Getting a well paid job is a great achievement but for most people, it won't be on their doorstep. Traveling to get to work lengthens the working day but also costs extra cash. Whether you drive, carpool or take public transportation, expenses can add up, especially with the rising cost of gas. In the long run, finding a lower paid job closer to home may leave you with more money at the end of the month. Working from home is the most cost effective option of all and if you have the right environment – and enough self-discipline – asking your boss if you can work at home one or more days a week may be received well. You could find that without the hustle and bustle of other workers around you, your productivity actually increases.
Another indirect cost is the need to maintain a working wardrobe. Individuals who work at a place with a uniform are less affected by this, but may still need to shell out for a decent pair of shoes. Unfortunately, it is hard to get round this expense unless, of course, you work in your PJs or yoga pants at home. You can reduce costs by wearing layers; your work clothes will be suitable for all seasons as you can simply add or remove extra clothing as the weather dictates.
Food is another problem area and yes, it's far easier to buy lunch than to make it. But even $8 a day – which will barely cover the cost of a sandwich and a coffee – soon adds up. Additionally, when you have been at work all day, the last thing you may feel like doing is standing and cooking a meal. This can lead to either more take-outs or reliance on convenience foods – both far more expensive than home cooking, but admittedly much quicker. Taking lunch to work can seem dull, but buying your favourite foods from the supermarket can help brighten up the prospect of a packed lunch. If you have access to a microwave you can bring your own meals to warm up, a lunch to look forward to on cold winter days. Cooking large batches of food and then freezing them in portions is a great idea, as it means you simply need to defrost and warm them up at the end of a long day. Alternatively, using a slow cooker on timer can mean a healthy, delicious meal is ready and waiting for you when you get in from work.
Ultimately, no matter the savings, you may find you shell out more when you work than when you stay at home – especially for families who need to pay for childcare. If this is the case, it may be worth exploring how else you can save money, such as finding a better deal on your mortgage or finding alternative ways to make up for some shortfalls.
Feed the piggy bank Show your child that a penny saved is a penny earned. Save for a rainy day together.
Set personal boundaries Can you really afford this? Is it worth it? Think twice before spending money that you may not have - like putting the purchase on a credit card!
Set an example Make sure your child has a healthy view on finances. Discuss the importance of generosity, being grateful for what you have and that you can't buy happiness.
Rise above the pleading Don't give into begging at the store; kids need to learn that money has to be earned and that they simply can't have something just because they ask for it - even if they ask "nicely!" - that's their secret weapon - you gotta stand strong!
E-books Free e-books are easily available from a variety of sources. Most free e-books are classics that have entered into the public domain as a result of expired copyright. Libraries also offer free access to thousands of new releases and bestsellers in e-book and audio-book formats through their websites. A good source for free e-books is: Book Glutton
Friends of the library book sales Most libraries have a friends group that collects donated books and organizes regular sales to raise funds for the library. These book sales often sell old, used, like-new and sometimes even new books for incredible prices. Even when there isn’t a sale, many libraries have a cart or shelf near the entrance where you can pick up books and deposit the money into a collection box or pay at the check out counter. The Book Sale Finder website is a great place to search for and sign up for notifications of book sales in your area.
Thrift stores typically have a book section with awesome prices. You can search for thrift stores near you at The Thrift Shopper.com.
Don't be seduced by the smell of fresh baked bread
Don't shop on an empty stomach
Don't be distracted from your goal - if it's the dairy aisle, you know it's at the back of the store for a reason!
Don't even glance at the "end-caps" - they are designed to seduce you! Often higher priced items are placed on the end-cap because most people would rather just grab and go rather than head down an aisle to more price selection.
Don't pick the most obvious item; you have to work for it! Cheaper products are at the top or bottom of the shelves; the big ticket items are right there, at arm's reach.
Don't grab the first item you see in the interest of time. Take a moment to scan the entire shelf and make sure you're truly getting a good deal.
Don't be fooled by the loss leaders scheme; the supermarket is willing to take a loss on basic groceries but make up the difference in other ways. Make loss leaders work for you and shop around!
Don't be to quick to buy bulk - it's not always the best deal. Check the unit price for competing products and select the one that truly offers the best deal.
