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4 Ways to Stretch Your Meal Money

stretch your meal money

Almost everybody’s budget gets tight now and then. And it usually happens that the low balance in your checking account matches the limited amount of food in your pantry. But what can you do to make it until the next time you get paid? There are many ways to stretch your meal money. Here are easy ways I’ve used to stretch my meal money in the past until my next paycheck arrived. Inventory What You Have on Hand Sometimes there are items you forgot about in your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards. Of course, some of these items might be stale or expired, so get rid of those first. Remember some of those dates are “sell by” dates, which means the food isn’t necessary bad. Watch out for those because the food might still be useable and you don’t want to waste it. Get Creative Now that you know what you already have, you’ve got a starting point.  Can you make some meals from what you have on hand? If not, would you be able to if you purchased only a few items? At times you will need to be creative, such as adding ham to mac and cheese to make ...

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How to Save Time on Lawn Care


When it comes to taking care of your home and garden, your time is money, too. If you want to spend next spring and summer pulling weeds from your lawn, you’re taking expensive time away from the things you’d really like to do. But weeds are inevitable, you say? They sure are. You might even start with a freshly seeded or sodded lawn, but unless you’re growing that lawn in a glass bubble, weed seeds are going to find their way in… blown by the wind, casually dropped by passing birds, and tracked on your shoes or on the paws of your best canine pal. The trick is to stop the weeds before they start. If you don’t know when to apply pre-emergent herbicides, the answer is early spring before weeds have a chance to germinate. If you can recall when weeds began appearing this year, count back two or three weeks and that’s the time to apply a pre-emergent next year. If your memory is foggy — it feels as if you’ve been fighting weeds forever — think of when your crocus or other bulbs began popping up or when the forsythias or dogwood came into bloom, and then ...

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Effective Ways to Reduce Home Energy Spending

Most homeowners know the routine: with every new year comes higher utility bills. We want to blame the people we write the checks to, or the politicians writing laws making providers spend more. To some extent, this is a fair reaction. However, the path to lowering our energy bills is as much a matter of personal choices as it is a seemingly complex issue out of our hands. There are effective ways to reduce energy spending, the following examples show: Pick a provider Many people live in deregulated energy markets and don’t even know it. Or they know it and aren’t sure what it means. In short, you have a choice in your energy provider. Sites like Electricity Match can be used to find the lowest electricity rate in your area. A cent here and there may seem like chump change but over time, the savings on kilowatts per hour adds up. It doesn’t take much more than about 10 minutes online and maybe a phone call to start saving on energy. Optimize Regarding the savings of CFLs, debate rages. Experience leads us to believe CFLs don’t last nearly as long as advertised. However, many readers responded by saying they ...

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Saving on Household Chores: Washing Dishes

washing dishes

Washing dishes is not something I particularly enjoy doing. Actually, it’s probably my least favorite household chore. Unfortunately though, I like to eat and my family likes to eat, which means I do have to cook at least occasionally. 🙂 Plus cooking and eating at home is much healthier and cheaper than eating out. Of course, cooking means I will have dishes to wash because I don’t happen to be blessed with enough money to hire someone to do them for me. Yes – I have actually thoughts about doing this. 🙂 Granted, it doesn’t cost a lot to wash your dishes no matter what method you use, but if you are trying to be more frugal, you look for ways to cut expenses where ever you can. So when I was washing dishes the other day, I thought of some ways you can save money on this household chore. Scrape Your Dishes A lot of people already scrape their dishes to make it easier to wash them, but my suggestion is to scrape your dishes over the trash can instead of the disposal, and to do so before the food gets dried on. Better yet, you can turn some ...

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How to Spring Clean on a Budget

spring clean

Warmer weather often triggers an increase in many people’s activity and motivation levels, at least I know it does for me. I always get in a slump during the winter, but once April hits I’m ready to spring clean and get to work outside as the weather allows. It’s almost summer now, but I still think it’s ok to do some “spring cleaning”. But if you are trying to keep a tight budget, you might be able to save a little money by employing some different strategies while still making your home tidy and fresh. Here are some tips for how you can spring clean on a budget. Check Your Supply Level Before you get ready to spring clean, you should check to see what you already have and what you may need to get so you can accomplish your spring cleaning. I have often forgotten this important step and ended up buying things I didn’t really need because I didn’t want to run out or “just in case”. Make sure you check out your supplies before you hit the store so you don’t end up buying things you don’t need. Buy in Bulk If you already have a warehouse ...

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