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Archive for the ‘Frugal Living’ Category

Natural homemade beauty recipes

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On November 18, 2011 No Comments

Nature is the newest trend in skin and hair care. For years, we’ve been putting toxic chemicals into our bodies that build up and make us feel tired and sick, regardless of whether we eat them or if they seep though our pores. And people are finally catching on that natural is better.

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Most stores now have a line of “natural” beauty products. Unfortunately, they often come with a big price tag attached too. Often times many of these products are not actually “natural” so it does pay to do your homework to ensure you are getting what you pay for.

Fortunately actually making beauty products yourself isn’t too difficult. So if you want beauty products that you know are natural and are also inexpensive, just make them yourself. Here are 5 quick and easy recipes you can make at yourself.

Face Mask
Eating good food helps give you the right nutrients you need to look good.  You can get more of these vitamins and minerals by putting the good stuff right on the skin. 

Combining a mashed carrot, mashed avocado, and a beaten egg with a half cup a few tablespoons of honey creates a great face mask that provides vitamins, and improves the tone and texture of your skin. Just stir well, apply, let sit for about 15 minutes, and then wash off with cool water. 

After you’re washed and nourished your skin, you can use grated cucumber or diluted lemon juice as a toner to help tighten your skin and close up your pores to close your pores and keep your skin looking great.

Hair Conditioner
Many people pay a lot of money for a conditioner that actually makes your hair look and feel good. Here’s a great natural recipe to save you money and help your hair. 

Just mix an egg yolk with a tablespoon of castor oil and apply to hair. Let sit for about ten minutes and rinse out. You can use this every so often as a conditioning treatment for healthy shiny hair. If you like being experimental, you can try mixing other kitchen items, herbs, and natural items with eggs for healthy, shiny hair.

Hand and Foot Cream
A quick face mask will help make you look great in not a lot of time, but hands and feet require extra care. 

Use ½ cup of olive oil mixed with natural sea salt and massage into your hands and feet. Leave a few minutes to soak and then rinse off with warm water.

When it comes to natural beauty products, these recipes are just the start.  You can find hundreds of different combinations in natural beauty books, magazines, and on the internet. Or you can go to your kitchen cabinet and make your own special creations.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Beyond Your Emergency Savings – How to Be Prepared

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On November 10, 2011 No Comments

A financial safety net is about more than setting aside money. It’s also about protecting your money and your finances.

Here’s a list of the documents you should have in place and the measures to take to protect you and your family’s financial future:

* Will and Testament
* Living Will/Medical Directive
* Trust
* Home Insurance
* Health Insurance
* Life Insurance
* Auto Insurance

Other documents to consider:

* Long term disability
* Long term care insurance

Insurance protects you and your family against emergency. It is one of the most responsible and financially sound decisions you can make. If you don’t have insurance, consider visiting with an insurance representative for a package deal. If you are insured, consider consulting a financial advisor or insurance agent to make sure you’re properly insured.

Additionally, a will and testament and a medical directive ensure your requests are met. A trust ensures your wishes stay out of court and in the hands of your family.

Throughout this report we’ve discussed several types of savings to have and a tier based system in order of important. We’ve also mentioned where to save your money depending on the savings type. Let’s take a look at that once again so you know all of your options.

Where to Save Your Money

Depending on how much you’re saving, how much access you need to the money, your tolerance for risk and how much interest you want to earn, there are a number of options to save your money.

These options include:

  1. Interest bearing checking account. You can find access to this type of account online or with your local bank or credit union. Research bank fees and interest rates to find the best option for you. This is an ideal account type for a household emergency savings account of $1000 or less.
  2. Money Market Account. These sometimes offer check writing services and offer a higher interest rate than a standard checking or savings account.
    Money Market Funds. Not FDIC insured but generally safe investments. Generally pays more than any type of bank account.
  3. CDs or Certificate of Deposit. They’re federally insured up to $250,000 and have a good interest rate. However, you don’t have easy access to the money. They’re better used for long term savings like saving for the potential loss of income.

What to Not Use to Pay for Financial Emergencies

* Credit Cards
* Home Equity Line of Credit
* Tapping into your 401k or retirement plan
* Postponing other monthly payments

Your financial safety net is established to help you avoid falling into the trap of borrowing to cover emergencies. You don’t have to borrow from yourself or from creditors to stay on solid financial ground.


Financial emergencies happen. They’re a fact of life. When you’re prepared for them, you can focus on getting through the tough times in your life without dealing with the added stress of financial insecurity.

You owe it to yourself, to your family, and to your future to take a look at your financial plan right now. Create a plan to:

* Budget
* Pay off debt
* Save for minor emergencies
* Save for major emergencies
* Protect your finances

Use the three tiered approach, focus on one goal at a time and you’ll be sitting pretty in no time.  This ends our series on preparing for financial emergencies. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Financial Safety Net Challenges and Solutions

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On November 8, 2011 No Comments

Okay, let’s face it. Saving money hasn’t been a priority for many people. We’ve become a culture of people who spend our entire paycheck before we have even deposited it into the bank. In many cases we’re over extended, in debt and struggling to pay the bills. So how on earth are you going to be able to save money?


It’s exactly this situation and this lifestyle that makes a financial safety net a must! What would happen if you or someone in your family had a medical emergency? Where would the money come from?

Maybe your answer is credit cards. That’s a common financial safety net for many. Yet you probably don’t want to be paying off your credit cards for the rest of your life, right?

Let’s take a look at the biggest challenges many people face when trying to create a financial safety net.

#1 Debt

Statistics tell us that the average credit card debt in America is $8000 per household. Now remember, this is an average. Some people don’t owe anything and many people owe much more than that. Debt has become a fact of life for many. The recent financial crises felt around the world has made many realize that debt has no room in their life. They’ve taken great measures to pay off their debt as fast as they can.

This debt reduction and elimination plan often means that savings gets put on hold. While that may have been recommended a while ago, most experts now agree that you must pay attention to both.

Yes, you need to pay off debt and save money at the same time. Here’s how to approach it:

Dave Ramsey recommends putting your debt payoff plan on hold until you’ve saved $1000. You still continue to pay the minimum balances during this period so you don’t incur any fees or ruin your credit score. However, you also put money away each week until you reach that $1000 goal. Ideally, you’ll have $1000 saved in six to eight weeks maximum.

If you cannot make the minimum balances and save that much money, aim for $500 in savings. Then you can resume your debt reduction plan and slowly add more to your emergency savings account.

Why $1000? Because this is generally enough to cover most household emergencies. If your water heater breaks or you need a new set of tires for your car, $1000 will cover it. You won’t have to go into debt.

#2 Tight Budget

Even if you don’t have debt, or much debt, you may think that your budget is too tight to save. Maybe you’re literally living paycheck to paycheck. Many families are. It’s okay. There is still a solution. It’s a two part solution:

The first part: Look at your budget and examine what you can eliminate? Maybe you start carpooling and save on one tank of gas each month. That $30-$50 tank of gas can go toward your financial safety net. Can you eat dinner one more day in each month? Can you skip the morning coffee at the drive through and make your own at home? Pick your budget apart and find some extra cash.

The second part: How much can you set aside? Any amount you can set aside is good. If you can only set aside $30 a month then that’s enough. If you can save more than a dollar a day then by all means save more.

#3 Compulsive Spending

One of the toughest parts about creating a financial safety plan is not touching it until there is an emergency. That new flat screen television is not an emergency!

The solution once again is twofold:

#1 Gain some self control! Seriously, you can bet that if you utilize that emergency savings for a non-emergency then you’re going to experience a true emergency before you have the money saved back up again.

#2 Put it somewhere inaccessible – sort of. You don’t want to put your money into an investment that can’t be touched for a number of years without penalty. You want the cash to be easy to get access to when and if there is a financial emergency. However, you don’t want access to be so easy that you’re tempted to spend it.

Online banking is one easy way to set up your savings. Transfers take a few days which means you may be able to resist temptation. Additionally, you can set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account. This automatic withdrawal eases some of the burden of saving. It’s gone from your account before you even notice it.

#4 Don’t Know How to Start

Finally, one of the biggest challenges is knowing how to start saving. Many people just don’t have a handle on their accounts and their finances. They pay the bills as they come in. They deposit the checks and they cross their fingers and hope everything works out.

If this is you, then your first step is to get a handle on your finances. That begins by balancing your checkbook and creating a budget. Determine exactly how much you have coming in each month and how much you spend each month. Create categories that are unchangeable, like your health insurance bill. Also create categories that are flexible, like your monthly dining out expenses.

We’ve covered the four most common challenges to creating a financial safety net. If you’re experiencing one or all of these challenges don’t worry. All it takes to get on financially sound ground is a plan and a commitment. Find a dollar a day, set it aside, and save until you reach your goal.

Stay tuned…Next: Exactly how much should you save?

Frugally yours, Mary

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