The holidays are approaching. It’s a joyous season, to be sure, but one that always presents challenges on what to give the people in our lives – especially children. Many start thinking of holiday gifts even as summer turns to fall, browsing the aisles at the local malls to find just the perfect present, but nothing seems quite right. The options are either too paltry, too feminine, too masculine, too boring, or just plain too expensive, and the stress grows. Some abandon the search and instead give cash. But come on, where’s the fun in that for kids?
Much to my husband’s chagrin, I recently decided to redecorate parts of our condo. He wasn’t worried that I’d choose strange furniture or art to complete the interior design, but rather that I’d spend more money than we could afford.
There was no need for alarm. Not only did I save big by buying new items on sale, but I found ways to re-purpose old items without spending a dime. And through trial and error, I’ve learned a number of money-saving redecorating tips over the years.
Slow cookers are useful appliances in the wintertime. There’s nothing better than making hearty, warming meals that can be left unattended while all the delicious flavors develop. But don’t discount your Crock-Pot during the warmer months. Making meals in a slow cooker in the summer is a great way to save time in the evenings and keep your house cool, since you don’t need to use the oven.
To make your summer more appetizing and hassle-free, here are 14 slow cooker recipes to feed the whole family.
In this tough economy, everyone could use a raise at work. But getting your boss to add extra money to your paycheck isn’t an easy feat – you have to position yourself as an invaluable asset to the company for the raise to make sense for management. This is business after all, and the investment must pay off.
Simply showing up on time each day and doing your job isn’t always enough, however. You need to go above and beyond the call of duty, and exhibit the qualities that make the raise worthwhile from the company’s point of view. Make your boss see you as an invaluable commodity, and you’ll be one step closer to that raise you’ve been dreaming of.
If you’re like me, you want to experience your destination like a local – the tourist traps just won’t cut it. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save hundreds of dollars on food, entertainment, and activities without sacrificing your vacation experience.
How to Save Money on Vacation
1. Leave the Toiletries at Home
Why are you packing shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste? Those items are readily available at most hotels for free. In fact, there are many hotel freebies that are ripe for the taking.
When you stay in a hotel for a few days, there’s a good chance you spend a hefty portion of your monthly mortgage or rent budget on a single room. It may be absurd, but the hotel industry – like most other industries – has learned that people willingly hand over their hard-earned cash for accommodations while on vacation.
But if you’re like me, you want to get your money’s worth. I want more than a good night’s rest for my $200. So when I leave the hotel, my bag is full of “extras” that help me save cash elsewhere. Some of these money-saving freebies are obvious, but there are others you may not even realize you can take.
Before you had kids, you may have ventured to fancy restaurants, tried exotic dishes, enjoyed the adult ambiance, and didn’t blink an eye when a rather large bill came.
But those days are likely over. Now you go to chain restaurants, trying various kinds of hamburgers, dealing with loud kids, and scratching your head when the bill comes, wondering how chicken nuggets can cost so much.
In the weeks leading up to the end-of-year holidays, most of our schedules are jam-packed with holiday parties, gift shopping, and visiting family. Then, after weeks of excitement and excess, it all comes to an abrupt halt.
Unless you’re hitting the December 26th sales, the end of the holidays can feel like a massive weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Your calendar clears. You’ve made it through another December and lived to tell the tale.
When you’re on a budget, it’s often necessary to cut out simple luxuries, like dining out. Unless, of course, you’re a savvy saver who knows how to work the system. In this case, you can have your cake and eat it too.
If you know where to look, there are many ways you can enjoy delicious meals that won’t dirty a dish in your kitchen and won’t cost you a dime. Plus, if you manage to score one free meal per week, you could easily save yourself $50 per month, or $600 per year!
Pumpkin isn’t just a delicious addition to dinner – it’s packed with health benefits, such as antioxidants like potassium, zinc, and fiber, and studies have shown that the seeds can ward off prostate cancer and arthritis.
Then there are the kids, of course, who won’t put up as much of a fuss when you tell them that you’re serving pumpkin – even outside of a flaky crust. Because pumpkin is generally affiliated with sweets, children don’t mind it as much as other “veggies” you try to feed them.