Friday, February 26, 2010
2. Cute knick-knacks at a swap meet. Unless you plan on having a garage sale soon yourself, why do you need another knick-knack?? Ignore the cute ceramic piggy salt and pepper shakes. They are SO NOT calling your name!
3. A new (expensive) book at a book store. Visit your library. It is painless and free. Try it.
4. That cute doggie sweater for Fido. Or a new diamond-studded leash. (Is it really a sign of your love to pamper your pooch with expensive stuff?) Take Fido for a play-date at a local dog park. He'll love you for it!
5. A pricey Sunday brunch at the restaurant. Scramble some eggs and eat at home. For an extra treat, count the money you just saved (and the calories!)
6. A movie ticket (not to mention the movie theater snack bar....yikes!) Make popcorn and rent a movie from Redbox.
7. A car wash. Exercise. Splash a little. Wash your car yourself. Tip yourself, and save it!
8. That Manicure. And/or Pedicure. At least this one time. Paint your own nails and think about the money safe and snug still in your wallet!
9. That extra bottle of wine. Sure it's the weekend,but your health and your wallet can't tell the difference. Treat both a little kinder. Skip the extra bottle -- your body will thank-you.
10. Those expensive spring-cleaning products at the grocery stores! Make your own cleaning products and save money and the environment!
Save some money with economical, healthy and delicious soups (before the warm weather gets here!). Soups are usually inexpensive hearty meals that can be simmered all day in a crock pot, and served with side dishes like corn bread, carrot sticks, crackers, sourdough rolls, etc.
One of our families' favorites is a Cuban Black Bean soup (the hubby is Cuban....so you know who is the chef on this soup entree!). Since we are a vegetarian family, we make this soup without any added meat ingredients, but I do know another version of this black bean soup can be made adding ham.
Black Bean soup is low in fat and is a good source of protein, iron, and vitamin C.
Our Black Bean (Veggie) Soup
1 1/3 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp each dried oregano and thyme
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cans (about 15 oz each) black beans, rinsed
2 cans (14 oz each) vegetable (or chicken broth) if you prefer
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Mix olive oil, onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper, cumin, oregano, thyme and pepper in a 4 1/2-qt or larger slow-cooker. Add beans and broth. Cover and cook on low about 6-7 hours. Stir in lemon juice.
Garnishes: try Greek yogurt,sour cream, or some grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese. Warm corn or flour tortillas served on the side go well with this soup.
Photo: John Uhe
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
While we all know this, I wonder how many people are like me and procrastinate? Instead of getting myself in for an eye exam and finding out just which prescription glasses I need, I instead continue to squint, get headaches, have others read fine print for me, and worst of all...make my wrinkles worse!
Prevention is the best medicine. And the best way to live healthy and not end up dealing with devastating medical bills later on. Getting yearly exams, dental check-ups, eye exams and getting some darn eyeglass frames (Sigh),will give you peace of mind and is one of the most important ways to save you money.
I wrote this post on behalf of Business2Blogger and Glasses USA. I was compensated for my post. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Good Debt is money borrowed to purchase an asset: homes or mortgage, education or student loans, etc. while bad debt is money borrowed to finance a "want" or a depreciating asset: cars, credit card balances, home equity lines, etc
Follow these guidelines to help you determine what qualifies as "Good Debt:
- The debt must be limited, without the ability to continue increasing (a revolving account, such as a credit card, is not limited, and increases as you add more to it).
- The debt’s interest rate must be stable, at a reasonable, predictable level.
- The debt must have regular payment amounts that are manageable within a budget, on time to avoid late fees and penalty interest-rate increases.
- The debt must have been acquired for a purpose that an average person would say was sensible. (A good test is whether you will be able to remember in six months why you have the debt — coffee drinks or CDs usually can’t pass this test.)
- The debt is incurred for something that can appreciate, such as buying a home or investing in a business.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Going shopping for groceries takes a big bite out of our budget. I admit I personally am not a big coupon-user. I know, I should be reading the Sunday papers, cutting out coupons and scouring online coupon sites. I know. I should be following coupon-ing blogs and going shopping at CVS and using my coupons and saving money (even making money!).
But I don't use coupons. At least not on a regular basis. I could use improvement on my coupon-using skills. There I said it. But I do need to save money when I go grocery shopping, or take out a second mortgage to cover the family's food bill.
So I love articles like the one I read on Yahoo this morning. It's about eating pasta (always a money saving meal) and still losing weight while doing so. Some pasta, veggies and a salad is a no-brainer when it comes to eating on a budget, but doesn't eating too pasta pack on the pounds? Or at the very least, keep us firmly at the weight we are already not happy with instead of trimming away the pounds?
Not necessarily, according to this article.
Some carbs can actually help you feel fuller longer and fight fat.The secret is in the fiber. Some Whole grains, oats, certain legumes and even popcorn have high fiber. And when people follow a high-fiber diet—at least 34 grams of fiber a day—they absorb up to 6 percent fewer calories, research shows.
But hold on to those pastas and breads one minute. There are some important carb-eating rules to follow:
Look for whole grains versions of rice, bread and pasta which are high in fat-fighting fiber that fills you up better than the white carbs. Choose whole-grain pastas and replace your usual loaf of bread with one that offers 4 to 5 g fiber per slice. Choose whole-grain waffles, whole wheat pizza dough, brown rice and whole-wheat totillas.
Second, remember to watch your portions! The great thing about switching to high fiber whole wheat carbs is that even though whole grains contain the same number of calories as refined or white carbs, they serve up more fiber, so you’ll be satisfied with a smaller portion. So that fiber is important (and healthy!).
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Try these money-saving beauty tips from Cosmopolitan.com, and put your money in a savings account instead of the make-up counter!
