3 of the Best Items to Buy During President’s Day Sales

After the holidays there aren’t nearly as many good deals to be had. However, on top of white sales in January, the next biggest sale of the winter season is usually during President’s Day. In fact, there can be some pretty darn good discounts on some bigger ticket items. And more often than not, shopping for these items during this time of year will get you the deepest discounts. So, you should be ready ahead of time with your budget in order to have the cash on hand for these larger purchases.

Mattresses

While most of us don’t give a second thought to our mattress, we do spend approximately 1/3 of our lives on it. So, a mattress should be one of the most well thought out purchases we make. And, it can also be one of the most expensive purchases we make too. But since they are so important, it can really be worth the money to get a good one that works well for you. Therefore, a mattress is not a place to be frugal.

Of course, you can still get a really good mattress without spending a small fortune though. And during President’s Day sales is one of the best ways to do it. Some of the best places to check out ahead of time for good mattress sales are:

  • Amazon – seems crazy but they do sell mattresses
  • Bed Bath and Beyond – oddly enough, they do sell mattresses on top of everything else, and usually have some pretty good deals
  • Costco – they already give great deals to their members and sell a wide variety of different mattresses
  • Mattress Firm – great selection and really good deals during President’s Day
  • Nest Bedding – carry a wide range of mattresses, including quite a few organic options
  • Overstock – they usually have pretty good deals to begin with
  • Tempur-Pedic – similar to Mattress Firm, just different style of mattresses

The discounts will vary at each store. Some of the typical sale ranges tend to be anywhere from $100 – $300 off a mattress or up to 30% off. Some places will give you a smaller discount but throw in a few other free items, such as mattress toppers or pillows. So, it’s best to take a look ahead of time to narrow down which type of mattress you are interested in and which place will give you the best deal on that style.

Appliances

Whether we like it or not, appliances are part of our everyday life these days. And they don’t always have the life span we wish they would. In fact, depending upon the type of appliance and the make and model, the life span can range between 9-20 years, on average. And when an appliance decides to die, it affects our whole world. So, planning here is key.

When the end of life is nearing for your appliance, it’s always good to try and plan ahead. Especially since appliances can be much higher ticket items than they used to be. I can speak from recent experience because we just had to replace our dishwasher (sooner than we anticipated) and ended up spending a lot more money than I would have liked. We could have potentially waited until the President’s Day sales hit, but that would have left us without a dishwasher for almost 3 months. And with 7 of us, it’s worth it for us to have a dishwasher when it makes my life a lot easier.

Luckily, we had the funds saved up to pay for a new dishwasher when the time came. But it still hurt, nonetheless. First thing first is to have the money saved up in your emergency fund to cover the cost of the replacement appliance. Next, it’s time to shop some of the best appliance sales all year long. And some of the places that have the greatest President’s Day sales on appliances are:

  • Best Buy – they have many different appliances, and great deals to begin with, but even better ones during this sale
  • Costco – similar to their mattresses, they have good deals all year round and a vast selection of appliances
  • Home Depot – they tend to have regular appliance sales but have much deeper discounts during this sale
  • Lowes – same as Home Depot and they aggressively compete with each other for your appliance business
  • Overstock – same deal with the appliances as their mattresses

Similar to the mattress sales, these discounts will vary widely. But, the most common discounts I have found are usually between 30% – 40% off. However, some of the larger stores will also offer 0% interest for 12-24 months on their credit card sometimes. So, if they happen to be running one of those deals at the same time, you can potentially spread the payments out over a longer period of time without having to pay any interest. So this could really be a win-win!

Furniture

Furniture can be another really big-ticket item, especially if we are talking couches and dining tables. And while the life span of furniture can be exponentially longer than appliances (if you take care of them), they do tend to go out of style faster. Or if you have a house full of kids and dogs you’re boarding, that can make the furniture die a much younger death too.

