Saturday, January 31, 2009

Health Effects of Clutter

The country’s collective desire to clean up is evident in the proliferation of organization-oriented businesses like the Container Store and California Closets.

Getting organized is unquestionably good for both mind and body — reducing risks for falls, helping eliminate germs and making it easier to find things like medicine and exercise gear.

Experts say the problem with all this is that many people are going about it in the wrong way. Too often they approach clutter and disorganization as a space problem that can be solved by acquiring bins and organizers.

Excessive clutter and disorganization are often symptoms of a bigger health problem. People who have suffered an emotional trauma or a brain injury often find housecleaning an insurmountable task. Attention deficit disorder, depression, chronic pain and grief can prevent people from getting organized or lead to a buildup of clutter. At its most extreme, chronic disorganization is called hoarding, a condition many experts believe is a mental illness in its own right, although psychiatrists have yet to formally recognize it.

Read the entire article.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Honey Better Than Children’s Cough Syrups

Natural honey is a more effective remedy for children’s coughs than over-the-counter medicines, researchers say.

Honey did a better job of reducing the severity and frequency of night-time coughs. It also improved sleep quality for children and their parents. Read the entire article.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spend Intentionally

From Character First

Many individuals cringe at the idea, but a budget can help you develop the financial discipline to succeed.

Track Your Spending
Is your money consumed by impulse purchases, credit card bills, or banking fees? Use your credit card statements, receipts, and bills to keep track of every dollar you spend for two months. Calculate your monthly fixed and variable spending. Then calculate your monthly income, and compare numbers.

If your spending exceeds your income, look for places to cut spending. Identify non-essentials such as eating out, hobbies, name- brand coffee, and smoke breaks. Find less expensive alternatives, wait for sales, use coupons, or buy in bulk.

Make A Plan
Allocate money for each expense category. Save at least 10 percent of your income each month. Set aside additional money in order to prepare for unexpected circumstances. Put money aside for college tuition or other large expenses, and avoid heavy debt.

Pay your bills, then determine what you have left for other things. Pay extra on your credit cards until you pay them off; then pay the balance every month. Do not buy something unless you have the money to pay for it.

Cutting expenses does not mean cutting enjoyment. Go to the movies once instead of twice a week. Take advantage of free concerts, kids-eat-free deals, and free day at the zoo. Ride in one car instead of two when possible, and choose the one with better gas mileage.

Stick With It
Adjust your budget categories as necessary, but do not give up on cutting expenses or saving money. A little discipline now will eventually give you the freedom to go on that trip or buy that flat screen television.

Whatever stage of life you are in, using a spending plan now will give you the freedom to seize tomorrow's opportunities unhindered by financial worries.

Subscribe to their email newsletter at CharacterFirst.com.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rental Cars For Less

Ah, summertime! Our thoughts turn to travel and vacations. And if you're like many Americans, some of that time will be spent behind the wheel of a rental car. We'll spend about $16 billion this year for rented wheels. So let's take a look at how to get the best deal on rental cars.

First the basics. To rent a car you'll need to be over 25 years of age, have a valid driver's license and credit card. Many rental companies will also check your driving record. If you've had a problem with accidents, tickets or driving while intoxicated you might not be able to rent a car. Next, you'll need to decide how big a car you'll need. Remember that a "mid-size" isn't the same at all rental companies. Ask which specific models are included in a class. Make sure that you'd be reasonably happy with any of the models in that class. In most cases you won't get a guarantee of a specific make and model.

You'll be offered optional insurance. You can buy collision damage waiver (CDW), liability insurance and coverage for your personal items in the car. Your current auto or homeowner's policies may already cover these risks. If they do you don't need any additional insurance. Even if your auto policy doesn't cover rental cars, it's possible that your credit card does. Some provide coverage if you use the card to charge ...

Read the entire article

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fly Away Hair

This question was submitted on The Frugal Life Forum:

Hi everyone,
I have waist length straight hair, and this time of year I am always trying to tame the fly aways. Regular shampoos and conditioners seem to do nothing for it. Any tried and true suggestions out there.

Thanks a bunch,
Ohiolor

This forum post has 13 responses as of today. Read them and submit your own.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nicotine Build-Up On Mirrors

Q. What will remove smoke film from mirror glass? I have tried everything, nothing will cut the nicotine build up. [Quit smoking, praise God] Thank you, --Betty/NC

We had this problem after my mother died. But I was amazed by what Windex cleaned up. I'm surprised this hasn't worked for her. Congratulation on giving up this expensive and unhealthy habit!

