Condo Blues: money




Showing posts with label money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

How to Weather Strip Windows and Doors the Easy Way!

All of the windows on my house are considered energy efficient. However, even the most highly rated doors and windows will still leak air a little bit due to the fact that windows are made to open and close and the builder had to cut a hole in the wall to install it. Not to mention, most usually have thin brush weatherstripping ( brush pile weather strip looks like this ) which in my opinion is utterly useless. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Or at least the stuff on my windows and sliding patio door proved to be when the candle flame I carefully ran along them danced a crazy samba indicating there was air leaking through the brush weather stripping instead of stopping the air from escaping which is what weatherstripping is supposed to do. 

Tip: If you do not feel comfortable putting an open flame next to your windows and doors due to the potential fire risk, you can check for air leaks by running a stick of incense (you can buy incenses sticks here) or a smoke pen (learn more about air leak detecting smoke pens here) around the area where the door or window and the wall meet. If the flame/smoke moves in the slight breeze it is leaking air.

I also had air leaking around my sliding patio doors, exterior doors, and surprisingly under the doors to the closets on exterior walls. This is something you really want to fix because warm heated indoor air is drawn to cold outside air (and vice versa during the summer months) which means your heating or air conditioning system needs to use more energy and work harder to maintain the indoor temperature you set on your thermostat – which is why your heating or cooling bill is so high. 

how to fix cold windows doors sliding glass doors the easy way
Pin this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Friday, June 7, 2019

10 Quick and Easy Outdoor DIY Projects that Save Money

One of my favorite ways to spend a beautiful weekend day is to work on an outdoor project. I get a healthy dose of Vitamin D, and more often than not, end up with a project that not only quickly pays for itself but saves us a bunch of money on some of those household bills and necessitates.
Bonus points if it includes using tools. Projects involving hammers is cheaper than therapy I always say!

10 Home Improvement Projects that Save a Ton of Money


10 outdoor projects you aren't doing to save money
Save these ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends! 

Think of these as options, not absolutes. Have a different money saving idea? Share it with us in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

6 Ways Plastic Helps Me Live Zero Waste

Almost every blog post I read that offers tips and tricks how to live Zero Waste they almost always use plastic free as a synonym. They say something like, “We got rid of all of our plastic stuff and bought the same exact thing in wood/bamboo/natural fiber to replace it and wow how cool we are living zero waste now!”

It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Throwing away usable items to buy a cool looking replacement is the exact opposite of zero waste living folks!

Zero waste living means giving up using disposable single use plastic and items as much as possible, not no plastic at all.

Plastic free is great but that is a different goal.


6 Easy Ways to Live Zero Waste (ish) and Save Money Doing It!

Pin this post to your Pinterest boards for laster! Share it with your friends! 
Photo used with permission  by Sophia Marston on Unsplash


Sunday, October 28, 2018

The One Thing You AREN’T Doing to Save Money on Your Heating Bill but Should!

In 2008, my husband and I started a year long project to reduce our utility bills by what we though was a too lofty goal of 20% with cheap home improvements and new habits. We beat our original goal and reduced our electricity and natural gas our use by 32%!

We’ve kept our yearly average lower than comparable size energy efficient rated homes in our area for 10 years running and with all of the things that make life worth living: holiday lights, electronics, and toasty warm toes in the dead of winter.

So while my heating bill stayed low and the rest of the house is toasty warm (thanks in no small part to adding weather stripping like this to the bottom on my window sashes installing a programmable thermostat like this one and using it) my laundry room was always colder than the rest of the house. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

the one thing you MUST do to save money on your energy bill
Pin this post to your Pinterest boards. Share it with your friends!


Sunday, September 9, 2018

How to Watch Spectrum Cable without a Digital Cable Box

Spectrum Cable TV is switching all of their customers over to digital cable boxes. Which means you now need a digital cable box on every TV in your house in order to watch to watch Spectrum’s new and supposedly improved digital cable TV signal.

That’s all well and good for our main television set in the living room but I’d rather not rent a second cable box for the older flat panel TV we intermittently use in our home office.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Cable TV is old fashioned and costly. This extra annoyance has made me think about cord cutting. (Well, this and I think Spectrum’s service has gotten worse since Charter bought them.)

But as of now cable TV is part of a bundle and I’d like to use what I’m already paying for to watch the news or a movie on the second TV in my office without the extra expense of renting a second cable box or buying a new TV.

Pin this post to Pinterest for later! Share it with your friends!


How to Watch Spectrum Cable on an Older TV Set

Sunday, May 6, 2018

25 DIY Home Improvements You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

When you think of doing home improvement projects to add value to your home, most people immediately think of the big, long, and difficult DIY projects like remodeling a room or landscaping.

While I agree that kitchen and bathrooms sell houses and are super nice to have, it is often at the expense of those little quick and easy home improvement projects that pile up around the house and if done early, can save you the time and expensive needing to do a big, huge DIY project later on down the road.

Grab your tool belts and Do It Yourself Honey! lists. Be prepared to save a ton of money knocking out these quick and easy DIY projects when and where you can.

25 Quick and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects that Pay Off Big!


Sunday, February 11, 2018

10 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Heating Bills

In 2008, my family went on a year long experience to try lowering our heating bills by %20 thinking it was a lofty goal we may not meet. a slew of Greenzillas swore up and down that the only solution was to trash everything that came new with our house (and was working great) and replace it by buying new top of the time super energy efficient everything. Replacing working and still fairly new things didn't seem very eco friendly. Instead we focused on changing old habits and a few inexpensive home improvements.

And we beat our goal by reducing our use and bill by 32%.

10 years later and we’re still using less energy to heat our condo than comparable energy efficient rated homes in our area – and we’re toasty warm doing it too!

10 Super Simple Hacks That Keep Your House Warm and Your Heat Bill Low

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

12 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Hot Water Heating Bill

Tens years ago, in 2008 my family started a year long product to reduce how much energy we use and our bill in our new home because a ton of Greenzillas said I couldn’t until I trashed all of my conventional and came new with the house major appliances and systems and replaced them with new super duper high efficiency (and expensive) everything.

I blogged about our new habits and inexpensive energy efficient DIY projects right here on Condo Blues in the very first year of this blog. Long story short, we reduced our use by 32% and kept it that way while staying toasty warm, clean, and well fed.

And using less energy than comparable families and homes in our area – including the Energy Star rated homes of which we are not.

Until recently when natural gas bill started to creep higher. Not break the bank,  we’rel going to starve high, but high enough to knock our house from constantly rating Very Good to smack dab in the middle of  Good. 

I wanted to figure out what’s going on because I had bragging rights on the line!

Turns out we were wasting too much energy heating water and after addressing  Tips One through Three we lowered our energy and hot water heating bill. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The 15 Best DIY and Green Living Ideas You Need to Try Right Now!

We’re celebrating the New Year by taking a look back at some of our favorite Condo Blues DIY projects for 2017.

From the looks of it, there are a bunch of you who like to garden but hating watering plant and  like to decorate and make things with recycled materials and add green home improvements to our homes, myself included!


Pin this post for later and to share with your friends!



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How to Repair a Dishwasher that Won’t Drain

 My dishwasher did not drain after washing a load of dishes. I like my dishwasher and it is barely four years old.  I really hoped I could fix my broken dishwasher because I do NOT want to go through The Great Dishwasher Research Hunt again.

Basically there are a series of filters and pumps in a dishwasher that can become clogged through normal use, not rinsing dishes, or in my case my bad habit of not removing paper labels from jars before I stick them in the dishwasher clogged the drain pipe. This little exercise cured me of that habit.

Unclogging a dishwasher drain pipe is much easier than the dozens of YouTube videos I consulted make it out to be. The most difficult part of the process is dealing with the vile stench of the clog because I’m a baby about bad smells. 


How to Unclog a Dishwasher


Pin this tutorial for reference later!

Monday, September 11, 2017

20 New Ways to Use and Repurpose Old Towels

I swear the amount of towels in my linen closet magically doubles or triples on its own. I bet it is some relic from a science fiction universe (or that I live in a small house with a small linen closet but I’m still blaming aliens because it is more fun.)

If I don’t clean it out my linen regularly the towel population grows to the point it is so large I can’t close the closet door. Which given the size of the linen closet, it doesn’t take a huge towel population to achieve this.

But it also means that I regularly have old towels with a worn spot or edge but overall fairly usable and as such, something I don’t want to send to landfill hell if I can get another reuse out of it.

Luckily, old and worn towels are one of the easiest things to reuse and upcycle to save a little money, the environment, or better yet – time.

Pin these creative reuse ideas for later!

20 Genius Ideas to Reuse Old Towels You Have to Try!



Sunday, July 30, 2017

How to Fix Rear View Mirror

The rear view mirror came off my car windshield. Luckily I wasn’t driving at the time.
I’ll admit it was odd to get into the car and see the mirror was sitting on the front seat like it expected me to drive it somewhere after it popped off.

Replacing the car would be a fun way to repair the rear view mirror until I remembered that as much as I love cars (and I really do) I hate car shopping.

I despise the haggling, the fake let-me-talk-to-my-manager dance (seriously. they are salespeople who know how, when, and where they can go only so low on the pricing,) and worse how I’m often treated like I am an idiot who doesn’t know anything about cars (my father worked in the industry.)

That may not be an exclusively female customer thing because a male friend who is a car nut also gets treated like he can barely put the key in the ignition when he goes to a car dealership.

Besides, the car is paid for. Fix instead of replace it is!

Pin this post for reference later!




Monday, April 10, 2017

DIY Magnetic No Soliciting Sign

One of the few downsides of living in a condo community with neat little sidewalks is we are an easy target for every single organization that thinks door to door sales is a fabulous way to pester people in the middle of their day with stuff they don’t want.

Like most of neighbors, I put a No Solicitors sign on my front door. Sometimes it works.
Often it doesn’t.

Every surveyor, free offer, or people offering to register me to vote (only me, never my husband, and even though I have been registered to vote since I became of age,) ignored my No Solicitors sign because they clam they “aren’t selling something.”

