Make Your Own Vitamin Water

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Make Your Own Vitamin Water

The Girl Who Things She’s a Bird has turned into sort of a vitamin water freak lately.  She’s whipped up so many different concoctions, I can’t even keep track.  Apparently, vitamin water is all the rage right now.  And, you know me, I’m cutting edge {ha!}, so I figured, I better get on board and ride the vitamin water train.  Who knows, maybe this is the key to drinking more water?

I know you can buy vitamin water at the store, but they don’t look nearly as sophisticated as The Girl’s versions, and I am sure if you got right down to it, they probably aren’t nearly as healthy.

Make Your Own Vitamin Water

Basically, all you need is:

  • A Picther or Mason Jar
  • Water {filtered, Evian, or my personal favorite:  tap}
  • Fruit
  • Ice
  • A wooden spoon

This stuff is basically like lemon water on crack.  It turns it up a notch.  Get together some fruit {no bananas} and slice ‘em up.  Think berries, pineapple, watermelon, citrus anything.  You can add herbs, which is supposed to be a flavor sensation {I’m thinking mint would be awesome}.

Place the fruit/herbs in the bottom of the pitcher/jar, and using a wooden spoon, mash up the fruit.  No need to abuse the fruit, just mash it enough to get the flavors out.  Then, top the fruit mixture with ice, and finish with water.  Now pop that thing in the fridge and let all of the flavors marinate.

How easy is that?  Plus, everytime you pour yourself a glass, it feels like you are at an upscale spa—well, it does if you close your eyes tight enough to push the pile of laundry in the corner that needs folding out of your mind.  {Side note:  if you don’t like the bits of fruit in your glass, you can always pour the mixture over a strainer into your glass, leaving just the flavored water.  I kind of like the fruit bits, though.}

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



How to Save Money Using the Library

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How to Save Money Using the Library

Now that the kids are out of school, you might be looking for some inexpensive forms of entertainment to keep everyone occupied.  When my kids were little, we used to hit the library once a week.  It seriously saved of TONS of money over the years and it kept them reading throughout the summer, so come the new school year, their brains weren’t mush.

summer reading books

Lot’s of people think that the library just has books, but it has totally evolved into a free multi-media entertainment shop–only instead of shopping, everything is FREE.  Here are a couple of tips to help you get the most out of your library:

  1. Use the “hold” service if your library has one.  This is probably my favorite thing about the library.  You can get an online account, search for whatever, put it on hold, then they notify you when it has come in.  You go pick it up, where it is ready and waiting just for you.  It helps you get exactly what you want without having to take the gamble that it might already be checked out.
  2. Instead of having magazine subscriptions, check them out from the library.  While you can’t check out the current month’s issues, you can check out all of the back issues.
  3. Borrow movies.  The library has pretty much every movie you can possibly want {unless you live in a super small town}–and it’s free.
  4. Borrow video games.  Did you know that most libraries now have video games.  You can even put them on hold {suggestion #1}, so your kiddos can totally try out the latest game before you buy it.  Or even better, maybe you’ll never have to buy it at all.
  5. Books.  I know this is a no-brainer, but seriously, read them at the library first.  If you know you will reference them or reread them over and over, then buy.
  6. Digital books.  Most libraries have digital books that don’t even require you ever getting in the car.  So, if you have a laptop, kindle, iPad or some other device, chances are you can get some free reads by just logging onto your library’s website.
  7. Take advantage of educational computer games and the internet.   The children’s part of the library usually has computers loaded with fun educational games.  For older kids, Wi-Fi offers a little bit of surfing with some pretty strict restrictions that will keep them fairly safe.
  8. Music.  Want to check out a CD?  The library has those too.  I can’t tell you how much this has saved me over the years–sometimes I end up finding out that owning the whole album just isn’t worth it.
  9. Newspapers.  Take advantage of your local newspaper or even the Wall Street Journal while your kiddos peruse for books.
  10. Take advantage of programs.  Most libraries have tons of free programs and classes.  Younger kids can go to story time, older kids can do book clubs.  My library even has a Lego club {where kids get to build massive creations} and a knitting club {for all skill levels}.

