Friday, October 31, 2008


Did you know that everyday exposure to toxic chemicals can weaken your immune system, leaving you vulnerable during cold and flu season? In fact, those "cold" symptoms you suffered last year (runny nose, sneezing, water eyes...) might actually have been your body's reaction to toxic chemicals in your home.

Here are five simple steps to detoxify your home, boost your family's immunity and protect your health all winter long.

While the tendency is to keep the windows closed during the winter due to the cold, it's a good idea to open one every now and then to let out any toxic fumes from heaters and let fresh air in.

It's natural to reach for a can of aerosol disinfectant spray to protect against colds and flu. But disiinfectants contain many toxic chemicals, so while they may kill germs, they also hurt the body's ability to fight off infection. Better to strengthen the immune system and kill germs with non-toxic methods (like hot water or tea tree oil)

A study from the Environmental Working Group thought West Virginia University found that subjects with a higher level in their blood of a chemical found in Teflon had lower levels of a key protein that helps keep the immune system strong. For better health, try cast irion, clay, porcelain enamel, glass or one of the new PFOA-free "green pans"

Permanent markers contain solvents like cresol, toluene and xylene - all poerful immunotoxicants. Choose water-based markers instead. (available in the stationary aisle of drug stores, at supermarkets and discount stores), soy crayons or colored pencils.

All polyester/cotton and permanent-press cotton sheets are treated with a formaldehyde finish that can't be removed and that can cause runny noses, itchy eyes and other cold or flu-like symptoms.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This is the biggest chunk of our energy costs (42%!). Make your home as airtight as possible and you can reduce that cost by at least 10%.

Apply weatherstripping
There’s an easy way to find air leaks: Hold a lighted candle around each door and window on one side as a helper points a blowing hairdryer at that spot from the other side. If the flame flickers, you’ve got a draft.

Insulate outlets and light switches
Two unexpected sources of leaks. Seal them with a foam gasket specially made to fix the problem.

Turn down the thermostat
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says that for every degree you set back your thermostat for 8 hours each day, you can save about 2% on your bill. Going from 70°F to 65°F, for example, saves about 10% (or $100 saved for every $1,000 of heating cost).

Haul out extra blankets so you can turn it down to 60°F at night and save even more. Install a programmable thermostat, which automatically turns down the heat at night and when you’re not home.

Nix exhaust fans
In just one hour, a bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan can expel a houseful of warm air, according to Habitat for Humanity. If you really have to use one, make it quick.

Lights About
20% of your electricity bill typically goes for lighting, but only one-tenth of that amount is required to produce light. The rest is wasted on the heat that incandescent lightbulbs produce.
Switch to CFLs. It costs about a dollar a month to light a regular 100-watt bulb for three hours a day. Switch to a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) and watch that cost plummet to just 25¢ a month. The DOE estimates that changing only a quarter of your home’s bulbs can cut your lighting bill in half. Lesson learned: CFLs are more expensive (about $5 each), but look at what they save you in the long run. Turn ’em off. If you’ll be gone for more than five minutes, turn off the lights.

Hot Water
Keeping 20 to 80 gallons of water constantly hot is getting more and more expensive—in fact, some energy pros believe the big, monstrous tank is just about extinct. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, heat only the water you need as you need it. These heaters may seem pricey to purchase and install (about 2½ times as much as a standard water heater), but they cost about 40% less to operate than an electric water heater, or 30% less than a natural gas model. If you’re not in the market to upgrade:

Install aerating, low-flow showerheads
Engineered to create the feel of a full-flow shower, the showerhead actually restricts the amount of water coming through the nozzle to just 2½ or fewer gallons a minute. Compare that with an old showerhead, which delivers about 5 gallons a minute. Switch to low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to reduce water consumption as much as 50%. And while you’re at it, stop taking baths. They use an average of 15 to 25 gallons of hot water.

Lower the thermostat
Water heaters sometimes come set at 150°F, but 120°F is fine for most uses—including killing most bacteria and germs in the laundry. You’ll save 3% to 5% of the cost for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature. So at $40 a month for an 80-gallon electric water heater, lowering the temperature from 130°F to 120°F will knock about $24 a year off your water heating costs.
Insulate your hot-water storage tank. You’ll cut standby heat losses by 25% to 45%, which saves around 4% to 9% in water heating costs. (Be careful not to cover the thermostat; with gas water heaters, be extra-careful not to block the air intake opening and to keep the insulation from touching the flue.)

Change the laundry temperature
Switch from hot to warm water in the washer and cut that load’s energy use in half. Wash clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents and save even more.
AppliancesIf you’re ready for new ones, look for Energy Star–rated appliances, an EPA designation that indicates the most energy-efficient products. But you can also do the following:

Fully load the dishwasher
Whenever you can avoid running your dishwasher, it’s like saving a dollar—the rough cost of energy, water and detergent to run one cycle.
Air-dry dishes. Most dishwashers have two drying options: heat-dry and air-dry. Choose air-dry and cut your dishwasher’s energy use by anywhere from 15% to 50%. If your dishwasher doesn’t have that option, open the door to let everything dry after it rinses.

Think small
Whether you’re reheating pizza or preparing a big meal, use the smallest appliance possible. A slow-cooker uses less energy (another reason to love it); the microwave costs less to operate than the stove or oven. If you do use the stove, match the burner to the pan. Don’t waste energy heating the air around a small pan!

Clean out the fridge
Your refrigerator is one of the biggest energy drains. If it’s overpacked, the air can’t circulate, so the fridge eats up even more electricity trying to keep things cool.

Standby Power
Tonight when your house is dark, take a stroll through all the rooms. Notice the little green or red lights staring at you from TVs, cable boxes, sound systems, the coffeemaker and all your other gizmos? This is the “phantom loads”—electricity that’s squandered just to keep your electronics in “instant-on” mode. Six to 30% of the average U.S. home’s electricity bill can be traced to phantom loads—a total waste of electricity and money. You can save $40 to $50 a month by doing this.

Kill your watts
Use Kill A Watt (see “6 Money-Saving Gadgets” below) to find out just how much power your electronics are sucking up when they’re not being used. Once you stop the power drain, you just might recoup the device’s purchase price in the first month.

Unplug it
Diligently unplugging devices with standby power lops a big chunk off your electricity bill. Not everything needs to be unplugged, though: A toaster with no clock or other electronic display doesn’t pull power when it’s not in use. But leaving your computer with all those peripherals (monitor, printer, etc.) running 24/7 is just crazy. A typical PC can use up to 250 watts—so if you only use it four hours a day but it’s always plugged in, you’re spending an extra $212 a year.

6 Money-Saving Gadgets

1. Outlet and switch sealers Foam gaskets are simple to install behind outlet and switchplate covers to stop air from escaping. (10¢ each; at home improvement centers or

2. Refrigerator thermometer Settings that are too cold waste electricity, so use a thermometer to double-check the temp. (about $6;

3. Smart Strip Power Strip It has a brain! Plug your computer into the main outlet on the strip, peripherals into the other ones. When you power up your computer, the strip turns on the peripherals; turn off your computer and they’ll turn off too. ($39.95;

4. Kill A Watt EZ energy meter An electricity cost calculator that tells you the operating cost of any household appliance—in the same measurement units that your utility company charges you (kilowatt/hour), and in real cost per week, month or year. ($37.59;

5. Low-flow showerhead The Niagara Conservation N2915 Earth Massage uses only 1½ gallons of water per minute. ($14.88;

6. Programmable thermostat Install one and set the temperature you want at different times of day. The Honeywell 5/2 Programmable Thermostat is priced right and easy to use. ($44.99;

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


If you, like millions, use a debit card to pay for your day to day expenses like food, gas and other routine purchases, switch to a credit card that has a great rewards program. And (this is VERY important) be sure that you pay your statement balance on time each month.

You may want to put a reminder of the due date on your calendar. Rewards cards carry much higher interest, so if you let a balance roll over from month to month, the interest you pay will eat up any rewards cash you earn.

Because the cards vary, look for one that gives cash back on gas and food purchases, and read the FINE PRINT.

Go to for a current listing of cash back rewards cards.

If the card you get, gives back 6% on gas and grocery purchases, plus 1% on everything else, that adds up, and will be reflected as a credit on your statement. If you buy 40 gallons of gas each month at $4 a gallon, 6% cash back is $9.60. A family of four that spends $400 in groceries for the month could expect $24 cash back!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Pick one thing that your normally purchase for yourself each month, or a service you hire someone to do, and DO IT YOURSELF.

A good example would be to clean and detail your car YOURSELF.


Make your own winder cleaner.

Have you checked out the price of window cleaner lately?
We pay about 10 cents per ounce if we bought it, compared to only 1 cent per ounce if we brew our own batch.

Window Cleaner

Ingredients:1/2 cup non-sudsing household ammonia 1/2 cup white vinegar2 tablespoons cornstarch2 drops blue food coloring (optional)warm water

Directions:Pour ingredients into a gallon-size container that has a tight-fitting lid. Fill with warm water. Shake to incorporate.

The food coloring, while not necessary, will alert you that the contents are not water.

Label and keep out of the reach of children.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Everyone should check out Microsoft's new Live Search Cashback program.

Customers who make an online purchase after using Live Search (Microsoft's version of Google or Yahoo!) are eligible for a cash-back rebate from Microsoft.

Once you have accumulated at least $5, you can request a payout by check or have the money deposited into your bank of PayPal account.

Go to to learn more!

The amount of cash back varies from one retailer to the next. At presstime, a purchase from Zappos will net you 9% cash back. Buy from PetSmart and get 12% cast back.

Go to to learn more and to discover all the online retailers who are currently participating.


Sunday, October 12, 2008


Do you have books in good condition?
Go to , type in the books' ISBN numbers and see if you can get cash for them.
All you have to do is complete the transaction online, print out a prepaid mailing label, pack the books and send them in.
In just a few days you will either receive a check in the mail or a deposit to your PayPal account.
You won't pay a cent...not even for postage!

You can find the ISBN numbers on the back of the cover or on the copyright page in the front of the book.


Saturday, October 11, 2008


Good Morning All,

Why Spend .25 A Load On Laundry, When You Can Spend .02? That's right, TWO CENTS A LOAD.

It's Not Difficult. It Works Extremely Well, And Man, Will You Ever SAVE!

The Cost To Make The Laundry Detergent Is About 2 Cents A Load, Versus .25 Cents A Load If You Used A Commercial Detergent.

So, If You Make Your Own, Everytime You Do A Load Of Laundry, You Might As Well Drop About .23 Cents Into Your Piggy Bank!

If You Washed 2 Times A Day, You Would Save 14.26 A Month Or 171.12 A Year.
If You Washed 5 Times A Day. You Would Save 35.65 A Month Or 439.80 A Year!
If You Washed 10 Times A Day You Would Save 71.30 A Month Or 855.60 A Year!

What Are You Going To Do With Your Money?
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent (courtesy of
Ingredients:3 pints water 1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated 1/2 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda, please!) 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax2-gallon bucket to mix it inAdditional hot water
Directions:Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to a two-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket to about 3 inches from the top with additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load. Note: This detergent will not make suds, which makes it perfect for front-loading HE washers. If you cannot find the ingredients at your supermarket, all of the ingredients are available online at