Jan 28, 2011

I have four kids so I am always looking for ways to cut down on my food budget. I coupon like a mad woman, and try my best to leave my kids at home because they always find something they have to have at the store. I know there just has to be more I can do. The household income has not increased, but the food prices have. Here are a few tips I found on Yahoo Finance that I think might help you out as well.  Elizabeth Prachaska Guest Blogger for Colie’s Kitchen grocerymoney@yahoo.com

1. Eat at Home
Dining out is an expensive proposition. Just about any nutritious meal that you buy in a formal restaurant can be made at home for a fraction of the price. Even good coffee is cheaper to make if you do it yourself. Fast food is excluded from the category, as high-calorie, low-quality food can be had a bargain price, but the impact on your long-term health overrides the benefit of short-term savings.
2. Shop With a Plan
If you stumble around the grocery store and fill your cart with everything that catches your eye, chances are you will spend a lot more money that you needed to spend. To minimize your cash outlay, prepare a shopping list before you leave home. Plan your meals for the week ahead, and make careful note of what you need to buy in order to prepare those meals. Once the list is made, purchase only the items on the list, and avoid impulse buys.
3. Put on Blinders
Grocery stores are designed to make you go through a maze to get to the most basic items you need in the hope that you will make a few impulse buys along the way. If you keep to your planned list of needed foods, you won't be tempted when you get forced down the junk food aisle to get at the milk. Because most necessities and basic cooking items are found along the outside perimeter of the store, start there and work your way around the edge of the store, only stepping into the maze to grab any leftover items on your list.
4. Eat Before You Shop
When you are hungry and you walk into a building full of food, there's a high likelihood that you are going to fill you cart with unnecessary and expensive purchases that appeal to your taste buds. To keep your costs down, eat first and shop on a full stomach.
5. Avoid Prepared Foods
Our fast-paced society encourages convenience, and the grocery store has capitalized on this trend. Ready-made meals are easy to buy, but come with a premium price tag. Instead of putting that rotisserie chicken and macaroni salad in you cart, buy the ingredients and prepare the meal yourself. The same concept applies to frozen entrées, baked goods and any other food that has been prepared in some way for added convenience.
6. Skip the Bottled Water
If you don't like the water that comes out of the tap, buy a water filter. The per-gallon cost is significantly less than the cost of bottled water - and without all the plastic bottles to discard, it's a lot easier on the environment.
7. Shop Without the Kids
Hungry, tired, cranky kids increase the amount of time it takes to get your shopping done. Every extra minute that you spend in the grocery store increases the likelihood of extra items finding their way into your cart, including toys and snacks designed to keep the kids quiet while you try to focus on finding a few bargains.
8. Buy in Bulk
Bulk buying can save you a significant amount of money. Pay attention to the prices and pick up the family size package if the per-unit cost is lower and you have a place to store it. Shopping at big-box bulk retailers like Sam's Club and Costco (NasdaqGS: COST - News) can also save on your bill if you shop there frequently enough to cover the cost of membership, but pay careful attention to your spending habits. The big boxes are often no bargain at all when compared to sales prices and coupon savings at other stores. In addition, they may encourage you to buy more than you need, driving up your grocery bill.
9. Use Store Reward Cards
If the store that you visit most frequently has a reward card, be sure to sign up. In some cases, stores raise their prices when they offer reward cards, and without the card your bill will certainly be higher. If the reward card offers other benefits, such as a ham for the holidays or a discount on gasoline, be sure to maximize your benefits by paying attention to the cutoff dates and cashing in your points before they expire.
10. Use Coupons
Coupons provide an easy way to save money. Clip them and cash them in, paying particular attention to stores that double the value of manufacturers' coupons. A number of websites also offer coupons exclusively, and they are a great place to search for discounts on the items you have on your list. If you frequent a website of your favorite brands, they will often offer discounts to their faithful public. A few minutes of surfing online can make a difference at the till.
11. Buy Locally
Locally grown or produced food is often available at a cheaper price because you don't pay for long transportation costs. Farmer's markets, fairs, and the local aisle at your grocery store are all game for deals on tasty and fresh food.
12. Look Down
Stores often place the most expensive items at eye-level. To find less expensive items, look down. Also, looking around your brand-name food can find you a cheaper generic alternative. Generic label products are often nearly identical to name-brand goods (in fact, they're often produced in the same factory), so don't pay for packaging when what you really want is the food inside.
13. Avoid the End Caps and Checkout Temptations
Those displays placed at the end of each aisle often feature premium brands. Rather than grabbing those high-priced batteries or that extra box of cereal, walk down the aisle. Chances are good that walking a few extra feet will reward you with a less expensive option.
Many grocery stores now offer checkout lines that don't feature candy. Using these lanes not only helps you avoid the temptation to spend your money on sweets, but it also encourages a healthier lifestyle.
14. Compare Prices and Stores
Some consumers have trouble calculating the cost per unit in their heads, but it's something that gets a lot easier with practice. You can even carry a calculator. Looking at the brands and comparing prices is an easy way to shave a few cents off most purchases.
The store that features the lowest average prices in your area is often the best place for routine shopping, but the higher-priced competitor may run sales on specific items that undercut the cost at your most frequented venue. Watch for these sales and take advantage of them when possible.
15. Shop for Sales
As mentioned above, sales can be a great incentive to switch stores — but only if you need the items on sale. Pay attention to sales on necessity items and stock up on non-perishables and freezer goods. Keep an eye on the prices so that you know when a sale price is merely a small savings or when it is a significant discount to the normal price.
16. Watch 'Best Before' or 'Sell By' Dates
As the "sell by" or "best before" date approaches, you are virtually guaranteed a discount. For example, grocery stores lower prices as meat ages. Ask the butcher when the meats get marked down. Most stores have a fairly regular schedule that you can learn and follow. When you get a good deal, stock your freezer so you can avoid buying when the price is high. And if you plan on freezing the food, "best before" dates shouldn't worry you; the product will stay fresh until you thaw and cook it.
17. Substitute Recipe Items
If you have a higher-priced item that reoccurs in your favorite recipes, it may be time to shake up your taste buds. Often a lower-priced alternative can be found. For instance, if you consistently bake with olive oil and you see that the price has skyrocketed, a simple switch to applesauce (something that you might even be able to make if you have an apple tree) is a great cheap and low-fat substitution for many recipes.
18. Keep Your Kitchen Stocked
A well-stocked kitchen means that you won't run out of staple items and need to buy them on the spur or the moment. Knowing what you have in the cabinet means that you can wait to make your purchases until items are on sale.
19. Shop Infrequently
Reducing the number of trips that you make to the store each week or month reduces the odds of unnecessary purchases, and minimizes the amount of gasoline spent getting there.
20. Pay Attention to Time
Weekly sales often run from mid-week to mid-week. Hold off on your shopping until after you've had a chance to clip coupons from the Sunday paper and you'll not only enjoy the sales prices but you might also get a coupon. Shopping during the evening or early morning also helps you avoid the crowds and spend less time in the store.
21. Pay In Cash
When you put groceries on your credit card and don't pay off the card in full each month, you pay interest on the purchase. To avoid this extra cost, pay in cash when you shop and keep necessities off your credit cards.
22. Check Your Bill
Electronic scanners make the shopping experience faster and more convenient, but scanners aren't perfect. Be sure to take a look at the receipt to make sure your coupons and discounts were taken into account.
Shop Smart
Food is one of those purchases that you just can't avoid, but careful shoppers can minimize the amount spent on this necessary purchase. All it takes is a little time, patience and effort.

Original Article 

Jan 27, 2011

In case you haven’t noticed (who hasn’t?) gas prices have gone through the roof. I think each time I pull up to the pump it’s gone up again. Watching news reports there are economist predicting that we could see gas prices as high as five bucks a gallon in the United States. Now that’s scary! Here are a few simple tips that I found on Yahoo.com that might have you save a few bucks at the pump! – Elizabeth Prachaska Guest Blogger for Colie’s Kitchen grocerymoney@yahoo.com


At a national average of $3.05 per gallon for regular unleaded, the price of gas has reached its highest level since the fall of 2008. At that price, gasoline can weigh like an anvil on your monthly car expenses -- and Bankrate would like to help you save some cash at your next fill-up. Here are five ways to save at the pump so you won't go over budget every week when your car needs gas.


Maintain the Correct Tire Pressure
Keeping the correct PSI, or pounds per square inch, in your car's tires will give you better gas mileage, so check pressures once a month before you start driving in the morning and add air accordingly. If your car is equipped with a tire pressure monitor system -- now standard equipment on all new cars -- don't dismiss any alarms as false. Pressure increases as you drive and tires warm up, so a low-pressure alarm when you start driving that goes away later means tire pressure is on the border of being too low and should be adjusted. Check your owner's manual or the label on the inside of the driver's door for the correct PSI rating. The number on the tire's sidewall is the maximum PSI and should not be used.


Don't Let Your Car 'Warm Up' Before You Drive It
Technology in cars built in the past 10 years allows your car to operate at very near its top efficiency the moment it starts. Letting a car idle, such as when you wait at the curb for a passenger or wait for the heater to kick in, is simply a waste of gas.


Don't Use a Higher Grade of Gasoline Than Is Recommended
Putting a higher octane gasoline in your car than the manufacturer recommends won't improve your fuel economy, so it's not worth the extra price you'll pay per gallon. Check your owner's manual or the label on the gas-tank door for the recommended octane for your car, and fill up with that. However, don't use a lower octane than is recommended, because it may actually worsen your car's fuel economy and could damage your engine.


Slow Down
Slower speeds win the fuel-economy race and can save you a bundle. Avoid being a lead foot by accelerating from a stop and by driving over the speed limit on the highway. Jack-rabbit starts simply waste gas and only get you to the next traffic light faster, where your car will idle longer. Cars get better gas mileage driving at 65 mph than they do at higher speeds. Cruise control can help you maintain a steady speed, too, which will further improve fuel economy, especially on the highway.


Get the Junk Out of Your Car
The heavier your car is, the more energy it needs to move, so get all the excess gear out of your car when you're not using it. Carrying around items you don't need only worsens your car's gas mileage unnecessarily. In addition, the less aerodynamic your car is, the worse its fuel economy. If you have a rooftop carrier or carry items such as bicycles or skis on your roof, remove these items when they're not in use to improve your fuel economy.

Original Article 

Jan 22, 2011


This is a really great way to use up extra mashed potatoes, or to pre-plan a second meal piggy backing off a side dish.  This really doesn’t cost much, and it’s easy. It literally took me ten minutes to put together. It’s a nice warm, hearty, and quick meal for a week night dinner. 


Ingredients

  • 3 (packed) cups of left over mashed potatoes 
  • 3 tbs bacon bits (do not use Baco's)
  • 4  tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 3 cans of carnation canned milk or about 4 1/2 cups of milk
  • 3  ounces shredded cheddar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
  • Top with green onions, cheese, bacon bits, or all!

Directions:

  1. In a sauce pan melt butter 
  2. To the butter add bacon bits, and green onions cook until the green onions are soft 
  3. Add mashed potatoes to the pot and start slowly adding each can of milk one at a time using a whisk to mix together mixture in the pot. 
  4. Once each can is added and the mixture is well mix together bring to a boil, but continue to mix together so you don’t burn the soup. 
  5. Once the soup comes to a boil add the cheddar. 
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste at this point. 
  7. Turn down the temperature and simmer and serve when you are ready. 

Jan 19, 2011


Yesterday was my first day back to school for the spring semester. When I got home Gizmo found his way into my backpack. This picture cracked me up because it looks like he is smiling. The smile on his face told me he missed me as much as I missed him.
  • Spring Semester of the University of Houston $4700
  • Jansport Backpack $60
  • Seeing Gizmo happy to see me when I got home… priceless!


Happy Wordless Wednesday

Jan 17, 2011


I freaked out about 3:30 this afternoon when I realized I forgot to make the meatballs and stick them in the crockpot. I ran in the kitchen and put everything together in less than 10 minutes and put the crockpot on high. It’s super easy to put together. I put all the meatball ingredients in my Kitchen Aid and let go. Then I quickly rolled the meatballs and poured the sauce on top. I set my crockpot on high because I was running behind. I had everything in the house except the duck sauce so it didn’t cost much to make. By 7:00pm dinner was ready and fantastic. This recipe was a huge hit we didn’t have one meatball left over. Everyone raved about how wonderful they were, and the house smelled amazing too. This is now one of my favorite recipes. I found it on www.allyou.com and fell in love.


Ingredients

  • 1  pound  ground pork
  • 1/3  cup  panko bread crumbs
  • 3  scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped
  • 1  large egg
  • 1  tablespoon  soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2  cup  barbecue sauce
  • 1/4  cup  jarred Chinese plum sauce or duck sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  hoisin sauce
Preparation
  1. Combine pork, panko, scallions, egg, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a large bowl; mix gently but thoroughly with your fingers. 
  2. Roll into 1-inch balls.Mist slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add meatballs. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, plum sauce and hoisin sauce; pour over meatballs. Gently stir to coat.
  4. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are cooked through, 3 to 5 hours.

Originally Found on www.allyou.com
Recipe Link

Jan 16, 2011






This is a really great recipe if you have pulled chicken that you need to use. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, but I actually loved it. Not only is it super easy it's very flavorful, and filling. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

Directions:
  1. In a skillet, simmer the chicken, salsa, onion, cumin and oregano until heated through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  2. Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla and top with 2 tablespoons cheese.
  3. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up.
  4. Place seam side down in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  5. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. In a saucepan, combine the broth, bouillon and pepper. Cook until bouillon is dissolved.
  7. In a bowl, combine flour and cream until smooth and gradually stir into broth.
  8. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  9. Stir in chilies and cook until heated through.
  10. Top chimichangas with sauce.


Jan 14, 2011


Why throw away something that might make you a few bucks. I don’t know about you, but I have cellphones coming out of my ears. I have a few pre-paid, a few Moto Razors, and a few Blackberry’s. I never thought about it, but verses keep them why not make a few bucks off of them. What about other electronics lying around the house, in the basement, or in the garage?  How about collection a few bucks for them verses collection only dust? I read this article on Yahoo I found it interesting I hope you do too.

Thanks to improved technology recycling programs across the U.S., disposing of broken, unwanted, or outdated electronics in an eco-friendly way has become much less of a hassle in recent years.
But how to get cash for old electronics remains a mystery to many folks, who often would rather just throw out old laptops, TVs, and iWhatevers than try to recoup a reward for recycling them. Specifically, figuring out how much an item is worth and how to get the most for it continues to trip up many would-be recyclers.
Since the weeks after the holidays are a prime time for discarding old electronics and replacing them with newer, trendier ones — all those e-presents sitting under the tree! — here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to make a quick buck off your old gadgets.

So what can I get?
Don't bother unloading your e-waste at a pawn shop, where you'll be left wondering if you've gotten a fair deal or not. Companies such as Gazelle, Nextworth, and YouRenew will gladly take a variety of old electronics off your hands and offer cash in return — or in some cases, gift cards or charitable contributions — based on market data and the condition of whatever you're trying to part with. If the item in question is in rough shape and cash isn't an option, they'll still help you recycle it.

If you ultimately decide not to sell through one of the above companies and would rather sell an e-castaway yourself via a website like Craigslist or eBay (or at a garage sale), it's still worth exploring their sites to figure out the worth of an item.

Based on information taken from Gazelle, below is what you can get for a variety of pre-owned items that are in functional condition and come with all accessories. These rates reflect the condition of the item, "poor" indicating serious wear and tear while "perfect" means the item looks brand new.
  • Smart phones: iPhone 3G 16GB: $25 (poor condition) to $125 (perfect condition). Blackberry Pearl 8100: $0 (poor condition) to $24 (perfect condition).
  • Digital cameras: Kodak EasyShare M580: $11 (poor condition) to $54 (perfect condition). Canon PowerShot SD600 Digital ELPH: $4 (poor condition) to $20 (perfect condition).
  • Pocket video camera: Flip Video Mino: $6 (poor condition) to $30 (perfect condition).
  • Laptop computers: MacBook Core 2 Duo T8300 2.4GHz 13.3" 160GB Super Drive: $45 (poor condition) to $223 (perfect condition). Dell laptop with Celeron D processor, 11GB hard drive: $0 (poor condition) to $49 (perfect condition).
  • Gaming system: Microsoft Xbox gaming console: $4 (poor condition) to $20 (perfect condition).
  • E-readers: iPad 32GB WiFi + 3G: $71 (poor condition) to $354 (perfect condition). Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless Reading Device: $11 (poor condition) to $57 (perfect condition).
  • Video player: Roku Netflix HD Digital Video Player: $1 (poor condition) to $38 (perfect condition).
What affects the price?
The going rates for used electronics may drop significantly if you don't include things like the original packaging, cords, cables, cases, and instruction manuals. For example, the price of a pre-owned iPhone 3G in pristine condition drops from $125 to $115 if the original cables and AC adapter are not included.
And as evidenced above, the physical condition of an item plays heavily into how much you'll get back for it. A few deep scratches or a couple of dents can drastically lower the resale worth of an item, so it helps to take good care of your stuff if you're thinking about reselling it later on.

What about sensitive data?
Apprehensive about reselling used electronics, specifically cell phones and computers, because of all the data that are still alive and well inside them? The companies mentioned above will erase any sensitive information on an item for you before it's resold, so no need to fret about doing it yourself. If you decide to sell an item through other channels, erasing data yourself can be an easy and inexpensive effort using free security programs (and no, deleting files won't make them completely disappear).

For cell phones, check out ReCellular's Data Eraser, and for computer hard drives, watch this excellent instructional video over at PCWorld. If you doubt your own data-erasing abilities, pay a quick visit to your local computer specialist.

What if I can't get cash for an item?
Have an old item that's beyond repair and won't sell on the secondhand electronics marketplace? In addition to recycling through Gazelle or other online companies, many retailers including Best Buy offer free or low-cost recycling programs that ensure an item won't be landfilled. For cell phones, the Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of mobile providers that also have individual take-back/donation programs.
And if you can't get cash for an item because it doesn't work or is in complete disrepair, that doesn't mean you should just unload it at a nonprofit organization like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. These organizations are not e-trash depositories — their goal is to resell what's given to them, so if you donate an item, make sure it works. Otherwise, they'll have to pay to recycle it.





Jan 13, 2011


Despite what you may be thinking I am not going cabbage crazy we just seemed to have a lot left over after New Year’s so I have been trying to find things to do with cabbage. I hate to waste things. This recipe is really good. The original recipe suggested adding sherry to it, but I found the sherry to make the recipe too strong. Sticking with only chicken broth is a much better option. 


Ingredients:



Directions:

  1.  Heat oil and butter in large heavy and wide saucepan or sauté pan; add cabbage, salt, pepper, and stir over low heat for 5 minutes.
  2.  Add broth (I usually add a bit of sherry, too) and bring to boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
  3.  Raise heat to medium, uncover and let juices reduce to about half (be careful not to let burn).
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning, serve hot.

Jan 12, 2011



My picture doesn’t look very appealing, but this recipe is really fantastic. I was very unsure about this recipe but the end results were impressive. If you don’t like sesame oil you might not like this recipe, but if you are a lover like me you will really enjoy this hearty recipe. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 -3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, cut in bite sized pieces
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


Directions:
  1.  Rinse potatoes to remove starch.
  2. Heat pan and add olive oil. Add potatoes and garlic and cook until the potatoes look a little translucent, and then add the onion. Keep stirring.
  3. Add water, soy sauce, sugar, corn syrup and mix and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes until liquid is evaporated. If it needs more water, add some.
  4. When potato is cooked take off stove and add 1 T of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

    Jan 11, 2011


    I am always looking for ways to earn extra money to help out the household. My husband and I are both full time college students. We live off savings and scholarships so we watch every single penny and squeeze it tight. Coupon, survey’s, blogging, and mystery shopping is how I get extra money. If you are looking for ways to earn extra money All You Magazine has some suggestions:


    Read the original article 

    I found this recipe on the Mixing bowl. Sherri has an amazing recipe here that is so simple. It took me less than 10 minutes to put it together and stick it in the over. You could do so much with it. I bet you could even add some shaved carrots to this cake and no one would be the wiser. Quick, easy and delicious. 



    Ingredients:

    • 4 Eggs
    • 1 2/3 C. Sugar
    • 1 C. Cooking Oil
    • 1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin (pure pumpkin)
    • 2 C. Flour
    • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
    • 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
    • 1 tsp. Salt
    • 1 tsp. Baking Soda

    Icing Ingredients, and directions:
    Beat Together
    • 1 (3 oz) pkg. Cream Cheese softened
    • 1/2 C. butter or margarine softened
    • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
    • 2 C. Powdered Sugar

    Directions:

    Stir all ingredients together. Pour into an ungreased 11x15 inch pan. Bake 25 min. at 350 degrees or for thicker bars bake in a 13x9 pan for 45 min. Let cool and frost with Cream Cheese Icing





    Jan 10, 2011


    This is a super quick recipe. I needed bread for dinner and decided to give this recipe a try. It's a good recipe, but despite the title it does not have a cheesy flavor. It's very simple and light. I added a little butter to the top of these biscuits to give them more flavor. 

    Ingredients:


    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F.      
    2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
    3. Stir in cheddar.
    4. Cut in butter using pastry blender or 2 knives until coarse crumbs form.
    5. Using fork, stir milk into flour mixture until soft dough forms.
    6. Do not overwork or over-mix dough.
    7. Use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon to drop biscuit on cookie sheets, 1in apart on ungreased baking sheet.
    8. Bake 10-15 minutes. (Watch them close)


    Jan 7, 2011

    I came across this article on Yahoo.com yesterday, and found the tips to be pretty handy. I wanted to pass them on, because I think just about anyone would find them useful. Who couldn’t stand to save a little extra money?

    January is a period of self review, filled with promises and new financial goals. But the post-holiday cocktail of disorganization and unrealistic expectations can sabotage self-improvement plans, including efforts to save money.

    Fortunately, January has been tagged Get Organized Month by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). It makes sense. Lack of organization costs time and money, according to a recent NAPO survey of consumer behavior. Cutting through clutter is important to my money-saving goals for 2011.

    Coupon System
    Too often, my newspaper pile becomes a graveyard for coupons. Potential savings die an early death because of clutter. For instance, I have squandered store coupons sporting savings of $1 to $10 due to missed deadlines or misplaced coupons. For 2011, I've begun to store coupons in a side pocket of my purse, which is always with me. Wallets and glove-compartments in cars are also a great place to store coupons.

    Green Savings
    The trendy push to live a greener life can be overwhelming, especially with the wide assortment of eco-friendly products, services and strategies on the market. Organization, however, can simplify green living goals. My strategy involves a disciplined room-by-room plan to reduce my family's carbon footprint. For the first three months of 2011, I plan to focus on the kitchen, with green steps that will save the environment and my cash. For example, during the January discount sales on linens, I plan to purchase additional dish clothes and towels for the kitchen, which will save money in the long-run, because I will spend far less on short-lived paper products. Every three months, I'll target a different area of my home.

    Register Alert
    In the checkout line, it's easy to meditate or daydream. But being alert can pay off. On a regular basis, I have spotted errors in cash register receipts, including incorrect prices for sale items. Sometimes, the errors are my fault. For instance, I recently took advantage of a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) free promotion for toys. Unfortunately, one of the games I had selected did not qualify for the BOGO discount. I spotted the error, when I studied the receipt and noticed the double charge for the toys. And now with every purchase, I scan the sales receipt before leaving the store.

    Unplug Chargers
    Even when not used, cell phone chargers, coffee makers, micro-wave ovens and other appliances drain energy when plugged into wall sockets. Conserving cash and energy is my January goal, and I've been teaching my kids to unplug idle appliances. But this step requires organization and constant awareness. When we are running late, we leave the house in a whirlwind of anxiety and fail to take energy-saving steps. An earlier wake-up call will preserve energy and create less stress.

    Time-Sensitive
    Late fees and other financial penalties are the byproduct of disorganization. To avoid missed deadlines, I plan to raise my financial IQ with my smartphone and laptop. Both devices provide digital calendars that can be programmed with bill reminders and deadline alerts. There are also a variety of online services that offer e-mail notices about approaching deadlines. Online bill-paying programs also add organization and efficiency.

    Chores
    With better organization some household chores and personal tasks can become money-saving, do-it-yourself projects. For example, if you have the talent and the right tools, you can save money with DIY haircuts, manicures, pedicures and other personal grooming chores. Car-washing, lawn mowing and house-painting duties can also represent frugal home projects. But calculate the cost of your time, and honestly evaluate your skills. Home projects can become money pits if you have to hire a professional to fix DIY errors

    Workshops
    During January, NAPO chapters in different regions of the country are hosting public events, including "Organize to Economize in the New Year" workshops, "Shred-and-Organize" gatherings and "Ask-the-Organizer" panels. To find a local event, go to www.napo.net.




    Jan 6, 2011

    I love Black Eye Pea, and this recipe a Paula Deen Recipe is excellent! It's full of flavor unlike a lot of Black Eyed Pea Recipes. You can't go wrong with this one!! It's kicked up!


    Ingredients

    • 4 slices bacon
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed
    • 1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 cups water 
    Directions

    1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside to use as a topping for the peas. 
    2. Saute the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the peas, diced tomatoes and green chiles, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. 
    3. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. 
    4. Add additional water, if necessary. 
    5. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon. 


    Jan 5, 2011





    If you don’t like cabbage this is a great way to eat it. Not only is it super easy, practically fail proof the flavor is really great. Simple, and excellent what more do you need? I am not much of a cabbage person, but my husband is so I am always looking for ways to make it eatable for me. This recipe is one of my favorites!

    Ingredients:
    • 8 oz of bagged cabbage (coleslaw is what I use then you get carrots too)
    • 4 ounces of bacon
    • Salt (if desired)
    • 1 onion
    Directions:
    1. Thinly slice 4 ounces of bacon. It's easy to slice when it's partially frozen, and on a medium high heat begin to pan fry the bacon.
    2. When the bacon is cooked through, but not crispy add thinly sliced onion once the onion is cooked add 8 ounces of bagged cabbage. Mix all together
    3. Cooked until cabbage becomes limp.
    4. Add salt as needed
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    When my little buddy Gizmo was left on my doorstep by his brothers and sisters he was about 6 weeks old and in bad shape. I am assuming they realized he needed help and that he could not longer keep up with them because he was being blinded by his eye infection. When I walked out in the morning he was by the door but ran away. He moved so quickly I didn’t realize he was in distress. A few hours later when I got home with my husband he was back. Kevin caught him and brought him in the house. He was extremely malnourished, both of his eyes had an infection, and he was covered in fleas and mites. We got him cleaned up and fed. I got his eye infection cleared up within 3 days with some drops I already had and the vet gave him drops for his mites. He has now been a permanent resident of our home now for almost 5 month. Gizmo is happy, healthy, and a member of our family. He loves helping me work on my laptop. He literally works on it. It’s next to impossible to get much done while Gizmo is helping, but it sure is nice to see him happy!




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