Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cheap Cake Mix

One of the sale items at SunMart are Pillsbury Cake and brownie mixes 10/$10 (you get them for $1 each even if you don't buy 10). They are regularly $1.95. The sale runs through Saturday 6/6.

I usually buy a few when they are on sale to have on hand. Since it is just me, sometimes I bake up something and freeze the extras.

One cookbook I like is the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. Her other cookbooks are Chocolate Cake Doctor, The Dinner Doctor, Cupcakes Cake Doctor and What Can I Bring Cookbook.

The Cake Mix Doctor has recipes to spruce up ordinary cake mixes that taste more like scratch with simple ingredients.

When using cake mixes its easy to add ingredients to them to make a change. A couple weeks ago, I had a white cake mix and a can of cranberry sauce. I made the cake as usual and added the cranberries. The other night I mixed up a chocolate cake mix per directions. I filled muffin tins a little under 1/2 with the mix. Then I mixed a block the cream cheese with some mint flavoring and a little powdered sugar. I put a spoon full of this mixture in each cup. Then I put another layer of the cake mix. And baked as usual.

So one tip to save money is to try to buy items you use regularly when they are on sale. And using items you have on hand. Sometimes you can substitute things for other things that you have on hand.

The Result of Waiting

I feel part of the problem with the state of the economy is that some people spend more than they can afford. It has become the American way to try to have everything you want. People think they can afford things because they can afford the monthly payments or minimums on their credit cards. But when you figure the total cost after paying years of interest and fees, the cost is multiple times the original cost.

I heard last week, there has been an increase of business at rent to own places. The monthly or weekly prices sound like a good deal until you figure it times the number of payments and you end up paying 2 or 3 times what you could have paid for it.

There have been commercials about a guy in a TV store looking at a big screen tv and checks his account balance or credit card balance on his phone to see if he can afford it. I feel if you have to check to see what your balance is, you probably can't afford it.

If you decide what you want and how much it costs and start putting money aside for that it usually doesn't take long to save to be able to pay for it. It has been stated that it is easier for people to save for something if they have it as a goal.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Checklist website

I found a website simply checklists that has various checklists to print out. Some of the categories are business/finances, education, emergencies/storms, family and food/pantry.

Some of them list the financial papers you should keep, grocery lists, kitchen and patry needs, supplies to have on hand for emergencies.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Suze Orman's Action Plan

suze orman was on oprah yesterday. I just caught the end of it, but there is information on oprah's website

Her 5 Step Financial Action Plan is
Step 1 Pay off Credit Card Debt
Step 2 Raise your FICO score
Step 3 Create Spending Action Plan
Step 4 Create Savings Action Plan
Step 5 Create Retirement Account

At the end of the show, Suze asked audience members to try to make a pledge to the following.

For 1 day not to spend any money.

For 1 week not to use a credit card.

For 1 month not to go out to eat at a restaurant.

Home Buying Tips

On Dave Ramsey's website he has tips on steps when buying a home
home buying tips

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saving Money with a Menu Plan

Michelle at leaving excess has a post on her menu plan for the week. There are many other blogs that list their menu plans.

If you take a few minutes each week to set up a menu plan can make it easier getting dinner on the table each night. When you know what you are going to make each night you can have everything on hand and get things ready if you need to the night before. This is one way to save you from stopping for take out as much.

When planning your menu it is helpful to be looking at the grocery store fliers to see what is on sale and try to plan around things you have on hand and are on sale.

Also, like Michelle mentions you can make an extra amount of something one night to use as part of a different meal later in the week. Her case was rice. But if you make chicken, etc and use it in different meals.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Norwex Products

In an earlier post I mentioned I had just started using norwex. My sister in law has used them for some time, and I didn't realize how great they work.

Microfiber cloths are environmentally friendly. They can reduce the consumption of cleaning chemicals in your home up to 90% while at the same time cutting down your exposure to toxic fumes. This can make a big difference for anyone with allergies and chemical sensitivities. In important areas of our home like bathrooms and kitchens, microfiber cloths remove 99% of the bacteria from surfaces, resulting in a cleaner, healthier environment. Microfiber cloths are very durable. They are widely used in commercial cleaning environments and can withstand the rigors of everyday usage.

In the 5 months since I first started using the products I have gotten rid of most of my other cleaners. You can clean almost anything with just water and the cloths. I also have the face cloths, since using them I have needed much less moisturizer and lotions.