Either way, when it comes time to look for things such as couches, chairs, loveseats, dining tables, coffee tables, etc, President’s Day is a great time to look. Some of the best places that I have found to find rock bottom deals on furniture during President’s Day are:

  • Big Lots – they are already known for their low prices, but they get even lower during this sale
  • Costco – once again, they have pretty much everything!
  • Kohl’s – they have some pretty good deals on their furniture lines for online purchases
  • Overstock – this is another company that seems to have everything and is very competitive on pricing in the furniture genre
  • Target – usually their furniture is more deeply discounted when shopping online than in store

And in typical fashion, these sales have a fairly wide variety of discounts. They seem to vary every year, but on average most sales seem to discount specific items anywhere between 30% – 70%. So this is one category where it is really in your best interest to shop around before you buy anything.

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President’s Day Sales Summary

Ultimately, President’s Day is a great time to find some really good deals on big ticket items. Whether you need a new mattress, new appliances or some new furniture, you may be in luck. This time of year can potentially save you the most amount of money on these items. So prepare ahead of time and make your list. And then get shopping!

What are some of the best deals you have gotten during a President’s Day sale?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

How to Not Overspend On Your Super Bowl Day Fun

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, it’s time to start planning an epic party. This year will probably be more important to have a great party than other years. Courtesy of the pandemic, the chances of anyone being there live is slim to none. This also means you will need to have a smaller party than usual and continue to social distance. This ultimately means you’ll probably spend less money on food, drinks and supplies also. I can’t argue with having a great party and not spending as much money to put it on!

Since we can’t be there, then everything you choose to have at the party should be meant to make you, and your guests feel as much like they are at the Super Bowl as possible. This list will obviously be a bit different for everyone, but there are some general rules we can start with.

Super Bowl Party Food

First and foremost, we need to start with the Super Bowl food. There are a few things seem to be regular fare at any super bowl party. Some of the food items I regularly run across include:

  • Chicken wings
  • Chili
  • Chips and dip (many different dips, to be precise)
  • Cocktail weenies
  • Football shaped cookies
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Meatballs
  • Nachos
  • Potato skins
  • Sliders

Of course, everyone has their signature dish, so don’t forget to include that. And do your best to utilize ingredients in multiple dishes. This not only makes cooking easier but can also help reduce your overall party costs.

On top of the food, having the right serving platters is key to any Super Bowl party. Some of my favorite platters to have on hand are: 

No matter which serving platters you choose, make sure you have enough to effectively serve all of the Super Bowl food. And, whenever possible, try to get serving platters that you can use year round. This will help offset the overall cost.

RELATED: Save Money with These Super Bowl Party Tricks

Super Bowl Beverages

No Super Bowl party is complete without some good beverage options. I usually think of beer when I think about a Super Bowl party, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. There just happen to be some fabulous Super Bowl themed craft cocktails also. And some of them are extremely easy to make, but look and taste awesome! Some great craft cocktail options are:

  • Dilly Dilly  – Vodka, Limeade, Bud Light, Lime
  • Super Bowl Slammer – Apple flavored Whiskey, Dr. Pepper, Grenadine
  • Super Sunday Punch – Bourbon, Apple Brandy, Sweet Tea, Red Grapefruit Juice, Honey, Cinnamon Sticks, Cloves, Allspice
  • Touchdown Punch – Prosecco, Blue Curacao, Lemon, Sprite
  • Yellow Hammer Slammer – Vodka, Rum, Amaretto, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Maraschino Cherries

It might be a good idea to only have one of these options in addition to beer to help cut the overall costs. But, if some of your guests want to participate in the party planning, you could entreat some of them to choose a drink they might like and bring the ingredients.

Other than having football themed craft cocktails, beer options are simply a must. This doesn’t mean you have to provide all of the beer (we certainly don’t). Since it can get so expensive, I would suggest having a few different choices to please as many guests as possible. Or you could potentially get a pony keg of your favorite option and ask guests to bring some beer they like to share. That way all the guests can get a chance to try a few different beer offerings. 

Once you have decided which beverage offerings to serve, then you have to figure out the cups. Here are a few different options that are also pretty cost effective:

No matter which option you choose, make sure you have enough for people to have multiple drinks, because they will. Or, better yet, use a marker to put their names on the cups so that they can reuse them the whole time. That will save more plastic from being thrown away and keep more money in your pocket so you won’t have to buy as many cups. Which ultimately helps your bottom line, since everything for this Super Bowl party should be coming out of your entertainment budget.

Grill

Having the right grill is an essential part of any super bowl party. In fact, having at least one good grill for regular all year use is a good idea anyway. If you don’t already have a decent grill for regular use, then that is the best place to start.

How much grilling you plan to do throughout the year should determine the size of your grill. But, you also have to decide if you prefer charcoal or propane grills. I grew up as a charcoal grill lover, so that is still where I reside. I just prefer the charcoal flavor on the food over the propane gas flavor any day. But, not everybody feels that way. And charcoal grills tend to make more of a mess and usually take more work to get started. So, propane grills certainly have their place. There are also some hybrid options now that are charcoal grills with propane starters. So, if you want the best of both worlds, that might be the right choice for you.

Either way, here are my three favorite options for each type of grill mentioned:

Once you get the larger grill figured out, it’s time to consider a smaller tabletop grill. These are usually much cheaper, and easier to store when not in use. Plus they heat up pretty quickly so they work exceptionally well for parties when you need a bit more grilling space.

RELATED: Save Money With These BBQ Tips

Grilling Tools

Once you have your grill situation nailed down, grilling tools are next. These can range between pretty darn cheap to fairly darn expensive. So, ultimately, a lot of the cost here will come down to your personal preference and how often you think you will actually use them.

For us, we keep two sets of grilling tools on hand. A much smaller set for kitchen use and a much larger, more elaborate set for our outdoor grilling needs. And the outdoor set has a nice case that everything can be stored in, so that way we can leave the set under our grill. It makes things much easier to find when the time comes for grilling, as well as when the time comes for a party, such as the Super Bowl. 

Therefore, here are a few suggestions for grilling tools that won’t cost you an arm and a leg but will still get the job done:

No matter which grilling set(s) you choose, just make sure that the set has everything you need, for regular use and for party time.

These are some awesome tips to host a great Super Bowl party and not overspend! Click To Tweet

Super Bowl Party Summary

When it comes time for Super Bowl, you can be ready to host one killer party all while not killing your budget. The steps to do so are fairly simple. Just make sure to have great party food, a few beverage choices, a great grill or two, good grilling tools and awesome serving platters and cups. Once you have all that, you’ll be ready for the big game!

What are some ways you plan to enjoy a Super Bowl party and not overspend?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

Why Celebrating the Holidays During COVID-19 May Save You Some Money

This global pandemic has shaken up our entire universe. And it doesn’t look like things are going to go back to normal any time soon. If they ever do. But, the holidays are still right around the corner, pandemic or not. And they are a time to spend with friends and family and be grateful for everything you have. So, even though we may not be celebrating the holidays the way we have in the past, it’s still an important part of our culture. But, the bright side is that celebrating the holidays during COVID-19 may actually be able to save us some money. Which could be a huge bonus in these more uncertain times.

Less Holiday Travel During COVID-19

Of course there are quite a few different ways to make holiday travel frugal. But you won’t have to worry about that this year since most of us won’t be traveling. And because we won’t be traveling, we will already be saving a boat load of money on the holidays.

Even if flying home isn’t a normal part of your holiday routine, you will still be saving money if you drive instead. We are a family that all lives within a few hours of each other, so we drive instead of fly. It costs us approximately $20 in fuel costs to make the round trip. This adds up to a total of $40 if we count both holidays. Of course this is barely anything, if we don’t account for the wear and tear on the vehicle.

But, what it does mean though, is that we can use that extra $40 elsewhere. Either towards one of the holiday gifts for a family member or for food to celebrate.

Holidays Budget

Most people that I know spend a ton of money every year on the holidays. And the bulk of their holiday budget tends to go to high ticket presents. If you fall into this category, then this year is bound to look a lot different.

Because a good portion of the population was either entirely or partially laid off this year, all of our finances look a bit different. And if you are like us, COVID-19 has made you take a good hard look at your savings practices.

Since we have been more focused on saving more this year, the holidays are no different. We already had a lower amount budgeted for the holidays annually. But this year, we decided that we are only going to get the kids gifts that they need and not just superfluous things.

Thus far, we have purchased each of them a couple of items they needed for winter attire or school. Of course, they got to choose some things that were a bit more fun and showed their personality. And we didn’t tell them what we have gotten them out of the vast selections they sent us. So they will still get a holiday surprise.

