Archive for April 30, 2018

Frugal Food Options to Make Your Cinco De Mayo Extraordinary

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, which means its time to get festive and enjoy a little Mexican culture and history. Celebrating this holiday can be a blast, but it can also be a huge burden on your budget if you’re not careful. Luckily, there’s a lot of ways you can enjoy this holiday without forcing yourself to spend a bundle. Mexican food, for instance, can be very cheap if you know what to cook. These ten items will help you cut down on your budget while allowing you to enjoy some tasty foods. So, have a little fun with your holiday whether you’re feeding yourself, your family or a whole party.

1. Embrace Beans
There are so many bean recipes out there that can make your little fiesta taste out of this world. Beans, especially when purchased dry, cost next to nothing. So, your main expenditure is going to be the foods that need to be added into the beans or those you plan to serve with the beans. One easy option is to make a big batch of refried beans. You can serve simple bean burritos or use them as your main side dish. This will help fill everyone up too, so they won’t need to eat as much as the evening progresses. You can even use these beans as an appetizer to keep things cheap. Of course, whole beans can also be used as a main course or side dish. You might even consider making items like black bean tacos to spice things up.

2. Add Rice
When it comes to making any meal more filling, one of the best options is using rice. You can buy rice for relatively cheap in bulk, which will allow you to whip up large batches of it for next to nothing. Luckily, Mexican rice isn’t very complicated to make either. There’s lots of great recipes you can try online too, which will give you a bit of variety while working on the meal. Rice makes a great side dish for just about any item on the menu. Plus, you can stuff it in burritos to make the food go a lot farther. This amazing side dish is certain to get some compliments too. Best of all, it reheats nicely, so if you have a lot of leftovers you’ll be set for lunches for quite some time.

3. DIY Salsa
Salsa plays an amazing role in Mexican food. The fresh taste mixes with the flavors of the food to create an irresistible taste. Although salsa from a jar is affordable, it often lacks what fresh salsa brings to the table. Some stores will even offer their own fresh salsa, but these usually cost more than they are worth. Your best bet is to make your own. Luckily, there’s an abundance of recipes online. You can make salsa suited for tacos, salsa that is mild, salsa that is so hot you’ll question your sanity and even salsa in a variety of colors. The recipes online will even allow you to offer your guests an assortment of options to choose form. Luckily, the ingredients for the sauce doesn’t cost a fortune either. You usually need tomatoes or tomatillos, garlic, jalapenos and any other pepper you choose to add in. Most of the time, you simply roast the produce and then blend it together. No matter which recipe you try, you’re bound to have some fun making and trying it.

4. Bulk Meats
When it comes to purchasing meat for your meal, it is best to shop in bulk. You can find all sorts of deals on foods like pork roast or cheaper cuts of beef, which will allow you to make all sorts of delicious dishes. These foods are generally best when cooked slowly, which will allow you to give the meat a tender texture. Often, these meats are shredded and spiced to place in tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. You can also stew these meats in special sauces to create an authentic taste everyone will crave. If you love soup, then this is also a great option for such meats. Of course, you might be able to find cheap beef that is easy to spice and cut for a carne asada dish that everyone will love.

5. Indulge in Eggs
When you think about Mexican food, eggs might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, this very cheap item can take your meal to great lengths. Rather than hosting a dinner, you may consider cooking breakfast foods instead. Eggs are the perfect cheap option for breakfast burritos and tacos. You can spice them as you please to make them even more appealing. Of course, there’s other options to choose from too. For instance, you can make food like huevoes ranchero to entice your guests. There’s lots of cheap food that can be paired with eggs too, so have fun with your breakfast feast.

6. Taco Bar
If you’re looking for an option that will keep just about everyone happy then a taco bar is the way to go. Corn tortillas are very cheap to purchase, but you can also mix things up with hard shells or flour tortillas. The taco bar can consist of items you can find at a cheap price. For instance, hamburger meat with seasoning tends to be one of the most frugal options available. You can spice things up with lettuce, tomato and other fixings. Of course, you can add chicken, steak, vegetables and other items if you can afford to do so. Guests will love mixing and matching items, so you shouldn’t have a problem working with all sorts of appetites.

7. Tamales
Some Mexican food options aren’t quite as easy as others. However, if you’re willing to put the work in then tamales are another cheap option that tends to draw in a crowd. All you need to make this amazing dish is corn husks, Matza and something to fill them with. Usually, they are made with cheaper cuts of meat that have been slow cooked and spiced. However, you can mix things up with filling like cheese and jalapeno or make it a dessert option with apples and cinnamon. You can cook tamales in bulk too, which will make it easier to your party together.

8. Nachos
If you want to keep things simple, then you’re definitely going to want to consider nachos as an entrée or an appetizer. This dish is so simple to work up that you will have plenty of time to spare for your party. You can also make nachos to suit every appetite. For kids, you may end up making simple cheese nachos, while adults might want a bean, meat and vegetable combination. Simply toss your items in the oven and they will be good to eat in no time. Kids might also want to help out with the feast too, which will make your celebration even more meaningful.

9. Make Your Own Tortillas
One of the best ways to cut down on the price of your meal is to actually make your own tortillas. Believe it or not, but this isn’t as hard as it may sound. It may take a little more labor, but you’re certain to taste the difference in your fresh tortillas opposed to those you purchase in a store. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with corn or flour tortillas either. There’s actually lots of great recipes that will help you whip up this amazing dish in no time at all. Best of all, your tortillas can be the staple of your meal, which will allow you to save even more money.

10. Pot Luck
Hands down, one of the easiest options when it comes to enjoying Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo is to simply host a pot luck meal. This will not only allow you to save money and put less burden on yourself, but it will also give everyone that attends a chance to try a variety of dishes. You might ask your guests to bring a family recipe or a dish they have spent time perfecting. It would be great to have stories to share about the dish too. Best of all, if people bring repeat dishes, you will be able to taste the difference in each batch. This should make the meal even more incredible.

Cinco de Mayo is a great time to experiment with Mexican food and embrace Mexican culture. These ten ideas will help you do so on the cheap, so your budget won’t suffer from the holiday. With any luck, your Cinco de Mayo feast will be out of this world.

Fun Ways to Keep May the Fourth Frugal and Fun

If you’ve never celebrated May the Fourth, then you’re in for a real treat this year. This holiday was originally designed to celebrate Star Wars and all that it accompanies. However, over the years, this day has also been reserved to celebrate all things geeky, which has made it even more popular. Of course, if you’re on a budget then you might be wondering how you’re going to fit in another holiday without breaking the bank. There’s actually a lot of great things you can do to enjoy May the Fourth that won’t cost you much at all. So, let your geeky side show this holiday as you’re bound to have some fun.

1. Embrace the Sales
One of the most anticipated aspects of May the Fourth is often the sales. You will find sales on just about anything and everything Star Wars, so make sure to check out your favorite stores to see what kind of amazing prices you can find. Don’t forget, it won’t just be about the actual movies as you will be able to find comics, books, collectibles, clothes and toys at a great price. You may even find custom Star Wars food and drink at a price enticing enough to get you to try it. Of course, Star Wars items aren’t the only thing that will be on sale. You might check out your favorite geeky stores to see what you can find. If you luck out, you may be able to find collectibles at a price you’d never thought possible.

