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Food is Fuel... Fuel need not be expensive

For many of us, food eats a much bigger portion of our monthly budget than we even realize. We grab some fast food a few times a week, grab take out a few more times a week, and dine out at expensive restaurants here and there. The thing is, though, that it is very easy to cut down on this expense. Here are a few simple strategies to employ.

Eat out less; prepare more food at home. This is the single biggest key to reducing your spending on food over any period of time. I tend to find that it’s more worthwhile to find simple replacements for fast food and to make stuff at home rather than getting take out than giving up a weekend dinner out with my wife.

If you don’t know how to cook, teach yourself, starting with simpler recipes. There are a lot of books out there that can teach you how to cook (trust me, I’ve read a lot of them). The three that stand out (for me) are How to Cook Everything (probably the best overall for learning), The New Best Recipe (probably the best recipes), and The Joy of Cooking (probably the best reference and easiest to find used). Get one of these three and make a commitment to cook. In fact, if you stick around until February, I’m going to somewhat give into my desire to have a cooking blog and do a four week crash course on learning to cook at home with an eye towards the pocketbook.

Give leftovers a try. I used to think leftovers were the epitome of nasty, but then I figured out a few key secrets about making leftovers better: keep the foods rotating and make sure to spice the leftovers themselves. If you prepare a bit extra at mealtime, leftovers make for extremely cheap dining.

Buy a deep freezer. This allows you to buy some foods in bulk at a very cheap rate. Once you have the freezer, check with a local butcher to see what kind of deal you can get on bulk meat; you’ll be amazed how much of a discount you can get on bulk orders. You can also move to a system of preparing many meals at once and freezing them for later use; it’s a lot easier after a busy day to come home and pop a meal in the oven than it is to stop at the take-out place, especially when you realize how much cheaper the first option is, too.

Organize a series of potluck dinners. If you have a group that regularly dines out together regularly, suggest that you have a rotation of potlucks or backyard barbecues instead. If everyone is on board with this, it can be vastly cheaper and often more fun. Some of my best memories of dining with friends are not from restaurants, but from sitting on back porches watching the moon rise and enjoying a bottle of wine in the gentle warmth of a summer evening.

You give me fever...

I had the unfortunate luck to contract a ferocious food poisoning bug... from tofu curry. I'm not sure how it is possible, but let me tell you... its worse than ferocious. Spent the good portion of four days resting at home or in bed.

So I thought today's post would be about saving money, as always, but not skimping on the things you desperately need in case of emergency illness. Because it is great to save money and preventative maintenance (my term for the decade) is the best way to save money on unnecessary hospital or doctors visits.

In case of ferocious food poisoning (not limited to tofu curry)
*Time to rest- It is better to miss one or two days of work to stay at home and feel better than to have to spend your entire work week recuperating from the illness you let spiral out of control.
*A OTC medicine that reduces fever- Follow the directions on the bottle, no matter how crummy you feel you don't want to cause anymore damage or stress to your body by taking to much. These miracle pills will help keep your fever low and will satiate the need to rip your throbbing brain from your skull. Its graphic, but you'll know when you're there.
*Chicken noodle soup- Being a vegetarian, I didn't get to utilize this aspect of treatment, but it has renown healing properties in the chicken and the broth. It is light enough that it just might stay down but hearty enough that your body can draw enough nutrients to fight back.
*Cold drinks/Hot Drinks- If you're fever is ferocious, you'll know this too, you'll experience hot and cold flashes like your grandma said she was experiencing as she went through the change you'll want some cold drinks for the hot flashes and the hot drinks for your cold sweats. Old wives would tell you to drink clear soda, but studies have shown that the darker ones are better at soothing your rumbling tumblies (my mom's term... think I'll adopt that one too) so drink up. For your hot drinks, stay away from anything dairy including any creamer you might pop into your coffee or tea. And remember LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. Part of your raging headache is because you're not hydrating enough and your body needs to remain hydrated if you want to spend the least amount of time being ill.
*Shower, shower, shower- As soon as you feel your body temperature rising, hop in the shower for a few minutes to attempt to keep yourself cool. Before you go to bed for the evening, hop in the shower in anticipation of another fever while you sleep. When you wake up in the morning, shower if you feel sweaty because well sanitation is also something we should keep in mind when we're sick... or not.

