Savings achieved in daily household routine

joyfulguyJanuary 16, 2003

When I plan to open a can of frozen juice tomorrow, I pull it out of the freezer today and put it into the fridge, so it can help cool the refrig as it thaws.

I don't spend much time in the kitchen and am usually moving around and working when there, so I keep it cool.

Desk in bedroom, keep it somewhat cool.

Computer room cool - have summer underwear, winter underwear, shirt/pants, sweater and light jacket over that, with overcoat over knees. Hand on mouse gets cold, so sit on it occasionally. Welder's hat (skull cap, no peak) on head, which is rather scarce of hair on top. They say that a major portion of our body heat loss is from our head.

Electric baseboard heating, so can alter heat levels room to room, but downstairs rooms interconnected.

Bathroom WARM - don't like sitting on cold seat. Civilized men sit down to pee - and when one gets old one needs to pee more frequently.

Plan to set up system to save cold water coming out of tap before warm arrives, to use to flush toilet - though landlord pays water bill, so no more money in my pocket. Shouldn't waste, though.

Save paper used on one side for scratch paper, figuring, planning, etc.

Got a good buy on ball of green yarn, friends (shoes-off house) kid me about green darning on gray, black, etc. socks.

Son cuts my hair - though haven't had haircut since fall, as it gets cold here in Ontario. Not as long as female's hair, yet.

Keep lights turned off - having lived here 14 years, can walk around in dark, put hand within 6" or less of light switch.

Bad habit - use light at night, sometimes sleep a substantial portion of day.

Could arrange desk, computer, so would take better advantage of daylight, as often use (compact fluorescent) light in day. But must arrange computer monitor with care, or have window reflection putting glare on screen and washing out image.

Built several trays of cardboard to hold dozens of computer floppies.

Must spring for updated computer soon (this one has only half a gig of memory). Probably some good buys after Christmas, from people selling their old one after getting an upgrade for Christmas.

Pick up scrap aluminum pop cans - takes about 30 to make a pound, for which scrap dealer (10 miles away across town) gives me 50 cents. Have quite a number on hand now, but only go there when doing another errand nearby. Fortunately, they are near several auto wreckers, whom I visit occasionally.

Save pop can tabs for friend in Legion (veterans' group) who use them to buy chairs for handicapped people.

What money-saving ideas are part of your routine?

Good wishes to all.

joyful guy/Ed

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Ed - you are a gem!

My only contribution is that I keep a large plastic container on the kitchen counter, beside the sink. When waiting for water to warm up, I catch the cold water in the container. I then use the accumulated water to soak dishes during the day, to make washing them after dinner easier. You would be AMAZED at how much water I accumulate in a day.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2003 at 9:52AM
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Momma_Bird - I do that, too, but I fill my watering cans. I can usually water everything on the otherwise-wasted water.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2003 at 4:45PM
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Another thing about having a daily routine, is that it promotes organization, which in turn promotes savings. If I am organized and clean my refrigerator on a regular basis, I will always know what is in there and nothing will get "lost" and wasted. If I am organized and always take the time to put things where they belong each day, I won't have to go buy yet another roll of scotch tape, because mine is missing. If I am organized and do laundry each day, everyone always has plenty to wear and the urgency to go buy more clothes is rarely there. If I am organized and buy gifts ahead of time, I won't have to rush around at the last minute and spend more for the gift, but instead will have gotten it on a great clearance long ahead of time. Daily routines not only keep our lives more livable, they really do save money. Great topic, joyful guy!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2003 at 10:23PM
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joyful, I agree with you on money-saving by not wasting, but I have to disagree on having to be at the computer with an overcoat on your knees and a hat on your head. Please treat yourself to a little bit more warmth in that room to achieve a comfort level, in the long run I think it's better for joints and muscles, since being at the computer for long periods of time is not good for posture and general alignment of the body.......

    Bookmark   January 17, 2003 at 7:39AM
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I tend to keep the heat low myself during the day. If I get chilled I will take one of my microwave heat packs and heat it up for a few mins and tuck it into the small of my back when I'm not actively moving around...gets me warm in no time. I love those little packs...use them for warming up the bed sheets on cold nights just to take the chill off. No electric blanket or electric heating pad for me.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2003 at 11:38AM
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Well this isn't so much a household routine ...
when I go grocery shopping I always put my groceries on the checkout counter so like items are bagged together. This is great especially for refrigerator/freezer items. If I get caught short on time I can just empty those bags or put the whole bag in the refrigerator/freezer. Also it's easier to have all the bathroom items in a bag that I just unload right in the bathroom. Bag those dog food cans together so I can unload them in the pantry. It really makes it easier and quicker to put the groceries away!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 12:48AM
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liketolearn, what you are saying makes so much sense, a good time saver I never thought about. I end up making bags of stuff to take upstairs when I return.......

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 6:03AM
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I'm another proponent of routines in home and I, too, think they save money over the long run. We set the thermostats at 60 degrees (our home has 5 zones). During the day the sun streams into the main living area and warms it nicely, at night we use a woodstove to keep it toasty. We cut, split, and stack our own wood. I suffered through the oil embargo of the early '70s in a 58 degree home. Sorry! I don't like being cold and have nothing to prove by being so.

We have a compost bucket under the kitchen counter. All the vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds go into it. A couple of scoops of peat mosss on top and a lid eliminates any smell. When the bucket is full it goes out to the compost pile. We produce enough to dress the gardens generously every year. I water the houseplants with "recycled" water, too!

We also have warm, seasonally appropriate clothing. Wool socks, good quality footwear (warm, dry boots are a great investment!), and an assortment of wool hats, scarves, and mittens/gloves. I do laundry once a week and have made the time to learn how to properly care for woolens; we don't have a dryer, preferring to use folding racks in front of the stove or in the furnace room. NO drycleaning, unless it's for a dress coat or a suit; and the pressing is more important to me that the actual cleaning.

My helpmeet is the chef. He is a veritable wizard in the kitchen; using simple, basic ingredients in elegant combinations and combining leftovers to brilliant effect. We use the rugged grocery bags you buy (and get credit for at checkout time), and he, too, makes sure they are packed to minimize handling on arrival. We pack our lunches and snacks on work days.

We're not big "joy riders" in the car, either. We tend to go to work, come home, and accomplish the "errands" on the way. And we're careful about maintaining the cars. A little bit of time spent checking fluid levels, tire pressure, and making sure they're serviced regularly saves big money in the long run.

I get teased a lot at work about being "regimented" with respect to savings, but interestingly, I notice many of my habits have been quietly adopted by friends.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 6:47AM
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chelone, I agree with you on being disciplined in regards to mundane things that could waste money. I keep our upstairs bedroom very cool, (65 deg) day and night, but our main floor I keep at a more comfortable level (71), I refuse to freeze to economize.........

I used to bring down the thermostat on main floor to 68 degrees at night but I found that the few hours it took to heat back up to a comfortable level were not worth it..... We live in Montreal and our winters are cold, boy are they ever......

I try to economize by not wasting, and being smart about it, but I don't find any joy in being cold in my own home....

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 8:57AM
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Chelone - I use shredded paper in the compost bucket. It's free and I get a quiet satisfaction of seeing the junk mail used productively. Also, if you put it in the bottom of the bucket, the bucket is easier to clean. Rinse water of course gets put on the flowers.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 10:44AM
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I live in the city with weekly trash pickup, so I clean out the refrigerator the day before trash is gathered. Get rid of small messes and wipe clean before they make big messes that I have to scrub clean. Take stock of what I have and what I need.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2003 at 12:18AM
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I want to second Chelone said about WOOL SOCKS. I spent the first 23 years of my life freezing, then I discovered wool socks when I was 23. I wear them all winter and am so toasty! I make sure my whole family is well stocked with wool socks and waterproof boots and it makes the world of difference. The past week here in Ohio has had record lows. We went hiking Saturday and to the OSU Football National Championship celebration, and the boys actually complained about being HOT! It was in the low 20's but they had on wool socks, insultated boots, ski pants, wool sweaters, coats, wool hats & gloves. Friends at church said "I'd never take my kids out in that weater!" but of course they would never think of outfitting their kids for the weater! We in the Northern climes have to adapt to be comfortable!

I guess my point is, it's worth the $$$ to get good, warm clothing if you live in an area with cold winters. Being thrifty is not a good exchange for being cold. And for the thrifty tip, I can find winter boots and ski pants for my boys at consignment stores every year, I've never had to pay more than $10 for boots or $6 for ski pants for them so far.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2003 at 9:03AM
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Momma Bird we must be tuned to the same wavelength because I just posted a thread about the joy of (wool) socks.
Warm clothing is not something to scrimp on as my hubby's cheapsometimes brother found out when he wore cheap boots and socks hunting and came home with frostbite. Just don't do like I did and buy a great pair of (Goodwill) wool pants for outdoor walking and I accidentally put them in the dryer. They would probably fit the cat now if she went outside. Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   January 20, 2003 at 10:51PM
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Momma Bird...
they wouldn't let their kids play outside when the weather was in the low 20's? that's so funny... here in northern Maine, there were kids playing outside yesterday (-20F), all bundled up. Didn't see any out today though, windchills were -40 in some places and frostbite sets in in minutes.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2003 at 5:45PM
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Ruhbehka, the problem with Ohio is that we don't get enough cold weather to make most people really hearty. We get cold weather, but not for weeks on end (except this year!) so people just tend to hide inside and ignore the weather. Most people don't buy the right clothing or dress right for the weather, but they want to whine and complain about the cold! Today it's a high of 14 and I think it's GLORIOUS - clear, and the air smells so good. But I'm wearing wool socks, insulated boots, wool sweater & a really good coat.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2003 at 10:13AM
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I left for work at 5:30 AM, it was (obviously) dark and the bank temperature read - 2 degrees. On my return trip at 3PM the temperature was a balmy 11 degrees. The wind is howling and wind chills are in the -20s.

BUT, dressed warmly it isn't unbearable. One of the ski areas actually closed today, and the schools are doing indoor recess; I think that's smart, though. We were amazed to see the big commercial fishing boats heading out, though. They are calling for 12-18' seas!

But the point is, we should all be prepared for the worst conditions Mother Nature can dish out. One of the customers today came in grumbling about the cold... in 4 part harmony we all asked where his hat and gloves were, LOL. He replied he never uses them!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2003 at 4:18PM
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It's always nice to save money, but I wonder if an elderly person should be walking around his house in the dark? I know you have learned your way around, but accidents have a way of happening when we least expect them. I think the investment in enough light to see your way, instead of guessing, would be prudent -- and certainly cheaper than breaking a bone.

Please give this some thought.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2003 at 5:31PM
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Hi Maxwell,

Heck, I'm not elderly yet - will just hit 74 a week tomorrow.

I do not go downstairs in the dark, and don't make a big deal of moving in the dark, i.e. don't do it a lot.

Thanks for being thoughtful.


Must be a fair sized cat that you have.

Have you been over-feeding it?

My old uncle (that I spent quite a bit of time with last winter after his wife died) has a mid to large dog that he gives a bit of everything that he eats.

Every dog he's had for years have been so fat that they could hardly waddle.

To everyone resident in (sometimes) cold climes,

While in lived on the Canadian Prairies, where temp often goes to minus 40 degrees (same in both Fahrenheit and Celsius) I was taught to ALWAYS carry extra clothing, sleeping bag/blankets, candle, chocolate, small can to liquefy snow over candle, etc. in the vehicle in winter.

Could be a lifesaver.

Best wishes for a great New Year, everyone.

ole Ed

    Bookmark   January 22, 2003 at 11:09PM
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Another tip for getting your groceries put away more quickly.

when I shop I put the refregerated stuff on the conveyer belt first and have all refigerated items put in plastic bags. I request the rest to be packed in paper. I divide the items with a separator, but make sure the checker knows it is all one order. with this system I know what should get put away first, and don't have to worry about the rest. If no one is home to help me carry in the stuff in paper I just leave it in the car (no not for a long time) until someone (my son) can carry it in for me

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 10:14AM
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Ed -- Good, I'm glad to hear that!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 9:59AM
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Ed, the cat is normal size but the pants shrunk back to the cat's size. That's why you never see sheep lying in the sun after a rainstorm ;) I was going to make a quote about men and laundry but I am "above" that. I'll leave that to talk shows. Kathy

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 2:49PM
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I too use the putting things on the conveyor belt in a certain order. Meats..frozen...cheese...veggies...fruit..boxed goods. It does make it easier to unload, but I think I do it because I'm anal retentive and have to organize and cut work. I like to look around when I'm going in to use the bathroom..I pick up everything that goes somewhere on the way I drop it off at it's designated area. I make the bed that way too...I can make the silly thing completely with only walking around the bed to the other side once. Sick and Wrong! I think it may be that I get my brain exercised this way. I even put the sheets and pillow cases and mattress pad in the basket in the order that they go on the bed.
I put the clean dishes away from the dishwasher giving myself a time limit I must finish in 1 minute (or else I have to finish it on my way through the kitchen again!)
I save money by only buying food that is on sale. I store everything in my freezer and "pantry" and "shop" from home for dinners.
I can't be cold. We are soon to be making an out door wood stove/boiler because the cost of propane is horrid.
I grew up in (and still live)in north-west lower Michigan along the Lake and it was Dad did the 70's freeze your royal rearend off thing. I have my heat up to 72, but always wear at least 2 pair of socks, slippers, long johns,pants, t-shirt, sweatshirt and overshirt. I love wool socks.
I have a bit of a problem with lights...I love them on! Grew up in the dark, lived in dark houses as an adult..I need light!!!! But I'm trying to get better about that.
Our kids too have indoor recess..I think because alot of parents send their kids to school not dressed properly. 10 degrees is ok for 30 minutes, especially when you're running around and sweating like crazy in stuff your mom made you wear to school!
Growing up we always went outside for recess. The school was on a big hill with a lake below that and behind that lake, Lake Michigan...My goodness the windchills coming off the Lake are mind boggling! But we just played and had a good time!
I buy everything at garage sales and Goodwill and the classified ads in the paper.
I love this forum...sorry if I talked so much! HeeHee

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 6:06PM
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Hi Kris_MI (neighbour),

Glad you find this place interesting, amusing and helpful.

Quite a few folks have a good time, here.

And - learn a lot that's helpful, as well.

Welcome to the crowd.

ole joyful (resident of London ON - 60 mi. E. of Port Huron)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 6:19PM
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Thank you joyfulguy.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 9:13PM
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Ed, JoyfulGuy. Hehehe.. I am finally getting your message!! I'm going to email u about it privately.

Now, can you please email my mom with your serendipity? She seems to hate it here in relatively warm, Florida!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2003 at 12:04AM
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ChrisMD, just a note on paper in composting. I did a lesson for my three y.o.'s preschool class on compost. In the process of doing research beforehand, they said old newsprint is fine in compost, but anything w/ color dyes shouldn't go in because the dyes may be toxic.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2003 at 6:49PM
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I save the dishwashing liquid bottle when it's almost out, fill it with water and shake a few times-----instant hand soap, lasts a week or two. Can also use shampoo and other soapy type bottles. I wash my hands all thru the day, I have to be saving money!!!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2003 at 5:50PM
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This is a wonderful thread. How did I miss it before? My spices are alphabetized from A-l and M-Z on a two tier rubbermaid rack that turns. Same way in the pantry in terms of shelves and the alphabet. That has saved me a lot of time.

I read where having a mat inside AND outside each outside door cuts down a great deal on the dirt in your house--it works too! I handwash a lot of things in the leftover bathwater and then rinse in clean water. That leftover (twice) bathwater is used for flushing toilets, washing the car and plants/garden.

Things stored where they are used: Slippers under the bed. Pet feed next to bowls. Sounds obvious but it wasn't always done.

Old washrags become dishrags, then just plain rags to slop up stuff and throw out. Old towels are used for pets and washing cars later. Paper towels are rarely used for cleanup. Newspaper for cleaning windows. Newspaper under a (1 piece of)paper towel for draining sausage/bacon. Bacon drippings used instead of nonsticking on a iron pan (doesn't need much because it's always kept well primed).

Why buy swiffers? Old fleece pieces are pinned to dustmop and washed and rewashed.

Every bit of paper is composted. Each layer covered with leaves, straw or dirt to keep the pieces from blowing away.

Slightly older milk is used for making "buttermilk" bread, pancakes, etc.. Leftover oatmeal and other grain cereals used for making bread or cookies.

I put away all leftovers into the frig and freezer at the same time so I'm not getting the frig warm each time I open.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2003 at 8:31PM
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mid tn mama

Speaking of "slightly older milk" ...

Twenty five years ago enroute to a tenting vacation in the Maritime Provinces (my first trip there) with my two teen children, we were carrying perishable food in a styrofoam cooler with ice.

At the end of the day when we went to pour milk, it was chunky. I tried a taste and it was just slightly off, but pretty well the normal taste. I drank it and invited the children to do the same.

Making a face and distasteful sounds, they adamantly refused. They were having no part of that enterprise!

I told them that the only difference was texture - but they were totally unmoved by my rhetoric.

I had no deleterious after-effects.

My offspring still kid me about it.

I've drunk? (chewed?) chunky milk on a number of occasions in later years. There's an interim period before it gets a bad taste and separates that is O.K. for "drinking" - in my books. If you choose to ingest milk shortly after it goes chunky, it's my opinion that you'll likely suffer no grievous harm.

When I made trips to visit church congregations, refugee or community groups, etc. in the Korean countryside (nearly 50 years ago), I ate the local food. I'd usually have diarrhea, sometimes stomach cramps, for a couple of days afterwards.

I'm still going - and enjoying life.

