Category Archives: Saving Money

Money Saving March Day 5

money saving marchWelcome to Day 5 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

Well, March is certainly coming in like a lion with yet another winter storm. Today, I think we need an easy money-saving task that will also help improve our homes.

The challenge for today is to go around your home and find at least five things that no longer add meaning to your life. Place these things in a box or a bag and set them aside to either donate or sell. Selling the items may earn you some cash, but if you donate them instead, you can get a write off on your taxes.

After doing this little purge, the items will no longer take up valuable space in our home, so you won’t be paying the square footage just for storing things you don’t really need or want. If you rent a separate storage unit, then today’s challenge can have even more impact. The more clutter you remove from your life, the closer you are to removing the monthly storage fee!

Ready? Set? Go!

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Money Saving March Day 4

money saving marchWelcome to Day 4 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

Welcome to Day 4? How have you been doing so far? For today’s challenge, take a few extra minutes to hang up some laundry instead of tossing it in to the dryer. This does two things as far as saving money. First, hanging laundry or using a rack saves you the money you might have spent on running the dryer (heat-generating appliances are notorious energy hogs). Second, it reduces the wear and tear on your laundry items, extending their life, so you don’t have to replace them as often!

Don’t worry if it isn’t warm enough where you are to hang laundry outside. I like to hang laundry up in my basement during the winter, because the clothes dry fast and they contribute some much-needed humidity to the dry winter indoor air. If you want to hang laundry on a regular basis, invest in a good quality drying rack that can be folded out-of-the-way when not in use.

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Money Saving March Day 3

money saving marchWelcome to Day 3 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

Day 3 is here. Our challenge for today is to bake something from scratch. Now, now, don’t panic. Baking from scratch doesn’t have to time-consuming or difficult. Just pick a simple recipe and go for it. Skip the hand-cut apple pie and make a batch of muffins or some granola, instead.

Why do we want to get into the habit of baking from scratch at least once in a while? It really saves money, especially when we substitute our own baked goods for the expensive breakfast cereal or lunchbox snacks.

bunny rolls

Today, I’m going to give those cute bunny rolls that are all over Facebook a try, using my own Bread Machine Dinner Rolls recipe.  I’m hoping that they don’t come out looking like deranged turtles instead. Ah, the kids won’t care, right?

Wish me luck, and I’ll do the same for you for whatever baking you decide to tackle today!

Ready? Set? Go!

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Money Saving March Day 2

money saving marchWelcome to Day 2 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

For our second challenge, we need to go around the house and find all of those unused gift cards! You know the ones we get for birthdays, holidays and rebates? The typical family has at least couple of hundred dollars worth of unused gift cards lying around.

Some of the typical places where unused gift cards hide include wallets and purses, junk drawers, stacks of mail, dresser drawers, etc.

Once we have gathered up our gift cards, we are going to put them in a safe, accessible place, so the next time we go shopping, we can use these cards instead of paying by cash or credit card. In my home, I use a simple but pretty cardboard box that is labeled “Free Money.” It is very visible, so I know to check the box before I leave the house on a shopping trip. You might want to keep your gift cards in a separate wallet, a business card holder, in the car, or whatever works for you.

To keep the motivation going, add up the dollar value of all of the cards you find and then post your total!

Ready? Set? Go!

* Update: I just found out that in some states, if your gift card has a balance of less than $10, the store that issued the card must pay out the balance in cash if requested.

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Money Saving March

money saving marchWelcome to Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. Isn’t that something we all can use right now?

Along the way, we’ll discover some new ways to save, establish great money-saving habits, and have a little cash left over.

Each daily challenge will take no more than 15 minutes to complete!

For the first challenge, we need to get out a pad or notebook and a pencil and jot down at least three things you would do if you had some extra money around. It is okay to jot down as many ideas as you like, but to complete the challenge, narrow your list down to just three and prioritize them. We’ll be looking at the list all month as a way to keep us motivated.

Ready? Set? Go!

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Finding Time to Cook

This post originally appeared on Families.com

When life gets busy, cooking at home is usually one of the first things to go. It is tough to find the time to cook, when there is work, school, kids activities, etc., isn’t it? Eating out becomes the normal thing to do. Unfortunately, eating out can be both expensive and unhealthy, especially if it is continued over time. Because of these two facts, effort must be made to do most of the cooking at home. So where do we find the time to cook?

Track the Time Commitment

Eating out can actually take more time than you think, unless you are on an all-drive-thru diet. The next time you do eat out, track the time it takes, from the moment you get in the car to the moment your meal is actually served. You might be surprised. If it takes more than 15 minutes total (oh, and add in the travel time back to your home), then you may actually be spending more time eating out than you would cooking at home since there are a plethora of recipes out there that require only 15 minutes or less.

Get the Kids Involved

Many hands make light work, so get the whole family involved in preparing the meal. It will give you all a chance to be together, too, reinforcing family bonds. Give each member of the family at least one task, even if it is just pouring frozen vegetables into a dish before microwaving.

Use Simple Ingredients and Recipes

You don’t have to create an entire gourmet meal every time you cook at home. A simple casserole, a pasta dish, burgers…it’s all good. Just try to get the food groups in and you’ll be fine. Simple ingredients and recipes can make for quick easy meals.

Do Prep Work Whenever

The next time you are on the phone for an extended time, use a headset or place it on speaker phone and go and do some dinner prep. Chop vegetables during TV commercials. Add some marinade to frozen chicken and place it in the fridge while you are waiting for your tea to steep.

The point is to do prep work in pieces, whenever you have time. Then when it is time to make the actual meal, there will be less to do, and you won’t have missed those bits of time that you spent on the prep work.

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TVP Saves Money

save moneySince it is Friday, I thought it would be a good time to share a money-saving tip about using TVP. We often get tired of cooking by Friday and want something quick and easy for dinner.

TVP, or texturized vegetable protein is quick to cook, full of protein and very cheap. Often used as a meat substitute, TVP can extend many meals, providing nutrition for very little money.  TVP comes dried, so it lasts practically forever. You can purchase it at your local natural food store or even a chain such as Whole Foods. You can get it in a non-GMO version, which basically means that it hasn’t been genetically modified, as so many of our plant and vegetable products usually are.

Tonight, I’m putting my money (or should I save savings) where my mouth is and using some TVP to make healthy, vegetarian and really cheap Sloppy Joes. Since I am also making homemade buns thanks to my bread machine, the meal is literally costing us less than $5 to feed our family of five, and that includes a can of ready-made Sloppy Joe sauce and some frozen veggies on the side.

What is your favorite ingredient to use to save money?

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