7 Camping Hacks Every Family Should Know

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Camping Hacks

Camping season is upon us, which means it is time to hit the open road, grab the old dusty tent, and enjoy a few nights under the stars! Camping doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, in fact there are plenty of “hacks” out there that can make the experience an enjoyable and affordable one. Look below at 7 camping hacks every family should know, and see how you can hack your way to a better camp out!  It’s a great way to explore your local

1. Tin foil is your best friend.
Tin foil can be used in so many ways when it comes to camping. You can use it to cover leftovers, or use it to cover grill grids if they are rusty and dirty. Tin foil can also be used to cover items in a hurry to protect them if the rain starts.  You can even cook some things on the engine of your car!

2. Make your own cheap fire starters.
Stuff toilet paper tubes with shredded paper and dryer lint to achieve a roaring fire. These DIY fire starters a great way to get a roaring fire without spending a dime. For even more fire starting power, add the remnants of old candles inside as well.

3. Take a tarp.
A cheap tarp can help your items stay dry if the rain starts. You can also place a tarp underneath your bedding area to help keep the space warm and dry as well. Tarps do an amazing job protecting your firewood stash as well. Since rain can be unpredictable, having a tarp on hand is always a great idea.

4. Don’t forget the solar lights.
Take some basic solar lights with you and allow them to charge during the day. This is an easy way to keep your campsite lit up at night without having to worry about candles or even flashlights. You can even take them on evening walks with you.

5. Consider foil dinners.
One of the easiest ways to cook over a fire is to make foil dinners. Add chopped vegetables, seasonings, and a meat of your choice to the foil and close it up to create a packet. Then, just toss the packet onto the fire for a quick meal with easy clean up.

6. Keep bugs away naturally.
Burning white sage in your campfire is an easy way to keep biting bugs such as mosquitoes away. You can also use citronella oil and peppermint oil on your camping linens to help keep them at bay! They hate the scent, and will soon fly elsewhere.

7. Hit the dollar store before you go.
Your local dollar store will have so many supplies that you can use in creative ways when you camp. Take clothespins so you can easily hang linens to dry. Large freezer bags are excellent for storing dirty clothing. Inexpensive blow up rafts can offer extra support while you sleep, and the plastic storage containers are excellent for carrying shower toiletries to and from the bath house.

Are you ready for the best camping trip yet? Consider these 7 camping hacks every family should know and see how fun (and easy) a night under the stars can be!

Creating A Money Saving Plan For Buying a New Car

If you are thinking you might be in the market to buy a new car soon, you might need to create a money saving plan. Buying a new car can be a little pricey with all the extras that go along with your big purchase. So before you head out to go shopping make sure your finances are in order and you know that you can afford the car you want. Now if you have all cash that is great, but if not, buying a car can impact your budget greatly!  This post is brought to you by QuigleyMotors.net.

Buying a New Car

Again these are just things for you to keep in mind when you go to buy a new vehicle. It is a big deal to buy a new car, and it can be a little costly. Making sure you still have money left after you make your payments will make your everyday life a little easier, so you don’t feel so strapped.

Time Frame of Buying a Car: You need to make sure to sit down and plan when you want to buy a new car. You may think in a year I will be ready, or even a few months down the road. Regardless you will need to have a down payment most likely for your new vehicle. Some places offer no money down, so you need to consider if you don’t go to a dealership that offers no money down, you might need to put down a thousand or more.

Look at Cars Online: If you have an idea of a vehicle you are wanting, you can look online at dealerships in your area to get an idea of the price range. This will help you to see how much money a vehicle you are really wanting might cost.

Monthly Car Payments: When you get a loan for a vehicle it can vary a lot depending on the price of the vehicle. You could spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a thousand. They do offer ways to figure what your payment would be online for a vehicle, or your dealership can tell you. This is a great way to get a rough estimate of how much your car payment would be each month. Just make sure you also factor in for insurance each month. Most states require full coverage on a vehicle that has a loan against it.

Car Tags and Insurance: Along with buying a car you have to factor in insurance premiums, and car tags and registering your new vehicle. If you have a type of vehicle you want, say a SUV you can talk to your insurance company and they can give you a rough estimate of what that type of car you want would cost each month. Some styles of vehicles (sports cars, etc) can cost a lot more than others.

This is a great way to ensure you can afford the vehicle you want. Sometimes people forget you have tags and insurance that go along with owning a car. You just need to make sure you have money in your budget and then you can sleep easier at night with your new car.

