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Great Ideas for Frugal Living

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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Gas prices tend to get higher over the summer months. Groceries might be a bit scarce due to a problem at the ports that is slowing down the trucks that deliver goods to stores. These are a few good reasons to consider living more frugally. Here are some of the best ideas for frugal living!

Use Less

Reader’s Digest recommends you use less soap, toothpaste, shampoo and detergent. They believe you won’t notice a difference, and that your clothes will still feel fluffy with only a quarter of a dryer sheet.

Other ways to spend less money on laundry include: waiting to use the washing machine until you have a full load. In general, this costs less than doing several small loads. You can also hang-dry clothing instead of putting it in the dryer.

Make Lists

Reader’s Digest also recommends you make a list before you go to the store. This can be extremely helpful for grocery shopping because it ensures you remember to buy the items you need. It also prevents you from making impulse buys and unplanned purchases, and is a good way to stay within your budget.

What if you prefer to have your groceries delivered? It may cost you a little bit more than typical, but might cost less than the price of the gasoline that you would otherwise used up driving to and from the grocery store.

Energy Efficient Appliances

The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy recommends several cost savings and other benefits that come from using energy efficient appliances. Energy efficiency is the use of less energy to perform the same task or produce the same result. Energy-efficient homes and buildings use less energy to heat, cool, and run appliances and electronics.

At home, you can save money on energy bills by making energy-efficient weatherization upgrades – such as adding insulation, using LED lighting, and installing a heat pump – that reduce your energy use and can improve comfort.

Use Things that Can be Reused

Keep the plastic containers that you already have at home and continue to use them. Save the glass spaghetti sauce jars and use them for food storage. Cut up old and worn out t-shirts and use them as cleaning cloths. They are great for dusting and wiping up small messes. Toss them into the laundry and reuse them as needed.

Visit the Library

You can get a library card for free. It gives you access to everything that your local library holds. This often includes ebooks that you can read on your tablet. A walk to the library on a nice day is a good way to get some exercise. On rainy or cold days, consider talking the bus.

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Inexpensive Spring Cleaning Tips

Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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The weather starts warming up in the spring. It is also a really good time to put some effort into cleaning your home. Fortunately, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive. Not sure where to start? Here are some money-saving spring cleaning tips.

Good Housekeeping recommend that you steam clean your microwave. Start by filling a large microwave safe bowl with one cup of water and a chopped-up citrus fruit (lemon or lime). Add several tablespoons of vinegar and stick the bowl inside the microwave.

Turn the microwave on “high” and wait for the solution to boil. The window of the microwave should be steamy. Let it cool for five minutes before you open the door. Wipe the inside of the microwave with a sponge.

Real Simple has advice for making your trash smell better. Place a couple of dryer sheets on the bottom of the can. Dryer sheets that have already been used will do! They will absorb spills and help to mask orders.

The Spruce advises that you start your spring cleaning by clearing the clutter. Sort your belongings into four categories: trash, give away, store, or put away. You can do this as you go through your spring cleaning routine. Move the clutter out as soon as possible by bringing those items to a donation box, a charity, or by having a yard sale.

In addition, The Spruce also suggests that you keep cleaning products to a minimum. You might need little more than a good all-purpose cleaner and some microfiber cloths. Those two items together could be used on most (if not all) surfaces of your home.

Budgeting Couple likes to start spring cleaning work from the top down. Start by removing the cobwebs from the ceiling, and end your cleaning by sweeping the floor. Don’t forget to wipe off the walls, clean the windows, and remove the dust and dirt from the blinds and drapes.

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The Children’s Place Has a Huge Easter Sale

Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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Have your kids outgrown last year’s Easter outfits? Now is a good time to check out the huge Easter sale at The Children’s Place. The sale includes dozens of Easter outfits for kids starting at $7.99. Some of the outfits are up to 60% off.

If you order clothing and accessories from the Easter Sale online, it will be delivered by Easter for free. Order by 11:59 PM EST Sunday, April 10th for delivery by April 17th (Easter Sunday, 2022). Clothing categories include: Girl, Boy, Toddler Girl, Toddler Boy and Baby.

The advantage of shopping online is that you won’t have to enter a physical store with a child who might be sick or who is immunocompromised. The disadvantage is that the clothing you purchased online doesn’t fit your child after all.

The Children’s Place might be inside your local mall or as a standalone shop near where you live. The Easter sale should be valid there as well. The advantage of shopping in the physical store is that a parent can have their kids try on the clothing (to make sure it fits them well). The disadvantage is that the store may run out of the dress or shirt your child wanted to wear on Easter before you got there.

When in doubt, take a moment to go through the dressers and closets to see what condition last year’s Easter clothing is in. Has it been ripped? Is there a stain on it that seems impossible to remove? You might find that last year’s outfit is too worn out to wear this year.

If the clothing is in good condition, it is time to see if it still fits your child. If so – congrats! You just saved yourself some money. If not, maybe a younger sibling can wear it this year. If those options won’t work – it might be a good idea to take a look at the Easter sale at The Children’s Place.

As always, it is best to shop a sale as soon as you are able to. This is true for both online and in-store sales. Wait too long, and you will end up with less items to select from.

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Ways to Save Water

Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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Want to save money on your water bill? Tired of buying gallons of water from the grocery store? There are many things that you can do to save water. These tips will help you and your family save water when there is a drought and water is scarce.

The United States Environmental Agency (EPA) has plenty of advice on how you can save water. Did you know that when you skip a shower, you save 17 gallons of water? When your yard skips a shower (meaning you decide not to water it), you save 25,000 gallons of water. The EPA says that when in drought, ever drop counts.

In the Bathroom:

Take short showers instead of baths. Turn off the water to brush teeth, shave, and soap up in the shower. Fill the sink to shave.

Repair leaky toilets. Add 12 drops of food coloring into the tank, and if color appears in the bowl one hour later, your toilet is leaking. Install a toilet dam, faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads.

Laundry:

Run full loads of laundry. When purchasing a new washing machine, buy a water saving model that can be adjusted to the load size.

In the Kitchen:

When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under running water. Fill your sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes. Install faucet aerators.

Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. When buying a dishwasher, select one with a “light-wash” option.

Only use the garbage disposal when necessary (composting is a great alternative).

Outdoors:

When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leave surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage and fend off disease.

Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn’t sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate.)

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Ideas for National Frozen Food Month – March 2022

Posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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March is National Frozen Food Month. Frozen food has been around for a very long time. According to National Today, the first commercial ice-making machine was invented by James Harrison in 1851. He was a British journalist who had emigrated to Australia. In 1924, Clarence Birdseye is credited with inventing the quick and easy freezing method we know today.

Your family can participate in National Frozen Food Month and start anytime in March. Here are some ideas.

Plan a Frozen Dinner Night

There are a variety of ways you can make this happen. Pick up some frozen “TV dinners” from the grocery store, and use that as the main portion of your family’s meal that night. Use up the “leftovers” from a night when you made too much food and had to put some in the freezer. Those frozen foods will stay good for a long time (if you stored them properly).

Freeze Fresh Foods at the end of their Season

Fresh foods are wonderful. Unfortunately, if you bought too much, the fruit or vegetables might go bad before you could eat them. One way to prevent this is to buy the fresh produce at the end of its season and freeze some of it. You can thaw it when you need it.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) tweeted: ““Did you know that Frozen Food Day was proclaimed by President Ronald Regan on March 6, 1984?”

Easy Home Meals has easy home meal’s recipes, tips, and more. These include a video of “Shortcut Meatball – Soup – March Frozen Food Month 2022 Show”, a recipe for Creamy Cheese Tortellini, and more! You should be able to find some recipes that include frozen food that your family will enjoy.

Easy Home Meals is currently offering a March Frozen Food Month coupon giveaway. You can enter by filling out a short form that wants your email address – and for you to confirm your email address. You could end up with a coupon for frozen food!

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Are Coupons Still Useful During a Pandemic?

Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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The covid pandemic has caused many changes to how we used to go about our lives. Things are different now in many ways. Is it still worth it to collect and use coupons the way we did before? The answer to that question largely depends on how and where you shop.

Shopping for Groceries

Do you prefer to do your grocery shopping in-person? If so, then you might be able to save some money on the offers that connect to your grocery store’s loyalty card. Load virtual coupons onto that store’s loyalty card. Watch for the discounts that are only offered to loyalty card users while you shop.

Grocery stores are likely to honor discounts that their store offers via the loyalty card. They also have a right to reject certain coupons. For example, the store might be rationing certain items in order to prevent a shopper from buying them all up at once. Your “buy one, get one free” coupon may not apply.

Do you prefer to grocery shop from home? It is possible to visit your favorite grocery store’s website and select the items you want to buy. In some cases, the store may be out of something you wanted. If so, your shopper might contact you to let you know, and to ask if you wanted them to select a substitute for that item.

The drawback of grocery shopping from home is that you won’t be able to use your coupons. Your shopper cannot access your loyalty card. It is customary to tip your shopper after they deliver your groceries to you. The amount of the tip should reflect the amount of groceries you asked for.

Shopping for Take-Out

Shopping for take-out that you want to have someone deliver to you can be good or bad. Start by figuring out if the restaurant that you want to get food from is nearby or far away. The longer it takes a delivery driver to go to the restaurant and bring you your food – the more expensive that delivery becomes!

Sometimes, there will be a discount on the app you use to place your order. The restaurant might be offering a temporary discount on a certain meal. Typically, the app will take that discount into account and charge you appropriately. The drawback is that there is no way to use a paper McDonald’s coupon on take-out that was picked up by a driver.

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Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Hoard Groceries

Posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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2022 marks the third year of the coronavirus pandemic. Each year, there have been some people who panicked and hoarded groceries and household goods. You might remember photos and videos from 2020 of people pushing overflowing carts of toilet paper. While hoarding might make some people less anxious – it causes problems for everyone else.

Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t hoard groceries:

Supply Chain issues are a big reason why you can no longer easily find the groceries you expected to buy. Supply chain issues have caused major slowdowns in the trucking industry. There is a backup at ports with full containers that cannot be loaded onto a truck.

