Friday, September 21, 2012

Camping on a Budget

I am preparing for a camping trip in a few days so I decided to go ahead and post some of my budgetary pointers on camping cheaply. Now this all depends on what you have going on and how long you will be out, what supplies you already have etc. But there are some basic tips I can give you that will help so you don't walk out of the store spending way more than you should have. When shopping for clothing, shoes, purses, etc. walking out with more you intended is acceptable especially if you got something on sale. "But honey, it was on SALE" AKA buy it now even though you have no idea what you are going to do with it. You're crafty you will figure something out!

Right - back to camping...

First, remember that camping is primitive, so you don't need a whole lot. When packing, pack light and pack things that you are going to be OK bringing back with you. (even thought they are delish, shrimp shells might not smell pleasant from the trash bag at the end of your trip).

Also, check your camp stash before you leave so that you don't end up buying things you already have. Make your list then go to the store. Don't plan on figuring it out there. You will always buy more that way. Also, for preparing meals, look in your cabinets to see what you can make with those canned goods that are probably already expired. No need to donate them during a food drive when you can cook it up camp style!

Hit up the dollar store for a lot of things so that you can save on your budget for that juicy steak you want to grill.

- Paper plates, napkins etc. I personally like to have one set of plastic plates and bowls per person in your family. This way you have less trash and never need to replenish. You can buy dollar store plastics cheaply and they usually hold up just fine.

- First aid kit essentials are my fav to get at the dollar store. Band-aids, gauze, and all that. You know little Tommy is going to skin his knee chasing a bear into the woods, so make sure you are prepared. Safety first!

- Batteries for your flash lights. Since you don't use the flash light in your junk drawer anymore and instead use a flash light app on your phone, the batteries always die from sitting so long. Stock up on any you will need without breaking the bank! Sometimes, depending on the dollar store you are at, you can find flash lights. I wouldn't depend on that as your primary light source however. Give it to the kids to use in their tent. They will most likely break it anyway. And who cares? It was a buck!

You would be surprised at what you can find. I hit the jackpot with my triple pack of antibacterial wet wipes!

This is my bounty from my dollar store trip. Score with the 2 pack ankle support!
8 pack of AAA batteries? I am loving this! 

Here are some fun, easy, and cheap camping ideas for meals:

Camper Baked Potatoes: Potatoes are cheap and multipurpose.

- Slice the potato so the slits go half way through the potato. Put butter in the center of a few slits. Add garlic, onions or whatever you like. Roll in foil and toss in the camp fire for about 30 minutes.

Burritos: Using some flour tortilla's saves you space in your gear, plus match your potato and tortillas for a yummy breakfast.

- Precook some chicken or hamburger meat at home, add the seasoning and veggies as desired. Just heat up the mix in a pot on the fire, then plop in a tortilla and add some sour cream and cheese!

Pudding in a bag: I saw this on-line once and decided it's a must do at the next camp session. Tasty and easy! 

- Pour instant pudding mix into a bag and add the ingredients as normal. Toss in the air, throw at your brother, who cares, just mix it up! Slice a little slit in the bag to serve. 

Hot diggity dog: Hot dogs are easy, cheap, and the kids can help cook. 

- Find a stick. Place hot dog onto stick. Cook. Enjoy!

My final tip for camping cost cutting is campsuds! Whew, say that five times fast! This enchanted bottle acts as a multipurpose cleaner. You can clean hands, face, hair, clothing, dishes or anything washable. Plus it's biodegradable. Yay for Earth friendly products! This stuff is super concentrated so you don't need much and the bottle lasts forever. I got my bottle on... you guessed it - I got my 8oz bottle for $10 and free shipping if you are a prime member. I didn't realize how concentrated it was so I didn't need a bottle this size. 

You know I will be so fresh and so clean while camping!

That's all I have for now folks. Hope this helps! If you have any other suggestions please comment so other readers can take advantage of all of our frugal ways!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let's start at the tips...

Too many people have told me that I am frugal. AKA, I am cheap. That's OK, I call it smart shopping. I decided to start a blog and post about ways I like to save money. I won't go and post coupons and tell you how to get all "extreme coupon-er"  on me, but I will post ideas of how you can incorporate saving some $$  in your daily routines.

One of my favorite ways to save is doing my own nails at home. I can't even begin to calculate how much I wasted at the nail salon just to pay too much and wait too long to get my nails done. Now, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the whole experience; especially when they massage my arms... mmmmm...,  but I would rather invest some money up front and save some dough long term. Plus how cool is it to show off a kick ass manicure to your girlfriends and brag that you did it yourself?

My first post is all about the too-hot-right-now gels. Yep the $35-$50 gel manicure you can get at the salon but do all by yourself at home. You do have to invest a little bit of money up front, but in the long run you will save so much and enjoy it much more. Also, for those of you who have never done gel nails, this manicure lasts chip free for up to two weeks! It's magic and it's awesome.

OK - here's what you will need and my recommendations on where to get the items.

A UV Nail light. I procured mine from amazon and got an amazing deal.

Picture courtesy of  Salon Edge
Salon Edge 36W Nail UV Lamp - This lamp runs about $30 with free shipping and it works great. If you are going to do the gel nails at home, this lamp is the first thing you need, because you have to cure the gel polish. This UV lamp is the way to go as it's large enough for one hand or foot, and it's lightweight and not clunky which is great for storage.

Side note: I love amazon, you may get tired of how much I reference I am in no way endorsed by them I just love that website. It's the best thing since toaster strudels. Oh but not quite as buttery and sweet... Mmm toaster strudels... OK anyway. So yeah I get a lot of my stuff on amazon and you should too because it's awesome. 

