Friday, October 31, 2008

Burning Candles

I love burning candles, they are a wonderful way to make your house feel warm and snuggly and since I keep my theromstat at 66 degrees, they make the house feel a little warmer. Yes I know there isn't enough heat coming off them to actually warm up the house but just seeing them burning there makes me feel warmer.
I always try to get my candles when they're on sale usually right after Christmas. I want these candles to last as long as possible and still be able to burn them whenever I want. Here are some wonderful tips on how to make candles burn longer so you can enjoy them year-round.

One of the most often used tricks is to keep your candles in the refrigerator or freezer. Keeping them cold helps the wax burn slow and even. You will get many debates on which works better just chilling in the fridge or putting it in the freezer. I suggest trying it both ways and pick the one that works for you. (I use the freezer because I have more room in there and keeping your freezer full helps save money too)

Another tip is to trim your wick to about a quarter of an inch. The shorter wick will help the candle burn evenly and keep it from smoking and leaving a black film on your candleholder or ceiling and wall. You'll want to do this every time you burn the candle.

A friend has some very fancy pillar candles there are pictures on the outside that shine when you light the candle. She has extended the life of these candles by burning them down and then placing votive candles inside after she is one of candles of course. This allows her to enjoy her candles longer.

You also want to make sure that when you're lighting your candles you can burn them for at least four hours at a time the longer burning time allows the candle to burn evenly this is of course with your piller candles and not taper candles which the wax just drips down the side when you burn them.

Another tip I have heard is to light the candle and then when you get a pool of wax blowout the candle and mix table salt into the wax around the wicks. This is supposed to reduce the rate at which the candle burns I've not tried this trick myself if you have please let me know how works for you.

Now if you're like me and like having lots of candles burning at the same time this tip will help your matches last longer. I suppose you've heard the superstition that if you lite three cigarettes from the same match it's bad luck. One of the theories behind the superstition is that during World War I if three soldiers with their threats from the same match the third one would be killed. The belief is that the first person lits his cigarette and the enemy sees it. When you light the second cigarette with the same match the enemy takes aim and when the third soldier lits his cigarette with the same match the enemy would fire.

I don't know about the superstition but I can lite up to 10 candles on the same match and I'm going share my trick with you. Gather your candles around so that you have them close together. Like the first two or three candles and then blow out the match. When the first candle gets a small pool of wax around the base dip the burnt match into the wax, then relight it from the candle. Light a couple more candles than blowout the match. Then once again dip it in the liquid wax and then relight it. Continue this until you can no longer reuse the match or until all your candles are lit. This will allow you to use fewer matches which will save you a little money and ever little bit helps.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recycle Gift Cards

I was reading the newpaper a couple days ago about Earth Works Systems they recycle gift cards.

I had never though about those pvc cards that get thrown away after they've been used. According to their website:

"When these cards are replaced or reach their expiration dates, most of them are thrown in the trash, contributing more than 75 million pounds of PVC material to the waste stream every year."
WOW 75 million pounds! That is definately something to think about.
Well I didn't just think about it I tried to do something. I went shoping yesterday at Toys R Us for my kids Christmas gifts. I had about $50 in gift cards and as the check out gal was running them through she chucked them in the garbage. Having read this article I mentioned to her that they could be recycling those cards instead of throwing them away. At first she looked at me like I had three heads and said "Really?" Then I proceed to tell her about Earth works Systems. Well a couple of other workers there were listening in and one of the walked over to a manager and said "Hey did you know we could recycle gift cards?"
Well that's where I left them discussing recycling gift cards. I don't know if they will actually do anything but I put the idea out there and I'm going to keep doing that everytime I see someone use a gift card.
How about you? Want to help spread the word?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Little Help from My Friends

Having friends is a great way to save money.

No No I'm not suggesting you leach off your friends, no begging needed. Just some sharing swapping and lending a hand.

This is not a one way street either you can help your friends save money too. Try some of these tricks to add a little money to your and your friends pockets.

1. Monday Coupon swap: Through the week save up any coupon for products you don't use. There are many sources for coupons not just the Sunday paper. The Sunday paper is the easiest place to find coupons though which is why I suggest the having your coupon get together on Monday. When you read through articles on how to use coupons to get the most savings one of the things they mention is when an item goes on sale use your coupon then. Well if you and lets say three friends get together you might get three more coupons for that product you want allowing you to buy the item in bulk which allows you to be able to wait until you get more coupons for that item and they go on sale again before you have to buy it. This works for your friends too, when they get a coupon from you for an item they use but you don't they can stock up too. It's also a great excuse for a get together over coffee. I suggest a different house each Monday. This way everyone gets a day off ( except the host de jour) to relax and chat without the hefty coffee shop prices.

2. Magazine Swapping: I love magazines, they offer articles in almost any subject you could want. Now it is cheaper to buy a subscription then to buy them from the supermarket rack. If each person in your group gets one subscription then you can swap your magazine for one of your friends when you have finished it. If you don't mind my suggestion Make one of your magazines Consumer Report's Shop Smart Magazine. This wonderful magazine is advertisement free and gives you information on every product you can think of. For Example in the not so hot category in the November magazine it talks about the Neosporin's Neo to Go first-aid-spray. Which promises to give infection protection anywhere anytime. But doesn't have any antibiotics in it.

