Friday, November 22, 2019

My Frugal Accomplishments This Week

Ok, I challenged myself to share a write up of the frugal things I did that week, every week, even if it's no amazing or long list. So here it is, even if it seems paltry this week.

My frugal accomplishments the last week were the following:

Ways to Avoid Late Repayment in Personal Loans

Taking out loans and getting into debt is never a financially great thing to do, but if you have loans and you are repaying them, you definitely don't want to get into even more trouble by missing payments. As someone with ADHD that is something I'm likely to do, so these great tips on how to avoid late repayments are definitely worthwhile!

Sometimes things happen that catch us unaware, like a leaking roof or transmission problems with a vehicle. We might have the money to handle the expense if only it was able to be paid in installments and not due as a lump sum, as these repairs usually are.

In cases like this, a loan or line of credit may be the answer. Personal loans from Money Trumpet can provide a means by which your financial obligations can be spread out over a longer period of time, thus providing a financial cushion when the need arises.

Once you’ve secured that credit, you’ll want to be sure to pay off the loan in a timely manner and avoid late fees or marks against your credit score. Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Easy Chicken With Artichoke and Mushrooms Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo

I'm having guests and want to make a delicious meal to serve them, as it'll be the first time they're over at my house. You know, make a good first impression and all that. But today I had a lot to do, got home quite late, and I still have lots more to do. So that means cooking a tasty meal between everything that is going on, and I can't do anything that would be difficult or time consuming to make. But I don't want to make "boring" food, ya know?

So I decided to do something a little bit different tonight.

Artichoke. They always seem impressive, even when frozen. And they taste good.
Mushrooms. Also fancy. As long as they're fresh and not canned.

So I chopped them up with a bit of lemon and other spices, and threw them into the oven, and they are mouth-wateringly delicious, and very different than standard fare, and if I may say so, pretty to feast your eyes upon as well.

This recipe is great and allergy friendly, Paleo, gluten free, and did I mention easy? Start to finish to put it together was under five minutes, and then just leave it in the oven to cook.

Definitely doing this again!

Easy Chicken With Artichoke and Mushrooms Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo, and Delicious

How to Find Great Deals When Buying Snowblowers

It doesn't snow often where I live, and when I do, the entire region gets shut down. So snowblowers are definitely not something we'd be purchasing. But for those who do live in areas of heavy snowfall, here's how you can get a snowblower and still be money smart.

It’s that time of the year again, you wake up to find snow covering your entire yard. If you’re like most unprepared people, the first thing you’re going to do is rush out of your house, alarmed, and find the nearest tool-shop to get yourself a snowblower. You’ll unfortunately be faced with bad news as most of the stock will already be gone. What’s even worse, you’ll be shocked by unnerving prices staring you in the face. Once again, it looks like you’re too late for the snow.

Well, how about you do something different this year around? Instead of waiting for the storm to literally take you by surprise, like every other year, how about you plan ahead to capture the perfect snowblower at the perfect price? It all comes down to figuring out when is the best time to get them on sale, while still having the ability to select from various options.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How I Book Airfare for Vacations Super Cheaply

Every single time I talk about going on vacation super cheaply, I get people asking me "But how do you get tickets so cheaply? How do you actually do it?" And each time, I answer Skyscanner.com, Skyscanner.com, Skyscanner.com. But apparently that isn't enough of an answer because even with me telling people that that's how I do it, I get the question again and again.

So I decided that I'd walk you through how it is that I get tickets very cheaply through Skyscanner.

Before I continue, I just want to say that Skyscanner and I have no partnership, I'm not seeing any money from this post. I'm writing and recommending this website purely because of my good experience with it, and because it has changed the way I live my life. I love travel, and I always thought it was impossible for me financially, until I discovered Skyscanner. And that's why this post specifically focuses on that.

Here's the thing. I also have people who told me they checked out Skyscanner and the tickets weren't actually that cheap, so they don't understand why I am telling them it is cheap. Well, that's because it's not that Skyscanner automatically will give you rock bottom prices, but that you have to use it a certain way, and this post is to help clarify that.

There may be other websites like Skyscanner that also do similarly, so I'm not saying Skyscanner is best, but it is the one that gives me the most options to save money. (By the way, SecretFlying.com also has similar options, but I do find it less user friendly than Skyscanner, but check it out for an alternative.)

