Sunday, November 13, 2011

Go Green with your bills

Have your bills e-delivered.
The same principal and advantages apply to your credit card, utility and other monthly bills as apply to financial statements. You get timely notification and access through a secured Web site.

With e-bills, you don't have to worry about lost mail. That means you can be sure you will know what you owe in plenty of time to make a payment. You'll avoid costly late charges on your credit accounts, while protecting even more trees from a needless death.

Pay your bills electronically.
Once you're online looking at those charges, it just takes a couple extra clicks to make the payment.

In addition to helping you become a prompt payer, which will help your credit score, and saving even more forests, e-payment can help you make a little money. Because you'll be able to make payments later in your billing cycle, your money will have more time to earn more interest for you.

You'll also save on stamps -- 15 stamps a month for a year equals almost $75 -- and last-minute trips to the post office that consume not only your precious time, but also fuel that adds to greenhouse emissions. An added bonus: You protect yourself from identity thieves who cruise streets, looking for curbside mailboxes full of bill payments and checks with all that personal information.

There is one thing to watch out for here. Even though it usually saves creditors money, too, a few still charge extra for e-payments.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Go Green with your investments account statements

Get your investment account statements electronically.
In most cases, the process is identical to the one used for your bank's monthly e-statement. E-mail notification directs you to a secured Web site to see how much your assets are earning.

Instant online access means you can quickly see if you need to rebalance your portfolio. Once you're at the secure Web page, it's usually just a few mouse clicks to shift to another, higher-yielding fund. And you'll feel good knowing that while you're saving money for your future, your dedication to electronic investing instead of by paper means you've saved even more future forests for your kids to enjoy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Go Green With savings

Automatically put pay in savings account.
Have part of your pay automatically put into a savings account. All this typically takes is one extra checkbox when you have your paycheck directly deposited.

The financial benefits are obvious. By sending the money directly to an account, you're not tempted to spend it frivolously. Also, it starts earning interest immediately. The system also saves you time and you won't waste gas by driving to the bank to make the transfer between accounts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Go Green with your pay

Direct-deposit your pay.
Most employers and banks can handle your request. In fact, they probably prefer the method.

Your paycheck will always be in the bank, not in the mail, and there's no environmentally wasteful paper paycheck to worry about. So even when you're on vacation, your money is in your account, earning interest or making sure your upcoming bill e-payments can be made without any problem.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Go Green by donating

Donate clothing and household goods.
Donate clothing and household goods to the environmental nonprofit of your choice. Many charitable groups, including those dedicated to saving the planet, will take such gifts.

On the pro-environment side, the organization can sell the items in its thrift shop, producing needed income to keep operating. As for your finances, such donations are as tax-deductible as cash gifts to approved groups. Just make sure the donated items are in good or better shape or the IRS could disallow the deduction.

Donate your old vehicle to an environmental cause.
Yes, many of these groups will welcome that jalopy. Some will even come tow it away for you.

The advantages to the groups are many. It might use the auto to help transport volunteers to environmental projects. It could sell the vehicle and use the cash for other projects. Either way, if you itemize, you might be able to get a deduction for your vehicular gift on your tax return. Just be sure to find out how the auto donation is used, as that will determine just how large your write-off will be.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Go Green with a cash gift

Make a cash gift to an environmental group.
All these groups -- and there are thousands -- will happily take money via cash, check or credit card. Some even offer estate plan help so that you can leave a final bequest to the group.

Your gift obviously will help the environmental group continue its efforts. But it also could save you some tax dollars. If you itemize, you can deduct your donations to IRS-approved charities. Just make sure you get a receipt in case the IRS has follow-up questions. If your gift is one of your final ones, it also could help lower any potential taxes on your estate. See your attorney or financial planner on how to structure these types of estate gifts to you maximum tax benefit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Go Green with paying your bills

Pay bills by credit card.
If you don't want to pay directly from your bank account, pay your bills by credit card. In fact, this might be easier. Not every business accepts e-payments yet, but almost all take plastic.

You get the same great environment-saving advantages of paying electronically while also earning yourself some financial perks. Set up an automatic credit card payment; that way you'll never face another late fee. Make sure the card is one with a low or no interest rate. If it's a rewards card, all the better. Your eco-friendly payment method will earn you extra points.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walmart Shopping trip

Just thought I would share some deals I got at the Dunkirk Walmart tonight. I go through my coupons every so often and pull out those that are $1.00 or more and then I head to Walmart to see what I can get for $1.00 or less.

