31 July 2010

How To Do Just About Anything

I have found a useful website www.ehow.com This website gives information and opinions about many different issues, you just need to type in the key words e.g. how to make dishwasher powder, how to make powder laundry detergent, how to make liquid laundry detergent, how to make a cold frame etc., how to save money on children etc. They also have some Q & A that can be useful in sorting out problems.

Contributed by Cynthia

30 July 2010

Sunday Night Ritual Saves Money at Dinnertime

Approximate $ Savings: $40 per week

Menu planning saves me about $40 per week on groceries and even more on takeaway. I write out a plan of weekly meals on a Sunday night, checking what I have in the freezer and pantry whilst I go. This enables me to make use of what I have and saves on groceries as I usually only need to grab bread or milk through the week. By having a menu plan and making a habit of taking the meat out the night before I am rarely lazy enough to buy take away anymore. I can also mix the meals around if I did forget to take something out of the freezer.

Contributed by Dayna

29 July 2010

Salt Scrubs the Stains Away

Cups used for say milk drinks and then for black tea always stain. A wash using a pinch or two of salt with a wet cloth will shift the stains.

28 July 2010

The $16 Birthday Dinner

Yesterday my baby turned fifteen! Don't ask me how that is possible, I just don't know.  She wasn't even born when Disaster Struck and we started living the Cheapskates way.  And she was only six weeks old when I wrote my first Cheapskates newsletter!  She has grown up with Cheapskates, and really knows no other lifestyle.

She is growing up, she wanted money for her birthday rather than presents. Hmmm. I know she won't waste it, she's a Cheapskate through and through. But I was lost, not getting to plan and look for and choose a gift for her.

With that in mind I was determined to find the perfect birthday card for her. It took a while and I had to visit a few different card shops and newsagencies, but I found it. I had tears pouring down my face as I read it, so I knew it was the right card. After all, if a card doesn't make you laugh out loud it has to make you cry or it just doesn't make the grade.

Because it was her fifteenth birthday she was given the first part of a beautiful crazy tea set from her Granny and Grandad. She'll get a cup, saucer and plate set for each birthday until she's twenty-one. Then, to finish the set, Granny has chosen a cake plate, sugar and creamer to complete the set.  I think this present was her favourite. In fact I know it, she had me re-arranging the dresser at 7am yesterday morning to make room for it.

Hannah loves birthdays, they don't have to be her own, she just loves the presents and the cards and the cake and the special dinner. Because in our family, the birthday boy or girl gets to choose dinner. They can have whatever they like. It can be takeaway, or a restaurant or a special home cooked meal or a picnic or whatever they like.

Little Miss Frugal chose home cooked. Chicken, chips and gravy. With a chocolate birthday cake covered in sprinkles and Smarties for dessert.  So I roasted chicken pieces, made some homestyle oven chips and gravy from the pan juices, added a salad for those of us who believe in having at least one healthy option each meal and made a chocolate cake.  Total cost for this birthday dinner $16!  Gotta love a birthday girl with simple tastes :)

Our next birthday is Tom's in September - it's his eighteenth.  He still hasn't decided if he wants a party or not, if he doesn't hurry and make up his mind it will have been and gone.

Find savings in spending habits

These challenging economic times have forced our family to examine everything we spend to see where savings can be made. For instance:

1. Instead of buying meat from the supermarket every week, we're making a monthly trip to Victoria Market, about an hour before closing time, to snaffle the best bargains and the best quality meat.

2. Instead of buying coffee and a muffin every day, we're using the coffee machines at the office and baking our own muffins.

3. I carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go (it stays in the work fridge during the day), to avoid buying drinks as I wait for the trains.

4. Before leaving home for work, we turn all appliances off at the wall except for the fridge/freezer.

5. I avoid taking my purse with me if I'm going for a walk at lunchtime or popping out to a meeting - I can't be tempted to buy anything if I don't have any money orcards on me!

Challenge yourself to examine every way you spend money to find savings. As Cath says, we don't have to go without if we implement practical changes and plan ahead! :o)

Contributed by Kate Ashmore

27 July 2010

Corned Beef Pie

This was one of my favourite meals when I was growing up. Little did I know that it was made from leftovers.

