How I Saved Today: Making homemade foaming hand soap

Making Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to my first How I Saved Today post yesterday. I think this is going to be such a fun post to put together.

I’m going to try to get it this feature posted daily. However, I know you all will be patient and understanding if I don’t always get it done every single day. Because sometimes, well, life just happens and my best-laid blogging plans go out the window. :)

I knew I could count on you all to give me great input on repairing glasses with missing screws. I should have just asked you before I tried to fix them myself! But alas, they are fixed and now I had a kit to fix them should a screw go missing again in the future.

That said, I’m hopeful maybe there will be fewer lost screws in my future, because I took the advice some of you left and secured my glasses screws with clear nail polish this morning. What a brilliant tip! And one that I would have never come up with on my own. Thank you, all!

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

How I Saved Today

I saved today by making some more homemade foaming hand soap. This is SO easy to do and a great way to cut down on hand soap costs.

I used a little dish liquid, water, and some Citrus Bliss essential oil for the hand soap today. For detailed instructions, see my post on How to Make Foaming Hand Soap.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

How did YOU save today? Tell us in the comments!

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How I Saved Today: Repairing my glasses {and what do you think about making this a regular feature here?}

How I Saved Today: Fixing My Broken Glasses

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking it’d be fun to have a feature called “How I Saved Today”. This would just be a short post about a specific way I had saved money that day. I can’t promise it will happen every single day, but I’m going to try it out here (hopefully a few times per week) and we’ll see how it goes.

I wear contacts almost full-time as they seem to work better for my eye sight. But I also wear these special glasses when I use the computer.

{The optometrists here will know what I’m referring to, but I’m not sure of the official name of these glasses. I just know that my eye doctor prescribed them to me while I was writing my last book and said they would cause my eyes not to get focused and locked in — which was causing my eyesight to go downhill. I get so focused on what I’m doing that I’ll forget to look up occasionally like you’re supposed to do to help your eyes not get locked in on any one thing. So these glasses are supposed to help with that. Anything to protect my eyesight from going downhill while I work on the computer and write books? I’m all for it!}

Last week, the screw fell out of my glasses. We searched high and low and could not find the screw anywhere.

I wore the glasses without the screw, but the lens kept falling out. I knew I needed a long-term solution, but I also knew that I don’t have an eye doctor here in TN yet. So going somewhere to get my glasses fixed would kind of necessitate having to also schedule an eye exam. Which would cost money out of pocket that we didn’t need to spend since I’m not due for another eye exam for a while.

I thought about taping the glasses together, but knew that would just bug me. So instead, I bought an inexpensive eye glass repair kit and fixed the glasses myself.

It took me all of 5 minutes and they are good as new. Best of all, the eye glass repair kit came with extra screws so I can fix the problem in the future if it happens again to my glasses or Jesse’s glasses.

A simple solution, a few minutes of time, and quite a bit of money saved = totally my kind of thing!

How have you saved money today? Also, would you be interested in me regularly running a How I Saved Today feature here? Leave a comment and let me know if it’s something that would interest you.

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48-Hour Giveaway: Lumsing Portable Device Charger (5 Winners)

Lumsing external charger

If you travel often and are always needing to charge up your devices, this giveaway is for you! I usually don’t get too excited about electronic gadgets and gizmos, but when I got this Lumsing Harmonica-Style Portable External Battery in the mail, I was pumped!

You see, even though I use an external battery case on my phone, I often will end up running that down if I’m traveling all day or at a speaking event all day. So this Lumsing is perfect for me. It’s so lightweight and portable. I can stick it in my purse or bag and know that I always have a backup battery if my phone is almost dead.

I’ve already used it multiple times on my last trip and it was a huge blessing — especially since I had a 4-hour flight! You just plug it in ahead of time and fully charge it and then take it with you. Whenever you need a device charged, plug the device into the Lumsing and charge it like you would normally charge your device!

Lumsing Portable Battery

Here are the specific details on the Lumsing from Amazon.com:

  • High Capacity, 10400mAh of capacity. Charges all iPhone four to five times, a Galaxy S3 thrice, or an iPad / iPad 2 once.
  • Made with high quality Original SAMSUNG Li-ion battery and premium microchips, within CE, FCC, ROHS certification ensures reliability; 500 + recharge cycles over the life of the battery.
  • 4 LED indicators reveal the battery level; One indicator represents 25% of remaining power. Input: Micro USB 5V 1.5A; Two Output: USB 5V 1A&5v 2.1A ensure charge two devices the same time to enjoy simple life .
  • Stylish & portable harmonica style design; ergonomic design for easy handle by one hand; The UV craft, high wear-resisting; The side wire drawing process,the product more high-grade
  • Multiple protection system inside for safety. It’s designed for avoiding overcharge, overvoltage, overcurrent, and short circuit to ensure reliability. PERFECT for long plane flights, road trips, or whenever you need to charge your mobile devices wherever you are.

You can find out more details on the Lumsing on the product page on Amazon, on their website, or by following them on Facebook or Twitter.

Want to win a free Harmonica-Style Lumsing External Battery Pack? Just click on the graphic below and type in your name and email address. Five winners will be chosen and posted early next week. This giveaway ends Saturday, September 20, at 11:59 pm, CST.

Enter the Giveaway

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How to Make Delicious Homemade Lattes — Without an Espresso Machine!

How-to-Make-Delicious-Homemade-Lattes-Without-an-Espresso-Machine

I’ve heard rave reviews of this Homemade Latte Recipe ever since I posted it. And I’ve wanted to try it, but I was happy with my regular coffee with cream and sugar so I figured, why change it?

