Posts Tagged ‘free’

Wallet-Friendly Fourth of July

The Fourth of July…

What’s the perfect holiday for easy fun and easy on your budget, too? As Louise Sacco Reilly, from puts it, “The Fourth of July is a dream holiday for frugal people: no one expects you to bring gifts and the entertainment is free!”

Fireworks, parades, block parties – so much is available for a great celebration, and we here at have brought you tips on how to make the most of this favorite summer holiday with videos full of money-saving and high-style July Fourth party ideas to put you in a festive mood and let your patriotic flags fly!

Wishing you a happy and safe July 4th!

Backyard Getaways and Parties – Martie Duncan, founder of Martie Parties, gives easy and elegant ideas for any budget in this clip.

Watch Fireworks – Right on your computer! It’s safe and free – over two-minutes of nothing but fireworks!

Flowers – Simple & So Elegant – International floral entertaining expert, Biggy Wolff, shows simple and festive ideas – great anytime, even for a July 4th party!

Homerun Summer Parties – Clever baseball-themed party ideas for less – and perfect for a July 4th celebration, too!

Make a July Fourth Piñata – Okay, we admit, we’ve suggested this video in other posts before, but that’s because it’s a really fun idea for ANY celebration – and SO EASY to do! (make at least a day ahead).

Red White and Blue PartyBetter’s shopping expert, Nicole Camarata, gives super pointers to make it great and on a budget!

More in our post: July 4th Frugal Fun

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Make Every Day Arbor Day, Tips to Save Trees and Money

U.S. National Arbor Day:  The Last Friday in April 

The beauty of trees alone is enough reason for us to want to surround ourselves with as many trees as possible, but it’s not the only reason.

Here are a few more reasons why surrounding yourself with trees is a good idea. From The article, Benefits of Trees in Urban Areas:

  • Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and give out oxygen. A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually. An acre of trees absorbs enough CO2 over one year to equal the amount produced by driving a car 26,000 miles.
  • Trees also filter other gaseous pollutants from the air. There is up to a 60% reduction in street level particulates when trees are present.
  • Trees prevent soil erosion and water run off.
  • They prevent harmful land pollutants contained in the soil from getting into our waterways.
  • They act as buffers to noise pollution.
  • They cool the earth with their shade. Studies have shown that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can have temperatures as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than surrounding areas.
  • They function as wind breaks for farms and our homes.
  • Trees enhance traffic safety; drivers tend to drive slower on tree-lined streets.
  • Trees increase property values.
  • They help reduce home energy use, which saves you money.

And, if all this isn’t enough to consider making tree preservation and planting a priority in our everyday lives, consider this: Trees reduce crime. In the April 1, 2011 edition of Bottomline Personal Newsletter we read:

  • Neighborhoods with large trees tend to have less crime than areas with smaller trees says Geoffrey H. Donovan, PhD, research forester, Portland Forestry Sciences Labratory, Oregon, and coauthor of a study of 431 crimes, published in Environment and Behavior.

You can easily help improve your town, neighborhood and home while also preventing the over harvesting of trees and destruction of forests. Here are some simple tips that you can use in your everyday life that will make a considerable difference. And… we happen to know that these tips will save you money, too!


Consider joining the The Arbor Day Foundation. The Arbor Day Foundation’s purpose is to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Founded in 1972, the centennial of the first Arbor Day observance in the 19th century, the non-profit Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. Their Web site features many helpful gardening and planting resources; one of our favorites pages is the one giving Free Landscape Design Plans. They also give more wonderful free material when you sign up for membership. Sign up starts at just $10. For that, you will receive discounts on purchases of trees and shrubs of up to 56%, a bi-monthly color newsletter, The Tree Book treasury on planting and caring for trees, AND IN ADDITION: Your choice of either – receiving TEN FREE TREES, or making a donation of ten trees in your name to a national forest in need.

Participate in or start a community tree planting program. Check with your local town or city government to find out if there is a tree planting program in your city and join in. Some towns will plant a tree for free at your curbside if you volunteer to water it. If there isn’t a program in your city, consider starting one. Find info. in this aritcle: Create a Community Tree Planting Project.

About books: Go for used books or textbooks, check out books from your local library, or going digital with an e-book reader or program for your computer.

Go digital for subscriptions. Take online subscriptions for your news or magazines. Switch to online bill pay and banking.

Send a FAX directly from your computer.

Check for post-consumer recycled household paper goods like bath tissue, paper towels and printer paper.

