All Sharon's Favorites: Recipes, Home Remedies and Michigan Life

Tips for Everyone

I have money saving tips for male and female, mom's and dads some, my husband and I have used. I will try to loosely categorize them to selectively speed read or skim through to see what applies to you. Or you can read each one.  Now if you got it like that and can buy what ever you want go ahead and enjoy.  Me/we don't have it like that . . . . yet.   These are not in expense order I kinda put these items in life order.   

Put the thing you are about to purchase it one of two columns.  Is it a NEED or is it a WANT.  If it is a need then you know you have to make that purchase.  A need is food, clothing and shelter.  If it is a want and you don't have the money to buy it then you have to save for it.  

On my  Financial stress page I have made the statement that you must save 3 months of living expenses and never touch it. Then save some more if you are a homeowner for emergencies like furnace, hot water heater, roof, and so on. When you use it replenish it. Start a retirement fund and never borrow from it.  Live on 70% of your income.  Do not live off of charge cards.  Make a monthly budget.  Make a annual budget.  Make a 5 year plan, 10 year plan and decide where you want to be in 10 years and in the next 10 years.   You may have to revamp your plans due to illness, job loss, divorce and any number of life events but at least have a plan know where you want to go in life.   My current state/stage of my life is not exactly what I had planned due to illness my plans got derailed but what is, it is working for me.   

1. Cell phones.  Don't buy a new one every time a new model comes out on the market if your phone does what you need.  You do not need to change your cell phone each time your contract expires or when your cell phone provider says you are eligible for a new phone.  Or a new one comes out on the market.  Now if you legitimately drop, break, lose or just screw your phone up I am not talking about you.  I kept a cell  phone for so long, the battery would not hold a charge for more than a few hours.  I went to get a replacement battery, the phone was discontinued,  they no longer made  batteries for it.  My sons dogged me out for keeping the phone for so long, calling the phone a brick.   I was forced to replace it with new phone.  My current phone has a GPS which I use all the time.  Give me the address I can find where I need to go.  I use my calendar app on my phone for all my appointments. I use just about all of the apps on my phone.  I do not text while driving. On rare occasions I use my hands free devise (blue tooth) if necessary while driving.  I have the Sprint Instinct.  Sprint has a new phone The Epic 4G...sigh..nice.... I'm keeping my Instinct  it still works well.  

2.  Computers.  New computers are not necessary to buy every two or three years. They come out with newer faster computers with bells and whistles every year for the consumer buying public.  If your computer does what you need it to do when you orginally purchased it, you do not need to buy a new one every 3 years.  If you use your computer to surf the web, email and play games then you realy do not need to buy new computer every few years when a new one comes out.  Look at upgrading the one you have if you don't have enough memory to run programs or it freezes up on you.  If you are a computer programer a software designer you are probably not even on my website reading my page you know when you need a new computer.  When I was in the workforce I noticed  most companies/agencies do not buy new computers for their work place every two years.  They upgrade their computers as needed every few years.  When upgrades are no longer feasible then new computers are purchased. This is usually a 10 year cycle depending on the company.

3. Car. New or used? Lease or Buy? Should you purchase a new or a used car. Should you lease a car? That depends on what you can afford. Remember a car is not an investment. Leasing a car is a personal choice If you want a new car every 3 or 4 years and don't want the long term of eventually owning it then leasing is your option. Do your research get a lease where you put as little down on the car as you can. A car is a expensive convenience. In my past social circle of associates I was bemoaned when I purchased a new car. I could afford it. My point I am making is I always kept my car until it became a used car so why should I buy a used car and only get 2 or 3 years use out of it. I bought new and drove it for 8 or 10 years. The choice is this. With a new car you will have a regular predictable car note. With a used car you will have unpredictable car repairs. New car, higher insurance payments. Used car lower, insurance payments. Either choice you have to count up the cost and choose what you can afford. Bottom line get what you can afford, what you feel comfortable with not what the sales man can "get you into." What does this has to do with saving money if you are straining to make car payments how can you put away any money for savings? The goal is less stress for your life. End result when you put more money into the car than the cost efficacy and value of it then it is time to get another car. Now this is creative thinking with a leased car.  If you want to purchase a car at the end of the lease you can finance it the car's blue book will be worth less than it was when you first leased it. To me you will really have to crunch some numbers before you decide to embark on this. Calculate how much money you put into lease payments. The lease payments should be less than what you would be making in car payments in order for this to be worth your while. Then if you want the car at the end of your lease finance it and buy it.

