Free Rita's Water Ice Today!

March 20, 2009
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Free Rita's Water Ice Today!

I love the first day of spring. Winter is officially over (though we’ve had many a snowstorm in April here in the Northeast), and signs of warm weather are popping up all over. In the garden there are the blooming crocuses and daffodils, on the streets are people finally shedding their winter layer of coats, and at the local Rita’s Water Ice location, they’re finally opening for business again. As is the tradition for the past 17 years, Rita’s is giving away free water ice (we called it Italian ice where I grew up) to celebrate spring. According to...

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Freecycle Poll

March 19, 2009
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Currently, I’m working on a story for BabyCenter.com related to this blog, and in researching this story I discovered that many people still aren’t familiar with Freecycle. Since I’ve been using Freecycle for the past two years, I have a hard time believing that more people aren’t like me as Freecycle fans. So I got to thinking: it’s about time to survey people on their familiarity with Freecycle. Thus, the poll below. I hope you’ll take it, and pass the link to the posting and poll along to anyone else you know. I’m really curious to see what the...

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Let Someone Else Clean Your House for a Change

March 17, 2009
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Here’s a stat I find hard to believe: according to a recent survey of ShopSmart readers (that’s a Consumer Reports magazine), only 7% of women dislike cleaning their house. What? I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I’ve got the guilt of not having time to clean my house hanging over my head. I’m usually pretty good about tidying up here and there. But a top-to-bottom clean house? Hasn’t happened in years. Well, at least not since we fired our cleaning lady when we went frugal. Having a cleaning lady was one luxury I couldn’t continue...

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Book-Writing Update

March 17, 2009
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So I’m completely in the home stretch of writing Suddenly Frugal, the book. My contract asks for a 60,000 word book, and as of about 30 minutes ago, I’d written just over 53,000 words. I have three chapters left to write on the following topics: Gardening, yard, and landscaping Renovations and interior decorating Vacations and getaways I’m putting out feelers left and right across the Internet for more information on these areas so I can include it in my book. If you have suggestions to share–or know of websites I should check out to research these topics–will you let...

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5 Reasons to Buy Store Brands

March 17, 2009
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Early on down the road to frugal living, I figured out that a great way to save money when I shopped was to check out store brands of nearly any product I wanted to buy. While I have professed my brand loyalty to certain products–and continue to feel that way about particular items–I would be crazy (and poor) if I didn’t make store brands or generics a part of my frugal equation. Just today I refilled the soap dispenser in my bathroom with store-brand liquid soap, served store-brand cranberry-apple juice with dinner, and cleaned some pots after dinner using...

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Suddenly Frugal, The Book, Available for Pre-Order

March 16, 2009
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I just discovered that Amazon.com has Suddenly Frugal the book available for pre-order. I hope that folks here will take advantage of this pre-order option. I wasn’t expecting to see the book up on Amazon yet, especially since I haven’t actually finished writing the book yet (about 10,000 words to go). But I loved getting a chance to preview the book’s subtitle: “A Quick Start Plan to Living Happier and Healthier with Less.” Sounds like the kind of book I’d want to read, even if I hadn’t written it.

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Improving My Blog Roll

March 16, 2009
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Even though it’s been three months since I moved the Suddenly Frugal blog from Blogger over here to Word Press, I’ve just now figured out how to add the Blog Roll to my sidebar. Slowly, I’m trying to beef up the names and links to the blogs I enjoy reading–and which I think the readers of Suddenly Frugal will enjoy. So if you have any blog recommendations, please post a comment with a link, and I’ll check it out. Thanks.

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Overstock Bailout Winner

March 16, 2009
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Well, I didn’t win the February $10,000 Overstock Bailout contest, but someone frugal did: her name is Cara Bennett of Ocala,  Florida. Bennett is the founder of a “Frugaling Club” to help those in her community with ideas on how to save money and shop smart. Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne said, “With such a great response from our January $10,000 Family Bailout Sweepstakes, we wanted to continue our help during the months ahead. We plan to continue this $10,000 sweepstakes every month through December of 2009.” “It’s great that we can help out the Bennett family,” Byrne...

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This HARO Brought to You By…

March 13, 2009
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Me! Anyone in the media business has become a huge fan of HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. Social media and marketing guru Peter Shankman created it, oh, about a year ago. HARO is a thrice-daily list of media leads, which I’ve used as a writer and as someone trying to promote her books. Today, I took my HARO-ness to a new level by purchasing the “ad” that appears at the top of every HARO dispatch. In case you’re interested in reading that ad, here it is: This HARO is thanks to Leah Ingram, writer, book author...

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Suddenly Frugal is a Fave Five

March 13, 2009
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Suddenly Frugal is a Fave Five

Hey, there folks. Just wanted to share with you that the Role Mommy blog has named Suddenly Frugal a Fave Five for this week. They’ve highlighted my recipe for DIY laundry detergent, and held it up as an “ingenious post.” Pretty cool. I hope you’ll check it out.

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3 Safety Precautions with DIY Cleaners

March 13, 2009
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When my children were really young, I was vigilant about keeping cleaning products away from curious fingers. We had those special child-resistant locks on all of the cabinets, and anything that could potential hurt the kids, well, we stored that stuff way up high. Even I couldn’t reach them when I stood on a step stool! (Thankfully, hubby is 6’3″.) Now that the kids are older and know better, I don’t worry so much about accidental poisonings, though I still keep cleaning products away from the dog. The last thing I need is for him to decide to “clean...

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Here Come Cities on the Cheap

March 11, 2009
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Here Come Cities on the Cheap

A great big shout out to my fellow freelance writer Jennifer Maciejewski who has come up with a brilliant recession-era business idea–Cities on the Cheap. This is a hub for a rapidly growing network of “On the Cheap” blogs. Each blog, which is independently owned and operated, highlights city-specific freebies, discounts and deals. The blogs grew out of Maciejewski’s own Atlanta on the Cheap blog idea. “I started out just looking for ways to help my family see and do more in Atlanta for less, but the deals I found were too good to keep to myself,” Maciejewski says....

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4 Tips to Add Curb Appeal to your Frugal Home

March 11, 2009
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Thank goodness I no longer have a home on the market. I can’t imagine how stressful selling a house must be in the current climate. I know that two years ago when we were selling our old house, one of the first tasks we tackled was improving the curb appeal of our home. This included: Mulching the gardens Painting the front door red (it was boring tan) Power-washing the front of the house (it was a white house and showed a lot of dirt; I used this great Windex Outdoor product that you attached to the hose) Clustering pots...

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Free Resume Copying at Kinkos Today

March 10, 2009
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For those who are currently on the job market–whether of their own free will or because they were downsized–I thought you’d appreciate this tip: today only (March 10), you can go to your local Fedex/Kinkos location (there are 1,600 in the U.S. alone) to have 25 black-and-white copies of your resume done for free. If you don’t have access to home office equipment and you’ve got some upcoming interviews, this seems like a great deal for getting your resumes copied.

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Frugal Garages, Basements and Playrooms

March 10, 2009
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So I’m at a point in writing this book where I’m a bit stumped. And if you know me, I’m never at a loss for words. Here’s what’s going on. There is a proposed section in the book devoted to frugality in the garage, the basement and your kids’ playrooms. I’ve got a couple of tips to go on, such as turning off the electronics on the Playstation, XBox, Wii and whatever when you leave the playroom, and selling extra toys and books on eBay or Craigslist to make extra cash. But the garage and the basement? Well, besides...

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DST Is An Energy Suck: Here Are 7 Energy-Saving Tips

March 9, 2009
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As most of America is well aware of, we went into Daylight Savings Time (DST) this past weekend–you know, when we set the clocks to one hour later and “spring ahead.” I don’t know about you but I’ve been feeling a little jet lag today, like I’d traveled across a time zone without actually going anywhere. Well, I guess in reality, I did. This jet lag effect was the most apparent this afternoon. Normally, around 3:00 I’ll start to feel a bit drowsy, and I’ll usually brew a second cup of coffee to perk me up and help me...

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Make a Referral Week

March 9, 2009
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One of the things about freelancing that my husband has never understood is when I refer another freelancer for a gig. I saw this as good karma. He saw this as potentially giving away a job that could have come my way. Granted, I don’t hand out referrals left and right, and there are certain clients whose whereabouts I keep close to my chest. But I’m a big believer in the notion that the way folks like me stay in business is by referring business to others in hopes that others will do the same for me. And plenty...

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8 Tips for Surviving Company Layoffs

March 9, 2009
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I’ll never forget what it was like when I worked in a company where every week brought a new round of pink slips. My stomach would knot up each Monday when I stepped off the elevator, pushed through the office’s door and sat down in my cubicle. Would I be next? Did I need to duck and cover? Should I start floating my resume? These days, the pink-slip stress is a daily occurrence for many individuals. Maybe a pending layoff could be a reason you’ve decided to adopt a frugal lifestyle–and therefore found your way over to this blog....

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Living Well on a Modest Income: Guest Post

March 6, 2009
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Living Well on a Modest Income: Guest Post

Today’s blog posting is actually a guest post from Danny Kofke, a teacher and author of the book “How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary.” Danny’s whole approach is about living well on a modest income, something he’s achieved as a special education teacher for the past nine years. Currently, he teaches outside of Atlanta. Here’s what Danny told me about his reason for writing the book: “My colleagues inspired me to write my book.  I had a few teachers tell me that Tracy (my wife) and I did really well on a teacher’s salary and...

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Mother of All Inventions

March 5, 2009
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A couple of years ago, I came up with an invention that I thought was QVC-worthy. It was a bedding item that I’ll bet every married couple (or partnered couple, for that matter) has dealt with–the fight over blankets on the bed. I won’t go  into too much detail, because I’d still like to make this invention one day (I just need to learn to sew). However, I will go into an opportunity I just learned about that may benefit any other female inventors out there. I got this press release from Bed, Bath and Beyond that was a...

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Dollar Stores

March 4, 2009
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I just read a great article over at The Frugal Yankee. It’s about the good, the bad and the ugly of Dollar Stores–basically, what’s a great deal and what you should pass on by. For example, many of the items the article points out that you shouldn’t buy at a Dollar Store have to do with the fact that these products may have been involved in a recall (peanut products, lead in jewelry) but somehow are still on the shelves there. (Not sure how Dollar Stores get around complying with the Consumer Products Safety Commission but a search of...

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Cable, TV and Movie Entertainment on the Cheap

March 4, 2009
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Once again I’ve got my Suddenly Frugal book on the brain, and I’m curious if my advice is spot on. This has to do with getting your cable, TV and movie entertainment fixes on the cheap. For example, after a great exchange on Twitter yesterday (follow me @leangreenmom, if you’re not already), I discovered that a Netflix subscription can be a part of a healthy frugal entertainment diet. The trick is paying for the cheapest subscription possible, and staying on top of your requests and returns so that your per-movie cost averages about $1 per flick. Even Comcast’s On...

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Acquire New Skills, Save Money

March 3, 2009
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Given that my Suddenly Frugal book is due to the publisher in 30 days, you can pretty much guess what I’m going to be busy doing during the month of March–you know, besides not spending anything above and beyond regular expenses. Seriously, though, I spent Monday, a snow day in these parts, working on various sections of my book. I had a lot of fun putting together one chapter about how you can learn new skills to save money. The premise behind the chapter is this: if you can learn to do something that you would normally outsource to...

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