Frugal Living Tips
Frugal Living Tips
How to Save Money on Heating This Winter
Heating during the winter can be a family’s biggest expense. Yet no one wants to go cold, particularly when the temperatures approach freezing. Good news – there are some easy ways to save money on heating this winter and still stay warm.
#1 Add a blanket to your bedtime – At night, there’s no reason to keep the thermostat set to seventy degrees. Lower your thermostat to somewhere between sixty and sixty five and add another blanket to your bed. You’ll sleep better in the colder temperatures and you’ll save money on heating.
#2 Use the sun – Open the curtains on the south side of your home. The sun’s rays, even during the weak winter hours when the sun is furthest from Earth, will help warm your home by a few degrees. This is particularly effective if your home faces the south and you have a lot of windows. You can warm your home by ten to twenty degrees. However, even if you only have a few south-facing windows, open the curtains and let the sun do some work.
#3 Thermal curtains and window treatments – There’s often a lot of heat loss through windows and doors. Thermal-backed curtains and insulated window treatments can help. They work by keeping the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
#4 Check for draughts around your windows and doors – It may not be in the budget to replace your draughty doors and windows. If you can, by all means do so. You’ll save hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars over the life of the window. However, if it’s not in the budget, check for draughts around your windows and doors and seal them. You can use the heat shrink winterizing plastic covers on your windows. If the draught is from the window casing, you can also caulk the space.
#5 Check the insulation in your home. Too much insulation pushes the heat out your windows. If your windows often have a lot of moisture on them during the winter, this may be the case. Too little insulation allows the heat to escape through your roof. If the snow melts on your roof quickly, this may be the case.
Finally, take a look at your thermostat. Do you normally keep it at seventy to seventy-five degrees during the winter? If so, turn it down a few degrees. You likely won’t notice the difference in temperature but you’ll be sure to notice the difference in your heating bill.
Christmas Shopping the Day after Thanksgiving: Black Friday
The day after Thanksgiving is commonly referred to as “Black Friday”. This day is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the years and for many signifies the first day of Christmas shopping. While the term black Friday was originally used to represent the day in which retailers returned to profitability many who work in the retail industry use this term as a way to describe the crowds and chaos which accompany Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Likewise consumers expect significant sales to go along with the large crowds which flock to stores.
For many shopping on the day after Thanksgiving is a tradition which wouldn’t be missed for the world. These individuals look forward to the sales and starting their shopping as a way to get into the Christmas spirit. These individuals can be counted on to arrive before the malls and shopping centers even open to get a great parking spot, to make multiple trips to their cars to drop off packages before returning to the shopping area to make more purchases and to almost literally shop until they drop. These are the individuals retailers count on each year to boost their quarterly earnings and to help them report profitability for the year.
Those who enjoy Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving feel this way for a number of different reasons. Some enjoy shopping on this day for the tremendous sales which are inevitable. Still others enjoy shopping on this day because they like to take things one season as a time and figure now that Thanksgiving is over; it is time to start focusing on Christmas. There are even others who like shopping on this day for the excellent people watching opportunity the day presents. Whether or not they get any actual shopping done these individuals flock to shopping malls on the day after Thanksgiving because they know there will be tons of other shoppers to observe. Finally there are those who start their Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving because of a sense of tradition. It is these individuals who have simply always started their Christmas shopping on this day out of habit. Their parents probably started Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving and they simply learned this is the day to start Christmas shopping. They will also likely pass on the habit to their own children.
Conversely there are other shoppers who absolutely refuse to step foot inside a mall or shopping center on the day after Thanksgiving. For these shoppers trying to get any shopping done on this day is near impossible. They are willing to sacrifice the opportunity to buy some items as gifts at excellent sale prices just to avoid the throng of shoppers who swarm the stores on this one particular day. However, it is important to not that just because these shoppers avoid shopping areas on the day after Thanksgiving does not mean they don’t enjoy great sale prices on the Christmas gifts they purchase. These shoppers may take advantage of sales throughout the year to accomplish their Christmas shopping within their set budget.
There are still others who typically do not do any shopping on the day after Thanksgiving but these individuals do not necessarily avoid the malls and shopping areas on this day either. There are many people who enjoy taking a trip to the local mall or shopping center on the day after Thanksgiving just to enjoy the hustle and bustle the day presents. For these people just walking around and experiencing the excitement around them helps to put them into the holiday spirit.
