The American Dream

As a summer camp Program Director, I spend a lot of my time working with college-aged people. In fact, 90% of the people I hire are either currently in college or have recently graduated. That being said, student loans are a big deal when it comes to college students.

Most of the kids I hire were sent to college with the expectation that this would help them to achieve the “American Dream” – whatever that is anymore. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know how frustrated I get with the idea of the “American Dream” and kids being told that they can do anything if they simply “work hard enough.”


The fact of the matter is this: the only way to achieve the American Dream is by getting lucky – knowing the right people, being born into the right home, or getting the right scholarships. Sure, hard work helps and I’m not saying that those who achieve this so-called “American Dream” don’t work for it, but there’s a little bit of luck that goes into it, too, wouldn’t you say? Maybe “daddy” isn’t rich, but somewhere along the line they made a connection that helped them to get to this place.

No, the “American Dream” is pretty far from the majority’s reach. Instead, there’s an “American Standard” that’s being created and is far from the expectations that are set for today’s youth. This “American Standard” is all the rage: go to college, believe big things, graduate, get a master’s degree, live your life to the fullest while you are young because, as they say, you only live once. In fact, the class of 2016 graduated with more debt than any class in history.

And, it all sounds fine and dandy until you get into the nitty-gritty of it, right? You get into the logistics and that’s where everything sort of turns away from the “American Dream,” right?

Where does the money come from?

Unless you’re born lucky or get some great scholarships, there’s no denying that going to college costs a lot of money. In fact, even attending a public/state school can land you with thousands upon thousands of dollars of student debt.

Even worse?

This is now the “norm” of our society. It’s not a big deal for students to walk up and talk to each other about the tens of thousands of dollars they took out in student loans. The youth of America have a tendency to lean toward the “YOLO” metaphor – even when it means that their future may be uncertain. Why?

Because we have taught them that this is the new “American Standard” and that it’s okay to be in debt. I can’t even tell you how many times I have shared my debt free goals with friends only to hear them reply “Well, it’s not like you’ll ever get out of debt anyway. Why waste your time trying?”

And for some people it’s true: without hard work and a concentrated effort, it can be next to impossible to achieve debt freedom. Look at how many families around the world are living on credit and debt – it’s incredible, isn’t it?

But here’s the thing… It is possible to achieve debt freedom – even if it doesn’t seem that way. It is possible to live up to the “American Dream” – though, perhaps a slightly altered one. It takes work. It takes effort. But it’s possible. And most certainly worthwhile.

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to come at the cost of a healthy budget – though I’m sure many people think otherwise. It’s so easy to believe that when you are on a budget, you can’t afford all the good things in life. Today, our guest blogger and Registered Dietician, Lisa Rutledge, is telling us about how we can start making better choices on our frugal budgets (that don’t even have to be boring or hard to find!). Enjoy!

Healthy Body and Healthy Budget -

So many people want to eat well however there is a common myth that makes changing seem harder than it really is! When trying to make healthy changes to their eating habits, one of the most common difficulties I hear from people is how they struggle to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Healthy eating is perceived as expensive (among other things such as time consuming and boring). I think this stems partly from the erroneous belief that certain specialty foods have to be eaten for health (I’m looking at you goji berries and protein powder!) as well as an overemphasis on fresh fruits and veggies.

The good news is that there are ways to eat well while cutting back on food spending and keeping your healthy budget. Before you give up on trying to eat healthy or worse, run into debt buying pomegranate juice and moon dust, hear me out.

Not surprisingly, there is middle ground between eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs every night and breaking the budget with boxed salad and wild, organic salmon. Sure, it may require a bit more planning and preparation than if you had an unlimited budget, but with time and practice any extra effort it takes now will soon be a thing of the past.

Related: Saving Money on Groceries has Never Been THIS Easy

In fact, money aside, many of these tips can help you eat a wider variety of food on top of eating more antioxidants, fiber and other healthy nutrients.

1.) Buy seasonally and follow the sales.

Sales change from week to week so you can be guaranteed to eat a wide variety of foods if you buy what’s on sale. It is important to keep in mind that variety doesn’t have to be day to day or even meal to meal. One week of eating more broccoli and the next eating more carrots is a cheaper way to eat healthy.
This is a great way to save money on the more expensive foods such as yogurt, breakfast cereal and fresh fruit and vegetables. It may also open your eyes to new products or brands you hadn’t thought to eat before.

