$7.90 For an Entire Year of Hosting!

Save Money on Hosting

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I am in the process of transferring my domain name to a host, which is kind of big step, if ya know what I mean!  There are so many different hosts, and it seems like everybodies opinions differ greatly on who reigns supreme :-).  At any rate, after doing some research, I decided to go with FatCow.  Here’s why:

Reviews: there were, of course, good and bad reviews, but there were so many good ones – especially concerning their customer service.

Price – $2.50 per month seriously cannot be beat, at least for…..

Services – So many things are included in the base price – including UNLIMITED Domains!

Here’s how it went down:

First, I went to ShopAtHome.com and clicked the link to FatCow. Right now, ShopAtHome is offering $50 cash back on a purchase at FatCow!

Next, I started the sign-up process with a rate of $3.50, and did everything but confirm payment.  Right before I clicked the “submit” button, I tried to close the tab I was in, and guess what happened?  The site offered me the low rate of $2.50 per month to keep me from leaving, so I accepted and continued to purchase.  I added SiteLock at $14.95 per year and Site Backup and Restore of $12.95 per year, bringing my total to $57.90.

Finally, after my cash back arrives, I will have paid $7.90 for an entire year of hosting!  Right now, it looks like the check will be mailed March 30, 2014!

I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself!

What Host do you use?  Do you have any strategies to save money on hosting?

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Save On Utilities – When You Can’t Turn Down the Heat!

Save Money on Utilties

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Heating and cooling our house is expensive!  I’m sure yours is too.  However, with a baby in the house, we can only turn down the heat so much, so I have compiled a list of 14 practical ways to save on utilities!

1. Curtains!  For what you spend on curtains, generally you will save a TON of money!  During the winter, we wrap our windows (see #13) during the day and curtains at night.  I always buy thick, heavy blackout curtains that help insulate again the cold air coming in from the windows.

2. We bought an air conditioner – yes, you read this right :-).  During the fall, single-room air conditioners go on sale – we got ours for 50% off!  When we put ours in our room at night, our electric bill dropped by $30 during the heat of the summer!

3. We Use our whole-house fan.  This is one of the great things about having a house built in the 1970’s.  Our whole house fan – while it is rather loud – circulates air like nothing else.  It pulls cool air from the basement and up in the hotter upstairs of our house.  Once we discovered what this amazing fan could do, our electric bill dropped another $10 during the heat of the summer.

4. We close doors.  Our house is bigger than what we need, but it was a fantastic deal, so we went with it.  However, heating and cooling a bunch of unused space is a waste of money!  To combat this, we close doors, and put draft catchers at the base of the doors.

5. We try not to use the oven.  We do this both in summer and winter.  Why?  Because using the slow-cooker heats up the house less in summer, and uses less energy both in summer and winter – see also #8.

6. We use CFL’s – seriously, if you’re not doing this yet, you’re living under a rock!  We can buy an 8 pack of these at Sam’s for $1.99 and each one saves anywhere from $22 – $30 per year!

7. We Use a programmable thermostat – Set it and forget it, people!  We set the thermostat to 65 at night, and 68 during the day during the winter, and 75 at night and 78 during the day during the summer.  This way, we cannot forget to turn the heat or cooling up or down.

8. I cook in bulk – This goes along with #5 when I’m trying not to use the oven a whole lot.  Simply google “freezer cooking” and you will find a plethora of recipes that you can make ahead of time and store in the freezer.  Or, if you don’t want to spend several hours freezer cooking, you can simply double whatever is for dinner each night, and put half in the freezer for later.  See how easy that is?

9. I use cold water.  Not in the shower, in the washer!  Most of the energy used in washing clothes comes from heating the water, not the actual water cost.  We either make our own or purchase cold water detergent, and our clothes are no less clean than if we were to use warm water!

10.  We turned our water heater down. You only need to have your water heater set to 120 to kill bacteria and still have it feel warm for showers.  Heating it any hotter not only increases the risk of burns, it costs more to heat it to that temperature.

11. We traded in our old refrigerator: When we bought our house in April of 2013, we bought a terrible fridge for $50 off of craigslist.  We were given a new one December of 2013, so we had Ameren come pick up our old one, and in 4 weeks they sent us a $50 VISA card.

12. We eliminate vampires: I bought an Energy-Use Monitor (Amazon has the best prices on these) and ran around our house for 2-weeks checking  the energy use of everything in our house and generally driving everyone crazy! Turns out our toaster and blender use zero energy when plugged in and not in use, whereas our TV uses tons when its off.  Now, I try to go around the house and unplug everything a couple of times per week.

13. We wrap our windows:  We bought that ugly plastic that you blow dry to your windows at Lowe’s and wrapped every single one of windows.  It super easy to do and in our first month of having all of our windows done we saved an addition $5.00 off of our electric bill!

