Category Archives: Shopping

We’re Going Green… But What About Your Toothpaste?

toms of maine toothpaste environmentally friendly businessesIn the last 7 years (since my oldest son was born) I’ve done a lot of research into environmentally friendly practices and how best to live a “greener” life and leave a smaller footprint… And how to leave this world a better place. It has been important to me to teach my children the same thing. We make sure to keep lights turned off, water does not run when it doesn’t have to, we recycle, and we reuse what we can. Another thing that I have tried to teach them is to support companies that also strive to be environmentally friendly. One of our favorite environmentally friendly businesses is Tom’s of Maine.

Supporting businesses that do good for not only the environment but for the people in it is one of the best things that I think a person can do, and Tom’s is all about that. Tom’s of Maine is just what it says… It is from Maine, meaning that their products are all made in the good ol’ USA. This is important to me and probably most of you because number one, they’re providing jobs here in our country instead of shipping them overseas, and number two, because they have an even smaller environmental impact from less shipping.

With Tom’s, no animals are ever tested and there are no animal ingredients in their products. You will always know exactly what ingredients are in every product, and they share its purpose and source on their website. There are no artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives in any of their products. Tom’s uses as much recycled material as possible, and they maximize recyclability of their products. I almost forgot, 10% of their profits go to human and environmental goodness. And, of course, sustainable practices are a priority in every aspect of their business!

The very first thing that I ever used from Tom’s was toothpaste, and I definitely recommend you try it. Even ONE item changed makes an impact. Tom’s was an easy swap for me because it tastes so much better, and it is fluoride free. Also, if you’re like me, and you have a hard time giving up your whitening toothpaste, they have it! There are even options for the kiddos available. Did I mention that there prices are comparable to other brands of toothpaste that you’ll find in the store? As a matter of fact, I believe they’re more reasonable.

Of course, Tom’s offers more than toothpaste! Over the last few years, I’ve tried and fell in love with nearly all of them. There are toothbrushes, mouthwash, floss, deodorant, antiperspirant, and beauty bars. Some of their products are available in stores, but when you order online, you get free ground shipping for any order over $25. Of course, with Amazon Prime, you get FREE 2 day shipping when you order on Amazon for any amount! 😉

I’ll be back with more tips on a green lifestyle… In the meantime though, let me know if you’ve tried Tom’s and if you loved them as much as I do!

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Cutting Corners-Make Money Off Items In Your Home

corners1We’ve already discussed how to save money going green, but what about saving or making money, period? If you’re already going green, or if you need to see an immediate effect, this is the blog you’ve been waiting for! Today we’re going to discuss easy ways to cut corners and make money off items in your home.

When my oldest was born, and the ex moved us to Michigan, I joined an online moms group. I was thankfully able to make some really good friends on there that I still talk to today. More than that though, I was able to sit back and learn some valuable information from these ladies. Being the youngest of a large family, I was very familiar with hand-me-downs, but I had no clue what to do if there was no one to hand those clothes or things down to, other than to donate them (we’ll discuss proper places to donate things at a later date, and I promise you, Goodwill is NOT the place to go!). I also didn’t know what to do if there was no one to get hand-me-downs from, other than go to the store and get new stuff. This is when I started learning the art of being thrifty…

Most of you have heard of consignment and thrift shops. Some of you probably turn your nose up at the idea. If you have turned your nose up, this may not be the blog for you, but keep reading and see if I can change your mind. One of my FAVORITES for kids is Once Upon A Child. You can bring their “gently used” clothes and toys there, and you have a choice between trading them for more clothes and toys (store credit) or just flat out selling them. Me, I sell them generally, but on occasion, I do find some things in there that I can just not pass up.

Another great thing to do if you want to trade is find a mommy group in the area, and see if they trade out hand-me-downs. This is a great “pay it forward” type thing to do, AND, although you wouldn’t want to give away something that should go in the trash, you don’t have to worry as much about the condition of the clothes.

