Featured Participant on Frugal Home Friday

Frugal HOME Friday

Link up your frugal tips for home and homestead,

recipes, DIY or crafts, and share ideas to inspire others

Featured Participant:

A Beginner’s Guide to Saving Money – Part 1 – Saving money on clothes

Frugal Friday link-up Featured Participant

 

Please share your own Frugal Home and Homestead posts

You could be our next featured blogger:

Each week we will be choosing a new blogger participant to feature in our Friday Link Up.  Share your posts – old or new – that involve anything HOMEkeeping, HOMEschooling, HOMEsteading, HOMEindustry!

By linking up – you agree to allow us to use your photo and link to your blog if you are chosen as our Featured Participant. We share links on FB, Twitter, G+, and Pinterest as well to let the world know about your great ideas. Thank you for participating and sharing.

There are so many wonderfully creative bloggers out there who have a wealth of knowledge to share on topics for the home and homestead. If you run a home business, enjoy gardening, raising bees or chickens, love cooking, are good at organizing or any other topic that will be valuable to our readers – please link up your pictures and share the knowledge to inspire others!

If you don’t blog – you can link up photo’s from an Instagram account to share ideas as well or leave us a comment with your thoughts!

linking up: Fabulously FrugalOrganized 31,Fabulously Frugal Thurs,Sunday Showcase Works 4 Me

 

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Big Giveaway: from Favado to encourage Family Dinners

*affiliate links present 
We take family dinners seriously, here at Molly Green. The family time,  the planning, and preparing of family meal time is not always easy to come by these days for busy families.

An attractive dinner setting

Does dinner time at your house leave you feeling frustrated? Is it too difficult to menu plan and serve a meal that everyone will enjoy while sticking to a budget. Don’t be discouraged because you are not alone.
Guest post from Inspired Bloggers Network – with Giveaway hosted, in part, by Molly Green!
Over the next two weeks, the Inspired Bloggers Network is teaming together with Favado and $5 Dinners to equip you with the tips and inspiration you need to make dinner time with the family a less stressful ordeal. You can follow all of our updates in social media with the hashtag #inspiredfamilydinners, but first, we want you to get to know our sponsors with an awesome giveaway!

Enter to win an All-Clad Cookware set and $5 Dinners Cookbook Gift Basket for Inspired Family Dinners with Favado

 
Enter to win an All-Clad Cookware Set (valued at $800) from Favado and a Cookbook Gift Basket from $5 Dinners between now and February 23rd at 11:59 PM CST.

About Favado

Favado is a mobile savings app that helps shoppers stop overspending on groceries by notifying them when their favorite items are on sale.
With Favado, users can…
  • Compare prices across multiple local grocery and drugstores.
  • Search for best prices on individual ingredients.
  • Personalize their favorite products and brands to quickly see best deals for those items each week.
  • Quickly find coupons for the products that are already on sale for “double the discount.”
  • Build a shopping list in the app, so you don’t forget anything that’s on sale!
Favado has money saving experts who hand select sales and coupons every week — in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide — to enable discovery of the best deals for savings up to 70% on everyday items.

So, sign up for Favado and start saving.

Then, follow Favado everywhere: Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Win $1,000 with #FavadoLove


About $5 Dinners

Erin Chase has helped millions of families across the countries enjoy delicious and nutritious family dinners, for less! She’s put together a gift basket with a copy of each of her cookbooks:
The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook , her The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook, and her The $5 Dinner Mom One-Dish Dinners Cookbook -along with some fabulous cooking utensils!

You can find more of her great recipes at 5DollarDinners.com.

Enter to win

To enter for a chance to with the All-Clad Cookware Set (valued at $800) from Favado and a Cookbook Gift Basket from $5 Dinners, you must choose from any (or all) of the choices in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway will close on February 23rd at 11:59 PM CST. For official rules, please view below.

Follow link below to enter Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Facebook and Pinterest are in no way connected or responsible for this giveaway and are held blameless of all legal responsibilities. Winning entry will be selected through Rafflecopter using Random.org and will be notified by email on February 24, 2014. If the winner has not responded within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. Good luck.

Guest Post — The Best Mobile Phones to Buy on a Budget

Mobile phone technology has taken leaps and bounds toward the future in the past couple of years. Unfortunately, so have their prices. With the mobile phone market littered with high cost, feature rich smartphones, those who are budget conscious may be lost as to which phone offers the best bang for their buck. If you are shopping for a new mobile phone and trying to avoid the high priced options, consider the following budget minded smartphones that offer a variety of features for a fraction of the price of the latest trending mobile.

huawei-ascend-g330-new

Huawei Ascend G330

Lately Huawei has gained popularity in the budget Android market, offering a variety of low cost models that offer higher functionality than you would expect for $100. The phone boasts a 4 inch touchscreen display, dual-core processor, and a decent battery life. The phone comes standard with 4GB of internal storage, but accepts MicroSD cards up to 32GB.

Huawei included a front facing and rear facing camera for video chatting. The video capture is limited to 864X480 pixels, however the camera app does have a few fun features to play with and the main camera snaps pictures at 5MP, so you can get some decent photos.

Samsung Solstice II

With the current battle between the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone, many smart shoppers overlook Samsung’s other great devices. The Samsung Solstice II is a budget friendly alternative to their higher priced models. With a 3 inch touchscreen display, a 2MP camera, and 256MB of internal memory, this device can handle most of your smartphone tasks. If you require more space, it is expandable to 16GB of space.

The Solstice runs on the Samsung Dolfin browser, so if you are looking for an Android phone with app capabilities, you may want to keep looking. The Solstice offers various tools to increase productivity, however downloading and installing apps is not an option. With basic mobile functionality, picture taking, and at around $80, the Solstice is intended to offer value in exchange for high tech.

Sony Xperia U

Sony Xperia U

If you are looking for style without the price, the Sony Xperia U offers just that. With a price ranging from $80-$150, this budget minded Android phone will get you noticed for both frugality and taste.

Internally the Xperia offers 4GB of space with no expansion slot. This is good for everyday use, however if you are into movies and music you may find you need more. The front facing camera allows you to video chat, while the rear facing 5MP lens offers the ability to take great photos. If you are looking for a 3.5inch display with a speedy 1 GHz processor, the Xperia may just offer the best price for your needs.

Nokia Lumina 620

For the Windows lovers out there, Nokia has dominated the market of Windows phones with their Lumina series. The Lumina 620 is a low cost Windows phone that offers a lot of function for not a lot of money. If you are looking for an all-around feature rich phone, this may be the option for you.

Compared to other phones in the price range, the Lumina’s 3.8 inch screen is a bit smaller than others. But what it lacks in screen size it makes up for in internal memory. At 8GB of internal storage and the capability to handle a 64GB microSD card, there is plenty of storage for music, videos and pictures.

The front facing 0.3 MP camera allows for video chat, however the rear 5MP camera lets you capture pictures and video of decent quality. Overall for the money, the Lumina is definitely priced to sell to those looking for a great phone at a great price.

htc desire c

HTC Desire C

To round out the list, you have to include the HTC Desire C. The Desire C is claimed to be the last cheap mobile to come from HTC. With a price tag of around $200, the Desire C offers Android users the functionality they have come to love. The 4GB internal storage is expandable with the microSD slot hidden under the back cover.

The 3.5 inch screen lets users line up the 5MP camera to take the best shot they can. The design of the Desire C is what many customers immediately notice. With a plastic rubber case, the phone is designed to stay in your hand with less chance of slipping out.

Even in today’s high priced mobile market there are a variety of low cost solutions that allow budget minded consumers to have the features they want while saving money. Before choosing your next phone, determine the features you want and the budget you can afford, then take a look at low cost smartphones.

Andrea Witherspoon is a tech writer for www.businessmobiles.co.uk. Follow her at @AndreaWTweets to keep up to date on the latest mobile devices.

Guest Post — Planning A Move?