3 – 4 cups of cold corned beef, diced
½ cup sliced green beans
½ cup corn
½ cup pickles
4 cups mashed potato
2tsp butter, melted

Mix diced corned beef, beans, corn and pickles. Place in a greased pie dish. Mash the potatoes but don't add milk or butter. Spread over the top of the mixture in the pie dish. Brush the top with melted butter. Cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for 20 minutes until potato is golden and it is warmed through.

26 July 2010

Try a UFO to find out if you like a new craft

When you want to try a new craft, but don't want to waste your money if you find it's not for you, look for an unfinished one and complete it.  You'll find tons of unfinished craft projects at garage sales and trash'n'treasure markets.  I've bought jewellery making kits, cross stitch kits, folk art projects and stamping materials that people have bought, started, and left. For just a couple of dollars you have a new craft to try and if it doesn't suit you haven't wasted a lot of money.

25 July 2010

Rust free garden tools

Keep your garden tools rust free by spraying with WD40 after cleaning them. Repeat periodically to keep them in tip top shape. 

24 July 2010

Start Cooking

Cooking at home has become the fastest growing activity in the country, thanks largely to Master Chef, but not everyone knows where to start. This is for all those budding Master Chefs out there who just don't have a clue, even after watching the Master Class segments faithfully.   Go to www.startcooking.com to learn the basics. The 'how to' videos are excellent and there is a large recipe collection, including quick and easy beginner dishes.  So now there's no excuse you can start cooking!

23 July 2010

Hooray - My veggies are going hairy!

The price of fresh fruit and vegetables has sky rocketed in the last few weeks. Lemons are 80c each! Cauliflower the size of a small saucer are $3 each! Apples are between $5 - $8 a kilo! Pumpkin is $1.25 a kilo, potatoes have been $1.66 a kilo - and that was on sale!

I think that by now every one who reads this blog, or the Cheapskates Club newsletter, or logs in to the Member's Centre would know that I love growing our own food. I grin from ear to ear with every turnip I pull, bunch of silverbeet or celery I cut and every cauliflower I blanch and freeze.

Growing our food saves us a fortune - easily $60 a week - and it means that we eat far better and a much wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables than we would if I had to buy them from the supermarket. Not only that, but they taste so much better. And they don't last forever either.

I thought it was just me, that the fruit and veg I was buying from the supermarket was lasting forever. Then I thought it was my Tupperware, doing an even better job than I thought possible. Until my friend Debbie mentioned the carrots that had been in a bag in the bottom of her fridge for over two months and they weren't even slightly limp or hairy. Ewww! What is with vegetables that last two months!

For the things I do have to buy, I try to buy as close as possible to the grower as I can. Thankfully we have two amazing orchards just five minutes away, so apples and pears are not only fresh, but cheap when they are in season. And we visit with friends in Mildura and come home with boxes of orchard fresh fruit.

I still have to buy some things. Potatoes and onions for instance. I have both planted but of course they're not ready yet. If I can't get them from the farmer, I go to the market. I just love going to the market. I drag my "granny trolley" behind me, filling it up with all sorts of yummy fruit and veg at rock bottom prices. I take my time picking and choosing, reading the cartons to see where everything has come from, and buying as close to the farm gate as possible.

Food doesn't often last long in our house, but I can tell you that when I find the occasional hairy carrot or zucchini I just add it to the Bokashi bucket and smile. There's no preservatives in the veggies I grow. They may not last for months, but they taste great.

Freeze the beasties

There is nothing quite as frustrating as find weevils in a packet of flour, pasta, rice and other dry goods.  They are often already in the packets when you pick them up off the supermarket shelf. To stop them in their tracks and keep the infestation out of your pantry, keep your dry goods in the freezer. This kills the eggs and weevils and breaks the breeding cycle. If you don't have freezer room for long term storage, freeze everything for at least five days before putting into the pantry.

22 July 2010

Keeping Cut Flowers

I love having flowers in the house and just lately I have had some beautiful bouquets given to me. Unfortunately, cut flowers don't last long unless you show them a little TLC. To make them last, cut off the ends of the stems, and add a dash of salt to the water to keep your flowers fresher longer. When your flowers start to droop, give them a second life by cutting the stems off near the blossoms and floating them in a bowl of warm water into which you have mixed a crushed aspirin tablet. It must be aspirin, not paracetamol.

