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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Toast in the New Year!


Ringing in the New Year at your house tonight? Ikea is offering a set of 6 Svalka champagne flutes for only $5! What a classy yet inexpensive way to serve your guests at the stroke of midnight! (And they are dishwasher safe too!)

Happy New Year, be safe and get ready for a better year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Accessorizing your table (from your old winter wardrobe)!


Rather than toss an out-of-date, yet good condition winter scarf, try recycling it as a table runner. It can be a cozy addition if the color is right for your decor (and if you don't have one, check thrift stores for one that fits your taste!).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Deck the Halls


So this advice may be a little late for this Christmas just past, but it offers some cost-effective (yet very non-Grinchlike) gift and decoration ideas! (Thanks to Redbook magazine's Nov.'09 issue)

* Board games make great gifts since one can be a gift for an entire family.

* Use natural decorations both inside and out - i.e. pinecone wreaths, evergreen trims, holly, etc.)

* Do your Black Friday shopping online - you get the same great deals without the crowds and often with free shipping!

Give us your ideas as well and come next year, I will repost this in early November (a bit more timely!) with your updates included!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Olympic-Sized Free Entertainment!


Don't forget that the Winter Olympics start up in January! What better way to spend winter evenings than free televised sports of the amazing type the Olympics always brings? Check your local listings and settle in for your favorite events!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cheap dates (at home)...


Check out www.redbookmag.com for the January 2010 issue for some inexpensive date nights for couples...they range from cheese tasting to game nights to massages - six ideas for keeping the fire kindled without selling the farm (ok...strange analogy, but you get the idea!)...count me in on the cheese tasting...mmmm! Merry Christmas to you & yours!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

OK...now it's your turn...!


Yesterday, I asked Santa for some help with providing information for you in this blog...just in case he is too busy with more important things (like bringing me my new laptop...heh heh!), I would love for you to provide me with your Christmas savings wishes and/or your money-saving New Year's resolutions to give me something substantial to work on! No wish too big or too small...I will research them all (did you catch the spiffy poetry there?) Happy Holidays whatever your faith, creed or beliefs!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A blogger's letter to Santa


Dear Santa,

If it's not too much to ask, I would love to get some amazing topics to write about in my blog for 2010...I've asked my subscribers and readers, but to no avail...Alas, I am relying on you to provide my greatest Christmas wish (well...ok, next to world peace, a stop to global warming, an end to war...etc...) by providing some topics of unusual interest for my blog! Many thanks in advance...there are extra cookies in it for you...Happy Holidays!!!

Yours sincerely,

Penny Pincher

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beware the Grinch!


I am generally a trusting soul...I believe that most people and organizations are well-meaning. But beware the Grinch, my friends! A (to be unnamed) company I made a purchase from 2 years (yes, that reads TWO YEARS) ago, suddenly opted to renew my membership without my permission and I was unpleasantly surprised by a $79 charge to my checking account!!!! I called, they apologized, they promised an email confirming my refund...OOPS! That never happened...my bank (thank you Bank of America!!!!) handled getting my $$$ for me but then the product I never ordered was delivered...returning it has been a nightmare - I am STILL trying! The moral of this Christmas tale is keep a sharp eye on your bank transactions (I check mine daily online) and call if you see something unusual!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Loving the Cozi calendar!


Since my last post, I have indeed loaded and tried the Cozi online calendar I mentioned yesterday! It is great - amazing list capabilities, scheduling and you can access it on smartphones or via text messages on a "non-smart" phone (lol!).
It is a bit more friendly and less business-looking than Outlook, and I can personalize it for my family...very cool so check it out!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And the calendar keeps turning...happy holidays to you...!



Check out the "MeadCal" online calendar at the following web address:

http://www.meadcal.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=meadcal

It's free and has a lot of great features - I, for one, plan to give it a try for the new year!

Though, to be fair, if you google "online calendars," you will see loads of freebies! Just pick the one that will work best for you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A sweet deal (...aka my cookie recipe)!


Here is my contribution to the "virtual cookie exchange" I suggested yesterday!

These require no baking and you likely already have the ingredients at home...

