Category: Saving Money 101

How To Eat For $4 Per Day

How To Eat For $4 Per Day

Raise your hand if you are on a tight food budget?

Yea, that is a LOT of hands.

Keep your hands raised if you are on Foodstamps?

Yea, still a lot of hands.

Have you tried to eat healthy on a tight budget and find yourself continually going back to cheap carbs / fillers?

I sure do and I am so frustrated with myself.

Then a friend posts a link and voila, this great, FREE, cookbook emerges!




About The Free Cook Book

It is called “Good and Cheap: Eat Well On $4 Per Day,” By Leanne Brown. And best of all, it is free! Click here for the link: Good and Cheap Free Cookbook.

Leann moved to America from Canada to study nutrition. She was shocked at how many people were on Food Stamps and how few resources there were available to teach folks to eat healthy and well within a Food Stamp budget. So she decided to create a great cookbook full of healthy recipes, nutritious food, meals that aren’t too complicated to make, and most of all, stick to the $4 per day budget.

Leann’s philosophy: “The best health advice is simple: eat fruits and vegetables. Many American cookbooks rely on meat as the central feature of a meal. My recipes celebrate the vegetables rather than the meat. My intent was to create satisfying food that doesn’t require you to supplement your meals with cheap carbohydrates to stave off hunger. I strove to create recipes that use money carefully, without being purely slavish to the bottom line. For example, many recipes use butter rather than oil. Butter is not cheap, but it creates flavor, crunch, and richness in a way that cheap oils never can. ”

She really created this out of a desire to help.

Follow Up

I will be testing out these recipes over the next few months and I hope to share some of my successes and failures on my blog. I also will be revamping my current recipe series, Simple, Healthy, Cheap, to have better photos, include more recipes using Leann’s philosophy and budget, and to include more variety.

 

How To Get That Costco Dream Trip For Less

Travel How To Get That Costco Dream Trip For LessIn my post last year about saving money on travel, I compared Costco to Expedia and BookingBuddy. I was comparing apples to apples (so the exact same hotel, airline, tickets, etc…) and Costco won two of the thee “challenges.” Costco, with their buying power, was able to negotiate certain deals with certain carries that others could not match.

However, Expedia and BookingBuddy are both able to negotiate their own deals with carriers, just maybe or maybe not the same carriers as Costco.




So, if ware are willing to compare apple species to apple species (i.e the same star category of service, the same level of air carrier, same room type, etc…) then it would be interesting to find out who comes out with the best price – and YOU still get the best vacation, but I still recommend to contact a vancouver realtor, you will get the best deals!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Travel How To Get Costo Dream Trip

BookingBudy is a TripAdvisor Company.

Again, I am going to pick the same trips:

  • A Trip to Walt Disney World, including airfare, park tickets, and a non Disney hotel property for 8 days, 7 nights traveling from Seattle, WA. For a family of 4.

 

  • A Trip to Hawaii, including airfare, hotel, and car on the big island for 7 days, 6 nights traveling from Seattle, WA. For a Family of 4.

 

  • A Trip to Cabo San Lucas, including airfare, airport to hotel transfer, and all-inclusive hotel (includes food and drinks) for 5 days, and 4 nights) traveling from Seattle, WA. For two adults.

 

 

Trip 1: Walt Disney World Trip: Departing September 14th and returning September 21st from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4 – 4 star hotel and national airline.

  • Costco Travel Vacation Package – Orlando World Center Marriott, American Airlines (1 stop), 5 day park hopper to WDW: $4,206.
  • Expedia Vacation Package – Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort, United Airline (1 stop), 5 day park hopper ticket to WDW: $3,911.
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package – Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort, American Airlines (1 stop), 5 day: $3,907

For each travel provider, I looked for the lowest price, name brand 4 star hotel. With being able to play with the hotel choice and using BookingBuddy’s deal on Walt Disney World ticket price, we were able to save over $300 on this vacation.

Trip 2: Hawaii: Departing September 14th and returning September 20th  from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4.

  • Costco Travel – Halii Kai Waikoloa – Garden View Room, Alaska Airlines (no overnight flight), full size car rental: $3,871
  • Expedia – Sheraton Kona Resort – Mountain View Room, Hawaiian Airlines (no overnight flight), full size car rental: $3,506
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package – Castle Halii Kai – Garden View Room, United Airlines (no overnight flight), full size car rental – $3,142

For each travel provider, I looked for the lowest price, name brand 4 star hotel. I also looked for economy class flights that were not overnight, and lastly, we added on a full size car rental. Finding the best deal on each site, Booking Budy was able to save over $700 from best price Costco trip and over $350 from the best price Expedia trip. WOW!

Trip 3: Cabo San Lucas: Departing September 14th and returning September 18th from Seattle, WA, for two adults.

  • Costco Travel – Villa del Arco deluxe suite (note: if I ever get to go to Cabo for an anniversary someday, this is my first choice hotel), Alaska Airlines, airport transfer: $1741
  • Expedia – Hacienda Encantada luxury suite, United Airlines, airport transfer: $1557
  • BookingBuddy – Playa Grande Resort, deluxe junior suite, Alaska Airlines, does NOT include airport transfer: $1481. Hotel transfer could be booked separately for (est) $80. Total would be: $1561.

For each travel provider, I looked for the lowest price, name brand 4 star hotel and selected non-overnight economy class flights. Expedia just edges out BookingBuddy here by a couple of dollars. Costco is more expensive by $200, but to be honest, in this case, I would still select the Costco deal.

As we can see, it simply pays to shop around. Sometimes one site will have the best deal and sometimes, another site wins.

Let me know your best deal you have ever found and who it was through.


Beware of IRS Law Suit Scams!

I just heard a lovely computerized voice on my voice mail informing me that the IRS is filing suit against me and that I better call now!

Luckily, I was pretty sure this was a scam and quickly did some research instead of calling them back. Unfortunately, I know that many people don’t know how to tell that something is a scam and may actually fall for this, so I thought I would share my story and the result of my research.

Here is an info-graphic from the FTC with how to discern the difference between a scam and the real IRS.

0519-irs-imposter-scams-infographic

 

What other scams and cons are out there right now that people need to be aware of?

10 Things To Do This Summer Under $10: #5 – Play In The Sprinklers!

10 Things To Do This Summer Under $10 Part 5

As I have been working on this series, I have been thinking back to my childhood – what things did I enjoy that cost very little or nothing (as least as far as I knew)? One memory that came to me was my parents turning on the grass sprinklers and running through them. I remember two different kinds of sprinklers: the one with lots of holes that the water came straight up through and the other one that came out two ends of a little rod and spun around.

In my child mind, this activity was free, since my parents had already purchased the sprinkler for the grass and they needed to water the grass anyway. But now that I am an adult, I do understand that there is a small cost involved.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

These days, lots of creative toy sprinklers are now on the market. The one that we are using the in the photo came from Walmart and I think we paid more than $10 for it, so I don’t actually recommend it. In fact, the whole toy sprinkler market almost seems a little overpriced.

If you want to find a good, old fashioned sprinkler, check out some thrift stores or here are a couple from Amazon:

Gilmour 876R Rectangular Pattern Spot Sprinkler
Orbit Metal 3-Arm Lawn Watering Sprinkler
Gilmour Circle Pattern Twin Spot Sprinkler 875

What is your favorite childhood summer memory?

10 Things To Do This Summer Under $10: #4 – Public Pool and/or Lake

10 Things Summer Swim
We love to swim!


So far this summer we have: started the summer reading program, played at the park, and done some arts and crafts during a rainy day. Now comes one of the best activities of summer – swimming.

Unfortunately, swimming can add up quickly – swim suites, floaties, the cost of lessons, etc… However, if you can get some inexpensive suites (think Walmart), or reuse what you have from last year or accept hand-me-downs (some people prefer not and I do understand), and not have to have all the other stuff, you can do summer swimming on a few dollars.

We have found for myself and our 3 children, it is $7 or $8 to take them to the local, public pool. If we add dad, then we come up to the $10 threshold. If you family is bigger, then the public pool could become expensive quickly.

Which brings me to the other option – public lakes. We have a couple of lakes within a 30 minute drive and it costs either $5 or $10 for day use for one vehicle (depending on the lake). Some are even free. We made it really frugal last year by going with another family in their cargo van. They paid gas and I paid the day use fee at our favorite lake.

We also know of a family who has built a pond on their property. They allow families to book a day or half day, for free, to swim there. What a blessing!

What is your most frugal way to go swimming?

Saving 101: Saving Money On Big Ticket Items + A Bonus For Bloggers

Saving On Big Ticket ItemsI have stated before that I am not a fan or frequent user of grocery coupons. I mostly purchase base foods and find store brands a better deal (most of the time, not always) than a name brand, even with a coupon.

