Category: Frugal Living Tips

What You Need to Know About Brand Name vs. Generic Drugs

As winter approaches, cold and flu season will soon ramp up. That means it’s time to make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet to help manage those runny noses and sore throats.

But with the price of brand name medication is it worth choosing generic alternatives? Comparing the difference in price, can the no-name options be as effective as their well-known counterparts?

Keep reading for what all you need to know about brand name vs generic drugs.

What to Know About Brand Names

Advil and Aspirin are examples of common off-the-shelf drugs. Even though neither of those terms is medical, they’ve become shorthand for the medicine they represent.

That’s because those were the names chosen by the companies that first patented those medications for commercial use. In the case of Aspirin, it was Bayer that first brought acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to market for pain, inflammation, and fever. For Advil, it was Pfizer who chose that name to market ibuprofen.

In both cases, neither company could own the patent to the compound. Instead, they developed a brand that marketed their version of the medicine. This patent-protected their formula of the medicine.

What to Know About Generic Drugs

Companies like Pfizer and Bayer spend billions of dollars developing new medications. It’s a costly process that is subject to intense regulation. To help protect their investment, they rely on patents and marketing. This protects their products as they build awareness of the benefits of their drugs.

Generic drugs, on the other hand, capitalize on the findings of the larger companies. They can produce their versions of the drugs using expired patents. These versions undergo the same regulatory process as their brand name counterparts. But the savings on research and development allows them to sell their products for far less.

Are Generic Medications Really As Effective?

Can an unknown version of ASA be as effective as the globally-renown Aspirin? Yes and no.

If a generic drug passes the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) testing, it’s proven to provide the same amount of medication as the brand name version.

This allows doctors and pharmacists to provide a generic version of a drug when one’s available. It’s also common for an insurance prescription plan to cover only lower-cost alternatives.

However, the FDA regulates only the levels of the active ingredients. They’re more flexible toward non-medical ingredients.

That means certain additives like preservatives and dyes might change to cut costs. While this doesn’t impact the actual medical dose, it can interfere with the way the drug is released or processed.

It can also lead to allergic responses or discomfort from taking a generic product. While these events aren’t common, it’s important to be aware of the possibility.

Finally, some people find it reassuring to stick with a name they know. When dealing with an illness or pain, having peace of mind can go a long way to easing discomfort.

Brand Name vs Generic Medications: Which is Right for You?

In the battle between brand name vs generic drugs, what’s the right choice for you? Whichever one you want.

That’s the great thing about having generic drugs as an option. They’re a great way to save money while benefiting from the same medicine that the big names are selling. You can feel safe knowing that they contain the same ingredients and are just as safe.

Visit the Frugal Living page of our blog for many more articles on making the most of your budget.

5 Brilliant Tips on How to Save Money on Lawn Care

Do you like the story your front yard is telling?

Is it a fairy tale lawn or more like a horror story mess of weeds? Growing up, people tell you not to judge a book by its cover. Yet, that’s what human brains are hard-wired to do.

Studies show 90% of the information our brain processes comes from what we see. Every day we decide what we like and dislike, desire or disdain, based on our sight.

When you think about it, your lawn is the first thing people see about you, it’s a reflection of who you are. If you want to make a great first impression, you’ll need your lawn care to be up to date.

If you’re like many people though, high costs and lack of time can make keeping up on yard care overwhelming. Don’t worry though, we have the best tips to help you have a lush green yard, without breaking the bank.

Read on to find out the top 5 tips to take care of your lawn on a budget.

1. Dare to Negotiate Lawn Care Costs

Are you going to be hiring someone to assist with your lawn care? If your budget has room to hire help, that doesn’t mean you have to take the first offer that comes your way. Dare to negotiate with your local yard care companies.

We recommend you never take the first bid that’s offered to you. Instead, kindly and politely decline. Let the company know you’d like to work with them but your budget won’t allow for such high costs.

One trick is to find out if you can pay for your lawn services a year in advance. Oftentimes, a company will offer a discounted rate if you’re willing to pay in one lump sum.

It’s reasonable to expect to save anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars by paying in advance. The exact numbers will depend on what type of services you’re looking for and the average lawn service rates in your area.