Extra dessert gum $.96 less $1.00 coupon
Up2u gum $1.28 less $1.00 coupon
Satin Care shave gel $1.97 less $1.00 coupon
Tic Tacs $1.04 x 2 less $1.00 coupon
Kids crest toothpaste $2.72 less $2.00 coupon
Crest whitening toothpaste $1.00 less $1.00 coupon
Zest aloe 3 bar pack $1.98 less $1.00 coupon

Go Green with your canceled checks

Cancel the canceled checks.
If you still get paper bank statements that include canceled checks, at least cancel the canceled checks. You can reconcile your account just fine without all those extra slips of paper.

Savings are immediate for many account holders, because some banks charge extra to keep sending along canceled checks. Once you start getting a less-imposing statement, it also should make it easier for you to check it each month. Timely account reconciliation can help you spot any financial trouble spots. And no canceled check clutter means more forests for us all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Letters to Santa - Free App

I just wanted to share with you all a great free app for your kids to enjoy. I downloaded this the other day and my daughter tried it today and was very happy with the results and so was I. She was able to send a letter to Santa telling him what she wanted for Christmas and then a few hours later he sent her a letter back. I was then able to send it, along with her letter to my email so we can print it out. There is no limit on how many can be sent or how many replies you can receive. The only downfall is that you have to wait for the reply before you can send another letter. Why not download it and let your child communicate with Santa.

Go Green with your bank statement

Get your bank statement electronically.

If you're worried about computer hackers, don't. Most banks send you an e-mail with a link to a secure Web site where you can check your balance.

Instant Internet access means you can quickly see if your bank account is dangerously low, which could end up costing you low-balance or insufficient funds charges. And by reducing your traditional statement collection, you save paper, which means you help save trees.

Another month gone....

Well it's almost been another month since my last post. I got the laptop up an running only to drop it a few days later and shatter the screen. Ugh!! I keep telling myself that I will pick back up when the laptop get fixed but all I am doing is procrastinating. Lol...So I am making a pact with myself to start writing again this weekend. I still have to introduce you to our new addition!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hello everyone

I can't believe it has been a month since my last post. So many changes have taken place in my life during this time. I am still without my laptop but have since purchased a iPad. I am hoping to be able to start posting daily again very soon. I have missed all of you and hope to be back soon. Don't give up on me just yet. I look forward to introducing you to a new addition to our family.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Go Green - Cover your pool

Cover your pool.
Cover your pool when you aren't using it and you'll cut water lost to evaporation by 90 percent, and the cost of replenishing it.

An average-size pool with average sun and wind exposure loses approximately 1,000 gallons of water per month -- enough to meet the drinking needs of a family of four for nearly a year and a half.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Go Green - Insulation

Boosting attic insulation gives you the most value for your dollar. Shoot for a rating well above the recommended minimum of R-22. Seven inches of fiberglass or rock wool insulation and 6 inches of cellulose insulation are equal to an R-value of 22. In all but the mildest climates, the agency recommends adding more. While you're at it, insulate your hot water heater. Precut "blankets" are available at home improvement stores and are easy to install on electric heaters.

Adding insulation can cost up to $1,800, and could reduce your heating and cooling bills by more than $100 a year. Water-tank insulation wraps cost between $10 and $20, reduce heat loss by 25 to 45 percent and will save you about $23 a year. To save even more, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, to between 115 and 120 degrees. This can reduce your water-heating expense by another 3 percent.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Go Green - Freecycle

Everyone has at least a few items that they don't really want but can't bear to throw away. Freecycle it. Freecycling is giving something to someone who will use it -- for free -- instead of throwing it in the garbage. (To find or start a local group, visit It's simple: post a message on your local freecycle group's Web site, decide who will get your item, then arrange a pick up time. Members give and get everything from moving boxes to cabinetry.

Freecycling costs nothing but time, and keeps usable items out of local landfills.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to the world of electricity!

Good morning my faithful followers and friends. I am now back among those living in the world with electricity. I sure have missed you all and hope to be able to post an update with pictures soon.

We made it through the hurricane with minimal damage to our home! Our yard is a mess and we were without electricity for a few days but I can handle that.

However, my laptop has decided it was too tired to work for me anymore so my postings might not be as frequent until I can either get it fixed or purchase a new one.

I will talk to you all very soon!

Go Green - plant trees

Plant trees.
Planting deciduous trees -- those that lose their leaves in fall -- on the south, east or west sides of your house will lower your heating and cooling bills. The trees will shade the house from the sun in summer, and then let in light to warm the house in winter.

