How to Maximize your FAFSA and Pell Grant Money

$100 bills on a college mortar board that has a gold tassel and a diploma on it.

Debt Free College Series # 4 – FAFSA and Financial Aid

With 5 kids who have attended college, we have filled out our share of FAFSA applications. We’ve learned a few tips from financial aid experts on how to maximize the FAFSA process and Pell Grant awards.

FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can earn your student as much as $5920 in Pell Grant money from the Federal government. Plus the information from the FAFSA is used by most institutions of higher education for determining other types of financial aid.

As nice as it is to get grant money, it’s not … Read more »

Use Your Head When it Comes to Lettuce – Iceberg vs Leaf

Which Lettuce is best to buy, Iceberg or Leaf Lettuce?

Have you ever tried to calculate the best price for lettuce? What about Iceberg or Leaf Lettuce . . . do you know which type of lettuce costs more?

There are several ways to save money when buying lettuce. We outline a couple of our tricks on this page.

Finding the Best Deal on Lettuce is More Complicated than you Might Think!

Calculating the best price on lettuce is more than simply looking at the sale flyer. To determine the best deal we consider price per head, weight per head and we also throw in the nutritional value. So you see, it’s not just … Read more »

Is there Gold at the end of the Scholarship Rainbow? Hack!

A pot of Gold at the end of a rainbow - How to find college scholarships

Are you looking for tips and tricks to land more scholarship money for college? This blog presents lots of proven ways to find more scholarships, prepare for them and win more awards.

What if there really was a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the college scholarship rainbow. And what if you KNEW that with some effort, discipline and organizational skills you could find the path that leads to that pot of gold and take some of it to the bank? What if instead of each semester of college costing you between $5000 and $50,000, because you … Read more »

How to get Inexpensive Lunchmeat from a Shank Ham!

Can you get Inexpensive Lunchmeat from a Shank Ham?

Steve wanted to see what kind of “deal” we could get on lunchmeat if we sliced up a smoked, shank ham for our sandwiches. We bought our shank ham on sale for 97 cents a pound. Because the Smithfield ham we bought was smoked, it was ready to eat (no need to cook it.)

The Lunchmeat Estimate

How much sliced lunchmeat could we get out of a 11.19 pound shank ham (total cost $10.85). We thought that there would be about 20 to 30 percent waste when we subtracted fat and the bone. So our expectation was that we would have about … Read more »

Ways to Save on At-Home Entertainment

A TV hooked up to a wii gaming console.

Going out isn’t cheap for a family, even for frugal family. You can plan it right, find deals and choose the least expensive option, but going out is almost always going to be more expensive than staying in for the night.

Luckily, technology has given families a lot of ways to entertain themselves without leaving home. With the tips below you can make an entertaining night at home even more affordable.

Don’t Overlook Smaller Telecommunication Providers

Today, most at-home fun happens around the entertainment center. The cheaper you can get TV and Internet services the more affordable the at-home fun is going to … Read more »

How to get your student loans forgiven!

Black mortar board with a brown tassel and the word forgiveness on the top.

College is expensive! Over the past 40 years, gas prices have increased about 300%; Gold has risen more than 1200%, but the cost of college has outpaced them both, skyrocketing more than 1600% higher than it was in 1975.

The rising cost of college has resulted in more than 40 million American’s borrowing tons of money. And the repayment of that debt is one of the factors that is stalling our economy. But don’t despair, there is hope and there is help.

9 Career fields that are eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness

There are a number of programs that offer loan forgiveness to … Read more »

Tax Season is Coming: 5 Small Business-Friendly Tax Apps

A red brick wall with a Tax sign on it.

 If you prefer a hands-on approach to managing your business, you might also prefer to handle your taxes internally rather than outsourcing them to a tax preparation service. Luckily, technology has evolved to the point where all the resources you need to streamline tax season are just an Internet or mobile search away.

What Are You Looking For?

The biggest challenge is finding the right tax app with the right specifications to help you facilitate a smooth and accurate tax season for your company. Miscalculations and inaccurate financial reporting may lead to an audit from the IRS, which can be a stressful … Read more »

How to Attract Generation Y to Your Rental Property

A stainless steel oven with push buttons and a clock display.

Attracting Generation Y should be priority number one for the modern landlord. Exactly who makes up Generation Y? You probably know them by the term “Millennials”. Millennials now saturate the rental market, and if you’re not doing everything in your power to transform your rental property into a siren’s call for this part of the population, you’re missing out on lucrative profits. If your rental property is found within a bustling professional area or in a highly desired city, you’re already a tempting option. However, there are ways you can make your apartment or home stand out from.

Know What … Read more »

Freezing Bread—The Secret is in the Freezer

What is the best way to freeze store bought bread?

