7 Ways to Save When Eating Out

245636_74111. Use Coupons ~ Not always is this easy, but its worth it to try. Here are a few sites to try: Restaurant.com offers gift certificates at a discounted price but there are restrictions. Use your Entertainment book – BOGO deals.

2. Don’t order drinks ~ Soda and alcohol can really up the bill . Stick with free water.

3. Split a meal with someone ~ This saves you from eating too much and also saves you from carrying around the dreaded box of left overs, that rarely get eaten.

4. Go early and enjoy the early bird specials or happy hour ~ You can get the normal menu items for almost half off.

5. If dining with kids, try places that kids eat free ~ Applebees and Ihop are among the many that offer free kids meals with an adult purchase.

6. Skip the dessert and appetizer ~ Desserts are a huge money maker for restaurants. If you are really craving a dessert, stop at the market on the way home to pick up something fabulous.

7. Order Take Out ~ This will save you from shelling out money for drinks and a tip, which adds up fast.

What Can You Give up to Save Money?

994012_25815042We each have our ‘little things’ we can’t live without. What are yours? Now lets turn that around and find the things we ‘can’ live without. In these tough economic times we have to continually be thinking of ways to save money. Below are a handful of ways to help you save money every month.

1. Get rid of the land line ~ Most everyone these days owns a cell phone, why not disconnect your land line and save approximately $25.00 a month for the monthly service and fees. You can save a bunch more if you tend to make out of state calls. That’s where the cell phone comes in hand, most contracts don’t charge extra for out of state, as long as you stay within your minutes.

2. Disconnect the cable ~ Yesterday I mentioned 5 Sites to Watch TV W/O Cable. Cable on average costs about $35-$50 every month.

3. Cancel you gym membership ~ Even if you only do it for the summer months, get outside and enjoy the weather and nature by running, riding your bike or hiking. If you want to cancel for good, try out some new exercise DVDs when the cooler weather hits. Average savings of $100 for a family of 4.

4. Cut out the weekly trip to your favorite restaurant ~ Try cutting back on eating out. Its tough but the amount you spend for a family of 4 is outrageous. Average savings is $40 weekly at a local chain.

5. Brown bag it ~ Take your lunch to work with you. Saving you about $6 every day = $30 a week, $120 every month.

If you combined all of these your total monthly savings would be approximately $445.00. Wow! That’s a savings of over $5,000 in a year.

5 Online Sites to Watch TV Without Cable

1187553_18694232I have had a few friends tell me that they have decided to go without cable TV, due to the high cost and hard economic times. At first I thought that would be hard but as different ones have told me, there are many options on the internet. And most all of us has a computer or two in our house, making watching tv on the computer not so hard to do.

1. Splash Cast Media SplashCast allows you to watch your favorite TV shows where you already spend your time online: in Facebook and MySpace. This is a fundamentally new way to watch TV.

2. Hulu Finally, TV on your terms. Watch your favorite videos right from your browser, anytime, for free. With full episodes of TV shows both current and classic, full-length movies, web originals, and clips of just about everything, Hulu is the place to watch and enjoy premium videos from the biggest names in entertainment.

3. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX – All offer free full length episodes from shows that air on their stations.

4. FreeTube A service that lets you watch live Internet TV channels online for free without the need for any special hardware, software or subscription service. We are a completely free alternative to cable or satellite television that lets you watch tv channels and tv shows online using just your browser.

5. Jump TV Offers complete end-to-end solutions for delivering premium sports, international and variety programming worldwide through the internet to consumers’ televisions or computers.

Hotel Deals

1175645_51196225Shopping hotels is no fun when you are trying to get a good deal. Well its just no fun, but when you need a hotel, you have to face your fears and get that dirty work done. Below is some helpful sites to help you find the best deals.

Hotels.com is a great place to start. You can sort them by price, guest rating, hotel rating, or hotel name. The guest reviews are sometimes disappointing but very helpful none-the-less.

Orbitz – They divide the hotels by sections in the city, which is very convenient when you are looking for a specific area to stay in. The problem I have been coming up with is that the price for the hotels at Orbitz has been considerably more expensive than if you just go to the hotels site.

