Monday, November 29, 2021

How to be Frugal Without Being Cheap

People think often that being frugal means being a cheapskate, but those are, by far, not synonymous. I wrote a blog post on the topic once that I'd love to link you to but I can't find it. Oh well. Here are some ideas from a reader on how you can save money without being cheap.

Frugality is something that’s often given a bad reputation. In fact, some people automatically associate being frugal with someone who doesn’t want to spend a cent. While some people do take things a little too far, being thrifty doesn’t need to equate with being cheap. Saving money and still being able to live well is a must, especially if you have children. Living a more frugal life is more along the lines of being extra resourceful, which is important when your family is growing. Even if you already are cutting corners, raising children can be expensive. For this reason, knowing how to save money can go a long way. Below are four ways to save money and still live well.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

How to Personalize Your Home Warranty Plan Affordably?

Have you considered getting a warranty on your home but aren't sure how to do it without it costing a fortune? Here are some suggestions from a reader on how you can do just that.

Are you thinking of purchasing a home warranty? When doing so, consider purchasing optional coverage for various systems in the home. This is your residence and your most costly asset. Any protection you purchase is beneficial, but you can never have too much protection. What types of additional coverage should you consider?

Be Alert and Vigilant - How to Protect Your Children From Offenders

Keeping your children safe from people who may want to hurt them can seem like a full time task for a parent. There are some things we parents can do to try to do our best to protect them. Here are some of them from a reader.

As frightening and unpleasant as it may sound for parents to even think about the likelihood of their child being abducted. Parents must have a discussion with their children about personal safety.

Educating your kids about how to protect themselves against child predators is crucial as any other measure you take daily to keep them protected.

By teaching your kids how to stay away from possible dangers and how they should react if they find themselves in a threatening circumstance, will empower them to be aware of what they should do to protect themselves and keep themselves from harm.

Fed Up With Government Sanctioned Ableism

I have had it up to here with ableism. Ableism is discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. This means when people with disabilities (of any sort) are treated like second class citizens, or worse. I must admit that I used to be completely oblivious to this, but once I came to terms with having mental health issues, I noticed more and more how prevalent this mistreatment of disabled people is, whether overt or covert. 

This topic came to the forefront of my mind when I tried applying for a drivers' license in my country. If you remember when I wrote about it before, I had an American drivers' license before I moved abroad, but let it lapse, unfortunately. I never converted my American license to a local one, because it cost more money to do so than I had available at the time, and then I lost the opportunity. When I traveled to the US in 2019, I decided to get my drivers' license again, first taking a few lessons locally to refresh my memory (since it had been years since I drove) and then in the US within my first few days there, I got my drivers' permit and license.

Great, now I came back locally and wanted to convert my license here. Except it wasn't so simple. Ok, first I was just lazy about it, and drove with my American license, even though I wasn't supposed to. I got into a minor car accident and insurance wouldn't cover it because I didn't have a local license, so I had to pay $2500 for the repair. That gave me a push to actually do the right thing and convert my license.

No biggie, right? 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

4 Vegetarian Dishes That You Can Make at Home

Vegetarian dishes are often cheaper than meaty dishes. They are staples in my house because having meat every day gets quite expensive. Here are some vegetarian recipe suggestions from one of our readers.

Whether you are a fresh vegetarian or have been looking for new recipes for a long time, we promise you that it is possible to enjoy a delicious meat-free meal that is healthy and significantly affordable. Here are a few vegetarian recipes to try, ranging from 15-minute fried rice to almost anything in between.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

6 Benefits To Having A College Degree

Honestly, one of my biggest regrets in life is not getting a college degree. I literally had the possibility handed to me on a silver platter, with a full scholarship to the honors program of a college that would custom make a degree in the field I wanted (gifted education), whose scholarship would also give a stipend for living expenses. And I turned it down to move abroad and get married. Who knows how my life would have been different had I gotten that college degree. I suspect that this blog never would have been started, to be honest, because I wouldn't have started out my adult life totally broke as I was when I started this. 

Here are some reasons why having a college degree is beneficial.

What do you think when you hear the words ‘college degree’? Are you filled with excitement? Fear? Or do you simply not think that it’s relevant to you, so you don’t research any further, and you don’t want to know more because you’re fairly certain having a degree will not benefit you in your life?

For some people, this is true, at least in terms of their careers. However, a degree isn’t just about your career, although that’s what its main function is. There are plenty of reasons to take a degree even if you don’t intend to use it to get a job or move further along your career path, and since you can choose online learning, even if you already have a job or responsibilities, you can still achieve a degree no matter what you’re doing in your life. The question remains, why would you? Why should you? Read on to find out; some of the benefits to having a college degree will probably surprise you.

Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf Recipe -- Vegan, Gluten Free, and Allergy Friendly

I made this dish for the first time quite a few years ago, I think for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner, but I could be wrong. Ever since I made it the first time, I had a decent recollection of certain steps in the recipe, and fond memories of just how good it tasted, but never really made it again. Recently, though, I was craving something like it, but since it had been so long, I searched google for recipes for craisin almond rice, and came up with a bunch of recipes with the name pilaf in them, but all those recipes seemed wrong. You see, I very clearly remembered adding sugar to my onions and craisins, but all the recipes I saw were savory. And so, I put together this dish again, from memory, and it was just as good as I remembered. But I'm just going to stick the word pilaf in the title because that is what people seem to be using and I want this to come up when people search google. But I hope you'll forgive me because this doesn't strictly follow the definition of pilaf (though it does have a decent amount of similarity to the Afghan national dish, kabuli palaw, which is considered a pilaf). This is reminiscent of a dish they generally serve locally at weddings and other catered affairs.

I brought this craisin almond rice dish to a potluck Thanksgiving meal this year and it was devoured. Though it has sugar in it, it isn't very sweet, it is just the right combination of sweet with the rest being savory. The onions and craisins get carmelized, almost candied. I maybe am being a bit extreme, but I would happily say that this is one of my favorite rice dishes ever. My daughters aren't the hugest fans, unfortunately, so I don't know how often I'll be making it. But I definitely suggest giving this one a try. It is worth it.

Unlike most of the recipes I saw when googling to refresh my memory of how I made this dish, this one doesn't use any broth or stock in it, so it is completely vegetarian and vegan. Other than the almonds this is also free from the most common allergens, such as gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, etc... If you are nut free feel free to leave out the almonds, and maybe replace them with pumpkin seeds, if not totally leaving them out.

This is also a great way to use up leftover rice, but if you don't have leftovers, it is worth it to cook up some for this recipe.  

Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf Recipe -- Vegan, Gluten Free, and Allergy Friendly

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

How To Design A Modern Nursery Room With A Small Budget

If you are having a new baby and need to put together a room for the baby, you might think that this would cost a lot of money. Fortunately, there are many ways to do it on a tight budget. A reader explains how.

Your new bundle of joy deserves all the best things in life. And by the best, it doesn’t mean that it should cost you an arm and a leg to decorate the living space. It may sound challenging, but it’s not impossible to design a modern nursery with a meager budget. Whether it’s a crib, a rocking chair, diaper holders, or other nursery essentials, you don’t have to buy everything brand new.

The key to a low-priced and functional baby room is to be resourceful. This article would discuss some helpful tips in making a nursery room without breaking the bank.

Learning About How Toilets Work

If you like DIYing as much as I do, you probably have learned about different things and their functions so you could learn to fix them. I've never actually fixed my own toilet, but have the most rudimentary knowledge of how I might. But to know how to actually repair it, you need to know how it works. Here's more to teach you about this important thing we all have in our homes.

Every household in the world nowadays has at least one toilet and you have probably used it thousands of times. However, have you ever wondered how toilets actually work? To fully understand how toilets operate you need to know what they consist of.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Dishwasher- Want or Need?

Way back when, when I was living an extremely extremely extremely frugal lifestyle and not by choice, I had a series here on this blog called "Needs vs Wants?" I cringe looking back at it and feel bad for myself that I legit was talking about things like whether or not running water, electricity, a fridge, or a cell phone were a need or a want, as well as what the bare minimum furniture and baby supplies someone might need would be. My life has come a long way since then, and I have many things today that past me would have considered a nice extra, but for me are non negotiable. 

However, while I don't usually ask myself whether something is a want or a need, especially since that question is a very triggering one for me, when it comes to large expenses, that is something that I consider. Like there are a few things that I'd like to do that would cost me money but since I can make do without them, I'm waiting on them until I have money saved up to pay for them and still have wiggle room in my finances. This is, from least expensive to more, things like a gluten free toaster (to go along with our current gluten one), a new microwave, a replacement blender since mine is finally on its last legs, building a loft room for my son, and hopefully getting a car. Plus a dishwasher, which I will get to in a second. And since things on the higher end of the price range are more important than the cheaper things, I'd rather the money go to a sinking fund for the more expensive thing than spend it on the cheaper but less important thing.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

5 Benefits of Sending Your Child to Private School

There's no question about it, private school is much more expensive than public school. If you're a frugal minded person, then, why would you send your children to private school? Are there any benefits that your children can get there that make it worth the extra expense? As a private school student myself, it was interesting to read this post from a reader on that topic. One thing that this does not talk about, though, is that many people send their children to religious private schools, that provide an education on your religion that public school won't do (and for good reason).

We all want to do our best for our children and give them the best life we possibly can. Education is a huge factor in a child's life as it can mold them into the adult they will become and, to an extent, determine the path they will follow in life. So choosing the right school for them is an important decision. Should you send them to a state school or go private? Many of us don't know the exact ins and outs of private education and what it has to offer. To assist you with your thoughts, here are 5 benefits of sending your child to private school.

Steps to Take When Protecting Your Garden from Pests

If you have a garden, you know how irritating pests can be! I had two giant basil plants entirely devoured by slugs. (I hate slugs.) Here are some suggestions on how to protect your garden from pests.

Growing a garden is a rewarding experience. Home gardeners often spend hours upon hours planting seeds, fertilizing the ground, and picking their crops. After all, nothing tastes as good as fresh fruits and vegetables. However, some annoying pests may try to eat the harvest first.

Thankfully, there are several ways to protect your garden from these unwelcome guests. Follow these steps.

I Fell Off The Budgeting Wagon

I had this post on my mind already for a long time, but something was holding me back. Originally, it was going to be titled "Help! I Fell Off the Wagon!" because I needed help. What wagon, that is? The budgeting one. Keeping track of my income and expenses via my YNAB app. The wagon that I need to be on to make sure that my life works out properly, that I have money for what I need and don't spend money on things I don't have. And I can't say it's not still an issue. Because right now it's not a total cry for help, because I've gotten back on, but I do need advice on how to not get off it again.

You see, it started about half a year or so back. I was overwhelmed with life, and inputting all my expenses, every time I made them, just felt too overwhelming. So I'd spend. Tried not to spend too much, still stuck to my frugal lifestyle, and I made certain spluges that I perhaps shouldn't have and wouldn't have if I knew the exact state of my finances. I mean I wasn't altogether terrible- I looked at my bank account and knew where it was holding, but that by far is not the whole picture. Because my goal isn't to get down to zero each month and build my way back, because my bank account also includes my emergency fund, plus money I'm holding for different things (such as my tenant's rental deposit), and without actually looking at my budget, I am not able to see how much money I actually have available to be used without needing to dip into my emergency fund. 

Every month or so I'd reconcile my money in my budgeting app with what is actually in my accounts, and I would be stressed out! I was spending more than I should! And then every time that would happen I'd beat myself up for this. And feel bad about myself. And stress some more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

5 Things to Consider When Buying Home Batteries

Have you thought of turning your home into a solar powered one? If you live in a sunny place, this might be a worthwhile option. When doing so, something you generally need to consider is getting a battery to store this solar energy. Here's what you need to know about when buying such batteries.

People are moving towards greener alternatives of power supply. Yes, this is true. The early consequences of pollution, global warming, and exhaustion of non-renewable resources have made people concerned about nature and survival. Most of the population concerned about using solar energy is the young population of the age group 23-35 years.