Another item I ordered, were the dryer balls. They take the place of dryer sheets and fabric softener. The dryer sheets are not suppose to be good for your dryer. Also, the chemicals in the dryer sheets can get in your clothes.

It seems like an investment to buy the products but when you consider that you don't have to buy other cleaners, which adds up. You can be almost chemical free. The cloths are suppose to last for several years. You also help save the environment since you don't have to use paper towels, for windows, etc.

It is much easier to wash windows when you just need to use water and the cloths instead of window cleaner and paper towels.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Saving Money with a Menu Plan

The Envelope System

One idea from dave ramsey is to develop a new budget each month. First figuring out your income for the month and then giving each dollar a purpose. One way to do this, is to figure out how much to allocate to each area and put that amount of cash in an envelope for each area (groceries/dining out, clothing, blow money). This way if you run out of money in an envelope before the month is done, you either can spend anymore from that category or you have to take it from another envelope. But then the budgeted amount from that category gets reduced.

I have mentioned before that tracking your expenses allows you to see what you are spending your money on and where you may be able to cut expenses.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Results of Saving

About 6 years ago, my goal was to purchase my first home and pay cash for a car. Almost 6 years ago I was able to buy my house. About 9 months later I was able to pay cash for a car. This last week, I was able to purchase another car with cash.

The sales lady was surprised when I told her I didn't have to finance it. This isn't to brag, but to show it is possible if you watch your expenses.

I talk alot about how to save money, etc. I do this so I am able to spend money on things I really want. I have been able to travel quite abit the last few years, etc.

I was talking to someone about this last week and she asked if I was able to enjoy my money, or if I just sat home saving it. I am able to enjoy it by traveling, etc.

Some people feel it is easier for me to save money since I don't have kids,etc. Which is partly true, but tere are others that don't have kids and don't have money saved either.

I feel if you watch what you spend your money on and see how far it can go. One of the sayings is "It's not How Much you make, it's how much you spend!". People that make more money, usually keep upgrading their lives, so they don't end up saving any more than some one that makes less.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Savers 50% Sale

The Savers second hand stores have 50% off used items on Monday for Memorial Day.

They usually run these sales for holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day.

They also usually have 50% each day during the year, with a certain color tag on sale each day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Budgeting 101

Following is a post on Budgeting 101 from the blog

She has been blogging about this for the past few days.

First Time Homebuyer Credit

If you are a first time homebuyer (not owing a home in the past 3 years), you can apply for a $8,000 tax credit

This credit applies if you purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saving Your Change

One of the tips from Suze Orman, is to just spend dollar bills. When you pay with cash pay with dollar bills and save your change. I try to do this, except usually when its just over the dollar and I don't want a bunch of change.

I keep my change in a container and every few months I take it to the bank to cash in and get $20-$30 dollars of "found" money to use on stuff instead of sitting in the jar.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights Act

Following is a post from trent at the simple dollar about the Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights Act of 2009 that is in the process of being passed.

It explains what it means for you and what it might mean for the future.

Debbie's Green Bags

After yesteday's post about the Topsy Turvy planter I thought about the green bags. I will have to see how the Topsy Turvy works but I have tried the green bags.

In my experience they do work to keep fruits and vegetables longer. In some other blogs some people say they don't work any better than having the produce in regular plastic bags.

Some of the products that are sold on TV do not live up to the expectations. I feel the green bags are worth the cost to me. They also have bags for deli meats & cheese and bags for breads. I have not tried those yet, but I'm considering trying them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Topsy Turvy Planter

I bought a Topsy Turvy planter Sunday to try to grow a tomato plant. When I first thought about posting about it I didn't think it would be a money saving topic. But hopefully if it does work and I have tomatoes to use and can it could be a money saving tip.

I will keep you posted on the progress of my tomato growing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Saving on Books

One way to save on books, is looking at second hand stores. It is hit and miss, but sometimes you can find what you at looking for at a fraction of new price. I stopped at one of the second hand stores yesterday and found 3 books (2 of which I had been wanting to buy) for a total of $4.50, instead of about $15 each new.

Also, browsing at second hand stores is one way I cure my want to go shopping. Sometimes you feel like going to the store. I have found just browsing helps and sometimes you find something you have been looking for at a fraction of price somewhere else.

