Best Buys in January — Famous Frugalista Picks

Happy New Year to All! Wow! Weren’t the holidays great! It was so much fun to relax and take a few weeks off, but I’m back and ready to Save, Save, Save again.

How about you? Are you ready to learn more ways to “live high on the hog when you can’t afford bacon?” Even if you don’t have a fat wallet, you can still live pretty darn well — if you know how to find the best bargains.  As The Famous Frugalista, I’ve made it my mission to share tons of ways for you to live well and enjoy abundance in your life —  and NOT destroy your budget at the same time, so c’mon, Cupcake — let’s save some dough.

This month you can grab some great bargains on the obvious things like Christmas decorations, cards, wrapping paper, and ribbons. Stores want those seasonal items out, out, out and off the shelves so they’ve got room for all the new goodies they want you to spend your money on. And of course, there’s the traditional “white sales” on bedding, towels, and linens. If you need sheets or a new comforter, now’s the time to get a real deal.

Retailers are gearing up to bring in the newest spring fashions too, so if you’re still feeling like Frosty the Snowman without a warm coat, check out the clearance racks for jackets, winter gloves, hats, and scarves. Warm up and save, Sweet Pea!

Let’s talk about some of the not-so-obvious, super-duper deals you can latch onto this month.  Maybe you’ve been drooling over a new motorcycle, dreamin’ of how cool you’ll look toodlin’ down the highway? Here’s a news flash. . . There’s no stampede heading for your local motorcycle dealer right now. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s c-o-l-d outside! And that means you’ve got a lot of bargaining power because dealers aren’t selling many bikes this month. If a new motorcycyle is your heart’s desire, better boogie on in during January to negotiate a sweet deal.

OK, maybe a shiny new motorcycle isn’t your cup of tea. What you really want is a comfy new couch. That old lumpy number with the worn upholstery, stains where the dog upchucked, and squashed cushions has got to go. Now’s the time to rev up your furniture shopping engines.

furniture store display

Image via Wikipedia

The new furniture lines are introduced in February and March at the big trade shows and again in the summer. Here’s what happens. (I know, I managed a furniture store for years). Retailers hit those trade shows, get all jazzed up about the latest and greatest new styles of couches, love seats, tables and so on. They go into buying mode, or frenzy as the case may be, and it’s easy for those orders to mount up fast. The total can be in the thousands and thousands of dollars.

And then what happens?

more furniture...

Image by 2fs via Flickr

They get back home and realize there’s not enough room on the showroom floor for all those brand, spankin’ new pieces! LAST YEAR’S MODELS HAVE GOT TO GO, so you’re in a great position this winter to spruce up your house and save some major moola on new furniture. Retailers will wheel and deal to make floor space because they’re in a bit of a bind right now.  And Darlin’, you can probably negotiate a terrific package deal during January and February if you’re in the market for more than just one piece of furniture. Give it a whirl.

Now I know that not everyone’s in the market for big ticket items, so how about saving a few shimoleons on gift cards that you can use now or later?  Gift card exchanges have popped up like the weeds in my garden after a rain. It’s a way for people to sell their unwanted gift cards (did you get some of those yourself?) and a way for you to buy ’em at a discount.

English: Assortment of gift cards

Image via Wikipedia

Everybody wins. Do yourself a favor and check more than one site to find the best prices. Here are a few sites to explore:

Plastic Jungle

Gift Card Castle

Gift Card Granny

Card Hub

Look for more Famous Frugalistic tips on January Best Buys in my next post. Lots more ways to save comin’ up. . so stick around.

Just so you know, I don’t make money by pointing you to suggested sites.  I’m just giving you some places to check out so you can save a few bucks.

I’d love to have your feedback on my money-saving tips. Did they work for you? Have you got some ideas to share? Are you looking to save money on a particular item? Let me know and I’ll try to help you find the best deals.

© The Famous Frugalista 2012

DIY Girlfriends Spa Day – One Fabulous Gift!

Holy Cow! Christmas is just a few days away. How the heck did it get here so darn fast? And you still haven’t found that perfect gift for your best gal pals!

What’s a Frugalista to do? I’ve got you covered, Cupcake. . . Give your friends a Girlfriends Spa Day. . .  I know, I know. You’re thinking,  “Has the Famous Frugalista lost her freakin’ mind? That’s way out of my price range.”

Stop stressing and take a deep breath! My Spa Day Plan is simple, fun, and best of all, you can put it together in a jiffy on a bargain basement budget. Bet I’ve got your attention now. . .