And for our extended family, we are all planning to donate $20 to the same charity instead of gift giving. Our hope is that our money will go to a better use than things long forgotten under the bed or in the closet.

Feast or Famine

Our holiday budget doesn’t stop with gifts. The budget stretched into the family celebrations with food and beverages also These holiday celebrations can become fairly costly if you aren’t careful.

Since a lot of people, us included, will have smaller holiday celebrations this year, that already reduces some of the food costs. Which definitely helps our holiday food budget.

But, an even better way to celebrate holidays during COVID-19 is to have a pot luck. This helps to reduce everyone’s cost, as well as cooking time. And that way you can all spend more time together catching up (socially distanced, of course) instead of cooking and cleaning.

Savings Apps

On top of that, there are plenty of ways you can eat well on a budget during the holidays also. One of the best ways I have found is to combine shopping the grocery store sales with savings apps. A good example of this is to search ahead of time on the Ibotta app and add any and all coupons you may buy to your list. All of the deals have different expiration dates. But usually you will have a little bit of time to snap these up after you find them.

Then, I search the few stores I regularly grocery shop at to see what deals and specials they have going on. Some of them will even tell you what deals they have coming up. Which has really helped me to maximize when there is a store deal and an Ibotta coupon.

For example, I use coconut water to make my rice with most of the time. Ibotta had a coupon for $2.00 the purchase of two Zico coconut waters. Well, one of the stores I shop at also had a deal for $.50 off each one. By combining the two deals, I saved $3.00. And I’m pretty darn happy about that!

But that is not the only app I use to save money on the holiday feast. I love the Receipt Hog app and have been using it for many years now. Once I get home, all I have to do is take a picture of my receipt within the app. It asks me to rate my store visit with a five star system and how many people were on the trip. I get coins added to my piggy bank for each receipt, plus they ask me to complete short surveys sometimes for extra coins.

And speaking of surveys, they are another great way to cut down the cost of the holiday feast. Sites like Opinion Outpost, Swagbucks and Survey Junkie will pay you for your opinion. Then you can cash out your money directly into your bank account or onto various gift cards. This is a great way to make a little bit of side hustle money to spend on the holiday feast. Which ultimately, cuts down on your overall holiday costs. And this makes it so much easier to enjoy celebrating holidays during COVID-19.

You CAN celebrate the holidays during COVID-19 and save money too! Click To Tweet

Celebrating Holidays During COVID-19 Summary

Even though the holidays are going to look different this year, I am still looking forward to them. I love getting together with my family to catch up and celebrate. So, I don’t plan to let a pandemic stop me from enjoying one of my favorite parts of the year. And I also don’t plan to let it affect us financially this year either. Because if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that having a good emergency fund is direly important.

To help yourself save money celebrating the holidays during COVID-19, follow these tips:

  • Redirect your normal travel funds to other holiday items to reduce overall spending
  • Take a look at your holiday budget and tighten it even more this year
  • Use savings apps, take surveys, reduce your group size and have a potluck to save on holiday feasts

If you do all of these things, you should be able to still greatly enjoy your holidays and save a ton of money at the same time.

What are some ways you are considering celebrating the holidays during COVID-19 to help save money?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

7 Top Items Required for Delicious Homemade Coffee and Lattes

Getting coffee out can be extremely expensive. So here are 7 of our top items required for you to make delicious homemade coffee and lattes.If you’re like me, you love a good cup of coffee. And during these winter months, I love coffee even more. But, I really detest getting coffee while I am out because it is so expensive. Plus, the lattes I find out also tend to have an enormous amount of extra sugar and junk that I wouldn’t normally put in my coffee. So, I found some great ways to homemade coffee just as delicious, but for less than a quarter of the cost. If you don’t call that a win, I don’t know what is!

1. French Press

I used to be an old fashioned coffee maker kind of gal. But, then about 6 years ago I heard about the french press. I never got to see one in action until I was working at a hotel while finishing my Master’s degree. These were used for a lot of the room service coffee’s that were served. And since that day, my coffee life has never been the same.

