101 Changes: Change 19- Do More With Beauty Products

If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days. I am writing a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out previous 101 Changes Article: 101 Changes: Change 18- Heal The Hurting Heart

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Creative Triple Duty Beauty:

I like and think of a new ways to re-use, re-purpose what I have at the hand. It comes in handy as a stay at home mom, or saving money and also saving a trip to a store. Here are a few ways you be able to save money and downsize your make up bag as well. Did you know, beauty products can do other things as well?

Petroleum Jelly:

Use 1: Everyone’s knows and uses the pretty inexpensive Petroleum Jelly for smoothing rough and dry skin and protective barrier over the skin. My favorite use is to use it over minor cuts and scratches on kids and myself.

Use 2: Use for lips: I was reading ingredients on lip balm and thought of creating a lip-balm at home for cheap using Petroleum Jelly. You can create a lip balm with dab of Jelly, a drop of perfume, 1 vitamin E capsule.

In addition to it you can create lip exfoliate product at home. Here is how to do it,  take small scoop small  spoonful of Jelly, mix it with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Massage the mixture over dry, chapped lips. After you’re done, wipe it away with soft cloth towel and now you will have soft and kissable lips.

Use 3: Remove makeup: Use petroleum jelly on cotton pas and gently press it over eye makeup area for to wipe away make eye make up. It can be used to take over makeup over face as well.

Perfume:

Use 1: Use spray perfume to give your skin, clothes, body an amazing scent and feel fresh.

Use 2: Create a scent holder: Take a pretty greeting card or colorful thick card paper, punch a hole at the top with hole puncher and thread a yarn or ribbons through it. Spray a mist with your favorite perfume and hang it inside the car or bathroom for instant scent freshener. Whenever, scent stops coming, you can spray it again a few mist and its ready to go again.

Use 3: Some of the perfume bottles are so pretty, so what to do when it is empty? I use it when it is empty to fill up with little water and make in to mini single flower vase to display. It looks great and smells wonderful.

If you use many little small bottles together with single bud or flower will make a beautiful center piece or decor that not only will look great but smell great as well.

Mascara:

Use 1:  Generally used for boosting the thickness or length of your eyelashes.

Use 2:  Did you know you can use a mascara as an eyeliner too? Dip a small brush in to the container and sweep it along the lash line. I learned this trick from a make up tip from a Women’s day magazine.

Use 3: Disguises gray roots: If you started to get white hair but not enough to use hair color formula, then using mascara to disguise the white roots and hair might just be right trick for you. Grab a mascara that matches your hair color closely, and gently brush and glide it over your white hair and roots. A little mascara can go long way.

How do you re-use or re-purpose beauty products you have?  If want to know more creating beauty for cheap check out my post: Create Beauty Products from Fruits and Vegetables

101 Changes: Change 16: Declutter For Better Life

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I am starting a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over again for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out last 101 changes article here: 101 Changes: change 15: Get Beautiful With Nature’s Bounty –Avoid Chemical Laden Creams and Make Up

Having clutter around not only cost us our money but also our piece of mind and happiness with it. Your house might be filled with piles of books and magazines you mean to read it, the smaller size clothes in your closet when you get back to your college weight, every toys that kids got from family and friends, many bills are just a few of example of clutter that most of us go through in our lives. Kitchen, bathrooms and office are worst places in a house for clutter to pile up easily. Instead of you owning the stuff, your stuff ends up owning/controlling you. Here are few ways, clutter cost us more than we bargained for;

  1.  You misplace bills to pay or check to deposit in your huge piles of paper. By the time, you find anything, bill is past due and check is no longer cash-able (after 90 days). You have just lost money and added interest or fees on bills too.
  2. You buy item, only to realize months later, that you had that same item in your storage pile somewhere in the house. It was hard to find and hence forgotten. Sometimes, you may buy same items a few times over the years, not remembering, costing you more money.
  3. You panic when someone called for unannounced to visit, as it will be overwhelming to clean up clutter in such a short time. Either you are embarrassed when company comes or choose to do less social inviting on purpose, either way you are losing social life with friends and family because of your clutter.
  4.  You do not want to come home as cluttered and messy home does not make you feel better. So you tend to eat out more often and do more outside shopping to make yourself feel good, adding clutter to your already cluttered house.
  5. You may think it is wise to put all extra storage in storage place, leaving your house cleaner. However, you may pay $50 a month for your junk and your house slowly begins to be cluttered again.
  6.  You may lose your valuable time finding things in the house. You may search every morning your car keys under the stuff pile, or you may find that food in your fridge has gone bad, wasting food and money both. Your self-esteem may take hit.
  7.  You are not living your true potential life, due to all clutter. You are waiting for some miracle to make it all better, clutter robs you from happiness. A happiness you get when your sink is empty and kitchen is clean and your bills are paid on time. You will get so much joy once work is done and you can truly relax and enjoy your home.

Is clutter costing you in some ways? In future we will look at a few ways to get started on path to simplifying and de-cluttering.

How To Slash Your Bills and Get Your Expenses Under Control

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In January, many people are looking to take care of their new year resolutions, be it losing weight, eating well and saving money. I have goals that I want to achieve in 2013, I have given up making resolutions as I have failed in a few months to keep those up. So I create mini goals that I break down from a one big goals so it makes it easier to me to achieve it and stay focused.

One of the thing I am passionate about or should I say, I am forced upon is to save money. When I decided to not go back to my six figure salary work and be home with kids, something had to give so I started reading and learning new ways to cut down on expenses. Some of my early favorite personal finance blogs were Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly and Zen Habits. Trent from Simple Dollars still writes his money tips with passion after so many years so do check out his blog. J D Roth has sold his “Get Rich Slowly” blog and I admit I do not read regularly anymore but there are some great articles out there still. Leo from Zen Habits has achieved his financial freedom so he does not write about money tips much but I still read his blog for changing habits and inspiration.

I have done No Spend Money experiment and written about saving money tips before, as 2013 is starting, I am looking back to find more ways to save money so that I can continue to follow my passion of being home, work at home part time and homeschooling mom to my kids.

One of the most expense that people now a days have is phone related that is to say, phone, cable, cell phones and internet bills that keeps growing. Ten years ago or so family needed only single land line phone and television was simple choice enough choosing whatever came in local handful channels that came mostly free. But now there are thousands of channels and programs for television are there. For phone there are multiple lines, data plan, test plans, apps, ringtones and what not. I am not even sure I am all updated with what is available technology wise currently.

If you add this for spouse and kids, bill can run higher and higher. Although, television program says “Must See TV”, there is no such a thing as I and many others have given up or reduced watching Television for good. If you still decide to watch it, you can let go of many overlapping services to save money on bills.

How To Slash Your Phone Bills:

There are a few ways to slash your phone bills and most of these tips will not cause to feel deprived either.

