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Catnip... who knew?

Described by botanist and taxonomist Linnaeus in 1753 as “flowers in a stalked, interrupted spike,” Nepeta cataria is cultivated as a perennial ornamental that likes full sun. Not only pretty, like many botanicals, catnip has multiple applications.
The magic elixir from catnip is terpenoid nepetalactone, which is the main chemical constituent of plant’s essential oil, extracted by steam distillation.
Cat fun: Catnip is well known for it’s behavioural effects on cats – domestic and wild. Cats love it! They like to roll in it, lick it and chew it. Consuming the plant has a drowsy effect, along with purring and drooling. Fun catnip fact: Not all cats like catnip. Roughly a third are not affected by it. The behaviour is thought to be hereditary.
Easy to care for perennial: It attracts butterflies and is drought tolerant.
Biological control: It repels aphids and squash bugs – the compound iridodial, extracted from catnip oil, attracts lacewings, which eat aphids and mites. It keeps away some mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites – in the garden. Catnip is also deer-resistant.
Culinary use: Catnip can be brewed to produce an herbal tea, used as a culinary herb, or be smoked in the form of herbal cigarettes. It has also be used in fruit table wines.
Medical application: Tinctures, infusions and poultices can be made from the dried leaves and flowers of catnip, which has been used to treat many ailments, including intestinal cramps, diarrhea, colds and indigestion.

Summer is here... get out of the gym!

With no overcast skies or rain in the forecast, it's the perfect time to get outside. Whether you hike a canyon, run beach side, hit up an obstacle course or go for a catch-up walk with a favourite girlfriend around the neighbourhood, finding the perfect fitting footwear is key to enjoying your exercise. The better your shoes feel, the more exercise you will do! Of course, being outdoors is much cheaper than a gym membership, so Tightwad is a big fan.

Tips for an inexpensive honeymoon

After the long-awaited day of your wedding arrives, sometimes all you will be able to think about is escaping with your betrothed to a special destination. It doesn’t have to be fancy—every couple has their own preferences or a special spot to go – be it Vegas, an all-inclusive or a cozy campsite. The traditional practice of seeing off the bride and groom has changed; some couples stick around for the fun wedding activities, while others will put off their honeymoon altogether until their budget is more comfortable. Whatever the case may be, your honeymoon should be a relaxing getaway that doesn’t have you avoiding your mail upon your return. Consider these tips for a enjoyable, budget-friendly honeymoon.
Get a travel agent Save yourself the time and stress of flights, schedules and last-minute price drops. Instead, sit down with a travel agent with a list of must-haves for your vacation. The first thing on the list should be a mutually agreed upon budget which the agent should stick to no matter what. This ensures that the agent will find some options for your budget and understand what it is you are looking for. Find an agent in plenty of time so that they can find you a wider range of options in terms of location and price.
Have your honeymoon sponsored It’s really no surprise that many couples would prefer to have some financial help rather than receive yet another toaster as a wedding gift. If you and your partner would rather have some help with your honeymoon than receive traditional wedding gifts, then let that be known in your beautiful wedding invitations. This is a new approach to gift-giving, where the couple informs guests that they will be accepting gifts in the form of contributions to their honeymoon or specific event. This can be a fun and interactive option. If someone has sponsored an expensive dinner, take a photo of you at the meal and send it to the gift giver so they can see that their donation being appreciated.
Choose an off-season booking The earlier you decide on a honeymoon destination, the more likely you’ll be able to find good deals. Booking well in advance gives you the opportunity to browse an extensive list of options and, similarly, will give your travel agent more time if that is the route you choose to take. It’s also a good idea to book in the off-season when resorts and destinations are less likely to be full and more inexpensive as a result. There are lots of great destinations that are cheaper in the off-season, and there is a wide range throughout the year that can coincide with your honeymoon date. Even if you are set on a specific time, it’s not unusual for couples to wait to take a honeymoon. If this is what you’re willing to do to save, then it will be worth it.
Consider Airbnb If you have a very specific destination in mind, but you’d like to keep spending to a minimum, consider booking with Airbnb. This is an option that allows property owners to rent out their homes for a certain number of people and a specific number of days. It is generally up to the renters to bring their own food and entertainment, but this is a good option because you can find all kinds of properties in your ideal location at different prices.
Stay close to home Honeymoons don’t always have to be located across the world. A honeymoon is simply a place for the newly-married couple to get away and enjoy one another after what may have been a very hectic wedding schedule. If you want to have a low-budget honeymoon, consider looking at locations that are closer to home. This could be a small resort a few hours away, a campsite nearby or even a hotel with a spa included. Staying close to home means saving on flights, expensive meals and other expenses. Bring along some recipes ideal for a honeymoon that you can both make together and enjoy.
Ask about honeymoon packages It’s always worth a try. Some resorts and vacation spots will have honeymoon packages including room upgrades, spa packages and meals. Let them know when you’re booking that you will be on your honeymoon and see what they can offer.
Conclusion Your honeymoon should be a relaxing time for you and your partner. Don’t let worries about finances get in your way of a great time. There are all kinds of things that you can do to cut back on expenses, including finding ways to spend less on your wedding so you can splurge a little more on your trip.

