Saturday, March 14, 2009

Guest Post + Contest @ the Southern Plate

anjieHello Southern Cooking Fans! My name is Anjie and I am The Frugal Freelancer. I am happy to be here on this blog to share my Frugal Shopping and Cooking tips with you!

I want to thank my host, Christy, for having me on her wonderful blog! She is truly a southern belle and is welcoming me with her down home hospitality! I am originally from the deep south, the state of Louisiana but now reside just below the Mason Dixon Line in Virginia. I was thrilled to have found Christy and her blog several months ago while surfing the net. Being a lover of both cooking and books, her site caught my eye and I had to make an order! After reading her blog and ordering her cookbook, It quickly became apparent that we shared the same recipe heritage! I didn’t think that many other people even knew about these! My readers will certainly recognize the home made doughnuts along with a few other goodies that I have posted over the years! OMG! I enjoyed her site and book so much that I asked her to guest blog for me on “The Frugal Freelancer.“ She did a wonderful job and many of my readers also enjoyed reading her blog as well!

I have been on the internet now since 1996. Back then you turned your computer on and a little blinking line welcomed you. It was the PONG vs’s WII Days - if ya know what I mean! I met some friends on the only internet choice “Prodigy” that shared some of the same interests that I had: Couponing, Cooking, Saving Money, Free things, Contest and anything that could help one to live more lavishly , but for LESS! I traded coupons and upcs with a “group” (the one and only original group) of couponers on the net! (”the starving student, anjie” is now waving to Dorothy, Bobby & Ethel in case you are reading this) We all met each other here in Virginia and Dorothy even came all the way from California!

Couponing and Saving money is an entirely different story! I started that hobby / necessity in 1982. I was a single parent, with no support that didn’t want to be “in the system,” but rather yearned to “live lavishly” and buy named brand products, eat well, and live well! :) So I worked full time, lived in government subsidized apartments and did “what ever it took” to have and experience the finer things in life. I do all of this now because I love it, it’s my passion, and I don’t know of any other way to do it! I occasionally splurge and buy things without a coupon now (even though it is a air tight economic climate) like a LAVISH $10 bottle of peach tea syrup at lunch today with my girlfriends at a local tea shop and a bottle of wine for when my husband gets back from his trip to California next week. This lifestyle is made possible for me because I live beneath my means. I use a plethora of making money and saving money ideas and strategies to “make it work” and it is just a “way of life” for me. I don’t live in huge house but I still have that southern big front porch and a deck with grill that was won recently in a sweepstakes! I live in a cottage bungalow that was a fixer upper on a lake, drive a Hyundai and spend UNDER $45 a week in groceries.

$45 a week in Groceries? YES that’s right and it has recently increased to that amount from $30 - $35 in the past due to the recession and drastic increase in prices! I know a lot of you think that I must eat poorly to do this because they have read my $30 a week menu / shopping article I wrote years ago. This isn’t exactly so, those menus (along with other sites menus that have popped up drastically in the last few years) were written to help out people who are “just starting out on their journey’s to save money” or have just recently had a hardship etc etc……… They work and are better than ramen noodle and peanut butter & rice diets, if you know what I mean? They are not the healthiest of diets and tend to be mostly “carbs.” It is expensive to eat healthy………. and eat gourmet style meals ESPECIALLY if they are organic ! So with all of that in mind, I would like to give you some ideas on how you can save money and cook “SOUTHERN STYLE” but for less money………..

I use any and all of these strategies together…………. not one excusive strategy……….for now you may want to try ONE at a time and work your way up, if you are a “newbie freelancer.” First you learn to SHOP and then you learn to COOK around what you bought!
REMEMBER YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING………….

Couponing….…… wanna see me in action? THIS Today Show clip shows me “couponing” in 2002. I have also started a blog called Coupononomy. It will eventually hold all of my past articles that are still relevent. Right now it has a good amount of information if you are interested in the “how to’s”

REBATES

HERE is a recent example at Walgreens……
which we STOCKPILE (buy lots of)

it is expired NOW but you can get the idea:
2 Nabisco crackers 4-8oz are $1.99 each *****STOCKPILE ITEM!
- Buy one get one free SALE
- $2/2 Sunday paper coupon = 2 FREE
****GET EXTRA COUPONS FROM YOUR FAMILY / FRIENDS to STOCKPILE THIS ITEM, DONATE AND/OR SHARE YOUR EXTRA……….. OR COOK CREATIVELY WITH CRACKERS AND PACK THEM IN LUNCHES!


Angel Food Ministries
This is for EVERYONE, no income limits or barriers……. it benefits religious organizations when you buy it and you get a lot of food , no coupons needed for $30. Read about it here and find out if there is a local pick up site in your area. I had to wait until late last year to take advantage of this program. I have been “watching” this program in other areas for years! Great program thus far! You order online and pick up 1x per month at scheduled date and time. Some areas take Food Stamps and my area takes a Credit Card. This is not a benefit for “poverty” it is a “nutrition program” for everyone.

