Holiday giveaway #1: $5 Dinner Mom cookbook and Kiwi Crate

To celebrate the season of giving, I’m giving away some great stuff every week until Christmas.

All you have to do is leave your comments …and if you’re feeling really charitable (and if you haven’t already) like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter !

This week’s giveaway can help you navigate the busy holiday season with ease. One of the hardest things to manage this time of year is, well…time. Holiday parties, shopping and school vacations all threaten to upend even the most meticulously planned schedules.

$5 dinner mom Turn to “The $5 Dinner Mom: One-Dish Dinners Cookbook, ” by Erin Chase (St. Martin’s Griffin, $18) for some quick and affordable tips to get dinner on the table in a hurry.

This is the third cookbook from Chase who started two blogs after her couponing habit resulted in her creating inexpensive, yet healthy dinners. She keeps these meals under $5, and they are one-dish quick to save time on food preparation and dishwashing.

Chase defines one-dish as “cooked in the same dish” — be it a skillet, slow cooker, Dutch oven or grill — and served with an occasional side dish to make a complete meal. The 150 recipes are organized by food type and many come with a “Frugal Fact, ” such as advising readers never to pay more than 99 cents for a box of corn taco shells. Chase also labels recipes as “freezer friendly, ” “slow-cooker adaptable” or “make ahead” to help with planning.

kiwi crate

To help your kids pass the time while you’re busy prepping dinner, let them unpack Kiwi Crate’s Crafty Christmas holiday crate. This themed crate is filled with materials and inspiration for hands-on projects including one-of-a-kind paint-swirl ornaments and a “gingerbread” home made with cardboard. If you don’t have kids, or if your kids are older, this would make a great gift for someone else.

One lucky Bargain Hunter reader will be selected at random to win these two items.

To enter, leave a comment telling me your biggest money (or time) saving holiday tip. Comments close today at 5 p.m.

– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

32 comments Add your comment

Sandra

December 4th, 2012
11:18 am

My biggest money and time saving tip would be couponmom.com. Her website breaks everything down for couponing newbies and not so newbies like me. Narrowed down by stores in my area, I can check what’s on sale, what coupons to use, and where to get them whether by printing or including the date of the circular certain coupons came out in. Another plus is that I can check next week’s sales also. Truly a time and money saver (saviour).

Bren

December 4th, 2012
11:22 am

My biggest time (and sometimes money) saving tip is buying gifts online. This is especially great for long distance relatives and friends. Great way to avoid the crowds and safety issues. Often there will be free shipping offers and/or special discounts on the site, or offered via the company’s Twitter of Facebook. Really cuts down on the stress also :)

Sherri

December 4th, 2012
11:23 am

My holiday tip is volunteering! I volunteer at Fernbank Natural History Museum and receive a discount in the museum store. It’s rewarding for me, the museum, and my family.

Mare

December 4th, 2012
11:25 am

Since Sandra has already mentioned Couponmom, I would have to say that using my Google Reader is a money AND time saver! I can monitor all of my favorite money saving blogs in the same place, and usually never miss out on any deals!

Robin

December 4th, 2012
11:29 am

I started doing a spreadsheet of what we used on a regular basis and put in into sections of where I generally purchase the items as well. There are spots to check if I have a coupon and space to write when it was on sale last to keep track of the sales and how many we have on hand etc. This way, I am not buying items we don’t need, isn’t on sale at the moment and I am not forgetting to use my coupons. Another plus is hubby can go shopping if I am away and still buy the same items.
(Keep a list of the meals you can make with the items in the cupboard so when your trying to figure out what’s for dinner, there is a “cheat sheet” if you will.

Tammy

December 4th, 2012
11:32 am

We keep a calander on our refridgerator from Thanksgiving through Christmas and the New Year with time slots posting all activities/parties, etc. these postings are copied via email/text to every family members phone or computer for easy access and reminders along with notice of what they are to bring ( for dinners, gifts, etc.)We check it daily for any new or additional postings :) works great and keeps everyone where they are supposed to be without double booking.

Stephanie T.

December 4th, 2012
11:34 am

My biggest tip would be to use coupons and shop sales! Almost every website will give you a coupon once you sign up online. Make sure you have a printer handy and print off those savings!

Stephanie T.

December 4th, 2012
11:35 am

I follow you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter as well.

Starla

December 4th, 2012
11:38 am

Shop the sales! Keep a running list of what you want to get people and keep checking the store prices to see when it goes on sale. Prices seem to change daily around the holiday season.

MsBulldawg

December 4th, 2012
11:45 am

Make a budget and stick to it! Finding gifts that fit within the budget is like a game to me, the better the bargain the more money left in my wallet.
Aso, from years past when my boys were children, 3 of my neighborhood friiends would take turn in late November/early December doing a “dinner club” once a week. We each prepared a meal large enough to accomodate each of our families and divided it up to share. We had a night where we weren’t burdenend with preparing a meal, leaving us time to enjoy more of the festivities in our lives without the hassle of cooking.

Christa

December 4th, 2012
12:29 pm

I love the cookbook idea. I am a getting more and more into couponing so this would be great. I have just heard about the Kiwi crate but seems like a great thing to have while dinner is cooking away.

JoAnn

December 4th, 2012
12:42 pm

The cookbook is a great idea. The Kiwi crate would be ideal for my nephew – the proclaimed artist.

