7 Frugal Ways to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

7 Frugal Ways to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

Frugal Ways to Attract Butterflies- Take a look at these 7 frugal ways to attract butterflies to your garden so you can enjoy them and the benefits they bring all season long.
Attracting butterflies to your garden is not only ideal because of their beauty, but because they can help pollinate your flowers and plants as well! Butterflies are an excellent asset to your garden, which is why attracting them should be on your to do list. Attracting butterflies doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult; in fact, you can get them to come flocking for just pennies! Take a look below at 7 frugal ways to attract butterflies to your garden so you can enjoy them and the benefits they bring all season long.

1. Place out “sweet spots.”

Give butterflies sweet spots to feed on when you place out shallow lids with sugar water in them. The lids of Pringles cans or butter containers are perfect for this task. Then, watch the butterflies come and take a sip.

2. Try sponges.

Cut up sponges into cubes and soak them in sugar water. You can then place the sponges out in your garden and wait for butterflies to find then. They will love perching on the soft sponges and drinking the sweet water.

3. Give them watering stations.

You can do both of the suggestions above using plain water instead of sugar water so the butterflies have a place to get a cold drink. They get thirsty just like we do, and will flock to spots where water is available for them.

4. Plant ground cover.

Plant some low laying plants and ground cover that butterflies can find shade in. They will appreciate a retreat from the sun and enjoy a shady place to lounge in.

5. Plant butterfly friendly blooms.

Butterflies love Rose of Sharon, Butterfly Bush, and many other flowering bush varieties. Add some of these plants to your flower beds and landscaping and the butterflies will return year after year.

6. Forget the pesticides.

If you use pesticides in your yard, they will scare and/or kill butterflies off. Instead, avoid using chemicals in your yard and by all means avoid pesticides. Try natural pesticide options instead such as lady bug releasing or a simple spray of Dawn dish soap and water.

7. Let them eat fruit.

Butterflies love fruit rinds and peels. Place these items in shallow dishes and place them out for butterflies so they always have a snack on hand!

See how simple it can be to bring beautiful butterflies flocking to your yard? Give these tips a try and in no time you will be enjoying beautiful butterflies in your garden, even on the tightest of budgets!

How to Stay Cool Without Letting Your Utility Bills Heat Up

stay-cool

The following post is a guest post by Hilary of CallMePower.ca. Enjoy!

Don’t let your utility bills soar high along with the rising temperatures this summer! Here are some handy tips for keeping your utility bills low as temperatures rise.

Fire the Dryer

Did you know that after refrigerators, clothes dryers are the biggest energy-consuming household appliance? Reducing (or stopping altogether) your use of the clothes dryer can have a big impact on your utility bills. Take advantage of hot, sunny weather by drying your clothes outside. Not only will air-drying your clothes save you money on your utility bills, it is also gentler on your clothes and will help them last longer.

To maximise energy-saving on laundry, wash your clothes in cold water. As about 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes towards heating water, washing your clothes in cold water can have a big impact on your utility bills, and has the added benefit of keeping your clothes bright for longer! You can also find detergent that has been specially formulated for cold water to ensure your clothes are getting cleaned as well as they would be in hotter water.

Go with the Flow

Ensuring good air circulation throughout your home can make a big difference in terms of your comfort indoors and can help you avoid using (expensive) air conditioning. There are several easy things that you can do to improve airflow in your home. First, if you have any ceiling fans, make sure that they are set to rotate counter-clockwise in the summer; this will push hot air upwards and outwards create a cooling effect in the room. Also make sure to keep the heating/air-conditioning vents in your home open and clear of anything that might be blocking air flow in your home.

Fill up the Fridge

Keeping your fridge full will also keep it from warming up every you open it, and it won’t have to work as hard to stay cool. Fill any extra space in your fridge with bottles of water, juice, or iced tea (which you can make yourself!) – they will help the fridge maintain its temperature and are refreshing! On particularly hot days, try to limit the number of times you open your fridge so that it doesn’t work harder than it has to.

