We all want to be able to give our children some of the things that they want, but often it seems we find ourselves saying no instead. Here are a few ways to say yes that won’t break the bank.
Children that watch a lot of television end up watching a lot of commercials. They watch commercials for cereal, toys, theme parks, and movies. For the most part children don’t know they are being manipulated to bug mom and dad to buy these items for them. They only know that the toys, theme parks, and movies entertain them. They want the sugary goodness that comes with that brand name marshmallow cereal.
The funny thing is without the advertisements the product loses its power over your children. You could take them down the cereal section of the grocery store and buy generic healthy cereal and your children won’t even blink. Get a Netflix account. It costs less than ten dollars a month. You also determine what television programs your children watch. Which shows have more merchandise on store shelves? Which are educational programs? What franchises are you willing to invest in? These things are in your control. The more you take that control the less you will have to say no to your children about purchases without giving in to something that is overly expensive or inappropriate.
Make it at Home
There a many craft supplies and toys that can be made at home. For example, I have found recipes online for silly putty, sculpting clay, finger paint, and play dough. Keep a file of these recipes and when your child asks for one of those products tell them yes. Let them know that you are able to make the item at home and will do so. Make sure you follow through with your commitment to your child. Without following through you child will learn it’s just easier to buy the item than wait for it to be made as promised. Invite your child to help make the item. This saves money for you and teaches your child not to buy something they can make themselves at a lower cost.
Delayed Gratification and Choice
Teaching a child delayed gratification works especially well with a choice attached to it. For example, let’s say the family may be planning an outing. Choose a definite day that this outing will be happening in the future and let the family decide together on where you will be going. Treat delayed gratification as something to look forward to rather than something to wait for.
Exercise shouldn’t cost as much as it does. There are a number of franchises dedicated to getting in shape. There are gym memberships, DVDs, and exercise machines and equipment. The secret these companies don’t want you to realize is that you don’t need any of these things to get in shape.
Contrary to what you may have been told you don’t need a yoga mat to practice yoga. You don’t need blocks and you don’t need the belt. You don’t even need yoga pants. What you do need is instruction and you can get that free at doyogawithme.com. If you feel the need to see your yoga space, use a blanket instead and if you want to be on a block use two equally thick books or a folded blanket. The more you progress however, the less you will need these items. The only reason you may need a mat at home is if you have slippery floors.
If you have kids one of the best ways to lose weight is to play with them. Many schools that have been underfunded for a physical education class know the value of basic exercises like jumping jacks, push ups, and sit ups. They also know the value of getting children to play games with each other. Go outside and play tag and red rover. Find bleachers to climb together. Not only will you keep in shape, your children will have a first hand example on being physically fit. It will also teach them that physical fitness is fun, not a chore.
The most basic exercises often are the best. Many people get a thrill from walking or running. Pick a time you enjoy and a place that is public and pretty. Have a partner to share the experience with, or compete with. The only items you may need for walking and running is a pair of sneakers and clothing that breathes.
There are many ways to cut corners when it comes to household costs. My favorites are finding a use for something that I already have. I don’t need to buy an extra item and I get more use out of the items I have. It reduces clutter and increases the room in my shopping cart.
The Fridge Instead of Dry Erase Boards
If you have a standard white fridge don’t buy a dry erase board. Dry erase crayon and marker comes off of your standard white fridge just fine. It’s also a high traffic area so it’s very likely that if you leave a message for a family member on it, they will get the message. For our shorter family members it’s a treat to be able to write on the fridge and only takes a wet cloth to wipe away. You can draw a calendar on your freezer door or write down emergency numbers for the babysitter. It’s a great way to get more use out of your fridge.
The Cleaning Sponge Instead of Wash Cloths and Loofahs
Sponges were made for cleaning and that includes your body. They absorb more than enough soap and water to get your skin clean. If you want to exfoliate use the ones (lightly and gently) that have a the green scrubbing pad on one side. They come in a variety of colors so that you can tell each family member’s sponge from another. If the color system doesn’t appeal to you, you could just get a six pack of sponges and cut them into different shapes for a useful kids crafts. They will love their custom sponge and you will love using the leftovers as cleaning supplies.
Cook Wear Instead of Mixing Bowls
This is a great tip for those with limited cupboard space in their kitchen. Don’t get mixing bowls. Instead use pots to mix up your cookie dough, or mix ingredients for your latest casserole recipe. Your cookware will work just as well as mixing bowls and using them saves both money and space.
Crafting with children doesn’t have to be expensive. Most paints, play dough, and even crayons can be made at home. There are other things in our homes that make great crafting supplies. Unfortunately many of them get thrown away. The next time you throw out one of these items stop and think about its crafting potential.
Milk cartons are great for making bird feeders or making a planter. They are sturdy enough to be hung from a balcony or tree. The are fun to paint and easy to poke or cut holes in. If you have the type with the twist cap top, that part can be used as a funnel when filling other items. A carton with top cut off can even be used as a storage container for craft supplies like paint brushes, colored pencils, chalk, and crayons.
Soda bottles can also be made into bird feeders and planters, but they are more versatile than that. They can be cut as scoops, with the top as a handle. They can be taped together top to top to make the soda bottle whirl pool. This can be made even more fun by adding a few drops of your favorite color to the water in your bottles. With a little paper mache, paint, and a pair of scissors they can even be made into creative piggy banks.
A cereal box can be turned into a robot with toilet paper roll arms and legs. If you cut them up you can use them to create buildings and props in shoe box dioramas of farms, cities, or what ever your heart desires. Or you can use the inside of boxes to create bedroom signs or create homemade picture frames. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls can be cut to create play dough cookie cutters or rolling pins.
