Monday, July 28, 2008

Ding! Times Up!

We've been having issues with how much time one of our kids has been spending on the computer and watching tv. Time limits have been issued but it still goes unnoticed.

So I decided we needed a timer that would physically go DING! But we don't have a portable egg timer. The kitchen timers on the microwave aren't near the computer/tv either, so I almost went out and bought one. It was even on my grocery list.

Good thing I didn't make it to the store over the weekend because I had a brilliant flash! Why, if you google "online timer" a whole host of free online options pop up! Imagine that!

I'm really glad I didn't spend my hard earned money on a timer. So before you go spend on something you think you need, first think hard if there is a better way to get it.

  • Do you have something already that would work?
  • Can you locate one on freecycle?
  • Borrow from someone?
  • Find a free version online?
  • Can you make it yourself?
  • Etc

This kind of thinking saved me money. Sure a timer wouldn't have cost me all that much, but every little bit adds up. So save a little here, save a little there a little more often and your pocketbook will be much happier.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Silly Little Quiz

What would you do with your money?

Just a silly little quiz to take on a lazy summer afternoon. Trust me when I say it gets a little silly. You'll know what I mean if you take it!

Let me know what you are!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saving Money With Your Printer

I guess I could talk about printing coupons to save money with your printer, but that's not exactly what I had in mind. What I was thinking about were some of the things I've been doing to try and save money when printing other things.

1. Think. Do you really need to print it out? Is it something you can just read online or save as a document on your computer to retrieve {and read on your computer}later on?

2. Gray. Convert all your text from black to a gray and it will use less ink. Experiement with different shades of gray to see what works best for you. Some people may prefer to read a lighter gray while others with poorer eyesight would have a harder time reading a light shade.

3. Double-sided. If your printer has this capability, set your printer settings to print on both sides of your paper, or print half, then manually re-insert the paper to print the rest on the other side.

4. Increase the Pages Per Sheet. Some programs, like Microsoft Word, have a setting in the printer settings box that allows you to print multiple pages on one page. You can choose from 1-16 pages per sheet and it will shrink your text down and fit them onto the page.

For me personally, anything more than 4 sheets per page gets pretty tiny. But printing double-sided at the same time allows me to print 8 pages worth of material on only one sheet of paper! That saves me a lot of paper!

Sometimes if a program doesn't allow me this printing option then I will copy and paste the information into my program that does and then print from there.

How about you? Do you have other tips? If so, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Food, food, food

My oh my! These food prices are driving me nuts! Here are a few articles I've enjoyed lately that had some good tips in them.

Phew! Did you finish all that reading? I hope you learned some new things that will help you eat better and keep your pocketbook in line a little bit better. I know I did!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ditching Disposables #7

[via Southern Living]

Aaah! The old fashioned lawn mower. How is this ditching a disposable? Well, it's not like you have to throw away the lawn mower after each use but a disposable product is designed to keep you coming back and buying more [aka evil WetJet!]. A gas powered lawn mower is designed to keep you coming back for more gasoline. Therefore, in a sense, a lawn mower could be considered a disposable.

The gasoline you put in those things is used up pretty quickly. I about choked the other day when it cost me $12 to fill up my tiny gas can for the mower and with today's gas prices that could certainly add up over time and faster than it used to! So maybe an old fashioned or electric mower would be a better option.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Quotable Quotes

Don't stay in bed,
unless you can make money in bed.
~~George Burns~~

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Independece Solutions: The Energy Audit

The first thing I did was to get an energy audit. Check with your gas or electrical company to see if they offer anything like this.

They came out and looked at my windows, doors, appliances, water heater, pipes, faucets and insulation levels among other things. They asked about our habits like how many showers a day do we take, and how many loads of dishes or laundry do we do each week. Then they review the last 12 months of our usage and then make recommendations on what and how to improve in certain areas.

I now have a very specific list to start working with on my home. Plus a list of rebates and how to get them if I choose to implement certain items in my home.

This is a great place to start because they will give you specific solutions and ideas on how to improve your own space and not someone elses space who may have different factors to consider.

So if you're looking for your own solutions, definately start with a home energy audit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Independece Solutions

When I first started thinking about this stuff, it was because I was concerned with the rising cost of heating fuel in my area. And I wanted something concrete to help with that for myself and for others like the elderly, or people like my dad with a condition that its imperative he keeps warm or he may lose some limbs due to frostbite like symptoms that can occur even in the warm summertime.

A lot of the solutions I was coming up with required a lot of cash outlay to get the new systems put in place. But maybe there are other things you should be doing first before going that route. Things that would help you get through a crisis without any heat or electricity if you haven't been able to afford or had time to install some of the other ideas that I will be talking about {at a later time this month} yet.

If you are in debt, don't think about trying to add big expensive systems yet. Work on getting out of debt--this will be important but at the same time try to implement some low cost items that will help see you through.

* Begin to prepare by collecting warm blankets and bedding at yard sale and thrift stores. Try to keep an eye out for down comforters that will help keep you warm, but stock up on others too.

* Begin to stock up and collect warm wool or cashmere socks, long johns, sweaters, coats and mittens/gloves. Summer is a good time to look at yard sales for these types of things, but keep an eye out in the thrift stores too. Some of them you might have to wait to catch sales or clearances later on in the year when those items come back into the stores.

* Shore up your insulation and air leaks to help keep your warm air in and cold air out {more on this to come}.

* Add thermal insulating liners to your drapes and windows~~about $5/yd at the fabric store, if you have full panel draperies, you will need approximately 5 yards per window which can add up. Maybe work on one window a month or something so it isn't a huge hit to your pocketbook all at once.

* Make or buy a solar oven so you will have a way to cook without having to worry about fuel to light up a grill etc.

* What will you use for light? Buy a few solar powered lights, or battery powered lanterns w/ solar powered recharger. Those are much cheaper than outfitting your house with a whole solar lighting system, so go with these first, plus they're great to take camping with you! Also stock up on candles, I always see them at my local thrift store, and they can make a room look and smell lovely.

A lot of these are ideas that can be used even if you rent instead of own your home. And they are more inexpensive than some of the other ideas I've been looking at. Since it is summer, definately make use of the yard sales all around, keep your eyes open at thrift stores, or even start asking for some items on places like Freecycle and you can easily {and inexpensively} begin to prepare the things you will need.