Do-it-Yourself Pet Meds and More Reader Tips

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I love to read my mail because so much of it contains great ideas and tips from my awesome EC readers. Take a look at this small sampling and tell me if this just doesn’t make you happy, too!

DIY pet meds. Trips to the veterinarian for puppy and booster shots can be very expensive. Most reliable pet stores and grooming shops sell the medications and offer instructions so you can inject your pets at home. It is easy and cheap. You can find instructional videos online that will teach you exactly how to inject your pet. Veterinarians in my area charge from $25 to $45 for each injection. The same shots from the same manufacturers purchased from grooming shops or pet stores can be more like $5 to $10 each. It is legal in most states to administer these medications to your pet. Be sure to check yours. Tracey H.

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Travel light and save. It may sound like mission impossible but if you learn to travel light with only your carry-on you will save a tremendous amount of time and money. You can ride the bus instead of hiring a cab. You won’t have to tip porters to carry all your suitcases. And if your flight is overbooked, you can volunteer to get bumped (you’ll get a voucher for a free ticket), and not worry about whether you will ever catch up with your checked luggage. Joe D.

Smart Saving Tastes Like Chicken

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With the price of beef skyrocketing, now more than ever, chicken is is becoming the backbone of the frugal kitchen. And why not? Chicken is much less expensive than beef or pork, and useful down to the bones. 

Don’t pay full-price. Chicken is always on sale somewhere. If you don’t want to store-hop, you can always find some cut of meat, fish and poultry on sale in your favorite market. Eat what’s on sale and if it’s a loss-leader (that means priced dirt-cheap to entice people through the door), stock up for the coming weeks.

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Buy whole chickens. The most frugal way to use chickens is to buy them whole and cut them up yourself. You’ll not only save money, but chicken tastes much better when cooked with the skin and bones. A whole, organic bird usually costs less per pound than precut, skinned and boned parts–and it tastes so much better. It is not difficult to cut up a chicken once you understand the five simple steps. Here is a video tutorial, or if you prefer, written instructions with pictures. 

5 Rules to Build Wealth

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At the tender age of 11, I made a solemn vow that when I grew up I was going to be rich. My plan was simple: Marry well. 

I bless the day I married my husband, a man who is rich in character and unfailing love. I assumed his money would follow. While waiting for wealth to descend upon me, I made the near-tragic error of spending as though I were already rich. That landed us in so much financial trouble that it took 13 years to repair.

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The experience taught me a very important principle: How much you spend matters much more than how much you earn. It’s the money you don’t spend that gives you the freedom to build wealth and live the life you love. 

Eat Healthy, Save Money

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There exists a belief among many people that when it comes to feeding one’s family, if it’s cheap it cannot possibly be healthy. That’s a myth. Don’t believe it.

Eating healthy while sticking to a budget comes down to shopping smart and cooking at home, mostly from scratch. It’s all about time and money—the two things that for most families are in short supply these days. Most of us just don’t have the time to do a lot of menu planning, recipe scouring and strategic grocery shopping to make sure we have what we need, when we need it to make fabulously healthy food! And if you are a regular here, you know my solution is eMeals. Honestly, eMeals saves my bacon week after week. 

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I hope you enjoy this recipe from the eMeals Healthy menu plan. For less than the price of one muffin from Panera Bread, I can make this entire recipe and come out with a dozen healthy muffins, and in less time than it would take to get in the car, drive to the mall, find a parking space, stand in line, get the muffin and make my way back home. And I know exactly what’s in these muffins.

Careful, the Kids Are Watching

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If you speak English in your home, your kids are not likely to come out speaking Italian. Kids learn everything through observation and imitation. And they don’t miss a thing. Kids are shaped at the very beginning of life by the way their parents live. They are ever-attentive witnesses of grown-up behaviors. They take their cues from what they see and hear. 

Want your kids to grow up with healthy attitudes about money? Start living the way you want them to become. Let your kids regularly catch you in the act of living financially responsible lives and you’ll be on your way to raising financially responsible kids.

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You really cannot start too early modeling healthy money attitudes for your kids. Here are 20 ways you can start right now to raise financially responsible kids even if yours are still toddlers, excerpted from my book, Raising Financially Responsible Kids, which remains my most favorite of all because it’s about my kids and the plan we created.

Start Saving, Just Do It!

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A recent column brought a flood of messages to my inbox, most of them with the same message that goes something like this: I want to save, I need to save, but I don’t have any money to save! How can I even get started when I am so close to the edge?  

First, let’s review: When it comes to saving money, we Americans are a pathetic lot. Here we are blessed with the highest per capita income on the face of the earth yet most recent data shows we’re saving 3.1 percent of our disposable income. Because that’s an average, that means a whole lot of you have nothing saved, nothing to fall back on in the event of an emergency or unexpected expense. It feels like you’re just one paycheck away from being homeless and that’s a terrible way to live and one of the greatest contributors to our collective stress.

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While not wishing to throw you into a panic, I really need to get tough on this. You must start saving! You have to see yourself as more important than your creditors. Get in line in front of them and pay yourself first! Just do it. When you get your paycheck, your refund, birthday money… take the first part and stash it away. 

19 Fabulous Gift Ideas for Mom

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Since Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away and since I have a feeling you’re as surprised by that as I am and since I’m a mom and most of you are moms or know a mom or have a mother figure in your life–I’ve taken the liberty of assuming you might appreciate some help with coming up with an awesome Mother’s Day gift or two. 

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I wouldn’t say I am the quintessential expert when it comes to selecting perfect Mother’s Day gifts, but I know what I like and think I may not be too far off from what most moms would also enjoy.

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First, I love to cook so anything for my kitchen like a new gadget or improved implement like a shiny new whisk would delight me no end. Next, I enjoy technology, electronic devices and all the accessories that go along with them. I love fine fragrances and cool hair products. Ditto for quality makeup and fashion wear. 

And so, with myself in mind, I’ve come up with 19 great gift ideas ranging in price from $6 to $480.  I would be tickled to open up any one of these item on Mother’s Day.    

Not Saving At a Greater Rate than Ever

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We Americans are bent on spending and that is supposed to be a good thing. It drives our economy. When spending is down the outlook is bleak. When it’s up, economic-types are giddy with joy. And now it seems our spending is too much of a good thing because Americans on average are saving only a pittance, while more than half are saving nothing at all. In fact, those Americans are not saving at a greater rate than they  have not saved in the past 74 years and I mean to the tune of negative 1%.

I understand -30 F. with wind chill factor . But -1% savings? I’m no math wizard but that sounds like a person robs bank and then fails to save any of the loot. Apparently it means you don’t save money you never had in the first place. Or you spend all you have plus the money you had managed to save.

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Whatever the terminology and statistics that back it up, failing to save is at the least stupid and at the most quite dangerous. I know, we live in a world with plenty of plastic and big companies telling us not to worry about emergencies. That’s why God created credit cards we’re told–to be there when things go wrong and we’ve failed to prepare adequately.