Category Archive: Saving Money

A Simple DIY Way To Make Mulch

Like many folks, we have shrubbery beds surrounding our home.  Today, I had a few extra hours after work, so I grabbed my favorite pruning shears and began the process of pruning our shrubs.

We have five major shrubbery beds – one for each side of the house and one that encircles a stand of oaks.  Over the years, I’ve used various material for mulching the beds – pines straw, fallen leaves, and bagged cypress mulch.

Over time, whatever mulch is used will compact, disintegrate, and discolor.  So, instead of going out an purchasing some sort of mulch (or raking the neighbor’s yard for pine straw) – I decided to try something a little different.


I pruned all of the shrubs in one particular bed – and placed the cut-offs on the ground, just outside the bed.  I then removed the brick barrier from the edge of the bed – and raked all of the old mulch (a combination of the three mentioned above) out into the yard.  I mixed the pile of old mulch and the cut-offs from the shrubbery – and started up the old lawn mower.

I raised the blade of the mower and slowly began to chop through the 3 to 5 inch pile of cut-offs and old mulch, chopping the pile into hundreds of little pieces.  I ran the mower through the pile, reversing direction, 10 or 12 times, until all of the leaves, stems, pieces of pines straw, and chunks of cypress were chopped into little bits.

I then used my blower and my rake to transfer the little bits back in to the shrubbery bed – and was able to create a nice, even, good looking mulch for the bed.  The homemade mulch looks great – and should actually breakdown, like compost, while it does its jobs of holding in water and protecting plant roots.

I may show a few pictures, once I’ve completed all of the beds. I think I’ve found a good way to reuse the cut-offs from my shrubbery to make some high quality mulch – for free!

Side note:  I’m also experimenting with using plain old cardboard as a weed-barrier.

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Top 10 Ways To Save Money

Looking for some ways to save money?  How about ten ways?  Cool.  Check out my Top 10 Ways To Save Money – Click the links to read individual articles about each tip!

Number 10 – Cook and Eat at Home

Eating out is expensive, especially for families.  Shop wisely for groceries and eat at home.

Number 9 – Give Up Hobbies

This can be a tough one, but giving up hobbies (at least temporarily) can save some serious cash.

Number 8 – Purchase Fresh Produce

Shopping locally, in-season, can result in some real savings.

Number 7 – Get Fit

This one is tough for me.  I work hard to lose weight – and maintain my weight loss – because I know being healthy helps my waist line and my wallet!

Number 6 – Work Together

If you have a family, it’s extremely important to cooperate when it comes time to create – and implement – a budget.  Working together benefits the entire family and each individual in it.

Number 5 – Follow Through

You have the plan, but you have to actually follow it.  Take the next step.  Today!

Number 4 – Shop Smart

Use available technology and old fashioned sources to become a smarter consumer.

Number 3 – Avoid Paying Credit Card Interest

If you have credit card debt, pay it off.  If you have a credit card, pay it off each month.

Number 2 – Live on a Budget

Give every penny a purpose and every dollar a destination.

Number 1 – Understand What You Are Doing Before You Do It

This is my number one money saving tip- Before you do anything with your money, understand what you are doing.

These are my Top Ten Ways to Save Money.  Please leave a comment with your ideas for saving money – and use the buttons below to share this post.  Blessings!

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Stores That Offer Free Or Discounted Prescription Drugs

Check out this updated list of stores and pharmacies that offer free or discounted prescription drugs.  Save money on your prescriptions.  List updated once a month.  Last updated December 17, 2014.

Click the links to view information about each store’s discount prescription drug program –

Free Medications –

Publix – free antibiotics plus Amlodipine, Lisinopril, and Metformin

Meijer – free antibiotics plus prenatal vitamins, Metformin,  and Atorvastatin Calcium

Free Antibiotics –

Giant Eagle – free antibiotics

Harris Teeter – free antibiotics

discount presriptions

Discounted Medications –

Kroger – $4 / $10 generics

Ralph’s – $4 / $10 generics

Target – $4 / $10 generics

Walmart – $4 / $10 generics (some states)

Fred’s – $4 generics

This list was updated December 16, 2014 and will be updated once per month.

Information is subject to change.




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24 Hours Of Saving Money

24 Hours of Saving Money:  This is an around-the-clock look at some of the financial decisions we make – and how those decisions affect our pocketbook, our family, and our future.  My wife and I have three kids, we live busy lives, and we are work hard.  Here’s a typical day for our family – broken down by how we save money – and when.

5:00 AM – Enjoy a brisk walk or an at-home workout.

Savings = $300 in annual gym-membership fees – and lower long-term health care costs

6:00 AM – Skip the coffee shop and brew at home.

Savings = $3-5 a day – and $800-1500 a year

7:00 AM – Check the thermostat.

Savings = Heating and cooling costs represent a tremendous expense.  For my house, I’ve calculated that wise thermostat-management saves %15 off of my electric bill.

