Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy First Day of Spring .......???

Hi all Happy Spring.......... I think............. I woke up this morning to this............

I don't know how well you can see it, but those little white spots on the pictures is snow. (if you click on the pic you can see the snow in an enlarged view) Here I was planning my bumper crop of container garden veggies and we have snow. What a wonderful world this is huh.
OK on with the March Tip Fest: Stop using your credit card and pay with cash. When you see that hard cash leaving your hands it will help you think twice as to whether or not you really want to make that purchase. Along with this is get and save your receipts for every purchase you make (yes even that cup of latte) Then at the end of the week go over your spending and see where you can cut some expenses. And Dont forget to put the money you save into savings not spending.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good Morning All

At least its morning for me. I got up early today just so I could post the tip of the day before going to work.

My brain has been on Spring planting lately. I've got my seed catalogs and need to start getting ready to plant.

That leads to my tip of the day:

Make your plans before you buy anything. Make a drawing of the way you want your yard to work so it will give you an idea of how it will look. This will help you know exactly what you need and you can decide where to get it by keeping an eye on the sales, yard sales, and don't forget to check thrift stores and the google group Freecycle. This way you can plant your landscape or garden with minimum cost.

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This Tip May Not Be For Everyone But....

As the title says this tip may not be for everyone but it is something everyone should consider. This is a big one not only for saving money as a family but environmentally too. Here in the States we place great emphasis on independence... doing things on you own with no help from anyone. This can lead to great things but it also robs us of a vital support structure as families move all over the place.

If you are lucky enough to live close to your family then consider sharing a resident. That's right share one home instead of two. Think of how much you can save by doing this. There will be no duplicate purchases. One couch instead of two, one TV, video game system, dining table, set of pans for cooking, etc etc and on and on. There is also only one set of bills Heat, electric and if you want cable TV you could get all the extras and still pay less then if you were paying for it in two houses. This also means more money into savings and more people to keep an eye on the kids (Lets face it most kids are not getting enough adult supervision)

Now I know what your thinking....... NO WAY we would be fighting day and night.... Well this is something else we have lost through the insistence of personal independence... The art of compromise. It is so easy to move away from the problem that we no longer face them and it is something we pass on to our kids.

Now don't get me wrong I am not saying this would be an easy thing to do. It would take a lot of discussion.....Who's house do you use... (assuming both parties have their own) Do you sell both and buy one that is big enough to house both families. How about the kids do you give the boys one room and the girls another or do you make sure that each families kids have their own rooms? Who does which chores ? Who pays which bills... do you make a joint bank account where all working parties deposit money to pay the bills and for emergencies.... If you buy a house together how do you split it if you life forces you to separate?

For the money matters I suggest you put in writing how you are going to do it and how you will handle splitting things up later.

With things getting tight all over ( and yes I think things will get worse before they get better) it is something worth considering.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day

I hope everyone remembered to wear some green today or......PINCHY PINCHY PINCHY LOL

If not then here is a four leaf clover just for you.

And now the March tip madness continues to help you keep a little green in your pocket.

Do you find when you go shopping you tend to buy a bunch of stuff you didn't plan on buying... Try this trick: Go grocery shopping with you list while you are in a hurry. Maybe you only have a half hour before you pick up the kids or your favorite can't miss show is coming on. By having a deadline you are less likly to browes and buy things that aren't on your list. Make sure you HAVE your list though or you might forget something and have to make a second trip which of course doesn't save you money.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Spring Visitor and Another 3 Tips

This handsome visitor has been driving my cats nuts for the last couple days. I finally got a decent shot of him.

I wasn't able to get online this weekend. Weekends are always a little nuts around here. But to make up for it here are three tips to help you get cooking on saving money.

1. When choosing your fresh fruits and Vegetables remember to buy seasonally. In March these choices should include.

Fruits: Grapefruit, Oranges, and Pineapple

Vegetables: Broccoli, Chicory, Endive, and Escarole, Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes and Turnips.

Keep in mind this list is Seasonal for the U.S. Since that's where I live and visitors from the Southern hemisphere will probable have a different list.

2. Keep a lid on it. When your cooking there are some simple things to do that will save you some cash. The first is to use a lid on your pots. This keeps the heat in and helps things cook faster. Along with this is don't keep opening the oven to check your food it lets the heat out and your oven has to use more gas/electricity to reheat the oven. Use the oven light to check instead. Also make sure you use the right size burner for the pan you are using. If it's too hard your wasting energy to heat nothing. If its too small it will take longer to cook.

