Support your New Years Resolutions with our Uplifting Prize Pack!

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Three weeks into the new Year and there are so many of us that are settling into our routines that incorporate our New Year Resolutions (NYR). One thing that really helped me is posting our family’s weekly meal plan. I love the Weekly Meal Planner pad from Shutterfly- It’s easy to use!

I’ve partnered with my friend Brooke, over at Crying Out Loud to help one lucky winner with their NYR with an awesome Uplifting Prize Pack!

This Prize pack includes:

  • Yoga Toe Socks
  • Adult Coloring Coffee Tumbler (I go one of these for Christmas and I love it! I use it daily- it helps me stay out of the coffee shop). I’ve stuffed it with some of my favorite tea bags!
  • The Gratitude Journal for Women
  • Weekly Meal Planner pad (30 pages)- That’s enough for a whole year, plus a few extras.
  • Multi-color Unicorn Pen
  • $25 Tiny Tags Gift Certificate
  • $10 Starbucks GC (not shown)

To Enter to win, Click here or here to enter.  We’ll randomly choose a winner on 1/27/18. Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Don’t forget to leave a comment as part of the mandatory first entry! Have you turned your NYR into a habit yet? If so, how? If not, Do you need support?

New Year’s Resolution #10: Reduce, Reuse, recycle

So this is the last one! I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so, but I hurt my wrist (I fell while hiking!), so I’ve been off the computer a lot.

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#10 is a big one for our family! Reduce, re-use, recycle!

Reduce:

  • Buy less stuff. That one is pretty simple.
  • Use what you have on hand.  There are some pretty awesome websites like Recipe Key and Recipe Matcher that help you find recipes based on what you have in your pantry.
  • Reduce your waste out put.  I’m not asking you to hold it when you gotta go, but put your eggshells and coffee grounds in your house plants and tomato plants.  Try composting.  You’ll be  reducing your carbon foot print and you’ll make your plants happier!

Re-use:

  • Re-purpose items!  This includes eating your leftovers.
  • Here, here, and here are some great Pinterest boards that have re-using ideas.
  • I love this one: Making re-usable shopping bags out of old t-shirts (they make a great gift too).
  • Mend your clothes- including fallen hems, loose buttons and minor tears.  Sewing kits are inexpensive.  If you don’t know how to sew or even thread a needle, check out YouTube for some tutorials. And hey, you’ll learn a new skills!

Recycle:

  • In some areas, recycling is done by weight (like the majority of the recycling centers we have here).  You bring all of your aluminum cans crushed up or your glass bottles in big garbage bags and they are weighed, and you receive a per lb. price.
  • In other areas (like where my in-laws live back east and very few locations here in So Cal) there are machines that you deposit bottles and cans into one at a time and a per piece bottle deposit is returned to you. Re-Planet is one of those companies.
  • Some areas mandate recycling- Where we live there are special cans: Black for trash, green for yard waste, and blue for recycling.  The items that cannot be returned for a bottle deposit like milk cartons, soup cans, cereal boxes can be placed into the blue bin.
  • Recycling doesn’t only mean bottles and cans , it can also be to give an item a new life and a new home.  Donate clothes and other household items to charity or use freecycle and help your neighbors. I especially like the Buy Nothing Movement.
  • You can also sell items on Craigslist, have a garage sale or sell your items via a consignment shop.  They will go to a new home, you will have kept the stuff from a landfill, and you’ll have a little cash!
  • Did you know that in some states you can recycle your unwanted house paint? Check out PaintCare here for more details!

How do you incorporate the three R’s into your daily life?

DIY Frugal Facial!

file9131343110988As the new year begins a lot of women (and men too) resolve to take better care of themselves, both physically and spiritually.

Today we’re dealing with the physical self-care, and one way to start is with a good facial.  It’s important to put your best face forward, and taking care of your skin will help!

I’ve listed DIY formulations that I like as well as links to professional products that I’ve used recently. Products that I use and recommend tend to have a high concentration of natural/botanical ingredients. I’m a huge fan of using products that have a basis in nature! Facials are a fun thing to do as part of a Ladies/Moms night in!

For your Ladies/Moms night in, have every one can bring their favorite product to share, or a quick trip to the beauty supply and the grocery store can get you everything you’ll need for a soothing facial.

