Saturday, August 28, 2021

Why Getting Life Insurance ASAP Is Important for Frugal Parents

I love sharing posts about how I've flubbed up or am currently messing up. Ok, I don't love it, it is embarrassing, but a) if I make a mistake at least I want you to learn from it and b) you can see I'm human just like you. So this post is one of those things, about a mistake I have made because I thought pushing it off wouldn't be a big deal but now it will end up costing me much more money. In short, life insurance for parents should be purchased ASAP and not pushed off.

Let me tell you about my situation.

Way back when, when we were extremely non well off financially (ok, that is a severe understatement) the thought of getting life insurance, or any other insurance beyond health insurance (which is practically free where I live) was not something we felt we could even consider. When you can barely afford to buy food or pay rent, insurance seems very much like an extra. We couldn't add anything else, no matter how important, to our expenses.

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Difference Between a Car Warranty & Car Insurance

Warranty, insurance, same difference, no? Wrong. When it comes to cars, this is especially so. If you've been looking into getting a warranty on a car and aren't sure whether there is even a point if you have insurance, read more about this to learn the difference.

Car warranties and car insurance policies are two very different types of cover for your vehicle.

Whether you’re looking for the best extended car warranty to pair with your insurance plan for maximum protection or if you’re unsure if you need a car warranty at all, you should know the difference.

Generally, warranties will cover mechanical breakdowns and manufacturer’s defects on your vehicle, while insurance policies will cover damage to your car, other people, or property after you are involved in an accident.

Let’s take a closer look at car insurance and car warranties, and the differences between them.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

How To Organize A Cooking Contest

Are you a fan of cooking and cooking shows like I am? In fact, I was nearly on a cooking show once but fortunately realized that they intended to screw me over and got out of it. But cooking contests are still great fun. There are many ways to do cooking contests, one can be as a way to earn money by making it in a venue and sell tickets to it, and another way can be as a low cost social event with friends. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to organize a cooking contest, either as an income source or as a fun get together.

When it comes to the culinary world, there are few events that are as exciting as a cooking contest. It is an event where masters of their craft are pitted against one another, and they strive to show their skills in a show of incredible precision, timing, and creativity. However, organizing such an event could be quite a challenge. Here are some tips on how to organize a cooking contest.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Easy Scallion Rice Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, Soy Free

I am always looking for things to do with leftover rice. Last week I had some rice that not only was left over, it was starting to dry out. I needed to make a starchy dish for a meal, and since I had a lot of scallions at home, I decided to check the internet to see if a dish such as scallion rice exists, and what types of ingredients people usually put in it. I struck gold and found so many different examples, and this recipe is what I put together inspired by all those recipes. It has very few ingredients but the taste is complex and delicious and it was such a hit. I will definitely be making this again and again. Did I mention that it is super easy and allergy friendly and vegan and gluten free and just all around a good recipe?

I highly recommend this recipe.

Easy Scallion Rice Recipe- Gluten Free,  Vegan, Soy Free

Preparing For The Future: How You Can Ensure You’re Ready For A Rainy Day

It can be hard to live within your means in the best of times, but what happens when an emergency comes up? That's when people get into big trouble and start accumulating debt and getting into a financial hole that is hard to climb out of. A way to avoid that is to have a rainy day fund, or an emergency fund, to help you when those times come up. Here's some more about why you'll want one, and how to make sure you can make one.

If the past 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that life can be completely unpredictable. While it is impossible to prepare fully for global crises like the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to have a plan should the worst happen. Saving for a rainy-day fund can be the ideal way to achieve this.

Having a rainy-day fund will also help give you peace of mind for the future and help you learn about good financial management. This article will explore what a rainy-day fund is, how you can build it up and ways to save and earn money to add to your fund.

How To Go About Making Your Estate Plan

No one wants to think about death and dying. But as adults sometimes we need to do what is difficult, and if we don't take care of it now, we might be causing trouble for ones we love down the line, potentially causing them to lose money. Here's something about estate planning from a reader, to help you plan this and leave your family in the best situation when the time comes.

