Thursday, June 26, 2008


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Ways to Hide Rising Grocery Costs

My wife found this article about new packaging and thought it would be good to pass it along. Click here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Natural Gas Prices Set To Rise

More bad news on the fuel front. I guess it was just a matter of time, but I heard this evening that Natural Gas prices are set to rise to the point that home heating costs are expected to go up 30% by winter. That's amazing.

It's time to prepare now. First, make sure your house is insulated properly. A few rolls of the stuff in the attic might go a long way toward saving you some money. Secondly, check for drafts around doors and windows. Summer and autumn are the time to put up weather stripping and do that caulking project. Third, if you have a wood burning fireplace, start bringing in wood now. A cozy fire is a great way to take off the chill on a cold winter evening. Brittan and I have a gas starter for our fireplace, but we don't use it. Actually, we burn those fake logs. They cost a couple of bucks and burn for 2 or 3 hours depending on what size you get. While they don't warm the house, they do actually add warmth to the family room.

Let's see, we're up to number 4. Plan now to set your thermostat at a lower temperature. You can save a lot of coin simply by wearing an extra layer rather than overheating your house. Brittan and I keep our thermostat set on about 62 throughout the winter. And we're not cold. If we're a bit chilly, we will grab a throw blanket that we got at the dollar store and in minutes we're toasty. And think of it this way, when it's 30 below zero outside, 62 above feels quite pleasant. Even if its 40 above, 62 is nice. And we do turn it up (a bit) when we have guests.

Fifth, get jammies and a nice housecoat. Brittan got me a heavy terry cloth house coat several years ago when we lived in Maine. Even on the coldest evenings that thing is great.

Sixth, Electric blankets are much cheaper than heating the house. I don't like them, but B does. We have a dual control blanket and I never need to turn my side on. I generate plenty of heat just from being overweight. Seriously, electric blankets cost pennies to use even all night, verses many dollars to heat the house.

Seventh, just like with air conditioning, be sure you close off rooms that you don't use. Shut the vents and close the doors. It's silly to heat rooms that no one is using.

Finally, at least for now, make sure your heating unit is serviced an running properly. The little expenditure on the service could save you hundreds of dollars during the winter months.

Ok, I know it sounds crazy talking about saving on heat bills when it's 90 degrees out, but planning is a big part of winning. It's crucial to have a plan of action. But only if you implement it,of course.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Gas Prices

It cost me $60 to fill up Brittan's car yesterday. It's $100 to fill up my truck. For the last couple of years, I've budgeted just over $100 a month for gas. Now its more than that a week. Yowza! That makes it doubly important to budget everything right, including gas usage. I'll be honest, we're not good at planning our trips out. It's going to take a while. But B and I do ask each other, "Is there anything else we need to do while we're out, so we don't have to make another trip?" We also try to use the car more and leave the truck at home.

I considered the idea of getting rid of the truck and getting a smart car. But they cost about $14k. My truck is paid for. Even at $100 a tank, do you know how long I could drive this truck for $14k? Besides, the truck is really useful for trips to Home Depot for all those DIY projects. And don't forget how much easier it is to get a deer carcass in the the back of a truck than it is into a Smart Car.

Gas prices aren't coming down any time soon. Maybe never. We have to adjust. It will take some planning, but we can figure it out. We will not be defeated by inflation.