Category Archives: Frugal Tips

Our last year has been spent de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff! I don’t just want to throw things away but rather I like to repurpose items if someone else could use them. Granted some things should just be tossed; old gardening t-shirts for example or work gloves with holes in the fingers but many items still have life left in them and they just need to find a new home.Getting Rid of Stuff

 

Clothes:

There are many ways to pass along clothes that you no longer wear. Take them to your local thrift or consignment shop. Recently I heard that Amazon and Goodwill were teaming up to use empty shipping boxes. Instead of tossing the boxes into recycling you can use the empty shipping boxes and get rid of the clutter filling our homes with the Give Back Box program.clothes

 

After removing items from the amazon box, a user fills it with clothes, accessories and other items you want to donate and then visits GiveBackBox.com to print a free shipping label. The box can be dropped off at the post office or UPS or picked up. Seems like a win-win to me!

 

If you are having trouble getting rid of clothes one suggestion is to hang all your clothes backwards on the hangers. After six months donate everything still hanging backwards! Discard everything that is outdated or worn, and get rid of unnecessary duplicates. Then the next time you go buy a new pair of pants make it a habit to remove a pair of pants from your closet!15775062_10154463626103172_2846775412710868563_o

 

eBay:

I’ve been selling a lot of items of eBay lately. I’ve sold everything from vintage dishes to books to old games. I’ll admit it is a little time consuming, Before listing an item I find a box or shipping envelope to put the item in, this helps when determining the shipping costs. I then have to decide whether or not I want to sell the item at a flat rate or list it as an auction. We won’t be able to retire on what I’ve sold but we’re getting rid of stuff and making a few dollars in exchange.

 

Books:

I love books and as a result have a well stocked library. When we recently had several movers come to give us an estimate on the costs involved in moving across country both men kept saying, “wow you have a lot of books!”. Knowing I can’t move them all I’ve been slowly weeding out the books I no longer need. As mentioned above I’ve sold some on eBay. You van also sell books on Amazon.com and another option is MyBookBuyer.com. Your local library is also a wonderful place to donate books. Take some time and go through your bookshelves, you may be able to make some money while cleaning out your shelves.clutter, selling books, prudent living

 

Glasses:

There are many organizations that will take donations of old eyeglasses. Heck with your eye doctor to see if they can recommend a charity. Lions Clubs often have boxes where you can donate old glasses. Check HERE for your nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center.

 

It’s a new year and I find that the more stuff I get rid of the better I feel. It’s often the decision whether to keep or get rid of something that’s the hardest. Once I’ve passed it on there is a sense of lightness. Here’s to a clutter free new year and getting rid of stuff!

The basic principles of efficient heating are simple: keep warm air in, cold air out, and your heater or furnace in tip-top shape. There are a few other steps you can take to ensure a cozy winter without resorting to wearing a parka indoors.efficient-heating

 

  1. When the heat is on, set your thermostat as low as possible. Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees at night. Even a few degrees difference will lead to considerable savings. Remember, warm clothing provides an excellent source of insulation, as does adding another blanket to your bed. There are also smart thermostats that you can get where you can pre-program the temperature. Turn the heat down when no one is at home.heat control, frugal tip, prudent living
  2. Keep windows next to the thermostat closed tightly so the rest of the house is not several degrees warmer than the area around the thermostat.
  3. Make sure your heating system is operating efficiently. If you have a furnace or heat pump, check the filter at least every other month during the winter. Clean the filter as needed and replace it when it appears to be worn out. Have a professional tune an oil-fired system once a year. Gas-fired systems and heat pumps need to be tuned only once every two years.
  4. If you use an electric furnace for heating, consider a heat pump. These pumps are expensive, but they can reduce your total use of electricity for both heating and cooling by 30-40 percent.
  5. Close off unoccupied rooms or rooms not currently in use. This means shutting the heat or air conditioning vents, unless you have a heat pump. Shutting vents in this case could harm the heat pump.
  6. Keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use. It also helps to install a glass front to keep warm air from going up the chimney.
  7. Use insulating shades on the windows, this will help keep the cold out out and the warm air in!Close the windows and blinds during the day.