Keep in mind that you might also be contagious, in case it isn't the ferocious food poisioning, and take precautions to not spread it to your family.

Other types of emergencies that we need not skimp over may involve having a useful first-aid kit in your house. Stock it once, frown at the price, and move on. Keep it well stocked and know what to use when (most come with an instruction booklet) and rest in the knowledge that it would have cost you about $50.00 an item at the ER.
Include the following in each of your first-aid kits:

* first-aid manual
* sterile gauze
* adhesive tape
* adhesive bandages in several sizes
* elastic bandage
* antiseptic wipes
* soap
* antibiotic cream (triple-antibiotic ointment)
* antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
* hydrocortisone cream (1%)
* acetaminophen and ibuprofen
* extra prescription medications (if the family is going on vacation)
* tweezers
* sharp scissors
* safety pins
* disposable instant cold packs
* calamine lotion
* alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
* thermometer
* plastic gloves (at least 2 pairs)
* flashlight and extra batteries
* mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)
* your list of emergency phone numbers
* blanket (stored nearby)

Visit to learn how to perfrom CPR or the Heimlich maneuver.


Swap it!

I had mentioned before the different items you could swap online instead of tossing them or attempting to sell. But this topic deserves its own post in entirety as the swapping business is deep and infinite! :)

Book Mooch
BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. Every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you've read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish. No cost: there is no cost to join or use this web site: your only cost is mailing your books to others.

Mail a book. Get a book. Any book you request is yours to keep, share or trade. No late fees. No processing charges. No hidden charges. Every time you mail a book to another member, you can request one for yourself from over 3 Million.

A member decides which DVDs he or she has and is willing to swap (DVDs do have to be in cases with the original artwork), then registers a free account with SwapaDVD. The UPC codes on the DVD cases allow the member to list the DVDs quickly (with full descriptions and cover art supplied by the SwapaDVD database) on a virtual DVD Tower as "available" for other members to select. When a member sends out a requested DVD and it is received, DVD credit (1 credit per disc) is deposited into the sender's account. Then the member can order DVDs for himself or herself. Mail a DVD -- Get a DVD! The DVDs can be kept, or swapped again after watching them.

Swap A CD
When another member selects one of my CDs that I have posted, I mail it to them. Yes, I pay about 79 cents postage, but then I get another CD credit and I can select any CD that I want from their huge collection. So another Club Member returns the favor and mails me one of his or her CDs postage-paid. Where else can you trade in an old CD, add a 49 cent processing fee, and then choose another from over 160,000 CDs?

And when someone requests one of your CDs, all you have to do is print a piece of regular paper from your printer which includes the mailing address and the recommended postage. Apply the postage, and drop it in the mail. They even offer the option to print the postage on your wrapper, so you don't even have to leave home to mail it!

Flower Seeds
Swap Flower Seeds
This is one of my favorite ideas. The possibilities are really endless. You could end up with a garden of flowers from all over the world! Do your research before hand and then head over to Thrifty Fun!

The Myspace of Food Lovers
BakeSpace is all about preserving and reinventing this tradition in cyberspace. We're a grassroots online community where people from around the world gather to share recipes, build new friendships, learn from one another and express their passion for all things food-related As a BakeSpace member you can post, search and swap recipes in real-time, and our unique recipe swap feature ensures that you'll always know what your friends are cooking. You can also build and customize your own "online kitchen," raid the "virtual pantry" (forums), upload videos, create blogs, get inspired, share your passion and learn from other members by tapping into our first-of-its-kind mentor program.

Do you like sending and receiving snail mail? Do you like writing letters, making crafts, or putting together fun packages? You should try swapping! Swap-bot is a online service that organizes group swaps and a community of creative individuals. Swap-bot takes the hassle out of participating in group swaps by organizing all of the participant information and doing all of the partner assignments. On Swap-bot, you can host swaps, join swaps, and chat with other swappers from all over the world. Give it a try!