IgoUgo – They will compare up to 11 sites with one click to help you find the best deal. They give you helpful reviews from guests who have been there, making the choice easier. They also have travel forums, a community blog and a way to create a trip journal that you can share with others.

Cheap Tickets – A great user-friendly site, easy to navigate and helpful. The prices weren’t the best but reasonable.

Overall Hotels.com had the best site for navigating around and definitely had the best deals.

If you know of a hotel in the area you want, with a great reputation, just go to their site and see what deals you can get there. They usually have special deals for people with AAA, AARP or for Government/Military personel. And often times the deals you get directly from the site are better than the hotel sites.

Homemade Father’s Day Gifts

fathers-day-glitters-05Just a reminder to all you kids and mothers out there, Sunday is Father’s Day! Father’s Day is a day honoring fathers, celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 52 of the world’s countries and on other days elsewhere. A chance to honor dads, fire up the BBQ and enjoy time with family. Father’s can be a little more difficult to shop for than Mother’s at times, especially if Dad already has all the tools and BBQ supplies he needs. Instead, consider making some personal gifts that are not only cheap, but will be special to Dad. Check out these websites for some fun ideas for the special day…

FamilyFun-Great ideas that get the whole family involved with making crafts.

Homemade Crafts-Make dad’s day special with these clever Father’s Day cards and personalized gifts.

Father’s Day Guide-Here you’ll find ideas for gifts for dads, grandfathers, uncles and all the special men in your life.

Holidays-Check out these great Father’s Day gifts, super fun Father’s Day crafts and delicious recipes.

Happy Father’s Day

4 Beauty Problems Solved on the Cheap

630548_81374301Women and even some men seem to always be looking for cheaper ways to take care of those beauty issues we face everyday. And especially these days with the hard economic times pushing in from every side. Here are some helpful ways to solve those beauty issues on the cheap.

1. How to shrink pores: You cant reduce them for good, but one inexpensive way to make yours less visible is a clay mask. You can buy a clay mask from the store for about $4 but using what you already have at home works just as well. Leave egg whites on your skin for 10 minutes, or swipe on witch hazel after you clean your skin.

2. How to fight the frizz: Dark beer poured on just-washed hair, rinsed after two minutes and followed by a conditioner works wonders. Weekly coconut-oil scalp massage keeps hair silky-smooth too. And for a midday touch up, dab on a drop of hand cream onto frizzy spots.

3. How to soften up all over: For elbows, rest your elbows in grapefruit halves for five minutes; the citric acid exfoliates. For your heels, dry and rub in extra-virgin olive oil.

4. How to stop breakouts: Dermatoligists recommend after washing your face to put on a 2% salicylic acid lotion from the drugstore. Or dissolve an asprin (salicylic acid in solid form) tablet in a bit of water to form a paste, apply to the breakout and rinse after 3 minutes. Another tip: always dry your face with a seperate towel than the one you bath with, which may have bacteria or oily hair conditioner residue on it.

How to Save Money on Wedding Gifts

573322_59062526When it comes to weddings, you are not obligated to spring for the most expensive item on the wedding registry. Most registry lists have lower-priced items in the $25 to $35 price range.

If you are low on cash like most people these days, send a note along with your small dollar gift, and maybe an offer to cook the couple a meal or garden for them. Be creative when thinking of a gift, what are the peoples interests. Consider making something – your friends will appreciate the time and heart you put into your wedding gift. Some other ideas:

  • Frame their wedding invitation.
  • A bottle of wine or a bottle of liquor.
  • Ingredients for a romantic dinner.
  • Magazine subscriptions are gifts that keep on giving.
  • Give them a movie night.

You can also pool money together with friends to get that expensive gift on their registry. Keeping your cost down and getting the wedding couple what they would like.

Hit a site like etsy.com for low-priced original art that will remind the couple of a shared experience, their backgrounds or their honeymoon. Remember, your gift should celebrate the happy couple, not break the bank.

Summer Water Saving Tips

ims00130The sun is beginning to pokes its head out more frequently as May moves along, and as Memorial Day nears, full-blown summer is just around the corner. So while we are rejoicing in our household because it means our electricity bill will decrease (longer sunlight and no heating needed) we are now looking at how we can keep our water costs down as we strive to keep our plants pretty and are grass green.

