Friday, February 25, 2011


I enjoy rebates, basically free stuff.  For the cost of a little time and a stamp I get some fun free items. 

Words for the wise:
  • You have to fill out and mail said rebate with all the items they request by the time they say it should be mailed by.  Otherwise you just bought it at full price.
  • Make a copy of it (scanners are great for this as you don't have to print them out) and follow up if they take more than 6 weeks to return your money.  If they claim they never got it then kindly offer to mail them a copy.
  • Take note if a brand doesn't return your money so you never do a rebate with them or any of their affiliates again.  They are officially on your "you irk me" list.
  • Walgreens has great reliable rebates.  The down side is that they are in store gift cards.  But if you do shopping there that is just as good.  Note: They don't mind if you check out multiple times.  So get your priciest item first, the load it onto your card (after you've done this once already and have the card), and then check out the next item with the money you just got back, rinse and repeat.
  • Menards also has good reliable rebates and your DH will be impressed that you shopped there.  It is also in store gift cards but DH will appreciate them for when he needs to buy manly stuff.  Just remind him to use them!
  • Rebate items make great gifts, just ask my mom!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mac and Cheese

We've all been there, the day was crazy and now you need to feed a bunch of hungry family members.  So we grab a box (or two) of mac and cheese.  Here's ways to stretch that a bit.

1) Make an impromptu casserole.  Use a box of mac and cheese and throw in a can of peas or corn and a can of tuna or salmon.  Ta da! A bit more hearty and healthy.

2) Make the cheese pack last longer.  Use half the amount suggested.  I keep a container in my pantry for the leftover powdered cheese.  Then you can use bulk noodles and add 2 T of powdered cheese.

3) Make your own mac and cheese.  Use bulk noodles and right after the drain the water (noodles still hot) throw some shredded cheese on it, let it melt, and then stir.  Added bonus: cheaper and healthier.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Make your Tea and Coffee Go Longer

If you drink tea or coffee than this is the post for you.  Because really, when we come down to it, we don't need either of those items.  They cost money and they're a diuretic.  But they taste sooo good!

Reuse your tea bag.  If you're going to drink more than one cup, steep your bag and then put it in a little bowl.  When you're ready for your second cup, use the same tea bag.  But only use it a total of two times or else you loose the flavor.

Coffee grounds.  If you make more than one pot of coffee you can just add a little bit more grounds to the filter already full of them.  Second pot will still taste just as good as the first and you only used a little bit more instead of refilling the whole thing again.

When you're done with your grounds, add them to your plants.  They'll thank you for it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dish Water

I like to wash my dishes in warm/hot water.  But when the tap is first turned on it is cold!  What's a frugal omma to do?  Well you can either fill up your watering can while you wait or you can do what my Grammy A would do and boil the water.  That's right, get out your tea kettle folks and fill 'er up!  Boil and add to your cold water.  Voila!  Perfect dish water!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day old food

It's amazing what one little day can do.  One day the grocery store can charge full price, the next they legally can't sell it.  It's that little thing called the "sell by date."  I know some people do a major part of their shopping this way but I don't have time for that.  But if I happen to see something that's a day or two past the "sell by date" (depending on what it is of course, let's not be cheap) I'll throw it in the cart and get it for free.  Saves them from having to throw out that box of Mac 'n Cheese that I'll promptly cook up for lunch.  Isn't that nice of me to take that off their hands?  ^^

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Show Love to your Loved Ones by NOT Spending Money

I heard on the radio that the average person spends *drum roll* $120 on Valentines day!  O.O'  Yikes!!

Ok, so clearly someone is spending more than that because I spend just a few dollars on Valentines day (cards for my nephews and nieces, maybe a card for DH, and treats for my Sunday School kids - all purchased at the Dollar Store).  Although I do love the Valentine's day sales the day after where I can snatch up great chocolates for 50%+ off.

So let me tell you what you can do for the love of your life without breaking the bank.

