Monday, December 26, 2011

Frugal Trip to CVS

After five trips to CVS to try and use three $7 Centrum Probiotics coupon and a $5 CVS coupon, I finally reached success...with some different coupons. LOL! Every CVS location I went to looking for the on-sale Centrum products were either out of stock or not on sale (they were supposed to be $9.99, but one location rung them up for $23 -- yikes!) But I wouldn't give up, I moved on to some other items -- thanks to my friends at

Last week, I was able to get the following:

$9.00 --Triaminic Kids Cough & Cold Strips -- 2 for $12 -- coupon for $3 off 2 Triaminic products
$4.79 -- Excedrin Extra Strength -- coupon for $2 off
$4.79 -- Excedrin Extra Strength -- coupon for $2 off
$4.79 -- Excedrin Back & Body
$6.39 -- Excedrin Tension Headache

Total = $25.76 out of pocket

Received $13 Extra Bucks ($3 for buying 2 Triaminic products; $10 for buying $20 of Excedrin products)

Real cost = $12.76

So my husband tells me that I'm "a marketer's dream" and why on earth do we need four Excedrins? Which got me to thinking -- is this really worth it? But then I thought about it. Why buy items when you're desperate and have to pay full price with no discount or coupon, when you could stock up on something you use and will eventually need at the best price possible? I have $13 to use at CVS on anything I might need. We have two children, so we have plenty of headaches and other aches and pains. ;)

To each his own, but I find saving money fun, like a puzzle. Do you have to explain your couponing to family members? Do you enjoy finding every last bit of savings, or do you view it as more of a chore? I'd love to hear your coupon/money-saving stories.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

The Christmas season is a time for peace, joy and goodwill towards all. Unfortunately, it is also a
time where natural resources are consumed at an alarming rate and extra burdens are piled on an
already overly taxed environment.

Taking a quick look at the environmental toll of Christmas paints us a disturbing picture. Each
year, over 1 million pine trees are cut down just for the holiday season. Additionally, people send
out over 2 billion Christmas cards and over 37,000 miles of gift ribbon is consumed. These items
not only use precious resources, but after the season they often end up taking up space in a

However, Christmas doesn't have to be a burden on the environment. While being greener often only seems to be the concern of environmentalists and academics, you should also strive to enjoy the pleasures of the season without unnecessarily polluting the environment. All it takes to make a difference is to look at the holiday season in a different way and change a few of your habits.

1. Christmas Trees

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 33 million trees are bought
during the Christmas season, and many of them will end up in landfills. However this can be
avoided by buying a planted tree. Planted trees can be purchased for a nominal price and last
considerably longer than trees that have been cut down. Best of all, after the holiday season
you can plant these trees on your property or donate them to a local park. Thus, the decorating
with a pre-planted tree not only prevents trees from being needlessly cut down and being thrown
away in the local landfill after the holidays, but also allows you to contribute something to the

You might also want to consider renting a Christmas trees specifically for the holidays. Many local
nurseries will rent out trees for the holiday season for a nominal fee. If you must cut down your
own tree, make sure to recycle it after the holidays (most states offer tree recycling programs).
While it is not as green as buying a potted tree, it does ease the burden on the environment.

2. Gift Wrapping

Tons of wrapping paper and wrapping accessories make their way into landfills each year. This can
be avoided by simply thinking out of the box. Instead of buying fancy wrapping paper, use the
comic section of old newspapers to wrap your gifts. Similarly, old VHS tape film and the strings
from old mini-blinds make excellent replacements for gift ribbons. If you're shipping packages,
you can use peanut shells and the filling from old pillows as replacements for packaging peanuts
and bubble wrap.

You can also pack your gifts in tins and boxes. Not only is this an attractive way to package your
presents, but these containers can also be reused year after year. In fact, some people make
reusing these tins a part of their holiday tradition. One year a family might receive gift wrapped in
one of these tins and the next year they will use them to give gifts to other families.

Giving gifts that don't require much wrapping at all is an even better idea. Presents such as gift
certificates, concert tickets and sporting event tickets save a considerable amount of packaging.
However if you feel that your gifts absolutely have to be wrapped in festive packaging, then
try to buy Christmas wrapping that contains a minimum of 60 percent post-consumer recycled
paper. This wrapping paper can then be recycled again after the holidays. Visit Earth 911 to find
recycling programs in your area.

3. Christmas Lights

According to the EPA, LED Christmas lights consume 90 percent less energy than conventional
Christmas lights. Aside from saving energy they also offer a few other benefits. First of all, they
don't get hot to the touch and won't start a holiday fire. Secondly, when one light burns out the
entire strand will continue working. You can be even greener (and save money) by placing your
Christmas lights on a timer. This way the lights can be programmed to shut down during daylight
hours and to come on during evening hours.

Following the tips above will ensure that your holiday season will not only be pleasant, but green
as well. A green Christmas is not only a gift to yourself but also a gift to the planet and future
generations – something that everyone can enjoy for many years to come.

Brittany Lyons aspires to be a psychology professor, but decided to take some time off from grad school to help people learn to navigate the academic lifestyle. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, where she spends her time reading science fiction and walking her dog.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have a Calm, Green Christmas

Take one moment and imagine what it would be like to enjoy a totally stress-free Christmas. What if you could simply enjoy the holiday? 

Instead of rushing around to stores or spending hours bent over the computer ordering, or bent-over period wrapping, cooking and doing the million other tasks that seem to be required for the “perfect day,” you might imagine yourself snuggled comfortably on the sofa, maybe an eggnog (spiked or not) in hand, music playing, a fire crackling, surrounded by friends and loved ones, your face lit my a smile. (Not the pained smile of relief!)
While that vision might appear about as real as Cinderella, it doesn’t have to remain a fairy tale. 

With a little thought and release of habit and perfectionistic tendencies, it’s possible to live the dream.

Here are a few ways to make it come true.

Sit down with your family and talk about past Christmases. 
Was everyone satisfied with how things went? If not, what would you like to change? If mom has felt overwhelmed, how can the rest of the family pitch in to help? This may mean that mom gives up some control, but if she’s willing to do that, she may find some burdens lifted. If dad is tired of putting up the lights, maybe this year you forget his pinning them around the eves and decorate a tree he can reach without a ladder. The idea is to, as much as possible, relieve the pressure on everyone.

