Sunday, November 29, 2009

Free Holiday Stuff For Your Computer...

Want your computer to look more festive? How about free Christmas screen savers, wallpapers, gift tags or cards. Hershey's has just what you need:

My favorite screen savers are the Hershey Kiss "Bells" and the "Find the Kiss" presents.

It is officially time to turn on the Christmas music and get those decorations up people. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend full of fun with your family on Thanksgiving and with your shopping buddies catching the bargains on Black Friday. :)

Don't forget to suss out the ads and then plot your route based on what is most important for you to get. If you don't get the paper or want to take a peek early, you can google "black friday ad's" and find lots of links to the ads online. More than anything, make sure you stay relaxed and enjoy... don't get stressed. My sister used to make us bagels with cream cheese and bacon to munch on while we stood in line at Toys R Us and chatted. Be careful not to pick up lots of extra gifts just because they are cheap... that can wreck havoc on your budget. Just get what you need and head on home.

Good Luck and be sure to come back and tell us what bargains you got this year :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Home Baked Gifts...

Making treats to hand out is fun for the family and certainly yummy for everyone involved, but if you are not careful they can end up costing you more than going out and buying something! Keep that in mind when you are choosing a recipe to mass produce and be sure to work out how much each batch is going to cost you before settling on a recipe.

For example, generally nuts are quite expensive, so if you have to use them, try to choose a recipe that uses them minimally and perhaps even think about substituting a cheaper variety if possible. Pecans are usually more expensive than walnuts per pound, so why not try a batch of your recipe with walnuts instead and see if it is a change you are willing to live with :)

Many baking items such as chocolate chips, cream cheese and nuts come on sale over the holidays, so keep an eye out for savings. Also, store brands of items such as sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk can offer up to 50% saving with no recognizable difference in taste. Stock up with what you will need when the prices are low.

Many websites have fun holiday recipes highlighted at this time of the year:

Whatever you choose to bake for your family or friends, make it extra special by attaching the recipe so that the person you give it to can enjoy your gift for years to come!

Friday, November 20, 2009 74 Gift Wrap Ideas...

I was very pleasantly surprised when I got an email from this evening. I almost skipped over it thinking, "oh heavens, I can just imagine the specialty materials needed to do anything of hers!" But I clicked on the link for 74 Ideas for Gift Wrap Tags & Bows and was engrossed for about an hour with how many simple, frugal ideas she had! If you use the link above, just click on the orange arrow box to scroll through the ideas. Or here are a few of my favorites:

Remember, the idea is to use stuff you already have on hand, so raid that craft closet and see what you can come up with to use to save even more :)

Campbells Coupons...

Save up to $15 on various Campbells products by selecting and printing coupons HERE. :)

And The Winner Is...


You have won Chocolate!

Thanks to you guys who posted my button. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seasonal Activities...

Now is the time to look for free or very inexpensive things to do with the family over the holidays. Some ideas include:
  • Rent a movie from Red box for just $1, (just be sure to return it the next day)
  • Go to a sing-a-long, (Some churches or schools do them... keep an eye out for advertisements)
  • Get out board games you haven't played in forever
  • Drive around to see the lights in the neighborhood or at the temple, (there is a neighborhood that does "The Night Before Christmas" in Taylorsville, around 5400 South and 3200 West. If you haven't seen it, your kids will LOVE it... it is easy to find, it is COMPLETELY lit up!)
  • Bake inexpensive treats and take them to your neighbors to spread the joy.
  • Go caroling with friends around the neighborhood
  • Camp out in the living room with sleeping bags together
  • Have dinner on a blanket by your lit Christmas tree

What other things do you like to do around the Christmas Season that increase the size of your spirit but don't decrease the size of your wallet?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Week Pass for Curves...

Don't forget to take care of yourself physically during this stressful time of the year. Click HERE to sign up for a free week pass for Curves and get yourself healthier and stronger before fighting the crowds on Black Friday! ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Wrapping...