3. Consider planting an indoor herb garden. By growing some of the herbs you use most you won't have to buy them and they will be more flavorful fresh. As an added bonus they beautify your home with living green plants.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Start a Change Jar

This is something my hubby and I have been doing for years. We pay for our purchases with paper cash and put all the days change in the change jar. Our Change jar is a rather large container that use to have pretzels in it. You will be amazed at how fast those nickles, dimes, pennies and quarters add up.

Save even more by wrapping them yourself. Don't use Coinstar or any other counting machine they can cost up to 10% of the total That's $10 for every $100. If you don't feel like wrapping them yourself then pay your kid the $10 to wrap them for you then they can save up for something they want. Don't by you coin wrappers either you can go to your bank and get FREE coin wrappers.

After you've wrapped up the coins make sure they go into savings better still deposit them into a vacation or Christmas club account where you can't touch them until it's time. Even if you don't use it for that purpose it's still a good way to keep yourself from spending it and a great way to save up a safety net for emergencies.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just a Quicky today

Ok it's been a long day today so I'm just throwing out a quick tip.

Keep healthy snacks close at hand. In your car or in a drawer at work. Nothing breaks the budget faster then unplanned spending on Fast Food or the Vending machines at work. Save your cash by having a stash!!
Ok now I'm off to catch up on all the blogs I love to read and missed yesterday. Don't forget to say hi.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do a Double Take

Stop those unnecessary purchases by thinking twice. There is a reason they are called impulse buys but if you stop, leave the store and wait at least 30 days you will know for sure if its something you really want or if it was something you were just considering because you were there.
This of course goes back to the stick to your list tip. If you want to write it down for future consideration. This also gives you time if you decide it is something you really need to watch for it to go on sale. Most of the time though you will decide you don't really need it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Missed Three Days of Tips so Here are Three Tips

It was a very busy weekend and I didn't get a chance to post any tips so today I'm going to make up for it with Three.
Spring is in the air and Summer is close behind....... and speaking of behinds I've been trying to make mine smaller. So here are three tips to help you get in shape for the swimsuit and shorts season.

1. This first tip is for the Heavy Hoofers and yes I'm one of them (but hopefully not for long.) Stop dropping money on those expensive walking shoes! They are not designed for the extra baggage we carry and they wear out too fast. Like most things they are designed for lighter weight people and when we pound the pavement the shoes don't make it.

Solution Go to your local sporting goods store and Get a good pair of Hiking Shoes or Boots! These rugged shoes are designed not only to take more wear and tear they are designed for people carrying an extra 30 + pounds. (about 1/3 of a healthy backpackers weight) They are about the same price or cheaper then those flimsy walking shoes but will last longer for those of us who weight more.

2. Cheapskate weight lifting. Lets face it the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. Everyone know this the weight loss companies and health gurus have been spouting it for years. We are here to save money though so don't go out and buy those weights yet. You already have perfectly good weights sitting around the house. Just go to your pantry and grab two 16 oz cans. Perfect for some beginning weightlifting. Need something heavier how about a couple of two liter bottles of soda (yeah, I know some of you are still drinking it) or that 5lb bag of flour. There is no point in spending $10 - $50 on weights that you will soon out grow.

3. Organize a Swap. Lets face it those exercise videos get pretty boring after a short while. So get together with your buddies once a week or month and trade. You will all get a new workout with out spending extra bucks. If you don't have anyone to swap with (or you have swapped them all) Then head on over..... Yep you guessed it ..... to your local library and see what they have to borrow.

Spring Is In The Air

And the plants are growing well. This is the little pot my son has. This shot is from yesterday.

And this one is from today...... How is that for some fast growing.

My peppers are growing a little slower then my sons plants but they are coming along nicely.
Last bit of news My Landlord gave me the ok to dig up this little flower bed in the back yard and put in something else. I'm going to build it up and make it a raised bed to keep the dog out and I will have to figure out which veggies will grow best in the shade of the house. I also want to do a soil test to make sure there is nothing harmful in the soil.
With this space added to the containers I should have a pretty good bumper crop.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Look Local for Entertainment

Your local library is one of the greatest resource around. (if its not then it's time to start bugging those in charge to improve it). Find out what resources your library has and use them. Most all public libraries have Not only books, but magazines, CDs and movies. Now a days most libraries also offer Internet access.
Did you know that if your library doesn't have a magazine your looking for they will order it for you?
There are also things that differ from library to library. For example my local library offers free passes to some great attractions including The New York Museum of Natural History and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. They also have movie nights when newly released DVD's arrive.
Not to mention the programs for the kids. My daughter and I just attended a Mom and Me book club night that was a lot of fun. Stop by and talk to your local librarian and see what all is offered at your local library.
When was the last time you visited your local Park? Parks are a great place to spend a day hiking around, having a picnic, playing Frisbee, catch, soccer, basketball,volleyball skate, scooter, or skateboard. It is also a place where special events are thrown. In the summer ours has outdoor concerts, movie nights, and festivals. Thanks to the Internet a lot of the Parks and Rec programs are listed online as well.