1) Write a love letter.  This will mean more than roses and chocolates.  It will last longer and it will cost you only a little ink, paper, and time.

2) Hide notes around the house.  Put a "I love your smile" note on top of her coffee maker.  Put a "You give the best hugs" on top of the fridge where only he can see (you may need a step ladder if you're vertically challenged).  Or in a lunchbox before he heads off to work, etc.

3) Write "I love you" on the mirror after your shower and before his/hers so they see it when it's their turn.  Or get one of those soap crayons (or borrow it from your kids) and lightly write on the mirror or shower.

4) Surprise them with dinner.  If your DW is always making dinner give her the night off and make her something (even if it's frozen pizza, she'll appreciate the gesture).

5) Back massage.  Give them one yourself.

6) Foot massage, listen up men because you're woman will love this.

7) Verbally tell your love throughout the day that you love them or shower them with compliments.  You will visibly see their face shine.

I could go on but I think you get the idea.  You don't have to spend $120 or more to express "I love you."  And you don't have to wait for Valentine's day to do any of the above.  Nothing is sweeter than a random little note when you don't expect it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Free Movies

If you're like me, you probably like free things.  I like going to the movies for free.  Movies are expensive and by the time just two people go see a movie, you could have bought it on DVD.  But I like going to movies just a much as the next person which is why I like  You can search via location and create a free log in for notifications.  The tickets go fast but it's great when you can snag one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Party Planning

You're throwing a party and you want it to look great right?  You want the food to be awesome right?  So here's some tips for making it great.

Veggie/Fruit Trays.  These are highly expensive at the store.  You can buy a nice mix of items and put them on a plate or your own tray for a fraction of the cost.  It takes some time and chopping skills but you'll save a ton.

Chex Mix.  Make your own.  There are lots of great recipes on sites like Betty Crocker and Kraft and Supercook.  And feel free to buy the generic.  They are, of course, going to recommend name brands.  Again, fraction of the cost.

Slow Cooker.  AKA best friend in the kitchen.  Try a pulled pork or spicy chicken wing recipe and you're good to go.  Fix it, forget it, enjoy your party (that's why you had one right?).

Beverage.  Make a big batch of punch and put it in ice cream buckets.  You can stack them in the fridge or freezer and let people scoop it out.  (And add their own adult beverage content.  Freezer works great as the alcohol won't completely freeze in a 24 hour period.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Case Discount

I happen to live near a Whole Foods store.  They have great bulk items, inexpensive natural and organic foods and household items, and case discounts.  Other stores have this too but I LOVE Whole Foods and their case discount.  Everything in the store has a case discount, it just depends on the item how much of it you have to purchase to get said discount.  I found this out quite by accident buying formula for my son.  I had three canisters and the very helpful check out clerk says "did you know you can get 10% off if you buy one more?"  When I looked dumbfounded he explained how the case discount works.  I can get organic formula for less than a regular store brand with this discount.  Best.thing.ever!  I buy yogurt, shampoo, lotion, all case discount.  I've asked at some of my other stores that I shop and they also do discounts on certain items.  It pays to ask if you can get a case discount!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Free Shopping

Ok, this may be a less popular post but hang in here with me to the end.

I'm going to talk about dumpster diving and garbage picking.  YIKES!  But Frugal Omma, doesn't that cross into cheap?!  It can extremely easily but let me explain.

All the generations before me that I have known have "picked garbage."  (Did you know you can actually get a license to partake in these activities by your local government and you just flash it to people if they ask you what you're doing?)  But the key is for only certain things and at certain times.  For dumpster diving I have gone to high end local colleges at the end of the year.  Why?  Because students with seemingly lots of discretionary money throw out what they can't pack back home.  Those living farther away throw out perfectly good furniture.  Now, that being said let's draw the line somewhere shall we?  No cloth covered furniture and no beds or bedding.  I'm talking lamps, tables, chairs you can wash/disinfect, bookshelves, etc.  Stuff you can clean and not worry about bringing in lice and other nasty stuff with it.  That is where you get cheap and it is ultimately expensive to fix that mistake.  (Same holds true for hand-me-down furniture, you have to know where it's coming from.)  You also want to make sure it hasn't rained.

