Sunday, September 15, 2019

My Wonderful Clothes Haul from Goodwill

I'm in Cleveland now, on my trip to the US, and my lovely hostess with the mostess picked me up from the Greyhound station, but needed to go to work. While she was at work, I decided to get some errands done, and one of them was going to Goodwill. When I was trying to pack to come, my friend told me to pack very minimal clothing, because it was worth it to stock up on clothes while I was in the US. Yes, I can get cheap clothes second hand locally, but their quality is very low, and its really hard to find enough things that are my size, because the selection is small and its not organized by size at all. My friend, who is an avid Goodwill shopper here told me that there's this amazing Goodwill that I just have to hit up, and she was right.

I'm going to post in a future post about why I decided to go clothes shopping here, but for now I wanted to share what I got.

When is Bankruptcy The Best Option?

Debt sucks. It really, really does. The hardest part about it is that debt repayments can make you drown financially, making it impossible to keep above water with all the monthly debt repayments. Sometimes the only way to get out of that situation is to declare bankrupcy. Here is some more information from a reader about whether declaring bankrupcy would be the right option.

Bankruptcy is something no one wants to experience, but the fact is, sometimes you simply accumulate too much unsecured debt and truly cannot pay it all off. You’ll have creditors calling day and night, overdrawn bank accounts, and a hole in your wallet that you can’t seem to repair. When is bankruptcy your best option, and what is it exactly? Keep reading to learn more about when you should file for bankruptcy and how it will affect you.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Bank Issues... Mostly Sorted

Ok, so as I've told you, I came to the US to deal with horrendous bank issues that my ridiculous bank will only let me deal with in person.

So last night I arrived in NY, got picked up by a friend in Queens, had a BBQ at her house, then went to another good friend's house to sleep and stayed up late into the night to catch up.

In the morning, I took the train from Queens to Brooklyn to go to the bank. I decided not to pay for cell phone service while I'm here since everything is ridiculously overpriced and I can manage without for my trip, using wifi when it's available and the rest of the time going without. But since I didn't have internet service, I decided to take the train from Queens to Brooklyn, even though there were buses that would have been quicker, since I found the train more forgiving with info about transfers posted in a large map on the wall, and if I messed up and went the wrong way, I could easily fix it and get to where I needed to go. Lots of nostalgia since I took that train many times when I lived in NY.

Run Away From Stress

Taking care of yourself is important. Here's some tips from a reader on how to lower your stress levels. 

With all the work environments right now being extremely competitive and our lives being so fast paced, it’s no wonder most of us suffer from stress in some way. Pretty much everyone develops their own coping mechanisms but not a lot of them are healthy ones.
Some turn to food for comfort which can lead to binge eating and bad eating patterns. Others turn to alcohol that has its own long list of health complications. There’re more similar patterns like these ones but they all have one thing in common: they simply don’t work long term. Stress eating won’t make your worries go away for more than a couple of hours but it will definitely make you gain weight. So here are a few way to help you cope with reality that actually work and don’t have any serious consequences.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Arrived Safe and Sound in NY, Against the Odds

Wow. I wasn't sure I'd actually get here, because I had so many things going wrong...

But in the end, all is good.

So first of all, I told you about my American bank issue which is why I had to come to the US in the first place... But I was having another issue with a local bank here, divorce related, and because of it I would have had a stop order on my leaving the country. Fortunately, some amazing friends helped me out and I was able to take care of that issue, so then I was able to leave the country.

But then there was my passport to deal with.

Yes, passports. Ugh.

Getting Your Family to Eat Ethically on a Budget

As someone who cares about ethics, but also about keeping my budget down, I've thought long and hard about this, how one can do both, because ethical shopping often costs more money. How much do you sacrifice ethics for a bargain, and how much do you sacrifice frugality wise, for ethics? Here's a post from a reader on how you can feed your family ethically, while still maintaining a budget.

One of the most potentially difficult things about raising a family is deciding what to eat every day. We're not just talking about making sure all the kids eat their food anymore, either. Raising a family in 2019 means making sure that our diet is ethical, too!
It can seem daunting at first to find food that is ethical AND inexpensive. That's why we created a guide to help your family eat ethically on a budget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Celebrating My Boys' Birthdays

Both my boys had birthdays within the past week. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I have a tradition of making my kids a fun and frugal birthday party. It's important for me, even when money is tight, for my kids to know that they are my priority, and I'll do what I can to show how much they matter to me and to celebrate their presence in my life.

But then the last few years haven't been easy ones, to be honest. First I was struggling pretty mightily with mental health issues (though I kept mum about it at the time because I was afraid of being judged) and then I was struggling to balance it all as a new and self supporting full time working single mom. So even though my kids mattered to me just as much and I wanted to do what I could to celebrate their birthdays, I didn't get around to making them birthday parties (and felt quite rotten about it). Midway through this last year things finally calmed down enough that I told my boys I could make them a very belated birthday party but they told me that it would be quite awkward and asked me not to. So I told time that when their next birthday comes, I'd make it up to them and do something really special.

And that was today.
Lee turned 12 on September 4 and Ike turned 10 on the 8th.

Common Causes of Childhood Strains and Sprains

As a child, I regularly got sprains so often that we always had crutches and ace bandages at home, as well as some air casts and splints. My children fortunately have been more lucky there (though one kid managed to break his bone twice and dislocate something another time...) Here's some more from a reader about what causes these types of injuries and what to do about it.

Image source

Scrapes and bumps are an inevitable part of growing up. It doesn’t matter if your child is a bookworm boy or a girl with a passion for football, strains and sprains can occur pretty much anywhere and at any time. It is, therefore, a good idea to know the signs and symptoms.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Delicious Tofu Sandwich Recipe-- Gluten Free, Vegan, and Easy

One day I was really hungry and looking for something to eat. I had a block of tofu and some bread, and I had the idea to fry up some tofu slices and make them into a sandwich. It was heavenly. One of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted. And I said that I absolutely must share the recipe with my readers.

And then I wondered... if I weren't so hungry, would it have been just as amazing? 

So then I tried again, on a normal day, with a normal appetite. And yup. Still amazing. Still easy. Still delicious. And vegan and gluten free to boot.

Highly recommended.

And yes, this is super simple. But I decided that I'm not going to not share a recipe with readers just because its simple. Because simple things sometimes are the best, and just because something is simple doesn't mean other people will come up with that on their own.

Delicious Tofu Sandwich Recipe-- Gluten Free, Vegan, and Easy

6 Amazing Tips For Keeping Kids Happy On Air Travel

Have any trips coming up with your children? As you may know, sometimes kids can be difficult on flights, so here's some tips from a reader on how to keep your flight as smooth as possible.

Image source
“The Greatest Legacy We Can Leave Our Children Is Happy Memories.”
– Og Mandino.

Many avid travelers, especially women who recently became moms are worried about making their air travel safe while traveling with their children. In my last travel, I found that the woman sitting next to me was not able to handle her toddler so well as she was not aware of the traveling hacks. From that experience, I realized the importance of making people aware of some hacks by considering which they can make their air travel much safer and more smooth for their kids.

If you are reading this post, then you might be planning to spend your next vacation overseas  and are looking to minimize the hassle. In this article, I will share some hacks which will help you to prepare your next trip smoothly and make the traveling entertaining for your child.

Let’s get started…

Saturday, September 7, 2019

They Called The Police On Me

Tonight, someone threatened to call the police on me. And I told them to go ahead and do that. Here's why.

I slept over at a friends house and brought along my dog. On the way home, one of the bus drivers took a look at me and my dog and told me he doesn't let me on with the dog. I got on anyhow, and sat down, putting the dog in my lap.

Snickers had a muzzle on her face.

I know the local laws.

The laws are that dogs are allowed on public transportation with a muzzle and as long as they're small enough to be on your lap.

She was.

How Sports Can Help to Bond with Your Child

I love playing sports and have been a fan since I was a child. It was something I shared with my father and siblings, going to Cleveland Indians games, and playing on teams in our local municipality. Here's some tips from Robert Bell on how sports can help you bond with your child.

Finding a way to bond with their children is one of the biggest concerns for many parents these days. With technology and busy days putting barriers between family members, it is a good idea to explore every possible bonding opportunity that is available.

Enjoying sports together is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of doing this. Why not start adding some sports to your family’s lives and see how it helps you all to feel an even stronger connection?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Our Frugal and Fun Summer

My kids, after a long summer, are finally back in school. Most kids who were on summer break have already returned to school by now, and so I'd like to reflect on this past summer and how we managed. I asked my children what they thought of our summer, and they all agreed an amazing one, it was the best one yet, which was wonderful, since it honestly was quite the frugal summer.

Ok, not all of it was so frugal. My kids were in camp for the first three weeks of July; Anneliese's was free, Ike's was free, and Lee's school year didn't end until the end of July. Rose's camp was quite pricey and lasted all of July, but I didn't really have much of a choice about sending her since her dad and I both needed to work. Unfortunately, though, the ride that Rose took to her camp was the same one Anneliese took, and it ended when Anneliese's camp ended, so once that happened, Rose wasn't really able to continue on in camp, since I couldn't bring her to camp daily.

Once they all finished camp, I, for the first time, had to deal with the dilemma that parents in my country nearly all need to deal with: how to work when your kids don't have camp in the month of August. Before that I was just a stay at home mom and August was a regular month for me, but since becoming a self supporting single mom I no longer had that luxury.

Fortunately, the kids go to their dad twice a week and every other weekend, so I only was entertaining them the other four of five days. One of the days of the week they were supposed to be with their dad, the kids ended up going to their cousins house where the older cousins made a "camp" for the younger children, so that was fun for them.

But the rest of the time? It's interesting, when the kids said they had a really awesome summer, I was trying to figure out what we even did. We didn't have an official schedule. I can only list things that we did do this summer:

Our Frugal Fun Summer Activities

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

5 South Asian Superfoods You Haven't Heard About

I love fruit, and I love learning about new and exciting and different fruit to me. This post sent to me by a reader is getting me so intrigued, also to learn about the fruit, and to find out about their medicinal uses. If only I could get my hands on them locally!

Hundreds of natural health remedies exist throughout the world. Every region and culture has used their knowledge of the plants around them to develop medicinal strategies. While some have fallen out of use with the advent of modern medicine, others continue to have incredible health benefits.

Because natural medicine is experiencing a revival, new superfoods are being introduced on the market. Regions with diverse, tropical ecosystems have proven to have the biggest variety of these kinds of holistic foods. Some of the most popular represent an Asian heritage. Read on for the run down on these strange, foreign delicacies and to learn how they can help you.

How Do Healthy Couples Budget Together: Eight Couples Share Their Stories

I've shared two posts recently that talked about financial abuse. One, a woman's story about how getting divorced improved her finances, due to the financial abuse in her marriage, and then another, where six women shared their stories of financial abuse, to help educate people about this not too often discussed topic.

After my posts, someone reached out to me and told me that now that I spoke about what financial abuse is, can I write a post about how happily married couples healthily deal with finances, so people can know what to do, and not just what is bad. Which is a great idea and all, but since I didn't have a healthy marriage, hence divorcing, I wasn't the right person to talk about this. But I reached out to my friends and asked them to share their stories, about how they deal with finances in a healthy way in their marriage.

Here's eight stories. And you'll see, everyone does it differently, but the basic underlying premise is that they all communicate and everything is done as a team; even when its not completely as a team its because that's how both people in the marriage want it done. No one is telling the other how to do things, but they work together with teamwork.

Easy Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Can Make Extra Money

Many people choose to be stay at home parents to save money on day care bills, not to mention being able to be more frugal for your family since you have more time available to DIY things. However, you still might find that you need some more cash. Here's some ways to bring in some extra income while still staying at home.

Image source
Staying at home can be emotionally rewarding, but not financially. You work full-time at home, but you don’t get to receive a paycheck. Thus, it can be difficult for some one-income families to earn enough money to make ends meet or even build savings. The good news is that there are ways for stay-at-home moms and dads to earn some extra cash to help with the family budget without having to leave the house or sacrifice quality time with the kids. You just need to have the determination, focus, self-discipline and organization to succeed in this endeavor.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Middle Eastern Greens Salad Recipe -- Easy, Variable, and Delicious

Twice recently at special events, I had this delicious salad, made with various greens, nuts, and craisins, and it was so amazing, I asked my friends what it was called. And I got a bunch of very surprised people who were surprised that I didn't know what it was, because apparently its served all over locally, and I just discovered it after living here for 13 years! And its name is a simple as "Middle Eastern greens salad".

What I like about this salad is it is relatively versatile. You use herbs (the ones I used are terrific, but feel free to play around and use other herbs, like cilantro or dill), and then instead of craisins you can use pomegranate seeds, and instead of the almonds you can use peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or a mix. And while I used honey in mine, sugar works just as well.

And depending on how you make it, this is either paleo and/or vegan, and of course is gluten free as well.

Enjoy playing around with it, and enjoy!

Middle Eastern Greens Salad Recipe -- Easy, Variable, and Delicious

5 Essential Shopping Hacks All Moms Should Know

While I'm quite a bit out of the baby stage, I was in that stage for a while, and I know how expensive it can be. Here's some tips from a reader on how to save money when it comes to your baby essentials.

Every new mom needs to stretch her budget. By now, you’ve probably learned out of pure necessity how to save, recycle and get more out of everything from bottles to baby clothes. While you may be a pro at removing stains from bodysuits and preventing shrunken socks, we know you’ll take every money-saving tip you can get. That’s why we’re sharing our best shopping hacks for parents.

Smart shopping starts before baby is born and continues throughout their life. Whether you’re expecting a little one shortly or need more budgeting help, we’ll reveal how to save the most you can while buying essential baby items for the newborn phase and beyond. With the extra money you’ll have left over, you can put away for your child’s college fund, enjoy a bigger budget for the holidays or go on a family vacation!

Monday, September 2, 2019

A Real Steal at the Scratch and Dent Store

Ok so I'll admit, as much as I know water is healthiest to drink, I don't always like drinking water. I've had a hankering for something more, but try to stick to more healthy options (or at least that's the goal).

I first discovered these drinks made with lemongrass, chamomile, ginger, lemon balm and lavender one time when I was in the scratch and dent store and immediately became a fan.

When I first bought them they were 57 cents a can, which was decent.

But the next time I was at the scratch and dent store, they had them even cheaper!

5 Fall-Themed Baby Bodysuit Ideas

I love making my kids homemade costumes! With Halloween around the corner, if you have a little one you may already be planning what they will wear. But how about a homemade costume, using these great ideas from a reader on costumes you can make using baby bodysuits?

Fall is one of the most family-friendly times of the year! If you’re ready to get out and about, there are so many fun things you can do with bodysuits to celebrate autumn with baby. Of course, your little pumpkin needs to look photo-ready for every fall festival and harvest hayride. To make things easy, we have plenty of playful and unique ideas for the cutest Halloween and Thanksgiving outfits.

Pick a style you like and then grab a few basic supplies. It’s okay if you’re still short on sleep or time—you can finish your favorite styles in the time that it takes for baby to take a nap. Once you put together baby’s outfit, we think you’ll be inspired to DIY even more fall creations. You’ll also have the confidence to design one-of-a-kind outfits for every season!

Friday, August 30, 2019

What is Financial Abuse? Six Women Share Their Stories

Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay
As someone going through divorce, one of the scariest things was hearing how horrible it would be financially post divorce. Fortunately, there are some friends of mine who shared with me that their finances improved after divorcing, so I shared one of their stories anonymously here. Lots of people replied to that how her finances only were better because she was getting child support from her ex, and only is surviving by screwing him over.

So I shared another story from another friend, where she talked about how divorcing improved her finances, because she went through financial abuse. Many were shocked at that story, and said that financial abuse is really rare.

Others had never heard of the concept of financial abuse, especially as its not something talked about often. But its just as problematic as other types of abuse, even if its less well known. I've talked to so many divorced women and abused women, and financial abuse is extremely prevalent, even if it isn't discussed so often, and it looks different in every case.

I've reached out to some of these women and asked them to share their story of financial abuse, to help educate people about this common, but too infrequently discussed, issue. Here are the stories of six different women and what they went through.

The No-Cost Technology That Can Help You Save More Each Month

I love tech, especially when it has the ability to make your life easier, and even more so if it helps you save money in an easy way. Here's some great tech money saving ideas from a reader.

Photo credit belart84

Financial experts recommend saving roughly 20% of your post-tax income. However, for many individuals, this goal is not a possibility. In fact, many households have nothing saved for emergency expenses. When you are already living a frugal life in order to put food on the table, and to pay the bills, it can be a challenge to even think about saving. Thankfully, the latest no-cost technologies can help you cut your monthly expenses and automate your savings. Explore three strategies for using these innovations to improve your family’s budget.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sweet and Savory Easy Eggplant Carpaccio Recipe -- Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, and Frugal

I love eggplant in so many different ways, but had this dish only recently at a wedding I attended, and it was so delicious that I figured out how to make it at home. While my photo isn't the most photogenic, when I had it was presented even more photogenically, with thinner drizzles on it, but mine tasted virtually identical to theirs.

I wasn't sure what this dish was called, and I was going to call it eggplant dip with sweet tahini drizzle, but my friend told me that in restaurants they call this eggplant carpaccio, so that's how I labeled it. I will admit, the name does bother me, because carpaccio originally meant thinly sliced meat or fish served raw... and then was expanded to include thinly sliced vegetables, served raw, such as in this beet carpaccio. My dish is neither raw nor sliced, but hey, if this dish is known as carpaccio, who am I to disagree?

I almost feel silly calling this a recipe because it is so simple, but sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious.

And of course its gluten free, vegan, paleo, and frugal too.

Sweet and Savory Easy Eggplant Carpaccio Recipe -- Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, and Frugal

5 Things You Need to Know About Kratom

Until I got this post by a reader about kratom, I'd never heard of it before. It sounds very interesting, and is a legal way to feel good, similar, it seems, to wild lettuce (which I tell my students has an opium like effect on someone). I've done a little research now and found its used sometimes to help with depression, and has been used as traditional medicine for at least 200 years. However, it can be dangerous as well. Read more below.

Kratom tree

Kratom is a tropical tree local to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain exacerbates that can have psychotropic (personality adjusting) impacts. Kratom isn't presently an unlawful substance and is simple to buy over the web.
It is some of the time sold as a green powder in bundles named "not for human utilization." It is additionally in some cases sold as a concentrate or gum.

Our Spontaneous Park and Beach Trip

The other day I took my kids to a free fun activity (more about that in another post) and while we were there, my daughter Anneliese tells me 'Mommy, there's a girl from my class here!' Anneliese goes to school in the city nearest to our house, and has a bus there every morning with a bunch of girls from our area, so I know the families of the two local girls in her class but not any other, and my daughter doesn't have so many good friends in the class because she doesn't have play dates with them out of school. So I asked the girl to introduce me to her mother, and while our kids played together we chatted and hit it off well.

She spur of the moment asked me if I maybe wanted to go with her and her kids to the beach the next day, and, having no other plans, and summer vacation being over shortly, I agreed. I mean we did just spend a week camping at a beach but this was a closer one, and the kids really enjoy the beach, and other than transportation there it's a free activity, so why not? I figured also that more time spent with a classmate out of school would help strengthen in school friendships for our daughters, which was another driving force.

Early the next morning, packing picnic meals and swim suits, we met at the train station in the nearest city. We could have taken the bus and it would have been cheaper but the train was a more pleasant journey and enhanced the experience.

I asked the mom how she intended to get from the train station to the beach and she suggested walking, but I looked at her intended route and it was a 45 minute walk through the city center, which seemed quite unpleasant with 8 children in the heat, so I found an alternative route that went through a well known park, with a path under trees and near a river.

5 Products and Methods to Make a Frugal Lifestyle Easier

I'm very big into gadgets to make frugal life easier. For example, I have a whole post on frugal kitchen gadgets to help you save money. Here's some other ideas of gadgets from a reader that help you save money in your home.

Living frugal sometimes means having to sacrifice a number of things and reimagine what you consider a necessity vs. a luxury. Fortunately, there are plenty of innovative products on the market that make frugality much easier and don’t ask you to give anything up. Here are some of these products and some over frugal living tips:

Am I "Have Not"? What Even is a "Have Not"?

My recent post about classism I experienced in regards to our recent camping trip to a free and bus accessible place got lots of positive feedback, thankfully. (To be honest I was a bit worried there, but I'm glad I wrote it.)

But one comment that I got about it got me thinking, not to mention a little hot and bothered.

"I find the assumptions amusing. For heaven's sake, how in the world can you lump yourself together with the poor? You own an apartment in [an expensive country]!!!! You travel. You buy goodies. You have therapies. [...] You aren't from the have-nots, not by a long shot. [...] Are you sure you know what you're talking about?"

And it sat on my mind.

And made me determined to write a post about this.

Am I a "have" or a "have not"?

Four Hidden Costs of Divorce - From a Divorce Lawyer

As someone going through divorce, when a divorce lawyer contacted me asking if she could write a post talking about the hidden costs of divorce, I was very intrigued. Here's what Katherine K. Wagner, Esq has to say on the subject. I must say, I certainly learned a lot!

For most couples, legal and filing fees are only the beginning of the costs of divorce, and I am only talking about actual costs, not emotional cost.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. I’m writing this article to forewarn you of possible costs of divorce that you have not yet considered so that you and your attorney can plan accordingly. There are four main areas of concern.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Going to the US and London! And Meetup Plans!

I opened a bank account in Brooklyn, New York when I moved there fourteen years ago. It was at a convenient location for me, the branch a mere minutes walk from where I was living. Over the years, this became my bank account that I used for all my American needs, all my work over the internet got paid into this account. It came with a debit card, and that has been the card I've used for all my international purchases as I don't have a local internationally usable debit or credit card. I used that card locally many times a week in general transactions and occasionally to withdraw funds via ATM.

My card was going to be expiring at the end of this year and my mailing address on it was a relative of my husband that I haven't spoken to in a year plus since initiating my divorce, and wasn't sure what to do because my new card was going to be mailed there, and decided to get around to changing my address.
And then the time line was pushed up, because I lost my debit card while on vacation. I called up the bank to get a new card and asked them to change my address, but they said that in order to do that I need to send them a picture of my ID... But both my American passport and driver's license expired. I sent them copies of my expired ones and offered them a copy of my up to date foreign id but it didn't work. They not only refused to update my address and send the card there, but also they refused to issue a new card and mail it to my address currently on file, and on top of it all they also locked me out of my account.

I tried to figure out solutions about how to deal with my bank issue, that all my money currently, calling them multiple times, proposing multiple solutions, speaking to managers, crying to them, begging them to help me, but unfortunately I got nowhere. Bottom line was, if I want to have access to any of the money that I earn through the internet, which is the majority of my income, I'd need to show up at my bank in New York...

And so...

I will be heading to the US very soon, and I'd love to meet you!

The Blinged out Bag: Are Designer Diaper Bags Worth The Price?

Once upon a time I thought frugal living meant spending the least amount of money you possibly can on something, always. Then I learned that that is actually false economy, because by getting cheap stuff to begin with, your things end up being worse quality, and you end up needing to replace them more often, and end up spending more money in the long run. In addition, I've begun to believe that you should spend money on something that is important to you, and cut back in other ways to be able to afford that. There's no sin in spending money on something that matters to you as long as you budget it in.
Recently I've been having issues with my pocket books. They always break on me, very soon after buying them. I bought myself a more expensive one hoping it would last and still it died after just a year. People recommended to me that I actually buy myself a designer bag, that they'd probably actually last long enough, and many even recommended getting myself a designer diaper bag, which nowadays ends up being like a large pocketbook, which would be useful to someone like myself who carries around a lot of things.
This post, from a reader, therefore, discussing whether or not designer bags are worth it actually was very timely, because I'm in the process of deciding what to do about a bag for myself, as my newest bag just broke...

A diaper bag is one of the most important and used tools for any mother. You use it daily to carry all your baby’s essentials when you go somewhere together, and it keeps everything safe, organized, and easily within reach. In other words, it keeps you sane. In fact, it’s such an essential tool in helping raise a baby properly that parents are advised to include the cost of a good diaper bag in their financial planning.

However, just because the diaper bag is a tool doesn’t mean that it can’t be stylish and chic. There are many designer diaper bags online that are functional and fashionable at the same time. If you’re a fashionista mommy, you might already be dreaming of the perfect designer diaper bag or you’ve even already have your eye on one.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Classism and Stigma, Why Its Wrong, and What You Miss Out On; Reflections From Our Camping Trip

Having just come back from a very enjoyable and practically free camping vacation on the beach with my family, I've been doing a lot of thinking. How many people would never do what I did. And not because they don't like camping, and not because they don't like the beach, and not because they don't like the combination of the two. But because of biases and stigmas and discrimination, not to mention a whole bunch of 'ism's.

The first time I announced that I was going camping at this camp site, I got lots of people warning me not to go. That it's a bad idea. That we'd have a miserable time. That we should pick another place to camp. Anywhere but there.

And do you know why?

Because it was bus accessible and free.

And because of that, it attracts the 'wrong type' of people. Now what type of people is that? Oh, the type of people that don't want to spend money and the type of people that don't have a car. Specifically the combination. Which would make it a terrible place to be.

Maximize Organic Food Shelf Life with Flexible Packaging

As a frugal person, nothing is more annoying than buying something and having it spoil on me. Its literally throwing out money then. Here's some ideas on how to increase shelf life of your food via special packaging.

Organic foods are often less processed than other foods and contain fewer preservatives. No matter how a supplement or packaged food company prepares and packs organic ingredients for market, it is important to ensure that packaging works for products rather than against them when it comes to maintaining quality. Find out how flexible packaging printing can sustain high product quality and prolong shelf life.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Our Super Frugal Beach Camping Trip, The Last Two Days

A few hours ago, we got home from our family's longest camping trip ever, five days and four nights camping on the beach. To get there entailed taking one bus, then three trains, then another bus, plus a bit of walking... but it was well worth it. The kids and I had a wonderful time, despite my initial trepidation of doing this as a single mom for the first time.