1: Cleanse  your skin using a gentle cleanser in order to remove surface oil, dirt and germs. If you have oily or combination skin, use a foaming gel cleanser; if you have dry skin, look for a creamier blend that won’t dry out your skin. I like Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser

2: Exfoliate. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells that clings to your  skin. You can either use a mechanical exfoliator (something that is rough/ scrubby like oatmeal), or a chemical exfoliator (something that dissolves the oil and dirt that holds the dead skin cells to your skin, like the acid in pineapple or dairy products).

Natural exfoliatants include: Ground oats and pineapple. Grind oatmeal in your food processor and add 3 T. oats to 2T. Plain natural yogurt (I like greek yogurt because it’s nice and thick!) Apply to the face and remove after 10 minutes with a warm towel. Or put ¼ cup pineapple and 3 T. plain yogurt into the food processor and pulse. Once combined apply to the face and remove after 10 minutes with a warm towel.

If you don’t want to muss with mixing up your own, I like Valentia’s Eternal Youth Exfoliating Scrub.

At this point, you may wish to apply a serum (I like this vitamin C serum, it’s got all kinds of botanicals and humectants in it to help moisturize your skin) or spritz the skin with a nourishing toner. I like this Vitamin C Toner. Remember to  use anything that stings, burns or causes discomfort. That means NO SEA BREEZE OR ALCOHOL BASED ASTRINGENTS!

3: Mask. If you have oily or combination skin, try a clay-based mask; for dry or mature skin, look for a hydrating mask (with a creamy or gel texture).  Peel off masks are better suited for oily or combination skin (They can be a little harsh for those with sensitive skin).  Most beauty supply stores or drug stores sell masks in small sachets (like these) if you do not already have a favorite mask. Apply mask to the skin, being careful to avoid the eye area (this can lead to sagging skin). Leave mask on for 10 to 20 minutes or as directed.   Do not allow clay masks to dry completely.  The active ingredients only work as long as the mask stays moist.  Sprtiz the mask with a spray bottle of water to keep it moist once or twice. Remove the mask with warm towels and follow with a light spritz of toner.

Most facials end with a special moisturizer or lotion applied to the face.  Look for a moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher in order to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget to apply moisturizer to your neck and décolleté. You can use SPF moisturizer in the evening too if your budget is too tight for two moisturizers. If you use a moisturizer that contains retinols (they are vitamin A derivatives), it’s imperative that you use an SPF during the day. Vitamin A can thin the skin and sensitize it, so you need extra protection from the suns rays.

If you wish to apply an eye cream, use only a pea sized amount and apply it with your ring fingers in a gentle patting motion.  Don’t drag your fingers across the gentle under-eye tissue.  It can damage the delicate skin in that area.

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My Recent At Home Facial!

Here is my photo collage of my recent Spa retreat. Ok, so I was in the spare washroom after the kids were sleeping and hubs was vegging out.None the less, it’s nice to take 30 minutes or so out of your day once a week and pamper yourself!

New Year’s Resolution #9: Quit Smoking

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#9 is a resolution that I don’t really have a lot of into to share, but I figured that I’d try to help!  Some people need help quitting smoking.

I won’t rag on you about how cigarettes are bad for you, so instead I’ll appeal to your monetary side.  Here is a calculator that will let you know how much money you are wasting.

If you want to try the patch or gum, there should be coupons in the Sunday Inserts in January.

And finally, the CDC has some tips here.

Former smokers, how did you kick the habit?

New Year’s Resolution #8: Learn Something New

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#8 is a resolution that I thought would be closer to the top of the list: Learn something new!

There are lots of ways that you can learn and grow without breaking the bank!

