inspiring design studio

inspiring design studio
An Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Blog

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Living Green Summer: Hot Green Living Tips!

Well it’s Summer Time and school is out! Now What? Got Milk?
Yes, we have been working on our living green budget all year! So, are we there yet?

Not yet! Ya think! How about you? If you are like us, keep working on it through the summer. Do not give up or give in and go on that fancy vacation. You might feel like I do and say, “we have been saving all winter, we deserve it”, “The kids are driving me crazy we need to go to the beach or vacation”! Wrong!!!! They will only wine more and want more stuff! And you will be tempted to want stuff too!
So, here is what I suggest! Have a stay home vacation and try some of our family top ten green living tips!

1- Bag it up: We bring our bags to the grocery store and guess what? We get .05 back on our bill for each bag! Get paid to grocery shop!

2- Ride your bike: We are ridding our bike to the grocery store, library, trails, and to work!

3- Smile: Yes, when you smile at someone they feel good! It is free try it! I was in the grocery store and a stranger smiled at me and I felt 10 times better as I shopped. And while I was waiting in line, I smiled at the person in front of me! It is a great thing to pass along.

4- Build an herb garden: This summer my old red wagon looked very rusted out! So, I filled it with potting soil and planted some herbs! I will show you are progress soon! Find something you can repurpose and fill it up with herbs.

5- Repurpose it: Each summer we have a family garage sale (ours is on July 17, and 18 this year) everything that we do not sell, we donate to our local thrift store.

6- Craft it up: Instead of throwing away those old socks, wine corks and other plastic things? Create a recycle art center in your home! Ours is in our mud/laundry room! It comes in handy in the summer! Mom I’m board! Really? Then go to the mud room and craft it up! I will be posting our fun summer creative crafts for you so you can try some of ours! Can you guess what we will be making with sock tops?

7- Melt your Crayons: Take all of the old crayons and melt them in combination colors (Blue, Green, Purple, and Gold) or (Red, Pink, and Yellow. ) Be creative! Put broken crayons in any crazy color range idea and put them in muffin tins or fun shaped tins and melt them in your oven on low heat! Remember to spray cooking oil so they do not stick! Cool them off and pop them out! Bounus: If you are having a birthday party or any type of kid summer party, you could give them out us “goodie bag gifts”.

8- Compost it: We bought a simple plastic trash can and filled it with potting soil and mixed it up with our greens, coffee grounds, egg shells and grass clippings! Next year we will have some great compost!

9- Recycle everything: We have a paper bin, plastic bin, glass bin and tin can bin. We bring all of these to our local recycling and yard waste center quarterly!

10- Unplug this summer: Turn off the TV and the Computers! Play board games instead! Your kids will have fun and might even learn to enjoy their parents and communicate with you via face to face rather on face book! Imagine that!
Here are some other links to cool sites that have great ideas on green living! Enjoy! ; )

Martha Stewart
Real Simple Magazine
MSN Life style
Post some of your summer living ideas here!
Now off you go and enjoy your summer! : )

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bank Savvy Means Pay Pal Savvy

Well it has been an interesting road to April! Living green and trying to keep the budget on track is not that simple. And keeping all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea.

We made an on-line purchase with our debit /visa card(which is attached to our only bank account). And within minutes someone had cleared our account.

It took 14 days for our bank to re-fund our money. What a nightmare. An emergency cash fund can come in handy when this happens.

Here is what we did to keep our eggs safe for our future:

Open an account just for On-Line Bill Pay: mortgage/bills/deposits. A second account(not attacted) for groceries, gas, entertainment. And a third account for on-line purchases that are tied to pay pal only. Pay pal is safe: you receive an email for all transactions before it can be approved!

Here is the tip: Only have checks for the first account. Only have a debit card for the second account for (groceries, gas and entertainment).

Here is the key to success: Put the amount of money in each that matches your budget. Have an emergency fund on hand that equals the second account balance so you can be prepared. Do not use the debit/visa card for any on-line purchases. When you want to buy something on line, transfer the funds from your second account to your third account for only the amount that you need to purchase the item. Pay pal purchases are not tied to your bank so thieves can not access your money from your bank.

Yes, I know we cannot stop thieves from trying to get into our account completely, but, I learned how important it is to diversify your checking accounts. And bonus you can manage your budget a bit better.

I am looking forward to a more green spring ahead!

Grow your budget wisely each month with a little bit of knowledge from a friend.

Tanja D'lyn :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Budget Smudget: Piece of Cake!

Week two of the year! Building a living green savings from no budget!

Long week...for me! I had no idea what was facing me ahead. I think this is the biggest problem in taking a look at our finances. We forget to plan for the obstacles that await us each week, month and year. Need to do that!

Ok, families get out the calender and mark it up! Which months can we see that our living, gas(driving around) and holiday fun will cost us more money?

I suppose that is what the emergency and short term fund is for. May be? But, really some of the money grabbing things, let's face it, do not fall in any of these categories. This is going to be harder than I thought.

I will need all the help I can get. So, I bought the Real Simple Magazine: featured articles on how to save on (nearly) everything. P.S. Magazine cost $4.99! Well, next time..... the Library.

Love the articles. Mostly stuff on things I know how to do, but, I don't because life is moving so fast and we are so focused on meeting the immediate needs, wants and societies flashing neon me now!

Here is one tip I tried. Planned the budget for the month for our family of four. Created recipes for the week. Brought the coupon's. Made the list for the grocery store. And here is what I did for fun for under $10. I bought cake....yes, a big Fred Myers chocolate cake! This was our mid=week treat, entertainment and fun!!!! By the way the boys loved it. What a fun idea for the the mid week meal. AHHHHH Bliss for a day.

So, what can you do if you cannot afford the stuff? Mom, I have a birthday party to go to? Here's the pictures for the swim team....need $17, Hey, we need everyone to bring $5 for the going away present for Fred? And last but not least...... can we get pizza tonight it's Friday?

My solution: Just say .... NO, NO, NO, and NO........" let's just eat Cake"

What can you do to off set those costs? Make a card, sew a gift, car pool? Start to think of ways you can save!

This weeks savings: $50.........................I am on my way to freedom!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Living green means investing in me and you!

Here it is the new year! I will take a closer look at my budget, read more living green ways to save and start investing in me....and ....the kids.......and you can too!

These economic times call for living green investing. So, I will kick off the year and post each week on ways to save, budget, sew cool stuff (re purpose & re gift) post more recipes from the fridge and find ways to invest in our family savings.

Oh....what savings! Yikes! Need one of those. So, I started off reading yesterday's budget article, that stated that I should be budgeting 40% of my income for: Short term, Long term, Emergency fund and retirement. Yikes!!!!! Don't have those yet either.

Were to start! Well if I did that I would not have enough for the mortgage. Well and there is food, bills and not get me started on those costs.

Well, what to do then. Here is a start for now.....week one for me!

I will finnish this month by sticking to the idea that next month, I will have a 10% budget for the above saving ideas. Let's just see how this goes! Oh and now would be a great time for me to live green and think of ways to save on other things. Hmmmm!

So, what do you do if you do not have a budget to budget?