Save Over $1,300 A Year With This Easy Chart

Every new year, I like to set some new goals. One of the goals I like to create focuses on saving a little more money. I’ve found the following approach a great way to save over $1,300 a year.

The wonderful folks over at A Helicopter Mom put together this easy chart to help you track your savings goal.

Make Saving Money Simple

The concept is simple: Make a weekly deposit that matches which week of the plan you’re on e.g. $1 on week one, $2 on week two, etc. The largest sum of money you’ll put away is $52 on week 52.

saving money photo
Flickr | 401(K) 2013

The beauty of this approach to saving is that you ease into it. You become accustomed to setting money aside each week with amounts that won’t break the bank for most of us. By the time you hit the halfway point—week 26—you’ll store $26, bringing your yearly balance to $351. At the end of 52 weeks, you’ll have socked away $1,378 total.

Some of our readers have made the fine suggestion of doing this challenge backwards. It’s easier to get the hard part out of the way first, and then countdown to zero!

Head on over to A Helicopter Mom to download the full PDF.

What Are You Saving For?

A Helicopter Mom says on her blog that a trip to Disney World motivated her to find a way to save without having to pay one large sum all at once. Considering that there’s a new “Avatar”-themed section now open at Disney, plus a possible “Star Wars”-themed hotel in the works. has there ever been a better time to visit The Happiest Place on Earth? Likely not.

walt disney world photo
Getty Images | Handout

Maybe you won’t use your $1,378 to fund a vacation but instead to buy holiday gifts, pay down debt, finally get that car repaired or fund several months of groceries.

Speaking of groceries, check out this other handy chart to see how much you should be spending on groceries each month based on the size of your family.

Growing Slower

Based on a “thrifty” budget, a family of four should be spending between $557-707 each month on groceries. That’s between $139.25 and $176.75 a week. A family of two could get by on $392 a month, which breaks out to just $98 a week. And if you are flying solo, Growing Slower thinks you could squeak by on around $50 a week of groceries.

You may have to get creative with couponing and strategic store shopping (for example, figure out what to buy and what not to buy at big box stores like Sam’s and Costco) in order to hit this budget. But just think, the more money you save at the grocery store, the more you’ll have to put away.

Other great ways to save money:

9 Simple Tricks To Live Greener And Save Money

See How Long It Takes You To Save For Things With This Real-Time Calculator

What You Should And Should Not Buy At Dollar Stores

 

7 Ways To Keep Your Front-Loading Washing Machine Mold And Stink-Free

If you’ve ever had to visit a laundromat or use coin-operated laundry of any kind, then you know just how great of a luxury it is to have your very own front-loading washing machine right there in your home.

And even though you and your family are the only folks using this machine, you have to be careful to make sure you’re cleaning it regularly and properly. It sounds kind of contradictory, right? After all, washing machines are supposed to be doing the cleaning. But the truth is even your trusty household appliance needs a bath every now and then.

As you can imagine, with all of the wetness and residue from detergents and fabric softeners, front-loading washing machines can easily build-up molds and become smelly, and of course, you’d like to avoid that at all costs.

Thankfully, it’s not hard to get rid of the mold or to keep it from accumulating. Consumer Reports provides some helpful tips and tricks to avoid any mold build-up in your washing machine.

Adobe

1. Clean Gaskets

The gasket is the large rubber seal that keeps water from leaking out of your front loader. Underneath that flap is a great place for mold to live, so be sure to give that a good cleaning every once and a while.

washing machine door photo
Photo by James Cridland

2. Clean Dispensers

You can also clean out the dispensers where you pour your detergents to make sure there’s no leftover soapy residue.

washing machine dispenser photo
Photo by ChesterMikeUK

3. Use Bleach

To clean the inside of the drum, Consumer Reports recommends running a cycle without any clothing using bleach in the place of detergent. That way, you’re sure to get a deep down clean all along the inside of the washing machine.

washing-machine-inner
andrewkelsall/Flickr

4. Leave Door Ajar

As a precaution, you can leave the door to the washing machine open so that everything dries out much faster. The less moisture, the less mold there will be!

washing machine 2
lhirlimann/Flickr

5. Choose Your Detergent Carefully

Choosing a detergent with less sudsing power will limit the amount of soap residue left behind. Today’s Homeowner recommends using powder detergents over liquid ones for fewer suds.

detergent
jeepersmedia/Flickr

RELATED: 7 Things In Your House That You Probably Don’t Wash Enough

6. Use Less Detergent

Using less detergent, in general, will also help out. According to the same article, if you only use the amount recommended for each load size you’re better off. Because you all know we’re guilty of just pouring a random amount inside of the cap without really measuring!

detergent 2
danisabella/Flickr

7. Skip Fabric Softener

Less fabric softener means less residue and mold accumulation. A dryer sheet can get your clothes just as soft, and help with the mold issue, as well. That’s a win-win!

fabric softener
jeepersmedia/Flickr

No one wants to deal with a moldy washing machine, but at least now you know how to prevent mold and how to handle it if (or, let’s face it — when) it happens.

[h/t: Consumer Reports]

This Is The Best Way To Cut A Watermelon So It’s Easy To Eat

Summer’s almost here, which means time to go watermelon-crazy. As delicious as the fruit can be, sometimes it can be a pain in the butt to cut and serve it.

Sure, you’ve been cutting the fruit into wedges, and it has been working all fine and dandy, but it turns out there is a much better way to slice one of these babies that doesn’t involve such a mess.

The trick is to slice your watermelon in half, and then cut it into a grid. This type of slicing gives you a bunch of even slices that don’t squirt juice everywhere, but still have some rind at the bottom, making them easy to handle and serve. Thanks to DaveHax for such a great tip.

[h/t: Health]

Use This Cheat Sheet To Master Kitchen Measurement Conversions

When making a recipe, it can get confusing when something asks for a quart or a liter.

I don’t know about you, but I’m used to cooking and baking strictly using cups and tablespoons; anything else gets my head spinning.

Of course, you can always whip out an old recipe book and turn to the index, or you can try doing a quick Google search for your answer.

But why not make things a little easier for yourself and keep a cheat sheet on hand so you never have to look too far? Print it out, stick it on your fridge and use this nifty guide to kitchen measurement conversions.

Who knew that a 1/4 cup was equal to 4 tablespoons? This information is definitely handy.

Conversion Chart