Dressing Up for the Holidays for Less

Sparkly red and grey holiday blouses.

Everybody wants to look fantastic for the holidays, but how can you get a great look without spending great gobs of money. We’ll share how you can dress up for the holidays without spending a fortune.

Question About Holiday Clothing Expenses

I know that I’ll be invited to several holiday parties this season and will need to get dressed-up. I don’t have money for new clothes right now. I want to look good, but also want to break my credit-card habit. What should I do?

Less Stress for Holiday Clothing!

The holidays can be stressful, and wanting to look fantastic can be expensive . … Read more »

Is it better to give Presents or Cash to Kids?

Is it better to give Presents or Cash to kids at Christmas-time?

It’s an age old question – should we give our kids money for Christmas or should be just give them presents. You might be surprised on our advice to this family!

Question About the Holidays and Gift Giving for Kids

I have your three books and have read about the MoneySmart Kids System that teaches kids to manage their own money; I have a question regarding giving money for holidays (to your children). Do you give money to your children for holidays or do you have a rule to not give money?

Our Strategy for … Read more »

Light String Fix and Repair

Christmas lights on a white background with the words Light String Fix.

How a fun and frugal family fixes holiday light strings that won’t light, by using a very simple tool. No more frustration and no more dead strings of lights. Watch the video where Steve shows you how he fixes holiday light strings now. 

We put up our Christmas lights on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s been a family tradition for decades. We turn on Christmas music, pull out dozens of boxes full of decorations, ornaments and garlands, as well as the tree, several wreaths and a huge box full of green strings of lights.

Working Together

As the holiday music rings through the house, … Read more »

The Cat of Bubastes Audio Drama

The Cat of Bubastes Audio Drama CD Cover

We just listened to another great audio drama adapted from a short story written by G.A. Henty. It kept us on the edge of our seats as we drove and listened to it!

The Setting of the Cat of Bubastes

The Cat of Bubastes is a riveting story about a 15 year-old boy (Amuba) who is carried into slavery in ancient Egypt, around 1250 B.C. A kind Egyptian named Ameres purchases Amuba and his faithful servant Jethro. Ameres is in fact the High Priest of Osiris – a powerful, yet very fair-minded and kind man who has two children. Unknown to Ameres … Read more »

How to Cook a Turkey – New Video

A man carving a cooked turkey with a long, sharp knife and meat fork.

Over the past 32 years, Annette has cooked more than 120 turkeys. In this new video she shows you her “secret” process to defrost, stuff, sear and cook a delicious roasted turkey every time.

Cooking a turkey isn’t an overwhelming task if you follow these steps!

If you’d like the step-by-step written instructions, visit this page in our tips section

How to cook a turkey like a Pro!

A raw turkey defrosting in salt water bath in a black kitchen sink.


Thanksgiving Stock Ups!


It’s time to stock your pantry and freezer!

Grocery retailers will be featuring loss-leaders on many of the trimmings for your Thanksgiving meal, so keep your eyes peeled and when the price drops, stock up.

If you don’t have a stand alone freezer, this might be a good time to buy one. Our freezer has been one of the greatest money-saving tools we’ve ever bought. When our family was small (just one child) we bought our first 9-cubic-foot freezer, used, from a friend. We now have a 27-cubic-foot freezer that we use like a bank vault to store our valuable food deals … Read more »

A Year of Swagbucks – A Recap, Review and Bonuses

How we earn free gifts with Swagbucks - a great way to save money!

November marked our 14 month anniversary of using the Swagbucks website!

When we first joined we were skeptical. We’d signed up for other various online poll and shopping portals before. They promised cash rewards for taking surveys or a percentage back from purchases. The promised plenty, but delivered very little  . . . except frustration. We were disqualified from surveys, payments were never sent and the rebates that were promised never appeared.

In our year of testing Swagbucks, we’ve set up accounts for both Annette and Steve and we both have earned points called SB (Swagbucks). At the end of this blog we’ll give … Read more »

Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

Young girl dressed in pilgrim clothes holding an armful of green corn in the husks.

Thanksgiving is one of our most tradition-rich holiday and our kids always looked forward to it and here’s why . . .

Our Kids Are Involved with Thanksgiving Planning

The kids have such a good time that they don’t mind helping with the preparations starting several days before the celebration. They are involved in: planning the activities, cleaning the house, setting the tables, creating centerpieces and cooking the food.

Secret Pals for Thanksgiving

We start Thanksgiving week by reading Thanksgiving stories and drawing names of family members for Secret Pals. The object is to do special, kind things for … Read more »

Hosting a Potluck Thanksgiving – Pilgrim Style

Pilgrims sitting outside around a banquet table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Are you hosting or attending a large gathering for Thanksgiving. Here are lots of ways to save money and reduce stress when feeding a large group a Thanksgiving Dinner.

Just Do it Pilgrim Style!

Could you imagine hosting a dinner for 147 people? What would you prepare? What would it cost?

Hosting a successful dinner

There are so many details to hosting a successful dinner: Where will they sit; what time will you serve dinner; how much help will you need; how many days will it take you to prepare; and what about cleaning all of those dishes?

How Did the Pilgrims Celebrate Their First … Read more »

My First Thanksgiving and I’m on a Budget!

A Thanksgiving turkey candle holder with a lit candle in it.

I’m feeling overwhelmed with the thought of cooking a Thanksgiving Dinner for my Family!

Help! We’ve been married 4 years and this will be the first time I’m hosting Thanksgiving. We’ve got relatives coming from out of town. I’m panicked over the cost!

Don’t Fret over Thanksgiving Dinner Here are Some Easy Ways to Save!

We totally get that the thought of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for a whole family can be overwhelming and expensive. And the emotional toll of hosting parents or in-laws can really add to the stress. Just remember that they’ve all been where you are — preparing their first … Read more »

Pinecone Basket Firestarters – An Awesome, Frugal Gift Idea

Great craft - wax dipped pinecone firestarters video.

If you’re looking for a frugal and fun gift, this is an easy one. Pinecones can be found in virtually every climate. If you have old crayons, old broken candles and some baskets (from garage sales or thrift stores) and a few hours of time you can create some awesome gifts. 

Step by Step Video Below

Step by step instructions on how to make wax dipped pine cone fire starters. We’ve done this craft several times and they are a beautiful gift to give to a family that has a fireplace. The video covers: multiple ways to get wax, including old crayons; how … Read more »

A Great Personalized Gift Book for Your Kids or Grandkids!

A grandmother, mom and daughter reading My Heritage Book.

This book is a great, customized gift to help your kids and grandkids understand and appreciate their heritage.

This is so cool! This book is all about you and your ethnicity and traditions – what an awesome way to pass on your family’s history and values!

We believe that family roots and preserving a family heritage is critical to the success of families and of a nation. A native tongue is lost by the 3rd generation – so are cooking, sewing and frugality skills. Because of this commitment we are sharing a different kind of blog post today.

We believe that family roots and … Read more »

Ways to Save Money: Cost Cutting With Your Air Conditioning Unit

Did you know — Heating and cooling appliances are the largest energy guzzlers in the average home?

But the good news is, no matter what type of air conditioner you have — portable, window/wall units, split system or ducted reverse air conditioning — you can easily prevent it from snowballing your operational and maintenance costs with a few simple tips.

Buy smart

When buying an AC unit, bigger is not necessarily better. It’s important to match the power of a unit to the room size. Why? Because if an AC unit is too big for the room it is cooling, it will work … Read more »

Surviving Grocery Sticker Shock!

Grocery Store produce in wooden crates.

Leigh from Burlington NC asked about changes to our grocery budget.

Question: I have all three of your books, and in it you say that your grocery budget is around $350 per month. In recent interviews I have heard you all say that your budget has increased to $390 per month due to food costs. Would you mind detailing some of these changes in your budget?

Answer: When we walk into the grocery store these days, we’re hit by Grocery Sticker Shock! It’s hard to believe how expensive things are getting.

Our grocery budget when all five kids were at home was was $350 … Read more »

13 Fun and Inexpensive Halloween Party Games

A scarecrow, a jar of candy corn and a pumpkin shaped cookie.

Are you looking for some fun and inexpensive Halloween party games? We’ve assembled a great list to make your party a frugal and fun success.

Halloween and the Fall can make for some really fun party games. We know some people are squeamish about taking their kids out “Trick-or-Treating” so why not borrow some of these ideas. We’ve used variations of some of these for our kids birthday parties. They work great as carnival type booths or as party games for a small group of kids. Have fun and be creative – using pumpkins, scare crows fall leaves and other symbols … Read more »

Is Budgeting Better With Credit Cards?

A silver and blue visa credit card.

Question about budgeting using credit cards

I’m using your America’s Cheapest Family Budgeting System and love it. I really like how the budget system allows for a family to “save” in advance for purchases and designates money for different specific categories.  

Here’s my Budgeting Issue

We are not in debt. but we use our credit card for every purchase. And then we pay our credit card every month, completely. I know this is not the “norm” for most people.  We like this because we use fewer checks and we also receive cash back, which … Read more »

How to Make 10 Frugal Halloween Costumes

10 frugal and family friendly halloween costumes.

Have you thought about Halloween costumes for you or your kids yet? Does the cost of costumes scare the fun out of Halloween for your family?

Planning for Halloween Costumes Cuts the Cost

Halloween will be here before you know it. And costume-loving families know that putting together a unique and inexpensive costume takes some planning and some time. The earlier you start, the more complete and creative your outfit will be—plus you’ll have more time to find great deals. We know it may sound strange, but our kids would start talking their Halloween costumes during the summer. But starting now will … Read more »

Kids are too Expensive – We’re gonna Wait!

Two baby hands counting fingers.

Are you debating if it is too expensive to have kids these days?
Kerri’s story: How one reader grew up and was taught to manage money.

Question About the Cost of Having Kids: When I graduated from high school, I paid for my own auto insurance, graduation gown and class ring. My grandmother paid for my class picture. My graduation gift from my parents was a cell phone with a very limited plan because it was on my dad’s two year contact. After that I got my own cell phone contract.

My husband and I just got married a few months ago, we heard … Read more »

How to get Inexpensive Lunchmeat from a Shank Ham!

A shank ham on a cutting board.

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 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 7.5 … Read more »

Cutting the Cost of Cutting Glass

A glass cutter, cutting a piece of glass.

What would you do if the glass inside of a borrowed lantern was broken while you were using it?
Broken Glass

During the set up of our daughter Becky’s wedding reception one of the 12 borrowed lanterns used to decorate the stage, was dropped and 3 panes of glass were broken. We quickly picked up the broken pieces, borrowed a replacement lantern from our friend who loaned us the other lanterns and went on with the wedding reception. It was a glorious time.

In Search of Replacement Glass

A few days after the wedding, Steve decided to call Home Depot to … Read more »

5 Ways to Survive an Economic Downturn

An empty pink change purse.

If your income were to dramatically drop tomorrow, would you survive? We’re going to give you 5 ways to survive a personal economic downturn.

How are you doing Financially?

If you were to ask ten different people in your town, “How are you doing financially compared to last year,” you’d probably get several different answers. And if you asked ten different people across the country the same question, the variety would be even greater. It seems that no matter what the national economy is doing, there are always people who are experiencing plenty, lack and doldrums when it comes to their financial … Read more »

Saving Tips When You Shop Online

Whoever said shopping online is expensive in comparison to brick and mortar shops? The myth is that online shopping can have hidden costs. But the reality is that the prices can be pocket-friendly and sometimes inclusive of all costs, unless you are planning on sending gifts abroad. Add to that, discounted prices and special offers, and you will find yourself having a great and worry-free shopping experience.

Choose the right website to shop

You can get what you want within the price range that suits you. All you have to do is browse through the options available and you’ll eventually find an … Read more »

Choosing a Pet for your Kids

A girl hugging a dog and a cat.

Pet ownership in America is huge: approximately 70 million dogs and 80 millions cats. Of this number about 7.6 million of these pets find their way to one of 13,600 community based animal shelters each year, surrendered by their owners or lost as strays. Owning and caring for a pet is an important part of family life, and it should be a happy part. In this article we want to help you evaluate and select the right kind of pet for your family so that you and the pet can enjoy life together.

Pets Don’t Teach Responsibility

Pets are a great addition … Read more »

Creating Efficient Email Newsletters

Email @ sign painted on black garage door.

Email marketing tactics are becoming one of the most successful ways to strategize your company’s outreach to multiple consumers and markets. Check out how a doc 2 pdf converter can help you create streamlined and accessible newsletters that will garner more clicks and greater business!

Engage Your Audience

Your first step is to capture your audience’s attention so that they will want to click on your email newsletter and read more. With the onslaught of modern technology and advancements people have smaller attention spans than they used to have. That means that it is going to take a clever … Read more »

Why Buying in Bulk is Better

A candy store display full of colorful, sweet candy.

They say that “bigger is better.” How about buying bulk packages of your favorite candies and chocolates?

You Can Save Loads of Money

A company like Sweet Services offers great savings to clients who are looking to seriously satisfy their sweet tooth. Have you ever tried to stock up for the trick-or-treaters on Halloween? You end up buying bag after bag of candy, and those individual bags can really add up! Before you know it, you have spent hundreds of dollars on Halloween candy, and if you have kids, you might still need to purchase costumes for them. What … Read more »