Gift idea for dads

wallartFather’s Day is June 21. Here’s an idea to pay homage to pops:

11×14 Kodak Wall Art: Ready to hang horizontally or vertically, wood wall panel gives “dimensional” display of your favorite photo. $34.99 – 25% with coupon code daddyo = $26.24 plus shipping and tax; $34 shipped

Cleaning tips you wouldn’t expect

dirty-dishesDo dishes in the tub. When you need to wash lots of dirty dishes fast (especially after a big Super Bowl party), pile them in the bathtub and fill it with hot soapy water. Return later, drain the tub, turn on the shower to rinse, and move everything into a laundry basket for drying.

De-stink the fridge with coffee. Just place a bowl of fresh ground coffee on the shelf. In a few days, it’ll absorb all odors. Then you can discard.

Clean your pipes with antacid. Plumbing is plumbing, right? So drop three antacid tabs and a cup of white vinegar into the clogged sink. Wait a few minutes and turn on the hot water. The gurgling will be gone.

Nuke the microwave. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups of water. Boil it in the microwave for 5 to 10 minutes at the oven’s highest power. The cleansing steam will permeate every stain, and all you’ll have to do is sponge it away.

Polish copper pots with beer. Although it pains many greatly to waste perfectly good beer, it’s an acceptable trade-off when facing hours of scrubbing. Simply soak your sullied copper pots in beer and then wipe clean. Beer’s natural acidity will restore the original shine.

Use power tools. To help clean out those hard-to-reach places in your car, clear everything out and open all doors. Then blast dust and crumbs out with a leaf blower.


Experts: 5 things you should spend your money on

There are some things that even in these tight times are still worth the investment. Experts at say smart spends include…

forever-stampPostage stamps. Sure, automatic bill pay saves time, but it’s an easy way to lose track of your spending. Over time, you can lose touch with how much things like cell phones and video rentals are costing you. To avoid “bill creep,” settle up with old-fashioned paper checks and stamps. While you’re writing out the payment, ask yourself whether the service is really worth it. Tip: Be sure and purchase the “forever” stamps, that are valid for the current postage stamp rate, even if you purchased them when they were cheaper.

grocery storeFruits and vegetables. Eating well can save you money in the long run by keeping you healthy, so don’t scrimp here. If your budget is tight, rest assured that frozen and canned varieties offer up just as much nutrition (often, more!) than fresh choices. That’s because they’re preserved at the peak of freshness, while some fresh produce might travel pretty far before it even hits your grocery store. The best bargain with fruits and veggies is what you’ll actually eat. For some people, this might mean spending a little more to buy precut, packaged varieties rather than letting fresh buys go bad before you get around to eating them.

Exercise. If you’re forced to let your gym membership lapse, don’t give up exercise altogether. The more active you are, the more energy and overall health you’ll have. Truth is, you don’t need anything other than your own two feet and a decent pair of sneakers (discount-store variety is fine) to stay fit by walking.

drugsPrescription meds. Stopping the use of some antidepressants can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, and quitting statin drugs can make your blood “stickier,” increasing your short-term risk of heart attack and stroke. If you can’t afford your meds, be honest with your doctor—it’s not an uncommon concern. Your doctor may be able to prescribe cheaper generics or even supply free samples to help for a while.

Little indulgences. You don’t have to go on an expensive vacation to get away from it all. Your local library has lots of free music, videos, and books. And just a small squirt of shower gel can fill your bath with bubbles. Or treat yourself and your significant to some at-home “room service” with this breakfast recipe: Halve a grapefruit and segment it with a knife so that the individual sections can easily be removed with a fork. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil for a few minutes to crystallize the top, and serve. It’s deliciously sweet and sour. Imagine you’re at the Ritz-Carlton.


Every cent counts tip

quattro_razor602Ask friends/relatives to save unwanted coupons for you from the Sunday newspaper. Diapers, formula, razors, frozen dinners.. whatever you purchase frequently, ask friends and family to swap coupons for which they’re looking.

Chances are, you’re not alone in cutting coupons. In June 2008, a Nielsen survey of 50,000 consumers found that nearly one-third used grocery coupons once a week or more.  In December 2007, just one-fourth of those surveyed were clipping coupons at that rate.

Are pre-paid cell phone plans for you?

Looking to reduce your cell phone bill? Pre-paid cell phone plans might be a great option for you, depending on your needs.

Prepaid cell phones: A growing way to save money
If your monthly cell-phone bill makes you cringe, especially as your budget tightens, Consumer Reports has long recommended considering a switch to prepaid phone service. Now a new study by the New Millennium Research Council (NMRC) confirms just how rapidly this alternative to contract cell service is taking off during the current economic downturn.

Among the other findings:

* Almost one in five people who currently use a prepaid phone say they switched from a contract service within the last six months, citing the recession as the cause.

* Twenty percent of cell phone users have already cut back or are considering cutting back on service extras like email, texting, and Internet.

* Two thirds of prepaid customers say they are saving money compared to a contract cell or landline plan.