2. Dress Up
If you love to dress up, then May the Fourth is one of the best days to do it. Luckily, you don’t need to budget a lot of money to afford a Star Wars costume. There are so many tutorials online that you will have a costume or two whipped up using just items you have lying around the house. You may want to indulge in some face paints if you plan on going as a character that may not be human in appearance, but other than that most items can easily be found at home or in thrift stores. Of course, if you’re not one for DIY then hold out until next year. After Halloween is over, you should see a huge discount on costumes that will ensure you have a great look for next May the Fourth.

3. Lightsaber Battle
For kids, and some adults, one of the most appealing aspects of Star Wars is the light saber battles. It is hard not to imagine having your own beautiful lightsaber to use. Luckily, there’s many ways you can actually reenact the lightsaber, so you can enjoy a lightsaber battle of your own. There’s lots of great DIY options here, which include many cheap materials, like pool noodles. You might browse around online for some ideas to help get you started. If you’re okay with spending a little money, then you can purchase plastic lightsabers at a fair price in most toy stores. When it comes to the actual battle, make sure there are rules put in place, so no one gets hurt. You might find there are lightsaber battles at nearby parks too, which might make the battle even more fun. So, let your imagination soar.

4. Star Wars Food
Nothing says fun quite like turning your favorite movies into something to snack on. Believe it or not, but there’s actually a lot of recipes that will help you turn your favorite foods into Star Wars inspired snacks. For instance, cookies can be easily shaped like wookies and then decorated with icing to make them look even more authentic. Rice crispies can be formed into all of your favorite Star Wars characters too. There are even Star Wars inspired beverages that are kid-friendly and entirely for adults. So, use the force to choose which delicious snacks you’ll tackle while celebrating.

5. Build Models
Another fun way to bring the family together for the holiday is to build models of the numerous vehicles featured on the show. These can be purchased in stores, but often aren’t priced low enough for a tight budget. However, if you already have some of these models lying around then now might be the time to work on them. Of course, you don’t have to use model kits in order to enjoy this hobby. One common way to enjoy building is through LEGO. These kits can be pricey too, but you can actually make your own ships using pieces you already have in your current LEGO collection. If you don’t want to use this method, then you can always use recyclables and your imagination to make your favorite ships. There’s an abundance of tutorials online, so you should be able to find assistance if you’re having trouble.

6. Crafts
Crafts can really help the whole family embrace the holiday, which will allow you to have more fun on the budget. One of the best things about Star Wars is so many people love it, thus there’s lots of fun Star Wars craft ideas floating around the internet. For starters, you might try making a BB-8 out of paper plates. Another option is to make fun paper dolls that are perfect for acting out your children’s favorite scene. If you have younger children, then printing out coloring pages might be a great option. Recyclables can really come in handy with these crafts too. For instance, you can make Chewbacca, Yoda and other characters out of toilet rolls. Let your imagination run wild with this to add to the fun.

7. Jedi Training
At Disney, the new Star Wars park actually offers Jedi Training for the kids. Obviously, heading to the park for May the Fourth isn’t ideal on a tight budget. Nor would it be much fun with all the crowds swarming the Star Wars area. However, you can make your own version of Jedi Training in your community or simply in the home. You might check out the Disney park’s training and give it a little twist to suit the children you are working with. With any luck, you will have a group of children who won’t soon forget their Jedi training fun. If you can get a few volunteers to help out while dressed up, then you may start a tradition that people will line up for each year.

8. Join a Force for Change
Part of being a Jedi is doing good and helping to make the world a better place. So, on this holiday put your Jedi training forward and join a Force for Change. This charity was set up to help in many different areas. One portion of the site allows Jedis to post images of themselves doing good deeds. You can even donate money to the fund if that is something you would prefer to do. If you’re curious, you may want to browse the site to see where you can help out. In fact, after looking around, this may become a yearlong, if not longer, journey that will have you doing your fair share to make the world a great place to live.

9. Catch Up On Reading
There aren’t many holidays around that offer you the chance to catch up on your reading. May the Fourth is actually a great holiday for reading. There’s countless books written about the Star Wars Universe, which can provide you with years of entertainment. You might also find some of the comic books interesting too. Of course, if you don’t have the money to go out and buy a new book then there are countless stories you can find online. From official Star Wars literature to fan-fiction, the internet will provide you with a wide variety of interesting things to read. You may even find something new that will inspire you to spend more time reading even after the holiday is over.

10. Movie Screening
Without a doubt, one of the more obvious options is to hold a movie screening. This can be held for the family or your might invite friends, family and neighbors to join in on the fun. You probably won’t get through all of the movies in one day, so you might host a few viewings throughout the week to make the holiday fun last longer. You can even watch the cartoons to add more enjoyment for the children. Of course, you don’t have to stay at home to enjoy the movies. Often, communities will host events that showcase the films. Sometimes, these events are free, but they might also cost you a small fee. No matter how you choose to watch your movies, don’t forget your snacks to make them even more exciting.

May the Fourth can be a lot of fun if you take the time out to celebrate it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this holiday to make it enjoyable either. These ten tips should help you find the best way for you and your family to spend the fun occasion. Before you know it, you’ll be anticipating this holiday throughout the year.

Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day by Planting These Frugal Options

April is home to both Earth Day and Arbor Day, which might inspire you to go out and do something great for the planet. Arbor Day is all about planting trees, so if you’re planning on keeping up with this tradition then you might be up for spending a lot of money. Luckily, there’s quite a few options that you can try which won’t break the bank. Although many of these plants are not trees, you may find that they will help you do right by the planet while improving on your budget. Best of all, these ten options will help bring something fantastic to your life too. So, get your gardening tools ready because these amazing holidays are just around the corner.

1. Aloe Vera
If you’re concerned about your health, then aloe vera is going to be a great option for you to plant. This plant is actually fairly simple to grow and can be kept in a pot for quite some time if you don’t have a yard to plant it in. Whether you grow aloe vera indoors or out, you’re sure to find that your air quality is greatly improved. This amazing plant pulls toxins from the air, which is great for the environment. Of course, you can also use aloe vera for many health benefits. One of the most common is placing it on sun burns to help take away the pain and promote healing. Without a doubt, you are certain to enjoy having this plant in your home. It isn’t the type of plant that will become a burden for busy lifestyles either. In fact, it is great for students, the elderly and busy households.

2. Bamboo
Landscaping can be a lot of fun when you work with bamboo. This amazing plant is easy to keep up with and it will give your yard an exotic feel. There are so many benefits to having bamboo in your yard though, which can really make your Earth Day and Arbor Day experience worthwhile. For starters, bamboo helps to remove toxins from the air and soil, which will do your yard and the planet a real solid. This plant isn’t pricey to keep up with either. If you don’t have a yard, then don’t fret. You can get smaller bamboo to put in a pot inside of your home. This will cleanse the air you breathe daily. This plant is non-toxic to pets too, so it’s really a win-win option.