Cut back on paper towels.Use rags instead of paper towels. You can use worn out sheets, t-shirts, sweatshirts and pants, pajamas, receiving and baby blankets, frayed bath towels can be cut down to make smaller towels.

Wrapping paper: Consider alternatives that can be reused: Fabric. Cloth drawstring bags. Dishtowels. Re-use existing wrapping paper, paper bags or newspaper. Look for post-consumer recycled wrapping paper.

Consider your wood furniture: You can save trees by refinishing furniture. When shopping for new furniture look for those made with recycled or reclaimed wood.  There are excellent tips in this article form, Learn How to Find Eco-Friendly Wood Furniture.

Related videos:

  • Trees Cut Home Energy Costs – Home improvement expert Danny Lipford shows how trees cut 25% on your energy bill as well as beautify your home.
  • Reduce Home Heat & AC Bills – Tips to reduce your home heating and air conditioning bills, from planting trees to using eco friendly light bulbs and more from EnStar’s Bill Stack and Growing Wisdom’s Dave Epstein.
  • Eco Chic Gift Wrap & Packaging Ideas – Go creative & go eco when wrapping presents & getting packages ready for shipping. Creative, inexpensive, & practical green from eco expert, Rachel Avalon.

Related articles:

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Father’s Day: Fantastic and Wallet-Friendly

We know you care, and your Dad will too!

You can show Dad you have real heart for him, and also hold onto your real savings at the same time with these videos loaded with easy budget-friendly or even free do-it-yourself gifts, gift baskets, recipes, entertaining and activity ideas Dad will love!

Father’s Day the Home Shopping Way – Every father deserves the best, and what better way than with Home Shopping? What dad wouldn’t appreciate a little comedy with his socks and BBQ?  Catch this Karen Alloy comedy.

Meetballs 3-course, feed 4, under $35 – Chef Bill Poirier from Boston’s restaurant, Sonsie, whips up a 3-course-meal for 4 people, for under $35 budget. Spinach salad, turkey meatballs, & chocolate ricotta!

Summer Grilling , Serve 8 for $10 Each – Cook up a 3-course meal for 8 people and for under $10 each with recipes from David Joachim and Andrew Schloss, Authors of  Mastering The Grill.

Cupcake Father’s Day Gifts – Everyone loves cupcakes and the author of   Hey There, Cupcake! shows how to decorate dessert for a special Father’s Day.

DIY Coin and Key Keeper – Give Dad a hand for pocket change & car keys with this one-of-a-kind do-it-yourself tray that any child can make!  Easy DIY from Crayola Creative Workshop.

DYI Photo Frame from a CD Case – An easy DYI gift project from Crayola Creative Workshop: turn an old CD case into a bright and bold picture frame that can hold a special message.

Origami Necktie and Shirt Card – So Easy to do! A DYI origami necktie and shirt card that’s sure to bring a smile to every dad.

Men’s Spa at Home – Men like to indulge too. Check out these at home men’s grooming products and gifts to pamper the man in your life from Lenny LaCour.

For more gift ideas, that are sure to please, check out these blog posts:

These previous posts mention  great resources for nice discounts and even free fun local activities you may want to make part of your Father’s Day plan :

Father’s Day FACT:  Did you know:

Scholars claim the tradition of Father’s Day can be traced in the ruins of Babylon where a young boy called Elmesu carved a Father’s Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. Elmesu wished his father good health and a long life. The idea of a Father’s Day celebration in the U.S.A. originated in 1909 in Spokane, Washington, when Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was listening to Mother’s Day sermon.  Sonora pondered if there is a day to honor mother then why not for father and she began a rigorous campaign to celebrate Father’s Day in the U.S.  It wasn’t until  1972 that a permanent national observance of Father’s Day  was established by President Richard Nixon. More Father’s Day facts

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Quick Cash! 4 Quick Tips from Stacey Ross

In one of the first blog posts I wrote for I mentioned the frustration I experienced in trying to find the “big NEW” money-saving tip, and finding none. I mentioned that I kept seeing the same ideas over and over. And then, something happened.  I finally realized that I wasn’t actually following through on those ideas, and taking action of course, is the key to getting results!

There are many reasons why most of us would love to come by some quick cash.  It probably would not be too far of a stretch to assume there are many others out there who like me,  are familiar with tried-and-true ideas about how to get some quick cash but even though we KNOW of these easy ways to bring in some extra money, we don’t actually DO it. Why? Because we think we don’t have the time, or we think we won’t know how to do it, or we think it won’t bring in enough money to make a difference.