I've done this in person a few times and awed people, but it is so much harder to do this in a post, with all these screen shots, but I will try my best. Lets pretend we're together in person, and each screenshot is a screen I'm showing you on my phone, as to how to do this.

How To Reduce The Cost Of Vehicle Ownership

Having a car was never a consideration of mine, since they are so expensive locally. On top of that, I didn't even have a license. Now that I finally do, I am curious about how much having a car would cost, so I'm especially eager to read reader submitted posts such as these.

The cost of ownership and operation of an average sedan in America is $713 per month, or $8,550 per year, according to the American Automobile Association. Some of the costs that come with vehicle ownership include finance charges, fuel, maintenance, depreciation and insurance. Cars have become the second most expensive thing that most Americans own after their homes. However, this has not stopped them from buying cars, with some even owning multiple. Yes, a car can be expensive, but for most Americans, they have become a basic need, especially those who need one to get to their jobs daily. While most of the costs of owning a car are unavoidable, there are various things you can do to keep them on the lower side.

Meeting My Daughter's Needs Where She Is Through a Sensory Diet and More

Rose, getting in her sensory need to be in a confined space

I love my kids to pieces, but I must admit that the child that is the hardest to parent, is my youngest child, Rose, on the autism spectrum. One of the hardest parts in parenting her is her constant energy, meltdowns, and destruction. Fortunately she just started special ed in an amazing school for kids with autism with a really great staff who are able to help her with many of the issues she's having. At the same time, I realize that I can't expect the school to do everything, and there's things I need to do at home to make our lives run better, as a family.

I joined a few Facebook groups with autistic adults, to ask them advice on how to help my daughter, and my family as a whole. The reason I decided to join such groups is that no one knows autism better than actual autistics, and if you want to understand why autistic kids do certain things and what will help them, the best people to ask are people who tick the same way.

So I explained to them the issues that I was having parenting Rose, and they told me to pay attention more to what was causing her melt downs, what was causing her destruction, etc. And they pointed out that she isn't doing these things in a vacuum, there's some need she has that isn't being met and that's what is causing these behaviors. And often meltdowns are caused by sensory issues, or by being emotionally overloaded from things that are too difficult for her.

Benefits of Bunk Beds for Your Kids

I grew up with bunk beds. I think the first time I had a bunk bed I must have been as young as five or six, and had a bunk bed pretty much until I moved out. For me, bunk beds is the norm, not something interesting or weird, they're a given for me. Here's some pluses about bunk beds, sent in from a reader, that hopefully you'll find interesting.

Kids naturally love fun and comfortable bunk beds. Climbing up and down the bunk bed ladder can be a nighttime adventure, and sleeping on the top bunk is a unique experience that your child won’t find in an ordinary bed. Your kids will also be sharing the bunk bed with one of their siblings so they will never have to sleep alone. There will be fewer monsters to be afraid of at night. Aside from the fun of having a bunk bed is the function and aesthetics it provides.

There are now many styles and functions of bunk beds to choose from, making them a worthy investment. The following are just some of the benefits your kids can enjoy from having a bunk bed:

Monday, November 18, 2019

My New Ring

I'm not quite sure the first time I heard about the cultural significance of semicolons. It seems to have gained popularity in the past year or so, but Google tells me that it started in 2013 with something called Project Semicolon, but became prominent in 2015.

Have you ever seen anyone with a semicolon tattoo?

A semicolon, grammatically, is used as a pause, but then continues the sentence. Or, as Project Semicolon explains, "A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end a sentence, but chose not to."

It then explains that you are the author, and the sentence is your life.

Do I need coverage for all house repairs?

As a homeowner, there's so many things I need to think about that I didn't need to think about as a renter. One of the biggest ones is homeowners insurance. While I have a warranty for certain things for the first period of time because I bought a new home, insurance is very important. This article sent in by a reader offered me some great enlightenment.

You’ve stretched your household budget about as far as it can go. One unexpected expense is all it would take to plunge your family into unmanageable debt.