 

By following these basic principals of efficient heating this winter you will save money and stay warm.Winter

As we continue to de-clutter and get rid of things it’s time for an end of the year pantry challenge! My goal is to clean out our chest freezer so that I can sell it. When the house eventually sells we are not planning to move our beloved chest freezer. The freezer is almost empty so what better time to do an end of the year pantry challenge.pantry challenge

 

For the next two weeks I am going to only purchase items from the grocery store that are absolutely necessary such as fresh vegetables and possibly some dairy. I will give myself a budget of $50 for the two weeks. I will be utilizing food from our pantry and freezer. Hopefully by the end of the two weeks our chest freezer will be empty and I can list it for sale.

 

There is actually not a lot in the chest freezer at the moment other than some frozen peas and some frozen spinach, a few chicken breasts, some ground beef and a package of sesame seeds. I will work on eating out of the refrigerator freezer as well so any items still left in the chest freezer can be moved. At the end of the two weeks the chest freezer just needs to be empty!

 

This is what there is to work with for the next two weeks: in the upstairs freezer thare are two containers of applesauce, some cooked chicken meat, two small containers of mushrooms soup, a container of spaghetti sauce with meatballs and a hambone. Plenty to work with!pantry challenge

 

This challenge begins today! First up on the list is making some homemade split pea soup. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice bowl of soup for dinner? I will use the applesauce to make some applesauce bread. Hopefully I can make a couple of small loaves to give away over the holidays. That is if I have enough room in our upstairs freezer!

 

Pantry Challenge Menu

 

Monday: Split Pea Soup

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Thursday: Turkey Meatloaf

Friday: Baked Chicken breasts

Saturday: Meatball grinders

Sunday: Mushroom Soup and a salad

 

For breakfast we alternate between oatmeal, homemade granola and eggs. If inspired I might even make pancakes or waffles (much to my husband’s delight, he claims they are an excellent excuse to enjoy our local maple syrup!). Lunch will be leftovers or sandwiches from what is on hand. I’m hoping this will inspire me to make better use of the food we do have in stock. I usually cook meals from scratch but don’t always do a good job with using things already in the pantry! Next week I’ll give an update on our progress! If you’re a local reader let me know if you’re interested in a chest freezer! It is still under warranty!pantry challenge

 

If you’d like any of the recipes I’m going to be making please comment below and let me know, I’d be glad to share them! This challenge is something we’re taking on personally, would any of my faithful readers like to join us in our end of the year pantry challenge?

 

It can be unpleasant to have dark circles as they not only have an impact on your appearance but can also affect your confidence. They are nothing but discoloration present around your eyes, either due to bruising or heredity reasons. They often make you look dull and tired.

 

Various other reasons cause dark circles like lack of sleep, age, bad diet, poor lifestyle, fatigue, anemia, liver issues, medications, and even periorbital hyperpigmentation. You can try natural, home remedies to get rid of dark circles. Not only are they safe, but the ingredients are easily available in your household and kitchen.

English: Example of dark circles

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Curing Dark Circles Through Home Remedies

 

1) Cucumber Juice

Considered one of the best astringents, cucumber juice is an excellent way to make your skin soft and glowing. Also, it is a commonly used home remedy that is used for getting rid of dark circles.  

 

Take two cucumbers and grate them. You can either use a food processor or your hand to squeeze out the juice and place it in a small bowl. Now take two cotton balls, dip them into the cucumber solution and apply on the dark circles present under the eyes. For the best results, you need to keep the cotton balls on for about 15- 20 minutes.

 

Besides removing dark circles, it helps in relieving your eyes from burning sensations. Along with the mixture of refrigerated cucumber, just add lemon juice and lanolin cream to the affected area. Then leave it for about 20 minutes and rinse off with water.

 

2) Almond Oil

One of the best and most commonly used natural ingredients beneficial for the delicate skin under your eyes is almond oil. With regular usage, your dark circles will fade away. Furthermore, along with almond oil, use vitamin E to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

 

Just before you hit the sack, take some almond oil and apply it on the dark circles and softly massage it into the skin. Allow it to remain for the entire night, and wash off with cold water in the morning. By following this remedy every day, your dark circles will instantly disappear.

 

3) Rose Water

Rose water contains incredible ingredients that are beneficial for skin. Not only does it rejuvenate the skin but has a soothing effect on your tired eyes. Because there is a mild astringent property, it is an excellent skin toner.  

 

First, you need to take some rose water in a bowl and soak cotton eye pads in it for few minutes. Now take the soaked pads and place them on your closed eyelids and leave them on for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure to follow this remedy two times a day.

