Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time-Saving Tuesday

I don't know if this "Time-Saving Tuesday" will become a regular thing or not... I just wanted to share with you my tip from this weekend actually. I do hope are enjoying our blog's new features though!

On Sunday, I spent some time preparing lunches and snacks for our family so that we can grab-n-go, but still have healthy options. This is also a wonderful idea for families with kids who need lunches for school. It only takes about half an hour at the most and it saves 5-10 minutes each morning. It also saves your kitchen from getting messy each morning, while you're trying to get ready, clean up, and get out the door.

Here's What I did:

I laid the plastic bags on the clean counter. I placed a slice of bread on each bag.
I spread some of the slices with mayo, left some without, and spread a few
more with peanut butter.
Then I added turkey to the ones with mayo and without.
I added pickle slices from the whole dill pickle I had left to the non-mayo sandwiches.
(I was a little afraid that the pickle would leave the bread soggy, but I placed the slices
between the turkey and the cheese so it worked well.)
I added cheese and mustard smiley-faces like always.
I added jelly to the peanut butter sandwiches and another slice of bread.
Then, I spread mayo on the top slices and added it to the sandwiches.
I added bread to the non-mayo sandwiches as well.
Then, I placed all of the sandwiches in the bags, and labeled them with post-it notes
"No Mayo" or "No Pickles" so we don't have to examine them before we grab them each day.

I also fixed some snack bags:
I've been craving Kiwi lately, so I bought several last week when they were on sale here.
I've just been getting a little frustrated because I don't remember Kiwi being this difficult.
I'm finding it very hard to peel them and even eat them, which is quite strange to me.
Anyway, I decided to peel them and slice them all at once. I put them in plastic bags as well
so they'll be easier for me to grab and eat. All the work is done already!

I also sliced and cooked some smoked sausage. I cubed a bar of cheese, and placed these
together in bags for snacks as well.

I washed some grapes, took them off the stems, and placed them in bags for snacks too.

I also divided the pretzels we had into bags so they'll be easy to grab and take with us.

I'm searching for some little plastic condiment containers with lids so that we can have sliced apples with caramel sauce, strawberries with chocolate sauce, and celery with peanut butter. I haven't found
them yet so this will just have to wait until another week.

As you can see from the picture, I placed all the sandwiches and refrigerated snacks in
plastic shoe boxes to keep my fridge organized.You can also take a look at the two
blog posts I used as my inspiration here and here.

This was a good start for me though!
Hopefully these ideas will help you save some time too!

Do you have any time-saving tips to share? Email us at sistersandsavings@gmail.com!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Money-Saving Monday: DIY or Homemade Febreze Spray

If you'd like to save money by making your own Febreze Fabric Refresher Spray, Homemade Mamas and Fake-It Frugal will show you how! They say it's even better than the real thing,
but you'll just have to try it and see.

What we love is that Fake-It Frugal also gives you the "Fake-It Yourself Breakdown" so you can actually see about how much money you'll be saving!

Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:
Fake Febreeze ($0.15 or less for 1 oz Fabric Softener)
Total Fake-It Cost: $0.15 Each

Compare to Actual Febreeze ($5.59 Each, seriously?)
Total Fake-It Savings:  $5.44 Each*

*Let's say you purchase 1 Bottle of Febreeze per month, that's a Savings of $65.28 per year!

Do you have a money-saving tip you'd like to share? Email us at sistersandsavings@gmail.com!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's Freebies

If you've been with us for any length of time, you've probably heard us mention that "Your mailbox can be your Treasure Chest". There are so many freebies & samples available all the time, it seems. Here are the freebies that we've found for you this week. Take advantage of the ones you like, skip the ones you don't. Have fun!

1. Free Weekly and Daily Planners Downloads

2. Free Customizable Planners from MoneySavingMom

3. Free Chronicles of Narnia Complete Audio Download

4. Free Products and Special Offers when you join the Grocery Savvy Panel

5. Educational Freebie: WordBuilder printable mats

6. 300 Free Instant Labels from Staples

7. Free Suave Sample Box from Wal-Mart

8.Free ebook: Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life

9. For possible Free samples and coupons, join the Skinny Cow Club

10. Educational Freebie: School Supplies Preschool Pack Printables Download

11. Educational Freebie: Classical Composers Unit on George Frideric Handel

12.  Free 2012 Women's Health Calendar (will be shipped December 2011)

13. Free Thriving Family Magazine Subscription

14. Free Cranimals Sample (Organic Pet Supplement) when you email your name and mailing address to info@cranimal.com. You'll receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

15.   Free Wholly Guacamole Goodie Bag for Military Families. So if you are a military family, grab a post card and send it to the following address: Wholly Guacamole, Marketing Department, 300 Burlington Road, Saginaw, TX 76179.

16. 80 Free Swag Bucks. New members will have 30 points added to their account automatically. Use code AUGUSTBONUS to get an additional 50 points. Swag Bucks is a great program where you earn points and get paid for things you do online anyway like online searches. I've been doing it for a while. It's very easy to do, and you can exchange your points whenever you want for prizes and gift cards!

17. Free Racheel Ray Just 6 Premium Dog Food Sample

18. Free book: No Longer a Slumdog

Happy Freebie Friday!
If you hear of a freebie not listed here... leave a comment below to link-up, or email us at sistersandsavings@gmail.com!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our Exciting News

We've got news to share, and it's news that we're really excited about! This is something we've been researching and learning about so that we can teach more families the art of couponing!

We've had so many people from so many locations ask us if we were coming to their area any time soon to do a workshop. We've also had people say, "I hate that I missed your workshop. When is the next one?"

