Wanna Save Money in 2017?

8f235f4422591a09bd341f17958e172c.jpgOne of the most common New Years Resolutions is to to save money. And it’s a good one!

Last year I wrote a series with the top ten resolutions:

 

If you feel like you are too busy to “deal with” coupons:

I hope these tips and articles help!

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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 #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 #5 & #6 Exercise & Lose Weight

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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!
The Number 5 & 6 New Year’s Resolutions on most top ten lists are: Exercise and Lose weight.  I decided to tackle both of these at the same times since they can go hand in hand.

I am not a doctor or dietician.  I will share with you what works for my family, but YMMV, and remember to go to the doctor and get the OK before starting to exercise or diet. Seriously.

#5: Exercise without breaking the bank:  Starting in probably 2 weeks, even before January 1st, there will be ads in the paper, magazines, on the internet and of course commercials on TV advertising free 7-day trial passes for every gym on earth.  Take advantage.  If you haven’t worked at a gym in a long time, or are thinking about joining one, Check out a bunch of different gyms and see which one is a good fit for your goals.  BTW, when those free deals go live, you know I’ll be posting them.

If you aren’t a gym person, check out your local parks. Lots of parks in our local area have special walking loops and even fitness stations (Mast Park in Santee has both!). Other parks in San Diego with fitness/exercise stations include: Mission Bay Park,  Embarcadero Parks North & South, Tidelands Park near the base of the Coronado Bridge as you arrive in Coronado, Hilton Head Park in Rancho San Diego, Chollas Lake Park, and Morley Field (near Balboa Park). If your local park doesn’t have a fitness course, play on the jungle gym or go for a walk!

Luckily in So. Cal. we are blessed with pretty good weather, so outdoor exercise is almost always an option. On those extremely rare days where the weather sucks, try indoor mall walking.  I know, it makes me sound like an old lady, but when it’s cold or rainy, I strap the kiddo in the stroller and we walk a few laps over at Parkway Plaza. A few laps around the mall and I’ve gotten almost 4 miles under my belt! There is also a play area where the kiddo can let his energy out while mama recuperates.

Everything seems to go better with a partner in crime- enlist the help of a friend or family member.  Exercise with a buddy.  Go for a walk, look at holiday lights.  Keep each other accountable!

#6: Lose Weight without losing your shirt.  Losing weight doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Here are some tips, tricks and deals you can use to save while you lose.

Sign up for free websites that can help you be accountable: Spark People is a great site that can help you track your calories and exercise. I also like Map My Run.  It helps you log activities and gives you a rough idea of how many calories you burn when you are active. And you can use it to log all kinds of physical activity, not just running!

If you are changing your eating habits, your doctor may recommend that you take vitamins.  And they can be expensive.  Keep your eyes open for sales at the drugstores in January and there will be coupons too!

There will be tons of sales and coupon available in January for healthy foods and supplements!

What are your frugal  tips and tricks for exercise and losing weight?  I’d love to hear from you!

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

New Year’s Resolution #3- Live a richer, fuller life (without spending more money)

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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Of the Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions, number three on several lists is to live a fuller life.  What does that mean?  Get out, do more.  Don’t just sit on your couch, watching WWE and eating microwave popcorn. Of course, I want you to get out there and live it up, but, I don’t want you to spend a lot of money.

Here are some tips to live better and keep your budget in check.

  • Use all of the perks and benefits afforded to you by your job.  Some employers offer on site gyms, discounts on cell phone contracts, discount movie tickets, discount attraction passes.
  • Take advantage of free community events.  Check your City’s local Parks and Recreation Department website for free movies in the park, city events around holidays (Our local municipal Lake has a fun Easter event each year that is free).
  • Speaking of Parks, use of community parks is free.  Take a picnic, go for a walk, heck, go play on the playground equipment! Some local parks have walking trails or exercise paths.
  • Many businesses offer discounts to military, seniors, and other professional groups. Don’t be afraid to ask!
  • When you go to the doctor or dentist, don’t be afraid to ask for samples of medications or toothpaste/floss. When we take Lil’ Man to the pediatrician for his wellness check ups, she’s always giving us coupons and samples.  Doctors receive coupons and samples from companies and reps to give out- take advantage of it!
  • If you are looking for a way to experience theatre for free and have some time to give, consider volunteering to be an usher. In most areas across the Unites States, many of the larger theatre companies are actively seeking ushers. If you are unsure if your local theatre or musical organization needs volunteer ushers, call their administrative office and ask, or check their website and drop them an email. Many theatres, orchestras and symphonies are non-profit organizations. They rely on volunteers to help their organization succeed. Museums need volunteers as well to be docents, hand out brochures, and help with special events. If there is a local museum you like, think about volunteering. You will get to spend time in a place you like, and you will be helping an organization.

2016 New Year’s Resolution #2: I want to save money!

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Over the next two weeks,  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!

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to SAVE MONEY. Here are just a few simple ways to save money throughout 2016:

1. Make a budget and stick to it.  We have a pretty tight budget at our house- It keeps us on track!

2. Use coupons for everything.  Coupons aren’t just for groceries. Check out sites like Get1Free for coupons to restaurants, day spas, golfing.  If you buy an Entertainment book, there are tons of great coupons for all kinds of meals and activities.

3. Back to coupons (again).  Carry a plastic envelope or coupon wallet with you at all times with coupons that you know you will use.  That way if you decide to have a spontaneous adventure- you can still save money money.

4. Try free activities.  Every community has free activities, check out your local Cragislist (under Community then click Events), community newspaper, or your local Patch for upcoming free events. Or Google “free events +name of your city +month of the year”.

5. Have a goal for your savings.  Saving to save is fine, but if you are saving money towards a goal, it’s harder to blow off the budget.  I mean, really… Would you rather have a new car or a cheeseburger? I thought so.

6. Wait. If you see a big ticket item that you want to buy, wait 10 days and see if the price drops.  Here is an article about the Sales Cycles that take place throughout the year.

7.  This is an oldy, but a goody.  Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without.   Use what you have on hand (substitutions in a recipe are OK, the writer of the cookbook doesn’t care!), repair broken toys, mend clothes.  Add a little water to the last bit of laundry soap to stretch it (You probably use too much anyway!). You don’t need every latest gadget, do dad and thingamagigger. Keeping up with the Joneses is so 1980′s.  Frugality is the new IN thing.  You want to be cool, doncha?

How do you plan to save money in 2016?