3. Sycamore Tree
Sticking to the tree planting tradition can be important for many people. There are lots of trees you can plant, but it is important to do a little research before you choose which to go with. One of your best options is a Sycamore tree. These trees are actually fairly inexpensive to purchase and can be bought online or in local stores. Sycamore trees are known to grow very quickly, so you’ll have a tree to admire in no time at all. These trees work wonders when it comes to providing your home with plenty of shade. Not only is this great for spending time outdoors, but it can cut down on your electricity bill too which will help you cut back on your carbon footprint.

4. Lavender
Lavender is another great option when it comes to plants that will do the world a bit of good. The best thing about lavender is, you can grow it indoors, in a flower bed or simply let it grow wild in your yard. There isn’t a whole lot of work to put into this amazing plant, so feel free to work it into your life the best way that will suit your lifestyle. Lavender is a great plant because it does draw in bees. This is very important right now as bees are in decline, which can really harm the planet and ultimately cause global extinction. The plant also smells out of this world. You will love spending time outdoors with this lovely scent in the world. You can even use your lavender in cooking and in making your own essential oils for relaxation.

5. Fruit Trees
One of the most beneficial things to plant in your yard is fruit trees. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as they all have amazing properties that will improve on the planet. Of course, you may want to figure out which trees will survive the best in your climate before you make the purchase. Most fruit trees won’t cost a lot of money either, so you’re going to be getting a lot for what you do spend. A lot of fruit trees actually draw in bees, which is one of the best features about them. However, the fruit they produce is always amazing. With this, you will be able to cut down on your food costs and will allow your family to eat healthier food that is entirely organic. Some fruit, like oranges and lemons, even give back to the soil when you spread their rinds on the ground.

6. Daisies
Daisies are one of the easiest plants to grow, which makes them a great option for beginning gardeners or those with very little time on their hands. They also come in a wide assortment of colors, so you can even enjoy their beauty. The best thing about daisies are, they actually help to purify the air. This makes them a great asset just about anywhere. These amazing flowers draw in bees too, so you can help improve the bee population while you’re at it. You can easily keep daisies in a planter or scatter the seeds in the wind to see how their colorful petals improve on your lawn as they begin to sprout.

7. Sunflowers
When it comes to beauty, sunflowers are one of the best options to choose from. These lovely flowers have been depicted in paintings for generations for a very good reason. The sunflower won’t just add charm to your garden though. Rather, the plant actually helps to detoxify the soil that it is in. This can be great for growing other plants, or even grass. As a sunflower grows it will produce seeds that can be eaten. These seeds are very healthy to consume, which can improve your own life substantially. On top of that, you can always sell the extras to earn yourself a little extra money. Sunflowers are also great for bees and will attract an assortment of birds to enjoy too.

8. Hedges
One of the most commons plants that you see around the community is most likely hedges. You can find these in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors, which make them a great option if you’re ready to show off your personal style. Hedges are fairly easy to grow too, which will make your life a little easier. These plants all work to help purify the air, so the more you have the better off you will be. Hedges are great for the ecosystem too as they provide a place for wildlife to hide. You may even find birds nesting in your hedges, which is certain to make spring time even more beautiful.

9. Spider Plants
Although this plant might sound menacing, you’ve more than likely seen them a lot. This is one of the most common house plants around and have become very popular in offices, as well. These plants are so easy to grow that you might forget all about it for some time. The plants are also very cheap, which is why many people choose to give them as office or housewarming gifts. All the same, the interesting blades on this plant create a cool look that you’ll love to show off. Of course, it isn’t all appearance with this plant. It will also cleanse the air in your home or office, which makes it a real asset to anyone looking for an exciting plant to enjoy.

10. Anything Native
If you’re looking to help out the environment the most, then you may want to work on planting native plants during your Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration. Native plants are crucial to the environment, because they provide your specific area with the nutrients it needs while also cleansing the air. These plants are important for wildlife and insects in the area too, so it will do your ecosystem a huge favor. Usually, these plants wind up being much cheaper too as they are easier to grow in your area. Many stores also want to encourage people to plant these items, which is another reason for the lovely price. If you’re ready to begin planting native life in your yard, then start your journey with a simple internet search to discover which plants are open to you.

Earth Day and Arbor Day grow increasingly important as our planet struggles, which is why planting on these days can help you do your part to preserve our natural habitat. These ten ideas should give you frugal and fun ideas for your planting celebration. Before you know it, you’ll be breathing fresher air and enjoying the amazing foliage you created.

Quick and Easy Fixes to Make Your Porch this Spring’s Hot Spot

Spring is finally here, which means you might be thinking about spicing up your porch to create an outdoor room you can enjoy while the weather is nice. Porches can be quite pricey though, which might detour you from wanting to even begin the project. Luckily, there’s a ton of great things you can do for your porch that will allow you to enjoy the space without forcing you to spend a small fortune. With these tips, you’ll be able to create an amazing space that will encourage the whole family to get outside more and enjoy the fresh air. You may even find your cheaply renovated space will encourage you to host guests more often. So, get ready to do a little magic this spring as you’ll soon have an outdoor room that you’ll want to celebrate.

1. Screen It In
One of the best things you can do for your porch is screen it in. Believe it or not, but this actually doesn’t cost a lot of money. If you don’t want to do the labor yourself, hiring someone to do this task won’t break the bank either, so you may want to begin looking for quotes on materials or labor. Screening in your porch actually transforms it into a whole new room, which will make you want to spend more time outside. One of the benefits of doing this is the fact that it will cool down the space. You can even add lattice to the exterior of the screen to create even more shade. The screen adds extra shade to the mix, which can even help cool down your house. On top of that, it helps prevent bugs from entering the space. This is especially nice if you live in area that has flies, mosquitoes and wasps.

2. Add a Shelf
Another way to give life to your porch is to add a special shelf. One of the best options is to make the shelf a little above waist high. This will allow you to use the extra space as a bar or a home buffet when you’re hosting guests. This position is also great for keeping potted plants. You will be able to help tend to the plant with ease at this level, but you’ll also be able to enjoy them more too. Of course, you can add shelves in many different areas too. If you love the idea of letting your cats out on the porch then consider shelves that are high up to encourage exercise. You can also use these spaces as decor or a place to keep some of your gardening books.

3. Solar Lights
Solar lights can add so much to a space. Some time ago, these lights would have cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, now they are easier to come by at a fair price and you can even try your hand at making your own. The best thing is, there are so many solar lights available now that you can create a wide variety of designs with them. You can create a whimsical feeling to the porch or simply use the lights to create a bright atmosphere for entertaining. Solar lights will cut back on your energy costs too, so you can spend all night outside without feeling guilty about running the power for so long.

4. Repurpose Furniture
Your old furniture can be a huge asset to you while you’re working on building up your porch. If you have old chairs, then you can easily refurbish them to suit the theme of your new porch. Once this is complete, you can weather proof both fabric and wood to ensure that your furniture will hold up to the great outdoors. Of course, you can do this with just about any furniture you might have lying around. For instance, you can get a lot out of an old table. This can be weather proofed and used for dining, games and so much more. Your creativity is the limit when it comes to these projects, so have a little fun with the projects. If you don’t have any furniture you would like to use, then consider looking around for new items at the thrift store. You might be surprised what all you will find there, which could make your porch look spectacular.

5. Add Art
Art can really make your space even more comfortable, which is why you shouldn’t shy away from putting it on your porch. One of the more common items to add to your porch is art made of metal or wood. These tend to last longer outdoors and will allow you to show off a bit of personality. Of course, you can hang up all sorts of art in your space, so don’t feel limited. However, you should always take into consideration the weather and how your piece of art will react to the elements. For some items, weather proofing is possible, while other items won’t fare as well. Hanging these items up can easily be done with nails and screws, but if you don’t want to do this or you’re working with a harder substance, like brick, then you might consider an outdoor tape. Hanging items up isn’t your only option either. You might also want to add faux trees, statues, knick-knacks or a fountain to make the space suit you better.

6. Bring in Plants
Another great way to add to the atmosphere of the porch is to bring in some plants. For instance, you can add smaller plants like a bonsai tree or flowers that can live in a pot. This will help add freshness to the area while ensuring the porch is a mixture of indoor and outdoor elements. Many people have loved to add bamboo to their porch, especially if it offers a larger area. This amazing plant creates a tropical feeling, but it also helps remove toxins from the air. If you have space to grow items that climb, like ivy or honeysuckle, then this is another great option for the porch. This will bring a lovely smell to the area that will certainly keep you outdoors more often.

7. Bring in Games
Your porch should be a place to kick back and relax, so make it feel that way. You might consider adding a chess board to the mix. You can even put out a table with the board painted on, so you can get even more out of the game. Another great option is a card table, which can entertain people of all ages for hours. This table can also double as a place where you play board games when the weather is right. Adding games will certainly make the space a lot more engaging, which can help inspire all members of the family to spend more time outdoors. You never know, this cool design may even bring everyone closer together.

8. Add Color
If you’re suffering from a dull style, then the best thing you can do is add a splash of color. One of the first things to consider is adding new and more colorful padding to your furniture. Even this small change can make your space look out of this world. Of course, you can take it a step further by painting furniture to make the splash of color even more noticeable. Another option is to bring in a few colorful accent pieces. This can be as simple as painted flower pots or as complex as a vibrant work of art. You may find that the colorful appearance brings the illusion of more space, which will add more comfort to your porch.

9. Windchimes
If you love a soothing environment, then wind chimes might be the next addition that your porch needs. These amazing decor items bring natural music to your porch, which can help you to kick back and relax. Many windchimes also work to bring color to the space, which can make the visual aesthetics of your space look incredible. Luckily, you can buy a wide assortment of windchimes from many different stores. You can even have them customized to suit your family, interests and even to celebrate a deceased love one. Best of all, windchimes can be made at home at a very low price. You can show the world your creativity by creating them, which will make your home even more personable. There’s a ton of design ideas online to ensure you can have a blast using these items.

10. Shop Clearance
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to improve on your porch is to shop clearance whenever you can. This is certain to help you save a whole lot of money on the things you need to make your porch comfortable and exciting for the whole family. If you wait until autumn, then you should be able to find some of the best items on sale. This includes furniture, decor and even accessories that will help you entertain efficiently. Make sure to shop online too, as you should be able to find some exciting deals on items you will love.

Your porch can be one of the best places to spend spring and summer, so it’s important to make it comfortable for your whole family. These tips will help keep your projects frugal, so you can go all out and enjoy the space you have. Before long, your porch might become your favorite place in the home, which might even improve on your overall health.

Frugal Ways to Learn Self-Defense So You Can Feel Secure on a Budget

It’s never a bad time to learn self-defense. However, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which makes it a better time than any to brush up on your self-defense skills. Believe it or not, but you can quickly learn the art of self-defense without having to spend a fortune on it. This can help save your life and the lives of others, if ever something terrible comes your way. These ten tips should help you get started on your journey to feel safe and secure when you’re inside or outside of your home. These tips may even give you the confidence you need to do more in life without having to worry about a potential attack.

1. Free Classes
Most communities pride themselves on giving their community the opportunity to know how to handle them in case of an emergency. So, you might check out your community center or local police station to see if self-defense courses are currently being offered. Many city governments offer a few courses a year at no cost to you, which should help you get the skills you need to defend yourself. Sometimes, if a community is forced to deal with a tragedy or there is a string attacks then the police station will offer more courses in self-defense. Make sure you sign up for these courses quickly and try to take in as much as you can. You should also practice your self-defense techniques often, so they are always fresh in your mind.

2. Watch Videos
We are lucky enough to live in a time in which we can find an abundance of information online. That being said, you can also find lots of great videos that can help teach you self-defense at no cost to you. There are also many websites dedicated to this art, so browse around and find something that suits your needs. Many of these videos will show you step by step how to move your body in case of an attack. This is certain to help you learn moves that will be helpful while allowing your body to get some exercise. There are also videos that can help you keep your cool in the face of an attack. A combination of these DIY videos should help you feel like you’re ready to defend yourself without forcing you to spend a penny.

3. Utilize Your Phone
Your phone can be one of the best assets when it comes to your safety. There are actually countless apps that allow you to check in or notify loved ones when you feel like you’re in danger. Of course, you should also program your phone to have quick dial, so you can contact someone close by or important to you if you feel like you’re in danger. There are also codes that you can give to 911 operators now that will allow them to know you’re in trouble without you having to say you are. Even talking on the phone with a loved one can help stop an attack from happening in some cases. At the end of the day, your phone can even become an excellent weapon when it comes to defending yourself too. Make sure to check out some tutorials on how to do this so you’ll be prepared if you ever do need to use the phone in this manner.

4. Use Your Keys
If you drive, then your car’s remote can be one of the best functions to keep you safe when you feel in danger. The alarm button on your car’s remote is one of the easiest items to hit to draw attention to your self and the area that you’re in. This alarm can also detour an attack due to this, so always have your keys handy when you’re walking somewhere alone. Of course, having the unlock and lock feature close by can help you get in your car faster if someone is following at a distance behind you. Even if you don’t drive, your house keys can be a real asset to use. The hard edge of the key can be used as a weapon to ward off an assailant. There is a certain way to hold your keys if this happens, so you might want to practice in order to be prepared. You won’t think twice about having your keys handy anymore, especially after you learn how much of an asset they can be.

5. Pepper Spray
One of the most common items to use in self-defense is pepper spray. If this item is legal in your area, then it might be something you choose to invest in. You can find pepper-spray in all shapes and sizes, including one that conveniently fits on your key chain. This spray can stop an assailant in their tracks due to the pain that it causes. However, you should also learn how to use the spray to help protect yourself. Many people use the spray but end up getting it on themselves too. This can hinder your ability to escape an attack, which could cause you further harm. Of course, you should always dial 9-1-1 when an attack occurs, so you can ensure further safety and that the assailant doesn’t go after anyone else.

