I have a few questions and I am curious about your answers... answer 1 or answer all 4, but I'm just looking for your suggestions and perhaps you have wondered as well.

1. Is it worth it to have on two pairs of socks, two pairs of sweats, a t-shirt, turtleneck and sweatshirt and then have to wash them all or is it better to bump up the temperature 2-3 degrees higher?

2. I’ve got a bar of fels naptha soap that I have never used – was going to make my own laundry detergent but that was nixed by my partner – what are some other ways I can use it besides stains and hand soap?

3. I have decided to try the following: Postcards, gift tags for next year (punch a hole for ribbon), grocery or to do list, hold onto them for next year and send them back out (use paper to cover the written area). What would you do with all the holiday card that are left over?

4. I’ve got a shoe box full of incense that we are slow to get through – any alternative ideas on what do to with them?

I was recently at Sam’s Club to grab some milk, because it is usually cheaper there than anywhere. However, even Sam’s Club bulk buying power has the price 15¢ higher than the occasional grocery store sale price. I was surprised, but not unprepared.

When the food prices are up and the economy isn't, it is time to start looking for ways to save money and freezing milk is one very handy way to handle that and save when you find a good sale.

First, you can buy the milk in bulk at a good price and then freeze it.
Iowa State University Extension & University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension
It is safe to freeze milk but freezing may change the texture of the milk and cause some separation. Stirring well may reduce the texture change and separation enough to use the milk in products like puddings and baked goods. If you are freezing milk for your family to drink, try a small amount first and see how they like it. Remember to allow plenty of headspace (1-1 ½ inches) for the milk to expand in your freezing container (Emphasis mine)

On the Dairyland site from Canada:
Although we do not recommend freezing milk products, for some it is a necessity. Milk may be frozen for as long as 3 months provided the sealed container is frozen prior to the best before date. Skim and 2% milk freeze better than Homo milk (whole milk). Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator. The milk will still have the same nutrients, but it may separate. If it does, shake well or beat with an electric mixer or rotary beater. (Emphasis mine)

Based on these and other people opinions at various forums, it appears freezing milk is one way to freeze the price affecting your wallet. Whether you decide to use the frozen milk in cooking only or for drinking is up to you and your taste buds. But it appears to be a safe way to save money.

Second, you can always check out the boxes of powered milk that are in the cooking aisle of your local grocery store. From what I can tell most people use it for cooking or do a half & half (powdered/pasteurized) approach to stretch the milk within their family. Personally, I am powdered milk all the way. For me, the cost of buying powdered milk works out to a ‘free gallon’ every 3 gallons I make. And that milk lasts me a good 4-5 days or more.

Things to consider when your milk prices go up:
☼Freeze milk to get you through to the next sale
Buy powdered milk to mix in and stretch or to replace

Update: Can butter can be frozen as it’s prices are going up as well? Answer: Yes
Store in original protective wrapping or container until ready for use.
Freeze butter not intended for use within 2 or 3 days. Frozen butter will maintain its quality for 2 months.

I’ll bet that if you said powdered milk in a group of people you would get the most passionate of responses, either for or against drinking it. I personally, grew up with it and except for a few years off, I continue to drink it. I like the light flavor and ‘thin texture’ (other milk seems very thick to me)-and yes, it’s almost like drinking water.

What is Powdered Milk?

Powdered milk comes in two forms: Instant non-fat dry milk (which I use) and non-instant non-fat dry milk. The former dissolves faster than the latter. Powdered milk has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and the powerder does not need to be refrigerated due to its low moisture content.

Once mixed the powdered milk will need to be chilled for a few hours first for it to taste decent, and no you can’t trick someone into drinking it immediately, it takes time and maybe never. (I’ve tried)

How Milk is Processed?

Powdered milk is typically made by spray-drying nonfat skim milk. Pasteurized milk is sprayed into a low pressure chamber where the water instantly evaporates, leaving behind fine particles of powdered milk solids. Alternatively, the milk can be dried by drum drying. Milk is applied as a thin film to the surface of a heated drum, and the dried milk solids are then scraped off with a knife. Powdered milk made by drum drying tends to have a cooked flavor, due to caramelization caused by greater exposure to heat.

How Powdered Milk is Mixed?

That’s how it’s made into powder, but once I get the box home I remix it with water. For a 2 quart pitcher, I use 2 cups of powdered. Then I fill the rest with water and stir vigorously until dissolved- this takes practice and a novice can really make a batch taste yucky. Then I leave it in the refrigerator for a good 3 hours before drinking. Due to the need for chilling it, you really have to think ahead of when you will be needing milk for lunch or dinner.