All you need are some of my DIY spa recipes, a cute coupon you make yourself, and an afternoon set aside just for you and your friends. After all the hustle and bustle and stress of the holidays, a gift of relaxation and pampering . . . What’s not to love?

Fancy spas specialize in pampering their guests and that’s just what you’re going to do. To set the stage for your Spa Day, brew up some delicious herbal tea and whip up a platter of hors d’oeuvres. Or pour glasses of sparkling cider or wine or champagne if you’re in the mood to splurge.  (Remember, best prices on champagne are usually just before New Year’s Eve.) How about some chocolate-dipped strawberries? Or rich, decadent cookies to go with your beverage of choice?

Being the smart cookie that you are, you’re not only going to put a fabulous Spa Day together without emptying your wallet, you’re going make it easy on yourself too. After all, you want to enjoy the day right along with your gal pals.

Don’t worry about gathering up a bunch of robes and slippers. No need. Just ask your friends bring their own robes along. Trust me, they won’t mind a bit! Then all you have to do is mix up my super-simple spa recipes, put out some fluffy towels, a little food and drink —  and you’re ready to R-E-L-A-X.

Want to make it even more spa-like? Put some relaxing background music in the CD player, light a few candles, and serve the food and drinks on your best dishes. That’s right!

NO paper plates and stryofoam cups allowed, Pumpkin! Make it an elegant and oh so special event. You may be saving money, but there’s no reason to look cheap, so don’t even think about going there.

Here are three super-easy facial recipes you can make up in minutes. And Darlin’, there’s not a single harmful chemical in them either. Who needs all those added pesticides, preservatives, and toxins?

Yogurt, Oatmeal, and Honey Mask

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (room temperature) with 1 tablespoon finely ground oatmeal (toss it in the blender or food processor if you’ve got one) and a teaspoon of honey. Blend well. This recipe is for one facial mask, but it’s easy to make up as many as you need. And you don’t need a degree in calculus to figure it out.

Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Use warm water and a washcloth to rinse it off.

Oily Skin Citrus Facial

Blend 1 teaspoon orange juice or lemon juice with 2 teaspoons honey and half a cup of plain yogurt, room temperature. Slather the mixture on and let it dry. Rinse off with warm water.

Dry Skin Avocado and Honey Facial

Mash half a ripe avocado in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup honey and mix well. Smooth on to your skin and leave the mask on for 10 minutes. Use a wash cloth and cool water to remove.

Need a moisturizer? Smooth on a dab of plain olive oil. Works for all skin types. Now that your face is looking great, it’s time for a luxurious hand, foot, and leg treatment:

 Honey, Oatmeal, and Aloe Vera Scrub

Most of the ingredients for this recipe come right from your kitchen cabinet. For each scrub, you’ll need:

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons aloe vera gel

2 tablespoons oatmeal (To get the right consistency, grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender. It should be kind of like sand.)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Mix it all up until it looks like a paste. Then, just splash some warm water on your feet, legs, and hands and massage the paste on using circular movements. Rinse off with warm water, towel dry, and apply a bit of olive oil to your skin.

Oooooh, doesn’t your skin feel amazing? Did I just hear a great big “Aaaahhh?”

Now it’s time to pour the drinks, munch on those goodies, and enjoy a gab-fest and some giggles with your girlfriends. And Sweet Pea, your Spa Day will be talked about for weeks to come as the best gift ever! So what are you waiting for? Get busy and make up some coupons for Christmas!

Want to add even spa treatments to your line up? Check out these articles.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

The Famous Frugalista Find of the Week — Dining Out on a Dime

When you’re making every dollar stretch ’til it begs for mercy, going out to eat seems like an unaffordable extravagance. Especially during the holidays when you’re trying to pay the bills, buy gifts, and maybe put together a big dinner for family and friends besides. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching! Who’s got anything extra to spend on restaurant meals? (OK, maybe fast food once in a while, but not a real sit-down, served by a waiter, kind of meal.)

I’m always on the lookout for a good deal that helps us hold on to a middle-class lifestyle, even on a skinny little budget. Listen, Cupcake, you don’t have to give up those restaurant meals completely. You can still eat out and save, save, save at the same time!! And you know me, I’m all for saving some serious cash. They don’t call me The Famous Frugalista for nothing, ya know!

Want in on the secret? Of course you do! Just go to and select your state. Up pops a list of cities where you can find some sweet discounts. You can purchase a gift card online with NO fees and NO expiration date. I love that!  A $25 card for $10, all the way up to a $100 card for $40.  Whacking 60 bucks off a nice dinner out — Woo Hoo! Now that’s what I call the Frugalista Way!