I’m telling you, the library has really diversified, and it’s totally worth your time this summer.  Do  you use the library?  What’s your favorite part about it?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

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DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

With two teenagers in sports, sometimes I feel like I should take out stock in Febreze, or at the very least, at the rate we go through it around here, a loan.  Luckily, making your own is super easy and costs literally pennies.

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

You’ll Need:

Spray bottle {a cheap-o dollar store one will do}
2 Tbsp. fabric softener {any scent that makes your sniffer happy or make your own}
Warm water
2 Tbsp. baking soda
A funnel

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

Directions:

Place the funnel in the spray bottle.  Add baking soda and fabric softener.  Fill up the remaining space in the spray bottle with warm water.  Screw back on the sprayer and shake, shake, shake.

Now get out there and freshen the crap out of everything you own {that statement might be an oxymoron, but whatever, you get the drift}. ;)

~Mavis

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

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DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

I’m still really digging my DIY Laundry Detergent that I shared with you awhile back, but I have to admit, the new tablet craze is winning me over–I love the ease of throwing a pre-measured tablet into the washer, plus I know exactly how many loads I am going to get out of each batch.  {This recipe is safe for front-loaders}

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

You’ll need:

1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup grated bar soap {I used Fels Naptha, but you could also use Zote, Ivory, etc.}
1/2 cup vinegar
15-20 drops essential oil {optional}
Ice cube tray {this is my favorite one}

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs Fels Naptha soap

Directions:

Start by grating your soap.  I grated mine on the smallest setting so that I could get it into a fine powder–otherwise, I feel like the soap doesn’t always dissolve completely in the wash.

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

Mix the grated bar with the Borax and Washing Soda.  Pour 1/2 cup vinegar over the mixture and stir to combine.  The mixture shouldn’t be too wet, just wet enough to pack into your ice cube tray. I use  1″ square ice cube trays to make the tablets uniform.  {Just don’t fill the ice cube trays up to the top, or the detergent door might not close on your washer.}  I have found that a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop is just the perfect amount to use. After packing the mixture into the tray, leave out to dry–usually about 12 hours.

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

When the tabs are dry, pop them out of the tray and put them into a storage container.  Use one tab for front loaders and two for top loaders. Makes 45 detergent tabs.

~Mavis

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

Here are a few more of my DIY Recipes:

DIY Window and Glass Cleaner
How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
DIY Fabric Softener
Homemade Soft Scrub
DIY Dishwasher Tablets
DIY Daily Shower Spray

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How Long Should You Keep Your Financial Paperwork?

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How Long Should You Keep Your Financial PaperworkIn my effort to purge my house of unwanted clutter a few months ago, I came across A LOT of paperwork.  Some of it, I know I have to keep, but some of it, I’ve stashed away just in case.  The thing is, “just in case” is starting to get a little overwhelming, so I decided to find out exactly how long I need to keep it all.

After a little digging, here’s the 411 on paperwork:

  1. Receipts.  These really pile up, especially after Christmas.  If they are for standard goods, keep them only until the warranty expires or until the exchange/return policy runs out.  If they are for tax purposes, keep them for 3 years.
  2. ATM receipts.  If you bank online, you can toss these {shred them} as soon as you’ve verified the amount recorded on your account is the same as the receipt.  If you still go with paper statements, balance them to the statement each month and then toss them.
  3. Paycheck stubs.  Keep them for one year.  Make sure to double check them to your W-2′s and social security statements, then shred them.
  4. Utility bills.   If  you take a home office deduction, you need to keep these for 3 years, otherwise, you can get rid of them after a year.
  5. Bank statements.  Again, unless you need them for tax purposes {3 years}, you can get rid of them after one year.
  6. Credit card statements.  Keep until reconciled, or 3 years if needed for tax purposes.
  7. Income Tax Returns.  Hold onto these for 3 years.
  8. Medical bills.  Keep these for 3 years.
  9. Records of selling a house.  3 years.
  10. Annual investment statements.  Hold onto these for 3 years AFTER you sell your investment.
  11. Records of paid-off loans {other than home mortgages}.  Keep for 7 years.
  12. Keep the following forever:  marriage licenses, birth certificates, wills, adoption papers, death certificates, records of paid mortgages.