Planning A Move- 5 Tips To Make This Move Stress Free

5 Tips To Make This Move Stress Free

Moving can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. There are a few strategies, however, that can make transitioning to a new home as worry free as possible.

  1. Storage

Whether you are moving to a larger or smaller home, chances are you aren’t going to want to take everything with you. With this in mind, it isn’t a bad idea to rent a storage unit says the moving experts from Las Vegas, NV. Storage units make it easy to put things away that you would like to keep, but just don’t want in your new house or apartment. They are also inexpensive and spacious, allowing one to store any objects of any sizes for an affordable price.

  1. Boxes

One can not stress enough the importance of having plenty of boxes during your move. Strong cardboard boxes can be obtained from local retailers and supply companies. Simply call ahead and ask if they have any to spare: Chances are you can get them for free, as you are saving the store the cost of disposal.

For large, bulky items such as bedding and clothing, look for furniture boxes. These are large and sturdy, and one of them can likely hold much of your wardrobe or linens. Smaller items and valuables can be packaged in waterproof plastic tubs for safekeeping. The tubs can be reused as storage space in your new home.

  1. Label Everything

You have all your boxes, all of your unneeded items are stored away, and you are ready to start packing. Great; now grab a marker. Make sure that every box has a specific purpose: Don’t pack the fine china and silverware in the same box as your office supplies. Label each box with its final destination, such as “kitchen”, “den”, or “living room”. Whether you are using movers or your own elbow grease, this step will save a ton of hassle in the long run.

In addition to these destination labels, make sure you mark the boxes that contain fragile or valuable items. It’s easy to set a box down a little too hard if you aren’t thinking about it, and this will help you remain cautious when you need to be.

Moving into a new home can be a lot of work and stress, but if you are proactive, keep all of your items carefully labeled, and pack carefully, you can make your move as pain free as possible.

Brionna Kennedy guest posterBrionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn’t writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.

 

Guest Post — DIY Ribbon Windsock

I love color, and I love the flow of things in the wind, and I love cute ribbon, so I combined all of them into a Ribbon Windsock! You can use any color you like and any size hoop you like to get your desired effect. I personally just dug out leftover ribbons from the hair bows I made the girls.
 
To start with you need whatever ribbon you selected (it takes quite a bit) and an embroidery hoopYou really only need the inside of the hoop or something else that is round and stiff enough to hold a good amount of ribbon.
The actual process to making these is very simple. Cut your ribbon in pieces that are double the length you want your finished product. I wanted mine to be varied, so I just randomly cut my pieces. Then take a piece and fold in half. Slip the fold under your hoop and then pull the ends through the folded area. Tighten. Some ribbons don’t tighten as well as others, so if you are wanting this to hold up you might want to use a little hot glue on the inside of the fold. Continue around the hoop. You can make stripes or a single color or an eclectic combination like I did.

Once your hoop is covered you can securely tie a piece of ribbon to either side of the hoop to use to hang it. Then hang your ribbon windsock wherever you need some extra color!

 

So a more appropriate name for this project might be a ribbon mobile or a ribbon chandelier, but it does blow in the wind like a windsock! The problem I found with it is that it is made of ribbon which doesn’t hold up particularly well to various weather conditions. You could use ribbon intended to be left out or you could just hang it inside. In fact it is so simple that you could easily make one to match party decor and then take it apart to re-use the components!

A classic strong-willed child, Ashley, fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian in 2005; only to realize a new dream had formed, having a family with her husband (another strong-willed child). After much heartache, they were blessed with two daughters and a son, who are all proving to be just as spirited as their parents! Though she is still working part-time, she fills her days off with fun activities and lots of learning with her three kids. And this is where the blog comes in. Life with Moore Babies is where she documents the activities they do and the places they go in hopes that someone might be inspired to do some “fun learning” with their kids.You can find Ashley on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google +.

Guest Post — Finding Contentment in Living Simply

finding contentment photo for blogThanks to the “new economy”, more of us than ever are having to live simply. Many families are doing things they never thought they’d do – cutting coupons, getting rid of cable television, trading down cars or houses, and even living with relatives. Many of us are used to nicer lifestyles where we could afford a few indulgences or luxuries, so this step down might be a bit of a culture shock. The question is: How can we become content with a simple life?