Swap Thing
wapThing is a new and exciting community-driven swapping site that enables you to get the things you want and part with the things you don?t want ? at no cost to you!. You simply list the items/skills/services you are offering, as well as the items/skills/services you are seeking. Search through the items, skills and services offered by other swappers and propose a swap. SwapThing never charges a transaction fee, whether you swap one item or a bundle of items. Any cash transactions, including shipping, are negotiated between swappers, and easily allocated through your PayPal account. If you only want to swap with your friends or a limited number of swappers, then create a SwapCircle community. SwapThing maintains satisfaction information on all transactions to help maintain a safe and secure swapping environment where you can develop trusting relationships with other swappers.

Use what you got!

Where I have noticed the biggest impact of smaller expenses is with food. I don’t have much time to actually slip into the kitchen and whip something up. Dinner for me is chips and salsa or whatever my boyfriend has on hand. But if I want a full meal, I have only limited options on my time restraints: fast food or restaurant food. Both are expenses I could do without and both are just downright horrible for you.

So I went on a mission! A mission to find recipes that involve only using things I already had on hand and were easy enough that a person with all thumbs like me, could manage to whip up. I designated a cooking night, had my recipes and went to work. And it all turned out fantastic!!!

So if you’re looking for a few recipes involving anything in your cupboard, fridge or freezer, please check out Mommy’s Kitchen for more recipes like the ones below!

Fall Off The Bone Ribs
These are the ingredients you will need: Country Style Pork Ribs, BBQ Sauce any brand, Brown Sugar, Honey, Seasoning of choice, Apple Juice or Beer and Foil.
Take a broiler pan and fill the bottom section of the broiler pan about half full of Beer or Apple Juice. On the top section (the part with the slits) lay out your ribs. You may add a rub or sauce at this time or leave them plain. Use Seasoning Salt, Emeril Essence Spice or whatever spices you have on hand will work.

Cover the pan with foil and fold edges under to seal in the steam as they cook. Place in a 300 oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Remove foil carefully as steam will be hot. Now all the grease is down in the bottom of the pan with the beer or apple juice, the ribs are completely cooked and tender.

All you need to do is finish them up on the grill or under the broiler with sauce. Add honey and brown sugar to any barbecue sauce. For grill place ribs on grill and coat with you favorite sauce. Grill on each side just a few minutes until crispy. For broiler, Add barbecue sauce and broil for a few minutes on each side. Watch closely because sugar in the BBQ sauce will burn quickly.

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
1 Recipe Basic white sauce (recipe below)
1 1/2 Cups Cubed Velveeta Cheese or Shredded Cheddar Cheese
(I used Velveeta)
6 - Medium Potatoes, Peeled cooked and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 Cup plain Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 T. Margarine (Melted to use with bread crumbs for topping)

Boil potatoes, cool, peel and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Place potatoes in a greased 2 qt. casserole dish. In a separate sauce pan prepare white sauce. (recipe below) Stir in cheese salt and pepper cook and stir until cheese is melted. gently add cheese sauce to the potatoes and turn gently to coat. Mix bread crumbs and melted butter sprinkle over potatoes. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 additional minutes till bread crumb topping is golden brown.

Basic White Sauce

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
salt and pepper
1 1/4 cups milk

In saucepan over medium heat melt butter. whisk in the flour salt and pepper until smooth. gradually add milk Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. until thickened; use immediately.

It's not business, it's personal...

Over the course of the savings challenge, I have undergone multiple changes in perspective. The first one came within the first two months of the competition when I came to the conclusion that this is not a normal competition. I don't have to worry about somebody being able to run faster, throw farther or swim further in this competition. I just have to worry about what I'm doing and how I can play better. So in those terms its a competition against myself and part of me is destined to succeed and the other part is demanding failure. To say I'm not in this 100% would be absurd. I breathe, sweat, cry and dream of the challenge. But it seems that every speedbump that gets thrown my way is something I have created. Past mistakes, bad decisions are all coming back. Had I paid closer attention to my teeth and visited the dentist the recommended times per year, I wouldn't have had to shell out the money for a root canal and crown. Had I not broken two leases in Dallas, I would be able to put more money towards savings and be able to be out on my own once more.