Picture courtesy of Harmony
Next, you will need the polish. Now in order to do gel nails you need the special gel polishes. If you are really nice to me I will tell you a secret in one of my other posts of how you can get away with using your OLD normal polishes with the gel system. But, regardless you will need the base gel and the top coat gel. I personally like the Harmony Gelish polishes. I have had great results with them and I love the color options.

Again I suggest getting your polishes on amazon, because last time I wen't to sally's they only had the mini's and they were the same price as the full one's on amazon. Here is a great deal on base gel's and top coat gels. They are about $28 for the set plus about $2 for shipping.

Now, you need a gel color. The gel polish is where this can get pricey. I suggest starting with one or two colors, and over time building up your color collection. is a great place to get the gel polish. You can also try ebay. They also have sites like Trade Design dedicated to gel polish and you can order from them but I find they are a little more expensive.

Lastly, all you need is a little bit of rubbing alcohol, and a nail buffer, and you can do all of this on your own. I have posted a separate blog on instructions of how to do the gel manicure here. For those of you who know how to already - I hopefully have given you some handy tips of where to find the supplies in an affordable manor for this magic manicure that lasts for weeks and does not chip!

                                                 Oh look at my pretty finished product...

This is after two weeks so ignore all the nail growth.
I used Ooba Ooba  blue and topped it with waterfield.
Instructions on how to do gel nails here

Let me show you...

You want to know how to do your own gel nails? Yay! Welcome to my addiction that is nail beautification! First let me congratulate you and say that you are in for a treat. Now let me make sure that you have read my first post on the cheapest ways to go about getting all the supplies you will need to do your nails at home.  If you haven't read it, go read it here.

Let me put my disclaimer in that I am not a certified nail technician and I do not claim to be. I have just tried doing the gel nails at home and have come up with the best way I have found to do them myself. Please read and get yourself educated on the gel nails before you attempt to do this at home. 

Now you've got all your supplies and ready to get your nail on. Lets do this! Lay out everything you will need. UV Lamp, polishes, orange stick, buffer, rubbing alcohol etc.

Step 1: Remove Old Polish First things first, you need to take old polish off. Out with the old in with the new I say! If you have gel polish on you will need to use acetone nail polish remover.

Cuticle pusher
Step 2: Pre-treating Now, pre-treat your nails as needed. If you need to remove cuticles, clip, file, etc. Do all of this first. make sure you use a cuticle pusher to push the cuticles down. Then take a fine grit nail file, and finely buff the top layer of your nails. This is to get rid of all the imperfections and score the nail to allow the gel polish to slick it's way perfectly on top of your nail. You don't need to go crazy just a little file over the whole nail.

Step 3: Wash OK, now go wash your hands you dirty girl. Don't use soap just use water, and if you have a nail brush, you can use that to get all that gunk out from underneath yo finger nails! OK kidding but you really want to make sure you have a nice clean surface.

Step 4: Apply UV Base Coat Apply one coat of your UV base gel. Carefully apply the coat and try not to make the coat too thick. Also, make sure to get the entire nail but not paint onto your fingers at all. I can barely do better than my 2 year old niece coloring in the lines... but if you get a little on your fingers like I always do, use your orange stick and get it off. Cure your base gel in the UV lamp per the instructions of the UV lamp. More powerful wattage UV lamps only need 30 seconds, some that are less wattage require more time. Mine requires 2 minutes. I always try texting with one hand or play doodle jump while waiting to cure. Somewhat difficult for me but at least I don't get bored.

I purchased some Anti UV Gloves to protect my hands while
curing my nails to dry. If you don't do gel nails that often
you don't really need this. If you do them often, this
isn't a bad idea.

use orange stick to get off any excess polish 
Step 5: Apply UV Color Now apply your color. When you apply the color  make sure to do nice thin coats. The thicker the coat  the longer it will take to cure and you can get some "waving" on the nail. Also, try to ensure you don't get the polish on your cuticles. I try to make sure I paint the entire nail leaving a itty bitty amount of of color not touching any part of my finger or nail bed. If you get color on the finger or it collects in the cuticles, it will grow out uneven and cause your manicure peel and not to last as long. So if you are like me and get it everywhere, don't despair! Take your handy dandy orange stick and use that to get it off your finger. BTW  my orange stick is not orange it's a wooden little nail tool... I don't know why it's called an orange stick. But they're cheap and work great!

Cure again after putting the color on.

Repeat the color step as much as needed to get the desired color. Thin coats are your best friend with gel polish. Every coat you need to cure in the UV lamp.

"Sealing" the tip of the nail
Step 6: Apply UV Top Coat We are almost done. Apply the top coat using the same cautions I mentioned above. You can follow instructions I know you can! Make sure to "seal" the tips of your nails by applying the top coat to the tip. Then, yep, you guessed it, cure again!

Step 7: Final Wash Take your rubbing alcohol and spritz your nails. Use a cotton ball and wipe off the weird tacky stuff that is left on the nails. I have no idea why it's there or where it comes from, but it's there so mop that nastiness off with the alcohol and cotton ball. There is no need to wait for anything to dry, your nails are cured and hard. Hey now - don't be dirty.. haha hard... anywho, gel nail polish does not need drying time, that's one of my favorite qualities of the gel manicure! Oh and it's magic and it's awesome.

Ta-da! You are done! Oh wait, go wash your hands one last time to ensure cleanliness. No actually, to get all that alcohol off your hands so that way if you operate a motor vehicle and get pulled over you don't get asked if you've consumed a bottle of vodka. OK - now you are done!

                                                        You're welcome!

I used the Harmony Gelish Tiki Tiki Laranga.
I added Harmony Gelish Waterfield over the ring finger for
some extra bedazzlement!