Friday, May 7, 2010

FRIDAY FREEDOM

Good morning everyone! How are you doing today? I am well. I got lots of sleep last night after a day of sliding sugars which took its toll on my body. So the DH cooked dinner for me on a night where we made some major health changes. A good dinner, a good massage, and a good night's sleep. I had some funky dreams, but all is well LOL!

Thanks to everyone for the comments yesterday. To Cyndi, hun don't feel sorry for me... it was just a vent. As a victim of a sexual assault- which resulted in the birth of my beautiful daughter- I get very emotional on such topics. I apologize if I offended anyone, but to me it is not a joking matter. I don't harbor anger about the situation as God gave me a beautiful tool from which to heal... Madison! And to Tabitha, you are right... this will always be a place where everyone can freely voice their opinions- whether I agree or not. And to my mother- what more can I say other than Thank you for everything you have ever taught me... crafts, cooking, or even just life in general. I love you very much!

OK gang, so I have another frugal article for you... I seem to remember a few of these, but some are different, so I wanted to share. I mean, after all, the blog is called THE FRUGAL MOM lol, so I gotta be frugal somewhere!

The Best Times to Save on Everything
by Woman's Day, on Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:10am PDT

By Mary Hunt

Extreme bargain hunters have something in common: timing. No matter what they’re trying to save on, they’ve got it down to a science, knowing specific days (and even the exact time of day) when a bargain is at its best. Want to save thousands? Listen to their deal-hunting secrets.

Hotel Rooms

Best time to book a room? 4 p.m. local time on a Sunday, says CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. Calling then can save you significantly, but the process can be tricky, so follow these steps:

1. Call the hotel’s local direct line, not the 800 number. The 800 number will connect you to a clearinghouse that books rooms for hundreds of locations. “The people who answer those phones don’t have the power to give you a better deal,” says Greenberg.

2. Don’t ask to speak with Reservations—that will only get you routed back through to the 800-number clearinghouse. Instead, ask to speak to the manager on duty. He has the authority to negotiate rates.

3. Be courteous. Tell the manager that you’re shopping for a great room rate during a specific week, followed by, “What can you do for me?” If you feel hesitant, think of yourself as a valuable commodity. After all, you want to take an unsold room out of inventory.

4. Say thank you and bask in your good fortune.

Air Travel

There’s nothing more confusing and frustrating than buying plane tickets. One day you check ticket prices and think, Maybe I can get them cheaper if I wait. A few days later you check again—and the same seats have jumped $100 each. Arrgh! So how do you know when to buy?

The perfect time to shop for a cheap airfare is 3 p.m. Eastern time on a Tuesday, says Rick Seaney, CEO and cofounder of FareCompare.com and owner of one of the world’s largest databases of current and historical airfares. “Monday night is when the major airlines announce sales. This triggers other airlines to try to match those sales on Tuesday,” he says. All this takes a few hours to get through the system, which is why 3 p.m. is when the most cheap seats are available.

When are the cheapest days and times to fly? Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday generally tend to be less expensive, since fewer businesspeople fly on these days and more seats are available. The cheapest time to fly: the first flight of the day (most people don’t want to get up early), followed by flights at noon and those at dinnertime.

Groceries

Most markets don’t view Sunday or even Monday as the start of the week. For them, Wednesday is the first day of the sales week, so that’s the day they’ll discount the previous week’s goods (particularly meat and poultry, where you can save as much as 75 percent), says Stephanie Nelson, author of The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half.

However, not all stores follow this rule, so to find out your store’s “bargain personality,” ask the produce and meat managers exactly when they do their markdowns. Then time your shopping and really save.

“My store marks down produce every day at 7 a.m., so if I shop before 9 a.m. I can be sure to get good produce at half price,” Nelson says. “The meat is marked down later in the day, around 4 p.m., so I might time my shopping differently when I’m looking for meat bargains.”