One of the books I bought today (for $.50) is called "The Overspent American, Why we want What we don't Need". I will post about it once I get a chance to read it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Making Your Own Convenience Foods

There is a post from Michelle at leaving excess about things you can do ahead of time when you have time to make it easier to make meals at home instead of eating out.

One of the things I do, is chop up onions, green peppers and colored peppers and freeze them to use when I need them. Once in awhile I find the colored peppers on sale and buy them and freeze to use in future meals. If you chop them, place on a cookie sheet to freeze and then bag them after they are frozen. That way they aren't one big ball. Another thing I've started doing is buy chunks of cheese when they are on sale and grate and freeze the same way as above.

Free DiGiorno Flatbread Melts pizza coupon

Starting at 12:00 a.m. EST on May 18th, the first 100,000 people to register will receive a coupon for a FREE DiGiorno Flatbread Melts single-serve pizza

Limit one coupon per household, address, or email address.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Imagination Library Program

The Imagination Library program was started by Dolly Parton.
imagination library

If your community is a part of the program, you can register you child to receive an age appropriate book each month until 5 years of age.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Childrens Summer Reading Program-Barnes and Noble

Fostering a love of reading and its rewards, the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program is popular with students in the first through sixth grades and educators throughout America.
Participation is fun and an easy way for kids to earn free books. They simply read any eight books — library books, books borrowed from friends or books bought at Barnes & Noble — write about their favorite part, and bring a completed tear page to a Barnes and Noble bookstore. Children then choose their free book from a list of paperback titles.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Free Book at Barnes and Noble

At Barnes and Nobles website
Favorite Paperbacks - Buy 2 Get the 3rd for FREE Offer Details:

While supplies last, choose 3 qualifying books from our Favorite Paperbacks promotion and the least expensive book is yours for FREE! Simply look for the following icon on select paperback books online at Barnes&

You must place all 3 books in your Shopping Cart. Your credit for the least expensive book will appear at checkout. Shipping charges may apply. This offer can be redeemed once per order. free book

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Financial Information on

Another resource for financial information is

Included in the contributors are suze orman and jean chatzky

Garage Sale Gal on Dave Ramsey Show Tonight

Lynda Hammond from AZ, aka the Garage Sale Gal will be a guest on the Dave Ramsey show tonight on the Fox Business Network. It is on 7:00 CT.

The following is from Lynda's website:

Get out of debt, have a garage sale!
That’s one of the ideas behind an upcoming episode of a show on the FOX Business Channel. “We are doing a
garage sale show because often times Dave will advise people to sell whatever they can in order to get out of debt.
The best way to do that is to have a garage sale,” Diane Kaye says.
“Dave” is Dave Ramsey from the Dave Ramsey Show on FOX Business News. He’s a best-selling financial author
and radio and television host teaching ways for us to get out—and stay out--of debt.
Diane is the executive producer of the show which is prepared in New York City but hosted by Dave from his
Nashville headquarters. Diane and several other producers were brainstorming ideas on upcoming show when they
came up with the idea for the garage sale-themed show. “I think garage saling is something that everyone should do.
We all have stuff in our attics or garages that we don’t want anymore. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
When they started looking for a guest for the upcoming episode they found a fanatic, someone who lives and
breathes garage sales and someone who goes to so many sales each week, it’s nearly absurd. Yep, they found me!
The financial guru meets the Garage Sale Gal. I will be a guest on the hour-long program next week. “We had a
meeting where we came up with the idea for the garage sale show. And then we knew we needed to find an expert--
someone who can give us tips: who can tell us how to price things; how to set up a sale; and how to make the most
The idea of throwing a garage sale is nothing new to Dave. On his weekly call-in shows, on the radio and on TV, he
often tells callers to get rid of things they don’t need any more. And the fastest and quickest way to do that is to have
a garage sale.
Diane says she hopes folks will learn the basics from me and the upcoming show. “People want to know how to
stage a garage sale. I do think people are intimidated thinking “Why would anyone want my junk”. People don’t
know how to price things. So I hope after this show people will feel confident that they know how to have a garage
Dave’s mantra is “Life, money, hope”. I’d add a little something to that: Garage sales!

How to Save Smarter

In the Parade magazine, in Sunday’s newspaper was an article, How to Save Smarter

Some highlights are:
Behavioral economists-researchers who mix psychology and economics-have uncovered three reasons why people find it so difficult to save. The first is temptation: Although we often later regret it, we just can’t resist spending. The second is lack of understanding: Our brains can’t quite grasp the profitability of saving. The third is optimism: We believe that everything will work out, even if we don’t save.

