Notice: spl_autoload_register(): Argument #2 ($do_throw) has been ignored, spl_autoload_register() will always throw in /var/www/wp-content/plugins/google-publisher/ClassAutoloader.php on line 27
frugal tips – Page 7 – Luv Saving Money

Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Vehicle

Car shopping can bring many emotions: hope, stress, excitement, relief, who knows.  Depending on your situation it could bring both positive and negative feelings.  I personally like to keep my vehicles until their on their last leg.  Why?  Let’s face it you almost never get as much for your car on a trade in or sale as you hoped.  If you’re lucky enough for your vehicle to last a good many years it’s possible to pay off your vehicle and still have it running for several years after. That’s where my hubby is at now.  He bought his vehicle brand new, it’s paid off but still runs like a champ.  We know vehicles don’t last forever so we save for a down payment on the next car, whenever that may be.

Consider the fact that vehicles depreciate…fast. Even if you buy a new car, as soon as you sign those papers and drive it off the lot it depreciates.  There are dealerships that off longer warranties on vehicles.  There is one particular dealership near me that offers “warranty forever”.  I’m not quite sure how that works, I’d guess there still has to be stipulations but sounds good off that bat.  So if you keep your car within the warranty range you can save money on repairs and upkeep.

If your buying a used car, you can find great deals.  I personally have never had a new car myself.  I always buy used cars.  I bought my 2006 Chrysler Pacifica with just 33,000 miles on it.  This vehicle had just about everything in it it could have.  Things I would have never paid the extra for if I would have bought it brand new.  Leather seats, heated seats, dual air, keyless entry, power everything, lots of bells and whistles.  Make a list of what you NEED in a vehicle then you can make a list of what you’d like to have if it’s in your budget. Buying used allowed us to get a really nice vehicle for our family of 6 within our budget.

seat in 6 passenger

I researched the vehicles I wanted for nearly a year before actually buying.  In that time we saved money for the down payment.  A bigger down payment means smaller monthly payments.  Researching everything from the number of passengers a vehicle seats, to safety features, to body styles can make you an educated buyer.  Compare prices for the same vehicle at different dealerships.  Never just accept the sticker price.  Car dealers want to make a sale.  You do need be reasonable but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to shave $500-$1000 or more off the sticker price.  We got my vehicle for $1500 less than the sticker price!  Guess what someone traded in that Pacifica with only 33000 miles on it.  I’ve personally owned it for 5 years now and it’s still going strong.  I expect to have it for another year or 2 at least.  It’s up to 76000 miles now! This is the perfect time though to be saving for the next vehicle.

2006 Chrysler Pacifica


I realize there could be lots of reasons why one would need to trade in or keep a vehicle.  I guess my take away points would be:

–research, research, research

–Don’t dismiss a used vehicle

–Decide what you NEED in a vehicle then think about what you WANT

–Consider keeping a vehicle that runs well, longer to save for your goal vehicle.

Speaking of goal vehicles, stop by my guest post to read about an eye opening experience from BMW.



Packing To Save Money on Your Overnight Trips

This is fresh in my head as I’m already starting to pack for our upcoming vacation.  (So Excited!) I’m a planner.  There’s obvious things you’ll take with you changes of clothes, maybe bathing suits if you’re going some where with swimming, toothbrush, etc.  But then there’s things you might not necessarily thing about until you get there.  Here are some tips on how to pack to save money.

Check the Amenities – If you’re staying overnight in a hotel, resort, or bed and breakfast check out what amenities they offer.  Does your hotel or condo have washers and dryers?  If so they probably aren’t going to just give your laundry detergent.  You can consider getting a small or trial size bottle of detergent to take with you.  Maybe you love free samples like me and have a few sample packets of detergent laying around.  There are also more portable detergents like pods or detergent strips you can put into a small container and take with you.  Just be sure to label it.

Dizolve laundry detergent
Example of Laundry strips that can be easily packed from

What kinds of hygiene products does the hotel or resort provide.  Many provide shampoo and soap but not all provide toothpaste, shaving cream, etc.  If they have a website, you might be able to find info online.  If not, you could always call and ask. Some will provide complimentary products but don’t count on it.  You may end up spending bigger bucks in a convenience store for something you already have sitting at home. You don’t even have to go out and buy travel size.  If you have small reusable bottles at home you can fill them to take with you.  Just be sure to mark them so you know what is what.

How to Pack Can Save you Money –  Packing smart can save you money.  We don’t have a lot of room in our vehicle for storage once everyone is in and comfortable.  We have a small trunk space.  I’m having the kids pack their things in backpacks as opposed to suitcase. For one, it takes up less room and too we don’t need to rent or buy additional storage for our vehicle like a trailer or rooftop luggage carrier.  Also, a minor point is that the more weight that is in your car the worse your gas mileage will be. It may not make a huge difference for one trip but if you take frequent overnight trips, it could add up.  My husband and I share the same suitcase.  We put the additional hygiene products and stuff in their too.  Just be sure to put them in one or two layers of freezer bags so if they pop open they don’t ruin your stuff.

Check Out the Weather – You may already have an idea what the temps will be like where you are headed.  For instance if you’re headed to the beach in August there’s a good chance it will be warm. It’s a good idea to check out the extended for cast though a week or so ahead of time to see what temps will be like at night.  We were planning on seeing the movies on the beach the first week of August.  One might assume it would be warm but when I checked the overnight temps for that time frame it said it would drop into the low 60s overnight which might be a little chilly, especially by the water. You might want to consider packing a light jacket and jeans.  You don’t want to assume then get down there and find out you need to go buy a pair of jeans or a blanket just to go do one activity.

While you’re thinking about packing your vehicle, also thinking about checking your vehicle for a safer and stress-free trip.  Check out my guest post on on tips to prep your vehicle to ensure fun ride.





Budgeting for a Beach Vacation

As a family of 6 planning, budgeting, and saving are a must if we want to take a vacation. Honestly we only go on vacation every other year.  That works out best financially for us. When we do go on vacation we try to make sure we plan properly to ensure we can enjoy ourselves.  If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to make the beach a day trip you can probably budget a little easier.  For us, where the closest beach coast is a 6 hour drive, it takes a little more planning.

Decide on your destination.  Of course that’s a no brainer.  Can’t go on vacation if you don’t know where you’re going.  We went to Myrtle Beach, SC last vacation.  This year we’re headed to Ocean City Maryland.  We figured the shorter drive would be better for baby. For a family of 6 to fly, just about anywhere, it just wasn’t in our budget. Though to be honest, we got a better price for an ocean view condo in Myrtle Beach than we did for Oceanfront in Ocean City.  Even ocean view was much more expensive than Myrtle Beach. BUT…consider cost of gas (trip will be about half the distance) If you can’t decide on a specific beach, pricing out places to stay might help you decided.

Will you be driving or flying?  As I mentioned above, for a my family of 6 to fly..anywhere really, it’s just not in our budget.  We like to drive, especially with little ones because it’s a little more cost effective and we can control stops, most of the time.  There are some good deals out there for flights though if you’re beach vacation is a bit farther away.

If your driving, plan ahead.  Packing a small cooler with water and other drinks as well as light snacks can cut down on the cost of fast food and things along the way.  You can even pack a full lunch and stop at a nice rest area for lunch.  There are plenty along the way with picnic tables, restrooms, and a few we’ve stopped at even have playgrounds for the kids to burn off some energy and stretch their legs.

Where will you be staying?  There are soooo many option: hotel, beach rental (House or condo), Bed and Breakfast, RV campground, stay with family.  Of course if you have family close that you want to/can stay with that’s usually cheaper but if you don’t weigh your options.  We knew we wanted to be right on the beach.  There are plenty of hotels and condos right on the beach but they will cost more.  Also the room choices differ.  Know your definitions.

