Posted on 7/31/2012 12:39 EST
Summer is the season for bright, glowing skin and bare, happy feet. These seven DIY skin care tips will help smooth, brighten, and even heal where needed. Better yet, they're cheap, easy, and natural. Just don't forget the sunscreen when you venture outdoors.
Exfoliate the dead cells.
To exfoliate beyond the dead cells and get down to the healthy new layer underneath, Makeup and Beauty Blog
says all you need for DIY skin care is a box of sea salt. Massage it into your skin with a circular motion before hopping into the shower. Rinse thoroughly and apply plenty of moisturizer after you dry off.
You can't do much about the size of your pores but you can visibly minimize them. All it takes, according to Organic Authority
, is a DIY skin care scrub of 1 tablespoon warm honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 3 drops of lemon juice. Every other day apply the scrub on clean skin to generously porous areas and rub in a circular motion for about 3 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Twice a day, but after cleansing, follow up with a homemade astringent of 1/2 cup purified water, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, and a squeeze of the same lemon you used for the scrub. Use a cotton ball to apply the astringent, which helps remove all dirt and debris and keeps pores small and clean. Make sure to refrigerate between uses and shake before applying.
Brighten your face.
For hot summer days, makeup site Michelle Phan
recommends a DIY skin care salve dubbed Lemonade Cleansing Scrub. Thoroughly mix 1 teaspoon of sugar (to exfoliate), 2 teaspoons of your current facial cleanser (to remove dirt and oil), and juice from 3 whole lemons (to brighten your complexion). Using a clean washcloth and small circular motion, apply to your face and neck. Rinse off with cool water.
Prettify your feet.
Give special attention to your feet with this DIY skin care tip from Makeup and Beauty Blog. In a large container mix 10 cups of hot water, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of salt, and 2 fresh-squeezed
lemons. Dip your feet in the mixture for 15 minutes or so, pat dry, then rub off dead skin cells with a pumice stone. Do this before you shower to avoid any lingering smell.
Love your eyes.
The sensitive area around the eyes needs tender loving care. This is where extra-virgin
olive oil comes to the rescue. Before proceeding with your regular bedtime moisturizing routine, Hello Giggles
suggests dabbing a tiny amount of oil around each eye with a finger and circling it a few times (make sure you skin is clean). On a particularly hot day, put the oil in the refrigerator prior to using -- this DIY skin care suggestion reduces puffiness and feels cool to the touch.
Treat that sunburn.
Are you peeling or in pain? A DIY skin care treatment from Safe Mama
calls for pure aloe vera gel that minimizes the itching and heat. If you get hold of a freshly cut piece of aloe vera, use only the clear gel and liquid and not the yellow sap.
Clear and soft skin at night. Itz Raining Beauty
offers this nighttime DIY skin care tip for clear and soft skin: Mix 1 tablespoon of oats soaked in water, 1/2 tablespoon honey, 3 tablespoons curd (a.k.a. yogurt). Lie down and apply mixture to your face (this prevents drips and spills.) Wait 20 minutes and then wash off.
Posted on 7/27/2012 15:06 EST
This week at Cheapism we reviewed the best back-to-school shoes for kids and gathered up the best frugal ideas for hosting an Olympics party. We also found more ways to save you money with the best gas apps for smartphones and advice on avoiding common money-wasters.
In addition to the score of back-to-school deals
we've compiled, you'll find several ideas for cheap kids' shoes
. For less than $40, you can outfit your child with a pair of shoes suitable for all-around
use, school uniforms, or keeping up with the fashion crowd. A word of advice: it often pays to take a step up price-wise
for the best fit and durability, so you may want to avoid the cheapest of the cheap.
New Blog Posts.
Olympic Viewing Party.
Whether you're hosting a gathering tonight for the opening ceremonies or planning one for the next few weeks when your favorite event is scheduled, our Olympics party
tips will ensure that the event--not the cost--is memorable.
Comparison shopping can be frustrating, so we found some top apps that will do the work for you. The best gas apps
for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices compare the gas prices in your area to help you save while pumping. Some even make a game out of it. And, of course, they're free.
Stop Wasting Money Today.
You've worked hard for your money. Make sure you don't lose it to common fiscal traps. Check out our advice on how to stop wasting money
Posted on 7/27/2012 13:12 EST
Back-to-school shopping season is already in full swing. New shoes for the new school year no doubt hold a prominent place on that long list of necessary supplies. Whether you're scouting around for back-to-school shoes to carry your child through the next couple of months, to suit every occasion, to meet dress code guidelines, or to satisfy a budding fashionista, we've got the shoe for you -- all for less than $40.
But first, some back-to-school
shoes shopping tips.
- Super-cheap back-to-school shoes can be pricey in the long run. Shoddy shoes often lead to injury and costly medical expenses. Pick sneakers or oxford-style shoes that offer flexibility in the toe and provide support in the heel region.
- Proper fit is critical. There should be approximately a half centimeter, or a thumb's tip, between the front of the back-to-school shoe and the child's toe. Toes need wiggle room and shouldn't be squished together. Buy the size that fits your child's larger foot.
- Look for back-to-school shoes made of leather or other natural materials, not synthetics. Natural materials let feet breathe and reduce the chance of bacterial infections.
- To minimize wear and tear and to combat foot odor, buy two pairs of back-to-school shoes for each child and wear on alternate days.
- Steer clear of used footwear, which conforms to the foot of the previous owner and may carry bacteria.
Need a pair of back-to-school shoes for the short-term? We like the girls' Danskin Now Lara Sneaker (starting at $9) for its styling and accurate fit, although many parents grumble it isn't built to last. Our top boys' pick is the Starter Felix Sneaker (starting at $9), which wins fans for value, look, and fit but loses some over concerns about durability.
We found three styles that score as best all-around back-to-school
shoe. The New Balance 633 (starting at $33
) is an update of Good Housekeeping's top-rated back-to-school
shoe from 2009. It wowed testers back then for performance and support and impressed kids with its appearance. The New Balance 553 (starting at $25
) athletic back-to-school
shoe comes in boys' and girls' styles and in wide sizes. Parents appreciate the shoe's durability, comfortable fit, and light weight. Another heavy hitter is the Adidas Superstar 2 (starting at $35
), noted in back-to-school
shoe reviews for comfort, retro styling, and ability to withstand rough-housing
. It's available in boys' and girls' versions and a variety of colors.
Our favorite uniform-appropriate back-to-school shoes are Keds School Days II Girls' Leather Saddle Shoes (starting at $30, Amazon), which earn high marks in parents' reviews for solid construction, generous cushioning, and ease of cleaning, and Timberland Carlsbad Oxford Shoe (starting at $30, Amazon), a boys shoe that comes in slip-on and lace-up styles and is cited for comfort, rugged durability, and styling that easily dresses up or down.
Kids with an eye on fashion trends love the gender-neutral Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Core Ox Shoes (starting at $32, Amazon). Parents, however, consider these back-to-school shoes better for sloughing around than for gym class.
One fashion accessory you might want to pass on is the ever-popular Crocs shoe. Crocs slip off easily, making them potentially hazardous on the playground, don't provide enough support for schoolyard sports and activities, and don't offer adequate warmth and protection against the elements.
Posted on 7/26/2012 14:43 EST
Between tax season, monthly bills, and day-to-day spending, there are countless opportunities to lose your hard-earned money -- including many you may not even realize. The team at Kiplinger has compiled a list of 25 common money-wasters and provides helpful tips on how to stop wasting more money than you already have. Some of the advice is designed to trigger habits of steady saving that grow into a nice cushion over time, while other tips could produce vast, sudden, and sustained differences in your cash outflow.
What you can do right away.
can be tackled fairly easily, but you might feel overwhelmed if you try to take them on all at once. So work on one, or a few, at a time. In a conversation with Cheapism, Kiplinger editor Andrea Browne singled out several tips to implement immediately, such as using cruise control when you drive and buying in bulk on your next grocery run.
Here's how to stop wasting money on upcoming shopping trips: When you take out the car, go easy on the pedal to get maximum gas mileage. Once you arrive at your destination, practice caution. Sales are not necessarily your friend. Unbelievably low prices could signal poor quality. Consider spending a little more for an item of higher quality in order to save on repairs and/or replacements in the long run.
Make a list of the products you need on a regular basis, such as toilet paper and diapers, or pantry items such as coffee and cereal. Bulk buying usually lowers the cost per unit. If you're interested in purchasing a gadget that's just been released, consider waiting a few months for the next generation, which typically promises design and performance improvements at a similar or lesser price. For example, in 2007 a Kindle cost $400, but a sleeker and more current model now sells for less than $150.
Turn big expenses into big wins.
Paying for an education, a home, healthcare -- these are all big investments that can turn into large amounts of wasted money. There are, however, potential gains to be had. Let's start with buying a home. As most everyone knows by now, millions of Americans struggle to pay the mortgage, endure foreclosure, and lose money when selling a house or apartment. If you have any doubts about buying, consider renting. This could save you thousands of dollars as well as years of worry.
How to stop wasting money on college is another question worth exploring. Sure, a college education sets the foundation for your career and financial well-being
. But Kiplinger advises investing in an education that pays off sooner rather than later. Otherwise, it may be decades before your salary can cover your student debt. Check the Student Loan Advisor Calculator
to see the size of the monthly payment you can afford given your expected salary.
You can also save hundreds of dollars by opting for convenient-care centers rather than the emergency room. Insurers often waive the co-pay when you use one of these lower-level facilities and increase the rate for non-emergency visits to the ER. But the best way to stop wasting money on health care is to make your own health a priority, with the goal of minimizing visits to health care providers.
Have a plan and take it slow.
A key takeaway from all Kiplinger's advice, says Browne, is simply to slow down. Impulse buys and taking action in a hurry both come at a great cost. So heed the old saying -- a little preparation goes a long way. Browne suggests devising a plan of attack that starts with a mental snapshot of your spending limit for the day. Then write it down and carry it with you. Browne notes that the power of the written word can make it a lot harder to buy things at random. Lastly, she advises, pay with cash. There's a reality check that comes with watching a wad of money dwindle before your eyes.
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More than 1 billion are expected to watch this Friday, July 27, as top athletes from all over the world gather in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. If a (tiny) chunk of that audience will be tuning in at your place, we've got you covered with tips for hosting an affordable yet gold-medal-worthy Olympics party.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Of course when it came to food for an Olympics party, we turned to Pinterest
for inspiration, and the site didn't disappoint. Here are a few of our favorite frugal ideas:
- Decorate homemade cupcakes with white icing and use five M&M's to create the Olympic rings on each one.
- Fill ice cream cones with buttered popcorn for a low cost snack that represents the Olympic torch.
- Fill a fruit plate with whatever's on sale at the supermarket, and then garnish it with a few blueberries, banana slices, blackberries, kiwi slices, and cut strawberries. Shape them into circles to form edible Olympic rings.
Cut the cost of completing your Olympics spread by asking your guests to pitch in and bring a dish. Encourage them to to choose something to represent a country competing in the Olympics -- a baguette and Brie cheese for France, for example, or guacamole and tortilla chips for Mexico.
Continue that theme by making your Olympics party BYOB -- bring your own beverage, whether it be Heineken from the Netherlands or Red Stripe from Jamaica. The cost of providing liquor quickly adds up and asking guests to bring a six-pack
can drastically reduce your spending. Much as you might like to promise bottomless Newcastle and Pimm's Cups for everyone, in honor of the Olympics host nation, focus instead on providing at least one type of cocktail and, of course, a few non-alcoholic
options. For an Olympic-themed
cocktail, try floating Gummi Savers in the colors of the Olympic rings in glasses of champagne. Before you start to protest about the price of a bottle of bubbly, check out Cheapism's buying guide to cheap champagne
You don't have to spend a fortune on decorations to get guests into the spirit of the Olympics. Try simple items such as hula hoops (less than $1 at many retailers) in blue, yellow, black, green, and red to represent the Olympic rings. Attach them together with clear tape and hang them on a wall. Hit up your local dollar store to check for other cheap Olympics party decorations. If nothing else, you're sure to find balloons and streamers in the Olympic colors.
While watching the Games will take up most of your time at an Olympics party, you can plan a few things to do during the commercials. For instance, the official London 2012 website
provides a guide to organizing an Olympics trivia quiz, complete with handouts and levels of difficulty. If you want to reward the winners with more than just bragging rights, hand out candy such as chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.