Some Great Tips on How to Save Money Part 2

28. Stop Running After Brands

Tonight there will be a little get together at your place. You want to use the best snacks in the party. Now, in the hurry of attaining the best do not go for costly brand names. It would be much reasonable and sensible, if you go for generic items. You can convert general green beans into something special, by adding a small quantity of butter, salt and pepper. No one can guess whether it is a generic item of low cost or label item of much higher cost. Try this at home and check out the huge difference between both prices.

Moreover, several brand companies are behind the manufacturing of generic brands. They only change the name of the generic brand that they are manufacturing. There are several companies doing the same thing. Thus, act sensibly and do not run after brand. Your this act show your intelligence and care for money.

29. Entertainment – Free of Cost

These days entertainment is really becoming costly, whether it is going for a movie or any amusement park. Thus, most of us prefer to be at home. Is there any other option that can convert our boredom to enjoyment, without being too costly? Yes, there are several options. This weekend, instead of watching television at home, go at your nearest police station for a “ride-a-long”, i.e. when the police officer respond to the real calls, accompany him. Attend free exercise classes, dancing and music classes, poetry readings in coffee shops offered by the community colleges. You can also attend concerts organized in certain areas that will cost nothing. To find out their venue and time, check out the newspaper and your college.

30. Old is Gold

Mostly, we throw away our old clothes or the replacement of old home appliances with new ones mean, throwing out the old ones. We treat old and worn out things of our home as garbage. If this so-called ‘garbage’ is sold on a consignment shop, you can get a good price for it. So, get up, collect all the old things lying at home, and earn money by selling them. It could be books, toys, movies and clothes. Moreover, there are many online consignment shops also available.

31. Best Out of Waste

There are several things in our house, which are not in use for a long time. They are like junk for us. It could be an old transistor, an old hat, makeup kit, sports kit, gardening tools or any clothes. Make a list of all these items and collect them. You can sell these items online. Just log on to any of the related websites. See the amount you have earned from the selling of junk. Do not waste this amount. Save it in your account and see the considerable growth in your savings. This is the finest example of ‘Best out of Waste’. So, do not waste your time and start collecting all the useless things in your house.

32. Friendly Cell Phones

Take care of your hard-earned money with an intelligent investment. Mobile phones are one of the greatest inventions of recent times. It encompasses some very interesting features, such as free long distance, call waiting, call forward, SMS, caller-ID, voicemail and many more. Thus, these are able to serve several purposes as compared to the ordinary phone. Moreover, they are reasonably priced. So, do not waste your hard-earned money on paying bills of two telephones, and act intelligently.

33. Know Your Rights

Most of the hospitals take to overcharging the patients. Costs of the medicines or other products are almost double, as compared to the normal rates. Always take care while purchasing medicines or going through the medical bills. Your alertness can save a lot of your hard-earned money. You can also take legal action against the hospital for overcharging.

Similarly, if a doctor is overcharging, you should stop him from this act. Often doctors add extra charges to the bills for the products, which they have already declared free of cost. Take additional care while going through the bills and save your money. There is one “Professional Courtesy”; many of us are unaware of this term. This is for those patients, who are facing financial troubles and are unable to pay the bill. They can ask doctor about it and he will provide them sufficient help.

34. Holiday Trips

Plan your visit within your budget. For more excitement, you may decide to visit a few countries, but that may be very expensive. Why not plan out, look around where you live and consider an exciting road trip that could be educating as well as cost effective.

35. Maintenance

Check out a list of annual maintenance your home demands on various heads. Such as air conditioner, heater, hot water heater, etc. Be patient and work on a level where you can save unnecessary expenses. Get your air conditioner tuned annually. If you do not, then you may face an air conditioner breakdown and consequent higher repair costs.

36. Repair than Replace

If you are planning to buy a new couch for your home, think again. A new couch can put a heavy dent on your bank balance. Repairing your old couch will do the trick and save you a handsome amount. Replacing the cushions and slip-cover will make your couch look as good as new at a considerably lower cost. Similarly, if you find any of the appliances not working to your satisfaction, curb the urge to replace it. Get a repair estimate. May be all your appliance needs is some service and cleaning, which will cost you only a fraction of what a new piece would cost.

37. Eating out

Dining out could be highly expensive. Stop the practice at length. Look back for options. If you go through the Sunday paper, you will find a lot of special bargains. You may consider about signing up as mystery shopper on the internet, and can avail of eating in a fine restaurant free just for writing a report on food, service and cleanliness.

