Saturday, July 11, 2009

Deal of the Day: Clearance Sale at Smith and Hawken

Calling all gardeners! Smith and Hawken is closing all of its retail stores after 30 years in business. All stores are currently open and merchandise is priced to go. Check their website for a location near you. is also showing some deep discounts on their Smith and Hawken items like the outdoor bar chairs pictured above. Two chairs for $110, plus you can score an additional 15% off any online order over $125. Eating dinner on the patio is looking better already.

Cheap and Cheerful Chatter: Menu Planning Ideas from our Faithful Readers

Three of our faithful readers shared some super menu planning and grocery list organization tips. All three ideas will save your sanity and add to your savings.

Dianna wrote, "I was frustrated with meal planning, looking through my cookbooks week after week to plan the grocery list/dinners for the week so I decided to take index cards and as I went through every one of my cookbooks. Then on the index card, I wrote the recipe name, cookbook name, and page number, and category (chicken, pasta, fish, meat, pork, soup, etc). I then sorted all the index cards by type and when I go to the grocery store, I just go through the index box, grab a few cards in different categories, look up the recipes and make my grocery list. It makes it a lot easier than going through cookbooks week after week, and varies dinners a bunch."

Ashleigh shared, "1) has a pad of paper with perforated grocery list on right hand side, and Mon-Sun list on left. I have been using this to meal plan for at least 5 years. 2) Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely is a cookbook with fairly easy, seasonal, totally nutritious but not like all straight from the CSA strange ingredients, and is organized by season and by weeks in each season. It then has a grocery list at the end of each week one may copy. 3) This along with 2 new recipes from Martha Stewart's Everyday food each week will both keep you inspired without being tired, keep the family eating well and not turning down the food, and can you believe it- is actually economical. Then go to the store very Monday and Friday rain or shine, holiday or not and I promise, you'll be a less-stressed mama with a few extra dollars for that new shirt you want but don't know it yet!!

Last, but not least, Sheila suggested, "I picked up a cookbook a couple of years ago called Cheap, Fast, and Good (published in 2005) by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross. They write the Desperation Dinners column that some newspapers carry and I think they have a couple of other cookbooks by the same name. They have some pretty good suggestions for saving at the grocery store and a bunch of recipes that are really geared towards families. The recipes are really straightforward and use mostly common ingredients and they're also healthy for the most part. It's pretty good for simple, every day cooking. Also, it's fun to read! Check it out!

Thank you for these super ideas!

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What are your menu planning strategies? How do you attack your grocery list?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Deal of the Day: Free Portrait Package from The Picture People

The Picture People is offering 1 Free 8x10, 2 Free 5x7, and 8 Free Wallets of the same pose. This is a super deal -- Each sheet of prints normally costs $18. No sitting fee and hours from 10 - 8 at a mall near you. If you need some posed photos of your pint sized cutie or of the entire family, now might be the time. I've never seen a deal this good! Leave a comment and I can forward you the online coupon if you can't find it in cyberspace. Say cheese!

Favorite Things: Martha Stewart Flowers

I love having fresh flowers around the house. Usually I just pick up a bunch at the grocery store or Farmer's Market and arrange them in a simple vase. But when I need to send flowers to a friend, I order online. 1800Flowers has a Martha Stewart line that offers classic flowers at competitive prices. These roses are stunning and are also on sale this week. Martha's collection includes hydrangeas and lilies which aren't always easy to find for delivery. 1800Flowers also offers gift baskets with fruit, wine, and cookies if you need an extra sweet treat. Flowers and cookies? A perfect "I Love You" combination.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Favorite Things: Squares of Flair

Are you looking for a fun party favor? A gift for a friend? A treat for yourself? The jewelry on Squares of Flair is colorful, creative, and fun. Made with recycled scrabble tiles, you can find one with your initial or even get one with a photo of a loved one. There are also bookmarks and cuff links if you are shopping for the man in your life. These adorable items are all made with care by a college friend and her tween-aged daughter. Check it out -- I know Squares of Flair will become a favorite thing for you as well! Happy Shopping.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Man: Ten Treats Under $10 for your Honey

I'm getting ready to celebrate my tenth wedding anniversary on Friday! In honor of this milestone, I present ten treats for any man in your life ... and they are all under $10. Your man will appreciate the "cheap and cheerful" gifts as well as the extra money in the budget. (Well, at least I know my man will!)

1. Thin stripe tee from Old Navy for $9.99. Perfect for a little stroll in the sun with your sweetie.

2. A year of GQ for only $7.oo, with the Amazon $5 instant rebate on the $12.oo subcription price. Perhaps he can get some fashion advice he might listen to?

3. He's bound to love some new barware like these sleek coolers and double-old fashioneds from CB2 -- less than $2 and $1 each!

4. Grown men should not wear rubber flip flops. Outfit your babe in these from J. Crew for just $9.99.

5. Snag this swimsuit for your man for only $7.99 from Lands End.

6. Plan a steak night and splurge on this gourmet grilling sauce. Only $6.95.

7. Help your man break away from the Edge Gel he's currently shaving with by getting him some of this sweet smelling cream. It's 100% organic and just $5.99.

8. Turn a black and white artsy photo into some manly stationery with Shutterfly's photo note cards. You get a set of 12 with envelopes for $9.99. (He can use one to write you a love note!)