As a single mom with a very small income, I still want to be able to give my kids wonderful experiences and fun vacations, but I can't do that if it entails spending lots of money. So I travel within my country, places that I can reach via public transportation, and ideally with free accommodations and if not, frugal ones.

How to Save Money the Next Time You Need a Loan

I'm very against debt, and advise avoiding it at all costs. But sometimes a loan is definitely necessary, but if you do things the wrong way, you can be screwed financially in the long term. So how can you prevent that? Here's some very real and practical tips on how to be financially smart when taking a loan.

You’re committed to cinching your budget and pinching pennies all year round, but sometimes, it’s not enough. Your savings fall short of what you need to fund a project, make a big purchase, or cover an unexpected expense.

So the next thing on your to-do list? Finding a loan.

If you’re in the market for a loan, make sure you check out this guide. It will help you find the right financing for your needs, so you don’t end up spending more than you have to on your loan.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Our Frugal Beach Camping Vacation: The First Three Days

I've been planning this five day beach camping trip with my kids pretty much since our similar but shorter trip last year. Slowly I've been stocking up on supplies from cheap places, learning from our mistakes last year, to make this trip as great as possible, but still as the date approached I was filled with trepidation. We went on a family vacation in January, first time on a family vacation as a single mom, buta camping trip, 'far' from civilization, without a car, and being solely responsible for everything was still intimidating. I guess lots of firsts as a single mom are that way. 

Fortunately, despite some things going less than perfectly, this still so far has been a great trip, and this is our third day in. 

Fun Activities With the Kids This Weekend

I'm currently out camping with my children and it's really nice to see girl occupying themselves without the use of screens. (To be honest it's also nice to entertain myself without screens.) If you want some ideas of fun screen free frugal activities to do with your children, here are some ideas from a reader.

The last thing we want is our children spending too much time behind a TV screen, bored, with nothing better to do. There can be a lot of pressure though, to spend money to have fun. Money can be difficult for all of us to come by these days, and no parent should have to break the bank simply to show their children a good time. So, if you find yourself facing this exact problem with your children, try not to worry too much. Here is a great list of inexpensive and free activities that you and your children can enjoy together, over the weekend!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Prepping For Camping... With No Car

I've scheduled this to post in advance because right now I'm I should be in the middle of unpacking and setting up camp with the family. We are going to be camping from Sunday to Thursday, the same place where we camped last summer, this time for a couple more days than last time, and this time a little more prepared than we came last time.

People asked me how I went camping without a car last year, and I'll admit, I didn't go completely without a car. We left from a relative's house and they carried some of our stuff in the car, but this time I'm doing it completely on my own, one adult, all by public transportation. A friend who is joining us, also without a car, asked me for advice on how to pack, and I said once I do it, I'll let her know how we did it.

Since I only now finished packing up, I wanted to share first what I'm bringing with us, as well as how I packed it all.

First off, I have two big folding wagons that I use for my groceries, but both were broken. I went to the store where I had purchased them, because they usually have replacement parts, but the guy who usually works there wasn't there and the lady who was there had no clue what I was talking about. I came there another day hoping to get the guy, and got the same lady again, who said she had no replacement parts (but this store always has had them, for the past couple years), but did have a cheaper wagon she could sell me that I then took pieces off to replace the part that was missing on one of my wagons. So while, in theory, I would have had two working wagons to use to to bring stuff with me on the trip, but I only was able to get one to work. So that's what I have to work with.

Before starting to pack, I went to a grocery store where I stocked up on gluten free bread. While I can get this at the grocery store near the camping site, from what I remembered last time, it was harder to find and much more expensive, so I decided to bring gluten free bread along, since it's not heavy and wouldn't be a burden to take along. I also bought some shelf stable sausages to bring, because it's nice to have things that I don't have to keep in the cooler and don't need to cook to be able to eat. Lastly, I picked up some quick cooking gluten free noodles to be able to prepare there.
That is all the food that I'm bringing along. The rest I'm buying there.

In my wagon I put my cooler, and filled it with the bread and sausages and pasta. Around the cooler I put one tent (I can't find my other tent no matter how much I look for it, so tomorrow will be picking up one from a friend before we head out to the camp ground), this beach sun shade "tent", two sets of flippers that I purchased on aliexpress to be able to use for scuba diving. (Not bringing these would give me more room, but its important for me to have these.) On top of the cooler I put a portable burner so I can cook not only with a bonfire, and then two picnic blankets, a camping chair, and a little broom.

The kids are each bringing a backpack filled with their bathing suit, a change of clothing or pajamas (they spend the entire day in their swimsuit when we're there, but I want everyone to have at least two sets of dry clothes), a towel, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and everyone is carrying their own sleeping bag and yoga mat.

I have an extra large backpack and it will be containing my clothes, towel, and swimsuit, a snorkel, a hair brush, sunscreen, a lighter, a pot with a lid, a mixing spoon, a can opener, a knife, a cutting board, a few food containers, another camping chair, a hydration bladder, gas canisters for my portable burner, my medicine, an ace bandage, a few portable chargers, rope, and baby powder. And of course I'm taking my sleeping bag and yoga mat.

Once we get there, I intend on stopping at the grocery store and buying a grill, charcoal, and of course, lots and lots of food, in addition to ice for the cooler, disposables, etc.

Of course, we may get there and I might feel I'm woefully unprepared, but this is the most I can carry, and I think we'll be fine.

