Category Archives: Money saving tips

Walmart Soapbox

Walmart weLet's Dissect this quote: lfare bernie sandersI have not posted to Rural Mom of 3 in a while but I saw this quote and decided that I needed to explain it to people who may not understand what Bernie Sanders is saying – well, at least explain how I understand it anyway.  I rarely shop at Walmart.  The main reason is that I follow produce.  If the produce goes bad within a day or so and I’m not at a farmer’s market, I would prefer not to spend my money there.  I also don’t like Walmart because the more I read about the corporation, the more I find their business practices to be less than reputable.

Let’s dissect this quote

  “Not only is the Walton family the wealthiest family in America. . .”

Sam Walton and his relatives who are shareholders of the Walmart Corporation have the most money in all the family owned corporations in America.  This doesn’t mean that Sam is the wealthiest man in America.  There are individuals out there who may be richer.  But the Walton family, collectively, are richer than any other corporation family in the exact same business set-up.  Make sense?

“middle class Americans are subsidizing Walmart’s employees whose wages are so low that many of them need food stamps. . .  “

What this means is that customers who shop at Walmart are not actually getting the least expensive groceries in their town like they are told to believe.  “But my grocery receipt is less when I go there.”, says Julie Homemaker.  Let me explain:  If employees of Walmart do not get paid enough to take care of their basic necessities with their paycheck, they must go and ask for public assistance.  Where does the government get the money for public assistance??  They take it out of all of our paychecks, pool it together and hand it out in the form of food stamps and Medicaid!!  So, that $2 milk at Walmart is actually costing you more than $2- I would guess it is costing you similarly to the price of milk at your local mom and pop store that is locally owned,  who hires high school kids and retired folks along with that one full time employee who loves it there.  So you are paying less at the store but as the number of qualifiers of food stamps goes up your paycheck will go down to help foot the bill.

So, in my reality:  You pay the same for your milk at Walmart as you do anywhere else.  And while you’re there getting your milk, you pick up a new pair of jeans for you boy that are manufactured to a lower standard than the same brand of jeans you would spend a few dollars more for at a different store who has higher quality standards and then wonder why the knees wore out 2 weeks after you bought them.  (I’m sure that is probably a run-on sentence- my apologies!)

Please comment on this post!  I want to hear what you think!!

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Freezer door won’t seal?

We had a bad seal on our freezer (the one on the refrigerator) a while back.  It had come loose in places and was a great collector of mold and ice but didn’t seal.  I called the manufacturer and ordered a new seal.  When we finally got around to actually putting  the new seal into place, quite some time had passed (months, yes, really. . . . . .)

We discovered when taking the seal out of it’s packaging that it was bent/kinked just a little.  The  instructions told us not to worry about such things.  The instructions said to use a blow dryer to warm up the rubber and all would be well.  We did this and it all seemed good!  My husband very carefully replaced the old seal with this new one and reattached the freezer door.  Hmm??  Kink was still present and right at the side where it opens too!  I used the blow dryer again, for quite some time and it seemed to pop back into place. 

Over time that exact spot started gaping again.  Ice started collecting and every few days I was scraping ice from the freezer just to keep the opening the same size so the door would at least go where it was supposed to.  We hated to put more money into another seal and my husband joked about putting a fastener of some type (probably one that used to be used to keep a pasture gate closed or a chicken coop latch LOL) on the door to keep it shut tight. 

I got tired of scraping ice one day and decided that perhaps duct tape would keep the door shut tight enough to force that seal against the opening of the freezer.  I got out about a 10 inch piece and pushed in on the door to make sure the seal was touching really good (squished, even).  I slapped that duct tape into place and for the last few weeks it has been our freezer latch!  Now, I know this sounds a little rednecky okay, a lot rednecky  but hey it was working and I’m sure saving our electricity bill quite a bit!!

My husband and I noticed something strange today. . . . . . The duct tape, that had been removed and replaced numerous times, was no longer very sticky but. . . . . . . .the door’s seal was now where it was supposed to be!!

Yet another miracle use for duct tape!  Praise the Lord!!!!

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Dumb and Dumber

Yesterday I took the kids and went to town to run errands.  It grew later than I had expected and so I decided to drop by one of the many fast food chains and get us all a snack to tide us over until we got home to the ribs I had on low in the oven. 

I pulled up to the drive through thingy and noticed that Icees were cheaper than soda- 1.29 vs 1.59!!  I also saw that fries and onion rings were a buck.  So I ordered, and I quote, “I need 2 small fries, 2 small onion rings, 2 small orange Icees, and 2 small Coke Icees.  Oh, and some ketchup packets.”  The voice on the other end said, “that will be 12.49” (it was something more than 12 anyway)

You all do the math here:

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.29

1.29

1.29

1.29

Should equal 9.16  plus tax. 

So, I say to the voice, “are you sure that’s right?” 

The voice repeats my order back to me just like I had given it to her. 

 I then say, “for 4 dollar items and 4 1.29 items?” 

The voice then says, “you ordered smalls not value menu” 

I say, “what’s the difference?”

The voice answers rather sarcastically as if I’m the idiot, “The size and price!”

You dork!  I know it’s the size and price but WHAT IS THE SIZE DIFFERENCE AND PRICE DIFFERENCE??????  (I said the capitalized stuff in my head, Really)

I then say to the voice, “I realize that.  What is the difference in price?”

She then rudely explains to me that smalls are actually larger than value sized items and I tell her to change the entire order to value size items. 

Lessons learned-

  1. Assume the entire world is stupid! (not really but come on!!!)
  2. Never assume that small might actually be the smallest size available. 
  3.  Apparently small is now the new medium.
  4. Ask LOTS and LOTS of questions before placing any order with anyone- you never know what you might get or how much it might cost you!!

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Tip for Bread Pudding

I made muffins the other day and no one seemed to be eating them so I decided that I needed to do something with them before they got moldy.  I made bread pudding with them!!!  It turned out, even!

These particular muffins were the raisin bran muffins – the ones you can store the batter in the fridge for several weeks and use as needed.  I did not have quite enough for the recipe so I added enough regular bread to make it work.

Not bad!

What odd tips do you have today?

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More electricity saving tips

I noticed that our electric company auditor left some brochures on my table.    They were full of more tips!!  A couple of points of interest in them were:

  1. If every household in the USA raised air conditioning temperatures by 6 degrees, we’d save the equivalent of 190,000 barrels of oil ever day!
  2. 15% of residential energy is used for heating water
  3. Another 15% goes for refrigerators and freezers
  4. 24% goes into lighting, cooking, and running appliances

The Touchstone Energy Cooperative websites are full of more tips for you on how to make your homes more efficient and spend less money.  You can find them at www.touchstoneenergy.coop or www.tsesavers.coop

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#18 Have a consumer audit done by your electric company

Today we spent several hours with a representative of our local electric company co-op as he went through our house from top to bottom looking for ways to help us save money on our electricity.   He used the new infrared camera to detect cold spots (leaks) in our walls where there is little or no insulation.  He used a smoke stick (no actual smoke was used) to detect air movement around/near windows, outlets, etc.  He inspected our duct work, our attic, etc. and gave us tips on what we can do to make things run more efficiently.  His official report and recommendations will come in the mail at a later time but here are a few things I remember:

  1. seal up the joints (where one piece of duct work hooks to another) in your duct work.  And duct tape is NOT good enough.  There is special tape and a paint- on substance (whose name has left me) to use for that.
  2. seal up air leaks around door frames with non-expanding spray foam.
  3. leaks around your foundation can be sealed with expanding spray foam
  4. make sure your exhaust fan duct work is in proper shape (he discovered that ours was broke- this let cold air come right into the house and exhausted the shower steam into the crawl space rather than outside)
  5. make sure your dryer vent has a flap at it’s exit.  This keeps air out when not in use (and keeps small creatures like kittens out of your dryer vent too! lol)
  6. Fluorescent light bulbs should last for more than a year (2-3 years is good).  If they do not, there may be an electrical problem in your wiring.
  7. Good duct work has close to equal balance between cold air returns and heat registers.  If there’s not enough air coming in to your furnace (from the cold air return), there won’t be much air coming out (the heated air through your register).  Like trying to breathe with a stuffy nose.  This restricts the speed the hot air can travel at, which makes it hard to heat areas furthest from your furnace.
  8. Furnace Filters and traditional “pink panther” insulation are made of basically the same stuff.  Air flows through your filter and so it will flow through your insulation as well. 
  9. When getting quotes for insulation from contractors or installers.  Don’t just compare price.  Compare the number of  bags of insulation they plan to use.  Often times what appears more expensive, might actually be a better insulation job instead.
  10. When trying to increase your homes efficiency, look at the pay back.  How quickly an improvement will pay for itself.  If you can’t afford to fix everything, start with the improvements that will pay for themselves the fastest.

Hope you find this helpful!

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