Showing posts with label frugal tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal tips. Show all posts

Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill This Winter



As winter rolls around, the electricity bill will go up - and as a frugal couple, we always try to find ways to keep our cost down ! Here are some tips from Tim Smith for some money saving tips !


winter energy saving tips


Winter is a time for holiday cheer, snowball fights and hot chocolate by the fire. Individuals all over the country look forward to these things every year. What they do not look forward to, however, is a huge electric bill. But a few simple changes can make a big difference when it comes to saving money this winter.

Choose the Right Decorations

With the holidays here, no one should have to skip putting up lights just because they cannot afford the bill. Choosing LED lights is an excellent choice for decorating. LED lights use 75 percent less electricity than iridescent lighting. Also, remember to shut the lights off every night before going to bed in order to save energy. If you can, set up an outdoor timer to take care of turning the lights on and off every day.

Unplug What is Not Needed

Along with unplugging lights, unplug everything that is not being used or is not needed. Welcome the natural look and try not to use hair dryers or straighteners. Also, once electronics are charged, make sure to unplug them instead of leaving them to charge overnight, and if lamps are not being used, those can be unplugged as well.

Welcome the Sunshine

During the day, people should use the sun to their advantage. Open up the windows to let the light in, this makes it easier to go about the day with the lights turned off.

Use the Cold

Several states in the U.S. reach below freezing during the winter months. Take advantage of this and use the cold as a refrigerator. Unplug that extra freezer in the garage and keep the food outside. It is probably not a good idea to put food in the yard, but putting it in a garage or shed area will be just as cold as the fridge, this way, someone can unplug extra freezers or refrigerators that take up a lot of energy.

Enjoy Candlelight

Since it is the holidays, a candlelit evening is not only festive, but saves extra money. As often as possible, light candles and enjoy a natural glow during the winter months.

Turn It Down

The thermostat can suck a lot of energy up during the cold season. People need to stay warm and they sacrifice dollars to do so. In order to save some of those dollars, turn the thermostat down when it is not needed. During the night, use extra blankets so the thermostat can be turned down about 10 or 15 degrees. People can even use space heaters in their room so they can turn the thermostat lower during the night. It is also a good idea to turn it down when no one is home.

Winter is not kind to the bills, but even the bills can have holiday spirit, all they need is a little help. So take precautions and enjoy winter blessings. For more energy efficiency ideas check out Modernize.

 


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Frugal wedding tip- cheap wedding veils

For the longest time I was u see the impression that I could only get my veil at a dress shop or make my own. Either I when to sacrifice money (~ $100) at the dress shop or time (find material and sew the lining of the veil).  But I have found the perfect solution today ! I went into Michaels for a browse and I stumbled upon this item in the wedding aisle.  It was just what I needed. Something simple and didn't cost me an arm and a leg. The total cost was under $30 !  I tried it on and was a bit crinkled from being Ina box but it's nothing I can't fix. It has two layers and comes down to my finger tips.  It also comes with the comb.

Best solution to my wedding veil dilemma ! What do you think ?

As a Frugal Couple supporter, please enjoy 
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Tercel fixes: Serpentine belts --> small tweeting sound

If your car makes this noise, you will need to replace your serpentine belt.
There are two belts in my Tercel, they are used to convert the energy from the motor to electric devices like the AC and the alternator.

The sound is a tweeting noise, mostly audible when the motor is on, you are not pressing the gas pedal. Spraying some lubricant will temporarily get rid of the sound, but in a few minutes, the sound is back.

Reading online points to the tension of the belt but the car repair shop says it is most likely the belt glazing with time. I got both changed because the effort is mostly to remove all the parts to access the belts.


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Toyota Tercel small fixes

Tercel fixing series
The Toyota Tercel is such a classic car. You still see a whole lot of them around and that is because they were so well built. However, they are starting to feel the age. Mine is a 1995 and frankly is not worth that much anymore (approximately 500-1000).
Why you'd want to do all this fixing yourself?
- the maintenance fees per year doesnt make sense anymore considering the actual worth of the car.
- only replace yourself stuff that is not critical to your safety, like light bulbs. Leave the more critical stuff to the pros
- its a fun system to play with: I've been wanting to play with robotics, rather than buying a bunch of robotics, just play with this car
- if you mess it up beyond recognition, buy a new car.
I will be posting a bunch of images and videos soon enough. Most of them were really simple things if you know the tricks but can be a lot of time trying to figure it out if not
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Gear Box light changing

It's been extremely hard to find enough information to do this. Most videos are of other cars.