Make a sign (on recycled paper of course), that emphasizes meaning over things, whether those things are perfect décor, food or gifts. Place the sign where everyone in the family will see it. 

·        Take a realistic look at the number of gifts you plan to give and the amount you plan to spend. Will Christmas leave you with credit card debt you’ll be paying well into swim season? Is this necessary? Is it wise? How about making gifts from items you have on hand? Or making up songs or poems or choosing to give only gifts of time spent together?

·        As you’re thinking about Christmas, consider the environmental costs of things like wrapping paper. Forget buying it and you not only save money, but help the planet out too. Very little of the wrapping paper purchased is recycled and even doing that takes energy.

·     What kinds of family activities do you find relaxing and fun? Choose to do one or two of those as the holiday approaches. None of them need cost any money

·     Give yourself the gift of calm every day. Ask your mate or a friend for a massage, a cup of tea, time for a bath or a walk. Think about what would help, then request it.

·     Stay away from the frenzy. Avoid any activity you find stressful from malls to tree lighting ceremonies attended by thousands of people.  

·     Surround yourself in peace. Turn the lights down, burn beeswax candles, play soft music during stressful times. For instance, if preparing dinner for the kids is a nightmare, create a quiet atmosphere and ask them to whisper. Make it a game and they will likely play along.

·     Make eye contact. One reason children seem to act out more around the holidays is because they want attention. Simply sitting with them for a few minutes at a time, looking them in the eye (no distractions) and talking, is calming and may help calm you too.

·     Say “No.” Refuse to take on any more than you can comfortably handle. You do not have to bake cookies for your kids’ school just because you’re the only mom available. If they don’t have cookies for their party, it’s not your problem. Seriously, you can’t do everything and the more you say “yes,” the more you’ll be expected to take on. 

·     Approach your holiday meal with the thought that the most important thing is to have everyone gathered together for a fun and meaningful event, not to have so much food that no one can get up from the table without help! What this means is to shop carefully in terms of the amount of food you purchase so that little is wasted. If you find planning a huge meal stressful, how about simplifying it. Try a fondue, desserts only (and guests bring them), or a lunch, when people tend to be happier with less.

Remember that having a green Christmas isn’t about buying and neither is enjoying a calmer one. It’s about realizing the simple joys that come from being together and knowing how easy (and inexpensive), it is to achieve.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Green and Frugal: Low-cost Photo Christmas Cards

I love sending and receiving holiday cards. Since most everything is done online, it can be hard to send a thoughtful, personal card. Sending a photo card of the kids and/or the entire family is a great way to send a thoughtful, custom holiday card.

Last year I shelled out over $100 on cards, envelopes and shipping for approximately 100 cards ($1 a card -- eek!!). Not exactly frugal. This year, after complimenting a friend on her card, she mentioned that she used Costco. Costco?! I didn't even know they handled photos, let alone Christmas cards. Best of all, they do it completely online, just like the "other guys" (i.e., Kodak Gallery, Snapfish, Tiny Prints, etc.) I shouldn't say that's the best part...the best part is the price, which was ridiculously cheap!! My 75 cards cost a mere $22 (or $.30 a card)!!! Granted I had to pick up the cards at Costco, but I still think it was well worth it.

With this great frugal discovery, I also realized that Costco does photo calendars! The ones I do each year for my family and both sets of grandparents for no less than $19.99 per calendar. Costco, which again offers the same online service and features of the other guys, charged a mere $9.99 per calendar. I can just see the frugal Gods smiling down on my savings and this incredible discovery! LOL!

Think you can beat that? I would LOVE to hear about your frugal Christmas card ideas. :)

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Website Review:

Have I got a new site for you! It's A little background on how I stumbled across this frugal find...

During this past Thanksgiving, I was picking my future sister-in-law's brain. Leslie, who I've fondly dubbed "the coupon whore" (a huge compliment). She is a borderline extreme couponer (I keep trying to get her to sign up to go on the show, Extreme Couponing). With a ridiculous stockpile (my brother claims he can shave for five years without ever having to buy a razor), she regularly spends only $30-$50 on her "big" food shopping trips. The same ones that usually cost me $150-$200, and I use coupons and try to buy all products on sale. Needless to say, I felt I had much to learn. I asked Leslie how she finds her deals, and she directed me to (LRWC).

I recommend signing up for the site's email, which brings all of the daily deals right to your in-box.

Also be sure to check out the beginner's area to get acclimated with acronyms, how to organize your coupons, where to find coupons and how to save the most money.

One of the reasons that I really like this site is because Cindy (the site's owner) is from NJ. Many of the Extreme Coupon episodes are set in the Midwest, using grocery stores that we don't have in the Northeast.

Plus, the site is easy to follow, breaks the deals down by week, by store and enables you to create a list that you can print or email.

I was so excited that I planned my first outing to CVS today to take advantage of some deals. Here's what I was able to get:


2 Pantene Shampoos @ $3.49 each
1 Tide Laundry Detergent @ $5.94

1 Oral B SpinBrushes @ $4.99 
1 Olay Regenerist Facial Cleanser @ $20.99
1 Dawn Dish Detergent @ $.99

Coupons used

1 $5.00/$20.00 Purchase at CVS (newspaper)
1 $3.00/2 Pantene Products from the 11/27 PG
1 $3.00/1 Oral B SpinBrush from 11/27 PG
1 $3.00/1 Olay Regenerist Cleanser or Moisturizer
1 $1.50/Tide Detergent or Downy Softener

Subtotal: $24.18
Tax: $2.44
Total OOP: $26.62
Received $10.00 Gift card

In my mind essentially, I spent $16.62 since I received a gift card (I chose Barnes & Noble), which I'll use as a teacher gift. While I wish I had less out of pocket, I was pretty pleased with my first outing using LRWC. Plus, my receipt says I saved $31.06, which means my total would have been $57.68 without the coupons (I still would have received the $10 gift card.)

Let me know what you think of the site or if there are other sites you enjoy for learning the ropes of extreme couponing.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Tis the Season for Love Drop

Help give a Love Drop this season!

