Do it Yourself Household Cleaning Products

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Say you’re cleaning the house and you happen to use the very last of that cleaner, but you aren't even close to being finished. Instead of stopping everything to run to the store, we've got some all-natural cleaners that you can make yourself using products that you more than likely already have around the house!

If you’re dusting that coffee table, and half way through you've used the last of the furniture polish, just take 1/4 cup each of olive oil, white vinegar and lemon juice (so that’s where that lemony scent comes from!) and pour a little at a time on a soft cloth, and polish away! Be careful not to spray it directly onto the furniture, as it could discolor the wood.

If you ran out of Windex, but need to get those little smudges off of those windows and mirrors ASAP, have no fear! Just take 1 tsp dish soap and mix with 1/3 cup white vinegar and 3 cups water, and your windows will be clear as day! Apply with a soft cloth and let the surface air-dry.

Have a dirty stove top that needs a good soaking? Sprinkle a good amount of baking soda on them, spray with hot water, let soak for about 30 minutes, and scrub clean! Easy as that, for a sparkling clean surface.

Want to get rid of that pesky soap scum? Take 1 cup white vinegar heated up in the microwave about 1 minute with 1 cup blue Dawn, spray on and wait for the soap scum to lift right off!

What are some of your favorite do it yourself household cleaning products?

If you have any tips or “recipes” to share, please leave them in the comments!

Cut Electricity Costs ~ Stop the Standby!

cut electricity costs


Are you looking for ways to cut electricity costs? Here a quick, helpful tip!

This is a very simple tip that you may have even heard before. If you're like me, you need to hear certain things a few times before you try them. Well, I'm here to tell you this does work! What is it you ask?

It's ditching the standby! Idling electronics such as a sleeping computer, a plugged in cell phone charger attached to no phone, a video game system and many others use power when they are “off”, which costs you money! Now, it's not realistic to think that you are going to run around your house pulling all of your plugs out every time you are done with certain devices. That's where this handy device comes in:

cut electric costsFor under $10, you can get a surge protector like this one -----> and make the process of killing idling electronics very easy. You can plug several devices (up to 6 or more, depending on the size of the surge protector) into it and shut them all off with one flip of a switch. We have one that our Xbox, TV, Wii and DVD player are in. With one switch, we can shut off all of these devices and prevent them from idling.

So what exactly is idling? Here's an example: you know those red lights that seem to be on all of your devices when they are turned off? Well how do you think they light up? That's right, by using YOUR power! Why pay for that!? This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your electricity costs. Set up a couple of easily accessible surge protectors in your home and you'll be able to save quite a bit of power! As an added benefit, most power strips will ensure that your electronics will be protected from potentially harmful power surges as well.

If you're really excited about this idea, check out this huge list of products and how much power they drain courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. That same government supported laboratory says of idling devices: "Together these amount to almost 10% of residential electricity use." Wow! Maybe I should have titled this post, "How to Easily Save 10% on Your Electricity Costs"! How can you not want to do that?!

Karma points bonus: using less electricity is a great thing you can do for the planet as well!

How do you cut electricity costs in your home?

Top 5 Free Finance Apps To Help Manage Your Spending

5 free apps to help manage spending
The following is a guest post from Dave Landry Jr.

One of the most essential facets of saving money is to understand what it takes to manage your money. With today’s mobile technology, it is easy to do so. There are a host of applications that one can download to keep track of how his/her money is spent. Here are five free finance apps for Android and iOS systems that will help you better manage your finances:

1. ReadyForZero
This is an iOS app that is offered freely to consumers. People are facing so many financial hardships and considerable debt these days and in their desire to cut costs and save their money, this app will assist in reaching reasonable financial goals. It is a great tool to help you plan how you will become debt free. It helps you to spend your money wisely. With this app, you enter all of your debts and include the timeframe to pay them off. The app will give you reminders and tips on following your financial plan to meet your goals.

2. PageOnce
This app operates as both an iOS and Android app. PageOnce is similar to Mint. With this app, you can easily connect to your financial accounts including your credit card and bank account.  This app stands out because of its easy, completely free bill paying service. However, credit card bills will invite a fee. Unlike other apps that don’t connect to smaller financial institutions such as credit unions, this app is widely supported by a plethora of credit unions.

3. Mint
This app operates as both an iOS and Android app. This is the simplest and most fun of the apps that we will discuss here. All that is required is the entry of your credit card and banking account information, and the system creates an easily navigated portal for you to see all your financial statements. You will be reminded of your credit card payments. You will be alerted if you have spent excessively in a wide range of categories. You will also be alerted of suspicious charges. The app links to the home budget software provided by Mint. This allows you to access the complete money management features; no matter where you are located. You can create reports and view graphs to determine where you are spending the most and how to use your finances wisely.

4. Personal Capital Banking and Investment
This app also operates in both an iOS and Android capacity. It carries more features than the Mint app does. It has an investment section to it. It has been tested and proven to have great control over investing. All that it requires is to input your credit card and bank information as well as your investment accounts. You can create watch lists of different stocks and bonds. The app will do the rest. The app will send free market trend alerts and reports on specific portfolios that you would otherwise pay for elsewhere.

5. Retail Me Not
This app also operates in both an iOS and Android capacity. You will be able to access all coupon mailers and discounts from manufacturers as well as online coupon codes. The app has a GPS system installed to determine what store locations are close by with deals and coupons that you can access. This includes groceries, household products, clothes, entertainment and any savings that would benefit your household. This offers convenience because you won’t end up at a store with coupon in hand; discovering that it cannot be used there.

About the Author -- Dave Landry Jr.
Dave Landry Jr. is a finance and business-related blogger and advisor who also has also developed a few smartphone applications for both iOS and Android operating systems. Dave also contributes to National Debt Relief.

Car Maintenance Tips that Save You Money

car maintenance tips

The following is a Guest Post by Jessica from Living Chic on the Cheap

We have all heard the importance of proper car maintenance. Much like your personal health, an ounce of prevention can be worth more than a pound of cure. A well maintained car can actually save you money in long run. My Husband is the service manager at a very large dealership and he sees ALL kinds of things. I have picked up a lot of tips over the years. Here is some advice I wanted to share.

Keep Your Oil Changed

How often should you change your oil? Well, that depends on your vehicle. You should keep up with your scheduled oil changes as the manufacturer recommends, (you can find this in your owners manual) but a good range is 3,000-5,000 miles or at least once a year. (Oil has improved over the years...so in most cases you do not have to change the oil as often as you did several years ago). Oils lubricating properties break down over time and mileage causing your engine to run less efficient or even damage your engine.

Use the CORRECT Oil for YOUR Engine

The manufacturer of your car designed your car to use a certain type of oil. Did you get a $19.99 Oil Change Coupon in the Mail? .... Check the fine print. It probably specifies a particular oil. If this is not the oil your car takes, do not redeem the coupon. You need to use the correct oil for your engine, because the internal tolerances of your engine are designed for a specific weight of oil.

Tire Pressure

To find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, just open your driver's side door. There you will find the proper PSI (Tire Pressure) for your car. It varies by make and model.

It is important to note the pressure on the label is cold pressure. (That means the car need to sit for at least a couple of hours before so that your tires are not hot.)

Correct tire pressures maximizes fuel economy and wrong tire pressure can cause rapid or irregular tire wear, which means you would need to replace your tires more often.

Rotating Your Tires

Tire rotations are recommended about every 7,000 miles or every other oil change (but you will want to check your owners manual). Why rotate? Well, most cars are either front or rear wheel drive. If your vehicle is front wheel drive, the front tires wear faster than the rear tires (because they are working harder). When you rotate your tires you are allowing them to wear more evenly.

Align Your Car

Alignment is recommend once a year or about every 12,000-15,000 miles. The alignment keeps tires wearing evenly as well. So many folks don't even think about having their car aligned until it starts handling funny. By that time it is too late for those tires.

Replacing Tires

Tires not only effect fuel mileage and drive-ability, they are also a safety issue.

Do the penny tread test. Place a penny upside down in between the treads of your tires. If the top of Abe's head is showing, you need new tires.

tire tread test
pennytestnewtires

Air Filters

Air Filters keep dirt and debris out of the engine. If the filter gets clogged it is robbing your engine of the air it needs. A good rule of thumb is to replace your air filter every 15,000-20,000 miles but see your owners manual for specific details for your make and model. A dirty air filter can actually decrease fuel economy by up to 10%.

Wiper Blades

This really isn't a money saving tip, but it is good time to recommend changing your wiper blades about every 6 months. Worn out wiper blades can lead to poor visibility, and become a major safety issue.

Wax Your Car

Wax your car at least twice a year. Waxing your car maintains the paint quality and finish of your paint which can lead to a higher resale value. Waxing helps protects the paint from oxidation. Even cars with clear coat need to be waxed.

No Dish Soap- EVER.

Dish soap contains degreasers so it will strip any protective elements from your paint. Use a car wash soap. You can find this at your auto parts store.

Where to Service

I know many people prefer independent shops, but if you have a good dealership in your area, this is a great place to consider taking your car. Why you ask, well because this is their expertise. Do you drive a Ford? Well your local Ford Dealer is certified to work on Ford Cars. Likewise Honda dealers work primarily on Hondas, Nissan Dealers on Nissans...you get the idea.

Certified dealer technicians get any updates and recalls as soon as they are released from the manufacturer, as well as continued training to stay certified. Also, since any particular dealer service center specializes in a particular line, they can often times be quicker to diagnosis issues which could save you during the diagnostic process. (Kind of like going to a medical specialist versus a general practitioner for a specific problem) Just something to think about.

Click here to visit Living Chic on the Cheap!

31 Websites that Will Save You Money

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websites that will save you money


Ok, aside from the random financial and money saving tips you'll find here, there are other awesome money saving websites out there as well. So I created a list of 31 websites that will save you money. I recommend following all of these sites, however even if you follow just ONE site from this list, you will find yourself saving money!

This list is in alphabetical order. A few of the sites have a local focus, and that is noted in the description.

31 Websites that Will Save You Money

$5 Dinners - With weekly meal plans and every recipe able to be made with ingredients costing $5 or less, this is a great site to follow if you're working on both cooking at home and reducing your grocery budget.

Amazon - This one is here not just because their prices are extremely competitive. The review system on Amazon is one of the most used on the net, so when I am looking for opinions on a product, I always check the reviews on Amazon. You have to weed out the weird ones, but many people will give you crucial information about a product (that wasn't in the description) that will swing your decision one way or the other.

Coupons.com (Print all coupons.com coupon right from this site! Click HERE! - Print grocery coupons at home to be used anywhere manufacturer's coupons are accepted. You can print 2 of each coupon you see there. Browse the widget below to see over 150 coupons available to print.


Craigslist - Whether you are looking for a specific product or just need someone to haul away some junk, Craigslist is a great way to find goods and services for cheap! Take a look at my How to Sell on Craigslist post which shares tips for buying as well.

Credit Sesame - Keeping tabs on your credit score is a good idea. Make sure your report doesn't have errors that are causing you to pay higher interest rates. Sign up for Credit Sesame and get a free report and credit monitoring.

Discount Mags - Please please please don't ever pay regular price for magazine subscriptions. On top of the already discounted prices, use code lookbeforespending to save 20% more on most mags. Look into magazines like Parents, Women's Day and beauty magazines, which sometimes even contain coupons!

DIY or Not - See if doing something yourself is really worth it. Compare DIY and average contractor costs for hundreds of home projects. They also include helpful links (when possible) to sites that will assist with the DIY process.

Facebook - Follow your favorite brands and keep up on their pages for special offers and coupons. Many brands are releasing exclusive coupons and specials on their Facebook pages.

Gazelle - This is a great site to sell your old electronics. If you're someone who likes to upgrade regularly, get familiar with this site and you'll be able to recoup some of the value of your old devices.

Get Out of Debt Guy - Specifically, his debt calculator (which is linked). While you do get results for debt consolidation services, you can also see results for how much interest you would pay if you pay the minimum payment. Seeing those interest numbers will make anyone want to pay more than the minimum!

Get Rich Slowly - Loads and loads of personal finance advice. Most posts are written by guest posters or staff writers, but if you're looking to surround yourself with information about being smart with your money, this is a great site to keep bookmarked.

Groupon - If you regularly go out to eat or do fun things in your area, you should stalk Groupon for deals. You can easily save 50% on meals, golf and other experiences with Groupon deals. If you use it on things you already would have spent the money on, it's a great money saver. When you start buying extra things on Groupon, it starts becoming a money pit.

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31 Websites that Will Save You Money Continued...

Hey It's Free - Because why pay for things? Follow this site and you'll see how easy it really is to get free stuff! Recent posts tell you how to get free magazines, cough syrup and a greeting card.

I Heart the Mart - Honestly, who doesn't shop at Walmart? If you're trying to pinch pennies, you definitely should be shopping there! Paul is a Walmart genius. He spends more time in Walmart than anyone else would ever want to. But he does it for you. Every time a new coupon is released into the world, Paul checks to see if that item is at Walmart and if it is, he'll share that coupon on his site and tell you how to use it best at Walmart. The amount of 100% free items I have gotten from Walmart due to following this site is absurd.

Instructables - Similar to Lifehacker, this site will tell you how to make things yourself (many times with things you already have), thus saving you money vs. buying stuff.

Kayak - Out of all of the sites out there to find you deals on hotels, flights and other traveling needs, this one is the best. I always get the most results for my search and the lowest prices. Tip: if you are only using this (or similar sites) for hotel rooms, call the hotel directly and ask them to beat the rate. Most of the time they will.

Kroger Krazy - Covering every single deal at the nation's largest is a lofty goal, but no one comes closer than Katie. If you shop at Kroger and don't check this website religiously, you are throwing money away.

Lifehacker - Don't spend money on fixing stuff or replacing broken things before checking this site. Fix or make them yourself. Lifehacker can help.

Mashup Mom - Covering practically every grocery store in existence in the Chicago area, Rachel's site is a must follow if you live in or around Chicago. She also covers nationally available deals at the 3 major drugstores (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens) and tons of Amazon deals. You'll find about 20 new deals every day! She even shares her own spectacular shopping trips and breaks them down so you can easily follow suit and save a ton of money yourself!

Mint.com - A great website that will help keep your finances in order. You can link all of your accounts in one place and better manage your money. Having everything organized will help you avoid late or missed payments.

MyLitter - If you're in the Houston, TX area, this is a great site for you. Tiffany covers Kroger, Giant Eagle, HED, Publix and several other grocery stores in addition to providing awesome frugal living tips and recipes several times per week.

MyMoney.gov - There's loads of information on this site. My favorite part is their section for "Life Events" which points you toward helpful articles and government assistance programs relating to your needs.

Nerd Wallet - Search for and find the best credit card, checking account and savings account for your needs. Find the credit card(s) with the best rewards plans and lowest fees. Similarly, find the bank accounts with the highest interest rates and lowest fees. I am a proponent of using a credit card responsibly, so why not get the most rewards out of it that you can!

Pandora - Free radio! What more could you want. So you have to sit through a 30-second commercial every 6-8 songs or so. It's better than buying $1.29 songs like it's going out of style.

Southern Cali Saver - You can pretty much guess the area that this blog focuses on. Posting deals from all major grocers in Southern California, Josie helps thousands of women and even some men in the Los Angeles/San Diego area save hundreds of dollars each month on their grocery bills. She even posts the best deals for all 3 major national drugstores every week in addition to some great online retail deals, frugal living tips and recipes as well.

ThredUp - If you have kids or are a fashionable woman, this site is great. You can get gently used (sometimes new!) name brand clothing for pennies on the dollar. They are constantly getting new stuff in to keep your wardrobe up-to-date! Plus, if you sign up here and share your link with friends and family, you get $10 for each person who signs up and makes a purchase!

Totally Target - Everything you want to know about saving money at Target. Coupons, online deals, weekly ad mathchups and more. Matchups are where she takes the weekly ad and matches all of the sale items with current coupons out and puts them all in one blog post. In other words: she does the hard work for you.

Trulia - Quickly find real estate listings that have recently reduced their prices. This means the sellers are willing to wheel and deal and could mean a big savings for you.

WiFi Free Spot - find places that offer free wi-fi internet in your area.

Woot - If shopping is your favorite pastime, Woot was made for you. With a different deal every day in each of its 8 major categories including sport, wine and kids, Woot makes saving money easy and fun!

#31 is an obvious choice: this site! Print money saving grocery coupons and watch the savings add up!
printable coupons

So there you have it! 31 websites that are out to save you money! As I said at the top, following any one of these sites will certainly help you save money, but following a lot of them will really make a difference in your spending and you entire mind-set about personal finance!

What are some of your favorite sites to help save you money?

websites to save you money