Today on The Brilliant Frugal Living Show: Five outstanding strategies to earn more income from home! Tuesday, Jul 17 2012 

Then, Isagenix millionaire Jimmy Smith joins me on the air to discuss his story – a butcher for 40 years who retired due to injury, he turned to a Network Marketing career, and has earned thirty million dollars in the last 10 years. Sound interesting? It’s all today on Philadelphia’s News/Talk 1180 – tune in at 11A (Eastern) or livestream us at the link! http://www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com

A Frugalista’s Guide to Summer Savings Friday, May 27 2011 

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If you’re anything like me, you’re loving this fabulous turn to warmer springtime weather, especially after the crazy winter we all just endured. I mean, really, was Mother Nature totally hormonal last winter, or just plain mean? Both? When it comes to the warmer months that lie ahead, there’s no better way to welcome a spectacular summer than to dive into it well prepared, and for as little cost as possible.

The Clothes – We all want to freshen up our wardrobes with some fabulous new pieces. Shorts, summer dresses and suits, bathing suits, shoes — ladies, start your shopping engines. Did you just get an amazing deal on a summertime cruise? Upgrade with a new fabulous wardrobe to match! However you’re ringing in the summer, forget the cheaply made polyester knits, go for the designer names that make you look and feel great! Just don’t dare to buy them retail, not when they can all be found (for easily 50-95 percent off) at your local meticulously run consignment stores, thrift stores and church stores. I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to these goldmines, and trust me when I tell you, the best of these stores are taking couture clothing to an art form.

Kids’ clothes – Looking to update your kids’ wardrobes as well? Do your shopping in about five minutes time, for easily 90 percent off, with a click or two on Craigslist. As I type this, parents (far more organized than I) are cleaning out their kids’ closets, piling well-made, sturdy, easily washable designer name clothes into bags, and getting rid of it for $10 (or less!) online, often with detailed pictures you can comb thru to make sure it’s the right style for your kids. I’ve done this countless times, folks and I’ve never had a bad experience. Find a mutually convenient place to meet (local diner, school, church) and update your kids’ wardrobes with dozens of new outfits, often spending no more than $20 total. It’s a fabulous summertime ritual that does this Frugalista’s heart good.

The tax-write offs! – Somewhat-related clothing note: Once the weather starts hitting 80-degrees on a regular basis, you’re also in prime time to donate your winter clothes and gear to a local thrift shop or church store. Get rid of the sweaters, slacks, boots-that-never-quite-fit and old coats (you know, the ones in the back of the closet that you never wore), and above all else, make sure you get a receipt so you can detail the amount in your charitable contributions on your next tax form.

The utilities – To all of you who still wake up in a cold sweat thinking of last summer’s utility bills, I have an easy, lucrative challenge for you. Head to your local home improvement center for about 30 feet of clothesline ($5 tops), and tie it to whatever is standing upright in your backyard. Porch railing, swing sets or a hook attached to the garage. Then hit the local dollar store for $2 worth of clothespins. Start drying your clothes (especially your bath towels) on this handy, easily-taken-down clothesline, and watch your utility bills plummet compared to last year. To those of you with association rules against this activity, have a polite chat with your neighbors, then with your association board. Assure all involved that this new addition to your home will be virtually unseen by passersby, and casually mention that the savings (in the hundreds, if not thousands) will lend itself well to paying your yearly dues. The iron-clad association rules of years past (in the days of ever-rising home values and lower unemployment) may be somewhat more flexible in the current economy.

The beach gear – if you’re planning a beach trip and looking to get the kids a few new things for it, hit your local Dollar Store for everything you need! Shovels, pails, sand sifters, toys, nets, games to play in the car, and just about every other beach-worthy item they might enjoy burying in the sand.

The tan – if you’re over the age of 5, you’re well aware of the dangers of tanning unprotected in the sun. Not only does it prematurely age you at an exponential rate, but who the heck has the time to lay out in the sun for hours anyway? Hit your local discount grocery’s cosmetics section, and find the brand name spray-on tanners for easily 50-80 percent off. They look incredible, they take five minutes (yes, that’s minutes) to apply, they easily last for a week, and your gorgeous skin gets thru the summer looking perfect and protected.

Air conditioning – I know, it seems absurd to be thinking about air conditioning, especially since it feels like many of us turned off our heaters, oh, last week. But trust me on this, the frigid days of winter will feel a long way off come the first heat wave. One of the biggest money-saving tips for summer is simply being prepared for it by the end of spring. Now is the time to have your air conditioners serviced and finely tuned for optimal cool air production come summertime. The same air conditioner repairmen that can make you a same-day appointment today are going to have to put you on a five-day waiting list at a $100-just-to-visit premium to get to you in the 95-degree heat come August. If your air conditioner is on its last legs, now is the time to shop for a new one, and shop carefully for the one that will cool the square footage of your home in the most energy-efficient, lowest cost manner possible.

