Category: Frugal Living Tips

Summer is Calling! 5 Amazing Grilling Ideas You Need to Try

In one year, 80 million Americans say that they grilled outdoors. Seventy-five percent of us own an outdoor grill or smoker.

While grills apply heat directly to cook food, smokers use indirect heat that passes through a cooking chamber, usually containing wood chips. Smoking foods helps to preserve their flavor, and the wood gives them that down-home barbeque flavor we recognize immediately.

Grills, on the other hand, cook food more quickly and are easier to use. Many hosts prefer them because they can socialize with their guests without continuously fussing over the fire.

Whatever your preferred method is, nothing compares to the sweet, barefoot music of a summer cookout in your own backyard. Here are some of our favorite grilling ideas for the season!

1. Fish and Veggies En Papillote

This is a great crowd-pleaser that allows each guest to have their own neatly-wrapped protein package that smells like heaven when it is cracked open.

Place a white, flaky fish with light flavor like halibut, tilapia, or cod in aluminum foil and season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice. Sprinkle with some basil or thyme and salt and pepper.

Light fish are packed with vitamins and minerals and light on calories. Add some summery cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or squash before closing up the package and grilling it with the lid down. The result is a succulent, savory treat that melts in your mouth.

2. Cedar Plank Salmon

For best results, your cedar plank should be placed in the center of a hot grate, away from the heat. The fish will steam gently here, remaining tender and moist. It picks up the smoky flavors from the grill as well as the woodsy taste of the cedar.

Some serious grillers prefer a charcoal grill smoker combo when entertaining outdoors. It combines the flavor of a smoker with the convenience of a grill.

You will need to soak your cedar plank in salt water for two hours before using it on the grill. Salmon is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent heart attacks and contribute to overall mental and emotional well-being. Try flavoring yours with brown sugar and dry mustard before grilling.

3. Veggie Kebabs

Great summer vegetables such as zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and red onions can be served as a side dish or main event. The grill will make them so soft, smoky, and tender that they will be praised even by non-veggie fanatics.

Try brushing yours with olive oil and lemon juice, and light herbs such as thyme, basil, salt, and pepper.

4. Hot Dog Bar

Anyone who tells you that hot dogs are better served indoors is lying. Something about those charred grooves lets you know a delicious, smoky flavor unique to summer is on its way to your mouth.

Be sure to include classic fixin’s lined up in style like catsup, mustard, pickles, relish, sauerkraut, and an assortment of buns.

You can also shake things up by serving unique recipes like Hawaiian dogs with pineapple relish in bacon, or Asian dogs with hoisin sauce and ginger relish.

5. Grilled Romaine Halves

A healthy, surprisingly delicious appetizer or side, grilled romaine lettuce halves deliver a gorgeous color and succulent flavor.

The halves can be placed directly on the grill, and they need to be turned quickly. Season them with salt and pepper and top with blue cheese and bacon off the heat.

Choose Your Grilling Ideas

Smoky veggies, ethnic hot dogs, and savory fish all make great grilling ideas for your next entertainment event.

For more information on frugal cooking, read our blog today!

A Work-At-Home-Mom’s Guide on How to Keep Kids Busy

Working from home is no longer a pipe dream. Millennials are prioritizing family over work life (and getting more work done, too).

Who’s leading the pack? You guessed it, stay at home moms

If you’re a work-from-home mom, you’re no doubt familiar with the difficulty of getting your kids to quiet and out of trouble while you’re working. It seems like they need your help every five minutes, whether they’re asking for a glass of juice or are destroying the living room.

If you’re out of ideas about how to keep kids busy, we’ve got you covered. Read for some super simple activities that’ll keep your kids entertained and out of trouble while you work.

Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk not only keeps your kids busy, but it gets them out of the house! Kids love playing with sidewalk chalk and letting their imagination run wild. The best part is that your kids get to practice their spelling and drawing skills while you work. 

Worried about cleanup? Most of the time a little rain will wash it away, but if you’re in a drier area, you can always wash it off with a hose.

Play Date

A play date is a great activity for children of all ages. Let your toddler and their friends socialize while you finish a proposal. Age-appropriate play date activities will keep your children busy for hours.

Have a baby that you need to keep entertained? A play date is still a great option since socialization is super important from an early age.

Put the babies in walkers and let them play while you get work done. Check out this website if you need tips on which baby walkers are best for your baby.

Playdough

Who doesn’t love playdough? It’s super colorful and can be molded over and over into so many different shapes.

Challenge your kids to make specific designs like a cat or a tree. Or just let them go where their imagination takes them!

