Category Archives: Financial Sparks

thrift store cool

Today’s musical & (financial!) spark:



fill color

I just had a light bulb moment regarding my health and finances.

I regularly keep a food log, but I had not thought of my log in any financial way.  I don’t really know what possessed me to do so, but this evening I decided to fill the date cells in my Excel spreadsheet with color: yellow for when I ate at home or work and peachy-pink for when I had a meal at a restaurant or got take-away.

It appears I went on a spending spree last month without even realizing it. Although I did not eat at super-fancy-expensive places, this pattern is problematic. The frequency of spending, however small, certainly adds up AND I was not exactly picking the healthiest of selections when I did dine out or get takeaway.

When I looked into the matter further, I learned that the peachy-pink days were especially busy for me and/or stressful.  A day here and day there with my short-term memory did not seem like a big deal, but seeing the colors for a whole month at a glance, well, that’s much harder to ignore.

My goal for the month of June is to have far more yellow cells and fewer peachy-pink cells.

Do you have any specific tips about how to better integrate healthy eating with budgeting at the same time?



Baking Soda!

At an early age, I learned about the many uses of baking soda beyond its use in baking cakes from my American grandmother who was smart and frugal.  I learned more about baking soda as I got older and read about using “natural” products.

Do you have more suggestions beyond the ones listed below?


Cleaning Agent – A mixture of baking soda and warm water is quite useful for scrubbing sinks, bathtubs, and toilets.  You can use it to remove tarnish from silver, too.  Pots and pans can also get a good scrub with baking soda.  For laundry, baking soda can help with stains, odors, and softening clothes.  In addition, you can use some baking soda to clean off dirt and residue from certain fruits and veggies.


Deodorizing – A box or a small open container of baking soda can take care of unwanted odors in the refrigerator, lunch box, closet, recycling bin, or trash can.  You can also sprinkle it in shoes to freshen them up.  Some folks like to use baking soda on their carpets before they vacuum, but know that it might make the bag/container heavy or clog the system.  Baking soda can also be sprinkled in your garbage disposal or down the sink pipes or tub drains.


Emergencies – You can apply handfuls of baking soda to the base of small grease or electrical fires in the kitchen (but not in/on deep fryers).


Hygiene – You can use baking soda to exfoliate your skin, particularly as a face scrub.  You can also use baking soda a bit like toothpaste to whiten your teeth and freshen your breath.


Medical – Baking soda can help with heartburn, as well as help relieve itching from bug bites or poison ivy.



quick $ tips

Here are a few financial tips that I’ve used recently and thought others might be interested in reading about…

1) I rarely use a paper phonebook anymore, but I happened to look in the back of mine the other day and noticed that there are coupons, and they are good ones, too.  I happily used one at a restaurant, which was a win-win: an affordable meal for me and money going to a local business. 🙂

2) Birthday clubs – I created an additional email address (e.g., Yahoo or Hotmail works just fine) so I could sign up for freebies on or near my birthday from area businesses.  I was pleasantly surprised when I got a free scoop of ice cream for my “half-birthday” from Baskin-Robbins.  I was expecting a once-a-year thing, but hey, ice cream is certainly appreciated more than once.

3) Skype.  Enough said.

4) The Oops Counter in the paint section of Lowe’s Home Improvement Store is a useful find.  I purchased a gallon of color paint today for $5.00 that was originally priced at $26.99.  If you are not picky about a color you need, check out the “mistakes” that just might be your “perfects.”

5) View and print coupons from online.  I am regularly impressed by how many deals can be had from spending just a few minutes on each store’s website.  Whether it’s Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, or H-E-B, there are usually relevant coupons to be printed and clipped.  Also pay attention to a grocery store’s bundled coupons.  For example, I learned pretty quickly that H-E-B has a deal called a “Combo Loco” where if you purchase one or two items, you get a bunch of additional stuff for free.  Sometimes the combos are a little strange or maybe include items you don’t need, so shop around to get the best deal.



Organizing Tips

I recently read a piece titled “10 habits of highly organized people” on CNN (originally from and was pleased to see that I apply several of the tips.  Of course, there’s always room for improvement. 🙂  The tips are listed below, but are explained a bit more at the following link:


1. Walk away from bargains

2. Make peace with imperfection

3. Never label anything “miscellaneous”

4. Schedule regular decluttering sessions

5. Stick with what works

6. Create a dump zone

7. Ask for help

8. Separate emotions from possessions

9. Foresee (and avoid) problems

10. Know where to donate



Dr. Seuss & Money Lessons

8 Money Lessons From Dr. Seuss

by Jill Krasny

Friday, March 18, 2011


Website Link:


What an interesting way to get financial advice!  Who knew that the children books by Dr. Seuss were so financially spot on?  Some of the gems from the article are below:


Never Choose? You’ll Always Lose

“It’s awfully awfully awful when you can’t make up your mind!” — “Hunches in Bunches”

Get a Career to Have No Fear

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” — “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

Bucks Don’t Bring Luck

Seuss’s “Daisy-Head Mayzie” portrays a young girl who sprouts a daisy from her head that makes her incredibly rich and famous, but the story echoes the old adage that money can’t buy you happiness when Daisy discovers she feels all alone despite her great wealth.

Be Clean to Save Green

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — “The Lorax”

Every Pill Brings a Bill

“When at last we are sure you’ve been properly filled, then a few paper forms must be properly filled so that you and your heirs may be properly billed.” — “You’re Only Old Once”

Try Something New to Get a Clue

“I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am!” — “Green Eggs and Ham”



%d bloggers like this: