Monday, August 17, 2009

Auto-matic Savings Tips

Take care of your car and you will also be taking care of your wallet! Here's a few tips to help you get the most of your money while you drive. Buying a car which gets good mileage is obvious if you're in the market to replace a vehicle, if not we can all do these:

  • Keep your car engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure. This investment can save you approx. $100 per year on gas!

  • Get regular oil changes.

  • Shop around for gas. Prices can vary a lot.

  • Use the lowest octane gas recommended by your car manufacturer.

  • Avoid fast starts and stops while driving, you will have long term savings of fuel and maintenance costs.

  • Don't sit in your car for prolonged periods of time with the engine idling. (If you're waiting for someone who went in the store, turn of the engine)

  • Don't speed..... the cost of the ticket is not worth it!

Be sure to buckle up and drive safely!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Look what's new!

Have you noticed the new widget in my sidebar? It is really cool, you can do a search for content, check out the visitors map and see who the recent readers have been (you might even see your part of the world!) So what is it? It's Lijit, and you want to know what else is cool... it's FREE! You know I love to be smart and save, so this had to be for me. I saw a similar type of widget on someone else's blog and I checked them out but they want $9.95 per month! Yikes!

I found the link to on Blogger and decided to get it, it was super easy to set up my account and get my widget here. You also get blog stats and more! You have to check it out, and those guys at Lijit have a sense of humor. I loved all their funny little comments during the download process... I guarantee you won't have more fun getting any other widget!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Time Savers for Tweeters!

I have to confess that up until about 2 months ago I was quite blissfully ignorant of Twitter. I didn't "get it", you know -what is the purpose?

Then I took a look at it because I wanted to increase my business contacts, so I set up an account .. or two, then I showed my hubby how to set up an account and we began to see the possibilities. It's possible to make contact with people you would have never otherwise encountered in your life. Have to say though, it's not all good. Not everyone shares the same values which is quite evident by the variety of tweets. I recommend discernment!

Anyway, the reason for my talk about Twitter is for those of you who do use it for business, as I'm sure you know it's quite easy to spend too much time posting tweets and search relevant keywords. Before you know it, your day has flown by and you haven't accomplished the other things you needed to do. It is advantageous to post tweets at at various times throughout the day in order to reach more people and become familiar to your followers, but it's hard to schedule the time for this.

That's when I came across , you can set up a free account and link all your Twitter accounts to it. Then you can decide if you want to auto-follow those who follow you, it will check your status for you every 8 hours, auto-follow and send a direct message to your new followers for you. You can also write your tweets and schedule them to post at a time you set. I do this for a series of tips that I post on one of my Twitter accounts, it allows me to offer tips to my readers 4 or 5 times a day but I can write them all within a few minutes in the morning then I don't have to worry about forgetting to post them later.

TweetLater also offers a Professional subscription with more features, it looks good and you can get a free 7-day trial but then if you want to use it there's a monthly fee. I am still using the free one because I like to save! However, check it out and see what you think. There's a TweetLater banner in my sidebar!

Just be sure that if you use TweetLater, you still go to Twitter and read the tweets of those you are following otherwise you'll lose touch with them and then.....what's the point?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Coupon Quandry

To clip or not to clip? That is the question. Will the savings really be worth the sacrifice of time and effort? Can you really save, or is it all a conspiracy to get you in the store and squeeze the money out of your wallet by tempting you with elegant displays of merchandise??

Ah... there is hope... once again, you must formulate a plan and discipline yourself to stick to it. Here's a few tips to get you saving with coupons.
  1. Get organized: Get a coupon organizer and actually use it!

  2. Look for some good coupon websites, there are many to choose from.

  3. Make sure you are receiving coupon fliers, e-mails etc. from the stores you frequent.

  4. Only clip coupons for products you know you use. Don't be tempted with the new items if it's not in your meal plan.

  5. Take the coupons to the store! (I know this sounds pretty basic, but honestly, have you ever left them at home? Don't do much good there, do they?)

  6. Watch for items already discounted in the store, you can increase your savings.

  7. Add to your stash of coupons each week and purge expired coupons from your organizer.

  8. Share with others. If you have friends/family who like to use coupons, create a coupon exchange group, pool extra unused coupons and each person can choose ones they want.

  9. Be generous. Look for opportunities to give to others!

I have used a few coupon websites with mixed opinions, you will have to decide which ones are for you. I like I have visited in the past and still get e-mails from them regularly. I tried and it's quite an impressive site but it requires a subscription and I didn't find very many products I use so it wasn't worth it to me.

To be honest I do almost all of my grocery shopping between Safeway and Costco. I use their coupons and savings card and try to shop wisely. I love to save money and really don't like to pay full price for anything. However, I also try not to stress too much about missing out on a great deal.

So, if you love to clip... keep it up...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recommended Sites

It's so fun to see how many moms are out there in the internet community sharing their wealth of knowledge and wisdom with each other. I just recently got involved with a couple of "mom" groups which look great to me, so I thought some of you might be interested too. I don't receive any affiliate commission/benefits by telling you, I just wanted to share!

