Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Saving Money on Heating bills

As part of our "Ditch Debt" effort this year, I was totally shocked when I saw that our heating bill for our home was almost $250.  I am determined to find ways to lower this bill.

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I cannot fathom what other people pay for their heating bill because last year I read the Kindle book How to Save Money on Utility Bills.  I then ordered Magnetic Vent Covers to place over heat ducts in rooms we don't use and close the door so we aren't heating unused rooms.  (It's just my husband and me in a five bedroom house.)

My husband installed Under Door Draft stoppers on our doors that lead outside and to our utility room which is not as insulated as the rest of the house.  I have also used a towel or an energy door guard combined with that.

When I was in high school my mother and I lived in poverty.  We weren't eligible for any assistance, and some weeks I had to stretch $2 into food for the entire week.  That is how I learned to coupon.  I acquired that skill before it was cool because if I didn't we wouldn't have eaten.  One of the things we did was turned our heat down to 58 degrees in the day, and 54 at night.  Both my mother and I had a good electric warming blanket from when times were better, so we loved night when we could be warm!

When my mother was in her final years of life, she was often cold, and we kept the house at 72 degrees in the winter much of the time.  After she passed, I can remember I dialed it back to 68 and how my step-mother-in-law was miserably cold at that.  This year, I told my husband we were dialing the heat back even more.  For the heating bill that was $250, we had the heat at 64 degrees.  I told Terry we were going to try and go for 62 degrees.  I couldn't take it, so we turned the heat up to 63.  We seem to be surviving just fine.  I wonder if once we get used to 63 if we can bump it down another degree.

When my grandmother passed away this year, I told my husband we weren't getting rid of any of the afghans she had made.  A good hand crocheted afghan is warm!  And we have a stack that seem to be migrating to the living room.  Never overlook these finds at thrift shops and garage sales.  Grandma also knitted a number of slippers, and I wish I had more of those.  I often find socks not as comfortable because I feel like my feet are restricted.  I like loose footwear and other than hand knitted slippers I feel like there is a straight jacket on my feet.

My husband and I also replaced our drafty windows a few years ago.  We purchased the windows and a Catholic Church youth group installed them for us as part of a missions trip.  That saved us over $800 a year in heating.

But right now, we don't want to pay $250 a month for heating.   So we are going to try to cut costs even more.  At this point, we're going to try to keep the house at 63 degrees in January, and I'll see if we can go to 62 in February.  I was able to go colder than that when I was in high school.

Space heaters aren't an option for us because our electric bill jumped significantly and they use a lot of electric.  I am currently sleeping in the living room because I've been sick and our upstairs bathroom isn't working, and I haven't felt able to navigate the stairs.

So I'll report in next month at how much cheaper our electric bill is because of lowering the temperature one degree.  I've heard 1 degree gives a 5% difference, so we'll see.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019 Goals and Dreams

Each year I tend to do a "Want to Win" list of sweepstakes because I have entered sweepstakes and contests as a hobby for 20 years. 

This year, I decided to just focus on five things I want to win and five other goals.

This is my list.  Breaking them down and why I chose each of them:

1.  Upstairs bathroom working

Right now, our upstairs bathroom is not working as the toilet it leaking.  We turned the water off to that so it wouldn't ruin the floor.  I would like to be able to get that working again.  It feels so 'poor' to have a bathroom in your home that you can't use because it doesn't work properly.  This is one of my main goals. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November 2018 -- Redeem Coupons for Face Value AND an EXTRA 25 Cents!



We're all looking for ways to save big at the register. Well, I've found a way to make every coupon I use at my local grocery store worth an extra 25¢! 

How you ask? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3! 

1) Sign up at Swagbucks.com and use my special code SBCouponer to earn an extra 50 points, that's 50¢ just for signing up 
2) Head over to the Grocery Coupons page and start clipping coupons for your upcoming shopping trip  
3) Use the coupons the next time you shop at your local grocery store. You'll earn 25 points (25¢) for every coupon you use.  
That's it!  

But, that's not all... This month you can earn 1 point (1¢) for every coupon you print, up to 25 prints per day. That's an extra 25¢ every single day! 



Friday, October 12, 2018

Entering Sweepstakes and benefits like Public Assistance, Disability, and SSI

*Disclaimer:  This is not professional advice.  I am giving an overview so you can know how to talk to your accountant or tax professional and hopefully make some wise decisions regarding what you enter to win.*

I often heard when I was big into using coupons, "I can't use coupons because I am on Food Stamps."  That is a myth, and it upset me so much to hear it because coupons could help stretch the amount of groceries that could be bought with the amount of assistance the person receives.

Unlike using coupons, which is considered a DISCOUNT, winning a sweepstakes is considered INCOME!  And technically, just because you don't get a 1099-MISC form reported to the IRS for every win, you technically are to report every win.  An example wold be going to McDonalds and finding a free fries instant win game piece on your cup.  Unlike in previous games, the 2018 Trick. Treat. Win! sweepstakes gives an ARV (average retail value) on each game piece.  Reality says you need to report that $2 prize to the IRS at the end of the year, but I don't think many people know that, and I seriously doubt anyone is going to be audited for leaving off a Big Mac win on their income taxes.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

How "They Like You" becomes "Hate Speech"


"You don't matter. Your voice doesn't matter. You are perceiving things all wrong"

That's what I was told time and time again in junior high and the year I went to public high school. Not in those words, but I heard the message LOUD and CLEAR.
Yesterday, someone come on to my Facebook page, find a post I had open to the public, and said things about my weight, how much my ***** stinks, etc. Some of it was not as bad as when I was in high school and the things that would be said to me in high school was much worse.
A friend reported it to Facebook. It was removed for hate speech.
In 2018 it's considered 'hate speech'. In 1988 it was "They only say those things because they like you.