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HAPPY NEW YEAR

No resolutions here, don’t believe in them. However, if they work for you congrats on making them and good luck in keeping them.  To all my readers have a happy new year.

 

Frugal Christmas

So again it took me months to show my face… But I’m here and hopefully to stay.

Tis the season to be jolly right? Well, not so in many household. This may be a time that might be painful because of past tragedy, fresh pain.. Sick loved ones, lack of money, lost jobs… And the list goes on.

When you have kids, the outcome of the jolliest season of the year look more bleak than ever. You want them to enjoy it but you are not in the spirit, the mood or just plain lack of money.

Here is how to enjoy at least a fabulous and frugal dinner ( non tradional). If you like the trimming and bright lights and gift giving, then I’m sorry this page isn’t for you. This for those of us who enjoy simple, a simple no fuss holiday without expensive gifts, food and bright lights.

So here some ideas for a inexpensive Christmas dinner.

Option 1

Pumpkin soup
Rice and peas
Stew chicken
Mac and cheese
Salad

Dessert: easy chocolate cheesecake

Non alcoholic apple cider

Option 2

Pumpkin and salt fish rice cookup

( ok I know what you are thinking, but I don’t worry about that)…you are thinking that’s not a holiday meal…. Oohh but you are wrong… Who said you had to have turkey and chicken and all the trimmings… Haven’t met me.

So back to option 2

Pumpkin and salt fish rice cookup
Stew chicken ( its easy)
Macaroni salad
Salad

Dessert: cranberry upside down cake

Option 3

Baked chicken
Baked Mac and cheese
Potato salad
Rice
French rolls

Dessert: chocolate cake

Champagne: Andre 4.99

No Christmas tree… No worries. You can buy some Christmas lights and hang them around your home… Very inexpensive ( no fuss).

You don’t have to buy into the norm, that at Christmas you have to spend a ton load of money. Who are you trying to impress?? You might succeed in making others believe that you have a disposable income, but come January when the bills are to be paid, what happens???

I am not judging, oh God no!  I have been there done that. I used to think, if I can get the next look everyone is wearing then I’m the ish since slice bread. However, after you hit rock bottom with nowhere else left to go, you begin to see the light.

You can look nice, without spending what you don’t have. You can eat a healthy meal everyday ( sure, can be a little expensive… but the benefits are worth it).

Anyway, without me rambling on and on about being frugal.  Just think about it… All that glitters is not gold and the bling bling of Christmas ( no longer having it true meaning), and new years have had their lights turned off… What do you end up with??

Credit card bills, school fees, car note, rent, loans, mortgages…god knows what else, we forfeited to have a fabulous Christmas.  Just Think about it, isnt it time to be frugal?

Happy Birthday

Hello Fellow Readers,

Hi and please accept my apologies for missing in action, yet once again.  I could tell you that so much of my personal life got in the way, and despite my promise to keep  up with this blog, I once again fell by the way.  However, I am not here to make promises but will make the effort to show up and do what I said and its the blog’s birthday.

Yup, 1 year old this month…..Whoo Hoo.  I’ll be back with a birthday gift for all of you…..a frugal find or a recipe…Stay tuned.

Its my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if want to, cry if want to……tra la la la la

 

 

 

Healthy Eating

So I cleaned out my fridge and all that’s in it is 90% organic stuff…. ewwww you say, eeeeewww right back at yah…. LOL. I haven’t change the type food like chicken or eggs, I just replace them with food that are grown by local organic farmers, with the use of  little or no pesticide.

Too healthy for you? Well, you might want to rethink that. If you have kids, that little boy or girl depends on you to feed them the right nutritious food, engage them in healthy conversations, stimulate their minds and fuel their energy. Well feeding them junk isn’t gonna do it.. A trip to  McDonald, taco bell etc,  isn’t helping…the food or what YOU think is food maybe be 30% the real thing plus 70% garbage.

Now take a look at your gorgeous child and tell me you don’t fall in love all over again. Everytime he amazes you with his antics or conversations…. And then answer this why am I feeding my child GARBAGE?  He/She is not a human incinerator that whatever junk I can whip up or buy, he can get rid of it…NO, the dump is for that.

Except for the rich and famous, no one has excess money like that ( I for one don’t, I struggle just like the next working class, dependent on his next pay check to survive)…so why don’t I shut the hell up and go sit in a corner and eat the cheap junk like everyone else???!…. BECAUSE I REFUSE TO.

