Friday, December 31, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

If you like the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it's store - now is the time to shop.  They are having a huge sale.  Their planner (normally $39) is $10, and lots of their ebooks are $1-$2.  I racked up !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Plastic Bread Tabs

You know those flat, hard plastic tags that come on bread, buns, bagels, etc.  I have 2 good uses for them:

  1. Mini pan scrapers (just like the Pampered Chef ones, but free and smaller so you can toss them more frequently)
  2. Tagging cords going into one of those strip plugs so you know what is what without unplugging the wrong thing, or without following the cord all the way back to the appliance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Threat of Legal Action

I have been threatened with legal action.  Here is a copy of an email I got just a few minutes ago:

I'm writing to kindly ask if you could change your blog's name? We own the federal trademark on "Money Saving Mom" and since that phrase is in your blog's name, it actually violates our federal trademark, which would mean you'd be subject to federal fines and more if you continue to use it.

I'm sure you didn't know this and I hate to even request this since I know it's tough to change one's blog name. However, since we have gotten Walmart to stop using them phrase "Money Saving Moms" on a section of their site, our attorney also says we have to ask blogs using the phrase "Money Saving Mom" in their name to discontinue it's use because the size of a company or blog doesn't matter when it comes to the federal trademark rules.

I'll be happy to give you 4-6 weeks to change the name (or longer, if you need it). Please just let me know when it is changed, or if you have any other questions.

Thanks so much!

Crystal Paine

Money Saving Mom®

Helping you be a better home economist

So, I guess I have no choice, I'm not rich because I don't advertise on my site, so I have to ask you a question - It will be on the side bar after today - What should I name my site?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cost of Beauty

People (especially women) spend a ton on beauty, let's see where else we could put those dollars

  1. Professional Hair coloring - once every 6 weeks, millions of women get their hair frosted/highlighted dyed at the beauty shop.  Let's say they spend about $65 - that means in 1 year, they spend about $550 just on their coloring. (That's and entire month's worth of groceries plus some gas)
  2. Fancy Beauty cream - millions of women also drop $25 or more every 2 months on special creams to make them look younger and reduce eye puffiness - truth is, none of those creams are proven to work better than sleep or hemmrhoid cream.  In one year, that's $150 a year (one month of both cable and landline telephone bills)
  3. Makeup - this is a big variable, but let's go with a nice low figure - say $10 a month on makeup related expenses.  Because of what makeup does, it actually makes you look older instead of younger.  That's $120 a year, plus now you have to buy stuff to try to make you look younger again.  (the equivalent of one month cell phone bill, plus a tank of gas)
  4. Special smelly body washes and lotions - not proven to do anything more for your skin than regular moisturizing bar soap and basic lotion, costs about $20 a month ($240 a year - or one month's car payment or electric bill)
Let's add this together: $550 + $150 + $120 + $240 = $1060 a year (most or all of one month's mortgage)

So beautify smartly, and don't be fooled by ads designed to pull you in, and also, let your natural beauty shine through, and laugh more all the way to the bank!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I love pets, I really do.  When my husband and I got married, he had a dog named Gus, a golden retreiver.  He was beautiful and gentle, and I instantly fell in love with him.  We had him for 4 1/2 more years until an unfortunate accident took him away.  I miss him a lot.

Pets can cost a lot of money though.  If you are not broke, not behind in your bills, and have an adequate savings on top of that, then have pets, and love them and enjoy them.


If you are behind on your mortgage or your bills, struggling to make ends meet and stressed.  You need to find a new home for fluffy.  Pets cost money. A minimum of $50 a month just in feeding them (that's $600 a year).  I'm not trying to be mean at all, but prioritize.  Another thing is if you lose your home, chances are that where you go will not allow pets, so you will have to get rid of them.  If you are proactive and give them away, you can find great homes for them where they will be loved, well cared for and possibly you may be able to visit them.  But if you are suddenly having to move, fluffy doesn't always get the best end of the stick.  I hate seeing animals ditched because people can't afford them anymore - do the loveable critters in your world a favor and don't let it come to that.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buying Books Online

When I have to purchase books, I shop around.  There is no need for me to pay full price for books.  Some of the sites I frequent are:
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Barnes & Noble
These sites have their sellers display cost and shipping right up front to reduce suprises at the checkout.  Please just take 2-3 minutes to shop around before you  purchase.  A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

This also works for movies -  you can save 50% over Wal-Mart.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Empty Milk Jugs

I enjoy having a little food storage around.  Nothing fancy, and not too detailed or whatnot.  But when I purchase things like rice, sugar, beans, etc., I want to be able to store them in smaller packs that are handy, and that you can see.  In comes the empty milk jug.  I clean it out with hot water, a little dawn and a little white vinegar, rinse it really well, then set it on it's side in a cabinet to dry out for about a week to make sure there is no moisture in it.  Then I fill it with whatever I'm wanting to store, label it with contents and date, cover the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band, then put the little plastic top back on it.  If I have silica gel packs from other household items I have purchased, I put one of those on top.  These are easy to work with and hold about 4lbs of dry items.  You can see through them somewhat, and they have a helpful handle.  Best of all, they are already around and every one that gets reused stays out of a landfill. 