Money saving solar security lights

Before you get overwhelmed with thoughts of solar panels, batteries and all sorts of techie stuff installed all over your roof at home, I am talking about smaller solar lights that you can easily incorporate into your life. These can range from security lights (which in my opinion are the most useful of all solar power lights available), string lights, spotlights and garden lights.
Out of all the variations of solar lights, the solar security light is my all time favorite. These lights have become more and more efficient and useful over the years, now including extra bright LEDs and longer lasting lithium batteries. Some would say solar lighting in general is a subpar alternative to wired lighting which in certain scenarios can be true, however, when it comes to providing an easily affordable added security to your home and surrounding area I believe solar security lights are much useful in many ways than regular wired lighting.
The easiest thing to consider is the installation process, Wiring into your home electrical system is not for everyone. Consider the alternative of having one light fixture that needs 3 days of sunlight to charge initially and then can be mounted anywhere with a simple set of screws or mounting tape and will last for at least a couple years. The downfall used to be that they weren’t as bright as wired lighting. That's not the case anymore, solar lights are now equipped with high efficient led bulbs that produce extremely bright light. There really is no downside of these lights.
Does the area you want to illuminate not get any sunlight? You can find light fixtures that have the solar panels separate from the actual light! What's this mean? It means you can mount the light in your shady backyard and then place the solar panel in a separate location where it can collect sunlight. They usually connect with a simple cord that plugs into each unit, and now you have light where you thought you couldn’t!
These lights can get pricey, but can be affordable, with an entry-level light for around $20USD. I can ensure you that once you have a light that you know will come on every time you walk up to your front door at night for $20 you will never go without again.
Blog Credit: The Solar Advantage

Realistic coupon guide!

Confused by lots of e-offers and need a simple, straightforward site to help you get the biggest savings? Over at The Simple Dollar they have created a coupon guide that is easy to use and integrate into daily living. Head over and see!

7 Finance mistakes that will ruin your business

Poor financial mistakes can lead to massive debt, restricted cash flow and becoming a substandard credit risk. These issues can hurt your business and prevent it from prospering. You may have to close your business and work for someone else because you don’t have the funds, or the access to funds, to carry your business through slow economic periods and hardships. Plan ahead to avoid many decisions that have severely hurt business. If you are a small business owner here are seven financial mistakes you should avoid to ensure your company stays in good financial health.
You should use solutions such as SWIFT payments that specializes in multi-banking connectivity. A good piece of software like SWIFT means that everything can be done on one standard platform, meaning you can receive integrated messaging from all the banks you have accounts with to have a better picture of the combined financial data and help manage finances. These advisers want to help others avoid those pitfalls. Small business owners who don’t seek advice and guidance of knowledgeable individuals tend to struggle more and are at a greater risk for failure.

1. Not taking an accounting course: One of the most important ways to understand how your business is doing financially is by monitoring company budget and financial records. In order to understand all the numbers and categories, you need to have knowledge of accounting methods. This is important to prevent accounting errors if you are going to manage your own books, or to catch fraud or other problems if you hire an accountant to do it.
2. Buying non-essential items: A problem some small business face is “ego” purchases like buying fine furniture for the waiting area and paintings to put on the office walls to impress visitors. Restrict purchases to essential items like equipment, personnel, and sales material to help you grow your business until you have enough funds to purchase non-essential items without creating cash flow problems.
3. Not creating a streamlined method for banking: If you have international clients you may require multiple banks to make and receive payments. These will mean multiple account statements and procedures that can be confusing and time-consuming.
4. Avoiding the tax bill: You might be able to avoid the bill for a couple of years, but you will, in time, have to pay all the past taxes plus interest and penalty fees. If you can’t pay or make payment arrangements, the assets of the business could be taken and sold to settle the debt. You will also severely restrict your cash flow for future years while paying past taxes which could also drive you out of business.
5. Not seeking financial advice and guidance: There are government and private resources available to help small business people through the process of starting and managing a company. Many of these people are current or retired small business owners who have been successful in operating a business in the past and have learned first-hand about the pitfalls and risks associated with starting a business.
6. Using personal debt for business purposes: Debt can be a useful tool to help your business grow, if used appropriately. Avoid using credit cards and personal loans to pay for business items. The cost of credit is generally a lot higher with personal credit than it is with commercial credit sources and you are risking your personal assets in case something goes wrong and the business fails. Any debt you arrange should be based on the assets and cash flow of the business so you don’t end up losing your home, as well as your business, if the company fails.
7. Using business funds for personal items: One reason people go into business is because they dream of fine restaurants, expensive cars, and big homes once they become successful. However, the temptation to dip into business funds can be strong to pay for things they want and should be avoided because it will drain company funds and put the business at risk.

Avoid these detrimental financial mistakes and keep your business moving towards success.