6. Stay in a Group
Although knowing how to protect yourself is important, you might want to take one extra step to keep yourself safe. One of the best ways to do this is to stick with a group at all times. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking to work with a few of your colleagues or sticking with a designated group after a night of partying, being around a few other people can truly save your life. Most assailants won’t approach a group when planning an attack. Even if they do so, there were will be more people to help ward off the potential attack, which will improve your safety immensely. You might talk to those in your life to set up specific groups for specific outings, so you will always know you have people nearby. If you don’t know anyone to walk with you then quickly join a group of people that are already walking. Most people won’t mind walking with an extra.

7. Take a Course
Even though free self-defense courses can really help you out, there are other courses that can do even more for you. For instance, you might want to pick up a form of martial arts like tae kwon do. This sport will allow you to learn the moves you need to defend yourself from an assailant. It will also provide you with lots of exercise that will improve strength, speed and confidence. On top of martial arts, you might also look at activities that help you think quickly and keep your cool in an extreme situation. Meditation is one great option, but you might also consider Tai Chi to help you find peace of mind while working the body. These two aspects combined will not only help you protect yourself but will help prevent your brain from going into fight or flight mode which might save your life.

8. Stay Aware
One of the key elements to staying safe when you’re out and about is to be aware of your surroundings. In this day and age, so many people actually disconnect themselves from the world around them. May it be talking on the phone, surfing the net while walking or even listening to music, you can find yourself in real danger by doing this. The best thing you can do is unplug when you’re walking alone, especially if there aren’t a lot of people around. By disconnecting, you allow yourself to hear everything around you and to feel out the atmosphere, which should help you protect yourself efficiently or at least take control of the situation you are in.

9. Practice Relaxation Methods
When it comes to a dangerous situation, many people who are prepared end up feeling so overcome with fear that they forget all about their training. So, you might want to consider practicing some relaxation methods to help you keep your head on straight when a problem occurs. One of the best options is to begin with breathing. This will help the body and mind relax so you can react appropriately. You may find these relaxation techniques work wonders in many areas of your life.

10. Know Your Routes
A key element in keeping safe is knowing the routes that you travel on. This will help you avoid walking into dark areas or areas that don’t have a lot of people, so you can stay safer than ever. You should always come up with alternative routes too. This will help you find a secure place to walk when your schedule is a little skewed. It will also prevent you from taking the same path daily. Some assailants will notice routine, which helps them to plan out attacks. By switching things up, you’re allowing yourself a little more security while also keeping your life fresh. The same can be done with driving routes. Although you don’t have to switch these up to avoid conflict, you should know the best route to take at night, just in case your car breaks down. Overall, being aware of where you are going can help you immensely.

Taking care of yourself should be top priority, which is why it is so important to know self-defense. These tips should help you find the help you need to feel confidence when you are alone, while also protecting you during every aspect of your life.

Exciting Prom Ideas That Will Make Your School Dance Glamorous For Less

Prom season is here, which means its time to start scrambling to make sure your prom budget can actually pull off a great party for your school’s seniors and juniors. If you’re in charge of the budget or decorating committee, then you probably already know that planning such an event can mean jumping through a lot of hoops. These ten tips should help you cut the corners on the last minutes ideas you’ll need to make your prom an event that students will remember for decades. So, don’t sweat the small stuff yet, as a budget friendly prom is possible, even in this late of the season.

1. Photography
Most students pretty much live for the photography that happens at prom. After all, this is going to be their best way to remember the occasion, especially if phones are banned on campus. However, hiring a photographer can really work against your budget. It can cost thousands to book a photographer, props and an assistant for the big night. However, there is one very obvious solution to this problem. If your school has a photography program, then utilize the top students. They can do the project as extra credit or as part of their photography club. For backgrounds, you can use props from the photography and art departments as well as the theater program. There are even backdrop tutorials that students can use to make the photography look even better. If you begin early enough then you might even get students to help out by creating an entirely unique look for the prom.

2. Simple Themes
The theme chosen for your prom can really make or break your budget. For instance, themes that force you to build futuristic items or those for under the sea may mean your low budget is going to be in big trouble. Instead of offering such extravagant themes to the mix, you may want to keep it simple with a theme that can easily be represented with colors. This can cut down on the price by quite a bit, which is sure to allow you to splurge in the areas that count. You can easily get colored products in bulk as well, which will save you a lot of money too. These items can always be customized by the art department as well to add to the pizzazz.

3. Embrace Balloons
One of the best ways to get out of the decorating game for a lot less is to actually embrace balloons. You can do a whole lot with these amazing decorative items, which will help you sort out all of your style needs. If you’re not sure where to start, try ordering balloons in the color of your theme in bulk. This will help you get started. You might want to enlist a large body of students to help out with blowing up the balloons, or you can simply order a machine that will do the job for you. Once you have the balloons ready to go then set them up in a wide variety of designs. If you want to add a little more majestic style to the mix, then add in balloons with metallic hues. Of course, you can also achieve this by spray painting the balloons you already have. One way to come up with some awesome ideas is to browse around online. There’s lots of great tutorials available.

4. Reuse Decor
When it comes down to it, don’t feel bad about re-using some of the decor that you’ve put up in the past. You can do a lot with these items, especially if they’re still in good shape. Best of all, you won’t be wasting anything by doing this. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t breathe new life into the items before you place them up. For instance, you might want to spray paint statues, chandeliers or whatever else you come across. This will add to the look while making it more suitable for the current prom. You might even ask the art department to get involved in order to make your dream become a reality.

5. Lighting
Chances are, you already have the lighting you need to make the prom look amazing. Without a doubt, the theater is one of the best places to look for such items. You can easily use the spotlight and anything else on hand that might add beauty to the prom dance. Of course, you can customize these items too. For instance, you can use colored films to transform your spotlight into a burst of color. On top of that, you can easily use the projector to add a whimsical detail to the party. You may want to ask someone that knows how to operate the lights to move, set them up and run them for the big night.

6. Clearance Flowers
Flowers can be a huge part of the dance, but it can also be one of the costliest items on your budget. You may want to consider asking flower shops if you can buy flowers that are about to be tossed out. Generally, flower shops don’t keep flowers until they begin to wilt, so if you purchase the day of the prom then you might end up with flowers that still look very pretty. Of course, this will probably mean that you’re going to end up with a wide variety of flowers, instead of a uniform style. This can add a lot of charm to the prom though, which might work in your favor. If your flowers are looking a little under the weather, then there are a few steps that you can take to make them perk up for the big night. You might even encourage students to take them home, so you won’t have to worry about them going to waste.

7. Food
Hands down, food can be one of the priciest elements of the dance. Instead of offering a meal for prom, stick with simple refreshments. You might want to schedule the dance a little later in the evening if you do this though, as this will encourage students to eat beforehand. Refreshments can be cheaply made, especially if you stick to the classics like punch and cookies. You can also use these items as a part of the decor. For instance, cupcakes are very cheap and easy to make so you can put more money into decorating them with a little extra pizzazz. You can also rely on leftovers from the cafeteria to plan on what you’re going to serve. If you have lots of flour, butter and sugar on hand then you’re set for a variety of cookies. Catering meals like pizza and tacos also might save you big in comparison to hiring caterers to offer food that the students might not enjoy.

