Tuesday, August 17, 2010
THRIFT STORE TUESDAY
Well good morning everyone! How are you doing this terrific Tuesday? I'm good, thanks. I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NATIONAL THRIFT STORE DAY!! LOL yes you read that right. Today is a day to say thanks to all those bountiful thrift stores which hold treasures galore! So I encourage you all to drop by at least one thrift store and lend them a helping hand by looking around and finding something to help them... even if its just a shirt! LOL.
Yes... I found you yet another article claiming to help with frugality and so I am bringing it to you. Who couldn't use a spare $500? I know I sure could! Now there are a couple I am not agreeing with or doing (like the section about pets... totally kiss my butt there authors I WILL have my animals!) but some could be rather useful. So check them out and you be the judge!
10 easy ways to save $500 or more
From installing a TV antenna to adjusting the thermostat, you'll barely feel the pinch with these smart tips for economizing.
Raises are hard to come by at many jobs, so don't wait for the boss to be struck by the sudden realization that you're valuable. Give yourself a raise by spending less of your hard-earned cash.
Following any one of these tips can save you as much as $500 per year. Some of them can save you more. If you do all 10, you'll save at least $5,000 a year. That's a heck of a lot more than the measly 3 percent increase that your employer is likely to hand out. And the best part about it is that you don't have to smile and say "thank you."
With gas hovering around $4 per gallon, you don't have to cut back on much mileage to save $500 in a year. You'll save that much in gas alone if you drive a car that gets 15 miles per gallon just 36 fewer miles per week. When you divide it by 50 weeks, 1,872 miles in a year isn't much. If you have a 40-mile round-trip commute, persuading the boss to allow telecommuting one day a week, or squeezing 40 hours of work into four days, will definitely put you ahead about $500 per year.
If that doesn't work for you, there are other options. The cutback doesn't have to be extreme. Trimming a couple of unnecessary short hops out of your routine is enough to hit the target. Encouraging the kids to take the school bus instead of schlepping them in the car, or consolidating three trips to the grocery store into one weekly excursion may do the trick. Vacationing at the lake instead of driving the family to Florida will certainly hit the goal.
Bring your own stimulant
Stop buying coffee at the chichi coffee joint down the street from work. Either bringing coffee from home in a thermos or brewing it in the break room will actually improve the quality of your morning shot of energy, as well as cut its cost dramatically. You can get 40 cups of coffee from a pound of beans. Even the gourmet ones can be purchased for $4 per pound. If you're spending $2 per day on coffee -- easy to do in most workplaces -- you'll go from spending $500 a year to about $25 by making your own.
Save even more by taking cans of soda or bottled water to work instead of buying them out of the vending machine. Bottled water sells for around 30 cents a bottle at a big-box grocery stores. Compare that to the 75 cents or more that you'll spend at the machine, and it's a no-brainer. You can go even further by cleaning your small plastic water bottles and replenishing them with drinking water from a gallon jug. (It's an environmentally friendly move, too.)
Dad was right. Turn off the TV when you leave the room. Using less energy is a painless way to save. Heat and air conditioning are the largest home-energy hogs. The U.S. Department of Energy points out that during each 24-hour period, you will save about 3 percent on your energy bill for every 1 degree you lower the thermostat setting (or, conversely, raise it when air conditioning is the big cost).
For example, let's say you normally keep your thermostat set at 73 degrees in summer. If you raise it to 76 degrees, you will save about 9 percent (3 degrees times 3 percent) or 9 cents for every dollar you spend on air conditioning costs. If you're spending $2,000 per year, that small change will save you $180. Buy a programmable thermostat and turn the system up 10 degrees during the day when no one's home and you'll save much more.
Here are some other quick fixes for savings that add up to an additional $400: Switch to U.S. Energy Star-approved light bulbs and save $60 a year. Running a 32-inch TV four hours a day costs $3 per month, but many families use the TV for background noise, letting it play 24/7. You can save more than $200 a year just by turning off the TV when nobody's watching it. Washing clothes in cold water is good for another $60 a year and powering down your computer at night can save $70.
Gardening doesn't just burn a lot of calories; a nice yard also adds value to the house. If you do it all yourself, it's pure profit. Assuming a modest savings of $300 per summer for mowing your own grass and another $200 for such related expenses as applying your own weed killer and fertilizer, a $500 savings is easily attained.
Bonus idea: Assign jobs like shoveling, raking and car washing to Junior, who's always good for hitting you up for money. While you might shell out $200 for him to do these chores, it's a savings, considering that you were going to give him the money whether he worked for it or not.
Go small or stay pet-free
Fido and Tabby are lovable, but they can cost a bundle. If you're considering a pet, keep the cost of their upkeep in mind. Pawprints and Purrs, an animal adoption agency based in Keithville, La., tells its clients to expect to pay these annual costs of pet ownership: cat, $640; small dog, $780; medium dog, $1,115; large dog, $1,500. Obviously, smaller is cheaper. The difference between a large dog and a small one is $720 per year -- that's a lot of kibble.
