Home & Garden

9 Easy & Cheap DIY Organization Hacks for Spring

I'm not typically a Pinterest-project kinda girl. Sure, I like casually scrolling through cute DIY project ideas while I'm watching TV, but I often find myself rolling my eyes at some of the more elaborate "hacks." If it takes you two months and $600 to put together, it's not a hack--just sayin'.

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10 Fun Things to Do with Your Kids during Spring Break

If you're a parent of school-aged children, you're probably on the lookout for inexpensive, entertaining and (dare I say) educational activities to keep your kids occupied during spring break.

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11 Creative Uses for Magic Erasers

We found a pretty incredible deal on Magic Erasers today at Amazon, and we got to thinking about all the different ways we can use them to salvage things that we love and in some cases save us the cost of a professional fix. These are just a few of our favorites.

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Was Your Holmes Space Heater Recalled? Here's What To Do.

Sunbeam has issued a recall on certain oil-filled space heaters due to burn injury risk after receiving reports of hot oil spraying out of some units.

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10 Must-Haves for a Picture Perfect Christmas Dinner

Hosting Christmas dinner isn't a task for the faint of heart. The perfect Christmas dinner is festive, fun and just a bit formal, and as old pros like your Grandma will tell you, cooking a flawless meal is only half the battle.

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Frugal Friday Movie Night: Snowpiercer and My Favorite Soup

Here in Chicago, December is off to its chilliest start in 118 years. It seems like we went straight from the beach to our puffy coats overnight!

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10 Expensive Things That Will Save You Money in the Long Run

Just because it’s the lower price, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best deal. When you’re factoring in what is and what isn’t a good deal, keep in mind what you’d be saving overall as well. Here are some examples of items that may cost more upfront but will save you money later on.

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25 Ways to Spend Less on Utilities and Stay Cool This Summer

Paying utilities including gas, electric, and water are unavoidable. And with the warm summer months rapidly approaching, these costs have the ability to skyrocket. Instead of breaking out that paper fan and sweating throw your summer clothes, here are some ways to save on your utility bills.

Free Things You Can Do

These simple tips are things you can start doing today to lower your utility bills and won’t cost you a penny.

Pay your utility bills with a credit card. Instead of paying cash, pay your utility bills with a credit card that earns cash back points. For example, Chase Freedom is currently offering $200 back when you spend $500, which is money you spent on utilities going back into your pocket. Use the card to pay your various utility bills and other expenses you’d usually pay cash for, pay off your balance in full to avoid any interest or debt, and get paid to pay your bills.

Grilling Saves Electricity

Seha bs / Wikimedia Commons

Skip the stove. A stove not only uses more electricity, but it’s going to heat your home making it more difficult to keep cool. Instead try grilling outside or use a toaster oven, microwave or a crock pot, which require less energy and give off less heat. This Kenmore 4-burner grill is currently available for just $185.

Use your dishwasher more efficiently. If possible, set the water temperature lower on your dishwasher and change to a lighter wash cycle. Only use the washer on a full load to prevent wasting water. Clean your dishwasher regularly to keep it working properly. Also, opt to air dry your dishes instead of a heated dry, which not only uses electricity but will also add heat to your home.

Air Drying on a Clothes Line

alessandra elle / Flickr

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Spring Cleaning Done Right: How to Plan, Save and Pocket Some Cash

A cough here, a sneeze there. When the dust balls have been piling up and those thick winter sweaters need a boot, you know it's time for that yearly ritual you dread the most...spring cleaning.

When many people think of spring cleaning, they often believe it means cleaning everything, from every nook and cranny in the house to even the outside yard and shed. Such a monstrous task can be overwhelming and expensive. Yet, with some careful planning and a little ingenuity, spring cleaning can be a lot simpler than you might expect.

Getting Organized

Before you even attempt to tackle your first cleaning job, make sure you're mentally prepared to clean in the first place. How long will this cleaning project take? A day? A weekend or more?  Create a list or at least a mental note of all the things and rooms you want to clean. Then decide realistically how long it will take to complete. Also consider whether you're completing these projects on your own or if you're dividing it up among family members, roommates, or enlisting the help of friends. The key here is not to overstress yourself but to have a plan and stick to it.

Quality Supplies

Using quality cleaning tools and products is an essential part of getting the job done right, and it doesn't have to cost you a fortune. However, the tools you use should involve a little investment since these are long-term purchases which you want to be using for years, instead of replacing every year. Avoid purchasing items like a $4 plastic mop that does not absorb water well and can break easily. Most of all, avoid fads.  The latest hip and happening "As seen on TV" product shouldn't be your first choice.

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Why You Should Buy Your Keurig Now Instead of Later

Keurig recently announced that its uber-popular coffee pod brewer is getting a redesign later this year.  But before you get too excited, you should know that the redesign will end up costing its consumers more in the long run.  The new coffee brewers will include some sort of technology that will only brew coffee pods made by Green Mountain Coffee (Keurig's coffee vendor), or major brands that are licensed Keurig vendors (including Starbucks, Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts).  This technology is meant to directly cut out the competition, meaning more affordable, non-Keurig licensed coffee pod vendors.

Though Keurig CEO and President, Brian Kelley, claims the company is not trying to cut other brewers out and will continue to license unlicensed vendors, it's not exactly a win for consumers.  Off-brand coffee pods are 5-25% cheaper than those made by Keurig's partners.  This means that even if Keurig licenses the cheaper, unlicensed brewers, there will undoubtedly be a cost increase, and consumers will effectively be paying up to 25% more for the same non-Keurig brands that they used to save money on.  Still, it's easy to see why Keurig wants to cut out the competition.  According to Kelley, unlicensed pods accounted for 12% off all coffee pod sales last quarter.  Sounds like they're starting to sweat!

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