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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