Saturday, November 30, 2019

My Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week

My gel manicure that I got cheaply

I had such a hectic day yesterday that I didn't manage to write what should be my weekly post, where I write up my frugal accomplishments to keep me accountable, whether or not I have so many things to share. This is a week where, to he honest, I didn't write down my frugal stuff as they happened and I was like oh no, I have nothing to write, I wasn't frugal, so now I embarrass myself with having nothing to share in this weekly post, but as I was writing I saw more and more and more things after all and I realized there was lots to be proud of.

So here's what I did to save money this past week:

Everything You Should Know About Addiction Treatment on a Low Cost

If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction and want to get better, but cost is an impediment, here's some important information about how you can get help at low cost and sometimes even for free!

Beating any addiction requires determination. But, money is also required to pay for addiction treatment. Unfortunately, many treatment programs are unaffordable to some recovering addicts. And, nothing feels worse than when a person wants to stop using the addictive substance by they don’t have money to pay for treatment. Luckily, a person can get addiction treatment at a low cost.
Several resources are available for addicts that are motivated to stop using the addictive substances but can’t afford the cost of treatment. Some private inpatient rehab facilities provide non-cost treatment for the homeless, impoverished, and unemployed addicts. Even some government-funded facilities offer free 30-day rehabilitation programs. These offer outpatient care to addicts that want to regain sobriety. Additionally, some faith-based organizations provide free rehabilitation to Christian addicts.

So, if you or a loved one is looking for free drug rehab (, consider these options. The most important thing is to know the kind of treatment required and the facilities that provide it. This knowledge will help you in finding a facility that provides the treatment at a low cost.

Free Rehabilitation for Drug Addiction is a Real Thing

When it comes to beating any addiction, acknowledging the problem is always the first step. This should be followed by seeking the right assistance. And, this is where a person starts to look for an effective and affordable rehab program. But, if a person doesn’t have money, the next question is, which are the best free rehab centers near me?

Treatment for drug addiction is not something to be enjoyed by rich people only. Several options exist for people that want to regain sobriety but can’t afford the cost of treatment. Some of the available options are not completely free. However, they are still affordable because they provide government-supported subsidies or options for deferred payment. Essentially, everybody that needs rehabilitation can find a program that suits their needs. They just need to know how to find it.

It’s important for a person that is battling an addiction to avoid trying to quit cold turkey. Research has shown that quitting cold turkey translates into unnecessarily low success rates. The increasing smoking cessation’s medicalization shows the need to ensure professional and pharmacological mediation of any attempt to stop using the addictive substances.

What’s more, self-directed detoxification can result in serious complications with the possibility of death. So, if money is an issue, it’s wise to consider free rehab centers. These centers provide evidence-based treatment and medical supervision by qualified addiction treatment experts.

Free and Low-Cost Addiction Treatment Options

When a person has decided to quit using addictive substances and recover from addiction, they may consider the following options. These are meant for individuals that have already hit rock bottom and don’t have money to pay for their treatment for addiction.

State-Funded Addiction Treatment

This is a treatment provided by drug rehab centers that receive funding from the government via federal grants or state budget. For a person to qualify for this treatment, they must prove that they don’t have enough insurance coverage. They must also demonstrate their inability to pay for addiction treatment out-of-pocket.

It’s worth noting that the intensity and quality of the services provided at the government-funded rehab facilities vary significantly. That’s because the services are largely determined by the provided funding. But, these facilities generally provide a complete range of services or treatments to make the recovery of impoverished addicts a reality.

What’s more, state-funded rehab centers have long lists of waiting patients. They might also not provide the most updated counseling services and treatments. Nevertheless, their cost advantage is amazing and they feature basic amenities.

Private Rehab Facilities

Some privately owned rehab facilities offer free addiction help. In most cases, these institutions provide deferred payment or sliding scale fees. However, some offer entirely free programs. The options given to addicts depend on their income and ability to cater to the cost of their treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, it’s wise to contact a local facility to find out more about the low cost or free programs it might be offering.

Non-Profit Rehab Facilities

Some non-profit organizations offer free rehabilitation to individuals that can’t afford the cost of treatment. These aim to support individuals that are battling addiction, create awareness, and advocate for more legislation to assist impoverished addicts.

Faith-Based Rehab Facilities

Several spiritual recovery facilities offer free treatment for addiction to individuals that have strong religious mindsets. The search for this kind of treatment for addiction should start within a local community and church. Several churches have recovery centers associated with them. Others provide free rehab and counseling for individuals and couples. They may also offer life skills, support groups, and development programs, among other free resources that may benefit addicts that want to recover.

Free Rehab Online

The internet has many online forums that people seeking treatment for addiction can benefit from. These forums provide mutual support and information about science-based treatment programs. People that participate in the activities of these programs can help each other in resolving problems or challenges associated with recovery from addiction. They can also strengthen each other to make a positive change in their lives. Individuals that can’t afford costly treatment can take advantage of the available free online resources that include handbooks, drug rehab classes, and videos.

The national directory by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a great place to start the search for a treatment facility. Here, patients can find a wide range of free outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment programs.

The Bottom Line

Lacking enough resources should not hinder a person from getting treatment for addiction. Several rehab facilities offer addiction treatment at a low cost or for free. The most important thing is to know where to look or how to get rehab for free. And with the right, free treatment and resources, individuals with low or no income can beat drug addiction, regain sobriety, and lead healthy lives.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Homemade Copycat Sprite Recipe -- Easy, Frugal

I don't usually get so ridiculously excited by a post, let alone a recipe, but then again, I don't usually end up with something so perfect that it's pretty much better than the original.

So soda. I like it. My kids like it. But I rarely buy it, because I find it too overpriced. (Not to mention the extra weight of lugging home bottles from the grocery store without a car.)

I do, however, have a Soda Stream seltzer maker at home and sometimes I play around with what I can make with it. I don't buy any of the syrups, because again, too overpriced in my mind, and the ones they sell locally mostly have fake sugar in it, which is something I abhor and avoid at all costs.

One day I wanted something to drink that wasn't plain water or seltzer and I didn't have any special drinks in the house. I could have just made lemonade, but decided to up my game a bit and try to make lemon soda using the seltzer. It tasted great, and I realized just how similar to Sprite it was, only it needed a drop of lime juice, since Sprite is lemon lime soda. Once I added the lime juice, it was perfect, though I noticed mixing in the sugar until it dissolved made the carbonation go away. I realized I needed just a bit of tweaking to get it right.

So then I decided to make a sugar syrup. But instead of simple syrup with sugar and water, for easy dissolvability, I'd dissolve the sugar in lemon and lime juice, so as to not water down the seltzer too much. I hit the proportions on the nose the first time, and it has been extremely popular in my house ever since.
My kids tell me I should sell it.
Or they tell me I should put it in Sprite bottles and serve it to people and nobody will know the difference.

New Thermostat Technology

As a homeowner, I have more expenses than a renter, as well as more responsibility. But with that comes the benefit that I can invest in money saving technology. This post, sent in by a reader, offers some insight about how investing in good thermostat technology can help save you money.

You may already know that taking care of your home's HVAC equipment is a worthwhile investment. For example, when you pay for regular HVAC maintenance, you invest in the energy savings, convenience, and long-term viability of a properly working, clean system. Many homeowners are ready to take the next step in their HVAC investments by getting a modern smart thermostat. If you have a smartphone, you'll be able to connect with and control your smart thermostat easily with an app.

You may have grown up with a traditional thermostat. If so, you probably are familiar with the sacrifice of having to choose whether to blow heat or cold air into unoccupied rooms in order to be comfortable in your own room. With a traditional thermostat, energy savings might have come at the cost of your own comfort. Smart thermostats, like traditional thermostats, will also save you money if you use your HVAC system less. The difference is the convenience and specialization that smart thermostats have, making them much more practical for busy families to use.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Frugal Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup -- Mostly Gluten Free, Vegan, and Healthy

Thanksgiving is almost here! Some of you may have prepared your menu and did all your shopping already, while others of you more last minute types may not have your menu together yet. So for those of you who haven't already prepared, I've put together a round up of Thanksgiving dinner type recipes from my blog throughout the years. Nearly all of them are healthy recipes, without processed ingredients. They're all frugal. Most are gluten free, and a good chunk of them are vegan too.

Hopefully you'll like them as much as my family did!

I want to apologize for the bad pictures. Over the years I've learned how to photograph better, but when I started, the pictures were pretty awful to be honest. In addition to that, a website I used to use to host my photos for free then started charging, I paid them, then they started charging an exorbitant amount, which I refused to pay, so they're holding my pictures hostage. So I apologize in advance. If I had the time and the energy and the desire to, I could go back and take my photos that I took over the years off that site and put them here instead, but honestly, that's never gonna happen, I have better things to do with my life.


5 Ways to Keep Your Home Insect Free

Bugs are tolerable, in my opinion, but the second they're in my house, they lose that tolerability. Here's some ways to make sure your home remains insect free.

There’s nothing worse than discovering that you have an infestation problem in your home. It can bring bacteria and diseases and can sometimes be very difficult to manage. This is why it’s so important that you take the necessary preventative measures in order to make sure that you don’t give the pest the chance to enter your home to begin with.