      1. Borrow books from the library- most libraries have their card catalogs online, so you can check and see if your local library branch has the book(s) you are looking for before you step foot in the library.  AND- some libraries have the ability to hold the books for you until you can get down there (usually 24 hours).
      2. Can’t find the books in print near you? Check out Google Books.  There are tons of free books that you can read online.If you head over to Amazon you’ll find thousands of Free E-books on Amazon in all reader formats.
      3. Check out community learning opportunities. Grossmont Adult Education has tons of great classes, including some great Mommy and Me style pre-school classes for kids!
      4. Check YouTube for tutorials or seminars that are of interest to you.
      5. Harvard (yeah, *THAT HARVARD*) has free, no credit open courses here. Other Colleges including MIT, Yale and Stanford offer free online no credit classes for the public to take/sit in on.
      6. Check your local museums for free days for locals.  San Diego Locals- here is a list of free museum days in Balboa Park.
      7. Craftsy has a ton of free classes and patterns! Check out this post with just a few of my favorite classes!
      8. There are tons of free opportunities for kids to learn here. Most public libraries have story time or other free activities and workshops for kids. Check out Red Tricycle’s website for all kinds of free and cheap learning opportunities for your littles!
      9. Love documentaries? Love to read? If you haven’t tried Amazon Prime yet, there is an awesome promotion right now- sign up and get your first 30 days free. Prime gives you access to more than JUST free shipping. You can stream movies, documentaries, enjoy the free Kindle lending library, and more! Start Your Prime Video 30-Day Free Trial Now!

New Year’s Resolution #7: Get Organized

Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!

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#7 is a resolution that I thought would be closer to the top of the list: Get Organized.

For some people that means professionally, financially or personally.  I can’t help you with your professional life, but I can help you with some tips to getting your finances and personal life organized.

balancing-a-checkbook-paying-billsOrganize your Finances:

You really can’t start to save money unless you get your finances in order.  I cannot stress how helpful setting up a budget has been for our family.

There are a few companies that offer free budgeting tools: I like both Manila and Mint. Check both out and see which one suits your families needs.

Calendar_0Organize your Personal Life:

Use a calendar.  It doesn’t have to be a paper one.  I have a paper calendar on my desk.  I write all of our play dates and appointments, parties, and other functions outside of the house on it. That way I can see at a glance what’s going of for the week. If you’ve got a smart phone, you can utilize the calendar feature. iPhones can sync to the iCal on your desktop computer. If you opt for it, iCal will pop up reminders on his phone and the computer. He uses it for business and home.

  • If you want to use a calendar online, Google’s Calendar feature is great, especially if you use Gmail.  It can add appointments, reminders and birthdays from your email into your calendar and it will remind you of them!
  • If you don’t use Gmail or Google, Facebook has a great calendar under the events tab from your FB feed.  It shows you upcoming events and birthday and it’s easy to plan or add an event with the “+Create Event” button.
  • If you are looking for Coupon Organizational methods, I’ve written about how I organize my coupons here.
  • I am always getting packages! I signed up for a USPS.com and now I get a text when a package ships and when it arrives! It’s a great way to keep track of packages that you are expecting.

New Year’s Resolution #4- Spend More Time with your Family (without breaking the bank)!

Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!
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The Number 4 New Year’s Resolution on most top ten lists is: Spend more time with your family.

There are lots of fun, free or low cost activities you can do with your family.

  • In San Diego, there is free museum Tuesday in Balboa Park.  Here is a list of museums that are free and when they are free. 
  • Also in San Diego, October is kid’s free month at tons of museums, parks, and attractions (including the zoo!!). Here is a list of events and attractions that were free in October 2012.
  • Lots of Daily Deal sites have free credit when you sign up to defray the cost of your first purchase.  Here are just a few that I use and really like:
    • LivingSocial- They sell local gift certificates (like Groupon) as well as merchandise. When you sign up, you’ll receive a credit (it varies, but it’s usually between $5-$15).
  • Instead of eating out at full price, use coupons from websites like Get1Free, or if you’ve got an Entertainment book, USE IT!
  • If you’ve got kiddos, check out these great lists of restaurants where Kids Eat Free. For San Diego restaurants where kids can eat free try here, here, here, here, and here.
  • Is your birthday coming? Of course it is…. Well, then check out this post about Birthday freebies!

There are fun, free events all year long for the family. Here is a list of just some of the holidays each month:

  1. January: New Year’s Day, MLK Day
  2. February: President’s Day, Some communities have Valentine’s day events too.
  3. March: Saint Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras
  4. April: Easter
  5. May: Memorial Day and Mother’s day
  6. June: End of school/beginning of summer events, graduation, Father’s Day.
  7. July: Independence Day
  8. August: Back to School, Labor Day
  9. September: Back to School
  10. October:Halloween
  11. November: Thanksgiving
  12. December: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza