Sunday, September 27, 2009

Savvy How To: Beauty School Savings

Savvy How To:
Saving With Style

Before you run to the salon for a new cut, style or color, check out your local beauty college for great savings with style!

It's one of those wear-a-hat days and all the hairspray, gels and creams you've tried just seem to make things worse! Your haircut is overgrown, streaking colors like a chameleon and split at the ends like the tines of a fork. So what can you do that will leave you feeling beautiful but not broke? Before you run to the salon for a new cut, style or color, why not check out your local beauty college?

Venturing off to your local beauty school can save a significant amount of money over traditional salons. Beauty schools are staffed by students, supervised by licensed instructors, who can perform almost any beauty service offered elsewhere, such as hair cuts and colors, weaves, facials, manicures, pedicures and more, and at great discounts.

Savings can be upwards of 60 percent over traditional salons, says Jan Barker, owner of American Beauty Academy in Payson. “Many salons offer a haircut for $22 and ours is only $8.” In addition to having a student work on your hair, you get the instructor as well. All work performed is checked and graded, which obviously encourages students to do their very best work. But, if you still aren't satisfied with your service, any touch-up work can be done by the supervisor.

Some schools, like American Beauty Academy, provide even more ways to save on beauty treatments by offering half-off coupons by mail or online for select services. Many also offer discounts to seniors and students, while some offer select savings on specific days of the week, such as $5 hair cut Fridays. Make sure you call your local school and ask what additional discounts are offered before you go so you can get the most beauty for your buck.

There's also the option of a do-it-yourself job for many salon services. Home hair coloring products are more affordable than ever and come with easy-to-follow instructions. However, picking the right shade to suit your skin tone and current color can sometimes get tricky. There are myriad colors, glazes and shines to enhance your locks, but there is nothing like color gone bad.

“Getting the wrong color from the store costs a lot more in the long run when you have to pay for a color correction” says American Beauty Academy's Barker. If you're new to the color game, start with temporary or semi-permanent hair color, as they are generally free of harmful peroxide and ammonia and be sure to check the expiration date on the box. Ask your stylist to recommend a shade that would look best or even a preferred brand for the home user. They're more than happy to help you do what's best for your hair in any situation. Most manufacturers provide a toll-free help line if you run into a snag at home.

You can also extend the life of your color by using quality shampoo and conditioning products readily available at mass retailers. Most stores now offer salon quality products at a fraction of the prices of a salon. Watching for “buy one get one free” sales and pairing coupons with store discounts can add up to great beauty savings.

And what's the “best bargain of the century?” says Jan. When you're having a bad hair day and are short on time and money go get a shampoo and style for about $6 at your local beauty school. “If it makes you feel a hundred bucks better it's worth the $6”!

Beauty school treatments definitely won’t break the bank.  If you’re considering getting your next cut or style from one of these schools, talk to other patrons that have been there. If someone you know got a great cut, get the name of the student that performed it or ask when scheduling your appointment for a senior student with lots of experience on specialty services. If you’re looking to get to the root of great savings visit your local college and get salon pampered at beauty school prices.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Savvy How To: Food Storage Solutions

 Savvy How To: 
Creative Solutions for Food Storage Clutter

Food storage is definitely an important part of investing in your future. But for many, storage options may have them bursting at the seams. Storing and organizing your food in small spaces may seem overwhelming and maybe even impossible. However, finding room to keep yourself organized in limited spaces can be simple, though it does require a little planning and some elbow grease. Beyond traditional shelves and cupboards, there are many creative and efficient options for food storage. I asked my readers for their suggestions on how to creatively store food and here are a few of their ideas:

Make Food Furniture: Yes, you read that right. Why not turn your boxes, cans and crates into furniture that serves double duty? Jan Barker of Payson suggests: “How about putting a round piece of wood on top of a stack of boxes or buckets and a round tablecloth on top of that to create an end table or nightstand?– Try filling hinged ottomans with a case of corn or beans. Or what about covering a small shelving unit with fabric and topping it with glass for an instant vanity table, says Riana Jasperson of Santaquin. It's easy to disguise self-rotating can units with a little fabric and wood. One click in the World Wide Web provides a plethora of detailed plans to custom build your own “cloaked” shelving unit. Or take an even easier route and use extra #10 cans as support for plywood shelves. Furniture solutions are a do-it-yourselfer's dream and certainly an inexpensive alternative.

Closets Aren't Just For Coats: You may have an unused coat closet or even “dead space” overhead just waiting for shelving, says Sadie Cunningham from Mona. Years ago, in my small-town home in Southern California, I didn't even have a coat closet. I had to get creative! I utilized the space under the stairs in one of those weirdly misshaped angled closets by simply installing a hanging rod for coats and a series of shelves just above the rod. I filled the shelves with “vacuum saver” type bags full of blankets and pillows and even created ample space for a family game shelf. Small shoe organizers and bookshelves readily purchased at hardware and retail stores lined the angular walls to provide extra storage. Stacey Johnson of Cumming, Ga., didn't waste space here, either! She installed shelving and even “cut a hole in the drywall at the back under the stair's landing and framed the hole.” Hanging a no-sew curtain with a shower rod can easily hide storage items, not to mention it also adds a “cute dimension,” Johnson says. You can also utilize closet doors for additional storage. “I use shoe storage organizers (the ones that hang behind doors), Ale Wortmann of Springville says.