Any regrets? Well, ya. Any regrets in how I'm doing in the challenge? No. Flatout. Resounding. NO. I enjoy being able to run ideas past my coaches and getting sound advice.

And that led to another revelation. I have a plan! A plan of plans for how I'm going to pay off my debt this year and how I'm going to make it happen for myself. And I'm sticking to it and its working and I couldn't be happier! But is there more that I could do?

I have a plan.... I don't have a budget. I have allocated venues for where my money goes each WEEK. Not month, WEEEK. And it successfully goes there. But after that whatever is left over, sits in my checking account until next payday. Until the next step of my plan. And it shouldn't be that way. If I had a real budget, something I took into consideration with every purchase, that money would also be allocated and the leftover dumped into savings. Its what I've been preaching, what I thought I was following. And it took me until the third month in the challenge to realize that I wasn't following what I preached.

I think I'll use spring break as an opportunity to really look at my budget. Luckily, I have kept my receipts (yes all of them) from the past three months and what better tool to gauge my spending trends to adjust my budget?!

So expect more thoughtful, insightful, and just downright helpful posts from me in the future. I will be able to post better blogs when I have proven, tried and true methods that have worked for me.


Don't waste it! Plan, reuse and save!

On average, American households waste 14 percent of their food purchases. That is a huge amount if your household matches the average. This means that for every $100 you spend on your groceries, $14 worth of it turns into wasted food.
By learning a few tips and techniques, you can cut down on food wastage, and possibly even completely eliminate your food wasting habits.

1 Good Meal Planning
As mentioned in the article "Grocery Shopping on a Budget", meal planning is one of the most important ways to reduce your food wastage. Before shopping, plan every meal for the week and write the shopping list accordingly. This should prevent you from buying foods that will not be used, and therefore, not ending the week with excess garbage. When planning your meals, consider how much time you will have available for meal preparation in order to ensure that it is realistic for you to stick to the plans.
Be sure to check your fridge and freezer before writing your shopping list. There may be some items that you already have, or there may be some leftover produce that you could make use of by adjusting the meal plans.

2 Keep the Fridge in Order
To ensure good food waste management, clean and organize your fridge often. This way, you will be aware of what food you have leftover, and what needs to be used quickly. Keep the older produce towards the front so that it gets used first. Dedicate one shelf to leftovers, again with the older items in the front.

3 Food Waste Log
Keep a food waste log on the fridge. Every time you throw out food, write down what it is and estimate it's cost. You will soon learn which foods you are buying too much of and how much it is costing you. Start adjusting your shopping list accordingly, and work on reducing the costs of your food waste.

4 Food Approaching Best Before Date
It is important to consume this food before it goes bad. The first approach would be to attempt to use the soon to be bad food in an upcoming meal. With vegetables, you could consider cooking and storing them in a container. This will give you a few more days in which to use them. Milk, meat, bread, berries, and leftovers from previous dinners can all be frozen.

5 Using Leftovers
No matter how well you plan, you may still end up with leftovers from your dinners. Should this be the case, be sure to immediately place them in covered containers and store. If you plan to eat the leftovers within a few days, put them on your “leftover shelf” in the fridge. Otherwise, store them in the freezer for use within a few weeks.

6 Leftover Night
One way to get rid of leftovers is to have a weekly leftover night. All the leftovers that you have accumulated in the week can be served buffet style. You may need to cook a couple of additional items depending on how much leftovers you have, but this would still be an excellent way of using up all your old food and cutting down on food wastage.

7 Keep the Freezer in Order
Even in the freezer, food will eventually go bad. Although the frozen foods will last a while, it is still a good idea to occasionally use up all this food from time to time. This way, you won’t have frozen items at the bottom of your freezer slowly going to waste.

8 Canned and Dried Foods
As with the foods in the fridge, keep the older canned and dried foods at the front of your shelves and cupboards to ensure that they get used. These foods do have a long shelf life, but they don't last forever. When you open packets of dry food, nuts, flour, grains, etc. seal the packets tightly or transfer to air tight containers. Otherwise, the food may go stale or attract bugs.

