3 Household Money Saving Tips

Household Money Saving Tips
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The price of food and other necessities continue to rise and the economy is recovering slowly.  This has many households looking for ways to save money.  There are many things you can do to cut back on your spending, without reducing the quality of life you’re used to.

Have a family meeting to discuss the importance of saving money and to talk about ways you can cut back on your spending. Below are three household money saving tips that can help you get started.

Household Money Saving Tips:

Cut Back On Your Energy Usage – Cutting back on your energy usage is a great way to save money.  There are a lot of small things you can do around the house to make a difference. You can start by adjusting your thermostat up or down just a few degrees to save energy.  As well as keeping those filters changed. When the system is running smoothly, it uses less energy.  Make sure to read my post on 10 Frugal Heating Tips to help you save more on heating.

Additionally, when not in use cut off and unplug electronics.  You can also turn off lights, fans, TVs, etc when you leave the room, even if you plan to return shortly.  Following these simple rules can help you save energy, which means you’re also saving money.

Don’t Impulse Buy – Do you or someone in your home tend to buy things on impulse? This gets a lot of people in financial trouble. You have to fight the urge to buy that big screen TV just because it’s on sale. Sure, it’s a great deal but do you really need it? If not, then it’s a waste of money.

Many people also have a tendency to impulse buy when they go grocery shopping. If you catch yourself putting things into the cart that looks good at the time but that you really don’t need, it’s time to make a grocery list and follow it precisely.  When you stick to the list, you’ll buy items for meals instead of junk food and you won’t have to go back out the next day to buy something for dinner.

Cut Out Unnecessary Trips – Sometimes, you’ll find the need to run out to the store for an item or two but for the most part, you can cut out a lot of unnecessary trips to the store and other places if you just plan better.

Stop by the store on your way home from work instead of going home and then back out again to pick up that gallon of milk or loaf of bread. Combine trips whenever possible and if you don’t really need to go out, stay home.  Think of all the money you can save in gas and wear and tear on your vehicle!

The money you save can go towards a nice family vacation or anything else your family agrees to save towards together.

By making a few simple changes around the home and by being conscious of how much money you waste, you can cut back on your spending and these household money saving tips can help.

What are your Household Money Saving Tips?

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5 Must Have Frugal Kitchen Staples

Frugal Kitchen Staples

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Having the right supplies is the key to any situation and it is certainly true in the kitchen. Frugal kitchen staples are quite simply the basics of economical cooking…those items you can’t do without when you are trying to make your recipes. These staples are generally inexpensive and diverse, making them very valuable to you in a number of ways.

5 frugal kitchen staples most home chefs can’t do without:

Pasta – When it comes to frugal staples, pasta is at or near the top of most lists. What makes it so valuable? For one thing, pasta can be combined with so many different things…you can make spaghetti, mix in veggies for a light pasta salad or simply mix it with olive oil for a light meal by itself.

It can be used in so many different combinations that it will always be a primary staple in the kitchen. It also keeps very well and won’t go bad for quite a long time. PLUS coupon users can usually get pasta for free after pairing a sale with a coupon!

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April Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

April Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

One of the best ways to save money on Fruits & Vegetables is to buy what’s in season.  Also, you’ll want to stock-up and freeze or can some for later use when you come across a good sale so that you can have a variety to choose from through-out the year.

Here’s what to look for on sale this month at your local Grocery Store and Farmers Markets:

FRUITS VEGETABLES
Apricots
Honeydew
Oranges
Papayas
Pineapple
Strawberries
Artichokes
Arugula
Asparagus
Avocado
Beets
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumbers
Greens
Mushrooms
Onions
Peas
Parsnips
Rhubarb
Scallions
Spinach

 

 

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16 Other Uses for Listerine

Other Uses for Listerine
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Listerine isn’t just for freshening your breath and reducing plaque.  Originally in 1879, Listerine was found to be an effective antiseptic for use in surgical procedures! It wasn’t until 1914 that Listerine became the first prescription product in the US to be sold over the counter as a product to kill oral germs.

As you can see, Listerine has a long history.  Some of the other uses for Listerine are possible because of the essential oils; menthol, eucalyptol, thymol and methyl salicylate.  These work together to create a great antiseptic, bug repellant, anti-fungal treatment and more!

Other Uses for Listerine:

1.  Clean mold and mildew in your bathroom -  Listerine is great for cleaning mold and mildew.  Simply soak your cleaning tool in Listerine and scrub away.  Another one of the other uses for Listerine in the bathroom is to remove hard-water stains and for shining bathroom fixtures.

Bonus – Instead of discarding that old toothbrush, you can use it to get into hard to reach places!  Don’t forget to label it for cleaning only.

2.  Clean your toilet bowl – Clean your toilet bowl and make it shine by pouring in 1/2 cup of Listerine instead of toilet bowl cleaner.  Scrub with the toilet brush as usual.

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Learn How To Pick the Perfect Produce

How to Pick the Perfect Produce
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One way to save money at the grocery store is to ensure that produce is bought at the optimal time in relation to when you want to use it. Not only is it important to know how to determine ripeness for different types of produce but it is also necessary to know which types of produce will continue to ripen once picked.

Below is a summary including advice on evaluating 20 different types of produce, so you can learn how to pick the perfect produce.

1) Cantaloupe should feel heavier than it looks when it is ripe. The smell will be sweet and musky but not overly sweet. If it smells too sweet, it is probably over ripe. Lastly take a look at the stem to be sure that there is no lip present. If you do purchase a cantaloupe that is not ripe, you can leave it on the counter to ripen over time.

2) Pineapple will be firm to the touch when ripe and will smell sweet. If the pineapple smells like vinegar it is over ripe and if it smells like nothing, it needs to ripen more. The entire pineapple will be a golden brown color without any lingering green color at the base. Lastly if you try to pluck a leaf from the top and it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe.

3) Strawberries should be completely red. If the green color is present at the top/stem, it means that the strawberry is not fully ripe. Ripe strawberries will smell distinctly sweet. Always look at the bottom of the container for any signs of mold or fermentation.

4) Mangos have different varieties so you should be familiar with the kind you want in order to determine if it is ripe. A ripe mango will always smell sweet especially near the stem where the smell will be the strongest. A mango will be soft when it is ripe and it will feel heavier. Mango will continue to ripen after being picked but do not refrigerate if the mango needs to ripen further.

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5 Tips for Saving Money on Emergencies

Saving Money on Emergencies

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One of the most important things that you have to learn financially is how to save money. Saving money on emergencies is particularly important. Most people are savvy enough to put away money for college, a new car or possibly a great vacation. Emergencies are not quite as easy because they are unpredictable.

When you lay out your budget every month, how much do you set aside for the unknown? Would you be prepared in an emergency?

5 Tips for Saving Money on Emergencies:

1. Never get too comfortable to save – Emergencies are totally unpredictable and they tend to come in batches. Some folks will go for a bit and start to feel as though their fund is big enough. They stop saving and suddenly they will have four or five emergencies in a row. This lull in saving is common and should always be avoided if you want to truly be prepared.

2. Set aside a set amount each month – Saving money on emergencies requires discipline when things are going well. As a regular part of your budget, set aside money every month for emergencies and the unexpected expenses that will no doubt show up. This amount varies depending on your budget.  You should aim to build an account that could cover you for at least a year in the event of your being unable to work.

3. Be disciplined once that savings builds – It is very easy to look at that money sitting in the account and start to think of things that you could do with it. A vacation, a trip to the salon and even a new wardrobe can be very tempting when the money is not currently needed. Don’t give in to these feelings and stick to the budget.

4. Remove temptation by putting in a bank – Saving money for emergencies is not going to work if you keep the money under your mattress. Money that is in front of you tends to “find” emergencies on a regular basis. You would be amazed at the things that can become emergencies when you have the cash in reach. Put the money in a bank and never look at it other than to make sure it is accurate each month. Savings are meant to stay hidden until you need them.

5. Put leftover budget money into the emergency fund – When you set a budget each month and then end up not spending all of it in a particular category, go ahead and move that extra money into emergency savings. If you are purposefully holding onto money so that you can buy something that costs more, that is different. An extra twenty bucks in your entertainment budget this month could be easily fed into the emergency fund though.

Saving money on emergencies is really all about discipline and a commitment to preparing for the future. The comfort you will feel having that money set aside will give you confidence in your daily life. Things are not so scary out there when you have some savings set aside.

What are your tips for Saving Money on Emergencies?

Looking to start saving money with coupons?  Download my FREE Simple Savings Coupon Workbook!

You might also like this inexpensive ebook for more tips: Emergency Fund 101: How to Save Money for Unexpected Expenses (Money Matters).

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March Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

March Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The best way to save money on Fruits & Vegetables is to buy what’s in season.  Also, you’ll want to stock-up and freeze or can some for later use when you come across a good sale so that you can have a variety to choose from through-out the year.

Here’s what to look for on sale this month at your local Grocery Store and Farmers Markets:

FRUITS VEGETABLES
Strawberries
Tangerines
Avocados
Grapefruit
Lemons
Oranges
Asparagus
Beets
Broccoli
Green Onions
Peas
Turnips
Cabbage
Carrots
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Chard
Collards
Kale

 

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20 Other Uses for Dryer Sheets – Not Just for Laundry!

20 Other Uses for Dryer Sheets

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Do you throw in a dryer sheet every time you switch your clean clothes from the washer to the dryer?  STOP throwing out those dryer sheets after just one use!   Dryer sheets have many uses other than keeping your clothes soft and static-free.  The other uses for dryer sheets include everything from cleaning to air freshener to rodent repellant.

USED dryer sheets are sufficient for most of these tips, they don’t have to be new.  Keep an old tissue box or old dryer sheet box next to the dryer to store your used dryer sheets until they’re needed.

Other Uses for Dryer Sheets:

1. Clean the Laundry Room:  After you finish a load of laundry, use the dryer sheet to wipe off excess dust and grim from your washer/dryer, clean the drum or get excess lint off the lent trap and surrounding the lent trap.  I do this after (almost) every load.  I’m famous for having drops of dried up laundry detergent on my washer and this works like a champ!

2. Dusting:  Did you know a dryer sheet makes a great duster?  They easily grab dust off furniture, baseboards and my personal favorite – blinds!

3. Bathtub/Shower Scrub:  Wet a dryer sheet and use it to scrub off soap grim from your shower or bathtub.  This works great for shower doors too!

4. Stinky Sports Bags:  Place a new dryer sheet in your gym bag or sports equipment bag to help keep away the stink.  My son’s Tae-Kwon-Do bag gets a terrible foot odor without a dryer sheet – EWW!

5. Car Freshener:  Keep your car smelling fresh by placing new dryer sheets under the seats, in the glove box, trunk or under floor mats to keep your car smelling fresh for less.

6. Stored Items:  Do you have items such as luggage, sporting equipment or camping gear that is rarely used?  Place a new dryer sheet in items stored in the garage, attic or basement.

7. In Shoes:  Place a dryer sheet in your shoes to help minimize odors.

8. Insect Repellant:  Put a new dryer sheet (Bounce brand works best) in your pants pocket to help keep away mosquitoes and gnats without having to spray chemicals.  If the insects are particularly persistence, try rubbing the dryer sheet on your clothes and even skin to keep the buggers away.

9.  Clean-up Hair:  Anyone else always have hair all over the bathroom floor?  Those individual strands can be a pain to clean up, but a used dryer sheet is perfect for the task!  The hair clings to the dryer sheet, so a quick wipe on your bathroom floor will work wonders.  You can even use your foot to wipe the floor while you brush your teeth – multitasking is always best :)

10.  In Your Clothes Drawers:  Keep dryer sheets in your drawers to lengthen the fresh smell of your clothes.  This is a great alternative if you don’t know how to make a sachet.

11.  Reduce Static Cling:  Rub a dryer sheet over clothes (even your hair starting at the root) to reduce static cling.

12:  Make That Iron Shine:  Turn your iron on the low setting and rub the surface with a dryer sheet to remove the gunk.  Make sure to be careful not to burn your fingers!

13.  Air Freshener:  Place a new dryer sheet over the heating vent.  Not only will your home smell fresh, it helps to collect dust.  Change sheet about once per week or as needed.

14.  Diaper Pail:  Place a sheet in the diaper pail to help keep odors in check.  You can also place a dryer sheet into a used diaper before rolling it up and discarding.

15:  Rodent Repellant:  In addition to keeping away insects, use dryer sheets at the entrance to mice holes or in campers to keep the rodents away.  Apparently rodents don’t like to smell fresh!