 

4) Raw Potato

The natural bleaching agents in potatoes help in lightening dark circles and removing the puffiness around the eyes. Grate two or three raw potatoes and extract their juice. Take two cotton ball, soak them in the juice and place them on your closed eyes. Try to make sure that the juice is covering the dark circles present under your eyes and even the eyelids.

 

Allow it to remain on your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Try to repeat this procedure once or twice every day for a few weeks. Instead of potato juice, you can also use thick potato slices to get rid of dark circles.

 

5) Vitamin-rich Diet

A vitamin-rich diet is necessary for healthy skin as well as to avoid dark circles under your eyes. Foods rich in vitamin C assist in combating dark circles present under the eyes. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, papayas, green leafy vegetables, and melons are rich in vitamin C and consuming them every day can reduce dark circles.

 

Furthermore, vitamin E rich foods like carrots, spinach, apples, sunflower seeds, beef, avocado, celery, whole grains and asparagus help in removing dark circles and making the skin more glowing and soft.

 

Check out the infographic below, to know more about the benefits of Vitamins.
14 Potent Vitamins for Younger and Healthier Skin

 

 

 

Conclusion

There are various natural remedies available to reduce dark circles. The ingredients given above are the common ones and are easy to use. To know more about the other beauty tips like the best primer for acne prone skin, check out the Fix Your Skin website.

 

So, go ahead and try these remedies and also provide your feedback in the comments.

 

What To Do When You’ve Been Skunked!

We have had my daughter’s dog, a Boston Terrier on and off through the years. Several years ago when we were taking care of Riley she got skunked! Apparently she thought the black and white critter outside our bedroom window was a distant cousin to a Boston Terrier!dogs, dog biscuits, frugal tips

Up until that point we had never had any trouble with skunks. Neither our pug, Purtie, nor our chocolate lab, Gracie, ever had an encounter with a skunk. However, this all changed one night when we had Riley under our roof. We had just let Riley outside to do her business and in a mater of minutes Riley came running back to the house. At the same time we smelled skunk. Poor Riley sat on the steps while we tried to figure out the best way to treat her. Luckily just days before I had read something about using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to treat a dog sprayed by a skunk.skunked

Talk about good timing! Luckily we had all the ingredients on hand (it is prudent to have a well stocked pantry). We soon had a much better smelling and very clean dog. There was still a slight odor of skunk so she did have to spend the night in the laundry room.Skunked

If your dog runs into a skunk here is a wonderful recipe that I can vouch for!

Mix together the following ingredients:

1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼ pound baking soda
Bit of laundry detergent of dish soap

This worked so well on the dog. Getting the smell off of the steps to the house was another story.Skunked

Have you or your dog ever been skunked? What was your solution?

Riley is now living in Portland, Oregon and hopefully will not ever run into a skunk again. It was certainly not something she was very happy about!

Several months ago I wrote a post about safe stripping in regards to refinishing your wooden antiques. So called “safe” strippers are a good place to turn for refinishing your wooden antiques. Safe Strippers don’t irritate your skin, their fumes aren’t damaging to your health, and their contents aren’t flammable or explosive – though, of course, rags and residue must be disposed of safely.

At the time we had two projects in the works. One was an antique fireplace mantle that we still plan the turn into a headboard for our queen-size bed and the other was a set of antique wooden twin beds that had been once been painted pink then painted red. The beds were maple and in dire need of refinishing. The twin beds were our first project.

To be safe the entire project was completed in the garage, we had an empty bay where we set up and workstation to complete the project. To read more about the beginning stages of the safe stripping project click here.Tools assembled. ready to start!

It took awhile to get all the paint removed especially on the spindles.cleaning the spindlesWhen the paint was all removed a final cleanup was done using fine sandpaper. Finally the beds were ready for stain.bed frames

My husband used a cloth to rob a stain into the wood.safe stripping, staining To match the other bedroom furniture we used a dark stain, which would cover up the tiny imperfections, while at the same time reveal the grain of the wood.safe stripping The finish coat was a satin polyurethane to protect the wood. The end result was perfection! The beds look great in the bedroom. You would never have a clue that they were once painted pink and then red!safe stripping This top coat of polyurethane should last for many years. Any future projects on these beds will not be done by us, we’re going to enjoy them just as they are!safe stripping

Next project for this winter will be to turn the antique fireplace mantle into a queen size headboard!

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