Electronics

If you’re looking for a good deal on a flat-screen TV, Blu-ray player, MP3 player or other electronics and you don’t mind last year’s model, shop between April and the end of the summer and save 20 to 30 percent or more, says Brent Butterworth, a contributing editor at Sound & Vision magazine. Retailers flood the International Consumer Electronics Show in January to get a glimpse of new products and place their orders, which they’ll start to receive in April. So, they start the mad dash to clear their warehouses and shelves to make room for the newest models.

Dinner Out

You’ll save a bundle if you go on a Tuesday, says Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There. That’s the day restaurants are least crowded and large chains offer the best deals (“kids eat free” and “Twofer Tuesday”) to lure customers.

Here’s another reason to hold off until Tuesday, advises Di Vincenzo: Most restaurants don’t receive deliveries on Saturdays and Sundays. Food deliveries start early in the week, which means food served on Tuesday is fresher.

Clothing

Paying full price for clothes is a good way to go broke in a hurry. But knowing when to shop can save you up to 60 percent off current fashions, says Michelle McKinney Hammond, author of Divanomics: How to Still Be Fabulous When You’re Broke.

If you have your eye on specific items at a big retailer like Old Navy, Banana Republic or Kohl’s, Hammond suggests you wait six weeks from the time those items were first introduced in the store (that’s how long it takes current items to go on sale).

Once you’ve waited it out, hit the store on a Thursday night, which is typically the first day of a sale at most major clothing stores. “Don’t wait until the weekend,” she says, “because the choices may be picked through, reducing your chances of getting the right size and style.”

Cars

If you want a real deal, head to the dealership on the last Tuesday or Wednesday of the month, recommends Phillip Reed, senior consumer advice editor of Edmunds.com. This is when dealerships are getting anxious about meeting their monthly quotas.

If you arrive in the early afternoon, business is slower, so you’ll get more attention from the sales staff. That also increases the likelihood that dealers will be ready to drop prices even further.

If you don’t need a new car right away, the best time of year to buy one is the fall—September through December. Expect to save 10 to 20 percent on the previous year’s model. And if you can wait until December, you’ll get an even better deal because it’s the end of the year.

Show Tickets

Is it possible to go to the theater or a sporting event without dropping serious cash? You bet. If you show up at the box office a few hours before starting time, you may be able to get a deep discount, since the venue is eager to fill seats—but that’s not always the case, and you have to be willing to miss the event if you can’t get tickets.

A better option is to try StubHub.com, where you can buy tickets, often at a discounted price, from ticket holders who cannot use them. Or join GoldStar.com (membership is free), which works with more than 3,200 venues and producers across the country and discounts up to 50 percent.

Bicycles

Yes, stores discount bikes after the holiday shopping season in January to make room for new products that arrive in February and March. But at this time of year, here’s a better idea: Head to your local police department.

There are many police and fire departments that hold auctions during the spring to sell bicycles that were stolen, recovered and never claimed, or confiscated. Call ahead to find out the schedule in your area, then show up early. The best items go quickly. You can expect to pay as low as 10 to 25 percent of retail value.

Sports Equipment

Much like clothing, a lot of sporting goods (skiing, baseball) are least expensive at the end of the new stuff, spring is great for finding bargains on secondhand gear, since people clean out their homes around now. Garage and tag sales are a boon for barely used or outgrown tennis rackets, boogie boards, skates, T-ball stands and other equipment.

When it comes to sneakers, author Mark Di Vincenzo reveals this secret: Spring is the time to get a great buy on sneakers. Athletic shoe companies sponsor charity walks and races in April, when non-serious runners hit the pavement to support these causes. And wouldn’t you know it, great sales tend to accompany these spring races.

Toys

This may surprise you: Though new toys often arrive in September, the best time to buy is not during the months leading up to the new releases, but rather during October and November. Retailers like to wait a few weeks after the big new shipments arrive and then lower prices in an attempt to top their competitors. At the same time, they’re gearing up for the holidays, hoping to jump-start the big shopping season.

Furniture

There are two months in the year that are well known for producing bargains on new furniture: January and July. Why? Retailers are trying to make room for all the new shipments that arrive in February and August. There’s nothing wrong with the prior season’s items. In fact, the only difference in the new shipments could be as minor as a new selection of upholstery or a change of color.