Do you have a plan for if something suddenly happens to you? For instance, you could be incapacitated by an illness. You could end up in a coma. Or, you could pass away. All of these scenarios and more could leave your loved ones in a very tough situation.

Your assets need to be protected and thus your family. This is especially true if they rely on you for your income. Because anything can happen, you need to have a plan for your estate. How your money gets distributed is a very important thing to have happen if you pass.

Before you go and talk to an estate planner like the attorneys at Frame & Frame, you should know a few of the basics as to what it involves.

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Long Saga For School For My Daughter

The school situation for my daughter, Rose, has never been easy. Ok, I take that back. Finding a preschool for her was relatively straightforward, but not long after she started preschool she was diagnosed with autism, and when we tried to get her into a school for autistic kids I was told that I needed a second diagnosis first... and then we went through hell including being reported for social services for taking her for evaluations... but eventually that got resolved once the national disability insurance (I have no idea how to officially translate the name of this government body) gave her their own evaluation and agreed that she has autism. 

Once that was done, we were able to get her accepted to what is considered to be the best autism school in the region, that people move to this city to be able to send her to that school. Finally, for kindergarten she was in this school and she really thrived with all the therapies. I knew, however, that once she went to first grade the amount and quality of therapies she'd be getting would diminish tremendously, and I didn't want her to only have one year in that wonderful program, so despite being really bright, I decided to keep her back a year and she repeated kindergarten, and had a wonderful year.

First grade should be easy, no? Her kindergarten class was entirely girls, and they almost all were moving on to first grade. 

Only it wasn't.

Good Reasons to Try Your Hand at an Online Business

There are so many wonderful things about working from home. Many of those work at home jobs are online. If you're trying to figure out how to make money without leaving the house, you might want to consider an online business. Here are some more reasons why you might want to try an online business.

For many people around the world today, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and starting up a business is a great ambition that can seem almost unreachable.

Increasingly, however, more and more would-be entrepreneurs are becoming actual entrepreneurs, by trying their hand at online businesses of one sort or another, which offer particular unique benefits as opposed to certain more traditional business models.

Here are a number of good reasons to try your hand at starting up and running an online business.

Friday, August 20, 2021

How to Take the Stress Out of Moving House

Moving literally is my definition of hell on earth. I hate it with a passion and I always do it terribly. Some people that I know are superb movers and they manage to make their moves stress free and pack and unpack well, and, to be frank, I'm somewhat envious of them. Here are some tips from a good mover on how you can limit how much stress will be entailed in your moving homes.

Moving house is stressful, no doubt about that, however, there are steps that you can take to significantly reduce the stress of moving house. One of the best ways of reducing the stress associated with moving house is to plan as well as hire a moving services like movers in Frisco, and in this article, you will learn some simple strategies to cut the stress associated with moving in half.

Here are some stress-busting tips that will facilitate the whole moving process, making it hassle-free and seamless.

Monday, August 16, 2021

An Exciting Discovery!

I ordered some clothes for my children from a cheap online local retailer, and to save money instead of paying extra for home delivery, I had it be delivered to a pickup point in the nearest city. When went to pick up my package when I was anyhow in the city for an appointment, I got a pleasant surprise.

It was a brand new store, and guess what? It is a scratch and dent store! It is closer to me than any other scratch and dent store. When I was there that time the proprietor showed me around his store, and while he had lots of different types of items for really low prices, the part that spoke
to me was the food, because we need to eat, and cheap good food is my game. He was apologetic that he didn't have so many different types of foods, and mentioned that it depends on the shipments that he gets, but that the supply keeps on changing.

I told him that I knew exactly the type of store his store was; I am very familiar with them and how they work, because I try to make shopping at these types of stores a regular part of my routine. 

The shopkeeper started showing me what he had in stock and then tried to explain that the dents and packaging don't affect the inside and the food is still good. I had a good laugh about that, honestly, because I've even written a blog post explaining that exact information to readers back in 2016. I know that expiration dates aren't regulated and that bulges in cans are dangerous but dents are only a problem if they dent enough that they crack, even slightly. And none of the food there fit into that criteria, so we were good to go.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

4 Wardrobe Tips to Dress Your Tween Girl This Summer

Teens are hard. Tweens are hard. But they are also wonderful, even if tweens are at the stage where they need to proclaim their independence. My daughter is a tween and it gets interesting trying to balance her desires for how she wants to dress, what I permit her to wear, what I want to spend money on, etc. Here are some tips from a reader for dressing your tween girl.

