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cheap meals

Guide to Cutting Heating Cost Down this Winter

by Advance Financial | November 3rd, 2016

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The cold will soon be upon us and with cold weather also comes high heating bills. Whether your home is heated by electric or gas, the cost to heat your home can significantly increase if you don’t take certain precautions to run your system as efficiently as possible. The more energy used this winter the higher the cost will be, so the key is to conserve as much energy and heat as possible. To help out with being energy efficient this winter we have listed 5 quick and easy things to do to conserve the heat in your house which will help to lower your electric or gas bill.

airfilter

A dirty air-return filter can significantly increase the cost to heat your home this winter. Dirt and grime in the filter restricts airflow causing your AC unit to work extra hard to heat your home, which increases your electric bill. Make sure to check all air filters and replace them regularly to ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible.

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fans

If you didn’t already know, you can set your ceiling fans to either spin clockwise or counter clockwise. When your fan is set to run counter clockwise, or forward, it pushes air down creating a cooling effect. This is recommended for summer. When set clockwise, or reverse, the fan pulls air up and redistributes it, which is recommended for winter since heat rises.

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spaceheater

You might be thinking, “Wait? A space heater uses electricity!” If you turn down your ac a few degrees and run a space heater in the room that’s occupied the most, the amount of energy used from the AC is substantially less. Even with a space heater running. Just make sure to turn off the space heater at night, and bundle up with extra layers.

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vents

If you have a guest room or bonus room that is never used, don’t waste energy heating it. Most thermostats are in the living room and the AC is regulated based on the temperature in that room. If you close the vents in unused rooms more hot air will blow into rooms with vents opened, causing the temperature to regulate faster and use less energy.

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doors

Just like closing vents in unused rooms, make sure to always keep all interior doors closed. This will cut down the amount of square footage the AC is heating and cause your house to warm up quicker. Your system will turn on less, which will have a positive affect on your heating bill.

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Workweek Meal Plan That’s Cheap, Easy, and Healthy

by Advance Financial | November 1st, 2016

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The actual decision to start eating healthy is effortless. You just decide one day, “hey, I’m going to start eating healthier.” The phrase “easier said than done” fits perfectly with the idea of eating healthy. You can say you’ll do it, but when it comes down to actually choosing healthier options for meals it can be rather difficult. Below we have created an easy planning guide to making cheap, easy, and most importantly healthy meals that will get you through the entire workweek. A lot of these recipes utilize leftovers from previous meals, which will aid in cutting grocery costs. Links to full recipes for lunches and dinners are included.

monday

Breakfast

Banana and peanut butter on wheat toast

Lunch

Turkey sandwich – Recipe

Carrots with light ranch, and an apple

Snack

Low-fat yogurt

Dinner

Chicken tortilla soup – Recipe

(Note: Make extra chicken and set aside for Tuesday’s lunch.)

tuesday

Breakfast

Yogurt and all bran cereal

Lunch

Grilled chicken caesar salad wrap – Recipe

Celery with peanut butter

(Note: Use leftover chicken from Monday’s dinner.)

Snack

Mixed Nuts

 Dinner

Bacon and Broccoli Rice Bowl – Recipe

(Note: Make extra boiled eggs for Wednesday’s breakfast and extra bacon for Wednesday’s lunch.)

wednesday

Breakfast

Boiled eggs and wheat toast

(Note: use extra boiled eggs from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

BLT with avocado – Recipe

Chips and salsa

(Note: Use extra bacon from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Cottage cheese and saltine crackers

Dinner

Chicken, pepper and corn stir-fry – Recipe

(Note: Make extra and before seasoning set aside. Use peppers for Thursday’s breakfast and chicken and corn for Thursday’s lunch.)

thursday

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with peppers

(Note: Use extra peppers from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

Southwest salad with chicken –Recipe

(Note: Use extra chicken and corn from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Carrots with light ranch 

Dinner

Antipasti Penne –Recipe

friday

Breakfast

Oatmeal and bananas

 Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich – Recipe

Low sodium chips

Snack

Peanut butter and crackers

 Dinner

Turkey Chili – Recipe

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Easy Halloween Crafts To Do With The Kids

by Advance Financial | October 26th, 2016

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Halloween is the best time for crafts with the kids. Between carving pumpkins, making scarecrows, and making your own spooky decorations, they are bound to have some great childhood memories. To help you make even more memories with the kids this Halloween, we have outlined some super easy and kid friendly crafts to try out.  Enjoy!

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Best Date Night Meal Deals

by Advance Financial | October 7th, 2016

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Going out to eat usually means dishing out a little extra cash for your meal, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s worth the extra money to not have to cook or cleanup. At a number of restaurants however, you can get 2 meals that when broken down are actually cheaper than if you bought the ingredients and made it yourself. Below are some of the best date night meal deals to try out when your just not feeling the whole cooking thing but still need to save money.

 

Logan’s Roadhouse

 

The Deal:

$15.99 for two full-size entrees including rolls, Caesar salad, and two sides for each entrée.

Entrees:

Southern Fried Fish, Chopped Steak, Grilled Meatloaf, Roasted Chicken Pot Pie, Logan’s Wood-Grilled Chicken, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, Wood-Grilled Salmon, 6 Oz. Choice Cut Sirloin.

 

Chili’s

The Deal:

$20 for an appetizer to share and then select two full-size entrees including two sides for each entrée

Appetizers:

Fried Pickles, Chips and Salsa, Tostada Chips and Fire-Grilled Corn Guacamole, Onion Rings, or Texas Cheese Fries

Entrees:

Classic Bacon Burger, Cajun Chicken Pasta, 6 oz. Classic Sirloin, Crispy Chicken Crispers, Fajitas, Grilled Chicken Salad, Half Rack of Ribs, Mango Chile Chicken, Mango Chile Tilapia, Margarita Grilled Chicken, or Southwestern Quesadillas

 

Applebee’s

 

The Deal:

$20 for an appetizer to share and then select two full-size entrees including two sides for each entrée

Appetizers:

2 House or Caesar Salads, Boneless Wings, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Onion Rings, Mozzarella Sticks

Entrees:

Cedar Gilled Lemon Chicken, Sirloin Stir Fry, oriental Chicken Salad, Fiesta Lime Chicken, Chicken Tender Basket, Three Cheese Cavatappi, The American Standard Burger

 

Outback Steakhouse

 

The Deal:

$12.99 a person for 3 course meal consisting of a soup or salad, entrée with two sided, and desert

Soup/Salad:

House or Caesar Salad, Baked Potato Soup or Chicken Tortilla Soup

Entrees:

6 oz. Sirloin, Parmesan- Herb Crusted Chicken, Simply grilled Tilapia

Desert:

Double Chocolate Mini Parfait, Fresh Strawberry Shortcake Mini Parfait, Ice Cream Sundae topped with Chocolate or Raspberry sauce

Olive Garden

 

The Deal:

Endless bowls of pasta with your choice of pasta, sauce for 9.99 including house salad and bread sticks.

Pasta:

Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Angel Hair, Pappardelle, Fettuccine, Cavatappi, Gluten-Free Rotini  

Sauces:

Alfredo, Asiago, Garlic Alfredo, Five-Cheese Marinara, Marinara

 

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Apps That Help You Save While You Shop

by Advance Financial | October 4th, 2016

onlineshopping

Is the age-old tradition of coupon clipping still part of our weekly routine? Put down the scissors and walk away from the weekly store ads cause there is a better way to save. Stop the tedious searching for coupons and promo codes and download apps that find the deals for you. Not only will you save time but you will also find deals you might not have even realize existed. Here are some of the best apps to start using while shopping.

 

1. Jet

With the goal to build a better shopping experience for their customers, you can save tons by using the Jet app. With their real-time savings engine, the prices drop as you shop. You can get everything from toilet paper to bed sheets on Jet and the more items you add to your cart that have a tag symbol beside them, the lower the price will drop for each item. So buying in bulk for items like toilet paper, toothpaste and granola bars will save you more. The price per item also drops when you opt out for free returns, and pay with a debit card instead of a credit card.

 

2. Retail Me Not

Score deals at your favorite stores and restaurants with the award-winning app that makes it easy to save with thousands of deals from over 50,000 retailers. The app syncs with your map to notify you of the best deals near you. Whether you’re on vacation in a new city or just driving through your neighborhood, the app will alert you when a deal is near.

 

3. Shop Advisor

The Shop Advisor app does just what its name suggests, it advises you when the price is just right to purchase. You simply create a list of items you are interested in purchasing and the system watches that item and alerts you when the price drops the lowest online.

 

4. PriceGrabber

This app scans the prices on all sites that carry a specific item you’re shopping for and gives a full comparison report. The app gives you the bottom-line price, taking into consideration the shipping cost for an item. You can also simply scan a bar code of a product to get a quick, real-time view of where to purchase an item at the cheapest price.

 

5. Wallaby

If you take advantage of reward programs on credit cards, then you can double your rewards with the Wallaby app. When shopping for items online, the Wallaby system will scan your shopping cart and compare them with your credit card reward programs and tell you which card to use for what items, getting you the highest reward points possible. You can also set up notifications for when you’re getting close to your credit limit or when it’s time to pay a bill.

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