The Mom Pack, is a group where moms support moms in their businesses, to encourage each other and share ideas etc. You can see a logo in my sidebar which will link you to their website They have a yahoo group which you can request to participate in. I got a nice welcome when I joined to represent my own business.

MommySavers... I just stumbled upon this website and they have an amazing amount of ideas for saving and being frugal (puts my little blog to shame :( They have coupons, offers, blogs, forums and groups to participate in. I just became a member (it's free) and am looking forward to participating there too. Address is

I hope you enjoy checking these out to see if they might be for you.

Have a blessed day!

Smart Mom

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Need a break?

Can't believe it's been a week since my last post, you might think I've been slacking off, it's just that there's been so much else going on. Less than two weeks now until I start my kids back to school (homeschool). We have everything we need, I think, I'm just starting to get myself prepared now. I am anticipating a wonderful year...... summer has been a nice break and I wasn't really looking forward to getting back into school, but now that we're getting things organized we are all more excited about it.

I hope you got some great back to school deals, I can't believe I missed the 1 cent filler paper at Staples, I knew about it and planned to go in.... the week went faster than I did unfortunately. Oh well, good thing I still have 4 packs left from last year!

Anyway, if you are still on the lookout for savings ideas consider this... you like to go out with your hubby for a date but the cost of babysitters sometimes makes it hard to afford. Find a friend who also has kids and make a deal with her. You can alternate weeks where you watch her kids one evening for her and then the next week she takes care of your kids so that you can have an evening out. You'll save money and be a blessing to each other, the kids will probably love having a special evening once a week with friends too.

If you don't have a friend with kids of a similar age to yours, look for opportunities to get to know other moms, maybe at school, church or sports activities. Spend some time building relationships first so that you can be sure you can trust each other with your kids.

Well.... gotta go and get busy, have a wonderful day.

Smart Mom

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Be Budget-Wise!

In our quest to be smart and save, most of us have made changes in our grocery budget and have chosen to eat out less. No doubt that is a great way to save, every time we eat out and the meal costs $40 and up I think of how much food I could have bought at the grocery store for the same amount. However, sometimes we get in a rut, buying and making the same meals regularly, then boredom sets in and we become more likely to resort to eating out.

That's why we need fresh ideas for budget friendly meals that are easy to make and the whole family will be satisfied with. So today I'm pointing you to another favorite website of mine, Kraft Foods, where they have a section devoted to budget-wise meals. Take a look and see if you can pick up a few new ideas that will tempt your taste buds and be kind to your wallet. here's the link.
Have a wonderful day!
Smart Mom

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Woman of Proverbs

"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels." Proverbs 31:10

As a Christian, the Bible is the authority in my life. I love to start my day with the Lord, I am reading through the Old Testament right now. As I daily consider ideas and tips to share regarding being smart about saving, my thoughts turn to the example of a worthy woman as described in Proverbs 31:10-31. There is no doubt that she really has her act together and can put me to shame, she is the epitome of preparedness, considering how she can make the most of her resources for the benefit of her family. She appears perfect and many a Christian woman has felt discouraged that she could not live up to such a standard. I say, do not be overwhelmed, rather use her example to encourage and motivate yourself toward excellence. We cannot achieve perfection of our own strength, it is only of the Lord. As we receive the forgiveness of Jesus and He blesses us with the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can now walk and live by His power. Will we all of a sudden become like the Proverbs 31 woman? Probably not, but as we surrender daily to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will gently transform us into His likeness.

If you would like to know more about the gift of salvation offered by Jesus, please feel free to e-mail me at Also if you do not have a Bible and would like one, I can send you one for free, I have several available to give away, but I can't afford to mail too many at my expense, so I'll have to limit this to just a few at this time, again just e-mail me and let me know you would like one.

"Her children rise up and bless her;" Proverbs 31:28

I hope you have blessed day,
Smart Mom

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Oh bananas!

Do you ever have banana issues? You can buy them when they're still a little green and nobody wants to eat them because they're not ripe enough or you get them just perfect but before you know it they're turning black. Good thing we can save the day with banana bread, huh? I've been making the same banana bread recipe for years now, it's pretty good and super easy. Last week I had blueberries so I added them and we all loved it, so I thought I'd share my recipe with you today, so that you can get some savings out of your bananas. If we hadn't already eaten the bread I would take a picture to include here, oh well! You'll have to make your own to see how it looks.

By the way, if your bananas are ready to turn into bread but you don't have the time, peel them and put them in a freezer bag, freeze them until you're ready to bake, it works just fine.

Blueberry Banana Bread

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 cups mashed bananas (about 5 medium)

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans (9x5x3).

Beat all ingredients except blueberries in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 45 seconds, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in blueberries. Pour batter into pans.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until cake tester inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves and remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing.


Whole wheat banana bread: Substitute whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour.

Banana nut bread: Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts. Omit blueberries.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: Substitute chocolate chips for the blueberries.

Hope you enjoy these recipes. Have a blessed day!

Smart Mom