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Posts Tagged ‘Save’

Happy Feet

Yesterday, I returned home after 17 days volunteering in the North West Territories. My feet were in need of special attention.  Once again, I gave myself a pedicure. It really is quite simple and inexpensive.

 Follow these steps :

1). Soak your feet 10 minutes in Epsom salts. Remove old polish.

2). Exfoliate with a scrub – (there are many homemade recipes online)

3). Clean, trim and shape nails

4). Apply lotion

5) Optional – apply a few coats of polish (light pink looks clean and natural)

To keep it up – lather your feet with lotion before you go to bed.  Any lotion will do. Put on cotton socks and leave them on overnight.  If your feet are very dry and cracked add Vaseline to your lotion or use Vaseline by itself.   Each time you shower or bath, use a pumice stone on your heels and rough spots. You can exfoliate at this time also. Do not try to remove all dry skin at one time.

If you keep this up, you will have pretty feet year round.


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One way I like to save money is by cutting down on spending. Sometimes it’s easier than trying to earn more money. I’d like to encourage you to take some time now and then to review what you’re spending your money on. Evaluate your needs and decide if you still need the services you’re paying for. Maybe there’s a better option. You might wish to reduce clutter &/consumption. I’ve been doing a bit of housekeeping in this area lately. I’ve made changes to the places our money goes. I’ve got less going out and more staying in my pocket – the difference is about 3700.00 per year. In the past 3 months, I’ve reviewed my home business expenses as well as my personal spending. Here’s what I’ve done and how much I’m saving per year per item.

  1. Discontinued Newspaper, I’m now reading news online. 204.00.
  2. Discontinue Cable TV, I’m now using Over the Air (antenna), Netflix; and the internet for programs. 670.00.
  3. Business Cell Phone Plan, removed long distance calling feature. I am now using Skype for long distance calls on the cell. I have a calling card as backup.  780.00.
  4. Business LAN line, changed supplier. 722.00.
  5. Fax line, changed supplier. 230.00.
  6. Installed Water Meter, I am now paying for the water we use in our home rather than a flat rate. 1116.00.

I hope I’ve inspired you to have a look at your spending/consumption. With a few changes maybe your retirement will grow faster;  or you can go on a vacation sooner; or you could donate the extra dollars to a charity.

I can’t say enough about Skype (or other online telecommunication services). It is so cheap – my plan is under 3.00 per month. I use it for my personal and business long distance calling. I have it installed on my iPod touch and my husband’s iPhone. I’ve installed it on every computer I own. Skype soon will be the only telecommunication service I have in our business office.

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You know it is so much fun to find an old piece of furniture and give it new life. I found 4 chairs at a thrift store for 5.00 total. The local hardware store had few paint choices but we found suitable paint. My husband lightly sanded them and I painted them (royal blue).  In about 12 hours we had great looking chairs in our weekend place. The chairs can be used around  a kitchen table; in the corner of a bedroom; or anywhere extra seating is needed.  It is so simple to refinish things. Just give it a try.

(Chair as purchased at thrift store)

(Light sanding)

(Enamel paint)

( 4th coat of paint)

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I really like to pay attention to how I spend money and I encourage you to do the same.  I could spend a lot on decorating the home, if I were not careful. Over the years, I’ve begun to acquire a few furniture pieces through  consignment or second hand. For me, furniture consignment/ second hand shopping keeps the cost of upgrading down and therefore savings up. Read on to learn about a few successful purchases I have made.

While browsing around a furniture consignment store a few years ago  my husband and I found a brand new  ‘Snuggler’.  It was the perfect replacement for our existing well used love seat.  We located the same piece in the manufacturers store for much more. We saved about 1600.00.

With fewer of us around the table,  I began looking for a something smaller.  I found the perfect glass top bistro type table online for $20.00.  Were I to purchase this new, I would have paid over 100.00.

 If you are not furniture consignment/second hand shopping, I urge you to consider this. You will be amazed at the quality you can find at a good price. If you’re successful you’ll be able to keep your hard earned money for something else like: retirement savings; child’s education; or a vacation. A word of caution – you need to plan and have patience.

P.S. Consignment stores are a good place to find art and accessories for the home.

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I’ve been making and using my own laundry soap for two years now.  I thought it was a good time to give an update.  I am still very happy with the soap, it cleans very well; is quick to make; and my cost is under 15.00 per year.  Many of my friends have tried it and liked it.

If you are not making your own soap, I hope you give it a try.

Here is a link to my original post. https://flourishnow.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/homemade-laundry-soap/.

Ingredients

– 1 cup grated Sunlight bar soap – about 1/2 a bar (cost 2.00 for 2 bars)

– 2 cups boiling water

– 1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (cost for one box about 5.00)

– 1 cup Borax (cost for one box about 5.00)

– 1 gallon of warm water (16 cups or 4.55 litres)

Method

-grate 1 cup bar soap and melt in 2 cups boiling water, stir until melted

-once melted pour into big pot (I used a canning pot)

-add 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup Borax

-stir together – until dissolved

-add 1 gallon warm water (16 cups or 4.55 litres)

-stir until mixed well

-pour into empty laundry containers or a big pail

-use 1/4 cup per load – cold/warm/hot water

-shake or stir each time you use

One batch makes about 6 litres (roughly 1 1/2 US gallons) and costs about 2.00 per batch – maybe less.  You will have enough ingredients to make many batches. I filled a little more than 3 – 1.89 litre laundry jugs for less than a dollar per jug.  As you can see it is pennies per load. The batch may go gel like and clumpy, this is normal. Shake well with each use. Pre treat stains before washing.

–  sud less

– can be used in HE washer

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I can’t say enough about ‘ to do’ lists or ‘lists’ in general. That’s because I’m simply better organized, at home and at work, when I use one. I transfer things from my mind to a list.  I save time (and money) because with a list,  I’m not being pokey. Otherwise, I go from this to that and I don’t really accomplish much.  Lists help me prioritize too. My recent lists have included: Thanksgiving dinner, fall gardening,  and clients to contact this week. I keep a daily list too.  It’s for things that  I dont want to fall through the cracks like: meditation, exercise,  call a friend, or pick up library books.   Today I came across this amazing online tool called Wunderlist, maybe you’ve heard of it.  It’s very easy to use and it’s FREE.  Starting today, I’m managing my tasks from my home computer, office computer and my iPod Touch.  If you’re like me, always looking for ways to stay organized, give this a try.  I think you’ll like it. Have a nice day. Linda

                                                                                (Wunderlink screen)

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One component of budgeting that has worked really well for us  is the envelop system.  As our lives change  – our envelops change.  At present, the envelops include: groceries, gas, recreation, gifts, and vacation home. These are areas where we could easily overspend if we were not paying with cash. We’ve had other envelops but with life changes; online banking; and pre approved bank withdrawals we’ve cut back on the quantity of envelops. Here is how we use envelops: At the beginning of the month, after we review our budget, we put the allocated cash amounts into envelops. We spend only what is in the envelop. This keeps us from overindulging and we make better decisions about using our money.   No matter how much money is available (or not) we stick to our budget and this system.  It has allowed us to build savings and better use money – for over 20 years now.

Other envelop categories we have used over the years have included: dog expenses; school fees; recreation; hair cuts; etc.

When our girls each turned 12 years old, we put them on this system to teach them how to use money.  We gave them a monthly allowance and set them up with envelops. The categories were recreation, saving, charity, & clothing.  They put 10 % each into savings and charity. The other amounts depended on the circumstances. We allowed them to ‘rob’ from any envelop but not savings or charity. For example, if they needed extra clothing they were permitted to take from recreation. Once our girls started to earn their own money, they each wandered from this system. They’re now returning to it as they mature and have more financial responsibilities.

This system is so easy to use, I hope you give it a try. Linda

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An easy; fast; and inexpensive DIY decorating project that I have tried, and that has worked out very well, is sewing cushion covers. Cushions add a new look to any room instantly.  I went through a phase of buying various cushions, but storage became a problem. I decided to sew a few covers to put over existing cushions. Now, when I change the covers for a new look, I store the unused covers in a drawer. Having made a few sets now, I am really pleased with the outcome. Also, I purchase the fabric at the end of a season in order to get a good price. Here are easy instructions to change the look of a room quickly:

Supplies

Sewing machine

Pillow form – or use an existing cushion

Thread to match fabric

Fabric – Front – upholstery fabric.

Fabric – Back – upholstery fabric.

Velcro

Note: when pressing fabric, do not place iron directly on the fabric. Place a t-towel on the fabric and iron the t-towel – to prevent damaging the upholstery fabric.

Measure:

Measure your pillow form or cushion and subtract one inch from the length and width measurement (to allow for a snug fit). For example, if your form/cushion is 16 X 16 then subtract one inch from the length and width for tight fit (15 X 15). Add ½ inch to each side for seam allowance (16 X 16). We are back to the original measurement.  Add 7  inches to the back piece (for the overlap). Using the above example, the dimensions will be 16 X 16 for one front piece and 16 X 23 for one back piece. Cut your fabric to the correct dimensions.

Form the overlap (opening) in the BACK fabric:


Fold the back piece in half.  Iron to form a crease. Using the above example again, the measurement is now 16 X 11 ½ when folded.  Cut fabric in half along the crease. You now have 2 pieces of back fabric -16 X 11 ½ inches each.  Fold the 11 ½ inch right side under ½ inches to wrong side. Sew down.  Fold right side under another 1 inch to wrong side. Sew. Press. Repeat for the other 16 X 11 ½ piece. You now have 2 back pieces measuring 16 X 10. Place one back piece over the other back piece – right sides together. Overlap the 1 “seams at the centre, until the two pieces together now measure 16 X 16 “- not 16 X 20.   Pin. Baste together. (This forms the opening in the back of the back piece).


Complete –

With right sides together, sew front 16 X 16 piece to back 16 X 16 piece – ½ “ seam.  Trim corners. Push out corners with knitting needle or pencil.

Press. Turn to right side. Press.  Determine where you would like to place the Velcro for the closure. Pin in place. Sew. Insert your form/cushion. Close. The cover should be a little snug. You are done.

(Velcro – I used 2 strips on 2” for each cushion)

Variation – if you would like to make a cover without an opening then follow these instructions.

Measure your pillow form with a tape measure. Do not rely on the measurement on the packaging. Subtract ½ inch from each side (to allow for a snug fit). For example, if your form/cushion is 16 X 16 then subtract ½ inch from the length and width for tight fit (15 X 15). With right sides together sew ½ inch seam all around. I like to use a very small zigzag. Leave about an 8 inch opening (a space large enough to stuff your form/cushion inside).  Trim corners. Push out corners with knitting needle or pencil. Press. Turn cover to right side.  Press. Stuff form/cushion into cover. Work cushion down to corners. Hand sew opening closed.  You’re done.

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I’m wondering if you’re making your own general purpose cleaner.  I’ve been using this mixture for sometime now and I really like it. I like to keep bottles in the kitchen, bathroom and shower.  It’s inexpensive; easy to make; smells nice; and cleans wonderfully. I think you’ll like it if you give it a try.

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsp Borax

½ tsp liquid dish soap

2 cups hot water

Mix and put in spray bottles

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I really enjoy cleaning the glass and mirrors in my home weekly. I feel the house looks so much brighter with the added shine.  I also use glass cleaner on fixtures in the bathrooms for a nice sparkle.  I have made my own glass cleaner for many years. It is so simple; convenient; and inexpensive. Here is what you need:

¼ tsp of liquid detergent

3 tablespoons of vinegar

2 cups of water

Mix and pour into spray bottle

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Ladies, it is so easy to have your jewelry looking nice all the time. Just soak it in jewelry cleaner for a few minutes; scrub with a very soft toothbrush; rinse with cold water; and dry with a soft clothe. Jewelry looks so much nicer when it is clean .  Here is a recipe that I have been using for over 20 years. Use it on gold, silver and costume jewelry. I have been told not to put gemstones in homemade cleaner.  I make a new batch about once a year. Give this cleaner and try, I am sure you will like it.  Shine on. Linda

2 TBSP liquid dish soap

½ tsp ammonia

1 cup water

Mix and store.

Once a year, at Christmas time,  I take my wedding rings to the jewelers for a professional cleaning – it a free service.

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Just over a year ago, I bought a floor steamer/sanitizer mop.  I have to say, this is one of the best home purchases I’ve made.   For about 18 months now, I have been cleaning my floors (linoleum and hardwood) with water only. The very first time I used the steamer/sanitizer; my youngest daughter came in the house and said ‘wow, the floors look great mom’. In the beginning, I found it difficult to push the mop back and forth. The pads  seemed to grip the floor.  In time, and after about 4 uses, the pads were not so dirty and the mop was far easier to push – because the build up of residue was finally removed. Since using this steamer/sanitizer, I wash my floors less often as they stay cleaner longer. Ladies, consider making the switch to a floor steamer/ sanitizer. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but you will save money by not buying floor cleaners  and your will save time by cleaning your floors less often. Have a great day. Linda


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Do you have a list of your freezer contents in your kitchen? I like to keep one right on my fridge. This way, I know what is in the freezer when I am planning a meal or menu. We try to remember to update the list as we use things. My husband usually creates a new list every couple of weeks. Creating a list saves time and money. If you are not using a list, I hope you start soon.

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Ladies, are you using dryer balls? If not, I am sure you will like the results if you begin. When I use my electric dryer, I have found that dryer balls reduce drying time, soften fabrics and reduce wrinkles. They work by lifting and separating clothes/towels/sheets….allowing air to flow more efficiently. Dryer balls reduce the amount of energy used and therefore save money on the energy bill.  Some contain PVC and others do not. They are a little noisy, so beware.  I use them during the day when I will not bother anyone in my family. Give them a try; I am sure will be happy.

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Hello Ladies. Since leaving the big city for a simpler life in a small village, my sister has begun making her own cleaners. She found her recipes online and altered them according to her likes. Once she listed her  store bought kitchen and bathroom cleaners and she had 28  in total.  Her all purpose cleaners and laundry soaps are now replaced by 2 homemade products. Recently, she introduced me to homemade laundry soap.  I made my first batch of laundry soap in late January 2010. The day after making it, I used it. I was really surprised how nice my colors came out. My husband said his white t-shirts look whiter and my daughter believes her clothes are softer. I have had no concerns whatsoever with this laundry soap. My laundry looks great.  I am also saving so much money as it costs so little. I recently had a few friends over and we made some together. They are trying it for the first time. I am sure they will be very pleased. If you are not making your own soap, I hope you give it a try. Here are the instructions: (more…)

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Hello Ladies, this morning I was thinking about how important it is to learn to get by on less. There will be periods when we have a smaller amount of cash available. I am referring to times when we are experiencing cut backs – possibly due to loss of income, unforeseen expenses or nearing retirement.  Please do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the situation but do your best to be content.  If you are married, do not let this come between you and your husband.  Use the resources you have wisely.  Taking care of your family, yourself and your home can be done on less with a little creativity. Entertainment can become very inexpensive also.  The possibilities for reducing really are endless. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful. (more…)

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For many years I have benefited from menu planning.  I save time, money and I waste little food.  I started planning menus about 20 years ago when my girls were very young.  Menu planning is quite simple & if you write down your menus you can reuse them. I base my menus mainly on what is available in my pantry and deep freeze. I tend to buy items on sale and then use when I plan my menu. My local grocery store offers 10% off the first Tuesday of the month. I do my larger shop at this time. When life was fuller, I planned breakfast, lunch and supper meals. Now, I plan main meals only when I am at home. When I travel and have a kitchen available, I include three meals on my menu.

Here is a main meal  sample menu:    (more…)

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