We’re going through some of these same changes in our own family and we’ve had our own ups and downs with accepting our new economic reality, so I wanted to share some of the tips we’ve found to be helpful as we adjust to a simpler way of living.

Stay busy.

Personally, I do great at following our budget when I’m busy. When I’m bored, I tend to seek out activities that cost money such as shopping or eating out regularly. The more engaged I am with our family, though, the more content I am with a simple family dinner or an afternoon at the park.

Re-establish what’s important.

Refocusing on the things that are most important to us is a big help when we’re trying to cultivate contentment. For our family, these priorities are our worship, our time as a family, and our commitment to homeschooling. When we weigh up any leisure activities or luxuries against these three priorities, it’s pretty easy to know which to choose.

Save, don’t skimp.

This last tip may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but I think there’s a fine line to walk here. Our goal is to save money, not to skimp on necessities or occasional wants. For example, we have four children, so we have to spend a considerable amount of money on groceries. At first, I tried to pare our grocery budget down to the absolute minimum in an attempt to save as much money as possible. Guess what happened? We ended up eating out more than ever because everybody was hungry. Now I know that it’s more important to save money by buying less expensive items than to skimp on the amount of food we actually need to eat.

Choose your associates wisely.

Even if you’re sticking to the above three tips faithfully, they may not be enough to help you cope with another kind of temptation: the temptation to become jealous of the life others are living. If you’re spending time with friends and family members who regularly spend money on activities you can’t afford, it can be difficult not to feel envious of their supposed “freedom.” We try to seek out friends who are living simply as well so that we aren’t invited to do things that are outside of our budget. We also explain our financial goals to others if we know we can’t afford an activity – without feeling embarrassed or frustrated. Rather than dwelling on what others are doing, we try to search out things that we know we can do together, which counteracts any of the resentment we could feel.

selena robinson picSelena is a former tax accountant-turned-homeschooling mom of four. She and her husband, Jay, have committed themselves to homeschooling their children in an effort to give them the very best education possible and to strengthen their bond as a family. Selena shares her family’s homeschooling adventures every weekday at Look! We’re Learning! Readers can keep up with the family by subscribing via email or by following Look! We’re Learning! on PinterestFacebookTwitter, or Google+.

 

Looking for a great recipe?

If you have been following along on through Facebook and Twitter today, we have been discussing my recent attempt making scalloped potatoes.  I still have one full pan of potatoes leftover!!!  I was wondering what to do with them.

Then, I found this wonderful soup recipe from Southern Test Kitchen: HAM AND SCALLOPED POTATOES SOUP
What do you do with your leftover ham or potatoes? Let me  know if you try this recipe…it looks delicious!

Love ya,
Midge :)

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Molly Green Magazine- Molly’s 3 R’s: Rested, Relaxed, and Ready to Celebrate!

“R” You Rested, Relaxed, and Ready for the Holidays?

Molly and friends provide better ways to head into Christmas and New Year’s!

$4.95

Now that Thanksgiving is checked off your list, the month of December—with New Year’s on its tail—will come and go more smoothly and be fully enjoyed when you follow the advice of all the contributors of Molly’s December magazine.

Take time to read it and you’ll have more time to rest by turning time-wasters into time-savers; you’ll discover that it’s possible to relax amid the hustle and bustle while pampering yourself; and you’ll be ready for the holidays with an uncluttered home, printables for planning, and homemade gifts and crafts for giving and decorating.  Molly’s three “R” words may not be the same as the ones that we use when we teach our children (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic) but they are important just the same—especially to busy moms. Enjoy opening the Christmas presents Molly has hidden inside our last issue of the year . . .

