Showing posts with label save money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label save money. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Three Proven Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Summer utility bills can sting. Between using extra water to keep your yard green and running the air conditioner to stay cool, it can feel like you have to choose between saving money and enjoying your summer. That doesn’t have to be true – particularly when it comes to your electric bill!

Here are three proven ways to save money on your electric bill this month:

1. Avoid “vampires”
As explained by the U.S. Department of Energy, most homes have multiple TVs and computers, which are all connected to various devices, such as DVD players, game consoles, external monitors, and printers. Believe it or not, the energy consumed by all these gadgets in our homes can add up to nearly 10 percent of a household's monthly electric bill! Many people forget to turn off their devices when they aren't using them, and many electronics continue to draw power even after they've been turned off, wasting energy in the form of "vampire loads."

To avoid wasting energy on devices that you aren’t actively using, try investing in a few advanced power strips. There are many different products on the market – some even have timers or activity sensors. Check out this infographic to learn more.

2. Replace old thermostats
If you aren’t using a programmable thermostat, switching to one may make a demonstrable difference in your electric bill. We all know that adjusting your thermostat just a few degrees can improve your energy use. Programmable thermostats allow you to make those slight adjustments automatically, based on your household needs, to ensure you save money.

The experts at recommend taking things a step further with a smart thermostat, so that you can control your heating and cooling from your phone or other device. Click here to read their smart thermostat reviews for 2017.

3. Trash old light bulbs
Overwhelmed when you visit the light bulb aisle at your local home improvement store? We are too! But the good news is that all of those new light bulb options exist to help save you money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an average household dedicates about five percent of its energy budget to lighting. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. By replacing your home's five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.

After you are done lowering your energy bill, don’t forget that you can lower your pharmacy bill as well. Regardless of your insurance situation, the Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card can help you to spend less money on your family’s prescription drugs. Download the free app today.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Money Saving Tips We All Know, But Forget to Use

save money
Improving your money skills can help you save money.
Saving money can be really easy, but most of us either don't think about it until it's too late or we are so overwhelmed by our expenses that we feel that saving is impossible. These days we are on the go non-stop, so we go for convenience rather than being practical. Convenience food is the #1 culprit when it comes to wasting money. From buying Starbucks to going grocery shopping when we are hungry, every penny adds up to spending way too much for things we don't really need.

You can save a lot throughout the year if you can find ways to be frugal.  The Dumb Little Man website gives thirty tips to save money. Below are some of my favorites and things I have learned over the years that keep me from over spending.

  1. Buy things in Bulk - Buying dry goods and home products in bulk will save you big bucks.  I save a lot on cleaning supplies and hair products, as well as toothpaste, vitamins, snacks, etc. It may cost you a bit to start out buying in bulk, but in the long run you will save a pretty penny.
  2. Brown Bag it - Sack lunches are the way to go to save money everyday. Everyone has been sucked into going out to eat for lunch as a daily routine. Who wants to eat a plain old sandwich when you can go to the Deli down the street, right? But you can make a fun lunch by adding variety to your sack lunches. Make extras for dinner and pack it for your lunch. Lasagna, enchiladas, and chicken casserole are always better the second day. Mix in an easy chicken Cesar salad twice a week by cooking one chicken breast the night before that can be used for two salads. All you need is Romaine lettuce and a little salad dressing and you have a great salad for two days.
  3. Bring a List for Grocery Shopping - Never head to the grocery store without a list. Always know exactly what you need. If you go without a list you'll be more tempted by those impulse items, or the "just in case I don't have it" factor. I don't know how many times I have put things in my cart that I didn't need, just so I didn't risk having to go back to the store.
  4. Buy Generic Products - I have finally learned over the past 20 years that most generic products are just the same as the name brand. The only difference is the price. The only time I will buy name brand products is if I have a coupon or my club card is giving a discount.
  5. Make Your Own Coffee - I know I am getting a lot of sighs right now from all you Starbucks drinkers. Believe me, I love a good cup of coffee. I am not saying you have to go without, what I am saying is buy in moderation to save a little. A Starbucks coffee is almost the price of a meal these days. If you are buying a Starbucks 5 times per week, cut it down to 2 days per week. This will save you $15 a week, $60 per month, and $720 a year. Now that is a lot of savings!!!
  6. Use Discount Cards - Almost all of the grocery stores carry a club card to help you save more money when you shop. Kmart, CVS, and other chain shopping stores are jumping on the band wagon to help you save money. Some have special coupons and others save you money on future purchases, like giving you money off on gas purchases. It doesn't cost anything to have one so when you are asked to sign up, take the extra couple of minutes and do it. You will save $100's a year by using it. And remember to download the free FamilyWize discount prescription card to save money on your prescriptions. You can save up to 75% on the cost of your medications.

money lessons
Don't over spend, save a little for your piggy bank.
Another way to help you start living frugal is to find out if the store charges a fee for using a debit card. Some stores charge an extra fee for debit card purchases but not for credit card purchases. The ATM bank fees can run you .35 to .55 per swipe at some stores. Ask before saying credit or debit.

If you love to read, shop at used book stores. You can find plenty of used books for half the price. Even better, borrow from your local library. It doesn't cost anything to get a library card and you can check out books at no cost.

My last tip for saving in the New Year is NEVER impulse shopImpulse buying can get you into a lot of trouble, especially with big purchases. Always look around for good deals or wait for it to go on sale. For instance when you are looking for a TV you could end up saving hundreds of dollars for just being patient. Electronics, furniture, and appliances are constantly going on sale so wait and be patient when you are in the process of purchasing a big item. Nothing is worse than buying something and then seeing it on sale a couple of weeks later. Improving your money skills can definitely help you save money

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Homemade Cleaning Products to Save Money

vinegar to clean
Remove stains with homemade cleaning products.
Cleaning products can get very expensive and there seems to be a costly product for every little cleaning project you have. The cleaning industry has been pushing products for years and every year there seems to be a new cleaning product that works better than the last. They have brainwashed all of us into thinking we need a different cleaning product for every little germ that we come across in our house or work place!

Why waste all that money on 20 different cleaning products when you can make your own and only have a few bottles in the cupboard that take up less space? It makes more sense to me to de-clutter your cabinet with unwanted cleaning products and save money at the same time. Not to mention you will have fewer irritating fumes and harsh chemicals roaming through your house.

I put together a list of alternative cleaning solutions that you can use to make your own household products. Most of the products come straight from your cupboard and can be used everyday for homemade cleaning. If you are wondering how to get stains out or get rid or those pesky tub rings all of these household products will do the trick. I have added a link for each product that tells you its best use.
cleaning products
Buy bulk to save money.

  • Baking Soda - Baking soda can be used in so many different ways and it is very cheap to use. From making homemade car wash soap to getting coffee and tea rings out of cups this will be the cleaning product that you will use the most.
  • White Vinegar - White Vinegar is very mild and acidic; it dissolves dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits on smooth surfaces. A lot of people are starting to use vinegar to clean and its popularity is growing. It is also a natural deodorizer and absorbs those pesky animal odors you may have in your house. What I love is that it also removes crayon stains and it is still gentle enough to clean my hardwood floors when I make a solution with it.
  • Bleach - Bleach is a little more harsh than some other cleaning products but is also the cheapest and disinfects the best. It is a popular homemade cleaner and it is the most common in many households. You don't have to use much to conquer your hardest cleaning project. Use it in small doses and be careful not to wear new clothes while cleaning with it or they may become a little whiter than expected!
  • Borax -  Borax has been around for years to remove stains. It was first discovered in 1872 and has been going strong ever since. It is most commonly known to be used for your laundry and gets tough stains out, but it does so much more. I have even used it to make slime for my preschool. The kids LOVE it and they have so much fun with it.
  • how to get stains out
    The cleaner that never gives up
    and gets touch stains out.
  • Alcohol - Alcohol is most commonly used as a degreaser and it is great for cleaning windows. It cuts through all the grease and grime without leaving a heavy residue. There are different kinds of alcohol but the most common is rubbing alcohol. It usually contains a 70% solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. This is a high number and should always be used with caution, especially around children. When it isn't in use make sure it is out of the reach of children and stored in a well ventilated area.
  • Ammonia - Ammonia is most commonly used for cleaning windows and fighting soap scum. It can also be used for cleaning out drains and removing soot from fireplaces. Ammonia is a very strong smelling cleaning agent and needs to be used in a well ventilated area.
And remember, when using household products for cleaning, be very careful to read the labels for safety instructions. Be sure to never mix bleach and ammonia together because it can release toxic vapors. Even cleaning one area with bleach and a different one with ammonia can cause the vapors to mix, so don't use them in the same room together. Make sure any room where either product is used is well ventilated.

Here are also some last minute Cleaning recipes that you won't want to pass up. Happy cleaning and I hope these tips put a little extra buck in your pocket and keep your cleaning closet a little more organized.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Warm Up Winter With Wardrobe Savings

With the cold weather just around the corner we need to make sure our kids have what they need to make it through the winter months. Since my family lives in Northern California we aren't hit with the big snow storms like many states, but we still need to make sure we have warm clothes for those 20 degree days and the slight chance of snow once or twice a year.

Winter clothing is always the most expensive, mainly because there is more to them and they are usually made of a high quality material to keep you warm. Layering is always a popular trend with younger kids so the more garments you have on the more money you will end up spending. Living in California definitely has its perks on the weather conditions and we usually don't have really cold weather until January. This helps out a lot on saving money because we are able to buy winter clothing for Christmas presents. So we are killing two birds with one stone. Getting our kids what they need plus using it as a present that they already want.  We have girls so they love clothing, boots, and scarves. Ed Abbott, the Website Repair Guy lists twelve helpful tips for choosing winter clothing that will keep you warm and not break your budget.  Here are a few tips that I've found to hopefully help you save money for the upcoming winter months.

Save Money & Shop Smart
saving money
Winter clothing can keep you in style

and help you save money
  • See if any of last year's clothes still fit and are in good shape. Then make a shopping list of only what you need.
  • Ask friends that have older kids if they have out grown any winter clothes. I am always giving away my girls' jackets and sweaters to help another family save money.
  • Keep an eye out for sales at the shopping mall.
  • At the end of the winter season shop for next winter. You will find huge savings on jackets and boots at this time. I usually buy a few sizes up for my kids knowing they will grow quite a bit over a year. This is also a good time to shop for snow gear in the all sports stores.
  • Go shopping but be patient. If you see something you really like wait for it to go on sale. You can usually find some good deals over the winter holidays. All the department stores will be having huge sales from now until Christmas.
  • Find coupons online. Almost every online store has coupons. I always check out Retailmenot to see what kind of discount I can get before I buy anything online.
  • Buy jackets, boots, and scarves that will stay in style. Stay with neutral colors that can be used for a few years rather than just one. Remember when shopping, if it's not in style, kids will not wear it. It's not saving money if it's just hanging in the closet.
  • Buy new scarves to change the look of an outfit. Buy a few over the year of various patterns and colors and by the time winter comes they will have quite a few and then they can make an old outfit look new plus stay warm.
If you have a child that loves expensive trends give them an allowance when it comes to winter clothing. Sometimes it is easier to compromise if you know they will wear it. Give them an amount they get for each winter accessory. For example if you have a $50 limit for a jacket than they can buy one jacket or maybe they will look a little and find two on sale for the same price. My kids took it as a challenge to see how much they could buy for that amount. They were also learning the value of a dollar and to appreciate what they have.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer