Friday, December 4, 2009

Alternitive heat

I know up north a lot of people pay extreme heat bills. There are some smart ways to cut down the price of heating drastically, it just depends on how willing you are to use it despite it's fall backs.

Wood Burning Stove
Our ancestors had it right when it came to heat. These things put out heat, and I mean big time, not only that most of them can be used as an extra stove top for making tea. They are large space heaters so the closer you are to the stove the hotter and the further away you get the colder. Depending on what stove you choose, they can heat almost any home not to mention how cute and rustic they look.

The draw backs? Ashes, boy are they dirty. Also you have to have a good supply of cut wood to burn, this may be a challenge to find in a city or other populated area.

Geothermal Heat
If I ever build a house, I want this kind of system in it. They are expensive to install but last virtually forever and can save from 25% up to 50% off your electric bill, so you save money in the long run this way. On top of the it's very environmentally friendly and enables you to get a tax cut.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frugal Christmas: Part 3 Gift Sets

Cheap places to buy gifts
-re-sale shops

-pawn shops
-garage sales & e-bay

Homemade gift certificates can be fun and cost very little to make. You can make coupons for chores, hugs, kisses, anything at all.

Hobby & Luxury sets
Buy an inexpensive basket or container and fill it with things the receiver may like:

Hair care luxury set
Fill with shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioning treatments, hair gels and sprays. If you want to go all out add in a gift certificate to a salon for a hair cut or style.

Bath luxury set
Fill with body wash, bar soap, sponge or loofah, maybe some hand towels. You can also add bath salts or beads if you like. Don't forget the bath pouf!

**The nice thing about these kind of baskets is that, unlike that $20 commercially put together one at Walmart, these will actually be used. Big Lots has a lot of cheaper bathing products if you want to make something less expensive.**

Foot& Hand luxury set
Nail files, clipper, pumice stone or foot stone, lotion, foot soak. throw in a gift certificate to get a manicure if you want.

Now that covers head to is Hobbies:

The Gardener
Arrange in a pot a spade, spading fork, gardening gloves, and seeds. You can even put these items into a watering can, just remember to stuff the bottom with paper so the stuff doesn't fall in so deep the receiver can't see the goodies.

The Handyman
Get a tool caddy, or a tool box if the receiver doesn't have one and fill it with things like screws, nails and stuff (I don't know much about tools but ask the person what they need and they will let you know; just don't tell them you're giving them the gift, the surprise is half the fun.)

The Cook/ The BBQ Chef
If you know someone who loves to cook, most likely they will have most of the basic tools. You want to put together a basket of cooking tools you know they don't have, Odd things like garlic press or lemon zesters are uncommon but wanted cooking items. Same goes for the grill guy/gal ask around nonchalantly and see what tools they need so they don't get the hint you're buying it for them.

The Party Animal
Every family has at least one of these, make a hangover basket. Arrange Alka-seltzer, Motrin, Pepto Bismol and coffee, all known to help hangover.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Frugal Christmas: Part 2 Low Cost Crafty Gifts

There are literally thousands of ideas out there for homemade or cheap gift giving. Some ideas are perfect for friends and co-workers and some ideas are great for closer more personal relationships like spouses and immediate family. Below are some categories for frugal gift ideas.

The Foodie

Recipes in a jar- This includes cookie mixes, soups, jams & curds and plenty of others. Great for co-workers or friends who like to cook.

Homemade cookies and candy - This one is great and personal. There is nothing like using your grandma's old fudge recipe and sharing it with your family and friends.

Homemade Cookbook- This is great if you are one of those people that everyone always asks the recipe for your dishes. Just make the cookbook in your word processor, print it out and arrange it in a 3 ring binder, decorate.

Arrange for you to cook a nice dinner- If you are good at cooking and want to give your parents a 5 star dinner in the privacy of their own home, then this is a great option. Just plan out the meal and decorations and music, don't forget the candles!

Fruit Baskets- A basket of fruit, traditional boss or client gift.

Art Connisseur

Make a painting, drawing, etc.- If you are artistically inclined then use your talent for your gifts. If you like painting, pottery even collage you can make impressive gifts that are unique and sure to leave an impression.

Scrapbooks- Usually great for family or close friends, make a nice scrap book of the person who will be receiving the gift. Be careful this can get costly, but it also can be cheap if you are smart about it.

