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4th of July Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on June 22nd, 2015

The Fourth of July is all about red, white and blue… so why does it end up costing so much green?  From patriotic clothing to yummy picnic treats to parking fees, there are hidden expenses around every corner.  BeFrugal.com has some great ideas.

1.    Take advantage of free summer outdoor activities to have fun. Some ideas include face paint, sidewalk chalk, hula hooping, running through the sprinkler, having a water balloon toss, and tossing the ball around at your nearby neighborhood park or school field.

2.    Attend a free event. Listen for activities held at parks and attractions near you. Some cities have free concerts and many have public fireworks displays.

3.    Instead of buying new clothes with patriotic colors, shop your closet. Look for anything starred, striped or red, white & blue.

4.    Don’t give into buying unnecessary items. Often at public firework displays there are goodies for sale like food and glow-in-the-dark necklaces. Pack the kids’ favorite treats and toys instead of purchasing new stuff.

5.    To keep the costs of entertaining down, hold a pot luck meal and ask guests to bring their own beverages if you are hosting a gathering. Buy items like plastic cutlery and paper plates online to take advantage of free shipping offers plus use online promo codes and earn cash back – all on the same transaction. Also look at your nearby grocery store’s weekly ads to see the sales and prepare your coupons before going to the grocery store.

Stay safe and have a great 4th!

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Free Museum Days

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 20th, 2015

The Frugal Diva loves culture and she loves the word free. By combining these two concepts, the divas of the world can soak up culture without getting soaked.

Most museums have a free day. It may be once a week, once a month, a late night but they believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy great works of art, science exhibits, and natural history.  Check the local museum websites for venues in your area.  The free day can usually be found under visitor’s information.

In Los Angeles,  the California Science Center is free every day for all permanent exhibits including the space shuttle Endeavour, the Guggenheim Museum in NYC has free or pay what you wish on upcoming Saturdays, and the Philadelphia Museum has free Wednesday nights (you can even run up the steps and stand near the Rocky statue).

Since many of you will be traveling this spring or summer here is a great site for finding free museums in your city and at your destination. Museum Free Days provides a list for many cities and links to the respective website.

In the fall, tickets for over 1400 museums across the country are available through Smithsonian Free Day and can be downloaded on August 1, 2015 from the site for you and a guest. If you are in Washington, D. C. the Smithsonian Museums are our national museums and are free every day.

The world of culture is yours – however timing is everything.

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Staying Above Water, Staying Hydrated And Why Is It So Crucial

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 19th, 2015

Today’s guest post hits the spot with information about staying hydrated.

Your body relies on water for functioning; water is the key element to our survival. Water makes up more than half of your body weight.  Each and every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on the powerful properties of water to function properly, your body uses water to maintain its Homeostasis, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is a core ingredient for optimum health.

When going about our daily routines, our bodies rids itself of water each and every day.  When use the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe, when you exercise or in the heat of the summer months you tend to lose water at an even faster rate. Vomiting, fever and diarrhea can also lead to significant fluid loss. If you don’t replenish the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

Symptoms of dehydration consist of:

  • Diminished or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • No tears when crying

Please do not wait until you recognize symptoms of dehydration to get help. Dehydration warning signs are difficult to recognize when you are already dehydrated, and pay close attention to those of the older age groups. Be proactive in the prevention of dehydration, by drinking plenty of water.

There are multiple recommendations regarding daily water consumption. Most generally people have been advised that they should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is an attainable goal for most individuals. However, various individuals need different amounts of water to maintain hydrated. Generally healthy people can stay adequately hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, less than 8 glasses of water may be enough. Other people may need significantly more than 8 glasses of water each day.

Those individuals that are at a higher risk of dehydration include those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are ill, or are unable able to get an adequate amount of fluids during the span of the day. Older adults are also at greater risk, because you age your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and relay the signals for thirst.

If you are worried that you may not be drinking enough water, observe your urine output. If your output is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are probably are staying well hydrated.

There are times you may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking, especially if you:

  • Have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones  or bladder infection
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are going to be outside during elevated temperatures
  • Are going to be active or exercising
  • Have a fever, or have been vomiting or are experiencing diarrhea
  • Are on a weight lost diet.

Water is the best choice for staying hydrated. There are a variety of  drinks and foods that can assist in providing you with an adequate amount of water, so that you can get the amount of water that you need, but some of these other options tend to add  many extra not needed, unhealthy calories from sugar to your diet.

