admin / May 20, 2011

Pampering for the Budgetwise

 Some days we all need pampering and every so often I wish I was rich enough to head to a spa at least once a week. For now it’s only a dream but I’ve been searching the Internet for sites where you can learn to make your own spa like products. I’ve also stumbled upon sites where you can pick up supplies at a reasonable price and turn your home or least your bathroom into a spa. Here’s what I found-

Two of My Favorite Places

First up I have to mention two of my favorite sites for finding great bargains. The first one you’ve heard me mention many times and that’s e.l.f. Lots of great buys not only on makeup but things like body butter and bubble bath. And don’t forget all their great line of nail polish for at home manicures and pedicures.

My next pick is Vitacost Inventory seems endless and it’s always discounted. I’ve found organic soaps and items to make some of these at home spa products too.

With both of these companies I’ve been pleased with the price, quick service and high quality items.

More Supplies

One of the biggest challenges I found when you’re making your own bath and body products is locating places to buy supplies at a reasonable price. Here are two sites I found-

Homemade Soap

Have you seen the price of some of the homemade soaps they sell by the slice at some stores? Jaw dropping to say the least. While I’m not one to make something where I need to gather loads of ingredients, this site as a few ideas that seem simple-

More Goodies for Spa Night

It’s not just the soaps that are high priced but other items too and this site has lots of brands to choose from-

For those with Sensitive Skin

One of my biggest problems is I have super sensitive skin and often have to pay more for hypoallergenic products but this site has lots of gentle on the skin items that won’t break the bank-

Snowballs in Spring

Many years ago a trip to the mall wasn’t complete without me buying some of the bath bombs that fizzle in water, well that was until I found out how easy they are to make-

More ‘Recipes”

Remember in the April newsletter I told you about this fantastic site I found where you can learn to make things, they have their own beauty section too-

Even More Recipes

I was surprised at just how many sites are offering recipes and here are more I discovered-

Green Beauty Products

Here’s a site devoted to green living beauty-

Turn It Into Holiday Gifts

Even if you don’t want to make your own homemade spa gifts for yourself I think any of these ‘recipes’ would make wonderful gifts for holidays and birthdays too.

Start Your Own Business

Who isn’t looking for a way to make extra income these days and I’ve seen lots of products that people are making and selling on sites like Etsy…which I should add is another place to find spa products

admin / May 18, 2011

Six Superfoods…that are also budget friendly

I recently worked on an article for a major health magazine about ways we can pack more nutrition into our diets without going over budget. It was one of my all time favorites to write and I learned so much.  While I was researching it I came across a list of more superfoods that nutritionists recommend we eat more of. The best thing is they’re also budget friendly too-


I know most people turn their noses up at these types of foods but you can sneak them into you diet. One of my favorite ways to serve broccoli is in soup’s like vegetable or even cheese and broccoli. If you really can’t stand this veggie I did stumble upon a great side dish at Walmart in their Great Value line. It’s their broccoli with cheese sauce that can be steamed in your microwave. Last time I bought it, it was under $2 and a great way to slowly introduce this superfood into your meals.


Perfect time of the year for this one. I just got back from the supermarket and found some great deals on strawberries and blackberries. I usually buy more when they’re on sale and freeze them so I can eat them year round. I add them to smoothies, crumbles and pies. And if you want a quick, healthy snack they’re ideal all by themselves. My most recent favorite way to eat them is as a topping with Greek yogurt and some honey. And to really save money, how about growing your own?


Another item that’s getting more plentiful…and cheaper now. They’re also easy to grow. You can add tomatoes to just about anything, sandwiches, salads, soups. And try sun dried tomatoes too. I buy them in the bulk bin section and use them on pizza and in pasta dishes with basil and chopped olives. While I was working on the nutrition article all the experts said not to overlook the canned variety because they’re cheap…always on sale, and packed with antioxidants.


This one is probably the most expensive on the list but once again the bulk bin section offers the best deal. Another tip is to add them to other things like raisins, lower priced peanuts for homemade trail mix. I also like them toasted and sprinkled over salads…especially in the fall. And grind them with oatmeal (another superfood) on crumbles and crisps.


I buy a jar of already chopped garlic and keep it in the fridge. I add it to just about everything, soups, salad dressings and one of my favorites, homemade cheese and garlic bread. I mix parmesan cheese and about a tablespoon of the chopped garlic to a low fat spread and use it with toasted French or Italian bread.


No suprise here. If you’ve been following my posts on all the types of beans and legumes you can buy you already know about this great buy. Easy to cook in a slow cooker and can be used in just about anything. If you have any leftover they also freeze well. Plus, the canned variety won’t break the bank either. And right now all varieties of baked beans are on sale too. Perfect time to stock up for picnic and BBQ season.

admin / May 16, 2011

The Blog-The Psychology of Selling

There’s no doubt supermarkets are trying to get us to shop exclusively at their stores. Last week I needed some of my favorite English brand tea and headed to the one supermarket in town that sells it. I shop there maybe once every couple of months. I usually take my own bags for the groceries but it was raining hard and yes, I was feeling too lazy to take them along. When I got to the checkout and started to pack my groceries I realized that the store had new bags and that they were half the size of the previous ones. I could only fit about four or five items in each one and soon the cart was filling up…yes, really a problem when the rain’s pelting down and you’re loading the trunk of your car with lots of bags.

When I got home and started to put the groceries away I had a ‘duh’ moment. They weren’t trying to save money on smaller bags, after all, shoppers have to use twice as many but it’s a marketing ploy for them. Like me, most shoppers will have spent their usual amount of money on food but yet have a trunk filled with grocery bags. Ah, you say, I’ll shop there again because I get more for my money. No, actually, you get the same amount of groceries but just lots more bags to throw away. It made me wonder what other tricks stores are dreaming up.

This week on Budget Smart Girl-we all love to pamper ourselves with facials and bubble baths so I’m looking for places to buy inexpensive products for pampering and sites where you can buy supplies to make your own goodies. Plus, more foods have been added to the superfood list. Good news is they’re all budget friendly.

Articles I found on the Internet-

Saving at the grocery store

Try saving $100 a week-

And be sure to check out All You magazine because they have their Grocery Challenge again., click on the link to sign up.

Have a good week.

admin / May 13, 2011

More Budget Friendly Foods-Garbanzo Beans


Garbanzo beans, or as they’re otherwise known chickpeas, is another budget friendly food that I use a lot in cooking. You can buy them canned or dried. I always keep a couple of cans in the pantry. I also cook a one pound bag of the dried variety, using the slow cooker for making batches for various recipes. Just like other beans, they’re full of protein, fat free and give offer a good nutritional bang for your buck.  Here are some of my favorite ways to use them-


One of my favorite treats is hummus. I used to buy it ready-made at the supermarket but the price jumped up so I went looking for recipes. If you have a food processor, it’s one the easiest things to make, even if you never cook. I like to add roasted red peppers to mine. Another great addition is sun dried tomatoes.

Here’s a recipe to try and don’t worry if you can’t find the tahini, I often make it without and it’s just as good.

Roasted Chickpeas

This recipe is on my to make list. I’m told it’s really good. Added plus, it’s an inexpensive snack-


Whenever I cook a batch of these beans I keep a cup or two in the fridge for adding to salads throughout the week. I also substitute them for the chicken in cobb salad. Best thing is they have lots of texture and I think even more filling than other beans.

Curries etc.

Other dishes I always add them to are curries and I often pair them with tuna, cumin, chopped tomatoes and serve them over couscous for a quick meal.


They are perfect in all types of soups and I especially like them in minestrone. Here’s my recipe that for Old World Italian Soup

3 tablespoons oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup chooped carrots

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil

pinch salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans

1 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes-Italian recipe with basil, garlic and oregano

2 cups tomato sauce

3 1/2 cups water

In a large sauepan, heat the oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook until soft and transluent.

Add the carrots and the basil and some salt and pepper and cook for about five minutes.

Add the green pepper, zucchini, can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and water and cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

This serves about 4-6 and I like to add shredded cheese, chopped olives and some slivers of fresh basil on the top. It’s a hearty soup that is great with some Italian bread.

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