This is why we’ve compiled a list of the 5 most effective ways of keeping your home insect free.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Try a Few Things Before You Call in a Professional for Boiler Repair

I strongly value DIYing things when possible, or at least doing what you can first, and if that doesn't work, then calling in a professional. While I don't have a boiler in my house (I have solar water heating and the system that goes along with that), these tips from a reader hopefully will be able to help some of you who do have boilers.

Your boiler is something you can take for granted until it goes it wrong. Because fate likes playing tricks, you are most likely to find out your boiler is off when you step into the shower and the hot water’s gone. Naturally, you’ll rush to your boiler for a look. You will press the red reset button. Perhaps several times. Nothing? You’ll give any dials are quick twiddle. Still nothing. You will even look like you know what you are doing until you give the boiler a thump.

Online Shopping, How it Saves Money, and Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Amazon just took off in my country. It's practically exploding. People are getting so excited about it, because at least for now Amazon is offering free international shipping on many items if you spend over $49 on your total shipment.

Facebook groups have sprung up left, right, and center, everyone sharing their deals that they found, drama is ensuing because of affiliate links within said groups, and the post offices are being filled to the brim with Amazon orders.

I've seen people writing, tongue in cheek, "You know that its just shipping that is free, not your orders, right?" because of how overboard people are going with these Amazon orders. Or as my friend Margaret said "Got to say that I don't completely understand those who are making multiple Amazon orders [now to our country]".

I figured this would be a good time to approach this from a frugal angle. Is shopping on Amazon with free shipping frugal? Is online shopping frugal, period? Is there a way to do it more frugally?

Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Our Early Thanksgiving Dinner Menu -- Gluten Free and Dairy Free

I don't live in the USA, but I have very fond memories of Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Since moving abroad and marrying a non American, Thanksgiving sort of fell by the wayside other than one or two times.

However, because of the nostalgia, I've wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner, if only just to enjoy all these delicious fall favorites in one meal. Since we're not in the US, we don't have off on Thanksgiving itself, so yesterday some friends and I got together for a Thanksgiving dinner, if a bit early.

What should I buy my boyfriend for Christmas?

When it comes to gifting, there are different approaches. Some people feel the need to give gifts to everyone, no matter how much money they have available, and then do whatever they can to keep down the costs of those gifts, often giving generalized frugal gifts to everyone. Other people's approach to gift giving is more like my own, giving gifts to specific and small amounts of individuals, but spending more (but still within budget) to get them a gift that is uniquely right for them. This post from a reader is filled with great ideas to help you figure out what to get for that special someone in your life.

Treat your man to the most amazing Christmas gift this year! Don’t stress about buying the perfect gift for your boyfriend this year. Just choose one of our incredible gift ideas from this year’s hottest Christmas Sales 2019! We’ve compiled the perfect gifts for every type of guy out there! No matter what he likes, from movies to traveling to electronics, we got you totally covered.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Easy Tomato Onion Soup Recipe -- Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly, and Very Frugal Too

Have you ever had guests and made a whole menu that you planned on making and serving, only to discover once you already were in the process of cooking that you didn't have the necessary ingredients for some of the dishes? That's never, ever, ever happened to me, but I do know that it happens to some people, one which I am not one. Just kidding. It happens all the time to me. ADHD brain for the win.

This recipe came about when I was making onion soup. Only when making onion soup, even the barest basic recipes for, you need to have something more than just plain onion and water. Namely soy sauce and mustard, if you use my recipe. But I did not have those on hand, so I needed to figure out something else to do with my many fried onions.

And hence, this soup, was born.

Because I did have lots of tomatoes at home, and tomatoes pair beautifully with onions.

This was such a hit, even though it had very few ingredients in it, and was super simple to make. I remade it again and again, this time intentionally, and not as a way to fix my cooking mishaps, and wanted to share it with you.

It is delightfully frugal, vegan, paleo, AIP, allergy friendly, and lots more. Try it out. As long as you don't hate tomatoes. (You can hate onions, though. My girls hate onions, and had seconds of this soup.)

Easy Tomato Onion Soup Recipe -- Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly, and Very Frugal Too

8 Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know

Cooking hacks! I love cooking hacks! Aren't they great? They're like life hacks, but for cooking. Dun dun da duh, here it is. The one and only, 8 Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know, and that includes your kids, your mom, and your husband, even if he doesn't know how to cook or even want to cook. I'm just having a little fun here right now, because does anyone actually even read the introduction or do they just skip to the rest of the post? Here it is, by my favorite blog reader. Hopefully you and I will learn some important and useful lessons today.

For some, cooking is a skill that they effortlessly mastered. For others, it is a challenging feat that they need to conquer. Nevertheless, whether you are a novice or a pro in the kitchen, here are some cooking hacks that will definitely make your life easier.

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,, 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, 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.

Thursday, November 7, 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.

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 such as eMaids of Volusia County 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.