Archive for May, 2007

New Article: The Benefits of Line Drying Your Clothes

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

We have a new article up! Please visit my new article on the benefits of line drying your clothing. There are some helpful pointers for how to hang your laundry and the reason why this will save your family so much money.

Please be sure to check out this article and let me know what you think! Do you have any of your own tips that have saved you time or money when doing this?

Sound off: Do you dry your clothing on a line? Outside, inside, or both? Please share!

The Dollar Stretcher Tips 05.31.2007

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
For a sample copy of The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, send $2 to: Dollar Stretcher Sample, 6695 Cortez Road W., Bradenton FL 34210. Copyright 2007 Dollar Stretcher, Inc. Visit The Dollar Stretcher for even more tips & ideas!

“Uniform” Solution

I save a ton of money, time and energy at my office job by creating a work uniform for myself. I purchased five black slacks (the heavy-duty kind for construction workers as they stay pressed-looking after days of wear in an office) and ten polo shirts of different colors. I simply wash and wear. Before this, I used to get up early and try to coordinate slacks, blouses, belts and shoes. Lately, I realized that I just need to be clean, pressed and presentable. Every piece in my new work outfit is always perfectly interchangeable, and with the differently colored polo shirts, I never get bored with what I’m wearing. Now if I spend time or money on clothes, it’s to wear for a night on the town where it really counts to look my best!

Holey Half

When opening up a new box of cleaning powder (Ajax, etc.), leave half of the holes covered with the opening sticky paper. This way, you only use half the amount of powder to clean. I have found this to be enough to get the job done.

Destination Savings

We were planing a trip to Orlando to go to Disney World. One of the biggest savers on our trip was getting on a national entertainment book website and ordering an Orlando coupon book. Most people only order these for their own hometowns.

By ordering one for the place you plan to visit, you will find all kinds of “buy one get one free” coupons for places to eat and things to do, as well as places to visit. Because these are “hometown” places, you can go where the locals eat instead of the tourist places that you would normally go to. You’ll pay so much less, and by using your coupons, you’ll save even more!

The book saved us a lot of money and we had a great time going to “off the beaten path” places instead of the crowed places most tourists attend!
Karen M. in Fairhope, AL

Party Planning

Two years ago when my high school son graduated, I bought all the party supplies that I needed. I hadn’t planned ahead and bought at full price. What was I thinking??? I spent a small fortune. Do you have someone graduating next year? Be smart, buy the party items, plates, napkins, cups, picture frames and other fun stuff this year. Watch for clearance items at the end of this month. Just don’t buy anything with the year on it. Party supply stores have lots of choices, and lots of items. No need to pay full price. For the stuff with the year on it, just wait until right after next New Year’s!
Tammy A.

Better Bows

I have found a cheap and fun way to wrap gifts without buying expensive bows. After wrapping the gift in colorful wrapping paper and using thin curling ribbon to tie the gift in the traditional crisscross manner I use a bag of candy such as skittles or M&M;’s at the bow by the taking thin ribbon and tying the candy in the middle and curling the excess ribbon. The bag candy tied in the middle had the shape of a bow tie and the ribbon curls around it make it look festive. Kids are much happier with this than a bow they throw out and it is much cheaper.
Linda C.

Picnic Corn-on-the-Cob

One of my favorite picnic food items is corn on the cob, but it is such a hassle to spread butter on it. We’ve found that if you heat up water in a large metal can (old coffee can or large pork and beans can) and then melt butter in it, the butter stays on the top. When your corn is done, all you have to do is dip it in the butter/water and pull it out. It comes out nicely buttered with no mess or hassle.
Cindy M. in North Pole, Alaska


My family recently decided to go on vacation. I found that if I looked up the rates from the hotels directly, I saved about $10 per room per night. But that is not my tip. My tip is to call your chosen hotels 1-800 number to make the reservation. Of the three I called, all three of them offered me freebies to book with them. The one I chose sent me $40 off for gas! And my children got to stay for free!
Devery J. in Houston, TX

Flea Market Garden

While weeding my garden from unwanted plants, I wondered if someone else would like some of my surplus plants. I had extra spearmint, garlic and chives. I put them in some peat pots, took them to a flea market, and sold them for $1.00 each. The money came in handy, and the buyers found plants that were less expensive plants than they could buy elsewhere.