Stop Cooking

Spending hours in the kitchen over a hot stove or in front of a hot oven during the summer is both unpleasant and unnecessary. Instead, make the most of fresh, bountiful summer produce to make salads and room-temperature dishes. Summer is a great time to get reacquainted with your blender, if you already have one – whipping up fresh smoothies for breakfast and cold soups for lunches or dinner are quick and energy-efficient meal options that are cool and refreshing. Consider using your microwave or a grill for heating food, both of which are more energy efficient cooking options than using an oven or a stove.

Be Appliance Smart

While summer is the perfect time to be lazy in the kitchen, keep on the lookout for any wasted energy use in the rest of your home. You can eliminate wasted, vampire energy by making sure to unplug electronics and chargers when they’re not in use, or by plugging them to power strips that you can switch off.

Stay in the Dark

Chances are in the summer the sun is bright enough that you can turn off some of the lights in your home. It’s a good idea to try to keep the lights off as much as possible during the summer, as any light gives off heat (which is generally unwanted during the summer). If you haven’t already, think about switching any incandescent lightbulbs in your home to LED or CFL. While they may cost slightly more to buy, they use considerably less energy than traditional bulbs, and generate much less heat. If you are thinking of making the switch, keep an eye out for any coupons or sales happening at your local hardware store for extra savings. Also try to keep your curtains or blinds drawn during the day in rooms that receive a lot of sunlight to keep them from getting too hot and stuffy.

Hilary is the author of CallMePower.ca, a website that provides information about energy prices in Canada to help Canadians find the best prices for their electricity and gas supply. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, DIY projects, and scoring deals at thrift stores.

52 Ways To Save: Menu Plan to Save Big (Week 19)

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Menu Plan to Save Big

Ever since my husband and I were married almost 8 years ago, I’ve been planning our weekly menu.  Even if I didn’t take the time to write things down, I still had a few meals in mind that would get us through the week.  It’s in my nature to be a planner so planning a menu was obvious for my own sanity.  But, even if you’re more of an impromptu cook, today I’d like to touch on the importance of menu planning. Especially if you’re looking to save money and some sanity. We’re all busy people so the power of a plan can help each of us tremendously!

Menu Planning Keeps the budget in check

Groceries cost a lot.  Save yourself some financial stress by planning your meals and your shopping list based on what’s on sale and what you already have in your pantry.  With a menu plan in place, you only have to purchase the ingredients you need create the meals you’ve picked.  That’s how I spend less than $50 some weeks on groceries.  

Your Time and Sanity are Important Too

Whether you work outside the home or you’re a stay-at-home parent, we’re all juggling a ton of activities on a daily basis.  While planning a menu in the first place takes a bit of time, it will definitely save you time and restore sanity in the end. You will always have the ingredients you need to create a meal from your planned menu. No running to the store for a last minute item or opening the fridge and cupboards 500 times to figure out what to make for dinner.  Or realizing it’s 5pm and you just spent an hour trying to find a great recipe when dinner could have already been on the table.  With a plan in place, all you have to do is pick a meal from the list and make it!

Menu Planning Reduces Waste

Have you ever bought food from the grocery store thinking you’ll use it for something, but end up throwing it out instead?  If you stick to the grocery list that you created based on your planned meals, you won’t be purchasing anything that you won’t use.  In turn, creating less waste, both in the food sense and financial sense!

Related:  11 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

I believe that having a menu plan to save money and your sanity cannot be stressed enough.  Menu planning has made my life so much easier and I’ve heard the same from many others. Sometimes, the menu plan is the only thing in the day that goes as planned! 

See the other articles in this series, here.

7 Ways to Save Money at the Salon

7 Ways to Save Money at the Salon

Ways to Save Money at The Salon - With just a little creativity and effort, you can save money on your salon visits and keep a little extra cash in your pocket.

Are your trips to the salon starting to add up? While I do cut my husband’s hair at home, I’m not quite willing to try cutting my own hair yet (or ever?). Like me, cutting your own hair may not be an option, so take a look at these 7 ways to save money at the salon that you can try. With just a little creativity and effort, you can save money on your salon visits and keep a little extra cash in your pocket. Here is how you can get started saving today!