  1. Reconsider Land Line Phone: For long time, we kept up our land line phone just in case there was internet or cell phone outage, mostly in case for emergency. We have given up land line phone for using Vonage service (internet based) for 7 months and could not complain about it. Monthly savings can be $30-$75 depending on services you were using, not bad for saving $360 to $ 900 savings for year.
  2. Drop Extra Services: This tip seems so simple and obvious however, many of us are having so many overlapping services with cell phone and land line phone combine. This also works if you want to keep your land line phone service without costing you big in monthly spending. Example of these extra services can be, You can let go of voice mail and buy answering machine phone, you can let go of your long distance services and use cell phone for calling long distance instead.
  3. Talk Free Via Computer: I am not tech savvy, despite having an electrical engineering but Zenguy is master geek and tech guy so we save money through talking to relatives and friends far away via Skype, Google chat. These services are free and can be downloaded free to your computer. What I like about this plan is it is free, you can chat and also use video chat so grandparents or friends can kids and vice versa. Also, thing to note is that grandparent or any person you call does not need to have Skype or Google chat program, you can call cell phone, land lines on other side.
  4. Buy For Busy Talk Month: I learned this the hard way, as phone carriers have hefty fees and charge if you go over minutes. It might be better to pay some extra every month to cover your busiest talk month to not get these charges during high usage month. If you do not plan this, just be careful to stay within your allowed minutes to not get charge ridiculous amount of fees.
  5. Shop around: I like being loyal to my family, friends but I have learned hard way to remain loyal to a company. I used AT&T for 8 years as I really liked them and what they did for that loyalty? They charged me crazy amount, so reluctantly I left, only to be offered same deal that I was asking them while being a customer.  Since that incidents, I always shop around to see best deals and choose phone company that works for my budget and customer services.
  6. Ignore Texting: In US texting is not free, unlike a few Asian countries. A relative from India sent us text messages and only to read those it ended up costing us $35. So, if you have teenagers or relatives who get free texting, be careful and avoid these texting charges either by ignoring those or reading text messages through some free reading services.
  7. Be careful for Roaming Charges: If you travel out of town or country, be very very careful of using your cell phone. It is almost always a good idea to get local cell phone or have roaming service plan added (if you travel a lot). Otherwise you will be billed $1-$5 per minutes, I have once read a news regarding someone getting a roaming charges for $12,100. (I am unable to find that news link now, but I am sure you may see those once in awhile too) So don’t be one of those statistics and save money by using local phone services instead.

Slash Your Cable and Movies Bills:

I love watching movies and a few Television series such as from BBC, A&E and Master Piece Theater. So, one does not have to give up watching their favorite TV shows or movies just to cut down on expenses. There are many ways to save and cut the bill in half or even more.

  1. Let Go of Premium Channels: Having premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, AMC can cost about $10-$15 each monthly. In most cases you can watch these movies through Netflix, or DVD rental. Now netflix gets DVD released movie much faster so you will still get to see it early.
  2. Track Your Watching: If you really note down how you or family tend to watch, such as which channels, how often you may cut down on other unwatched and UN-necessary channels from your services. Sometimes you may even find that you’re not watching as much cable as you thought, and in that case you can let go of cable services.
  3. Ask For Discounts: If you like to keep some favorite channels or services, ask the provider for discount or better offer. In some cases the company want to keep you as a customer and will negotiate a better deals and other case some stone- hearted company may ask you to cancel and in such case you can choose other provider or wait for a few months to really see before you sign up for new plan.
  4. Day has only 24 hours: Remember, having so many channels and movies choices may be futile as even if we watched one movie a day (2-3 hours each), we will not finish all movies produced and released and same thing with television series. So pick what you truly like that is best for your time. Watching TV and Movie all day no matter how much you like would not be a good thing for anyone.
  5. Buy HDMI Cable: I learned this from Zenguy as I would not know what it was. Thing is this HDMI cable costs like $5 or so and you can connect your computer to television. That allows us to watch free shows from network downloaded. Do not ask me how it works yet but I know it is time and big money saver for little cost. (I will update it once I find out how it works here)
  6. Skip Subscription Plans: Netflix, itunes and Amazon video on demand subscription plan varies and can be useful if you watch lot of movies or occasional movies here and there. In some cases, skipping the subscription plans and getting movies from red box or local store may be a better deal. If you do not mind getting new movies later, and somewhat less choices local library is also a good place to get movies and television series rentals.
  7. Watch it Free on Internet: There are many places such as you tube, hulu and other video sites where you can watch movies and television series for free. Remember, you tube have free and cost movie rental both. You can just view free movies there. The one problem I see is sometimes movies can be removed by copyright violation so it might be gone. I have watched a few movies on you tube movie section and I buy only movies that I like to see it again and again from amazon when deals comes in.

How to Save Money On Internet:

It has been said that over 70% of household have an internet access. That means many of us can find ways to slash our internet bills so we can still save money and still read best blogs, deals and news online.

