Sunday, February 27, 2011
Free Pancake Day at IHOP is Tuesday, March 1. From 7am to 10 pm, you can get a free order of their short stack pancakes (one free order per guest). Free Pancake Day,started by IHOP in 2006, raises money for charities like the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other designated local charities.
IHOP raised more than $2.1 million last year alone. Since the first free pancake day in 2006, IHOP has raised $5,35 million and has given away more than 10.1 million buttermilk pancakes.
So on Tuesday, take the family to breakfast at IHOP, enjoy some free pancakes, and leave a little something behind to help Children's Miracle Network and other charities. Your heart and stomach will feel good!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
While we may try to scrimp and save money on groceries, luxuries and impulse buys, there are certain purchases we make where spending more makes sense. Here are a few examples where going cheaper may cost you more money in the end:
Appliances (And Other Big-Ticket Items): Appliances like washers and dryers, refrigerators, and such take a big bite out of budgets, it is true. But it may make more sense to buy the quality and more expensive versions of these items than their cheaper counterparts which may break down sooner and easier, resulting in expensive repair bills or even replacement costs for a new item.
Food: I know, we all try to save at the grocery store and this is a good thing, as long as we are still making healthy food choices, This also means skipping the fast food drive-thru because it is cheaper and easier to buy dinner there than it is to go home and cook. Just remember that bad eating choices can lead to health problems later that can be very expensive! So while you may spend more cooking that turkey burger at home with some fresh veggies on the side than you would buying a fast food burger with fries and a coke, the health benefits far outweigh any savings that high sodium meal provided.
Shoes: (my favorite item on the list) Buying a god quality pair of shoes may hurt a bit at first, but remember they are much more likely to outlast any cheap pair by years. Not to mention they will also be more comfortable and lead to less sore feet, bunions, callouses, etc. When they do get a bit worn --just take them in to get re-soled!
What are some purchases you will not scrimp on?
Friday, February 18, 2011
Take one large roasting chicken ( about 7lbs. or so) and make two delicious dinners!
Sunday night is always a good night for a more formal type chicken dinner, so here is a yummy one for you:
Tarragon Chicken With Roasted Vegetables
What you'll need~
3-5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 cups cauliflower in small pieces (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper (or more to suit your taste)
roasting chicken (about 7lbs. or so)
salt and pepper to taste
tarragon (fresh is best--about 1 bunch)
8 cloves garlic, crushed
Heat oven to 450 degrees
Line a baking sheet with foil
Toss all veggies with olive oil and mix till they are all covered
Place veggies on baking sheet, and bake about 45 min. stirring once or twice.
Rinse the chicken inside and out, season with salt and pepper
Place the tarragon, lemon and garlic inside the cavity of the chicken
Roast chicken in roasting pan, brush with olive oil
Roast in oven 10 minutes at 450 degrees; reduce temp. to 350 degrees and continue roasting chicken for an hour, 45 minutes or until thermometer (inserted into thickest part of chicken) reads 175 degrees F.
Remove lemon, tarragon and garlic. Cover chicken loosely with foil let sit for
about 20 minutes on platter.
While chicken sits, reheat veggies for 20 minutes at 300 degrees.
**Before serving, slice off as much chicken as needed for dinner. Add salad and rolls to complete the meal. Wrap the left over chicken and refrigerate.
Monday night dinner is likely to be more hectic, at least in our house--with sports, homework, etc. So a more casual easier dinner is always a good choice. Using the left-over chicken, pita bread or flatbread, and some marinara or pesto sauce, you can make a tasty meal in about 20 minutes!
Chicken Pesto Pizzas
Place the flatbreads or pita breads (one per serving) on baking sheet.
Spread the marinara or pesto sauce over the bread.
Top with left-over roasted chicken, some cherry tomatoes cut in half, and some mozzarella cheese
Spritz a little olive oil over the toppings, and bake at 450 degrees (preheat oven while preparing the ingredients) for about 8-10 minutes (till crusts are brown and cheese is melted)
Top with some baby arugla if desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This guest post was written by Bethany Smith who also writes on the topic of cosmetology school and criminal justice for distance learning
According to the USDA, a family of four on a low-cost monthly food plan spent as much as $758.90 per month in 2010. On a more liberal food budget, the same family could have also spent $1052.10 per month. Either way, these figures are excessive and easily represent sufficient funds for a mortgage or car payment. Whether revamping your grocery budget out of necessity or simply deciding it is time to put excessive spending on food to a stop, you should know that the grocery bill is one of the easiest areas to cut down on living costs.
1. Consider Generic Brands over Top Name Brands.All food manufacturers are required to follow certain procedures to provide healthy and safe food products for consumers. Compare labels to see that there is little or no difference between the ingredients of a name brand product and a generic product. However, the difference in cost is often significant.
2. Create a Weekly Menu for Your Family.Planning ahead is one of the easiest ways to save money on a grocery bill. Take the time to plan a menu for your family and make a specific list of foods needed to fulfill the menu. Sticking with a meal plan will help reduce unnecessary purchases and more frequent trips to the store. Those who have a hard time getting motivated should try using other resources for inspiration. For instance, Dinner Spinner is an iPhone app that can help you find menu ideas based on a specific ingredient.
3. Eat Before You Shop.Many impulse buys are a result of a rumbling tummy. Those who walk in the store before dinner usually end up spending much more than originally planned. Avoid this scenerio by planning your grocery trips around meal times.
4. Stock Up on an Item at Rock Bottom Price.Start taking note of prices on certain food items that you consider staples in your household. Most people simply make a list of food items that they need and head to the store. However, smart shoppers realize that all grocery items go on sale at some time. Most stores generally follow a six week cycle. This means that you need to buy enough of an item at its lowest price to last for six weeks when it will go on sale again.
5. Use Coupons on Sale Items for Maximum Savings.Everyone knows you can save a few dollars on your groceries by clipping coupons. However, the way to truly benefit from coupons is to use them on sale items. If you know the rock bottom price for an item at your store, wait until the item is at this low price before you use your coupon. In many cases, using a coupon at the right time could mean getting a product for free or very close to free.
6. Use Technology to Make Saving Money on your Grocery Bill More Efficient.Anyone with a Smartphone should know about a number of apps that were created to help individuals plan their shopping trips even while on the go. There is the Shopping List Free app for iPhone and the Grocery List for Android. You can also go online to find and print coupons, search for new recipes, and browse weekly shopping ads.
A smart phone may have a hefty price tag, but there are tons of money-saving apps for your mobile phone. These apps can help you find deals exclusive to app users, access coupons, or find businesses around you offering deals better than the competition. Make sure you have these must-have money-saving apps on your phone to help find the best deals around -- and maybe even pay for phone with the money you'll save.
by Edward Stern who also writes for online classes and christian counseling degrees
- Cheap Gas!: The free Cheap Gas! app from Gasbuddy.com is worth the exclamation mark. Gas is expensive, and it's hard to know where this best deals are. This iPhone app uses GPS to find the best deals around you, and then can give directions too.
- Coupon Sherpa: This free app for iPhone is the mother of all coupon hubs. Find in-store coupons as well as exclusive deals for users -- just show the entry at checkout. You can search by category or store name, locate merchants closest to you, and even e-mail coupons to your friends. And it's all free
- Foursquare: The new darling of social media, Foursquare is more than just a game or the new Twitter -- it can actually help you save money. Available as an app for every mobile platform, users can open the app anywhere and see all the businesses around them. These businesses in turn may offer Foursquare-exclusive discounts to users, and offer more dealers for those who "check in" to their establishments. Plus, it's pretty addictive. Find your shopping or dining needs with Foursquare, then use it to get discounts at those places. This app is free as well.
- Gilt: Currently available for iPhone and iPad, Gilt-y parties can take their search for incredible deals on name brands with them anywhere. Gilt members can shop on exclusive, time-sensitive sales at a steep discount. Don't miss out on any deal by getting the Gilt app for your mobile device.
- Skype: Available for pretty much every mobile device, the free Skype app lets the millions of registered Skype users take the popular program on the go. Most people already know the deal: Skype lets you call anybody anywhere in the world. For calls or text chats between Skype users, it's completely free, and calls to landlines or international calls are dirt cheap. It's an awesome service that just got better with the ability to talk on the go, allowing you to save on your minutes and save loads of money on any international calls. This is a must-have for smart phone owners.
- Wi-Fi Finder: Being able to access the internet on the go is great, but 3G data plans are costly. If you can find free Wi-Fi, you can save big money on your phone bill. That's exactly what this app does: helps you find free Wi-Fi. The database is huge, with over 320,000 locations in 140+ countries worldwide.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
[Guest Post by Tara Allen]
When we’re talking about saving money, one of the easiest ways to go about that is simply to search for things we need at a highly discounted price, right? Right! Insert the new “daily-deal” phenomenon sweeping across the nation. If you haven’t caught the ever-so-contagious deal-bug yet, you should certainly consider signing yourself up! Almost all popular daily deal sites require that an offer be at least 50% of the original price. This is huge, especially for expensive services and products. That said, I called this a “bug” for good reason. It’s something you have to be smart and wary about. If, and only if it is used responsibly, will it truly benefit you and save you money. Here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure that your deal is really the deal you think it is.
1 If you didn’t need it/want it before you saw the e-mail, don’t buy it.
These sites thrive off of compulsive purchases. But, impulse purchases don’t actually save you money, because you wouldn’t have bought the item in the first place, and thus wouldn’t have spent the money, no matter how much the savings were. I suggest making a list of things you need/want to find, and then stick to waiting for those to come through in an email. If you need a haircut, put it on the list. If you need a gift certificate to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday present, put it on the list. Nothing that isn’t on the list gets bought. This way, you won’t be tempted to buy something that’s 80% off (it’s so hard not too!), but that you never thought of before and don’t really need now.
2) Check the original price.
Always, always go to the website and check to see what the real price of the service actually was. Businesses are bound to be smart enough to start slowly hiking prices in advance of an upcoming daily deal offering in order to be able to afford the percentage loss they’re going to take. Then, go search for local reviews to see if the service and business are really worth what they claim to be. Yelp.com is an excellent resource for this.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
I posted recently about using baking soda for a face wash, and realized that I have not written about the gazillion uses for baking soda. My bad. So here goes-- my list of 40 ways to use baking soda!
1. Eliminate garbage can odors by sprinkling some in the bottom of the can before adding a garbage bag.
2. Clean silver by mixing 3 parts baking soda to one part water. Rub paste on gently, rinse well and pat dry.
3. Sprinkle some on scuff marks and oil spills on the floor. Wipe with warm damp cloth.
4. Sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of pans with burned foods. Fill with warm water and soak overnight.
5. Clean hairbrushes and combs with a solution of Baking Soda and water.
6.Clogged Drains? Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down drains 1x weekly and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
7. Love this for dirty stinky carpets: Sprinkle on and let sit for about 25 minutes. Vacuum.
8. Sprinkle in litter boxes to neutralize odors.
9. Clean toys with a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 quart warm water. Soak toys, rinse with warm water.
10. After cleaning a spill on carpet, sprinkle some where the spill was to soak up any residual and remove odors.