Related: How to Choose Well When Buying a Used Car

5 Tips for Buying a Used Car

 

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Every year around this time, people start taking advantage of the nice weather, new inventory, and subsequent sales, and shop for a great price on a used vehicle.  And why not?  Used cars are an amazing deal, and the weather makes for pleasant test drives!  But when you’re searching for a used car, how do you make sure you’re getting a reliable car, instead of a lemon?  Follow these 5 tips for buying a used car to make sure you get the deal without the hassle.  This post is brought to you by CueroDodgeChryslerJeepRam.com.

  • –  Check reviews, both online and word of mouth.  Ask your friends and family where they buy their vehicles and how they enjoyed the experience.  Then look online for reviews of the dealerships you are considering buying from.  If reviews are split, you can’t be sure you’ll get a good experience.  If you are able to find someplace consistently well reviewed, or where your friends all had great help and a smooth process, you’re bound to have success as well.  A reputable location won’t lose their good reputation just to make a quick buck off you!
  • –  Too good to be true? Probably.  You’ve heard this one before: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If a car is priced significantly lower than others with similar features, age, and mileage, some red flags should be popping up.  Or maybe the car is listed at an average price, but lists “new tires, new radiator, new alternator, new AC, new starter…”  Practically a whole new engine!  Something happened.  Maybe it was an accident, or perhaps it was just someone restoring the car, only to move on to a different project.  Don’t run away from these red flags, but do approach them with caution.  Ask a lot of questions to learn the whole story behind the car.  If you aren’t completely comfortable with the situation, back out and keep looking.
  • –  Test cars out.  If you find a car you like, test another one similar to it.  It could be another used one in the area, or if it’s a recent model year you can test a new model.  This will give you an idea of how the car should drive as you notice little differences between them.  A seller won’t be able to tell you “oh that’s how this model year is… they all idle a little rough,” because you’ve already tested them out yourself.  Then test the car you want in multiple scenarios; drive slowly and test the brakes on an empty street, then through town for stop-and-go traffic, and make sure it doesn’t wobble or have trouble at high speeds by driving on the highway.
  • –  Check it out.  Talk to a trusted mechanic before you start looking at cars and ask if they’ll take a look at some used vehicles for you as you test them out.  When you decide on a car, bring it to the mechanic and have it checked out.  Many will do this for free, and it will give you peace of mind about a vehicle before buying.  Make sure to ask the seller if you can take their vehicle to your mechanic to have it checked out first – it’s their car, after all.  But if they refuse, it’s likely they have something they don’t want you to find.  Keep the list the mechanic gives you, so if you do purchase the car you know exactly what needs done.
  • –  Negotiate.  Most sellers, both dealerships and private, list at a higher price in hopes that you’ll pay it.  They expect some amount of negotiation, and that’s worked into the price.  Don’t be afraid to point out a similar vehicle at a lower price somewhere else, or to mention items your mechanic found as a reason to lower the price.  They have a price in mind that they’ll sell for, and it’s almost always lower than they initially listed.

Car Habits to Save You Money

How to Save Money

If you’re wanting or needing to save money here are nine tips to help you keep more pennies in your pocket.  This post is brought to you by ChryslerOfCulpeper.net.

1. Wash your own car.

Time IS money, but the cost of convenience might not be worth it all the time. Washing your own car can really save you money. If you decide to wash your car every month that can add. Plus, if you’re like me, the fast versions at the drive-through car washes don’t really ever satisfy me except for getting the dirt off. A good starter kit for your own car wash to get a spic-n-span, classy result can be bought on Amazon or you can DIY to your heart’s content to save even more money!

2. Detail it yourself.

I love having my car detailed because it’s so crazy clean! I once found a church group that detailed my car for $20 for a fundraiser. It was gorgeous on the inside. Later, I went to have my car detailed from a professional business and realized that my $20-detailing was truly a heavenly gift! The professionals wants three times that amount! If you can do this yourself, you’ll have a beaut of a car and bank account.

3. Change your own oil.

I’m pretty sure this step is something we all know, but you can save yourself $20 each time your want your oil replaced (depending on where you live and where you get the change done). This added up over the lifetime of a car, can help make the down payment on the next one!

4. Replace the windshield wipers.

If you have basic windshield wipers, then you can save the service fee by doing this at home. We’re not super-handy people. Sometimes we struggle doing our own car oil change, but this we can do. It’s one of the little things that add up. Also, you don’t have to replace the rods sometimes. Replace the squeegee part for even more savings. The squeegee may be only dirty too. Sometimes cleaning the rubber part of the wiper will save pennies too.

5. Shampoo your own carpets.

You can add life and value to your car by cleaning up the interior carpet. The most efficient way is a professional cleaning system, but you can get a good result from hand-washing the fabric. You need a couple of buckets, clean towels, a carpet brush, a wet vac, and an a fabric-safe, all-purpose cleaner. Follow the instructions for mixing the cleaner, vacuum the carpet, use a brush to clean the carpet using the cleaner mixture, and dry with the wet vac. Beauty and savings.

6. Determine which quality of gas is best.

Did you know that you might get better gas milage from higher quality gas? If you buy premium gas, it might actually save you money. Do a little test – try each of the levels of gas and see how many miles to the gallon you get for your car for each level.

7. Keep your RPMs low.

Surging your car above 3,000 RPMs will burn up gas. Anytime you can coast, do it. Anytime you can not accelerate (with safety in mind, of course) do it! This saves gas.

8. Pick and stick with a good repair shop.

We have had our fair share of experiences with good auto mechanics, but we have had one or two situations when we wouldn’t go back either. Your trustworthy mechanic  will help you save money by repairing your vehicle in a way that helps you, not his only his pocketbook. Look for good ratings and word of mouth by “car” people you know

9. Be picky about insurance.

If you have an older car, you don’t necessarily need a lot of coverage on the vehicle. You can simply get liability insurance and use the money you save on the car insurance to put into a savings car for your next ride!
How about you? How do you save money with and on your car?

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

This post is brought to you by TexanDodgeChryslerJeepRam.com.

Tips for Spring Car Maintenance

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

Winter can be so brutal on your car. Some parts of the country you are faced with snow storms, below-zero temperatures and more. When they put the ice melt down on the streets that can be really harsh on your car, it can cause rust and more.

When spring arrives it is a great time to wash away the winter and freshen up your car! Below you will find some great spring maintenance tips for your car. If you are not able to do any of these car maintenance jobs yourself, take your car to a local mechanic shop and they will do it all for you!

Tips for Spring Maintenance on Your Vehicle

  • – A Good Wash: If you live where you get snow, it is very important to wash your car really well. When they put salt down on the streets it melts the ice but as you drive it gets all over your vehicle. It can cause a lot of damage to your car, so make sure to wash it really well. This includes the undercarriages where that salt if left over time could rust the metal.
  • – Oil and Fluid Check: It is recommended to change your car’s oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. So if you are close to needing an oil change do that and make sure to check your fluids. Sometimes we can forget to check power steering fluid, transmission fluid and so on. If you don’t know how to do this, stop in and let a mechanic do this for you.
    – Check Tires: Make sure to rotate your tires, check the pressure and make sure you have good tire thread. Your car’s tires are so important, it affects how your car rides, handles, and of course safety. It is recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to keep tread wear even!
    – Brakes: Make sure to have your brakes inspected. Sometimes the pads and rotors can get worn and go out. You need to make sure that you can stop safely and easily in case you need to when driving.
    – Alignment and Suspension: If you ever have been driving and notice that your car pulls to one side or the steering wheel vibrates, you might have a problem. Just driving alone can cause your alignment and suspension to get off, and it is important to make sure it is all where it needs to be. If you live where you have rough roads or pot holes that can be to blame for your car going out of alignment. This check is normally $20-$50 depending on where you live.

Spring Car Maintenance DIY Guide

Used Car Tips

It’s that time of year again.  Flowers, pollen, rain, rain, and more rain.  Spring is a great time to be outdoors and enjoy life (with allergy medicine!) but it’s also a great time to do a check-up on your car.  That’s right car maintenance.  This Spring Car Maintenance DIY Guide is brought to you by AppleValleyHyundai.com.

While you could go to the auto shop and pay someone to look over your car, you could do a couple of things yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Check Your Spark Plugs

From what I’ve read most spark plugs require that they be replaced after driving about 30,000 miles and changing them isn’t a complicated process once you understand it.  You could read online about replacing your own or go to the ever popular YouTube and find a mechanic who knows his stuff.

Get an Oil Change

Or maybe I should say, give yourself an oil change.  Car experts vary with their recommendations but most say that you should change your oil somewhere between 3,000-5,000 miles.  This seems like common sense but because I don’t always think things through myself I’ll say it anyway, when changing your oil make sure not to do it when the engine is still hot.  You don’t want to get scalded.  A trip to the ER will not help you save money.

Check Your Battery

Get a battery tester or take it to an auto place where they can quickly check it for free.  It’s important for a battery to be clean and free of rust and dust to avoid unnecessary problems.

Check Your Tire Pressure

This is easy to do at home and you can go to most gas stations if you need to inflate them with air.

