Fruit is one of the highest priced items on our grocery list. While fruit in a can is less expensive my little guys prefer fresh fruit. I prefer fresh fruit as well. I don’t have to check to see what liquid it has been packed in. Most of the time it saves me on dishes to serve my child a whole fruit. So there are a few rules we follow when buying fruit.
Buy In Season Often a fruit is less expensive when it is bought in season. It’s even less expensive if it’s something grown in the area which you live in. Stores don’t need to pay to have the fruit in question imported and then pass that price on to you. Nor do you have to pay for the fruit in question being in high demand with a limited supply. It also means that your produce will be very fresh.
Pick Your Own In many areas there are farms that allow people to come and pick their own berries or harvest their trees for a price. It’s usually a much lower price than you would find at a grocery store. The fruit then can be canned, bottled, frozen, juiced, or just eaten raw. In the long run going to pick your own produce can save you money in a variety of ways when you also have the skills to preserve food.
Grow Your Own When you choose to grow your own fruit be sure you choose the right type of fruit. Some plants you can plant, water, and forget until the next day. Others require more time and effort. Some berry bushes won’t even produce fruit unless you have two. Do your research! Still after you have set up a little fruit garden, you can grow a decent amount of fruit and save some money when it comes to your groceries.
Financial planning can be important for a number of reasons. It can give us peace of mind, help us plan for our future, and lets us know when we need to add to our plan. Most of all, it’s a blueprint of where you are financially and where you are going.
Having a plan when it comes to your finances can help fight off the anxiety you may feel about your financial future. If you feel uncertain, tense, or all around frustrated about your money, you need a financial plan. It gives you a sense of control over your money and financial situation. It helps you feel secure in your living condition. In short, chances are if you are feeling stress over money, a plan will help ease your mind.
Sometimes a bill will show up, that you have forgotten about. Sometimes you have an extra expense you know about like a birthday party or gift. One way or another you will need to know when you need extra money. It could mean that you cut back on other items or that you work extra hours. The important issue is knowing when it’s necessary to have that surplus of cash available to you.
Let’s face it. You may make enough money to make ends meet, but it doesn’t show up in your account quite when you would like it to. Mapping out your monthly bills and your paychecks will show you when you have the money to pay certain bills. Sometimes you will need to pay bills early or save the money for when the bill is due. Other times you may have the money right on time. Either way you need to know when you can count on that money being there for the the things you need.
Do you know where your money goes? I would assume that since you are a frequenter of this site the answer is a resounding yes. You do your budgeting and track your money. You look for ways to save money and even make more when you need to. However, most of us don’t know how much of our money should go to various expenses. I learned from this free course ( https://class.coursera.org/uffinancialplanning-001 ) where my money should be going.
The 10% Club
There are a five different categories in our spending that shouldn’t be more than one tenth of our income. Our first tenth should be put into savings. Second, we should put a tenth aside in case of emergency. The third tenth should be used for recreation or education. The next tenth is used on gifts and contributions. This includes tithes, charity, and birthday gifts (If you’re a believer in a full 10% tithe, you’ll need to put birthday and Christmas gifts in another category). The last tenth is to cover our various insurances.
Surprisingly to me medical was in this category. This isn’t a part of insurance. This is what may be needed for a co-pay or to pay for a prescription. Medical expenses shouldn’t take more that .07 of your income. Next is personal items such as hygiene products or getting your nails done. These items can be expensive, but try to keep their cost under five percent. Another category that falls under five percent of your income is clothing. Luckily for us, thrifty divas know how to find a good deal on clothes.
The one thing that should take up a third to half of our expenses is our home. This includes mortgage, upkeep, and repair. Following this is our car which we should invest about seventeen percent into. This covers our fuel, repair, and upkeep. If you do not own a car this is how much you should be limiting yourself to in the cost of public transportation. Last, but definitely not least, is our food budget, which should be about one fifteenth of our income.
I like learning, even when I don’t get a certificate to show my accomplishments. To this end I am constantly scouring the internet finding free classes, courses, and organized information. Here are a few websites and courses I have found.
Before I go more into these sites and courses I will come right out and say these aren’t certified courses. They do not give you any medical authority. Even the courses that offer an optional certificate will tell you that they do not give you the legal authority to act as a practitioner. They do, however, give a good deal of information on herbal medicine. Some are lessons sent to your email, some have video, and others do not. There are a couple that offer you a chance to buy stuff. Still, if you are survivalist junkie or just want to learn the way herbs could help our health here are a few places to look.
I admit it. I plan to homeschool my kids. Between the things I have learned about Common Core, the violence that seems to annually make the national news, and what I remember from my school experience, my children are better off with me doing so. That is, as long as I do MY homework and build a great curriculum for them. Since my oldest is currently a toddler, now is a great time for me to do just that. With the joy that is the internet I have many options to choose from and all of them are free. The ones I chose to post today are strictly homeschooling, though there are also free public schools online as well.
Being able to teach my children also means continuing education for me as well. For this reason I search for free college classes. I was surprised that I found quite a few on various websites. Once again these sites may be interested in selling you a certificate, and in most cases these certificates actually carry weight. You still have the option to take or leave them. If, like me, you are interested in expanding your knowledge, you can find free courses online for everything from meditation to plumbing using these sites.
