How to Plan a Weekly Menu {Money and Time Saving Tips}

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It’s 5 o’clock. What’s for dinner?

Do you find yourself struggling for dinner ideas at the last minute or heading through the drive-through after work?  If you do, consider creating a menu plan to help take the stress out of mealtime.

Menu planning is preparing a written calendar of meals in advance. It can be as simple as writing down a dinner schedule for the week or as complex as including breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire month.  Whichever route you take, menu planning helps take the guesswork out of meals, which can be a huge time and money-saver.

Why should you plan a menu?

  • Eliminates the 5 pm, “what’s for dinner” question
  • Potential for more variety
  • Save money
  • Waste less

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How to Find the BEST Deals Shopping Yard Sales

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Shopping Yards Sales

I asked my mother-in-law to contribute a post about tips for shopping yard sales.  She is a veteran yard sale shopper who has been scouring neighborhoods for the past, well, I might get in trouble if I tell you that 😉

Yard sales are a great way to find household treasures, tools, sports equipment, baby furniture, toys and clothing at a bargain price.  Follow these tips to help maximize your time and savings:

Know your area:  Location is important!  A neighborhood with young families equals infant, toddler or children’s clothing and toys. Children’s clothing and toys resale easy and are usually in excellent condition. An older, established neighborhood could be good for antiques.

Map your area: Mark the newspaper advertisements with your yard sale choices or use an app to help plan your route. Next, check the map for directions or enter the addresses in your GPS/phone, and number each yard sale in the order you will visit. It is usually best to start closest to your home, traveling out to the furthest yard sale of the day.  However, if there is a large neighborhood sale in one of my preferred areas, I will usually venture there first.

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10 Other Uses for Rice {Not Just in the Kitchen}

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Other Uses for Rice

You may enjoy eating rice as a side dish or in a casserole, but did you know that rice has other practical uses as well? It turns out there are all sorts of creative uses for rice that you can try, and since rice is so inexpensive to buy, this is excellent news!

Take a look below at 10 other uses for rice that you can try.  You may never look at rice the same way again.

1. Save your cell phone. This is one of the best uses for rice there is. If your phone gets wet, place it in a bag of rice and let it sit overnight. The rice will help absorb the moisture and in many cases, can save your phone. This method works best when done immediately after the phone gets wet.

2. Soothe soreness. Fill a tube sock with dry rice and tie the sock closed with a knot. Place the sock in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it is warm. Use the heat pack to soothe sore muscles or a sore stomach.

3. Clean out slender bottles. If you are trying to wash out a slender bottle or glass, add some dry rice to the inside and shake it around. It will get into those tight spaces and help loosen dirt and debris.

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How to Save Money at Dollar Tree

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How to Save Money at Dollar Tree 1

Dollar Tree offers shoppers a great value on everyday products from personal hygiene and holiday decorations to food and much more.  All for just $1!!   With thousands of stores located all 48 contiguous states, you are sure to find a store near you.

The problem?  There are so many products available;  how do you know you are getting the best value for your dollar?

How to Save Money at Dollar Tree:

1. Know your price points for products:  Not everything at Dollar Tree is a good deal.  Consider the unit price and quality before making a purchase.  Often products like Ajax dish soap are $1 at Dollar Tree but only $0.97 at Walmart.  Compare prices before you shop.

What should you buy?  Cards, party supplies, gift wrap, serving dishes (perfect for taking to functions and just leaving them), kid craft items, coloring books, storage baskets and holiday decor.

What shouldn’t you buy?  Kitchen utensils, foil and other storage bags, vitamins, soda, candy/chewing gum, school supplies (cheaper at other stores during back-to-school sales), canned pet food and all things with a plug.

2. Shop multiple locations: Each Dollar Tree will have different stock. Browse the stores in your area to see which has the best selection of items you purchase most. I tend to shop at the largest stores, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t missing out on deals at the small stores.  You never know what hidden treasure will be around the next corner!

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11 Other Uses for Cascade

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Other Uses for Cascade

Did you know Cascade can be used as more than a dishwasher detergent?  I’ve listed 11 other uses for Cascade to help you clean everything from your clothes to your bathroom.

Other Uses for Cascade:

1. Clean bathtub rings or soap scum from showers: Use a bit of cascade on a sponge and scrub stubborn rings off your tub. It also works well to remove soap scum from your shower.  Rinse clean after treatment.

2. Clean toilet bowl stains: Help get rid of water stains in your toilet bowl by cleaning with Cascade. Let the Cascade sit for several minutes then scrub with a toilet brush.

3. Remove coffee or tea stains from glass cookware: Use 2 Tbsp of Cascade to 2 Qt of water and let soak. Then wash glassware as usual before storing.

4. Remove stubborn food from pots and pans: Food that is stuck or burnt to your pans can be removed by soaking in Cascade and hot water. The hard to remove food should become loosened enough for easy cleaning.

You can also try making a paste out of Cascade and a little bit of hot water. Let sit and the burnt food should come right off leaving your pot as good as new.

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How to Save Money at Bath and Body Works by Getting Cheap Bath and Body Works

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How to Save Money at Bath and Body Works
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If you are looking for some great holiday gifts, Bath and Body Works can be your one stop shop.  As you know, they are retailers of some of the sweetest scents around. But what you may not know is there are so many ways to score more of their smell good products for less. Take a look below at seven ways to save money at Bath and Body Works this holiday season.

How to get Cheap Bath and Body Works products:

1. Sign up for their email list. When you sign up for the BBW email list, you will receive a coupon good for various free products.  This coupon shows up typically within an hour or so upon sign up. In the past it has been for a free trial size item but offers may vary. Get on the list and you can be sure to receive coupons and special discount codes via email all season long.

Also, when they ask for your E-mail and phone number at the end of the purchase you want to give it to them. If you enter your info each time, they will send more/better coupons and more tailored to what you buy. *tip from a sales associate

2. Make two transactions. You can only use one coupon per transaction, but there are so many good ones available how do you know which to use? Instead, try doing two transactions. When you do, you can use one coupon per sale, making your budget stretch even further.

3. Grab those post sale coupons. During the holidays, when you make a purchase the cashier will give you a $10/$30 coupon to use on your next purchase. If you know you are going to want to purchase a pricier perfume, bathrobe, or candle, buy your smaller and less expensive items first, get the coupon, and then use it to get a whopping $10 off your larger purchase of one of those items.

4. Peek online. Many times, the online storefront for BBW will run specials not available in the store. Check the website at periodically to see what specials might be available. You can even check for coupon codes before shopping right HERE on The Coupon Challenge to see if you can score free shipping or additional money off.

5. Head to the clearance shelf. Each BBW store has a clearance area, full of marked down products. Give this area a good once over to see what products you can still use for gift giving. Chances are these products will have a fall theme, but as long as the scent is nice, your recipient is sure not to mind.

6. Buy gift sets and disassemble them. BBW offers gift sets with a variety of lovely products, and most are priced at a discount since you are buying them as a set. Why not buy one of these sets (using a coupon of course!) and take it apart. You can then use the individual products in stockings or as small gifts for co- workers, baby sitters, teachers, etc.

7. Call the company. If you contact the BBW company via the contact information on their website, they will send you a 20% off coupon to use on your next purchase. Just call and give your opinion and praise and they will be happy to send one. It is a great way to save a little more.

As you can see, there are so many ways to save at Bath and Body Works this holiday season. You can stock up on all of the beauty products, scents, scrubs, and bath accessories for less and come up with some gifts your friends are sure to love. So consider these tips the next time you decide to shop there and score your scents for less.

How do you find Cheap Bath and Body Works products?


8 Fun Uses for Spider Rings

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Uses for Spider Rings

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An inexpensive bag of spider rings can be used in many more ways than just their intended function. Try one or more of these 8 uses for spider rings to add a little fun to the Halloween season.

8 Fun Uses for Spider Rings:


1. Ice cube trays– Pop one in each cube, fill with water and freeze- the perfect touch for your Halloween party drinks.

Uses for spider rings 2

2. Necklace– String them on a cord or ribbon, just a few or all the way around they make a fun piece of jewelry besides a ring. Some rings go on all the way and will stay on just fine, if you have the ones that are split you may want to add a dab of hot glue to close the gap.

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6 Tips for Saving Money on Gas Now

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Saving Money on Gas
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Fuel costs can be one of the biggest budget busters for American families. While the cost of gas seems to keep soaring and paychecks keep dwindling, more people are looking into saving money on gas. Check out these easy tips that will help you keep a few extra pennies in your pocket when you fill up your gas tank.

6 Tips for Saving Money on Gas:

Fill Up Regularly

A low fuel light certainly isn’t an emergency, but it certainly not a good idea to ignore it. Plan to fill up your gas tank regularly, so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of running out of gas. A full tank will be much more efficient than a tank that is running on empty. When a tank drops too low, your vehicles fuel lines will begin to suck up whatever crud might be floating at the bottom of the tank. This can ruin your gas mileage, ruin your fuel filter, and bring you a major headache.

Fill Your Tank Early in the Morning

Fill up your tank early in the morning before the heat of the day has had a chance to warm up the underground tanks at the gas station. When it gets hot later on in the day, you will end up getting more gasoline vapor when you fill up and that means you will be paying for less actual gasoline.

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10 Other Uses for Coconut Oil

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other uses for coconut oil
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Personally, I LOVE to cook with coconut oil.  It’s tastes so much better than butter or makes a great substitute for Crisco when greasing pans.  Since I tend to purchase coconut oil in large quantities when I find a great price, it became essential to find other uses for coconut oil.  I mean, there is only so much cooking one person can do!  If you want to learn new tricks to put an healthy product to work, keep reading….

Other Uses for Coconut Oil:

1 – Oil For Wood Bowls and Boards: If you don’t maintain woodware properly, the consequences can be rather irritating. Some pretty serious stains can settle in, and smells can linger.  Coconut oil can serve as a great way to get these tough stains and smells out of your favorite wood bowl and off your cutting board. Just use it as you would any other wood treating oil; a fine, thorough rub into the wood and your woodware is fresh again.

2- Lubricant: Forget the WD-40,  coconut oil serves an extremely effective lubricant.

3 –Neosporin: Accidents happen a lot around my house with 2 kids and an accident prone hubby.  Thankfully, coconut oil can keep those minor scrapes from developing into worse things, like infections.  Just dab a little of it over any cut, scrape, or scratch and put a Band-Aid on top of that injury. An added bonus is that it smells a lot better than anything you could pick up at the drugstore on the corner.

4 – Shaving Cream:  Coconut oil can serve as a pretty fine substitute for shaving cream when you’re getting ready to go to work in the morning.  Also, if you rubbed the electric razor a little too hard on your skin, coconut oil can also serve as an after shave lotion.

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10 Ways to Find the Best Thrift Shop Bargains

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10 Ways to Find the Best Thrift Shop Bargains
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Everyone loves a good bargain, so there’s nothing more satisfying then picking up a killer vintage piece from your local thrift shop. However, if you are new to buying second hand then finding hidden thrift shop gems can be a total nightmare! So without further ado, here are our top 10 tips to help you be crowned the next second hand shopping queen.

10 Ways to Find the Best Thrift Shop Bargains:

1. Choose your area

Thrift shops reflect their surrounding area, so choose your location wisely! Head to upmarket boutique areas for second hand designer clothes, and hipster hangouts for trendier vintage pieces.

2. Time it right

One hot tip is to go shopping in thrift shops at lunchtime on a Monday; most people will donate over the weekend, so by the time Monday comes around you can cherry pick the best bargains before anyone else gets their hands on them.

3. Go out of season

Looking for a summer dress in January or some rain boots in June? Thrift shops are the place to go! Out of season stuff might not be on display, but you can guarantee they will have some in storage as people clear out their wardrobe for the next season.

4. Shop unisex

Thrift shop rails might be organized by gender, but you can guarantee that people won’t always put things back in the right place. Check the men and women’s section to scout out hidden treasures.

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