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    The Budget Smart Girl Newsletter for June 2010

    Summer has arrived so I thought I’d focus on travel, Fourth of July entertaining and ways to keep cool. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July. Theme Parks Are you thinking about visiting one of the many theme parks this summer? The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has put together brief list of attractions to help save time and money and is available in the “Fun Tips” section of the website www.TicketForFun.com. Home Away from Home The thing I hate about traveling is being away from home and all its comforts but did you know vacation rentals, like those from www.HomeAway.com , are inherently a better…

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    The Blog-Good Earth Giveaway

    I’m a member of BlogSpark and every now and then, they and various companies send me new products to try and if I like them I can tell you about them. This time they and the folks at Good Earth sent me a package of one of their new dinner kits to try. It was the Mediterranean Chicken with angel hair pasta and I have to say it was easy to put together, you just need chicken, milk and some oil. The taste was great and I’ll definitely be checking out the other three varieties. And the good news is one of you is going to win a prize package-…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    More Summer Travel Deals

    I had so many tips and deals sent to me, I decided to split them into two articles so here’s the second one. There will be more bargain travel tips in next week’s newsletter too. What to Look for When Booking A Hotel Room The folks at Travelocity www.travelocity.com sent these tips- Dos and Don’ts of booking an opaque hotel: DO: Choose an opaque hotel if price is more important to you than hotel name or exact location. You’ll get access to unpublished hotel rates at a huge savings – as much as 45% off. So here’s an example –the opaque rate at a 4-star Chicago hotel is just $95…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    The First Annual Budget Smart Girl’s Summer Travel Deals Guide

    When you’re on a budget or money’s tight, you sometimes feel like a vacation or at least a few days getting away from it all. Travel isn’t always cheap so I thought I’d put together a couple of articles with tips and deals. When I put out the call to PR companies hoping they could offer some advice, well, my e-mail box quickly filled up. So that got me thinking. We already have the BSG Annual Holiday Gift Guide, so here for the first time is the BSG Summer Travel Deal Guide. There will be more on Friday and travel tips in next week’s newsletter. Tips From Hotel.com Nicole Hockin,…

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    The Blog-Quick Meals Using What’s in the Garden

    I spent a good part of Saturday morning weeding and cleaning the herb garden. I first planted it about six years ago and one thing I’ve learned is herbs are fast growers. They also give basic foods some gourmet flavor too. After moving from the herb garden to cleaning the area around the pond, I decided a quick supper was just want we needed. With some many herbs on hand, I found a cheese pizza in the freezer and topped it with chopped tomatoes (fresh and sun dried) and chopped herbs, like oregano and basil. It made the low cost pizza taste a whole lot more expensive. Many of the…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Cold Treats for Hot Summer Days

    Yesterday was hot and humid and it got me thinking about cold treats you can make when the temperature soars. Smoothies It’s 6 a.m., it’s already hot so the last thing you want to do is eat breakfast. On those days there’s nothing I like better than a smoothie. Just about any fruit and some milk can be turned into a creamy treat. Summer fruits are cheap now, making it another way to eat a low cost meal or snack. One of my favorite combinations is strawberry and mango. Just this morning I made a strawberry yogurt smoothie. About ¾ milk, ½ cup strawberry yogurt and a handful of chopped…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Buy It or Make Your Own

    During every trip to the supermarket I ask myself is it cheaper for me to buy that item already prepared or should I make my own. It’s not only money that I base my decision on, time plays a factor too. Here are some guidelines I’ve come up with and items I will and won’t buy already prepared. Time/Convenience If you’re short on time then opting for readymade makes perfect sense. One great example is potatoes, whether they’re mashed, oven roasted etc. I keep at least one package of each in the freezer or pantry. And the great thing is instant potatoes taste a lot better than they used to…

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    The Blog-Two Sites Worth Checking Out

    I often think wouldn’t it be great to have some experts on hand to help you with things like organizing your house. I saw this on the CBS Early Show site. They’re offering the chance for a family to get a makeover. If you’re interested check out www.cbsnews.com/sections/earlyshow/main500202.shtml Look at the right hand side of your screen and you’ll see Let Us Give Your Family a Free Makeover, click on it and it’ll tell you how to enter. And every week someone sends me information about a new money or budget related Web site. Here’s one I received just this morning that I thought you’d like to check out www.moneymindedmoms.com…

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    More Ways to Stretch Your Food Dollar (and some recipes)

    Entering the Grocery Challenge contest? Here are some more ways to help stretch your food dollar along with some recipes. Shop at the Drug Stores Don’t just think of the supermarket when you’re buying groceries. Sometimes you can get better deals at places like Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy. Friends with Memberships You might not want to pay $50 for a membership to a warehouse club but for this challenge ask if friends, family or co-workers if they do and stock up some pantry essentials. When I had a membership to Costco I found things olives, sun dried tomatoes and most cheeses were great deals. And if you want to make…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Putting a New Spin on Everyday Dishes

    One drawback to being a budget smart cook is things can get repetitious. You have a list of foods and meals you know are budget friendly and you make them over and over again. It’s happened to me and I’m sure you’ve also faced the same dilemma. Here are some ways I try to put a new spin of some favorite meals. Tacos How many times have you served tacos? And how could you possibly make them different? I’ve not changed the recipe just the way I serve them. Sometimes I serve ‘taco stacks’. I use corn tortillas and layer them with the usual taco fixings, ground beef or chicken,…