38. Plan Your Menus

Planning out a week’s menu once saves you from a lot of botheration and saves money also. If you know exactly what to buy matching your menu, it would help you to buy food that can be used more than once.

39. Saving Money – A Joint Venture

If you are married, then see that you and your spouse are working at the same wavelength when it comes to saving money. Your effort at saving may be offset, if your spouse is a lavish spender. Saving to be effective in the family has to be a joint venture.

40. Software

To keep a fine track of your debts and credits, you need to have effective and helping software, which would serve your purpose to look after you accounts. You may be able to find some free download version.

41. Enjoy life, Be Satisfied

It is basically for you to know that the reality of living life happily is in being with nature not in the company of possessions. Whenever you feel the urge to splurge, instead walk off to a nearby park and enjoy yourself in the lap of nature among trees.

42. Live in Tune With Your Means

Everyone desires to have everything in life. At times, this is not possible. May be the quickest way to have every thing beyond your means is to get into debt. But this is not the way to live life. Make sure of your financial position and enjoy life accordingly. The more you live life on debts, the more you stand to save less.

43. Save for Your Retirement

You may have to change your spending habits and be more prudent saving-wise. The more you restrict unnecessary spending, the more you will save for a retired life. Life expectancy is going up owing to medical inventions. So, you will need all the money to have a comfortable retired life.

44. Video and DVDs For the Family

Go for already viewed videos and DVDs at half price from major video chains. You may also try the other option of recording your own movies from the TV or from channels like HBO, Disney etc. You may create a theater type atmosphere at home, have your popcorn, manage a soda, spread a blanket and enjoy your home theater with your family.

45. Friends at Dinner

Whenever you have friends over dinner, have them share recipes. Let each family bring along some dish, and enjoy a great weekend sharing each other’s cooking. You can save a lot of money that way.

46. Friendly Exchanges on the Internet

Have more conversation time with the help of internet instant messaging system. You can also download a program to connect a micro phone and have voice conversation free. Your expenses remain normal as you pay for the price of internet.

47. Distance Calling

If you are planning out long distance calling, select the right carrier only. You may find a carrier for less money because of the competition. Check the plan and go for the right option. Be very sure about the coverage area offered, because it would be useless if you cannot send or receive messages.

48. Foods You can Freeze

Mostly people do not ever care to know that a number of items can be frozen. You can even freeze eggs. Set the eggs in room temperature when ready to use. When you find apples on sale, make apple pies and freeze them. Many other food items can be frozen easily. This way you can make good saving.

49. Discount Books

You may purchase a discount coupon book, which is nominally priced. Have a look at the options provided therein and exercise your choice accordingly. You can save hundreds of dollars following the discount coupon book.

50. Make Your Own Baby Food

You can make your own baby food. Visit the vegetable market and buy some fresh vegetables such as peas, corn, green beans and more. Have it run through the blender, and freeze it. When feed time approaches, treat your to wholesome and healthy food after defrosting the stored vegetable blend. You can save a lot of money, as over the counter baby food is expensive.

51. Carrying Own Food to Ball Games

If you are a keen ball games spectator, you will agree that edibles inside the stadium come at a price. Carrying food from home can cut down on your expenses considerably. However, make sure beforehand that the stadium authorities allow spectators to bring their own stuff.

52. Put a Stop to Smoking

Smoking is a habit that is the hardest to get rid of. You will do a great favor to your health and pocket, if you can manage to quit smoking. You are not only squandering away a good part of your money, but are also ensuring that you will spend a lot more on future medical expenses by promoting ill health.

53. Change that Adds Up

Keeping change in a piggy bank as a kid was meant to inculcate in you the habit of saving. You need a piggy bank today too. Drop all the change in it when you come home. This way you can do handsome saving very fast.

54. Move on to Online Freebies

Have a look at the freebie sites to find out sample items for cosmetics, books, clothing etc. These items mostly have no shipping charges. Shipping charges, if any, are minimal. Fill a form you and receive sample size soups lotions, shampoos and conditioners, etc, which are ideal for a traveler.

Dave Clark is a experienced article writer and has been in the industry for many years, he has written many books and is very knowledgeable in various fields, Dave also works for Cushy Sofa a supplier of Memory Foam Sofas, Memory Foam Mattresses, Memory Foam Toppers, Memory Foam Pillows and Divans

Simple Steps to a GREAT Organic Vege Garden

Ever thought about gardening organically, but thought it was too hard? Growing vegetables organically is a healthy and satisfying way to garden, as can be cheaper than conventional gardening with chemicals and sprays.

The first step to building a successful organic vege garden is choosing the right location. Vegetables like shelter from the wind and full sun, and good drainage. It is also important to keep your garden close to a water supply, or within a hose-length. Planning out your garden on paper before you begin is also a good idea so you know what you want to plant, and where.

Preparing your soil:
The key to a successful organic garden is good soil. Ideally, it’s best to start with clean soil but if your soil is difficult or contaminated, then you can use raised vegetable beds to make sure your plants have the best start possible.

Most garden centers now sell a range of organic seeds, or you can buy seeds on line. There are also a number of heritage plants which are often disease resistant that you may want to consider.
To prepare the soil before planting, it is best to feed it with your home made fertilizers. If this will take too long then you can buy good, organic fertilizer in most garden shops. Add your fertilizer at least three weeks before planting to allow the fertilizer to fully break down and integrate into your soil.

Planting:
Most seed packets clearly show when to plant your seeds in the area in which you live, and how to care for your plants. It is best to follow these instructions to ensure a vigorous, thriving crop. If you plant your seeds outside their optimal growing period then they will either fail to germinate or bolt straight to seed, which is both disappointing and frustrating.

Irrigation:
Organic gardens need plenty of water as plants which are stressed through lack of water become vulnerable to disease. A thorough, soaking water every few days in summer should be sufficient to look after your plants, if you haven’t had rain. The water needs to penetrate the soil deeply to help the root structure develop deeply and vigorously. If you do not water the soil thoroughly the roots will reach for the moisture at the surface, creating weak, vulnerable plants.

Using organic mulch:
Organic mulch is an important aspect of gardening during summer as it helps protect the plants from water loss, and suppresses weeds. It also feeds your soil as it breaks down.

Hay, grass clippings and bark chips are all excellent mulches. It’s important however to make sure that if you use a permanent mulch like bark that your soil is not too damp in winter. This can cause your plants to rot and wither.

Pest Control:
While gardeners love the idea of growing organically, most worry about how to control pests. This is often a reason why many gardeners return to chemical controls for the garden. There are a range of organic pest control options that function well, including companion planting, home made organic pest sprays, manual maintenance and physical barriers.

These methods might require a little more effort from the gardener but they are tried and true, and cost effective to make.

If you follow the guidelines above you will be rewarded with flourishing, healthy and strong vegetables, free from chemicals and artificial sprays. And what could be better than that?

Fi McMurray is a garden enthusiast and author who has been gardening organically for 10 years. She has been involved with 2 award-winning gardens at the prestigious Ellerslie International Flower Show in Auckland, New Zealand.

Her latest book is “An Introduction to Successful Organic Gardening”, which joins her previous books “Successful Rose Gardening” and “Secrets to a Thriving Herb Garden”. You can find out more about Fi’s books at her website, www.fimcmurray.com

Fi lives north of Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband and two small children.

Neem A Great Natural Organic Fertiliser

One of the most humble, yet useful trees in the world is neem.  Neem is a very simple-looking tree, but despite its appearance, it has many practical uses.  It is part of the Mahogany family and has many names.  Neem is the first of the two species of Azadirachta, a genus of flowering plants.  Neem is a tree native mostly to South Asia; however, it can basically grow anywhere, as long as the weather is tropical.  Neem is also a great natural organic fertilizer; you can use it if you want to make your garden healthier and lusher.  Aside from being effective as a fertiliser, it is also safe for the environment because it is 100% natural.

At first glance, you might think that neem is nothing but a simple plant with small and lovely blooms.  This is true, of course, if all you will do is look at it.  But the value of neem is greater than that.  To be able to appreciate it more, you would have to delve deeper into its uses, of which there are many. Neem can actually be used in the making of cosmetics, promotion of health, treatment of illness, and for birth control.  As mentioned above, neem is also a great help when it comes to growing plants.  It is a natural organic fertiliser that can really improve the quality of your garden flora.

So why is neem such a great natural organic fertiliser?  The answer is simple.  It’s because neem is rich in nutrients that help in the growth of other plants.  If you are going to use neem as a fertiliser, you won’t actually be using the whole plant itself.  Basically, what you will need are just the seeds.  Neem seeds are pounded and processed in a very traditional method that originated in India.  The point of pounding in the process is to squeeze out the neem oil from the seeds.  This is the real money maker.  Neem oil is not only great for plant growing; it also has medicinal uses.  In South Asia, neem oil is very important because aside from being a great fertiliser, it has been purported to treat diabetes and skin infection.

If you place drops of neem oil on a slide and place it under a powerful microscope, you will see the many components in neem that make it such a great fertiliser.  Neem oil contains phosphates, sulfur compounds and nitrogen – compounds that work wonders when it comes to plant growing.  Moreover, neem oil is very appealing to earthworms. This means that if you use neem oil as a fertiliser, earthworms – which help circulate minerals to plants – will thrive in your garden soil.  This possibility should not worry you: remember, if your garden soil has earthworms, it means your garden is very healthy.

Currently, neem as a fertiliser is not just popular in India and in South Asia.  Because organically grown food is so popular nowadays, neem fertiliser is highly in demand.  For people who want to grow fruits and vegetables organically, neem is a great choice.  It’s definitely one of, if not the best natural organic fertiliser in the market today.

Are you looking for more information regarding natural organic fertilizer ?  Visit www.ajproducts.com.au today!

A Cheap Greenhouse Can Work Great If You Keep These Tips In Mind

Hobby greenhouses have certainly made their mark in the “Green” movement as of late in terms of productivity and quality of organic produce output. They are in vogue due to their proven ability to increase yield over a long time at reduced costs. Plants that grow in greenhouses are also less likely to suffer from diseases and dysfunctional growth problems.

This is because the environment inside the greenhouse is highly regulated and conditions conducive for high output are maintained. There are various options for the creation of a cheap greenhouse available in the market today. These include the portable and the mini garden greenhouse variety, both of which can be made with relative ease by any energetic do-it-yourselfer.

There are a few factors that one should consider when setting up a cheap greenhouse that will perform like their more expensive counter-parts. One such factor is the location of the greenhouse. It is important that you pick a location in such a manner that ensures all plants get maximum access to morning sunlight. Access to the light is important because this ensures warmth is retained in the greenhouse. Avoid setting it up in an area where shadows may obstruct the rays of the sun, for instance next to a tall building. Location is also important in ensuring that plants are protected from the effects of strong winds.

After choosing the perfect location for your new greenhouse, you’ll want to ensure that  your build your house with the proper temperature regulation controls in mind. Greenhouses usually have warmer temperatures than those of the surrounding environment. Temperature is regulated in two ways which I will elaborate below:

For inexpensive options I recommend using either polycarbonate panels or greenhouse plastic sheeting. Both allow light and heat to penetrate efficiently, thereby warming up the plants and soil. This same heat is then trapped by the glazing material trapping it within the confines of the enclosure. In very cold or windy areas, greenhouses are protected by an insulation covering that prevents strong wind from affecting the plants. Therefore the still air within the greenhouse gets progressively warmer. This is good for plants as they are able to mature faster.

On the other hand during the summer period temperatures can get very hot within the greenhouse. This is dangerous for the plants. Temperatures beyond a certain prescribed level can cause the plants to scorch. In such circumstances, it is best to install a shade over the glazing (a canvas wrap works great). This will cause the temperatures to cool down.

It is also important to consider measures that will ensure there are no pests or insects that are likely to infect plant. A floor with good drainage will reduce the incidence of pests and insects in the greenhouse, as any standing water will provide ideal breeding grounds for such pests.

By keeping the above guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making a quality cheap greenhouse of your own.

Dave Pierson is a master gardener and professional nurseryman who has been teaching others how to build hobby greenhouses for over 15 years. To learn more about how to build your own cheap greenhouse, click here, and please visit gardengreenhouseinfo.com. Our FREE ‘Build Your Own Greenhouse’ mini-course is a tremendous resource for anyone serious about building their own personal greenhouse.

Selling Your House For A Great Price.here Are The Best Tips

How can a buyer get interest for purchasing your house? Impression is the keyword. You just need to get your house ready to sell by doing some preparation. Get inspected by a professional if you want to pay a little effort for maximum results, or if you don’t want to spend much money by paying professional you can do by yourself for getting your house ready to sell.

Now that become a question, how to get your house impressed a buyer? Those are the steps for getting your house ready to sell to a buyer.

Beautify your exterior
What you do is just beautifying. The goal is to make your exterior look pretty and fresh to impress your buyer. Just to inform you that the exterior becomes the first impression to overlook a house. There are two sensory organs of a buyer you must impress. Those are eyes and nose. By bringing the garden homelike condition to your house exterior, making it looked pretty and freshening it up. The steps you can do are:
- Get the grass, trees, flowers, and plants tidy and fresh by mowing and watering it
- Clean up the curb and entering path and put the potted flower in the sides.
- Freshen up the smells by put scented potpourri.
- Clean up all of windows and entering doors.
- Get rid of equipments out of sights.
- Paint the walls if necessary.