This Christmas the team's coming together for Diomi and her son Nallee, who are going into the cold Milwaukee winter with very little food, clothes, and other necessities. Diomi has been through so much, including the loss of her father, the loss of her job, and clinical depression. But even through the pain you can see all the love she has for Nallee, who has one of the most beautiful personalities you'll find. :)

We want to make this month special for them! We're working with their pastor to help get things they really need, including school uniforms for Nallee, interview clothes for Diomi as she looks for a job, and food to help them through the winter months.

If you can find it in your hearts to give one extra gift this year, whether it be money or a helpful item they can use, please send it in - our goal is to reach $3,000 worth of necessities.

Want to join us in helping Diomi and Nallee? Here are 3 ways:
  1. Give $1 -- This money will be put towards basic necessities and care, maybe even a Christmas present or two. (They're currently spending it alone, without anything at all.)
  2. Give a gift card -- Gift cards are extremely helpful, especially to places that are national.
  3. Donate personal products -- These two need anything you can thing of in the personal product department: bathroom/kitchen/bedroom stuff, etc.
Thanks guys! You can reach the Love Drop team anytime over at: team (at) love drop (dot) us, or by checking them out at Thanks everyone! We'll let you know how it goes!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Green and Frugal: Methods for Dealing with Bed Bugs

Green Methods for Dealing with Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have received some renewed attention in the last several years and complaints about them seem to have risen. In addition, a more mobile society has allowed the pests to spread more easily. Pesticides once were seen as the solution but there are now concerns about their effects on human health and the environment. Thankfully, for those of us that try to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, there are “green” ways to prevent a bed bug infestation or to deal with one if it occurs.

Preventing an Infestation
The easiest way to eliminate an infestation of bed bugs is to take measures to prevent one from happening in the first place.

*Clothes – When returning from a trip immediately place all clothing and linens in the dryer and run for 30 minutes. Sustained heat will kill bed bugs and their eggs.

*Vacuum – Maintain a regular schedule of vacuuming carpets and mattresses. Be sure to run the vacuum after overnight guests leave to be sure they did not inadvertently bring some pest with them in their luggage.

*Bed space – Bed bugs like to hide in the baseboards of walls and any other cracks they can find. Keep beds away from walls and place pest strips around the bottoms of the legs. Be sure to calk and seal all cracks around the house.

*Remove clutter – Bed bugs will use clutter as a hiding space so eliminating it can go a long way toward preventing an infestation.

*Inspections – Create and maintain a schedule of checking mattresses, furniture cushions and curtains, all of which can be hiding places for the pests. Look for dark red stains or other specks. Be sure to inspect any seams in the mattresses or bedding.

Battling an Infestation
Once bed bugs have made their way into a house it can be difficult to extract them. Professional pest removal services may be necessary, but there are some less expensive, more environmentally-friendly methods to try first.

*Bag them – A mattress bag can be used to encase the mattress and smother the bugs. It will also prevent future infestations.

*Take a steam – Temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit are deadly to bed bugs. Steam cleaning mattresses, carpets, furniture and drapes will destroy them.

*Use some alcohol – A mist of at least 70 percent rubbing alcohol to 30 percent water will also be effective, though it may need to be done more than once.

*Wash and dry – Any linen or clothing that has shown signs of bed bugs should be washed and dried while removal methods are being used. Run a vacuum over areas where evidence of bed bugs has been found.

Using green methods to battle bed bugs will require more effort than simply calling in a specialist, especially after they have made an appearance in a residence. The benefit is that it can be much healthier for those living in the home, and less expensive. Knowing how to keep the pests out is the best defense, but there are simple, non-toxic ways to eradicate them if they find their way inside.

This is a guest post from Karen Barnes, who encourages people to look at bed bug bite pictures to confirm bed bugs are the actual pests they’re dealing with. She believes it’s possible to get rid of bed bugs using inexpensive, eco-friendly methods that won’t expose families to harmful pesticides.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buy Local for a No-Guilt Thanksgiving

Depending on where you live, this time of year it can be a real challenge to buy locally grown or raised food. But it's important, especially as we approach our most foodcentric holidays.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture compared what it takes to haul food from other states into Iowa with semi-trailer trucks versus hauling by small light trucks within the state. Simply upping the in-state number by 10% would result in an annual fuel savings ranging from 294,000 to 348,000 gallons and annual emissions reductions ranging from 7 million to 7.9 million pounds.

And two years ago, the University of Washington predicted that if half of all King County's (WA), approximately 1.8 million residents ate a locally grown Thanksgiving dinner instead of an "imported" one, they could avoid contributing to emissions equal to 2.4 million vehicle miles.

So homegrown or neaby-grown food can have an environmental impact even greater than what the big meal has on our waistlines!

Of course, most of us are aware that the grapes we use to garnish our Thanksgiving dessert may have spent two weeks traveling to get to us before being placed on display where they might languish another few days before we bring them home. Fresh, they're not.

Unfortunately, the main constraint on shopping at your local farmer's homestead is the time of year. Unless you live in a temperate climate or are blessed with a heated greenhouse, obtaining fruits and vegetables locally year around means that at some point in the summer you may be inundated by zucchini and by January you're beginning to dislike turnips with a passion usually reserved for politicians. 

But just because our consciences won't allow us to enjoy oranges in November if we live in New York doesn't mean our Thanksgiving tables will look barren.

Here are some ideas for finding locally grown foods and other Thanksgiving goodies.

1. Check for what's in season and available in your neck of the woods. 

2. While most farmers markets are closed for the season, some sell year round. Do a search for "year around farmers market+your city" and see what you find. (Local Harvest also may list them.)

3. Check local farms. Again, do an online search, i.e. "organic farm near Seattle," then if you find some, call and see what they will be offering prior to Thanksgiving. 

4. Your natural market or co-op is the most obvious source of local fare.

Now that you've discovered some great places to buy, how do you afford it? Here are some ideas for saving green when buying green.

1. Group buy. Get together with friends/neighbors/schools and propose to purchase in bulk. Let your friendly neighborhood farmer know that you are willing to buy 50 pounds of her organic sweet potatoes and she's more likely to give you a good price. Why not approach your local natural food store with the same offer−it never hurts to ask.

