Posts Tagged ‘frugal’

Frugal Fun With a Child

March 11, 2008

Tent 1

This was our frugal fun adventure for last weekend. We took a sheet, desk, and the existing balcony railing and made a tent. This was one of the ideas we had discussed in this article. The entire area took a whole ten minutes to set up, and provided countless hours of enjoyment. It was slept in every night, and was not took down till Monday.

Camp fire In this picture you see the “fire” that kept us warm throughout the weekend and provided the source of flame to roast our marshmallows and hot dogs! This was a great chance for our child to express creativity without any adult intervention. Everything was her creation.

Tent 2 Lastly, this is the area that was slept in.  It was simply a comforter folded in half and placed on top of the carpet.  Not the most comfortable set up, but when roughing it, sacrifices have to be made!

It is such a simple thing to do.  Mostly all that is required is time and a little creativity.  It gives the adults a chance to revisit their childhood as well.  I know from personal experience, it only takes a short while before the tent becomes something totally different.

It will be a castle under siege by the evil Lord Greedball;  it will be a submarine folding under the pressure of the tentacles of a giant squid;   a spaceship trying to plot a course that avoids destruction before hastily jumping to light speed;  a police car in pursuit of the bank robbers, and the possibilities are endless.  The thing we enjoy is encouraging imagination, actually leaning with each “turn” or collapsing with each wreck.

Have a great camping trip!

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Save Money on Your Utility Bill Part 3-Heat and Air

February 15, 2008

This is the second of three post on saving money on your utilities each month. The post will be here once they are completed. Subscribe to our feed to get all the post as they become available!!

 

Heat and Air

This area is hands down our biggest expense in electricity. To save money on heat and air bills will require a little more time and effort than was required for electricity or water.  Because your heat and air units require so much energy (electricity, gas, propane, etc.), the payoff will be well worth it.  Without further ado, here are a few ways to reduce the cost of heating and cooling your house:

  1. Change your filter regularly.  This is perhaps the easiest, yet most often neglected, way to decrease your utility bill.  Estimates range from twelve to twenty percent as the amount of efficiency replacing a filter can add to your unit.  This is also true of window air units.  Any unit that requires air circulation to “condition” the air needs the proper amount of air flow to do the job optimally.  If you are prone to allergies, there are plenty of high quality filters that remove airborne allergens while your heat or air is on.  Not only will having a clean filter reduce the amount of money you pay monthly in utilities, it will also prolong the life of your heat and air system.
  2.    Seal air leaks around windows and doors and other areas in the house.  Most of the heat and air loss that occurs in a home takes place around your windows and doors.  Any hardware store has the necessary equipment to fix these problems.  First, we will look at windows.  One of the simplest things to do is to either purchase or make some heavy drapes to hang in front of the window.  This will prevent some of the draft from breezing through out your dwelling.  If you live in a considerably old house or apartment building, you may want to consider plastic shrink wrap.  The average cost in our area is about $11 for a package that will seal five windows.  Now, doors.  The best way to stop air flow around your doors is to insure a proper fit when closed.  One way to check this is to close the door, turn off all the inside lights, and leave an outside light on.  If at from any angle you can see light, it is a good idea to weather strip the door jamb.  Weather strips vary in thickness, so measure the area needed to make the door close tightly, and purchase the closest size.  Foam spray is a great tool for do-it-yourself projects when preventing air loss.  Look anywhere items come in the house from outside (dryer vents, water pipes, electrical conduit, etc.) and seal up any cracks or crevasses around them.
  3. Properly service your heat and air systems once a year.  At least once a year have a licensed HVAC repair person service your system to keep it running properly.  In our area, a “tune up” visit only cost around $40-$50.  Most of the time the inside of the unit will need to be cleaned out, as well as the correct gases filled up to keep the unit running optimally.  If you have window units, there should be an HVAC repair shop in your area that will complete this service for around $15-$20 for larger sized window units.  Important note:  Be sure to do your research before choosing a repair person.  Check with family and friends (just about everyone has had heat and air trouble at some point) and find out who they recommend.  If you cannot find a repair person this way, call your local Better Business Bureau.  They will have reports on companies in your area that preform this service.
  4. Use a programmable thermostat.  Keeping your temperature set and not “yo-yoing” it up and down will help save money as well.  With a programmable thermostat you can set it to your desired temperatures and then forget it.  Turning the temperature down while sleeping, even if just a couple degrees, will help on your bill.

I am sure there are many other ways to save in this area.  These are just a few that we have tried that seem to work well.  This article finishes our series on saving money on utilities.  Hope some of this information will help you save money as well.

How do you prevent air loss in your abode?  We are always looking for new ideas!