Lets not forget the National Park systems as well. They are great places to find a little peace and quiet and get away from it all. The also offer Year long passes which saves you even more if you love being outdoors. Here is a quick link so you can check it out. CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE INFORMATION ON NATIONAL PARK PASSES
Other places to check out for free or inexpensive day trips : Museums, art exhibits, and Craft Fairs. Of course a good place to start, to find good local places to visit............. Your Local Library

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Program in Savings

Programmable thermostats can save you an estimated 10-20% on your heating and cooling bills. When you aren’t home, or are sleeping, you can set your programmable thermostat to a lower/higher temperature. It will then heat/cool up your home just before you wake up or get home.

We love the house to be cooler when we are sleeping but waking up to a cold house isn't fun. The same goes in the summer when were out why waste the A/C when no one is around to enjoy it.

A programmable thermostat can also help you be green all the way around. Did you know that heating and cooling alone take up about 49% of all household energy use. That’s almost half your energy bill! Compared to a fixed thermostat, programmable thermostats changes the temperature on a set schedule. This helps to reduce how much money and energy you use. Using a programmable thermostat the average person can stop about 22,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year! That’s like taking 2 cars off the road.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take a Tip From Ol' St. Nick

Make a LIST and check it TWICE!
One of the easiest things you can do to say some cash is to make a list before you go shopping and stick to it. Without a list you will buy items that you simply do not need. Even worse you may forget to purchase the actual item you came to the store for in the first place.

This is not just for grocery shopping but any shopping or trip you need to make such as stops you need to make while your out driving. Then stick to it too stop yourself from buying impulse items that you don't need and making stops you hadn't planned to make where you will spend even more money.
Too make it more efficient plan your route as well. Planning your route allows you to take the shortest trip possible and not have to double back to hit stops you missed which again saves you time and money.

Lets See What Blooms

My son received this cute little pot on Valentines Day...

Well actually about 2 weeks after Valentines Day and we just got around to setting it up.
It's a little pot with seeds and dirt (it's a little kit). We have it all potted and sitting in a nice sunny window. When something starts to bloom I'll post some pics. We will have to transplant them when they start growing though. There is definitely not enough room for those roots to grow in that little pot.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Birthdays Snow Storms and A Sick Doggy

This month did not start out way I wanted it too. I wanted to start this month with one tip a day for saving money since my last post was a challenge to save as much money as possible during the month of March. Unfortunately things that not turn out that way but I’m still going to be posting tips every day I can to help save money to see how much money you can save.

The reasons for my lack of posting, well my son’s birthday was Sunday and I was planning for that. Now that it’s over, it went great by the way we had it at the local Air Museum. Everyone had fun they made paper airplanes toured the museum and had a treasure hunt. It was kind of geared for younger kids though. I think they should have asked the age of the child when I made the reservation so they could make the activities more age appropriate. No one seems to mind though and I believe a good time was had by all.

I’m back to blogging I would have been back yesterday except we have a problem.

Yesterday we had a very large snow storm and it turns out that though it was very unlucky for some (four people died, 300,000 without power) for us it turned out to be rather lucky. Why was lucky for us because we had a snow day and not only did the kids get to stay home but my husband and I got to stay home from work too. And because we got stay home we were there when my dog got sick. He went into his kennel and threw up. We got him out of there and took him to the kitchen and clean him up. Then I spent the next three hours on the floor with him cleaning up and taking care of him. For three hours he threw up. And because he wanted to be next to me while he was not feeling good I spent three hours in the kitchen on the floor with him and that is why the snowstorm was lucky because if we had gone to work and the kids are gone to school the dog would’ve been in his house throwing up for three hours. You could just imagine what a mess that would have been not to mention that he would have been stuck in his house for three hours with all that mess.

Now for my first tip of this month saving money…

If you have cable shut off your premium channels if you can’t live without your premium channel shut off all at one. Let’s face it the movies replay over and over and over again every month at least 17 times and then they move on to the next premium channel and play there over and over and over again. You’re paying extra money to see the same movie over and over and over it would probably be just as easy to go over to the library and check it out, FOR FREE and save yourself the cash. Just think of how much you could save by cutting off the excessive channels that are showing the same stuff over and over.
Here’s an example I got these prices from one of the cable companies website I won’t say which one.
11 HBO Premium Channels
11 Showtime Premium Channels
9 Cinemax Premium Channels
4 TMC Premium Channels
6 Starz and 8 Encore Premium Channels
So if you had all of these channels and you turn them off you would save about $55 not including the taxes.