Cancel PMI Private Mortgage Insurance ASAP

We took out our first mortgage in 2001. Along with principal, interest, taxes and insurance, there's an added fee for first time mortgage borrowers and those who can't afford 20 percent down-- PMI--Private Mortgage Insurance. It's a fee you pay to guarantee that you will pay your mortgage. After collecting that extra $25 a month from us, for a few years we would have proved that we would pay and the PMI would be removed. Or so we were told. Read on  Expensive Lessons Learned on PMI Private Mortgage Insurance

Free Printable Advent Calendars

 Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. December 1, 2013.
During Advent we focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for the Feast of Christmas. Many people use an Advent calendar to countdown to Christmas. Here are free printable advent calendars. Advent calendars feature little windows that are numbered. Children open one window each day before Christmas. Some advent calendars have a Bible verse that follows the Christmas story of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem.  Free Printable Advent Calendar Countdown to Christmas Crafts

Pack Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box And Save

I'm putting together my Operation Christmas Child shoebox for Samaritan's Purse. Since 1993, these gift boxes have been shipped around the world to kids in need. We've been participating for about that long. Here's how to pack your box and save.Packing Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Remember Younkers Community Days Coupons Nov 15-16

Hey, did you buy one of those Younkers Community Days coupon fundraiser coupon books? Don't forget, this weekend, November 15-16 are the ONLY days to use them. Remember, your book has a $10 off anything coupon. Use that one at least. And this year, you can use it on Bonus Buys. Buy one in-store and donate money to your favorite school or booster program. Remember Younkers Community Days Coupons Nov 15-16

ObamaCare is Affordable, But No Insurance is Cheap

Warning, rant to follow--but with hopefully helpful advice. Since the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) passed, detractors have been criticizing it as expensive, "a racket." I don't what rock they just emerged from under. Because we've been buying healthcare from husband's employer for 26 years. And I have yet to find healthcare insurance that isn't expensive. Most is at best, a paid discount program. At worst, it's a protection racket The ACA didn't promise cheap, just affordable, if you manage your money. Here's how we "afford" insurance by prioritizing needs over wants.   We Cannot Afford Healthcare Insurance Any More Than You Can

Fair Trade Shopping, Free Donation Sites

Raise your hand if you, like me, have more generosity than money? I see the ads, hear of missions at church, read the email requests. I don't doubt the legitimacy. I just can't help everywhere. We're living very frugally already and give quite a lot. So I love donation sites that offer non-cash ways to give. Here's my favorite one. Read on   Free Donation Sites and Fair Trade Shopping

Halloween Costume Patterns to Print Free

Halloween costumes are expensive to buy or rent. So why not make your Halloween costume this year? I found a website with 200 free printable Halloween costume patterns, templates and designs. Makes costumes and accessories for for babies, children, teens and adults. All free. Some of these patterns require some sewing and others are no-sew costumes. Each pattern has complete, accurate instructions. Use these free printable Halloween costume patterns for costume parties, the school play, theater productions, masquerade balls, history festivals, library activities, educational venues, museum activities and more.   Free Printable Halloween Costume Patterns

Meals on a Shoestring, Think Outside the Box

I just read a post by a recent college grad living simply. Our eldest son lives and goes to school in Detroit and echoes that need for inexpensive meals. We've always tried to keep to a minimalist lifestyle. Here are ways to eat cheap,

* Go vegetarian, preferably vegan. Savings galore in money and health.

* Skip packaged foods. Boycott corporate buy-buy mentality. Live and eat simply. Read moreCollege Student Meals on a Shoestring, Think Outside the Package

Domestic Goddess Tips--Multitasking Recipes, Cooking Shortcuts

I am a Domestic Goddess--kingdom: cheap meal-time management. Being a busy mom, I have to budget time and energy as well as money. I make 2-for-1 meals, doing the
bulk of preparation on Sunday when I have the most time. Here's a meal-planner.