21 July 2010

Do you pre-cycle?

We are all familiar with the concept of recycling - reusing items for other purposes rather than adding them to landfill.  But are you familiar with the concept of pre-cycling?  This is the idea of only buying something if you can recycle it when it's original purpose is complete.  An example of pre-cycling would be to buy concentrated products to save on packaging. Another example is taking green bags with you when you shop. Not only are you saying no to plastic bags, but you are recycling a bag you already have. When you pick up that packet of biscuits, think about the packaging - can it be used for another purpose or recycled? If it can't then you choose not to buy them. Obviously there will be times when pre-cycling is not practical. The trick is to limit the amount of non-recyclable items you buy by thinking ahead.

20 July 2010

Twice Cooked Veggie Quiche

This is the perfect dish for "clean out the fridge" day, the day before garbage day, or the day before shopping day, when you need to use up all those odd leftovers lurking in the fridge.

4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
425g can creamed corn
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
2 cups of chopped leftover vegetables - potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, pumpkin, carrot, cauliflower etc.


Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Butter a large quiche or pie dish. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, flour and salt. Stir in corn and grated cheese, add the chopped veggies and pour into buttered dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes until centre is firm. Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing to serve.

19 July 2010

Handy Jewellery Cleaner

Here's a nifty use for those tiny refresher towelettes  that come with some fast food meals. Use them to wipe over your jewellery. It will sparkle as though it has been professionally cleaned.

18 July 2010

Make a Cheapskates style frost cover

Those big striped bags from $2 shops make great frost covers for your precious plants. Simply cut a hole in the base of the bag, large enough to slip it over the plant. At night and when frosts are expected zip the bag up.  During the day, unzip, roll the sides down and let the sun shine in on the plant.  If you think the bag needs support, put a stake into the ground, next to the plant, and zip the bag up over it.  The plant will be safe from cold winter winds and those damaging frosts.

17 July 2010

Neat fishing bag

Keen fishermen often have more than one rod and the associated paraphernalia that goes with them. They can be awkward to carry so make fishing easier by using an old golf bag to hold the rods. The tackle can be carried in the pockets to keep everything together. You can go one step further and use a golf cart to carry the bag, and if you are clever you'll find one that converts to a stool so you'll have somewhere to sit too.  Look on Freecycle or keep an eye out at garage sales and you're sure to find one to suit your budget.

16 July 2010

Skip the egg wash

Instead of using an egg wash when crumbing sausages, rissoles and so on, try this instead.  Mix a tablespoon of custard powder into about a half cup of water to make a thin paste. Use this instead of beaten egg for dipping before crumbing. You can't taste the custard powder, the crumbs stick better and of course it is cheaper than using fresh eggs.

15 July 2010

Wipe it clean

Baby wipes come in very handy for baby, but they are also very handy around the house. They make quick cleaning easy and can be used to wipe over white good, light switches, walls, door knobs, remote controls etc. Keep a container in the cleaning cupboard for when those little cleaning jobs crop up.

14 July 2010

Never forget the details of an appliance purchase

When you buy a new appliance, write the date, the price and where you bought it from on the cover of the instruction manual. Then staple the warranty and receipt to the inside cover too and file it away. Then, if you ever need that information, you will have it. Always keep receipts, but write the details down too, as register and printed receipts often fade very quickly, making it hard to read the details.If you have work done on the item, staple the details to the instruction manual too, in case a follow-up is needed.

13 July 2010

Simple chocolate syrup

When you need chocolate syrup for ice-cream or a milk shake, try this simple homemade version.  To make half a cup of syrup, mix a quarter cup cocoa with half a cup of white sugar. Add one teaspoon vanilla extract and half a cup of milk and mix to a smooth paste. Cook over a low heat until sugar has dissolved and syrup has thickened, three or four minutes.  To use on ice-cream, let the syrup cool. Use it in milkshakes and on pancakes or waffles for a yummy treat.  Makes 200mls.

