You might have heard the statement before that “it takes green to go green”. When you’re trying to make the switch to be more eco-friendly, the last thing you want to do is spend more money doing it. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be expensive to start making choices that are easy on the environment.
Shop Second Hand
Grow your Own Garden
Switch to using cloth napkins, towels and rags instead of paper towels and napkins. Even if you don’t make the switch completely to paper free, every little bit helps!
Use Reusables when Possible
Instead of using ziploc bags when packing your lunch — try using reusable plastic containers or reusable fabric bags. This rule also applies to drinks! When possible use reusable glass or stainless steel cups in place of water bottles or throw away styrofoam cups.
Make your own Cleaning Supplies
By creating your own cleaning supplies you are not only cutting down on harsh chemicals, you are also cutting down on all of the extra bottles.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Set your programmable thermostat to run less when you aren’t home or even during the night hours. You would be surprised at how much this will reduce your energy consumption! Also, open your windows as much as possible to cool your house down. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you can also make a difference by lowering the thermostat 2 degrees for heat and up 2 degrees for the air. Your unit will be working less, but you likely won’t notice much difference in the air temperature.
Use Less Water
There are many ways to do this, such as installing a water conserving shower head or toilet. If you cannot afford to replace your toilet, a quick fix is to place a brick in the tank, which raises the water level without adding more water.
Try to consolidate your errands so you’re running to town less, using less fuel. When you’re able, try to walk or ride your bike. You’ll be doing double duty — getting fit and using less fuel!
Forget the Dryer!
Use your clothesline or hang up your clothes to dry inside your home instead of using your dryer.
Taking the time and money to take your spouse out is hard in our busy society, but it helps remind them how much they mean to you. Date night doesn’t mean it has to break the bank! Remember whether it is free or costs the world, a date is only as good as the thought put into it.
Grab a couple of blankets, spread them out in your backyard and gaze up at all stars and planets in your night sky. Did you know there are even apps available (such as Skyview which is available for iPhone and Android), that when pointed to the sky, will help you decipher what you are looking at? So fun!
Bonfire and S’mores
Light up the backyard fire pit and get to cooking while sharing a drink and laughs– and remembering why you fell in love in the first place!
Antiquing or Thrift Store Shopping
Take a walk through local antique or thrift stores and talk about all the quirky things you find. Better yet — purchase an item to redo and upcycle together!
A great way to enjoy each other’s company as well as give back to the community is to look for volunteer opportunities. Check with your local animal shelter or other community organizations such as Red Cross.
Take to the internet and search for possible haunted locations in your area. Everything from an old abandoned insane asylum to the local legends surrounding your local watering hole can be fodder for the best “hunt.”
Create little cards with clues on them to lead you from the starting point to your ultimate destination. You can keep it small by keeping it around the house or let it grow to something that covers the whole city. A cute twist would be to have the “treasure” be something that holds significance for the both of you, such as the place of your first date.
Remember, it is always the thought that counts. Whether you are going on your first date or celebrating your 10th wedding anniversary just being together and enjoying each other’s company is the goal. Think outside the box and remember to have fun no matter how you spend your time with the one you love.
In the midst of summer vacations and days at the pool it is hard to be thinking about purchasing back to school supplies. The truth is, though, that school will be back in session before we know it — and you don’t want to be caught off guard and blow your budget. School supplies can add up fast, especially if you’re buying for multiple children –so keep these tips in mind while you’re out and about.
Check Your Stash
Look around your house and see what school supplies you might have packed away in the closet or office somewhere. This includes those supplies from last year (or previous years) that are gently used and able to be used again. Rulers, backpacks, scissors and pencil boxes are all great examples of supplies that can be used over and over again.
Thrift Stores or Garage Sales
Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find school supplies for cheap! Many times they will even be brand new.
Shop Discount Stores
Dollar Stores have a wide array of school supplies and organizational tools for a fraction of the cost of big box stores.
Don’t Forget Your Coupons!
Coupons are your best money saving friend for everything else, why not school supplies? This time of year coupons for school supplies are easily found.
Take Advantage of Sales
Retailers want your business, so they’re dropping their prices on school supplies competing for your business. Take advantage of these sales when they happen and stock up! Some stores may offer additional discounts when you purchase in bulk so don’t be afraid to ask.
Know Your Prices
Piggy backing on my previous point, it is important to know the different prices and sales that your stores are offering so you know what is a good deal is when you see it. The best way to do this is to create a Back To School Price Book, where you can write out your school lists and the prices of your stores. This will also help you to stay on track and not purchase school supplies that you do not need — as well as helping you out when it comes to price matching.
Summer is here and you’re looking for things to do with your family that won’t break the bank. Taking the time to get away from work, school and everyday obligations, is hard enough, but then thinking of the money it is going to cost to get away makes it even harder.
Camping is a great way to get away from everything as well as allowing you to really enjoy your time together and not be distracted by everyday life, including your wallet. Planning and preparation are key to making it a money-saving success.
Camping on a Budget
Create a Checklist
Lists are your best friend! Create a camping checklist before you start packing to make sure that you don’t forget anything and have to pay exorbitant prices from the campground to get it.
Purchase Pre-Owned or Slightly Used Gear
Check out local garage/yard sales, websites such as Craigslist, or even find local “online garage sale” groups on Facebook.
Use Household Items
There is no need to purchase eating utensils, plates, pots, pans, when you already have those things in your kitchen cabinets.
Create a Camping Tote
Have a tote that is used year to year especially for camping trips. Instead of purchasing temporary items to cover everything you will need, purchase items that will last and can be used year to year.
Prep your Food
Prepare your menu plan just as you normally would, and prepare anything you need to in advance. Instant Oatmeal packets, muffins and granola are great protein packed breakfast ideas that cost very little.
Pick a camping location that has things to do. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to camp in a resort, but camp close to water or a state park so you have built in entertainment that won’t cost additional money.
A couple other tips to remember. Keep your wood pile covered with a tarp to keep it from getting wet or damp from a pop-up storm. Also, try to set up camp in the shade as much as possible to avoid the heat and and having to replenish the ice in your cooler as frequently.
Grocery prices seem to be constantly be on the rise, making your budget hard to control. However, there are few simple things you can do that will help you get control — and stay there!
Make It At Home
First things first — do you really have to buy those box mixes, packets and frozen foods? No! Make what you can at home and stick to buying the basics from the store. No more worrying about what is in your food!
Shop Less Often
This one goes hand in hand with the first tip — go to the store less. If you’re not in the store then you won’t be tempted to purchase things you might not actually need.
When you do go shopping, leave the debit cards and checks at home and commit to paying with just cash. You’ll find that you purchase less and only get what you need.
Shop Loss Leaders
Loss leaders are the items that grocery stores deeply discount in order to get you in the store. Typically they can be found on the first and last pages of the sales ad.
Use coupons on items that are already on sale to maximize your savings!
Create Meal Plans
Create a meal plan so you know exactly what ingredients you will need from the store — saving time, money and helping life be less stressful!
Compare Unit Prices
Those big packages aren’t always the best buy! Be sure to compare the unit prices before assuming the biggest package is more economical.
Create a Price Book
Keep track of the prices of the items you buy the most, so you know what is a good price, and which store has it. You can either use a spreadsheet on your computer or traditional pen and paper.
You might find it easier to implement just a couple of these tips at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Once you’ve used to your new changes, add in some of the other tips. Even if you choose to just do a couple of these tips — you’ll find that you will be controlling your grocery budget, instead of it controlling you!
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