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A really good read and contest

February 15, 2012

Last week, I wrote about my best friend and our phone call concerning crockpot liner bags.  Today, I am lingering over a memory of another one of those moments that we shared.  Long ago, we shared nursery duty at our church on Wednesday nights.  One of those nights, she came bearing gifts.  She had the opportunity to purchase some books through her workplace, and she bought this great cookbook.  After reading through it, she realized that it was one of the best cookbook/hints book she had ever come across.  So through love she decided that I couldn’t live without this book either.  And she was right, second only to the Bible, that book Dining on a Dime is most used book in my house. 

Over the Christmas holidays, I was bored one day.  (That was painful to even write, but it was an exceptionally quiet day at our house.)  I knew that there was an order form sheet in the front of the book; so, I wondered if the Dining on a Dime folks have a website.  I was not disappointed.  By looking at the website, I found that I had more in connection with the authors (Jill and Tawra) than I had differences. 

From the moment, I received the cookbook, I poured over its pages, and I found I was doing the same thing with the website.  (What a way to fill a “boring” afternoon!) I also found that strong connection I felt had to do with where our mutual hope was rooted rather than where our stomachs and grocery budgets lie.  That strong connection is what I feel with most of my closest friends.  It is the acknowledgment of the blessing of friendships. 

I have never met Jill or Tawra (but hope to do so someday), but today, I have the opportunity to review one of their books, Penny Pinching Mama: 500 Ways I lived on $500 a month.  The good news for my readers is that you have the opportunity (through my blog) to win the book.  After receiving the book, I wasn’t prepared for how much it would touch me. 

I will be honest.  I had a hard time putting it down.  Despite being a hints and ideas book, the advice is given with heartfelt honesty and hard-hitting integrity.  While telling of a painful life story, Jill goes on to share not what she did, but more what she had to do to survive and to keep her family afloat.  Yet while going through these tough years, she clung to her faith which is evidenced throughout the book in her anecdotes and story-telling.  Throughout the pages, she tells of the personal circumstance and the tips that helped her in those moments.  Trust me I took good notes on many of the tips.

Now I will be brutally honest.  After finishing the book, the first thing I did was pray and thank God.  It was a good book, but the gratitude came from the fact that I have never been forced in life to live on nothing financially.  I realize that I had to dig deep from the well of faith in the tragedy that befell our family, but I have never walked in Jill or Tawra’s shoes, and for that, I am truly thankful. 

I am guessing that Jill would deflect compliments of amazing and inspirational.  I am equally certain that she would agree with my newest favorite quote, “I am convinced that “strong Christians” just know where to run in times of trouble.” 

If you would like to learn more about Jill and Tawra’s books, check out their webpage .  To win a copy of Penny Pinching Mama, you must post a reply to this blog and share a money saving tip (of any kind) in your response.  Replies without tips will not be considered for the prize.  I will give one week for entry replies and from those participating; I will draw one name to be the winner.  I will use a random name generator (aka a clean sock and slips of paper at our house) to “scientifically” choose the winner.

Looking forward to the responses and great ideas!  Today, be thankful for the blessings BIG or small, because I know I will be.

From → Kan-do

  1. Dani permalink

    Another awesome Blog! :O) My hint….when socks get holes in them, don’t throw them, use them for dusting. A bonus…..the slip right on your hand.

    • marie hilliar permalink

      Host a clothes/toy swap with friends/family members.

  2. Mary Miller permalink

    Jill rocks!! We should all lead by her example of what is truly important in life! My favorite tip is the use your Library!! I have had decades of free fun of reading, music, movies and classes at my library! Have had a library since I was 5!!

  3. Daphne permalink

    My family has saved a huge amount of money by reducing the amount of disposable products we use. For example, cloth diapers instead of disposables, cloth towels instead of dish towels, etc.

  4. Amy permalink

    Home made laundry detergent has saved us a lot of money

  5. Shirley permalink

    My mother-in-law worked in the meat department of the local store and shared this with me. She told me to keep an eye out for the darker colored beef steaks in the discounted section. This meat is aged more than the rest and will be very tender. She was right and we’ve been eating wonderful steaks every since!

  6. Kim P permalink

    I have been using and adding to my “Dining on a Dime” cookbook for years. Love it!

  7. Pam Diaz permalink

    We have stopped using so many disposable paper products– we use dish towels instead of paper towels.. we use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.. we use plastic washable plates instead of paper plates… we use reusable tupperware sandwich containers instead of sandwich baggies or tinfoil. We also re-purpose plastic containers (yogurt tubs, milk jugs, etc) for seedling starters for our veggie garden.

  8. Karla Adams permalink

    They are wonderful Authors:) For those who have family members that miss the toilet and dribble beyond the boundaries soak old rags [I use stripes of old cloths that are no good anymore] in vinegar. wrap around base of toilet for a few hours and then clean up the area.

  9. Living on a Dime has such great ideas! I’ve pretty much done away w/ tin foil, ziploc baggies etc. Anything that goes in my son’s lunchbox or for mine for work, goes in a plastic container…I’ve had some gladware ones that have are still going strong after many many many uses and trips through the dishwasher

  10. Lori permalink

    Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! I am a thrift store rummage sale Mama! But nothing bugs me more than a town that doesn’t recycle (our town currently doesn’t) so we try to reuse what we can. We drink a lot of Crystal Light…instead of throwing away all those fabulous containers, we reuse them. Our son was so happy to take the containers decorated with Angry Birds and filled with Puppy Chow to his classmates for his birthday. Last year we made Valentine’s Day containers with Caramel Corn in them for our extended family (perfect size snack for the car ride!).

  11. brenda anderson permalink

    I make my own instant oatmeal mix. This way, not only is it lots cheaper, but I can add what I want and it has fewer ingredients. Closer to natural is always better!

  12. Brenda Elton permalink

    Kandy, love your blog posts, love a good contest, and love to be a penny pincher! My most recent way of saving money is with the Menards rebates. You can get lots of free clothes, food, household goods, or gifts if you don’t need the items. Also, when you use your rebate check, you don’t pay tax on those items!

  13. Shannon permalink

    Awesome blog & awesome tips from the comments too! I am going to start using some of those tips! And if I don’t win that book, I am going to go buy it for SURE! =) We also save plastic containers from everything & use them for all sorts of stuff from leftover food to sorting parts for the boys RC cars & keeping them somewhat organized! Those containers work great when you have people over for a big meal & you can send leftovers home w/them & not worry about having to get the container back =) We are BIG aluminum can savers at our house….any chance we get we save those cans & some people actually save them for us…all we have to do is come & pick them up from them…how nice! We take the cans in a couple times a year & our 2 boys get to split the money & do something fun with it =)

  14. Mary Beth Stevens permalink

    Stop and decide if you really need that purchase. I think about how many work hours it may take to buy that item and then make my decision. Also, utilize resources at your local library or online to make natural/chemical free cleaning products for your home and personal care. Let’s get back to the simple life!

    • Congratulations Mary Beth! Your name was the lucky name drawn as the winner of the Penny Pinching Mama contest. I will need to get a mailing address in order to send you a book. My personal e-mail is Thanks – Kandy

  15. Angelia permalink

    I love Living on a dime website. I also have their book!! Our hint is to go back to Cloth hankerchiefs they are reusable and eveyone has their own color..

  16. Peggy permalink

    I buy 99% of my clothing at thrift shops. After that, I “upcycle”, recycle, make it into something else and wear it out. I also use lots of vinegar and baking soda for cleaning.

  17. I no longer shop at department stores instead I visit our local Goodwill store.

  18. Danielle permalink

    I make my own general purpose cleaner using vinegar, water, peroxide, tea tree oil, Castile soap, and essential oil for a nice scent!

  19. Marge permalink

    My tip is…Don’t put it down…Put it away!

    We all are such busy moms and often seem to be going in 5 directions at once. But, we end up using more time looking for things, if we don’t just take the 30 seconds or so, to put something in its proper place, once we have it in our hand…aka car keys or an important document that needs to be filed.

  20. jeanne endsley permalink

    We became a one car family. Saves on and upkeep. It is also a way to get in exercise by walking or riding a bike. Another benefit is that my husband and I make decisions together about getting things done in the day.

  21. I love these authors. Great review!

    My latest savings tip is to use TVP (texured vegetable protein). Years ago I read about this but did not do it. Now I use half beef (or whatever meat) and half TVP. The TVP takes the taste of the meat choice and you use half as much meat. It is especially good with Mexican dinners and seasonings. Sometimes I flavor my TVP with low sodium broth cubes and use it in chili or soup with no meat. This is healthier and inexpensive.

    The trick is to get a healthy brand that does NOT use genetically modified (GMO) soy beans. I use Bob’s Red Mill which does not use GMO (I wrote and asked). carries this brand so I have it shipped to me (Disclaimer: I have no financial with Bob’s Red Mill nor ).


  22. Pat permalink

    I have been reading the Living on a Dime emails for a while now & always find useful information. If you ever need to remove wallpaper border from a wall. Spray it down with undiluted automotive windshield washer fluid. After approx. 5 minutes you can easily remove the wallpaper and the glue comes right off as well. No major scrubbing or peeling. So easy!

  23. Vicki Fisher permalink

    I discovered your blog from a link from the Living on a Dime facebook page. I would love to read the book. My tip is that when I have used a bar of soap down to a sliver, I lather it well, lather the new bar of soap well, them mash them together. It may take a couple of uses before they stick permanently, but they will melt together into one bar, and you won’t ever again be searching for uses for slivers of soap.

  24. Always find something useful on sites about frugal living! I live far away from family, so I typically mail gift cards for Christmas, birthdays, etc. I make my money go farther by buying discount gift cards to mail. The end user gets the dollar amount on the card as the gift, yet I didn’t have to pay the face value for it. To find places that sell gift cards, just search for “discount gift cards” on whatever search engine you use.

  25. I changed all the light bulbs in my house to cfl (compact flourescent lights) and saw my electric bill drop dramatically. The bulbs are more expensive, but I just looked for them to be on sale and changed the bulbs over as I got them. I recently moved to a new apartment and immediately changed all the bulbs to cfl. The newer ones have better light, but they last so long I will have to wait to change to the newest. By then the LED’s may be cheap enough to use them.

  26. Joy permalink

    Awesome blog! Before a major purchase, my hubby and I do lots of research online to be sure we’re getting the best we can afford. Our new fridge is the “store brand,” but it’s identical to one made by a major (and expensive) manufacturer; probably made in the same factory. We saved at least $1000 by purchasing the store brand – and we’re very, very happy with it 😀

  27. Living on a Dime blog comes so close to home for me – for many years with two kids I had to stretch to make ends meet….it just HAS to work, so we do it! I think the biggest hint I have is not to waste a thing – no throwing away food just because it’s ‘leftovers’ – use is up somehow in something else.

  28. Eva permalink

    Store bread in your refridgerator freezer to make it last a little longer and also buy a deep freezer and stock up onitems when they go on sale I have been eating from my freezer stockpile for a while now you can usaully find a good price on a chest freezer at Sam’s or costco

    • I double bag my bread when I freeze it to prevent freezer burn. If it’s not a double loaf (already double bagged) I save a wrapper from a previous loaf and double bag it. I would just eat the nasty freezer burned bread to keep from throwing it away, but I’ve had no freezer burn since I’ve discovered this tip. My son also gave me the tip of wrapping ground meat for freezing in plastic wrap and then in foil to prevent the foil from sticking to the meat.

  29. Laurie Williams permalink

    I love Living on a dime. I have great respect for Tawra and Jill- the things they have been thru and accomplished. They have shared many helpful ideas. I would love to get this book – I own a tow truck company and times are more than tight right now so this would be such a blessing for us. Thanks!

  30. Laurie Williams permalink

    Oh I forgot my helpful hint for saving money – start your own garden even if it’s an indoor one or just out of old pots or buckets. Healthy, fresh, chemical free, food!

  31. Rebekah E. permalink

    Stock up on milk when it is on sale and freeze it. Also love the library such a good free resource.

  32. David Parkinson permalink

    Two money saving tips:

    a). My local grocer marks down meat and produce near the best before date overnight, so whenever possible I do my shopping first thing in the morning before these bargains disappear. If I can’t get meat that has been marked down, I eat legumes instead. I never pay full price for my meat.

    b) I live in a small two room place. I only heat the room I am in, and let the temperature drop to 50 at night. I rarely heat it above 60. Sometimes I wear a toque to bed!

  33. chey permalink

    Great blog!
    Freeze leftover vegetables to use in casseroles or soups.

  34. I love this blog! I have dogs in my back yard so a garden is out of the question back there. However, I have flowerbeds in the front and altho my neighbors think I am “different’, those veggies and herbs (which are also pretty) sure taste great!! And mixed with the right kind of flowers ….no pests!!
    My grandson has a grapevine on my fence and the jelly sure is good.
    I bought Dining on a Dime on sale (got 3 copies) and gave to my best friends.
    My tip might seem crazy but anything you use in a tube, ie toothpaste, ointment, etc, and you think you have squeezed out the last bit, cut open the tube and I usually get at least 2 or 3 more portions out of it.