This age group is just experiencing the initial days of settling down. They are the ones who are buying houses to start their independent life. Their love for nature is reflected in every choice they make. That is why many of the youngsters prefer solar-powered energy systems in their houses. If you are one of them and want to buy a perfect battery with solar PV system protection, you are in the right place.

The things listed below are the points to remember while buying a battery:

How To Choose A Bathroom Sink

When we were deciding on how to design our kitchen in our new house, one of the things we decided right away is to not have a porcelain sink. We had had porcelain before and hated it, and knew we wanted to go with stainless steel, but originally we had also considered stone. However, in our bathroom, we went with porcelain. If you are looking into designing your home, either for a new home or if you are doing a renovation, here are some different types of sink options to help you figure out what type would work best for you.  

Sink considers special attention when thinking of the design of the bathroom. Each of us comes to it several times a day: to wash our face and hands, to brush our teeth. Of course, everyone wants the washbasin to be beautiful and comfortable, and also to effectively complement the design of the bathroom. What to know before buying a sink? There are several criteria that you should definitely pay attention to. Let's take a closer look.

An Exciting Scratch and Dent Grocery Store Discovery!

Yesterday I went to the scratch and dent store. As I went to pay the manager tells me that he hasn't seen me in a while. Ya, they know me at these types of stores. I'm one of the regulars and I buy stuff in bulk there. But the thing is, he's right. I haven't been there lately. I have all sorts of excuses why I haven't taken advantage of this option for cheap grocery shopping, like no time or energy to go out of my way especially with no car. But that simply isn't true and is just that, excuses.

I finally decided enough with the rationalizations, because as of now I go to the nearby city four days a week for various therapies (Yay life!) and one of those days I'm so close to one of these stores, like a 5 minute walk or less. So two days ago, when I was nearby, I made the short trek to the scratch and dent shop.

What I saw there delighted me and I knew would delight the kids.

Monday, November 15, 2021

3 Ways to Reduce Your Mortgage Payments as a New Parent (With Actionable Examples)

Mortgages are annoying. They can eat up a big chunk of your income each month. But at least with a mortgage every month when you pay it you are owning more and more of your house, as opposed to rent which doesn't give you any assets in the long run. Here are some ways that you can make your mortgage payments lower, to help lower your monthly expenses.
As a new parent, you may be feeling the weight of your monthly mortgage repayments. If this is the case, then there are some steps that you can take to help reduce these payments. These 3 mortgage reduction strategies will not only make it easier for you financially, but they will also provide peace of mind at a time where stress levels are likely high!

How To Choose The Best Day Care For Your Little Loved Ones

When it's time to hand your kid over to someone else to watch, it can be nerve-wracking. How do you know you're putting your kid in the right place? Here are some suggestions from a reader on things to look for when choosing a day care for your children.

Your child is your pride and joy, the love of your life, a special part of you. The idea of someone else caring for them can be a bit scary at first. But it's important to understand that daycare is no longer the "old school" place it used to be years ago.

Choosing a daycare can be a very tough decision. There are many things to consider when finding the best one for your child, including location, hours, environment, and cost. Here are some tips to help your family find the best daycare center for your little loved ones.

Teaching Kids to Be Money Smart, Including an Interview With My Son

I have had many posts over the years where I talked about teaching kids how to be financially savvy, but, like with all things, how I've done things has evolved, and in this case, quite tremendously.

I used to include my kids a lot in discussions about finances, thinking that it would help them understand money and be smart spenders. I was told by a family therapist, though, when I started seeing her as part of the divorce process, that people talking to their kids about their family's finances, period, even without exact details and even without sharing monetary stresses with them still is a stress. That thinking about their family's finances puts too big a worry on young heads and can be detrimental to them in both the short and long run. That talking to them about finding the best deal and how I'm saving money is not good for them. This was really frustrating for me to hear, because I thought that I was doing the right thing, teaching them important lessons already from a young age. I've seen what happens to people who grow up in homes where their families had no money sense and they repeat their families' issues and I wanted to make sure that would not happen to my children.

So how exactly am I supposed to teach my kids smart financial habits? With their own money, is what I was told. Teach kids how to budget their own money. Give them ways to earn it. Let them see that if they spend more money now they won't have it later. Let them learn to check prices to see what they can get for their budget. Show them that they can get more for their money when they look for good deals.

And so this has been what I've tried to do for the last three years. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Body Vision Cameras: Important Things to Know About Bronchoscopy

 As someone dealing with a bunch of different and still as yet mostly unexplained medical issues, I've been doing a lot different tests and procedures and have more still to do. Each time I have one scheduled I've been googling them to find out details to help me not freak out (or at least not too much), so when I was asked to post this about a procedure called a bronchoscopy I was happy to, if only to have this information out there so that when jittery people like myself need to know this, it will be available. Fortunately, I'm at least not dealing with lung issues (knock on wood) so this isn't relevant to me, but if any of you are, hopefully this will be helpful for you. Just a note, after the break there is medical information and a picture that might make people queasy; you have been warned. If you're squeamish, you might want to scroll on by instead of clicking to expand this.

Airways can get blocked, or your healthcare provider may simply need to get a mucus sample. Sadly, lung diseases also happen.

You can visit here to learn more about lung diseases and their various types. Whatever the case is, getting told you need to get a bronchoscopy done can be intimidating. You may be scared out of your wits if you hadn’t heard the word before then.

However, the procedure isn’t as scary as the term that describes it. Knowing some basic things about the procedure can help you feel a lot better about it. Hence, in this read, we will be discussing some of the important things you need to know about bronchoscopy.

Monday, November 8, 2021

5 Tips On How To Furnish Your New Home

If you recently moved into a new home, figuring out how to furnish it can be extremely overwhelming. This is especially so if you've moved to a larger home and you don't have enough furniture to fill your rooms. Here are some tops from a reader on how to go about this task.

Moving into a new house is an achievement that one should be proud of. It signifies growth, both financially and mentally as it comes with challenges. It is a courageous step as you will probably be moving into a new neighborhood, you will have to make acquaintances with new neighbors and make new friends.

But let's look at the brighter side of things, your new home is bigger and needs to be furnished. You presumably have fascinating decor ideas as you have been planning and looking forward to the move for a while now. This article guides you on how to solve the challenges of furnishing your new home and achieving your desired home look.

Understanding How Medical Alert Systems Work

As our loved ones get older, we need to start thinking about how to take care of them should something happen. A good way to help keep them safe, as well as keep your mind at ease because you know they'll be able to get help easily is to set up a medical alert system. But how do these work? A reader explains here.

Medical alert systems can give emergency surveillance outside and inside your home. They can help ensure your safety and the well-being of your loved ones. They are engineered to alert an emergency that needs quick attention and to inform emergency medical personal of your predicament.

They are also designed to signal help to caregivers and family members. Once a medical alert system is triggered communication is sent to an alarm monitoring system. The event is then analyzed and if medical experts are needed they are sent through or members of the family are contacted. 

An injury or fall can wreak havoc for an older family member or a vulnerable person you love. Making sure that someone you care about or a family member gets help as soon as possible usually leads to them getting the best possible treatment. Giving your loved one the best medical alert systems must be topical on anyone's home safety checklist. 

How I Clothe My Kids, Attempting to Be Frugal While Respecting Their Feelings

When my kids were younger, clothing them was easy enough. I started off their babyhood with a huge amount of clothing as hand me downs from my then sister in law, both girls' clothes and boys' clothes. This stash of clothing, more or less, lasted me until my kids were nearly 2. What I didn't have I supplemented with clothes from a very cheap used clothing store. My criteria for clothes were basically that they fit, that they were the right gender's clothes (or neutrals), and that they were seasonally appropriate. I spent very little on clothing for them, mostly just warm undershirts and tights.

By the time my kids were around 2 my kids' clothing stash from my sister in law ran out, and I started getting hand me downs from other friends, but that wasn't enough. I supplemented it quite a lot with clothes from the second hand store, but since the local second hand store had items for 25-50 cents each, it really wasn't a big deal. My boys were still too young to care much about what they wore, so I bought whatever was on sale, as long as I thought it looked presentable and nice. 

This continued on until my kids were nearly elementary school aged. Some hand me downs, but very few things from second hand clothes, because boys at that age are really rough on their clothes, and nothing lasted long enough to reach second hand clothing stores. So in addition to the few second hand things we could buy, I also shopped for them at cheap clothing stores, and bought cheap clothes from (specifically the boys' uniform pants).

Friday, November 5, 2021

Smart And Easy Ways To Pay Off Your Debt Faster

Ahhh! Debt is my least favorite four letter word. It makes so many people's lives difficult, haunting them for so long and never letting up. Here are some ways that you can hopefully pay off your debt faster.

Being in debt can be a major cause of constant worry and stress, no matter if you're dealing with a student loan, a mortgage, or credit card debt. According to a recent survey of more than 19,000 American adults, 60 percent said that they feel anxious when thinking about their personal finances. Moreover, the poll reveals that women, young adults, and parents with young children are the most financially anxious among all the participants. Given the connection between debt and stress, it is important to improve money management skills to ward off future financial shocks and have peace of mind. One way to reduce anxiety and stress over money matters is to actively seek ways to pay off your debt as quickly as you can. Here are some smart and easy ways to pay off your debt faster.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Everything You Should Know About Kids And Electrical Safety

We need to use electricity in our lives. But there's no doubt that the usage of electricity poses risks. Especially to little ones. Children are exploratory creatures. They want to learn and discover and see what things are and what happens when I drop something from high up, will it always go down? They learn about the world via playing and that is good, but there are some things we don't want them to play with, because learning lessons with them can be dangerous. Babyproofing and childproofing your house is really important with little kids because of this. (And even sometimes older kids do things with electricity that make you do a double take... )

Electricity is a basic need for survival in the modern world. It gets everything done with a click. From switching on the light to charging your phone, electricity does it all. But one can never foresee the dangers that it brings.

Yes, electricity can be very harmful to you and your loved ones if not used with caution. From your living room to your bedroom to your bathroom, everywhere you have electricity. And when you have kids at home, then you should be even more responsible.

Kids tend to get excited about new things. They want everything regardless of what it is used for. There are times when your kid starts chewing an electric cord or plays with a plug. Thus, you need to be aware of what your child is playing with.

Here are some ways through which you can ensure your kid’s safety from electrical hazards even when you are not around:

5 Common Money Traps and How to Get Out Of Them

We were all young and stupid once. Ok, some people take longer to grow out of it than others, but generally as more mature adults we can look back at things we did in earlier adulthood and wring our hands and say "why did we do that?" If we are lucky, we can just remember and move on, but often when we make mistakes with money, they continue to haunt us, because they can keep us financially trapped.

It really sucks, because we might feel disgruntled that we have to suffer for things we would never do now, but in some ways, making such mistakes helps us in the future, and teaches us important money lessons that we might not have learned otherwise. But still, once we learn our lesson, can't we move on? Why are we still trapped?

Fortunately, despite how upsetting it is to deal with money traps we got into in the past, there are ways to get out of some of them. Here are five common money traps that people fall into, and how you can get out of them.

Monday, November 1, 2021

What To Do If You're Having An Emergency and You Need Immediate Funding

Please have an emergency fund. Please, please, please have an emergency fund. This is one of the most important things in order to be frugal, because without an emergency fund you can get into big financial trouble if you don't have a financial cushion for that. But let's say you don't have an emergency fund, what do you do if you have an emergency and need immediate funding? Here are some things you can do.

Are you facing an emergency and don’t know how to find funding? Maybe something has come up, and you need cash to pay for it? Life can throw a lot of things at us, and emergencies are bound to happen. If you are facing an emergency use the tips below to help you find the money you need.

Need To Update Your Home? A Quick Guide To Do It On The Cheap

If your home needs a bit of a makeover, because things are starting to look problematic, in your opinion, and freshening things up a bit would make your life more enjoyable, there are ways to do it without spending too much money. I did that quite a few years ago, when we were living in our tiny home that I hated, but needed a way for it to make me resent it less. Here are some ways you can do that too.

There comes a time when you look at your home and just want to rip it down and start fresh. But, unfortunately, it is not possible to do this if you have a budget to stick to. If you feel it is time to make some changes to your home, here are some ideas on how to make some upgrades on a budget.