8. Shop in Bulk
It doesn’t matter if you’re on the hunt for food or decor, one of the best things you can do for your budget is to shop in bulk. This can help you find some of the best possible deals around. For instance, stores like the Oriental Trading Company have a lot of cute items that are sold in bulk. These can work for napkin holders, table decorations, cupcake toppers and so much more. Shopping in bulk can also save you a whole lot of time. This is especially true if you order online. However, you should always order in a timely manner, or you might risk not getting the items that you ordered on time. Food is always great for bulk shopping. This is especially true if you end up purchasing items from a store for the students to eat.

9. Ask for Sponsorship
Believe it or not, but there are party supply stores and restaurants that would be more than happy to sponsor your school. So, if you are running short on supplies for the prom then you might want to hit the pavement and see if any local stores would be willing to offer you a little help. A lot of stores are more than happy to offer assistance, especially if they can post it on their social media page and so forth. If you can’t find a local store, then begin emailing chains to see if they can offer you any assistance. You can do the same when it comes to food. A lot of restaurants will love the promotional ability, which will do you both a favor.

10. Host at the School
Last but not least, it will always work out in your favor to host the prom at your school. Renting out a venue can really kill your budget fast, so looking elsewhere to host your prom might be out of the question. Your high school offers great opportunities though. For starters, you will have full control over the decor, which will add to the school spirit of the event. The hosts of the prom can also handle the music played, food served and everything else that students look forward to. Plus, the gymnasium also offers a huge space for dancing and having fun. Finally, you can always host an after party at the school to make sure students are safe and sound when prom is over.

Prom is one of the most memorable times for many students, so making it look great on a budget is important. These ten tips should cut back on the money you spend on the event, which is certain to make everyone in the school much happier. With the lower cost of planning, you may not have to charge students as much either.

Ten Tips to Make your World Art Day Rich Without Spending a Fortune

Art can be one of the greatest aspects of life. It allows you to show off your creativity when you create your own works of art and when you purchase other’s art it helps to excite emotions. The only problem with art is it can be quite expensive. From purchasing quality paints to spending money in a gallery, you might find that art isn’t for your tight budget. However, on World Art Day, you might want to make an exception. These ten ideas will help you to celebrate art on a low budget, so you can once again enjoy the happiness it brings you.

1. Enjoy a Local Art Walk
Generally, World Art Day hosts a wide variety of art walks across the globe. This can be a great way to make the most out of the day without having to spend a lot of money. In most cases, an art walk is entirely free. The only reason you would need money is to purchase something there. This can give you a lot of freedom as you will be able to browse a wide variety of art without having to spend a penny. It might help you to see what’s new in the art world, especially in your local area. It may also give you a few works of art that you want to save up to buy. If you’re an artist, then you can even enter the art walk yourself to try to sell off some of your items. Although there is a fee to do this, if your items sell then they should more than cover the cost of the fee. Some vendors will even offer classes for new crafts at the art walk, which might be the perfect time to immerse yourself in something new.

2. Visit a Gallery
Most of us pass by galleries daily, but don’t take the time to browse them. On World Art Day, you might want to stop and enjoy the art for a change. Most galleries won’t charge you to stop in to browse, so you can see the visit as a trip to a museum of sorts. Visiting a gallery will give you a lot of insight into the art of your local area, which can help you feel closer to your community. You may even feel encouraged to purchase an item. If they’re too expensive then take the artist’s card and see if there are more affordable options on their website.

3. Purchase Prints
Without a doubt, purchasing a work of art can cost a small fortune. If you’re looking to buy art from an established artist, then you might need thousands to millions in order to do so. This isn’t money most of us have to spend on such a thing. So, the next best thing is to buy an art print. These prints offer great quality and when framed look astonishing. You can buy prints in all sorts of places too, so you can even bargain hunt to see who is going to offer you the best price. If you want to spend a little extra money on your artistic purchase, then you might consider getting the work of art autographed. This will give it even more pizzazz that you can show off when displayed in your home.

4. Support a Struggling Artist
One way to celebrate World Art Day is to help a struggling artist out. One of the best ways to do this is head to the art department of your nearest community college or university. While you are there, you should see a lot of art work displayed. You can easily find an item you like and talk to the professor that heads the department. He or she should be able to get you in touch with the artist, so you can offer them a price. Another great way to do this is to purchase something from a vendor. You can find vendors all over the place, including the side of the street. If this isn’t something you feel comfortable with then consider shopping around online. There’s tons of artists to choose from. You will have to pay shipping and handling for your purchase, but you will be helping out an artist that needs the money to further their craft.

5. Share Artists with Family
Art history can be a great way to celebrate this holiday. You might even transform it into an art week, or even a month. This will give you a chance to teach your family all about the famous artists that have helped to fuel creativity in the modern world. Art history isn’t often taught in schools, so this can be a great way for your family to be advanced in the world of culture. There are lots of great lessons online for children hoping to learn more about art history, so you can let these lessons guide you. Of course, you can even come up with your own lessons if you prefer to teach about artists that are a bit more obscure. You might also consider lessons on artists from a wide variety of cultures, so children can broaden their horizons.

6. Enjoy Sales on Art Supplies
On World Art Day, you may be able to find some pretty awesome bargains on art supplies. Generally, art specific stores are going to be the stores that offer these sales, so if you’re shopping around then this would be the best place to start. However, you might also find that larger stores, like Hobby Lobby and Michaels, will also offer sales. If you can’t find anything on sale, then these stores generally offer great coupons so that you can afford to purchase something to celebrate World Art Day too. You can also shop around online to see who is offering big deals to make the holiday great. You never know, you might end up stocking up enough art supplies so that you can enjoy making art for the rest of the year without spending a fortune.

7. Improve Your Skills
Of course, one of the best ways to celebrate this special day is to actually work on your own skills. May it be taking the day to paint, draw, knit and so on, or actually enjoying a lesson that will help you learn more about your craft. You can actually find many lessons online that won’t cost you a thing, which is sure to help make you feel more confident about your art. You can also use this time to challenge yourself. For instance, you can force yourself to paint using only the primary colors. This will help you to learn more about colors and alter your painting technique. You can also try out something new during this time. For instance, if you’re interested in making mosaics then you might try out a new material, like metal.

8. Visit a Museum
One way to celebrate art, both old and new, is to take a trip to a museum. This will cost a small fee in most cases, but it will allow you to immerse yourself in the world of art. While you’re visiting the museum, make sure to take the time to think about the work’s place in the world. How does it reflect on the time it was made? Who was the artist and what was their motive? You may learn a lot more about the work of art than you thought possible. This is a great way to further your knowledge on art and see pieces of art that you’ve always loved in a brand-new light. If you don’t have a museum nearby, or you simply want to further your experience then check online for digital tours. You can even explore iconic museums from abroad.