  1. Group Services Together: Sometimes going with same company and grouping services can reduce your bills significantly. Many company nowadays offer bundle on land line, cell phone and internet services. In some cases doing individual service and billing may work however in most cases grouping services together works the best.
  2. Use library or free Wifi Cafe: Unless you’re buying unlimited internet data usage, you can save money by occasionally using library or free WiFI-cafe for internet for supplementing using internet.
  3. Get a Tablet: Many tablet users who use tablet and watch movies together, so why just use tablet for everything. There are so many apps for iphone and android that can help as free channel guide can be helpful. According to CNN post, replacing your cable with tablet can pay off in 7 months or so and with tablet one can do many things
  4. Know Competing Offers: In many cases most great offers are for new customers and not current customers, so know your offers from your internet providers as well as from competition every 6 months or so. Then call your provider and ask to match the deal, if they do great if not, switch to another company.
  5. Check for Overlap In services: If  you are using smart phone data plan and broadband internet services both, you have overlap in service plans. If you only play occasional games at home, 3G wireless service is not needed. Checking this overlap and how you use smart phone, internet and cell phone can save you $30 per month or more. That is over $240 a year savings on things you do not use anyways.

Enjoy using phones, internet and watching movies, Television series without breaking your wallet this year!

101 Changes: Change 15: How To Get Beautiful With Nature Bounty

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I am writing a series of 101 small changes that we can make to make the quality of our life better and build and lead a more happier life that is in tune with our heart and mind. These are small changes that I have made and am working on right now, so I know they are possible for anyone to do.

If you have not read previous posts, check out a few posts on the changes from the past:

101 changes: Change 104: Try New Food; Pomegranate

101 changes series:

I am lazy occasionally to make special time for me to feel beautiful and relax. Another reason that I do not use many store bought beauty products is some of the products my skin is sensitive to it so I like natural way to get beauty as much as possible. I took a special course on how to use natural plant product for beauty treatment when I was in college. It has been awhile, so I forgot all about it until I found my hand written notebook recently and it had some good ideas that made me get started and pumped about using some of the tips.

How To Get Beautiful Natural Way: Tropical Fruits

 

I further did search on how to use natural raw fruits to make beauty regime that is easy to make, does not cost much and easy on my skin. Here are some of the ideas that may work for all women who want natural ways to make skin, nails or face better and beautiful.

1. Softer Skin With Papaya

Papaya has high skin regenerating antioxidant and Vitamin A which helps skin cell and making skin smooth and glowing.  To best use papaya for beauty treatment blend or mash 1/2 cup ripe papaya, 2 table spoon honey and mix it well. Place the puree over clean damp skin on face, hand or feet. Keep for 10 minutes and rinse it warm water and pat dry with soft towel. The mixture can stay in fridge for 1 week.

2. Use Coconut for Shiny and Long Hair

Creamy Coconut milk inside the green coconut has lot of  protein and fatty acid that helps the hair for growth and make it shine. It is instant conditioner of putting shine and life back in to your hair. Break open green coconut (hard part) and get creamy coconut milk from it. If you use canned coconut milk, make sure it is unsweetened before using it on hair. Warm the coconut milk for 30 seconds and massage it in hair and scalp with fingers. Leave it for 15 minutes and then shampoo as usual way. In Indian store you can buy coconut oil for hair and it is simply marvelous.

3. Banana for Double Duty on Skin and Hair

My kids love bananas so we always have some bananas on hand. Banana is rich on Potassium, protein and fatty acid like coconut so it is surely great for hair and as well as skin nourishment.  Mix mashed banana and 2 table spoon of honey and massage in to hair and scalp. Leave it for 10-12 minutes and rinse with shampoo as usual. For skin, use plain mashed banana for a facial peel and leave on for 5 minutes of so, before rinsing it with warm water.

4. Glow Your Skin With Kiwi

I love kiwi fruit but I admit, I do not buy it as often as I should. Now this tip gives me reason to buy these small fruit and eat some and use rest for beautifying my skin. Kiwi fruit are high on Vitamin C, it reduces skin discoloration and makes even tone on skin. Peel the brown skin from Kiwi fruit, add cut and peeled kiwi to blender, add 1 table spoon of extra virgin olive oil and blend it well. Massage the paste over the clean and dry skin. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse it warm water. Doing twice a week for 1 month will make sure skin glow with radiance!

5. Get Rid Of Pores with Pineapple

Pineapple is great as skin softner as well cleaner. If your pores are visible like mine are, they are clogged with extra oil and dead skin. To reduce or get rid of pores is to mix 1/4 table spoon of fresh pineapple juice with your regular face wash. Use it on your pores daily to minimize the pores. For dry and hard patches of skin area such as elbow, knees and heel, use a thick slice of pineapple and use it as a sponge like to rub on your rough skin area to soften and refresh the skin.

6. Get Stronger nail with Mango

Mango is my favorite fruit and same goes for my whole family so finding any leftover mango for this treatment seems very tough however, I may just try that in season by hiding a mango for me. Take fresh ripe mango and 1 table spoon of extra virgin olive oil, add 3 tablespoon of white sugar until it becomes like a scrub consistency. Take a dab with small finer and rub it over each nail cuticle for minute or so. Rinse with warm water. Scrub will keep for 2 weeks in a fridge.

7. Strawberry for spa facial at home

Once I saw strawberry being used in spa facial and I thought why not to try it at home myself at much cheaper price and without having to drive anywhere. Did you know that some of the teenage acne products has strawberry as an ingredient? Strawberry has type of acid which helps troubled skin of teens with acne problem as well sun spots on adults too. Mash ripe strawberry with fork or blender, add 1 table spoon of sour cream to make a facial mask scrub. Gently massage on face or other troubled skin area, leave it for about 5-7 minutes. Rinse it with warm water.

Summary:

There are many fruits and vegetables can be used for beauty treatments such as peaches, potatoes, cucumber and more. I will have to write part 2 for more beauty from nature tips. You can get more ideas from Nature’s Beauty Secrets: Recipes for Beauty Treatments from the World’s Best Spas.

Image source: http://www.womenworld.org

No Spend Month Update

In past couple of years I have done “No Spend Month” Challenge where my family of 4 spent about $300 on daily expenses, not counting mortgage/rent, utility and phone bills. One year I did great and another I did not. This time, I am going to be out of town traveling during month of July, hence decided not to do “no spend month challenge” this time.

If you are curious about it check out past few years post to see weekly updates and how I fared below; If you decide to go through this challenge, let me know if you have any questions or concerns. It is always easy to do this with a friend or online friend support.

Learning from No Spend Month Challenge and Experiment:

I have learnt a few things from being stay at home, Zenguy being out of work for 22 months and doing this experiments for a few years;

  1. Using cash made me aware what I was spending
  2. Credit card usage made me spent more and did not realize where money went, until bill came
  3. Writing down daily expenses, including small 50 cents expenses made me more frugal
  4. Cooking at home is always cheaper, faster and healthier
  5. Kids did not even know anything was a miss, they simply enjoyed it.
  6. Money does not make life better, there are lot of simple things that makes us happy
  7. Library has great resources for entertainment such as new books, movies and even music CDs to enjoy
  8. Paying down bills made me more happy then spending it on luxury item at the end
  9. It is not money but how we feel about money makes difference in our life
  10. Knowing I spent less and was able to control my “I deserve it”, made me learn patience in life
  11. Reading  how to save money books surely gave me ideas on ways to save in my daily life without feeling the pinch.
  12. Finding new ways to make money from home or start blogging to supplement income also helps.

No Spend Month Challenge (2011)

No Spend Month Challenge Take Away and Lessons
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4
No Spend Month -July 2011: Update 3
Upgrading Inexpensive Food In to Gourmet Meal: Ramen Noodle Hacks
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2 and Savings Tips
  No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011- Update 1
No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011

No Spend Month Challenge (2010)

No Spend Month Challenge: Update and Take away from the experiment
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 3
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2
  No Spend Month Challenge: Update 1
No Spend Month challenge: July

Question for you:

How are you saving money now?

