Archive for the ‘Money Saving Tips’ Category

Don’t Take a Wrong Turn Down Aisle 5: ALL YOU Helps Consumers Save Money on Groceries

Save Money on Groceries: Avoid Spending Traps at the Store[Source: Daily Savings from All You]

If you have never seen All You magazine (exclusively at WalMart stores or various sites online), it is packed with money saving coupons and is one that I read every month as soon as it arrives in our mailbox. Kathy and I regularly find coupon match-ups weekly using this magazine.

If you would like to subscribe to this magazine (12 issues/$19.95), please click HERE

Debt Free Christmas!

Last year at this time I made a plan. Not to go into debt for  Christmas. I love how much more relaxed and stress free our holiday was because we weren’t concerned about paying bills in January. Here’s how we did it.

Opinion Outpost –  $100 in Amazon money. Click HERE to sign up.

Click & Earn
My Points – $80 in department store gift cards. Email us for an invite.
Swagbucks – $100 in Amazon money. Click HERE to Sign Up.

Home Parties
Premier Jewelry – $400 in free jewelry. If you live in Orlando, email Linda at to set up your home party.

Credit Card Offers
Chase Disney Rewards – $300 in Disney money just for signing up!

iPhone Apps:
There are a bunch of FREE “Sign-In/Check-In” types of apps for the iphone, but here are two that Mark uses every single day, and he has earned GameStop gift cards, Amazon cash, and more.

Shopkick: Very simple to use, check in at a store, and scan the bar codes shown. Can use this app all day, and the points add up fast. Can “check-in” to a store without having to actually be inside the store. Click HERE to download Shopkick via the iTunes AppStore. When registering from your iPhone, please use promo code reddeer21. Entering the promo code will add 100 “kickbucks” to your account.

Free Stuff
I saved all the free candles, body wash, socks and such to use a filler in gift baskets.

Next year my goal is to do even better! How did you do this Christmas? Mark & I hope that you had as close to as possible debt free Christmas. Did you find any year long money saving methods that worked better for you than others? What were they so we can all learn from each other.

Hand Washing Dishes vs Dishwasher Challenge.

A couple of months ago Kathy and I knew we need to do something to save on the power bill. From a test last year we knew we could both survive with the AC set to 78 degrees. We just keep the ceiling fans on and I am happy. Only when we have company over to we go to a lower temp.

Though we have no control over the price we pay to the power company, we DO have total control over how we use the power supplied to our home. We have certain givens that can not be turned off, such as the spare stand up fridge/freezer in the garage, and the two AC units that run pretty much nonstop in our house during the summer months (set to 78 degrees TYVM). We also average a load of laundry per day and run the dish washer either every day or will skip a day or two.

So, with the above items, what one item could we do with out? We picked the dishwasher. I headed to one of my favorite stores, IKEA, and purchased a wooden plate drying rack. The agreement was that we would hand wash and air dry our dishes for a couple of months and see if the amount of power we used, based on our monthly bill decreased or not a dramatic amount.

Well, after two months of a water bill that was nearly DOUBLE of what it has usually been before the test, we expected to use more water then the amount needed by the dishwasher, but DOUBLE the amount? Not so much. Yes, the power bill did go down over the past couple of months, BUT no where close to offsetting the amount that the water bill increased.

During our testing period, the only thing we changed in our lifestyle was that I hand washed the dishes (btw that means filling one half of kitchen sink with hot water and dish soap, and then the over side as the rinse off area. We knew we were going to use more water. Cutting down on water use was not the point, saving a bunch of money on the power bill was.

Outcome of the test, anybody want to buy a used wooden IKEA Dish Drying Rack?

Home Depot Garden Club Coupons for Sept 2010

I received the September 2010 The Home Depot Garden Club booklet of coupons and information (mostly how to prepare your lawn for winter) yesterday.

The coupons, which are all store type, are valid through October 3, 2010.

The coupons are:
B2G1 Mums of equal or lesser value.
$2.00 OFF Glad ForceFlex Outdoor Trash Bags, 42ct
$2.00 OFF Kingsford Competition Briquettes OR Kingsford Mesquite Briquettes
$10.00 OFF Fiskars 57 Gal Tuscany Rainwater Collection System

If you want more info please go HERE.

Enjoy your savings.

How to get FREE Plant Irrigation Water, or how our AC units helps to water our plants.

Some on of you might remember the fun time I had getting my hands muddy while I was starring in the live action reality adventure called Mark vs a Clogged AC Drain Pipe. Warning, it is not the shortest story in the world, but entertaining none the less.

So, as I was working on the above pipes, I kept thinking that there had to be a way to reclaim the condensation that our AC units produce and put it to use.

About the only thing I could think of was for plant irrigation. I first put 16qt bin under the two openings, but it was filling up within a few hours which meant I was still wasting the condensation. So, I dugout the area a tad bit, and arranged a much larger 56 qt bin, (pictured) and it now takes a day or so, which is fine by me.

The way I use this reclaimed is to just push the gallon size watering can into the bin, let it fill up, and then water the plants. We have tons of plants around the exterior of our house, and you will be amazed how far 14 gals will go when watering plants. I have yet to empty the bin during a single watering session.

So readers, do you reclaim rain water (using rain barrels) or AC condensation? What other water saving tips do you have to share with your fellow readers?

Mark vs a Clogged AC Drain Pipe.

For those people that swear I NEVER get my hands dirty, well, today as I was sitting at my desk working, l heard dripping coming from the closet where my office’s AC unit is. The unit itself is off the ground, so was not really afraid of flooding, as I opened the closet doors, BUT I was not expecting the nearly inch deep mini pond that was on the riser that the unit sits on. Thank God for the lip on the edge, or it would have been worse. I opened the drain pipe’s cap and oh my god, thought the water was at the top and spilled out a tad bit as I took the cap off, there was a stench that was worse then anything that either of our kids have ever produced. I went downstairs and outside to where both of our AC units condensation pipes drain, and there was water, mixed with a pungent stench. What is weird though I just mowed by there yesterday (and no, I did not come anyway close to hitting the pipes) and did not notice the ponding water or the stench.

Having dealt with clogged condensation pipes in the past, I knew to boil a kettle of water for use later. I wondered if I should be calling my brother in law David, who just graduated the HVAC program at Westside Tech (still proud of him) but I thought, man up dude, and try to do it yourself first. The part that I was a tad freaked out about was the stench.

I dug out the drainage pipe to the elbow, and was really freaked to find that the above ground drain pipe was no longer attached to the elbow, and appear dry. This can only mean that something was up the pipe. Who knows how long the pipe had been like this. I stuck my finger into the open part of the pipe and did not feel anything slimy, which was a mixed blessing.

What I did next is NOT something I would recommend, but did it because to me it made perfect sense. I put a sorta high pressure attachment (hardware store variety not the pressure washer type) onto the end of the hose. After making sure which way to turn nozzle on inside the pipe, I let it go full bore for a second or two. The water I sprayed out came back out, but not much else. SO I did what I am sure Tim the Toolman Taylor would have done in this situation, turn the nozzle to more of a pin point and kept it in the pipe for oh maybe 5 seconds or so. Well, that loosen up what ever the heck the big ol’ globule that came out in one long gelatinous really stenchy mess was, but it was really gross. I am telling myself it was a lizard or something like it. It had to have drowned and then bloated to clog the pipe. That is the story I am telling myself.

So, why the heck did I boil a kettle of water? I poured it down the drain pipe from upstairs, and had I only used room temp tap water I would not have been able to tell if the pipe was clear of not. I will be pouring bleach down it later. BTW, no, I did not go scooping to see if I could find the thing that was clogging the pipe. Just seeing it come out was enough, and thank God it promptly sank to the bottom of the dug out area I made to work on the pipe.

Such is life of a homeowner in Florida.

Money/Energy Saving Laundry Tip.

Before you even open the lid to your washing machine, do another “Spin Only” cycle. The centrifugal force of the spinning will help get even more water out of whatever you just washed.

If your dryer has either a moisture detection setting or “Optimum Dry, Low Dry” option, use it. Since the items you are drying have less water content due to the second spin cycle, one of the highest users of energy in your home will now need less time to dry the load.

On average we do a full load of laundry a day, and since we have been doing this, our power bill has gone down, and that includes the past few months which included Christmas, and the major cold snap that we experienced here in Central Florida where we were running the heating system.

So dear readers and followers, besides using coupons, what are some of your favorite money saving tips.

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