With her red wagon in tow, 8-year old Jill uses her lighting smarts to talk some sense into her parents, who are still using (far too many) traditional incandescent light bulbs in their home. Watch the intervention go down to see how Jill helps her family save money, time and energy with the three alternative lighting choices available to them. Learn more about the lighting choices available to you at Sylvania!
The tax filing deadline is a few months away! If you haven’t already filed your taxes, the first half of this entry will offer three tips to save a few bucks when it comes to tax preparation. And if you’re among the 75 percent of Americans who will get a tax refund (congrats!), the second half of this entry will offer ideas for three smarts ways to spend that extra cash.
How to Save on Tax Preparation
1. Shop Around – There are plenty of options when it comes to filing your taxes. Call several places to compare rates, and choose the most affordable option. In most cases, the best rate will be found at small town privately-owned tax preparers – often half the cost of the chain preparers.
3. Be Prepared – Whether you’re paying someone to do your taxes or you’re doing them yourself, having your paperwork in order will help save time and money … and probably a few headaches.
Three Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Return
1. Add to Your Emergency Fund – A good emergency fund includes enough savings to cover three month’s of mortgage, food and utility bills. If yours isn’t close to that, or even if it is, you might consider using part of your tax return to beef up the fund.
2. Pay Off a Credit Card – Credit card debt is a pain, especially if that debt carries a high interest rate. Pick your highest interest credit card and use your tax return to pay it off or at least make a nice dent in your debt.
3. Fix Something – If you’ve been putting off a car or home repair because of a lack of funds, now’s the perfect time to finally get it done. That includes that leaky roof, broken dishwasher or replacing those balding tires on your car.
I love shopping at any dollar store where everything is only $1.00! There are several items that I purchase only at dollar stores, because it is cheaper than items that I find anywhere else, including Wal-Mart. Here’s a list of items worth buying from the Dollar Store!
1. Gift Items: Bags, Wrapping Paper, Bows, Ribbons, Boxes, Greeting Cards
2. Party Favors: Napkins, Cups, Plates, Plasticware, Tablecloths, Party Hats, Small Toys, Puzzles
3. Books: Coloring Books, Learning Books, Flashcards, Kids Books
4. Bath Products: Shampoo & Conditioner, Kids Bubble Bath, Shaving Cream, Bath Sponges
5. Cleaning Products: All Purpose Cleaners, Dust Polish, Window Cleaner, Dish Soap
6. Scrapbook Supplies: Paper, Stamps, Stickers
7. School Supplies: Crayons, Markers, Pencils, Erasers, Rulers, Items for Treasure Boxes
8. Storage Containers: Food Containers, Baskets, Glass Jars, Tupperware
9. Kitchen Gadgets: Pizza or Cookie Cutters, Measuring Cups and Spoons, Utensils and Spatulas
10. Holiday Decorations and Seasonal Items: For all holidays and seasons
Do you shop at the Dollar Store? What items do you like to buy?
Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons
I often get asked the question, “Where are the best places to find online printable coupons?” I am the right person to ask because I know exactly where to send you if you are searching for printable coupons.
Why should you search for printable coupons?
- Finding printable coupons to match your grocery list will help you save money
- You can print from home and don’t need to worry about newspaper subscriptions
- Printable coupons are FREE to print
- It’s easy and convenient when you know where to look
I search for online printable coupons often and I trust the sites below. I have found several coupons at each site and recommend these sites to you. If you are looking for the best online printable coupons, I recommend the following:
1.Coupons.com Printable Coupons- offers several great coupons organized by category, updated often with new coupons and often carry very popular coupons. You can hit the back button to print these coupons twice.
2. Redplum Printable Coupons- carries popular brand name coupons
3. SmartSource Printable Coupons- offers free coupons and discounts for top brands
4. Target Printable Coupons- if you shop at Target, this is a “must see” for printable coupons. You can stack these coupons with manufacturer’s coupons to save even more.
Browse through each of these online printable coupon websites to find great money saving coupons!
*Note: When printing coupons, make sure your printer settings are at “Black and White” and print using the “Quick Print” setting. This will save you ink. Ink can be expensive, so you want to make sure you aren’t wasting ink on coupon prints, which could be “costing” you money. Print ONLY the coupons you know you will need and use to save the most money.