Now, what about yourself? I don’t know about you, but I shop like nobody’s business. Almost any time I walk in a store, I spot a sale and I end up buying a shirt or five. Because of this, my closet and dresser are in constant overload (I admit, I am sometimes that adult who has clothes stacked on the floor because there just isn’t enough room for everything) and this means that when I take the time to go through them all, I can make a little money. My favorite place to sell my clothes has been Plato’s closet. Of course, I have no problem trading out clothes for store credit either because they make sure to have an amazing stock of stuff available at all times!

Last, but certainly not least, you can do what several of my friends (and myself, on occasion) have done and sell your clothes (and anything else you can imagine) on Facebook. My suggestion is to create a “For Sale” album, and set it to public and “Share” it to as many groups as possible. I have made SOME money this way, but I have also given myself more headache than it’s worth at times with it, which is why I have listed it as the last option to use.

Well, I’ll see you next time. I hope I was able to give you some ideas to line your pockets!

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Save Money Going Green: Part Two

Go-Green-Save-Money environmentally friendlyI posted last week about saving money and being environmentally friendly. I really hope that at least half of you who read the blog took it to heart and started making some changes… After all, you’re going green and saving some green! I have some additional tips for those of you who have decided to go the green route…

 

  • CFLs– A CFL is a compact fluorescent light. I want to challenge you to buy at least two each time you get paid. You’ll be surprised to see how much your light bill goes down if you replaced all the lights in your house immediately. These bad boys will pay for themselves in a matter of a few months.
  • Wrap your water heater– Wrapping your water heater is a good way to keep heat from escaping it, keep it from working more than it has to, and to keep money in your checking account!
  • Low-flow shower heads– A low flow shower head keeps water waste to a minimum, and since you won’t be using as much, you won’t be paying for as much on your water bill (electric bill if you have a well instead of city water!).
  • Grow your own herbs- Depending on your use of herbs in cooking, this can be something that will save you a lot of money in the long run. An added bonus to growing your own herbs to me is the joy of growing pretty plants in the dining room or kitchen.
  • Grow native plants- Native plants are best adapted to the local climate and once established, seldom need watering, mulching, protection from frost or continuous mowing.
  • Carpool- Carpooling saves gas money, miles on the car, and on all upkeep… Plus, it gives you a chance to socialize. What could be better?
  • Keep an eye on tire pressure– Keeping your tires aired up helps your car run more efficiently, and believe it or not, your car pays you back with better gas mileage!
  • Go to the carwash- The boyfriend and I will always fight about this one, but it is much more eco-friendly to go to the carwash than to wash your car at home (especially if you waste all that water washing your car in the driveway!). Some carwashes even recycle their water, but they all use much less water than you use at home, so be lazy and go to the carwash! If you absolutely HAVE to wash your car at home (like my sweet boyfriend) then you should at least pull onto the grass and do double duty by washing the car and watering the lawn.
  • Eat locally grown food- Granted, locally grown and organic is ideal, but if you’re given the choice of one or the other, locally grown is better for the environment than organic if your organic food is from hundreds of miles away. Look online or talk to people around you and ask where your local Farmer’s Market is, this is your best bet for locally grown food.
  • Last but not least is to shop local- Granted, you can save a few bucks by shopping at Walmart and discount stores, but if you love your environment and your local economy, shop at your local, small town stores. Shop the antique stores, a local furniture maker, find someone local who designs and sews (one way to ensure that you’re never dressed just like everyone else!). Just take a look around, you’d be surprised what you can get local so that you don’t have to pay to have something shipped from across the country (or world!) and so that you can truly be unique!

Check back soon for more tips on going green!

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Do You REALLY Put Your Smartphone To Use?

ReallyUseYourSmartphoneIn this day of modern technology, even kids have smartphones. It’s not unusual to walk in somewhere and see 90% of the people around you with a smartphone in a holster, in their pockets, or in their hands being put to use. But what I want to ask you today is: Do you really use your smartphone? Yes, we all have them, but in reality, most of us that do have them don’t need them and certainly don’t use them for everything that they are capable of. So let’s put your smartphone to use!