Feel like a financial failure? Don’t – most of us are in the same boat. We live in a country where 40% of people can’t afford a $400 emergency. 78% of us live paycheck-to-paycheck. The economy may be hot, but the jobs it's creating aren’t keeping up with the cost-of-living.

A big part of the problem is our aging housing stock. Soon, the average home in America will be 40 years old. At this age, many houses, especially poorly-built ones, begin to fall apart. The resulting repair/replacement costs are pushing many of our fellow Americans into the red.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t pay for broken furnaces and leaking pipes. Home warranties do. What are home warranties, and how can they help your family? We’ll explain in complete detail below.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Zucchini Trick

I've mentioned this trick already a few times on my blog, but it is one of the things I do most often that I figured it was worthy of its own post, and not just to be buried within other posts.

I like ground meat. I find it versatile and tasty, not to mention being quite quick to cook. It also has the added benefit of being straight meat, so you know how much you're actually paying per pound of meat and don't need to factor in the bones to your calculations.

Locally, I can usually find cheaper ground meat that's stretched with TVP, also known as "vegetable protein" also known as "soy flakes" which I tend to not like buying. I can't say I avoid soy tremendously, but I do like limiting the quantity of soy I consume. And I also like to know what exactly I'm paying for. If I'm getting meat, I want to know that I'm paying for meat, and not actually soy flakes mixed with who knows what percentage of meat.
Fortunately, in one store I am able to find pure ground beef, no additives, for not that much more than the soy stretched ground beef costs.

And with this, I do my trick.

The Importance Of Sleep For Frugal Living

I need a lot of sleep. I used to hate sleeping, but in the past few years I've needed more and more sleep. I still don't like going to sleep, but once I get into bed, I don't want to get up. I never thought about the connection between sleep and frugal living, but when a reader sent me this piece, I found it really fascinating! Hopefully you will too!

Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels
When you think about the correlation between money and sleep, you probably think about losing sleep over money problems. Studies show that about half of all adults lose sleep over money -- and the bulk of those worries are related to not being able to afford everyday expenses.

However, the connection between sleep and money goes well beyond worry and anxiety keeping you up at night. The fact is, not getting enough rest can actually harm your finances, and make it more difficult to make good decisions with your money.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week

Ok, I'm on week two of my "share my frugal accomplishments on a weekly basis, even if the list isn't so long", so here it is. I'm trying to look at what I did do, and not just what I didn't do.

I will try to post this regularly on Fridays.

Healthy Snack Ideas For The Whole Family

I love healthy fresh food, but I'll admit, often I can't think of what healthy thing to eat, so end up just grabbing some cereal or a bag of chips or a candy bar, even though it doesn't satiate me the same way.
Here's some ideas from a reader on some healthier snack ideas.

Having 3 meals a day has always been something that we’ve been taught to be extremely important in keeping ourselves healthy and well fed. But regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult, we can all agree that snacks are probably the best part of any day. You don’t have to commit to a full blown meal and you can get things done while you nibble on them. The only issue here is that generally, when you think of the word ‘snack’, you probably link it to unhealthy and processed food that only does you more harm than good. And this is why we’re going to change your perception on snacks by giving you a couple of healthy snack ideas that the whole family can get into.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Feeding a Large Crowd Easily and on a Budget, My Go To Trick

There's this couple that I've had over as guests a few times, because I really like their company. The third time they came over, they mentioned something about how I always serve the same thing. Not that they dislike it, they specifically like it, but they know that's what to expect when they come to my house. But you know what? The thing is, I don't actually serve the same thing over and over again, I tend to vary up my recipes and menus and nearly never serve the same thing from one time to the next. So three times already I served the same thing?

And then I remembered. Each time I had them it was the same time that I had a few other families over, and each time, I followed the same formula, and essentially served the same meal.

Because when I have a large crowd, it can be a lot of work and a lot of money to make the same thing I make for my family, just multiplied by a lot.

So instead, I have my large crowd on a budget and easily trick.

A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Prepare A Perfect No-Cook Ice Cream Base

Ice cream! My favorite! This post from Sam Davids has got some great ideas how you can make your own ice cream from scratch, in a variety of different flavors. Can't wait to try it out.