2. Seriously consider how much food you need too pull of the best Thanksgiving ever. Will serving six dishes instead of ten make the holiday any less successful? Eliminate the dishes with the most expensive ingredients, substitute less costly alternatives or leave them out. 

3. Vow not to purchase anything but food. No décor (borrow from nature), flowers (ditto), tablecloths, napkins, plates, glasses or silverware (borrow or have guests bring their own place settings and tell them you're having "an old-fashioned Thanksgiving," because that's what people did before there were paper plates and plastic flatware). You also could rent or purchase for very little at a thrift store.

4. Put together a potluck Thanksgiving where you provide only the main item, usually the turkey, unless you're going vegetarian. Assign all other dishes to guests.

5. Forage. No kidding. You may find everything from seafood to mushrooms and greens out your backdoor. But be sure to know what you're doing before you try this one. You don't want to kill anyone off as a result of eating at your house! If you hurry, there may be time to sign up for a foraging class before the holidays.

6. Trade. Know a local farmer, but can't afford to purchase what you want to feed your party? Ask what he needs. Maybe he'll trade six months of haircuts or carwashes, babysitting or weeding for a big bird.

Aim for a 100% local meal, but if you can't reach it, know that you tried. And in doing so, surely you've most likely impoved. Next thing you know, you'll be thinking about Thanksgiving 2012 in July and freeze veggies in anticipation!

This guest post is brought to you by Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at

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Friday, November 11, 2011

A Green and Frugal Way to Bring Back Memories

Have you ever noticed how powerful scents can be? They can relax, inspire or transport us back to another time and place. Best of all, the scents and smells of nature don't cost a dime and have no impact on the environment, making it a green and frugal way to take a stroll down memory lane.

Fresh-cut Grass
Aside from the allergy-prone, who doesn't love that first dose of fresh-cut grass on a sunny spring day? For me, it takes me back to high school when I used to play field hockey. During our Saturday morning practice, you could smell the cut grass of the field we would play on. To this day, I still find that scent invigorating. It makes me want to pick up a field hockey stick and run!

Ocean Air
Being a Jersey girl, it's not unusual to take a day trip to the shore. You know you've arrived, when you roll down your window and take a deep inhale of that ocean air. There's no smell like it in the world. It reminds me of days at the beach with my my husband when he was a lifeguard...and my wedding day since we were married at the shore and had our wedding photos on the beach. Regardless of the emotion, it always evokes incredibly happy memories. That's probably why going to the shore is one of my favorite places to go -- and one of my favorite scents!

Pine Trees
Mind you, I'm not talking about the car deodorizer pine scent. When I smell fresh pine trees, it reminds me of Christmas and all the December festivities. It makes me want to decorate a tree and start wrapping presents. The smell of pine trees is so natural and makes me want to get rid of our artificial Christmas tree and chop down a pine!

When I get a whiff of eucalyptus, I immediately want a massage. This scent is so often used in spas and by massage therapists that just the scent of it can put me at ease. It's invigorating and calming all at the same time. Whenever I'm given aromatherapy options during a spa visit, I always opt for eucalyptus. It's my calming scent of choice!

Scents are so incredibly powerful in how they can transport us to a different place and time. It's no wonder they can be used therapeutically to relax, calm and energize your spirits.

What scents bring back memories for you? What is your favorite smell and what does it remind you of?
Note: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seventh Generation blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Be Green and Save Money While Driving

Car makers have embraced the call to produce new vehicles that get better gas mileage and have fewer emissions. Those cars are still out of the price range of many customers, though. However, there are ways drivers of traditional vehicles can reduce their impact on the environment and save money while getting day to day activities accomplished.

While Driving

By changing a few driving habits, better gas mileage can be achieved, meaning less fuel will be required.
*Watch the speed – Everybody gets in a rush now and then, but driving at excessive speeds can cause the vehicle to use more gasoline. Gas mileage begins to drop off considerably when speeds reach more than 60 miles per hour.
*Go easy on the brake – Constantly braking and accelerating is not only hard on the car, it can use more gas. Try coasting to stops when possible and accelerate gently.

*Drive fewer miles – It’s a simple equation – driving more miles increases the amount of gas used and pollution released into the air. Find ways to get tasks done with less driving. When running errands, plan stops out ahead of time to avoid doubling back. Use the highway whenever possible to avoid city driving, which lowers gas mileage. Create a car pool to work so several passengers can ride in one vehicle.

*Unload – Empty the vehicle of any excess baggage. The more weight the car has to push around the more gas it will be forced to use. Avoid hauling anything on top of the vehicle unless necessary because doing so reduces its aerodynamics, forcing it to work harder.

*Refuel wisely – There are certain times of the day when it can be advantageous to fill the tank. During warm days, try to gas up in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler. This will reduce how much gasoline evaporates into the air during refueling. Try to avoid gassing up at all on Ozone Action Days.

A well-maintained vehicle will perform better and pollute less. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule but also periodically check these items.

*Tires – Properly inflated tires can increase gas mileage and will also lead to less wear and tear on them, meaning they will not need as replaced as often. Check the owner’s manual to find what the proper pressure should be.

*Tune the engine – An improperly tuned engine will produce more air pollution and require more fuel. A faulty oxygen sensor can reduce mileage by as much as 40 percent.

*Air filters – A clogged air filter can reduce gas mileage by up to 10 percent, so check it regularly and replace when it becomes dirty.

Buying a new, environmentally-friendly vehicle may be the ultimate goal to help the planet while driving, but it might not be achievable for a couple of years. In the meantime, there are several ways to get the most out of a current car while saving money and polluting less.

This is a guest post from Jane Simpson, who has adapted the eco-friendly driving habits outlined above and now spends less on gas each month. She used a calculate car payment website to help plan her budget before she bought a more fuel efficient used car.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Go Green: Buy a Used Car

Here are the top 3 reasons to buy a used car:
  1. Buying a used car puts less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  2. You can avoid the debt of a new car and save some money.
  3. Get something fuel efficient, there are a lot of used cars with 30+ mpg, and more than a few that reach into the 40's.
Now you have an exciting new resource to purchase a used car -- Hertz Rent2Buy! Many used car dealerships buy their cars from auctions, which is how rental car companies get rid of their cars. Hertz Rent2Buy cuts out the middle man and sells directly to consumers, enabling you to save 15-20% versus what you would pay a car dealership.