Don't flush money down the commode
No-name-brand toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, paper cups, plastic wrap, plastic bags, etc., are all available at half the price of similar name-brand products when you buy them in bulk.
You don't even have to wait for a sale. Such stores as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Costco and Sam's Club offer these items all the time at bulk rates.
For instance, you can buy 15,000 sheets of toilet paper for about $13, compared to the 4,224 sheets of the "squeezably soft" variety that routinely sells for $9 in a 12-pack. Big-name plastic wrap can be 10 times more expensive than the big-box variety.
Of course, bulk buying requires having some cash on hand, transportation to carry large quantities and big enough storage space for these items. If you can manage those basic requirements, buying big can be a tremendous deal and easily cut costs by $500 per year. But remember, putting these purchases on your credit card defeats the purpose.
A cost that didn't exist at all for most people a decade ago has morphed into a major expense. The average monthly cable bill, excluding Internet access and other extras, now runs about $52, according to SNL Kagan Research, which monitors the broadcasting industry. Look hard at what you are spending for television, phone and Internet. If you are like the rest of us, cutting $50 a month out of this category is a slam dunk.
Who watches 300 channels anyway? The easiest way to cut costs: Just take a deep breath and cancel everything but the basic plan. Most cable companies have a very limited plan for $10 or $15 per month that offers local channels and a few other networks. If you have satellite, the basic plan, including local channels, will cost you about $30. If you want to watch a movie or an HBO series now and then, rent it -- you'll still come out way ahead.
If you have greater than average do-it-yourself skills, consider installing an antenna and capturing high-definition television signals over the air. An antenna isn't your father's rabbit ears -- you get no snow and reception that's probably clearer than your cable or satellite provides. And best of all, it's free. A page on the National Association of Broadcasters' Web site lists the stations you can expect to receive. In most cities, that's all the networks plus PBS. In rural areas, you might get less, but that's changing quickly. CNET offers a great set of instructions for setting it up and calls it a three-hour project.
Next, examine your phone service -- particularly your cell. What kind of user are you? If your phone's for short calls only -- "I'm on my way home now, dear" -- consider a pay-as-you-go plan like ones offered by Virgin Mobile. It has cool phones, and, for a total of $80 per year, you can make those kinds of calls and have peace of mind. It's a big bargain.
Family plans are another possibility. Four people on the same plan will cost about $25 each. Calls at night and during weekends are usually free, so the small prime-time minute allocation goes a long way. You just can't chat endlessly during regular business hours with these plans.
If you are paying more for home phone service than about $50 per month for both unlimited local and long-distance, you're missing the boat.
For those with high-speed Internet service, the cheapest phone option is probably an Internet-based phone service such as Vonage or others offered by cable or phone companies. These aren't subject to the same taxes that wired phone lines are, so for less than $20 a month, you can get 500 minutes of service with lots of features, including voice mail.
There are drawbacks. One is that if your Internet is down, so is your phone.
Sign up for tax-advantaged plans at work
The possibilities include education, health, transportation and child-care savings accounts. If you're in the 25-percent tax bracket, you'll be $500 ahead once you spend $2,000 in pretax dollars on these necessities. If your company doesn't offer these plans, ask for them to be added. It's a cost-free benefit that even the smallest and most cash-strapped employer can offer.
Replace one $20 eat-in restaurant meal per week with a large $7 carryout pizza from any of the billions of cheap pizza places in every city. Better yet, buy pizza at the grocery store.
Don't bank on it
Pay credit card bills in full as soon as possible, and take advantage of free bill pay.
The real savings can be had by avoiding credit card debt and paying off what you've accumulated as quickly as possible. For instance, if you owe $4,000 on a card charging you 18 percent interest, and you pay three times the minimum payment every month, or $300, you'll pay off the card in 15 months and spend about $500 in interest. If you spread the cost out and pay $200 per month -- still twice the minimum payment -- you'll pay off the bill in 24 months and pay out $4,800 in total -- $800 in interest. If you can bite the bullet and pay as much as $400 each month, the debt will be gone in less than a year and you'll save between $100 and $700 in interest over the other options.
Saving money doesn't have to take an ugly bite out of your lifestyle. Once you put these strategies in place, you won't feel pinched, because you're not giving up much at all.
This story was reported and written by Jennie L. Phipps for Bankrate.com.
OK now, one of the things my mother is helping me do is declutter some areas of the house that are an "emotional problem" for me. While I was searching for some creative and inexpensive ways to organize, I found this project and instantly fell in love! I was like OMG SUCH CUTENESS! Its a craft that could be done for any room in the house, any age range, any purpose! It's super wonderful! Destri from The Mother Huddle has the GREAT tutorial on today's craft idea! So jump on over there and get sewing on some lovely little baskets!
Craft Idea of the Day: Fabric Basket Organizers
all your sewing stuff
cafe rod, or curtain rod
brackets to hang rod
three 8 x 10 Plexiglas sheets, I bought mine at Home Depot for about $4 a piece, by the window section
each basket takes 1 yard of fabric, so I used three for this project.
each basket needs a yard of interfacing, again I used three yards. I used pellon 809 decor bond, but craft bond would work as well.
From your fabric cut six 18½ x 28 inch pieces, and three 4 x 10 ½ inch pieces. You will then iron them onto you interfacing per it's instructions, and then cut out. Trust me, it's easier than cutting out the pellon and then ironing! As a side note, the ironing is the longest part of this project...if I had a teenager I would have paid top dollar to have them do it, just sayin'!
Well are you ready to start the day right? I think we need to have some BODACIOUS BANANAS for breakfast! That's right! They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and so why not make it healthier when possible. Whether its a grab & go item or a sit down at the table kind of deal... breakfast is the fuel for your day! Just like putting gas in your car... you are fueling up your body for whatever life holds for you, so make it the high octane fuel! LOL! Ya can't trade in for a new one like you can a car (trust me, if ya could I would SO be on a "new every 2 PLAN LMAO)! So here are some more super fun facts about bananas and some great recipes for you to try! Eat & Enjoy!
Here are some more facts about one of the world's most popular fruits:
India is the #1 banana producer in the world.
The most popular banana cultivar in the world is the Cavendish. This is the banana most often seen in U.S. and European markets.
Before Cavendish, Gros Michel was the main banana cultivar exported on a mass, commercial scale. In the mid-20th century, Gros Michel was ravaged by Panama disease and is no longer sold commercially.
Panama disease, or Fusarium wilt, is a fungus that attacks banana plants. It was reported in Australia in the 19th century.
It is believed that the Cavendish, like the Gros Michel, will be devastated by Panama disease within 20 years and will no longer be able to be produced commercially. This would be a difficult blow to the banana industry.
Scientists are trying to develop a hybrid, disease-resistant banana.
Chiquita was initially called the United Fruit Company. In the 20th century, they played a controversial role in the politics of Central America, where they had vast holdings. The company earned the nickname of "The Octopus" in the region because they had their hands in so many political pots.
The CIA-sponsored 1954 coup that overthrew the democratically-elected Guatemalan government headed by Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán is believed to be a direct result of influence by the United Fruit Company, which had an antagonistic relationship with the Arbenz government.
In Uganda, bananas are such a big part of the diet that the same word, matooke, is used for both "food" and "banana."
The pejorative term "banana republic" was coined by American writer O. Henry. He used it in reference to Honduras, but the term became widely used in reference to any Latin American, Caribbean, or African country that was politically unstable, relied heavily on basic agriculture, and was not technologically advanced.
The banana split was invented in 1904 by 23-year-old David Evans Strickler, an employee at the Tassel Pharmacy soda fountain in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
The song "Yes, We Have No Bananas" was released in 1923 and became a huge hit. It refers to the banana shortage at the time.
In 2001, Britain recorded 300 incidents of injuries related to bananas. The majority of these involved people slipping on banana peels.
Dole Fruity Breakfast Burrito
2 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons strawberry jam
2 medium DOLE® Bananas
Place tortillas on baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon evenly over tortillas.
Broil tortillas 1 minute or until hot and lightly browned.
Spread jam down center of tortillas. Place one banana over center of each tortilla; roll up tortillas.
Low Fat, Cholesterol Free, Good Source of Fiber, Good Source of Potassium, Good Source of Vitamin C
Dole Banana Raspberry Smoothie
1-1/2 cups DOLE® Pineapple Juice
1 cup vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt
1 cup DOLE Fresh Raspberries
2 ripe, medium DOLE Bananas, peeled
Combine pineapple juice, yogurt, raspberries and bananas in blender or food processor. Cover; blend until smooth. Garnish with raspberry and banana slices, if desired. Enjoy!
Rich in Fiber, Rich in Potassium, Rich in Vitamin C, Good Source of Calcium
Dole Sunrise Pizza
2 DOLE® Bananas, peeled
4 frozen whole wheat waffles
1/4 cup low fat whipped cream cheese
1 can (11 oz.) DOLE Mandarin Oranges, drained
2 teaspoons honey
Dash ground cinnamon
Fresh raspberries or blueberries (optional)
Thinly slice bananas on diagonal.
Prepare waffles according to package directions.
Spread waffles with cream cheese. Arrange banana slices on top, overlapping. Arrange mandarin oranges in center of each pizza. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Garnish with raspberries, if desired.
Low Cholesterol, Good Source of Fiber, Good Source of Vitamin A, Rich in Vitamin C
Well folks, I have to get off of here and get ready for my parents to come over. They have been kind enough to help with some projects around the house. You know me and my projects LMAO! And I have to check out the DD's foot... she hurt herself real bad at band practice and now she is limping and all bruised up. Never a dull moment in this house, that's for sure. Hopefully after that I can get some sewing in before DP's arrive! So have fun, be safe, and don't do nothin' I wouldn't do! LMAO... until tomorrow... HUGS!