Egg cartons are a good way to store an egg shaped amount of play dough without mixing the colors. They are also a great way to separate and store paints you are using during crafting for a quick clean up.
Saved and cleaned up jars are great for jar gifts, storing homemade laundry soap, and other jar crafts. Just clean them out and keep the lid. Take off the label and whatever adhesive was holding it on. Decorate them as you see fit and use them in your jar craft the next time you use one.
Most women love to treat their hair with luxury. Wisely, not all of us want to spend the money for a regular salon routine when it comes to our hair. Luckily we don’t have to. There are alternatives to high cost hair care and most of them can be found in our fridge, cupboard, or in our local grocery stores.
Skip the shampoo and just use baking soda and water. Really it’s that simple and is great for your hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great rinse and conditioner. Due to its acidity it has a way of pulling gunk out of your hair. It leaves hair soft and manageable. It also has a great plus for those of us with brown hair. It brings out the red highlights in their hair. All three of these advantages are natural for those who are trying to remove some chemicals from their hair routines.
Corn meal can be used as a dry shampoo in a pinch. If you do a lot of camping, are having water issues at home, or are just out of shampoo, you can use corn meal to absorb the oils in your hair and give you an extra day or so before shampooing.
If you want to use a less amount of conditioner, then try using a shower comb. It helps to distribute conditioner throughout your hair. A shower comb also helps remove loose hair and reduces the chances of knots and broken hair.
A blended up avocado mixed with some mayonnaise is said to repair damaged hair. Use a comb to distribute the concoction through your hair and leave it to sit for ten minutes. After that just wash the mixture out of your hair.
Gardening can be a great hobby with a product that you know you will use either in decor or edibles. It can also be quite a money sink, but what if there was a way to reduce the amount of money you invested into your garden, produce less waste, and reap the same results? There is such a way to garden.
What is Bag Gardening?
In traditional container gardening, you use a pot to grow your plants. In bag gardening, you skip the pot. Instead, you plant your seed, seedling or plant cutting directly into the bag of soil that you would have used. Just cut an X in the area of the bag you would like to plant, add enough water to moisten the soil, and add your plant. This can help you save money in a number of ways. Best of all if you are an apartment dweller or move a lot in the same area, or just want to move your plant across the yard, your plants are extremely easy to move.
No Need For Containers
When you have a bag garden, you don’t really need to have other containers. You only need to cut a hole in the bag to add water and place the seed. In fact depending on the size of the soil bag you get, as well as the size and number of plants you are growing, one bag could hold more than one plant. Just cut a hole for each seed and make sure you leave enough room for the plant to grow.
A potting soil bag usually is made from a material that holds moisture inside. As a result you will need to water you plants less and use less water while you are watering your plants. In fact, with a bag garden your concern would most likely be over watering. Poke a few holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. This will reduce the chances of mold or mildew taking hold of your garden. A bag garden is ideal for those of us who want to grow plants, but also want to keep our water bill down.
Halloween is a fun time of year when done correctly. There is candy and pumpkins and costumes. Oh, the costumes! They could by far be the most expensive part of Halloween. There are ways around spending that money and still coming up with a great Halloween costume.
That’s right. One of the best ways to save money on Halloween costumes is to use your children’s pajamas. The best type to use are the one piece one color type. In infants, this could mean a onesie. In older children, it could mean those much loved footie pajamas. When dealing with your much taller and more seasoned trick or treaters, sweat suits of one color could make a good base for your outfit. A gray sweat suit is a good starting point in making an elephant costume. Add a gray tube sock for the trunk and you’re set for a night of candy and fun.
Old Make Up
What family of teenage girls don’t have some old make up products lying around? Time to put that over hyped face paint to good use. Since cardboard and plastic masks have been deemed a safety hazard (limits the ability to breath) face painting has become the best way to integrate your face into your costume. That doesn’t mean we really want to spend the money on face paint. Eye shadow can create real looking dirt stains and bruises. Lips stick makes convincing blood red lips or tiger stripes depending on the shade. This is a night to go heavy on the make up.
They say that duct tape can fix almost anything, and I have found that whoever they are, they are telling the truth. This includes Halloween costumes. Due to the fact that duct tape comes in a variety of colors, it’s a great pick for making stripes on a tiger or zebra. Or you can use old fashioned silver to create chains for your little ghoul or puppy on a leash.
Not all of us started on the thrifty path without financial baggage. Luckily, debt can be managed and reduced through a few financial tools and attitude tweaks towards money.
Sometimes what kills your budget is not the amount you owe. Sometimes it’s the death of one thousand payments a month. They land everywhere in the month, can be confused with each other, and that makes them hard to plan for. Instead, see if you can get a loan, and then pay the various companies, hospitals, and cards off with that loan. In the end you still need to pay off the loan, but the bill falls at one time and may even be less of a payment monthly than having numerous small payment plans.
Student Loan Forgiveness
Student loans can be difficult to pay off. Sometimes a payment plan will work for you. Sometimes your loans can be deferred for a while due to hardship (though watch out for interest that can’t be deferred!). Sometimes you need to look into student loan forgiveness. The plan that the members of my family has puts our loans in a state of forgiveness for twenty five years based on income. If after twenty five years we haven’t made enough to start making payments, our loans are forgiven. If we do make enough to start paying off our loans during that time, the payments will be based on our income. The company that buys your student loan may take part of your tax refund if you have one, but it’s a small price to pay rather than dealing with the monthly stress of super tight finances.
Hold Off on Big Expenses
Until you have gotten yourself out of the old debt, don’t create any new debt. Lay off using credit cards. Don’t buy or trade up on your housing. Don’t buy a new car. When you pay off debt it may take a few years. In that time learn what purchases are worth debt, are not worth debt, and what type of debt won’t cause harm to your credit rating.