Tutorial: Easy Salt Dough Ornaments for Christmas

The holidays can certainly be a drain on your wallet. From Black Friday shopping to expensive entertaining, it can be stressful trying to fully enjoy this season without constantly worrying about your bank account.

One simple way to save money and get in the festive mood is to do a Christmas craft. But if another run to the store isn’t in the cards, don’t worry. You may already have at home all the supplies needed for an easy and inexpensive craft.

Salt dough ornaments are an easy Christmas craft that’s fun for all ages. You only need three ingredients – flour, water and, of course, salt. Decorate the ornaments however you like. You can use them to decorate your Christmas tree, attach them to your gifts or pair them with a beautiful Christmas card as a thoughtful gift for family, friends or neighbours.

See below for a quick tutorial by Shutterfly as well as decorating ideas to spark your inspiration.

Easy Salt Dough Ornaments Tutorial:

Ideas for Personalizing Your Salt Dough Ornaments:

There are so many things you can do with salt dough ornaments, so get creative! Use different shaped cookie cutters, paints, glitter, buttons, ribbons, stones and other materials to make your creations truly a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Get creative with these easy DIY salt dough ornaments. Use them to decorate your Christmas tree, gifts or give them away to family, neighbours and friends.

For step-by-step instructions, visit How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments with Just 3 Ingredients.

Which ornament decorating idea is your favourite?

5 Tips to Save Money on Holiday Entertaining

5 tips to save money on holiday entertaining. | Saving Our Money

It’s that time of year again, full of holiday cocktails, parties and gatherings. For those hosting, there is always the added stress of what to serve and how to impress your guests without going over budget.

Fortunately, there are a few tips that will help you throw the ultimate holiday gathering without breaking the bank.

Here are 5 ways to save money on holiday entertaining:

1. Check weekly flyers.

You should start checking weekly flyers in the weeks leading up to your get-together so you can stock up on a variety of essentials. Grocery stores are in tune with holiday must-haves and will have sales on products throughout the season.

2. Organize your pantry.

This might sound really obvious, but the pantry is one of those places in the home that most of us don’t go through often enough. Many times, you find yourself having to run out at the last minute to pick up a certain spread, only to realize months later, you had stocked up on this item earlier.

3. Pay for what you eat.

Did you know that fancy grocery stores with musical entertainment and extravagant displays are all frills that show up on your bill? Choose a store like No Frills, where you can pick up your turkey, produce and all the great fixings without paying for extras.

4. Do a potluck for appetizers.

No, your guests won’t be disappointed if you ask them to bring a dish, because everyone knows how much work goes into hosting. You can still put together the main course and dessert, but asking for a hand with the appetizers or beverages is no big deal.

5. Use a smart rewards program.

A great example is the PC Plus Program, which creates personalized offers based on what you like to buy.  The more you shop your offers the more points you earn on those items. These points can then be used to save money on your future grocery bill at participating stores.

How to save money on holiday entertaining.

www.newscanada.com

What are your favourite tips to save money on holiday entertaining?

6 Tips to Save Money on Gas

 

6 Tips to Save Money on Gas

Saving money on gas is high on most people’s priority list. Gas prices have been rising for several years and even those people with a short commute to work are noticing a hit to their wallet. Hybrid cars and electric cars have become very popular, but you can still save money on fuel with a standard vehicle. There are driving techniques and shopping techniques that will help you save money on gas for your vehicle.

Plan Your Journey

Plan your daily routine so that you combine errands. Using your car less is the best way to save money on gas. If you can stay home for one day, that’s a little less fuel consumed. Combining errands and planning your route in advance is a simple way to conserve fuel. Carpooling and taking public transit are also very effective in reducing your gas expenses.

Turn off Non-Essentials

The first tip for saving fuel and money is turning off the air conditioning in your car. The compressor that runs your air conditioner causes the car to burn more fuel. Turning off the A/C will cause you to use less gas. In some situations, having no air conditioning is just not practical, but if you are able to drive with your windows closed and the air conditioner off, you will get the most out of your tank of gas.

Eco-Driving Tips

Driving a car with a manual transmission is also a gas-saver. You are your best tool when it comes to driving. You can determine where to change gears without revving the engine up too high. The higher the engine revs, the more fuel your car consumes. Using your cruise control will also save fuel. A car burns less gas when it runs at a steady pace. Cruise control is a perfect way to keep the car moving steadily.