12 July 2010

Organize your craft supplies

Use an over-the-door hanging shoe organizer to organize  craft supplies. The pockets can hold paintbrushes, glues, markers and pens, fabric paints, scissors, etc. You'll save valuable storage space for other things, and be able to find supplies easily with just a glance. Plastic tackle box trays (with moveable dividers) to sort smaller craft supplies like beads, jewellery fittings, buttons, needles, etc. They can be found in the sporting goods department at Big W or Kmart and of course $2 shops. They look like embroidery cotton storage boxes, but have moveable dividers.

11 July 2010

Chocolate decadence

I have a lovely recipe for a simple chocolate sauce to replace the commercial ice-cream toppings you can buy at any supermarket. For a sauce so simple it is deliciously rich and smooth. And really, really cheap to make!

So, when Wayne asked for ice-cream and fruit for dessert tonight, I thought of the jug of chocolate sauce I had in the fridge.  We have just enjoyed homemade vanilla ice-cream with pears, topped with my yummy homemade chocolate sauce. It was divine! Not at all waistline friendly, but so worth it. And as we only have dessert once in a blue moon these days (is the moon blue tonight? I can't see it for the clouds) it was all the more special and a perfect end to a roast lamb dinner.

Marking territories

Don't throw out those orange and lemon peels, or the skins from juiced citrus. Place them in the areas around your home and garden that you would rather the neighbourhood cats not “mark” as their territory. Apparently they don't like the  lovely scent of citrus scent and it repels them.

10 July 2010

On your bike

It might be cold outside, but that's no excuse for  staying indoors. Rug up and go on a cycling adventure. Go to bikley.com and type your starting point into the search. Then choose a bike route to somewhere new and go exploring.

08 July 2010

Limit your spending power

Automated teller machines (ATMs) make getting cash very easy - which is very bad for your bottom line. Just take a look at your bank statements. See all those $40, $60, and $100 ATM withdrawals listed? Can you account for that cash? Probably not. So, make this the rule: Decide on a minimum amount of cash you need for a week. Withdraw that amount on Monday, and do not make another cash withdrawal until the following week. If something important comes up, wait twenty-four hours if possible. Chances are it won't be as important as you first thought. If it is then make sure you EFTPOS the exact amount needed and not a cent more.

Hide it before you can spend it

Out of sight is out of mind. When it comes to money, out of sight means in the bank. In sight eventually means out of your wallet. So get your money out of reach before you can spend it. This can easily be accomplished by having money deducted from your pay and deposited straight to your Peace of Mind or Emergency account.

07 July 2010

There's no such thing as stand-by in our house....

As soon as those words were out of my mouth I just knew they'd come back to bit me!  I said them in an interview for ACA yesterday (it aired last night http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=7928282) and as soon as the kids heard those words they started. Apparently I am always telling them to stand by for their washing to put away, or dinner, or for a chore that needs to be done or to take the rubbish out or the compost to the bucket or something.

So I apologise, there is such a thing as stand-by in our house.

It's just not connected to the electricity. The stand-by I was talking about was the one on our electric appliances. Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of being able to sit in my chair and change channels and turn the TV on and off. And I love that all I have to do is push start on the microwave, and that my computer wakes up when I move the mouse. But those little conveniences come at a rather hefty cost.

Apart from the fact that remote controls and stand-by mode have made me a tad lazy, the "off" position  isn't really off. It's just an alias -  a pretend "off" so we think it's really off and not using any power! I wonder if someone from Zenith Radio Corporation (credited with inventing the TV remote control back in the 1950's) colluded with someone from the power company to come up with the alias off on appliances. Funnily enough, the first TV remote control was called the Lazy Bones and sold like hotcakes.

Nowadays there is a whole generation that doesn't know that televisions can be turned off simply by pushing a button on the set.  Unfortunately they do understand that many of the appliances they use on a daily basis can only be fully functional by remote control.

The debate over how much power and money (if any) is saved by turning appliances off at the wall rages continually. From my own personal experience it makes a big difference. The trick in our house was getting everyone to join in.

Every morning along with "have you packed your lunch" I would say (actually I still say it) "have you turned the power point off" as the kids were ready to walk out the door.

Now they do it out of habit. And it has worked. The price of electricity has risen in the past twelve months, considerably, but the bill has dropped and our daily usage has dropped too.  And I don't need any other convincing. The proof is in our bank account.