I use Fantastic cleaning spray to get rid of the nicotine/ yellow build up. I have used this idea for use in cars also. Maureen & Skylar

Try half and half white vinegar and water. You may have to go over it more than once if the buildup is extremely heavy. Warning: It will stink when you take it off!

Try pure rubbing alcohol to remove the smoke. I clean my mirrors with it all the time and it does not leave streaks.

When we inherited my folks place the nicotine was heavy everywhere. They had both been chain smokers for years. I discovered many of Mom's tan knickknacks were actually white when I used window cleaner that was strong with ammonia on them. If you've already tried this. Try using straight sudsy ammonia in a well ventilated area on the mirror and lots of elbow grease. I actually had to soak some of her pieces to get them clean, but I wouldn't recommend immersing the whole mirror as it may take the silver backing off the mirror. Instead cover the glass with newspapers and dampen (not soaking) them with the ammonia, let it set. That should do it. --Jan

Clean mirror with rubbing alcohol . If that don't work, then try ammonia full strength. One other thing to try is vinegar diluted with a small amount of water.

Get More Cleaning Recipes

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Part-Time Jobs For 2010 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. The pay is good, the hours are flexible, and the work is close to home.

Census taker jobs are excellent for retirees, college students, persons who want to work part-time, persons who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community. Read more about it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Simple Remedies For The Immune System

These comments are shared with you as a story of what our family has done. It is not meant to prescribe for you.

1) Insist on lots of rest. Help your child feel as comfortable as possible, but in a resting position. Don't allow books, games, or TV that will stimulate the body which produces stress on the immune system.

2) Simplify and lighten the diet. Lack of appetite is natural and remember that it takes the same energy to digest a meal as it takes to ride a bike 5 miles, so don't feed unless hungry and then only small portions of food without much fat or protein.

3) Give plenty of water, especially if there is fever. A child with a fever must be pushed to drink at least a small amount of water or herbal tea (1/4 to 1 cup) each hour or two. Water is needed for the body to 'flush out' the dead bad guys.

4) Address any infection that might be present with the appropriate treatment. Treatment will be quickest and easiest if you begin at the first signs of illness, but you can begin using the herbs at any time during the course of illness.

We've used herbs for our family. We keep an Herbal Medicine Chest of our favorite products on hand. We have personally followed the above guidelines. We would give only water, watered down non-citrus juices, and herbal teas to drink and withdraw food for 24 hours. We would set the timer hourly, through the night if necessary, to feed the soldiers of the immune system. They are fighting a war with the virus or bacteria present that is causing the illness, so they need to be given ammunition on a regular basis or they will lose the war.

Often people lose the battle when using herbs and nutritional remedies because they administer them just a few times during the day, while trying to maintain the normal schedule without enough rest, and eating foods that weaken the immune system even further.

It takes a common sense approach to make herbs work and also common sense to know when to go beyond using herbs. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Read more about herbs and children

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Less Telemarketing On The Way

Responding to thousands of comments, the Federal Trade Commission recently set new limits on prerecorded telemarketing sales, barring almost all of them unless a consumer agrees - in writing - to accept them.

The ban takes effect on Sept. 1, 2009. But interim relief started Dec. 1; telemarketers now must allow you to opt out at the beginning of a call by pressing a designated telephone key or talking to a voice-activated system.

The rules are aimed at companies trying to sell something, such as credit cards or extended warranties. They won’t affect automated informational messages, such as reminders about doctors’ appointments.

Prerecorded charitable fundraising calls are also allowed—although charities must offer the opportunity to opt out of future calls. The rules do not apply to businesses regulated by other federal agencies, such as banks, or to prerecorded political messages.

The ban comes five years after the FTC implemented the National Do Not Call Registry. Today, more than 172 million phone numbers are registered.

Source: AARP.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Never Throw Away Books or Magazines

The disposable mentality sometimes doesn't cause us to look beyond our own use of something, but when it comes to printed matter, there are many out there who can benefit from what you are ready to discard.


