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    The Blog-Good Buys at Trader Joes and Michaels

    This really is the best time of the year to be a Budget Smart Girl. Maybe you saw my posting on Twitter last week. I stopped by Michaels craft store while I was waiting to get the oil changed in my car and discovered great stocking stuffer gifts for just $1. Here’s a photo of the some of the calendars I bought. At the check-out I also got a coupon for 40% off any item in the store. And yesterday I was near a Trader Joe’s. You know I can’t resist heading into their stores. Lots of good stuff and prices I like. In fact, I think they offer better…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

    Who isn’t watching their money these days? I’ve overheard people saying they’re buying gifts and that’s it, no holiday entertaining this year. But that’s not what being a Budget Smart Girl is about. It’s living the good life, yes, even throwing a party while not breaking the bank. Whether you’ve been asked to take an appetizer or side dish to someone else’s party or feel like throwing one of your own, you can serve guests foods that are pleasing to the eye and stomach and still stay within your budget. Here are some of my ideas- Cheeses and Meats Not just a cheese and cracker platter, although it doesn’t take…

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    Free Stuff and Other Goodies I’ve Found on the Web

    Sometimes people send me links to these sites, sometimes I find them myself, either way, these might help you save or make some money. Free Cookbook If you like cooking and reading, you’ll love this. Desert Breeze Publishing is giving a free e-book cookbook you can download from their site. I’ve already downloaded my copy and can’t wait to try some of the recipes. An added plus, you get to read some sample chapters from their books. Visit www.desertbreezepublishing.com Another Free Book This one is courtesy of The Couponizer. It shows you how to save money using coupons and other good stuff. I downloaded mine and it looks like it’s…

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    The Blog-Get There Early for the Deals

    Seems like we’re all looking for great deals these days. My local DIY store started selling things like foods, body lotions, DVDs a few years ago. In fact, it’s one of the best places to get deals…and holiday gifts. This week they were advertising St. Ives body lotion for $3.49 with a mail in rebate of $3. I use that brand and for a final price of just 49 cents, what a deal. The sale started Sunday, I headed in there today (Monday) and the shelves were empty. A clerk told me they sold out within the first hour but will be having another shipment in today or tomorrow. I…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Saving Money with Edible Gifts

    The holiday season is a time of entertaining, shopping and gift giving…and trying to keep your budget under control. Sometimes the best gifts are the homemade ones that someone knows you’ve put time and effort into making just for them. If you’re short on cash this year, how about giving an edible gift to the hairdresser, the newspaper delivery guy, or the mailman? They also make ideal gifts to keep in the freezer or the pantry for those moments… and I know we’ve all had them, when someone out of the blue knocks on your door and gives you a gift. They’re also ideal take home gifts for dinner guests.…

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    The Blog-Holiday Deals and More

    The other day I was looking at the coupons sitting on my kitchen table and not to mention all the $5 or $10 gift cards the stores are sending through the mail and thought now’s a great time to be a Budget Smart Girl. Seems everyone wants our holiday money and they’re willing to give us bigger incentives than ever before to get us into the stores. Last week one of the local supermarkets had a dollar sale. I stocked up on packages of fish, shrimp…okay the packages weren’t huge but combined they make a great meal. I also stocked the freezer with $1 loaves of bread, $2 blocks of…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    How to Have a Fuss Free Thanksgiving

    Whether it’s your first time making the Thanksgiving meal or your 21st, the big day can be tough on your nerves and your budget. I’ve found the key to any successful holiday meal is lots of preplanning. The first step is to think about what you want to serve. Are you going to stick with traditional recipes everyone enjoys or try something new? One word of caution here, and I speak from past experience, if you’re opting for the something new, give it a test run a couple of days before the big day. There’s nothing worse than having a major cooking disaster when you’re in the middle of putting…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Easy Solutions for Staying on Budget during the Holidays

    If you’re on a budget, November and December can be your downfall. There are the gifts to buy, the office party, the dinners, the parties to host. If you haven’t already locked yourself in the closet waiting for January 1st to roll around, sit down, take a deep breath and hopefully these tips will make it all a breeze. Dilemma #1 Too Many Leftovers Leftovers are Good I wouldn’t consider any holiday meal a success without leftovers. So don’t think of them as money wasters. Consider them your answer to a quick and easy meal. Two words we all want to hear post Thanksgiving Day. Turkey-apart from turkey sandwiches, you…

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    The Blog-Even Cheaper Than the Dollar Aisle

    You might remember the dollar aisle at the supermarket became one of the favorite and first places to head. I’ve found some really good buys with everything from roasted red peppers to potato chips. However, it seems that’s not the only way to find a bargain these days. The supermarket has added products manufactured by a company called Clear Value. They produce everything from toilet paper to canned products, cereal, bacon, you name it. I’ve been buying their diced tomatoes for 45 cents a can and using them in chilli and soups. I also bought a can of refried beans for just 35 cents. The other day I picked up…

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