9. A dozen cookies from his favorite bakery. Our neighborhood bakery sells super cookies for $.85 so this treat comes in just under $10 if you live near me!

10. If your honey is a little clumsy (nothing wrong with that!), he might appreciate this case for his iPhone or iPod Touch. It is offered for $9.95 at this site.

Bottom line: It's the thought that counts. Go ahead and treat the man in your life to something he'd really like, even if it isn't a great bargain. He deserves it!

Favorite Things: Dwell Studio Linens from Target

We've been on the lookout for new bedding for our daughter's room. I want something that she will think is cute and fun but that isn't from the Disney Princess line. While there is nothing wrong with those clever princesses, I think a room theme that can grow with your child is a better investment. Dwell Studio, sold at Target, has some great designs for both boys and girls and the price is right! After all, you don't want to blow your month's investment in her college fund on a comforter. The set pictured above is $39.99 for a twin set and $59.99 for a full/queen.
There are even coordinating polka dot sheets! Do cute sheets guarantee a good night's sleep? Now that might be worth paying extra for ...

Savvy Shopper: cashmere in July?

I am clearly the silent partner/blogger here -- Jen rocks, right? Never fear, dear readers -- I am alive and well and ready for action. The biggest and best fall sale of the year is here! Yes, you read it right. Anniversary Sale at Nordstrom (did you expect me to write about another store?) starts 7/17/2009 at 7am. Before you rush out the door, credit card in hand, and buy a bunch of stuff that is not you, does not fit, and that you won't love when it actually comes time to wear it....stay tuned and I will guide you through the wardrobe transistion from summer to fall. Yes, ladies.....those flip flops (as much as we all love them) will eventually have to be replaced.....but we have time and lots of room to blog about it.

Before we begin our Cheap and Cheerful (or in this case inexpensive yet fashionable) foray into fall fashion, I would love to get some questions from our followers or some ideas about what to focus the five pieces everyone should have....or what not to get the idea!

Let me know what your fashion needs are -- no matter the season -- and we will all be looking sassy and saving $$$.

Deal of the Day: Cozy cashmere sweater

Restoration Hardware Baby and Child is having a huge summer sale. This tiny cashmere sweater caught my eye. How cute is the monogram? And while $89 would be a bit much to pay for a sweater that might instantly attract spit-up, the $29.99 sale price is a steal! This tiny tog comes in ivory, petal, and chocolate. Monogramming is just $6 extra.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grocery Game: Shop Your Pantry

At Cheap and Cheerful, the goal is to spend $100 a week or less on groceries. One easy exercise to increase your grocery savings is to create an entire week's menu based on what you already have in your pantry. As you shop your pantry, your grocery bill goes down as you put to use items you've still got at home from others weeks when you still spent $100 or less at the store. This week, I cut $48 off my usual weekly total. Here's what I already had on hand:
unopened ball of mozzarella cheese
cans of tomato sauce and tomato paste
garlic and other spices
fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden
flour, salt, and yeast
frozen grean beans
refried beans
frozen chicken breasts
BBQ sauce
turkey sausages
hot dog buns
So, I purchased pepperoni, tortillas, cheddar cheese, corn-on-the-cob, apples, bananas, and watermelon. We'll have the following dinners this week: homemade pizzas with various toppings, linguine with pesto and grape tomatoes, grilled sausages, and burritos. We've got some frozen veggies in the freezer to use up and we will also have fruit with our meals. I even stocked up on ziploc bags, Cascade, and got a cake mix and icing for a little celebration on Friday. And I spent only $52 dollars this week at the store! Cha-ching!
Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: Tell us about some meals that you have created as you shopped your pantry!

Deal of the Day: Adorable art smock

I love watching my kids paint but I don't love the mess on their clothes. These adorable art smocks from Land of Nod would certainly help keep their shorts and tees paint free. On sale for $16 and with free shipping, they are another under $20 find.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Deal of the Day: Gotta have a green bangle

My son is obsessed with the color green at the moment. Luckily, he has an Irish mother who thinks green is pretty special too! His love of this lucky color led to today's Deal of the Day -- a pretty green bangle from Red Envelope. For only $11.99, you can add a pop of color to your little black dress. And items from Red Envelope usually come wrapped in an adorable red box with a white bow so this item could make a Cheap and Cheerful gift as well!

Cheap and Cheerful Chatter: A game with a peel

Cheap and Cheerful reader Margaret from San Diego wrote in to recommend a fun game for the entire family. She said: "Banagrams can be played by anyone who can spell, requires little space, and comes in a cute portable case! Much cheaper than a night out at the movies, you can pop some popcorn and play this fun, yet educational game for hours!" We can't wait to check it out.
It retails on for $13.55.

Favorite Things: Little Linen Dress

A classic linen dress can last you several summers. J. Crew has a style to please lots of people on sale for just $49. Cute enough for a night on the town but also perfect for the park, this dress comes in four cute colors. It might be hard to choose just one!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Deal of the Day: Land's End Beach Towel

With the 4th of July behind us, it is time to start picking up some deals on summertime essentials. Land's End beach towels can't be beat. They are generously sized, super absorbent, and colorfast. At $12.00, it is truly time to stock up!

Also, you can get it mongrammed with your favorite swimmer's name or initials for a great under $20 gift.

Land's End often offers Free Shipping, with no minimum purchase, so check online for codes before you buy.


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