Temptation can be countered if you make saving as much fun as spending. They found that imagining a future purchase is almost as good as getting it.

Saving is much easier when it’s for something specific. They suggested you set up a separate savings account for each of your goals.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Put Your Dream to the Test

John Maxwell, Author of Put Your Dream to the Test will be a guest on the Dave Ramsey show tonight on the Fox Business Network. daveramsey

What's the difference between a dreamer and someone who achieves a dream?

According to best-selling author Dr. John Maxwell, the answer lies in answering 10 powerful, yet straightforward, questions. Whether you've lost sight of an old dream or you are searching for a new one within you, Put Your Dream to the Test provides a step-by-step action plan that you can start using today to see, own, and reach your dream. Dr. Maxwell draws on his 40 years of mentoring experience to expertly guide you through the 10 questions required of every successful dreamer:

The Ownership Question
The Clarity Question
The Reality Question
The Passion Question
The Pathway Question
The People Question
The Cost Question
The Tenacity Question
The Fulfillment Question
The Significance Question
More importantly, Dr. Maxwell helps you to create the right answers, giving you principles and tips to so you can make good decisions and maximize every moment to achieve your dream.

Don't leave your dream to chance. This book is a must-have and can make the difference between failure and success.

About the AuthorJohn C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services.

To Buy a House or Not

On one show I was watching tonight, someone that called in had a 50 year mortgage so he could afford the house he had bought. He made $100,000 a year and had purchased a $600,000. When you go to apply for a mortgage you have to have an idea of what you can afford. Because many times like this the mortgage broker convinces you can afford more than you probably can.

If you can comfortably afford the mortgage and have savings for emergencies in case something comes up, owning a home is a great thing. But don't buy a house just to own a house. If you can't afford it, it will be a mistake. Continue renting and saving until you can afford it. When you are getting ready to purchase a home you have to realize you will have additional expenses and upkeep expenses that you didn't have as a renter.

The past few years when interest rates were low, some people refinanced their homes and took the cash to pay off credit cards or spend it on other things. Now that the value of their homes may have dropped they are in trouble. Some areas like CA, AZ and FL where the values increased and decreased more than other areas are in more trouble than others.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Last Monday Redbox Code

Here is your one-day promo code for today:

Expires tonight (Mon, May 11) at midnight central time.

Remember, this is the last WEEKLY Monday code, and Redbox will start doing MONTHLY codes in June on the first Monday of the month. Their plan is to do monthly free codes over the summer. No indication what they will do in the fall...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Personal Financial Stress Test

Following is a link that was on for a personal financial stress test to see how you are doing in different areas of your financial life. stresstest

Saturday, May 9, 2009

$1 Magazines at Heirlooms

Heirlooms is now carrying magazines! Before you spend $4-$6.00 for a magazine at the grocery store, check out the great selection of the most recent issues of your favorite. At $1.00 per magazine, you will be glad you did!!

Also, if you subscribe to magazines and would like to donate them when you are done reading them, you can drop off at Heirlooms at 1617 32nd Ave S, Fargo.

Heirlooms is an upscale second hand store with the proceeds going to the Hospic of the Red River Valley. It is located at 1617 32nd Ave S, Fargo.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Free EBook download

Trent from has posted a link to a free EBook, "Everything you Ever Really Needed to Know about Personal Finance in One Page" at ebook

If you are interested in it and can't get it to download, let me know and I will send it to you.

Like him, I believe we have to watch what we spend and how we spend it. It doesn't matter how much money you make, its how much money you spend. There are people that make alot of money but are in worse shape than people that don't make alot of money.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sneaky Credit Card Changes

I have been hearing stories about people and their credit cards. Some people that have good credit ratings and have been paying off their balances, etc have been having their credit limits reduced and some cards have been revoked. Others, the interest rates on their cards have been raised significantly. Following is a link to a story that was on MSN about this credit cards

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Career Stimulus Program at Staples

At Staples you can get 20 resume copies and 40 business cards for free from April 26 - June 13. More information is on their website at

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frugal Flowers

I needed a bouquet for my Mom's retirement party over the weekend. Instead of getting one here and driving with it for 6 hours. I waited until an hour away and picked up a couple of bunches of flowers at Walmart. I got one of mixed flowers and one bunch of roses. I split them between 2 vases. So for $20 I had two bouquets, and got many compliments on them.