Ocean View: This means somewhere in your unit you will have a partial view of the ocean.  When we stayed at Myrtle Beach we had an ocean view.  The balcony from our bedroom had a view of the ocean on the left side but we were facing another building.  It could also mean you could see some of the ocean from a window. This is NOT the same as Ocean front. Ocean view is a nice option if you want to see the ocean but can’t afford the Oceanfront. Below is a picture of the Ocean View from our bedroom balcony.  Not bad right?


Oceanfront: This means you should be directly facing the ocean.  You should be able to see a full view of the ocean and beach from at least some of the windows or your balcony.

Poolview: This option is generally one of the cheaper options.  You will probably not have a view of the ocean but should be able to see the establishments pool.

There may be other options too where they might be cheaper

When looking into your place to stay, check all the options.  Some hotels may offer free continental breakfast which could save you a lot of money, especially if you’re staying for a week or more.  Does your room have a refridgerator, stove, and or microwave?  If so this could save you money on food as well.  What kinds of amenities does the establishment have?  I looked into places that had lazy rivers, playgrounds for the kids, direct beach access, gyms, and activities just for anyone staying at the resort/hotel/condo.  This could save you a lot of money on entertainment as well.  Not to mention the big beautiful beach and ocean.

Look for FREE activities in the area. You may surprised at what there is free to do in the area.  When we went to Myrtle Beach we found out that they do free family movies on the beach.  They weren’t new releases or anything but the experiences of watching a big inflatable screen on the beach is unique in itself.  I was happy to see the Ocean City Maryland offers the same thing.  It seems there was always fireworks too.  Myrtle beach had them near the boardwalk and you can watch for free.  Nothing like watching fireworks over the ocean.  Depending on when you’re going you might also find other family activities on the beach, parades, or community events.  I suggest checking the beaches tourist website.  They’re always chalk full of info for things to do.  Other free activities we love are watching the sun rise and set over the ocean, collecting shells, making sand castles, and simply relaxing on the beach.

Last but not least, I suggest creating an itinerary for your trip before you go.  I did a post on to give you an idea how to do an itinerary.  It can be as specific or general as you want.  Search online and find restaurants you might want to try, attractions you’d like to visit, etc.  You can easily find prices and even menus sometimes online to give you an idea what you’ll be spending.  You can estimate the cost for each activity and this can give you an idea of how much you’ll need for your trip.

What are your tips for a budget friendly beach vacation?


Cheap, Free, and Last Minute Gift Wrap Ideas

Holiday guide 2013 button


I love to wrap gifts.  It’s so exciting to see the packages piled up and think about the excitement of the recipient. Some wrapping paper can be expensive, especially when you consider most of it just gets ripped to shreds and thrown away or recycled anyway.  Here is some fun free and cheap ideas of gift wrap this year.

1.  Save gift bags and reuse them.  This is one of my favorite ways to save on wrapping paper.  I even save the tissue paper if it’s not too wrinkled up or torn.  This is a quick and eye appealing way to wrap a gift.  I save them from birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, etc.  The plain white and brown ones are nice too because you can have the kids decorate them or even decorate them yourself.


gift bag clip


2.  News Paper.  Seriously.  Add a red bow and your all set.  If you don’t think it’s festive enough, after you wrap your gift run a glue stick over it and sprinkle some festive glitter over top.  Or use festive washi tape or even duct tape if you’re creative enough to add some touches.  Another cute idea, save your comics every week and use those or save holiday inserts.


3.  Brown paper from sources like paper bags, department store bags, or kraft paper rolls.   This is great to make it look like a shipped gift or an old fashion twist.  Tie it up with some twine or again add your own touches with things like glitter, washi tape, curling ribbon, Christmas Stickers, ink stamps, and more.  I bet the grandparents would love their paper decorated by the grand kids.

4.  Don’t turn your nose up at promotional bags like these: Blog 006

You can easily cover the logo with a number of different ideas.  Have the kids draw a festive picture on a piece of construction paper or cardstock and glue it over the logo.  Also I save holiday cards.  Put them up with my Christmas decorations when I pack them away.  The front of Christmas cards are perfect to cut off and glue over the front.   If you’re desperate enough you can even take one of these bags apart carefully and put the logo on the inside and wrap a small gift in them and again….decorate as you please.

