Category Archives: Tiny Tip on Thursday

Giving On A Budget

For today’s Tiny Tip on A Thursday, I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve found for giving on a budget.  

Sometimes the extra money to donate is just not there.  A quick and easy way I’ve found to give back in this situation is to use my reward program points.

I tend to be one of those people who simply let my points in these programs pile up and once in a while, check in to see if I’ve qualified for anything worth the effort.  Many of these programs used to offer charitable donations as a reward option.

Unfortunately, the My Points program no longer offers charitable donations as a reward option.  However, following an idea suggested on their Facebook page, I cashed my points in for an Amazon gift code and then used that code to send items to the charity’s wish list.

If you would like to specifically donate to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, both Hip2Save and Money Saving Mom offer great suggestions!

The Swag bucks page has a “Do Good” option under their reward options where you can donate 5 plus Swag Bucks to the charities listed.

We really don’t travel much but many hotels also offer the option to donate their reward points to charity.

Note: When giving to any charity, I highly recommend first doing your research about it.  A favorite site of mine for this purpose is Charity Navigator.

They give charities 1-4 star ratings and you can see at a glance how the charity applies their funds between programs, fundraising, and administration costs.  It’s always ideal to look for a charity with the biggest piece of the pie going to actual programs.

Other Ideas for giving on a budget:

  • Have a garage sale and donate the profits to a charitable organization
  • Our local grocery stores offer cash donation options at the register, forgo an item or two on your grocery list and use the money saved to donate
  • Check for places matching donations, maybe your $5 donation could be worth $10
  • Share posts about places taking donations, it might help get it to someone with extra dollars to give

What ways have you found to give back while on a tight budget?



Display, Store, Or Give Away

For today’s Tiny Tip On A Thursday, I thought I’d share a true tale about helping J clean his room.

Last week I helped J clean up a corner of his room.

He started out on his own. His bed became a catchall.

The living room couch became his sleeping quarters for two nights while we waited for him to finish the job.

We gave him yet another nudge. The words of frustration spilled from his lips:

“I don’t know where to put any of that crap.”

The nicest words? No. Do you use the nicest of words when you are frustrated? Yeah, me either.

Sadly, I heard an echo of familiarity in the words.  And a call for help.  So I told him we would work together on the floor and the bed.

We started with a trash bag. A lot of last year’s schoolwork went into it (sorry, teachers) as did a broken binder.

I realized he needed a desk organizer (or in J’s case, a table organizer as he’s currently using his dad’s camping table as a desk. One problem at a time.). And, of course, more space.

He agreed, in a bittersweet moment for me, we could store all the loose Lego’s  in the basement.  We could also put his Lego table and chairs down there to make room for a place to store and practice his baritone (bonus tip: always try to talk your kids into the flute if space is an issue ;)).

The already put together Lego’s displayed all over his room?  Those are staying put for now. We have a long way to go but we did make progress.   Display, store, or give away

A lot of progress came from my asking him a simple question about various items: Do you want display, store, or give away?  Thankfully, my youngest son is easy about trash being trash.

This is my twist on the 3 box strategy of organizing and purging you see on a lot of sites.  Most will advise you to get three boxes or bags and label them with keep, give-away, and throw-away.

The idea of course is that you have a use in mind for everything you plan to keep. A great strategy but 12 is a tough age.  Let’s all cringe together when I say it’s “in be Tween.”  Not quite a child but not quite ready to let go of all their toys either.

Somehow, asking display, store, or give away softens the blow.

In the interest of full disclosure, we’re still slowly working on his room but we’re making progress!

We bought 3 storage tubs and a new trash can for his room yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll have more to share about this current organizing project soon.

What tips do you have for helping kids to clean their rooms?





Green Tea As A Cure-All

I thought I’d let you all in on how I use green tea as a cure-all for today’s Tiny Tip on Thursday post. It’s been a while since I shared any tips.

I’m sure the benefits of green tea aren’t going to come as a surprise to anyone reading this.

Not long ago, Tamy over at Chasing My Life shared an info graphic about green tea on one of her Happy Homemaker Monday posts.

Here are some of the ways I’ve used green tea as a cure-all:

  • The most obvious one is I drink it! Technically, I drink Stash brand Chai Green tea.
  • If my stomach is feeling off, I’ll start by drinking a cup of tea.  Sometimes it really helps.
  • If I need to relax, I’ll drink a cup of tea. Just one though…the stuff still has caffeine. I’ve found two cups is not exactly relaxing.
  • If I have a cough, I’ll drink a cup of regular green tea with lemon juice and honey mixed into my cup.  This is my go-to when the bronchial stuff finds me in the fall/winter months.
  • At Christmas, I had the beginning of an eye infection. Since I didn’t know of any urgent care open on Christmas night, I turned to Dr. Google and discovered Green Tea has weak antibiotic properties.  A cup of green tea (I used the regular stuff here) to drink and then a warm tea bag on my infected eye. Soothing in  so many ways. And my eye was better the next day!
  • Recently I had an infected bug bite, it hurt! It was during one of our hot, humid spells. Dutifully, putting the Neosporin antibiotic cream on it was not helping much.  A couple of nights with a green tea bag did the trick!

