Saving Money

Med school is a long road.  We've had many years to practice being thrifty.  Here are a few tips I have for you if you are looking to save money!

(Tips in no particular order of importance)

Tip #1  Highlight your own hair

A packet of "Blue Flash" bleach powder is only about $4 at Sally's Beauty Supply.  You need a developer to go with it.  I like to use Salon Care 40 Creme Developer.  This is also at Sally's for under $2
This is enough bleach to highlight the top half of my hair  every two months for a year.  (Regrowth only)

 Supplies:  Developer, bleach powder, a hard piece of cardboard, brush for applying, comb with pointer (for separating small pieces of hair), 4-5 inch tin foil pieces, hair clips, and COURAGE.

The first time you highlight your hair, you will probably use most or all of the bleach (thus your first time will cost you more than a dollar)  Afterwards, it should only cost about a dollar to touch up the regrowth depending, of course, how often you highlight your hair.

1-In a small bowl mix 1 tsp of bleach powder with 2 tsp developer.  Use your brush to mix it.  (I sometimes get interrupted with kids so I like to start small and make more if I need it.) I find this amount does about 8 foils worth of regrowth.  Wear something you don't care about in case bleach gets on it.  Highlight dirty hair (your hair oils protect it from getting too fried from the bleach)

2-Fold one end of your tinfoil over the cardboard. 
3-Section out your hair using the pointed comb.  Generally a thinner section of hair is best.  For chunky highlights bleach the whole section.  For weaved highlights pull every other strand of hair (pictured below)

4-First time highlights...You will brush bleach all the way down the strand of hair.  Regrowth...only color the regrowth, blend a little onto the hair that is already bleached.  The cardboard under the foil makes a nice sturdy surface to brush against.  Be careful not to get the bleach on your hands or scalp.  Also try and keep all the bleach inside the foil.  If it leaks out you get splotchy polka dot hair...yuck!
5- Remove the cardboard from the foil and fold up the tin foil a couple times to hold it in place.
6-Repeat--Continue doing other sections of hair until you are done highlighting.
7-Check inside the foils every ten minutes or so until the color has pulled.
8-Remove foils and Wash using a purple shampoo (to minimize orange tones)  I use Aqua Net, found at Walmart for somewhere around $2.  I wash with this once a week to keep highlights bright.
I am HAPPY when I don't have to spend $100 at a salon!!!
If you feel really brave you can also cut your own hair.  My husband trims the back for me and I cut in my layers.  I would post about that but I'm not sure I can explain how I do it :)

If you want more specific steps how to highlight, check out videos on YouTube. There are lots :)

Tip #2  Thrift Stores (and Yard Sales)

I know this grosses some people out.  Not me, I love it!  I have an addiction, I'll be honest.  I even buy most of my clothes there.  My trick...I buy a shirt for 2 dollars at a thrift store.  Once I'm sick of it, I sell it at a yard sale for 2 dollars.  Awesome way to get a new wardrobe and it's basically free! 

The trick about thrift stores is you have to go often.  I have a list that I am always adding to of things I want or need but don't need immediately.  About once a week I load up the kiddos and we do a quick stop at the thrift store.  I take this list with me and quickly browse.  9 times out of 10 we leave empty handed.  But if you go often enough, you catch the good stuff.  I'm talking about a Gap shirt with the tag still on it, new toys for the kids' birthdays and Christmas, materials for your DIY craft projects, you name it.  You do have to be careful not to become a pack rat! 

*Make sure you thoroughly clean toys with bleach and wash clothes before wearing.  And remember, some things are better bought new...likes mattresses. 

Tip #3 Vaseline 

Use Vaseline as an eye makeup remover.  I use the knock-off brand because it is much cheaper.  Rub a little onto your closed eye and then wipe off with a towel or tissue.  Also, a thin layer can be applied to your face at night instead of expensive face lotions.  And no, it won't clog pores or give you blemishes.  Make sure you get a Vaseline that says, "skin protectant" on it so you know it is safe for the skin.

Tip #4  Make your own syrup

One bottle of maple extract is usually around $4.  It costs nearly that much for one bottle of syrup.  Get the extract (imitation or for a little extra money, the pure stuff) and you can make batch after batch of syrup for a fraction of the price it costs to get it at the store.  There is a recipe on the extract bottle however, I like my pancreas so I have changed it just a bit.  (This also makes a slightly bigger batch)

In saucepan combine 3 cups sugar, 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 tsp maple extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

*I find I can use less syrup on my pancakes and waffles when I also pour a little milk over the top of them.  This way I get the maple flavor, less calories, and a moist breakfast!

Tip #5  Buy bulk when food is on sale

Watch the ads at the grocery store.  Things tend to go on sale about every three months.  If you know you are going to need tortillas then buy three months worth of them when they go on sale.  You end up saving money in the long run.  Lots of things freeze so take advantage of the sales! (make sure you only buy things you really use and really need...oreos..not so much)

Tip #6  Be satisfied with less

(This really is one of the most important tips!)  You don't need the latest and greatest of anything.  I have found that material things NEVER bring true happiness.  Try having a regular phone instead of a smart phone.  Save tons each month that you don't pay for a data plan.  Be okay with regular clothes, you are covered that is all that matters.  Fancy brands and styles are not essential.  Try red box, popcorn, and blankets on the living room floor instead of spending over 20 dollars at the movie theater.  Drive an old vehicle, live in a modest home.  You will be more happy living within your means than any material thing can ever give you.

Tip #7  Pay for things up front

Avoid debt at all costs.  Save, save, save, until you have enough to buy a car.  Buy used, buy when there is a good sale, then pay the money up front.  No car payments!  Yes this means you will never be driving a Hummer.  Who cares. Forgo the bells and whistles.   Live within your means.  Drive an old dumpy clunker until you have enough money to pay for your new vehicle up front.  This applies to anything.  A house is obviously a different story.  If you use this idea whenever you ppossibly can you will save tons of money on interest!!!  

Tip #8  Think ahead

One of the worst things you can do is buy something based on an emergency.  If you think, "Oh no, my son doesn't have shoes that fit!"  Then you are forced to go buy them full price because you need them now.  Think ahead and always keep inventory of what you are going to need.  (Obviously some things come up and true emergencies exist)  So always be watching those thrift stores for shoes in the next size, or watch the regular stores for sales on shoes.  This applies to anything.  

Tip #9  Teach your children the value of money

Your kids do not need everything they ask for.  Things do not really make them happy either.  I like to put more of my money into activities with my kids.  For example, zoo passes, lessons, or anything that you can do with them that will help them learn or will be a memory together.  Sure they need some toys, but there are plenty of good books and toys at thrift stores for a fraction of the price of new ones.  They can learn to be okay with used things. 

Tip #10  Utilize free things in the community

I'm not talking about medicaid.  The library is an awesome resource.  They often have free classes, story time, and it is a good alternate to renting a movie because they usually have a decent movie selection.  Some museums have days in the the month that are free.  If keep an ear out for things kinds of things, you will find lots of fun things to do that don't cost a dime.    

Tip#11  Use wallpaper instead of scrapbook paper when crafting

Instead of buying expensive scrap book paper, go to any paint store and ask for their expired wallpaper books.  I know that Sherwin Williams will give them to you for free.  Probably other stores will too.  A whole book of free fun paper!

Simply put...Spend less money than you make!  Being self-sufficient, and not being tied down to burdensome debt will bring you great happiness!  

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