How to make your own shampoo!

My Mom has got beautiful long hair. Last fall she started using homemade shampoo. I was skeptical at first, but watching her for 7 months, her hair never looks greasy, it is always really shiny and healthy looking. I wanted to let her explain the method that she uses.

* She does live in China, so they pay quite a bit more than we do for shampoo. But when she is in the states she still washes her hair this way!

This is the cost:
Vinegar 64 oz $1.82
Baking Soda 2 lbs $1.24
Gallon Water $.88

Cost per shampoo: $.15 a shampoo!


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FREE Dave Ramsey’s Guide to Budgeting!

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If you want to get on the right track to saving money and budgeting, Dave Ramsey is the best! Today you can download his Guide to Budgeting for FREE.

If you have the opportunity to go to one of Dave’s classes, please go.

Dave Ramsey

Paul and I toured Dave’s studio a while ago and got to meet him. It was just a really cool experience, he is so friendly and puts up with all the questions and photos!

We also got to tour his building, our tour guide for part of the time was one of his kids. That was fun to get to ask her questions!

(Thanks MoneySavingMom!)

 

 

Making the most of your Christmas gift cards

giftcardIf you are like most people, you probably got at least one gift card this holiday season. If not, I am sure your kids did! You don’t want to let that money go to waste or forget to use those cards. Did you know that many times if you have less than a 10% balance on the card, you might be able to just cash it out at the store for cash? Check and see what your states cash back laws are and get your money from your card! PLUS you can check your state to see how they rank as far as consumer protection. Sadly Texas ranked poor :(

Know your rights: 

In 2010 many states saw a change in their “gift card” laws, meaning as the consumer you have more rights to the value of the card.

  • Dormancy, inactivity, and service fees can only be assessed for a gift certificate or card if there has been at least one year of inactivity on the certificate or card
  • No more than one such fee is charged per month
  • The consumer has to be given clear and conspicuous disclosures about the fees.

Here are a few things that you can do to get the most out of your gift cards:

  • Know the amount on the card and when you can, spend it all. Don’t get stuck with $4 on a card and never use it.
  • Sell unwanted cards at places like CardpoolGiftcard Granny, Plastic Jungle and even EBAY.
  • Register your card in case you lose it. Check the back of the gift card for the phone number or the website where you can go to register the card. Many times it is not activated until it is registered.
  • You can donate unwanted cards at Giftcard Giver which is an organization that collects unused and partly used gift cards for charitable causes.

Also one really cool thing you can do, is buy gift cards from stores that have a “Gold” rating with consumers. You can find more information on which stores do, HERE.

What coupons can you use where? Store vs. MFQ and Store Logo.

It can be confusing when you are printing and cutting out coupons to know where you can use them when you first start couponing. But quickly you will be able to see some differences and understand what they mean.

When you look at the above coupons before you print them, you can see a few differences. Mostly that 2 of them have a store logo. The top one has none. The middle coupon with the HEB logo is actually a manufacturer coupon that can be used at any store, although it has the HEB logo. The bottom coupon has a Target logo and also says “Redeem only at Target” and when you print it, it is a Target store coupon. Which can only be used at Target, and can still be combined with manufacturer coupon.

This is what they look like when printed. Well, except I already printed and used the 3M coupon, so I printed the Softsoap coupon (you can see below) has a Walmart logo before printed.

You are looking at the top of the coupon to see if it is a manufacturer coupon or a store coupon. A manufacturer coupon can be used at ANY store as long as there as no exclusions listed on the coupon. A store logo isn’t an exclusion. UNLESS IN THE STORES COUPON POLICY THEY SPECIFICALLY SAY THEY DONT TAKE THEM. Even with another stores logo the store can still redeem it and get reimbursed for it.

The Target coupons above both say on them “Redeem Only at Target” even if these coupons are manufacturer coupons, they could only be used at Target. Because the coupons have an exclusion saying they can only be used at Target.

Now, these coupons above all have the Walmart logo on them. The logo says “Available at Walmart” basically letting you know that Walmart carries the product. Plus, they are hoping you think to yourself when seeing the logo, “I am going to use this at Walmart.”

What you need to do is read the coupon:

Coupon 1: USA Kids – Manufacturer coupon, Walmart logo, but says “Redeem ONLY at Walmart” This coupon can only be used at Walmart.

Coupon 2: Softsoap – (you can see this coupon printed above) Manufacturer coupon, No Walmart logo when printed, no exclusions can use anywhere.

Coupon 3: Purex Crystals – Manufacturer coupon, Walmart logo, says “Redeemable at Walmart.” This coupon can still be used at any store that will accept it. They are telling you Walmart carries the product and suggesting you use it there.

Finally, this is pretty much the ONLY coupon type that you can’t use at Walmart or any other store but the store it says on it. That would be a specific STORE coupon.

Clear as mud right?! It really isn’t that hard. The best thing to do is just print the coupon and read it all the way through. I also try to tell you ahead of time if we know that it is  Target coupon so you don’t print it if you wanted to use it somewhere else.

Any questions feel free to email or leave a comment and we will help you understand any questions you have!

How to shop a Victoria’s Secret Semi Annual Sale!

victorias secret semi annual sale

We are getting ready for the Victoria’s Secret Semi Annual Sale. If you like to shop VS but find it pricy, this is the time to think about checking them out!

When is the Semi-Annual Sale:
There are 2 Semi-Annual Sales yearly. Typically they will start in May (online) and June (in-store) or December/early January (online) and January (in-store).

There are a few tips to shopping this sale and few things that you need to know. First, the sale starts on January 2nd this year, items will be about 50% off. BUT, they will be marking items lower around January 9th all the way down to 75% or more. If you take a look at your receipt you will see that they have a “price adjustment” policy which means if the price goes LOWER within 14 days of purchasing your item they will give you back the difference.

What does this mean for you? 

  • Get in their early, shop, and then follow these directions:
  • Shop within the first few days of the sale. This is when all the good sizes ( XS, S, M,L ), and the good colors are available.
  • Realize that you are buying the item hoping it will go lower then the 50% off. You might have to out the money out ahead of time and then be willing to return it if it doesn’t go lower.
  • Head into your store a few times. They out items on sale at different times and bring our more items throughout the sale. The first few days are items they want to get rid of fast. Such as a lot of the PINK items and college items.
  • Save EVERYTHING. Leave the tags on the clothes and leave them in the bag WITH the receipts. You don’t know if you will be returning it, and you need to have your receipts.
  • Check back at your store in the last few days of the sale and see when they go 75% off! Every store is different as to what is the last day of their sale. I am GUESSING that they will be marking down more items around January 9th this year.
  • If you purchased your items within 14 days of the day your store going 75% off, all you will need to do, is take in your receipt, go to the register and ask for a price adjustment. They scan the receipt and give you a refund for any price difference between then and now! It’s super easy and takes no more than 10 mins depending on how much you bought.
  • If your purchase exceeds 14 days you need to take all the unworn clothing and your receipts back with you. You will do a full return, and get a full refund. Then repurchase all the items back at the 75% off price!
  • HEADS UP: Sometimes at the 75% off time, occasionally an item will go back to full price! Be aware of this while making a return or price adjustment, you will need to pay attention. If you are ok paying the price you did, keep it. If not, return it.

Some cashiers get grouchy about doing the price adjustment, you are not doing anything wrong, just look at the back of your receipt for the details and maybe remind them at this is their policy.

* Also you can NOT use coupons with this sale. Just a heads up.

Here are a few more tips: 

  • The sale starts online first, in fact it has already started but is much better in-store.
  • The first day is CRAZY, just be prepared for madness in the store.
  • If you like matching sets, get those first. They will sell out.
  • The winter sale is always better then the summer sale. Just my opinion…

Let us know what you find and feel free to ask any questions. We are a community here and can help each other!

52 Week Money Challenge Savings Plan

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Have you see the 52 Week Money Challenge Savings plan? It is a fun way to save a little extra money this year and this time in 2014 have an extra $1378 in a savings account.

The idea is to deposit a little money each week into a separate savings account. OR you can do an account for each of your children, this will help get them saving too!

There are 3 ways you can do this: 

1. The basic 52-week money challenge – On week 1, you save $1. On week 2, you save $2. On week 3 save $3 and so on. When you end on week 52, you will have saved a total of $1378! Try to deposit your money on the same day every week to make it easier for yourself.Can you set up a direct deposit each week? My bank will let me and I just scheduled mine out for the entire year!

2. The backwards plan – If you are broke during the holiday season and can’t imagine the biggest chunk coming out during November and December, start backwards! The first week of January you will be depositing $52 and so on.

3. The BIG TIME Saver – Have some extra money but have a hard time saving it? Try doing this same idea DAILY. That means each day you deposit the same amount of money as the date of the day. For example, Jan. 1st you deposit $1, Jan. 15th it is $15 and the 20th $20 and so on. At the end of the year, you will have close to $6000!!

There are so many ways to save a little extra money that can really add up! Remember Paul’s Walmart savings plan? He rounds up his totals and adds the money to a gift card every time he buys something at Walmart. Hey! It works!

You can print off a 52 week challenge HERE to get you started!

Halloween Rice Krispie Treas On A Stick Recipe

Guest post from Paul ( I Heart The Mart )

I posted earlier about all the options that Walmart had for making your own treats this year.

My wife makes all kinds of treats for each Holiday and really just about every week for one reason or another. That is why I look like I do! Today it rained and everything got cancelled so the kids and I made my favorite things in the entire world. Rice Krispie Treats. 

This is what we bought. I would just get the almond bark, and color that. It was the easiest to melt.

We also picked up this pumpkin pan, it was $9.97.

I made 2 batches of Rice Krispie treats. If you have not made these before they are really easy. My 12 year old made these batches. It took 2 batches to make what you see in the picture.

When the rice krispies were hot, I pressed them into the pan.

The kids helped by putting the sucker sticks into the treats. My wife suggested dipping the sticks into the melted chocolate first then sticking them into the treats. We let them harden for a little while.

This kid is a pro. He ate about as many as he helped fix.

While they were hardening a little more I chopped the almond bark and melted it on the stove. You can use the microwave but my wife gets set in her ways and so we do it this way :) Just heat it slowly or you will burn it.

Then get the kids and start dipping them. You can do whatever colors you like, dip them a little or all the way. We did both. The kids had an easier time just dipping the tops and adding sprinkles.

My kids do this stuff all the time with their Mom and so they were helping me!

We started getting fancy and adding the pre-made figures you can buy at the store.

My 8 year old (mini Martha Stewart) got the fanciest and was making Frankenstein. I thought it was Elvis, so it is a good thing I didn’t say anything and let her talk!

We bagged them in the $.97 treat bags and tied with twist ties. I am sure you can add ribbon but I am just able to tie my shoes, ribbons are too much trouble :)

My wife waked in as we were wrapping up and added the candy corn to the bags and they looked great!

Cost:

  • Rice Krispies $2.68
  • Marshmallows $1.25
  • Almond Bark $2.98
  • Wilton Cookie Stick $2.88
  • Sprinkles $4.97
About $.75 a treat! (The more you make, the cheaper!)

I don’t have Pinterest, but Tiffany does if you want to pin this. Send us pictures of what you make this Halloween.

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How Does Fivver Work? Buy or Sell Online Services for Just $5.00

How Does Fivver Work

Fivver has been taking the Internet by storm recently. It’s a great way to make a little extra money or to get something done on a budget.

But, it can be a little confusing and there are some things you should know going into it, so that’s where this How Does Fivver Work guide will come in handy for you.

Fivver lays it out like this:

Sounds pretty simple right? It can be. But, like anything on the Internet, please make sure you are reading ratings and full descriptions of services before you buy and are very accurate in your own descriptions if you sell.

How to Buy Fivver Services

  • Sign up for an account here
  • Search for what you want done – There really is EVERYTHING available. From professional services like online marketing for your home based business, graphic design and the like – to voice recordings for online personalized birthday greetings, pranks, personalized comic strips and much, much more.
  • Read what you get – Make sure you know what is being offered and all the terms of service the provider has set out.
  • Order – Commit to the purchase and pay.
  • Give your specifications – If you are having graphic services done you may need to provide a sketch. Having voice work done you may need to give names and details for the product to be completed.
  • Receive your service – Some services take longer than others, again READ the terms and know what you expect.
  • Ask for corrections if needed – But do it quickly, Fivver terms say you only have 48 hours from the time you receive your order completion notice to request any changes, after that you are done.

How to Sell Services on Fivver

  • Sign up for an account here
  • Know what you are selling – Be specific. Be detailed. Include anything you can think of one way or another to be very clear. The better your description, the less likely confusion will be with your buyers.
  • List it
  • Share & Wait – Let your friends and family know you are offering services and people will start to find you.
  • Fulfill orders – You will get notices alerting you to orders. Do what they ask within the guidelines you said you would and keep in contact with the buyer.
  • Complete the order, collect your money.

How does the money part work?

  • For Buyers – You pay $5.00 for what you ordered. Done.
  • For Sellers – Fivver takes a $1.00 fee from the $5.00 purchase price. You can get your money via Paypal (with additional fees) or a Fivver Revenues Card (mentioned, but no details given on their site).

More cool services you can buy on Fivver:

Buy gifts

Buy Online Marketing Services

Buy songs, voice overs and more

Now that you know how Fivver works? – Will you be trying it? Or have you before?

Is It Ok To Sell Your Stockpile?

I get tons of questions all the time about is it ok to sell your stockpile? The answer is NO, for a few different reasons. I am sure if you sell your sister a bottle of shampoo for $.50 because she doesn’t want to go to the store, you are not committing the crime of the century. But, there are a lot of reasons why you should not be selling itmes online, at garage sales and reselling to friends. Honestly, that was my example, I would just give my sister a bottle :)

Here are a few: 

  • You don’t have a resale license or charging tax (I am assuming)
  • Coupons state “not for resale” – That is pretty clear

Check out what the coupon information center has to say about it: 

Reselling Stockpiles. Coupons are intended to give individual consumers a good deal, not provide a method for people to set up unauthorized grocery stores or flea markets in their garages, basements or backyards. Such sales usually violate the terms and conditions of the coupons themselves and may be in violation of local health codes. As a consumer, do you really want to buy a product that has been stored in a stranger’s basement for weeks, months or even years?

Still thinking about it? Check out what happened when a couple in cahoots with a Walmart cashier was caught selling items out of their home… Oh, and committing coupon fraud and basically stealing from Walmart to sell items from their “black market store” the police call it.

“This is the result of a months-long investigation with our department working hand-in-hand with Wal-Mart security, who did an excellent job on this case,” Johnston said.

The ring worked with a cashier and used coupon fraud and deceptive price switching to bilk the W. Michigan Avenue store out of thousands of dollars. Detectives believe the merchandise, mostly personal care and hygiene products, was then sold on the black market. How much was sold before detectives busted the operation is not yet known, said Detective Sgt. Chris Boulter.

The unsold products, confiscated during two search warrants conducted Monday, now occupy most of a fire truck bay at the Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Station on Parnall Road. There are thousands of dollars in vitamins, razors and toothbrushes. Shampoo, shaving cream and deodorant are lined up in rows.

Read the rest of the story HERE.