There you have it!  There are some simple ways to give your car a spring maintenance check up.

4 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Replacement Hot Tub Cover

This guest post comes from my friend Kim who knows her stuff when it comes to hot tubs.  Don’t overpay on the wrong cover, check out her tips.Hot Tub Covers

Hot tub cover damage isn’t uncommon. When repairs are no longer an option, it is time to start looking for a replacement hot tub cover. Finding a hot tub replacement cover can be a challenging task, because you need a cover that is the perfect fit for your hot tub, and there are thousands of different makes and models of hot tubs around. I recommend you take a look at SpaMate.com. They have been making custom fit hot tub covers for more than four decades and have made covers for every hot tub model ever produced.

If you are in the market for a replacement hot tub cover, you probably want to consider the things that you didn’t like about your old cover. Maybe your old cover wore out really quickly, or it didn’t keep your hot tub as warm as you’d like; this is the perfect time to get a hot tub cover that meets all of your needs. Here are four things that you should consider when getting a hot tub cover replacement.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing A Replacement Hot Tub Cover?

 

1.  Durability

You don’t want to be replacing your hot tub cover every couple of years. Instead, you will want a cover that will last you a long time. To find a durable spa cover, you should first start by looking for a cover that has internal supports made of a strong metal like steel. These supports provide your spa cover with the strength to keep it sturdy under the weight of any debris that may fall on top of it in your yard.

In addition to the internal supports, your hot tub cover should have strong hinges made out a rust-resistant material. A continuous heat seal at the hinges could also help with keeping the heat inside your hot tub while it is covered. Over time, this will save you a lot of money on heating bills.

Wind straps should also come with your hot tub cover to keep the cover secured to your spa during inclement weather and high-wind conditions. Properly securing your cover to your hot tub could prevent it from getting damaged.

2.  Insulation

The foam insulation inside your hot tub cover keeps the heat in the spa when it isn’t in use. Even when it is bitterly cold outside, the insulation should keep your spa’s water toasty and warm. There are a few different factors that affect how well your cover keeps in heat. First is the thickness of the foam.

Thin foam won’t be able to keep the water in your hot tub warm when the temperatures dip to extreme lows. Typically, a quality hot tub cover will contain foam insulation that is between four and six inches thick.

The second consideration you should make when it comes to insulation is the climate in which you live. If you live in an area that gets really cold, you will want to go with the thickest insulation available to keep your hot tub water nice and warm. In warmer climates, you will need less insulation so that you can go with a thinner foam insulation option. Regardless of the climate, a replacement spa cover should contain at least three inches of foam insulation.

Hot Tub Cover

3.  Fit

For a spa cover to properly insulate hot tub, you need to make sure that it is a perfect fit. It isn’t always easy to get a hot tub cover that is the perfect fit, so you might want to look for a company that can take the make and model of your spa and create the perfect hot tub cover. If that isn’t an option, you can measure your spa to come up with perfect measurements. It may be very difficult to get precise measurements, so you should talk to the spa cover manufacturer about how to get the best measurements.

4.  Material

Spa covers need to be made out of a material that can stand up to constant contact with water, the elements, and sun exposure. For these reasons, marine vinyl is the best option when it comes to a spa cover material because it is resistant to fading, discoloration, and UV damage. Marine vinyl also contains mildew inhibitors that prevent the growth of mildew and mold on the cover to prevent illnesses to those who use the hot tub. Mildew inhibitors also very bad odors in the cover.

Purchasing a replacement spa cover is no easy task. If you have been burned by a spa cover in the past, you are probably hesitant to pull the trigger on a new purchase. However, with these tips, you can go out and pick a new spa cover with confidence.

 

8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree

This post is brought to you by Warsawchryslerdodgejeepram.com and contains affiliate links.

Car Care Items from The Dollar Store

I love the Dollar Tree for party supplies, craft supplies, gardening tools, and the occasional odds and ends I don’t realize I need till I see it.  Did you know that the Dollar Tree is also a great place to save on car care items?  Taking care of your car can add up quickly, but before you head to the nearest auto store to buy your supplies, check out these common needs that you can have filled for a dollar at your nearest Dollar Tree.

Here are 8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree:

Utility Rope

Utility Ropes
In case of emergency, keeping ropes in your vehicle is a great idea.

Auto Protectant

Auto Protectant
You can really save some dollars here. This solution is for vinyl surfaces to protect and restore shine.

Flashlights

Flashlights
In case of emergency or if you need to do some repair, the flashlights will suit your needs well. Who cares if it gets lost or dirty?

Windshield Washer Fuild

Windshield Washer Fluid
You can save a pretty penny by refilling your own windshield washer fluid… for a dollar. This fluid acts as antifreeze and de-icer, making your car safer.

Steering Wheel Cover

Steering Wheel Cover
Snazz up your car, avoid a dirty steering wheel, and protect your hands with the steering wheel cover.

Funnels

Funnels
Although you’ll find this in the kitchen section, it’s perfect for guiding fluids during routine checks.  Plus, they come in packs of three so you could divide them between your kitchen needs and car needs….just don’t use one for both. 😉

Snow Scraper

Snow Brush with Scrapers
Scraping your windshields is an important step of winter car safety.  Save your credit cards and buy a cheap scraper that can get the job done even quicker.  Keep your car’s paint job safe too with the brush feature.

Brake Fuild

Brake Fluid
If you’re your own mechanic, this deal is sure to impress. Refill your brake fluid for a buck.

Do you have any ways to save on car maintenance?  If so, please share in the comments.

5 Steps to Remove Clutter From Your Life

All of us end up with a clutter filled home and mind throughout our life. With the busy times of keeping up with a career, raising kids and keeping a marriage afloat, there’s no wonder that many of us end up feeling overwhelmed and cluttered. When you realize that clutter has taken over your life and home, there are a few things you can do to help remove this clutter from your life, today I am sharing a few tips to help you become clutter free and in turn feel less stressed.

5 Steps to Remove Clutter from your Life

Tackle Junk Drawers

Most people have a junk drawer in the home that’s full of odds and ends. The first tip to removing clutter from your life is to tackle the junk drawers. Organize each item into a category, then donate or recycle any items that won’t serve a purpose in your life.

Take a Relaxing Bath

If you find that your mind is cluttered, taking a relaxing bath once a week can help to alleviate this clutter in the mind. With our busy lives, we tend to hold so much in our thoughts and in turn can feel overwhelmed and tense. A relaxing weekly bath will remove clutter from your mind easily.

Revamp Daily Routine

As time goes on you will find that your routine becomes cluttered and you simply kept living life every day adding more things to your routine. In time, you have to pause to reflect upon what your daily routine involves. Cut some items from that routine and revamp it so that you feel more relaxed.

Clear off Flat Surfaces

If your home is like mine, the kids and others tend to drop items on that open countertop in the kitchen or the dining room table. Flat surfaces are famous for gaining clutter and it’s time to take back that surface! Make it a rule to never place any items on flat surfaces in the home, put them in their place. (You may also like our Tips for Organizing Kitchen Cabinets)

Designate a Space for Everything

Lastly, in order to maintain your clutter-free lifestyle, you will have to make sure that you have a designated space for everything. Have a family meeting to discuss these changes so that everyone is held accountable for removing the clutter from your life.

There you have it, 5 steps to remove clutter from your life. These tips are meant to inspire you to make a change and work towards living a reduced stress lifestyle. Once you implement these tips, you should feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders and in time feel great about living a clutter-free lifestyle.


How to Stay Strong with Resolutions for New Year

If you made a New Year’s resolution this season, then chances are you may be among the many people who swear to make a change but often end up giving up at some point in the first quarter of the year. New Year’s resolutions come with the right mindset, a person wants to be better, do better and such but they lack the necessary thought process to ensure their resolution sticks. Today, I am sharing some tips on how to stay strong with your resolution this year.

How to Stay Strong with Resolutions for New Year

Small Changes

The first steps to ensure you stay strong with your resolutions this New Year is to commit to small changes. Perhaps your full resolution is larger than life and in turn, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Take that resolution and break it down into smaller changes and you’ll remain strong.

Reward Yourself

As you achieve each small change during the process of staying strong with your resolutions for the New Year, reward yourself. Having some sort of reward system in place for every successful step will ensure your mind stays on the ultimate goal; your full resolution.

Write Resolution

Have a pad of small note paper near your desk or in the kitchen, keep it in a place where you can access it on a regular basis. Write your resolution every day so that your mind is focused on that end goal of whatever you’ve set your mind to for the New Year.

Know the Why

Anyone who remains strong with their resolution in the New Year has a strong why behind their resolution. Think about why you want to achieve this resolution.   Once you have your big why write it down and keep that reason awake in your mind so that you remain strong and committed to this change.

Accountability Partner

Consider gathering a group of people who want to stay strong with resolutions for the New Year too. This group will help you to hold yourself accountable as you travel along the path that is a positive change in your life.

There you have it, a few tips on how you can stay strong with resolutions for the New Year. Each of these tips will surely help you be successful with whatever you’ve set your mind to achieve this year.