With the beginning of the New Year, comes the standard desire for change. At least for the majority of us. Well, we happen to be no different in that we know that we can do better. Therefore, when we had our end of the year budget meeting to go over all of the numbers, we decided to make a big change with our budget.
We all want to start the New Year out right and change some things that aren’t working for us. For a lot of us, that means changing the way we eat and spend our money. So what if we tackle both of those topics in one fail swoop? Let’s dive into how to save money and eat right in the New Year to create some balance.
I don’t know about you, but as our family keeps getting larger so does the cost of our holiday gifts. Due to this, we keep coming up with more and more creative ways to pile more presents under the tree for less. Sometimes, this can be tricky, since all of the kids want everything they see, plus we have family to buy for. And this doesn’t even include the food! But this year, we found yet another way to save money and keep below our budget.
Christmas preparations in retail many stores across the country are already in full swing. Artificial trees are lined up in rows. Garlands, ornaments, and lights are just waiting to be paid for and taken home so they can adorn many a tree.
Toys and other gifts have been stacked up (sky high in some cases) on shelves so customers can start their Christmas shopping early if they would like.
But for some people, buying presents for loved ones can be hard on their budget. This year the price of a single, nice gift is not cheap. As a result, if you have a big list it may be financially difficult to cross all of the names off.
Fortunately there are ways you can pile presents under the tree for less.
Every year, around Thanksgiving, people can be seen running around like chickens with their heads cut off, completely frazzled. Now, I realize there are a few different components at work here, but money is usually the root cause of this behavior. Where to find the money to pay for all of that food is really the kicker. But, this is something that we can resolve by creating a change with how and what we spend our money on.
A life insurance policy is a smart financial investment that will pay out a lump sum to your named beneficiary at the time of your death. If you have loved ones whom you want to care for after your death, a life insurance policy is a wise way to make sure they receive that care.
When it comes to appliances, these are things that are must haves in our current society, not want to haves. Just because we must have them in our day to day lives, doesn’t mean that we must spend a fortune on them. Appliances are like cars in my mind. We need them but we don’t need all of the extra stuff they are trying to get us to buy. Not only that but certain brands perform longer and stronger than others. Since we have to have them, then why not save money on the initial purchase of a good product to save even more in the long run?
Today’s post is a guest post from fellow blogger Ann, who owns the Sumo Gardener blog. Enjoy!
How to Improve Garden Cultivation
We always want to maximize the crops we harvest after a season of hard work. Our goal as gardeners is to produce sustainable food for our own consumption while maximizing our use of land and minimizing waste and losses. However, gardening should not only be focused on taking care of the crops that we will harvest at the end of the planting season.
One of the most important steps in determining your planting season’s success is usually the first step that you have to do: land cultivation. Today we’ll talk about five different ways that you can improve land cultivation in your garden, no matter how big or small it is. Read more
Even though it may still be quite warm where you are, it’s time to face the fact that summer will soon be over. Before you get caught up in all the activities and holidays of fall, it’s time to take a look at your lawn and get it ready for the coming months.
In the past few weeks, grub damage might have started appearing. It shows itself as dying patches that can take over your lawn a little at a time and if unchecked, can make it so weak that it can be rolled back like a carpet. It’s caused by the small, white, beetle larvae that feed on the roots of plants. Apply grub control at the right time, and crisis averted, lawn saved.
Here are some tips for grub control:
Test To See If It’s Really Grubs
You might have started to see visible damage in late July or August. Test to find out if you have a grub infestation and how widespread it is by digging up a few small, scattered sections of lawn about a foot square and two inches deep.
Your lawn can handle fewer than five grub worms in a section, but if the count is is ten or more, it’s time to apply grub control. If the average count per section is between five and ten, it’s up to you to decide whether your lawn is generally healthy enough to maintain itself without treatment.
Buy the Right Product
A general insecticide you might have at home isn’t the answer. The risk is that it may not get rid of the grubs but that it might kill your lawn in the process. Be sure you use a specific product that will aim at grubs when they’re still feeding near the surface of your lawn and before they lay their eggs, killing them and any of their hatchlings before they have a chance to mature.
Water After Applying
Apply the grub control according to directions, and then water it into the soil. This not only pushes the product down to the thatch layer, but it also entices the grubs to move upward in the soil and closer to the control product.
Now on to the Rest
You may have thought that late winter was the time to prepare for the new grass that will sprout in spring, but autumn is actually when you want to prepare your lawn for a lush and healthy carpet of green lawn that will thrive through next summer.
If the leaves are turning, it’s time for these steps:
Adjust watering based on the weather. A lawn doesn’t need more than an inch of water a week no matter what the season, so keep an eye on the sky and adjust your sprinklers accordingly.
Reduce mowing schedule but don’t stop. Grass won’t be growing as fast now, but overgrown grass encourages weeds and insects. Mowing not only keeps your lawn neat and healthy, but it chews up fallen leaves and turns them into good mulch.
Rake and dethatch. A soggy blanket of fallen leaves will stifle your lawn. While you’re raking them up, apply pressure to loosen and remove the tangled layer of plant debris that has accumulated under the grass during the summer. Don’t go at it with such force, though, that you remove healthy grass along with everything else.
Aerate the soil. Fall is the perfect time to aerate the soil so that oxygen, water, and fertilizer can reach grass roots easily. Aerators are available for rent at garden centers, but they’re large and bulky, so consider hiring a professional for this task.
Overseed. Even if your lawn is patchy only in spots, seeding the entire lawn will ensure a healthy crop of thick grass that will fend off weeds. Now is a good time to do it because the sun isn’t blazing but the ground is still warm.
Fertilize. Give your lawn the added nutrients to grow deep roots now and to keep some in reserve for a good start in the spring.
Pre-treat for weeds. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to stop weeds from absorbing the energy to build deep root systems that will plague you later.
For a resource full of information about lawns, visit The Lawn Institute.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. There’s lots of truth in that quote. For us, the necessity to keep trimming our spending as we work our way out of debt has helped us to “invent” more and more ways to spend less and less of our money on things we need to buy. As we work on our financial goals we work on increasing our income, but we also continue to work to cut expenses. For instance, in order to reach our 2014 grocery expenditure goal we spent only $215 on groceries in December 2014. For a family of six, that took a lot of work, but it showed us that we can spend less if we need to.
We haven’t been that extreme in a long time, but we do continue to look for ways to cut down on home expenses and save money. I would say that our savings as we work on cutting expenses are now easily in the four digits compared to our expenses when we started our journey in 2013. So I thought I’d share some of our frugal home hacks today and how much money we’ve saved per month by continuing to look for ways to cut expenses. Read more