Your typical smartphone user knows their basics: You can make calls, send text messages, send emails, play on Facebook, play games, use it as a flashlight (I probably couldn’t make it without the app that turns my phone’s flash into a camera if we’re being honest here!), and schedule appointments into your calendar. This is all great. I’m a Facebook addict and I love the fact that my phone keeps me connected to it at all times, but there is really so much more that you can use that expensive electronic brick for, and that’s why I’m writing this blog!

One of my favorite uses for my phone (yes, other than the flashlight and Facebook) is being able to stay connected to my online banking. I bank with a rather large credit union, and in the last year or so, they have made a lot of changes to their app. I can do much more than just look up my balances. I can transfer cash from my checking to my savings account, schedule payments for my credit card, set up alerts that go straight to my phone when my account balance gets low, and my all-time favorite thing is that when someone writes me a check, I can make the deposit from my phone just by taking pictures and uploading them through the app!

If you’re like me and you like to look up new and interesting things to eat, perhaps you would like to check out the AllRecipes.com app. When I get bored with my usual recipes, this is something that always spices up my dinners.

Now, I’ve said many times before that I am looking to save money, and I also try to do things that are environmentally friendly… As much as I love to read, I’ve been trying to curb the amount of books that I purchase. This has been fairly sad for me, but I’ve found a new love that’s really awesome: the Kindle app that comes automatically on most Android devices. Most eBooks that you find are actually much cheaper than you will find the printed versions for, and of course since they aren’t printed, it’s more environmentally friendly. An added bonus to this is if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can have the option to check out one free eBook each month (this is just one of MANY perks offered by Amazon Prime!).

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies

This next thing isn’t something that everyone will take advantage of, but some of you will love it. If you area blogger, you can easily post, update, and maintain your blog from your smartphone. It all depends on your blogging platform, but Blogger and WordPress both have very user friendly apps that you may want to look into.

Have you thought about using your phone to get in shape? Seems crazy, right? Well, one of my new favorite apps is Noom. With Noom you can count calories, log your weight, exercises, and with Noom Pro you can even track your waist size. It even comes with an awesome step counter that gives you a goal for your target number of steps each day. This app gives you useful information to read daily to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, along with much, much more. An added bonus to it is a forum to keep in touch with others who are also working to lose weight and get in shape. While there are many other apps made to help with this, this particular one is my favorite.

Now, I’m not a great couponer, although I have tried… My boyfriend’s sister on the other hand is one of those people who can get most of her groceries for free. There are several couponing and deal apps out there that can help you do that. I haven’t started utilizing one yet, but my goal is to start soon and I will let you all know which ones I find useful and how much they have actually helped me.

Being a single mom, I still haven’t found the cash in my budget to get cable… However, I do have a Netflix account (rather my boyfriend does, and he was nice enough to give me the login info for it!) and although I mostly watch movies and shows on my computer, when the kiddos take over it to watch movies or play games, I’m left with my phone and I love watching movies on it!

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies

As a woman, it is a rule of nature that we are supposed to shop, and shop I do! As you may have guessed, I do most of my shopping from my phone. What shopping I don’t do from my phone, I plan from it. My favorite shopping apps are eBay, Amazon, and occasionally Walmart. I HATE shopping at Walmart, but sometimes it is a necessary evil… That’s another blog for another time though. Preparing to shop though, my favorite app is from Publix. I make my list, pick the store I’m shopping at, and it tells me where every item on my list is at in the store. Another great thing about shopping at Publix is that you can pick out your coupons from their website and enter your phone number. No clipping coupons, and you save money, what could be better?

I do, of course, use my phone for many, many, many other things, but these were all things that I thought that you might find useful as well. Please comment below and let me know if I left out something that you couldn’t live without, or if I gave you some new ideas!

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