Monday, July 27, 2015

Back to school sales are for you, too.

Back to school sales are all over the place right now! Don't think of them as just for the kids and school; they're for you and your home, too. 

There are sales on pencils, crayons, notebooks and so on, so as you buy for the back to school gang, buy some for yourself while they're cheap. Who couldn't use a few pencils or notebooks throughout the year?

Other deals you'll find right now are on computers and other electronics and inexpensive furniture (for dorm rooms, but who says you or  your kids can't use it at home?). Now's the time to get those storage bins for the laundry or the bright, comfy seating for the family room as well.

Grab some new bedding for the kids (thanks again to dorm rooms), then add a bulletin board and a stack of cube storage boxes and your kids' rooms will look new for very little cash.

Now's the time, but it won't last long. As soon as school starts and the stock is sold, we will be right back to the higher prices, so take advantage of the sales while you can. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It's time to gather tea for the winter

Right now is a great time to gather plants for tea  (tisanes, actually) from your garden, yard or wild areas to use this winter.

You probably have a few plants (aka, weeds) available that make good tea and right now, they're free for the taking. Free is frugal, right?

So what can you make tea from?

Dandelions (leaves and roots)
Berry leaves (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc.)
Rose hips (a little later in the season; don't forget them)
Mint (any kind, including catmint, horehound, lemon balm and so on)
Flowers like clover, chamomile, goldenrod, meadowsweet and yarrow
Some trees have bark that make tea, like cherry

Make sure you can positively identify any plant that you gather. Most plants are best when gathered early in the morning. Don't pick too many leaves from a plant or you will damage it. You can pick over a few days to minimize damage.

Dehydrate the plant material by putting it in a single layer on a food safe screen or cloth in a warm, not hot, place. Don't dry in the sun, as delicate flavors may be damaged.

Some leaves will be dry and ready to store in a day's time; others will take two days. They are ready when they're crunchy with no trace of moisture left. Store in a glass jar with an airtight lid. As much as you might want to show off your teas, don't store them on the counter. Put them in a cabinet or pantry where it will be dark most of the time.

This winter when the cold winds blow and you want something comforting, put a heaping teaspoon or two of your free tea in a cup and add boiling water. Let it steep at least five minutes or more, depending on the tea.

You will soon learn how much you need and next year, you'll know how much to harvest.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Working oline

Making money is as critical as saving it, and if you're a stay at home parent or between jobs or disabled or in any other position where you need to make money, working online is the ideal way to bring in an income.

There are still scams and "methods" all over the internet, so beware of them. They are usually overly enthused about how much you can make or how little it takes to get rich, but some of them have become a little more sophisticated. It's best to do some research on any company or site before getting involved with them.

You can make a few dollars here and there or, if you're really committed, you can make more than just a few. Honestly, unless you have a specific skill or are an entrepreneur at heart, it's very hard to make a living online. At best, most people will make enough to pay for their internet and maybe pay a bill or two each month.

For some, that's fine. It's perfect, as a matter of fact, for some people. There are several sites where you can work to do that: the ubiquitous Swagbucks is probably the most popular. It takes time, as do most rewards type of online programs.

Then there is Inboxdollars and InstaGC and many more. Once you start looking, you will find many and you'll have to choose wisely if you want to make the most of your time.

"Pocket change" means different things to different people, so you may or may not be happy with what you can earn at places like those.

From a little experience, I can advise you to stay with a site for at least a couple of weeks until you learn the ropes. They're all a little different and you will find new and better ways to earn as you get more comfortable with each of them.

And have fun. It's not all about work and money. Set goals, challenge yourself, enjoy your time and know that you're not wasting it.