If you feel that water can not be your only option, due to its tasteless flavor, drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you should get each day. Even caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and soda, count toward your daily water intake to a certain limit.  It is best to limit caffeinated drinks, as caffeine is a diuretic and tends to cause some people to urinate more frequently, or feel anxious or jittery. A moderate amount of caffeine, 200 to 300 milligrams (about the amount in 2 to 4 8-ounce cups of coffee), is not harmful for a majority of people. Another option for those looking to incorporate more hydrating foods into their diets, should know that water can also be found in fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce, and in soup broths.

Generally water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration on the most part. However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for an extended period of time, a sports drink may be of help because it contains carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar. Sports drinks can also help replace lost electrolytes if you spike a fever, have been vomiting or are experiencing diarrhea.

When choosing a sports drink, choose wisely, as they are often high in calories and may contain high levels of sugar and sodium.

Recap on How to Stay Hydrated

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Invest in  a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap rather than buying bottled water, which is expensive and  causes plastic bottle waste.
  • If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • If you’re going to be exercising, make it a priority to make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
  • Start and end your day with a glass of water.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.
  • Schedule your water drinking, if you have a hard time remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water every hour or so.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s economical too!

Here is a great recipe I found for making an all-natural orange flavored homemade sports drink.

·         1 quart of water (we use distilled water)

·         2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup (optional)

·         1/2 teaspoon of Sea salt

·         1 pint orange juice

·         Juice from 1 lemon

Directions

Heat 1/2 cup of the water to boiling, remove from heat, add honey and sea salt, stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water to a pitcher, add the honey water, orange and lemon juice, stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to drink.

+ Stu Lieberman has been writing about Medical, Health and Beauty Supplies for 3 years; from Vitamins and Supplements to Therapy Equipment to Online Medical Supplies.  Stu uses MedicalSupply123.com for all his personal medical needs.

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Spring Yard Sales

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 18th, 2015

Those novels you read on vacation, the shirt you haven’t worn for five years, the toys your college bound student won’t need, and the sheets for a single bed that you don’t own anymore. Sound familiar. We all put things away for a rainy day or because they remind us of a favorite event.

This is a great time of year to reorganize, declutter, donate, and stash stuff  in boxes for a future yard sale.

In fairness to yourself before selling or donating anything that you feel might be worth something check the ebay price of the same or similar item.

If you feel something is very valuable check with a professional auction house. Bonhams Auction House . Is it treasure or trash?  They are a neutral party who can provide an auction value estimate.

If you decide to go forward with a yard sale here are some good rules to follow:

Put a price on all items! You can have individual prices or grab bags where everything in the bag goes for a set price. Put stickers on everything and you can also segregate areas for different prices. All fifty cent items on one table. Remember nobody comes to yard sale to spend big bucks. Everything you sell is one thing you don’t have to carry back into the house.

Don’t let early arrivers throw you off. Post a sign that says when you start and don’t let anyone into your home. You want good coverage so if you don’t have enough family members, invite friends to help out or sell stuff along with you. If you can get your neighbors to join in – all the better.  Everyone has a unique inventory so the more the merrier.

Get change the day before and post that you will only give change up to $10 or $20.  Most yard sale shoppers know the drill and will come with appropriate coinage.  Since many items will be $.10 or $.25, get a few packs of quarters, dimes, and nickels plus twenty to  fifty in singles. Keep your cash on you or with a helper who is designated the cashier.

Feel free to sell sodas or lemonade for a modest price. This is a great learning experience for small children. Let them set up a stand and feel they are part of the experience.

Now to let people know about your sale.  Many local papers have free listings, put it up on bulletin boards at your grocery store, school, church, and gym, and post signs at all major intersections in your neighborhood. Many people still drive around looking for yard sales and neon colored paper will attract attention.

The most important thing about a yard sale, have fun, watch your stuff enhance another person’s life, and make a few dollars in the process.

Whatever is left over can be boxed up and delivered to Goodwill.

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Play It Again Sports

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 15th, 2015

We’ve all been there – wanting to exercise and never finding the time, thinking equipment is too expensive, and worried that our investment will never be used. Play It Again Sports makes the initial outlay reasonable and encourages you to try something new. If you can never make it to the gym this is a great place to buy a stationary bicycle, treadmill, or weights. For a fraction of the cost, see if this option works for you. Sometimes a small investment makes a big difference in your health, plus you might be able to sell it back if this isn’t your type of workout.

