Ways To Decrease Your Energy Bill This Winter

Ways To Decrease Your Energy Bill This Winter | Money Savvy Living


The leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and everything is being flavored with pumpkin spice. Why? Because winter is just around the corner.


Wintertime often evokes charming images of snow-covered mountains, holiday cheer, and warm hot chocolate by a fireside. Unfortunately, however, winter also delivers to homeowners a not-so-pleasant gift: an increased energy bill.


The last thing any homeowner wants is to worry about an expensive energy bill when he or she is already stressed about purchasing gifts for the entire family. After all, the holidays are supposed to be about giving, togetherness and relaxation, right? So give yourself one less thing to worry about this winter season and use these ways to decrease your energy bill this winter (so you can even afford to buy your sister’s coworker’s daughter’s dog the perfect gift).


Be Mindful of Unnecessary Electricity Use (And Peak Hours): You don’t have to be an energy-efficient guru to reduce your winter electricity bill, you just have to start with a few small tasks. Although it might be hard to get used to, try unplugging all devices that you do not actively use (i.e.  toaster, blender,  curling iron, etc.). These things can add up and will eventually increase your energy bill overtime. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that unused, but plugged in, devices waste over 100 billion kilowatt hours per year. So think again before deciding to leave your cell phone charging all night. It is also important to note that there are peak hours in the day where electricity is at its most expensive. Power companies charge more for electricity during these peak hours, usually between 6am to 10am and 3pm to 9pm, due to the fact that these are times when most homeowners are running their dishwashers, doing laundry and blasting their heaters. If you have a flexible schedule, consider changing the times you use the most energy to cut down on costs.


Lower Your Thermostat 2 Degrees: It can be tempting to crank up your heater to 80 degrees on those cold winter nights, but little do you know, wasting that heat is costing you a fortune. Consider setting your thermostat a few degrees below comfortable and add an extra blanket to your bed. Turning your heater down just two degrees, if you are running your heater for the majority of the day, can save you up to $180 per year.


Install A Tankless Water Heater: Traditional electric water heaters account for up to 11 percent of a homeowner’s total energy bill. They keep a tank full of water heated at all times, which is a big waste, especially for homeowners who spend most of their days at the office. A tankless water heater warms up water on demand and only as needed, which can save you the cost of having to keep 40 to 50 gallons of water consistently hot. A tankless heater typically uses 30 to 50 percent less energy than a traditional water heater and operates solely on natural gas. Another advantage of a tankless water heater is that it will provide a continuous flow of hot water. This means, if you want to reward your long day with 45 minute shower, go for it! While the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is more expensive, it is sure to keep your energy bill low for years to come.


Go Low-Flow: Installing “low-flow” appliances, such as sinks and showerheads, is another great way to keep your energy bill low during wintertime and beyond. Although the words “low-flow” don’t sound terribly appealing, most homeowners report that after a while, they barely notice a difference. Since low-flow appliances require less water, less energy is required to heat that water, ultimately saving you energy and money. A great tip to save you even more money is to insulate your water tank and then set the thermostat two degrees cooler. Because of the insulation, you won’t be able to tell the water is actually colder.


Although winter is still a few months away, it is never too early to start taking the steps that will lead you to a cheaper energy bill.


If you liked these great tips, you can also check out other articles that Than has contributed to Money Savvy Living:

Technology has made Buying a Home Easier for Millennials | Money Savvy Living

Technology has Made it Easier Than Ever for Millennials to Find Their Dream Home


*This guest post was contributed by Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders, former NFL player, author, and businessman.

Than MerrillBio: Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders, is one of the most successful real estate investors in the nation. As a graduate of Yale University and a former NFL player, Than attributes his success in sports, business, and investing to coaching and education. Than exhibited his real estate prowess as he starred on A&E’s Flip This House, is a highly sought after speaker, and bestselling Amazon author of “The Real Estate Wholesaling Bible.”  Merrill is also active in philanthropic efforts and started a non-profit charity, with his wife Cindy, called Equal Footing Foundation. In addition to his own charity, Merrill spearheaded the creation of FortuneBuilders Gives; the company’s philanthropic initiative to provide opportunities for employees and students to give back to their communities.