Don't waste money on expensive paper, ribbons, tags or bows. Opt for the cheaper stuff... It is all going to look cute wrapped up under that festive looking tree, and it is going to get torn off so quickly that they will not even have time to appreciate any extra cost you spent on it! Some 99c curling ribbon and a bag of 99c bows is really all you need to spruce up your gifts.

I was at Target today and found myself looking at the cutest box of gift tags ever. They were hand crafted and sparkly... I was so tempted. Then I saw the $9.99 price tag and I woke up to the reality that these were something I could most definitely live without. Scratch buying expensive gift tags and get creative by making your own. Even better, why not have the kids hand make them! Family members (especially grandparents) are sure to ooh and aah over their homemade creations. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009


Before you buy ANYTHING for this year decoration wise, don't forget to get out your decorations from last year, including anything you bought at the after Christmas clearance sales and do an inventory. You will probably find that you already own enough decorations to make your home beautiful for this year without spending extra money in this department.

Decorations are best purchased in the couple of weeks FOLLOWING Christmas. Prices are then slashed 50-90%. Last year I got a six-foot pre-lit white tree and tons of blue and silver lights, tinsel and balls a week after Christmas for just $18 total... This year I will be able to reap the rewards of my bargain shopping by having a Dallas Cowboys tree somewhere in my home. Had I purchased the items at full price I would have spent over $150, but patience paid off in a big way.

So limit how much you spend on decor before Christmas this year. Don't think you have enough lights? Try dimming instead of brightening for a warm, romantic look and use candles to create a Christmas glow. Cut small branches of evergreen trees and arrange in a vase with some red ribbon for a woodsy smell. Fill a clear vase or bowl with Christmas balls for a festive centerpiece. There are lots of things you can do for little to no cost... just be creative! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post my button, win some chocolate!

I had a little play around in photo shop and made this little cute little button... if you so feel inclined, just copy the code below and paste it in to a "html gadget" on your sidebar. It will help guide your friends here to Frugalityville. :) Remember, I have no ads, and don't get any kind of perks/compensation for running this site. I just want to reach as many people as I can and help them save money a little at a time...

I will put a small yummy treat in it for one lucky person. Who can resist Lindt Lindor Truffles? I will do a drawing for a 5.1 oz bag... you can pick the flavor. Just post the button on your blog/site and leave me a comment. I'll do the drawing next Thursday, November 19th... the night of the Twilight premier! :)

A little extra money in a hurry...

I LOVED The Mom @ Babes In Hairland and HollyOaks tips about putting money aside each month for Christmas. Just $25 a month gives you $300 by December. That is no chump change! OK, so that is great for next year and you would be crazy not to get on that wagon, but right now you only have six weeks till Christmas. So what can you do help put some extra cash in your wallet immediately?

Take a look at what you are spending on extras right now... Can you cut in any of these areas? Even cutting once or twice can put some extra cash in your hand right now.

  • Give up the expensive meal date night for a few weeks. I am betting that for some of you, this one little change could save ya between $30 and $50 per trip. Think of it as a short term sacrifice. You will give up Chili's or Olive Garden with hubby for the next few weeks and think of something a bit cheaper, but quite possibly more fun... Maybe you can eat dollar burgers with a bottle of sparkling grape juice and wine glasses at the park with the sun roof open... chatting, laughing, looking at the stars... and then go together to purchase a couple of preplanned gifts THAT ARE ON SALE from your list with the money you just saved. :)

  • Put on hold going to see that new movie that has just come out with the family and rent one from Red Box instead. You can save $35 or more on tickets for a family of 4 alone, never mind what you will save on all that popcorn, candy and soda!

  • Cut down your grocery costs by having pasta a couple of times a week. This little staple is pennies for the pound, and it is filling too! Plus, there are so many different ways you can serve it, and kids generally love it. Need a few recipes to get you started? Start HERE. Eating healthy? Substitute whole wheat pasta... it is a tad more cost wise, but still a very good value and thankfully, there are much better TASTING choices now at the grocery store! Baked potato bars are another cheap choice... 10lb bags of potatoes are selling for under a dollar quite frequently right now, and topping choices are unlimited. Cheese, chopped lunch meat, broccoli, chili, sour cream, butter, bacon, onions... think outside the box for inexpensive dinners.