But one of the best things about powdered milk is that a 20 quart box runs me cheaper than for someone else buying gallons of fresh milk. It’s not a lot of money saved, but if you factor in that I don’t have to run to the store because I ran out of milk for dinner, then I’m happy. And with food prices going up over time, I’m glad I like the taste.

For more information: Saving Money with Powdered Milk

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The apartment complex where I live have some dumpsters that rival almost any college dumpster. You can find some pretty nifty things once in while. One year I'd been needing a dresser and had been looking for a decent one for some time, but it hadn't been a priority. When this one was spotted, it was decided to take it home (along with 17 pennies that dropped out) and paint over it.

The Learning experience

We had a sander that we used to clean off the spilled, stuck on stuff and make the top more even. Eventually we decided to sand the whole thing and just stain the wood again. But after getting 90% done, we realized the wood didn’t match real well and went back to our original idea to paint it. That was a frustrating and the most expensive part of the learning experience.

Buying Cheaper

We picked up a mis-colored gallon of paint and got the clerk to give us the color we wanted, for no extra charge, and we also picked up a cheap base paint, along with cheap brushes.

We picked up some wooden knobs, since I didn't like the door hanger look it previously had. All in all, the free Dresser took 66.58 to paint and fix up, plus labor.

I may have been able to pick up one at a garage sale, but then I might have had to buy the paint and such to fix it up anyway.

I was inspired to write about my experience living frugally after reading The Simple Dollar's post about the limits of frugality.

I understand how the frugality highway can seem to come to an abrupt end when you still need the extra road to maneuver for the income versus the payouts.

My personal experience includes medical expenses that mount about every 2 years just as we have paid down the previous surgeries and physical therapy sessions. It is these medical expenses that push our frugal creativity to the limit at times.

Unfortunately, because of the complication of this financial medical situation, none of the bills can be written off for tax purposes. But we try to find the areas that do allow us to use pre-tax dollars.

1. Health Savings Account (HSA) - I wasn't all that interested initially as I didn't see the big deal of the difference between pre-tax money taken out for medical or after-tax payments. Last year I decided to try it out and found it to be very useful for two reasons.
a) It lowers my taxes and I'm all for that
b) It is money set aside for me that I don't even think about - unseen, but saved.

The down side is that this year I found out I missed the window to re-sign up (I thought it was automatic) and now I will be tackling the medical bills with my own after-tax savings program, which means I will transfer a set amount to savings each paycheck.

Another lesson I have learned is that frugality is only limited by our own 'Eww, I couldn't do THAT' attitude.

As I have read through some of the more EXTREME ideas of frugal living, in the past I have cringed at the idea of putting my thermostat below a certain temperature mark or looking like a homeless person checking vending machines for change.

However, over time I have found that expanding my idea of frugality isn't done by laying the roadwork like unrolling a carpet, instead it takes a bit of planning, design and then the construction takes place. And in that construction I can't just pour concrete, I also need lay down the dowel bars to keep the concrete from cracking up.

This process will take time and mistakes may happen, even frugality fatigue may set in, but it must be done to get me to the goal that lays near the horizon. Eventually I may become that EXTREME frugal person that I read about and cringed.

Here are some ways I am working to lay that frugal highway in front of me.
First the increase of money:

1. HSA - see above
2. Getting a second job - This is the first thing I did, it is a part time job (16 hrs/wk) that gives me the added benefit of extra money plus discounts at the store I work at.
3. Pocket change - Even though this can range from 1.50 - 20.00 - this is money brought in via rebates, items sold or change found in the vending machine.

The other way to live frugal is a more gradual change, that is cutting back my expenses:

4. Utilities - Dropping the temperature in the house and increasing my layers. Also unplugging items that aren't used - this habit is a gradual one
5. Luxury items - Cable, internet, phone and memberships must be gone over to see what we actually use, watch and make use of. In April we will be dropping cable down to basic channels are even switching to the Dtv boxes. I can't totally remove from the house out of necessity.
6. Penny Pinching - I do this best by finding ways to re-use items or make something last longer so I don't have to buy anything new or used if I can help it. Most of my ideas are found online and from books checked out at the library.
And don't forget clipping coupons to save a dollar, or five, at the store.

And finally...
7. Ask - This includes asking for items for your birthday, holidays that you may need and it gives them an idea for what to buy you. I got some wonderful slippers for Christmas this year. Also ask for help when you need ideas on how to make the dollar stretch, sometimes another person's experience can be helpful in determining good and bad frugal ideas.