5.  Old scraps of fabric.  For a small gift like jewelry for instance you can take a round or square scrap of fabric set it in the middle, pull it up like a little sack and tie it with a bow.    You can use larger scraps if you like for larger gifts.  You can safety pin it or use fabric glue to glue it together.  With glue though, just remember it might take a little while to set!

gift wrap fabric scraps

6.  Disposable table clothes.  Seriously, I bought a roll of the thin plastic table cloth when I did my sister’s bridal shower over the summer.  I have a bunch left and was trying to think of uses for it. Other than using if for future parties at our house it would also work great as wrapping paper. The paper ones would work well too.

7.  Use part of your gift as wrapping paper.  Giving a gift for baby?  Wrap it in a receiving blanket or crib comforter.  Attach with safety pins.   Cooking gift?  How about wrapping it in dish towels, table runner, fabric placemats, etc.  A relaxation gift how about a pillow case or lap blanket.

8.  I also save nice baskets.  You can always grab a basket and make up a gift basket for the holidays.








Some great uses for Vaseline

Vaseline is one of those products that can have about a hundred different uses. So it makes it a great product for us frugal people. I’ve learned some great beauty tips (and money saving tips) with Vaseline and thought I’d share them as part of the program.

A lot of people already know some uses such as putting some on a baby’s bottom at diaper change to prevent diaper rash. Here are some that I’ve actually used/use my self.

1. Apply a generous amount to your lips like lip gloss. Leave it on for about 10 minutes. Then take a warm wash cloth and gently slough off the vaseline. This helps to take off the dead dry skin on your lips and makes your lips super soft and kissable. This is great to do before applying your lips stick. I do this about once a week.

2. Winter is coming up and some of us unlucky ones will be getting that dry cracked winter skin. For dry hands, apply vaseline all over your hands. Put on a pair of soft gloves over top. Leave on for about 1 hour (or overnight works great too). Then wash hands off and feel the difference.

3. To extend the life of your favorite lipstick, use a lip gloss brush or cotton swab. Take a little bit of your lipstick and mix with a little bit of Vaseline to make your favorite tube last long.

4. Have a shade of lipstick that maybe just too dark for you? Mix a dap of the lipstick with a little more vaseline using a cotton swab of lip gloss brush to lighten the shade or make a evening lipstick an anytime lipstick.

5. For dry cracked heels, apply Vaseline to your heels and put a pair of socks on over top. Wear it over night. You can slough it off with a warm wash cloth in the morning to help soften those dry heels.

6. Mix a little bit of glitter with Vaseline and apply to skin like your cheeks for a fun night out look or Halloween sparkle.

7. Do you have a splinter? Sometimes those little buggers are hard to get out. Apply a dab of Vaseline over the area with the splinter. Place a band-aid over top. Leave on overnight or at least a couple hours. The splinter will be much easier to get out because the skin with be softer and if it’s untreated wood (say from a log or old bench) the piece of wood will also plump a little bit making it easier to get a hold of. (Also works with Neosporin)

8. As an Occupational Therapy Assist, we’re sometimes asked to take part in local career fairs. We like to have hands on things for people to try. We try to demonstrate things we work on. We’ll take a pair of glasses and apply Vaseline to one lense and leave the other alone. We’ll ask people to try them on and see how people with Glaucoma may see things and have them try to write or read. This is often and eye opening experience for some people.

9. Crush a chunk of eyeshadow or blush and mix it with Vaseline to create a different or cool color lipgloss.

10. Apply Vaseline to your cuticles to soften dry cracked cuticles or before trimming or pushing cuticles back.

I’d love to hear your ideas for Vaseline too. I love a product that has so many uses.

***I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Vaseline blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.***

Free Stuff, Fun Sites, Contests, and More

Sign up for Free Stuff, Fun Sites, Contest and More feed