If you have a tween in the house, you know just how challenging it can be dressing them. They can be a bit choosy, their styles seem to change overnight, their fashion icons are virtually unknown to you, and it’s impossible to stay ahead of the trends and styles that appeal to them. Let’s not even get started on the seasons...how do you swiftly move their style between summer and winter while maintaining some sense of cohesion?

During the summer, your kids are going to have a lot of free time on their hands, and spend time hanging out with friends and enjoying time off school. It can be challenging to come up with outfits for this busy season.

That being said, dressing your tween in summer doesn’t have to be such a difficult experience. You can get really creative and actually turn it into a fun bonding experience where you get to see how your little girl is becoming her own self-determining person in her own unique way. So how do you dress your tween girl well this summer?

Follow these simple tricks, and you might actually enjoy a fun fashion time!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Leasing vs. Buying a Car: Which Costs Less?

I have not owned a car of my own ever. Yes, my parents had cars when I was growing up, but I, myself, never had a car of my own. However, with my health situation the way it is, there's a bigger and bigger chance I'll be getting a car in the future. So I'm happy to have this information from a reader on whether it is more cost efficient to lease or buy a car. 

Car ownership has long been a core aspect of American life. But leasing has been steadily growing in popularity. While leasing does have its benefits, is it actually cheaper than buying a car outright?

Monday, August 9, 2021

My Extra Frugal Grocery Shopping Trip

Lately groceries have been quite expensive locally, especially produce. In the past I set myself an upper price limit for what I'd pay per pound for produce but it is nearly impossible to follow that because nearly nothing is under that price.  This has been a discussion on a local frugal forum I run because this is relatively widespread, but a few people mentioned that they do find good sales for produce in specific stores. Its just not any stores that I regularly go to.

I go to physical therapy generally once a week in a city near my house. Last time I went to physical therapy I decided to pop in to a supermarket that is right near there, because I needed a drink and something to eat. (Silly me, I didn't eat or drink before I'd left my house and I was desperate.) When I was there I was shocked at how good the produce prices were. Most of the produce was on sale at ridiculously low prices, unlike anything I'd seen recently. And tuna? It was cheaper than I've seen tuna in years! 

I had a dilemma. I hadn't intended on coming grocery shopping so I was without a cart. Do I ignore these stupendous prices because I didn't have a cart, or do I find a way to get them home even so? While I could have paid for a taxi, even if just to take me to the closest bus stop, that cost would have negated some of the savings, so I was loathe to do that.

I decided anyhow to push myself, buy the groceries, even if it meant pushing my body and taxing it (and potentially injuring it, just on my way home from physical therapy). Fortunately, I made it home without injury and with a full fridge without spending a lot of money.

Here's what I got and why.

6 Small Business Ideas for Busy Mothers

Sometimes people make the parenting decision to be a stay at home mom. Other times it is the financially most feasible decision. But it can be challenging to live without a second income. Here are some ways that one can earn money even while being a busy mom taking care of children. (And just how perfect is this stock photo?) Or even if you aren't a parent and have a full time job but need supplemental income, here are some additional ways to make money part time.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Being a mom is a full-time job and certainly keeps you on your toes. However, sometimes, you may want to find a way to make some extra cash. Not only is this helpful for your family, but dedicating time to do something you love can be great for your mental health.

Starting your own business is a excellent choice, as it allows you much more flexibility and control over your hours. But what options are out there? 

Below we are going to take a look at six small business ideas for busy mothers.

Let’s get started!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

How to Trim Your Family’s Grocery Budget

Even though my blog is about frugality in general I spend a very large percentage of it talking about food and lowering costs there. The reason being that we all need to eat and we do it regularly and whether we spend a little or a lot on groceries can make a bigger impact on our monthly budget than conserving electricity and its effects can be seen immediately. Here are some tips from a reader on how to lower your family's grocery bills.

Running a household often feels like your list of expenses is never-ending. From after-school activities to holidays and shopping for back-to-school, balancing your family’s budget isn’t easy. In many cases, your grocery bill is likely accounting for a significant portion of your monthly expenses, which means you may be utilizing fast and easy payday loans to help curb temporary cash shortages. If that’s the case, there are several creative ways to streamline your grocery budget without sacrificing delicious home-cooked meals.

Before you make your weekly trip to the supermarket, take a look at these tips and tricks and learn how to save some easy money.

Pan Seared Steak with Mushrooms and Rosemary Recipe- Easy, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo and Allergy Friendly

Some recipes I feel guilty about posting, because I know there are some readers here who are struggling with the very most basic of grocery expenses, and then I go and post an expensive recipe. But I've been told that even with that, I should still post the occasional more expensive recipe because everyone deserves a treat, and even people struggling with grocery bills might decide to splurge on special occasions. Anyhow, that is something that I do too, and often when I splurge on a special occasion or when I need to do something nice for myself as self care I prefer to do so at home because I can get much more for my money that way than in a restaurant.

So this.

It's something I made for myself when I needed a pick me up after a hard week. I got some steaks from the meat counter at a local grocery store and had them slice them thinly. At first I didn't realize how many steaks I'd get from a certain amount of meat, but once I saw how thick each one was I had them slice each in half so I ended up with twice as many steaks as I thought I'd have.

I wanted a simple way to make these steaks that their flavor would shine through while not eating meat that only had salt as seasoning. I decided to go with mushrooms and rosemary because that was what was speaking to me at the time, and it was absolutely the right decision. It tasted heavenly. And, confession, because how could I do this with steak... it actually tasted good as leftovers reheated!!! I know, that's like blasphemy when it comes to steak, but I like blaspheming with my food. 

Most people don't want to eat at home when they want something nice for a special occasion/self care because of the amount of work and time it takes to make nice food from scratch, so this gets extra points because it was also pretty easy and quick to prepare, making it an easy choice for me. 

I use rosemary I forage in my neighborhood for this.

This recipe works for gluten free, and paleo diets and is free of most common allergens.

I made 3 steaks and that is why I wrote the recipe that way but it's quite flexible in terms of amounts, just not time.

Pan Seared Steak with Mushrooms and Rosemary Recipe- Easy, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo and Allergy Friendly

Books With a Purpose That Can Help Shape Your Child’s Future

I like teaching my children emotional resilience and regulation, and I find these skills are able to be taught in a fun and engaging way using books geared towards that purpose. I was asked to share with you readers about these three books from Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream publishing which attempt to do exactly that. Teach them about emotions and how to handle them. Exactly up my alley and hopefully up yours too.

3 Children’s Books to Help Your Child Live Their Best Life

It can be easy to forget that our children are sensitive and emotional beings. Just as they are experiencing the world, they are also taking information in and processing big emotions and new, exciting things. Sometimes, that information can stay with them for long after childhood, and it can have a big impact on the person they grow up to be.

Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream Books is here to ensure that every child has good, strong values to carry with them as they grow, along with strategies and tactics they can use to battle anxiety, stress, and confidence, and strong life-long values and lessons that they can use to live their best lives.

If you’re interested in taking a look at some of the books we have to offer, we’ve broken it all down for you into three sections down below!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Keeping Your Kids Positively Occupied

During the summer and any other break most parents have a hard time keeping their kids entertained without technology. Here are some ideas from a reader about non-tech ways to keep your kids entertained.

We all want our kids to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. We want to give them as much opportunity in life as we can. We want to get them started out on the right foot with well rounded childhoods that they can look back on fondly. Of course, this can all be easier said than done. Parenting can be difficult and sometimes, alongside the other stresses of day to day life, we can end up keeping our little ones occupied with simple things that don’t require too much of our input. This is understandable. We have work. We have relationships to maintain, fitness regimes to keep up and interests of our own to pursue. But it is important that you do your utmost to keep your kids occupied in a positive and productive way that you can get involved in too. Of course, different kids enjoy different things. You may find that one child prefers a completely different type of activity or area of interest to another. But what is important is that you find what each of your kids enjoys and that you nurture this. This will give them a source of joy in their lives and can aid with their overall development too! So, how can you go about keeping your kids positively occupied? Here are a few suggestions that will help you along the way!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Crisis Averted

Please excuse me while I get personal with you for a bit... Since I've never, ever shared personal stuff about myself on here before... lol...