9 Save the Bread
There are plenty of options for soon-to-be bad bread. If you have not already frozen it and the bread has gone stale but without traces of mold, consider using it to make croutons, bread crumbs, or even french toast.

10 Broths
If you have vegetable or meat scraps, you can use them to make a broth. They are easy to make and can be used in soups and stews amongst other things. It is also an excellent way to cut down on food waste.

Declutter and Save!

Ways to Sell Clutter and Junk
Most off us have clutter and junk in our homes that we would like to get rid off. A lot of this clutter can actually be worth something, and with this article you will find out how sell your clutter and junk.
Maybe you or other people in your household have a habit of building up clutter. Maybe you have items which you have outgrown, lost interest with, or just no longer need, all packed into a closet or taking up space in the garage.

Well, if you consider the phrase "one man's junk is another man's treasure," then you could could be sitting on a small gold mine.

There are a few different ways that you can sell your unused items. With a little bit of work and preparation, you can get rid of your clutter and also earn yourself a tidy sum while doing so.

Get Rid of Clutter Online

Pretty much anything can be sold online, from broken electronics to houses, from chicken suits to lampshades. Of course, if you have many items, it can be very time consuming, especially if you are not used to using online tools to sell items.

eBay is of course the most commonly used auction site, and is very useful when trying to clear out clutter from the home. eBay has a market place for almost any item, with only very few exceptions. Through ebay, you can sometimes sell items for much more than you could anywhere else.Works For: Almost Anything (some exceptions being - wild animals, firearms and fake or counterfeit currencies) .

Buymytronics and Gazelle, are websites that pay you to recycle your aged and junk electronics. If you have an old cell phone lying around, or a faulty vhs player, then you may be able to get some money for it. Works For: Used and faulty electronics.

Craigslist has in recent years taken the place of old fashioned newspaper classifieds. Listings are free and can be made quickly. Selling is localized which is very useful for bigger items that need to be picked up rather than shipped.

You can use specialized sites such as Amazon, Cash4Books or Half, to sell old books, cds, video games and movies. Works For: Used Books, CDs and other media.

Yard Sales and Flea Markets

For a way to sell clutter and junk relatively quickly, and without having to spend hours typing out item descriptions online, yard sales and flea markets would be your best option. Preparation is required for a successful sale, but the process can be enjoyable and worthwhile. You may be surprised at what you are able to sell. Works For: Anything.

Consignment Stores

Try getting rid of clutter by taking it to consignment stores (also known as second hand stores). They will offer you a portion of the proceeds from the sale of any item that you bring in to them. Payment will not usually be made until if and when the item sells. Works For: Clothing, Books, Furniture, Sports Equipment, Household Items,Toys.


For clutter of value, such as jewelry or furniture, it may be worthwhile going through an auctioneer. It will often be necessary to get the jewelry or antique, appraised beforehand. Works For: Quality Jewelry and Furniture.

Antique and Collectible Dealers

If you suspect that you have antique or collectible items, then search for your nearby dealers and see how much they will offer you. It is possible that you would earn less than you would by selling the items yourself, but it could be a lot quicker and easier. Works For: Antiques and Collective Items.


People still do check the classified sections of newspapers, so this is still a worthwhile tip for selling your junk and clutter. You will generally have to pay to list in the classifieds, plus you will be limited to the number of words you can print, but it reaches the buyers who do not use the internet. Works For: Anything

Other Ways for Getting Rid of Clutter

Bring your junk into Pawn Shops for a quick sale. They won't take any type of junk though, and don't expect to get the true value of the item, or even close to it. The big advantage is that is is quick and easy.

If you have musical instruments for sale, try contacting the music director at Local Schools. They are often looking for discounted instruments.

The same technique may also work for used computer equipment. Contact local schools and colleges and see if they have a need for them.

If you have old appliances that don't work, you may be able to trade them in for cash by taking them to local recycling centers.

If you have barely used baby toys and clothes. Try listing them through Parental Websites.

