10 Helpful Ways to Save Money

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  1. Cancel the Newspaper – If you get the newspaper for the coupons, consider getting the Sunday paper only and save about $10 each month.
  2. Turn off the AC or Heat (depending on the season) – This can actually save you upwards of $70 each month in the peak of the season.
  3. Stop buying Lottery Tickets – Lottery tickets if bought on a weekly basis can really cause damage to your checking account.
  4. Start renting movies – Movie theater tickets are around $10 per person making a night out at the movies a big expense. Renting a movie is around $4 and only $1 if you use Redbox.
  5. Try Camping – Instead of staying at hotels, try camping, its great for bringing families closer together in both sense of the word.
  6. Learn to Bake – If you commonly buy cookies, cakes or pies, try making your own and save on the high prices of baked goodies at the grocery store. You will find homemade tastes better too!
  7. Make your own coffee – Stop those daily trips to Starbucks or coffee shop of choice and start making your coffee at home. The savings will astound you – $70 a month for latte, $30 for drip.
  8. Disconnect your land line – If you already use a cell phone and your land line usage is pretty low, try disconnecting your land line and using only your cell phone.
  9. Ride your bike or carpool whenever possible – Its not always the most convenient way to get around but it will save on gas and long term expenses for your car.
  10. Cook at home – Not only does this save money but it is much better for helping you maintain a healthy weight too.

Instructables – Back to School Help

1184079_14265133If you have never visited Instructables, you are missing out. Instructables is a web-based documentation platform where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others. You have to create a free account to post a new Instructable or to comment on someone-else’s Instructable.

So whats great about Instructables is that you can pretty much find anything you are looking for. If you are looking for back to school help, look no further. Instructables has got what you need.

Paperbag Book Cover – Save money and use a paperbag to cover your books. You can make the cover your own by decorating it with stickers and colored pens. If you don’t happen to have any tape you can try this version too –  No Tape Book Cover.

Recycled Juice Pouch Lunch Bag – This is an easy to make lunch bag, especially if you use those little capri sun juice pouches.

Duct Tape School Folder – A folder made completely from duct tape. What could be better?

How to Customize a Binder – Pick up a binder at your nearest goodwill and customize it with a bandana or your favorite material.

Pencil Tube/Holder – A pencil tube made out of a mailing tube – how cool is that?

Flash Drive Safety Case – Easy to make safety case made from an Altoids tin.

How to Protect Your Clothes from Stains

1018485_49471728Are you one of those people that walk in from lunch daily with a stain on your shirt or pants? Do your colleagues count on seeing you wearing some of your food on your clothes? Do friends point out stains to you that you didn’t know were there?

Here are 7 ways to protect your clothes from stains:

1. Avoid eating red sauce, such as spaghetti, when wearing white or cream colored shirts.

2. Think about prevention – always use a napkin when eating and use an apron when you are cooking.

3. Try to always sit at a table when eating. If you have no table make sure and lean over your food when you are eating and make sure there is a napkin beneath your plate to catch anything you miss.

4. Make sure your clothes are durable and machine washable for when you do get a stain on them.

5. Eat slowly. Don’t be in a race when you are eating. Slow down and take small bites.

6. Avoid activities that can distract while eating. Keep your attention on your meal and the food will go in your mouth not on your clothes.

7. When eating soup fill your spoon by moving it away from you, that way if you have an accident, the food will spill on the table and not on your lap.

Back To School Budget Tips

back-to-schoolA new school year is just around the corner and many parents are crunching the summer budget to try and find supplies for their kids. Here are a few budget tips for when you do your school supply shopping:

1. Find your child’s school supply list at local department stores and only buy what’s on the list. Your kids can survive a year without all of the ‘extras’ they see on TV.

2. When it comes to glue, always but Elmer’s and never spend more than thirty cents a bottle.

3. As for crayons, markers and colored pencils, Crayola is the only brand worth buying. Don’t be tempted by the cheaper prices on Rose Art supplies, you get what you pay for. Their crayons are waxy and the color’s are barely visible on paper and that’s just the start of the trouble. Spend a little more and get Crayola. Some teachers and schools even require it.

4. Go through your house and look for items on your child’s list that they could reuse or recycle. Find the pens and the pencils that are laying about from the previous year.

5. When it comes to big ticket items like backpacks, this is where you shop around. Check discount stores, grocery stores, office supply stores. Look wherever you shop. You never know where you might find a great deal. Backpacks come in a variety of qualities, and the price doesn’t necessarily mean a better bag. Regardless of the color, design or character your child might want, what you are looking for in a backpack should be a black bottom in a dense fabric.

Additional tips can be found at Helium. Good Luck!

Tips for Cooking in Regular Cookware

531931_83735513If you haven’t heard, non-stick cookware, also known as teflon, emits chemicals when over-heated that have adverse effects on human and animal life causing the EPA to classify it as a likely carcinogen and has urged companies to eliminate it by 2015.

I know that non-stick is easy to use and clean but for your health it should not be used. So what can you do to make it easier to cook in regular cookware?

Here are a few slick tips:

Start with a good pan. Flimsy pans don’t distribute heat well and have hot spots that cause burning and sticking. Invest in some cookware that will last.

Hot pan, cold oil. Place the pan on the burner until you can feel the heat when you hold your palm open a few inches away. Then add your cooking fat, wait until you see it rippling or shimmering, and add your food.

Resist flipping and poking the food. When you are sauteing, meat and fish will stick to the pan at first. But wait a minute or two before you start flipping or poking it and you’ll find it releases quite nicely and has a good, even browning too.

Dry food won’t stick. Pat meat and seafood off with paper towels before cooking. This will also minimize spatters and enhance browning.

Don’t crowd the pan. Give your foods a little breathing room to keep them from steaming and make them easier to flip.

Turn the heat as you go. Start the pan over medium-high or high heat, then turn it down after a few minutes once the pan starts retaining heat.

Soak, then scrub. In the event of a messy pan, soak for 10 minutes or so before scrubbing.

Eating Out on a Budget

1105305_37239518I love food, love it! But I as my checking account dwindles I am finding that I really need to slow down on eating out. I love to eat out, try new restaurants and spend time with friends but now I have started looking for ways to make my favorite past time a bit of a cheaper enjoyment than it previously has been.

Here are some ways to eat out on a budget:

Always check the restaurant website for a happy hour menu. Try making your meals out early in the evening to enjoy the cheaper eats. Happy hour most of times has some of the same options as the regular menu without the high price tag.

Look around for coupons. A lot of local restaurants have coupons in the paper or ads that come once a month in the mail. If you find coupons for a restaurant you frequent, keep them handy(in your purse or wallet) for those surprise meals out. Another great place to find coupons is in the Entertainment Book, they offer a lot of 50% off or 2-for-1 meals. Also it doesn’t hurt to check the restaurant website to see if they have any coupons online.

Stay away from drinks. Simply order water and you will save a lot of money on a family of four.

If you have kids, check out restaurants where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.

Share a meal. This morning I shared a meal with my sis at a local restaurant that offers a lower price in the morning for their special of the day and our total with drinks came to under $9.00.

10 Simple Ways to Relax

1191285_80138577Hard day at work? Kids driving you nuts at home? Need to find a way to relax and unwind? Here are 10 simple ways to relax.

  1. Rent a funny, happy movie, Laughter releases tension and helps put life back in perspective.
  2. Get moving! Pop in your favorite CD or turn to your favorite radio station and dance for a few songs. This will revitalize your body and mind and you’ll be ready to face anything.
  3. Have you ever heard of the phrase “take 5?” Set aside 5 or 10 minutes to have “you” time. Try waking up a little bit earlier than the rest of the house and enjoy the quiet alone (or with a nice cup of tea).
  4. Buy yourself a notebook or start a computer journal. Every night jot down happenings, thoughts and things accomplished that day, or even your frustrations. When your mind is “cleaned up,” it is easier to relax and fall asleep.
  5. Light a candle. Lavender, vanilla, sandalwood and spearmint are soothing scents to look for when purchasing special candles. The simple act of lighting a candle creates a soothing environment for you to relax in.
  6. Do yoga. If you don’t have time to join a yoga class at least once a week, then purchase a yoga video. Make time to do at least 15 minutes of yoga most days. This will help stretch and relax your muscles.
  7. Take a bubble bath. Put on some soft music, light a candle and enjoy a nice warm bubble bath. If you don’t want music, you can always take a book or magazine with you.
  8. Deep Breathe. Inhale deeply through your nostrils then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat several times until you begin to feel calm. Using this simple deep breathing technique can be helpful when you’re stuck in traffic with loud kids in the back seat.
  9. Use your imagination. Close your eyes and think about some place or thing that makes you feel calm. Hold that picture in your mind as you practice deep breathing. You might also try using imagery to relax while your scented candles burn and soothing music plays in the background.
  10. Read a book. Escape into a different world with a good book. The fictional world can be a great way to escape from the pressures of motherhood for half an hour or so.


The Skinny Jeans Workout

1075458_20766913I was reading CNN news online and came across this article ‘Skinny jeans’ class aims to aid your zip. Having never heard of this workout before I was interested to find out more about it. Jessica Ordona, a retail specialist with a commercial real estate firm in Bethesda, Maryland, says “It’s different than your typical workout class, it’s not high-impact cardio, but you’re sweating the whole time because you’re working every muscle group.”

The Skinny Jeans Workout concentrates on core muscles, balance and posture. A cross between ballet, butt-burning stretches and light weight lifting, the workout involves the entire body. Participants of the Skinny Jeans Workout class are encouraged to go barefoot during the class. Instructors say it increases the balance, and forces the body to be smarter. The class is held two days a week and each session is only a hour. Regulars at the class, swear that they have dropped several jean sizes ever since enrolling in the class months ago.

We have all worried about how we look in jeans and having a workout dedicated strictly to wearing jeans is attractive to most women and maybe even some men.

Another site, yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com, has written an article with 7 exercises you can try at home for whatever specific issue you are dealing with.

If you want to buy the DVD, your best price is Best Buy – Lisa G’s Skinny Jeans Workout DVD.

4 Common Health Issues Fixed

44646_9698Below are some health issues that you may not know anything about. Issues that may at times take you by surprise. Here are some helpful hints to get you on your way to getting back to normal as quickly as possible when these come up.

1. Bumps on your tongue – These little bumps are actually inflated taste buds. Unless the bumps spread or don’t go away after 7 days, they’re nothing to worry about. Simply rinse your mouth with salt water to speed healing.

2. Airplane stomach – Do you get gassy when you fly, or stomach pains from the gas? Believe it or not there is something called high-altitude flatus expulsion. There is less air pressure at high altitudes, so any gas trapped inside you expands. Try to avoid things like soda and beans. And once your are airborne, Gas-X wont help.

3. Exercise itch – If your legs itch when you’ve been exercising outdoors in the cool morning air, the temperature is probably to blame. Its not well understood, but increased blood flow to the skin in cold air can trigger the release of histamines, the same substances released during allergic reactions. Pre work-out stretches and an antihistamine like Benadryl can help.

4. Eyelid twitch – That irritating eyelid spasm is a sign that you are way too tired. Physical exhaustion and stress can make your facial nerves fire spontaneously for no reason. Catch up on some sleep and lay off the caffeine.

Rubber Bands to the Rescue

a5583259-7e5f-4268-8de4-90aea87ee133_t_6Rubber bands may not seem to have many magical powers but those stretchy things that we find wrapped around the mail or at the bottom of the junk drawer have much potential. Check out these 10 uses for rubber bands, some will surprise you, others may be old news, but all are useful.

1. Temporarily stop a water leak in a garden hose. Wind a thick rubber band around the hole in the garden hose to stop the leak until you have time to replace it. The rubber band is waterproof and will plug the hole.

2. Stop the cutting board from moving. Place rubber bands around each end of the cutting board to prevent slipping. The rubber grips the surface making it easier to chop.

3. Use as an eraser. Fold a rubber band in half a few times and use it to erase pencil markings.

4. Car visor receipt/paper holder. Wrap a few rubber bands around your cars driver-side sun visor. Conveniently holds miscellaneous papers, parking stubs, etc. under the rubber band.

5. Toddler proof your cabinets. Stretch a few rubber bands tightly between the left and right cabinet knobs to lock them in place.

6. Waist expander. Especially great for pregnant women who aren’t big enough for maternity clothes but can’t fit into their regular clothes. Take a rubber band and loop it through the button hole and fasten to the button, giving you an extra inch or so.

7. A bookmark. Wrap a rubber band around the front cover and through the middle of the book to whatever page you finished on. Next time you pick up the book the first page that isn’t rubber-banded will be the page you left off on.

8. A handle grip. Wrap several rubber bands around the end of a pole or stick to create a handy grip. You can wrap rubber bands around just about anything that you need help gripping.

9. Use as an adhesive. It’s not glue, but a melted rubber band makes a darn good adhesive.

10. And rubber bands make great pony tail holders.