There are several things you can do to freeze store bought bread and avoid freezer burn. By the way, using a freezer to stock up on discounted food and preserve the sale price for months to come is one of our top money-saving strategies.

But if you aren’t careful, your savings can leave a bad taste in your mouth!

Diane from Ukiah, CA asked about Freezing Bread.

Question about Freezing Store Bought Bread

Some of my store bought loaves of bread get freezer burned even though I wrap them individually in plastic bags before freezing. I heard on one of your videos that … Read more »

6 Ways a High Schooler Can Slash College Costs

6 Things High School students can do that will crush the cost of college., and hopefully minimize the need for student loans.

There are six things a teen can do in high school that will help to slash the cost of a college education. We’ve done many of these with our 5 kids and they graduated college without any student loans!

How to be a high schooler and crush college costs.

College is a monumental expense for parents and students alike. Who among us is prepared for paying out tens of thousands of dollars over a 4 or 5 year period? But as with any large expense, the more you and your child prepare, the more manageable the expense can be.

After helping five of … Read more »

The Easy Way to Inventory Your Food!

What is the Easiest Way to Inventory your Food?

Doing an inventory of the food in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator is a sure way to reduce what you spend on groceries. If you really want to save money, waste less food, and spend less time shopping it’s something you might want to consider. Just know that it is a chore that will take a little time, but it also will produce huge savings! Here’s how we do it.


This is an excerpt from the planning chapter of our book, Cut Your Grocery Bill In HalfRead more »

How to Save Money When Building Your Own Home

New homes being built.

It’s a fact that the costs of building your own home are higher than they have ever been before.

Of course, part of the reason is simply due to inflation. But there are other factors that play into new home costs as well, and despite that, there are still ways you can save money when building your own home.

If you want more tips, read more from our carpentry and construction savings page.

1 House Plan

When it comes to building a new home, you don’t have to shell out extra money for the house plan. Instead, ask a builder to see their … Read more »

A Dam and A Budget?

How is a Budget like a Dam? Read for more money management ideas!

We’ve heard people refer to budgets in many negative terms, that all imply pain or restriction or deprivation. We have a different view. We look at a household budget as a positive thing. It’s a tool that preserves our money and lets us enjoy life and the things we have.  We think a budget is very similar to a dam. Keep reading and find out why.


We’ve heard some people refer to trying a money management system as having used a “Dam Budget!” Obviously, their experience was anything but positive. We don’t think of budgeting as a chore or a restriction. … Read more »

Companies with Excellent Customer Service

Top Rated Companies for Best Customer Service.

Getting excellent customer service from a large corporation is one of the seven wonders of the world . . . well, at least it seems that way. We love dealing with companies who have well-trained employees who really seem to care about their customers’ problems.

Companies with Bad Customer Service

We have had a number of frustrating interactions with companies lately – mostly internet / cell phone and utilities. Poor or non-existent customer service has become the norm. Long hold times and getting disconnected on phone calls is so frequent that we’ve come to expect it.

Celebrating Companies who Provide Excellent Customer Service

So … Read more »

How to Build Financial Confidence with a Written Budget

Having a Written Budget Helps You Build Financial Confidence!

Do you want to build financial confidence?

Check out the 5 ways a written budget builds confidence and financial strength.

We’ve spent the last few weeks describing different budget systems; several options for budgeting success and the secret to our budgeting system.

Today we’re sharing five benefits to having a budget like we use.

1) Budgets Bring Unity

You can’t underestimate the power of teamwork. Because we’ve  managed our budget together since we were first married, we rarely have disagreements about money. We’re on the same page; committed to living within our means; avoiding debt with a smile and spending only when we have … Read more »

Linen Closet Tips, Tricks and Hacks

How to Organize Your Linen Closest in 4 Hours.

Reorganizing your linen closet probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list! But this task can really free up time and mental energy – here’s why and how.

The Last Time We Reorganized our Linen Closet

For us, it had been about 10 years — raising five kids and being involved in helping them launch as young adults, writing books and speaking around the country took a lot of time and mental energy, leaving little time to even think about this important type of organizing task. We truly had lost track of what was in the linen closet.

 Read more »

The Amazing Key to the Most Powerful Household Budget Ever!

This is the Amazing Key to the Most Powerful Household Budget Ever!

The Amazing Key to the most Powerful Household Budget Ever!

Family budget tips and secrets to help you become successful financially. 

Lots of people talk about household budgets this time of year. With the holidays quickly fading in the rearview mirror, we’re motoring at full speed into a new year, full of optimism and powered by new resolutions. While some cruise down that road with apparent effortlessness, other will hit speed bumps or have collisions with unseen obstacles. The road to resolution heaven is often littered with derailed dreams.

