Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The After Christmas Sale

BERLIN - DECEMBER 28:  People walk past signs ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
If you have not already begun, it is now the time to stock up for next Christmas. Discounts can be found everywhere from department to drug stores and from grocery to thrift stores. You can find bargains now with deep discounts that you can use for upcoming occasions and holidays other than just Christmas. Get red and white tissue paper now for your Valentine gifts and the chocolates are deeply discounts, especially those in Christmas packaging. Just discard the packaging and put in a pretty heart shaped container. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless. Gift sets can be purchased now for birthday and anniversary gifts later. Returned opened up and taped back merchandise can be bought cheaply, so think big. It is a good time to get a better tree. The longer you wait the better the deal. To get more ideas on how you can save go to http://www.frugalliving.about.com/ and http://www.thriftyfun.com/. Where are the best deals? You can find an extensive list at http://www.geekettebits.com/. Just look under the Popular Post section at the Day After Christmas Deals & Sales. Here you will find a list of 45 different retailers with deals set to expire within the next couple of weeks. Don't forget about adding to your ornament collection at this time. Here is another tip on the fireplace pleasers. Start saving empty toilet and paper towel rolls and dryer lint. Get some twine if you don't have any and use it to make a wick that goes through the inside of the rolls and then pack with the dryer lint. Color some paraffin with red and green or blue and white candle coloring and dip these packed rolls into them. You can even dip one side in one color and the other side in another color. You can even add fragrance oil into the heated wax for scent. Lay these out on wax paper to dry and seal in airtight containers for next Christmas. You will be ahead of the game with these ideas and you could literally save yourself hundred of dollars buying now.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fireplace Pleasers without the Price

Wood-burning fireplace with burning log.Image via Wikipedia
With Christmas quickly approaching, give a gift from the heart. This is one present that you will spend time on making wonderful. Fire starters are very useful and much desired gifts. If you can commit to an afternoon of gathering twigs and lots of pine cones, your guaranteed a low-cost and eye-catching present for the one you love. Gather up kindling of any kind that you can find outside. Try to find twigs or branches big enough that you can cut into uniform pieces. Take them and place in a bucket of water to clean off debris and bugs. Remove the pieces and put 2/3rd's of the pine cones aside. Put remaining pieces on a baking pan and place in the oven at 200 degrees for at least 30 minutes or until dry. When pine cones open their petals, then remove them from the heat and set aside. You can take a third of the pine cones and place in a 1/2 gallon of water and add 1 cup of borax or Allum. Take the other third and place in 1/2 gallon of water and add 1 cup of boric acid and let these soak for 8 hours, remove, and allow them to dry in a warm place until Christmas. When these are dry place them in a cellophane bag and tie with raffia. They will burn red and green when placed in a fire for a beautiful effect. If you don't have fragrance oils, then go to your local florist and ask for any lavender and rosemary stems. You can add bayleaves, lemongrass and mint. Bundle this together in two to three arrangement and add some cinnamon sticks to each and tie with raffia and set aside. Buy some paraffin wax, candle coloring, and candle fragrance and melt in an old tin can big enough to dip cones. Place tin cans in a double broiler to heat. Use Christmas colors of red and green or your color theme can be blue and white. Submerge pine cones with tongs and set on wax paper to dry. Place in a cellophane bag and tie with raffia. Assemble twigs and branches in separate bundles and tie together with raffia. Arrange bags and bundles in a basket or empty cardboard box decorated with wrapping paper. I like to give this with a Christmas popcorn tin so they can use the tin to put cool ashes in during the holidays. Don't forget to include a box of kitchen matches and your set to provide the lucky recipient with some wonderful nights in front of the hearth.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

More Inexpensive Christmas Ideas

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...Image by Ana Santos via Flickr

