Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saving Money on a New Computer

As is usually the case in big ticket purchases, the best way to save money buying a new computer is not to buy one. The statement is obvious but it’s worth mentioning. If your current computer works fine, it can be much cheaper to spend money on upgrades than on a completely new machine. If you are still determined to purchase a new machine though, here are some things to help you minimize the impact on your budget.Figure Out What You NeedLaptops and desktops are available with all the bells and whistles imaginable. A serious online gamer may need the memory and graphics from the high end of the available spectrum. For most users, a much ... Read the entire article.

12 Simple Ways to Get More Done

From Moneying.com

There are a ton of things going on with my business, and people are often surprised to find that I’m still doing practically everything by myself. A question I often get asked is “How do you do it all?”

There is no secret. I get more done because I work longer hours than most of you. Everyone sees me out and about during the week and people are always jealous, but they never realize the time I put in every single night when they are watching TV, and all the hours I put in during every single weekend when everyone else is doing anything but work.

Having said that, there are a few little things I learned along the way ... Read the entire article.

Economically Shopping For Christmas Toys

With the holidays quickly approaching, parents are starting to feel the pressure rise. The kids still expect to see a variety of gifts under that tree. However, with the recent economic upset, more parents than ever are experiencing serious stress in their family budgets. The good news is that you can have a nice holiday season without breaking the bank by learning the tricks that enable you to shop economically for Christmas toys. By making a plan and sticking with it, you may find that it isn’t as hard as you thought.

Keep It Simple

Kids can only soak in so much fun before it gets overwhelming and you are wasting your money. Three gifts per child is a very doable number and is plenty enough to keep most kids happy. Many parent ... Read the entire article.

Friday, November 27, 2009

10 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas for Kids

This morning, our four year old daughter told me, “I don’t want a bunch of things for Christmas. I just want one thing: a pogo stick.” I paused to reflect on how delightfully easy it is to choose Christmas presents for little ones. We are constantly cutting back on the number of toys and parts and pieces that are so often underfoot in our home. The approaching holiday season has me thinking about how we can celebrate through giving, without increasing the volume of stuff in our home. As we discussed in last week’s 12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas task, the sooner we start gift shopping, the less stressed we’ll be when the holiday hits. So here are 10 clutter-free gift ideas for the little ones in your life. Financial Investments 1. Short-Term Investing For a child who is preschool age and older, partner together to work on a short-term ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wave Your Frugal Flag

Often living frugally isn't about keeping up with the Joneses, it's about doing things that the Joneses would never think to do and being better for it. What are some of your frugal practices that set you apart from your neighbors?Here are some of mine:* use cloth ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Second-Hand Shopping Be-Attitudes

I love picking up some second hand clothes, furniture and kitchen utensils. There is just nothing better than going home knowing you paid pennies on the dollar for an item or that someone's mistake is your gain. Anyway, there are a few things I have learned from thrift / second hand shopping. Of course if you have anything to add, let us know in the comments below. Be Aware – Know store policy for returns (if there are any), sales and what tag colors may mean. At a local Goodwill store – red tags mean the item came from Target. Bring as little as you can and keep it safe; don’t leave your stuff unattended. The government has put together ... Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wash Clothes by Riding Your Bike

You don't need electricity to do the laundry. It's as easy as riding a bike. My wife's 90-year-old aunt still washes her laundry by hand, and dries it with a wringer. God bless her. But if you're a little busier, you can keep your clothes clean with ... Read the entire article.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Give Your Grocery List a Makeover

Spending more on groceries than you'd like to? The problem may not be what you're buying, but how you're buying it. Consider this money-saving tip: Go for the lean cuts of ground beef. When you buy a package of 70% lean beef, 30% off what you're paying for is fat. When you buy 96% lean, only 4% of what you're paying for is fat - and that means a lot more ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frugal Savings with Credit Cards

While many folks save money with coupons, especially in their grocery shopping, today, I'm going to show some novel ways to saving money with credit cards. But first, let's get this out of the way. Many folks have got into debt with credit cards and regard them with a degree of suspicion. If carrying a credit card causes you to overspend, then please do not carry one. But if you can manage credit cards, here is a list of ways ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance

The state of California is making positive moves in that direction. The SacBee reports that "insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner released regulations permitting and authorizing mileage verification for pay-as-you-drive, without dictating what form such plans must take."

The goal would of course be to reduce California's chronic traffic problems and improve air quality.

We can't yet know how such programs would work, but MileMeter in Texas is probably a good template. From their FAQ:

If you drive less, you pay less. With our new launch of MileMeter 2.0, you are covered for six months. If you drive more miles than expected, you are still covered as long as you pay us promptly for the miles driven. You get the peace of mind of a traditional six-month policy, and all the savings and benefits of distance-based insurance. Win-win! You can pick, purchase, and print your insurance cards from the website, and the entire transaction requires only 5 minutes. The policy costs are quoted in cents per mile. You may purchase between 1,000 and 6,000 miles of coverage and pay in full at the time of purchase.

So instead of paying a relatively fixed amount and then not saving a cent on insurance when you drive fewer miles, you would have an incentive to keep your mileage low. Of course the incentive wouldn't be so strong as to radically change people's habits, but in conjunction with other incentives (sticks AND carrots -- tax credits for public transit users and electric cars, a revenue-neutral carbon tax on fuel, etc), it could make a big difference.

Via Sacramento Bee, ABG

Source: www.treehugger.com/files/2009/11/pay-per-mile-car-insurance-california.php

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ultimate Flea Trap


I just stumbled upon this product at Amazon.com, but after hearing several friends talk about the ordeal of their flea problems, I thought I'd share it to give all pet owners some hope and relief.

The best part is that there's no poisons involved. Nothing to damage the health of your pets, children or you. And no residual toxins in the carpet or pet's bloodstream. I love a natural solution! And a frugal one to boot!

Product Info:
This flea trap monitors and controls flea infestations. The patented design features produce the high efficacy of the trap. Lured in by the trap's color, the heat and light from the bulb, and the sweet odor inserted in the specially formulated sticky glue disc, fleas don't stand a chance.

This flea trap lets pet owners see results. The non-poisonous and odorless trap enables safe placement around children and pets and comes fully assembled and ready-to-use. Refills are also available.

The reviews on it are really good ... View the Ultimate Flea Trap

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The Low-Tech Food Vacuum Sealer

Have you seen those vacuum sealers? They aren’t cheap enough for me. The prices range from $45- $400 depending on the model and how many extras you would like. I just can’t bring myself to drop that much money and break away from my low-tech version that works just fine for keeping freezer burn away. The good part of my low-tech vacuum sealer is that only need three things:" Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tech Chest Turns Luggage Into Hide-Away Computer Case

We love finding computers in unique spaces that make them more of an heirloom item than a disposable tool. And here is one where you'll have no idea a computer is inside until you pop it open. One part neat upcycling, and one part late-1800s James Bond, this PC case is fantastic. Rob Higareda built a functional computer inside a trunk. Funny thing is, it's a new trunk made to look old. It would have been more fun if it had been found in a thrift shop somewhere - or even better, at a garage sale where there might have been a good story to go along with it - but when a Hobby Lobby ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Planning to make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving? October is a great time to pick up cheap pumpkins. Buy a few while you're at the store this week, and make all the pumpkin puree you'll need for your holiday dishes. ... Get the Recipe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Growing an Indoor Herb Garden

If you live in the northern hemisphere, then it is likely that your garden is tucked up for the winter. However, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy freshly picked herbs. Many varieties will grow quite happily indoors on a sunny windowledge or porch. In addition to providing a source of fresh herbs, an indoor garden can look extremely attractive, and they are a wonderful introduction to gardening for children.

Herbs which will grow indoors:
Basil
Oregano
Mint
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme
Angelica
Chamomile
Dill
Fennel
Lavender
Geranium
Chives

You will need to find a sunny, well lit spot to grow ... Read the entire article.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Credit Cards To Close Or Not To Close

Melissa writes in with the following question about closing credit cards:

I have an old credit card account where my charging privileges were revoked because I was having trouble making my payments. I have since then paid off the card and it is at a zero balance. Do I now close the account? Would it help my credit more if I left it open? I am trying to rebuild after years of bad credit decisions.

Deciding to close a credit card or leave it open is a tough decision. Unfortunately, it sounds like the credit card issuer beat you to the punch. Chances are they ... Read the entire article.

Silver Shield Protection on Sale

Silver Shield Liquid is On Sale November 16 - 23, 2009

This is not your common colloidal silver.

We're very excited that Nature's Sunshine has offered this product on sale again. We've had so many customers stocking up on this to support their immune systems.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Florida Gardening

Question:
Help! We have just moved to Southwest Florida from Michigan and don't understand the growing seasons here. When is the best time to grow what ? Mike

Answers from Subscribers:
Best bet to get acquainted with your new growing environment is to visit your county Extention office. It is free. Just look in your phone book. They are a wealth of information and have free pamphlets and brochures. In South West Florida they are run jointly by the county you live in and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Dept. Master Gardners volunteer in the Extension Offices in this part of the state and they are very knowledgable and a wealth of information of growing just about anything as well as how to control pests in your yard, how and when to fertilize, you name it. They are the best resource you have, they are knowledgeable and helpful. Give them a call today and visit often! Barbara Nelson - Master Gardener (in training still)

Try asking your local nursery. If one isn't available then do a web search on growing plants for your zone. And as a last resort just observe the ... Read all the responses.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Affordable Shipping Container House

Shipping containers are at the forefront of a new era of usefulness. Traditionally used to carry goods via cargo ship, train or truck, these steel boxes are capable of withstanding huge amounts of pressure and weight. This makes them structurally stable, fireproof, mold-proof and weather-proof.