Words to the wise.  Milk jugs are great for short term storage of lots of things, but I would not recommend them for long term storage.  they are not intended for use in the types of food storage that people don't use for 10 years.  I also would never put anything liquid or semi liquid in them.  Pretty much anything that has moisture, I would avoid.  Just dry stuff.  And if you don't want to use them for food, you can use them for your powdered items like laundry soap, dishwasher soap, kitty litter, epsom salts, beads, lego's, etc.

Use your imagination, and use your head.  Happy Storage!

Skip the soup, pass the hash

My family is not big into soups.  I like soups, but not too frequently.  My husband even less so.  Therefore, all of those 'cheap meals' cookbooks have huge sections I don't use.  However, I tried something last night that might be a new breakthrough for me.

My husband is a meat and potato man.  So, we eat a lot of meat and potatoes in various concoctions and contortions and whatever.  He also only likes leftovers once.  Well, okay - new challenge.  I know that soup is a cheap meal, and the idea of soup of leftovers is catchy among tightwads like me.  But if the family does not like soup, what do you do --make hash!

Easy Leftover Hash

Veggies (fresh and leftover cooked)
Diced Potatoes (about 1 cm so they cook quickly)

Put potatoes in skillet with a little olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes until they are almost tender, and any veggies (I like to add additional onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, etc - whatever I have that I don't want to spoil in the fridge), let those cook a couple of more minutes then dice up what ever meat you had leftover (yes, you can do this with meatloaf and meatballs, and even taco meat, just run a bit of hot water over them to rinse old sauce/seasoning off.).  Add the cooked meat and cooked leftover veggies toward the end.  Stir until all is hot and potatoes are completely done.

At this point, you can do several things:  1) serve as a dry hash, 2) make a little gravy in the pan with it ( or add some cream of whatever soup you want)  and serve it over old homemade bread (soaks up gravy), or 3) top it with cheese and serve.

There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this:
1) match your flavors well - leftover taco meat does better for a soutwestern style hash, so go with those flavors; same for meatballs and italian, meatloaf chunks (minus the tomato topping) do well in a swiss style hash, etc, etc.
2) experiment and write down what you did and how your family reacted
3)  this same concept can be applied to making it a hamburger/chicken helper style meal, your meat and veggies additives are just already done for you.

Let me know if you come up with any 'rock star' dishes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Project 2011

Look at my sidebar on the right--------->

Project 2011.  This is my debt reduction goal for next year.  This is not one specific thing, this is my total goal, and this does not include regular monthly payments.  This is over and above that, principal debt payments.

Do you have debt reduction goals?  How much?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Books for the Frugal Family

Here is a list of some of my favorite books for the thrifty-minded (most available at your local library)

Yankee magazine's 'Living on a Shoestring'
Better Basics for the Home
The Tightwad Gazette
The Tightwad Gazette II
The Tightwad Gazette III
Cheap Talk with the Frugal Friends
The Tightwad Twins
$5 Mom Cookbook
Any of the Mary Hunt Books
Any of the Dave Ramsey Books
Any of the Jeff Yeager Books
Living Well on One Income
Homeschool your child for free
Homeschooling on a shoestring

There are many others, but I wanted to share a brief list of ones I have read and loved

Monday, December 6, 2010

Side Note

You won't save money by drying your laundry on the line if you are already partly sick and then just go ahead and completely put yourself under by trying to save a few bucks.  Hang them up around the house instead.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Many Uses of a Cast Iron Skillet

I love my cast iron skillets.  I have 5 of them.  2 fryers, 1-12 inch, 1-10 inch and 1-5 inch.  I try to use them for as many things as possible. 

* sauteeing
* deep frying
* cornbread
* cake (very moist results)
* pizza (much better than the stoneware)
* biscuits
* frittata  (the crust will be divine)
* shepherd's pie (or chicken pot pie)
* anytime I want to crust a piece of meat before putting it in the oven
* breakfast casserole (allows you to have a good crust on your bottom hash brown layer)

Cast iron takes a little bit longer to heat up than stainless steel (about 30 seconds longer), but it retains heat for many more minutes than stainlesl steel.  That means you can turn your heat source off and your food will continue to cook for a while.  This means saving gas or electricity depending on your stove type.  You save of dish soap because you can't use it on cast iron.  It can go from the stove top to the oven, you can put it on the grill, directly on a fire, and even on one of those homemade coffee can stoves!  It is truly the most green and economical cookware I have found.  Plus it is cheap!

How many cast iron skillets do you have and what do you use them for that's different?