Besides the typical options of public libraries and church libraries, books and magazines and inspirational pamphlets are a great aid to rehabilitation for those who've been sent to prison or juvenile detention centers. Please search out a correctional facility in your area to donate published materials of any kind.

You can also contact some neighbors to form a magazine swap. Make a list of what each neighbor has and when it's compiled let each participating neighbor check off what they'd like to swap around. Then give that list to each person with magazines to share. They can attach a sheet of paper to each issue with the names of those interested so that it can continue to be passed on till they are all checked off. If the person wants the magazine back, their name can be put on the list also.

Winter Car Maintenance - Serious Poison Exposures

As you read this information, keep in mind it applies to pets also.

Cold weather car maintenance can lead to poison exposures from a number of common auto products, warns the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). Windshield cleaner fluid and antifreeze both contain substances that can be deadly if ingested.

Windshield cleaner fluids typically contain methanol, which is extremely toxic if ingested. Blindness or death can be the consequence of ingesting even small amounts.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a toxic liquid with a sweet taste. Following ingestion, the symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning start with intoxication and vomiting and may end in kidney failure if treatment is not sought.

“The danger of poisoning by such products is especially acute for children,” according to AAPCC Board Member Edward P. Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center. “More than half of all poison exposures occur in children under the age of 6. Curious young minds may not realize that an attractive color and sweet taste doesn’t mean something is safe to drink.”

A tragic result of methanol poisoning is permanent blindness through destruction of the optic nerve. Toxic effects take hours to start, however, and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage.

The sweet taste of antifreeze increases the likelihood of large ingestions by young children. Any product that is spilled should be cleaned-up immediately. Like children, pets may be attracted to antifreeze’s sweet taste and become severely poisoned.

“You should call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 if you think you have a poisoning emergency,” advises Dr. Krenzelok. “Time can be crucial in such situations to avoid permanent damage.”

The AAPCC suggests the following precaution:

· Keep potential poisons in their original containers.

· DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.

· Keep all chemical products in a locked cupboard that is out of the reach of children. Never let children play with the containers.

· Never cover up or remove labels. Keep all safety information.

· Make sure that child-resistant closures are working properly.

Poison control centers around the country are prepared to respond with information and treatment advice about poison exposures. To reach a local poison center call 1-800-222-1222. More information about poisoning prevention may be found on the AAPCC’s Website at www.aapcc.org.

Make Your Own Antimicrobial Spray

I've been making my countertop and bathroom sprays for many years. Now there are many recipes for homemade cleaners and that's an exciting thing!

People are now more aware of the dangers of cleaning supplies and the Make Cleaning Products Safe Campaign gives us a way to participate in encouraging the manufacturers to inform the public what is in their cleaners.

The post on Toxic Dryer Sheets & Cleaning Supplies makes us well aware of the dangers of these toxic products so it's nice to see more natural ones coming into the marketplace. However, I still enjoy making my own for pennies. Here's a favorite recipe added to a quart sprayer of water:

20 drops Lavender Fine Essential Oil
20 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
10 drops Lemon Essential Oil

There's a long list of Uses For Tee Tree Oil. It goes with us on trips in our First Aid car kit also.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Favorite Frugal Decorating Tip

This question was submitted on The Frugal Life Forum:

Tell us about something you did to decorate your home that saved you some money. There are tons of creative people out there and for those of us who may not be so creative, your talents shared would be much appreciated.

This forum post has 10 responses as of today. Read them and submit your own.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do Homemade Cleaners Work?

The results are in! Homemade cleaners equal and even out perform commercial household cleaning products!

Here's a mother and daughter who spent two weeks on a science project for school to find out which household cleaners work best. We did three tests: one with window cleaners, one with carpet cleaners, and one with laundry stain removers.

Read about the results.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Escaping Temptation

by Donna L. Watkins

What temptations are you challenged with? Too much shopping, television, food, anger at not being able to control others around you? I was trapped by chocolate. It seemed to rule my life. When I wanted to celebrate I thought chocolate. When I was miserable and needed comfort, I thought chocolate. When there was a holiday, it was all about chocolate. I grew up near Hershey, PA, and my dad had relatives working in the factory, so we had 25 pound melting blocks of chocolate in our refrigerator. We used an ice pick to chop off pieces and placed them in a bowl kept in the refrigerator for ready access.