After this crazy winter, we all deserve a fabulous summer in the sun! Spend a couple of minutes utilizing these easy strategies, and you’ll not only save your skin, but your hard-earned cash as well.

Frugal On!!

Challenge Update: Day 4 total: $9.01, Total for Month: $37.71! Tuesday, Jan 4 2011 

Amelia’s Grocery Outlet Link!
Hello all! Lordy, today was crazed, but in a good way. I’m so ready to wimp out on the couch.

Menu took a fab turn, as I was dying for some good seafood. AND best of all, I still stayed well within limits, almost got it under $9!. It’s all good!

Here’s the Menu / Cost Breakdown for the day:

Morning coffee: 0.25 (someone emailed me yesterday recommending that I cut out the coffee to save money. How adorable. And so not happening.)

Kids’ breakfast – 0.0 last of the leftover French toast. Super easy, kids loved it.

Adult breakfast – .56 for 4 HB eggs (FYI, eggs are currently at $2.56 for an 18-pack carton). I know a HB egg b’fast sounds like something straight out of the Yawnsville Café, but I have to tell you, if I skip the protein in the morning, it’s my brains that are over easy by lunch. HB eggs are fabulously easy, you can make a mongo batch at the beginning of the week and they’re super easy for meals, salads, snacks. So, there ya go.

Lunch/Snack: $2.70 – Katie had her lunch at school, today it was a tangerine juice box (.15), cheesy crackers for snack (.10), cheese sandwich for lunch (.30), and two all natural, no preservatives added cookies (.15). Robbie had leftover chicken corn soup for lunch ($0), I had a look at the bathroom scale and decided on a cup of coffee to tide me over until dinner (Honest to God, what the #*@* was I thinking over Christmas vacation?!). Hubby brown-bagged it with two huge apples (.70), and some easily reheated chicken corn soup from Sunday night ($0.0). When the kids got the munchies in the afternoon, they snacked on huge sliced apples (1.30).

Dinner: $5.15 – I’m aiming to do a lot of seafood this month. It’s a great way to get me back into post-holiday eating mode, it’s fabulously easy to prepare, incredibly healthy (when cooked correctly), and when I buy it at Amelia’s I can easily get it for a price that will keep it in line with this month’s $300 goal. Tonight, the adults are enjoying Santa Fe Salmon ($1.99/pound) with corn & bean relish, and a side of mushroom risotto ($1.20), along with a small side salad ($0.50). The kids aren’t huge into salmon yet (they’re 6 & 3, after all), so they get hotdogs instead (.45) and a side of corn (.50) (Last of the cake for dessert! ($0.50).

Best of all – SNACK TIME! After the kids go to bed, I popped ¼ cup of popcorn into about six cups and added a ¼ stick of butter (melted, obviously) for a GREAT big bowl at only .35! FAB! Woo HOOOOO! Come to MOMMA, and somebody hand me the TiVo remote.

Day four is complete, I got my evening crunchy snack, and we’re still well within budget limits. I’ve also received no fewer than 22 different recipes for casseroles, soups, stews and pasta dishes in the last three days, all with ingredients purchased at Amelia’s, that will feed a family for under $5, and some even under $2! You guys are fantastic! Keep the great menu ideas coming! Frugal On!

Day 3 total: $9.01. Total for the month: $37.71!

Brilliant Frugal Living’s “Frugalista Diet” – Menu for Day 24! (Cost of food for today: $0.70!) Thursday, Jun 24 2010 

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Hey everybody – one more day until the weekend! Great news, but also the type of thing to inspire me to SERIOUSLY get myself in gear, as fabulous family will be here in 24 hours. Also, doesn’t look like I’m getting the car back today (tonight, perhaps), so even better circumstances to keep me at home prepping for weekend guests AND connecting with blogging buddies & facebook friends on all topics large & small. For instance, keep the great ideas about a July Challenge coming at me, I am loving them all!

Menu for Today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – Let’s hit the corned beef hash again. Super easy to microwave, and yes, a bit of a sodium hit, but we’ll just have half the can & save the leftovers as a great “zero-cost” meal in a day or so.
Cost = .05

Daytime Snack – Watermelon flavored jello with a half can of fruit
Cost = .13

Dinner – Leftover rice & beans from last night – SO good. Really hit the spot & super filling. Loved it.
Cost = .00

Nighttime (blogging) snack – Getting a zero-cost meal for dinner can only mean one thing – BIG chocolate bar for blogging tonight! WOO HOO! Forget that dinky Dagoba bar…tonight, I’m hitting the Scarffen Berger, baby.
Cost = .25

Total cost of food for today: $0.70. Good stuff!

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions. Have a fantastic Thursday, everybody!