Sunday--Chicken dinner. I roast a jumbo chicken, cook 2# rice, 1 # pasta, 3# ground beef, 5# potatoes and 3# pre-cut veggies (broccoli and cauliflower crowns, carrots). I pare and bake butternut squash. I make five cups of my mirepoix--two large green peppers, one big onion, 8 ounces mushrooms, 4 large carrots, one stalk celery. Serve chicken, potatoes, veggies. Package and refrigerate leftovers and extra food.   Domestic Goddess Tips--Multitasking Recipes, Cooking Shortcuts 

Skip Younkers Community Days Coupon Fundraiser Books, Save Money

I write daily bargain hunter tips using the daily deals of the day tag. Typically I write money-saving do's, but today's tip is a don't. Do not buy a Younkers Community Days fundraiser coupon booklet, unless you like paying more for things.

Last year, I took my youngest back-to-school shopping for a coat. We hit a mall in another town some distance away. After hunting through racks of tacky, cheaply made junk, we tried Younkers. At the door, we were approached by kids selling Community Days coupon books for $5.  Skip Younkers Community Days Coupon Fundraiser Books, Save Money

Skip Younkers Community Days Coupon Fundraiser Books

Typically I write money-saving do's, but today's tip is a don't. Do not buy a Younkers Bonton Stores Community Days fundraiser coupon booklet. Unless you like paying more for things. Last year, I took my youngest back-to-school shopping for a coat. We hit a mall in another town some distance away. After hunting through racks of tacky, cheaply made junk, we tried Younkers. At the door, we were approached by kids selling Community Days coupon books for $5. Read on...Skip Younkers Community Days Coupon Fundraiser Books, Save Money - News - Bubblews

Tightwad Mama Saves Money Back to School Shopping

Back to School--how merchandisers and retailers love those three words. And how they love to upsell. Long lists of school supplies your kids supposedly can't live without. And I'll admit, I love BTS shopping. What's not to love about $.25 crayons and scissors? But tightwad mama is also a teacher. She knows kids don't need half the stuff stores pad the list with. Here's a different kind of BTS shopping guide--one that saves you money. Tightwad Mama Saves Money Back to School Shopping

Penny-Pincher Tip: Beware of Hidden Costs

I write money saving tips and an experience got me thinking about hidden costs and how to avoid paying them. Our youngest son just came back from a weekend camping trip. He stayed at a recommended private campground. He didn't know if he could get time off so couldn't reserve a spot in advance. He had to take what he could get. And he learned some things about hidden costs and how the sneak up. Read more atPenny-Pincher Tip: Watch for Hidden Costs

How Tightwad Mama Get Bargains

We raised and four kids in an 800-square-foot mobile home. We were solvent and debt-free on one income while I homeschooled the children. I know all about pinching pennies. Here are tightwad mama's tips to stretch your family activity dollar. Use these ideas year-round. We did! We still do! This is us with the youngest at Silver Lake State Park on our most recent budget vacay.

* Make money multitask. Pay with the payment form that saves most and earns best rewards: store credit cards, debit card. Save points for better rewards.

* Get admission deals. Use buy-one-get-one-free deals from vendors like Daily Deal Superstore. Save on concert, museum, amusement park, restaurants and vacation tickets. Look for events offering free kid admission with paid parents. Contact event websites for deals. I got half-price student opera tickets from the box office. An air fair distributed free tickets to school kids. They send me tickets to distribute to our home school group. Read more at Cheap Summer Family Fun Ideas from Tightwad Mama

Bargain Hunter Deal of the Day--Cheap Veggie Burgers

Today's Deal of the day is bean burgers at the dollar store! I've got two daughters who flirt with being vegetarian-vegan. I'm dieting and don't eat much meat. Veggie burgers are a low-calorie protein alternative. So we buy a fair amount of them. Now if you buy organic or health food, you know it's expensive. And less is definitely more, price-wise. A 10-ounce package of MorningStar Farms or Boca burgers sells for about $4 full price. And that's at Meijer and Walmart. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Fresh Market would be more, likely. Even on sale, I still pay $3. Very irritating when your would-be vegetarian turns up her nose at your veggie burger choice. Here's where to get'em!Bargain Hunter Deal of the Day--Veggie Burgers, Cheap!