Remember, the worst thing that can happen is they tell you, “no”. While the best thing that can happen is you cut your expenses down and who doesn’t love saving money?

2. Create a Compost

What’s the last thing you threw away? There’s a good chance that it was some type of left-overs from a meal. According to the EPA, 30% of our garbage comes from leftover food and yard scraps.

Throwing away leftover food and yard waste might not seem like a big deal. Yet, what if we told you there was a way you could use this garbage to help grow plants in your backyard?

Instead of pitching old food and yard waste, a lot of it can go towards making a compost.

What exactly is compost? Compost is a completely organic material. You can add it to the soil to help promote plant growth. Here are some of the benefits of having a compost can bring:

  • Moisture-rich soil
  • Natural fertilizer
  • Prevent plant disease

Having a compost will help you save money on fertilizer and grow heartier plants that are less prone to disease.

3. Get a Mulching Mower

What if we told you that you never had to rake again? Save money on buying rakes, or removing grass clippings by getting a mulching mower. To understand mowers better, check out these riding mower reviews

A mulching mower will work very similarly to a regular mower. Yet, instead of cutting the grass like normal, the mulching mower will use special blades. 

Then, the special blades will cut the grass clippings over and over. Along with the grass clippings, any leaves will be chopped up into itty bitty pieces. The finely cut clippings will then shrivel away throughout the day until they completely disappear.

4. Learn Your Soil PH

Buying new plants can be expensive. Avoid wasting your money by making sure you’re putting your plants in the right type of soil. To fully understand the type of soil you’ll need, you first have to understand how soil works.

The soil has minerals, water, gases, microorganisms, and organic matter. Similar to other living things, soil can have different pH levels. The lower the pH level, the more acidic the soil is.

Different types of plants prefer different pH levels to be present in the soil. Not only do plants have preferences, but they also have specific pH needs. For any nutrients to be available to the plants, the pH level has to be just right.

Unfortunately, changing your soil’s pH can be hard, time-consuming, and sometimes impossible. Yet, the good news is that just knowing what pH level you have can help.

Instead of blindly purchasing plants and hoping they’ll survive, get a kit to test your soil. Find out exactly what type of pH levels you’re dealing with in your front and back yard. If you find you have highly acidic soil consider planting azaleas or rhododendrons.

5. Choose Perrenials

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, go ahead and steer clear of planting annuals. Instead, invest your money in long-lasting perennials that won’t break the bank.

Unlike annuals, perennials won’t require any replanting. Once you have them firmly planted, all you need to do is properly care for them.

Annuals, on the other hand, require that you replant them annually. Of course, that also means going through the seedling process, and purchasing additional soil.

Reward Yourself With a Freebie

Now you know more about how to have the best lawn care on a budget. Make sure you’re also taking the time to reward yourself for your hard work!

Thrifty Momma Ramblings is proud to help our readers live fabulous lives while still being frugal. Treat yourself and check out our deals section.

In our deals section, you’ll find freebies, giveaways, coupons, and more! You deserve a little something special, and with our help, you won’t have to pay for it!

Adventuring on the Cheap: How to Find Budget Camping Gear in 2019

Did you know scientific research indicates that spending time outside in nature is good for you?

It’s true. Not only does being outdoors help your mental health and clarity, but it can also reduce your risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

This is why camping is such a great choice for a getaway. In addition to spending time away from your responsibilities, you’re also spending that time unplugging and reconnecting with nature.

But many people who have never been camping before are reluctant to try it because they think it will be expensive. Why invest in all that equipment if you’re not even sure you’ll like it?

Luckily, with budget camping gear, you can give camping a try without breaking the bank. Check out this guide to learn how adventure on the cheap.

Consider Renting Equipment

If you’re camping for the first time, and you’re not sure if you’re going to like it yet, it might be worthwhile to rent your equipment the first time you go. This way, you can test out the experience. Your local outdoors store or even your local university might rent camping equipment.

If you decide that you do like camping, however, you should eventually invest in your own gear. In the long run, it will be more cost-effective to purchase it.

Don’t Overspend on the Tent

When camping, your tent is essentially your only source of shelter separating you from the great outdoors. It can be easy to think, then, that you’ll need to invest in a heavy-duty and high-priced one to hold up to the elements.