Here’s the part where I go I’m not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one on the Internet either. If you need a doctor, please call one.  The above are just some things I’ve actually done and found to be successful.

One thing I don’t do is drink the green tea in the morning. I’ll stick with my coffee during the a.m. hours thank you very much.

Do you drink green tea? Have you found it to be beneficial?


Using A Quarter To Save on Shampoo And Conditioner

Just a super quick post today.  I did want to share my quarter trick with you for this week’s Tiny Tip on a Thursday though.

It’s actually still in the testing stage but so far so good.  I’m using a quarter as a way to save my hair conditioner.  It would work for shampoo as well which is why I titled the post to save on shampoo and conditioner.

I’m not the one using too much hair conditioner in this house.  Don’t you love teenagers?  My teenager likes to use my hair conditioner.  This alone didn’t bother me.  What bothered me was him using half the bottle every time he showered.  Perhaps I exaggerate?

However, every time I went to use my hair conditioner, I discovered an empty bottle.  The search for a solution began.  Telling didn’t work…yelling didn’t work…buying him his own…sigh…did not work. Then, I had an idea based on the directions on the bottle.  (Yeah, I don’t generally read the directions on the shampoo and conditioner bottles either.)

How To Use A Quarter To Save Your Shampoo/Hair Conditioner

The directions generally read use a quarter amount of the product.  Since my teenager is a visual kind of kid, I took the directions one step further.  (probably should have taken the photo before I showered)

I taped a quarter to the hair conditioner bottle and wrote the directions on the front with a Sharpie marker.

Surprisingly, the clear tape has held up really well.  I couldn’t find any other tape the morning I did this, not expecting it to work super well and fully thinking I’d be replacing the kind of tape I used.

Happily, this works! The bottle has lasted more than a week with both of us using it.  I think 4 days was the previous record.  The visual reminder seems to help a great deal.  It even makes me a bit more conscious of how much product I’m pouring out of the bottle.

Do you have any tips for saving on shampoo and conditioner?


Bag of Activities for When Mom is at Work

As much as I love working at the preschool, it is harder on days when my boys are home for the summer.  They are old enough to stay on their own and yet my youngest still misses me (shh! it’s a secret) and needs things to do.

For today’s Tiny Tip on a Thursday, I decided to share one thing I did to try to help him.

I put together a Mom’s At Work bag for him to look in and get activities throughout the day.  Sometimes, he does the activities and sometimes he doesn’t mess with the bag at all.  I’m okay either way.

While it’s for him, I admit it is also for me in that it helps a tiny fraction in alleviating some of the leaving the kids at home alone guilt.  Here’s a quick peek into what is currently in the bag.  I do try to change it up each day I work (unless J hasn’t bothered with it, then I leave it alone).  Mom's At Work Bag

My main goal is to not spend any or at least very minimal money on the bag.

Mom's At Work Bag

Our current bag

The current bag I picked up for a birthday present and then realized, it was much too big.  It makes a great “when mom’s at work bag” though.

I also make it a goal to spend as little money as possible on the contents of the bag. Most these items came from around our house with maybe 1-2 items coming from the Dollar Tree.

 What is in the Mom’s At Work Bag:

  1. Library book
  2. Note with ideas of things to do: I usually list them as challenges such as build me a bird feeder out of Lego’s,
  3. Question note (This question was why is this full moon called the flower moon?)
  4. Not pictured, a simple note from me including the times I’m working and when I’ll be calling to check in on them.
  5. Science “make your own snow” experiment
  6. 100 piece puzzle
  7. Box of mini erasers for a bowling set (I’m amazed at the creative uses I’ve seen kids around here find for these, mini bowling sets, drawing faces on them to create characters, etc…)

In the past, I’ve also given J special Lego sets (I preferred sets from the Creator series for this purpose) to only play with when mom was at work.  I kept them well-hidden. However, I prefer the Mom’s At Work bag option for the cost-effectiveness.

What tips do you have for keeping kids occupied while you are at work?


Note: I started this post last year and it sat in the draft folder for almost a year as other posts continually took precedence.  The bag is gone now put to its proper use to wrap a birthday present.  Don’t worry, I also returned the library book long ago!  J’s a year older and just slightly more mature now.

The bag may still come out as I’m scheduled to work a full week later this summer. Lately, I’ve been thinking of re-purposing it into one of those I’m Bored bags or boxes seen all over Pinterest.

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