Friday, January 14, 2011

Creative Money

Creative money? Well, yes...it's more fun if you're creative in saving a few buck$. Since I'm going for a blog that isn't only interesting to me I thought I'd try something new. Sometimes it's nice to be able to share tips and therefore be helpful to others. Much as my sister, Jac(queline), and I call each other quite often to share bargains and ideas, I'd like to extend this assistance to those who may profit from what I've learned.

These are random things that I have done within the past year in an effort to economize:

Get rid of Dish Network: Am I the only one who has noticed how their package prices keep going up even as they provide us with FREE upgrades (channels we don't want, DVR, HD, etc.)? I woke up one day and realized that we just don't need it. Did we use it? You betcha! But I've found, as they say, a workaround...and it's truly FREE.
  1. Ease into this while you still have Dish and before long you be viewing most/all of your regular programs as well as some you didn't even know existed.
  2. Go to www.hulu.com and sign up for a FREE account.
  3. Browse around for the shows you watch now and for classics you have forgotten.
  4. Set up a queue of these programs and subscribe to the ones you want to added automatically...they even email when they've added programs to your queue.
  5. Hook your laptop up to your regular television (I use an HDMI cable which provides HD video and sound). Set your Windows mobility settings (Control Panel) to share (mirror) your display and to 'presentation'.
  6. Viola! You now have HD television at no charge. My surround system works fine too!
Just to give you an idea of what programs I keep up with, here is a partial list:
  • Lie to Me
  • Mentalist
  • CSI
  • Medium (Hulu actually sends you to the official CBS site for this one)
  • House (although I stopped watching this when they dissed Catholics more and more often).
  • Burn Notice
  • Dog Whisperer
  • The Practice
  • Lifetime Movies
I don't actually watch every episode (who has that much time) but you get the idea. There are
also many wildly popular shows that I personally don't care for but they are available as well:
  • Glee
  • Gray's Anatomy
  • Family Guy
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • and many more
One of the bigger bonuses for me was that you can find all sorts of 'retro' shows for your family to watch. Some of our favorites include:

  • Mr. Ed - yes, the talking horse ;-)
  • Madeline - what little girl wouldn't love this one?
  • Woody the Woodpecker and Chili Willie
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
If you're tired of the overly animated 'tweens who 'grace' the shows on Disney, Nickelodian and such, or the overly hyper 'cartoons' of today these are welcome options. This is especially true when you have young children. You can also set your little ones down, wherever you are, and let them watch on the laptop - since it's portable. This keeps them in sight but content and not as disruptive.

Fire Starter: This next tip works if you use a shredder - either
for privacy or a home office. I line our shredder with plastic grocery bags to collect the shredded paper. When a bag is full I pull it out, tie a knot with the 'handles' and then use this as a fireplace starter. The little tied 'handles' make the perfect starter and the blaze just goes up from there. For less seasoned wood use a little bit of Wesson oil either on the bag or on the wood to keep it going until the wood is burning well (thanks, Alton Brown). Simply stack
under your logs and you're all set for a toasty fire blazing on those cold winter days/nights. Your privacy is preserved and you've reused paper all at the same time.

Rocks: And on to the exotic - my husband has been known to consume a little bit of whiskey 'on the rocks' occasionally and recently found actual granite rocks for sale at an upscale website. Being the country boy that he is, he immediately went outside to our pea gravel walkway and
chose some pretty granite rocks. After popping them into the freezer for a while he placed them in his highball glass and topped it off with a bit of Four Roses. Since rocks are great at retaining both heat or cold (remember how snakes always sun themselves on rocks) this was a novel win-win situation! PLUS no water to dilute that whiskey ;-)

That's all for now but I'll probably revisit this theme from time to time. I'm always learning from other bloggers and have recently come across several that give up-to-date freebie and coupon news. I'll probably share their links with you soon. God bless!