When purchasing medical insurance prior to a trip through the U.S. recently, when I answered, "No" to about a dozen questions about health problems, the lady told me that very few people over 70 can claim to be unbothered by all of those health problems.

I told her that I was very thankful to enjoy such a privilege.

Partly genes, partly non-dissolute living - and much good fortune, I think.

I've never had a broken bone - had a cracked one, once, just over 40 years ago. A local high school student in our small town in Korea used to like to study in my office. Once when he knocked on the door, I was sitting reading on the bed with my legs under me. When I stood up, my foot, asleep, buckled under me. Our local doc put on a cast for me and I hobbled around for a while.

Good wishes for you and yours to enjoy life untroubled by health problems, as well.

joyful guy/Ed

    Bookmark   November 1, 2003 at 11:18PM
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Bedroom chilly - flannel sheets, substantial bedding (no electric blanket, though had one quite a number of years ago).

Bedding tucked in at foot - don't like breezes around feet.

Sometimes make stew, but on occasion cook potatoes in pot, veg in aluminum pie plate sitting on top of potato pot. On occasion, if reheating previously cooked meat, put it into the pie plate, as well.

If I want warmed bun(s), may put pie plate upside down over the veg & meat, bun in another pie plate on top. Upside down pie plate to cover whole thing, keep heat in.

Try to get several errands done with one trip to town - especially if downtown, over 5 mi. away.

Told bank employee that I should do all of my business for a month in one trip - if I need to make a special trip, the interest that they pay me on a substantial balance in the account for quite a long period won't pay for my gas to go two blocks (O.K. - maybe six or eight).

Pleased that, as a senior, I don't have to pay a fee for each utility bill that I pay at the bank.

And - there is no longer any fee when I reorder a bunch of cheques.

If I write cheques for various charities during the year, when running an errand in that area, rather than running around at year-end, it'll save gas costs. And time.

Change the motor oil in my car myself - it needs changing at the moment, as a matter of fact, after that long trip to the prairies. My friend has ramps, I use them when visiting their home.

A dollar saved is ... more than a dollar earned. (My Grandma used to quote it as a dollar earned, but she was wrong - hadn't taken account of income tax on the extra dollar earned).

Don't regard your frugality as a chore - but as a game.

That you're getting paid for playing.

And - you're winning!

ole frugal

    Bookmark   November 19, 2003 at 4:11AM
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I never thought about using the pie plate to warm other things on top of a pot! That's clever!

In the winter, I try to bake in the morning when the house is cold. Leaving the door open afterwards helps warm things up a bit.

It's simple--but it does a lot: Close the drapes and shades when the sun goes down for insulation and open when the sun comes up.

I have always planned to learn how to change the oil and make simple repairs myself--maybe this year I'll do it!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2003 at 10:51AM
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I'm fortunate to have my car repaired at a garage in a village, with a family whose wife was a teen in a church congregation where I was minister 35 years ago.

As I drive older vehicles (my Dodge Colt has close to 170,000 miles on it - van something over 200,000), I have repairs done more frequently than do folks who drive (nearly) new vehicles.

When I need a bulb replaced or some other minor repair, they usually do it without fee.

As for changing oil.

You'll need to know what rules apply as to disposal of used motor oil in your area.

You'll want to know when the oil next needs changing - there's a sticker on door jamb or somewhere that'll tell you either when it was last changed or, more likely, when it next needs changing.

Usually change about 3,500 miles or about 5,000 km. - check with the garage that does your work, or a service station.

Can you crawl under your vehicle as it sits on the ground to access the bottom of the engine? If not, check among friends, especially handy person ones, to find someone who has ramps that they can drive the car up on - about a foot off the ground.

Do you have a bucket that will slip under the pan on the bottom of the engine?

There's a plug in that pan - do you have a wrench that fits it? With some room over your bucket to allow access while it's there waiting for the oil. You can use the wrench to loosen the plug before placing the bucket in place, for hardly any oil will escape until you've screwed the plug most of the way out. Once it's loosened, place the bucket under the hole and screw the plug out by hand.

Go to an auto supply place and check out the oil filters. There may be a book there that tells you which one that you need for your car (you need to know make, model and year of manufacture), or a staff person can tell you. Get one. If you keep an eye open prior to need, you may be able to get one (or more, if you drive a lot) when they are on sale.

Check how much oil that your vehicle needs - usually not over 4 quarts/litres. Your owner's manual, or staff person at auto supply can tell you. Staff, or people at your garage, can tell you what kind of oil that your vehicle needs, and how "heavy" (thick viscosity) you should use - which varies with seasons (thinner in winter, so it'll circulate more quickly when you start). Get a jug of oil: usually cheaper if you buy a gallon (4 litres) than several quarts (litres) separately.

When you engine has been running for a period and is warm, so that gunk in the oil has been stirred up, put your pan for the used oil under the pan of your engine and use your wrench to remove the plug in the bottom of the pan, allowing the three or four quarts of used oil to drain into the pan. When the dripping is finished, replace the plug, tightening it until it is snug. Put your pan under the place that the oil filter is and screw it off. Likely you'll need a special wrench to loosen it: a handyperson friend who does much of his/her own work on their car may be willing to lend you one - and show you how to use it (likely do it for you). It may be possible to achieve this with a screwdriver and a piece of rope. Tie an end of the rope on the screwdriver, place the screwdriver crosswise to the barrel of the filter, wrap the rope two or three times around the filter, pull it tight, then wrap it around the screwdriver again. Pull the screwdriver as you would a wrench to loosen the filter. As it loosens, a small amount of used oil will fall into your reservoir pan. It'll be full of oil, so you'll want to drain it into the pan, as well.

Ask around as to whether your jurisdiction is willing to have you put used oil filters into your regular garbage.

Some of my farmer friends who have repair shops with a big old wood stove to heat the place throw the used filter into a hot fire. Some throw the used motor oil into the stove, as well - helps get fire started.

Put a little oil on your finger and moisten the rubber ring, or gasket, on the end of the new oil filter, then screw it on to the place where the used filter was removed. Tighten it quite firmly, by hand.

Remove the oil cap on the top of your engine and pour three quarts or so of oil into the hole. Wait a few minutes for the oil to run down through the engine into the pan, then pull out the dipstick to check the level of oil in the pan. If you can't read the level easily, wipe the stick with a rag, replace it, being sure to push it all of the way down, then remove it again to see whether the oil in the pan is up to the "Full" indicator on the dipstick. Add oil until the level gets up that far. Be careful not to overfill.

Start your engine, let it run a few minutes, and see whether any oil is leaking around either the plug in the pan or around the place where the oil filter clamps on to the engine. Check again after you've driven a few miles and check around the filter occasionally.

If the plug isn't tightened enough and falls out, letting the oil drain out, it'll ruin your engine in a hurry.

Some engines use a small amount of oil as they run. Probably you've been checking your oil level after you've driven a couple of thousand miles or so. When you check the level, when it gets down to the mark on the dipstick that says, "Add", put about a quart/litre of oil into the engine, then check level again. Keep adding small amounts until it reaches the "Full" mark.

This may sound complicated - but changing oil is a relatively simple procedure.

If you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, check the dipstick there occasionally. Some vehicles ask you to measure the fluid level when the engine is idling - check owner's manual or garage. If fluid low, add some.

If fluid is not bright red, have (trusted) mechanic or garage check it, as sometimes if you've been pulling trailer (especially in hot weather, without oil cooler), overloading it when stuck in snow or mud, etc., you may have caused the oil to turn sort of brown. That often means that there are some sort of sugary things that develop, which tend to plug the filter. Which requires having garage drain the fluid and at least wash or more likely replace the filter and install new oil.


ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 20, 2003 at 3:36AM
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Wow thanks. I may have to scout around for ramps!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2003 at 11:07AM
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Interesting about wool socks. Even here in California I learned that natural fabrics are better. We go to "Candlestick" Park for games and at night the wind drives even hardy folks home. I find I don't have to bundle up that much as long as I have a wool sweater, wool coat and wool slacks, comfortable in most weather outdoors. It's hard to find wool socks here but I will keep an eye out for them. Wool sweaters are priced way out of sight, same price as coats, but I found a thrift shop in SF that carries exceptional items and found a nice fluffy wool sweater that keeps me nice and toasty.

I was going to mention my most recent savings. My new can of laundry spray starch was just spitting instead of spraying. Since Costco is 20 minutes away one way, it wasn't worth the time. I remembered my mother making starch out of corn starch, and then dipped clothes in this mix before drying. I made a batch of it using a tablespoon in a couple of cups of water, boiled until clear, then thinned it further. Put it in a spray bottle and, walla! I finished my shirts in the time it would have taken me to return can to store. I will take it with me when I make a regular trip. I think I'll add a couple of drops of grapefruit seed extract to keep any bacteria in check. There was a little buildup on the bottom of iron. I remember mom buying some blue parafin-like additive to starch that made ironing easier. I wonder if they still make that?