Homeword's Family Financial Survival Guide

HomeWord's Family Financial Survival Guide

Unemployment is up . . . home prices are down . . . and no one is really quite sure where the Stock Market is going to land from one day to the next. In these challenging economic times, it’s easy to be worried about your family’s financial health. “HomeWord’s Family Financial Survival Guide” gives you practical tools that are biblical, practical and recession-proof.

For this special audio presentation, Dr. Jim Burns welcomes noted financial experts Dave Ramsey (author of the book, The Total Money Makeover), Ron Blue (author of Master Your Money), Howard Dayton (Founder of Crown Financial Ministries), Wall Street Journal business reporter Francine Huff, and Ellie Kay –“America’s Family Financial Expert.”
Free MP3 Download:

HomeWord's Family Financial Survival Guide


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Is clipping and using the grocery coupons in the Sunday newspaper a waste of time? No! Using coupons, smart shoppers have learned how to live on a grocery budget of $50.00 a week! Savings may be small in the beginning but with knowledge, time and practice coupon shoppers are saving more than ever imagined. Even if you don't NEED to pinch your pennies, you can still have more than you ever thought you could!

Accumulate Coupons

The first step to these terrific savings and successful coupon use is accumulating coupons. Each week there are usually two different coupon inserts in metropolitan newspapers with a third insert available once a month. Having multiples of each coupon enables a shopper to take advantage of the great deals in bulk. This helps build a food storage. Obtaining multiples of coupons is not difficult. Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are great sources for obtaining multiple coupon inserts. There's a great trading forum here at, where you can trade the coupons from Sunday paper that you can't use, for coupons that you can.

Another source of coupons is the internet. Printable coupons and coupon offers can be found at many manufacturer and coupon related websites. Many manufacturers also offer coupons which are sent post mail.

Additional coupons and in-store savings can be found at most grocery stores. Coupons commonly called blinkies are available in red machines set up in aisles in the stores. Also, apply for grocery store courtesy cards. Most grocery chains have these complimentary cards which provide extra discounts and savings at their stores. These discounts can be combined with coupons for maximum savings.

Get Organized

The second step to successful coupon use is organization. There is a variety of ways to organize and maintain coupons. Successful coupon users have a place to keep and organize the coupons. This can be a box, binder or flexible file. Plastic flex-type coupon organizers can be purchased at many stores. Many coupon users make their own binders using a zippered binder filled with photo pages or sports card pages. A box with dividers can be made or purchased. Whatever is used, the coupons are divided and placed in categories which provide for easy location while shopping.

There are many methods to saving and cutting the coupons and inserts. Some coupon users will cut all coupons and file them in their coupon organizer. This way all of the coupons are available when shopping. If a surprise deal or sale is found, the coupon is ready. Others cut only the coupons they are sure to use and leave the rest in the coupon inserts. When a sale or deal on a specific item occurs, they can go back to the insert and cut the needed coupons. If doing this, find a way to file and organize the inserts. Print or write out a list of which coupons are in each insert.

What is Food Storage?

The third and most powerful step to successful coupon use is called building a food storage. When a great deal is found, buy in bulk. This is why accumulating multiple coupons is necessary. Buying a lot of one thing at a great price can lead to never having to pay full price again. For example, buying six months of cereal at a great price means cereal will not need to be purchased again until you run out. This can be done with many food items and most household goods.

Use Coupons Wisely

Using coupons wisely is another key to successful coupon use. There are many ways to do this and maximize the savings. The first way is to avoid using a coupon just because it exists. If there is a coupon for an item that is not a great deal and is not needed, do not use it. Unused coupons can be traded. Expired coupons can be sent to military bases overseas where they are valid six months past the expiration date.

Watch the sales at different grocery stores. Pair the sales with the coupons to get great savings. Many times items are just a small fraction of their original price when this is done.

Know the coupon policies at local stores. Stop at the customer service desks and ask about their coupon policies. Some stores double and triple the value of coupons. Some stores will combine a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon. If a store has a coupon in their ad or in store and there is a manufacturer's coupon for the same item, both can be used. Two manufacturer's coupons can not be combined. There are some stores that accept competitor's store coupons.