McDonald's Sued for Payroll Card with Fees

Associated Press wrote about a Wilkes-Barre, Pa., McDonald's worker who's suing her former employer for putting earnings on a payroll card. The debit card had loads of fees attached (as they do). Each transaction cost her money. Employers are doing this gift card or debit card thing more frequently and it's no surprise why. They get perks from banks which they don't pass on to employees. They do pass fees along, however. So employers profit from employee earnings and cut employees short. How unscrupulous. It's like the old company scrip employers paid workers. It could only be spent at company stores for inflated-price goods. It actually costs workers to be employed. What does surprise me is people who think this is okay. McDonald's Sued for Payroll Card with Fees

Detroit's New Whole Foods Market Gets Mixed Reviews

Mighty food giant Whole Foods Market opened its doors in Detroit at 115 Mack Ave. on June 5, says the Detroit News. The city, called a "food desert" for its lack of access to fresh food markets, now offers locals more food choices. But the expensive, upscale vendor is getting mixed reviews. Here's a look at the big picture on Whole Foods in Detroit. Detroit's New Whole Foods Market Gets Mixed Reviews

Cheap Summer Family Fun Ideas from Tightwad Mama

We raised and four kids in an 800-square-foot mobile home. We were solvent and debt-free on one income while I homeschooled. I know about pinching pennies and cheap family fun. Here are tightwad mama's tips to stretch your summer fun buck. Make money multitask. Pay with the payment form that saves most and earns best rewards: store credit cards, debit card. Save points for better rewards. Cheap Summer Family Fun Ideas from Tightwad Mama

Tightwad Mom's Cheap Airline Travel, Car Rental Money-Savers

As a tightwad mom of four, I know about budget travel. Here are cheap travel tips to save money on airline and rental cars. Shop for cheapest air fare. Using Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" option, bid on airfare, rental cars and hotel accommodations. Buying flight plus rental car plus hotel packages may save but only if you're staying in the same city as the airport. I've done better bidding on each separately. Start with airfare. After buying tickets, you'll usually get offers for rental car and hotel deals. Check sales. Compare companies: Kayak, Orbitz, Cheap Seats, Expedia, Travelocity. Priceline "name your own price" has always been cheapest for me. I've gotten cheap upgrades with Priceline, too. We stayed in a 3-star hotel for $60. Watch for tagged-on fees. In order to say they technically got you the price you bid, vendors will sometimes pad prices. Even with added fees it may still be a better deal.  Read moreTightwad Mom's Cheap Airline Travel, Car Rental Money-Savers

Dad-Inspired, Kid-Friendly Mother's Day Party, Homemade and Cheap

As a 25-year mom of four, I've been the guest of honor at many kid-inspired Mother's Day and birthday parties. Our children learned to throw a budget, homemade bash from me and my husband. For a guy, he's great at party-planning. Dads, here are tips from the master's knee, on planning an inexpensive Mother's Day party with your kids, that your wife will love! Dad-Inspired, Kid-Friendly Mother's Day Party, Homemade and Cheap

How To Earn Money in a Recessed Economy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment is going down. Politicians assure us jobs are being created. As a by-product of a recessed Michigan economy, I don't see the glowing economic recovery of which my governor speaks. I think it's precipitous to say we're in any kind of recovery. Sure if you call part-time, minimum-wage, no benefit jobs "employment."

Unemployment is down because more people, like me, have dropped out of the system. I never did qualify for it, as a part-time instructor and then homeschool SAHM. But even many of those who did qualify have run out. Some have quit looking for work, and others, like me have resorted to off the radar work, like freelancing. Don't get me wrong. I still pay self-employment taxes and heavily. What I mean is, I've ceased job hunting to pursue at-home online jobs like this--blogging and writing for news agencies and content companies. I've often been asked how I make money when I don't "work." Here are my strategies.

