Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Save Money in Unusual Ways

Save Money in Unusual Ways

Most of us know the common ways to save money by now but if you want to take things even further in your money saving program this article has some uncommon and unusual ways you could be saving money.

Take a buy nothing day or week once in awhile. This means for the entire time of the buy nothing break, you aren't allowed to buy anything new, or to go shopping.

Exceptions to the buy nothing time, besides your rent, utilities and other bills that must be paid each month,  might include paying for medicines, car repairs or other spending emergencies that might come up. 

You might also need to buy food if you run out of necessities; but don't buy food just because you're bored with what you have either. That too is unnecessary spending. Save the money you estimate you would have spent had you not been doing the buy nothing exercise.

A further refinement of the buy nothing idea is to select a time period where you don't buy anymore food, just eating out of your cupboards, and refrigerator stores. 
This has the further advantage of allowing you to know what you really prefer, and and what you may be buying too much of or wasting. 
Two weeks not buying any new food is a reasonable time, allowing you to save money by not going to the grocery store every few days. 

Of course you'll want to save, not spend,  the money you would have normally spent on groceries during the day or week you are on the "no buy" break. 

Go "shopping" in your own cupboards instead of buying more food 

Learn how to barter and how to glean. Barter involves trading something you own, or a service you do, for some service or goods that someone else has. 
Both people must be agreeable to whatever is being traded. There are barter sections on craigslist, and local barter groups in nearly every city. Contact them concerning the rules for bartering through them. 

If you prefer to go it alone, just offer to trade something to someone who has something you want. It won't always work out, but it will often enough that there will be a significant savings. Keep records for tax purposes of all your barter deals. 

barter for your needs

Gleaning means going to local farming fields and asking if you can glean, or pick, the food that is left in the fields or on the trees after the pickers have been through the fields. Many farmers would be more than happy to let you do this. Ask though, never pick anything without permission. 

Gleaning can also mean picking fruit or nuts from a neighbors tree or vegetables from their garden., if they don't want the produce. Ask around because often gardens are so prolific that your friends may be glad to give the food to you, rather than have it go to waste. 

gleaning garden produce

Freegans, or dumpster divers, find usable food that grocery stores have thrown out out in their dumpsters. Use common sense and never take anything like meat, but vegetables and fruits can be washed, and anything in cans should be safe enough.

Dumpsters, especially apartment dumpsters, often contain furniture, household items, perfectly good clothing and other items you can use or sell, or use to barter for what you need. 

Dumpster diving has the advantage of keeping waste from the landfills. A huge problem in every country, and totally unnecessary too. Check out Urban Dumpster Diver's Blog  and Secret Freegan to see how they helps many with their food rescue and dumpster diving skills.

food that Secret Freegan rescued & distributed to the needy

Cut one junk food from your diet per month. Junk food is expensive and eliminating it can save a chunk of change. Start with things like potato chips, soda pop, or sugary cereals. None of these things are very healthy for you and you'll be saving money each month. Don't substitute an equally costly junk food for the one you eliminated. Switch to water or fresh fruits as a snack for example.

Get furniture and other household goods for free through freecycle, or through the craigslists free section. You won't get your choice of styles or brands true, but you can't beat the price. You can also buy goods, at greatly reduced prices, through state auctions, federal auctions, and pawn shops.

Raise chickens for your egg needs if you have the room, and it isn't banned in your neighborhood. 
Chickens aren't noisy if you don't have a rooster, and you don't need one for eggs.

You can also raise vegetables on your balcony if you're a city dweller. You can get a lot of vegetables from a few carefully planned pots and containers. read gardening books from the library if you don't know anything about gardening.

Money & egg images are from Freefoto

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Donate School Supplies For Needy Kids

Some great tips for donating school supplies to needy kids from the Baptist On Mission Website:

The National Retail Federation 2010 found that the average American family spends more than $600 on back to school supplies, with about $100 spent on school supplies. For many families however, the beginning of a new school year is a financial burden on homeless and destitute children. You can help a child in need by collecting and delivering school supplies.


Decide which school or schoolchildren will receive the supplies. Consider sending the supplies overseas or needy schools in urban areas. Some church members or their families may be stationed in a war-torn country. Ask if the local schools there need supplies.
  • Contact the local school principal to find out what items are needed and how they should be assembled (in sets of in bulk).
  • Set a time, date and place to assemble the supplies. Try using a large hall in your church. Designate a drop-off location for the supplies.
  • Get the word out to recruit volunteers and get school supplies.
  • Collect school supplies. As parents shop for school supplies (in the beginning of the school year or during tax-free weekend), encourage each of them to shop for a couple additional children. Ask local businesses for donations, or if you could place donation boxes at their establishments. Here are some ideas:
    • Pens
    • No. 2 pencils and sharpeners
    • Erasers
    • Crayons
    • Water-based markers
    • Dull-tip scissors
    • Rulers
    • Index cards
    • Three-ring binders
    • Pocket folders
    • Notebooks
    • Calculators
    • Glue sticks
    • Pencil cases
    • paper towels
    • hand sanitizer
    • backpacks
    • Stapler
  • If collecting supplies to send overseas, here are some other ideas:
    • English alphabet flash cards
    • Number flash cards
    • Math problem flash cards
    • Small chalk boards and chalk
    • Pencils and sharpeners
    • Spiral bound notebooks
    • Maps of the world
    • Sticky putty to secure pictures on the wall
  • As donations come in, have volunteers to sort through the items.
  • On the day of the event, set up refreshments for volunteers. Because this event generally takes four to five hours, consider playing music in the background.
  • Organize an assembly line to help you pack efficiently. If requested/preferred, Pack supplies into the backpacks. 
  • Deliver and distribute the school supplies.

Here are a few places to donate school supplies:

Donate school supplies to Lakota Sioux at St. Joseph's Indian School

Donate School Supplies to Staten Islanders in Need

Kids In Need Foundation

School Supplies for Needy Children

Donate shoes and school supplies to Knoxville area students in need

Donate books to libraries in desperate need of books for their students. Consider, especially. a donation to a Native American reservation or school library as they are often seriously underfunded.


Free Stuff For Your Birthday

What's better than low-cost? How about no cost! Here's how to score the most phenomenal freebies at grocery stores, the movies, restaurants and more.

Here's a few examples of what you might get for free on your birthday. This list comes from the website:

Dairy Queen: Join their fan club and receive a free Blizzard on your birthday.
Del Taco: Join their Raving Fan eClub and receive a free premium shake on your birthday, plus two free Grilled Chicken Tacos just for signing up.
Denny's: Join their rewards club to receive a free Grand Slam on your birthday (includes two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage links and two pancakes).

Find more free stuff for your birthday by clicking the links below.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive Reforesting

The mission of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is to:
Propagate the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone.
Archive the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future.
Reforest the Earth with the offspring of these trees to provide the myriad of beneficial ecosystem services essential for all life forms to thrive including releasing oxygen, sequestering carbon dioxide, providing beneficial aerosols and medicines: essentially a global warming solution.

About Us
Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that locates and propagates the world’s largest and most iconic trees. We are creating living libraries of old-growth tree genetics by cloning these old growth trees through traditional and advanced horticultural propagation for the purpose of future research and functional reforestation.
We promote the use of the right trees for the right application for a balanced, sustainable environment. We want, and need to replace the natural filter systems of our water and air to fight global warming caused climate change, and protect our freshwater ecosystem to restore the health of our planet.
As a non-profit charity, we can only carry out our mission with your financial support. Please consider making a gift today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recycling Aluminum and Reducing Your Aluminum Foil Use

Recycling Aluminum and Reducing Your Aluminum Foil Use

How to Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce Aluminum

Aluminum is 100% recyclable, yet only about 65% of the average Americans household aluminum gets recycled each year. Nearly all of that is in the form of aluminum cans. You can recycle 100% of the aluminum your family uses, and here's how to do it.

Eliminate, or significantly reduce your aluminum foil use. It's estimated that each American throws away about three pounds of aluminum foil per year. None of that foil should be getting to the landfill, recycle it instead. 

Not all recyclers allow aluminum foil, but if yours does then make sure to do your part. Remember it takes around 400 years for that aluminum foil to break down naturally. 
If you're lucky, like me, your city does allow aluminum foil to be recycled. Just wash, and dry before recycling with the rest of your household aluminum. Or follow your cities recycling regulations for aluminum. 