Originally, I purchased a Bodum French Press. This one was great for me and I loved it. Until it broke about a year and a half ago. Since the Bodum is glass, if you drop it just the wrong way, it can break. And since I happen to be accident-prone, that eventually happened. But, since it was a lower cost French Press, it was a really good one for me to start with. Plus, it lasted a few years, which was worth the money. While the french press is the most expensive part of making homemade coffee, it is well worth it.

After that one broke, I decided to splurge and purchase the higher end Frieling Double-walled Stainless Steel French Press. This one has a lifetime warranty and it won’t break if you drop it. So far, so good and the coffee is out of this world!

French Press Directions

The reason a french press makes the coffee taste so much better is because you have complete control over how hot the water is before you pour it into the french press. You also have better control over steeping time, which can affect the strength and acidity.

When you are making french press, you should make sure to take the kettle off the stove right before it begins to boil. Once you pour the water into the french press, stir the coffee grounds and water together. Then put the lid on and let it steep for approximately 3-4 minutes, depending upon how strong and acidic you want it. Then push down the plunger to stop the steeping process and you are good to go.

2. Tea Kettle

If you don’t already have a tea kettle, you will need one for delicious homemade coffee. Tea kettles can range pretty widely in price. But, if you aren’t planning to use yours for anything other than your homemade coffee, then you should be able to pick one up for pretty cheap.

I have been able to find some tea kettles for under $20, but I usually pick one up for a bit closer to $30. Of course, you could easily spend a lot more money on a tea kettle that has a more aesthetic look for you. No matter what you choose to do, just make sure it will hold enough water for your french press.

The other option is an electric tea kettle. I happen to have one of these in my office, just in case I want to make coffee or tea while I am working. That way I don’t have to go up to the kitchen to boil water. Multitasking at it’s finest!

3. Mini Strainer

After having the french press for so many years, we realized that it could still use a bit more straining. Everything is great with the coffee until the last sip or two usually. And then things can get a bit gritty. Some of that could have to do with the grind of the beans, but not usually. So, we have found that getting a mini tea strainer does the trick nicely.

You can easily pick one of these up for well under $10. And it can be used for tea, coffee, and cocktails. So, this is a great tool to keep on hand, whether you are making homemade coffee or not.

4. Mini Whisk

When it comes to making good homemade coffee and lattes, a mini whisk is a must. Luckily, we happen to have a plethora of kitchen tools lying around, so we had one on hand. The one we found that works best is a 5″ mini whisk because it fits nicely in a standard coffee mug.

How I have used the mini whisk to benefit my coffee and latte experience is simple. Just add your sweetener, creamer, and/or flavor additions to the cup first while the water is getting warmed up. Use the whisk to whisk everything together prior to pouring in the coffee. This helps create a creamier and frothier coffee drink, more like the ones you would get out.

5. Good Coffee Beans

Since we all have slightly different flavor profile preferences, your beans are going to be indicative of that. I really like espresso beans for a more full-bodied flavor. However, I always suggest going with whole beans instead of ground.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, is that coffee beans for a french press need to be an espresso grind. This means the beans are ground into larger bits than what is used in a traditional drip coffee maker.

When you buy already ground beans at the store, they are almost always only ground for drip coffee makers. By using this grind, you are going to get more sediment at the bottom of your cup. Plus, if you are using already ground beans, the oils start to oxidize faster. This means you are losing flavor in your coffee, as well as potentially getting a more acidic roast.

Therefore, I suggest either getting a small coffee grinder to grind the beans each day. Or, if you don’t have the time for that, like me, grind them at the store with the espresso grind. Then store the ground coffee in the refrigerator or freezer to slow and/or stop the oxidation process.

6. Creamer

One of the big perks about homemade coffee and lattes is that you can put whatever kind of creamer you want in there. Since there are so many choices these days, it can be more difficult when you go out to get coffee to get exactly what you want. But, at home, you can make it exactly the way you want for the perfect latte.

Some of the great options to choose from for creamer additions are:

  • Almond Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Coconut Creamer
  • Coconut Milk
  • Dairy Creamer
  • Golden Milk
  • Hemp Milk
  • Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Soy Milk

I, personally, use coconut creamer because the dairy creamer’s don’t usually sit well with me. I have found the coconut creamer to be the closest to the dairy creamer taste and texture, which is why I go with that one.