Make the Cosy Interior
After buyer got impression from your house exterior, do some simple works to get the cosiness of your house interior. It aims to make a buyer feel homelike buy entering your house. These are the steps:
- Clean up the tile floors; scrub it if there are some bad spots.
- Get rid of spider net from your ceilings.
- Wash the carpets with a fragrant soap.
- Get your furniture placed tidily and gets rid of unnecessary one.
- Brush the closets
- Clean the garage, basement, and attic
- Get the windows opened and clean, it will bring freshness to your house inside
- If you have pets, bath them.
- Put some fresh fragrance in air conditioner.

Repairing and Replacing
Some Repairing and replacement is necessary to do, if there are some broken furniture, equipment, or appliances. Just check out:
- broken or missing door
- cabinet handles
- ceilings
- ventilation filters
- broken tiles in bathroom and kitchen
- faucet
- wallpaper
- some furniture

Get your friends’ opinion
Assume some friends like a buyer, and get some advice and suggestion to make your house get more ready to sell. And the most important thing is your friends feel your home like their own home.

Paul Ritchie Inge runs Rank Bank.Our business rates the best business opportunities online.We try and look for things that will offer online entrepreneurs real profit opportunities and an education about how to make online profits.To see Rank Banks current Number 1 Pick just Click Here >>> Rank Banks Recommends

Get Skinny Quickly – Great Tips to Lose Weight Fast

There are various ways one can get skinny quite fast but there is need for the person to realize that he or she is the main determinant. The person must be prepared to take some useful advises and be motivated so that the journey to weight loss would be faster. Many people had argued that shedding some pounds of weight from the body system isn’t quite as easy as it is projected but the truth is that lots of people would fancy the advises but will readily derail in implementing them.

 

Figure Out Ways of Burning Calories Daily If You Want To Get Skinny Fast

 

If you are leading an active life, there is no reason for you to keep complaining about excessive weight in your body system because you can easily integrate more physical activities in your daily routines. You may take up walking as a form of exercise and you could also opt to till the garden sometimes just to be able to shed some fats. Biking is another form of calorie burning exercise that is presently very popular among\g those that desire to get skinny.

 

Ensure that you drink as much water as possible all day long especially during meals. Drinking water while eating would help your stomach to remain filled up for a long time and reduce the need for more food intake.

 

You Can’t Get Skinny without Proper Feeding

 

If you find out that when you eat three times in a day, you eat more at those times, you may settle for eating up to 5 or more times daily. Eating small amount of food on a frequent basis is far better than consuming 1000 calories per meal! You have to ensure that you stay away from fast foods but if you must eat them, be sure that it is very little quantity. You diet should include more of vegetables, fruits, cereals etc. You have to eat more of the organic foods that have less calorie contents.

 

Detoxify Your Body System If You Want To Get Skinny

 

Our body is filled with various degrees of foreign bodies or ‘poisons’ that got through into our system via the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air around us. If you are thinking of losing weight and getting skinny, you have to detoxify your entire body system to pave way for the needed fat reduction. Detoxifying the body system can be best handled by fat burning wraps and taking fiber supplements. There are other ways you can detoxify your body system but these two aren’t just very popular but has been tremendously helpful.

 

Making use of fat burning body wraps are essential for any one that really want to get skinny because it would be used to strip the toxins from the various enlarged fat cells in the body system. A simple search on the internet would lead you to some very easy-use body wraps.

 

In summary, adequate exercising, proper dieting and detoxification of the body system are the essential ways to get skinny fast.

 

Are you looking for more information regarding  How To Gain Muscle Fast ?  Visit “>How To Build Muscle Fast today!

7 Great Tips for a Luxury Trip

A vacation is meant for relaxation and rejuvenation and by definition, should be hassle-free. Revitalize the spirit with a luxurious holiday in a Caribbean villa on the beach, take a hike on El Yunque in Puerto Rico, or experience the exhilaration of the Scubadoo underwater adventure in the Dominican Republic. Here are some tips to get the most out a vacation depending on an individual’s needs.

1.Plan and book ahead before leaving: Most hotels in the Caribbean have a concierge service that can make bookings for spa services, organize day trips, fishing and sailing excursions, or reserve tee times at golf courses for their guests. Call or mail the hotel ahead of the trip with specific dates and requests. Guests in villas can have the kitchens stocked before their arrival or opt for a private chef and maid service.

