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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.

3 Old-Time Kitchen Gadgets and Utensils You Should Be Using

By Heather Levin

kitchen gadgets utensilsIf I had to pick a kitchen tool I absolutely couldn’t live without, it wouldn’t be a hard contest.

Hands down, I’d choose my cast-iron skillet. I inherited the skillet from my mom, who inherited it from her mom, who inherited it from her mom. This skillet has made more cornbread than your local Cracker Barrel, and by now, it’s so seasoned that every loaf comes out perfectly crisp and flavorful.

There’s a lot to be said for today’s expensive, high-tech kitchen gadgets. We’ve got colorful avocado slicers, panini presses, vegetable steamers, and food processors. But many of these gadgets are made overseas. They often break long before they should. And some, like our Teflon-coated cookware, might even be leaching dangerous chemicals into our food.

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8 Best Natural Cold and Flu Remedies At Home – Save Money with Frugal Flu Treatment

By Heather Levin

Sick in BedSo, you’re down for the count. You have body aches, the chills, an achy head, a runny nose, and a fever.

You don’t need a medical degree from Harvard to know you’ve got…the flu.

We’ve all had it at least once. And many of us get sick with it on a regular basis, even if we do get a flu shot and take multivitamins on a regular basis.

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9 Tips For Holiday Stress Management & Relief

By Heather Levin

As you’re well aware, the holidays are nearly here. Although this thought might be joyful for many, chances are that there’s a certain amount of stress creeping into your head as well.

Polls show that almost 90% of Americans feel some kind of anxiety or stress about the holidays. The shopping, out-of-control discretionary spending, decorating, cooking, visiting, and holiday entertaining at home can all add up and cause tremendous pressure on both adults and kids. When did things get so out of hand?

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15 Unique & Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas That Are Frugal and Fun

By Heather Levin

Frugal and Fun GiftIt’s hard to believe Christmas is now less than a week away. At this point, many of us are starting to think about wrapping gifts for family and friends.

The problem with wrapping paper is that it’s pretty bad for the environment. According to Earth911, we go through 4 million tons of wrapping paper each year. And that’s just here in the United States. Plus, due to the additives and coloring in most commercial wrapping paper, it can’t be recycled after use. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reusable material, we would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. That’s pretty amazing.

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Real vs. Fake Artificial Christmas Tree Types (Facts & Comparison) – Which Should You Buy?

By Heather Levin

Did you know that the first artifical Christmas trees were actually made in the early 1930′s by a company called Addis Brush? They were in the business of making toilet scrubbers and brushes. So, the first fake trees were really nothing more than gigantic, green toilet bowl scrubbers. Imagine that! It’s pretty funny to think about now.

Since their invention, artificial trees have continued to gain widespread popularity. In 2007 alone, almost 18 million were sold here in the U.S. That should hardly be surprising especially in tough economic times. It’s commonly believed that buying an artificial Christmas tree saves money. You invest the money once, and use the tree year after year. Plus, you help the environment by saving a tree from being cut down.

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11+ Uses for Vinegar You Need to Know About

By Heather Levin

household uses for vinegarWhen I buy vinegar, I buy it in bulk from Costco. Why on earth do I need that much vinegar, you ask?

Because vinegar, like baking soda uses, is one of those miracle products that I use for dozens of different things. I use it  to can vegetables, to clean my house, to remove stains – it’s a truly amazing, versatile, and eco-friendly product.

The wonderful thing about vinegar is that, because it can be used in so many different ways, you really will save money by using it. You don’t need 5 or 10 different household cleaners – you just need two.

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stickK Review – Would You Put Money on the Line to Achieve Your Goals?

By Heather Levin

Setting a goal to runHow many of you have set a goal, only to find yourself crashing and burning a few months, or weeks, into the effort?

Perhaps it was a goal to stick to your budget, train for a marathon, lose weight, quit smoking…

Yeah, I’m raising my hand too. I could write a lengthy list of all the goals I have set but haven’t met in years past. Not meeting a goal is not only dispiriting, but it often lowers your confidence about setting and meeting future goals. I know it sure has for me.

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7 Frugal Life Skills to “Do It Yourself” and Save Money

By Heather Levin

Hand sewingHave you ever added up how much you spend every year getting your car’s oil changed? Or, how much you’ve spent on fresh vegetables, gourmet jam, or having your pants hemmed?

Chances are, it’s a fair amount.

I recently stopped to think about all the products and services I pay for, that I could be doing myself. My oil changes are a good example. I spend around $90-$120 per year paying a mechanic to change my oil. That’s something I could easily do myself for a small fraction of that cost.

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How to Prepare Your Home & Car for Winter Storms, Blizzards & Snow Emergencies

By Heather Levin

Winter snowstormI’m no fan of winter, but there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned snowstorm. The blustery wind, the drifts of snow, the weather forecaster’s announcements about “the storm of the century”…it always gets me excited!

While snowstorms can be fun, however, they can also be dangerous, especially when you’re caught unprepared, or on the road. For instance, the snowstorm that hit the Midwest last month (November 2010) caused over 400 traffic accidents in Minnesota and 2 deaths in Wisconsin. Many people who were caught in Washington, D.C.’s “storm of the century” last winter were stranded on the highway for 30 hours or more before they were dug out. In fact, Popular Mechanics reports that 70% of winter storm fatalities occur in automobiles.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Symptoms & Treatment – 8 Frugal Ways to Beat Winter Depression

By Heather Levin

It’s that time of year again — the days get shorter and the temperature heads south, which is probably exactly what you’d like to do. Productivity drops, you’re tired and just can’t seem to get it together. These are some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and if you suffer from them, you might be looking at the calender with a sense of dread.

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that occurs mainly during the winter months. Some people call it the “winter blues” or “winter doldrums,” but psychologists have identified SAD as a true depresssive condition.

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7 Tips on How to Prepare Financially and Survive Unemployment or Job Loss

By Heather Levin

Job lossMost of the time, people don’t know in advance that they’re going to lose their job. The news comes as a complete, and unwelcome, surprise.

But what if you did have some advance warning that your job was about to come to an end? Perhaps you’re a contract worker and your responsibilities are almost fulfilled. Maybe your organization has given notice that layoffs are coming. Or perhaps you are ready to voluntarily leave your job to start your own small business or pursue a dream.

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5 Unique & Frugal Christmas Holiday Gift Ideas That Help Save Money

By Heather Levin

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the surrounding months are all about shopping for cheap holiday gifts. But this year, instead of just looking out for ways to save money this holiday season for yourself, why not give gifts that actually help your loved ones save money on gifts as well?

Here are 5 of my favorite inexpensive, money-saving gift ideas that are sure to spread joy, as well as financial well-being:

1. The Kill-A-Watt Energy Monitor
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that up to 20% of our utility bill pays for what is called “phantom load.” Phantom load (also called vampire power) is energy that’s sucked away when your devices (laptops, DVD players, microwaves) are off, but left plugged in.

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Potluck Dinner Ideas – How to Swap Dinner Meals & Dishes with Families in Your Neighborhood

By Heather Levin

Casseroles are easy to make for a dinner swapIt’s 6:30 p.m and I still haven’t even decided what to make for dinner. And I have such little time too!

I’m sure you’ve been there too. No matter how many times we make a menu, buy in bulk, and plan ahead, there are going to be days or even weeks when we just can’t get it together to make a healthy meal for dinner.

What happens then?

Well for me, this usually means takeout Chinese food, which is definitely not a healthy or frugal option.

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How to Prevent Home Burglary – 8 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Someone Breaking Into Your House

By Heather Levin

Last week, thieves broke into my dad’s home and stole his TV, his laptop, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Most of the items, luckily, are easily replaced. And he wasn’t home at the time, which is the biggest blessing.

What can’t be as easily replaced, however, is the sense of security and peace of mind he had before the break-in. Coping with the emotional whiplash from the robbery has been more time-consuming and mentally draining than handling the police reports and insurance adjusters.

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How to Use Less and Save on 5 Common Household Products

By Heather Levin

Save on Household CleanersHave you ever read the directions on the back of your laundry detergent? You know, where it says “Use 2/3 cup for heavy loads, 1/2 cup for lighter loads,” and so on.

The problem with these directions, and with a lot of the products we use daily, is that when we follow the “recommended use” directions, we end up using way more than necessary. Of course companies are going to tell us to use more than we need to! After all, the more product we use, the faster we run out, which means the more we buy.

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