Whether you are an early Christmas shopper, a last minute Christmas shopper or just a people watcher, you likely understand it is appropriate to expect large crowds in malls and shopping centers on the day after Thanksgiving. It is up to you to decide whether or not you choose to join the shoppers on this hectic day.
Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Craft Ideas
With the holidays come decorations, and Thanksgiving is no exception. While your children may not be able to participate in much of the cooking of Thanksgiving dinner, you can put them to use by allowing them to decorate the house in anticipation. Set them up at a craft table with paper, glue, glitter and other craft goodies and let them create their own decorations.
There are many different items that your children can create to decorate the house for Thanksgiving. Teach them how to draw thanksgiving-themed pictures such as pilgrims, Indians and cornucopias. These items, as well as other fall or winter-themed items, can be drawn onto colored paper and cut out to display around the house for your family and guests who may come to dinner.
You can find templates online by doing a search. Many of the online templates will allow your children to simply color and cut out. Best of all, if they make mistakes and want to re-do the picture, you can just print out another template.
Thanksgiving name cards for the dinner table are a crafty idea for children. Buy some thanksgiving-themed stamps and let your children stamp the name cards. The stamped images can then be colored in and names written on the cards for the guests.
In addition to name cards, napkin rings can be designed with utmost ease as well. Inform your family beforehand that the items were made by your children so that your friends and family can praise your children for a job well done. Watching your children beam will add precious memories to the occasion.
Have your children make a thanksgiving-themed garland to hang around the house. Buy fall-colored paper and cut into strips. Your children can make and attach circles out of the strips and form an inexpensive garland that will certainly add to the festivities. Let them make either one long, or several short garlands to display around the house.
Thanksgiving is a great time to decorate the house. You can let your children feel like they are part of the festivities by allowing them to decorate the house with some quick and easy crafts. Provide them with templates, but also let them use their own creativity. After the house is decorated, be sure to take pictures because before you know it, the Thanksgiving decorations will be replaced with Christmas decorations.
Frugal Ways to Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table
Look in any home and garden publication a month or two before Thanksgiving, and you’ll see all sorts of elaborate table arrangements. Professional decorators go all out to create a veritable masterpiece. And if you check the prices on the items they use, you’ll often find that they spend several hundred (and often several thousand) dollars to get the table to look so nice.
How can the average person compete with that? Usually, we can’t. But we can make our Thanksgiving tables look great without paying an arm and a leg. Inexpensive items from the local discount store and things found in nature can be combined to create an elegant yet inexpensive Thanksgiving table. Here are some pointers.
Tablecloths and napkins can be prohibitively expensive. But if you’re only using them on special occasions, you can get away with cheaper options. Dollar stores often carry lovely tablecloths at a fraction of the price you would pay at a high-end department store. They might not last as long as more expensive ones, but if cared for properly they will stay in good shape for several years.
You can find inexpensive cloth napkins at some dollar stores as well. Or you could check outlet stores for discontinued or slightly blemished napkins. You can often find deals on tablecloths there, too. If you’re good at sewing, you could even make your own co-ordinating tablecloth and napkins.
A pretty centerpiece adds a nice touch to any table. For Thanksgiving, you can make one at very little cost with things found in nature. Mini pumpkins, squash and other fall veggies can be arranged with some nuts to make a yummy centerpiece. If you want, you could find an inexpensive cornucopia at your local craft store and put these items in it.
Fall flowers also make wonderful centerpieces. If you grow your own, simply pick some in various colors and arrange them in a vase. You’ll have a beautiful, fragrant centerpiece at no cost whatsoever.
Of course, there probably won’t be a whole lot of room on the table for a centerpiece by the time you put all of the food on it. If space is a concern, taper candles are a simple yet elegant alternative. You can find candleholders at discount stores at very reasonable prices. You could place some leaves or gourds around them if you want to do something a bit more elaborate without taking up too much room.
A beautiful Thanksgiving table isn’t necessary for enjoying all of that delicious food. But it certainly adds a nice touch to the holiday and lets your guests know that you value their company. With a little imagination, you can decorate the table and still have plenty of money to spend on dinner.