Now that I know how long to keep everything, I can sort through the little piles that build up over the year–and really give my shredder a workout.

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

20 Moving Tips

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20 Moving Tips

Plan on moving this year?  Moving can be ultra stressful–on everyone, but I swear, organization is the KEY to surviving a move.

Here’s a few tips to keep in mind if you are making a move this year:

  1. Have each member of the family pack a suitcase of essentials and comfort items.  That way, the first night in the new house is a positive one.  You may not get to unpacking every bit of every room, but at least little Suzy will have her blanket and teddy bear to ease the transition.  Plus, how nice will it be when you hop in the shower after a long move to easily grab clean jammies and a toothbrush?
  2. Save money on bubble wrap.  Pack the dishes with the linen closet.  Wrap breakables using pillowcases and towels.  You’ll save money and kill two birds with one stone.
  3. Label boxes.  Don’t just label what’s in them, but also, what room you want them taken to.  Movers or friends/family will be so much more helpful when they don’t have to stop and ask you where you want “this box.”
  4. Show up pre-move and clean the house to your standards.  It’s soooooo much easier to clean and empty house.  Get in there ahead of time and give it a scrub.  Have the carpets cleaned now too.  That way, it will be “move in ready.”
  5. Place toiletries in plastic ziploc bags OR open the lids and put a piece of plastic wrap on the top, then screw the lid back on.  It will minimize spills and messes.
  6. Don’t pack up all of your drawers.  Just slide the drawer out and use it as a box, then when you place the dresser back in your new home, all you have to do is slide the already unpacked drawer back into place.
  7. Put ALL screws, curtain mounts, electronic cords in LABELED plastic ziplock bags.  You may think you will remember what they go to, but in the chaos, it might just become a mystery screw or cord.
  8. Take a picture of the back of your television so that you can remember how to put it back together in the new house.  Remembering where all those cords go is just a hassle otherwise.
  9. Make use of suitcases, laundry baskets, etc.  You can really cut down on boxes by using the containers you already have.  Just make sure to tie a label onto each of them.
  10. Pack a lunch the night before.  Unless you are ordering pizza or something, having to stop to make a meal in a kitchen that is probably chaos, is a big fat pain in the behind.  Pack sandwiches and snacks–that will keep the kiddos in a better mood anyway.
  11. To pack your hanging clothes, just grab a garbage bag.  Keep the clothes on the hangers, and bag them from the bottom up.  Pull the drawstring around the top of the hangers, and off you go.
  12. Number your boxes.  That way, you’ll know if you are missing a box right away.
  13. Minimize your grocery shopping one to two weeks prior to the move.  If you can, use up what you have in the freezer.
  14. Unplug and clean your fridge {if you are taking it with you in the move} the day before you move.
  15. Contact utility companies and let them know your move-out date and your move-in date.
  16. Keep valuable items, like pictures and passports in YOUR car on the day of the move.  That way, they don’t potentially get lost in the shuffle.
  17. Remember to keep a roll of toilet paper out, so that you can immediately put it in place in the new house.  Friends and family that are helping you will thank you.
  18. If you won’t have beds set up in time, remember to keep sleeping bags, air mattresses, etc. handy.
  19. Throw a shower curtain in your overnight bag.  You will want to take a shower after a day of moving, and digging through the bathroom boxes may not be too appealing.
  20. Bottled waters.  Remember cups will be packed away, so remember to get a case of bottled waters for the day.  Make sure to get enough for the people that are helping you move {the ones you like, anyway, ha!}.