Well-placed trees can save you $100 to $250 a year in energy costs, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. The cost to plant trees varies by type and size.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Go Green - Know when to replace your appliances

Know when to replace your appliances.
If your furnace, air conditioner or other major appliances are more than 10 years old, it may make sense to replace them with newer, more efficient models. Americans spend an average of $1,900 on energy every year. Buying newer, Energy Star appliances can save you at least $30 a year.

For instance, replacing a pre-1994 dishwasher with a new Energy Star model will save you about $30 a year in energy costs. Replacing your pre-1994 washing machine with a new Energy Star model would save you about $110 a year.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Go Green - Use low or no-VOC paints

Use low or no-VOC paints.
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are potentially toxic gases that leach from paint, paint strippers and other household products. They're a leading cause of indoor air pollution and smog and can cause serious illness in people who are exposed to them for extended periods. Paint can release these chemicals into the air for months after it is applied. Low or no-VOC paints contain significantly lower levels of toxic chemicals and can reduce indoor air pollution. Most major home-improvement stores carry them.

You'll likely pay a premium for these products, compared to their traditional counterparts, but will be reducing hazards in your storage closets and in your community.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Go Green - Mind the lawn

Mind the lawn.
Americans dump an estimated 70 million pounds of fertilizer and pesticides on approximately 40 million acres of lawn each year, using 10 times more chemicals per acre than farms. Few homeowners are willing to ditch their grass altogether, but you can plant more drought- and disease-tolerant grasses, or simply cut fertilizer and chemical use. You'll just have to deal with the occasional brown spots that are part of grass' natural life cycle. To boost the health of your lawn, add clover, as it naturally fertilizes the soil and is drought-tolerant. Let the lawn grow a little longer before cutting it -- longer grass chokes out the sunlight weeds need to grow -- or switch to a natural lawn-care service such as NaturaLawn.

Natural fertilizers actually cost less, and using fewer chemicals can save you money and reduce the level of pollution in local waterways and around your home

Monday, August 29, 2011

Go Green - clean your air filters

Clean air filters.
Check air conditioning filters monthly to either clean or replace them. This will help the unit run more efficiently. Better yet: buy a permanent filter that can be washed and re-used. This will save you money over the long run and keep all those disposable filters out of landfills. If your unit is outdoors, check to make sure the coils are not obstructed by debris, plants or shrubs.

Clogged filters can make electric bills skyrocket and eventually cause extensive, expensive damage to your air handler.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Go Green - use commercial car washes

Use commercial car washes.
Getting your car washed at a commercial car wash is better for the environment than doing it yourself. Commercial car washes not only use significantly less water per wash -- up to 100 gallons less -- but they often recycle and reuse the rinse water.

If every American who currently washes a vehicle at home chose instead to go to a professional care wash -- just once -- up to 8.7 billion gallons of water could be saved, and some 12 billion gallons of soapy polluted water could be diverted from the country's rivers, lakes and streams.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene - Update 8/27/11 9:00am

 Well I decided to take off back to the boardwalk after breakfast this morning when it started raining to get some more pictures. They had blocked the roads off so I had to park and walk.

The local grocery store parking lot.

The parking lot at a local restaurant

A tree snapped in the woods this morning before things even really started

Go Green - get picky on phosphates

Get picky on phosphates.
Pick laundry detergents without phosphates, which deplete the oxygen in water and as a result kill aquatic life. And while you're at it, buy only powdered detergent in cardboard packaging as opposed to a liquid in plastic packaging. The liquid contains water, which you already have, so it takes more fuel to ship that heavier container of detergent and water, not to mention the energy and petroleum used to manufacture the plastic container. The cardboard container also requires energy and resources to produce, but many are now made from post-consumer recycled paper and the trees they originate from are a renewable resource.

The cost-per-load comes out pretty much the same for powder and liquid, so going with the non-phosphate powders give you the chance to help the planet without any real cost to you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

On September 18, 2003 our little town was hammered by Hurricane Isabel, but she was actually a tropical storm when she hit us with 4-5 foot waves. Last night and today I was looking through my scrapbook of photos that I took after the storm. I really wish I had taken before shots to compare the damage. So......tonight I took the kids to the boardwalk so I could get some before Hurricane Irene pictures. We are expecting 6-8 foot waves with Irene. Hopefully I will be able to get some after but most importantly I hope they are not much different.