2.Choose resorts with spas that offer in-room massage services or opt for a massage on the beach or in the garden as a unique stress buster. Most spas offer saunas, steam rooms, Vichy showers, and gyms in addition to spa services and beauty treatments.

3.Club-class accommodations come with access to an exclusive club lounge, often offering 24-hour refreshments and personalized service. Private check-in and check-out, privileged reservations in restaurants and entertainment shows are other perks.

4.Airport transfers and limousine services take care of travel and baggage handling hassles.

5.Discos, casinos and proximity to shopping venues are a convenience for those who take the pursuit of fun seriously.

6.Opt for resorts that have pools and areas reserved only for adults to ensure a serene and tranquil holiday.

7.For swimming and sunbathing, villas and suites with private Jacuzzis on the terrace, swim-up suites that offer direct access to pools and oceanfront cottages. are the best.

A little forethought and planning can make every vacation a luxurious and enjoyable one

Alex Briganza is a professional traveler who uses his travel experience to introduce people to the joys of traveling. Alex is especially adept at luxury travel, and his favorite destination include Caribbean

Internet Marketing 5 Great Tips to Increase Internet Trafficarts and Craft Fair Can Change Your Life

Before you start reading, you should be aware that our purpose writing it is to give you as much useful info about attending a craft fair, as we can fit on our page Just about everywhere in America, you’ll find craft fairs. Although these are popular spring and summer events, they are also held in more inclement weather at indoor locations. Whether you’re in San Francisco or rural Ohio, all you have to do is watch the local papers or check bulletin boards around town. Craft fairs are typically organized by community groups and are well publicized. Local artisans are invited to sign up for a booth and bring their wares. The fees for a booth are usually nominal so any one who has a craft or artsy merchandise to show may participate. These fairs attract such a diversity of talent, both the vendors and attendees have a fabulous time. You’ll find jewelry makers, potters, candle makers, quilters, for more details visit to www.divorce-rebuild-your-life.com and hand made sweaters, hat makers, vintage clothiers, painters and more. Depending on the organizer’s parameters, you may also find vendors with manufactured products, like trendy shoes, garden ornaments or antique cookware. The better fairs sometimes take up many square blocks, which make for an entire day of entertaining browsing and inevitably, purchases. A craft fair is an excellent resource event for gift buying. The items you find are usually made by individual artisans, anxious to display their best work. In the case of quilters, potters, stained glass artists and others, many of the items are one-of-a-kind. When compared with department store prices, these beautiful and lovingly made crafts are exceptionally well priced. If you’re not ready to purchase, ask the vendor for a business card where you can contact them or visit their shop. The contacts you can make at a craft fair can well fulfill your gift shopping needs for the rest of the year.

During the second part, we must switch to a more serious side to fully communicate the subject matter in a way for all to understand. Women and kids will always jump at the chance to attend a craft fair. There really is something to capture the interest of every family member. Although men are more reluctant to consider a craft fair as an outing, some smart men attend and enjoy. Men can pick up some lovely and impressive gifts for the girls in their lives. Some men just don’t know what they’re missing. Some fairs wisely include food items, for more details visit to www.100computertips.com from artisan breads and cheeses to fine coffees and wines. These events often attract a fair percentage of men. A craft fair turns you on to artist’s goods you may never have found on your own, is a delightful way to spend the day and benefits the artists in your community. If you hear about one, mark it on your calendar’s must-dos. Such a fair surpasses a day at the mall. You can do that any time. Having this information about attending a craft fair should help you a great deal the next time you find yourself in need of it.

11 Great Financial Tips for Homemakers

These tips were provided by my wife, Laura Irwin, who gleaned them from many years of homemaking and learning from others. Homemakers face a myriad of challenges; not the least of them is managing family finances on only one income. This is just a short list of issues. Self education regarding family finances is crucial for homemakers because of reduced income, lack of retirement accounts, increased need for self-discipline (possibly more time to shop), and the fact that if the finances become an issue, homemakers may have to return to work. We wish you the best and hope that these tips are helpful.

1. Accountability – You must plan finances together with your spouse. This way, no one gets to play the ‘blame game’ when things go wrong. When both spouses work on finances on a weekly basis, overspending by either spouse will become apparent. You will also get the chance to congratulate each other on your successes. You are in this together. We all know that money is a huge cause for stress in relationships, and working together will help prevent years of financial stress. This may also help you both learn self-discipline and how to live on less. Accountability helps you not be that guy in the commercial where he says, “How did I do it? I am in debt up to my eyeballs!”