Basket Storage

Everyone has Easter baskets or other baskets to store. Instead of stacking bulky baskets and taking up a lot of space in a closet for storage, I hang mine from cup hooks inserted into a closet ceiling. This keeps them out of the way until I need them, and uses a usually unusable space.
Kris W.

Moving Kitchen Heat Outdoors

We live in Florida and try to avoid heating the kitchen in the summer. Cooking on a grill can sure help. Our children love grilled teriyaki salmon, BBQ chicken breasts and drumsticks, turkey legs, and London Broil (great for a crowd), corn in the husks, and foil packet dinners.

We often use a wood plank (cedar/alder), which keeps the meat moist, adds flavor and helps keep your meat from getting overdone while you’re busy playing with the kids or puttering about the backyard.

Foil packets are great for vegetables (carrots, potatoes, peppers, onions) and fruits (pineapple, mango, apples) with your meat. Everything turns out tender and steamed to perfection. Again, like the plank cooking, you don’t have to worry as much about flare-ups and burning your grilled items.

Amy’s Notebook 05.31.2007

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

I had hoped to have more time to put this together, but I had the opportunity to host a birthday dinner for my father-in-law so time ended up being limited today. I did manage to make a big tray of baked ziti, homemade bread, and a chocolate birthday cake in honor of his special day.

Regardless, I did want to share a few of my favorite reads for the week! Enjoy!

Stop the Ride! has a great entry on how to keep track of all of those library books. I love Stephanie’s suggestion for book limits.

Happy Hearts at Home share a homemade version of insecticidal soap.

Simply Thrifty shares about a free donut day at Krispy Kreme. Yummy!

Jeri’s Organizing Tips shares the importance of finding your colors to help you weed through your clothing and to help you when doing shopping in the future.

I’m An Organizing Junkie offers up a great idea for an inexpensive organizer for your wall. I am going to have to look for these when doing my thrift shopping.

The Frugal Duchess has a great listing of freebies you can score at your local hardware store.

INNside Innkeeping has a great entry on ways you can go green that will save you the most money.

My Home Redux shares some great ways you can decorate with garage sale finds.

Scribbit has a great tutorial on how to make your own dollhouse.

Home-Ec 101 has a yummy sloppy joe recipe posted.

Apartment Therapy has a fabulous entry on how to photograph your children chock full of great resources to help capture all of those precious moments.

Simply Recipes has a recipe for making juice popsicles. Be sure to read the comments as the readers seem to have lots of other great ideas for this summer treat.

Aldi Adds Menu Planning Features

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

This came from the VP of Aldi Supermarket. I will be anxious to hear what you guys think about this.


Just thought I would let you and your readers know that tomorrow (6/1), ALDI will be launching a website that will include a recipe/meal planner, as well as shopping lists and other exciting tools.  Given your interest on the subject, I figured you might like to have advance notice of the website’s debut.

Here is the link, which should be active tomorrow.

Thanks for your continued support.

Brent Laubaugh
Vice President

Michelle’s Pasta Salad

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

This comes from one of our fabulous readers. Thanks to Michelle for taking the time to send in a submission for my grilling project! She says that she brings this to potlucks, but always ends up coming home with an empty container. You know it must be good!

Michelle’s Pasta Salad  

1 16oz. package garden rotini  (Aldi has usually)
1 bottle Aldi Fit and Active Italian
½ cup chopped red onion
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup sliced baby carrots
½ pkg frozen vegetable blend (broccoli, cauliflower etc)
1  can black olives, sliced  (use 1/2 can)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and allow hot water to collect in another bowl.  Rinse pasta with cold water to chill quickly and drain well.

Meanwhile put onions and frozen veggies in the hot water from the pasta and let sit for a few minutes to soften onions and vegetables.  Drain well.

