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  • How to Save for Emergencies

    Can you quickly come up with $1,000 for an emergency – without resorting to borrowing? Two-thirds of Americans would struggle to do so, according to an Associated Press poll released May 18, 2016. This includes almost 40 percent of households earning more than $100,000.

    how to save moneyA short-term savings is a vital tool in an emergency preparedness kit. One study by the Urban Institute found people with a small amount of non-retirement savings – $250 to $750 – were less likely to be evicted from their homes or need public benefits, according to an AP story.

    It’s possible to save $1,000. Here are some ways to do it.

    First, make a budget. The easiest way is to look at what you spent last month in various categories and input those numbers. Many budgeting programs will do that for you. One free program is Calendar Budget.

    “I have been using [Calendar Budget] for 5 months and I love it,” Shelly Robertson, of American Fork, Utah, wrote in an e-mail.

    Remember also to set aside money for occasional expenses like holidays and car registration fees.

    Once you’ve got a budget, review to make sure you’re sticking to it.

    “Set aside 30 minutes a week to update everything you've spent for the week,” Robertson wrote.

    Next, cut the budget. Peter Dunn, a financial columnist for USA Today, suggested decreasing spending by 10 to 15 percent over time.

    “You’ll tighten the budget before you are forced to tighten the budget,” he said.

    Financial planner Dave Ramsey had some suggestions for immediate cuts: Get rid of cable or satellite TV. Make coffee at home. Reduce dining out and entertainment expenses. Lower the thermostat during the winter and raise it during the summer. Other ideas include shopping around to get the best rate on insurance and cell phone plans.

    how to save

    Kayleen Chen, a peer mentor at the University of Utah’s Personal Money Management Center, suggested the 50/30/20 rule. Fifty percent of a paycheck should go toward fixed expenses, like house payments and utilities. Discretionary expenses, like groceries, should take up about 30 percent. Twenty percent should go toward short-term savings, an emergency fund, and retirement.

    Second, look for ways to earn additional money. This is especially useful for those of us whose fixed expenses take up waaay more than 50 percent of our income.

    “If your job allows, overtime is another great way to bring in extra money,” wrote financial planner Dave Ramsey.

    If not, consider your skill set.

    “Learn new skills that could be turned into a small job such as a piano teacher,” Chen wrote in an e-mail.

    Third, deduct savings first.

    “If we have automatic deduction … we save automatically. Then we live on what’s in the checking account,” said Ann House, coordinator of the Personal Money Management Center at the University of Utah. “I know if I keep extra money in my checking account, I will spend it until it’s gone.”

    Fourth, stash cash.

    Whenever possible, I pay with cash. Then, when I get home, I stash the small bills, like $1’s and $5’s, into an emergency fund. House suggested keeping up to $1,000 in cash in small bills in a 72-hour kit.

    Years ago, my family had just finished moving when a record Colorado snowstorm stranded us in our home. We had no snow shovel, so a young man offered to dig us out. We ended up paying him an exorbitant amount for a half-hour’s work because we only had large bills on hand.

    Finally, and most important, just get started.

    “Even as small as setting $5 aside, it’s still a start,” Chen wrote.

     

    What tips would you add to help others know how to save?

     

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  • 5 Ways Freeze-Dried Meat Makes Meals Marvelous

    Looking for delicious meals but just don't have time to go bring out your chef's hat and create a fancy dinner? Not to worry! We've got 5 reasons why freeze-dried meat not only makes cooking easier, but adds a fresh take on your favorite meals.

     

    Food Storage Meal: Chicken A La King - freeze-dried meat

     

    1. Already Sliced, Diced, Chopped, and Ground

    Whether it's chicken or beef, the messiest part of meal preparations is cutting up your juicy meat into usable portions. Not only that, it can also be super time consuming. Freeze-dried meat is pre-cut, so all you need to do is pop open a can, grab the amount you need, and heave a sigh of relief when you don't have to bring out the knives.

     

    2. Tastes Like Chicken!

    And beef. And pork. And...well, you get the picture. Freeze-dried meat tastes just like its store-bought counterpart, complete with their natural shape and texture. It's the real deal, and you can tell with every mouthwatering bite.

     

    3. No Time? No Problem!

    Freeze-dried meat offers quick and easy meal preparation. All you need to do is reconstitute the meat in water for a few short minutes, drain, and you can add it to salads, casseroles, tacos, quesadillas, and so much more! Since freeze-dried meat is pre-cooked, good, hearty meals no longer require a whole lot of time, and that can make a huge difference after a long day.

     

    4.  Quick Clean-up

    Whenever you  cook with raw chicken, you probably spend a lot of time using anti-bacterial sprays and cleaners to make sure any residue is gone. But when you use freeze-dried meat, the only thing you’ll have to clean up is the bowl you use to reconstitute the meat in and the pan you use to cook with.

     

    5. Mundane to Marvelous

    Tired of eating spaghetti over and over again? The fact is, eating the same meal repetitiously can really put a damper on dinner time. Toss some freeze-dried chicken in with your spaghetti and then smother it in Alfredo sauce for a delicious take on an old favorite. Or, add some extra beef to your chili or casseroles for an added boost of flavor and energy. By adding freeze-dried meat to your meals, not only will it add to the flavor, but you'll look like a seasoned professional!

     

    5 Reasons Why you Need Freeze-Dried meat

     

    These are just a few reasons why freeze-dried meat is great to use for cooking. But don’t just take our word for it. During our Annual Warehouse Sale Event (happening now!), grab yourself some delicious freeze-dried meat at huge discount and try it for yourself!

     

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  • Top 15 Pest Control Methods that are Natural and Effective

    For some time now, many people have sent me messages through email and Facebook asking how to stay pest free during summer. So I decided it was high time that I gave those people some answers.

    First off, a simple way to keep pests away is not to invite them to your living space. Most of these annoying pests need food and water for survival. So, maintain a clean kitchen, clear out the garbage frequently, and store food and drinks in airtight containers. These are a few tips on how to keep out troublesome insects and pests. Another way to avoid bug problems is by draining stagnated water and sealing off small cracks and holes. Also, NYCity Pest Control has a guide that has many homemade remedies to stay pest free.

    If the pests find their way in even after keeping the area clean, here are 15 natural remedies that you can follow to destroy the pests that trouble you.

     

    1. Ants

    Ants

    The pest that I’ve had the most trouble dealing with was ANTS! For such tiny creatures……boy they cause a lot of problems! Here are some tips that will help you to keep them away from your home as well as from picnic spots.

     

    • CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN

    The kitchen counters must be free of crumbs and sticky spots at all time. Always close the sugar and honey jar after using it. Wiping the surfaces will save your home from pest attacks.

     

    • Cucumber

    Place cucumber slices around the kitchen or at the ant’s entry points. Many ants dislike the smell of cucumber.

     

    • Mint

    Mint Leaves

    Place a few mint tea bags in the areas where the ants are active.

     

    • Stop their entry

    Completely search the area and find out where these ants are coming. Cayenne pepper, citrus oil (it can also be soaked in a string piece), lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds– place any one of the items in a small line near the entry points so that ants cannot cross.

     

    It is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton which is in talc-like format. If you sprinkle this powder on the ants, it will absorb the lipids from their exoskeleton (outer layer) and cause severe dehydration.

     

    1. Mosquitoes

    Mozzy

    • Block them

    Early morning and evening are the time when mosquitoes are the most active. They seek areas of still air as they are held back by the breeze. So always close the windows and doors that are opposite to the breeze.

     

    • Eliminate water

    By removing the standing water around your home, you can cut the breeding sources of the mosquitoes. Make sure to change birdbaths, wading pools and pet’s bowls twice a week. Clean the gutters in your house and keep them well-drained.

     

    • Candle

    Candle

    By mixing essential oils and melted wax you can make your candle to repel flies. Always remember to use ½-1 ounce of essential oils for 1 pound of wax. You can make the candles with any one of the following mixes.

     

    Mix 1-(Spicy)

    5 parts Citronella

    5 parts Lavender

    5 parts Clove

     

    Mix 2-(Bright)

    5 parts Citronella

    5 parts Lavender

    5 parts Peppermint

     

    Mix3-(Green)

    10 parts Citronella

    10 parts Cedarwood

    5 parts Eucalyptus

    5 parts Rosemary

     

    1. Flies

    Fly

    Make small sachets out of cheesecloth and fill them with crushed mint, bay leaf, clove or eucalyptus. Place these sachets around the house to repel flies.

     

    • Basil

    Plant basil in containers and keep them near doorways. Flies will stay far away from the area. While going for picnics, you can take a bunch of these leaves with you. You can also keep away mosquitoes by using these leaves.

     

    • Eucalyptus oil

    Oil

     

    To make a fly-free zone, dip some eucalyptus oil in a small cloth or rag and place it in the areas that are plagued by flies.

     

    1. Spiders
    • Peppermint

    Peppermint Plant

    Add a few drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of liquid nitrogen into a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water. Spray the mixture around doors, windows, lawns, cobwebs and in any other place where spiders lurk around. Peppermint gives a pleasant aroma, and it is not harmful to children and pets.

     

    In addition to peppermint oil, they don’t like the taste of citrus oil that contains lemon, lime, tangerine and wild orange in it. This oil will not kill the spiders, but they will avoid the places that taste of citrus. Purchase real essential oils and not the synthetic version.

     

    • Eliminate hiding places

    Spiders are mostly seen in dark and messy places. So keep away debris, wood piles, and lush plants away from the sides of the house. They can be repelled if they have fewer places to hide.

     

    An all-purpose homemade bug spray

    • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
    • 45 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
    • 15 drops Lemon or Wild Orange Essential Oil

    Mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle and apply it generously. It will last 2-3 months if it is stored in the fridge.

     

    What are the pest control practices that you follow?

     

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