Friday, June 12, 2015

Eat better on a budget

Healthy eating on a budget means eating seasonally, avoiding processed food, sticking to basics, cooking from scratch and using coupons with wisdom and caution.

Eating seasonally might take some getting used to, but you'll get the best of food for the least price if you do. Produce which is in season means sweet and tempting strawberries in the spring lucious, juicy watermelon in the middle of summer, firm, bright apples in the fall and plump and tasty turkerys in early winter. Sure, you can get those things other times, but they're just not as good.

When you avoid processed food, you avoid paying for chemicals that you can't pronounce and your body either can't process or does it to its own detriment. Processing makes a food shelf or refrigerator stable at the cost of nutrients and flavor. Other, simple foods are just as easy to prepare and much better for you.

Basic food is food that covers all the nutritional needs without any fancy sauces or flavorings. No exotic or expensive tastes, but good, simple food that satisfies your hunger. Save the expensive and fancy food for special occasions and you'll enjoy them more, anyway.

Cooking from scratch is a necessity if you want to eat basic food because nobody else is going to make it for you. A pot of beans and a pan of cornbread is easy to make, inexpensive and oh, so good! Simple recipes may be harder to find than complicated ones, but it's worth the hunt. Google is your friend.

Coupons can be really good budget boosters, if you use them right. Never use a coupon to buy something you wouldn't buy in the first place. To save money, make out your grocery list, then go looking for coupons to lower the cost of what you need.

There you go. Lower your entire food bill and eat better, too.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Parenting Syrup, Cars and Danger

You've probably noticed the links in the upper right hand corner. One of them is to "Parenting Syrup," and yes, I know that's an unusual name. If you've heard of it before, you remember it, though, right?

Anyway, there are some really interesting articles there and I should know because I edit the site. One that caught my attention is "Children Die of Heatstroke in Vehicles." You probably already know that, but you might want to read what this author has to say about it.

With summer heat coming on, it's something to beware of. Also, just leaving your kids alone in the car for a few minutes can be dangerous. "Danger: Your Kids are Alone in the Car" spells out exactly why.

Don't let your child be a statistic this summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket


That's a phrase usually reserved for expectations or investments, but it fits saving money, too.

If you clip coupons but don't bother to shop second hand for clothing and household goods, you're spending more than you have to. If you only shop the sales rack but you compare auto insurance every 10 years or so, you're probably spending more than you have to.

It's easy to get comfortable and even in a rut when it comes to cutting costs, but relying on one area without looking up and around at all the different ways to save will cost you.

Shop sales, plan purchases, avoid impulse buys, compare all kinds of insurance costs every year, borrow or rent instead of buying, find ways to save on utilities, etc., etc.

Don't depend on one or two things to save money.

Friday, May 22, 2015

No Vacation? Break Loose, Anyway!

Can't afford a vacation this year? You've heard of "staycations" but you're just not convinced it would give you the break you need? How about an overnight trip? Two full days, one night, and you'll feel like you've had a real break.

You will need a sense of adventure, a positive attitude, gas money and money for an overnight stay. Pack a cooler with food and an extra change of clothing, just in case. 

Start as early as you want to. I remember starting out on vacation when the kids were little. It would still be dark out; the coffee in our thermos was hot, the kids went back to sleep, the roads were quiet and the lull of the rolling countryside was peaceful. I griped about it then, but no more. It's a magical time to hit the road.

If that doesn't appeal to you, how about staying home for breakfast, then taking off? Wash up the dishes, unplug everything not needed for two days and away you go.

Where? Start here: Choose a direction. Any direction will do. Drive for two hours. Stop and look around. You might be in a different town or a rural area. Talk to the first person you meet and ask about local attractions. You will get a wide array of answers from the best fishing lake to free museums or maybe you've even stumbled on to a local celebration. If it's nothing more than a picnic in the local park, do it.

If you can't stay busy here the rest of the day, drive another hour and repeat. Near the end of the day, look for a place to stay the night. This could be a KOA cabin, a campground or a motel.

The next morning, take the next road in a different direction and slowly work your way back home, stopping to take in the sights and activities as you come across them.

