Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Moving locations!

So, my big news is that I'm moving over to a new website: Be Happy Be Healthy Wellness. It's a website related to my training at IIN. I'll continue to blog there about ways to save money and be happy, but the focus will be a bet more wellness centered (as that is where my interest lies). I've had a lot of fun blogging here - it's been a great virtual diary for me too - who knows, maybe I'll come back to this one some day too. In the meantime, check it out!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Preparing for the New Year - Day 5

Well, hopefully by now your house is looking great and you are feeling ready.

Day 5:

Do a quick clean up. Today, spend an hour (or less) picking up, running the vaccum, dusting and cleaning the kitchen floor. This way you will wake up tomorrow to a nice clean house - with an organized pantry and fridge and hopefully a bit less clutter! Perfect way to start the New Year.

Come back next week for some exciting changes - I'll be posting something new I've been working on early next week. Until then, enjoy the night, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Preparing for the New Year - Day 4

Are you enjoying your clean frige? I know I am. In fact, we decided to try something new this year for the freezer. We are lucky enough to have a freezer in the basement, so we decided to keep the upstairs freezer strictly for food we will eat in the next two weeks. Things tend to get lost in it and I end up throwing them away, so hopefully this will help. Downstairs will be storage, and upstairs will be food to be eaten quickly.

Day 4:

Clean out your pantry. Bet you knew this one was coming! I almost always do this on New Year's Day - I'm not sure why, it just happens that way. Same as the fridge, start at the top and work your way down. Pitch anything that is expired, organize by category (baking, snacks, breakfast, etc.) and consider throwing away (or giving away) anything you deem as unhealthy.

I have been slowly eliminating processed food from our diet, so this will be my final removal of most of it from the house.

I know my pantry is a mess, so I'd better get downstairs and get started now! Good luck!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Preparing for the New Year - Day 3

How much did you clear out? I took a bag of items to Goodwill and listed about a half dozen on Craigslist. I also filled up a rubbermaid container with items for our next garage sale (already tagged and ready to go!). Felt great and the house looks much cleaner without as much clutter!

Day 3:

Clean out your fridge. Today, we'll jump into an area that I know needs cleaned out regularly at my house - the fridge!

This is how I'm going to do it: First, I'll take everything off of the top shelf - check expiration dates and toss anything that is expired. Then I'll clean the shelf and put the items back on that shelf (if they belong there - otherwise they stay on the counter). Next, I'll move on the the next shelf and so on until the shelves are finished. Finally I'll do the door. If there are items that can be combined (i.e. two jars of mustard), I'll combine them.

Once the fridge is finished, I'm going to move on to the freezer and follow the same process. As I'm checking items, I'm also going to make a note of things that need to be used up (literally make a note on a piece of paper). Then, when I plan the menu for next week, I'll be sure to include those items.

Stand back and admire your clean fridge!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Preparing for the New Year - Day 2

Did you get through all your returns? We were done by noon and it was such a GREAT feeling!

Day 2:

Clean out some stuff! Today, my suggestion is to do a quick survey of your house and see if there is anything you can eliminate - take to Goodwill or sell. I wouldn't spend hours going through your whole house, but I bet if you walk through each room and look around, you can get rid of quite a few things you are no longer using, don't really like or just don't need.

Then, bag them up and take them straight to Goodwill (or at least put them in your car for the next time you head that direction), immediately tag them and store for a future garage sale, or list on Ebay or Craigslist.

A little less clutter and a little more cash (or at least one more tax write off for 2011) is a great way to prepare for 2012.

I won't have a post tomorrow, but I will have a few more suggestions Thursday - let me know how much you were able to clean out!

Preparing for the New Year - Day 1

With just a week left until next year, it is a great time to get yourself ready. With just a little bit of work each day, you can start off 2012 feeling ready to go!

My philosophy is why wait until January 1st to start fresh? Why not get a head start now? So most days this week, I'll be posting a tip with a project to work on that should help you feel ready to meet 2012.

Day 1:

Put away the Christmas presents. While you are doing this, determine if you (and your kids) will really use each gift. If not, return it today (or at least put it in a bag in your car to return later in the week). I know it's a hassle to get out and do returns, but the stores tend to be a bit more liberal this week, and instead of waiting until it's too late to do any returns, you'll feel great to have it finished!

My plan for the day is to make myself and my hubby a nice cup of coffee, put away the gifts, decide if there is anything we need today while it's on sale (wrapping paper for next year, birthday presents we'll need in the next few weeks, etc.) and then go out to conquer our returns and a little bit of needed shopping - we'll have a list which should keep us from purchasing unneeded items and by the end of the day we'll only have the new items in our house that we want or need.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Gift Card Promos Save YOU money!

This tip is really from my hubby - he is the king of this one . . .

You know how there are so many gift card offers right now? Buy $25 in GC, get $5 free and the like? Well, even if you don't need gift cards to give as gifts, you can use these deals to your advantage.

Next time you are out to dinner and the restaurant you are dining at has this promo, check it out - if it's a good deal, I'd suggest heading to the bar and picking up enough to cover your dinner that night. Then, use the gift card you just purchased to pay for your meal.

You were going to pay for dinner anyway right? So you've spent the same amount of money, and now you have $5 (or whatever the deal is) to use later!

Here is a great example:

We had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings Wednesday with some friends and we knew our bill was going to be $30 - $40. So, my husband went to the bar, purchased two gift cards for $25 each and received two mystery cards (guaranteed to have at least $5 each on them). When our bill was due, we paid with the gift cards. Now, we have about $20 left on one gift card, plus at least $10 with the free card. So, we'll be able to come back for dinner in January and have our meal paid for!

A few caveats so you don't waste your money:

1. make sure you like the restaurant and would want to return

2. don't do too many of these deals - most of the bonus cards are only good in January or January and February, so you could easily get yourself into a situation where you can't use them all

3. don't buy the deal just to save money if you can't afford it, often you will purchase more in gift cards than your bill - great if you can just use them later, but if you can't afford the extra cash now . . .

4. don't lose the gift cards or bonus cards!!!

5. keep track of what you have purchased and make sure you use the bonus cards before they expire

Enjoy your holiday season!