An Alternative to Disposable Diapers

In the running for “what is filling up our landfills the most” is disposable diapers. So once you have done the easy step of giving up plastic grocery bags, the next step, at least for parents of babies, is to reduce your use of disposable diapers. Sarah, over at the mamapath, has an excellent post on alternatives to disposable diapers. You can read her post here.

Life Insurance

Today I am going to talk a little about life insurance. Not the most exciting topic, but one that is very important. Life insurance is an important financial tool that benefits those you leave behind when you die.

Reasons to Buy Life Insurance

To Provide an Income For Your Dependents

This is probably the most common reason for buying life insurance, to take care of those who depend on you for their financial income. This could be your children, your spouse, or even your parents.

To Cover Final Expenses

Maybe you don’t have anyone depending on you financially, but funerals can be expensive, and you don’t want to create a financial burden for your loved ones.

To Pay Federal and State Death Taxes

It is a sad but true fact, Uncle Sam taxes you when you die. Buying life insurance can provide cash to pay estate taxes, so your heirs do not need to sell other assets (like the family home) to pay taxes.

Types of Life Insurance

There are two main types of life insurance, Whole Life and Term Life. The most common type of life insurance is level term insurance. With this type of insurance you pay a monthly or annual premium, and as long as you pay your premium you are covered for a set benefit amount. Quit paying your premium, and you are no longer insured.
Whole life insurance is usually more expensive, but has an investment feature built in. As you continue to pay your premiums, your policy begins to have a cash value, which you can borrow against if need be. Hold your policy long enough, and the earnings from the investment portion will begin to cover the premium amount.

Which Is Best?

Everyones needs are different, and you need to do some research to find the most cost-effective policy that best suits your needs. One way to Save Money on Insurance is to go through an online broker such as AdvantageTermLife.com. There you can get a quote on different types of life insurance and find a policy that meets your needs and your budget.

Remember, life insurance is a good way to protect your family financially when you can’t be there. Find out which type of insurance is best for you and shop around. The life insurance market is highly competitive, there are some good deals to be found.

An Easy Way to Help the Enviroment

Sometimes it really is the simple things that can make the biggest difference. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that plastic grocery bags came on the scene, and the question “paper or plastic?”, became part of our shopping experience. Retailers loved the lightweight bags, that were just a fraction of the cost of paper bags. Consumers liked them for their strength and convinience. No more wet bags breaking on you as you bring in the groceries! Now, plastic bags are everywhere. And I mean everywhere. They are an eyesore on our nations’ roads. They clog our drains and sewers, and they threaten wildlife all over the world. They are even found in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 miles from the shore.

Some Facts About Plastic Bags

  • Almost a trillion plastic bags are produced world wide each year! The US goes through a billion of them. (Wall Street Journal)
  • If Americans gave up their disposable plastic grocery bags we could save 12 million barrels of oil every year!
  • Disposing of plastic bags is a problem. Plastic bags can take 1000 years to disintegrate. And because they are light weight and extremely aerodynamic, even properly disposed of plastic bags can float away and become a blight on the landscape.
  • Some studies suggest that up to 100,000 marine animals are killed by ingesting, or becoming trapped in plastic bags.

The problem seems huge, yet the  solution is quite simple. Say no to plastic shopping bags. And while you are at it, say no to paper bags as well. (That is another post!) Make it a habit to bring your own reusable bags. And reusable bags are not just for the grocery store.  Try bringing your own bags or containers for your other shopping as well. At the very least, try to reuse your plastic shopping bags, and make sure to dispose of them properly.

Winter Warmth

fireplace

Today I am sitting inside, watching the snow fall. We don’t usually get much snow, so a foot of snow is quite a treat. The snow is falling in big fat flakes, and outside, everything is covered in icy white cold. But inside I am nice and warm. Staying warm on cold days like today can get expensive. One of my favorite ways to save money on winter heating bills is by using “zone heating”. With zone heating, instead of heating the whole house, you only heat the rooms you will be using. So during the day we heat the living room and kitchen. In the evening we heat the bedrooms. That way we are not spending money on heating rooms that no one is using.

For effective zone heating we make good use of room heaters. A good source for attractive room heaters is Desatch.com. They have a large supply of vent free, gas propane heaters. The room heaters come in a variety of styles, including wall mount, freestanding, stove, and fireplace models. You can find room heaters that run on natural gas, propane, and even electricity.  My favorites are the fireplace heaters.  You can have the warmth of a wood fireplace, with clean and safe propane or  natural gas.

The snow is still falling. Time for a cup of cocoa, a good book, and a nice warm fire!

Frugal Friday

Today seems like a good day to start Frugal Fridays. Today’s job report shows that more Americans are out of work, gas prices continue to rise, and I cringe every time I open my power bill. Don’t get me started on the mortgage industries and the stock market. With such poor economic news, now may be a good time to start cutting back!

So today, I start what I hope will become a regular feature on this blog, Frugal Fridays. Make just one change a week and you could see significant savings in your household budget.

Todays Frugal Tip …Visit Your Local Library.

Not Just Books

If you haven’t been in awhile you may be surprised to find that the library is not just for books anymore. Most of my family’s entertainment comes from the local library. Here are a few of the things we get for FREE from the library.

Free Movie Rentals

We usually don’t get the latest releases, but there is a great selection of movies at the library. There are plenty of classics, kid movies, and educational movies. I like trying out the exercise DVDs that are available. The best part about renting from the library is that you get to keep the movies for 3 weeks, not 3 days!

Free Audio Books (aka books on tape)

The best thing for a long car ride is a good audio book. When I have the kids with me I will choose a popular children’s novel. Our last trip we listened to Tom Sawyer. When I don’t have the kids, I have worked on my Spanish, listened to motivational books and books on business and real estate.

Free Wi-Fi

When I need to get away from the house for awhile I just grab my laptop and head to the local library. They have nice big comfy chairs and I can park myself there all day if I like, without needing to buy any overpriced coffee! If you don’t have your own computer you can use one of the library’s computers, you just need to sign up and reserve a spot.

Free Classes and Seminars

Saturday mornings my library has art classes for kids, taught by local artists. I might also find a seminar on recycling and the book readings by local authors is always a pleasure. Once a month, on Saturday nights, the library has an event for the young teens. Sometimes it is just pizza and a movie, but it could be a dance contest or other fun activity.

Free Books

And of course, there are the books. I have a family of voracious readers, and if I had to buy all the books we read we wouldn’t have any money for food! Become an expert at putting books on hold, and you’ll be reading the latest best seller in a week or two.

I estimate that by making good use of our local library, may family saves a few hundred dollars a month. So go see what’s happening at your local library. You might be surprised.