Potable water consumption in the U.S. is about 340 billion gallons daily – accounting for about one-fourth of the US’s total renewable fresh water supply, according to an article in GreenBiz.com. When water usage is reduced through maintenance and conservation measures, thousands of dollars a year can be saved not only in lowered utility bills but also in maintenance and life-cycle costs.

Here are some helpful hints for you to reduce water consumption in your household and save money on water bills this summer:

* Install a water meter to increase awareness of water usage.
* Energy Saving Trust advises families to install efficient dual flush toilets or to put a brick in the cistern to flush less water away.
* Take a shower as water usage is far lower than when taking a bath.
* Water the garden less and never use a sprinkler system without a timer. uSwitch.com estimates that the cost of watering the garden is £1.03.
* Collect rain in a barrel and use this to water the garden.
* Water plants in the evening and not during the hottest part of the day so that the water has time to absorb properly.
* Never leave the tap running whilst brushing teeth. 10 litres of water a minute will be lost.
* Wait until there is a full load before using the washing machine or dish washer.
* Don’t clean the car with a hose pipe, use a bucket and sponge instead.
* Repair any dripping taps to prevent unintentional water usage.

Check out Personal Budgeting for more info…

Have any other tips for us here at HackALife? Let us know in the comments section.

All Natural Household Cleaners

Spring Cleaning doesn’t have to involve lots of harsh chemicals. Here are some helpful ways to use natural household items to clean your house. Most of these natural cleaners will do a better job than the toughest claimed store bought cleaners.

baking_sodaBaking Soda – Great gentle scrub for dishes, pots, and cooking surfaces. Great to clean silver with also. To clean silver: Use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water. Rub the paste onto each item, then rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

kossalt_largeKosher Salt – A great choice when you need a tougher scrubber for dishes or counter top surfaces. Kosher salt works wonders on cast iron. To clean cast iron: Use a mixture of kosher salt and water to create a paste, then use a nylon scrub brush to scrub the cookware.

white_vinegar1White Vinegar – Use to cut dirt, grease, and smudges on counter tops, windows and floors. To use: Dilute it with water. Works wonders on hard water deposits and soap scum but you will need to use it full strength for these. One of the most often heard reasons for not using vinegar for cleaning is the fear of smelling like vinegar. The vinegar smell dissipates once it dries.

990084_80400134Lemon – For a citrus cleaner, combine baking soda with a bit of dish soap and use halved lemon to scrub the paste across surfaces. Lemon can also be used to get stains out of Tupperware. Squizze some lemon juice in the Tupperware and then add some baking soda, use the lemon as the cleaning tool and work the mixture in.

7 Things to Do in a Recession

1086489_952683891. On average a person pays $3 -$4 on a Starbucks drink a day. Save yourself a bundle and brew your own coffee at home. Buying a lb of good beans costs on average about $10. You can even try the cheaper versions that they sell at grocery stores and save even more.

2. Want to see a movie and only the big screen will do, check around your city or nearby city for a cheap theater. In my town we have a theater that only costs $3.00 and every month they have BOGO coupons in the local newspaper making a trip to the movies only $3.00 for two of you.

3. Love going out to dinner but don’t love the cost of going out? Try a romantic evening at Taco Bell or Wendy’s, both have great menu items under or near $1.00. Not romantic enough for you? You can always bring your own romantic paraphernalia, like a candle or a vase with a rose.

4. Wanting to take the kids to a Disney Theme park this summer but your finances wont allow for it? Try checking out your local amusement park, chances are for a family of four for the day you will spend around $100. If that seems to steep, check on the Internet for coupon deals. Momsview.com has a list of Six Flags coupons.

5. Tired of paying high heating bills? Why not turn your heater down and start snuggling with the one you love. If that doesn’t work, why not try The Snuggie. Yes I am talking about the blanket with sleeves. Its a great way to stay warm on a cold day. If that’s not attractive, build a fire and warm up the house that way.

6. Stop visiting the mall. If you stay away from the mall you wont be tempted to buy something you dont need. If you need clothes, check out your local consignment shop instead of hitting the mall. And try to stick to buying only what you need.

7. Switch to using items you have around the house to clean. Use the mop and bucket instead of the swiffer. Use old rags to dust with and check out housekeeping.about.com for homemade natural cleaning products.