  • Focus your dinner menu for each week around what is on sale or what is in your pantry or freezer already. Visit your favorite grocery store on line and click on the link for their weekly ad. Plan your meals around what they have the biggest savings on... be flexible. Add clipped coupons to your purchases and you could be taking home groceries for free!

These are just a few things that could help you stash some extra cash quick over the next few weeks. What are some extras you can think of that you can cut out that will help give you a budget for Christmas spending?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Movie Release Deals on Amazon...

Want to pick up a couple of the newest release movies on DVD for Christmas presents this year? Amazon is offering some of them for only $10 if you pre-order them now. Also, they are eligible for free shipping if you put at least $25 in your cart and choose "free super saver shipping" as your shipping method. Don't worry if they have different release dates, they will send them out as they become available, so order a few as gifts and then just wait for them to be delivered right to your house. Here are some I was able to find...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVD Widescreen Edition 2009 $10

Star Trek DVD Single Disc Edition 2009 $10

Julie & Julia DVD 2009 $10

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian Single Disc Edition 2009 $10

Terminator Salvation DVD Widescreen Edition 2009 $10

My Sister's Keeper DVD 2009 $10

Angels & Demons DVD 2009 $10

Condensing the Gift List...

Chances are if you are feeling the financial crunch, other families in your extended family are feeling it too and if you have a big extended family, money spent at the holidays adds up mighty fast. There are a few different ways that you can trim your budget a bit. Talk with your family at the Thanksgiving get-together or even beforehand to find out if they are interested in doing any of the following things...
  • Decide with your extended family to give family gifts instead of individual ones... a movie basket with a new movie, popcorn and candy; a board game; a new Wii game (some can be purchased for as little as $15)

  • Encourage family members to get together and draw names at Thanksgiving. Decide on a preset amount for the gifts to make it fair... this way you only need to buy as many gifts as you have family members.

  • Even cheaper, see if the extended family is interested in doing a fun dollar store gag gift exchange with their drawn name. We did this one year for our Christmas In July Family Reunion. The best gift was the person who gave my bald brother a set of combs. It was SO much fun and ended up costing my family $4.

  • Talk to the adults in the family about purchasing gifts only for the children. This isn't my favorite idea because it only works if EVERYONE agrees and NO-ONE goes back on it. Otherwise, the people who stuck to the agreement and didn't buy everyone gifts just end up feeling lame.

  • Agree with extended family to give gifts of time rather than something that is monetary. For example, your family can give Grandma and Grandpa the gift of shoveling their snow or raking their leaves. Or you could invite them over for a night of games! This can take a lot of thought, but with a well planned, short presentation on the true meaning of Christmas delivered to the kids on Thanksgiving, you could get them on board pretty cleverly. :)

What have you done that worked well in your extended family to help trim down gift giving costs?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Ready For The Holidays...

It is that time of the year! Christmas is just around the corner and many of us are anxious because gifts have to be made or purchased and budgets are tighter this year than probably any other year you remember! It may be a temptation for you to go into major credit card debt to make Christmas "special" for those you love. The problem is, that come January, those "now due" credit card bills are going to put a tremendous strain on you and your family!

With a little planning on your part and a pocket sized notebook to keep everything in order, you can avoid starting off the year going into debt. I propose that this year, we put Christmas in perspective, trim our lists and our budgets a bit and focus on it's true meaning. Does that mean not to buy presents for the people we love? Of course not! But DO sit down and work out how much Christmas you can afford without plastic and then STICK TO IT!!!

There are quite a few reasons people go into debt. Some of them may include:
  1. They want to give their kids every gift they could ever want.
  2. They forget what gifts they have already bought, end up buying extra and never return any of them.

  3. They feel the need to give the biggest, best, most creative presents in the neighborhood.

  4. Lack of planning means too much money is spent on easily remembered people and the forgotten gifts get charged towards the end.

Well, it's time to dump our hangups with a simple, more frugal Christmas. This is a year we all want to be a little more careful. After all, who knows where the economy is going to take us six months, or even one month from now! Today I simply want to get you thinking. It's early enough at this point to make changes that can turn your Christmas around.

The VERY first step to making your holidays (and especially the new year) brighter is to accept this one rule that absolutely CAN NOT be broken.


If you can't afford to pay for it with cash, DON'T BUY IT! No exceptions! So first, get yourself a little tiny pocket notebook that fits in your purse. This will be where you can write anything Christmas related such as:

  1. The EXACT dollar amount you come up with, (include your spouse on this decision if applicable), that you can afford to spend on Christmas Gifts this year. (Remember, CASH ONLY!)
  2. A list of EVERYONE you want to give a present to. Next to the names allocate a SPECIFIC amount of money from the total dollar amount you came up with.

  3. A list of people you want to give baked goods or something, (not too expensive), that you make yourself.

  4. A list of GIFTS you have already purchased to which you will add any and all gifts that you pick up.

  5. Ingenious gift IDEAS that you come up with on the fly.

Now remember... if you forget to put someone on the list initially and add them later that is fine, but you may have to re-allocate funds if this happens and you have already assigned all your money out! Perhaps you should budget to have a little to the side just in case that happens. :)

For the next six weeks my goal is to try and deliver frequent tips and ideas that I hope can make your Christmas a little less expensive and perhaps even a lot more fun! We are going to work at shaving dollars here and there to make your Christmas heavier on the MERRY and lighter on the wallet! Be sure to come back and visit and please share this website with anyone you think could use a little help this holiday season... and as always, don't forget to share YOUR tips for simplifying Christmas too :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Quick Tip: Shopping Lists...

It may sound old fashioned, but a small thing you can do to save money is keep a list of things you run out of on the refrigerator. This means when you go to the store you won't forget anything which will cut down on the number of trips you make. Cutting down on trips not only saves on gas, but also eliminates the temptation to buy other things you don't need during those extra trips.

Be sure to scan your food supplies before you leave to make sure you didn't forget anything, and don't forget to swipe the list off the refrigerator before you walk out the door!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bath & Body Works $10 Coupon...

Get $10 off of a $30 purchase now through November 22nd at Bath & Body Works. Just click HERE for the coupon, print and take it to your local store. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This week at Smith's...

Some nicely priced items I will be picking up at Smith's this week:

  • Extra lean ground beef in 2lb or more pkgs $1.79/pound

  • Boneless whole pork sirloin (sold in bag) $0.99/pound

  • Red seedless grapes $0.99/pound

  • Kroger value russet potatoes 10lb bag $0.79

  • Small avocados 4/$1

  • Medium yellow onions 4lbs/$1

  • Large dozen eggs $0.99

  • Kroger Orange Juice gallon $1.99

  • Kroger mandarin oranges 11oz cans 3/$1

  • Kroger tomato sauce 8oz 5/$1 (limit 25 per shopping order)

  • 8oz kraft cheese selected varieties 2/$3

  • Kroger cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese or dips selected varieties $0.88

  • Kroger 4lb bag of sugar $1.79

  • Country oven breads 24oz 4/$5

  • Keebler Graham Crackers 2lb box $2.99

  • 24 pack kroger water $1.99

These items are this price only when you mix/match in sets of ten, so count carefully. (You don't have to have ten of ONE item... you just have to have ten TOTAL.)

  • Carnation evaporated milk $0.49

  • 2 liter coke products (selected varieties) $0.79

  • Tombstone pizza $1.99

  • Quaker chewy granola bars or betty crocker fruit snacks selected varieties $1.49

  • Large size kellogs cereals or quaker instant oatmeal selected varieties $1.99

  • Yoplait yogurt multi-packs selected varieties $1.49

  • Buttery Spray or spreads selected varieties $0.99

  • Fritos corn chips or bean dip selected varieties $1.49

Prices good through Tuesday, November 10th!

(*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any misprints by the grocery store chains OR by me. Check your mailers to confirm prices, or go here to the Smiths website to look at your local AD's for yourself.)