Knowledgeable salespeople know all the right items and how to best fit your child for a glove or bat. Kids pass through sports crazes quickly and there is no reason to pay full price when they will only be playing for a few months. Check with your local store to see how they can help you fundraise for your team.

Now Play It Again Sports also carries some never used items they picked up at reduced prices during  manufacturers closeouts.

This store is a good resource for  ski season or for walking off those extra pounds indoors for next swimsuit season.

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24 Hour Fitness

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 14th, 2015

Divas like to be in shape. And that means at some point we have to exercise. Cheapest is walking. For those of you in colder climes, there is the mall.  And it will give you a chance to keep an eye on an item until it goes to it’s lowest price. For those of us lucky enough to be in Southern California, walk everywhere. If you need a few items at the market, try walking. It’s a twofer – you burn calories and save on gas. Walk out your front door and walk for a mile in any direction. Walk to the post office. This is the best way to start exercising and the best way to save on gas.

Now this is going to sound very unfrugal however joining a gym might be a good investment if (and this is a big if) you are going to use the facilities. I recommend the larger chains such as 24 Hour Fitness.(The Frugal Diva is a member however receives no compensations for mentioning them). They have more classes (aerobics to zumba), keep up the facilities nicely, you can use a variety of locations, and they probably will not be closing down any time soon. Remember to look for deals and bargain, bargain, bargain. They need members and you have all the power. Read the contract carefully and look for any hidden charges.

Ask for the free 7 day pass to see if it fits into your schedule. It should be either near home or work. The classes that you are interested in need to be at times that you can attend.  Remember if you don’t attend at least once or twice a week, this is a waste of money. The more you attend, the better the deal. The other benefit of the gym, it is a great option when you don’t have money to spend on other activities. It gives you choices that make you healthy and keep you out of the mall.  Saturday morning might be a yoga class, swimming, and a sauna – your very own day spa experience.

And many locations have Kid’s Clubs where children can hang out while you exercise.  This is fun place with activities,  games, and close supervision.  Kids’ Club availability, rates, and hours vary per location.

Good health is the best wealth.

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Mother’s Day is Almost Here

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 8th, 2015

There are so many mothers these days. Between moms, grand-moms, step-moms, step-grandmoms, moms-in-law, step moms-in-law, surrogate moms, egg donors moms, birth moms, and Heather has two moms, make this day special with choices tailored to your mom or moms.

If my own mom were here she would be so happy to see me featured  in GoBankingRates.com advice to mothers on saving money bit.ly/1Ihv9ad.  She would also be laughing at how it was her advice that eventually seeped in and made me into The Frugal Diva. As a Nature Loving Mom, a day at Descanso Gardens would have been her idea of perfection.

Here are some ideas for other types of moms on Mother’s Day

Art Lover Mom reads the Calendar section first, collects catalogs, and thought your first grade drawings were influenced by Kandinsky. Take her to the local art museum and have a bite at the cafe.

American History Buff Mom knows the name of every U.S. President, fact checked your homework, and easily quotes what happened on this day fifty years ago.   Head out to the a historical site in your city and have a picnic nearby.

Environmental Mom recycles everything, knows global warming is not a hot flash, and uses both sides of the printer paper.  Spend the day helping out at a beach clean up or food bank.

Design Mom knows what is the new black this year,  how to use Photoshop to make your holiday pictures more interesting, and only sees French films.  Take an architectural tour of your city.

Sports Mom was always at little league and knows all the baseball stats. Take her out to the ball game for some peanuts and cracker jacks.

Spiritual Mom stays flexible, eats vegetarian, and believes that meditation will solve all your problems.  Take her to a yoga class and then to the newest vegan spot.  Sit outside afterwards and chant OM (almost spells MOM).

Let me know if you have interesting ways to celebrate Mother’s Day.

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What To Buy In May

Posted by The Frugal Diva on April 29th, 2015

From Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, May is a busy month for retailers and shoppers alike. In addition to being the unofficial start of the summer, it also marks the start of spending more time outdoors, and that can lead to additional spending. But, before you purchase a new grill or try on summer apparel, you’ll want to read DealNews’ latest monthly buying guide, which reveals the best (and worst) products you can buy this month.