We will soon be offering e-courses to teach the art of couponing! We've already written one e-course, and we're in the process of writing a few others now. We're hoping for them to be available to you by September.

This is going to be so cool because you'll be able to learn how to effectively use coupons without ever leaving your house, and we'll be able to teach you how to effectively use coupons without ever leaving our houses too! We'll present you with all of the information and be able to use online resources that we haven't even been able to show you at all of our workshops and home parties. We'll also get to use audio and video as we present the information to you. You'll be able to ask questions as we go through the information as well.
It's just going to be awesome!

Our plan is to offer different classes as well. "Learn to Coupon" Workshops & Home Parties usually last about two hours because we have A LOT of information to present to you. We're considering breaking all this information into categories to teach it in small doses like "The Basics of Saving", "Drugstores 101", and "Coupon Organization".

We'd really love your input as we're in the process of creating these courses so please feel free to leave comments below or email us at sistersandsavings@gmail.com!

Also, make sure that you "like" our Sisters & Savings facebook page and "follow" our blog for e-course updates and giveaways! 

Thrifty Thursday

Well, it's Thursday again! You know what that means... today is what we at Sisters & Savings like to call "Thrifty Thursday", where we'll share with you frugal tips, thrifty ideas, and even thrift store treasure we've found. You're welcome to share yours  too. Just leave a comment below, or email us!
Here's today's "Thrifty Thursday" Tip:

Remember those Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap Dispensers we gave away at some of our
first workshops & home parties? Well this has probably been our favorite give-away,
especially the ones that look like they have a stainless steel finish.

High-value coupons were so easy to find to make these dispensers free, almost free, or even make them money-makers when these first came out. Now that we've fallen in love with them, we're realizing that the soap refills have absolutely no coupons!

A frugal and thrifty solution to this problem is to simply refill the bottles with your own soap solution. I used Dawn Dish Soap with Olay Hand Renewal in mine, but you can use any type of hand soap. You could even make your own soap to make this even more thrifty!

Just use a butter knife or coin to pry open the lid of the bottle, refill the bottle,
replace it in the dispenser, and turn it back on!
Works like a charm!

Do you have a thrifty tip you'd like to share? Email us at sistersandsaving@gmail.com!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to Plan an Organizing System Before Starting a Project

Although this article really has nothing to do with saving money, it does have a great deal to do with effective housekeeping. I believe that if you're organized, you'll be more efficient. If everything has a home and you routinely place things back in their home, you'll spend less time looking for things and wondering where they are.

I stumbled upon this article for planning an organized space. I've done something like this before, especially with planning organization for my dorm room in college. I also did this when organizing our home office, as there were lots of things that had to be put in. It was very important that they were all able to function as well.  Most of the time I just think  through something in my head instead of actually jotting all of this down.

It's funny because I'll be sitting in my living room and instead of watching T.V., I'm considering ideas for moving furniture around and where things will go. I'll do this for a few weeks until I'm set on it, and I pretty much know exactly what I want. Then one day, Justin will come home and everything's different. It's amazing how much strength you find when you really want to do something.

I did this with our bedroom also... before I would fall asleep or when I would wake up before getting out of bed, I'd think about our room arrangement. Then one day I decided to move it all. Justin had to help me with the bed, but I put everything else on those slider things and moved it all around myself! Yep, in the past month, I've re-arranged two rooms in our house!

Happy Organizing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Money-Saving Monday

Each Monday, we'll offer a "Money-Saving" Tip to help you and your family. This week it's something practical that we've all heard of. We believe this Money-Saving Tip will be the basis of all your other Money-Saving Ideas.

We also want to encourage you to pray about this before you put it to action. Ask God how much you should budget for different areas in your finances. I dare ya! It may be hard to submit, but I promise it will be worth it. He sees the "big picture" of our finances, where we can only see "today's picture".

The Budget

An important money-saving tip that we'd like to share with you is a budget. It's important to give each dollar of your income a job & reduce impulsive spending.

Find your Cash Flow
Look at trends from your previous months of spending to see your cash flow in certain areas. How much have you been spending on gas? How about groceries? Add each of your bills to your budget as well as your other expenses & discretionary money. Discretionary money is the leftover money that you choose how it it spent whether it be for haircuts, retail shopping, travel, etc.

Make it Work for You
Give each dollar a job, and stick to it. Make it your goal to spend LESS than what you've budgeted. Set financial goals like buying a new vehicle and start budgeting for that car note now while your car is still running smoothly and paid-off. Imagine how awesome it would feel to pay cash for your new car once you've saved enough and be able to give your other car away and bless someone big!

Give Yourself a "Buffer" or "Cushion"
Another idea for a budget I learned at a Financial Stewardship Class is to keep the same budget, even after your income increases. Better yet, budget for only one income, and save the rest. With this, you'll have a "buffer" or "cushion" of money in your account. Build your "buffer" or "cushion" amount up to a week's worth of salary, a month's worth, two month's worth, a year, etc.

The Goal of a Budget
Your goal is to be able to pay for things on a cash basis in full and not ever owing anyone anything. You won't be in debt or behind on a payment. And when you have your "buffer" or "cushion", you'll also be able to give abundantly to your family, missionaries, and those in need. You'll be able to give offerings above your tithe and be richly blessed in return, without ever having to worry about your monthly bills & expenses. 
What an incredible feeling to really be financially free!?!

So I personally think these are all great ideas to think about when considering a budget.
To put it simply, you'll be saving money by limiting your spending in every area of your family or personal budget!

Do you have a tip for Money-Saving Monday? Let us know at sistersandsavings@gmail.com!