Sunday, November 9, 2014

Green & Frugal Savings Tip: Stash the $5 Bill

How many times have you tried to stash away cash in order to save money? I know every time I've tried that method, I'd quickly spend the cash when I need money for the babysitter, pizza or other cash "emergency." The trick was to outsmart myself and I think I found a way. The key is to not be able to
readily spend or access the money.

Here's how it works:

1) Get an empty water bottle.

2) Each time a $5 crosses your path (or wallet), stuff it into the empty water bottle.

3) If you want to really get creative, you could put photos of the things you're saving for on the water bottle as added incentive.

Voila! Instant, inaccessible piggy's ingenius really. The plan is to get to a point where I can't stuff one more bill into the bottle. At that point, I cut open the water bottle and use the money for whatever I was saving it for in the first place.

Currently, I need several pieces of furniture and other home decor. None of these items are urgently needed, so the $5-in-the-water-bottle system works perfectly. Here what I'm saving for:
  • Headboard for our guest bedroom (approx. $200)
  • Dining room table & chairs (approx. $1,500)
  • Curtains for the dining room (approx. $300)
  • Desk for the office ($200)
As you can see, there's no shortage of wants for my new-found savings.

What are your savings tricks?

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Use Paper Towels

If you've ever watched a TED Talk video, you know the speakers and the content are incredible. I recently came across a video that was simple, amazing and a perfect fit for Green and Frugal Living.

Watch this video and please leave a comment below to let me know what you think. 

It's changed the way I use paper towels and I plan on sharing this with my children so they begin to think about how they use them as well. Think about how much waste we can eliminate with this simple, yet powerful change...

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: No Kidding Coupons, 99% Off

Summer is finally here! It's been awhile since I've posted, but I came across an interesting site that I think you'll enjoy.  

About No Kidding Coupons
No Kidding Coupons (NKC) is a new extreme discount coupon site that combines the best of what shoppers love about RetailMeNot,, FatWallet and Slickdeals with a gamification twist. It's a simple idea that makes coupon shopping fun AND rewards participants with extreme coupons and high discount promo codes!
At No Kidding Coupons, a 99% OFF coupon redeemable at a trusted shopping site like is the norm..."No Kidding," as NKC members often say.

How It Works
Members join No Kidding Coupons free of charge and earn points based on activities, contests and various site engagements. Next, members select the products they like and exchange points for deep discount coupons. Coupons can be used like cash to slash 99% off retail prices on hundreds of quality products. Check out this No Kidding Coupons

The more ways a member shares and engages, the more points they earn for future coupons. It's fun, easy and most importantly, it's almost kidding. All kidding aside, members quickly discover the deals are real as they are extreme.

My Experience
I joined the site and was sent several emails explaining how the program works. Essentially, you get the products at a significant discount in return for a product review and social media promotion. I'm in the process of ordering a product to see how much time it takes to generate enough points to redeem them. 

I like the overall idea -- it almost seems to good to be true. I'm interested to see how much time is involved in purchasing, reviewing and acquiring a decent amount of points. But I guess you have to give a little to get this type of mega-discount.

Have you tried No Kidding Coupons? I'd love to hear about your experience. What did you like or dislike?
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Green and Frugal Tip: Shop Clearance First...Always

I've slowly developed a taste for high-quality make-up and beauty products. I'm not sure where this new-found interest came from, but it's a habit I need to reel in. It doesn't help that I live very close to a recently opened Ulta beauty store.

How to Frugally Shop Ulta
Ulta sends reward coupons for free merchandise based upon on how much money you spend. When I receive my reward, I always grab as many beauty product coupons as I can and head right for the clearance section (s). I scored some great deals this time around.

For $16 (+ tax), I was able to get a bag full of goodies, many of which I'll be able to include in my 7-year-old daughter's Easter basket.
  • Tablet cover
  • Body lotion
  • Snowflake nail file
  • Two lip balms
  • 14-day keratin treatment
  • Sunscreen (for an upcoming vacation)
  • Anti-frizz lotion
  • Hair shine
  • Hair spray
  • Eyeliner
Below is my receipt and you can see that I had a $2 for the Got2B hair gel. It was on clearance for $1.62. I thought it would be a money-maker, but instead was free. The only item I paid full-price for was the egg lip balm. I had been wanting it for awhile after trying out my daughter's.

Shopping clearance isn't only doable at Ulta. I do this at any store I walk into, including grocery stores like ShopRite and discount stores like TJ Maxx. You never know when you'll stumble upon an item you've been searching for that happens to be in the clearance rack.

Here's another example: I had been looking for a mini whisk for months, but refused to pay $8-$10 for it. Lo and behold, after scouring the clearance rack at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I found one for $2.99. Score!! The best part is pairing your clearance find with a coupon. My little whisk ended up being $2.39 after I used a 20% off coupon. Every little bit helps!