Creative Doing is a Living Example of Cheapskating

Since becoming a member of the Cheapskates Club I have tried all sorts of things to convince my partner of the benefits of spending less. Alas, any hint of Cheapskating (like buying generic brands, shopping at Aldi, refusing to buy takeaway etc) seems to bring out the spendthrift in him. I have found that the best way to go about reducing our spending is to do so quietly, without making mention of it. For example using half the washing powder recommended (he doesn't even know how the washing machine works so this is easy), buying generic brands and quickly decanting them into storage containers, making takeaway type meals at home one night a week so we get our takeaway fix, packing lunch if we go out for the day, packing drinks if we only go out for a few hours, etc. It would be easier to achieve more savings if my partner was into the Cheapskates lifestyle as well. But just because he isn't, doesn't mean I have to give up on Cheapskating. It just means I need to be more "creative".

Contributed by Tania

06 July 2010

$2 Dinner Tuesday - Easy Chicken & Parmesan Risotto

50g unsalted butter 
1 large onion, finely chopped 
1 chicken breast fillets, cut into small dice
2 cups  arborio rice
1.5L chicken stock 
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
100g roasted capsicum, thickly sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Olive oil, to drizzle

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and place a 5-litre casserole dish in oven to heat.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the onion and sauté until soft. Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to colour, then add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to the boil, then pour everything into the pre-heated casserole dish. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and give everything a good stir, then cover again and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. By this time all liquid should have been absorbed. If it hasn't return to the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently stir through the parmesan, capsicum and basil, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and basil, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

05 July 2010

Old Fashioned Games

These are great for a really cold day, when kids can't play outside, or on those really long and boring wet days. Teach the kids to play marbles, jacks, dominoes, old maid, snap, draughts or charades - they love acting out the answers to this one. Drag out the board games and have a Monopoly marathon or a Scrabble-athon. Make up medals (out of coloured paper or card and ribbon) or have small prizes for the winners to make it even more fun. 

03 July 2010

Pay for Christmas with Leftover Grocery Money

Each time you shop at your regular store for groceries and you have extra grocery money left over save it until you have $10.00 and then buy a gift card. Keep saving these throughout the year and by the end of the year you will have extra $$$ to complete that additional christmas shopping.

Contributed by Karen, Marsden

02 July 2010

No More Nasty Nits

Head lice are always a problem in schools. One child gets it and they spread like wildfire. With school holidays here, now is the perfect time to get these nasty little critters under control. The Victorian Education Department suggests a chemical treatment that costs about $12.95 for a small bottle, and while it will rid your child’s hair of lice, the bottle carries a strong warning that it can only be used four times per year as it is toxic and dangerous. Yikes!

I prefer to take the advice of the federal Department of Health. It costs less and is much more child friendly. You just apply a very thick layer of conditioner over the child’s head and then cover it with a shower cap for one hour, effectively smothering the lice. Use a cheap, no frills conditioner (about $2 a litre). Rather than burning the scalp, your children will have lovely soft, nit and lice free hair. The conditioner makes combing the hair with the very fine toothed comb much easier and gentler too. Do this every day for five days to be sure you have removed all the nits.

Don't forget, to really eradicate this pest, treat the whole family, adults included.

01 July 2010

Easy Saving with a Family Piggy Bank

I am sure that most of us had piggy banks when we were young. Often our parents or some other thoughtful adult gave them to us as a way of teaching us how to save money. I was given a lovely pink piggy bank by the Bank of New South Wales (now known as Westpac) when I started school. Each week Mum would give me twenty cents and I'd drop it into the bank. I loved to listed to the tinkle of the coins.

When it was full, usually towards the end of the year, I was so excited to have a few dollars that seemingly came out of nowhere. We would empty the piggy bank and take half to the bank, where Mum would fill out a deposit slip and the teller would count the money and record the balance in my pink Disney bank book.  The rest I was allowed to spend on a book or toy, or something else that we wanted.

Our boys were (and still are) train mad and they had a cardboard XPT each that they would put their money in. Hannah has a lovely ceramic Jemima Puddleduck that she still uses for saving for special things. After Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing was published, I was given a gorgeous pink porcelain piggy bank - in the shape of the pig on the cover of the book! I love it, and it has pride of place on my desk. I drop the five cent coins out of my purse into it every now and then.

