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Tag Archive: Reader Tip

Reader Tip: Top 10 Toys For The Minimalist Family

How to be a minimalist and still let your kids have toys. This is a great list of intentional toys that promote creativity and can be used over and over again!

emailed the following tip:

I used get so frustrated with my children’s toy mess… until I got very intentional about what toys we kept in our home. Then everything changed!

The reality is, when my kids have less toys, they play with what they have more, they make less messes, there’s less to clean up, they get more creative, they spend more time outside, they play with each other more, they’re more content, and they have more space to play with those toys you keep.

It’s seems counterintuitive but just try it and see for yourself.

My top 10 boy and girl toy recommendations are as follows.

1. A couple dolls with clothes for changing
2. A nice sturdy wooden dollhouse
3. Stuffed animals
4. Wooden blocks
5. Train tracks
6. Legos
7. Cars
8. Books
9. Art Supplies
10. Dressup clothes

I picked these toys based on quality, open-ended options for play, and the fact that both girls and boys can play with all of them.

Keep it simple, give them time to get outside and don’t clutter up their play space or room with too many toys.

Adopt a minimalist philosophy with toys (and really everything in your home) and your kids will flourish. Plus, it will be SO much easier to manage and tidy up — for you and your kids!

How to Get a Great Deal on a Hotel Using Priceline

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our .)

Frugal Travel Hack: This one simple tip will help you get the best deal on a hotel every single time!

Jen commented on a post recently with this really great frugal travel trip:

offers “Express Deals” which provides basic information about a hotel – neighborhood, amenities, star level, and guest rating (in most cases). They also tell you the percentage discount you’ll get by using the Express Deal, the price you will pay for it.

Most people don’t take advantage of Express deals, because they don’t like not knowing which hotel they’re booking. (And once you purchase an Express Deal with your credit card, there is no backing out. You get what you get at that point.) With the information they provide, however, you can filter hotels offered by Priceline to figure out what hotel you are going to get!

Here’s how. As an example: a hotel is listed as three star, in Times Square, offers free internet and a gym, has a 7+ rating by guests, and is available for $145 (a 39%) savings. To figure out what this deal is, you back out of Express Deals and go back to the section that lists all of the hotels on . You filter your search to only show hotels in Time Square which are 3 star and have free internet and a gym. It might pull 4 matches, so you next look at which hotels are rated 7-7.9 by guests. Let’s say there are two hotels left at that point. Then it’s simple math to figure out which hotel is a 39% savings from the price listed on the screen.

Make sense? Hopefully! It takes a little practice, but with this method I’ve always been able to figure out what hotel I will get (and usually at a huge savings!). I have successfully done this over three dozen times. You should also use shop through on your Priceline purchase.

Have you tried this method with  before? I’d love to hear!

How Bad Etiquette Can Cost You

emailed in the following tip:

I have always believed that etiquette is for everyone… not just the elite. Etiquette, to me, is the culmination of advanced societal norms. It helps you feel comfortable in any situation, and, even more importantly, it helps you help others feel comfortable, as well.

Many people erroneously assume you must be wealthy to use etiquette — but this is completely wrong. Yes, etiquette does have strong ties to money, but probably not in the ways you might expect.

In my opinion, BAD etiquette can actually cost you money! Here’s how…

1. You may get into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Etiquette helps you be a respectful, polite person — it doesn’t mean you need to pay to have all of your clothes monogrammed or that you need a full pattern of silverware in order to properly entertain guests. By thinking of etiquette as appearances instead of authenticity, many people assume they can’t “afford” etiquette.

2. You may not get the job.

I guarantee that if you and another candidate are equally qualified for a certain job but they show good business etiquette and you don’t, they’ll get the job every time. I’ve witnessed this many times. As an employee, we are the face of a company to the public and a business always wants to show the best.

3. You may lose repeat business.

Even if you get the job and “work your way up,” knowing proper etiquette and how to treat people will take you far in life.

One of the top complaints I get from business customers is when employees respond with “no problem” to a “thank you.” I know, I know, it sounds small. However, Chick-fil-a is well known for responding with “my pleasure.”

The little things really make a difference, and etiquette is something that can take you from good to great.

I hope you see that etiquette is truly for everyone and see how, aside from having a more polite society, there are plenty of benefits from utilizing etiquette in our everyday world.

Emily Glass is the wife of Garrett and mom to Katherine and Grant. She blogs at and is a compliance officer of a local bank and mayor for the town where she and her family live.

Reader Tip: Get Cash For Your Unclaimed Property!

Devon emailed the following tip:

Each state has requirements that all banks, insurance companies, and other businesses report “unclaimed property” to the state after a certain amount of time (in California it is 3 years).

You can search for your name in the database your state set-up and see if there is any money the state is holding for you.

For instance, I had submitted a refund for lotion I bought many years ago, the company sent it to the wrong address and the check was essentially lost. My name was on the California Unclaimed Property database and I was able to file for the $3.00.

I know of other people who searched and ended up finding hundreds of dollars — so it’s worth a couple minutes to check and see if your name is there.

I would suggest doing an online search for “________ Unclaimed Property Database” and put your state in the underlined blank. Generally, you just fill out an online form and hit ‘submit’ or print out and mail in the form to your state controller’s office. It’s fairly simple and the turn around time was quick for my claim!

if you want to see what it looks like. I’m guessing the forms for other states would be similar.

Reader Tip: Get Paid to Workout Using Walgreens’ Balance Rewards

Katie, from , sent in the following tip:

If you’re one of the many people who pay for a gym membership, you might be interested to know how I get paid to workout!

I belong to a local gym that charges me $10.49/month to workout; however, I use  recoup that cost!

Most people know you can earn Balance Rewards points for purchases, but did you know that you can also earn them for logging good health behaviors like exercising, weighing-in, and quitting smoking?

You can link your Balance Rewards account with your smartphone or FitBit-type device so it automatically records activity. Or you can manually log into your account to track your activities. (It’s on the honor system.)

The Walgreens Balance Rewards program will give you a credit of 20 Balance Rewards every time you log one mile of walking or running (up to $10.00 per month). So if you log at least 50 miles a month, you will earn $10 a month.

You can also earn Balance Rewards for other activities like weighing in and setting healthy weight goals. You can even combine coupons when redeeming your points for even more savings.

It’s really a win-win situation!

On top of all of this, my health insurance will reimburse me the cost of my gym membership IF I go at least 12 times a month! How great is that?!

Free Magazines, Audiobooks, and TV Shows with My Library Card


Elizabeth emailed in the following tip:

I have seen so many deals about getting magazines cheaper; but our Austin, Texas library actually offers FREE magazines through a site called . I can link my Zinio account to my library card and the magazines download onto my tablet. I am even notified whenever a new issue of the magazine comes out every month!

I can also download audiobooks through so I can listen to while I drive. This account is also linked to my library card.

And then there is , also linked to my library card, which gives me about 5 movies, tv shows, or music selections each month — all for FREE!!