Frugalista Diet Update! Day 23 Total: $0.73, Total for June: $15.48! Wednesday, Jun 23 2010 

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Hey all! Hope you had a fantastic day. Here, got loads of things planned & completed to get ready for Mom In Law’s weekend visit. Gorgeous day too, took a terrific walk with the kids & connected with incredibly funny & insightful bloggers, reporters & facebook buddies, AND I think I’m getting my car back a day early, it could be done as early as tomorrow evening. Life is good! WOOT WOOT!

Here’s how I did for today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – Tuna & corn. Yup, and it worked really, really well. If I was into any kind of cooking at lunch, the textures looked as tho they could work themselves nicely into some kind of chowder. Am I crazy?
Cost = .10

Daytime Snack – Cherry jello (no fruit)
Cost = .10

Dinner – Absolutely fantastic dish of rice & beans. I boiled 2 oz of rice, added with a can of pinto beans, some oregano, basil, S&P, a touch of garlic, a tsp of olive oil & the smallest, smallest splash of hot sauce. FANTASTIC!
Cost = .15

Nighttime (blogging) snack – Dagoba bar. FAB.
Cost = .15

Total cost of food for today: $0.73.

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions. Halfway thru the week, folks. Hang in there, Friday’s right around the corner!

Brilliant Frugal Living’s “Frugalista Diet”! Entire Menu for today costs $0.73! Wednesday, Jun 23 2010 

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Good morning all! Hope your week is going great. Here on this happy, money-saving Hump Day, 7 days left on our Frugalista Challenge, I’m prepping for my Mom-In-Law to come for the weekend. Hoping the weather will cooperate. Also just found a FABULOUS (outdoor) area rug Monday afternoon that pairs perfectly with the wicker furniture on the front porch. Got it as I drove by the tail end of a garage sale when the previous owners stacked it, and bunch of furniture, books & housewares on the back of a flatbed with a big “FREE” sign on it. You can imagine the bedlam. Only downside, it was covered with enough dirt to have me think some sort of desert military training took place on it. Dragged it home, got it to the porch, and an hour with the vacuum revealed a gorgeous rug – WOO HOO! If I get the car back by Friday afternoon, I’ve got to get some hanging plants for the porch too. Prices are next to nothing on those now!

Menu for today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – Tuna. Love it. No spinach tho, as I’d rather be dragged by a truck. Going with a side of corn. Tuna and corn? Why not.
Cost = .10

Daytime Snack – Cherry jello (no fruit)
Cost = .10

Dinner – Trying some rice & beans! I’ve been dying to try it, so many bloggers recommended it as a great, inexpensive, healthy meal, and I’m FINALLY getting my act together and doing it. It’s incredible, when you get a 16 oz bag of organic brown rice for .40 (B&B Discount Grocery, of course), it’s amazing how a single serving costs next to nothing. Trying 2 oz of that, along with a can of beans, some spices, a touch of garlic, maybe a drizzle of olive oil.
Cost = .15 (.05 for rice, .05 for beans, and I’m calling the oil & spices at .05 – I get them all for next to nothing at the discount grocery)

Nighttime (blogging) snack – Definitely going with the smaller Dagoba bar tonight, costs are running a bit high.
Cost = .15

Total cost of food for today: $0.73.

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions. Have a fantastic Hump Day, everybody!

Frugalista Diet Update! Day 22 Food Total: $0.73, Total amount spent on food for June: $14.75 Tuesday, Jun 22 2010 

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Hey guys! Tuesday is DONE. Just had some mongo huge severe thunderstorms come thru, no damage tho, as well as a tornado warning, but thankfully no twister. Also, stayed on plan today, high on the fact that I’m down 2.5 pounds for the month. Life is GREAT. Just packed all of the remaining cans into ONE box, so you KNOW we’re seriously counting down in this last 8 days of The Frugalista Challenge. Amazing.

Menu for today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – Chef Boyardee Lasagna.
Cost = .05

Daytime Snack – Lime jello with half-can of pineapple.
Cost = .10

Dinner – 2 oz whole wheat rotini & 1/5 can of sauce.
Cost = .10

Nighttime (blogging) snack – I seriously INTENDED to go with the smaller Dagoba bar, honestly, I did. However, I’m so happy to be down 2.5 pounds in three weeks, that I’m celebrating with the larger Scharffen Berger bar. Welcome to my mind.
Cost = .25

Total cost of food for today: $0.73.

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions. As we race towards July, and my desire for another fun Challenge refuses to abate, I’m leaning seriously towards a Challenge in which I spend LESS for utilities this July than I spent last July, despite a 30% rate increase from PP&L…hmmmm, could be fun!