Combine all ingredients – you will not use the entire bottle of Italian dressing at first.  After chilling for a few hours, add the remainder of the bottle. 

Salmon Pockets

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I made these tonight on the grill and they were delicious. Watch them carefully because they will cook quickly!

Salmon Pockets

1 bag of Aldi Salmon Fillets (should contain four fillets)
Lemon juice
Garlic powder
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Parsley (dried or fresh)

Preheat your outdoor grill for fifteen minutes. While it is heating up, take out four pieces of tin foil and make a pocket for the fillets to rest in each of them. I folded up all four edges on each pocket. Spray the pocket lightly with cooking spray and then rest the fillet inside. Drizzle the fillet with olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Place the pockets on the grill and close the grill. Cook for eight to ten minutes, or until the fish is pink and flakes with a fork. Serve in the pocket.

Serve with baked potatoes and a garden salad.

Overcoming My Fears: Cutting Hair

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I think I should just start a series on all of the things that I am learning to do that I was afraid to do. I certainly have enough entries on here to create a series: fear of working with dough, fear of gardening, fear of mowing, and now fear of cutting hair.

I hate to pay for hair cuts and had invested in buying a pair of clippers to do our son’s hair and my husband’s. I tried doing it once and just was too nervous and scared that I would mess their hair up to have done a good job. After attempting this a few times, I usually ended up taking our son over to a Super Cuts to correct my tedious and bad hair cuts. Just taking him over there instead of messing with it at home seemed to save me the time and hassle of attempting it myself.

We had been having my sister-in-law come over to help cut the boys hair and I would make dinner for her. It was a nice arrangement, but she is such a busy person that I felt a little guilty taking advantage of her free time. I still will have her do it, when she is available, but I wanted to learn how to do it myself so we could be more self-sufficient. I could also take advantage of the times when my son was in a good mood or when we had somewhere to go (pictures, family get togethers, etc..) where I wanted him to look his best.

I checked out a book entitled, “Cutting Your Family’s Hair” and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is trying to learn how to do their own haircuts. The book offered a picture (not a drawing!) tutorial on step-by-step instructions for hair cutting. It also offered a listing of basic tools you would need to get the job done.

The tools that were suggested in the book were a good quality pair of scissors (purchased from your local beauty supply store), a comb, a cape & towel (the cape can be purchased at your beauty supply store), a spray bottle of water, & a pair of clippers. My personal addition to this list is a booster seat to get your child at the right height needed to cut their hair well.

For a basic clipper cut the instructions were:

1. Set clippers at a low setting. Begin at back, cutting hair short. (For my husband and son, I used a number three, to make sure it wasn’t too close or too long- it worked well).

2. Use a comb to pull up the hair and move the clippers across the comb to cut the hair.

3. Continue up the back. Stop 3-4″ from the crown.

4. Move to the sides, using the clippers to trim the hair above the ears.

5. Continue clipping up the sides 2-3″. Leave the top hair to be cut with the scissors. Move around to the back, being sure all the clipped hair is the same length.

6. Cut hair at top back, pulling out hair with your fingers and cutting it to a one-finger length.

7. At sides just above clipper cut area, use a comb to pull out hair and cut (A one finger length is too long at the sides).

8. Cut the top guide line to the desired length, beginning at the crown. Here, it’s cut to a one-finger length. Cut all hair then to this length.

9. Blend the hair that was cut with the clippers with the top hair, using scissors and a comb.

10. Comb front hair forward and trim.

11. Trim across the bottom of the back with clippers.

12. Use clippers to trim sideburns.

13. Hold ears forward and use clippers to tidy up behind the ears.

Although it is hard to go by the written instructions alone, it does give you a better idea of how the pros do it. I found the pictures to also be a great reference for me and it helped make me feel more comfortable doing it.

I did both Ryan & Ethan’s haircuts this weekend and they turned out really well. I “practiced” first on my husband because I felt like I could really take my time and figure everything out. This is something I couldn’t do with an energetic four year old who kept saying during his haircut, “Are we done yet? Are we done now? How about now? And now?” I took my time with Ryan and made sure I felt comfortable with everything and then did our son’s hair after that. I must say, both of their haircuts turned out really well and I am really proud of myself for attempting something that is definitely outside of my box.