I watched my mom eat chocolate until she was so sick from so much of it in her system. I learned well the pattern that you ate food for comfort. Why would I continue to eat anything beyond my mind and body screaming for my hand to stop feeding my mouth? I was compelled to finish "the whole thing." Looking back my life seemed to revolve around this addiction. I didn't see it then, but so much of my thinking was about chocolate. I struggled with this while single and when I married and changed to a natural food diet in the late 70's sugar was no longer on the approved list of household foods. That didn't take it off of my mind.

Funny I never noticed that eating for comfort brought any comfort to my mom .... nor myself, but for a fleeting moment. Those first few bites of delectable joy would turn into sickness and guilt at being so out of control. Self-control is at the basis of any life goal whether diet, shopping, finances, or relationships. It's a learned behavior and it provides grand and wonderful results in life. Self-control will allow you to reach the goals and dreams you have. If you want to be the picture of health, you'll need to control what you eat and consider the amount of exercise you get. If you have a financial goal, you will only attain it if you have self-discipline to save rather than spend. If you need instant gratification of surrounding yourself with many little things, you will never reach the goal of getting the big things.
Read the entire article.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Negotiate A Cheaper Price

Before you buy anything, you need to know its market value. Many things we know by heart: A cup of coffee runs between $1-2, a gallon of milk about $2-3, and a movie ticket is between $8-12.

For other things, you may need to do a little research to be sure you’re not getting ripped off. Five minutes on the Internet can usually give you a ballpark value on almost anything.

Once you’ve established the market price, you need to figure out how much of a price reduction you might ask for. The discount depends on the type of product, its abundance, and when you need it.

When shopping for manufactured goods (for example, cars, electronics, or tools), 10 percent is a good discount, and 20 percent is great. With household goods (such as furniture, appliances, and carpet) you can try for an additional 10 percent.

The deepest discounts come on services (hotels, broadband, and lawn care), where you can often get price reductions as high as 40 percent if you’re willing to pay cash, bundle services, and/or commit long term. Read the entire article.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recipe: Natural Baby Oil

1 empty 6 oz. bottle
1/2 cup of olive oil
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Mandarin Essential Oil

The blend of Lavender and Mandarin is not only beneficial to the skin, but is relaxing and can calm a baby along with the massage given as you apply the oil. Mix ingredients in the chosen container. Shake well to blend oils and apply.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nature Deficit Disorder

It’s no secret that kids these days are seeing less green space and more screen space.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average American child spends 44 hours per week—more than six hours a day—staring at some kind of electronic screen. According to the American Obesity Association approximately 30 percent of children between the ages 6 to 11 are overweight and 15 percent are obese.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child In The Woods, refers to this growing problem as “nature deficit disorder.” He believes nature-deficit disorder is causing more problems than just obesity. He argues that many mental and spiritual health problems facing kids and adolescents today stem from a lack of connection to the outdoors.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fixing Used Cars

We have a 92` Ford Tempo that has been diagnosed as needing a new motor. The thing is dying fast. The problem is we still owe 1,700 on the car and it`s probably only worth 1,000 even if there was nothing wrong with it. The motor, we were told would cost over 2,000 to replace. So we can`t sell it, drive it or even donate it, (since we still owe on it). Do any of you kind people have any ideas on how to get at least some money out of this car or to fix it for less than 500.00? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Joyce

• About your car you should check the local junk yards to see if they have a rebuilt motor for your make and model you get this for close to 200.00 I would next suggest that you find a back yard mechanic to put it in for you or buy the manual and do it yourself. My husband has replaced a couple motors over the years and has not found it to be to difficult. Hope this helps. Tonette

•I'd suggest going to a junk yard. A local mechanic should be able to install it for you, or try the local technical school. Some technical schools also rebuild motors at cost. My car was totaled, axel broken, side crushed and they had to cut the top off to get my daughter out. The motor was perfect! It sits in a junk yard in another state. Here in SC, we have a lot of accidents with young teenagers having new cars and wrecking them. I'm sure the motors are perfect in many of those vehicles in junk yards. Betty

• If you have a community college in your area, check to see if they have an auto mechanic department. the students will be working on your car, but there are very skilled mechanics there that teach the class and make sure they do well. this is also a good way to get rid of a car with very little value. you may even get to write it off as a deduction. -Lauren

Read more suggestons

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Car Insurance

This question was submitted on The Frugal Life Forum:

Hello everyone!