I'll update you soon.

What is on your packing list when you go camping? Why do you bring those things? Do you think there's anything glaringly obviously missing from my list? What do you think I'll be needing?

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Life Without the Price Tag

If you feel your life sucks, there are many things to do about it. One of those is therapy, to help with your perspective on life, and some other ideas would be to change things up and bring more joy into your life. Some of those things can be pricey, but here's some ideas from a reader on how to upgrade your life without the price tag.

As we get older, we tend to fall into a routine. Perhaps we have been in the same job for many years and the same relationship for most of our lives. This can be very rewarding but often we can feel as though we could use an upgrade. Many people think that upgrading their lives will cost too much money, but this is not always the case.

Here, we are going to look at some of the ways that you can upgrade your life and be happier in the long-term. Keep reading to find out what these are.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Super Frugal Health Food and More!

I think I've been really lucky in discovering some good scratch and dent stores in the city nearest to my house. I mean, there's all types of foods that these types of stores can carry, and I've been lucky in that they often have a decent selection of gluten free goodies, generally as cheap as regular products, but often even cheaper than gluten products would be in the store. I feel like its the perfect way for me to have my cake and eat it to, so to speak.

But this last time I went, I felt like I really hit the jackpot. Not only did I find a bunch of gluten free products, I got a lot of things that are the types of stuff you'd find at a health food store, only without health food store prices. 

I wanted to share what I got with you and for how much, but this trip was a little bit ago, just didn't get around to writing it until now, but pretty sure this entire thing cost me $50.

Advantages Of Using Cold Press Juicers

I have a juicer, and I rarely use it. It's one of those centrifuge juicers, and in addition to it being a pain to clean, I find it such a waste to juice because so much stuff is left over afterwards. I try to repurpose the pulp but even so, feels like so much goes to waste. This post sent to me by a reader explains how I likely wouldn't have these issues with cold press juicers, which makes me interested in trying one out.

When it comes to weight loss and achieving optimum health, fruits and vegetables are a crucial aspect of a person’s diet. While eating these foods whole and raw is ideal, juicing is a great way to consume fruits and vegetables safely using cold press juicers.

Cold press juicers are now in-demand because of the health benefits and other advantages one can obtain using it. Continue reading below to find out more.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Injured, Again...

I want to apologize in advance for the brevity of this post, it is just currently quite hard for me to type.

Today the kids and I met up with my friend and her kids at a skate park in a nearby city, for her to teach us how to skateboard.

The kids picked it up very quickly... and I, the first second I stood on the skateboard, fell flat on my bottom and my right wrist.

And my wrist hasn't stopped hurting since.

7 Helpful Ways To Use Your Credit Card Wisely

I currently have no credit cards and no debit cards and its causing me such an issue. I had two debit cards but currently have none; both of them are getting replaced but one will be sooner rather than later. It's a pain right now to have no cards; I can't pay bills without them and I'm stuck. But hopefully my new card will arrive in a few days, and then I can go back to life as normal. So this post from a reader on responsible credit card use is very timely, since I'm sorely missing mine now.

At the present time, most people who are functioning in the job market are most likely to have a credit card. It comes in handy in times of need when you need to make an urgent payment, or when you need to purchase something online, or even at the end of the month, where you may have run out of hard cash.

Source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/03/07/23/34/wallet-2125548_960_720.jpg
There isn’t a country in the world that has banks that don’t provide credit card services. Especially in developing countries. If we take Norway as an example, where the payment system for most transactions is automized for convenience. People who use credit cards, or what is referred to as a kredittkort in their native language, they are made aware of all the benefits and uses that having a credit card has to offer and usually their banks are informative. It’s important to understand how they work, and how you can make it work to your benefit. There’s a fine line between where having a credit card can be a curse or a blessing, and this is why it’s so important that we all understand how we should be using our credit cards in order not to drown in a deep sea of debt.

This is why we’re going to go over 7 different and helpful ways in which you can utilize your credit card wisely.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Books, Books, and More Books!

I've written before about the book stop in the city nearest to my house, the old bus stop that was turned into a library where you take what you want and leave what you want, no limits, no rules.

While its really amazing, because I am an avid reader, and have no good English public library available near me, its on the other end of the city from where I live, and I don't usually get around to stopping there. And when I am in the area, I don't always have the means to carry things to or from the book stop.

However, recently I was in the area, and I had a backpack, and a little extra time, so I said I'd pop over quickly to see what they had. I was hoping to grab maybe two or three books...

And then I came home with lots more, as you can see.

The Best Gifts For Your Husband That Won’t Break the Bank

I don't currently have a husband for whom to buy gifts, but I do know that among my friends "What should I get my husband for his birthday/our anniversary?" is one of those most frequently asked questions. Here's some tips from a reader on what to get that special someone in your life.

Do you know what the biggest difference between men and women are? You, of course, have the obvious things like clothing, shoe size, and appetite but what about those differences that no one ever really thinks about? Well, one of those differences is gifts. Men often times get the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving gifts but why is that? The world may never know…

This may not be a real issue in your particular family but you can’t deny the fact that it is a real issue in some families. From birthdays to Father’s Day, men just don’t have any luck in the gift department. On Mother’s Day, the kids will get up and make their mom breakfast, give her flowers, and just give her the works that entire day. For Father’s Day, the kids will get up and give him a tie that they colored in class… it’s not breakfast in bed but it will do. USA Today even recounts epic Father’s Day fails that mothers would never experience on Mother’s Day!