  35. Love the living on a dime site. Really inspirational and would love to read what Tawra wrote in her book of ideas and tips. Hope to win. Here’s my tip: I love to read books and because I cant afford to buy them from amazon/bn all the time, I go here to search for titles and read the pdfs. Its also great for mp3.
    Another tip to save on wasting veggies: I prepare them soon after I’ve gotten them and store in air tight containers or zip lock bags either in the freezer (for longer term) or in the fridge in my “prep” drawer for up to 2 weeks for the hardier veggies. If it wont cause wilting, add a bit of vinegar (white distilled) or squeeze of lemon or lemon rind.

  36. Brenda Way permalink

    I would love to win this book.

  37. Natalie permalink

    I make my own pancake mix from scratch instead of buying pancake mix. The trick is I mix the dry ingredients in bulk. Measure out how much one recipe would be so you know when you fix them. Tape instructions right onto the container so you don’t have to search for the recipe later. You can mix in frozen or dried blueberries, chocolate chips, etc just like the pre-made mixes. It is a whole lot cheaper and you can adjust it to your needs much easier.

  38. Jenny permalink

    I subscribe to the “Living on a dime” newsletter and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Did I mention I LOVE IT?!?!?!? LOL So many helpful hints I ideas! I love that so many are kid friendly and get the kids involved. We have 4 boys and save money by using the same towel for a few days during showers, wear jeans/pants a minimum of twice before washing, use dish cloths, hand towels and cloth napkins versus paper towels and paper napkins. We’ve taught our kids to save their pennies and when they do spend, to make sure and spend wisely. Whatever meat product I use for dinner I always plan for leftover uses. When we make taco’s one night I will mix up all the left overs, put into tortillas, pour enchilada sauce over and use for a night later in the week. If we have a roast, we have stroganoff with the leftover roast. It’s all about planning and using everything that you have. To waste is to be frivilous! Just my opinion! Hope you all have a fantastic day! 🙂

  39. Jan Alcock permalink

    I only use cold water for washing laundry and rinse dishes with water that was used to boil food items like pasta. I only use my dishwasher in the middle of the night so its not competing with showers and so its in use only when other things are not effecting my water pump from the well or the water heater. If your living in the city, most money is saved by doing laundry and dish washing late at night when the power companies have less stress of demand. Some areas get a discount when using power on off hours. Saving you money!

  40. I had stopped canning during a very busy time of my life and later realized that for small or large quantities thecanning jars are perfect for storing food in the refrigerator and also in my lunch bag (use the jelly jars 7 ounce). A good advantage is that you can easily see exactly what is in the jars. In the four years that I just spent in a doctoral program I probably bought my lunch at school a maximum of four times total-a tremendous money saver and more nutricious as well. My six figure student loans have come due and winning the book would be a true blessing on my life. Thank you for all the good you do. Blessings!

  41. kathy permalink

    I always use my plastic bags from the store to line all my baskets. I use the dry cleaning bags from friends, tied with a knot on the open hanger end to use in the larger kitchen basket. I usually use 2 of them as they are thinner.

  42. Make your own seasoning packets (Taco, Fajita, Pasta, etc..) instead of purchasing them. You can make your “Cream of Anything Soup” too and add your own mushrooms, chicken etc. This saves lots of money.

  43. Cathy Rockwell permalink

    I subscribe to “Living on a Dime”. And I love it. It feels like your keeping track of an old friend when they tell you whats going on in their lives.
    Our favorite way to save money is bottling our own water or juice every day.

  44. Sheri permalink

    sounds like a great book! our money saving tip is….if you can’t recycle it, it can be used as a possibly toy or learning activity! for example….we used the top of baby food jars to write upper and lower case letters on them…now they are a matching game 🙂

  45. Kathy permalink

    I have gotten several helpful tips from the ‘Living on a Dime’ website. One way I’ve used to save money is freezer cooking with buld meat purchases. I get together with a friend to make it more enjoyable and we do about 40 meals for each of us in two days.

  46. Terrie King permalink

    To save money, I try to buy things when they are on sale and when I have a coupon. Sometimes I make money or get things for free. Wal-Mart does price matching, so that helps me to do most of my shopping at one store.

  47. Mary E Smith permalink

    I make my own washing powder and save all old stained or torn clothing to use instead of paper towels.I take socks with no mate,slip a leftover sliver of soap into it,slide my hand in and use it to wash with.Everyone in the family does this.No more hunting the soap in the tub and they are softer than regular washcloths.I make my own foaming hand soap by filling the container 1/4 of the way with dish soap and finish filling with water.I also add cooked lentils to any ground meat recipe to stretch it and no one is the wiser.I would love to have this book to find more ways to stretch our one income.

  48. My husband and I live on a very small income since he lost his job three years ago and we have been scimping and scraping every which way. Living on a Dime has been very helpful. We cancelled our cable tv and watch shows on our computer. I rent free videos and get free museum tickets from the library. I also ride my bike to work which saves gas.

  49. Shelly Peltier permalink

    Nobody does it better than you Kandy! You have taught me so many money saving tips and ideas to be more thrifty than even my el-cheapo mother! 🙂 I don’t know if any of these will qualify me for the drawing – becuase I have learned them all from you. Sorry to dish out all your secrets. Ha!!

    My favorite one you taught me is to buy themed holiday material when it is on clearance at fabric stores to make table a table cloth or placemats for next year’s holiday! YEAH!! Now – everyone knows I don’t sew – but maybe someday I will put this to use – but in the meantime I love eating at your table for special holidays with the fun decoration under my plate!

    I also love the idea you shared brought me into with the freezer meal group. Money saving AND helps feed my family while some good mom friends have fun prepareing the delicousness!

    You also taught me to save money while attending the kids’ sporting events and give them more nutrition than a concession stand. Packing your own cooler and bag of sandwiches, snacks, and drinks saves a TON when the kids eyes wander to the junk at the concession stand. And I love it when us moms buddy up to share the load – one brings sandwiches, one a fruit, one some homemade cookies, one sports drinks and VIOLA – a hungry team fed on a much less $ with way better nutrition than the concession stand!

    My own money saving recipe is for home made glass cleaner…..
    1 gallon water, 1 bottle rubbing alcohol, 3 tablespoons of Prell shampoo. Mix all together in a recycled (well rinsed) milk jug. Works best with the cheapest paper towel you can find. You won’t by window cleaner or surface cleaner in the store again – I promise.

    And – for effortless streak free windows – use old newspapers to cut down on streaks!

  50. Cindy Bader permalink

    Something I found that works well for keeping snow off my young kids wrists in the winter is making wrist warmers out of old socks. Just cut off the toe (for the 4 fingers) and add a little hole next to it for their thumb, and voila! The wrist warmer goes on first, then the coat, and then the mitten (that way the wrist warmer can go all they way up to the elbow if you want; and you can double it over to be extra thick too).

  51. Nancy permalink

    This is one of the many ways I use the end slices from a loaf of bread.. Wrap tight by twisting and folding over in the bread bag and put it in the freezer. When I have enough I take all the end slices out of the freezer and thaw. We like this easy and simple bread pudding recipe that my mom always made. Toast the slices nice and brown in the toaster. In a medium bowl, tear toast into small pieces. Sprinkle on cinnamon, sugar and drizzle with some melted butter. Add small amounts of milk at a time and mash/mix using a fork, potatoe masher or whisk, until desired consistency. Since there are no actual measurements, taste mixture and add more sugar, cinnamon or butter to suit your taste. I also save my foil pie pans which are perfect for this recipe. The mixture will not rise so use 1 or 2, buttered, pans depending on how thick you want the bread pudding to be. Bake in the oven around 375 degrees until lightly brown with edges separating from sides of pan and center will be slightly set — the more milk you use the longer the baking time. Remove from the oven, cool, serve and/or make an extra pan, wrap and share with a neighbor, friend or family.
    Thanks for all the great information and tips.

  52. Debbie Hayes permalink

    Although I am already using most all of the tips I read on this page, I am sure the book could teach me a lot more. My husband and myself save every way possible. We throw nothing away and are ALWAYS looking for new ways to save. I would love to win this book

  53. Debbie Hayes permalink

    Oh sorry. My tip- If you want the house smelling good, (and who doesn’t ) put a little vanilla on a cotton ball and lay it inside your ceiling light fixtures, the house will smell sooooooooooo good.

  54. a tip i learned as a newlywed was to save every spoonful of vegetables from the meals i prepared each week…i stored them in a quart jar in the refrigerator. Once a week i would make stew and use these leftover veggies. a pan of corn bread always made it a meal we enjoyed. my husband loves cornbread and milk as a snack and so there is never any waste.

  55. Brianne Rocamontes permalink

    I love all the tips! My helpful tip is to go through your pantry periodically (every 1-3 months) and use up anything that is getting ready to expire. Think through what is in your pantry and what is on sale and plan your menu around those items.

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