Browsing CategoryMoney Saving Tips

Here at Solutions, we love having a sparkling clean house, but don’t so much love the actual chores required! That’s why we’re always looking for “cheats” to make cleaning faster and easier. We’ve found that the fastest way to clean your house each week is to start with a cleaner house every day. Here are a few suggestions that can streamline housecleaning so you have more time for family, friends and hobbies.

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This spring I decided I was tired of all the mismatched planters on my deck. So, before I filled the pots with soil, I crafted a solution to my planter dilemma that was quick and cheap.

I didn’t want to replace my perfectly good pots so I decided to buy a can of dark brown spray paint. I sprayed a thin coat of paint on each pot, let it dry and repeated—until I had three full coats of paint.

As you can see from the picture above, the results were surprisingly good. Both the terra cotta and plastic pots coated well, albeit with slightly different shades of brown.

Did you know that 12% of food bought for U.S. households is discarded? That amount of food waste adds up: $600+ per year, per home, in wasted food costs. On a national level, the U.S. throws away almost 50% of the food we produce. To put this into prospective, New York City alone has an annual food surplus of about 50 million pounds.

Here’s a few tips on food storage that could help bring that wasted food bill down in your home.

Refrigeration:
Your refrigerator is the first place to start. Do you know what temperature it is inside your fridge? Fridge thermometers are cheap and easy to use. The optimal fridge temperature is between 40° – 37° degrees. Anything above 40° is a step closer to a danger zone where food can easily grow bacteria.

Surprisingly, the refrigerator door is the area in your fridge where the temperature fluctuates the most. Make sure you aren’t storing any perishable items like eggs or milk inside the door.

The more open space you leave inside your fridge, the better it will do it’s job. Cramming food into your fridge creates poor air flow—limiting your fridge’s cooling power.

Make sure to cool hot food before refrigerating. It should reach the 40° or below mark within 3 hours after being cooked. Food that needs to be frozen, however, doesn’t need to be cooled before being placed in the freezer, where it should reach 0° for optimal storage temperature.

The longer you store food in the freezer, the more likely you are to loose quality in taste. But you don’t risk your food spoiling as long as it stays at 0°.  Packaging food that will be frozen in multiple smaller containers is good practice. It allows each container to cool faster and helps prevent waste (from thawing too much food at once).  Ideally food should freeze within 2 hours after being cooked.

Quick Tips

  • Store meats on the bottom shelf and on a plate if there is concern of leakage
  • Separate fruits and vegetables. Gases from fruits may spoil vegetables faster or give an “off” taste.
  • Freeze fresh meats if they won’t be consumed within two days
  • Freeze food in smaller portions so you don’t thaw too much at once, frozen food should only be thawed once
  • If freezing soups or sauces, only fill the containers up 3/4 to leave room for expansion

Are you wondering if LED lights are really more efficient and less damaging to the environment than other household bulbs or devices?  The answer is “yes” to both.  The comparisons below are based on a higher-quality LED bulb, which could cost as much as $15—but the difference in energy consumption and lifespan clearly mark LED lights as a winning technology.

Energy efficient & maintenance free: LED-based devices are highly energy efficient. LED devices save up to 70% electricity, in comparison to conventionally lit devices. That’s equal to 10 -12 years of continuous operations.

Low power dissipation: LED devices offer high-energy efficiency, which means they emit less energy as heat dissipation, compared to conventional lighting.

Eco-friendly product: LED lights do not contain mercury like their counterparts, incandescent and fluorescents lights. Without poisons, these lights help to reduce toxic waste.


Quick Facts
Life Span (How long will the light bulb last?)

LED: 60,000 hours
FLUORESCENT (CFL): 10,000 hours
INCANDESCENT: 1,200 hours

KWh of electricity used over 60k hours
LED: 360
FLUORESCENT (CFL): 840
INCANDESCENT: 3,600

Electricity Cost ( @$0.20 per KWh ) for 60k hours
LED: $87.98
FLUORESCENT (CFL): $185.88
INCANDESCENT: $782.50

Bulbs needed for 60k of usage
LED: 1
FLUORESCENT (CFL): 6
INCANDESCENT: 50

As you entertain guests and exchange gifts during the holiday, a lot of added waste tends to build up in—and around your home. This season, try to think of new ways to reuse some of that waste.

Here’s one fun idea that may not save the landfill, but could be more impactful than you think.

tip: collect Christmas cards that no one wants to save, and cut them in half.  The half that contains the handwritten note can be recycled. The other half can be cut up evenly to make holiday gift tags for next year.

By planning ahead, you’ll save yourself time and money, and you’ll be cutting down on unnecessary waste.

Happy Holidays!

cooling fanDon’t want to waste money by running your AC all summer? Don’t have air conditioning? Here are 8 tips to help you beat the summer heat using common household items.

Turn off heat sources. Switch off your computer and lights when not using them. Instead of incandescent and halogen lamps, use compact florescent ones that produce less heat.

Alternative air conditioner. If it’s hot but not humid, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan. As the ice melts and evaporates, it will cool you off.

What’s the wind doing? If there is a breeze, try circulating air by opening windows on the north and south sides of your home or apartment. Block solar heat with white window shades that deflect the sun.

Traditional desert technique. If the air outside is dry and cooler than the air inside, hang a damp sheet in an open window. Any breeze passing through the sheet will be cooled by the evaporating water.

What to wear? Something loose-fitting, preferably of a light color and cotton, which will keep you cooler than many synthetics.

Quick fix. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator, and use it for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.

Fan strategically. At the end of the day when your home is steaming with trapped air, try some nighttime ventilation to help cool you while you sleep. Face the blades of a window fan to the outside to draw warm air out of the house and pull cooler air in. A fan that is blowing in seems an obvious choice, but it’s not as effective as one blowing out.

Running a fan and an air conditioner simultaneously. If you turn your air conditioner to low, set a fan to blow air over you. The air conditioner removes humidity from the air while the fan helps move heat away from your body. Continue to save by turning off your fan before you leave, because fans don’t cool a room, they just make you feel cooler.