Get Rich. And Quick!

You have probably gotten a million emails along these lines. The wife of the disposed leader of Nigeria. That hot stock tip. Stuff envelopes from the comfort of your home! With only a little effort, you can become rich!

You probably wonder why these emails are even sent anymore, does anyone fall for them? Well, the reason spammer send them is people still get hooked. The lure of easy money is too much for most people, especially people that are pinching their pennies and are on single income. Since the cost of sending spam is next to nothing, even if they get a few responses for every million emails, they can still make a little money.

The truth is that there is no reliable way to make money quickly with no effort. No matter what the salesman on your doorstep tells you, hang on to your pennies! There are reliable ways to make money, but they usually take time and effort. Investing, side jobs, even this crazy thing called blogging are some of the ways you can get rich.

Putting away a set amount of money every month, even if it is only $50, can go a long way in 40 years when you retire. Compound interest is the best friend you can have in the financial world, it will repay you many times over. Ignore those hot stock tips and invest in a mutual fund or index fund that will grow at a nice steady pace. If you keep your money in safe places and limit your risk and the downside, the upside will take care of itself!

Free and Amazing Photo Organizer

So you have kids and a digital camera. That probably means you have anywhere from 1-10000 pictures and videos of them. Most digital cameras come with software to help you organize and edit your photos, but most leave a lot to be desired. One of the best programs out here also happens to be free! It is called Picasa.

This program is amazing. It can watch your picture folders, adding new ones anytime you plug in your camera. It creates thumbnails of all your videos and pictures for easy organizing and editing. You can do a lot of basic editing, cropping, red eye reduction and a bunch more.

One of the best features is you can choose what format to print pictures in. You can have wallets, 5×7, 4×6, all the common formats. You can print out the best pictures and give to family members as gifts!

You can also have it resize images before you email them so you don’t clog your family’s email accounts with glorious pictures of your kids.

Once I discovered this, I threw out the horrible Canon software and have never looked back. And that was about 6000 pictures ago!

Family’s Best Friend on the Cheap

If you have a pet, you know how easy it can be to spend money like no one’s business on them. A new collar, chew toys, fancy food, plush beds, even clothes in some cases! All that can add up very quickly, you would think a tiny sweater would be $5 or so, not $20!

We have one 50 lb dog that we budget $50 a month for and that seems to work out fine. You will have months where the costs will be higher, the yearly checkup is one that comes to mind, but it will usually even out in the end. One way to save money is to purchase any medicine like Frontline or anti-flea soaps or sprays online and NOT at the vet’s office. They can be almost twice as expensive in some cases!

We do splurge a little bit in this food category, buying the slightly expensive Eukanuba pet food instead of a generic product. They are probably all the same but we have been with Eukanuba for the dog’s entire life so why switch now.

If you have a baller like we do, you can find huge lots of used tennis balls on eBay for next to nothing. They usually come from a tennis academy or school and have plenty of bounce left in them. You can usually get them in lots of 50 or more that will last for many many years. Don’t buy fresh tennis balls just for your dog to slobber all over and chew through.

Just keep in mind that pets are quite content with only a few things and really don’t need that plush velvet bed.

Paper Tablecloths

I don’t endorse using paper tablecloths, but sometimes you need to, right? Maybe to match with shower decorations, or at an outdoor party. After it is used, don’t throw it away! Check it for food stains (cut out or tear those parts off and throw them away), then save the rest. Here are some ideas for how to use it.

-Spread it out and let your kids go crazy with crayons or markers (just be sure the markers don’t bleed through to whatever is underneath).

-Cut it into smaller pieces to use for travel placemats or smaller coloring pages.

-Spread it out as a table protector for messy art times.

-Let your kids practice cutting with scissors (and supervision!).

-If it has a print, cut out the animals, flowers or whatnot and use them for other pasting crafts.

If you have to buy a paper tablecloth, be sure you get your money’s worth out of it!