 

  • Find out when to wear brown shoes and which day you should display a poinsettia with Alayna Cann calendar notes. Oh, and there’s some important safety items to check on this month.
  • Get ready for the compliments when you bake a pie with perfect crust and why pie is for heroes – complements of Patricia Hunter.
  • Become a thrifty thinker with Rhonda Barfield – there’s more than one way to save time and money.
  • Meet a miracle meal maker through Inger Koppenhaver as she introduces you to the author of a new cookbook—recipe included. Mom will be able to plan and go!
  • Finding a place to put everything will be easier than it seems once you’ve read Rhonda Barfield’s creative organizational tips you haven’t thought of.
  • Meaningful gifts can be produced from learning how to make and use an affordable knitting loom—complete with detailed instructions and photos by Sharon White.
  • Molly shows us how coupon books make giving better than receiving.
  • With Molly’s help, kids can turn simple crafts into fun holiday decorations including some that add color and even great aroma.
  • Capture those holiday memories for years to come with safe-keeping tips and recommendations from Heidi Nail.
  • Take baby steps toward better health in the coming year with Rhonda Barfield’s ideas on healthy eating and exercise—you can even start now!
  • Molly shares a treasure chest of free printables that will make life easier.
  • Did you know that gingerbread can affect your budget? Molly and Midge tell you how.
  • Use Sarah Dugger’s relaxation techniques to change one thing this month and pamper yourself!
  • Enjoy Molly’s Christmas quotes and share them on your Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest pages.

For our readers’ convenience, a black & white printer-friendly version of the entire Molly Green Magazine is included at the end of each issue, confirming Molly’s commitment to promoting a frugal lifestyle. 

See why homemakers love Molly Green Magazine—see what’s inside!

 

Molly makes it fun and easier to be frugal! Think about it—with so much to learn and save, if you apply just one money-saving idea, you’ll recoup the cost of this E-Book right away!

Project Manager: Dena Wood, Becky Gustafson

Contributing Writers: Alayna Can, Patricia Hunter, Becky Gustafson, Sarah Dugger, Dena Wood, Inger Koppenhaver, Sharon White, Rhonda Barfield

Publication: 2012

Pages: 78

File Size: 13 MB

Need to economize? Subscribe to a Molly Membership!
For only $3.85 a month (cancel any time!) you receive not only the monthly Molly Green Magazine, but also much more!
Purchase NOW!
Every month, Molly has a wealth of information and support to share in one easy-to-read, handy resource! Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!
You’ll glean some of the best inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.
For just $4.95, download this Molly Green Magazine now!
Or become a monthly Molly Member and subscribe for only $3.85 per month!

Tips For Keeping Your Smartphone Battery Alive During Hurricane Sandy and the Aftermath of Monster Storms


In the wake of the storms on the East Coast, we’d like to help our readers with tips on how to keep your smartphones running. We hope everyone is well and we bid a quick ” go away” farewell to Hurricane Sandy and the predicted Monster Storms.

Smartphone Reception & Battery Life

As cell phone operators prepare for Hurricane Sandy and the storms to follow, Edmunds.com’s Director of Mobile Web Products, Mike Woods, offers these three ways your smartphone may be affected and tips to save your battery life for when you need it most:
  1. Networks are up, but may degrade. Widespread power outages will not post a threat to cell phone networks because they use backup power systems ranging from batteries to gas-powered generators.  After several hours, however, these backup systems may degrade and eventually fail after several days without main power, especially if it is difficult to get people to service them and refill fuel to keep the generators running.  In addition, wind, flying debris or falling trees could knock down or damage some of the towers, reducing coverage and capacity.
  2. Highly populated areas may overwhelm the system. In highly populated areas such as New York, Northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the combination of reduced network capacity and high traffic often overwhelms the remaining network and it may be difficult to actually place a call or connect to a Web site.
  3. Smartphone batteries will lose power. The most fragile part of the system would most likely be people’s cell phones.  Many smartphone batteries barely last a day under normal usage. Turn off all automatic data services, push notifications, and e-mail in order to save the battery for the times that you specifically need to use the device.  Putting an iPhone into “airplane mode” is an easy way to save on battery use.
More Tips To Keep Smartphones Charged
  • The #1 simple way to keep your smartphone charged is turn it off and use it only when you have to. Keep usage down to a bare minimum during outages.
  • Turn the display brightness down much as you can while still being able to make things out. The dimmer the better. Also turn the volume down
  • Don’t use a Bluetooth device, play music, games, video or radio over your phone. These are major power drainers.
  • If the power is out. The Wi-Fi isn’t going to connect. Turn the Wi-Fi button off.
  • Turn off all GPS location aps and devices on the phone.
  • Turn off push notifications, too. People will understand if they’re not getting immediate e-mail responses from you right now. This includes all social media: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • If you can switch your phone from 4G to 2G, do it. Go back to 2G. Staying on 3G, 4G or LTE drains a battery faster than 2G.
  • If you have power, as long as you have power, keep everything plugged in and charging: laptops, phones, etc. Work on them or with them while they are plugged in. Do not unplug them until or if the power goes out.
One Final Thought
Remember, once upon a time, people did live without electricity, phones, smartphones, internet, cable, etc. We don’t like it. It’s inconvenient. However, how often does this happen? If you need it, you want it to be there for you.
If you don’t have to use it, don’t.  Save your smartphone for emergencies only. Everyone knows what is going on and email, social networking, entertainment via the phone & web can wait.
Have a few games, candles, flashlights, lantern, books, magazines and other things to entertain and pass the time available. Hopefully, these storms will pass quickly and all will return back to 4G normal.
Be safe.

Frugal Shopping Strategies

Shoppers are always looking for ways to make the best decisions, find the best deals, and save as much money as possible. To help you cut down on costs when buying your groceries, take a look at some of these tips from our guest poster, Kate Sorensen.  Molly

3 Frugal Grocery Shopping Strategies–Pay Less, Enjoy More

1. Make Good Decisions When Buying Meat
Meat is one of the more expensive products commonly purchased at grocery stores, and also one of the least healthy. Oprah.com offers tips on how to reduce the money spent on meat. Its first suggestion is to simply eat less meat, as it often can contain a lot of unhealthy saturated animal fat. Chef Sara Moulton recommends to “treat [meat] more like a flavoring and less like the center-of-the-plate item.” On the same token, Moulton proposes going vegetarian once a week, suggesting using tasty legumes as the base of the meal. When you do buy meats, she claims that the less-processed the meats, the better. “So, buy chicken thighs on the bone instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Skin, which is really fat, and bones contribute flavor and can be removed after you cook the chicken.”

2. Make Soup More Often
Soup is a delicious meal that is always affordable. Moulton advises to “base your soup on legumes and vegetables, and if you want a creamer soup, use an immersion blender to thicken it.” Often, the bits of other meals we throw away are not garbage at all; Shelby Gilje of the Seattle Times writes on her realization that she had been throwing away food she could have been using in soups. “I learned that serious cooks recommend saving meat bones and less-than-prime vegetables for soup stock. It’s nutritious and good for the budget, too.” Other commonly thrown away items she cites are turkey carcasses, salmon bones, and various limp vegetables. Gilje explains that you can throw your ingredients in a stock pot and let them simmer while you do other tasks, then store the soup in the freezer when it’s done. When you’re ready to eat it, all it takes is a reheating and an addition of herbs and other toppings.

3. Don’t Buy Certain Products Organic
Sure, eating organic foods in most cases is worth the extra cost as it protects you from dangerous pesticides, but there are certain products where conventional buying is just as safe. Brierley Wright from Eating Well, in her article Trying to save money? 15 foods you don’t need to buy organic, lists 15 fruits and vegetables least likely to contain pesticides. The list includes onions, avocado, watermelon, kiwi, and more. Purchasing these items conventionally runs a low risk of danger at a much cheaper price than organic purchases.

Shopping and cooking smart will go a long way in cutting down the cost of eating. Follow these tips and expect to save a lot of money grocery shopping; expand on them to fit your habits and save even more.

Kate Sorensen is a working mother of two small children who lives outside of Des Moines, Iowa. She has a background in marketing and public relations and enjoys sharing great deals and how to save money. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter under Coupon Cravings or at www.couponcravings.com.