Unfortunately each has a lifespan of only 20 years for its original purpose. That means when their work is done hauling stuff, they get retired and sent to junk yards or landfills even though they are still structurally solid.

Now architects and designers recognize their usefulness as building blocks for homes, offices, apartments, schools and more. This home in Quebec was built by a couple intent on reducing the amount of wood that goes into building homes and also saving money. View photos and rest of the story.

14 Ways a Notebook Can Save You Money

Melinda writes in:

You constantly write about how having a notebook in your pocket all the time helps you in life and saves you money. I get that you can write down your ideas in it all the time, but I’m not a creative type. I don’t see how having a notebook on me at all times can save me money at all.

Aside from the fact that I’m able to use the notebook to write down my ideas – my career’s bread and butter – a pocket notebook constantly comes in handy for many other financial reasons as well. (FYI, I usually just keep a simple small Mead reporter’s notebook in my pocket, along with a good pen that doesn’t run out of ink.) Here are fourteen ways I use that notebook to directly save money. ... Read about the 14 ways.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Make Your Own Fitted Diapers

Learning how to make homemade cloth diapers, even fitted ones, is probably a lot easier than you think. If you have minimal sewing skills and can follow simple instructions you can finish one in less than two hours. Once you get the hang of it you can finish one in forty-five minutes or less. View the Slideshow How-To.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Healthy Stuff - Finding Non-Toxic Products

A nonprofit environmental research organization released results today on over 900 common products tested for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, chlorine (PVC) and arsenic. Using an XRF analyzer, researchers at the Ecology Center analyzed the ingredients of pet products, cars, women's handbags, children's car seats and more, creating the largest database yet of independent tests of toxic chemicals in consumer goods.

The results can be found on the user-friendly website: www.HealthyStuff.org. Visitors can look up products by manufacturer, brand, or product type and easily generate lists of highly rated and poorly rated products.

HealthyStuff.org tested for chemicals based on their toxicity, persistence and tendency to build up in people and the environment. Such chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, liver toxicity and cancer.

"The more we test, the more we find that the presence of toxic chemicals is widespread in everyday consumer products," said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center, who created the site. "It should not be the responsibility of public health advocates to test these products. Product manufacturers and legislators must take the lead and replace dangerous substances with safe alternatives."

For the past several years the Ecology Center has spearheaded groundbreaking research on toxic chemicals in toys, cars and children's car seats at HealthyToys.org and HealthyCar.org. HealthyStuff.org is a compilation of all of these findings and more.

New Key Findings From HealthyStuff.org:

  • Pet Products – HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, collars and leashes. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that alarming levels of toxic chemicals were found. One quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead, including seven percent with levels higher than 300 ppm – the current Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for lead in children's products.

  • Automobiles – HealthyStuff.org tested nearly 700 new and used vehicles, from 1980 to 2010 model year vehicles. The US-made Pontiac G5 and Chevy Cobalt rated best overall 2009 vehicles. Levels of some chemicals found in vehicles are 5-10 times higher than in homes or offices. Since the average American spends more than 1.5 hours in their car every day, this can be a major source of toxic chemical exposure.

  • Children's Car Seats – Infant and child car seats contain chemical additives that can have adverse health effects on babies and young children. Over half (58%) of car seats contain one or more hazardous chemicals, including PVC, BFRs and heavy metals. Three examples of car seats that had none of the chemicals tested for are: Baby Trend Flex-Loc; the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat; and the Graco Turbo Booster. Despite the toxic chemicals, it is vital to use a car seat for your child because they do save lives.

  • Back-to-School Products – HealthyStuff.org screened over 60 common back-to-school supplies, including backpacks, pencil cases, binders and lunchboxes. Far too many of these supplies are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 22% contained detectable levels of lead. Overall nearly 90% of back-to-school supplies contained one or more chemicals of concern.

  • Women's Handbags – HealthyStuff.org tested over 100 women's handbags and detected lead in over 75% of the bags analyzed. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the bags contained lead over 300 ppm – the CPSC limit for lead in children's products. Over half of the handbags contain more than 1,000 ppm lead.

Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act

In response to increasing consumer demand for safer products, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Bobby Rush are expected to introduce a new bill this Congressional session to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the current federal law for regulating chemicals. These reforms would phase out the most dangerous chemicals from the manufacturing process; require industry to take responsibility for the safety of their products; and use the best science to protect vulnerable groups. To date the EPA has required testing on only about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals that have been on the market since the law was passed 33 years ago.

"A Made in the USA label should be a guarantee, not a warning," said Charlotte Brody, National Field Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition working toward toxic chemical policy reform. "This database of products is further proof that our system of testing and regulating toxic chemicals is broken. We have an opportunity to reform federal law this year and start putting common sense limits on harmful chemicals to protect the health of Americans."

"HealthyStuff.org is an invaluable resource for busy parents who are concerned about toxic chemicals in children's products," said Mom's Rising President Joan Blades. "But it shouldn't be up to parents to look up every single item to find out if toxic chemicals are used. We need reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act now."

For a summary of key findings, click here (PDF download).


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Green Living Saves Green

Nancy Sleeth is the author of Go Green Save Green, a book that reminds people that taking care of the environment is actually about respecting God and your neighbor.

She and her husband Matthew, a former ER physician, are the co-directors of Blessed Earth, a non-profit organization that draws attention to the issue and the practice of creation care. It’s been a long journey for this eco-friendly couple, one which Nancy says was both environmental and spiritual in nature.

Now, Nancy has published her own thorough guide to the green life. Go Green Save Green includes chapters on everything from transportation to church, with practical tips and charts on how one can begin living a conscious and communal life. “My main goal is to have people love God and love their neighbors by taking better care of creation,” said Nancy. “That’s absolutely it. It’s about my journey, and sharing it with other people. Read the entire article.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Natural Health Webinars

The next ABC+D Approach to Natural Healing Webinar is offering the first two sessions of this class absolutely FREE. In these sessions Steven Horne talks about the difference between treating disease and building health, by explaining the ABCs of natural healing (Activate, Build and Cleanse).

This is valuable information is enough to get anyone started on the road to helping themselves be happier and healthier. And, it's all free!

The preview sessions will be held December 8th and December 15th. There is an early session at 7:00 Eastern, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain and 4:00 Pacific and a late session at 9:30 Eastern, 8:30 Central, 7:30 Mountain and 6:30 Pacific.

Register for these sessions by using either of these links:

Click here to register for the ABC+D Preview EARLY Session
Click here to register for the ABC+D Preview LATE Session

Shop at The Herbs Place for any products mentioned that are of interest. Wholesale prices every day and fast shipping from 4 warehouses.

This website is maintained by TheHerbsPlace.com. What's On Sale Now?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Improving Your Water Logged Soil

I want to ask if any of you know what to do with soil that is holding water. I planted a dogwood tree 3 months back and saw it was doing poorly and when I removed it I had to 'ring the roots out.' Everytime I watered it and fed it the liquids were choking the roots. I want to put a dogwood in the same place but I really don't know what to do with that much standing water except to build it up with a berm. Do any of you have any ideas on the subject?

A. I'm in Australia (southern) and I would suggest planting tea-trees (melaleucas species), willows, gum trees, iris, anything that thrives on being in boggy conditions. (its called 'puggy' where I live ) because its like a sponge in winter (soaks up the water) and cracks in the very dry drought like conditions (not very often) Dogwoods, in Australia at least, seem to like dry conditions, build up a hill like formation of soil and then plant so that it drains really well and keeps the roots out of damp. Gail in Australia

A. Most problems with water and trees and bushes start with too small a hole dug with a shovel thus packing the outside edges as the next shovelful is levered out. The water has a hard time getting past this wall of packed dirt. BUT, first you need to determine if the surrounding area just plain holds water due to hardpan soil or a high content of clay. OR is ... Read the entire article.

Growing Plants from Mango Seeds

Q. Can anyone tell me how to grow a plant from a mango seed. I love mangoes and buy a lot of them and it would be nice to get the seeds to grow.

After cutting all of the fruit from the seed I take a stiff brush and scrub the rest off and put the clean seed in a small cup of water---yogurt cup will do---and fill with water The water does not have to cover the seed but at least 3/4 of it . I set it in the window over the sink and rinse it a couple times a week. Even though it is scrubbed good it will need the water changed regularly or it will get smelly and will attract fruit flies. When the seed opens and starts showing signs of growth I move it to another container and start adding potting soil until it is growing in full soil like any other plant . As it grows it increase the size of the container. I have rooted and grown several but I cannot keep them living through the winter. When I bring them in they go into shock and no matter how hard I try they are compost by the next spring. I have two very pretty ones now but I need help to keep them living. Gloria

I have rooted Mango seeds by washing the seed and putting it in between a dishrag and ... Read how to grow Mango from seed.
"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