Have a great evening, everybody! K

Brilliant Frugal Living’s “Frugalista Diet” – Menu for Day 22! Tuesday, Jun 22 2010 

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Good morning all! Hope your week is going great.
Okay, we’re on Day 22, and I’ve been on the Frugalista Diet for 3 weeks. Had my weigh in just now, and remarkably (or not, considering the stomach bug from a couple of days ago), I’m down another pound! WOO HOO!
I mentioned a while back the psychology involved with looking at four boxes of food, and thinking to yourself “that’s basically IT for a month…”. It really does play with your mind a bit, a fantastic appetite suppressant. Honestly, considering that the goal of this eating plan was strictly to be keeping costs down, (that and the fact that my usual eating plan involves a lot more fresh fruit and a lot LESS carbs), I’m frankly a bit amazed that this plan is resulting in weight loss as well.

Bottom line, we’re on track financially, in the last week of the challenge, and we’re down 2.5 pounds. Life is GREAT.

Menu for today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – Chef Boyardee Lasagna.
Cost = .05

Daytime Snack – Lime jello with half-can of pineapple.
Cost = .10

Dinner – Pasta twice in one day? Why not? Lots of good tomato products, anyway. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it. 2 oz whole wheat rotini & 1/5 can of sauce
Cost = .10

Nighttime (blogging) snack – Let’s go with the smaller Dagoba bar, I really want to keep costs down as much as possible. Fruit inventory is next to NUTHIN’.
Cost = .15

Total cost of food for today: $0.63. Another day coming to $0.63. Maybe I should play that number in the lotto?

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions. Also, we’re getting to the end of June, and I’m working on plans for a July Frugalista Challenge as well – send any and all ideas! My main idea right now involves cutting utility costs to the BONE for a low July electric bill. Your thoughts?

Have a great Tuesday, everybody! K

Frugalista Diet Update! Day 21 total: $0.63, Total for June: $14.02! Monday, Jun 21 2010 

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Hey guys! You made it, Monday’s practically done. Proud of ya. Hope you all had a great one.

Okay, weigh in tomorrow…kept me seriously on track for today. Keep your fingers crossed for the morning’s numbers!

Menu for today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – Chef Boyardee Ravioli
Cost = .05

Daytime Snack – Watermelon jello with half a can of pineapple. Damn good.
Cost = .10

Dinner – a can of tuna and some canned spinach. FYI, that canned spinach is truly, ridiculously gross. I can imagine it being really good chopped up, drained, mixed with some spices & rolled into some phyllo dough, but straight out of the can, no good. Bleah.
Cost = .10

Nighttime (blogging) snack – Chocolate, as I type. All thoughts of over-the-top-gross spinach out of my mind…
Cost = .15

Total cost of food for today: $0.63. I must have counted wrong this morning, somehow I came up with $0.66! Whatever. Again, loving when the numbers stay below $0.70/day, so this works.

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions. Have a great night, everybody! K

Brilliant Frugal Living’s “Frugalista Diet” – Menu for Day 21 Monday, Jun 21 2010 

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Hey everybody! Yup, it’s a Monday, thankfully it should pass within a day or so. Also, had a fantastic day yesterday at my Sister (and Brother-in-Law’s) house celebrating Father’s Day, so we still have the nice after-effects of that to carry us thru. Next thing to consider – it’s not wintertime. The only thing worse than waking up to a Monday in June is waking up to a Monday in January.

Special note on my end – I’m about to lose the car. It has to go into the shop for an air conditioning thingy that went wacko last week. Losing the air conditioning in June is not cool. Literally. To top off losing the car, I’ve got another weigh in day tomorrow – should be interesting to see how last week’s quickie stomach bug might impact it. Stay tuned.

Menu for today!

Breakfast – coffee, two hard boiled eggs
Cost = .23

Lunch – I’m being irresistibly pulled back into the arms of my personal Chef, Mr. Boyardee. Ravioli, anyone?
Cost = .0

Daytime Snack – Watermelon jello with half a can of pineapple. Can’t say it enough, I have become such the jello addict.
Cost = .10

Dinner – Would love to do another salad, but the cost would push me way over my spending comfort zone. Going instead with a can of tuna and some canned spinach. Anybody out there every have canned spinach before? What am I in for here? Is it grotesque? Surprisingly palatable? I guess they wouldn’t have it on the grocery store shelves if there wasn’t a market for it. If I eat it, and start sprouting Popeye muscles, I’ll of course report it immediately.

Nighttime (blogging) snack – Chocolate, of course! If the dinnertime spinach is beyond gross, I at least can blog tonight with a bar of Organic Dagoba to carry me thru.
Cost = .15

Total cost of food for today: $0.66. Again, loving when the numbers stay below $0.70/day, so this works.

Keep sending in your thoughts, ideas & suggestions, especially as they pertain to canned spinach. Hang in there, only another 17 hours before Monday is thru! K

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