Monday, December 28, 2009

Softer feet

I caught a brief promotion by Dr. Oz and he recommended using Castor Oil on your feet to soften callous. I immediately went to the store and bought Castor Oil!!! Who keeps Castor Oil in their home?!

Before going to bed you are to rub some on the bottom of your feet, the callouses, then put on socks and go to bed. Let me tell works!!!

You can even put some on in the morning if you don socks like these that Jacque gave me for Christmas!!!! (Yes, I'm still in my p.j.'s it's only 7:02 a.m. )

Monday, November 30, 2009


As reported on my blog, we had a WONDERFUL family Thanksgiving. I am so appreciative and blessed with our family and the fact all of them (except David) live in the immediate area.

After dinner, while Dave was cleaning up the roaster pan, he asked Suzette about the turkey frame. She didn't want it and asked me if I'd like to take it home. She had prepared a 22 lb turkey. YOU BET I wanted to bring it home.


I want to share with you what I was able to do with that turkey frame and how many meals it has provided us with!!!

First thing I did was find a new soup, instead of the normal turkey & rice or noodle soup I usually make. Instead I made a vegetable soup. Here is the recipe:

Turkey Frame Soup

1 cooked turkey frame
3 qts, water
1 onion, quartered
2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can tomatoes, cut up
1 tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 c. frozen stew vegetables
1/2 c. dry noodles

In large pot, add first 4 ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Cool and discard bones and solids. Add next 6 ingredients and bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Then add dry noodles and simmer for 10 minutes. This soup is great for after the holidays.

This soup has been our lunch for 2 meals and we still have enough left for the 3rd lunch.

After the frame cooled I removed all the turkey from the bones. This gave me a goodly amount of turkey meat. Today for lunch we had turkey sandwiches and tonight I fixed creamed turkey on toast. I have enough creamed turkey left for supper tomorrow evening and still have 1/2 the turkey meat left to do something else with!!!

So to recap - out of the turkey frame that many would just throw away we have had:

3 meals of a rich, vegetable soup
1 meal of turkey sandwiches
2 meals of creamed turkey
& remaining turkey to still make 2 or 3 more meals out of.

FRUGAL is a life style and not just a word!!!!

It also can taste mighty good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Here is a list of 72 money saving tips on Electricity that our local television station ran. Some of them are redundant but a lot of good tips. With the cost of EVERYTHIG going up we need to be doing all we can to cut the costs.

1Turn Off Your Lights - A simple habit to remember and one which can save you a fortune. Turing off the lights when you leave a room and when you go out makes financial sense, and should appeal to your common sense too.

2 Stop Your Dishwasher Drying Your Dishes - Turn off the dish drying function of your dishwasher cycle and save money by letting your dishes dry naturally.

3 Using Table Lamps - Table lamps will light just the space you are using, making them a much more efficient option than turning on all the numerous and larger overhead lights.

4 Shut Off Mains Power - If you are willing to reprogram your alarm clocks and recorders when you return, turning off your mains power when you leave the house can save you a lot of cents when you add up the power used when appliances are on standby.

5 Only Use Lights When Needed - Get out of the habit of turning lights on whenever you enter a room. Often by simply opening a curtain you’ll have enough light for general tasks during the day.

6 Turn Lights Off When You Leave a Room - A habit which is going to save you money on your electricity bill when you do it regularly – plus there is no substance to the myth that turning lights off and on uses more power than leaving them running, so no matter how long you’re leaving a room for, turn off the light.

7 Free Cooling Passages - The air comes into your fridge and freezer through a vent on the inside so make sure you don’t place food or items in front of that vent, as the appliance will have to work harder.

8 Use Task Lighting - If you’re working on the computer or reading a book, use lighting which will light up just the space you need. This is especially important if you are at your desk where your computer, monitor, printer and office equipment is already powered up.

9 Hand Wash Single Dishes - If you have a full load then your dishwasher is more water and energy efficient, but if not, wash the few plates or mugs by hand.

10 Untangle Your Drying - If you separate your washing before putting it in the dryer the dryer will be much more efficient.

11 Indoor Clothes Drying Area - Setting aside a space inside to hang your clothes on an airer will make it easier for you to stop using the dryer and all that extra power.

12 Turn Off Your Home Office - When working from home you need a break from the office too, even if you just close the door to the spare room and forget about it for the weekend. Well, while you’re forgetting about work, unplug all of your office equipment on the weekend too.

13 Unplug Your Home Office - If your home office doesn’t run at the same pace as an inner-city business then you don’t need to be using the same amount of power either. Therefore, if you’re not printing anything unplug your printer, if you’re not scanning anything unplug your scanner, if you’re not using your audio equipment then unplug your speakers.

14 Turn Off and Turn In - Before you go to bed it will cost you nothing to double check that all lights, TVs and electrical equipment are turned off.

15 Use Your Front Door Not Your Garage Door - Your garage door opener uses power every time you come and go from your house. Therefore, if you’re stopping at home quickly leave your car in the driveway instead of opening and closing the garage door. Plus, if you have an entrance to your home from your garage, use it, instead of opening and closing the garage door for your car, and again for yourself.

16 Turn Off Your Computer - A simple money saving habit to get into and one which will save you a fortune in power you’re just wasting when your computer sits idle.

17 Not a Fan - If you are cooling off in front of a fan, make sure to turn it off when you leave the room. A fan is only going to make you feel cooler when you are in front of it and leaving it on when you’re not there is not going to lower the temperature of your home.

18 Turn Off Appliances When You Leave - If you’re not watching the TV remember to turn it off, same too for your computer and games console. You can turn them right back on when you return.

19 Transfer From Freezer to Fridge - If you plan out the next several meals you can transfer all that food from your freezer to your fridge at once. Opening your freezer less will mean it doesn’t have to work as hard as if the door was regularly being opened.

20 Christmas Lights Light Up the Night - Don’t leave your Christmas lights running during the day – no one can see them. Also make sure to wait until it’s actually dark to turn them on at night.

21 Turn Off Lights When TV is On - The TV provides its own light if you need to get up and move around the room and you certainly don’t need the light on to see the TV better – in fact it’s likely to look better in the dark.

22 Turn the TV Off When You’re Not Watching - If you’re going in and out of the room getting ready for work or cooking or cleaning, don’t leave the TV on when you’re not there to watch it.

23 Watch Less TV - Turning the TV off when you leave a room may also lead you to watch less TV all together which can save you even more. Plus, flat screen TVs especially, get very hot when on for long periods of time so get off the couch and couple saving electricity with exercise, gardening or board games.

24 Don’t Dehumidify When It’s Not Humid - You will only need a dehumidifier to be running when it’s humid so to avoid unnecessary electricity consumption, turn them off during late autumn, winter and early spring.

25 Unplug Battery Chargers - After your iPod, camera or other device has charged, unplug the device and the charger from the wall. Even when your device isn’t plugged into its charger, the charger is still consuming electricity.

26 Turn Off Appliances - Leave your fridge and freezer running of course, but make sure all other appliances are off when you leave the house – your microwave, stereo and coffee maker don’t need to stay on while you’re gone.

27 Take All Food From the Fridge at Once - If you’re cooking take all the ingredients from the fridge at the same time, or if you’re making a sandwich get all the toppings in one go as opening the fridge door less, means it doesn’t have to work as hard.

28 Clean Fridge Coils - Clean coils means your fridge will take less electricity to keep its contents cold.

29 Use Half As Much Light - Go through your house and unscrew every second light bulb and see whether you really do need so much light in your home.

30 Clean Dishwasher Drain - If your dishwasher is clean, then your dishes will be too and if you allow only clean water to come through the drain, there is less chance you need to rewash the dishes and use yet more power.

31 Keep Dryer Lint Trap Clean - If the moisture can easily leave the dryer through a clean lint trap then it will be more efficient and be able to run for less time.

32 Run Full Loads of Laundry - If you run full loads of laundry you can therefore put more items in the dryer at the end of each cycle, and run the dryer less often.

33 Soak Your Dishes - Soaking off the tough food stains on your dishes overnight means that the following day you can put your pre-soaked dishes in the dishwasher on an energy conservation cycle.

34 Check Your Dryer Before the End of the Cycle - Just because you’ve set the dryer for 90 minutes, it doesn’t mean the items won’t be dry before then. Checking before the end of the cycle allows you to remove the items which are dry and turn off the dryer, or let the items which need more time dry more quickly on their own.

35 Check Your Dryer Efficiency - As your dryer runs it may tangle large items such as sheets. However, if you check their progress regularly you will be able to untangle them so they can dry more quickly.

36 Don’t Completely Dry Clothes in the Dryer - Taking items from the dryer when they are still damp will help them last longer and it also means you can use your dryer less if you hang them up to dry naturally.

37 Can Your Dryer Sense Moisture? - If your dryer has a moisture sensor feature make sure this is activated as your dryer will shut off once it senses the clothes are dry.

38 Do Consecutive Loads of Laundry - When your dryer is already warmed up, keep washing to take advantage of the warmth, rather than making it heat up from cold again another time.

39 Don’t Use the Wrinkle Shield Feature of Your Dryer - If left unattended, the Wrinkle Shield will run the dryer at the end of the cycle for two minutes, every five minutes to stop the clothes wrinkling inside. If you’re out and unaware, your dryer will be running almost the entire time.

40 Turn Off Your Home Office - If you don’t want to scramble around with cables when you’re not using your office equipment, at least turn them off when they’re not in use.

41 Put Scanner on Sleep Mode - This means you don’t even have to remember to turn off your scanner after use, and you can still save electricity.

42 Put Printer on Sleep Mode - Using the sleep function means you don’t have to plug in and unplug your printer each time you stop using it, but you can still save on your power bill.

43 Put Fax Machine on Sleep Mode - Leaving your fax machine on full time in case a fax comes through is unnecessarily using power but putting it to sleep mode can combat this waste.

44 Turn Off Your Games Console - Anything like a Nintendo an X-Box or a PlayStation will keep using power even when you’re not playing so if you’ve finished or are taking a break, save and turn it off.

45 Unplug Your Games Console - Even if the console is off it is still using power so unplug your Nintendo, X-Box or PlayStation at the wall.

46 Unplug Your Phone Charger - Even if you’ve unplugged your phone from its charger, the charger is still sucking out power if it’s left plugged in.

47 Manual Gardening - Use manual shears to trim the bushes and hedges in your garden rather than powering up your electric trimmers.

48 Manual Can Opener - If you have an electric can opener, you probably still have a manual one so get it out of the drawer and stop using an electrical appliance when you have a manual one which works just as well and for free.

49 Have Bread Not Toast - Choosing to eat your bread fresh rather than toasted can save a lot of power over breakfast, especially if the whole family gets onboard with bread.

50 Rotate Cordless Phones in One Charger - Instead of having several cordless phone handsets charging at once, use just one charger base on a rotation basis.

51 Computer on Standby - This is a setting you can easily change and you can chose the time-out period before your computer powers down after inactivity

52 Air Dry Your Hair - Before you blast your hair with the hair dryer, consider whether you really need to – are you going out, are you going to catch a cold? Probably not, so where you have the opportunity to air dry you hair, do – try washing your hair at night and when you wake up in the morning it’s dry, for free.

53 Light Free Day - Get into the habit of using no lights for just one day a week. You can make it into a game or challenge for your family, or simply start a romantic candle-lit dinner tradition – all while saving on your power bill.

54 Don’t Dispose of Garbage in the Sink - If you have a garbage disposal system in your sink, think before you use it – do you really need to or can you just take your rubbish out to the bin?

55 Fill Up Your Dishwasher - Don’t run your dishwasher unless it’s full as you’re going to do more loads in the long run and waste all that power and water on a half load.

56 Unplug the Second Fridge - If you have a second fridge in the laundry or garage for beers and food and other drinks for parties, it doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time. If you can, even try to get rid of it all together.

57 Disconnect the Microwave Light - Your kitchen is likely to be quite well lit so when you (responsibly) unplug the light bulb in the microwave to save on electricity, you probably won’t even miss it.

58 Raise the Fridge Temperature - Don’t raise the temperature so far that your food spoils, but just check the setting now – is it on the coldest setting? Probably. Well it doesn’t need to be, turn the thermostat just a few notches warmer and your fridge won’t have to work so hard.

59 Raise the Freezer Temperature - The same electricity saving idea can be applied to your freezer too because unless your freezer is packed to the brim, it doesn’t need to be on the absolute coldest setting to keep things frozen.

60 Remove One Light Bulb in Your Garage Door Opener - While it’s convenient for your garage door opener to light up when you’ve just entered, most systems will have two light bulbs, so try it with just one and see whether there’s enough light.

61 Turn Off the Porch Light When You Get Home - If you’re the last one home at night, who are you leaving the porch light on for? This is a simple habit to get into when you get home.

62 Leave the Porch Light Off - Chances are your street is lit with street lights so do you really need to leave the porch light on at all? Moonlight, coupled with the street lights or even the light of your mobile phone should be enough to help you find the right key at night for free.

63 Use a Single Power Board - You can use one power board in the lounge, one in the office, one in the bedroom, one for the kids…once you connect all appliances in a room to one power board you can quickly and easily turn off everything at once so you can be sure you’re not wasting any standby power.

64 Separate Your Fridge and Stove - If your fridge is next to your stove, your fridge is going to have to work a lot harder to keep cool with all that extra hot air around – especially if you open the fridge while you’re cooking.

65 Paint Light - Choosing light paint colors can help minimize the need for more lighting as light paint naturally reflects light into dark spaces.

66 Give Your Electronics a Holiday - When you go away on holiday, give your electrical appliances a break too and unplug all the clock radios, DVD players, game consoles and TVs. If you’re leaving for an extended period even try and empty out the fridge so you can unplug that too.

67 Fill Up Your Fridge - If your fridge isn’t full, place some (full) water bottles inside as this leaves less space that your fridge has to work on to keep cool, and the cold items will keep the fridge itself cold too.

68 Collect Leaves Manually - Use a rake instead of a leaf blower and take the opportunity to get a little exercise as you save some electricity.

69 Clean Your Light Fixtures - If your light fixtures are clean, you will probably find you can get away with turning on fewer lights, as there is more light coming from the ones already on.

70 Keep the Pool Pump Clean - Make sure the strainer baskets in your swimming pool pump are free and clean, because when they start to get blocked, the pump has to work harder and use more electricity.

71 Keep Your Freezer Full - If your freezer is full, the frozen items will work to keep the inside of the freezer cold and allow the freezer to use less electricity.

72 Shovel Snow by Hand - Get out there and put your back into shoveling snow by hand, rather than using your snow blower. It might even help you work off those extra winter kilos you put on over the holidays.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More With Less

This morning, I needed to find a recipe for a bread to make to go along with a meal to take over to a young mom who has just had a baby. Time is short, as usual, so I needed something quick, but felt it was also important that it be a healthy bread. So I turned, as I have time and again for the past twenty-five years or so, to a beat-up little cookbook in my kitchen utility cart drawer. You know what I mean when I say it's pretty battered. It cost me so little but I have got more than I bargained for out of this small investment. In fact, it has lived up to its title in a way different than was the intent of its being named as it was. This cookbook may be in your kitchen, but if not, I strongly urge you to make sure that it is before too long. Trust me, it will be worth it. I thought about the folks who come to this blog and felt I should take a few minutes out of my day to do a quick post to talk about it, knowing if I don't do it now I'll forget all about it and will never get around to it. I am pretty sure you ladies are of the sort who would appreciate it. I have marks and food stains all over pages in this book, and ditto the sentiments of a quote I found on another website about it:

"As I turn the pages of my More-with-Less Cookbook, the spots and stains and drips and smears tell me the value of a particular recipe. I call it my “scratch and sniff” cookbook. If the page is full of markings (food or otherwise), the recipe is most likely a good one, a tried and true favorite!"
— MKB, Newton, Kan.

What is this cookbook all about? Coming from the Mennonites, it was published in 1976 and addresses the North American problem of "consuming more and more food made up of wasteful calories and unnecessary packaging." It's full of recipes and suggestions on better and more nutritional eating habits while consuming less. I like it that the author was making an offering of ways for us to live more simply and "joyfully" while being concerned about the needs of a hungry world. This is a subject close to my heart, and I only wish I were more diligent in being less wasteful and more concentrated in my efforts to feed myself and family in such a way as to leave more for the needy. I would like to think I was making more of a contribution at least, and this cookbook is a nice tool in my hand to do that. If nothing else, it could at least help me to save money, and maybe some of that which I saved could be sent off to help feed hungry children?

Think about it. Perhaps you have been wondering if there were more ways you could make a difference. Maybe a purchase of the More-With-Less Cookbook would be a start. Honestly, I don't think you'd be sorry if you did. You can purchase it here at Amazon. You can also read more about it's philosophy here.

Thanks, gotta run!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grinding your own Meat

This week in the news they have featured a young woman who contracted E-Coli from a hamburger patty. She is now paralyzed from the waist down. The meat in her hamburger had been ground from 3 different sources in the U.S. plus one source from Uraguay.
Of course her paralysis is a rare and extreme case, but people get sick each year from e-coli. It could be mild intestinal pain to life-threatening and in some cases death.

E-coli can be contacted thru many sources such as ground meat, eggs, berries, spinach. Basically anything that could have contact with animal waste or run off.

So, the reason for this post is (remember Susan's Food Grinder post)....You can actually grind your own ground meat at home. Find a cut of meat you like and do it your self. You can use a grinder like Susans or you can place the meat in small chunks in a food processor and pulse to grind it. For hamburger patties it is usually better if there is some fat on the meat. It helps hold together better.

You can purchase a less expensive cut of beef and grind it yourself. You will save money and feel better about knowing the ingredients in your ground meat.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Good*Will Color Codes

Here's a tip I just found out about this evening while visiting my local Good*Will store. You may know about this already, and if so just chalk it up as it always taking me a while to catch on!

This may not be an across-the-board policy, but I'm a city girl now and I know they do this at several stores here.

Get on with it say!

Ok, fellow frugalites, here it is.

If you're a faithful shopper at GW, you probably are aware that they have a variety of different colored tagged items throughout the store. Each week they feature two colored tags at a discount. A sign is usually posted at the entrance. One color will be 50% off and another will be 30% off. They change these out every Sunday.

What I didn't know until tonight is that every Sunday GW bumps the previous week's 50% tag up to 75% (WOOHOO!). Then the previous 30% tag moves up to the 50% spot, and a new colored tag will be put into the 30% spot.

Here's a breakdown. Say this week the red tagged items will be 50% off and the green will be 30%. Next week the red goes to 75%, green up to 50% and then another color moves to the 30% slot.

I received this information from an employee. Our GW's don't openly advertise this, but the discount is definitely taken at the register.

The advantage is you'll know one week in advance what colored tag will be 75%, so you can plan your shopping accordingly.

Hope this helps and made sense! And it sure doesn't hurt to ask an employee about it at your local store.

{This may not apply to the collector and/or designer clothing section.}

God bless!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Than Soft Skin

A little bit ago I made a frustrated post at my blog. The topic: Mosquitoes!! I went out back to hang something on the line and give water to the birds, nice pleasant chores in the day of a housewife. When I came inside from that short trip, however, I had multiple bites on my arms and legs. It was after I was inside that I remembered something that I keep forgetting about: Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil by Avon. I heard the claims that it is an excellent repellent, tried it, and it has worked for me. In summers past I used it religiously and had run out. Then, I started using an insect repellent spray, which I later found is not good for the health. So, a few weeks ago I found an Avon rep, a young lady who I know, and bought some Skin-So-Soft again and I try to remember to use it, and not only if I'm going outside. Well, today I forgot when taking that quick trip outside and I paid for it!

It's not a product that you would necessarily call inexpensive, but if you dilute it, it will last for ages. I got one of those little spray bottles and mix about one part SOS and two to three parts water. Then, you spray it on the arms and legs, and you're good to go. The 24 oz bottle of the oil will then last for ages. Be careful with your clothes, though--it is oil and can stain. I hold the spray over the sink and spray it on my hands, and then rub the exposed parts of the body with it and then wash my hands good. The best thing to do would be to use it right after showering. And you'll smell good in the bargain!

You may think this is funny (though I didn't). After rubbing my already bitten arms, legs and neck with the SOS mixture today, I went into the kitchen to have lunch. Don't you know that a mosquito landed right smack on my face and I killed her right there! There on my cheek was a smashed mosquito with blood. Yuck!

Believe me, folks, it's been my experience that usually they don't come near you. This one was a daredevil. lol

Monday, September 14, 2009


Beautiful, fresh bell peppers from Mickey's garden.


12 lg green peppers

12 lg red peppers (you see we had 1 red and 11 not so large purple)

2 C sugar

1 pt. boiling water

5 sm. onions, chopped

4 C vinegar

3 T salt

Wash and remove seeds from peppers, and chop or grind them in a food grinder. Pour boiling water over them and let stand 10 minutes. Drain and add finely chopped onions, vinegar, sugar and salt. Cook 20 minutes. Seal in jars while hot.

Grinding the peppers

Vinegar, salt, sugar & water

Fresh onions from Mickey's garden. It called for 5 small but this is what I counted out and used because of the wee size of the onions.

The finished product!!!
We ended up with these 5 canned pints plus another, almost full, pint that went directly into the frig for immediate use.
Very YUMMY and even though I had only 1 red pepper I was happy with the way the spots of red were mixed in so well in each pint jar.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kroger Double Coupon Day

If you live in Texas or Louisiana check your local Kroger for the special coupon deal they are offering this Saturday, August 15th.
They are doubling manufacturer's coupons up to $1.00 for single items.
If it is a coupon that was printed at the store when you checked out, those will remain face value, but coupons from the Sunday paper that have a little 5 at the beginning of the number on the bottom will be doubled if they are a $1.00 and under. Potential Big Savings. Go thru your coupons and start making your list.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Care For Some Dessert with Those Enchiladas?

Wanting to take advantage of the bounty of summer, my sister, Reva and I, along with her husband, Rick, and my daughter, Grace, went to Rick's parents for some free cherries--we just had to do the picking.

Now, I'm not real good doing price breakdowns but I do know Free is definitely Frugal! The recipe was just one of those shoot from the hip and hope it tastes good recipes--and tasty it was.

These are our pictures from start to finish, all in a day--now that's fresh!

Reva showing us her pickin's

Why is it when both your hands are super sticky you get an itch?

OOPS! Even these cherries didn't get wasted.


It was really good--especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
We ended up filling five one-gallon buckets and, except for the dessert, froze the cherries to save for the holidays. (But we'll probably sneak in another Cherry Crisp before then, I'm sure!)
The crumb topping was a thrown-together mixture of oatmeal, flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon-sorry I don't have exact measurements. We sprinkled that on top and then dotted butter all over.
Keep your eyes peeled as the fresh produce of the season begins ripening. Do you see apples or peaches hanging over a neighbor's fence? If it looks like they may be going to waste, it doesn't hurt to ask if you could take them to keep them from rotting in their yard. Bartering with someone for their garden-fresh produce is an option as well. Ya never know!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Enchiladas for a crowd

Sunday is going to be a big day at our house and I am going to have 19 for dinner. Feeding that many, especially in our smallish home, is going to be.....something!
I gave the honoree the choice of main menu item between Baked Ham, Beef Strogonoff & 3 Cheese Chicken Enchiladas and the enchiladas were selected. Since I needed to fixed 38 enchiladas (2 apiece for this main dish) I decided the only way was to prepare the actual enchiladas ahead of time and freeze them.
The recipe I had was for 10 Enchiliadas. Instead of making them all at once I decided the easiest and best way, for me, was to make 4 separate batches of the items.
The night before, I cooked 4 large split chicken breasts in the slow cooker. (I always remove the skin and fat ) First thing I did this morning was shred the chicken and place 2 cups in 4 separate baggies.
I needed 6 cups of both Jack & Cheddar Cheese, totalling 12 cups.....8 for the enchiladas themselves and 4 to be used to top them. So......the first thing I did was grate a cup of both and place in a baggie, ending up with 4 baggies containing 1 cup each of both Jack & Cheddar. Then I grated 2 cups of each and placed in a bag for the toppings to be added on Sunday. I didn't think to take pictures at the beginning but here is the awaiting topping bag.
After mixing the cheeses, chicken and chili sauce together I was ready to lay out my 10 tortillas, fill them, then roll each one.
Here I am putting together the final of the 4 batches which was for the remaining 8 Enchiladas. I am filling and rolling them.
Wrapping each in foil for the freezer.

Mickey was involved in this project every step of the way and here he is marking this last group of 8 with a G for green. I made 2 batches with red chili and 2 batches with green chili. We marked each batch as R or G and will cook each type together so our guests can have their choice and preference.

Here are the 38 in the freezer and this step of the job is done for today.

Sunday, after church, all I'll have to do is remove these and do the last and final step of adding the red or green chili to the bottom of the pan, placing the enchiladas in the pan, topping with the grated cheese and bake.

Now for the recipe:
Three Cheese Chicken Enchiladas
1 1/2 cups grated jack cheese (sometimes I use pepper jack)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we prefer sharp)
3 ounces cream cheese softened (you could use another cheese choice but cc makes
them really creamy & good!)
19 ounce can of red or green enchilada sauce
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
10 large flour tortillas
Combine 1 cup of jack cheese, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 cup enchilada sauce, and chicken. Mix until well combined. Pour about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into a 9x13 pan and spread it around. Then place about 1/3 cup of filling into each tortilla shell. Roll up and place in pan. Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through.
If you like Mexican food you'll enjoy this recipe.
I hope you will all drop by Penless Writer next week when I'll post all about this occasion, the honoree and the guest list.
Check in tomorrow for another Mexican dish I will be making and serving.
Frugal note: Yes, I washed out each and every baggie and will reuse them!!
Frugal note: I have several pints of fat free chicken broth in the frig for future meals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Use That Extra Bread

This is a followup on Kristie's post about having extra bread and other items as a result of buying in bulk at places like Costco. For us, it's BJ's, but the same applies. We often have lots of bread around no matter where we shop; it seems my family members often have times when they don't particularly want what's here for one reason or another. One of my favorite healthy recipes is the one I posted once as a sneaky nutrition post on my blog . I promised Susan I would post it here too, because it is indeed a great way to use that extra bread that's not quite so fresh anymore. I sometimes have made it to give to folks when our church makes meals for a household with a sick mom or new baby or just to help out for some other need. Good for breakfast, lunch or dessert, and very nutritious, with or without the wheat germ. Enjoy!

Applesauce Bread Pudding

1. 7 to 8 slices bread, white or whole wheat, or some of both. (Number of slices may vary, depending on size of slices.)
2. 3 eggs
3. 2 cups canned skim milk, undiluted
4. 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
5. 1/2 cup sugar (or less) [I use Splenda for my family. Husband diabetic.]
6. 1 tsp. vanilla
7. 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
8. 1/2 tsp. salt
9. nutmeg
10. wheat germ (about 1/4 cup)
11. raisins, if desired

a. Spray a shallow baking dish and break up the bread into it.
b. In a bowl, mix eggs, add milk, then stir in applesauce.
c. Add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt to egg mixture.
d. Stir in wheat germ and raisins, if desied.
e. Pour the mixture over the bread pieces.
f. Sprinkle nutmeg over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Went Overboard at Costco

One of our favorite pastimes this summer has been enjoying the air conditioning and all the fun merchandise at Costco. The trouble is, our eyes have been bigger than our stomachs and we have been purchasing waaaaay more food than the 6 of us can possibly eat. Not only does Costco seem to have the nicest produce, so we bought a ton of it, we also had too much bread, yogurt, and milk on hand, and all were quickly approaching their expiration dates!! But I didn't want any of it to go to waste!!

One of the first things we did was gather up all the fruit-- especially bananas and nectarines-- and we cut it all up and put it into containers. I didn't have any lemon juice, but I did have a bag of limes, so we squeezed the juice over the fruit, and popped those into the freezer. We also threw our extra bread and some of the yogurt cups into the freezer.

So guess what we've been having for breakfast!! Every morning we throw a couple handfuls of frozen fruit and a couple frozen yogurts into the blender, along with a generous splash of the milk we needed to use up, and we have a delicious, healthy smoothie!! Then we grab some frozen slices of bread and toast those to round out the meal.

Absolutely nothing has gone to waste, and it is a refreshing way to start the day!!

Next on my list to use up is our over supply of eggs... I plan to make French Toast with the remaining bread, and maybe even serve scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa for dinner!!

And to keep this from happening again, I plan to stick to my list and not let my kids talk me into buying so much, next time!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been reading on different blogs and the internet about making homemade laundry detergent. Back in May I finally worked up the courage to mix up a batch.
I made the detergent and have been using it since May and have been extremely satisfied with it's performance. Our clothes are coming clean just fine. I estimate this recipe cost about $2.00-$3.00 to put together.

There are several ways of making detergent. Some make a dry mix and others a liquid detergent. I decided to go with the liquid.

These are the three ingredients used to make it. I found Zote soap at a smaller grocery store in our area. I could not find it at the big chains. Also found the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda there also. Remember Washing Soda not Baking Soda.
The Recipe:

1 Bar of Zote Soap (some use Fels-Naptha)

2 Cups of Borax

2 Cups of Arm & Hammer SUPER WASHING SODA

Pot with lid

Clean 5 gallon Bucket

Use a grater and grate the entire bar of soap.

Place the grated soap in a large pot with a lid. Pour in enough warm water to completely cover the soap. Bring heat to medium and completely melt the soap. Stirring as it melts.

In your bucket (I actually used a 4 gallon bucket that my pool chemicals come in. It has a lid)
add the washing soda and the Borax and SLOWLY fill with hot water. Stirring continuously to dissolve. NOTE: Leave enough room in the bucket to add the soap later.

Add the soap and continue to stir until all is well mixed. You may need to come back and stir every hour or so to keep it from separating.
The consistency is like a jello. I keep mine in the bucket I mixed it in, but after a couple of days and the mixture completely cools you can re-package if you'd like.

I have a front loading washer and use about 3/4 cup of the detergent. If you have a top -loader I would put the detergent in and let the water help to dissolve it before adding the clothes.
Using 3/4 - 1 cup of the detergent.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. It was a messy process to put together, but I'm happy with it and will continue to make this as I run low in the future.
Great money saver.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


One of my blog buddies from Canada, Crystal of Be The Change You Want To See, sent me the following and it was so good I wanted to share it with the readers here.

The US Postal service sent out a message to all letter carriers to put a sheet of Bounce in their uniform pockets to keep yellow-jackets away.

Use them all the time when playing baseball and soccer.

I use it when I am working outside. It really works. The insects just veer around you.

All this time you've just been putting Bounce in the dryer!

It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.

It also repels mice. Spread sheets around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.

It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.

It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.

Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer) screen. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

Dissolve soap scum from shower doors.

Clean with a sheet of Bounce.

To freshen up the air in your home - Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.

Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.

Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.

To prevent musty suitcases, place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.

To freshen up the air in your car - place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.

Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.

Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.

Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.

Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.

Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.

Deodorize shoes or sneaks. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.

Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees away.

Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them It will keep them smelling fresh.

Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, and wipe love-bugs off easily with the wet Bounce.

What a great list of ideas. I'm going to be trying a bunch of these!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This blog is about being frugal and being wise and using the things God provides for us in a wise way. Being good stewards. One of the many ways to do that is being alert and taking advantage of what God opens up to us. Hence, this recipe, but it's so much more than about the recipe!!!

Last week, when I was preparing the Pimento Cheese spread I had to run to the store and buy a jar of pimento and a loaf of bread. As Mickey & I went rushing into the store, (seems we are always rushing these days!!!!) we passed the produces area and I noticed they had riper banana's by the sack full. As we sped by I told Mickey, "remind me to stop and look at these before we check out.

(click to enlarge)

Upon inspection here was a 3.76 lb. bag of ripe bananas for $1.39, or $.37 per pound.

Very interesting!!!

Looking closer...yes they were ripe but not over ripe and not particularly bruised. Gotta buy these and make some Banana Nut Bread!!! I love to keep baked sweet breads in the freezer so that when ever someone comes I have something sweet, yet 1/2 way good for us, to serve them with coffee. I try not to keep too much sweet stuff sitting around the house because we eat it!!! and we surely don't need to be doing too much of that. I have found that I can take a Banana Nut bread right out of the freezer, slice it and serve it on the spot. Sometimes I'll warm the slice for a minute in the microwave. a consequence of being alert and being aware of good buys I was able to prepare all these loaves of one of our favorite sweet breads. I baked 3 batches and baked one each morning before the house got too warm.

The above two views are the first days loaves. In the second picture you can see I've cut off the ends.......we had to sample and see that they were good!!! Right???? One large loaf and 3 small loaves. Notice the odd shapes of the 3 small loaves. Here's why.....I have the small aluminum disposable plans......BUT I do not dispose of them......I use them over, and over, and OVER again. Just wash them out, kind of "reshape" them and store until next time. When I say I am frugal......I am frugal.

Well, I have probably used these pans for a couple of years, and after the shape of these loaves I decided it was time to go get 3 more disposable aluminum baking pans!!!

Here are day 2's 3 medium size loaves still in the pans to show you the pans. I got these three pans for $1.28.

Day 3's 3 medium size loaves from the new pans.

Now, for the recipe. I call it Pineapple Banana Nut Bread but the official title is Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread. I got this recipe in the 1980's from a girl I worked with. It had come from her mother. I have many Banana Nut Bread recipes but this is by far my favorite because it is so moist.


3 c flour

2 c sugar

1 t salt

1 t soda

1 t cinnamon

Combine and mix the above 5 ingredients.

Then combine together:

3 eggs

1 1/2 C oil

2 C mashed banana

8 oz crushed pineapple

Combine dry and wet ingredients until moist.

Add 1 c pecans or walnuts and stir.

Spoon into 2 or 3 greased bread pans

Bake @ 350 degrees 60 to 70 minutes.

Back to my bag of banana's!!! There were 15 banana's in my $1.39 bag. I used 4 bananas in each recipe or 12 bananas. I had 3 left - used 1 in a fruit salad I made out of an apple, orange, 2 slices of cantaloupe, coconut and the banana. By the way, it was yummy!!! Then we each had a banana to eat for breakfast with milk and sugar one day.

Be alert to the bounty the Lord offers us ... be frugal ... and ENJOY!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two Recipes Using My Food Grinder

As promised yesterday on Show & Tell I am sharing 2 recipes that I made using my food chopper/grinder.
Roast Beef Sandwich Spread

I do not have actual quantity sizes to give you. since the object of this spread is to use up whatever size piece of left-over roast beef you have.

The small piece I had left over from our Sunday dinner was about 4" x 2 1/2". I simply ground up the roast beef and added; chopped green onions, pickle relish and mayonnaise thinned with 2% milk. It looks rather plain and bland but let me tell you, it was delicious. I stored this in a plastic container and we had several days of wonderful Ground Roast Beef sandwiches for lunch.

This is a very frugal, tasty and nutritious sandwich spread.

Pimento Cheese Spread

8 oz cream cheese - $.99 (bought on sale)
8 oz cheddar cheese - 3 for $5 = $1.66 (bought on sale)
32 oz velvetta cheese - $4.49 (bought on sale)
6 oz jar pimento - $1.34

1. Let cream cheese come to room temperature. Place in large mixing bowl and stir with large spoon until smooth and creamy.

2. Cut cheddar & velvetta cheeses into small pieces for grinding.

3. Alternate grinding cheddar & velvetta into the bowl with cream cheese.

4. Add some of the pimento as you go along.

5. Mix mayonnaise thinned with 2% milk as needed. I mixed a small amount about 1/2 way through. I mixed another small amount and added at the end to make it creamier.

Using my purchase prices and adding an additional $.50 estimate for the mayonnaise & dab of milk the total cost for 10 cups of spread is $8.98 or $.90 per cup or $.11 an ounce

The cost of prepared store pimento cheese (with all the ??? things listed on the ingredients) was 14 oz for $2.79 . That would make it $.20 an ounce.

SO.... my home made comes to $1.54 for 14 oz. versus the store bought for $2.79 for 14 oz. A savings of $1.25 or a 44 1/2%. Plus mine is so much healthier without the added ???? ingredients. Since we have to pay sales tax on grocery purchases I also saved an additional $1.06 taxes I would have paid on my 10 cups.

Now I call that frugal!!!