Today I had a crisis that felt like it reached an impossible magnitude. Causing me to get to a really bad emotional state. Well, the fact that you're reading this is all you need to see to know that the crisis was averted.

Let me start at the beginning.

I was talking to my son about my blog, and he mentioned something about the header of my blog looking like it was 10 years old, like it was made when he was a baby, pointing to the cartoon baby in the header. I told him that that wasn't supposed to be him, as he was already a toddler when my blog was started, his brother Ike was a baby, but it was just supposed to be a generic baby in a cloth diaper to show that I wrote about both motherhood and frugal and green living. Either way, he said, it needed updating. 

He then continued and mentioned that the layout seemed behind the times as well. Lee wanted to know why I didn't revamp my website, but instead kept it the same for nearly a decade. He brought up the fact that already a few years ago I had started with some ideas about upgrading my header, but never ended up doing it, and asked me why not.

Renting or Buying: Which is the Most Frugal Option?

Discussions about whether it is best to rent or buy a house are all over, with each person arguing that their side is the only correct one. However, there are pros and cons to each of them- here are some sent in by a reader below for some food for thought.

Photo Credit: Dhruva Mehra

Are you looking to choose between buying a home and renting one out? There’s plenty to consider, so here are some pros and cons for both to help you decide…

One of the biggest life goals out there is to buy a home, but the real question is whether this option is the best for you and your situation? After all, it can be extremely expensive, and you have to wonder whether it’s all worth it.

For those looking to buy a home, there are government incentives. For example, help to buy scheme solicitors can help you to make the most of your money through buying a new build with a low deposit.

That said, buying a house today is extremely expensive, and not right for everyone. Especially if you’re not looking to settle down just yet, and want to travel the world, think again. In this article, we’ll provide some pros and cons for both options to help you with making your decision.

The Pros and Cons of Renting a House

5 Realisations That Can Help You Pay Off Debt

Do you have debt? Do you want to pay it off? These 5 realizations about debt sent from a reader can help you out.

Photo credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Almost all of us have been in debt at one point or another. The question is, how can you pay it off? These five realisations you need to make before doing so could help you out…

Are you in debt, and finding it hard to think about anything else? Perhaps you’re struggling to pay it off, and need a bit of a reality check? Well, you’re not alone.

The problem with debt is that it’s a cyclical thing; when one person goes into debt and doesn’t pay their debtor, they then end up in financial trouble. So, if your business is in the middle of recovering debt from a limited company and in need of some advice, or a start-up who has gone too far down the rabbit hole, you came to the right place. Alternatively, if you’re an individual who has stumbled down the mortgage and credit card path, don’t go anywhere.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down five important realisations you need to make before you can hope to pay off your debt. So, if you want to learn a little more about what debt really means, read on…

Monday, August 2, 2021

The Best and Tastiest Travel Friendly Sandwich


I am absolutely exhausted. My whole body aches. But I am really on a high. Today I went with my eldest, my son Lee, to an amusement park. First time I was at one for at least 15 years. We had a blast. I want nothing more than to just fall asleep. But I wanted to leave you with a post first.

It's a short one.

But it's a good one.

I want to leave you with the absolute best travel friendly sandwich, one that I have made multiple times for myself and my kids and it is a hit every time. We had them today at the amusement park and they lasted from the morning, when I packed them, until lunch time and even until dinner time. They didn't get soggy or gross. Just deliciousness. And it isn't just good for traveling. It is, hands down, my sons' favorite sandwich. And I don't blame them.

Here it is.

It's simple.

