Friday, April 30, 2010

Outdoor Gazebo

After spending 2.5 hours putting together our new gazebo, which I used my birthday money to pay for, a very important piece broke. The small center hub which holds the canopy. At first we got frustrated then we thought about it. Our first solution was take the part back to the Home Depot and see if they could exchange it for a new one. That didn't happen...they were sold out of our model in the district.
Before our last resort which was take down the entire thing and take it back to the Home Depot we called the manufacture and they are sending us a replacement part. The bad part is it will take 7-10 days for the replacement to get to our house.

In the mean time we have a half put together gazebo in our backyard. Sometimes - time is more valuable than money. I'm so glad we don't have to take this down and put a new one back up again.

Have you ever had a time when something like this happened to you? Was the item made right?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tax Exemptions

If you are geting substantial money back from the IRS every year it means you are giving the Federal Government an interest free loan. I assure you they will not return the favor. The solution is to go to your employer and revise your W-4 form. This form can be downloaded from the IRS's website and by their standards is fairly easy to understand. There are several ways you can estimate the number of exemptions you should claim on your W-4 depending on charitable giving, mortgage interest, state taxes and income bracket. If you come up with a number you are not totally comfortable with simply back it down one expemtion. It is always an option to revisit your exemption status after the following tax year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Tips

Since it is Earth Day Frugal Chick and I decided to go over the things we do that save money and are also Earth friendly. I am by no means the most green person out there (just last week Frugal Chick and I argued over the use of Sevin Dust in our garden) but, I do consider myself a conservationist. Here are some of the things we do to save money and the Earth's resources.

We try to use energy efficient bulbs in our house and try to turn off unused lights and appliances. Frugal Chick makes our own detergent which does not have any harsh chemicals and is is much cheaper than store bought detergents. We installed a programable thermostat which really saves us energy late at night and during the day. Most programable thermostats have 8 hour cycles and weekend settings. Plants around your house provides oxygen to the air, looks good and cools your house. We have installed ceiling fans and have a space heater which helps cool and heat the house without using the energy drain that is the heat pump.

A few years ago our hot water heater died we purchased an energy efficient hot water heater. If you have the opportunity I would suggest (if price feasable) a solar powered water heater, a friend of mine had one in his old house and just raved about it. Another way to conserve water is by using low flow shower heads. We have used these for several years and there really is no dicernable differance. Our biggest energy and dollar conserver is carpooling (we work a couple of blocks apart and have the same work schedule), if you can possibly find someone to carpool with it will save both gas and cash.

As I stated at the begining I am not the greenest person out there, but I am a conservationist and there is another kind of green that I always like to save.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Block The Sun

When Accounting Dude and I first meet he already had a house and I lived in an apartment. So it made sense that I would move into his house. Well, lets just say that it was a man's house, and it was decorated by a man in his late 20s-early 30s. Meaning - big TV and white wall, not much more.So I had to make some changes. I started with the inside, but eventually moved to the outside.

You see this brick wall behind the azaleas gets nothing but afternoon sun beating down on it. For the longest time it had nothing in front of it until I realized that it would help our cooling cost if we planted something along that wall to help cool it. Azaleas are some of my favorite plants so that is what I choose. I know they don't look that big now, but in a few years I hope that they cover most of this wall and help with our cooling cost. So is there somewhere around your house that a few plants could help reduce your cooling cost?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tip on Tuesday

To days Tip - Don't toss out pantyhose or knee highs that have a run in them re-use them to help your plants stand up straighter.

