Money: Who Needs It?

When we were little, a box of Lifesavers at Christmas was a bid deal because there was so much candy in one place. The teen years brought about movies and game rooms. Mom or Dad always had a chore for us to do so we could earn a few bucks.
Fast forward to present day and the price tags on clothes, grocery items and basic necessities increased way beyond a couple hours behind a lawn mower. So how do you make ends meet? How can you afford to pay your kids to do a few chores and still pay for the gas in the mower, the dog food and a gallon of milk? That is the question facing millions of people every day.
The best thing to do in this situation is to teach your family how to be independent. Plan for a garden, even if it is a few tomato plants growing in containers. Repurpose clothes by painting designs or dyeing them a different color. Make things from scratch, such as that seasoned rice mix or the biscuit mix. Invest in a motorless lawnmower that works without gasoline, to keep a manicured lawn trimmed to perfection. Use the clothesline instead of the dryer. And cook your own dinner instead of ordering takeout.


Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

I love to cook and I love Thanksgiving, this time of year is a wonderful experience for me.

Holiday Wish-dom

Plateful of Christmas Cookies

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Christmas is almost here. The holiday is only 33 days away from busting into your wallet and tearing up your credit cards for another year.

Avoid the pain of holiday shopping crowds and mountains of returned presents by making your own gifts in the kitchen and around the house.

From the Kitchen

Make heart-felt gifts for every person on your Christmas list. Start with goodie jars. Fill canning jars with irresistible munchies or cookie mixes. A simple recipe which produces awesome cookies is nothing more than 1 box of cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Get creative by adding nuts, candies or other sweet morsels to the mix. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes.

For the gift jar, create a hang tag that tells the recipient to add 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of oil. Include the baking instructions. Now, empty your favorite flavor of cake mix into a bowl. Add nuts, chocolate chips or any other goodies that go well with the cake mix flavor. Stir the mix and added nuts or candies together. Fill the jar and seal with a pretty ribbon. Add the hang tag. The recipient simply empties the jar into a bowl, adds the eggs and oil and bakes. You make a gift that is inexpensive, the recipient makes delicious cookies and you both save money.

From the Garden

Root cuttings of your favorite plants. Start now or they will be really tiny on Christmas morning. Transplant the new plants into decorative pots and attach a hang tag describing the plant and care instructions.

From the Workbench

Make a decorative wall hat rack with 18 inches of pine. You’ll need a 1×10 pine board, cut to 18 inches. Sand it smooth, with the grain. Select a decorative wallpaper border. You can find some great ones in the discount bins of wallpaper stores. Pre-pasted works best. Apply the border to the pine board and allow it to dry. Screw 4 to 6 decorative hooks into the pine board, spaced so several hats can hang at the same time. Varnish the entire piece and allow it to dry. You can vary this project by turning it into a glove dryer. Simply tie two clothes pins together with twine and hang them over the hooks. The clothes pins hold the gloves while they dry.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to give gifts from the heart and save money too.

Happy Holidays!

Weddings on a Budget


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My daughter and son-in-law are partaking in wedding preparations for a family member getting married on Halloween. The wedding service is a closed ceremony but the reception guest list keeps growing and looks like a fun time for all invited. The obstacles facing the couple are the same as any newlyweds in these times of economic hardship and the reception put off several times over the past couple of weeks due to lack of funding. This brings me to a point I want to makeĀ  for those considering postponing wedding and reception plans. Think Cheap!

The wedding dress is always a tremendous expense, but with some searching you can find several thrift stores that specialize in wedding gowns. Even the Goodwill thrift stores carry a selection of gowns for a very reasonable price. If the gown doesn’t fit just right, ask a family member or friend who sews to help form-fit the dress.

The bride‘s maids always get stuck with a dress they will wear only one time and may never see the light of day again. Solve the problem of buying matching dresses and allow them to coordinate an outfit that matches your wedding colors. White blouses and pink skirts or simple black dresses with a colored ribbon as a belt lets the women have an outfit they can wear again and again but won’t break the pocket-book.

Forget about tuxedos and top hats. Dress the groom’s men in black suits with matching shirts or vests. Set the groom apart by dressing him in a white vest and shirt. You can color coordinate the mens shirts with the ribbon on the women’s dresses.

Use fresh flowers from the garden for bouquets and boutonnieres when they are in season. Silk flowers work well for the corsages and nosegays as well. You can add ribbons, beads and tulle to make the floral arrangement as fancy or as simple as you prefer.

There is really no need to decorate for the wedding ceremony if it is held in a conventional setting. Most of the guests will not even notice if there are no giant bows marking the start of each row of seats. For outdoor ceremonies, lots of ribbons, bows and flowers work well and can fill a large space for little money. Create an arch out of PVC pipe and anchor it to the ground with wire. Cover the arch with balloons or tulle and twinkle lights to hide the PVC.

I’ll save the ideas for a reception on a budget for another post.

Increase Garage Sale Profits with Paypal

An example of street markets accepting credit ...

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One of the best ways to make money in the summer is to have a garage or yard sale. The problem is that unless someone is specifically going out for a day of garage sale shopping, most people do not carry large amounts of money on them. Big ticket items are left to go back into the basement or attic for another year. Now, you can accept credit cards at these sales if you have a paypal account. The buyer can log in and transfer money to pay for any items he or she has purchased. This also saves aggravation when someone gets angry because you don’t feel comfortable taking a check from a stranger. Accepting Paypal as a form of payment gives you instance access to your money. Big ticket items are easier to sell because the buyer can use their credit card for the purchase instead of cash.

Hope you make some money this year!

Growing New Income

Gardening is an experience that should be enjoyed by everyone at least once. The best times for me were in the garden with my grandfather watching him tend his plants. My grandfather had hands that belonged on a giant, but when he was deadheading the flowers or removing suckers from his tomato plants, it was with the touch an angel gives a newborn baby.

In economic hardĀ times, a great way to generate an extra income is to grow plants for profit. This is not as difficult as it may seem. The key to success is starting with quality seeds and stock plants.