Choosing Your Gas Station

Pick a gas station that has the lowest prices in your area. If you have a discount gas card, use that card. There are many savings programs available to drivers these days. Some grocery stores offer gas cards as a bonus when you purchase a certain amount of food from the store.

Many credit card companies offer gas card bonuses instead of frequent flyer miles. Check with the local area stores and see if you are missing any of the deals that might help you save money on gas. Many gas stations offer discounts to customers who purchase gas regularly. Using their gas card might save you a few cents per gallon on your next fill-up.

Reduce Idling Time

Remember to turn off the car when you are idling for more than a minute. While you idle, fuel is being burned. Turn off the car and you save gas immediately.

Keep up With Vehicle Maintenance

No matter what type of car you drive, keeping it in tip-top shape is also a great way to conserve fuel. Check your tires and change your oil and any problems that might arise will be handled before they cause damage to your engine.

Saving money on gas can be easily done with these small changes in your driving habits.

6 ways to save money on gas for your vehicle.

Free Online Homesteading Classes – September 10-16

* This post contains affiliate links. 

Free Back to Basics Living Summit

September 10 to 16, 2017

Are you interested in learning more about homesteading and ways to save money and become more self-sufficient?

Tickets are still available for the FREE  Back To Basics Living Summit hosted by Jennifer Osuch over at Self Reliant School.

You might have seen some of their eBook bundles on homesteading and self-sufficiency. They are always such high quality, and I honestly don’t know how Jennifer gets so many people to put in an eBook.

She’s taken those connections and reached out to authors, thought leaders and experts in the Back To Basics movement and asked them to give us a presentation on things like:

  • Tips for Setting up a Successful Homestead
  • Making Great Homemade Bread–Every Time
  • Planting a Secret Garden (for 2 very good reasons)
  • Buying Off Grid Property
  • Planning A Year’s Food Supply
  • Saving Seeds

Jennifer has gathered over 30 experts who are sharing their best kept secrets to living a better simpler life.

Free Back to Basics Living Summit - free presentations on homesteading, urban gardening, emergency preparedness, self sufficiency and much more

Presentation topics include:

  • Canning basics
  • Homesteading
  • Preserving herbs
  • Seed saving
  • Keeping backyard livestock
  • Growing your own food
  • Natural skin care
  • Living off-grid
  • Urban farming
  • Long term food storage
  • and much more!

Here’s the full line-up of presentations:

http://savingourmoney.com/b2bsummit

 

This event is completely FREE to watch online from the comfort of your own home. However, to get access, you MUST register.

Register & get your FREE ticket here:

Back to Basics Living Summit

Only registered attendees will get instructions on how to view the presentations along with daily schedules.

So don’t wait and miss out…

Be sure to grab your FREE ticket now. Then mark your calendar from September 10th to the 16th to learn all about ways to save money and become more self-sufficient.

Learn about how to save money and be more self-sufficient in free seminars during the Free Back to Basics Living Summit September 10-16, 2017. Register today: http://savingourmoney.com/b2bsummit

Want unlimited access to these resources?

Note: While viewing the presentations during the event is 100% FREE of charge, you do have the option of purchasing lifetime access to the resources so that you can watch them on your own schedule as many times as you like.

By upgrading your “seat” at the summit, you won’t have to wait to watch the presentations you want, and you can watch (or listen) to them as often as you like.

If your schedule just doesn’t allow for you to catch all of the presentations, or you want to binge watch them all, Netflix style, grab some popcorn and enjoy them at your own speed.

You don’t want to miss any of this great content!

Unlock your UNLIMITED ACCESS before Tuesday, September 12th to qualify for:

  • An impressive early bird discount
  • Over $180 in bonuses
  • The ability to watch, skip, replay, download and listen at your own pace.

The discount is a limited time offer. Check out the details on the Back to Basics Living Summit website.

Simple Tips for Freezing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Simple Tips for Freezing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables | SavingOurMoney.com

Do you have a vegetable garden at home, or a farmer’s market nearby? Summer is a great time to grow or buy fresh fruits and vegetables and preserve them for use later in the year, when produce prices are much more expensive.

