How To Make Frugal 4th of July Decor!

July 2013

Easy

Need to come up with some awesome 4th of July decorations on the cheap?

Here are 8 ideas for easy DIY July 4th Decorations you can make in a few minutes.

Uncle Sam Hats

You’ll need white poster board, red and blue construction paper, glue, and a pair of scissors for this project.

From your white poster board, cut a rectangle measuring 22 inches by six inches and glue the short sides together to form a large cylinder. Set aside to dry.

Also from your white poster board, cut a large circle with a radius of 7.34 inches and a circumference of 46 inches.

Cut a smaller circle with a radius of 3.34 inches and a circumference of 21 inches from the middle.

You should be left with a Jupiter-like ring that is 4 inches thick. This will form the brim of your hat. Color it red.

Make several small cuts measuring one inch from the inner ring towards the outer ring. Fold these taps up.

Grab your cylinder and fit it on top of the ring so the tabs reach up the inside the cylinder.

Glue the tabs in place. Set aside to dry.

In the meantime, cut strips of red paper measuring two inches by six inches. Glue these to the cylinder so they form vertical columns.

Grab your blue paper, and cut two long strips measuring 11 by two inches.

Carefully cut out one large star from one of the strips (you can do more, or get away with just one). Glue the blue strip so that the star sits right at the front of your hat, in between two red strips.

If you have extra supplies, show your party guests how they can make their very own Uncle Sam hat!

Triangle Flags

Grab string, thick paper in shades of red, white, and blue, and a pair of scissors.

Working with one piece of paper at a time, fold the top right corner down to meet the left side of your paper. There should be about two inches of paper in the shape of a rectangle at the bottom.

Cut off the bottom rectangle and set aside for making paper chains. Cut along your fold to create two large triangles that are the same size.

Repeat the folding and cutting until you have as many triangles as you wish. Attach your triangles to your string, alternating colors, with hot glue or paper clips.

Paper Chains

Collect the rectangular strips of paper leftover from your Triangle Flags.

Cut each strip in half lengthwise (the long way). Then cut each thin, long strip in half the short way. Glue the ends of one strip together to form a single chain.

Pick up a new strip, loop it through chain you just made, and glue its ends together to form two linked chains. Continue until your chain is as long as you want it.

Be careful to let the chains dry on a flat surface. If you hang them before the glue is dry, the weight of the chain will pull the rings apart.

Paper Flowers

If you’ve never made paper flowers, they require little skill but a few handy craft tools, namely a hot glue gun and green florist wire, which you can pick up at a hardware or craft store.

If you don’t have fancy paper on hand, you can use sheets of music, pages from a dictionary, or old magazines.

Check out this post on TipNut, which has 50 different ways to make paper flowers.

Patriotic Fruit Salad

Mix a fruit salad comprised of blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe (it’s the closest thing to white fruit, unless you can find jicama for sale).

Or, skip the cantaloupe and serve your berry salad with whipped cream.

Looking for More DIY Decorating Ideas?

Turn to Pinterst and Etsy for inspiration

On either site, search for the item you want to create, such as July 4th themed flags, then adapt the ideas that appeal to you using the supplies you have on hand.

Or start more broadly by searching for the holiday itself and see what comes up.

Last Resort

If all else fails, hit up your nearby dollar store for cheap Fourth of July decorations.

You can get a lot of red, white, and blue for $10.

Thanks, BargainBabe

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4 Tips To Help You Throw a Frugal 4th of July Bash!

July 2013

Easy

Embrace the potluck.

The easiest way to save on food expenses is to not spend at all – have your guests bring the grub instead!

The 4th of July cookout lends itself perfectly to the widely embraced practice.

To make things easy for your guests, assign them a broader category (like “side veggie”) instead of a specific request (kale chips).

Giving them the freedom to choose is not only on theme for the holiday, it also allows for a little creativity and leads to an eclectic, inspired spread.

Play it vintage.

Yard games are like fine wines.

No, really! The classics only get better with age.

But unlike wine, you can score awesome used croquet sets, bocce balls or badminton rackets on the cheap.

Check out Craigslist and eBay for wallet-friendly finds.

Stream music.

No birthday party is complete without tunes, and America’s is no exception.

Before buying tracks to create the perfect 4th of July mix, check out ready-made, free playlist options on Spotify, last.fm and Pandora.

Bonus points if the playlists contain super-hip songs that appear to be hand-selected.

Ditch the disposable dishware.

Paper plates and plastic silverware may eliminate dish duty, but they add to the trash heap at the local landfill and present a surprisingly high (but easily avoidable) expense.

Tip: If you don’t have enough dishes to go around, try focusing your BBQ around finger foods.

Hope these little tips will help you have a happy and frugal 4th!

Thanks, Mint!

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*Must Read Article* The 10 Best States to Make a Living!

July 2013

Easy

Making a good living is tough these days. But precisely how tough it is may depend on where you live.

Earning a decent wage, staying ahead of inflation and coping with taxes are some of the challenges American workers face. If they can succeed at all of this and actually enjoy their jobs, it would be a nice bonus.

Using average wage and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost-of-living figures from C2ER (formerly ACCRA) and state tax information from Tax-Rates.org, MoneyRates.com calculated an average income figure for each state that includes adjustments for taxes, inflation and the chances of finding a job in that state.

Then, these figures were further adjusted according to each state’s Workplace Environment rankings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll. These factors provide both a quantitative and qualitative basis for the rankings that follow.

Here are MoneyRates.com’s 10 best states to make a living for 2013:

Washington

The state of Washington starts workers out on the right foot with an average wage of more than $50,000 a year — one of the highest in the nation.

That high pay is more than enough to overcome a cost of living that is slightly above average, and workers get to keep more of that pay because Washington does not have a state income tax.

To cap it all off, Washington residents gave their work environments an above-average ranking in the Gallup-Healthways poll.

Virginia

Virginia’s strengths include a high average income, a low cost of living and low unemployment.

This has been a consistently winning combination for the state: Virginia has ranked in the top five states for making a living in each of the three years MoneyRates.com has done this study. It even ranked No. 1 in the 2012 study.

Colorado

A relatively high average income and moderate inflation are enough to help Colorado do well on quantitative factors, and having the third-best ranking for work environment gives it an extra boost.

Texas

Income in Texas is only about average, but a low cost of living and no state income tax make that income go further. Texas has been a top-five performer in all three years of this study.

Wyoming

A variety of factors helped Wyoming make the top 10 for the second year in a row, including ranking second-best nationally for work environment, plus having no state income tax and a very low unemployment rate.

Minnesota

An above-average income and relatively low unemployment helped Minnesota stack up well on quantitative factors. On top of that, Minnesota ranked 10th nationally for the quality of its work environment.

This marks Minnesota’s return to the top 10, after making the list in 2011 but narrowly missing it last year.

Nebraska

Nebraska makes the top 10 despite its below-average income figure.

A low cost of living and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation help Nebraska make up ground quantitatively, and a top-five ranking for work environment pulled Nebraska into the overall top 10 for the first time.

Utah

Like Nebraska, Utah has a below-average rate of income, but makes up for it with a low cost of living and low unemployment.

Combined with an above-average score for work environment, Utah earned a top-10 placing for the second year in a row.

Kansas

The story for Kansas is very similar to Utah’s: Income may be below average, but a low cost of living and unemployment rate make up for that, while an above-average ranking for its work environment provides an additional benefit.

This all added up to give Kansas its first appearance in the top 10.

Oklahoma

Once again, the pattern is repeated: A low cost of living and a strong job market help make up for a below-average income. Oklahoma gets added help from a top-10 ranking for its work environment. This is Oklahoma’s first appearance in the top 10.

The last four states above present an important reminder for job seekers: Income levels can be deceiving if you don’t take into account the cost of living. State tax rates can also be an important swing factor in evaluating a job offer in one location vs. another.

Given all the challenges facing American workers in this persistently sluggish economy, it may be encouraging to know that there are some places where employment conditions are just a bit better. The 10 states above may be ideal places to start looking for those better conditions.

The 10 Best States to Make a Living” was written by MoneyTalksNews.com

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Stop Puppy Mills! Take a few Seconds to help the Humane Society and save a Puppy!

June 2013

Easy

If you are an animal lover I ask that you please take a minute to read this and to pledge to help stop puppy mills.

If you are wondering "what can I possible do?" All you need to do is head over here and take a few seconds to sign a petition to stop puppy mills.

Puppy mills are like dog-making factories with the mother dogs spending their entire lives in cramped cages or kennels with little or no personal attention or quality of life. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are discarded or killed.

Help stop this cycle of cruelty simply making a pledge!

Disclaimer

Stop Puppy Mills! Take a few Seconds to sign this petition from the Humane Society and save a Puppy!

June 2013

Easy

If you are an animal lover I ask that you please take a minute to read this and to pledge to help stop puppy mills.

If you are wondering "what can I possible do?" All you need to do is head over here and take a few seconds to sign a petition to stop puppy mills.

Puppy mills are like dog-making factories with the mother dogs spending their entire lives in cramped cages or kennels with little or no personal attention or quality of life. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are discarded or killed.

Help stop this cycle of cruelty simply making a pledge!

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