Have you scored any hot deals in the clearance aisle? Nothing is more exciting than a good bargain!

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Green and Frugal: Some Frugal Ideas for Holiday Gifts

With that, here's another great guest post from our friends at The Greenest Dollar:

It’s hard to believe the holidays are here again. And, like most of you, I’m trying to plan out some green and frugal holiday gifts for my friends and family. For me, going to the mall any time of year is a personal form of torture. But going around the holidays? Forget about it.

Same goes for pretty much any other retail outlet. Parking lots are jammed with people, traffic is bad, lines are long and most sales clerks are grumpy and overworked.

Who needs it?

Instead, all my gifts will either come from my computer, or from my kitchen.

Here are some ideas I’m considering:

1. A Groupon

Buying someone a cool Groupon can be a wonderful, frugal gift.

For instance, today’s offer in Detroit is $25 for $50 at American Apparel. If you have a friend or family member who’s nuts about American Apparel clothing, this would be a cheap way to let them get something they like at the store. And it only costs you $25.

You can buy Groupons to restaurants, pilates classes, spa treatments, teeth whitening…it really runs the gamut. And, most deals are 50%-80% off what you’d normally pay (which is why I love Groupon). But, you never know what’s going to come up, which is why you need to stay on the look out.

If you haven’t heard of Groupon, or don’t quite understand how it works, you can see my analysis of the site here.

2. A Certificate is another place to score some deep discounts on eating out. I’ve bought several gift certificates through this site and all have worked out well.

Here’s how it works. Like Groupon, you “buy” a restaurant gift certificate through For instance, you might pay $3 for a $25 gift certificate to your favorite restaurant. You’re saving $22!

The only catch with is that you have to read the fine print. Most restaurants have a caveat that says you have to spend a set amount of money, like $40, for the gift certificate to work. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully for each restaurant, as they’re all different.

I think this gift would work best as an experience. Instead of just giving your friend or family the gift certificate, tell them you’re taking them out to dinner with the certificate. This way you can enjoy each others’ company, and they won’t have to pay a dime. And, you’re still getting a bargain.

Tip: Do NOT just go to and buy a gift certificate for $10. This site always has coupon codes going. Do a search on Google for “ coupon code”. Most of the time, you’ll score a code that will give you an additional 70%-80%. This means that you might pay $2 for a $25 gift certificate. If you sign up for their email list you’ll also receive notices when their gift certificates go on sale (which is practically weekly).

3. A Pandora Membership

Do you have a friend, family member or close co-worker who loves Pandora? Why not get them a year-long membership to the site for $35?

Yes, Pandora is free. But you can only listen for 40 hours per month (sounds like a lot, but if you listen at work it’s easy to top this), and you have to listen to the ads, which can be highly annoying at times.

When you’re a member, you have unlimited listening time. You don’t have to hear any ads. And you’re supporting a worthy endeavor, since Pandora rocks.

4. Homemade Yummies

Several of my friends and family members are going to get boxes or baskets of handmade yummies this year. And if you have the time, giving handmade goods is one of the most frugal (and perhaps rewarding) gifts you can give.

Need some ideas?

If you like canning, Raspberry Wine Jelly is a great choice because it’s really simple, you can use frozen raspberries, and it tastes like a million bucks. You could also make Habanero Jam (which is the most delicious jam I made all summer). It doesn’t require seasonal ingredients, and it tastes incredible when paired with pears or a hard cheese.

If you want to bake some unique cookies, why not try Earl Grey Tea Cookies. They taste amazing, and they’re really unique.

Have a coffee lover in your life (I’m raising my hand here…). Why not make them some homemade biscotti? If you do this, contact me and I’ll send you my mailing address. Check out this great list of 20 Best Biscotti recipes from Another cool idea? Put the biscotti in an old coffee can and tie with a vintage ribbon.

Making someone a freezable dinner is also a unique and thoughtful gift. After all, most of us are super busy during the holidays. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pull out a delicious dinner we didn’t have to cook ourselves? Real Simple has a great list of freezable dinners here.

5. A Reusable Shopping Bag

If you know anyone who hasn’t gotten on the reusable shopping bag bandwagon, now’s the time to get them on board? Find a cool one you think they’d love and gift away. Reusable shopping bags also make an awesome gift bag, as well.

Some of my favorite bags come from BlueQ Bags.

Last Word…

I’d love to hear back from you on this. What frugal holiday gifts are you planning? Also, if you have some ideas for homemade yummies, I’d love to hear them! I’m mostly doing homemade this year and would love some inspiration.

Get 10% off sitewide when you shop at Valid until December 31, 2013.

Bookmark and Share