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Halloween Fun In LA For The Kids

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th October 2014

Start Halloween early with free and low cost fun for the kids!

Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College
Returns in 2014 for its 10th year, featuring a live stage show inside of a pumpkin patch, where you pick a pumpkin after the show. The event includes a maze, a haunted trail and a haunted house.
Location: Woodland Hills
Admission: Ticketed
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: Various dates from September 26 through November 2

Dia de Los Muertos at El Pueblo (near Union Station)
A 9-day annual celebration, culminating with a 2-day festival. The event includes Aztec dancers, street performers, mariachi bands, children’s activities and more. El Pueblo is adjacent to Olvera Street where you can shop and eat lunch or dinner. There is a procession and blessings each night.
Location: Downtown L.A.
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: October 25 to November 2

Grand Park Dia de Los Muertos Concert
Bands, altars, food trucks, face-painting and more
Location: Downtown L.A.
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: November 1

Santa Monica Dia de Los Muertos
An opening procession led by Ketzaliztli dancers, a workshop to create offerings of marigold coronitas (crowns) and papel picado (perforated paper) for loved ones who have passed, self -guided tours of the cemetery that explore the history of local famous people and more.
Location: Santa Monica
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: November 1

Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration
Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration Trick-or-Treating (oct 31); Halloween Movie Screening of Mad Monster Party (Oct 31)
Location: Pasadena
Admission: Free
For Kids: Yes
2014 Dates: October 31

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American Apparel Big Sale

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 28th October 2014

Why wait for Black Friday when you can have clothing in any color at American Apparel during their Halloween Sale!

While teens are the target market, there are plentiful items for kids that include organic cotton clothes and fun hair accessories. Even if they are mocked on Sex and the City, a scrunchie keeps hair out of your eyes and off your neck while working out. Check out a store near you.

This clothing at great prices is manufactured right here in downtown Los Angeles employing 5000 workers. The ads are not my favorites however let’s support this local business and their efforts at not only manufacturing in the USA but keeping it sustainable, donating to local schools, giving their employees ESL classes, access to health care, benefits, and encouraging workers to bike or bus to work.

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Healthy Halloween Treats

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 27th October 2014

What a great opportunity to eat candy and go on a week long sugar high. However The Frugal Diva is going to step in and offer you some healthy options.

Check out Eat Well for great party recipes and treats that have a bit less sugar and a bit more nutrition.

Lindsay Olives has gone overboard on their Pinterest Page with cute ideas for scary snacks.

The Food Network always come through with party ideas and yummy recipes.

Have fun and post some pictures on my Facebook page in your costumes!

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Pulling the Blinds on Sleepy Misperceptions

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 26th October 2014

Frugal Divas need their beauty sleep and the folks at Vitacost help us out with this great post.

Sleep is an interesting paradox. Some people treasure their nightly eight hours, while others treat it like a guilty pleasure, enjoyed only in small “dozes.” As sleep deprivation becomes the norm, it’s rationalized by notions like, “I’ll sleep in tomorrow to catch up.” It’s time to quit dreaming and open your eyes to the importance of a good night’s sleep.

The Dream: “I’m out like a light.”

Reality: Ironically, the body is not completely inactive during sleep. It’s true that muscles in the limbs become temporarily paralyzed; but eyelids are jerking rapidly, heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow. You may feel “dead to the world” or “out like a light,” but your brain technically is still turned on.

The Dream: “I can catch up on sleep this weekend.”

Reality: The body needs adequate, consistent rest in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Sleep is not like a savings account – you can’t add more when you have time. Sleeping until 2 p.m. on Sunday throws the balance of your circadian rhythm (internal clock), which throws off your mental and physical fitness. Stop running on the hamster wheel and start a routine of balanced sleep, healthy eating and regular exercise.

The Dream: “My body can adjust to sleeping during the day.”

Reality: A grave-shift worker may be able to coax his body to adjust, but his brain knows best. At night, the eyes send a signal to the brain that there is less light, and the internal clock will produce more melatonin to induce sleepiness. Sleeping after sunrise does not generate enough melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep – and stay asleep.

The Dream: “I function better on less sleep.”

Reality: Sleep deprivation negatively affects the areas of the brain associated with motivation and desire. A sleep-deprived brain will seek food as a reward, because food is the most accessible treat, leading to weight gain. Lack of sleep has also been linked to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

The Dream: “I never dream.”

Reality: We sleep in stages: stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the fifth stage is rapid eye movement (REM). The brain cycles through these five stages over and over throughout the night, with REM being the deep sleep and dreams stage. Any time the brain reaches REM, you dream – if you don’t remember them, then that’s your own reality.

This article has been provided by the folks at Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com has been selling discount vitamins and supplements since 1994. Since then it’s grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for healthy living essentials-with vitamins and supplements being just one of their many helpful categories! Get the best price on vitamins, probiotics, nutritional supplements, whole foods and diet products. Vitacost.com’s customers mean the world to them, and it’s their goal to provide you with the best nutritional supplements, natural foods and sports nutrition to help with your health and wellness. Please check out the Vitacost Coupons page for great deals and discounts. Vitacost.com is not affiliated with this blog, and isn’t responsible for content outside of this article.

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Free Shipping and More

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 20th October 2014

Sure we all love free so try out this 30 day free trial. If you do all your shopping online this site just might be the answer for you.

FreeShipping.com gives 10% cash back on all purchases at a massive network of over 1,000 major retailers including Victoria’s Secret, Kohls, Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Sephora, DSW, Sears, and many, many more. Freeshipping.com is a subscription based online shopping portal that was founded back in 2002. Unlike Ebates, which gives you a different amount of cash back depending on the retailer, FreeShipping.com gives shoppers a consistent 10% back at every retailer, along with stackable coupons, free shipping and return shipping, and price protection.

With FreeShipping.com’s portal, shoppers can go directly to a partner retailer’s website to make a purchase, or they can search through over 100 million SKUs to find the very best price for an individual item at any of the retailers on the network. No matter how they shop, subscribers receive significant savings through their FreeShipping.com membership, including 10% cash back on all purchases.

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Free Days At The National Parks

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 24th September 2014

When The Frugal Dude suggested going to Yosemite, The Frugal Diva replied that it was just a bunch of trees.  I could not have been more incorrect. The magnificent vistas, the fresh air, the beautiful meadows of wild flowers, and spectacular waterfalls made me realize that there was a whole world that awaited outside of urban areas. And the other good news, it did not involve any camping. I also believed that you had to pitch a tent and gather berries for sustenance.  Many National Parks have food and accommodations that are reasonable and don’t involve building your own fire. Of course for those who enjoy sleeping in the great outdoors there are numerous camp sites.

feb_22_08-1042Just to make this more fun, these are the 2014 dates when entrance fees are waived.

January 20

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 15-17

Presidents Day weekend

April 19-20

opening weekend of National Park Week

August 25

National Park Service Birthday

September 27

National Public Lands Day

November 11

Veterans Day

Many of your 392 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee. So start planning your visit!

And if you are over 62 get a Senior Pass for a one time $10 fee.  This is for a lifetime of free admissions.  The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free).

If you plan to visit several national parks in one year, consider the $80 one year pass.

The Frugal Dude was right, the national parks are a fabulous vacation and we have since been to the Grand Tetons, Glacier, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon (the north and south rims), Bryce, Zion and many others.  It is a great reminder what a vast and beautiful country we live in.

Let me know your favorites!

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Frugal Cleaning Tips

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 23rd September 2014

Guest Post

Thank you Heather Roberts for these great tips!

Nowadays prices of products tend to gradually grow in many areas, which often puts a serious strain on the wallets of many households. This becomes especially troublesome in terms of cleaning, so
you would often need to find ways to alleviate the situation and to bring something good to the table to survive a hostile economy. No matter how hard things look however, there is always a cheaper
alternative to choose from out there. The same thing goes for any cleaning products you need to work with. Although it may seem like an easier task to hire a company to do it all for you, in the end chances are you will not be able to afford such a service on a regular basis if you’re barely scraping by. The following tips will give you more information you can work with to make your frugal cleaning efforts possible:

• Using water and dish soap

There are quite a few ways cleaning can be done with the simplest of solutions, such as dish soap or even nothing but water. In many ways commercials have taught us that nothing can be done unless you use [insert name here] for your cleaning needs and that nothing else will get the job done. This, however is not always the entire story. Simple dish soap can do a lot more than just clean dishes, so you would do well to consider it when cleaning carpet stains, windows or even doing laundry if you have nothing else on hand.

• Cleaning often

Doing a bit of cleaning on a semi regular basis is one thing, but cleaning more often will eliminate the need to clean with expensive cleaners and to deal with tough spots. We all know the difficulties in cleaning old spots, so they will need a lot more work than usual. Most stains can be easily dealt with by using laundry or dish soap and water, assuming the area is cleaned right after the stain occurs. You can spare some time to prevent them if you act quickly and decisively. A little bit of work every day or two will ensure you have things under control.

• Avoiding expensive products

A lot of times people buy only products they have tried before and they know they can trust. This is mostly because they are advertised as reliable, but for the most part you can find their equivalent in your local stores, often offering the same benefits at a reduced price.

Reusable cleaning supplies

If you want to save a good deal of money, you will have to rely on items that are not disposable, but reusable instead. Mops, cloths, rags and more are needed of you want to make things happen. This will help you save a good bit of money in the process, since you can use them for a longer amount of time.

Thank you Heather Roberts for these great tips!

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5 ways to say “I wuv you.”

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 22nd September 2014

Easy ways to pamper your pets

No matter what kind of day you’ve had, a little love from your pet is an instant pick-me-up. Spent two hours ensnarled in traffic? A little nudge from a wet nose will fix that. Boss isn’t cutting you any slack? Your furry friends think you can do no wrong.  Your soon-to-be-spouse suddenly got cold feet? You’ve got two big brown eyes gazing up at you with unconditional love.

So how do you say thanks to the furry friends who’ve made your life complete? Here are five easy ways to pamper the dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, gerbils, reptiles and other adorable animals you adore.

  1. Walk this way. Grab a leash, open the door and the world is yours: just you and your baby and the great outdoors. A walk with your furry friend is about more than just quality alone time with his or her favorite person. It’s also an opportunity for both of you to burn some calories! If your pet isn’t the outdoors type, you can still offer plenty of opportunities to exercise. Outfit his or her tank or cage with a complete workout suite: treadmills, wheels, posts to climb, exercise balls and more.
  2. Spoil them silly. Throw a new toy in front of your pet and turn off the TV: seeing your furry friend chase around his new possession will provide better entertainment than anything on television. You might even want to grab a video camera so you can capture the fun!
  3. Don’t cheap out on the chow. Pets are expensive—we all know that—but one thing you don’t want to skimp on is a high-quality, species- and animal-appropriate pet food.  Check with your veterinarian about what’s best for your furry (or slimy, or feathered) friend. Then find your pet a comfortable place to eat—preferably near where the whole family dines so he or she can be part of mealtimes. Worried that ugly plastic food bowl clashes with your china? Choose a gorgeous food bowl like this one instead so your chum can chow down in style.
  4. Spa day for Spot. Pamper your pet by giving him or her the royal treatment: shampoo, coat care, a nice, fluffy brushing and a “pet-icure.” Your pet will enjoy the attention, and a well-groomed animal is a healthy animal!
  5. Don’t forget about the vet! Even if your dog or cat is as healthy as a horse, don’t forget those well-visits with the veterinarian. Your pet’s health care professional will be able to address any concerns you might have and administer recommended vaccines. Plus, a thorough check-up will allow the doctor to detect any problems that might be developing before they get serious.

Vitacost.com has been selling discount vitamins since 1994. Since then we have grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for healthy living essentials-with vitamins and supplements being just one of our many helpful categories! Get the best price on vitamins, nutritional supplements, pet products and other products like cranberry beans. Our customers mean the world to us, and it’s our goal to provide you with the best nutritional supplements, health foods and sports nutrition to help with your health and wellness.

By: +Jorie Mark: writer for Vitacost.com

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Feed Fido Like Family with Natural Pet Food

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 19th September 2014

Mommy guilt isn’t limited to children. Fido is family, too—so when you’re  choosing what your tail-wagging baby will eat, it can feel pretty awful lugging home a big bag of kibble you know isn’t the best. Sadly, healthy, organic food options, for both people and pets, bump up numbers on the grocery bill, making it more likely you’ll buy generic than GMO free.

But many pet owners are shuffling budgets to make room for better-quality pet foods, with sales of organic varieties increasing in the U.S., despite the down economy. According to the Organic Trade Association, Americans doled out $84 million for organic pet food in 2009, a tenfold increase in the amount they spent in 2002.

Knowing organic foods are better for their own health, and for the environment, people are looking for the same safe, chemical-free options for their pets. A quick glance at any commercial pet food label is reason enough for many to make the switch. While manufacturers claim quality and wholesomeness, most pet foods are loaded with questionable ingredients, from animal by-products and cheap fillers to artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.

Luckily, increased demand for natural and organic pet foods has led to better availability—and better prices. But before you grab any bag with “green” or “healthy” on the label, know that not all natural pet foods are created equal. Here are some things to look for when making your purchase:

USDA Organic seal
Just as with human food, pet food must meet strict standards set by U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry the official USDA Organic seal. To be labeled “Organic,” a product must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Those with 70 to 94 percent organic ingredients can state “Made with Organic Ingredients” on the label.

Natural label
According to the Pet Food Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the term “natural” is acceptable on a pet food label as long as none of the ingredients are synthetic, or chemically made. All content must be derived from plant, animal or mined sources, with the exception of added vitamins or minerals (if the product is not intended for use as supplement).

Essential nutrients
Whether pet food is organic, natural or conventional, it’s usually processed, which means important nutrients may have been stripped during production. Look for products labeled “complete” or “balanced,” to be sure they have the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your pet needs for best health.

Vitacost.com has been selling discount vitamins since 1994. Since then we have grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for healthy living essentials-with vitamins and supplements being just one of our many helpful categories! Get the best price on vitamins, nutritional supplements, pet products and diet products. Our customers mean the world to us, and it’s our goal to provide you with the best nutritional supplements, natural foods and sports nutrition to help with your health and wellness.

By: +Rebecca Chopin writer for Vitacost.com

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When to Splurge & What to Save Money on for Your Pets

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 19th September 2014

Today we have a guest post from Jeffrey O’Brien who blogs about food and entertainment. When he is not writing about the latest and greatest, he is hiking or fishing in Howard County, Iowa.

Americans have a love affair with their pets. So much so that in 2011 they were willing to drop over $50 billion on pet needs. Almost two-thirds of the spending was on basics: food and medical bills. Services for pets made up almost $4 billion of the splurging. The other third went to toys, accessories, and beds. Why not let them sleep on your comfy mattress from Sleepys.com instead of spending money on their own. As both families and their pets get older, this particular service segment is expected to grow in 2012, increasing spending overall.

The spending begs the question how much is enough? There are plenty of areas for saving, but some make more sense than others.

Potential Savings

Training is a big service cost that many pet owners will pay just to get some peace of mind. That puppy or kitten is so cute when it first comes home, but six months later when the $10,000 couch is destroyed, it’s another story. Because we tend to be a convenience society, we want quick solutions. So we pay people to train us to care for our pets. With a bit of studying and researching, many owners can learn what’s needed to self-train. That alone saves $25 to $50 an hour for training sessions at a minimum (private lessons reach $100 an hour).

Toys are a cheap, addicting expense, especially if an owner takes his pet with him to the pet store, which many now allow. Keep in mind, dogs especially and cats will stick their nose in everything new; it doesn’t mean they want that toy! But we think they do, so we buy them. Savings are easy here; buy the cheapest toy possible. If it squeaks and rolls, good enough, doggy or kitty will be more than happy with something new. They don’t care if it came from the 99 cent bin either.

Cleaning supplies in the form of cat litter and puppy pads are necessities which add up over time. The big box stores tend to have the best discount deals for bulk purchasing, allowing a pet owner to save up to 30 or 40 percent on retail cost. They also have good pricing on dog chew toys, pet beds, and bulk pet food. Alternatively, a pet owner can save further money on his dog or cat by letting them sleep on his own mattresses or floors rather than a distinct pet bed.

Pet daycare has become a hit service for pet owners, but it costs a pretty penny. If you like to see your dog running around with other dogs, find a dog park in your area. Dog parks are popping up as cities are finding they are good resources for spending tax dollars on recreation. Dog parks are far cheaper to use, your dog is happy as can be, and most parks tend to be free to use.

Potential Splurging

Yes, there’s a lot of cheap pet food out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best, healthy option for the ol’ pooch. For a long, healthy life in a pet, the best food mixes tend to be a better path. A bit more in food spending could save hundreds or thousands in vet bills later on in the pet’s life. Cheaper foods tend to include a significant amount of filler material that is eventually unhealthy. More expensive brands tend to have direct, organic food components which digest far better.

When working with a vet, the right pet care is essential. With a serious condition, trying to go cheap could permanently disable a pet or worse when treating a condition. However, directly paying vet bills can be expensive. For example, an eye scratch in a dog with surgery and drugs can run upwards of $2,500. So consider pet insurance to lessen the financial hit. Still pay for good care, but with an insurance plan you can offset some of the bigger hits at least partially. In some cases, the insurance can cover as much as 40 or 50 percent of treatment cost.

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