Tag: frugal tips

Frugal Christmas Tip: The $20 Tree


It’s a problem every year:  I want to spend my money on presents and egg nog, but my house never quite feels Christmas-y enough without a tree. And Christmas trees are expensive! I’ve tried a few different things — the dinky Charlie Brown option; the fake tinsel tree; that one time when my dad and I illegally cut down a tree from a state park (don’t tell on me!). But this year I’ve found the optimal solution.

The good news: Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm is possibly the most adorable place ever. You can wander through 250 acres of trees, trying to find the one that calls out to you and then chop it down yourself — there’s a unexpected primal thrill, even when it’s only a skinny 6-footer. You can enjoy free cookies and punch. You can chat with farmer Michael Ryan, who is gracious and can help you out if your car happens to get stuck in the mud. Hypothetically. Oh, and all trees under 14 feet are $20. No exceptions. I’m looking at our gorgeous 11-footer right now, and I’m pleased as punch.  The cons? Driving to Clemsonville, which is a bit outside of Frederick. Sure, it’s not convenient — but you’ll certainly save enough on the tree to cover gas. Plus, it’s a real holiday experience.

Bonus Frugal Xmas Tip:  The Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Cockeysville sells ridiculously cheap cinnamon sticks.  Like, a bag of 30 for under $3.

Frugal Tip of the Day – Cheap Alternative Medicine


In today’s health-conscious, greening world, alternative medicine is seeming less and less, well, alternative. A 2008 survey found that more than a third of adults nationwide rely on complementary and alternative medicine, meaning everything from herbs to meditation to massage therapy to lifestyle adjustments.

But most health care plans don’t fully cover alternative medicine, which can be pricey. “In this way, herbal medicine has provided a service for a population privileged to be able to pay for their choice in healthcare and subsequently has become out of reach for a large number of individuals,” representatives from Tai Sophia, the region’s leading alternative medicine school, point out.

Lucky for you, though, Tai Sophia offers a lower-cost consultation service, where student herbalists consult under the supervision of the school’s faculty herbalists. After answering questions about your diet, medical history, mood, and habits, you get a personalized herbal prescription to suit your particular needs. (Tai Sophia also has an herbal dispensary, just in case you don’t happen to have hibiscus and St. John’s Wort lying around at home.) Hour-long consultations are by appointment only, and cost $30 (although the first visit, which usually lasts around two hours, is $45). If this sounds like your kind of thing, consultations happen in Baltimore on Wednesday mornings, and in Laurel or Silver Spring on Fridays. To make an appointment, call 410.888.9048 ex.6667.