Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why I Love Tea

1.       It’s cheaper than coffee-  Brewing a tea bag can cost less than $0.10 per serving, which is ess than half the average coffee serving. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE coffee.  That said, I am also a little bit of a coffee snob.  I hate plain coffed from one of those bulk canisters.  I either get my coffee to go (with flavor shots and the occasional espresso) or make it in my Keruig.   To avoid going broke to feed my caffeine habit, I switched to making tea most mornings and during my break at work (I prefer my coffee in the afternoon, and yes I know that’s bad for my bedtime). 

2.       Tea has major health benefits – From helping you lose weight to maintaining a healthy blood pressure, research has shown that tea has some serious health perks.  Different kinds of tea provide different perks, with green tea being the healthiest choice.  Thanks to a variety of flavors (I’ll get to that later), it’s easy to find a green, black, white, or herbal tea you can drink to reap specific rewards.

3.       Tea relieves stress – Both herbal and black teas have been proven to alleviate stress.  From personal experiences, even just the smell of some teas can instantly provide a soothing feeling.  Studies confirm this and even say that tea can lower blood pressure. Plus, tea has less caffeine than coffee, so it offers less chance of anxiety / jitters if you sip a little too much.

4.       There are endless flavors - From spiced chai to pomegranate green tea, there are more flavor combinations than you could possibly imagine.  Plus, tea is great hot or cold.  So, there really is a tea for every mood or occassion.  My favorites are vanilla chai, cinnamon apple, and peach green tea.  Loose leaf teas can offer a crisper flavor than bagged, and are easy to custom mix, so feel free to experiment!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Favorite Coupon Sites

Coupons are a great tool to help you stick to your budget.  For most people, the newspaper is the go-to place to clip these money savers out; however, the computer is hot on the newspaper's heels.  There are plenty of sites where you can print out a coupon or two, but some offer more / better deals than others.  Here are the ones I have found to be most useful:

SmartSource - From the same people who bring you those lovely newspaper inserts, SmartSource has a solid variety of coupons from major name brands, usually around 100 coupons each week.  Some of these can even be loaded directly to your store savings card.  That's a great way to save some paper (and the cost of ink)! Like other coupon sites, you will have to install their software to print.  You can also use their iPad app, which can be a great time saver for some.

CoolSavings - This site essentially takes the same coupons as the better-known  What I like about CoolSavings, though, is the additional features the site has.  There is a Free Stuff section for samples and freebies.  The site also makes it easy to sort coupons and compare prices from various retailers.  You can even compare weekly grocery deals, plan your menu, and make your shopping list all in one place.

HotCouponWorld - This site pulls printable coupons from around the web.  It also provide matchups between coupons and various store sales to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.  The site also offers a coupon trading program for members and a messsage board with an active couponing community.  There's even the occasional contest or giveaway.

Coupon Divas - Coupon Divas pulls coupons from other sites into one place, but it's not their coupon collection that makes this site a winner.  Coupon Divas has an entire How-To section to help you become an expert couponer.  This section includes store-specific tips and coupon policies as well as general couponing advice.  The website also provides updates on non-coupon offers, from vacations to magazine subscriptions.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Save Money on Laundry

Laundry is just one of life’s little necessities.  For most of us, it’s become so routine that we don’t even think about the money we might be wasting on this common chore.  Here are a few ways you can save some money and still have a clean wardrobe

Use Less Detergent – Yes, the directions do say to fill it up to the line.  However, unless your clothes are SUPER dirty, you will never need that much detergent.  Use a little less, and over time the savings could really add up.  I sometimes only use half of what is recommended, and my clothes still come out just fine.

Wash Cold – You can save a good chunk of change on your heating bill by using cold water to wash your clothes.  Some detergents are even designed to get clothes clean in a cold wash, which can help ensure your clothes are just as clean without the heat.  As an added bonus, there’s less chance of shrinkage or color running in a cold wash.

Use Less Water – Some machines are more efficient than others, but all models should come with a “delicate” option.  By washing even your thicker clothes on the delicate cycle, you will use less water and your load will be done a little quicker.  Keep in mind, though, that heavy dirt / stains may not come out in this cycle. 

Line Dry – Letting clothes dry naturally in the air saves you on your electric bill.  Some clothes actually need to be dried this way to prevent damage, while others may seem too stiff and/or wrinkled without the dry.  Another option is to air dry clothes 90% of the way and then set them to a low tumble to soften them up and reduce wrinkles. 

Soften for Less – Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are expensive and often made with unsavory chemicals.  You can use white vinegar instead of liquid softener, or invest in a dryer ball for a couple of dollars to reduce static / firmness.  The dryer balls are reusable and will last quite a while.  Just be careful not to puncture them.  I had one deflate on me and it obviously did not work to its full potential.