Why Our Grandkids Will Pay For Our Debt :Infographic

For one of my friend, she has 9 credit cards and I do not know how she juggles all the bills. Credit cards use without control make your life topsy turvy.There are so many dangers of unwisely using credit or credit card. I have one credit card that I use and I try to pay in full every time I can.

If you spend without thinking, that practice can be very costly, financially as well losing mental piece. Here is a nice info-graphic that show you, how you can keep paying the credit card debt, and it will keep increasing instead of going down, thanks to compounding interest rate. Check it out below, and judge for your self.

What is scary thought is, if you paid minimum required on your average debt (current national average number) $10, 679,  in 1000 years your remaining debt will be $212 million and you would have paid $5.1 billion dollars on your little over $10K debt. No wonder many of us keep paying debt and never see the light of the day. Danger of credit card debt is mind boggling and scary.

As no human has ever lived for 100 years, the debt can go in to next generation. Let’s be careful of what you buy today on Credit card, else our grand children and great great grandchildren might pay for our debt.

Source: via: Cracked

Remaking America: Dealing with Finance Crisis

Image Source: replayground.blogspot.com

There is lot of things wrong with world today, one of them being people are hurting due to economy all over the world, in Asia, Europe such as Greece crisis. However, nothing is worse than in America, once land of American dream and an opportunities. Easy credit, and buy now and pay later culture has left many people, who are hard working, honest people in stressful financial situation.

I recently wrote about 5 ways to save money and 5 more ways to save money as many of us need to find ways to save money, reduce debt. Yahoo news has recently started a series called “Remake America” which talks about a few family’s stories on how their financial life has been affected by foreclosure, medical issues and layoffs.  Stories are real and emotional, it is sure not reality Television where everything is exaggerated.

Take a look at each families story, see what you can learn from it. It is easy to judge someone else but be able to see how easy it could any of us. Unemployment rates are going down but it might be misleading number, as un-employment rates only comes for current number of people who are getting a benefits. Many people are not reported or do not qualify for the unemployment, making real number much higher and hard to quantify.

New Jersey Family: Unemployment, 3 Kids and Debt

John and Michele Kocotos family has 3 kids, father in law, 2 mortgages, 3 maxed out credit cards, children’s brace and glass, truck that needs repair and whole lot of stress. John has worked for Red Cross for 16 years, helping in many emergency crisis situation such as 911, Hurricane katrina and more. However he was let go due to budget cuts, and now he is working in supermarket at minimum wages. His wife also works but it is not enough to make enough money to pay bills and feed family of 6. You can click below to see their story in video and more details.

See their story here: Remake America: Kocotos

Kyle and Krystal’s Story: Ex Marine’s life now

This is one of the heart wrenching story, Kyle who really wanted to serve his country and do something nice, so he enlisted for Marine corps while being high school. He served  well and was proud of his contribution he made. In 2006, he humvee was exploded by roadside bomb, injuring him and losing one hand.

Now with wife and 2 kids, he is stay at home dad, while his wife works for subway, making little money and no support. This story probably hit  hard many readers as seen by comments, many feeling that US should take care of its soldier so they do not have to be in this situation of financial mess.

To see their story and video click here: Adjusting after war Kyle’s story

Kirk and Latosha’s story: Layoff and crazy bills

Kirk and Latosha’s seem to have starting a good love story. She says, she was waiting for perfect man and she found Kirk to that man and married him. Now six kids, 2 dogs, mortgage and layoff of kirk 2 years ago, has made the couple’s relationship on edge. Kirk as a man has hits self esteem issue as he feels as a man he should be a provider, they have lost a house in foreclosure already but other problems with finance are still persistent.

Latosha works full time, helping low income families, the help that she needs very much herself is the irony of her life. Kirk is spending full time, focusing on finding job without much luck.

