10 Ways You Never Knew You Could Use Tinfoil

ways you never knew you could use tinfoil

 

 

You might run for tinfoil when you need to cover up those leftovers, but did you know that tinfoil is good for so much more than just keeping your food fresh? Easy to use and inexpensive to buy, tinfoil is perfect for many other household tricks and hacks. Take a peek below at 10 ways you never knew you could use tinfoil, and see how helpful tinfoil can really be!

10 Ways You Never Knew You Could Use Tinfoil

1. Prevent burnt crusts.
Wrap some tinfoil along the edges of your pie and pot pie crusts (once they have browned) to prevent burning. You will get perfectly golden crusts every single time. You can also cover turkey and chicken legs and wings with foil once they have browned to prevent burning. It works like a charm.

2. Make stove clean up easy.
Cut tin foil to fit under the burners on your stove. This way when you have spills and drips you don’t have to scrub, you can just remove the tinfoil and toss it. This also works great in ovens and even on outdoor grills.

3. Warm up.
Tinfoil reflects heat, so place a large sheet of it behind your heating unit. It will kick some toasty heat back your way and heat your room faster without additional expense. If you have plants that need some more sun and heat, you can place a sheet of tinfoil near them to reflect both.

4. Help plants drain, for less.
Create balls of tin foil and drop them into your flower pots before adding the soil. They will help fill the pots for less, and will also help create better drainage for the plants.

5. Sharpen your scissors.
If your scissors are becoming dull, just snip a piece of tinfoil with them a few times. The snipping action against the foil will help sharpen the blades quickly and easily.

6. Make heart shaped cupcakes.
Make a small ball of tinfoil and place it in the cupcake pan BEHIND the paper cupcake wrapping. This will create an indent in the cupcake cup, giving it the shape of a heart as it bakes.

7. Craft an easy cup.
Whether you need something to hold a condiment, paint, shampoo, or even water, you can craft a cup out of tinfoil. Just bend the foil into a cup shape and roll the edges. It is perfect for holding gels, dips, and liquids when in a bind.

8. Simplify paint jobs.
Prevent a mess and wasted paint when you wrap your paint brushes up in tinfoil. The paint won’t dry and stick to the bristles, and you can start painting again when you are ready without any issue. Foil is also perfect for lining your paint trays so you can enjoy easy clean up.

9. Make a quick scouring pad.
Ball up the tinfoil and use it as a quick scouring pad. It is perfect for scrubbing pots and pans and cutting through that caked on grime. Just toss away when done.

10. Make ironing a breeze.
Place a layer of tinfoil onto your iron board prior to ironing. As you iron it will reflect heat, helping you remove wrinkles on both sides of the fabric or garment.

It is time to take a new look at tinfoil. Give some of these uses your consideration and see how helpful of a tool it can be in all areas of your home.

How to replace your old mattress {without going broke}

how to replace your mattress

 

scroll down for to see how you can pay less than $400 for a Memory foam (queen) mattress!

When George and I first got married we inherited my family’s old guest bedroom mattress– We were so young and limber that we didn’t need a brand new mattress and slept great on the hand me down.

fast forward 8 years..

After two pregnancies, three kids and countless backaches later–we really needed a new mattress. I think when you are pregnant, you feel every single little imperfection with a old mattress. Everything hurts and you probably end up sleeping somewhere else in the house (at least, that was for me!) Then you have baby and you feel 100 x’s better then suddenly you can’t afford a brand spankin’ new mattress!

Update 1/29/2016: We have had this mattress for 9 months and STILL love it! We are in the market for a smaller mattress for our guest room and are probably going to purchase one with our tax refund. 

So here we are– we need a NEW mattress! I have to admit, I don’t want just any mattress either. I cherish my sleep and now I want one that will help me sleep better. We’ve looked into mattress stores– a lot of them are too expensive. I want to sleep well, not sleep broke!

When you are ready to replace your mattress– I HIGHLY suggest sitting down and making bullet points about what you want in a mattress. That way, you aren’t suckered into things you doing need.

Here is our wish list:

  • memory or gel layer
  • Queen or larger
  • less than $600
  • delivered for free

and since we are trying to be more natural — eco friendly would be awesome also!

George calls me the Google queen.. and there is a good reason for that. I usually almost find a solution with google– and you better bet that I found a solution. We found  GREAT affordable queen mattresses right HERE.

They are Gel/memory foam and most are LESS than $600 + FREE shipping!!