The result is that your local grocery store has fewer products than it would have had before the pandemic. Seeing empty shelves could cause some people to feel the need to hoard groceries. When the next person goes to that grocery store, they will discover that the hoarders took it all.

There is plenty of food out there. But, it can’t reach the stores as quickly as it used to due to supply chain issues.

Grocery stores are running with a limited work force. Grocery store workers are getting sick with Covid and staying home, or are quarantined after being exposed to someone who had Covid. This puts a strain on the workers who have to work short handed.

Fewer workers means that grocery stores may be unable to restock the shelves with whatever food is in the back. People who hoard groceries might buy more than they need of milk, eggs, and toilet paper. Again, this means there will be less for the next shoppers.

Hoarding groceries is expensive. It means your family has to spend more than typical on food and household items. Continuing to hoard groceries during a pandemic could break your budget. It also puts you at risk of having the foods rot away before you could eat them.

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America Saves Offers Tips to Help You Save Money

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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America Saves is a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America. It motivates, encourages, and supports low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.

Here are some tips from America Saves that could help you save money:

Save your coins. Putting aside just 50 cents a day over a year will get you almost halfway to an emergency fund. Check with your bank or credit union, and research apps that offer programs that round your purchases up to the nearest dollar and put the difference into a separate savings account.

Avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items with a self-imposed 24-hour rule. For any non-essential item, wait 24 hours before purchasing. It is perfect for online shopping where your items can simply be added to your cart to purchase later.

Unsubscribe from marketing emails and texts from the stores where you spend the most money. By law, each marketing email is required to have an unsubscribe link, usually at the bottom of the email or you can reply to any text with STOP, and that should opt you out of their list.

Pay off credit cards in full each month. The miles and cash-back are only valuable if you are not falling into debt or paying interest.

Only use the ATMs of your bank or credit union. Using the ATM of another financial institution once a week could cost you $3 for each withdrawal. That’s more than $150 over the course of a year.

Pay your bills on auto-pay. This ensures they are paid on time, in full to avoid late charges.

Use the library! Libraries offer several entertainment options including classes, e-books, and audio-books. Some libraries even allow you to borrow things like tools and sewing machines.

Brown bag your lunch. The reason you hear this tip so often is that it works! If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home only costs $2.50, then in a year you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.

For more information, visit the America Saves website.

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LED Bulbs Might Lower Your Electric Bill

Posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Do you enjoy decorating your Christmas tree – and the outside of your home – with colorful Christmas lights? If so, then you should consider using LED lights instead of the regular lights. It turns out that LED lights use less electricity. Switching to LED lights could lower your energy bill.

According to Reviewed, the financial and energy savings that could be gained from switching from traditional incandescent Christmas lights to more energy-efficient LED Christmas lights is a good idea. Doing so could save you money on your electric bill.

The Christmas Guys, a company that provides commercial and residential lighting services for Christmas decoration, prefer LED lights to incandescent lights.

“In past years, it wasn’t worth paying the extra for LED Christmas lights, thankfully now that the technology continues to get better the pricing has made it a no brainer to use LED lights over incandescent lights for holiday decorating. The Christmas Guys now exclusively use LED lights and are unable to provide incandescent lights to new clients.”

The U.S. Department of Energy says that lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, the Department of Energy recommends you switch to energy-efficient lighting to cut your energy bills.

According to the Department of Energy, the cost of LED bulbs has decreased dramatically since they entered the market and prices are expected to come down further as more products become available. While LEDs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use.

If you haven’t begun decorating the outside of your home with lights yet, now is the time to switch to LED bulbs. You can also find LED bulbs for your Christmas tree. You can have a merry Christmas and save money at the same time.

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Have a Frugal Christmas this Year

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Christmas can be an especially expensive time of the year. But, it doesn’t have to be! This year, consider having a frugal Christmas. You can get great gifts for your loved ones without going into debt. This year, there is an ongoing shipping problem, and you can avoid that hassle with these money-saving tips.

Visit the Thrift Stores

Thrift stores can be a really good place to shop for gifts. The prices will always be reasonable, and that’s great for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Thrift stores are good places to look for comfy sweaters for relatives who get cold very easily. You can also find interesting books for readers, old records for music lovers, and bolts of fabric for the crafters in your life.

Consider the Dollar Stores

Dollar Tree offers a wide variety of Christmas ornaments for a dollar a case. It also has some ornaments that cost $1.00 on their own. They also have a selection of Santa hats, Christmas headbands, and Christmas stockings. You can buy necklaces that have LED bulbs on them that look like the lights one would put on the outside of their house.

Having guests over for a holiday dinner? Some Dollar Stores sell holiday tableware that is decorative and festive. One case of 12 plates costs $1.00. A case of mugs also costs $1.00. No one needs to know where you got them from.

Regifting is an Option

The kitchen appliance that you received as a gift – but never used – could be just the thing that a friend or relative would love to have! Dig it out of your closet or garage, dust if off, and wrap it up. The purpose of gift giving is to bring some joy to someone you care about. The price of the item doesn’t really matter.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.