Image by FunnyBiz via Flickr

Check out the list of restaurants in your area, pick out your favorite, and use your discount card when you pay the bill.

Until December 25, there’s a special promo going on — a $25 gift certificate for just $1. You read that right — just one little ol’ simoleon! The catch is that only certain restaurants are honoring this deal. Check the web site to find out if there are any in your area and cash in. I’m all over this deal, Sweetie Pie!

Want more goodies? Check out for daily deals like 2 dinners and 2 movie tickets for $25.

And Darlin’, how would you like to give a FREE $10 eCard to a friend, a family member, or just as a random act of kindness? You can send up to 40 a day through December 25, so now’s the time to jump on this special promotion.  Sound too good to be true? I thought so too, but it’s for real.

It’s part of the Feed It Forward program. All you have to do is create a free account, then follow the step-by-step directions for sending out those $10 eCards. So easy to use and it won’t cost you one red cent. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas . . . Ho, Ho, Ho!

English: Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, &q...

Image via Wikipedia

I think Santa Claus just pulled up in his sleigh.

Just so you know, I don’t receive any money, discount cards, or anything else from I’m  passing along the savings info, in case you want to give it a try. If you do, I’d really appreciate it if you’d take a minute to let me know how the gift cards or the Feed It Forward program worked out for you.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

A Christmas Wish

I ran across a wonderful quote the other day and wanted to share it with you. It seems especially fitting at this time of year. . .and just think how we could change the world if we kept this in mind in the coming year.

There’s no money involved. No budgets. No coupons to cut out. No Internet searches for the best deals. Each of these suggestions is absolutely free, but could make such an incredible difference to someone in your life. Try them yourself and see what happens . . .


To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.

– Oren Arnold

May your Christmas be filled with love, peace, and much happiness. I wish you prosperity, good health and much joy in the New Year.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

Best Buys in December

Well, Darlin’, I know you’re gearing up for the holidays just like me. And finding all sorts of ways to dazzle your family and friends with extra-special hand-crafted gifts, the kind that don’t cost a small fortune to give. (Stuck for ideas? Be sure to check out my earlier Famous Frugalista blog posts for super gift ideas.)

While I love those home-made gifts just as much as you do, there are some things that are just too dang hard to make yourself.  I mean, really, when’s the last time you tried to build your own microwave, for heaven’s sake? Sometimes there’s no choice but to shell out the cash for what you need.

The good news is that December is a “Best Time to Buy” month for plenty of items. Make that list, check it twice, then shop around and keep your eyes peeled for bargains, Cupcake!

Here’s a quick list of goodies that you won’t have to pay full price for this month:


Toys (Some insist the week before Christmas is when you’ll find the biggest discounts. Others say in the first couple of weeks of the month. Either way — you’ll get some deals. Retailers want to move ’em out NOW.)

Cookware — gifts or for your own needs  

• Tools — and here’s a website,, to check for bargains on hand tools, power tools, even air tools and accessories for all sorts. And my favorite — clearance items.  It’s a treasure hunt and you never know what you’ll find. Woo Hoo! I love a great deal!

 • Blu-ray movies 


• Champagne — Watch for bargains in the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve and ring in 2012 with a glass of the bubbly.

Cars — If you’re in the market for a new car, this month is the time to scope out the best deals. Why? Dealers don’t want to have “leftover inventory” (2011 model year vehicles) on their lots come Jan. 1. Manufacturers are offering year-end dealer incentives and sales people are scrambling to meet their yearly sales quotas. Dealers and their sales staff have bills to pay, just like you, so they’re a lot more willing to wheel and deal right now. And this means price cuts and better deals for you!

Here’s a tip I got straight from a retired car salesman. If you want the biggest discount, the best days to shop are December 21, 24, 28 and 31. And take delivery off the lot, instead of doing a special order.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

Do-It-Yourself Kahlua

Bottles of Kahlúa photographed with a Canon Po...

Image via Wikipedia

Mmmmmm! One of my favorite little treats is sipping an after-dinner coffee with a dash of Kahlua added. Or maybe a bit of that yummy coffee liqueur served ice cold with some heavy cream floating on top. Yeah, totally decadent, I know.

When money’s tight, those lovely little extra treats have to go, right? After all, a bottle of Kahlua costs about $25.00 and that kind of splurge isn’t in the budget, especially right now when I’m thinking more about Christmas, paying the heating bill, and buying new tires for the car.

WRONG! I’m The Famous Frugalista and I know how to cut corners without cutting out every cotton-pickin’ little goodie in life. Not to worry, Cupcake. You can make your own liqueur on the cheap! (I don’t think you’ll be able to tell the difference between your own homemade cordials and the expensive stuff.)

And I’m not talking about hiding a still out in the bushes in your backyard either, Darlin’! It’s perfectly legal to craft a little homemade hooch for your personal use and enjoyment. But don’t you even think about selling barrels of it to your friends and neighbors or you’ll be in the slammer quicker than you can say “Revenuer”.

Here’s a quick and super-easy recipe for Do It Yourself Kahlua:

• 3 cups white sugar

• 3 cups water

• 10 tsp. instant coffee (not the freeze dried kind)

• 1 quart vodka (I bought the cheapest brand available and the Kahlua turned out great)

• 6 tsp vanilla

Here’s how to mix it all up:

Put the instant coffee, water, and sugar in a large pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down and let the liquid simmer for an hour, uncovered. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. I put mine in the refrigerator overnight. A sort of “skin” will form on top. You can remove it by laying plastic wrap right on top and just lifting that “skin” off.

Next, pour in the vodka and add the vanilla. Mix thoroughly. (The liquid will be slightly thick.) Use a funnel to pour your homemade liqueur into clean, dark bottles (like used wine bottles) and cork ’em up. Store in a cool place.

You can drink this right away and it’s delicious, but if you’ve got a little more patience and let it age for a few weeks, it’s even better.

Just so you know, I doubled the recipe so I could give a couple of bottles as gifts. Doubling it makes just a bit more than 4 wine bottles full of Kahlua and it cost me less than $15.00 to make. Makes an elegant Christmas gift for your liqueur-lovin’ friends.

Coffee cup

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

Looking for some other ways to enjoy your Kahlua? Check out the links below for some mouth-watering recipes.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

Save Some Moola With Free Christmas eCards

American card, circa 1940

Image via Wikipedia

Ho, Ho, Ho! Ready or not  . . .  It’s time to get those Christmas cards ready to mail — or email, as the case may be.

I know, I know — some of us are purists who insist that it’s not really a card unless it arrives in your mailbox, you rip open the envelope, and prop it up on the mantle.

But don’t you worry, don’t you cry, Sweet Pea, in the next week or so I’ll be sharing some places to get great deals on “real” Christmas cards and some super-cute ones that you can make in just a few minutes.

Let’s face it though, Darlin’, this IS the Electronic Age and gazillions of people are using email instead of snail mail to send holiday greetings to everyone they know. Two big reasons:

1) eCards are FREE (at least the sites I found for you are)

2) you can whip through that Christmas list quicker ‘n you can whistle “Jingle Bells”

Ready to start browsing through the selections? Lots of traditional styles, along with some that should make even Ebenezer Scrooge smile, religious ones, and a few that will just make you go “Aaawwww.”

Christmas cards with angels, scandinavian “nis...

Image via Wikipedia – Hundreds of free cards to choose from and you’re not limited to just Christmas at this site. You’re going to see pop-up ads for the site sponsors from time to time on either side of the page. (Yep, they’re kind of annoying but it’s easy to close ’em up. Just click and they disappear.)

It’s the season to give to your favorite charities, right? And I know you’re a generous soul but on livin’ on a shoestring budget makes giving kind of tough. Here’s a totally painless (as in, “This won’t cost you one red cent”) way to give to charity and send out some cute eCards at the same time. Here’s how it works. When you send a FREE Care 2 eCard, it generates a donation to a good cause.  Check out the list at the bottom of the site to see the causes supported. There are over 25,000 eCards to choose from for all occasions too. Now how’s that for a win-win, Pumpkin?

Still haven’t found that perfect card for Great Uncle Harry or your new niece-in-law? Take a gander at egreetings.  You can make someone’s day without spending a dime. . . and it’s not just for Christmas either.

Rust Craft, circa 1950

Image via Wikipedia

How about Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, April Fool’s Day, even — are you ready for this? — Black Friday. What? You need a card to tell you to go out and shop, shop, shop? Lots of nice Christmas cards here too. And some are available in French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Now you can send greetings to all your BFFs around the world.

Got someone on your list who’d get a big kick out of a card that’s just a little goofy? Try Funny Ecards. To be honest, I doubt if they’re exactly right for your Aunt Millie, but then who knows? She might get a big belly laugh out of them.

If you use one of these sites, please let me know if you liked their service. I’m not affiliated with them in any way. In other words, Cupcake, they’re not sending me boatloads of cash for recommending them. It would be nice, but they’re not. I’m just passing the word along about them because as The Famous Frugalista I’m all about helping YOU save money. Yep, it’s all about livin’ high on the hog when you can’t afford bacon.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011