I keep my thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in summer with lower and higher settings at night and my gas and electricity bill has really stayed low. The heat or AC does not run all day to make home comfortable. My friend has 1/3 smaller house and turns hers off and just turns them on when it's too extreme and her bills are higher than mine. It's hard to believe, since we also run a swimming pool pump at least 12 hours during the summer. Once the insulation gets too warm or too cold it takes a lot of energy to bring the house up to a comfortable level. We bought a new refrigerator in the summer one year and it took 72 hours before it stopped running. I had called the store the second day and they told me the insulation had to cool down first (which I didn't believe). Also, my AC tech went around and opened all our vents in our unused rooms. He said that forced the unit to work harder against the resistance and would use more energy, plus the too hot or too cold rooms also contributed to the problem and caused more energy use, like having a window open. It's amazing, we are comfortable year round and we are spending less money.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 6:30PM
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I'm learning to repair minor problems on my own ... by watching when DH fixes things that are broken. I maynot be a major repairperson but in the last two months fixed the microwave twice as well as DD's CD player. I stress the problems were not major but I am proud to say I didn't have to wait until DH is home to fix things.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 7:37PM
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Civilized men sit down to pee...

Well, I am an uncultured cretin then. In fact, I save money on the water bill by taking a "country spit" off the deck whenever DW isn't looking.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 10:09AM
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Hi spewey (and it may be helpful to others, as well),

Try to remember not to pee upwind.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 2:54PM
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Greetings again, all,

Learning how money works is an interesting hobby - that pays well.

By the way - my Grandma used to say that a penny saved is a penny earned.

But - she was wrong. It's even better than that.

If you save a dollar by learning how to save a dollar, without cramping your lifestyle (well, not too much, anyway), it's better than earning another dollar.

If you are in the 25% income tax bracket, saving a dollar (unless it's a tax-deductible dollar) is as good as earning an extra $1.33333 (before tax).

Which will leave you with a dollar in your pocket after the tax is paid.

Good wishes for making each of your dollars serve you (and those in need, such as a few of the millions of refugees) well.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 3:54PM
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Thanks for the info on composting under the sink. Mom used to have a bucket by her sink, and it smelled and was something I didn't want. Now UNDER the sink with the shredded paper on the bottom, peat moss on top for the smell, and a cover that I can do! I thank you and so does my garden!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2004 at 7:56PM
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This is not a hint for saving money, but ...

... a number of my friends have a shoes-off home. Remove shoes at the door. Saves a lot of cleaning effort (including buying fewer brooms, vacuums, etc.).

That's especially wise for farmers who keep animals, as they wear rubber boots a lot - with reason. Not a good idea to track up the house.

That wasn't a new thing to me, as I learned that in (South) Korea 50 years ago - where they have oiled paper over earth floors. Not compatible with shoes.

Good wishes for a glorious autumn for everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 22, 2004 at 12:59PM
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Anyone with some new (i.e. additional) ideas to offer?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 4:05PM
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OK, I read this last year and investigated the wool socks. What a difference! You would think with me living in Alaska I would have tried them before. Man, I wish I had know about them when I lived in Kansas. It gets cold in Kansas.

By far, household organization, keeps the costs down and my sanity in place. My biggest savings area is groceries. When I make menu plans for two weeks and only need to stop for bread, milk, and fruit I spend a reasonable amount. When I don't do this, my spending can easily triple.

We tend to pay for services that we feel are a good value. I'm not going to save money and try and change the oil. The DH is a CPA and would rather work the hour it takes and pay someone else than spend his time that way. We are pretty much the same for many household repairs. We would rather hire someone who knows what they are doing, can do it quicker, not have to make the investment in tools or learning to do the job. Even after paying taxes, he's money ahead doing something he enjoys rather than spending time doing something he doesn't enjoy.

We fully utilize the cafeteria plan where I work for daycare and medical expenses. I keep track of ALL non-cash donations and we have taken from $2,000-4,000 in deductions each year with just our normal donations. The tax break on that is a pretty good rate of pay considering I only spend 3-4 hours a year keeping the lists.

That said, we keep the big picture in mind. Debt free except the house payment and that will be gone in 7-8 years. We always pay extra on the principal. Less interest paid is a big savings and I still believe that having a paid in full home to be a smart move.

We stick with a "less is more" philosophy and try not to waste. We compost. I never buy yard chemicals. I start most plants from seed and we end up with tons compared to what we could purchase for the seed starting money.

We teach the kids that eating out or going to a movie is a treat, not a weekly occurance. We don't believe they need to belong to every activity, especially really expensive ones like ice hockey. I would rather they learn to ski, which is not so expensive where I live.

Most items like laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. we can actually use much less of and get the same results. The manufacturer wants us to think we needs to use tons. I clean simply with vinegar and water. Simple Green for greasier jobs, but not needing much in the way of cleaners makes like simpler.

Sorry joyful, I hate a shoes off household. My feet are always cold. Brooms aren't that expensive and they last forever.

Now that I can look at garden pics on the Internet, I buy very few garden magazines. I try not to pinch pennies, though. Used jeans for my boys is no savings. They blow the knees out in a week. On the other hand, I can keep my daughter well dressed from the thrift shops. I spend the money where I need to and save it in the other places.

This may be at odds with this direct post, but we do not shop "cheap." I could buy plants at Home Depot or Wal-Mart, but I am going to support the local small business and buy local. I get a better product, with better knowledge and don't help perpetuate a cycle I'm not thrilled with. In the long run, I feel like I benefit with a stong local economy not overrun with big box stores.

Pennies invested in other people can be a good investment.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 3:25AM
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Hi quiltglo,

Thanks for your suggestions. I, too, like the idea of buying from locally owned stores, when possible - the big boxes all seem to look the same.

And I agree that it's a good idea to invest in others.

No need to express regret to me for not following one of my suggestions - it's your home, you can do in it what you please. As long as the other inhabitants agree.

I tend to walk around in socks or barefoot in the house in summer, but slippers in winter, occasionally shoes, but getting some of them out of overshoes is a pain, so I just leave them in and remove feet. Removing feet from boots is really easy.

I live on a farm with concrete right at the back door, a small amount of (more or less) grass, and a gravel drive. So in fine weather in summer I may wear shoes into the house, but after a rain, etc. usually remove them before entry.

Rubber boots to go to the barn to feed cats, usually, but sometimes shoes, now that the cattle are gone and their residue dried up.

I hope that you and yours are having an enjoyable summer.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 5:20PM
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Good idea to always keep your eyes open.

This spring I pulled some lamb's quarters, a weed that, like dandelion leaves, makes good greens - tasty, too.

Some people collect danelion flowers and make wine of it.

Yesterday while walking near the house, I found a puffball in the grass near it - as I spoke about in a new thread, this afternoon.

Ate some myself, gave some to my landlord and shared with a couple of friends plus my son and daughter.

Moral of the story - keep your eyes open: never know what unexpected and useful thing may turn up unexpectedly.

And learn stuff - many weeds are good for food.

Hope you're having a delightful week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 2:12PM
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Confession time.

I'm a nighthawk, stay up late, then sleep in.

Seems sort of dumb, actually - have the lights on late at night, then lose the value of all that glorious sunshine providing cost-free light in the early morning.

I find that I'm using about 20 kw. daily, through the summer.

Only about a quarter of our electric bill is for energy used in my home.

Part is for line loss, some for delivery, some for administration, some for retirement of stranded debt because our former electric utility was deep in the hole, etc. Some may be " ... just because ... " - I'm not sure about that.

My bill has been running at just under $100./mo.

Hope you all have a glorious fall.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 12:31PM
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Do you have a scrap metal dealer nearby?

Or do you occasionally run errands near one?

Saving pop cans is a good idea - it takes about 32 to make a pound, which pays about 55 cents in this area, I think - my figures may be a bit out of date.

Some time ago I accompanied my son to some fall fairs, ribfests and other celebrations. As I had not a lot to do, I carried garbage bags and collected pop cans from the garbage drums (if the organizers of the event were not separating out pop cans for recycling).

Some time ago a friend was clearing out an old garage prior to demolition and wanted scrap steel hauled to the scrap dealer.

I filled my full sized van pretty well full of used pop cans, only a few of which had been crushed (a free ride, as I was hauling his trailer to the scrap yard anyway).

Got $93.00+ for them.

Not too shabby.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 2:40PM
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Hi all,

Today I was pouring laundry detergent from cardboard box into plastic bottle with about a one-inch neck. Doesn't cake as much, in basement.

Didn't have a funnel, so it was a bit of a job.

Thought that, had I had a 2-litre (just under 2 qt.) pop bottle, could have cut it around the middle to make a handy funnel.

Good wishes for an innovative weekend. Happy, too.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 4:12PM
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This is not exactly a tip re saving, so I'm some off topic, I fear.

I've been using empty margarine containers to hold leftover stew, soup, veggies, potatoes, etc.