8:00 AM – Drive carefully and below the speed limit.

Savings = Avoid speeding tickets, accidents (which increase insurance costs), protect yourself (and others) and save gasoline.

9:00 AM – Turn off phone data and take advantage of wi-fi.

I recently underwent the dreaded transition from an unlimited to a limited plan.  I quickly learned to take advantage of wi-fi, both at home and at work.

10:00 AM – Pass on the sugary, mid-morning snack and opt for some protein.

I’m convinced, on days when I consume a mid-morning, sugary snack – I stay hungry.  When I choose protein, I’m less apt to snack, which saves money and holes on the belt.

10:15 AM – Open the blinds and turn off any unnecessary lights.

This saves energy and the natural light is good for the soul.

12:00 Noon – Order water with lunch.

If you can brown-bag it, that’s awesome.  For me, when I eat out for lunch, I try to be reasonable, and I’ll skip appetizers and soda.  Savings = $1.50 to $3.50 per meal

1:00 PM – Make a transfer to a savings account.

Even if it is a small amount, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of initiating transfers to a savings account.  I do this two or three times a week.  A sgrowing savings account balance keeps me motivated.

2:00 PM – Go with the sweater.

If you work at home and have control of the thermostat, a sweater is a great way to stay warm – and save a little money.

3:00 PM – Know what’s for supper.

I know it’s only 3 in the afternoon – but if you wait until much later to think about supper – you’ll probably opt for convenience foods or take-out.  I’ll usually text my wife around this time and we’ll make sure we’re both on the same page.

3:30 PM – Be ready with a plan for the kids and their activities.

We have three kids – ranging from 6 to 15 – and they each have after-school activities.  It’s important – very important – that my wife and I know which kid is going where, with whom, how much money they’ll need, when they need to be picked up, and when we’ll all be back at home.  This can become an expensive time for families!  Snacks, drinks, t-shirts, fees – these add up.  Be ready with a plan and a budget for these activities.

5:00 PM – Check online for gas prices and fuel up.

There are several websites – my favorite is Gas Buddy – for checking the lowest cost for fuel.  I’ll take my automobile or my wife’s and fill up at the cheapest station.

6:00 PM – Cook and clean up – together.

I’m the primary cook in our family, but at meal time, we all pitch in.  I’ll cook the main course, the kids will help with setting the table, and my wife will handle most of the clean up.  We skip the high-cost of restaurants – and since the kids have a hand in the cooking, they’re more apt to eat and not waste food.

6:30 PM – Talk with the kids about the upcoming week.

With our oldest, we’ll ask about any club-related or sports-related dues.  With our youngest, we’ll find out if the book-mo-bile is coming to school.  It’s important that we know about any upcoming expenses – so that we can have these in our budget.

7:00 PM – Read the Bible.

For us, reading the Bible, as a family, is incredibly important.  It reminds us of the kindness of our Savior – and the importance of giving to others.  How does this save money?  Many of the principals that guide our financial lives our found in the pages of scripture.

8:00 PM – Check out personal finance blogs.

I cannot begin to calculate the amount of money I have saved, simply by reading and following the information I’ve found from my fellow personal finance bloggers.  Check out the list at the bottom of this page for some of my favorites – and for an aggregator of great personal finance information.

8:30 PM – Hang up those clothes.

We have an electric clothes dryer – but we have taken to hanging up almost all of our clothes.  They seem to last longer, and air-drying saves money.  So, just before bed, I’ll hang up a load of clothing.  In the morning, my wife will hang place them in our closets.

9:30 PM – Skip the television and read a book.

I’ll keep the television turned off – and instead choose a good book.  This saves money – and hopefully – expands the mind.

10: PM – Bundle up.

In the winter, save money by turning down the heat a bit and using a good blanket.  We live in the South – and the temptation here is turn on the heat when the temperature dips below 70!

1:00 AM – Change that diaper and enjoy the kiddo.

When our kids were little, this was the time when they generally woke up, in need of a diaper change. While you’re up, you may as well check out the savings from  Amazon Mom. You’ll receive up to 20% off the cost of diapers – and you’ll enjoy the additional benefits of Amazon Prime.  Click the link for a free 30-day trial!  Also, if you have little ones – cherish these late nights.  I know you are exhausted, but these times will soon be gone.  Ours are all big-kids, and while we are thankful for where they are now, we miss those nights of rocking.

2:00 AM – Wash those clothes and those dishes.

Did you know that certain power companies charge less for power, depending on the time of day?  Our washing machine has a timer, so we’ll set it for early in the morning, thus avoiding the more energy-expensive time of day.  We’ll also run our dish washer at night – and put the dishes away in the morning.

All day long, we have opportunities to save money.  Here and there, we save a few dollars, until, at the end of the day, we’ve saved several.  Obviously, each day presents its own challenges – and opportunities.  Take the time to analyze your daily routine – and look for opportunities to save.  Blessings.

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