While I wouldn’t be up to cutting my own hair, I did pick a low-maintenance style that allows me to go less frequently and I do color my hair at home to save myself quite a bit of money for the family. I also try to do weekly pedicures as a special beauty treat for myself. These savings alone are probably in the fifty-sixty dollar range monthly.

Do you do any of your own beauty treatments at home? How do you save your family money in this category of your spending?

Freebie Friday: May 25, 2007

Friday, May 25th, 2007

I have your listing of great freebies for the week and I am hoping you guys might be able to help me out with something.
I am looking for really good outdoor recipes (grilling, pasta salads, picnic foods, etc..) for the next menu planner I am working on for the Aldi Queen blog. I am going to attempt doing an outdoor edition to give you guys some great summer recipes to try. If you have a tried and true recipe (or two!) to send my way, I would really appreciate it! Think summer foods! Think of old family favorites! Think of all the help you can offer me! Please email your recipes to [email protected]. Thanks a bunch!
Let’s move on to what you are REALLY here for- those freebies. Enjoy, my friends!

Health & Beauty:
Print out this coupon for a free pair of Jockey Ultimates Panty on the Spot from your local Macy’s department store. No purchase is necessary and the offer is valid from 05/31 to 06/06. This offer is good in store only. This freebie is valued at $9.50.

Get a free 7-day supply of Clinique’s 3-Step Skin Care, available at selected Macy’s department stores. This offer is good one to a customer and only good while supplies last through June 2007.

Looking for free trial gym memberships? Visit to find gyms in your area and receive their free trial passes.

Try a free sample of Mary Kay’s Private Spa Collection Satin Hands Pampering Set.

Get a free DKNY Be Delicious Gift exclusively from Sephora Cosmetics.

Join an elite group of DevOtees who we turn to for opinions on things that matter most. As a DevOtee, you will also get the inside scoop first, and have the chance to win great new products, samples and gifts as well as receive invitations to special O events. Please complete the following brief registration survey to ensure we have your current information. Survey participation is always 100% voluntary, and all information provided will remain confidential. As a thank you, all panelists who complete the survey will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three $100 American Express Gift Cards.Home & Garden:
Sign up to receive a free 10-pack of HP All-In-One Printing Paper.
Yahoo is trying to get their readers to go green. If you complete three of their listed activities, you can get a free CFL bulb. And for every additional 500 credits you earn, they will send you another CFL.

Click on the link to enter the sweepstakes and receive a free sample of Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Foil.

Mr. Cheap Stuff has a great post on a site that you can use to send free faxes.

Print out this Chuck E Cheese coupon for 12 free tokens (a $3 value). This offer expires on 06/10/2007 and you can only use one coupon per family.

Claim a complimentary one-year subscription to Horse Illustrated Magazine. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.

Don’t forget about all of those free movies offered through select AMC Theatres for the kids during the summer! Check out their website for more details.

United Airlines is offering 10,000 Mileage Bonus Points to recent college graduates. Be sure to pass this offer along to any of the graduates you know! From their website: “We will help you celebrate your college graduation with 10,000 Mileage Plus bonus miles. Just send the following to the address below, and your bonus will be posted to your account within 4–6 weeks of receipt:

A copy of your final transcript showing that you did indeed graduate as a full-time student from a U.S. college or university.*

Your United College Plus/Mileage Plus account number.**
Your e-mail address.

Mileage Plus, Inc.
P.O. Box 40
Rapid City, SD 57709
Attn: College Plus Graduation”
We just signed our son up for our free library summer reading program and received his coupons and first prize for his reading. If you have kids doing a reading program this summer, the Barnes & Noble reading program would be great to do in conjunction with that. Have your children read eight books (does NOT have to be purchased from Barnes & Noble) and have them journal (or journal for them) their favorite part in each book. Bring the journal entries in between May 29th & Sept 2nd and they will give you a coupon for a free book. Visit their website for more details!
Register to receive a free State Farm Common Cents kit. The kit has a DVD that includes games for grades K-12 and The Johnny “Gullible” Story for grades 9-12.
Download free kid’s music for the child in your life!