9. Watch Movies Based on Artists
If you want to spend World Art Day relaxing, then one of the best options is to rent a movie based on an artist’s life. There are so many available, that you might have a hard time picking which one you want to watch. If you’re interested in documentaries then there are lots you can find on artists, art and even art movements. Of course, one of the more popular options is the feature films that have been created about famous artists. These films offer high quality productions that will leave you feeling like you knew the artist. You may start by researching some of your favorite artists to see if you can find any productions made about them.

10. Make Art
Another way to get more out of the holiday is to make some art. If you have children, then this is a great time to teach them about the art of the past as well as various mediums that they might enjoy. You might consider trying pottery, mosaics, painting, animation or anything else that seems like it would interest them. You can even base your art on the art of the past. There are so many lessons available that will help your children recreate the art work of the past while adding their own special twist to it. Even adults will have fun with these lessons, so let your creativity show on World Art Day.

Enjoying art can be one of the best ways to ditch stress and relax. These ten ideas should give you plenty to do on World Art Day, which will make you feel excited to enjoy art once again. You may even find cheap ways to incorporate art into your life after the holiday is over, which will certainly make your life feel well rounded and fun.

Quick and Frugal Tips to Help You Enjoy the Zoo this Spring

Spring is one of the best times to visit the zoo. The animals are in high spirits thanks to the reasonable weather and there may even be a few babies to coo over. Although the zoo has become a go-to vacation spot for anyone with kids, it can also be pretty pricey in the long run. Luckily, there’s quite a few things you can do to enjoy your zoo without having to spend a small fortune. It doesn’t matter if the zoo is in your neck of the woods or if you’re going to one across the country, these tips should help you save some money on your trip. So, if you’re planning a trip to the zoo for Spring Break or a simple getaway for National Zoo Lover’s Day, you should now feel more financially confident about your decision.

1. Brave Free Days
Just about every zoo in the country will host a free zoo day that allows people from all walks of life to come and see the animals. As you can imagine, these days can be pretty hectic. However, with the price cut down to nothing, this might be the perfect opportunity for you to let your family have some fun at the zoo without breaking your budget. If you can, try to be at the zoo as early as possible on these days, as it will help you get more sightseeing in before anyone else arrives. You might also do your best to avoid the souvenir and food stands, as these tend to be crazy whenever a free day arrives. Make sure to keep a look out for these days on your zoo’s website or social media page. Sometimes, these days aren’t heavily advertised, so it can sneak past you if you’re not paying attention.

2. Become a Member
Most zoos offer a membership program that tends to work out in the customer’s favor. These memberships offer coupons, benefits and so much more, which will help you enjoy your trips to the zoo. Generally, the price of a membership doesn’t cost much more than your family’s first round of admissions, so you won’t be too put out by purchasing this item. Once you make the purchase, you can enter the zoo on any of its open days without having to pay for admission. You can even bring a friend along occasionally with some of these memberships. On top of all of that, the membership will cut back on the price of items at the food court, café and souvenir shop. This will save you a whole lot of money too and may even allow you to enjoy all of the perks of the zoo. Best of all, you won’t have to pay a parking fee in many cases. Sometimes, the membership will even give you freebies or entrance into the classes the zoo hosts.

3. Bring Your Own Food
One of the biggest expenses at the zoo is unfortunately the food. However, there is a remedy to this problem that will keep your family from having a melt down while you’re visiting the zoo. Some zoos will actually allow you to bring in outside food. If this is the case then grab your cooler or picnic bag and pack water, lunch and a few snacks to get your through the day. Unfortunately, many zoos don’t follow this policy though. However, most will stamp your hand when you leave the zoo so that you can return later in the day if you so choose. If this is the case, then pack a lunch and leave it in the car. Make sure everyone hydrates while they eat, so you can ensure you won’t have to spend money inside at all. You should also consider packing food that will sit well based on the weather. Doing this will help cut back on your zoo trip by at least $100 for a family.

4. Consider Holidays
Holidays can actually be a great time to hang out at the zoo. Usually zoos will go out of their way to add a little extra appeal to the zoo on holidays. This should help you get a bit more for your money as there might be new activities to enjoy or souvenirs to take home. The zoo tends to offer celebrations for all sorts of holidays too. For instance, there may be Trick or Treating on Halloween or an Easter egg hunt around the time of the holiday. They also work wonders for smaller holidays like Arbor Day or Memorial Day. Generally, the price remains the same despite the holiday too, so you can feel like you got your money’s worth for the experience.

5. Avoid the Souvenir Shop
The souvenir shop can be a thing of nightmares for many families. Sometimes, children will have a meltdown at the sight of the store, which can ruin the trip. Your best option is to avoid the souvenir shop altogether. You can plan a route using a map you download from the internet, so your kids won’t even know you’re planning around the store. This should help you save a bundle of money. Of course, there are still souvenir options to choose from. For instance, you can purchase a squashed penny that can be a lot of fun to collect. Apart from that, you might want to purchase a wax figure. Both of these items cost next to nothing and can bring so much joy to your child.

6. Pack Efficiently
What the day brings can also cause you to spend money or waste money at the zoo. You should always have a pack ready and waiting in the car in case the unthinkable happens. Some things you should always have on hand are a basic first aid kit, water and sunscreen. Even if it’s winter time and overcast, your child should have sunscreen on them to avoid potential sun damage. Another group of items to take with you is a light jacket and cap. If you really want to be efficient then you might want to pack a rain coat too. However, an umbrella should do the trick just fine. Having these items on hand can help everyone enjoy the zoo more efficiently. It will also prevents you from having to purchase these items in the zoo’s store, which will save you a bundle.

7. Find Discounts
Believe it or not, but there’s more discounts available than you think. On the zoo’s website, or even local vendor’s websites, you might find coupons that can help you get a discount at the park. The coupons may range from things like discounts on admission price but could also help you save on souvenirs and food. While you’re at the park, you can always ask about the discounts they may offer as they often don’t list every discount. You may find that you can get a discount for being a senior citizen, being disabled, being a member of the military or a veteran, or even being a student. If you plan a day to go to the zoo and the weather happens to be rainy then ask if they offer a rainy-day discount. You can still have fun at the zoo during this time, especially if you pack a rainy-day list.

8. Go early
Sometimes, the early bird really does get the worm. Often times, the zoo doesn’t charge as much admission for those who come in the early hours of the park opening. This can help you more than just savings though. Showing up in the morning will allow you to enjoy less of a crowd, so you can enjoy the animals without feeling rushed. On top of that, in most cases, you won’t be there around the time everyone starts to get hungry. In fact, you might not even have to deal with the temptation of smelling food cooking. Thus, you won’t have to purchase food at the zoo. Even if you do decide to purchase food, snacks and souvenirs you won’t have to deal with the long lines that will cut back from your time exploring the park.

9. Plan Ahead
One of the key elements of having a successful and frugal trip to the zoo is your ability to plan ahead. For starters, you should know what the weather is going to be and prepare for any potential weather that forecasters are unsure of. This will not only help you prepare for yourself, but it will help you plan around the animals that might not come out during specific weather. You should also know what is happening at the zoo and what you would like to see. For instance, if there is a new exhibit, you might want to plan around it if you plan on going to the zoo multiple times. This will give you more space to enjoy the animals that aren’t popular on that day. You can even come up with plans to look at specific areas of the zoo during certain times so no one gets exhausted. This will prevent you from missing out on things and forcing you to cut your visit short.