* I think outside my self-imposed boundaries. Instead of limiting my job-hunting possibilities, I apply for every job that I'm qualified for.
* I generate multiple streams of income. As a freelancer, I maintain blogs that earn ad revenue. I search out content companies and apply to write for different categories based on my interests and abilities. I get people to read my content. Here's more How To Earn Money in Michigan's 11.2 Percent Unemployment

Cheap Earth Day Garden Starter Kit: Jiffy Professional Greenhouse

In northern and temperate zones, gardeners often start seeds indoors to prevent late frost destruction. There are many green, recycled ways to do this, but lacking adequate space, I tried a seed starter. Jiffy Professional Greenhouse kit. Our home is located near an industrial zone, which renders our soil less than ideal for gardening. We have become patio gardeners. Herbs make ideal patio garden plants and as a cook who prides herself on her use of herbs, I've become an herb gardener. The Jiffy Professional Greenhouse works wonderfully as a seed starter kit for my herb garden. 
Read more

Cheap, Homemade, Green Spring Cleaning Tips

 As days get longer and snow melts, my thoughts turn to spring cleaning: out with the old-man-winter accumulation and in with sunshine and spring-green-clean! Here are easy, cheap, homemade spring cleaning tips and earth-friendly tool swaps. Save money, labor and the environment with these solutions.

* Bagless vacuum vs. traditional bag cleaning: Bagless vacuums save us $80 a year. Emptying canisters directly saves environmental paper waste from bags, too. Clean filter regularly to avoid costly replacement. Read more

Off-the-Beaten-Path Parks in Metro Detroit

Looking for spring frolics in metro Detroit? Why not check out an area park? Mayor Dave Bing announced the closing of 51 parks in February, reports the Detroit Free Press, but there are still plenty of outdoor venues to enjoy. Here are local parks with the most diverse activities, unique accommodations, and off-the-beaten-path amenities. Just right for spring and summer recreation and adventure!Off-the-Beaten-Path Parks in Metro Detroit
 

Spring 2013 Festivals and Fairs in Detroit (Cheap Family Fun!)

Say "spring," and what leaps to mind? In Michigan, picnics, flowers, parades, and festivals -- a chance to sweep out winter blues with the last, dingy snow! Here are must-not-miss spring 2013 festivals in and around Detroit. Not from anywhere nearby? Check out your own local fairs and festivals. Churches, espcially Catholic often have festivals. Community activities, group events--lots of good family fun!
Spring 2013 Festivals and Fairs in Detroit

Cheap Easter Party for Children, Kids Spring Birthday Party

 Easter is a great time for us snow bunnies to get our first outdoor party of the year. If the weather is not inclement, I like to plan Easter parties at a local park. Unless it is snowing or raining, we bundle the kids up and host the party outside. With two kids having birthdays around the time Easter could potentially fall (end of March), I'm thinking birthday party, too. We've done Easter-themed birthday parties, too. Here's how--Easter Party for Children- Non Religious

How I Save 50 Percent (or More!) on Groceries

I don't brag very often, but when I do, it's about how I save money. Our four kids have each thanked and praised dad and I for raising them to know the value of a dollar. And saving begins in the most basic purchases--groceries and food. Here's how I save 50-80 shopping. Tame that impulse shopping monster. Learn to regiment haphazard,  last-minute, or careless spending habits. Here's how How I Save 50 Percent (or More!) on Groceries

Easy, Healthy, Cheap WIC Foods Recipes

When our four kids were young, our income qualified me and the children for WIC (Woman, Infants and Children) food coupons.WIC, a USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program, gives low-income families coupons for free food. Unlike food stamps, WIC can only be used for specific foods and baby formula. Breastfeeding moms like me couldn't use formula coupons and so WIC added vegetables, rice and tuna to supplement nursing moms' diets. WIC added Project Fresh coupons (used at farmers markets) and later produce vouchers. Here are recipes using basic WIC foods: eggs, juice, milk, peanut butter, cheese, approved cereal, tuna, carrots, bread, fruit and vegetables. Use these cheap recipes stretch your grocery budget and food stamps. For transitional housing dwellers, I've kept preparation and ingredients simple. Omit anything you don't have.  Easy, Healthy, Cheap WIC Foods Recipes

Easy DIY Job Saves Us $800 a Year: Cheap Kids Haircuts

As a mom of four, I'm always looking for ways to trim costs. With exceptions, do-it-yourself projects are a great way to save. Homemade options that require big time investments don't save--time is money. Here's one easy, quick, DIY job that saved us at least $800 a year when the kids were young: home haircuts. Easy DIY Job Saves Us $800 a Year: Cheap Kids Haircuts at Home 

How I Save $1,500 a Year on Family Personal Care Products

Do girls or boys cost more for hygiene and personal care? I've got two of each and they are evenly matched. Each has product preferences. I never minded buying what they liked, but I did it cheaply. Here's how I saved at least $1,500 a year on personal care products for a family of six. And no, I didn't get rid of two kids!


Extreme discounts and coupons: I print coupons from online sites, like Swagbucks. I earn Swagbucks for using coupons and redeem points for gift cards. I preload store coupons on store perks cards. Meijer often gives percentage off total HBA purchase with perks card. I've snagged up to five discounts per item between sale, printed coupons, store card perks, total purchase discount and Swagbucks. Read more How I Save $1,500 a Year on Family Personal Care Products

Free Romantic Valentine's E-Cards to Print

Valentine's Day cards are not just for children. We can all enjoy the fun of sending and receiving little greetings and notes or cheer during this cold, dark season of winter. Here are a variety of websites featuring free e-cards and printable valentine cards for adults to share with each other. Many of the sites feature cards to send to sweethearts and lovers and are sensual or romantic, but there are no obscene or pornographic cards included in this list.  Free Romantic and Valentine's E-Cards for Adults

Low Calorie, Hunger Satisfying Foods that Save Money

I'm halfway through my goal to lose 100 pounds. One of my biggest diet struggles is constantly feeling hungry when I cut calories. Early on, dieting was a vicious circle. My larger stomach needed more food to fill up. I was reducing calories, not losing and always hungry. Now that I've lost some, it's easier to fill up. Here are low-calorie, feel-full foods that satisfy hunger and aid weight loss. Eating less saves money, too!  Low Calorie, Hunger Satisfying Foods to Fill You Up

Print Free Kids Valentines

Kids love to exchange valentines on Valentine's Day. Valentines are going up in price just like everything else. How about a green, creative, money saving option? Free printable valentines for school exchanges? Here are many to choose from--funny, romantic, cute, cartoon--many styles! Mostly free with your printer!  Free Printable Valentines for Kids

Protein, Meat Food Swaps to Cut Calories

I started dieting 18 months ago. I wanted to lose weight and develop healthier eating. Initially I ate a vegan-vegetarian diet. Since then, I've tweaked my protein intake to include healthier meats and protein sources. Using these food switches, I've cut out roughly 1,000 calories a day. I've also saved roughly $8-10 a week per person per week on groceries. Those savings apply to homecooked meals. Money savings are higher when meat-based restaurant meals. Protein Swaps for Weight Loss

Money Tips for Welfare Recipient Parents

"Octomom" Nadya Suleman, the single mom of 14 (including octuplets) is back on welfare again, says TMZ. Suleman is an extreme example of negative welfare stereotype. But her unhealthy financial choices highlight key issues that we can all learn from. Here are money tips for parents on welfare, culled from five months when we received food stamps and Medicaid. Right off the bat, let me say that the tone of this article may seem preachy. I heard the discussions on whether we taxpayers should be able to tell welfare recipients how to their spend money. I say yes we who are frugal should be able to. It's our money after all. Am I saying that all welfare recipients spend foolishly? Of course not. But those who do who make it difficult for those who don't. Sometimes folks can't get the help they need because others are wasting those governmental dollars. There's only just so much to go around. Even those of us who aren't on government assistance, though we live frugally, will need it if we don't all trim our spending. Spending Tips for Welfare Recipients

How I Paid Off Student Loan Debt in 18 Months

 I paid off $22,000 in student loans accrued for my college age kids in 18 months. How did I accomplish this? What secrets did I use? My strategies for loan repayment are no different than those I used for paying off other debt. I use the old Nike shoe maxim--"Just Do It." Here's how it worked.


Make big (and I mean big) payments. Paying off a large loan is like swimming in Lake Michigan when it's cold. You've got to dive in quick and get it over with. Going in gingerly just prolongs it. With students loans, making small, ineffectual minimum monthly payments just compounds the interest and inflates debt to elephantine proportions. During the loan repayment, I made $1,500 payments monthly. Read more

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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