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Laura Williams
Laura Williams holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science and enjoys breaking up her day by running her dogs, hitting the gym, and watching TV. Having been in charge of her own finances since the early age of 12, she knows how to save and when to spend, and she loves sharing these tips with others. Laura ditched her career as a fitness center manager for the relative freedom of home-based writing and editing work. She stays busy by working on her own website, GirlsGoneSporty, a website designed to help the sporty woman live the sporty life.

Building a Prefab Home – Types, Cost, Pros & Cons

By Laura Williams

prefab homeDon’t let the term “prefab home” scare you away – today’s prefabricated homes (also termed “building systems” by the National Association of Home Builders), are downright fabulous. Not only do they provide home buyers with a custom, energy-efficient building solution, they’re also typically more affordable than traditional stick-built homes. While the total cost of a prefab home is highly variable based on size, amenities, and location, you can expect to pay between $180 and $220 per square foot – an amount that often includes the home’s interior fixtures and amenities.

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How Long Does Makeup Last? – When to Throw Away Old Cosmetics

By Laura Williams

makeupIf you’re like most women, chances are you have a drawer full of cosmetics bursting at the seams. Lipsticks, facial creams, sunscreen, and even hair products have a tendency to accumulate – but when was the last time you considered clearing out your cosmetics drawer for any other reason than to free up space?

The fact is, cosmetics expire. Creams, gels, and liquids are particularly prone to spoilage – they become hotbeds of bacterial activity, they stop working correctly, and they can even negatively affect your skin, leading to breakouts or rashes.

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10 Frugal Lifestyle YouTube Channels Worth Following

By Laura Williams

woman computer piggy bankYouTube is currently the second largest search engine worldwide, ranked just below Google. It may be best known for cute cat videos and embarrassing viral bloopers, but if you’re looking for information on practically any subject, it’s safe to assume there’s a channel for it.

The trick with YouTube is finding worthwhile content. If you search “cheap makeup,” you’ll end up with 616,000 videos, which may or may not be what you’re looking for. One thing I’ve learned is that when you’re looking for information on a general topic, such as frugal lifestyle, it’s helpful to search by channel. You can then narrow down your options by diving deeper into the channels with the most followers or the niche subject you’re most interested in.

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How to Declutter & Downsize Your Home Effectively – 9 Essential Tips

By Laura Williams

declutterIn 11 years of marriage, my husband and I have moved 10 times. We’re not in the military, and there’s no good explanation for all the moves, except that they just made sense at the time. Most of our moves were from a smaller dwelling to a bigger one, which meant there wasn’t much downsizing that needed to take place between moves – we just loaded everything up and carted it along with us.

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What Is myRA – What to Know About The New Retirement Account

By Laura Williams

myra retirement account logoAccording to an August 2014 report from Bankrate, more than one-third (36%) of American adults are not currently saving for retirement. Worse yet, more than a quarter of Americans nearing retirement age (50 to 64 years old) have yet to save anything.

While the stats are staggering, they’re somewhat understandable – it’s easy to de-prioritize retirement savings when you’re struggling to pay those monthly bills. Excuses such as, “I love my job, so I’ll just keep working until I die,” or, “As soon as I finish paying off credit card debt, I’ll open an account,” are easy to come by.

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7 Ways to Save Money When Building a New House

By Laura Williams

home buildingWhen my husband and I moved back to Texas almost two years ago, the plan was to build a separate home on a shared five-acre property with my parents. However, as is often the case in life, things did not go according to plan. Unexpected expenses arose, jobs changed, and one thing after another prevented us from starting an immediate build. And yet, as time passed, it became clear for everyone’s sanity that we needed a place of our own – and soon.

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How to Get More Followers on Pinterest – 5 Crucial Tips

By Laura Williams

pinterest logoAccording to a November 2014 TechCrunch report, Pinterest is the second-fastest growing social network in terms of active users, and the fastest growing network in overall member growth – about 70 million users as of June 2014. The network’s image-focused online pin boards are highly engaging, particularly among females, which account for 80% of its member base and 94% of its pins and re-pins, according to MediaBistro.

While these user statistics are compelling, the really interesting statistics come down to business. Pinterest users buy, and they buy a lot.

