This headline over at caught my attention. I'm pretty good at saving money on groceries. In fact, I once got well over $100 worth of groceries for about $15. I thought that was excellent, but it pales in comparison to what Stephanie Nelson rakes in. How about $100 worth of groceries for 25 cents? Yep, Stephanie has me beaten by a mile.

Stephanie is otherwise known as the Coupon Mom, and runs the Coupon Mom website. The Today Show recently featured her and went along on a shopping trip. She passed along the usual information we feature here at Savvy Frugality:

1. Set aside brand loyalty. Don't be tied to one brand when buying groceries.

2. Make a list of the things you need. Stick to it.

3. Use those coupons, including online coupons.

4. Wait until items go on sale to use the coupon.

5. Use in-store coupons, too.

I would also add a few of Savvy Frugality's tried-and-true tips:

1. Don't overlook store brands or generic items. They're fine.

2. Don't use coupons to get things you normally wouldn't buy.

3. Stay away from the snack and soda aisles. They're expensive, and let's face it, they're not really groceries.

4. Take advantage of the store loyalty cards.

5. Look for those stores which offer "double coupon" days.

Watch how the Coupon Mom bought $100 worth of groceries for 25 cents, and then check for more food saving tips at The Dollar Stretcher and Savvy Frugality.

Savvy Frugality is branching out and has spun off a brand new blog: Great Depression Recipes.

This blog grew from a blog post about Great Depression Recipes here at Savvy Frugality, and it really took on a life of its own. It is one of the most popular posts at Savvy Frugality, and I thought that since there is so much interest it is probably a subject that should have its own blog.

My grandmother lived through the Great Depression, and when I was a young boy I grew up listening to her stories about how difficult it was to live during that time. She would usually tell me about the difficulties of the Great Depression, and what her family ate to survive during that time. I remember her stories about baking bread with oatmeal because there was no flour, and feeding thistle and weeds to the cattle on her farm because there was no money for livestock feed.

Unfortunately, I never thought to write down her stories, or many of her wonderful recipes. My grandmother is no longer with us. It is my hope that others can share their parent's, grandparent's or great-grandparent's stories and recipes so that we can keep these memories alive, preserve a piece of history, and cook some tasty dishes from yesteryear.

So, please share your Great Depression-era recipes, and your family's stories from that era, and together we will all probably learn some very valuable (and delicious) lessons.

Email your Great Depression-era recipes and family stories to: savvyfrugality at (replace the word "at" with a @...just trying to thwart the spammers), and we'll feature them at Great Depression Recipes, giving you full credit, of course.

As foreclosures increase, so do the number of extended families who are sharing the same house to save their homes and their cash.

Large extended families living together in the same house is nothing new. In many countries, this is the norm. In some African nations, when a young woman marries, she moves into the home of her husband's family. Many Italian families all share the same roof, as do many Asian and Hispanic families. In these cultures, family unity is extremely important and grown children moving out of the house as soon as they marry or hit the age of 18 is not as widespread as it is here in the U.S.

Now this practice is spreading in the U.S. as the cost of rental housing increases and older Americans struggle with rising mortgages. Saving on housing costs isn't the only benefit. Sharing a house also saves families on the cost of:

Food: It's cheaper per-person to stock up on food and serve one-dish meals than it is to cook individual portions for one or two people.

Utilities: With family members sharing one house, they are only paying one utility bill.

Child care: Why send the kids to a day care if you have family members available willing to watch each others children?

Transportation: Now that the family all lives together, they save on the cost of traveling to visit each other. Also, they have more opportunities to carpool.

Of course, shacking up with your whole family and their spouses and children isn't for everyone. Not all family members get along, whether they are related or not. Also, zoning laws in some communities may limit the number of people who live together, and rental properties set limits on the number of people who can share a home or apartment, so be sure to check those leases.

The Today Show also spotlighted the trend of extended families living together:

Savvy Frugality Recommended Reading: Bartering is Back!

Frugal, stingy, penny pincher...all of those terms could be used to describe me. I don't like to part with my money, but at the same time I like to get good value for my money, too. However, sometimes I come across an idea that is even too frugal for me. Case in point: reusable toilet wipes.

Reusable toilet wipes are being promoted as a way of reducing the need for paper, and an economical alternative to toilet paper. Basically, it's a wash cloth. You do your business, wipe yourself with the soft, damp cloth, and then toss it into something that looks like the diaper bucket my mom used to toss my sister's cloth diapers into back in the 1960s.

Companies like Wallypop sell these cloths for about $11 for a dozen. I'm sure if you wanted to go this route you could buy some basic wash cloths at the local dollar store. Personally, this idea isn't for me.

First of all, when, wipe...I don't ever want to see that wipe again. I have no problem flushing it away, never to be seen (or smelled) again. Also, with this method, you'll need to wash these cloths in you washing machine. I don't want something like this being washed in the same machine as my dress shirts and khakis. Eww.

At my house, we purchase the double roll-sized toilet paper. Scott makes a good double-roll toilet tissue, and it lasts a long time. I also buy baby wipes for my nether regions. If they are soft enough for a baby, I figure they should be just fine for me.

What did people do before the glorious invention of toilet tissue? Well, they made do. They used leaves, corn cobs, and pages from newspapers and catalogs (seriously). In some countries, toilet tissue is considered to be disgusting and unsanitary. In India for example, a cloth and some water is considered to be the way to go for many. In Middle Eastern countries, a cloth and/or the left hand is the acceptable means of cleaning after a Number Two. In those countries, the left hand is for wiping, the right hand is for eating, and those two are not interchangeable.

I will stick with my baby wipes.

You have probably heard the old saying "everything old is new again." That has certainly become true during these tough economic times. People are turning to a lifestyle of Savvy Frugality not just out of some sense of trying to balance their budgets and save money, but as a matter of survival. Who better to ask for advice than someone's great-grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression?

That's where Clara Cannucciari comes in. For the past few years, 93-year-old Clara has been the star of her own Internet cooking show, Great Depression Cooking with Clara. The videos can be found at YouTube, and I have featured an episode here in this post. The show has its own web site and has even spawned a DVD, an upcoming cookbook and an appearance on the CBS Evening News.

The episodes of her online series are very interesting, not only for the simple fare that she cooks up based upon recipes her own mother used during the Great Depression, but also her stories of what it was like to live through that difficult period of American history. For example, we learn that people at lots of pasta and potatoes, and very little meat, during the Great Depresssion, and that one of Clara's neighbors rented their garage to some whiskey bootleggers to make extra money.

Whether you're trying to learn how to make your food dollars stretch, or you are just interested in hearing about what it was like to live during the Great Depression from someone who actually experienced it, Great Depression Cooking with Clara hits a home run on both counts. Besides, Clara is a very charming, likeable lady who is not only informative, but entertaining as well.

Check out an episode:

If you are a regular reader of Savvy Frugality, you probably know my story well by now. If you are a new visitor, here it is in a nut shell:

For many years of my adult life, I mishandled my money. In truth, I really didn't know much about personal finance or how to be responsible with my money. Medical and other bills began to pile up, and instead of facing my problems head-on, I simply threw my bills on a stack on my kitchen table and ignored them. This led to my missing a crucial letter from my bank that I was severely overdrawn on my account. All of my bill payments had bounced. While I tried to fix the problems at my bank, I paid my bills with money orders. However, I lost all of my rent payment receipts and my landlord (who was trying to turn my apartment into a condo), used this as an opportunity to claim I had never paid my rent, and he evicted my family. With no proof that I had made my rent payments, the court sided with my landlord. My family was, in essence, homeless. There were a couple of nights that I slept in my car.

In actuality, what really caused the problem at my bank was this: I made my deposit, and then wrote checks to pay my bills. The bank held back my deposit and processed the checks I had written first, overdrawing my account. Then, they deposited my check, which evaporated due to all of the overdraft fees. I had no money, and sank even further into debt.

These days, with all of the banking options available (I prefer online banks for savings, but still use local banks for checking), there is no need to live with high bank fees and nonsense like this bank pulled with me (this was about six years ago). But, what if the worst happens and you do face your own personal banking crisis? I started to think about this a couple of weeks ago at work when a client told me he would have to send me a money order for payment for his product. Without prompting, he told me his bank closed his checking account, for unspecified reasons. "I don't even have a debit card anymore," he moaned. That is when I gave him a few options, learned all those years ago when I got screwed by my bank.

1. Shop around for another institution. Banks like to tell you that since they closed your account, you can "never get another bank account again" until you pay them the fees they say you owe them. This isn't true. What they don't tell you is that you are free to open an account at a credit union. Credit unions operate a bit differently than banks. When you join a credit union, you become a "member". Basically, you own a very small share of that credit union. Credit unions aren't going to hose over their members. They want your business. When I had problems with my bank, I opened a checking and a savings account at a credit union. I used the savings account as a line of credit to get a secured credit card from the credit union. Basically, my credit limit is only as high as the amount of money in my savings account. I'm basically borrowing money from myself, and the credit union is making 9 percent interest off of my credit card balance.

2. Use money orders carefully. If you must send something resembling a check, I recommend using only U.S. Postal Service Money orders. Those money orders you buy at the gas station are provided by third parties, and trying to get your money back if a money order is lost or stolen is a nightmare. With a U.S. Postal Service Money order it is still a nightmare, but you'll eventually get your money back if the money order goes missing. Hint: ALWAYS save your receipts! Treat them like they are money, because they are. You will need these to file a claim for missing or stolen money orders, and they can be used as proof that you did purchase them to make a payment for a bill. Even better: buy a cashier's check from a bank to make large bill payments if you don't have your own checking account. It will cost you a couple of bucks, but nobody turns down a cashier's check and it is far easier to get your money back should the worst happen. Avoid: traveler's checks. Some businesses won't accept them at all.

3. Buy a pre-paid credit card. If your bank really hosed you good and you can't even get an account at a credit union, consider buying a pre-paid credit card. Usually, you have to purchase them for about ten bucks, and then you "load" them with your own cash. Some, like the Wal-mart pre-paid Visa, will even let you do direct deposit to load money onto the card. Use the card like a regular credit card. Benefits: You can't spend more than you have, because once the money on the card is used up, that's it. No more charging. Pros: Direct deposit, can withdraw cash from ATMs, no charge to get cash back at Wal-Mart stores. Cons: The cards cost $8.95, plus a $4.95 "maintenance fee" every time you load the card. However, the fee is waived if you deposit at least $1,000 a month on the card.

4. Cash is king. The pre-paid card is a good option when you must have a credit card to make certain payments (such as online payments for bills). However, don't forget that cash is still good, too. Nobody turns down cash. You can't overdraw an account when spending cash. When the cash is gone, it's gone. Cons: if you need proof of payment, you must get receipts for EVERYTHING when paying by cash.

Eventually, I got things straightened out and was able to open another banking account after some time had gone by. I even received a bank loan to buy a new car, and I have never missed or been late with one payment. Remember, your bank works for you, and you are the customer. If your bank isn't treating you right, there are plenty of other banks out there that would love your business.

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This post is featured in this weeks Carnival of Personal Finance. Check out this week's carnival for more great personal finance tips and information!

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