Buying produce that is in season means that it will likely be more flavorful and higher quality for a lower price. Check out this chart by SOS Cuisine for what is in season in your area.

Related: Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back on All Your Groceries (Save TONS!)

2.) Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Packaging and freezing techniques have improved dramatically in the last decade. This means that frozen produce is not only equally nutritious and sometimes riper when compared to their fresh counterparts- but the tastes have improved too. They are often more convenient to prepare since they are sold washed, peeled and cut up.

This time save with cooking can increase your chances of actually eating a vegetable at supper or fruit at breakfast. Of course, they spoil a heck of a lot slower than fresh fruits and veg so you can stock the pantry and freezer with all different kinds which allows for more variety. Forget eating broccoli all week to avoid it from spoiling! You could have a different vegetable every night if you’d like.

3.) Freeze individual sized leftovers to make your own microwave dinners.

Rather than buying TV dinners- that leave much to be desired in terms of flavor and satisfaction, make your own. Apart from the obvious save in the sodium and bad fat department, they’ll allow you to enjoy a decadent meal for way less.

Don’t like eating leftovers from last night or a cold sandwich? This is a perfect tip for you! Simply freeze the meal and save it for another week. Added benefits include helping you crawl out of a sandwich or salad rut and enjoy a homemade hot meal in the middle of the day.

Related: How to Grow Your Own Produce (in your DINING ROOM!)

4.) Try eating more plant based protein such as lentils, chickpeas and tofu.

Beans and pulses can be seasoned to match almost any flavour combination. When used as a substitute for meat in your favorite dishes, beans can save you up to 70% of the cost. For example, a serving of boneless chicken thigh costs ~$1.50. 3/4 cup of cooked lentils is a serving of meat and alternatives, and costs about $0.45. So, you could reduce your protein costs by about 70% by substituting beans for chicken.

If meat is a must in your house, try diluting the meat with beans (or tofu or edamame). This preserves the meaty flavor while cutting down on the cost of the meal. This idea works really well in dishes like Sheppard’s pie, Ratatouille and chili.

Of course there are other protein rich foods such as eggs (2 eggs = $0.60), cottage cheese (3/4cup = ~$1.30), canned tuna (1/2 a can = $0.80), and even peanut butter (2 tbsp = $0.17). Even better to keep your healthy budget!

SAve money while eating

 Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Also, one last tip! Throwing out spoiled or uneaten food is a HUGE waste of money. Change your buying habits to better suit what you can actually eat or try using a basket labelled “eat soon” in your fridge to highlight foods to be eaten asap.

There is nothing more frustrating than setting a goal to eat better, buying a ton of fresh food, then having it spoil before all of it can be eaten. Plan out meals in which to use the fresh food then buy only what you need. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect when trying to throw meals together with what is in the fridge!

Looking for recipes that will help you have a healthy body on a healthy budget? Download my recipe e-book for delicious and balanced meals that are quick to make any weeknight.

Simply click here and follow the instructions.

easy and inexpensive recipes

About the Author

Lisa Rutledge is a registered dietitian nutritionist, health coach, and food behavior expert. She works in private practice and specializes in mindful eating as well as chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease). Here goal is to help people repair / rekindle their relationships with food.
Lisa takes a non-dieting approach to healthy eating and truly believes that all foods can fit. She believes in feeding not only your body, but also your mind. Her philosophy about food and meals boils down to getting it done, not getting it perfect.
Along with consulting with clients one on one, Lisa loves to spread the word about food and nutrition through presentations and workshops and through her blog and online videos.
You can find her at:

Creating a Chemical-Free Home – 30DMDC

Creating a Chemical-Free Home

We use chemicals on a daily basis – probably more than we each realize. We wash our clothes, our hair, our dishes, our counter tops, our bathrooms, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize what a toll this has on our lives – our minds, our bodies, and even our wallet. Yet it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. The need to become chemical-free has never been more prevalent. I’ll explain, don’t worry!

When you think of healthy living, does the image of your cluttered bathroom shelf enter your mind? You know the one I’m talking about – where you’ve shoved bottles upon bottles of bleach, laundry detergent, and disinfectants. The one that gives you anxiety whenever you need to clean the kitchen or scrub the shower down. I’m sure you can picture it.