Bedroom Follies: Under the bed is a treasure trove of space waiting to be filled by things other than dirty socks and broken toys. You can raise your bed to new levels by adding bed risers that can increase storage space by 12 inches or more. Use an extra long bed skirt to cover your secret stash! Once you've created space, use “under the bed storage containers, fill them up and just slide them under all the beds in the house” says Julie Taggart of Pleasant Grove. Taggart even organizes her bathrooms this way. Using shoe-size clear containers she stacks and organizes personal hygiene items under the bathroom vanity. “Buy one for toothpaste, another for deodorant, another for razors, etc.– You can stack them a few high, using what is normally wasted space.

Don't let the lack of square footage deter you. Being prepared and getting organized will pay off when you're eating food today at last year's prices!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Two Cents: Food Insurance

My Two Cents:  
Food Storage, an investment for the future!

I've always thought of my food storage as insurance. We all pay for car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, etc. So why not starvation insurance?

OK, sounds a little drastic I know, but investing in the physical well being of our families is just as important, yes, even more important than protecting any other belonging! In Jean De La Fontaine's 17th century version of the fabled grasshopper and the ant, an idle grasshopper squanders valuable time instead of preparing for the winter and undoubted storms of life. The provident ant, however, foresees the need to prepare and stores away a little food here and there as protection for harsher times. Of course, when winter is finally upon them, the grasshopper is woefully unprepared and left begging for sustenance from the ant's abundant storage of food. So, the ant pulls a few No. 10 cans of dehydrated corn off her self-rotating shelving system and cheerfully shares with her vulnerable insect friend. Oh wait, maybe that last bit wasn't quite part of the story. The grasshopper might have had to sing for her supper, but what if the ant hadn't stored any food either? Malnourished and faint they're both tongue-slapped by a fortuitous amphibian?

Food storage is an important part of investing in your future, not just physically, but also monetarily. Eating food today at last year's prices can often provide a significantly larger return on the money you invested to buy it than even IRAs, 401ks and money market accounts. With the cost of food increasing daily, shoppers must think today about what to buy for tomorrow. But, before you run to the store and clear the shelves, first you must assess your family's needs, determine storage options and create a spending plan.

What to buy, what to buy? There's obviously the basics like sugar, flour, salt, rice and wheat, to name a few. But how would your family do if they had to do without the meals they currently enjoy? In addition to storing the basics of sustainable life you should also purchase and store what you already eat. Make a list of family-favorite meals or snacks and separate them into ingredient and quantity lists. If you eat each meal once a week for example, simply add the quantities required to prepare each meal and multiply by 13, 26 or 52 and you'll know how much you'd need to store to eat it once a week for 3 months to a year!

But, before you buy 52 cans of family-sized soup, you should ask yourself, “Where do I store all this stuff, and once I buy it how do I rotate it?” It's great that you're thinking ahead and filling your pantry, but buying more than you need or have room to store doesn't work. If you're home or apartment doesn't give way to larger storage areas, make good use of closets, cupboards and even under the bed.

Get creative! Re-purpose household objects, like using a hanging cloth shoe organizer for spice storage and hang it on your pantry door. But don't buy more than your family can use before a product expires. Everything goes bad at some point. Letting food expire in the pantry is not only wasteful it's also very costly! Finally, develop a system for rotation, (I use the “stock new on the left, pull to use from the right” method), to keep old food from hiding on the back of your shelves waiting for the right time to bulge and explode.

So, now you need to allocate the funds to start building up your supplies. Don't think you can afford to start? How can you not! The good news is it has never cost so little to buy so much! You can easily cut your grocery bills in half or more by simply watching sales and matching coupons to those sales when possible.

Stocking up when prices are low saves you money when prices rise. But what if you don't know what a good deal is when you see it? I'll tell you in a weekly newsletter where you can find the BEST GROCERY DEALS in Utah County! The cost? Zilch, Nada, Zero ? It's FREE! To sign up for these free emails and for more ideas on how to make saving money easy, visit, Utah's BEST source for savings!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Savvy How To: Money Saving Shopping Techniques

 Savvy How To:
Money Saving Shopping Tips

There's nothing better than eating food today, but at last years' prices! Saving money on groceries requires a few simple skills that can easily be learned: organization, shopping techniques and bulk purchases.

Organization: If you always put things back in the same place every time, you'll never lose them. The same goes for coupons. Organizing your coupons helps save you time and money. Try using a three-ring binder filled with transparent nine-pocket baseball card holders. Coupons easily slide into each slot with expiration dates, products and savings clearly visible. Divide your pages into 10 or more shopping categories like Bread & Cereal, Desserts, Paper Goods, Personal Hygiene, etc.

Shopping Techniques: First, make a shopping list and stick to it. Shopping without a list is like going to the store hungry - you often buy more than you need. And remember, items displayed at eye level usually cost more, so look lower! Second, watch the front page of your grocery sale ad. The deals posted there are usually a good place to start saving money as these items are often considered loss-leaders (leading you into the store at their loss). Finally, find your price points. A price point is simply the price at which you are willing to spend money on any given item - your good deal price. Create a price book and determine what the lowest sale price the items you buy most will reach. Then wait for a sale that meets your range of prices to stock up on those products and add coupons to save even more.

Bulk Purchases: If a product is a great deal don't buy one, buy two or three or even more! Stocking up on items when they are at their lowest prices ensures that you'll have some on hand the next time you need them - and it's like they're always on sale in your cupboard. Create your own storehouse of food in a pantry, a closet, a basement or under your bed if needs be. When preparing your meals try to shop your personal “store” first. Use items from your own pantry to create weekly meal lists and supplement with produce or other weekly sale items to create cost-effective meals.

Saving money has never been so easy!
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