1. Stretch out your colorings.

Do you go every 4 weeks for a color touch up? If so, see if you can stretch out your coloring schedule by an additional week. This can help you eliminate a few colorings a year and save you some serious cash. Chances are, you won’t even be bothered by waiting an additional week.

2. Skip the blow dry and style.

Most stylists charge you extra to dry your hair and style it. If you are just heading home after your appointment anyway, skip the blow dry and style. You can easily shave $20 or more off your visit and just dry your own hair when you get home.

3. Check out loyalty offers.

Many salons value your loyalty and are willing to reward you for it. Check with your salon to see if they offer any type of loyalty program. If so, take advantage of it! If they don’t and you are still in search of a good deal, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price. The salon I’ve been frequenting offers a free hair cut after I purchase 10 cuts.

4. Don’t be tempted by sales pitches.

Many times the stylist will want to sell you the products they use in your hair. Don’t fall for the sales pitch. Kindly decline and resist the urge to make your final bill any higher. So many drugstore products are just as good as professional products these days, so save a little cash and opt for those brands instead.

5. Avoid bells and whistles.

A salon that offers complimentary beverages, robes, snacks, and other perks will come at a higher price. Skip these bells and whistles if you can and instead go with what you came for…a great cut and color! Salons that offer all of those extra perks usually add the cost into the service.

6. Ask about coupons.

Many salons offer coupons for savings on their services. Check the local paper for such deals or simply ask your stylist if he/she knows of any savings that are available. You might also find savings on their Facebook page.

7. Follow the salon on social media.

Be sure you are following your salon on social media so you can be the first to know about sales and savings that may be available to you. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great places to follow your favorite salon.

Are you ready to save money on your next salon visit? If so, give these 7 tips for saving money at the salon a try!

52 Ways To Save: Make Substitutions (Week 18)

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Make Substitutions to Save

Are you guys enjoying this series?  Have you learned anything new or gained some inspiration? I’ve been having a lot of fun writing these posts!

One way to save a bundle every day is to make substitutions for things you buy or do regularly. I think it’s possible to find a substitute for so many things these days. The list could go on and on!

When I say make substitutions, I don’t mean necessarily have to stop doing and eating everything you love. Just find a cheaper, and quite possibly, a better way to do it. If you love to stop for coffee, purchase a french press or an Aeropress for at home or work and start making your own instead of going to a coffee shop.  Or, if you enjoy getting your nails done, why not find a friend who enjoys painting nails to do it for you?  Make an afternoon of it!

Here are a few of the ways I like to make substitutions at home:

Sometimes making substitutions could be as simple as buying a carton of whipping cream (to whip yourself) instead of a can of pre-made whipping cream.  Or for some frugal fun, why not find a new-to-you hiking trail instead of dishing out money for a local attraction.  Or maybe you’re forced to make a substitution because you ran out of something. Check out this list of 100 Emergency Ingredient Substitutions.

As you go about your week, try to think of some substitutions you can make. Challenge yourself! I’m going to try my hand at some homemade bread. The bread maker has been sitting for far too long. :)

What are some ways you make substitutions in your life to help save money?

See the other articles in this series, here.

Join in on the Eating from the Pantry/Freezer Challenge!

Do you find your pantry and freezer overflowing with food, yet you keep buying more food?

Would you like to join me this month in possibly saving hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill by eating out of your pantry and freezer?

We’ve been feeling lately, in the Simply Frugal household, as though we’ve got way too much food just hanging around not leaving the pantry and freezers. (umm, except for the ice cream, that mysteriously disappears ;)!)

Since I’d like to use up what we have in the freezer and pantry to make room for all the fresh produce I hope to freeze and preserve, I thought a challenge would get me motivated!  Maybe it will help you as well?

Here’s the plan:

Starting on Monday, May 4, the Eating from the Pantry/Freezer challenge will officially start!

I’ll be sharing my menu plan and goals next Monday and would love to hear your plans and goals as well!

