I usually make coffee at home. My husband and I LOVE our Trader Joe’s Organic Wake Up Blend Coffee. It happens to be the best price for organic coffee that we have found (with the exception of Whole Foods Organic Pacific Blend), and it is the very best tasting coffee we’ve had. So, that works for us. On rare occasion, I do make a stop at a coffee shop. When I do, it is usually Starbucks. It’s always a reminder of how expensive coffee can be. Did you know, however, that you can save money even when you do make your occasional Starbucks stop?
Here are a few ways to save money at Starbucks.
1. Order chai tea instead of a chai tea latte. Then, when you get your drink, add your own milk in the condiment section. Then, you’ve just saved $1.20 by just “making” your own chai tea latte!
2. Get the app. Did you know that Starbucks has an app? If you download the Starbucks app, you can get a free drink every time you buy twelve.
3. Ask for a larger cup. If you usually order a tall, ask for a tall drink in a grande cup… or a grande drink in a venti cup. Then, head over to that condiment bar and fix up your drink. My husband does that because he wants to make sure that there’s enough room for the amount of milk he prefers. You can save $1.20 by doing this.
4. Ask for “light ice” in your cold drinks. Have you ever seen how much ice goes into an iced vanilla latte? The entire cup is full of ice! Requesting “light ice” in your drink is like doubling the size of your drink. Get more drink for your dollar!
How do you save money when you go out for coffee?
Years ago, when I was a member of a gym, I used to joke that the gym would finally be back to normal in March. We all know why. Those who had “resolved” to get fit got discouraged, didn’t see all the weight loss or fit-ness happen fast enough, or just gave up. Well, even if you are not a member of a gym, this is the time (if you did make a resolution) that your resolve, your motivation, your hope is tested. Don’t give up! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your weight loss in case you didn’t see the results you’d hoped for in the last two months.
1. Vary your workout. Be sure that whatever you consider your workouts include aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching. Cardio alone may not be sufficient for weight loss. Strength training builds muscle, and more muscle translates into better metabolism. So, be sure you’re working on building your strength at least twice a week. If you do the same workout every day, change it. Add weights. Increase weights. Add time. Add intensity. Do interval training. All those changes will change your workout, strengthen your muscles, and improve your ability to lose weight.
2. Watch those extra calories. Sometimes when we work out, we give ourselves the liberty to indulge more than we would when we are not working out. There’s not much room for indulging if you are trying to lose weight. If you want something special, then be sure to cut the equivalent number of calories elsewhere.
3. Exercise is not just what happens at the gym. Be careful not to let yourself get lazy the rest of the day. Let your workout time inspire you to keep moving. If you slow down from your normal pace, you may also cut the number of total calories you’d normally burn on any given day. So, take the stairs and park a little farther. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn.
How do you maximize your workouts?
Kids. They cost a lot of money. As parents that isn’t something we just accept. In fact many of us live the thrifty life to give them the things we feel they need. We embrace it knowing the more effort we put into our children the better future they may have. We sign them up for many different classes and fun activities. We have a membership to every museum, zoo, and aquarium in a thirty mile radius. But is spending more money a needed part of that effort?
I Just Like My Kids
Before we get on to the other reasons we may spend to much on our children, lets talk about the best reason. We like our children. We want to see them happy. We want them to have good opportunities and great learning experiences. So we need to ask ourselves if the purchases we make are giving them that? Are we repeating the same opportunities in different purchases? Or, if the purchase is in entertainment form, like a movie, will they be just as happy watching it on Netflix with us when it doesn’t cost twenty five dollars to watch.
We can give our children the things we want them to have, but we can also do it through delayed gratification or on a smaller scale.
What I Never Had
We want to make sure our kids have some of the things we didn’t have growing up. It’s the reason why eighties and nineties toys are making such a huge come back. We are literally getting our children the commercial toys we coveted at a young age. We need to ask ourselves if our child truly wants this toy or is it something that we have always dreamed of having? Are we living through our children vicariously?
It’s okay to get toys for our children, and it’s even okay to get toys for ourselves. We just need to make sure we don’t go overboard and we know who the purchase is actually for.
Children have a way of getting to us through the power of whining. They whine and we may, from time to time, cave just to make the whining stop. Yes, five more minutes before bed time. No, they don’t have to eat ALL their vegetables. In stores purchases may be made for the same reason. A quick surrender so there is no in-store tantrum.
Let them have the tantrum. Then still don’t give them the candy bar or toy. Take a deep breath and remind yourself this is part of the growing process for you as well and them. If other people give you a hard time invite them to babysit. They may be full of advice, but chances are the application of said advice may be about as easy for them as it is for you.
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The season of winter is walking out the door. While the snow was magical (for a while anyway) we are ready to send it packing. Spring is coming and it’s time to welcome it. Here are a few frugal but fun ways our family will be doing that.
All About The Birds
We are going to invite birds to our small little balcony. We are going to make pine cone bird feeders to lure them in. You just smear a pine cone with peanut butter and roll it in bird seed. Use a ribbon to tie it to a porch or balcony hook or to a tree in the yard. Watch the birds flock in for a free meal.
We will also be making a few milk carton bird houses. Just carve a hole in the side of the carton midway up. We’ll poke a stick into the carton just under the hole so the birds will have a perch. Then we’ll hang it next to our pine cone feeder. We’ll have an active little bird bed and breakfast to watch.
Wind chimes can be bought inexpensively at most craft stores, but they can also be made from a variety of materials. I have seen them made from sea shells, old silverware, and even old key chains. I’m going to string them up on my very busy porch and enjoy the calming sound while sitting out there sipping a root beer and reading a book. They tinkle in the wind as if to proclaim that spring is here without disturbing the neighbors too much.
Visit a Garden
It might be a neighbor’s garden, a botanical garden, or blooms I have bought for my balcony. It could even be a public garden outside of a library. I am going to see flowers again. Bright, beautiful, colorful flowers. I look forward to the smells, butterflies, and the buzzing bumble bees.
What fun, yet frugal, activities are you looking forward to this spring?
I don’t know one mother who isn’t concerned about her children eating healthy food. We may all have varying degrees of applying what we believe is healthy to our daily lives. But, we all think about it, don’t we? Sometimes, we try so hard to make them eat broccoli and spinach that we forget that it doesn’t always have to be so hard. Here are a few reminders of foods that are great for kids that don’t have to be so hard for them to eat–or drink!
1. Milk. Milk is great for children. It’s a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein for children. And, be sure to get whole milk, not the low fat variety. Good fats are good for us and actually do more to maintain a healthy metabolism. That whole “low fat” trend many of us were brought up on has proven to be a faulty model for good health and weight loss.
2. Apples. Apples make for an easy, healthy snack. Ideally, your children will eat an unpeeled apple as a snack. The skin contains about 5 grams of fiber. However, if your children are like mine and prefer it peeled, they’ll still get half of that fiber along with a good dose of vitamin C.
3. Eggs. Eggs contain protein, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals. I try to make sure that my children get eggs almost every day.
4. Vegetables. We all know that we all, adults and children alike, don’t get enough dark green, leafy vegetables in our diets. So, some of us moms are apt to try to sneak them into sauces and smoothies to make sure our children get ‘em. However, we need to remember that there are other vegetables that are more palatable for little ones. Carrots, peas, and potatoes are a few. My children enjoy crunching on a raw carrot much more than they do eating cooked carrots. Other children prefer cooked carrots because they taste sweeter when they are baked or roasted. Don’t look down on the non-green veggies. They, too, contain nourishing vitamins and minerals.
What are some healthy foods that your children love to eat?