Read each coupon carefully. Most state "one coupon per purchase". Each item bought is a purchase. If 10 of an item is purchased, 10 coupons for that item may be used. It is rare for a coupon to state "one coupon per customer".

When coupons are collected, organized and used in these ways it is easy to slice your monthly grocery budget in at least half. One PYP user has done just that.

Tips of the Trade

Successful coupon shoppers also use the following tips to maximize their savings.

* When at item is Buy One Get One Free, often two coupons can be used.
* If the coupon says "off any size", its often more profitable to use it on the smallest size.
* If the store is out of an advertised sale item, get a raincheck. Use it later with coupons.
* Keep a list of needed items.
* Plan your meals around items in your food storage.
* Avoid trips to convenience and corner stores.
* Don't shop when hungry. This will reduce impulse buys.
* Remember one store does not have the lowest prices on everything.
* Check expiration dates on food items, especially when stockpiling.
* Watch for price discrepancies at checkout. Make sure all coupons are deducted.
* Try different brands. Eliminating brand loyalty increases savings.
* Have fun and be proud of the savings!

Grocery coupons are not the only way to save money while shopping. There are many ways to save money when shopping for almost everything.

Google your way to scholarships

Ohhhh google google google. How I love thee. Let me count the ways... Results 1 - 100 of about 8,860,000 for engineering scholarships. SAY WHAT?!?!?

There is no way I could sift through that many results to find the perfect scholarship for me. So the goal is to get the results to a more manageable number.

Google reacts well to certain parameters. If you are looking for a nursing scholarship, you can search by that specific phrase by placing it in quotation marks. "Nursing Scholarship" pulls up 368,000 results while just searching for nursing scholarship without the quotes pulls 559,000.

Another great parameter is the OR/AND function. These two little words may not give you a lot of points in scrabble but using them in conjunction on google will beef up your scholarship results score immensely. Try searching for Pediatric Nursing Scholarship. 271,000 results. Try searching for "Pediatric Nursing Scholarship". 18 results. Now we're going to add just one word, this is going to be your favorite word out of the entire English language because it will provide more information on how to successfully put your scholarship opportunities within reach: Application. You need to fill out an application to apply for a scholarship. You know that, so make sure you include it in your search query. "Pediatric Nursing Scholarship" AND "application" returns 10 results. That eliminates 8 results you didn't need to look at because they did not pertain to applying for a scholarship.

Probably one of the best parameters to use is the filetype parameter. Filetype will only show specific file extensions like pdf or word documents, which is the primary format most scholarship applications are in. Example. Search scholarship application in google, receive 9,950,000 results. Search "scholarship application", receive 924,000 results. Search "scholarship application" AND "nursing", receive 124,000 results. Search (filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf) "scholarship application" AND "nursing", receive 2,310 results. From almost 10 million to just over 2 thousand, that is a much more manageable number.

Add in a few extra ingredients, your city (example: (filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf) "scholarship application" AND "nursing" AND "los angeles"), your school, your state, your field of study... mix it up, try different arrangements and you'll have a very strong scholarship portfolio to choose from.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment here and I genuinely wish you the best of luck on your scholarship quest. I'm in the same boat with you so I feel the exasperation.

Good Luck!

March is marching in!

February is over and done with and boy did it end on a different note than I thought it would. But I'm going to continue gaining speed in March!

1. Money=Time. I'm going to try harder to equate my money to the hours that I work. Example: Mmmmmm Burger King Veggie Burger... $2.59? Thats about 20 minutes of work at the office? Is it worth it... Mmmmmm pizza.... $14.67? Thats more than an hours pay.. NO WAY!
2. Followup with scholarship apps and continue searching!
3. Boost my savings! I definitely feel like this area of my plan is slacking a bit. But luckily I will have more room to pump it up this month.
4. Revamp my plan. My snowball effect has changed slightly so I will need to redistribute my fundages. :)

March is going to be a great month! I'm excited to start saving and I hope you'll stick to it and save with me!

Wishing you all the best.