What you’ll need to do before May 4:

  • Do a complete inventory of your pantry, freezer and fridge
  • Decide what your goals will be for the challenge (how much do you want to save, how long do you think you’ll be doing the challenge for…etc)
  • Write up a meal plan for at least the first five days of the challenge (Wednesday  – Sunday)
  • Make a list of the items you’ll need to buy to complete your meals.  (I’ll still be buying produce and dairy and eggs)

Every Monday following (May 11, 18, and 25) I’ll be sharing my menu plans and progress.  This would be a great time for those of you joining in on the challenge to share or link to your menus and progress in the comment section!  I’ll also be tracking how much I’m spending on groceries for the duration of this challenge and sharing my totals.

Update: I’ve created a Facebook group that I would love to have you join! Click here to join the Simply Frugal Pantry Challenge.  I think it will be a great place to share meal ideas, tips and even our struggles during the challenge!

Does this makes sense?  Any questions? :)

Here are some useful resources to help you out with the challenge:

Will you be joining me as we eat from the pantry and freezer?

52 Ways To Save: Eat From The Pantry (Week 17)

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Eat From The Pantry To Save

One easy way to save money is to skip shopping for a week or two and use what you already have on hand in your pantry and freezer. I like to think of it as shopping in my own home. I like to do a “Pantry Challenge” at least once a year, when I notice my freezer and pantry getting really full! I can usually find quite a few things that I’ve forgotten about :P. Being really intentional about using what I have already purchased saves us a ton of money!

Here’s how we make it work for us:

Take Inventory

This is a major key to success in doing a pantry challenge for us.  If I don’t know what I have stuck in the nooks and crannies, then it’s hard to make a plan of attack.

Menu Plan

Based on what I wrote on my inventory list, I’ll come up with a menu plan that will carry us through until most/all of the food is eaten.  I’m terrible at “inventing” meals so I’ll usually add our tried and true recipes along with some really basic recipes that I’ve found via Pinterest or something. (I need a recipe to work with)

Set a Goal

Having a goal or two when you embark on a Pantry Challenge is important.  Usually when I eat from the pantry, I do a month long challenge. So one of my goals is to avoid any major grocery shopping for one month.  Another goal I set is to only spend $25 a week on essentials (fresh fruit/vegetables, dairy, eggs). I think it would be impossible to do a month long challenge without shopping for some essentials.  However, setting a goal of spending only $25 a week will still help significantly in keeping more money in the bank account!

Here’s how you could make it work for you:

Make it a Game

Along with taking inventory, making a menu plan and setting a goal or two, turning a pantry challenge into a game can really add fun to meal time. Rather than thinking of a pantry challenge as a hard thing, why not see how long you can survive without going to the store. Or see what kind of wacky (edible) meals you can create to give the whole family a laugh.

Focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t have

Be thankful for the deals & steals that you have already taken advantage of to fill your pantry and freezer, instead of thinking of all the ones you’re missing out on in the grocery stores.  Or, are you really wishing you had more rice?  Find some new ways to love all those potatoes that you do have.

Get Creative

It’s time to get creative again! Whether it’s breakfast for dinner to finish up some pancake mix, using stale bread to make bread crumbs, cooking is about enjoying the process and breaking out of the mundane. Creativity comes when you have 12 boxes of pasta and need a new recipe.  Think of all the ways you can use up that leftover ham and go for it!

Here’s a list of basic meals that you should be able to create with some of your inventory:

For more ideas check out this post: 7 Frugal Meal Ideas for When you’re Broke.

Eating from the pantry is a great way to ensure that you don’t spend money you didn’t have to and that you don’t find good food that has expired.

Have you ever tried an eating from the pantry challenge? If so, how long have you gone without going to the store?

If the idea of a “Pantry Challenge” is appealing to you, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, I’ve got an Eating From the Pantry & Freezer challenge in the works for May!

See the other articles in this series, here.

52 Ways To Save: Learn to Save Big At Yard Sales (Week 16)

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Learn to Save Big at Garage Sales

Today’s 52 Ways to Save post is inspired by this amazing community garage sale that I hit up with some friends over the weekend.  It was great!  There were at least 40 garage sales in this one community. They even provided a map of all the sales!

And with that, learn to save big at garage sales with these tips:

Find the Sales

Before you jump in the car to find garage sales, you might be wise to do a little research beforehand. The night before you head out, be sure to take a look at the sales in your area. When you look at the garage sales in your area, you can plan to hit the sales closest to you so you’re not driving all over the place. Plus, having a clear plan of action in place will help you save big because you’re not going from one end of the city to the other then back again.  Here’s where you can look for garage sales in your area:

  • Your local newspapers
  • Craigslist/Kijiji
  • Facebook Buy & Sell groups (I find people often post about their upcoming garage sales)

Write a List

Making a list of items you’re looking for can also be a money saver. Garage sales can be really exciting with all.the.neat.things that you must have for so cheap. All those neat things can add up to a lot of clutter and wasted money. So grab a pen and paper and start listing the items you hope to find that you will actually need.  Get specific, especially when it comes to kids clothes. Over the weekend, I was on the hunt for 2 pairs of pants, 3 t-shirts, 2 pairs of summer PJ’s and a great pair of sandals for my daughter. I managed to keep most of my money because I could overlook all the cute things she didn’t need (dresses! skirts! sweaters!).

Be prepared

Now, it’s garage sale day. But before you jump in the car, make sure you’re stocked up on snacks and your beverages of choice.  A day of garage saleing can be long and you don’t want to spend more at the drive-thru then you did on your garage sale treasures.

Bring cash

Make sure to have cash on you when you start. If you come across something that you must have, you don’t want to run to the bank and risk that item being sold to someone else!  Having smaller bills and change is ideal.

Get ready to bargain

I’ll admit that bargaining isn’t my forte, but I did however, manage to do a tiny bit of bargaining over the weekend!  I think most people expect you to offer a different price actually. So, just ask! The worst they can say No and the best they can say is Yes!  Just make sure you offer something reasonable. Sort of lame, but one person said I could have my purchase for $8, but I countered with $7 (because I had a $5 and a toonie). He accepted and I’m pleased with the deal I got on two jeans in brand-new condition and a t-shirt!

Another trick I learned is to see if they’ll let you fill a bag for a fixed price.  As I was digging through the kids clothes at one home, I was offered a plastic shopping bag that I could fill for $5. I would have jumped on this but I couldn’t find anything in the right size for my daughter.

Buy these items

I find that buying these types of items at garage sales will save you a load of cash in the long run:

  • Wedding supplies: Once our wedding was over, I sold all the candle holders and table runners that we had purchased. You might find similar items yourself!
  • Craft supplies: I’ve also sold a ton of fabric and card making supplies in garage sales over the years.
  • Collector items: If you’re a collector of a particular item, garage sales could be a gold mine for you!
  • Kid clothes: Can’t go wrong with buying kids clothes. Most of them will be in excellent shape since kids usually outgrow them before they get too worn.
  • Large baby/kid items: While I am quite hesitant to buy used car seats, I don’t think you can go wrong buying things like excersaucers, baby swings, high chairs and outdoor toys.

Since I didn’t find everything on my list at the community garage sale this past weekend, I plan on hitting up more future sales armed with the tips I listed.

What are your tips for saving at garage sales?  What are some of your must-buy items?

See the other articles in this series, here.

6 Ways to Turn Your Trash into Cash

6 Ways to Turn Your Trash into Cash

Turn Your Trash Into Cash
Did you know you could be throwing away money each month, right into your own trash can? There are many items tossed into trash cans each month that are worth cash and can help put a little extra change into your pocket. Take a look below at 6 ways to turn your trash into cash and make a little money off of items you would normally throw away.

1. Wine corks.

Wine corks have become quite popular with crafters lately. If you drink wine, set your wine corks aside. You can sell them on eBay or Etsy, where crafters are paying around .25 and up per cork. If you host a party or have been collecting corks over time, you could enjoy a real pay day!