This strong, soft, and stretch material works great as a support without cutting into the plant.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Week

This week won't be a normal week of saving and spending. This week we will be talking about different ways that Accounting Dude and I try to be green and save money while doing it. I'll let you know right off the bat we aren't the most green people out there, but we do try!
Up first this week;
The new trees we planted this weekend. We planted two pear trees. Actually, we got them at a really good deal. I'm a member of the Home Depot garden club. You should join if you aren't already a member because they send out some great coupons.
This club sent me a coupon to buy one tree get one free. Well, Home Depot didn't have pear trees and that is what I really wanted to plant. Like most cities Home Depot is right next to Lowes, so Accounting Dude and I drove to Lowes went in to customer service and asked them if they would match the coupon. The manager read the coupon several times and then said sure. So for $18.96 AC and I got two pear trees. Let me tell you we picked the two tallest and strongest looking trees they had.
We were prepaired for the manger to say no about the coupon, but we were pleasantly surprised when he said yes.
Now, we just hope that the trees will live and that in a few years we will have some fruit.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tip on Tuesday

I had this wonderful tip I thought about sometime last week. Accounting Dude and I even talked about it, and now we both have forgotten what it was.
So moving on to our money saving tip that we can remember.
Yes, it involves The Home Depot. The other day we went there and purchased several things for our garden. Well, we ended up not using them. So we wanted to take them back, but we couldn't find our receipt. We had decided that is Home Depot would only give us a store credit we would be okay with that, but since we paid for them with our debit card Home Depot was able to look up our purchase price and give us the correct amount back in cash. Accounting Dude and I were so excited.
Money Saving Tip - When purchasing something a The Home Depot that you are not sure you want to keep and you are bad a keeping up with receipt pay with your debit card instead of cash.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu Monday

Our week is packed with activities so we, meaning Accounting Dude, decided to grill as much as possible for the week last night. So if there is a theme it is grilled meat. I wish the sides were that easy.

Sunday - Grilled chili cheese dogs and mac and cheese

Monday - Grilled Hamburgers not a clue about the side but I'm sure I can find something

Tuesday- Grilled Chicken with corn and green beans

Wednesday - Left over Chili cheese dogs and mac and cheese.

Thursday - Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup

Friday - Pizza and a Movie

Saturday - not sure it is up in the air because I may have a new niece.

Sunday - not sure about when my new niece will come.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I got all of this plus 3 cases of Diet Sunkist for around $12.00 plus I have $3.00 ECB to send next week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vegetable Garden

Frugal Chick and I love to garden, over the last four years we have planted cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, squash, eggplants, peppers and various spices. Some of the things we have planted provided us with good fresh produce and some of the things we tried to grow did not pan out. We live in the South and some crops just can not take our heat. Growing fruits and vegetables are not always cheap. Seed, feed, fertilizer and when necessary herbicides have to be purchased. If you plant in the ground then you will need something to break and till the soil and if you use pots and hanging baskets those items will have to be purchased.

There is some trial and error to gardening and as I mentioned earlier there can be considerable start up cost, but once your garden takes off you will not have any additional cost except for watering. When you grow your own food there is also a sense of accomplishment that a supermarket does not provide. You will know exactly what chemical products were used on your vegetables when you grow them yourself.

It is very enjoyable to get outside and work in a garden, it helps to go outside and get away from our daily grind. I am not sure if we have saved much money by gardening, but I doubt we have lost much either. What we have gained is the knowledge of how to grow our own food, as well as, the peace of mind of knowing what is in it. I would highly recommend giving a garden a try for anyone who enjoys being outside or who enjoys their fresh fruits and vegetables. [garden+and+umbrella+006.JPG]

Monday, April 5, 2010

Menu Monday

Sunday - Easter with Family
Monday - Rotel
Tuesday - Pineapple, Shrimp, and Bacon Pizza
Wednesday - Tacos - This has been on my menu for several weeks because I have purchased all the ingredients, but they keep getting bumped.
Thursday - Southwestern Spaghetti Pie

Friday - Eat Out
Saturday - Father in Laws Birthday

Tuesday Tip

Money Saving Tip - Enjoy some down time.
I know what you are thinking, How can downtime help you save money?

Well I'll tell you it will help you stay focused. I know that when we have down time we are more likely to eat at home and stick to our menu. We are also less likely to just want to go shopping.

Just remember down time also pays.