CHOCOLATE OATMEAL DROP COOKIES

2 Cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 Cup butter or margarine
3 Cups quick cooking oatmeal (NOT instant!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup nuts (optional)

Bring sugar, cocoa, milk and butter to a boil.
Cook for one minute, then remove from heat.
Add remaining ingredients.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on wax paper.
Let stand and cool for approximately 90 minutes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cookie "exchange" anyone?


As the holidays draw nearer, so the holiday baking frenzy gets more furious! In years past, our neighborhood was very close-knit and held a cookie exchange each December. I would invite you to participate in a virtual version of this holiday tradition but with a "penny pincher" twist! Please submit a cookie recipe for which all ingredients (including decorations if applicable) cost less than $5 and provide at least 3 dozen cookies/bars/etc. Post it on my blog and I will do the same...please be sure to give yourself credit for the recipe!! :D Happy Holidays and thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In with the new...and the old! (FYI - THIS IS POST #200!!!)


I am not so much a fan of New Year's resolutions as I am a fan of thinking of new ways to improve myself (intellectually, emotionally, etc.) in the coming year. One suggestion I present to you would be learning about your personal history and applying its lessons to build yourself a better future...A tall order, no doubt, but check out www.ancestry.com to trace your own history. It could prove educational and beneficial, or, at the very least, enjoyable!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cheap movie rentals...a new option?


I've told you about RedBox, one of my favorite DVD rental options...cheap, convenient and easy to do...Now a new competitor is coming into play (be it ever so limited thus far): www.bigboxdvd.com

New releases at six cents/hour, older ones at four cents/hour and BlueRay at nine cents/hour. Apparently (unless I am interpreting the website incorrectly) this great deal is currently only available in MN and WI, but with prices like these it may likely catch on near you...or consider the opportunity to open your own kiosk...check it out!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Favorite Holiday TV Specials!


I am a child of the 60's, one of the tail-end of the Baby-Boomers...so naturally my Christmas television viewing was strongly tied to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I have the video and plan on getting the DVD as back-up, but given the economy, for those of you that miss it on TV this season, check out www.hulu.com (a site, FYI, that I've mentioned in the past for free television viewing). The Charlie Brown Christmas special is one that is currently playing at no charge for you...a full 21:45 minutes...watch and relive your childhood! :D

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday charitable giving hint


Whether you always donate to a special cause as part of your holiday tradition or whether you are simply after a last-minute tax deduction (and who says it can't be both?!), consider this tip from "USA Weekend":

"...use charitynavigator.org - a databank that rates more than 5,400 charities - to make sure your money is well spent. The site gives up to four stars for an organization's efficiency and effectiveness."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's sweater weather!


Time to bring out (if you haven't already) the warm winter sweaters and with that comes the added chore of removing fuzz that builds up on them ("sweater pills"). One source suggests using a new kitchen sponge (textured side) and gently running it across knits to defuzz them. Not having yet tried it, I would strongly suggest being careful of testing it on high-end items (i.e. cashmere) - not really confident about that one!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick and cute (not to mention inexpensive) gift ideas!


So you already know I'm an avid bargain-hunter and diligently search through SmartMoney, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Oprah and every website I can find to dig up good deals for you (and for myself!). Check out the Dec.'09 Good Housekeeping issue for cute gift ideas that are under $5 (p.107 if you check online). My favorites include the cool looking alarm clock for 99 cents at ikea.com, the mini Margaritas To Go from target.com ($5) or your choice of a book ("If You Take a Mouse to the Movies") or the related stuffed mouse - only $5 each from kohls.com. Happy shopping! Feel free to share any deals you find too!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dial a deal


Here's a helpful (albeit very different!) way of making price comparisons for when you are doing your holiday shopping!

When you are staring at that perfect gift at an amazing price, step back and text message the item's bar code number (standard text message fees apply) or call toll-free at 888-363-7822 and FruCall (frucall.com) will provide the cheapest prices frm major online retailers so you can see if the gift is available cheaper elsewhere!

No, I haven't tried it, but I am one of those people who shops for the holidays throughout the year so I was done with my gift-buying well before I saw this in "Good Housekeeping" magazine (10/09 issue). Let us know if it is helpful!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A bit of mysELF for my blog buddies!

Check out www.elfmyself.com to create a fun video of yoursELF (or friend for blackmail purposes!). Check out mine! Happy holidays!