10. Park Elsewhere
Without a doubt, parking at the zoo can be absolutely ridiculous in some places. The high parking fees often cause people to turn around. So, your best option is to find a parking place that is close to the zoo. This will allow you to walk the rest of the way instead of forcing you to fork over all of your money. Of course, if you have a membership this usually isn’t a problem as the fees are generally covered in the price. If you can avoid parking, then do so. One of the best ways to do this is to take public transit. The fee for transit can save you a whole lot of money.

Going to the zoo can be a lot of fun, especially in the spring time. These tips should help you to make the most of your trip while allowing you to save some money. With any luck, you will have so much fun at the zoo that you will forget all about your expenditures.

Quick Tips to Incorporate Minimalism Into Your Life While Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning time is here again, which can cause a lot of dread for many people. Spring Cleaning can be a time to rejoice though, as it is a great way to get a fresh start on your life. One of the best ways to make the most out of your cleaning experience is adapt to minimalism concept while you work. You may find that your life becomes less stressful as you remove the clutter from it. These ten ideas should help you work on your home with ease, so you can easily get more out of your day to day living.

1. Start with Clothing
The best place to begin your minimalism practice is in your closet. This is where most people accumulate the bulk of their clutter. From t-shirts from events to dresses that stopped fitting decades ago, our closets tend to build up with clothing items we just don’t need. So, this Spring Cleaning period is the best time to get rid of the clutter for good. The ideal thing to do would be to illuminate most of the clothing in your closet. You will need an item for special occasions as well as a week’s worth of work clothes and casual clothes. You can also keep a couple of pieces that make you particularly happy. If you have a washer, you can even cut the clothes back more. You should go through your drawers and get rid of old underwear, holey pajamas and other clothes that might not be comfortable. Once you’ve finished making your wardrobe look like a minimalist dream, start on the rest of the household’s closets.

2. Clean Your Shelves
Another place people tend to have clutter is on their shelves. This can be a lot harder for people to clean than their wardrobe though, as many of these items have a deeper connection to the owner. However, you can easily part with these items if you’re careful. Knick-knacks can be gone through quickly, if you like many of them then put some away and rotate them throughout the year. This will bring you more happiness and will add a newness to your collection. Books can be the hardest items to part with. However, if they don’t bring you joy and you don’t plan on reading them then it’s time to let go. Once you’ve purged your shelves and put away items or given them away then you can clean them with ease.

3. Decor
Many households have way too much decor out too, which just sits around and collects dust. Try to cut back on your items where you can. For instance, pictures of loved ones can be transformed into a collage to take up less space. You might stick with one simple art piece for the room to work as a focal piece. To add to the design of the room, simply add a rug to tie things together. Plants are something you should add to each room though as they will cleanse the air and help you with cleaning.

4. Ditch Appliances
It’s hard to say no to a cool appliance, especially if we think it is going to make our lives easier. However, more often than not, the appliances we choose don’t stay in use for long. In fact, the panini press, wok, waffle maker and sushi maker, tend to collect dust for years before we pull them out to use them again. If you have a collection of these items, then it’s time to say goodbye. You don’t need to have a waffle maker if you don’t ever make waffles, so sell it and use the money to buy appliances that have more one use. For instance, if you love paninis then invest in a cast iron skill and a weight. You will be surprised as to how delicious it tastes and how little space it takes up. With your kitchen cabinets emptier, you can have space for the stuff you actually need, like food.

5. Clear the Bathroom
The bathroom is another place known for having clutter everywhere. From half empty bottles of shampoo to the lotion that you tried but hated, these supplies tend to pack the cabinets. So, now is the time to ditch everything you don’t use. There is no need to save these items because they will never be used. If you’re worried about waste, then put a ban on buying products until the items in your bathroom cabinets are done. You may want to clear out old medications too, but make sure to dispose of them properly. With less in your bathroom, it will become more of a safe space where you can unwind or get ready for work with less stress in your life.

6. Reconsider Holiday Clutter
Let’s face it, we accumulate a whole lot of items to celebrate holidays. These items can really take up a lot of space in our storage areas, which can even cause hazardous conditions. Now is the perfect time to go through these items. If you have lights, then test them out. If they don’t work or are in a tangled mess, then you might want to ditch them. Holiday ornaments that are rusted or have been broken a few times might need a retirement too. Apart from that, you can easily go through and find items you just don’t use anymore. You may even cut back on items that are just unnecessary. For instance, you might not need a set of plates for every holiday you celebrate. Cutting down your supplies can help you save money in the long run and will make it so much easier to clean storage in the future.

7. Think Multifunctional
If you want to make any space in the home more efficient then you need to think multipurpose as you go through your items. For instance, if you’re in the market for new furniture, then pick items that work as storage spaces too. You can also pick up bins that slide under furniture to store the clutter that you don’t want to part with. Items that do more than one job around the house are definitely keepers too, so shop efficiently when investing in new things. This even includes your technology, so don’t purchase tech that only has one purpose. You should even clean up apps and other items that clutter up these devices and add to your stress.

8. Encourage Sustainability
Minimalism cleaning and organizing can also get you started on living a more sustainable life. For instance, you may want to invest in storage bins and jars for your home. These can be taken with you for shopping that doesn’t require bags and other disposables. If you have a backyard then consider creating a compost. This will put the items you need waste to good use, so you won’t have to worry about them becoming landfill. Of course, you should also recycle whenever and wherever you can. Leading this type of lifestyle will even encourage you to think before you purchase. So, not only will you have less cleaning to do, but you also won’t have to worry about new clutter entering the home.

9. Take it Slow
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t tackle your home in the same way. This will only make things harder for you, especially when you’re dealing with items that are emotionally hard to get rid of. You should start slowly and stop when you feel like the burden is too much for you. This should help you deal emotionally with the loss of your items, so you can move on to the next stage. Before you know it, your home will be complete, and you will feel so much better. However, don’t feel like you have to compete with others going through the same process.

10. Deep Clean
Don’t feel overwhelmed to clean straight away as you work. Instead, wait until you have cleared all of the items you no longer desire. With emptiness to contend with, you should be able to get a deep clean that you will feel proud of. Once the clean is over, then move the items back in. This is a great time to take a second look to see if there isn’t anything else you can get rid of. Often, when the deep clean is present, it inspires people to purge even more, so they can enjoy the feeling of cleanliness for much longer. You might consider using natural chemicals in some of these areas too. If not, rub down areas like closets, doors and windows with essential oils to keep bugs out of your home.

These ten tips should have you well on your way to becoming successful at minimalism and Spring Cleaning. Before you know it, this seasonal clean with be over and you’ll be enjoying your seemingly new home. You may even notice that cleaning is much easier, and life feels more complete. If not, then you’ve opened up your home to begin new collections that will help bring you a fresher sense of joy.