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Archive for the ‘Save Money Tips’ Category

Easy Ways to Save on Heating Bills

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On November 4, 2011 No Comments

With the winter months approaching rapidly, now would be a good time to get your home in order for the season. An inevitable part of the winter season means a higher heating bill. This year does not have to break your bank, though – with just a few changes there are many ways that you can reduce your fuel bills significantly.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Check all vents in your home. Remove any debris left behind from the year and then vacuum them out to achieve maximum flow. If you have any rooms that will not be in use for the winter, close off those vents. This will allow more heat to flow to the other rooms, enabling you to lower the temperature and still be comfortable.

 staywarm

If you do not currently have energy efficient double pane windows and your budget does not allow for replacements, then go to your local home improvement center and purchase the window kits or plastic rolls. These kits are easy to assemble and create an airtight effect, reducing the amount of cool air entering your home. To further enhance the seal, also use weather stripping on older doors to keep drafts out and heat in.

Another great way to save on your heating bill is to purchase a programmable thermostat. These thermostats allow you to set the temperature so that it is lowered at night while you are sleeping and also during the day when you are not at home. You will be surprised how much this will reduce your bill without creating any discomfort to your lifestyle.

If you currently have a fireplace or gas stove, have it serviced before the season starts so that you are getting all of the benefits. Fireplaces should have the chimneys and flue cleaned out prior to using them each year. This ensures that no critters have built nests and that no other blockages exist that will send smoke and flames billowing into your home.

Placing an aluminium board (these are readily available at home improvement stores) behind your radiators will also help the heat flow into the room more efficiently. Heavy curtains drawn at night or during early evening are another good option for keeping heating in rather than letting it out through drafty windows.

Sometimes, we can also be too quick to turn up the heat. If you’re only a little cold try wearing an extra sweater or warm socks. You may find you don’t need the heating on for another few hours. Closing doors to rooms can also keep hallway areas and rooms warmer.

Oftentimes, too many of us heat the neighborhood each winter which simply throws money out the door. Saving money on your heating bill is not impossible; you just have to be diligent about following the above tips. If your home is newer, you will not have to worry too much about insulation. However, if your home is older, you may have to update your insulation and furnaces to assist in keeping the cold air out and the warm air in.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Easy Ways to Green Your Home

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On July 25, 2011 No Comments

We all want to do our part to protect the environment, but without a large paycheck, that can be seem difficult, if not impossible. But doing your part doesn’t have to be hard. Small steps add up to a big difference, you just have to know which ones to take. 

Use less water

Saving water is all about small steps, here are a few that will help save big.

- Shut off the water while you brush your teeth
- Take showers that are a minute or two shorter
- Only flush the toilet when you need to
- Only run full loads of laundry and dishes
- Buy from sustainable producers. These are farmers, ranchers, and other producers that use techniques that pollute less and use less water. You can do some research online or ask at your local organic market to find these products.

Use less energy

If you don’t have the money to buy a hybrid car or convert your house to solar power, you can make a big difference with small changes.

- Buy energy efficient appliances.  They may be more expensive, but make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills.
- Unplug chargers when you’re not using them.  Cell phone and other chargers use up powers even if there’s nothing attached to them.
- Put devices with remotes, like T.V.s, VCRs, and stereos, on a power strip and turn it off when you’re not using them.  These devices use a lot of power to run the remote receiver even when the device is off.
- Walk or ride your bike for short trips.
-  Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy.

When it comes to saving energy and water, it’s a great idea to get the kids involved. You can even make it a game. Have them track how much water and electricity everyone is using. You can compete to see who uses the least water.  You can often count on your kids to help keep you on track when given the task. 

Reuse

Most of us know the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, but when we work on conserving, we often leave reuse out of the picture. While you can often find tips on how to reuse common products from other people, what you need most is creativity. With a little thought there are many items around your home that can be reused – toilet paper holders can be used to sow seeds for the vegetable patch. And old yogurt containers can be cut into strip to make plant labels. Old food jars can be refilled with homemade foods or can make great impromptu vases.

Use environmentally friendly products. When you go to the grocery store, you probably see more and more “natural” or “eco friendly” products every time.  There are generally two big problems with these products: 1. Just because they’re more natural than regular products, doesn’t mean they’re entirely natural. 2, They’re often expensive.

If you want inexpensive, natural, safe products, why not just make them yourself. Vinegar is a great way to clean and disinfect glass and other surfaces. Need to remove stubborn stains? Just add some baking soda to your vinegar cleaner. Some quick searching online will lead you to hundreds of other natural safe home-made cleaning products.

We all knowing that going green means better for the environment, but it’s also better for you.  Conserving resources also helps save you money, which is something most of us are happy to live with. 

Frugally yours, Mary

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Ways to Save

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On June 13, 2011 No Comments

Tips to Stop Spending and Start Saving

It can be difficult to curb your spending habits in favor of saving money. The first thing to realize is that your current spending habits have been established for some time and it will take some changes in your lifestyle to get you back on track. Changing your ways is very possible and before you know it you will be planning for tomorrow, today.

Oftentimes, one of the hardest challenges is to stop impulse buying. This does more damage than you realize and stopping this will really enhance your savings. Preparing a list before you go out will help, but to really achieve maximum results you will have to make a separate list of wants and needs before considering any major purchase. We all have wants, but having to save for them will help you to realize the importance and expense. Learn to pay cash for daily expenses.

Credit cards a great invention; however, it is too easy to get caught up with them. First of all, if you have more than three it is time to dispose of some. Keep only major cards and limit this to a couple for emergencies. Some cards offer a transfer of balance from another card; take advantage of this and cancel the other cards. If your balances are high, they are affecting your credit score, so you want to pay more than what is due and never have more than half of the credit line used.

When it comes to establishing a savings account, start out small with whatever you can afford. Then as your salary grows, contribute more and more. You will see your savings grow in no time and then when an emergency does arrive you will have your savings to bail you out instead of a credit card with interest. Get in the habit of returning the funds to your savings as if you had put them on a card and give yourself a deadline.

Eating out puts a strain on your wallet and is really unnecessary spending as you can bring your lunch to work for a fraction of the cost. Bring your lunch to work a few days a week and reduce eating out to once or twice a month as a treat. Buying coffee can also really add up. Why not invest in a portable coffee cup and make it at home to take with you instead?

Saving money does not have to be difficult, but you have to first determine where your problems lie. Whether you are an impulse buyer or you simply spend too much, recognizing the problem areas will help you learn where to cut down. It will not happen overnight but before you know it, you will be saving like a pro.

Frugally yours, Mary

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