Everyone loves ice cream, no argument there. What everyone doesn't know is that making your ice cream is healthier and better than store-bought ice cream — having your home-made ice cream all year round, whether summer or winter is one of the best pleasures in life. Making ice cream at home may seem daunting and complicated. But what if I told you that you could have the best ice cream made at home? Not only that, it’s also an easy no-cook recipe as well!

One of the easiest methods for home-made ice cream is called the Philadelphia style. It uses this name because the common recipe called for using Philadelphia cream cheese; however, it’s now the given name used for the no-cook method because it can be made and combined with cold ingredients right out of your fridge with no fuss.

Friday, November 8, 2019

When DIY Doesn't Work... And My Updated Bathroom Look

I've previously written about my decision to make my bathrooms beach themed to take advantage of the sand colored tiles on the wall. But though I used lots of color and decoration to make my en suite bathroom beach themed, the bathroom for the main part of a house, literally just a toilet in one room (with the sink and bathtub in the room next door), was without color at all, just this sand colored tile, because there's no accessories that really need to be in that room, and not much room anyhow.

And the toilet seats, like all the appliances that came with the bathrooms, were stark white. Not fitting into the color scheme at all, but oh well.

So a few months ago the toilet seat in my bathroom broke. Just cracked right in half. I asked the builders of the house if there was a warranty on that, but there wasn't. They told me to replace it myself.

Home Improvements that Deliver Value in the Medium to Long-term

As a homeowner, I don't plan on ever moving from my home (unless I absolutely need to, but I am doing whatever I can to not need to move). But most people aren't as settled into their home, and don't necessarily plan on being in their home forever and ever. So doing things to improve the resale value of their home is definitely an important consideration. Here's some ideas from a reader on how to improve your home without spending too much money, so that also you can enjoy it more, and also increase its resale value.

As a homeowner, the bills never stop arriving. It’s difficult to afford to make improvements to your home. Doing them periodically and finding ways to cut back to save up is useful to spread the cost.
The upgrades or improvements we prefer in our household are either the ones we know we’ll enjoy for years to come or those that deliver real value. Maybe they cost some money now, but they reduce expenses in the future, or the maintenance will be less expensive and more predictable than today. We see this as smart, even as a frugal household, like how buying a quality product that lasts is better than the cheapest version that will break quickly and need replacing again.

Accordingly, here are some home improvements that we feel add value in one way or another.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

My Recent Scratch and Dent Store Shops

I think one of the most beneficial frugal strategies I have is to become a regular, become known as someone who likes good deals and will appreciate offers they get. That's how I got gifted with people's hand me down games, and that's how I regularly got extra good deals from the reduced rack type stores at the open air market, and that's how I learned about the clothes and houseware share.

So last time I was at the scratch and dent store, (and I paid a visit, because friends who know about my love of good bargains and my love of that store, told me that they had some great things) the people that worked there already went out of their way to help me, and offered me even better prices than what was listed on the package, found cases of packaged stuff to make it easier, and told me they just had a shipment that they were unpacking so I should come back in a few days for even greater goodies.

So here's what I got. (And Rose was so excited about the shop that she insisted on being in the picture.)

Top-Rated Restaurant Recipes Worth Trying to Make at Home

I love going out to eat. No doubt about that. There is something nice about the environment when eating out in a nice restaurant, not to mention the fact that you aren't the one who has to cook the food or clean up. But sometimes, after eating out, you want to be able to have that dish again, but don't want to pay the price for that dish at the restaurant. That's why I like to recreate my favorite restaurant dishes at home and have a whole category of restaurant food recreations here on my blog. Here's some other restaurant quality dinners you can make at home, sent in by reader Mark Sabel.

Who doesn’t love to have dinner out? We all enjoy a good meal every once in a while made by the professionals. However, there are times when you’re craving a high-quality restaurant meal, but you’re too lazy to make the drive. This is when your cooking chops should come in handy. You can easily make any restaurant meal you’re vying for right in the comfort of your own home. After all, who says you can’t be a professional too?

We’ve gathered the top-rated restaurant recipes that are worth making at home:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

My Recent Frugal Accomplishments

Our new trampoline, in the process of being put together

So I've started this again, where I write up my frugal accomplishments, and save them until I feel like I actually have "enough" that it's "worthy" of a post. But you know what I decided? I'm not going to wait until I have an impressive enough list. I'm going to share my frugal accomplishments on a two week basis, no matter how many things are on the list, because what I am doing is enough.

So here's what I did that saved money these past two weeks.

How Hiring Professional Cleaners Saved Me Money and My Sanity

I work doing cleaning work for people in addition to my other work. I see what a difference hiring cleaning help makes to people's functionality and emotional well being. Here's a post from a reader who realized the same after deciding to hire someone to do the job.

Cleaning the apartment and keeping it tidy all the time is one big hassle, especially for the hard worker on the go and students, who tend to have the most difficulty in staying organized. For anyone who is renting, getting your full security deposit back can be a big concern, and thus need to keep their living space well maintained all the time. But we all know this takes a lot of effort, and the job can still be rushed. This is why a lot of people are turning to professional services for help.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

You've Got to be Kidding Me!

I'd love to say that nothing shocks me anymore, I've seen and heard so much, but I just had a meeting this morning that made me so flabbergasted I'm reeling.

I've written before about the whole complicated and frustrating process I've been going through with my daughter Rose, getting her diagnosed with autism, because she presents it atypically because she's a girl. And how the child development clinic didn't agree that she has autism, because they wanted to blame everything on our bad marriage.

I've also mentioned that national insurance wanted to invite us for another evaluation for Rose because they didn't want to accept my two private evaluations, because the child development center says she doesn't have autism.

How To Choose the Best SAT Prep Course for Your High Schooler

I'm so glad the SATs are far behind me. Though I did well in school and was excellent in math, I ended up finding the SAT math part hard, and needed to study extra hard, even though I was taking college calculus while taking the SAT, and I still didn't do as well as I probably could have. This is why there are SAT prep courses, and I probably would have done better on mine had I taken a course. My oldest is not so far away from the age where he'll also need to take some standardized tests pre college; these kids grow up so fast! Here's how you know how to find the best SAT prep course for your kid.

Transitioning from high school to college can be tough for your child. College can put pressure on your child since their performance can influence their careers and success in the future. Parents like you are responsible for preparing your high schooler for college – and helping with their SAT is an excellent way of achieving this goal.

SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test is a standardized test given to all incoming college students. Since 1926, this test is used to assess how a high schooler is prepared for college by checking their skills in reading, writing, and math. SAT scores can also determine a student’s qualification for scholarships and academic rankings.

Using a SAT prep course can help your high schooler get a good score from their SAT. Follow the tips below so your high schooler can end up using the best SAT prep course:

Friday, November 1, 2019

Mission Accomplished! And I'm Proud!

Lowering my grocery budget is something that I've been known for. When I had younger children,  still only 3 kids, and I had plenty of time to spend in the kitchen, and very little money to spare, I got my grocery bill down to only $200 a month.

Of course, that didn't last long, because my kids got older, we had another mouth to feed, and prices went up. Also we went off gluten, so that also raised our grocery bills. They ended up going up to approximately $575 a month, but I worked on lowering them, some months got it as low as $485. I shared a lot about my monthly attempts to lower my grocery bill, including some months where I wrote an entire break down of what I bought each month, what I spent in each category, and what I'd do to try to lower it even more.

Then things got more complicated at home. Mike started working 12+ hour shifts, overnight, so he was gone 15 hours a day, and everything was on my shoulders. Fortunately our income went up as well, and then I switched out monthly grocery budget to $715 a month. Yes, I could have done less, but it was hard, having everything on me, also working part time, taking care of four kids including two special needs kids, and that also was the time where I was having the hardest time with my mental health issues. So having extra money to spend on shortcuts was good.

How Does an Olympian Athlete Get Paid?

A friend of mine is currently training for the next Olympics. Watching her training and improving all the time is fascinating, but when someone approached me with a suggestion for this post, how Olympian athletes get paid, I must admit I was intrigued. Let's learn together below.

Humans by nature are fascinated by everything that is around them, simply because we face a lot of the world’s mysteries. And, so some questions to this day are left unanswered. When it comes to the Olympics, it’s fun to watch and cheer for your favorite athletes, but one unanswered question remains: How do Olympians get paid? It’s easy to think that athletes play sports for fun; however, being an athlete is actually their day job. We attempt to answer this question below.

Share This