Cheap or Frugal: The Art of Saving Money

What’s the difference between being frugal and being cheap? Is one better than the other?

A lot of people equate the two terms as being the same, but while similar, they are actually quite different.

A frugal person will save money by assessing what is needed versus what is wanted, but unnecessary. A cheap person will just not spend much, even if the quality would be sub-par.

There are a lot of ways you can be frugal in your life and save money without giving up quality.

Living Below Your Means

Everyone knows that one family that has it all. New car, big house, all the best electronics and gadgets.

The reality is that family is likely just like you; they spend most of their income every month, evening out their income vs expenditures.

The difference is that they spend it on stuff they may not need. They have the

more »

Keep Your AC Blowing with Simple Home Maintenance

Keeping your home cool means relying on the AC a lot. If that sounds like your home, you may want to see how your cool little friend is doing.

We don’t mean calling your best bud and seeing how they are (though they’ll probably appreciate the gesture). We mean your actual AC unit.

A well maintained air conditioner will provide cooler air and use less electricity, so your home is always comfortable.

How can you check on your AC’s condition? There are a number of ways.

Replacing filters every one to three months as needed can save you up to 15% on energy use for your AC. A clogged filter means reduced airflow, which makes the AC work harder. Clean the evaporator coil just like you would with a refrigerator. These coils release heat through condensate, and if they are caked with dirt and grime, the coil more »

How the South Beat the Heat

Long before air conditioning was mainstream, people had to learn and adapt to the temperatures and keep cool in other ways.

Through several different innovations, people in the southern United States constructed their homes to take advantage of as many cooling effects as possible.

Fan Rotation Direction

Sitting under a fan can help keep you cool using the wind chill effect, but when the air is already hot, it seems to have little effect.

Instead of blowing air downward, Southern residents switched the direction on installed fans and had them draw the hot air upward toward vaulted ceilings and windows, releasing it from the home.

Windows and Shades

Speaking of windows, Texas residents would often open their windows at night to take advantage of the cooler night air.

During the day, they would shut them along with any blinds or curtains to repel sunlight and keep their

more »

7 Steps to Energy Efficient Clothes Washing

Are you getting the most out of your washing machine? Clothes washing seems like a very simple task, but there is a level of complexity added to it in the form of detergent and temperature. Liquid or packs? Too much or too little? Hot or cold cycle? These factors affect how effective your wash cycle is for the clothes in the washer, and it could be costing you money in more ways than one.

1. Sorting
Clothes should be sorted into different groups before being washed. Most people separate darks, colors, and whites, but that’s only half of the battle. Every piece of clothing should have a tag that tells you what temperature the article should be washed at. Matching clothing based on color and temperature will help them last longer and look better.

2. Detergent
With the detergent industry pulling in $7 billion each

more »

Spring Cleaning and Home Safety

Spring cleaning can be more than just getting rid of items you no longer want or need. It can also be a major safety improvement to your home. There are a lot of fire hazards that can occur from improper storage of flammable items, exposure to the intense heat of the sun, and even just a pile of oily rags. Take a few steps to safeguard your home against these dangers and clean out unwanted junk all at the same time.

Starting inside the house, if you have a bunch of clothes boxed up to donate or just being put in long term storage, make sure they are kept away from heat sources like furnaces, water heaters, and dryers. One of the greatest fire hazards in our homes is the dryer. You should clean out the lint trap before every load of laundry and make certain there

more »

13 Ways to Organize Your Home Electronics

Today is Organize Your Home Day, and we have 13 tips to help you organize and consolidate your home electronics. From cable management, to space management, to just general de-cluttering, we have what you need to make the electronics in your home neat and tidy.

(1) Cable Ties
Velcro cable ties let you bundle a group of wires together in order to reduce the site of large tangled messes of wires going every which way. Using velcro ties instead of pull ties or zip ties makes it much easier to replace a wire should you ever need to.

(2) Cable Wraps
If you have a bunch of cables and wires that are in plain sight and can’t hide them, you can use a cable wrap to reduce the look of a half dozen wires to just one. These mesh sleeves slip right over the cables

more »

15 Soups You Can Make in the Slow Cooker

This month is Soup Month, and we have 15 delicious soups to warm you up and carry you well into February! The best part about these tasty soups? They can all be made in a slow cooker to save energy and reduce your electricity bill.

1. Creamy Turkey and Rice
This creamy and hearty soup serves eight people and cooks in about 4 hours. It’s a great option for a faster, slow-cooked meal.

2. Bacon and Chard Lentil Soup
If you love bacon, this is the soup for you. It serves 12 people and the hearty lentils will keep you full while the hot soup warms you from the inside out.

3. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Potatoes are staples in many great soups and stews, and loaded baked potatoes go great with steaks. This soup combines the soup with a loaded baked potato for

more »

Does Closing Vents to Save Energy Work?

One common way people try to save energy with their home heating and cooling is to close the vents to unused rooms. Considering that heating and cooling your home accounts for half of your yearly energy use, this seems like a good practice. Why waste energy heating and cooling a room no one occupies? Well, it may surprise you to learn that this may actually cost you money.

(1) The thermostat is still trying to balance out the temperature throughout the house.

On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer: shut the vent to an unused room and the HVAC (heating, cooling, and ventilation) won’t warm it up in the winter. But in reality, any heat coming out of the vents in the living room will try to compensate for the closed vent in a bedroom. The next logical option may be to close off the

more »

The Downside to a Second Refrigerator

A second fridge can be incredibly convenient. After a big feast like Thanksgiving, you’ll want all the space you can get to cram leftovers away. A second fridge means you can store leftovers and your regular stock, or perhaps you keep that extra fridge to store cold ones for game day with buddies. Whatever you use it for, it’s pretty helpful, right? Well, maybe not so much.

Secondary refrigerators are often kept in a garage or basement, and tend to be fairly old. Perhaps once you got a new fridge the old one became a backup for brewskis. The problem with all this is that a refrigerator runs all the time, and the older they are the more energy they use while running. Additionally, if you store the spare fridge in a room that isn’t climate controlled, such as a garage or basement, you may be running

more »

Expiration Dates on Home Appliances

We’re used to checking the “Best By” date on our milk, making sure the expiration date for coupons hasn’t passed, and making sure that meat we put in the fridge is still good. But did you know that your fridge and every other appliance have an expiration date as well? It may not be a firm date like you’d find on a gallon of milk or pound of beef, but they do have a certain lifespan. Knowing what that lifespan is could save you a lot of trouble and money.


Refrigerators that are older than 10 years may be well below the current efficiency standards, but any older than 15 could be on their way out. And you probably don’t want to load up a fridge with a week’s worth of food only to have it shut down on you. They are one of the most

more »