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Decorating for Fall on a Budget

 

Fall is here and it is time to decorate, but you don’t have to spend tons of money to do it. Here are a few tips on how to stay on budget while making your home fall ready.

Before you even consider going out to buy items, take a look around your home for items that you can reuse or re-purposes. Items like vases, mirrors, candles, newspapers, and books are perfect pieces that work for any season or can be used for new crafts. If those aren’t quite enough to fill your home with that fall feeling, then try shopping at thrift shops or dollar stores. These stores are excellent for getting picture frames, vases, fake pumpkins, candles, faux pine cones, fall leaves, and mason jars.  

Combine these items with natural elements like wood, sticks, and dried flowers to DIY decorations. A few great DIY decorations for this fall are: Twig Candle Holders, Fall Wreaths, Thankful Pumpkins, and Fall Mason Jars.  Websites like Pinterest and How To Nest For Less offer many more great, easy, wallet friendly ways to create some autumn beauty in your home/apartment for less this year!

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Planning for Success: With Meals

You’ve heard the famous saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail”, which is true for all aspects of life. Are you trying to eat healthier or maybe save some money and not eat out all the time? Then you should plan for success by creating a meal plan that helps you in your pockets and your waistline.

The first thing you need to do is create a master grocery list full of the basics that should always be present in your pantry. These basics will be the foundation for a variation of recipes for the future. Common items include: chicken broth, salt, garlic, tomato paste, cheese, eggs, rice, ground meat, frozen shrimp and vegetables. Creating this list will prevent you from having to start from scratch every time.

After you have your master list, look up recipes that you can easily cook and that fit your budget. Websites like Pinterest and Tablespoon are perfect for finding recipes for every craving.

Next, determine how many cooked meals you would want to eat in a day, is it 2 or maybe 3? You can even adopt the Cook Once, Eat Twice Strategy and limit the amount of time each week you have to spend behind the stove. From here you can create your meal calendar, this calendar should include what entree and sides you are going to cook and how often you plan to eat away from home.

With all this your wallet is sure to grow and your waistline shrink!

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Stay In and Save

Its that time of year when tons of movies are coming to theaters near you…but who has the money to see every one? With sites like Netflix/Hulu, or accessing HBOGo through your cable provider, you can have access anywhere to consistently updated movies for as little as $7.99/month. So sit back, pop some popcorn, and keep that $40 you would’ve spent on one movie outing in your pocket!

Movies to watch on Netflix

  1. Back to the Future (all 3!)
  2. The Big Short
  3. Mean Girls
  4. Django Unchained
  5. St. Vincent
  6. Beasts of No Nation
  7. Silver Linings Playbook (there’s a reason J. Lawrence won an Oscar for this)

Movies to Watch on HBOGo

  1. Divergent Series: Insurgent
  2. Fantastic Four (2015 version)
  3. The Intern
  4. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
  5. Jurassic World
  6. The Martian
  7. Vacation (the National Lampoon remake)

Movies to watch on Hulu

  1. Terminator Genysys
  2. Intersteller
  3. If I Stay (perfect for date night)
  4. The Age of Adaline
  5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
  6. American Ultra
  7. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Blast From the Past: Quick Tips Before Purchasing Your College Textbooks

Summer’s almost over and school’s about to start. Before you head to the bookstore, we wanted to to pull from one of our favorite posts in the past about saving money on textbooks. We all know that going to college can put a major strain on your finances. On top of tuition, housing, and meal plans, the cost for textbooks can be high. A new trend for students with textbooks is to rent instead of buy. Most likely you will not use your textbooks after the course is over, so there is no need to buy the textbook, at least not at its original price.

Websites like www.chegg.com offer textbooks to rent for up to 75% off the original price. The only condition is that you return the textbook once the class is over. Overall, it is a very simple process. You log onto the website then search for the textbook you need via ISBN number or title and author. Upon checkout, you chose to rent for the semester or a year. When your renting period ends, Chegg will send you boxes and labels to print to mail it back for free via UPS.

Amazon is another awesome source to look for textbooks. Like Chegg, they provide labels to send your rentals for free via UPS. They also offer a rental feature through their Kindle online store which is an even cheaper way of renting textbooks because they aren’t in print! Don’t have a kindle? No worries, you can easily sign up for a Kindle account and read your textbooks online through the Kindle Cloud Reader. Another added bonus is that you can customize your rental time in case you won’t need your textbook after midterms which will decrease fees even more.

Another quick tip for saving money through renting is to search for a promo code before checking out. They will always ask for one, and you can usually find one through sites like www.retailmenot.com. These little promo codes could offer you 5% off your rental or shipping fees.

Some other sites that offer textbooks for rent include www.rent-a-text.com, www.bookrenter.com, and www.knetbooks.com.

So with fall semester just around the corner, visit these sites before purchasing textbooks at full price. This is an easy and simple way to help you save some college money!

Do you have any experience with renting textbooks? Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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These Apps a Day Keep That Debt Away

Budgeting

Moneyhub– Bring your money to life with the ultimate money management app

Money DashboardMoney Dashboard helps you save money, budget more effectively, and make better financial decisions. Use it to keep track of your spending across your current, credit card and savings accounts, no matter who you bank with, and start making daily savings by understanding where all your money goes each month

BillTrackerFrom the water bill to the car payment to the cell phone subscription, BillTracker for iPhone can help you stay on top of your bills

Shopping

My SuperMarketThe only grocery list you’ll ever need. Build and manage your groceries list while finding the best offers with your super list.

IbottaCash back, just for shopping! Ibotta is a free app that pays you cash for everyday purchases. Ditch the coupons and get cash back the fun and easy way. Ibotta has exclusive rebates at your favorite grocery stores and retailers. No more searching around for offers, coupons or discount codes- find the best deals whenever you shop with Ibotta.

GrouponGroupon delivers unbeatable deals for 50—70% off the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in more than 500 cities located mostly on earth

Gas Buddy-Save money and time by sharing gas prices nearby

Travel

Air BnBMake travel planning as mobile as you are with the Airbnb iPhone App! Airbnb opens the door to the world’s most interesting places to stay and is the simplest way to earn money from your extra space. With over 600,000 listings in more than 34,000 cities, Airbnb connects you with the experience that’s right for you

SkyscannerSearch, compare and book cheap flights on the go with the award-winning Skyscanner Flights app! Search millions of flights from hundreds of airlines instantly for free, making it easier than ever to find the best

TripAdvisorTripAdvisor makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go. And booking options for hotels, restaurants and flights are just a tap away.

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Sickness & the Relationship with Stress

It’s time to conclude our series on the effects of stress and what it can mean for your physical and mental health. If you have yet to read Part I and Part II of our series please click and read the links below before continuing:

Part I: https://moneytoolsforlife.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/why-you-should-deal-with-your-financial-stress-now/

Part II: https://moneytoolsforlife.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/the-vicious-cycle-of-financial-stress/

In our first post we mentioned that dealing with chronic stress can weaken your immune system making it easier to contract a disease. With this final post in the series we wanted to inform you of specific diseases & some health problems that can be linked just from stress.

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Asthma

Obesity

Insomnia

Common colds

We hope that this series may have opened your eyes on the many negative effects stress  can have on your day to day life and if you do suffer from stress you find ways to help manage it!