Save Money … Live Better

I’m jealous of Walmart for capitalizing on this phrase so profitable.  If only it were true, but I’ll spare you my personal views of the company.  Instead, lets talk about ways we can actually save money, and actually live better.

I recently started using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for my skin and hair.  I use it on my hair in the shower, after I wash, rinse, and condition I then pour a mixture of water and ACV on my hair and rinse it out after about 1 minute.  It has really cut down the frizziness in my hair in the summer heat.

On my skin, I use it as a toner for my face.  The smell is awful, I’m not a fan of vinegar, but it rinses away nicely and does not leave a smell.  ACV can also be used to treat athletes foot.  Dilute the ACV with water and wipe onto your skin, then rinse off.

obamacare-save-money-health-careMaybe you already have a product for this purpose.  I’m not telling you ACV is better, how would I know.  It seems that things work differently for everyone.  But here is what I do now.  I try the new option for 1 week, then go back to using my old stuff until the container is gone.  When I go to the store to buy a refill, I can decide if it’s worth the cost, or if the cheaper alternative worked well enough.

We have been tricked into using many products, just to make money for other people.  Some of these products are harmful to the environment, to other animals, or to ourselves.   We don’t know the full effects of these products.  I have used eye cream that makes my eyes water, I guess that’s how it reduces puffy eyes.

I heard a report about testing of medications.  The testing is not required to measure effectiveness compared to similar products, the testing is performed and compared to a “Do Nothing” option.  Well it’s pretty easy to show an improvement compared to “Do Nothing.”  Then the sales teams use those studies to sell the products.  And few people are testing different alternatives compared to each other, wouldn’t it be nice to have a group that is incentivised to take this information and evaluate everything together, running comparison experiments if feasible.

Imagine how many products we trust, when testing has been evaluated in this same way?  What if there are better products, or better items that we already have at home.

Vinegar is also great for cleaning stainless steel.  I cleaned a lot of rust from my trash can using vinegar alone.

What are your tricks for saving  money and living better?

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Eating Healthy without high Cost

Did you know it’s recommended that we spend 40% of our food expenses on fresh foods and the typical American only spends 20%?   Coming from a background of limited finances, we ate a lot of cheap food.  Unfortunately I learned a lot of bad habits from that lifestyle, which is slow and difficult to correct.  And even then, I don’t even think I will fully correct them, just consciously choose better food.

Part of the difficulty people have with eating healthy is they think it costs more.  Fortunately they are wrong.  Recently I made a healthy and easy dinner for $3.5o, not per serving, total for 3-4 servings.  I make a stir-fry mix of vegetables and noodles (egg or flour noodles, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, zucchini, and stir-fry sauce).  I was shocked at the check-out stand when it was only $3.50.

Today’s NPR story confirms my experience.  If you can justify $4-6 for a latte, you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Of course, these foods are not as convenient at packaged food which stays fresh for a long time and transports easy.  It takes a little more planning to wash and cut these foods.  To prevent fruit from going bad, I will clean, cut and then freeze fruit that I won’t finish and then use the frozen fruits in my morning smoothie.  Soups and stir-fry are a great way to use a variety of veggies hanging out in the refrigerator.

You could save 15% on you Auto Insurance

Did you know you could save hundreds of dollars on your car insurance?  There are many savings categories that you may be eligible for.  some of these are automatically applied when you request insurance, but some of these are not well known and you have to request for the discount if applicable.  I just asked my auto insurance company for a discount because I don’t drive many miles each year, less than 8,000.

List of Discounts/Credits to ask about:

  • Safety items like seatbelts and airbags
  • Monthly pass for public transit
  • Low Mileage (threshold may vary by insurer or by savings)
  • AAA membership
  • Driving Record
  • Multi-car
  • Anti-Theft device
  • Parking in a Garage (didn’t work for me)
  • Defensive Driver Training
  • Single payment – Insurance companies now charge a monthly fee if you are making monthly payments.
  • Credit Ratings are also a factor in your insurance rate.
  • Students with Good Grades
  • Anti Lock Breaks
  • Hybrid or Eco-friendly vehicles
  • Daytime running lights
  • US Military members
  • Occupation or Level of Higher Education
  • Federal Employee

Other things to know:

  • Does your auto insurance cover you in a rental car?
  • Does your auto insurance cover the cost of a rental car when your vehicle is being repaired?
  • Does my policy cover me if I’m affected by an uninsured driver?
  • Do I need collision/comprehensive coverage?  Maybe not on older vehicles.

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