Uncomfortable with giving your child store-bought playdough? Making your own is a super easy activity that you can do to get some quality time in with your children before you get working.

Build a Fort

Let’s be honest, forts are pretty much the most exciting thing in the world for a kid. There’s nothing like draping a sheet over a couch and a chair to create your own private space where anything is possible.

Fill the fort with all kind of entertaining things like legos and toys. Or help your kids improve their reading skills by filling it with books and a flashlight. The options are limitless and you’ll be dragging your kids out for dinner.

Now You Know How to Keep Kids Busy!

Knowing how to keep kids busy while you get work done is an incredibly important component of your overall productivity. Not only do you get to work, but kids get to grow their social skills and learn about all kinds of new things! All in a day in the life of a stay-at-home mom!

Being a stay-at-home working mom isn’t easy. If you’re interested in more tips about family life and saving money, then you should definitely check out the rest of our blog for tons of interesting and helpful information.

Tech-Savvy Saver: 7 Tips for Buying Cheap Electronics

It’s not exactly a secret that just about everyone has become obsessed with technology. According to one 2017 study, more than 40 percent of people cited technology as the thing that improved their lives the most over the last 50 years.

But there is one thing that most people can’t stand when it comes to technology: The high prices associated with it. Whether you’re buying a new smartphone, a new laptop, a new video game console, or a new smart TV, it’s not often that you’ll come across cheap electronics.

There are some ways that you can save money when trying to get your hands on the latest tech, though. Here are 7 tips for buying cheap electronics.

1. Shop Around Before Buying Electronics

In this day and age, you would be a fool not to shop around for things, including electronics, before buying them. You should never just pick out a store, walk into it, and pay whatever they’re asking for a phone, laptop, or other electronics.

Instead, you should start by shopping around online to see how much electronics cost at different places. You should search both the big-box stores and the online tech stores to see where you can find the best deals.

It’s going to take a little bit of work on your part. But you could save yourself hundreds of dollars by shopping around each and every time you buy electronics.

2. Think About Purchasing Older Electronics Over Brand New Ones

There are some electronics like smartphones that cost more than ever before today. Smartphones cost, on average, more than $350, and it’s not uncommon to find some phones for more than $1,000.

But one way to avoid paying those kinds of astronomical prices is by buying a slightly older version of a smartphone that just came out. Even if the “old” phone was only released six months ago, you can usually get it for a fraction of what a brand-new phone would cost.

You can take this approach to all of the electronics that are out there today. By buying something that was released six months to a year ago as opposed to the latest model, you can save a lot of money.

3. See If Refurbished Electronics Might Be Right For You

One of the easiest ways to save money when you’re shopping for cheap electronics is to look for refurbished electronics rather than new ones. Refurbished electronics are used items that have been restored back to factory-like condition by a manufacturer or retailer.

Most manufacturers and retailers offer refurbished electronics at a deep discount to their customers. If you don’t mind using something that someone else used before, you can get access to electronics you might not be able to afford otherwise.

4. Fix Up Old Electronics and Sell Them to Buy New Ones

Do you really, really wish you could buy a new iPad to replace the broken one you have sitting in your desk drawer right now? Here’s a way that you can do it without paying full price for your new tablet.

Fix up your old iPad so that it works like new again. Then, sell it to someone who is looking to buy that particular iPad through an online marketplace site. Finally, use the money generated from the sale to help you pay for a new iPad.

You’ll have to put some effort into doing this. But it’s a simple way to buy electronics without breaking the bank on them. You can read more about fixing up an older iPad to see how easy it is.

5. Search For Coupons For Electronics Prior to Purchasing Them

As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t ever purchase electronics without shopping around for them. You also shouldn’t hand over cash or swipe your credit card for electronics without looking for coupons for them first.

There are literally coupons for everything these days. So you’re basically going to be leaving free money on the table if you don’t take the time to look for them.

6. Try Haggling Over the Price of New Electronics

Most people don’t think twice about trying to haggle over the price of a new or used car. They’ll spend hours hammering out a deal with a car salesman to get the best possible price.

But most people don’t consider the fact that they can do the same exact thing with electronics. Studies have shown that you can haggle over the price of electronics successfully when buying phones, laptops, TVs, and more.

In fact, people save an average of more than $80 when they attempt to negotiate the price of electronics with retailers. You should try it the next time you’re looking for a way to buy cheap electronics.

7. Wait For Deals on Electronics Before Buying Them

Just about the worst thing that you can do when buying electronics is pay full retail price for them. Yet, this is what so many people do when they purchase electronics on the day they come out. They can’t wait to take electronics home with them and pay the price for doing it.