That's what they call "foot-loose and fancy free" and it will refresh your mind, your body and your soul better than an extended, well planned vacation.

Go ahead, break loose. Take a little chance and you'll find you don't have a thing to lose.

image courtesy morguefile.com

Monday, May 18, 2015

Garage Sale Cautions

Lots of frugalites shop second hand and garage sales are the best way to do that. Not only are prices lower at garage sales, if you can find the right one, the offerings might be more up to date than thrift stores.

Clothing and entertainment items like DVDs and games may be last years editions or not. People tire of thing quickly.

What not to buy at garage sales varies with your location and your gut feeling. Don't ignore that. If there is "something" about a person you don't trust, don't buy electronics or other things that you can't fully check out. Even at ten cents on the dollar, there's no reason to waste your money.

Before you start out on a day's or morning's worth of garage sales, put together a list of things with sizes, colors, styles and any other pertinent information and take it with you!

Yeah, ask me how I know that part is important.

It's easy to get carried away at garage sales, so put on your best discipline before you leave the house. Take cash and only take as much as you can really afford to spend. That will help you slip past that beautiful vase and the throw pillows that would be gorgeous in your living room, right to the tops and shorts for the kids and the stock pot you've been needing.

As always, keeping a goal in your head makes it easier to meet!

image courtesy morguefile.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Stay at Home and Make Money

Do you want to stay at home with your baby but you're not sure you can afford it? There are ways to make money at home. Perhaps you can eat your cake and have it, too!

Read this and see:
Eight Ways to Make Money at Home

And if you don't find what you're looking for there, try this:
Seven Valid Ways to Make Money Online

And still more (but not limited to holidays!) Make Extra Money for the Holidays

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Are You Ready for Easter?

Easter baskets ready for the kids? Big dinner planned and bought? Family coming?

Whether you do these things or not, Easter can punch a hole in your budget if you're not careful. Planning ahead is important, as always, but even at that, it's easy to spend a lot of money on chocolate bunnies, new clothes and special food.

Okay, so that much we know. What to do about it is the question, right? You probably don't want to return that big, beautiful basket of goodies, but for future reference, you can make one just as nice, or nicer, yourself for at least half the cost.

If you are like many who think that a new Easter outfit is part of it all, for next year, look for that special clothing on sale right after Easter. You could even find it second hand and maybe in time for this year.

Dinner, too, can be bought on sale and not necessarily just before Easter. Keep your eyes open all year for specials that can be frozen or stored otherwise.

Stay alert to savings all the time and you'll be able to keep more money in your pocket.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Toddlers and learning

Just something interesting, if you have a toddler, or even if you don't. They learn an awful lot during those first few years!

How Your Toddler Learns


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vinegar - Cheapest Remedy

As far back as 3,000 years ago, we know that people were using vinegar for medicinal purposes. Hippocrates used it to treat burns, swellings and inflammations and a mixture of vinegar and honey was used as an expectorant. The Babylonians used it to preserve food, Roman soldiers drank it for overall health and Cleopatra dissolved pearls in it (so they say).

Guess what? It still does those things today. Vinegar, placed on a wound will help swelling and inflammation go down and it's useful to relieve the pain of sunburn and other burns. If you spray some on a sunburn right away, it will keep the skin from peeling so badly as it heals.

It's great as a cough and sore throat medicine, mixed with honey and a little water. Drink it hot for the best effect.

Vinegar provides your body with potassium, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Because of that, it can relieve headaches, lower blood pressure and guard against gout and other arthritis.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, as they say.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Still working on my February project...

This started out as one of some sturdy boxes that held dishes (a Christmas gift!). I almost threw them away, (the boxes, not the dishes!) then I had second thoughts.

Instead, I painted them with latex wall paint. They took the paint very well, although it took two coats.



And this is what they looked like when I got them painted and stacked. A "free" set of storage boxes, custom made to fit the room I am slowly... ever so slowly... redoing.

The chest of drawers is the one I posted about before. It holds yarn. Yep, lots of yarn. What can I say?





Another view of those free storage boxes. I can hardly wait to finish up everything, but it's going to take awhile yet. I have to clear the desk of computer, printer, speaker, and lots of papers and other... stuff.

And that ain't no small feat!