Even thought they end their spiel with some sort of sales pitch. Every. Single. Time. Grr!


How to Make a Quick and Easy Front Door No Sales Sign

 

Pin this tutorial for later and to share with your friends!

 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

How to Make a Travel Mason Jar Coin Bank

I’m putting my Annual Winter Restlessness (trademark pending) to use by periodically cleaning out and reorganizing a drawer and such to help combat our chronic Out of Sight Out of Mind Disease.

I gave myself an extra pat on the back for chucking the coins I found lurking in the kitchen junk drawer into an empty mason jar instead of tossing them back into the drawer to be forgotten. That happens more than you care to know.

The only thing this is my mason jar coin bank is not cute.

Let’s make it cute!

DIY Adventure Fund Adult Piggy Bank

 

Husband and I love to travel. In fact, almost all of the money saving tips and hacks I do here on Condo Blues and my food blog Lazy Budget Chef are so we can put more money into our travel fund.

My Annual Winter Restlessness always comes with a serious case of wanderlust, so why not make my coin jar bank with a travel theme?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Make an Office Chair Duct Tape Foot Rest in Ten Minutes Flat!

My feet don’t reach the floor when I sit in my desk chair to work on the computer.

If I lower my chair so my feet reach the floor, then my computer monitor and the keyboard tray on my desk are too high and give me a slight shrug while I work. You will not believe how much head, neck, and back pain that barely noticeable tic of non alignment can cause.

If I don't get a migraine, the pain makes me feel beaten up all over my body, pain shoots down my extremities, and I feel like I want to vomit.

It took me years to  find the right person to tell me that a poor ergonomic work station not tailored to someone of my petite stature is the cause of my mystery symptoms.

Luckily, since I already use a desk with a lowered keyboard tray,  most of the adjustments I need to do to make sure my arms are wrists are parallel to my keyboard are on my desk chair.   I use a couple of thick books as a monitor stand (,) some painter tape on the bottom of my desk chair to remind me where to reset my chair height, and awareness that if for example, I'm starting to feel a shooting pain in my arm I might be hunching over or set the mouse just a little too far right from its original position which makes me overreach slightly.

That's the shirt story long on why my feet often dangle three and half inches above the floor everyday while I work.


The is part of the fun of being fun sized!


This is not ergonomic for the lower half of my body. Sometimes I get a slight knee ache.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Make a Tiny Uncle Sam Top Hat

I usually wear red white and blue to  get into the Independence Day spirit on the Fourth of July. My Fourth of July wear isn’t all that creative. I wear a white shirt with a red skirt and my blue star tie dyed drop cloth shoes.

I figure it is time to make my head as festive as my feet. I love millinery (hat making) and have a thing for fascinators. I took those two ideas, rummaged through the recycling bin, grabbed a cup of coffee, and made a tiny Uncle Sam fascinator hat for the Fourth of July!


 Pin this post on Pinterest! Share it with your friends!


How to Make an Uncle Sam Fascinator for the Fourth of July

Friday, February 15, 2013

10 More Ways to Use Orange Peels

I always look forward to the winter citrus season so I can stuff my face with sweet juicy oranges.  I always end up with many orange peels. I can’t compost orange peels but didn’t want to throw them away. Orange peels have to be good for something.

That’s when I did some research and found out orange peels are very useful. I posted about 10 Easy Ways to Use Orange Peels (you can read the post here) and I started to put those orange peels to good reuse. Since that post I experimented, researched, and found 10 more easy ways to reuse orange peels. 

  Save this idea to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

If I don’t have enough orange peels for a project, I either store orange peels in a container the freeze or let the orange peels dry on a tray for a few days (no oven or dehydrator needed!) and store them in a jar in my pantry until I have the amount I need.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 Ways to Use Orange Peels

I remember standing in my Grandmother’s Florida kitchen and as we chatted, she was squeezing lemons. She said that a neighbor gave her a bunch of lemons from her lemon tree and since they were getting soft she was going to squeeze the juice out of them, freeze it in one-cup containers to use whenever she needed a cup of lemon juice for cooking. That little instance was one of many, “We didn’t get where we are in this life by wasting things” lessons she taught me.
 Pin this post to your Pinterest boards! Share it with your friends!


I don’t have a lemon tree in my yard, but I did have a bunch of oranges in my refrigerator. After enjoying the oranges, I looked at the peels and thought about that long ago conversation with my Grandmother. I can’t compost orange peels but I figured that they had to be useful. I put the orange peels in a container the freezer and did some research. Here are 10 ways I found that you can put those old orange peels to good reuse.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

15 Habits That Lower Winter Utility Bills

During my 20% home energy reduction challenge, I quickly found that one of the best ways to lower my utility bills was to change my household habits according to the seasons. Seriously, folks, all of the energy efficient light bulbs and sealing of air leaks in the world won’t do much to p reduce your home’s electric and natural gas use if you keep every light in the house blazing and set the furnace to the highest temperature all day every day.

 Pin this post to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Here are some of the things I do that help me lower my winter electricity and natural gas usage and hopefully the bill (unless they raise my rates.) These habits will work also work for apartment dwellers and renters too.

15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Winter Heating Bill