Connect with Than on social media:  Website \\  Twitter  \\  Google+  \\ LinkedIn

Save Money by Choosing Green Options

The following is a guest post from Bryn Huntpalmer, editor-in-chief at Modernize.com.


Save Money by Going Green | Money Savvy Living


Taking care of Mother Earth is certainly important. At Modernize, we’ve found that green practices tend to save money, which motivates us even more to live eco-conscious lifestyles. Here are a few simple changes that will reduce waste and help save you some green.


Upgrade Paper Products

It’s tempting to order pizza and serve it on paper plates or napkins, but convenience comes at a price. Paper, plastic, and Styrofoam products are typically produced with nonrenewable resources, which can be incredibly detrimental to the environment.


Stop this waste by using your actual dishes as much as possible. We suggest finding colorful plates you’ll be excited to use and keep clean. You won’t have to spend money on buying paper or plastic goods when you run out, which will save you money in the long run.


Paper towels are another household go-to, however, switching to cloth napkins or reusable paper towels can save you some major bucks. Just think about how much money you could save by purchasing paper towels less frequently. You may think you’ll be overwhelmed with laundry, but these cloth napkins and towels are small enough to throw into nearly every load.


Save Money by Going Green | Money Savvy Living

Grow Your Own Garden

Let’s face it: spices, herbs, and produce are expensive. If you love that organic, fresh taste (who doesn’t?), then cut costs on delicious seasonings and fresh vegetables by growing them yourself. You can recycle tea tins, canisters, mason jars, and more to create planters. Set them up in your kitchen near natural light, or start your own backyard garden.


With options to grow everything from basil to oregano, berries, green beans, and more, you can save a ton of money on natural, healthy foods. Planting your own garden is great for the environment, too.


Save Money by Going Green | Money Savvy Living

Commute Smarter

If you have a great group of friends at work, school, or church, it’s a smart idea to start a carpool. When you split the cost of gas, oil changes, and tolls, you can save a lot of money on your commuting costs. Carpooling even has advantages like being able to use the HOV lane, or sometimes enjoying reserved parking spots up front.


Vehicle exhaust is a huge pollutant and damages the ozone every day. Reducing the amount of vehicles on the road means cutting back on pollution, too. So, if you can walk or ride your bike instead of jumping in the driver’s seat, choose this energy-saving option to save money and help the environment.


These are a few ideas to get you started, but you’ll have opportunities to make eco-friendly decisions every day. If you’re getting rid of old furniture, ask yourself if it could be upcycled. Consider donating unwanted items to charity or thrift stores to grab a tax deduction instead of throwing them away. Decisions like that may seem small, but they will save you money over time—and protect the environment, too!


Bryn Huntpalmer

Bryn Huntpalmer lives in Austin, Texas where she currently works as editor-in-chief of Modernize.com with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.


The Launch of Moneyworks: Customized Money-Saving Android App

MoneyWorks | Money Savvy LivingMoneyworks is an Android App on Google Play that you can download to help you save money. Of course, there are several money-saving apps out there, but this one is a bit different.


Instead of searching for any and all random coupons or deals in your area, Moneyworks will actually analyze your buying history from credit card purchases to find deals/savings that are customized to you and your purchase habits.




Moneyworks has an extensive network of retailers, from which it will search and find deals on items that you might like. Because this app analyzes your previous purchases, it will send those specific savings to you, so you don’t miss out on a deal just because you didn’t search specifically for an item.


Major retailers that Moneyworks searches for deals: Groupon, Yelp, Living Social

Launch of MoneyWorks  App | Money Savvy Living

This app is now available– download this free app today to start receiving your customized savings.


*This is a sponsored post




5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale

5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale

Getting ready for a garage sale can be a huge undertaking. It actually takes a lot of time and energy preparing and planning. So you don’t want to waste your time putting a great garage sale together, and then not make any money from it. So here are some tips to help you maximize your efforts and make as much money as possible.


5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale // Money Savvy Living #yardsale #garagesale #summer #money


Participate in community garage sale days

The absolute best time to have your garage sale is during the days that your community has set aside as designated garage sale days. Typically, communities notify local newspapers of community events, such as garage sale days, so a lot of people will be anticipating the event and are probably planning to attend, so this is your best opportunity to get the most traffic through your garage sale. I know that if I’m going to spend time going to garage sales, I want to be able to make the most of my time and get to as many as possible. Of course, you can have a garage sale any time, but the turnout may not be as good.

If your community doesn’t have garage sale days, then it would also be advantageous to have a your own garage sale while other community events are going on, such as a fair or festival, that may draw a crowd to your community—more cars driving by, more potential for people to stop by your garage sale.

Another option would be to get together with a few of your neighbors and have your own multi-family garage sale days. Several households having garage sales is more appealing to attenders, so this may help draw a bigger crowd as well.


Market your goods

5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale | Money Savvy Living

It can be very helpful to give people an idea of what kinds of goods are at your garage sale by putting a sign out highlighting what types of items you have the most of. When I have a garage sale, I put a sign out in my yard with some of the items that I think will be more sought-after, in order to draw more people in. For example, I list some of the major components of my garage sale: baby items, boy clothes (sizes 12 mos – 3T), maternity, household goods.


Be prepared

If your community has annual garage sale days, and you have participated before, you know that garage sale-goers are early risers. The early bird gets the worm, right? In this case, the early bird can swoop up the best deals. If you open up a half-hour or hour before other garage sales, you have the opportunity to get some of the early garage-salers before they stop at other garage sales—giving yourself a better opportunity to make some early sales.

Besides being ready early, make sure that you have plenty of small bills and coins so that you can make change. This one may sound obvious, but I have been to garage sales before that couldn’t give me change for a $10. Guess what, they lost a sale—and you will too if you don’t have enough change to offer people who may want to buy your stuff. I suggest starting out with $50 in: a few $5’s, but mostly $1’s and quarters.


Organize the goods you are selling

5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale | Money savvy Living

Every year that I have a garage sale, I get comments on how organized my garage sale is. When I go to a garage sale, I know that I don’t want to sift through large boxes that have a bunch of clothes or toys just thrown in there. I figure if they didn’t bother to organize it, it must be junk—and not worth my time or money.

5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale | Money savvy Living

I organize tables by category: baby items, baby/toddler/kids clothes by size—separating boy and girl clothes, household, etc. I also have prices clearly marked on each item or by table. I always have some items out of the garage that are bigger items that may help to draw more people in: baby play pens, strollers, grills, etc. For bigger, nicer items that I want to get more money on, I put on hangers and display on racks so they can be seen easily. A little time to organize can go a long way in getting your stuff sold.


Sell refreshments

5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale | Money savvy Living

This is the part of the garage sale that my kids absolutely love, mainly because they get to keep the money that they make selling refreshments. This is such a great way for the kids to actually do something to earn some money during the summer too. And believe it or not, refreshments are a huge seller at a garage sale—especially if it is hot. We don’t make any of the refreshments, primarily because I wouldn’t personally buy anything that was homemade from a home that I wasn’t familiar with, so we opt to buy individual bags of chips, crackers, and cookies, cans of soda-pop, and bottles of water. We stock up on these items that we get from Sam’s Club, so that we can still sell them for a low price, but can also make a little bit of profit too. It is also a bit of summer math practice for my boys because they collect the money and make change for their customers.


Birthday Freebies: 105 Places to Get Free Stuff for Your Birthday

Birthday Freebies: 105 Places to get FREE Stuff for Your Birthday

We all love to get something special for our birthday, right?!  But you really can’t beat getting free stuff for your birthday… and there are tons of businesses that offer freebies for your birthday if you sign up for their birthday club.
Birthday Freebies: 105 Places to get FREE Stuff for Your Birthday // Money Savvy Living


We just celebrated our second-born son’s birthday this week—the big 7!  Of course the advent of a birthday in our house is a big deal for the kids.  They even get excited about my birthday and my husband’s birthday.  As adults, we are sort of lackluster about our own birthdays, because, well, we are just getting older.  But the kids are excited because they get to eat cake (which we really don’t have expect for birthdays).  And, of course, they still talk about how fun it was the year that daddy chose to go to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday—an obvious choice for an awesome dad.  THE. KIDS. LOVED. IT.  High-five to my hubby for that one.


Many retailers also join in the birthday fun.  If you sign up for that particular store or restaurant’s birthday club, or even if you have a store credit card, you can get free offers for your birthday.


Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Bob Evans: free kid’s meal for your child, when you enroll your child in the birthday club
  • Kohl’s: $10 to spend on a $10 purchase
  • Express: $10 to spend on a $10 purchase
  • The Limited: Discount offer during your birthday month
  • Ann Taylor: $15 to spend on a $15 purchase


In addition to my favorite birthday freebies, The Penny Hoarder has put together the ultimate list of 100 Places That Will Give You Free Stuff on Your Birthday. Check out their list for more great opportunities to get freebies for your birthday:


  1. A&W All American Food – Get a free root beer float on your birthday by joining the Mug Club.
  2. Ace Hardware – Receive a free $5 off coupon when you join Ace Rewards.
  3. AMF Bowling – Get xsome free bowling by signing up with the AMF Pinsiders Club.
  4. Applebees –  Sign up for their Email Club and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  5. Arby’s – Get a free milkshake on your birthday when you register with Arby’s.
  6. Atlanta Bread Company – Get a free cookie on your birthday when you join their Loyalty Program.
  7. Au Bon Pain – Join their eClub and get a free birthday lunch.
  8. Auntie Anne’s – Sign up for Pretzel Perks and get a free pretzel on your birthday.
  9. Aveda – Receive a birthday gift valued at $20 when you  join Aveda’s Rewards Program.
  10. Bare Escentuals – Join the Friends and Benefits Program and they’ll send you a gift on your birthday.
  11. Barnes and Noble (Kids) – Sign up for the B&N Kids’ Club and your child gets a free cupcake on his/her birthday.
  12. Baskin Robbins – Join their Birthday Club and get free ice cream on your birthday.
  13. BD’s Mongolian Grill – Get a free entree on your birthday when you join Club Mongo.
  14. Benihana’s – Register for the Chef’s Table and they’ll send you a $30 birthday certificate.
  15. Bennigan’s – Receive a BOGO entree as well as a free dessert when you sign up for their  E-Club.
  16. Big Boy – Join their Email Club and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  17. Bonefish Grill – Become a  BFG Insider and get special offers on your birthday.
  18. Boston Market – Join the VIP Club and get a special birthday surprise.
  19. Buca di Beppo – You’ll receive a free pasta on your next visit as well as a $20 birthday gift for joining their eClub.
  20. Buffalo Wild Wings – Get a free birthday dessert when you join the Buffalo Circle.
  21. Captain D’s – Get a special offer on your birthday when you join  D’s Club.
  22. Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Join Carrabba’s Amici Club and get a free appetizer as well as a coupon for a BOGO Free entree.
  23. Chick fil a – Become an Email Insider and get a special birthday offer.
  24. Chili’s – Get free chips and guacamole when you join their  Email Club.
  25. Chuck E. Cheese – Join the Chuck E. Cheese Club and get free tokens to help celebrate your child’s birthday.
  26. Cinnabon – Subscribe to Club Cinnabon and get a special gift on your birthday.
  27. Cold Stone Creamery – Get a BOGO coupon for your birthday by signing up for the My Cold Stone Club.
  28. Country Buffet – Sign your child up for the  Birthday Kids Club and they’ll receive a free meal on their big day.
  29. Cracker Barrel – Go to Cracker Barrel on your birthday and get a free dessert.
  30. Culvers – Enjoy a free birthday treat when you sign up for the Culver’s eClub.
  31. CVS – Join the Beauty Club and get $3 Extracare bucks on your birthday.
  32. Dairy Queen – Receive a free Blizzard on your birthday by signing up for the Blizzard Fan Club.
  33. Dave & Busters – Sign up for Dave & Buster’s Rewards and get $10 in free game play.
  34. Denny’s- Stop by Denny’s and get a free Grand Slam on your birthday (with ID)!
  35. Disney Movie – Get 100 free points for your birthday when you sign up for Disney Movie Rewards.
  36. Don Pablo’s – Get a $10 gift card on your birthday when you become a Habaneros Member.
  37. Dunkin’ Donuts – Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program.
  38. Einstein Bros. Bagels – Get a free bagel on your birthday when you join the club.
  39. Firehouse Subs – Show up on your birthday and show ID for a free medium sub!
  40. First Watch – Get a free entree when you sign up for the Sun eClub.
  41. Friendly’s – When you become a Best Friends of Friendly’s  member, you’ll receive a free Happy Ending Sundae on your birthday.
  42. Fuddruckers – Get a special birthday offer when you join the Fudds Club.
  43. Great American Cookies – Join CookiE-mail and get a free cookie on your birthday.
  44. Hallmark – Get a free card and a coupon for 20% off one item when you become a Hallmark Crown Rewards member.
  45. Hard Rock Cafe – Sign up for Hard Rock Rewards are get free dessert on your birthday.