Well, the time has come for your husband to get better gifts this year for whatever occasion may come. It’s time to ditch the ties and rethink gift options for him. If your husband goes all out for you, there’s no reason why you can’t go all out for him, and the thing is, it doesn’t have to be an overly expensive gift for him to love it! If your husband is like a lot of husbands, it doesn’t take much to make them happy…

Men are very simple and if you give them a gift that looks like you put a little bit of effort into it, they will cherish you forever! Take a look at the top five best gifts to give your husband that won’t break the bank.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Tuna Bread Casserole Recipe -- Gluten Free, Frugal, Easy

My house is predominantly gluten free. My kids decided that they don't like to eat the gluten free bread that I make from scratch, so I go to a store where they sell relatively frugal gluten free buns and stock up each time I'm in the area. Unfortunately, because I don't have a spare freezer and I have other things in my freezer, I'm limited with how much bread I can buy at once so what I have is precious to me.
Imagine, then, my consternation when the bread that I buy gets left out to get stale, crumbled into unusable pieces, or otherwise makes it unable to be used for sandwiches and then likely to get wasted.

The problem with things like this is so many recipes of what to do with leftover bread need them to be sliced, like french toast, or they're completely crumbled into bread crumbs, which I don't use much in my house so its a waste.

I was trying to figure out what to do with my crumbled bread, then remembered the tuna I bought cheaply, and decided to make up a recipe, a tuna casserole, using bread chunks instead of noodles.

And it came out amazingly. My children had over a friend who is a picky eater and he even loved this. I definitely will be making this again. Even if its just about the least photogenic meal ever.

Tuna Bread Casserole Recipe -- Gluten Free, Frugal, Easy

What Defines a Good Garbage Disposal and what are the Best Ones in 2019

I never had a garbage disposal growing up, but my friends did and I heard wonderful things about them. They can also help a sink not get clogged if you have a tendency to have large things go down your drain. But how do you know which kind to get?

There are a lot of things you need to think about when you’re buying a garbage disposal. These are one of the kitchen appliances which are rarely thought about- people think it doesn’t really matter what one you get, that they’re all the same and it’s best to look for the cheapest version possible. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. These are actually one of the most important aspects of your kitchen and you need to make sure you do all the right research when you’re going to purchase one. But what actually makes a good garbage disposal? Where do you look for them, and what are the best ones? Don’t worry, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about what defines a good garbage disposal.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

When Marriage is Financially Devastating, Divorce Can be a Solution; A Case Study

So many people in marriages that are horrible end up staying in their marriage because of finances. Especially if finances are terrible together, you may be afraid that divorce will only make your situation worse.

I reached out to friends to share their stories with you, if divorce improved their financial situation. I shared my friend Deb's story, and I got lots of flack about it, that Deb was only able to succeed financially without her ex because she ruined him financially (which isn't the case, but there were details in the story that couldn't be shared publicly). But in short, the consensus seemed that... you can succeed financially in divorce only by ruining your ex's finances. 

This story by my friend Val, another case study, shows a completely different situation. One in which she not only did not ruin her ex financially, but ended up providing for him financially, and still ended up better off financially post divorce. Here's her story.

When Marriage is Financially Devastating, Divorce Can be a Solution.

When I was 30, I had perfect credit. I bought a house all by myself with no help from parents or anyone else. Then I eloped with my boyfriend, and 10 months later we had our daughter.

1997 perfect credit, 1998 baby, 2001 declared bankruptcy. 2003 divorce was final. 2007 he went after me for child support which I paid until she turned 18.

2019 I'm co-signing her college loans after already contributing more than $60,000.
I'm going to stick with facts, and then I can also write about how I felt going through it.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe -- Easy, Frugal, Paleo, Vegan

I've been begged by so many people to share this recipe, that I pushed it to the front of my posting schedule. I have been making watermelon gazpacho for so long, but never had a specific recipe, since its one of those things that is completely flexible and is more or less made to taste. But because you asked, here it is.

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables, originating in Spain. While traditionally made with tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, this version is made with purely watermelon as the base ingredient. I went to dinner at a friend's house who is allergic to raw tomatoes, and she could eat this, even though traditional gazpacho is off limits to her.

The reason why I especially like making watermelon gazpacho is that it is the perfect thing to do with a less than perfect watermelon. If you have a watermelon that you don't want to be eating raw, whether its a bit old and soggy, or not too sweet, gazpacho transforms it into something delicious.

7 Tips for Saving Money When Shopping for Food

I love grocery money saving tips, because that is one of the areas in which you can make a difference every single time you shop, and if you mess up one time, you have many more chances to improve things and fix them. Here's some tips from a reader on how to save money on your groceries.

One of the most common questions you might hear in any cost of groceries continue to rise. Eating out and ordering in is an even worse alternative, so the most you can do is figure out a way to make your trips to the grocery store worth your while.
home is, “What’s for dinner?” and if you have a family to feed, this can get asked more than once on any given day. Coming up with meals that are healthy and cost effective can be difficult, especially because the

Planning your meals ahead and figuring out a shopping plan is a great way to curb financial problems – click here to learn more about solutions to money troubles. Keep reading for some important tips to keep in mind before heading out to the grocery store.

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