Best of all, Hertz is giving my readers an incentive to purchase a used car by offering $100 off the purchase of some of their barely used cars for sale. is an innovative way to check out used cars and prices. Be sure to see the wide variety of high quality cars and amazing deals. To receive $100 off, use promo code R2B-CSU.

Start Shopping Now!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thinking Outside the (Conventional) Candy Box this Halloween

Halloween is supposed to be nothing but fun for kids. Yet there are some scary statistics out there right now about our children. For one, this is the first generation of American children whose life expectancy is now shorter than their parents. And for another, if the current trend continues, one in every three children will develop diabetes in her lifetime.

"But Halloween is only one holiday. Why can't we let kids eat all the candy they want?" some might ask. If candy were only doled out by the handful once a year, it might be all right. (Even then, some parents would prefer moderation and still, we would face the issues of the unhealthy chemicals in the candy.)

But the fact is that many of our holidays have turned into sweetfests-Valentine's Day and Easter, for example, to say nothing of kids' birthday parties and other celebrations throughout the year. Add to this the candy children receive if they accompany you to the bank (even the doctor!), the dry cleaners or pet store. Some teachers even hand out candy as a reward for good behavior.

So it's not about once a year. It's about recognizing the impact of our national sweet tooth (and our reliance on artificially derived and modified ingredients), and how we can help our children to enjoy healthy and safe alternatives, even when celebrating.

What to Give Instead?
If you don't want to hand out conventional candy this year, what can you substitute? Lots of things. You can choose from an assortment of organic candies, and/or those made without dyes and preservatives, and that use juice or fruit for sweetening. Or consider honey sticks, a favorite among kids of all ages. (But do not give honey to children under the age of two.)

If you'd prefer to skip the candy altogether but still want to offer food-how about real fruit strips and rolls, dried organic fruit, whole food bars, raw or toasted nuts (check with parents of young children due to allergy concerns), natural gum, organic crispy rice bars, or pumpkin and other seeds. (For a longer list with specific brands, check out

Treasures Instead of Treats?
Another alternative is to substitute "treasures" for treats. Think about it this way. When you empty your kids' pockets before doing the laundry, what do you find? These are things your children think of as precious even if you do not-bits of shiny paper, rock crystals, acorns, for example.So when it comes to treasures, don't dismiss them just because you think kids will turn up their noses. Ask them! You might be surprised that they would be happy to receive stickers, friendship bracelets, coins (who doesn't love money?), polished rocks, sea shells, cookie cutters, or other small items. (Lots more treasure ideas at Green Halloween.)

Enter the Bowl
To ensure you offer something children will like, fill a bowl with a variety of treats and treasures, then invite children to take their pick. You will no doubt be surprised at their choices.

At a Halloween event a couple of years ago, we placed a bowl filled with feathers on a table in our booth. Adults passed by without a second glance. But as kids approached, their eyes grew wide and they asked, "Can I have one?" So many wanted a feather that we ran out in an hour. They blew them into the air, they tried to tickle themselves (or their siblings), or lightly brushed the feathers against their cheeks. Boys, girls, teens and tweens all had the same reaction. 

Who would think that today's children who seem to be entertained only when they are plugged in, could enjoy something as simple as a feather? 

So this Halloween, offer lots of choices, allow children to pick their favorite instead of taking a handful (which, no matter what is chosen, is not only better for kids' health, but also should cut down on your purchase costs) and feel great about providing the children who come to your door with a healthier Halloween.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors ofCelebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at 

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Hey guys! The Love Drop team is at it again! They just came back from the Boston area where they dropped $5,000 worth of appliances and gifts to a woman who recently got hit by a car and is recovering in a wheelchair, and THIS month they're trying to round up the love for precious newborn triplets!

We want to help Jeff and Becca (the parents) prepare to bring them home from the hospital, as all three were born very underweight and are currently in the Neonatal ICU (they're doing great though! And will be coming home soon). With four children already, adding a surprise batch of triplets is going to put considerable financial strain on the family, and that's where we come in!

Let's help give them everything they need to welcome the triplets home, including diapers, food, furniture, gift cards - any cool baby stuff you can think of. We're shooting for at least $3,000 in cash, plus gifts.

Want to help? Here are three ways you can participate:

  1. Give $1.00 -- This money will help go to their family, and every dollar counts!
  2. Give a gift card -- Gift cards are extremely helpful. Places like Target, Wal-mart, restaurants, etc would be incredible.
  3. Donate baby stuff! -- Specifically diapers, formula and clothes. Gift cards here are awesome too. (Or maybe you have contacts in the baby world?)

You can reach the Love Drop team here anytime with questions: or by checking them out at Thanks everyone! We'll let you know how it goes!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tips for Preparing Healthy Family Meals on a Budget

As the price of fuel has risen during the past few years, the cost of transporting food has been passed on to the consumer, and groceries now take up a greater part of the family budget. This is one area, however, that is easy to manage with just a few simple tricks of the trade. The following ideas can result in big savings each month without sacrificing the family’s health:

Meat Substitutes that Kids Love
Protein is especially important for growing children, but meat can be costly. Most markets have a day when they mark down meat that is going out of date, and this is the perfect time to buy enough to stock the freezer. However, the best way to stretch grocery dollars is to replace meats with other items that are packed with protein:

  • Use beans or peas to make nutritious soups, but use creative names that children find fascinating. This might be anything from "SpongeBob’s Crabby Patty Stew" to "Slime Time Veggie Soup". Once the kids are attracted to the name, they will love getting to choose the ingredients and throw them into the pot of broth.
  • Use nuts or nut butters to make creative faces. If the children have no allergies to these, they can stretch food dollars a long way, especially when purchased in bulk. Place a few in the salad to add protein or make an open face sandwich, using dried raisins to make funny faces. Fill sticks of celery with a nut butter and sprinkle with raisins to make "Ants on a Log."
  • Yogurt is also a great way to add protein without breaking the grocery budget because coupons are almost always available for this product. Kids are more likely to eat this healthy treat if it is frozen with a wooden stick or the spoon in it. This Popsicle makes a great snack.