4. Books. Go to the library check out books and read for free. Not the Kindle or Nook. I was in Barnes and Noble to purchase a magazine that did not give me much information with the online version. While there I looked at the Nook. Now don't get me wrong. I was intrigued with the gadget. If you have it like that and can afford it I think it's pretty cool and convenient. You download books that you purchase.  I am addicted to gadgets but now I have to draw the line. Take a look at my Sharon's gadget page.  The Nook costs from $149 to $199 dollars plus you have tp pay for each book you download. I'm not affording one.  I went and renewed my card at my local library.  I was reading for free two years prior to retiring.  My job got too hectic, long work hours my library card expired, I did not have the time.  I now have the time again.  Tip; try to become more knowledgeable on a subject that you love for free! Go to the library!


5.  That big screen TV.  With the HD channels  we now have do you really need it?  Can you afford to pay cash for that 52 inch TV?  Save up for it.  Don't charge it and end up paying more for it.  Do you really need it or is it a want?   I will not argue with anyone a large screen.  Yes the TV sure looks good!  My husband and I enjoyed watcing it when we took our  to my stepdaughter's and son-in-law house.  See my page  If you cannot afford it and you are going to charge it and cannot pay it of in 90 days you are going yo pay way to much for the TV.  Again save for it.

5. Apartment Rent, House payment. Why am I listing these items on a money saving tips page.   Just in case you are contemplating buying a home or moving into that apartment.  What does that have to do with saving money.  Plenty.  If your apartment is too expensive for you, how can you build a nest egg? When I was way back in high school the computation for your affordable house was your annual salary and the amout of rent you could afford was a weeks salary. Today the;  House you can afford is: 1.5 times your gross annual salary. Monthly rent is your annual gross salary divided by 40. that would be your monthly rent payment you can afford. * see below 

6.  Pare your gift giving list.  You may have to limit your list to your own individual household.  If you were buying/charging gifts for your extended family tell them you love then but you have to cut expenses.  You are trying to become debt free,  you are no longer going into debt charging Christmas gifts.   Be diplomatic and as sensitive and loving as you can.   Likewise they should do the same.  You never know they may be relieved.  Growing up my parents had 7 children.  Of course our parents bought us all gifts at Christmas time.  It was fun as each of us got jobs while we were still at home, we bought gifts for everyone.   As each of us moved out on our own we kept buying gifts for mom and dad and what ever siblings still living at home.  As each one got married and took on additional responsibilities the list had to be shortened to family gifts instead of individual gifts.  As the married ones started their own families you can see the list is now growing.   It became a strain to try and buy gifts outside of our own individual family.  My rule; do not buy Christmas gifts with a charge card trying to get everyone a gift.  If you cannot pay cash for the gift you cannot afford to give the gifts, and I mean paying cash without using bill money.  Do not gift to impress.  I make fashion jewelry. see my web store  also see my  Last year I made jewelry for my family for Christmas.  I was made gifts for my husband, children their spouses and grand children.  It went over well!  Oh boy!  I do not know what I am going to do this year. *# see below 

7.  Have a Garage Sale, or sell your items on eBay.  It is estimated that everyone has about $2000 worth of stuff in their home that they can sell either by way of a garage sale or you can do sell on eBay.  It's simple painless.  You can sell on Craig's List just be carefull very carefull with Craig's List. I caution you against do not  meet anyone at their home.  Meet them at a public place a resturant, a Cafe.  Never allow anyone to meet you at your home to pick up merchandise.   For a large piece like furniture I would suggest if it is not too costly rent a storage room facility for a short time.   Meet them there have someone with you to have them pick up the large piece.   If you are moving out of the home or apartment and will never live there again that is different then have at least two people there with you.  If you are a woman at least two adult male relatives or friends there with you.  Always have your cell phone with you.  Let family know excatly where you are going if it does not feel right trust your instincts.  Be extra careful if you are selling a high price item.  If it is a high price item by all means take someone with you. If you are a female take at least one male relative with you preferably two with you. Don't meet your partner at the meeting place make sure you bring them with you. You pick the meeting place do not let the buyer pick the meeting place.  You must have two options of meeting places don't let the person say that place is not good why don't we meet at such an such.  If they can't meet at your second place it's no deal.  

8.  Make your own Christmas gifts. Birthday gifts.  Graduation gifts.  Any occasion gifts!  This is not just for ladies.  If you read  my number 6 where I made Jewelry Christmas gifts for my family.  I have a friend's whose brother carves beautiful wooden ink pens out of I think teak wood.  They are so awesome they will take your breath away.  He sells them for about $50 dollars, well worth it!  So you guys who are skilled at it, this would make an excellent gift. I am into ink pens.  Engraved pens even better.  (I haven't  replaced my engraved pen I lost somewhere in Silver Springs, MD.)  Hand made gifts.  I mean quality gifts.  Something that the receiver will appreciate and use or wear over and over again.  Something that has value.  Ladies not some doohickey you see instructions for in a woman's magazine that come out in the November issue every year.  If you cook or bake well.  How you can tell if you cook or bake well; when people repeatedly ask you to make bake them some of your cookies, then you have something to make as a Christmas gift.  I love hand crafted soap!  Hand made lotion!  I purchased some off of Etsy.  I have always wanted a sock monkey doll.  Ah-ha another gift Idea!  Saw one on Etsy.  Oh the possibilities are endless. These are ideas I am throwing out.  Get your creative juices flowing.  Make something someone will want.  Ask yourself if I see this in the store will I buy it?  Then go and ask your girl friend or your buddy would you buy this?  Or Go to a store and ask what do you think of this?   If they like it then you have something.  An item  you could turn into a business.  I was wearing my retirement charm bracelet I made you can see in on my retirment page, a sales lady saw it and was admiring it.  That is a way to see is your gift worth giving.  By the way I did make the bracelet with a different theme for a graduation bracelet present for my sister and niece they loved it!  Actually This year for 2010, I am stumped for what to give for Christmas gifts. Sign more jewelry? 

9.  Furnishing that new apartment.   Wait and get what you really want.  Save for the furniture.  Put it in the lay-a-way.  Wait for it to go on sale.  I got this tip from a coworker years ago when I got my first apartment.  When you go out to get your first apartment do not go out and buy a "That will do for now" table, sofa or whatever.  You end up stuck with that table for a long time  you will become complacent with a "that will do table".  So you have this cheap "that a do table" then you go and finally and get  the table you really want you wasted money for the "that a do table" when you could have waited, saved your money and bought the table you really wanted.  Makes sense?  Does to me.  I put a gold crushed velvet love seat in the lay-a-way for my apartment.  Thee was no time limit on the lay-a way I diligently paid on the love seat sofa each week until I got it out. My love seat was lovely.   My mom gave me two cane back side chairs for my apartment.   They were nice.  For my dinding room I bought a second hand set Duncan Fife table a pretty good set.  It reminded me of a table my mom had when we were kids growing up.  It was pretty cool.

 *Did I actually calculate all these things? That's a yes.  When I moved into my first apartment, to see if I could afford it, and again when I bought my first home.  Even though I was married when I purchased my first home, could I afford it on one income?  Yes I could, and I ended up supporting it alone.  My first car, second car, yes.  Second home yes.  I took into consideration what the prime interest rate was for loans,and mortgages?  Yes I did. 

*# Now that my husband and I have retired our income has greatly reduced ( we can meet our expenses) we simply do not have it like we did when we were working. All of our children have moved out and they are on their own. Some have married and started their families. Love you kids, we just cannot make Christmas like we use to. We have all we need. Actually we need to get rid of stuff. We have so many things, we need to de-clutter and de-stress. I just tossed about 4 well used small appliances I have not used in about 2 years and still have not made a dent in the stuff in my hall closet storage. I need to clean out my closet, toss out clothes, shoes and coats. I don't need another appliance, piece of jewelry, nor an article of clothing. I don't need another knickknack. My mom called them dust collectors. My cupboards are overflowing with stuff I need to clean house. I cannot remember the exact Christmases when my parents actually stopped buying us gifts. They kind of weaned us off gifts. When an adult child moved out of the home is when Christmas gifts stopped.  I am only digressing like this, if it is a strain on anyone out there to give them some sense of direction to get controll over Christmas spending.  Christmas season should be joyous and about sharing that time with family and remember the reason for the season.  Christ!  

Now I should have started right after my jewerly making for this year's gifts.  Hum . . . . . ah-ha  I have another gadget I have never used!  I have a knitting machine.  I use to knit by hand.   I am pretty good at it too.   Hum, do I have time to become proficient with the knitting machine?   What can I make?   What  can I come up with?   That takes me back up to number 8 above.

Daily, Weekly Money Saving Tips

  • Pack your lunch for work/school.  If you eat out you can spend $5.00 to $10.00 for lunch that is a $20  to $50 dollars a week savings $80 to $100 dollars a month and so on.
  • Not bottled water.  Get the filtered water pitchers not bottled water use a eco friendly stainless steel reusable bottle. Take the pitcher to work fill it as you work throughout the day.
  • Cook dinner at home.  Plan your weekly meals so you know what you are going to prepare.  That way you won't be tempted to stop and grab a carry out when you are tired and don't know what to cook.  Plan your eating out  dinners then they become more special.

  • Buy fresh meat and fish. One of my favorites is turkey cutlets.  Bag and freeze them individually so they can be taken our of the freezer in the a.m. placed the fridge to thaw.  When you come home from work, cook a vegetable and rice. Make a salad. Season grill or pan sear the meat and you have dinner!  Saved time and money!

  • Buy bulk!  Warehouse clubs memberships are good for even small two person housholds.  Freeze and store your food.  Get a small freezer to store your food a good investment.  If you are a household of 1, bulk is not really a savings for you.  $30 dollars on 3 items does not do you any good when you can get several items for your $30 dollars.  Bulk does not apply to single people.

  • Do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry.  Shop with a grocery list and stick to the list.  When you shop hungry, you are more likely to pick up items you normally will not buy, like cookies snack food, frozen entrees and countless other items and end up over spending.

  • Coupon clipping is not a saving if you buy items you normally do not buy. Don't clip the coupon.  You are not saving any money if you buy  can goods that sits on your shelf you never use. It goes past their expiration date.  Over spending again.  Here's a tip:  big sale buy one TV dinner for $4 dollars get another one  50% off.  You just over spent $6 dollars. You really did not intend to buy the TV dinner you just bought it because it was on sale. 

  • Rewards cards.  Do sign up for those rewards cards.  I signed up for the rewards card at my local chain office supply store.  I print my own business cards for my jewelry business.  I use to do buseness card, wedding invations a desk top publishing busniess.  Quarterly I get a gift card for $10 dollars from the rewards program for the money I spent at the office supply store.  Thats money back, savings on the next ink cartridge or paper I buy.

  • Turn lights off in rooms no one is in.

  • Unplug the cruling iron after you are finish using it.  Leaving it plugged in is a fire hazzard. 

  • Stop inpulse spending for clothes.  Take a look at your wardrobe get the basics first.  Dark suit for men and women dark skirt/pants white shirt/blouse.  Navy, grey and brown are some basic colors.  Then you add to that.  Replace and renew you wardrobe.  Get max and match pieces.  Get good quality pieces they last longer.  My joke when I see something on on sale you can save save $9 dollars off this regular $29 dollar outfit. If it is something I really don't need, I'll say I just saved $20 dollars by keeping my money in my poket.  Every now and then treat yourself see my Pay the Piper page just don't go broke doing it. 

  • In the winter turn the furnace temperature down. You do not need to blast your heat at 85 degrees in the winter time. Cover your windows with plastic if you feel a cool breeze calk your windows preferably necessary prior to the winter coming.  I know some people who set their thermoststat at 69 degrees in the winter.Or the lowest you can stand.   That's a bit too cold for me.  I can never go to sleep at night no matter how many blankets I put on my bed at 69 degrees.   

  • Do not turn the air conditioning off when you go to work.  This does not save you energy.  Here is the reason.  In the summer turn your air conditioning up to 73 degrees.  When I had air conditioning installed at my previous home.  The installer was a trusted acquaintance of mine, gave me tips on saving energy.  When you turn the air off while you are at work the house heats up very hot. When you come home and turn it back on, for that size home it takes at least 2 hours of constant running to cool that house back down to a comfortable level.  The larger your house the longer it takes to cool down.  It uses more energy to cool the home down than to maintain a constant temperature.  So leave the air on in the summer time!  You would not turn the heat off in the winter time until you get home would you?

  • Turn the TV off if you are not watching it.  Don't fall asleep with the TV on.  The TV can actually disturb your sleep.  Ugly violent shows creep into your spirit.  You want be at your prime for the next day you need a restful night's sleep.  Turn off the Radio/Stereo/CD whatever if you are not listening to it. you cannot watch TV and listen to the stereo at the same time.

  • Turn off the computer do not leave the computer on 24 hours if you are not using it turn it off.  Why do you need to leave your home computer on day and night?  Every evening at work the instructions are turn off all computers, radios, and desk lights.  So we have to pay for the electricity at home? So why not turn energy using electronics off?

  • Get a motion sensor for your outside lights and garage lights

  • Need more lights for you walkway leading to your front/side/back door install solar lights.

  • When you brush your teeth do you leave the water running?  Turn it off until you are ready to rinse your mouth out.

  • Errands to run?  Start out with the location farthest from your starting point (home) and work your way back.  Plan your trip logically from one direction from your starting point all on the east side today.  Pace yourself, give yourself an allotted time for each stop.  Usually you will get all your stops accomplished and may have time to spare.  This will save you time, and gas.  Time is money.  You may not get everything done in one day there is tomorrow. 

  • Drive moderatly it saves gas.  When I was working, driving moderatly every day back and forth to work in my minivan, 11 miles both ways, my minivan has a 26 gallon tank.  I filled it up once every 2 weeks. Driving on the freeway keep your speed at a even speed.  Darting in and out of traffic.   Stepping on the gas, riding on someone bumper, jumping around someone, just to get into that empty space you see 6 cars ahead.  This does nothing but burn up gas.  Leave early enough so you will get wherever you have to go on time.  Each vehicle you buy, the manufacturer gives you the estimated gas mileage of that vehicle.  I always get that estimated mileage and better.  Jack rabbit starts from a red light.  Stomping on the gas on the freeway actually does use up more gas I know.   I've tried it and used up almost a tank of gas in the same minivan in one week. 

  • Wash your own car sometimes, in the summer.  It's also a great stress reliever.   I do take my car through the car wash in the winter for the underbody wash to get the salt off.  also it's too cold in the winter to wash it yourself. 

  • Pay all your bills on time!  Late charges are a money stealer,  example what, are they now $25 dollars late fee for some? That adds up! Bills that must be paid on time!    That would be rent, mortgage, gas, electric, water, phone, car payment, credit cards, day care bill, student loan, cell phone bill and the list goes on.  That would be everything!  Bills that come due on the same date each month  set up online with your bank account automacally be paid  see my page.  On some charge cards if you make a mistake and this is the first time you made a late payment you may be able to call them and have the late fee removed.  If you are a habitually late then that will not work.  Note they can raise your interest payment too if you are late with bill payments.  Get in the habit of paying on time and work to get out of debt. 

  • Save money on gas!  Have a Food club card purchase your gas from the wholsale gas club like Sams you can save as much as 10 cents on the gallon for your gas that is a nice savings.  If you buy the club card just to save on gas it may take a while for you to see the savings. 

Money Saving Tips for Ladies

  • Buy moderately priced sheer stockings. A study done reported in the Detroit Free press years ago, expensive sheer stockings did not last any longer than the cheaper sheer stockings. Freezing the stockings did not make them last longer either. One thing not to do with your stockings never put them in the dryer. The heat destroys them, even the low heat.  Hand washing your stockings after each wear, hanging them to dry does help them to last longer.

  • Now this one I'll share but I've stop doing.  If you have two pair of  panty hose and get a run in one of each leg each cut of the leg that has the run and put on and wear each stocking on opposite leggs.  You'll have a double panty on it's a bit too much bulk for me. 

  • You do not have to buy the most expensive stockings to look good it's all about the color of the stocking to compliment you.  My coworker thought I spent $5.00 a pair for my stockings from the local ladies fashion dress store.  I let her think so.  I get my stockings from Kmart for $3.99 for 3 pair.  I did buy the Higher priced stockings when they went on sale to see what the big deal was.  You could not tell the difference.   I have in the past paid $10 dollars for a pair of stockings, just the right color to match my outfit.  Back then that was a lot of money to pay for one pair of stockings.  Oh the frivolity of youth. 

  • If you are good at arching your own eyebrows do it yourself put the money you save in a "piggy bank" see how quickly it adds up.   Once in a while get a professional brow arch done, then maintain it.  

  • Give yourself a manicure and a pedicure save $50 to $70 dollars see 
  • If you are good at doing your own hair.   Doing your own weave your can save up to $150 dollars.  Now if it does not look good it is not worth the time, nor the money you spent for the hair.  Splurge and have it done professionally if you must have a piece put in.  Forget the piece if you have hair wear your own. 
  • Get your hair done at the local beauty school get your nails done too.
  • Suits.  Always buy suits with a lining in it.  You will have a suit that will last longer a better quality suit. and it will hang better
  • If you are purchasing a less expensive outfit, buy it a little larger it will look better on and more expensive if it has a bit of room in it.
  • Years ago I use to say sew your own outfit to save money. About 25 years ago I took 3days off from work just for the fun of it, Thursday thru Monday with the weekend off and made at least 4 outfits. Everyone thought I had purchased the outfits and some thought they were expensive. With pattern prices at $10.00 dollars apiece it may not be much of a saving.  Look for patterns for 1/2 off  helps and fabric on sale.  It may be worth it to you if you want to make something custom not found in the store to suit your taste.

Money saving tips for Men

I watched as my eldest son grew up and obtained what I call manly skills listed below are some skills he learned that I never could have taught him. For the first 11 years of his life I was a single mom so he did not have a father role model to give him a good start.  Now I did start out cutting his hair.  I do own an electric drill. I was a daddy's girl. As a small girl I saw how to a drill works by following my dad around and watching him use his tools.  I watched my dad cut his hair and my brothers hair.  I saw my dad fix things around the house and mow the lawn.  Now there are some things in this list that ladies can utilize to save money too.  I just kinda made my lists gender specific to get everyone's attention.  Women will read to see what is men can do to save money.  Men will see what is for the ladies to do to save money.

  • Cut our own hair and your son's hair if you butcher it go to the barber. 
  • Mow your own lawn
  • Learn to do minor home repairs if you are a home owner if you are not a handy andy get help
  • Repair your own brakes get help from a buddy that knows how
  • Change your own oil on your car same as above get some help from a some one willing to show you that knows what he is doing.
  • Learn to how do your own minor car repairs. 
  • Do your computer repairs get a buddy that you went to school with for computer engineering.
  • Polish your own shoes.  I use to watch my older brothers polish their shoes with admiration.  They would not consider it finish until they could see their face in the shoe.  When I finaly took my son to the barber shop and saw men getting their shoes shined.  The professional shine to me did not compare to how my brothers shined their shoes. 
  • Learn to wash and iron your own shirts. I remember my dad who was a factory worker had his white shirts taken to the cleaners I think he had about six shirts or so taken to the cleaners, then every Sunday he took out a clean shirt for church.  Mom was a stay at home mom with 5 then 2 more came children to get ready for church and ironing a shirt perfectly for dad was not in the equation for a Sunday morning I thought I was going to be a full time mom iron my husbands shirts.  It never happened.  I cannot complain.  I now have a pension and will collect my own social security when I become of age.    

Now sometimes your time is more valuable than the money you are saving.  When my husband and I were still working we did have lawn service for a short perid of time.  Our last month on the job we were going in to work at 7 a.m. and getting back home at 7:30 p.m. we have no street lights in our neighborhood.  It as too dark to see to cut the grass after work.  We were working on Saturdays.  When would my husband get time to rest?  Sometimes you pay for services so that you get to have more family time.  Now that we are retired my husband cuts our grass again.