Any more tips you’d like to add?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

10 Simple Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

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10 Simple Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

I don’t know how it is where you live, but here I am starting to see houses for sale like crazy.  I wonder if that means that people are starting to see relief from some of the economic craziness of the past few years?  Whatever the reason, if you are thinking about putting your house up for sale too, here are a few tips on increasing the value of your home, and hopefully putting more money in your pocket:

  1. Paint.  A fresh coat of NEUTRAL colored paint can make the house appear cleaner.  Staying neutral gives you a better chance to appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers.  Plus, paint is relatively cheap–so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
  2. Remove personal items and put them in storage.  Yes, the pictures of your kids are endearing, but when people see personal items, they focus on them, rather than picturing themselves in the home.  And, as much as you love your life-size paper mache zebra in the living room, it might not be someone else’s cup of tea {they may prefer giraffes}–it’s best to keep it a blank slate so people can imagine their own stuff in the house.
  3. Clean.  Seriously, clean like your mother-in-law is coming to visit.  The place should pass the white glove test.  Don’t forget the insides of drawers, etc.  Potential buyers will open and search through everything.
  4. Deodorize.  Everyone has a unique smell, unfortunately, that is not always a good thing.  If you have pets, you may not even notice the smell of your house, but potential buyers definitely will.  Light a candle or bake a cake before your house shows.  If you go with the candle, go with classic food smells {apple pie, etc.} over perfume-type smells.
  5. Create an inviting entrance.  If you don’t have curb appeal, it’s pretty hard to convince the average buyer that the house is worth their time.  Put a potted plant at the entrance {flowers in the summer/spring/fall and maybe a topiary in the winter}.  Set out a welcome mat.  Make sure the yard is tidy.
  6. If you have to replace floors before you can sell, opt for eco choices {like bamboo}.  They are a selling feature for the home.
  7. Up the wattage in your light bulbs for the showings.  The brighter the space, the more inviting it is to potential buyers.
  8. Kitchen cabinets.  If the kitchen cabinets have taken a beating over the years, painting them can give new life to the kitchen for minimal cost.  I don’t know about you, but nothing is more depressing than walking into an outdated and drab kitchen.
  9. Staging.  If the weather is nice, make sure to stage outdoor selling features too.  Make sure to set up the table on the patio.  Put the umbrella up.  Turn on the outdoor fountain if there is one.  You want to draw their eye to features they may miss otherwise.  Make ‘em believe that entertaining outdoors is just a quick escrow away.
  10. Window coverings.  Fresh curtains/blinds can add a lot to a room for pretty inexpensive.  Old faded drapes can make a space feel dated and dark.   Head over to Target and grab a couple of new panels–you’ll be shocked at what they do for the room.

Did you recently sell your house?  Did you do any of these?  Did they work for you?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Sell Your Stuff at a Garage Sale

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How to Sell Your Stuff at a Garage Sale

Every few years, I get enough accumulated stuff that it becomes totally worth it for me to have a garage sale.  Garage sales are my way of de-junkifying–but, not in the sense that it is “junk.”  I want the stuff out, because it just is no longer working for me, but it is still really good, usable stuff.  Plus, the money goes straight into our vacation fund, so I can usually convince The Girl and Monkey Boy to help out.

I’ve learned quite a bit over the years about having garage sales–or even better stated:  having successful garage sales.

garage sale sign

First things first, advertise.  Use signs and craigslist to get the word out.  For higher ticket items, take some pictures and include them on craigslist.  People love that crap.  Also, get change.  You can keep it in a lock box, a money belt or wear an apron with pockets.  The good thing about the apron is that if you are alone, you don’t have to worry about stepping away from the money.  Also, have plastic grocery bags handy to bag people’s purchases.

garage sale price stickers tags

Price all of your items the night before.  This is essential.  You WILL have early bird shoppers who will cramp your style if you are still out there pricing.  The busiest time of the garage sale will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.  After that, things will slow down significantly, so it’s just best to be prepared to deal with your customers straight out of the gate.  Be realistic with your pricing.  People expect screamin’ deals at garage sales.  That’s the downside.  The upside is that you would have probably just donated it otherwise and made nothing.