According to data compiled by Digiday, Pinterest users:

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How to Make Decorative Push Pin or Thumbtack Art

By Laura Williams

pushpin-artI’m always looking for easy and inexpensive ways to add art to my walls, and because I tend to be a bit fickle, I’m drawn to projects that I can complete multiple times with different motifs. After seeing some cool-looking push pin art projects on Etsy that cost between $20 and $30 to buy, I decided I’d try my hand at making a few of my own for a fraction of the cost.

Luckily, the skill level is minimal – you just have to be willing to try – and the time commitment is small. It took me about 45 minutes to complete each of my projects.

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How to Get More YouTube Subscribers and Increase Video Views

By Laura Williams

youtube web browserYouTube is currently the second-largest search engine in the world, boasting more than one billion unique visitors per month and more than 100 hours of video uploaded to the site every hour. And while the sheer volume of content and visitors may make you feel like the market is saturated, limiting the reach of your own channel or content, think again. According to YouTube’s statistics, millions of people subscribe to YouTube channels every day, with daily subscription rates quadrupling year-over-year.

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6 Ways to Handle Gift Giving on a Tight Budget

By Laura Williams

gift-givingWhile it may be better to give than to receive, sometimes, giving hurts. If you’ve ever looked at your bank account just before the holidays (or right before a slew of family birthdays), you know what I’m talking about. Even the most generous of people can feel a pinch when the expense of giving ends up eating into next month’s grocery bill.

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Saver’s Tax Credit – Eligibility & Benefits of Retirement Savings Contributions

By Laura Williams

tax creditSaving for retirement doesn’t always come easy, but there are significant tax benefits to low- and moderate-income families who choose to prioritize these long-term savings. The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (otherwise known as the “Saver’s Credit”), a tax credit designed to encourage retirement savings, makes it possible for individual filers to receive up to $1,000 as a tax credit, while married couples filing jointly can receive up to $2,000.

The really good news is that the Saver’s Credit works with any other retirement-based tax incentives you already benefit from. For instance, if you can already deduct your 401k contributions from your taxes, you may still be able to use the Saver’s Credit, reducing your tax liability even further.

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How to Make Custom Wall Art Out of Reclaimed Wood

By Laura Williams

add spice kitchen wood signIf the multitude of projects on Pinterest and Etsy are any indication, reclaimed wall art is definitely a growing trend. While I appreciate the rustic feel of wood pallet signs, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the price tag. Some pieces cost more than $100 for what amounts to nothing more than some old wood and paint.

After a recent barn renovation, I was inspired to make my own wall sign out of some of the old wood left lying around. The project was very easy and took only about a day to complete. Best of all, the end result is exactly what I was hoping for – and it cost me only a fraction of the price of purchasing a similar sign.

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How to Get More Followers on Instagram – 5 Crucial Tips

By Laura Williams

instagramIf you’re looking for the “new Facebook,” look no further than Instagram. After displaying year-over-year growth of more than 900% two years in a row – booming from a million active users to more than 100 million active users, according to a compilation of Instagram statistics by TOTEMS – Instagram was actually bought out by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. And then it kept growing. As of December 2014, the social network has more than 200 million active users, with 20 billion photos shared – averaging roughly 60 million photos per day. That’s a lot of sharing.

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What Are Online Virtual Conferences – Pros & Cons, How to Benefit

By Laura Williams

online conferenceThe online world is a mecca for learning, with a seemingly unlimited number of opportunities to expand your knowledge base. One online trend that’s starting to gain some real traction is that of the web-based conference. In addition to an education component, these typically feature opportunities for networking and, in some cases, online vendor “booths” and sponsors.

Designed as an alternative to professional conferences, some online conferences are held 100% over the Internet – often termed “summits” – while others are held online in conjunction with a live, in-person component. For instance, the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference will be held live in Indianapolis, Indiana, but you can also attend online.

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5 Easy Ways to Add Green Leafy Vegetables to Your Diet

By Laura Williams

green vegetablesGiven the choice between ice cream and spinach salad, many people would reach for the sweet stuff. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no-profit health partner, Fruits & Veggies More Matters, only 6% of Americans eat the recommended number of vegetable servings each day – and of those veggies, not many of them are green.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), starchy potatoes are the most frequently consumed vegetable, at roughly 52 pounds per person, per year, with tomatoes (31 pounds) and onions (8 pounds) rounding out the top three. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, didn’t even make the list. Considering the USDA suggests adults consume at least 1.5 to 2 cups of leafy greens per week, it’s clear most people come up short.

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