Try a free sample of Carmel Macchiato Senseo Barista Blends coffee pods.

Sign up to receive a free bake sale planning kit, provided by Splenda.

Pet Care:

Sign up to receive a free sample of Iams Healthy & Natural Digestive Care food. There are only samples available to dog owners. Please limit one sample per household and allow up to four weeks for delivery.

Check it Out: Women & Money

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

I just finished reading the book, “Women & Money” by Suze Orman. Reading it is really an understatement…I actually devoured it in one sitting.

I don’t know why I have never been that keen on Suze Orman. I seem to be more drawn to Mary Hunt & Dave Ramsey’s writings, but I saw this book and figured it might be worth my time to read it.

It was definitely worth my time, as we have been contemplating writing a will for some time, but just have not had the financial means to tackle this. I would really like to have all of this in place, in the event that something should happen to us, but paying a lawyer is just not in the equation for us right now.

Suze Orman recognizes that many people can’t afford to have this paperwork in order and offers her own will planning software, available on her website for a mere $13.50! The software (according to her website) includes:

  • An easy-to-answer questionnaire that will automatically
    select the correct must-have documents for you
  • Audio and visual explanations taking you paragraph by
    paragraph through the four must-have documents
  • 10 electronic guidebooks, that cover all aspects of your financial life
  • Free automatic updates, so your documents will always be current (Internet access required)

It’s like having your own financial planner and personal trust attorney at your fingertips!

  • Personalize – Fill in the questionnaire, and the program will automatically select and populate all the essential documents to fit your unique situation.
  • Print – Listen to or read a step-by-step explanation of what you need to know. Then print out the relevant documents.
  • Protect – To complete the process, follow the instructions that print out with your documents. (In some cases, forms will need to be witnessed and notarized.) Then store them in a safe place.

I am planning to try out this software for our family and get these documents taken care of. There is nothing more frightening than knowing that our financial documents are not in order and this could jeopardize the financial future for our children.

We are in our late twenties and pray that nothing ever happens to us. Unfortunately, life is uncertain and it is important to do this for our children and for our own peace of mind.

Other than that, much of the advice given was to teach women how to understand money and all of the financial terminology and accounts that should go with it. She encourages women to start taking action and has a five month plan to get your finances back in order. Some of it I skimmed over, as it related more to a woman who is in the work force, but a lot of it applied to me.

Her encouragement to save money was taken a step further because she partnered with Ameritrade to get women to open an account and start a nest egg for their future. You will need to actually purchase the book to get the code needed to activate this offer, but with the book cost being under twenty dollars, it would be worth it to make the investment.

If you set up an account between now and 03/31/2008 and automatically deposit a minimum of $50 each month into the account, after twelve months the Ameritrade company will deposit a $100 into the account to reward you for your saving.

I have yet to establish a nest egg for myself, another worrying factor for me. I am not working so I do not have the benefit of a 401K or a paycheck coming to me. I am not sure how long I will be staying home, but I would like to be proactive about my finances and get something established for myself sooner rather than later.

I am wondering how many of you have a nest egg for yourself? How many of you have a will in place for your family? Are these financial matters taken care of or are you sitting around worrying about them too?

I hope you will check out this book. It is a great read for all women and has a great plan for getting your financial life back in order!

The Dollar Stretcher Tips 05.24.2007

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
For a sample copy of The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, send $2 to: Dollar Stretcher Sample, 6695 Cortez Road W., Bradenton FL 34210. Copyright 2007 Dollar Stretcher, Inc. Visit The Dollar Stretcher for even more tips & ideas!


