Tag Archive for Around the House

How to Use Free Time Frugally

free time

free timeHaving too much free time is rarely a problem for anyone I know, but if you are struggling to think of things to do in your free time that don?t cost an arm and a leg then you?ve come to the right place. Breaking my day up into different chunks of time helps me ensure that I don?t get bored from one task or burned out on another.

The downside of breaking up your day is that there might be odd little chunks of time between your more major activities. Here are just a few things you can do in your free time between activities.


Be Productive

There are lots of little productive tasks that can be completed in 5 minutes or less. The good thing about doing these tasks during your short breaks between larger activities is that it will save you from having to do them later. Things like cleaning out your inbox, checking your voicemails, or getting a head start on another project, are all great uses of your little chunks of free time throughout the day.

Another way to use free time to be productive is to pick up a side hustle of some kind. Becoming a freelance writer, walking dogs, babysitting, and doing yard work are all simple ideas to start making a little extra money on the side.


Or Not

Admittedly, I?m not always productive. Sometimes a girl just needs a break after all. 🙂 During the times when I?m feeling especially tired or burned out from being productive, I like to play games online or on my phone. Games that don?t require you to hit certain achievements before you can save and quit are my favorite since I never know how much time I?ll have to play throughout the day. Casino-style games are fun and aren?t usually on-going so they are easy to play whenever you have a free minute or two especially when you?re able to find free casino slot games no download no registration.


If you have larger periods of free time in the evenings or on the weekends, perhaps you can find a club or sports team to join. Lots of places around your community may have bulletin boards with postings of different clubs and community activities taking place. In my community, our public library does a great job of organizing information about all kinds of various community clubs and activities taking place. Our Chamber of Commerce also sends out an email to a subscriber list each Monday morning with a list of activities taking place that week and some bigger events later in the month too. It?s a great resource if I?m looking for something to do during a free evening or weekend.


No matter if you decide to be productive during your free time, or not, you should always aim to use your time frugally. There?s no sense using a lot of money out of your budget to entertain yourself when there are plenty of free and frugal activities to be found.



Photo courtesy of:?Intel Free Press

3 Ways to Dispose of Your Clutter


2559363502_bc352d4ec1_zAlong with trying to get out of debt, I?m also trying to dispose of?clutter in my life and in my house. I really believe clutter and debt go hand in hand, after all both can be caused by excessive shopping for things you don?t really need. I?ve been on my journey to get rid of clutter and debt for just over a year now and in that time, I?ve tried a few different ways to get rid of my clutter with varying degrees of success. Here are three ways I?ve successfully?freed up some space in my house.

Trash Your Clutter

Putting things in the trash is the easiest way to get rid of them – plain and simple. It takes almost no effort to open the trashcan or dumpster and put things inside it. But I hate trashing things that could be of value to someone else, so I rarely trash my clutter unless it?s something broken, used up, or actually just trash.

Donate Your Clutter

I have an almost permanent spot in my house where the ?donate box? lives. As I identify clutter that I want to dispose of that isn?t worthy of being sold online but isn?t trash, I put it in my donate box. Then once the box is full, I put it in my trunk and take to it to the second hand store the next time I?m out and about. Donating your clutter is one of the easiest ways to get rid of it, but many people have trouble donating things they spent a pretty penny on.

Sell Your Clutter

There are several ways you can sell your clutter, including having a garage or yard sale and posting things online.

Having a garage or yard sale to get rid of clutter is actually a lot of work. You have to designate an area to collect your sale items, sort them, price them, haul them to the yard or garage, organize them, etc. I have had several garage sales in the past with varying success. The last one I had made just over $600, so I will definitely be having another one in the future even though I don?t really enjoy them at all.

Selling things online can also be a hassle. If you go the Ebay route, it?s really only worth the time invested to sell pricier items. It takes quite a bit of research and time to sell things on Ebay and make any kind of ?profit? back.

If you decide to sell your clutter via Craigslist or your local Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group, be prepared to be annoyed. My area is too rural for Craigslist to work well for me, but I?ve heard good things about it from friends who live in more urban areas. I?ve actually had a lot of success with selling things on Facebook. But with selling on Facebook comes the hassle of trying to set up meeting times with prospective buyers and hoping they show up on time. I?m pretty busy, so for me this is the biggest hassle and turn-off for trying to sell my clutter on Facebook.

As I get rid of more and more clutter from my home, I?m hoping I won?t have to continue pursuing all these different avenues to get rid of it. For now though, I?m just glad there are several options available. 🙂


How do you dispose of your clutter? What’s one thing you always seem to collect but never really seem to use. What tricks do you have to sell your stuff that doesn’t take a whole lot of time. Do you think debt?and clutter go hand in hand?



Photo courtesy of: John Beagle

5 Cheap Landscaping Ideas You Should Do This Summer

Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping IdeasHave you been looking for some different landscaping ideas lately? I know we have in our home since summer is here in full force, but we generally like to find some things that are a bit different or outside the box.

Of course, everyone is planting bushes and trees and filling landscaped areas in with bark ? wouldn?t you like to do something a little different? If you?re looking for some new or unique landscaping ideas then hopefully this list will get your creative juices flowing as to what you can do to fix up your yard this summer while also staying on a budget.

Chair Swing

Take a look at the picture below. It?s a chair swing and it could really jazz up your back yard and for less than $20. That?s not too bad in my book!

The chair could easily be found at a yard sale for $5 (or less if you?re good at negotiating), and then all you would need is a single long board and some rope. First you remove the legs off from the chair, then cut your board in two and create a frame underneath. Finally, drill some holes and attach the rope to a tree branch above. Presto! You?ve got your chair swing for $10 or $15.

Plant Some Ornamental Kochia Scoparia Grass

I just recently stumbled upon this lately, but it can really bring your landscaping alive. In the summer time, the plants are typically green, but in the fall the bright colors will come out and turn your yard all sorts of different colors! If you?re looking for some colorful landscaping ideas this could potentially be the plant for you.

Create Your Own Wind Chime

Believe it or not, wind chimes are making a comeback, especially the creative DIY kind. If you have some old keys in the drawer that no longer fit into any of your key holes (we all end up with these keys somehow?), then why not create your very own wind chime?

Find yourself a nice stick from the back yard and get some yarn from the basement and you have everything you need to make the wind chime pictured below. If you have young children, this can also be a great way to involve them in a fun project around the house.

Make Tiki Torches Out of Old Wine Bottles

Many people buy tiki torches from the store at $15 or $20 a piece, but why spend the money when you can make your own for a fraction of the price? Plus, your DIY torches will likely jazz up your back yard much better than the store-bought variety.

All you have to do is find some torch rope (you can find these from your local outdoor store (such as Lowes or Home Depot), lantern fuel (likely kerosene), and an old empty (washed out of course) wine bottle, and you can create your very own tiki torch! Each torch should cost somewhere around $5 or less.

Glow in the Dark Planters Pots

Take a look at the photo below. I don?t know about you, but they look pretty darn creative to me. The great news is that they?re super simple. If you already have a yard like the one below, all you have to do is buy some glow in the dark paint, apply it to your pots, and you will have your very own glow in the dark pots every night! The nice thing is, they produce light at night so you don?t have to worry about lighting your yard if you are out in the yard with friends.



What are some landscaping ideas you?ve come up with? Have you ever DIY on landscaping, or do you prefer to go store bought? What?s your favorite way to spruce up your yard for the summer?



Photo courtesy of: Green Forest Landscaping

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Utility Bills This Summer

Utility Bills

Utility Bills

If I remember right, we had an unbelievably hot summer last year and utility bills were at their highest. This year has not been quite as warm, yet, but that doesn’t mean you can?t save some money on your utility bills this summer. Utility bills can be somewhat relative depending on where you live, but there are still some common things you can do to keep some money in your pocket as opposed to sending it to the utility company each month.

#1 Use Those Windows, Not the Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is a fairly common luxury for most of us and one that I love to use. However, this does not mean that you need or should run it all the time as they only increase your utility bills. I was recently outside near my neighbor?s house on a 65 degree day and the air conditioning unit was running constantly. This is simply a waste. The outside air was plenty cool and they could have just opened the windows and saved themselves some money.

With that being said, I know we all have our own comfort levels in relation to air conditioning. Just make sure you realize there is a balance to be had. If it?s going to be an unseasonably cool week then give your air conditioner a break. Your wallet will thank you.

#2 Use a Programmable Thermostat to Cut Your Utility Bills

[easyazon_link asin=”B007BHLUWM” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”wisedollar-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]Programmable thermostats[/easyazon_link]?can cost as little as $20, or more if you want a fancy one, and they can pay for themselves in just a few short months. If your family is outside of the house during the day, then why are you cooling your house for nobody? It just doesn?t make any sense.

Instead, program your thermostat to let the temperature rise in your house during the day and then begin cooling it off an hour before you get home. This is a simple way you can save money on utility bills this summer, not to mention during the winter.

#3 Enjoy Your Porch or Deck in the Evenings

Instead of cranking your air conditioner when you get home from work, why not enjoy your porch or deck instead? This is assuming you have one of course. 🙂 The breeze and the shade will likely keep these areas cool enough to eat your meals and hang out. Open your windows once it begins to cool off and then enjoy your home for the rest of the night. No air conditioner needed.

#4 Do Not Use Your Stove or Oven as Often

Heating up meals in your house will only make things hotter and cause your air conditioner to run more often. There are many other options outside of simply using the stove that can help relieve some of the stress on your utility bills. As opposed to warming up the stove, you can do things like preparing a salad from your garden to grilling. Not only will that cause your air conditioner to work less, but it can also open up more options if you?re trying to eat healthy.

#5 Water the Grass Early

Many people water the grass in the middle of the day or early in the evening. While this does help the grass grow somewhat, it?s not the optimal time to give your lawn a drink. To save on water, turn your sprinklers on in the morning. The water will properly soak the roots and keep your lawn and plants nourished throughout the entire day.

By watering early, you won?t have to expend as much H2O, and your grass will look more green and luscious.

#6 Relocate Your Bedroom

This might sound like a strange one, but I have heard of many people relocating their bedroom when summer time rolls around. If your bedroom is upstairs where it is hottest, instead of blasting the air conditioning to bring the temperature down, consider picking up your mattress and moving it to the basement for a few weeks (during those really hot stretches). You will be more comfortable and will save a bunch of money on your utility bills.


What are you doing to save money on utility bills this summer? Is there a certain temperature that you avoid going outside in? Have you ever moved your bedroom temporarily to save money?



Photo courtesy of: Tax Rebate.org

Five Things You Should Try to DIY Before Hiring Someone


DIYAs a homeowner, it seems that there is always something that needs fixing. If you decide to simply hire someone to come in and fix every single problem that pops up, you could find yourself quickly spending a lot of money. The good news is that many of the problems that come up around the house can be fixed on your own with a few simple tools and a little elbow grease. Even if you don?t know exactly how to do something, the internet can be a great resource for learning about simple household fixes.

Never do any job that you don?t feel comfortable with, especially if you feel unsafe. However, putting your DIY hat on and trying to complete some simple repairs could end up saving you a lot of money. Below are five things that you can try to fix yourself before hiring a professional.

Toilet issues

Over time, you are bound to have one or two problems come up with your toilets. These problems can be serious, but most often they are easy to fix with a DIY video from Homeclick?and couple new parts and a wrench. Open up the top of the tank and watch the mechanisms work as you flush the toilet. There is a good chance the problem will make itself known just by watching, and you may be able to fix it by just replacing a part. It really isn’t that difficult to do, and I know if I can fix a toilet then pretty much anyone can. 😉

Painting a room is an Easy DIY Task

If you decide to repaint a room in your home, you might as well try it on your own before hiring a painter. Indoor painting is pretty straightforward, and you will only need to purchase a few supplies to get started. Again, this is something that pretty much anyone can do. If you’ve not painted before it will take you a little extra time, but the cost savings is well worth it versus paying someone to do it for you.

Yard work

Hiring a company to care for your yard on a monthly (or more) basis can get expensive. Doing the yard work yourself will require some upfront investment (lawnmower, trimmer, etc.), but you can save in the long run. While I’m not a fan of mowing the yard, I certainly have no desire to pay someone for something I’m more than able to do. If saving money isn’t motivation enough, then be motivated by the fact you’ll get a little exercise in as well.

Oil change

This isn?t a house-related job, but it can save you money nonetheless. Generally speaking, taking your car in for an oil change will cost you approximately double as compared to buying the oil and doing it yourself. Of course, your cars? engine is quite expensive to fix, so make sure you know what you?re doing before taking on the oil change (and filter change) on your own.

If you’re unsure as to how to change your oil, there are plenty of free videos on Youtube that can walk you through it. Also, be sure to dispose of the old oil in a responsible manner.

Power washing

Your driveway or walkway might need to be power washed from time to time to bring back their clean look. Power washing isn?t that difficult of a job, as long as you have the right machine for the job. Instead of paying a professional, look into renting a power washer that you can use yourself. Most machine rental shops offer power washers for rent, as do many big box home improvement stores.


What are some of your favorite ways to DIY around the house? What skills have you been able to teach yourself that has saved you a chunk of money?


Photo courtesy of: AJ Hill