Instead of using aluminum foil to cover leftovers place food in bowls with lids. Or make your own covers. 
Rewash and reuse all the aluminum foil that you do use until it can't be used anymore and then take it to the recyclers. You can also recycle those aluminum pie plates and other baking containers, so be sure to recycle them too.

Recycle all the aluminum packaging that comes into your household per year. Remember aluminum is 100% recyclable. The average American throws away 14 1/2 pounds of aluminum from packaging a year. That's not counting aluminum cans. 

It is all recyclable, and we can all do our part to see that our household aluminum does get recycled. Consult your area recycling company for how and where to recycle aluminum packaging from your household, or from your job.

Aluminum cans are the most common aluminum recyclable, but we can do even more. Do you recycle the 2.5 cans that each American worker is said to consume at work each day? 
If your work does not recycle aluminum cans, maybe someone can at least be responsible for taking the cans home and recycling them. Recycling aluminum cans is big business. It's also good for the environment so do your part.

Other aluminum recyclables include things like aluminum siding, gutters, aluminum wire, and anything else made of 100% aluminum. It can all be recycled. And it all should be. Our landfills are far too full of recyclable materials like aluminum.


  • Recycle 100% of the aluminum that comes into your household.
  • Drastically reduce your households use of aluminum foil.
  • Don't forget to recycle aluminum cans and other aluminum at your workplace.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Downsizing Your Lifestyle



A great article from Miranda Marquit of  Check out her blog for dozens of ways to live a more frugal life, without sacrificing quality of life.

One of the reasons that so many of us end up falling behind with our finances is due to lifestyle inflation. It’s so easy for wants to be seen as needs after a while. Plus, as you make a little more money, or pay down a little more of that debt, it seems as though it’s easy to add a little more spending to your monthly budget.

At first, it seems like you’re just adding $5 a month here, or $10 a month there. Pretty soon, though, it adds up, and you are looking around, wondering why you have spent so much money, and have so little to show for it. If you aren’t sure of how you got to where you are, it might be time to take a hard look at your expenses and consider downgrading your lifestyle.

What Expenses Have Been Creeping Up On You?

I do like to eat out. However, a couple of months ago, I realized that things were going a bit overboard. Somehow, we had got to the point where we were eating three or four meals a week from a restaurant. While it was technically “affordable”, I realized that things were getting a little out of hand. Not only is eating out expensive, but it can also be terribly unhealthy. My husband and I decided that we needed a to get back to the meal planning we used to do, and “downgrade” from eating out so much.
It’s easy to let some expenses creep up on you, from buying a few extra toys each month, to increasing your cable package. Take a look at your spending, and figure out where you might be seeing some expenses creep up — especially in areas that aren’t that important to you. I may not be known for being the most frugal person in the world, but I don’t like spending on things that aren’t important to me.
Match your spending with your priorities. If you find that you are spending on things that don’t matter to you, just because you feel like you “should”, or because you’ve got in the habit, maybe it’s time to downgrade a little bit. Sometimes, spending more money isn’t really a lifestyle upgrade.

Could Downgrading Your Lifestyle Be an Upgrade?

In some cases, downgrading your lifestyle can actually be an upgrade. I don’t like clutter, and I have little use for stuff. “Downgrading” by getting rid of things my family doesn’t use anymore wouldn’t feel like a true downgrade; it would feel like an upgrade. My husband sometimes laments that our modest home is “too small”. But why is it too small? It actually has to do with how much stuff we have, and not actual square footage. Our four-bedroom home is just fine for our three-person family.
Getting rid of a lot of the stuff would free up space, and make the home feel much more open. There are other ways that downgrading your lifestyle can actually be an upgrade. Instead of needing to spend money to be entertained, you could begin using your creativity to make lasting memories with your family. You don’t need a lot of money to play board games with your kids, or go on picnics.
It can be easy to get caught up in appearances, and think that you need to buy certain things, or do certain things as a family in order to be seen as living a lifestyle that others think of as “normal”. This kind of upgrading can get expensive, and lead to keeping up with the Joneses — and their debt. A little simplicity in the form of a lifestyle downgrade can help you free up money for things that you find more important, while possibly improving your quality of life.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t spend any money, of course. I still eat out — just not multiple times a week. I do the things that are most important to me, and let the other things slide. My lifestyle may not seem glamorous, but it’s one I’m mostly happy with, and I’m glad to be back on track after slipping a bit into the practice of spending money on things I don’t really care