The usual fight is going on in my life, balancing the quality of life with the quantity(price) and trying to find the best way to work those things into my life. There are even some days when I just want to think about it and just do my own thing, of course then I come back to reality and need to be smart about my finances and the priorities in my life.

Because of this internal conversation, these are the links that jumped out to me recently with a tweak on my own perspective among other ideas.


The Flying Pie Pizzaria takes their employees to Costa Rica: The trip has been 13 years in the making. About 10 percent of workers’ tips have been set aside for what was originally conceived as an excursion to Hawaii.

Why “survival panic” is good: But Vaccaro said the downturn could be a time for shoppers to pause and study what they are attempting to achieve or what void they are attempting to fill by spending.

“We don’t buy products, we buy feelings,” Vaccaro said. “We’re buying the anticipation of the feeling that we think that product or service is going to give us.”

One Woman’s Confession: I HATE SUBURBIA (Sep, 1965): Yes. I’ve been a long-term resident of the suburbs,” the attractive woman next to me replied in answer to my question. Her brown eyes seethed with excitement. “And I think the word ‘term’ is very appropriate. It’s been almost a jail sentence!”

6 ways to save on continuing education for Adults: And there's no reason the cost of additional education has to fall on your shoulders alone, especially if you're an older worker. Here are six ways that age can help you land financial aid


I had a co-worker who always had a hard time saving money, she tried rounding up in the check book, writing checks for over the amount and putting the money away in a bank and even tried just collecting change to no avail. She always ended up spending it.

Finally, she latched onto to some thing that allowed her to save some of it. It wasn't anything major, but she finally figured out a way she could save some money without spending it; the two dollar bill. Those same annoying bills that many people think are fake or unlucky, she likes to buy.

Saving $2 bills was something that her uncle used to do and she always thought they were unique because of him. After her uncle died, any two bills she came across, she snatched up and stored them away in her jewelry box as a way to remember and honor him. She didn't think of it as a way to build up an emergency savings fund, but it has.

Of course her work in the cash office brings her in contact with more of these two dollar bills than the average person, but she has only worked in the office for the last 18 months. Before that she would go to the bank and buy some or ask friends to save them for her.

Over the course of the last 5 years, she has collected over 2200 dollars in $2 bills. It isn't a lot of money saved for that amount of time. But when she is only saving the two dollar bills, it is pretty amazing that she found something that allows her to save in even when others would think it would be a small, insignificant thing.


One of the jobs that I work is in the accounting office at my local big box store, and recently I had a knock at the door with an employee asking for a customer if we had any Kennedy half dollars or Eisenhower dollars that they could buy from us.

Since we had a few for them to purchase, I asked them if they collect them and they said that they don't themselves but it is a way to get their grand-kids to save as they don't think it is real money.. yet.

Now if you want to save Kennedy half dollars and Eisenhower dollar coins, you don't have to go to a retail store to ask, most banks have a few that you can buy - some even have full rolls of coin.

We all know that Nickel and Diming ourselves is one way to save the big money. I thought I would jot down some ways we voluntarily or unknowingly give up the nickels and dimes.

Here are some ways to save the little money on fees:

Point of Sale
Some stores charge for using a debit swipe to pay for your food; know them and hate them.
Alternative: Swipe using the credit card option instead

Restocking Fees
You are returning an item and you get walloped with a 10-15% fee to put the item back on the shelf
Alternative: Check with store about this possible fee before you buy an item. You may want to shop elsewhere if you are not absolutely sure you won't return it.

Monthly Banking Minimums
Banks are a wonderful place to keep your money; unfortunately; they also like to dip their hands in your pockets as well if you don't keep a certain minimum in the account.
Alternative: Free checking accounts are around and credit unions are handy places to keep your money.

Double ATM fees
Go to most any ATM and you get charged 1.50 or more to use. Some banks also like to tack on charges for not using the ones that they 'approve' of. It then seems that you get both your left and right pockets picked.
Alternative: Know where your approved bank ATM's are or write a check for over the amount and get cash.