One of the easiest ways to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables is to freeze it. A surprisingly large variety of fruits and veggies can be frozen as is, or you can wash and chop them into a form that’s easy to pull out and cook with down the road. This won’t take long and will make cooking that much easier when it’s time to use them later in the year. Cutting up the produce before freezing also allows you to pack them in tighter, giving you more space in your freezer.

Here are some tips and ideas for freezing fresh fruits and vegetables:

Freezing Fruit:

Berries are one of the easiest fruits to freeze.It’s best to freeze them whole. It’s a good idea to spread the fresh berries out on a cooking sheet and place them in the freezer for a few hours before packing them into freezer bags or containers. This process is called flash freezing, and it ensures they don’t freeze into a big solid lump. Keep them in the freezer, then pour them out as needed to make smoothies, to stir into yogurt or onto oatmeal or to bake a pie or other yummy desserts.

Simple tips for freezing fresh fruits and vegetables | Saving Our Money

Other fruits like peaches, bananas, and pineapple freeze really well, but they should be washed and chopped before freezing. Again, flash freezing is recommended.

When you have bananas that are getting too ripe to eat, throw them in the freezer to use for smoothies or baking. If you plan to use the bananas in smoothies, I recommend peeling and slicing them up and storing them in freezer bags after flash freezing. If you are going to use them in recipes for banana muffins or banana bread, you can throw the bananas in the freezer still in the peels. (They will be mushy once thawed.)

Apples and pears don’t freeze well unless you turn them into pie filling first. I’ve also had success making up big batches of applesauce and pear sauce and freezing that in containers.

Grapes can be frozen, but don’t thaw well at all. If you have too many grapes, toss them in the freezer and eat them frozen. You can also use frozen grapes to flavour your water or use as ice cubes in drinks.

Freezing Fresh Vegetables:

Lots of fresh vegetables can also be rinsed, chopped and frozen. Some veggies that freeze well include green beans, peas, squash, corn, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and spinach. If you see it in the frozen food section at the grocery store, chances are it will freeze well.

Just rinse the produce as it comes out of the garden or from the farmers market, chop it and put it in freezer bags. Most vegetables will benefit from blanching before freezing (see the video below to learn about blanching). Again, flash freezing is generally a good idea to keep the vegetables from sticking together once frozen.

Raw potatoes generally do not freeze well at all – they have a tendency to turn black and/or mushy. However, it is possible to freeze potatoes a few different ways. You can freeze cooked mashed potatoes, grated potatoes or hash browns, or french fries. Blanching the grated or french fried potatoes is highly recommended.

Peppers and onions do well chopped and frozen, if you plan to use them for cooking. The texture will be a bit different once thawed, so don’t plan on eating them raw.

Zucchini is one vegetable that can be very plentiful in summer, but does not freeze particularly well due to its high water content. You can freeze it however, if you grate it first. When you’re ready to use the grated zucchini, thaw it and drain it before adding to your baking recipe or making zucchini pancakes.

Simple tips for freezing fruits and vegetables from the garden

Freezing tomatoes can be a bit tricky. I often freeze bags of cherry tomatoes when I have more than I know what to do with and use them in recipes later on. If you don’t have the time to do anything with larger tomatoes right away, chop and freeze them. You can use them to make salsa, pasta sauce or tomato soup down the road.

If you have a bit of extra time on your hands, I find you get much better results cooking the sauce or soup now and then freezing it. This also makes it much easier to put together a meal down the road. There is nothing more convenient than a batch of tomato sauce to pull together a quick dinner. Grab a container of frozen tomato soup, slowly heat it up on the stove while you make a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Freezing Herbs:

Fresh herbs can also be frozen, but they can be a little tricky. Some herbs, like rosemary and sage are better preserved by drying or dehydrating. Herbs that are good candidates for freezing include chives, mint, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano and tarragon. The easiest way to freeze fresh herbs is to wash and chop them and scoop them into ice cube trays. Top them with water, chicken broth, or olive oil and freeze until solid. Once solid, you can pop them out of the ice cube tray and put them into freezer bags. Use one of the frozen herb cubes whenever you want to add some flavour to a meal you’re cooking.

Simple tips for freezing fresh herbs

Freezer Meals:

Last but not least, try making your favorite freezer friendly meals with the leftover produce. Soups, chilis and stews work really well as do pot pies and casseroles. Cook up a big batch of chili or vegetable soup. Serve some for dinner and freeze the rest for future lunches and dinners.