You never know what you might find driving around the nice end of town on garbage day.  You find things people haven't bothered dropping off at Good Will and just want to get rid of it.  I've picked up perfectly good big wheels and other outdoor toys for my kids this way.  While my Grammy A would do the polite thing and ask someone if she could take an item I do the "it's by the side of the road on garbage day so they obviously don't want it" stop, throw it in the car, and drive away.  I started out with the polite asking but people just look at you like you're crazy and go "Um yeah, I'm throwing it out so knock yourself out."  One has to know the difference between "it happens to be in the lawn" and "it's clearly being thrown out" or you could get into trouble.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Free Days at Museums and Family Passes

I live in a larger city and we have museums here.  Chances are you may live near a museum too.  Have you checked their website to see if they offer free days to those living in the county?  Almost all of the museums here have a free day to residents.  These are great FREE outings.  I love taking the kids knowing that if we only get to see part of the museum on this trip, it doesn't matter.  I didn't spend an arm and leg getting everyone there and thus feel obligated to drag cranky kids through the rest of the museum to get my moneys worth.

We happen to have a zoo pass for our local zoo but they also have free days several times a year.  The zoo is a favorite local spot for us so we budget in for that pass so we can go a lot.  Go twice as a family and the pass is essentially paid for and the rest are bonus trips.  Plus, look at where the pass will get in you for other places.  Our zoo pass is good for several zoos and we actually purchased the pass at one of these affiliate zoos because it was less expensive there.  It pays to shop around.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Omma's Brands!

I thought I'd start a new category of Omma's brands.  Like you, I have brands that I believe are tried and true.  And I'll periodically give a "shout out" to these brands.

Since I'm a babywearing Omma, I'll start with baby carriers.  A good carrier is worth its weight in gold.  Don't bother with anything that isn't ergonomically designed for both you and baby (so that means Baby Bjorn is not on my list).

My all time favorite carrier is the chunei.  It is based off the Korean podegi which less skill involved on the wearer's part.  It distributes the weight of your baby/child along your torso and keeps your child in a natural seated position.  My kids and I LOVE this carrier.  The downside of the carrier is that it is not easily adjustable between wearers (it is based on shirt size) so my DH cannot wear this carrier.

For my DH I got him the ErgoBaby Sport carrier.  He is tall and the sport has an extra four inches in the shoulder straps so that the chest strap fits where it should (on his chest).  I can also adjust it down enough for me.  The sport is a lighter-weight material than the original so it breathes better for baby and wearer which is great for summer.  The downside is that it really is a baby carrier instead of a toddler carrier.  The back panel is only 13" x 13" (vs. 16" tall on the chunei).  So as your child grows their legs may become more "pinched" in this carrier as they lose that natural seated position due to their long heavy legs.  Although weight wise it will be difficult to outgrow this as the weight limit is 90 lbs!

Unfortunately most of these "premium" carriers are not available at a regular store.  Which makes it difficult to find the best one.  There are certain babywearing groups that will have periodic meetings where you can try on different member's carriers.  This is the best way to try them out.  Otherwise do research and make the best guess possible (and find a place that will accept your return for a full refund if you hate the carrier).

Two great websites for finding out what carrier is best for your body type and babywearing needs (the first one also has a forum which you need to register for free to see but has more reviews from actual users):

If you are feeling adventurous, you can SEW your own carrier.  Here's a link for various patterns and help:

Depending on what you want, it may be cheaper to buy a nice used version rather than make it yourself.  For certain carriers the materials may be expensive.  But price it out, you could make a custom carrier for not a lot of money!  (Just be sure to reinforce all connecting pieces for safety reasons!)