10 Ways to Save More and Waste Less

994012_25815042Spending wisely on everyday living is the key to save more in this economy. It doesn’t hurt to be a little environmentally friendly while saving money too. Below are some easy ways to stretch your dollars, save time and conserve nature’s resources.

  1. Cut Down on Paper Towel Purchases. Keep washcloths on hand in the kitchen to mop up spills, wipe faces, etc. It not only saves you money, its very green too.
  2. Dine at Home. Be creative with recipes and table settings, and you won’t feel like you’re missing a thing.
  3. Use Smart Products. Arm & Hammer Essentials Detergent cleans with plant-based soaps and baking soda and costs up to 50% less per load than the leading detergent.
  4. Bulk Up. Larger sizes mean lower unit costs. Divide into smaller portions, freezing perishable items as necessary.
  5. Thirsty? Make water your drink of choice.  A very green option is to carry a stainless steel water bottle for refills.
  6. Before Grocery Shopping. Search online for printable coupons. Spend time with the store’s website or circular, and plan meals around sale items.
  7. Transfer Shampoo and Conditioner into Pump Bottles. Use just one squirt per application, its all you really need anyway.
  8. Choose Products that Multi-Task. Try Arm & Hammer Total 2-in-1 Moist Dryer Cloths to get the best of a fabric softener and a dryer sheet in one money saving moist cloth.
  9. Spend Less on Skin Care. Look for tinted moisturizers and body lotion with built-in sunscreen.
  10. Whiten Teeth for Less. Buying toothpaste with whitener in it or add whitening booster to your toothpaste, works just as good as whitening strips but much cheaper.

Adapted from Family Circle Magazine.

Alternative Uses for Common Household Products

926720_76229931Plastic Bottles – Use for keeping things cool in your cooler. Fill 3/4 full and stick in your freezer and pull out when you need it for your cooler.

Steel Cans – Remove label and replace with your own fun label or construction paper. Decorate and use for your own office supply holder.

Old Suitcase – Use to store wrapping paper, tissues, bows and all your wrapping paraphernalia so you can easily pull it out when you need to wrap gifts.

Old Socks – Pull over hands to dust crevices of lampshades, furniture, blinds and any hard to reach place.

Glass Jars – Clean and use to store screws, nails, pens, pencils, rocks, sea shells or just about anything.  Use the original lid, cork or decorative fabric.

Cardboard Tubes – Wrap extension cords or a string of lights around them for tangle-free storage.

Toothbrush – Use for cleaning auto parts or grooves between the tiles in your bathroom.

Greeting Cards – Make into gift tags by cutting with pinking shears and punching hole in the corner.

Shower Curtain – Use to cover your table while the kids are painting or doing a craft.

Film Canisters – Fill with aspirin, change or lotion for purse or backpack.

How to Save Money at the Bar – Drinking your way Through the Recession

860700_56793699Some days its nice to just get out with friends and enjoy conversation over a few drinks. And there is nothing wrong with going out to your local bar for a drink or two with your buddies, but if your not careful you can find yourself blowing your whole budget on one single night on the town. We all could use some help on saving money at the bar.

Here’s some helpful tips on how to drink like a king on a pauper’s budget:

  • Ask the Price – Bars do not show prices because they know if you realize how much you’re paying, you are much more likely to order less expensive drinks and order fewer drinks. Before ordering a drink, ask how much it’s going to be, and see if they have a price list available so you can get something that you can afford.
  • Don’t Buy a Round – In some social circles, it’s a custom for everyone to buy one round for the group. Just keep silent and don’t offer to buy a round.
  • Know Your Drinks – Get the most bang for your buck by ordering the drinks with the most alcohol. Long Island Ice Teas are your best bet.
  • Attend Happy Hour – Usually at happy hour you can get some beers and wines at cheaper prices than normal.
  • Avoid Cover Charges – Make sure you hit bars that do not have a cover charge.
  • Skip the Food – Unless they have a happy hour menu, otherwise the food at a bar is expensive for the small portions you get.

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.

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.

9 Unusual Uses for Restaurant Coasters

coasters_sYou know the pulpboard coasters you get from the bar or restaurant. The ones they stick under your drinks? It seems most people take home or have taken home coasters a time or two in their lives, but what do you do once you get them home, they aren’t good for much.

1. Use the coasters as buffers for liquid dribbles in your refrigerator or cabinets. Just put a cardboard coaster down under your condiments and keep the fridge and cabinets clean and free from hard to clean stains.

2. You can reuse them as coasters, just keep a few fun ones on the table for guests to use when they come over.

3. Your kids might enjoy using them as safe-to-throw frisbees.

4. Level a coffee table or small table. Stick a coaster under the leg of a coffee table to keep it level.

5. Fire starter. Use a handful of cardboard coasters to start your fire.

6. Collect them. As fun as collecting matches, people collect cardboard coasters and display them for their friends to see.