I took 1/2, or 5 cups, to the church this week for the 50 people who gave of their time and love for Vacation Bible School and I took a plate of it, surrounded with various crackers to Bible study Tuesday night.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SHOW & TELL - Food Grinder/Chopper

WOW!! The last Friday of June. Where have the first 6 months of 2009 gone?!!! Going to fast for me. Well, it's time to participate in Kelli's Show & Tell again. Go here, learn all about it, sign up on Mr. Linky to participate, and then read all the interesting posts of things that others "Show" and "Tell" about.

Oh....I almost forgot....this is my first time to participate in Show & Tell from my Frugal Blog instead of Penless Writer!!

I want to show you my handy, dandy food chopper/grinder. This food chopper belonged to my mother and I truly do not know how old it is. I do know she used it a lot to prepare different things. She gave it to me in the early 70's, and I've used it a lot in the 30 some years since then. The wonderful thing about this food chopper is it works as good today as I'm sure it did when my mother first acquired it.

You can see from the extra blade on the counter that it has 2 size grinding blades. The smaller one, which is in the machine, is the one I use the most.

This is the side view and you can see it is electric. This is easy to use: you simply place the food to be ground in the upright stainless steel funnel. The wooden pedastal is used to press the food down. The ground food comes out the sideway piece into the bowl which you have placed under it.

It is easy to take dismantle to wash when you are done. It stores easily in it's own plastic cover and sits on the shelf in the cupboard about my kitchen vent light & fan.

The quality of the items that were made & purchased 50-60 years ago is so far superior to what can be purchased today. How many items you are currently using in your kitchen will be around, and operating just as well, in 30-40-50 years from now?

Tomorrow I am going to be sharing 2 recipes that I just this week made using this wonderful, handy-dandy food grinder. Please come back and visit then.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Manicure/pedicure advice

Several of the blogs I read has talked about getting manicures & pedicures recently. That reminded me of a "trick" I've learned to do so wanted to pass it on here.

I always treat myself to a manicure & pedicure at the beginning of time for sandles!!! It is not something I can afford to do on a regular basis but I do allow myself at least this yearly luxury.

Instead of picking out a color at the salon I always take my own bottle of nail color with me for them to use. This little trick enables me to get several more weeks out of my manicure/pedicure by being able to "touch-up" the polish myself because it is my own polish.

You all may already be doing this.....but I thought it was worth posting here just in case anyone hadn't thought about doing this little.....ssttreacccccccchhh it trick.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lunchmeat savings

I came across this great way to save on lunch meat and just had to share. While watching Good Morning America one morning, they had a segment on saving money at the grocery store.
Those segments always intrigue me so I made sure I paid attention. They had this family know the family of six who only spends $300 per month on groceries blah blah blah....
One of the suggestions is that you purchase a cooked ham and have them slice it at the deli counter. If you shop at the deli counter you know ham or turkey can run up $8.00 a pound.

Sooo, I decided to try this. Back in the meat section like where the bacon and pre-packaged lunch meats are I found a fully cooked package of Jennie*-O Turkey Ham. It weighed two whole pounds. It was $4.99. I thought that was really good $2.50 a pound. I went back to the deli with my 2 pound turkey-ham and asked the nice young man behind the counter to slice it thin for me and he kindly obliged. So if you and yours like ham sandwiches for lunch...try this for some $$$$ savings.

Remember go to the deli to get it sliced not the meat counter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Since it is just the 2 of us in our house hold I do not use my dishwasher except when we entertain or have large family dinners.

I have always just washed the dishes in the left hand sink and run the water constantly as I rinsed and placed them in the right side sink. A lot of times Mickey dries them as I wash or I dry them when I have finished washing all of them.

Recently my blog friend, Soholiah, was in Africa, working at a Children's Home, and did a post about doing dishes the Old Fashion Way with dish pans. It brought back memories of my mother using a dish pan. I realized that I would not be using nearly as much water if I used a dish pan to rinse the dishes in, rather than wasting water as it constantly ran during the process.

Hence my new pink plastic dish pan that fits perfectly in the side sink.

As I rinse the dish I then just place it on the towel to the side of the sink on the counter. You can see from the small amount of dishes we have per meal that this is my preferred frugal way of doing them.

Just another small way I have found to economize on the water and electric bill. Not wasting as much water, and drying them by hand towel.

Addemdum: Be sure and read Tammy's comment which covers another "frugal" point about using the dish pan that I failed to cover. Thanks Tammy!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

VERY THANKFUL and also...........

exhausted, aching all over and sunburned!!!!!!

Part of being frugal is having a giant garage sale.....which is what Mickey & I did Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Actually we have been preparing and planning for this event for weeks. We had everything ready and were just waiting for our 22 days of rain to cease!!!

The preparation took a lot of time. I had piles and piles of Aric & Oksana's clothes they had outgrown and hadn't been cleared out in years. I washed all of them and then ironed each and every piece. Here is one, of several piles, I am working on.

We were so grateful to have the 5th wheel in our back yard where I could hang, and stack all the items as we got them ready.

A couple of shots of everything set up and ready.

We did very well on selling things and it was certainly worth all the time and effort we put into it. We also feel good because we know we were able to bless the people who purchased the items with good deals for them.

Those of you who know my "attachment" to my ice cream buckets will get a kick out of this.......I had 11 pair of Aric's socks rolled up and I placed them in the bucket to hold them (I truly use these buckets for everything!!). One lady bought all 11 pair and when I was going to get a plastic bag to put them in she said, "Oh, I'll just carry them in this little bucket." I said, "Oh no, you can't have the bucket. I use it all the time." She said, "I was thinking it would make a nice little scrub bucket." So I placed the socks in the plastic bag :o) I had to laugh at myself. Especially now that our freezer went out I can no longer buy the ice cream in those buckets :o(

Here in our little town to have a Garage Sale you must get a permit from City Hall and you must get signed permission to put up a Garage Sale Sign in some one's yard and you CANNOT put up a sign on any City right-a-way. You can have the sale for up to 3 days but cannot have another within 3 months. Not that I plan to have another for a L-O-N-G time.......perhaps 3 years!!!!

