I don’t know how many of you ever spend time on YouTube but over the last year or so I’ve discovered there’s a goldmine of information there for budget savvy people like us. With that in mind, I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite channels in various categories so here they are-
For the Budget Minded
A YouTuber based in Utah has this fun and informative channel called The Melea Show-
And last but by no means least, a channel I discovered last year when I realized I had to start exercising again, a fitness channel belonging to a fellow Brit named Lucy. Believe me when I say if you eat right and do these exercises (I can finally get pants and skirts zipped up again), you’ll get results. Best thing is if you’re a super busy BSG they don’t take up a lot of your time. Thank you Lucy!
I just received an e-mail about this and thought I’d pass it along to you. If you’re thinking about eating a plant based diet this year or just looking for ways to eat on a budget, Plant Based Meals has a New Year’s challenge you can join, here’s the link if you want to check it out.
Spring is the perfect time to not only give your house a deep clean but also the ideal opportunity to do some decluttering and organizing too. And yes, you can even make some money doing it.
While cleaning isn’t one of my favorite things to do, and yes, I’ve even done it for a living, there’s something gratifying about knowing that your surroundings are clean and organized.
Here are some tips I’ve used to make cleaning as painless as possible-
Do a Little Each Day
I used to clean every room, nook and cranny in my house on one day but I began to realize just how crazy that was. By the time I reached room number three I was tired and cranky and after that nothing got cleaned that well. Now I pick one cleaning chore on each day of the week. For example, laundry on Tuesday, vacuuming on Thursday, cleaning bathrooms on Friday. Spread it out and it won’t seem like such a chore.
Keep Your Cleaning Supplies in One Place
This is a trick I learned when I cleaned for a living and that was keep all your cleaning supplies in one place so you don’t have to keep running backwards and forwards for various cleaning products. I put all my supplies in a carry tote so I can have it by my side wherever I’m cleaning.
For the majority of people, cleaning probably doesn’t top the list of favorite things to do but if you pair it with something you do like it takes some of the sting out of it. I play some music whenever I clean and once I’ve finished I reward myself with a cup of my favorite tea. You might have different likes so give them a try as a way to pat yourself on the back for getting something done.
Divide and Conquer
One thing that cleaning is good for is teaching you a valuable lesson that the more junk you have sitting around your house the harder it is to clean. Next time you clean think about items that maybe you no longer need, things you have to move in order to vacuum, things that need dusting every week? And yes, you can even make yourself some money by holding a garage sale to get rid of the unwanteds or even selling them online.
Cleaning is also a chance to see how you can become more organized. Maybe you could buy boxes to put books or toys in rather than have them sitting out, gathering dust for you to clean. One place I always look for cheap organizing boxes and containers is the local dollar store.
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
I began making my own cleaning supplies when I discovered the reason I always got a headache after I cleaned the bathtub and sink was because of the cleaning product I was using. My great grandmother used to say you can’t beat soap and water for cleaning and I think she was right. I use basic ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and just some dish soap and water in a spray bottle to clean mirrors and windows and they’ve never looked so good. Best thing you save money and it’s better for your health too.
Do you have a favorite cleaning tip or cleaning product recipe you’d like to share with your fellow Budget Smart Girls, if so, just leave a comment.
Posting something on the site was on my to do list for today, but then as usual my morning got busier and I thought I’ll put it off until tomorrow.
That’s what I’ve been doing a lot lately, and the main reason the posts have been less frequent over the last year or two.
This time’s different. I’ve forced myself to sit and write something which actually made me realize what the topic of the post should be-
Are we all too busy to save money?
Making the most of our money and budget is all about being on top of things like bills and payments we make every week.
Sometimes I’m so busy that paying bills becomes automatic and I don’t check if I’m being overcharged or charged for something I didn’t receive or order. Other times I’ll think about a subscription I took out or something I signed up for and think, you know I really don’t need this any more. I think I should cancel it when it comes time to renew it.
I have every good intention of doing just that but guess what? I never do because I’m often too busy and forget when renewal time comes around and I end up being stuck with it for another month or even a year. And sometimes I know I can buy something cheaper at the store that’s farther from home, but guess what? I’m too busy to get in my car and drive there.
Today made me think about this more than ever and how being too busy can drain our budgets.
So how about putting cancelling a service or subscription or even trying to get a better deal on something on our schedules. Write it on the calendar or planner like you would any other appointment and see what happens.
I’d love to hear if this works for you and how much money you saved by freeing up some time to manage your pennies.
Happy Friday to you. The weather took a downward turn and it looks like winter is back. I guess last week’s 60 degree temperature spoiled me and I have to face up to reality. Roll on spring and summer.
Speaking of which…
Getting Ready for Canning Season
I’ve been on a decluttering and organizing binge. One of the areas in the basement that was in most disarray was the section where I keep all my canning jars and equipment. After searching online for some ideas, I stumbled upon an item called a Jar Box that’s not only a way to organize your canning jars, but keeps dust, dirt…and yes, sometimes we have the old mouse or two running around, keeps pesky intruders from running over them. While I was on the Fresh Preserving site I also saw they have some other accessories that are on sale. I thought the wooden tags are perfect it you want to give jams and jellies as a gift. And one other thing I was excited to finally see…dissolvable labels. Yay, no more soaking the jars every year to get the old labels off.
A related topic of organizing is the high cost of things to organize with, like bins and dividers. One place I’ve come to rely on to keep my organizing budget in check is my local dollar store so definitely pay it a visit if like me you’re doing some tidying up.
It’s Almost Spring which Means…
It’s almost Easter and yes, all things chocolate eggs and candies are in the stores. While you won’t get the rock bottom deals until after Easter Sunday, now is a good time to stock up supplies for future baking. Plus, the price of eggs goes down too. And what better source of cheap protein than an egg.
What’s Your Budget?
Those are four words I’m hearing more of these days. I guess retailers and companies need to catch every consumer’s dollar these days to stay in business. It’s good for us because it means we do have some haggling clout. Don’t be afraid to tell a salesperson that you are on a fixed budget because I’ve found many times they’ll at least meet you half way, if not all the way.
Coming Up on BSG
I’d hoped to put some posts on the site this week but it was yet another week that got away. I’ve been teaching, tutoring, working on books and before I knew it I was sitting down to write the Friday Round-Up. No idea where the week’s go but my goal is to get at least one post added to the site next week.
I come from a family of migraine sufferers so a bottle of ginger ale has always been a staple in the pantry. (For those of you who haven’t tried it ginger ale helps with the nausea that often accompanies a migraine).
While a bottle of ginger ale won’t break the bank, I thought I’d try making my own and use cane sugar instead of regular white or brown sugar.
Yesterday was my first attempt and the results were so good I thought I’d share the process with you.
A piece of ginger about two inches long. Peel it and chop it and place it in a food processor along with the juice of one lemon.
Add 2 cups of cane sugar…or whatever sugar you’re using.
Pulse for a few minutes and then add the mixture to a saucepan
Pour in about 2 cups of water and let the mixture come to a boil.
Lower the heat and let the mixture brew for about 30 minutes.
At this point the mixture should have reduced and look like honey. Turn off the heat and cover the pan and let it brew for another 30 minutes.
Strain the liquid and store in in a jar and place it in the fridge.
When you’re ready to make your ginger ale, pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the syrup into a glass and top with soda water a(nd ice if you like). Give it a stir and voila, homemade ginger ale.
Good Friday to you and it’s the last one in February. The weather’s taken a winter like turn but I know spring is around the corner.
The Ragu Giveaway
I don’t know if there was a glitch in the system last week or what, but no one entered the Ragu sauce giveaway so I’m running the contest again. The first person to e-mail me, gets the Ragu sauces.
I’m a huge fan of artisan soaps and if you’ve tried buying them you’ll know they’re pricey. However, as every Budget Smart Girl knows there’s always a way around the price. While I was doing some research I discovered that makers of the soaps are oftentimes left with bits and pieces of soap or ones that didn’t turn out quite right. Nothing wrong with them but they’re too ugly. Rather than have all this ugly soap piling up many of them sell you bags of the not so pretty stuff for a steep discount. I purchased one pound of ugly Dead Sea mud soap for around $14. So take a look to see if any of your favorite artisans offer the same deal or even ask them if they’d sell you some of their ugly soap.
Long Lasting Soap
While I’m on the topic of artisan soap, or any soap for that matter, we all want products to last longer. One way to do that with soap is to let it air dry between uses. I purchased a bamboo soap dish with slats and let the soap dry completely before I put it make in the shower or in a drawer…wherever. I’ve found it lasts twice as long.