7. For decorating cards or scrap books. These cardboard coasters have amazing and fun pictures on them, making them perfect for craft projects.

8. Bookmark. Perfect for marking your place in a book.

9. Use to jot notes down on when no pad of paper is available.

10 Ways to be Happier

green carRecently as I have had to deal with the passing of my father, I have taken notice of life and how people interact with each other, and I had never really having taken notice before. My continuous thoughts were that I wasn’t taking advantage of all that life has to offer and how serious some people seem to take life. I want to be happier and more carefree. Its not too late, here are 10 ways to be happier.

1. Get plenty of sleep. As you know sleep is essential to your health, depending on the person, you need between 6-9 hours of sleep per night.

2. Exercise. You have heard it before, exercise is one of the most dependable mood lifters around.

3. Stop the nagging. This is a tough one, at least for me, but the biggest happiness boost is from relinquishing the need to have everything done on my schedule. You may not think so but trying to get people to do things on your schedule is very tiring and frankly a lot of work.

4. Do not express every angry thought you have. Before I was married I was always told not to let the sun go down on your anger, but not expressing anger often allows the feelings to dissipate.

5. Laugh out loud. They say that frowning can cause frown lines but they say smiling keeps them away, so how much more do you think laughing can do? Laughter dissolves tension, stress, anxiety and boosts the immune system.

6. Volunteer. Helping others really does make you feel better, enabling you to put your own problems aside and focusing on the needs of others.

7. Fake it until you feel it. If your feeling blue, try acting like you are happy and your actions will eventually make you feel happier.

8. Count your blessings. Pause every day to reflect on some positive aspect of your life, you will experience a heightened sense of well-being.

9. Smell the air. The benefits of aromatherapy in relieving stress are real. Try smelling some rosemary to lower your anxiety levels.

10. Take action. About 40% of your happiness level is within your control, take time to reflect and take conscious steps to make your life happier.

Spruce up Your Home without Spending Money

Courtesy of Real Simple

You can spruce up your house without spending money simply by using the stuff you already have. Because sometimes, especially in these economically hard days, it pays to reinvent instead of reinvest. Over at Real Simple I found these no money make over ideas.

There is no need to buy new stuff when everything you need is already within reach. If you are in the mood to redecorate, try one of these magical-yet-manageable transformations that you can pull off in a pinch.

Add a natural touch – Brighten up the black hole by sticking a plant inside the fireplace. Use plants that don’t require a lot of lights, such as a fern.

Place a quilt over your headboard – If your bed is boring and you want to add some color, place a quilt over the headboard frame.

Place art against the wall – If you were planning on buying large piece of furniture to conceal those ugly cords running along the floor, just use some framed art and set them against the wall to hide those wires.

Use bracelets for napkin rings – The bracelets can add a very festive fun touch to your table.

Dress up your dresser – Try tying colorful ribbons around the knobs for a splash of color.

Left over paint – Use your left over paint to spruce up a chair or small table by painting just the legs.

Spruce up your vanity – Use mismatched table ware to store your toiletries in. Grab your seldom used table ware and arrange them on a platter on your vanity to hold your toiletries.

These are just a few fun ways to spruce up your home. Go through your closets and start pulling out items you have stashed away and try to use them in new ways. Check out Real Simple for more fun ways to refresh your home.

6 Easy Organizing Tips

759509_35836084Organizing your life can be a bit difficult at times. Anything that gets your stuff in the right spot and easily keeps them in the right spot is helpful. Below are some unusual and easy organizing tips to make your life a bit easier.

  1. The 3 Things Pick-Up – Pick up three things in a room that belong somewhere else and go put them away. When you have put the last thing away, look for three more. Little by little, the clutter disappears.
  2. Charity Trunk Bag/Box – When you run across shoes, or clothes that you no longer wear or toys your children have outgrown, take them straight to the car and put it in the bag. When the bag fills up, drop it off at the nearest donation site.
  3. Dry-Erase Calendar – Give each family member a different color marker so everyone can see at a glance who needs to be where.
  4. Recycle Mail – After you pick up your mail, walk straight to the recycle bin. Don’t drop your mail off on your counter or set it down on the car seat, go through it on the spot.
  5. Shoe Holder Organizer – Hang a shoe holder organizer over a door to store cell phones, batteries, digital cameras MP3 players and the like. Simply label each pocket.
  6. Never Run Out of Food Again – Designate a space for your grocery list in your kitchen, the refrigerator works best, and when you run out of an ingredient, write it down immediately.
  7. Recipes in One Place – If you tend to tear out magazines from magazines, use a three ring binder with clear plastic inserts to keep the recipes free of splatters and dividers to separate appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and desserts.