7. Flavor Additions

Lastly, flavor additions might be something you prefer with your homemade coffee. Sometimes I add in either hot chocolate or peppermint chocolate to my latte’s to create a mocha latte. The kids saw me do this a couple of times and now it’s all they want to have whenever we do movie night. I have created some monsters!

Even if you don’t want to add in the aforementioned, you could always add in some essential oils (as long as they are rated for ingestion). These can add flavor and have potential health benefits. The other option is to add in some vanilla, honey, chai or even bitters. No matter what you choose to add in, get creative with your latte.

If you want a delicious, budget-friendly homemade coffee, then you have got to get these tools! Click To Tweet

Homemade Coffee and Lattes Summary

Overall, there are so many things you can do to create a delicious, yet budget-friendly homemade coffee or latte. While, most of these things you should already have on hand if you are a coffee drinker, a few you may want to consider purchasing. If you have all of the following tools, you are bound to have one great cup of coffee or craft latte:

  1. French Press
  2. Tea Kettle
  3. Mini Strainer
  4. Mini Whisk
  5. Good Coffee Beans
  6. Creamer
  7. Flavor Additions

Once you are armed with the right tools, you are ready to get brewing and create your own homemade coffee at a fraction of the cost.

What are some of your favorite tools for creating delicious, budget-friendly homemade coffee and lattes?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

How to Save Money on Food This Year

With the winter months comes less fresh fruits and veggies to choose from. And with that, food costs usually go up. But just because we don’t have as many great fresh options available to us, doesn’t mean that feeding our family has to be expensive. In fact, I have found a few great ways to help save money on food this winter. The foods are not only budget-friendly but delicious and nutritious too!

Use Everything You Have

The first trick when it comes to trying to save money on food costs is to use everything you have. What I mean is to make sure you reduce food waste by getting creative with leftover items. This doesn’t have to mean eating leftovers for multiple nights in a row. Because we all know that the kids will riot when that happens!

But, you can get creative with the leftovers and create a completely different dish. A good example of this is when I made a huge pot of coconut rice in my Multi Use Express Crock-pot. I freaking love this thing because it makes my life so much simpler! I used the rice originally to go with a pumpkin curry that I made. But I usually make a lot of rice at once, so we had a lot of leftovers. I knew the kids didn’t want the same meal again the next night. Instead, I made a casserole out of the rice with black beans, pinto beans, spices, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. It was a huge hit!

Another Example

Another great way I regularly do this is with pasta sauce. The kids love pasta night, but not all of us eat pasta sauce on our noodles. So, we don’t use a full jar of pasta. Instead of letting it stay in the fridge and go bad if we don’t use it fast enough, I use it as a sauce base for my cassava pizza crusts. That way I can use up the entire jar within the standard 7-day time frame and I don’t have to spend the extra money on pizza sauce.

No matter how you look at it, just get creative with your leftover items and it will definitely help feed your family for less this winter. And save you a ton of time also!

Great Staple Foods

One of the best ways to help save money on food costs, not only in the winter but all year round is to keep staple foods on hand. Staple foods may not be the same items for everybody, depending on the foods you prefer to eat or grew up with. But, overall, these foods have a very little cost associated with them and can be stretched pretty far. Plus they fill you and your family up, so you won’t be as inclined to eat other foods on top of your meal.

Staples I Keep On Hand

Some of the best staple foods I have found, that I continually keep on hand are:

  • Rice – various types, but preferably whole grain since the fiber helps fill you up and slow down insulin uptake.
  • Beans – dried are the cheapest and go the furthest, but sometimes you can find a great deal on the canned no sodium added versions also.
  • Potatoes – Russet potatoes are great for baked potato night, and the smaller versions work great for oven potatoes or mashed potatoes.
  • Pasta – this is one of the cheapest foods for the amount you get and can be used so many different ways.
  • Vegetable broth – this works great in soups, making rice, flavoring casseroles, etc.
  • Canned tomatoes – fire-roasted tomatoes usually have the most flavor, if you can find them.
  • Coconut water – this is a regular go-to for making rice because it adds so much flavor and keeps the rice tender.
  • Oats – we use Gluten-Free oats to make overnight oats or oat balls for breakfasts for the kids and they stay full for a long time!

If you can keep even a few of these on hand, it will help make your winter budget stretch a lot further.

Soups and Chili

Winter is the best time for warm, hearty soups and chili. And I love making them almost as much as I love eating them. Most of the time the rest of the family feels the same way. But it’s hard to please everyone all the time, so I try to keep a few options in the freezer.

Ultimately, one of the easiest, and sometimes the most flavorful option is a vegetable soup. I call mine the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Soup because it has everything in it but the kitchen sink. This soup is very simple to make in that you can throw whatever vegetables you have at your disposal in it. I usually add one of my cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and a quart box of low sodium vegetable broth. Don’t forget to add whatever spices strike your fancy to top it off. Then just heat it on a slow simmer so the flavors mix. Since the vegetables always differ and so do the spices, the soup is never the same. Which my family likes because it is always a fun surprise!

Chili

My other favorite is a vegetarian chili. Which happens to be the only chili my daughter will eat, for some reason. This is almost as simple as the aforementioned soup. I throw a bag of Beyond Meat Feisty Grounds in the multi-use Crock-pot. Add in a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and 4 cups of beans. I usually use a mix of black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.

Add a couple of bay leaves (we have a tree in our yard so I just make the kids go and pick some leaves for me). Then add in some chili spices, a pinch of salt and some pepper. To top everything off, add in a quart box of low sodium vegetable broth. Put the lid on and use the “Beans/Chili” option so that it will simmer slowly. It usually takes about 25 minutes and then we have hot, delicious, and nutritious chili. Yum!

These are some awesome hacks to help feed your family for less this winter! Click To Tweet

Help Feed Your Family For Less This Winter Summary

Feeding your family for less this winter can certainly be done. And without too much complaining also! Just remember to use everything you have first to offset waste. This will reduce your overall grocery bill since you won’t have to spend as much buying excess food. Next, make sure you have a few staple foods on hand that can be stretched very far and fills up your family.

Lastly, try making a myriad of different soups and chili. Freeze whatever you don’t eat so that you can thaw them and use them at another time. Your family and your budget will thank you!

What are some of the best hacks you have found to help feed your family for less in the winter?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

5 Best Side Hustles to Make Extra Money During COVID-19

This year has certainly been one for the books! In fact, no matter how we look at it, 2020 has changed our entire world. Not just how we interact socially, but also how we make and spend money. And with the massive amount of job loss that has occurred this year, it’s important to learn how to diversify your income. I’ve found side hustles to be the best way to do that. So, without further ado, here are 5 of the best side hustles to make extra money during COVID-19.

Amazon Flex Delivery

Amazon has been taking over the world lately! And it was happening prior to COVID-19. But since the pandemic hit and retail stores were closed, Amazon became the king. And it doesn’t stop there because they have been hiring like crazy. So they are one of the big companies actually helping a lot of us out in this time of financial need.

While you could try to become an actual Amazon employee, it makes more sense for most of us to become a contractor instead. They have a great program called Amazon Flex for those of us looking for more flexible side hustles that also pay pretty well.

With Amazon Flex, you will choose the block of time that you are available to work and only work during those hours. You can choose your blocks days ahead of time or the day of once you know your availability.

Once you choose your blocks then you will be delivering Amazon packages using your own car during that period of time. The pay is anywhere from $18 – $25 per hour. Which is pretty awesome because that is more than a lot of full time jobs pay.

You should account for gas, mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle though. Which will reduce your real hourly rate. But, depending upon how you do your taxes, you can write off the mileage, which helps. So this could potentially be a pretty sweet side hustle!

Grocery Delivery

I wasn’t a huge fan of grocery shopping to begin with. But when COVID-19 hit, grocery shopping became an even bigger chore for me. Not only do I now have to make sure I have a mask with me but I also have to get even better with my timing to make sure I don’t have to stand in line outside the store forever. This is not my idea of a good time. Especially because we have to hit 3 different grocery stores whenever we go on the big shopping trips.

