Tag: saving

Making it through December

At Christmas time somehow we never seem to have enough money for everything. Even double cheques and bonuses seem to magically disappear. It is the time of year when the shops are full of goodies and you just feel like spending money.

But of course, if you spend it all in December – then you are in deep trouble in January!

Here are a few ways to help save money this December.

  • Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it.
  • Make your own Christmas presents instead of buying them. Check out Pinterest and other such sites – people are so clever and they come up with really stunning ideas to make gorgeous stuff out of easy to get materials.
  • Eat a good breakfast – this will mean that you don’t spend money on unhealthy snacks during the day.
  • Drink more water – not only is this better for you than drinking cool drinks, but you can refill your bottle from the tap and keep it in the fridge.
  • Invite friends over instead of going out. Get your friends to bring plates of food too.
  • Clean out your cupboards. Don’t just toss the stuff you don’t want – have a garage sale or sell big items on-line. Or you could give something that you no longer use (that is still in good working order) to somebody else and brighten up their day.
  • Swop books, games and DVD’s with your friends instead of buying new ones.
  • Stop smoking. Put the money that you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar for a month and then buy yourself a present – you’ll be shattered at just how much money you will have saved.
  • Don’t carry your credit card around with you – leave it at home for emergencies. That way you won’t be tempted to buy something that you cannot afford.
  • Pack your own sandwiches instead of grabbing something from the shop at lunch time.
  • Check out free events in the newspaper.
  • Keep an “ideas notebook” in your pocket or bag – jot down any good ideas that you get and then you won’t forget them.
  • Grow your own veggies – or at least some of them.
  • Carpool – not only is this great for the environment – it’s a real money saver too.
  • Don’t speed. You’ll save petrol and won’t run the risk of getting speeding fines!

Let’s all make it through December a bit more easily this year.

Sibo

Saving the Environment

Because the 5th of June was World Environment Day thought it might be a good idea to share some tips on saving money and the environment.

These days many people use toothpaste, facial or body scrubs with those teensy plastic micro beads in them.  Well… those little plastic toxic bombs go down the drain from your basin, shower or bath and eventually land up in rivers, lakes and seas. Very simply, the fish cannot avoid them and we eat the fish. These things are causing untold havoc in the environment.

By now we all probably know how useful bicarbonate of soda is for cleaning stuff around the house – but you can also use it instead of various beauty products. Here’s an alternative for your various scrubs. A much cheaper and more environmentally sound one.

Use an old spice jar – one of the ones with little sprinkle holes in the top and fill it up with bicarbonate of soda. Make sure the lid still seals well – you don’t want the bicarb to get wet. Keep it in your bathroom or shower where you can easily access it.

This alkaline substance has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. But before you start using this – try a test patch on your skin to check that you don’t have any bad reactions to it.

In addition to being antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it helps balance the skin’s pH – so if you have acne or spots you can mix a spoon of bicarb with a bit of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area for a few minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Do this until your skin clears up.

You can whiten your teeth by sprinkling a bit of bicarb on your regular toothpaste and brushing your teeth once a day. Only do it for a few days though – not all the time – otherwise you can hurt the enamel on your teeth.

Get rid of residue of hair products on your hair – put a blob of shampoo in your hand and sprinkle some bicarb into it. Wash your hair as normal. It removes all the yukky stuff very effectively.

Sprinkle some bicarb onto a face cloth and use it as a body scrub to get rid of all the dead skin and flaky bits. Rinse well when you are finished.

Or simply sprinkle some bicarb into your hand add warm water and gently use it as a face wash/scrub. This works especially well if you don’t wear a lot of make-up.

Take care,

Sibo

Magic Stuff

Did you know that vinegar really is miracle stuff?

You can use it for a number of things and it is much more environmentally friendly that using harsh detergents. It’s also something that most people readily have in their homes.

Here are a few different ways that you can use it when cooking – apart from putting it on your chips that is…

If you add a dash of vinegar to the water when you are boiling eggs it stops the white from leaking out if any of the eggs crack in the pot.

For leafy veggies that are wilted and all sad looking, try soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar and they will crisp up considerably.

You know how your hands honk when you have been chopping onions? Well… if you rub your hands with a bit of white vinegar you’ll get rid of that nasty smell.

Here’s another great tip – often eating veggies like cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower can make a person a tad “farty”. They say if you add a dash of vinegar to the water when cooking, it will not only perk up the taste but also reduce gassiness. This also works when cooking beans. Bean soup is always delicious in the winter but sometimes the “fallout” takes away some of the charm. Vinegar to the rescue!

Some other great uses for vinegar in the home…

Before you wash them – spray vinegar onto shirts or dresses that have those yellow deodorant stains under the arms– it helps to remove the discolouration. Adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine rejuvenates bright colours. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer and a mildew-inhibitor.

Chewing gum that is stuck to car upholstery, rugs and carpeting can be loosened by rubbing gently with vinegar.

Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize and sort out just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. You can also spray it on the grout between your tiles, leave it for a few minutes, and then give it a scrub with an old tooth brush.

Wow! Who knew that sour old vinegar was such sweet stuff!

Hope these tips are useful for you.

Lots of love

Sibo

Start saving… NOW!

Hands up who saves?

I can hear you all saying – don’t be silly you usually have lots of month left over after your money and that there is none left to save. Or that you don’t have enough to live on, let alone save.

It might not be as hard as you think.

Here are some tips on how to start saving.

Write down everything that you spend. Record how much you spend – yes – every single last thing that you spend money on. Use credit card statements, bank statements etc to help you figure out what you do with your money. Once you have all your information – organise it into categories such as: rent, medical, food, clothing, car payments/petrol, entertainment etc.

Make a budget.  Now you know what you are spending, it is much easier to make a budget for all your monthly expenses. Do remember to budget in for things that don’t happen all the time – like getting your car fixed. If you are spending way more than you earn – then it’s time to figure out which are the non-essentials and start to trim them down a bit.

Plan on saving. The aim is to spend less than you earn.  You should try and plan on saving between 10 – 15% of what you earn each month.

Choose something to save for.  This is the fun part – you could be saving for short-term stuff – like having a holiday or a new car. Or things like a computer, cell phone, new handbag or a fancy matric dance dress. Then there is long-term saving – like for your education, your retirement or a deposit for your own home.

Decide on your priorities. No point saving for a holiday if you know you are going to need a new car soon. Of course, you can always save for more than one thing at once – you just have to be even more careful and clever with your money.

Pick the right tools to save.  Do some research and find out which place is going to safely look after your savings and make them grow. Most banks offer automated transfers – this way your money can zoot straight into your savings account at the beginning of each month and you won’t be tempted to skip a month.

Then sit back and watch those savings grow!

Sibo

Loving Life

Sibo with ants 2

On the 22nd of May – that’s next Sunday – it’s International Day of Biological Diversity.

That sounds like a real mouthful but actually all biodiversity means is different sorts of living things. Life!

Often we take these things for granted – the in-your-face ones like different breeds of dogs and cats or trees, plants and flowers. Then you get varieties of birds and beautiful different types of butterflies – to name just a very few.

With global warming many species are being compromised. Because some areas are getting hotter – or colder – and several species of plants are dying out.  You might wonder what difference it would make if one little type of plant no longer existed, but actually it does make a huge difference.

Some insects might live on that particular plant and they are eaten up by some other animal. If you take the plant away – there is no food for the insects and no insects for the animals… you see what I mean. Suddenly a whole chain is wiped out.

The bees are also being compromised. Bees might seem like pesky little critters that do nothing other than sting us which hurts like crazy, but they pollenate all sorts of plants and flowers and are vital in the food chain. One of the ways this is happening is that the farmers are spraying with nasty stuff that keeps the crops alive (true – this is very important) but it kills off all sorts of insects – including the bees.

People always tend to think that if all the plant and animal life died out, that humans would be the last to survive. Well – I’ve got news for you – we are actually halfway down the list. Not last at all.

My storybook – Sibo Likes Life is all about the subject of biodiversity. We are having a worldwide on-line event on the 22nd May and you’re all invited to join in if you want to. If you go to my website – http://www.sibo.co.za   you can read this e-book absolutely free of charge.

There will be a competition too, where you could win the book – a real book – not an e-book.

You can also join the event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/246259775763801/ .

We all need to do as much as we can to help save this precious earth of ours. After all, we only have one earth and one life.

Love your life!

Sibo

Mothers Day is Special

Sibo and mum

Our Mothers (or the people who act as mothers) are really special people in our lives – right? They love us unconditionally, listen to us, dry our tears, feed us, look after us and be our private taxi service whenever we need to get somewhere.

Often we don’t even remember to thank them for all the things that they do. Shame on us!

Yes – they also can drive us nuts, nag us to keep us on the right track (no matter how old we are) but they only do this because they love us and want the best for us.

They care.

Like I mentioned last week, Sunday 8th of May is Mother’s Day. This is the one day of the year that we can give back to our moms.

Spoil them like crazy. Make them feel loved.

We can buy flowers and fancy presents, but if we don’t have lots of money there are still things we can do.

Here are a few ideas that just cost time – mostly.

Make a lovely Mother’s Day card. Go crazy – decorate it with anything fancy you can find – glitter, dried flowers, bits of fabric, wool – get creative. You love your mom – show her how much time you are willing to spend on her.

If you don’t have money for a gift you could make her vouchers. Little cards or papers that say things like:

“Please would you do the washing up?”
“Please would you make me a cup of tea?”
“Please will you bring in the washing?”
“Please will you pick up the dog poop?” (This only works if you have a dog).
“Please will you wash my car?”
“Please will you bring me my glasses from my room?”

You get what I mean? Anything that you think could be useful for your mom – each family has different needs.

Write the vouchers nicely, decorate the cards or papers and put them all together in an envelope. Or make little holes in the side and bind them together with string or wool.

The cruncher with vouchers is… we have to be prepared to do the job when mom presents it to us.  With no moaning, groaning or whinging! Otherwise they are pointless.

We could also make a meal or a cake – and be sure to do all the washing up afterwards.

Whatever you choose to do – do it with love!

Sibo

Tricky Trash

Recycling

Hearing about the Pikitup troubles started me thinking about rubbish.

We all generate lots of trash every single day.

How many people do actually recycle their stuff? I know that some places have bins that are easily accessible for people to throw their paper, plastic or glass in and all it requires is a little bit of effort. Other places provide special bags for recycling stuff and it gets specially picked up every week. That’s also relatively easy to do.

Then you get the places are not so jacked-up and it actually does require a fair amount of trouble to recycle properly.

If your area does not have good recycling habits there are other things that you can do to help out.

Most places in South Africa have people who trawl around the bins in residential areas on rubbish day. They take out all the plastic, glass and paper to be recycled. They get money for this stuff – and often this is their only source of income.

I know some people whinge and mutter because they don’t always leave the bins nice and tidy as they found them, but actually they’re doing the earth a service.

Why fill up the landfill more when we can recycle?

So… the nice thing to do is to help out and try and segregate your own rubbish.

Save all your glass bottles and jars and put them into a separate bag in the bin.

Do the same with tins, plastic, paper and cardboard. Make sure you wash out tins and plastic containers first. It must be really horrible for the people who collect this stuff to have to grovel out yukky miffy old disgusting cans with bits of mouldy dogfood or baked beans clinging to the sides.

You could also find out if any of the play schools in your area need stuff – like the inside cardboard roll in the toilet paper, cereal boxes, plastic trays, jars etc.  They often use things like that for craft projects or for storage.

If you have batteries, bulbs or ink cartridges you can usually recycle those in the bins in Pick ‘n Pay. They know how to properly dispose such nasty things. Some batteries have mercury in them and you really don’t want those to end up in the landfill.

All it takes is a bit of time and organisation.

Give it a go!

Sibo

Antics

Sibo with ants 2

The other day our house was besieged by ants. Long columns of them marched around our kitchen. At first we thought somebody had left something sweet by the sink and that’s what they were attracted to, but then we realised that they were going for the water.

Mum wanted to spray them all with Doom. I thought that was a bit harsh and convinced her to leave them alone for a while to see if they disappeared as fast as they had arrived. Lucky for them, they did.

This got me wondering about ants. I googled to find out some more.

Turns out there are three kinds of ants in a colony: The queen, the female workers and males. The queen and the males have wings. The workers don’t have wings. (The workers are the ants that we usually see scurrying around the place.) The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The male ant’s job is to mate with future queen ants and they do not live very long afterwards. Once the queen grows to adulthood, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs!

Ant colonies also have soldier ants that protect the queen, defend the colony, gather or kill food, and attack enemy colonies in search for food and nesting space. If they defeat another ant colony, they take away eggs of the defeated ant colony. When the eggs hatch, the new ants become the “slave” ants for the colony. Some jobs of the colony include taking care of the eggs and babies, gathering food for the colony and building the anthills or mounds.

Did you know…

  • There are more than 12,000 species of ants that can be found all over the world?
  • An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight.
  • Ants do not have ears. They “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • Ants also don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through those same holes.
  • When ants fight – they usually fight to the death.
  • Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies. Queen ants shed their wings when they start a new nest.
  • When searching for food, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they have been.

Sjoe! Ants are actually quite amazing.

Let’s not step on ants.

Have a great week.

Sibo

Saving

Sibo saving money 2

How many people save? And for once I am not talking about saving water or electricity – I’m talking about saving money – although of course when you save electricity – you also save money too!

Somehow we never seem to have enough money to do all the things that we want to do.

So I did some sleuthing on the internet and found some ways that a person can save money.

  • Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it.
  • If you really want to buy something – wait a few days – like 30! Half the time you will decide you don’t actually need it after all.
  • Invite friends over instead of going out. Get your friends to bring plates of food too.
  • Make your own presents instead of buying them.
  • Clean out your cupboards. Don’t just toss the stuff you don’t want – have a garage sale or sell big items on-line.
  • Drink more water – not only is this better for you than drinking cool drinks, but you can refill your bottle from the tap and keep it in the fridge.
  • Stop smoking. Put the money that you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar for a month and then buy yourself a present – you’ll be shattered at just how much it is.
  • Swop books, games and DVD’s with your friends instead of buying new ones.
  • Don’t carry your credit card around with you – leave it at home for emergencies. That way you won’t be tempted to buy something that you cannot afford.
  • Pack your own sandwiches instead of grabbing something from the shop at lunch time.
  • Eat a good breakfast – this will mean that you don’t spend money on unhealthy snacks during the day.
  • Keep an “ideas notebook” in your pocket or bag – jot down any good ideas that you get and then you won’t forget them.
  • Check out free events in the newspaper.
  • Grow your own veggies – or at least some of them.
  • Carpool – not only is this great for the environment – it’s a real money saver too.
  • Join the library. It’s free and there are plenty of books to read that you can borrow instead of buying. Plus they often have interesting events as well.
  • Don’t speed. You’ll save petrol and won’t run the risk of getting speeding fines!

Let’s start saving.

Sibo