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Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

10 Tips to Save Money When Buying Good Wine

By Heather Levin

Red wineIf you’re pinching pennies, then buying wine for dinner might not be high on your list of priorities. My husband and I are also on a budget right now, but we’ve made room in our spending enough to have wine every night at dinner.

Why?  Well, obviously we love drinking wine (or we wouldn’t be spending the money on it). Having a glass of wine with dinner is almost a ritual at our house, and I’d be sad if we had to cut it out.

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New Amazon Kindle 3 Review – Is the Book Reader Worth the Money?

By Heather Levin

amazon kindle 3I have very few possessions that I treasure, mainly because I’m just not that attached to physical things. But without a second thought, I would put my Amazon Kindle into that very elite group of items I could not live without.

The price has come down considerably since the Kindle first came out. It’s now at, what I consider to be, an affordable $139. But many people are still wondering: is it worth the money? And perhaps even more importantly: could the Kindle save you money?

Well, the answer to that question depends on several factors.

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Kiva Microfinance Loans – Consider Loaning Money to Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries

By Heather Levin

Kiva lendeeMeet Esthere Uwamahoro. She’s 33 years old, married with two children, and lives in Kigali, Rwanda. She’s in the spare parts business, and she needs some help.

In short, she needs a micro-loan to help expand her business. Her hope is that if she has the money to buy more spare parts, she’ll have a wider selection to offer her customers. She wants her business to be successful so that she’ll be able to make more money for her family.

Normally, 99.99% of us would never hear about Esthere’s plight. How could we? We’re half way around the world.

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Catalog Choice Review – How to Stop Junk Mail from Coming to Your House

By Heather Levin

Are you sick of getting a stack of catalogs in the mail? Are you tired of having a gigantic Yellow Pages book dumped on your front porch every few months?

Join the crowd. Junk mail is a serious problem in the US. Over 100 million trees are cut down to create our junk mail. According to Do Not Mail, that’s the equivalent of cutting down the entire Rocky Mountain National Park – every year.

Plus, we get over 10 billion pieces of unwanted junk mail a year – and that’s just in the United States. We’ll spend, on average, 8 months of our lives dealing with all this junk mail.

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5 Easy Home Improvement Projects & Upgrades For the Winter

By Heather Levin

paintIf you’re like most people, you’ve been spending a lot of time indoors lately. Unfortunately, there are several more months of winter to get through before we start seeing signs of spring.

Before you throw your hands up in despair, why not break the monotony by working on your house? After all, you’re stuck inside anyway, and you’re probably searching for something to do that doesn’t involve watching endless reruns of Glee while eating any carb that will stand still. Plus, some home improvement projects will increase your property value, save money on your utility bills, and potentially prevent larger, more expensive issues from developing.

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Dangers of Plastic Food Containers, Water Bottles, and Bisphenol A (BPA)

By Heather Levin

Do you ever think about all the plastic in your kitchen?

You probably have an entire drawer full of stuff, including reusable plastic containers that you use to store and reheat leftovers. After all, these things are handy. They’re lightweight, they store easily, and they’re cheap.

What’s not to love?

The Dangers of Plastic

What many people don’t think about is that many of their plastic dishes and storage containers are leaching chemicals into their food, especially if they’re using #3 or #7 plastics, or any hard plastic that’s “shatterproof.” These plastics contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that, once ingested, mimics estrogen in our bodies.

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15 Winter Staycation Ideas & Tips – Staying Home for Vacation

By Heather Levin

winter staycationIf you’re anything like me you’re probably dreaming of sunshine, sandy beaches or just going outside without being assaulted by air so cold it hurts your teeth. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when many people start fantasizing about finally taking that tropical vacation…

The problem? Escaping to the jungle just isn’t in the budget.

If that is your situation, you’re not alone. I’m in the same boat, as are millions of other people. I’d love to jet down to Cocoa Beach for a week of doing nothing but tan. But we’re staying home to save money.

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7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste – Freezing Food and Making Leftover Recipes

By Heather Levin

food waste garbage canThis scenario probably sounds familiar: You’ve opened the door to your fridge to look for something to eat. What do you see?

A bag of wilted spinach. Several wrinkly apples. A block of cheese that’s blue (when it’s supposed to be orange). And three containers full of mystery leftovers that have been there way too long. So long, in fact, that you’re scared to open them.

This happens all too often at my house, and although I do have a vermicomposting bin to minimize the trash I throw away, the point is that wasting food wastes money. Here are 6 tips for using up leftovers, keeping your food fresh longer, and saving money in the process.

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18 Fun Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids & Adults

By Heather Levin

Every year, around this time, I start dreaming of warmer climates. Images of sunshine, bare feet, and tropical thunderstorms haunt my daydreams. And I know I’m not the only one.

Whether you battle Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms or just get a mild case of the winter “blahs,” chances are – unless you live in Maui or Miami – you’re not getting outdoors as much as you should.

I for one hate being shut inside with the windows closed, but I also don’t like being cold. So I’ll admit, it’s hard to drag myself out for fresh air and exercise. And here in Michigan (and other northern climates), winter lasts a very long time. So it’s important – for our health and sanity – to find some fun excuses to get outside.

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How to Make Natural Dyes to Dye Fabric & Clothes – 3 Easy Steps to Dyeing Naturally at Home

By Heather Levin

Natural Plant DyesIt may be hard to fathom, but we didn’t always use chemicals to dye fabrics. For millennia, people used plants, roots and berries to color cotton, muslin, linen, silk and other fabrics.

These days, of course, we can pop into a store and buy an entire rainbow of fabric dye; but it’s actually great fun to dye fabric the old-fashioned way. Not only does it give you a new appreciation for Mother Nature, it’s also a free and fun way to get craft-y and explore your creative side.

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The Importance of Splurging to Avoid Frugal Fatigue – 15 Low-Cost Splurges

By Heather Levin

Splurging on FlowersIn 2007 and 2008, I went on a major money-saving crusade. I was committed to saving up enough to pay off my house. And I wasn’t going to let any temptation stand in my way.

For months, my husband and I pinched every penny that came our way. We hardly ever went out to eat, we didn’t go to the movies, we rarely went out with friends and we didn’t take any vacations. Sounds like fun, right?

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Vermicomposting How To & Benefits – Why I Have 30,000 Worms Composting Food in My Kitchen

By Heather Levin

VermicompostingYes, I really do have tens of thousands of worms in my kitchen. And no, I’m not trying to get rid of them. That’s because I’m a die-hard fan of vermicomposting, which is the process of using worms to compost food scraps instead of throwing them in the garbage.

Why, you might be wondering, would I do such a gross, disgusting thing in my own kitchen?

Well, that’s the whole point. Unlike using a regular compost bin, let alone trash cans, vermicomposting isn’t gross or smelly. In fact, you can’t even tell the worms are there. Check out the photo; looks kind of like a side table, right?

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The Power of Random Acts of Kindness and 18 Ways & Ideas for How to Change the World

By Heather Levin

sunflower blue sky“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
-Sir Winston Churchill

Did you know that there are 13 human behaviors that, when we engage in them regularly, can engender happiness with 92% probability?

According to the Human Thriving Foundation, a non-profit group of doctors and scientists who have spent over 15,000 hours studying the subject, engaging in these behaviors on a regular basis can do far more to make us happy than any drug we can take, or material possession we can buy.

The 13 behaviors fall under the following categories:

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How to Cut Calories to Lose Weight (Without Sacrificing Flavor & Cravings) – 8 Clever & Easy Tricks

By Heather Levin

eat healthy scaleSo, the winter holidays are finally over with. All those cookies, turkey sandwiches and Christmas cake have been eaten. And now?

Your waistband is feeling a bit tight.

There’s an urban legend that goes around every year which says most people will gain 5 to 10 pounds through the winter holidays. The good news? It’s truly a myth. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most of us gain around one pound.

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How and Where to Buy Contemporary Fine Art (Prints & Paintings) Online on a Budget

By Heather Levin

hope birds artIf you’re anything like me, you’re sick and tired of browsing through those gigantic art posters at places like Target and Michaels. Sure, Klimt’s “The Kiss” and Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” are great works of art. But it’d be great to have something unique to frugally decorate your home with, right?

I love art, but I’d never walk into a gallery and buy a work of art because the prices are so inflated. Most of the time, the gallery gets at least 40% of whatever the art costs. And museum stores often take 50% or more. So you’re always going to pay way more than you have to at these places.

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