You can picture it, but is it really what you picture when you think of healthy living? I’m guessing it’s not.

chemical free -

Last week I was lucky enough to have a guest post featured on my friend Erin’s blog: A Welder’s Wife. If you don’t remember who Erin is, you may remember the challenge that my readers, my wife, and I are taking this month: the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Here’s a fun fact for you, Erin created that challenge for us (and how grateful we are that she did)!

When she was decluttering her own home, she realized the importance of ridding her home of chemicals. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, how to fit it into your budget, why it matters, and what recipes actually do what they are supposed to do. That’s the problem my wife and I had. After a ton of research to create our own chemical-free home, we decided how important it was to make the transition easier for anyone else who may be trying to become chemical-free.

So, we put together this post on Erin’s site explaining why you should be chemical-free and exactly how to get there. I would love, love, LOVE it if you would head over to Erin’s site, read the post, share some love / leave some comments!

Click HERE to read the post: Creating a Chemical Free Home – A Welder’s Wife

Or use this link:

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals

Last week I took a trip out to the East Coast. First of all, I want to note that it was amazing. I had a great experience. My wife got to see mountains for the first time in her life, we drove on the ever-famous Blue Ridge Parkway, climbed to the top of the Humpback Rocks on Humpback Mountain, visited our first Movie Tavern with my amazing uncle, and even stopped at Washington D.C. to see the sights! Not only that, but I also had a guest post go live on another blogger’s site – Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals.

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals- (2)

You may remember the post earlier last week on DIY Jahn titled: Using Minimalism to Grow Your Money. Well, the writer of that amazing guest post was Uzy from Coming Om. And, another fun fact, that is the blog that I posted on as well! We decided it would be a great idea to exchange guest posts so that we both could share our knowledge with the other blogger’s audience. I knew that you all would love Uzy’s post on minimalism, and Uzy knew that his reader’s would gain some insight from my post on mindfulness.

Now, I couldn’t very well keep my post from you all, could I? So, I wanted to share it with you today. You see, I wasn’t so sure about mindfulness when I first began my journey, but it has helped me to achieve so many financial goals and to set new ones that I know are right for my family. Using mindfulness to set financial goals has helped me to gain clarity, to save money, to pay off debt, and ultimately, to find hope once again.

Don’t forget to join our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge as we enter April! We’ll be starting it up quick. Click HERE to read the rules and join our mailing list today!

Anyway, I would love it if you would bop over to Coming Om and read my post. You can find it by clicking HERE or by using the links below! Thanks for reading and supporting DIY Jahn.

Using Mindfulness to set financial goals- (1)

Using Minimalism to Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness To Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness To Set Financial Goals

How We Paid Off Almost $10,000 in 10 Weeks

How We Paid Off Almost $10,000 in 10 Weeks

Yes, you read that right. My wife and I paid off almost $10,000 in only 10 weeks and we have kept going from there. You know what’s even neater, though? You can do it, too. It’s not as hard as it may sound!

10 weeks-

A few weeks ago, I got the amazing opportunity to guest post for one of my favorite blogs. Making Sense of Cents is a blog owned by Michelle. She’s an inspiration to me – she paid off her $40,000 in student debt and now lives debt free, writes her blog, and loves her life.

It’s not only that, though, that inspires me. She uses her blog to encourage other people to get out of debt, teaching them how, and giving them the steps they need. Basically – her blog does a lot of the same stuff that I hope to do with my blog (though we do have some differences).

Anyway, a few weeks ago I got the opportunity to post on her blog about my wife and I’s success with paying off almost $10,000 of debt in just 10 short weeks. And in this blog post, I give away all my secrets as to how I did it.

Do you want to read? I hope you do! You all are the reason I keep going – the support from you readers helps remind me that this IS possible – we can do it. Thank you for always supporting me along the way and I hope that you enjoy this post.

Click HERE to read the post on Making Sense of Cents

OR use this link:

I hope you enjoy the blog posts, but even more so, I hope you learn something that you can use to help you create your own debt free story. We are in this together, after all!

Fundraising Events: Where Does the Money Come From?



Today I have a guest poster named Kristin here to tell us how to create fundraising events on a budget! As people who are looking to live frugally, why wouldn’t we carry that over into our work space and school space as well? Fundraising events can have a great impact on these amazing programs, but can be costly if you don’t know how to do them right. Let’s see what Kristin has to teach us!

Fundraising events are important to so many causes, from charities, to sports teams, to schools, and to various other effective programs. But the fact is that pretty much every one of these events is done on an extremely small budget. As fundraisers grow, it becomes easier to spend a little more money to make a bit more, but that typically does not happen until an event is well-established with a committed audience and tons of support – and it can take years to get to this point.