16.  Clean Computer and TV Screens:  Gently wipe the screen of your computer or TV screen with a dryer sheet.  Not only will it help remove the dust but it will help repel future dust build-up.

17. Clean-up Flour and Powder:  Having trouble wiping up spilled flour or powder?  The fine particles will cling to the dryer sheet and make clean-up a snap.

18.  Pet Hair Removal:  If you have a pet that sheds, rub a dryer sheet over your clothes (or even directly over your pet) to remove pet hair.  It can also help to hide the “wet dog” smell after Fido has been outside in the rain.

19.  Freshen Up Old Books:  Place a dyer sheet in an old book and zip up in a plastic bag for a couple days to help get rid of the musty smell.

20.  Make Chrome Shine:  Prevent streaks and make chrome shine with a new or used dryer sheet.  This is great for hubcaps or your toaster!

People have been using dryer sheets to do laundry since they were first invented in the 1960′s.  Due to the fact that they are relatively inexpensive and widely available, we have come up with many other uses for dryer sheets than just to keep your socks from clinging to your blouse.

Most of these other uses for dryer sheets should also work with natural dryer sheets such as Seventh Generation Fabric Softener Sheets if you prefer to use sheets with plant-based ingredients.

What are your ideas for other uses for dryer sheets?

You might also like my Uses for Rubbing Alcohol!

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4 Ways to Save with Money Saving Jars

Money Saving Jars

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There are many different ways to start money saving jars and all of them have merit. Each of them seem to work on a slight variation of saving a specific amount of money per week, month or year and doing so in regular increments.

Money saving jars are particularly effective for kids or people starting to learn about savings. Having the money there accumulating in front of you is a pretty good motivational tool as long as you can resist diving into it when times get tough.

Several ideas for money saving jars:

The Year Long Mason Jar – This is a rather simple money saving jar that you build on incrementally throughout the year. Starting on a specific date, add one dollar per day into the jar. The amounts can vary depending on what you can afford. Each day that follows, add a specific increment. For example, on day one you do a dollar, on day two you do $1.25, day three $1.50 and so on. At the end of a year’s time, the money really adds up.

The idea behind this particular savings strategy is to not feel the increases as badly. Doing it a little at a time makes it a good bit easier.

My Weekly Paycheck Jar – This is one that I particularly love because it teaches a great habit while boosting your self esteem as well. Every week, paycheck after paycheck, we pay our bills. We pay our mortgages, we pay our car payments and so on. Why not pay ourselves with each check?

Simply dress up a nice jar or piggy bank and pay yourself a weekly salary that is not for bills, etc. This fund can be earmarked for vacation, a new pair of shoes, or whatever as long as it is for you. Money saving jars are a great way to remind yourself that you are worth investing in!

Automatic coin counters – These are the coolest things ever created in the world of money saving jars. Essentially, every time you add money into the jar, the jar itself digitally counts the funds. This way, you see how far you have come every single time you add to the jar. It counts coins automatically and you can add dollars manually. This makes saving not only fun, but highly effective. You can find these ranging from $5.00 for the cheap ones to upwards of $100 if you want to get a really nice one. They all work wonderfully.

Decorative savings jars – These are some of the most creative jars out there because they are also fairly subtle. If you decorate your own money saving jar you can make it so that it looks like anything at all. I have seen baskets with a coin holder inside, mason jars that are painted to hide what is inside, flower vases that are holding coins but fake flowers as well, and countless other ideas. The key is to make it fun and if you can help make things tougher for potential thieves in the process, then that is a bonus!

Money saving jars are a wonderful way to put back money and to learn how saving works. For this reason, it is a great project to start with your kids or the young adult in your life. Give it a try and you might be surprised at the results!

Check out some of the great variations and purchase Money Saving Jars HERE.

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February Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

February Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The best way to save money on Fruits & Vegetables is to buy what’s in season.  Also, you’ll want to stock-up and freeze or can some for later use when you come across a good sale so that you can have a variety to choose from through-out the year.

Here’s what to look for on sale this month at your local Grocery Store and Farmers Markets:

FRUITS VEGETABLES
Clementines
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Mandarin Oranges
Oranges
Pears
Raspberries
Strawberries
Tangerines
Artichoke
Asparagus
Avocado
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard
Collards
Kale
Onions
Potatoes
Spinach

 

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