If you’re committed to getting a good deal, show some restraint and put off buying electronics until they go on sale. Electronics will just about always go on sale a few months after they’re first released, so if you can wait until then, you can save yourself a significant amount of money.

Get Your Hands on Cheap Electronics Today

Cheap electronics aren’t as hard to come by as you might think. If you’re up for the challenge of trying to find them, they’re out there!

You should always start by shopping around to see roughly how much electronics will cost you. From there, you should think about buying older electronics and even consider purchasing refurbished electronics.

By taking these steps, you’ll spend a lot less on electronics moving forward. At the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits that come along with using the latest technology.

Would you like to learn a few ways to make money online so that you have money to spend on electronics? Read our blog to discover the best ways to do it.

Holy Moldy! 5 Mold Removal Tips for Your Home

Do you have mold in your home? 

Finding mold in your home is terrifying. The best thing you can do now is to get rid of the problem as quickly as possible, as mold can cause serious health problems for you and your family. 

The CDC reports that indoor mold can cause nasal stuffiness, eye and throat irritation, and even skin irritation. If you’re feeling confused on the mold removal process, keep reading to learn some helpful tips. 

Five Tips for Mold Removal 

It’s never fun to find mold in your home, but there are some steps you can do to get rid of the mold. Before you panic, follow these five steps to get the situation under control: 

1. Prevent mold from growing or spreading 

The best way to never have to worry about mold is to prevent it from growing. But even if it’s too late for that, you should follow some prevention tips to keep it from spreading. 

2. Clean your home thoroughly 

Once you’ve identified every area of your home that has mold, start the cleaning process and do it thoroughly. Make sure you scrub everything until the mold is gone and let the surface dry completely. If anything remains wet, the mold could grow back.

There are different types of mold and many different surfaces in your home that mold can grow on. Make sure you’re treating each part of your home the right way because there are many different ways to clean and get rid of mold.

This guide is helpful and breaks down how to remove mold from each part of your home. 

3. Use natural products if possible 

Mold is dangerous enough for your health and harsh cleaning products can cause even more problems. Try to use natural products known to treat molds such as a combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. 

Natural products might not seem like they’ll be as effective as harsh chemicals, but that’s not the case. Stick with natural products and your lungs will thank you later. 

4. Replace certain materials if necessary 

Mold can grow in every inch of your home, including porous surfaces such as drywall. These surfaces will need to be replaced

If your home has a mold problem, you’ll want to seek professional help to make sure the problem gets taken care of. If you leave some mold behind, it will continue to grow and make the problem worse. 

5. Protect yourself while you clean 

Again, mold can be extremely harmful to your throat, lungs and skin. Protect yourself while you’re cleaning by wearing rubber gloves and a mask that covers your mouth. 

Learn More Helpful Tips for Your Home 

Mold removal is a difficult process, but you can do it. Of course, the best way to never get mold is to take care of your home and watch for early warning signs, such as odd smells and excessive coughing.

Check out the rest our site for more tips that will help you care for your home. This article on how to make cleaning your home easier is a great place to start. 

All that Glitters IS Gold! How to Take Your Jewelry Business to the Next Level

You’ve had a small taste of success with your jewelry. But why stop there? You’ve got the goods, but now it’s time to fully realize your potential for industry-wide success.

Take action now with these insider tips for taking your jewelry business to the next level! 

Optimize Your Jewelry Business on Etsy

Many first-time jewelry designers get their start on Etsy. It’s an ideal platform for connecting designers with consumers looking for quality handmade goods.

Etsy has exploded in popularity since its conception. Now, there are tools available to expand your Etsy business and visibility.

If you’ve already done well on Etsy, you may want to consider upgrading to a ‘plus’ account to access additional selling features like ad credits, extra promoted listings and your own custom domain name.  

Ramp Up Your Social Media

It’s nearly impossible to get your brand noticed without the help of social media. Fortunately, it’s one of the most accessible and cost-effective marketing solutions for small businesses.

You don’t need accounts with every social media network. At the very least, create an Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook account for your jewelry business. Aside from web traffic, these platforms are the most accommodating to businesses that rely heavily on visual marketing. 

Need an example? Take a look at how this website is leveraging social media to promote their Diego Percossi Papi collection. 

Invest in Video Marketing for Your Jewelry Business

As a creative entrepreneur, you need a vault of visual content by your side. Content diversification is key. Compelling photos are fantastic, but don’t forget to leverage the power of video.

More than 85% of all U.S. internet users watch videos online. Now, you just need them to start watching your’s! Pepper in short 30-second videos among your creative Instagram posts to better engage your audience. 

Partner With a Social Media Influencer 

Remember when celebrities replaced models on the covers of fashion magazines? Before long, the face of Chanel went from Kate Moss to Nicole Kidman. Now, Oscar-winning stars are increasingly losing the limelight to social media influencers.

Many influencers were completely unknown before they hit it big on Instagram. However, their power over consumers is undeniable. In fact, teens today trust influencers over Hollywood celebrities by 70%!

This is great news for up-in-coming jewelry designers. Not only are influencers more accessible to small businesses, they’re more cost effective too. It’s like leveraging the star power of Nicole Kidman, but without the Nicole Kidman price tag.

How To Approach Influencers

You’ve found your solution, now you need the right influencers for your brand. Not every influencer is the right fit, though. Research carefully and generate a list of several influencers that align with your style, brand message, and target audience. 

Next, connect with your chosen influencers on social media. Show their posts some love before seguing into business talk. Once you’ve made a connection, ask them to be a brand ambassador for your company and send them your best pieces to wear. 

Professionalism is so important. The last thing you want is to get embroiled in another social media giveaway scam. Make sure to establish an ambassador program that both influencers and consumers can trust. 

Shoot for the Stars!

Don’t settle for just a few sales here and there. This is your opportunity to take your jewelry business worldwide.

Keep these tips in your marketing toolbox as you grow your business. And stay in the loop with the latest tips for creative entrepreneurs like you!

New Year, Fresh Start: 4 Steps to Decluttering an Overcrowded Home

Minimalist has taken the world by storm. From fashion and home design to marketing, the minimal way of life is popular across all industries. For millions of people, it’s not just a trend or a passing fad, but a lifestyle.

Homeowners worldwide are embracing this concept. The minimalist aesthetic is functional and visual appealing. Imagine a home with sleek lines, streamlined furniture, light colors, and well-defined shapes.

Decluttering is a hallmark of minimalism. A cluttered home overloads your senses, increases stress, and affects mental focus. It has a negative impact on your mood, emotional balance, and productivity.

Luckily, it’s never too late to get rid of clutter in your home. Simply follow these steps.

How Does Clutter Affect Your Life?

Need a boost of motivation before getting started? Consider the many ways clutter affects your life. It drains your energy, affects your productivity, and interferes with your sleep.

The average American household spends more than $1,700 on clothes each year. Three in four garages has so much stuff inside that there’s no room for a car. Not to mention our TVs, gadgets, kitchen appliances, newspapers, empty bottles, and other items lurking in our homes

Few of these things actually provide any value. For many of us, they’re just things we’re attached to. Perhaps you think of them as treasures or collections.

One thing is for sure: clutter affects our mental and physical health. In a survey, respondents admitted that clutter at home or in the workplace negatively impacts their motivational, emotional state, happiness, and productivity. About 20 percent said that it harms their interpersonal relationships.

According to psychologists, clutter promotes unhealthy eating habits, skyrockets our stress levels, and affects visual processing. In the long run, it contributes to cognitive impairment and age-related memory decline.

But what’s the best way to declutter an overcrowded home? Where should you start? These steps will point you in the right direction.

1. Start Small

Depending on how much clutter is in your home, you might not be able to clear everything at once. Start with small steps and make tiny changes every day.

Clear one area, such as your desk, countertop, or cupboard. Get rid of anything that you no longer need or use. This will be your clutter-free zone.

A few days later, choose another area and follow the same steps. Repeat until your entire home is clutter-free. Don’t try to do everything at once — you’ll most likely lose your motivation and give up.

One way to get rid of unnecessary stuff is to use skip bins. These are perfect for storing old furniture and accessories, broken pens, newspapers, faulty appliances, and other things that you haven’t used in years.

Consider the different ways skips can declutter and then determine how many skip bins you’ll need.

2. Prioritize and Plan

Decluttering an overcrowded home isn’t as easy as it seems. It could take you weeks or months to get this job done. That’s why you need a plan.

Set specific goals for each room and then come up with a strategy to get rid of clutter. Prioritize the most crowded areas, such as your kitchen or home office.

Let’s say you decide to start in the kitchen. In this case, you may need to organize the cabinets, discard expired foods and spices, throw out your old toaster and other appliances, mop the floors, and so on.

Have a juicer you haven’t used in ages? Put it in the cupboard.

Is your kitchen full of old newspapers, plastic bags, and mail? Designate a spot for these items, such as a basket or storage box, and place everything inside. Store it in a kitchen cabinet or under the kitchen sofa.

Next, head over to your living room or bedroom and repeat the process. Start with a small area and gradually expand your clutter-free zone until the entire room is clean and tidy.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take your time and don’t bite off more than you can chew.

3. Keep Up with the Season

Decluttering isn’t about throwing your stuff away but organizing your space in an efficient manner.

Let’s take your closet, for example. If it’s warm outside, stash your boots, sweaters, and winter jackets in a plastic bin or storage basket. Only keep in your closet what you’ll actually wear in the next few weeks.

When the temperature drops, put away your summer dresses and tank tops and pull out your winter coats. Sort your clothes into different categories and determine what you no longer need.

Remember those old jeans you keep in the closet, hoping that someday you’ll be slim enough to wear them? Most likely they’ll go out of fashion by the time you’ll lose 50 pounds.

Give them to a friend or donate them to a local charity. Another option is to sell them online and then buy a new pair if that’s what you want.

4. Choose Quality over Quantity

Would you prefer to have five bottles of cheap perfumes or a single one that reflects your style and boasts an amazing fragrance?

All those extra bottles take space and clutter your home. Plus, you probably keep buying new ones because you don’t really like what you already have.

The same goes for makeup, face creams, shampoos, bath products, clothes, and so on.

Get rid of the things you don’t really like and treat yourself to high-quality skin care products, fragrances, and cosmetics. Invest in clothes and shoes that flatter your body and showcase your personality.

These items may cost more, but you’ll be pickier about where you spend your money and buy less stuff, which will reduce your expenses — and the clutter in your home.

Start Decluttering Your Home

Stop procrastinating and start decluttering your home today. The longer you wait, the more clutter you’ll have to deal with.

Purchase baskets, office organizers, and other storage units. Make the most out of your vertical space, drawers, and cabinets. When you stumble over an item you haven’t used in 12 months or more, ask yourself if you really need it.

Need some inspiration to organize your basement or give it a makeover? Check out these cool ideas for a basement conversion!

Don’t Leave Home Without It: Unpacking the Ultimate Car Emergency Kit

If you own or use a vehicle regularly, take a minute to assess how prepared you are for an emergency on the road. Do you have everything you might need in the case of an unexpected crisis?

We’re talking about more than just car jacks and insurance information. After all, even if you’re prepped for the possibility of a car accident or a flat tire, there are plenty of other problems that you could run into. You’ll need a comprehensive safety kit to keep you safe.

Are you curious to learn more about how to pack the perfect car emergency kit? Keep reading.

We have all the information you need to feel prepared on the road right here. Let’s get started!

What Is a Car Emergency Kit?

A car safety kit is a bag or box with various items that may come in handy during emergency situations. No matter how big or small this kit is, it’s vitally important that every driver on the road have one in their vehicle at all times.

A safety kit will help you if you experience an accident, a breakdown, a medical emergency, or a natural disaster. Keep in mind that your roadside emergency kit should reflect the conditions which you drive in the most.

What to Put in an Emergency Kit

To create the best automobile safety kit possible, it’s best to stick with emergency essentials. Here are our top recommendations.

Water and Snacks

Although these items are always nice to have nearby whether it’s an emergency or not, they could also save your life. Keep some water bottles and healthy snacks in your car safety kit.

Look for foods like nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and canned goods (that don’t require a can opener). These items take a long time to expire.

First Aid Kit

First aid kits include many items to treat a variety of injuries. From bandaids and gauze to disinfectants and gloves, you never know when these tools may come in handy.

Portable Cell Phone Charger

Imagine experiencing an emergency on the road and then realizing that your phone is dead. Talk about panic!

Avoid this catastrophe by keeping a portable cell phone charger in your emergency kit. These are better than car chargers because they’ll work even if your car is out of commission.

Air Filter Cleaner

Air filter cleaner kits are compact. You can easily keep an air filter cleaner in your car at all times. You never know when you might need it!

Flashlights

Nighttime car troubles are incredibly stressful. Make sure to pack a couple of powerful flashlights in your kit. 

Jumper Cables 

A dead battery isn’t a big deal when you have jumper cables in your emergency kit. Most drivers are aware of how to use them and will help you if you flag them down.

The Bottom Line

A car emergency kit could save your life. Keep one inside your vehicle at all times to prepare for bad weather, breakdowns, medical emergencies, or accidents.

Make sure to include each item on the list above for the most effective kit possible. Keep in mind that emergency kits may vary based on where the individual drives the most.

Do you have any other ideas about what to include in a car safety kit? Comment below or contact us today and let us know!