Well, just like in my earlier post when I realized that not doing means not succeeding, the same holds true in the quest for some fast cash. Our friend, Stacey Ross, founder of, has proved that simply taking a little time to clean out your closets and drawers can lead to some substantial quick cash in your pocket. When she suggested the closet clearing idea to Ch 8 News anchor Marcella Lee in San Diego, she had no idea that it would lead to a multi-part series! That’s how much profit there was to be found in just one day of clearing drawers and closets around the house.

So if you’re looking for extra quick cash, there’s no better time TO TAKE ACTION than now!

What to do with the items you clear out? It’s all in the video series, “Ways to Make Quick Cash” From Stacy Ross, founder of and Marcella Lee Channel 8 TV San Diego, CA:

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9 DIY Gift Ideas – Home Accessories from Recycled Items

Spruce up your space, (or create a great gift) with a little do-it-yourself. Here are easy-to-do eco-friendly projects that will turn those tired household objects you’re thinking of tossing out into beautiful and useful home accessories. They make great gift ideas, too!

Make a Vase from Magazine Pages – Recycle your old magazines by creating a vase, bowl or vessel using nothing more than glue and pages from a magazine. This video gives an easy DIY tutorial.

Home Decor Recycle DIY – Easily repurpose thrift store purchases or items from around your home… sometimes all you need is a little spray paint! Decorator Susan Phillips shows DIY home decor transformation ideas in this clip.

Repurpose Home Decor Items – This video from designer Soshana Gosselin gives easy ways to freshen up your home decor by repurposing, recycling and re-inventing items you already have.

DIY Cans to Votive Holders – This segment shows a simple DIY craft recycling project to transform an empty aluminum can into a votive holder. All you need is an empty can and scissors!

A Basket from Magazine Paper – Recycle your old magazines with this easy DIY craft project to create a cool and stylish multi-use basket out of nothing more than magazine pages and glue! Easy how-to directions in this clip.

Chinese Takeout Lantern DIY – Crafter Shiho Masuda transforms Chinese takeout containers into mini tabletop lanterns. Beautiful video shows DIY recycling craft directions to brighten your dining or coffee table.

Make a Book Safe – Take an old book and recycle it into a secret place to store precious or favorite items. A clever gift idea, or double a gift’s goodness by using this as an eco-friendly gift box! Video shows how you can do it.

Make a Vase from A Plastic Soda Bottle – Eco-friendly DIY: Create a vase from a plastic soda bottle. Simple DIY in this clip provides instructions. All you need is a bottle, scissors and rocks. Consider displaying several together in various sizes and colors. Add flowers and it’s complete! Makes nice gift!

Soda Can Lantern DIY – This clip shows how to make a recycled DIY lantern/candle holder out of a soda can. Extremely simple to do. (Be careful of sharp edges when pulling out the strips).

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Free Shipping Day

Free Merchant Shipping Day in the USA and Canada – Mid-December.

The U.S. and Canada’s Postal Service’s Annual Free Shipping Day,  is a one-day, online-shopping event when literally thousands of merchants offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve, and many merchants offer additional special discounts and deals to shoppers to accompany their free shipping day participation.  Offers and delivery promise is only for in-stock merchandise.

Check the list of merchants and their specific requirments, and their special offers at: and enjoy your savings!

Related Videos for further savings:

Shipping Discounts for the Small Business Owner – Tips from Rob Martinez from Navigo Shipping Consultants.

Cheapest Overnight Shipping: FedEx, UPS or USPS? – The answer might surprise you.

Cost Effective Marketing for Small Business – Marketing expert, Joe Polish’s Exclusive video gives invaluable pointers.

And check this earlier SLTV post, A Great Shipping Bargain, all about Flat-Rate shipping.

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6 Fabulous Fashion Accessories – DIY Gifts Your Friends & Family Will Love

Turn your clutter into fabulous! These easy do-it-yourself craft projects use items you may already have or can easily collect or find and transforms them into attractive fashionable accessories. These make unique, eco-friendly and virtually free gift ideas, too!

Turn a Book into a Handbag – shows how to create a DIY custom, colorful purse by recycling a vintage hard-covered book cover and fabric. This takes a little sewing savvy, but the results are cool.

Make Your Own Beads from Paper – Easy recycling DIY from shows how to create beads for necklaces, bracelets, and more using old magazines, newspapers, or wrapping paper.

Necklace from Magazine Pages – Makeup artist, crafter and vlogger from shows how to create a necklace from old magazines. A fun super simple family-friendly project  that costs almost nothing to make!

DIY Necklace from Pantyhose – Inspired by the book, P.S. I Made This by Erica Domesek,’s Jennifer Berry shows how to create a fashionable elegant or campy necklace with this easy DIY project using recycled  hosiery, scissors & found items from around your house.