How much does the average restaurant meal cost a family of four? Somewhere around 50 or 60 dollars? Maybe a little more if you get appetizers and a few margaritas for mom? Sure, a break from cooking and doing dishes is totally worth it, but if you dine out often (at least once a week), those breaks can add up.
The good news is, it’s pretty easy to save money while dining out. What’s that mean? It means you can dine out more often … or save that money to hire a maid to do your cooking and dishes for you!
- Don’t Forget the Coupon! – Oh sure, when you go grocery shopping, you’ve got binders full of coupons, but where are those money-saving scraps of paper when you’re dining out? Find them and use them to score free appetizers, half price desserts, and good deals on drinks.
- Just Say No to Drinks – This one takes a lot of willpower, but you can shave 10 to 20 percent off your dinner tab simply by order water (free!) instead of regular drinks. If you usually order alcoholic beverages, try cutting those first (they’re the costliest) and opt instead for soda or iced tea, which usually include free refills.
- Just Say No to Appetizers – While we’re in the habit of saying no to things, skip the appetizer, too. Yeah, you’re hungry and those jalapeño poppers look amazing, but they’re not $8 amazing and they’re not worth ruining your appetite over.
- Skip the Kids Meal – Yeah, kids meals usually only cost about $5, but that’s five bucks you don’t need to spend. Instead, give your tot a taste of what mom and dad is having by sharing a little bit of your entrees. Those meals are gigantic enough, so you won’t really miss a few bites, will you?
- Score a Free Kids Meal – Some restaurants offer “kids eat free” discounts, which means you can ignore tip #4 and have your dinner all to yourself. To find one of these deals near you, check out My Kids Eat Free – a website that lists more than 6,500 family-friendly restaurants nationwide.
Super Bowl viewers (of which there were a record 113 million last year) can be divided into three categories: Those who watch for the game, those who watch for the commercials, and those who watch for the snacks. Of course, some people watch for all three reasons – they’re called husbands.
If you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, whether it’s for five or six close friends or 20 rabid football fans, you know that costs can escalate faster than the price of one of the big budget ads that air during the game. Unlike those ads, there are ways for you to save a few bucks on your super shindig.
BYOB – Next to food, beer and wine is one of the costliest items on any party budget. How do you reduce it? Simple – just ask your guests to bring their own beer. In almost every case, your guests will happily oblige. After all, you’re feeding them an assortment of delicious snacks, so it’s the least they can do, right?
Bring A Dish – If you’re willing to buy the beer, you might consider reducing your other major cost – the food – by asking guests to bring a snack or side dish for the group. Just make sure you know what your guests are bringing and agree on the decision or else you’ll wind up with 29 bags of Cool Ranch Doritos and 14 bowls of buffalo chicken dip.
Don’t Buy Pre-Made Food – Veggie trays, pre-made potato salad and six foot subs might seem tempting because they save you the hassle of having to make them yourself, but they’re also more expensive. It’s probably okay to buy one or two things that are pre-made (the things that are harder for you to make), but if you spend a little time making the other items yourself, you’ll save tons of money.
Don’t Over Decorate – A few decorations are definitely in order, but like we mentioned earlier, most of the attention will be on the game, the commercials and the food, so try to resist the urge to blow your party budget on décor. If you do decorate, do yourself a favor and check out the supplies at your local dollar store.
I love freebies. Why? Well, that’s easy. They are FREE! They cost nothing! I don’t pay a dime for them and they arrive in my mailbox on an almost daily basis! Why? I sign up for them as I see them! The great news about these freebies is that YOU can get them, too.
Do you want freebies like k-cups, calendars, protein bars, lip balm, seasoning packets, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, coffee, feminine products, cereal and much more to arrive in your own mailbox at home? It’s simple! Just follow my website on a daily basis and you’ll see me (and my lovely assistants) post some of the very best freebies found on the internet! All you have to do is click on the links in each freebie post, fill out the required forms, etc! Check my website often, you never know what you’ll find!
Follow me via social media to get updates when freebies are posted:
Check out my mailbox freebies from the past!
Here’s my latest freebie photo. I received:
- 2014 Joyce Meyer calendar
- 4 Cafe Escapes Keurig K-Cups (Chai Latte, Cafe Caramel, Cafe Vanilla, Cafe Mocha)
- Mrs. Dash Chili Seasoning Mix
- Luna Chocolate Coconut Almond Protein Bar + Lip Balm
All for FREE!!! Be sure to sign up above to start receiving freebies this year!
Studies show more than 50 percent of American employees feel that they deserve more money than they’re currently making. Are you one of those underpaid workers? If you are, it might be time to ask for a raise – with a little help from these five tips.
Know What You Want – Of course, you know you want more money and you might even know how much money you want, but do you know how that amount compares to others in your position? Knowing what your position typically pays (with your level of experience) can help you build a case for getting the pay increase you’re hoping for.
Make a Case – Speaking of building a case, your chances of getting a raise are greatly improved if you go into the meeting with a list of recent accomplishments that warrant a raise in pay. What have you done in the past year? How have you helped the company win new clients, save more money, or become generally more successful? Create a list of at least five accomplishments and mention all of them to make it harder for your boss to say no to your request.
Focus on Professional Reasons – Tell your boss why you deserve a raise (see “make a case” above), but not why you WANT a raise. In other words, your boss doesn’t care that you need the money to pay off your rising credit card debt.
Let Your Boss Do Some Talking, Too – You’ll do some talking – in fact, you might do most of the talking – but let your boss talk, too. Ask questions about your performance, listen closely to the answers, and be ready to reply to those answers to help your case.
If At First You Don’t Succeed – You might not get a raise (or get the raise you were hoping for), but that’s okay. If you get turned down, ask your boss about a better time to talk … and then use the time off to prepare your next case for a pay increase!
Cereal or toast might make an easy and tasty breakfast on most mornings, but Valentine’s Day calls for a morning meal with a little more love. Luckily, there are plenty of options – for kids and adults alike – that are simple and affordable. Here are five breakfast ideas that will show your Valentine just how much he or she is loved.
Chocolate Waffles – When it comes to Valentine’s foods, chocolate is king (or queen). This affectionate breakfast combines chocolate with another delicious treat – waffles – to create a morning meal your loved one will never forget!
Almond French Toast Hearts – Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so why not channel the power of that French city with some French toast? But this isn’t your ordinary French toast, it’s French toast cut into hearts. Top it off with some sweet syrup and your sweetheart will definitely know that they are loved.
Blood-Orange Pomegranate Mimosas – These drinks combine two key parts of the most romantic day of the year – something sweet and something red. The sparkling wine cocktail is a mixture of blood orange juice and pomegranate juice and garnished with pomegranate seeds for an extra special touch.
Egg-in-the-Nest – This classic kid-friendly recipe featuring an egg cooked inside a piece of bread becomes the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast when the hole in the bread is shaped like a heart and you throw in a few ketchup hearts.
Date nights are fun, but they can also be a little expensive. True, you probably don’t do dinner-and-a-movie all that often, so a little splurging is fine now and then. But if you’d still like to save some money, you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to save a few bucks on your meal-and-movie combo.
We’ve covered a few tips for saving money while dining out in a previous blog entry, which is why today’s entry focuses on the second half of your date night agenda: The movies. Here are some ways to cut a few corners when catching a flick with your date or with your family:
Try a Movie and Then Dinner – Going to the movies after dinner (during the 7 p.m. or 10 p.m. showing) means you’ll pay full price for your tickets. Instead, go to a 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. matinee followed by dinner. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be home before the babysitter starts charging overtime!
Buy Tickets Before You Get to the Theater – Most people buy their tickets at the theater. That’s fine, but you can usually save a few bucks per ticket by buying them at places like Costco or Sam’s Club. You can also score deals by buying tickets in bulk (packs of at least four) from places like BulkTix.com.
Share and Save – Movie theaters make a killing on snacks and drinks, but if you’ve seen the cost of popcorn and soda that should come as no surprise. Since smuggling your own snacks into the theater is frowned upon, buy a few large snacks at the theater (most come with free refills!) and share them with your group.
Become a Member – Like any store, most theaters offer member rewards cards. If you go to the movies on a semi-regular basis, these cards are a good idea. You’ll earn points every time you use the rewards card, which can be traded in for tickets, snacks, and other perks.
Hit the Drive-In! – Yeah, that’s right, the drive-in. There are about 400 drive-in theaters across the nation (check Drive-Ins.com to find one near you), and most show new releases. The best part: Drive-ins charge a lot less than a traditional theater, and some even charge a flat fee of around $10 for an entire carload.