Thursday, January 29, 2009

Free Dr Pepper and Kraft Coupons

Here’s a few great freebies for today:

Free 2 liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, click

Free $15 Kraft products coupons, by playing the Kraft Instant Win Game, click
HERE. I won on my first try. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

7 Meals for 7 Dollars

Judging by the title of this post, you’re probably expecting me to offer advice on how to make 7 meals for $7 EACH. Not so. Today I’m going to show you how to make 7 meals for $7 TOTAL. To be precise, we will make all 7 meals based on the price of the main ingredient – a $7 ham. The remaining ingredients will not be figured into the cost, as most are pantry staples, and should only add to the total cost slightly (…ok, ok…if you want full disclosure: “7 Meals for $10”???...or perhaps we could call it “7 Meals from a $7 Ham”). Anyway…on with the meals.

The Main Ingredient: I purchased my ham last week from Aldi’s. It’s a 6.5 pound bone-in butt portion ham which was priced at $1.19/lb. This was the first ham I have ever bought from Aldi’s, but after receiving several recommendations over the holidays, I decided to give it a try. (As a side note, tune in next week for my upcoming post “Why I Love Aldi’s” to learn how to get double your money back with their satisfaction guarantee.)

  • Meal #1: This one won’t be a shocker. The first meal is…ham. The Aldi’s ham came “Ready to Cook” which means you do have to bake it first (as opposed to “Ready to Eat” hams). For our first meal, I simply baked the ham, and served it sliced with mashed potatoes and corn on the side.

After the ham cools, slice the bigger portions into thin slices and package up for later use in sandwiches. Trim the remaining ham from the bone and dice into cubes for later use.

  • Meal #2: Hot Ham & Cheese Melts – Grab some bread, layer thin slices of ham between two thick slices of cheese, then slather the outside of the bread with margarine, and grill in a frying pan over medium heat until the bread is brown and toasty and the cheese is melted. Slice diagonally for extra flair. Add a side of fruit salad for a balanced meal.

  • Meal #3: Ham & Scalloped Potatoes – I make this in the microwave. Layer sliced potatoes, cubed ham, and onions in a glass dish. In a separate glass measuring bowl, microwave milk, butter, and flour, and then pour mixture over potatoes and ham. Microwave until potatoes are tender. Serve with a lettuce salad. (Leave a comment if you’d like the detailed recipe.)

  • Meal #4: Ham & Cheese Omelets – A great way to add extra flavor to eggs is to toss in some ham and cheese. To make the perfect 3 egg omelet, use a small frying pan and melt a bit of butter in it. Then add the eggs. The trick is to delicately keep the eggs loose by wiggling it in the melted butter just after it sets flat. Then you can easily add the toppings, and fold one end over the other without the omelet sticking to the pan. Serve with a side of toast.

  • Meal #5 & #6: Luncheon Ham Sandwiches – We had enough ham slices left over to make 4 thick sandwiches to pack for lunch, which lasts the two of us for two days worth of lunches. Throw in an apple, and we’re all set. (At this point, if you only have odds and ends left of the ham, you can finely dice what’s left and mix it with a bit of mayo for ham salad sandwiches.)

  • Meal #7: By now, all that is left is the ham bone. So what do we do with it? Make soup! Clean out the fridge, boil up the ham bone in some water, and toss in whatever you have on hand – potatoes, veggies, beans, spices.

We had had enough of ham by meal #7, so we tossed the bone, rather than making soup. However, keep in mind that ham (and even the bone) freezes well. You could easily spread these meals out over several weeks by simply freezing the ham slices or cubes for use later. For more ideas on freezing food, check out my "Frozen Assets Series" by clicking HERE.

One final note: Each meal is based on two servings. Despite our best efforts to get the Diva boys to try ham, they refused to eat it. R.E.F.U.S.E.D. Even when we called it pink bacon (they love bacon). Even when we gave them ketchup for dipping. Even when we tried to hide it in their sandwiches. Even when we bribed them with ice cream.
So, for a family of four ham eaters, you would likely need to buy a bigger ham.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sam's Club - Free $25 Gift Card

This week Sam's Club is giving away a bonus $25 gift card to anyone who signs up for a new membership. Joining a warehouse club and buying in bulk can be a great way to save money.

The Diva Family is a member of Costco. (Click HERE to find out how we save money by shopping there.) The key to effective warehouse shopping is: 1) only buying items in which you are able to use up the large quantities without waste, and 2) carefully price matching on a "per ounce" basis against our regular grocery store to determine which items truly are a better deal at a warehouse store.

Click HERE for more details on the Sam's Club $25 gift card offer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Suze Orman's Free Book Download

One of my favorite financial guru's, Suze Orman, was on Oprah today. She gave advice on how families can get out of debt and have a prosperous 2009 - despite the current financial crisis. Along with her advice, she offered a free copy of her new book Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan available for download from the Oprah HERE. The book will be available for download through Thursday, January 15th.

I've read all of Suze's books and have learned a great deal from them. She provides particularly good insight on the ins and outs of mortgages, credit scores, and household expense tracking.

Another of my favorite financial experts is Dave Ramsey. If you're not familiar with Dave's 7 Baby Steps to Financial Peace, check them out HERE. (We're on Baby Step #5 and climbing. It's a wonderful, secure feeling to be debt free!) I've also read almost all of Dave's books, and they contain a wealth of great financial information on tackling debt, as well as interesting success stories from the families that Dave has helped.

Now it's your turn. Who's your favorite financial expert? What's the most helpful tip you have learned from them? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.