My family has 2 cars: a 5-year old car with 100,000 miles on it, and a 4-year old car with 30,000 miles on it.
Both cars are paid off - no payments, and both are efficient little cars (Escort and Tracer), and both are running like tops - nothing but preventative maintenance!

At 100,000 miles, the Escort loses its extended warranty. Our plan is to trade in the Escort for a new car. The question is: WHEN? We were thinking at the end of 2003, before the car racks up too many miles, but we're also considering the end of 2004, when the Tracer is 5 years old, so we'll have a "new" car and an "old" car (to avoid getting socked with 2 cars needing costly repairs at the same time).

We'd like to buy a car at the end of a year so we can get a last-year's model off the lot at a deep deep discount. What do you think? This year? Next year? Scrap the plan and go with something else?

Thanks!
Rach

This forum post has 10 responses as of today. Read them and submit your own.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Health: Viral, Bacterial, Parasitic and Fungal

With the continual bombardment of viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal contamination in our world, essential oils are a great benefit to help protect our bodies and homes from this onslaught of pathogens. Immune systems need support and essential oils can give it. They can also act in a preventive role by being used to make your own cleaners and deodorizers so your home is a less toxic environment, especially for small children and pets.

Because of the enormous amount of raw product used to make wholly natural essential oils, lots of products on the market have been polluted with lower quality, commercial-grade oils or contain other chemical substances to reduce the cost or increase the profit margin - a fact not usually revealed on the label.

Essential oils have unique properties that have been prized worldwide for thousands of years, being used therapeutically in early Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations. Often the secrets of plant aromas were reserved for kings or other favored elite. For hundreds of years, extensive trade routes became established to transport perfumed ointments, resins, oils and spices throughout the ancient world.

Get more information about 100% Pure Essential Oils.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Removing Dinnerware Marks

Q. Does anyone know how to remove the pencil-like marks on dinnerware that are caused by using stainless utensils to cut food or stir coffee? I've tried powdered cleansers, even an abrasive eraser, but nothing really works. Please help! - Barb

• I've used bleach to remove those marks from coffee mugs- Linda

• Working in the floorcovering industry for 17 years, we run into the same type of problem all the time: a metal "score" mark on ceramic tile. What I have found that works the best for this is something quite easy and simple - a pencil eraser does the trick! This will not work if the score has penetrated the glaze, but as long as the mark is light, it will come right off with just a little bit of rubbing, just like erasing pencil lead. - Tim

• Try a little silver cleaner (the stuff that removes tarnish)...my mom has the same problem and this seems to work. BB

• Wenol - Wonderful product for removing stains, as well as silver and utensil marks on dinnerware and rust too is called Wenol....a small tube will last years and will clean up all those problem areas on pottery and china! Takes a bit of elbow grease along with a small dab of the Wenol. Now.....you are hearing this from a long-time Fiesta collector and antiques dealer.....if you have stains, utensil marks, silverware marks, rust, spoon marks, some of the darkening on the surface of your pottery or Fiestaware, (vintage OR contemporary) (and who doesn't??).....this usually will remove the majority of them. Wenol combined with that good, old-fashioned elbow grease....work great! It performs well for me at my antiques shop for removing silverware stains and some use marks from dishes of all types, be it.....fine china, Fiestaware, Stangl, most pottery, Corelle, etc. - Jim

• I learned at the china store, and it works, a powdered cleanser called ZUD. Don’t know why this one works when others don’t, but it does! - Sarah

Get More Cleaning Recipes

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Essential Oils - Nature's Remedies

Essential oils are frequently referred to as the "life force" of plants. Unlike fatty oils, these "essential" oils are volatile, highly concentrated, substances extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark, resin or fruit rinds.

The amount of essential oil found in these plants can be anywhere from 0.01 percent to 10 percent of the total. That's why tons of plant material are required for just a few hundred pounds of oil. These oils have potent antimicrobial factors, having 200-300 therapeutic constituents.

Beware of imitations. Essential oils cannot be substituted with synthetics. Only pure oils contain a full spectrum of compounds that cheap imitations simply cannot duplicate. Read the complete article.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Saving 101

From ING Direct Newsletter, October 2008

ING offers $25 for opening an online saving or free checking account with a $250 deposit. That's an instant 10% earnings. Email me and I'll have a referral link sent to you for this promotion which must come from a current account holder. There's no general link to post for this opportunity.

Here’s the skinny on ways to plump up your savings balance.

Before you travel, visit RoomSaver.com for deals on hotels – on this site you can clip coupons that give you great rates along the way.

Get your next haircut or manicure at a local beauty school and you could pay as little as $5 for that trim.

Buy packets of movie tickets and save as much as $3 a head for even first-run flicks.

Cut coupons and go online to your supermarket’s website for coupons – an average family
can save as much as $700 annually.

Change your air filter in the car more frequently and you could get 10% more mileage on a tank of gas.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Date Nut Bars

Makes 16

Amazingly simple and delicious, these work as an on-the-go breakfast bar or an accompaniment to afternoon tea—or even to balance a plate of holiday cookies. Add some protein powder and you can make them even more "legal."

1 cup (about 6 ounces) halved and pitted dates

1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) pecan halves

1 cup rolled oats

1/16 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line an 8x8-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until pieces are mixed well and dough sticks together. Press into pan. Bake for 15 minutes on the center oven rack. Cool before cutting into squares.

Dates are very health for you. Nutritional Information On Dates

PER SERVING (1 bar): 112 cal, 39% fat cal, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg chol, 2g protein, 16g carb, 2g fiber, 10g sodium

Recipe provided by Joanne Saltzman, author of Intuitive Cooking (Book Publishing, 2006), and founder of the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Colorado (www.naturalcookery.com).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Make Money & Time Last Longer

by Donna L. Watkins

There are so many ways to save money, and the least effective one is finding things on sale. We have to learn how to find and use what we already have. It's a talent lost in our present culture of wanting more. Find a few ideas below to stimulate your own creativity to do what fits for your own family and household.

We have been recycling paper for many years, as many others have, but we've found that many folks don't think about using the paper before recycling it.

Do you know that many people have eliminated trash pickup by recycling garbage in a compost pile and recycling almost everything else they use.

You can keep a large trash can outside with a plastic bag inside that will take a month to fill....and then you can haul it off to the community dumpster which is free, thereby eliminating trash pickup fees which have really become high in most towns.

Since we decided Voluntary Simplicity is the way for us, we have also been concerned about being frugal with the environment. That has required some choices where we had to choose between frugalities for conservation reasons or the pocketbook. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Keep My Car Or Trade It In?

This question was submitted on The Frugal Life Forum:

Hello everyone!

My family has 2 cars: a 5-year old car with 100,000 miles on it, and a 4-year old car with 30,000 miles on it.
Both cars are paid off - no payments, and both are efficient little cars (Escort and Tracer), and both are running like tops - nothing but preventative maintenance!

At 100,000 miles, the Escort loses its extended warranty. Our plan is to trade in the Escort for a new car. The question is: WHEN? We were thinking at the end of 2003, before the car racks up too many miles, but we're also considering the end of 2004, when the Tracer is 5 years old, so we'll have a "new" car and an "old" car (to avoid getting socked with 2 cars needing costly repairs at the same time).

We'd like to buy a car at the end of a year so we can get a last-year's model off the lot at a deep deep discount. What do you think? This year? Next year? Scrap the plan and go with something else?

Thanks!
Rach

This forum post has 10 responses as of today. Read them and submit your own.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Glamorous On A Dime

From WikiHow.com

You look at other women and wonder how do they put it all together? They must spend a fortune to look that way. . . the beautiful clothes, shoes, and make-up. Well the secret to looking gorgeous without breaking the bank is quite simple. It might take a little time, but it is worth it.

How-to Steps

1. Piece your outfits together correctly. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest trends that are going to be out of style in a couple of months anyway. There are three staples in a woman's wardrobe: black pants, crisp white shirt, and the little black dress. They can carry you for years. Black pants can be topped off with beautiful dress shirts for a more glamorous look, or with a simple v-neck for a more casual look. Buy classic pieces.

2. Use your imagination. For example, right now embellishment is the big thing for summer. Instead of going into a boutique and paying $50.00, $70.00, or who knows how much more, instead go into your local fabric store. Check for lace, sequins, or anything you can think of. Take a tank top and glitz it up for the fraction of the price, top it off with a pair of jeans and you're good to go. Look through your current wardrobe and try to make it look different. Take a regular solid colored skirt and add a ribbon bow. Imagination is the key.

3. Go thrift shopping. No, it's not a bad word. You would be really surprised what you can find. Purses, dresses, skirts. It may take a little time, but look through the racks, you never know the gem that's waiting for you. If you really don't feel it's for you, buy specials. Clearance sales are good, and buy at the end of every season, the price is marked down quite considerably. But don't just buy something because it's on sale. Try it on and see if you like the way the garment fits.

4. Pluck or wax your eyebrows. This looks clean and gives you an instant new look.

5. Remember that costume jewelry is a frugal girl's best friend. This can change the whole look of an outfit. Remember that simple black dress. Well the right jewelry can take it from office day to fun evening.

6. Know that a little make-up goes a long way. Glamorous women often do not appear to have make-up on, but they do. Being glamorous is looking like you rolled out of the bed looking fabulous. Avoid too much make-up and overly done hair.

7. Get some soft waves or curls for a natural look. If your hair is very straight go with it and have some interesting layers cut so you really can roll out of bed with it.

Tips

* Fashion does not have to break the bank. Swap clothes with friends.
* Learn to sew you will save a lot of money.
* Fashion is what suits you, not the model in the magazine. While it is okay to get ideas from a magazine, only fashion victims follow it to the letter. Be an individual.
* Get fit and healthy.
* Be confident, not arrogant.

Warnings

* Try not to be too trendy. Remember, fashion should be fun. Don't be a slave to it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Smaller House Has Many Benefits

In a nation where homes have been getting steadily larger for decades, Jay Shafer thinks "cozy" may be ready for a comeback. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, Shafer builds and designs tiny houses - and lives in one himself.

"The small space is a symbol of something else," Shafer says. "I think it's a symbol of a desire for a more simple life."

The founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Shafer has become a sort of guru to a small house movement. For those who have little need for elbow room, he has a whole catalog of tiny houses. At $20,000 to $40,000 apiece, he'll build and deliver them almost anywhere.

Admittedly, these designs may be a bit smaller than you can imagine living with, especially with children, but it does provide food for thought on your own downsize possibilities.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Uses For Grocery Bags


I found a great way to store grocery bags. I use left over kleenex or puff boxes and stuff full of bags. They can then be stored anywhere. Throw one in the trunk of your vehicle and you will always have a bag when you need one. Never know when you need to put a dirty pair of shoes in a bag or dirty clothes or what ever you need one for it is there.

Another great container is a plastic potato chip container like pringles or lays stax. Keeps the bags organized and easy to find when you need one.
It's an easy way to take your own bags to the grocery also.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Regift Those Unwanted Gifts

More than half of Americans polled admitted to regifting.

Wrapping up that unwanted picture frame from last Christmas and giving it to someone else as a gift might not be as taboo as it once was. A survey found that over half of the respondents admitted to "re-gifting" with passing on gifts becoming a far more common and acceptable phenomenon.

78 percent of consumers who were polled felt that it was acceptable to re-gift some or most of the time. According to the survey, the mostly commonly re-gifted items were decorative household items, such as vases, paintings, picture frames and other trinkets.

77 percent of respondents said they re-gifted because the item was perfectly suited to the new recipient. The study showed that 9 percent of people admitted they re-gifted out of laziness to purchase a new gift and 4 percent confessed that they re- gifted out of dislike for the recipient.


Source: Reuters News

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Slave Or Master To Money

Ask yourself a couple questions - when you go to work, where does your money go? When you get anxious over things in your life, what worries you?

These questions can help you determine if you are a slave to your money or master over it. If the majority of your money works for you, then you are the master. If you are paying off people or items, then you are the slave to your money.

No one wants to be a slave, to pull from the wiki:
A slave can be the following:
· where people are owned by others, and live to serve their owners without pay
· a specific form of submissive
· whose functioning is dependent on that of another piece of equipment
· a relationship between two or more devices or assemblies in which one device, the "master", controls the operation of the other, the "slave"

In all these above definitions, being a slave means you have little or no control over your actions or yourself or at least you have lost control over your own day-to-day endeavors. Your function in life is to provide for the 'Master' in your life. With money being that master, in the form of debt, it is no fun. It doesn't care whether you are ill, lost a job, moved or had a baby. It wants its needs taken care of, NOW!

Read the entire article.
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28