Well, in the last few months, I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of most sugar in my diet. And a few weeks ago, I stopped using sugar in my coffee altogether.

{Can we all take a moment of silence? Did you read what I just wrote? This girl who has had a lifelong sweet tooth, STOPPED USING SUGAR IN HER COFFEE?!?

I’m not even sure that I can communicate the magnitude of that statement. Next thing you know, I’m going to start a blog about doing car repairs or something. Well, I may need to first learn the name of the car I drive (babysteps, babysteps…). But hey, if I can do something I never thought would be remotely possible — drink coffee without sugar and like it — who knows what I might do next?! :)}

Good Girl MoonshineGood Girl Moonshine

Bulletproof CoffeeBulletproof Coffee

At any rate, as a result, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of coffees and drinks, including Good Girl Moonshine and Bulletproof Coffee.

{If you Google the recipes for those, please promise me you won’t write me off as total crazy. Because I liked both recipes and have made them multiple times. I know… I may be going through a midlife crisis or something. ;)}

Homemade Latte

As I experimenting with different recipes, I remembered this Homemade Latte Recipe and knew it was high time I try it. I used some of my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to purchase the Aerobie Aeropress and AeroLatte Frother.

Homemade Latte

I’d never made espresso before and was super impressed with how easy it was to make!

Homemade Latte

When you pull the Aeropress off the cup, the most amazing coffee smell wafts up. Love it!

(Also, totally unrelated: but notice how I’m keeping my nails painted thanks to the encouragement from some of you in the comments here. And it’s been over a week and it’s totally working to kill my nail-biting habit. And it makes me so happy to look down and see my red nails. I have hope that they are going to grow out all pretty, long, and strong… but for now I’m celebrating the little victories.)

Homemade Latte

This frother is absolutely so much fun!

Homemade Latte

And there you have it! An amazing cup of Homemade Latte for much, much less than you’d pay at the coffee shop and without using an Espresso Machine.

Homemade Latte

You can find the detailed recipe here. Also: if you want to make a Breve Latte, just substitute Half and Half for the milk, like I did. And then don’t go look up the calorie count after you make it like I did… yikes! ;)

Homemade Latte

What are your favorite at-home coffee drinks to make?

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How can I save money on food when I’m never home?

14-On-the-Go-Make-Ahead-Meal-&-Snack-Ideas

Do you have any tips for saving money on food when you’re never home? I’m spending too much on food while I’m out! -a reader

I was asked the above question on Twitter recently and I thought it was an excellent question — and there was no way I could respond to it in 140 characters. So I promised the reader I’d respond in a post.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1) Evaluate Why You Are Never Home

This might seem like an unnecessary step, but I think it’s very important to consider. Are you always gone because you have to be (i.e. you have a very demanding job or multiple jobs that you need to have in order to pay the bills) or are you always gone because you choose to be (you’ve accepted a lot of extra commitments and responsibilities you don’t have to do, but you want to do or you feel like you have to do out of a sense of obligation or guilt)?

These are vital questions to ask ourselves. Do you love your life? If not, what small steps can you take to start changing it so you have more breathing room, more down time, and more time to be at home?

Could you downsize your home and lifestyle and work hard to pay off all your debt so that you could lower your expenses and take a less demanding job? Could you cut out a few of your extra commitments or scale back in some other way?

In most cases, we have more control over our situation than we realize. But we have to be willing to say no, to make sacrifices, and to set clear boundaries. And then we have to abide by these things, even when it’s tough. In the long run, it will be worth it!

2) Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Plan Ahead

It would be fantastic if you could plan a weekly menu at the beginning of each week, but if your schedule is constantly changing and you’re not sure how the week will pan out, get into the habit of making a daily menu plan instead.

At the start of each day, look at your calendar and to-do list and make a simple plan for what you’re going to eat that day. Then, while you eat breakfast or before you leave for the day, take a few minutes to gather up a few snack items to take with you on the road, make a cup of coffee for yourself for the road, make a sandwich or two for your lunch and dinner, and fill up a big bottle with ice water or iced tea.

Taking 10-15 minutes to put together a plan and then putting together some food and drink items could easily save you $10 to $20 or more each day… and I think that’s well worth the 10 or 15 minutes of time it will take! As an added benefit, you’ll probably end up eating a little healthier, too.

oatmeal-packets

3) Make Homemade On-The-Go Meals/Snacks

On the weekends or any time during the week when you have an extra 30 minutes, invest that time into making some on-the-go meals and snacks. Here are a few ideas, most that can be prepped ahead of time:

4) Think Outside of the Drive-Thru Lane

The drive-thru lane is quick, easy, and expensive. It’s also usually not  a very healthful option.

If you’re out and about and you really need something to eat and didn’t have a chance to plan ahead, consider going to the grocery store instead. If you have access to a refrigerator and kitchen at your workplace, you could buy a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly or buy a bag of salad greens and a rotisserie chicken from the deli.

Buying groceries might cost you a little more than it would cost you to go through the drive-thru lane once, but they’d give you enough food for lunch for at least 3-4 days. Just store the leftovers in the fridge at work and you’ll have lunch for the next few days.

I also encourage you to plan ahead: buy some items you can keep in your desk drawer or fridge at work. Stock your purse and glove compartment of your car with snacks. Keep a cooler with some snack foods in the fridge at home that you can just grab on your way out the door if you end up needing to run out unexpectedly for a few hours.

It takes a little bit of time to plan ahead like this, but when you calculate how much you’ll save in dollars and calories, it will make that little bit of time investment every bit worth it!

Readers: what are your tips and suggestions for this reader? How do those of you who aren’t home a lot save money on food? I’d love to hear!

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