How can you maximize money raised at your fundraising event? I’m here today to outline all the ways you can look to bring in much-needed dollars at your event. Read on to find out where the money comes from!

Fundraising Events-


If you’ve ever planned a fundraising event before, you’ve probably thought about sponsorship. But were you able to bring any in? There are a few things you can do to increase the probability of landing sponsorship deals.

  1. Consider Your Audience – Think hard about who your event audience is. Now consider what companies would want to be put in front of this audience, and make a list of those to contact. If you’ve matched the potential sponsor with the event well, these companies should be relatively easy to sell event a small sponsorship to.
  1. Think About Your Benefits – Think about what can your event provide to potential sponsors. Is it social media promotion? A chance to present in front of an audience? A visual presence at the event? And can you throw in any extras such as event tickets, or giveaway items? Ask all of these questions and figure out which opportunities will matter the most to your potential sponsors.
  1. Make a Sponsorship Package – Now that you’ve thought about what all your benefits are, draw up an official and professional sponsorship package that shows your options. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but the advantages of sponsoring your event need to be clear. Pair this document with a cover letter on company/event/charity letterhead introducing yourself, and this will increase the perception of professionalism when it comes to your event.

Getting a sponsorship can be one of the most lucrative methods to maximize funds raised, so some time should definitely be spent on preparing, pursuing, and following up on any proposals submitted. Not to mention, once a company has signed on to do it once, there is a high possibility they’ll be a sponsor for years to come.


Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts while you are booking venues or vendors for your event. The worst thing any company can say is no, and even if they won’t give you a straight-up discount, you may realize that the company you are speaking to is a potential event sponsor. Either way, discounts end up being money back into the cause’s bank account, and usually can amp up the experience of an event, since a vendor is willing to provide a bit extra if they really buy into what you are doing. If you explain why your cause is important, local companies are often open to supporting in any way they can.


Ticket sales are perhaps one of the most obvious methods to make money at your event. Typically I try to budget so that the ticket sales alone will cover the costs of the event, meaning that the rest of these methods would end up as pure fundraising profit. It is also sometimes possible to build a mandatory donation right into your ticket price – check on guidelines in your area to figure out whether this might work for you.


Raffles are a fun way to both add to the program and experience of an event while raising extra money for your cause. Unfortunately, raffles are not allowed to happen everywhere, and even if they are, they usually require proper licensing. Look into gambling laws in your area before deciding to run any raffles.

There are many different types of raffle that you can consider for your event. A 50/50 is often an easy one to run because no prize is needed – half of the money raised goes back to the cause and half goes to the person with the winning ticket. If you are able to get a large prize donated or purchased that people are excited, you can run a very successful raffle by leveraging that item alone and selling tickets to win it.

Merchandise Sales

This won’t work for every event, but if you have some cool merchandise that your guests may be interested in, this could be a way to raise a bit of extra money. For example, a car & music festival I have worked with over the past several years sells t-shirts and hats. They create a new t-shirt design each year, and it is exciting for the attendees to see the unveiling of the new design and to be able to collect the new version year after year.

Another example of this idea is selling something that might be useful at the event. I am currently working on a concert, which takes place next month, and the charity involved in the event has ordered some branded glow-sticks to sell on-site. They can price these a little higher than you may expect, because they’ll let everyone know that the proceeds are going back to support their valuable research.

Merchandise sales can also be a good opportunity to get your branding in front of people, so that is just an added bonus with this revenue stream.


Is there a possibility to hold a special activity at your event, for a fee or donation? If guests have the chance to participate in something exciting, they often won’t hesitate to open their wallets to do so. I recommend finding an activity that fits in with your event theme and would be fun to do, such as a game or competition. You could even provide a (preferably donated) prize for extra incentive to participate!

Auction Items

Holding a live or silent auction is a way to leverage items purchased or donated to raise money for your cause. This is similar to asking companies for discounts – perhaps instead they would be interested in donating something to your event that you can sell to the highest bidder. The best way to maximize your fundraising dollars through this income stream is to have as many items as possible donated. Even if you are selling items for more than you paid for them, you are actually taking a ton of money out of the room that might have been spent in other ways, including on cash appeals, which you can read about below.

