receive a free Tropicana product when they launch their new spring flavors. Click on the, “Big News & Free Product” link once the page has loaded.
Try the new Degree Ultra Clear Deodorant for free. This sample will arrive within four to six weeks.
GM is offering a free travel mug to thank you for visiting their site. Once the page has loaded, this freebie should pop up on the left side of your screen. Please allow three to four weeks for delivery.
Get a free one year subscription to Games for Windows Magazine. You will need to become a member of Start Sampling in order to receive this freebie.
Get a free one year subscription to LEGO Magazine. The link is underneath the “Club” category.

Click the email address and forward your contact information to the company to request a free sample of Bug Away. Make sure to tell them your preference of either Tall Kitchen (Indoor) or Large Trash Bag (Outdoor) samples.

Depending where you live, this site should give you a coupon towards your next purchase of Malt-O-Meal cereal. Some people only received money off of their coupon and others have received a coupon good for up to $4, depending on their location. You will need to register with this company, but they offer tons of coupons on their site.

Are You Looking for Redbox Codes?

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

I love using the Redbox kiosk that is located within our grocery store. For those of you who live in the Michiana area, these kiosks are located inside Martin’s Supermarkets.

We tried a movie club, but we didn’t watch enough movies to really justify the cost. We also rent a lot of movies from our local library, but sometimes you want a new release that day.

Redbox has been a great alternative for us. You can rent the movie, as long as you want, for only ninety-nine cents a day. Since we typically keep our movie one night, it is only a dollar to watch a new release. You can reserve your movies online through the Redbox website, or you can just pick a movie when you get there.

Recently I discovered this great website called Inside Redbox. I have been using this site for several weeks now and I absolutely love it. The website shares all of the current coupon codes for the month. People can add codes they have used or report codes that no longer work. I have been using these codes for my movies and we have yet to be charged for a single one.

If you like movies and you like free, then please visit Inside Redbox.

As a side note, the reason I had not posted this site before was because I was afraid that it might be shut down with the traffic they would receive or that Redbox, the actual movie company, might be upset that people are sharing these codes. Luckily, the guy who runs the site recently reported a great conversation he had with the VP of Marketing at their company…Guess what? Redbox loves the site and so do we!

Please visit Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas!

Birthday Freebies

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Today is my birthday so I wanted to remind you guys of this great post that lists all of the wonderful things you can get for FREE on your birthday. Who doesn’t love a freebie on their special day?

Don’t forget to read the comments so that you can get the scoop on other freebies that weren’t covered within my post!

I will be back to blogging tomorrow!