Bi-weekly Mortgage
Many people say it is a good idea to pay bi-weekly on your mortgage to reduce the principle faster. Unfortunately, some places will charge you a fee for this; check with your mortgage loaner first before you start this process.
Alternative: Add more to your monthly bill

Paper Statement
Some companies will charge you an extra couple of dollars for sending out a paper statement or an extra statement via snail mail.
Alternative: Find out if you can view and print bills online

Mostly TV companies, some phone companies as well, will charge for changing service packages.
Alternative: Find out if you can get it waived or get half off

Over limit/Late fees
These are the killers, because they are 15-40 dollars a piece.
Alternative: Make sure you know where you stand in relation to the limit of your credit card. Try calling to get the fee removed
Note: I was three days late on a payment and called up to get the fee removed by being pleasant and giving the facts. It took all of 4 minutes.

Medical Access/Admin
This is something that should be challenged if you see this on the bill as it should be included in with the billing to the insurance company

Medical Records
Check your state fee limits to see if you are being overcharged for these, they are rarely above a dollar a page. Also make sure you clarify what exactly you need as they will give it all to you and you will have to pay for it all.

1. If you have been booted off of a freecycle group for a rule that you weren't aware of…
2. If you have been booted off of freecycle because you didn't post your request or offer exactly right…
3. If you have walked away from freecycle because people have broken rules by selling the items they get…
4. If you have walked away from freecycle because your area has gotten too large to manage...

There is now an alternative out there that is more like the way freecycle was when it was young: The ReUseIt Network

My Mom is part of a few freecycle groups in Iowa as a way to help out different internationals in our hometown (Isn't she cool!) and she received a notice from one moderator who let the group know that they were fed up with the freecycle rules and finickiness by moving over to the ReUseIt Network:

"We are Iowans… firm believers in recycling, and reducing our human footprint in todays world. Thats what we gonna do here.. with no one but us as a group to decide how we want to do things… Lets get back to our main goal. That's recycling!"

Now signing up for this network won't mean that people will show up when they say they will or that greed will go away. But it is, currently, a smaller group (my group has 5 people in it) that allows you to get to know people a bit quicker.

There are also groups for UK, Australia, Canada and other regions as well.

From the ReUseIt About Page:
Find and join your local group to start reducing clutter in your space and helping someone else acquire what they are looking for! Simply list the item that you wish to give away and wait for someone to respond saying that he or she is interested in taking the item. Some people like to wait 24 hours before selecting the person to whom the item will be given. Others simply go with the first person who answers. How you choose is up to you.

Items don't have to be in pristine condition, and in some cases can be non-working. Some people like to tinker with the odd appliance, refinish furniture, or need a part to make something work. You may have just what they are looking for! This is a great opportunity to offer or ask for things that may be out of date, out of style, or out of circulation. We do ask that you be honest and up-front about the condition of all items offered.

There you go, an alternative to freecycle that you may not know about — The ReUseIt Network. Link also available on the right hand column under "Free Classifieds

The total time for this 6 part on different tightwads is just under an hour, but it was interesting to see the fine line between a tightwad and someone who was a hoarder.
Below you will find the video in 6 parts, the first 3/4 parts are interesting as they delve into why they are tightwads and how they are tightwads. Enjoy!






Part 6

I was walking into the store recently and a guy was dumping into one of the coin counter vending machines, a plastic bin full of rolled quarters, nickles, dimes and pennies. As I was walking by, he asked me if I wanted to buy some from him, I declined. I suggested that the bank might want to take them, but he declined saying he didn't want to wait for them to open up.

I happened to be behind him when he turned in his slip to get his money. What did he get? 342.00. Since that machine takes 9¢ to every dollar, he lost over 30.00 dollars due to his impatience for the bank to open. Money that he could have had for food, bills or gas.

We complain because companies nickel and dime us to death, but don't search out our own finances to find hidden expenses that are causing us to come up short. If you feel like your belt is tightened to what you can stand, you may be surprised at how much more you can handle and it may do some good.

Have you looked inside your home?
> Written down every penny you spend?
> Removed luxuries? (cable tv to locals only, Phone extras)
> Stopped eating out? Taken your lunch to work?
> Found ways to make what you have last longer or reuse in other ways?
> Removed excess junk food from your life?
> Taken to drinking more water?
> Sold everything that you can part with?
> Moved the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter?
> Turned off lights in the house?
> Unplugged items that are using electricity?
> Used coupons? (remember nickels and dimes)

Have you looked outside your home?
* Gone to thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets?
*Bartered for a lower price?
*Found rebates to the items you do buy?
*Worked on your discipline to say "NO!" to buying unnecessary things?
*Checked around to see if the item can be borrowed?
*Searched curbside and dumpsters for thrown away items you can use?

What other areas could look inside and outside your home to nickel and dime yourself?

Natural ways to remove odors or cut down on them; because you don't want a face like this when you come into your home.

¦ Homemade Air freshener 1- Check your cupboard for clove oil, lemon extract, peppermint or vanilla extract. Soak a cotton ball with what you want to use and place it in a plastic bag or container with holes and place in the smelly room.
¦ Homemade Air freshener 2- Boil your orange or lemon peels in water and let stand. Bake some cookies,bread or brownies.

¦ Extra Teabags- Break open a teabag and pour the contents into the vacuum bag to make the house smell good. Best to do over the carpet so you can vacuum the mess {wink}

¦ Reduce smoker odor- Besides banning them to the garage or patio, also put some kitty litter or baking soda at the bottom of the ashtray to extinguish their cigar/cigarette in.

¦ Mildew in the Basement- If you don't have money for a de-humidifier, try activated charcoal (carbon) that can be bought at the pet store or home fix-up store.

¦ Fridge Smells- Besides cleaning out the fridge on a regular basis to rid yourself of unexpected science projects, also try activated charcoal in an open container- this works longer than baking soda

¦ Musty Suitcase - Before you use the suitcases to store last season's clothes, air it out.
-Leave open in the Sun
-Use a Fabric sheet
-Crumple up newspapers to absorb smell

¦ Urine Stains- Blot up (if still wet), clean with an enzyme based product, sprinkle on baking soda over the area and leave for an hour and vacuum up.

Other Home Remedies:

Air Fresheners, Matchsticks and Bathrooms
Home Remedy and Repair Ideas

As I read through Mary Hunt's Debt Proof Living book, I found what she called some basic principle of "Debt-Proof Living" to be good common sense and ideas that sometimes we forget from time to time.

In no particular order:
** You must never spend it all- Make sure you pay yourself first, even if it is $5 a paycheck. That $5 is less money wasted, money for a rainy day or an emergency.

** Pay Cash- Paying cash keeps you focused on where your money is going. Personally I pay with a check so I can keep better track of things, but the whole point is to be aware of your money and the value of what you buy and what you have left.

** Pay in full now or pay twice later - When you have the money to buy something with the money you have on hand; you are the owner of that item and it has value to you, But when you put the item on a credit card, you end up paying more than it is worth and in a sense, because you are still paying on it to the credit card company and you don't own it, they own it.

** No Debt - Unsecured debt is like a cancer, Mary says. At first it seems small and non-threatening, but it grows and grows until the debt overwhelms us and controls our lives. So eliminate the small things before they grow larger and harder to deal with. Procrastination has no place when it comes to debt.

** Living without debt is tantamount to a tax-free increase - When you don't have debt, you have extra money in your pocket, the money belongs to you and not the credit company. You aren't paying interest on money that is someone else's, instead you have others pay YOU interest on YOUR money.

** Develop a strategy - Make a plan for yourself, what are your goals? Write them down so you can see them on paper. Start with small steps, the feeling of accomplishment will grow so you can undertake larger issues. As you see your goals being attained, your will power will go stronger. A written plan allow you to see where you are headed and what you have accomplished so far.

** More money is not always the answer- It is understandable that if you have removed all the luxuries and the wants from your life to attain a goal and still can't cover the needs, additional money may be necessary. But before you start working another job or aiming for a better raise; Are you able to manage the money you already have or is that extra money going to prolong your debt as well?

Make sure you are living beneath your means as best as possible, that way the extra money is not a temptation to spend, but to invest or pay down debt.

** It's not how much you make, but what you do with it - How many times have we heard of large donations to places based on the meager salaries of teachers? And on the other hand, hearing about millionaires spend all their money and being broke and in debt? Your quality of life is going to be determined by you. No one else can tell you how tight your budget belt must be or what to buy, cause only you live your life.

** You must never keep it all - Money flows into your life through many ways; call it good luck, hard work or a higher power, but you must give some away. Nothing beats power of helping others with our money and time.

There is nothing better than picking up something that someone else has tossed as un-useful and finding a good use for it. Ok, maybe also the fact that it is paid for (or free).

Embracing the Thrift-Store Ethic: 18 Top Tips for Buying Used Clothes - My personal favorites are numbers 4,5, 12,13 and 18.

A new batch of bloggers - The thrifty chicks put together their list of 35 ways to make thrift shopping a routine and I am a fan of number #19 -- "Some cheaters attempt to hide merchandise in hopes they can grab it later at an upcoming half price sale. That’s one reason to poke and prod the shelves, which leads to the next item."

And along that same vein of thrift store buying a question pops up; "Are Thrifty Store Shoes Safe to Wear?" - Personally for me, I don't pick up shoes unless they look really, really new. For instance I bought a brand new pair of flip-flops but when I got home I still tossed them in the washing machine.

HE TURNS TIN CANS INTO MONEY (Apr, 1956) - It funny to see the light bulb go off and the expressions at times when people think of these cool ideas and then realize that others have been doing it for years.

The Culture of Throwing Away Anything Not Perfect - I've always had a bit of the same fear, what if the person who trashed this stuff comes to their senses and realizes that they can re-use it or fix it and wants this tossed item back? Hmm, maybe this could be rule 12 of dumpster diving; Be willing to give it back.

"People are very worried about this winter," said Ann Heidenreich, executive director of the nonprofit Community Energy Services in Canton, New York. "We're not going to deal with all that needs to be done, there's no way. We're going to have to deal with emergencies this winter."
U.S. anxiety about staying warm this winter spreads -USA Today

My mom always told us kids that "heat rises" this was an answer to any statement that inferred I was cold; and I would need to put on slippers, sweater or a hat to stay warm if I didn't want to lose that internal body heat.

All three items that when put together make you very toasty in your home in a matter of minutes. And as I write this I realize I am bouncing my legs up and down to keep warm and should really take mom's advice and go put on my fuzzy slippers and maybe even a robe or sweatshirt.

Putting on layers is the easiest way to warm your core up and save money, also don't forget the hands and feet as well.

The Free Stuff:

1. Set your thermostat at 68. If you can go lower, do it. Right now we have the it as low at 66 before we start to feel the cold. When you turn on the heat or cool down the house, just use only what is needed. Slowly drop or increase the temperature as needed, large changes in temperature is wasteful

2. Wear layers. This means wearing long sleeves and no shorts around the house; make sure you make use of that robe you got for Christmas last year and wear your socks or slippers around so you don't lose body heat. Put on a hat or throw that ugly scarf around your neck.

3. Drink warm liquids. One of the quickest ways to warm up is to heat up your insides by drinking warm water, milk, tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

4. Use the drapes to your advantage. My partner likes to tie back the curtains to let the sunlight and heat in, but the minute the sun starts to go down, I go around and let the drapes close to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

5. Use your stove. A little bit of oven heat can go a long way to warm up a room, so have the oven due double duty for baking and heating your home

6. Wash and dry your clothes. Whether you use a machine to dry or an indoor line, the heat from the dryer and the humidity from line drying can assist in keeping the house warm

7. Keep your bathroom door open. Keep your door open while you shower, if this is possible, to let the warm steam out into your home as a heating assistant.

8. Close up your fireplace. If you aren't using the fireplace to heat your home, make sure the damper is closed so that warm air is not escaping up and out of your home.

9. Close the door. Keep the doors to bathrooms, bedrooms, basements closed when you aren't in them to keep the heat in your main living area. The smaller area you have to heat the quicker it will warm up.

10. Roll up towels. In my home I have rolled up a towel and placed it at the bottom of the front door to keep the wind from howling through and cold air from escaping. Don't forget to use it for window sills as well.

11. Cover up your window air conditioner. If you can't take the a/c out of your window, make sure that you have sealed it up well in the window and covered the vents so no cold air gets in.

12. Home-made heating sock. Fill a sock with rice or wheat, tie up the end, heat in the microwave for a few seconds, and use it as a heating pad.

Costly Stuff:

13. Plastic wrap your home. You can buy plastic window covering to go up on the inside of your windows and keep the heat in.

14. Install a ceiling fan. This can be helpful to circulate the hot air that rises, down with the cooler air you walk around in.

15. Wrap yourself up. Electric throws (like small electric blankets) can keep you warm enough that the heat can be off completely in the room. Think about it as really concentrating your utility use to just your body. And don't forget to turn it off.

16. Replace your weather stripping. The minimal amount it takes to repair in comparison to the savings will be well worth it. If it is old and cracked or coming off, it's time to replace.

17. Feel your electrical outlets. In older houses, they often leak cold air. Most home improvement stores sell inexpensive covers that easily attach behind the cover plate to block the cold.

18. Insulate your attic. No need for the hot air to move up and out of your home through the attic. Keep it where you need it most.

19. Plant trees for cover. Though trees can be a barrier to much needed sunshine, also consider them as a wall against cold howling winds.

20. Replace old windows. This is an expensive investment but if you are getting ice forming in the corners of your windows, the investment may be worth it in the long run