Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here is a challenge Try it if your up for it!

This is just a fun and hopefully money saving challenge for everyone to try.

Start by going over your expenses. How much money do you have coming into you house? What do you have to spend(mortgage/rent car loan etc) vs what you don't really need to spend (HBO, Coffee House coffee etc).

Now here is the challenge ..... Starting March 1 .... How much money can you put into your savings account? Cut the fat out of your expenses find ways to earn a little extra and see how much you can stash.

Lets face it saving money is not something we are taught to think of as fun. It is something we are taught "responsible adults" are suppose to do for their future. So now its time to think of it in another way. Engage your inner competitor and accept the challenge. At the end of March how much will you have saved? Can you beat it in April?

The winner will be................. Everyone!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Don't More People.....

If you have read my past posts you might remember that I have recently started working at Petco. Well I have a question.

I work the registers there most of the times (sometimes I do fish woohoo :D ). Why don't people bring in their canvas bags. I know lots of people have them I see them in the grocery store with them stuffed into their carts waiting to be filled with their groceries and saving the environment one bag at a time.
So how come they don't use them at Petco.... or any other place for that matter. The only place I see people using them is the grocery store. But those bags are reusable so why not reuse them to the maximum extent possible? They will hold more then grocery how about clothes, toys, pet food, fish souvenirs from your vacation, on and on the possibilities are endless. The fewer plastic bags we use the fewer that go into the landfills and less oil is used to create them. You have them in the car already, just waiting for the next trip to the supermarket so just grab them anytime you need to carry something from any place you need to get something.

On a lighter note Kristie over at MY CRAZY LIFE is having a contest celebrating her 50th post.
(psst....she is giving away CHOCOLATE ) So go check her out and say congrats.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Husband Was Joking

We were sitting in the living room last night and my Hubby picked up a copy of Fitness I had just received. While looking through it he found an ad for a rather girly looking bicycle. Joking around he commented "Hey honey I found the perfect bike for you." He said this as a joke because I don't do the whole frilly pink girly thing. I'm your basic Jeans and a t-shirt gal. Anyway he flashed me the picture of the Bike Called "Butterfly" by the folks who created it Electrabike.

Ok this is not the best pic but you get the idea. I looked at it and said "Hey that would be perfect for me!" My Hubby shot me a look that said "Who are you and what did you do with my Wife"

Well it would be perfect its got a nice comfy seat and would be great for getting back and forth to work as the weather here warms up. I hate taking our behemoth to work. Its a gas guzzling monster that we got for Camping, Taking the Dogs to the Vet (when we purchased it we had two Large dogs, one has since passed away) and carrying heavy home improvement items from home depot . My hubby takes our little car to work with him. Its the one we use for everything else. Anyway As I was saying Yes this bike would be perfect for me so I don't have to spend my paycheck on gas and we have more to put away for savings. It's why I took a part time job in the first place. Hummmm Maybe I'll get it for my Birthday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don't Foget Your Friends

Things are going to be tight all over. Maybe not for everyone but for a lot of people. Prices are going to rise! Friends, neighbors, maybe even yourself will be unemployed. Being prepared for the worst is one way of making sure you get through it with the least amount of stress. With that in mind I made yesterdays post but I didn't say anything about our Friends.

It is a proven fact that pets help reduce the stress in our lives. That being said, you want to make sure that having a pet when things start getting tough isn't another reason to stress out. Stock up on supplies for your buddy. Make sure his or her shots are up to date a healthy pet is alot less stressful. When you are trying to determine how much emergency cash you need don't forget to add in extra for pet care and possible emergency vet visits. Make sure you have plenty of any medication you need for your pet as well. Whether its Flea and tick preventative or just that oatmeal shampoo to help his dry itchy skin. Got a pet that eats live food such as crickets or mealworms consider learning how to "grow" your own pet food.

Take stock of what your Friend needs and being prepared will help insure you have a little more joy during the down times and less stress from worrying how you feed another mouth.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ABC's of Surviving a Recession

Assess your situation: Every one is different and has different needs. You have to decide what is most important to you to get by.

Build a Budget: Knowing where your money is going will help you PLUG any financial holes that may be leaking your funds away.

Consider all your options: Need to start building your nest egg. You should have enough money to get by for at least 6 months. Do what you have to and get it built up. Can you get a second job, cut out on luxuries?

Don’t buy something unless it is absolutely necessary. Now is the time for saving. Even though we keep getting the message to spend spend spend to save the economy we need to think of our families first and get our savings under control.