Garage Sale Art- It sounds funny but no one needs to know where it came from! For all they know you might have paid $300 for that painting bought at a garage sale for $30.

Sewing & Knitting

Totes, handbags, green grocery bags- These are relatively easy to sew. It's a big fad now that everyone in the grocery brings their own bags, but image how much nicer homemade bags look than the store bought ones that everyone else has.

Scarfs, sweaters, shaws- Nice and personal gifts but knitting takes a lot of time, especially the sweaters.

Craft Sewing- There are tons of free craft patterns online. My grandma used to sew the cutest stuffed elephants and I kept mine a very long time. Also those sock monkeys are adorable.

Crochet hair accessories- I had to add this because its so neat in my opinion. I have two girls who take ballet and longed for those really pricey crochet hair bun holders. They are so cheap to make too!

Carpenter and Woodworking

Bird houses, small collector's shelves, potato storages- These make great gifts if you are mechanically inclined, unlike me. Anyone with a yard would love a birdhouse.

Collectibles-Nice for the wildlife lover, whittling ducks and figurines are great gifts.

Soaps- soaps can be carved into pretty shapes and arranged in a basket or just wrapped up.

Doll houses- If you have a daughter, the doll house you make will last much longer than the plastic thing you buy at Walmart, not only that it can be passed down to her daughter one day!


If you are totally un-crafty or just don't have time, try looking in garage sales, flea markets or make a few recipe in a jar gifts. These things require no skill.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Frugal Christmas: Part 1 Christmas Cards

The holidays are coming up and it's time to start thinking about gifts. It's hard enough to figure out what each person on your Christmas list wants without breaking the bank. Kids these days are getting more demanding with their requests for expensive video games and electronic devices, which would leave little or no money for everyone else. Even Christmas cards can get pricey, and let's not forget the ever increasing price of stamps to mail the cards. So what can you do about it? Get innovative!

Cheaper Holiday Cards

E-cards- mostly free, these are awesome for anyone on your list that's tech savvy

Postcards- Not only are they cheaper to purchase or easy to make, (cuts costs more), they are cheaper to send than a traditional card. Itcosts 28 cents to mail a postcard as opposed to 44 cents for a letter.

Letters- You can save money on buying cards and make Christmas really personal by mailing letters. Write heartfelt letters about how thankful that you know the other person, how much they mean etc. I guarantee that they will remember the letter for years to come. Make sure the letters are handwritten, as the cold, hard, typed letters take away a lot of the personal meaning.

Homemade cards- This one is sure to impress especially if you are artistically inclined or good with computers, also good for grandparents or anyone who loves to receive cards made by your kids. If you have kids they will have a lot of fun making cards for friends and family.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks Giving, concerning food drives

There's a time to be frugal and a time to spend a little more, in the case of food drives more is better. Our Lord reminds us in Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

It saddens me whenever there is a food drive most people get rid of the unwanted junk in their pantries or overload the food banks with cheap foods like corn and green beans. These foods are great but if everyone gives the cheapest the poor and hungry are out of a decent meal. Have you ever lived off cold cans of corn and green beans for a week? Would you want your children to live that way? Of course not! That's why when you give be a little more considerate to the hungry, they need meats like tuna, beef stews and chicken and fruit juices too. Just think of the non-perishables you eat and its likely what they eat. Look for coupons to save on your donation items.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finally Moved In!

I am still unpacking but after the crazy move in and a case of swine flu things have finally settled down. One thing I have learned is to install as much as possible for yourself. I just saved myself $130 phone line repair by asking the tech guy (was the fourth one I talked to) how I could solve my phone line issue. He told me how to avoid the repair man from coming out and costing me $130, and the job only took me 10 minutes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I'm currently moving from a crummy small apartment to a nice spacious house with a back yard! I'm soo happy and so are the kids. So just in case you are wondering why I haven't been posting lately, that's the reason. While I'm on the subject. Frugal moving tips!

*Don't buy your boxes get them for free from dollar stores and such.
*Use garbage bags
**Be careful when using a friend's friend to help you move, they might pull their backs or break something and they are not bonded or insured. Personally this option is good for a single person or a couple who is moving but for a family of 4 or more not so. Better hiring a moving company that's bonded and insured.
*If you need paper for cushioning breakables try the local paper recycling bin. My kid's school has a huge dumpster full of old newspapers that can be used for this purpose.
*pack ice chests with sandwiches, drinks and finger foods so you won't have to go out to eat.

Will post soon!