1. Use cinnamon oil as a natural lip plumper! Cinnamon is the active ingredient in many expensive lip plumpers, but you can get cinnamon oil at natural-food stores for a lot cheaper and it will plump your lips naturally.
2. Save on shampoo by washing your hair every other day instead of every day. Not only will this be better for your hair (too much shampooing can dry out your hair), your shampoo will last longer.
*tip* sprinkle a little baby powder on your roots to absorb any oil in between shampoos.
3. Use Pepto Bismo to help fight pimples. Just smooth a layer of the liquid on your face like a mask, and rinse off after it dries. It works like a salicylic acid to tighten your skin and reduce redness.
4. Use regular olive oil for soft skin. Put a few drops on a cotton ball, and dab on flaky spots, avoiding any breakout zones. Then steam your face over a hot bowl of water to help it sink in.
5. Buy shampoo and conditioner in the biggest size that you can find — they are more cost efficient that way.
6. Buy bar soap over body wash — they will save you money, last much longer, and create less waste, so they're better for the environment.
7. Make your own body scrub by mixing brown sugar and honey into a paste.
8. An apple-cider vinegar ($1.29-ish at the grocery store) rinse works like clarifying shampoo and leaves your hair with great shine.
Gather the family and head to your local IHOP this Tuesday, Feb. 23. and get free pancakes! IHOP will be celebrating it's annual National Pancake Day, and each customer can get a free order of shortstack pancakes between 7am and 10pm. What they ask for in return is that you consider making a donation to support local children's hospitals through Children's Miracle Network, or other local charities.
In February 2009, IHOP partnered with Children’s Miracle Network to celebrate its fourth annual National Pancake Day. During this event, IHOP guests were invited to enjoy a free short stack of its signature buttermilk pancakes and, in return, collected donations for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. IHOP gave away more than 2.5 million pancakes. More than 1,300 IHOP restaurants participated in the day’s festivities. Through their support of National Pancake Day, IHOP employees and guests raised more than $1,300,000.
Get more details and check for a participating IHOP near you at http://www.ihoppancakeday.com/
Thursday, February 18, 2010
There are few things I pretty much hate on a consistent basis, and one of theses things are TAXES. Specifically, the preparing and filing income taxes. As luck would have it, my husband is not a fan of this annual chore either. Which means, sadly, the primary responsibility of filing our yearly taxes falls on my shoulders. I start dreading the thought of tax season in December, and I also start procrastinating.
This year, I want to be brave and prepare our income tax forms early (please do not tell me you have done yours already. And keep it to yourself if you have received a nice tax refund already.) So I am feeling a bit more optimistic about my goal after finding out that I can file for free online at www.eSmartTax.com. Since I spend so much of my time online anyway, why not do get my Federal tax return done free anyway, right?
eSmart Tax, the premier online tax preparation service powered by Liberty Tax Service, is offering two ways American taxpayers can file their federal return online for free this year: the always-free Basic edition, and the free Deluxe edition for persons with the last name Johnson only available at www.IamAJohnson.com.
Turns out that, according to the Census Bureau, there are 2,121,489 Johnsons in America, making it the second most popular name in the nation. It’s also the last name of eSmart’s new spokesperson, Daryl Johnson, an eSmart customer from Richmond, Virginia. So the since the last name is representative of the everyday taxpayer, someone who wants to file their return with ease and accuracy while generating the biggest refund they deserve, voila! the Johnsons of the world get a special freebie this year courtesy of eSmart.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Thinking about planning your summer vacation? Before you do, check out these 5 websites to see how they can potentially save you money on your next vacation.
This website will gather airline rates for you and gives you the most comprehensive list of low fares. It also flags red-eye flights, long layovers, and short connection times. Once you choose your fare, you'll be directed to that airline's site. (Kayak.com doesn't search Southwest Airlines but will redirect you to its site.)
This website will track the price of a flight before and after you book it, and then alert you (by e-mail or Twitter) if the rate drops. Contact the airline directly for a refund; Or pay a $15 fee for Yapta to get you a refund.
This website will help you find the best deal on hotels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and resorts. They list over 85,000 properties, so finding a great rate shouldn't be too hard. They also offer a Price Match guarantee (find a site with a lower rate, and hotels.com will refund the difference)
The perfect website to help with those last minute decisions to get out of town. Just click on their Last-Second Deals link for packages that include flights, hotels, and car rentals by date and destination.
This website posts airline "fire sale" prices.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Perhaps the biggest obstacle we face when it comes to saving money is finding that extra money to save! It's all good and fine to talk about putting money away for "emergency funds" and "rainy days," but what if there is literally no extra money at the end of a day to save?
Especially when times are as tough economically as they are today, even sparing a dime to toss in a money jar before going to bed may be tough. That dime might be needed the next day to help pay for a school lunch. And to some this financial picture may sound a bit extreme, but to others they may be nodding their head in agreement.
So how to make some extra money to save?
One possibility is selling your used books. There are sites online that may buy your books, as well as Amazon.com, where you can sign up instantly and start listing your books for sale right away.
But making money selling books is not all that easy or guaranteed to put some extra cash in your money jar. There are many sites on the net to research and get tips on what types of books sell best, and where to find best deals on used books that you hope to re-sell (such as garage sales, flea markets, and libraries.) Of course, the cheapest way to get started is checking out the books on your bookshelf, and maybe friends and family that have some books to 'donate.'
But if you decide to give it a try, here are a couple of tips for you to consider:
1. Books that tend to sell well are good-condition photography, art, and history books.
2. Other best bets are collectible first editions from classic authors, such as Faulkner and Dickens.
3. Recently published books usually do not sell well, even first editions.
4. Non-fiction title is more likely to have resale value than a fiction title
Sites to check out :