Meal Planning that Stretches the Dollar
When planning a grocery trip, the following tips will help reduce the final bill:

  • Always make a list using the weekly ads for the local grocery stores and do not forget the drug stores, which often have better sales.
  • Buy larger sizes of most items and divide these into smaller portions at home.
  • Buy seasonal items at farmer’s markets.
  • Stock up on sale items.
  • Use an online coupon site that matches sale items with coupons available to double up on savings.
Surprisingly, kids will eat most new foods if the dish looks particularly appealing, has a fun name, or if they get to help with the preparation. Always take time to let them help plan and prepare some of the meals for the week. With a little forward planning it’s possible for the whole family to eat healthily without going over budget.

This is a guest post from Nicola Roberts, who enjoys the challenge of feeding her family on a tight budget. Since using a weightloss calculator and setting her personal weight loss goals, she has become more aware of healthy eating and the importance of teaching kids the skills to prepare healthy meals.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Smart Ways to Save Money with Alternative Energy

Millions of people are already taking more than just a passive interest in adopting alternative
energy sources and green applications to help them energize everything from their alarm clock
to their automobile. As time marches on and as researchers continue to improve the output
capacities of an ever widening selection of alternative energy sources, innovators and early
adapters continue to pave the way for alternative energy applications for the rest of mankind.

Now demanding more and more attention as oil prices skyrocket, the negative impacts that
burning coal has on our environment becoming ever more apparent, and the dangers of nuclear
energy again brought to light with the recent devastating tsunami in Japan, people are re-
focusing on safe and renewable sources for their energy. Many hope to be able to separate
themselves from reliance on nuclear or fossil fuels by turning to the following alternative energy
  • Solar
  • Geothermal
  • Wind
  • Water
  • Biomass technologies
Always at the heart of the matter, personal economics will continue to play a huge roll in just
how fast the world can transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Slowly the tide
is turning as advances in the technologies listed above become more and more economically
viable. In some ways this is as much as a reflection of basic supply and demand as it is political
and social pressure being brought to bear in an attempt to push a psychic change in the way we
view energy consumption. In another vein, education is playing a key role as well as more people
are becoming aware of alternative energy sources through government programs, commercial
advertising, and the efforts of green advocates from across the planet.

Three things that are definitely working in favor of continuing a successful transition to
green technologies and the development of more and more practical applications and uses of
alternative energies are:
  1. Ever rising costs for traditional fossil fuels
  2. Continuously reduced comparative costs for alternative sources
  3. Reduced payback models and more favorable cost/benefit analysis results
The fact that fossil fuels have a finite supply is not news anymore. In fact, with dwindling
supplies and more expensive extraction efforts being needed to obtain these resources, these
two cost drivers are constantly putting upward pressure on their commodity prices in the market
place. Increased prices for oil and coal equates to increased prices for the electricity that is
produced when using these energy sources in the power plants.

At its simplest level, this could mean that the cost of powering your electric tooth brush has
gone from 20 cents a month to 40 cents a month. One can always go back to brushing their teeth
manually, they can accept the additional costs associated with the increase in their utility bill, or
they can seek out a cost effective alternative. The beauty of competition is that it creates options
where options were not available before, and alternative energy sources are currently being
developed to fill this void.

Many people start out thinking small. By installing a single solar panel, they may be able to
supply power to charge that electric toothbrush, operate their coffee pot and their alarm clock,
and with a battery backup system, be able to turn on the light on the nightstand when they wake
up in the morning. One solar panel with an energy collection device like a rechargeable battery
may be able to support one's whole "wake-up" package for the morning saving somewhere in the
neighborhood of $5.00 a month.

Comparative costs are falling for installing alternative energy devices
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the facts that as technologies advance in alternative
energy sources, economies of scale and the economies of scope begin to come into play. As
demand for alternative energy sources increases, the cost per kilowatt begins to drop as well. As
manufacturers see more and more demand for alternative energy sources, they are responding
by developing improved products like more efficient solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal
devices, etc.

Basic laws of supply and demand are moving in the direction of making alternative energy
an increasingly viable option. As mentioned earlier, many innovators and early adapters have
already taken the plunge to invest in alternative energy sources to reduce or eliminate their
dependence on traditional utility generated electricity. With more options becoming available
every day, many new home construction projects are including the installation of alternative
energy devices as part of the original package and bundling the cost into the overall financing
package. Additionally, with certain tax benefits available for making this type of investment,
the reduced tax liabilities in combination with utility saving can often dramatically improve the
payback period for this investment.

Payback analysis
Going back to our "wake-up" package with an estimated saving on the utility bill of $5.00 a
month, one should ask the question, "If I can build and install a solar panel with a rechargeable
battery system by myself for about $300, how long will it take to payback this $300 investment?"
Simple math would indicate that the payback period would be ($300/$5.00 a month) = 60
months, or a period of 5 years. A 5 year payback in light of a 30 year mortgage seems pretty
reasonable doesn't it? (Note - this payback does not factoring in any benefit that may be derived
through any favorable tax treatments from making the investment).

In addition, one should never forget what happens after the payback period has been achieved
- this $5.00 a month in savings starts going right into your own pocket! Once the sunk cost
has been recovered, it is all direct savings for you. One is then free to reinvest in their next
alternative energy project, or to simply enjoy the savings. One last consideration to make is the
nature of rising energy costs as well. More likely than not, 5 years from now, your $5.00 a month
savings could easily be $6.00 or $7.00 with the pace that energy costs are rising today. Higher
energy costs will help to reduce the payback period significantly.

H.M is highly involved in alternative energy discussions and he also run a site, Alternative Energy Geek, where he enjoys teaching people how to make our world greener.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

10 Ways to Make This the Greenest School Year Yet!

Kids are back in school and happily, more schools are aiming to make their environments healthier for students and the planet.

You and your children can help. Below are some simple things you can to to encourage sustainability in schools.

Before you leap in though, be sure to get support, buy in and permission from the principal (for any ideas below that would require it), and anyone else you might need it from. Nothing will quash a program more quickly than a loud, "No!" after the fact.

1. Pack a no-waste lunch. Pack a lunch with no leftovers in food or packaging. Why use paper or plastic bags when you can substitute sustainable packaging like reusable cloth bags, stainless steel and yes, even glass containers, cloth napkins and reusable tableware. Be sure to talk with your child about the no waste goal and encourage her to bring home anything she doesn't eat to snack on later in the day. (Include a cold pack in her lunch bag.)

2. Provide a party package. Offer teachers a box filled with reusable items for parties. Include napkins, plates, bowls, cups and flatware. If you're especially creative, you can even include decor items. Let the teacher know that you're willing to pick up everything after each party, take it home, clean and return. Donate extras you have at home or purchase items inexpensively at a thrift store or ask each child's family to contribute one place setting.

3. Send reusable water bottles. Avoid buying bottled water and sending children to school with it. Instead, fill a metal bottle with filtered water each night then put it in the freezer so your child has cold water to drink throughout the day.

4. Motivate your child's school to become a "green school." There are many green schools initiatives across the country. Some may involve grants to schools that make changes like saving energy or creating and integrating sustainable curriculum. Talk to your school's parent-teacher group and the principal about the importance of this type of program to the students. You can learn more at any of these sites:
Or how about nominating your school for a green makeover? Enter here.

5. Set up cap recycling program. You might be shocked if you counted how many lids/caps you toss every year-twist tops and flip tops of all kinds. Unfortunately these often are not accepted in municipal recycling programs. But you can send or take them to Aveda or send them to the Caps Can Do program via Recycling is Cool. Set out a collection box, inform kids and parents and you'll be on your way to keeping thousands of plastic caps out of landfills.

6. Volunteer to help start a garden. School gardens are catching on and for good reason. Kids tend to eat what they grow, cutting down on waste in lunchrooms and leading children down the path to healthier eating. Start small, with one class planting something that's easy to grow like lettuce. You could even grow it in pots if the school isn't willing to give up land (at first) for the project.

7. Set up a worm bin. Kids love worms. Worms love turning food waste into gorgeously perfect compost. It's a marriage made in heaven. Get instructions on the internet and maybe approach the science teacher first with this idea. Worm castings fetch a pretty penny so this green project could be turned into a money maker for the school!

8. Talk to schools about using green cleaning products and limiting the use of pesticides. When you walk into a building and can smell chlorine, that's not a good sign. There are so many strong cleaning products that do not contain harmful chemicals and that are not necessarily more expensive. Many school faculty just aren't aware of the issues with chemically laden products used inside and out. Educate them!

9. Volunteer to do art projects using junk. So many elementary schools have lost their art instructors and teachers may be intimidated by the thought of teaching this subject. You can step in and offer to show kids how to make things from everyday objects that usually are tossed from plastic bags to bottles and cans, paper, fabric, wire, wood, styrofoam. Even if you're not crafty yourself, the internet is paradise when it comes to sparking ideas. 

10. Ask the school to use low-odor dry erase markers and dust free chalk. Offer to purchase them for your children's teachers if cost is an issue.

Run with one or two of these ideas to help your kids and their school on the path to sustainability.

This guest post was brought to you by Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson who are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who Do You Think Are the Most Socially Responsible Companies?

When you're shopping or using a company's services, do you ever give a thought to whether or not they are a socially responsible organization? recently came out with a list of the top 40 socially responsible companies, and I think you may be surprised at some of the organizations that made the cut.

From Amazon putting its weight behind frustration-free packaging (they ban clamshell casings, wire ties and plastic bindings) to Zappos, who offers free lunches, life coaching, and no-charge vending machines to their employees, these are companies you can work for and shop from, guilt free. 

I was personally surprised to see Costco on the list, which has a unique focus on employee benefits. In the U.S., 85% of Costco employees enjoy health coverage, putting to shame the average of less than 50% covered at Target and Walmart.

Check out these 40 Socially Responsible Companies and tell me which ones you could've predicted...and which ones sort of shocked you.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Enter to Win a $75 Target Gift Card From

What is It's a great site where you can buy, sell or exchange gift cards. I love this concept! How many times have you received a gift cards to a retailer or establishment that you either don't frequent or you don't have one located near you? Instead of feeling guilty about letting a gift card go to waste, visit

Think of as the "Google of Gift Cards."  There are so many different gift card brokers on the internet that it's mind boggling and impossible to find your way around without a tool. That’s where Gift Card Granny comes in -- a discount gift card shopping search engine.

Gift Card Granny saves you both time and money. The site directs you to the most reliable places with the very best deals - which saves you time. Plus you can contrast and compare the different deals by a number of criteria - so you save money.

Best of all, our friends at are helping us to give away a $75 gift card to Target.

Enter to Win Now
Here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Create a gift card alert at
2. Follow GiftCardGranny on Twitter and send a tweet tagged @GiftCardGranny and @yoursite
3. Google +1 your favorite brand page on

Once you've completed these three tasks, leave a comment for me letting me know which requirements you've fulfilled, with links included where applicable. 

Hurry -- this contest runs now through Oct. 15!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Green and Frugal: Swap and Save

Here are some great tips from our friends at
Thanks to the frugal and green movements, more consumers are opting to swap their unused items, rather than go through the hassle of a garage sale or the expense of tossing them into the county landfill.  As a result, swap and barter websites have become vastly more popular than in their early days. We found 40 that allow you to trade just about everything, including services and jobs. Before you dive in, though, be sure to consult our checklist for "safer swapping."

For example:
  • Look for feedback on "sellers," much as you would on eBay, and avoid those with negative comments.
  • Some sites require members to register a PayPal account or credit-card number for verification purposes. Look for "https" in the url before providing this information.
For more ideas, check out 40 Website Where You Can Swap and Save

Where do you like to swap and save?
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ideas for Giving Your Kitchen a Green Makeover without Going Over-Budget

There are a lot of options that need to be considered when giving a kitchen a makeover, not least how to include some environmentally-friendly measures and stay within budget. Fortunately, there are ways to get a great looking kitchen while also being mindful of the planet and not spending a lot of money.

Going green and saving
There has been a major push the last several years to find ways of doing things that are less harmful to the environment, and remodeling a kitchen is no exception.