From mattresses to mobile devices, here are the Best and Worst Things to Buy in May: http://dealnews.com/features/what-to-buy-in-may/

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Military Discounts

Posted by The Frugal Diva on April 29th, 2015

CouponLawn.com is a deal based site that offers coupons and money saving resources. They have just released the largest publicly accessible list of companies that offer discounts exclusively to active military members, veterans and their families. Unlike other hard to navigate smaller lists available online, users can sort their list according to the company name, discount amount and category with an added search function that lets users find exactly what they are looking for. This master guide can be found on their site at http://couponlawn.com/special/400-discounts-for-military-veterans/.

Here’s another awesome resource from Gift Card Granny. She has compiled an exhaustive list of 133 military discounts – just in time for summer fun.  It’s a little way of saying thanks to those who serve. Included are ways to save for veterans, all active branches and, in some instances, the families who stand behind them. Participation may vary at different locations, so check first!

“133 Military Discounts”
http://www.giftcardgranny.com/blog/military-discounts/

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Mother’s Day Shopping Tips

Posted by The Frugal Diva on April 28th, 2015

Great guest post for Mother’s Day shoppers!

Seasonality doesn’t just affect the weather; prices across a wide range of products can change on a month-to-month basis as demand fluctuates. Considering millions of consumers will shop for Mother’s Day gifts this week, being aware of these best and worst buys can help you make smarter purchasing decisions that delight Mom and keep your budget intact. Take a look at these worst buys and consider gifting a best buy for Mom.

WORST
Sadly, many go-to gifts for Mom represent the worst buys of the season! Avoid these cliche gifts in favor of better buys.

Flowers – Mother’s Day is the third busiest day for florists behind Valentine’s Day and Christmas, and over 66 percent of consumers plan to buy a bouquet for Mom this year. However, you’ll pay more for flowers now than you will just a couple weeks from now, making them a bad buy. Labor, supply and demand are all factors contributing to this price increase, as florists have to fulfill a high volume of orders in a very short time frame. If you have your mind set on flowers, opt for a flowering plant or head to the grocery store for cheaper prices.

Jewelry – Something sparkly may seem like just the thing for Mom, but it’s definitely not the right choice for your wallet. According to some sources, select jewelry items actually cost more around Mother’s Day despite being advertised as a sale price. That’s because demand is high: an estimated $3.6 billion will be spent on jewelry for Mom, and retailers want to compete for your business without cutting into their profit margins.

Perfume – Like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, Mother’s Day is another popular occasion for fragrances. Though you’ll likely score free samples or a free tote with your purchase, you won’t find any good deals on fragrances until after Mother’s Day. Of course, you may never buy designer perfume again after you read this exposé from DailyFinance. Those who receive a specific request for fragrance should check discount retailers like TJMaxx and Marshall’s for up to 50-percent off designer and name-brand scents.

BEST
It is possible for Mom to enjoy gifts that don’t sparkle or smell sweet! According to the same NRF survey, practicality is highly valued by both consumers and their mothers this year. Enjoy these gift ideas that both your mom and your bank account will love.

Gift Cards – There’s nothing more practical than giving Mom the gift of choice, and the stats agree: over 43 percent of consumers will buy gift cards for their mothers this year. Avoid paying full price by ordering cards from GiftCardGranny.com, where you can save up to 25-percent off face value. For example, you can score an Ann Taylor gift card for 25-percent off, or gift Mom with a SpaFinder gift card for 21-percent off.

Experiences – Your mom likely has everything she needs and wants, so gifting her with yet another coffee mug or ceramic tchotchke just creates clutter. Consider the gift of an experience — a popular choice this year, as consumers are expected to spend $1.5 billion — by purchasing a daily deal through Groupon, LivingSocial or Amazon Local. You can treat your mom to a spa day, wine tasting or horseback riding adventure for over 50-percent off. You can even schedule her a free makeover at Sephora, where experts provide complimentary makeup and skin consultations, plus provide deluxe samples.

Dinner – Consumer spending on dining out for Mom is expected to reach $3.8 billion this year. Before you empty your wallet on a pricey feast, show Mom how money-savvy you are by using restaurant coupons from apps like Coupon Sherpa to save on dinner. For example, you can shave $10 off any two entrees from Buca di Beppo, or score a free appetizer from Carrabba’s with entree purchase. You can also check Restaurant.com for discounted dining certificates for eateries in your area.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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