I Like Coupons For Big Ticket Items

However, to be very very transparent, there is a time that I do use coupons – whenever I purchase just about anything else! When we go out to dinner, the first thing I look for is a coupon for a couple of places we would like to go. Just recently, we went out to the Outback for my birthday. I manged to find a 15% off coupon for our meal!

If I need to get the oil changed, when it is time for my once per year mommy shopping spree, when we need a new item of furniture or housewares, I will be found on the internet and checking my files for coupons.

I am very happy to share a new site with you that I have discovered : AnnCoupons.com. They have a very easy to use interface. I was able to quickly find a set of Outback coupons. The one I had used earlier this month was expired, but you can also sign up to receive new coupons as they come out.

Special Deal For Bloggers

AnnCoupons.com is connected with Ann Media, a Blogger / Brand program with opportunities for: Giveaways, Sponsored Posts, Banner Rental, and Affiliate Programs. Sign up today to start getting advertiser opportunities for your blog.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through AnnCoupons.com. I only choose to do sponsored posts from brands and companies that I do or would use.

Saving Money On Travel: Costco vs. Expedia vs. BookingBuddy

Want to learn a tip that can save you $100s on your travel?
Want to learn a tip that can save you $100s on your travel?

There are many ways to save money on travel. One way I have discovered can make the different of $100s is to compare the same trip or components of a trip between different travel providers. One may have negotiated a better deal here, but another has a better deal there.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

If you haven’t done much in the way of travel comparison, consider this a hands on lesson in how to compare travel across a couple of different providers. The providers I choose today are:

The three trips we are going to compare are:

  • Walt Disney World, including airfare, park tickets, and a non Disney hotel property for 8 days, 7 nights traveling from Seattle, WA.
  • Hawaii, including airfare, hotel, and car on the big island for 6 days, 5 nights traveling from Seattle, WA.
  • Cabo San Lucas, including airfare, airport to hotel transfer, and all-inclusive hotel (and food and drinks) for 5 days, and 4 nights) traveling from Seattle, WA.

We will make sure we are comparing apples to apples. That means it will be the same airline and the same hotel across each travel provider, so we get a clear picture of savings. Next blog post, I will compare apples to oranges, meaning I will look for the best hotel (same star rating / same basic services) in the same class and best flight in the same class from each provider and see who comes out on top.

Trip 1: Walt Disney World: Departing September 9th and returning September 16th from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4. Hotel: Buena Vista Palace Hotel, Air Carrier: Alaska Air, Tickets: WDW 5 day park hopper tickets.

  • Costco Travel Vacation Package (note: includes daily breakfast): $4418
  • Expedia Vacation Package (note: does not include daily breakfast, the resort fee is not included): $4309
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package (note: no breakfast, resort fee not included): $4720

The Costco deal is the best.

Trip 2: Hawaii:  Departing September 9th and returning September 15th from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4. Hotel: Royal Kona Resort  Air: Alaska Car: Alamo

Expedia won this round.

Trip 3: Cabo San Lucas: Departing September 9th and returning September 13th from Seattle, WA for 2 adults. Hotel: Royal Solaris Air: Alaska

Costco wins again, but BookingBuddy beat Expedia this time.

As we can see, there is a $300 difference just between travel providers. It will be interesting to see next time the $$$ difference when we compare best of class for each provider.


Baby On A Budget: How To Spend Less Than $100 On Your Basic Baby Needs

Baby On A Budget: How To Spend Less Than $100 On Your Basic Baby Needs
Baby On A Budget: How To Spend Less Than $100 On Your Basic Baby Needs

I know that many people save for their first baby. Unfortunately, many other folks do not. Maybe the baby is a surprise, earlier than planned, or they simply don’t have the income coming in to save.

We were both taken a bit by surprise by our first pregnancy and we still weren’t very good budgeters, so even when we found out we were pregnant and I was still working part time, we were living at our means and didn’t make the sacrifices we could have to save, other than the $100 a month payment to the mid-wife.