  46. Helzberg Diamonds – Request a catalog and sign up for email updates to receive a birthday surprise.
  47. Hooters –Join the Club and get free wings on your birthday.
  48. IHOP –  Sign up and receive a free stack of pancakes on your birthday!
  49. Jack in the Box –Register and receive a special offer on your birthday.
  50. Jersey Mike’s Subs – Get a free sub and drink when you sign up for their Email Club.
  51. Joe’s Crab Shack –  Register with Joe’s Crab Shack and receive a birthday treat.
  52. Kmart – When you sign your child up for the Birthday Club, they will receive a special gift pack as well as $5 in Birthday Bucks.
  53. Krispy Kreme – Join the e-Club and receive a free donut on your birthday.
  54. Longhorn Steakhouse – Create a My Longhorn account and get a free birthday treat.
  55. Macaroni Grill – Sign up for the Email Club and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  56. Maggie Moo’s – Sign up for MaggiE-mail and get a free birthday surprise.
  57. Marie Callender’s- Join the E-Club and get a free slice of pie and $5 off your check on your birthday.
  58. Medieval Times – Receive free admission when you join the Birthday Fellowship and the King’s Court
  59. The Melting Pot – Join Club Fondue and get a voucher for free chocolate fondue for two on your birthday.
  60. Moe’s Southwest Grill – Get a coupon for a free birthday burrito when you join their eWorld.
  61. Noodles & Company – Get a free dish on your birthday by joining their EClub.
  62. Not Your Average Joe’s – Get a free birthday surprise when you sign up for their Email Club.
  63. Olive Garden – Get a complimentary appetizer or dessert on your birthday by signing up for their eClub
  64. On the Border – Get a special birthday offer when you sign up for Club Cantina.
  65. Panda Express – Register to receive emails and get an exclusive offer on your birthday.
  66. Panera – Join MyPanera and get a free pastry on your birthday.
  67. Perkins – Get a free slice of pie on your birthday when you sign up for their E-club.
  68. P.F. Chang’s – Sign up for the Email List and get a free slice of cheesecake on your birthday.
  69. Pinkberry – Sign up for a Pinkcard and receive a free small yogurt on your birthday.
  70. Qdoba – Receive a special birthday gift when you register for their Rewards Program.
  71. RedBox – Get the Redbox Play Pass and receive a free birthday rental.
  72. Red Lobster – Receive a birthday surprise when you Join the Club.
  73. Red Robin – Register for their Rewards Program and get a free birthday burger.
  74. Rita’s Italian Ice – Sign up for their Birthday Club and get a free birthday treat.
  75. Ruby Tuesday –Sign up with Ruby Tuesday and score a free burger on your birthday.
  76. Sbarro – Get free pizza on your birthday by joining their e-Club.
  77. Sephora –Register with Sephora and receive a free gift on your birthday!
  78. Smashbox – Register for the Pretty Points Program and receive a free gift during your birthday month.
  79. Sonic – Create a My Sonic Profile and receive a special treat on your birthday.
  80. Sonny’s BBQ – Get a free Big Deal Meal on your big day by joining the ‘Q Crew.
  81. Souper Salad – Register for Souper Perks and get a free meal during your birthday week.
  82. The Spaghetti Warehouse – Join the Warehouse Club and get a free meal on your birthday.
  83. Starbucks – Get a free birthday drink by signing up for Starbucks Rewards.
  84. Steak ‘n Shake – Join the eClub and get a free menu item on your birthday.
  85. Subway – You’ll receive a free 6 inch sub and drink on your birthday when you join the Subway Eat Fresh Club.
  86. Swagbucks – Get 50 free Swagbucks on your birthday.
  87. TCBY – Join the TCBY eClub and receive special offers on your birthday.
  88. Texas Roadhouse – Sign up for their Email Club and get a birthday gift.
  89. TGI Friday’s – Join their Give Me More Stripes program and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  90. Tony Roma’s – Join the Roma Rib Expert Club and get a free entree on your birthday.
  91. Toys R Us – Join Rewards R Us and your child will receive a free card and gift every year until his/her 10th birthday.
  92. Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Join Club Tropical and get a special birthday offer.
  93. ULTA – Receive a free CK One mascara by signing up for their Loyalty Rewards Program.
  94. Uno Pizzeria & Grill – Join their Email Club and get a free entree on your birthday.
  95. Victoria’s Secret – Sign up for an Angel Card and get a birthday gift worth $10.
  96. Waffle House – Become a member of the Waffle House Regulars Club and receive a free waffle on your birthday.
  97. Wienerschnitzel – Join the Wiener Lovers Club and get a free coupon each year on your birthday.
  98. Wingstop – Get a free order of seasoned fries on your birthday when you sign up for their Email Club.
  99. Yogurt Mountain – Join the YOMO Club and get free yogurt on your birthday.
  100. Zaxby’s – Get a free Nibbler on your birthday by signing up for the Zaxby’s Email Club.

Birthday Freebies: 105 Places to get FREE Stuff for Your Birthday // Money Savvy Living

4 Smartphone Apps That Will Save You Money

4 Smartphone Apps that will Save You Money



If you love coupons, but hate having to search online for them and print them out, or rifle through the newspaper looking for them, there are four apps that you should definitely start using. I know that even if I have taken the time to clip coupons, I almost never have them handy when I need them. That is why I love these apps so much. No need to clip coupons—or keep track of them!  So before your next trip to the grocery store, out to eat, or to the mall, take a look at these apps and keep a bit more of your heard-earned money in your pocket.


Retail Me Not

retailmenot-logoRetail Me Not is a comprehensive app that offers current coupons for retailers ranging from beauty, to clothing, to automotive, to electronics, to food, to travel, and much more. You can sort by in-store or online coupons, even narrowing your search down to local retailers (locations services must be turned on your smartphone for this feature). Once you select a coupon, you are either given an online code to enter or a bar code for an in-store clerk to scan.


Checkout 51

checkout51logo_colourThis is a unique app for grocery coupons. Savings are updated weekly and you don’t even need to remember to show the cashier your smartphone to scan a bar code. This one is different in that all you have to do is take a picture of your grocery receipt with your smartphone, check the boxes for the offers that you are taking advantage of, and you are done.  Keep in mind, you won’t receive any actual money back from the coupons until your savings account balance reaches $20.

*I would suggest hanging on to your receipt until you receive the email that Checkout 51 has accepted it—photos must be clear and must include the entire receipt, so you may need to retake a picture if it doesn’t clearly show all items.



Target-Cartwheel-AppIf you are a Target shopper, you definitely need the Cartwheel app. Savings are updated often and you must go into the app and select the offers that you would like—be aware that you are limited to selecting only 10 offers at a time though. At the checkout, you simply show the cashier the bar code on your Cartwheel app and it will take off the coupon amount for any offers you have selected. You can also increase your savings by using a Target credit or debit card and save additional 5% on your entire purchase.


Snip Snap

snip snap logoSnip Snap also offers coupons for several types of retailers (much like Retail Me Not). This ranges from bar codes to scanned current print coupons. There is a rating for each offer as to how well it worked for other Snip Snap users. Honestly, I have never had any trouble using even the scanned coupons on here, but there is some feedback that certain retailers won’t accept the coupon in certain formats on here. If you don’t have another coupon though, it is worth a shot to save a little extra money though, right?