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The Budget Smart Girl’s Newsletter-January 2011

A new year and a new start if you’re thinking about being more budget savvy in 2011. Hope this newsletter gives you some ideas-

Buying and Selling Clothing

Here’s an all too familiar scenario…you look through your closet and either you conclude you’ve got nothing to wear or you wonder why you bought that dress in the first place. If only you could find a place to buy different stuff or sell the items you already own. Check out www.smashion.com  I’ve listed some clothing and shoes there and so far have sold one item. Best news is there are no listing fees or commission taken out of your sales.

Keeping Warm

Seems like this is going to a long cold winter even for the normally warmer climates. If you’re worried about energy costs check out this site that I found has a bunch of good resources. www.eartheasy.com

Pizza, Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? Check out this one stop shopping site that has links to coupons offered by just about every pizza chain out there. http://1pizzacoupons.com/

Quick and Easy Dessert

 I usually make a time consuming dessert to finish the Christmas meal but this year, I’d been just too busy all December and feeling lazy. There’s nothing easier than putting together things you have sitting in the pantry and freezer. Christmas morning I remembered two of those things. Sara Lee creamed filled puffs and chocolate syrup. Just put about seven or eight of them in a bowl and lightly dizzle the syrup on the top. Looks like a gourmet cook put it together. And as the cream puffs were one of my double coupon day bargains, the whole thing cost me less than $4.

I’m thinking this is also a good dessert for Valentine’s Day too.

 Time is Money…why waste it cleaning

My parents owned an office cleaning company for twenty years. When things were slow with my freelance writing, I often worked for them to earn extra money. When you’re working two jobs (and one’s cleaning) the last thing you want to do is come home and clean your own house. I recently offered these tips to a writer who was working on a easy cleaning tips article and thought I’d share them with you too-

Divide chores into smaller tasks and don’t try and do everything in one day. Vacuum one day, dust another etc.

Let products sit and do their work while you do something else. For example, I use baking soda and vinegar to clean drains in the sinks and the toilet bowls. I let the mixture sit for an hour while I do laundry etc.

Don’t use too much product. Most people use too much glass cleaner and it takes more work and elbow grease to remove it.

Use microfiber products. Most of them work perfectly without cleaners so you cut down on the number of products you carry around and they do a top notch job with minimum effort. And you save money too.

Remember not everything needs cleaning every time. Pick and choose what looks dirty.

Clean when the sun is shining in your house. You’ll see things like cobwebs and dust you missed on over-cast days.

Good Buys for January

I always feel the produce department looks boring (and inexpensive) this time of the year but yesterday I bought some avocadoes and oranges, both of which were really good and budget friendly. Oranges are great for snacking and avocadoes combined with tomatoes and even roasted red peppers make wonderful sandwiches.

  • New to the stores: Hass avocadoes, green onions, blood and navel oranges
  • At their peak: tangerines
  • Grab them now: Comice and Bosc pears, rutabaga, butternut squash, turnips

 Inexpensive Ways to Spend a Winter Day

When the last of the Christmas decorations are taken down and stored away for another year, things can seem bland and boring. I know lots of people spend their winter weekends dining out and shopping but here are some of my ideas for keeping yourself busy without spending a fortune.

A Movie, Popcorn…maybe some pizza

The price of going to the movies and buying a drink and popcorn isn’t as cheap as it was even two years ago, but who says you have to bundle up and head out into the cold to see a movie? If you have cable TV you can opt for the movies on demand option. Or if you’re one of the many people who have said goodbye to cable TV, check out your local library. You’d be suprised at all the recent releases they have there. Another option is the Redbox rentals. I have two close to where I live but have yet to try them. Rentals are just $1 www.redbox.com   Signup for their newsletter and it looks like you get a coupon for a free rental on Mondays. And if you find a great pizza coupon at the above mentioned site you can throw a movie and pizza night.

Catch Up on Your Reading

Some people like to do most of their reading during the lazy days of summer, but who doesn’t love to curl up with a warm blanket and a good book? This is the idea time of the year to get to know your local library and try reading a book in a genre you’ve never tried before, or even reading a couple of non-fiction titles.

Learn a New Skill

I saw this on a how to save money in 2011 article just the other day, learn a new skill and winter’s the perfect time to do it.

Okay, you might not want to go back to school, but lots of community education programs offer a wide selection of courses from now until the end of the school year. Maybe learn something you can put to good use in the summer. Or even learn a new language for the day you travel to a foreign land and sitting on that beach is no longer a dream but reality!

Get Crafty

As you all know my new hobby is flower arranging. Why not try your hand at something new and try selling it on Etsy or even look into craft fairs that will be held in your area this summer. It’s the perfect way to make some extra cash.

Finish Your DIY List

How many of us have little chores and DIY jobs to do around our house but never seem to find the time to complete? There are lots on my list and if you get them down now, you’ll have more time for leisure time when the warm weather rolls around.

If You Want to Venture Out

If you really do feel you need to head out, many local attractions remain open, but have lower attendance during the winter. Why not check if any of your local museums, or even zoos offer reduced admission fees.

Here are some articles I found interesting this last month-

They say retirement could be a thing of the past for most of us-

http://finance.yahoo.com/focus-retirement/article/111231/how-to-retire-early?mod=fidelity-startingout&cat=fidelity_2010_starting_out

Being Budget Smart is in vogue-

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101108/ap_on_bi_ge/us_consumer_chill_stigmas

Think You’re Still Paying Too Much Property Tax-

http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/111408/6-tips-to-make-a-case-for-property-tax-cut?mod=taxes-advice_strategy

Have a wonderful month.

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