See Latosha and Kirk story and video click here: Kirk and Latosha Bills and layoff

Bill and Donna’s Story: Health care and bad economy’s effect

Bill and Donna are older couple with adult kids, they thought everything was going well for them as they were working, had retirement plan set up. Then Bill had a health trouble, he had stroke, one side of body stopped working, when he was barely recovered, he started working at the same job before he had a stroke. Somehow, the company thought it was best time to layoff Bill then.

Bill was down but not out, he and his wife invested their savings to start a business Bill had passion for, a hardware store. Ace hardware store opened up close to his hardware store, failing his mom and pops business dream. Right now he is working hard again but barely making it. Worse part of the story, they had lost, job, business, health and most hope.

To see video and story of Bill and Donna click here: Health care and bad economy

Leslie’s Story: Real Estate Agent bad luck

Like all above story, Leslie’s story is real. As a successful real estate agent Leslie did well for herself and her clients who bought houses. With real estate bubbles, she was struggling but still working hard, until she was laid off by her real estate company. She feels as a single woman and older age has not helped her get a job, as she feels she is discriminated against it. She feels alone in her flight, shame to tell her friends or kids that she has been using her IRA or retirement money to pay mortgage and bills, when that runs out she will be in even worse position.

To read and see Leslie’s story click here: Struggle of former real estate agent

Suggestion for Remaking America:

American culture has been pushed towards instant gratification, buy now and pay later. I was born in India but living here in US for over 20 years, has also made me part of same mentality. I gradually started to change my ways when I quit and decided to be stay at home mom (on purpose). What a thing to do for these people and many others who are in similar situation? While, I am not a finance guru, here are a few suggestions that may help;

  1. If you have 2 cars, sell one or both car. Even when you sell a car with loss, you will get rid of some payments and bills such as car payment, care insurance, gas and so on. If you think you need a one car for job interviews, keep older one or buy reliable old Honda or other smaller car.
  2. If you have one or more mortgage, think of downsizing the house by re-selling it, renting it as whole and rent a room to make some income.
  3. Sell stuff from home, such as jewelry, gadgets, coins, furniture. Even if you sell it cheaper, you will create some space and much needed income with it, specially if the stuff is just sitting in closet.
  4. When you are unemployed, get rid of services or cut down to bare minimum. You will not need premium cable, magazine, netflix, or newspaper subscription.  Make your cell phone and internet service from premium to bare minimum to reduce extra payment.
  5. Eat at home, reduce take out from restaurants. Occasional take out may be okay but if you do it daily, it will add to your expense and your waist at the same time.
  6. No matter how bleak situation maybe, there is a light at the end of tunnel. Think about it, when you have hit rock bottom, only place to go now is up.
  7. Keep up your health and healthy routine. It is hard to find motivation when everything seems to be going against your way but keeping your health and wits about will make you get of the financial hole much quicker so eat healthy.
  8. Think positive, go out in fresh air to walk. Pray to God or higher power. Let go of negative or “naysayer” thoughts from your mind.
  9. Keep trying but if things do not work in some times, have an alternative career or job in mind.
  10. Work odd job, do lawn care for neighbors, start a blog business or any business from home that requires little capitol to get started.

Most of all, do not lose hope. How do I know? I have been there. A few years ago, Zenguy was in between jobs and project and I was stay at home mom of 2 kids so I made zero money. We were in that situation for 22 months, while Zenguy is fortunataly working now, effect of past bills keeps us still little choice. I am not saying it is easy now, but it does get bit better and slowly so keep at it.

Other interesting read:

Top 10 Money Saving Tips

Preserve Food to Save money on Groceries

My No Spend Month Challenge Experiment

How to earn more money

Does Both Spouse need to work? Not if you plan right.

How to Help Unemployed Friend or Family?

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Items to Spend money on:

Items to Save Money on:

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5 More Tips To Save Money

5 More tips to save money and be little bit richer

This is second in series of how to save money for daily expenses. As a stay at home mom for 2 kids, I have learned a few tricks that helps me keep within my budget and that too without feeling too much deprived. When I decided that I want to be home, leaving my cushy six figure job it was drastic change, one that I am happy to volunteer to leave my stressed job so I can be home with kids.

There are easy and simple ways we can save money for everyday savings. Once saving habits are ingrain in our mind, saving money or being frugal comes as easy as breathing and it will have so many benefits that your quality of life will be improved.

Start today, do not wait for special occasion or a new year to start a new habits. We can save money on everyday expenses such as phone services, insurance, groceries and travel and more. When we are starting, every penny will count. Do not think, what you will do with saving a few pennies here and there. Just imagine, saving a few pennies will make a dollar and few dollars savings will makes hundreds of dollar. Just imagine you putting this saving towards debt or in saving account, how much money you can save in interests.

5 More Money Saving Ideas and Tips

If you have not read yet part 1 of this series, you can read it here: 5 Tips for saving money for everyone.Let is look at 5 more additional tips that save us money for everyday expenses which anyone can do and add to our savings account.

Tip 6: Do not carry too much debt:

I personally like to say no debt is always the best but it is not realistic for many of us. Buying a home or car without a loan is not possible for 80% people unless you are already rich, have rich parents or rich friends with benefits. If you are like me and majority of people, we carry some debt. But that does not mean we are doomed, we can be smart and pay off these loans faster by paying $10-$100 extra towards our loans and pay off credit card debt when bill comes.

The worse part of debt or any loan is excessive interest that we pay on each loan, so faster we pay off, better we will be. Use cash only for many small daily expenses and paying off debt faster is way to go. Make sure your debt to income ratio is reasonably manageable for your monthly income.

Tip 7: Save money for emergency:

Emergency expenses can happen to any of us, any time. Like Dave Ramsey says about Murphy’s law, expenses and problems comes when you are not expecting it. Until someone invents a 100% future predictions, best we can do is save money for it, just in case of such a emergency. If it happens you will be prepared for it, and if it does not happen you will be bit richer, either way it is a win-win situation.

Just make sure you do not count buying diamond for your girlfriend as an emergency.Best way to save some money without feeling deprived is to auto deduct from your paycheck or your checking account and in to your saving account that you can not touch.

Tip 8: Wise Buying Decisions:

What do I mean by wise buying decisions? I have done impulse buying based on emotions, hunger and sheer joy of showing off to someone and I bet some of you might have done it too. Simple thing is do is, do not go grocery shopping when hungry, the truth is I have bought more junk food when I have shopped when I have been famished. Don’t try to keep up with jones, they might have nice stuff but I bet some of them may have nice debt too. Be smart and do not compete with someone in buying cars, vacations and diamonds. Comparison shop, do bulk shopping to save money as mentioned in part 1 of this series.

Tip 9: Eat IN more often:

As a vegetarian person who loves to cook at home, this comes easier for me. Even if you are not like me, you can still cook a few simple things at home and eat out occasionally only. Check out tips to save money when eating out. Food outside is usually ten to twenty times more expensive than if you would have made it at home and sometimes you can have more healthier food when you make it yourself. Occasional eating is fine and keep you from feeling deprived, just do it sensibly so you can save money as well as your health.

Tip 10: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse:

In USA, where I live, we tend to throw away things and buy new in this consumerist society. Buying a new shoes or new Television is much cheaper compared to repairing it here so it makes sense to do so, but we are wasting resources and earth’s environment by dumping things in garbage. We can consume less, reduce our materialistic things, recycle whenever possible will save us money and live sustainable life.

We can make small changes such as using

  1. Little less soap when doing dishes
  2. Using less shampoo when washing hair,
  3. Putting on sweater before turning on heater
  4. Donating good used items and not throwing in trash
  5. If you have child, supplementing with cloth diapers
  6. Turn off light of Television or computer, when not in use

Conclusion:

If we saved money without feeling deprived, we will do it for long term. Only two ways to save money are earn more income and be frugal. We can do both and save our environment at the same time. Start today.