Easy Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Next, get up extra early and make a crock pot meal {Go HERE for some recipe ideas}.  Otherwise, by the end of the day, you will be too pooped to pop and will end up loading the family into the wagon to go out.  This one little move cuts into your garage sale profits significantly.  I have learned it the hard way, trust me.

blueberry-muffins-with-crumb-topping-recipe

Have the kids set up a muffin and coffee/tea stand.  Lots of people do the slow drive by and then move on.  Early morning coffee and muffins always entice them to stop and browse.

Make sure everything is displayed as orderly as possible.  If you have clothes, hang them up–they WILL sell much better that way.

Haggling is a sport for some people–like they legitimately get thrills at the idea of it.  Don’t be offended when people haggle for your stuff–meet them with counter-offers, {The garage sale game is very Donald Trump like.  Embrace it.}  Know your bottom line and have a little fun getting there.

Around noon to 1 p.m., it’s time to start slashing prices.  Your traffic will slow down considerably, and unless you are interested in a marathon type garage sale, it’s time to make sure the stuff goes for at least some money.

Thrift store donation

Arrange for a local charity to swing by and pick up the leftovers or haul them that afternoon to the thrift store yourself.  That way, you don’t have to haul them back into the garage, where they could potentially take up residence again.

How about YOU, what are your tips for having a successful garage sale?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

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How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

Now that all of the cold weather is behind us, I decided to clean the glass on the fireplace.  I used an ash method, but there are a couple of different ways to do it.  You can use ammonia and water.  Fill a spray bottle with slightly diluted ammonia.  Spray it on a cooled glass only.  Wipe with paper towels.  Repeat until clean.  Resist the urge to use any sort of scouring pad or scrub pad.  It will scratch the grass.  You can also get commercial sprays to do the job, but since I don’t really know what’s in them, I wasn’t super excited about that method.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

To clean the glass with ash {I liked this idea, because I already had the ash from having a fire in the fireplace}, lay down a good amount of paper on the hearth.  It will prevent everything from getting coated in a any loose ash.  Dunk some newspaper in a little water and then coat it in ash.  Scrub the glass until it’s sparkly clean.
fireplace

I will admit, it took a bit of elbow grease, but it did the job, and I didn’t really need any supplies I didn’t already have.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

So pretty.  Isn’t it satisfying when you complete a job that you know you won’t have to do again for an entire year?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Spring Lawn Care Tips

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spring lawn care tips

As I mentioned last fall, taking care of the grass is totally my husbands department–but if watching him work counts for something, then I am a pro!  Ha.  Here’s a quick guide on spring lawn care, which we take very seriously here in suburbia:

If you didn’t aerate last fall, spring is another good time to do it.  With all of the spring rain, those annoying dirt clods will be gone in no time, and your grass will be the thick, lush envy of all of the neighbors.

Before you start mowing again, give your lawn mower the once over.  Sharpen the blades if they need it, change the oil, and give ‘er a good once over.  You can start out the spring with shorter grass, make sure to raise the blade as the weather gets warmer, though.  If you don’t mind the mess, taking the mower bag off and letting the grass clippings stay on the lawn is a great way to provide free food for the grass.

If you live in a rainy climate {like I do} let the weather do the work as far as watering.  If not, make sure to water less often, but in larger quantities {remember the good old days of flood irrigation?  Think about replicating them.}

Wait until it’s a bit warmer to apply fertilizer {at least 50-55 degrees soil temperature}, that will ensure that the grass is awake enough to receive a feeding.

That’s pretty much it for us around here.  What do you do to wake up your grass?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel