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Savings Challenge

Cheap and Sweet

In honor of national dessert day, share a recipe — and your savings

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Happy National Dessert Day! Yes, that's right. Oct. 14th is officially National Dessert Day. Maybe we should celebrate with a cake?

See also: AARP's recipe database.

Just to be clear, don't confuse National Dessert Day with National Cheesecake Day — that's July 30, of course. Then there's National Pie Day (Jan. 23), which isn't the same as National Apple Pie Day (May 13). National Ice Cream Day is July 17, which means, by my calculation, if there was a National Pie a la Mode Day — and I can't believe there isn't — it would fall on or about June 1.

Everybody loves dessert, even a cheapskate like me. And not surprisingly, some of my favorite desserts are very inexpensive to make. Like my grandmother's old-fashioned "Sugar Pie" or a batch of creamy tapioca pudding made in my slow cooker.  Or a fancy-sounding "Bananas Foster," which in reality is an inexpensive and easy to make dessert that's sure to impress your dinner guests. (Note: I'll be sharing my favorite recipes for these three desserts on my AARP Cheap Talk blog later this week.)

lemon meringue pie- inexpensive delicious desserts

— Photo by: Glowimages/Corbis

To celebrate National Dessert Day, for this week's Savings Challenge we're asking you to share your favorite dessert recipe, but there's a twist. In keeping with the theme of this fall's Challenge, you need to find creative ways to prepare your best dessert recipe for less than full price, and then tell us how you did it and how much you saved.

So, think about:

  • Substituting less expensive ingredients — or even skipping some ingredients — called for in your usual recipe.
  • Using coupons for buying other ingredients that are on sale.
  • Cooking a dessert that uses in-season ingredients, such as apples, pumpkin, pears, figs and even sweet potatoes, that are likely to be bargain-priced this time of year.
  • Swapping, with a neighbor or friend, ingredients you have in your cupboard for some that you need.
  • Using leftovers to create a tasty dessert — that leftover rice from dinner could make a great rice pudding, and the stale bread in the fridge would probably be delicious in your favorite bread pudding recipe.
  • Or combining all of the above strategies, and any others you can think of, in order to cook your favorite dessert recipe for less.

So for this week's challenge, we'll be judging your favorite dessert recipes not just on how good it tastes, but also on how you managed to make it for less than full price. In order to participate, you must be registered on AARP.org, join the Savings Challenge group, set a savings goal in the green savings tracker and post your recipe in the Week 2 challenge discussion. Put on your apron and thinking cap, get out your coupons and pocket calculator, and cook up your best dessert recipe for less, all in honor of National Dessert Day.

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.

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