Outlets / Salvage stores:
Big Lots, Salvage Barns, Ollies, Dollar Stores: these can be good resources at times, but no coupons are allowed. I don’t have a bread outlet near me but if I did I would definitely take advantage of it) I recently found the entire ZATARAINS LINE at Dollar General (they do take coupons btw) and they have BLUE RUNNER RED BEANS (rare find in VA) …….oops…..maybe I shouldn’t have given away that secret….. and they have a sweepstakes there now……so enter while you are reading about it, remember you gotta be in it to win it!

ORDERING ONLINE
From time to time if you order items online they are cheaper, or should I say “not as expensive” to get them online. When this happens I share this information with people via email in my newsletter HERE. I call these GDAS or Good deal alerts. A recent example of this was that I was able to buy 4 boxes of Kashi Mountain Medley Cereal for $1.98 shipped to my house! The only way to beat this deal is FREE and they would have to ship it to me, because the gas would cost more than this to go pick it up these days.


TEST / REVIEW PRODUCTS
I have done several from survey sites as well as on blogs …here is just one example.I had my husband make meatballs for one! Blogs are FREE. You can start one on blogger its easy! You too can test products and review them from your home!


GROW YOUR OWN here
I use an aerogarden now! I love it. I have eaten lots of fresh herbs and now am growing romaine lettuce. It is wonderful and is EASY! A great way to buy this product is save your Amazon Gift certificates. Get these with your search and win points and redeem for a pricey item you otherwise wouldn’t buy for yourself. If possible (as I did) match with mail in rebate & make money for buying it. The rebate for $25 was used to buy another “kit.” I think you could probably make your own kits for these if you were savvy! I also have grown outdoor herbs and gardens as well, on a small scale (raised bed)


CONTESTS / WINNING
I have won several small prizes that reduce my shopping expenses! Even if I don’t normally buy a product or don’t use a product I will get it to GIFT it - if I cannot use it! More recently I won a $50 Gift Certificate to use on BEEF at Safeway! How cool is that? Christy, get ready I will be asking you for some BEEFY ideas! ***note that I am using 2 strategies here……..
In a pinch menu
Use this menu in emergency (the prices have gone up since written)

THIS IS WHERE IT GETS REALLY INTERESTING…………. IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE DO THIS:

Stockpiling / Sale Shopping: take advantage of items that you can get for nearly nothing or free and stockpile them. (SEE PICS of one of my pantries……… some stockpiling going on there!) Do you see the stacks of canned chicken? I recently paid 25 cents a can for them with coupons. What would you do with 20 cans of canned chicken? Well, if you don’t already know the answer to this question I have the answer…………CREATIVE FRUGAL COOKING! The steps are easy………… pay as little as you can for the healthiest of foods and cook around what you ALREADY HAVE rather than what you need.

USE COOKING SITES AND VIDEOS to find recipes using ingredients. You can search for these recipes by using SEARCH & WIN SITES (if I am going to be searching, I might as well have a shot at winning something or earning points! I have won many items this way) I have a drop down menu of them on my blog if you are interested in a list of them (l see eft side of home page) I usually will shop for a “main” ingredient or the item I have the “most” of . Here is a Favorite that gives you suggestions by ingredient

THIS WEEKS NO COUPON SHOPPING was under $39 without even touching my coupon box! multitasking , tax season, catching up, scrapbooking, lost an hour, electricity out, full schedules, meetings, school, PTO, sports ………. etc etc.. does this sound familiar? I had to “stay home” from the trip to California that I was scheduled to go on….. this ought to tell you how much “extra” time I had this week………. in this case you are “in a pinch”

If you are an average spender of $145 a week you can use my techniques (there are many others) and save $100 a week if you want or need to! What would you do with the “extra?” MAKE SURE you give extra items that you don’t or won’t use to charities, share with your neighbors, friends and family too! They will all appreciate the help and you can earn a tax deduction, pay it forward and/or barter for other things you may need! Take the monetary savings and use on items that are “splurges” or pay down your other bills, take trips, buy diapers, heck, what ever you do with it…………… its like Free Money! I have stockpiled my kitchen with all kinds of cookware, serveware, appliances and even kitchenaid dishwasher for FREE! If I can do this YOU CAN TOO! As a matter of fact you can enter contests to win and get coupons too RIGHT HERE on the Southern Plate! What are you waiting for ? Get started!

Remember Neva Neva Neva Pay full price for ANYTHING!
@njie

The Frugal Freelancer is giving away a Coupon organizer and a $50.00 Food Lion Gift Card to one lucky Southern Plate Reader! Click here to enter!

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