Monthly Archives: October 2014

Insulated Electrical Outlets Save Energy

One thing people notice when they enter my house is that all of my electrical outlets on the outside walls have safety plug covers in them. They find them odd because we do not have any small children so they ask why do I use them?

It’s simple, energy conservation to save money on my electric and heating bill.  Older houses were not built with the same kind of conservation in mind as they do today. You will often find that you can feel quite a breeze coming through the outlets of your outside walls. Try it and see if you can feel cold air coming through. If so then you are wasting heat in the winter and wasting cool air if you have air conditioning in the summer. There are two things you can do which are easy to install and fairly cheap to purchase.

The first is the safety plug covers.  They stop the cold or warm air from entering your house when you don’t want it to. They are a simple and cheap way to save on your heat and hydro bill. I just checked and you can get a 12 pack on Amazon for under $1.  Mommy’s Helper Outlet Plugs 12 Pack

The next is to add foam gasket insulators to all of your outlets. They are simple to install. You just take off the cover plate and add the gasket to the outlet and put the plate cover back on. In a matter of seconds you are on your way to stopping drafts from entering your home.

You can see the open  space from the photo below which illustrates how cold or warm air could be penetrating your home.

electrical outlet photo

Photo by Sery Content Development

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Review Your Expenses Often to Save Money

I found out the hard way earlier this summer of just how important it is to review your expenses often to save money. I had been a little lazy in reviewing a few of my bills and regular expenses and that cost me  money that I should have been saving and not spending.

Here is an example. My wife signed up for a long distance phone plan quite some time ago when a couple of her friends moved cross country. When reviewing our phone recently I noticed the extra cost on our plan, a cost we were no longer using. We weren’t using it for quite some time to make things worse. If I had been on top of our plan I would have been saving money for months instead of spending it foolishly.

The same thing happened with one of my credit cards. I was paying an annual fee that I had no business paying. I didn’t need the credit card any long and rarely used it. I cancelled it and therefore cancelled an unnecessary expense from my budget.

We were renting a satellite receiver for the kids room at a cost of $3 a month. I found a used one on Kijiji for $30. In 10 months it’s paid for. Small steps but it all counts.

If you want to save money instead of spending it I would suggest taking all of your bills such as cable, phone, cell phone, insurance, bank statements and credit cards and look for unnecessary charges, expenses or plans and cancel them or dial them back.

saving money photo

Photo by aag_photos


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Frugal Halloween Ideas

While out at a few stores over the weekend I was very aware of how costly Halloween can be if you want to decorate your house, get your kids costumes and hand out candy. But it doesn’t have to be expensive here are some frugal Halloween ideas to get you into the spirit.

1. Have a scary horror movie marathon with your friends or family. This one can be incredibly inexpensive especially if you plan it on a night where a movie marathon is being shown on tv. This time if year there is always a channel showing a marathon of slasher or zombie movies.

2. Find haunted house or spots in your area like a cemetery and go on a tour. It will take  you no time at all to find local haunted or scary places on the internet. Plan a little route and take the family on a haunted tour.

3. Make your own costumes instead of buying or renting commercial costumes. I did this all time when going to Halloween parties. Find some old clothes around the house and make up your own costume such as a farmer, hobo, maid or any other common worker type. Add some make up from around the house and zombify your costume.

4. Make your own Halloween snacks instead of buying expensive store bought candies. You can make things like candy apples pretty cheap when compared to buying candy from stores.

5. Make your own decorations. There are lots of ideas online on how to make your own decorations which can be way cheaper than buying from a store. Remember, your local dollar store probably has most of the items you will need to make cheap Halloween decorations.

Halloween like any other holiday doesn’t have to be expensive. It just takes a little planning  and researching and you can do it on the cheap and start saving money.

halloween photo

Photo by lobo235

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How to Save Money a Bit at a Time

Here is a practical article on how to save money. You don’t have to be rich you just have to make a concentrated effort to put a little bit away each week.  By scrimping a little and cutting down on some of your expenses you can save a little each week. The little bit can add up to bigger and better things over the years. Take a look at the statement below and you will see the impact of saving even a little bit of money.

 Save $ 15 a week for 25 years, for instance, and you’ll have $62,183, assuming an 8% annualized return. Save $ 30, and that’s $ 124,365. “When I tell people that, they’re stunned,” says Rausser. “You can have an amount of money you never thought you’d be …Read more on Fox Business

Save Money Tips

The above linked article provides some excellent examples on how to save money each week:

  • create a budget
  • price shop for everyday expenses like insurance and mortgages
  • pay off your biggest debts first
  • drop the credit cards for cash to
  • couponing

Follow up on these great tips and implement them in your life and you too can save money each and every week. That little bit you save can really add up in a hurry.

save money photo

Photo by 401(K) 2013

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Things to Consider Before Getting a Store Credit Card

If you are thinking about getting a store credit card for the upcoming shopping season or school year there are a number things to consider before getting a store credit card. A store credit card may be a great idea and exactly what you need there are many differences between cards and they vary greatly from store to store.

You should be aware of things like grace periods, the regular interest rate, any special promotional rates, annual charges and possibly special discount rates. Don’t get caught signing up for a credit card that doesn’t suit your needs. It could end up costing you more than actually saving or helping. Read through the article linked below for seven important things to consider when getting a store credit card.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Store Credit Card

As fall turns into winter, and malls become filled with holiday shoppers, retailers will make it a point to offer customers a store credit card as they check out. Typically, such offers come with some sort of a sign-up bonus in the form of a discount …
Read more on ABC News

credit card photo

Photo by mueritz

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Tips on How to Save Gas Money

If you are a frequent car user like myself then you are well aware of the costs associated with maintaining your vehicle and more importantly the cost of gas. Gas can be one of your larger expenses in your budget if you have a long to commute to work or travel frequently. Here are a few tips to help you save money by cutting down on your gas and fuel expenses for  your car or vehicle.

Save Gas Money Tips

1. Make sure you tires are properly inflated. Riding on tires that are either over or under inflated will cost you money. Look for the sticker inside your car door, on your tire or in your glove box for the proper inflation numbers.

2. Get rid of extra weight in your vehicle. You wouldn’t hall a trailer around all summer so don’t fill your trunk with heavy items.

3. Gas Buddy. About two months ago I downloaded this free app for my iPhone and glad I did. It takes two seconds to get the latest gas prices. The app relies on users submitting gas prices and it works. I don’t go to the same place any more out of habit. I go to the cheapest and closest.

4. Don’t buy gas after Wednesday morning. I run an errand every Wednesday morning and noticed that by mid-morning gas prices were shooting up. I searched online and this is true. Gas prices creep up after Wednesday morning as we move towards the weekend.


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Tips to Save on Auto Insurance

We added a new vehicle to our auto insurance plan this week. It had been awhile since I dealt with our auto insurance policy so I did a little digging on tips to save on auto insurance as we went out and purchased our new vehicle. I learned a thing or two about what effects our car insurance rates and and how to save a few pennies as well.

Tips to Save on Auto Insurance

1. Before you buy a new vehicle call your insurance company and get an idea on what the rates are like for that particular model. Some vehicles charge a higher premium because of engine size, theft rate and accident rate. You might want to think about buying that Lamborgini if you can afford the insurance.

2. Shop around for rates once you have picked our your vehicle. Rates may not differ much from company to company but any money you can save is a benefit to you. Get a number of quotes and ask about loyalty programs or when your “new customer” discount runs out.

3. A higher deductible means lower rates. A standard in my area is a $500 deductible. Am I really putting a claim in for something in the $500 range? Not a chance. I upped my deductible to $1000 because I can afford that and I am not putting a claim in on something small.

4. Bundling your home and auto insurance with the same company will save you money. Most insurance companies offer discounts for bundling.

5. Do you need collision on an older vehicle? Consider your deductible amount the value of your vehicle. If you can afford to fix your older less valuable car then you may be paying more insurance then your car is worth.

6. Ask if your company offers discounts for secure parking. My company offers cheaper rates if my car is parked indoors and at work where the parking lot is monitored by security cameras. Ask about any other situations that may present discounts.

One last thing. Don’t drive like an idiot. Drive safe. You are not Goggles Paesano driving home on the free-way.
Image by bluemoon197511

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Easy Energy Saving Tips

Our energy company recently sent us a little gadget that monitors our electricity use in real time. It shows you spikes when certain appliances are in use and not in use. It was certainly telling to me how the spikes rose when my refrigerator and air conditioning were kicking in. In light of this I present a couple of easy energy saving tips that may save you money as far as your air conditioner and refrigerator are involved.

Easy Energy Saving Tips – Air Conditioner

1. You have to have the right air conditioning unit for the size of space you are trying to cool. If you have too large a unit for your space then you may be wasting electricity.

2. Make sure any appliance you purchase has an energy wise or energy efficient sticker and rating. Most newer items you purchase these days will have an energy star rating which adds up to savings. You might want to consider replacing that old unit.

3. Make sure you regularly clean the filter. A clean filter will mean that your unit doesn’t have to work as hard pushing air through.

4. Use a timer. If you have a standalone unit you can purchase an inexpensive timer from any hardware store. I use one that over 20 on/off times and it was less than $15 to buy.

5. Placement. Make sure your air conditioner is in an open spot where it can easily cool your areas and keep it away from other warm appliances like lamps or entertainment units. They may confuse the unit into thinking the room is hotter than it actually is.

Easy Energy Saving Tips – Refrigerator

1. Do not overstuff your refrigerator. The air needs to circulate to work properly. Overstuffing will make it work harder to keep things cool. Conversely, you should overstuff your freezer. If you have frost building up on the sides you should defrost it and then stuff it. I put a pillow or old blanket in my freezer.

2. It may sound simple but leave your food out to cool before you put it in the fridge. You wouldn’t put a heater in your fridge so why put hot food.

3. Keep your fridge away from any walls or obstructions. They need air to circulate behind them to operate efficiently. It can get warm behind a fridge and you don’t want the heat to build up, it will make your compressor work harder.

4. Clean and dust out underneath your fridge and around the compressor area. Just make sure you have the fridge unplugged.

These are a couple of easy energy saving tips that require little or no work at all but will save you money.

Image by jurek d.

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