*Appliances – If the current appliances are still in good working order the most environmentally-friendly option is to keep them and not throw them into a landfill. They can be cleaned up and even re-painted using appliance paint. However, if new ones are needed or desired, look for those that carry the Energy Star label. These appliances contain efficiency measures that use less energy, which is good for the environment and will save on monthly electric bills. They may also have rebates or tax credits included.

*Cabinets – Again, painting or staining the current ones (using eco-friendly products) may be the best and least expensive option. The knobs can be replaced using recycled glass or some other material. If new versions are needed, consider a set of wood kitchen cabinets. These are safer for indoor air quality than those made from particle board, because they don’t emit toxic vapors, and you can save money by purchasing ready-to-assemble ones that you can build yourself. A third option is to find a store that deals in cabinets made from wood reclaimed from other uses. To keep the old cabinets from going to the landfill, see if they can find new life as storage in the garage, or give away on the Freecycle website.

*Counter tops – Look into using recycled tile if a new counter top is necessary. They are one of the most inexpensive options and also allow for a great deal of creativity because the options are nearly limitless. There are even tile patterns available that mimic more expensive tops such as marble or granite.

*Flooring – Cork can be the ideal material for the flooring in a kitchen. It is durable, fairly inexpensive and more sustainable. It has natural anti-allergen properties, repels insects and mold and has a cushion to it that is good for areas where a great deal of time is spent standing. It can come in many different colors and patterns. Recycled tile can be another inexpensive option for flooring in a kitchen.

*Other areas – Smaller measures can be taken around the rest of the kitchen to remain environmentally-friendly. Recycled glass can be used for the backsplash instead of tile, energy efficient light fixtures will save on electricity and new sink fixtures can help conserve water.

When remodeling a kitchen, it is possible to make it beautiful, functional and eco-friendly without completely breaking the budget. It will be a room to show off to guests while also being good for the planet.

This is a guest post from Katie Brooks, who enjoys the challenge of her green and frugal lifestyle. She recently built her own natural maple kitchen cabinets, saving money on labor costs and improving the air quality in her home.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

July's Love Drop: Let's Help 4-year-old Felicity

The Love Drop team is at it again! Last month they gave over $5,000 worth of cash and goods to their recipient, the Aubin family, who was struggling financially after the passing of their dad, and this month they're ready to do it again and help out another person. :) They've given out over $45,000 in the past 6 months, and show no signs of stopping.  If you know of anyone yourself that could use their help, make sure to let them know.

This month they're heading down to Atlanta to help Felicity, a little 4-year-old girl who was just diagnosed with brain cancer. Felicity had immediate surgery and is currently undergoing aggressive radiation treatments for the remaining portion of her tumor. We want to raise $5,000 for her family to help cover mounting medical costs, as well as the future expenses of a new baby who's on its way will bring. With your support and generosity, we can really do something special for them!

Here are three ways you can help:
  • Give $25 towards medical bills -- Click this link to contribute $25 towards Felicity's radiation treatments. It'll help them out a ton!
  • Give a gift or service -- Gift cards are always helpful.  Places like Target, Wal-mart, restaurants, etc. would definitely help them out. Services too -- especially those you can offer yourselves, or from your company.
  • Join our blogger network -- Blog about our Love Drops each month like I am. :) It's easy, it's rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps our families). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.
Thanks so much guys!  Here's to a great month of paying it forward!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Green and Frugal: Ever Hear of Arbonne?

A few years ago I was invited to an Arbonne party. Arbonne is essentially a skin care, wellness and health company. They've been in business for more than 30 years and they tout high-quality products that are environmentally friendly.

Fast forward to this past month where I was once again invited to learn about Arbonne by a friend. However, this time I was presented with the Arbonne business opportunity, which is involves network marketing. Basically, it's about marketing peer to peer and leveraging your network of friends and family. Now I used to sell Cutco, so I'm familiar with how this works. While I swore I would never get involved in something like this, here I am, a new Arbonne Independent Consultant (ID: 19348436). Here's the kicker, I've never given much thought to my skin care. But as I approach middle-age (as my husband fondly reminded me the other night), I'm beginning to think more about anti-aging and the appropriate products to use. Enter the Arbonne RE9 Advanced Set, a comprehensive anti-aging skin care regimen for a youthful appearance; the set offers all six products (cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, day/night cream) for face, plus a complimentary travel-size Age-Defying Neck Cream.

After using the kit for a few days, I was hooked. I could feel and see a difference in my complexion. Not only that, when I went on vacation to Europe recently, I really missed the kit. (Note: I didn't want to pack the set for fear that it would be confiscated...which is what happened to my favorite hair gel.)

Why am I telling you all of this? For two reasons. 1) The green aspect of GreenandFrugalLiving's focus, which is exactly what all of Arbonne products are considered. They're high on quality and low on chemicals. 2) The business aspect of Arbonne is a great way to make some extra money on the side, especially if you're a stay-at-home mom or even if you work full-time outside the home. If you're dedicated and consistent, you can earn some serious money. Learn more.

Have you tried Arbonne? What did you think?

If you're interested in learning more, whether it's hosting a party (they offer great host gifts and perks), learning about the products or the business opportunity, just shoot me an email. I'd love to introduce you to Arbonne. :)

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Green and Frugal: Best Places to Find Coupons

Coupons are one of the fastest and easiest ways to save money, especially online. Never ever buy an item online without first entering the site's name and the words "coupon code" into a Google search. Guaranteed you may find a percentage discount, free shipping -- or both!

Who better to offer advice than They just came out with 52 Places to Find Coupons.

While some places may not surprise you -- manufacturers' sites, newspapers and Facebook. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find some new places to add to your coupon-scouring list, including coupon trains, tourist/visitor centers and casinos.

I, for one, just returned from a fabulous trip to France to celebrate my 10-year wedding anniversary. When we booked our vacation on, we were offered a 3-day Strasbourg pass by their Office of Tourism. For $16, the little coupon book included a number of free offers (visit the cathedral viewing platform, rent a bike for half a day) and also offered significant discounts to other tourist attractions (50% off a boat tour and 30% off any merchandise in the Office of Tourism). We more than paid for the book by taking advantage of just a few offerings!

Have any good coupon stories you'd like to share? Saving money is like sport these days, and you never know where you'll find savings!

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