2. Keep depositing money in your IRA – Even though you may not be earning an income. Women are poorer in retirement than men are because they earn less, live longer, take time out for child rearing without contributing to retirement accounts, and receive less in Social Security benefits because of the time-out for child rearing. This is statistically even more important for women in minority groups.

3. Budgeting, Debt Reduction and Saving – Proper budgeting and debt reduction will help you meet your goals of being able to live on one income. Some women are naturals at budgeting, but if you are not one of them, a budget is simply a spending plan that helps you keep track of regular monthly expenses and savings for planned purchases and the future. If you have never created a budget, you may consider using software, an Excel spreadsheet, or simply paper and pencil. You will be spending a lot of time with it, so use whatever makes you comfortable. Put your debt reduction plan into your budget. For great information on reducing your debt, see www.debtproofliving.com.

4. Fifty Dollar Limit – Or any amount you both decide on together. This tip has saved us many unnecessary purchases because spouses must communicate about a purchase before spending over the limit. (This does not apply to the weekly bills like grocery or utilities.) At times, this rule may seem too restrictive, but we have found it to be a huge budget saver. It also helps to get a second opinion. Recently, my wife called me from the check out line about purchasing an item, and I was able to remind her that we already own one! Judge the long-term benefit of purchases. Our children are teenagers, so we have had a chance to learn from our mistakes and wish we had done some things differently. One of our regrets is overspending on toys, and watching the toys be neglected, eventually ending up in a garage sale. Since we have begun paying for our oldest child’s college tuition, it is painful to think of how much money we could have put into a college savings account had we not purchased those toys. Other examples of this include purchasing children’s furniture, which will have to be replaced as the child grows. An inexpensive bed rail can make an adult-sized bed usable from toddler age to adulthood.

5. Understand marital financial mindsets – What happens when opposites attract? They get married, then begin to fight about money! Consider the following ways people view their finances: There are optimists, pessimists, spenders, savers, planners, procrastinators, and any combination of these. Perhaps his parents were well off financially and she was raised in poverty. On the other hand, perhaps her parents taught her sound financial principles and his parents kept their finances a secret, or worse, he has copied their example of bad financial habits. Open and honest communication about both of your mindsets may help you work through any pre-conceived views or bad financial habits. Remember that this must be done without finger pointing and with the goal of financial harmony. Perhaps reading a good book together about marriage and money would be helpful.

6. Houses and Cars – These are the biggest expenses for most marriage partners. Ideally, if you can plan to have your mortgage paid off before your first child goes to college, you will feel less stressed about paying tuition. Another great way to save money is to buy great low-maintenance cars and drive them for a long time. There is no freedom like driving a car that is ‘paid for’. Many experts recommend that you put the amount of your payment into savings after you have paid the car off to save for the next one. From personal experience, we also recommend planning for what kind of car you will need several years from now. In other words, do not buy a two-seater if you plan on having children in two years. Hold off saving for the family vehicle. Also, do not sell the minivan after middle school because the kids are not in sports anymore. You may need it to haul your child’s belongings to college.

7. Get Organized – Buy a file cabinet for financial and other important papers. This central location will allow you both to understand where anything important belongs. You can avoid many financial mistakes by keeping papers and bills well organized.

8. Understand your Health Insurance – Health insurance costs have risen for everyone. If you have employer-provided health insurance, take the extra time to understand your coverage, especially during enrollment time. Understanding your coverage may help you save a lot of money. Figure out which policy is best for your family. For instance, if you have a high monthly prescription expense you may research which plan pays the most for prescriptions. If your medical and/or dental expenses are very high, you may be able to deduct them (7.5) of your adjusted gross income. Keep track of your mileage to doctor appointments (20 cents per mile). See your tax advisor regarding your specific situation and see irs.gov Publication 502.

9. Set long and short-term goals together – Creating goals together is a wonderful marital exercise. You will learn what each partner finds most important both now and in the future. It is amazing how current wants can be dismissed when they are compared with a written plan.

10. Determine areas of overspending – Each month as you both check your budgeting progress, watch for recurring overspending in any categories. You will probably find one or two areas that go over each month. If you are within your overall budget, you may want to raise your budget amount in those areas or find ways to lower your spending. Many busy families find that eating out regularly exceeds their budgeted amount. This one requires extra self-discipline to plan ahead and create freezer meals that you can fix in a matter of minutes. Tired moms will hate this suggestion at first, but it really can save hundreds of dollars.