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Buy a mattress ONLINE? Yes, I know! It’s a scary thing.. but sales guys at mattress stores are just as scary. I really wanted to avoid the hassle of dealing with sales people.. It makes me feel like i’ll just be pressured to buy things. The thing that caught my eye was that these mattresses have gel or memory foam and are under $600! That is literally impossible to find at the furniture store.

Then, I noticed that their mattresses are warrantied against manufacturing defects for 10 years AND if you aren’t happy after 60 days they will refund your money and pay for the return shipping. No questions asked.

How could we NOT try this. I checked all of our wishlist items– including the Eco-friendly part! woot!

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So, we took the plunge and got THIS mattress.  Its only $389 + FREE shipping and is gel/memory foam! I won’t lie– I was pretty nervous to order online.. then about 4 days later, we got this huge box! (even the dogs were like “what the heck!)

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The mattress is vacuumed sealed and rolled– it fit perfectly in the box!

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It took about 3 hours for it to reach its FULL size. We just popped it right onto our existing box spring and waited for it to raise.

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It’s a 8 inch, so its on the short side. It is a Gel-Memory foam (if you want the normal height, I suggest the 12 inch memory-gel mattress HERE it is only $599 + FREE shipping)  and it is pretty dang awesome! The gel is great for “hot” sleepers… It help keep you cool and molds to your body. Sometimes memory foam stays MOLDED to your body and you get stuck with that permanent mold—but not this one. It goes back to a flat surface.

I’m pretty shocked but we LOVE it!

 

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Even better, this is eco friendly. So not only are we helping the environment–we’re saving money. Here are some great facts about these mattresses:

 

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I love our mattress so much that I reached out to the company to get you a couple of discounts if you want to replace your old mattress (one awesome advantage of being a blogger! 😉 )

— Take $70 off ALL closeouts including the gel models use code Josie70 at check out (that makes the gel-memory foam 12 inch only $529 + FREE shipping!) code NEVER expires!

— Take $50 off ALL closeouts use code Josie50 at checkout Never expires

Here are some of the prices on mattresses after codes:

So when you are looking to replace your old mattress without going broke:

1. Make a LIST of what you want before you do your research

2. only buy what you can afford–be careful in financing a mattress

3. NEVER pay for delivery. You are already giving them your money (just sayin…)

4. Buy a mattress that will last– you shouldn’t have to replace your mattress for another 10 years.

 

Disclosure: I was provided with a zzzsleep mattress to blog what I thought about it. I wasn’t compensated for it and would never blog about something I didn’t feel strongly about. :) We needed a affordable mattress and I wanted to let you know about an awesome one. 

5 ways to make your tax refund work for you

5 ways to make your refund work for you

 

As we draw closer to the end of tax season, you may be considering how to make a few last minute changes in your financial life that could make a big impact. One thing that is worth considering is to put your tax refund to good use by making it work for you. While not everyone has this option, many do receive a tax refund hat will help be a great relief to their debt situation.

I know that your tax refund is essentially money you loaned to the government by over paying but while most people don’t realize this–the refund is a great way to get ahead.

When we got our tax refund I used to have the mindset that I should go buy a new purse or take my kids on a shopping spree at Toys R Us. It was when we were living on unemployment and didn’t have a ton of money to go around that I realized those things were no longer important and we needed to be smarter with our money. Here are five ideas on how to make your tax refund work for you:

Pay for holiday presents with your refund. It is a great way to grab a few gifts without dipping into your regular household budget money. This can also mean a bit nicer Christmas shopping list for some.

Pay off one smaller debt. We all have that one smaller bill that lingers around annoyingly. Use that return to pay off that one little debt that you are always trying to get rid of. This may even be the time to consider negotiating for a lump sum payment in some cases.

Put into savings for your emergency vehicle fund or general savings. Make that money become a back up plan should you have an emergency come up. Most returns are enough to easily create a small vehicle fund or put a nice addition into your savings account.

Make a small investment. Put that money to work for you by making a small investment in a stock you have your eye on. Even $100-$200 in quality stocks can easily double over the course of a couple of years. A great choice to go toward your retirement fund.

Pay ahead a payment on your home, car or other large monthly expense. This is one of those options that is just handy and creates a bit of wiggle room in your month to month budget. Paying ahead a month on your home, car or other large monthly expense can give you a bit of relaxation in the week to week budgeting. Don’t change your budget, simply feel a bit less stress knowing you are just a little bit ahead.

Rather than blowing a refund on frivolous things, take the time to turn your tax return into debt relief Pay ahead, pay down or pay off your debt. Invest in things that will create funds for your future. Put that extra money to good use this year.

Why I threw away my slow cooker… (and how I cook dinner in 20 minutes everyday..)

why I threw away my slow cooker

 

Lately, I’ve been working on making my mommy life a little bit easier. I’ve dove into reading several different books, including one on getting organized (something I am terrible at). I will also be starting an easy diet plan thanks to NorCalHealthySolutions.. and now I have discovered a new machine (yes, machine) that will help me create quick, healthy meals for my family in less (usually) than 20 minutes… I’m talking full meals from fresh ingredients, I throw them in a pot and dinner is ready in less than 20.  These meals have also been meals that take 3-4 hours in a slow cooker!

So I’ve seen this magical machine around for awhile.. and I didn’t think much of it because I really did not need ANOTHER appliance in my kitchen. Then one day, I saw a Facebook friend brag about how she made fresh, homemade applesauce in 5 minutes! WHAT?  This prompted me to do some googling.

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Long, story short. Here is the new appliance that has replaced my Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker and many other appliances. Have you heard of the Instant Pot? OMGeee it is SO awesome. The crazy thing is that I’m pretty certain that even some of my pots and pans might retire because you can pretty much do EVERYTHING in the Instant Pot. Over the last week, We’ve cooked several dishes in the Instant Pot and might just have converted my Chef husband. 😉

The main purpose of the Instant Pot is that it is an electronic pressure cooker. It also has capabilities of a slow cooker and rice cooker which is amazing! To be completely honest. I was SCARED of anything with the name “pressure cooker” in the name. I just imagine a terrible explosion all over my kitchen because of some rookie mistake I made. However, this is were instant pot is different. It’s a “set it and forget” type of cooking method (like your slow cooker– but MUCH faster!) Also, all you do is hit a button and it takes care of the pressure settings for you. Just to show you how AWESOME this thing is.. here are a couple of things I made last week..

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Braised Short Ribs with Candied Yams

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and the meat is cooked PERFECTLY! 

We were using this thing the day we got it.. that is how easy it is!! :)

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Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy 

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And you better BELIEVE that I made Dessert in this!! We had a Blueberry dessert about 7 minutes later..

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It was so easy and very yummy the kids gobbled it up.

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The kicker to this thing is that in numerous studies, pressure cooking has been found to preserve the nutrients in food better than any other method? So, your slow cooker/microwave can actually be hurting your meals. Just Sayin.. 😉 It turns out that its not the temperature that matters when it comes to nutrients.. its the cooking time! 

So there you have it my friends, Why I am kicking my slow cooker to the curb! :)

Do you have an electric pressure cooker? Do you love it?

 

15 things you should never buy at a club store

things you should never buy at a club store

Warehouse stores, or club stores are huge for the budget savvy, but if you’re not careful, they can also be a huge money drain. Like it or not, there are just some things that you shouldn’t buy at these types of stores because you can generally find them cheaper elsewhere. Club stores can often charge more for items per unit or ounce and most people don’t notice. More packaging, more shelf space and everything else along those lines all lead to a higher cost for a lot of items. Aside from the outright cost increases, you can also stand to lose big money to waste when buying in bulk.  These 15 items should never be bought at a store like Sam’s Club or Costco…instead, look for deals elsewhere.

Condiments – Unless you have a huge family that really loves mayo- Buying a 3lb container of mayo will only result in waste. Not only will you be wasting the food, but you’ll end up wasting the money you spent as well.

Diapers and Wipes – Buying these in bulk is a good idea, however with coupons you can save a lot more per diaper than you will at a club store. If you’re not in the mood to use a coupon, even buying someplace like Amazon can save you over the club price. Use a membership like Amazon Mom and you’ll save even more. Even buying a generic brand at Walmart or Target will usually save you over a club membership price.

Detergents and cleaning supplies – Again, with coupons, you can usually find these for much cheaper per ounce than you’ll find in a club store. Not to mention the fact that cleaning supplies can lose their effectiveness after long periods of time so storing more than your family will reasonable use just isn’t a good idea.

Books, Music and DVD’s – Buying these entertainment items at a club store can cost you up to 20% more on average than if you used a site like Barnes & Noble, Amazon and especially a store like Half Priced Books.

Clothing and shoes – While it might be tempting to pick up that cute outfit for Little Susie the next time you’re at your club store of choice, don’t. Often, you’ll find that the quality of the item is significantly less than if you bought it at a regular store and by picking up a lower quality item, you’ve just about guaranteed that you’ll be spending money sooner to replace it.

Electronics – The next time you need a new computer, don’t head to Sam’s. Instead, use a site like Tiger Direct or Best Buy to get the best deal. The bundled aspect of the club stores price might seem like a great deal, but when you break it down, you’ll usually see that it isn’t.

Sunscreen – Sunscreen has a fairly short expiration date so again, unless you have a large family, it doesn’t make sense to purchase it in bulk. Instead, grab a bottle at Walmart or Walgreens with a coupon and call it a day. You’ll spend about the same amount of money, but you won’t be paying for quantity that you won’t use.

Paper towels or Toilet Paper  Instead of grabbing your household paper goods the next time you’re in Sam’s, watch your local sale ads. Generally you can grab them cheaper per unit than at the warehouse store. If you’re especially savvy, you can shop Walgreens or CVS and use ECB to get them “free” out of pocket.

Cereal – Warehouse stores are typically right on par with regular grocery stores for cereal prices. Instead of buying in bulk and risking waste, wait until your local stores have a sale and pair with coupons and rewards to save the most money.

Produce – Fresh fruits and veggies might be needed in your menu, but swing by the grocery store to grab it instead. Aside from buying more than you need, warehouse prices don’t change throughout the year…even when something is in season. Instead, the grocery store will lower the price as it comes in season, allowing you to pick it up cheaper.

Canned Goods – Unless you absolutely need a huge amount of canned pasta, picking them up in large sizes will cost you more than you think. Instead, wait until your grocery store puts them on sale and stock up on regular sized cans instead. There is one exception to this one; occasionally you’ll find the regular sized cans in value packs that are a good deal. For these, take the total cost of the package and divide by the number of cans. If your cost is less than what your regular store charges, pick it up. If it’s more, swing by the grocery on your way home.

Ice Cream – Ice cream has a really short freezer life, but most people don’t realize that. After a couple of weeks it starts to taste old and stale so picking it up in large packages isn’t a good idea. Cost wise, you’ll also pay more for it at a club store than you would if you waited for it to go on sale.

Office and School Supplies – Things like printer paper and other office supplies are inflated at club stores. For printer paper, sign up for something like Staples Rewards and use that to get yours cheap. For regular office supplies, wait for back to school sales and stock up on what you’ll need then. You’ll save in the long run by stocking up when they’re cheap.

Furniture – Along the same lines of electronics, picking up furniture at a warehouse store should be on your “no-no” list. To find the deal you want on the pieces you need, check thrift stores and even your local Facebook buy/sell groups instead. If you absolutely must have a brand new item, wait for the furniture stores to have a themed sale, like a President’s Day or Memorial Day sale to get the best savings on new.

Bleach – Did you know that bleach is only good for about 6 months? After that it loses most of its disinfecting properties and can even turn your clothes yellow instead of white. Unless you use bleach every day, buying the large bottle at club prices doesn’t make sense. Instead, pick up a smaller sized bottle that you’ll be able to use before it goes bad.

what do you think? Do you agree with my list?

When you choose to be happy, rather than rich (How you can live on one income)

How to live on one income

 

There are many families who actively choose to have one parent stay at home with the children while the other works outside the home.  Can You Find Financial Freedom On One Income? Quite simply the answer is yes you can. However, the sacrifices involved in this choice may be tough for some families. It is a matter of what is ultimately the most important thing to you. Would you rather do without some things now for financial peace later, or struggle with finances both now and later?

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Many years ago, I struggled with this. I longed to stay home with my kids and watch them grow–  it was just something that I wanted to do. My husband was working full-time and made about $40,000 a year… not bad for a family of four, with one car, in a two bedroom apartment. I was also working in a restaurant and had to work long nights, all holidays and missed spending that time with my two boys.

So, we made the choice. I chose to be happy (something that was important to me) rather than live on two incomes and be able to afford the luxuries of life. No, we couldn’t buy EVERYTHING we wanted.. but we did just fine living on one income and most importantly, we were happy.

This post is not about the single parent, or single individual operating on a singular income. This is about the family with children who chooses to have one parent working full time while the other parent stays at home to raise the children. These suggestions, thoughts and recommendations are made with that in mind.

What it took for us to live on $40,000 a year:

Learn to do without frivolous expenses. There are a lot of things that we get accustomed to having that simply are not necessary. Things like the weekly take out, or going out to a new release movie. New clothes every season, or a fun pair of shoes that you saw on sale. While these are not unreasonable items to spend your money on, they are items that you are not going to suffer without. You will be able to enjoy life and have fun without them. You’ll just have to do so in different ways.

Seriously stay within your budget. Often we set a budget but have wiggle room, or skip outside the lines from time to time. This is a time when you really must stay within your budget. One small slip could send you into a financial tail spin. With the goal of savings and finding financial freedom in mind, it is important to focus on the big picture and not just the immediate desires.

Change spending habits. This is the time when you really have to look at your spending habits with an honest eye. Look at what you spend money on that could be considered conveniences. Work to communicate with your spouse about better choices and put them into place. Hold each other accountable in the process. We also started couponing— and saved thousands of dollars over the course of 5 years.  It took a couple of months to learn how to really save–but after we learned, we were saving all the time.

When you choose to live on one income, you are already getting your spouse and children involved in your financial life. Everyone must be on board to make this work. You must also be willing to make some sacrifices to find financial freedom on one income. The end result will be a much more rewarding life with your family.

Have you taken the leap to live on one income? 

 

What to Buy in January

What to Buy in January

What to Buy in January

The New Year is here, you might be thinking about more ways to save a buck or two. After all, you just spent a great deal of cash during the holiday season, so now you may be looking at how to scale back. Well you should know that January is a month for steals and deals, and if you are really looking to save some cash, now is the time to shop. Take a look below at 20 items to buy in January so you can be sure you are getting some bang for your shopping buck.

1. Winter coats
Now is the time to snag a warm winter coat, perhaps even in a size up so your child can enjoy it next year too.

2. Snow suits
Retailers are already thinking spring clothing so look for hot deals on snow gear such as suits and ski wear.

3. Glove and hats
You will be able to use these cold weather accessories all the way until spring. Grab a few extra pairs of gloves and hats and always be prepared…for less.

4. Snow boots
The wet winter months are not over yet, so snag a pair of boots for a bargain and look great all winter long.

5. Weights
Did you resolve to be fit this New Year? Retailers are counting on it and will be offering free weights and other weight products for less.

6. Exercise machines
Don’t pay big bucks for a gym membership, instead take advantage of January sales and buy gym equipment of your own for less.

7. Fitness DVDs
Don’t like leaving your own home to work out? Snag the dozens of fitness DVD’s that will be on sale this month. Try yoga, pilates, or Zumba right in your own home.

8. Fitness supplements
Try some new health and diet supplements when they all go on sale this month. Check out your local vitamin store or retail store for supplements sold at a song.

9. DVD players
If you don’t mind a year old model, snag a DVD player for less this month as retailers try to make room for all of the new models.

10. Cameras
Document the New Year with some great pictures. Snag a year old model camera for less this month as retailers make room for the new models due to hit the shelves.

11. Video games
Find fun games for your kiddos to enjoy when you shop the end of the year sales/New Year sales in January. Retailers will have new games to introduce soon, and this means some serious savings for you.

12. Fine jewelry
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, so retailers will be offering their lowest prices on jewelry, fine jewelry, jewelry boxes and other fine gifts during the month.

13. Watches
Always know the time in the New Year when you snag a watch for less. Retailers looking to sell you Valentine’s Day gifts will be offering watches for less.

14. Recreational items such as bikes and boats
You may not need these items now, but you can surely get them for less now. Warm weather recreational items will all be on sale this month, including bikes and boats of all kinds.

15. Home remodeling services
If you need at remodeling work such as cabinets, paint, or even fixtures now is the slow time for contractors. Because of this slump they are usually offering some incentives to snag some extra business.

16. Bed sheets, pillows, and pillowcases
Enjoy the White Sales taking place this month and get great deals on linens such as sheets, pillowcases, runners, table linens and more.

17. Bath towels
White sales will also include a variety of bath linens, so keep your eyes peeled for some rock bottom prices.

18. Air conditioners
The chilly air may be keeping you cool now, but air conditioners are cheaper now than any time during the year.

19. Fans
Fans can be used in all sorts of ways, so snag one now while the price is low and you will never find yourself without one.

20. Real estate
January offers a slump in the real estate market. If you have your eyes peeled for a new pad, now is the time to shop and get a great deal.