Cash Appeals

Cash appeals are one of the most important income streams for fundraising events, but it is actually often ignored. When raising money for a cause, you should provide an option for guests to just give a donation. This can be done just with donation forms carefully placed on tables, or by asking people to raise their hands to donate.

Regardless of how you choose to do this, it’s necessary to put together the story of your cause in front of the audience to prime them. This can be done with a video, a demonstration, a guest speaker, a slide show, or in any other way you can possibly present your tale. Make sure the information you are providing is real, and that it highlights exactly why your cause is important. This strategy will get your audience ready to give, and might make them want to give even more than they would have otherwise.

Maximizing fundraising dollars at an event is all about creatively planning ways to engage your audience and to make them buy in to the cause you are raising money for. And when it comes to events, sometimes it’s worth just trying things to see whether the donations pour in or trickle. Planning an annual fundraising event means that you can learn about your audience from year to year and find out which revenue streams are most important for your project.



If you need some help planning your fundraising event and maximizing the money raised, contact me today. I offer event planning packages to fit your needs, from event consultation, to strategy sessions, all the way up to full coordination. In every one of these packages, I work to make your event a wild success. I’d love to chat with you!




Twitter: @KristinGEvents

Instagram: @KristinGEvents


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Financially Savvy Saturdays #134

Financially Savvy Saturdays #134

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, a link up created just for personal finance bloggers! We love anything to do with personal finance here, so if you wrote it – we want to read it! Whether you’ve written anything from what does forex trading mean to budgeting tips for the perpetually broke, you’re invited to link-up.

If it relates to personal finance, we want to read it!

Financially Savvy Saturdays Blog Hop with Disease Called Debt and Broke Girl Rich

DIY Jahn

This weekend, we’re excited to welcome Cassie as our visiting co-host from DIY Jahn, an awesome site full of frugal living tips to get (or keep) your budget in the black!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO? Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as blog carnivals. If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, we’d encourage you to check out this article.

Interested in co-hosting? We’d love to hear from you! Being a Financially Savvy Saturday’s co-host could help you increase your blog traffic and engagement! Plus, it’s fun AND easy. Want to find out more? Get in touch with us via brokeGIRLrich(at)gmail(dot)com or info(at)diseasecalleddebt(dot)com with any questions. Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up on this Google doc.

If you’ve co-hosted before and enjoyed it, please consider doing it again!

Feature of the Week

As this week’s visiting co-host, Cassie has selected the feature of the week from last week’s blog hop to be this week’s feature – Why I Made a $2 Debt Payment by Erin at Stay at Home Yogi.

Click here to read her post!
Click here to read her post!

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s link up!

We do have a few rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down and won’t have the chance to be featured.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days, related to personal finance and not be solely a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow brokeGIRLrich on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed and Disease Called Debt on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed. Also, you can follow DIY Jahn on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

4. Comment on at least one post before and after you that have joined the party.


Please copy and paste this button into the post you link up:

Disease Called Debt

OR copy and paste this code for a text link:

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="" rel="nofollow">brokeGIRLrich</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow"> Disease Called Debt</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow">DIY Jahn</a>*</em>

10 Tips to be a Thrift Store Diva

10 Tips to be a Thrift Store Diva

Today we have a guest post from Naomi about becoming a Thrift Store Diva. I’d love to spend some time introducing her, but she did a great job introducing herself so I’ll just let her take it away. Enjoy! 🙂

Hello, DIY Jahn readers! I’m Naomi from My Fair Olinda where I write super easy DIY and lifestyle guides. I’m so excited to be guest posting here today. Cassie has some seriously amazing tips for frugal living, doesn’t she?! Doing It Yourself it a passion of mine. I love a good deal, finding an awesome bargain and creating new things out of thrift store finds.

When it comes to DIYing on a dime I’m dishing out the skinny on successful Thrift Store shopping in this post! My home is full of all sorts of fun thrift finds, from the plates I use every day, to the records on my wall, to the chairs that sit outside on my patio. I’ve turned books into succulent planters, platters into wall decor and spray painted silverware for a fun pop of color. You’ll never know what fun thrift store treasures you will find or create from your finds!


Ten Tips To Be a Thrift Store Diva

(success is at your fingertips!)

1. Be ready to browse:

When you thrift, take your time. Meander through the aisles. Stare at the shelves. Browse through the books. The art of thrifting takes patience. So be ready to sift through things, to go slowly through things, and to not be in a rush. Sometimes those treasures get a little buried so be on the hunt.

2. Time it right:

Post Holidays and Spring cleaning are thrift store finds heaven. While everyone is clearing out their stashes and closest you’ll be grabbing those treasures up right and left! Contact your local thrift store to find out when they receive the bulk of their donations and when they put out their most recent donations. Get on their newsletter or email list to be in the know on discount days and special deals.

3. Find the cart with new items:

I love checking the cart they have on the floor as they restock the shelves. You’ll literally be the first person to see those items! Nab ’em before they ever get put out on the floor!  Seriously I look for that cart first thing to have first access to new items.

4. Go often:

The more you go, the more you’ll find. New stuff is constantly being put out and old stuff is constantly being marked down. If you are familiar with the thrift store you can make a quick pit stop to see if they’ve added any new big items that day. I scored a beautiful glass table with chairs, the day it was put out, when I was picking up another piece of furniture I had previously bought! I had them immediately put a hold sign on it for me and bought it within the hour.

(Bonus tip: Goodwill will reserve an item for you for a limited amount of time. So if you see a piece of furniture you want, have them hold it for you while you shop, and decide when you are ready to check out. If there’s a big item you’re considering buying at the shop you are in ask them if they will reserve it for you.)

5. Get eclectic:

Pair things together. An item by itself might not really shine until you partner it with other finds. I have a wall with all circular items hanging on it. It started with a cool vintage tin plate. Now it includes a small ceramic plate, a silver metal serving tray, two records and a chalkboard sign. Think about what you already have at home. Will it go well with another piece of decor?

6. Think outside the box:

Does the item you are considering have additional uses?  Will it fit with something you already have? Can you make something else out of it? Combine a plate and candle stick holder to make a cake plate, a silver tray displays your beauty products, tea cups make great jewelry and nail polish holders!

7. Give it a coat of paint:

Imagine it with a new paint job. I’ve spray painted vases, jars, plates, bowls, frames, lamp bases, trays and more. Paint has incredible transforming powers! I often look at the shape or body of an item. Perhaps it has a unique pattern or ridges that could be accented by painting it? Blend things into your existing decor by painting them to match your current theme. A group of chairs can be painted the same color to create a cohesive set. A collection of vases or bottles with different sizes and shapes can be brought together by one or two colors or even one color, but varying patterns.

8. Don’t overlook the books:

Yes, books get their very own tip! I love finding books at the thrift store. FIrst of all if it’s a best seller it’ll probably make it’s way to the thrift store. Beyond reading the books there are so many wonderful things to do with used books! The thrift store is a great place to find hardcover books to do crafts with or even to use on display in your bookcase or on your coffee table. Take a peek under the slipcover to find an array of colors. Hardcover books are just pretty! (Tip: If you are lucky enough to score a Reader’s Digest Condensed book – they have the loveliest hard covers! The slipcovers are completely uninspiring, but the hard covers underneath are magical.)

9. Know what you are getting for your money.

On my last trip to the thrift store I scored a Nate Burkus vase and two Crate and Barrel ceramic mixing bowls. Flip things over and read the brand on the bottom. I’ve seen dollar store plates for a dollar at the thrift store. Umm pass. So definitely look at labels. If you don’t recognize the brand look it up, do a little quick research on your phone to see if you are actually getting a good deal or not. Some thrift stores price by item type, while others hike up the price on brands or due to location. So this tip goes in both directions. Sometimes you are getting a steal and other times you need to leave that item on the shelf. (Tip: If you are on the road and have time to stop at a small town store, small town thrift stores can have some serious gems in them.)

10. Does it pass the regret criteria.

You are on the hunt for a great find! There is a lot of junk to be found at the thrift store. Don’t just buy it because it’s cheap. If it’s a great deal, you have a use for it, it pairs well with things you already have, you can turn it into something new or you just know you’ll regret it if you don’t bring it home with you then go for it!

Thrift Store Diva-

10 Tips to be a Thrift Store Diva

Okay you frugal shoppers! Those are my ten tips for thrift store success! Did you find this post useful? Let me know!

Have a great Thrift Store tip of your own?

I need to hear it! Be sure to share with us all in the comments section!

Happy Thrifting

xoxo Naomi


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Budget Savings, Increase your Spending Power

Budget Savings, Increase Your Spending Power

Today we’re talking about how to budget savings and thereby, increase your spending power. Household financial responsibilities are widespread, prompting spending in various categories. From home ownership to feeding families, modern expenses add-up quickly, without signs of slowing. For some high earners, demanding financial circumstances are easily managed, without creating undue stress. For most people, however, personal money management is a continued effort to balance household cash flow, without sacrificing the comforts of a good life.

