Saturday, January 21, 2012

5 Ways to 'Slim Down' and Save This Year

How are the New Years Resolutions going?  
What resolutions? 
Yeah me too.  
I have been pretty good lately about saving money though.  Soooo... may I just back up a few weeks and say that my New Years Resolution is to find 5 ways to save money and share them with you? 
I can? 

#1 Get on a Meal Plan

There are tons of resources online to help plan your weekly and monthly menus (like E-Mealz or OnceAMonthMom) .  We have been using since this past summer.  I can't even begin to tell you how much more effective of a Mother I am when  I follow this  plan.   Not only does it save us money on Groceries (about $300 per month!) but it saves our time (which = priceless).  One of my strategies with OAMM  is to find a meal plan and print out their grocery list a month ahead of time. I then use a couponing site like  SouthernSavers  or TheGroceryGame.  When my list items go on sale, I pounce.

If you aren't cooking once a month, you are losing time!
Here is what I figured I save every month on time:
5 hours a month on UN-focused grocery shopping.
2 hours a month on last minute dinner grocery shopping.
4 hours a month menu planning, recipe searching, grocery list making.
1 -2 hours every day considering, preparing and cooking breakfast lunch and dinner
= at least 41 hours per month!

Annual Savings $3,600 and 492 hours.

 #2 Make Your Own Laundry Detergent


I have started making my own laundry detergent by using these instructions on Yellow Brick Home.   I figure it costs me about $12 for 6 months of this stuff.  I add one heaping tablespoon to my washing and my clothes come out smelling simple and clean.  The Hubbs loves the smells that arise when I mix this stuff, and always asks if I can sprinkle it around the house.  If I'm feeling squirrely, and I have a coupon, I add Purex Crystals to the mix.  You can request coupons (every 4 months) for Felz Naptha, Borax, and Purex by calling the Henkel/Dial home office at 1-888-468-6673.

I'm exited to try this Peppermint Laundry Soap  from SouleMama too.

#3 DIY Home Repair was I talking about?

We are well aware that we can learn how to DIY almost anything by opening up our trusty old laptop.  Make sure to use this wealth of knowledge for the good of our homes (or maybe just to be able to tell your husband, "Hey -I've got it covered here on the home front, why don't you get back to the office and come home when I need a back rub or to make a baby!")

Be sure to check out  Family Handy Man.  I have yet to come up with a project that I couldn't look up on this site.  If you need some pro-woman and hilarious motivation go see Karen over at The Art of Doing Stuff she will knock your socks off.

If you have a question, go to Just Answer, they saved my tail on a washing machine repair last year.  Earlier I got a quote from my local Sears for $120 to come out and look at my machine, and that didn't include labor ($80 per hour), or the part.  I went on to Just Answer and they linked me up with an online expert.  He diagnosed my problem right away, answered my bajillion skeptical questions,  gave me a link to the cheapest place for the part I needed, found a local place that could get it in for me, and walked me through installing it.  It cost me $25 for the inquiry, and I only had to pay if I was completely satisfied with my answer, which of course I was!  In the end I saved $175 dollars!

#4 Ditch Cable or Satellite

This was an easy one for me.  I have had a bad run with poor service and insane rates from the only providers in my area.  Monopoly anyone?  We have gone to a combo of Hulu Plus (7.99 per month) and  Netflix (7.99 per month).  We use Xbox Live for streaming, others use their Wii or PS3 . If you don't already have one of these systems, used ones are popping up on Craigslist for cheap.  

Also, if I get bored with these offerings, there is no obligation.  I can check out some of the other streaming, rental and device options like:
Apple TV   

#5 Make the Final Switch to CFLs

a little tidbit from 

ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs pay for themselves in about 6 months. Then they start paying you back.

Start small

Change one bulb — save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb.
Change 5 bulbs — save $200 or more over the lifetime of the bulbs..
For the best payback use ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs in the fixtures you leave on the longest.

Think big

The average household has approximately 30 light fixtures.
How many light bulbs can you change to ENERGY STAR qualified models in your home?

Many of you have switched already, we have just moved so we have tons of old light bulbs to replace.  I found out that  Duke will send you a box of CFLs for free if you have an account with them.


I hope one of these money saving tips will help your family stash a little cash for the New Year.   I'd love to hear about some of the ways your family saves too.

Save more, play more,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

To My Grown Up Son

I have been holding on to this sweet poem I found over at Magical Childhood for a while.  Lately, I haven't been able to peel Camden off of me.  He seems to need more from me than usual.  I'm often feeling guilty after his bedtime when I start to miss him.  Today, in the middle of rehabilitating our poor house from the holidays, I uncovered these words.  It's amazing what comes across your path at just the right time.            

                To My Grown Up Son 

                      My hands were busy through the day
                          I didn’t have much time to play
                          The little games you asked me to.
                          I didn’t have much time for you.

                          I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,
                          But when you’d bring your picture book
                          And ask me, please, to share your fun,
                          I’d say, ‘A little later, son.’

                          I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
                          And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
                          Then tiptoe softly to the door.
                          I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

                          For life is short, and years rush past,
                          A little boy grows up so fast.
                          No longer is he at your side.
                          His precious secrets to confide.

                          The picture books are put away,
                          There are no children’s games to play,
                          No good night kiss, no prayers to hear.
                          That all belongs to yesteryear.

                          My hands once busy, now lie still
                          The days are long and hard to fill.
                          I wish I might go back and do
                          The little things you asked me to.
                                                   - by Alice E. Chase

Friday, January 6, 2012

Valentine's Recap

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself this year for Valentine's Day.  Man does Pinterest make that nearly impossible!  Something about decorating and crafting for Valentines... it's sweet and more approachable than the major holiday craziness we just went through.  I'm going to hold off for a few more days, but here is a recap of a few of the crafts The Family did last year:

Click on the project you'd like to see:

Maybe I'll check Pinterest out for some Groundhog's Day stuff instead. for now.


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