2. Aluminum.

Don’t pitch aluminum cans. They’re worth cash! Take it to your nearest recycling center where they will count your cans and pay you the going rate. It is a quick way to get rid of the aluminum and make some cash in the process. With the money I get from bringing in our old cans, I like to put the balance into my daughter’s piggy bank.

3. Magazines.

Back issues of magazines are quite popular on eBay. If you have magazine subscriptions, sell your back issues on eBay to buyers in need. Niche topics are especially hot (crafting, hobby, fashion) and bring in a great price. So don’t toss those old magazines, sell them.

4. Newspapers.

Don’t toss those old newspapers before checking them for coupons. When you toss coupons, it is like tossing money. Instead, check each page one more time and make sure there aren’t any savings you want to clip and take advantage of.

5. Glass bottles.

Glass bottles are another hot item with crafters. If you have glass bottles, especially colored glass, wine bottles, or especially decorative bottles, see about selling them first. Etsy or the hobby section on Craigslist or Facebook Buy & Sell groups are perfect for getting a few bucks per bottle.

6. Scrap metal.

Most things that are metal (including cars, bikes, appliances, cans, file cabinets, BBQ grills, etc.) can be recycled for cash. To find out how much you can make, google “Scrap Metal Pickup” for your local city to find someone that will pick up your scraps.

See how easy it can be to turn your own trash into cash? Keep these tips in mind and you can make a little money off of the items you normally just toss away. So, how much cash is lurking in your trash? Take a peek and see which items you can weed out and get a few dollars for.

Do you have any “trash” items that you regularly like to turn into cash?

5 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home

5 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home

Legitimate Ways to Make Money At Home
Are you looking to make some money from home? If so, you might be cautious about all of the work from home opportunities out there for fear they may be scams. And while plenty of those do exist, you will find that there are a lot of legitimate ways to make money at home as well. Take a look below at 5 legitimate ways to make money at home so you can have extra cash on hand, pay down debt, or save up for that special purchase you have been eyeing.

1. Write and publish eBooks.

Do you like to write and have knowledge on a certain subject? If so, write an ebook! You can use easy to use and navigate programs such as Createspace (an Amazon company) to publish your books in just minutes. This is a great way to bring in a little extra cash flow each month. To get started, use a word processing program to type up, edit, and format the text, then transfer the text using the tools Createspace provides. Createspace will sell your ebook on their site as well as online retailers of your choice.

2. Become a tutor.

Do you have a background in teaching? Or, perhaps you are just skilled at reading, writing, and math? Then advertise your skills as a tutor amongst friends and through social media. Tutors can make upwards of $20 an hour, more if you are skilled in junior high and high school skills. Set aside a space in your house for tutoring, or offer to tutor the child in their own home. You will need very little in the way of supplies (usually pencils, paper, will do the trick) and the child is sure to appreciate your help and support!

3. Become a pet or child sitter.

If you love children or animals, why not become a sitter? You can offer to provide services in your own home or the clients. Sitters for children can make upwards of $10 per hour, while the amount you can make as a pet sitter varies. Either way, you can make cash for doing what you already love. Advertise among friends, family, and social media to let others know you are looking to take on clients in these areas. Provide excellent care, and you are sure to have customers flocking to you.

4. Sell from home.

Direct sales are a great way to make money from home without a great deal of overhead involved. Some examples of items you can sell from home would include essential oils, candles, cosmetics, and jewelry. Visit the websites of Scentsy, DoTerra, Avon, and other direct sale companies to see what opportunities may be available to you. You will find that these companies offer excellent commission, bonus opportunities, and even trips for your dedication to them.

5. Sell your stuff.

Use eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Kijiji, Craigslist or even Amazon to sell your gently used items. You can sell movies, music, furniture, clothing, accessories, even electronics and plants. If you are getting rid of it, chances are there is a market for it. Check out the sites mentioned to set up a seller account, take some great pics, write a thorough description, and in no time you will be selling your stuff online and making some real cash.

Related Post: How To Sell Your Stuff Online

Making money from home is possible. Give these legitimate ways to make money at home a try and see what you can achieve!

Do you have any other ideas for making money from home?