But some say that that kind of plastic is not intended for heating and may leach possibly unwanted chemicals into the food when reheated in that container in the microwave.

So I am considering getting a few more soup/porridge bowls at Value Village, GoodWill, etc. into which I can put the leftovers, slip them into a used bread bag (as I do now with the margarine containers) and have them ready to be put directly into the microwave (after a few minutes sitting on the counter to warm up) after taking them out of the fridge.

Laziness, do you think?

Have a great week (what's left of it) and weekend - I'm going to the KT talkers' gathering in Windsor on the weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 2:41PM
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In this area, near the Great Lakes, I thought earlier that I'd try to avoid turning up the furnace until Nov. 1 - and succeeded. It was warm then, so I delayed.

Then a couple of cold days - still delayed.

Thankful, by the way, that I had the tank filled at the end of heating season, last spring!

Must confess: cheated a bit. Had a portable electric heater in the bathroom, as I've said for years that civilized men sit down to pee, and now that I'm older, that chore takes place oftener. And I don't like sitting down on a cold plastic seat. Don't know what I'd have done when using outdoor privies in winter, years ago. Didn't enjoy flush toilets until I went to Univ.

Also am using a portable electric heater blowing into the area where I sit at the desk and use the computer.

Both turned off now, as I'm away for the day.

Also said that I'd try to avoid putting on winter underwear till Nov. 1, as well.

Which I did. Someone said that if one travels lightly clad in late fall, letting one's teeth chatter a bit (that was back when I had more than three), one didn't notice the cold as much when February rolled around.

Still doing - though with car in garage for repair and en route to senior men's coffee group at church this morning, and coming here to the library to visit you guys this afternoon, I found it a bit difficult to face a substantial chilly wind this morning, with a few snow pellets in the air for part of the time that I walked about four miles before getting a ride while hitchhiking.

Weather man (sorry: "person") doesn't seem to pay much attention to the calendar, it seems.

Did pick up about three grocery bags of pop cans (worth about 1.5 cents each at he scrap metal dealer's) and beer cans (worth 10 cents at the beer store - as are beer bottles, of which I picked up about three - but them bottles are *heavy*).

Did that a while ago, as well, left the bag by the roadside - but when I came back later with the car to pick them up, someone had pinched the bag!


Have a great week, everyone - and enjoy the measure of health that you have, while you have it.

I'm thankful, at 76, to be enjoying good health: don't think I've taken a pill in 30 years.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 3:15PM
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Ed, ol buddy, do yourself a favor and invest in a padded terlit seat. Much more comfortable to sit on and much, much warmer for those of us who keep the temps a bit lower. And a good thick padded one isn't any more than a thin one. I really don't notice the temp issue in the bathroom anymore. Don't even need the heater in there either.

When the house got to 52 a while back, I decided it was time to turn on the furnace! Actually up to that point it felt OK, but that night it got cold. I like it cool in the house so I normally keep the thermostat at 59° to 61° which puts the house at about 61° to 63°. For me, that's quite comfortable. I usually wear sweats around the house, and so the temp is comfortable for me. Occasionally if I'm not feeling well, I turn up the temp. I've turned it upward of 70 on occasion in years past but it's not long lasting. If it's too warm I have trouble breathing and big trouble sleeping. With the gigantic hikes in fuel in the past year and the ominous outlook for this winter, being used to this is a very good thing. But I will be comfortable.

And I close off seldom used rooms and shut off the heat registers in there so I heat a smaller square footage area. A lot of the things I do seem to be common sense to me and have done them for years. Hard to put down in writing the stuff I do.

I too am more of a nighthawk. And also felt a bit guilty about spending electricity for lighting when I wouldn't need it if I were up in the day, but then I take solice in that I use a 13w CFL next to me, which is the comparable of a 60w bulb. All the light I want around unless reading.

I've gotten away from using disposable plates and the like. I run some water and soap in the sink and soak the plate for a while and it's easy to wash it. Haven't had a dishwasher since I was in my first apartment 30 years ago. My small kitchen isn't really conducive to putting a DW in although I could use a portable. I did have a little countertop unit years ago that used water pressure only but it was only fair. When I got disciplined to soak the dishes and not let them pile up, it's not a big problem. Someday, probably when or if I move, I'll get a DW and save some water that way. However my water bills wouldn't justify buying one for that savings. Oh and a spray bottle with some diluted dish soap to spray a single plate and silverware setting makes for a quick cleanup too and also works nicely for washing hands at the sink.

Keep washing your hands often folks. It's better than a flu shot for prevention.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 10:57PM
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Hi again ole cynic,

Great to hear from you again.

I had electric baseboard heat in the townhouse complex where I lived till earlier this year, so could change thermostat settings room by room easily.

At old Uncle's place, it's an oil furnace, so have to adjust the dampers in the pipes.

I think that I keep it about the same level of heat as you - wear lots of clothes.

I kept it cooler in the kitchen, where I was moving around working rather than sitting at the desk or computer desk.

Usually have a quilt handy to the upholstered chair where I (seldom) sit to watch TV, so I can drape it over my frame while sitting still there. I'm a devotee of our national radio.

Ain't duvets great? Down-filled coats, also.

Once, in N MI en route to my work in Alberta, after visiting my daughter in Ontario at Christmas on her return from a year as exchange student in Germany, I used my down-filled sleeping bag that I'd bought about 25 years earlier, spreading it across the bench seat in my car.

It had never been used where it was quite cold before, and I crawled in about midnight when a storm was due and I, though wanting to get away from the Lake Superior shoreline, just couldn't drive any more, safely, after 24 hours at the wheel.

Was rather distressed that I needed to start the car to warm up about three times during the night.

This being holiday time in the skiing area of N MI, Sunday mornings were usually busy.

When I awoke about 7:30 and looked out through windows partially obscured by snow - only one small snowplow was moving. Radio tuned to a local station said it was 36 degrees below zero.

Road out of town was like driving into a white sheet. Same after lunch.

After spending night there, no wind, roads clear, so I set off - stopped in town where radio station was to ask them to thank the locals for hospitality rendered, just one guy there, he put me on the air.

Asked where I was bound, when I said "Edmonton" - he talked of Wayne Gretzky who then played hockey there.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 4:07PM
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Likely a number of you use a bare blade while shaving (i.e. not electrical).

It seems to me wise when using a razor not to pull it straight down over the beard, but at an angle.

Remember the best way to cut a twig with a knife - not straight across, but sliding the blade across the wood?

Careful moving it at too wide an angle, though - might cut yourself.

It'll probably mean that you'll use that blade quite a bit longer, also, for it's the "pull factor" that usually makes us decide to get a new blade - and sliding it partly sideways will probably delay the pull getting beyond tolerable levels, as well. I've been using a half dozen of those throw-away razors for almost a year - but, being retired, I don't need to shave every day.

I use the triple-bladed Gillette one occasionally, when I expect to be going somewhere tomorrow where I want to look presentable, as it seems to give a closer shave - but the blades are *expensive*!

Careful, now - no cutting up allowed around here (as Dad used to caution us)!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 3:00PM
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How's this for cheap? I go into town a few times a week. When sugar, flour, etc is on sale, I go in and buy the limit of it, every time I go into town. Then I store the sugar and flour in a large rubbermaid storage container in the basement. My sugar costs .98 for 4 lbs instead of 1.79 it's going for usually. It doesn't seem to lump up either as long as it's in one with a good tight fitting lid. I put the flour bags in recycled bread bags before putting them in the tub. Then if there are flour bugs, they don't get in all the bags.
I have a big shelf in the basement I store other canned goods and supplies on. I can my own vegetables and grow them too.
We use shredded junk mail for bedding for my daughters' guinea pigs, then we compost the used bedding in the compost pile.
We hang our clothes out on the clothesline, weather permitting.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 3:44PM
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Clotheslines ain't so bad even when the temp. gets down to a few degrees below freezing ...

... for hangin' the stuff out.

When the hands get cold - stick 'em down among the as yet unstrung stuff in the wash basket for a few moments.

But takin' the wash down is the tough part.

Snow on the goods - go along with a stick, gloved hand, washbasket, etc. and give them a good thump to knock the snow off.

The, the pins stick to the garment, the garment sticks to the line.

It takes only a few pieces, about half as stiff as boards, to fill the basket.

But by then the hands are cold, anyway. Using gloves is a pain in the patoot.

So - head for the house.

Take down the rest of the stuff, later. I didn't need it right away, anyway.

I spread the friz stuff around on the furniture to finish drying, sometimes.

Sure saves on power, though.

Good wishes for keeping your hot air under control - and sufficient for your needs.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 2:00PM
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During the winter, when clothes aren't quite dry, I'll hang them over a chair or something in front of the heat register. I have an open wrought iron railing in my house that makes a good clothes line for the things that aren't quite dry. I also have a clothes rod in the basement and hang things right on hangars on the rod. Also good for the snow soaked stuff after blowing snow on a windy day. They'll dry quickly. On summer days when the fan is running, the air circulation will usually dry some things too as long as the humidity isn't too high. I'll admit though that for most things I splurge and use the dryer but I try to be careful not to overdry.

I also keep an ice cream pail of water in front of the register to add much needed humidity to the air. Got tired of playing with the regular humidifier.

sandy0225, to help out with the bugs, as soon as you get home with the flour, sugar and stuff like that, put them into the freezer (in a store plastic bag) and leave them a day or two. Then put them into the plastic containers and you'll cut down the bug problems. After seeing the back rooms of a couple of grocery stores and the conditions at a wholesaler, I freeze everything like that, including pasta, before using it or storing it and always keep it in sealed containers. A little effort, but saves having to toss everything and having the house fumigated from a bug infestation!

I like using the large pickle jars (that delis get) for storing things like flour & sugar. They usually will give them away free. They're clear so you see what's in them and how much is left and the other advantage is you can take the flour and shake it up in the jar and for most things don't even have to bother sifting it.

I have a little wipe off marker board on the refrigerator (free after rebate) so when I'm low on something, I jot it down. It's on the way out so I can see what I need if I'm going to or by a store. Saves on special trips. Also made up a list of often purchased items so I check that before heading to the store. Helps for a reminder on things I need.

Took a spray bottle and put some dish soap in it and filled it with water. Keep it next to the sink and when I just have a couple of plates and some silverware or just one item to clean, just give a spray and wipe it with a dishcloth, rinse it off and it's clean. Helps keep the dish pile down. Saves money from using too much soap, saves time from having to rinse it excessively too and saves time. Also good for washing hands at the sink. Don't need a special hand soap. Also a good general purpose counter cleaner. Works great on the refrigerator.

Speaking of that, I buy the big jugs of cheap dish soap and use that for liquid hand soap. Cheap and works great. Cleaner than the bar soap, doesn't have the mess. Since I got a bunch of the small pump bottles (free after rebate) I refill them and can just grab another when I need it and then refill several at a time.

Ed, old buddy, you spend money on shaving? Grow a beard and save the big bucks! Earn extra money during the holidays as a store Santa! ;) Seriously though, if you use a little diluted soap on the face before using shave cream, I found it gave me a better shave, fewer nicks and the blades last longer because they clean out better.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 3:34PM
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Some of you who didn't see this before may find some useful ideas here.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 3:14PM
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I once bought a spray bottle of Windex cleaner. When it was used up, I refilled with half ammonia and half water. Works great on windows and mirrors. I think windex is now about $3 a bottle. Ammonia is about $1 a quart.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:27AM
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New to the forum and enjoyed the info. I save dish water and place a bucket in the shower too as we live in drought area.
We compost, shop with coupons, have a veg garden, make our own laundry saop and enjoy the thrift shops. We love a good bargain. I see it as a challenge and am glad others are sharing info.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 4:08PM
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I have hot water off of my oil burner. In the summer, I turn the furnace OFF, until about 10 minutes before showering or laudndry, dishes, etc. If I didn't do this, My furnace will cycle four times a day, keeping water that I will not use HOT.

Sure, when I DO turn the furnace back on, it takes 7 minutes for the HOT water to be usable. But I'm still using a LOT less oil this way.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:12AM
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This is very interseting thing which u have done i will also open my frozen juice so that i also get the cool air in my whole house..thax a lot for great information which can easly our money instead ofm using air conditioning..:)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 3:43PM
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The bathroom in my house has no window so it gets rather dark in there of course. Someday I'll invest in a "solar tube", but I've found that a plain little nightlight gives more than adequate lighting for routine uses. Especially at night when you don't want a big blast of light in your eyes. I used to use a dimmer switch but I converted to CFLs years ago so the dimmer use was out. New ones can be dimmed, but the old ones can't.

And the beauty of the nightlight is that it's one of the little flurorescent ones. Gives great light for a few watts of electricity. Easy to turn on and if guests are around I leave it on and they don't even bother using the main lights in there.

Also, folks here probably know it, but just a reminder, you probably don't need to power up the printer (or leave it running 24/7) when you're on the computer just surfing or something. Turn off things that aren't being used. I like switched outlet strips for turning things off. Free after rebate too!

Have you jotted down sizes of things to carry in your wallet? Clothes sizes? Furnace filter sizes? Any other filters or the like? If you have these on you and run across some on sale or at a garage sale or something, you don't have to wonder if it'll fit! 1 little scrap of paper (back of an old envelope works fine too!) can work well for saving some money.

And of course, LIST, LIST, LIST! Make a ToDo list of things you need to take care of while you're out and about. Mail the bills while you go get gas, stop and pick up the milk (in case the cow went dry!) and the like. A few minutes will plan the most efficient route. And a little thought you'll probably remember that you should make the grocery store the last stop if you're getting ice cream in the middle of the summer.

I enjoy the "simple saving" techniques! I won't be raising my own sheep and spinning my own wool, but I sure can turn off a light, turn down the water heater, change to CFLs and maximize the number of trips when I have to go somewhere. Yeah, simple, that's the ticket!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 6:52PM
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While posting in another thread it hit me about a simple little helper more appropriate for this thread.

I'm a checklist person. Have a list of common grocery "staples" that I often purchase so I use that list to remind me of things I might need. But I also made of a list of "Misc From Misc". Misc things I buy from misc places. If there's only one or two places that carry a certain item I put them in there. For instance there's a certain brand of "cheese curls" that are unusually good and only available from certain, usually convenience, stores. So if I know I want some, I don't waste my time driving around and when I know I'm going by there, I can pick them up. Also the big stores, for instance, without naming names, let's just call a store "MalWart". "MalWart" carries a very good and cheap laundry detergent, has good prices on virtually all cleaners, has some store brands of items I like, etc. I make the list in there so when I know I'm going to "MalWart" I can check for other stuff I may need. I have also started to make some notes in there about things I've tried and find unusually good or things I've been disappointed in so I don't wind up buying them again. I also try to keep a copy of the list in my vehicle if I'm out and about and stopping in.

I've also made some notes in there about some specials and when so I get an idea when I might find them again. For instance a major drug chain puts aspirin on sale for 29¢ about twice a year, Ibuprofen for 99¢ about every 3-4 months, Vitamins & Glucosamine on B1G1F at certain times and the like. Then if I know I'm getting low, I know where I got the better deal and about when it might go on sale again. Sort of a modified "price book"

Again, something rather simple, but effective. Not totally unlike me.... simple but effective! Well, maybe no so effective....

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 7:21PM
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How about an idea that may reduce global warming, plus pollution, and save precious energy resources ...

... plus leave some more money in your pocket?

How about logging each stop as you go driving for a day/week/month/year?

Include what you do when you are at those stops.

Check your log from time to time.

I'll bet that you'll find ways to achieve more action on a trip, possibly cutting down on the trip mileage while doing it.

And to cut down on the number of trips made.

And you get a bonus ... save money on gas.

Plus another bonus ... save time. If you add in some of the time evaluating, to offset some of the saving while avoiding some trips and cutting the mileage on others, there'll be less real saving, of course.

However, if you make the log in a small book that you keep in the car, but can carry with you when you attend a location where you suspect that you may have some waiting time, e.g. doc's office, you may be able to do that evaluation in time that would otherwise be non-productive.

Good idea to take a book along, to get in some reading during such waiting periods, as well.

Or sewing - I think that I have about three dozen socks that need some darning. It seems to me that I should spare a thought for the other member of each pair, left cooling their heels, unused, while the holey ones sit waiting the boss' attention!

Maybe we should mention to the unused sock (well, possibly to both of them) that the hiatus of inactivity may quite possibly prolong their life?

Life gets difficult if you're a sock ... imagine, having the goal of your life covering (for) beings that everyone calls a heel!

Maybe prolonging such isn't such a great deal, after all.

That "covering for a heel" sounds sort of like part of the task carried by the average secretary.

Oh, sorry - they aren't "secretaries" any more ... more like "Executive Assistant" or "Executive Co-ordinator" ... but one is inclined to ask ... might such a designation include a higher level of compensation?

I hope that you are looking forward to a memorable weekend.

Just think - if you were retired, every day would be weekend!

Maybe a smart financial planner, preferably who isn't restricted to selling a limited number of financial products, thus quite likely suffers from a disease called "conflict of interest", could help you learn ways to achieve such a goal earlier, rather than later. Aided by some of that money that you saved by being forced to fill the gas tank less often.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 4:37AM
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My late father in law used to take morning walks thru his neighborhood, always with his head down. He watched for coins on the ground. And he'd always pick them up, even pennies. He brought them home and stuck them in a glass jar. He once counted a jar full and had over $100. Also, he said the best places to look were right outside fast food drive tru windows. Not a bad "hobby" for a retired old guy with lots of time on his hands.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 10:06AM
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Hey Joyful, don't you have a roll of the Bachelor's Sewing Kit lying around? (aka "Handyman's Secret Weapon", "Silver Miracle", "a Roll of Bolts" "Grey Gold", "Homeowner's Cure-ALL" and yes, a couple of wierdos call it something like "duct tape"!)

Staplers work too.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 11:28PM
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Staples under a heel ain't a great deal of fun.

If you use duct tape ... better use a second piece to stick to the first piece ... or you'll need to have the dog get hold of the toe, using one of those tug-of-war games/matches that most dogs love ... to get the sock off!

If you go the more difficult route, sticking the tape to the inside of the sock ...

... how do you propose getting the foot out of the shoe?

Have you ever tried wearing a shoe to bed?

I'll bet your wife'll tell you that you just got a new job ... you can wash the sheets!

o j

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 1:16AM
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Maybe some of you can think of some new, worthwhile ideas.

I try to keep an extra pair of reading glasses in the car, in case I forget to take some when doing errands, visiting the computer in the library, etc.

Sometimes, if I forget, I can get an extra pair at a Dollar store.

Trouble is - sometimes it takes darn near a dollar's worth of gas to get to the Dollar store from where you are when you realize that you need them, and the back-up isn't there!

Looks as though I'm going to need a prescription pair ... should I, can I bear to open the wallet to get an extra pair, in case the first set isn't handy? Or ... oh, woe! ... I may have lost them?

Life do have its problems!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 9:54PM
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Years ago I bought a little magnifying glass (plastic fresnel lens type) that's about the size and thickness of a business card. I think it was less than $2 with a plastic case/cover, could even have been less than $1. I carry it in my wallet and it worked even when I used to just carry a money clip. Boy does that come in handy for reading the fine print or when I forget the specs. I've loaned it to people quite often when they're having trouble reading ingredients or whatever. Surprising how many of us there are who can't read the fine print anymore!

Couple other savings routines. Use timers. My TV has a "sleep timer" to shut off after a designated period of time. If I fall asleep, it goes off and saves electrictiy. But time things. Turn off the oven a little early. No sense using the extra energy and there's plenty of heat in there to finish things off.

And how many are guilty of leaving the TV or radio on while you're on the computer and not paying attention to it? Yeah, I do it now and then too!

This time of year, the weather can be used to our advantage. If you have extra beverages or something to keep cool, leave them outside. Takes less to chill them when you put them in the frig, and often you won't need to use the frig at all for them. I have an attached garage so it works great for this. Even into the winter months since the garage doesn't get quite as cold as a detached garage would.

As soon as I finish making my morning coffee, it goes into a thermos, or I guess "vacuum bottle" is the proper "generic" term for it. Several advantages. First it stays hot without costing anything in power; Second, it doesn't evaporate out and get stronger; third it doesn't get bitter from the excess heat/time and lastly, I have it right next to me no matter where I'm sitting. And if I don't drink what's in the cup right away and it gets cold, I simply pour it back into the thermos and refill the cup. Don't need to nuke it or toss it, resuling in additional savings.

This thread, not unlike our buddy Joyful, is an oldie but a goodie! Keep on rolling those ideas through!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 8:51AM
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I have so enjoyed this thread!

Our biggest expense is gas and diesel for our car and truck. We live about 25 miles from everywhere! DH has physical therapy once a week in a town 22 miles away. Workers Comp does reimburse him for this but we have to buy the gas up front. Whenever he goes, we try to get whatever we need and run any errands that we can. Church is 23 miles in another direction. His elderly mother lives about 80 miles away and we try to see her once a month at least.

We are so very fortunate that DH and DS are extremely handy. DH used to build houses for a living. We have been blessed to build a nice, super insulated house on a pay as you go basis so we have no mortgage. We've done ALL the work ourselves (and our son) with a couple of work bees where friends and relatives came and helped with the big stuff--raising the walls, roofing, etc. Two BILs, one son-in-law and DD's FIL have helped a great deal too. In turn, we have helped them with big projects. It's taken us 6 years now and we're still not finished but we've enjoyed living in the house for 4 years now. There are days when DH is in too much pain to work on the house but we plug away at it.

We have a propane furnace but we heat with wood. We have propane water heater and kitchen ranges. For insurance purposes, wood cannot be your "primary" heat source so we put in the furnace. It's nice to have if we go away for a weekend. We rarely do though:-)

I like to be warm and I like light even more! We've bought some CFs and need to get more.

I don't buy processed food, junk food, etc. We have about 11,000 sq ft of vegetable gardens and can, freeze and dry the produce. I cook from scratch and we enjoy cheap foods--beans, brown rice (cheap from a co-op), etc.

Looking forward to reading more tips!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 9:07AM
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All this talk about wool socks has me having flashbacks to my life before Florida. I remember too well dressing in many layers, and wearing thermals, longsleeved turtlenecks, and sweater with wool socks (sometimes a pair of thin socks underneath) around the house, because the heat was set on 65.

Here in FL, I get cold at 70, so I crank up the heater (heat pump...very efficient here) for a few minutes to get it up to 73, then off. I've found that 73 is very comfy for me. I turn the heat off at night unless it's going to get really cold, and use a heated mattress pad. Good for the old joints, too.

My downfall in winter is that I have tropical birds, and they have to be kept reasonably warm, so I have to have the heat on at least 65 when they're inside. I cover them to hold in their body heat, and I've slowly acclimated them to cooler temps (used to have to keep them at 75), but I still can't let them get too cold, or they'll get sick.

I am trying to get into the habit of recycling the cold water out of the tap when it's getting warm, and also find a way to catch and recycle some of the shower water that just runs down the drain. I have an oversized shower stall (the same size as a tub), so I know there has to be some way, I just haven't thought it up yet. I'm sure I could get boodles of water that way, even good enough to drink, since it will be coming right out of the showerhead. I take 5 minutes showers, but have been toying with the idea of showering only every other day, and sponge bathing on odd days.

I got a great deal on CFL bulbs the other day, so I have every major light in the house fit with them, and try to keep lights off as much as possible.

My biggest expenditure down here is cooling in the summer, and that will just have to be, because I cannot take the heat anymore like I used to. I have ceiling fans that helps a lot, and I keep the thermostat on 80 except at night, when it goes down to 77 and I also use a fan in the bedroom.

I unplug all appliances except the microwave (don't like to reset the clock every day, and can't stand that blinking!) when not in use. Haven't really seen any great differences in the bill yet, but pennies count.

I have big picture windows, one is shaded, one is sunny in the afternoon, so I use those to let heat and light in during chilly days.

Pre-cook in the microwave, and hardly ever use the big oven. I bought a large toaster oven, and it will cook a roaster hen, so I use it a lot to conserve energy. Using the crockpot more also.

Guess that's all on an everyday basis.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 9:12PM
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We use liquid soap instead of bar soap in the shower and bath because it reduces soap scum and mould, both of which require more cleaning energy and cleaning products.
All in all it's more environmentally friendly, healthier, saves time, energy, and money! :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 6:11PM
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Hi woodsprite 61 (who doesn't look a day over 45),

Good golly, Miss Molly!

Where did you *find* this thread? It's been around for ages!

As someone said ... saving that water that comes out cold from the "hot" tap can be a substantial help ... especially for folks who have rather heavy utility costs to pay. As someone else said ... it's perfectly good water. Some use it to water plants. Good for drinking: if you have an electric kettle, use the saved water to feed it.

I live on what used to be old Uncle's farm, now, where the well that feeds the house is too close to what used to be his barnyard, so is contaminated, and requires that I haul all of the water that I use for drinking and most of the cooking (sometimes I use well water for sustained boiling) from elsewhere.

Too cheap to buy the bottled stuff (that many farming and rural people use).

I use gallon milk jugs ... and find that there's a limited number of places in town where there's space to put them under a tap to fill - bathtub and most kitchen faucets are O.K, and quite a few kitchen sinks in churches - but sometimes there's not enough space, there. Bathroom in gas station, restaurant, etc.? Forget that!

In the kitchen, probably a pitcher such as one uses for mixing cold drinks for kids, etc. would be O.K., or pour into a jug with cap if you don't care for Floating Flies.

In the bathroom, one would need a pail with large mouth, I think - a jug with small mouth that runs slowly and gurgles wouldn't be satisfactory for flushing the toilet, I think. Could fill easily from shower, but need a pitcher to collect water from lavatory tap. Hose with larger rubber built-in funnel at one end to stuff over the sink spout work?

Son got me a couple of plastic jugs that held about four gal. of oil for fast food restaurant the other day, and I'll try them, but I think that filling will be a bit difficult - require carrying a pitcher along with, to catch water, then fill the large bottle/tank, I think. Probably more nuisance than it's worth.

Rural wells are very expensive to dig and install entrance piping and pump ... but once that's done, only a low cost for electricity to run the pump, plus set aside a bit of money to repair/replace it after a number of years, and clean well occasionally, plus amortize cost of replacement some day long in the future.

May I come up with a somewhat heretical idea?

When I was a kid ... we bathed on Sat. night in a washtub behind the kitchen stove. Bedrooms had a large pitcher (is it called a "ewer"?) sitting in a large crockery basin that more fastidious (shy?) people used for bathing in the bedroom. If someone with a fairly sensitive smelling mechanism were to have given us a fairly close once-over, say, about Wednesday ... I doubt whether we really smelled too bad.

Not a large proportion of the current population which lives in temperate climate does strenuous work - the kind that makes one sweat somewhat ... (sorry, "perspire" - I know that 5-letter word carries some of the stigma of the "four-letter" ones).

Would it really set the world back on its ear were some of our modern folk who seldom perspire to space out the shower to every *other* day ...

... or even, horror of horrors! ... every third day??

Give it a try, sometime when two situations are in place:

1. you don't have to get close to people crucial to your reputation for a couple of/few days, and
2. some really good friend, who will level with you without fear or favour ... and who has a very sensitive smelling device, is available, to give you a thorough sniff-over at the end of the second (third??) day?

Seems to me that many of you could keep out of a lot of hot water, that way!

Have yourselves a lovely not-quite-winter getting-ready-for-Christmas week, everyone. If Christmas is meaningful to you ... if not, have an enjoyable week.

ole joyful ... somewhat downcast: stock-market blues! Check over on "Money Saving", "Household Finance" and "Retirement".

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 1:47AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thank you woodsprite for reviving this thread. I really enjoyed your entries joyfulguy and all the others that chimed in too.

Have a great day, have a great life! :-)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 6:27PM
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We try to watch the big expenses more than the little ones (paying cash for the car, etc.) But there are some daily ways we save money. We walk the 3/4 mile to the metro station for our commute to work. We combine trips - drive to the gym, recycle center, pharmacy, etc. in the same trip on the weekend.

I have a long rod in my laundry room and put clothes on hangers after just a few minutes in the dryer. The dryer helps get the wrinkles out, and they can air-dry on the hangers. It also helps humidify the house.

We don't buy meat, junk food, or processed food except salad dressing. A bag of sugar lasts us about five years, as we don't make desserts except to take to a party. A lot of folks mentioned saving margarine tubs, but we don't use margarine and rarely use butter. (We do use olive oil.) DH is a great cook, so that helps. He makes whole wheat bread, we eat regular (not instant) oatmeal every morning, and plenty of fruits and veggies during the day. We don't drink soda or tea, so that saves a lot of $$. We each drink over a liter of water a day.

I buy clothes rarely, but shop mostly at the thrift store and eBay. Regarding wool socks - I love them, but they are getting very expensive. My sister laughed at me last month when I complained that mine were wearing out after ten years.

We tried no shoes in the house - too cold, as the thermostat is at 68. So we each have a pair of "indoor" shoes that we never wear outside. Keeps the floor clean and keeps our feet warm and properly supported.

DH and I are still working, but we try to do most of the household repairs, etc. ourselves. We do pay others to do things like plumbing and drywall. Cheaper than making a mistake!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 3:46PM
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I could almost have avoided buying radish seed this spring, for there were quite a few radishes about an inch high in the fall, volunteering from the radishes that had gone to seed earlier.

There are a good deal many more this spring ... and some from the area where the radishes were, the year before.

Anyone want some radish seeds?

I have a few lettuce plants starting on their own, as well. Last year had quite a few zucchini from the ones that had spoiled that I threw directly on to the garden rather than into compost ... plus some volunteer tomato plants in a part of the garden where they were not planted, as well.

I had about 60 some asparagus plants, last year ... but the landlord nicked some when he ran the tiller down the rows, last summer.

And this spring when he did the initial tilling, to chew up the residues from last year and let the chewed up pieces start to rot ... he nicked a fair chunk of one row. Plus some died, I think ... so I think that I have only about half as many plants, now. Quite a few more seeds, so will fill in the blank spaces (but will need to mark them, as they'll need to be transplanted later than the originals).

I save some of the first run of cold water out of the hot water tap in the bathroom/kitchen to water the cats, as well as flush the toilet.

You guys in the sunny south-west should do a lot of that, cause you sure are short of water.

They had a note on the radio the other day that they're worried that the rivers in rather dry Alberta are polluted now, and the flow is largely allocated ...

... so if some of you come wanting us to ship some down the trench between the mountains to California, Arizona, etc. ... we may be tellling you to get lost!

The glaciers that feed them have been shrinking ... and if (when?) they die, Calgary may be crying big time for water, themselves.

Have yourselves a lovely spring, everyone ... it's getting so that one can drop most of the winter clothing sometimes, in the last few days ... sort of a relief, that.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 7:23PM
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From Jan '03 to May '09 ... what a long run this story has made!

More savings?

I've shopped the specials of products that I like for years and stored them for a short time until needed.

Recently have imported some mice, and later rats, into the house ...

... but still shop the specials ... and store 'em in those big plastic tubs that some folks use for storage ... which I didn't have to buy (well, haven't had to yet) as I'm storing some for son and a friend.

Had some cookies in one of those gallon ice cream plastic pails ... and one o' the dang rats chewed a 2" hole in it where the lid meets the pail!

Most of them view traps with disdain, even when baited with "come hither" bait ... and won't touch Warfarin-laced enticing food.

Were I to invite the barn cat into the house for a visit ... I suspect that they'd evade her, as well.

Oh, well - life do have its problems!

ole joyfuelled

    Bookmark   September 11, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Anyone have any advice for when spouse refuses to keep temp at moderate levels?
See, the way I look at it, in the summer you dress in short sleeves, maybe shorts, maybe wear sandals with no socks, right? Basically, you dress for the heat you will face outdoors. So if you keep your home freezing cold like an over-air conditioned movie theater, aren't you uncomfortable when you're inside? Same with the winter. In winter you wear sweaters, warm socks, and so keeping your house the same 70 degrees you might like in the warmer months should make you feel too hot in winter clothes.

My preference would be low 60s in the winter. 63, day and night. My husband likes 70, which is a waste of money and just plain feels too hot. We have kids, including a baby who is mostly crawling around at the (colder) floor level but I don't buy this idea that kids need to be coddled in this way. Babies don't have any preset expectation for what part of the world they're born into--their parents could be polar explorers and they'd manage to survive. We compromise at 65 which I guess is okay.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Sometimes I've asked stores, community centres, etc. that keep the air conditioners turned so high in summer that it almost makes one's teeth chatter, after coming in from the heavy heat on a summer day ...

... whether they rent sweaters!

Some rather enjoy the humour ... some wonder what on earth you're talking about, etc.

ole joyfuelled

    Bookmark   November 6, 2014 at 1:35PM
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People have different comfort levels when it comes to temperature and I'm inclined to believe that's a biological factor that can't be controlled. The only solution where two people have vastly different tolerances is compromise and the satisfaction that knowing your partner isn't comfortable either.

I dated a girl that kept that house at 68 in the summer. I thought it was a little silly to be sitting on the sofa wrapped in a blanket complaining you're "hot." But what do I know? ;-)

I wouldn't find the low 60's comfortable at all. I typically wear a sweater during the winter months but long-johns, insulated boots, and a hat seems excessive for indoors!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 6:00PM
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Medication people take and some heart conditions can cause intolerance to heat or cold.

My father, sister and son have low blood pressure and can tolerate heat very well, but not cold; and those with high blood pressure seem to love cold and have problems coping with extreme heat.

People who smoke have diminished blood flow. Smoking constricts the blood vessels disrupting blood flow which makes them feel colder than non-smokers. People with blood low in iron (usually women of child-bearing age) often feel cold.

Some people have a slow metabolism and others have a fast metabolism which will mean different comfort levels when it comes to heat and cold.

"Room temperature" is considered 70-degrees F.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2014 at 7:08AM
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On a suddenly chilly day last week when I was wearing a jacket, as I walked from the parking lot to the wellness centre, a lady walking near had pretty well a summer, or fall, outfit on, and I commented that perhaps it had something to do with my getting old and feeling the chill more, but that I thought that I'd not want to be going around on that morning as lightly clad as she.

She, in her 40s or perhaps 50s, commented that some folks had their own recently-acquired interior furnace.

One of the kind related strictly to females, possibly?

Should save on the fuel bill ... especially if one lives alone: coupledom might cause complications?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 5:33PM
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We use space heaters and sometimes the oven (first thing in the morning) and window A/C's. I use and electric blanket at night and no heater if it isn't really cold. We save hundreds of dollars a year by doing this. Not always pleasant until we get the electric bill and the neighbor tells us how high his bill was. I am fanatical about turning off the light when I leave a room. I wash dishes in cold water most of the time. I save rain water in buckets and pictchers and water my plants with it. We have a switch to turn our hot water tank on and off. I think that saves alot of money. We only go to town when necessary (we live 15 miles away) and try to do all of our shopping and errands in one day.I cut open toothpaste tubes and scoop out the toothpaste. I store the tube in a ziplock bag. You'd be amazed how much you can't squeeze out.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 5:51PM
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