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!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Parening... Syrup?

Parenting Syrup. How's that for a name? I thought so, too!

I was kind of surprised, though, that it's really a neat site. After I got over being surprised, I found myself involved in it, so, of course, I want you to take a look: Parenting Syrup (Yep, that's right. You will remember that, right?)

It's written for real, every day parents by real, every day parents. Cool stuff.

Tell me what you think! There's another one I will post about later, I promise.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to save 100% on every sale you find

In all the hype we hear about sales and how much we can save, one thought keeps coming to mind.

They tell us we can save 10%, 25% and even more on some of these "special" "Unprecedented" "wow" sales...

I have a better method. I can save 100% by not buying that item in the first place.

I mean, I didn't want or need it before the sale, so why should I need it now?

It's something we need to check ourselves on now and then, no matter how frugal we are. Wrong attitudes about savings sneak up on us, just like they intended.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cheap February Projects

So I started off this month with a determination to "do something" about my office/craft room. I had thought about it for months, but it never seemed like the right time.

Yeah... it wasn't. Did you know that February is a short month? I still had taxes to do. And then I started a new online project. And then... well, it's gone by.

The room has been painted and the chest of drawers looks pretty good, too. What else? Hm. Oh, I did buy a cute little... um.. thing. I set it on a speaker. And I hung a bulletin board.

Oh, well. There's always next month, right?

There's that "thing" on the speaker, but you can hardly see it. Click on the image if you just have to. And, yeah, that's the barest my desk has been in a long time. I couldn't find the rest of my "stuff" when I tried to put everything back, and I didn't clean off the things I was working with, but it looks better than it usually does!

The best part about it is that when I'm all done with it, I will have spent about $150. I'll post an updated picture of it then and explain what I did. IF I ever get to that point!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Time to Think About Vegetable Seeds for Your Garden

Frugally speaking, it's time to start looking for free seed starting containers and sort through the seeds you saved last year. If you didn't save any, it's time to plan on what you have to buy, add up the cost and make a decision to save them next year. Packets of seed each year is an expense that can easily be eliminated.

Some seeds are easier to save than others, but all seeds can be saved. For instance, if you let one or two radishes go to seed, you will have enough radish seed to last a few years. Nature is generous! Kale, lettuce, spinach and similar leafy vegetables will set enough seed from a very few plants (or even one plant) to save for the next year with seed left over.

Beans and peas of all kinds produce plenty of seed if you choose a couple of plants and mark them when you are harvesting. Tomatoes, peppers and squashes take a little more care, but not much and one vegetable will have more than enough seeds to save.

Saving seeds from year to year not only saves you money, it ensures the best harvest you can get because each year the seed gets more comfortable in the specific climate of your garden and can produce better and bigger vegetables.

Make it a point this year to save more seeds of your own and pay less for someone else to do it for you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Creative With Cardboard

Still got cardboard boxes hanging around after the holidays? Put them to good use! Cardboard is a surprisingly sturdy material that's also easy to cut, fold and otherwise manipulate. The only downsides are that water will destroy it and it burns quickly.

You can cut it with sturdy scissors or a sharp knife, paint it, decorate it with contact paper or colored tape or decoupage it. As a matter of fact, it will do a lot of things that wood will, and it's a lot cheaper (free!).

I just came across a really cool shoe rack you can make of cardboard here, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You can make anything from emergency tables for kids to "paper" chains that will last holiday after holiday.

One of the easiest things to make from small cardboard boxes is storage boxes and bins. Sure, you can use them just like they are, but what's the fun in that? Go dig up some leftover paint and/or a leftover strip of contact paper, or yesterday's newspaper and decoupage glue. Have fun decorating a few boxes that you can leave out in plain sight instead of shoving them to the back corner of the closet. You can make them a lot prettier than any storage box you can buy and you can customize them to exactly suit your room!

Never get rid of a cardboard box without asking yourself if it will fill a need in your home. There are lots and lots of pages on the internet with so many projects made from cardboard that I couldn't even list them here.

Let us know what you find and what you decide to make! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Save on Groceries by Using Less Meat

Buy by the serving instead of by the pound. How many servings will you get from a whole chicken?

Most people in the developed nations eat too much protein. With higher costs for meat, it's one thing we can learn to save money on without feeling guilty or as if our diets are lacking in nutrition. It may very well be better for us health-wise as well as budget-wise, when we cut back on using meat.

You can make a lot of dishes with a minimum of meat. Use whatever recipe you like for meat casseroles, but cut back on the meat and add extra of the other ingredients.

Use all of the meat you buy, by using the pan drippings to flavor soup or rice or noodles (and calling it meat), or boiling all bones after they've been cooked, to get all the little bits of meat from them. The water they're boiled in makes good broth for flavoring other dishes, or as a base for soup or stew. Freeze the bits of meat until you have enough for a main dish.

Instead of hamburger gravy, use bits of any leftover meat to put in milk gravy and serve over toast, potatoes, noodles or rice.

There are many ways to save on meat, but it mostly boils down to using less in recipes and/or per serving and not wasting any leftovers.

Image courtesy of