Kelly

December 4th, 2012
1:22 pm

Biggest holiday saver is when I get the $10 Kohls Coupon in the mail towards purchase.
(I get it about twice every month)
When I go christmas shopping I make sure the item I buy is less than $15, then I use my $10-coupon, then I also use my Email coupon I get in my email which is always additional 15% -20% off total.
Finally I have spent about less than $3 on a gift! BIG Bucks Saver!! :)
(Or purchase something at about $10, and use the $10 coupon and pay nothing! Even better! )

Jen

December 4th, 2012
1:36 pm

My biggest money savings tip would be lists, lists, lists. I make them for everything. It says money at the grocery store so you can meal plan and don’t pick up unnecessary items and with holiday purchases. I keep a spreadsheet list in google docs and share it with family as well as try to shop online for gifts with free shipping.

Kar

December 4th, 2012
1:42 pm

Kind of cheap, but for the office or groups of people, I’ll buy a bunch of Christmas candy dishes and fill them with Christmas candy. Because every office needs more chocolate and sugar.

And always buy extras, you always forget someone one or if somene gifts you and you didn’t expect it, you at least have something.

Also, let’s be honest, buy the same thing for your friends, everybody could use a starbucks card and if you’re giving them on separate occasions, they won’t know if you got a bulk rate.

Jazmon

December 4th, 2012
1:43 pm

My biggest holiday money saving tip would have to include three things: 1) buy gifts early and while they are on sale, 2) make a list and check it twice so that you can know exactly what you’re going to buy at the mall and grocery store to decrease overspending, and lastly 3) stick to your budget as closely as possible. One last tidbit is if you have a smartphone, download the “redlaser” app. It allows you to scan items and it automatically searches for cheaper prices for that item not online and in nearby stores. So awesome!

Anne

December 4th, 2012
1:48 pm

My biggest holiday money saving tip is to make your own gifts! I throw together some candy cane bark, or slow cooker candied almonds, or even homemade hot chocolate mix and pop it into used (and thoroughly washed) marinara bottles (spray paint the lid silver). Throw a bow on top and hand out to neighbors, the mailman, and all those other folks whose little gifts add up!

RK

December 4th, 2012
2:35 pm

Thank you for telling us about this cookbook. I am in need of new recipes, and to have meals for less than $5.00 is AWESOME!!

RK

December 4th, 2012
2:41 pm

I left off my savings tip! I have done lots of my gift shopping at yard sales and thrift stores this year. It is amazing what great things I can find for so little! I have purchased games, DVDs, winter coats, clothing, craft items, books, etc., for very little $$$. And, thank goodness for that – my husband has been laid off from his job.

Anita

December 4th, 2012
3:01 pm

I have always used coupons long before the craze. . My husband called me the coupon queen. I always had coupons for everything..I usually do not buy anything unless it is on sale. This cookbook sounds great to me.

TL

December 4th, 2012
3:01 pm

I buy Christmas gifts all throughout the year. Oftentimes, the gifts I want to purchase are on sale at some point throughout the year. This also spreads the spending so that it is not just one lump sum at a tough time of year.

Julie Strickland

December 4th, 2012
3:17 pm

During the year when I make soups and stews, I double the recipe and freeze one portion in gallon bags. During the holidays, take a bag and put in the crock pot for that night’s dinner. This saves time and money by not having to eat out constantly!

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Deborah

December 4th, 2012
4:50 pm

The biggest money and time saver for Christmas shopping is to make a list and stick to it. Do your research on prices and use coupons where available. I do a lot of online shopping now to avoid the craziness of the malls and most places you can get free shipping. It takes the stress out of shopping for me. Today is my birthday and would love to win the cookbook and holiday crate.

Nick

December 4th, 2012
5:10 pm

Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can. Even if you rarely shop at that place, having a rewards card for that place will eventually net you some coupons and discounts. Here’s the basic game plan for maximizing these programs: create a Gmail address just for these mailings, collect every card you can, and then check that account for extra coupons whenever you’re ready to shop.

Pavani

December 4th, 2012
6:33 pm

For children who don’t pay much attention to labels, go to the salvation army or goodwill for bargain fashions. For myself, I’ve found some outfits I can wear to work and no one knows the difference.

Jenna Parsons

December 4th, 2012
8:06 pm

My biggest holiday time saving tip is to plan Christmas dinner way ahead of time and pick something that is crock pot friendly, that way it can cook while you get other things done.

April S

December 4th, 2012
9:48 pm

I am always looking for new recipes. I do a lot with the crock pot. Currently each dinner averages $10 for a family of 3.

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l bryant

December 5th, 2012
7:04 am

Sounds like a great way to start planning to save ASAP. Merry Christmas!!!

mystery poster

December 5th, 2012
9:23 am

Not to sound like a broken record (or, to use a more current analogy, a corrupted mp3 file), but definitely shop the sales! Also, make mental notes during the year regarding what you think people would like, it’s not a bargain if it sits in their closet.

For example, someone on my list mentioned that she wanted to hang her bicycle on hooks in the rafters of the shed. In July, I saw a sale on hoist-style bike lifts (using pulleys). Regular price: $34, I paid $7.99.

I bought a few things from Groupon last year and this year. You have to be careful, though. Their return policy is only 14 days.

Andrea

December 5th, 2012
10:55 am

I have just started using coupons and bargain hunting and am learning so much! It is truly an art form and a skill to be mastered. What I have learned so far is that sticking to a budget and to your list are critical during this time of year when there are so many temptations out there. Also, when the kids are little, keep it simple with Christmas presents. They don’t care if something is name brand or about the “hottest” toy. Just get them things you think they will like on sale and with coupons or from thrift shops and stay focused on the true reason for the season! This saves a lot of time, money, and stress.