How to Select the Right Home Fire Insurance on a Tight Budget

A long time reader wanted to share this post with you and it makes me feel guilty, because I do not have proper insurance on my home and that can really screw me over in the long run. I gotta get my act together and do it ASAP. For those that are trying to get fire insurance but are trying to save costs, read more to learn about it.

Managing your household budget is all about paying attention to the little details. No cost goes unnoticed, and every expense must be justified. Living a frugal lifestyle encourages you to save whenever and wherever you can so that you have more to spend on yourself and your family. But when it comes to fire insurance coverage, you have to tread carefully before you start adjusting your policy.

Every year, the cost of your home insurance policy increases. Finding out you have to pay more yet again can make it tempting to ask your broker about trimming your premiums. But that can have unintended consequences and cost you if you ever have to make a fire damage claim.

Heartwarming Ways To Make Your Presence Felt Without Breaking The Bank

18 months later and Corona is still kicking our butts. Some of us have gone so long without seeing loved ones and want to give them a long distance "hug". Here are some ideas from reader, John, on how you can do so without spending too much money.

If the last 18 months has taught us anything it is that we should do all that we can to stay close to friends and family, whenever we get the chance. Many of us have been unable to see our loved ones for a long time, and many still can’t foresee when they will be able to embrace each other as we once did. To those who are far removed from their loved ones, gifts which make their presence felt are a great way of staying close and showing that they care. Here are some ideas which you may consider, that will ensure that your friends and families feel your presence.

Giving My Daughter The Haircut She Wants- Revisited

It isn't perfect but that's the best part about mom haircuts,
we can snip off the little bits we missed later.

Those of you who have been long time readers of my blog may remember a post from nearly six years ago to the day (no kidding, I just looked up that post and it legit was posted on August 3, 2015, I did not plan it this way!!!) when my daughter Anneliese, then 3, wanted me to cut her hair and give her a pixie cut. I talked then about how she had begged me to give her a short, and in her words "boy" haircut, and it was difficult emotionally for me because I loved her longer hair and wasn't a fan of short hair on girls. However, I decided to respect her bodily autonomy and when she said she wanted short hair, it was something that was her choice at the end of the day, her body, and it affected no one but herself and hurt no one, so I was willing to go along with it. I did find it cute in the end, even if it wasn't my first choice.

How apt that this same exact situation came up exactly at this time and it was on the table yet again. My ex told me today that he wanted to cut Anneliese's hair short into a pixie cut because he felt long hair was too difficult to take care of. He tried to convince her that that was what she wanted for her hair, that it would be simple to take care of, and she looked good like that years ago, and he nearly had her convinced. 

But I knew my daughter better, to be honest, and I knew how much fun she had playing with her hair, making various hairstyles, and in general really enjoys experimenting with various beauty trends and hacks. If she'd have a pixie cut she wouldn't be able to play with her hair much, definitely not style it the way she does now, and if she'd regret it, it would take at least a year, if not more, to undo. 

Before picture, from earlier today.

If she'd want a pixie cut, and it was actually her idea, not someone telling her how to cut her hair, and she thought about it for a while and still wanted it, I'd respect it. When I cut my daughter's hair like that before it was after she'd been begging me to do so for a while. I don't want to listen to a passing whim if it isn't easily reversible. If it is something she still wanted in a month I'd be willing to do it, even though I didn't like the idea.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Exciting Outdoor Activities for Spending Memorable Time with Kids on Weekends

When people think about outdoor activities with the family, they generally will think about summer. However, there are quite a lot of outdoor activities that work well with kids even during the fall. Here are some ways to spend time outdoors with your children while building memories.

Right now it is summer, but soon the temperature will be dipping, and the daytime will be decreasing. But there are many ways to enjoy yourself with your children before the time comes to dressing up warmly. Indeed, fall is the best time to enjoy outside as it is not too cold or hot. After shelling out a week in the classroom, children can utilize this time to release some surplus energy. Make the best use of this fall weekend.

But before planning any outdoor activity, it would be wise to check the weather conditions on websites like https://www.tomorrow.io/weather/. Checking weather conditions beforehand ensures that you enjoy an uninterrupted time with your kids. You can also check the air quality and pollen spread on these sites to make sure the conditions are healthy enough for your little ones.

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