Category Archives: Money

Ready. Set. Shop!

July is a great time great time to shop.  Whether you’re looking to start your holiday shopping early, or simply get a great deal for something you need around the house, check out some of our favorite products.

Do you have these tools?

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.  Thank you for supporting our website.

There are some things that just make life easier. Here are some items we have around our home:

  1. Stay organized with this dry erase wall calendar. Planning your month is easy with this large calendar. Room to list several activities on each day.

2. Pair the wall calendar with these fine tip dry erase markers to make writing fun and easy:

3. Do you have a small lawn or beds of plants? Consider the Scotts Hand-Held Spreader which can you can use to apply fertilizer, grass seed, granular products like Preen weed-and-feed, or even ice melt in the winter.

4. Cleaning up leaves and helicopters from trees is a breeze when you have the right tools. Simply blow into a pile and suck up with this leaf mulcher: Black & Decker High Performance Blower

5. Need to remove water from your pool cover? We love the Little Giant Pump.  It seems to have enough horsepower to get the job done. We’ve tried other pumps, but this one seems the quickest, and has lasted for years.

This pumps gets a lot of use.  During the swimming season, it comes in handy to drain the excess pool water after a heavy rain.

Solutions for Your Household

Wondering what else we use around our home? Check out our solutions to help you run your household. From maintaining crystal clear pool water, to keeping the moles away, we’ve shared our favorite items in these categories:

  • Lawn Products
  • Pool Supplies
  • Cool Gadgets
  • Small Appliances
  • Electronics

Check out our favorite products here:

Fill Your Own Easter Basket for Under $15

Easter is right around the corner, and we’re here to help with ideas and a free printable budget. Let’s take a look at how you can fill your own Easter basket for under $15.

Select an Easter Basket or Pail and Some Easter Grass

At Running A Household, we opted for a simple Easter pail which sells for $1. You can find this at your local Walmart or dollar store.

You’ll also want to pick up some grass to line the basket or pail.  In addition to the standard green grass, you’ll find that the grass comes in many different colors.  We’ve seen the following festive grass colors: peach, yellow, purple and even aqua blue.

Fill your own Easter Basket for Less than $15

Select Easter Candy

Here are some ideas for selecting Easter candy:

  1. Chocolate Easter Bunny
  2. Peeps
  3. Cotton Candy

A chocolate Easter Bunny is a must have for all Easter baskets. Peeps are a great addition to the basket.  They come in large packages, and are relatively inexpensive.

Make your own Easter basketCotton candy is another one of those special treats that are cheap, but fill the Easter basket nicely.

Consider adding a few toys to your Easter basket

Toys and small gifts for an Easter basket vary according to the child’s age. For younger children, a coloring book and some washable markers are great.  For our basket, we added a package of Pokemon cards and a mini-Lego toy.  Other indoor toys might include Silly Putty, Play-doh, and an Easter book.  Since Easter is in the spring, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and a kite are also possibilities.

Fill Your Own Easter Basket for Under $15

Before heading out to the store, have a simple budget in mind.  This will help you stay on track and within your budget.  Here’s a breakdown of the cost to make our Easter basket:

$1.00 – Easter Basket or Pail

$1.00 – Grass

$3.00 – Chocolate Easter Bunny

$1.50 – Peeps

$1.00 – Cotton Candy

$7.50 – Toys

$15 – Total Cost for East Basket

Easter Basket Printable Budget

Before you head out to go shopping, be sure to print our Easter Basket Budget.  It will help you plan what you need and stay on budget.

Easter basket printable budget

Good luck making your own Easter basket. Happy Easter!

P.S. If you are hosting Easter this year, be sure to check out our popular article:

Hosting Easter? A Menu Planner, Cooking Timeline and Checklist You Can’t Miss


Donation Tracker - Cash and Checks

How to Keep Track of Your Charitable Contributions

Do you make donations to charity during the year?  If so, it might be beneficial to claim these donations as a tax deduction.  Whether you write a check or donate your used personal items, you’ll want a system to keep track of your donations.

Please note:  This information is not intended to serve as tax advice.  It is just one method to track your donations.  Please see your tax advisor or CPA for tax guidance.

Cash or Check Donations

Taking a deduction requires some record-keeping.  Don’t shy away because it takes work.  Just be sure to follow the rules for documentation.

Proof: According to the IRS Pub 526, you must keep one of the following:

1.  Bank Record  showing the name of the organization, date and amount of contribution.  A bank record can be:

a.  A Canceled Check

b. Bank Statement or

c. Credit card

2.  Receipt or letter from the organization

3.  Payroll deduction records

Receipt: In addition, if your donation is more than $250, obtain a receipt from the organization.

It’s helpful if you track your donations throughout the year, instead of trying to compile all of the information at tax time.  You can use the Donation Tracker below to organize your cash or check donations:

Donation Tracker - Cash and Checks

Donation Tracker – Cash and Checks

Non-Cash Donations

Did you do some spring cleaning recently?  If you donated these items to a qualified charitable organization, you could be entitled to a deduction.  Once again, record-keeping is essential, but not impossible.  Not sure how to keep track of your donation? You’re not alone.  There are a lot of rules and procedures.  For our purposes, we will focus on tracking clothing and household donations.  You know the ones: clothes your kids outgrew, the jeans that don’t fit you anymore, your husband’s size medium shirts.  These items decreased in value since you bought them.  We are also assuming each item is worth less than $250.

Here are some of the guidelines (from the IRS Pub 526) for non-cash donations:

  • The clothing or household items must be in good used condition or better
  • Household items include:
    • Furniture and furnishings
    • Electronics
    • Appliances
    • Linens and
    • Other similar items

The IRS also points out that “household items do not include: food, paintings, antiques, and other objects of art, jewelry and gems, and collections.”

Recordkeeping: If you make any non-cash contribution, you must get and keep a receipt from the charitable organization.  However, you are not required to have a receipt where it is impractical to get one (for example, if you leave property at a charity’s unattended drop site).

Additional records: You must also keep reliable written records for each item of contributed property. Your written records must include the following information:

  • name and address of the organization to which you contributed
  • date and location of the contribution
  • description of the property in detail reasonable under the circumstances
  • fair market value of the property

So let’s get to work.  You can use this chart to track donations of clothing and personal items:

Donation Tracker - Clothes and Household ItemsDonation Tracker – Clothes and Household Items

After listing the items on the Donation Tracker, you’ll need to determine a value.  The IRS suggests, “You should claim as the value the price that buyers of used items actually pay in used clothing stores, such as consignment or thrift shops.”  So how do you know what someone will pay for your old jeans or your husband’s shirts?  You can use a valuation guide:

Goodwill Donation Valuation Guide

Salvation Army Donation Value Guide

Need more details?  Check out the following items:

Want to keep your home running smoothly?

Sign up to receive PRIORITIES, our free weekly publication with:

  • time management articles
  • maintenance reminders and tips
  • free printable forms and checklists
  • discount coupons

To sign up to receive PRIORITIES, please Click here