Photo Credit: cara zimmerman via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cara zimmerman via Compfight cc

I’m super spoiled living in Southern California where it’s sunny year round and the average temperature is 70 degrees. Even in the winter time during the day it gets to be in the high 60′s and the lowest is about 45 degrees. Not enough for snow unless you live in the mountains!

It’s harsh right? Still though it can be pretty cold inside since my comfort level usually is around the mid 70′s. To save money I try not to turn on the heat as much as possible! Inside it needs to get down to 60 before I even touch my heater and I usually try not to use the entire house one. At work it’s pretty cold because the building is all brick and has no insulation and at home it’s still cold because I’m trying to save money! My heating bill won’t be as high as someone who lives in the midwest but it still makes a difference the more I can withstand the cold and keep myself warm by other methods.

SPACE HEATERS
Since it’s only the two of us we try not to use the house heater at all and just use a space heater in the bedroom only. It’s not fun when we’re showering and all but a side effect of this is that we shower faster and end up using less water. Our house is pretty small at 1100 square feet but a space heater is pretty cost effective for one room only. No use heating the kitchen over night when no one is using it! Other people I know do a combo of both. They use the overall heater to bring the house up to a certain temperature then add space heaters to the colder rooms people are in.

LAYERING
My general house attire includes my big fluffy sweatshirts and flannel pj’s. Maybe some long knee socks thrown in there too. It’s comfy and I don’t need to worry about how I look. Then I throw on a blanket and I’m pretty good for the evening.

MOVING MORE QUICKLY
Nothing like moving around a lot to stay warm! It’s kind of funny when I have some cleaning to do because I tend to move around more quickly when its cold so that I can warm up. Reverse effect in the summertime when it’s hot and I am trying to conserve energy instead.

 

The fun part about this year is that I get to spend the holidays in 30 degree weather in the midwest! There we have no choice but to heat the entire home or freeze our butts off. The inside temperature tends to be a nice 68 degrees compared to the low 60′s we keep it here. Since my nieces will be staying in the same house it’ll be even toastier since they need a warmer temperature. The only cold times will be whenever I’m outside. Which really will only be when I’m going to and from the car. Hopefully when I get back my cold tolerance will have raised up a little bit.

What do you do to save a bit of money when heating your home?

 


Photo Credit: VossenWheels via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: VossenWheels via Compfight cc

Gotta test drive your next potential new vehicle before you buy it right? So I guess that means heading out to your favorite dealership and talking to a nice (or sleazy) salesperson and then taking a drive while they talk your ear off about all the positives about the car. This is the normal way to do it for sure but I’ve done plenty of test drives for different cars! All without the intention of even buying the car but for research or for fun.

A typical test drive might not be very fun car companies have little known events where you can test drive a number of their cars! Usually it’s centered around a new model that just came out that they’re trying to promote it. They’re trying to show off the new features of the car and hooking in potential buyers that are shopping around. These events are free and you just have to know about them and sign up. I’ve been to a good number of them and it’s a much better way to test drive without any buying pressure and have a better experience.

In one event I test drove an Audi Q5 and they encouraged drivers to try to tip the car over. The Q5 is engineered to never tip over unlike other suvs. In the same event we were allowed to stomp on the gas to see how well their cars go from 0-60mph. Lincoln has been doing a lot of events lately where they combine it with a free nice dinner or allow you to take the car for an entire day! On another I drove around a Lincoln around the city and stopped at certain points to sample foods and see the sights. It’s a real test drive where you can really see what their cars can do and there’s a bunch of free stuff that goes along with it!

Look at a local news site with events around your area to see what’s happening. My husband was the one who found out about these events and got me into them when we first started dating. He actually found them on slickdeals.com. I’ve been able to test drive a lot of nice cars that I normally wouldn’t drive on a normal day.

Have you ever been to a test drive event?


ThanksgivingFeastIt’s been a week since Thanksgiving and the craziness of the holidays is just ramping up! Thanksgiving always signals the start of it all, even though the stores try to make the holiday start even before that. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do for the upcoming holidays and I’m looking forward to seeing all the family. I’m trying to play it as smart as I can with gifting and trying to make everything I do count.

Christmas of course is extremely commercialized now and usually there’s just way too much money spent. I’ve heard of people going into debt from just buying gifts! That’s pretty crazy to me and I can’t even fathom why people would put themselves in such a position. There’s going to be a ton of gifts being exchanged and packages to send. Lots of paper to toss!

Keep it simple
I’m guilty of not doing this but hopefully next year I can simplify my to do list. It can get pretty stressful if you try to do too much and then it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. Some of my neighbors have strung a ton of lights outside but I’m thinking I’ll just decorate my fireplace. No need to buy lights, string them up, them take them down after Christmas! Just put a few things around my fireplace and done! Things might change when I finally have kids, but for now this is good for two people.

Make some gifts a donation
One way to gift is to make a charitable donation in someone’s name. For my closest friends I decided to do that to one of my favorite charities. I can help out a charity I like, it’s easy on the earth, and it’s tax deductible. Win win win in three ways! If you happen to know someone’s favorite charity then you can definitely donate there. Note to self to find out if they have favorite charities for next year.

Sending cards
I still like to send things the snail mail way. I know that to be earth friendly I’m supposed to forgo this practice and just send e-cards instead, but this one thing I feel is worth the extra effort and cost. At the least I’ll find recycled paper greeting cards or from sustainably sourced forests. It might just be nostalgia but I don’t get the same feeling from an e-card than a real paper card.

Skimp on the wrappings (and/or recycle it)
Yep I’m one of those people who slowly open their gifts so I can try to save the wrapping paper for reuse. It just saddens me to see festive paper get used once then tossed. For other people I’m the one running round with a large bag stuffing their torn wrapping paper in so that I can recycle it. Haha it’s kind of a funny image no that I think of it but hey then the paper gets recycled right? Usually I try to use any leftover gift bags I have on hand first before I reach for that wrapping paper. Those gift bags can be used many times over.

What are some things you do to save money during the holidays and make it more earth friendly?


Cat_HappyThanksgivingAll across the US people are currently stuffing their faces or getting ready to stuff their faces. There might be people even who have already done so and are getting ready for round 2 or 3! What gluttony! Well it’s certainly the thing to do on Thanksgiving! It’s time for getting together with family and friends, stuffing your tummy full and working it all off tomorrow during Black Friday sales!

I’m trying to keep my four day weekend as chill as possible but we all know that never happens. I do have a few things I like to keep in mind and do though.

Enjoy my family and friends time
It’s always hectic with cooking a lot of dishes and trying to make everything yummy. Then of course once you’re married there are two families to consider. No matter how hectic it gets I need to enjoy my time together with everyone. There’s always drama and old arguments but gotta bury all that and put it aside to enjoy each other’s company! Of course the best way to do that is to eat a lot and mellow out together!

Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers
After a massive feast there’s always a ton of leftovers. That means meals are covered for the next days! Yay! Nothing goes to waste after Thanksgiving and that’s the way it ought to be. Honeybaked ham? Yea that’s going into my tummy for sure.

Black Friday crazy
I was thinking of just doing a super chill black friday. Other years we’ve driven an hour to get to the massive outlet mall and gone shopping for 8 hours. I’m still going to prepare myself with a list of things I actually need to buy (eg gifts for people) and try not to spend too much on impulse buys. Alas, I think we’re going to go to the outlets tomorrow. Albeit one much closer and smaller but an outlet nevertheless. Time to tighten up my imaginary belt buckle on my self control and just get my Christmas shopping done!

 

Enjoy your day everyone! No matter how crazy your day it only comes once a year and is a day of celebration and bringing people closer together!

Happy turkey (or tofurkey) day!


Photo Credit: KayVee.INC via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: KayVee.INC via Compfight cc

As far as hobbies go I don’t indulge in anything too expensive. I’ve been wanting a snowboard set for years but I haven’t taken that leap because it can be a hefty amount to spend. It’s not that I choose hobbies based on how much they cost, but so far they’ve generally been pretty inexpensive to do. That is, until now!

I’ve gone indoor rock climbing off and on since I was in high school. It’s always fun and challenging but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve started to go regularly. The costs are adding up now as I’m getting more into it and am wanting to buy my own equipment. It’s more pricey than a lot of the other hobbies I have, but I do enjoy it.

So far I’ve just been renting shoes and equipment at the gym. Of course I need to pay to get into the gym and that cost will never go away. The cost of renting equipment though can be offset by buying my own. There are three gyms in my city and I’ve already used Groupons for two of them! Maxed out on those already so from this point on it’s paying regular price.

Costs so far for a month
So far I’ve gone 4 times and have used two Groupon deals. $84 already spent just on admission and renting equipment! For each gym you have to pay for a day pass, then each piece of rental equipment is extra. Shoes are a few dollars and so is a harness. It adds up pretty quickly for sure. If I keep going down this route I can expect to pay $26 each time I go climbing. If I went once a week for a year that would add up to $1352!

Buying my own equipment
I can continue to rent equipment but if I buy my own it’ll eventually offset the cost of renting. Equipment rental tacks on an additional $5-$7 depending on the gym. The cost of buying good equipment is decently high up front. Good climbing shoes start at $80 and a harness around $100. I would recoup that cost though after going to the rock gym 36 times. That’s about 7 months of continuous climbing. I’ve already bought my own chalk bag and chalk too. That stuff will always add it but at least it lasts a while.

Paying monthly instead of day by day
To cut down on the daily cost I can do a monthly pass too! At one gym it costs $46 a month! Pretty darn good. If I get a monthly pass it also includes rental gear too. At another one though it costs $99 a month. Pretty big difference in price. If I went for the cheaper option though I could only climb on the weekends since my climbing partner lives too far away to make it there on weeknights. For the pricier option I would have to go more than once a week to try to offset the price of a daily pass and justify the monthly.

 

This hobby is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and hopefully the costs won’t bog down my budget too much! It’s still a cheaper hobby than other ones like snowboarding or boating.

Have you taken up any new hobbies lately that are costing you more money that you would like?