I wanted to buy each of my colleagues at work a Christmas present this year. This is one thing that always creates a dilemma. I want to get them something that they will like while making sure my family members presents are covered. After brainstorming for several days I came up with a very inexpensive solution. Recently I had purchase a cute little locker organizer at you guessed it , Wally World . My coworkers had commented on how much they liked it. I purchased 9 of them for about $20.00. I know that they will love it, and I didn't break my budget. I got them something that they will use every time they go to work. I found them in the clearance section at Walmart. They also have locker lites in the shape of stars and heart that come on when you open the door. They are only 50 cents apiece. This makes a great little gift for a niece or nephew. So go pick up a few while supplies last.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Beautiful Gifts without Sticker Shock

I love Christmas. I love to see the children excited and filled with anticipation. To me it is the one time of the year when everyone comes together filled with good will. I love to have my tree exploding with gifts. I want the recipient of my gift to like it, and I try to get everyone in my family something. Sometimes this seems like an impossible feat. I pull it off every year and I do not go in debt or break myself to do it. I start early, sometimes as early as June, but at the latest, in August. First, I buy my nieces and nephew presents. Then, I buy for my Mom and my brothers. After that, I get their wives and my close cousins and a few gifts for the people I work with. Closer to Christmas, I buy for my immediate family. I shop the clearance section first, and then the discount stores. I rarely ever pay full price. I don't usually do black Friday either, not that it is not a good deal, I just don't like shopping in a crowd of people. This is how I start. The included picture is an example of 11 presents that I got for about $26.oo. That is about $2.37 per gift. I got these at Rugged Warehouse and their stores are located in the southeast. This is also where I buy most of my clothes at a 70% off discount on name brands. If you don't have a store near you then you can go to the distributors website. The first one is http://www.toogoodgourmet.com/. Go to their site and register, then click wholesale orders and choose the specials. You have to purchase at least 2 cases, but the prices are spectacular for the quality of gifts. The other site is http://www.pelicanbayltd.com/ and it has beautifully packaged items for as low as $3.95 with no minimum purchase requirements. Check out the teachers gift for $4.95. It is a good deal. Let me know of any other places with good deal like this so I can share with others.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Affordable Christmas-The Wrapping Paper

You can have beautifully wrapped Christmas present every year the same way that you acquired the ornaments. You accumulate a little at a time. Always save back a little money to hit the after Christmas sales, even if it is only $10.00. Check back at the stores every few days because the percent off will continue to go up as time passes. I collect Christmas tins, cookie tins, and baskets that I may come across at work after the food has been eaten. I also try to purchase some tins on sale after Christmas every year. I use brown paper bags and decorate them with rubber stamps or stickers and I save all of my Christmas bags and reuse every year along with my tissue paper and my bows. I am not beyond asking my close family members for them back especially when I know that they are just going to make their way to the trash. I purchase cheap paper at the dollar store, but I also get nice paper too, and I use every bit of it. After the presents are open you can take the paper to the shredder and make nice filler for your clear container presents the following year. My favorite wrapping containers are the one pictured here that I make and reuse every year. I purchase these in the kraft section at Walmart and the paints and stickers and take them home and make them, Everyone loves them and they saved me lots of money over the years. Just get some acrylic paint tubes and some cheap brushes, stickers and ribbons and you can make these last for years to come.

How to Afford a Memorable Christmas-The Ornaments

I hate that Christmas has become so commercialized over the years. That is never what Christmas was suppose to be about. It is suppose to be about family, about being thankful, and for those of you who believe, most importantly about our Lord. No matter how you stack it, Christmas cost money. For some of us, it turns in to our most expensive headaches, one that usually cost us our much needed income tax refund in January. This post will give you some ideas on how to build on your Christmas decorating each and every year. Here are some of the ornaments that are on my tree. When I was young and first starting out, I had a collection of cheap and sometimes scratched up ornaments that I put on my tree, that with lots of tinsel to fill it in, and of course some strung popcorn. I would see some of the most beautiful trees and think that I could never afford that, then I came up with a plan. Each year when the retailers start putting out the Christmas decorations I began expanding on my ornament collection. Yes at first I continued to use those old ornaments, but I would incorporate that in with the new ones I would get. I admit that I am a Walmart junky, so I start there. I get paid every 2 weeks, so when I get paid and do my grocery shopping I will stop by and pick up 1 or 2 very nice ornaments. I always try to get something that will go with any theme and I get something that will go with whatever color I am building on. I try to get big ornaments so that they will fill in a good size area and when I first started this I put those on the side of the tree facing the room. After Christmas, I would go to the sales and I bought my first ornament holder box. It took a few years to fill it up, but I do this every year. Also, grab a few of those big glitter ornaments. They are very inexpensive, but mixed in with the pricier ones they look fabulous. Just pick up 1 or 2 each Christmas and over the years you will have built up a substantial collection.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Help with the Water Bill is Harder to Find

