Have you pulled the plug on cable/satellite? It’s easy!

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Did you know that you can hook up a laptop to your TV (newer models – check to see if your TV has an HDMI input).  This is what the HDMI cord looks like:

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Click on the images above to go to the ABC, CBS, Hulu, NBC, and Netflix websites.  Hulu and Netflix do charge a small monthly fee – around $7 or $8.  But that’s a huge difference compared to $50 and up that you’re probably paying now.  Plus there are so many extras like being able to watch an entire season of your favorite show at once, saving your place when you have to stop watching in the middle of a show, adding shows to favorites so you’ll be notified when there’s a new episode, and suggestions for shows similar to what you’ve watched.

You can’t escape commercials all the time.  Hulu and the broadcast channel websites usually do have some commercials in their online shows, but there are only usually 1 or 2 minutes of commercials at a time, so it’s still not as bad as regular TV.

These are just a small sample of online sites where you can watch TV shows and movies.  CMT also offers some of their shows online, some without commercials.  For kids there is PBS, Nickelodeon, and Disney online (plus I’m sure a lot more).  Google it!

The remote:  Your mouse!  If you don’t have one, pick up an inexpensive wireless mouse.  You’ll be able to use it anywhere in the room to control your laptop.

Another benefit is you can web surf and check your Facebook while you’re waiting for a commercial.

I hope this post inspires you to “cut the cord” and free up some of your hard-earned money while still enjoying TV.

Save on laundry costs

You can save a lot of money if you put a little thought into doing laundry.  One of the biggest money savers for me is to make my own laundry detergent.  I mix up a batch every 3 or 4 months and keep it in a pretty glass cookie jar next to the washer with a scoop in it.  There are a lot of recipes online, but I keep it simple and use Ivory soap (can stock up when good coupons & sales come out), borax, and washing soda.  That’s it.  My laundry comes out nice and clean.

To save on drying, I highly recommend hanging your clothes to dry.  I have an outdoor clothes line plus a drying rack in the basement for clothes/towels that will need a quick 10 minutes in the dryer to soften them when they’re dry.  It isn’t that much work, and it sure helps my electric bill.

I also have a drying rack in my bedroom for delicates, wash cloths, and kitchen towels that don’t need to be thrown in the dryer to be softened.   My sock drying rack is my favorite.  It has a lot of clothespins attached to it so you can hang a lot of socks in a small space … perfect for rainy days.

if you’re going to buy a drying rack, spend a few more dollars on a metal rack rather than buying a wooden one.  Wooden ones just don’t cut it for weekly use over a long period of time.  I’m linking you to 2 of the racks I have.  I love this one.  I bought it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and it’s also on Amazon:

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I bought this one on Amazon, and it’s so handy (especially with 2 boys):81HT88ar67L._SL1500_

With some foresight and a little effort, you can lower your laundry bills and still get great results.

 

Leach field slow or not working? Clean it!

This past month I had a huge scare.  My septic was acting like it was overflowing.  I called 2 different contactors out, and they both said that my leach field was saturated and I needed a new one.  So I spent $500 to get a site designer to put together a new leach field plan (required if you’re going to replace it).  The contractors gave me estimates of $15,000 and $17,000, and they said they might have to build a road around my garage to get the truck in!

As I was waiting for loan processing to go through so I could pay for this, I had my septic tank pumped a couple times.  The time before last I called a local company (Valley View Septic in Charleston, Maine), and they said they had good luck sucking out leach field pipes.  I gave it some thought, and the next time I had problems, I called them again and asked if they’d clean my leach field.  Boy did they!  They sucked it out, pressure washed the tank and lines, then ran a good 200+ gallons of water out into my leach field (and none came back!).  They were so thorough!  Then they sucked the lines out again and blasted them with air.  They said they’re working just fine and I shouldn’t have any problems.

I love saving money, but this is insane!  I only paid a couple hundred bucks for them to clean out my leach field lines and ended up saving $15,000!!!

Please, share this and tell your friends who own their own homes and have leach fields.  This can be a serious problem, and some people actually think they have to move and leave their homes!

Happy flushing!

I’m back!

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Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything.  I transitioned from working full-time to running my own business full-time, and I had to focus all my time and effort on my business (Suncatcher Craft Eyes).

Now I have a bit of free time here and there to be able to coupon again.  I’m SO excited!  I bought my first stack of newspapers yesterday and broke out my binder.  Can’t wait for some great savings.

 

Michelle

Looking for someone to pick up newspapers (coupons!) in the Bangor area

Looking for someone to take over picking up newspapers once a week (lots of weekend papers with coupons), usually between 5 to 20 sets of coupons a week. Once in a great while there may be no weekend papers, but not usually.  This is a free service I provide to a local business in exchange for the newspapers (and coupons!).

The catch is you have to pick up the other days’ papers as well but all together usually not more than a couple arm-loads.

I need someone to take this over for me. I don’t have time for couponing much anymore.  Is there anyone in the Bangor, Maine, area who would like to take this over from me? Must be reliable and pick up at least once a week.

Message me for more details.

(Almost) Hands-free Homemade Mayo

My family switched to eating a paleo diet about a year ago.  Basically it’s eating no processed foods, dairy, or legumes.  The only paleo mayonnaise you’ll find in the store doesn’t taste very good, and it’s ridiculously expensive.  So I use an olive oil mayonnaise recipe and make it myself.  Problem was it seemed to take forever standing there dripping oil into my mixer.  Until  … dun dun dun… a gallon Ziploc bag to the rescue.

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I add all the ingredients into my stand mixer.  Olive oil goes into the ziploc bag, it’s zipped up, and taped over the top of the stand mixer so that the oil is positioned directly over the bowl.  I turn the stand mixer on 9 (almost high) and let it work while I take a clean finishing nail (works for me) and poke a hole in the bottom of the bag.  A skewer would work just as well.  The hole should be just big enough for the oil to drip slowly at first.  At this point you can walk away for a couple minutes and let it do its thing.

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After the mayo starts to congeal, gently increase the size of the hole until it becomes a small stream of oil.  At this point you can walk away again and check on it again in a couple minutes.  I usually do this while I’m making breakfast so I can glance over at it and see the progress.  When there is only a little bit of oil left in the bag, give the bag a squeeze to get the rest out.  Turn off the mixer, untape the bag and throw it away, and enjoy your homemade mayo.

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My olive oil mayonnaise recipe:

2 egg yolks

2 cups of light-tasting olive oil (must be light-tasting)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of mustard

Add all ingredients except olive oil to mixing bowl.  Turn on the stand mixer and set it to an almost-high setting (8 or 9).  While it is running, add the olive oil to a quart or gallon Ziploc bag and zip it closed.  Using a 6-inch piece of packing tape, tape the Ziploc bag over the top of the stand mixer securely so that the bag is hanging over the mixing bowl.

Puncture the bag with a small clean nail or skewer so that a steady drip of oil drips into the bowl.  After a few minutes, increase the size of the hole so that there is a small stream of oil going into the bowl.  At this point you can walk away for a few minutes.  Once the oil is almost gone, give the bag a squeeze to get the rest of the oil into the bowl.  Turn off the mixer, untape and throw away the Ziploc bag, and enjoy your mayo.

Makes a little over 2 cups.

This recipe is to my taste.  Feel free to adjust ingredients to get it exactly how you like it.

Cleaning rugs with snow

This morning I took my living room area rug, spread it out on the snow, and used a push broom to scrub it with more snow.  I’m letting it sit out there for a couple of hours, then I’ll shake the snow off and hang it on my porch railing for another hour or so for it to dry completely before bringing it in the house.  Here’s the link to the Lifehacker article I first saw this on:  http://lifehacker.com/5475617/use-snow-to-clean-a-rug

I have to tell you though, carrying that rug outside was not a pleasant experience.  Now I know where the wet dog smell was coming from in our house.  Ewwww.

Save electricity and have water during a power outage

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This is a little tip to help you always have fresh water on hand in case of a blackout, and it helps you save on your energy bill at the same time!

Your refrigerator is on all the time, so why not help it out a little?  If you have empty space in your freezer, you’re wasting electricity because your freezer is working harder to keep itself cool.  Find some empty juice or soft drink bottles (I like the 1-liter size) and rinse them out thoroughly.  Fill them about 2/3 full with water to allow for space for the water to expand as it freezes.  Place them in your freezer spaced apart to fill some of those gaps.  They will freeze, and that ice will help your freezer stay cold so your freezer doesn’t have to work so hard.  When you add groceries to your freezer, remove some of the bottles and put them away somewhere to fill those gaps next time your freezer has empty space.

You can do this in your refrigerator too.  I have a couple of plastic water gallon jugs that I keep filled with water in the refrigerator.  We use them for our regular drinking water because we like ice-cold water, but having those in there also helps keep our refrigerator cold, and we always have a couple gallons of fresh drinking water whenever we need it.

In my deep freezer, I use the large juice bottles with handles filled 2/3 with water.  Since I only stock up on meats and veggies I get during really good sales for the freezer, sometimes it’s pretty empty in there.  The handles make them easier to lift out when I need more space, and they’re stored on a shelf until the next to the freezer to use next time.

By using this tip, next time you experience a power outage, the large bottles of ice in your freezer will keep it colder longer and save the food you have in there, plus you will have enough drinking water to get through a couple days (when the cold water in the refrigerator is gone, simply take a bottle or two out of the freezer to thaw for more water).

About once a year I replace the water in the bottles with fresh so it doesn’t get stale.

Food-grade buckets for $1

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Looking for food-grade buckets to use for compost or gardening?  Look no further than your grocery store!  Especially if they have a bakery, they will have a ton of these out back.  Most stores will sell them to you for $1 (including the lid!).  Much better than paying $6 at Lowe’s.  I bought 10 the other day to use as small composting buckets in my basement over this winter so I don’t have to spend a fortune on compost in the spring.

P.S.  Stores rinse them out but don’t usually wash them, so there may be a residue in them from frosting or whatever that has to be washed out.

How to Increase Dryer Efficiency

This is a tip by Northern Belle Diaries that I am going to try today!  My dryer is just about 6 months old, and I want to see for myself how this works.  Apparently the lint trap in a dryer collects a film from dryer sheets over time that slows down the efficiency of the dryer, but it can be washed off.  Visit the post about this by Northern Belle Diaries to check it out.