11. Do not let grocery shopping be a budget buster – A penny saved really is a penny earned when it comes to grocery shopping. For decades, women have come up with creative ways to save on groceries. I remember my mother saying that any money she saved from groceries went toward birthday and Christmas gifts. Somehow, through hard work she was able to feed three growing boys and still have money left over! My wife’s family preserved produce from their large garden and from local fruit growers. Others use coupons, shop for sales at multiple stores, or plan meals around sale items. All of these ways are wonderful – do whatever works for you. My wife recently read a huge stack of books from the library about saving money and discovered one recurring theme about grocery shopping. Most books recommended keeping a book of regular prices for each item you usually purchase. That way you can see if it is really a great sale price, or if they simply put it in the grocery flyer at the regular price. If that sounds like a lot of work to you, visit www.Thegrocerygame.com. After entering your zip code and your local grocery store, you will be able to access a computerized list of best deals at your store that week. After only three weeks, we have saved about $200, and we have begun a stockpile of groceries in the pantry.

Kent E. Irwin, ChFC, CLU, CAP, co-founder and CEO of eFinplan.com. eFinPLAN is the first and only web-based comprehensive consumer financial planning software designed for people who are trying to do a lot of their own financial planning. Find out more about how do-your-self financial planning and how to reach your goals at: => http://www.efinplan.com/

Growing a Great Container Garden

Nothing beats fresh vegetables out of your own garden. The taste of a freshly picked tomato is pure heaven and digging your own new, red potatoes is so rewarding. But what do you do if you don’t have a large yard or no yard at all? No problem! You can grow a vegetable garden in a container!

Many people think of container gardening as an easy way to grow beautiful flowers and accent patios and porches with color. But have you ever tried adding a few vegetables in with the flowers? Growing vegetables and herbs in containers is just as easy as growing flowers and you get delicious results! You can mix a cherry tomato plant in with a pot of marigolds and snapdragons. The bright red fruit is a beautiful addition to the colorful blooms. Put a couple of red potato starts in a large planter with a few flowers, the foliage of potato plants is very beautiful and you will also have a few tiny white flowers as well.
H
ow about dedicating a few planters to just produce? Strawberries often produce more fruit when planted in a container because they don’t have much room to spread. Strawberry plants spread by sending out runners that root down and start a new plant. Once the strawberries run out of room to send out shoots, they put all their energy into producing fruit.  How delicious to have fresh strawberries just outside your door!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning a container garden.  

Properly prepare your pot. Your pot will need good drainage so make sure it has drainage holes drilled in the bottom. If your pot does not have drainage holes, either drill holes or create a drainage area by adding a layer of gravel at the bottom. If you have a very large pot, you can create a drainage area and eliminate the need for large quantities of soil by adding a layer of styrofoam at the bottom.  This will also make the pot easier to move around. Just remember to add enough soil for the plants to have a good root system.

Don’t use garden soil. The soil in your yard is generally too heavy for container use. A container gardening needs light soil that is rich in organic material for proper drainage.  Mix regular potting soil with compost and peat moss to get a healthy soil that is perfect for containers.  It is a good idea to mix in time release fertilizer while you are mixing the soil. Most time release fertilizers last about three months so plan to add more at that time.

When you are transplanting new plants, dig the hole about twice as large as the plants root ball.  Then back fill the hole with some loose soil, this will give the tender roots soft soil to anchor in. Before you place the plant in the hole, massage the roots to break them up slightly. The plant roots have been confined to a small area while they are getting their start, however they need to break free and they need a little help from you to do that.

Give your plants a healthy start by using a root starting fertilizer as you are planting. Mix the liquid fertilizer with water and add it as you plant each new plant to your container.  Root starting fertilizers contain the proper nutrients that help to prevent transplant shock.  

Trim the plant after you plant it. This is a difficult thing for most gardeners to do. After all you just bought a beautiful, full plant at the store! You need to remember that the plant needs to put effort into building a strong root system. This is difficult if the plant is trying to maintain full blooms or large amounts of foliage as well.  A good rule of thumb is to cut off the plant by two thirds. Don’t worry, your plant will grow back fuller and healthier than before.

Combine plants with similar requirements. If a plant requires full sun, don’t pair it up with a plant that does best in partial shade. Careful planning will yield the best results in container gardening.  

Containers are a great way to have fresh produce all summer long. Growing your own fresh produce is rewarding and allows you to provide healthy food for your family. Give container gardening a try, you will love the results!

Piper is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, good nutrition, and the outdoors. She loves to work in the garden with her small garden tiller. She enjoys nature, reading and fitness. Check out her new website, http://www.smallgardentiller.org to learn all about getting the best small garden tiller so you can have a beautiful garden too!