14. We redid caulking.  While our windows are newer and in pretty good shape, the caulking around them was another story.  Redo your caulk, people.  Its cheap, easy to do, and will help tremendously!

Do you have any other things you do to save on your utilities?

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I Need Some Advice – How Much Are You Willing To Spend On Your Pets?

How Much Are You Willing to Spend On Your Pets?

How Much Are You Willing to Spend On Your Pets?

The Big Guy and I have almost always had a dog – or two!  They have been like family to us, and we treated them accordingly.  Recently, though, one of our dogs, Max was hit by a car which dislocated his shoulder, and the other, Lena, had to be put down.

After the accident, knowing that it would cost $1,000-$2,000 to get Max fixed, we decided that the best decision would be to put him down.  However, our neighbors knew what a good dog he was and offered to take Max since their son wanted a dog, and they would get his leg fixed.  We agreed, they got his x-rays done, and their son (and Max) seemed super happy.

Then one day, Max showed back up in our yard.  The Big Guy called the neighbors, who told him that they were frustrated with their son because he was already starting to neglect Max’s care.  So now, we have Max back.

Here is the catch: Max’s leg isn’t fixed yet.  He walks on it, sometimes, and can run – which amazes me, but its not fixed.  The neighbors gave us his x-rays, so we don’t have to worry about that expense, but having his dislocated should be put back in will still be pricey.  What do we do?  I really do not want to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on this dog, because even though we love him like family at the end of the day he is still a dog.

Question: What do we do?  Max seems perfectly happy besides  a leg that is not completely functional, so I would feel bad putting him down.  But, spending lots of money on vet bills really doesn’t fit into our debt-reduction plans.

Anyone have any ideas for me?

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Life Update 2/18/14

What a great weekend, y’all!  We redid Baby RB40’s closet for FREE!  I had a huge to-do list for The Big Guy, and you know what?  He got it ALL done!  All of it!

Also, I had posts feature in all sorts of Carnivals:

Yakezie Carnival @ The Ultimate Juggle

Aspiring Blogger – Personal Finance Carnival #31  @ Aspiring Blogger

Weekend Recap: Carnival of Personal Finance Edition @ Gaming Your Finances

Lifestyle Carnival 93rd Edition @ Reach Financial Independence

Financial Carnival For Young Adults @ My Life, I Guess

The biggest project on the list was redoing Baby RB40’s closet.  Garage sale season is almost upon us, and if I wanted to have a place to store all the clothes I was planning on finding at garage sales, the baby’s closet needed some help 🙂  And did I mention, we redid it for FREE – post coming soon on that!

We have also started using eMeals for meal planning.  The service is great, and on a daily deal site it was only $29 for the entire year, so I decided that if we did not like it, then $29 was an acceptable amount of money to lose.  Yesterday, we went to ALDI and bought 2 weeks of food – breakfasts, lunches and dinners for $82, so we’re off to a good start, I guess.  Has anyone else ever used a service like this where your meals are planned for you and they give you a shopping list of everything you will need for the week’s meals?  Did you like it?  More importantly, did it save you any money?

Gotta run, have so much to do this week!  Plus, heading to the store later to buy some 75% off chocolate!

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4 Reasons Not To Buy A House

2.17.14

Home ownership represents the American Dream!  It means having control, success, and excellence.  However, there are several reasons why you should hold off on buying:

1.  Buying is more expensive than renting:  In the college town that I rented a house in, my rent was $650 for a three-bedroom house.  Yes, I probably could have bought a house and had the mortgage payment be far less, but there are most costs to home ownership than just the principal and interest.  There are taxes, insurance, maintenance costs (including buying a lawn mower and tools), as well as all of the stuff you will “need” to fill up the house.  Home ownership is no easy adventure.

2.  You need to move in the near future.  If you (or your spouse) are in the military, college, or another profession in which you move around a lot, buying a house may not be for you.  Most experts recommend owning a house for at least 5 years before selling in order for it to be worthwhile.

3. Your credit needs work.  If your credit score is below excellent (720), then chances are you will have a higher interest rate from the bank, which means you will pay more interest on the loan.  Worst case scenario is you are denied the mortgage!  You do have the option to pay the loan off early, but let’s face it, most people do not have the discipline to do this!

4. You cannot put at least 20% down.  When you put less than 20% down on a house, you are charged Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which can add up to hundreds of dollars in premiums each month.  More money = bad!

Even though house prices have dropped and interest rates are at an all-time low, all of these are reasons to raise a red flag before you decide to buy a home.  A home is more than just a mortgage payment – be it positive or negative and is not something to be taken lightly.

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