Keep your hands at your sides at the check out stand. That's the supermarket's last chance to take advantage of your potential for impulse buys.
Give yourself a pep talk, review your grocery list and shop with purpose - you can do it!
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Alternative flu remedies There is no scientific evidence that any herbal, homeopathic or other folk remedies have any benefit. Exception: chicken noodle soup
Unlimited cell phone minutes The average family uses about 735 minutes of talk time a month, which is close to a family plan threshold of 700 minutes
Bottled water Stop it people! You are paying about $1 per gallon for tap water!
Lottery tickets The odds of winning? About 1 in nearly 2 billion. Yes, it's nice to fantasize about winning, Tightwad realizes this.
Credit card payment insurance This protection can cost a few hundred dollars a year; and with so many restrictions, chances are you won't see a dime.
- Use your food processor as much as possible to save time; slice 'n' dice everything from potatoes to ginger in there, it's a miracle worker
- Grow herbs in pots in at your kitchen window for fast, fresh deliciousness (plus they pretty-up your kitchen)
- Don't ever catch yourself without extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper, garlic or lemons
- Embrace fresh veg and fruit; unexpected combinations work well and with the right seasoning and cooking methods, everyone will love them
- It's easy to elevate "boring" food to something unexpected
- Roasted is always good
- Being organized in the kitchen will help you to create fab food in much less time than you think
- Haunt thrift stores and garage sales for large, sweet serving platters to present your gastronomic masterpieces on, family-style.
There are no rules, except grow what you love Cottage gardens are typically jumbles of fav plants or the result of "orphan planting" - shared cutting from friends that just had to have a home and some TLC. Plant in masses for maximum appeal. Most gardens of this type of a kind of wind swept appearance and shambles-crowded sort of thing going on as plants scramble for space and light.
Plant enough, more than you need "Average" three quarters of a foot or so for each plant to get that massed, crowded look. You can divide them once they are established.
Be patient A garden planted in masses of grouped varieties will start to come into its own and look great in its second year; definitely by its third.
Be generous, keep the cycle going By year four you will have to start dividing, moving and sharing plants when you figure out what works where and which are your "spreaders" and which are you "stayers".
Don't be afraid to divide/move perennials Perennials like to be moved. If a plant isn't doing well in one area, it's telling you to move it. If stuff is getting overgrown, divide it.
Texture/colour combinations Cottage gardens are all about loving plants and abundant blooms - you'll see what you like and move things accordingly.
Your garden will never be complete. That's part of the fun!
Tightwad has a thing about perennials. For more gardening goodies, visit the "cloud" on this site under gardening. Here's a post on guerilla gardening, too.
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This month's book giveaway is... drum roll please... Laura Laing's Math for Grownups. Ever wish you had paid more attention in Math class? Especially when you are staring at a shiny new washer dryer combo and can't figure out the percentage of sales tax on the purchase price? Or worse, figure out the sale price? This book is an adult refresher and real-life context – with examples ranging from how to determine how many shingles it takes to re-roof the shed to the formula for resizing Gramma’s pomodoro recipe for your family reunion. This book is well written and the case studies are very realistic and helpful.
Win this book! How? It's easy!
1. Leave a comment on this post
2. "Follow" Tightwad's blog
3. Tweet this post
4. Commit to setting your books "free" after you've read them so they get passed on to others
1. Put a few apples in with your potatoes to keep the potatoes from sprouting in storage.
2. Apples stored with green tomatoes will hasten the ripening process.
3. To ripen bananas, wrap them in a damp towel and place them in a paper bag.
4. Grease the threads on syrup bottles to keep the contains from running down the sides.
5. To get more juice out of a lemon, heat it in the microwave for a little while before squeezing.
Tightwad has resorted to wearing her kid's swimming goggles when faced with the task of cutting white onions. Luckily however, there are other approaches.
1. Soak the onions in cold water for 5 minutes and keep them under the cold water tap when you peel them.
2. Place onions in the freezer before you slice them.
3. Place a small piece of bread on the tip of the knife before slicing onions.
4. Chew gum.
5. Rub vinegar on the chopping board.
6. Breathe through your mouth.
What do you do to stop the waterworks when slicing 'n' dicing onions?