I'd love to hear whether you have garage sales or not. Actually, I think this is maybe the 4th or 5th one I have ever done. We usually just give everything to Goo*dw*ill but with endeavoring to truly be more frugal we had this one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Safety at Home

I was just reading on the subject in Good Housekeeping and thought this was a good site to pass on to others. I would suggest that you go and take the room to room tour and perhaps make a little checklist of things you want to remember. I haven't taken the whole tour yet, but I want to go back and visit some of the rooms I didn't get to. There are a lot of common sense pieces of advice, but you never know. Sometimes we all fail to think of the obvious.

Visit for more information.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Next Monday, May 11th, the price for a first class postage stamp is going to increase from 42 cents to 44 cents. Prior to that time you can purchase as many of the above Forever Stamps at the 42 cent rate and they will be good for as long as you have them, regardless of what the postage rate for a first class stamp is raised to in the future.

I posted about this on February 20th here when this rate increase was first announced. I will be buying more of these stamps this week at the 42 cent rate. I still have over 100 I purchased when they raised the rate from 41 cents to 42 cents so I'll be saving 3 cents every time I have to use those 100 stamps.

"Watch your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves!!!

Something my father taught me at a very early age. I'd delighted to watch the pennies I save on purchasing these Forever Stamps.

You have 5 days left to make this purchase.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Quote

The HAPPIEST people do not

necessarily have the BEST of all.

They simply APPRECIATE

what they find on their way.


I saw this the other day and jotted it down. I think it well defines a frugal life style that worships the Giver (our Triune God) and not the gift.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17
Have a frugal, blessed day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Organizing Coupons

This is a picture of the zipper binder that I keep my coupons in. I'm a coupon clipper, but I am by no means the Queen of Coupons. You know those you see on TV who buy a cartload of groceries and only pay $4.62. That just never happens to me, but I try my best to match up coupons to sales. I take my binder with me to the store if I come across a good deal on an item and I can quickly check for a coupon. I have a Kroger near my house and usually shop there. They double coupons up to .50. So a .50 coupon will become a $1.00 off and I like that.

Now for a peek inside the binder. I have an alphabetical listing of general products in the store and the aisle they are on if I get stumped and can't find something. Next I have an alphabet index that I use. I have tried various ways of organizing coupons over the years and found that by filing them by the first letter of the product name made it much easier to find when I'm in the store.

I use baseball card holders to put my coupons in. I try and make sure the product name and the expiration date is easily visible. It requires some creative folding sometimes. Wal-mart carries the baseball card holders.

I admit that it takes some time to keep this organized and occasionally I'll fall behind with the "stuffing" part. But over all this binder system has saved us quite a bit of money over the years at the grocery store and drug store.

Also, another tip: If you have a coupon organizer put your name and phone # on it or in it. I've had the store call me and tell me my binder was there. I had left it in the cart I used and at checkout they had bagged my groceries in the cart in front of me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Original Farmer's Almanac

I discovered this awesome website after a friend sent me the link.

I know we are all familiar with The Farmer's Almanac. I fondly remember my granddaddy who gardened in South Georgia used his copy to know when to plant his garden each year.

You can go on the website and click on Gardening and key in your zip code and you will find early and late planting dates for your area.

There is so much useful information on this website from recipes, to health remedies and household hints.

Have fun and Happy Spring to you all!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I am so delighted to introduce Tracy as an additional author to this blog. I've known Tracy for some time now and have bought from her Itsy's shop.

Tracy is a true woman of God, wife & mother of a wonderful family. Tracy's blog is Unless The Lord and if you are not familiar with her I hope you'll pay her a visit and get to know her. She also has a Recipe Blog called Mama's Fixins . You can learn more about Tracy by clicking on her name on our side bar under Behind the Blog

I look forward to all the frugal idea's that Tracy will be sharing with us here at Hands & Hearts.....for HIM!!


Saturday, April 4, 2009


The quickest way to pay off your home (don't we ALL desire to own a home and property free and clear?) is to pay extra Principal payments.

Take your Amortization Schedule.....if you do not have an amortization schedule contact your mortgage company or bank and request one......

I am going to list just a few lines of an amoritzation for demonstration purposes:

Due Date Principal Interest Balance
04/01/09 $284.52 $106.80 $19,432.49
05/01/09 286.06 105.26 19,146.43
06/01/09 287.61 103.71 18,858.82
07/01/09 289.17 102.15 18,569.65

(Sorry Blogger won't let me line up these figures. Hopefully you can follow the idea.)

When you make the April 1 payment include the next principal amount. This would make your payment $677.38 instead of $391.32 BUT you would save $105.26 in interest. Then on May 1 do the same thing: add $289.17 to the $391.32 - making a payment of $680.49 BUT you would save $102.15 and your accumulated savings on interest is now $207.41 AND you have cut two months off the term of your mortgage.

Granted this is easier to do at the beginning of a mortgage. For instance:

A 30 year loan for $100,000 @ 6% interest would have a payment of $599.56. The first interest would be only $99.56. In fact it would take you to the 222 payment (8 1/2years!! ) before you would be at an equal principal and interest of $299.77 & $299.79.

If you cannot do this each and every month just do it at often as you can. Even if you just make 2 or 3 extra principal payments a year. On a 30 year loan you have cut your mortgage from 30 years to 25 years and saved thousands of dollars of interest.

Another suggestion: if the added principal payments are too much for you to handle just add a set amount to each payment; i.e. $50 extra dollars a month. You will cut both the length of time to pay off the mortgage and the amount of interest you will pay greatly.

This technic can be used on any type of loan which has been written for a set rate, at a set amount of time, such as a car loan.

I have done this on every home we have ever bought. We have owned 7 homes during our 50 years of marriage. We assumed a loan on our current home in Coweta that had 25 years and 8 months left on the loan and would have been paid out on January 1, 2024. If I only pay the monthly payment and no extra going forward it will be paid in full on December 1, 2011. In other words I will have cut 13 years and 1 month off the mortgage and you can imagine the $'s we've saved in interest. Although it is more difficult for us to make extra principal payments now that we are both retired, I am able to do so from time to time and I hope to have it paid for in less time than the 2 years & 8 months remaining!!!!

As to any credit card debt you might have. You absolutely MUST make more than the minimum required amount or you will NEVER clear the debt. Just paying the minimum payment hardly touches the principal at all. That is what the credit card companies want you to do, but please don't fall for that trick.