The light you need is a 74 Light bulb, very small.
Buy a couple so that if you mess up, you have another one to spare because these are really fragile

Here are the steps:

- Remove the 4 screws holding the plastic part with the E-brake

- Remove the 2 plastic nails holding the plastic part covering the gear box. I actually broke them by pressing on the release pins too hard. I will be replacing them with metal screws. I ended up using M6-20mm with a washer and a nut on the other side. Doesnt have to be super tightly screwed in.

- Remove the black gear cover of the gear box by prying the 4 clips


- Remove any lady bugs from the light compartment. Considering how hard it was to get there, I have no idea how that lady bug got in there, but it could never get out.

- Rotate off the light module


- Change the light bulb. The light bulb is covered with this green cover but we wont need it. It does diffuse the light better than the bulb itself but I'll leave it out for now. Recommended: turn on your engine to test if the connection is good. I hate the way these light bulbs are designed, the terminals are so fragile, if you were to wiggle it too much or put it in and out a few times, the terminals might bend out of position and become useless.

- Put everything back by reversing these instructions

Note: these lights are not too bright so you will not see them until dark. They turn on as you turn on the engine and stay on for about 5-10 seconds after you shut down the engine so if you want to test them right after plugging the light in, you have to turn on the engine.

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Travelling smart!

 
So summer is over, and we are dreaming of traveling to somewhere nice again. Here are some tips for you to travel smart!

Enjoy this guest post from Agnes Jimenez !

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Frugal Travel Options for Everyone

Even some of the most frugal people on the planet have to travel from time to time, including me. Whether it is for a visit with family, reunions, holidays, social activities or even just to get away, the largest traveling deterrent is always the cost. If you are traveling by car, train or airplane, there are a number of ways to stretch your dollar, so you can still participate in travel opportunities, without breaking the bank.

Trains, Planes & Automobiles
Chances are, none of your travel plans include walking to your destination. No matter how you plan to travel, there is a cost effective way of making it happen. If you are traveling by car, be sure and fill your gas tank up as full as it can get, without spilling over. Check your tire inflation levels to insure you are getting the most out of your gas mileage before you hit the road. Map out your route, so you are taking the most direct way possible to your destination to save time, gas and any headaches that accompany getting lost.

If you are traveling by train, consider taking a lower budget option, instead of the elaborate train cars that are available in the region. You are simply traveling from one place to another, so there is no need to apply a high maintenance attitude to your trip. The objective is simply getting there, as inexpensively as possible.

If you have to fly, consider booking your flight well ahead of time, if you can, to get the lowest rate. If you have to book a last minute trip, and have checked all of the online specials that are available, call the airline to see the best route and rate available from their perspective. You would be surprised at the deals a customer service person can provide you.

Ground Transportation
The golden rule in travel, as far as I am concerned, is to avoid cab fares as much as you can. It is not uncommon that some cab drivers take longer routes than necessary, or overcharge you for the trip. If it is possible to take a shuttle bus, subway or train for a lesser amount, you should. There is no reason to spend $50 on a trip from the airport, when you can have a friend pick you up instead for the price of a "thank you".

Also, once you are in a city, consider walking to lunch, or to a museum, instead of taking ground transportation. It will save you money, and give you a better view of the city!

About the Guest Author
Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and supports those ones that offer alternative lifestyles to consumers.  As a frugal living advocate, she recommends DailyBread.com for travel lovers who want to get big savings in shopping for easy to carry foods that have a shelf-life of over two decades.  Click here to check several meal options for your next travel.



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Guest Post - Planning Your Wedding on a Shoe String



Planning Your Wedding on a Shoe String

It’s one of the most exciting times of your life, but can also be one of the most expensive. What are we talking about? Planning your wedding. However, if you are prepared to be creative, put in some hard work and have a few willing helpers, you can still have all the trimmings for your wedding, but save yourself a good chunk of money that you can put towards your honeymoon, house deposit or starting a family.

Create your own invitations

With so many areas in which you can save money, it can be hard to know where to start, but what better place than with your wedding invitations?  While you can pay for these to be made for you, making your own invitations, in whatever design you choose, is a good way to add your own personal touch. You don’t need to be a whizz at card-making - though if you do have previous experience it will always come in handy – as they are surprisingly easy to produce. The materials you need – card, stencils, metallic pens, sequins, glitter or whatever else you need to make the invitation your own – are also readily available. For our wedding we chose a simple design – a white card with a glitter finish, on which we mounted a pair of hand-drawn wedding bells and used transfers for the writing – but we were very pleased with the end result. If you’re struggling for ideas, have a look online for some suggestions and tips for making your own wedding invites.

Design your own tableware

Table decorations are another area where you can step in. You can let your imagination run away, but like with many things, sometimes simple ideas work best. We liked the idea of giving our guests something to take home to keep as a reminder of our day. So for each table setting we took a wine glass and with brightly coloured marker pens for glass wrote their name and added decoration. The rest of the table was decorated with red cut-out hearts in varying sizes and strewn gold and silver sequins. At other weddings I’ve seen some other interesting ideas for table decorations. One friend used the popular heart theme, but instead of using card, had found sets of heart-shaped cookie cutters in increasing sizes – it was certainly a nice gift for the children to take away with them. At another they had used spherical florist’s foam and mounted heart-shaped sweets on cocktail sticks; unsurprisingly these disappeared as the reception went on.

Something old

Although the majority of what you will use for your wedding will tend to be purchased or made for the day, it is tradition after all to have something old with you at your wedding. We dug out some old fairy lights to decorate the top table and after replacing some bulbs, they worked a treat and fixing up some lights is easier than repairing a phone.  It’s surprising what can come in useful; perhaps have a look around your home and that of your family to see what you can find.

Make your own favors

It’s a nice gesture to give your guests a favor as a little thank you for sharing your wedding day. It’s all too easy to buy these readymade, but obviously a more expensive choice. If you’re a dab hand at sewing, you can make little fabric pouches to fill with candies. Alternatively purchase small gift boxes to do the same. Perhaps bake a cookie for each guest. If you fancy having a go at origami, this might solve the problem of what to give for a favor and can also be used for additional decoration at the tables.




As a Frugal Couple supporter, please enjoy 
3 FREE wedding invitation samples from Minted.com with code 3FREE

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{Guest Post} 7 Ways to Have a Frugal But Fabulous Wedding



Another Guest Blogger to help me with frugal wedding tips!  Enjoy!

***

When the man you love gets down on one knee and getting married becomes a reality, there are lots of things to think about. Many women have been planning their special day since they were a little girl, and will know how they want everything to be. Even if you weren’t bitten by the bridal bug at a young age, you will be when it comes to organizing your wedding.

If you’ve let your dream day run away with you, you may be met with a shock when it comes to costing the event. But budgeting worries shouldn’t dampen your special day. You can still plan the day of your dreams, without giving your bank balance nightmares.

How to Have a Frugal Wedding
With money tight for most of us right now, having a frugal wedding is becoming more and more commonplace. But compromising on cost doesn’t mean compromising on quality. There are loads of ways you can still have a perfect wedding but on a budget. Here are seven ways you can have a frugal, but fabulous wedding:

1. Invitations
Wedding invitations can leave a large and unexpected hole in our budget. Not only do we spend a small fortune on the best designs we can find, the cost of posing hundreds of letters mounts up. If you’re looking to save on the invites, why not get crafty and make your own? There are plenty of kits out there to help you out, or you can even make some online.
If you have a very large guest-list, postage can cost a small fortune. If possible, give out invitations by hand, or send multiple family members’ invites to one address. You could also consider sending out e-invites via email as a free but effective alternative.

2. Dress Alterations
If you’re lucky enough to find your dream dress fits perfectly, then you’ve already saved time and money. But if your dress does need any alterations, it is best to shop around. Ask the bridal boutique whether alterations are included in the cost, or how much they will set you back.
If you can’t afford to part with that much cash, don’t be afraid to take your dress to another seamstress. Just make sure you leave enough time for the alterations to be made, and for extra fittings. When including your wedding dress in the budget, make sure you account for alterations so the cost isn’t a shock.