Linens and Bedding

They used to be called “January White Sales,” a retailing tactic devised back in 1878 by John Wanamaker, an early pioneer of the department store concept. Wanamaker picked specific months for different sales to keep turnover high and prices low. The tradition is still followed by many major retailers (and for some of them, the name still survives), so if you need sheets and towels, shop in January.

The Best Time to Return Stuff...

Anything you can do to make returning merchandise easier will ensure a friendlier experience and the maximum amount of dough back in your pocket. Here’s the magic hour: 10 a.m. on any day other than December 26. This is when sales personnel will be at their posts, rested and ready to help you. It also happens that the more experienced employees typically work the day shift. -Edward Fox, director of Southern Methodist University JCPenney Center for Retail Excellence


Ok, now onto crafts... now many of us have pets more than likely. And I bet a bunch of you have dogs right? Well I personally don't have a dog but I saw this craft and said OMG its recycling and its great! You ever see those ropes they sell for Dogs to chew? Well here is a way to make a dog toy for nothing but the price of your old clothes!



Craft Idea of the Day: Dog's Tugga Toy

Materials:

20 1 inch x 20 inch (2.5cm x 50cm) Recycled stretch knit from pants or tops in assorted colors.

Directions:

This home made dog toy is perfect for tug of war games or fetch. It is so simple to make that even kids can put it together. It is a great project for fetes and fundraisers too.

You can use recycled stretch knit from old t-shirts or pants or if you like you can use new fabric.

Cut the fabric into 20 pieces that measure approx 1 inch x 20 inch (2.5cm x 50cm) for a large dog.

For smaller dogs reduce the length and quantity but not the 1 inch width.

Lay your pieces together in 2 sections of 10. Twist the 2 sections together and tie a large knot at each end as shown in the picture. Your knot should be tight and secure.

There is no need for gluing or sewing.

Alternatively you can plat your strands together or add extra knots depending on your dogs desire.

And now... are you hungry? I am! So lets talk dinner. I want to feature a seafood item for a few reasons. First, I love seafood! I am a Gulf Coast baby and seafood is more of a staple in my life LOL! Next, I want to draw attention to that awful oil spill in the gulf right now. It is killing our ocean and all the delectable items we can harvest from there. And finally... mussels happen to be a favorite of my mother LOL!



Steamed Mussels with Fennel, Tomatoes, Ouzo, and Cream

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bulb fennel - trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 large tomato, cubed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup ouzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
salt to taste

Directions

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and garlic, and cook until tender. Stir in fennel and tomato, and continue cooking about 5 minutes.

Mix white wine, ouzo, and heavy cream into the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Make sure the fennel is a bit soft before adding the mussels!

Gradually stir in mussels, 1/2 the basil, and salt.

Cover saucepan, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Garnish with remaining basil to serve.

Looks absolutely delish right? Ok well while that dinner idea simmers in your brain LOL, I'm gonna head out to my mom's house for the day. I hope you have a wonderful day today and be safe in wherever life leads you! HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOMMay 7, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    Hi everyone! Got a little story for you. While I was in the hospital, feeling real bad, I always tried to smile at my doctors and nurses instead of gripe and complain like some other patients might. In doing that small random act of kindness, not only did I receive smiles and welcomed positive comments, but also was very well cared for and received anything I rerquired. Try a random act of kindness or even just a smile or kind word today. You will be amazed what responses you will get. I read that my daughter is heading over to my house now. Hopefully she is bringing some of those delicious mussells with her for my lunch. LOL Everyone pray for a quick cleanup of this oily mess in the Gulf of Mexico. We are in jeopardy of losing a lot of precious sealife and plants and marine ecology if this "I wont name" company doesn't step up their efforts and get to cleaning. Til next time........

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had some really good mussels at Olive Garden once. They came in a wine sauce I think. That was teh first time I had them and I'm glad I tried them! I want to see as picture of the Frugal Mom's MOM! Take Care!

    ReplyDelete