cooking spaghetti
Does it feel like your grocery bill keeps growing? Sorry, but you can’t blame it on inflation. Food-at-home prices dropped 1.6 percent since last July — the sharpest decline since 2010. Maybe you’re eating healthier or haven’t been as diligent about shopping sales ads and using digital coupons, rewards cards, or rebate apps. Or maybe, like me, too many convenience foods are creeping into your kitchen.

Convenient prepared foods – even their healthy versions – are so… convenient. It’s nice to have pre-cut, pre-mixed, prepared foods for the times our schedules get a little hectic, but they can quickly become an excuse to get lazy about food preparation — and jack up the grocery bill.

Back in the ‘olden’ days, folks didn’t have the option of prepared breads, sauces, dressings, or meals-in-a-box. They used basic staples to make everything they needed. I’m certainly glad I have the option of buying marinara sauce instead of having to make it every time I want some pasta, but I think it’s time to bring some old-fashioned frugality back into our kitchens. Here’s how we can do it.
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save money every month

It’s easy to stop pulling out the wallet every once in a while and declare triumph, but don’t kid yourself—we know it’s the recurring expenses that really drown us into debt. The monthly expenses are what most people neglect because they are subconsciously trained to ignore it after seeing the same line item month after month.

Let me tell you the truth.

There are a few areas of your spending that, once eliminated, will save you money every single month. Getting curious? Here’s the tip of the iceberg:
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Every year, my family and I throw a huge party for about 120 of our closest friends and family get together—usually to celebrate the unofficial start to summer.

I fire up my smoker and grill, we set up a 200-foot water slide down the hill in our backyard that leads into the park, and everyone brings a side dish to share. Naturally, no party would be complete without music.

My wife and I have very differing views as to what is needed for our party music. As far as I’m concerned we could tune the radio to the hard rock station, put the volume on about 3 or 4 and let it roll.

My wife, on the other hand, wants the music to be more interactive. She wants our guests to be able to make requests, tailoring the music to the wants and needs of the party goers.

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Network marketing, otherwise known as multi-level marketing, is a business structure in which “hiring” consists of recruiting others into the company, and “payroll” consists of personal sales and commission from downline sales.

Often stigmatized as get-rich-quick or pyramid schemes, network marketing companies are nonetheless establishing solid reputations and pulling more and more interest from people disillusioned with the job market, failing pensions, and their lack of financial independence.

While the myth that all network marketing companies are scams is steadily being dispelled, some still question whether these businesses are actually worth getting involved in — can ordinary people be successful at them?

My answer is yes, especially if you consider the following tips. [ continue reading… ]

freelance writer

With the unemployment rate still fairly high, freelance businesses have exploded. Many people who were laid off in the recession are now using their knowledge to start freelance businesses.

Freelancing has also become popular among stay-at-home parents, who are now able to supplement their family’s income on their own terms.

There’s no doubt about it: having a freelance business can be great. You get to pick your own hours, choose what type of work you do, and be your own boss.

I’ve been freelancing for around a year now, and I’m constantly examining my progress to see how I can improve.

In my year of freelancing, here are the three biggest things I’ve learned:

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staycation ideas

It’s that time of year again. The kids are out of school and you really want to spend time with them and make wonderful memories, but a vacation is out of the question. You can’t get away and, even if you could, it’s way out of your budget.

Uncle Sam took more than his share, or your calculated share, anyway. Credit card bills are bleeding you dry, and you can’t put more on plastic. So you crawl under the covers and hide, wishing a solution would surface.

Here it is.

Look on the bright side, sunshine. For a beautiful time creating memories with your loved ones, you need only two days and some imagination.

Try these staycation ideas for a grand time (without spending a grand!). [ continue reading… ]