With some diligent searching, I was able to find a few sites that offer assistance. Most of my queries turn up suggestion on ways to decrease future water bills, which I will get back to later in this article. First, you could check with the Water Company and see if they offer a hardship plan or a payment plan for arrears. Some states offer assistance, but it is very limited. Next, you should contact your church,, or churches in your area, to see if they have a benevolence fund to assist with utilities. You can also contact the United Way and they can direct you toward organizations that can help. If you are not on a federal assistance program and you can usually meet your monthly payment, you can go to http://www.modestneeds.org/ and fill out an application. They are an organization that helps out those who by unforeseeable circumstances have fallen behind in their bills and just needs a little help to get back on their feet. That have grants up to 1,000.00 available. You can also receive assistance from American Water in the form of hardship grants, monthly service discount, and complimentary water-saving devices along with education on conserving this valuable asset. You can go to there website at http://www.amwater.com/ to see if your in one of the participating states or you can contact their Customer Service Center at 1-866-736-6420 for more information. To learn more about water conservation go to www.epa.gov/watersense. Watersense, which is a partner assistance program sponsored by the EPA, encourages water efficient products bearing the Water Sense label that can save you up to 20% on your water bill. You can also visit http://www.greenerchoices.org/ to get the Green Ratings for the most water efficient appliances.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are You Finding Yourself Hungry Lately?

To some of us, the hardest decision concerning dinner was which meal to prepare, or if we should opt for dining out. Increasing numbers of people today are finding that they are lacking the resources in their cupboards and in their wallets. According to the statistics at http://www.reuters.com/ , one in nine Americans, in June, of this year was assisted by the food stamp program. If you belong to a low income household, you may qualify for SNAP formerly know as the federal Food Stamp Program. To find out if you are eligible ,visit their site at http://www.fns.usda.gov/ and utilize their pre-screening tool. If you are you can fill out an application at your local office. There telephone numbers are listed in the government section of the phone book or you can call the SNAP hotline listed on their website. You should also check out http://www.angelfoodministries.com/ for discount on food purchase. They are a non-profit, non-denominational organization that provides food relief. They have a button on their site that you can click and put your contact information and a case worker in your area will contact you. Another resource is http://www.feedingamerica.org/ formerly know as second harvest.org provides links to local food shelters in your area.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are Heating and Cooling Cost Getting You Down

If you are elderly or a low income household and are having problems paying for your heating or cooling cost, you can apply for a LIHEAP block grant. You can click on this link at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/index.html and look under the Services for Families section and click on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Here you will find all the information that you need for eligibility requirements and how to apply. There is also additional links listed for other consumer resources. You can also go to www.liheap.org or www.nationalfuelfunds.org for additional information. To find your local agency contact, you can call the National Energy Assistance Referral Line at 1-866-674-6327. Furthermore, you can use the above listed sites to donate to the LIHEAP fund.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phone Service is no Longer a Luxury

PHS Japan 1997-2003 (Willcom, NTT DoCoMo, ASTEL)Image via Wikipedia

Phone service has become a necessity in today's society and under a congressional mandate the Federal Universal Service Fund supports Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up America programs. Income-eligible customers are those that are at or below 135% of the income poverty guidelines set by the State and/or Federal government and received some type of State or Federal assistance. To qualify you must also have a U.S. Postal Address and no one else in the household can already be participating in Lifeline services. Lifeline service can provide a discount on basic monthly phone service for up to $10.00 and Link-Up American will pay for 1/2 of the installation fee or activation fee for service up $30.00 dollar and will also allow the rest of the fee to be put on a deferred schedule, interest free. Native American Indians and Alaskan Tribal Communities can get an enhanced version of these services. To find out more about eligibility requirements for your state or how to apply go to http://www.lifelinesupport.org/ or call your local telephone company. For more information you can call a toll free number 1-888-641-8722, but you cannot apply at this number. You can also go to http://www.lifeline.gov/ for more info.
Safelink wireless offers Lifeline services. They will provide income eligible customers with a free cell phone, free cell phone service and free allotted amount of minutes each month with the option of caller Id,call waiting and voicemail. Unused minutes do roll over, and if more minutes are needed customers can purchase TracPhone cards at many local retailers. You can find out more at http://www.safelinkwireless.com/. You can also go to www.usafreephone.com if you receive any type of federal assistance and sign up, or just call 1-877-650-8855 and get your home phone free for the first month and then it is about $25.00 a month after that.
If you are not income eligible and have high speed Internet service, there is a great site at http://www.voip-news.com/ that list 102 of the best free phone services on the web. This site provides information on everything from free cell phone service to free web casting. If you know of any additional free or discounted phone services feel free to drop us a line.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You've got the Car, but can't Afford the Gas

For the very lowest of the income level, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for each geographical location, there is assistance that can be obtain to purchase between $50.00 to $1,200.00 of gasoline on a monthly basis via gas grant cards. There is a religious organization in Kalamazoo County, Michigan that has created a nonprofit program under the name Free Gas USA Inc. to provide this assistance. All citizens in the U.S. and its territories are eligible to go to their website at www.freegasusa.org and fill out an application. To determine if you qualify go to the bottom of the services page and fill out the questionnaire. There is also a link on the page that you can click on to make donations if you can.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Need a Car, but Can't Afford One.

This is a good site if you are in the right area. You can go to http://www.opportunitycars.com/ to find assistance. This is a network of 150 nonprofit organizations located in 33 states helping families with low income acquire a vehicle. If you are so fortunate to donate a vehicle if it can be repaired, please visit their site and help out someone today. They can give you all the information you need about tax deductions that are still allowable on vehicle donation. You can also go on the Internet and look under free cars and there are sites that will find you a car to drive that is free, but you have to give it back in 5 years or sooner. They will also pay you $400.00 to $ 500.00 dollars a month to drive your own but they will cover it with removable advertisements, and they require that you drive long distances and in populated areas. These cars are provided by advertisers and not dealers and you will usually have to pay a small fee to gain access to there site. If you live in Davidson County in Tn go to http://www.ahrhousing.org/ and click on the Ways to Work tab, and you will get the contact information for their assistance.

Get sign-up information for a chance at driving a car for Free.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

A Person with a Heart of Gold

I cannot tell you the countless hours this person has contributed to this website. The amount of information found here covers almost any problem that one could encounter. This person must have a heart of gold. You could spend months on this site and still not cover everything that is offered. I hope you find all that you need here. If it benefits one person then I have accomplished my goal. You can find help at Soulight 777 . Please let me know if you find this site useful.
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Here is wonderful site for people helping people.

While surfing the net late one night I had ran across this interesting social networking site. This site is about people helping people by contribution, or by pointing those in need to the right resource, or simply by being there to listen. They have a sound tracking system in place to make sure funds are not being mismanaged and monetary gifts go to what they are intended. They also provide users with a way to build an income while providing help and advice to others. You can find this site at http://www.aidpage.com/. If you use this site, please provide our readers with some feedback of how helpful it was to you.
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No One Knows Where I have Been

I don't know how things are going for you lately, but as for me, I have been pushed beyond my limits. I have been on both sides of life, the haves and the have nots, and now I am somewhere in between the two slowly heading toward the later. I am college educated and by no means lazy. I have worked at least two if not three jobs since I was 13. Somewhere I should have arrived. Not only the obvious money and resources I need are drying up, but I am losing a sense of joy for living. I am not a quitter. Spending endless hours surfing the net for answers, I have stumbled across some interesting resources that I would like to share with you. If you have found some helpful links please feel free to add them to this site.
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