For my son who is 4, for my hubs and my own health, I REFUSE TO. I work ungodly, unhealthy hours and sleep at ungodly hrs( 8am- 2:30pm)… Ouch!!!! you say.. Yes. I leave work at “crack head time of the morning” 3 am… Depending on the mood of the train or train conductor I get home at 5-6. I spend the night trying to get work done (never-ending, always on the grind)while…trying to mentally prepare a delicious nutritious, quick meal in my head for my son’s lunch, and the hubs and myself dinner. So lunch time is spent going to my many recipe collection, and picking out recipes depending on what I have on hand.

When I get home, I pull these ingredients out and get to work. Now hubs and the little man leaves around 7am so I have 1hr, 2 tops to get that done. His lunch is always prepared, with 2 boxes of juice, water and a snack.
I spend at least 1 hr with him, ( he hangs out with me in the kitchen and gives me an update on what happened while I was at work)…. Watch out daddy, he tells on you too……:-).  He shows me his homework, begs to stay home with me OH! every five mins or so… Lol… and gets the same answer every time..or he watches  cartoons and the news. Daddy dresses him and they are out the door. This is where I collapse into the bed.

Okay I said all that to say, your time isn’t anymore precious than mine…(oh, I had two jobs at one point and still did all that)… Spend the time to eat and feed you family nutrious, good for you food, don’t neglect the little ones. A little Debbie snack with potato chip and soda are nothing but empty garbage filled calories that does nothing for your child and you.

Instead try a bean burger… Quick delicious and filling…and a snack of maybe an organic, orange and banana cut in bite size pieces… Or make him a quick Organic PBJ sandwich or bananwich( smashed bananas with real wholewheat or oat bread)

Listen, I for one understand that these food are mega expensive, but start with the basics, and eventually you will have it and no longer grimace at the prices as you would have gotten use to it.

I will try to help with recipes and where the deals are, but you gotta help yourself too, research, research and research. How about cutting out or cutting down on the necessary junk out your life like (reality tv, going out to eat salt laden food, drinking every weekend etc… Spend sometime home and research recipes, how the big giant food industry along with Drs and Big Pharma are squeezing money and your life out of you. I love my movies just like the next person, want to hog the TV every now and then but I have to balance it out.

Hubs and I spend all our weekends home having healthy debates, hanging out with the little one, Sat or Sunday is date movie night or I just go to sleep because Lord knows I sleep when I can to catch up. It’s boring you might add.. but it all depends on your expectations, your self esteem, your priorites,and goals.
I spend the week rubbing shoulders with people, crazy people on my commute to and from work and at work.  On the weekends, only wild horses could get me out… In the summer, we go out of course to BBQ, kiddie birthday parties, and yes I will admit that while I don’t indulge in the food I will drink my way through the wine coolers…. Yup… Me likey!!! ( I’m working on it…lol)

Okay enough, about me. Think about what I’ve said because what you skimp on today may cost you in Dr’s bills later on.

And remember:  With your health, there should be no compromise!!

Baby steps that’s all it takes.

Pizza a La Fru

We all love pizza, well most of us. I am not a pizza fan but I do enjoy an occasional slice. However since my family does, it’s nothing to throw together a pizza.  It’s easy as pie, I used to think that it was hard and complex but not so.

I like my food made from scratch, not  premade. However, I do believe that certain things you can  allow premade. (psst… It makes life easier).  I buy pre made pizza dough or crust, and I throw everything  but the kitchen sink on one side for the hubs and chicken and cheese and other side for puss..( that’s my son nickname)

So here’s the recipe

1 large pizza crust. ..
3 slices each green and red bell pepper… Chopped
1/2 Red onion- chopped
2 diced cooked chicken breast
3 slices pineapple diced
Jalapeño peppers diced
Mexican cheese blend grate
4 tbs pizza sauce or pasta sauce
handful of baby tomatoes chopped

Spread sauce on crust to cover
Spread some cheese
layer everything else as you wish. Topped with more cheese

Bake for 12 mins or until crust is golden brown

Cut and enjoy

P.S… Add a bottle of cheap champagne (Andres strawberry champagne)…rent a movie… Viola!!!!  Frugal date night.

Pss.. All my ingredients except for the cheese can be bought at Whole Food.

Please forgive the crappy picture. I don’t own a camera, but I am working on it.

Freecyclers

Years ago, while in the bathroom at a previous job, I overheard a radio interview about bartering services and was very intrigue.

What is bartering some people might ask? Well when I hear the word barter I will always remember hearing or learning the meaning of the word from my history classes. Back in the olden days when money was not around bartering was the only means of trading. Bartering is simply trading goods or service with someone else.

I was intrigued because I never knew people even thought about this or was even kind and honest enough to do this. My first thought was who does this? According the interviewee it was very simple… If I had a service that you wanted and could not afford and you had a service I wanted we could trade… No money involved.

So being the nosy (not really.. Lol) person that I am, I started researching the idea. What I found did not appeal to me except for one site…. Freecyclers.

So back then the used things  snob in me went ewww.. Heck no! No way. And I left my email unattended…. 2 years later, I have 51,889 email all from freecyclers. What!!! Are you serious??  This system was different though, in that you were not required to trade anything to get anything,  you simply place a wanted or offer advertisement and people will find you.

For example:  If I  have a baby stroller I no longer need, I place a offer ad. You would describe the stroller, brand, color defects or if it is in good condition (give as much details as you possibly can).  State a pickup time, location and sit back…you will have so much people replying its ridiculous.  You would do the same for something you actually need. The skies the limit…Just ask because you never know.

So in keeping with my project I decided to take another look this time a real hard look. I think I’ve overcome my used clothes snobbishness and really put into retrospect that there are really people out there that would be glad for even a shirt that was already worn. So goes the saying “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure”

First I had to clear out my email and signed up again as I couldn’t access my freecyclers account (probably closed for inactivity). 51,899 email is a lot of mail to get rid of, but as I went through I realized that some of the stuff offered was actually new.. There was clothing, Knickknacks, toys, kitchen items, TV, printers, VCR, you name it it’s there.

I’m thinking these people are crazy, giving it away… why not sell it ?  Who knows what each individual reasons were…. It’s great!!!! Everyone in need of something has a chance at it.

So of course I am not going to recommend something if I haven’t tested it. So with iPod and  notes in hand, I logged in and requested a small flatscreen TV and later an insanity workout video.

Okay, now I didn’t receive any of these items…. Well not yet, but I’m still hopeful…:-). It cost nothing to hope, trust me it’s free.

However, there were plenty of clothes, food, books, kitchen items, household items. Yes there were a few TV’s but the bulky type ( older type TV), Computers etc.

Try it, you never know what you might end up with. However, be warned that you will have a overwhelming ton of email of offers and wants, basically telling you who is in need of what and wants to giveaway. Also if you want something and ask for it, it may take awhile. If you offer something, there will tons of takers.

It about sharing and being frugal. These days we work basically to keep the needs of our family met. However, our jobs  ( if you work for someone else) is designed to have you work yourself to death and never meet your needs.

Sign up. You never know, the clothes your toddler needs is in a bag waiting for you… Best if all it’s free.

Happy Mother’s Day

 

 

 

http://www.1millionlovemessages.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mothers-day.gif


Ebay

So I have already mention my hatred for online shopping, because I absolutely hate to pay S/H. Some people charge ridiculous amounts for S/H and its really not worth it. Anyway, in keeping with vintage, new and used clothing project from vintage stores, salvation army etc. I decided to hit eBay.

It’s just too cold to go outside and it was fun trying outbid other people. I have been an ebayer for 11 years, but that’s because I used to sell jewelry. Yes, me. I bought my jewelry from auctions and sell back at a reasonable price. However, due work load and school…. It kind of got sidetrack. Also with the birth of my son..( who knew the little bugger would be a handful… Lol)

Now I getting back, so armed with my eBay app on my phone, I was off. I scouted and scoured and bid and cursed because I lost a nice vest because I was busy cooking and not avidly watching my bid….LOL. Oh well!!! win some, lose some…(still seething)

I calculate that since I wasn’t leaving the house, that the money I would spend for gas or train fare, how far the actual store was from the train ( god knows I hate to walk in the cold). I put aside $60 to see what I could come up with.

Here is what I bought

Grey jacket $24.99 ( jacket price was $24.99 and s/h $8.99) since the seller gave us leverage to bargain… I took the liberty of asking for 1/2 off s/h… He accepted… Sweeeeet.

A lot of 3 jackets ( slightly used) $15 (s/h $9) so I bid and waited and swore if anyone outbid me… It’s on… Lol.  Since it was about 10 hrs to go I relaxed and waited. At the 1 hr mark I actively started watching to make sure I was on top of my game and at 1 sec it’s like time stood still, anyway I won… Whoop Whoop.. I got 3 denim jackets, ( blue, tan and brown)…total $24.

I had spent $48 on 4 jackets that was $12 a piece not bad…so with $6.51 left I was off again… Dang this was additive, so I had to watch myself… Lol.

With my $6.51 I scored yet another jacket ( I swear I wasn’t even paying attention and didn’t realize it was 4 jackets until this post)… I will probably get a side eyed look from hubby that says really??

I got a khaki jacket for $.99, yes i said $.99 in mint condition and s/h was $5.95… I spent a whopping $6.94… Can’t beat that.

Total cost $60.43, I went over my budget by 43 cents and I am not crying :-)   Overall the experience was good, I truly had forgotten about the thrills of shopping or selling on eBay.

Couple of things to note

If you are buying on a budget, make it just that.. A budget.  Set a $$$ amount, know what you are going after.

Be prepared to spend time scouring, bargaining, bidding. It can be fun and not taken to heart that you become frustrated… There are plenty of stuff to look at. There are also clothing sold in Lots, and that just means instead of one piece you might get two or more (ex.. a jeans and a shirt), for one price…..cool isn’t it.

Read, read and read again any descriptions, price amount, shipping and handling, disclaimers…check out sellers stats and what other buyers say about them. Sometimes there will be a follow up from the seller. Use you discretion, email sellers about item, they welcome this as you want the experience to be mutually beneficial.

Ask question, yes I am reiterating my previous point. Do not sit and wonder… ask. Most transactions are completed and no returns unless otherwise stated.

You have to have a PayPal account ( linked to your bank account) and your address validated by eBay. It’s a simple process and may take 2 days to be completed but that depends on you answering your emails. PayPal is relatively safe and while after 11 years I have never had a problem with fraud, you cannot be too careful.

Purchase your items right away if you can, most people give 3 days. However prompt payment shows:
Responsibility
Trustworthiness
That You mean business
Reliability

It takes about 2 days for payments to clear so please make sure you have money in your account, no one wants to hear ” sorry I thought I had money” or “it was there I swear”. You will be publicly humiliated, and banned… Okay not trying scare you, be on the up and up and you will be okay.

Upon receiving your items look for discrepancies, tears, holes, non functioning parts etc… as some sellers are unscrupulous. Take pictures if  you suspect fraud and submit to eBay, if fraud is suspected, the seller get reprimanded. Depending on the situation they may even be banned.

There is something on eBay for everyone, all you need is time and even if you have only $20 to burn.  If you are not adverse to wearing some slightly used clothing, most are new without tags then the budget chic to you  should be jumping for joy right about now.

So until my next frugal find, be safe and have a fabulous and frugal day.

Thrifting???? There I said it

Hey Bellas,

Okay, I’ll be the first to tell you I am a bit of a snob. Not that I look down on anyone (nothing like that), but the thought of wearing something second hand has me gasping for air.

One of my projects for this year is to hit some of the stores if not all the thrift shops, goodwill, salvation army stores  (in NYC)  and buy at least one item. Yes me, miss clothing snob.

The hubs reads my blog and is also my harshest critic. He’s probably at this time having a mild aneurysm because I will be lugging him along (evil laugh)…

I will set out to prove that in this day and age… In light of poor salary, recession, no jobs that we can survive. No one is gonna give you a helping hand, you pretty much have to help yourself.

Resources are lacking and not at all comprehensive. I like details and not half azz information. I will research a topic to death until I am satisfied. I hope by bringing this info to you I can help someone.  Someone in need, someone who has very little and know where to start

So up first is

No Relation Vintage- located on 1st avenue between 12th and 13 th street… My first visit was in summer 2010 and I’m sorry I was not impressed to say the least.  The only thing that impressed me was the clothes were sorted and placed on hangers much like regular stores and categorize.

The stuff I saw was not even worthy of the homeless, and too expensive. Since I decided to hit all vintage, goodwill and such like stores, I decided to give one more go…. Uuuuum…. even worse than before. I spend all of 5-10 mins and only a handbag caught my eye and it was $30… What?  Seriously? I wondered if I could bargain the price down to $5 because thats what it was worth…. Nah I decided…. It wasn’t even worth it.

The staff was more interested in paying attention to their iPhones and the cool apps they found so fascinating ( who can blame them).  I left feeling that I wasted 10 mins of precious time, because I do most my research, shopping, window shopping right before work.

So back to my list of places to visit and I will let you know.  Stay fabulous and frugal bellas until next time.

Walk in Style

Hey chicas, You know I am all about the sales. Spring is around the corner that means that shoe you might have had your eye on is on sale (if they have your size of course). Check out LOVE MY SHOES by clicking on the link above or below and be fabulous and frugal…..ciao.    
 
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