So in closing I send my best wishes to all you learners this school season and wish you happy low cost learning.
I love to downsize. It keeps the clutter at bay in my home. In the past, I have been known to downsize too much and find myself having cleaner’s remorse. While it is important to keep my home clean and uncluttered, it is equally important to save those items that I will need later.
Whether it’s a screwdriver or a crochet hook don’t downsize tools. There may always be a point when you may need them again. Tools, be they utility tools or crafting tools, take up space and may not be used very often. When you need them, however, the last thing you want is to be without them. Find an out of the way place for them and forget them until you need them, but don’t get rid of these items.
I have heard the old adage that states the best way to get pregnant is to get rid of all your baby stuff, but don’t. All the things you used with your first child, you will most likely use with your second and third child. Some items may appear out of date, but still work just fine for your younger children. In addition to this, baby stuff can be very expensive. You don’t want to need to buy it two or three times. Unless you are absolutely sure you aren’t having another child, I suggest keeping the baby stuff.
In fact I recommend keeping two copies of banking statements, bills, and tax returns. Keep one paper copy and one digital copy. These items are worth their weight in gold and may keep you from spending just that. They prove that you have paid your bills, taxes, and give you information for the next time you need to talk to a representative. Also keep a copy of any confirmation numbers you may be given by companies proving that you paid. You may need them later as well.
We all can use a little help sometime in our life. Unfortunately, not many of us accept or ask for that help when we need it, but we should.
Why Saying Yes to Help Saves Money
First of all, help often comes only with the price of asking for it or saying yes to it. Second, it is often given as a service. It may be that someone is willing to watch your children. Another person may be willing to fix your car. These are two very expensive services that another person is willing to do for you that otherwise would have cost you hundreds of dollars. In some cases, it may be that they actually give a gift of currency. This may be a small amount to them, but mean gas in your car or groceries for a week to you.
Some people reading this may be against help because they feel that all things must come with a price, and I am inclined to agree. That doesn’t mean that you can’t set the price or that the price must be monetary. Offer to cook them a meal or buy the parts needed for the car if they will do the labor. Or you can respond in kind. They will watch your children this week if you will watch their children next week. In this way you are both now contributing to each others well being or at the very least sharing in some of the cost. In the long run it may save both of you money.
Perhaps the help you are seeking is not from a person. Instead it is from an organization such as the government or a church. Keep records of the help received. Also keep good records of your financial situation for those giving assistance to review. Always be trying to prepare for a time when you will not have assistance. This will show that you value their effort and that you understand that you are receiving help, but not entitled to it.
Many of us look to the things we need to change in order to save money or be better people. However, we need to stop and give credit where credit is due. Some may ask where that credit is due? In those little quirks and bad habits that are frowned upon in society, but in the end have saved us money and peace of mind.
I have children that don’t like having their ears cleaned, but my pediatrician says that’s okay. In fact my pediatrician says that it’s actually preferable to let my children have a little dirt in their ears. The ear wax keeps bacteria and infectious microbes from actually getting into their inner ears. This means less ear infections, less trips to the doctor, and less time fighting a toddler. It saves me in gas, time, money, and stress not to clean their ears too often.
I know it sounds nasty, but leg and armpit shaving really didn’t become a huge deal until recent history (with the exception of ancient Egyptians, who were paranoid about lice). Imagine how much money you could save in waxings, shaving tools, creams, and bleaches if you just left the hair alone. I have heard of men celebrating no shave November. Why not try a little no shaving ourselves. It keeps us warmer and doesn’t leave us with annoying shaving cuts or possible chemical burns.
Yelling has many useful properties when done correctly. You can be heard at a farther distance. It clears your airways if you have a bit of congestion. Upon occasion it can communicate better than being rational. I have even heard of a therapy that encourages an individual to yell into a pillow to relieve frustration. The only down side is when you don’t breath correctly and end up with a sore throat. Why pay money for therapy sessions when all you need is to shriek off a little steam and be on your merry way. Just don’t make too much of a habit of it.
What bad habits have saved you money?
All of us want a nice smelling place to live. It doesn’t take over priced products to get a nose friendly home either.
What You Use
What you use to get rid of a scent or odor is actually very important. For example, if you are picking a spray to get rid of an odor in your trash can, you are going to want to get something that is anti bacterial. It’s actually the bacteria in the trash can that causes the scent. Getting a scented spray that isn’t antibacterial is just covering up the odor. Also antibacterial sprays (especially generics and store brands) are very budget friendly. They even have started coming out in scents of their own such as citrus or fresh linen.
If you are more of an earth friendly diva, then stick with tried and true baking soda. Mixed with a little lemon or water it can be used as a spray or a cleaner. It’s also great for getting odors out of the carpet.
One of my favorite ways to replace a pungent scent with a good one is to use a wax product. I like jar candles or oil burners/wax melts. These items come in a large variety of scents, sizes, and prices. Just make sure all the members of your family can enjoy the scent. Floral scents have been known to trigger allergies. Other scents may remind you of a public bathroom cleaner. Find a few good scents the whole family enjoys and stick with those.
One of the best ways to keep a scent free home is with air circulation. Use fans to move air about or open a window for a little while. Hand in hand with good air circulation, you need good filters. A dirty air filter will toss scents, dirt, and allergens back into your home. Change the air filter according to what is recommended on the packaging.