And for a lot of larger families like us, the explosion of grocery delivery has been an awesome thing. Which makes it a phenomenal side hustle for anyone who doesn’t mind the lines, the masks and the time it takes to get all of this done.

So if you are one of those people that is organized, fast and has patience at the grocery store, then this may be a great way to make extra money during COVID-19.

If you aren’t sure where to start, there are a few services that seem to be everywhere. Services offered by Postmates,  UberEats, Instacart and Shipt should be easy to find near you. But a lot of stores are offering other grocery delivery options also. So you may want to check out your local grocery store chains to see if they are offering something similar that you could get involved with. Either way, the average wages are anywhere from $5 – $10 per delivery, which depends on a lot of factors.

So, if you have the time and a vehicle that can fit a ton of groceries, this may be a great side hustle idea for you.

Food Delivery

Similarly to the explosion of grocery delivery is the food delivery genre. Most restaurants had to close for awhile and then some were only able to open for delivery or curbside pickup. And not everybody is great in the kitchen, or likes to cook. So, they want their regular fare, which comes from various restaurants. And this is where food delivery comes in.

If the grocery delivery option sounded viable to you, then delivering food from restaurants may just be up your alley also. Postmates and UberEats offer this service as well as the grocery delivery options. And this makes it easy to do both under the same platform. But, don’t discount GrubHub and DoorDash as food delivery services because you can make some decent money working for them also.

The average pay with GrubHub is $12 – $15 per hour. This will vary widely depending upon the mileage driven and the waiting time. With DoorDash the hourly rate is closer to $12 -$13 per hour. This is based on base pay, peak hours pay, time and distance. What makes the most sense is to work for both of these and have both apps running on your phone at the same time. That way you can pick and choose the highest potential paying gigs each time to maximize your side hustle earnings.

Pet Sitting

Pet sitting may not be the best side hustle for everyone. First of all, you have to like dogs and/or cats. If you don’t, I would suggest choosing something else. However, if you are a huge animal lover, then pet sitting is a great way to make extra money during COVID-19!

We have been pet sitting for a little over 2 years now and it has become another full-time job for us. Which is crazy since it was just supposed to be a side hustle to let the kids have dogs around. Funny how life works sometimes!

When you pet sit with Rover or Wag, you can pick and choose which options you offer. And the options you choose should be based on what works best for your lifestyle. The most common options are:

  • Boarding – when you board an animal overnight at your own residence
  • House Sitting – when you stay overnight with an animal in their own home
  • Drop-In Visits – when you drop-in on an animal to let them do their business, clean litter boxes, feed and water them and sometimes take them on short walks
  • Dog Walking – when you go to a dog’s house to take them out for a walk and to do their business
  • Doggy Daycare – when animals get dropped off at your residence for daycare (you can choose the hours available)

Since we have a large house with a huge fenced in back yard, 5 kids and I work from home, we are an ideal location to board animals. We also offer doggy daycare, drop-in visits and dog walking. Since we offer all of the services except for house sitting, we maximize the amount we can earn during COVID-19 with pets. And we absolutely love being surrounded by so many furry friends!

Making Masks

Because COVID-19 has been such a contagious pandemic, masks have become a requirement for protection. And in doing so, most people want something a little fancier than the typical blue hospital masks. And I don’t blame them!

So, if you are handy with a needle and thread, then making masks may just be a good option for you. Depending on which fabrics you choose and the designs,  you can potentially ask a pretty penny for your mask skills. A lot of people have begun to open up shops on Etsy to sell their unique designs. And I know a lot of other people who have been selling their masks locally to friends and family for a decent profit.

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Make Extra Money During COVID-19 Summary

Ultimately, this year has been a complete toss-up when it comes to finances and income. But, if you are ready to think outside of the box to help make extra money during COVID-19, then side hustles may just be the key. Some of our favorite side hustle options are:

  • Delivering with Amazon Flex
  • Grocery delivery
  • Restaurant food delivery
  • Pet sitting
  • Making masks

And if you really want to rack in the side hustle dough, diversifying your services is the way to go. This is one of the ways we have been not only staying afloat, but thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope is that you can find the niches that work best for you and achieve the same end result.

What are some of the best ways you have found to make extra money during COVID-19?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com