Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Almost everyone today sends messages for birthdays and other special events through e-mail, over Face-book or, some other electronic media. However, from time to time a more personal approach is appropriate like say through the mail. Such a personal approach might take the form of a greeting card.

Now there are greeting cards out there that go for $5-$6 or more but, there are also cards out there that sell for $1 or less. The $5 or more cards are a very expensive way to express a for instance, birthday wish and many $1.00 or less cards may make the sender look like they are extremely cheap and may not really care.

One solution that some people have to sending nice looking cards that cost no money at all is to reuse cards they have previously received. Now many people might think that reusing greeting cards is cheap and tacky but, in many cases it can be more fun for both the sender and receiver than what an expensive new card can achieve. For example: from her nieces and granddaughters my mother has received really nice birthday and Christmas cards that she then sends back to them the next year. Of course before sending the card back to them she crosses out the word “grandmother” and replaces it with “granddaughter” (or whatever the relationship might be). They then send the card back to her when she has a birthday or as a Christmas card. It is kind of an ongoing joke between them and with each signature a new date is added which makes these cards very special for both parties.

Of course friends and neighbors could easily join in the joke and tradition of resending the same card each year to each other. Most cards go into a drawer or into the trash but, recycled cards go into our hearts and memories and make each passing memorable occasion just a little bit more special.

So, share a special event, speacial moment or speacial time by recycling your cards with relatives, friends and neighbors and save a fortune.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


You can make a lot of money off mother nature each year. It could be by growing a large or small vegetable herb garden to save money or, it could be some other hobby like polishing stones or making jewelry. There are all sorts of ways mother nature can earn you some extra cash without too much investment or sometimes, no investment of money, just your time.

Gardening is a great way to reap the rewards of mother nature. Herb and vegetable gardens can give you fresh produce at a fraction of the price you can find in stores. If you have extra room you could grow some vegetables to sell at the roadside. Pumpkins are a favorite item around Halloween. Flower gardens can also make you money if you have a way of selling fresh flower cuts like daffodils or lilacs. You can also raise flowers you can dry like Baby's Breath. You can use dried flowers to make arrangements to sell or you can sell the dried flowers directly to a floral shop.

If you have access to pine cones or various tree bark or woods, you can sell them to floral shops, use them in arrangements or sell either finished or raw products on eBay. I have an abundance of pine cones on my property and I have sold them on EBay. Just make sure you charge enough for postage and handling. The one price postage boxes the post office has are free and are conveniently sized for most items. This makes it convenient for you the seller and the buyer to understand just how much say, 200 pine cones is going to cost to ship anywhere in the country.

My mom used to split birch logs and put a candle on the split end along with other decorations. She used to sell quite a few of these at church bizarres. Many people liked these split logs for centerpieces during holidays.

Using items found in nature for wreath making has long been a popular home business. Things like straw, pine bows and grapevines are popular for wreath making. Pine cones and even plain sticks can be made into attractive wreaths for sale.

Stone polishing/carving and jewelry making is a great way to make some extra money. Stones that are found only in the area where you live are great to sell on eBay. You can polish them, carve them into shapes or, just sell them raw in bulk.

Some people pick berries, mushrooms and other wild growing natural foods for their own consumption or to sell to local restaurants. The list of things you can find in the wild to sell is staggering. If you have a large tree on your property you would like to have removed, before paying someone to cut it down see if anyone would pay you for it. Trees like cherry, oak and maple can fetch quite a bit of money if the tree is big and the wood is in good condition. You might sell some slab wood from old trees by the road side to campers.

Overall, if you see something in nature you think might have value, explore the possibilities of making some money or at least saving some money. Every little bit helps if you are trying to save a fortune.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Make up your own frozen dinners and save a fortune. The price of prepackaged individual meals has been increasing steadily over the years in response to the ever increasing demand for quick dinners for working, on the go people. However, eating out every meal can be both time consuming and very expensive for the consumer so, finding ways to save money and get quick food is a priority for most people.

One way to getting a nutritious meal of foods that you like is to make up your own frozen dinners and entrées and freeze them for future meals. You can find reusable, microwavable dishes in most discount and dollar stores. You can also reuse microwavable dishes from previous TV or entrée meals that you have bought in the past. If your dishes do not have a top then you should cover them with plastic freezer wrap. Remember that when cooking in a microwave you must always make a hole in the wrap to allow air to escape. Expanding gasses inside any dish will build up and cause an explosion in your microwave and could even damage your machine as well as destroying your meal.
One great advantage with making up your own meals versus purchasing already made-up meals is that you can include in them only the types of foods you like to eat in the proportions you want. If you want to keep calories and/or fats low than making up your own frozen meals can help you maintain your diet. You will need a scale and calorie counting book if you really want to know exactly what you are consuming in terms of calories. A book on nutrition can help you know if you are packaging your desired levels of nutrients in your meals.

I like to use leftovers from large meals to make up TV dinners. Sometimes if you had a big turkey dinner for instance, you might not want to eat turkey and fixings for the next several days. Again, TV dinners help to save all that food, (freezing keeps food from spoiling), without making you sick of eating the same thing night after night.

Once you have started making up your own frozen dinners and entrees you will wonder why you never did it in the past. If you have a busy schedule you might want to designate a day and time to make up TV dinners for the entire week. Sunday night after having a large dinner was always a favorite time for TV dinner making in my house. I do have one warning about dinner making and that is that not all foods cook at the same time at the same temperature. This is true of store purchased dinners as well. However, over time you will get the knack of cooking the dinners. As long as you use only precooked foods in your dinners then, mainly you will be just defrosting and heating the meals.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


In a world of personal computers, personal assistants etc. it is a wonder that so many people are so disorganized when it comes to organizing their personal business. The fact that the problem most people have with dealing with their personal business is that they have a total misunderstanding as to how to prioritize. Prioritizing is simply figuring out what tasks (bills, appointments etc.) need to be done first, second, etc. Not prioritizing and therefore, not handling business in an orderly fashion will eventually result in missed appointments, late bills and of course. The missed opportunities and late charges which are generated by not being somewhere or, paying a bill on time.

Electronic gadgets are great organizers and can set off reminders for us to do a number of tasks during a day. However, bill paying and personal appointments might be more easily handled by simply writing down when your bills are due on a wall calendar, desk calendar or, personal calendar. Crossing off the item when it is paid or the appointment is completed will serve as at least a personal record of your accomplishment. For elderly persons who are not at all savvy with the modern organizing machines, find that just a calendar is easy and it does not cost them the money of owning an electronic device or paying for a connection to the internets.

Handling paperwork at home is really not much different than at a business. In business you should try to only touch paperwork once. Pick it up and handle it immediately then go on to the next piece of paperwork. It is easy to jump around from one thing to another and never quite finish anything in a timely manner. In business you have the problem of people distracting you with what some call fires (problems that require immediate attention). At home you will have distractions but, they will not normally be as great as if you are running a business. The main thing is that if you have to handle a distraction, once it is finished, you return to what you were doing and complete that task. If you are making out bills, don’t quit until they are all done and ready to go out in the mail.

In summation, you must learn to be disciplined when it comes to being organized. Prioritize paperwork (mail) as it comes in and handle it as soon as possible. You can cheat the technology companies and internet service providers out of lots of money by using a simple paper calendar to organize the payment of your bills and also, in keeping track of appointments. In today’s world late payments and missed appointments will end up costing you fees and fines which you would not incur if you take a few moments to become organized.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Most people have a good deal of their paycheck each week ending up in their refrigerator, freezer or, pantry. Many people already believe that by shopping sales, using coupons, substituting store brands for name brands etc., they are already doing all that they can to save money on their food bill. But, saving money when you purchase your food is one way to save however, you can still save much more by simply managing your food better once you get it into your house. Just think about the price you pay for food items you have to throw out each week. If you could save $10 each week by better managing your food waste, you could save $520.00 per year. That is at least a small fortune in these hard times. Get use to saving on food waste and over a lifetime you will have saved a modest fortune. Therefore, just by better managing what you have, your refrigerator will become a treasure chest.

