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.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just a small idea...

...but one that adds up over time, especially if your family eats a lot of cereal like mine does.

You know how there is always lots of bits and crumbs left in the bottom of the bag ~ here are a couple ideas to use them.

1. Keep them in an airtight jar and add to them each time you finish a box of cereal... you can use the crumbs to replace some of the flour in a muffin or pancake recipe, or use it as a muffin topping.

2. This idea is from a children's cookbook. You can make layered breakfast parfaits, with yogurt, fruit, and leftover crushed cereal. Pretty, yummy, and best of all, healthy!!

Waste not, want not, right??? *smiles*

{Please join Frugal Fridays over at Life As Mom for more excellent, frugal tips & ideas.}