With so many financial obligations on your plate, consistently making ends meet presents an ongoing challenge. Fortunately, the wide array of spending obligations before you yields opportunities for savings – when you know where to look. By carving out budget savings, you’ll increase your spending power in other areas, so it pays to periodically evaluate where your money goes.

As you establish or revise your household budget, use the following tips to highlight savings. You may be surprised by the promising, money-saving possibilities found, by placing your finances under review.

Budget Savings-

Domestic Expenses Yield Room for Savings

It takes a substantial flow of cash to meet monthly household expenses. Rent payments, mortgages, insurance coverage, and utility costs add-up quickly – regardless of where you live. Home ownership has advantages, but the cost of maintenance and upkeep can strain budgets. As a tenant, you may be able to sidestep some of the costs of living, but food, energy bills, and other household obligations still tally significant sums. There is good news for consumers, however, because each spending category offers savings potential, which may be easier to tap than you think.

Energy is a major expense. Utility payments represent spending most people could do without. The services are needed, mind you, but the bills themselves can be hard to reconcile. After all, there is no tangible reward for money spent toward gas and electric bills. Heat and power increase comfort and facilitate our favorite modern appliances, but it is hard to put your hands on the direct benefits, as you can with many other purchases. At the same time, many users simply pay their utility bills, without looking for ways to reduce what they owe. This is an expensive oversight, in many cases, leaving money on the table, which could be applied to other expenses.

When household cash flow is at odds with your cost of living, reducing your utility bills could help provide relief. And there are several ways to get started saving money. Evaluate your household habits to get started on the path toward lower energy, beginning with these common concerns:

Heating and Cooling Expenses – In many regions, heating and cooling costs represent the lion’s share of utility spending. As a result, this is a good place to start saving money. Replace your thermostat with an efficient, programmable model, in order to dial-in energy use to your daily needs. Use it to program your furnace to send heat only when you are at home, and then lower your thermostat setting by a degree or two, across the board, for additional savings.

Conserve Electricity by Managing Devices – Modern energy users live in a plugged-in world. From laptops to music players, nearly every aspect of daily life calls for an electronic device. Each gadget has its own power functions, which typically include conveniences enabling them to power-up quickly. Unfortunately, these stand-by modes draw energy, which ultimately adds to your utility costs. To use less energy, unplug devices from the wall or use power-save setting to reduce electric bills.

Household debt adds interest charges. There are plenty of reasons to responsibly manage debt, not the least of which is controlling the amount of money spent paying-off interest. Various loans, credit cards, home mortgages, and other obligations each come with a price, which can strain your household budget. In order to make the most of your financial resources, repayment obligations should be managed and prioritized, using the best available resources to meet your financial needs.

As credit demands arise, compare and contrast various forms of financing, ensuring your funding doesn’t include unnecessary interest charges. Short-term costs, which will be paid back quickly, are well-served using credit cards, payday loans and other accessible, temporary forms of financing. You will pay a premium for these types of funding, but quickly clearing them from your debt load won’t leave lasting impacts. Long-term financial needs, on the other hand, are better addressed using less expensive options, like equity financing and personal loans. You’ll need lead-time to secure these resources, however, and good credit references, so your immediate financial needs may not wait for approval.

Interest payments and utility costs are two substantial budget entries, furnishing room for savings. And while household spending spirals into many other areas, controlling debt payments and energy use are among the most powerful money saving strategies available to modern consumers. If you are committed to increasing your spending power, start with a close look at these major expenses.

Where can you budget savings and increase your spending power?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

So many people are led to believe that essential oils are too expensive for them. However, our guest poster Chantal is here to crack that myth with her list of 5 affordable essential oils (that you can buy for less than $20). Enjoy! 🙂

There is a common perception that essential oils are very expensive. I admit, when my grandma first introduced me to essential oils a few years ago I couldn’t believe she would spend so much money on these tiny little bottles… it just didn’t make any sense to me! However through listening to her and using essential oils myself, I came to realize that they are really quite affordable and well worth the price in the long run! Today I would like to share 5 essential oils which you can buy for $20 or less! I will also break down the cost per use so that you can form an informed opinion about the cost of essential oils for yourself!

These essential oils are all very common and all of them are used in my new essential oil ebook which shares diy diffuser and roller bottle recipes. The best part is that all of these oils are very versatile as they can be used for a variety of different concerns. I have included the price for each 15ml bottle of essential oil as well as the approximate cost per drop for each oil.

Essential Oils - (1)

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

Please note that the prices are based on one company and will vary slightly depending on the company. The prices below are all for a 15ml bottle of essential oil and price per drop is based on the approximate value of 250 drops per bottle.

Lemon ($10)

Citrus oils can be used in so many ways and seem to be the most affordable type of essential oils you can purchase, it costs $0.04 per drop.

Using Lemon Essential Oil:

  • Add 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser to help cleanse and purify the air. Cost= $0.12 – $0.16
  • Like all citrus oils, lemon essential oils are wonderful for uplifting your mood. You can add 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16) or you can apply 1-2 drops to the soles of each foot ($0.08- $0.16 to do both feet). Alternatively you can add 1-2 drops of lemon to an essential oil diffusing necklace to take the wonderful uplifting aroma with you wherever you go ($0.04 – $0.08)!
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16)

Orange ($10)

Since orange essential oil is a citrus oil it is very affordable, and like lemon, it breaks down to $0.04 per drop.

Uses for Orange Essential Oil:

  • Orange is wonderful for cleaning your countertops, mirrors and sinks! Add 2-3 drops of orange essential oil to 2-3oz of water and mix in a glass spray bottle (always use glass as essential oils can react with plastic). This breaks down to $0.08 – $0.12 per 2-3oz of water.
  • Orange is also wonderful for uplifting your mood! Use in the same ways as lemon as listed above.
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of orange to your diffuser or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot. These methods range from $0.08 – $0.16.

Eucalyptus ($11)

I absolutely LOVE the smell of eucalyptus essential oil! This oil breaks down to $0.044 per drop.

Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus is fantastic for respiratory support! I love adding 2-3 drops of euclayptus to my shower as the aroma combined with the steam from the shower really helps to promote feelings of clear breathing! The cost of this is $0.09 – $0.13.
  • Use Eucalyptus to help you feel relaxed! Add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus to your diffuser, sit back and enjoy the aroma! This would cost $0.13- $0.18. You can find diffuser and roller bottle recipes for relaxation in my ebook here.

Tea Tree ($14)

You may also hear Tea Tree essential oil called melaleuca, this will vary depending on the company. The cost per drop for tea tree essential oil is $0.056

Uses for Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Help soothe occasional skin irritations by putting 1 drop of tea tree on a cotton swab and apply to the irritation ($0.05). If you are applying to a large area of skin, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil ($0.11) to a few drops of a carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil to make application easier.
  • Support your immune system by putting 3-4 drops of tea tree in your diffuser ($0.17- $0.22) or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot ($0.11- $0.22)

Lavender ($20)

This is an oil that I truly believe everyone should have and it is very helpful, especially if you have little ones in the house. If you use lavender on children always dilute 1 drop of lavender in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or fractionated coconut oil. The cost per drop of lavender is $0.08.

Uses for Lavender Essential Oil:

  • Like tea tree essential oil, lavender works very well in helping to soothe occasional skin irritations! Use as discussed above. The cost for this ranges from $0.08 – $0.16. I often make a roller bottle blend using lavender and tea tree oil to help with skin irritations.
  • Use lavender to help you unwind after a long day by putting 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.24- $0.32).
  • Get a restful night of sleep by applying 1-2 drops of lavender to the sole of each foot ($0.16 – $0.32). Some people also find it very helpful to put 1 drop of lavender essential oil on their pillow before going to sleep ($0.08)

Essential Oils -

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

There you have it, 5 essential oils that you can purchase for $20 or less! Like I mentioned before it may sound like a lot of money for a small bottle, once you break down the various uses and the cost per use, it is easy to see that essential oils really are a very affordable option to help naturally support your family’s health and wellness!

Are essential oils more affordable than you originally thought?

Leave your response in the comments below! 🙂

Guest Blogger Bio:

Chantal Bernard is a social worker by day and an essential oil enthusiast, blogger at Painted Teacup, virtual assistant, wife and fur-baby momma by night. Chantal began Painted Teacup in March 2015 to share information about essential oils and recently wrote an ebook called Essential Oils Made Easy: DIY Diffuser & Roller Bottle Recipes.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.