3. Grooms’ Tux
Your husband-to-be may have just as much difficulty as you in finding the perfect suit. Getting matching suits for him and all his groomsmen can be costly, but there are ways to cut the cost. Firstly, look into hiring the suits. This will be much cheaper than buying one he will never wear again.
You should also check out what the high street has to offer. There are loads of great stores where you can buy classic suits, for much less than a tailor would charge. There will be little compromise on quality, but your budget will be much less restricted.
4. Favours
The giving of wedding favours is a great way to thank your guests for sharing your day. However when you have a large list of invitees, the costs can mount up. Frugal but fabulous wedding favours can be found all over the internet, meaning you don’t have to miss out.
Many vendors have favours for under £1/$1 on their sites, so you can still give a small token. If nothing takes your fancy there, why not make your own? DIY favours are a great way to show your appreciation, and add a personal touch to your day. 

5. Catering
Catering is pretty much an essential part of any wedding day. But it can prove to be one of the most expensive. Some frugal brides are choosing to prepare and provide the food themselves. This may only be a cost effective solution though if you’re having a small [party].

Shop around and compare prices before settling. You should also weigh up the costs of having a sit-down meal to having a buffet. Both work perfectly for weddings, but the difference in cost may surprise you.

6. Photography and Videography
Everyone wants to capture their wedding day perfectly. But wedding photography can be expensive. If you know someone with a professional camera, why not ask them to take some photos on your behalf? You could also give guests disposable cameras and get them to capture your day.
Some photographers will charge less if you book an engagement and wedding shoot in one. Look into the options open to you, and don’t feel pressured. Just because your best friend had an engagement shoot, doesn’t mean you have to. Save your money for the things that mean the most to you.

7. Honeymoon
Some couples will spend just as much on their honeymoon as they did on the wedding. If you’re planning a frugal wedding, you can save on the honeymoon too. Travel agents may offer deals on post-wedding getaways so it’s worth checking these out.
Too expensive? Why not book a last minute break, or try online? Many sites will book your outbound and inbound flights, accommodation, and transfers separately. This will reduce the cost, but not scrimp on style.

Planning a wedding on a shoestring doesn’t have to mean being ‘cheap’. You can still have an amazing day, and no-one need know you’ve budgeted cleverly. And all these touches will make your day much more personal. And isn’t that what your wedding is all about anyway?




As a Frugal Couple supporter, please enjoy 
3 FREE wedding invitation samples from Minted.com with code 3FREE

This guest post has been supplied by Wedding Favours Delight. If you’re looking to save money on your wedding favours, visit the website (http://www.weddingfavoursdelight.com/favours-under-1-pound) and check out their favours for under £1.

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Frugal Tip - Deal Extreme



Damn this site is awesome. It brings Chinese cheap prices right at your doorstep. The only inconvenience is that normal shipping is freaking slow. It takes on average 1month for something to make it to my place.
Some good deals I found:
- Mini Display to VGA converter http://dx.com/p/mini-displayport-male-to-vga-female-adapter-1080p-27603
I bought a Mac Mini, and the LCD screen I have is too old so it uses VGA. The Mac Mini has a mini display output with a converter to go DVI. I needed a DVI to VGA converter so as every average joe, i went to Future Shop. It was 45$!!!!! plus taxes, comes out to nearly 50$!!!
This converter was 10.70$. I saved 40$!! Even if you pay for the super fast shipping, you're still saving a good chunk of money.

now dont take my word for it because the reviews say it really stinks, which i'm not really sure how bad can a laptop lock smell? but apparently several people said that. And they meant stink as in smells bad, not as in bad product. Still, looks just like other laptop locks that are 20$-50$.

- iPhone earphone with microphone and remote
 
damn thats a good deal. Futureshop charges 100$ for the same thing but u can plug them into ur ear for more sound isolation, which is kinda nice but i'm sure they'll be on DealExtreme soon enough, for 8$.
- iPhone data cable
DX 1.6$
Futureshop 23$ (it says moshi on it...)
ok, COME ON!!!
Bottomline, if you think accessory, mass production, think DealExtreme.





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Korean BBQ... at home

Korean BBQ!!!

Have you been to Toronto??? That's pretty much the first thing and last thing you have to try if you're there. Its pretty much all you can eat for 13.95 dinner... and when they say ayce, its not like vancouver where you can only have beef... they really mean everything... beef, beef rib, chicken, pork, fish... and anything on the menu. That was a few years ago but i dont imagine they would have increased their prices that much more.

So reminiscing of acye korean bbq, we visited some joints in Vancouver... They dont really have AYCE, there were 2 places we know of, one is Dae Bak Bon Ga (but they dont do AYCE anymore and the other one is Pork Belly Beer House http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/1520867/restaurant/Robson-Street-West-End/Pork-Belly-Beer-House-Vancouver in downtown Vancouver. The second place is still pretty awesome, but its just pork belly and you'd need to pay more for more stuff. their beer is pretty cheap though so u can more than be full for the price. Still kinda limited sauces and stuff... so it left me craving for the Toronto experience... How is it that Vancouver is so much more asian and AYCE korean bbq hasnt become widespread???

The next best thing is to make it yourself at home. Of course, the beauty at Korean places is also the multitude of side dishes, and pretty ghetto atmosphere where if you're asian and somewhat pale skin, they assume you're korean, and will say many sentences while you give the blank look, hinting that you dont understand, yet it still keeps coming... Or maybe they just dont feel like speaking in English unless necessary.

The side dishes:
- Kimchi (i have my own way of making it, i find it a bit easier and less salty than what i've found online, depends what taste you are going for)
- Daikon (lo bok) (same as kimchi)
- seaweed (love that stuff... this video is kinda weird because she adds pollock)


- potatoes (kinda simple, just sweet sauce)
- bean sprouts (love that stuff too)


These are kinda tough to get because you are only going to eat a small quantity everytime so u'd be making a pretty big quantity of each. Worth making your own if you are going all out, but otherwise, you can go to H-Mart and pick up a small quantity of each.

Now the main stuff: MEATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTtttttts
- pork (kalbi sauce)
- chicken (kalbi sauce)

- beef (bulgogi sauce) --> sure, u can buy it from these guys, or you can go to TNT, it was on sale for 3$ a few weeks ago.

- beef shortrib (kalbi sauce)

The meat... you dont have to buy precut stuff... its not as fresh and its more expensive (you have no choice for shortrib cause more people i know dont own a saw they can use for cutting rib bones)

I buy the chicken from any supermarket when its on sale, frozen 3$/lb for chicken breast. Beef, you could really use anything but sirloin works well because everything is sauced u dont have to worry that much about it going dry (unless u over cook it)

Grill choice!
This is the main decision you have to make. If you've been to korean bbq, you must have noticed how your grill eventually gets to a point where u just cant grill anymore and you really should just get it swapped. At home, you dont have that luxury. I bought one that looks a lot like the one at the restaurant. The first time around, feels great, yeahhhhhhhhh  i'm at the restaurant. Tastes great. And then comes the washing part... this is where your dreams crumble down like the buildings in Inception. Look at it after two cooking sessions, and trust me... VERY hard to wash... i've tried dish washer... soaking it in water with soap... using the gas range to burn that stuff (this seemed to be the only solution really but would use a whole lot of gas to clean absolutely everything).


Its never gonna be clean, unless i spend way too much effort, which time costs more than the salary i'd make working that same time to buy a new one. So for my birthday, my fiancee bought me this non-stick one, after we watched korean TV in an LA thai joint showing korean TV. It changed my life. Its about as non-stick as you can want, while still able to char the surface of the meat (which is the problem of most non-stick pans, so Calphalon designed this "sear" collection which is non-stick and can sear).
This is how the new korean grill looks like after the damage. You know its a good sign when the sugar burnt stuff lifts up by itself. The only thing i hate is that I dont have to spend so much effort cleaning it... nooooooootttttt.


Oh yeah, i should show you the food.

Bacon is really nice on this grill!!!

Or you could use the George Foreman grill. But let me tell you... it doesnt really work for korean bbq because most of its browning power is from the top heating element and when you cut meat thin the way you like it for korean bbq... it doesnt touch the top element... sadly. But i love the non-stick surface.

Crispy and delicious meat!!! and onions that come with it. Enjoy with a beer, on a balcony, hot summer day, with the sun setting. its kind of what happened.

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