Friday, November 5, 2010

Get Rid of Dinner Time Stress

Imagine if you will: It is 4 p.m., time to start making dinner. As you look through your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer, you really don't know what to make or you don't have enough stuff to make a complete dinner. Out of frustration you either order out food or you go out to eat at a restaurant.

If you have a weekly food budget, you might have blown it with this unexpected purchase. I am so guilty of this because I can find tons of coupons for side dish items and pasta, but sometimes I forget the most important part of the meal: the protein.

I was really excited when I came across a Website called E-Mealz. The site, founded by Jane DeLaney, helps take the guess work out of what's for dinner.

The site provides meal ideas for dinner for five days each week with an accompanying shopping list.

When a person registers with the site, they have to choose from different meal plans. There is a huge selection including family meal plans for Wal-Mart, Alidi, Kroger and even specialty meal plans like vegetarian, low carb and Weight Watcher points.

Kev and I decided to sign up for the two person Points menu for Wal-Mart (since I am still trying to do Weight Watchers.) Each week, we will get a list of five dinner recipes. Each dinner will have an entree as well as sides. The recipes will also come with a shopping list that includes how much each item will cost since we picked the Wal-Mart plan.

You can go here to see a sample of the menu.

Since we just signed up for it last night, I haven't had a chance to try it out and I probably won't until next week. But, I am super excited to give it a whirl!!! I will let you know how it goes!

I am not being compensated by E-Mealz in anyway. I found the Website and I thought it was interesting and I wanted to share my find with other people. This is only my opinion.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It Should be Called Black and Blue Friday

After the last popcorn ball and chocolate bar have been passed out to Trick-or-Treaters, it is now time to look forward to the next holiday:


I know many of you were thinking I was going to say Thanksgiving, but I think the turkey and cranberry sauce can be put on hold here while we look ahead to saving money and the big holiday rush that will soon be upon us.

There are many people, myself included, who agree with the blanket toting Linus that Christmas has become to commercial. If you need proof of this, I am sure that many of you saw the battle between Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations that were taking place in your local big box stores. As a society, we show our love by decorating our homes and finding the perfect gift. It is hard not to get wrapped up in everything. Just last year, I was reduced to a weeping mass because we could not put half of our Christmas decorations on our Christmas tree because our new cat was into climbing the tree and I didn't want them broken.

My theory is, you know you are going to have to buy gifts, you know you are going to have to decorate, so why not make the most of it by saving your pennies and having some fun!

A really great Website that gives a preview of Black Friday ads is Right now, the site has copies of the Toys R' Us toy catalogue, Target Toy Book and even information about Wal-Mart's pre-holiday sales. If you visit the site and decide this is something you are interested in, then you can sign up for email alerts where they will tell you when they post something new.

Another key to saving money on Christmas shopping is to have a plan. It is easy to get a little out of control when you are just aimlessly buy gifts just because you like them. My husband and I come up with a budget on how much we want to spend on everyone including ourselves. We then, take out cash and place the appropriate amount into envelopes labeled for each of our "giftees." This really helps control the money situation. Once the money is gone, then we are done shopping for that person. No ifs, ands or buts. This way we are not in debt over our heads after the holiday season.

My last tip, is to start shopping now. I already bought one of the hubby's gifts on Amazon because it was a good deal. Plus, you can't beat painless shopping on the Internet when you just have to click a button and it comes delivered to your door.

Keep in mind, because of our not so awesome economy, stores are competing against each other to try and snag your dollars. So make them work a little for your money, and try to find the best deals possible. Believe me, they are out there.

So if you are going to be like me and the rest of the crazies out there in the cold a 3 a.m. hoping to snag a great Black Friday deal, remember; eat a good breakfast, come with a plan and try not to trample anyone!

Happy Shopping!!