My son and daughter-in-law are traveling to Rome in a few weeks and are allowed only one suitcase each. They are packing half of her clothes and half of his clothes in each of the suitcases just in case one is sent to some other airport. They are also carrying a backpack for passports, a change of underwear, their medications, and the rest of their pockets’ regular contents.
Hope O. in Charleston, SC

Easy to Spot

I hang dh’s clothes on dark plastic hangers (blue, black, green) and my clothes on light plastic hangers (white, pink, yellow), so that when I go to hang them in our closet, they are easy to separate. Also, I can see at a glance if something was hung up on the wrong side of the closet.
Beverly G.
Marion Jct, AL

Used Cell Phones

I don’t think anyone needs to take out cell phone insurance especially if you’re like me with used cell phones you’ve not disposed of. Here’s why. My son’s cell phone was run over by a car and smashed to pieces. He had one month to go on his cell phone contract and would be eligible for a discounted upgrade in 30 days. What to do? He borrowed a friend’s old, used cell phone (from the same provider), called the company and they transferred my son’s service to the used phone. I learned from this to keep at least one of my old cell phones.

Clothing Stain Cover

If you have a stain you just can’t get out, try disguising it with fabric paint. My son had a very nice kelly green t-shirt that I just couldn’t get the stain out of so with the help of a stencil and some fabric paint I turned it into a lizard on a rock. Turned out really cute and it’s still nice enough to wear to town. Give it a try, what’s the worst that can happen…
Iris S.

If That Happened…

Last summer, I used some “STP Son Of a Gun Tire Cleaner” on my tires. It dripped onto our driveway. The spots where it dripped still repel water to this day. That got me thinking. Why not try this stuff on my faded vinyl shutters? So I tried it, and I am pleased with the results. It cleans grime and it does a very good job of bringing the color back out on vinyl shutters. Just spray on and wipe with a paper towel.
Brent R.

Travel Time

When my girls were little, I used to package up little puzzles, games, etc., and as we were traveling, one package would be given out every hour. This made the trip easier for the girls. They had something new to look forward to while traveling long miles.
Tasha S. in Abbotsford BC

No Trash Here

In my hometown in N.C., the local solid waste service has a great thing! It is called the “Swap Shop.” The Swap Shop is for residents to bring/take useable items. When we have a yard sale, we drop off the items that have not sold, and we have gotten things in return, like a RCA TV, Vicks humidifier (new in the box), toaster, and a bunch of books for my kids!

I have checked and a lot of local solid waste services have this program too! The purpose of the swap is to encourage waste reduction through the practice of reuse. The goal is to divert good, useable items away from the waste stream and conserve valuable landfill space.
Arlene in Raleigh, NC

The Mother of Invention

As a mother of five, there isn’t a lot of extra money. A repair bill would be an unexpected expense. Our icemaker quit working so I decided to remove the cover and look inside to see if I could tell what was wrong. I figured I couldn’t make it any worse! First, I disconnected the electricity. It was easy to see the problem. I removed the broken piece, took it to the parts store, got the replacement and put it back together being careful to not over tighten the screws. It works wonderful and I saved a lot of money!

Dumping Big Box

I found that I am saving money (and stress) in a surprisingly easy way. I’m staying away from the “Big Box” superstores. While the super store’s prices are usually lower on many grocery items, I find myself browsing around for clothes, CDs, craft items and other items that I don’t really need. I can resist anything but temptation! I recently became very frustrated with our local superstore never having enough cashiers, making for seemingly endless wait times in the checkout line. I realize less help translates to lower prices, but my time spent in line also has a value that I am no longer willing to waste.
Michelle D.

Kitchen Lighting

In remodeling our kitchen, my husband came up with a great idea to provide ample lighting, while keeping the cost down. He put in canned recessed lights in four sets of three lights. One set is over the sink, one set is over the kitchen island where food prep occurs, one set is over the counters and stove, and one set is over the breakfast nook. We can have all the lights on when we feel like we need bright lighting in the kitchen (like when I’m preparing a meal), or we can have fewer lights on when we are just eating or doing the dishes. It’s nice having the ability to light the kitchen brightly to read recipes and see the texture of food cooking on the stove. It’s also a big money-savings to not have to have all the lights on when they are not needed. You can easily swap out the incandescent light bulbs for the more energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs in each of these recessed lights.
Jill in Santa Cruz, CA