The first thing you need to do before you even go to the grocery store is to make a list of items you need. This should entail going through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and, wherever else you happen to store food. This way you purchase what you need rather than purchasing items which are not needed. Grocery items, even canned goods, are perishable and are generally dated with either “use by” or “sell by” dates. You should arrange like items so that close dated items are in the front and items with older dates (dates further out into the future) are behind those with close dates. A lot of money is wasted because people don’t pay attention to the dates on their groceries until they find that they have an entire gallon of spoiled milk in the refrigerator. Or, maybe their eggs have a funky smell when they go to make up a batch of cookies. Of course anything that I think might be spoiled I toss out to the garbage. Saving money is great but, getting sick is not worth saving fifty cents on some raunchy mayonnaise.

One way to combat having to throw close dated items out is to of course find ways to use the items quickly. Most meat items you can freeze and thus, prolong their usability for months. Most bake goods can also be frozen for future use. If you have a lot of eggs then perhaps you could make up some baked goods to freeze. You could also boil the eggs and pickle them in vinegar. I’ve often used up extra eggs by making up a large number of pancakes and then freezing them for future microwave breakfasts.

Produce items don’t usually have dates but, they usually will not last more than a few days in the refrigerator or on your counter. There are reasons to keep certain items like potatoes and tomatoes on you counter and not the refrigerator where they will keep longer however, I do have an idea or two on how you can keep potatoes in your refrigerator. I keep tomatoes inside my refrigerator. Inside or outside the refrigerator tomatoes keep for such a short time that I really do not notice much change in texture by keeping them refrigerated. It does add a few days of use if they are refrigerated. Potatoes can be kept in your crisper however; they will wither up over time. They wither because they are becoming dehydrated in the cold just like your house gets dry during cold winter months. You can at least partly replace the moisture in your potatoes or most vegetables by soaking them in water. Cutting off the end (butt) of your lettuce, soaking it in water and placing it back in the refrigerator, will crisp it up nicely.

Almost all fruits can be frozen and/or juiced. Even bananas can be frozen for later use in banana bread. You can even freeze them with the skins on. Just make sure your bananas are really ripe before you freeze them if you want really good banana bread.

Leftover meat, pasta, rice, vegetable, bread and, many desert dishes can be divided up into serving sized storage containers and frozen. You can even make up your own TV dinners. I save my old TV dinner and frozen entrée trays and reuse them this way. I just wrap them up in freezer wrap. The advantage of freezing leftover versus just leaving the dishes in the refrigerator is that many times people do not want to eat the same dish two or more days in a row. By the time they are ready or willing to eat the dish again it has spoiled while sitting in the refrigerator.

One way to save a little on items you throw out is to buy items you don’t use much of in smaller quantities. For example: if you only use a small amount of mayonnaise from a large jar before you have to throw the jar away, buy a bottle that approximates the size you will be using. Buying things in large quantity can save money only if you are not throwing the extra away. If you can only consume twelve eggs before the expiration date comes up then why would you spend extra money to buy three dozen?

Condiments can be a real source of waste in the refrigerator. Older condiments I like to try to use up as perhaps a glaze on some ribs, a ham or, even a roast. Older bottles of fruit juice can also be used to glaze and flavor meats. In order to get ketchup that is stuck in the bottom out, I will add just a little bit of vinegar to the bottle and then swoosh it around until the ketchup can be poured out. The point is when I see something is getting old but it is not yet spoiled, I will try to use it up as soon as possible. Overall, a few extra minutes each day can make an impact on the money you save. To misquote Ben Franklin: A penny saved is better than a penny earned because on the money you save you do not have to pay taxes.


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