With all the money going out in bills, food, etc… how did we provide a crib, infant seat, baby bathtub, clothing, and more that a new baby needs? The following is how we still managed to have it all w/o spending more than $100 out of our own pocket:

  1. We let our family, friends and church community know our needs. We were humble enough to be grateful for all the hand-me down stuff that we were given. Lots of clothing, blankets, burp-rags, a baby bath, a high chair, a diaper bag, and more came in from other families and friends. We also ended up with a dresser and a stroller this way.
  2. A friend of mine hosted a baby shower for me. We were given beautiful, handmade blankets, cute as can be dresses (we were having a girl), and lots of practical stuff like diaper rash cream, diapers and pacifiers.
  3. Each of our parents contributed one major purchase with my mom-in-law getting us a crib (which ended up lasting through 3 babies) and mattress and my parents got us the infant seat.
  4. We picked up a few additional clothes from thrift / resale stores.

Although we had all we needed for baby one through these means, since then we have received / purchased a few additional items through the following means:

  1. Craigslist / want ads – always a great source of toys, clothing and more. Many people practically give stuff away. Others are trying to make some of their money back, but most people will deal, so try talking them down a little.
  2. Giveaways – lots of blogs out there are hosting giveaways of baby stuff. Try a few, you never know what you might end up with. There are also blogs that give away samples and such or find deals. If you have a little time, it is worth a search.

If you have saved a little money and want to get some items new, make the most of your funds by searching Ebates for coupons and cash back deals for 100’s of stores selling baby and children’s goods.

Saving 101: How I Just Got A 2-1 Laptop For $279

HP 11.6inch 2-1 Tablet / Laptop with 500 gig storage.

With HP and other brand 2-1 Laptops starting at $350 and the Surface starting at $500, how did I manage to get an HP 2-1 Laptop for only $279?

Well, I took my time and did some research, using Google shopping, Amazon and Best Buy as my starting places. In looking at Best Buy, I noticed that they sold some refurbished machines. Some were sold through partners of Best Buy and some were sold and warrantied for 1 year by Best Buy’s Geek Squad. It was in looking over these refurbished machines directly from Best Buy that I saw they had a couple of refurbished 11.6 inch, 2-1 laptops for $279 = I was sold. I had seen those Surface ads for awhile and I really wanted one, and this was a close second and nearly $250 less! With the warranty, I felt this was a sold purchase and I saved over $100 on the price of a new version of this machine.

Since I am writing this post on this new machine, all is well so far and I can’t wait to flip it over and use it read some Kindle books I haven’t been able to read very well on my old machine.

Search Ebates for coupons from your favorite retailers like Best Buy for $20 – $1000 off of products and 12% cash back on all purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

Tips And Tricks From Richard Syrop’s Effortless Savings – Part 1

 

effortless_savings

I was given the opportunity recently to review Richard’s Syrop’s frugal living / simple living book: Effortless Savings: A Step-by-Step Guidebook to Saving Money Without Sacrifice. Instead of just a basic review, I thought I would share some tips from his book, along with some tips and commentary of my own and turn this into a Saving Money 101 series. This might sound cliché, but following just one tip from this book would be worth more than the purchase price!

Richard starts his book business with a very smart move, not only does he write a book with tips that can save you $1000’s per year, but he ties the book into the Effortless Savings Website, which includes links to many of the money-saving programs he mentions.  Please note that this review is not an endorsement of the businesses in the book and on the site, since I have not take the time to research them individually. Therefore, it is recommended that you research the companies before purchasing anything through them.

On To the Tips

We are going to start at the beginning, Chapter 1 – Telcom Services, and share a couple of great tips (but certainly not all – you have to get the book for that):

  1. You can save up to 40% on your mobile / cell phone plans by going with a MVNO (a Mobile Virtual Network Operator), which is basically a wholesaler for mobile phone services. Each major carrier has someone wholesaling their service, including Verizon (Page Plus Cellular). There is also a pre-paid wireless version for most of the major mobile carriers.
  2. You can usually negotiate your telephone/internet/TV bills down, especially after the end of a promotional package. Although Richard suggests having a “poker match” with phone / utility company and take the route of trying to cancel the service to get the rate, I found that up-front honesty worked for me – maybe this is the difference between a male and female approach. About two months ago, I called our phone company as our intro rate had ended and our bill had gone up about $20 per month.  I just told them that this was more than we could afford and that I had shopped around and seen that I could get phone and internet for $20 – $30 less per month, but I didn’t really want to go through the hassle of changing companies. The rep was very helpful and our bill dropped by nearly $20 a month going forward.

Want to know more about how to get the best rate on telephone, mobile phone, internet and other services? Purchase a copy of: Effortless Savings: A Step-by-Step Guidebook to Saving Money Without Sacrifice today!

 

Disclosure: I was given this eBook for free. I was under no obligation to do a review, but chose to do so.