Eat at Home: Eating out is eating your cash. You can make more affordable food at home and you don’t have to pay for gas and a tip. Don’t have a lot of time consider investing in a crock pot. You throw the ingredients in first thing in the morning and have a nice hot meal when you get home.

Fight the urge to splurge: Sure that candy bar is only .50 .75 $1.00 but for most people these little purchase add up fast. One .50 candy bar a day adds up to about $130.50 a year. What could you do with that extra cash.

Get More Know How: To Quote Francis Bacon “Knowledge is Power” . Learn how to fix that leak in your sink instead of calling the plumber or change your own oil instead of paying 40 bucks. Learning general home maintenance, how to sew and other skills can help you save money.

Hoard food: Now is the time to keep an eye on sale ads and stock up on food with a long shelf life. Beans and Rice is a great combo that is inexpensive and nutritious. Don’t forget to rotate your stock oldest to the front newest to the back so nothing is wasted due to expiration.

Invest in quality over quantity: The unfortunate fact is that the things we have available to us is going down in quality. I will give you an example: We purchased an old style Barbie Dream house on E-bay. We paid $50 and it came with some furniture. She also has received one of the new Barbie Houses that they put out now a days…. Price $120!
The old one we bought on E-Bay is extremely sturdy we will be able to pass this thing on to her children and her children’s children. The New Barbie House started breaking a week after we opened it. When it is time to buy something do some research check with Consumer Reports which does independent research. Check online to see what others have to say about it. Don’t spend a dime till you do the time.

Just what’s on the list: You’ve heard this one before. Make a list before you go shopping to save money. But how many of us hit the store and leave with a cart full of stuff that wasn’t on the list? If its not on your list don’t buy it! If its something you really need then put it on the next list! This may sound counter productive but if its something you really need it will make it to the list if its an impulse purchase then you will talk yourself out of it before you go shopping again.

Keep on trying: Ok you gave in and bought those stylish jeans you feel terrible OH WHAT’S THE POINT I BLEW IT. Don’t give up like a good diet plan there will be time when you give in you have to jump right back in and keep going. You only Blow it if you give up.

Live Local: Help your community to survive by making your purchases from local businesses and farmers. This money stays in your community instead of lining the pockets of some rich fat cat living in another state or even country. (Did you know the top 3 American Beers are no longer American Owned where is your money going?)

Make the time: A lot of things we buy because they are convenient and save us time. Unfortunately the cost us our hard earned money. So now is the time to start making time to do things the hard way. You may find they are not as hard as you thought and start to wonder why you were wasting you money.

Never buy coffee, soda, other drinks or snacks out. If you want these convenient foods ad them to your list watch for sales and buy them at the store. Then bring them with you to work the zoo where ever.

Open windows on summer nights to cool down the house. Open your curtains on sunny winter days to let the sun heat your house.

Pass to get savings: In other words if there is some place you love to go buy a Season Pass. Often season passes from one place can get you into other places for free or at a discount.

Quit smoking: Yeah I know its hard but its one of the biggest money saving things you can do and I’m not just talking about the cost of your smokes, but health care and insurance costs are lower too.

Ride your bike: This will not only save you money on gas and car maintenance but body maintenance too. If you can’t ride your bike consider car pooling and at least you’ll save some of the car costs. If you live in a bike unfriendly community then maybe its time to start voting for some changes.

Save Money on Medicine: Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medication which is the same stuff with out the overprice brand name. Then shop around! Check at Wal-Mart and Target. They have a lot of different medications available for $4.

Turn off the Power: Whether its your computer, TV, vcr, microwave ….what ever they are still draining your power even when your not using them. Plug them into a power strip for a quick way to shut them off completely when not in use.

Use the library: They have books, magazines, movies and music. They may also have many other services such as computers, classes, ect. Ours has a notary service, family passes to local entertainment, and show movies that have been newly released to DVD so you can watch it theater style. Ask your Librarian what service they have available that you might not know about.

Visit local Thrift Stores and Yard Sales for some great finds: You might just find some great Trash to Treasure items and save a bundle.

Watch less TV. Not only are the commercials designed to create want and desire in there viewer but many of the shows give people unreachable desires that leave them feeling frustrated and unhappy with their lives. For example I love watching HGTV. Mostly to find new ideas the before and after type shows are great for thinking up new ways to look at your home. But at the same time you can look at the beautiful remake and find yourself wondering why your home doesn’t have the giant whirlpool bathtub with the heated towel rack and the beautiful hand crafted tiles. If you don’t know that stuff is out there you will never want them, don’t have to think about how you can’t afford it and thus be happier.