You might remember me mourning the loss of my nearest supermarket when it closed about three years ago. In its place a gourmet supermarket opened its doors with prices that weren’t in my budget. However, things have changed. Over the holidays I went in there when they had a sale and was happy to see their prices have come down and in line with other stores, they often have great BOGO sales, and even offer a couple of discount lines, including an organic one that fits my budget. So my tip is at least go inside a gourmet supermarket and roam around because you’d be surprised what you can find.
Budget Smart Classes
Okay guys, it’s time where you can help me out again. Some of you might know I teach writing classes but someone recently suggested I teach classes about saving money too. I have an idea about one platform that might be perfect because it would allow me to give away some free spots for the class for anyone who can’t afford to take workshops.
What do you think? Is the Internet already overcrowded with classes about saving money or just saving money in general? Let me know your thoughts?
Another thing you can help me with which will allow me to put more targeted content on this site…tell me what’s you biggest financial challenge? Is it buying food and staying within your budget? Paying off debt? Saving money…funding your retirement maybe?
Leave me a comment or e-mail me and tell me what you think about the classes and/or your money dilemma.
For those of you who are new to the site and maybe this post doesn’t make sense I’ve been experimenting with various recipes to make homemade bread.
What exactly made me determined to come up with the perfect one? In one word, the price.
I like whole wheat bread and where I live, to get anything decent tasting, is close to $4. It might not seem like a lot but when you use if for toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and sometimes a snack, loaves disappear fast.
And who doesn’t like the smell of homemade invading the house or the feel of dough as you knead it on the countertop?
I’ve tried four different recipes, adapted them to my own tastes and then figured out which one I like best based on ease of making and the overall result and narrowed it down to one. Yes, I’m a picky cook so I’ve made this following recipe five times now.
Here it is along with some of the tricks I’ve found work best. I hope you enjoy it. Leave a comment and tell me how it turned out for you or if you have any other bread making tricks to share for your fellow Budget Smart Girls.
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 package or 2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of oil or melted butter
3 cups flour (I’ve been using about 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour because too much whole wheat flour doesn’t allow it to rise enough for a great tasting dough and tends to be more gummy which I don’t like. You can also try bread flour too…next on my list to experiment with).
In a large bowl, add the water, honey and yeast. Mix it together well and let it stand for about five minutes.
Slowly add in about one cup of the flour and then add the salt and oil, and slowly add another cup of flour…I’ve been adding the whole wheat flour at this point.
Mix it well and slowly add about another ½ cup of flour.
At this point I’ve been sprinkling the countertop with some of the remaining flour and placing the dough onto it and slowly adding more of the flour as I knead the dough.
Make sure to knead it for at least five minutes…I’ve found this is the key.
Spray another bowl with some non-stick spray or oil and place the dough into it and roll it around a few times. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place it somewhere fairly warm. I’ve been putting mine by the patio door (perfect when the sun’s shining) and close to a heat vent.
Don’t be impatient for the bread to rise. I’ve given this dough about an hour or more to double in size.
When it’s ready, sprinkle the countertop with flour and place the dough onto it and knead it again for a few minutes…another key step.
If you’re using a loaf pan, spray it with non-stick spray and place the dough into it. Cover it once again with plastic wrap and put it into the same spot to rise for yet another hour or more and while you do this pre-heat your oven to about 375 degrees. You can also use this as a boule style loaf or even bread rolls and just follow the same process.
When the dough is ready, put the pan into the oven for about forty-forty-five minutes or until golden brown.
Leave it in the pan for about five minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.
There you have it, homemade whole wheat bread for a fraction of the cost.
I’ll admit it. I couldn’t go a day without at least once slice of bread. I used to think only artisan bread was expensive but these days it seems (at least where I live), prices of all types of bread have been rising…no pun intended.
I’ve been buying bread from a discount supermarket and while it’s okay, it’s not that great and a couple of loaves have been shall I say, stale tasting.
Over the holidays I got spoiled because the high end supermarket in town sold their artisan bread for 50% off and I got hooked.
How come this bread is so pricey I asked myself, after all it’s just flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water?
I think the actual labor part of making the bread is what pushes the price up and with that in mind I made a resolution to start making my own.
I have a bread machine which I love but I decided to make everything from hand. I’ve got three recipes and I’m testing to see which one is the easiest and produces the best tasting bread. I tried one batch the other day and once I’ve tried the others and have my results I’ll share them with you.
One thing I have found is a great shortcut is my food dehydrator because it’s perfect for helping the bread to rise and even has a setting just for that purpose.
I’d love to hear if you make your own bread. Any tips or shortcuts you’d like to share? Do you use regular flour or bread flour?