Sadly and all too often these days, when kids become adults, they forget about those savings lessons learned in their younger years from saving in a piggy bank.(if they were ever taught them). They spend every last cent out of each pay packet and end up without anything left over. These poor kids, or young adults really, are starting out with spending as their main habit, rather than saving.

Wouldn't it be great if we could save up some money to have fun with as easily as we did in our childhood?

Actually, there's no reason why we can't.  A family piggy bank works just as well as those piggy banks that we had as kids. And with the entire family chipping in their change, it can add up much faster than it would with just one child contributing.

Here are some tips for having a successful family piggy bank:

Get the family together and decide what you're going to do with the proceeds beforehand. Maybe everyone would like to go on a trip to Dream World, or perhaps a new home theatre is on your family's wish list. Talk it over, and take a vote if necessary. Having a concrete goal will help motivate everyone to pitch in as much as possible.

Find out how much money you need to make your goal happen and then find a nice, big piggy bank. Since you're saving up for something big, it's good to have a large container for the change so that you won't have to empty it so often. It's also a good idea to use a bank that allows you to remove the money without breaking it, because you may or may not have enough money to meet your goal with one filling. 

Keep the bank in a place where everyone in the family will see it often, and remind family members periodically to contribute. It's easy to forget about saving your change as time goes on, so take it upon yourself to make sure everyone is putting money in from time to time. We use a big gold piggy bank in the shape of a dollar sign. The kids gave it to me and it sits on my desk. Every night we all empty our change into it straight after dinner so it has become a part of our evening routine.

If everybody contributes regularly, the change will add up much faster than you think. In a few months, you may have enough to meet your goal. The family will get a special treat, and the kids will  have learned first-hand about how beneficial (and painless) saving money can be.

Christmas in July

July signals the Cheapskates Club's annual Christmas in July celebration. 

Actually, when you think about it, celebrating a traditional Christmas in July makes sense for Australians. It's easy to enjoy a hot roast and heavy pudding in mid-winter, when the wind is howling and temperatures are in the low teens.

But that's not what our Christmas in July is about. Instead, we take the opportunity to use July to prepare for the coming silly season, so that when December does roll around (and it will), we can relax and enjoy the spirit of the season.

As Cheapskates, we like to have a cash Christmas.  It's much nicer to own it when it happens, rather than in three years and four months when you've paid off the credit card! So, whether you're one of the born organized or one of the perpetually chaotic, now is a good time to start your Christmas prep. 

Take a few minutes with a pen and notebook to jot down your ideas of Christmas 2010. Set your budget, it's easier to do this now, before you are under pressure, than it will be in December. Make it realistic, it's easier to do that now too.  A rule of thumb is to ask yourself if Christmas was next week, how much could you afford to spend? Answer honestly, and amount becomes your Christmas budget.

Once you've figured out the budget, where is the money coming from? If your Peace of Mind account has Christmas covered, great. If it doesn't, or you haven't started a Peace of Mind account yet, don't fret. It might look  a little skimpy, but you still have time to find the cash you need for Christmas.

When it comes to sticking to your budget the longer you wait to get started, the harder it will be to stick to it.

There are some great tips in the Tip Store for Christmas budgeting.  You can do a DIY Christmas Club, either buying a gift card each week or banking a set amount into a Christmas account each week.  You can start buying and wrapping gifts now, marking them off as you get them so you are not shopping at peak silly season.  Do a stocktake of your Christmas supplies: gifts you already have in the Present Box, the cards, papers and ribbons in the Wrapping Box and your Christmas decorations.  Make a note of what you need so you will be ready to hit the pre-Christmas sales in September and October.

And don't forget our Christmas Countdown, starting on 1st October.  I'll have more about that later, and in the October Journal.

Over the next few weeks I'll share other ideas for Christmas in July, so that 2010 will be the best and cheapest Christmas ever.

Shop Discount Stores

Many times you can find specialty stores, especially online, that handle things like electronics in bulk. Their main goal is to provide discounted prices to consumers in a certain area. Be willing to take a look at a lesser known name as well. You can save serious money by not buying brand names. But, word to the wise here, make sure you do your research, especially when buying large ticket items. Sometimes buying a well known name may cost you more but will save you money in the long run by prevent frequent purchases and repairs.