Use Plastic Bags to Make Cool Things – Etsy Labs Technician Anda Lewis shows us how to fuse plastic shopping bags together to create a material you can sew together and use as you would a sturdy water-resistant fabric. Make a reusable shopping bag, messenger bag, cosmetic bag, guitar straps, belts… you name it!

DIY Bracelets and More from Pop Tabs – A creative bracelet is just one of many items you can make out of soda pop tabs! A creative eco-friendly and versatile project that you can use to make belts, earrings, we’ve even seen purses and tote-bags out of pop tabs as well! A fun gift idea great for guys or gals!

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How to Get Free Gasoline! Gas & Grocery Savings Perks

“You have 400 gasoline credits,” the Stop & Shop cashier told me as she handed me my receipt. I was surprised (and happy) to hear this! I recall hearing about these programs a while back, but thought they were no longer active and hadn’t even considered that my market might be participating! I know, it’s my “business” to know these things, and this one just slipped by until that moment.  But one of the things I love about the topic of money saving is:  there is always something new to discover that will make life a little easier and less costly. So after a little research, I am pleased to report that there are many gas perk/grocery loyalty partnering programs still in effect!

They are simple to use. You use a grocery store loyalty membership card to track and apply gas credits to use at a partnering fuel station. Every time you make a purchase at that grocery store you show that store loyalty card to the grocery cashier and not only might you receive discounts on some of the items you are purchasing, but you will accumulate points that will apply as a price discount on gas purchases you make at participating/partnering gasoline stations. At the gas station, you just show that same grocery loyalty card and the points will be applied to your fuel purchase. It’s that easy.

Some fuel discount programs also give perks when you shop from retailers like Home Depot, JC Penney, and The Gap.

We’ve listed here two popular fuel/grocery discount programs, but check with your own favorite markets and do a Google search to easily see what others also may work for you. With gas prices seeming to be permanently on the rise, it’s worth taking a moment or two to check with your favorite market and take advantage!

Fuel Perks!

You can earn fuel credits two ways with fuelperks! If the place you most frequently shop for groceries is a participating partner with fuelperks!, and you already have a grocery loyalty card, you go to and register that card with fuelperks!  If you don’t have one, request one from a partnering supermarket. Now, every time that supermarket loyalty card is scanned, you earn fuelperks! points. Fuelperks! grocery retailer partners are: Bi-Lo, Giant Eagle, Martin’s, Roundy’s, and Winn-Dixie. You can also earn credits by shopping online at more than 700 merchants like The Gap, Best Buy, The Home Depot, and JC Penney.

Shell Gas Discount Programs

Shell has partnered up with several grocery stores to give discounts on gas for purchases you  make at participating supermarkets. Your accumulated points are tracked through your grocery loyalty card which the cashier scans each time you shop. If you don’t have one, you can request one from the market or online. You will need to bring that grocery loyalty card with you to the gas station to redeem your credits; when you are at the gas station, before you enter your credit card information at the pump, you have to insert that grocery loyalty card or enter that 13-digit loyalty card number, or show the card to the attendant. Customers can redeem their Gas Rewards points at approximately 600 participating Shell stations in addition to more than 70 existing Stop & Shop gas stations throughout the Northeast. Partnering groceries include: Kroger, Ralph’s, Wei’s Market, Trig’s, Giant Food, Stop & Shop.  Details here.

More Gas and Auto Savings Tips in These Videos:

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U.S. National Doughnut or Donut Day!

Randy’s Donut, Inglewood, Ca. Designed 1953 by Robert Graham – photo credit:

Watch for U.S. National Doughnut or Donut Day next year; the first Friday of June!

All you doughnut or donut fans – Friday, June 3, 2011 is U.S. National Doughnut Day! Donut shops all over the country are offering freebies. Here are offers from three top national franchises…  but check your local independent shops, we’re certain many will be offering up some complimentary goodies, too!

Krispy Kreme will give one free doughnut per person at participating retail locations. No purchase necessary. Locate a Krispy Kreme near you.

LaMar’s Donuts is giving visitors a free Gourmet Donut with a hole – No purchase required. Locate a LaMar’s near you.

Dunkin’ Donuts will offer guests a free donut fo their choice (while supplies last) with the purchase of a beverage (excluding bottled cooler beverages). Locate a Dunkin’ Donuts near you.

And for you DIY’s out there: Here’s a recipe for Buttermilk Doughnuts with Chocolate Butterscotch Glaze from Chef Glenda Galvan-Garcia of Whole Enchilada Consulting and chef at The Factory in Los Angeles.

Did you Know? National Doughnut Day occurs on the first Friday of June each year. It started in 1938 as a fund raiser for the Chicago Salvation Army. Their goal was to help the needy during the Great Depression, and to honor the Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers.

P.S. June 3 is also U.S. National Egg Day! Catch these videos for recipes and kitchen time-savers:

More Delicious Money Saving ideas in our Channels:

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Volunteer Travel: Give and Get More for Your Money

Saving money isn’t the primary reason for volunteer travel, but it may be a nice little perk along the way. Volunteering while on vacation is a great way to make a difference in people’s lives, have amazing, rewarding experiences and see parts of the world you might not otherwise see. Often these trips will cost you less than a typical travel holiday, and in some cases you may be able to stay for free. In addition you might even receive a tax deduction. Sounds more than wonderful to us.

Globe Aware is a non-profit  that develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments. Globle Aware volunteers help to empower the host communities in creating renewable, sustainable programs with a focus on creating self-reliance. There is a donation fee and volunteers pay their own transportation. Globe Aware is an American and Canadian-registered non-profit charitable organization. All volunteer vacation program costs, including (for American citizens) the cost of airfare, are tax-deductible. They do offer a youth scholarship program which allows qualifying high school students or recent grads to travel for free.

WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a United Kingdom registered charity. WWOOF links volunteers with organic farmers, small holdings and gardeners through their worldwide network of organizations.  In return for volunteer help, hosts offer food, accommodations and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Hosts do not pay volunteers for their help. Volunteers do not pay for their stay, but they do cover their own transportation expenses. There are many WWOOF organizations around the world. WWOOF organizations usually charge a small fee to hosts and volunteers; there is no single WWOOF membership that covers all countries.

Helpx, Help Exchange is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodations.  HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodations and meals for their efforts. Membership is required at the rate of 20 Euros ($28) for 2 years.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action.  They build with people in need regardless of race or religion.  They welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds. Costs vary, but covered with your donation to the host community’s Habitat program is in-country transportation, food, accommodations and travel medical insurance.

Airline Ambassadors. AirlineAmbassadors International (AAI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations and recognized by the US Congress. The basic membership of $50.00 per year enables the member to particpate in programs. All memberships are fully tax-deductible. It began as a network of airline employees using their pass privileges to provide humanitarian aid, and has now expanded to include members across a wide spectrum of professions from students, medical professionals, and families to retirees all with an interest in providing relief to children and families in need by hand-delivering humanitarian aid to orphanages, clinics and remote communities and raising public awareness in humanitarian efforts around the world. Volunteers pay their own way, but daily expenses generally range from $60 to $100 a day depending on the type of trip. Airline Ambassadors negotiates with airlines for the best possible fares for non-airline personnel traveling on their missions.

Peace River Refuge and Ranch in Zolfo Springs, Florida and The Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown, California generally do not provide lodging for volunteers, however both Peace River Refuge and The Wild Horse Sanctuary provide tremendous opportunity for new experiences to those desiring to help, and both offer student internship programs which do provide room and board, and possible college credit. The Wild Horse Sanctuary does provide for overnight stays for vacationing guests.

HF Holidays. One of Europe’s most popular walking and bicycling holiday operators is searching for volunteers to lead their walking holidays. HF Holidays leaders are provided with accommodations, meals and the chance to explore Europe in return for sharing their passion and knowledge with groups they accompany.

More resources for volunteer travel. Travel vlogger, blogger and SLTV video contributor,  Alex Berger, alerted us to one of his travel resource sites:, which is an extremely rich website with a throuough list on all things travel and not to be missed. There we found some additional excellent volunteer opportunities. One is: GrowFood connecting farmers interested in teaching with people interested in farming and work/live exchanges worldwide. Others are: WorkAway, VolunTourism, and PersonalOverseasDevelopment (PoD). Many thanks, Alex!

Fly for Good. This organization matches volunteers with opportunities and facilitates discount transportation via their partnership with Lufthansa Airlines. Fly For Good’s mission is to facilitate travel volunteerism and they donate a portion of their profits each quarter to a humanitarian projects.

International Student Volunteers (ISV). Selected as a Top Program by the International Voluntary Service Task Force and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, International Student Volunteers offers high school and college students the opportunity to combine volunteer, adventure, & often academic credit into one life changing experience. Over 140 universities granted academic credit to their students for their participation in the ISV Volunteer Program in 2010.

More money saving travel posts:

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