What if there was a way to virtually guarantee that you could … Read more »

Sneaky and Inexpensive Ways to Eat Healthier this Year

Here's 5 ways you can eat healthier for less money than you thought.

We’re always looking for easy ways to improve our health and nutrition. Here are five ways can we eat healthier without going to extremes.

It’s commonly accepted that some of the most common New Year’s Resolution are to loose weight and to get finances in order.

We’re hoping that this blog will inspire you on both fronts if you’ve made either of these resolutions this year. You can lose weight by eating healthier and you can eat healthier without spending a fortune! So let’s start eating healthier for less!

1) Eat Less Sugar

In 1822 the average American consumed 3285 grams of sugar each … Read more »

How to make the Best Budgets for Savvy Spending

Here are 3 types of budgets for Savvy Spending and awesome money planning!

We’ve discovered that there almost as many ways to budget as there are people talking about it. There are expensive systems, cheap systems, apps, websites and grandma’s system for budgeting. With so many choices, it’s hard to know which kind will be the best budget for you!

What Kind of Budgeting System will work best for you?

Lots of people talk about having a budget for their money.
Lots of people want to budget.
And lots of people start to budget . . . but then stop.

Watch the video below to here Steve & Annette explain the advantages and disadvantages to
the …
Read more »

50 Ways To Get an Awesome Workout—For Next to Nothing! Get Healthy & Stay Healthy

50 Ways to Get an Awesome Workout for no or low cost!

Get Healthy Stay Healthy for Less this Year!

We all know that to get healthy and to stay healthy, a regular exercise routine is a must. Our doctor’s recommend it, our friends encourage it, our government proclaims the necessity of it and of course thousands of health clubs, gyms and manufacturers of exercise equipment tout the benefits of regular exercise.

Exercising to stay healthy is not only good for us, but it is a HUGE part of our economy. The amount we spend at gyms and health clubs in the US is close to $22 billion (and only about 10% of the … Read more »

Six Obstacles to the Perfect Budget

Overcoming Six Obstacles to the Perfect Budget!

One of the top two New Year’s Resolutions is to get personal finances in order—to get out of debt or set up a budget.

But too often this resolution is made, and then quickly abandoned.

We’ve heard it, we’ve seen it, and we’ve helped many families to overcome it.

Any effort you make to manage your money will immediately start producing positive dividends.

We’ve created a four part series that covers the benefits and “How To’s” of setting up a realistic, workable and maintainable household budget.

The Four Different Blogs are Listed Here

Six obstacles to the perfect budget
How … Read more »

New Year’s Eve Party – Fun & Frugal!

New Year's Eve Party, Fun and Frugal Ideas.

We love ringing in the New Year with family and friends.

Years ago we started a family tradition of hosing a New Year’s Eve open house and it doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon. Even though our kids are grown, they love inviting their friends and helping put on a great event.

When the kids were younger we would invite several families whose kids were the same ages as our kids. Now, we just invite anyone who wants to come. We start at 6:30 and have several events planned that run throughout the night. We put the time and event on … Read more »

Tante Golde’s Potato Latkes   

Fried and Shredded potato latke on a white plate with green spinach leaves.

If you’re looking for a delicious, crispy and fun family meal addition, try these Potato Latkes. We found this recipe in a children’s holiday book and fell in love with it. We’ve often double the recipe in order to make a huge batch. This goes great with a pancake breakfast. This recipe is also a favorite among Jewish people as they celebrate Hanukkah.

Get the recipe here on our Veggie Recipe Super Page.

If you’re interested in the book … Read more »

Holiday Cheese Blintzes and Dessert Crepes – A family tradition!

Cheese blintzes covered with red strawberries and mint.

This family tradition started about 15 year ago when Steve had this wild idea to make cheese blintzes for a special Christmas family breakfast. He pulled out our Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, modified the recipe for our large crew, added a twist of his own creation and whipped up a batch of crepes and filling . . . the rest is history.

On that Christmas Eve he created a tradition that has endured and is always anticipated. And even now that our kids are grown, they still come back home looking forward to our Christmas morning tradition of cheese blintzes topped … Read more »

Simple Dough Ornaments

4 dough ornaments hanging by a red ribbon on a brown paper background.

These are extremely easy to make and are a great craft for younger kids to help with. Even our teens loved expressing their creativity in the painting and decorating of of these Christmas dough ornaments.

Dough Ornament Ingredients:

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tsp powdered Alum
1 ½ cups water

Get the rest of the directions for making Dough Ornaments here

Watch this Frugal Christmas Crafts interview.

In this Today Show Christmas appearance we share several inexpensive ways to make the holidays beautiful. Watch as Joe explains how much these Christmas Dough Ornaments cost.

Get Directions for other Crafts Here

If you want to get directions and … Read more »