In reality, this isn’t true. Basically, the only feature you need to make sure the tent has is a floor that is welded with the walls. This will ensure that moisture does not enter the tent.

Also, keep in mind that, often, more expensive tents are more lightweight. For this reason, a cheap tent might even be more heavy-duty than an expensive one. 

Also, whenever you buy a tent, only buy one big enough for the group you need. So, if you’re only camping with one other person, get a 2-person tent, rather than a 4-person one. Not only will the be cheaper, but it will be easier to keep warm.

You Don’t Need the Highest-Rated Sleeping Bag

When you shop for sleeping bags, you’ll notice that they are rated for the temperature they will keep you warm at. Often, you’ll hear the advice that you should purchase a sleeping bag rated ten degrees cooler than the coldest weather you’ll be experiencing. But that might not be necessary.

You can get away with getter a higher-rated sleeping bag by sleeping in layers. This will keep you warm as long as you don’t let the layers get wet.

And, of course, you can always supplement your sleeping bag with some good old-fashioned blankets that you have at home.

Also, when it comes to sleeping, you don’t need an expensive air mattress to sleep on. A nice sleeping pad or even some yoga mats will provide a comfortable surface to sleep on.

Don’t Go Crazy Buying Specialty Cooking Equipment

If you do some research on cooking equipment for camping, you can spend a lot of money really fast. In reality, you don’t actually need pots, utensils, coffeemakers, or other gadgets made explicitly for camping.

Invest in a nice cast iron pan. Not only will it be under $30, but it will also have plenty of uses at home when you’re not camping. 

Instead of buying a camping coffee pot, get a metal french press that you can use to make coffee with heated water. And, rather than buying special camping utensils, bring some of your old flatware and a pocket knife.

Consider Buying Equipment Second-Hand

Another way to get your camping equipment at a discount is to look at second-hand options. 

As you would with any furniture, be careful about tents and sleeping bags. Make sure the people you get them from are trustworthy, and treat them to eliminate any pests. 

In some cases, you might even be lucky enough to find equipment at thrift stores. These can be especially good places to find things like cooking supplies or lanterns.

If you want to be really thrifty, do a spin around the campground at the end of the weekend. You’ll be surprised to see that people will leave behind perfectly good barbecues, camp chairs, and other equipment. 

Don’t Cheap Out on Safety

While there are some easy ways to make budget-conscious decisions for camping, there are other areas where you don’t want to cut corners. This is especially true when it comes to any equipment related to safety.

For instance, you probably don’t want to bring a flashlight you got at the dollar store as your main light source. It gets really dark in the great outdoors, so you don’t want a light that is going to die on you in the first hour.

Also, if you plan on doing any hiking, you’ll want to bring high-quality shoes with you that are up to the task. Shoes with poor tread can easily lead to accidents and injuries.

Your strategy should be to save on equipment where cost is less important so you can invest the extra money where it actually matters.

Start Your Adventure With Budget Camping Gear

With this guide to budget camping gear, you’ll soon be ready to be a happy camper!

Looking for more tips on how to live life affordably? Check out the rest of our blog for inspiration.


Taking Care of Elderly Parents Without Going Broke: 5 Tips

Your parents took care of you since the day you were born but now, after many years, it is time for you to take care of them. 

Taking care of elderly parents can be a lot of work as well as very expensive. You want the best possible care for your parents so you don’t want to skimp on anything when it comes to getting the care they deserve. 

Keep reading for five tips on how to take care of your elderly parents without going broke. 

1. Make a Plan

Before your parents need care you should sit down with them and create a plan. Many people think that they won’t need long term care and that they will be able to take care of themselves. But educating yourself and your parents about the care they may need in the future is vital to do early. 

By making a plan you can know what your parents want and expect when it comes to taking care of them. You can also help to make a budget and see what exactly you’ll be spending your money on versus their money. 

2. Insurance

Medicare or Medicaid can be a huge help when it comes to paying for your parents’ medical bills if they’re over the age of 65. But these won’t cover the complete costs of aging and getting the care they deserve. Long term care insurance can, however, cover the costs of a nursing home or in-home care for elderly parents. 

The price for this type of insurance gets more and more expensive as you get older so creating a plan sooner is better than later. It may not be easy to sit your parents down and talk to them about this but it is important for both of you to have a plan. 

3. Don’t Quit Your Job

When all else has failed and you feel like it should be your responsibility to care for your parents, then you may feel like the only option is to quit your job. Quitting your job will take away a huge source of income for you as well as paid time off and your own insurance.

There are many other affordable options when it comes to caring for your parents that don’t involve you quitting your job. Click here to learn about at-home personal care. This will give your parents someone to rely on and companionship for when you’re away at work. 

4. Track Monthly Spending

Even if you have sat down with your parents early and created a plan you will still want to track every dollar spent towards the care for your parents. You don’t want your parents to run out of money quickly so you’ll have to tap into your own funds. 

You can track all of their monthly expenses such as food, bills, clothing, and entertainment to see exactly what is being spent. Your parents don’t need to live their last few years frugally if you’ve helped them create a plan for success. 

5. Seek Our Professional Help

If you’re overwhelmed with medical bills or your parents’ spending, then you may want to find a financial advisor to sit down and help you. This person can go over what is best for you and your parents as well as help you set aside funds for future needs. They can create a budget and give you advice on how to stick with it. 

Taking Care of Elderly Parents

When it comes to taking care of elderly parents you should feel a sense of love and care. There is nothing better than helping and giving back to the people who raised you. 

It can be a difficult and expensive task but making a plan to help your parents will be the best way to save money. Talking about it is hard but they will thank you in the long run. 

If you love saving money, then check out our blog for more advice, deals, and freebies. 

Keep Your Parents Safe: How to Report Nursing Home Neglect

It was an emotional and painful decision to put your parent into a nursing home, but you knew that access to full-time care was in their best interest. 

At first, your parent seemed satisfied with the treatment they were getting. They enjoyed meeting new people, attending events, and they formed bonds with some of the staff. 

But lately, things seem to have changed — and you feel like you need to know how to report nursing home neglect. 

Your parent has missed their medications, isn’t being properly bathed or cared for, and they’re even starting to show the emotional signs of elder abuse. You’ve read more about the symptoms of elder neglect, and you’re convinced that’s what’s going on. 

But how does nursing home abuse reporting work? 

Read on to find out. 

Start With Documentation 

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to properly document the abuse and collect statements from the elders. 

Often, this will include taking photos of the physical signs of their abuse (bruising, bedsores,) and neglect (soiled sheets, dirty clothing, etc.) You should also document the incidents in writing. If possible, ask the elder to describe them in detail and try to remember the rough date around which it happened. 

Depending on the elder’s mental and physical state, they may be able to provide you with written statements on their own. Additionally, ask your parent if they’ve spoken with any other residents who have experienced abuse. 

Understand that the parent may be quite reluctant and embarrassed to share this information with you. Use this guide from the American Society on Aging to help you learn how to get the conversation started. 

In some cases, other doctors and nurses may be willing to report the abuse to you (the same goes with someone else on staff.) Though this is rare, if it does happen, make sure you collect their statements, too. 

This will help you to have the upper hand when you file your complaint. 

Understanding How to Report Nursing Home Neglect

Depending on the specific state in which you live, anyone who witnesses elder abuse (whether they be a staff member/doctor or another citizen visiting their parent) is legally required to report it. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that they will — especially if they fear they’ll be punished. 

The burden of how to report a nursing home for abuse and neglect is likely to fall to you. 

There are numerous different ways you can report this. 

Though it might seem logical, do not report your concerns to the nursing home itself. They will do everything in their power to prevent you from legally reporting the crime to the proper authorities, including threatening the elder even further. 

Instead, go outside the nursing home entirely. 

You can contact the National Center on Elder Abuse to learn how to officially file the complaint within your state. You can also reach out to Eldercare Locator to speak directly with a representative that can help you and your parent. 

Additionally, get in touch with your parent’s primary care doctor. They will likely need to collect medical evidence and check up on the elder to evaluate their health and injuries properly. 

If your parent is using Medicare or Medicaid to fund their nursing home care, call a representative immediately and report the abuse. 

Some nursing homes may have what’s called a Patient Advocate, that is there to handle complaints and concerns (among other things) regarding the nursing home. If you feel this person can truly be a neutral party, you may wish to contact them. 

However, if you do do this route, you may want to have an attorney do the talking on your behalf. 

Hire a Lawyer to Help You

The choice to report nursing home abuse can be frightening for both you and your parent. You fear retaliation, further abuse, and the prospect of continued improper care for your parent and others. 

Plus, you don’t quite understand how the court proceedings work. You also want to be certain that you have the strongest possible evidence to secure a guilty verdict for this heinous crime. 

Representatives like those at ChasenBoscolo are experts in what you need to do to report nursing home neglect properly. We strongly suggest that you work with an attorney that has years of experience in dealing with elder abuse cases. 

Ask to speak to their references, ensure they’re licensed to practice in your state, and schedule a consultation with them to get a feel for their communication style. 

The sad reality is that nursing homes are able to make exasperating claims against patients (such as calling their competency into question) in order to avoid responsibility. 

Don’t let that happen to your parent. Work with an attorney who will fight for you instead. You’re not just protecting your parent’s life. You’re also helping to save others. 

Do You Need to Report Nursing Home Neglect?

Now that you know more about how to report nursing home neglect, it’s time to take action. 

Be sure to rely on the emotional support of friends and other family members at this time. Remind the elder that they didn’t do anything wrong and that you’re not angry with them. Try to be understanding and patient when they’re reluctant to talk about what happened. 

Do you need more advice about what to look for in a quality nursing home? Ready to have the tough conversation with your parent about long-term care? 

Our blog is here to help you with all that and more. We’ll even help you learn how you can afford better care, so keep checking back in with us for new posts every day.

A Mother’s Guide to Instant Payday Loans and How to Use Them Wisely

Moms always have finances on their minds. While there are always the expenses you can count on like the mortgage, groceries, school uniforms, and the fees for soccer camp.

It is the unexpected that cay catches you off guard if you aren’t prepared. This is where an instant payday loan can help float you through an emergency. Emergencies like a plumbing leak or a broken arm on the playground, are covered.

This guide for mothers will help you learn more about instant payday loans, what they can be for, and how to use them smartly.

What is a Payday Loan?

A payday loan is a short term loan that is available through payday loan storefronts or online lenders. Payday loans are short term loans that are designed for people who need funds in a hurry for an unexpected expense or emergency. 

With a quick application process and short lending terms, people can usually have access to their money within a couple of business days. These loans are usually paid back by the next pay period. This is why they are known as payday loans.

You can learn more here about how instant payday loans work and if they are the right choice for your emergency fund.

Payday loans are taken out for small amounts, for under $1,000. These fast loans will be for a portion of the borrower’s paycheck and they will need to be paid back by the next pay period.

How an Instant Payday Loan Works

The payday loan process is fairly quick. Depending on the lender or the amount, a credit check may be required during the application process. You’ll also need to verify your income with pay stubs or earnings statements.

Since these instant loans have such short terms, the lending requirements are fairly loose compared to a traditional loan or a mortgage but there will be a lower loan max.

Once you’re approved for the loan, the funds can usually get deposited into your bank account by the next day. You may also receive the funds in cash, certified check, or on a prepaid debit card.

You will not only need to pay back the loan but you will also be responsible for the interest and fees as well. These may be higher than a traditional loan because of the quick access to funds and the lack of collateral required.

Before you receive your money, you’ll need to agree to the terms, fees, and interest so there are no surprises when it’s time to pay back the loan. In some cases, you can repay the loan by authorizing an automatic payment through your bank account on your loan’s due date.

Why Would You Need a Payday Loan?

A payday loan can be helpful for moms and parents who need emergency funds to float them over until the next pay period. In some cases, there may also be loans available that are three-month payday loans.

Let’s say your car breaks down and you have school pick-ups, activities, and work to get to. If your emergency fund isn’t where it should be, you can borrow money to repair your car until your next payday.

People can use payday loans for things such as emergency home repairs, car repairs or medical bills.

While it’s always better to have an emergency fund for situations like this, if you’re unable to use one in a crisis, an instant payday loan can help you in a pinch.

Costs and Fees Associated with Payday Loans

Payday loans are going to be more expensive than a traditional loan. Because these are short term loans, you’ll see higher fees and annual percentage yield (APR) than with other loans.

Regulations on interest will vary by state so make sure to read all of your paperwork and loan terms. The federal Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose finance charges so you’ll be able to see everything in writing.

Lender definition of terms will be disclosed and you’ll both be able to come to an agreement that works for you financially.

Typically, the terms of a payday loan will only be for 30 days or less and the loan amounts can be anywhere from $100 to $1,500. When used correctly and paid back on time, a payday loan won’t cost you any more than the interest and fees you’re charged initially.

The Instant Payday Loan Application Process

With a payday loan, you typically apply at a payday loan storefront or through an online lender. Depending on the lender, your credit may get pulled as part of the application process.

The better your credit is, the more favorable your terms will be. You can check your credit for free each year courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission to see where you stand. Each year you’re entitled to a free download of your credit report.

Not all lenders will do a credit check, however, so this may not apply to every loan.

To apply for instant payday loans, you will also need to provide your basic information as well as verification of your income. Once you’re approved, you may receive the funds almost instantly.

How You’ll Receive Your Funds

To receive your instant payday loan funds, you may be required to give a personal check for the amount due dated for the due date. In some cases, you may set up installment payments where a set amount is taken from your bank account automatically.

Funds will be dispursed in cash, deposited into your bank account, by certified check, or on a prepaid debit card. 

Visit the blog section for more tips on personal finance and budgeting.

Healthy Lunches for Kids: 6 Simple and Easy Ideas

Two-thirds of parents say they don’t do enough to ensure their children eat enough healthy foods.

You know it’s important that your child eats a healthy lunch. And yet, it’s not always easy to come up new ideas for healthy lunches for kids.

Check out our healthy lunch ideas for kids below. Let’s go!

1. Pitta Pockets 

If you want to replace the tired and old slices of bread, pitta pockets are an easy alternative. 

You can stuff them with a mint yogurt dip and a bunch of lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes for a healthy bite. 

2. Pesto Pasta Salad

Pasta has a poor reputation as a nasty carb. And yet, pasta is a healthy and nutritious foundation for your kid’s lunch.

You can also bolster the health marks of your pasta salad by using whole grain pasta which packs plenty of goodness inside.

Store purchased pesto isn’t actually very healthy. But, you can prepare your own green pesto with only a few ingredients: olive oil, basil and pine nuts.

Then, toss in some leafy greens like kale or spinach to make it even healthier. 

3. Turkey Roll-Ups 

Does your kid always complain about having the same sandwiches?

You can give your child a nice surprise for lunch with turkey roll-ups. You can wrap up a wide range of fillings inside.

Spinach, tomatoes, and feta make a Greek-style roll-up. You can also give it a Morrocan twist by adding hummus and olives.

If you don’t have the time to prepare this type of healthy lunch for your kid, check out The Lunch Mob.

4. Snacks for Dunking 

You can give your kid lots of different snacks to dunk into a dip. The dip could be either hummus, guacamole or sour cream. 

Then, you can check off every type of important food group. Boiled eggs for protein, carrots for vegetables, and breadsticks for carbs.

5. Chicken Rice Salad

Rice salads are a healthy and delicious lunch for kids. They are easy to make in bulk so you don’t have to prepare lunches every morning.

Just mix rice with tomatoes, onions, beets, and herbs. Then, simply top with chicken pieces or tuna. This is a slam dunk for tasty lunch.

6. Mexican Taco Lunch

Taco shells can be filled with anything. You should always have plenty of boxes of taco shells in your pantry. 

Chunks of avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a handful of chicken pieces make for a perfect, healthy lunch. You can also add guacamole for a dab of extra flavor. 

Healthy Lunches for Kids

Now you know how to prepare healthy lunches for kids. Your children want adventure and surprise at lunchtime. No one wants a boring lunch! 

But, that doesn’t mean you have to feed them salty snacks and sugary treats. You don’t need to spend a fortune on food either. 

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the rest of our website for more tips like this.