3. Sitter Swapping: Let's face it we all need a night out and it costs enough for a dinner and a movie. Save some money by swapping babysitting with your friend. This works especially well if your friend has children close to the same age as your since its always better to have a friend over.

4. Swap Talents: Hey lets face it we each have our own talents. Maybe you can sew up a storm and your fr.iend can whip up cookies all night with out breaking a sweat (and who wants sweaty cookies ewww). By trading skills you and your friends can save time and money.

These are just a few suggestions get together with your friends and see what other ideas you can come up with. Feel free to come back and post your suggestions so others can share them :D

Monday, October 13, 2008

How to save on your Electric Bill Part 2

Now lets deal with those other energy loses that you can eliminate. Let’s start in the kitchen. If you have an electric range make sure your pan is on the burner with the closest fit. If it’s too big you are losing heat into the air and if it’s too small then it will take forever to heat. Make sure you are using lids on your pans this traps the heat in and lets what your cooking heat up faster. (This will save you gas if you have a gas stove.)
Get a toaster oven for cooking small meals. I love my toaster oven and use it for many different meals. Because of its small size it takes less time and electricity to preheat it. Don’t use your microwave for heating water or other liquids you actually use less electricity using your stove.

Use a clothes line instead of a dryer. Your clothes will be just as dry but you’ll be saving money. I use a fold up indoor clothes dryer, my husband has allergies and I don’t want to aggravate them by hanging the clothes outside. In the winter it also adds some moisture to the air which in the winter is much needed. If you have to use the dryer make sure you clean out the lint filter it not only makes your dryer run more efficiently but prevents a fire hazard too. If you are planning to replace your washing machine then look for a front loading machine it’s more expensive initially but it will not only save you electricity but water too and it is less stressful for your clothes which helps keeping them from wearing out as fast. Of course you’ve probably already heard that you should be using cold water instead of hot right?

Now for a biggie did you know that even when you T.V., VCR, Microwave, Computer, and other appliances are off they are burning through your electricity? It’s true the actual amount seems to vary depending on who you listen too but the amount is between 26% to 75%. Maybe % depends on how many appliances the study you read had plugged in. I don’t know about you but I don’t like paying for electricity that I’m not really using. Now to save you sometime, instead of going around your home and unplugging everything you need during the day, I suggest you use power strips. The convenient off switch allows you to shut down what ever is plugged into it with one click and turn them on just as quick.

Well this is all I can think of at the moment but if I think of more you know where you’ll find them. Do you have any tips feel free to share them I wouldn’t mind a few more ideas to help lower those bills.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How To Save on Your Electric Bill Part 1

I have a friend “W” who told me the other day about her electric bill. $1000.00 she about passed out. I found myself telling her ever tip I could think of to help her save on that pricy bill. When I was finished I started writing up this post for anyone else facing such extremely high bills and with winter heating bill on the way we all can use all the help we can get.

Let’s start with the heating bill which is a great way to save on your electric bill. (Gas or electric these tips will help). First check all your weather stripping and plug up all gaps around pipes, ducts, fans and vents that go through exterior walls; those little leaks will cost you big time as your furnace keeps kicking on to keep you warm. Replace your old thermostat with one with a timer. By setting the timer to keep the house cooler when you sleep and are not home you will save money. It will also warm up the house just before you wake up or get home to make sure it’s nice and warm. Try keeping the house a little cooler then usual just one or two degrees can save you about 10% on your bill. A sweater is a cheaper way of keeping you warm.

Next is your windows they are very nice to look out of but can chuck your heat right out the “window”. If you don’t have curtains get some they add a layer of insulation that helps keep the heat in. You don’t have to go our and buy some expensive drapes; blankets or sheets will work as well. If you’re worried about how is looks when you have guests over then use the sheets or blankets in rooms where guests aren’t likely to see and go ahead and get some nice ones for the rooms they will be in. You can also check your local hardware store for shrink wrap window covering. It’s like adding an extra window pane which also helps keep your heat in. Don’t forget to open the curtains on the southern facing windows on sunny days to let the sun help heat your house then close them when the sun no longer shines through them.

If you have a window air conditioner make sure you get a cover for it one that is insulated is best. They may keep you cool in the summer but they will also let the cold in which once again causes your furnace to kick to keep you warm. If there are rooms that you don’t use close their vents and close the door. There is no point in heating a room that you don’t use often.

Make sure you change out your air filters every month and to save more money get two that can be washed then when you change one to clean it you can put the other in.

Friday, October 3, 2008

E-Waste Recycling continued

A couple posts ago I was talking about E-Waste. I found a few sites that may interest you if you are looking to make a few bucks off your E-Waste. Yes that's right your trash may be someone elses Treasure. buys Cell Phones, MP3 players, Digital Cameras, Laptops, Gps, Gaming Consoles, Camcorders, Satellite Radios, and Portable Hard Drives. They even pay shipping and handling and will send you a box. Don't forget to clean your laptop and hard drive memories before shipping to protect your privacy. and both recycle old cell phones. (now you have three sites for cell phones see which one gives you the best deal before you chose)

For Cds and Dvds try , or

For Books there is the offer $1 to $4 on fiction or nonfiction and up to $80 for college textbooks.

Last for Empty Printer cartridges check out or (they also take cell phones) you might also check you local Staples they will give you in store credit for old cartridges.