Posts Tagged by frugal

24 Pages of Tips and Tricks to Rock Your Disney Trip and Stay Within Budget

After traveling to Walt Disney World® Resort almost every year for a visit, I’ve found that I enjoy our family’s trip so much more when I’m not stressed out about our budget.  I also tend to worry that we might miss something special because we just didn’t know about it, yet.  My next Disney trip is to Disneyland® Resort in November of this year. I haven’t been there since I was a kid! Not going to say how many years ago that was, but suffice it to say that the Summer Olympics were being held in Montreal at the same time. I venture to guess that things have changed a bit since then, and I’m having some anxiety about how to breathe it all in during the short time we’ll be there.
To help all of us out, I’ve reached out to some of my friends who love all things Disney like I do. I asked them to share their advice on how to spend wisely, enjoy all the behind-the-scenes tips and take advantage of the little-known tricks so we can relax and enjoy a pixie-dusted experience with our families.

buster day care
Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel! The best reasons to stay at a Disney World resort may surprise you! Getting a cheap hotel may cost you more in the long run! Find out why you should vacation at a Disney resort!
Disney's California Adventure Tips and Tricks for New Visitors. A quick beginners guide to a favorite Disneyland park.
Disney California Adventure Tips and Tricks  |  The Bewitchin’ Kitchen
Disneyland hacks you need to know before you head to California. Save time and up the fun at the happiest place on earth with these Disneyland tips and tricks.
Disney Minnie Van
 5 Tips for the Best Deal Disney Vacation  | Saving Dollars and Sense
Disney Park Freebies

Disney Park Freebies  | Pixie Dust Savings

Disney World Cinderella Castle Cake

Top 9 Ways to Have Cinderella-Inspired Fun at Walt Disney World Resort  |  Nest Full of New

Money Saving Tips for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Disney Souvenir Shopping on a Budget
Hotel-Hopping in Disney World
Hotel-Hopping in Disney World  |  Having Fun Saving
The Best Character Meet And Greets in Disney's Magic Kingdom
 Homeschoolers can turn any trip into a great homeschool experience. Disney's Epcot is a great mix of amusement park and learning experience.
What Will Disney Characters Autograph
Money Saving Disney Dining Tips

Thank you so much to my fellow bloggers who contributed to this awesome collection of tips and tricks.  I hope one or more of these pages will give you the information you need to make your next Disney trip super magical!

15 Things I Don’t Pay For Anymore

dont pay for Frugal Challenge: 15 Things I Dont Pay For Anymore

I wish I owned a couple of colleges with highly-competitive football teams (read “teams that bring in a gazillion dollars to my college”) and the college bookstores to match. I would be one wealthy so-and-so.  Until recently, I had no true concept of how many different things a university charges for, not to mention the textbook market that they’ve cornered.  You don’t simply pay tuition, books, room and board.  No, you are also assessed a health center fee, “green” fee”, technology fee, athletic fee, recreation fee, transportation fee, activity fee, “special institution” fee, lab fee, program fee, land fee, student facilities fee, and parking fee. You must outfit a dorm or an apartment, purchase requisite software (assuming your student has a laptop already, otherwise add that to the list, too,) order football tickets, pay dues and fees for various clubs, perhaps get a bike, new headphones, bigger backpack, tiny refrigerator, awkward futon and an ample supply of Contact paper and Solo cups.

At any rate, lessons learned and adjustments happily made.

DH and I took a hard look at the things we thought we could live without, make ourselves or cut back on. Some things that others are able to do away with were simply not up for discussion at our house…like cable. We (where we=DH) are not able to live without “our” four channels of EPSN and Law & Order/NCIS/King of Queens/MASH reruns. And I (in this case “I” really does mean me) am not ready to give up my feminine hygiene products for the much-touted Diva Cup. I’m truly hoping that I’ll find myself in Menopause World before I have to revisit that subject again.

There are, however, some things that we’ve easily, for the most part, been able to substitute or stop buying. Here are some examples from our “don’t buy this anymore” list:

1.     I’ve become a pretty aggressive couponer and have resolved not to buy toothpaste, shampoo or deodorant unless I can get them for free or pennies. I stock up when I do find a good deal, and we’ve a good stockpile of that stuff now.

2.     Cleaning supplies. I am learning how to clean with baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar. I use it for general cleaning, mirrors/windows, fabric softener, etc. I’m still a little hung up on cleaning toilets with Comet, but I’m making progress.

3.     Magazine Subscriptions. I’m a magazine hound and can’t imagine not having one by my chair at all times. I will only pay for them using My Coke Rewards points, though. I use the points from the 12-packs used to fill the machine at work, and earn subscriptions. I also get subscriptions as gifts at holiday time. (thanks, Mom!)

4.     Envelopes. I save the envelopes that come with bills and junk mail and put an address label over the pre-printed address/window. We don’t use a ton of envelopes because we pay most of our bills online, but these still come in handy.

5.     Frozen meals. Need I say more here?

6.     Paper towels. I’ve started cutting up our old towels and putting a hem or binding on them to use in place of paper towels.

transform old towels

We just toss them in the wash after we use them. We still keep a roll of paper towels around for messes that are greasy or really yucky (insert partially house trained dachshund here.)

7.     Laundry Detergent. A couple of years ago, I started making my own laundry detergent – the powdered version – from a recipe I found on Pinterest. It has worked wonderfully and costs only a few pennies per load. I love it. Here’s the mix I use.

8.     Herbs. Basil – I grow and dry enough basil in the summer to last all year.  Rosemary – I have a giant bush in a container on my porch that looks like a little Christmas tree. I use it all year long for seasoning. We also love to use the woody stems to skewer our shish kabobs. Green onions – once you’ve purchased the first two or three, you very seldom have to buy them again. After using the green tops, place the root end in a cup or jar of water on a windowsill or sunny spot.  Those suckers will grow like weeds and you’ll be able to cut fresh green onions every few days or so, and they’ll keep coming back.

9.     Jam/jelly. I’ve learned how to make and can jams and preserves over the last couple of years. We enjoy going to u-pick farms and I always try to put up a batch or two of whatever we get.  I made peach preserves, strawberry jam and applesauce this year. My latest is a batch of fig preserves I put up this weekend and the strawberries from a farm not far from here were beautiful!


10.  Landline. Still working on DH to eliminate our landline. I don’t see the need for it; he doesn’t think he can hear as well on a cell phone.  What are your thoughts?

11.  Bread. I’ve had a bread maker for a while. Now I’ve actually started using it. The trick seems to be leaving the machine on the counter where it’s easily accessible. I think our cost for a homemade loaf of fresh bread is about $ .45! Tastes so much better and has no preservatives.  I’m looking for a good way to make the loaf last longer now. With just the two of us, it gets stale before we eat it all.  I make breadcrumbs and croutons a lot!

12.  Hand soap. I just learned that dissolving a bar of soap in hot water makes liquid hand soap.  I love this one! I can usually get bars of soap for free with coupons and always bring home the ones we get at hotels.

13.  Salad Dressing. Fresh, homemade  salad dressings tastes better. There’s no debate here. No preservatives. Better for you. I gained a ton of space in my refrigerator door as I eliminated our collection of opened salad dressing bottles. Boom.

14.  Vanilla. I made homemade vanilla extract to give as Christmas gifts a couple of years ago. The flavor and intensity is so much better that the artificial kind, and so much less expensive than the pure vanilla you get in the store, I’ll never buy it again. The initial investment is well worth it.  

15.  Miscellaneous samples and stuff.  I love getting mail, and especially love getting packages in the mail! I’ve combined this with our need to cut back on purchases by requesting free samples from companies.  I have a goal of emailing (free!) at least three companies that I like every week and requesting samples and/or coupons.  More often than not, a well-written, meaningful email of praise (or complaint if you have a legitimate one) will result in freebie. Companies also promote new products with free samples all the time.  Try visiting She Speaks,  Kraft First TasteFree Stuff Times, and Hey, It’s Free!  All You Magazine also hosts a Daily Free Sample calendar on its website.

You can also get free samples from your doctors (dentist, optometrist, dermatologist, etc.,) from in-store promotions (warehouse clubs are good for this) and department store make-up and perfume counters. The lady at the perfume counter said the best times of year for this are a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

I encourage you to think of things you don’t need to buy anymore and create your own “don’t buy anymore” list. Have any great ideas you can share with us?

A Whole New Level of Frugal

A Whole New Level of Frugal


I recall in clear detail, the recycled paper milk carton that my 3rd grade teacher opened at the top and sat in the corner of our classroom. It didn’t take long for all of us to learn that any time we used glitter for a project, we had to take our creation to the corner and tip all the extra glitter off our artwork into the carton.  We used the surplus whenever rainbow glitter was appropriate (which is ALWAYS, by the way!) While I’ve always loved this example of being frugal, it pales in comparison to the extraordinary example I found amongst the daily mail.

I received an interoffice mail envelope in my box this morning at work. You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones with rows and rows of lines to inscribe who the contents are “To” and “From.” Big deal, right? Usually not. I get grant-related goodies from teachers and staff from all over the District and typically don’t look twice at the envelope in which it arrived. Until today, however.

I try my best to be frugal, reduce/reuse/recycle, and all that stuff. But I have to hand it to Donna J at the County Office, who took a 9×12 envelope she’d received in the mail, crossed out the addresses and taped a handmade Interoffice Delivery sheet to the front. The envelope began its nomad lifestyle that very day- immediately filled with treasures and sent to a high school principal. That day, my friends, was in May of 2000!


A Whole New Level of Frugal


I perused its journeys and smiled at some of the names and places it had visited. It had landed on the desks of co-workers who have long moved on to desks in other places, and in the laps of those who have steadfastly remained all these years “for the children.” It even briefly lived with a dear friend whom we lost to ALS last year. It has meandered diligently from school to school, sometimes in the bullpen for a year or two at a time. Perhaps passed over because it was different from the all the other Interoffice envelopes.

Thirteen years later, my name lies on the final line of its well-worn surface and I feel compelled to honor it in some way. I suspect that subsequent recipients will not recognize the significance of this particular lesson in being frugal. The little things like this are even more important as we faced eight furlough days this school year. In response, rather than unceremoniously decommission this gem,  I created a new Interoffice Delivery sheet for this envelope, with a nod to its humble start, and sent it on its way to the media specialist at the elementary school.

Have you witnessed any impressive bits of being frugal?


Happy New Year and Top Blog Posts from 2013

happy new year

Happy New Year to all my readers, blogging buddies, family and friends! I am so grateful to have you in my life and appreciate all of your support during this inaugural year of my blog. I appreciate you more than you could know!  Thank you!

I hope that 2014 brings you joy, fulfillment, health, and success. I pray that it is the year we will all act on our dreams, hopes and desires, and that the new year ushers in a more peaceful, stable era.

Acting on a kind request from a wonderful reader, I present to you – a roundup of some of the top posts on this blog, in the past year. The posts are drawn from the pool of my personal favorites, along with the articles that garnered the most hits and comments. I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to learning and discovering with you in the coming year. Cheers!

A Whole New Level of Frugal

RECIPE: Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

An Adventure In Hot Chocolate

Color Run: The Happiest 5k on Earth

In Case of Emergency: ICE Could Save Your Life

RECIPE: Hummingbird Cake

Sewing? Me? Seriously?

RECIPE: Peach Cobbler with Blackberries 

RECIPE: White Clam Sauce

15 Things I Don’t Pay For Anymore

Vegemite: Foul Death Paste or Vege-“mighty” Delicious?

12 Green Women to Follow on Instagram

Fig Preserves

15 Couponing Sites and 8 Great Places to Get Coupons

RECIPE: Easy Beer Cheese Soup

Chef Secrets: A Beginner’s Guide to Extraordinary Cooking

Flu Vaccine and 5 Things to Know About the Flu and Diabetes

RECIPE:  Quick and Easy Cobbler

Eat Seasonally

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

 – Cecil Beaton