Xerophytic plants: I’ll bet you were wondering what I would come up with for X. Xerophytic plants are plants that are adapted to survive in an environment with little available water or moisture. If you live someplace where water is expensive or lacking, using these types of plants will save you money without leaving your yard lacking in beauty.

Your Family and Friends: In tough time this is your most important resource. By sticking together we can make it through. Swap skills and services to help save money. If your sister is a stay at home mom while both you and your spouse work. Consider giving her the some or all of the cash you spend on child care and you both win. You sister would have a little extra income to make ends meet and you have family with your kids instead of strangers. You may be an excellent gardener while your friend has mad canning skills. You could trade some of those fresh tomatoes for some long term storage of those tasty treats. Get together and assess your skills and how you can help each other.

Zero Debt: This should be your goal. Pay off those high interest credit cards first then the lower ones. Put them away and stop using them. Start paying off any other debt you have. If you don’t own anybody that’s a lot less stress to deal with when things get tight.

Peppers and Plans

Well it's been a little while since I've posted. It's still cold here ..well it is February. My pepper plants are still alive as you can see I've thinned them out to just three. They are still pretty small. I think its because I keep my house rather chilly. I've got them in a nice sunny window though and that should help.

I've also started going through Seed Catalogs to find plants that are compact. They should grow better in the containers then their counterparts. I'm still looking for some good containers as well. I'm kind of leery of using plastic planters because I don't want the chemicals to leach into the soil and then into my plants but the normal Terracotta pots will require a great deal more water. While wooden ones are very nice to look, I worry about rot and stone ones would be hard to move. It would seem the most obvious choice would be Ceramic but the cost is a little prohibitive.

I've been keeping an eye out on Freecycle and Craigslist and with spring on the way there should be some sales so I'll just have to keep looking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last two questions Enjoy!

Ok its finally time to get to the last two questions the first is from Amen (I hope he doesn't mind me borrowing his wolf to make his site link )

amenwolf from Amenwolf asked ...

I always wanted to grow trees, small mini trees. Roughly 1 or 2 feet in height.I was wondering... Which trees or plants does the most photosynthesis?As in, which plant produce the most oxygen? Any difference to their leaves color? Or sizes of their leaves? Or maybe their shape?Thanks
Okay this question has had the most research. number one plant is off the most oxygen apparently is blue-green algae. As for the rest your questions I think I’m going to leave It to the experts to answer. The Arbor Day foundation has a great website with more tree information that I can possibly reprint here on my blog, so I’m going to include a quick link to their website

and hope that you get the answers to all these great questions.

Okay that may be cheating a bit but when you have such a good resource it’s a shame not to use it. They even have a tree store where you can check out the different types of trees and find the ones that it would be just right for your yard.

The Last Question is from:
Marianna from Green Mama's Pad Asked...

I really want to start my own organic vegetable garden this spring. Have you grown any of your own vegetables and do you have any recommendations on how to get started? Or where is the best place to order organic vegetable seeds? Thanks!

Green Mama's Pad

I have had the occasional vegetable garden. The last few years I haven’t been able to have one due to the fact house we are renting we weren’t allowed to change any of the landscape. This year however I am planning to have a container garden I placed the containers between the plants already in place. I can also play some on the patio and in front of the garage.

If this is your first vegetable garden I would suggest some easy plants like tomatoes and peppers beans are also good starter. There is also zucchini and cucumbers both of which tend to be very prolific. You need to watch your yard to see where you get the best sunlight. This is where you want to place your garden, you also want to keep an eye on how the area you have chosen drains. You don’t want to place your garden in a place that has excessive standing water or that drains to quickly.
As for where I am getting my seeds from I have ordered a free catalog from Seeds of Change which offers a large selection of organic seeds and starter plants here is a quick link if you want to go check it out and order a free catalog you gotta love free when you try to save money.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just a few things

Prizes are going out today. I was hoping to get them all out at once but I'm still waiting on a couple of addresses. So Everyone else's prizes are in the mail.

You may have noticed I've been blogging a little less... Well I got that job at Petco (can you say employee discount :D ) It's only part time and thats what I wanted but the last week has been training so I didn't have time to blog :P. Now I've got that out of the way here I am blogging again.

My next post will answer the last two questions from the Crazy Green contest. So keep an eye out.