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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: May 2011

Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty

Great Steals and Deals around town and online to save you the big bucks and help you keep more of your hard-earned money!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Donating with Style

After 45 years, Jerry Lewis is retiring as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Labor Day telethon. The 85-year-old comedian and Las Vegas resident issued a statement Monday through the Tucson, Ariz.-based Muscular Dystrophy Association calling it time for a “new telethon era.”

He says he’ll make his final appearance on the six-hour primetime telethon Sept. 4 by performing his song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Lewis says he’ll continue as the association’s national chairman, a role he’s held since the early 1950s.

I remember watching him host the famous telethon on TV when I was a little girl. For some reason, I was determined to stay up all night and show him my virtual support. Of course, I'd fall asleep long before he was through dazzling audiences and earning money for the cause. He was an amazing host and will always be a beloved icon in American entertainment. He could have retired many years ago, but he seems to truly love the cause.

The MDA telethon has become an American Labor Day tradition in many homes. The entertainment extravaganza features an impressive lineup, and this year will be no different. I love that the people invited to cross his stage are not only big celebrities, but any ole regular "Joe" who wants to help and present a check.

The telethon for "Jerry's Kids" warms hearts and opens wallets, raising millions of dollars each year. The generous viewers donated almost $60 million in 2010. That's especially touching considering unemployment levels hit double digits across the nation and the tough economy hit hard on most families. Will the 2011 TV event see similar fundraising success?

When it comes to giving, Americans donate more money than any other country in the world. While we may be blamed for cold capitalism, Americans open their wallets generously every time. We want to help. Our hearts ache to make a positive difference in the world.

Muscular dystrophy is a crippling disease, which currently has no known cure. You'll be able to contribute your support with Jerry one more time by watching the broadcast on 190 "Love Network" TV stations, as well as view online streaming at

Before you donate money to any cause, be sure it is a legitimate organization. Cybercriminals put out phony emails and web sites, looking for your cash after a natural disaster. Internet Security specialist, Symantec, encourages two safeguards:

1. Do not click on suspicious email links

2. Never fill out forms that ask for your financial information, personal data or passwords

Some web sites that can help you judge which charity you want to support, check out these resources:


Sister Thrifty a/k/a Trina Boice

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Friday, May 13, 2011

There's A Gold Mine In Your Vegetable Garden!

If you haven't planted a summer garden yet, it's still not too late! Just plop some of those starter veggies you can get from your local garden store into the ground and, voila, you're good to go. No yard? Try container gardening! In a tough economy, vegetable gardens can help you cut your grocery bill drastically. Besides the economic practicality, knowing how to grow your own food empowers you in a way like nothing else.

Within your garden you will find food, hope, medicine, a sense of great accomplishment, the value of hard work, gratitude for nature, sun on your face, a renewed joy for cooking, and some hidden gems you never knew. Take the cucumber, for example. Look at all of the things that bumpy little vegetable can do:

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans, but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Eat some cucumber.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly-cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD-40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Now go out there and get your fingers dirty!


Sister Thrifty a/k/a Trina Boice

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Saving Money at the Gas Pump

With gasoline prices at $3.84 per gallon, on average, and likely to hit $4 by summer, you're probably feeling the pain at the pump. However, there are ways to keep gas costs under control. Chris Faulkner, CEO of Texas-based Breitling Oil and Gas Co., offers these ten tips:

1. Download a gas app to find cheaper prices. You can use your smart phone to comparison shop for the lowest gas prices in your zip code with a free app such as GasBuddy. If you don't have a smart phone, visit or before you leave home or the office to check gas prices online.

2. Don't buy gas near the highway. People like convenience, but gas stations near the highway charge 10 cents to 15 cents a gallon more, Faulkner says. Drive a little farther from the interchange to find a better deal (this is where the GasBuddy app is handy). If you're traveling, gas up in a rural town rather than a large city because prices will be lower.

3. Use a discount gift card. Discount gift card sites, such as Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Granny, sell cards at less than face value for gas stations, such as BP and Shell. They go quickly, though, so sign up for e-mail alerts to be notified when they're in stock. Also look for discounted gift cards for Walmart or grocery stores that have gas stations.

4. Keep car windows closed on the highway. Open windows add drag and reduce your car's gas mileage by as much as 10%. In stop-and-go traffic, lower your windows to reduce air-conditioning use, which will drain your gas tank.

5. Develop good driving habits. You can improve a vehicle's gas mileage by up to 5% by avoiding quick starts and stops. Gas mileage also decreases as you accelerate beyond 55 mph.

6. Don't carry unnecessary items in your car. Every 200 pounds to 250 pounds lowers your car's fuel efficiency by 1 mile per gallon.

7. Keep your tires properly inflated. Faulkner says he tested this with his mother's car. She added 7% to her gas mileage by keeping her tires properly inflated.

8. Fill 'er up with regular. Most cars don't need the premium-grade gasoline, which cost 24 cents a gallon more, on average, than regular grade gas the week of April 18, according to the Energy Information Administration.

9. Combine errands with other driving you're going to do. Make sure you aren't making multiple trips and using more gas.

10. Don't overfill your tank. If you top off, you're just wasting money on the gas that inevitably sloshes out of the tank.

I'll add a few of my own:

11. Carpool when possible!

12. Buy things online so you don't have to spend money driving to the store. Many stores offer free shipping!

13. Sell that gas-guzzling SUV and get something smaller and more gas-efficient, if possible.

14. With the high cost of gas now, sometimes it's actually cheaper to fly to your destination than to drive there! Compare airline fares at

15. Call your auto insurance company to find out if there are any available discounts you might not be getting currently, such as "good driver", "good grades", or when you bundle your auto insurance with other policies for house, renter's insurance, or universal.

Be safe on the roads, don't text and drive, and save money!


Sister Thrifty a/k/a Trina Boice

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